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A lesson in patience and perseverance
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A lesson in patience and perseverance

Happy Victoria Day!

About a year ago, my husband bought me a bonsai, a minuscule tree that had been growing in harmony on a grocery store shelf for years.

When he brought it home from Safeway, I placed the wee plant on my north-facing kitchen windowsill directly above my sink. This way, I would be sure to remember to water it every day like the instructions it came with recommended.

Soon after, it sprouted a few prickly twigs on the underside of its main branch, so I carefully pruned them. But other than that, my beautiful bonsai, a Japanese juniper, appeared to need little else.

Admittedly, I knew nothing about a bonsai (an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot and artificially prevented from reaching its normal size).back then. So, I joined a dozen or so bonsai groups on Facebook and followed a few avid bonsai growers who proudly post pictures of their thriving tiny trees on Instagram.

I was enchanted, to say the least, and quickly learned that the practice of Bonsai (grown in a container) can be an extremely rewarding pastime for plant lovers all over the world.

But at the same time, it is also a lesson in patience and perseverance.

I heard from other growers that my beautiful bonsai would take a long time, years perhaps, to grow into a bigger, small-scale juniper. And so, I kept reading and imagining the day when I could wire mine to shape its trunk and branches just like the experts do. But for the time being, I was more than happy to see it did little else but stay alive.

Then suddenly, after a long dreary winter, my bonsai began developing bright green, needlelike foliage at the top of its bristly branches.

It was growing, and I was ecstatic!

I decided to move it to the south-facing window in the living room where the sunshine pours in from midday until about 6 p.m. Every morning, I doused it with water, checked its growth, and put it back on a small table alongside a group of sun-loving plants.

Then one morning, before I had even lifted my head off the pillow, I heard a crash as my dogs, Oliver and Guapo, barked uncontrollably at the newspaper deliverer person.

Later, I found my bonsai lying on its side in a pile of mud underneath a heavy potted jade. The poor thing had snapped at its base, leaving the smaller half intact

The broken bonsai. (Supplied)

I was devastated, to say the least, but quickly put the larger, bushier growth in a propagation container filled with water, in the hopes that one day I might be able to repot it.

Now, as dog owners, we’re used to varying degrees of mishaps that occur in our homes when we choose to share them with furry creatures. I know that.

But every now and then, when they innocently chew a treasured knick-knack, rip apart an expensive pair of shoes, or break a beloved bonsai, it can be heartbreaking.

Please tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to. What kind of destruction have your pets created? Let me know here.

Leesa Dahl

Leesa Dahl

Ready Pet Go


Vet brings critter stories to book club

The Free Press Book Club, in conjunction with McNally Robinson Booksellers, is pleased to welcome Winnipeg author and veterinarian Dr. Philipp Schott to the next virtual meeting on Monday, May 30 at 7 p.m. to read from and discuss his non-fiction debut The Accidental Veterinarian: Tales from a Pet Practice. Read more about it here.

Dr. Philipp Schott. (John Parsons photo)

May is Pet Cancer Awareness month



Kali’s Wish Cancer Foundation is the first and only registered charity in Canada dedicated to helping guardians and their families who are dealing with pet cancer.

The foundation was launched in memory of Kali, a seven-year-old golden retriever who was diagnosed with a blood-borne cancer in 2003. Read more about it here.

Kali’s Wish Cancer Foundation was launched in memory of Kali, a seven-year-old golden retriever who was diagnosed with a blood-borne cancer in 2003.

Happy is an Asian elephant. But is she also a person?

She has four limbs, expressive eyes and likes to stroll through greenery in New York City. Happy, by species, is an Asian elephant. But can she also be considered a person?

That question was before New York's highest court Wednesday in a closely watched case over whether a basic human right can be extended to an animal. Read more about it here.

In this Oct. 2, 2018 file photo, Bronx Zoo elephant "Happy" strolls inside the zoo’s Asia Habitat in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Don’t let your cats roam outside

It’s finally spring and we get to enjoy the warm weather. Warm weather also means you will see more cats roaming the streets. While some may be strays, lots of cats are let outside by their owners, which is actually not permitted under the City of Winnipeg’s Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw.

Letting your cats roam may not only result in hefty fines; it can also be extremely dangerous for your cats. Read more about it here.

Letting your pet cats roam the neighbourhood is forbidden by Winnipeg’s Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw.

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