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The year of the dog

January 4, 2021

A few weeks ago that was the cover story in the Saturday Globe and Mail – “The Year of the Dog.” The story, not surprisingly, was about the role dogs (and acquiring a dog) had played in keeping people sane during lockdown.

Last March, after the pandemic forced the local theatre company to shut down its annual one-act play festival half way through the scheduled performances, the board (of which I am a member) decided via email that our next meeting would have to be via Zoom. Following that decision, one of the members, my mate Joe said he might perhaps see us out on the trails when he was walking Lexi.

I looked at that message and thought, ‘Hmm. I really am going to need something to get me out of the house during lockdown.’ So I sent Joe a message to say I’d rather like to be included in some of these walks. A regular weekly walk was established.

Some of those walks were on trails I knew well. Others were on trails I didn’t know, still others were on trails of which I had never heard. (There’s a beaver pond on the island? How could I not know that?)

Lexi wasn’t Joe’s dog. She belonged to a woman who, just before everything shut down completely, had returned to Winnipeg for the birth of her granddaughter. So Lexi stayed on the island with Joe.

Lexi is a beautiful chocolate lab. She’s not the friendliest dog in the world and during most of our weekly walks we barely saw her, as she was usually off investigating smells in the undergrowth. But she was a very good excuse to get out of the house and take some exercise. (Joe walked her daily for at least 90 minutes.) I found myself suddenly appreciating dogs a lot more than I (a lifelong cat person) ever previously had. If nothing else, they forced you out of the house.

One of my favourite walks together was a couple of weeks before Joe, who is also originally from Winnipeg, flew off there to visit his mother and reunite Lexi with her owner. It was at the beach where I managed to take this wonderful photo.

Although there is a sandbank there, it really does look like she’s running on water.

When Joe returned a month later, leaving Lexi behind, we did resume our weekly walks and that was nice. But leaving Lexi in Winnipeg had also left a hole in his life. He decided he needed to find a dog of his own.

As the article in the Globe and Mail conveyed – and everyone who’d tried to do so already knew – managing to adopt a dog during the plague times was no mean feat.  

Eventually, through a friend of a friend, he was introduced to a dog whose elderly owner had recently moved into a retirement home where dogs weren’t allowed.

Bringing a dog or a cat into your home and life is always a bit of a crap shoot. Like people, they all have their own personalities.

Joe is one lucky son of a bitch, that’s all I have to say.

Meet Georgie, a five-year-old cocker/retriever cross. I fucking love this dog. She has completely stolen my heart.

She loves people and positively lives to chase her ball. (Throwing anything for Lexi earned one nothing other than a look of disdain.) Almost every day Joe posts video of Georgie chasing her ball in the woods. If stupid WordPress would allow me to do so, I would add one of those films here, eliciting, I guarantee, the sort of ear-to-ear grin Georgie has on her face in that photo. (As if anything else was required to seal the deal, that grin of hers would do it.)

This is an animal born to give pure, unadulterated joy to anyone lucky enough to spend time with her. (Joe’s daughter, a lifelong cat person, who visited him for three weeks over Christmas, is now a dog lover.)

As I’ve told Joe on a number of occasions, back in March I envied him having Lexi as a reason to get out of the house and enjoy nature. Now I am so jealous.

The walks with Georgie (oh, yes, and Joe) have been increased to twice weekly. There’s no competition. They are the highlight of my week.

I’m going to have to say it again. I fucking love Georgie Girl.

From → Blog

3 Comments
  1. janeshead permalink

    Yeah dogs keep you sane. If I didn’t have to leave the house every day to walk Clara, and just to have her curled up next to me on the sofa most of my day, I don’t know how I would survive. Cats are great, but dogs will save your life.

    • janeshead permalink

      Haha ignore the grammar of that post! That second sentence…wtf was I doing with that second clause??

  2. krysross permalink

    I so miss having a cat and would love to have a dog. Allergies suck.

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