Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunshine and Green Grass

Well with June almost over it is time to look back over the last 10 days since I updated this journal. Our  "Little Rain Event" got a little carried away and turned into the biggest flood in our region since 1932. Places to the west of us got between 8 and 10 inches (200-250mm) of rain over a short period of time and that coupled with the rapid melting of last winters snowpack in the mountains combined to make things more than a little exciting along the Bow Valley. The mountain towns of Banff, Canmore, and Exshaw were cut-off when their main transportation corridor, the Trans-Canada Highway, was undercut by various creeks and torrents. As well as the fact that many folks lost their homes out there and many more were evacuated for safeties sake it also meant that our newest family members Max and Maya were trapped at the Canmore SPCA for the duration.

As the water came down the Bow it flooded many areas of the City of Calgary and there were approximately 100,000 folks evacuated from their homes in the city. Many low lying areas along the river have suffered severe flood damage and many of those evacuated had destroyed homes when they were allowed to return. The massive clean up is underway and folks are jumping in and helping when and where they can. Yesterday I was at a BBQ at my sister-in-laws where the newest common injury, rubber boot rash, was in evidence on a large percentage of the legs. This is where the tops of rubber boots rubs on the legs of the uniniated. Not a problem for those of us with farmers tans we are not wearing shorts and keep our jeans tucked into our high top boots. Saves on the laundry too. After spending a lot of my working career interacting with our First Nation communities it seemed natural to me to head out towards the Stoney Reserve west of Calgary and see what I could do to help their situation. Although the population density is much lower there than in the city the devastation was just as terrible. The surrounding communities, all impacted by the floods also, had marshalled folks and were dropping off donations of food, water and clothing. The Stoney folks have Reserves along many of the rivers coming out of Alberta's west country and I hooked up our horse trailer and started hauling food, water, clothing, and cots and blankets out to one of the more remote Reserve's. You can bet you have never met more appreciative folks than those at Eden Valley when I arrived with supplies. One elder who came to thank me said because of you folks hauling this stuff I will sleep safe from the water tonight. PAID in FULL is all I could think.

There have been many great photo's and video's on the internet so I won't try to compete with those as we decided this might be a great time to follow directions and stay home while the Emergency Service folks did their thing.

As I mentioned earlier our new dogs were caught up in the drama and excitement and spent an extra few days in the shelter in Canmore. One of the directors of the board at the shelter walked over and received permission to stay in that evacuated zone so as to care for the critters who were stranded there. Once the flood had receded the roads into Canmore were closed to non-residents for a few days so we imposed on our sister-in-law Sandy, who lives there, to load up Maya and Max and meet Brenda out on the Stoney Reserve to effect a rescue of sorts. So a week or so late they finally made it to Dogpound North.

Having a look around their new forever home
 The last few days have been spent catching up on things around the farm and introducing the new pups to the other animals who call Dogpound North home. We have an everchanging cast of characters here and Matt has added to the newcomers with a horse for my granddaughter Claire. Bonnie came from our friends at Wild Deuce via a lady near Carseland, Alberta who decided she couldn't use her enough and wanted her to go to someplace where she would be appreciated and ridden more often.

Claire, Matt, Bonnie, the horse, and of course their security detail Mack
Claire got her new horse saddled up and had a ride, and Madison was working Spanky on a barrel pattern in the yard here and I got out for TWO rides, one with Caron, her horse Quiz and Willow, this morning and the second with Brenda Wink, and Blue this afternoon.

Claire and Bonnie

Madison and Spanky
Caron, Quiz and her dog Rex

Brenda and Wink crossing the Moose Pasture
Blue and I just enjoying the day

So here in Southern Alberta it has been an exciting week and we here at Dogpound North have had our share of it as well, although ours has been a nicer version than those along the rivers to the south of us.

Max and Maya settling in at their new digs

Two years ago today my little brother Brent went to join my baby brother Kelly, in a different place and since then Dad has joined the both of them so although the weather is great, and the new dogs have made it home, and I have two granddaughters here riding their horses, it has been bittersweet. I know they are still with us, I talk to them all pretty often, and still get advice on most everything I am doing, but I still miss seeing them all.

Damn I miss you guys


  1. That has to be incredibly hard this time of year, John.

  2. Its sad that a fellow has to loose his family in the way you have... I'm sure they are waiting for you patiently... But lets not hurry that much, we would miss you awfully bad down here.... Rod

  3. Well thought out and written blog. The weather that ravaged southern Alberta and caused so much destruction - led to so much material and emotional loss - is inconceivable. The strength of community has come through in spades and the rebound is pretty darned amazing. Good folks do come through to help in times of need.

    Your new canines are great looking dogs. They found a great home too!

    Happy Canada Day!

  4. Anniversaries such as you wrote about are always bittersweet. The dogs are absolutely gorgeous! I'm hoping to get another one in a few months, but looking at yours makes me want one now!

  5. After being in the animal shelter, Max and Maya must feel like they are in heaven and they probably are! What a great summer they are going to have at Dogpound North.

  6. What a wonderful new home Max and Maya have, you have been blessed with two great friends.

    Nice to see Wink back in the pink and out and about. :c)

    Thank goodness there are people like you ready to help those in need. Sad so many have suffered from all the rain.