quotes from my dad

My dad will be turning 85 in May. He hates to think about it, as he has always hated birthdays. I figure in his 85 years in this world, he would have plenty of advice for the younger folks out there. Here are a few:

“Who wants to celebrate getting old? ”

My dad always hated admitting his age. I remember when he turned 50, he didn’t want to talk about it. Now at 85, he asks we just treat his birthday like every other day, with cake.

“Why admit to something you did even if you did it”

My dad never admitted to anything in his life. Whenever mom would question him on something he may have done, he would deny it, so she stopped asking him. Words to live by for sure.

“Walk lightly”

Dad and I used to cut firewood in winter when I was younger. He would break a trail on the deep snow by walking and stamping down on the snow until it was hard packed. When I tried to walk on the trail, I would always sink up to my waist in the stuff. He would look at me and say I was walking too heavy.

He also used this saying when mom was scolding us, or if he knew we did something wrong. “Walk Lightly Son, don’t admit to anything”

My biggest nightmare in school…fitness awards.

Photo courtesy of cbc.ca

Just looking at those badges brought me back to horrors of grade school gym classes. I was the skinny, nerdy kid who sucked at sports, so much that I constantly made up excuses to miss track and field day, to no avail, as I never missed one day of school from Kindergarten to Grade 11.

All the ‘Alpha Kids’ were there, raving how they would take the top awards. All I wanted was a bronze medal. For years I was forced to compete in those events, only to receive just the plastic participaction pin at the end of every event.

The only ‘good’ memory I have of Track and Field Day was in Grade 7, which took place the first day of school. I had taken a big growth spurt that summer, and when returning to school, I was the tallest kid in my grade. This would be my big chance to take home a medal.

I still remember that day. The gym teacher lined us up across the playground behind the school, I scanned my competition, a bunch of kids I had lost to every year since the event began; a crowd of kids shorter than me. I really believed I had a chance to take home my first medal. This day was like a dream to me. Finally, a medal. I didn’t care which one I won, most kids tried for the Gold, Silver, or the Award of Excellence, not me though, I would have taken any of them.

I envisioned my mom proudly sewing the badge on my best coat, brimming with pride, and me strolling into school, the envy of all the kids, showing off my beautiful bronze patch.

When the gym teacher hollered GO, we tore across the grassy field, headed for the finish line. I was actually ahead of everyone, a good twenty feet ahead of the second place kid, when I thought I heard something in the distance, a voice, yelling “Watch out Teddy, Watch out for the ….”

All I heard was Teddy Teddy…I thought it was my friends cheering me on.

Of course I ignored all this, as I was too focused on winning a medal. I held my head high, looking forward to the finish line. I was there, nobody near me, just the wind in my face, and the ground beneath my sneakers, I could taste victory and it was good. I was going to win my first prize ever in track and field; when all of a sudden I brought up solid into a…

German Shepherd. That darn dog from across the street was always wandering around the school yard. I ran right into him, and landed face down on the ground. The other kids ran around the dog, who was now licking my face; and while I licked my wounds, I realized I would never win the event, never have that precious medal sewn to my favourite jacket. I knew eventually the other kids would grow to my height, and beat me in the races. It took me a while to get up, but when I did, I seen the three kids who were behind me proudly line up for their awards. The gym teacher rushed to my aid, and handed me my Participaction Pin.

I was at a yard sale once, a few years back, when I came upon a treasure. No, not the gigantic bag of very desirable marbles, but something even better. A large box, labeled Participaction Track and Field Awards, and guess what? The box was filled with hundreds of medals, everything from the Award of Excellence, Gold, Silver, to the Bronze medal. There were also bags and bags of Participaction pins. I was in my glee. Now if I only had a time machine, I could go back in time, get Mom to fill my jacket with those medals, to the point the entire jacket would be made up of just medals, and I would be the most popular eight grader in the entire school. Oh to dream.

sledding a career?

Just watching some of the olympic events this weekend, and I have to say, after watching Luge, Skeleton, and the bob sledding events, I realized how popular sledding really was if I knew sliding would be an olympic event, I would have continued sliding on my Krazy Karpet!

