Tag Archives: puppies

Lady, You’re Our Mum!

If you’ve been popping by lately, you’ll already know we’re fostering two Border Collie x Kelpie pups…Zac and Rosie. We’re planning to keep Zac and hoping a friend will adopt Rosie. These two pups love each other so much. Just look at the bite marks in each others’ ears! I’m amazed they haven’t been pierced!

Lady kids coffee

Most of you will already know Lady, our 5 year old Border Collie x Cavalier. AND, that we lost our beloved Border Collie, Bilbo a few months ago. We’d had Bilbo since a pup, and going through so much as a family with him, we’re still grieving. He was definitely one of us.

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A family photo with Bilbo as a pup Mother’s Day, 2007.

Grief affects people differently. Some people lose a pet, and never get another one. Meanwhile, others rush out and seemingly replace that pet straight away without so much as a grieving period. We have been trying to become a one dog family, but it hasn’t been working. It soon became clear that it was just a matter of time, before we adopted another pup. So, when my friend who does dog fostering heard that some border collie x kelpie pups needed a foster family, we jumped onboard. It was a good way for us to get to know our next dog before we committed.

Now that I’m a foster mum, I was kind of hoping that Lady might feel the same way. That she would adopt these pups as her own. After all, we love a series of books called Unlikely Loves, and have read stories of all sorts of random animals becoming friends, family, saving a life. However, the books never mentioned the flip side of the coin…rejection.

I don’t know whether the pups saw Lady as a surrogate Mum or a recalcitrant black sheep, which they couldn’t round up. Either way, she didn’t appreciate their attention and has been growling whenever they’re approached. I think this is dog lingo for: “Get lost! I am NOT your Mum!”

Indeed, after three days of growling, I was starting to think Lady was one of those cranky old ladies you run into on the train when your kid’s are having a bad day. I’m sure you’ve run into these types yourself. They glare right through you with their hoity-toity glares, and you don’t even need to hear the words: “Bad Mum”. You been told. Thank goodness, they don’t have magical powers, because otherwise these stares alone would burn you to ash…Zap!

To be fair to Lady, she never asked to have puppies. Perhaps, she thought she’d had all of that fixed, and never wanted pups. Moreover, with Bilbo gone, perhaps she hasn’t been lonely. Indeed, it could well be that she’s been basking in world domination.

Well, that was until a pup grabbed hold of her tail.

Two pups moved into her bed.

Two pups sat on laps.

Clearly, Lady’s empire has crumbled. Her tiara’s dangling round her paws, usurped by their Royal Highnesses.

I guess when you reach rock bottom, the only way is up. Or, making friends with the enemy and letting them sleep with you in your bed.

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Lady and the pups…a beginning. 

So, things are looking up. It took a few weeks for Bilbo and Lady to accept each other, so I expect relations will all come good in time.

Have you ever introduced a pup to your older dog? How did it go? I’d love to hear from you!

xx Rowena

PS After the first night of howling and broken sleep, the pups are sleeping through the night. Just a brief cry when I close the laundry door. Just call me the “Puppy Whisperer”.

Puppies in a Carpark After Dark…

Last night, my daughter and I were recruited into a clandestine, underground movement, which rescues puppies and dogs from puppy farms and “bad homes”.

As you might have seen on the blog lately, my friend’s been fostering dogs and puppies. I never thought I’d be up for this, and thought I’d find it impossible to let them go. However, I was round at her place with the latest residents, and they were so cute and so much fun, that I thought we’d give puppy rescuing a go.

Then, like well-trained intelligence agent, my friend heard that a litter of Border Collie x Kelpie pups was in the pipeline. Me being me with my usual levels of resistance, I put my hat in the ring for two pups with a view of keeping one. This would be like a test drive where we could try before we buy.

You might recall, that it’s only been two months since our much loved Border Collie, Bilbo passed away. We’re still heartbroken and missing him in all sorts of ways. A few years ago, we adopted Lady thinking that he wasn’t well. Then, he perked up after she arrived and lived another 3 years. As much as we love Lady’s exuberant friendliness, we’re used to Bilbo’s Border Collie sheepdog ways, and she’s a very different dog.  That’s fine but when you’ve been living with the ball chasing champion of the universe and you get a dog who doesn’t fetch, it’s hard to compute…even if Bilbo’s ball chasing obsession drove us mad! I guess it’s a reminder, that you can’t simply replace the one you’ve lost and each of us, is an individual.

During the week, my friend forwarded photos and we selected one pup we particularly liked. Then, we received further intelligence, that the pups were arriving last night.

The pups had been rescued from out near Lismore, 10 hours’ drive away. This meant it was hard for them to give an exact pick up time. It was simply “late” and there were phone calls going back and forth updating their ETA. All I knew, was that we were meeting up in a carpark at a nearby pet shop some time after dark. It started to feel like I’d joined a clandestine smuggling ring, and the whole experience felt like a grand adventure. Yet, at the same time, I was also being drawn out of my comfort zone. I don’t like driving at night, and felt a bit uncomfortable hanging around in the industrial area late at night.

