Six years ago, my then-girlfriend and I drove to a small acreage outside of Edmonton and handed a stack of bills to a woman. She was surrounded by snorting, hulking bulldogs and basset hounds that rivaled walruses. She had a crop of new litters, and that’s where we found our Sali—Salvador Doggie, the French-surrealist painter/dog. She spent the first five years in a small, two-bedroom townhouse looking over a bar, and then we moved. And then we split up. I had to move away from a situation that forced me to be away from my dog—it wasn’t by choice, but like a rational adult, I had to put my well being before my attachment to my pooch.
Now that the dust is settling, I want to be back in her life and I want her back in mine, so she’s with me for the weekend, starting tonight. It’s calming to the soul to have her back—to really have her back. Living with two other dogs changes her attitude and ups her anxiety; she’s always been a little high strung and I think being the low-dog in the pack has played on her personality a little bit. On our two-year wedding anniversary, Steph and I packed the dog into the car and drove to Grande Cache, where we hid out for two days in a motel. It was there we witnessed Sali relax again. She became the dog we uprooted from a calm life. In the end, the move was the best thing we could have done for her—she’s never been in better shape, physically, but there’s an underlying change with her in the other place.
She’s competing there, and she’s not the best at it. She knows she’s bigger than the other dogs and she, in all reality, is kind of a little asshole to them. She doesn’t know how to be a member of a pack with the ease of more socialized dogs, and that’s on Steph and I. We were recluses in Edmonton and didn’t socialize her with dogs as much as we should have—people all day long, but the canine touch was missing from the fundamental period of her growing up. Her little pack is functional and truly good for her, but you can tell she misses being queen bitch in the house.
That’s why I wanted her here, kind of like a mental space weekend for the both of us. She’s sleeping on the bed behind me as I write, and I feel calm as I have all day. I usually end up vibrating my legs as I write, but today I’m steady. She balances me out—but I can see how much Steph needs her too. I can live with temporary visits, because there’s no way I could separate that woman from this dog for too long. It’d be bad for the both of them. But, just having made a plan and accomplishing it’s mission provided me with the direction that I needed to jumpstart my productivity in something other than writing. I wanted my dog for the weekend, I asked, and things went smoothly. I bought a set of dishes for her, a new bed and a supply of food.
One of my worst qualities is that I procrastinate. From tiny things at work to things at home, I’m always doing it later. Last night marked a very positive change that I carried through into today, and tonight as well.
At ten after eight last night, I realized that I forgot to go out earlier in the day for the aforementioned supplies, so I (unhappily) put my pants back on and ran to Pet Land. I was thinking that I’d have to pay at least eighty bucks for a bed because Sali is so big, but I found one of the proper size for sixty, so I snatched it up. PetSmart is the only place you can get her food, so I ran over there, with twenty-five minutes before the store closed. In my hunt for the proper kibble, I passed by a bed, twice the quality and half the price of the one I just bought, so I snatched it up and high-tailed it back to Pet Land to return the other.
Something about the fact I didn’t leave myself with something to do the next day, combined with the late, return-to-summer evening air energized me, and without thinking, I drove to the wrong exit in the parking lot. Turning, with no desire, I was plotting out the fastest turn-around when I saw it. The fluorescently lit sign on the side of Five Guys. Having missed dinner, I was starved and before I knew it, I was pulling open the glass door to the almost empty restaurant. All through my order I figured I’d just grab the bag and run home, but as I sat and waited, the vibe of the place took over. For some reason, a restaurant that feels like you can easily hose down everywhere is a very welcoming space to me. The wooden chair was comfortable and invited me to stay for a while. My food came, and I went back up to the till to buy a drink, having passed on it before thinking I’d be at home. I loaded up on ketchup, made myself a quality Sproot Beer (2/3 Barq’s and 1/3 Sprite) and sat back down.
I was one of four people eating, one of whom was an employee, and the other two were together. A heavy rotation of Skip-the-Dishes drivers came in and out, and everyone inside had their heads down. The employees were fixed on their work and everyone but me was fixed on their phones. I was just taking it all in, living in the moment and loving the burger. Mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion, dipped ketchup. It was one of the most alive I have felt in a while—I was confident in my skin, not self-conscious and wondering what everyone is thinking of me. I was too busy being present to worry about anything other than my hunger, and it was amazing. It seemed to relight the fire inside and set a tone for the day today. I cleared out any procrastinated work I had gathered through the week and left my plate empty for Monday morning.
Now it’s ten to midnight and Sali has moved to her bed on the floor beside me. Tomorrow, we’re going to get out and see some stuff, smell some smells. Who knows where we’ll go or what we’ll get into? It’s gonna be a big day, and I’m excited as all hell. Everything I do is so… cerebral? I think that’s an appropriate term. It all takes place at this desk, and while I could go somewhere else to write, I’d rather live life away from the keys. It’s going to be great to be out in the fresh air all day.
See you tomorrow.
Today’s outfit was the cherry on top of a wonderful day. I wore a purple button-down shirt from Simons under my black blazer from RW&CO. I rolled up the cuffs of both the blazer and the shirt to tie everything together and finished it off with a black belt, shoes, grey chinos and my John Varatos glasses.
My socks had huskies—because you know, I had a dogs on the brain this morning.
Writer, performer, producer and musician from Alberta.