Tag Archives: vet

Whoops! More Pups.

Yesterday afternoon, I received an urgent text. “My pups” were on the move, and ready for collection. These pups are two 5 week old kelpie pups,  and did I mention something  about being bottle fed? I didn’t think so. You know me. Blunder in where angels fear to tread only to find out about the details by default, when it’s all too late. Yet, it’s not everyday you have the chance to even see such young pups, let alone take them home. I don’t know about legislation where you live, but I think pups need to be 8 weeks old to be sold here. So, despite what should have been a healthy scepticism about taking on such a challenge, I jumped at the chance…the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Welcome to the dog house.

The pups are absolutely gorgeous and about the size of an adult guinea pig and have rolypoly tummies on stumpy legs. I don’t think they’ve been outside before and they wondered about a little like they’d just landed on a new planet. I’ll call that planet: “Do your business”. Although our house has literally gone to the dogs, I am TRYING to get them to do their business outside.

BTW, I know absolutely nothing about how to care for bottle-fed pups. Indeed, I didn’t even bottle feed my own kids until they were old enough that I didn’t have to be pedantic about cleaning all the bottles. By then, whatever was growing in those bottles was good for their immune systems…

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Mr and Yoda.

 

 

Just to fill in a few dots, I have volunteered as a foster carer for a local animal rescue group, Paws & Claws. I’m not sure how long “we” will be doing this. I am loving it and the pups are gorgeous, but we have our own pups to settle in and there will come a point where I’ll get the carpet cleaners in and at least have a break.

Or, more likely, I’ll be exercising the two pups we’ve adopted…Isaac and Rosie. I’m expecting lengthy daily exercise runs down at the beach. Actually, I’m hoping the pups will exercise themselves down at the beach while I bumble along at adult speed, instead of doing the “Flight of the Bumble Bee”. Of course, there’s also the possibility the kids might actually walk the dogs…

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Me and Our Pups.

Meanwhile, our pups went off to be desexed last week. This was done via key hole surgery. Zac was bounding around pretty quickly but Rosie also needed her dew claws clipped and so she returned with her back legs bandaged and a cone around her head. She finally got the cone and bandages off last night…happy days!

So, our house is currently a five dog household, which means us humans are outnumbered. However, before you start thinking we’re facing defeat, beings on bottles don’t have voting rights. So, humans still rule even if it is a case of only just.

Anyway, I’d better keep moving. I think I’m supposed to be sleeping when the pups are sleeping. Isn’t that how it goes?

Have you ever fostered humans or animals? How did it go? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

xx Rowena

 

 

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.

Our Surrogate Dog.

When you lose someone you love, it’s only natural to look for some way of blocking out the grief and relieving the pain, even at the risk of looking silly or finally confirming that you’re weird, bonkers, and totally insane. However, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else and it gets you through a tough time without turning to drugs and other harmful things, I’m all for it.

That’s why I bought a surrogate Bilbo, who we’ve called FB or Fake Bilbo.

As you probably know by now, we lost our beloved dog Bilbo a few weeks ago, and our grief has been raw and painful. Although we have another dog, Lady is very different to Bilbo and not a surrogate…and she’s had to spread herself quite thin getting around four laps now that she’s the only dog.

We’ve also become used to having two dogs and Lady has never been an only dog. So, there’s been quite a lot of “adjusting” all round.

Not unsurprisingly, there’s been quite a lot of talk about getting another dog. In my last post, I mentioned how we’d resisted cute little Stella, and are waiting to get a Border Collie pup down the track.

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However, all my resistance melted when I spotted this Border Collie in a shop. I had to have him. He looked so much like Bilbo. Moreover, when I picked him up, there was that immediate mix of longing and connection. I could bury my face in his fur and hold onto his paw, and it felt real. There was more than a lump in my throat, but I felt happy and that a layer of grief had fallen away and I could smile.

It reminded me of an old saying:

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

What’s special about FB is that he’s not just an ordinary soft toy. Rather, he’s a “weighted toy” and weighs about 5 kilos. Weighted therapy is used by occupational therapists for people with Sensory Processing Disorder, autism, Alzheimer’s, but it also helps people who are grieving by providing something to hold onto during a time of loss. That added weight makes the dog feel real and the pressure I guess also acts a bit like a massage. While having a weighted dog to ease the grief of losing Bilbo is one application, my friend who had a still born baby was given a white teddy by the hospital to take home. Of course, nothing could compensate. However, that teddy is so much more than a memory, a something and has a place in her heart beyond words.

