"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

Posts tagged “understanding your dog

Small Protection

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RUFUS is a free download on Smashwords until the end of July 2016


Never In Any Real Danger


“I get yelled at occasionally, but I’m never in any real danger.

I know all the local dogs and I know which ones to avoid; like Masher who lives two streets over.

He’s completely nuts!

It’s not his fault; he never gets walked and eventually the mental strain got to be too much.

They chain him up now because he is such a danger; which just made him worse. On the odd occasion that I head that way, I can hear him a long time before I can see him. He knows I’m coming, especially if the wind is blowing in that direction. He just barks and growls and I think that if he got loose, he would surely kill me. I feel sorry for him, but he scares the shit out of me; not that I show it; show weakness and you are dead meat.”


RUFUS is a free download on Smashwords for the month of July

RUFUS: a free download

Rufus cover 1

Until the end of the month, RUFUS will run free at Smashwords. Most of my books are half price during this period of time, but I decided to let RUFUS go for free. I want as many people as possible to enjoy this character, so enjoy.




Bed Time


artist unknown

Rufus Giveaway

Rufus by Terry R Barca

Giveaway ends June 22, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


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Fortunately, this little dog managed to get his point across although I’m not sure why this young man wanted to know.

I wonder if Little Tommy Tinker understands him just as well.

A while back we set out to learn our dogs language, which has been an interesting journey. So much of what our dogs tell us does not come in the form of ‘words’.

One of our dogs ‘talks’ a lot. He has a different bark for a variety of different wants and emotions, our other dogs relies a lot on body language and ‘looks’. She will stare at us in different ways according with her needs, unfortunately she uses the same look for ‘feed me’ and ‘walk me’ so we need to guess a bit sometimes.

We figure that they do their best to understand our language so the least we can do is try and learn theirs.

So far it has been a lot of fun and it helps to cement us as the pack leaders.

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The Day I met Chester

The Day I Met Chester.


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.


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.


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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Waiting Patiently


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.