On Dogs

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

At 2:45 p.m., April 5, 2023, I was driving down Westmount Drive in the pouring rain when I noticed a lady and her dog standing in the middle of a lawn. There appeared to be some sort of an argument going on and I immediately knew what the lady was saying. “It was you who wanted to come out here, now pee you little b—–d, pee.”

I like dogs, well most of them**, but we don’t own one. In fact, I suspect no one owns a dog, it is the other way round and has been for centuries. I have never known a human who looks forward to climbing out of bed at the crack of dawn and trotting off to the dog park down the street or even to the tree 30 feet away from the front door especially in the pouring rain or in a blinding snowstorm, but if his or hers canine companion decides it is time to go, well it is time to go, and that’s final.

Mary and I are cat people, well technically we are not even that at the moment, but for the most part cats are pleasant companions. Occasionally they are a pain in the ass but only because they have only had 17 hours of sleep and are getting cranky.

Granted they may want to forgo their scratching post in favour of something a little more interesting, like the corner post of your couch. Willison took up tap dancing on the dining room table for a while but I am sure that a skilled tradesman will be able to sand it down and refinish it for slightly more dollars than the cost of a new one.

The boys had a hound back in the 70s, Happy Foster, who delighted in chasing the city buses down North Street. Just exactly why he felt that running ahead of the front wheels and looking back was more exciting than chasing it I never did figure out, but I know the bus drivers were fascinated by his daring. You could tell that by the way they shook their fists at him and took the Lord’s name in vain every time they saw him coming out of the driveway.

An odd thing about dog owners, not only do they pay a fortune for the little darlings (I heard Golden Labs cost as much as $25) but they then hire beauty specialists to do their hair, nails, and whatever else needs pruning, filing, or shampooing before they enter them in international beauty competitions. I don’t know what it would cost to enter Remington Size the Third in one of the big ones but I bet it would make a fairly big dent in a $10 dollar bill.

Imagine if you spent a fortune on your dog and he ran away. That happened to us when Maureen and I were kids back in East York. Our old dog, Gus, ran away. Gus was hardly a pup, it was all he could do to make it up the front steps to the veranda, but one day just like that he trotted out to the middle of Mortimer Avenue, turned right and took off. At least that’s what our grandfather told us. I remember thinking about it years later and it occurred to me, if Gus couldn’t make it up the front steps, how could he… you don’t think Gramps was covering up something do you?

** I said I like dogs but not all of them. When I was a kid, a dishwasher in training at Carter’s Restaurant on the main street before it burned down, I rode my bicycle by the stately Orillia Hotel on Colborne Street before it burned down. You must remember that wonderful building it was across the street and down a bit from the Palmer House Hotel before it burned down. The Palmer House was a block south of the old Royal Bank building before it burned down. A bit of sage advice here, if you are ever in downtown Orillia and smell smoke, get the hell out of the way, there will be fire trucks coming up the main street in 30 seconds.

Where was I going with all this? Oh yeah, when I rode by the Orillia Hotel, the owners’ two Collie dogs took after me and each took a bite out of one of my legs. I would have gone in and complained but the dogs just smirked and said, “Prove it.”

I never had a cat bite me… well maybe a couple of times but as I said before if they don’t get their 18 hours of shut-eye they get cranky.

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