A companion suddenly gone

A boy and his first best friend – c1955.

It was a reflex. An involuntary response. It’s what I’ve always done when it starts to thunder or rain really heavily, like it did the other evening. It was during that thaw Monday night when all of a sudden we got a cloud burst over the house. Being in my office upstairs, and close to top of the house, as soon as I heard the rain begin to pound on the roof, I pushed my desk chair back, turned for the door and called out.

“It’s OK, Bud,” I said. Then, I stopped myself.

Sixth or seventh sense of Nature

Soothed here by his favourite toy, the household pet has always felt upset as a storm approaches.

Sometimes it’s as subtle as the songbirds in the backyard going silent. Other times in the house, the cats curl up together in a corner. In a more obvious example, my pet Kerry blue terrier pants as if he’s just completed a marathon run cross-country, and I know there’s a thunderstorm in the area.

I remember the story, a few years ago, about an earth tremor in the state of Maryland. And Mike Blanpied, a U.S. Geology Service expert, reported that just before the quake, animals responded because they were more sensitive to the slightest shaking.

“Animal earthquake prediction,” he called it.

A dog’s life

A boy and his first dog.
A boy and his first dog.

Just the other day, I bumped into one of my acquaintances in the park. Of course, the people I meet in the park generally have a companion with them – of the four-legged variety. Anyway, as often happens among dog walkers, we got talking about breeds, dog compatibility and ages of our pets.

“This Kerry’s a bit older than my last dog,” I said to my dog-walking acquaintance.

“Mine too,” he said. “She’s been with us throughout the lives of our kids.”

Unexpected Christmas gift

Gorgeous in the sunrise of Christmas morning, the iced trees strained under the weight of the ice.
Gorgeous in the sunrise of Christmas morning, the iced trees strained under the weight of the ice.

Saturday – the day of the ice storm – I accomplished an important Christmas moment. It was mid-afternoon. It was perhaps the worst possible time to be heading out on the roads. But there I was, loading up the car with the dog, my winter jacket and boots and a small saw. Nobody was around to hear it, but I made my traditional Christmas announcement.

“I think it’s a good day to get a Christmas tree,” I said and I think the dog – my Kerry blue terrier Finn McCool – was the only one to hear it. And he’s not fussy. A walk, whether in the woods for a tree or anywhere else for that matter, is all the same to him. All good.

Dog days of summer

A Kerry with dual citizenship (and neither is Ireland).

Late last month – I think it was just before the Civic Holiday weekend – I got a message on a net-serve account. A writer friend of mine was in a bit of a jam and she needed help. So she put out an all-points-bulletin to her writer colleagues for help on the Internet. Normally, this online service helps writers find editors, publishers, venues for reading and other aids that writing professionals require. Her call for help this time was a little unexpected.

“Anybody know where I can kennel my dog over the holiday weekend?” she asked.

Pushing back the entitled

These spring evenings have enticed me and my trusty Kerry blue terrier walking partner to the park more often.

On Monday, we arrived just as the sun was setting and the Canada geese were settling on the pond. Two young women runners approached going the opposite way. They sported headbands, high-end runners and plenty of spandex. As she jogged past, one woman took a long last “ drink of water from a plastic bottle. Then, she tossed it on the grass and jogged on.

Excuse me,” I shouted toward the two women. They slowed and turned to look at me. “Who do you think is going to pick that up?” I said gesturing to the discarded bottle.