Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull: Three Day Quote Challenge

“Why, Jon, why?” his mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the alhatross? Why don’t you eat? Son, you’re bone and feathers!” “I don’t mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.”
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Having so many favourite quotes, I turned to Richard Bach’s  Jonathan Livingston Seagull for my first quote, because seagulls live right around the world and mean something to everyone. Yet, although they’re a common bird and they can get pretty annoying when you’re trying to eat your fish and chips, I can’t help loving them. They’re such a part of going to the beach.

I chose this particular quote because more than once in my life I’ve been asked: “Why can’t you be normal?”  I’m a bit disappointed that it took me more than 40 years to ask: “Why would I want to be?” We’re not all meant to be the same!

Seagulls

I would like to thank Olive Ole from https://travelmuch.net/  for nominating for the «3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge».

Olive lives in Denmark and produces a stunning travel blog with some very striking images. Being Australian, I really appreciate being able to explore other parts of the world with her.  So don’t hang around here – go check her out!Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

I am nominating three people who have encouraged me as I’ve flown my own path:

1) Kat from Time No Matter

2) Geoff Le Pard from https://geofflepard.com/

3) Monika from Tails Around the Ranch

Hope you feel inspired through this bit of inspiration.

xx Rowena

Photos: Rowena Curtin

Saturday Morning Serenity: Becoming Your Own Best Friend

What fabulous advice…the importance of becoming your own best friend. I have been conscious for some time about our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot and to be our own worst enemy and this works in well with that. I intend to share this with my kids.
xx Rowena

The Chicago Files

sunrise-lake-michigan-september-16-2016

It’s Saturday morning once again, and as per my usual weekend routine, I have my massive mug of coffee within arm’s reach.  This past week was a mixture of calm, upheaval, stress, quiet, humor, bewilderment, and compassion.

I have posted numerous photos this past week of some gorgeous sunrises that I have been fortunate enough to capture in the morning’s early light!  Today, however, the sky is grey, Lake Michigan has been virtually zapped of all its color, leaving a myriad of grey tones in its wake.  Opposites indeed.  This lead my thoughts to this past week of ‘extremes’.   Likened to the differences between the inspiring, watercolor clouds I bore witness to this past week, compared with today’s grey hues from sky to water, I realize that my experiences last week were also, at times, hovering on the spectrum at each end.

When I was dealing with the downright unpleasant…

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Weekend Coffee Share 24th September, 2016.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

You’ve chosen a great day to join me for coffee. This time, I’m not offering you Vegemite toast with your beverage of choice. Rather, I have been to the bakery and bought a try of delectable Chocolate Profiteroles with a rich Crème pâtissière filling. Trust me! I’m very discerning about anything involving chocolate or desserts and these are to die for. Or, worth paying me an actual visit. They taste nowhere near as good in cyberspace!

How was your week? I hope it’s been a good one but this coffee share also offers a great place to vent a bit about your week and let it go. I had a fairly stressful week with a whole lot of strange things happening, which stressed me out quite a lot. On Tuesday, my daughter’s train was cancelled and a friend gave her a lift part of the way and we were told the trains further up the line were fine but they weren’t. So, this meant my daughter and her friend were walking for an hour to school when I was told the bus company had it covered. That afternoon, her train was running 40 minutes late so she rang me and asked me to pick her up from the station. However, she didn’t say which station so I was waiting for these trains there for 40 minutes and then she wasn’t on there. Of course, I had to leave my mobile phone at home during all of this and her phone is missing. She ended up getting home at 6.00PM and was very rattled. Thursday, I witnessed something rather concerning involving a child on the train and had to report that and follow it up. Friday, I couldn’t find my wallet and searched all around my lounge chair and couldn’t find it but then it only took Geoff five minutes to find it down the side. Don’t you hate that? I swear sometimes my eyes just don’t work!

After all of that, I felt like I needed a long bath but life goes on.

During the last week, I came across a series of interesting dog stories after trying to find out more about a story about a guide dog stealing Pal from the supermarket and winding up in court. So, if you like a good dog story, you might want to check these out:

Judge Reprimands Thief Dog

A Different Type of Rescue Dog-Newfoundland

The Dog and the Omnisient Narrator

The Dogs’ Commandments

The week is finishing up on a more relaxing note. We had stunning Spring weather today with bright azure skies and several of our native Australian plants are flowering. So, it was lovely sitting out in the garden and having lunch.

suncatcher

The Sun Catcher Kit.

