Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Where the wild things howl.

Photo by Anton Strogonoff on Unsplash

The howling of the coyotes wakes me up.

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle hears them too. He leaps up from the floor at the end of our bed where he has been sleeping. Races down the stairs to the patio doors. He stands. Barking, body tensed, eyes fixed at what he cannot see, somewhere out there on the top of the hill beyond.

It is 3am.

I try to calm him. To get him to stop barking. He wants to get out there.

I close the blinds.

Finally, the howling stops and Beaumont lies down by the glass doors. He does not want to come back upstairs.

And I am reminded, no matter how much concrete surrounds us, we are not far from the wild.

It is in our roots, our DNA, our genetic history.

We have seen a coyote a couple of times since moving into this place in December. I don’t know if it’s the same one, or a different one each time. We see him, or her, loping silently across the hillside in the early evening. We know there’s a den, somewhere at the top. We’ve heard their howling before. They are the wild things.

I wonder if they howl to entice unsuspecting prey into their space. Beaumont always wants to take off after the sound. He wants to investigate.

I don’t let him. I keep him on the leash now whenever I let him out.

He is not wild. Though I wonder if the howling awakens deeply-buried wild memories of life before domestication.

Deer live somewhere on the hillside too.

We see them often. Four or five. Every day they traverse the slope. Walking elegantly through the snow, scrubbing through the bushes and trees for fodder.

They too make Beaumont bark. Whenever we’re outside and they see us, they take off, their long legs leaping through the snow with ease. Beaumont strains at the leash, barking. Inevitably, one of the deer will stand at the edge of the trees, staring. Unmoved by Beaumont’s barks, he seems to be enticing him to play, ‘catch me if you can’.

In those moments, it takes all my strength to get Beaumont to quieten down, to not pull and strain at the leash.

The wild stirs within him, calling him to run after it. To be part of it.

We are not that far from the wild here. The city limits stretch further into the rolling hills at the edge of that liminal space where wild meets tamed and man keeps pushing the wild further and further away. Yet, still the wild things roam. They have adapted to the citylife. They have formed their trails from the wild spaces to cityscapes.

The howling of coyotes woke me at 3am.

I feel the wild calling me. Let go it calls. Come. Outside. Run. Barefoot in the night. Dance beneath the belly of the fullness of the pregnant moon. Throw your head back and howl in the pure delight of being alive.

I calm the urge and go back to bed.

Beaumont is on guard. He will keep the wild things at bay.

___________________________________________

The howling of wild things in the night reminded me of a song my brother used to play long ago on his record player when we were teenagers and not yet tamed by life.

Perhaps it is fitting I am reminded of my brother this first day of March. It was this month, 19 years ago, that his journey on this earth abruptly ended.

My brother loved music. He’d play a few bars of a song, stop it and ask me to “Name that Tune”. I wasn’t very good at that game. He’d laugh and tease me and play another song. “Wild,” he’d exclaim as some drum roll or guitar riff caught his fancy.

My brother was a wild thing. He loved life.

 


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Beaumont the Wave Chaser

He is a wave hound. A chaser of the curve as it falls over onto itself racing towards the shore.

He follows the line of the water, running at full speed along the beach.

He does not bark. He does not zig nor zag. He runs like a bullet speeding through air, following the wave.

Beaumont loves the beach. He loves the ocean.

As always happens, no matter where we are or who we’re with, I am the first person up in the morning. It is my habit. My way of being.

I treasured those quiet mornings in Tofino. As the sun rose behind the trees lining the eastern horizon, the light advanced in long shimmering lines, reaching far into the western shores of the Island, pushing night’s blanket away from the shore. Beaumont and I would quietly leave our cabin at the edge of MacKenzie beach and walk in the early morning light, down the steps to the golden sand of Crystal Cove. I’d let him off his leash and he would race around me in circles, his mouth open in a great big huge grin, his body quivering in anticipation of the frolics to come, just on the other side of the rocks protruding from the sand. I’d throw his ball. He’d grab it and make a beeline for the first wave washing ashore.

And the fun began.

Ball in mouth, he races along the curve of the water, splashing and leaping in the waves. If there are others out in the early morning light, they inevitably stop and watch and smile.

Beaumont in the waves is a smile making machine.

He does not pay attention to humans, other dogs, birds. Nothing. He only has eyes for the waves, the water cascading over itself as it rushes to shore.

One woman couldn’t resist his antics. She waited patiently to grab just the perfect photo. She walked towards me, camera outstretched to show me. “I’m so excited I caught him leaping in the waters. His smile is contagious.” She showed me her photo and added. “I want a dog just like him!”

Every morning I walked the beach with Beaumont and was reminded of how easy it is to be in the moment, to be present to joy and share smiles with strangers.

Lesson from a Dog: Chase waves. Smile lots. Life is an adventure.


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We are Sheepadoodles

We are The Sheepadoodles

We are The Sheepadoodles

The Sheepadoodle families got together yesterday for a play date. Six puppies, many owners and friends. Five of the puppies were from the same litter. One was from a litter born a week later. The mother, rather than being black and white was predominately black. The puppy, predominately black but with the cutest white nose ever.

It was hilarious.

We parents standing in a circle, chatting about our puppies while the puppies rolled about on the ground, chasing one another and acting like crazy fools as they leapt over fallen bodies, dove onto each other and wrestled.

When Beaumont and I arrived, four of the puppies were already in action. He tugged and pulled at his leash as we walked from the parking lot across the field towards them. I let him off his leash and he was gone. Like a bullet, heading into the lump of puppies sniffing and rolling about.

For the next hour he was deaf and blind to my presence. There was no calling him, though occasionally I did manage to grab hold of his harness, make him sit and take a breather.

There’s a lot to be learned from a tangle of puppies playing together.

At first, the puppies played in the grass at our feet. As they gained confidence, or perhaps gained independence and a sense of, ‘forget about obedience, I’m here to play, play, play,’ they moved away from us, running through the stand of trees to one side, running off through the long grasses on the other.

At first they played as a pack but then easily and naturally divided into twosomes, sometimes merging into threesomes and occasionally joining up as the pack for brief periods of time. It’s as if they intuitively knew, the pack was too much energy to handle all at once and kept dividing off.

We owners stood about and chatted like parents of two year olds at a birthday party.

How is your guy doing with training?

How’s her appetite?

Is she completely house trained?

What dog food are you feeding him?

Who’s your vet?

We stood and chatted and the puppies played and we laughed and laughed and laughed at their antics.

The puppies were mostly oblivious to us.

Deaf and dumb to our entreaties to slow down, come here, stop, sit, stay.

We can learn a lot from a pack of puppies playing.

Like, sometimes, its okay to be on top, but you gotta give everyone a chance.

When someone is feeling alone and outcast, don’t hesitate, go over and nip them on the ear to let them know you want them involved in the game. They’ll always listen.

Don’t be shy about joining in. There’s enough play for everyone.

And, share.

If there’s a water dish full of water and you’re all thirsty, who cares if every head is in the bowl? Sharing is all part of the fun.

Life is about sharing in the tough times and the good. Yesterday, we shared in the joy of six puppies playing and the camaraderie that comes from the shared experience of their presence in our lives.

And always begin your day with laughter. Everything will look sunny and bright if you begin with laughter!

What a blast!