Man against beast and elements


I’m an honest-to-goodness trailblazer.
Coastal Point • File Photo
In the spirit of the esteemed and romantic pioneering spirit, I recently set forth to forge new and unexplored territory through the sheer power of nothing more complicated than my bare hands and a burning desire to break new ground. Like Sir Edmund Hillary climbing his mountain “because it was there” or Jacques Cousteau wading his way through the deepest seas in the interests of discovery, I, too, weathered the elements and pitfalls that stood between me and a brave new world.

Sure, I was scared. The great unknown stretched out before me, and the rugged weather conditions gave me momentary pause. But courage is not defined by what gives us fear — it is measured by how we deal with said fear, and our individual commitment to persevere despite what obstacles might lie ahead.

Therefore, I was resolved to complete my mission — to boldly step out into the unknown and do my best to provide safe and easy passage to those behind me. Was I searching for uncovered ancient ruins? Cities buried at sea? A colony of mute bikini models in a galaxy far, far away?

Well, no. See, my pug had to go potty, and the snow was too deep for her little legs.

I’ve mentioned Bailey in this space a few times. She’s my cute little buddy that has issues with emphysema, epilepsy and common courtesy. She has a favorite pastime of walking up to me with those big brown eyes glowing and her little curly tail wagging as much as it can, pushing her face up to mine as tight as she can get it — and sneezing right on my mug.

There have been times I’ve wanted to pack Bailey away in my briefcase so I can see that pretty little face all day at work, and other times I want to lock her in the washroom with a bowl of water and some facial tissues — hoping against hope that the proximity to the tissues and pure circumstance would teach her to aim her nose projectiles to a more constructive target than my forehead.

I mean, do you have any idea what it feels like to finally settle down on the couch after a long day of work and have a pug climb up on the back of the couch and proceed to rain nostril precipitation on the top of your bald head? I was sound asleep once, felt little droplets on my head and had a flashback to my baptism. Only, when I woke up, I saw a pug with a wet nose and curled tongue panting at me. It was at least as disturbing as that time I saw Beth Long at our front desk with...

But I digress.

See, I actually have two dogs. The other one, Guinness, is a mixed creation of shar-pei, boxer and nuisance. She is big. She has red hair. And she believes that objects, or people, who are in her way are just things for her to bull through on the way to her destination. That being said, it was not a surprise Monday morning to open the back door when Bailey scratched to go out, have Guinness plow her over in a frantic rush to play in the snow and leave me trying to set Bailey back upright so she could go out and handle her business.

But she didn’t go out.

With a helpless expression on her scrunched-up little face, Bailey exchanged glances between the snow on the back deck and me — willing me to make the white stuff go away so she could relieve herself in peace.

Now, it’s important to note that this was first thing in the morning on a Monday. My first thought upon waking was the deadline we had before us here at the paper. My second thought was that I seem to age every week, making that first stand of the morning increasingly difficult on my knees and back. And, well, that’s it. I try to limit myself to two thoughts before I take a shower, and Bailey was really screwing up my mojo by making me consider something else.

So, well, I gave her a little shove. No luck. She braced against me, and jumped right back inside as soon as I was able to nudge her on to the snow.

I tried throwing out one of her beloved treats, but she just stared longingly and growled softly as Guinness came dashing through the snow and ate it before her eyes.

I begged. I cajoled. I bribed. I strong-armed her.

Yeah, while I’m on that subject, don’t strong-arm a 14-pound dog where your neighbors can see it. Reputations are tricky to rebuild, and I fear I could be one step above Michael Vick to those who saw me fighting my pug.

So, I submitted. I cleared a path in the snow so my little dog could tinkle. Now you know why I tried to build this story up a little bit at the beginning.