It is possible, you know, for dreams to come true........


This is a little story about a young boy,

and his dream.


A boy without much more than his dream,

but who perhaps now will have some hope for the future.


As most of you know, I live in the City of Toronto, which is in one of the most southerly parts of Canada.   I come from a family of 6 children, the youngest of which is my sister.   The sister's online nickname started out as Cangoose, but that name has evolved and she has affectionately been dubbed "gg00se".

Now this story isn't about gg00se, but we do need a little background and she does play a rather large part, so we'll start with her.   A couple of years ago the gg00se fell in love... as gg33se are apt to do.   Well, the gg00se flew away to the northland, married her true love, and is now living on a Cree Indian Reservation with husband, Bear.   Life for the gg00se holds many trials and tribulations on the Reservation because, not being Cree herself and not speaking the Cree language of the Reservation or the French language of the surrounding area, she doesn't exactly fit in.   The joy of it is that Bear is a lovely man and the two of them seem to fit together and have a special relationship that many today would be envious of.

Sometime ago gg00se was telling me about a young nephew of Bear's that comes to visit pretty regularly.   Joseph is a 12-year-old youth that just shows up at the door at all hours of the day and night, just to visit.   From all reports, Joseph is the product of a broken marriage; his dad is not around and his mum has many of her own difficulties to deal with, which lead to low self-esteem, among other things.   It seems that Joseph is fast becoming a 'street kid' and you can read into that whatever connotation comes to mind -- 99% negative, unfortunately.   This lifestyle generally leads to criminal activity and a long life of incarceration, one with very little hope.   And, because Joseph seems to be a very very bright young boy, he probably would rise in the ranks of the criminal world quickly.

gg00se feels that Joseph likes to drop in and visit because of the stable, happy household that she and Bear maintain which, of course, usually includes some baked goodies as treats.   The other major attraction for Joseph at gg00se's house is Piggie.

Well, Piggie isn't her real name... Her real name is too long to remember, but the long string of words begins with "Portia".   Portia, my dear, is a British Bull Dog, and if you're at all familiar with that breed you will fully understand how the nickname Piggie would be perfect and stick, and I think you might also agree with me that there isn't a more amusing looking animal on the face of the earth.   hehehehe (sorry, gg00se)

I understand from gg00se that the keeping and maintaining of domestic dogs is quite different on the Reservation than what we have been used to.   Piggie is most definitely an "inside" dog.   She has her domain and rules it.   No. 1 on her property list is the sofa, which she will most generously share with a human only if they are obedient and scratch her ears while they're there.   No. 2 on her list is the one bed in the apartment which she will, again most generously, share with her humans but only as long as they will be happy to listen to the music of Piggie's snoring the whole night long.

And, yes, this is not a story about Piggie either, but she does set the scene, as it is because of the presence of Piggie that Joseph comes to spend so much time with gg00se and Bear.   Joseph loves to play with Piggie, to take her for walks, to feed her.   Actually, Joseph is a bit 'dog crazy', as he seems to love all dogs.   Most of us know the joy of having a loving, appreciative, adoring dog by our sides; one to tell our secrets to, one who loves us no matter what.

A couple of weeks ago the gg00se and Bear had some business to attend to in Toronto and so came to visit.   They stayed with me for four nights -- altogether far too short a time to spend together.   During our conversations gg00se told me a little bit more about Joseph.
On one visit, Joseph eyed gg00se's well stocked bookcase and said to her, "Hey, do you know how to read, you?"
"Oh, yes," said the gg00se. "I read a lot."
"When did you learn how to read, you?" asked Joseph.
To which the gg00se replied, "When I was very young, at school."
"I don't know how to read, me," was Joseph's next input into the conversation.
At this incredulous admission, the gg00se asked, "But you did not learn in school?"
"Well," said Joseph, "I don't really go to school."

You see, there is no requirement on the Reservation for children to go to school and I suppose that, without direction, a spirited young 12-year-old could find a whole host of other things to keep himself occupied, rather than sitting in a classroom listening to some boring teacher espousing on the value of understanding algebra or penmanship in a language not his own.   Take note, please, that Joseph is speaking fluent English to the gg00se while, at the same time, conversing with his family and pals in the Cree language and with the authorities in the French language... this is not a young boy lacking in intelligence!

Well, the knowledge that a 12-year-old boy in Canada is unable to read truly shocked and saddened me.   After all, we are meant to be at the top of the world's lists of countries with the highest standard of living -- this is NOT a third world country.

When the gg00se and the Bear and I were out shopping on one of our forays, I came across a beautiful large book about dogs that had its priced slashed to about one-third.   You know the type of book I'm referring to -- filled with coloured pictures on every page, showing all sorts of breeds of dogs, naming the breeds.   The book is jam-packed with articles about breeding, grooming, housing, feeding, training.   And all of these articles are accompanied by more coloured pictures.   "Ah, Ha!" thought I, just the ticket to enticing a young dog lover to want to read.   And so I purchased it and sent it up north with the gg00se.   If it did not produce the ultimate desired result, at least this youth could pour over the pictures for a long time with great enjoyment.

