Brutus – a bit of stuffing goes a long way….


Rocky and Brutus – the look of innocence (not!)

Cass who is Brutus’s foster Mum bought him and Easter present yesterday, a large round purple furry ‘thing’ although I am not sure what it is, but Brutus loves it.

Rocky has been exhibiting signs of jealousy in the past few days, stealing Brutus’s toys from his mouth – Brutus does not chew his furry toys, he treasures them and God bless, he has not discovered the joys of ripping open a toy and spreading it round the garden – well not counting the canvas bone.

I suspect that Rocky is still upset about his beloved canvas bone being ripped apart although he played the majority part in that crime.

Which is why I think Rocky did what he did this morning and in doing what he did, he has unleashed the monster in Brutus.

6am this morning I heard Brutus yelling ‘Get up and feed me or I will crap the bed!’

So I got up, let the boys out, went back to bed for half an hour and then let Brutus back in for his breakfast – everything going swimmingly.

Kept Brutus in for half an hour or so to digest his meal and then said to Abdel ‘I am going to give Brutus his purple furry thing in the garden to play with to stop him digging – he loves that toy’

‘Are you sure?’ Said Abdel, he was half asleep.

‘Yes I am sure’ I replied firmly, Brutus loved that toy – what could possibly go wrong?

I left Brutus carrying the purple furry thing proudly round the garden looking so happy, I even got in my car with a smile on my face at the sight of the cute puppy with the purple furry thing in his mouth.

Fast forward to 8.16am when Abdel called, the conversation went something like this:

‘You know that purple furry thing you gave Brutus?’ Abdel asked, I told him yes, I did.

‘Well it is now all over the garden, everywhere and you know who did it?’ Abdel asked.


It’s snowing – lots of fluff!

He went on to tell me that by the time he went out to check on them, the damage was done and it was Rocky that grabbed it from Brutus and apparently yelled ‘Come on you big girl, I can show you what to really do with a stuffed toy!’ and Brutus hung on to it while Rocky flung him round the garden, the two dogs joyously ran around with a bit of the purple thing in their mouths.

Stuffing was everywhere, Rocky had managed to grab the purple thing and was pulling its entrails out and Abdel who was sniggering from the laundry room window yelled out ‘Rocky, what do you think you are doing?’

Abdel told me that Rocky actually looked embarrassed that he had been caught out and had tried to blame Brutus about the whole affair.


Rocky denies all involvement despite being caught with stuffing in his mouth!

‘Brutus did it, it wasn’t me!’ Rocky stuttered and then launched into insulting Brutus saying that he wasn’t a proper kelpie and called him names like ‘Derro dog’ and my personal favourite ‘Turd legs’.

There was no denying it, Rocky and Brutus both had a mouthful of stuffing, the purple thing was all over the garden and more to the point, Brutus has now discovered that instead of lovingly snuggling up to his soft toys at night, they are far more fun when they have been disemboweled and spread around the garden.

The evidence was there for all to see, Rocky is the main culprit although is remaining tight lipped on the situation until he speaks to his lawyer – AKA Sunny the red heeler from down the road and Brutus is claiming to be under the age of responsibility.

ImageDon’t blame me, I am young and innocent!

So none of you laugh please, this is so not funny – whoever would have thought that a large purple thing would have gone quite so far.

Over and out.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus Update – Thou Shalt Not Chew Drains


Brutus and Rocky establish friendships and boundaries

Brutus has been so hungry that trying to keep up with his growth spurt in terms of energy requirements/expenditure has been very hard so I have bitten the bullet and doubled his dietary intake in the morning and evening feed and just left the smaller meal midday and one before bed.

I kid you not when I say that when I get up to him in the morning he looks very ‘ribby’ and thin so I don’t think he is ready to cut down his meals yet. I am assuming that because his growth was stunted when he was so sick, his body is now demanding nutritional catch up which is fine, he is a growing boy.

This morning I was a bit late with his breakfast as I wasn’t well last night so slept in, I had let him out at 6am and he wasn’t happy about it.

‘What, really?’ Brutus said and then did a loud puppy yawn – you know the type that I mean.

Rocky pretended he was still asleep, he had no intention of taking a pee this early.

‘Yes really, come on you have to go in the garden’ I said, trying to sound firm but felt bloody knackered at the same time. I didn’t blame the pair of them, I wouldn’t fancy going out at stupid o-clock but needs must when toilet training.

I let them out and went back to bed with the intention of feeding him an hour later but actually woke up at 8am, went to give Brutus his newly increased portion of puppy meal.

‘Is that for me, all of it, really?’ He shouted excitedly and then bragged to Rocky who vowed to bash him for showing off as Rocky is on strictly controlled dietary intake to keep his weight constant as he has HD.

Leaving Brutus to scoff his breakfast in the crate, I went outside and did a ‘poo run’ and put the toys back in the toy box – the dogs love that toy box as they have such fun removing them. I enjoy filling that toy box, I have ordered Brutus a set of Nylabone teething keys from the USA as it is half the price of what they cost here even with delivery and next week we are buying him a clam shell sandpit from Bunnings with some ‘safe sand’ so he can have his own ‘legal sandpit’. (spoiled – much!)

That was when I noticed the ‘crime scene’ – I found a round plastic grid, semi chewed. ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ I thought, scratching my head, scouring the garden.