What fun we had as kids, sliding on ‘Grappy’s Hill’. The hill was a twenty minute walk to get to the top, but the ride was well worth it. The narrow trail, created by my grandfather as he hauled firewood with his old Ski-Doo Elan, wound up a steep hill, through trees and brush. In the middle of the winding trail there was a giant rock with sharp edges that us kids somehow avoided even though we flew down the hill. some kids made it a challenge to see just how close they could come to the ‘Big Rock’. Luckily, none managed to hit it.

In the spring when the weather got milder, we used to build ski jumps at the bottom of the hill. We just used snow, and brought water from the river to pour on the jump, and make it icy. We used K-Tel Mini Skis, which were short plastic skis with laces for bindings. They strapped to your boots.

It is hard to believe none of us got killed, as we soared down the icy hill, onto the icy ski jump, and head first into the fields beneath the hill. I had gotten quite good at jumping, but as we got older, we all grew out of sliding and moved into other things, like girls.

My first sliding adventure was the time I visited my older cousins, who lived down the road from me. My oldest cousin Raymond spent hours removing the hood from his father’s ’52 Chevy truck. The thing must have weighed over a hundred pounds, and was slick and shiny from the numerous times his dad polished the thing. He would have killed us if he thought we planned to make a sled from his pride and joy.

We attached a piece of chain to the front of the hood, and the three of us hauled the thing up the steep hill across the road from their home. When we got to the top, the thing felt like it was exited to take off. Given the weight of the thing, the slippery surface, the steepness of the hill, and the enormous push my cousins gave the sled, one could only imagine how fast we flew down the hill. We thought we had prepared for everything when we realized there was no way to stop this thing, as it hit the edge of the hill, and flew across the road, and onto the driveway. We continued sliding at an enormous speed until we brought up solid, into the side of the old truck.

I ran home the minute we stopped, leaving my cousins to deal with their dad and his now badly damaged truck. I think he grounded them for a month.

By the time I seen them again, it was summer, and they had moved on from sledding to cars, but that is another story.

Red Blooded

When I was a kid, growing up in a tiny community in Newfoundland, I thought the world was a great place. I was raised to believe that if you were honest, believed in God, went to church, and listened to your parents, your teachers, the police, and anyone else who were supposed to be telling you the truth, you would be a good person.

I was a curious kid, always asking questions like “Who are we?”, “Where did our family come from?”, to “Why is our skin so dark?” and the biggest of all, “Grappy, are you an Indian?” Which was quickly silenced by my Grappy, who got very insulted by my question. I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings, I just wanted a simple yes or a no. He could give me neither.

I used to wonder why these questions were so bad. Why was it so bad to ask if we were indians? I know in the westerns we watched on Uncle Roddy’s tv, the Indians used to scalp innocent cowboys, kill their kids and do bad things to their wives, so I guessed that was why my grandfather didn’t want me asking him, or accusing him of being a savage like them people in the westerns.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how he was so good at doing stuff. He farmed cattle, pigs, chickens. He had horses, planted gardens, cut and harvested hay. In the fall he would slaughter the pigs, and a cow or two, so he could provide fresh meat for his now grown adult kids. He would waste nothing. He used the skin, to make hides, which he sold, the bones to make handles for knives, he even used pieces of cow hide to make hinges for the shed doors. He made all his own farm equipment. He hunted rabbit and moose, and partridges and other animals to provide food. I used to wonder how he learned all this stuff. he would always say he just knew how to do it.

As my curiousity about indians grew, I asked him more questions, to the point I think he drove me away. “You must be an indian, Grap” I would say. I remember his response was to warn me to never ask those questions, and most of all, never tell anyone he was an indian.

What great shame it must have been for this man, so skilled at so many things, secrets passed down from his father and mother, them from theirs. Secrets of how to live off the land, how to survive the impossible. The stories of his forefathers, their struggles, all in his mind, too shameful to share with his kids and their kids. He was ashamed to even believe they could be true. All because of one man. A man who claimed he saved the province from poverty and how just one little lie meant the province could join a nation called Canada. No sacrifice too large to ask, just deny who you are, who your parents are, where you came from, and in some respect, where you are going.

