A dog's life
I live on a section of highway on the edge of Mount Currie. Here, cars going into town are slowing down, while the traffic leaving town is accelerating often ahead of the posted speed limit as people rush to work.
There are dogs that trot up and down this stretch gleefully unaware of how close they are to being the victim of an impatient driver. It is a bit of a revolving group as some don't always make it.
On Dec. 2, we watched a guy chase one of these dogs down a side street that joins the highway — with his truck.
We didn't think that was what we were watching. We thought it was just a dog running down the street, as they often do around here, chasing cars or following their owner a ways down the road before tailing off and heading back home, and that the guy was just being careless.
There seems to be a school of thought among some people that an effective method of training a dog not to run in the street, or to get out of your way, is to drive behind it and honk. This guy wasn't honking. He started to zig-zag — not to avoid hitting the dog, but rather to line up the dog with his left front tire.
And then he just gunned it. Like hitting a wad of rolled up carpet the truck just bumped right over the dog and spit him out behind the driver's side door.
I want you to picture that for a minute. I know you don't want to, but you really need to.
Close your eyes and see that dog. Watch the fear in its eyes and then stop your mental camera for a moment just before its face gets rolled into the pavement and then disappears from view. It happened so quickly but seemed so slow at the time. Black dog, black tire, black pavement. I found myself yelling an escalating series of disbelieving "NOs" throughout it and slowing my car to a stop in front of the truck that had also stopped. The dog dragged himself away on three legs.
The guy got out of his truck, as the alternative was to run my wife over who was headed his way. I too got out of the car.
I perform poorly at confrontation. My wife on the other hand is much braver. From about a metre away the confrontation commenced. There was liberal use of the word f**k mostly in adjective form in front of words like "idiot, asshole, criminal, animal, loser."
That's when I noticed the guy had his kid maybe eight or 10 years old sitting in the passenger seat.
The man was defiant. His justification was this: the dog in question had been into his pigpen and attacked his pigs — or more specifically his son's pigs (presumably the kid in the car) — not once but repeatedly and thereby deserved everything it got. He got back in his car and drove off.
And I get it — every farmer reading this is preparing their retort. I don't dispute your right to protect your livestock — not even close. I'm on about methodology here.
A few of the neighbours had made it out onto the street by now. I asked one if I could cut across her property to find the dog. Through a swampy bit and about 45 metres behind the house it was curled up by a shed. It tried to run when I got near.
I carried it back to the car. I got a hold of a vet 40 kilometres away that could take a look at it. I called the police en route. I got it to the vet then called WAG. I left the dog at the vets once things looked as if they had stabilized. I called The SPCA, on the vet's advice, and I placed a formal animal-cruelty complaint.
The case is currently in the hands of a constable from the Stl'atl'imx police who, after a brief call on the Dec. 2 to tell me he would be contacting me that afternoon has (since then) been unavailable. No one else has picked up the case as of yet and we've been gently informed it is pretty low on the police list.
There really are more important things going on in this neck of the woods.
But I would like to suggest that the anger required to throw your kid in the car, drive down the street, and run over a dog is a big part of the larger problem police referred to — a problem that isn't going to be fixed by any fine, or requirement to cover the vet costs, or jail time, or letter to the editor. In fact, any of the above would simply lead to more anger.
So why write a letter? I guess that's why it has taken weeks to write one. What's the point?
In my 25 years of living here, I have scraped dogs off the road, I've brought a dog in to have an arrow removed from its chest, I've pulled kittens and puppies out of the ditch, I've cut collars off of dogs that were imbedded into their necks. I spent ten years with a dog, her name was Jill, whose shoulder had been pulverised under suspicious circumstances possibly involving a hammer. I've seen a horse flopping on the side of the road hit by a vehicle. And the saddest part here is that the bits I have acted on have been mostly because my wife suggested unsavoury things might occur within the marriage if I chose to do nothing — which in some cases I might have.
She can easily triple my pathetic list in terms of hauling dogs out of precarious situations. I am just as big a part of the problem as many of us. I can drive past it. My wife cannot. And let's face it — interfering with someone's "property" can be confrontational.
So I guess I am just hoping that by writing about one dog's miserable Saturday it might encourage any of us to figure out a way to give some other dog or animal a great Saturday.
We've all felt that pit in the stomach when a dog or squirrel runs out in front of us — the relief when you miss it. Imagine what you have to feel like to swerve and purposely hit it.
