"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

Zed’s Birthday


Yesterday was Zed’s birthday and as you know birthdays are a big deal for a dog.

All of a sudden you are seven years older, or, at least, that’s the way it seems because humans talk a lot about ‘dog years’.

I guess it’s because dogs and humans are so closely linked.

It is widely believed that Homo Sapiens became the dominant Human strain because of the partnership they formed with dogs. A wise choice as it turned out because the other Humans did not survive into the modern day.

We owe a lot to horses, cattle and sheep as well but you don’t hear any reference to ‘sheep years’.

“My dog was quite concerned when the latest cost of living figures came out as it showed that dog food had risen by 28 cents a can and as we all know that’s nearly 2 dollars in dog money”!

That’s one of my favourite ‘dog years’ jokes!

Zed (he rarely gets called Zoidberg) had a quiet birthday mostly because everyone forgot. But it’s ok because he doesn’t like a fuss.

The day started well when Honey washed his face with her tongue as she usually does, then outside for a quick wee and then back on the bed for a cosy sleep while the pack leader read the paper and did a bit of work.

The usual morning walk didn’t eventuate as the weather was pretty bad, in fact, he didn’t get a walk until quite late. Despite the cold and the rain, the pack leader decided that two days without a walk was a danger to everyone’s mental health so out we went. Zoidberg was joined by Honey (who often baulks if the weather is bad), the two dingoes from across the road, a small visiting dog of undetermined parentage from another neighbour and the assortment of humans associated with said dogs.

Zed found the walk a bit tricky because it was wet and a bit slippery if you got off the footpath, as one of the humans found out. It was getting dark and a lot of humans were coming home from work via the nearby train station. Zed enjoys this time of day very much, not just because he gets to travel with his pack, but also because he gets to watch the various humans trying to avoid the five dogs and three humans bearing down on them.

It can be quite amusing….

Once upon a time he used to amuse himself by lunging at the humans as they went past, but he doesn’t do that anymore because the pack leader told him that that is no way to behave and that his actions were threatening the stability of the pack. These days he sits at the back of the pack and watches the badly behaved dingoes and the distracted humans who are usually deep in conversation and do not notice what their dogs are doing.

Watching is much more fun than having to do it all yourself.

Eventually, Zed’s pack leader gets tired of straggling along behind this unruly group so he goes past them, and this is the bit that Zed likes as they get to travel at an even pace and he gets to feel like he is leading the group on a great adventure.

Who knows what might happen.

Maybe there will be cats to frighten or fast food wrappers to find. Sometimes there are other dog packs to meet. There are several who like to travel in the same area that Zed travels through. Some of the packs are friendly, like the two French Bulldogs and their leader, while others are not. Most of the not so friendly packs seem to be made up of big dogs, and Honey, in particular, is suspicious of big dogs probably because all her neighbours are big dogs and there have been many shouting matches over the years.

Probably the highlight of Zed’s day occurred when he came back from his long and eventful walk. It was quite dark by the time they returned home, but he was not frightened as there is a great safety in a big pack. When his pack arrived back at their house he noticed a familiar car in the driveway.

It was the female pack leader and she had returned from a day’s hunting as she usually did at this time. There was much rejoicing as the pack leader was welcomed back into the fold. The other pack leader who hunts in the wilds of Ringwood also returned and again there was much rejoicing. Recently these two pack leaders had been absent from the pack for extended periods and there had been much concern amongst the remaining members.

Life can be very hard for pack members who leave the pack every day to travel and hunt alone. They don’t have the protection of the group and must fend for themselves until they return. Zed had heard stories of pack members who could not find their way back and he was beginning to think that this had happened to them. Now that all the pack members had returned Zed felt happy and secure.

There were games to play and friendly laps to sleep on, there were movies to watch and dinner to eat, tricks to do and treats to eat.

The only tough decision to make was where to sleep for the night. Most nights his favourite spot was with the pack, all curled up close together on the bed. This was especially good on cold nights. He had heard the humans say that sometimes it was so cold that it was a ‘two dog night’ but he preferred to think of it as a ‘two human night’. The humans are big and warm. Sometimes he would curl up behind their knees and sometimes cuddle into the small of their backs. Apparently the female is a bit of a wriggler and she sometimes makes loud snoring noises, but he does not mind.

Sometimes he likes to sleep with the younger human. He has a large bed on the other side of the house and he likes to eat snacks so sometimes there is some left over for Zed. This room feels very safe and Zed sometimes comes into this room when there is a storm and if it gets particularly bad he can hide under the bed. This is always a happy room as the human who sleeps here is very friendly and plays with Zed a lot. This room is always interesting and when Zed runs out of things to play with he will come in here and grab one of the large selection of socks which are always good for a game.

Now Zed’s birthday is over for another year. The coming year holds the promise of many adventures: new dogs to sniff, new humans to meet.

It’s going to be an excellent year.

When I wrote this story it was just going to be for my personal collection. I never intended to publish it. Then the newspaper I write for decided to have a ‘short story’ edition for the summer. I submitted this story and it was published and it caused the problems that led to me publishing ‘You Cannot Please Everyone’.


Rugged up and out for a walk.


14 responses

  1. Pingback: YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE | araneus1

  2. Pingback: Seen Better Days | araneus1

  3. Pingback: He Who Loves An Old House. | araneus1

  4. Pingback: Telltale Traces | Understanding Your Dog

  5. cvheerden

    Super awesome. We celebrated our dog’s birthday two days ago. The kids are very impressed that he was there before them. I actually think having him there as a young puppy triggered something because not a year later, baby no1 arrived … So yes, definitely celebrate your dog’s birthday. It makes his day.


    April 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    • Thank you for the kind words.
      Your blog has so much energy that I plugged my laptop into it and it recharged!
      Your comments reminded me of something. Whether it is true or not it seems that couples who adopt because they are having difficulty (maybe this was truer before IVF) would mysteriously fall pregnant. The theory being that the woman would relax and her body would say ok why not, you are doing a good job, here have this one too.
      It does not matter if it is true or not,( but it might make the basis of a good story) babies tend to get here any way they can.
      My adopted mum was one of those ‘mysteriously unable to have children’ people but unfortunately, my arrival did not produce the required effect. Which was just as well as I was a handful and probably as much as she could handle.
      I’m very pleased that you visited as it gave me a chance to read your stuff.
      This blogging stuff is quite amazing, isn’t it?


      April 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

      • cvheerden

        Hi thanks for commenting on the comment! I notice that some bloggers just “like” and it seems they never “read”. So I hid something controversial in a rather fluffy puppy blog to see if I got any responses. Alas, none. Everybody loved the puppy, nobody read the message. That discharged my laptop’s energy … is it worth it? I don’t want to blog a la “with this bubble take away my trouble” nonesense …


        April 29, 2013 at 9:56 am

  6. I hear your pain cvheerden but a couple of possible explanations spring to mind: people being polite….the polite people may have thought that it was a mistake/ out of character/ embarrassing to mention……… it does not mean that they missed it.
    Another idea springs to mind: in my country people do not often complain (about poor service etc) they simply do not go back. The owner never knows that he got it wrong he simply goes quietly out of business……….. maybe your readers were Australian!

    It also occurs to me that a fluffy puppy story sets up a certain expectation where as a story headed “The World Is Full Of A Holes” sets up a different expectation and would likely attract a different audience……… I bet you would get some ‘readers’ for this title.
    Hang in their and keep that battery charged.

    P.S. I’m assuming that from your comments your have read my post … http://araneus1.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/i-like-to-watch/


    April 30, 2013 at 12:38 am

  7. Reblogged this on Understanding Your Dog and commented:

    It’s been a year since I wrote this and it’s been a year since Zed’s last birthday. He had a good but quiet day with one extra treat to mark the occasion.


    June 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

  8. Pingback: Zoidberg slips & survives | Jivesucka's Rumination

  9. This little guy is so adorable !!!! Such an innocent face !!!


    May 11, 2014 at 3:18 am

  10. Pingback: YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE | araneus1

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