Monday, 3 September 2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

new family

So this funny thing happened wherein I adopted Meo into my family instead of sending him off to another! Best decision I have ever made, folks.
I knew I was falling in love with him while we were fostering but it was when there came some interest in him by potential adopters, and the prospect of losing him and not having his gentle, joyful presence around that spun me into fast decision making.
My heart knew what it wanted, but I still had to convince my brain, my bank account, my partner, cats. Once I started talking to other dog owners in my life and researching the feasibility of owning a dog while living with a disability and limited income the decision became clearer and clearer. Some people say that there is never a "good time" to have a baby, that there is always a reason why you should wait. But if you just go for it because it is something/one that you want in this world, your life molds and shifts to fit around it.

He makes me so happy, he gets along with the cats, my friends, other dogs. I feel like I can give him a good life full of love and respect and care. So I did it!

That was about six weeks ago and I haven't regretted a minute of it. Living with Meo has brightened even the darkest days and I have grown into a better guardian both for him and my cats.
Without bragging, I gotta say that this guy loves me as much as I love him. He follows me where ever I go in the house, just jauntily trotting behind me and settling in to be by my side in whatever room I land in. I have fallen in love with the sound of the "click-click-click-click" his duck feet make as he shadows my movements or runs to greet my partner at the door. My cats, more one than the other, have accepted him into the house. Neither of them are scared of him anymore and there have been more than one moment when the lot of us all squish into the double bed for a snooze and a cuddle. (those are my favourites)

As I write this he is sleeping not two feet away, his sweet and Seussical little body curled into a C. I watch him breath and my heart slows down and a smile comes to my face. I am desperately in love.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

About the Title...

So you might be asking yourself about the title of this blog. I would. What's the connection you may ask?
Here's the deal:

Well, I am a black woman. Black queer poet to be precise and I have loved animals since I met my best friend’s cat at around 5yrs old. I am the child of Jamaican immigrants and grew up in a staid mostly white suburb of Toronto. Growing up in an environment where those around me all had a mom, dad, at least 2 kids and a cat or dog I felt like an eyesore with my single dad, only child, petless status. I started asking for a pet around kindergarten and even now, some 25 years later I am still trying to convince my father to get a dog in his retirement. 

My mother, father and family on his side all were born and raised in Jamaica in various shades of rural countryside. My family, then and now, does not believe in pets. 

"Animals IN the house? Oh no no no, not while I'm alive" what I hear.
"But Dad didn't you say you had all sorts of pets when you were a kid?"
"Yes, we had dogs, cats, goats, chickens, you name it."
"So what? You think any of those things came through the door? Uh uh. They didn't even have names, just Dog, Cat." (This turned out to be not entirely true as I learned that the dogs had in fact been named)

Once members of my family began immigrating to Canada, their desires for a "better life" for themselves and their children began in earnest. Pets were a distraction from success. The adults had to work on their careers, houses, gardens etc and the children were expected to work hard so that we would get good grades and go to university and become, well, successful; particularly in a practical profession, i.e. not a writer/artist. 
Essentially, an animal in the house was something white people with leisure did. Not us.

So throughout my childhood every request for a cat (my animal of choice at the time) was met with a firm negative. In the end I left home having owned and loved 2 goldfish, Amanda, and Henry. 

When I was about 19 I got a cat, Pika. She had been a gift to my retired and home alone aunt out of the kindness of her daughter's heart. But those back home opinions hadn't changed. So one evening I get a phone call:

"Hey, want to hear something?"
"Ohhh K"
"Want her?"

I did.

Pika and I have been together ever since and are a dynamic duo. I love her immensely and my life became fuller when I was finally able to, on my own, love a little furry beast. Over the years I came to welcome another cat, Sydney into my family and my life filled up all over again.

Early in the days of working at my bookstore job I got to meet my coworker's dog George. George is the first dog who became a regular part of my life. She "worked" at the store often and I soon became to house-sit for my coworker.; first for her 5 (now 4) cats, which was amazing because they each have such outrageous personalities Soon George got left in my care as well and I fell in love! I began to imagine myself with a dog companion and have never recovered.

I have never been wealthy and one of my biggest apprehensions about getting a dog was the financial aspect of pet ownership. But as I get older I am more confident in my ability to be responsible and do what I have to do to make sure my beasts have happy and comfortable lives.

Back to the title…

I have known many dogs in my life, all of them have been owned by white friends. Which is fine in and of itself obviously but it got me to thinking. Where was the POC (person of colour) representation in the pet world?! I had this strange feeling of self-consciousness about being the only one I would know with a dog. Why you may ask? All I can say is that the rhetoric that pets are wasteful and for white people was cycling around my head. I felt like I would be judged by other Black people for buying into a white lifestyle. I have a white partner and already get a fair amount of random and unwelcome attention and commentary about that. I never would have thought that having a (visible) pet would be linked to class and race but here we are. Having a dog often comes with a certain social class. Having a dog immediately makes me more visible, and in particular, noticed. Dogs invite attention and conversation. And with that comes the risk for offence, the worry of properly representing myself. There are so many stereotypes, assumptions and judgments that come with being a Black woman.

So the title came from my desire to proclaim my blackness to myself and any readers and to acknowledge that, even if I am the only Black woman I see with a big old mutt beside her that is just fine. And if I can invite some conversation and input on the topic, even better!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

And now: Méo!

Feb 02 2012

There was a lull; some heartbreak; some crossed wires.  But now let me introduce my newest foster friend: Méo. (
He is a 7yr old Corgi mix that was surrendered after his owner passed away. He hails from (possibly rural) Quebec and is slowly learning English, quite the quick study! I have had to learn some French doggie commands to be able to communicate with this guy. It is pretty cool actually to see him look at me blankly when I speak in English and then respond immediately when I speak in French. He hasn't eaten a ton yet and the cats have a lot of negative things to say to him right now, but I am hopeful of us all figuring it out...

Update Feb 28!

What a darling! Meo has completely settled in and the cats have calmed down...sort of, and one them has taken a very keen interest in getting to know him. He won't introduce himself face to face yet but I think they are finding some kindred spirits with each other. They are basically twins, just not the same species.

Sydney vs Meo

both ginger and white
both, when awake, need to be in the same room with me
both love to have their belly rubbed for as long as possible
both sleep without modesty, sprawled on their backs
they sneeze a lot
they're kinda clumsy
they'd like all of my attention please

It has been a treat to watch them stake each other out, sneaking a little bit closer when the other one is sleeping. Looking forward to seeing this develop!

As expected...I got all attached again! I am a bit more rational about my love this time but it is a struggle not to want to keep him around too. I will love to love him until he finds his forever home. So if you are looking for someone to take home...