I’m not a huge fan of dog parks but…………..
We were invited to a dog park session recently and my wife took Honey but I thought it might be a bit much for Zed so I intended to not take him.
At the last minute I took him because I did not want to set him up to fail without giving him a chance to take a step forward. We turned up after the others and walked around the outside of the fence for a while before we went in.
I wanted to check out the vibe before letting him loose.
I had the feeling that people use the dog park as an excuse for not walking their dog so it is not surprising that dogs turn up at the park with a lot of pent up energy and sometimes aggression.
Also it is obvious that dog owners don’t keep an eye on their dogs and only intervene after a fight breaks out.
All of these things happened while we were there but to my amazement [and pleasure] Zed handled it all very well. His body language said that he was a bit stressed but he was handling it. He did not show any agression and as long as he could see me he was fine.
I didn’t push my luck and we went for an on lead walk around the parkland nearby after having stayed at the dog park for about twenty minutes. It’s obvious that bigger dogs like the park much more than the little dogs do, generally speaking. Honey had the worst experience when my wife lost sight of her for a moment and a little girl chased her around the park trying to pat her. Sounds hilarious, I know. Honey REALLY does not like to be patted by little girls! I laughed for quite a while when my wife described her pursuit of Honey and the little girl.
My advice is always take a moment to work out what the mood in the dog park is before going in with your dog. The mood can change very quickly, as we saw on our visit.
A woman brought her powerful dog into the park and in the blink of an eye everything changed. She kept apologising for her dog saying that he had not gotten out much lately! Great, a powerful dog that is frustrated and you bring it directly to a dog park. You guessed it, a fight broke out within a minute and then another and another. Time to go!
It was fun [and a bit stressful] while it lasted and it reminded me not to prejudge Zed’s ability to cope with new and or stressful situations. He did well and I was yet again proud of his progress.
This little dog was one half of a rescue pair and when they first came to stay with my son and his good lady this was a common sight.
Naturally this little one was a bit confused and hiding in the garden seemed like a good way to take a breather.
Dogs are amazing and they have the ability [with a bit of love, understanding, and calm firm leadership] to move on, so within a few weeks both dogs were acting like dogs again and enjoying the world thanks to their remarkable humans.
They are both now at their new ‘forever’ home.
Every day my dogs and I walk past the demonstration outside the Tecoma McDonalds site.
Sometimes it is a bit difficult to get by as the demonstrators tend to clog up the temporary footpath but this is only a minor inconvenience and it is not long before we are on our way again.
This week however things got a bit nasty.
Two days in a row we encountered demonstrators with dogs.
I remembered that I had read a pamphlet put out earlier by the organisers where they advised people not to bring children or dogs to the planned demonstrations.
Very wise, I thought at the time.
Obviously some people didn’t read the memo.
The first day that we encountered problems it was in the form of a medium sized dog attached to a small boy. Double whammy!
The medium size quadruped took a dislike to Honey and tried to bite her. She put up a good defence and no dog was harmed.
I was a little annoyed and suggested to the crowd that dogs and kids at a demo were not a good idea.
My words were met with glassy stares.
No-one came forward to claim the child or the dog.
Day two saw a much larger dog attached to a light weight female.
Said female had no control over her dog and struggled to hold it and her sign at the same time.
Here’s the thing; our dogs will follow us wherever we go.
They do not understand that if trouble breaks out a small child or a skinny female are not ot going to be able to protect them.
Our dogs look to us for leadership, and putting them into a position where they can be injured is unacceptable.
If you want to drag your children along to a demonstration that’s your business, but please leave your loyal dog at home.
If he bites someone it is not you who will pay with their life.
This is a photo taken by my talented son.
It shows his dog Nanook and ‘Boss’ who was one half of a rescue that his good lady was rehabilitating. Boss and Penny have since found a new forever home thanks to my son and his good lady and their patience and hard work.
I’m very proud of them.
Sassafras is a major tourist town in the Blue Dandenong Ranges. It’s only about a 10 minute drive from our house but we usually avoid the area on Weekends as it gets a bit hectic.
It was very windy, cold and it was raining so we thought we would take the dogs for a [slightly]
undercover walk and get a good cup of coffee.
To our surprise there were people everywhere.
Melbourne people are obviously not put off by a bit of weather.
The photo at the top shows Honey waiting for a treat. She’s very patient and she plays the ‘cafe dog role’ very well.
The second photo shows Zed tucked under the table as all the comings and goings got a bit much for him and he told a few people off for getting too close. You can see him looking at me because he got a treat every time he did not bark when someone walked by. He figured it out very quickly and got himself a lot of treats!
Even though it was only a 10 minute trip to get here, Zed generally won’t do a poo until we go for a walk so there was a lot of squealing coming from the back seat as he attempted to ‘keep it in’.
Fortunately we had a heap of pooper bags as Zed likes to have three goes at it before he is finished! Annoying but cute.
They look extra fluffy in these shots and they laugh at cold weather as their coats are very thick. Yesterday they had most of it shaved off because it starts to get knots in it if we let it grow too long. The dog groomer lady is excellent and she takes her time so as not to stress them too much [she gets along well with Zed and she gives him plenty of breaks]. They have to wear jumpers for about a week to 10 days until their coats get long enough to keep them warm at night. After a grooming session we are want to find a dog or two under the doona when we wake up!
We live in a temperate rainforest so there are plenty of ‘two dog nights’ in the Winter.
Honey and Zed like to take different walks each day. We usually walk twice a day and I like to walk around my area so I change things a bit by taking slightly different routes in the morning and in the afternoon.
On rainy days [which we have not had a lot of this winter] we go to one of the town shopping centres and walk around under the verandahs and that way we only get slightly wet.
The photo above is from our morning walks. We head up the hill towards Sherbrooke Forrest and hang a left a couple of streets up before it gets too steep [you try walking up a one in four incline first thing in the day!]
This street takes us to one of two ways but we usually choose to go left again down an excellent laneway, past a small creek which feeds into ours and then back up towards the highway, either taking the long or the short way home.
The photo above shows a house just before we get to that laneway I spoke of, and just before this house is a cedar clad cottage set well back from the road with a small creek [which only runs when it rains] running through the front yard.
Jack lives there.
Or at least he used to.
Jack [who’s real name is Mimi] belonged to Joy, and Joy is [was] a little old lady who used a walking stick to get painfully around.
My two would always look out for Jack [because she is a Jack Russell terrier] who was always off lead. She would zoom past us like a fighter plane and my two loved it.
I talked with Joy a few times and she always asked me the same question, “What kind of dogs are they?”. And I always answered the same way, “Shitzu Maltese”. We would take about dogs and the weather and we would head off to complete our walks.
It seemed to me that Joy might soon get to the point where she found it difficult to walk Jack/Mimi so I gave her my card and said that I would be happy to take Jack/Mimi with us for a walk any time she liked.
She smiled but she never did ask.
Last summer her house caught fire. The local brigade put it out before it did too much damage but I guess it was too much for her family because I never saw Jack/Mimi or Joy again.
My guess is that her family thought that she could not look after herself any more and put her in a home.
It’s a good seven months later and yesterday a FOR SALE sign went up on the house.
I don’t know if Joy is still alive or not [her neighbours are not sure what happened to her], but in a way I hope she isn’t. After living in this amazing environment all her life and then being stuck in ‘one of those places’ I think I would prefer to be dead.
With a bit of luck Jack/Mimi found a new home but wherever he is I’ll bet he would rather be with this fiesty old lady who took him for a walk ever day, even though it hurt, and let her zoom past the local ‘fluff balls’.
God speed Joy and God speed Mimi and thank you for being a part of our world.
Terry, Honey and Zed.
Have you ever wondered how they got there?
People, I mean.
People who flash into your life and leave just as abruptly.
They leave their mark. If we never see them again we are forever changed, if only in a small way.
A wise man once said, “The more I see of people, the more I like my dog.” There are times when this is hard to argue with.
We almost didn’t get to meet Jessy. She was coming out of the BP service station on Burwood highway in Tecoma and I nearly missed seeing her weave through the busy traffic.
My attention was taken by an old lady who was also taking her life in her hands trying to cross this busy highway. She was trying to get to the bus stop on the other side and Jessy was trying to cross from the bus stop to get to our side.
The difference between these two ‘old ladies’ was that one of them was human, and should have known better, and the other was canine and was in the hands of the traffic gods as she continued her quest to find her way home.
Honey, Zed and I were out for a walk when I noticed this daredevil old lady who looked like she wanted to cross the highway at a particularly dangerous spot.
It crossed my mind that I should offer to help her but it also occurred to me that we were going to make quite a sight. Most probably Zed would want to give the old lady a good telling off for getting too close and I could see myself with two flailing dogs and an old lady in tow trying not to get us all killed!
It was at this point of pondering what to do that I noticed the dog coming towards us. It crossed my mind that the crazy old lady and the crazy old dog might be connected.
The old dog had her head down and was moving resolutely in our direction and I judged that there was no chance of her making it as a large four wheel drive headed her way. I looked at the driver and could see that she had not seen the dog so there was nothing to do but wait for the bang.
There we all were, the old lady, my two dogs and me all waiting for life’s drama to play out. In the split second available to me I thought about calling out but I knew that this was likely to have the opposite effect as dogs tend to come when you call to them so I just held my breath.
At the last moment the old dog stopped just as the four-wheel drive whizzed past her nose.
After this moment of hesitation the old dog continued her perilous journey. Her chances had improved but only marginally. Somehow she managed to avoid cars coming in both directions. Then, Jessy just sailed past both of us and continued her search. It wasn’t hard to work out that she was lost. Her grand adventure had now turned into an anxious search for familiar ground. She walked up the driveway of the nearest house and I hoped that she had found home. But it quickly became obvious that this wasn’t her home.
I looked up because a young man was coming towards us and I hoped that he might be the owner; but sadly I was wrong. He had seen Jessy dicing with the traffic and had come across to help.
I asked him to grab her (if I had tried, Zed would have made a big fuss). We located her tag hoping that it would reveal a phone number. The young man asked if I had a mobile phone as his didn’t have any credit.
There was a sense of panic in his voice and I was yet again amazed at the various things that worry people. The number on the tag came up as disconnected. I dialled again as I’m famous for having poor dialling skills.
“What are you going to do?” the young man asked. He wasn’t the only one who was wondering.
In the end I connected both my dogs to the one lead (they were less than impressed) and connected Jessy to the other lead, and off we headed towards my house, some ten minutes away.
Jessy seemed quite happy to be on a lead but Zed had had enough by this time. Being closely attached to Honey and with this large dog (Jessy is a Border collie cross) so close he decided it was time to bite someone. I kept him away from her as best I could, but Jessy wasn’t at all bothered by the noise, so off we went.
As we walked away I told the young man that I would take Jessy to the Belgrave South Vet and if anyone was looking for her that is where she would be.
I looked back and noticed that the old lady had managed to cross the road unscathed and was sitting waiting for the bus to arrive.
Along the way we ran into a neighbour and her little girl. Up until then Jessy had been happy to walk along on the lead but the lure of a little girl holding a half eaten cup cake made it difficult to convince her that we had to keep moving.
When we arrived home I had to work out how to get everyone into my car. I corralled Jessy on the front verandah while I got my keys from inside and put my two dogs into the car. By the time I got back to her she had bowled over the barricade I had set up and was galloping towards me across the verandah.
Getting her into the car proved to be interesting.
Zed obviously thought that the whole ’big dog incident’ was over and here I was trying to get this same big dog into the back of ‘his’ car. It was more than he could stand. In his enthusiasm to make his feelings clear he jumped up onto the rear parcel shelf and slammed his head into the rear window. He went quiet for a few seconds and I thought that he had knocked himself out. Pretty soon he regained his composure and resumed his protest.
I opened the back door and suggested to Jessy that she get in. She quite wisely decided to wait until I had this furious fluff-ball under some kind of control.
After I had forcefully moved said crazed fluff-ball to the front of the car Jessy was happy to get in. She sat on the back seat in a way that suggested she was used to this form of transport.
A few minutes later we arrived at the vet and Jessy seemed quite interested in the place. The receptionist quickly gave the impression that she thought I was unloading an unwanted dog.
To put it mildly, after all that I had been through, this made me somewhat annoyed. I’ve got muddy paw prints all over my leather seats and this ‘person’ thinks that I’m dumping this beautiful, friendly old dog!
“You can ring in a few days, if you are interested, and see if she has been picked up.”
“Screw you lady, and yes I am interested to see if she is picked up as I’ve got the feeling that Jessy has indeed been dumped”. No Council tag and a phone number that has been disconnected along with her advanced age, and it didn’t look good for Jessy. My two dogs were very happy to see that I had returned to the car without the ‘big dog’.
We all went home where I made up a couple of posters. I put one up on a lamppost near where we had found Jessy, and one at the local general store.
If she was micro chipped she had a chance.
Maybe someone would see the “FOUND” poster and ring the vet. I wasn’t going to wait for ‘a couple of days’.
I needed to know.
I rang the vet the next afternoon. The much friendlier woman who answered the phone needed a few minutes to search out Jessy’s fate.
“Someone came and collected her”. Those few words brought this story to a close.
Best sentence I’ve heard in a long time.
(Just to let you know; we never saw Jessie again and we never heard from her owner which I thought was a bit rude. This was our third ‘rescue’ spread over a couple of years. One person, who was obviously sick and tired of their ‘Houdini’ dog, kept us waiting for an hour before they came and collected their dog which we had rescued from traffic in the main street of Belgrave. They lived about five minutes away! The other two owners just collected their dogs from the local vet and said nothing. A small thank you would have been nice.)