Posts Tagged ‘life’

For a little dog, the hole left behind after he moves on is in no way proportional to him.

Gunner, or “our little old man”, as he was referred to in the past year or so after he all but lost his hearing, most of his teeth and started really showing his grey, passed away yesterday and his being missing from the house leaves a Saint Bernard sized hole, even though he was a chihuahua weighing in at about 6 lbs.

When I got him at Christmas back in 2003, I wasn’t sure why the wife had bought such a little dog or why a chihuahua. We’d always had large dogs, and this seemed odd, but his heart and energy and loving nature quickly made him a part of our crazy little family. Turned out I had seen a commercial on tv and made a comment about how cute the little dog was on it, and that was enough to light a spark of an idea. A spark that turned into a loving companion that would travel with us happily anywhere and always made himself right at home. He was slow to get to know people and new animals, but once he did, you were in his pack and he welcomed you with a smile, somewhat toothless of late, but a smile nonetheless (I say dogs do smile, you can see it in their eyes mostly).

Always nearby when doing anything, he was curious and maybe a little intrusive, but its easy to forgive such a sweet soul when he is finding it chilly and wants to snuggle on your lap or share your blanket. He was my little bed warmer for over a decade until he started not being able to make it thru the night without needing to pee. A trait I myself am not looking forward to acquiring but time takes its toll on us all.

Our family is smaller, and he will never be forgotten, he is going to be missed so much each and every day, his cute little face and wagging tail was always right there to greet me each morning, and every time I came home he would fight his way thru the other pets to make sure I got to pet him. Gunner, like another of our other beloved dogs, Enya who was his first adopted mom and passed shortly after he joined our family, loved pizza crusts and would wait patiently until I was finished eating and gave him a little piece. As he got older and lost his hearing, he would whimper softly, almost imperceptibly as he waited, just to make sure he wasn’t forgotten or overlooked.

RIP my little man. You made your mark on a lot of lives, and gave us so many years of happiness, I just wish I had a few more. The good do die young. Too young. Too soon. I am sure all your furry friends will be waiting for you in heaven. Now I have to make sure I’m good so I can see you again.

-barkerp

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We had to say goodbye today to our beautiful friend and companion of nearly 13 years, Tilley. 

Coming home the first time after a beloved dog moves on is heartbreaking. It doesn’t matter how many other animals are there to greet you, the hole after one dog has left is enormous.


She was the matriarch of our little herd. 

The instigator at times, moreso before her hearing started to go, barking at any noise outside that didn’t seem right to her. 

The referee at times, stepping in between the other dogs when a kerfuffle broke out. 

The ever vigilant watchful eye when outside, making us aware of guests or people passing by.  

The mother at times, helping us to raise the new puppies as they joined our little zoo of animals.  Watchful over them, and putting up with all those puppy quirks, nips, noises, and general misbehavings.

She not only watched over the animals – cat and rabbit as well as the other dogs – but was there for us, her people, always watching over us, happy to see us and be with us, right up to the end when we could see she wanted to be near us although her body was failing her.  A truly wonderful friend and companion and always so sweet no matter what was going on or how she was feeling, and once she knew you, you were a friend for life and one of her flock.

Rainbow bridge has another beautiful soul waiting for us on the other side.  I’m pretty sure she’ll be there keeping all the other animals in line and teaching them manners while she waits.

Rest in peace Tilley.

Barkerp

social-media-icon-setI was in the Toronto airport recently and had some time to reflect on how much power, whether good or bad, society has been given by social media. Be it Instagram, FaceBook, Yelp or Twitter, anything you do, anyone you meet, and anywhere you want to go, people have messaged about it and those messages and posts can make or break an event/place/person.

President Obama has been in the news a lot lately discussing truth in news and how FB and Google need to ensure facts are being reported … If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have serious problems.

To a lesser extent the same is true about the average Joe/Josephine and their use of social media.  How do we filter out the facts from the fiction?  The first thing many people do upon experiencing something new (I am guilty of this myself) is post about it.  More often than not, it is the negatives that get posted.  When you have a problem, you want to complain and think someone, anyone, is listening.  Social media to the rescue.  A platform with no real checks and balances, and more often than not the first place we go to find out what others think of something we are thinking of doing, or to “research” a place we are thinking of going to. (I am guilty of this too, especially when it comes to hotels and restaurants)

So often I have heard the same comments about a place, only to find out, it was because one person experienced it and then everyone else just regurgitated what they read, retweeted, reposted, etc without actually experiencing it themselves.

