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Valour, the Story of a Chained Dog

Valour could feel the life ebbing from his frail body. it was - 30 with the wind chill. His chain kept him prisoner, and held him fast. He was surrounded by his own excrement, and his dog house was tipped over and out of reach, so there was nothing to shield him from the bitterness of winter.

He could see the house, knowing there was warth within, but his howls fell on deaf ears. Nobody came to his aid. Nobody cared. After all, he was just a dog.

It had been this way since he was a pup. They brought him home, and chained him to the dog house. In the beginning, the little boy came out to play with him, but soon tired of him, and the only human contact he had was the master filling his dishes with water and a cheap, tasteless dog food a couple of times a week. There was never as much as a pat on the head. In the winter he never got fresh water, he had to eat snow ... and that snow was usually fouled by his own waste. The endless hours of boredom drove him to the brink of insanity. He often chewed on his paws until they bled.

Now, he could feel the pain and misery was coming to an end. As the cold finally sapped his life's breath away, Valour felt warm for the first time in his life. He went to sleep.

Valour blinked. What was this ? Warmth. Blankets. He lifted his head. He was lying on a bed. No... IN a bed. Morning sunlight spilled across the quilt that covered him. Panic. Where am I ? He heard a dog howling outside the window. It sent a chill up his spine; it was so filled with despair and fear. He suddenly had awareness that something very strange and magical had transpired in the deep cold of the winter night. He was given awareness ... Valour had switched places with the Master.

He leaped out of bed in his human body, strangely not awkward, but as though he had been this way his whole life. He looked out the bedroom window. There, chained to the dog house outside was the Master, in Valour's old body.He was shivering, crying and desperate to be relieved of his huger, loneliness and cold.

Valour gripped the window sill, his knuckles turning white. His eyes narrowed as he looked out upon the Master. He was overcome with righteous anger.

He strode purposefully into the kitchen, his eyes darting about, taking in everything. There ... he found what he was looking for. He reached over and pulled the sharpest knife out of the knife block on the counter. He gripped it tightly, and made his way to the door. In bare feet and pyjamas, he trudged through the snow towards the Master. The Master cowered, shivering, fearing what was to come. Valour grasped the Master, placed the knife between his throat and the collar. The Master screamed in terror. Valour jerked the knife upwards with one violent thrust. The knife severed the collar, and along with the chain, it fell to the ground with a dull thud. Picking the Master up and cradling him in his arms, he made his way back to the house. He kicked the door open and carried him over to the fireplace to warm him. He fed him, and gave him clean water. He then covered him with a blanket, and sat beside him, saying nothing, but stroking his head thoughtfully.

You see, Valour had been given the brain and body of a man, but he still had the heart of a dog, a heart that beat with compassion, love and a forgiveness beyond human comprehension.


Copyright Sally Hull 2007

Do not crosspost or reproduce without express permission.

 Published: 26 November 2008
 Last Updated: 27 November 2008
 Hits: 870

Irresponsible Pet Owners
January 1, 2009

What a great way to start off the New Year by taking the dogs to the park for a nice walk, or so I thought!

Once again people obviously need a reminder of the rules at LMP. Yes, another incident occurred, which included three dogs chasing my dog into a tree and of course he sustained an injury.

First of all, I admit to not handing the situation to the best of my ability and yes I ended up yelling at the woman since she obviously needed and deserved it !

Instead of an apology and asking if my dog was Ok she decided to babble on an on about how the situation required me to be calm as my dog literally cried in pain for what seemed like a solid minute. I was attempting to physically check him out and calm him while pushing her dogs away from my injured dog. She was told by other members of our group to get her dogs on leashes since she wasn't able to verbally call off her dogs. Surprise, she had NO LEASHES with her. Instead she had the audacity to put the blame on our group of dogs and took no responsibility for her own dogs and their aggressive behavior.

Well after all was said and done, and my dog limped for the rest of the walk back to the vehicle, I thought how do we enforce the rules so these situations do not occur ? If there are any ideas I would gladly help so my fur babies can have an enjoyable time instead of traumatic with injuries.