Later in the day, my daughter and I made a suncatcher or stained-glass window cat from a kit and baked it in the oven. We tried one of these four years ago when she was 6 and had a bit of a disaster with the metal frame shifting and the plastic crystals spread far and wide and overflowed the frame. I still remember our disappointment and reblogged a post I wrote about it at the time.

stained-glass-fairy

The “Stained Glass” Fairy

Disaster Crafter-our first attempt at the fairy.

The Craft Master- Making the Stained Glass Cat.

Today’s effort went really well after my daughter with her x-ray vision, still found mistakes. I probably don’t notice them enough and have quite a “she’ll be right mate attitude” unless it comes to my writing.

amelia-cat-glass

The “Stained Glass” Cat we made today.

The kids are now on school holidays and we’ve booked our son in for a three day sailing course and they’re both doing a three day surfing course the following week. Sounds like fun to me!

What have you been up to? Do you have any plans?

I’d love to hear from you!

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster.  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the Linky.

xx Rowena

 

The Craft Master.

Today, my daughter and I revisited the toy shop, AKA “the scene of the crime” and decided to reattempt our previous craft catastrophe. Hopefully, an extra four years and learning from our mistakes, would bring about a different result. After all, we’re not too keen on mistakes.

So what was our illustrious craft project?

We bought a Suncatcher Making Kit. You’re probably familiar with these kids’ craft kits, which come with a metal frame and little plastic packets filled with multi-coloured plastic “crystals” which you pour into the gaps. Or, if you’re more meticulously inclined, or have a more detailed design, you might use a pair of tweezers to carefully place each and every crystal into its intended place. Once all the gaps are filled, you bake it in the oven and after 20 minutes or so of magic, it comes out looking like a stained-glass window. I still remember the incredible sense of magic when I made these as a child. Wow! How I loved making my own stained glass window!

suncatcher

Our Cat Suncatcher Kit.

By the way, before you get all excited and rush into making one of these, there are a few pitfalls for the unsuspecting parent and child. Firstly, before you even think about adding the crystals, that you need to put a sheet of foil down on a metal baking tray and ensure the tray is on a flat surface. This might sound like stating the blatantly obvious, but you can get caught up in the creative moment and sweep over all sorts of details, leading to catastrophe. That’s right, you can send all those multi-coloured crystals flying faster than Jaffas down the aisle.

Trust me! I know!!

Although all those tiny crystals are only plastic and aren’t going to cut little feet or anything nasty like that, if they spill all over the floor, there will be tears. Nobody likes to see their artwork break…especially a young personage matching the age ranges mentioned on the packet.

There will also be tears if those crystals only spread over the tray.

a-place-for-everything

After all, if there was ever a moment for “a place for everything and everything in its place”, this is it.

Anyway, as you might appreciate through my previous tales of catastrophes with kids’ craft, baking and just about everything I touch, I know all about how to screw up something which truly should have been Simple Simon.

You can read all about that in my previous post: Disaster Crafter

Stained Glass Fairy.jpg

Mummy needed more help with this attempt than the child.

When it comes to doing craft with your kids, you can say that the outcome doesn’t matter. That it’s all about spending time together, being creative and having a go. However, if your budding artist is adding those coloured crystals with meticulous precision, I warn you that there could well be tears… even if nothing seemingly goes wrong. This time round, my daughter wasn’t happy with the number of very small gaps in the “glass” and I guess I’d suggest being generous when you’re applying the crystals to get around this. We had quite a few left over.

“I have to say that I’ve always believed perfectionism is more of a disease than a quality. I do try to go with the flow but I can’t let go.”

– Rowan Atkinson

However, you could say that the resulting conversation was an important life lesson. That when it comes to home made, there usually isn’t pure perfection because we’re human. There are themes and variations in the things we make by hand and while they might like that factory-made uniformity, there’s so much pride in making something yourself and unless you’re into cross stitch and someone always has to turn your work over and inspect the back, no one else is going to notice those infinitesimal mistakes or imperfections. They’re not going to look at it under a microscope and wack you over the knuckles with the proverbial ruler.

“These ‘mistakes’ occur in my books for a reason. I have an agenda: I’m secretly trying to inspire kids to create their own stories and comics, and I don’t want them to feel stifled by ‘perfectionism.'”