Take for instance a prime example that just happened this morning in my office.  Restaurant ABC gets a bad review on yelp and is taken as gospel because it had more than one bad rating, and as such the person I was talking to said they would not be trying it out.  Who knows, it could have been a bad day, it could have been an isolated problem, it may have been just not quite what was expected, or the person giving the bad review was just being petty.  Disgruntled worker maybe?  You can learn from others mistakes or experiences, but that doesn’t mean that they will have the same experience as you.  With restaurants especially, the particular cook can make or break a meal, your palate is different from someone else’s, maybe you like salt more than sweet for instance, etc., there are a myriad of possible reasons.  And hey, who knows maybe it does legitimately suck.

Everything you post should be understood and interpreted as “in my limited opinion and experience at this particular time and location” but rarely it is.  A few negative comments can quickly become a tidal wave simply due to our inherent nature of listening and trusting others opinions – It was on yelp/Facebook/Google/Twitter/ etc, so it must be true.  We can’t prevent the rants and negativity but we can learn to take it with a grain of salt and realize it for what it is, free advice.  And as with any advice, you usually get what you paid for.

One final note, getting back to the airport again.  Chef Roger Mooking has a new (or at least new to me) restaurant in Pearson.  Having eaten at another chef’s restaurant there, Massimo Capra’s Boccone, and thoroughly enjoying it we thought we’d try “Twist“.  Lets just say I hope chef Mooking pops in again soon to make sure they are preparing his menu properly since his “not so philly cheesesteak” to use some of his own words when judging on Chopped, is a one note, dry offering, in need of some sauce.  But that is just my opinion, well that and my traveling companion.  So two free opinions.  Take it with a grain of salt, … which wouldn’t have helped this sandwich.

barkerp

 

I mentioned this on FB last night, but a pet deserves more than just a post or mention that typically lasts only a few minutes in this crazy busy world of info overload.

from FB… “Sadly lost our last of the original 3 chickens today, “Pumpkin”. Passed quietly after almost 9 yrs of entertaining and teaching us what having chickens as pets is like. We raised her from 3 days old. She was like a dog, came when called, always nearby when we were outside, liked to dig in the garden with us. All with the added benefit of giving us eggs. So, a little better than a pet dog in some ways. She’ll be missed. Hopefully see her again on rainbow bridge.”

We didn’t really know what we were getting into when deciding to get chickens nearly 9 years ago, sure we’d read a lot on the internet and some books and talked to some people who had them but until you actually have them yourself you really don’t know how much personality and life these little characters have.
Pumpkin, named for the orange head and black body, helped teach us what worked and how tough these little feather friends are. She was one of the original 3, Pumpkin, Ginger and Zena, and lived the longest.  She also helped train each new chicken we brought into the flock.  Taught them not to wander onto the road, (they have full roam of our property with no fence around it, just farmer’s field, and a highway out front) where it was safe to sit and roost, to always come running when we called, to stay close when we were digging to get all the good bugs, etc..

They adjust to the weather, even our cold harsh winters up here. Sure they may not like walking on the snow, but they just stay cooped up (pun intended) for the really harsh weather and come out whenever it is sunny enough and they can see grass, even if it is just a path I cleared thru the snow for them.  Rain, sun or snow, heat or cold, they just endure it.

They are not just dumb animals, they are more than just food.  I hope that me sharing a little piece of her life story makes a few people realize that they are not just meat.  They really are no different than a dog or a cat, they are pets and our lives are better for having known them.

RIP little Pumpy, wait for us on rainbow bridge, there is a good number of our beloved animals there to keep you company.

barkerp

July 4th 1966, Liverpool.  A young family, mom, dad, two young kids -3 and just about to turn 1 (me) – board an ocean liner “The Empress of Canada” and head off to a new world and a new life not really knowing what to expect other than some information given to them from what was basically state run travel agents telling them about all the possiblities in this new country, Canada, and more specifically this small town London Ontario.  Leaving behind nearly everything, the journey begins to this new land of possibility as it was toted back in the 60’s.  The economy in England being bad at the time, with not enough good jobs to go around, packing up and moving was the best solution for a young family.  Emigrating from their birth country, leaving behind their extended family, brothers sisters and parents, and moving in the hopes of making better lives for themselves and their kids.  Alone in a country nearly 40 times the size of the United Kingdom.

This was my life and the beginning of becoming Canadian.  Traveling by boat, me too young to remember, on board a massive boat (for the time) and starting anew in a small town named after that oh so more famous town in England.  Never forgetting our English roots, but proud to be citizens of this great country we’ve called home for nearly 50 years.

BTW, It’s great that all of the US celebrates this occasion with me, but the fireworks and hooplaw are a bit much and a bit embarrassing.  Maybe just a nice card or something to mark the event from now on, thanks eh.

Barkerp