However, soon the other voluneers started to arrive. The scene reminded me of waiting for a country train and watching the cars pull in. We picked up puppy food, leads, collars and chatted to other volunteers and waited… and waited. It was so exciting. The puppies were coming!

Then, suddenly a car towing a dog caravan appeared. It wasn’t quite your movie star camper, but precious cargo was definitely onboard. I’m not entirely sure which other dogs were there, but there was a litter of black labrador pups as well as part of the litter of Border Collie x Kelpie pups. I also saw what looked like a family of semi-grown Maltese Terriors.

Zac & Rosie

At this point, it was about 10.00PM. A floodlight breaks through only a fraction of the darkness, backlighting the puppies. So, we can hardly distinguish which pup is which, and they’re just a squirming, wriggling mass of black and white fur and paws. There was one boy in the litter, who just happened to be the one I’d picked out from the FB photo and my daughter picked out one with a white stripe on her head and “ears like Bilbo”. They had their shots, were wormed, paperwork was completed and they were in the car and on their way home.

Home meant introducing them to Lady. I was hoping Lady might feel somewhat maternal and welcome the new arrivals. On the other hand, not everyone’s excited when a strange, spaceship-like contraption lands in your territory. As for calling you “Mum” and YOUR dogbed “home”, Lady muttered something about having no say in it, and no idea what was coming! Lady wasn’t thrilled and had a few growls. The puppies were disturbing her peace, quiet, and new found stardome as the only dog. However, she did give them a good sniff, and I’m sure she’ll come round.

Pups

Meanwhile, the pups who’d been cooped up in transit all day, did what all kids do after they’re released. They went beserk!!! Indeed, our boy pup, Zac, went psycho jumping and leaping all over the lounge room like he’d just arrived at a theme park. Rosie, his canine companion, wasn’t far behind him. At one point,  they’d converted Lady’s bed into a wrestling ring and were growling like a pair of Tasmanian Devils and gnawing at each other, having so much fun.

We were besotted.

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As a parent myself, I was rather concerned by their wild behavior so late at night, wondering how they’d ever get to sleep. It’s been awhile, but I haven’t forgotten the difficulties of getting human babies to sleep. I even attended a week long sleep clinic with my son out at Karitane, after trying everything from singing Twinkle Twinkle, walking the streets with the pram, prayer and phoning my in-laws. In other words, we’re talking about reaching the end of the road and then some.

Clearly, it was starting to look like a sleepless night.

However, looking at the puppies bouncing off the walls exploring their new environment, I started developing grave concerns about how we were ever going to get them to sleep. Memories of frazzled sleepless nights trying to get our son to sleep, came back like a back case of reflux.

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A pair of rambunctious pups.

What have I got myself into?

By this stage, it was well after midnight and Miss was also still awake. We took the pups into the laundry, and tried closing the door. That’s when the howling began…and continued. These pups had no intention of going to sleep. Couldn’t slow themselves down to anything remotely resembling “tired”, and didn’t like being away from us either.

Although I remembered that you stick a ticking clock in with puppies to help them sleep, who has ticking clocks these days? Obviously, its digital descendants wouldn’t do the trick. Apparently, the radio’s the go these days. Oops! That reminds me, that I forgot to set up the music player for tonight.

Needless to say, just like a new Mum, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep.

The big difference was, however, that no one drops round with a meal when you have a new dog! The grandparents haven’t turned up either. Indeed, I haven’t quite mentioned the puppies to my parents…even though I’m obviously a grown up now and they’re in no position to say “no”. It’s just that given my health issues and a very busy family, adding a new pup to the mix and fosteringit’s sister, isn’t a logical decision. It doesn’t make sense, but the heart has its own way of thinking, which might not add up but usually makes sense.

Well, at least it makes sense to me.

Do you have a special dog and dog story to share? I’d love to hear it.

xx Rowena

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Let sleeping pups lie.

Puppies!

As you may recall, a close friend of mine volunteers for a pet rescue organization. Well, she messaged me during the week and mentioned they had PUPPIES!!! Of course, I invited us round for a playdate. Indeed, we were there in a flash and my husband even came along to supervise procedings. He had grave concerns about us arriving home with a pup! I wonder why????

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My daughter with one of the pups.

Coco and her sister, Daisy, are apparently black, curley-haired retrievers and are six weeks old. They are pure black, except Coco has a small splash of white on her chest. Both of them looked like miniature versions of our Border Collie x Cavalier, Lady, only they have shorter ears.

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The puppies up on the trampoline with the girls.

Not surprisingly, these pups were irresistable, and it’s amazing how I can find them trying to chew up my shoes and even my good jumper endearing. Of course, there was that typical Australian; “she’ll be right, mate” nonchalence, but they were so cute that I almost couldn’t care. I even let them chew on my finger.

We will be getting a second dog in the not to distant future. Indeed, my friend has told me there are some border collie puppies coming up and I’m thinking about joining up as a volunteer and hosting these. See if one of them clicks. So far, I haven’t been seriously tempted by any of my friend’s lodgers. They’ve been wonderful dogs but I still feel lie we’re hanging out for another Border Collie pup.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the pics.

xx Rowena

Resisting Temptation.

Last week, we stared temptation right in its brown puppy dog eyes and resisted. There’s a first time for everything. I have a rather poor track record with temptation, but I am learning…slowly!

As you may be aware, our much loved Border Collie, Bilbo, passed away a few weeks ago. I have already shared our unfathomable loss  and what it’s been like seeing him accelerate from a tiny pup into an old dog, in the time it’s taken our daughter to almost start high school. It’s been weird. Like two parallel clocks operating on different speeds. His clock was set on turbo-fast, while he probably wondered why it takes an eternity for us humans to grow up.

We already had another dog. We adopted Lady two years ago so that when this moment came, we were prepared. There wouldn’t be that echoing silence of a household without a dog.

However, we’ve become used to having two dogs and Lady has never been an only dog. She cries when we get home, even if she does sleep a lot when we’re here and isn’t omnipresent. So, we have been thinking about getting a Border Collie pup next year, after we’ve had a bit of time. I’m wary of getting a dog on the rebound as a dog is a long term commitment you can’t send back when you make a mistake.

Stella with shoes

You can see from these photos just how small Stella is…a real ball of fluff.

However, Little Stella caught us unprepared. A friend of ours belongs to a pet rescue group and they were taking care of Stella after she’d been rescued from a puppy farm and had been desexed. This meant that this incredibly cute white ball of fluff was looking for her forever home. I knew as soon as my daughter saw her, that we would be perilously close to taking her home, and that I’d have to mount a very effective “NO!” campaign to walk away. My daughter doesn’t understand the meaning  of “No”, especially if she can sense any kind of leeway or waiver and I must admit that Stella was very hard to resist and it took quite a lot of of self-control to walk away.

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Almost Irresistable. 

As easily as it might’ve been to get swayed off course, we are looking at getting a Border Collie puppy sometime next year. On the other hand, Stella was a 4 year old Maltese x Tibetan Spaniel from a puppy farm. We knew nothing about her history and we’re not in the market for high vet bills. Stella has since found a wonderful home with a lady looking for a rescued dog, and has had experience with all that could possibly entail. Indeed, she even paid for Stella to be flown inter-state, and so she’s found a home which was a much better match. Our lives are so unpredictable and potentially precarious with my health issues, that we can’t really take on unknowns. Indeed, the timing will need to be right for a pup.

As much as I would like to encourage people to take on rescue dogs, it needs to be with your eyes open. There’s a massive distinction between giving a much loved family dog another home, versus taking in a dog from puppy farm where its been caged, and seen as a breeder rather than a family member. We had an Old English Sheepdog which had been abused, and much as he was loving, he was incredibly highly strung and went for my husband a few times. He’d clearly been hit and I now wonder whether he’d lived in a cage. We’ve had other two re-homed dogs, including Lady, and that’s gone well. I just think it’s important to consider the enormity of dog ownership and all it entails. Not every dog recovers from abuse…just like people.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the ease of having one dog and Lady is a really beautiful, happy dog. I’ve never seen a dog who wags their tail more.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Introducing FB…Fake Bilbo.

 

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

 

 

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.

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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.

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

As was the Old English Sheepdog.

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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.

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

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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?!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A Border Collie sniffing or a canine cow grazing?

We also found what could be a Canine Cow.

Others just needed a rest:

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

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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

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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.

Puppies Together.

There is something so profound about this photo taken when Bilbo first joined our family in January, 2010. Our daughter was still crawling at the time and they were like puppies together.

Although Bilbo is about 9 months younger than our daughter, he will be turning 70 in dog years later this year. He is elderly before she’s ever grown up. Compared to the super-charged dog who’d rocket down to the beach as soon as the front door opened, he’s slowed down and is showing some signs of arthritis in his hind legs. Meanwhile, Miss still has a lot of growing up to do.

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A family photo with Bilbo as a pup Mother’s Day, 2007.

“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

For all dog lovers, this “insynchronicity”, is a hard pill to swallow. Why can’t dogs age alongside us and spare us the pain that comes with losing a succession of canine companions? It’s just not right!

Bilbo

If only we could fiddle with time.

The only trouble is that we wouldn’t want to botch it up and suddenly find ourselves aging seven times as fast!

Now, that would be tragic!

xx Rowena