So, while I might feel a bit silly having a stuffed Bilbo, it works. AND, I can always say he belongs to the kids. Mind you, as we walked a long along the full length of town carrying FB, my daughter wasn’t carrying him. No! She was too embarrassed. It was me.

When I arrived home with the “new dog”, I made sure I warned the rest of the family. From a distance, FB really does look very lifelike and I didn’t want him to have the reverse effect and make them sad.

However, we couldn’t warn our other dog, Lady, who really has been missing her canine companion. When she saw him, she came running up wagging her tail. She was sooo excited and sniffed it all over for what seemed like eternity, before she gave up on it. Her mother was also a Border Collie, and she came here when she was two. So, it probably wasn’t just Bilbo she was thinking of.

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Fake Dog and Real Dog.

By the way, Fake Bilbo has certain advantages over the real thing. He doesn’t need to be fed or walked and doesn’t poop or bark. Doesn’t steal your food off your plate or dig holes under fences to escape. He has very pat-able fur. FB doesn’t lick either, which depending on your point of view, could be a positive or a negative.

However, the bottom line is that Fake Bilbo can’t love you back like a real dog. As much he might look and even feel the same, he can’t look at you with those empathic, puppy dog eyes. He can’t see right through you with such compassionate understanding, that you know he can see straight through to the bottom of your soul. Humans rarely have such vision. Most are only waiting to tell you their own stories. Or, maybe I’m just being cynical. Of course, not every dog is capable of such understanding, but Bilbo certainly was. Mind you, he lived through some pretty intense times with our family and he went through all that as well. So, it’s not surprising that he understood difficult emotions. While Lady is a very loving dog and incredibly warm and friendly, she doesn’t have Bilbo’s intensity, his insight. At the same time, he never had her joie de vivre. I’ve never seen such a happy dog!!

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Bilbo and Lady when she first arrived.

Meanwhile, Lady is enjoying walks to the shops, although she probably wasn’t impressed when I tied her up outside the butcher’s the other day. She just told me that sniffing lamb chops all the way home wasn’t much joy either.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend and it’s about time I head out into that beautiful Winter sunshine.

xx Rowena

More About Weighted Therapy

Weighted therapy is the use of weighted products to apply weight and deep touch pressure (surface pressure) to the body stimulating the proprioceptive sense enabling those who are “sensory seeking” to relax, focus and have a greater awareness of their body.

The proprioceptive sense gives us information about our body’s position and movement via receptors on the skin, in the muscles, joints and ligaments. Those with a poor proprioceptive sense have difficulty interpreting these sensations often resulting in behaviour that gives them sensory feedback – for example jumping on a trampoline, chewing, spinning, running etc with seemingly limitless reserves of energy! They have great difficulty switching off and usually do not sleep well at night. This “sensory seeking” behaviour can be calmed and controlled by the use of weighted therapy and the application of deep pressure.

http://www.sensorydirect.com/about-weighted-therapy

 

 

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.

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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.

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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…

Sickies…Dogs Don’t Lie.

As a parent, I’m always wary when the kids bung on one of their dying swan “can I stay home from school” routines. These performances can be worthy of an Academy Award. Yet, all too often when I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt, they resurrect like Lazarus and “party like it’s 1999”.

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Bilbo in peak performance appropriating another dog’s ball.

On the other hand, our dog’s never chucked a sickie in his life. He’s either chasing his ball with mad obsessive focus and eating like a hollow-legged teen. Or, he’s seriously ill. Moreover, when it comes to jumping in the car and going to the beach, he at the door in a flash. Never tells me to “wait”. Indeed, he’d be out the door already if he could open it himself.

However, Bilbo is no longer a pup. He’s now 77 in dog years, and he’d be forgiven for requesting a Dawson Chair, a Zimmer frame and signing up for the pension. However, being a Border Collie to the core, he tells me there’s life in the old dog yet.

Unfortunately, Bilbo is gravely ill. Last week, he started getting sluggish, and my radar kicked in. We noticed he coughed up a blood cyst, but as he was still eating, we didn’t rush him off to the vet. However, last night he went off his food and when that continued this morning, we knew it was time.  By this point, we were obviously expecting one of those conversations you don’t want to have with the vet. Not only in terms of what might be wrong with him, and there might be nothing they can do. There’s also that other conversation. That is, that there is treatment, but what is it going to cost? It’s hard to put a measurement on love that knows no bounds. Yet, the bank balance doesn’t understand that, and shows no mercy. It’s a callous brute without compassion.

However, all those thoughts could wait. We still had a few hours before we could get into the vet.