Spotting a large drainage hole uncovered, I realised that Brutus had pulled off the plastic from the drain hole, leaving the drain open, large enough so he could have got his head stuck if he so wished.

Damn it, it was a large hole as well – you know the round drains – they are quite big.

Carefully putting the plastic back over the hole, I then placed a couple of small pavers over it, thinking that is bloody marvellous as when it rains, it won’t be able to drain so a trip to Bunnings is in order but if any of you that have puppies that have discovered the joys of sewer drains, could give me some tips on securing the plastic grid so that Brutus cannot dig it up, I would be most grateful.

The garden looks like a bomb site so Abdel decided to sweep the fake lawn and remove the bits of fabric from the ‘bone incident’ the other day. You will notice there are a lot of ‘incidents’ of varying degrees of naughtiness, I do in fact believe that they could be put in a book for naughty dogs.

Well sweeping the garden is a challenge as you can see in the video below and whilst it is highly amusing to watch Brutus jumping around like a disabled springbok, it is nigh on impossible to sweep the garden with him in it, so that was given up as a bad job and we shall do it when he is in his crate to try and desensitise him because he also thinks that the vacuum is an alien which is out to kill the world and also needs attacking.

We are going to take him for a walk later, both him and Rocky, we won’t go far as he gets overwhelmed with traffic/sights/sounds, so baby steps and all that.

The main thing is he is very receptive to people and other dogs, which considering what he has been through is amazing.

Then tonight, Sunny – my friends red heeler is coming round, Brutus met him last night on his walk and Sunny is an alpha senior male dog and he is Rockys best friend, so I took Brutus to meet him on his own as Brutus is still being leash trained and needed 100% of my attention, that all went ever so well and both dogs got on just fine.  Rocky was insanely jealous and screamed the garden down when he saw me take Brutus out, he knew exactly where we were going and you could hear him shouting ‘He is my friend not yours!’.

So Sunny will come round tonight for a play date with Rocky and Brutus. Tomorrow Brutus will go to the beach and I will see how he goes there.

This morning my friend Dave brought his son round to my house and Brutus met him and instantly took to the gorgeous little boy who is almost a year old, Brutus seems to love people and was quite taken with the baby so that is also something I am pleased about because having missed out on some early socialisation when he was sick, it could have affected how he interacted with people later.

Finally, I just want to add when I first took on Brutus I was somewhat overwhelmed and thinking ‘how do I bring this puppy up’ because when you have a puppy you have a blank slate and how that dog turns out is pretty much down to you and that is daunting in my book.

I have had an aggressive dog before – a whippet bitch called Rema, she was aggressive when I got her and I thought I could change her and I couldnt despite having bahavioural therapy, she had to be muzzled in public and had even nipped people that had chosen to ignore my ‘please don’t go near her face’ commands. Not to mention if dogs got too close to her when she was on the leash, she would beat the crap out of them.

The sleepless nights of having a puppy, the eyes in the back of your head to keep an eye on them, the crying when they are crated, the chewing, the naughtiness which is really just normal puppy behaviour, well it is easy to become so wrapped up in how hard it is to raise a well balanced good natured puppy and subsequently miss out on the fun and energy that having a new puppy can bring.

It is easy to wish away the puppy years, the digging, chewing, naughtiness and wish for them to grow up.

But I have learned and am still learning with Brutus that every day he changes, he seems to grow and fill out each day, he is discovering his world, forging his friendship with Rocky and Gordon, he is being guided by Rocky and learning to find his place within our pack in the home.

And if you take a step away from the hard work of looking after a pup and marvel in the developmental changes that are actually occurring, and get a routine that works for all concerned, you will realise that raising a puppy is exceptionally rewarding – you get out what you put in basically.

Last night I watched Brutus and Rocky curled up together on the bed, this morning I watched Brutus wriggling his tiny body to greet me this morning. Looking round the garden and seeing the mass of toys scattered everywhere, I realised that whilst our lives are messier and harder with Brutus around, we wouldn’t be without him.

He is part of our family now, chewed drains and ripped up toys and all.

And quite simply, we love him.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Brutus and Rocky in ‘snow’ incident!

ImageI don’t quite know what happened last night, I can only relay what I heard the dogs talking about but the evidence was clear for all to see.

The boys had a fine old time in the garden urinating on one another, sniffing each others bottoms, I heard sounds of growling and found Rocky on his back and Brutus ‘killing him’ and then the tables were turned when Rocky got Brutus’s entire head in his mouth and he was chowing down on him.

‘Rocky spit him out now!’ I yelled to him.

Rocky looked sheepish and spat a rather damp Brutus out, Brutus come running up to me wagging his super long tail which obviously gets in the way and then grabbed his tail and started chasing it like a special needs dog.

Telling him to stop chasing his tail as that is a rather bad habit for any dog to get in to, I distracted him with the canvas orange bone – big mistake, that is all I am saying – huge mistake!.

The evening went rather swimmingly as both dogs enjoyed burning off energy outside and it was lovely to watch them playing together and interacting, a bit like my very own wildlife show in my garden.

Fast forward to Abdel coming home from work.  As it is getting cold at night, Brutus is not liking being outside.  I thought of getting him a dog coat but he has threatened to shit on it, piss on it and failing that, eat it so that is out of the question.

Abdel was laughing at Brutus with his handlebar ears sticking out and his nose pressed up against the fly screen.  Rocky was nowhere to be seen but on closer inspection, I spotted him on the grass wagging his tail with his head down focusing on something on the grass.  What on earth had happened? – I hadn’t seen him look so happy since the possum incident but the least said about that the better.

Going out to check on the dogs, I saw white stuffing – everywhere, and by white I mean that white fluffy stuff that is used to stuff mattresses and toys.

‘What the hell?’ I said in disbelief and wondered where it could have possibly come from.  I checked Rocky’s mattress which was still in tact and in his kennel and that was there.

Abdel followed me out and said ‘what on earth is that?’

None of us knew so we asked Brutus.

‘Brutus – what is this?’ I demanded, the little brown dog put his head down and said ‘I don’t know’, then he looked up at me and said  ‘What are your thoughts?’

Then I saw Rocky with white foam all over his mouth and he was standing by the orange canvas bone which I might add was one of his favorite toys that he had owned since a puppy.  I knew he would not have instigated its destruction but once the foam was released, he would have positively relished in it.  Just ask Rocky what he and Winston the kelpie did to Winston’s bed over Christmas.

‘Rocky, what have you done?’ I yelled – the black kelpie dog looked at me with the white fluff stuck to his teeth/chin/mouth and pulled a non committal type expression.

‘You’ve been a naughty bastard!’ Gordon yelled from the laundry room window. Brutus sniggered as he loved it when Gordon swore in his ginger voice.

‘Don’t ask me, I know nothing.  Those bastard German Shepherd dogs broke into the garden, tied us up with gaffer tape and then spread this white shit around the garden and smeared it on our mouths so we would get the blame’ Rocky launched into an almost hysterical fever pitch explanation of the pretend German Shepherds that are responsible for canine naughtiness all over the world and blame ordinary household pets for bad stuff that their owners discover.

‘Rocky I know that you are lying now step away from that mess because I have to clean it up and at 10.30pm at night, I could do without it’ I sighed and then set about picking up copious amounts of white fluff from a fake lawn and I stress the words ‘fake lawn’ because try picking up white fluff from it, it’s bloody hard and akin to picking up diarrhoea.

‘Yippee! snow!, it’s snowing!’ Brutus squeaked and then set about jumping as though he had springs in his hind legs, and then started to try and run off with bits of fluff in his mouth whilst yelling ‘You were right Rocky, this is such fun!’

‘Bloody dobbing bastard!’ Rocky hissed to Brutus and vowed to bash him later.

It took a while to pick up the mess and the garden still looks like a war zone with the chewed camp bed and the stone collection by the door but hey ho, the puppy years don’t last forever do they? Although Rocky said that his have come back since the arrival of Brutus but I am hoping he is joking on that score.

I put Brutus to bed with his supper and tucked him in to his crate, made sure Rocky was on his mattress and turned out the lights.  As I walked off I could hear Brutus talking to Rocky.

‘Rocky’ Brutus tried to whisper but not very successfully.

‘Piss off, you dobbed me in and that is the cardinal Kelpie Tenth Commandment – thou shalt not dob in another dog for doing damage’  Rocky said sounding annoyed.

‘But Rocky…..’Brutus asked again.

Sighing, Rocky snapped ‘What!’

Brutus pressed his head against the crate and gazed at the little kelpie curled up on his cushion, he could just see Rocky’s huge ears making a shadow on the wall.

‘Tell me about the time you ripped the mattress up’ Brutus said excitedly – he loved a bedtime story.


Rocky rolled over to be closer to Brutus’s crate and took a deep breath ‘Alright then’  He replied.

And I could barely hear after that but I could just make out Rocky saying ‘Once upon a time, I had this mattress…..’

But before he could finish his story, you could just hear some gentle puppy snores coming from the crate.  Brutus was fast asleep next to his stuffed elephant.

Rocky gazed at Brutus sleeping and looked at him kindly ‘Another time lad, another time’

And that was all I heard.

Happy Friday everyone.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus – just one of those days!


Gordon and Brutus planning ‘stuff’

I am not laughing today, honestly I am not and I don’t want to see any of you laughing either – especially Cath from CJ Animal Rescue as I can imagine her laughing the most.

I got home from work to a nice clean and dry crate and Brutus looking somewhat angelic saying ‘Please may I go and urinate’ He was trying to be polite and reminded me of a child creeping to its parents for stealing food from the fridge.

Opening the garden door I let him out and my eyes set on ‘the scene’ – obviously from early this arvo that hadn’t been cleaned up and I emphasise those words ‘the scene’.

My bottle brush tree had been dug enough to expose a large expanse of the beginning of the roots, several pieces of it scattered around the garden, couple that with the chewed bed and milk bottle – which was fine, the bed and the milk bottle but not the tree.

‘Who the hell did that?’ I demanded to know, Rocky lit up a cigarette (yes he smokes and I have told him not to), inhaled deeply and then blew smoke out of his nostrils that came out in funny shapes due to the shape of his nose.

‘Don’t ask me, I am a fully grown kelpie dog above such childish behaviour’ Rocky sniggered, not giving me direct eye contact, he then offered Brutus a puff of his ciggie, Brutus inhaled rather cockily and then choked on the smoke and looked throughly disgusted.

