Tag Archives: dog training

Chocolate Brownie with a Stick on the Side.

It’s been awhile since I’ve dobbed in a dog on Beyond the Flow. However, when I found one of Rosie’s sticks parked on the plate  right next to my chocolate brownie, duty called. All of a sudden the quirkiness of living with dogs was flashing like neon lights and I couldn’t keep my amusement to myself. I had to share it with you.

Above: Zac top left, Lady bottom right and Rosie has the red collar and spots.

Just to recap on the dogs in our family…We have Lady, a 6 year old Border Collie x Cavalier who is more Cavalier in temperament. Left to her own devices, she’d love to eat and sleep all day and chase the occasional moving critter. She totally ignores balls and sticks and refuses to chase inanimate objects. Last year, after Bilbo our beloved Border Collie passed away, we fostered two Border Collie x Kelpie pups from the same litter…Zac and Rosie. They’re now about one year old. Zac and Rosie are like twins and it’s not uncommon for each of them to grab an end of the stick and play tug-of-war with each other. Lady has absolutely no interest in chasing sticks or balls, which was a big reason we adopted the pups. We were used to a crazed, ball-obsessed dog and as much as he drove us crazy, we couldn’t live without this harassment. We needed that constant pestering.

That might explain how I’ve allowed myself to get manipulated and dare I say trained into perpetually throwing the stick , or even the teeniest splintered fragments to Rosie. I’ve also found myself feeling rather fed up, and it’s a natural instinct to throw something away when it’s annoying you. However, you don’t need to be a human or dog psychologist to know that this is only reinforcing the very behavior I’m trying to curb.  Clearly, I’m being out-manipulated by a dog. Or, you could say that I’m  very well trained.

Being a true blue desperado, Rosie keeps depositing these bits of stick right in front of whatever I’m watching. Quite often, she’ll hover over my laptop and delicately remove the smallest fragment of stick out of her mouth with surgical precision and place it on the keyboard. This might even be accompanied by a gentle nudge with her paw as a polite but rather insistent reminder.  “Come on, human. Get moving!” Or, as one of my teacher’s used to say back in primary school in around 1978: “Wake up, Australia!” (I wonder if this was because Australia was generally seen to be asleep???!!)

IMG_1827

I’m not sure why I found it particularly funny that Rosie had deposited a stick on the plate next to my brownie. There are random stray bits of stick scattered all around me and I’ve even had a stick or two go down my top. That was rather disturbing and quite an invasion of privacy. So, having bits of stick turn up in unexpected places is nothing new around here. However, it did look particularly striking on the plate and like it had been dished up…Chocolate Brownie Served with Fragment of stick. Humph…I can see it appearing on the menu at Heston Blumenthal’s  The Fat Duck in However, the very near future. The must have dish!

However, perhaps it’s what happened next which really caught my attention. Rosie goes over to my plate and unlike your average dog who would’ve helped themselves to the brownie if they’d had the chance, Rosie picks up the stick and brings it closer. Drops it on my lap. I don’t know about you, but if I had the choice between a brownie and a stick, it’d be a no brainer. Just in case you’ve been infected by a similar madness, let me just confirm. I’d take the brownie.

Rosie! Rosie! Rosie! Hasn’t anyone told you that you’re just a tad too obsessed? Trust me! We’ve tried. We even get her up on our laps, massage and pat her and try to get her to relax. It occasionally works. However, most of the time she’s looking trapped and is squirming to escape.

Clearly, she’s taking the whole working dog thing too seriously, and needs to learn about holidays.

Has your dog been up to anything “interesting” lately? Feel free to dob in your dog in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Dog Training 101: Don’t Cross Over The Rainbow Bridge.

“When the student is ready the teacher appears.”

– Buddha.

In hindsight, there’s one thing I really should’ve taught my dogs. While “sit”, “stay” and doing your business outside are important, perhaps this one command could really save their lives:

“Don’t Cross Over the Rainbow Bridge. Never. Not ever. Got it?!!! Stay here. Good dog!”

While I know that it might be a little late to start teaching Bilbo new tricks in his old age, given his current health crisis, I’m doing some fast talking and have even resorted to flash cards.

happy rainbow

Don’t Cross Over the Rainbow Bridge.

I’m hoping it works. Bilbo is an incredibly obedient dog. Our side gate or front door have been left open in the past. However, did Bilbo take off? Escape? Surprisingly not, not even when his untrustworthy canine companion, Lady, was long gone. That’s right. He was still there with his paws out in front staying put and being a good dog.

So, Bilbo would be a prime candidate for testing this theory.

What do you think? Am I onto something here? Do you think Bilbo could resist the alluring appeal of the Rainbow Bridge? Perhaps, would you like to join me and give it a go with your dog as well? 

Humph. It was much easier to believe I was in there with a chance, when I was just mulling it over on my own. However, you did have to remind me of a few unfortunate, biological realities. That, in what seems like complete madness, dogs and humans live side-by-side and yet the hands of their clock spin round seven times faster than our own. Poignantly, I just have to look at our 11 year old daughter and our Bilbo, our 11 year old dog. While Miss is about 6 months older than Bilbo and was crawling when he arrived as a pup, she is still a child and he’s become elderly…an old man.  That contrast really puts things in perspective.

Bilbo + Amelia

Bilbo and Miss almost 11 years ago.

Moreover, there’s another spanner in the works. Despite his strong willpower, if there’s a pot of fresh mince at the end of that rainbow, Bilbo would be over that bridge in a flash. Even with his reduced appetite, he can still polish off a pack of fresh mince and he could never resist that.

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”

– Sir Walter Scott

So, it appears I’m back to the drawing board. Or, as it turns out, Bilbo is back to the vet tomorrow for a follow-up appointment and a scan of his spleen. AND…on the off chance he can’t pull a magic pill out of his hat, we prayed for Bilbo at Church tonight. I know there are more important matters a foot in our world at the moment, but I make no apologies for loving our Bilbo to the moon and back. He has loved us absolutely and without qualification. He has been there for us in such a ubiquitous way often sleeping in between the lines of everything that’s gone on around here in the last 11 years, yet possessing an empathy and understanding which defies logic. He’s also brought us so much joy…even if it’s just running our fingers through his coat or patting his ears while he sleeps.

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.”

– Erica Jong

Perhaps, you would like to share some of your dog stories or introduce the special dog(s) in your life.

xx Rowena

In case you haven’t heard of the rainbow bridge, here’s the poem:

The Rainbow Bridge

“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….”

Author unknown…

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

Best In Show & A Right Royal Mutt.

Not unsurprisingly, while we were at the Royal Sydney Easter Show yesterday, we ended up at the dog pavilion. Indeed, it would have been our first port of call but you know how it  is. You have to be practical when it comes to getting around a huge event. We start at the front and work our way around.

So, you could say: “we were on our way.”

As luck would have it, our trip to the show just happened to coincide with the judging of the Best In Show. This meant there was a huge range of Best of Breed to check out and I even finally managed to see a Lassie Dog at the show.

Lassie dog.JPG

It’s Lassie!  Photo Rowena Newton.

I’d had a Lassie Dog as a child and when we never saw one at the show, there was always that disappointment. So, now that I’m 40 something, we finally saw one. It was such a long time to wait but I was just as thrilled. Of course, I had to tell the owners how we’d had a Lassie dog. His father had actually been an Easter Show Champion too and I couldn’t help wondering if this dog was somehow related. It doesn’t matter how long ago you lost your beloved dog, there’s still that love and also that grief!

Of course, I wasn’t the only one who loved Lassie. Lassie was very popular.

Old English

Old English Sheepdog…even the show variety struggles to stay clean!

As was the Old English Sheepdog.

white fluffy dog

Face In White Fur. Photo Rowena Newton.

And this fluffy white dog who was something like a fluffy white cloud being blown around by the cooling fan. It was quite a hot day.

pony dog.JPG

We nicknamed his Chinese Crested dog: “My Little Pony”. It was Runner Up to Best in Show.

dogs

Bilbo & Lady just oozing with show potential. Just don’t look too close!

Not unsurprisingly, getting caught up in all the hoopla of The Show, our daughter announced that she wants our Lady to become a show dog and to bring her to the Easter Show next year. This is Lady of mixed parenting, scruffy paws, fur balls behind the ears and a total disregard for authority. Being a pure bred Border Collie, Bilbo stands more of a chance but he’d no doubt have to entire a Veteran’s category. However, I wouldn’t even get the chance to ask Bilbo if he wants to compete. He doesn’t take kindly to brushes and blow drying. Let’s just say he gets “cranky”. That’s him scratched off the list as well.

Moreover, a glance through the rules did make mention of being “entire” and if that’s the case, both of our dogs are out. They’re both missing “bits”.

So as much as I hate to break a little girl’s dreams, our dogs have… other talents!

Don’t we all?!!

DSC_0722

Only fleas with mountain climbing equipment need apply! Photo Rowena Newton.

Mind you, some of us just have it all.Such as the character pictured above.

This brings me to the Best In Show, Nathaniel the Lhasa apso, who probably should’ve been at the top of the list but since he’s been on the news and in the paper, it’s also great to give the other dogs their moment in the spotlight. We didn’t actually get a chance to meet Nathaniel. Being the undisputed star of the show, he was swamped with attention…especially from the hairbrush.

DSC_0673

Photo Rowena Newton.

I wonder if Nathanial is a slob at heart or if he really enjoys have every follicle in place? He certainly didn’t try to bite or escape while being brushed like a certain other canine who will remain nameless.  He just lay down thinking of lamb chops. Indeed, if he’d gone for a bit of a wander, he could’ve caught his own.

DSC_0677

Monsieur Brushed-A-Lot …5 hours of brushing before a show! This was his last show. He’s retiring. Going out while he’s at the very top!

We’d already been to see a working dog in action. Learning how to “use his brain” to round up the sheep. No wonder we get rounded up when ever Bilbo decides it’s dinner time. We are his flock.

DSC_0746

A Border Collie sniffing or a canine cow grazing?

We also found what could be a Canine Cow.

Others just needed a rest:

DSC_0701.JPG

DSC_0702.JPG

 

There were also dogs who needed a little R & R and just to be left alone:

DSC_0727.JPG

As you could imagine, we had such a great time meeting the dogs. After all, if one dog can make you happy, just imagine how we felt after meeting all of these luvlies!

You’d never ever pick that I was terrified of dogs as a kid, would you?!!

xx Rowena

lady zoom sunset

Paws At Pittwater: Lady says that while she wasn’t Best in Show, she’s a blogfamous Supermodel.Apparently, her cheque is in the mail! Photo: Rowena Newton.

Found…Lost Dog.

You know how much I love our precious Lady, a 2 year old Border Collie x Cavalier King Charles Spaniel what with her effervescent wagging tail which speeds up as you approach and her warm, loving, affectionate nature…

However, without being a dibber-dobber, she has quite a capacity for mischief and her sin sheet is long and extensive. In Australia’s past, humans have been transported for lesser crimes or even hanged.

Anyway, Lady’s latest crime wasn’t so much that she got lost, although that she did. It was more a matter of how and where she got lost and what that little black dog was up to, which caused her to get picked up off a busy road before being unceremoniously squashed by the L90 bus, which travels a long and arduous route from Palm Beach to the city.

It was this skulduggery which had her picked up off the road and “transported” to the local vet’s. “Transported” was the word used when sending convicts to our shores and in the case of Lady, who really did deserve to have a mug shot taken, she truly was transported. She was being a very, very bad dog!!

You see, if you have been following Lady’s adventures, you might recall that she found a recently “deaded” rabbit on the road near a park on the Palm Beach foreshore a few months ago. She took off from me and shot off to the beach where she efficiently skinned it and had an instant meal. Lady came from a farm in rural Tenterfield and I had been warned that she liked to hunt. However, being a city girl, I’d never had a dog who could help themselves in such a fashion before. All my other dogs were just happy with their kibble and the occasional butcher’s bone and could only bark at any furry or feathered critters.

Lady must be quite partial to a bit of rabbit because every time we walked near the park she’s take off near the road and I was naturally terrified….especially her being a black dog on a black road. Black on black doesn’t make for good visibility!! Lady was back on the lead.

Being awhile since we’ve been over, I’d naively thought that Lady would have forgotten about the rabbit by now. She’s a lovely dog but she’s no Einstein and she certainly doesn’t seem to remember her name when you call her or other “commands”. You could say that she’s very “laissez-faire”.

Lady out walking in the clouds at Palm Beach, yesterday.

Lady out walking in the clouds at Palm Beach, yesterday.

Anyway, I was walking past the park which backs on the road and is just down from where she’d found the rabbit when I saw Bilbo walking out of the park but Lady wasn’t in sight. Suspecting she was off rabbit hunting again and her chances of surviving on the road were slim, I raced up in hot pursuit. Well, as fast as I could, which is, as you’d expect, is well below the speed limit!! The traffic up ahead had stopped and that did concern me. Had she been hit? What was going on? But I hadn’t heard anything and I would have heard a yelp, a screech. I scanned up and down beside the road for a ball of fur but saw nothing. Lady had simply vanished. I even asked Bilbo where she was but he wasn’t helpful at all and looked flummoxed, which was odd. We walked further down the beach but there were no paw prints and another dogwalker hadn’t seen her either.

By this stage, I was really starting to worry. I’ve lost her down here for a few minutes before but she’s soon reappeared usually running furiously to compensate for some deviation she’d found.

I scanned the beach, the water, the road and found no sign of her, which really wasn’t making any sense. How could the dog simply vanish almost right in front my nose? The dogs can sometimes walk a few metres ahead but they generally don’t wander and Bilbo certainly stays close. This unfolding nightmare was just like a scene out of CSI, where the parent turns away for just a second and then their child was gone. Kidnapped in one of those plain white vans.

I called and called and called her name and no little black dog appeared.

Where was she? What had happened to her or had she simply made her own way home?  I was starting to get frantic!! After all, I love my little black dog!

But she wasn’t at home either and when I told Miss I’d lost Lady on our walk, she wasn’t impressed. “You were supposed to look after her,” she said.

Lady had vanished without a trace from right in front of me and I really had no idea what to do. How could I lose the dog? Miss told me off and said I was supposed to do looking after Lady. She was right. I wasn’t happy when the two kids had ridden off on their bikes once and Mister arrived home saying he’d lost his sister. At the time, I couldn’t understand how he could lose his sister when they were riding together like that but now the same thing had happened to me and I’d lost the dog. Now, I could sort of understand that these mysteries were possible even if I didn’t know how.

I’d barely been in the house five minutes when my phone rang and it was the Avalon Vet. Lady was safe and hadn’t been injured. The prodigal dog had been found on the road, rescued and taken to the vets.

Perhaps, the driver could’ve checked if she was alone before they put her in the car and drove away. I was only metres away from her and as I said, I saw the bus and some kind of delay on the road. I also called Lady over and over and over again they could have heard me. That said, it’s a narrow, busy road where the traffic is awkward. Morevover, there probably wasn’t anywhere to stop.

As much as I value persistence, Lady discovered that persistence also has it’s drawbacks and we also need to know when it’s time to stop and apply the brakes.

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

I’m bending the rules a little but this is a second ‘F’ post for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. After the morning I’d had with the kids, I also wrote about Fractured Fairytales.

Do you have any lost dog stories to share? I’d love to hear them!

xx Rowena

PS: I just remembered that while we were at the vet’s Miss saw a sign advertising Puppy School and she said that’s where Lady needed to go. When we were talking about how F was my letter for today’s challenge, she said: “F for Fail”, referring to Lady failing Puppy School. It looks like Lady will be getting an education when we get home!!

Just A Poor Misunderstood Puppy Dog!

Dibber Dobber! Dibber Dobber!

Humph…I don’t think Lady is happy with me about broadcasting her recent antics on my blog. It’s not that she’s ashamed in any way about either the rabbit incident or the subsequent dead fish incident. In fact, if anything, she’s beaming with pride. She knows how to hunt and who knows, she might even have been giving Bilbo and I a few lessons. Wasn’t impressed with our ignorance!

However, being a city slicker, I haven’t shared her enthusiasm. You could say what happens on the farm, stays on the farm and as far as I’m concerned, that includes hunting…especially when we’re at Palm Beach. To say it isn’t the done thing, is the understatement of the century.   All the other local dogs have at least absorbed the Ultimate Palm Beach Etiquette Book for Pups, even if they haven’t read it themselves.

Meanwhile, Lady is looking mortally wounded…a poor, misunderstood and even unappreciated puppy dog. Just because I don’t appreciate her hunting prowess. She says that if you want to catch a rabbit you can’t go out there smelling like a dog. Oh no! A rabbit would know the scent of a dog and exit stage left but even the smartest of all rabbits would never, ever suspect a fish!

Well, she got that right. If you were a rabbit nonchalantly nibbling grass in the park, you’d never expect you’d be eaten by a fish…not in a million years!

However, Lady is obviously confused about her job description. Of course, her primary responsibility is being our pet. Sure, we never elaborated on what it meant to be a pet. While a bit of hunting is acceptable, it is not her primary role and certainly isn’t to become her raison d’être… especially when it involves rolling in dead animal carcasses prior to a long, long car drive home.

Well, perhaps Lady did pick up some kind of message because early for us on Monday morning (it was the long weekend), we heard the loud metallic bang of the front door knocker. Geoff and I were a bit mystified as we weren’t expecting anybody and I guess the neighbours must have been thinking much the same thing when Lady climbed up onto a table and jumped over the fence and suddenly appeared at their place. She is after all an exceptionally friendly dog and rather than simply talking over the fence, she decided to get up close and personal.

Just then, as I’m writing this I just heard a plate crash in the kitchen. A leftover piece of chicken schnitzel…well, it wasn’t eaten. Apparently the crash of the plate scared her but obviously we’re going to need to Lady proof the house. She’s two years old but evidently still a pup. I am now reading Marley & Me. Marley has a reputation as being the world’s naughtiest dog. I wouldn’t describe Lady as naughty, more opportunistic. It’s now becoming my job to pre-empt these opportunities and get a step ahead. It’s never worked with the kids but Bilbo our original dog is exceptionally well-behaved. He makes me look like the perfect parent. That is, when he isn’t frothing at the mouth barking at my friend who drives the kids to school a few days a week. No dog is perfect!

That’s right. Even Bilbo has his Achilles heel and that’s his insatiable appetite. Just call him: “Beggar Boy”!

So much love!

So much love!

Out of a sense of fairness, I should also report that when Bilbo was a pup, I was admitted to hospital for 7 weeks and needless to say, he wasn’t happy. Back then, he still had access under the house, even though he was digging his way to China all around the foundations. Being a pup chewing things goes with the territory but what we hadn’t expected was that Bilbo would chew through the Internet and computer networking cables under the house. Now you could say that this was a humble mistake and he was simply doing what all pups do but I can’t help thinking it was a cry for help…or an act of revenge. Geoff had been working through my hospital stint while my parents had the kids and he was doing a grand tour most nights visiting the kids, me and then going home to look after the dog. The last thing he needed to deal with was a rebellious dog and having to rebuild the network. While fixing it all, he came across an electric cable which had a few tooth marks through it. It’s quite probable that Bilbo felt a bit of a light zap and was lucky not to get an express trip to puppy dog heaven. He was spared.

So not even Saint Bilbo is so perfect, after all.

Do you have any funny dog stories? Naughty Tales? I’d love to hear them.

xx Rowena

New Dog’s Eve

Tomorrow morning, the kids and I are piling in the car and driving a few hours North to pick up our new dog, Lady. Lady is a 2 year old Border Collie cross Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which in the tradition of Spoodles, Cavoodles and two-minute noodles, makes her a Borderlier. Now, that she’s got a fancy breed, she’s ready to strut her stuff with all the other “posh dogs” (as my daughter calls them), at the beach. Moreover, she can tell them tales of growing up on a farm and what its like to grow up in your own dog family. She will be leaving her mum, Dad and older brother behind. Her current owner is selling up the farm and moving on.

We are really looking forward to bringing Lady home and having her as part of our family. I’ve got a feeling that as a two year old, she’s going to liven things up a bit. Bilbo our 8 year old Border Collie has slowed down a lot over the last couple of years and at 56 dog years is on the other side of middle age. We’re hoping Lady will liven Bilbo up a bit but I’m not sure what he’ll think about the whole thing. He’s used to being an only dog.

That’s right. Nobody asked Bilbo whether he wanted “a friend”.

Personally, I think he’s doing very well. There is on the other side of middle age getting a much younger woman and he hasn’t even had to sign up for RSVP or any other form of online or I guess in the world of dogs telegraph pole dating in order to hook up. For him, Lady is like a home delivery pizza. She’s just turning up on his doorstep without any spade work whatsoever. Lucky dog!! I have a few friends who would be more than happy with that kind of service.

But Bilbo is no ordinary dog. Or perhaps he is after all. Dogs are quite territorial and Border Collies can be a fairly shy, introverted breed but he’s fiercely loyal and this is where things could get tricky with Lady. Is he going to welcome her as part of our pack or is she going to be classified “an intruder”? He seems to like some dogs but likes his space, which is quite typical of Border Collies apparently. They’re not so keen on dogs who are forward. At least, he’s certainly not.

Yet, as much as they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Bilbo has certainly ventured out in the last couple of years.  He’s been sailing, out on the kayak and he’s even started mixing with other dogs at the beach even if he still turns into a ferocious barker whenever my friend turns up to take the kids to school.

As an 8 year old dog, Bilbo is 56 years old. Of course, this doesn’t exactly make him old but he is certainly on the more mature side of middle-aged. He has what you could describe as love handles and some arthritis but is otherwise in fairly good health.

I guess the big question is: why are we getting another dog?

Our concern with Bilbo getting older and especially considering my own volatile health, is the whole issue of managing the passing of a pet and whether you have a cross-over or whether you wait. Of course, nobody has a crystal ball so it’s hard to know how to get the timing right. Our last two dogs died at around 8 so we felt the timing was about right. Hopefully, we’ll have Bilbo for years to come and he and Lady will get on well and run off into the sunset together although there will be no pups. They’ve both been “fixed”.

There are also a few other reasons that I’m excited about the new dog. As much as I adore Bilbo, he has become rather withdrawn. He usually doesn’t sit with the family much of the time and does seem to be in his own world. I’m not sure whether he’s on guard and I know he certainly loves lying out on the back deck in the sun and really heats up out there. He has started warming up to visitors but it’s been hard work. It really takes him quite awhile to warm up even to regular visitors.

Bilbo is a gorgeous boy but he got quite out of sorts when I had the chemo and is very protective of me in particular…and the kids. I’ve done a bit of research and read that Border Collies can get a bit anxious and on the look out for grizzly bears and that certainly fits his behaviour. He just hasn’t worked out that we don’t have grizzly bears around here…only the neighbourhood cats.

And we’re about to have Lady…!

So now there’s only one more sleep and it’s all happening. It all feels a bit like bringing a new baby home from the hospital except this baby isn’t brand new and should be a lot less work. After all, you can leave a new baby home alone. Not that Lady will be alone. She’ll have Bilbo.

Hmm…I wonder what Bilbo is going to think of his new friend…