Sunday, April 1, 2012

Really, From the North

One of my walking buddies.
So many things I have observed during this first short week.
1. I always think I'm pretty tough. I can stand up to most emotional situations quite well, reason being that I feel for everything there is a purpose. And today I was smacked right down. Dogs are a commodity up here, in other words, cheap, if one dies, you get another. Dog shoot? Yours is gone? A host of other wiggly bundles of love to take its place, until the guns go off again. Today, I had a lovely walk, accompanied by two local mutts that I believe are owned. We went to the dump, the older of the two much like my beloved Rocky from another reserve (who was nailed in a dog shoot), she would trot on ahead, and wait patiently for me to catch up. The other a young husky mix, just an adorable babe. So we walked the roads, and trampled through the bush together, exploring. On the way back, close to the Really Expensive Grocery Store, I noticed a small silvery brown heap in the ditch. People were walking by the heap all morning, I found out, this young husky cross. She was breathing, and seemed to welcome a gentle voice and a pat on the head. I was too far from home to carry her, I was pretty sure she was either very sick, or had been dinged by a car or snow mobile. As I passed the locals, I asked them who would take care of her. By that I mean shoot. There is no vet. There is no needle to give, up here. Death can be swift, or it can be slow. But it isn't necessarily kind. And no one wanted to take responsibility. I found someone who would look after her, but I had that niggling feeling, so after a couple of hours had passed, I walked back, and she was still there, still alive by a thread. I picked her up, I could neither see nor feel any injuries. She was limp, but she managed to turn her head to try and give me a "kiss', which I pulled away from because I wasn't sure what was wrong with her. I stood her on the porch to the residence after a bit of a slug over (dead weight seems to weigh more than its numbers report), and she stood on four legs, then tried to lick a bit of the melting ice water from the boards. I found her a bowl and left her there. When I went out again, she was lying down, the bowl knocked over. I managed to get a knob of peanut butter into her, which encased some Keflex, in case she had an infection. One pill went down, the other dutifully spat out like a toddler tasting brussels sprouts for the first time. Or me for that matter. I kept watch over her the afternoon. The sun was shining joyously, keeping her warm, but as the afternoon waned, so did she, and she moved herself just under the raised oil tank, still kissed by the sun, and died. And just a little piece of me went with her. And my exterior cracked a wee bit, enough for a few tears to find their way onto her rich silvery brown coat. 
2. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished. I turned on the water to do dishes, went to do a quick check on the dog, and forgot the water. There was a huge puddle in the kitchen, I mean a half inch of water pooled to one side. Which then mostly disappeared before I could mop it all up. They are worried about the river overflowing its banks here. Hah!
Hard to say if my kitchen flooding would add up to this. 
3.One should never pound that chicken breast in the vicinity of a breakable plate full of butter. Just saying.
4. My room began to smell like there was something dead in it the other day, and no amount for Febreeze would cover it. One lonely little chicken breast declined to be involved in the aforementioned pounding process, and continued to inhabit my soft cooler until I found it, 5 days after getting here. The cooler is still airing out. My room smells much nicer now, thank you very much.
5. Witnessed a take down at gunpoint right within the clinic. Most of my friends watch one form or another of CSI. I think I will pass.
6. The best line of the day: I went for a second walk in the early part of the evening. Met up with a hulking figure staggering down the middle of the ice road, hat on, greying hair sticking out in triangles from beneath the rim. Oh he was happy! Big toothless smile with a few dribbles of spit down his grizzled chin, he bid me a slurry good evening. Good evening, says I, looks like you've been drinking. I know, says he, but it's okay. I'm an Indian. And off he goes to find his home.
Just a tad breezy.
And that was my world this week.


  1. What a beautiful post. It made me cry. Sometimes the only explanation I can find is that it is important someone know a creature lived and someone respected and loved that creature, even if it was the last few hours.
    In 98 while living in Cozumel, MX, I saw something similar and wrote a poem. I share it with you. It is not a good poem, but I think the feeling is there:

    The wind still combs through his coat
    the morning shade protects him from the sun.
    But he's dead and
    right around the corner
    three dogs of varying ages
    frolic in a field
    tripping happily over each other in
    a jumble of wagging tails and
    lolling tongues.
    Three dogs smile
    and one dog down
    right around the corner.

    1. It is exactly the way it is here. I still feel guilty not bringing her inside, but not knowing what was wrong was a huge fear. I like your poem.

  2. I like your poem. It is exactly the way it is here. I still regret not bringing her inside, but not knowing what was wrong with her was worrisome. Next time, if there ever is.