Saturday, October 29, 2005

All Dogs Go To Heaven

After 14 years, Tyler has gone to chase rabbits in green, green fields, where beagles are free to roam large and long.

The dog loosely named for "Tylenol" after the "what-shall-we-name-the-new-puppy" game gave us all a headache, Tyler lived a very full dog's life. Often scolded for not being the smartest dog in town, Tyler knew more than he let on: for instance, he knew that Dad was the best person to sit next to at the dinner table and he knew that countertops were only to be investigated when Mom was in the other room. Both very astute things for a dog to know. He also knew that ceramic tiles were the coolest things to sleep on during hot summers, that the insides of shoes were lovely to smell and lick but that chewing on them would land you in hot water, and that a man and his popcorn were soon (and often!) parted.

Desperately and loyally faithful, he loved nothing more than being close to his family and those he loved (loosely interpreted as anyone who might happen to be in the room, whether they ended up giving him treats or not). Until his very last days, he fiercely resented being shut up in another room away from the action, which unfortunately happened more often than not, as he never really learned that, no matter how much they might love dogs, most people do not enjoy being jumped upon in ecstatic joy at their arrival into the room. But he knew his place - dogs were not allowed on the couch (well, when no one was looking) and even the sacred dog bed was to be ceded to the cat (the recently-, and all-too-soon, departed Xena) should she happen to be sleeping there first. Often the bane of Mom's existence, he worshipped the ground she walked on (much to her chagrin, as his constant licking of the floor sometimes drove her batty) and would sit sadly outside the bathroom door should she dare to go to the bathroom without his accompaniment.

Tyler watched us all grow up, from high school through university and college, and he watched us come home to visit, and he never held it against us that we had been gone so long. Whether we had gone eight months or eight minutes, he welcomed us with such postulations and excitement that we were always reminded that we were all #1 in his heart.

The last year was not an easy one for Tyler, as old age caught up with him; in addition to old creaky bones, he had lost a lot of his hearing, and would look at us while finally obeying a command on its 8th repetition with a look of stunned innocence which seemed to say, "Oh, OK, I will come to sit ... Why didn't you just say so?" He did still enjoy, however, the occasional slow-motion game of fetch with his Kong (though he never did learn that "fetch" meant you were supposed to give up the Kong after retrieving it, so that it could be thrown again), as well as rousing renditions of "Throw-Howl-Stalk-Howl-Destroy (Repeat 57 Times)" with his rawhide chewies. Till the end, still a puppy at heart.

We'll miss you, Tyler. And perhaps when you catch a rabbit in Dog Heaven, you will know what to do with it this time ...*

*I actually missed what was perhaps Tyler's finest moment as a non-hunting hunting breed dog. For a number of springs now, my parents' backyard has had visiting rabbits - they don't live on our property but probably come from the woods across the street. Well, one day a few years ago, Tyler was outside when the rabbits came to visit, and he actually managed to catch one small bunny. He held it between his paws, not knowing what to do with it now, but looking oh-so-happy. The bunny, less than content, began to squeal (who knew rabbits squealed?), and Tyler, in his confusion, let it go and it ran off.

I did catch, a year or two ago, the hilarious "Tyler and the Squirrel" episode, where Tyler chased a squirrel across the yard at high speed. Totally freaked out, the squirrel climbed up our fence but was afraid to jump down to the neighbour's yard, not knowing, I guess, whether Tyler could follow him or not. The squirrel sat on the fence, shaking and shivering. Tyler ran around below, barking like a fool. We finally got Tyler in the house, but then he ran around from window to window, madly trying to get out. The squirrel remained shaking and shivering on the fence. Dad decided the best way to get the squirrel off the fence was to spray it with the hose, but no go - the squirrel remained shaking and shivering and now dripping wet on the fence for hours. It took forever to get Tyler calmed down. "Squirrel!" was always the buzzword in our house to get him freaked out and dashing from window to window (it started the first or second year we had him, when we were in Ottawa visiting my grandparents and he saw a squirrel outside from the window), but this was the first (and last) time he'd ever had a chance to actually chase one so freely.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy 34th!


This is a photo of him, a few years before we even met (1999 or 2000?), in the Himalayas in Nepal, perhaps, if I am not mistaken on my dates (which is more likely than not), around the same time of year as now.*

*This is an attempt on my part to encourage you to post some pictures on Flickr.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


We finally made it out to Serenity tonight!

Unfortunately, we are headed out to Toronto tomorrow afternoon for the weekend for a friend's wedding (and Thanksgiving too, of course!), and I have yet to pack. Plus, as per usual, I must sleep. But I will endeavour to find some time this weekend to blog about the film, as well as the carousing revellers on the bus on the way back home after the movie (why is it that whenever you want some peace and quiet to mull over a great film in your mind, you are stuck in the confines of a city bus with a dozen or so very drunken 18-year-old frat boys singing the theme to "Rocky" at the top of their lungs?) - they deserve a mention, I guess, since not much out of the ordinary ever happens in Ottawa ...

For now, suffice it to say that while the film got off to a rocky start, it found its way, pushed all the right buttons, and basically managed, by the end, to knock my socks off at how GOOD it was. Really, need I say more?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sneak Preview

For those of you who are loyal/bored enough to check my blog everyday, here is a sneak preview of what I have so far on my Flickr site. I haven't finished putting captions on the last bunch of Thailand photos. I encourage you to go through the Sets instead of the Photostream; then you'll get 'em in order (so far, only Japan and Thailand). I wanted to get the Thailand photos all up tonight properly with captions, etc., then put a nice little Flickr logo here on my blog, but I must stop due to exhaustion. Who would've thought that working in a library all day, going out for dinner, then uploading and editing pictures in Flickr would be almost as exhausting as a 6-hour hike in the Thai jungle??? Well, it is. So there.

I'll try to finish editing the Thailand pictures tomorrow or Wednesday, but no promises. Tomorrow we are finally off to see Serenity, which opened on Friday (Rebecca saw it opening night) and we can't wait! (Well, we were supposed to go see it tonight, dinner being a prelude to the movie, but it's a long (and slightly dull) story as to why we never made it there.)

Other than that, I have spent the last week or so playing The Sims (never played before - Randal gave me his old copy). Addictive but annoying if you are like me and like hard-and-fast goal-oriented computer/video games (of the highest calibre, of course, such as Rollercoaster Tycoon and Katamari Damacy). At the same time that it annoys me, I find it oddly compelling. But do not - I repeat, do not! - adopt a baby if someone telephones you and offers you this chance: your Sim will never get a proper night's sleep again. You thought you were exhausted before!

Speaking of sleep, that is where I am headed. Good night!