“It must be nice to hold” by Julia at the cabin in Galina Bay

Thursday June 27, 2019
5 minutes
David Sedaris

Like the front scruff of a standard poodle, the soft of a blind dog’s ears.
There is more to feel than the fur or the bone. It must be nice to hold the trust of your companion–in a small dish, or a pocket. Safe there from the heartbreak of losing the other half of his soul.
We offer choice to a dog who has lost the ability to decide whether to stay in or go out.
A lap for a lay, will he or will he remain upright for the third day in a row?
Will he stop trembling?
Will he say yes? Or maybe?

“beneficial to anyone” by Sasha at the casita

Monday October 23, 2017
5 minutes
From an email

I woke this morning with a heavy feeling
That familiar weight
Brick on chest
Snake in bowels

The dogs were barking
There are so many here
Roaming the side streets with
Nipples almost touching the ground
They’ve had so many pups
They sulk
Open though the alleys and side streets
You wonder where the puppies are

I trust you with my heart now
Something about the temperature
The past month
Has brought us closer to the root
Of it all
To God
To the stars
To the salt water

I rose with a lightness
Because you were there
In your stunning stillness
Hands up by your face

“big sister” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday August 13, 2017
5 minutes
From Nannies On Call

Big sister takes my hand and leads me down to the river where Luna’s drinking river water. Pap says that humans can’t drink river water but Luna can. Something about her belly being strong. Something about the power of mutts. Big sister says that Pap is better pals with Luna than he is with Mama or us. Says that he understands beasts better than people. I don’t know. I think he’s okay. Big sister says watch out, when the moon’s full and Pap drinks a bit of boxed wine.

“Hands me a shovel” by Julia at Starbucks

Wednesday June 29, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
Zen Poem
Jane Rohrer

Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says Whatchu Waiting For?
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Hands me a shovel and tells me I have to and if I won’t do then I won’t do anything else today, no eating, no running, no laying down, no reading. So I do because I want to do other things but I don’t want to dig. My arms are weak from all the lifting he made me do yesterday. He sits back and watches me work while he chews on a piece of straw and rocks back and forth saying, That’s Nice, and Good, and, Very Good. The last time I tried to run away he sent his dogs. So I don’t threaten to head to the fence anymore. He wants to keep me right where he can see me. I don’t want to dig but his face is sweaty and mean today. I have to. I have to.
Says Dig
Says Hurry Up
Says I Like Watching You Drip
Says Thank You
Says I’ll Show You How Thankful I Am

“Junk Email Folder” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver

Friday December 4, 2015
5 minutes
from an email account

I put on a blue sweater, stained with paint.

“I’m going for a walk with Toby,” I call to you, in your studio, earphones on. You likely can’t hear me, but as long as I’ve technically told you where I’m going, it won’t start a fight.

I put on Toby’s leash. I scratch his ear, the way he likes, using my nails, and he closes his eyes.

On the trail, I wonder about your mother and her dialysis. It’s the place my mind usually goes. I’ve never liked conflict, or unsaid anger, and your relationship is rife with both. I think about texting you, and even reach into my pocket to do it, but realize I’ve left my phone at home, likely on the back of the toilet.

I let Toby off his leash and he races after a squirrel. I laugh. It’s been awhile since I did that. I keep forgetting to take the Vitamin D drops.

“entirely free of the curse” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
5 minutes
a Wikipedia page

Kit doesn’t believe in fate. She shakes her head when her older sister Betty talks about this and that. They live in adjoining townhouses and have breakfast and dinner together. They trade off who prepares what. This morning Betty appears at Kit’s front door with a jug of freshly squeezed orange juice and a scowl that would scare a priest.

“Oh Kitty, I swear to you that dog is cursed!”

She pushes past her sister and kicks off her rubber boots.

“He howled all night long. Did you hear him?” Betty picks a blueberry off her bowl of oatmeal.

“Of course I heard him!” Kit eyes the clock.

“GOOD BOY!” By Sasha at Kits Beach

Tuesday, April 13, 2015
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

I take Ned for a walk every morning. Before I’ve fully arrived here, in the day, I walk down to the beach and I let Ned off the leash even though it’s against the law. It’s my small “Fuck the man”. I don’t do it anywhere else, I play by the rules, but I’m gonna let my hundred pound dog off the damn leash. Come on. There are other dog walkers there, and runners… A few carriage pushers. A few old women in running shoes and shawls. Sometimes I bring my travel mug with green tea. Sometimes I stop for a full fat latte. Screw the fads. My mother drank full fat milk and she was always thin as a broom handle. I don’t reward Ned with treats. I give him a good scratch behind the ears and a “good boy”. It’s enough for him.

