Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘hello blog, I have missed you’ edition


It seems like life took over in July and things happened. Here are the updates:


  • Ruby went missing from the dikes in Maple Ridge on July 18th. We believe a wild animal took her as there has literally been no sign of her at all. We had Al from PetSearchers come with his bloodhound and the dog could not pick up her scent. Deb searched frantically for hours the day she went missing. She was in the water up to her chest and the rocks chewed her feet up. I think it will take months for them to heal. Al also waded the river and could not find any sign of her. We know of about 15 people who came down the next day to look for her. The brush down there is so heavy an animal could have been completely camouflaged and grab her. She is old and deaf and wouldn’t have heard anything coming. We have not given up. I am still checking the SPCA and Craigslist.
  • The only good thing that came out of Ruby going missing was that we helped to reunite another dog with its people. We were told about a dirty Shih Tzu at a mill. Deb went to look and discovered it was an apricot poodle. I posted an ad on Craigslist and the dog’s owners responded. It was their dog and they have since been reunited. One thing I learned through all of this is that most people cannot tell the difference between breeds.
  • My mother came to visit last weekend. It is interesting that when she is around us she seems to become helpless. I forgot to set up her coffee one morning and instead of making a pot herself she heated up the coffee from the day before. We have exactly the same coffee maker so it is not like she didn’t know how to do it. If something had to be put in the garbage she would either give it to one of us or put it on the lid of the can.
  • The other thing that struck me while my mother was here is her obsession with smoking. She spent most of her time outside, with her oxygen on, smoking and puffing ventolin. We went to the Fish House for dinner[1], as she loves Stanley Park. We were enjoying a lovely drive through the park and she kept asking when we were going to stop so she could have a cigarette. I was stressed as I had no idea how to get to the Fish House[2] and we were late for our reservation. Finally, I said to her: “I will not make you go into the restaurant for dinner without having a cigarette.’ Then, as soon as she was done eating she wanted to go. No chance for anyone to linger after dinner and maybe have dessert because she had to smoke. She has lost even more weight and if she gets pneumonia I think that will be the end.
  • Today, I am feeling so grateful for the dogs we have had in our lives. They have loved us unconditionally and taught us so much.

[1] It was absolutely horrible.

[2] I eventually had to go down a one-way street the wrong way.

The Good, the bad and the ugly – Radium 2012

I tried to write this yesterday but I couldn’t put a cogent sentence together to save my life!

The Good

Podollan Inn – Salmon Arm

We have stayed at this hotel before. It is awesome for people with dogs. They have some rooms that have direct outdoor access, which is fabulous for getting the dogs out to pee.[1] Plus the floors are ceramic tiles so no worrying if there are accidents. We also had a fully fenced little patio area. The Podollan was also extremely understanding about the mudslide. They agreed to hold our room and not charge us if we had to cancel at the last minute.

RCMP/CVSE in Golden

Every available piece of road was blocked with trucks. They were on the side streets and the parking lots.

We arrived in Golden on Wednesday evening and couldn’t get through because of the mudslide. At first we thought we might go the long way but that was also blocked by a washed out road and some precarious inland ferries. So we waited it out. We were pretty much at the front of the line to get out of Golden. This was a great place to be as we could get up to the minute information if we wanted. I found the CVSE, RCMP and the flaggers to be extremely polite and helpful – as long as people were nice to them. At one point they started letting trucks through to the weigh scales – except for one trucker who had hassled them the day before. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the last one to get out of Dodge!

At the road block in Golden waiting to go


We went out for dinner with some very old friends in Calgary. We had an excellent time even though we waited 1.5 hours for a table![2] It was nice to have lots of time to sit and chat and reconnect. We also had some interesting discussion about the false intimacy that can be generated by Facebook.[3]

Piper and Sawyer

What can we say about these 2 dogs? They were amazing. They spent over 12 hours in the car on Thursday and didn’t complain at all. I have never seen dogs behave this well. They are rock stars! Sawyer also had a great time with my sister’s new puppy. After about 2 days he was looking for some Gigi repellant!

