Tag Archives: dog blog

If Only A Dog Coat Had A Zip!

When you are afraid, even a few simple steps can turn into the journey of a thousand miles.

That’s what happened when it came to getting Bilbo, our mature-aged, introverted Border Collie clipped today. What could have all been very Simple Simon, turned into a drawn out ordeal…not just for him but also for all the humans involved.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we were getting Bilbo’s woolly coat belatedly clipped for summer. Or, as it turned out in the end, clipped to free him of his badly tangled coat. His aversion to being brushed while his winter coat was moulting as well as standing out in the rain, had caused serious matting and getting it all shorn off was the only way to go. The last time we had him shorn, I was grieving as the poor mutt faded from black to smoky grey as his coat disappeared.

This post covers Bilbo’s last encounter with the shears: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/summer-loving-a-dogs-perspective/

However, this time I was cheering. At least, I would be cheering if we could actually get him inside the mobile dog salon so operations could begin.

The dog salon pulls up.

The dog salon pulls up.

So the Dog Salon pulls up and we took Bilbo out the front on the lead. I felt like an absolute cad taking the dog out there to be “tortured” when he thinks he’s off for a walk. His demeanor quickly changed and he curled up inside himself on the front lawn and wasn’t coming out.

As I’ve said before, Bilbo is not good with strangers at our place  at the best of times. He is usually withdrawn and reticent in social situations and what you’d describe as an introverted introvert. He is very much our dog and he loves my Mum as well but he keeps close. Even when it comes to people who come to the house regularly, he’s apprehensive and I usually hold him back for about 10 minutes so he settles down. Then, he’s fine. I think people don’t always realise that some dogs like their space and need time to warm up just like some people. They also really don’t like being smothered with affection by strangers, which through their eyes, might simply be a pat. These are the sort of dogs who would enjoy sitting in the corner at a party if they were human and be quite content simply observing the proceedings. That said, he can be quite friendly and isn’t a risk.

At this early stage, now that Bilbo knows he’s not going for a walk and something strange is afoot, he is not in a good way. He is refusing to let the dog groomer pat him and he is looking quite frightened and skittish. I know what he was like when I bathed him and I am concerned about how the clip is going to proceed…or even if. Naturally, we are concerned about the dog groomer’s safety which is why Geoff is going with him but she also has to have enough faith to know she’ll be safe. She has been bitten before and working with dogs day in day out, Bilbo’s withdrawn fear has her on alert. An old hand, she senses serious trouble.

This whole battle of wills just confirmed my belief that dog coats should all come with a zipper so they can be conveniently removed for cleaning and seasonal adjustments.

However, that isn’t going to happen so it’s a case of smooth talking. Reassuring the dog he’ll be okay and also reassuring the groomer, which also involves having Geoff in there with Bilbo. The dog is afraid and no doubt can sense what is at least my concern. Not that I was afraid but I was  stressed about how Bilbo would respond. What’s more, given the state of his coat and some underlying skin irritation, all that fur urgently needed to go!!

There are advantages of having helicopter parents. We keep our offspring both of the two-legged and four-legged variety under some kind of control…or at least we try!! Bilbo was needing close-range helicopter hovering at this point. He really wasn’t happy!! However, our support and the groomers’ patience slowly won Bilbo over enough.

The groomer noticed the fur balls behind Lady’s ears and so we decide to give them a quick clip and hope that Bilbo settles down when he sees Lady “survive”. Lady wasn’t too keen to go in either. I think she remembered the last time she jumped into a car with a stranger and she never saw home again. That was when we picked her up. However, she emerged unscathed and was her usual sociable, tail-wagging self. Unlike Bilbo, she’s quite the extrovert and social butterfly! She loves people and any attention she can muster.

While Lady is being fixed up, the male husband groomer is sitting down with Bilbo and building a rapport. Bilbo is warming up a bit and he’s now deemed a reasonable risk but as I said, Geoff was still going in the float with him. No one was taking any chances.

Bilbo has been clipped once before and really was a lot happier after that. Once he was in there and the clip had got started, he was relatively calm. I think he might have remembered that losing his coat was going to be a relief  and started to settle. He was still a wound up spring but he was somewhat compliant.

The clip gets underway. Look at all that fur coming off. As I said, it was like shearing a sheep!

The clip gets underway. Look at all that fur coming off. As I said, it was like shearing a sheep!

The dog groomers were excellent and worked well with him. He wasn’t comfortable but he was clipped.

The clip is almost over...

The clip is almost over…

Then, it was time for his bath. Our poor boy. He really doesn’t like new experiences all that much and getting a bath is definitely something he files under “torture” and “over my dead body”. However, although there was initially a serious scuttle of claws, the bath went relatively well.

