Posts Tagged ‘dogs’



24 May 2013
Hi Dennis; Sadly, Blackie passed away today. At a Veterinary check-up a large tumor was discovered in his abdomen. Probably Cancer and the Veterinarian did not think Blackie would survive surgery & Chemo. I was with Blackie as well as Bruce and the wonderful people from B.A.R.K. (The Bytown Association for Rescued Kanines) .He went peacefully as I was holding his paw. Will miss them both Blackie and Weasel).



Buy my book for $0.99 — proceeds feed the homeless:
Gotta Find a Home; Conversations with Street People





10 July 2014

As I approached Chuck this morning, I saw a female police officer standing in front of him with her leather-bound pad open. I passed him and stood around the corner. I heard her say, “Someone reported that your dog ran out and was obstructing pedestrian traffic.” After she left I asked, “What was that about, Chuck?”

“Nothing really, she said that I had been reported, but maybe she just saw me as she was driving by and wanted to know who I was. I told her my name and where I lived. I was friendly with her. Goldie had run after a seeing eye dog, but it was only for a few seconds. She’s on a leash and she’s a service dog. They just like to keep track of the panhandlers. Some say it’s aggressive panhandling if a person is holding their hat out. One woman told me that I was being aggressive because I was talking with someone. I said, ‘They approached me and started talking.’ This cop was okay, she didn’t give me a ticket.

“Last night I ran into a real weirdo. I don’t know if it was a he, a she or an it. I’ve got nothing against trans gender people. I know a man who used to be a woman. I’ve got nothing against gays. There is a couple in my building who have been together twenty-seven years. We get along fine. This person, that I had the problem with, looked like a man. He was wearing a tee-shirt with a padded bra over that and a tiny, black tutu. He was riding his bicycle down the sidewalk in my direction and he said, “I’m not moving out of the way, you’ll have to.’ I said, “You overgrown cocksucker, get out of my way or I’ll run into your bike. Take your pick.’ He moved.


At noon I sat with Curt, Wolf and Jacques, who was passing around his pot pipe. Curt took a toke and started coughing. He had a hard time catching his breath. He explained, “I’ve had problems with my lungs ever since I was a kid. It’s because of bronchitis. Sometimes, I cough so hard that I pass out (the medical term is cough syncope). When I was at Shark’s place it started happening, I got the shakes and my arms started twitching, then I was able to catch my breath and I was fine. Once, I pissed and shit myself, the coughing was so bad. Sometimes, I nearly puke. I guess it’s been about three years since I’ve gone down.

“Twice I’ve drunk myself blind with gin and vodka. It was at my sister’s wedding. Can you imagine, having a wedding the same day as the Super Bowl? All the guys were watching the game, except me. I’m not a football fan, so I was drinking with the ladies. It was a free bar. I started drinking vodka with orange juice. Then it got to be a full glass of vodka with a splash of orange juice. The women kept hauling me up to dance. Maybe, they were trying to get me sober. I don’t know. I’d get up, shuffle a bit, wave my arms around. Anyway, it was like I was looking through a thick fog. I remember one time during the night, my mother said to me, ‘If you’re looking for the bar, it’s thirteen steps to your right.’  The next morning I had a massive hangover. My head was like a drum — ba ba ba BOOM, ba ba ba BOOM, ba ba ba BOOM. I was sleeping in the same room as my nephew. I woke up early and was trying to roll a joint. My nephew asked, “What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Shut up and go back to sleep.’

Wolf was saying, “I remember being asked a question at one of the many rehab programs I’ve been in. Anyway, the question was, ‘What gets into your system faster, injecting, smashing coke into your arm or smoking it as crack. I answered, injecting. I was wrong. You get a faster high with smoke. Who’d of guessed?”

He was excited about Germany beating Brazil in the FIFA World Cup. “Can you imagine, 7 – 1 for Germany.  I wouldn’t want to be a Brazilian soccer player now, they’re ready to run the team out of the country. I’m not a big soccer fan, usually I just watch the last half of each game, but I want to see Europe defeat South America. See, I’ve got my German flag attached to Shaggy’s caboose.

He continued, “When I was nineteen, and you were nineteen, all we wanted was to get laid. When my father was nineteen he was carrying a gun for the German army. We lost the war. Our black, red and white  flag was dragged through the shit; now it’s black  red and yellow. They made us change it.

“I nearly got beat up by Outcast last night. We were sitting outside. Shaggy was off her leash, because it was at her place. There were two other dogs on leashes, a Schnauzer and a  Dachshund — a wiener dog. Anyway, the owner of the Schnauzer walked into Shaggy’s space and she went after the other dog. It was a stupid thing for the owner to do. The dogs were rolling about, like dogs do, then Outcast tried to separate them. His hand got bitten and he was dripping a lot of blood. He blamed me and was ready to fight. I was glad that Hippo was there. He brought out his hatchet. Outcast settled down after that. I don’t know if it was Shaggy or the Schnauzer that bit him — or maybe both did. The wiener dog didn’t do anything.”




