Life With Ruby

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It has been a busy fall on Haida Gwaii. Having a puppy has been a lot of work and I now understand why my parents said “no” for all those years of my childhood when the number one item on my Christmas list would be to have a puppy (or a horse, or a kitten). When Ruby first arrived home we had to get up four or five times in the middle of the night, carrying her out to the edge of the yard under the light of the street lamp to pee. The light that has been a bane to my star-gazing is definitely a bonus for evening walks with a dog. Everything has its pros and cons, and we have built our fire pit in the dark corner of the yard where the stars are luminously glorious: everyone wins!

Ruby in the Fred Penner tree in the forest beside our house.
While I can empathize with my parents’ position – we lived on the edge of a city and had no one to come home at lunch to walk a dog – my life is definitely set up to welcome the addition of furry companions. Chris has taken to building trails in the woods surrounding our house and I am thoroughly enjoying the push to explore the extensive beach and forest terrain in all kinds of weather. Ruby now sleeps through the night, and now that we are into a routine I’m enjoying the companionship and the growing relationship we are establishing. She’s incredibly intelligent and learns commands and tricks quickly, and she respects the boundaries we have set and loves people and other dogs so it’s a pleasure to bring her along with me on all outings. Having her kennel trained (she LOVES her kennel) is amazing too! And she’s hilarious in the way baby animals are silly and quirky and do spontaneous things that spread joy and love to anyone watching their antics.


I have been working full-time teaching Chemistry and Pre-Calculus 11, covering for a teacher recovering from surgery. Wowza, that sure took up a lot of after-hours study and planning time! I’m now finished that and am looking forward to having more time for writing and painting and to keep getting settled into our home. There are no malls or box stores or furniature stores on Haida Gwaii so it can take a while to get all the supplies one needs – part of the beauty of this place is that it forces us locals to get resourceful and to build things ourselves out of what we can salvage from the beach and old cut blocks.

I picked apples from our tree this week. They are sweet and delicious. It’s exciting to consider that we have our very own productive apple tree!


The weather here has been spectacular! The winter wind storms have been whipping through for a day here-and-there, broken up by the sunshine and rainbows that make me fall in love over and over with this rugged landscape. Having an entire beach and forest trail all to ourselves for a walk is also part of the beauty – only the sound of waves, wind through trees and the xylophone symphony of rain drops falling from cedar boughs into a meandering river bathed in sunlight. Ruby sure has it good, and I’m enjoying all the walks she inspires me to go on, rain or shine. There’s always something magical to behold here, some instance of the beauty of nature that gives me pause and takes my breath away. I like that I have time living here to pause often and take it all in.

My last surviving grandparent, the grandmother that was my namesake, passed recently, and it is in these moments of awe given to me by nature that I feel her presence quietly beside me. My connection with the land – with its continuous cycle of death and rebirth – both stages as necessary as the light and dark of day and night, give me a place to mourn, to process loss, and, in time, to welcome the new life that always comes from death, because that is the way nature works, and we, like all else living, are a part of the great mysterious cycle, and one day we too will return to the place from whence we have com Happy Taurus full moon 🙂

2 Responses

  1. Uncle Clarence and Aunty Margaret
    | Reply

    Sorry to hear of your grandmother’s passing.
    Our Grandaughter, Allison, who is seven years old, also asks for a puppy or kitten. She lives in town and her mom, Jen, teaches full time and having four kids, has her hands full keeping things running!
    I do feel for Allison though. She has all kinds of stuffed animals, I’m sure she thinks they are living pets.
    Ruby is beautiful.

    • Jacquie Lanthier
      | Reply

      Thanks for the condolences.

      Yes I can completely understand why having a puppy or kitten does not work for some families, especially when parents work and kids are in school all day. It’s not fair to the animal to leave it at home all alone for eight hours, especially when it’s young. We were able to have hamsters, gerbils, a rabbit and chinchillas growing up which helped with our desire to connect with real animals (and my Dad loved the fact that they were caged!) Maybe that’s an option?

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