Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Something Must Be Said.

I hate to write a post that is basically just me complaining about the mass amounts of unfairness in the world, but I cannot hide my frustrations any more. Something must be said!

Why is the world big-dog prejudice? Perhaps a more accurate complaint would be, why do people with small dogs feel as though it is their right to dump all over the rules and bi-laws created for dog owners? Am I the only person who is noticing this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Small dog favouritism makes me angry. The number of rentals available to small dog owners greatly outnumbers the number of rentals for any sized dogs. Finding a place to live in this city is very difficult if you own a pet. Even to buy a condo, tons of buildings have a 30lb weight limit for your canine, which is total stupidity. A 10lb dog can cause WAY more damage than a 110lb dog. The amount of noise and damage created by any pet will be hugely linked to the owner of that pet and his/her ability to train the animal. If the dog is not well exercised or stimulated then it is more likely to cause chaos in the home. My neighbour’s dog never stops barking and I have yet to see them walk that poor thing. I have been living with my dog for over a month in my apartment and my landlord has yet to hear a peep out of him. Whenever I ask him if there have been any issues, he tells me that he always forgets that Axel is even down there.

BOOYAH to all landlords out there! Big dogs are not the problem. Crappy tenants are.
My next bone to pick in this area of discussion is off-leash/on-leash parks. Why do people with small dogs think that they don’t have to follow the rules? They’re making all dog owners look terrible! Yesterday I was walking along a mostly an off-leash dog area; but there is one section of the road in which you have to leash your dog. As I am walking through this area, I take a look around and every single “larger” dog is leashed while EVERY SINGLE small dog was off leash. Do small dog owners think that they do not need to abide to this rule because the dog is small and not going to run-a-muck? Small dogs are just as likely to run into traffic as larger ones are!

Who do I need to smack around here to make people understand that they are dumb?

Just like the with off-leash rules, people with small dogs seem to think it’s OK to have their dog be an asshole to people. Obviously this is not all small dogs because most small dogs are wonderful, but some are horribly viscous and when they act out and try to rip my dog’s face off, the owner just laughs it off and unapologetic. “Oh Mr. Jingles, don't be so silly. Be a good boy!”

If a larger dog were to act like that, people would flip out and be calling animal control to report it. Just because a small dog can only reach the ankles or shins makes them less dangerous and funny when they’re evil?

Again, who do I have to smack?

This makes me want to hurl. 
Then there is the issue of dogs in stores. I have to tie up my dog and leave him outside if I want to go into a store. But small dogs get little purses to be toted around in or just simply get carried in by their owners. This shall forever baffle me. Small dogs are less likely to….what? I have zero rationale to attempt this reasoning made by society. A small dog won’t be able to survive standing outside for 5 minutes? Again…baffling. 

One last thing. You don’t have to carry your miniature pooch when you’re walking down the street either. It can walk on its own 4 little competent legs! Let to poor little thing get some exercise. A dog is not a child that needs to be cradled and carried. It's a dog. 

Oh please let me smack someone.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Single Girl Spider Hysteria

We've all heard the stories.

"Woman lifts car off of her child."

"Girl lifts tractor off of her father."

"Man fights off grizzly bear to save his family."

It's called "Hysterical Strength" or perhaps you could call it tapping into your inner super-hero. Either way, there have been an endless supply of incredible stories about people who have been faced with intensely fearful or stressful situations and they are able to tap into this unnatural physical strength that would not be available in any ordinary situation. 

The reason this happens is because the intensely stressful situation causes an immediate rush of adrenaline throughout the body. The added adrenaline causes some areas of the body to have the blood circulation to be shut off so that it can be sent to areas of the body which need it more, such as the muscles. More blood moving to the muscles means more oxygen is being sent to the muscles, which in turn can allow them to work harder. Adrenaline + Oxygenated muscles = Superhuman Strength. 

While I have never lifted a fallen tree off of a child or anything of the sort, I feel like the past 3 months I have been living in a near constant state of adrenaline + oxygenated muscles. I've been able to perform several acts of inner strength that I was not aware that I was capable of achieving and I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish all on my own. 

The reason for this is because I live in a house that produces spiders the size of house cats. 