Dav Pilkey, author and Illustrator, The Adventures of Captain Underpants.

I should also share that when I showed my daughter a photo of our last fairy suncatcher and my post, she actually really liked it and she was quite embarrassed about telling me I should “go back to kindergarten and learn how to stay between the lines”. So, I’m hoping that she comes to like today’s effort and won’t be so critical.

“If you look in the dictionary under ‘perfectionist,’ you see Henry Selick* correcting the definition of perfectionist in the dictionary. I mean, he is so meticulous.”

John Hodgman

After all, isn’t the point of art and craft, especially as a kid, that you have a bit of fun?!!
So, forget about staying between the lines and throwing all those luscious rainbow colours to the wind.

 

xx Rowena

*Henry Selick is an American stop motion director, producer and writer who is best known for directing The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

Disaster Crafter!

Kid’s craft should definitely come with warnings. I’m not talking about those warnings such as: WARNING! CHOKING HAZARD- Small Parts. Not suitable for children under 3 years.

I’m talking about warnings for parents.

THIS PROJECT SHOULD NOT BE UNDERTAKEN UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT

Or…

WARNING! MUST BE QUALIFIED SURGEON/ENGINEER/ARTIST TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT!

Perhaps, I should have confessed upfront. I have failed kid’s craft again. This time I have screwed up a relatively simple project that any 8 year old could do but was somehow beyond my abilities! I guess that makes me a loser! Make that loser loser!

Our latest craft project, aside from obligatory choking warnings, advised that children 6-8 may need some help and children 8-10 should be able to do it themselves.

I thought our 6 year old daughter would have no trouble completing it. She is very advanced like most people’s children. What I didn’t envision was that I would have trouble doing it. In fact, that I would sabotage and almost destroy our fairy completely!

Yesterday, we visited our local toy shop. So far, so good. Well, I came across a kit where you can make your own “stained-glass” fairy. She even comes with her own pet unicorn. You simply pour the crystals into the metal frame and put it in the oven to bake. Miss and I were both very excited! She loves craft just as much as I love revisiting my childhood!

You see I loved making these as a kid. That’s why I bought it. I remembered pouring the crystals into the frame and then watching them metamorphose like magic in the oven. They were so much fun and so easy. I wanted our daughter to share in the magic. Our son too if he hadn’t disappeared.

In all my excitement, I didn’t look that closely at the fairy and didn’t appreciate the fine attention to detail required. The metal frame was indeed quite intricate in places and we needed to apply one crystal at a time with the precision of a micro-surgeon.  This is all very well if you are the micro-surgeon type and you have the time to be so meticulous. We, on the other hand, were making ours’ before school. While we weren’t exactly rushing, we didn’t have all day either.

As I said before, my experience of making these stained-glass thingys was pouring the crystals into the frame. That is much more my style. I’m much more of a broad-brush kind of artist. Slap on the paint. I need a style which is a bit forgiving and allows a lot of scope for mistakes. Precision isn’t my thing and when it comes to staying within the lines, I couldn’t be bothered. After all, aren’t lines  meant to be broken, extended, challenged? Isn’t that what being creative is all about?

dsc_3836

Miss Aged 6 with her doll.

Miss Perfectionist, on the other hand, is very particular. Precise. Without any consideration for my poor, wounded self-esteem, she very bluntly lets me know when my artwork isn’t up to scratch and doesn’t look like the real thing. She is also 6 and one of the first rules of colouring-in is that you stay inside the lines. I’ve been told before that I need to go back to kindergarten to learn how to colour-in properly.

As much as Miss is precise, she is also a perfectionist. Of course, she started off with the most fiddly bit where you could only apply one crystal at a time. She was struggling and quickly became frustrated and that’s when I was called in. My approach of tipping the crystals in wasn’t really appreciated. I also mixed the colours and I thought the fairy would look quite nice in a pink dress with purple spots but this wasn’t good enough. It didn’t meet Madam’s high standards and so she started to remove the offending dots. Well, I obliged and was using a fork to get them out when disaster struck. The fork clipped the metal frame lifting it ever so slightly off the tray and the crystals all tumbled out of position. To make matters worse, I couldn’t wriggle the frame back onto the tray either. It was resting on top of the crystals instead. The crystals had all gone AWOL.  On the brink of despair, I shoved it in the oven. It was a done deal!

