Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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3

Jul

2021

The dog who didn’t get run over

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 1, 2021

 

I took my dog Pippin to an off-leash dog park on the outskirts of Kelowna a week ago. 

            Pippin loves dog parks. She pranced off to meet with a group of other dogs, and their owners, gathered in the shade of some trees.

            Suddenly a black and white and tan streak emerged out of the cluster, heading for the gates, as if it was trying to outrun a load of buckshot. 

            I expected the double gates at the park entry would stop her. They didn’t. She slid under the first one on her side. Then under the second. And out onto the highway. Running north, as if she were demented. Running, running, running. 

            I started running myself. 


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: dogs

6

Feb

2019

When the masks come off

Author: Jim Taylor

I was walkin’ along, mindin’ my business, when I spied a man sitting on a park bench, staring out across the lake. I was going to pass by, but he said, “Hi, Jim.”

            I recognized the voice, even if I hadn’t recognized the back of his head. It was a neighbour, Derek. 

            Some impulse led me to sit down beside him. I thought he might like some company to stare at the lake. 

            He wanted company, but not for that purpose. “I lost Charlie last week,” he blurted. 

            Charlie was the kind of dog I once thought of scornfully as a “small furry object suitable for punting.” A low-slung, yappy, bundle of hyperactivity. That was before I knew Charlie personally. Charlie was always up for a walk, a game, a cuddle. 

            And he had been Derek’s companion for ten years. 

            For half an hour, as we sat on that park bench, Derek poured out feelings about his relationship with Charlie. I think he needed to. Talking helped fill the hole that his furry friend had left. 

            Or at least it helped him map the edges of that hole.


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21

Feb

2018

Dogs, cats, and divinity

Author: Jim Taylor

On a recent snowbird holiday to warmer climes, Joan and I attended an evening event where the MC invited men from several nations up onto the stage. Spoofing the macho male of Mexican myth, he asked each of them, “Who runs your household?”

            Joan and I, in the audience, turned to each other and said simultaneously, “The Cat!”

            We have both a dog and a cat.

            Our dog is a 12-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She embodies the virtues that “liberal” churches think of as godly -- unconditional love, loyalty, forgiving to the nth degree…

            Conversely, The Cat (capitalization deliberate) embodies what I associate with the more conservative theology familiar from the David C. Cook Sunday School curricula of my youth -- a sense of being almighty, judgemental, distant, and unquestionably in control.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: dogs, cats, Egypt, macho

25

Jan

2017

Dreaming of something beyond ourselves

Author: Jim Taylor

 Dogs dream. 

            That should be an obvious statement. All dog owners have seen their pet’s legs twitching while asleep. Clearly, the dog is chasing something. A rabbit perhaps. Or romping for sheer joy through an imaginary meadow. 

            We cannot know exactly what the dream consists of, because dogs can’t talk to us. But the fact that dogs can dream should tell us that dogs are capable of imagining themselves in situations that transcend the immediate present. 

            That is, they are not simply creatures that react to external stimuli.


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