Hi Everyone. I’m baaack! Sorry I’ve been away. It wasn’t you, it was me.
I took a break from the blog this summer and it’s the first time I’ve done that since we started the blog in about 2005. It was a variety of things, but mostly that I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time at the computer and frankly just didn’t feel like I had much new stuff to share.
In the spring I was approached by an old customer to help redevelop their website so we took the gig. It was a big job with a steep learning curve but after the summer of 2016’s drought it was very welcome.
I worked for years exclusively earning my income on my computer and longed to earn a living working our land. So, for the last 5 years we did some work with our books and managed and developed some websites, but the bulk of our earnings was the CSA. Then after going 5 months in the summer of 2016 without rain while running a CSA, and spending all day, every day in brutal heat, sitting at a computer suddenly seemed pretty great. From a temperature standpoint, this past summer would have been a great one to be outside. We had endless rain, countless cloudy and cool days and I’m not sure we had a day over 30°C (86°F) this summer. From a growing food standpoint though it would have been a bust. Our sandy soil was mud most of the summer. We just didn’t get enough sun for things to thrive. I guess I learned if you can find the water to irrigate, it’s better to have heat and drought than cool and too much rain.
Blog readers have always provided lots of positive feedback about anything related to Jasper the Wonder Dog. So many people who meet him really do take a shining to him which was why the last little while has been kind of a struggle.
We leave Jasper to roam free when we leave to do city errands. It seems to be his preference and we want him to be able to chase foxes and other predators that might go after the chickens. One day in early September we left Jasper outside and left the house for a few hours. No sooner had we arrived in the city than we got a phone call to let us know that Jasper had been hit by a car. He must have been drawn through the woods at the front of our house and out on to the road, probably by another animal, and the next thing you know he decided to chase a neighbor’s car. He has continued to not like cars, so I suppose I take responsibility for not training him better. And not shutting the gate at the road. And not tying him up while we are gone.
But we’ve also always discouraged him strongly from going anywhere near the road. In fact, we don’t even ever walk him on the road, only in the woods around our house. When we told our neighbours that Jasper had been hit, everyone was shocked. They all said, “we never see Jasper on the road!”
Luckily the neighbour who hit him was kind enough to take him right to Dr. Lori Forester, our new vet in town. She was outstanding. One of his front legs was badly damaged and she kept him overnight to look for anything internal. The next day it was clear that he had completely severed the nerves running from his leg to his shoulder and they were beyond repair. This began an agonizing process of decisions. The vet recommended that we amputate the useless leg. We brought him home and he seemed fine otherwise, other than some bruises.
Jasper has always been a very active dog. He sprints … everywhere. He chases soccer balls, he fetches Frisbees, he sprints from garden to garden, he leaps into the truck for rides, he runs everywhere. I was burdened with wondering just how fair it was to have such a runner hobbled by the loss of a leg.
Michelle did lots of research about “tripawds,” as one calls a dog with three legs, and we decided quickly that dogs seem to be able to handle life quite well with just 3 legs. We also recognized how difficult it would be to lose him. I sometimes wonder why anyone has pets when you have to deal with them leaving you. This loving, adorable creature had spent every day for 5 years mirroring everything I do. If go left, he goes left, if I walk to the old wind turbine gardens, he runs to the old wind turbine gardens. And he always just wants me to acknowledge him and give him a pet. And dinner. His love and loyalty bogles the mind.
We helped him outside for a few days with a towel slung under him to help him move. Then after his amputation surgery he needed a few more days of assistance. And a week after it, we had our old Jasper back. He is the same happy, tail wagging, sweet dog he always was. As I walked to the garden about 3 days after his surgery he sprinted past me, while I kept telling him to slow down. He sort of has to hop now, but it just makes him look more enthusiastic and he ‘bounds’ everywhere. He actually moves better when he’s moving quickly on grass than slowly in the house.
He has adapted in no time and really doesn’t seem to miss his other leg. It’s just “Hey you’re lettin’ the chickens out… get out of the way I’m comin’!”
We feel very blessed to have a sweet, wonderful companion in our lives. We are grateful to all the kinds wishes Jasper got during his ‘brief’ convalescence.
We also feel blessed to have our grandson close and in the last month our granddaughter has moved 2 hours closer. Our grandchildren are a source of immense joy. Michelle looked after our grandson one night last week. The following morning at breakfast when conversation usually revolves around my latest web development challenges (or politics, at which time Michelle gets’ the glazed ‘I’m not really here’ look), I got a minute-by-minute description of everything, and I mean everything, Liam said and did in her hours with him. As she was leaving Liam so that he could go to bed he said, “I’m coming with you Gramma” and she continues to regale me with that line.
Having to wrestle with a long-time companion’s fate makes one very aware of one’s own mortality, and quality of life. Jasper proved to me the essence of resilience. He just starts every day with a fresh look at the world, enthusiastic about anything he gets to do. My grandchildren start every day like the computer I work on endlessly and then shut down each night. Their memory is cleared, they just reboot to another great day full of potential.
I’m trying to work on this. I might dwell a little too much on events far away and beyond my control. I might worry about the latest malware lurking out there. There is only the here and now. This is all there is. And I do know I am truly blessed to live where I do with such wonderful people, and animals in my life, and I am truly grateful.