Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Life in Canada

            We settled into our house in Don Mills, Ontario and Beau set out to discover his new world.  The house backed onto a park with a lengthy bike path, baseball diamonds and hundreds of trees.  The bike path meant Beau could run beside our bikes.  The park meant he could go for a prolonged romp at night.  The squirrels were there to chase and the trees were for the squirrels to scamper up as the fearless hunting dog gave pursuit.  Beau tried them all.  He took advantage of all that the neighbourhood offered.  Unfortunately, Beau was not the one of the most well disciplined dogs in creation.  As we ran around the bike path, Beau could not be counted on to stay on course – he might spy a family barbecuing and choose to run off the path and see what they had to eat.  Beau found it fascinating. We found it embarrassing.  The folks barbecuing found it annoying.

      The Bible student

            More than anything else in Canada, Beau’s true self emerged as he responded to the various guests who came to the house.  On Wednesday evenings we hosted the College and Careers Bible study group associated with The Salvation Army’s North Toronto community church.  Beau longed to join the group of about 12 young adults.  He would be willing to lie on the floor and listen to the discussion.  Or, he might lick the occasional attendee.  Or he might wander around and put his paws on the occasional open Bible.  We knew that in his heart he was zealous and loved seeing everybody come. But his style was a bit disruptive, so we had to put him down the basement.  The problem, of course, was that we then had to endure 90 minutes of whimpering and scratching at the basement door as Beau indicated his displeasure at being locked out of this gathering.

“I’m going now, Beau” 

            Further social interaction took place when Eleanor’s parents came to visit – most often for Sunday dinner.  Eleanor’s dad took a real shine to Beau and loved to offer him candy when he left.  It took Beau about two visits to figure this one out.  As soon as Dad said, “I’m going now, Beau”, the pooch was there, kneeling in classical begging position.  He knew the candy was coming.  If there was not candy offered immediately, Beau would investigate Dad’s jacket pocket with his super-sensitive nose to help in the location of candy.  The routine became so predictable that Eleanor would have candies ready to give her father in the event that he was preparing to leave without offering a candy to the attentive dog.

What screen door?

            In the fall of 1994 we moved house to Parkview Hill Crescent.  It was a beautiful big house, with a sun-room on the back and a sliding screen door that opened into a big backyard.  On a nice summer evening we would sit there reading and watching television as Beau eyed the goings-on in the backyard.  Periodically a cat would wander through. The dog always rose to, as he saw it, the call of duty to rid the neighbourhood of cats.  Off he would go through the screen door to teach the cats once and for all not to trespass in his yard.  Over the course of the summer it would be necessary to replace the screen several times.  In fact it got to the point we kept a full roll of screening in the garage so that the screen could be replaced without a trip to Home Depot to purchase replacement parts.  In this, as in so many areas of life, Beau never adapted to the realities of suburban life.  He was willing to adapt to human food, but as far as he was concerned, the rest of the adaptation was up to the human community.

Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

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