As a last note, regarding the on-line vote, ( even though I personally have been voting for the entire park), obviously with these situations occuring I see now how it would be a very bad idea. In my opinion there should be more areas designated as off leash and a suggestion would be to add the south east back field by the golf course.

I would appreciate if you could post this on the site


Rhonda B.

 Published: 02 January 2009
 Last Updated: 04 January 2009
 Hits: 855

First Dogs
Here is a collection of the First Dogs. They are not in any order, ( at least not yet ). Story taken from the Winnipeg Free Press Dec. 28/ 08 by Lee-Anne Goodman.

For a excellent photo spread go to :,29307,1830236_1746240,00.html

" If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog ", Harry S. Truman.

" Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House", Calvin Coolidge.

B. Obama - April 13 2009 - enter Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog

G.W. Bush - Barney, Miss Beazley, Scot Terrier's

B. Clinton - Buddy, a chocolate Lab.

George H.W. Bush - Millie , a Springer Spaniel

Ronald Reagan - Lucky, Bouvier Des Flandres

Gerard Ford - Liberty a Golden Retriever

Richard Nixon - Vicky a Poodle, Checkers a Cocker Spaniel , Pasha a Terrier and King Timahoe, a Irish Settter

Abraham Lincoln - Fido, a mutt

John F. Kennedy - 9 dogs, two of the mutts, Wolf and Pushinka

Robert F. Kennedy - Brumus, Newfoundland

John Tayler - Le Beau, an Italian Greyhound

James Buchanan - Lara, Newfoundland

Ulysses S. Grant - Faithful, Newfoundland

Rutherford B. Hayes - Hector, Newfoundland , Dog, a Cocker Spaniel

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Fala and Meggie. Scottish Terriers ( Fala is shown in the Roosevelt Memorial)

George Washington - 7 dogs, four black and tan Coonhounds named Taster,Tipler,Tipsy and Drunkard. He also was one of the developers the American Foxhound breed.

John Adams - Satan unknown breed

Lyndon B. Johnson - 4 Beagles named Beagle, Little Beagle, Him and Her, Yuki a mutt

Harry S. Truman - Feller a Cocker Spaniel

Herbert Hoover - Had 10 dogs including, King Tut, a German Sheppard, Two Fox Terriers, Big Ben and Sonnie, Norwegian Elkhound Weegie and a Irish Wolfhound named Patrick

Calvin Coolidge - two White Collies named Rob Roy and Prudence Prim

Warren G. Harding - had a Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy



 Published: 29 December 2008
 Last Updated: 15 April 2009
 Hits: 853

Interview at the Dog Pound, Part II
It had been two weeks since I visited the local dog pound and its denizen. the story, not surprisingly, had attracted a lot of attention from rescue groups in the area. They were pleased someone from the city paper had taken the time to write a story on why dogs end up in the pound. It was hoped it might raise some awareness.

I found my mind wandering back to that sad place time and again. I wondered how feisty little Patsy was, and if she had been adopted yet. I also worried for Popper, the young Border Collie. I was deeply troubled in my spirit.

As I sat staring blankly at my computor screen, trying to concentrate on another story, I felt the familiar warmth of a little chin resting on my knee.

" Hi Sweetie." I stroked the soft fur of my own dog, Sophie. She always knew when I was upset. They all seem to just know. There was then a gentle nudge of my arm on the opposite side as my other dog, Banner, veid for my affections. Border Collies, both of them.

" I have to go back, " I said, looking into Sophie's intelligent eyes. " I have to know."

Return to the Pound

Once again, I found myself in that foul smelling kennel area. No matter how many times you clean a place like this, the stench is always there. It must be hell for dogs, having such a keen sense of smell.

Pete's old kennel had a new tenant, some sort of Labrador mix. She was black with small white markings on her chest and paws. There was a food dish in the corner, the kibble untouched by the look of it. She lay on her side, whining. I could see she had recently had pups by the swollen teats. Poor girl.

