Don’t Miss The Morning! (so Rocky says)

I am beginning to realise that my ‘baby’ Ridgie-Kelpie is more than a touch too spoilt, as is Rocky dog.

Each and every Saturday/Sunday morning at 6.30am without fail, Rocky waits by our bedroom door whinging, telling me to ‘hurry up, get a move on, be quick or we will miss it’.

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Rocky doesn’t want to miss the morning

‘What will we miss Rocky?’ I have asked him on each occasion that I would like to stay in bed for just an hour longer.

‘Life’ He replied, ‘We are missing out on life, it’s started and it comes with tennis balls’.

My little black ‘beetle dog’ as he is known, trembles outside my door which ultimately makes the normally lazy Brutus get up in his crate and demand to be let out so he too can catch ‘life and its tennis balls’ before it passes him by.

That is my hint to get up. I open Brutus’s crate and he always stares at me thoughtfully, pondering on whether or not life will wait for him, Rocky decides on Brutus’s behalf that life in fact waits for noone and neither do tennis balls and Brutus stands up, and as he gets out of his crate, he stretches his long, brown and muscular body and uses his whippy tail to whip the shit out of my legs, the bin and anything else it may come into contact with. It is now 6.35am.

I let both boys out into the garden, Brutus idly stares at the Yucca and palm trees and licks his lips, should he eat them yet or is it too early for a ‘green breakfast’? However, he is still half asleep and hasn’t quite got Rocky’s mindset that ‘life is a tennis ball that needs to be caught and played with until your hips give out and you die, then you go to doggy heaven where you can chase tennis balls until your hearts content or you piss God off by barking and he is forced to put a religious ‘bark collar’ around your neck.

Sleepily I set about fixing the boys breakfast and put a scoop of dog chow in each bowl, placing one bowl in Brutus’s crate, then I tidy his favourite fluffy cot blanket which he literally refuses to settle unless he has it. I have to wash it, put it in the drier and then give it back to him and woe betide me if I don’t. Actually, I am on the lookout for spare thick fluffy cot blankets if anyone has spares they no longer use.

6.45am – I am tired and this time I vow to myself that I will go back to bed with Abdel and leave Brutus in his puppy crate, enjoying his dog chow and he WILL go to sleep afterwards.

Except that doesn’t happen, it never happens and I don’t even know why I try and fight it for I, have created a big brown 30kg 10 month old monster – my ridgie-kelpie Brutus, yes I have made him spoilt and he knows, I know it and Rocky knows it – hell even Gordon knows it.

I call the boys in, Brutus goes straight into his open crate and Rocky goes straight back to his bed – so far so good (not!).

Shutting the crate, I can hear Brutus noisily and hungrily snarfing down his breakfast, he is such a noisy and piggy little eater – he loves his food and would eat shit if you put sauce on it, actually he has eaten Gordons shit without sauce on it.

I creep out of the living room and sneak back into the bedroom, my goodness, I am hiding from my own dogs.

6.50am – I am back snuggled in bed with Abdel. He takes no notice of me, he knows there is no point, he knows exactly what will happen and he turns to his side and goes back to sleep.

6.55am – sounds of Brutus whinging doing high pitched puppy cries.

‘You have to come back now! Life is happening, we shall miss it and it comes with tennis balls and palm trees for me to chew!’ Brutus shouts from his crate. Rocky looks on proudly, he has this ‘life thing’ well and truly sussed, you would have to get up early in the morning to catch him out because life will never pass him by, he simply will not allow it to (just like a tennis ball).

(sounds of me sighing)

7.00am – ‘That’s it, I have my drugs to take at 7.30am, I may as well get up now’ I said rather feebly to Abdel.

No answer was the loud reply.

7.002am, I am in the kitchen making a coffee, grabbing my medication to take with it, I stared at Brutus who was in his crate, gripping the corner of his fluffy blanket looking very ‘puppy-like’ in his actions. I guess he is still a puppy at 10 months and it is all to easy to forget that when you look at his size and weight.

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Brutus – still a ‘baby’ at 10 months old

Grabbing the blanket, I snuggle up with my iPhone on the sofa and play a few games of ‘Bejewelled’. Rocky walks up to me as he does each and every Sat/Sun morning, he puts his two front paws on the sofa, rests his huge kelpie head on my chest so I get a whiff of dog-breath, and he leans with his hind legs on the floor so it technically doesnt constitute being on the sofa – something he is not allowed to do. However, it still constitutes a ‘kelpie cuddle’ as the little black dog wraps his front paws around my arm and happily falls asleep while snuggling down into my fleecy PJ top.

(sounds of scratching at the door)

‘Oh god, here we go’ I mutter to myself.

‘Quick, it’s starting – ‘life’ is happening and we cant miss it and it comes in the form of ‘Snappy Tom’ cat food!’ Gordon yells from his bedroom in his ginger voice.

‘Bloody hell’ I sigh and then get up to let Gordon out so he too doesnt miss out on ‘life’.

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Gordon also doesn’t like to miss out on life (or Snappy Tom)

7.10am – I am back curled up on the sofa, sipping my coffee, taking my drugs. Rocky is back on his bed fast asleep, Gordon is happily watching life go by from the dining room window and Brutus has stopped crying like a girl, and is fast asleep snoring like a piglet.

They know I am on the sofa wrapped up in a blanket, they know I will remain here until breakfast and not one of them shall make a sound, they are fast asleep and they are content.

They are also too spoilt, they know it and I know it. This is a weekly occurrence, the 6.30am wake up call, the call to tell me that life is happening, grab it and don’t let go.

For if I was to go back to the bedroom, Brutus would cry, Rocky would wait by the bedroom door and Gordon would just say ‘fuck you’ and destroy the blinds.

I could of course go back to sleep on the sofa should I want to. Except that the sounds of the parrots and birds in my garden is too nice to ignore and I don’t want to miss it, the silence surrounding that is very peaceful indeed. So I won’t go back to bed, I shall stay here.

Besides, we are going out in an hour or so for breakfast with the boys and then take them round the park.

Brutus and Rocky spoilt? Yeah, I reckon they are but what can I say – you have to get up early, life is happening.

And it is happening with tennis balls (according to Rocky).

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright Sept 2013

Brutus – if it’s green then eat it!

ImageBrutus Update: (naughty radar 9/10)
It is jolly hard to be angry at something that has the cute factor and that can ‘talk’ in typical hound fashion the way in which Brutus can.

Brutus is now a whopping 23kgs of solid chunk and muscle, he looks mostly ridgeback, except for a rather odd and small kelpie shaped snout and kelpie ears and an uncanny ability to herd everything up including stones. The rest is ridgeback and his head his becoming enormous.

This morning Abdel got up to let the boys out and I got up a bit later as I was too cold to migrate from my bed – one could hang coats off ones nipples in this weather but that is another story.

I had gone out to do a poo run to pick up the man sized turds from the garden and Brutus was doing his usual ‘breakfast dance’ where he bounces in circles and kangaroo hops around the garden in a fine display of hunger.

‘I am so hungry, I haven’t been fed in 12 years!’ Brutus shouted dramatically.

‘Twat, you are only 7 months old yourself’ Rocky shook his head in disbelief and then lit up a fag and blew smoke in funny shapes through his nostrils (the shape of dog).

As I bent down to pick up some dog turd, I noticed something that ordinarily could very easily be missed, in fact I don’t know how I even saw it – but I did and now I have seen it, I cannot ‘un-see’ it.

It was a tiny, oh so tiny, piece of my (expensive) fake lawn – chewed up and shat out in dog turd. Glancing down to see where it had come from, I sighted a tiny, perhaps 2cm area near the join of the grass to the concrete. Honestly, you probably couldn’t see it if you came round to my house, but I have what many dog owners have and that is ‘the gift of puppy eyes’ where you can see the slightest most miniscule difference in objects/places where your puppy may have chewed. This gift of observation also extends to sounds – I can hear what is normal and what is naughty in the way of sounds and usually tell you exactly what they are doing by the noise that is being made.

For instance, if I haven’t fed Gordon by a certain time and I can hear a dragging noise from the kitchen, then it usually means that Gordon is pushing glasses along the counter and I normally have about 3 minutes to feed him or the glass goes on the floor – hence the reason Gordon weighs about 7kgs, because he is fed on demand because if we don’t feed him, the house gets it – or we do.

Anyway, there I am in my work attire staring at this piece of dog shit which is containing tiny pieces of fake lawn and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

‘What the fuck have you done?’ I demanded to Brutus who was now ‘breakfast dancing’ all over the garden.

‘Told you that you shouldn’t have done it, you are in trouble now’ Rocky said smugly, knowing that he was a good boy but forgetting he did similar at that age and we won’t even discuss about the time that he dug 4 foot under the retainer wall or chewed up the mortgage documents, (he still maintains that the German Shepherds did it).

‘I was told that grass contains roughage and is good for digestion’ Brutus said in his poshest ridgeback voice – he uses his ridgeback voice when he wants to sound assertive and when he herds up stones or bites my ankles then he tends to use his kelpie voice to sound more intelligent. Although the pile of stones outside my door that he has brought to me and spends ages herding up, makes me beg to differ on that score.

‘It’s fake lawn you twattage and it cost a lot of money!’ I told him, he now had the grace to look embarrassed.

ImageMy lovely fake lawn!

 

‘Perhaps if you fed me more often I wouldn’t need to eat the grass!’ Brutus barked back. He was actually ‘talking’ back, you know the way dogs do that funny bark? I think it is a hound thing as my whippet used to do it.

He looked like a large chunky brown turd, with his huge tail wagging in circles like the propeller of a helicopter, his bottom was wriggling and his crumpled mouth that has too much skin around it, caving in around his teeth with each bark, as he tried to justify his chewing of the lawn.

Rocky was shaking his head in disapproval muttering stuff about the puppies of today don’t know that they are born and in his day, all puppies were good dogs that dug nothing and chewed nothing. Gordon sat by the security door smoking a fag shouting the words ‘Bollocks’ and ‘liar’ – it very nearly escalated into a shouting riot of who was the naughtiest or best behaved in ‘their day’ and I am sure that the neighbours didn’t take too kindly to this noise so early in the morning.

‘I can’t believe that you inspected my shit’ Brutus said looking a touch martyred as I continued to pick up the turd from the garden.

‘Can’t you Brutus? Can’t you?’ I snapped, ‘I seem to remember when I took you to the vet when you had kept me up all night with your explosive diarrhoea and I had to take a day off work as I only had one hours sleep and when I cleaned the garden I found several chewed up catkins in your turd’

‘Wasn’t my turd, another dog did it!’ Brutus replied.

‘Oh, and it wasn’t you that produced enough diarrhoea to float a boat I suppose?’ I demanded.

Brutus was blushing now and Rocky was sitting by the shed, smoking his fag and flicking ash on to the grass, rubbing it in and making shapes in the dirt with his paw. Rocky had decided to keep quiet now, as he had shat the bed on a couple of occasions and on the last stomach upset he had suffered, he had even shat in his water bowl which by my own admission, fucking amazed me – I mean that takes skill to do that, even I couldn’t do that if I tried.

‘And what about the time I found red plastic in your poo which I believe, was only last week?’ I said to Brutus.

Stomping back into the house I grabbed the bitter spray that I had bought from City Farmers last week and went back out to the garden with Brutus hotly following me on my heels, nipping my ankles to ‘bring me in’.

‘Ha ha ha ha!’ Rocky yelled and held his belly as he snorted with laughter ‘You are getting the bitter spray treatment!’ The little black kelpie roared his head off.

389511_10150379739253317_687953316_8426580_762749912_nRocky the good boy!

‘Now that shit, SO does not work’ Gordon shouted from the laundry room. And he is right, because I used to use bottles of the stuff to stop Gordon chewing towels and carpets and even resorted to using Vics Vapour rub to stop Gordon from chewing. And all that succeeded in doing was making Gordon chew it more, sneeze a bit and then come back to me and say ‘I don’t care, I chewed it anyway!’

Brutus doesnt appear to like the bitter spray but is clever enough to know that the entire garden cannot be covered in it. Still, he followed me and watched me spray the part of the garden that he had attempted to chew.

‘What are you doing? don’t put that on there, it tastes awful!’ Brutus said looking alarmed.

‘There is no need for that, I can piss on it, I can crap on it, why can’t I chew on it?’ He asked (he has a point there I reckon).

Ignoring him, I saturated that part of the grass in the spray and Brutus started to bark and ‘talk’ and ‘breakfast dance’ around me.

‘That won’t work, I will eat the other corner, perhaps we can talk about this – double my food intake and we could be in business!’ Brutus shouted, almost hysterical now. Telling him that I didn’t negotiate with criminals, I refreshed the water bowls while they both followed me to the door to get their breakfast. Rocky went inside first as he is in charge of Brutus and then Brutus followed him, literally trembling at the sight of the bowl of dog chow that sat in his kennel. (I call it dog chow, don’t know what you call it).

‘You will NOT be left unattended in the garden again’ I told Brutus firmly, shut him in his crate. Ignoring me totally, he snarfed down his bowl of food making snorting/piggy noises as he did so.

Telling Abdel about the fake lawn in Brutus’s turd and to keep an eye on him, Gordon who was now on the bed with Abdel, nodded his head and laughed at my feeble efforts to stop Brutus chewing.

‘Mum?’ Gordon asked in his ginger voice.

‘Yes Gordon, hurry up as I have to go to work’ I replied.

‘Can I eat a towel please?, that nice new bright red one in the bathroom’ Gordon asked.

Staring down at the fat ginger cat that was now wedged behind Abdels back on the bed, I tried not to laugh.

935191_10151431007488317_1267880561_nPlease can I chew the towels Mum?

‘No Gordon, you can’t eat the towels’, and with that, I said goodbye to Abdel as by now, I was late for work. (sounds of Gordon sniggering at my response – he will eat them anyway).

I left the dogs in the laundry room discussing the mornings events, Rocky was trying to chastise him but they were both laughing. ‘Brutus, did it hurt when you crapped out the fake lawn?’ Rocky asked in admiration.

‘Not as much as the plastic bucket did’ Was Brutus’s reply.

I heard nothing after that as I had left the house but believe me, I wonder if children are easier to bring up than dogs – at least they dont eat fake lawn and plastic buckets.

Happy Friday everyone!

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs! – (warning contains bad language and talking animals!)

THE STORM

We are currently as I type, starting a thunder storm – lightening is lighting up my pathway, deep rumbles of thunder can be heard despite the TV being loud and Rocky who is trying so hard to prove himself as head man over Brutus, has been reduced to a quivering wreck and as I can’t afford a thunder jacket for him, I am trying to find alternative ways like singing stupid songs to my animals (yes really).

Brutus is looking perplexed and confused by the loud clap of thunder we have just had, but even more offended by me singing ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, Rocky didn’t care and was shaking the shit out of himself by my feet and Gordon just told me to piss right off with that noise and that he preferred the sound of thunder.

ImageNothing phases Gordon

‘Jesus Christ on a bike, we are all going to die, save yourselves and your kittens’ Rocky shrieked in a high pitched voice as I tried to eat my apple.

Deciding that I had to share my apple with Rocky as he loves apples, I bit off a piece ‘one for you, and one for me’ I told him.

‘What about me?’ Brutus shouted, oh god, it meant giving the Diarrhoea Brother a new food and trying him on a piece of apple and praying he didnt crap the bed later.

(lightening followed by loud clap of thunder)

‘Bugger me, that is awful!’ Brutus screamed loudly and looked at the ceiling as though it had assaulted him.

‘And some apple for Brutus’ I said in a happy voice – bloody hell, I could feel Rocky shaking.

‘You two are nothing but a pair of girls, you want loud? You wanna be in the hold of a Qantas jet like I was when I flew here from London’ Gordon said smugly and lit up a cigarette – bastard, he knows he can’t smoke in the house.

‘Brutus, we need to build an air raid shelter – get the supplies in before the rains come and we can sing war songs’ Rocky said literally sobbing, yet trying to remain all ‘alpha’.

‘Bollocks to this, this cannot be normal’ Brutus shouted – his little head creased with concern at the noise – which was probably more from me singing the second verse of the song.

ImageBrutus is not amused with the thunder

‘We are all going to die!’ Rocky cried.

‘Fuck me, I have only just got my big dog teeth through and I haven’t had a chance to use them’ Sobbed Brutus, totally wound up by Rocky while I just simply stopped singing and turned up the TV and ignored them.

‘Don’t you care?’ Brutus shouted and then added ‘You will when we run out of puppy meal and we all starve to death and have to eat bones from the garden’

‘You don’t half talk shit Brutus’ Gordon sighed and then flashed him his bum, knowing that Brutus likes to clean it of an evening. Brutus however was not interested in this fine display of feline ginger bottom.

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Gordon tells Brutus all kinds of horror stories about thunder

‘Damn it, I am dead – I have been shot by God from the skies, I am sure I have’ Rocky whimpered and then superglued himself to my feet by the table while checking his belly for gunshot wounds by God.

By now I am swigging my tea (nice cup of Yorkshire tea with one sugar) and watching some animation film on 7Two, while waiting for my crime series to start, when I could hear the sounds of the heavens opening.

‘God is taking a pee!’ Gordon yelled happily, he was so excited – he loves watching storms from the window.

Brutus looked horrified and then looked up at me and said ‘I don’t want God peeing on my head’

‘Brutus, it’s rain – just ignore Gordon, he is teasing you’ I told him firmly.

‘Oh my god, build Noahs Arc, we are going to die – go and get the Zebra!’ Rocky cried noisily from beneath my feet.

Gordon was snorting with laughter at the commotion and then went into the story of how he played Poker with some zoo animals in the hold of the plane from London to Singapore – how true that is I don’t know as I only have Gordon’s word for it, still, it makes for a nice story.

(sounds of farting and smells of shit)

‘Who did that?’ Gordon spluttered from the sofa, and put his ginger paw over his nose and started making choking noises while trying to comfort Brutus.

ImageGordon and Brutus discuss Rocky’s wind problem

‘Sorry, it’s my stomach, my nerves have kicked in – are we dead yet?’ Rocky replied.

‘I didn’t know I was dead, Mum – tell him, am I dead? Please tell me I am not dead!” Brutus yelped as the thunder rattled.

‘Will you all stop it now! Brutus, Rocky is talking shit, Rocky – stop talking shit and stop smelling of shit, you are not dead and Gordon stop stirring shit!’ Honestly, it was like dealing with children.

‘Oh that’s it, I am going!’ Gordon made vomiting sounds as he gagged, and even Rocky blushed at his own wind.

‘Ooops, I think it may have been my heartworm chew coupled up with my nerves and the thunder’ Rocky replied going red at his own smell.

ImageRocky admits his wind problem and puts it down to nerves

‘Fuck me you stink Rocky, go to the toilet now!’ Gordon shouted from the safety of his bedroom.

Even Brutus looked mortified and disgusted at the smells that came from his brothers arse ‘You do Rocky, you smell of bad stomach’.

‘Will you all be quiet and calm down – it is only a thunder storm and it will be over shortly’ (I said hopefully).

(sounds of silence)

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked.

Taking another mouthful of my nearly cold tea, I replied ‘Yes Brutus?’

Brutus stared at me with his cute little pinhead (he has a pinhead) ‘Do you fart when you are scared?’

(sounds of Gordon laughing from the spare room)

Rocky looked up and forgot his fear for a bit and sniggered.

Oh dear god, Dogs ask the most embarrassing of questions don’t they?

‘Yes Brutus but mine smell of roses’. I told him.

‘Awesome’ Brutus said and put his head down in his basket.

‘You are so going to hell for that lie’ Rocky whispered to me as he lay in his basket, he knew the truth.

ImageRocky knows the truth…

And all you could hear after that were the sounds of Gordon gulping with laughter from his bedroom.

ImageGordon found the whole episode hilarious!

Now I shall finish my tea and as it has gone cold, I shall be a devil and make another one and hopefully this time I will get to drink it in peace.

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

Image

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 and the Garbage Men

Image

Brutus officially started his guard dog training today – well I say guard dog training, Rocky is teaching him the ways of the world and who to bark at, who to threaten, who to abuse from the fence – that kind of thing.

Abdel and I were in bed when we heard the familiar sound of the bin men doing the garbage collection – you know the sound of bins being lobbed across the street.

Rocky always barks but he always wait for the dog over the road to start first. Now this dog has a rusty bark that all elderly dogs have that can normally be heard around 11pm when people come home from the pub.

The rusty bark is normally translated into ‘Keep the noise down you piss head, I am trying to eat a bone’ Then all the dogs start yelling for the drunken yobs to be quiet and before you know it, the whole suburb has kicked off in canine uprising.

Well this morning I heard the obligatory rusty dog bark from the senior dog from over the road.

I will make no apologies for the language because if you only knew what your dog yelled at from the confines of your garden, you would be shocked to high heaven.

When you see dogs running up and down through the garden and jumping up at the fence barking at the postmen, Telstra people, religious nutters – they are not just barking. Oh no, just you listen and you listen good because they are shouting things like ‘piss off or I will eat your balls off’

Some of the more rebellious dogs shout out ‘wanker’ at Telstra engineers. Honestly I have seen Rocky do it and even flip the bird at the Water Corp people while Gordon flashed his arse in the window and called them ‘Turd legs’.

Anyway, I digress as usual, Abdel and I were lying in bed with Gordon when we heard the rusty dog bark which was the official signal for all self respecting dogs to stand by their gates and being the wave of abuse that occurs on garbage day.

‘The wankers have arrived!’ The elderly dog barked in his rusty voice.

Rocky ran up to the next level of the garden, his hackles up like the spine of a dinosaur.

‘Oi, wanker! Get off my land’ Rocky yelled. Dog with rusty bark shouted back ‘Good on ya Rocky!’

Brutus is only a baby and doesn’t even get left in the garden on his own as his guard dog instincts have not kicked in yet, whilst Rocky’s are superb and he is an excellent guard dog.

‘What do I do?’ The little brown dog asked Rocky who looked so important as he did ‘wanker’ gestures with his paws to the bin men.

‘Just copy me lad!’ Rocky said and then as the garbage truck picked up our recycling bin, Rocky had worked himself into a pitch of hysteria and shouted ‘Get off my bin you fat twat!’

Honestly, the language was dreadful and now the old woman’s dog next door but one, was joining in and calling the bin men ‘Derro Face’.

The staffie in the house opposite who isn’t the brightest dog on the block, had gone one better and had a moldy bone in his mouth and was yelling ‘Don’t you touch my bone you turd mouth’ in an Italian accent as his owners are Italian.

Rocky I might add, does have to accept some responsibility for the bad language from the dogs in my suburb as he has at some point in their lives, taught them a selection of words that he had learned as a working dog on a farm down South. I mean, how those working dogs talk to the sheep would shock the Pope himself.

In the meantime Brutus had decided that it was now or never, he had to defend his property and even as a baby dog, he still had teeth that he could savage with. Yes, some of those teeth had fallen out and what was left no longer fitted nicely in his puppy mouth as they were either loose or too small but he could still bite the ankles of many and gas them with puppy breath.

Taking a deep breath, Brutus followed Rocky to the next level and said to the black kelpie dog that now looked like a dinosaur with his hackles up ‘What do I shout?’

Rocky sighed impatiently ‘I don’t know, just look and act scary, this is a hostile invasion of our garbage bins’ And with that, he carried on flipping the bird, shouting and swearing at the truck as it picked up the bins from each house, emptied them and threw them back on the ground.

Brutus felt nervous, this was his time to prove himself as a man so he stepped closer to the fence and started to yell.

‘Save your children! Save your families! Burn the bitch, gouge her eyes, drown the fishes, kill the pirates, steal my bones and shit on your floor!’ Brutus sounded almost triumphant and then yelled ‘Turd legs’ (Rockys favourite expression and one of mine as well)

‘Wanker bin thieves…..’ Stopping mid-sentence, Rocky stared at Brutus and said ‘Drown the fishes, kill the pirates, what the hell does that mean?’

Brutus blushed but by now was over excited at his own bravery and promptly pissed himself.

Gordon sat at the window and was shouting his bit ‘Gingers have souls too’ and then added ‘Drown the fishes?, what is he on about?’

(sounds of raucous laughter from other dogs in the suburb, all taking the piss out of Brutus, his puppy voice and what he was saying)

‘You have to swear Brutus, there are no fishes to drown’ Rocky hissed in the little dogs ear. Really he had embarrassed him now, there would be no living this down.

‘Bum hole’ Brutus shouted and then let out an enormous fart that even impressed Rocky.

Nodding approvingly, Rocky did the thumbs up sign to the Italian staffie over the road who then cheered back.

And so the barking went on, Rocky and the other boys yelling violence and obscenities at the garbage truck and Brutus still shouting about pirates and fishes, trying to look like a big dog, not really sure as to what he was barking at but copying Rocky and trying to look as menacing as a baby dog could with milk teeth and legs too big for his body.

Honestly, it was like dog borstal. All the dogs running up to their fences yelling rude stuff and calling the garbage truck ‘shit heads’ and ‘wankers’.

Some dogs took it further and flashed their genitals and bums to the bin men, one dog from over the road – an elderly border collie went one further and said he was assaulted by the garbage truck and now fears for his life.

‘Did I do OK?’ Brutus asked Rocky, he felt totally exhausted after that, it was time to eat some stones and kick up some dog shit – Rocky had done a nice white dog poo from having his bone the other day, although I never let the dog turd dry on my grass, it is picked up as soon as it falls out of their bums.

Rocky who was still confused about the fishes and pirate comments, looked at Brutus and stared at him.

After what seemed ages, he nodded and replied ‘You are getting there lad, you are getting there’

Ten minutes later the suburb was quiet again, garbage bins lay in various positions along the pavement where they had been picked up and dropped. People came in/out of their homes to wheel their bins in.

The dogs were all quiet and it were as though nothing had happened.

Brutus went back to the fence where he could only just see outside.

‘Oi!’ Brutus shouted to a woman who was walking by.

She glanced round to see who was talking – she must have ‘spoken dog’ to understand Brutus.

‘Turd legs’ Brutus yelled and then ran back to where Rocky was, so fast that he fell down the last step.

‘Good lad Brutus, good lad’ Rocky grinned and then nodded to Brutus ‘Next time I will teach you what to say to Telstra people’

Both dogs sat by their kennels, Brutus felt so grown up and aside from his fishes and pirates comments, he felt as though the morning had been a success.

Rocky was secretly proud of him as well – he would make a guard dog out of him yet.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Brutus Update

ImageBrutus – on the mend

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Pup-called-Brutus/429308250490560

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

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

ImageChunky Brutus – just before the gastro struck

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

ImageSkeletal Brutus

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

ImageBrutus in hospital with severe gastro

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

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

ImageLook at my ribcage!

ImageRocky and Brutus

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ImageBrutus and his new ‘brother’ – Gordon

ImageBrutus at the vets waiting for his vaccine

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

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

ImageRocky – Brutus’s guardian angel.

Dedicated to Rocky:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let dogs be dogs.

And Finally…

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

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

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

How quickly things can change

ImageMy apologies for not updating this blog sooner but it has been a fraught and stressful week for all concerned.

I mentioned a fight with Rocky and Donkey on the first day which was sort of what was expected in order to establish pack leader between the two of them.  Things were not too bad after, they even enjoyed some games on the lawn and had heated discussions about local bitches over the dog biscuit – you know the sort of thing.

However, things took a very different turn in a couple of rather worrying ways and it was decided on Wednesday 16th February by SAFE and myself that Donkey had to be removed from the house.

As some of you may have been aware, we were trying to get Donkey used to Gordon the cat.

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Gordon – King of his castle

Gordon was sitting on the chair when Donkey first walked in the house and Donkey  immediately went to attack him, so we pretty much knew straight away that Donkey was not safe to be left with Gordon or even have him in the same room unrestrained.  Now upsetting though that was, it was good in a way because no chances were ever taken with the two of them, as you can imagine had we left them for even a second; what could have happened.

So Donkey was having controlled sightings of Gordon as in he was in the laundry room behind a 1 metre high baby gate.  Although Gordon was calm and showed no fear against Donkey, Donkey on the other hand would almost have a ‘brain switch’ that flipped him into the ‘cat zone’ and he would ignore all other stimuli as in clicker/treat/voice command and would totally fixate on Gordon to the point he tried to push the gate down to attack him.

We had plans to shut Gordon away each time Donkey was walked but how realistic is that? How safe is that when all it would take is for one of us to forget and walk Donkey through the house on a leash and the fact that Gordon likes dogs, if this elderly cat walked up to Donkey, we would have very little chance of stopping him attacking the cat.

We thought of keeping Donkey outside but how fair is that if Rocky enjoys an indoor life? Donkey needed to be part of our family unit and keeping him as an outdoor dog would not only be unfair on him, but we would still have the issues for the next few years of Gordons life, watching our every step and move to ensure this Jack Russell/Staffie cross did not attack our precious ginger parcel that had flown all the way from the UK in order to get here.

Donkey the mountain goat

Whilst at first I felt confident that Donkey could not jump the baby gate, the little dog surprised me when I found him perched on top of the BBQ the day after I got him, peering over the top of the gate – the BBQ being much higher than the baby gate inside and he obligingly showed me how he could almost jump vertically like a mountain goat and comfortably perch himself on the highest point.  You could almost hear him bragging about his jumping ability which I must admit, was rather impressive.

He also enjoyed doing the same with the garden patio table so this added to my concerns that if he really wanted to, keeping in mind his total fixation of getting Gordon to the point he hears and sees nothing else or no other command, all doubts that he couldn’t jump the baby gate had now been blown out of the water – he could and he could do so efficiently which now meant that he couldn’t be left in the laundry room if Gordon was in the the living area which would in turn mean Gordon had to be shut away in the ‘cat room’ and that was also cruel.

The Achilles heel of Rocky

My Rocky has hip dysplasia and a weak patella joint caused according to our vet, by ‘blunt trauma’ as in a possible kick to the hips when he was a baby.  He has 4 monthly injections to help him and occasional pain relief.  His hip has been known to give way if he does off the leash exercise of if people throw toys/balls for him and the hip joint swivels/twists/turns.

So Rocky’s hip management is crucial to his future as we have been advised that he is not the best candidate for surgery so we have to look after him as best we can, limit injury potential and really take care of him to make him have the longest possible life.

Anyway, we noticed that Donkey had started to bite Rockys hind legs – not mark them or even enough to visibly bother Rocky but whilst it was amusing to watch initially, it became a game for Donkey to bite the hind legs, and latch onto his rear end and bring him down to the floor and because Rocky’s hip is so weak, he spent more time on the floor than he did anything else.  It was rather bizarre to watch – Donkey gripping Rockys legs and wrestling him to the ground – see photo below taken just before Rocky fell to the ground which on the face of it looked quite funny but after a few goes, Rocky’s hip had indeed paid a high price for such hierarchal canine games.

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On Tuesday night when I got home, my husband told me that Rocky was lame and when I checked him myself, his hip had slipped out of joint and he was unable to get up from the floor and when he did, he was literally hobbling about on three legs.

I had decided that night to keep Rocky inside away from Donkey but when I carried Rocky outside to go to the toilet, he refused to go.  I don’t even think it was because he disliked Donkey but more the association of Donkey+Play=Pain kind of thing, or perhaps Donkey intimidated him in his battle to be top dog, – who knows?  The play had certainly become more aggressive as each day went on and that was obvious.

After a long discussion with my husband and also Sue at SAFE, it was decided that the energy match of Donkey and Rocky was not suitable, Rocky according to our vet, is a somewhat ‘special needs’ dog with his hips and a young dominant male dog is probably not the best companion for a kelpie with hip issues and no hope of ever keeping up or defending his patch.

But the real deciding factor was Gordon because Sue was right, if there is any risk of Donkey killing Gordon then it is a risk not worth taking and the thought of spending the next few years of Gordons life with the comfort and mental welfare of both animals being compromised to keep one from being attacked or killed is overwhelming and daunting. Because if anything did happen to Gordon – I for one would not be able to forgive myself and not only did Gordon deserve the right to live in his own home, but so did Donkey and the barriers that would need to be installed in order for that to happen – would not be realistic or possible.

The next day Sue had organised for Donkey to go to a lovely foster carer in Fremantle, we met at my house and Donkey said goodbye with a damp and smelly beard and trotted off with his new foster ‘mum’ without a care in the world and as he went, I swear I could hear him say ‘Hey, you’re pretty, fancy showing me around Freo some time?’ in true flirtatious Donkey fashion and as quickly as he arrived – he disappeared taking his new collar and tag with him.

Rocky

Rocky’s gait is very stiff, he is still favouring the left leg and saw the vet on Thursday 18th January for his Cartrophen injection and hip assessment – walks for the time being are out until he feels better.  After just a couple of days of rough and dominated play by a younger, stronger male dog, I can only pray that his hip can recover.

The veterinary nurse at the surgery clarified what  Abdel and myself had suspected that Donkey was targeting Rocky’s ‘weak spot’ as in his hips.  Animals in the wild that are elderly, sick or weak are targeted and Donkey was doing this to become ‘head of the pack’ so to speak.  The nurse also confirmed that Rocky was simply not up to that competition and his hip is exceptionally fragile.

Now Winston our foster dog from the week before was a perfect match for Rocky and there was no contest between the two of them – my goodness they even enjoyed urinating on one another and washing each others faces.  Still, it takes all sorts and who knows what goes on in the minds of our pets.

Rocky still struggles to get up from lying on the floor so today (Sunday 20th) I took him for a drive to the pet shop and bought him a new collar and a Kong toy and he is now resting in the laundry room.

His favourite rubber chicken is in pieces as Donkey thought it to be a daft toy and not worthy, leaving Rocky with a small piece of rubber so I need to buy him a new one although trying to find one is impossible as I have tried a couple of pet shops including the one today and they have sold out – severe rubber chicken shortage, that’s what it is.

Donkey left behind a small piece of hide chew which I found Rocky curled up on his camp bed happily chewing on it. Aside from Rocky’s bad hip and his new appreciation of his toys and being nervous to go into the ‘Donkey Zone’, it’s like Donkey was never here.

Dog Training Advice

As this blog is linked to the SAFE website, I feel it would not be appropriate to publish reader comments on dog training and would recommend that if you do have any concerns about your pets behaviour then I would suggest you consult your local vet regarding an initial check up to rule out illness or injury and they will be able to advise you about consulting a qualified pet behavioural specialist.

Pet behavioural issues can come in many forms and whilst the internet can offer helpful advice, it really is best to consult an expert so that your pet can be assessed on a one to one basis and the appropriate training given.

Dedicated to Donkey

Do I regret getting Donkey? – No, not at all in fact I am pleased that we got him because I think the right home for this little guy is in Perth and it will be a home where he can either safely be the dominant male or he will be an only dog with some rough and tumble type teenagers that can give him a run for his money in the energy stakes and he may well have not had that chance in Karratha.

To quote Sue from SAFE, even if I was Donkey’s temporary home until he found his next home, it was all meant to be – he was meant to come to Perth and I was meant to be put in touch with SAFE.

Because this is not the end of the Donkey Diaries, they will continue in the name of Donkey and instead of just Donkey being in them, it will now be dedicated to all of the SAFE dogs in Karratha that need loving homes and also in the hope of raising much needed funds for SAFE and the wonderful work that they do.

And of course, how could I regret turning up at Perth airport with Tori, Dee and Clare to pick up the little guy and having the privilege of a ‘wet smelly beard’ type kiss from Donkey.  Donkey is a bit of a ‘derro dog’ as in you can imagine him getting into various scrapes and fights, escaping from his garden to flirt with the local female dogs, and probably fathering a few litters of pups in his time as well.

Now he will be starting his life in Perth, it has been established what he is like, the stuff he likes and what he doesn’t and I reckon for this little/big dog it will be his best paw forward from now.

Thank you Donkey Dundee – it has been a pleasure knowing you.

If you 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.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013

Free the Karratha One – a letter from Donkey to Rocky

Rocky received a letter from Donkey in Karratha Prison (aka boarding kennels) this morning, I don’t know how he smuggled it out but he did so as quite a bit of interest is being generated in Donkey’s case and my blog from Canada, USA, Sweden, the UK and Australia, I thought it only fair that I relayed it to you all so that you know what is going on.

It appears that Donkey has caused a rumpus in prison and just when you thought his behavior couldn’t get any worse – as in food theft, ‘tasting’ of garden furniture and digging of plants, it appears that Donkey organized a Toga party in his cell and other inmates were invited.

Basically it all kicked off and involved barking, dog porn, sheets made in to toga’s, Guinness, flashing of genitals and a Cliff Richard CD to aid with constipation – if you have never hear of the Cliff Richard method to relieve constipation then may I suggest you play ‘The Millennium Prayer’ several times over and twitch at appropriate moments followed by playing ‘Wired for Sound’ afterwards and I guarantee you will crap like a man afterwards and if you are a man, then you will just lose your bowels completely.

Anyway, here is the photo that Donkey sent to Rocky and the letter – I do NOT own copyright to this photo, it was sort of ‘borrowed’ and that is all I am saying.

Karratha One

Donkey – second from the right, causing a rumpus

Dear Rocky

How are ya doin’ buddy?

As you know I was ‘sent down’ and I am ‘doing time’ in prison for food theft and ‘tasting of garden furniture’.

A bit upset I was sent to prison for it, I mean I was hungry and Pad Thai noodles are a delicacy for a desert dog like myself, we mining dogs have to be prepared to eat anything.  But anyway, I am locked up until Saturday when I will fly down to Perth and I was wondering if you had any plans for the Sunday after I arrive, I think I may have jet lag – someone said it is the same timezone but I say that is a load of old crap.

We could catch some waves and some hot bitches, I still have some testosterone left so I am sure I could get my leg over, although I do have short legs but hey, I can stand on a stool if I have to.

Do you have skimpies bars in Perth? I have frequented them all in Dampier, there is a special place called ‘Dampier Dogs Do Bones’ and I have been there a few times but some of them are mongrels but not too bad to look at.  So we can always case out the skimpies bars in Perth if you like.

They say I am going to have a bath before I make the flight, I don’t wanna smell like no poofy dog but I guess its gotta be done.

It’s scary in here, there are no food cupboards for me to break in to and no plants for me to dig up, what’s it like at your place? I hear you have a cat – what’s he like? Is he a bastard?

Better go now mate, I’ll catch ya on Saturday.

Donkey

Donkey Donations

SAFE Karratha have done a fabulous with the homing process for Donkey, their efficiency in processing the adoption and sending out the paperwork has been excellent, not to mention the support that they offer with the rehoming process.

Donkey’s stories are going to continue as Donkey becomes a part of our household, thus making up the ’3rd family member’ with Rocky and Gordon.

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.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013