36. Dog Party

Dear Boomer,

Warm days with long shadows and deep shade.  Alpha and the Pup return to more stable routines.  Breakfast at regular hours.  Then time to take the Pup for a walk up to the pup kennel at the top of the hill.

We walk past the places where the humanoids have been burying their giant bones.[1]  Never ones to leave things to half measures, they are now covering the bone deposits, first with gravel, then with concrete and asphalt. They are a very impractical species.  How they expect to uncover those long metallic-smelling bones when they need them again is anyone’s guess.  No wonder they need big noisy machines to accomplish what you and I can do with our paws and nails.

(By the way, I’ll have you know that, with paws and nails, I have mastered the art of digging out under the back fence when Alpha leaves me in the yard to go out for adventures without me.  I figure if I’m going to wait for him, it might as well be on the front steps where I can protect the perimeter from passers by.  When Alpha returns, he finds me grinning at him from the porch.  My ears back to let him know I know I’ve been naughty.  But my tail wagging to let him know I’ve forgiven him for going somewhere without me.)

But we were discussing the new routines and the daily walk to the pup kennel.  I don’t think your Pup is old enough for the pup kennel[2] yet, so maybe you aren’t yet aware of the perils.  Hundreds and hundreds of humanoid pups.  All of them rambunctious in that exuberant pup way.  Lots of noise, lots of running. 

And I’m left tied up to a tree to watch it all from the outside, while Alpha takes the Pup in to play with his friends on the other side of the big fence.  It’s not fair, I tell you: all those pups on the other side, denied the pleasure of throwing balls for a handsome dog like me.

But pups are an unpredictable lot, and you have to be careful when you’re tied up.  Sometimes they want to shower you with attention at times when you are pre-occupation is making sure that Alpha and the Pup haven’t been kidnapped by giant squirrels or carried away by malevolent pigeons or any of the other horrors against which we protect them night and day. 

I hope they know enough to give a dog its space while she is waiting anxiously for the return of Alpha.  I certainly don’t mind one or two pups coming up to pet me, but I get nervous when they swarm.

But didn’t we have fun the other week when the fur was on the other paw!  Every once and awhile, the humanoids seem to realize that they owe us all a collective debt of gratitude, and so they throw a party for us.  The latest one was in the back yard of Seamus and Saatchi, right next to Windsor Park.  Dogs and their humanoids came from miles around, it seemed.  

The 7 AM regulars were there, and the 5 PM regulars were there, and the doggies you don’t normally see in the park until after dark.  All were gathered with their humanoids to celebrate the community of dogdom.[3] 

They had all brought hamburgers and hotdogs.  The pups who came along with their parents thought the food was for them, but we knew better, of course.  And there were so many dogs in the confines of that back yard, we got to do the swarming. 

It was so easy for one of us to distract a pup so another could snatch the wiener out of her bun when she wasn’t looking.  Oh, a splendid time was had by all!

But all this being said, I know that this has been a difficult time for you, Boomer.

We’re all very sad at the passing of your long-time constant companion, Jasper.[4]  She was a fine old dog, very regal in her own little black dog way.  She insisted on proceeding through the park at her own stately pace.  Even in her last months, when she was often short of breath and had to concentrate hard to make it up Brody’s Hill, she always seemed to have a wise smile when she stopped to look at the world.  We will all miss her, but no one more than you, Beagle buddy.

And so you take care of yourself.  Stay young at heart.  And don’t forget to take the occasional howl at the moon.



[1] Previous issues established that Bank Street was undergoing major reconstruction that summer.  See also Monica Tardif, A Dog’s Eye View, Zoscha and Windsor, Unpublished Masters thesis, Carleton University, 2010.  She believes the “giant bones” are, in fact, sewer pipes being buried by City crews.

[2] The “pup kennel” is Hopewell Avenue Public School.  “The Pup” would have been entering Grade 1 that month.

[3] This is the first known reference to the Windsor Pups annual barbecue that has become a festive gathering for dog owners in the community.

[4] The first reference to this dog appears in Part 5 (“Dog Days of Summer” August 2000) and there are many subsequent references to Jasper as Boomer’s companion.