Since the dogs were already in the car, I decided to take them to the beach. Not the best move, in hindsight as the vet has ordered him to rest. However, I’m not a vet. I’m his Mum and knowing how much he loves the beach and what it’s means to us, I wanted him to be in his favourite place…his heaven on earth.

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However, if I needed confirmation that Bilbo wasn’t well, this was it. He laboured down the beach so slowly, that he was his own ghost. I threw his ball, and he didn’t blink. He just let it roll into the water. I tried a few more times with the same result, retrieving the ball myself. As much as I’ve thought his obsession with the tennis ball was extreme, seriously annoying and beyond the realms of addiction, this was worse. It felt like an echoing emptyness, if that makes any sense.

Yet, like a noble warrior, he ultimately did have a few laboured efforts.

Bilbo and Maya

You have to feel for the old dog unable to chase his ball, when some young whippersnapper races off with it.

Meanwhile, his young mates chased the ball like maniacs, legs whirling furiously through the sand.

By this point, you’d expect that some kind of emotion would set in, but I was blank. Couldn’t feel anything. It’s a day we’ve known is coming, and I don’t know how to react. I don’t feel I can cry anymore. That there aren’t any tears. That too much has happened and I’ve become a rock. A rock with some kind of senses, but nothing like who I was.

Or, perhaps, I’ve simply grown up. Become resiliant.

This would be a good thing because this time we lose a dog, I have to be the strong one. I have to be the rock supporting the kids. Mum can’t go to pieces. Can’t be the mess. I need to put on the big high heels and answer their questions, hug and comfort them and wipe away their tears, especially as they don’t even remember life without Bilbo. Miss was about 10 months old and crawling when Bilbo arrived and Mr was 3 years old. I still remember how Mr missed our previous dog (a huge Old English Sheepdog called Rufus) and didn’t like the new puppy because he wanted a big dog. Mr had been able to sit on Rufus and use him as a horse. He was a very big dog indeed.

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

So, Bilbo has been part of our family during a very special ten years of our lives.

Yet, it’s not time to get all misty eyed yet. At this point, we’re still at the beach. It’s 18°C and a gloriously sunny Winter’s day and the beach is magic.

Mid-morning, we return to the vet. He quickly points out that Bilbo’s gums and tongue are an exceptionally pale shade of pink and I’m quite shocked. He took some blood and we were sent out to wait. My husband ducked off to pick our daughter up from dancing. I wasn’t sure she should be there, but figured that the vet’s better versed at this than us. That if there is bad news, the vet no doubt knows what to say.

Bilbo + Amelia

11 years is a long time in human years too!

The news from the vet wasn’t good, but it wasn’t all bad. At this point, it seems that Bilbo could have an unpronouncable auto-immune disease. I can’t remember what the vet called it, and meant to write it down. His red blood cell count is down to 2.86 (should be 5.65-8.87) and his haemoglobin is 5.3 when it should be 13.1 – 20.5). He has just enough platelets to hope the treatment could work. His white cell count is high and he seems to be fighting back. He was given an injection of prednisone and is on tablets. I take him back on Monday morning for a CT of his spleen and a followup.

Meanwhile, I started my own, additional treatment. We bought him some fresh mince to see if that might stimulate his appetite and we had a rather hungry dog. He’s eaten 500g of mince tonight, minus a few donations to Lady, our other dog. It’s not going to cure him, but it might give him a fighting chance. Get him over the hump. It’s also much cheaper than a blood transfusion!!

Of course, I’m hopeful that he’s going to be okay. That there isn’t going to be something else going on and he’ll respond to treatment. He’s been in good health, so surely that must help… That “he’ll be right, mate.”

….

Well, it’s now Sunday afternoon. Bilbo’s still with us and lying on my lap quite happy to be a lap top dog. He’s eating the mince, but not so keen on his kibble. He’s perked up a fair bit. Yet, his beathing is very rapid, and I guess that’s the big concern and we still need to take that CT of his spleen.

So, I am feeling optimistic. No doubt, it’s the sort of optimism based on wishful thinking. An optimism which could seriously backfire and hurt like hell.

Yet, like the kids who don’t know life without Bilbo, I can’t imagine it either and am still hopeful that the vet might find that magic pill which will give him eternal life.

Meanwhile, Bilbo’s been instructed to “Stay. Don’t go near the Rainbow Bridge. Why don’t you watch a bit of TV….”

Yet, although he’s always been an incredibly obedient and faithful dog, there will  come a time when that last journey will come.

All the same, can I put in a request?

Not yet…

Thank you in advance for your concern. It is much appreciated!!

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.

Life Lessons for A Scallywag!

Yesterday, I shared a New Year’s letter I’d written to our Border Collie, Bilbo and today, I’d like to share the sequel: Lady’s New Year’s Resolutions.

Lady is a 3 year old Border Collie x King Charles Cavalier. We adopted her just over a year ago when Bilbo started slowing down. She’s a gorgeous medium-sized black dog with patches of white on her chest and paws, which disappear when the lights go out and you can only hear her exuberant tail whacking the floor in the darkness.

Lady at Ocean Beach

Lady at Ocean Beach, NSW.

Nobody’s perfect and while I haven’t quite sat down and had a good hard look at my own bad habits which should be eliminated poste haste, I have sorted out the dogs instead…a perfectly acceptable procrastination technique, don’t you agree?!!

So without further circuitous ramblings and preambles, here’s my letter to Lady…

xx Rowena

Letter to Lady

5th January, 2016.

Dear Lady,

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, Bilbo received his list of New Year’s Resolutions. So, today it’s your turn.

Before we get started, let me say how much we’ve loved having you here. That even though we haven’t had you since you were a pup, that we love you very much and adore those big brown puppy dog eyes and your enthusiastic whack of the tail. You’re absolutely fabulous!

However, as I explained to Bilbo, we humans have a bit of a tradition of reinventing ourselves in the New Year. After all, a new year is like a clean slate. You start all over from scratch and all your past crimes have been forgotten. Indeed, at 12.01 AM every January 1st, we humans receive brand new DNA with all the wrinkles ironed out.

Isn’t that incredible?!!!

However, the unfortunate truth is that the magic wears off very, very quickly. So, if you don’t grab hold of these changes with both hands and simply let them go, you end up right back where you started with your swag of bad habits.

I know this is complex thinking, especially for a “dog of little brain”. However, we’ve actually realised that you’re a hell of a lot smarter than we thought. That Indeed, you’ve been outsmarting us!

We now have it on good authority that blank stare of yours is all an elaborate charade. That all this supposed ignorance and void of grey matter has indeed been a gala performance. That we should actually be congratulating you for taking out the Academy Award for “Best New Talent”, instead of holding such low expectations of your abilities.

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I knew it! Lady reading Geoff Le Pard’s: “My Father & Other Liars.”

So, we’re slowly coming to appreciate that there have been certain “benefits” for flying so low beneath the radar and we’re onto you. No more excuses!

Lady, you’ve been sprung!

That’s right. We’ve now seen through those huge, brown puppy dog eyes.

So…there will be no more “I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed up on the kitchen table” , “I didn’t know that was your pie” OR “I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to jump upon a chair, then onto a table and jump over the fence”.

Instead, you’ll be a good dog!

It’s all very well to be a free spirit but you’re a dog. You can have a certain amount of free spirit off the lead at the beach but the rest of the time, you’ll have to use your imagination. That’s the space in between your ears and as long as you don’t get any ideas about flying, it could also include the sky.

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Lady out walking in the clouds at Palm Beach.

Anyway, I digress.

Lady, as you’re unaccustomed to making New Year’s Resolutions and following things through, I thought I’d give you a little bit of encouragement.

So, without any further preambles, here’s your list of resolutions.

Well, it’s not exactly a list. More of a “chat”.

Lady’s New Year’s Resolutions

Working Dog

This might come as news to you but you’re actually a Working Dog. At least, that’s what it says on your registration papers.

A working dog “is a canine working animal, i.e., a type of dog that is not merely a pet but learns and performs tasks to assist and/or entertain its human companions, or a breed of such origin. In Australia and New Zealand, a working dog is one which has been trained to work livestock, irrespective of its breeding.”…Wikipaedia.

“Livestock” does NOT include fleas.

However, it could well include the kids.

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The kids.

So, we thought you could round up the kids, herding them away from their electronics and directing them towards the dishwasher, cleaning their rooms, making their beds, taking out the bin and even cooking dinner for the family.

I’ve been trying to pull this off for some years now but I don’t have your superior Working Dog genes. I’m not so sure about nipping the kids on the ankles but that would certainly get them moving!

Backyard Dog.

I know subtlety isn’t your strength and I should be more direct, instead of taking a philosophical approach. So:

Lady = Working Dog + Backyard Dog.

That means you don’t wander all over the suburb looking for stray rabbits and sheep. You stay home unless you’re INVITED to go out.

That’s right.

INVITED!!

I know you consider yourself a free-spirited hippy but you need to adjust your aspirations. I know we humans think we can become anything we like but your options are a little more restricted. Unfortunately, it’s not a dog’s world.

So, this means no more Houdini routines. You are NOT allowed out the front door UNLESS you’re on a lead or in the car.

That’s enough of that grumbling and complaining. There’s no point getting upset with me and making complaints to management. I don’t make the rules but I will pay the fines if you break them. Trust me, they’re pretty hefty and they’ll be coming straight out of your dog food allowance. So if you don’t want to starve to death, you’ll behave.

Besides, staying out of trouble is what we humans call “enlightened self-interest”!

If you go wondering off, you could easily get run over by a car. Of course, we don’t want you to get hurt or end up taking an express trip up to the pearly gates. That’s why we have a fences and a gate. It’s not to stop you from dreaming and expressing your inner dog. They’re to keep you safe.

Moreover, I don’t think we’ve ever told you about the evil Dog Catcher. The Dog Catcher rounds up stray, naughty dogs and takes them up to the doggy jail up on the hill. It’s not very nice up there. You’ll soon feel very lonely without your family and Bilbo to snuggle up to and you wouldn’t like the cold, concrete floor without your blanket either. Moreover, there wouldn’t be any of those cakes, biscuits and pies you keep stealing. No runs along the beach either!

So, you could say, Lady, that a life of crime doesn’t pay!

No More Food Theft!

Speaking of crime, Lady, you and I both know you can be quite the scallywag stealing food. Granted, you have improved out of sight since you came. You’ve even stopped jumping up onto the kitchen table.

However, somehow along the way, you’ve taught Bilbo your dreaded food thievery and turned him into something of a Fagan and partner in crime. He never used to steal food and used to be such a good dog! So, I would appreciate it if you could please undo this mischief so we can have the old Bilbo back.

I appreciate that you dogs can’t always distinguish between humans and dogs. That somehow through association, you believe you are human. However, as much as we love you and make you one of the family, we can not change your DNA. You are still dogs and as much as we can’t suddenly grow a fur coat, four legs and a tail and start barking, you can’t walk on two legs wearing clothes and reading the newspaper.

Humph! I know what you mean. I can also forget that you’re not human and I feel a bit sad as well… especially as dog years aren’t the same as human years…

However, we won’t go into that!

What this does mean, however, is that you can’t help yourself to our food. That there’s human food and dog food and never the twain shall mean. Unless, of course, I’m surreptitiously feeding you scraps under the table while Dad’s not looking.

By the way, Lady, being on a more restrictive diet could be a good thing. I know I could lose some weight myself and I know how much I also hate the F word that ends in T and might just happen to have an A in the middle. That said, you have filled out quite significantly since you moved in. It’s not that I’m one to throw stones but there are some things only a mother can say!

I know this letter has already turned into something of a manifesto. Sorry! Should have kept it short and sweet, especially as you even have trouble grasping simple concepts like what to do with a tennis ball.

Amelia & Lady

Lady & Miss NYE 2015

However, having gone through some of the areas where you could use a bit of refinement, I wanted to thank you for being such a lovable, cuddly, enthusiastic dog whose mad whacking of the tail whenever you ever hear us, makes us feel so loved and appreciated. You are such a beautiful, happy dog!

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Our intrepid seafarer: Lady out on a kayak adventure.

So, here’s a list of the things you do really well:

  1. Play with the kids and keep them feeling loved and entertained.
  2. Affectionate, loving and heart-warming.
  3. Cheer us up!
  4. Good on the lead and gave Bilbo a few lessons!
  5. Showed Bilbo that it won’t kill him if he gets his paws wet and that it’s fun to go for a bit of a swim at the beach.
  6. Good furry lap and foot warmer.
  7. You’re a great watch dog without being over-zealous like someone else we know around here.(By the way, perhaps you could have a little word in his ear about toning it down a bit. He must be giving himself dreadful headaches with all that barking!)
  8. I’ve never seen anybody skin and eat a rabbit like you did but I should remind you that you’re not on the farm anymore and we city folk aren’t used to eating such critters unless there’s a knife and fork.

 

Lady Keyboard B & W

Lap dog

So, Lady we wish you a very Happy New Year and every success in reaching your goals.

Lots and lots of love,

Mummy on behalf of our family.

PS In case you are wondering what happened to the kids, Mister is away at Scout camp and Miss is at her grandparents’. This is your opportunity for quality time.

PPS: I haven’t mentioned your reaction to the fire works on New Year’s Eve. I hope by now you’ve realised that it wasn’t the end of the world and they were just nasty noises. Nothing to worry about.

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