Mountain Restaurant – Lake Louise

I had the best freaking burger ever at this restaurant! If you are ever in Lake Louise go there and have the Mountain Burger. Oh my god!

The Bad

Park Inn in Golden

By the time I started to find a hotel in Golden[4] all the good ones were gone. We ended up at a no tell motel with dog breeders beside us. They smoked a lot of pot, which I confused for the smell of cat pee. I spent the night there with a tiny bit of sheet for warmth and Sawyer up my ass. It was fun!

This was the chair in our room. We didn’t move it. Sawyer like it there.

Smitty’s in Golden

We had breakfast there on Thursday morning. Our server was great. Her name was Fiona[5] and she was very helpful. She was the one who told us the long way was blocked. The food however was atrocious. The bacon was inedible. The pancakes tasted like chemicals and were underdone. Even the dogs wouldn’t eat some of the bacon.


My mother has developed this helplessness thing. She seemed to do nothing for herself and asked in this little voice for people to do things for her. She was relentless. It almost seemed like she was waiting for any of us to sit down just to ask us to get up and do something for her. My sister had to not only contend with her but her husband doing basically the same thing. We are really starting to understand why she is losing her mind.

The Ugly

Mother again

Watching my mother smoke with oxygen on was horrible. Even one of her friends/helpers made her take the oxygen off. I am not sure why she is doing this but it is most disturbing and dangerous! Even though she wears it all the time and has a saturation of 95 she still says she feels crappy. She also does not breathe through her nose so I am not even sure she is getting any benefit from the oxygen. When I drove her home from Radium she would go minutes at a time without breathing through her nose.

[1] Not that I ever have to do this…Deb always does.

[2] It was our fault because we were late for our reservation.

[3] A subject of an upcoming blog no doubt.

[4] We were in Lake Louise.

[5] We like Fionas after watching Shameless!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘dogs are having a great time’ edition

–       We are at my mother’s for the annual trip we do. My sister has a new mutt puppy who is so incredibly sweet. She and Sawyer and have been tearing up the yard playing chase; Sawyer loves to run and Gigi has never met a chase she didn’t like. The problem is that Gigi wants to play all the time and poor Sawyer, who is not an overly active dog, can’t seem to get any rest to save his soul. He tries to run down to the bedroom occasionally for respite. Secretly though, he is enjoying himself immensely!

–       My brother-in-law loves to watch boxing. I don’t get it and I find the noise offensive. I now have my noise-canceling headphones on and I’m listening to music.

–       Piper is also having a mostly good time. Maya[1] attacked her like a little viper last night when she came in. We have really clamped down on Maya today and she has responded well.

–       My sister is mostly holding it together. I just agree with her and all is fine. She really is stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. Both her husband and our mother will not allow her to sit for any length of time. They treat her like a slave. She is volcanic in her behavior and no one is ever sure what might make her erupt. When she does go she spews vitriol everywhere and you just try to duck and not get hit.

–       My mother really cannot stand the dogs. She doesn’t even want them to play in her general vicinity. I asked her if she liked watching them play and she said no. I don’t get that. I love to watch the dogs play; sometimes it is better than TV.

–       The one thing I really don’t understand is why my mother is smoking while she wears oxygen. She complains about feeling crappy all the time and doesn’t get that she is causing herself all these difficulties. People can live a long time with COPD as long as they don’t smoke. She is not eating so when she catches something she literally has nothing to fight with. It worries me but I recognize there is nothing I can do about it. She is depressed and really has no interest in carrying on. She has never had to cope with any kind of health issues before and she is really not up for it.

–       The best part of this trip will be getting to see some really great friends in Calgary on Tuesday. We are going to the Cactus Club for dinner.


[1] The maltese we got for my mother late last year.