I moved past the Lab, to Spartan's old kennel. Empty. Good! I held my breath as I approached Popper's kennel, hoping beyond hope that he had been adopted. I was not prepared for what I saw. This once proud, handsome young Border Collie was now a quivering mass in the corner of his kennel. He glanced up at me briefly, a flicker of recognition in his eyes, then he begun to cough violently. His tail was tucked tightly between his shaking legs.

" Oh Popper!" I cried. " What has happened to you?" Popper simply cowered into the corner, shrinking away from my voice.

" It's his breed," a familiar voice spoke from behind. " they're too sensitive. The noise and smells drive them crazy. Intelligent fellows like him can't take the long hours of boredom and lack of companionship." I turned around to see my little friend Patsy, the Jack Russell Terrier. I peered through her kennel gate.

" Ah Patsy," I shook my head. " I had hoped you would have found a nice home."

" I did," Patsy replied. " Well, at least I thought I did. The day you came here, someone came in and chose me. It turned out the same ... another person who wanted a cut little dog, but not the work it takes to keep them happy. She brought me back just three days later, tired of my constant playing and running about, bouncing off the furniture." Patsy stood on her hind legs, resting her little paws on the gate." But guess what? A man and a little girl came here yesterday, they smelled VERY good too! They petted me, and played with me. Then they threw a ball for me. I brought it right back to them like a good dog!" Patsy was becoming very excited. Her stubby little tail wagged rapidly back and forth, making me grin. " They kept talking about something called flyball ! The man said they were going to go talk to someone named Mom, and maybe they would come back."

I smiled. Maybe they would come back. In the meantime, I had some questions for Patsy. " What has happened in  here since my last visit?" She dropped back down onto her haunches, and became sullen.

" I hate this place," she said. " That Lab down there?" I nodded. " Well, she came in with ten puppies. Someone just dumped them all like garbage at the front door. That was last week. Five days ago, some of her young became very, very ill. I remember smelling the sickness ... the smell of blood. The workers came in, they called the sickness Parvo. They were very agitated. Six of her young died, the other four went behind the steel door." Patsy shuddered. " She has been mourning since, and will not eat."

" Lord have mercy," I whispered.

" That's not all," she said. " the disease has run through the kennel, and others have gone behind the steel door. I suppose I was lucky, I was vaccinated. So was Popper, but he has The Cough." As if on cue, Popper once again was seized by a coughing fit behind us.

" I have to get out of here," Patsy wailed. " I am so frightened!" Once again I was questioning the logic of my return to this God forsaken olace.

" Oh Patsy," I opened the door to here kennel and picked her up in my arms, cuddling her close. I could feel her trembling.

" You smell different," she said suddenly stopping and sniffing me. " You one of ...THEM."

" Them?" I asked.

" A Rescuer!" She sniffed me once more, her little tail wagging rapidly. Just then, the door to the kennel room opened, and a pound worker and a man with a little girl came in. The little girl rushed toward Patsy's kennel, but stopped abruptly when she saw me holding her.

" Oh no!" she wailed. " You aren't taking my dog are you?" I quickly put Patsy into her waiting arms, and said " No young lady, she is all yours! But take very good care of her, she is one special little dog." 

" Yay! Daddy look!" she squealed as Patsy planted little dog kisses all over her cheeks.

" Daddy, is she really mine?"

" Yes Honey, she is really yours," her father beamed. The worker instructed them to be sure to bleach the bottoms of their shoes as they left, and I saw a brilliant sparkle in Patsy's eyes as she looked at me over the shoulder of her new little master. This time, I was certain, it would be okay ... at least for this one little dog.

As I left the building, and the many sad and despairing dogs it held, I could not help but wonder how anyone with a heart could abandon their beloved and devoted pet. Ignorance and selfishness are the cause of so much grief. These amazing animals give humans their whole hearts. They serve them, protect them, and give themunconditional love regardless of how they are treated. Their capacity for forgiveness is something I will never comprehend ..and yet they are so often treated like trash by the very ones they trust. Their loyalty is repaid with blind indifference.

