My Heart

Tessa, Bullmarket Terror of Toronto

Bullmarket's Terror of Toronto - 22 Nov 1994 - 05 May 2010

This was written in 2007.  It is re posted today, in memory of Tessa.

Her eyes are a deep chocolate brown, with long dark lashes. Both are cloudy now, and the left has an opaque area that I’m beginning to worry might be a cataract. I haven’t taken her to the doctor yet, out of fear that he’ll tell me she needs surgery. I don’t want to put her through that, I’m not sure enough that it will help. Her deep chestnut hair is almost completely white, and looking at older photos make me ache. My partner says he prefers her like this, that she looks stately. I don’t want her to be stately – I want her to be young.

Her hips hurt her, too frequently now for my taste. I’ve had to carry her up the stairs a few times, and I worry when she walks on ice. I make sure she takes her supplements, glucosamine and shark cartilage and blue green algae. They probably don’t make any difference, but it’s something I can do to try to stave off the inevitable. It’s been years since she could jump on and off the bed without help, but last week she made it onto the couch – one simple jump, and she was up. I’m not sure who was more amazed, of the two of us. Read more

The Great Dogs Are With Us Forever

Two great dogs were lost this week —

Gina Spadafori’s beautiful Heather

Heather Lives Forever

and Hope and Fran Saidel’s Golly, inspiration for their “GollyGear” shop.

Hope and Fran's Golly

Hope and Fran's Golly

Gina’s tribute to Heather is here, and ‘s for Golly is here. Like all great dogs, they leave holes in the lives of everyone who knew them.

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran

A Memorial for Gunny – Bullmarket Shogun Spirit Dragon

Andrea and Gunny Share a Smile

Andrea and Gunny Share a Smile

Andrea Morden-Moore, Gunny’s mom, has created a beautiful tribute video to his life. I’ve uploaded it onto Blip and converted it for viewing on line.

It is a LARGE file, so it’s only going to be viewable if you’re on highspeed (or are very, very patient). It’s a lovely, touching tribute to a very special dog.

Video after the cut, or on Blip.

Read more

Small Dogs, Big Hearts

It’s funny how many people assume that there’s something comical about the idea of a little dog trying to fight off an attacker. All of those humorous cartoons and movies have given us the image of a tiny dog, latched onto someone’s ankle, while they shrug and continue on with what they were doing.

Years ago, I had an office in the fashionable Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville. We were on the second floor, and I’d often keep the back fire escape door propped open in the summertime, to try and catch some semblence of a breeze. One night, coming back from refilling  my coffee pot in the small kitchenette down the hall, I found a man rifling through my purse behind my desk.  He was relatively well dressed, in his twenties, and didn’t seem at all phased to see me – in fact, he sort of glanced at me, shrugged, and went back to what he was doing. That’s when I noticed the large hunting knife strapped to his belt, and that’s when I screamed.

I had Tara with me at work that night. Tara was 21 pounds of cranky red and white French Bulldog. She came to me after she’d systemically slaughtered two cats n her previous home, and while it took us a while to come to an understanding (namely, you don’t kill my cats, and I’ll stop jumping out from behind the furniture and screeching “NOOOO!” whenever you glance at them), we eventually ended up inseperable.

Like most of the cranky red and white dogs I’ve known in my time, Tara was loving and gentle with people, so I was shocked when she bared her teeth and launched herself at the stranger in my office. When he swung his foot at her, Tara snarled with anger and latched onto his calf. He screamed, and headed back out onto the rickety, open metal fire escape – with Tara still attached to his leg.

Down one whole flight of stairs, he swing his leg in attempt to bash her head against the stairs, or to fling her off to a story and half plunge onto concrete. My little girl hung on, and I finally realized that I had a full glass coffee pot of water in my hand. I threw it – hard – and struck him in the middle of the forehead. He stumbled, Tara let go, and he fell down the remaining half flight of stairs. I scooped up Tara, carried her up the stairs, called 911, and checked her for injuries. Her face was covered in blood, but once I’d wiped it off, I realized that none of it was hers.

When the police arrived, they found a puddle of blood at the bottom of the fire escape, but no sign of the intruder. They also found a puddle of water and the remains of my coffee pot. After taking my report, and giving me a brief lecture on the virtues of keeping doors locked at night, they mentioned that someone fitting his description had attacked several people in my area – specifically, in the parking lot that my fire escape led down to (and that I also parked my car in). They also told me that someone had broken into the art gallery below me and slashed several paintings. He was picked up a few days later, in our neighbourhood, after creating a scene at the Schizophrenic out reach office around the corner. I admit I remained nervous for a while longer, but having 21 pounds of cranky little Frenchie sitting at my feet every night made coming in to work tolerable.

All of this is a way of leading in to this story out of Florida, about a Boston Terrier who ran off his owner’s attacker –

“The female dog, she saw her owner being attacked. The woman did try to fight off her attacker, but it was the Boston Terrier that came to the rescue. [The dog] came right in there, bit this man on his right shoulder,”

Never underestimate the little dogs – what they lack in size, they more than make up for in heart.

Kirby's Fish

I think you have to have lived with a French  Bulldog to understand how truly, wonderfully weird they are (which I mean, of course, in the most affectionate of ways).

Cool Kirby, handsome French BulldogTake Beth Thornton’s Kirby, for example.

Most dogs, if they’re going to pick something to be crazy about, it’s going to be a ball. Maybe a sheep, if you’re talking about a Border Collie. Not Kirby, though.

Kirby was crazy about fish – and no, not fish as in “hey, let’s have salmon for dinner’, but in a more Jacques Cousteau, intellectual curoisity kind of way. Kirby, in fact, had his very own fishpond, which he’d visit to sit and watch the fish. In the winter time (when even the most intrepid marine biologist has seconds thoughts about outdoor marine observation), Kirby would make do with looking at the indoor aquarium.

What else did Kirby love?

He loved cheese puffs, and having his dad blow water at him out of the pool noodle (see, I told you Frenchies were weird). He loved naps, and warm spots,  and birthday cake.

On December 16th, Beth lost Kirby to a tragic and unforeseeable allergic reaction. Beth blames herself, but if Kirby could talk to her, he’d tell her that “hey, you were trying to help me – you were doing the mom thing, and looking out for me, just like you always did. No one could have known this would happen, so please feel better soon. BTW, the cheesy poofs in heaven? So. Totally. Rock. Also, fish ponds as far as the eye can see.”

Kirby's Jade GoldfishKirby’s ashes will rest in an urn, along with cards, mementos, and a small, perfect Jade goldfish that Beth chose for him.

Kirby was a deeply, wonderfully weird Frenchie, with many admirers and friends from around the world, all of whom miss him.

He was a little dog who loved many things, but most of all, what he loved was Beth. The feeling was mutual.

RB’s Curbing a Heartache
Tue Dec 16, 2008
Loved by Beth Thornton and Family, Champagne French Bulldogs