At first, Miss was surprisingly impressed. She was quite excited and told me it was “pretty”. It didn’t take long for either of us to see its short comings. There were quite a few “extensions” added to the frame. You know…extra bits. I even managed to fill up the hole at the top. Yes, that’s right. That hole where you put the piece of ribbon to hang it up. At least, I could have got that bit right!

I soon found her chiseling away at these offending additions with a sharp knife. As I carefully removed the knife, once again craft had become yet another lesson in “acceptance”.

I know this won’t be our last craft project. As much as I protest, I keep finding more craft activities to frustrate us.

For the time being, however, we’re going back to baking. You can’t go wrong with cupcakes!

cupcake

A Cupcake…the safe alternative.

Do you have any craft disaster stories to share? I’d love to hear from you!

I have reblogged this post which was first published in 2012. My daughter made another one of these sun catchers today and wanted to share this with you as a back story.

xx Rowena

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Eyes

This story really touched my heart and fitted in so well with the dog stories I’ve been recounting this week. xx Rowena

Conversations Around the Tree

“If God wants me to have another dog, he’ll send one to live on my porch.” I had just lost my dog “Andi” and a friend was asking if I would be getting another dog.

Andi had been with me for 12 years before developing cancer. I missed her and really had no desire to “replace” her.

A few weeks later this white dog was spotted running around the neighborhood. He seemed afraid, hiding in bushes and running as soon as anyone got close to him. No one was able to catch him. Then one day one of my neighbors caught him and was attempting to pull a large burr from his fur. As this was happening, I walked out on my porch, the white dog broke away from my neighbor and ran straight to me.

We bonded immediately.

Several weeks later I took him to the sheltered workshop where I…

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The Dog and the Omniscient Narrator… Brisbane 1888.

As I mentioned in my previous posts this week, I’ve been reading through dog stories in old newspapers online and reworking them into posts on my blog.

brisbane-1888

Brisbane 1888.

Our latest story comes from Brisbane, Queensland and we’re turning our clocks back to 1888, one hundred years after European settlement when Brisbane was but a fledgling town of 366,940 persons[1]. We’re also returning to the era of the horse and cart.

Introducing…The Dog’s Revenge

“Two Brisbane gentlemen residing together each owned a dog—one a collie, the other a

Newfoundland. The latter dog was always kept on the chain, while his more fortunate mate had the run of the place, a circumstance which did not tend to increase the little love they bore each other.

The collie, presumably being a victim to ennui, and being one of those to whom the proverb “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do” would well apply, used to delight in teasing the restrained Newfoundland; he would always bring bones to the latter’s kennel and coolly proceed to gnaw them just beyond the larger dog’s tether. The collie would at times steal into the Newfoundland’s dominions when the latter was asleep and annex his food, which he would play with in a tantalising manner and finally devour just out of reach, but under the very nose, of the rightful owner.

This course of proceeding naturally caused the victim unutterable annoyance, and he thirsted for his persecutor’s gore. The fates were all in favour of the collie though, for the only exercise the Newfoundland received was under the eye of his master, who was always ready to stop any fighting.However, one day an opportunity occurred for the carrying out of a well-laid plan of revenge. The two dogs were taken to the river for a swim, and immediately the collie had got a dozen yards or so from the bank the long-suffering Newfoundland seized him by the neck and ducked him. Every time the astonished collie rose to the surface a well-aimed blow on the head from the enemy’s immense paw immersed him again and again, until the owner, seeing that unless a speedy rescue was effected his dog would drown, was obliged to swim out to the pair, and after much difficulty succeeded in bringing the collie to shore more dead than alive.

newfoundland-dog

It was not for some days that the half-drowned animal was restored to his usual health, and it was noticeable that from that day the collie treated his erstwhile victim with the profoundest respect, and entirely discontinued annoying him.

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939) Saturday 7 January 1888 p 26 Article

 …….

Reading through this story, particularly after researching Newfoundlands for my last post, I can just imagine those huge, webbed paws rising through the water and pushing that nasty collie under the water, knowing exactly what it was doing. Not killing it but repeatedly tormenting the Collie in the same way it had treated him…an eye for an eye…justice. It almost makes sense and yet weren’t there alternatives?

