Gone to the Dogs! And a Plea.
Kelly doesn't like her photograph taken (those of you who've read any of the books in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series will know who Kelly is!). This is the best match I can find.
I'm mentioning Kelly because she has made it clear (she's a very clever border collie, as readers will attest to) that Meg and I should be doing something to help animals in Ukraine.
So, I did some research and decided to give some money to the International Fund for Animal Welfare https://www.ifaw.org/ca-en?ms=CONDF210001100&cid=7013k0000010mBo&gclid=Cj0KCQiAybaRBhDtARIsAIEG3kk24dLR0VsZb0M_g7u9d04lHPoHQF1QiZop_X955A6m8dDqpNqtgVoaAgGDEALw_wcB
(I don't know why this page has such a long address!)
I thought some of you may want to check it out. (If you find other options, please let me know).
They have given funds to Ukraine to help animals.
However, please note that IFAW is not a registered charity since it does some political and lobbying work. It is a not-for-profit. So, there is no income tax receipt.
I also found a 'dog story', approved by Kelly, to share. I wrote this for a Uxbridge Writers' Circle word challenge. The assigned words are in italics.
I hope you enjoy it:
The dark tree trunks of the dank forest swayed in the howling wind. The sleet dampened my jacket and flattened my hair. My ears stung with the cold and I was near collapse, but I had to keep running. It was as if I was a criminal escaping the prison that sat on top of the hill behind the village of Gabwell.
I checked behind me. Sundog, my trusty terrier, was close on my heels. He had more stamina than I did, although his tongue lolled out of his mouth and his eyes bulged out of his head more than usual.
The trees became interspersed with thorny shrubs, and clumps of ferns edged the worn path. We were about to emerge from the forest. While I looked forward to leaving the darkness behind me, I didn’t know what to expect. The path was not familiar to me.
I checked behind again. No Sundog. My legs trembled as I squatted on the squelchy, peaty path. As the sleet melted, it trickled down my neck and dripped off the end of my nose. I shivered, and waited for my heart rate to slow down and my breathing to quieten.
I couldn’t afford to waste any time if I was going to make it, and was sure I wouldn’t have to go much further, but I couldn’t go on without Sundog. I licked my dry lips and whistled. No sign of him.
There are stories of coywolves and bobcats in this area. My imagination took over and conjured up a number of gruesome ends for my dog. He weighed about fifty pounds, but wouldn’t be a good match for one of those menacing predators.
You may wonder how Sundog came into my life and why he means so much to me, so much so that I squatted down in the wind and sleet rather than continue with my frantic run.
In my favourite pub, enjoying a locally crafted beer, I was alone as usual. Being a writer, I’m a good listener and observer, and I admit I was eavesdropping on a couple of older men who sat further along the shiny, solid wood bar. The word ‘sundog’ caught my attention. Since I knew a little of its meaning—something to do with arches of light, bright spots on either side of the sun—I wondered if one of the men had seen this incredible phenomenon. But I was confused by their conversation until one of them went on to describe Sundog, a terrier with too much energy, who made too much noise, chewed too many things and had separation anxiety. He was to be euthanized the next day, although he was only eleven months old.
Sundog became my faithful companion from that evening on, and I have no idea what that man was complaining about. He’s the perfect dog in every way.
And today, I thought he was gone.
Having revived a little, I stood up and walked back the way I’d just run, wiping my brow with the back of my hand and whistling for him. I confess I had little hope of finding Sundog. The sleet morphed into torrential rain that fell in curtains, impairing my vision and obliterating the view of the surrounding hills.
A yelp. An unmistakable Sundog yelp. He walked towards me, rubbing his face with one front paw and then the other. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong at first. I couldn’t see blood. Then I saw them. Porcupine quills—in his nose and at least a couple in his tongue.
I had to admit defeat. My running was over. Sundog needed a vet.
I encouraged Sundog to pick up the pace, with only the occasional stop as he, uselessly, attack the quills.
We reached the checkpoint too late.
We charged through, got into my truck and headed for the vet, both soaked through, cold and hungry.
At least the vet’s place was warm. Sundog was such a good patient he didn’t need general anaesthetic.
So, we’re home now, warm, fed, and resting on the couch.
And I’ve just received a text. Much to my astonishment, I’ve retained my title as Champion of the Annual Gabwell Cross-country Race for another year. Apparently, most competitors succumbed to the elements. So, Sundog’s misadventure didn’t cost me the trophy.
But what really matters is that Sundog and I are together, and I can look forward to spending many more happy years with this perfect companion.
And now for something completely different: (I planned to write some more of the first draft of the fifth book in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series, but I'm finding it hard to focus - this (poorly crafted) poem will tell you why).
I am no poet
and I know it
but my breaking heart compels me to write
something about the Ukrainians’ fight
they fight for freedom for you and me
they fight, alone, for democracy
while the rest of us women and men
do almost nothing to defend them
Lives Lost. Gone. For Ever.
I’m told that NATO won’t ever intervene
so, whatever does that mean?
they’re afraid that any action will start World War Three
but it looks like it’s already been started, to me
so, the bully gets his way?
and other nations have no sway?
and he battles on and on to grow his empire
while we stand by as children, adults expire
Lives Lost. Gone. For Ever.
calling smart thinkers and strategists all around
someone should come up with a way to shut it down
we must stop this brutal, bloody war, now
please find a way somehow
Lives Lost. Gone. For Ever.
Vicky Earle Copyright 2022