     
The following conversation took place over MSN Messenger, just the other evening.
      gg00se says:
            Joseph came by last evening
      Mame/Nomad says:
            so? did you give him the book?
      gg00se says:
            he came with a friend last evening.   I told him that I brought something back for him from Toronto...and could he come back later (after supper)
      Mame/Nomad says:
            hehe, yes?
      gg00se says:
            I told him to come back at 7:30
      gg00se says:
            he was at the door at 7:29
      Mame/Nomad says:
            hehehe
      gg00se says:
            he came alone.   We sat and talked for a few minutes, and then I got up and pulled the book off the top of the fridge.
      gg00se says:
            I said to him "do you remember telling me that you couldn't read?"
      gg00se says:
            he nodded
      gg00se says:
            I said "I told my sister that you couldn't read and she felt sad about that.   So she bought a book for you to start reading"
      Mame/Nomad says:
            OMG
      gg00se says:
            If you could have seen the look on his face
      gg00se says:
            No one has ever given him a book before
      Mame/Nomad says:
            OMG
      gg00se says:
            he sat here for hours looking through the book
      gg00se says:
            asking me about all the different dogs
      gg00se says:
            so....
      gg00se says:
            I told him that if he really wanted to learn how to read the book, that I would help him to start to read, but it would be hard work
      gg00se says:
            every 15 mins, he kept saying "thank you for the book"
      Mame/Nomad says:
            ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......
      Mame/Nomad says:
            (eyes are dripping)
      gg00se says:
            just about brought tears....can you imagine being 12 and NEVER had a book of your very own?
      gg00se says:
            so....
      gg00se says:
            tonight just before dinner time, Joseph came by to see Piggie and brought his friend, Edgar.
      gg00se says:
            It was a bad time, because I was busy
      gg00se says:
            But, he said he had something to ask me, and could he come back after our dinner?
      gg00se says:
            Yes, I said, of course you can
      Mame/Nomad says:
            :)))))
      gg00se says:
            So, he came back with his friend at 7:29 tonight and asked me if I could teach him how to read his new book tomorrow
      Mame/Nomad says:
            wow
      gg00se says:
            When Joseph went outside on the balcony with Piggie...Edgar came over to my chair and whispered in my ear that Joesph was going to ask me to teach him to read
      gg00se says:
            and could I really do that?
      gg00se says:
            Edgar is a character
      gg00se says:
            lol
      Mame/Nomad says:
            hehehehehehehe, and a class of 23 begins tomorrow, hmm?
      gg00se says:
            oh no. Edgar speaks, reads and writes and attends school on a regular basis.   When he left, he turned around and said that it was very nice to meet me
      gg00se says:
            lol
      Mame/Nomad says:
            interesting that Joseph has told Edgar that he doesn't know how to read......
      gg00se says:
            When Joseph came back the first time tonight, he brought a piece of paper with im
      gg00se says:
            He gave it to me and said that was the dog that he was going to have
      gg00se says:
            on it was written Bermese Mountain Dog
      gg00se says:
            he spent the night copying the letters from the book
      Mame/Nomad says:
            oh, really? lol......did he know what it said?
      gg00se says:
            he didn't
      Mame/Nomad says:
            tsk........omg........
      gg00se says:
            he saw a pic of the dog in the book and the caption was Bermese Mountain Dog
      gg00se says:
            so he copied it down
      gg00se says:
            Now....
      gg00se says:
            He got excited when he got home with his book last night
      gg00se says:
            He showed his mother
      gg00se says:
            and told mother that he was going to have "that" dog
      Mame/Nomad says:
            lol
      gg00se says:
            mother said....tsk, you'll never have a dog like that.   We can't afford that, why would you think that you could have a dog like that
      gg00se says:
            I think she's annoyed about the book
      gg00se says:
            but ....She can't read either!
      Mame/Nomad says:
            geez......think she'd be happy her son just may learn to read!
      gg00se says:
            I have to get going, but wanted to tell you that the book was a real hit, and sooooo appreciated
      gg00se says:
            he kept saying...thank you for the book
      Mame/Nomad says:
            ahhhhhhh it's gotta just tug the old heart strings.....
      Mame/Nomad says:
            sure has mine
      gg00se says:
            well, at least he has a hope now

And that's the story of a boy and his dream, a dream of his very own dog -- not just any dog, you understand, but a Bermese Mountain Dog -- to tell secrets to, to adore and be adored just for being him.   The story of a young boy who has had very little hope for the future who may now be on a path of learning, of hope.

I told a little of this story in the PalTalk room for the Baha'i Faith the other evening and the first thing Unity19 asked was, "How much does a Bermese Mountain Dog cost?"   And then she followed it up by saying, "I'll pitch in 20 bucks.......we can have an auction and raise the rest of the money? like a silent auction? or sumethin'?"
Well, folks, the idea just about knocked me over -- but Unity19 and the others in the room convinced me that, YES, we CAN do it, if we work at it.   I am in the process of checking out the dogs to see of what value they are.   There is an outside possibility that, given the circumstances, a breeder may just offer one to us at a price we cannot afford not to take, perhaps the runt of a litter, one that is known from the beginning won't be a good show dog.   I really don't know, but I intend to check out all avenues.   Of course, there is also the small idea that we cannot just simply dump a dog off on this boy.   We will also need to make sure that the dog has had all veterinary checks, includes a good collar and leash and a couple of feeding bowls, and I guess a good supply of dog food.   The family is not well off and to add to their financial strain would not be adviseable....or fair.

The purpose of this story at the moment is to let you all know the story of Joseph's Dream and to see if there might be some support out there to see if, collectively, we can make Joseph's dream come true. If you feel you may be able to pledge even the smallest amount, please send off an e-mail to Unity19 to let her know, so that we can get some idea, before making any collections at all, if it is realistic.

     




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