Probably not if you were that Newfoundland and no one’s come to your rescue.

This brings me to the person who wrote this story, otherwise known as the “Omniscient Narrator”… the story behind the story.

As you might be aware, the omniscient narrator “knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story, while maintaining an omniscient – or godlike – distance.[2]

So in this scenario, our narrator is fully aware that the Newfoundland, a huge dog renowned for its swimming abilities and athletic strength, is kept chained up at least for very extended periods AND that the Newfoundland is being repeatedly tormented by the Collie and that the owners of both dogs, aren’t doing anything about it.

Yet, the narrator’s seemingly done nothing about it.

Well, they did write about it but I can’t help feeling that they thought the story was funny or entertaining in some way, rather than trying to speak up for the dog. After all, the dog was still being chained up even if the collie has changed its ways.

This raises important issues for writers. Is it okay for us to take the role of the detached observer? Be that omniscient narrator? Or, should we intervene? How do you feel about writers, journalists and the like writing about suffering without stepping in and trying to help the victim? After all, while this might be a story about a dog who lived and died well over 100 years ago, it’s also about today. Our role in the here and now.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

xx Rowena

Sources

[1] As of 31st December, 1887 Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/19931712

[2] http://study.com/academy/lesson/third-person-omniscient-narrator-definition-examples.html

A Different Type of Rescue Dog.

Welcome to Rumford, Maine where we’re chatting with ferry master Jerry Putnam and his dog, Major beside the Androscoggin River. Major is a New Foundland or “Newfie” and while I’m used to big dogs, Major is more like a bear crossed with a tank and yet he’s very friendly.

androscoggin_river-nh

Androscoggin River, New Hampshire, sadly renowned for its poor water quality.

Please be advised that you’ll be needing to set you watch back more than just a couple of hours to join me on this trip. You see, we’re traveling back to 1885 or thereabouts to hear this tale.  By the way, I apologise if the details get a little sketchy on this trip. You see, I’ve never been to America and I’ve never seen a Newfoundland dog beyond Googles images. However, I’ve never let that stop me from spinning a yarn before and it won’t stop me now. I stumbled across this story online in a small Australian country newspaper from 1885. I have no idea how it found its way there but it seems that after all these years, I’ll be sending the story all the way back to Rumford, Maine where I hope it finds a new home.

As you might be aware Newfoundlands are excellent and enthusiastic swimmers and are famed as the lifesavers of the sea. Indeed, there have even been some famous and very impressed rescues carried out by Newfoundlands:

  • In 1881 in Melbourne, Australia, a Newfoundland named Nelson helped rescue Thomas Brown, a cab driver who was swept away by flood waters in Swanston Street on the night of 15 November. While little is known about what became of Nelson, a copper dog collar engraved with his name has survived and 130 years after the rescue it was acquired by the National Museum of Australia and is now part of the National Historical Collection.[17]
  • In the early 20th century, a dog that is thought to have been a Newfoundland saved 92 people who were on the SS Ethie which was wrecked off of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland during a blizzard. The dog retrieved a rope thrown out into the turbulent waters by those on deck, and brought the rope to shore to people waiting on the beach. A breeches buoy was attached to the rope, and all those aboard the ship were able to get across to the shore including an infant in a mailbag. Wreckage of the ship can still be seen in Gros Morne National Park. E. J. Pratt‘s poem, “Carlo”, in the November 1920 issue of The Canadian Forum commemorates this dog.
  • In 1995, a 10-month-old Newfoundland named Boo saved a hearing-impaired man from drowning in the Yuba River in Northern California. The man fell into the river while dredging for gold. Boo noticed the struggling man as he and his owner were walking along the river. The Newfoundland instinctively dove into the river, took the drowning man by the arm, and brought him to safety. According to Janice Anderson, the Newfoundland’s breeder, Boo had received no formal training in water rescue.[18

You can watch some Newfoundlanders going through their rescue paces here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oQzXJ5ldRM

By now,  I’m sure I’ve whetted your appetites sufficiently and you’re all just longing to find out what Major did. What act of great heroism plucked this ordinary dog out of obscurity and onto the pages of a distant Australian newspaper?

newfoundland

However, there’s an exception to every rule. Just because some dog’s profiles read like a brochure from the Kennel Club, there’s always an exception. Just as people don’t like being categorized, stereotyped or told how they should conform to type, dogs can be much the same.Not that Major almost drowned but he did have a different interpretation of what constitutes a “rescue”.