When Joey lied to the Canadian Government, and told them there were no indians in Newfoundland, this lie caused a ripple effect across the province. With that little ‘white’ lie, everything about my family’s past was swept under the carpet, so to speak. Being indian meant a great shame, as indians were portrayed as lazy drunks, instead of the hard working people they really were. I wonder if, before 1949, if someone looked at my grandfather and asked if he was an indian, would he have been proud to say he was, brag about his skills and his love of the land, instead of hiding his head in shame?

Could he have given me better answers about who he was, and who I was? Could he have shared those skills with me, and even more important, could he have shared the secrets with me? The stories passed down through the ages, of a time when his people lived off the land, and survived on their own without government handouts and government lies?

I wish my grandfather was alive today. I wish he could witness the pride felt by his descendants, knowing we can hold our heads high, knowing we are

Indian.

um…where’s our chicken?

Back in the 90’s I partied pretty hard. Being a single guy with his own home, I had plenty of ‘friends’ who loved to party at my place, and as you might imagine, this made for quite a few funny stories to tell.

One evening, think it was a Saturday, we all got together at the house. They guys made sure to bring lots of beer, and I guess they figured I had lots of food, so nobody brought any. I didn’t have food, save for maybe a bottle of jam or two, maybe some peanut butter, and some beer in the fridge. I was single, and mooched off of my parents for food, so I never seen the point of buying groceries that would go bad.

My home is in the country, there are roads everywhere leading to wooded areas, farms, etc. Like I said, I live in the country. We had no numbers on our homes at the time, so giving a description of where we lived was always confusing. I had the number of power poles from the beginning of the road to my house memorized. I was at 38 power poles lane as we called it.

After we drank most of our beer, we all got hungry. One of the guys decided to call a cab to bring us some chicken from Mary Browns Fried Chicken, a popular fast food joint in the area. When the driver asked where to deliver it to, my buddy said “You drive into the community, then there is a road on the right, its the only road on the right in the entire community. Just come on down the driveway and we will be there. He left the driver my phone number in case he got lost. This was around 11:00 p.m.

We must have waited three, maybe four hours, when we got impatient and called the Taxi Cab stand, to ask where our chicken was. Dispatch put us through to the driver. He didn’t sound good. He asked “Do you live down a road off the main road, down over a very steep hill with trees all around?” I said “No, just down a lane off the main road once you pass the woods road on the right. ” Then I said “Oops, I am on the second road into the community. You went on the road leading to the country. Turns out the guy drove over the shoulder of the road, move than 400 feet over the edge of the road into a bog.

“Can you call me a tow truck please?” he begged. “My car is all beat up, I am lucky I lived.” He said, about the same time one of my friends hollered out…”so what about our chicken? Have you got it? We can come get it. How far down are you?”

We never got our chicken.

The Luge run

Being a kid back in the 70’s, we found things to keep us occupied. I grew up in a small community, surrounded by family and friends. I was never at a loss for a buddy, or in this case, a side kick.

Ricky was my best friend. He was a different kid, who at just ten years old, could do almost anything. He could weld, he could build anything out of wood, I even seen him fix cars with his uncle. He could do everything except school stuff. Reading was a challenge, so he never did it. A lot of the kids picked on Ricky because he had a speech impairment, but it never bothered me. I found him cool.

Anyway back to the kid olympics of the seventies. We actually built a luge for the summer. We just didn’t know what a luge was, or that it was meant for sliding down steep icy tracks in winter.

When I said ‘we’ built a luge, I meant I came up with the idea, Ricky put it together. We were always building go carts (I mean Ricky was always building them) and on this occasion, we didn’t have a lot of things to make a normal go cart, but Ricky’s dad had a garage with a ton of junk out back. We took a piece of plywood, a few boogie wheels (part of an old Ski-doo suspension that consisted of small rubber wheels), a few pieces of pipe, and a two by four.

