Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Doggy Day Dreams for a Kash Companion

I've nearly always had a dog in my life. First there was Co-coa, a pure bred German Shepard my parents owned when I was just born. Co-coa liked to howl at and follow the wind, coincidentally one gusty day she ran away. As soon as I was able I began pleading with my parents for another dog, and many years later my dad finally succumbed and we got Bosco - a dumb witted mutt with plenty of character, only to be hit by a car two years later. Third time is a charm, and we really lucked out with Ozzy, our pure bread Golden Retriever. He really is the best dog on the planet - I don't care that every other dog owner might disagree. Ozzy lives with my parents and I think for the most part really enjoys his life in Nilestown. He gets regular walks and visits from his friends Franks and Beans, my sister's two hilarious and charismatic pugs.

I want my own dog now. NOW!

For almost a decade now I've been living away from home. I've moved from one house to another in Peterborough throughout my studies at Trent (just ask my parents who have graciously packed up the Chrysler too many times to count, and carried many a mattress on car rooftops, sometimes tied down, sometimes not...) I've traveled many places around the world, lived in Africa and on Canada's west coast twice. Thus, owning and caring for a dog has not exactly matched my lifestyle.

Kashechewan - however - seems the perfect place to own and care for a puppy. It wouldn't be hard to find one! Walking the streets in Kashechewan, there are always one or two dogs that trot along beside you. The stay dogs here are not what you might expect - mangy, poorly fed, ravenous, teeth barring animals, brawling for their survival. Quite the opposite. "Kash dogs" have the greatest dispositions; look well fed, their tails are always wagging. Most are a mix of several breeds usually including Husky, Lab and German Shepard, which makes for amazing colorings and brilliant blue and brown eyes. They seem to have no fear (much like the children!) and are... well, chilled out. While there are some strays that are matted and in need of a good brushing, from what I've gathered most are extremely trusting - even of absolute strangers. While these dogs lack a single owner, what they do have is a community that cares for them.

I am busy nightly with planning, yet having a little pup curled beside me while I type, draw, stick a million post-its everywhere and sort through piles of papers and work books would be such a comfort, and the time might pass by that much more happily, especially with a long (freezing!) haul until April break. What brought this all on? Just 15 minutes ago I heard a knock on my door and I was holding the cutest black lab with one white paw... for fifty dollars.... sigh. Mind racing, heart breaking. I can't yet commit to such a cute creature; while I know where I'm headed in the next several years, I doubt my traveling days are quite complete. It would be unfair and costly to carry such a companion.

Being the first day back in action at St. Andrew's after the Christmas break, I left a little earlier this morning to prepare my classroom. This morning one of the "regulars" was curled up just outside the teachers' lodgings, asleep, frost covering his fur. I couldn't help but want to take the poor fellow in. If I cannot yet adopt a pup, perhaps I'll just care for one... or two...

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