Well Nicky was not feeling well for the last 3 days and he obviously had some stomach issues.
He has a very delicate digestive system and anything can trigger a malaise. Last night he was very sick and I took him to the Animal Veterinary Hospital of the University of PEI. They are always open 24/7, though for a fee. The service is excellent and you get a Vet with experience and a fourth year student who is doing their practicum learning with the professional vet. Nicky got some blood work done and all was fine. He then got a shot to stop the nausea and he came home. This morning he was a little tired but he is bouncing back. For a thirteen year old he is doing fine. We do worry about them.
Earlier in the day I had meeting at the Club to plan the Friday party with lots of VIPs. At the same time the surge in Covid cases on the Island in schools amongst kids under 12 is worrisome. However what we see now is those who are not vaccinated are getting sick. Since 90% of the Island population is fully vaccinated those who get sick, the unvaccinated, really stand out. We have 22 cases which is not much and testing is going full blast in the last two days. So we should get to the bottom of this pretty soon.
Violence on the campaign is on the rise, one candidate was assaulted in his Office yesterday by a women, the PM got rocks thrown at him, his wife was called a whore by some idiot macho guy. Signs have been defaced with swastikas and the rise of the extreme right wing People’s Party (PPC) of white supremacist is difficult to believe, but they are at 7% in the polls right now. We have never seen this in a Canadian Federal Election before. Only 4 days to go before voting day 20 September.
Well yesterday we were at Greenwich National Park on the Atlantic side (North side) of the Island at Havre Saint Pierre known to the english as St-Peter’s Bay. A spectacular park, rich in fauna and very quiet where the only noise is the birds and small animals in the forest and the surf just beyond the giant sand dunes.
Greenwich was established as a National Park on PEI, one of many, in 1970 with the purchase of the Sanderson Family Farm. The Sandersons sold their land as the sand dunes were moving and encroaching unto their farm land, it was unstoppable and this also created other changes to the farm land they owned.
In this picture you can clearly see the land mass surrounded by sea water, the dunes forming a high barrier with a beach and the interior is more sand with Marran grass and fresh water pond, spruce and birch forests on sandy soil. Lots of wild flowers and small mammals, like red squirrels, voles, meadow mice, minks, foxes, Northern Harriers, Eagles, snowshoe Hare, Sparrows, warblers, American red start, short tailed weasels. Many beautiful flowers growing in large numbers everywhere.
The most fascinating part is the floating walkway across the Bowley Pond. This year the water level was low due to the very dry summer we had, only 30 cm of water when you can easily have upwards of 1 meter.
Finally after a 4 km walk you arrive at the foot of the sand dunes and a built wooden staircase take you up and over to the beach. It is strictly forbidden to walk on the dunes. Vast swath of Lichen and Marram grass stabilizes the dunes.
This photo is taken from the top of the dunes looking down to the beach and the sea.
Clean and quiet, so pleasant.
Going back to the park area this is the view of the serpentine floating dock.
To think that this beautiful park and beach is just 35 minutes from our home in Charlottetown.
We also met during our visit a Mik Maq elder, his people have inhabited the area for 10,000 years. He was very interesting to talk to. His name Junior Peter-Paul. The Mik Maq live all over the Maritime Provinces and were closely allied and inter-married with the French Acadians until 1755 when the deportation (ethnic cleansing) took place.
He and Michael Sark a fellow Mik Maq had built using traditional knowledge a Birch Bark Wigwam and explained how it was done and all the symbolism that goes into such a construction. The 7 internal rings to give it rigidity are made of birch, cherry, maple saplings and symbolize the 7 sacred teachings on Respect, Courage, Humility, Love, Truth, Wisdom and Honesty. Spruce roots are use to tie it all together. The birch bark is cut in a specific manner and dried also following a specific custom. Upon inspection it looked like leather skins. The door always faces East for the rising Sun. I had never thought much about it and so it was interesting to hear about the techniques used from an Elder who had the knowledge.
Here in Charlottetown a new Mik Maq cultural centre is opening a stone throw from our house, an impressive building on the water’s edge.
After our walk we decided to go to Cardigan a small settlement in the vicinity of Georgetown and Montague. The restaurant Clam Diggers offers a very good menu of fish and fresh seafood. The portions are good and the seafood come directly from the wharf off the boats. Can’t ask for better really. The good thing is that Clam Diggers will remain open this Winter. As their name indicates Clams the big ones are featured on several dishes.
