"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Archive for March, 2013

Dogs and the Homeless.

ImagePhoto Credit:http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/gachhasoku/imgs/d/6/d6214e90.jpg

Generally speaking, dogs belonging to homeless people are probably a lot happier and more well adjusted than the average pet dog.

Without knowing it (or maybe they do) homeless people give their dogs a lot of what they need every day.

It is in the nature of dogs to travel.

In the wild the pack will travel for a large part of the day in search of food and water. This instinct to travel is deeply imbedded and it explains a lot of ‘bad behaviour’ that pet dogs exhibit when they are prevented from traveling.

A big house with a big back yard is still just a fancy kennel if you are a dog.

Every one and every thing will eventually go crazy if you lock them up, even if it is in a fancy house.

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The blogger that I got this photo from is a moron so I’m not giving them any credit.

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We walk our dogs twice a day and we meet a lot of people along the way. Often these people feel guilty seeing us out with our dogs every day and they will often say that they do not have the time and that their dog has a big backyard to run around in. I’ll bet the dog likes running around in that big back yard but that is exercise and is not the primal activity that is ‘traveling’.

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Photo Credit:http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/homeless-man-reunited-with-stolen-dog-20101220-192hr.html

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Photo Credit:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-07/charities-show-some-ruff-love-to-homeless/4416182

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Photo Credit: http://dogsinnercity.com/tag/homeless-dogs/

To travel with your pack leader is an honour and a previledge to a dog.

So, the excitement that a dog owner sees when the lead comes out is partly about all the adventure and smells that are about to happen and mostly about the primal enjoyment of traveling with the pack, and the pack leader.

ImageThere isn’t a dog in this shot but I thought is was a very good photo so I put it in anyway.

I think I got it from TheAge, but I’m not sure.


When Things Get Bad

A really sore tummy

A really sore tummy

 

Zed sometimes gets a sore tummy, often from eating possum poo. He never learns because he does not get the connection. His way of dealing with his pain is to climb onto my shoulders which I guess puts a bit of pressure on his tummy and this makes him feel slightly better.

This is also his ‘stage one’ position if he is feeling nervous (thunder etc) closely followed by hiding under my son’s bed (not sure what he will do now that my son has moved out complete with bed). Stage three is on the floor next to my wife’s side of the bed (which is a flashback to when my wife first brought him home and he slept on her PJs next to our bed).

As you can see from the photo, even if you are uncomfortable you still need something to do so looking through the blind at what is going on in the backyard is one way of passing time.

PHOTO CREDIT: goes to mrs araneus1


Zed Says a GoodBye to Hippie Haven

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Hippie Haven is no more.

Zed seems not to care in this photograph but I assure you he does.

Hippie Haven was an eclectic mix of food, clothes, music (old 33s and CDS) and was a bit of a meeting place for an odd collection of characters, including me.

It has been here for 20 years and a lot has happened to us in that time.

The owners are an interesting couple, Liz (a very strong lady with an excellent laugh) and Chris (a muso who is a dead ringer for Frank Zapper).

The shop had a magnificent view and we loved to sit with the dogs on the deck and stare back at the forest.

In recent years I have visited less and less as the vibe of the place turned negative.

The building is one half of an old dairy and is going to be torn down to make way for a fast food business.

I’m writing an article for our local newspaper on the recent history of this site and the ongoing battle by some of the locals to stop development.

The battle has caused quite a stir in our little community.

I even managed to get an interview with our local member of parliament, something that would not have happened if this had not been such a big local story.

ImageMe chilling out on the back deck of Hippie Haven. A great place to meditate.

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The view from the back deck of Hippie Haven. You can see what I mean.


You Are Not Leaving Without Me

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Zed loves cars, they take him to smells, walks, adventure, friends, other dogs, shopping (he guards the car on my late night supermarket trips).

As you can see, if a door (or boot) comes open he is right in there and it takes a serious treat to get him out.

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I tried to get something out of my wife’s car and Zed jumped in. He would not get out so I said to him, “You can stay there until you get sick of it”. Guess who broke first? After two hours of checking on him I finally managed to find a tempting treat to get him to come out. I’m sure he was saying, “Just drive me somewhere”.

On at least one occasion I have driven up and down the driveway a few times. He looks at me and knows that he’s been had but he gets out reluctantly.


araneus1

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Like all dogs, Zed loves smells. Pizza boxes remind him of long walks punctuated by sitting outside Italian restaurants while we eat pizza. We save a small amount for the dogs and they wait patiently.

So when a pizza box magically appears inside the house and the human drops it near the bin for later removal, who can blame a dog for feeling like he had hunted down a very special prize.

He sat like that for the better part of an hour and I didn’t have the heart to take it away from him even though I have to discourage his possessive behaviour.

It seems to me that the stress of having to guard your prize would outweigh the enjoyment of having it, but then again, I’m not a dog.

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The Day I met Chester

The Day I Met Chester.

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He was proud of his ancestry, or at least his owners were.

It seems that he was in a direct line from Pavlov’s dog, the famous one who used to drool all over the place whenever the professor would sound his bell.

Now, when I say Pavlov you must not misunderstand, as I don’t mean Alexei Pavlov, the Russian mathematician who specialises in nonlinear output regulation theory, and not even Ilya Pavlov the Bulgarian businessman. I’m talking about Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, the bloke who won the Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on the digestive system.

But I can see how easily you could make that mistake.

Popular wisdom has it that the dog used in the experiment was just a mutt, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Boris was a pure bred Russian Pavolich, a noble breed with a long heritage.

Chester was very lucky to be here at all for it seems that the professor was very handy with the knife, and Boris was one of the few dogs that survived Pavlov’s experiments.

My friends and I had had enough.

We had tried for years to stop it from happening, but no one wanted to listen. We did it by the book for a very long time. But over time even water will wear away a rock, and as young people we did not have the patience of a rock.

George and Harry came up with the plan.

It was going to be risky.

We all had a lot to lose if we got caught. But that didn’t seem to matter any more.

We just wanted it to stop.

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It was our job to watch out for the guards while the girls unlocked the cages. We knew that it had to go quickly or we were in deep trouble. George was supposed to be a whiz with alarms, but I guess he missed one. I didn’t see the big guy come up behind me. But I did feel him. He grabbed me just as a stampeding herd of previously caged dogs came rushing by.

My friends had their own problems so I knew that I was going to have to get free on my own. It was not going to be easy; this bloke knew his business and he had me cold.

As it often does in these situations, time seemed to slow down. I could see my friends heading for the exits, and I could see the dogs doing the same thing.

Harry looked back and saw that I was in trouble. I screamed at him to keep going. He seemed to stand there for the longest time. I could tell that he was thinking about coming back, but that was the last thing I wanted, we all knew the risks, and we all vowed to keep going if anything went wrong.

Harry went against our ‘every man for him self’ rule, and turned to come back, but Chester beat him to it.

Chester had been heading for the exit with all the others when he must have heard me call out. Maybe he thought it was a game, I guess I will never really know. He turned and slid along the polished floor for several metres before he got his feet under him again, then he got up a bit of speed and launched his considerable bulk at the two struggling humans.

All three of us went flying in three different directions! I felt as if I’d been hit by a small elephant.

The guard got the worst of it though.

Chester didn’t hang around to see how I was getting on. He headed for the exit again. Maybe he thought that that was all there was to this game.

I didn’t hang around either. I figured that I had only a few seconds before the guard remembered what day it was, so I had it on my toes, as the English might say.

I used to see Chester quite a bit after that. One of my neighbours adopted him. As with all dogs, he was extremely happy to be alive, and he cherished every moment of every day.

I could learn a lot from Chester.

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This is one in a series of stories that I am writing to continue the ‘George and Harry’ tradition. A long time ago, when my sons were young I would sometimes make up bedtime stories and often they would feature two characters; George and Harry. Sometimes they would be human and sometimes they would be animals and in that beautiful way that children have, it did not seem to matter. 

At the time I did not write any of the stories down but now that my eldest son has a young family I thought that I would continue the tradition and put together a few stories for the time when they are old enough for me to send them along (they live a long way away).

I wrote this story a few years back and I found it again the other day. It probably needs a third act but for the moment here it is.

P.S. The George and Harry saga actually surfaced in real life. We had chickens when we first moved into this house but they were attacked one night when I forgot to close the gate. We rescued a few fertilised eggs and the boys borrowed an incubator. Only two eggs hatched out and naturally they named them George and Harry even though they were hens not roosters; again it did not seem to matter.

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Autumn and Honey

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The leaves are only just starting to turn. This shot is from last year and as I’m featuring Honey at the moment this shot came to mind. I have not fiddled with the colour this is exactly how it looked. It only lasts for a few days then the leaves loose this amazing colour. Some years we don’t see it as the weather makes the leaves go brown very quickly. As you can see, Honey loves walking through Autumn leaves. I think it is the crunching sounds that she likes, but who knows. Her amazing white fur makes for an excellent contrast.


Honey…….the quiet achiever.

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This is Honey, otherwise known as Zed’s big sister.

Sometimes Honey gets overlooked because she is so laid back and she is not demanding (except when it comes to meal times!) She likes to sit on your lap but she rarely asks. Walking with her can be a bit annoying as she has to sniff everything. She also has a habit of barking at strange dogs (the only time she speaks) which sets Zed off. On the odd occasion that there has been a bit of biff you will find Honey hiding behind me while Zed takes on all comers.

Her favourite things are food, sleeping, sitting on my lap, lying at my feet, sleeping on my laptop keyboard, and lying in the sun, and going for a walk, of course.

Honey is at least partly responsible for whatever sanity I have left, and I thank her for that.

This photo shows her checking out the neighbourhood from the relative safety of our front verandah. She is looking across the creek to where the chickens live. They are always good for a bit of action.


I Just Cannot Keep My Eyes Open………..

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A few moments earlier………..

 

As it is with most dogs, Zed will sleep most of the day unless something is happening. This behaviour makes sense in the wild as the pack must rest when it can and then be ready to hunt or defend the pack. I envy his ability to just curl up and drift off and then to be awake in an instant. I’ve had to wake up suddenly a few times in my life and I’m sure it would make an excellent YouTube video as I stumble around trying to make my eyes focus and avoid bumping into furniture.

As I write this Zed is on my lap making it difficult to type. It’s raining outside for the first time in many weeks. Honey is asleep in a chair nearby and The Visitor is asleep in the kitchen. She is waiting patiently for her pack leaders to come home. What she does not know is that they have gone ‘up country’ to collect stored furniture for their newly rented home. The Visitor is moving out today (and so is my son. The nest is now empty). I shall miss her and my amazing son and his excellent girlfriend. They found each other and they are very lucky.


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Zed and a Backyard Full of Dogs.

Zed was very young here and his sister Honey also makes an appearance. The little white one belongs to my son and daughter in law the other two belong to my daughter in laws parents. Unfortunately the black and white dog has died. He was a great dog and is greatly missed. Vale Chester.