70. End of an Era

Dear Tera,

We’ve been gathering at Irene’s Newfoundland Pub to mark the passing of an era.  Well, we don’t exactly mark it the way you and I would.  We mark it in the way humanoids do, by drinking together.  Our two species, after all, have a fixation on which end of the continuum is appropriate to mark a special occasion.

So the humanoids raised a glass to wish the old owner best wishes for her next endeavors.  And they raised another glass to wish the new owner – whomever this humanoid might be – all prosperity and happiness.  We dogs lapped up from our bowls to wish that the new owner keeps allowing dogs on the premises.

It’s been a wonderful place for dogs to hang out with humanoids.  A place of many fond pats on the head and copious treats should a dog behave herself.  Over the years, I’ve shared a pint of water with many a friend. 

Alpha has often walked me over the bridge and down into the next neighbourhood.  We’ve stopped in at this particular doorway often enough that, even when he is on another mission, I try to tempt him to drop in at Irene’s en route.  Sometime it works.  Mostly it doesn’t.  But it is certainly worth the effort.

On this farewell occasion, Lily and I were joined by an exuberant young Labrador named Beau.  He came out to the cottage last summer to visit us, and took his first swimming lesson at the lake.  He’s grown considerably:  now he’s a big, boisterous, blustering fellow of chocolate colour, eyes that greet the world, and a bark that announces his presence to everyone. 

In fact, at Irene’s pub, he barked at just about everything in the room.  I’ve been to Irene’s long enough to know how to behave myself.  And in fact, I was very impressed by Lily, who maintained her comportment as a proper lady.  A year ago, it would have been Lily who would have felt compelled to secure the premises anytime anyone new walked into the room.

But she and I lay down patiently beneath the table, our leashes looped around the legs of the chairs.  And for our manners, we were rewarded from the great stash of puppy treats that Beau’s alpha brought with him in an effort to train some manners.

When Beau’s alpha left the room, however, there was no stopping the young dog.  Every bark, yelp and whine called attention to the fact that, here in this warm oasis in the middle of a January cold snap, dogs are allowed. 

It was too much for one of our humanoid neighbours.  He got up from his table and came over to ask Alpha, “Can’t you control that dog?  I know this is a dog-friendly place, but there are limits.”

Limits indeed!  I have sat outside other such places of refreshment.  There seem to be no limits whatsoever where dogs are not allowed.  I have heard humanoids singing at the top of their lungs, their voices amplified electronically.  No limits in those places. 

And it’s no, nay, never.

No nay never no more.

Will I be a bad doggie.

No never, no more.

Or some such words.  In spite of the amplification, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the words when you’re tied up to a tree outside.

They should let us in.  We’d teach them how to do a proper howl.  If you don’t howl, how are you going to find your pack?  But with Irene’s under new management, I’m afraid we may have lost yet another opportunity for inter-species communication.



The Contest

            Many of Zoscha’s readers have observed that she often sprinkles her prose with various quotes, parodies and allusions.  If you can identify a reference, send your contest entry to oscar@oldottawasouth.ca, using “Zoscha’s contest” in your title line.  Or drop a note off at the Firehall.

            Maybe last month’s parody of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was too easy.  Or maybe readers have been just too busy over the holidays.  Nor did anyone identify Kathryn Jackson’s children’s poem, “Green Christmas.”