I have struggled this week, knowing that Dr. Dave Perrin will no longer be ducking through my office doorway to stop in for a chat. The news that he had died after a sudden illness came only a day after we learned that a grand-nephew had taken his own life.
Dave was a familiar character in the Creston Valley for longer than our four decades here, but I only really got to know him when I returned to the Advance about 13 years ago. He dropped in to tell me about the publication of another in his series of books about his life as a country veterinarian. I wrote a story after reading the book, and we became fast friends.
The memory of one particular visit still brings a smile to my face. I had stood up to greet him and as I plopped down in my chair for a chat I must have let out a grunt. He asked what was going on and I told him about my chronic lower back pain that was giving me particular grief at the time. Dave’s own career was particularly hard on a very tall person, and he had similar—and no doubt more severe—issues. He told me about Curamin, an over-the-counter natural medication that he had first used as an anti-inflammatory for some of his animal patients.
“I can bring you some in to try if you like,” he offered. As luck would have it, though, we were going to Coeur d’Alene that weekend and I found the product in a natural foods store on the way. The effect was almost immediate, and I remain a user to this day. In an ensuing visit with my family physician, I told him about the product. “I’ve seen physicians, chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists, but the best advice I ever got was from my vet!” He laughed and when I returned to him years later with a similar complaint, he asked me what had changed in my life. I told him that I had decided to wean myself off of Curamin and his response was quick—“Geez, man if it works, don’t stop taking it!”
Dave and I shared a passion for writing, and each time he visited I would query him about his latest projects. Occasionally he faced writer’s block and I would try to be encouraging and helpful with suggestions. But there was an even more common thread to our chats. He always shifted the conversation to our children. He would ask about my sons and then fill me in on his own kids. I learned about Gord’s and, later, Alicia’s college volleyball exploits, and kept track as they moved into the world of professional sports. Later, Marshall also became a more regular topic, when the firefighter became a huge social media star as he turned his ultra-fit and heavily tattooed body into a modeling asset. Joan, a former model and extremely fit mother of two, was no less thrilling for him to talk about.
Our chats increased as the Canadian national volleyball qualified for the Brazil Olympics, with Gord playing an important role in getting the team that far. I took one of my favourite photos in Jimmy’s pub, where I caught a shot of Dave and Marshall standing and watching Gord and the Canadian team playing on a big screen TV. When the Olympics rolled around, Dave, his ex-wife Ruth, and Alicia went to Brazil, and Dave sent me regular updates that gave Advance readers an up close and personal look at the very exciting experience.
It seems trite to say, but Dave Perrin was a truly genuine larger than life character. He managed to carve out a book writing and publishing career and was tireless in his commitment to getting around to sell his numerous books. I was a fan of his very funny books but, even more so, I was a fan of the man who I was proud to call a friend.