“Is it coffee time yet?” by Julia at the Greyhound station in Kitchener

Sunday, April 5, 2015
5 minutes
Overheard at the bus station in Kitchener

After you left the guy and girl had a fight of some sort. I heard him, the guy say, I heard the guy say that it was all her fault. I know for a fact he said..he said..”you’re going to get what’s coming to you.” And then he said “And you think it’s over but it’s not over.” So you didn’t miss much.
I didn’t follow Ancastor like you told me to. I didn’t want to approach him while I was at the bus station because I didn’t know if he would hit me or not. But I did certainly get a sense of that girl and guy who had been fighting. I chose in the moment not to follow Ancastor for you because he had a dog with him as well. He always brings the dog. Those two are inseparable!
But no, I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. You’re correct. I said you were correct. But you promised me a Tim Hortons triple triple if I got some information for you. And I did. I certainly did!

“make myself solid in this transitory world” by Julia at Source Centre for Health and Wellness

Tuesday February 3, 2015 at Source Centre for Health and Wellness
5 minutes
A Time Of No Place
Natalie Goldberg

If Regis (that’s the dog that I’m watching) licks my left ankle one more time, I’ll take it as a sign from the sky gods (that’s a term my friend Birdie told me about recently. Her real name is Roberta, but what fun is that?)that I’m connecting with something magical. Mirabell (that’s Regis’ long lost love) died two years ago today and he never fully recovered. Now he licks ankles but I don’t think those things are related. Tiger-Blossom (That’s my spirit animal. He’s a she and sometimes she’s a monster) says that when it’s really cold at night we must let our lives live without the halves we think they need.

“helped you make connections” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday January 21, 2015
5 minutes
from a e-mail from Twitter

As soon as you got Gus you knew that he would help you make connections. You were walking him, before even the sun rose, and you met a woman in a red coat who bent down and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over him. When she stood up, cheeks flushed with the morning and Gus’ newness, she said, “Hi.” You knew that people were stopping for him, not for you, but that was okay. By default you were part of their puppy experience. When you were home alone with Gus it was less interesting. There was more pee on the carpet and bite marks in your favourite runners.

“Dogs must be kept on a lead” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 13, 2014
5 minutes
London overground rules

Bobby always says, “Don’t get me wrong…” I think about how if he needs to say that so much people are probably getting him wrong all over the damn place. Why doesn’t he just try harder to get it right? I tell him this on our way to the dog park. Lou is jumping like a rabbit and he keeps saying, “Down Lou! Down!” Lou doesn’t listen. Molly is the opposite of Lou. She behaves like the Queen that she is. “Don’t get me wrong, I love her. But she’s badly behaved and so annoying!” I pause. “How could I, like, get you wrong?” “Huh?” He’s never been called on this before? “I’m just wondering how I could get that wrong… Like, I know that you love her. You’re good to her. You didn’t have her as a puppy and it’s hard to train full grown dogs…” Bobby looks at me. He furrows his thick brows. “I’m just saying – ” “I know what you’re saying!” We’re at the dog park now, and he’s letting Lou off her leash. Molly is whimpering softly.

“you can see a musical” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 13, 2014
5 minutes
Top 10 London

When you go to New York, you can see a musical. It’ll be your first one. Make sure you wear a really nice something something. They can tell you’re a tourist but you don’t want to give us Canadians a bad name, right? A good place to start is Phantom of the Opera. Something by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Masquerade! Paper faces on parade! Masquerade!
If I were feeling stronger, I’d go with you, but I don’t think I’m up to that city anymore. The first time I went, Marjorie and I took a bus. It took over fifteen hours. At the border they sent dogs on and we were so scared our fingers were shaking. Someone on that bus had dope in their bag and the dogs went crazy, barking and panting. Marjorie almost fainted. But… We made it. And when we had a drink at the Waldorf Astoria I turned to her and said, “I never want to go home.”

