Tag Archives: puppies

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.

Old English

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

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.

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.

Newton Family & bilbo

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

Plight of A Modern Lap Dog!

Apparently, it’s getting tough to be a lap dog these days. In addition to the age-old competition from kids, newspapers, dinner plates and late night drinks, there’s a new much more persistent challenger, which has been added to the mix.

It’s the laptop or, in this instance, the keyboard.

Blogging away with my lapdog support-Lady!

Blogging away with my lapdog support-Lady!

However, nothing beats a dog for persistence or perseverance and both our dogs have reluctantly, no doubt, consented to be laptop supports. This is indeed different to providing technical support although with the various mutterings I’ve heard over the years about the quality of tech support, it could at least be argued that laptop supports at least helpful.

This, until you realise your late night snack has gone missing.

Humph…yet another fee for services rendered.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. It’s been raining here and while we went out today, yesterday was spent in hibernation mode.

xx Rowena

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.

 

 

 

 

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady refuse to discriminate. They wish everyone a Merry Christmas regardless of how many legs you have and whether you do or do not have a tail. They hope everyone gets to eat gluttonously well without waking up with a tummy ache.

Love,

Bilbo & Lady xxoo

PS Lady is hoping Santa will still leave her a treat. She says that she’s been “naughty and nice” but does that matter? Don’t they sort of cancel each other out?

Lady has also repented a long list of crimes.

She is sorry for:

1) Eating Mummy’s Chocolate and Orange Muffin when she answered the door.

2) Stealing the fresh Turkish Delight out of the pantry and eating all but the last piece.

3) Eating a whole packet but 4 of Arnott’s Assorted Cream Biscuits.

4) Stealing lasagne.

5) Digging tunnels to China in the backyard.

6) Chasing Bilbo’s tennis ball and not giving it back.

Bilbo still isn’t sorry for barking at the postman even though he’s heard rumours that he really is Santa after all and those packages he drops off are actually presents not something menancingly dangerous. He isn’t sorry for barking at anybody who kidnaps the kids and takes them off in their car…even if they bring them back in the afternoon.

Lady's t-shirt reads: "Santa, define naughty!

Lady’s t-shirt reads: “Santa, define naughty!