Book Hippo

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dog-gone Guilt

Once in a while I catch the television show called, The Dog Whisperer. It's not a favorite show but sometimes I like to see how he can change bad-boy dogs into good dogs.

Then I feel guilty. I think back to my childhood. My dog Cindy. She was actually brought home by my sister. The neighbors had a litter of puppies which they were drowning because they didn't want them. My sister, eight at the time, could hardly keep herself in check as each little blind puppy was put under the water in the pail and became still. When she couldn't stand anymore, she cried out. "I'll take that one." This was Cindy, the runt of the litter, filled with lice and fleas, afraid of everything that came her way.

At first my mother took Cindy. She placed her in her kitchen apron pocket and carried her around feeding through an eyedropper. We never thought the puppy would like but soon she was eating bread soaked in warm milk. After her eyes opened and she began eating solids, Mom let my sister have her. It didn't last long. The dog was too much for my people-loving sister, so as I loved the dog and spent a lot of time with it, it became mine.

The guilt comes in because we just didn't know back then about dog psychology. Cindy should have been on a farm, running around under a farmers firm hand, instead of being cooped up in our house. I did take her for walks on the beach and in the forest but not enough, this is what I think now. She was constantly barking, which we thought was a personality tic but it seems it just seems the dog is filled with energy.

We laughed at her fears, which could have been dealt with. I fear that she might not have been a happy dog and it pains me because even though she died thirty years ago, I still consider her one of my childhood friends (I didn't have many human ones)

I know it's not good to let a dog think it's top dog, we didn't know we were doing anything wrong. Last, she had a habit of dragging her bottom along the carpet which we thought was gross and that she was wiping her bum. Well! It seems that there's a gland in a dog's bum which in the wild was for scent. In the domestic dog, it's residual, but can get fluids trapped in it. And it bothers the dog which tries to relieve the pain by dragging.

So when I watch dog shows, they make me feel bad at what I didn't know, at the irresponsibility that, I suppose, many people had back then. At least if I ever have a dog in the future I will know how to care for it properly. It's all I can do to make it up to Cindy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Childhood Hero

I firmly believe it is important for children to have a hero. I also believe that children will copy whatever they think is the best in that person. Some kids may have a sports hero and work hard at their own sport because of it. Or they may see Daddy as the bravest and strongest man there is. I've seen very small children copy exactly what their fathers are doing.

My own hero was the girl who got burned in the fire. I can't remember her name and I never met her but to me she was legendary even as a small child.

She had been in a fire as a toddler and had burns covering over 90% of her body. Her face was scarred and puckered beyond anything you'd ever seen, there was no nose or any 'human' face there at all. People and adults included would take one look at her and gasp in horror and turn away. She would see this and let loose an honest and hearty laugh.

She had more friends than any other person in the town. It never got in her way, she never didn't go anywhere or do anything, except swim, because of it. People horrified be her appearance soon got over it with the force and wonderfulness of her personality.

I used to think that if it had been me, I would have been angry at people...and bitter at being treated bad. I do admit that although I often compared my problems with hers and decided I had no good reason to be upset, I never did emulate her. She was too much above me, in my own estimation. She was a star, a princess, a true special person.

I don't know where she is today. I don't know whether the skin grafts helped or not. I only know that if someone is rude to me I think of her and her glorious laughter at any hardship and think. "This is nothing. Don't let this get you down, just remember the girl who got burned it the fire."

Friday, February 10, 2012


Well, it's about half-way through a Canadian winter. We've had it relatively easy this year although we have had a bit of snow. It took a while to get here - many were asking for snow for Christmas, there wasn't any - but it's here now and is taking it's mid-winter dirty look on.

Every year in Ottawa, at least once, we get freezing rain. Then it's too hard to walk as the outdoors is one big skating rink. This year they had a piece on the news. A man skating on the road to work because of the freezing rain made it impossible to get his car on the road. So many accidents this year, too. So unfortunate.

The light hours of the day are getting later. It's now light until about 5:30 PM. That makes me feel good because I like when it's light. I go out every day and although right now I have a cold, it's usually a time I like. Sometimes I find myself wishing that I had chosen to become a shepherd because then I would be outdoors all the time. Plus I'd be around animals. I'd have a dog.

We live in an apartment so I don't think a dog would do well here. It would take it too long to get outside for bathroom purposes, for instance. I would only want a dog if we had a property it could live on and roam around on.

On other days, I do think a cat might be nice. They're loving and interesting animals. But they do have a habit of scratching up furniture and such. And sitting on the very place you're trying to work on and things like that. So right now, we have an animal-free apartment. It's not something I would have predicted when I was a girl. I always planned to have at least two dogs. I wanted a Scottish Terrier and a West Highland White Terrier. I thought having black and white would be cool. Of course it didn't work out that way.

I like to listen to the birds in the early morning and watch the squirrels go about their business. They're interesting animals to observe. Over a decade ago, I used to watch them in an amateur way. I made little experiments to determine the size of their territories and such but I didn't keep it up after I got arthritis.

So I guess I'm hoping for an early spring. I would love to go out without my boots and coat and walk down along the river. Which meanders somewhat like this post. It's just some thoughts about the time of year and such. I'm looking forward to everything.