Dogs, Cats, Manitoba and Me

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to have a dog. I always, always, always wanted a dog. Or any kind of pet, really…other than fish. However, this was always a problem, because my mom was allergic to the fur and hair on the fuzzy animals that I wanted. So really, it was always out of the question. This meant I had fish growing up. I loved my fish and all, but I always wanted more.

Circa September 2010. I had come back from a month long backpacking trip in South East Asia and the cutest orange cat I had seen prior to my trip was still on the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA website. I was going to get her. Enough is enough. That day, Trixie became Beatrix, and the rest was history. Of course, I was like, “it’d be so nice to get a dog”, but I was in a little one bedroom apartment and I really didn’t want to get a dog in such a small space, although many of my neighbours had dogs in their apartments. Beatrix was just the right fit at that time.

Beatrix

Fast forward to September 2011 and I’m moved into Brandon, Manitoba. It took so much hard work and a very lucky and unexpected connection to find a place that would even accept Beatrix. I found a great apartment, but I had to pay a ridiculous pet deposit, which I just didn’t understand – I didn’t even ever have to pay a damage deposit in Ontario, let alone a pet deposit! It was all just so new. I didn’t know why wonderful dogs and cats weren’t allowed in homes and apartments. But I quickly learned that Manitoba is one of the least pet-friendly places I have ever seen. I know I was lucky to find my apartment and have my cat.

I still longed for a dog, and I just wanted to spend more time with animals in general, so in August 2012, I started volunteering at the Brandon Humane Society. I think it might have been the best decision I’ve made since moving to Brandon. It has brought so much positive stuff into my life, that I just can’t complain. It’s brought me community, friends and care, and dogs and cats that I absolutely love. And it brought me Josie! But first…

At the end of September 2012, a year after I had moved to Brandon, my friend wondered if I would consider being her roommate. She wanted to get out from under her mom’s roof, but she had a dog, so we had to find a pet friendly place that would allow both cats and dogs. It was like magic, a pet-friendly house showed up on eBrandon and we went to the Open House soon after. And at the Open House, what do I learn? That my landlord volunteers at the Brandon Humane Society! Of course this house is pet-friendly. There were a lot of applicants for the house, and we thought it was a longshot, but my friend and I ended up getting the house and we couldn’t have been more excited!

Now a dog was a real possibility. I didn’t want to rush into anything, because it wasn’t a decision I was going to take lightly. No way! Plus, I wanted Beatrix and my roommate dog to get accustomed to the house and each other (which they are still working on, I will admit).¬†However, I was pretty sure I knew what dog I wanted from the Humane Society. It was a process of elimination in terms of who would be good with cats, and I also knew I wanted a black dog, since they are always the last to be adopted. Josie was it! So mid-January, I decided to take that girl home. It hasn’t been perfect. There have been tiffs between the dogs, and Josie is still a little timid of Beatrix. There is still so much for me to learn and for Josie to learn, but it’s working out amazingly well.

Josie

I never thought that my dream of having a dog to call my own would happen in Brandon, because of the lack of pet-friendlyness here. But I guess life is full of surprises, right?

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The Deceptive 3 Year Old

Warning: This post may potentially mock my beloved friend, Adrian.

When I drove into Brandon, Manitoba on that fateful day of September 16th, I had no place to live. I was homeless. My amazing friend Adrian (who knows that he will most likely be a part of this blog – a lot) graciously put me up in his lovely basement apartment for a few days before I could move into my new apartment. Now, Adrian was just as desperate to find a place to live as I was nearing the end of August, so he took this basement apartment, even though he called the neighbourhood, “sketchy”.

Truth be told, he has talked to AAA Alarms and MTS on the phone and the people on the other end have even acknowledged that he lives in a “bad” neighbourhood; even though I think this is white people being potentially racist. However, they may not be. Maybe it’s all true. I saw this when I realized that Adrian had put me in a very dangerous situation by allowing me to crash at his place. You see, there is a “child gang” on that street. The leader? A deceptive 3 year old who is ready to distract you with their cuteness and have the others TAKE YOU DOWN. I’ve even seen meetings happen right in front of my eyes. The deceptive 3 year old sits everyone else in the gang down and tells them how it is. It’s crazy stuff. Crazy.

I feel so lucky to not have any harm done to me during my stay at Adrian’s. I mean, who knows what could’ve happen if I had stayed longer. You can never trust a 3 year old. They are so extremely dangerous. I can only hope that Adrian’s life will be safe from danger in the time being. He’s keeping a close watch on this child gang and he is prepared to do what he must if and when the time comes. But let’s hope that it never does…

A Portrait of the Unemployed

This is what it’s like being unemployed in Brandon, Manitoba (from my perspective…and some other observations):

– no waiting in long line ups at the MTS store in Shopper’s Mall
– being able to get an amazing parking spot right in front of the doors at both the mall and Canadian Tire
– aimlessly wondering around Shopper’s Mall, picking up a Safeway cart, pushing it from mid-point of the mall down to the food court and just randomly leaving it there (yeah, that wasn’t me)
– depressingly sitting in the mall’s food court – staring off into space
– having time to start a blog about your new life in Manitoba
– having time to start thinking about new self-employment ventures
– getting excited about your cat catching the flies in your apartment, and cheering her on as she goes for them, and eats them
– laying on your bed, staring at the ceiling
– being able to continuously keep the kitchen clean and wanting to take out the garbage

And my favourite…

– watching endless episode’s of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and realizing the aching parallels of her life and your own…

And that’s about all, for now.