Archive for May, 2009

Ode to Syd

A special type of love exists in this world that is restorative.  If only the stuff could be bottled, then many people would be cured of what ails them: loneliness, a broken heart, disappointment, or bitterness.  It’s quite amazing that the solution to all of these ailments is love. This kind of love finds you, like an insistent  raindrop that plops square in the middle of your forehead.  Not your shoulder or your hand, where you might not notice it, but on your face, right between the eyes.  This kind of love found my parents, in their later years, when people tend to be set in their ways and not really looking for love.

 This love came in the form of a dog from the animal shelter.  He was a German Shorthaired Pointer, a breed my parents knew and appreciated.  Sid, as the shelter people had dubbed him, was thin and wary.  It was apparent his previous existence had been hard, signs of both neglect and cruelty demonstrated by his poor physical state and slinking gate.  He clearly was not young, but no one could say how old he was.

 When my parents saw Sid, they knew he was the dog for them.  Even the name beckoned: Sidney, which they changed to Sydney in honour of the family’s Aussie links, connected with them.  Syd’s life of neglect was over.  He entered my parent’s lives and was exposed to humans who were loving and decent.  The shift to regular food and exercise under my parents’ care soon brought Syd around, physically and emotionally.  His coat, once dull, became shiny; his ribs and hips disappeared behind healthy flesh.  Even his wary nature  dissipated as he relearned that humans can be kind and reliable. Syd’s former existence as a neglected pet was more than redeemed by my parents’ affection.  

He was steadfast, old Syd.  He could set a clock to his stomach and bowels.  At a quarter to five in the evening, Syd would start “talking,” a low warbling moan, to make sure everyone was aware of the hour.  At five, when my parents started preparing their cocktails, Syd would “dance,” prancing around with excitement that dinner was coming.  The antics were amusing not only because of their consistency and animation, but also because for every other hour of the day, Syd was  such a dignified and subdued creature, respectably moving through his day like a kind, old gentleman at a ritzy club, alternating between sociability and naps.  Food quite literally turned him on, and he ate with gusto.  His appreciation made you feel like a champion, like you were doing something honourable when you set out his dish.

 I’m grateful to Syd for enriching my parents’ lives.  One thing is sure: Syd will be sorely missed.


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