Thursday, January 27, 2011

The roar of the ocean, the warmth of a dog.

Three am. Wilfs finally asleep. Chin on my right foot. Large paw on my left. Two weeks of good nights. Tonight not so good. Time to settle down together in the library.

What do dogs remember ? Wilfs first summers were spent at a battlemented old house a hundred yards and a granite ridge from the Atlantic. As a puppy he'd follow us down the brae to the old bothy at the oceans edge. Rabbits to chase. The occasional otter or doe for company. On a good day a view south to Ireland. More usually, driving rain direct from Nova Scotia. Facing us - Corryvreckan - the ship swallowing whirlpool. Millions and millions of tons of water tumbling down to form a cauldron of seething water two miles wide. The sound audible for miles inland. Green, luminescent water spouts whipping across the surface. The spirits of Scots-Irish legend.

Even then they were different characters. Digby cuddling into 'the font' or making a nest out of a tartan rug. Wilf standing, head on into the sledge hammer gale, ears streaming aerodynamically behind. The roar of the ocean, the warmth of a dog, three am laughter. When he's asleep, nose twitching, it's just possible to imagine that he's dreaming of those long ago rabbits and summer storms.


  1. So many memories. Often I ponder the mystery of what goes on in the mind of my dog. Does Wilf ever think back to those early summers in the west of Scotland, I wonder? Perhaps he likes standing head on to the gale to escape the midgies!

  2. Sorry to hear Wilf had trouble settling last night. Poor chap.

    You have such happy memories of Wilf and Digby's puppy days, and you've written about them beautifully.

    Love and a hug to Wilf.

  3. Tomorrow will be a better day for our dear Wilfee. He's a good fighter and he will stand tall and brave what's coming just like when he was little. You take a good rest too Angus.

  4. There is nothing quite like the warmth of a good dog.

    Thinking of you all,
    Riley (and his mum).

  5. i'm sure he is.....
    he's not really eating the d/d i see in the background? dog food for Wilf?! i'm sure it was just bought on the recommendation of the doc...:)
    hope all is well...

  6. I suspect that they do remember those things! If you ever return to a place where they were really happy, they seem to burst with excitement. I know ours do a lot of rabbit chasing in their dreams!

  7. My furry canine hot water bottle is currently stretched out full length on his side, his back against my leg. Occasionally a his front paws will twitch or he'll yip or grumble in his sleep, no doubt revisiting cheeky squirrels or fast-bouncing tennis balls of earlier days.

    Please find yourself a copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Let me know if it is unavailable in France and I'll send you my copy. It's told from a dog's perspective; you'll love it.

  8. What beautifully recounted memories of earlier days. I felt like I was present observing the views from a distance. So sorry Wilf had a rough night (you too of course) There is nothing more wonderful than the bond with a favorite dog, they seem to be able to read our minds and moods and make every situation lighter with their reactions. Looks to me like Wilfie has had a lot of head rubs going on in his little world from the looks of his funky hairdo! Hugs to all three of you.

  9. well you just took me back to when i lived in Scotland. We went on an amazing trip to see the Corryvreckan whirlpools....i have never seen anything like it....a truly grounding moment, when you realise mother nature cannot be stopped, or silenced.
    Im glad your memories are so wonderful, and im sure he dreams of those bunnies often!

  10. A beautifully written post.
    I love it when Lulu is curled up next to me on the sofa and I can almost live the chasing of squirrels with her - all those little squeaks, twitches and muffled barks are so endearing.

  11. Your words are so beautiful Angus, how much you love this little guy !
    Please, a hair tousling, lots of bisous and calins to him. Hope next night will be better for you two.

  12. I'm glad that Wilf finally fell asleep so close to you.

    I think that dogs remember all of it. I love the memories of Wilf and Digby by the ocean. A wonderful vision.

  13. Angus: you need to read The Art of Racing in the Rain as Petey of those 'fancy' bookshops in the metropolis should have it..or we can take up a collection to send it to you.
    Zach and I felt like we were standing in the rain at the ocean's edge this morning, reading your memories. Thanks

    Zach & mom

  14. Thank doG fr those memories which fill the holes in our hearts when sad times come. I could almost hear the roar of the waters from your description. And the notation that Digby and Wilf were so different from the start -- as are our boys. My Jakey would be right there with Wilf, nose into the breeze enjoying all the scents it brings. JH, nose to the ground, sniffing for a warm spot.

