That tiny voice...

This September will mark the 14th anniversary since I won the lottery - the dog lottery.   It took me a long time to find Pete, but he changed my life.  Adopted from the Kitsap Humane Society at approximately one year old, he was my constant companion and my comfort in some very dark days.  Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say he was a most loyal and very best friend.

At 12 years old, we had started to think about and prepare for his "end of life" circumstances. He was getting old and his tired body had trouble keeping up with a keen mind. But Christmas Eve 2010 came far too soon, and he suddenly slipped this mortal coil.  My only consolation is that it happened quickly and the decision was obvious.

Laura missed him. Aida missed him.  I missed him. I missed him so much, I thought my heart might break.  Although the acute pain of his death has passed, that tender spot still aches.

Last summer, we adopted Brim. He was part of a large pack of greyhound and greyhound crosses seized from atrocious conditions in eastern Saskatchewan.  They were chained to machinery and appliances throughout the winter.  They only saw a human being once a week when he would dump a downer cow carcass in the yard.

Cairo, as he was known then, had been returned to the shelter after only a week, due to severe separation anxiety. I waffled. I wavered. I couldn't decide if he was the one.  I took him home, whilst proclaiming confidently to the shelter staff - He won't be back!

We named him Brimley.  Poor Brim.  He could not cope with being an "only" dog.  True, Aida was here, but she had made it abundantly clear that she could not stand him.  He chewed the daylights out of the house if we so much as left for a half hour. Sometimes he wouldn't even last that long - five minutes!

I started to take him with me, in the truck, in the car. Last fall, while talking to a friend in the parking lot of a local park, in his plain line of sight, he destroyed the back of the car.

We got a wire kennel. He chewed it to bits while cutting his mouth to smithereens.  We got a plastic kennel. It was for his own safety, but we could not keep him in it. He forced the two halves apart. He bent the door in half. He chewed the reinforcing wires. He destroyed the reinforcing caribeeners.  I began to dread coming home. What would we find now? Would he be alive? Would Laura kill him when we find out he's destroyed something else?

It was summer, so we put him in the back yard when we left (how do you get groceries? Go to doctor's appointments?), where we thought he would be safe.  He was not safe there, either.

I feel as though I tried everything with him. But, he howled. He cried. He barked his voice raw when we left.  Our neighbours began to worry.  Animal Protection was called - was the dog in distress?  No, he has severe, pathological separation anxiety.

Then, he hurt himself - he began gnawing on his own legs.  It was then that I knew I could not help him.  Whatever life had dished out to him in the two years on "the farm", I was not able to undo.

I made a life long commitment. Do I put him down? Do I take him to a rescue? What to do? What to do?  I cannot put this on to someone else, but he is a good boy and he deserves a chance.  Maybe someone else has a needy greyhound. I tried to contact Chinook Winds.  No reply to email.  Left phone message. No reply.

Bright Eyes Dog Rescue.  We prefer email, might take a few days to get back to you.  Weeks passed.

At the beginning of July, shamed, I called the shelter.  How long have you had him? What have tried? What is he doing?  Yes, they said, please bring him, we too will try and help him.


For a couple weeks I felt that strange tension upon approaching our house. Was he howling? Was he trying to get out?  Was his mouth bleeding?  Was his gut impacted?

He was not here.



I knew that I wanted a dog.  We have Aida, Laur would remind me.  Yes, we do. I love her so much.  We're moving. We don't have the room. There's too much stuff to do. Look at all the work. See all the boxes?

It's a weakness, but I really like having my own dog. I need a dog. I don't know why, and I sound like a crazy-lady.  So I started looking again. Petfinder.com. So dangerous.

Hoooooo-leeeee doodle! Who is that?! Look at 'im!

Maybe it was the skinny legs.  Maybe it was the floppy, airplane ears. Maybe it's the facial expression.  Maybe it's the softness in his eyes.

Uh, hmmm... that doesn't look like a German Shepherd...

Nope, that is definitely not a German Shepherd.  What the heck is he? Who cares, let's find out more.  And so I contacted the Manitoba German Shepherd Rescue.   A fabulous lady named Barb answered a few of my questions and then directed me to his foster family.  They patiently entertained my mundane and numerous questions. 

Maybe part husky? He's from northern Manitoba. He was part of a rescue. He is of dubious parentage, he's sterilized, he's smart enough but not brilliant, he's gentle, he's quiet, he's approximately a year old, he'll eat anything, no he hasn't soiled in the house nor has he chewed inappropriately, he's got stomach of steel, he's great with children, he respects other dogs, he's ok alone in the house, he's never been in a kennel, he loves car rides, he's this, he's that... on and on and on I asked questions.  With tact and a knack for story telling, his foster family suffered through my cross-examination.  Would I like to come and meet him?

Whatever you want, honey. I trust your judgement. (this is not a trap).  You trust me? Yup. Whatever you think.

Oh wow.

Time lapse, one day...

On our way home from Winnipeg, my mother and son, Aida and new dog in tow, we tried several names upon the new pup:  Claude? No. Remy? No, neighbour's dog.  Nemo? No. Milton? No. Pauly? No.

Simon? No. Monty? No. Alfred? No. Rolf? No. Percy? Maybe. Benoit? No.  We were starting to get frustrated.  So, I asked the boy.  Boy, what's the new dog's name?  "That guy's name is Harry" came the definitive answer from the back seat.  Harry? Not bad... we'll put it in the "maybe" pile.

Sunday morning.
Stanley? No. Clancy? Maybe. Clemson? No. Clement? No.  Jacques? No.
"Boy, we can't think of a name for this dog. What do you think it should be?"
"That guy's name is Harry", he said quietly whilst concentrating on his colouring.  Hmm... Harry... maybe, but I'm just not feeling it, buddy.

Sunday afternoon.  
Lyle? No. Lt. Dan? No. Louis? No. Albert? No. Otis? No.

And Monday came...
Remus? No. Angus? No. Shep? No. Thor? No. Finnegan? Maybe.
"His name is Harry, Mommy", came a small voice from the boy's bedroom.

Monday afternoon...
Sigurd? No. Nordstrom? No. Steve? No. Kevin? No? Randy? No! Dude, he's not a 70's porn star.  Were we even trying any more?

Then all of the sudden, as just as we had given up.  BOOM - it came! Laur! Laur! What do you think of Truman?  It means trusted/loyal man.  Yes, she replied, I think it works.

His name is Truman! Yes, jubilation! Truman! We'll call him Tru and True Blue! Truman! Truman! Truman Dan Wright!

Due to a cold which the boy had thoughtfully shared with both of us, and unable to sleep/breathe at midnight, it suddenly occurred to me.  Maybe it was the seed planted, or maybe it was that all-knowing childhood voice through which the Great-Beyond often calls us.

"His name is Harry, Mommy.", the boy's voice echoed in my memory.

Harry Truman.

Holy crap. He was right. Again. Dammit!


  1. That's a fabulous retelling. Truman seems to be the piece that was missing.

  2. I love your stories. I love this story. Mom