I'm getting all heebie jeebied and watery eyed just thinking about it.

I don't know why I am being tested/cursed with these spiders, but they are unnaturally enormous and I feel as though my nerves are becoming more and more frayed as each day passes. Right when I let my guard down and being to relax, one will appear out of the corner of my eye as I am enjoying my morning coffee.

(I keep peering over to the corner of the room where this morning's visitor creeped into my field of vision, destroying my day).

I mean, what is a single girl to do? No big strong brave man (or woman) is going to magically appear in your time of need to sweep you to safety and take care of the situation. At times like this you need to just buckle down, let the adrenaline flow and take matters into your own hands. And this is what I have had to do, time and time again, as each massive arachnid infiltrates my place of residence.

Now I am not one who enjoys or endorses the killing of spiders, or any bug, insect or living creature of any kind. If these spiders were out in nature, enjoying the great outdoors and working on their tans, I would be calling over other people to come take a look at one of nature's coolest creatures. They make their own food traps by spinning sticky thread out of their butts and weaving elaborate webs of doom. How neat is that?

But these spiders don't make webs. They are not neat. They just walk around scaring people, causing me to rethink my every action within the apartment. Every time I pick something off of the floor I am terrified one will be waiting there. Every time I walk over to the kitchen sink, I have to take baby steps and inch forward, peering into the sink to see if anything is waiting to eat my hand when I reach in to fill up my water bottle. Every time something brushes my neck, arm or foot, I swat at myself and leap away in fear. My heart is always pumping faster than it should be, I jump at any dark shadow or object in my line of sight and my knees are always slightly weaker than I would like them to be.

This is not a healthy way to live. The human body is not meant to be in constant "fight-or-flight" mode and the stress will take it's toll on one's physical (and mental) health.

So they have to die.

It always take a while for me to work up the nerve to go through with it, but once the momentum starts, there is no turning back. The hormones and blood are pumping freely and the inner cavewoman in me is out in full throttle. The smashing and destroy-and-conquer state of mind swiftly takes over and death is the only answer. Whether the death is mine of the spiders is completely up to fate, but I have to take my chances. Luckily fate has been on my side up to this point and I have been the conqueror within my domicile, but this does not mean that the repercussions are not significant.

There is the post-massacre clean-up to deal with. For example, the woman who lifts the car to save her child, she comes down from her Hysterical Strength state and falls to the ground with a broken back. As for me, I come down from my high only to realize that I still have to deal with the corpse. It's just sitting there, all battered and deflated, and I have to lean over and pick it up. What if it isn't dead? What if it's one of those super smart spiders that fakes it's own death and will jump on my hand when I reach down and kill me??

Totally legit. This happened to someone I know. But she didn't die.

Again as the fates would have it, I have not had any incidences such as this yet. It might have something to do with the massive amount of smashing and destroying I do once the spider is under the shoe (yes I always use a shoe as my weapon of choice), but one can never be too careful.

In the end I know that it is wrong to kill spiders because they most definitely have an important part on the world. On the flip side of that, living in constant fear is something that I personally cannot handle. I have to channel my inner super-powers and deal with these creatures as they come at me. Conquering these dudes is my Hysterical Strength and the fact that I have to deal with them on my own makes it happen for me. I'm sure the woman would much prefer to have a tow-truck there to lift that car off of her child, but at that moment, all she has is herself. I'll admit that after each kill, while I am very shaky and rattled, I am extremely proud of my bravery because really, all I want to do is run outside and hide and pray that a magical fairy will carely sweep the spider up and release it onto a farm where it can run free, write words in her web and become friends with a pig who wants nothing more than to avoid becoming slaughtered.

How how I love Charlotte's Web. Why can't my spiders be more like Charlotte??

Oh, and you're welcome for not putting any pictures of spiders on this post. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Adjusted Axel and East Sooke Adventures

The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy.

Plus a bit more busy in there somewhere but I was too busy to remember exactly where it should be.

Axel has been here with me now for about 2 1/2 weeks and I am very happy to announce that he has done a truly remarkable job at adapting to his new life in Victoria. I was really concerned that he would be miserable since he is losing a lot of his freedom here,

But does he look miserable to you?