Opening the door to my car, I wiped a tear from my cheek, and looked down. " Patsy isn't the only dog who will find out what flyball is, right Popper?" Popper looked up at me, a glimmer of hope returning to his glazed eyes, his tail wagging slightly between his legs. I knelt down, cupped his sweet little face in my hands, and looked him in the eyes. " It's off to the vet with you, and then when you are well, you are going to meet your new brother and sister."

Author's note:

This is a work of fiction, and as such, I have chosen to end it on a happy note. I truly wish all pound stories ended in such a manner, but sadly, this is not the case. For most animals, the story ends quite differently. According to the Humane Society in the USA, THIRTY EIGHT ANIMALS PER MINUTE are put to death for no other reason than THEY EXIST. Responsibility begins with YOU.

Copyright Sally Hull 2006

Please contact for permission to post or print this story. 

 Published: 25 January 2009
 Last Updated: 27 January 2009
 Hits: 804
Interview at the Dog Pound
Interview at the Dog Pound written by Sally Hull

As a journalist, I decided to go to the dog pound, and interview some of the " inmates". I wanted to know what it was like in there from their perspective. What follows is not for the faint of heart.

I entered the building, and one of the workers accompanied me to the holding area.This is where dogs are kept before they are allowed up for adoption ...If they are allowed up for adoption. If the dogs are found to be aggressive in any way, euthanasia is employed. Fortunately, if " fortunately" is the word to be used here...this is a Canadian establishment, and they use lethal injection, not a gas chamber.

The pound worker led me past a big steel door that says "Employees Only". " What is in there? " I asked. From the look he gave me, I knew that this is where some dogs go, and never return.

We moved on to a row of kennels. The dogs were barking loudly, there was the acrid smell of urine and feces, and a feeling of despair seemed to permeate the room. " Go ahead," the worker said. " They're all yours."


I looked into the first kennel, and saw only the back of a medium sized dog who was curled up in the corner of his kennel, shivering. He was mostly white, with some black spots. " Hello?" I said. " May I come in?" He lifted his head, as though it weighed more than he could bear. When he looked at me, I could see he was a Pit Bull. His eyes were gentle, but filled with grief. " Enter, " was all he said.

I stepped in, closing the gate behind me. He put his head back down, facing away from me. I crouched down a few feet away.

" My name is Pete. Petey my Master called me," he said, still not looking at me.

" Why are you here Pete?" I asked.

" I am here because Master cannot afford to move to another province. I am here because someone with power said I am vicious, and a killer. Someone who never met me. Master took me for a walk one day, and some lady started to scream when she saw me. I got frightened, and barked at her. The dog police came, and they took me away. I have been with Master for 10 years. The last time I saw him, he just held me and cried. He kept telling me he was sorry. I worry for him. Whatever will he do without me ? " Pete shivered even more. A tear slid down my face. I am supposed to remain objective, but this was wrong ... so wrong.

" Thank you Pete." I said. He said nothing as I got up and left his kennel.


The kennel next to Pete's held a very young looking dog. Pure Border Collie by my guess. He stood on his hind legs, looking at me through the gate.

" Hello. My name's Popper. He tilted his head. " Are you here to take me home?"

" No, I'm sorry," I replied. " But I would like to talk with you."

" Sure. What would you like to talk about?"

" Popper, how did you come to be in this place?" I asked.

Popper dropped down from the gate, with a perplexed look on his face. He walked to the back of the kennel, then back to the front. I noticed he had one blue eye, and one brown. He was quite beautiful. His black and white coat was shiny and thick.

" I am not certain WHY I am here. I think maybe my family will come back for me. They bought me when I was only 6 weeks old. I remember they said how intelligent Border Collies are, and how it would be so easy to train me. they were very excited at first. The little ones played with me all the time. But the trouble is with little Masters, they refuse to stay in a group. I constantly had to nip their heels to keep them together." He looked confused. " Why won't they stay in a group?" he sighed. " So I did what I thought I should do. I am not quite sure why the little ones screamed when I did my job, but they did , and the Masters got very angry at me. They also got angry when I had to relieve myself, and did so in the house. I am not sure where they expected me to go. All they said was that I was the smartest breed in the world, and I should just KNOW better. Then they left me in the yard for a month or so. I got bored a lot, and I dug holes in the grass. The next thing I knew, the Masters brought me here."

