Saturday, 28 February 2009

Learning about Humans

We are a mixed-species pack. Tim and Mandy often read books about dogs so I thought I should read books to learn how humans work. I picked up a book about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming.) Mandy is an NLP professional and is excellent at her job. She can help you to quit smoking, to lose weight and with many other things. Check out her websites. The book is called "Using your brain for a change" by Richard Bandler, who is one of the pioneers of NLP. It was an interesting read and an eye-opener. Apparently, what a lot of humans do is have an experience that makes them feel bad and then play it over and over in their mind. They also have something called a sense of humour which allows them to laugh at themselves but usually not for a long time after the event, and in the meantime they prefer to watch the movie again and again and feel bad. Fascinating creatures.

Richard Bandler says that usually when they play the movie and feel bad, they are in their bodies. When they can laugh at themselves is when they are outside their bodies and being an observer. He says;

"The best kind of humor involves looking at yourself in a new way. The only thing that prevents you from doing that with an event right away is not realizing that you can do it. When you get good at it, you can even do it while the event is happening."

I think it is good to look at things from a new perspective. I like to think about things from a human's point of view sometimes. I hear that some dogs actually write blogs under their humans name and pretend they are human. Personally, I think this is taking things too far.

Life is great when you get a new perspective on things.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Your Life is Exotic

A while ago I posted about a lizard in our backyard and a kangaroo in the forest. People gave more enthusiatic responses than I expected. Of course, Australia is where I was born so it is normal for me. Mandy grew up in England and is very excited about living in a lizard filled country. It is good to be reminded about what is special about where you live. I find dogs running around in snow to be very exotic. We are all exotic to someone. Here is a picture of me under the frangipani tree, which you may or may not find exotic.

If I ever have a problem, there is someone who can help me out. My good friend Taya Micola can help out dogs, humans and other animals with their problems, whether they are near or far. Click on her name and check her out.

Life is great when you are exotic, and we all are.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Street Food

There is some great street food in Brisbane, for dogs not people. My favourite is apple, either a core or a whole apple if I'm lucky, and I am lucky. Some things are better not mentioning as I know humans tend to have very bourgeois values about such things. This, however, is something you might find pleasing. I saw this big, bright, yellow flowers and had a good snack on the nectar. You can see some yellow on my snout, you might need to enlarge it. It was tasty. Nectar of the Dogs.

Life is great when there are flowers which are both beautiful and tasty.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Enjoy Yourself

Hello, it is High Priestess Ruby Isabella with the word of Dog. Today's first reading comes from the book of Carol of Black Jack.

"Dogs have a way of figuring out what they like, and then enjoying it to the utmost."

The second reading is in the book of Steph, in which she quotes Anthony Bourdain.

"When you let pleasure control your life and not your life control pleasure, you'll find great passion."

People often think, "I shouldn't be doing this," "I should be doing good for someone else," "if I am enjoying myself, I mustn't be productive or doing good," "what will other people think." Some people think it's character building to be miserable. A happy animal (human, dog or other) will be spreading goodness wherever she goes. So I say, go forth and enjoy yourself.

This is the word of Dog.


Life is great when you figure out what you like and enjoy it to the utmost.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Sabbath

Tim took my last post to heart and declared Sunday to be the sabbath. This meant experiencing the day more as a dog and less as a person. So there was no computer, no reading, no listening to the radio and no TV (until 8:30 when a good programme was on, "Cranford." It was the sabbath but we are not fundamentalists.) Instead there was a lot of lying around feeling the peace and serenity of the day. It is a bit similar to Saturday for Jewish people where they cut down on other activities and give the day to Dog (or is it God? I get confused. Are they one and the same or am I just a bit dyslexic?) I also cut out my human activities, that's why there was no post yesterday. Of course, this was no big deal for me and was natural but Tim found it very rewarding and thinks it might be a nascent religion, where I am the high priestess. It is very flattering but I think it might lead to trouble to organise ourselves thus.

Life is great when you are a dog, or at least acting like one.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Doing Nothing

"When dogs feel serene and pleased with life, they do nothing"

"Primates feel pure flat immobility as boredom, but dogs feel it as peace."
Both from "The Hidden Life of Dogs" Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

I'm not sure if all primates feel like this but it does seem that most people always seem to need to be doing something. A lot of modern technology is designed so that people aren't left alone to be with themselves for any time at all. People seem to fear boredom. They spend their life running from it. They see a dog or another person sitting peacefully and happily and think that she must be bored. Of course, dogs, like people, need to be active and have stimulation. We just don't need it all the time.