Ricky fashioned the pieces together, making a device that resembled a garage creeper. We would have used a garage creeper, Ricky’s dad had one, but he would have killed us for taking it. Using the two by four and the pipe, Ricky fashioned a steering mechanism controlled by whomever was driving the thing at the time. All you had to do was push either end of the two by four to steer. It was fail proof…or was it.

anyway, we couldn’t wait to try it. The thing sat less than two inches off the pavement. (Did I mention we just got our road paved?) Kids everywhere on makeshift go carts, sailing down the hill leading to the community. We were going to do one better with our new cart. Here is a drawing of the go cart. (I am a better writer than artist, so I used Paint to do the drawing)

We hauled the thing to the top of the long hill. I got on back and laid down, Ricky got in his seat, laid on back as well, with his head tilted so he could see where we were going. “Hang on for the made in voyage” he stuttered, as we pushed off and headed down the steep hill. We must have been doing quite the speed when we both realized we forgot one very important part of our cart, BRAKES!!!

A bread truck was headed up the hill the same time we were flying down the hill. Two ten year old kids, lying on a piece of plywood on wheels, no brakes, and basically hauling ass, went right under the truck! I can still see the driver’s eyeballs as we drove under his truck. He slammed on the brakes but we were ok, and we kept hauling down the hill despite his curses for us to stop. Hell, we never had brakes. I think I seen the devil on the way down that hill, my adreneline flowing as fast as the wheels on the cart, as we coasted to a stop nearly a mile from where we started.

“Whatta rush! Let’s do it again” Hollered Ricky, as I vomited on the road side. “No thanks,” I said, still shaking from the ride. While Ricky couldn’t wait to tell his brothers and sisters of our adventure, I swore him to secrecy, as our parents would have surely killed us for almost getting killed.

I hear the driver of the truck retired after that incident.

Archie: A Dog’s Story, or What’s in a name?

Volunteering with our local SPCA has certainly changed my life. At first we got involved because my wife wanted to foster pups, and I was reluctant to get too involved. Fast forward almost five years, I am president of the organization and my wife is vice. We have fostered at least ten or more pups, over 1000 kittens (yes, you read that right), three Guinea pigs and several bunnies. We keep busy. We built a room in our basement to allow pregnant stray cats to give birth to their kittens, Though the SPCA, we get the mom cats spayed, the kittens spayed or neutered, then find homes for them. Busy life.

A life like this is not without its highlights, and lows. I like to focus on the highlights. One such highlight is that of a dog named Archie.

One evening we got a call from a lady who needed to rehome her small dog. My wife and I also intake dogs for our SPCA. Small dogs adopt quickly, so I never said no. She lived alone in a remote community. Her husband had passed away suddenly last year, and now she is sick. She said she wasn’t strong enough to keep her little dog, whom she cherished.

My wife and I drove out to the community after work. It was still summer so it was still light when we got there. While my wife was busy with the paperwork involved in surrendering animals, I was focused on a rather large and very dirty dog tied out front of the home. He looked like a lab mix, but it was hard to tell because he had just finished rolling in mud. He had a giant log in his mouth, and his tail was wagging hard enough to take him off the ground. No doubt a friendly pooch.

“What’s the dog’s name?” I hollered. “Buddy” she said. “He is five, and we had him since he was a pup,” She added. She said Buddy was her husband’s hunting dog. Of course I wanted more information. “What you doing with him?” I asked. She said she found it hard to let him go, as he was a reminder of her late husband. Apparently Buddy and her husband did everything together, ride the skidoo, the ATV, hunt, walk on the beach; right up until the day he died. She was too weak and sick to do any of that stuff, so she left him tied outside. Buddy had a fine doghouse, lots of food and water provided, so he didn’t do without a lot, other than being walked, and living indoors.

“Why is he outside” I had to ask. “He finds it too hot in the house. We let him in during winter storms but he isn’t comfortable” she replied. Upon entering her home I could see why. She had a wood stove in the corner, and it was RED HOT! This was August, I can only imagine how hot it would have been during the winter months.

“Can I have him? Can I find him a home for you?” I asked. She said her late husband’s best friend wanted Buddy for hunting. “What will he do with the dog when he isn’t hunting?” I inquired.