Popper jumped back up on the gate, his white paws protruding through the links. He looked at me with his lovely eyes, and asked " Will you please let them know I want to come home? Please tell them I promise I will be good."

" I will Popper," I said.


My heart was breaking. I was beginning to regret coming here, but their stories had to be told. I moved along. The next dog I saw looked to be easily 100 lbs.,a Rottweiler. He was handsome indeed, except for the scars on his face and back. He tilted his head, and looked me right in the eyes.

" Hello. Who are you?" he asked.

" I am a reporter," I replied. "May I speak with you for a little while?"

" Most certainly. My name is Spartan. You can come in, I won't bite," he said.

" Thank you Spartan. I will."

I entered his kennel, reached out and stroked his giant head. He made a loud grumbling noise, and closed his eyes.

" Spartan, why are you here?"

Before he could answer my question, he was suddenly in the grip of a nasty coughing spasm. It sounded painful.

" Please excuse me," he said when it passed. " Kennel cough. It seems all of us who come in here get it." " Why am I here? Well, about two years ago, I was born in the backyard of some person I can't even recall. I had 11 brothers and sisters. I recall a day when a big man came and gave that person some money, and took me away from my mother. They had to chain her up, as she was very angry that he took me. They chained her and beat her. I came to know the man by the name of Jim. I overheard him telling his friends that I would grow up to be big and mean like my mother. But as I grew older, all I wanted to do was play and be friends with everybody. Jim said I needed to be taught how to be mean, so he chained me up in the yard. No more house for me, he said, I was too spoiled. When people came by to visit, I was so happy to see them. I wanted them to come near, I would roll onto my back so he would know I wasn't a bad dog. That made him beat me more." spartan's eyes clouded with grief. " Then he brought me here."

I reached out and stroked Spatan's massive gentle head once more. " I am sorry Spartan. some people are just plain evil." I gave him a kiss and left his kennel. as I walked away, Spartan called out, " What will happen to me, nice lady?"

I shook my head. " I can't say Spartan. Maybe someone kind will come and get you. We can only hope."


I walked a little further down. I could see a shape moving at the back of the next kennel. ' Hello?" I called out. Suddenly the shape lunged at the gate in a fury, barking and gnashing its teeth. I stumbled backwards, and crashed into an adjacent kennel. The other dogs began barking loudly and jumping at their gates.

" Don't go near her, " a small female voice came from behind me. " She's mad."

I gathered myself back together, and saw a little brown and white Jack Russell terrier behind me.

" Thanks for the warning," I was stilltrembling. across the way, the other dog, apparently a Husky and German Shephard cross, was glaring at me, lips curled back revealing brown stained teeth. Her ribs and hips showed through her dull, matted grey coat. The little dog invited me into her kennel, and I gladly went in.

" Who are you?"

" My name is Patsy." the little brown and white dog held a paw up in greeting.

" My owner surrendered me. She said she wanted a cute little dog like the one on the TV show, Frasier. She didn't bother to look into the type of dog I am." Pasty heaved a sigh. " I suppose she expected me to just lie about and only need a short walk each day, just like Eddie, but my energy was so high that I needed to run and play." She glanced at her surroundings. " Now I am here. I suppose it could be worse. I could be like .... her." Patsy looked towards the still growling dog across the way.

" What happened to make her so vicious?" I asked.

" From what we could gather," she replied. " She was found tied in a backyard. She only had a three foot chain. Some days there was no water. Rarely was there any food. One day a nice neighbour came by and brought her some meat. By then it was too late. She was already mad. She broke off her chain, and bit the poor man badly. We know she will be going behind the steel door. I am sad to say, I think it will be best. Perhaps then she will know some peace."

Just then, the door at the end of the building opened, and a woman stepped inside. All the dogs began to bark wildly, then one by one, they went quiet. I whispered tp Patsy, " Who is that? Why have all the dogs gone quiet?"

Patsy breathed deeply through her little nose, and closed her eyes. " SHE is a Rescuer. Can't you smell it?" she asked.

