Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 9, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Annie and her small friend. At the end of a long walk, this puppy needed a lift!


I think I’m going to the dogs.

Is it my imagination or has there been a decided proliferation in the number of dogs in recent years? Even before Covid hit, it seemed that almost everyone owned a dog. There are some neighborhoods in Canada where it appears that there are covenants requiring one child and at least one dog. I am told that as a result of the pandemic, there are long waiting lists to get a dog. This makes sense. With so many people cooped up in their homes for extended periods of time, having someone to keep you company (who won’t get on your nerves!) must be a blessing, especially for seniors who tend to find isolation more challenging.

When I first arrived in India five years ago, I was astonished at the number of dogs in villages, towns, and cities. Most of them were strays roaming in packs in search of food. They never bothered me on my walks. Yes, I did a lot of walking in India too.

I don’t know if anyone has ever conducted a study comparing the number of dogs per capita from one region of the world to another but I feel quite confident that villages in Canada’s north would be strong contenders for the title of dog capital of the world. I might be barking up the wrong tree on this one.  There are a lot of dogs in my village. They never growl or bark when they come near you. The only time I hear barking is from a pack of sled dogs who live a stone’s throw away from where I’m living these days in Kangiqsujuaq. You always know when its feeding time as they make quite a racket when their owners show up with bearded seal meat or fish.

Invariably when I go walking in the north, it is with a group of colleagues and many of them own dogs. They seem obsessed about their dogs and have Messenger pages dedicated to their four-legged friends. I tease my friends and call their page “Pooch Porn”. When my friends take their dogs, several of the community’s unclaimed canines join us. The dogs are great company and act as an early warning system. When they start barking out on the tundra or in the mountains, you know that some kind of wildlife is nearby. Might be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

I like dogs but I don’t have any plans to own one any time soon. I have Sirius satellite radio in my new digs and can dial up radio stations from all over the world.

I have already written about this but my return to the north for the third time is certainly a charm. Never before have I felt a sense of belonging like I am experiencing now. I truly feel like I’m part of the community. It can take a long time to be accepted in any small community in Canada when you are an outsider but if you’re patient and stay long enough, the rewards are, well, rewarding. I can’t go very far without someone calling my name or stopping to chat. I am a well known walker in the village. The local community buses have stopped offering me rides to the grocery store! Even people who seemed reticent to engage me during my first two years are now friends. Belonging is one of those things that’s hard to describe. It is a feeling and a precious one at that.

I feel so fortunate that I have a purpose in life as a septuagenarian. I think it is a major contributor to good physical and mental health, particularly in the third period of life. You don’t have to keep working in your 70s but finding a meaningful activity to keep you stimulated is pretty important. It could be employment, a hobby, visiting the sick and shut-ins or simply trying to stay fit through exercise or some intellectual activity.

Or it may be as simple as walking your dog.

(With apologies to my cat loving fanatics!)

Have a great weekend.

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