The year is moving on toward mid-summer. The ducks that flew away last fall returned this past spring as regular as a clock. Fascinating thing, this business of instincts. With people, in many things it drives our lives, rather than the careful thought we imagine. Our ducks arrive because something drives them to leave their winter quarters and come north. Once here they attend to business. Pairing off, they assume the roles of drake and female. In due time their eggs become baby ducklings. Those who survive the onslaught of crows grow rapidly towards adulthood. Continue reading
Tag Archives: animals
Part 3 – 1967 to 1972 – The End of the Road
The previous episode of Rocky’s story ended with the news of our family move
back to Edmonton in the summer of 1967. This picks up there.
Fall, 1967. Rocky is getting older: he’s 13 now. For some breeds that would be very old, but although Rocky is now an old dog, he isn’t ancient! The “kids” in Rocky’s adopted family are growing up, too. Ralph is 20, Lorna 17, Anne 15, and Mary 12. As a result, our family dynamics are changing. The children are moving into more adult activities. They still love Rocky, but now he spends more time with Sheldon and me. We’re the ones who take him to the vet for check-ups and advice. His stiffness is increasing, so Sheldon adds some cushioning to Rocky’s basket-bed. I find a piece of carpet for him to lie on in the kitchen, or in the archway to the living room. He loves to lie there and watch us. Continue reading
Part 2 – 1955 to 1971 – The Changes Time Brings
July 1955 and it is Saturday morning. The porridge is almost ready and the family will soon be down for breakfast. I’ll call Rocky up, his food is already in his dish. How that poor dog can eat.
“Rocky! Come on up. Get your food before the kids get here, and you won’t have to stop eating to be petted.”
I can hear the scrambling on the staircase steps, and here he is. Well that’s a welcome! He comes over to greet me before running to his dish. It is only a week since we brought him home. It is hard to believe how much he has improved in that time. Instead of shrinking back, he will let anyone in the family pet him. Continue reading
This is a story about another beloved animal, not a sheep this time, or a chicken, but a dog.
Part 1 – Decisions and Acquisition
It’s the summer of 1955. The Gibson family is thriving, enjoying the sunshine and Ralph’s first summer vacation from school. His 8th birthday will come in October. The family discussions turn often to this big day. Ralph has two wishes for his special day: a bicycle and a dog.
“It will have to be one or the other,” says his Dad. “We can’t manage both. It takes work to learn to ride a bike, but it’s fun too.”
“Is a dog work too, Dad?” Ralph asks.
“Yes, son, but a different kind of work. A dog needs good care, lots of exercise, and much love.”
Five-year-old Lorna chimes in, “Get a dog, Ralphie. I love dogs.”
Three-year-old Anne mutters to no one in particular, “Don’t like doggies. They scare me!”
Seven-month-old Mary is the only one who doesn’t give a hoot what his choice is! Continue reading
Humans and animals have had relationships for a very long time, about 19,000 years. What pulls us together? What makes it binding? Something mutually beneficial must be happening. I count myself blessed that I have experienced some enriching cross-species relationships.
What holds these relationships together? At least part of the answer is the development of emotional ties between the two species representatives. In their own way, each participant finds many benefits—companionship, affection, excitement, comfort—and all are binding factors. With love I think of my beloved animal friends, starting with a sheep.
“A sheep?” I hear someone exclaim.
“Yes, a sheep. Let me introduce you to . . . Peggy, the only sheep I ever knew.” Continue reading