Try this; spend the next few minutes (after leaving a witty comment below) doing nothing. Don't think about what you will do or what you have been doing. Don't have expectations for this time. I don't envision that you will achieve enlightenment in that time, that is not the point.

Life is great when you feel serene and pleased with life.

Friday, 20 February 2009


Spel'ng en Inglish iz craazi. Y shoold eye foloh soche ahbitry maadnes wen eye kan maak ope meye ohn spel'ng. Hoomans acsept rools, etiket aand convenshon sew ezily. Ten agen, dogs hav meny rools, etiket aand convenshons two. Eet iz good because then everyone nose where they stand. We are both a pack of animals.... I mean pack animals. So, isle continue to follow convention. If you do see Miss Take in my writing, it is not her at all but me being creative.

This is a rainbow lorikeet having breakfast in our front garden. They are very beautiful and I hear they are good spellers too.

Life is great when you share it with parrots.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I Love Cats

But I couldn't eat a whole one.

(JOKE! Just a joke, I promise.)

I really am fond of cats as friends. I was neglected a fair bit in my early life- before Tim and Mandy got me from the RSPCA- but I did live with a cat and we got on well. I got on better with the cat than the other dog. These days I get to socialise with people and dogs a lot but not with cats. Today, I was calm on the lead saying hello to this one. Often, when I see a cat, I, as Tim and Mandy put it, I "go bananas." To the observer and possibly the cat, it may appear that I might want to attack the cat but nothing could be further from the truth. I am desperate to say g'day and play with the cat. I only want to make a new friend. So remember; things aren't always as they seem. Someone who you perceive to be your foe could really be your friend.

Some people and dogs are anti-cats or "don't get" cats. They are different from us but that doesn't mean we can't share a lot with them. Just look at the adorable Miss Kitty. We don't have to be a person-dog or a cat-dog, we can enjoy the company of all animals. I found a nice water-dragon lizard to play with on the walk this morning. I think I might have scared him a bit as he ran off and hid. Occasionally, I am misunderstood.

Life is great when you enjoy all creatures great and small.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


We had a bit of everything on our walk this morning. We started in cloud, then rain, followed by sunshine. We walked and we jogged/trotted. We chased the ball on the rugby field. It is such a great feeling to be moving. Moving slowly and steadily, I can get a nice rhythm going. I can feel the blood pumping around my body, the ground underpaw, my muscles extend and contract. It feels that there is no end and no beginning once I am in my pace. Chasing the ball, I can feel the wind in my fur, the scenery blurred, the adrenaline flowing, my muscles at full stretch and exertion, the air flowing in and out. I speed up and the world slows down. My eyes are on the ball alone. My stride and movements get in time with the ball. I time it perfectly so I grab it on the bounce. I feel exhilaration as I slow down naturally and gradually, instead of putting on the brakes as I do when I miss the ball. I hear Tim in the distance yell, "Rrrrrrruuubyyyy."

Life is great when you are in full stride.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Meaning of Life

Yesterday, I was lying on the floor next to the sofa contemplating the meaning of life, Tim was on the sofa doing the same thing and Mandy was out seeing a client. I was getting close to a definitive answer when suddenly I heard Mandy's voice right next to us. I jumped up and gave her an enthusiatic greeting with lots of licks and tail and whole body wags. It is the first time she has snuck in without me realising. (She claims she did no sneaking.) Tim hadn't realised as well until she scratched him gently on the head. I usually hear the car or the back gate or something. Anyway, the meaning of life no longer seemed important compared to Mandy's return.

"Everybody's life really consists of small things."
"A New Earth" Eckhart Tolle

Life is great when your beloved pack member returns home.

Monday, 16 February 2009

What is it Like to be a Dog?

