Thursday, June 17, 2010

Peter the dog

I ran into my friend Carolyn in the midst of the city; she had just returned from an errand to a photography studio.

In her childhood, Carolyn's family was adopted by a stray that the vet called "an Eastern Townships farm dog". Carolyn and her brothers begged to keep him. When the wish was granted, her mother dubbed the dog Peter, a name she had once considered for her sons.

Peter loved the family cottage, especially the lake. He'd bound down the dock, launching himself in a graceful arc, to swim with Carolyn's father. Carolyn remembers standing in the water to get her shot of Peter's leap, terrified of soaking the camera.


Years passed, and like all dogs, Peter went to heaven. Carolyn lost her mother; her father, now in his mid-eighties, lives independently thanks to her attention. The cottage he built stands, but frustrated by his physical limitations, he no longer visits. His photo of
Peter faded to a ghostly sepia.

Some memories, though, can be recaptured. Thanks to digital imaging, the lab returned Peter's leap to glorious colour. His fur is lush, the Quebec lake blue, the maples' summer-green leaves bend. He flies forever off that dock.

Peter's photo is Carolyn's loving Father's Day gift to her dad.


12 comments:

metscan said...

A wonderful Father´s Day gift! What miracles the modern technique offers. Driving to town this morning, I heard from the radio, that there are no cameras- like the ones I had about, well was it not yesterday? ; )/or so it seems-anymore.
Father´s day is celebrated at odd times around the world. We have it sometime in the fall. Mother´s day has always been on the second Sunday of May.

lagatta à montréal said...

Wonderful! (well, you know how I love the wee beasties). I'm sending this to a (younger) friend who is a vet in the Eastern Townships.

For people unfamiliar with Québec, that is a very pretty region east of Montréal (Québec City is northeast). L'Estrie in French. The English name derives from the presence of anglophone settlers there, including Loyalists to the British crown who fled the US, but also many Scottish and Irish settlers who were fleeing famines and ethnic cleansing (sheep were worth more than Gaelic crofters to the English). Hence the largest city is named Sherbrooke, but the region is majority French now. Sherbrooke is a lively little city set in high rolling hills, with two universities, colleges (pre-university institutions) and a surprising cultural life for a town of its size.

It is a great region for canoeing or boating on lakes, cycling, cross-country and downhill skiing (though the highest peaks are just scarcely mountains) forest and countryside walks and other activities.

M said...

That's a very sentimental story...almost cried. Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful Father's Day gift.

Duchesse said...

metscan: Here, Father's Day follows Mother's Day by a month. My gift to Le Duc is a pair of leaf-green boat shoes which he knows about b/c had to fit.

lagatta: And don't forget the great skiing at Le Massif, with its view of the St-Lawrence!

Deja Pseu said...

That's fabulous! What a beautiful photo that evokes happy times and a beloved pet.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

The photo is a wonderful gift... a feeling of energy comes across...I can almost see the splash!

Alienne said...

That is a really lovely present; the best ones are the really personal ones. The story brought tears to my eyes too.

Funny about Money said...

That's so beautiful!

SuSu said...

I have to share this story: my uncle returned from WWII with a dog that he had somehow smuggled out of Germany. His name was Peter and he became very attached to my father. When Daddy married Mother, it was a package deal. So, along I came - with four siblings to follow. When the last son came along, Mother allowed us to name him (I think she was just exhausted!) and, being young, we weren't able to agree on a name. Finally, Daddy said, "How about Peter? He was my favorite dog." So, my youngest brother is proudly named Peter and thankfully, he loves dogs!

And your friend is so very thoughtful - what a wonderful gift!

Duchesse said...

SuSu: Thanks so much, that's the story in reverse. Carolyn's mother thought Peter did not work well with their last name, but yours obviously did. It's amazing that your father was able to come home with a dog!

Tish Jett said...

Oh, dear, dear Duchesse,

What a beautiful story. I'm a complete dog person and the kind, sensitive gift from your friend to her father is so loving.

Thank you for this wonderful post.

(I still have to see what you said about Helen on a bad day. . .)

Tish Jett said...

Oh, dear, dear Duchesse,

What a beautiful story. I'm a complete dog person and the kind, sensitive gift from your friend to her father is so loving.

Thank you for this wonderful post.

(I still have to see what you said about Helen on a bad day. . .)