“Dogs must be kept on a lead” by Julia on Katie’s couch

Monday December 13, 2014
5 minutes
London overground rules

These are the rules and these are the only rules I’ll tell you about once:
1) Do not offer to help Fatimah. She is sneaky and capable but she is lazy and good at being so.
2) Do not close the hall window at night. It is imperative that it is kept open, no matter what season.
3) Do not under any circumstances remove the ladder underneath the hall window.
4) Jams in the fridge you will not eat: Fig and Dark Cherry.
5) Dogs are to be signed in and out and must be kept on a lead.
6) Theme night participation is absolutely non-negotiable
7) Phone calls are limited to 4 days a week between the hours of 8 and 8.

“The heat is bad, the water’s bad” by Julia on Sullivan’s Island Beach

Sunday April 27, 2014 at Sullivan’s Island Beach
5 minutes
Knocked Up
Henry Lawson

Ellis looked down at her foot encrusted in tiny sand sparkles. She decided then and there that she would stop caring about how fat she looked in her new summer dress and focus solely on her new endeavour: feed decals. Ellis wanted to design a foot stencil that would cover all the toes, and then come down the middle of the foot like a hanging chain. She would make the “non-sandal-sandal” and it would look a lot like a foot bracelet that glimmered in the light. She could hear the skinny girls behind her laughing as she took photos of her elegant looking feet. They might have been laughing about her muffin top—and they might have been laughing about the dog behind her that was burrowing himself into the sand each time one of their boyfriends threw a potato chip into a tiny hole of sand.
Ellis would be famous for her foot decorations. She’d try to sell them at farmer’s markets by wearing an example decal on one foot, and a completely different design on her other.
People don’t care about your muffin top. They’re only worried about their muffin tops.
Ellis could hear the voice of her mother in her head-she also heard her saying, If you hate it so much, you could start exercising or stop eating entire bags of Dorritos for breakfast.
Ellis tilted her feet into the sunlight-she wondered if she’d be able to source local sand particles for her first peel on overlay.
She vowed to ask Uncle Lars as soon as she got home.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice” by Sasha on her couch

Friday April 18, 2014
5 minutes
Overheard on Queen St.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice, Shirley,” my sister, Emma, said, as she squeezed a slice of lemon onto her salmon. We sat in our parent’s backyard. We were both home for Easter, our stepmother Veronica’s favourite holiday. “I don’t plan to – ” I heard the Finn barking, our father pulling into the driveway. “If you move again, who is to say that the same things won’t happen?” Emma lined up the tiny bones along the edge of her plate. “”Wherever you go, there you are…”” It’s like she thought that suddenly she was wiser, now that she was a property owner and was even leasing-to-own a Jetta. Shit. “There are opportunities in Halifax,” I said, hearing our father baby-talk Finn in the kitchen. “Hey girls!” He called, “I’m going to take a shower and be right out to join you!” “Okay!” We called, at the same time.

“roasted fennel” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia

Tuesday April 15, 2014
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Mama liked it when her drinks tasted like Italy. It reminded her of home, of her mother, of her doggie, Stella, and her doll-friend, Cicio Bello. When mama took a sip, she’d slip, then slide, then land back in a time where farm animals woke her up each morning, and where Figs grew as big as your face in September.
She stocked up on the stuff just in case they ever decided to stop making it. Not that anyone would, it was a beautiful thing. But just in case, she always said, just in case.
We knew she could say whatever she wanted and we’d never say a thing in return to her about it. We didn’t want Mama to feel like she had a problem. We didn’t want anyone to think she couldn’t handle it on her own, just the way she wanted to. Nobody mentioned a thing when we’d find bottles of her nostalgia hidden under the sofa cushions, or planted deep in the soil of her dying rosemary bush. Nobody said anything when Cicio Bello started appearing again in Mama’s life, her old friend whispering things to her no one else could hear; keeping her company through the storm.