It's great. For more details, I have to ask, what is it like to be a human? Because the question really means, what are the differences between a person and a dog? Or between a gold fish and a dog, if it is a gold fish asking the question. Canine-human communication sometimes is unproductive because we do not respect the differences. We assume the other is just like us. At other times we don't acknowledge the similarities and underestimate the other. "They are dim-witted, easy to manipulate, don't really know what is going on and you need to punish them so they know who is boss." This is really what some dogs think. So to get on and communicate well, we need to recognise that there are similarities and differences but not to have preconceived ideas. We need to be open to the unexpected otherwise we never see it.

Oh yeah... the same goes for dog-dog and person-person relationships.

The sun is out and we've been for a walk. This photo is called, "Oh, you finally brought the camera out."

Life is great when you are open-minded.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

We have had a day and a half of drizzle. It is quite unusual for us. We are grateful for any rain we get. There is nothing to be done but to curl up in bed. Tim had to work all day yesterday. (This is usual for most humans but not for him.) So I missed my morning walk but Mandy took me out in the afternoon in the rain. Aren't I lucky?

Q: Why do they call me Ruby?

A: Because I am well-read.

I have been reading "James Herriot's Favourite Dog Stories." He is (was?) a vet in Yorkshire, England. Mandy says he is famous in England and there was a TV series called "All Creatures Great and Small" about him. The stories are very glee-filled stories and just the thing for lifting your spirits on a rainy day. Now, let's hope Tim and/or Mandy will take me for a walk despite the inclement weather.

Life is great when you are going for a walk in the rain.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


"FAME! I am going to live forever. Baby, remember my name.
From Fame, the 80's TV show.

My life consists of walks (2 a day), meals (2 a day), pats (uncountable), lying positions (uncountable), playing with dogs in dog park (about 6 to 12 dogs), chasing the ball or frisbee (once a day), blogging (most days), sniffing out biscuits my people hide in the house (most days) and miscellaneous. Maybe, I should be making something of myself. Like the dog in "Marley and Me." People are always telling me how good looking I am. I could star in a movie. Or I could be a model. Look at the winning smile I have in this photo. I've got the moves. I know Henry hangs out with the likes of Posh Spice He could get me a start. Tim and Mandy are talking about taking me to agility class. Maybe, I could be world champion. Maybe, I could become the most influential dog blogger in the world. I could be like Oprah, anything I recommended would become a best-seller.....oh, bloody hell! I've been sucked into human-like thinking. I love my life with my people and my friends. I am a lucky dog. I think I will just continue to enjoy everyday.

Life is great when you are a lucky dog

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

What To Do If a Human Is Choking

This is important information. A couple of months ago Tim and Mandy were drinking tea. (They drink a lot of tea as Mandy used to be British.) Mandy said something and Tim started laughing and then began choking. (I don't know how you can choke on laughter but he did it.) He jumped up, walked around a bit and then leant over a table. Mandy went over to him and started patting him on the back. Eager to help a pack member in obvious distress, I went and added my paws to Mandy's hands. With our combined effort, Tim regained his breathing and things went back to normal. If Mandy hadn't been there, I wouldn't have known what to do. So I thought I should inform all the hounds out there, just in case.

This is lying position number 97. You can see the teapot in the foreground.

Life is great when you are helping out your pack.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Power of the Walk

"Don't go thinking and thinking and thinking so much 'til you are losing your mind......You're twisted so tight now you can hardly talk. Get out in the daylight and go for a walk."
Thinkin' Steve Forbert

Thanks to a change in Tim's work schedule, I go for two walks most days, in the morning with Tim and the afternoon with Mandy. Dogs need to go for a walk everyday. We need to see and smell the world. We need stimulation. We need to feel the blood flowing through our body. It is a great bonding time with our pack. If we don't go for a walk, we get stressed and go a bit crazy. Then we can be labeled "bad dogs."

It seems to me that walking is equally therapeutic and necessary for humans. As Steve Forbert is saying in his song, it is a chance to forget your troubles and be in the moment. The repetitive action of walking is a type of meditation. It is such a simple, satisfying and lasting joy. You feel the blood flow down into your paws (or feet) and everything starts to flow better.

One of the benefits of a person having a dog is that it forces him/her (hopefully) to go for a walk. Even if you don't have a dog, I say go for a walk. Some people are a bit cut off from nature. Even if you are in an urban jungle, walking as an activity is nature itself and you're bound to get some glimpses of trees and grass.

I could go on and on. There are many benefits of walking I haven't touched on so maybe you, hounds and humans, can tell me the benefits of your walks.

