The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Karin’

Flood Update

We are still having rain nearly every day, and the water continues to rise slowly throughout our area.

In Kenora, the city parents have decided to close some of the public land extenders since most of them are now underwater. We’ve seen pictures on Facebook of two-legger homes further downriver from us where sandbagging is complete and holding the rising river at bay. A waterfront restaurant in Kenora – on the Lake of the Woods – has had to close as its floor is now underwater (not the first time this building has suffered – Elizabeth wonders why businesses are even allowed to locate there…).

This is the Boathouse Restaurant just two blocks from the bookshop. The plastic barrels and the old boat are on the wooden walkway and filled with water to keep the structure from floating away.

This is the Boathouse Restaurant just two blocks from the bookshop. The plastic barrels and the old boat are on the wooden walkway and filled with water to keep the structure from floating away.

Elizabeth was hoping to go out in the canoe on a photo safari, just to see how things looked from Darlington Bay level. Unfortunately, the weather has been so unstable and terribly windy that she couldn’t risk going out with her camera gear. But she took some photos on the waterfront of our neighbourhood (sorry for the lens drops and fuzziness – she was shooting between and during squalls) so you could see what’s happening here. And our friend Karin contributed a couple to show what’s happening over on Siggy’s Island at their house.

Here is our pumphouse. It is usually much farther from the shore. we're a bit worried about the waterline floating up like that, but don't know what we can do about it. It's still functioning, anyway...

Here is our pumphouse. It is usually much farther from the shore. we’re a bit worried about the waterline floating up like that, but don’t know what we can do about it. It’s still functioning, anyway…

 

Squall moving through, so we took shelter here. Nasty weather!

Squall moving through, so we took shelter here. Nasty weather!

 

Our neighbours two doors down must go uphill to their floating dock now. Normally, they could have a good slide downhill!

Our neighbours two doors down must go uphill to their floating land extender now. Normally, they could have a good slide downhill!

Elizabeth says it’s kind of difficult to understand how big a deal this is because the shoreline is so steep that non residents wouldn’t think the water was necessarily high. So she found an old photo of The Point so you could see better. She used it for an ad for her bookmarks and couldn’t find the original, so please ignore the text.

The cliff is about 4.5m at the highest point when the water is at normal levels.

The cliff on The Point is about 4.5m at the highest point when the water is at normal levels.

 

Taken yesterday between squalls. We're still getting severe storms/downpours every day.

The same view (slightly wider angle) taken yesterday between squalls. We’re still getting severe storms/downpours every day.

Karin managed to take some pictures during a sunny period last week:

Karin & Dan are watching with anxious eyes as the water goes up. We aren't sure why they haven't sandbagged - perhaps there isn't a way of getting the equipment over to Siggy's Island.

Karin & Dan are watching with anxious eyes as the water goes up. We aren’t sure why they haven’t sandbagged – perhaps there is no way of getting the equipment over to Siggy’s Island. BTW, the far shore in this photo is the other side of The Point and my ‘estate’, from where I used to bark over to Siggy.

 

They've done their best to help the Loons in the area. This Loon has two puppies now, and another pair in the lake that drains into Darlington Bay also are able to raise their family thanks to Karin and Dan's efforts to put their nests on floating (anchored) platforms. The Loons are so thankful that they sing us lullabies every night!

They’ve done their best to help the Loons in the area. This Loon has two puppies now, and another pair in the lake that drains into Darlington Bay also are able to raise their family thanks to Karin and Dan’s efforts to put their nests on floating (anchored) platforms. The Loons are so thankful that they sing us lullabies every night!

A local photographer friend of Elizabeth’s, Tom Thomson, has also been out with his camera. He said she could share this video with you, taken at the headwaters of the West Arm of the Winnipeg River, travelling from Lake of the Woods directly toward the Norman Dam. It shows one of the hazards of flooding in this region. As the water rises, it lifts something called ‘floating bog’, which grows in quiet, still waters in bays or between islands along the Lake. New currents, in the usually current-free areas where this floating bog occurs, tear it apart, carrying pieces downstream at, as you can see, an alarming rate. These are thick, solid mats of vegetation, sometimes with trees or shrubbery growing on them. Even two-leggers can often walk quite safely on this type of bog, although they will probably get their feet soaked along the way. It is not uncommon, during high water years, to see someone struggling to pull bog islands such as these out to safer locations using a tow rope attached to their growling floating tin cans. The mat shown here could easily tear a wooden land extender from its moorings or damage a moored floating tin can.

 

Some Sad News…

Just before the ice went out this Spring, Elizabeth and I heard an ATV pull up to the shore at Al & Joanne’s place. It was mid-week, so, we thought it would be a good idea to run over and investigate.

We caught up to two two-leggers on the Big Gravel Path, where they were just getting into their respective growling machines. I recognised Siggy’s two-legger Karin (she sent me home one day when I tried to come over the ice to visit Siggy) and Elizabeth introduced me to Karin’s husband, Dan. You may remember Dan. He’s my hero; remember the story I told you about him?

I am a bit shy around Dan. He’s a big man; he was wearing black today, which scares me a little bit…; and, well, it isn’t everyday that a dog meets one of her ultimate heroes. I just felt overwhelmed by his presence.