16 January 2014

Chuck Senior in his wheelchair, with Sandy on his lap, were crossing Laurier, so I waited for them. He expertly maneuvered, in reverse, into his spot.  Sandy raised her head, eager to be petted.

Chuck said, “Remember the other day, I asked you to stand on the other side because I hoped one of my regulars would be coming by? Not five minutes after you left he came by and dropped a twenty into my cap. Then a woman came from the other direction dropped a five and a ten.  Instead of  being parked outside Tim Horton’s I splurged and went inside for a coffee — a regular paying customer. It was nice to get out of the cold. I didn’t come by yesterday because I was just too tired. I took a sleeping pill last night and slept from six in the evening right through the night.”

Sandy jumped down and was prancing in circles. Chuck said, “I haven’t seen her do that since last summer.  Want to know why she has so much energy? She just had a big shit. I guess she hasn’t been feeling well the last few days, kinda sluggish. She’s telling me that she wants a treat.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful. Sandy danced on her hind legs until Chuck put the treats on the ground. After finishing them she barked.

“Okay girl, I guess you can have some more.” He put down another handful.

I asked, “How is your friend who has cancer?”

“They’re going to be putting her on chemo to see what that does. If the cancer isn’t too aggressive it may cure her. We’ll just have to wait and see.  My sister died of cancer, mind you, she smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.”

I said, “My sister, also died of cancer. She didn’t smoke at all.”

“I used to smoke three packs a day, then I started feeling sick. My kidneys shut down, I was shitting all the time. I spent two and a half months in hospital. It turned out that it wasn’t the cigarettes that were doing the damage; it was black mold. I was in a basement apartment. I didn’t notice anything but behind my book-case was a big black spot. When I moved boxes from my closet shelf there was mold on the ceiling,  everywhere.  As soon as I found out I moved.

“You know, people never listen. A friend of mine keeps complaining that his dentures don’t fit properly. I remember him telling me, before he had his teeth extracted, that his dentist was going to put the new set in right away. I said to  him, ‘Tell your dentist that’s wrong! Your gums are going to shrink.’  I had twenty-two teeth extracted. I was without teeth for six months. I had my dentures fitted and I’ve never had a problem.’ Do you think he would listen to me? No, he listened to other people — people whose teeth don’t fit right.

“I was hoping to go to Hartman’s today, I’d like to get some pork chops. They’re having a sale —  buy two, get the second for a dollar.  I’m not sure how much of a charge my battery has.  Just sitting here drains the power.  I could take the bus, the two  blocks down to Bank, but the drivers really don’t like that. It throws them off their schedule.  I may just take a chance.”

I said, “I noticed how well you maneuvered, you’re an expert driver.”

“Four years in this thing and I’ve never hit anyone yet, even in crowded malls. I anticipate which direction people are going to move then turn out of the way. I can really zig zag my way through crowds.

I said, “I’ll have to go now Chuck, but perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.”







19 November 2013

The temperature was hovering around the freezing point.  I wasn’t expecting to see Chuck Senior, but there he was in his electric wheelchair, a red blanket over his knees and wrapped around Sandy. I gave Sandy a few pats on the head. She licked my hand.

“How’ve you been Chuck?”

“Oh, I’ve been okay. I’m here today but I won’t be tomorrow. It’s going down to  minus eight (seventeen degrees Fahrenheit).  I went home early  yesterday because of the hail. I’ll be out on Thursday, but I don’t know how many more days I’ll get this year.”

Sandy started barking. “Why is she barking, Chuck?”

Chuck bent down and rubbed noses with Sandy. “It’s okay little girl.”

To me he said, “Don’t you know dog language?  She wants to be petted. You started, but didn’t finish the job.”

“I’m sorry, Sandy.” I rubbed her head and ears some more. Her eyes closed. She seemed to be falling asleep.

A grey-haired woman stopped, petted Sandy and handed Chuck a twenty.”

“Bless you, ma’am.”

When she left he said, “Did you see that? I’m happy now. I’m going to buy a roast of beef, some chicken breasts, the good ones,  they have them on special at Metro.  I’ll also get some cheap chicken for soup and some stewing beef. Along with some veggies, that will keep me going for a long while.

“I’m going to park in front of Tim Horton’s. They usually don’t bother me there.  I was there yesterday. I backed in under the awning to get out of the rain. The police stopped by and asked me what I was doing. I said, ‘I’m just sitting here, I don’t talk to anybody unless I know them. I’m not doing any aggressive panhandling.’ They let it go. Later a worker came out and asked me what the police wanted. I told him. He said, ‘We like you here. You’re quiet, sober, you don’t bother anyone. If you weren’t here there might be some noisy drunk hanging around. You’re good for our business.’ In fact I got rid of one drunk who was hanging around. I said, ‘Move on, I’ve had this spot for fifteen years. Get your own, don’t be cutting my grass.’