A shorn Bilbo having his bath. Looks like he much prefers the salon treatment to the hose.

A shorn Bilbo having his bath. Looks like he much prefers the salon treatment to the hose.

We knew from last time there would be no blow dry. Definitely no blow dry!! That sound was too much like the vacuum cleaner…his usual nemesis!

Suddenly, after all that kerfuffle, it was over. Bilbo was clipped and working as a very good team, we had all succeeded.

Bilbo's even starting to look like a happy camper!

Bilbo’s even starting to look like a happy camper!

“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success.”
Zig Ziglar

It was funny when his whole ordeal was over, you could see such a sense of relief. A burden had been lifted. He’s been freed, liberated. Vive la liberte. He was trotting back inside and when Lady saw him, she really did a double take: “What’s happened to you , mate?!! Had a fight with the lawn mower?”

You bet!

We also had a surprise after all that fur had come off. Bilbo has actually lost some weight. I had suspected he’d lost a bit and transferred it to Lady but the shorn coat doesn’t lie. It shows every single ripple and bulge and is just as  unforgiving as a human wearing a wet suit.

Bilbo is now trotting around the house with a real spring in his step. Grumpy dog is almost happy with a new zest for life.

Yes, he really has been set free!!

xx Rowena

 

Accepting the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award

I would like to thank Phoebe from Musings of  Puppydoc http://phoebemd.com/2015/01/05/blog-awards/ for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award.

I was so stoked to receive this award because after all my trials and tribulations, I would like to be able to inspire others to claw their way forward when they go through periods of adversity. If you are ever going through a phase of darkness, know that the sun never sets. That it’s always shining. It’s just they we don’t see it.

Three favourite quotes which have inspired me through times of hardship are:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Calvin Coolidge

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

― Kahlil Gibran

The last quote came from our son’s pre-school teacher. Early childhood had some difficult moments, particularly due due my debilitating health which saw me hospitalised for 7 weeks when Mister was 3 and Miss was 18 months old. Initially, I would cynically snigger to myself that tomorrow would just bring more of the same but the reality was actually quite different. One day actually could be quite different to another.

“Tomorrow is another day.”

The Sun Set Byron Bay

Sun Set Byron Bay

Three things which have inspired me this week or in recent times are:

1) I heard TV interviews with the hostages who survived the terrorist siege in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe in Martin Place and I was incredibly touched and moved by their courage, survival skills and endurance. There were so many inspirational stories but I was particular moved by the thoughfulness of Marcia Mikhael who calm down two of the younger hostages when they had panic attacks and talked through through some relaxation and meditation techniques to calm them down. She also swapped places with them and moved from a very good vantage point where she could have escaped to being next to the gunman.

2) The outpouring of grief and compassion after the terrorist attacks in Martin Place, Sydney and in Paris. It was inspirational to see how good triumphed over evil.

3) I have signed up to be a part of a global blogging movement called #One Thousand Voices Speak for Compassion. where we will write a post about compassion on 20th February, 2015 …the International UN Day of Social Justice. Read more herehttps://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/bloggers-unite-for-a-better-world-1000-voices-speak-for-compassion/

You will find that many of the bloggers I have nominated live with chronic and serious medical conditions and refer to these on their blogs. I am inspired by their courage though great adversity and the love and encouragement they share.

There are also a few dog blogs on the list. These largely involve stories of dogs who have been rescued and lovingly given a new life yet still carry the emotional scars. There is also a blog about a therapy dog.

Here are the rules for accepting this award (purely voluntary):

1.  Thank the person who nominated you by including a link to his/her blog in your response, and display the award logo on your site.

2.  Nominate 15 other blogs (more or less). Include links to their blogs on your post, and inform them about the nomination.

3.  Mention three things that inspired you the most this week (you can talk about last week’s inspiration too or before that).

My nominations for the VIB award are as follows:

Miniscule Moments of Inspiration: http://www.kathunsworth.com

Bruises You can Touch: http://bruisesyoucantouch.com/

Journeyintopoetry: https://journeyintopoetry.wordpress.com

Yvonne Spence – http://yvonnespence.com/

Lizzi Rogers – http://summat2thinkon.wordpress.com/

Poetry Photos and Musings Oh my!    https://poetryphotosandmusingsohmy.wordpress.com/

Butterfly Mumma: http://butterflymumma.com/

Monika and Sam the therapy dog: Tails Around the Ranch: https://tailsaroundtheranch.wordpress.com/

Psychologistmimi: http://psychologistmimi.com/

Behind the White Coat : https://doctorly.wordpress.com/

#1000 Voices for Compassion: http://1000speak.wordpress.com/

Rachel Mankowitz: https://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/

Such Small Hands: https://lilyellyn.wordpress.com/about/

Ali Isaac Storyteller: http://aliisaacstoryteller.com/

Sirena Tales: https://sirenatales.wordpress.com/

Jackie at Lethargic Smiles: https://lethargicsmiles.wordpress.com/

I am Not A Sick Boy: http://iamnotsickboy.com/

Max the Dog: https://withinthekstreets.wordpress.com/  ….Max has inspired me with his very cute doggy looks and I now want to visit Hawaii.

Love & best wishes,

Rowena

Repercussions of Being a Cat Loving Dog

Eisenhower was no doubt trying to be encouraging when he said: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Unfortunately, you’ll need a microscope to find the fight in this dog right now. Indeed, I suspect that I’ve swallowed a chicken in my sleep.

Please excuse my less than positive outlook. I know I’m not exactly upbeat at the best of times and have more of a realist’s world view. However, my current state is low even by my fairly unambitious standards.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon's message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s message still rings true: Give Peace A Chance. The trouble is how to maintain the peace when there is still so much evil in this world. Not so easy…

Since I last wrote, I’ve been forced into hiding in the deepest depths of my canine laboratory since launching my twitter campaign: # cats and dogs are friends. Rather than building bridges between two age-old foes and turning hate into love, my efforts have backfired and focused the hatred of both species onto their new found common foe… me!

“And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am”

Goo Goo Dolls: Isis

Now, I am a wanted dog and as you could appreciate, it’s sadly for all the wrong reasons. My situation, as it stands, is therefore rather dire.

Hence, this could very well be my very last post.

If only this placard could be true.

If only this placard could be true.

You see, after advocating that dogs and cats should become friends and flying a flag saying: “I love cats” from the roof of my kennel, I’ve attracted hoards of haters…the very thing I spoke out against a few posts back.

Sadly, that often happens when you try to change the world and fiddle with the status quo.

Still a long way off.

Still a long way off.

So, I guess this means I won’t be collecting my Nobel Peace Prize any time soon.

All the dogs think I’m a traitor. That I’ve sold out and joined the enemy. Although I didn’t quite go as far as saying: “Je suis chat”, it seems that by trying to love cats and be their friend, I have crossed an invisible line. I’ve seemingly betrayed the very essence of being a dog. Apparently, hating cats is as much part of being a dog as barking, chewing bones and chasing balls.

Hence, dogs are quite literally trying to kill me. Indeed, a campaign of pure hate is spreading like wildfire on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere: #Hate Bilbo, #Bilbo is not a dog… and it gets worse.

Not so long ago, I was living the very uneventful life of a garden-variety backyard dog. Yes, I admit I was also dabbling in dog philosophy and this has somehow become a crusade. It is this crusade which has got be into my current predicament.

Despite these sinister threats, I’m not about to hate. That goes against everything I believe and everything I stand for and certainly is the very antithesis of the Golden Rule. I can’t even kill my own fleas. The family always takes care of that. I am a peace-loving dog whose only crime was to try to change the world for the common good. Now, I’m a dog staring into the headlights of a truck called “Red Rover”. That is, an in “it’s all over red rover”.

It would appear that you only try to change such entrenched age-old values at your peril. So much for appreciating a bit of vision!!

Such is the fate of a lone dog trying to overcome age-old hatred to create a new world order.

However, just because the dogs all hate me, don’t think that I’ve somehow managed to win over the cat population. The cats hate me as well. Rather than seeing my efforts as some kind of bid for world peace, they’ve accused me of being a cold blooded killer, a wolf in sheep’s clothing and have dug up terrible stories about my past treatment of cats. These have been rapidly circulating throughout all forms of media. Like humans, cats simply can’t believe that old dogs can learn new tricks.

So while I’m trying to stay inspired and feel the love, I’ve retreated right into the very depths of my beloved laboratory and Lady, my canine companion, is putting her food thieving, road kill retrieving skills to good use. Thankfully, it turns out that she’s not just “decorative” after all. She’s also become a very loyal friend, standing by me when, as I’ve said, every other dog wants to kill me. We’re in this together for what could well be a very long haul.

Thank you very much for reading, liking or perhaps even following my posts and for trying to step beyond your comfort zone to explore what is truly possible when we all learn to love instead of hate.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

 TS Eliot; The Hollow Men.

xx Bilbo

PS: If you are interested in reading my research into the Golden Rule, my posts start here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/greetings-from-good-dog/

 

If you are interested in hearing from Lady, click here for some of her posts:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/my-dog-post-lady-at-palm-beach-sydney/

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/portrait-of-a-lady/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.

Hippolyte Taine
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_pet3.html#WbTjMwQhRvQBozEu.99

 

 

Grouchy Dog’s Growlings

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”
― Charles M. Schulz

After my previous analysis of the Golden Rule and uncovering its shortcomings in the cat department, I returned to my research.

I was starting to study situations where cats and dogs not only co-habitate but indeed have become family… even friends. This was most intriguing research because until now, I had never thought that was possible. I was astounded.

Just when I was starting to prove that the Golden Rule was actually more than theory and had real world applications, yet another exception arose.

Here's Lady all sweetness and innocence murdering my ball.

Here’s Lady all sweetness and innocence murdering my ball.

Lady, my canine companion, not only stole my tennis ball. She killed it, pulling out its fur tuft by precious tuft. It was agony just standing around watching without being able to growl, let alone snap. That’s what it means to truly follow the Golden Rule and I didn’t like it.

There's certainly no Golden Rule at work here!

There’s certainly no Golden Rule at work here!

After this devastating experience, I’ve become a little disillusioned with trying to change the world. Instead of the Golden Rule, I’m now considering a different path:

“Do unto others as they would do unto you.”

This seems a much fairer system. That way, if they steal your ball and chew it up, you can destroy their ball…or at least claim theirs as a replacement. After all, why should you go without?

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I have also learned about this mighty force called karma which strikes the offender down and really makes them suffer. Apparently, God, fate or the universe pays them back for doing the wrong thing. It’s like being struck down by lightening. This sounds brilliant…absolutely brilliant! That’s what I call justice.

I love karma. Indeed, I’m wishing a bit of karma on my Lady friend right now!!

It sounds so much fairer than turning the other cheek and putting up with their bad behaviour. It would also ease the load on our judicial system.

You see, the Golden Rule works well when everybody follows it but that’s my point. Most critters don’t. Whether you’re talking about humans, dogs and especially cats, that seems to be a universal thing. Everyone is just out for themselves. It ‘s even dog eat dog out in the real world.

Say I was to stick to my beliefs and stand by the Golden Rule. What would happen to me then? With everybody else just out for themselves, I’d just get bullied, walked over and turned into a flat and furry dog mat.

Indeed, that’s been my experience already.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Haile Selassie

I’ve ready told you about what Lady did to my ball but the horror doesn’t end there.

Once I’d finally retrieved my ball, somebody, I won’t mention any names, hurled it into the water again just to drive me stark raving mad. You know how it is. As soon as anybody finds your Achilles heel, they just have to twist the knife and make you suffer. We might not have rabies in this country but I can tell you, I was starting to froth at the mouth from all this stress. Overcome with righteous indignation, my blood was also starting to boil.

Disconsolate, completely and utterly shattered, I was trying to follow the Golden Rule but nobody else was. That’s when I decided the Golden Rule was never going to work. Instead, I had to look after number one.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, that’s a huge philosophical shift and it takes quite a shove to get this big dog to budge an inch. (That is, unless you call “Lady” in which case, I’m there in a flash!!)

Then, as if I wasn’t already emotionally overwrought, I had another look in the water. My ball…my beloved tennis ball which had already been mauled and defluffed… had sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

Heartbreak!

This isn't some exotic tropical fish!! No! It's my ball!

This isn’t some exotic tropical fish!! No! It’s my ball underwater!

Of course, Dad had no sympathy. When he saw me peering forlornly over the edge, he just said:

“It was your own @#$% fault for chewing holes in it you @#$%$#@ dog!!!! He hasn’t been very supportive of my ball fetching career and is inclined to call me: “pest dog”. Talk about showing no respect!!”

Perhaps, I might have punctured my ball in a moment of exuberant, over-enthusiastic chewing but there’s a much more likely culprit and we all know who that is.

My ball after the mauling.

My ball after the mauling.

I know you humans keep telling me that I can’t keep blaming Lady for everything and that I need to take responsibility for my own actions. But fair’s fair. The photos say it all. Lady might have us all under her spell. However, she’s a real little upstart who’ll settle for nothing less than world domination and that all starts with me.

Anyway, following through on my new philosophy of “Do unto others as they would do unto you”, this is my new action list…so much for being a good dog. I’ve decided to go for justice instead:

  1. Drop the kids’ iPad minis in the water and watch the entertainment begin. See if their tortured little faces end up on Funniest Home Videos and see how much they like that!
  2. Ditto for mum and her camera.
  3. When it comes to Dad, I might revisit one of my past crimes and chew through his beloved network cable (again) and see whether he takes responsibility. After all, it wasn’t me that chewed through my tennis ball.
  4. Last, but by no means least on my list…Lady. She’d better watch out the next time she finds rabbit road kill. Next time, she’s going to share!

However, like all my great philosophical theories and rants, there’s always an exception.

You see, while the family might pick on me where my ball is concerned, they actually do a lot of nice things for me as well. Based on this list, I will need to action the following:

  1. Feed them and keep topping up their drinks. This means I’ll need to sign up for some kind of gourmet cooking course. Masterchef, Julie Goodwin, just opened a cooking school locally so I might just have to pay her a visit. She might even off load some of her scraps to a very deserving dog.
  2. Take the family for walks. While they can be a bit slack in this department, I’ll be a lot more considerate and make it a daily or even twice daily treat.
  3. Throw the ball for them: xxwhile they don’t support my ball fetching training quite to the level I’d like, they still oblige. Again, like the walking, I’d ramp this up a bit and really get their heart rates thumping.
  4. Plenty of pats and cuddles.

When you weigh things up in the end, there does seem to be a balance of the good and the bad.

However, while I have managed to develop quite a list of all the good and thoughtful things the family does for me, I’m still not so sure about Lady.She is still only young and I certainly didn’t have this well-developed sense of morality when I was a pup. Yes, I admit I moved like a bullet train once that mighty lead snapped onto my collar. I also admitted earlier that right in the middle of Mum’s worst health dramas, I was fretting and chewed through all the computer cables under the house and was lucky to escape with my life. I could feel this little zap zap in my teeth. I could have been an instant hot dog.

Lady might only be an oversized pup but she definitely seems to be more decorative than useful. That said, not everybody was meant to be useful. Some can get by just by fluttering their puppy dog eyes. Indeed, from what my research has uncovered, being decorative definitely pays much better that philosophical research.

My kennel could certainly do with an upgrade so maybe it’s time for this dog to learn a new trick.

Until next time!

Loving thoughts and deeds,

Bilbo

PS Despite all my grouchy rantings today, I still agree with Cat Stevens:

“I am confident that, in the end, common sense and justice will prevail. I’m an optimist, brought up on the belief that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after.”

Cat Stevens

The Ultimate Ball Fetching Champion of the Universe.

Welcome back to Bilbo’s Dog Blog.

Since I last blogged, I’ve finally been crowned: The Ultimate Ball Chasing Champion of the Universe!

Quite an apt title really, even if I did kind of award it to myself. That said, I did get quite a bit of assistance from Lady. She’s great with publicity, being  one of those extroverted types always trying to jump inside someone else’s skin. Frankly, I’m more than content inside my own. It usually even takes me awhile for me to warm up to a pat from visiting friends…even when they’re coming to feed me.

Yes, I know you probably wrote me off as yet another one-post wonder… like so many other dogs. However, being an entrepreneurial dog in my own understated, Border Collie way, I decided to give this blogging thing a bit of a whirl. Unlike others of my species, I can see the benefits of extending my sphere of influence far beyond the local telegraph pole and onto the world wide web and beyond. After all, dogs have been in space before so I’m not going to let some small world, backyard outlook stop me from spreading my paws and paw prints.

Indeed, I can just imagine looking up at the moon from my kennel on a dark cloudless night and seeing my paw print up there… How amazing! What’s more, it won’t get washed away like down at the beach. My paw print will be there for eternity. That’s forever and ever and ever!!

Laika the first dog in space. While in some ways a hero, she was killed in the name of science, which we obviously don't condone.

Laika the first dog in space. While in many ways my hero, she was killed in the name of science. As I’ve said before, humans need to pay more attention to the Golden Rule.

Hmm…The moon is an intriguing kind of place. Perhaps, one day dogs will even live up there but we’ll certainly look funny wearing one of those space suits with a goldfish bowl over our heads but I don’t know how we’ll ever manage to eat let alone chase a ball.

Anyway, I know you probably thought I was showing off  in my last post. Even though I am a good dog, this bravado was definitely out of character. Being a typically mild-mannered and understated character who doesn’t go jumping all over complete strangers or whacking other dogs in the face with their over-exuberant joy, I usually don’t advertise.

I also have to be a bit careful about what I share online. Sadly, way too many dogs and humans lump “good” in the same category as “nice”. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. However, as strange as it might seem, being “nice” is somehow a bad thing attracting many  haters. Unfortunately, this can become quite a problem and even a threat to your life.

Even though I’m a highly intelligent dog whose abilities have been honed through countless generations of highly selective breeding, this aversion to niceness remains another one of life’s unsolvable mysteries. So, if you can work that one out, I’d really appreciate an explanation!! After all, aren’t being “good” or even”nice”  meant to be virtues? Wise and noble character traits that should be at the top of everybody’s shopping list along with the dog food? (Mind you, even dog food seems to slip off their shopping list at times!!)

Apparently not!

Anyway, I’ve already told you that I’m good at being good but that’s not my only strength.

I’m also particularly good at being persistent. Mum doesn’t know that I can read but when I was just a wee little pup, I read this on her fridge:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge
30th president of US (1872 – 1933)  

Being a Border Collie, persistence is in my blood. After all, how do you think generations of my kind have been rounding up all those silly sheep?

Since I don’t exactly have access to any sheep in the city and rounding up the kids is even beyond my genius and skill, I’ve applied all that generational expertise and breeding to the fine art of rounding up my tennis ball. Indeed, I’ve become something of a ball herding champion. Indeed, Lady suggested I should call myself: Bilbo the Ultimate Ball Fetching Champion of the Universe. As much as I am adverse to too much publicity and like to keep a low profile, I reluctantly agreed.

My dedication and persistence is so intense that the humans always wear out long before me. They have no stamina whatsoever. Indeed, I usually have to wait for some unsuspecting visitor who doesn’t have their own dog to turn up. They’re usually most obliging. At least, for awhile!

I might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound to catch my ball but I do have some very impressive manoevres. That is, despite getting on in years and acquiring these rather generous love-handles. My increasing girth has complicated things a little.

While my career prospects were certainly looking very good for awhile there, even The Ultimate Ball Chasing Champion of the Universe has some limitations. While I can leap in the air with great agility all things considered, I hate getting my paws wet. Indeed, for a long while, I simply refused. No negotiations or even  a “go see my agent”!!

Quite a few times now while I’ve been training over at Palm Beach, my beloved tennis ball has fallen in the water.

Bilbo watching his ball drift out to sea.

Bilbo watching his ball drift out to sea.

The first time it happened, my entire body went into shock and all four paws were frozen to the spot. Only my eyes were moving, doggedly fixated on my ball as it rapidly went South with the rising tide. If you have ever witnessed a true ball chasing champion, you will appreciate my distress…such angst! Oh my goodness! It was almost like watching my dinner drift out to sea.

Almost mocking my terror, the family calls out: “Where’s your ball, Bilbo? Go and get your ball!”

While I’m combusting with horror, Mum has no sympathy at all. Instead, she’s doing her usual paparazzi thing and  glaring at my distress through the camera lens.

“This will make Funniest Home Videos for sure!” She calls out.

Nobody, not one member of the family, was trying to help me. They were just making fun of me as my heart was tearing in two. Did I actually love my beloved tennis ball enough to wet my paws and swim out to save it? Did it mean that much to me? Sure, they  knew my commitment and perseverance bordered on obsession but would it be enough to push me over the edge of my fear?

The agony crescendos.

The agony crescendos.

The kids just laughed and my heart sank. They could have easily jumped into the water and come to my rescue or even pulled it out with their precious fishing net. At least then, they would have caught something more than stupid seaweed. Something precious and as much as they keep saying they love me, this would have been the proof. A dog needs more than a pat, you know.

It was at this point, I decided the family needed to learn a thing or two about that Golden Rule they keep talking about. They needed to learn how to turn those precious words into action.

Treating  others as you would like to be treated, definitely meant getting my ball. No doubt about it.

I was an emotional wreck. My precious tennis ball heading out to sea and my family…my precious, beloved family, laughing in the face of my misfortune…and even taking photos, film and selling it off to a TV show and all. I was disgusted.

Like so many other rules, it seemed that The Golden Rule only applied to others and not to themselves!!

Anyway, they finally got with the program and fished my ball out with the broom.

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

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

At least, they rescued it that time.

However, they now know my Achilles heel and they seem to take great delight in throwing my ball in the water…especially when my persistence is right at it’s peak and they know me well enough by now and that I’m not going to jump in after it. I don’t need to. Eventually, once all that water goes away, my ball is usually waiting for me on the sand. At least, my beloved ball has some concept of loyalty!!

As I’m sure you can appreciate, it’s not easy being The Ultimate Ball Fetching Champion of the Universe but it could always be worse.

I could have been a cat.

xx Bilbo

PS All this ball chasing can make a dog rather hungry. So, anybody wanting to support a future champion, can please send bones through to this blog. I’m not too sure how you convert them from images into something I can eat yet but as I mentioned before, I can be extremely persistent. You just ask my Mum!!

Note from Mum: Today, Bilbo’s powers of persistence even proved too much for his ever-faithful tennis ball. Unfortunately after yet another misguided throw, it ended up in the water and actually sank. Turns out excessive love and persistence had eternally punctured it’s soul.

 

 

 

 

Greetings from Good Dog.

This is Bilbo.

Recently, you heard from my offsider, Lady, when she snuck onto Mum’s blog. Now, it’s my turn.

Well, I’m the other dog around here…the good dog.

Indeed, I used to be the only dog until my solitude was rudely interrupted by the arrival of that young scallywag, Lady. She certainly knows how to turn an old dog’s world upside down and inside out but I’ve finally come out on top and put that little royal whippersnapper in her place… right at the very bottom of the pecking order!

I know you think the dog protests too much. Somehow, friendship seems to grow on you when you've been thrown in the same backyard. You can somehow get used to having another dog around. Indeed, after all this time, I might even like the Lady.

I know you think the dog protests too much. Somehow, friendship seems to grow on you when you’ve been thrown in the same backyard. You can somehow get used to having another dog around. Indeed, after all this time, I might even like the Lady.

Sure, I’ve made a few mistakes in my time but I’ve never had the audacity to actually jump on top of the family’s dinner table and eat their dinner. As we all know, it doesn’t pay to bite the hand that feeds you and eating their dinner is a one way trip “outside!!!”

Or, when you’re the new dog on the block and they’re still getting to know you, it can be a way one trip to that place of no return at the top of the hill. I’ve heard rumours about that place, although I’ve never been there myself. Of course, I haven’t been there. I’m a good dog.

I used to be an even better dog. However, what with the kids and the new dog leading me into all sorts of temptation, I’m not quite as good as I used to be.

Indeed, last week the kids let me out just as the postman was going past on that evil two-wheeled contraption of his. Normally, being the good dog that I am, I would have just laid perfectly still at the open front door with my front paws curling ever so slightly over the front step. I don’t move an inch and make no effort whatsoever to join in with the kids’.

Oh no! I’m renowned for my impeccable obedience. Mum and Dad are so proud of me! They even tell the kids they should be better behaved… just like the dog!

That makes me ever so happy! I’m the happiest dog around.

Oh what a good boy!

Oh what a good boy!

That said, my reputation isn’t without its stains. After all, nobody’s perfect.

You see, I can get a bit grumpy with visitors. However, I prefer to see it as being “protective”. After all, who is that person who keeps picking the kids up in the morning? Can she really be trusted? I know they reappear in the afternoon but really?!!

I’ve already warned you about the postman. They might think he’s bringing them all those precious eBay purchases but you can’t be too sure. This is my family we’re talking about and I’ll defend them to the death. I just need to be a bit more careful. Although I’m the first one to recommend barking ferociously at the postman, I’ve heard biting the posty is a capital offense. That it will be: “all over Red Rover.”

When you’ve been a good dog all your life, you really don’t want to your end to come on death row. So as much as I might want to keep that posty away, I’m not about to thrown my life away through some impetuous response. Next time, I’ll start my deep breathing exercises and slowly count to ten before I lunge off my front step.

If you don't want your sun to set before your time, you need to watch out for foolish behaviour.

If you don’t want your sun to set before your time, you need to watch out for foolish behaviour.

Anyway, although I have another story up my sleeve, it’s time for me to go. Lady told me to keep it short. Anyway, now that I’ve finally worked out how to use this weird computer thingy which always sits on Mum’s lap instead of me these days, I’ll be churning out the stories.

In other words, I’ll be back!

So it’s love and paw prints to you all until next time (That is, unless you’re the Posty, someone who rides bicycles or drives our kids to school),

Bilbo xxoo

My Dog Post: Lady at Palm Beach, Sydney.

Welcome to Summer in Palm Beach, Sydney on Australia’s East Coast.

Of course, this means that if you’re visiting us from frozen lands across the globe, you’ll need to turn up the heat…a lot!! It’s incredibly hot here and we’re all fighting for a bit of shade. Indeed, a little bit of snow and ice would be most welcome over here!!

Lady...A picture of innocence.

I’m such a picture of innocence.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Lady. Perhaps, you’ve met me before on Mum’s blog. If not, you can meet me here: Introducing Lady  https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/introducing-lady-our-new-dog/

and Portrait of a Lady: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/portrait-of-a-lady/

Perhaps, I shouldn’t have brought these damaging posts back up. Some things are best left buried in the past and never dug up. However, the photos are good and as for the words….I assure you, it’s all lies. Mum has an overactive imagination and a real gift for hyperbole. That might be good for her writing but it hasn’t helped my reputation.

You see, after all of her tales, I’ve actually acquired something of a reputation for being:”wild”, “mischievous” and an all-round “bad dog”. I wasn’t impressed at this complete lack of respect. After all, I was just a dog being a dog….nothing more, nothing less. Now, other mums and dads pull their dogs away whenever they try to say hello. I’ve been deemed a “bad influence”.

After all of that dreadful publicity, I seriously considered suing Mum and terminating her blog. However, if there’s one thing you soon learn as a pup, it’s not to bite the hand that feeds you…especially when bacon fat, BBQ chook and juicy bones are at stake. It’s all part of a dog’s modus operandi to encourage good relations with the family cook..even if that does involve suffering a few indignities on the  world wide web.

Anyway, Mum and Dad are serious disciplinarians. So instead of clearing the road of dead rabbits, I’m on a strict diet of tennis balls. These might thrill Bilbo and turn the usually comatose  mutt into some  sort of Olympic champion, but personally I still can’t see the point. Tennis balls taste nothing like rabbit! Yuck!

So here I am writing my first post on Mum’s blog. Once again, she’s off having a nap and I’m getting up to mischief… business as usual. I thought it was about time I had my turn and shared a few thoughts of my own.

You’ll have to forgive my elementary efforts at applying my paws to this a#@*#  keyboard. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way…thank goodness for spell check. Now, even a computer-illiterate, uneducated scruffy mutt like me can connect with the world. Amazing!!

That said, I’m much more adept at leaving messages on posts of a different sort and I can assure you, that they’ve attracted quite a lot of traffic. After all, I’m a very popular dog. At least, I was before Mum spoke. Although I only attract local traffic and 62 nationalities visited Mum’s blog last year, my stats blow hers right out of the water. I mean, if you want to talk about views, visitors, likes and followers, I’m the undisputed Queen. You might think that as a Lady, I might be getting ahead of myself but I beg to disagree. I’m hot and once I clear up all of Mum’s tattletales, I’ll be back to my old form.

Unfortunately, Mum doesn’t always appreciate my popularity. She’s always in such a rush and just wants to keep walking. Raves on about me lowering her heart-rate. That it’s all my fault that she’s put on weight. She even threatens to leave me at home.

But I’m simply a dog being a dog. That’s all. I can’t help it if  I’ve had an enthusiastic response on my posts. Of course, all these messages are terribly exciting for a dog. It’s the canine equivalent to “you’ve got mail!!” Being a deeply caring sort of dog and a good communicator, I just can’t give a stock standard reply to all my messages the way humans do. Oh no! Each and every message deserves a personal response and I must admit that I get quite thirsty after all that hard work.

However, while Mum doesn’t like waiting for me, the same rules don’t apply to her. When she’s chatting, she forgets all about her heart rate and has no consideration for getting me back home in time for my morning rave at the postman. Oh no! She only stops when she’s ready to stop. If I so much as nudge on the lead, then I’m a “bad dog”. Where’s the fairness in that?I know she writes all about egalitarianism and the golden rule but does she put any of that talk into action? Not on your life. I wouldn’t believe a word of her precious philosophical theories. Besides, she gets most of her material from me and the rest of the family.She doesn’t make it up.

Soon we’ll all be seeking royalties!

Need shade. Lady and Bilbo sheltering from the boiling summer sun.

Bilbo and I sheltering from the boiling summer sun in the shade of the boat house. We’re dreaming of a kennel conversion. .

Anyway, aside from trying to rebuild my shattered reputation, I’ve also jumped online to tell you that we’re on holidays at Palm Beach for a few days. I’m told that Palm Beach is where they film the hit TV drama series, Home & Away, except we’re on the Pittwater side, which is better for sailing than surfing.

I’ve been hard at work since we arrived investigating one of life’s perplexing mysteries.

High Tide, Piitwater, Palm Beach on the way out to go sailing.

High Tide, Piitwater, Palm Beach on the way out to go sailing.

For some strange reason, the water in our backyard keeps coming and going. One minute there’s water and slowly but surely it disappears and this whole new world opens up. I’m not talking about your ordinary puddle, which might just evaporate in the sun. This is a huge body of water….so much bigger than a puddle. Nothing, could drink up all that water. Moreover, that doesn’t explain how the water comes back…even when you factor in the waterworks  Humph! I just don’t get it. Where does it all go? How does it come back? Moreover, what are those scuttling critters who tried to bite me on the nose when I dared to investigate?

DSC_5229

I was watching these critters this morning at low tide.

 

There are so many mysteries in this world for a little dog. My head hurts!

While we’re on the subject of mysteries, what happened to all the rabbits? I found one and as we all know, there’s no such thing as just one rabbit. Rabbits breed like rabbits. There has to be more but even I, the master rabbit hunter of the mighty Tenterfield Ranges,  hasn’t been able to sniff them out.

Humph! As I said, life is full of many, many mysteries!

Love & Doggies Kisses,

Lady