‘Was it you?’ I demanded to Brutus, he glanced down to the ground and said ‘It must have been the German Shepherd dogs that go around breaking into peoples houses and gardens, trashing them and the resident dogs get the blame’ Brutus said in a rather too quiet voice.

Sighing, I went to look at the tiny bottle brush tree which is the first thing I have ever managed to grow – well don’t count the ivy I planted against the wall of my Mums house in England which nearly ate away the brick and had to be professionally removed as that is still a sore point.

Ignoring the dogs for a moment, I tenderly tried to salvage my bottle brush tree and I suddenly heard Rocky yelling ‘Go on my son, good effort’ and I spotted Brutus taking a shit and my god the size of it, it could have been Abdels.

Not content with dropping the contents of his entire stomach in one spot, he then walks along in the ‘crapping pose’ with his tail stuck out like the handle of a water pump and does another pile further along, looks at me and then with his hind legs, kicks the shit and spreads it in a shower everywhere. All I remember thinking is ‘Thank god that is not diarrhoea’.

‘Beautiful’ I said aloud, ‘Just beautiful’.

‘I suppose you think you are clever, well I can forgive but I won’t forget’ I told Brutus as I picked up various lumps of turd in one hand and held his collar in the other to stop him ripping the bag open in his new found game. I am sure the neighbours heard me ‘talking dog’ and I am sure that they think I need certifying. But don’t judge me, I bet most of you reading this talk to your pets and I bet your pets answer back as well.

When you have a puppy, your life revolves around teething, turd, piss and hopefully NOT vomit, plus picking up dog shit as soon as it is produced because that really is to everyones benefit not to mention reducing risk of infection but for Brutus to enjoy kicking it around the garden, well that is not funny – unless it’s in someone elses garden with someone elses dog of course.

After their ‘garden games’ both boys were brought in and fed, I let their dinner settle and then let both dogs back out into the garden so I could sit down and watch Eastenders on Youtube and have some cheesecake, some rice crackers and an alcohol free beer – yes I know, healthy diet and all that.

Hearing Brutus ‘talking’, I crept to the door to see what they were up to.

Both dogs were by the bottle brush tree and you will never believe what they were doing. Rocky was giving the tree gentle tugs and using his front paw to poke it and Brutus was copying him!

‘You see, when I was a young pup not much older than you, I dug up an entire palm tree from a giant pot and dragged it round the garden’ Rocky told Brutus while poking the tree.

Brutus looked suitably impressed ‘Did you really?” The little brown dog asked in admiration.

Rocky nodded and recalled each and everything in his kelpie life; that he had dug up, chewed up and buried – including Winston the kelpie.

‘Go on, give it a poke’ Rocky said approvingly.

Brutus gave half hearted tugs on the bottle brush and Rocky bloody well joined in, I was furious – since when did Rocky go back to being destructive?

‘You naughty boys! Stop it right now!’ I yelled through the fly screen. Both dogs jumped in fright and Rocky said ‘Shit, she saw us!’, and Rocky actually shuffled off towards the shed and started whistling and pretending he was looking for tennis balls.

Brutus who hasn’t learned to lie yet, just crouched down in the soil and blushed.

There was some further chewing and chowing down on one another, Brutus tried to chew Rockys council rego tag and then made a big show of crouching down to herd up a wagtail which told him to ‘piss off’.

‘You expect me to take you seriously?” The wagtail laughed from the side of the fence.

‘Everything is a sheep’ Brutus said firmly, well as firmly as a puppy whose voice hasn’t broken could sound.

The birds in my garden are all friends with Rocky and Rocky tolerates them very well and even lets the doves come in the garden but he is guilty of telling Brutus that for the sake of making life easy, everything is a sheep unless it is a black cockatoo and that is akin to having the Queen in your garden and should be respected to the highest level.

Deciding that the dogs could come back in, after all Gordon had been fed and I was hoping they would all settle down so I could have some ‘Me time’ – does ‘Me time’ exist when you have a puppy? I don’t know, what are your thoughts?

Sitting down to finish Eastenders which had been paused on my computer, I took a deep breath in and thought ‘Oh God – I can smell shit’ – Gordon was walking round the living room looking a bit lighter so I went to his litter tray and sure enough, there were two nuggets waiting to be cleaned.

Got that out of the way, removed my thongs from Brutus’s mouth and swapped it for a rope toy and sat back down.

I breathed in again, bugger it – I could still smell shit, getting up towards the kitchen I could smell it even stronger and then I saw Brutus playing with something and Rocky was staring at him looking rather jealous. Glancing down I could see another large nugget of Gordon’s turd. Gordon gets them stuck to his bum sometimes and walks around like his arse is a Christmas tree with brown baubles on it, sometimes they get lucky and they fall off for me to pick up. That must have been what happened in this case.

Gordon sat on the chair nodding in smug fashion ‘Nice to know it can have it’s uses’ he said to Brutus as Brutus batted it towards the wall.

‘Oh Jesus Christ that is disgusting!’ I shouted and then immediately carried Brutus to put him in his crate for ‘time out’.

I went back to the offending turd and Rocky was about to start sniffing it and god forbid, even eat it. He used to have a penchant for cat shit but sort of grew out of it but I wonder if it was under his nose would he be able to refuse.

The horror in my voice must have shocked him as he shot across the living room as though that turd was on fire while Gordon was yelling ‘I dare ya to eat it!’

Rocky was duly dispatched to the laundry room with Brutus and after shredding his paper, Brutus is fast asleep and so is Gordon and anything to do with poo has been picked up and cleaned up.

I am so tired, it is one of those days where everyone in my house is naughty, if it can shit then it will, if stuff can be chewed then it will be.

I am beginning to wonder if it is a full moon and if Abdel comes home and takes a dump in my living room then I know it will be.

Now Cath – you had better not be laughing and I bet Cass is as well, I reckon this is karma, because yesterday I was laughing at Cass’s photos of the pups trashing her house and it made me giggle so this is payback.

Deep breaths – I am going to make a cup of tea, oh yes I am – don’t try and stop me. Brutus is fast asleep in his crate and I look at him and think how can something so cute be so naughty.

Later this evening…..

I was watching My Kitchen Rules with the delectable Manu for whom I have a strong garlic fetish for and I saw Gordon and Brutus by the door keeping watch.  I turned around and to look by the dining room table and realised that yet again I had misread the signals that Brutus gives when he needs the toilet as in he is more naughty than usual and wont settle which can be mistaken for a playful puppy.  For there by the table was a large turd steaming for all to see and appreciate should they want to.

‘I did that’ Brutus announced proudly, well there was no point in denying it really – you could almost see his name in it.

Over and out and a bit tired.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus Update

Brutus has taken to picking up lovely pieces of crunchy dirt and stuff and I only ever seem to catch him as he is happily at the end of crunching/swallowing whatever crap he has picked up and although I can open his mouth, I normally only find crunched up soil/grit and try as I might, I cannot get him out of the habit.

Please someone tell me this is normal behavior as Rocky was 5 months old when I got him and was never into that, he loved digging right from the word ‘go’.

So this morning I had a nicely cleaned out 2 litre plastic milk bottle and I removed the lid and put some puppy meal inside and gave it to Brutus. We used to do this with Rocky and enjoy watching him joyously run around the garden with a milk bottle in his mouth barking and then have to pick up the pieces afterwards.

Brutus was thrilled with his new toy and ran around the garden pushing it with his nose so that the biscuit fell out. Unaware that there was biscuit in the bottle, he didnt even see Rocky scooting behind him like a Dyson vacuum polishing up the puppy meal.

‘Ha ha ha, Derro Dog!’ Rocky yelled happily in between eating biscuit – as this was something we used to do for him, he knew exactly what was coming out of the milk bottle.

‘What are you eating you greedy bastard?’ Brutus shouted, his language already become ‘choice’ as Gordon and Rocky swear all the time.

‘Your biscuit – Derro Dog!’ Rocky smirked laughing, his new nickname for Brutus was ‘Derro Dog’.

Brutus bit his bottom lip, stopped for a minute and looked somewhat confused at where all the puppy meal was coming from. But the temptation got too much for him and he muttered ‘Bollocks’ and then carried on shoving the milk bottle noisily around the garden with Rocky continuing to scoot after him picking up the biscuit.

The noise was exceptionally loud and I had to shut the bedroom door as not to wake Abdel but I am sure the grating/scraping sound across the floor could be heard by the neighbours.

Toilet training – another dry night! Brutus actually woke me up yelping at 6.25am telling me that if I didn’t get to his crate pronto, he would piss the bed and not only would he piss the bed, but he would do cartwheels to spread it further. Rocky was snorting with laughter on his bed as he had dared the tiny puppy to say it, in fact Rocky is teaching him to swear as he finds it funny when Brutus swears in a puppy voice. A puppy voice for those of you that don’t know, is a high pitched cute ‘Babe – pig in the city’ kind of voice and the word ‘Bollocks’ sounds hilarious when said by a puppy.

I let Brutus out as one does not argue with a nearly toilet trained puppy with a foul mouth, not to mention the joys of finding a dry kennel, even if the paper has been shredded up by the lean mean shredding puppy machine.

Another bad habit Brutus has developed is once I have done a ‘turd run’ and picked up the shit in the garden which I like to do straight away, Brutus bounces up and down like a springbok and rips a hole in the bag so the turd sprinkles round the garden like a brown shower of shite.

‘Yippee!’ Brutus yells as he does it and Rocky claps from the side of the garden to encourage him ‘Go on Brutus, do it again!’ Rocky is reliving his puppy years through Brutus and is thoroughly enjoying it.

Aside from the crunching of various garden matter, ripping holes in turd bags, everything is going swimmingly.

Over and out from me

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus Update

ImageBrutus – on the mend

You may remember a blog entry I did about stress and Sjogrens syndrome and I mentioned that I had acquired a new puppy called Brutus, which was struck down with severe gastro which very nearly cost him his life.

Well Brutus now has his own Facebook page as he has many followers supporting his journey and progress and for those of you that are interested – here is the link to his page:

I have had a request on here for a Brutus update and photographs, these are all on his Facebook page but I shall do a quick update on here.

Here is a photo of Brutus two nights before the gastro struck:

ImageChunky Brutus – just before the gastro struck

Brutus was admitted to Murdoch two days after this photo was taken, he stayed for one day, was admitted to Swan Veterinary Hospital, came out the next day when this photo was taken:

ImageSkeletal Brutus

He was then readmitted a few hours after being discharged from hospital where he spent the rest of the week – here is a photo of him in hospital:

ImageBrutus in hospital with severe gastro

Brutus finally came out of hospital on 9th March and has been home for a week, on Saturday 16th March he went to the vet for his vaccine as the first hadn’t taken and he weighed about 7.8kgs which is still underweight for him although each day he is looking better.

Here are some photographs that I took from over last weekend and this weekend – see the differences and changes in him:

ImageLook at my ribcage!

ImageRocky and Brutus


ImageBrutus and his new ‘brother’ – Gordon

ImageBrutus at the vets waiting for his vaccine

ImageAm I a cat or a dog? (Brutus asks)

And finally, here is a photo that summarizes just how an older dog can guide a young pup and often teach them about life far better than their owners, I have cut and pasted an update I did on Facebook yesterday, it is about the relationship I have with Rocky as his owner and how although I thought I was doing what is best for him, the arrival of Brutus has taught me otherwise.

ImageRocky – Brutus’s guardian angel.

Dedicated to Rocky:

Today I realized that dog ownership often highlights issues that owners have with the relationship with their dogs and it often says an awful lot about the owner as well.

Rocky has been my ‘rock’ so to speak since we first got him. When I nearly lost my husband in a car crash, Rocky was the one consistent thing in my life, my husband was in hospital and I had been told to get his affairs in order and I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out so hard that I couldn’t breathe and the solid black body of my little kelpie dog pressing himself into me and washing my face – I will never forget it.

With each crisis that has been in our lives and trust me, in the 5 years we have lived in Australia, there have been many – health, legal, financial, bereavement, I shudder at remembering any of it, Rocky has been there and I too, wonder how I am still here – mentally and physically.

A year ago during a particularly financially difficult time when we came close to losing everything, I remember walking around Beeliar Wetlands with Rocky. He has hip dysplasia and I have severe joint issues from an auto immune disease. You should have seen the pair of us walking around Beeliar, both of us stiff as boards and of course you get halfway round and think ‘damn it, I shall have to complete it now’ and although Rocky looked horrified as he hates road work, he loyally kept up with me – his gait stiff as anything as I limped the 6km or so around the wetlands, we were like Forest Gump doing his long journey.

Rocky has been my best friend and I think with that intense dog/owner relationship that I have with him, I have rather unfairly and unknowingly (until now), taken away some of his ‘doggy-ness’ and stripped him of his normal canine behavior.

‘That dog is like your baby’ I have had said to me on so many occasions by child obsessed people. This I have to hotly deny because we have chosen NOT to have children. My animals are not the children we never had, having ones genitals stretched to 10cms never once appealed to me and I am sorry if that upsets people – I just don’t swing that way.

Yes, I love my animals and yes, having Brutus could be comparable to having a young child as I need eyes in the back of my head and let’s not even discuss toilet training and teething and sleepless nights.

But no, they are not children, and when you have come close to losing your partner – soul mate, when you have held your Mothers hand as she passed away, I can say now that there is no comparison for me. I love my animals dearly as you can tell and they will take priority over visitors but at the end of the day, I must stress that they are not children.

I will admit to humanizing Rocky and being more dependent on him than he is me. He is expressive, his face speaks volumes, so does Gordon’s – hell, I even ‘speak dog’ and make them talk, but then again so do many pet owners.

Rocky only tends to interact with other cattle/working dogs. before Brutus came to live with us, Rocky would happily sit in of an evening and smooch me on the sofa, washing my arms, or the sofa, or the wall – anything really and failing that, the cats ears were always clean.

Now Brutus is here, Rocky is somewhat distancing himself from me and becoming more of a dog and I am observing some traditional canine mannerisms and behavioral patterns that really do shoot the saying ‘I know my dog better than anyone’ into fresh air because no, we never really know our dogs, we domesticate them to a point, but no, we never truly know them because at the end of the day – wild is wild and you can take the dog out of the wild but you cant take the wild instincts out of the dog.

Today I took Rocky for a swim, Brutus had to stay behind as he only had his vaccine yesterday, so Abdel and I decided to go swimming with Rocky and Rocky did his usual swimming until exhausted, swallowing heaps of sea water and then yakking up and being reluctantly dragged from the water when we decided that an hour of solid swimming was quite enough thank you, besides, Abdel had to go to work.

I bathed Rocky in the garden and Brutus was washing the drops as they dripped off Rocky’s sopping black body – he looked like a shiny stag beetle – in fact my nickname for him is ‘beetle dog’.

I had bought Rocky a kangaroo hide chew which I had planned to give to him when Brutus wasn’t around. Trouble is, Rocky is a lazy bone eater – he still has a brand new hide chew from January but the kangaroo chew is much smaller and easier to eat. I have tried telling him that many a dog in Africa would be grateful for that bone but he tells me I am talking crap – which of course is quite plausible.

I had locked Brutus away in the laundry room and Rocky looked at the chew and said ‘Bollocks, I am not eating that’. Sighing, I let Brutus out and intended to pick up the chew, I was worried about Brutus trying to steal the chew as he is too young for stuff like that.

Rocky suddenly wanted the chew and curled his lip at Brutus, it wasn’t like ‘I am going to rip your face off’, it was a warning from a senior dog to the baby of the pack.

‘Piss off away from my bone’ Rocky said to Brutus. This is where it got interesting, Rocky never exhibits normal canine behaviors – why? because I have humanised him and made him the way he is – far too imprinted in a way he has forgotten how to act with other dogs.

‘Mum said I can have it!’ Brutus lied and then made steps to take the bone. Should I intervene? What would happen in the wild?

I sat there and did nothing, my heart pounding wondering if Rocky would hurt Brutus.

Brutus went nearer the bone and Rocky jumped up and really told him off – excuse the bad language but I can only relay it as it happened.

‘Get away from my bone you bastard!’ Rocky shouted, curling his lip up in a fine impression of of Elvis Presley (he used to curl his lip).

Rocky did a mock charge at Brutus while curling his lip, yelling at him to piss off and Brutus squeaked a high pitched squeak and went straight into submission. I saw for myself that Rocky did not actually touch him, but Brutus rolled on his back to say ‘sorry’ to Rocky.

The sneaky pup then went by the side of the coffee table with his rubber chicken in his mouth, laid the chicken by Rocky’s feet and then tried to swap it with the chew – I am being deadly serious.

Rocky did one more mock charge and that was enough to send Brutus on to the sofa, shaking like a girl while huddling up to Gordon, telling Gordon how awful it was. Gordon merely told him that stealing another dogs bones was akin to listening to Cliff Richard’s Millennium Prayer on replay and one should never ever do it. Brutus said he was sorry and Rocky as if to make a point of the Tenth Commandment ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal Other Dogs Bones’, ate the whole kangaroo chew, while watching Brutus, making one hell of a mess which I had to clean up.

I was so tempted to intervene because the whole scene made me uncomfortable but then I asked myself why, why did it make me uncomfortable?

It was normal canine behavior and pack hierarchal structure – dogs needed to learn their place, it isn’t just owner/dog boundaries that need to be set in the home, it is also canine boundaries as well and Brutus today learned that he cannot steal Rocky’s food until Rocky has eaten his fill and left scraps for him.

After Rocky had eaten his chew, there were lots of crumbs left on the bed, Brutus dutifully waited until Rocky had moved way and then jumped off the sofa, Rocky wagged his tail to the young pup and Brutus happily but rather submissively polished off the crumbs.

Once he had done that, he went up to Rocky swishing his long tail and cleaning round Rocky’s mouth and Rocky looked down at Brutus and licked one of his ears, gave a little tail wag and the pair of them carried on like nothing had happened.

And that is because nothing did happen – in their world anyway. It was just doggy stuff – we humans might not like it but it is their world and no matter how much we try and domesticate them, no matter how much we think that we know them, they are wild animals with very primal instincts just waiting to surface.

My dependency on Rocky was quite intense and in hindsight, not entirely fair. At first I felt guilty for Rocky as I had another puppy, a puppy that required a lot more attention but I should have given Rocky credit for how he would deal with it.

We can train/reprimand undesirable behaviors in our puppy’s/dogs but you know something? The best training for Brutus has come from Rocky himself.

When Brutus chews on Rocky, Rocky puts him in his place and Brutus very quickly has learned what he can and cannot do and what is acceptable.

Rocky now knows that there is competition for food and doesn’t piss about with his meals like he used to. Rocky has become a more proficient guard dog – although he is pretty on the ball now but now there is a puppy in his ‘pack’ to protect, he has gone up a notch.

My kelpie has changed, since the arrival of Brutus, he has gone from a childish 4.5 year old ex farm dog with some very babyish behaviors and some not so healthy acquired human ones, to an almost regal, mature, kind but assertive Kelpie that is far better in guiding this puppy than I could ever be. Don’t get me wrong, I do my best – you are all following me on this journey and I post with my heart but trust me, Rocky is much better at it.

So whilst I feel quite sad that I have sort of lost my good mate in so many ways, I am really proud of the dog he has become and if Brutus can learn half of what Rocky has to teach him, then we are going to be very lucky.

Humanizingyour dogs is one thing, but I have learned you have to allow dogs to be dogs, also watch their behaviour, watch them interact, watch how they sort out their differences and respect their ‘inner dog’.

So this entry is dedicated to Rocky, he has been where Brutus is now (we got him when he was about 5 months), he has chewed and destroyed a Palm tree, dug 4 feet under a retainer wall, eaten my entire CD collection, he has been there, he has supported me through the most traumatic times of my life and has been my best friend.

But now it is time for him to be a dog and enjoy being a dog, he is in the garden now with Brutus – both of them lying a few feet apart, both of them quiet, Brutus fast asleep and Rocky half asleep while keeping a watchful eye on the young pup that has barged into his life and prompting him to let his natural instincts take over.

As for me, well he is still my mate but now I have the pleasure of watching him become Brutus’s mate as well.

Let dogs be dogs.

And Finally…

Brutus is a puppy that is exhibiting normal puppy behavior and his reactions are guided by Rocky.  Donkey if you remember, was exhibiting dog aggressive behavior towards Rocky to the point he wouldn’t let Rocky even drink from his water bowl and could not be left alone with him.  Having been castrated quite late in life, he had developed some of the not so nice traits typical of an ‘entire dog’  If he was going to live with another adult male dog, it needed to be one that was big enough and strong enough to hold his own which Rocky isn’t.  Donkey was also not good at all with cats and both SAFE and I believed it would be at a huge risk to Gordon to keep him we needed a dog that we could trust with out cat.

Brutus will be going to puppy group and training and is being de-sexed next week so won’t have chance to develop his sex hormones and ultimately undesirable behavior but I will stress that if you have any concerns about your dog exhibiting aggressive behavior towards other dogs, I would say take him to your vet to rule out illness and then take appropriate expert advice on where to go from there.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Sjogrens and the Balance of Medication

ImageFriday is Methotrexate Day and even Gordon the cat is nervous for me

Many Sjogrens/Lupus sufferers will testify that getting the balance of medication just right can mean the difference between being able to function – or not as the case may be.

I am 27kgs overweight – courtesy of the steroids and whilst I joke about it, I am not happy about it either and you know what it’s like, friends/family think that they have the right to comment on your weight and whilst I appreciate that faceless strangers may secretly think ‘She is big’, that doesn’t bother me – what they think of me is none of my business but what they say directly to me is.

Let’s face it I have written about various people/characters on the train/bus but that is because I am a ‘people watcher’ and like writing about people/events that I observe – they don’t know what I am thinking or writing and I don’t know what they are thinking (or even writing) about me.  But I would never, ever go up to a person and comment on their weight or personal appearance.

Writing about complete strangers is one thing – because I am keeping my thoughts limited to my writing, I don’t know them, they don’t know me but going up to someones face and directly commenting is another entirely.

At my last specialist appointment I begged the consultant to reduce my 5mg of steroids.  This dose may not sound much but when you have been on them for over a year (initially higher dose) and are highly steroid sensitive, it can not only be exceptionally hard to lose the initial weight that you have put on but every single milligram makes a difference in terms of reduction and symptoms when the balance of medication is altered.

The plan was to reduce to 4mg for 3 months and then go to 3mgs and then remain on that and if need be, increase the Methotrexate.  Now the Methotrexate part filled me with dread because after my injection, I literally lose a day.  I get incredibly tired, nauseous, dizzy and unwell – even just two hours after the injection. The day after I am fit for nothing and normal stuff like the gym or doing my weekly Spring clean in the house is out for me.

In fact, I only have to look at the vials of bright yellow cytotoxic medication and my needles/syringes and I feel nauseous and start yawning (seriously), so you can imagine what the thought of doubling the dose does to me.

Upsetting the balance

The effects from reduction were not immediately noticeable, I reduced to 4mg a day and thought ‘this is easy’.  I expected some rebound effects of steroid reduction but what I didn’t expect was two weeks later for my mouth to become so dry that I would go all night without swallowing and wake up with bleeding and chapped lips, painful lungs, hurting to breathe, sores on my tongue and an ever so slight increase in brain fog.

Although I didn’t have a normal amount of saliva prior to reduction, it was just enough to give my teeth some protection.  Now I have almost none and my back teeth are so porous and ‘hollow’ sounding, I knew that for any extended period of not having saliva, would see my teeth paying the ultimate price by losing enamel and me losing my teeth.

My specialist appointment is not for another three months and to be honest, I don’t think my teeth would have lasted that long without developing cavities – I have to see a dentist every 4 months for x-rays and we (my dentist and I) are fighting somewhat hard for me to keep my teeth.

My sense of smell and taste have gone, I have no appetite for most of the time and can get by on breakfast which is really the only time I feel hungry.  When I do eat, the food sort of ‘sits there’ in my stomach as pretty much everything is dry.

And it is no fun not having an appetite either because you force yourself to have yoghurt and because you are not eating properly, you feel weak and you cannot function properly, a bit like running a marathon on en empty stomach – it simply cannot be done.

That was when I realized I had done something stupid and that was fixate upon my weight, totally pissed off with the comments from people that were meant to care about me that think they had the right to say something about my weight and my steroids.

And because I was so concerned about that, by begging my specialist to reduce my steroids, this has completely upset the fragile balance of my disease versus medication and now I am paying the price – and for what?

Last week I decided to go back up to 5mgs and I also decided to ditch those in my life that are not supportive of me and this illness.

Sadly I don’t know how much difference going back up to 5mgs will do as the damage has been done and I don’t know if a bigger dose is needed to ‘flip the switch back’ so to speak but as it took about two weeks to go downhill, I am hoping that it may take a similar time to crawl back to where I was, only time will tell.

Be grateful for the health you do have

As for my weight, I am going to try and go to the gym at least once a week but obviously not the day after the Methotrexate but anything is better than nothing.

As for my diet, I am going to have to go on to soft foods/soups as food sticks in my throat and it is no fun having a mouth full of food that you cant taste/smell and have no moisture to get it down.

As for my attitude well that is going to change as well.  I do admit to feeling as though I have an unwanted lodger within my body in the form of Sjogrens that I have no choice but to live with.  I may not be able to get rid of this ‘lodger’ but like many things in life, I can learn to live along side it, accept it and make the best of the situation.

As for those that don’t support me and believe me with regards to my illness, well they can be treated with the contempt that they deserve and I shall put them in my ‘too hard basket’.

Have a lovely weekend.

Samantha Rose © Copyright 2013