Author Archives: Sean Patrick Dolan

BACKYARD SHENANIGANS: Skunk Sweeps Series – Macduff’s defeat “most foul”

……VS…… At the end of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the king is presented as a tormented soul looking to muster up some courage as his life falls apart. A victim of his own ‘vaulting ambition,’ Macbeth sees his reign as king disintegrate as a series of prophecies come true. In his final act, Macbeth, cornered by the noble Macduff, implores his opponent to fight. “Lay on, Macduff,” Macbeth says, “And be damned he that cries, ‘Hold, enough!’” This is Shakespeare’s fancy way of saying, “We’re gonna fight and one of us is gonna die!” In this case, Macbeth is slain by Macduff as the king’s murderous era comes to a close.   … Continue reading

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BACKYARD SHENANIGANS: Skunk Stinks Out a Win in Round 2!

……VS……   There is nothing more humiliating for a dog than to be stopped in his tracks by the pungent perfume of  a skunk. When a dog runs toward a skunk, the logical assumption is that the dog’s superior physical abilities will force the pest to run for it’s life. Instead, the skunk stops dead in its tracks and lets ‘er rip. The skunk spray might be the best animal defense in the urban jungle – a lesson Reilly was about to learn for the second time in his young life. Game 2: Skunk 2, Reilly 0 A year almost to the day after Reilly was sprayed by a skunk … Continue reading

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BACKYARD SHENANIGANS: Skunk Takes Round 1!

…VS…   Spring is a time of great anticipation. People look forward to seeing the snow melt away, the birds return to their perches, the trees burst with leaves, and the grass poke its way up through the ground. And spring also signals the resurrection of any number of animals from their winter slumber.   As you know from what I have written previously, my dog has a delightful demeanor to complement his incredible cuteness. However, when spring comes, and all manner of wildlife re-enter their natural habitat, Reilly becomes a crazed canine eager to protect his turf. When he is patrolling our backyard compound, he surveys every inch of … Continue reading

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The Guardian

Reilly the Guardian: Watching out for his brother’s Adam (reading) and Liam (smiling) People always find it comforting to think that someone is looking out for them. Whether it’s a parent or a spouse or a friend, the idea that someone has taken your best interests to heart is a real source of gratification. Some folks even like the idea of a guardian angel. I suppose a dog is like a guardian angel. Ideally they look to protect a person and, by extension, their family. It’s all part of the pack mentality. Italian painter Pietro da Cortona captured the classic idea of the guardian angel in his oil painting aptly … Continue reading

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The Day We Lost Reilly

          Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. (Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell)   That’s right, I am drawing inspiration from that chain-smokin’ diva (Joni Mitchell’s a diva to me anyway) who immortalized those words in a song. Of course she was referring to the time they “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Instead, I’m just going to talk about the day we lost Reilly.   It was actually a beautiful day in Southampton, Ontario. We had driven up to visit our friends Lola and Claude. The north wind coming off of Lake Huron … Continue reading

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Reilly’s Going to Miss the Snow. I’m Not!

It’s like he just drank three Red Bulls after someone gave him a shot of adrenaline. For some reason, Reilly went bonkers today at the sight of fresh snow. He kind of reminds me of both our sons before a day of skiing. They could stay up until three in the morning and still be up at six to hit the slopes. Where does that kind of energy and will to live in the snow come from?   We are now in the middle of March and spring is just days away. This doesn’t mean much in Canada because the spring usually doesn’t really present itself until early April – … Continue reading

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The Life of Reilly

On the drive home from picking up our puppy, my son Liam and I tossed around a few names for our newest family member. Liam liked the name Einstein and I was partial to some super-macho name that escapes me now (it was probably something like Thor or Spartacus). At one point, I said to Liam, “Mom likes the name Reilly.” The discussion continued for most of the ride home and, the more we talked about it, the more we both felt that the name Reilly fit. We weren’t really sure why the name fit so well. What we did know was that we were immediately attached to this little puppy. Liam loved the dog … Continue reading

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Dogs Love to Bond

Any dog owner knows that dogs love to bond with their pack. They are also inclined to select a master to whom they devote most of their trust. Two stories jumped out at me today to remind me of this. The first involves a British soldier serving in Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was assigned to an ordinance disposal unit. His main task was to work with a Springer Spaniel named Theo to sniff out bombs. Take a look at this very sad story: My uncle shared a story with my mother a few months back that is very similar to the one listed above. He went to a wake … Continue reading

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