Today was another adventure, our Nicky went to the Dentist for his annual teeth cleaning. The appointment was at 8 o’clock, he had no breakfast and no water since the night before. We went out for our walk and then directly to the car. He gave me a funny look like, What? Where is my breakfast? When we got to the Vet he was not happy and could sense it was not a good thing, other dogs looked nervous and Nicky gave me the look, don’t leave me here. It all went well and I picked him up at 2:30pm. Next week it’s Nora’s turn. Our Vet is very good and has a nice gentle touch with them.
Well we were back at the Atlantic Veterinary College, AVC at UPEI with Nick and Nora for their annual shots and physical exam etc. Our Vet, Dr West is a charming man with years of experience. Because of the pandemic the protocol is for us to stay in the small parking lot of the college, the lot is surrounded by gardens with mature trees and you can enjoy a nice breeze in the shade. One garden is dedicated to poisonous plants. Nick and Nora were whisked inside by the nurse. Dr West came out a little later to tell us what was happening and while talking about the hounds, Dachshunds belong to the hound family, he told us something we knew from having dogs for 30 years, that they (Nick and Nora) were playing us to get what they wanted. Walt Disney lied, they are not all sweetness, they are mostly calculating.
Reesie Of Chicago and Bundnie of Cairo in Ottawa in 1995 in the Fall on our home deck.
Nora of Capena and Fantastico Nicky in Ottawa in 2013 in our den.
Our Dachshunds we learned are too clever for words and by constantly observing us they get to know which buttons to push to get a treat, we say Biscuit or wanting to be put up on the sofa, or wanting their blanket re-arranged so they can nestle, go out for a walk, they usually decide where we will go or a myriad of other demands. They are also punctual about meals 07:30am for breakfast and 5:00pm for dinner and do not forget. We get dirty looks and low growl if the service is not punctual. Walks at 10am and then at 2pm and 4pm finally at 9pm.
Right now it is a few minutes, 10 to be exact, before dinner and already Nicky is moaning as if in pain for his dinner. Nora simply let’s him do it but gives pleading looks. We also have a routine for breakfast which is always followed by a small piece of banana, after dinner a small piece of cheese usually gouda. At cocktail time as I reach for ice for drinks, they expect a sliver of ice each. Little rituals we cannot depart from. If food is being prepared they are in the kitchen and will not be moved.
When it comes to their health, we do watch carefully, last Thursday night I spent 5 hours at the AVC but it was worth it and yesterday Dr West confirmed that Nora was better and this week she would make a full recovery. Nick got his shots and will have to return for teeth cleaning and so will she. Hopefully it is just a cleaning not extraction. Vet service in Canada is very expensive compared to elsewhere in the World.
Though they are cunning, they are also adorable and we created this situation by spoiling them and catering to their needs. They learn very quickly if food is involved and never forget. Will often remarks how they cannot remember commands unless their meal is being prepared. Nora also has the habit of listening to you as long as you are in sight, the minute your back is turned, she will revert to what she was doing completely forgetting whatever you said. If we scold her for something she takes this offended look. Our Bundnie who was a short hair Dachshund use to turn her back on us if displeased with us.
Now it is just past 10 pm and Nicky has been sleeping next to me in the living room, he suddenly wakes up, looks at me with his big eyes, I ask him if he wants to go sleep or Do Do in French and he jumps down and runs to his kennel and blanket because he will get a treat. Nora follows this little manège and does not move from the sofa but she too will want a treat. When she finally goes to bed she will get another treat and Nicky will wake up just so he too can get an extra treat. How they can go from deep slumber to wakefulness in seconds is beyond my understanding.
So we will just have to live with it I suppose and think of ourselves as personal assistants to them. As long as they are in good health and happy that is all that matters.
Well Monday 15 June is grooming day for our little Dachshunds, it has been many months since the last grooming and we are happy they can get it done. Next week we are going to the Vet Clinic for their annual shots and physical exam. Both are 11 and half years old and in good health. Though we have noticed that Nick is becoming anxious if I leave the house and he does not like to be left on his own.
Nora now barks at the smallest noise, which is annoying but she looks around and seems nervous. She also had another episode of what could be described as some kind of stroke, though it was short and quickly resolved itself. But we took her to the Vet Clinic immediately and within one hour the Vet told us that she was stable and could come home. We don’t know exactly what happened. But we do realize that we have two old dogs who are used to their daily routine and as long as it is not disturbed all is well. It has to be said that they are spoiled and like good Dachshunds always try to control what is going on, just too clever I think.