Or, did he?

After all, what constitutes a rescue? Is it just about saving that drowning person from the surging waters? Or, is it also about encouraging someone to overcome their fear of drowning,  let go of the edge and finally learn to swim? What if that person doesn’t respond to “encouragement”? Is it okay to add a bit of persuasion? A nudge? A tug or even the proverbial cattle prod?

Well, you don’t need to ask Major. When it came to helping his canine counterpart overcome his fear, he was a Dog of Action with no time for philosophising, desensitization or phoning a friend. When a brindle hound was too scared to swim out to its owner on the ferry and was howling on the shore, Major grabbed it by the scruff and threw it in the water so it either had to sink or swim.

You’ve got to laugh and who hasn’t been tempted to do that to someone we know, but a bit of compassion doesn’t go astray either.

So, even if another dog is having a full blown panic attack about getting their precious paws wet, you don’t grab him by the scruff and throw him in the drink. After all, most breeds of dog don’t have a Newfoundland’s webbed paws, innate love of swimming and other special design features. They chase sheep.

Bilbo sand cliffs Ettalong 2

I’m not putting my paws in there!

Of course, this includes the Border Collie. While our last Border Collie loves chasing sticks through the surf, Bilbo rarely gets his paws wet and it’s taken a lot of angst for him to get to the point where he sometimes now retrieves his ball out of the wash on the beach.

Indeed, Bilbo has had a few newsworthy water avoidances and he could well have been cast as that miserable mutt Major threw into the river.

Fetching Bilbos Ball

Finally some assistance. Miss puts Bilbo out of his misery!

A few years ago, when Bilbo saw us all kayaking from the backyard at Palm Beach, he also started howling and fretting just like that other poor hound. Bilbo chewed through the back gate, jumped the back fence and we were about a kilometre from home when we looked out and kids said: “Someone else has a Border Collie”. As we paddled closer, our fears we confirmed. It was our freaked out mutt, giving us the paw: “What do you think you’re doing going out there on that crazy contraption? OMG!!!! You could fall in. Drown!!!! Then, who’s going to feed me?” His heart was racing. He was puffing. The dog was a wreck…so was the gate!

I would never have thrown Bilbo into the water to get him used to it. Yet, over time, he accidentally fell in the pool chasing his ball. He also fell out of the kayak and took our son into the water with him. That could’ve been nasty because he tried grabbing on to Mister which could’ve pulled him under. However, through all of this knockabout exposure and by being part of our family, Bilbo isn’t quite so anxious anymore. He’s stepped out and started filling out those paws, becoming a brave dog.

Meanwhile, here’ the original newspaper story about Major:

A Dog Story.

 When Jerry Putnam had charge of the ferry At Rumford, Me., over the Androscoggin River, he owned one of the handsomest Newfoundland dogs I ever saw, and the dog was as intelligent as he was handsome. Like all of his kind, he was fond of the water, and further than that,  he manifested an absolute contempt for those of his species who shrank from the aqueous element, and it is of one of those contemptuous manifestations that I wish to tell, for I was there and saw.

The ferryboots, of various sizes, to, accommodate different burdens, were impelled by means of a stout cable stretched from shore to shore, as that was the only device by which the heavy boats could be kept to their course in times of strong currents, and during seasons of freshet I have seen a current there that was wonderful.

 One warm summer day, while a few of us were sitting in the shade of an old apple tree, between Jerry’s house and the river, two gentlemen, with implements for hunting and fishing, came down to be set across, and straightway one of the boys went to answer the call. He selected a light gondola, the two gentlemen stepped onboard, and very soon they were off ; but before they had got far away from the shore a common brindle house dog came rushing down upon the landing, where he stood and barked and howled furiously— furiously at first, and then piteously.

 The boat was stopped, and from the signs made we judged that the strange dog belonged to one of the passengers. Yes, the owner was calling to him to come.

‘Come Ponto! Come !Come! ‘

But Ponto didn’t seem incline to obey. Instead of taking to the water, he stood there, on the edge of the landing, and howled and yelped louder than before.

 Presently old Major — our Newfoundland; who had been lying at our feet, got up and took a survey of the scene. Jerry said only this—’What is it, Major! What dy’e think of it?”

