Monday, August 11, 2008

A wet dog day afternoon

A neighbourhood event called Dog Day Afternoon was held yesterday in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Gudrun, Elizabeth and I met there in the rain to check out the action. I left Rocky at home because he gets too anxious around strange dogs. Stella doesn't like spending anytime in the rain so she stayed home as well. Gudrun's dog Gretel, had just gotten spayed so she too was absent. We three were dogless at the dog event

At the park, there was a small group of wet people huddled together listening to Dr. Scott Mathison, who happened to be my vet, as he sat in the drizzle talking about when it's necessary to bring a dog to the vet. I didn't hear the whole discussion but in Stella and Rocky's case, that would be about once a month. The staff at my vet's clinic have often suggested that I get a room there. Ha, ha. Next time either Stella or Rocky get sick and are spewing out both ends, I'm bringing them into the clinic and leaving them. We'll see who's laughing then.

Once Scott finished his talk, he looked over and waved hello to me and he said, "And here's a guy who knows everything about dog illnesses ..." and I was about to threaten him with my plan but he got mobbed by a couple of female fans and his attention was diverted. Stethoscopes and a knowledge of pharmaceuticals will always be popular with the ladies.

Next up is disco dogs.

video

I don't think dogs naturally like disco. I think they must be brainwashed into getting down with those groovy beats. I wonder about their self-esteem. I wonder about their wolf cousins, as they chow down on the torn bloody carcass of some half ton moose they just massacred, and what they must be thinking about dogs who prance around on their hind legs and shake their booties.

Wolf 1: (bloodied maw, chewing loudly through grizzle and bone)Ah, footwork's not bad.

Wolf 2: (gulping down a big wad of meat to later regurgitate for her young 'uns) I think just a bit more outward thrust on the front paws with that second upbeat would give it just the right amount of razzle dazzle.

Ah well, dogs and wolves. What do they know? Disco is dead and they should leave the dead be and not try to dig it up and eat it again.

After the disco dancing dogs, there was a bit of a break. All the people stood around mostly trying to keep dry under their umbrellas and rain gear while their dogs were doing what dogs normally do in the wet and muck, which is run around and get wet and mucky. I don't mind being a human most days but sometimes it seems like it would be a lot more fun being a dog.

Next there was a dog race, though it was more like a scramble. It didn't quite have the same level of grace or determination as an Olympic 100m dash but the dogs liked it. Any excuse to run through muck will do but for faster times and more concerted efforts, I suggest that next year they release some peanut butter covered squirrels.

video

I met Dora who was there underneath one of the canopies representing Project Pet Rescue which aims to "bring awareness and support to pet rescue organizations and to encourage pet adoption, spaying and neutering, responsible pet ownership and financial support of pet rescue groups". It turned out she was also there in place of Ann and Pete who couldn't make it due to a road closure. And it also turned out that she knows Elizabeth Abbott who helped with the Serbian dogs. And she knows James at Toronto Animal Services. And she knows Lorraine who puts together the Ontario guidebook of dog rescues. If it's a small world, the dog rescue world is microscopic.

I ran into Dorothy Avery who runs a very popular dog school, the one Stella "graduated" from, and she was telling everyone about a lawyer who specializes in cases involving dogs.

I saw Dexter, an ex-TAS dog and met his great new owner.

I talked to about a dozen people I'd not known before and met their happy dogs, many of which had been rescues, and despite the rain and cold and the low turnout, the afternoon was an enjoyable time.

Often on this blog, I write about things that are less than joyful but truth is, dog rescue is more about preserving joy than it is about avoiding sadness. I don't think anyone can last and remain sane if what drives them to work is the imperative to avoid sadness. Sadness cannot be avoided. But, neither can it be the main focus. That would ruin you. Whereas striving to preserve the joy that only a dog's company can bring - that will carry you through the day.

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