After Nick’s grooming and a snooze, so stressful, even a cookie does not compensate enough. He has the most beautiful colouring, old gold and dark chocolate.
Nora, back at home and resting in Nick’s kennel, which annoys him but he puts up with it. Though she is one week older than Nick, same colouring but tuffs of grey hair here and there.
Today Tuesday 16 June, the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre re-opened after 3 months of closure due to the pandemic. We were the first to arrive and the new sanitary procedures are in place, the exhibits are those of March since the gallery closed a few days after they were unveiled. They will now be on show until September 27. The 2020 Summer show has been postponed until next Summer 2021.
Lemieux, Fathers of Confederation
Many stores in town have closed permanently due to the pandemic and no tourists. Many restaurants will not open while other did open with a new menu and new Chef. One such place is Terra Rossa on Queen Street, new (well known) Chef, and a newish concept returning to the original idea for this Italian regional cuisine restaurant, sorry no pizza, no spaghetti. A grocerant/eatery with lots of specialty products like fresh anchovies in oil or burrata or N’Duya sausage, charcuterie from various regions of Italy and cheeses, most if not all unavailable in PEI up to now, so you see a refinement of gourmet offering. Fresh Anchovy as a fish is very delicate in flavour and can be eaten as is or on toast or in pasta or salad. This was a real find. A wine bar is also part of the establishment. We were at Terra Rossa this morning and am very impressed with the place. Happy to see they have returned to the concept of four years ago which had been abandoned by a previous owner with little success and now re-instated with this new owner.
Sunday and Saturday we met with friends we had not seen in the last 3 months and it was so nice to actually see people in person, to talk and enjoy sweets. This is one thing that this pandemic has made us realize, the importance of friends.
Having two dogs is like having two kids, same thing really, they have their little personalities and ways of doing things. Having lived with dogs in the house since 1990 we are use to them and how they are the presence in our lives. Our first two dachshunds, one short hair from Cairo and one long hair Chicago were family members and they travelled around the world with us. To this day we have fond memories of Bundnie and Reese and how they were more than just dogs.
Bundnie and Me on the terrace of my apartment in Cairo 1990.
Reesie and Bundnie on the deck at our home in Ottawa, 1993
Bundnie died at home of old age at 18 and Reese died in Rome at 17. A year later we were visiting a colleague of mine outside the City in Capena and her husband use to walk around the countryside and came upon the farm of Dr. Massimo Buzzanca and his wife Tiziana, both are well known in breeder of Wirehair Dachshund circles in Italy and their dogs are bred with other champion dogs in the EU.
Nicky and Nora are now 10 years old, yes it has been a decade since our time in Italy. Nora is older than Nicky by a week, they also have travelled with us not as much as Bundnie and Reese though.
Last week Nora had symptoms of what is very common in any aging Dachshund back weakness which can lead to paralysis. Unfortunately we know all too well what that means, we went through several back operations with Bundnie and Reese.
Nora always seem to get sick on a weekend which means that only the Animal Veterinary Clinic at the University of PEI is open, but since we are outside normal clinic hours, a special fee applies of $135. just to step in. They took good care of her, the AVC is a teaching hospital and they also take care of Farm animals and horses. So its complete kennel rest for her for a month and some medication.
Of course Mr Nicky also started to have what looked like a tooth problem, so we took him to our other Vet who is known in the region for specializing in dental work, even the AVC refers patients to him. Though in Nicky’s case it was not his teeth, I got a call from the clinic and was told that he had a growth under his tongue and it had to be removed pronto, could it be cancer? His teeth were fine. So it was sent for biopsy and about five days later we got the results, all benign, no problem. We also had another growth removed from his shoulder, it too was benign just fatty tissue.
Vet care in Canada is very expensive if compared to the USA. When we lived in Ottawa, some people took their dogs to the USA for treatment, the border is only 50km, away a short drive. We cannot do that here, the border with Maine is about 5 hours away through moose country not the thing to do in Winter on isolated highways.
This week we will return to the AVC for an assessment of Nora’s condition, though at the moment she is doing fine. Nicky is going back to have his shoulder stitches removed at the end of the month. At the moment he wears the cone, which he will not wear if going outside, he simply refuses to go out with it. He gives you that look and you know what it means.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown