Tag Archives: pets

Out of the Goldfish Bowl.

“We have all been hypnotized into thinking that we are smaller than we are. Just as an undersized flowerpot keeps a mighty tree root-bound or a little fishbowl keeps goldfish tiny, we have adapted, adjusted, and accommodated to a Lilliputian life. But place the same tree in an open field or the fish in a lake, and they will grow to hundreds of times their size. Unlike the tree or goldfish, you are not dependent on someone else to move you. You have the power to move yourself. You can step into a broader domain and grow to your full potential.”

Alan Cohen

It’s hard enough to get my kids to smile for the camera. So, I was really stoked when this Japanese carp stared right into the lens, and almost magically, I even managed to capture the ripples in the pond.

Have you ever heard that the size of  goldfish, depends on the size of the environment.

“Most times a person grows up gradually, but I found myself in a hurry… Hoping to find an answer, I uncovered an article about the common goldfish. “Kept in a small bowl, the goldfish will remain small. With more space, the fish will double, triple, or quadruple in size.” It occurred to me then that I was intended for larger things. After all, a giant man can’t have an ordinary-sized life.”

John August

A pinch of food for thought.

xx Rowena

Yum! Mothers’ Day Lunch.

This year, we decided to keep Mothers’ Day simple and have lunch at home. After all, when you have a couple of budding mini chefs in-house, you don’t need to outsource.

On Friday night, we saw a recipe for French Croissant Toast on The Living Room and decided to run with it. Here’s the recipe and the cooks.

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Happy Mothers’ Day…a croissant smile.

The kids had some very enthusiastic helpers in the kitchen.

And even at the table…

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A Lady at the table…Naturally, I didn’t take this photo. It must’ve been Bilbo!

What a yummy lunch…and the day isn’t over yet!

Wishing you all a very Happy Mothers’ Day, whatever that means to you!

xx Rowena

Christmas Cake Dogastrophy

If you look into those irresistible, chocolate brown eyes, you would never suspect that cute as a button dog could be capable of such wickedness.

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The Christmas Cake.

That she could sit there licking her lips seemingly asking for more when she’s all but devoured our homemade Christmas Cake. That’s right. The very same Christmas Cake I made using my mother’s recipe, which has been part of my Christmas every year for at least 45 years or thereabouts (I doubt a 5 month old baby would’ve eaten Christmas Cake, but you never know.)

The world was very different then and so many of our family traditions have disappeared. So, this Christmas Cake is special. Of course, it doesn’t replace the true meaning of Christmas but it was made with love and the dog gutsed all that love all by herself.

Well, fortunately, she didn’t get all the cake. Thanks to my Dad’s rather peculiar aversion to cinnamon, I’d made a tray of mini Christmas Cakes for him, which I’d safely sealed away in a plastic box.So, it looks like Dad will be sharing.

As for Lady, she showed absolutely no remorse and has shot up to the very top of Santa’s Naughty List.

So, there’ll be no pressies for her…except a potentially nasty tummy ache!

Do you have any Christmas disasters to report? After all, as much as we strive towards a perfect Christmas, most of us are only human and we’re left to blame our mistakes on the dog.

xx  Rowena

Death of THE Cat.

Yesterday, I found out that my brother’s cat was bitten by a tick and tragically died.

Well to be perfectly honest, Archie wasn’t exactly my brother’s cat. Archie’s official residence was actually across the road. However, Archie and my brother formed a special connection where the distinctions between human and cat disappeared.

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

Terry Pratchett

Not that Archie was a particularly friendly, smoochy kind of cat. Rather, he  was actually quite timid, reserved and you could even say aloof. Mum and my brother would often pander to his latest food interest and leave him bits of cheese or gourmet ham to tempt him in. However, any loud noises, and he’d disappear into the darkness.

This reminds me that Archie usually turned up after dark. On our visits, the kids used to look out for him scampering down the driveway and there’d be loud whispers that “the cat had arrived”. He was like rock star royalty turning up…a very much loved, cherished and anticipated feline super star. Probably that’s because he wasn’t our cat and he came and went as he pleased. There were no guarantees he was going to turn up, making us ever so happy and grateful to see  him.

