Life of Vi – A Place in the Sun

Violet bids farewell to summer

By Rachel Simpson

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It’s almost over. No matter what the odd insufferably humid day will tell you, no matter how late the sun may set, by September, we Canadians know that it’s almost over. Summer, that fleeting third of the year, is taking its leave. So we thought we’d bid it adieu at the cottage, embracing the charms of a season we wish would stay a little while longer.

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A Family Affair

If three’s company, four is a crowd. Or at least it seemed that way to Violet when she first learned that her place in the family hierarchy—like everyone’s—slipped a rung when Oli came on the scene. But that doesn’t mean she’s any less important to us. So there was no way we were going to leave our beloved dog in the city during our family vacation to the cottage. We’re a pack—we always have been. We just have a new leader.

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Baby Steps

You’ve seen it before: the family dog running headlong into the surf, tail-wagging, barking gleefully, entreating its owners to frolic along with it. Violet does not work that way. Sure, she’ll abandon any semblance of caution—or obedience, or regard for personal safety—if a skateboard/squirrel/dog/cat/anything should happen by, but she takes to the water slowly. That’s why we bring her ducky tub with us. When the waves are a little too lively, the water a little too cold, Vi cools off in the tub before warming to the lake.

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Life’s a Beach

They say white dogs are at greater risk of sunburn. We can’t really confirm this, because we would never run the risk of letting our little Violet actually get burned. We take preventative measures, you see, like bringing our own umbrella to the beach. And if we see she’s getting a little worn out, we just towel her off in her own Hudson’s Bay beach towel and bring her inside. Not the towel though…the towel stays outside, and goes in a plastic bag before we pack it up to bring home. Because a wet Violet is no less cute than a dry one, but is decidedly stinkier.

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Girl Gone Wild

It’s not often that we can let Violet off leash. It’s just not worth the risk. But at the cottage she gets a little wild time, where she can stick her nose where it doesn’t belong and mildly, harmlessly, interrupt an ecosystem or two. This year she made the acquaintance of a water snake and a crayfish, but unfortunately came on just a little too strong for a team of ducks. Still, Vi is her happiest when she’s free, and the opportunities we have to provide her with those moments are treasured by all of us.

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Surf’s Up

Calm down, calm down—Violet can’t actually surf. She can’t even swim (hence the life jacket). But she’s daring, and her curiosity about deep water almost trumps her better judgment. That doesn’t mean she’s going to “Hang 10” anytime soon, but it does mean she’ll let you float her a few feet away from shore. And when she panics and bails? No worry, in her life jacket she doubles as carry-on luggage.

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Smoke Show

Like any animal, little Vi has a natural fear of fire. But fire cooks things—things you can eat…and possibly share with your dog! Or mishandle in eating…and thereby share with your dog! The promise of a treat helps Vi overcome most fears, and she was quite happy to set up shop by the fire with the rest of us. And she came prepared: not only did she have a blanket, but her very own teepee courtesy of her friends Piggy and Polly.

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Sunset, So long

Jack White said, “The truth is no words.” Maybe he was watching a sunset when he first thought so. Or maybe he was fishing through a bowl of red and white peppermints, or, even more likely, looking in a mirror. Whatever he was up to, there’s something to what he said. So we’ll leave off with the words at this point. Because a beautiful sunset, especially in the company of your family, and the family dog, of course, really does speak for itself.

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