How about now?

I am astonished at how well he turned into a city dog. The first two days were stressful because he wasn't eating and worst of all, he wasn't pooping, so I was a big stressball just waiting and hoping that his appetite and bowels would go back to normal. When you own a dog, basically your entire life revolves around their bowels...so I wasn't a happy camper. Axel took it all in stride though. He is great walking through busy traffic and barely shifts an ear when a big truck roars by. He leaves all of the feral hippies alone when he finds them sleeping in the parks and while he is still a bit leery of them, he's pretty much figured out that the waves rolling into shore are nothing to be concerned about. He still tries to drink ocean water though. He runs down to the water, splashes around, takes 2 laps of water and gives me the same "Oh God that tastes awful" face that he gives me every time he drinks from the ocean. Sigh.

The one thing that I will say about Victoria is that (apart from the horrendous access to finding places to live which allow dogs) it does a pretty great job at accommodating the dogs in the city. There are lots of dog-friendly beaches and walk-ways around the city, all well equipped with poop bags and garbage cans. Plus there are dog water fountains placed throughout the city and a lot of businesses in Victoria and in surrounding neighbourhoods keep water bowls and/or buckets outside of their doors to allow any canine passer-bys to have their thirsts' quenched while enjoying their daily stroll.

I can definitely say that Axel has likely been meeting and greeting more dogs and people in the past 2 weeks then he has in his entire life. He's been (mostly) a complete gentleman in all of his introductions to all of the new people and dogs. I was able to find him a lovely lady to take him for walks on the weekdays that I am at work and also a magnificent friend has offered to help out on the weekends when Axel needs some company. Everyone has been very welcoming to him and I am so lucky to have such great people in my life who are willing to help out with his care.

One thing we have been doing is going on TONS of walks and hikes together. Today was the best one so far. It's called the Coast Trail and located in East Sooke. A couple days after I got Axel here, I was hiking in this area with him and a friend and we hiked to the Beechey Trail. I learned about all of the trails in the park and decided that I wanted to do the Coast Trail because it sounded challenging and visually gorgeous.

So this morning we started the trail at East Sooke Park which is an awesome provincial park that is packed full of trails, beaches and picnic areas. The trail is approximately 20km round-trip which in the big scheme of hikes, really isn't that far. But the terrain is tricky and at the drop of a hat changes from lush ferns and soft ground to jagged sheer rock cliffs you have to pull yourself up from. Plus it never gets easier!!! The ups and downs of this hike made my legs feel like jelly (and I'm in semi-decent good shape!) and right when I thought that I would be getting a break from incline, I'd go around the bend and be faced with another rock wall to climb. The way back is equally as difficult and there is no physical relief to be had while enduring this hike.

I friggin loved it.

The one major problem with this hike is that at all times you have to watch your footing so your eyes are basically always to the ground. This means that you just might miss out on some AMAZING views and breathtaking landscapes that most people can only dream about seeing. Based solely on what I saw today, I can 100% understand the draw to living in Sooke. When you can look out from the top of the rocky cliffs and see views of the ocean that are so gorgeous that it brings tears to your eyes, you know you're in an incredible part of the world.

So as I mentioned, the hike is about 20km round-trip. Since the trail doesn't have any km marks or indications of how far along you are, I had no way to know exactly how far I had hiked today. I am guessing that we did about 15 of the 20 kilometres. As much as I really really really wanted to complete the entire thing today, I was worried about how quickly we were going through our water supply: mainly I was worried about Axel. There are some creeks on the hike which would have been great little watering holes for him, but unfortunately they were all dried up so he had to rely on the water that I packed for him. I didn't want to dehydrate the guy so I decided to turn back and ration the water until we got back to the car (where I had lots more ready for our return).

My legs are now feeling less jelly-like and my feet feel a bit achy, but it was a great hike. Next time I shall bring more water and complete the entire trip.

The dog hasn't moved from his bed since we got home so that is a sure sign that he's had ample stimulation for the day. All I can ask for now is for winter to never come so that I can keep enjoying all of these amazing Vancouver Island hikes all year round.