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

Robert A. Heinlein

In this regard, you could say he was a typical cat. Indeed, I’m sure that’s what my dogs would say. If you want a loyal friend who’s always thrilled to see you, why would you ever get a cat when you could have a dog?!!

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

Winston Churchill.

The strange thing was that for many years we didn’t know Archie by name and he was simply “the cat”. We didn’t know the neighbours across the road either. I can’t remember quite how they broke the ice but eventually we found out his name was Archie and that their other cat, was dying after eating lillies from a funeral. So, Archie officially moved into my parents’ place, while the other cat slowly passed away.

It was probably during the death of the other cat, that the two families came together and the walls of suburbia started crumbling down. That our shared love of Archie brought us all together. Mum and Archie’s other Mum would chat beyond Archie, developing a special friendship where love extended beyond ownership, fences and modern busyness.

There was never any mention of jealousy or  he’s “my cat” and the neighbours were more than happy to share Archie with us. No one ever accused Archie of infidelity either.

Now, Archie is gone.

There’s a void. Such a void.

While you could say that a cat is just a cat and you could go out to a farm and easily pick up a handful of them, Archie wasn’t any ordinary cat. No pet is. They have their own personality, quirks and habits. They’re a one off.

Initially, I thought my brother should get another cat. It might seem callous, disloyal but it reminds me of a cheeky saying from back in my single, dating days:

“If you can’t have the one you love, then love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn off the light.”

Not good advice, especially when you get dumped all over again.

Moreover, every cat is different and Archie can’t be replaced.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

So, we say farewell to our feline fella.

Goodbye and Good night. Archie, you were one of a kind.

Anyway, I thought Memory from Cats would be a fitting tribute to Archie.

 

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fathers’ Day Coffee Share.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share. It’s Father’s Day here in Australia and we’re heading off on a river cruise with Scouts and then off to see my parents afterwards. So, my apologies. Today, we’re going to drink and run, although I’ll give you some Mars Bar Slice for the road.

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a great one.

I’ve had a fairly quiet week recovering from the excitement and planning of my daughter’s school performance at the Sydney Opera House.

I finished reading Maya Angelou’s Now I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I absolutely loved. I found so much in that book and felt myself melt into her words as if she was sharing her story over a coffee. I’ll be coming back to this book because a paragraph here simply does it justice. At the same time, however, I’ll mention that I’m Australian and I only came across her a few months ago. That almost feels like a crime. This book should be part of everybody’s basic, essential education if we are ever going to break down the barriers between us.

As far as my writing’s been concerned, I’ve written a few posts about living with an elderly dog and thinking about the next dog…how and when to make that decision.

bilbo & Lady friends

Bilbo and Lady.

Quite frankly, I thought we’d crossed that bridge two years ago when we adopted our second dog, Lady. Bilbo wasn’t looking well and he was 8 at the time and I thought we’d timed it pretty well.

Thankfully, and trust me I’m not complaining, Lady’s arrival gave Bilbo a second wind and he lost weight, gained fitness and confidence and now bounds along the beach chasing his ball, almost like a pup. Meanwhile, Lady’s proven that she’s not going to make it as a single dog so we’re back where we started except that we can now add a grieving dog to the mix when Bilbo passes. Not that I’m trying to rush things but the kids start talking about another dog and you know how it is. So, if you’re a dog person, you can catch up on: The Hypothetical Dog

Queens-Corgis

One hypothetical dog we thought warranted a bit of research was the Corgi. We spotted one while we were in Woy Woy the other day (a place made popular by comedian Spike Milligan) and while I see them more as the Queen’s dogs and a dubious choice for a Republican, the rest of the family was pretty keen. So, being my usual writer self, I had to write yet again about another what if in The Corgi Republican.

In addition to writing about dogs this week, I also finally made it back to Carrot Ranch and wrote another flash this week: Returning to Chernobyl.

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Lastly, I wrote about English poet William Blake has influenced me as a poet:William Blake: Birthing of a Poet.

I hope you had a great week and that if you are celebrating Fathers’ Day or finding it difficult, that it is a good day.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click the linky  to read the other posts.

Take care & Best wishes,

Rowena

The Corgi Republican.