" Smell what?" I was confused.

" Compassion. Love. Sorrow. It emanates from her pores. She is here for one of us, but nobody knows who just yet." Patsy looked hopeful.

The Rescuer moved from kennel to kennel, looking at each dog. I sat quietly watching. I could see tears in her eyes as she made eye contact with each one. She stopped at Spartan's cage and spoke quietly to him.

" No more beatings my man. No more. You are coming with me. From here on  in, it's all going to get better." The Rescuer produced a leash, opened the kennel door, and took Spartan away. As he walked beside her, his little stubby tail wagged with delight. Patsy sighed again. I could see the disappointment in her eyes, and it grieved me. They all had the same look, as they watched The Rescuer depart.

" I am so sorry Patsy," I said in a whisper. " But you are a little dog, and everyone loves little dogs. I am convinced you will be rescued soon." Patsy's brown eyes twinkled at me, a little bit of hope returning.

I had heard and seen enough. I needed to tell people how it was for these unfortunate creatures. They were all here through no fault of their own. I stood to leave. I passed by many other dogs I did not interview, looking at each one, wishing I could take them all home with me and give them the love they deserved.

 I stood by the door taking one last glance back, when it opene, and one of the pound workers came in. His face was drawn and sad. He walked by without a word, and stopped at Pete's kennel. I heard him take a deep breath, then he paused, and opened the kennel door. The words were muffled, but I am sure I heard him say," I'm sorry old boy." He came out, with Petey in tow. The old dog's head hung down in resignation, and they both disappeared behind the big steel door.

Copyright Sally Hull 2006

Please contact for permission to post or print this story. 

 Published: 24 January 2009
 Last Updated: 25 January 2009
 Hits: 836
Paleofloods in the Red River Basin, Manitoba's Mineral Resources

Here's a little more information that I dug up in my research about the 1826 flood I thought might be interesting. Taken from the Geolgical Survey.

The current Red River oak record extends back to AD 1286 and documents changes in environmental conditions over the last seven hundred years.

Extreme floods, such as the 1950 flood or larger, cause oak to develop distintive anatomical markers, or "flood rings", that can be used to identify older and previously unknown Red River floods. Tree rings provide an extended flood record for the lower Red River ( between Winnipeg and Morris) that extends from AD 1648 to 1999. This technique has identified seven high-magnitude floods during the last 350 years: 1997, 1979, 1950, 1852, 1826, 1762 and 1747.

Although the five most recent flood rings are coincident with known high-magnitude floods, signatures in 1747 and 1762 predate local instrumental and historical flood records and represent previously unknown floods. Flood rings also document Red River floods in North Dakota and Minnestota in AD 1510, 1538, 1658, 1682, 1726, 1727, 1741, 1747 and 1762.

Major Findings

- The 1826 flood was the most severe event since at least AD 1648

- The risk of flooding has changed several times during the last 350 years. Although the mechanisms responsible for these changes are not yet understood, we clearly cannot assume that the pattern of recent flooding will continue indefinitely into the future.

- Future flood risks should use techniques that account for non-stationairity and non-randomness intoduced by climatic and landscape changes.

* for a larger view go to the Forces of Nature Picture file 


 Published: 21 January 2009
 Last Updated: 20 July 2009
 Hits: 841

Dog Park Etiquette
Playing by the Rules

taken from Dog Basics Fall 2008 pg. 20

Spending a couple hours at the dog park, or leash-free park, is a fun way to enjoy a crisp, sunny afternoon, if you play by the rules. Dogs and owners alike must follow a few simple guidelines to make the dog park experience a happy one.

For Pups

 - Make sure your dog has the right attitude for a dog park. He should be outgoing and social with other animals. If your guy is fearful and tends to be aggressive around other dogs or people, a crowded dog park might not be the best choice.

- Only healthy dogs should take trips to the dog park. Fleas, kennel cough and mange can all be passed onto other dogs, so make sure your dog is healthy and has all immunizations up to date. Dogs under six months of age should not attend a dog park. They are still small and may not have all their necessary vaccinations. 

