Monday, October 01, 2007


Chris Clarke tagged Sherwood with an "Animeme" - a meme (something that gets passed around the internet) that was all about animals. He also told Sherwood that one of the conditions of the meme was that you had to tag nine other people with it.

I am one of those people, and impressed to be in such outstanding company. Since the circle is small enough that several of those I'd want to pass it onto have already gotten it, I won't pass it on to nine other people, but will pass it to one who is especially qualified to respond to it, at the end. (No peeking.)

An interesting animal I had

Our old dog Buster. Buster was what we call in Newfoundland a "crackie", and not just any crackie - which can mean any small mongrel dog - but a true Newfoundland Crackie, a small, black, sleek mongrel waterdog. They probably evolved from Newfoundlands, Black Labs, and some other breeds that worked on the island in the day. Today, they're enough alike to almost be a breed themselves.

Buster came from a litter a stray had under the Orange Lodge in the town I grew up in. He was our constant companion growing up. He was especially my sister's constant companion; she was a toddler when we got him, so they grew up together.

One day, after my dad cleaned the old Canadian Tire Special bar-be-que that everybody in the neighbourhood had, he carelessly stacked it up in a corner of the porch, body, folding legs, and grill in a messy metal pile. Buster, who, if given the option, preferred to sit on something than not on something, sat on the pile and brought the whole thing crashing to the floor. I still recall him running through the house like a streak of dog through a tin whistle. He couldn't have run away any faster if that barbecue had been full of glowing coals.

After my brother and I left home, he stayed with my sister, his muzzle getting greyer and greyer, her faithful companion until the morning, in his sixteenth year, when he just... didn't wake up. Bless that old dog.

Maybe not the most "interesting" animal - although all I've ever had are dogs, cats, gerbils, a dwarf bunny and goldfish - but by far the one that had the most impact on my childhood and youth.

An interesting animal I ate

Let's see... I've eaten elk, emu, reindeer, caribou, ostrich, turr (a seabird), seal, moose... I don't know how particularly "interesting" any of them are. The best thing I ever ate was a purloined lobster. My brother and I had gone to my Aunt's house in a nearby town on our bicycles. My Uncle was a lobster fisherman, and my Aunt gave us a big bag of cooked lobsters to take back to our place. Halfway between the two towns, we left the road (which ran along the sea coast) and hid out on the beach behind a place called Jack's Rock, where the kids used to make bonfires at night and there was a big driftwood log to sit on. We each took one of the lobsters and ate it there and then. The location, the company, and the freshness of the seafood - it was truly exquisite. Then we headed home, leaving the leftovers for the seagulls, and hoping that Aunt Shirley never mentioned to Mom how many lobsters she'd sent with us!

An interesting animal in the Museum

Not the Museum but the Zoo - the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. We visited last summer, my first time, and I met a very queer animal I had no idea existed. Sometimes you just wonder what evolution is up to!

An interesting thing I did with or to an animal

True confessions time: I dyed Mojo green.

When he was at the SPCA with the rest of his litter, the folks would dab the kittens who had been spayed or neutered with a dab of green vegetable dye so they'd know who'd been done and who still needed to be done. The kittens can't go home until they have the surgery, so when he came home with us, he had this blotch of green dye, about the size of a bingo dabber (in fact they probably use something similar) on his hip. It had kind of dried hard and gummed up his fur a little bit. They told me it would wear off, but I decided in my Cat Mama wisdom to give my little charge a wee bath and get that old sticky dried hard fur all nice and white and soft again. So I put him in the sink, into some warm water, and started to bathe him.

Well, the dye was water soluble, all right. It was so water soluble it turned the entire bath green. And in turn, dyed all Mojo's white bits green as well.

There are no photos of this debacle. I forbade Husband to record any part of this shameful episode in the record of Mojo's kittenhood. I can only hope that the repressed memory of spending approximately a week as the world's only black-and-green tuxedo cat doesn't become the sort of repressed trauma that causes him to become a serial killer later.

An interesting animal in its natural habitat

A moose. Snowy woods. One scared kid.

My dad and his brother used to cut their own wood for their respective woodstoves, going on snowmobiles with sleigh-trailers in tow onto Crown Land for their alloted amount (everyone got a share). My brother and I were pressed into service in this endeavour; we'd help pull logs to the trailer and load them on, but because I was a girl, I got a break around lunchtime when I was to go a little ways away and start a fire and put the kettle on for the boil-up. (Tea, of course. We didn't drink coffee. That was for Mainlanders.)

One of those days, I was quite a ways away from my dad, uncle and brother, and was melting snow in the kettle, adding it as it melted down, to get enough water for the tea, when I heard a sound behind me. I turned and saw a shape through some trees. I couldn't make out what it was, but frankly, was too young to be intelligent enough to be scared, so I went to investigate. I walked through a small copse of woods and there was a full-grown bull moose standing not ten metres away from me. We stared at each other, both a little stunned, I think; then, just as I began backing into the woods, he snorted, turned and walked away. I didn't realize how lucky I was until I told my father - and saw how white his face got. I don't think I got out of eyesight distance on trips to the woods after that.

So there you have it. A lunch hour's worth of animal memories. And who is the person whom I am passing the challenge of providing her own answers to these questions?

My sister.




Blogger Carl said...

I read the neologism as "anime me" and thought it was about someone giving you ideas for anime to watch.

9:31 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Do you know what Mojo's birthday is? If not, maybe you could assign him, as an honorary one, St. Patrick's day.

Great post, ronnie. Thanks.

1:51 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

... and your sister responded with a very nice entry!

I bet each of you is pretty proud of your sister.

8:17 p.m.  

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