Further to the hypothetical dog, we had an encounter with a Corgi last weekend and cries went out for a Corgi. When even Geoff joined in with the throng, I was gobsmacked. After all, Corgi’s are THE Queen’s dog. Not just any ordinary queen either. We’re talking about Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Australia, who just so happens to live on the other side of the world at Buckingham Palace. Nothing wrong with that…unless you’re an Australian Republican!

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After all, the Corgi is no ordinary dog…a dog of the people. Of course, the Queen’s Corgis wouldn’t have an ordinary kennel bought from the local pet shop. No doubt, the entire Palace is their domain. Indeed, these Royal Corgis would have blue blood. Or, maybe its even red, white and blue just like the Union Jack.

Naturally, I am not into such cultural elitism.

Moreover, as much as I might love the Royal Family, I strongly believe it’s time Australia grew up and moved out of home. Stands on its own two feet. After all, we don’t need the Queen to hold our hand crossing the road anymore. We can cross the road all by ourselves.

You could call this an: “Austexit”.

If it’s good enough for the English to leave the EU, why can’t we leave them behind?

So, now I’m left pondering whether it’s okay for a Republican to have a Corgi. Is a Corgi just another breed of dog? Or, if we have a Corgi, are we surreptitiously representing the monarchy? Is owning a Corgi a sign of allegiance?

I don’t know. However, I’m not the first person to question what a dog’s breed represents.

Surprisingly, this is an age-old question.

Daschund

During WWI, the Dachshund’s popularity crashed due to its German origins and popularity with the German Kaiser.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II with his Dachshund.

So, a breed of dog can come to represent something much larger than itself. In this case, I’d be better of getting a more “Australian” dog…some sort of Dingo mix, a Blue Heeler? Personally, I think the Border Collie has also been sufficiently “Austracised”.

Dingo pups

Dingo Pup. 

However, you can take things too far. Although I love Vegemite and Tim Tams, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my cup of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea.

Moreover, now that I’m looking more deeply into the Corgi, I’ve actually started to wonder whether the Queen’s endorsement of the breed, actually reflects positively on the breed instead of being such a negative.

After all, the Queen could have any dog she wants, and she has consistently had Corgis. While her love for the breed has been parodied, there must be some reason for it. Indeed, the Corgi comes with the Royal Seal of Approval.

Moreover, as my husband pointed out, being a big dog on short legs, does have it’s advantages. A Corgi would have trouble jumping up and stealing food (which could also endear it to the Queen. Could you just imagine a dog jumping up on the Royal Dining Table at Buckingham Palace? Obviously, this is why the Queen hasn’t gone for the Border Collie x Cavalier…Hello Lady!!

So, last night I decided to check out Corgis on Gumtree,  an Australian classified’s site. You could say this is the canine equivalent of ordering a Russian mail order bride. All these puppy faces flash up at you and your heart completely melts!

However, this search looks like it’s ended all thoughts of a Corgi. There were no ads for pups. Indeed, there were only ads for people seeking Corgis. We found a breeder elsewhere, and it looked like it would be easier to get a job at Buckingham Palace looking after the royal corgis. This was a serious interview process. No doubt, we’d have to take Bilbo and Lady to the interview and they’d take one look at her Royal Scruffiness, and give us the flick. Lady would no doubt steal the afternoon tea straight off the plate and heaven help us if any rabbits were hopping by: “She ain’t nothing but a farm dog”.

Lady on kayak

Lady…Hardly royal material.

Considering our quest for another dog is semantic at this stage, current availability doesn’t matter anyway.

However, if the kids were trying to encourage me towards Corgis, they set their campaign back this morning.

Our son told me: “If we get a corgi, we have to call it Doge”.

Doge? What kind of name is that?

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Sounds like something straight out of that British comedy Keeping Up Appearances where Mrs Bucket is pronounced: “Mrs Bouquet”. Yes, a rather pretentious rendition of “dog”. Not my scene at all. I’m very down to earth and you can’t get much more down to earth than dog beach. Sand and salt water are a mighty leveler.