She said he would tie Buddy outside. That didn’t seem right to me. I asked her to check with him, see if he really wants the dog, and when. She agreed. I called her once a week, asking how she was, and how Buddy was doing, until one Tuesday evening, she called me. She said she got her tests back, and she wasn’t doing well. She asked if I could take Buddy.

Myself and another volunteer made the trip to get Buddy. All the way out she questioned why I was so adamant on getting this dog, and rehoming him. I asked her to be patient; I said she would have no questions once she sees him.

We almost drove past the home, but she made a quick turn into a driveway. “That the dog? That Buddy?” she asked, as she nearly hopped from the vehicle before it even stopped. It was love at first sight, as it always is when we rescue animals.

Buddy was all cleaned up, still holding that damn bone, tail still wagging. The lady came out, and the three of us all went over to the dog. Although he was almost 85 pounds, he never jumped on us. He was so excited to have someone visit him, you could see it. I clicked a leash on his collar and he proceeded to drag me to the back of the car. He hopped right in, then peed on the speaker in my volunteer’s car. Great first impression.”Don’t forget the log, my husband made that for Buddy before he died. Buddy doesn’t go anywhere without it” She said.

After tears were shed, and conversations ended, we bid goodbye to Buddy’s owner. I asked her to stay in touch, let me know how she is doing. Then we were off. we worried he might eat the car, but once we started moving, he settled quickly.

Buddy was at our shelter for a few weeks, as we worked on his manners, and had him neutered. We were going to post him for adoption when one of my volunteers mentioned how the last few dogs we took in were all named ‘Buddy’. We decided we would rename him. One of my volunteers asked if she could pick a name. Bear in mind none of us knew the owner, I never even shared the name of the owner to my volunteers.

After three days, she came back with a name. She said she had searched out baby names, baby books, the Internet, friends, and she kept coming back to the same name. Archie. So we named him Archie. He responded to the name immediately, even better than he responded to Buddy.

We posted Archie for adoption, and received hundreds of applications. Everyone fell in love with his story, and with his picture. He is one handsome dog for sure.

That night I called the owner. I wanted her to know her dog was doing well, and that we had changed his name to Archie. She grew silent on the phone.

“Of all the names in the world.” She paused, “Why Archie?” She asked, a shudder in her voice.

She added, “My father died 21 years ago. His name was Archie” she said. I was dumbfounded. What a coincidence, or was it a coincidence? Was this meant to happen? Was it a sign?

She began to cry. She said it was beautiful how this happened and it may be a sign of good fortune. She said her daddy must be up there, smiling down on her, and on Archie.

We received hundreds of applications for Archie. We finally decided on adopting him to a young family from another town. The family consisted of a mom, dad, and four year old daughter. We set up a meeting between them and Archie. When Archie seen them he ran towards the husband and wife, past both of them, and to the feet of their four year old daughter. They have been close every since. Archie, or ‘Arte’ as she calls him, are always together, perfect fit. Archie only had one accident in the home, the first night, since that, he has been perfect. Archie is a family dog, a friend, but most of all he is a companion and protector for the little girl, always by her side; meant to be.

I keep in touch with the former owner, sharing pictures and stories of the latest adventures of Archie, and his new family. She says it is all that keeps her going those days. We are more than animal rescue, we rescue people too. Volunteering with the SPCA rescued me too.

Help us help the animals. Donate to your local humane society or SPCA. We do all this work for free, we spend all our available time saving the helpless, so they can become family members. If you would like to be involved, contact your local SPCA.

Nature’s Judge

Duct tape, or as he referred to it, ‘duck tape’ was his weapon of choice. He came to town a few times a year, to stock up on the stuff, along with a few other items. An animal lover at heart, it hurt him when he seen how cruel people could be towards the animals they took as their own and called them ‘pets’. Sometimes he cried for those creatures, other times he reacted, and fixed things.

When the story of an Ontario man who tortured his dogs came popular on the news, the man felt it was his duty to punish this person. God knows, the courts couldn’t do their job. The judge let him off with a fifty-dollar fine.

