I find it absolutely amazing, the presence that one animal can have in our lives. Of course, the ones that live in my home seem to have a great abundance of presence plus a huge slice of Pami heart...but it's even the "outsiders" that have a great affect on me. Pretty much any animal that I come across already has my full attention. I always allow them to take in my scent first...then I go in for the touch. The ear massage, back pat, belly rub, cheek to cheek...even face lick if they feel like it. (THEM licking, not me! ha ha) I am a lover of the animal...the pet...the four legged, 2 legged, winged or scaly creatures both great and small. I love them all.
Right now, my mind is on Arbutus...such a good boy. Handsome and proud, clever and trustworthy...Arbutus was the best of the best when it came to cool Hound Dogs. I met him a few years back when we first moved to Gabriola. What a fine dog he was. Sitting proudly in the front seat of his dad's big blue truck. Dashing old fella! Arbutus...perfect name. An Arbutus tree is an amazing and unique evergreen. The leaves are thick and waxy and dark emerald green...the leaves fall off as new ones regrow. It is ALWAYS green. It produces a cluster of small waxy, white flowers that have a sweet scent...they turn into red berries, that are supposedly edible...I've never tried. (Look up Emily Carr paintings and you will see her whimsical version of their majestic splendour.) Anyhow...it is an awesome tree...Arbutus was awesome too.
When we moved into our current residence, Arbutus was our neighbour...well, the dog of our neighbours. ;o) (Best neighbours ever...and awesome friends!) In the beginning, he was quite non-chalant towards us. His owners advised us he was just a bit of a snob and would probably only want one thing from us...FOOD! We used to get the "Hey, who are you and what are you doing here?" barks from him when we would leave or come back home from elsewhere. Not too long later, he was coming over whenever he would notice a presence on our front deck. He would just start running over...not to say hi, but to get at Maggie's food. Of course. But I do know that deep down inside he loved the affection he received from Clint and I and Maggie and Wensday too. Our entire household loved Arbutus...his long wobbly legs, big jowls, shoestring saliva and determination to get snacks from all of us.
One of my favourite Arbutus moments happened this past August. We went away on our cross country (half across country...BC to Pinawa, MB) adventure, camping through the mountains with Maggie May and enjoying the beautiful, ever changing landscapes that our huge country offers. Oh Canada...how I love thee! The three of us were gone for two weeks. Two weeks must seem like a pretty long time to a dog who ages 7 years each birthday...in my own calculations I come up with it being 182.5 days. That IS definitely quite a long time for someone to be on vacation for. And, supposedly each and everyday that we were away, Arbutus came over to the house looking for us...looking for food. ;op The day we arrived home and drove down our driveway, Arbutus saw our white car and made a bee line for us. It was really cute. He was old...almost 15...hence his wobbly legs. (his back legs walked a slow speed whilst his fronts were double timing it...so cute!) He ran so fast to our parked car that I thought for sure he was going to tumble head first right into it! I believe that this was the first time I knew, without a doubt, that Mr. Arbutus really loved us. It warmed my heart, and I was happy to be home and have him over for his daily visits.
Sweet old man howled his way to heaven this past Monday. It was time for him to leave his earthly body and move on up to the mansion in the sky...where biscuits are made out of T-Bone steaks and fresh water streams are in abundance. I am 100% sure that one of the toughest decisions to ever make is when you know that the right thing to do at the right time is to put your animal down. I feel animals are lucky in that sense. We can let them go with dignity...we can let them go before they lose all function and sense and spark for life. (as humans we can be completely deteriorated and be hooked up to a million machines that are "living" for us...and yet we still go on. That's a whole big debate and can of worms I don't even want to get into. I just think that it is nice that we have the ability to lovingly say goodbye to our best friends. I've had to do it a few times in life...it never gets easier. And that is how the mighty Arbutus went on Monday around supper time. I knew when the vet arrived, and I saw when he left. My heart was aching for my friends next door. For I knew the pain and heartache that they were experiencing. If Clint and I were shedding tears...I could only imagine the rivers that were flowing 100 feet over. Such a good mom and dad they were to Arbutus. He was a lucky ducky to live in a loving and warm home. Minutes after the vet drove away the wind picked up in our little "fishbowl" that our homes are situated in. Wind so strong, picking up leaves and swaying the trees with a strength so magnificent...in an instant, it was calm. I know that was Arbutus saying good-bye. He was good that way. I miss him.
We got Arbutus into our car one day and brought him to the beach...we had a fun time. So did Arbie!
Yesterday when I was leaving the house and walking to the car I almost stepped in a big old piece of poo...Arbutus poo. What made my little heart melt was the fact that his huge footprint was left in it. :o) Oh Arbutus...you will be dearly missed. RIP good buddy! xox
(dedicated to Trevor and G...I love you guys!)