Well, if you know anything about memes, you’ll know that Doge was a hit. Went “viral”.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a background check has ended thoughts of a Corgi. The Corgi is considered a high shedder:

“Heavy shedding. Pembroke Welsh Corgis shed a lot. You’ll find hair and fur deposited all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, under your furniture, on your countertops — even in your food. Frequent vacuuming will become a way of life.”http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/pembrokewelshcorgis.html

We’ve had Border Collies and an Old English Sheepdog and our carpet could almost wag its tail and they’re not high shedders. I’ve also read warnings about dogs before, and let that puppy face deceive me. Not again.

So, it looks like the Queen can keep her corgis. That said,  I’m wondering how The Queen gets out the door without Corgi all over her coat?

So, for now, we’ll keep walking past that Corgi in the window and keep feeding our dogs those vitamins.

Any views about corgis? Dog breeds?

xx Rowena

The Hypothetical Pup.

As much as we might love our dogs, the unfortunate truth is that many dog years fit into our human years. So, despite our great love and loyalty, it’s inevitable that our love and affections are going to shift onto another dog.

Moreover, just to compound the betrayal, our affections often shift from our elderly battler onto a gorgeous young pup. Not that I’m saying this has any parallels to someone ditching an older model human for a younger, New Improved Version. However, if I was an elderly pet and I saw my parents looking up:”Puppies For Sale”, I’d be feeling devastated, rejected…cast upon a canine scrapheap!

However, that’s all very well from the dog’s perspective. The dog isn’t the one who gets left behind. The dog doesn’t have to endure the empty silence… no paws clattering through the house. The magpies strutting free range through the backyard, without that omnipresent bark to contain them. Worse still, however, is the tears and having to tell the kids that a much loved family member has gone. Passed on. Crossed over the rainbow bridge. Nobody likes to break their little hearts. As parents, we’re always trying to make it better, and the loss of the family pet is devastating for a child. Quite often, they probably don’t even remember a time “before”. The dog has always been there just like Mum and Dad.

Bilbo + Amelia

Bilbo arrived when our 10 year old daughter was only crawling. Put’s things in perspective.

Or, perhaps, Mum or Dad have gone and the dog has been their rock.

I know what our family dog meant to me growing up. How he understood me like no person could. That was, until he ran away and was gone. (His name was Lassie but he obviously hadn’t watched the movie!!)

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Lassie…my first dog.

So, you don’t need to be a psychologist to see that anything you could do to minimise this loss, would be prudent. A preventive measure.

Which brings “the overlap” into play. You bring the second dog into the family before the older dog has passed, and dog number 2 seamlessly shifts into the older dog’s paws…especially if they’re the same breed.

It all goes back to that famous philosophy: “If you can’t have the one you love, love the one you’re with” which I’ve also known with this little tail at the end: “and if you can’t love the one you’re with, turn off the light”.

However, like the best laid plans of mice and men, things don’t always go to plan.

Bilbo with ball

Back from near death. Try telling this athlete he’s old!

What happens if the old dog recovers? Gains a second wind? The new dog attaches to the old dog. So now when your elderly family dog passes away, your not only have the grieving kids to consider, but also a grieving pup.

Once again, you’re back in the market for another dog.

How on earth did that happen?

Let’s rewind…

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady

Two years ago, Lady, our scruffy black Cavalier x Border Collie joined the family. That said, it took Bilbo a few weeks to join the party and Lady wasn’t too keen on him either. We had a front door dog and a back door dog and the kids thinking we’d made a huge mistake.

Only ever intending to have one dog, it looked like we’d timed the transition pretty well. Then, Bilbo gained a second wind after Lady arrived. She also taught him how to be a dog. Moreover, having Lady in his corner, gave Bilbo much more confidence meeting other dogs down at the beach. He was a new dog and this was a much welcomed miracle!

Meanwhile, it’s clear Lady will never make it as a single dog.

So, the kids have started campaigning. Our daughter has been desperate for a pug for ages. She’s absolutely mad about them but we don’t share her enthusiasm. We could get tempted by another Border Collie but they need a lot of exercise.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping that giving Bilbo loads more vitamins, will mean he’ll outlive us! It’s worth a try.

Are you a dog lover? How have you approached this changing of the guard?

xx Rowena