Canine Club Getaway – In Theory

I don’t get excited about many things anymore. Mom was the engine that brought the excitement to the holidays. Christmas anticipation, Easter egg fun, Halloween spookiness and even Canada Day. My sister and I became apathetic about the holidays after she died, no longer worried that mom might be upset if we weren’t super excited. For the first few years it was a relief, but now it seems a little sad.

I’ve tried to muster up some excitement for Christmas, but deep down I don’t feel the magic of the one-of-a-kind snowflake. I’m not a grinch and I’ll happily watch other people get excited, but rarely do I feel it where it counts. I was excited to marry Brent, but that’s a once in lifetime thing.

I live a calmer, more content life where there aren’t as many ups and downs. I live more in the middle of the road rather than swerving all over with my foot to the floor and white knuckles gripping the wheel. Now I drive a Smart car in every sense of the word. I am not disappointed.

I am deep down happy. I feel lucky everyday. I feel blessed. I am joyful. I am not excited, at least not until I heard about the Canine Club Getaway. I can hear your eyes rolling, but hear me out.

I love my dogs. It’s the thing I’m into. I love them, have fun with them and it rarely feels like work. Some people drive all over to watch NASCAR, football, hike the mountains, knit, read, smoke weed, race bicycles, motorcycles and dirt cars. People spend thousands on soccer, baseball, dance, karate, piano, riding lessons and lacrosse for their kids. Me? I love my dogs.

When I heard about the Getaway back in February I was excited. Five days to spend doing fun things with dogs. Fly ball, agility, luring, obedience and doggie crafts. There are seminars on pet first aid, behaviour training and a one on one with a vet. This sounds like heaven.

I booked my early bird special and then waited – not patiently – for several months. Then June came and it was a whirlwind. I’ve barely had time to sleep, yet alone spend any quality time with my computer. Woofstock was fantastic and after that amazing weekend I encountered some personal issues that kept me so busy I didn’t realize it was nearly time to go.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get crazy excited. I didn’t have time, but it’s the night before and I’m excited. The dogs are groomed, my Smart car is packed to the limit and I can’t wait to hit the road at 7am.

Just me and my three dogs for five days spending time with a hundred other people who love dogs like I love dogs. I have a five and a half hour drive to Lake George, NY before I register at Roaring Brook Ranch and Resort, but my adventure started today. I carefully picked out dog clothes for pictures and costume parties. I packed some fun clothes for me and all the toys and treats I could find.

I gathered things to donate to the rescue fund silent auction and found myself daydreaming about tomorrow and now tomorrow is nearly here.

I’m glad I feel excited again. Its extra special because it’s not replacing anything. There were many dark clouds throughout my life and they seem to gather like giant thunderheads pounding me down. Even into adult life I’ve had to endure some dark realities, but I’ve continued forward until I found the life I wanted.

I used to get excited to cover up loneliness, grief or sadness. This time I feel happy, loved, joyful and excited. I am lucky. This is the sun breaking through my clouds and giving me a little silver lining.

You can mock my love of dogs and that I’d spend a week at the Canine Club Getaway in the beautiful Catskill Mountains taking a course called “Power Pool Lounging” but how bad does it really sound?

