Category: Pets

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I’m not sure when it was that I realized I was frugal; I’d always known my parents were, especially my father.  In fact, in my youth, I remember it being the bane of my teen-aged existence when I wanted to buy some exorbitantly priced piece of clothing  that was the latest fashion statement at the time.   A part-time job followed shortly after this time. Continue reading


“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”

― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

A cathedral of pines

Towering Conifers at Lake of Two Rivers

Towering Conifers at Lake of Two Rivers

Mid-September, following a week’s rain delay, we made our way to Ontario’s Algonquin Park for some fall camping. It had been over a decade since my husband and I had last camped, certainly before we got our current dog, Hannibal. Our plan was to spend three days in the Lake of Two Rivers campground, our first visit to that park, and enjoy some hiking in the many trails of the Algonquin Park. Situated between Huntsville and Whitney on highway 60, Lake of Two Rivers campground is a cathedral of towering conifers providing dappled sunlit throughout the day.

In preparation for our visit, we pulled out our almost-new tent from the basement to determine if we still had all the pieces, pegs and tie-downs, erecting it on the back lawn. I toiled in the residual summer heat to inflate the air mattress that would serve as our bed, checking for holes. Hannibal promptly crawled inside the tent and went to sleep on the buoyant surface, oblivious to the baking heat of that hot afternoon. Although new to camping, he apparently still knew how to find the most comfortable spot around. Continue reading

There’s a catch to having a pet

Hannibal and his favorite item

Hannibal and his favorite item. Image by

Hannibal loves balls. Tennis balls, rubber balls, and even kongs, those indestructible rubber objects made to exercise your dog’s jaws, even though they aren’t even round.  Hannibal, somewhat cryptically nick-named Bull for short, lives to fetch a ball.

His day starts at the first ray of dawn, which even in the fall is much earlier than humans want to be awake.  With only a little patience, and less quietly as the moments tick by, Bull gets psyched to play ball. Since he must coerce a human to take him out, the first order of business is waking them up.  He’s learned that the direct method – prance over to nearest sleeping human and prod them repeatedly with wet nose – is not advisable as it leads to shouting if not flailing arms, so his efforts must be more subtle.  First he tries noisily re-positioning himself on the doggie pillow, changing from a furry ball curled to the left to a furry ball curled to the right.  And back again. With some heavy sighs. Then there is some tentative stretching, accompanied by some theatrical grunts and groans thrown in for good measure.  When this fails to rouse the humans, Bull tries scratching his collar, a sure-fire noise generator, his dog tags jangling piercingly with every scratch.  If the slumbering continues (although by now in truth the humans are only feigning sleep and trying to suppress their laughter), it is sometimes helpful to try sniffing the nearest human with his tickling whiskers, making a quick departure to avoid those aforementioned flailing limbs. Continue reading