Finding this man was easy, as he did several newspaper interviews, some in his own home, boasting of his power of persuasion. “The story was wrong, the dog starved because he refused to eat.” he boasted. Most knew the difference.

Apprehending the man chose to be the biggest challenge, because his ego would not let him go alone for long. He always had some foolish young thing on his arm. He had money, that was all that mattered. The man was patient and waited until the house had gone quiet. It was late, but he was skilled. He could mimic any animal, sounding like the burdened beast who starved to death while tied outside was no challenge.

After a few whines and howls, the torturer came outside. He yelled for whatever disturbed him to be quiet, so he could return to bed. He never got the chance to find that comfort. A sharp crack to the back of his neck was the last thing he felt.

Then next thing he remembered was the chill of the forest, and most of all, the roughness of the tree bark against his naked back.

Duct tape was wrapped around his head, tethering him to the tree. as the savior of the wild creatures worked to bind the man to the tree, he recited several chants, when he finished, the cruel man was wrapped like a mummy, to a tree deep in a forest. Just his eyes and nostrils emerged from the tight sticky wrapping, and he gasped to catch his breath, almost choking. He quickly discovered how to breathe through his nose.

Without the gift of speech, he calmed. He knew he would not escape this time. The man who loved dogs spoke to him, reminding him of why he was here, tied to a tree in the middle of nowhere. He heard howls in the distance, as fear moved up his spine.

“You left your dog starve to death, while tethered to a tree with a short cord. That dog loved you, he worshiped you. That is how you repaid his love.” The evil man squirmed in his tightly wrapped prison, knowing this may be the end.

His eyeballs bolted to the left, then right, as he attempted to break free. “I remember seeing your poor dog do the same, as he writhed and attempted to break free. I remember the electric fence that surrounded him, keeping good people from helping him. I remember having to watch a creature shrivel and die from starvation while you entertained the young ones with your money and your drugs and I remember how the only just thing done for this animal was removing him from the rope, and burying him next to his torture spot. You will remember too, I assure you. There will be no judge, no jury, only the chill from the forest, and maybe the drool from the tongues of the wolves who will avenge their brethren. You won’t suffer long, not as long as the little dog, but his death will be avenged a thousand times before you draw your last breath. I assure you of this, as sure as I stand before you, this will be so.”

With that, the man walked away and disappeared into the thick brush, leaving nature deal with the cruelty of society and of this man who stood, taped to a tree in the middle of nowhere, unable to call for help, with nothing to eat or drink, until he draws his last breath.

A few days later the old man returned. He was not surprised when he found the tethered man dead, head hanging, eyes focused on the ground, where wolves chewed at his ankles and shins as he watched. He knew the man had suffered, possibly of thirst and of food, mostly of fear from not having the opportunity to escape; much like the dog he called his ‘pet’.

Nature had taken care of itself, it fixed what needed fixing. He decided to do the humane thing, bury this creature in the ground next to his torture area, the same care given to the small dog. The tape came off easily, with the weight of the man leaning forward, it only took one swipe with the knife before he dropped into the six by six hole beneath him.  The ground was soft and easy to spread, as the old man covered the body, leaving it to the underground beasts to feast on. A sprinkling of white dust was sprinkled on the area where the body was buried, and a ritual of prayer was performed upon the site.

When he was finished, the soil reclaimed him, his body sinking beneath the scattered leaves, into the moist soil, only to be resurrected when he was needed, to avenge the souls of tortured animals.

confessions of an animal rescuer

They called him ‘Old Neddy’ but in his younger days, before his brain started to hurt, he was known as Edward Loch, respected educator and friend to most.

Neddy lived in a rundown shack in a poor village. A rackety barn sat close to the home, its roof crooked from years of snowstorms, wind and rain; and neglect. An old rusty cadillac sunk into the ground behind the house, its windows cracked, seats torn. A remnant from better days before the headaches and the pain.

When the voices started coming, screaming in his head, Neddy moved far from the ones he once loved. He found this place, far from everything. It wasn’t much, but the whistles of the wind, blowing through the cracks in the cement soothed his head, blocked out the voices; or at least some of them.