“Sometimes people stop and ask me why I’m there and what my situation is. I tell them. I’ve got nothing to hide.

“Anyway, when I leave there, I’ll wheel up to the mall to meet my lady friend for coffee.  We’ll be able to spend about fifteen minutes together before she has to go to work. I’ll spend a couple of hours with some of my other friends, then it’s off home. I’ll probably spend most of my time in front of the idiot box.

“I have to go to the doctor to have my heart checked. It’s supposed to be over two, but under three. If it’s low I take an extra blood thinner.  See these bruises on my wrist? that’s what happens when you take blood thinners. I know my body pretty well now. When I had my last operation the doctor put me on blood thinners right away. I didn’t think that was right, but I figured, he’s a doctor, he must know what  he’s doing. Turns out he didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. A couple of days after I got home I got stomach cramps. I had a bowel movement and in the toilet bowl it was all red. I’ve had a problem before with internal bleeding. Fifteen minutes later, the same thing happened again. I said to myself ‘If this happens again, I’m going to hospital.’ Well, sir, ten minutes later, it happened again. That’s when I phoned 911, for an ambulance to take me to hospital. They did a bunch of tests, checked my pace-maker. They have to put magnets on it to do the tests. The next morning they wanted me to start blood thinners again. I said, “No sir, I’m not taking any of those goddamned pills. That’s what got me in here.

“People ask me why I even come out when the weather is bad, but Sandy needs a walk. I’m dressed anyway, so I just go over the hill and I can catch a number of buses that will bring me down here.





5 November 2013

“Good morning, Chuck. Hi, Sandy. How are you feeling today?”

“Well, I haven’t had any heart attacks, so that’s a good thing.”

“I guess every morning you wake up is a good day, right?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking, August 24 was five years since I got out of hospital from my last heart attack. My first happened the month earlier, on July 4. I remember, my friend Dave was going to pick me up for a routine doctors appointment. I  lived on Cooper then. I waited for him at the curb and that’s the last thing I remember. No sun, moon, stars, nothing until August 24. Dave said when he arrived they were taking me away in an ambulance. I don’t know how many heart attacks I had in the hospital. They told me I died nine times. It was the smoking that did it. I was going through three packs a day, and I was a big drinker. I still have dreams about smoking and I’m disappointed when I wake up to find that I can’t have one. The drinking was no problem. I just quit.

“Thinking back to that place I lived. It was the Cadillac of apartments, so that’s where all my friends liked to hang out. There was  a table up against the window. I had a cushion there for my dog. She was a Schnauser Terrier mix, mostly dark-hired with silver tips.  I called her D4, D for dog. Anyway, she liked to sit in the window, usually facing us to keep an eye on what was going on. Dave turned the other way for a second, then he bent down to kiss D4, only she had turned around to look out the window. He kissed her square on the ass. We still tease him about that, ‘Hey Dave, want another kiss from D4?’

“She was a great dog. I built a set of stairs for her so she could climb up on my bed. She usually slept, curled up with me. One night she woke up, ran down the stairs and hid under the bed. I reached under the bed for her, she was shivering. I turned on the light and noticed that she had peed on the bed. I knew that was the end. The next day I took her to the vet and he put her down. I guess I could have kept her for a while longer, a few weeks, maybe a month,  but once they’ve lost control of their bowels, it’s a sign that they’ve got more problems. I didn’t want her to suffer.

“Andre was a good friend of mine, he used to pan where Silver was. He had a dog…”

“That was the dog that Weasel got, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s the one. Then after Weasel died, Bearded Bruce had her for a while. Shortly after that, they put her down. She should have been put down a long time before that. She was suffering from cancer, had a big lump on her side, must have been in a lot of pain. That’s irresponsible. There’s a woman who wants Sandy after I die, but I’m not going to let her. She had a dog, a lab it was. It could hardly walk, couldn’t climb stairs. That’s no way for a dog to live.  I told her, ‘For the dog’s sake, you should have her put down, she’s in pain.’ No,’ she said, ‘I couldn’t bear to be with out her. I’m going to keep her as long as I can.’ That’s just plain selfish.

“My son had a dog ever since he was twelve. Of course, it was his dog, but I took care of it.”

“Your son, Chuck Junior, had a dog a short while ago.  V he called her.”

“Yeah, he only had her a short while. He said he let one of his friends take her for a walk and she ran away. I don’t believe that.

“I’m going to phone Joy today. Do you know if she has a phone now?”

“Last I heard she had a phone, had her service hooked up, along with internet that Big Jake saddled her with. He’s getting out in three weeks.”

“Is she going to take him back, after what he did to her?”

“She mentioned taking care of him while he has his hip replacement, but I can’t see that working. There’s still a restraining order preventing him from being anywhere near her. I think that was part of the reason he went back to prison.

“If Joy doesn’t have a phone, you can always call Mariah upstairs.”

“I’ll try to call. She’s a good girl. I like her.”