And to the guy who did it? I am pretty sure nothing of too much consequence will come your way.
Take some time. Think about it. Sit down with your kid. And tell him you made a mistake. That you acted out of anger. Don't do it again. That would actually be worth a lot more than anything they could throw at you. And then some payday, if you are up a few bucks, pop into WAG and drop whatever you can in the donation box. You might want to do it a few times because that medical care is expensive.
Thanks to all that took the time and helped out that Saturday.
Jeff Van De Mark and Ruth Noden
In response to the Pique's feature article on Dec. 14 "A place to play — and pray, " it was Christopher Hitchens who said, "skepticism rather than credulity is the highest principle that the human intellect can use to ennoble our existence."
There are other alternatives for the young people (that) come to Whistler and get lost: science, humanism, reason.
Show us, don't tell us
I had to laugh to see my old workmate Arthur De Jong speak of irony in the shock of a Donald Trump presidency prompting a corporate "push back" and "a motivation that wasn't there before" (Pique, Dec. 21, "What the struggles of Whistler and Aspen say about this challenge of curbing emissions").
The idea is nice of course, and for some (such as Patagonia Inc.) it's even true, but irony does not only reside with the easy target of Trump.
The irony in the problem is thick with us all and there is no better example than Arthur's own boss — Vail Resorts — working behind the scenes to install Trump and associated Republicans in power then suggesting we pin our hopes on some sort of warm and fuzzy corporate pushback!
What ya gonna do, Vail Resorts? Book Mike Pence a not-so-nice room for the new year?
Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Resorts should be acutely aware of irony. They likely even know that they are the living embodiment of a very specific term — ecological irony — that the sociologists had to dream up to describe them (http://www.humanecologyreview.org/pastissues/her181/stoddart).
While even a thick layer of irony is no sure indication of deliberate ill will or deception or even negligence, at some point, when it can no longer be attributed entirely to situational complexity, irony becomes hypocrisy and that is when that newly minted motivation becomes highly suspect.
But hey, it's new year's! Isn't that when we resolve to renew our integrity? Tell us your new year's resolution, Vail Resorts.
No, wait... show it this time, don't just tell it.
Trip fundraising thanks
On behalf of the Whistler Waldorf Class of 2019, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of our recent Creekbread fundraiser.
The money we raised will directly support our Grade 12 service trip next year.
This trip will allow our class to travel to another part of the world where we will do service work in another community.
While the specific details of our trip have not been arranged yet, last year's class helped re-build part of a school in Guatemala.
We are all looking forward to our trip, knowing that it will make a difference in the lives of others and give us a better understanding of the world as well.
Thank you Creekbread for hosting us; thank you to the many community businesses for their donations and thank you to everyone who came out to eat pizza!
We look forward to sharing our progress and updating you all on what we were able to accomplish.
Whistler Waldorf Class 2019
Helping to realize a dream
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Pemberton and District Library (PDPL) I want to acknowledge the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for its generous grant of $40,000, which will allow us to implement the first stage of the PDPL main library redesign.
Since moving into the Pemberton and District Community Centre in 2008, the PDPL has experienced a steady increase in patron visits. This is particularly exciting given that the catchment we serve — the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, has a combined population of just over 6,000.
When we consider the projected growth for our community, creating a flexible, more accommodating space is essential to meeting our goal of being the hub of the community.
The fact the Foundation recognized the importance of this project is greatly appreciated.
The Board of Trustees extends its heartfelt thanks to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for providing the initial funding to make our redesign a reality.
Chair, Pemberton and District Library Board of Trustees
Skating club thanks
Thank you to all who came out Dec. 15 to support the Whistler Skating Club's Holiday Skate Performance and fundraiser, A Starry Night.
Your generous donations provided at the entry, the turkey toss, the dinner and the bake sale, raised thousands of dollars for our club!
Huge thanks to the many club-parent volunteers, coaches (Dianne Diamond, Katia Barton, Erica Vanderham), program assistants and club treasurer, Robert Risso, for their coordination of the event. And to the community of parents, family members, friends and skating fans, that came out to celebrate the beauty and joy of skating.
We graciously thank the following businesses and individuals for kindly contributing to the Starry Night Holiday Skate Performance and ultimately assisting the club to achieve its goal of providing exceptional skating to the Whistler community.