“Less like a lightning strike” by Sasha at Capital Espresso

Saturday March 7, 2014
5 minutes
An interview with Barbara Kingsolver

It was less like lightning than she expected. It was slow. Like chilli stewing. Or, a crocus opening. It was more like a tumble than a fall.
“I’m going to Guatemala,” he said.
She felt her heart dance downwards, towards her guts, like a maple leaf.
All she could muster was, “But…”
It had all begun to change when he found Savannah. This had happened before, with a previous lover, who’d adopted a cocker spaniel and soon left for the desert. “I’m being called,” she’d said.
“I’m going to follow the sun…” What does that mean. What does that even mean? It rises and it sets every day so there’s really nothing to follow anywhere but right where you are.
She’d been deeply afraid that this would happen, from the moment Savannah had showed up on his front porch in the middle of a snowstorm. “Found a pooch,” he’d texted her and she’d felt a coil in her chest like a snake, waking.
“But… I’m pregnant…” She finally finished what she’d begun to say and this time it was his turn to fall, less like a leaf, more like a six foot three red-bearded man, fainting.

“Sharks spotted” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West

Monday February 17, 2014
5 minutes
the news feed at Ossington Station

“Michael?!” She calls, “What are you doing in your room? It’s so quiet!… Are you… meditating?” She’s right up close, I can practically hear her nails tapping on the door. “I’m fine, Mom,” I say, quietly. “What?” She says. She waits. “I’m making you a sandwich. You’re getting too skinny.” She trots down the stairs. I close my eyes. I breathe in, covering one nostril and out, covering the other. I picture white light surrounding the house, Alfalfa and Ruby. I spot a shark coming in from out of nowhere. I used to have nightmares about sharks but haven’t thought about them since I reached puberty. The shark swims through the window in the kitchen, takes one look at my mother, and eats her whole. “Shit!” I shout, my eyes opening, my breath rising high. A light tap on the door. “Michael?” She says. I sigh. “Yeah?” “I’m leaving an egg salad sandwich outside your door. Come and get it in a second or two or Alfalfa will have diarrhea for a week because of you.” I go to the door and open it. I kiss her on the cheek. I take a bite out of the sandwich.

“I’ll be here with you” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 7, 2014
5 minutes
Let’s Ride Into The Sunset Together
Don Burnam

Oh this will be nice, a picnic on an ice rink. Surely nobody’s ever done that and we’re just the types to be the first! UH! I love that stuff. We’ll bring sleeping bags and heated hand pouches so we don’t go crazy, but it will be so beautiful we won’t even notice how cold it is! I’m sure of all these things. Can’t not work, you know, if we’re together. The sun will set and we’ll be drinking hot chocolate from a thermos. I have a photographer in mind. She really loves the cold, and loves being the first at things too. So she’ll get bundled, and take our pictures like a magazine spread. That’s my ultimate goal in this. I would not mind getting a bit of publicity out of this. And we’ll just look so in love that everyone will want us to be on the cover of their publications. I really know that this will work. We need to find a doggie to run around or curl up with us. It has to look like as cozy as it would if we were at home and sitting by the fire place. But at the end of the day, we’ll have each other to keep us warm. We’ll lay in bed when we’ve exhausted the sunlight, and we’ll use our body heat to restore any lost feelings in our extremities.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday, August 8, 2013
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews

My dog’s shitting all over your stuff and I’m not sure why winter is still here and all I hear is banjo music and Jesus H Macy I am at a total loss as to what to do. I’m not interested in ramblings or Barcelona side streets or burning a bicycle wheel in an attempt to be ironic or confrontational. I am neither of these things and no matter how hard I try by purchasing fluorescent colours or whatever I will never be I can never be I am not the coolest one. My arch-nemesis is the sound of my downstairs neighbour coo-ing to her record player like she knows the words. I’m working on my shit and I’ve even started that belly-dancing class to try to embrace my curves and you don’t hear me complaining about anything because easy isn’t even in the vocabulary they taught me.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Julia on the Greyhound

Thursday, August 8, 2013
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews

My dog is an asshole. I never thought I’d hear myself say that but I swear to god it’s true. I mean sure he’s young and he doesn’t know how to not be an asshole quite yet, but there are certain things he should just know. Like going to the bathroom in the designated area, which is outside, and not just all over everything as if he owns the place. He also should know that the neighbour’s dog, Emmy-Lou, is very off limits even though she seems like she may be interested because of how she looks at him when she thinks no one is watching. He should also be aware that when I want to cuddle that’s what he’s supposed to do. To love me unconditionally even though he’s tired from a long day, or not in the mood because his favourite show, Emmy-Lou, is on outside and he can’t keep his stupid eyes from popping out of his stupid head. I’m not saying Emmy-Lou is not a nice looking dog, but she could try hiding her tush every now and again.