Neddy was not alone in this place, he found companionship in the numerous cats he took into his care; some dropped off at his home by irresponsible owners, others who came for the food, the shelter and of course the love. The cats were his family, and this family multiplied to the point where Neddy had to make a choice who ate, the cats or Neddy himself. This is where a concerned (nosy) neighbour interveined. She called the police.

When the police arrived at Neddy’s home, they brought volunteers from the local SPCA. Neddy was frustrated at the number of human beings on his property. He had worked hard to avoid contact. People made the voices loud. He came out to greet the people, angry and yelling.

The old man stood on his doorstep, dressed in a tattered three piece suit that was expensive once. His long beard was grey and dirty, his teeth decayed like his life. He was yelling at the police, but when he noticed female volunteers, he straightened up, brushed as much crap from his trousers as possible, and greeted them respectfully.

“I don’t know why you are at my home.” he said, “I don’t break the law, I just want to be left alone, here with my friends.”

Thousands of empty cat food tins littered his lawn, bags of litter and wood chips bagged and piled high around the property, like a garbage fence; stink emitting from the bags, which were surrounded with blue flies, possibly attracted to the rotting cat shit.

The young one asked if she could enter his home, along with her friend and maybe a few police officers. “Only the females. I will let two in, two and one cop.” he said.

Upon entering the home Stella, the younger of the SPCA volunteers gasped and covered her mouth with her mask. The amonia hurt her eyes and her throat. Her associate, Jen also accompanied.

Embarrased by the state of his home, Neddy grabbed a shovel he found leaning on the wall, and proceeded to shovel cat feces towards the walls, clearing a place for the volunteers to walk. “Should have warned me you were coming, I could have cleaned the place up!” he complained, not realizing the place was beyond a quick cleaning.

He offered them a cup of tea, and some bread he had baked himself, in his stove that was also covered with shit.The two declined, thanked him for his kindness, all while holding back the vomit.

Stella and Jen were shocked at the sight of the place. Cat feces covered the small table, both tattered chairs, the couch, even the walls, and the smell was difficult, but the old man breathed perfectly, and acted like everything was normal. Cats hopped on them, lovingly, purring. Some were coughing, most were sick. Kittens popped out behind some, most mutated badly from inbreeding within the home. An old one hissed at the sight of the ladies. “He’s like me, he don’t like people much.” Neddy said.

One of the officers, concerned with Neddy’s living arrangement, asked if he had a bathroom in the home. “That went out months ago” he replied. “I cut a hole in the floor. it works great for me.” he added. Upon further inspection, he was telling the truth. A hole, chopped with an axe, served as his toilet. The smell caused all inside to urge, all except Neddy. He never smelled a thing.

The cats were easily caught. They were put into cages, and brought to the vehicles, where volunteers loaded them inside. Neddy was sobbing now, his world being taken from him. The officer held him back while the volunteers removed the cats from the home. A social worker was on hand, to help the old man. He refused of course. “I don’t need any of you, just my pets.” he said, as he cried loudly.

The officer counted the cats, he saw only 26. The neighbour guessed at least 50. Neddy said the rest would be in the shed, because they didn’t like it inside. He promised to gather the remaining cats, and call the police when he did. He never did.

The cats were all sick, and vets could do nothing for them but end their suffering. We never heard from Neddy again, but we drive past his home from time to time, to make sure he is ok. He still doesn’t like strangers, but waves as we pass; probably hoping we go away. He still has cats, possibly more than he had in the past. The tins still litter the yard, the smell of cat urine still as strong, maybe worst, The roof on the shed has fallen even more, the walls are beginning to give away as well.

As long as people abandon there pets, there are people like Neddy, hurting from what he believes the world did to him, happy to take the helpless creatures inside his home, and love them.

This is an all too real situation. Seniors dealing with mental disorders, living in conditions like this. This is a people problem. Cats and dogs not being cared for properly, not spayed or neutered, and abandoned are also a people problem, one that SPCA’s across the world struggle to control. Please help. Get your pet spayed or neutered. Help your local pet rescue when you can.

