Life With Dogs – February 2021

A polar vortex settled over our prairie city during the early weeks of February, bringing with it record-breaking cold temperatures. Weather-wise, we had been spoiled these past few months so the couple of weeks of extreme cold were a reality check on what defines a Winnipeg Winter.

Walks with the dogs were short ones at best.

Winter jackets became a must. Between the three of us, getting dressed for our morning jaunt often took more effort and more time than the actual walk. But, for the most part, we were out there, every morning.

With wind chills reaching below -40C, outdoor time was kept to a minimum. Lacie and I were fairly content with snuggling on the couch but Odin found the days long.

Thank goodness he is a master at backyard zoomies… a great way to release pent-up energy.

Odin isn’t one to play fetch, but every once in a while he will pick up a toy and RUN!

Lacie, with her constant game of fetch, tolerates the cold much better than Odin. Plus her fur provides a much warmer coat.

Thankfully the end of February is seeing warmer days. The snow and ice are disappearing fast.

Soon it will be the time of splash-boots and towels.

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.” ~ Jim Gaffigan

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This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.
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Life With Dogs – January 2021

Of all the months, January is my least favoured… frequently cold, often dark.

Thankfully, the first half of the month this year brought unseasonably warm temps… such a blessing, especially while living under strict Covid-19 restrictions. The warm days provided an escape to the outdoors where walks with family, friends and dogs were a welcome reprieve from the lonesomeness that is the Covid reality.

The mild weather allowed for much anticipated outside play time.

Many of our walks are enjoyed in the field behind our house.

Hoar frost and fog remind us of how creative winter can be.

Playdates with Odin’s best friend, Maple, helped to break up the January monotony.

The middle of January brought colder days. Out came the winter coats and hats.

And last but never least… a little January fun! Where’s Bernie!

 

Happy January Happenings (may be dog related, maybe not)

** On January 6th I was blessed with a new great-grandbaby… Emilia, 7 lbs 14 oz, a sister for siblings Gabriel and Scarlett.

** On January 26th my mom, 98 years old, received the first of two Covid-19 vaccinations. Such a relief!

“JANUARY, the first month of the year, a perfect time to start all over again, changing energies and deserting old moods, new beginnings, new attitudes.”
―Charmaine J. Forde

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This post is part of the 2021 Life With Dogs photography project.
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Life With Dogs – 2021 Photography Project

The year 2020 has been a rough one… but through it all, my two dogs, Odin and Lacie have been my constant.

Inspired by the Flickr group, 12 Months for Dogs, I have decided to start a blog project for 2021. I think I will call it, “Life with Dogs” in honour of these  two.

The plan is to do a monthly photography post on our happenings. Some months will be more exciting than others, but that’s life, isn’t it? Hopefully many memories will be gathered.

This blog project is a personal one but I would love to have you visit and maybe even join in.

12 Months For Dogs – 2020

This is a mosaic of our contributions to the Flickr group, 12 Months for Dogs in 2020.

Dog’s are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I lost Roland to brain cancer.

One year… 52 weeks, 365 days.

Yet, sometimes it feels like only yesterday.

A lot has happened in this year… mostly I have learned to hold my family and friends close.

The first few months of loss were traumatic. The hardest moments were the first of the day when upon waking I would remember, over and over again, that Roland was not there. A black heaviness would descend and overtake me. I have tried to come up with other words to describe it but can find none. Thank goodness for my dogs. They needed to go out, they needed to be fed. If not for them, I think many days would have been spent in bed, covers up, blinds drawn.

Then, one day, in early spring, while walking with my friend through Whitter Park, she asked, “How are you feeling when you wake in the morning?” Caught off guard by her insight and empathy I turned towards her and let the words fall out. Relief came in the telling. Thank you, Brenda, for this.

These days, the blackness has dissipated from my mornings… such a relief. The heaviness remains but often feels as if it too is lifting.

Over the weeks and months, there are more and more days when I find myself feeling happy and enjoying my life. On occasion, a memory or a photo now brings a smile instead of tears, or perhaps more honestly, a smile before the tears. For this I am grateful.

But there are still those days when I just wait for him to come home.

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still

So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone, wait for me to come home

~The photograph – Ed Sheeran

Two Years Old Today!

It seems hardly possible that our big burly boy is two years old today. Truth be told, his birthday is more of a guesstimate but we are going to go with it.

Odin came to live with us at 5 months of age. He was found as a stray, living on his own, in a northern community. A kind community member was able to capture him and brought him to a Winnipeg rescue that was holding a spay and neuter clinic. They accepted him and brought him into Winnipeg. He was then taken on by Winnipeg Animal Services as part of their Northern Outreach Initiative.

Shortly after his arrival, I was asked to take his adoption photos. Odin was now safe but extremely scared and he responded in the only way he knew… by completely shutting down. My heart broke at his pain and later that day, Roland and I brought him home to foster.

It wasn’t an easy transition for him or us but thanks to our family dog, Lacie, who Odin simply adored, we were able to get close to him and eventually gain his trust.

With that trust, we came to know and love this happy bouncy pup, who we discovered could howl like a banshee. It wasn’t long before we knew… Odin was home.

Happy Birthday big guy!

Love you!

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had.” – Thom Jones

September So Soon

How can it be that the leaves are already falling from the trees. Every year it is the same, with the summer passing in a flurry of warmth and activity.

Although this year was comparable… in many ways it was completely different.

For you see, this was my first summer without Roland.

For myself, much of the summer felt as if a dream, the reality ever-present but not yet fully accepted.

The challenges were many, the main one being our seasonal campsite at Debonair . Could I keep doing this by myself… just me and the dogs? Did I even want to?

Feeling uncertain, but knowing Roland would want this for me, I decided to give it a go. With the help of my kids, we opened the trailer and cleaned the campsite. It felt so good to be back but the feeling that something was missing was heavy and I was inundated with sadness.

The turkeys and bunnies were many

The first weekend there, just me and the dogs, I felt and saw Roland everywhere. The sense of his presence was both comforting and daunting. The memories and tears were many.

But even with that, the stillness and the stars provided much comfort and occasionally, especially at dusk while sitting outside, I could sense that maybe we would be okay.

The summer days lived up to their promise bringing sun-filled warmth and star-filled nights. Family and friends came often to share my days and lift my spirits. Their company and their presence helped me better accept the quiet times where grief reigned and memories ruled.

And the dogs, both Lacie and Odin… they not only kept me busy but more often than not, entertained.

Now September is coming to an end and, once more with the help of my kids, the campsite is closed and winterized.

I can’t say that my summer experience was a complete success but it leaves me hopeful for the summers to come and I am already looking forward to and making plans for next year’s go around.

Miss you Roland, everyday!

Wish you were here.