Brutus – the good boy!

999673_10151484531758317_267512270_n‘Am I a good boy?”

My puppy Brutus graduated from Puppy group last Saturday, he did if I say so myself, do exceptionally well and won the sniffing contest and had to sniff out food under cones and got to eat everything that he found. Well I dont call him Brutus ‘the breakfast boy’ for nothing. (he does a breakfast dance every morning)

Anyway, all the dogs were chatting except for the staffie, she hadnt turned up for the last day. The dogs were all moaning about how cold it was, how some of them were tired and could have easily stayed in bed, one of them – the tatty terrier had his own jacket on which Brutus was jealous of, although why I do not know as he eats everything I give him and no doubt he would eat his jacket had he been wearing it.

‘She won’t get her certificate’ Jackie the border collie whispered to Shadow the retriever who nodded in agreement.

‘Does that mean she is not a good girl?’ Brutus asked, his forehead creased with worry, in fact Brutus always looked worried – life in general made Brutus worry, as did the thought of a food shortage.

‘Oh she is a good girl I am sure, but perhaps her owners were busy or something’ Jackie reassured Brutus and then licked his genitals while he cleaned round her mouth in return. Personally I would not have allowed it as I know where Brutus’s mouth has been and it usually involves Gordons butt and more lately, the litter tray – need I say any more!

‘Shhh, it’s started’ Shadow said in his firm retriever voice. You see all dogs have their own voice – be it a mongrel voice, a whippet voice, a kelpie voice, a mixed breed voice or in Brutus’s case, a bloody big deep voice.

Puppy group was good fun as we all had to put our dogs through an obstacle course – Jackie was first and then Brutus was second.

Jackie did a stirling and somewhat perfect job of sitting in the hoop, weaving in and out of the cones and laying down in the cones for 10 seconds.

‘Go on Jackie, you can do this!’ Shadow and the small tatty terriers yelled from the sidelines.

‘Go on, run yer tits off!’ Brutus shouted in his deep voice that sounded like a big fierce dog and not a six month old puppy.

‘Brutus don’t be so rude!’ Shadow said in his firm voice, trying to be grown up as he was the biggest of the group.

Brutus blushed at his reprimand and then before he knew it, it was his turn to do the course.

‘Go on Brutus, you can nail this, you’ve got this!’ Tatty terrier shouted in his tatty voice.

‘Go on Brutus, you can do it!’ Jackie the border collie shouted. She really did have a crush on him and it would be rather marvellous if he did well. Perhaps they could get a job together on a farm and herd sheep, she would like that and although you wouldn’t think it, Brutus is rather good at herding, his inner Ridgeback has frequent battles with his inner kelpie and he often finds himself herding everything (including me) and then wanting to bring it down like the lions in Africa – which is what Ridgebacks were originally bred for.

Brutus swallowed nervously and took his place and we were given the command to do the course.

‘Sit in the circle’ The dog trainer instructed and Brutus dutifully sat down trembling in the circle like a good boy.

‘Weave in and out of the cones’ She ordered and we went in and out of the cones.

‘Drop for ten seconds’ She ordered and Brutus dropped although the treat in my hand made lying on the cold wet grass for ten seconds a lot easier.

‘Go on Brutus!’ his pals all yelled from the side, even the magpies who were watching from the trees were shouting ‘Go on my son!’ and clapping their wings. It was rather nice that the local birds had got involved with supporting the dogs, they were a regular group that watched the class in the hope of treats that fell on the floor.

When all the dogs had finished, we did the sniffing contest where treats were hidden under the cones and each dog had to race one another as to who could sniff out the treats and get to the end.

‘I will be good at this, I can sniff out dead bodies and the food inside them’ Brutus said dramatically.

‘Bollocks can you’ Shadow snorted with laughter and even the magpies on the sidelines sniggered.

‘It’s the hound in me you see, I am half ridgeback’ Brutus said and then added ‘I have the best of both worlds, I sniff, I hunt and I herd it up and I eat it and I can shit like a man’

‘Off you go Turd Legs’ Tatty terrier yelled to Brutus, who had earned the name ‘Turd Legs’ long ago when he had that episode of shitting the bed and slipping in his own turd in the garden and more recently, eating Gordons turd from the litter tray and justifying it on the grounds that it was ‘cat nuggets’.

Almost trance like, Brutus snorted along the floor and with an uncanny speed, snouted out the treats from each cone and before the others had barely started, Brutus stood proudly at the end smacking his chops which are so crumpled, he looked like an old man with no teeth, chewing a toffee.

‘I am so going to get diarrhoea for this’ He yelled proudly, he did as well, his stomach is that sensitive but as he had been a good boy, a bit of diarrhoea in return for treats could be overlooked – just this once, a bit like eating chocolate when you know it will make you sick.

‘Good boy!’ Jackie shouted proudly and then blushed as everyone looked at her.

After that we did another game called ‘Simon Says’ involving obedience commands so you get the general picture and Rocky was rather good at it and came third I think (not sure).

‘Bollocks!’ tatty terrier yelled as he was eliminated and then shouted ‘I was robbed’

By the end of it, Brutus got sent off because he was too tired to sit quickly or do anything quickly and the only thing he could do quickly was say ‘fuck it, I have had enough, I am hungry and tired’ – never mind the fact he had stuffed his face all morning with puppy chow and treats.

And before we knew it, the class was over and our prizes were handed out, Brutus got a Dentastix chew for coming first in the sniffing contest, he got a bonio for the obstacle course and a dog biscuit for the ‘Simon Says’ – all of which could give him the shits so it was decided to share the treats with Rocky – much to Brutus’s protests as he believes that all food belongs to him.

‘Give us a bit of that dog biscuit’ One of the magpies yelled from the branch. He was quite a tough magpie and wore a leather jacket and carried a flick knife, he was a formidable enemy and Brutus was rather scared. However, come between Brutus and his food and that was another matter.

‘Fuck off, I ain’t sharing’ Brutus hissed back and tatty terrier giggled at Brutus’s bravery.

‘Just you wait till breeding season Turd Legs, I am gonna swoop you’ Magpie replied and then crapped – just missing Brutus’s head. I believed him too as I have been swooped by magpies when I used to ride my electric bike to work and could regularly be seen cycling down the road at 40km an hour with my bike on full power as I tried to dodge magpies, I may have even been shouting ‘Piss off you bastards’ as I did so.

*GRADUATION*

We all stood up to receive the certificates of graduation, the boy dogs puffed out their chests and smoothed their ears out, you could see them standing so proud, all ready to graduate. Those that had beards cleaned them, the girls checked their teeth and ears – it was so sweet, you should have seen them all trying to straighten themselves out and smarten themselves up.

‘Don’t we throw our hats in the air like they do at Uni?’ Shadow asked – the other dogs laughed.

‘I don’t have a hat’ Brutus whispered to me looking worried.

‘You don’t need a hat to throw Brutus, this is not a degree you are getting’ I comforted him as his little head creased again with worry. I hadn’t seen him look that worried since Rocky pissed on his head the other week.

‘You can throw your collar – I dare you’ Jackie suggested and then giggled as the other tatty terrier snorted with laughter. The other dogs then all got excited about throwing their collars in the air until someone said that was not allowed as their leash was attached.

So the certificates were handed out with the dogs names on them – each dog examined their certificate and they were all unusually quiet as though they couldnt quite believe they were all officially ‘good dogs’.

‘Are you crying Brutus?’ Shadow asked sternly and then gave Brutus a friendly poke.

Brutus bit his lip and stood up and said ‘No, don’t be daft’. (he is such a liar, he was crying because I saw him.

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Brutus gets his certificate of graduation

Even the magpies were nodding proudly, acknowledging the puppies and their achievement.

‘Will I see you again?’ Jackie whispered to Brutus as we all said goodbye to one another.

‘Not sure, I hope so’ Brutus’s little brown face stared at Jackies black and white one. She really was the star pupil of the class and I am sure will have her own flock of sheep one day.

‘Call me!’ Jackie mouthed to Brutus and did a phone impression as he got in the car.

It was a subdued puppy that I drove home that day, despite getting his certificate and winning prizes for both himself and Rocky, he loved his puppy group and would miss it, and I had no doubts about his attraction for Jackie.

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked as we were about halfway home.

‘Yes Brutus?’ I asked him – canine question time again!

‘Can I go back for the intermediate puppy group?’ Brutus asked hopefully. He had grand plans for agility and everything!

Just as I was looking forward to getting my Saturday mornings back, I sighed and replied ‘Maybe Brutus, maybe’.

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked again.

Staring at him through my rear view mirror ‘Yes Brutus?’ I said.

‘Am I a good dog now that I have been to school?’ Brutus asked with his forehead all creased up.

Thinking of the past week where he had dug up a small section of $7,000 worth of fake lawn, eaten cat shit, pulled Abdel’s shirt off the line and stolen my knickers, the answer was debatable.

But then on the other side of the coin, he had started life out as a critically sick puppy, fought back from gastro, weighed little more than 7kgs when he came out of hospital and had fought back, attended and completed his course at puppy group.

He could now sit, drop, stay, shake hands, herd up the cat and myself, barks like a bastard to protect the garden, has a heart of gold, loves his family and his cuddles, adores Gordon (and cleaning his arse and eating cat shit).

He is six months old, he is an adolescent, he is pushing the boundaries with Rocky who duffs him up on a daily basis to put him in his place. He is not naughty, he is a normal healthy puppy doing normally puppy things.

He greets us when we get home, he sleeps quietly in his crate when it is required of him.

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked impatiently, ‘Am I a good boy now?’

‘Yes Brutus, you are officially a good boy’ I smiled proudly at him.

And with that, Brutus curled up happily on the back seat and went to sleep.

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Brutus loves his puppy group

He is a good boy, he is our boy, he is my little Turd Legs, he is my eating machine, my kangaroo dog – he can jump 6 foot, he can dig a 2 foot hole he can chew, and he ‘talks’ like any good hound can.

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Brutus sings the song of his people

Brutus – my dog and my very own good boy and yep, what is a bit of fake lawn anyway.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright June 2013

Brutus goes to puppy school

THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL

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Brutus – looking forward to puppy school!

‘I can’t find my school bag, Mum, where is my school bag?’ Brutus shrieked in a panic.

Rocky was lying on his bed rolling his eyes at Gordon, he could afford to be confident you see as he had done puppy school himself back in 2010, although he started it later than Brutus, much later in fact and was one of the oldest dogs there but he still did his time, excluding the fact he missed two lessons due to his hip dysplasia.

Gordon was on his favourite chair smoking a rolled up catnip cigarette and blowing smoke from his nostrils – it came out in strange shapes and that never fails to amuse me.

‘Don’t forget to do a turd by the big tree where all the dogs meet and if you sniff round all the bags, you might find something tasty’ Rocky said, Gordon sniggered as he exhaled on his fag and then flicked ash on to the chair and rubbed it in with his paw, making it go all grey.

ImageRocky and Gordon tease Brutus about school

‘Do a crap by the tree? But I always crap in the garden at home?’ Brutus said, looking a touch anxious.

‘Right, that is your bag packed for tomorrow – vaccination certificate, your homework sheets, I have researched about your breeding – Rhodesian Ridgeback and of course I know about kelpies, a water bowl, bottle of water, poo bags and your breakfast puppy meal allocation for treats and rewards’ I said firmly and then added ‘And no, you do not take a shit by the tree or steal food from other dogs school bags’. Glaring at Rocky as I said it.

I had planned to buy tasty meaty treats for Brutus tomorrow but the vet said due to Brutus being prone to colitis, he has to stick rigidly to his own diet and a measured amount of it and so far, it seems to be working.

Actually talking of vets, Brutus and Rocky were at the vet tonight, Rocky had his hip injection and Brutus came along for the ride. Rocky adores going to our vet and dragged me across the car park so he could say hello to his nurses and the vet, Brutus decided that he too liked going to the vet and assisted in helping Rocky drag me to the door.

‘You are a bit keen aren’t you?’ A chunky chocolate Labrador shouted as he waited by the gate.

‘Cuddles from the nurses’ Rocky replied simply and told Brutus to get a move on.

The Labrador nodded in recognition but then told Rocky that he hoped it was worth it because he had just had a finger up his arse to empty his anal glands and even the liver treats afterwards were a poor consolation prize although being a Labrador, there was very little if anything that he wouldn’t eat – anal glands or not.

‘Hi girls, I am here, how have you been – it’s been too long, you never phone, we never catch up!’ Rocky said in a breathless voice as he greeted his favourite nurse. Checking him in at reception, I took both the boys to the scales where Rocky weighed in at 20.7kgs – he had lost a bit of weight but the vet said he is in rude health. He has also gained muscle tone and condition overall due to the fact he is constantly playing with Brutus.

Brutus surprised me, he didn’t weigh nearly as much as I had thought, 17.7kgs, I thought he was at least 20kgs, but the vet assured me that he is the perfect weight. So I guess I was making him fat before as I wasn’t sure how much he was supposed to weigh, still I/We are on a learning curve.

Rocky had his hip injection and Brutus had a check over and the vet said Brutus has a lovely temperament and is so trusting, Rocky had already advised Brutus which nurses to flirt with and how to wash the vets neck and Brutus now agrees with Rocky that the vets is a very nice place to be indeed – until you get a finger up your arse of course which Rocky does frequently and the look on his face is priceless because I swear that he blushes.

Rocky claims he needs counselling for dog abuse each time he has his anal glands emptying and Gordon didn’t help by buying him the ‘Brokeback Mountain’ DVD but that is another story and a rather adult one at that.

Anyway, back to tonight – everything is packed and I had just put the dogs to bed, telling Brutus that he had to get some sleep as we have to be at puppy group for 9am.

‘Don’t forget to write a note with ‘turd legs’ and stick it on the teachers back’ Rocky said to Brutus.

(sniggering from Gordon)

‘Mum’ Brutus shouted while I was in the kitchen.

‘Yes Brutus’ I replied

‘Will they teach me how to be a good boy, Rocky said that is impossible’

‘You are already a good boy Brutus, they will just teach you other nice and fun stuff’ I reassured him. I could just see the black tufts above his eyes as he snuggled down into his crate – he looked so cute.

ImagePuppy dreams!

‘They are going to steal your anal glands’ Gordon shouted from the dining area.

‘Mum, are they going to steal my anal glands’ Brutus cried.

(Rocky snorting with laughter)

‘No Brutus, they won’t go near your anal glands’ I told him.

‘Mum, will the other dogs bash me up?’ Brutus asked – god he was being persistent.

‘No Brutus, they won’t bash you up, you will make friends, learn manners and get treats for doing it’ I told him.

‘Mum’ Brutus said in a quiet voice.

‘Yes Brutus’ I said while making a drink.

‘Is my bag packed’ The little dog asked desperately.

‘Yes Brutus, your bag is packed’.

‘Brutus’ Rocky said in a tired voice.

‘Yes Rocky’ Brutus lifted his head up and looked at Rocky who was snuggled up on his bed.

‘Shut the fuck up’ Rocky laughed and winked affectionately at the fractious puppy.

‘Goodnight Mum’ Brutus yelled and put his head down.

‘Night Brutus’ I replied to him.

‘Night Mum’ Rocky said – that was unusual for him, he normally crashes and falls asleep at night.

‘Night Rocky’ I laughed.

‘Goodnight Gordon’ Brutus shouted to the fat ginger Tom on who was now sitting on the dining room table.

‘What are we, the fucking Waltons?’ Gordon piped up.

‘Language Gordon, language’ I burst out laughing – honestly it was so funny, you should have been there – Gordon swears in a ginger voice and if you don’t know what I mean by that and you have a ginger cat, go and piss him off and you will find out for yourself that all cats have their own voices, especially gingers.

And that my dears, is that – it is now 12.35am, I really ought to get to sleep as I have a rather over excited pup to take to dog school.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright May 2013

Donkey Diaries! – you can take the dog out of the Pilbara…..

ImageDonkey with his squeaky burger toy

As many of you know, Donkey had found a wonderful home in Perth with a lovely couple.  He enjoyed the beach life, his home life and continuing his incredible skill of raiding the pantry on a daily basis, sorting out the rubbish in the bins – on the basis of one should never pass up an opportunity of a good ‘bin feed’.

Whilst everything was looking good for him, sadly due to no fault of his own, Donkey’s owner suffered a relationship break up and had to move house and due to unavoidable circumstances, Donkey had to be re-homed.   It was decided that Donkey would be flown back to Karratha to go into foster care.  So armed with his toys, a bed ,leash and a muzzle (some dogs he likes, some dogs he doesn’t and cats are definitely not welcome!)

Last week Donkey landed back in the Pilbara and was met by his foster mum Sue.  Sue informed me that it was lovely to see Donkey’s nose twitching in recognition of the familiar smells of Karratha (and I don’t mean from the skimpies bar!).  He truly seemed to recognize it and remembered exactly where he was and even looked happy to be back.

‘I know this place, I remember that sand, can we go to the skimpies bar?’ Donkey said excitedly as he sat in the car.

Sue smiled at him and said that no he could not go to the skimpies bar, it was late and he was going back to her house with her dog Malcolm.

‘That’s OK’ Donkey said happily as he strained his head to look out of the window, the smells were so familiar and whilst he had enjoyed his life in Perth and his owner was a lovely lady, he knew within himself that he had come home.

As Sue let him into her home, Donkey was somewhat more subdued around Malcolm.  Having been a bit of a bully/bossy dog in the past, he and Malcolm had not always seen eye to eye.  Being full of testosterone hadn’t helped either but now it had been several months since Donkey had been de-sexed and his hormone levels had dropped considerably and he no longer wanted to boss Malcolm around, although Malcolm still had not forgiven him and that was obvious.

Within an hour, Donkey had made himself at home and before bed time, Donkey had remembered his favorite past time of raiding the pantry – Donkey was home and things were back to normal and Sue realized just how much she loved having him there – bin and pantry raiding and all!

Handsome Prince and his new best friend.

Do you remember me telling you about Handsome Prince (HP as he is known), who is in charge of the yard and he helped in the big escape of Donkey when Donkey flew to Perth in a flurry of TC Narelle?  Well in case you need your memory jogging, here is a photograph of HP on his motorized scooter and no, he is not disabled – in fact he has a rather cracking pair of legs, he just thinks the scooter is better to get around the yard on.  Donkey happens to agree with him and is currently plotting ways to share the scooter with HP, but whether or not that works out is anyone’s guess.

ImageHP on his ‘mean machine’ – just look at those sexy legs!

So there we have it, Donkey is back in the Pilbara and he most certainly has had the biggest adventures from the SAFE rescue dogs.  What is to become of the tatty little terrier mix that really doesn’t like cats and is particularly fussy with certain dogs but adores people and squeaky toys?

Well it would appear the answer may be closer than one would think, why? I hear you ask, well I shall tell you.

Donkey is a bit of a ‘mans dog’, in the short time he has been back in Karratha, he goes to work with Sue and enjoys hanging out in the yard and especially loves hanging around the boys at smoko time and he has his own secure and safe area to keep him in.

He gets excited when he sees guys in high viz, he just likes hanging out with the lads and basically he is a mans dog and will happily pass on the luxuries and home comforts of life in favour of sitting round the smoko table with the boys and keeping an eye on the trucks that come in to the yard.

 ImageDonkey in his high viz – ‘one of the lads’

Donkey has taken quite a shine to HP (Handsome Prince), probably due to HP heroically coming along with the bolt cutters to help him escape when he first left Karratha.  In fact I have heard on the canine grapevine that HP and Donkey have shared a coffee and a burger and a good yarn on many an occasion.

HP has even let Donkey drive the forklift around the yard, although Donkey is not the best of drivers and attempted to drive to the skimpies bar instead but the least said about that episode the better as HP had to go and bring him back and explain to the locals why a large terrier was sitting in the skimpies bars trying to put dog bones in the undies of the girls.

ImageDonkey just before he drove off in the forklift

Donkey really appears to have found himself in the haulage yard and reckons HP could teach him a thing or two about being a bloke.

HP and Donkey were playing cards last night, enjoying a beer and Donkey was happily relaying tales of Perth and the beaches and how the female dogs there are up for anything but he really does rather prefer it in Karratha.

‘I am not having a dog!’ HP said firmly to Sue, and he meant it, honestly he did.  Donkey sat hiding behind a road train, his super large ears could tune in to anything and would hear everything – he could even track police cars with his satellite ears not to mention listen to the truckies chatting on their radios.

ImageDonkey – listening to HP talking

Donkey bit his lip and put his head down, surely he wouldn’t be sent away from this yard when he fitted in so well with the boys?

It was no good, he would have to try harder – he would even try and not hate cats so much, perhaps it was because he didn’t like cats? After all, he didn’t mean to go for Gordon the cat in Perth, but the sight of the overweight ginger tom cat through the baby gate was too much even for Donkey to stand.

‘He doesn’t like cats’ Sue told HP over coffee one afternoon, and then added ‘Like he really hates them’.

HP looked up thoughtfully from his coffee and then glanced over to Donkey who was curled up under the parked road train.  ‘Cats you say? Does he really hate cats?’ HP said and then took a swig of his coffee.

‘Cats are bastards!’ Donkey blurted out, unable to contain himself, he said it so loudly that even HP heard him.

Staring at the little dog, HP looked suitably impressed.  Putting down his coffee cup, HP whistled to Donkey who was still under the road train pretending to be deaf, he wouldn’t tell HP that he had in fact heard everything.

‘Come on lad’ HP called to Donkey and then walked towards the road train.

Donkey’s ears pricked up and he ran towards HP who was now standing by the door of the road train.

ImageDonkey and HP discuss ‘road train stuff’

‘Wow, this is awesome!’ Donkey said in a rather excited voice, he loved trucks/road trains and had his legs been long enough, he would have jumped in right there and then.

Smiling down at Donkey, HP looked on thoughtfully, a dog that loves high viz, loves hanging out with the boys, enjoys a smoko with the lads, eats anything that you put in front of him and hates cats – really he was a perfect yard dog.

‘Donkey, we have a huge feral cat problem here, reckon you can chase em’ off?’ HP said to Donkey as they were both admiring the prime mover.

‘Reckon I can, you won’t have any feral cats while I am here – I can chase them off for you’ Donkey said firmly and he meant it too and even poor old Gordon could testify to that as Donkey had chased him a few times when he lived in Perth.

‘HP’ Donkey said in a quiet voice, barely daring to speak.

‘Yes Donkey’ HP replied.

‘Can I go back in the forklift again?’  Donkey whispered, he thought that if he whispered then a refusal would not be so bad.

‘Go on then’ HP laughed.

And off Donkey ran to the forklift and jumped right up in the seat all by himself.

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Donkey riding high!

So that is where we are at.  Currently Donkey is being cared for by Sue and comes to work with her in the yard with her Handsome Prince and Donkey has his own space and enjoys hanging out with the boys at smoko time, he gets fed all kinds of tasty scraps and gets to ride the forklift and keep an eye on the road trains (when they are parked of course).  He has his own high viz vest, his own squeaky hamburger toys and of course, he gets to hang out with HP which he loves to do – basically he is a mans dog!

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Donkey and his squeaky burger toy!

ImageDonkey and his mate – HP

What will happen with Donkey? Who knows, not me that’s for sure.  What do HP and Donkey find to talk about when they are hanging round the road trains?  Well that my friends, is between the HP and Donkey and is something that none of us will ever know – not even Sue.

More news as it happens but for the moment Donkey remains in Karratha.  He has had quite some journey so far and has some tales to tell but one thing is for sure, you can take the dog out of the Pilbara but you cannot take the Pilbara out of the dog!

ImageDonkey – a proper ‘Yard Dog’

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright May 2013

Owning a pet – the good, the bad and the heartbreaking

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Some of the animals of the past

‘I am never having another dog again’ I sobbed – at the tender age of 23, my heart had been broken when my greyhound called Caesar had peacefully died in his sleep – an ending most of us could wish for when it comes to our pets.

Fast forward to 2007 – I am holding my beautiful blue whippet bitch, 12 years old with kidney failure – her time had come to let her go and suddenly every single memory I had of her was flashing in front of my eyes as the vet who is my friend and ex employer, gently injected her with the lethal injection and that tiny blue bitch that at one point seemed so enormous in character, literally shrunk before my eyes.

I will never forget seeing her looking so tiny on that table after she was euthanized. Funny how you can have a dog with big character and/or big in stature/appearance, become so tiny and little once they have been put to sleep. This really does confirm my thoughts that the spirit and character of your pet merely lives in the body and it is not really the body that we love – but the personality of the animal because once they are gone, you could get an identical breed, but at the end of the day, it just wont be the same. All pets have their own personality that makes us love them – end of.

‘That is it! I am never ever doing that again’ I sobbed to my friend Norma, who drove me home clutching Rema’s toys and blankets that still smelt of her.

And yet again, here I am with my kelpie Rocky and my newly acquired Kelpie mix Brutus whom as you all know, we nearly lost due to severe gastro.

So why do we do it? Why do we get an animal that we know will worm its way into our hearts, spend our money on various vet fees – knowing that we will end up going without essentials for ourselves in order to get them their treatment (as it should be).

Why do we get so attached to our pets that we sob and cry and feel a gap so large once they have died, that we can never envisage it ever being filled again? We are mad, we are gluttons for punishment and pain.

So what are the benefits of pet ownership? I would say the memories that they give you and that you build together. My memories of my greyhound Caesar taking a shit up a shop window one day, he had diarrhoea and trust me, it looked as though someone had spray painted the shop window with turd. This is going back almost 30 years when I first got him when I was 16 years old, in the days when it was safe to tie your dog up outside a shop without fear of it being stolen.

Well Caesar shamed himself and splattered the window with turd and the shop owner came out and told me off and I did what Brutus does when he has been naughty and denied it and said ‘It wasn’t my dog who did that’ Which of course could have been plausible had it not been for Caesar still trying to empty the rest of his stomach and was leaving drops of turd over the pavement. Being a kid, I ran off with my greyhound in hot pursuit, as fast as my skinny legs would carry me away from the faecal mountain – much to the horror of the shop owner.

Then there was the time Caesar jumped into someones garden, he was an ex racer and built like a gazelle and he would dig up cabbages, only cabbages mind you but he would dig them all up and look absurdly pleased with himself, jump back over the fence and come home.

Then there were my cats Bruno and Juniper who on one occasion  stole 3 trout that had been defrosting for our tea, and they had eaten everything except one trout head and when I got home from work I was greeted with the strong smell of fish along with an empty wrapper and two very bloated and sick looking cats.

Bruno and Juniper also shredded their share of sofas and carpets, in fact Bruno used to eat carpets and had seen a vet on many an occasion due to vomiting.

Juniper had a liking for pulling apart our venetian blinds and would completely dismantle them and find herself stuck on the sash window crying.  I would get off the bus and see her stuck on the window, with her pink mouth opening and closing, frantically denying all involvement and claiming that someone put her there and it wasn’t her fault at all.

There was another time when we moved house in Devon, that Juniper got her head stuck in the ‘S’ bend of the sink and it took my mate Veronica several goes to get her out and some phenobarbitone from the vet (our boss) to calm her down afterwards (the cat not Veronica!).

Bruno also broke into a box of mince pies and scoffed most of them and he also had a bad habit of breaking in to 20kg sacks of dog food where he would emerge looking like a Bovril stock cube because he would be covered in gravy dust from the bag.  I think that he had a bit of an eating disorder to be honest and I fondly remember him for his food theft and robbery of chicken bones from your plate.

In London, Juniper would enjoy digging up the sofa and would love to dig before she lay down.  She was diagnosed as ‘retarded’ by the vet at the Royal Veterinary College where I worked at the time and would actually ‘get lost’ in our flat and if she wondered downstairs, would cry and look at the ceiling with a vacant expression and one of us would have to go down and ‘save her’ and bring her back and convince her that she was safe and her family loved her.  Her nickname later became ‘Family’ as if we said it in a high pitched voice she would get quite excited and appear absurdly happy about that word and found it reassuring.

Sadly both cats died within 18 months of each other due to pancreatic cancer which we suspect was down to a vaccine that they both had at the same time when we lived in Devon but that was never proven, suspected but not proven.

I was totally devastated – Bruno was put to sleep whilst still on the operating table and I wasn’t there for that but Juniper was brought out of theatre and wrapped in a blanket and  and I held her tiny body as she was injected.

I remember seeing her tortie body which reminded me of a patchwork quilt, her fur so soft, I stroked her and held her as she went and always remember saying ‘thank you for being my cat’ as she died in my arms and I also remember the vet nurses Sarah and Wendy being there at the time and Sarah driving me home as I clutched Junipers cat basket (thank you girls and thank you to Sarah for driving me home that day).  Talking of baskets, there is a term called ’empty basket syndrome’ and this is where you go to the vet with a cat and leave with an empty basket and is the most devastating thing for a cat owner to go through.

As for my whippet Rema – now she was a well traveled dog. In England, dogs can go on public transport with you, I used to bring her to work with me when I worked at the Royal Veterinary College in Camden and Rema knew the time of the train to Marylebone and even the platform from Marylebone to our station, she would always know which side the doors of the train would open.

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Gordon the cat and Rema the whippet discuss naughty tactics

Rema loved the tube and would jump into my arms to be carried up the escalator and when we got off the tube at Marylebone, she would run and almost drag me to the escalator as she had learned that is what people do – run from one train to the next.

There were times where I would be drunk on a Friday night after a night out round my friends house (Our Maria) and I would have Rema with me, looking all nice, blue and dainty (she was a blue whippet), wearing her muzzle as she used to bite, and I would be pissed out of my head at the platform and Rema would protectively wait with me and not let anyone near me. You could almost see her looking apologetic to other passengers as if to say ‘I am sorry, but she got herself into this state’ And that little dog would escort me home. If there is anyone reading this from London that used the Marylebone line that remembers the blue whippet bitch wearing her jacket and muzzle back in 2005-6, well she was my girl.

When I studied for my NCTJ Preliminary Journalist exams in Islington, I sometimes even took Rema to college with me and she would sit in the boss’s office – I think she actually quite liked him (remember that Steve?)  In fact the more places I took that little whippet, the more traveling she did, the happier she seemed.

We bought Rema when we lived in Devon and then moved to London and when I used to go back to visit my friend Veronica in Torquay, Rema would sit on my knee for the three hour train journey.  She also loved going up on the train to Chesterfield to see ‘Our Maria’.  Rema really should have had her own travel card I reckon.

Image‘Hannibal Rema’ in her muzzle.  Too pretty to bite – well don’t judge a book by it’s cover

When I failed my first year vet nursing exams, after work we all went to the pub and got pissed (you can see a pattern here!) and I tried to sneak Rema in as a ‘hearing dog for the deaf’ and for a while it worked, as she was hidden under the table but we got sussed out and kicked out. I turned up home in a drunken misery a few hours later and Abdel opened the door to find me standing there with Rema who had no muzzle or leash on. Rema looked embarrassed and said to Abdel ‘I tried to stop her, honest I did’ and shook her head in disbelief while Abdel led me upstairs and put me to bed whilst I cried about failing my exams. Rema snuggled up to me that night and never left my side which was brave of her as my breath reeked of alcohol.

Image          My boss Trevor or ‘TT’ as he was known – and me as a student veterinary nurse

Rema was also there when I passed my vet nurse finals and lay on the bed with me as I cried, I cried because it had been so hard and I had failed both part one (written) and part two (practical) first time so the relief of passing my exams was immense.

ImageAbdel and me at my graduation – finally qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse

(my proudest moment – I love my VN badge!)

Rema had earned a nickname called ‘The Goat’ as she found a goat on Torre Abbey Sands in Torquay, Devon and proceeded to chase it round the beach and nip it on any part she could reach – blaming the owners saying it was their fault for having a goat on the beach.

My little whippet used to enter Exemption dog shows and do very well in them and I also entered her in scurry races as well and she would bark her head off in excitement as she raced – she loved it and had a good circle of doggy friends on the show circuit.

When I worked as a vet nurse at Crufts Dog show one year, Rema came with me and had her own bed in the Hilton Hotel, my friend ‘Our Maria’ was with me that night, I remember it well as she got chicken pox (do you remember that Maria!). Rema looked so funny snuggled up in her own bed, and she had her own cage in the vet centre when I was working and would tell the show dogs off by barking at them when they came in.

One day I remember when I was out with my friend Sam Porter and her boxer dog ‘Bags’, Rema chased a squirrel and broke her hock and had to have surgery. If you could see the xrays, it must have been like repairing the leg of a fawn as Rema’s legs were like matchsticks but the vet did a superb job on that (thank you Trevor xx).

On another night, Sam and I dressed up our dogs, Rema wore my bra and knickers and Bags wore boxer shorts (don’t ask!) and we drew big red Bindi’s on their foreheads and went out collecting for the Big Issue. But we won’t say any more on that as there is no excuse for dressing a dog up in a bra any more than there is collecting for the Big Issue when you have no business to.

I had entered Rema in a contest for Dogs Today magazine – this was for 2000 – the Millennium Calendar – ‘best advert for dog ownership’ and Rema won it, she was Ms February and posed on a pink silk love heart cushion and even appeared on London Tonight (any of my London pals remember that or have a copy of the photo I could have?)

Rema was also a chewer and enjoyed chewing Abdel’s trousers, the curtains and other bits and pieces.

ImageRema and Gordon – both ‘chewers’ in fact Gordon still is!

Animals of the present

Gordon the cat chews towels and still does so, despite being a respectable old gentleman of 11 years old.

Gordon is my piece of England, he is from the Motherland – having just lost my Mum, I was in no way prepared to lose my Gordon so I went to extreme lengths to raise the funds by writing a blog and also doing writing for people, so that I could pay for his passage to Australia.

He was naughty in quarantine and chewed the carpet on his cat run and has continued his chewing in Australia.

ImageGordon in quarantine – he chewed the carpet on the ladder

Rocky has dug 4 feet under the retainer wall, eaten my mortgage settlement documents the day we moved into the house, he has stolen cushions and eaten my entire CD collection and chewed a rare one of a kind, hand made artists bear made out of alpaca wool.

Brutus is following in hot pursuit in terms of naughtiness, he gathers stones and brings them to the door, chews our shoes and is planning what his next line of attack will be in the form of chewing.  He is also learning from Rocky on how to be a proficient digger to the point I am thinking of hiring out the pair of them for bobcat purposes.

ImageThe new ‘canine bobcat’ – Rocky and Brutus ‘dig for Britain’

So I shall ask again – why do we do it? They chew our stuff, they demand our time, they cause us worry and they cost us money, so why do we pay for the privilege of the above?

Because quite simply, they provide us with love and they provide us with memories – all of the memories that my animals have given me have and still do make me laugh.

Animals stand by us when we make crap decisions, when we are in a bad mood, when we think that the rest of the world hates us, when we dont want to communicate – our pets are always there for us.

ImageOne man (girl) and his dog

They don’t care if we embarrass them and trust me, I have embarrassed Rocky in public on many an occasion. I have dived in when he has been attacked by another dog and yelled, screamed and threw a punch at the dog attacking him when Rocky couldn’t defend himself.

At the end of the day the stuff that they chew is just that – stuff and more to the point it can be replaced. ‘Stuff’ cannot give you the memories that an animal can give you.

I was there for Rema when she was put to sleep and I promise I will be there for Gordon, Rocky and Brutus when their time comes.

I know it is painful, I know I will be the sobbing wreck that I vowed never to become again but I want the only person to be holding my pets when they leave this life – to be me.

So never ever regret having your pets, and never let the pain of losing them stop you from embracing another animal into your life.

You may think that by getting another pet, you are ‘replacing’ the one that you have lost. Well you are not, in your life there are in fact many places – unlimited places for animals waiting to be loved and the new pet is not replacing the old one, just merely making a new place for himself.

And the spirit of all your animals will live on in the sofa, the chairs, your shoes and whatever else they may have chewed.

ImageGordon – from the ‘Motherland’ still chewing his way around the world

That my friends, is why we do it.

Happy Friday.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus and his trip to the vet

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This morning I took Brutus to our local vet to have his stitches removed and to say that Rocky was devastated that he wasn’t going, is an understatement.

‘Where are you taking him?’ Rocky demanded, his ears and tail erect, and his body language showed that he was pissed off.

‘To the vet to get his stitches removed’ I said firmly and clipped Brutus’s leash onto his blue collar. His little brown body wriggled as he was so excited.

‘Bastard, why does he get to go and I don’t, can I have my stitches removed too?’ Rocky asked, looking really jealous now.

‘Rocky you are such a dick head, you don’t have stitches!’ Gordon sniggered from the safety of the dining room table. Rocky flipped him the bird and stuck his tongue out back at Gordon.

‘Yeah, but they don’t know that’ Rocky replied. In the end he became so upset because he wasn’t going that I had to shut him up in the laundry room to calm down.

And as for the language that came out of that kelpie dogs mouth as I put Brutus in the Yaris and secured him to the seat belt in the back, well that was truly shocking and the last word I heard from Rocky’s mouth was ‘wanker’.

We got to the vets a bit early and had to wait outside which was fun with a partially leash trained pup who was thoroughly over excited and trying to herd up birds and stones – adopting the ‘cattle dog crouch’ when they go down to herd.

‘Brutus, you can’t herd up stones, they are not going anywhere’ I laughed at him.

‘But they might be, you never know’ was all he replied and then tried circling the stones to make sure.

A car pulled up in the driveway and I could just make out the head of a small white fluffy dog in the front seat next to his owner.

‘Puggles, come on get down’ An elderly man got out and spoke to his dog.

‘Piss off, I am not jumping that height, are you trying to break my cruciate ligament or something?’ the white dog snapped and then glanced in the mirror to smooth down his beard and make himself look presentable.

It was a tense stand off and Brutus looked interested in the stubborn white fluffy thing that resembled a sheep, that refused to jump down from the SUV.

I will in his favour say that I don’t blame him because many injuries can be caused from dogs jumping in/out of cars and Brutus is terrified to jump in/out of my car so I always help him.

Puggles the white dog (or sheep according to Brutus) was eventually lifted down and you could hear him bossing his owner around and saying things like ‘watch my stitches’ and ‘don’t mess with my fur’.

Brutus looked enchanted at the dog (sheep) and looked up at me and said ‘Is that a sheep, can I herd him?’ which made me laugh. Brutus may be a kelpie/ridgeback but he is 95% kelpie in behaviour and looks so cute when he adopts the herding position.

Fuggles walked up to Brutus and promptly pissed on a pile of polished pebbles, he lifted his little leg as high as it would go and strong yellow urine dribbled down his pristine white coat.

‘How did you do that?’ Brutus asked him in admiration. Brutus is still at the squatting stage and when he did try and lift his leg to copy Rocky, he fell over. Mind you, Rocky didn’t cock his leg until he was two years old – and I am not kidding you either, very late developer. In fact Rocky barely has a penis, it is more like a mealworm.

‘Puggles has been de-sexed, he is here to have his stitches out’ The owner said to me and then shook his head as Puggles tried to dig up the concrete floor with his hind legs to ‘spread himself around’.

‘He is only 8 months old’ His owner added.

‘Brutus was done at 16 weeks, the cat couldn’t take it any more and Rocky was tired of having his bed and head urinated upon’ I said almost apologetically. The old man looked horrified that I had robbed Brutus of his manhood far too early but I didn’t care, Rocky has a stash of dog porn in his kennel and he and Brutus always like to read it of an evening over a can of beer and some nuts.

Brutus sniggered at the white dog and said ‘Why are you digging up concrete?”

‘Spreading my piss around’ Puggles said matter-of-factly and then added ‘I am still very alpha even though they made me have the op’ Puggles looked accusingly at his owner.

‘What op?” Brutus asked – such an innocent boy and a virgin too, bless his socks.

Puggles looked at Brutus as though he were stupid and lit a cigarette and exhaled deeply. Flicking ash into the pavement, he rubbed it in with his paw, making it go all smudged and grey.

‘De-sexing op, so you had it done as well?’ Puggles asked Brutus.

‘Yeah, I kept mating the cat and humping my brothers head and pissing on his bed/head/everything’ Brutus replied sadly, almost missing the experience. Gordon I will add, is very glad he has been done because he only has a tiny bottom and it is certainly not meant for amorous puppies with a thriving sex hormone production.

Just then the nurse opened the surgery door for us all to go in and I popped Brutus on the scales and am pleased to announce that he now weighs 12.6kgs. If you remember when he came out of hospital he was around 7.6kgs – I think so he is doing marvellously and is looking rather good.

I went back to the counter to give the nurses the weight for his records when I heard a commotion.

‘Puggles, you naughty boy, you can’t do that here!’ Puggles owner looked horrified.

Puggles sat by the door and had just finished taking a large shit by the mat.

Brutus still being of the giggly childish schoolboy mentality, snorted with laughter – he takes after me you see, make me laugh and I snort loudly, I can’t help it.

Brutus was snorting and giggling and yelling his favourite expression (you all know what it is!) ‘Turd legs’ to Puggles who looked thoroughly pleased with himself at the monster turd he had dropped by the mat.

A large cat in a pink basket pursed his lips together, disgusted at the scene and yelled ‘Could you have not waited until you had used your litter tray?’

‘Chew on that big boy that will teach you to rip my balls off!’ Puggles shouted to his owner and then promptly turned around and gave him full view of his fluffy white bum which now had nasty brown bits on the side. My goodness am I glad my dogs dont have fluffy white bums that could be called poo magnets.

The nurse calmly came round from the counter armed with rubber gloves and some paper and something to clean the matt with and as quickly as it was produced, the offending turd was picked up and disposed of. But not before Puggles yelled to the nurse ‘There are plenty more from where that came from’ and vowed to shit in his owners bed when he got home.

‘Don’t you ever do that Brutus’ I told him, trying not to laugh myself, really it was very funny and I do have a toilet sense of humour, so does Rocky and actually Gordon as well. I have lost count of the times that Gordon has had a hard piece of turd stuck to his bum and has released it and played ‘ping pong’ with it in the hall way.

Brutus was called in by the nurse to have his stitches out, off he trotted with his super abnormally long tail wagging behind him – you can see the vertebrae of his tail ‘clicking’ by the tail bone when he wags it, as though it is too long for his spine/body.

The nurse said he was a very good boy but his stitches had become too tight so I have to watch it doesnt weep or get sore and that I had brought him in just at the right time to get them out (9 days) but either way, they were more than ready to come out.

I bought him his heartworm/multiwormer as well – he now requires the same size heartworm treatment as Rocky which is good. Vet predicts he may reach up to 25 kgs so could be the same size as Rocky or slightly bigger. He is going to be a chunky old ‘unit’ though I should imagine.

We said goodbye to Puggles (Turd Dog as Brutus called him) and I lifted Brutus into the car and secured him and we drove home.

‘Where the hell have you been?’ Rocky demanded and inspected Brutus thoroughly as a mass sniffing of genitals took place from both dogs.

I let both boys outside to let off some steam and I could hear Brutus excitedly tell Rocky about what had happened at the vet with Puggles.

‘Really? He took a shit on the mat?’ I heard Rocky say, he sounded quite jealous. Bastard better not try that when I take him to the vet.

I still have memories of when I worked at the Royal Veterinary College as a Veterinary Nurse and my whippet bitch Rema took a shit on the platform inside London Marylebone Station (pets can travel on public transport in the UK).

She did several hard nuggets that rolled all over the platform and thank God I had a poo bag because I was scrabbling around a busy commuter platform trying to recover nuggets of turd. Rema blamed it on the high fibre diet, the commuters blamed me for the smell and all I can say is thank god I was in a nurses uniform so I could pull off the ‘I am an animal nurse’ kind of face and deal with this shit every day.

So you can forgive me for thinking those days are behind me and I do not want to encourage my boys to open their bowels in inappropriate places.

Abdel and I are taking the boys out for a walk later, just need to keep an eye on the suture site as the nurse said but I think it will be OK.

It has gone very quiet in the garden so I had better check on the dogs and hope that whatever they are planning to do, it does not involve what Puggles did at the vet this morning.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus – Puppy Temper Tantrums

Image‘But why can’t I play with the cat?’

Puppy temper tantrums – they all get them, all pups go through the temper tantrum stage and it is up to you how you deal with it as in the old saying ‘you make your bed, you will lie in it’ kind of thing.

Now Abdel always puts Brutus to bed in his crate – it is the routine, at about midnight, both boys are let out for a pee in the garden and Brutus is put into a fresh clean crate, nice clean towel to lie on, fresh water and his teething toy.

Last night Abdel got in later than normal so while he was having his shower, I put the dogs to bed. Rocky being a good boy went straight for a pee outside and then went on his bed.

Brutus looked horrified and I mean horrified, one would think that I had smashed his Kong toy and offered it to the birds.

‘You never put me to bed, never – where is dad?’ Brutus demanded.

‘Brutus, just shut up and go to bed’ Rocky growled, he was still pissed off for Brutus biting his genitals earlier (don’t ask but I think George Michael may have been playing on the radio at the time).

Shutting the crate, I went off to bed and only seconds later I heard Brutus barking and shouting his head off in protest.

‘Open the door now! If you don’t I shall shit everywhere and do handstands!’ Brutus yelled – very loudly indeed.

(sounds of metal bowl clanking on cage and newspaper being shredded up)

‘Just ignore him’ Abdel said from the living room.

Except that I couldn’t because I knew from the sounds that were coming from the laundry room that Brutus had no water, he had tipped it up and I couldn’t have him going all night with no water.

‘It’s because you didn’t put him to bed’ I told Abdel and Abdel had to agree with me because it was true – this is the second time he has done this and the last time was because Abdel didn’t put him to bed as well.

I went into the laundry room and sure enough, the nice clean towel was soaked and bunched up, the newspaper shredded, the water bowl upside down and Brutus was very wet indeed.

Making puppy growls and noises, Brutus then stood up and wriggled his entire body in that guilty sheepish kind of way while Rocky sat on his own bed and called him a girly turd legs.

I let them both out into the garden and then cleaned his kennel, put fresh paper, water and a towel in there. I never realized just how precious newspaper and towels would become until I got Brutus, never has my washing machine been used as much as it is now and I have even started to greedily stare at free papers in shopping centers and will think nothing of walking out with piles of them under my arm. That is puppy-hood for you I guess.

Telling Abdel that he could put Brutus to bed, I went back to bed myself and sure enough, when Abdel brought the boys back in, Brutus not only went back to his crate like a good boy but his crate was also immaculate this morning when he was let out.

THIS MORNING

‘I don’t want to wear brown socks, I want black legs like Rocky!’ Brutus whinged when I let him outside this morning.

Rocky stopped sniffing the garden and looked at Brutus as though he couldn’t believe his ears.

‘Twat, those are your bloody legs and you are stuck with them!’ Rocky snorted with laughter as Brutus gazed down at his long brown legs with white socks on his paws.

‘I want my testicles back!’ Brutus sobbed and then started to bark trying to look tough but the only thing he succeeded in doing was making me giggle and making Abdel laugh from the bedroom as he heard him as well and it is rather hard to take Brutus seriously when he barks as his entire mouth caves in as his tiny teeth don’t seem big enough to support his head.

‘Dear Dog in heaven help me’ Rocky sighed and lit up a fag and blew smoke in funny shapes from his nostrils.

‘Is it tomorrow yet?’ Brutus asked Rocky, he is due to get his stitches out tomorrow and is quite excited about it, only because Sunny the red heeler told him he could get prosthetic testicles like space hoppers which is a total lie but Brutus believed him.

Rocky shook his head and went to sit down by the tree and said that no, it was not tomorrow yet and no, he could not have his testicles back and no, he cannot change the colour of his legs.

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked me and then picked up some stones in his mouth, chewed them for a bit and gobbed them out on the floor.

Rocky took a piss by the side of the fence and Brutus happily stood under him and ended up with urine all over his head. Brutus looked thoroughly over excited by it as well.

As you will see, the curiosity of a young pup is equal to that of a child and you get all the same daft questions that no matter how many times you answer, there will be new questions being asked all the time.

‘My tail doesn’t fit!’ Brutus shouted and then started to chase his own tail until he eventually got dizzy and fell over and looked like Stephen Hawkings in a magnet factory.

Rocky looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I was never like that was I?”

Gently reminding him that he herded up some children who were on their boat on the Murray River one time, children I might add that didn’t need ‘saving’, I told Rocky that he would have to be patient.

‘Rocky?’ Brutus squeaked in his high pitched puppy voice.

‘Yes Brutus’ Rocky replied – oh god, what was he going to ask now?

‘Can I sniff your bum?’ Brutus asked happily.

‘Piss off!’ Rocky snapped and as he ran off to get his tennis ball, Brutus stuffed his nose up Rocky’s bum anyway.

Brutus has a thing about bottoms, he likes cleaning Gordon’s bottom and has even stuffed his nose up Sunny’s bottom and Sunny has a bottom like an over ripe peach with a hole in it. Brutus nearly lost his head up there but we won’t talk about that.

The joys of puppy-hood!

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Donkey, Parties and a New Home!

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Party Dog – me?

Donkey Dundee has caused a rumpus in his new foster home by having a ‘Project X’ style party and inviting all the hot local bitches, I can exclusively reveal.

Donkey who was initially sent from Karratha to Perth to live with myself, did not get on with my existing kelpie dog Rocky, and due to Rocky being a bit of a ‘girl’ with hip dysplasia, Donkey realized that it was in fact quite easy to wrestle him to the ground which then became a game and one that was fun to play.

Sadly, Rocky being the ‘Tiny Tim’ of the dog world (think ‘calipers’) and a bit of a ‘special needs dog’ was not up to the strength of the young and fit Donkey Dundee and after an incident which left him lame for a few days, it was decided that Donkey would go into foster care in Fremantle until he could find a suitable home.

Anyway, it has been reported that Donkey settled into his foster carers home so well that he had decided to hold a ‘Project X’ style party and invite lots of nice hot bitches and Donkey now has a name for himself as a ‘party animal’.

Now I wasn’t there at the time but I have it on good authority that there were dogs in bikini’s jumping on a bouncy castle, large bones were involved and someone even said that dogs were smoking joints of catnip but how true that is I do not know.

Donkey was found the next day with a severe hangover lying in a laundry basket with no memory as to how he got there.

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Donkey with a hangover

The party became so raucous, it was described by neighbors as ‘the party that rocked Freo’.  We spoke to one neighbor who preferred to remain anonymous, he told us “There were bitches everywhere flashing their lady-gardens, and empty cans of dog food all over the garden, I have not seen anything like it in all my 100 years”

When Donkey was later questioned about the event, he replied simply “I partied hard in Karratha and I will party hard in Freo, what can I say, I am a party kinda guy”

A new chance….

Donkey appears to be enjoying the laid back Freo life and although he hasn’t taken up swimming as yet, he does enjoy his trips to the beach and can be sighted on the dog beach checking out the female dogs sunbathing.

beachChecking out those bitches baby!

Although Donkey is loving his foster home, it is hoped he can find a new home to call his own.  It is sad that it didn’t work out with me but not all dogs are compatible and I guess that my Rocky needs a friend that is a better match with energy levels and one that won’t challenge him to defend his position in the house, not to mention Donkey not taking to Gordon which resulted in an argument between them where insults exchanged place and dreadful words being used like ‘big ears’ and ‘ginger bastard’ and my personal favorite ‘no balls’

And finally….

You know that song by Icona Pop ‘I love it’? Well that reminds me of Donkey – hell raising round my garden with squeaky toys in his mouth, bowling Rocky over, causing a storm, a tatty terrier charging into and out of my life in a flash yet leaving a lasting impression in the short time he was with us.

So Donkey – this video is for you:

Donkey Update – News just in!

I have just received an email from Sue from SAFE – Karratha, Donkey has been adopted by his foster mum’s boss and is settling in to his new life!  A further update and photos to follow.

Please continue to follow and support the Donkey Diaries which are now for all SAFE rescue animals and will carry on in Donkey’s name.

If you enjoy these stories and would like to donate to SAFE Karratha, their bank details are as follows:

SAFE Karratha/HQ Bank:
Account Name:
BSB Number:
Account Number: 
Commonwealth Bank 
Saving Animals From Euthanasia Inc
066-531 
101 488 05

Remember every little donation helps and if I believe that my animal stories can raise money for SAFE Karratha, then I will make them a regular feature.  Interest is already being generated in other countries – Cyprus, USA, UK so I shall make it my mission to keep writing the stories to help their cause.

All I ask, is that if you do donate, if you could reference it as ‘Donkey Dundee’ so that SAFE know who it is in relation to.

Dwellingup -The Movie *Caution contains adult content*

This story is about the time that Abdel, myself and our Kelpie Rocky went on a weekend trip to Dwellingup.

This is what I describe as a rather childish story containing adult content with the animals swearing and doing adult type stuff like look at dirty doggy magazines.  Some rather rude and uncouth spiders have also made an appearance and swear quite a bit as well.

If you do not believe in talking/swearing animals then it really is best to look away now because if think that you may be offended then you are only choosing to offend yourself by reading this article and for that, I cannot take responsibility.

This story is purely to indulge your inner child and imagination because we all know that our animals can talk, we just have to chose to listen to them.

The drive to Dwellingup 

‘Are we there yet?’ Demanded Rocky as he sat literally quivering with excitement at the back of the car.

‘’No, we are not – we are in Beeliar, precisely a few kms since leaving home’ I sighed.  This was going to be a long journey.

‘Shit, what’s that!’ Rocky shouted an hour later at the pile of silvery/cream/dark feathers and absurdly long legs lying squashed along the road.

‘Dead Emu’ I replied whilst turning my neck to have a good look – Jesus that must have bent the hell out of someones car.

‘My god, what’s that?’ Rocky shrieked in a high pitched ‘girls’ voice that sounded like he was having his testicles squeezed – oh, he doesn’t have testicles so think ‘choir boy’.

‘Dead Wallaby’ Abdel said and then added ‘Did you see it?’.

I hadn’t, I was in too much awe of the scenery, the red soil, the magnificently tall trees that made everything quite insignificant in comparison.  It also amused me that we had already lost signal on the GPS and on our phones and had to rely on a sense of direction and a printed Google map.

We were only 90 minutes out of Perth and we kept intermittently picking the local radio station that sounded a bit ‘countrified’ to me – I always refer to it as ‘radio nowhere’ where you are in the middle of nowhere and pick up various radio stations as you drive along and it sounds all very crackly.  But then again small things have always amused me, that was until I started thinking ‘Wolf-creek’ but then had to mentally slap myself, it was Dwellingup for goodness sake, not the middle of nowhere.

I mean, what could possibly threaten us in Dwellingup?

There was a distinct difference in shops though, local taverns seemed almost backward compared to other parts of Perth and some of the shops reminded me of the set in ‘Back to the Future 3’ with the Western theme and I half expected to see ‘Mad Dog Tanion’ wearing cowboy boots shouting out ‘Hey, McFly!’

‘Are we there yet?’ Rocky shouted again from the back seat.

‘No!’ Abdel and I said in unison.

Dwellingup

The car rattled along the unsealed road, digging up clouds of red dust behind it – it rather reminded me of Metricup except Metricup was worse and I am still surprised Abdel came home with his windscreen in tact as the pebbles/stones appeared to have been thrown out of nowhere as we drove along the road and bounced off the car.

‘This is not bad at all’ Rocky said, appearing to make a mental note of where he could lift his leg as soon as he could, where he could take a shit and better still – he had spotted the lake and was wondering just whether or not he could swim across without being eaten by god knows what – would there be crocs in there? He wondered, he hoped there wouldn’t as that would ruin his plans to do ‘Baywatch Dog’ and hopefully save some hot bitches from drowning.

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We were met by the owner, a very friendly older lady – well I say older, she was older than me but saying that – I am feeling pretty elderly myself and all I need is a blue rinse and incontinence and I am there, especially if you see my medication pile (just call me Ethel if you like except I do not wear big knickers).

‘I have two dogs – and both of them like us (referring to herself and her husband), are getting old’

‘I know that feeling’ I muttered to no one in particular.

‘Hi there!’ A strong Australian (dog) accent came from behind the security door as a grizzled and senior German shepherd dog grinned – he obviously didn’t get to see too many people as he was absurdly excited by our arrival yet still managed to do the obligatory guard dog bark which in elderly dogs always sounds a touch ‘rusty’ and in our neighborhood, always appear to be heard at around 11pm barking at drunk people.

‘Drive to chalet no: 4 and I will meet you there’ the woman instructed Abdel and beckoned where he had to go, then she and I just walked over the grass to get there.

536642_10151145821713317_1785185187_nOur chalet – aptly named ‘Black Cockatoo’

Hearing the revving of an engine and the scattering of very slippery red pebbles and stones, I could see Abdel’s commodore almost digging a hole with its tyres.

‘Slowly, slowly!’ She yelled to Abdel and then sighed and shook her head and muttered ‘Townies, they don’t understand country driving’.  Rocky was cringing in the back telling Abdel that he ought to know better and to give him the keys and he will get the commodore up the drive himself with no issues.  But of course Rocky cannot drive – well not counting the time he was caught hooning in my Yaris in Fremantle one time but the least said about that episode the better especially as he had several bitches in the car flashing their teats.

‘Sorry!’ Rocky mouthed in embarrassment to the tatty German shepherd at the gate and then shrugged his shoulders in a ‘oh the shame’ kind of way and shook his head and slunk down the back of the car to hide himself which didn’t work as all you could see were two huge satellite-like kelpie ears sticking out like military radar from the back window of the car.

Our chalet was beautiful – it had everything that we needed but we had been given strict instructions that Rocky was not allowed in the bedroom or on the sofa – which was fine, well not really, Rocky was mightily cheesed off about this especially when I told him he would have to sleep on the verandah outside, this resulted in a huge row about how he contributes to society by defecating in the garden on the roses, except that we don’t have roses, and when that didn’t work, he tried playing the ‘disabled card’ because of his hip dysplasia and that was pretty low, even for Rocky and when those pleas were ignored, he turned to using somewhat abusive language that went something like ‘Cruel bitch’, ‘kelpie abuser’ and my particular favourites ‘Hip Clicker’ and ‘turd legs’ and ‘Is it cos I am a black dog? in an Ali G type voice’

In the end I relented as that first night turned out to be exceptionally cold and windy and round about 1am while I was up watching TV, the wind howled outside and Rocky pretended to be unconscious inside and the thought of putting my little kelpie outside filled me with dread and I had visions of him blowing around and being found in Pinjarra the next day.  This fear was not helped by Rocky doing Stephen Hawkings impressions on his bed and bending his limbs to the point I thought that he might break something.

‘OK, you can stay here!’ I sighed and as if by magic, my ‘disabled kelpie’ rolled on to his back with his hind legs spread apart, one front paw bent and the other stretched rigid to the sky in a ‘super dog’ pose.

‘Thank you!’ Rocky said, grinning.  Bastard, he had played me like a fiddle that dog.

182542_10151145822773317_891633594_nI caved in that first night as you can see

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself as usual, something I am often guilty of – now where was I? Oh yes, we were being shown around the chalet.

‘There is another kelpie cross staying with us, she is down by the lake with her family while we get their accommodation ready’ the owner told me as she showed us around our chalet.  Rocky nodded approvingly and then tried to butt in the conversation by asking if the other kelpie was ‘hot’ or ‘knew what to do with a couple of sheep’ (his words not mine).

‘Oh my god, dog porn!’ Rocky said excitedly as he spotted a pile of dog magazines on the table – seriously there were, with the top magazine promoting ‘Senior Dogs Special’ on the front and I have the photos to prove it.

‘We have the more updated copies in reception’ the owner said – making it sound almost like a treat that ‘dog porn’ should be on the table.  I am always quite wary of Rocky reading dog porn, as he has never forgotten an article about a red cloud kelpie that made it big in Dampier by flashing his genitals and becoming a stud dog.

3467_10151145819028317_1229469222_n‘Dog Porn’ – according to Rocky

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ambition but Rocky has never been blessed in the genital department, in fact I doubt that he even has a penis because what he does have is so tiny it looks like something the birds had dug up.  I have suggested that he wears budgie smugglers as they can make the smallest of men look well endowed but Rocky refuses saying that budgies serve no purpose and he would rather have a cockatoo down there instead of a budgie.

‘Thank you kindly, I shall be reading those later’ Rocky grinned at the woman and wagged his tail; she patted him in return and called him ‘cute’.  I think she also had a ‘Dr Doolittle’ thing going on and could ‘speak dog’ fluently although she didn’t let on.

After unpacking the car, putting our stuff where it should be, sorting Rocky’s stuff out – you know the usual things that happen on arrival at temporary accommodation, admiring the view, the kitchen and even the toilet, the usual comments of ‘Oooh, isn’t this a nice room’ or ‘It’s not bad here is it?’, Rocky was finally let out in to his little garden where he furiously circled each patch and cocked his leg and promptly urinated on various patches, and then added with a smug look on his face ‘that’s better’ and then made a big show of kicking dirt back with his hind legs spreading his ‘doggyness’ all over the garden.

28062_10151145821158317_193677831_nOur back garden

Now I have already mentioned that there was a lovely lake at the bottom of the hill and the lakes had a selection of kayaks, rowing boats and peddle boats.  By the lake there was an elderly couple (older than me which makes me a ‘young thing’) and a sort of brown/red kelpie mix that had morphed over time into something like a canine coffee table.  This was the dog that the chalet owner had told us about.

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Jess – the ‘canine coffee table with calipers’

I feel I must elaborate on this kelpie bitch whose name turned out to be ‘Jess’.  She was obviously quite senior and had dodgy hips, like really dodgy and not pretend dodgy.  Do you all remember the film ‘Forest Gump’ where Forest had calipers when he was little and would run in them when he was being chased from the bullies?  Well Jess had calipers – now before you all go high and mighty on me and say ‘but Sam, dogs don’t have calipers’ – this dogs calipers were invisible to those with no imagination, just like those with no imagination don’t hear or can imagine animals speaking so if you have no imagination, best you clear off now as you are SO in the ‘wrong room’.

Had you seen Jess in real life, you would know what I mean about the calipers – she had them and Rocky sat on our verandah, already having claimed it for his own and placed his ‘wubba’ (a ‘wubba’ is a furry octopus type toy made by KONG) and rubber chicken in the corner, spotted Jess waddling up the hill looking very disabled indeed.

‘Wait for me!’ Jess cried in a strong Australian accent as she noisily clanged her way up the hill with her calipers bashing on each other – not only did she appear to have severe hip problems but one of her legs looked completely fucked in the sense that it looked as though it had been glued on back to front and to Rocky’s delight, they made his hips look like ‘Kennel Club’ standard.

‘Jesus, your hips are worse than mine!’ Rocky yelled to Jess who blushed like a fat girl that had been caught with cake down her knickers.  Rocky made a note to himself that she was not worth mating with but I guess she could become his friend, besides if he tried to shag her, he might damage himself on the ‘metal work’ (calipers).  Not to mention that, but with his dodgy hips and her dodgy hips it would be like a badly managed metal work class.

‘I wonder what would happen if I put magnets on her calipers?’ Rocky said under his breath.  I would like to tell you that thought went no further but I would be lying because later that day, Rocky did actually put magnets on her calipers and Jess ended up rolling down the hill with her hind legs in a knot looking like Stephen Hawkings in a gymnastic class.  I will not say anything further on the matter as Rocky claimed that he was not in his right frame of mind and then later admitted that he only did it as a ‘science experiment’.

Jess was really rather sweet though and I for one quite liked her, she greeted everyone with joyous abandon as though they were all a long lost relative.  Rocky however, greets everyone as though they are sheep and need to be herded or like lamp posts needed to be pissed upon.

After lunch it was decided that we would walk down to the lake and take Rocky for a swim with no rope, no leash – nothing.  This was a huge risk as Rocky becomes selectively deaf and very naughty on the grounds that he doesn’t go off the leash back at home due to his dodgy hips.  He can often be sighted on South Beach in Fremantle causing a canine uprising, barking in a high pitched voice whilst encouraging other dogs into the ocean, getting them so hyped up that they refuse to come back to their owners and I always get the blame.

‘Oh my god this is awesome!’ He said in his high pitched bark and then proceeded to follow Abdel out who was on a Kayak out into the water whilst I sat under the shade frantically trying to hide from the sun as to avoid getting sick – fat lot of good that did, being sun sensitive, I paid a high price as I spent a large percentage of the weekend away in bed in considerable agony.  But I would rather be sick in Dwellingup than sick at home as it is a beautiful place, as Rocky will testify.

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Rocky and Abdel enjoy the water

Once Rocky had done with his swimming, we all walked round the lake back to the chalet.  Rocky ran ahead thoroughly over excited about being off the leash, it wasn’t too bad as we didn’t throw his ball and there were very few distractions so he just trotted on ahead, frequently stopping and looking behind him to see that we were still following, and then running circles around us to herd us up and when he wasn’t doing that, he was cocking his leg and then digging up the grass in an effort to prove his ‘youth’.

IMG_3558Rocky – ‘proving his youth’

‘I can smell kangaroos!’ Rocky said sounding a touch nervous.  Last time we were in Dwellingup; it was in a tent when my friend and I were camping, I needed to go for a pee and as there were no toilets near by, I had to do it in the bushes and because it was dark and I was scared, Rocky came with me.

Picture the scene, it was pitch black and there I was taking a leak, Rocky growled, I looked up and saw a kangaroo in the bushes and in my panic, yanked up my pyjamas ‘mid-flow’ and proceeded to piss all over them and then ran shouting my head off that a kangaroo had seen my ‘lady-garden’.  I don’t know who was faster – Rocky or me but we came out of those bushes like a bat out of hell.  So you see Rocky has never forgotten it and actually told me that the kangaroo had later threatened him if we ‘toileted’ ourselves in his bushes again.

‘There you go!’ Rocky said in a smug voice, ‘Kangaroo turd!’ and rightly pointed to what suspiciously looked like ‘roo poo’.

‘Oh it’s fine, they won’t remember us from all that time ago’ I tried to placate him, but I don’t think that he believed me and to be honest, I didn’t believe myself – damn straight they would have remembered me, I mean who could forget a mad English woman peeing down her own legs late at night in Dwellingup forest?

Anyway, as we were walking next to the owner’s house, which I may add was huge and rather beautiful, Rocky met up with Jess (caliper dog).  Now I feel that I must state that the dogs in my suburb are nasty bastards that think nothing of beating Rocky up or threatening him with violence, they are ‘Derro’ dogs in every sense of the word.  So you can understand how nervous I was of Rocky initially meeting Jess off the leash.

Well I needn’t have worried Rocky had his tail high wagging it frantically as though it had a mind of its own and Jess reciprocated with an equally frantic tail wag.  It was as though they were two long lost friends.

‘Where are you from Jess?’ Rocky asked, it was so nice for him to meet another dog that wasn’t violent, rude or uncouth – well you know what I mean, the dogs where we live carry knives and guns so I have been told.

I enjoyed watching the pair of them play briefly on the lawn before Rocky cocked his leg  all over Jess (yes really, he does that to other dogs quite a bit and has even done that on my leg once – please don’t ask me to elaborate on that, it is far too shameful but it did involve next doors female cocker spaniel who joined in on the action and I was left rather damp).

‘Oh thank you’ Jess replied, almost grateful for Rocky’s actions and then clanked her calipers as she tried to squat purely to fit in with ‘the crowd’ but ended up dribbling urine all down her elderly bent legs

‘Hello, hello – excuse me, can you hear me?’ sounds of a very rusty but very strong Australian accent came from the owners’ garden.

Losing interest in Jess, Rocky ran towards the garden where he was met with quite frankly, the most ugly terrier dog I have ever seen but without a doubt, the cutest ever.

Obviously an old, very grizzled black and tri-color dog with tufts on his ears, grey beard, wiry coat smothered in black and grey and bits of brown, a white vest, white huge paws that looked like dinner plates and very stiff bow legs, he looked like ‘the Doc’ from ‘Back to the Future’, – this dog looked about a million but was actually 19 years old which in doggy terms, may as well have been a million.  He was a very friendly and happy dog and quite instantly, Rocky took to him and declared him a friend.

Having visions of Rocky meeting up with him for a coffee and a roll up cigarette, sitting in a cafe putting the world to rights, I marveled at the two dogs wagging their tails a million miles an hour.

‘How long are ya here for?’ The dog demanded in a somewhat ‘Mandurah’ accent – you must have been to Mandurah to understand what I mean by a ‘Mandurah’ accent because I find the accent very strong indeed as far as Australian accents go.

‘Till Sunday’ Rocky said excitedly, the terrier sighed and looked dismayed, he was hoping to get at least a week from the happy little black kelpie who was now all shiny from his swim in the lake.

‘Rocky, come here!’ I shouted to him in a bid to try and get him back to the chalet.

‘Fuck off, I am busy!’ He yelled back and then pretended that I wasn’t his owner.

‘Naughty!’ Jess giggled at Rocky’s bravery at swearing at me – she didn’t know the half of it how he speaks to me and how he runs rings around me at home.  Although I must say that I later discovered that Jess was no angel, this was not her first time in Dwellingup and the last time she was here she got in to serious trouble for chasing kangaroos and let’s not even start discussing what she did to the donkeys that lived there but it involved calling them ‘donkey dick’.

‘The name is Diesel’ the terrier said to Rocky – really this dog (Rocky) looked to be good fun and Diesel didn’t have too many friends, except for the old and somewhat confused German shepherd inside the house but that didn’t count as he was a bit senile and kept saying ‘Is it time for a pee yet?’ even five minutes after he had just been in the garden and had also attacked an ‘intruder’ that turned out to be his own shadow.

His owner bought him from the dog rescue kennels 18 years ago – she had gone there looking for a new dog and just told the girls to give her the dog that had been there the longest that nobody wanted and she came away with Diesel who had been there for a year, so at 19 years old, he is fully entitled to be grizzled and tatty – he has earned his ‘grizzlement’, and I will say that having met Diesel, he is adorable and every bit deserving of his loving home and a warm bed and a squeaky rubber chicken (Rocky also has one) to keep him comfortable at nights – he rather reminds me of Benny Hill in his own little way and I can imagine him chasing hot young bitches around the coffee table whilst smelling of dog farts and old bones.

Diesel, I had been told, was also selectively deaf, exceptionally stubborn, and disobedient and only did what he wanted and when he wanted to do so.  ‘Diesel come here’ his owner said.

‘Bollocks’ Diesel replied, promptly farted an ‘old smelly dog fart’ and then carried on talking to Rocky whilst shuffling around his garden like an old man in furry slippers with his pants falling down.  You know how when men get old, their testicles become like space hoppers, their arse disappears and their trousers go up so high at the waist that they need braces to hold them up.  Well that was Diesel.

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Diesel – the rescue dog

Anyway, I don’t quite know what was said after that as Diesel and Rocky appeared to be whispering but I know Jess was involved and I know they were up to no good, I think it was Diesel as I saw him snorting with laughter as Rocky dug up the grass scattering mud everywhere.  Jess wouldn’t tell me so god knows what they were talking about or what happened but I suspect Rocky was planning to swap dog porn or something or steal another dogs tennis balls which is another bad bad habit of his.

It took some persuading to get Rocky to come back to the chalet, he and Diesel did not take too kindly to being interrupted but managed to exchange phone numbers and email addresses and before you laugh, of course dogs have their own email and phone numbers – why wouldn’t they?  Don’t tell me that you really believe that when you go to bed, your dog is all obediently curled up on his bed?  Don’t be daft; I think you will find he is on your computer fiddling with your hard drive and Skyping his friends or watching dirty doggy movies on TV.

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Proof that dogs watch dirty doggy stuff on TV

‘Catch ya later!’ Rocky yelled to Diesel as he was reluctantly dragged back to our verandah, Jess waved back and Diesel cocked his leg and pissed in the fish pond as Rocky did the thumbs up sign in approval.

We were all pretty hungry after that – it is damn hard work relaxing, swimming, walking and in Rocky’s case, socializing.  Placing a large bowl of dog biscuit on the verandah for him, we went inside to eat our lunch as the flies had threatened to eat us alive while Rocky chowed his way through a bowl of biscuit and was so hungry, he polished off a large part of my steak afterwards.

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Rocky enjoying the view from the verandah

The Spider-Hood

Up until now, I have never mentioned talking spiders, in fact I rarely if ever mention spiders – they don’t usually have a place in my stories as I reserve those for creatures with either two or four legs but let me tell you that the spiders I met in Dwellingup really ought to be mentioned because they make the Hells Angels look positively angelic.

I had been informed that the owner kept donkeys – two of them to be exact and I love donkeys so thought I should try and seek them out.  They had a huge paddock so could have been anywhere really but I had decided to venture to the paddock to check them out.

To get to the paddock you had to walk by an old shed with a clothes hanging line type thing attached to it.  What greeted me on that washing line made me almost scream like a girl and almost soil myself because it was not only ‘beefy’ by spider standards, he looked acutely dangerous as well.

‘Jesus Christ!’ I shouted as I almost walked into the biggest spider in the world – universe even.  He had thick black furry legs, huge fat bulbous body and even a set of beady little eyes.  Of course had had eyes, I know spiders have eyes but this one had a pair of sunnies on as well.

He wore a black leather jacket, had black leather boots covering his legs (all of his legs), a flick knife in one pocket and a gun in the other (yes spiders have their own pockets) I know you won’t believe me, but this spider had a beard – like the bikies have, a proper spiders beard and I am sure he has appeared in several ‘Crime Watch’ poster campaigns.

‘Where the fuck do you think you are going?’ The spider said in a Paul Hogan type voice.

‘To see the two donkeys’ I replied in the weakest and most feeble voice ever, I mean seriously you had to see this spider to believe it – I later found out that his name was Barry.

Around Barry were several webs, some big and some small but all of them contained spiders of varying sizes all scuttling to safe areas of the clothes line.  You could hear their voices shouting ‘Get her, trap her, wrap her up in your web and eat her’ Honestly, I had no idea spiders could be so violent, well not including the time I spent in hospital after a redback spider bit me on the ankle but I am still coming to terms with that.

‘What are you doing in the spider hood?’ he demanded, raising his voice slightly.

‘I want to see the donkeys’ I repeated but by now I didn’t give a shit about the bloody donkeys, I wanted to run for the hills jumping and slapping myself to make sure I had no spiders on me.

‘She wants to see the donkeys’ – the smaller spiders repeated together and then sniggered, trying to imitate my voice.  A female spider in black tight satin pants and black T shirt with ‘Punk Legs’ printed on it, sat on a chunky black spiders lap, chewing gum and inhaling deeply on her cigarette, she stared at me, smirking her spider face off.

‘Well they ain’t here are they?’ Barry laughed and then examined a selection of his legs, measuring them against one another and flexing/extending them – a bit like when someone checks their fingernails after a manicure.

Glancing round I could see there were no donkeys – they must be in the bottom paddock.  ‘I will be on my way then’ I said meekly and then started to move away giving the washing line a wide berth as several spiders did ‘cut throat’ signs near me and hissed or laughed or just glared at me, it was so intimidating I could not believe it – we are talking serious ‘underbelly’ of the spider world.

‘Oi, miss!’Barry said loudly.

I looked up at him feeling sick – how could anything have legs that thick and hairy, aside from Fatima Whitbread?

Without even looking at me, he said calmly ‘Don’t come back – this is OUR territory, if you do come back, you won’t be so lucky next time’ the other spiders all laughed, some lit cigarettes and some just looked bored of me.

I didn’t need telling twice, I could feel my feet snapping the twigs on the ground as I walked off at some pace, keeping an eye out for cobwebs for I was certain that I heard one of the spiders beg if he could be allowed to catch me in his web and suck the life blood out of me until I went all dry and shriveled from the inside out – oh hold on a minute, I am dry from the inside out anyway from the Sjogrens disease so it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

‘Have you been running?’ Abdel asked as I came back in to the chalet sweating like Michael Jackson in a creche.

‘Spiders’ was all I could say and then added ‘Bastard great big fat hairy fuckers with attitude’

Shaking his head, Abdel laughed and carried on making tea.  He could laugh – he hadn’t even seen them, I made a mental note to introduce him before we left and pray that we wouldn’t be eaten in the process.

After our tea, we sat on the verandah and admired the view which was pretty awesome and made me realize that I am a country girl at heart and could quite happily live amongst the animals and leave humans out of the equation.

Clutching my camera I trained my eye to the field just behind the lake.  Abdel was about to go inside and glanced over to me and said ‘Why don’t we sit inside?’

‘Kangaroos, I want to get some pictures and I have heard that they gather by the lake of an evening’ I replied.  Abdel cleared the table and went inside to watch ‘Home and Away’.

As I strained my eyes, I thought initially it was a large bush or two but then it moved so grabbing my camera, which had the zoom lens on it, I had a look to confirm whether or not it was ‘bush or beast’.

‘Build it and they will come!’ I yelled excitedly because through my zoom lens I could spy 3 kangaroos – a mum, a dad and a joey.

The photos were not brilliant but considering I took them from the chalet, they were not bad at all.  Rocky was quietly quivering in the living room, as he wanted nothing to do with the ‘hopping handbags’ as he referred to them.  But as for me, I was thrilled because as some may say Dwellingup is too quiet and scant on human company, I say it has a rich abundance of company of the furry and feathered kind and if you can ‘speak dog’ then you would never really want for a friend.

IMG_3545Mum, Dad and a Joey – ‘hopping handbags’

The next morning

Rocky was doing the nosy neighbor thing on the verandah and spying on the new people that had moved in to the chalet next door.  Honestly I don’t know where he gets his ability to be nosy  from, Abdel reckons it is me as I am the curtain twitcher supreme but I beg to differ.

A tiny pugalier (pug crossed with cavalier spaniel) ran at pace to catch up with his owner, barking noisily to get his attention.

Now if you can imagine the Danny de Vito voice saying ‘Whatch ya doin’, slow down, I got little legs ya know’ in that accent he has, then you will know what I mean.

‘Twat, I bet he talks like that for a bet’ Rocky growled under his breath and then glanced over to his right, straining his head to see if Jess was up so he could go off and play with her.

‘Are you ready Rocky?’ I said to him as Abdel grabbed the tennis ball to go down to the lake for a swim.

Running ahead of us, Rocky ran straight to Jess’s chalet to see if the tubby crippled Kelpie was up for a swim.  Jess however, was on the verandah with the gate shut as her owners were still having breakfast.

‘Coming for a swim Jess?’ Rocky grinned at her, Jess who was trying to adjust her invisible calipers; looked boot faced at her owners for being so slow with their eating habits.

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Jess pleading to be let out with Rocky

Pushing her head through the bars of the verandah fence, she proceeded to howl noisily in frustration as she couldn’t get out.  ‘Let me out now!’ Jess shouted and became so loud that her owners relented and opened the gate.  In her excitement Jess nearly fell down the stairs to get to Rocky, honestly it was like a game of ‘Jenga’ where you pile on bricks to the highest point and they eventually all collapse in a heap.

Gathering herself, her calipers and her dignity, Jess ran down to the lake with Rocky.  ‘Catch me if you can!’ Jess shouted happily.

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‘Catch me if you can’ Jess yelled to Rocky

‘I can see your minge!’ Rocky replied, looking rather smug that he was so close to her genitals. (sounds of giggling from Jess)

‘Rocky, don’t be so bloody rude!’ I reprimanded him but it didn’t do any good as Rocky and Jess were long gone and I could just see both of their tails wagging as they sniffed down by the kayaks by the lake.

IMG_3641Rocky and Jess catching up on gossip

‘Are you coming down the lake with us?’ Abdel asked me, grabbing Rocky’s tennis ball – although that was pretty pointless as Rocky had Jess and no tennis ball would tempt him away from her.

‘No, I will stay here and do my writing’ I replied.  There was far too much to write about (as you are now reading and finding out for yourself) and besides, I could see the Danny de Vito dog strutting around his chalet puffing out his chest and trying to make his genitals look big by standing with his legs apart and failing miserably, he was just begging to go into my stories.  Really my head was bursting with my imagination trying to get out – put me in the countryside and I don’t need friends as the invisible ones and my imagination are all  fabulous company thank you.

Grabbing my computer and a coffee, I sat down on the verandah, feeling the warmth of the wood under my feet – really it was beautiful there, not a sound except for the birds, not counting Rocky and Jess barking or the Danny de Vito dog talking in a purposely loud voice to make himself sound bigger than what he actually was.  But that was OK, the sound of animals talking is far better than that of humans and once you grasp that aspect, then everything is really quite perfect.

Danny de Vito Dog – full of shit dog!

‘I run the ‘hood’ where I live, I have lots of dogs working for me dont cha’ know?’ Danny de Vito Dog could be heard yelling to Rocky by the lake.

‘Bollocks!’ Rocky sniggered to the tiny dog who bristled back with indignation at being called a liar.

‘You have boots kelpie and you are too big for them!’ Danny de Vito Dog shouted to Rocky and then cocked his leg up one of the kayaks to prove a point, only he didn’t prove a point as the only thing he managed to do was fall over.  Isn’t it a good job that we humans don’t prove our worth by pissing over stuff, mind you some may beg to differ on that score judging by the smell in various shop doorways on a Friday night.

Rocky really did not much care to be friends with this dog that told lies about how he had his own kingdom and lots of bitches that attended his every need and fed him bones.  In fact even Rocky wanted to avoid him and even told Jess to do likewise which resulted in the little pugalier being forced to talk to himself from his own verandah and even attack a large branch as he was convinced it had threatened him.

Rocky to the rescue!

Now this section is somewhat dramatic so please be prepared for it and if you are of sensitive nature and prone to crying, now is the time to get your tissues – think ‘Lassie’ and you will just about have it right.

Abdel wanted to go for a swim and Rocky was not happy about it and had advised him not to and much to Rocky’s horror, Abdel chose to ignore him.

It all started by the lake and Abdel was deciding what to do – swim or kayak and Rocky had yelled to him to do as he was told or he would be forced to take action.

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Rocky orders Abdel out of the lake

‘I am not going to tell you again, you only have two legs and I have four so you cannot hope to be as good a swimmer as myself!’ Rocky insisted.

In an act of defiance, Abdel took to the water as Rocky nearly choked on his own tongue.

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‘Right, this is not funny, get out!’ Rocky screamed in his high pitched kelpie bark. And then added ‘I am coming to get you’ and started swimming towards a bemused Abdel.

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Nearly there!

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Got you!

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Follow me – I will keep you safe!

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Stay close!

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Follow me back to shore!

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The things I do for my owner!

Rocky was declared a true hero by Jess that night because he had ‘saved’ Abdel, only don’t tell Jess or Rocky that Abdel didn’t even need saving and is a proficient swimmer so we will let Rocky think he is a super dog, actually he is because with no thought to his own safety, he went in after his owner to bring him back because he thought he was in danger and for that reason alone, he is a super dog and I love the bones off him.

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My little kelpie hero – Rocky Dog

Day Two – Date with a Donkey!

After the spider-hood incident, you could be forgiven for not believing me when I said that there really were donkeys on the premises but Abdel and I did actually find them and yes, it involved walking through the spider-hood in order to get to them.

So we did manage to get permission from Barry the head spider who rattled even the normally cool Abdel with his threats of violence involving several sets of legs and a flick knife.  Abdel returned the ‘favor’ by threatening them with a mortein bomb and if that didn’t work, someone from pest control to ‘saturate their arses with enough toxicity to float a ship’ (his words not mine)

These threats could have made things worse but Barry the spider had decided to back down as mortein was one thing but pest control was another so a truce was called, we could see the donkeys on this occasion but we had to promise never to come back because if we did, Barry would be on the phone to the spiders in our suburb and had threatened us with arachnid gang warfare which would not only include redbacks but white tails as well.

Anyway, all that was said was what needed to be said and yes, we saw the donkeys, yes they were very nice thank you and no, they refused to talk to us other than to tell us we were very lucky to walk away from the spider-hood that day with our bodily fluids still contained within our body although some spiders were heard to be bragging that they had sucked out our lifeblood but they were just bullshitting.

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Donkeys – they tell it how it is!

Later that day

Abdel and I had decided to take Rocky for a walk, there was really no need for him to be on a leash as he is a country dog and seems to thrive in that environment.  Put him back in the suburbs and it is a different and somewhat more disobedient story.

IMG_3633Leash? What leash?

Rocky really was enjoying the scenery of Dwellingup and I have to admit – so was I, really it is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to and not only that, there is plenty of animal company to chat to and I even made friends with a couple of forest red tailed black cockatoos called Susan and Gregory, and a very nice pair they were too.  It was only a flying visit you see but they managed to throw a few words my way as they flew over.

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Forest red tailed black cockatoo – Susan and Gregory

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The lake ‘place of action’

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Rocky on ‘roo watch’

It really was rather marvelous seeing Rocky enjoy his freedom, when he wasn’t playing with Jess, he was making fun out of Danny de Vito Dog and when he wasn’t doing that, he was swimming and when he wasn’t swimming, he was either watching TV or reading the dog porn in the front room – basically a kelpie with a busy life you might say.

Roo Watch – again!

That evening I was determined to some better shots of some kangaroos, I left Rocky on the verandah with Abdel and I took the camera and went down to the lake to see  if any of the ‘hopping handbags’ as they are known in some parts, were in sight so I could get some good photographs.

IMG_3725Rocky and Abdel chill out on the verandah while I go on ‘roo watch’.

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Perfect scenery

Turning round to admire the scenery which you have to admit from this photo, is pretty awesome, I turned my camera on and took this photograph.  That was when I heard noises, sort of whispering but very loud whispering and sounds of ‘Who are you?’ kind of thing.

Thinking it was my imagination, I ignored the noises and then focused my camera on the scenery and it happened again but only the voices were louder – how did I not hear them in the first place, they were practically shouting at me.

Have you ever seen the film ‘Gulliver’s Travels’? Where the little men carry off Gulliver and although they are little, there are so many of them they actually make a powerful army?  Well I thought nothing could scare me after the spider-hood incident but boy was I wrong because when I realized that the voices were not coming from eye level, I glanced down and looked on the ground and what I saw made me do what only can be described as the ‘River Dance – Samantha style’.

I was standing on a nest of bull ants – please feel free to Google ‘bull ants’ and then imagine me standing on a nest of these bastards and if you want to pray for my soul and my pants that were now soiled, you have my full permission.

You know in army films they sing those songs as they march ‘I don’t know what I’ve been told, I’ve heard your genitals smell of mold’ – you know the kind of song?

That is what they were doing, thousands of the bastards had started to lift me up and were jostling me along the path to their nest and I could even hear the senior ants in charge yelling ‘heeve, ho, heeve, ho’.  Jesus Christ I was being dragged into an ants nest – these made the spider-hood seem like pussycats.

‘Oh, we have a big one!’ One of the bull ants shouted and then instructed them to sing their marching song again while they all pulled together and managed to move me another inch (yes it was an inch, I was sure of it and you had to be there to see it)

For what seemed like ages I allowed them to carry me towards the nest, fascinated as I watched them wipe the sweat off their tiny little ‘anty’ type faces and take swigs of water and yell out words of encouragement to the ‘ant army’.

Then I remembered that these bastards not only bite but they bite hard and I still have painful memories of being bitten by a bull ant in QLD which resulted in my leg burning and going numb from the pain and that memory alone was enough to shake me out of my fascination for these tiny insects that were hell bent on getting me back to the nest and that is when I did it – I performed The River Dance – Samantha Style.

The River Dance can be performed in many situations you see, when you find a cockroach in your cupboard, a mouse in your house, a dead spider, a snake – in fact anything that terrifies you can result in the River Dance which involves jumping up and down and slapping various bits of your body using your hands and some people have even been known to kick their own faces.  The River Dance can be done by men or women and get quite violent, legs and ankles could be broken, anything could happen.

So there I was doing the River Dance, slapping my own legs and marking them red, jumping up and down and blacking my eyes with my ample bosoms bouncing around like day old puppies and thank the lord and the baby orphans that none of those bull ants managed to bite me because trust me on this one, those bastards hurt when they bite and once bitten, the pain is never forgotten either.

‘What the fuck?’ The senior bull ant yelled and then shouted ‘Hostile attack! Get her!’ and seemingly from nowhere, literally thousands of ants poured out of a small mound by the bushes.

That was my hint to go and go I did, I ran like a starving kid wanting a Hungry Jacks and literally hopped along the pathway like a springbok until I came out into the clearing.  Checking there were no more ants on me, I still had that reactive instinct to continue slapping myself like a mental person, in fact my legs had hand marks on them where I had slapped myself so hard, I somewhat resembled a self-harmer and was surprised that Abdel never picked up on my ‘injuries’ when I got back to the chalet.

I was rewarded by my ‘walk of death’ through the bull ants nest by a nice group of wallabies and managed to take this photo before they spotted me and told me to ‘sod off and leave them alone’, which I did as I had suffered more than enough excitement for one night.

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They were so small and so fast – I was lucky to get this photograph

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And in the blink of an eye – they were gone as quickly as they appeared

The next morning

Abdel got up before me and went to the toilet, I saw him glancing out of the patio door and looked somewhat confused and then looked again.  Rocky did not even stir, he was fast asleep and really was not a morning person.

‘There are ducks on the verandah’ Abdel said and then yawned, rubbed his eyes and went in to the bathroom.

Was he joking? Ducks on the veranda?  I was tempted to drag my arse out of bed but really couldn’t be bothered but I should have known that nothing was ever that simple and just because you don’t see things, it doesn’t mean that you cannot hear them.

‘Do you think there is food here?’ I could hear one of the ducks say – it sounded quite young.

‘Well I can’t see anything, I would have hoped that kelpie would have left something behind’ The other duck sighed and then I could hear several other ducks arguing over the food situation in Dwellingup and even the fire from a few years ago.  Jesus Christ, I was trying to sleep and now I could hear these bloody ducks holding a ‘feather conference’ on our verandah.

It was only when Rocky got up and went on the verandah and told them to stop being so noisy that or he would turn them into crispy fried duck, they all took flight and left, but not before one of the ducks flashed her arse to Rocky and crapped near his water bowl which did not go down very well let me tell you.

‘Ducks on the verandah? Are you sure?’ The woman who owns the place said when we told her and then told us that she had never seen ducks on the verandah of any of the chalets since she opened the business.  Oh well, they were on the verandah, just ask Abdel and Rocky if you don’t believe me, the duck shit may well still be on there.

Time to go home

‘But I don’t want to go!’ Rocky cried as I packed up his toys, bowls and bedding.

‘That makes two of us’ I muttered and I meant it too.  I really didn’t want to go home, as a writer I yearned to live in the middle of nowhere with only wildlife for company and hated living in the suburbs – it was my idea of hell so I could totally sympathize with Rocky not wanting to go back.

Once we had tidied up the chalet and did the usual checks that you do before you leave guest accommodation, we had loaded everything up in the car except for Rocky who was now sat huddled up on the step pretending to be a cruelty case so that he could stay.

‘Do you have to go Rocky, can’t you stay one more day?’ Jess pleaded looking rather depressed.  Her calipers clanked together noisily, they still had some fridge magnets on them that Rocky had stuck on the day before.

Staring at her, Rocky sighed ‘Sorry Jess, I have to go with them’, his tail swished slowly from side to side.

Taking Rocky, I led him to the back of the car and secured his leash to the seat belt so he was safely contained in the back seat and then opened down the window for him and then I got in the front seat whilst taking a last long look at this beautiful place that had made a significant impact on me which in turn had made me realize just how much I hated the suburbs.

‘Call me!’ Rocky mouthed to Jess through the window and then did a gesture with his paws mimicking a telephone.  Jess grinned back and then did a naughty flash of her genitals whilst at the same time bashing her calipers together.

As we pulled out of the chalet park, I could see a line of spiders from the spider-hood on the side of a fence, all wearing their leather gear, some carrying guns, some carrying knives, some hissed but most said nothing and fronting up the army of spiders was Barry who gave Abdel a nod of respect.  Anyone that threatens the spider-hood with a mortein bomb has to be respected and anyone that knows anyone that works in pest control ought to be at the top of the food chain.  But it is always worth remembering that spiders ought to be respected, especially when they are armed with weapons have have serious contacts in the arachnid ‘underworld’.

Back home

‘It feels like we have never been away’ I said to Abdel as I unpacked our bags.
Rocky was running round the garden checking that nothing had been disturbed, moved, or soiled upon in his absence. I could see the little black kelpie circling round and lifting his leg several times to urinate on things until he eventually ran out of urine and merely did it as a gesture.

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to be home but I couldn’t help but wish that ‘home’ was somewhere else as in Denmark or Dwellingup or even Metricup, just somewhere peaceful, gorgeous scenery and nothing but the wildlife for company.

‘I won’t miss the spiders though’ I said to Abdel as he loaded up the washing basket with our dirty laundry.  Abdel laughed and then went into the bathroom to put away the toiletries that he had taken from the luggage bag.

After everything was unpacked, put away and sorted, Abdel and I sat down with the old British favorite – the thing that sorts everything out, a steaming mug of tea.  You may have noticed that in the UK whatever the crisis, a cup of tea solves everything – including war and tea always tastes best in your own favorite mug that normally has a chip on it somewhere.

Rocky was fast asleep on his bed as road trips always make him tired, his legs were twitching along with his facial muscles as he was clearly having a vivid dream about something or other – chasing Jess perhaps? putting magnets on her calipers, or perhaps just enjoying the freedom of not being on a leash because he had ‘earned the trust of the countryside’ if you know what I mean, and by trust I mean the 10th Commandment which is ‘thou shalt not chase kangaroos and wildlife’.

So that was that, our weekend away was over and it was time to get back into the real world, where the dogs carry knives and threaten people and the magpies bash you up and chase you and the real sounds of wildlife come in the form of the hoons racing cars up and down the main road by your house and you know something? I hate it – real life that is.

‘It’s like it never happened’ I muttered to Abdel as I carefully edited the Dwellingup photos on my computer whilst sipping my tea.

‘Oh I wouldn’t say that’ A small voice said from way above my head, who the shitting hell said that?

Looking up I could see a rather large white tail spider wearing a leather jacket and tight leather pants and a blue and white scarf tied around its head.  Standing up I stared at it in disbelief and said ‘Pardon?’

‘Two words’ the spider replied firmly ‘Spider-Hood’

Feeling sick I turned round to see if Abdel had heard it all, he was fast asleep with his empty tea cup in his hands. Turning back round to face the spider, it had gone.

Now, where was that mortein bomb?

The end…..

A special thank you to the owners of the forest lodge for their kindness and hospitality – they provided us with first class facilities and accommodation and it is definitely worth a trip to stay with them.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Early morning wake up call – if only they (animals) could talk

Ask me why I am tired – go on, I dare you!  Well let me tell you why I am tired.  This morning I was awoken at precisely 4.45am and it was not by my alarm clock, not that I would ever in a million years set my alarm clock off for ‘stupid-o’clock’ unless my life depended on it.

Nope, it was the sound of a galah on the fence near my bedroom window and for those of you that do not live in Australia or know what a galah is, it is a rose breasted cockatoo that is native to Australia and has a high pitched call that sounds like no other bird.

Here is a photograph of a galah for your benefit:

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Now with my fertile and somewhat childish imagination, I imagine what animals would say if they could talk – it is a bad habit that I have so if the thought of talking animals fills you with dread then it is probably best to leave this section of the blog now as I cannot take any responsibility for possible mental scarring or psychiatric visits.

The conversation from the galah went something like this.

‘Samantha, wake up, wake up now, it’s happening!’  the galah yelled from outside the window.  I was dreaming about nice things and from the ‘outer window’ of my dream, it were as though someone was knocking on the window to disturb me – bastards.

‘Samantha, you will miss it, it’s happening!’ the rather shrill and annoying voice said, getting even louder.

Rolling over and putting a pillow on my head, my first thought was ‘shut your mouth feather-pie’ and then I realised that it wasn’t going to shut up any time soon.

‘Wake up!’ the galah yelled and then started to get itself into a high pitched frenzy of galah-type noises.

‘What is happening?’ I said drowsily.

‘The morning, it’s started, it’s already happening, get up or you will miss it’ the galah said matter-of-factly.

Jesus Christ on a bike, was that all? I sat up and grabbed my phone to check the time, it was 4.45am and I didn’t have to be up for another 2.5 hours!  So as you can imagine, I was not impressed.

‘I shall shout until you get up’ the galah yelled and that is exactly what it did – shout for another hour or so.  Now don’t get me wrong, if you are an animal loving ‘Dr Doolitle’ such as myself, the sight of a rose breasted cockatoo is enough to warm the cockles of your heart, however at 4.45am in the morning, it makes you want to use words such as ‘bastard’ or even worse.

I guess I should be grateful really, you can have normal alarm clocks and I have a cockatoo and various other members of the wildlife community, although our local possum sounds like the screeching of tyres when he/she tries to defend its property (our house).

Anyway, that was my morning and that is why I am so tired and I am hoping that tomorrow morning will be better and the birds can hold their AGM somewhere else.

Have a lovely day