My wife and I are part of a wonderful organization whose main goal is to save abandoned pets. The Southwest Coast SPCA rescued and rehomed 366 unwanted cats last year. We also ran Trap Neuter Release Programs in feral cat colonies, and offer a low cost Spay Neuter program to low income families. Programs like those cost money, as vet fees are quite high in our area. We get by mostly on donations and fundraisers, but thanks to Covid-19 lockdown procedures, we could not hold our usual fundraisers. If you would like to help our organization you can donate through etransfers. Our email address is swcspca@hotmail.com. If you would rather help animal rescue in your area, visit or email the organization and ask how you can help.

thanks for reading

Ted.

I am back…sort of

After months of not being able to log in or have access to my posts, I finally had time to tinker with my wordpress and here I am, back, ready to start scaring you with my outlandish stories.

The first story I will tell you is of the sci-fi nature.

Imagine you wake up in a hospital. You are alone, no doctors, no nurses anywhere. That’s right, this is the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care System. Joking. on with the story….

You leave the room and begin to wander around the hospital. You notice it is chilly then also notice you are wearing one of those flimsy hospital gowns with the ass out. There is no heat in the place, and most of the lights aren’t functioning. (I begin to think Budget cuts!!)

You do see bodies, all dead, laid in piles in abandoned rooms. There are signs everywhere, warning of something called ‘social distancing’, whatever the hell that is. You call out, and the only thing you hear back is the echo of your own voice.

The silence is deafening. You start to remember things, little things, like laying on a bed, everyone around you, all the people you love, all praying you come out of the coma. Nobody here now, too bad, you are definitely out of the coma, but you wonder where you really are.

You find a door and go outside. Nothing. No cars moving, but they are there, parked on either side of the road, Garbage is strewn everywhere, buildings look dark, no lights anywhere. More signs about this social distancing. What the hell?

You decide to try to find someone, maybe find out what the hell is going on. You imagine zombies walking up and down the street. That would not be so hard to believe at this point, You walk up to a house, knock on the door. Kids in the house peer out the window at you. They are wearing masks. Someone is coming to the door. A man. He points up the street, and yells at you to mask up and get lost. What the hell? ‘Mask Up?’ What is that you wonder. He tosses you a cheap looking mask. You take it, reluctantly

You begin to think the world has suffered some kind of nuclear disaster. That is the only thing that makes sense to you. That must be it. You put the mask on, and continue your search for something that makes sense.

You see a billboard on the ground, fallen. On it there is a picture of a man with a large head, and bad hair. The slogan says “We won the election” It looks like someone has hauled it down and desecrated the thing with spray paint. You pass by a church. The place is abandoned, the door left ajar, and swinging back and forth, creaking.

Finally, you see a line up of people, all wearing masks. Walking towards you. They have signs they are waving. They are yelling something. “We took the needle, now we are doomed!” the crowd repeated the last part…”We are Doomed, We are doomed!” They continued their chant as they walked past me, like nobody noticed me standing there, in my hospital gown with the ass out. They are old, or look that way. They look like old people with kids bodies. What the hell. I decide to follow, distantly.

The crowd approaches a few more people, again kids with old faces. They too are chanting something about the needle. The crowd joins with the others, chanting loudly, some cussing, some not. I keep my distance, but by now I have to know what the hell is going on.

The line stops at a clinic. Red Cross vehicles everywhere. There is a line up. People who look somewhat normal, albeit pale faces, are entering a building. Suddenly the once peaceful but chanting lineup turn into a violent mob. They began swinging their signs, knocking people down. “We got the needle, we are doomed” they chanted, as they pushed their way into the building. The mob were quickly escorted out, as armed guards pushed each person out the door, threatening them with a hand gun. The man himself didn’t look so good, again, he resembled a young man, but with a drawn and craggy, wrinkled face. He looks at me, as if I have some sort of disease. He then points his gun at me, the confused man in the hospital gown with the ass out. I try to run, but that damn gown. Frigging cold too. He doesnt take long to catch me, but longer than it should have taken him. He puts on gloves and hauls me inside.

COVID-19 VACCINES MANDATORY IN ST JOHN’S NEWFOUNDLAND

TO BE CONTINUED……