Inside the house, the air was still warm but outside the breeze is already cooling off the earth and as I stand in the dog park under the quarter moon, I can feel that sensation of air against skin which tells me that for Simone's next walk, the just before bedtime walk, I may actually have to put a jacket on but right now it is fine and the person beside me, whom I can't see in the dimness except for a silhouette against the distant park lights says: Isn't this a beautiful night? I don't mind the heat during the day as long as the night cools down, and I say to her: Yes, it's a beautiful night. It'll be a hot day tomorrow, though, as if any of these words have any significance other than to fill the silence but that is the dance we do.


I've been bringing Simone to the neighbourhood dog park every day for two weeks now. When we first went there, we'd walk in through the double gates and I'd release Simone from the leash and she would immediately hurry over to the other gate pleading with me to leave and when she saw I wasn't walking over to her to assist in her release from that enclosure with all those other strange, unknown and possibly dangerous (in her mind) dogs, she'd slink over to a corner of the fence where there was some scant bush coverage and try to look invisible.



Two nights ago, she finally played with one of the other dogs for about ten seconds. It was a wild realization on Simone's part that other dogs could be fun and she ran in berserker circles about the other dog while the other dog just stared at her obvious momentary lapse of sanity. And tonight, once again, with this woman's dog, this new dog, in the dark, Simone stiffens but with a tail wag, then goes into play pose then runs circles - for twenty seconds this time.

We laugh and the woman congratulates Simone and that's the thing with this park, this new neighbourhood which I'm still not used to. It's fully night now and yet there are still people around in the park talking but not the shrieking, too loud talk of the old neighbourhood of near-barfing teens from the burbs at 2:30 in the morning after the Queen Street bars have closed, and there are people here walking and they're walking straight and at ease and not tripping on pebbles on the sidewalk and falling over onto a neighbour's front lawn and moaning about being abandoned by some boyfriend or how the world can go fuck itself, and here in this park I can hear people laughing, in earnest, and not the aggressive drunken, look-at-me-I'm-having-so-much-fun laughter followed by yelling and glass breaking and car alarms going off.

There is much to recommend in living in an "interesting" neighbourhood. There is also much to recommend in living in a neighbourhood where I can exhale.

My favorite thing now, is to lie out on the lounger on the third floor patio at night under the moon or under the silver red clouds and Simone is nearby on her Kuranda or just lying right on the wooden deck and she doesn't take her eyes off me and every time I make a move or look over at her, she has to get up and come over and nudge my arm for a pat or a scratch and sometimes, yes, I admit it, sometimes I ignore her demanding nose and just keep staring at the moon or the clouds and I exhale the day the week the month the year and when I am done exhaling that breath I take in another and it is like renewal.



11 Comments to “Nightlight”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love your soul.

  2. So glad you're back writing again, Fred. Selfishly, we all need a "fix" of Fred's thoughts on a daily basis.....hopefully life is getting more settled for you and we can fulfill this need again! Best wishes on your new life.

  3. Anonymous says:

    More Simone, please. Here's hoping for 30 seconds of play tomorrow.

  4. Kit Lang says:

    Sounds like you're both settling in...

  5. Hugs to the patient nature of rescue dog owners. You are a treasured soul with a soft and reassuring voice.

  6. Lynn says:

    I've missed you. It's good to hear your "voice" again.

  7. MKlwr says:

    Simone is so adorable! I'm glad you guys found each other. Let's hope she makes some more doggie friends in due time.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful piece, Fred.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Having had a dog from TAS, MAJOR, who has gone to doggy heaven but is always with me, I HAVE TO SAY, LISTEN UP FOLKS, YOUR SHELTER DOGS ARE FANTASTIC SO WHY THINK TWICE ABOUT ADOPTING ONE -- OR BEING ADOPTED BY ONE --. MAJOR AND I HAD SUCH A WONDERFUL TIME TOGETHER, BOTH OF US BEING SENIORS. I WAS THE LUCKY ONE TO BE ADOPTED BY HIM, WE HAD FUN, "GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER". I KNOW THAT MY BOY "MAJ" WANTS ME TO HAVE ANOTHER OLDER DOG, TO TAKE OVER WHERE HE LEFT OFF. PLEASE GO AND VISIT THE STAFF AT YOUR LOCAL SHELTER -- THEY'LL MATCH YOU UP AND THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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