Thursday, June 30, 2011


In July, 1999 Mr Wrath and I quit our jobs, gave away half our belongings, stashed the rest in a storage locker and took off for northern British Columbia. The impetus for moving was the decision to get a dog.

At the time our lives were neither conducive to dog ownership nor long term sanity. Mr Wrath's job involved travel, and long hours. Plus the company's future viability seemed doubtful. Or so Mr Wrath began to think the day it was announced employees should start supplying their own toilet paper. His concerns were not assuaged when later that day the sheriff pulled up to repossess the boss' car.

For my part I was working at my university alma mater.  I'd taken the job two years earlier hoping to parlay job connections and union membership into a position utilizing the public relations and communications courses I was taking at a community college in the evenings. Only too late did I realize that the administrative side of universities are ruled by politics. Once you are employed in a certain department (in my case, the library division) other areas of the university are loath to poach you lest the move come to back to haunt them at some undisclosed future date.

Also I had a new boss, and he was unbelievably dumb. It offended my entire moral code that someone without an ounce of business acumen or intelligence could coast on their good looks and boyish charm for so long. Eventually the highlight of my days became the occasions when I would have this one particular emeritus professor arrested for physically assaulting library photocopiers and computers or casting aspersion on whether certain female librarians had functioning genitalia. Yeah. I hated that guy. But not nearly as much as I hated my boss. I began to fantasize about him being banned from campus, declared incompetent and placed under the financial guardianship of a responsible adult. This was, I should note, the fate of the angry emeritus professor.

Deeply unhappy with our professional circumstances, we also couldn't afford to rent (much less buy) a  non-crack-den house with a yard for our theoretical dog, who we planned to name Falafel.

So we moved.

Within 3 months, Mr Wrath had a great job, and we bought a house. Keen to start pet ownership, I went to the SPCA one afternoon just to look at a cat. I thought it would be nice to start out with a cat, who are (lets face it) much less labour intensive than dogs. But when I went to the Used Dog Store there were eleven crazed dogs, barking, and lunging at the gates of their kennels.

All except for one. Who didn't bark. She just silently wagged her tail at me and said, "Hey. Look at me. I'm a rottweiler-husky cross. I'm the mellowest, friendliest, non-barkiest dog on the planet. If I were to be portrayed by a human, it would be Keanu Reeves as seen in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. But with less air guitar. You should take me home. I will shed my black fur on your white home furnishings, and white fur on your black home furnishings. I will keep your backyard free of marauding squirrels. When you have children I will never nip at them or bark at them.  I will lie under their chairs and eat everything they drop on the floor. And when your youngest child gets old enough to spend lazy mornings reading comic books on the chesterfield, I will lie placidly beside him and let him warm his cold toes on my fur. And I will never complain."

So we took her home.  And she has lived up to every single one of her promises.


  1. Ahhh... this is so sweet. My dog was a liar. We looked at him at the vet and he was so happy to see us and didn't bark AT ALL... until we got him home. He barked and barked and barked. He also spent a lot of time running just far enough from us, so that we couldn't catch. We loved him all the same. *sniff* *sniff*

    I miss Bob!!!!!!

  2. Falafel sounds like a wonderful dog. That was an interesting story as to how you ended up where you are now.

  3. I remember a mentor of mine years and years ago when I was just leaving college (long story, best told over a LOT of vokda) who said this nugget to me when I questioned what I should DO with my life: "Don't worry about what you should do; figure out what you want to BE, where you want to be and the kind of life you want to live. THEN figure out what you can do THERE." Pretty good nugget.

  4. Aww. I love dogs. Our dog was described to us as a "loving and cuddly dog". This was the understatement of all time.

  5. What a nice story about Falafel. A good dog is a gift.

  6. Even in pictures, her amiable disposition is obvious! Isn't it funny how we just know when we've found the dog for "us"...I loved this story!

  7. Such a sweetie! And totally better than bringing toilet paper to work any day!!

  8. What a nice tribute to your dog. We picked out a dog early in our marriage, when we just went to look. She's going to be ten soon and is just as high-strung/anxious as the day we got her. But she's part of the family and we love her. I love reading stories about people's choices, moves, jobs and things about the past. Great post!

  9. The rescues that work with northern/native/remote communities see a lot of these black & tan shep x husky x mystery dogs coming through. Great dogs. Glad that she lived up to everything that she promised :-)

    I discovered I can't stop at just one dog. I've got 3 now....

  10. Hey Nan
    i enjoyed the post, love your style of writing :)
    I live in egypt and falafel is the name of one of the most popular foods here :)

  11. So the dog saved your lives, right? (Work with me, I'm going for a big Hollywood ending). I'm in love with just the picture.