The dog looked around at his master, and seemed to answer that he was thoroughly disgusted. And then he started for the boat-landing — started just as the boy in the boat, at the earnest solicitation of his passenger, had begun to pull back. With  dignified step, Major made his way down upon the landing, proceeded directly to the yelping cur, took him by the nape of the neck; and threw him — he did not drop him — but gave him a vigorous, hearty throw, far out into the water ; and when he had done that he stood his ground as though to prevent the noisy, cowardly animal from landing. He stood there until he had seen the cur turn and swim towards the boat — until he had been taken on board by his master— after which he faced about, with military dignity and precision, and came back to his place beneath the apple tree.

 — N. Y. Ledger.

The Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 – 1951) Friday 13 March 1885 p 3 Article

Have you ever been to Rumford, Maine or had any experiences with Newfoundlander Dogs? We’d love to hear your tales!

xx Rowena

The Dog’s Commandments.

From a- witless puppy I brought thee up;
gave thee fire and food,
and taught thee the self-respect of an honest dog.
Hear, then, my commandments:
I am thy master : thou shalt have
no other masters before me.
“Where I go, shalt thou follow;
where I abide, tarry thou also.
My house is my castle;
thou shalt honor it;
guard it with thy life
if need be!
By daylight, suffer all that approach
peaceably to enter,
without protest.
But after nightfall thou shalt
give tongue when men draw near!
Use not thy teeth on any man
without good cause and intolerable provocation;
and never on women or children.
Honor thy master and thy mistress,
that thy days may belong in the land.
Thou shalt not consort with mongrels,
nor with dogs that are common or unclean.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not feed upon refuse or stray bits ;
thy meat waits thee regularly in the kitchen.
Thou shalt not bury bones in the flower beds.
Cats are to be chased, but in sport only;
seek not to devour them;
their teeth and claws are deadly.
Thou shalt not snap at my neighbor,
nor his wife, nor his child, nor
his manservant, nor his maidservant,
nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor do harm to aught that is his.
The drawing-room rug is not for thee,
nor the sofa, nor the best armchair.
Thou hast the porch and thy own kennel.
But for the love I bear thee,
there is always a corner for thee by the winter fire.
Meditate on these commandments day and night;
so shalt thou be a dog of good breeding
and an honor to thy master.
While trying to find out more about the canine food thief in my previous post Judge Reprimands Naughty Dog!, I stumbled across  this in Kooweerup Sun, Lang Lang Guardian and Cranbourne Shire Record (Vic. : 1918) Wednesday 4 September 1918 p 3.
Any thoughts?
xx Rowena

Judge Reprimands: “Naughty Dog”.

If you had to pick a dog occupation  known for its trust and integrity, it has to be the Guide Dog. Chosen through a meticulous screening program, they have to pass through so many hurdles to graduate, that they’d have to be the most trustworthy dogs on the planet.

However, there are exceptions to every rule.

Today, I read the story of Toby the Seeing -eye dog who found himself in court for stealing food from the local supermarket. Up against the Judge, Toby was represented by author Kerry Greenwood, who was working for Legal Aid at the time.

“Toby used to walk down to the shops each day, take a large can of Pal from the supermarket and bring it home in his mouth. The old lady owner thought he was getting them from the Salvos. The supermarket owner knew about it and was not concerned.

But then a grocery chain took over the supermarket, had a private detective follow Toby home and pressed charges against the old Lady…

The magistrate declared sternly that the canine culprit, sitting in court with the mortified owner, had to be punished. Leaning over the bench, wagging an admonishing forefinger , the beak intoned, “very, very bad dog!” before giving the old lady $100 for further supplies of dog food.”

I’m still having trouble working out how Toby managed to get that can of dog food into his mouth, let alone get it home.

By the way, this reminds me of how my Great Aunt and Uncle’s pet Labrador, Peter, who used to steal newspapers up and down their street. He got himself into quite a lot of trouble and I suspect he was lucky not to end up in court as well. Or, as is often the case for criminal canines, wind up in that notorious doggy jail…the pound! As far as I know, Peter somehow reformed his ways or perhaps just wandered off to that old doggy heaven in the sky.

By the way, if you’d like to read the full interview with crime novelist, Kerry Greenwood, click  Here.

Do you have any tails of notorious dogs? I’m on the growl for more stories.

xx Rowena