- Dogs should know basic commands such as sit, stay and come.

- Play fighting might seem innocent enough, but with strange dogs, playing could lead to more serious fighting. Even play fighting can result in injuries, so discourage your dog from any kind of fighting.

For Owners

- Limit the use of toys in a dog park, especially if the area is crowded.

- Even though you are in a designated dog area, you must still pick up after your dog. Keeping the park clean will also help to eliminate the spread of disease and parasites. leaving messes for other owners to pick up is a big no-no and could result in a fine.

- If your dog is in heat, leave her at home.

- Try not to offer too many dog treats as other dogs might try to chase you down for a few. Never give treats to strange dogs unless you speak to the owner first. some dogs have allergies or could be in training.

- Don't pick up dogs that don't belong to you unless you speak with the owner. By handling strange dogs, you could end up with a bite or injure the pup.

- Leave small kids at home. Often, dogs don't take well to younger children. They may get excited and inadvertently injure children by jumping on them or knocking them down.

- Know where your dog is at all times. Dogs can get themselves into trouble quickly, so don't take the leash off and let your dog take off for an hour. Call him back once in a while to check in and only bring one or two dogs to the park at a time so you can supervise properly. 

 Published: 22 March 2009
 Last Updated: 22 March 2009
 Hits: 806

Dogs in Aboriginal Legend and Mythology
By Bryan Cummins

Illustrations by Nick Craine

Taken from: Dogs in Canada Annual 2005

From the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, dogs played an important role in First Nations cultures. In addition to being hunters, draught animals, sentries and sometimes a food item, they were central characters in myths and legends.

Netsilik Stories

The Netsilik ( Netsilingmiut - " people of the seal ") are Central Inuit whose traditional territory lies to the northwest of Hudson Bay. Nuliajuk is a major deity in Netsilik religion and is considered the mother of all animals and the mistress of both land and sea.

There are two stories that account for the origin of Nuliajuk, both of which include a dog. In the more common version, people long ago left their home and, as they would be crossing the water, they made a large raft of several kayaks that were tied together. As the very crowded rafts were pulling away, a little girl named Nuliajuk jumped onto the raft along with the other children. But she had no family so nobody cared about her. The children threw her off the raft and as she tried to climb back on, they chopped her fingers off. As she sank to the bottom of the sea, the stumps of her figers became alive as they bobbed about in the water like seals. In this way, seals came into existence.

Nuliajuk herself sank to the bottom of the sea where she became the sea spirit and the mother of all sea beasts. And, she became mistress of everything else that lives, including land beasts, which people need to hunt. Because of the way she was treated, she has no affection for people and given that she is the most powerful spirit, she exerts considerable control over the destinies of people and is thus the most feared of all spirits. She lives in a house on the bed of the sea. Along the passageway of the house, there is a big black dog that keeps watch. Nobody can get past him except for the most powerful shamans, of whom he is afraid.

The dog-husband story is fairly common through-out much of North America and, in fact, is found in Asia, as well. There is a Netsilik version of the myth that explains not only the origin of Nuliajuk, but the origins of First Nations and Europeans and, intriguingly perhaps, Netsilik perceptions of them. Of course, the inclusion of references to Europeans indicates that this is a post-contact story, suggesting the dynamism of Netsilik culture.


Pet Worship
Taken from Comda, the Calender People 2009 Canada :1-800-387-7702

Historical records show that the cat was highly respected in ancient Egypt and is believed to be first domesticated around 4000 years ago. Of great danger to Egyptians were the many poisonous snakes that lived close to Egyptian villages. Mice and rats also invaded the food supplies which were stored in granaries. Cats were  used to keep these pests at bay.

Slowly, cats made their way from patrolling the grounds outside to being brought into Egyptian homes. As they were given prepared foods and they gave birth to and raised their litters indoors, the cats of ancient Egypt became more and more domesticated.

Cats became regarded as sacred animals. Their images appear on many ancient Egyptian artifacts such as pendants, rings and amulets. Wearing jewelry adorned with cat imagery was believed to bring whoever wore it closer to the gods and offer them protection.

