Monday, March 31, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Separation Anxiety

I'm sitting at my desk, working away. Walter is about to spend his first night at home without Hannah.

He's searched the house twice - once for Kath, once for Hannah. He's been quite whimpery and demanding, and won't settle down for his evening nap.

He's unhappy

Poor thing.

He did VERY well on his Walk With Judy, however.

Bachelorhood Day 6: The Boys, Alone

"I'm cold, and there are wolves after me."
- Grandpa Simpson

Hannah bannannah is staying over with Karen tonight - Judy will be coming over at 4 today, and 6:45am tomorrow, to walk me and Wally* so the bitch** gets to spend a nice night with her favorite Auntie.

I swear, it's something about Monday that makes our dogs insane. Hannah was no angel - she was absolutely ruled by her nose, and was very anxious about other dogs. There were lots of them on the beach, busy romping in the cold, wet weather, and many of them were very interested in Hannah's toy. Just as I got her to look at me, Walter bolted after a squirrel. I missed the starting gun, even though I knew he was going to go after something: he was vibrating like a bridge cable in the moments before snappage. I didn't catch any change in his focus, alertness, etc. before he erupted. I understood how Kath felt when he did this to her - but hoped to never experience it. It's shocking to have the leash torn from your grasp.

It took some real effort to get them under any sort of control, but I did have some success with the techniques Judy has taught us. Back to basics - sit and hold, and loose leash walking. It took an hour to get to 2/3 of the way to the boardwalk and back, but we made it. Yes, I still love them.

The chicken turned out great, and I miss Kath lot and lots and lots and lots and lots. I will be able to make one kind of dinner for us now, which is nice.


*Yes, I did mean to phrase it that way.
**Yes, I meant to use that word too. Keep reading.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bachelorhood Day 5*: I'm roasting a chicken

Yeah, that may not sound like much - but I've never even thought of roasting a chicken before. I read several recipes, and then went for the common denominators: 2 hours at 350-375, on the vertical roaster (the lah-dee-dah beercan) with parsnips and potatoes and spices and beer in the pan.


I really miss Kath.


*Days 1-4 are a haze of miserable loneliness, so you don't get to hear about them.

Ok, ok, I really miss her, but I'm not quite THAT pathetic.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bachelorhood Day 0: She's Away

yesterday's limo
carried my heart far away
a house of silence

yesterday's limo
carried my heart far away
a house of silence

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Life: Being A Chauffeur

I'm standing at YYZ t3*, waiting for Sisbo to arrive on KLM 691. After
many months in Ghana, she's come back to Canada.

I never got around to describing the adventure I had -

...She's here!

*Toronto International Airport call sign, Terminal 3.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Next He'll Want A Posse

Now that he's the star of a music video, he's going to need an entourage, right?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: At Least He Didn't Suffer...

Walter - Rising...much.
To those of you who panicked when I blogged about the death of Arthur C. Clarke:
I happen to blog about other things on occasion, is all.
Hannah Walter ActionBased on Monday's very challenging lesson, we are walking Hannah and Walter separately. Judy (Let Loose The Hounds) did a lot of the leash work, and will teach me the same on Friday; Kath said it was a revelation for her, and that she had to keep telling herself, "Walter isn't suffering - he's just really stubborn." I'll report the details when I have them first hand.
Hannah did suffer, however; both of them suffer separation anxiety, and walking separately is very challenging for them. On Monday, Kath left first, and Hannah spent the whole walk freaked out that her Mother had abandoned her. Since then, based on Judy's advice, I leave with Hannah before Kath leaves with Walter. Hannah is thrilled - "I get to play with Julian!" - but D'Waller is quite upset. Kath said he sat at the door and moaned and wailed.
Poor thing.
Walter - Shake Baby ShakeWalter - I know I pretty
Walter - Snoozles

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Childhood's End

A sad, sad day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: His New Name Is BADDOG!

Kath has told me how stressful the Monday walks are - both Hannah and Walter being headstrong, dominant, etc. Now I have experienced it, and they're lucky they're new names aren't "stir" and "fry".

I started with Hannah who had no interest in me for the whole walk: she wanted to be with Kath. When she eventually changed hands she wanted to pull, pull, pull.

Walter started by pulling, and then ran out into the road, to chase an SUV. By the end of the walk we were exhausted, but they were starting to behave.

Back to basics.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This web comic is reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally sick, and reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally funny if you like sick humour. This one is very tame compared to many. Don't visit the site unless this one made you chuckle happily.

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @
Obviously, it makes me guffaw, at least.

Tech: One Future for Multi-Touch Mobile Devices

This video describes a proof of concept from Microsoft. The main page, gives more details about the device and the potential for the device.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: The Second Thursday

I have given up with sequential numbering. Too tired in the morning for that sort of silliness.
Last night the kids and I went over to the waterworks to play in the new snow - tons of fun! This morning - another 05:30 for Julian! - we went to the water to romp, and to meet Judy. She took us back up to Queen, where we practiced jogger acceptance with Walter, and sit-and-hold with Hannah.
The difference with Walter and Kath was amazing - she was great, and he responded. One half jump was the sum total of his badness! Kath's attitude was very strong, positive and obvious. Great work!
Okay, I have a meeting so before I go, I'll run 'the best of Wally' for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Day... Day... What day is this?!

