Skip to content

Dog days

November 10, 2012

Pepper was a present for my mom. When my parents were young and foolish and newly in love, my dad gave my mom a puppy for their anniversary. A Basset mix who followed her nose into everything from the deep fryer under the sink to the empty beer bottles under the porch. Pepper had personality. She wore booties in the winter, much to her chagrin, and liked to stand on the roof of my dad’s Carmengia. Pepper didn’t like to be left alone, and terrorized my grandfather whenever he was tasked with keeping her company. Pepper died when I was 4. My dad broke the news when we were driving along West Street in his old pickup. It was a very sad day.

When I was 8, I went to my dad with a special request: A dog in Stephenville had puppies, and GUESS WHAT? Jennifer got one, so maybe we could just go look at them please please please! Dad agreed and later that day we came home with Max. Max was named after my favourite stuffed dog, Max. Max endured. He was there for Brownies, Girl Guides, my brother’s arrival, boyfriends, parties, graduations and trips home from university. Max went on camping trips, boat trips, and road trips. He ran by the beach almost every day and never met a squirrel that he wouldn’t chase. Max was my idea, but he was dad’s dog. When I was 23 and loafing around in Spain, I got an email from my dad telling me about Max’s last day. A ride in the boat, a drive in the truck, all of his favourite things. And there I sat, in a stuffy internet cafe, drinking a crappy Spanish beer, crying over my dog and my dad and that email. 3000 kilometers away, I’m pretty sure my dad was doing the same thing.

My memories of these dogs are inextricably tied to my memories of my father. I started this blog shortly after my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer (stage 4, palliative, do not collect $100, do not pass go). I hoped it would be a way to connect over something that made sense to us both. My dad died in April and since then I have tried and tried again to write something, anything, about him. But grief has a funny way of cramming us full of feelings, drowning us in memories, and then stealing the words we have to let any of it out. My dad was many things to many people. To me he was a fellow dog lover and a kindred spirit. And for now, I think I’ll leave it at that.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: