A couple of interesting moments in my life occurred in the last week. The first of which was when our oldest daughter had to be put under general anesthetics for a relatively minor medical procedure. A minor procedure that required general anesthetics because it was a procedure no kid could sit through un-anaesthetized. And it brought back some memories.
I have been put under general anesthetics a number of times – in childhood and adulthood. I only have fond recollections of the experience – except for the time they also gave me morphine, which lead to some serious hallucinations and vomiting when I awoke. But going through it as a child, I didn’t have any concept of the risks, however minimal they are given today’s science.
This time, I got to love the experience as a parent. A worried, neurotic, vividly-living-out-the-worst-case-scenario parent. She went under the anesthetics and awoke without incident. But it was when she awoke that I got to relive a long-forgotten memory: Being totally groggy, confused, and uncomfortable, and only wanting my mommy and daddy. When my daughter came to, she too was groggy, confused, and uncomfortable. She knew what had happened. She knew the day. She knew her name. She even correctly identified the president of the United States. But in the confusion, the dizziness, and the nausea, all she wanted was to feel her parents and have us hold her. She wanted only the comfort and familiarity of her parents.
It was a surreal experience getting to relive that part of my childhood. It was especially surreal reliving that moment on the other side – as the pillar of comfort, familiarity and companionship for my daughter. I don’t know where I was going with this, but it feels good to have finally put digital ink to digital paper…
The next interesting moment (as anyone who is subscribed to my YouTube channel now knows) was when we got a new dog. More accurately, a puppy this time around. We wanted to do another rescue. It’s a good feeling knowing that you are giving some lucky dog a second life. And there is also distinct convenience in getting a dog that is already mature and house-broken (especially with three young kids, one of whom is not yet house-broken! Lol). But we had too many problems adopting this time.
As a direct result of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s ridiculous legislation outlawing the pit-bull, the vast majority of dogs up for adoption are now pit-bulls, pit-bull mixes, or dogs with “pit-bull characteristics” (whatever the heck that means). So no agency would allow a Montreal resident to adopt any dog the resembles a pit-bull. Also, most rescue agencies won’t adopt out to families with kids – question of safety and liability. HSo having three kids (one of whom is an infant) was a deal-breaker for 90 percent of the eligible dogs. And finally, we even looked extra-provincially and out-of-country, but were refused because many agencies like to do follow-ups and won’t allow adoption beyond a certain radius. There were also issues for doing a cross-border adoption.
After two weeks of compulsively surfing the web, rescue agencies, Kijiji and Craigslist, we finally decided to get a puppy from a breeder. And once we found a legitimate French Bulldog breeder, we went for a visit, and came home with a beautiful pup. (Interesting side-note: There were a surprising number of scammers offering seemingly beautiful dogs for sale, but demanding a deposit before shipping your the dog. Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know who would buy a dog before meeting it in any case, but from what I googled, some people unfortunately fell for this oldest trick in the book).
It was when we went to see the puppy that I had my minor revelation. I was sitting there with this precious pup on my lap, finding myself judging everything it did. How it sat. How it ran. How hard it bit my finger when I put it in his mouth. I ruffled his coat. Analysed his teeth. I was fixated by a slight extra fold on the tip of his ear flap. His ears didn’t perk up perfectly like a bat (do a Google image search of French Bulldogs to know what I mean). The tip of one of his ears kind of flopped over a bit, like he was hearing a noise that no one else heard. I found myself scrutinizing this dog like it was a diamond for an engagement ring, and reacting as though I had just found an imperfection that greatly reduced its value.
And then I realized how backwards my thinking was. This dog might be a gem, but not because of some arbitrary value that people attribute to it. The perfection of this puppy is not as superficial as the absence of “flaws” (and setting aside the fact that the ear will probably right itself as he gets older). This dog’s value is not in what he’s worth now. His value, his true perfection is in what he will come to mean to his family – to me, to my wife, and to our kids. It is in what we will come to mean to him. Beyond the essentials of making sure he is healthy and the appropriate breed for our family situation, the rest of it is not just superficial – it’s irrelevant.
And as I sat there diddling that extra fold on the tip of his ear, I knew this was my dog. Not because he is perfect by the standards through which we measure material objects. That’s the wrong measure. He is perfect because I can foresee the life we will have together. He’s a treasure that will become more important with every passing day and every life moment. Buying a dog is not like buying a diamond. We were not buying an inanimate object. We were buying a future of life experiences that transcends any superficial imperfections – real or perceived.
So without further ado, I present to you Barnie the Frenchie. And yes, he is perfect! 🙂