“social insurance number” by Julia at her kitchen table

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
5 minutes
from the back of an envelope from the government

Somebody stole my identity. I guess I played some part in that, if I’m being honest. I made it pretty easy to steal. I just was out there, living my life, being outward with everything and then bam, one day, you get a call and they’re like “you have been pretty shitty lately” and you’re like, not any more than usual, and they’re like “no, seriously. You’re gonna get fined or whatever.” Like they don’t use that vocabulary maybe, but they basically tell you that someone found it pretty easy to get a hold of your information and your life and just fucking take it like it’s a fresh pie on a windowsill with no guard dog. They don’t tell you in life school that you should get a fucking guard dog. For your personality! That is some crazy ass stuff let me tell you. So now someone is out there and they’re living like I would be and charging all kinds of shit to my credit card and there’s nothing I can do about it. Except reinvent. I mean, it’s too late for the person I was being. I have to let her go, you know? This fuckup of a human needs someone else’s life more than they’re own, then yeah, I’m not going to fight this weirdo. I just want something that’s mine and mine only.

“Just the dentist and his assistant” by Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe

Saturday,May 25, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
5 minutes
Emma Donoghue

Arnold sat in the waiting room with his tiny puppy stored discretely in his messenger bag. He didn’t want to leave the poor thing at home after rescuing her from under his car that morning. she was tiny tiny, and was good at keeping quiet. Arnold couldn’t help but think what this dog’s story was, and how his life would change now that he is a father. A dog owner with no kids, finally someone to take care of. Arnold’s white hair stuck out on the sides of his head like a clown’s would. He was rather tall with tanned legs and arms. He waited quietly, patting his bag every few minutes to let his new baby know that he was still there, that the puppy wasn’t alone. He assumed the dog was sleeping because she wasn’t even making a peep. He hadn’t thought far enough ahead to plan how he would bring his bag with him into the dentist chair….
He also didn’t know what he was supposed to do with her when they put him under so they could remove his wisdom teeth.

“Celebrate your inner Scot” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 25, 2013
5 minutes
Robbie Burns Month Card

I was releasing my dog, Wendy, to go do her, you know, her daily business.
She was taking forever so I started a load of laundry. Had to wash Benjamin’s kilt, which was fine, because he wanted to wear it to Joanie and Tanya’s wedding. I think he’s a good boy, good head on his shoulders, but he’s as weird as he is good. We’re not even Scottish. Why would he want to wear a kilt, I’ll never know. But oh well at least he’s not smoking crack–which is an extreme, I know, but he’s my son, so I think I can afford to be extreme.
Anyhow, where was I? Oh right, so I let out Wendy, she’s taking forever, right. She starts barking. Screeching, actually. I could hear her from the laundry room, so I leave the load, and Kier’s little kilt. I go up and she sounds like she’s gotten into a fight with another animal. My first thought was what if it were a skunk! So I stay out just to be safe because I can always wash Wendy later. Then I wonder, no, is that a coon? Or what? Another dog, surely not.

A radio was knocked off a table.” by Sasha on the Subway going West

Saturday,December 1, 2012
5 minutes
Susan Minot

A radio was knocked off the table. This was the first of a series of terrible events to occur on a night that should have, that could have, that might have, that… would have, been spectacular. If it weren’t for the new moon and the change of season and the fact that Mona was a few days away from menstruation. Alas, I digress. A radio was knocked off the table. Thus, the music stopped suddenly and without warning, causing Mona to drop the bowl of macaroni salad. If you’ve ever done such an abominable thing you’ll know that such a dish is not easily placed back in the bowl. And if you have a dog, that sheds, especially at the change of season, you’ll know that the unfortunate combination of dog hair and dust bunnies is not particularly the garnish that you were going for. Fighting back tears, Mona had the rather melancholy idea to take a spoon to the salad, on the floor, lest it all be wasted completely. Tim called and said that he was running fifteen minutes late. Thank god, thought Mona, mayonnaise on the bottom of her socks and on the seat of her jeans. Colby Jean, her shedding retriever, as she should call him, took it upon himself to help Mona with the mess when she went to her bedroom to change. In helping, Colby Jean, bless his old heart, ate the rest of the macaroni salad and, twelve minutes later dropped dead. Mona was researching alternative recipes whilst attempting to curl her hair. She heard that unmistakable thud.