"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 April, 2013

Telltale Traces


We walk our dogs together, quite a lot.

She drives a ubiquitous little silver car but I always know it is her when she drives by because her dress is ALWAYS hanging out the bottom of the driver’s door, and Breeze is often sticking her head out the driver’s side window.


Honey Started Life As……………

A magician’s assistant………..


She arrived into our life one day, unannounced and as far as I was concerned, unwanted. My life was complicated enough, and my health was balanced on a knife edge. I believed that I was barely able to take care of myself let alone take care of a dog. I knew that it would be me who would be doing the looking after as my wife and son would go off to work each day and I would be here………… with the dog.

I put up a pretty good fight but they wore me down, there were too many of them, and they all wanted the same thing.

My wife named her Honey which went down very well when I was out walking her. Some large bloke with a large dog would ask, “My dog’s name’s crusher, what yours?”


Might as well shoot me now.

There had not been a dog in my life for about 30 years. That’s not true, there had been dogs, but mostly they were owned by other people, and I was just on their visiting rounds.

I grew up with dogs. Big beautiful Greyhounds.

Then a Red Australian Terrier name Digger (not very original but what are you going to do).

The reality was that the dogs belonged to my dad and I just got to play with them a bit and walk them a bit.

Then, 30 years later, along comes Honey, and a little while later along comes Zed. Both unexpected and both landing in my lap.

Honey was more than happy to be an ‘only dog’, and she did not take it well when Zed arrived.

She had us to herself for a bit over a year, and since then she has had to share, but sometimes you need someone from your own species to talk to, to roughhouse with (those humans are so easily scratched and they make such a fuss).

In many ways, Honey was born to be in this pack. She likes all the things I like, hanging out, sleeping, watching movies, lying in front of the fire, chasing cats (more her than me) barking at the dog next door (again more her than me) and lying on the bed while I type.

Of course Zed likes all these things as well, and he does them too, but he would really rather be running around chasing stuff and yelling at other dogs and shooing off unwanted humans, but because he wants to fit in he puts those things aside and does what his pack leader tells him to do (most of the time)

If you are wondering why I gave in, here is one of the reasons…………………

ImageSeriously, could you say no?

ImageFood plays a big role in Honey’s life.


She loves the beach.


The very first time her little feet touched sand, she looked at me and took off! She didn’t stop running until she was exhausted. She knows that the beach is for playing.


She also spends a lot of time sitting out the front of cafes. Her favourites are pizza places……… for obvious reasons.

ImageThere has been the occasional indignity but generally speaking, I think she likes it here.

On a Day Like Today


Honey would prefer to stay under the covers…………….


What was that? A walk? But it’s raining, could we go a little later?

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy


This little guy was busy giving someone a big serve.

There were people and dogs everywhere. It was a Festival after all.

He stopped barking and turned around to look at me. I guess he noticed the camera in my hand. He held this pose until I had finished shooting then he turned around and continued his tirade. Eventually his owner (a nice young woman) noticed me. She said that her dog loved having his photo taken.

This sudden shift in behaviour reminded me that this little guy, along with every other ‘happy little dog’ has the ability to behave in public if only their owner will learn how to achieve this state of mind.

“Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.” Doug Coupland

ImagePhoto credit: http://madhatters.me.uk/2013/04/16/blame-the-humans-first/when-will-they-blame-the-humasns/

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter F. Drucker

ImageOK, so it’s not the crispest shot I ever taken, but you try taking a photo in a vet’s office on a cloudy day with a very stressed fluff ball who just wants you to pick him up! Consequently, this is a one handed iPhone shot.

We have been trying very hard to learn our dogs language and we are getting pretty good at it but this is the first time I have seen it all in one place. It is amazing how much our dogs can tell us.

Zed also has quite a few verbal clues as well. He let the Vet know that he was not happy and having his Dew Claw removed (it was almost off anyway) made him yelp. He is pretty tough so it must have hurt, but in true doggie fashion he was happy again in about a minute and didn’t seem to hold a grudge.


I still dislike people from decades ago!

My dogs are heaps more Zen than I am……… I still have a lot to learn.

I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.” Woody Allen


Looks Like?



A lot of shots are wasted as my dogs have a knack for lurching forward just as I take a shot.

Sometimes I get lucky. This passionfruit flower was one of many on a fence on our regular midweek walk. Every year I forget to photograph them but this year I remembered. The flower I wanted was above my eye line so I just held the phone up, waited and hoped that it focused on the right spot and let go of the trigger.

When I got home I downloaded it and this is what I saw.




On another subject altogether……………. http://araneus1.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/numbers/



I found it but someone took all the eggs out!


I’ll save it for latter. You never know when you might find an egg.


I’m just going to lie here and think about eggs.


I cannot chat with you just at the moment, you see, I have an egg in my mouth. I’ve been carrying it around for quite a while. It used to belong to the chicken who lives on the other side of the fence. She left it there just close enough for me to reach through the fence and pull it over. So what was I to do? I couldn’t just leave it there, could I?

Choosing a Dog.

The following was printed in the March/April edition of The Foothills.


“Before you even commit to having a dog, please ask yourself what your motivation is for bringing that dog into your life. You don’t need to share these musings with anybody else, but you need to be absolutely honest with yourself because, I promise you, you won’t be able to fool a dog.” Cesar Millan, ‘Cesar’s Way’

Are you miserable and lonely and you would like a dog to take the place of human companionship, do you want your dog to fill the gap left by your children leaving home or to fill the gap of the child you never had, or is this dog coming into your house to fill the gap left by a beloved dog that has died? Do you want a tough looking dog so that you look tough, or a cute dog that you can walk to attract girls? Do you want your dog to be a protector and a weapon and little else?


If these are your primary reasons for having a dog I ask you to remember that a dog has powerful feelings, needs and desires that are equal to but not less than your own.

A dog is not a doll a child or purse or a weapon and in choosing a dog you have an incredible chance to form a powerful bond with a member of another species but that bond comes at a price; the price of responsibility.


Ask yourself a few questions to see where your head is before you bring a dog into your life.

  1. Am I prepared to walk my dog for at least one hour every day?
  2. Am I committed to learn how to be a calm assertive pack leader for my dog?
  3. Am I committed to setting clear rules, boundaries and limitations in my house?
  4. Am I committed to providing regular food and water for my dog?
  5. Am I committed to giving affection only at appropriate times and when my dog is calm submissive?
  6. Will I commit to taking my dog to the Vet on a regular basis and have it spayed or neutered and have all its shots and check ups?
  7. Will I commit to socialising my dog so that it is not a danger to people or other animals?
  8. Am I willing to clean up after my dog whenever I walk him?
  9. Am I willing to educate myself on dog psychology in general and specifically on any issues related to my dog’s breed?
  10. Am I willing to put some money aside in case I have to call in a professional for a behaviour problem or an emergency trip to the vet?

Did you score ten out of ten?

If not you may wish to rethink your choice of pet. There are plenty of cats out there that need rescuing and their needs are very different and not as burdensome as a dog’s.