Thank you to Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, Ira Pettle (MC extraordinaire), Megan Yim, Whistler Singers and Children's Chorus, Nesters Market (generously donated all of the food), Bear Necessities (costumed our CanSkaters), Four Seasons Resort, Whistler Sports Academy – Kids and Kiddie Combo Camps, Whistler Olympic Park, Sproos, Nonna Pia, Pique Newsmagazine, Whistler Question, Resort Municipality of Whistler, Dana and Miro, Buns on the Run Cafe, Sea to Sky Gondola, Scandinave Spa, Slope Side Supply, Squamish Home Depot, Whistler Foto Source - Rick Clare, 3 Singing Birds, Green Moustache, Nicklaus North Golf Course, IGA, Adam Neilson, Whistler Happy Pets, Whistler Home Hardware, RDC Fine Homes, Whistler Community Church, Rocky Mountain Chocolate, The Old Spaghetti Factory, The Adventure Group, Diamond Head Dental, Great Glass Elevator, Hooked on Barn Board, Cabin Fever Gifts, Laurie Grant (silent auction organizer), Blenz, Ziptrek, and La Cantina.
For those inspired to learn to skate or improve your skating, register today for skating programs (CanSkate, Adult and Hockey Skills) starting in January 2018. For more information or to register for these programs, call 604-935-PLAY (7529) or visit www.whistler.ca/recreation.
Whistler Skating Club
Dance show success
The Pemberton Dance Studio would to thank everyone who attended How the Grinch Stole Christmas Christmas concert.
A big thank you from all the dancers goes to Angela Belsham, Cheryl Southall and Dan Cindric with Pemberton and District Community Centre, Linda Den Duyf with Sabre Rentals, Dave Den Duyf with Pemberton Community Church, Dean Feser with Whistler Arts Council and Kelly Kirkland with Two Rivers Meats.
The Pemberton Dance Studio would like to express a sincere thank you to all the parent volunteers who contributed above and beyond to the concert: Claire Fuller, Misun Lammens, the Booths, the Matts, Amica Antonelli and Jay Audenart, Robb Zirnhelt, Jeff Wilson and Tracy Graham, Russell McNolty and Erica Osburn, Anni Kolbe, Jana Grimshaw, Marie-Claude Godin, Tina Beks, Alison Beierlein, Darolyn Da Silva, Melanie Black and Jill Brooksbank.
Pemberton Dance Studio
On behalf of the Whistler Freeride Club, we would like to thank the many businesses and community members that supported our fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 16.
It was a very successful event and will help to support our athletes, Olivia McNeill and Benjie McMaster, who will be competing at the Freeride Junior World Championships in Austria, as well as supporting those athletes who will compete at the North American Freeride Championships.
We would like to give particular shout-outs to Gibbons Hospitality and the Buffalo Bills team for hosting our event, the Four Seasons Whistler, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, The North Face, Showcase Snowboards, Helly Hansen, Ziptrek, Extremely Canadian and Salomon for providing exceptional gift packages, and a great big thank you to all the businesses who kindly assisted our silent auction — it is greatly appreciated.
Last, but not least, thank you to our amazingly dedicated coaches who share their passion for the mountains with our kids every day.
Charlotte Morrison, Sarah McNeill
and Kate Roddick
Great support for Kenyan student
Our fundraiser at Creekbread Italian restaurant on Dec. 5 was a great success. We made enough money to sponsor our Kenyan bursary student — John Wachira — for a year of room and board and school in Kenya.
This continued sponsorship will provide John with the opportunity to continue his secondary education and go to post secondary school in the future. We had so much support from our students, school and community to help us with this fundraiser.
I would like to thank Creekbread restaurant and its staff. The opportunity Creekbread provides for groups such as ours to raise funds and public awareness is incredible. All the staff was wonderful — answering questions, helping us and taking an interest in our event. Special thanks to Tammy for walking us through the steps necessary to make the most of this great opportunity.
We would also like to thank the local media — Pique Newsmagazine and Mountain FM for advertising for us.
Thanks also to the staff and parents at Spring Creek Community School for taking an interest in the event, talking it up, coming to eat pizza, and bidding on or buying our beautiful Kenyan art work. We couldn't have done it without you.
Finally, to our PA-MOJA Club — thanks. Your enthusiasm, hard work, ideas and interest in learning about and supporting Kenyan students culture, and animals make me feel so lucky to be able to work with you.
Spring Creek PA-MOJA Club