    3am laughter - complicit with those we cherish.

    Thank you, as always, Angus!

    xxx Joan

  15. Hoping for a better night tonight for all of you. Hugs for Wilf.

    Blessings and Love,
    Janelle and Maggie Mae

  16. I love it when my dog dreams. I hear a muffled barking sound coming from him and I know he's chasing the rowdy dog behind our privacy fence in his dreams.

  17. Beautiful and vivid memories! My mind's eye pictures the turbulent ship swallowing water! We hope Wilf enjoys a better day today and more rest tonight. xo

  18. Wilf is *such* a charmer, even at 3 am I would love being with this dog. If anyone is up at 3 am at our house, its the human who is not up but fallen asleep in a chair watching a movie. Then Stella the dog comes with her paws on my chest and insists on moving to bed!

    Jo and Stella

  19. I dream of the same places as Wilf.
    Minus the rabbits.
    When I was blue last week, Edward got into bed with me and fell asleep with his head on my tummy. Such comfort, for both of us.
    Love raining down on Wilf.

  20. A practical bent here. Do you think that Wilf has been given treats by workmen/tradespeople? Even the smallest inappropriate treats can wreak havoc on his blood sugar. My old vet stopped bringing her diabetic dog to work because people had given him everything from Mentos to a dill pickle.
    I know Wilf's condition is medically complicated and three will never be a single easy answer. You have optimized his life beyond compare with your care and love. And we, Wilf's admirers, what that life to go on.

  21. I second or more accurately third the recommendation of reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. by Garth Stein. It was my favorite book in 2010 and I can not recommend it enough!

    I hope Wilf enjoys a good night tonight!

    From the increasingly snowy (now over 62 inches) Boston

  22. and you and Wilf continue to face the storm together...

  23. Beautiful prose, just beautiful!! Perhaps just with all the extra commotion around the rickety farmhouse that has him off his routine a wee bit? I hope, as I log in after a few days under the weather, that he's back to his old self, waiting for biscuits and a tyre to christen. Keep going Wilf!

    With love, your rather sickly Canadian pals,
    Dianna along with Tor, Willow and Tucker

  24. I am convinced that dogs have memories of places and events...I hope tonight will be a better night for Wilf and he'll peacefully sleep and dream of the adventures and good times not so long ago.

  25. WE hope Wilf has a good night tonight and sleeps and dreams of wonderful things.

    Molly, Taffy and Monty

  26. I'm so sad Wilf had a bad night. Hopefully it's just one night and he'll be back on track tonight.

    I do believe dogs have memories of puppyhood. I'd like to think so.

    Continuing to keep Wilf in my prayers.

  27. Wilf looks as if he's standing in a wind in the last picture! We're sure dogs remember.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  28. we're sorry that Wilf had a bad night. hopefully, it won't happen again.

    i think that dogs remember everything and it's stored away in their minds for revisiting in their dreams. it sounds like Wilf has a lot of wonderful dream material.

  29. As often happens, Kari again anticipated mama's thought. Surreptitious treats slipped to Wilf by well-meaning visitors, unknown to Angus and the Font, are no longer benign.

    Mama has wondered if smells can trigger the same vivid memories in dogs that they can in people. Not just a present sense of squirrel, but a specific past memory involving squirrel. Unlike people, dogs don't "freeze up" in REM sleep; wonder if that affects the REM sleep experience.

    Hope Wilf finally had a restful night and that Angus got at least 40 winks as well. Better luck tonight.

    Jed & Abby

  30. dogs definately remember and dream and have souls and love and bear grudges....who could think otherwise?? xx hugs to you all..

  31. I love this post. I just can't get enough of Wilf's face!

  32. Hmm...only Bertie would know what a Scottish midgie is...we can only imagine...

    As for what we dogs think about??? I'll tell's not really a's arf,arf,arf...bark bark bark...aroooooooooo...!!!

    Miss Lacie