Saturday, 31 January 2009


I am a bit tired from time travel and contemplating the nature of time. So I am just taking it easy. Someone said that Mercury is in retrograde so it is a time of low energy, activity and creativity. I don't know about such things but it is a good excuse to go with my feeling take it easy; not that an excuse is really necessary but it does help. 

Life is great when you are getting some shut eye.

Friday, 30 January 2009


No matter where you go, there you are. No matter what time you travel to, there you are; in the present. Zooming back and forth in time gives one an appreciation of the present. After all, that is all we have. We can anticipate the future and reminisce about the past but the only living we can do is in the now. Us dogs are good at that.

This is from Dogs Don't Bark When a Growl Will Do by Matt Weinstein and Luke Barber. 

"I can’t imagine my dogs thinking about their next meal while they’re eating this one. They are too all-consumed in loving the meal they are having right now. The same is true of everything that they do. But this ability to be “in the now” is certainly not limited to our dogs. We can develop this same kind of awareness of being present for our life as it moves from moment to moment."

This was posted at Confessions Of A Wandering Soul, you can read a lot more of it there.

If Tim and Mandy find themselves discussing a future meal while eating a meal, they will say, "We are Terry Mulligan." Terry is Tim's father, a fantastic bloke who is loved by all. I love Tim's parents, (dogs are a good judge of character. This is discussed in the blog above.) He has a reputation for planning several meals ahead and discussing the next meal while eating that one. I think most humans can be guilty of this. Of course, there is much that can be achieved by planning ahead. It is good to see the bigger picture. Humans are good at this, but you can not neglect the present. That is where we live. Remember to be in the present. 

This photo is called, "Alert But Not Alarmed."

Life is great when you are in the moment.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Que sera, sera

Time travel raises some questions which are hard to get your mind around. I have been to the future and seen that there are no beagle prime ministers until at least 2323. Does this mean that the Dughallmor Beagles need to give up on their dream of being prime minister? If the answer is yes, that means that the future is set and we are just going along for the ride. What about free will? The answer is that the future is not set and we do have free will. But I have been to the future. One answer is that there are many worlds. So there is a future where one of the Dughallmor Beagles is PM. (I wonder which one?) So we have complete free will to create our own reality. 

I think our concept of time changes things. "Time Travel for Beginners" by Mary and John Gribbin explains how time is the fourth dimension. The past, present and future all exist at the same time. We move along time like we move through space. We are in the present the same way that we are here. I did not meet any other time travellers on my journey but the future hounds treated me like we would someone from Chile, China or Cameroon. Another traveller from an exotic far away place or time. 

If you are completely baffled, confused and bewildered, I'm not surprised as I am too. I am new to time travel. 

Life is great when it is a mystery.   

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

A party

I arrived in 2323 on a warm, sunny day. I climbed out of the Hoobers Mobile and I immediately saw a beagle. This beagle had the front paws like human hands I described the other day. He had four bent over humans with scoop hands following him. He came over and gave an enthusiastic greeting. I noticed his front paws and thought it polite not to stare. He noticed my front paws and guffawed heartily. When he calmed down, it took a while, I explained I was from 2009. He immediately took me home and gave me food and drink. 

His name is Wally. I was interested to find out that he is a human trainer. He trains them for TV and movies, as well as helping dogs who are having trouble with their people. 

"I love people. They are so cute. They're also intelligent. The key to training them is to find out what motivates them. Most of them are very food focused. You have to be careful not to let them put on weight."

That night he took me to a party to celebrate that Australia had just elected its first mongrel prime minister. Brenda was extremely popular and provided real hope after the less than successful prime ministership of Garry, the cocker spaniel. Wally made a point of saying that there had been many good cocker spaniel world leaders in the past. I asked Wally if there had been any beagle prime ministers.

"No. We are not good at towing the party line. There have been many famous comedians, entrepreneurs, artists and in many other fields but we're not good at politics."

We walked in to the party and it was packed with all breeds and mongrels. There were a couple of humans sitting quietly in the corner. Wally introduced me around and gave stern words to anyone who sniggered or stared at my paws. A dachshund came bounding up to me. 

"Hi. I'm Sally. I hear you're from the past. How marvelous. How did the people treat you? I love people. I have two myself. They are such fun. You must come around and meet them. Isn't Brenda wonderful? She has really united Australia and the world. We have such a responsibility being the world power. I think she will restore our reputation. Thank god Garry has gone. Do pop round. I live just across the road."

I had a great time and was touched with the hospitality I received.

Life is great when you are warmly welcomed.

Monday, 26 January 2009

The future!

I did it! I built my time machine, the Hoobers Mobile and went to the future. (I will tell you about the science another day.) I promised the future beings that I wouldn't tell anyone about the future because of how it might affect things. So I am going to keep my word and only tell my loyal readers. Before going any further, you have to promise not tell anyone...... Say it out loud......... Now say it like you mean it........ OK. That's good enough. Where do I start? I went to 2323. First, I have to give you some history; their history, our future. In 2113, a virus spread throughout all of humanity. There were no fatalities but it caused all fingers and thumbs to close together and have very limited movement. Humans could no longer fly planes, perform surgery, run companies or use a blackberry. They returned to a simpler life of growing food. Over the generations, their hands became like scoops and they were bent over from digging. 

Suddenly there was a power vacuum and dogs started to organise through blogging, humans had abandoned their computers. Through constant blogging on a human keyboard their paws began to change. The front paws developed fingers and the dew claw turned into a fully operational thumb. Dogs took over the role of humans, (someone had to.) They became businessmen, artists, cleaners, politicians (someone had to), engineers, etc. Each dog pack kept a human or two and nearly always looked after them well. It was only then that humans realised how advanced canine communiction was and how intelligent dogs were. 

Now you have caught up a bit, I will explain what I saw there in a future post. I will add that the future dog society highly revere the early dog bloggers. 

Life is great when you can travel in time.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

On Happiness

Happy again! Oh the joy of it all, I'm happy again!

"I just don't understand how animal experts maintain that dogs are physically incapable of smiling and that humans anthropomorphise their simple muscle reflex into emotion. Have these experts no soul? Not only can dogs smile, they do so in a range that extends coyly mischievous to shot-fox ecstasy. Sometimes within milliseconds." Murray Walden "Confessions of a Dog's Godfather" in Acts of Dog. Edited by Debra Adelaide.

See a different happy, smiling Ruby.

Life is great when you are smiling.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

On Melancholy

Often I am full of the joys of life. Sometimes I have a deep feeling of contentment. At other times I feel a bit down in the dumps. When this happens, I just allow myself to be like that and go with it. Fighting it only prolongs it and turns it into something worse.

Life is great when you allow yourself to feel what you are feeling.

Friday, 23 January 2009

A Walk in the Woods with Pictures

We went for another walk in the woods and, as promised, here are some pictures. This is a dry eucalypt forest. Just outside Brisbane there are also rainforests, which are very different. They are obviously wetter and more lush. Some day I will put up pictures of them. 
Tim found it difficult to take a photo of the forest because all he could see was the trees. Feasting your eyes on the green, listening to the sounds and soaking up the atmosphere is certainly good for the soul. 

I am making good progress on my rocket ship/time machine. I am going to name it the "Hoobers Mobile." I will keep you updated.

Life is great when you are in nature.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Time Travel

I have been reading Time Travel for Beginners by Mary and John Gribbin. It outlines how time travel is scientifically possible, in language a lay dog can understand. All we need to do is travel at close to the speed of light. I am an extremely fast runner but even at my fastest I can't get enough speed up. So I have been thinking about how I might do it. If my blog suddenly stops one day, it means I have cracked it and I am living in the future.

"He is a lazy dog who never bothered about mathematics at all."  This quote from the book was made about Albert Einstein by Minkowski, Einstein's professor at university. So if someone calls you "lazy", take it as a compliment. If someone calls you a "lazy dog," take it as a very high compliment. If we are going to come up with something great, we need time to cogitate.

This photo is called, "Cogitating about Time Travel," or "Fangs for the Support."

Life is great when you have a pair of fangs.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

I'm a writer

What's the difference between me and Charles Dickens? Charles Dickens didn't go up and lick strangers. (As far as I know.) The point is we are both writers. He got more praise and recognition but I'm still a writer. For a quite a while, I have wanted to be a writer but things have held me back. I didn't think I was good enough. I didn't know what to write. It is really hard to get published. I am a dog. All of these things were obstacles in my mind only. 

Now I am a writer with readers. If I were a famous writer, the process of writing would be the same. Therefore, I can be happy that I am a 

writer and enjoy it, just as I would if I had published many books. So I would like to thank my readers and all those who have left comments. I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to write. 

If you want to do something, do it. There is always an opportunity, it just might not be in the form you have imagined.

These photos are called, "Under the Table 1" and "Under the Table 2."

Life is great when you are lying under a table.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


It is good to have time to contemplate the big questions of life... or just stare aimlessly into the middle distance. There is such a fine line between the two. Oh well, they are both worthwhile. 

Life is great when you are contemplating.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Leash Laws

What is this photo missing? A happy dog running joyfully around. However, that would make the dog and the dog's person outlaws. As dogs are only allowed off-leash in fenced off-leash parks in Brisbane (except for one place on the other side of the city next to a creek). Plenty of dogs do break the law here. In Sydney, where Tim's parents live, it is different. Most parks have times when dogs are allowed off-leash. There is a great big park where dogs are allowed off-leash. We can walk 6 kilometres there off-leash. An energetic dog like me needs a wide open space to run and chase the ball. When dogs are always behind fences, it makes people, particularly children, scared of dogs. It is better if they learn to interact and co-exist with us.

However, it is not a simple issue. When Tim was about 12, he was bitten by a German Shepherd while running in a park. The person only said, "he doesn't normally do that," and kept walking. When it is against the law to walk your dog without a lead, the person and dog probably tend to be more responsible when they do flout the law. 

Also, the dog parks are very social places. Tim, Mandy and I have lots of friends there. There is a man who can't work due to a bad back. He took his neighbour's dog down when they were on holiday. He loved it because he met so many people and continues to bring the dog down even though her owners have returned. Some people say they prefer it this way (fenced dog parks) as it is more social. 

When Tim and Mandy were discussing having a place by the creek off-leash, Tim said, "they could get rid of the bike paths." He then laughed at himself as he is a keen cyclists and believes strongly in bike paths. How quickly our allegiances can change! Sometimes, it is very easy to see things from our perspective and difficult to see them from others. I think dogs should be allowed off-lead in all parks but I am a dog so I would say that. 

Life is great when you are running free.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A Walk in the Woods

I went for a walk in the woods today. Tim didn't take his camera so you will have to imagine them. They look nothing like these woods which Minnie-Moo was in. We are in Australia so they were full of gum (eucalyptus) trees. The important thing is that we were surrounded by trees which has a magical effect. I could sense Tim relax and become energised as the walk went on as I did. By the end of the walk I could feel communication was easy between us. We had a go at the obstacle course in the dog park, which was fun. It was easy to know what Tim wanted. 

Here is the advice of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas in The Social Lives of Dogs to humans about training dogs, "My second suggestion would be to relax. Dogs are extremely sensitive to human tension, especially when they themselves are the cause." I think this is great advice for relationships between all beings. 

For more nature, check out this flower at Profoundly Inarticulate.

Life is great when you go for a walk in the woods. 

Saturday, 17 January 2009

You Can't Lie to a Dog

I love people and people love me. Occasionally I meet someone who is indifferent to me. That's fair enough, I don't take it personally. Sometimes I meet someone who really likes me but pretends not to. (I am not going to name names.) I think they have intellectual ideas about how dogs should be treated and do their best to ignore their real feelings. But we can sense them as clear as day.

Humans seem fond of pretending. Dogs do it too. The thing is that it is really difficult to fool a dog. So if a person is fond of me but pretending otherwise then I will just ignore the pretense. The same if someone is pretending to be friendly but has feelings to the contrary. I have a question about humans; is it easy for them to fool one another? 

This photo is called, "Waiting for Mandy."

Life is great when you are young and a dog.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Humans, the intelligent species?

A lot of non-human animals out there will find this a very baffling notion. They see humans as having dull senses and very poor observational skills. But I say, just look at some human inventions, such as television, yo-yos and twenty20 cricket. To investigate this anomaly let's look at Clever Hans.

Clever Hans was a horse that was taught to do difficult mathematics. He would stamp his foot to give the correct answer. It turned out he was picking up on subtle body language from the humans around him to know when to stop stamping his foot and give the correct answer. He couldn't do maths at all. 

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas makes a good point about Hans in The Social Lives of Dogs, "Today his name is synonymous with hoax and fraud, since few seem willing to acknowledge that, as the only one in the barn who noticed the various, extremely subtle signals in the body language of questioners, he proved himself to be a better observer than the most prominent scientists of the day." 

It is not that humans are less intelligent, it is just that they have a different intelligence. Because they are sometimes wrapped up in their thoughts, ideology, worries, selves and stress, they can appear to be a few kangaroos short in the top paddock. Yet they show flashes of genius. So the jury is still out.

Life is great when you go on a morning walk.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Black Dog

"Today on Life Matters, we are going to be discussing what it is like living with a black dog." Tim stopped doing the dishes, cocked his head slightly. He knows all about living with a black dog. "Life with depression." What? I was somewhat baffled. Apparently "black dog" is a euphemism for depression. Do I looked depressed? Do I look likely to make someone depressed? What about Minnie-Moo? What about Black Jack? I guess it could be ironic, like calling someone with red hair "Bluey" or a quiet person "Rowdy" as we do in Australia. Or maybe it is meant as a cure for depression. By the way, I can think of a lot of good uses for a white elephant. 

Life is great when you have a great, big tongue.

Monday, 12 January 2009

More Action

Here are some action shots of me taken this morning. That is a plastic water bottle I have in my mouth. I love picking up things I find and running around with glee. The next one is me leaping for the boucy pink ball. In the bottom one, my tail is 
helping me take a sharp right.
It is important to be active. You feel the blood rushing around your body. You know you are alive. You don't need to zoom around like I do. Simply walking does the trick. 
Dogs love moving and being active, well nearly all dogs do. I have met the odd podgy hound who would prefer to lie, even in the dog park. Some humans make exercising into a chore. They see it as something they should do but would rather not, like leaving food on the footpath because your person says to. Humans are as much animals as we are. You are not machines or anything. You were born to move, to be active. So get out there and do something you love. 

Sunday, 11 January 2009


I am lying on the sofa. Just in a dreamy state, half way between asleep and awake. I hear, "beep, beep." I am up! She's home! I ran down to the back gate with glee. Tim follows some way behind. Tim finally gets there and opens the gate. I ran out and Mandy is in the car. She opens the door, I leap in and give her licks. We reverse up the driveway together, this is so that there is no chance I will get run over. Or I'm lying around on the back deck around the time Tim is due. I hear something at the back gate, I look up and there he is. I run down in an exuberant fashion. I immediately give him leg licks. He walks his bike up the drive and I lick each calf with each step. Oh, the joy of the pack back together again! How do you greet pack members on their return. I recommend you run to them with great enthusiasm.  

Saturday, 10 January 2009

How to Prove Yourself Right

Or "To Come or Not to Come."

To prove yourself right, simply come up with a belief and then conduct an experiment with this belief firmly in mind. Let me give you an example. I am a good dog. When I am called to come, I come.* Anyway, my people and I came to a good understanding fairly quickly. Then something happened and Tim lost his confidence. Maybe I didn't come straight away one time and then it snowballed. Tim took me to the dog park when nobody else was there and said, "come." But his tone of voice, body language and thoughts all said, "don't come." What is a dog to do? I didn't go to him. I couldn't go to him. I couldn't disobey him. He didn't think I would come and he successfully proved himself right. The universe is very compliant in this respect. It kindly bends to conform to our deepest beliefs and expectations. Now, it is all sorted out and I go to my people every time.*

* Unless something really interesting is going on nearby.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Here is a picture of me. I am the black dot at the bottom. Aren't trees amazing? It's great to be around trees and soak up their energy and spirit. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Don't underestimate your dog!

Here is an extract from Barbara Smuts about her dog, Safi, in J.M.Coetzee's book, The Lives of Animals;

"From the instant of our first meeting, I experienced her as a wild animal possessed by an instinctual wisdom akin to that of my baboons. Because I had so much respect for her intelligence, I did not consider it necessary to "train" her. Instead, I discuss all important matters with her, in English, repeating the phrases and sentences over and over in particular circumstances to facilitate her ablility to learn my language. She understands (in the sense of responding appropriately to) many English phrases, and she, in turn, has patiently taught me to understand her language of gestures and postures." 

I often hear, "dogs don't understand English." What nonsense! A person says, "sit" and a dog sits. Therefore, the dog understands at least one English word. It is arguable how much English a dog can understand. But we are very intuitive and can also understand a lot from body language, picking up on energy and mind reading. 

Mandy said, "Where's Tim?" and I went to Tim. Tim was a bit sceptical at first. Now he is beginning to understand that I understand a lot. People can be a bit slow to catch on sometimes but dogs, don't underestimate people. They are actually very intelligent. 

So, in conclusion, dogs don't underestimate people. People don't underestimate dogs. Dogs don't underestimate dogs. People don't estimate people. Most importantly, don't underestimate yourself! 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are younot to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A Dog-Being

Dogs, can you imagine what it is like to be a human? Humans, can you imagine what it is like to be a dog? In the book The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee, the main character Elizabeth Costello addresses this question but about bats and people;

What is it like to be a bat? Before we can answer such a question, Nagel suggests, we need to be able to experience bat-life through the sense-modalities of a bat. But he is wrong... To be a living bat is to be full of being; being fully a bat is like being fully human, which is also to be full of being. Bat-being in the first case and human-being in the second....To be full of being is to live as a body-soul. One name for the experience of full being is joy.

As we are all beings with a soul, of course we can put ourselves in anothers paws, hooves, fins or shoes. There is a big human word, anthropomorphism, to describe people putting human qualities onto animals. Of course, a dog wants to be treated and thought of as a dog. But some people seem to think that animals do not have souls and are somehow inferrior, almost robot like. I say all animals have a soul and all animals are equal. And no animals are more equal than others. Not even dogs. Not even fast, intelligent, good-looking dogs.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Watching Grass Grow

We have had lots of rain and lots of sun this summer in the subtropics. As a result, watching grass grow is quite interesting. It is certainly faster moving than cricket. As a result, dogs are disappearing. A dog lies down in the dog park and you can only see his or her head, as though he or she is doing dog paddle. It is good after having brown grass for a long, long time. All my life there have been water restrictions. I have heard about a time when people used hoses to water their grass and garden. Imagine that! So hooray for the rain! The thunder is a little scary though.