Friday, May 16, 2008
dog days in May
Never, ever go to the animal shelter just to look around because you've got nothing better to do some afternoon. It was February, deep winter in Toronto and we were expecting a child in the Spring so I have to give myself the excuse of extreme broodiness. It was nearly closing time at the shelter when we found a tiny six week old puppy sitting all by himself in an elevated cage looking very sad. The attendant told us his two sisters had been adopted that morning, that he'd never been alone before and was refusing to eat. What would you do? Okay, you'd probably have made the sensible decision to have gone to a movie instead but there we were. I wrapped him up in part of the big scarf I was wearing and off we went with just about as much of a clue about having a dog as we did about having a baby - little - but life is essentially about taking chances in the name of love. The happily anticipated big change was still a few months in the future and we figured having a puppy would be good practice. Besides, he was very cute.
Since he was obviously a benighted canine prince who'd been exiled from his proper home we gave him the exalted name of Garth Cold Nose Strong Heart in honor of his lineage and bright future. Naturally, he was known as Garth.
He got paper trained because he refused to pee when we put him down on the ice and snow and became so comfortable with the arrangement that by the time winter ended he'd relieve himself if he saw someone reading a newspaper. That was when we insisted he learn the difference between inside and outside. He chewed shoes, socks, clothes and once stole an ounce of hash which he kept hidden for a weeks' worth or surreptitious licks (what had been a large cube was a little sphere when we found him with it). He was a happy pup.
His favorite sleeping spot was my lap until the lump started practicing football moves and kicked him off one day. He looked so shocked I wondered if the two of them would ever be friends but I needn't have worried. One day in May, right around this time, we brought our son home from the hospital, sat with him on a low couch and invited Garth over to look. He sniffed, wagged his tail, went to the next room and lay down under the cradle. Sleeping under the boy's bed became a lifelong habit and once the beds got lower, he slept on a rug nearby.
The photo was taken in RI when he was about sixteen. Soon - maybe tomorrow - I'll tell you a story about Garth in Montreal which I'll post directly to Adventures, Ink.