Tuesday's morning walk was pretty good, from what little I recall. Judy was supposed to join us, but we reset for Thursday because there was *supposed* to be a major storm with major ice and nasty. It wasn't nearly so bad - the storm hit Tuesday evening.

We practiced 'sit' and leash training, and had a huge romp in the leash-free over by Kew Gardens - about a dozen dogs with half as many owners. Walter took a jump at a random girl walking by - no clue what the trigger was, or the warning sign.

Tuesday night, I took the down to the water to play, and did some hard work with holding a sit; they did reasonably well. Walter will hold until Hannah moves (usually). Hannah will hold until the toy moves.

Wow: I knew the US likes to lock people up

...but I had no idea. This one deserves a whole new category.

From, about Black's stay in Florida.

"…the U.S. has undergone something of a prisoner boom in recent years. According to a recent study by the Pew Centre in the U.S., about 2.3 million adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008, which is more than any other country in the world, including China with its much bigger population.
It is also a prison population that skews young: One in 30 men between the age of 20 and 34 is behind bars; for black males, the figure is one in nine."

Again, WOW.

Edit 2012-12-25 from Poughkeepsie, NY

Still wow. I was looking up immigration rates and such today. I love that Canada still brings in a quarter million immigrants a year, and that by 2031 half of all Canadians will have at least one parent born abroad.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Day 6 - I Am A Wastrel, Pathetic, Redux

Verse six, repeated: I had a horrible night's sleep, and was a mess at 5:30.  Kath was very kind and let me sleep so I would be functional at work. This backfired for her, into a D- walk for the kids. After yesterdays very successful training, the kids were on a horrendous tear - garbage, running around, not attending, you name it.

On the positive side - and there is one - this morning's walk of horror solidified her understanding that we have to discipline Hannah and Walter now, for the payoff later.

I'll be up for the "walk" tomorrow. I say "walk" because the entire earth will be glazed in ice, and I'm not going to be too agile.


I Am Walter's Father: Day 5 - Afternoon

Kath has this misconception about herself - she thinks she's "a bad mother" to the dogs. In reality she doesn't want to be a disciplinarian with them, which I understand; I don't want to be that either. We need to be disciplined, not disciplinarians.

It was a pleasure to see Walter responding to Kath's confidence and presence. He's very stubborn - even Judy, our trainer, had trouble getting his butt to settle in reasonable time. Kathleen was able to get him to respond, obey, sit and stay, and to attend to her very well. Better than I was, actually. Hannah found the whole experience very stressful, but she also had a great time playing and obeying.

On a separate note, did you know dogs love to eat goose-poop? Yeah, neither did I until I noticed that Walter's chin was green while he licked my beard.

Yeah, that's what I said.

I showered for, like, an hour.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Day 5 - I am a pathetic wastrel

Kath woke me up at 5:30, but I didn't make it on the walk. I can justify - or rationalize - my slug-osity: she needs time with the dogs to show she is top dog. When we all walk together, they (mostly) listen to me. But, really, that is a rationalization. I felt crappy at 05:30 and didn't want to go and Kath let me get away with it and I'm a terrible owner.


Well, not that bad, but still.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I Am Walter's Father: Day 4 - Why Training is Harder

This post is satirical in nature, and should not be taken literally at all.*

The first day of March. I walk, just past somnambulant, with Hannah's leash in hand.

"Dog training could be the end of us, you know," Kath said, being dragged by Walter. Her tone evokes the feeling I get in my belly when a glass shatters between my bare feet: movement of any kind is likely to result in pain, mess, and quite possibly a limp. A gland somewhere deep in my white-matter squeezes. I'm no more awake, but suddenly, terribly, terribly, alert.

Gingerly, I attempt to place a toe on a bit of floor with no splinters of laceration. I say nothing, carefully.

"If we had children our parenting styles would be very different."

Toe bleeding. Pull back and try new tactic. Perhaps I can leap over the danger...?

"You think that it is a natural right for a dog to run free," I said. "I think that running free is a reward a dog gets for good behaviour."


Why is it, no matter where you are, as soon as there is a chase scene two guys in overalls appear carrying a huge sheet of glass?


The difficult circular reality is that we never have the kind of walk we enjoy if we have that kind of walk now. Training walks have to be tightly controlled, to establish focus and concentration for all parties. Once we have them attending to us - that is, the dogs paying attention to the humans - we can change the parameters of the control, give them much more freedom, and be much more relaxed on our walks.


Special thanks to the father of Dawson and and Grace. We met this gentleman at the corner by Pet Value, with his Golden Retrievers. We stopped to say hello, and to let Walter and Hannah say hello. He talked about how much his dogs enjoyed their training, and that the consistent repetition paid off for many years. By the time we parted ways, Kath was feeling much better about being trained in a training program with our dogs.

*...Unless you were there to hear the dialogue, in which case it's completely true in all respects.