Evolution of a B.C. trilogy

“Brett Grubisic’s (left) River Bend Trilogy novels are set in a fictional town on the Fraser River, based on Mission, B.C. where he grew up. Here, we learn other ways the titles are linked.” FULL STORY

#14 Going to the dogs & cats

July 10th, 2014

Sky is mottled pale blue this morning, with gray cloud. The breeze feels as if it’s coming off the glacier.

I took the dawgs out to their yard and used the grooming comb on Minnie.  I cannot believe how much that dog sheds. And she stinks. It isn’t “doggy odour,” no, it’s stink…. Her full name is Skinny Minnie Ambereyes and she is a “rescue.”

Minnie was one of four left behind at Queen’s Cove. My son and his wife and kids had just moved into Tahsis so the older kids could attend school, there being no school at Queen’s Cove. Well, really, there wasn’t much of anything at Queen’s Cove, just a cluster of houses and mile after mile after mile of gorgeous scenery, good fishing and passing pods of Orca.

They made their move to town in a boat, so he had to go back to pick up more stuff and he asked if I’d like to go for a boat ride. Hey, I’m always up for a boat ride!! Off we went. And when we got to Queen’s Cove there were these four dogs, none of them belonging to my son and family. It was obvious they were starving.

My own dogs had spent a week at Queen’s Cove while I had to be gone on business so I knew there was a sack of dog kibble still at the house. We got it and started making piles of it. The lone female moved toward a pile and the other three dogs, all male, attacked her and I’m sure they would have killed her if I hadn’t waded in with kicks, yells, and a paddle.

Carried her to the boat. Brought her home. I didn’t think she was going to survive but I was determined that if she had to die she’d at least die with food in her belly. Starvation hurts!

Well, obviously, she didn’t die. When I brought her home she was so skinny I could see every bone in her body, even see the tendons which hold the bones together. I’ve seen pictures of what was found when the Allies liberated Auschwitz and Minnie was in that kind of shape. But she lived.

I’m not the only one who thinks Minnie is of the opinion she died and went to heaven. She is a kind, gentle and a loyal friend but, dear Gawd, she stinks. I’m told her mother was a black and tan coon hound and her dad was every male dog in Zeballos.

And she sheds. She looks kind’a like a German shepherdy mutt, except for the ears. And she sings. Min doesn’t bark, I’m not sure why, maybe she doesn’t know how. Min sings opera, instead. When Minnie is happy, she howls. And many things make Minnie happy.  Particularly small children. The sight of a baby can have Min warbling while her tail wags so hard it forms a circle.

But, oh my dear lord, she pongs. Getting Min into a bathtub is not easy, she isn’t skinny any more, she’s somewhat portly. Doesn’t matter how thoroughly she gets bathed, within a day and a half the pong is back. Sometimes I look at the floor and can hear The Sons of the Pioneers singing Tumblin’ Tumbleweed.  It’s just Min, shedding again.

This morning I combed and combed. The surplus fur drifted on that chilly breeze and Min stood with her skin rippling with pleasure, her long muzzle slightly lifted and a grin of pleasure wrapped on her houndy face. Min does love to be brushed and combed. Not that it seems to do much good.

She still sheds, she still stinks.

*

Anne Cameron

Anne Cameron

Smiley D Guy thinks it’s all somewhat odd behaviour. He’s a Pug. He likes to be brushed but it has to happen while he’s sitting on my lap. Or lying on my lap. Definitely on my lap.

Smiley D Guy is not very smart. His brother “Wally” lives down the street from us and is about twice the size of Smiley. When Smiley was born he was so small the breeder was afraid to leave him in the box with the rest of the litter. She worried the mother would lie down and smother him so he spent his early weeks in her shirt pocket, put in with his mom when he got hungry, then back into the pocket.

At night he had a heating pad. He’s a very small Pug and several breeders wanted me to keep him “intact” so they could use him as stud and try for small-sized Pugs. I didn’t much care one way or the other but then there were some unpatriotic incidences with inanimate objects and I thought, oh no, we’re not having much more of this, and off he went to the vet.

No more unpatriotic incidences but I can’t say it improved his IQ or altered the rest of his behaviour. Smiley pretty much does what Smiley wants to do. You call him and he might come. Or not. Or he might sit and ponder what in hell it is you wanted when you said his name.

Yet it’s hard to imagine life without him.

*

Those big black crunchy “carpenter” ants have shown up again. Dreadful little buggers. They bite, too, probably. Because I live in a glorified sardine can and there’s hardly any real wood in my house for them to eat.

I swept a bunch of them up yesterday and flushed them down the loo and the reason I know they’re crunchy is I didn’t get to sweep up all of them. But I’m feeling quite protected because Dustbugger has decided they’re great fun.

Dustbugger can stalk them, pounce, and practise his jungle skills without having to go outside where it might be raining or the climate’s changing. I’m amazed he is able to land on the ants – he’s so cross-eyed. I’m sure he can see around corners.

Dustbugger was born under a neighbour’s trailer to a very tiny female who was obviously well endowed with Siamese genes. A few days later the mother cat vanished, hasn’t been seen since. The other kittens in the litter died. Dustbugger was the only ‘Siamesey’ looking one of the lot and he clung on.

The neighbour heard the pitiful mewling, crawled under and, to make a long story short, Dustbugger wound up here. I fed him drops of cow milk from a spoon. He wasn’t cross-eyed then. Dustbugger remained Siamesey but his ‘points’ are silver tabby.

He got his name when he stalked and then attacked the dry mop I was using to haul out the fluff and whatever-it-is that collects behind and under stuff. He took this flying leap, landed in the fluff and came out of it with bits trailing from his ears and whiskers.

Dustbugger has grown since then. He’s also no longer a full tomcat. And for a ‘free’ kitten, he has put a significant hole in the, ha ha, family fortune.  Before they can be ‘fixed’ they have to have their ‘shots’ and those shots cost so much it made me wonder how ‘n’ hell the UN can afford vaccination programmes in third and fourth world countries. If it costs that much for a cat? Y’know?

He has become increasingly cross-eyed. I am NOT paying for eye surgery or for glasses! And don’t you love how some folk have got to pass themselves off as experts of some kind. A neighbour told me crossed eyes were a sure sign of purebred Siamese. I listened, I nodded, I did not roll on the ground laughing.

When not defending the sardine can from hordes of invading black crunchy ants, Dustbugger sleeps on my bed or demands food. In spite of the huge amount Dustbugger eats, he isn’t very chubby. Just as well. Bad enough to be cross-eyed but to be FAT and cross-eyed…

We endure.

Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.

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