Are you ready for a huge dump of snow …. photos?
I did promise on Monday that I would take some pictures in the snow before it melted, it snows so rarely here, so I took some time out from editing Christmas photos on Monday afternoon to go out and play in the snow with the doggies and the camera. Good thing too, because IT DIDN’T MELT AND IT’S ALL STILL HERE. And we’re getting another load tonight! Gah.
It’s been hovering between -5C and -10C here even in the daytime, which is basically unheard of for the Lower Mainland. My pipes froze, and I had no water for 5 of the last 7 days, which is no fun when it’s flippin’ cold in the house and out of the house and your dogs eat cold semi-frozen food. But weirdly, though the world is frozen solid, there is a new FLOWING river that has appeared from under my house and meanders lazily through the yard and out the back gate (that’s going to be extra awesome when the world thaws out). This is the ONLY thing about the cold that makes the ducks happy; everything else about it makes them sad quackers. I had to go out and buy three bales of hay to spread out around their yard, as their feet were freezing and they couldn’t walk.
The dogs are loving the snow though!
Well … not ALL of the dogs. Addy doesn’t enjoy the snow or the cold one tiny bit, no matter how many sweaters and coats she’s wearing.
Often she doesn’t last more than 5 minutes, and ends up back in the house chewing on lamb necks with Gemma “I don’t go outside” Old Lady Dog. She has practically no hair, so you can’t really blame her for this aversion to sub zero temperatures.
Everyone else is quite a lot hairier, and therefore quite a lot happier.
They have really been having so much fun, even if we only last about 40 minutes before I can’t feel my toes and we need to come back inside (I was built for warmer climes).
It puts them all in a fantastically silly mood. This makes Peetie, who is the world’s naughtiest dog but all the world’s most playful dog, beyond happy because just about anyone will play with her in the snowy weather. She’s over the moon.
But although she is a free-for-all player-with-other-dogs-er, her heart belongs to Dexter, and his to her. They are besties furever. Every day they have an hour long game of Bitey Face after breakfast, and as I type, they are laying on the sofa together passing a chewy toy back and forth. I’ve never seen Dexter make a friend he likes as much as The Peetie Pocket. They’re in lurrrrve.
This is specially excellent for Dexter now, at this time in his life, because two weeks ago he ruptured his ACL. (Which in retrospect, and ironically, probably has something to do with his BFF Peetie, who is an unapologetic heel-biter). I have been trying to limit his exercise somewhat, but obviously have not been all that successful, especially in the snow.
But as he won’t be able to play agility again, it pleases me that he has another thing to amuse him (ie Peetie). He, of course, has no idea that anything is wrong with him and a limp sure doesn’t hold him back.
I’m sick to death of torn cruciates :(
YOU’RE sick of torn cruciates?
I’m glad that I got to take these awesome snowy photos on this property though, because I will never have this opportunity again.
So let me explain.
Around this time last year, me and my whole team of excellent, dedicated animal shelter workers were removed from our jobs, as many of you know. It took me several months of decompressing to realize what a horrible, depressing effect that job had on me because of the horrible things I saw and the horrible people I dealt with day in and day out; my team was great, but management was poisonous, and the public was nearly as bad. I now know that I don’t want to do this kind of work anymore; that after nearly 6 years of seeing people do terrible things to animals (and to other people) I don’t want that sort of negativity to be my bread and butter. But I really didn’t, and don’t, know what I *want* to do. I job hunted throughout the spring and summer and explored several industries through countless interviews and still couldn’t find something that spoke to me. I had kind of resigned myself to taking just whatever to pay the bills (which was proving difficult enough to find in and of itself, because the job market here sucks and the payscales are pretty terrible), when I realized I’d miscalculated my unemployment benefits end-date, and ran out of money. This happened at roughly the same time as my landlords put the farm, my home, up for sale and were feeling really positive that it was going to sell quickly. What this turned into was an accumulation of awfulness – losing my job, losing Little Man, losing my home – and I really just fell out of the bottom of a spiraling hole of terribleness. I couldn’t be positive, I couldn’t really see my way out of how sad I was about everything. (And of course, cockroaches love the dark, and take advantage of this sort of environment to try and make you feel worse and post stupid, vile crap on your blog in a bullying attempt to rally everyone else to be nasty right along with them. And that cockroach should be ashamed of herself).