First Beach Day 2011

May 31, 2011
This is the first day this year we’ve managed to get up to the beach. It’s been an extra long winter and the spring of 2011 has been incredibly wet. I walked across my front lawn today and my feet were soaking from pools and pools of standing water. 
It was scorching hot at the farm as we left around noon to hit Long Beach in Wainfleet where Brent and his family have cottages. We’re lucky enough to land in a cottage for as many nights as we can until it’s rented the end of June. The end of June is coming quickly.
We meandered out to the beach and then wandered down the lake to visit with friends: Chuck & Jill. We wandered back and sat on the back deck with Brent’s parents and talked for the first time in ages. We’d planned a quick pre-dinner kayak, but spent our time visiting instead. With a glass of wine in one hand and delicate piece of savory cheese in the other I enjoyed our pre-dinner cocktails. 
My dad showed up around 6 pm and we all had dinner together with the sound of waves lapping the shore as our dinner music. There was much discussion about not over cooking pork tenderloin and Brian did a marvelous job with the BBQ that evening. After a few bottles of wine and some good family time we headed to our cottage to rest in bed with the waves outside our window. 
Poco had me up at 3am to go out and as I stepped outside I marveled at the steady hum of the waves and rock of the ground. I stood and drew the night in letting the sounds of beach soothe all my worries and aches. I was slightly chilled as I crawled back into bed, but I drew Brent’s warmth around me and fell into a deep happy sleep with the drum of the steady earth in my head.

We woke early the next morning and dragged Brent’s VW Thing out of storage. We had to move an entire house of furniture to get to the vehicle at the back of the sea container.  

We rolled the Thing out of it’s six year isolation into the beautiful sunshine and I was impressed. It is the definition of fun and relaxation. The tires were good and rolled happily along as Brent towed us back to the beach side where we put on the battery charger and admired it frequently throughout the day. 
The rest of the day we did some projects around the beach and didn’t head home until late evening where the wind storm had destroyed both of our outdoor patio tents. One was in the pond and the other had given up and fell into itself. We did our best to salvage, but it doesn’t look good for the tents.

Shortly after getting home we hurried to bed as our next adventure was starting the very next day at 6am. An early morning cruise to get new tires for my motorcycle. I am grateful for heated motorcycle gear.

Potcake Rescue

Three years ago an animal lover on vacation in the Bahamas saw a litter of puppies by the side of the road on the way to the airport. The image haunted her during the flight home and she decided she needed to go back with a crate and save them.

Two weeks later armed with a crate and a sense of desperation Jill went hunting for the sad eyed puppies. To her dismay there was only one survivor – the rest were killed and left for dead along the road. Jill captured and brought this baby home to Canada. This was the unknowing beginning to Potcake Rescue.

Over the next three years Jill began organizing. She spearheaded operation spay/neuter in the Bahamas. She organized volunteers to go to the Bahamas (on their own dime) including two veterinarians, to run a spay and neuter clinic in the Bahama Humane Society.

They went to unknown houses and asked if they could take the family dogs and cats to the clinic for the day and get them altered for free. The pets would be returned home later that night. They captured stray dogs and cats and altered them too. If you were intact in the Bahamas durning that hectic week you were in danger of getting “altered”.

Jill brought home four puppies on this trip all have found loving homes in Canada.

The locals in the Bahamas call their stray dogs Potcakes, because that is what they eat. The family meal usually consists of beans and rice with a layer being burned into the bottom of the pot. The burnt layer is what the family call potcakes and it’s what they feed their dogs.

Potcakes are generally quiet, watchful and non-aggressive dogs. They aren’t big into barking or roughhousing,  unless with another potcake. They don’t have an undercoat, so they don’t shed much. They come in all colours, shapes and sizes. They are great around cats, kids or any small animals (not saying kids are small animals). Not much phases these thoughtful pups.

I am friends with Maria, and Maria is friends with Jill, so naturally our love of the dogs drew us close. I fostered my first potcake on April 23, 2011. The little guy who scampered into my home and heart is a small blonde potcake who weights eight pounds.

He’s already had several names: Archie, Shamus, Potcake Pete, Peter Potcake, Puppy Potcake and PK. He answers to none of them. He’s a delightful little pup with an even temper and is a quick learner. Blonde with a bold dash of white on his forehead he charmed us immediately.

After a week he’s 80% housebroke, has taught himself to sit and is gaining respect for the rest of the pack. He’s also a star on camera.

Potcake Pete found an amazing forever home with two young girls as puppy-mates in the big land of Toronto. His new mom and dad are devoted and caring parents who have taken Potcake Pete on as their newest little boy.

More to come…