Winning Great Dog Karma with Stella

CD, an old friend from my old student/gay club bartending days, also happens to be my banker. I had to meet him in Old Montreal to sign some important papers today. It was the end of his work day, so I suggested we go nearby for drinks. The topic of an acquaintance we had in common came up. She was found horifically murdered this summer; her burned body was rolled up in a carpet and dumped in an industrial zone in a shed which, ironically enough was near a prop rental place. I think it’s ironic because so much about her life and death was straight out of the movies. They had it on the front page of Le Journal de Montréal this summer, titled something like “Hairdresser to the Stars Found Horrifically Murdered”. She’d worked on movie sets, she’d worked with stars, that much was true, but we couldn’t help sharing what we also knew about her in private. She had been a good friend of my ex D and had stayed with us on several occasions, and I had also stayed at her New York apartment several times. The fact that I actually know someone who was found murdered that way blows my mind. Goodness knows she didn’t deserve to die so violently.

I invited myself to accompany CD to the Salon des métiers d’arts, where he wanted to pay a visit to one of the exhibitors—a local actress with a successful line of hand-made bags. “Would I wear one of her bags?” I asked him. He had just described the style to me moments before—something about flower appliqués and patchwork that a bunch of actresses are crazy about these days. We were sitting at the beautiful dark orange glowing counter in the somber, slow moving bar at the W hotel in Old Montreal. He had a couple of dry Martinis and shared some olives while I sipped at some scotch (12 year old the Balvenie and Glenmorangie as I recall). “You? Never!” he replied dramatically. We visiter her kiosk and I took my time looking at the bags as CD spoke to their eccentric actress/bag lady. She was very very skinny and had too much makeup caked on her face. “I dressed up as one of my bags!” she declared—she had on a leopard print cardigan, a long black skirt with black Crocs and a red flower in her hair. She showed us her favourite creations, proudly presenting each bag by name “la schizophrène, la shaman, la jean victorienne…” . We decided to stay for a bit and take in the huge fair which has become a yearly event. Both CD and I quickly got discouraged when we realized that the dreadful “paintings” made out of sculpted coloured leather were only one of the many incredibly tacky articles on display. I suggested we look for “at least one thing we each like” and after a while, we found a pile of simple stackable rings with semi-precious stones for me, and CD chose one of the young creators of the event, who made a neat line of ceramic dishes (and was recommended by Châtelaine magazine no less!). Neither of us bought anything of course and both CD and I were convinced we were racking up plenty of bad karma as we looked at one stand after another and made each other laugh. I got a picture of him wearing a creation from one of the stands I found ugliest of all; dark and creepy wall art inspired by venetian masks. “Immonde” was the only way I was able to describe the stuff. CD asked to try on one of the smaller, more wearable masks. He put it on and I was given special permission to take a couple of quick snap with my phone. I told CD I’d send the pics to him on Facebook. I will, but since he is rather anonymous on these pics, results are below for your viewing pleasure.
Masked stranger
The mask looks much better on this pic!<

Part 2

It was very cold outside when I stepped out of the metro station on my way home and I was glad for my warm (recycled) fur hat. I was taking my messages on my mobile when I turned onto my street where a few young guys with dogs tried to get my attention. One of the guys was holding a gorgeous young Weimaraner on a leash. The graceful and nervous dog stood out among the collection of what looked like pit bulls but were probably American Staffordshire Terriers (also affectionately known as Amstaff). They had just found the young female running around loose on the street and were trying to locate the owner. I had noticed that particular dog before (a gorgeous specimen and undoubtedly a purebred) so I knew the owner must be very near. I tried to take a picture so I could make a sign to put on the street, but the dog was moving too much (see below). At worst, I thought, I would keep her in my bathroom overnight until tomorrow when I could either find her owner or bring her to the SPCA. I rang my next door neighbour, who owns two large dogs and has been living here even longer than me, figuring she must know all the other dog owner in the neighbourhood. She did. The dog’s name was Stella and her owner was a neighbour who was letting Stella run out on the street on a regular basis. There was some mention of bipolar disorder, that the lady was heavily medicated and not entirely coherent, that Stella was proving to be too much of a handful for her. I debated what we should do for a while. Bringing the dog back to her seemed to be a bad choice as it seemed inevitable that it would end up on the street again. My neighbour said there was another dog owner next door who was interested in adopting her if she was found erring around again. We decided to go over to the dog owner and together figure out what best to do. We found the lady somewhat dozed and seemingly unperturbed that her dog had gone loose again. She couldn’t handle him, she said, didn’t know how to take care of this young and very energetic puppy who had been given to her to replace the fourteen year-old Golden she had recently lost. Stella’s temperament was too different, she said, and she didn’t know how to keep her from chewing things. We mentioned the potential adopter on our street. She said that would probably be the best thing for everybody. “Just please don’t let them change her name, she’s used to it by now”, were her parting words after we told her we’d only come back if we couldn’t find Stella a home right away. It was almost 10 p.m. by then. We took Stella to the neighbour in question, who was delighted to find this beautiful gray beast on her doorstep. “What if she decides she wants the dog back?“ she asked. Then: “well I guess I can take him in for a couple of months and we’ll just have to see if the lady gets better and wants her back.” During the entire episode I was getting a series of heart pangs. Other than her obvious good looks, Stella was also reasonably well behaved, affectionate and eager to please, and obviously simply needing proper care and training. I’d have brought that gorgeous young pup home to live with us in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the fact that my downstairs landlords are currently less than enthused about my recent request to consider letting me adopt a dog. The latest news: they said no at first so I came back and suggested I try fostering some small dogs so we could all see if it could possibly work out. Test driving a candidate or two, as it were. They said they’d get back to me on that.

But hey, in the meantime I helped find a lost and unloved dog a home tonight, just like that. It made me feel really good. My own gorgeous cats greeted me very cheerfully and I felt for a moment maybe they knew how lucky they were to have such a good and loving home. As for me, Lord knows it isn’t always exactly easy peasy for me, but I sure do count my many blessings too (that includes you, CD).

Stella at night

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2 thoughts on “Winning Great Dog Karma with Stella

  1. How wonderful that you found that dog a good new home. I do hope it all works out and the dog can stay there. You have every right to feel warm and good.Just popped by to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope you have a lovely time :)

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