I’ve always had very little patience or empathy for people who give up their pets because they’re ‘moving.’ “I’d live in my car with my dogs before I’d give them up” – I’ve said, you’ve said it probably, we’ve all heard it said. And I believed it too. But when I thought I was going to be broke and homeless I realized what a selfish thing it was for me to do to my dogs, to be unable to give them any kind of stability or life, living in my van while I couch surfed. And I thought the best thing to do for my dogs, who are my family, and my life, was to find them homes better able to give them the kind of lives it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to give them any longer. I felt I owed them that. And that’s why I began the painful process of finding them new homes.
Then I was lucky and blessed enough to get some help from some friends, which got me through a scary financial time (and thank you to those wonderful people) and miraculously, I got a job. It didn’t pay great, and I wasn’t at all interested in the industry or the position itself, but I needed something to climb out of the dark place; a buffer between me and the worst of the bad. And the job turned out to be so awful and demeaning and boring – by the third day, when my alarm went off in the morning, I began to cry. I just imagined the rest of my life stretching out into an awful, endless landscape of getting up before dawn to commute to a place where the entire staff was miserable and unhappy, spend the majority of my waking hours in that depressing place doing the world’s most mindless and boring job, and being condescended to by a woman half my age, and coming home to my dogs too tired and heartsick to appreciate them, and I couldn’t bear it. It did not pull me out of the dark place, it sucked me right back in.
I decided I needed to make a change in my life, to do something every day that I enjoyed, and to work for myself. I quite the job. I took out a loan from a friend, to outfit myself as a commercial dogwalker. After all, who else has more experience at walking 10 dogs at a time other than me? ;-) The loan provided the money to build and host the website (please tell your friends in my area!), the business logo (by Canid Design, highly recommend her!), the business license/registration and aluminum crates in my van (and though I love that literally _none_ of you asked, there’s the explanation for that particular accusation) for the safest means of travelling with other people’s dogs, because I take that responsibility seriously. I was excited to get started, the plan being that I would work hard for the next several years, do two group walks a day (each with half of my dogs and half of client dogs) leaving my evenings free of canine obligations to finish my university degree online. And take it from there. The farm wasn’t selling. I was jazzed, I was motivated, and in the meantime, I was doing what I love most in the world, taking and editing photos of other people’s dogs (for Christmas!). And because these last few paragraphs have been kind of depressing, here are some holiday photos to cheer us all up.
And then Dexter tore his cruciate, and I don’t have the money to fix that, and I was sorta bummed about it because he’s so young and active, but I’ve been through this before, and had some ideas about some photos shoots I want to do and sell prints and thought maybe I could eventually raise the money to fix it. And then it snowed and my pipes froze, and Peetie ate the cord for my brand new Christmas gift of a heating blanket and the battery on my van died and had to be replaced to the tune of $300.00 … and my landlords told me that they sold the farm, the new owners don’t plan to rent out the houses, and I have to find somewhere to live by the end of February :(
I admit my relationship with the farm has changed somewhat since the incident with the coyote. I’m a bit scared of the property now, and it’s no longer quite the paradise it used to be for me. The magical river that has appeared in my yard, the frozen pipes, the curtains frozen to my window in the morning … I’m tired of sleeping in a bunk bed and wish for a real bedroom, some closets to store things, a gate that shuts properly. But for all that, this has been my home for 7 years. When I moved here they told me they would never sell their farm, it’s been in their family for generations. It’s their home. It’s my home. I’m losing my home.
I’m trying really hard to maintain my happy vibe, but it’s awfully, awfully hard. I feel a bit like there’s something horrible or just shitty with my name on it lurking around every corner just waiting to pound on every upwardly mobile step I manage to make. Now I’m wondering where the hell I’m going to live with 10 dogs, in a place that has a housing crisis of epic proportions, that is affordable, when I have no job to recommend me. How do I build a business in this area if I end up having to move hours away just to find affordable small acreage that will take my dogs? What if I can’t find anywhere to go? What’s going to happen to me and my dogs? How did I get here, and how do I find my way out?
I could use some words of inspiration, or hope or hell, just plain old kindness. right about now. I’m feeling kinda blue :( And if I can have a Christmas wish granted this year, while it would be smart to wish for a new home for me and the dogs, I’m more tempted to wish that people stop being assholes. At the risk of sounding trite, you really never know how difficult something is for someone else, and you never really know when that difficulty could be your difficulty. I *never* thought I’d be in this position. Try not being an asshole – this does not apply to 99.99% of the people who read my silly dog blog, but the reminder never hurts.
I hope the rest of you have a Merry Christmas. And if anyone has a brilliant idea about where I could live and keep my family together, please PLEASE share it with me. I would be ever so grateful.