One week after my daughter was born, we moved to the first house I ever bought. It was a cute little old farmhouse in the Caledon Hills, with grand views to the north, east and south of checkered farm fields and forests. To the west, we had an acre of mixed forest, including fifteen larch (tamarack). 

With living in a new place and caring for a newborn, the missus and I agreed we should get a dog. She saw an ad in one of the local grocery stores…”Tree planter returning to the city after five years with a shepherd collie cross that needs a good home in the country”. I made an appointment to meet the owner and mutt after work the next day. We immediately bonded.

One problem. His name was Kruger. The kid had picked him up at a pound as a puppy on the same day a serial killer in the U.S. got a pardon from the electric chair. Guess what psycho’s name was? Yup, you got it, Kruger.

On the way home, I stopped at one of “my spots”. These are places just north of Toronto where you can get a wee bit of country – a creek or river that isn’t surrounded by habitation. We shared a sandwich and I let him splash in the river. When I called his name, he immediately came back.

The missus fell in love with him right away and, once again, we agreed (Gadzooks! Twice in one week!) to change his name to one more likeable. She chose Sir Richard, which I quickly shortened to Dick, much to her chagrin.

A few days later, the missus called me at work to inform me that the oven wasn’t working. I suggested that she ask one of our neighbours to recommend a repairman. When I got home, she was just bubbling to tell me what had occurred.

As soon as Dick had heard a knock at the door, he dashed there and sat down to the left. The missus opened the door to find the repairman. Dick then started a low growl. The missus turned to Dick to say, “It’s okay, Richard” and he backed off to allow the man inside. As the chap was walking through our living room he saw my daughter on the couch. He started to walk over to her and Dick was instantly between them, baring his teeth as he quietly growled. Mr. Repairman backed off and proceeded to fix the oven and depart rather concerned for his extremities. The missus was overjoyed in that this was the perfect protection she wanted.

During walks with my daughter and Dick, I discovered that he had another awesome talent – Great Hunter of Dirtpigs (groundhogs).

He’d spy one stick its head up a quarter mile away. I’d turn my head and a few seconds later he’d be back, proudly carrying the carcass in his mouth.

I would come home from work to find Dick standing at attention at the front door, with the usual dead rodent beside him, patiently waiting for me to congratulate him on his hunting prowess. The neighbouring farmers quickly learned of his stalking abilities and wanted to hire Dick.

Unfortunately, it became quite an obsession with Dick. To the point that my weekends were spent digging up stinking bodies of the legions of groundhogs he was burying in our yard. Then having to put them in several layers of garbage bags and haul them off to the local dump. I knew there was no point in dumping them in a nearby forest as the determined little bugger would ferret out their rotting corpses and bring them back. He would thoroughly enjoy rolling all over them.

The most amazing talent he had was climbing trees. Yes, he could spring up a tree like he was a panther. On command I’d just say, “Climb” as I pointed to an apple tree. In seconds he would pose on an outstretched branch relishing the attention of his audience.

He’s another one of the many curious canines I’ve had the pleasure to know.

© Will Perry

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Bio:

Will grew up with a menagerie - cats, dogs, bunnies, guinea pigs, fish, chameleons plus the local fauna of lizards, salamanders, snakes, birds, fox, racoons and deer. He wanted to be a veterinarian but he was very allergic to animals and he didn't see a big calling to specialize in reptiles. He started writing a diary at 19 years of age and has been relatively disciplined in keeping it current. His daughter keeps bugging him to write his memoirs before he forgets them or dies, as his exploits have entertained her over the years.

He has had his stories published in newspapers and a national magazine, "Our Canada", which is an excellent publication for anyone interesting in Canada as it has superb pictures and wonderful stories.

He has had a blog for a few years, where he has posted over 30 short stories about his travels, travails and misadventures and all with a humorous bent.

At present, Will has two cats that belong to neighbours but they enjoy the feeding trough at Idle Acres as it is overrun with mice. Which segues into one of his favourite stories about a very colourful feline, Zeke.

Will can be contacted at willie@vianet.ca 

 

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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