Blue Green Algae
From Sandy: Cooper

I thought this was very important to share with everybody I know who owns a dog and/or has friends with dogs.

This is a letter my friends received about a dog they sold to these people 4 years ago. My friends are " W - Kennels". I have attached the letter as it explains exactly what happened.


We had him at the trailer out at Longbow Lake. At about 5:30 ish we had him fetching his decoy - he ate his dinner as per usual at around 6:30 ish and peed in the trailer, something he never did. At 1:00 am he and Reid had gone down to the dock for their usual late evening walk and pee break! Reid noticed him scratching at his neck uncontrollably, he started frothing at the mouth but we though, " oh great he's going to be sick, he just got too much lake water in him" so we went to bed and I woke up at 6:00 am to check on him and there was frothy mucous covering the entire floor and he was just beside himself. He was afraid of us and just backed himself into a corner. We eventually got him outside but within minutes he started to seizure. We raced him to the emergency vet but he died on route at 6:46 to be exact. Chris ( our youngest ) saw the whole thing unfold with us and just kept yelling, "Cooper don't die". Gail, honestly it was an awful way for him to die.

One of the first things out of the vet's mouth was this Blue Green Algae, Then she thought heart but our vet said no way when we talked to him last night. My sister proceeded to call Win-rose here in the City and first words out of her mouth ... Blue Green Algae Poisoning and our vet out at Southeast in Steinbach couldn't believe it and after describing all the symptoms thought the same thing. Unbelievable. Never heard a thing about this before. I even called the Northwestern Health Unit in Kenora

 Published: 25 October 2009
 Last Updated: 25 October 2009
 Hits: 822

What are the Coloured Cloths tied to the Tress?

In the indigenous culture, people make what is called 'Prayer Ties'. Prayer Ties are made for a variety of reasons including to ask for individual help/ healing regarding a life tribulation, to pray for others that are struggling/ill or to pray for mother earth. This is done by holding the sacred medicine, tobacco, and praying. The tabacco is then put into coloured cloth, which is then tied to a tree (mostly White Poplar). This is done because it is believed that the trees can carry the prayers up to the spirit world.

Little Mountain Park is considered a sacred site for indigenous people. There is a lot of ceremony that is practiced here, there are many medicines that grow naturally in the park and the White Poplar trees are in abundance. This is the reason why people come to hang their prayer tied in the park.

Recently, some prayer ties were found cut down and thrown into the garbage which was very troublesome for the individual who found it. A lot of the brighter prayer ties have been recently hung as to ask for Mother Earth to heal and for the world to be COVID free. Also, the prayer ties, bird houses and sun catchers that people have hung beautify the woods. As such, we ask that all people respect this form of prayer and leave the prayer ties on the trees.

Miligwech (Thank you)

Subject: Love of dogs
When I am old...
I will wear soft gray sweatshirts...
and a bandana over my silver hair...
and I will spend my social security checks on my dogs.

I will sit in my house on my well-worn chair
and listen to my dogs breathing.

I will sneak out in the middle of a warm summer night
and take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow...

When people come to call, I will smile and nod
as I show them my dogs...
and talk of them and about them...
...the ones so beloved of the past
and the ones so beloved of today...

I will still work hard cleaning after them,
mopping and feeding them and whispering their names
in a soft loving way.

I will wear the gleaming sweat on my throat,
like a jewel, and I will be an embarrassment to all...
especially my family...
who have not yet found the peace in being free
to have dogs as your best friends...
These friends who always wait, at any hour, for your footfall...
and eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep,
to greet you as if you are a God,
with warm eyes full of adoring love and hope
that you will always stay,

I'll hug their big strong necks...
I'll kiss their dear sweet heads...
and whisper in their very special company....
I look in the mirror... and see I am getting old....
this is the kind of person I am...
and have always been.

Loving dogs is easy, they are part of me.
Please accept me for who I am.

My dogs appreciate my presence in their lives...
they love my presence in their lives...
When I am old this will be important to me...
you will understand when you are old,
if you have dogs to love too.
-Author Unknown (DM)