Elizabeth and Siggy’s two-leggers had quite a chat; they hadn’t seen each other for a long time. While they talked, I waited patiently, looking around a bit to see if I could see Siggy in one of the vehicles. I wondered why she hadn’t been answering my barks over to her island. I’ve always enjoyed sharing the neighbourhood news with Siggy. Although we’ve never met nose-to-nose, we’ve always had a good rapport.

And then my ears pricked. I heard the two-leggers mention Siggy, and Elizabeth ask if her two-leggers were going to get another dog, or if they were going to wait a while. Siggy had gone over the Rainbow Bridge earlier in the Spring, before she was able to make it back to her island.

I miss my morning and evening chats with my old pal. And Siggy was much older than she seemed. She was 16 human years old. That’s at least 112 dog years! She lived a long and happy life with his two-leggers on Siggy’s Island, and she travelled to all kinds of interesting places with them. She always had a good story to tell me when we visited across the waves.

Good-bye, Siggy. Next time we meet, we’ll share a bone and bark at a mountain lion shoulder-to-shoulder. Rest in peace, friend. I’ll be missing you.

Siggy the Chocolate Lab, who lived with his two-leggers on his island for 16 years.

Siggy the Chocolate Lab, who lived with her two-leggers on her island for 112 years. (Thank you for the photo, Karin)

Anticipation…

Less than a week left ’til my pal Siggy returns to his Island with his two-leggers! I can hardly wait.

I love the winter – the wind, the cold, the fluffy white stuff and water hard enough to run on. But there’s something I don’t like about winter. I get lonely. All my dog friends seem to disappear with the dropping of the leaves and the first fall of fluffy white stuff.

Last year when Siggy came home, I got so excited to hear his voice that I ran out across the hard water to visit him. His female two-legger, Karin, saw me coming. She called my name and told me to go home. I stopped because I was so surprised she knew my name, then I turned and went back to our point. I came home a bit sad because I thought Karin didn’t like me.

Elizabeth told me that Karin does like me, though, and that she told me to go home because she knew it was dangerous for me to be on the ice, or to visit other dogs and two-leggers without one of my two-leggers with me. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. I thought Elizabeth was just trying to make me feel less rejected. So she told me a story to show me how much Siggy’s two-leggers really do like other dogs.

Cocoa Just Before her Adventure

Cocoa just before her Adventure

Elizabeth had a dog before me. Cocoa was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who lived to be very old – 105 dog years old! It was because Elizabeth missed Cocoa so much that she got me.

Late in her life, Cocoa’s back legs got very sore and tired quickly, but she still loved to go for walks on Elizabeth’s trails and to cool off in the river.

One spring day, just after the water had become splashy once more, they went for a walk over to the point. Cocoa went down a rocky slope to get a drink and got stuck. Her legs wouldn’t work well enough to push her back up the rocks to Elizabeth. So, Elizabeth climbed down to help.

She couldn’t carry Cocoa up the hill. Cocoa wasn’t as big as me, but she was still too big for carrying. But Elizabeth saw a series of rock steps just under the water which Cocoa could take to get to a grassy beach that would be easier for her to manage.

Cocoa didn’t want to go into the water.

Elizabeth tossed a pebble out to entice her. Not far.

But it was too far…. Cocoa’s back legs wouldn’t work in the cold water, and Elizabeth couldn’t reach her to pull her back to shore. And she’d be risking her own life to go into the water herself. She called for help, but no one could hear her. Cocoa’s thrashing front paws were taking her out into the current….

Elizabeth ran all the way home to get the canoe and help. She says she was terrified that Cocoa might give up, so she called to her all the way home as loudly as she could to keep her spirits up.

Like me, Cocoa loved walks along Elizabeth's trails

Like me, Cocoa loved walks along Elizabeth's trails

When she got to the two-legger house, she phoned a neighbour with a boat, but got an answering machine. She had yelled over to the island where Siggy lives and no one had heard her, but she tried phoning them anyway. Siggy’s other two-legger, Dan, answered and told her he’d get out to Cocoa right away.

Elizabeth ran back down to the river and hauled the canoe down the hill with her and into the water. Then she paddled like mad around the point. She thought she heard Dan’s boat while she paddled across our bay, but she couldn’t see or hear it when she got around the point. And she couldn’t see any sign of Cocoa in the water.

Heartbroken, she paddled on, hoping she could at least find her old pal’s body to take home. It was one of the worst moments in her life. She’d just killed her best friend.

She kept paddling.

Then she saw the boat, pulled up on the very beach she’d been trying to get Cocoa to wade to. Kay was calling from the other side of the point… and there was Cocoa, wobbling up the hill to find her!

Elizabeth pulled up to Dan’s boat and he told her, “I couldn’t find her at first. Then I saw her nose, just before it went under. She’d drifted almost all the way over to our island! I was able to grab her collar, but I couldn’t get her into the boat, so I held her head up and maneuvered her over to this beach.”

Dan realised that Elizabeth had just about killed herself running and paddling (she has a lot of trouble breathing sometimes – something called asthma), so he loaded everyone and the canoe into his boat and drove them all home. He even helped take the canoe back up the hill!

Cocoa recovered and lived until the fall of that year, thanks to Dan’s quick response. Elizabeth says he and Karin are the best kind of neighbours anyone could ask for.

That's a view of Siggy's Island just about the time he leaves.

That's a view of Siggy's Island just about the time he leaves.

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