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Archive for March, 2017


Go back about eight years. We were living in ontario with our five kids and two dogs.  Life was, if not perfect, well then pretty good. I came home from work one day talking about the puppy my boss had just gotten.  A puggle. Pug-beagle. I felt like I couldn’t convey how cute this pup was without pictures so of course I made the whole family gather around the computer while I googled photos.  Down the Internet worm hole we went and eventually saw that a local farmer had two female dogs who had recently had litters. The pups were puggle-bull dogs.  All of the caramel coloured with accents of white or chocolate or both.  He had put up individual photos of the eleven total puppies that were up for adoption. I paused on one. The one with the most gold and only a tiny bit of white at her paws.

“Aww. Look at Katie.” I said.  Everyone groaned. Mom had named her.  It was a foregone conclusion. Shawn and I drove to the farm later that day and there she was. While all her brothers and sisters were clamouring for attention at the front of the pen, Katie hung back. We let the farmer hand her to us and she literally put her paws around my neck like a hug. A move she continued to do throughout her life, though usually with Shawn and not me. 

A little over a year ago, Katie was diagnosed with cancer.  We chose, after much discussion, not to amputate her leg and to let her live as long as possible without invasiveness.  

For months now she’s been favouring her foot. For weeks she’s been hopping with it lifted and for about two weeks now she’s been shaking and losing bladder control.  

Today we said goodbye to her.  

She spent her morning snuggling us and resting. She was so calm. She didn’t want to eat or go out. And in the vets office this afternoon, she put her paws around my neck and hugged me. 

Life with Katie was wonderful.  She was a sweet, if a little bit dumb, dog. In the best way of course.  She was silly and delightful and loved exploring new trails with us. She thought she was the boss of the local deer herd and she was kermit’s best friend.  We are going to miss her more than we can possible bear.  

Thank you for choosing us dear Katie.  We have loved being your humans.  

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I was 14, he was 15. The very first day we met, he kissed my hand, very Cinderella style. Little did he know he was kissing the hand of a hopeless dreamer. An incurable romantic. A girl who, even at 14, had learned how to exit the world of her reality and dwell in the world of books, movies, plays and music. My fantasy world was the real one in which I dwelt and the reality of school and homework and parents and such were just the nuisance that had to be endured between escapisms.
Our first date. How ironic it was to a movie. Escapism please!
We went to see The Little Mermaid. When it was first released to theatres (am I dating myself, much?). The song “kiss the girl” was the backdrop to our first kiss. He with his towering height and me with my fantasies and already I had us married off with kids and living in a far away land.
Cut to now, and we’re married with kids and moved provinces, so in a way, my 14 year old dream came true.
My number is inverted now. I’m 41. I still use books and movies and plays and music as a way to leave the trappings of the adult world, a world VASTLY more disappointing than I was led to believe as a child. Sure, I can eat what I want and go to bed when I want, but I also pay taxes and clean and raise children and have a job. But I have my dreams. Tucked away where I can call upon them when needed. I still read books and fall in love with the mythical worlds weaved for me. I even write books where I can bend the fantasy to my own will and whimsy. Songs still transport me and movies are where I give over my heart and soul to be drawn into another place and time.
So, it’s no surprise that when the live action Beauty and the Beast was announced that I immediately professed that I would not only see this in theatre, but that we would all go, husband, wife and the three children still remaining at home. No one minded. When your mother is a dreamer, she tends to influence her children.
The day approached and the closer we got, the more excited we became. The kids would frequently play the trailers on the internet and I, the eternal crier, would more often than not, feel my eyes growing hot with anticipation.

On Sunday we crammed our five adult forms into the car and drove to the theatre where Belle awaited. As we sat in a row at the back of the theatre, I leaned over to my husband and whispered “I love that 22 years of marriage later, you’re still taking me to Disney movies. Only now we bring our children.” He tried to pretend like that didn’t make him “catch the feels” too, but I know it did. He has been much more sentimental since his heart attacks.
The show started and transported is exactly what we were. My youngest, the 15 year old, 6’2 man-child sitting beside me, spent the entire show holding my hand, or laying his head on my shoulder, or hugging me. My girls sat at the end silently letting tears fall. The movie was perfection. It should be held up as an example of how to bring a beloved animation to live action. I won`t go into the details of the myriad of ways I loved it, because this post would simply be too long.
It was beautiful visually, artistically, musically and in it`s composition. The casting was perfect and I truly wanted to step through that screen and into Belle`s world.
We left the theatre that evening to go home to the world that we built. It`s warm, inviting and loving. It`s full of laughter, and yes, sometimes tears. Usually mine. It`s teenagers and adult children who still hug their parents. It`s kids who were brought up to love and to treat people with kindness and dignity and inclusion. With all the mistakes and pitfalls I’ve taken in my life, it`s my deepest source of pride to see the family that we built and what we`ve built it into. Even with my love for escaping through books and music and movies and plays, it’s still that Prince Charming of mine that I come back to.

And he still kisses my hand.

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