Life is great when you are going for a walk.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Why do dogs have people?

"It has been shown that owning a dog reduces high blood pressure by about ten points, reduces the risk of heart attack, and actually increases life span. These benefits do not come about simply because owners are forced to take more exercise when they walk their dogs. They are attributable to stress reduction. By focusing some of our attention on pets, we're able to cast off some of our nown anxieties. I sometimes wonder, though, whether our own neediness doesn't add to our pets burdens. It seems quite possible that troubled and neurotic owners might unwittingly adversely affect their pet's well-being."

If Only They Could Speak Nicholas H. Dodman

So why don't a pack of dogs at the dog park get together and plan an escape? They could go bush and escape their people's neuroses for good. The answer is the same as to why humans don't run from their neurotic families. (Of course, they do and should if it is bad enough.) We (humans and dogs) are all pack animals. We love the good and the bad of our pack. We don't even label it, "good" and "bad". We stick by them. We are there when they need us. People and dogs can be treated cruelly in their family/pack and this is very sad. But everyone is doing the best they can and, generally, it is a mix of good and bad, and I believe mostly good. So us dogs get a lot from our relationship from humans. The better off they are, the better off we are. And vice versa. The goal of the whole thing is to spread the love.

This is a picture of me eating a carrot. They are tasty, great to chew and they keep my teeth clean.

Life is great when you spread the love.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A Friend

We had a friend visit our backyard yesterday. She was a blue-tongued skink, a type of lizard. I greeted her respectfully and then told Tim. He got the camera and took this photo. She is about 40 cm long. Yesterday, Tim saw a kangaroo in the woods. I heard something but didn't see him. Tim just got a glimpse of the tail as he bounded away. I was on the lead, otherwise I might have investigated. I think It is this fondness for enquiring about the wildlife that caused me to be on the lead.

Life is great when you are visited by a blue-tongued skink.

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Future Economy

I jumped into my Hoobers Mobile and whizzed back to 2323. For those who came in late, I have built a time machine and go to 2323, where the dogs have fingers and thumbs and are the dominant species.

"Hey, Ruby! You're back!" Wally greeted me with a whole body wag. He invited me in and we sat down for a cup of tee. We talked about the current state of the world for a while.

"The news is coming on. You can learn about things there."

He turned on the 3D TV and there was a Golden Retriever reading the news.

"Latest figures show that we are enjoying the second month of economic slow down. We are now officially in recession and all over the country people are having recession parties."

Images of dogs frolicking filled the living room.

"Your reaction to a recession is a little different to 2009. Why is everyone so happy?"

"Why wouldn't we be happy? We now work less."

"Aren't people losing their jobs?"

"No. Everyone's hours and pay are cut."

"Isn't it hard to make ends meet?" I asked.

"No. Everyone knew this was going to happen. It is what always happens. It is part of the cycle. We prepare for it during boom times and those who didn't prepare so well don't mind getting by on less. Oh look it's our prime minister, Brenda."

The mixed-breed dog said, "the government has done a good job of stymying economic growth, which was getting out of control. Australian working families are now playing families as well as being working families."

"Come on! Let's join in the fun." Wally exclaimed.

We ran out his front door to see the street full of hounds. Sally, the Dachshund, was rolling around with a Terrier. A fat Golden Lab was throwing a ball. A pack of dogs were chasing and it always seemed to be a Cattle Dog Cross who got it. The ball rolled past us and Wally picked it up and ran in the other direction. All the dogs ran after the Beagle and I joined them. After a good while, we were all knackered and lay under a try. A Bulldog came out with tea for everyone. It was a thoroughly enjoyable recession. I bid farewell to everyone and promised to be back soon.

Life is great when you have time to play.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Lying position number 134

When you're lying around waiting for walks or food, philosophising, listening out for action or simply and solely lying, it is important to be in a comfortable position. Of course, each lying position is good for a different purpose. This is a good one that you can comfortably stay in for a long time and still see and hear what is going on. It is relatively easy to get up and check out kitchen activity or make sure the noisy miners are behaving themselves in the back yard.

I can feel a trip to the future coming.

Life is great when you are lying in position number 134.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


We were visiting Bill, our 95 year old neighbour (that's 13 in dog years), he is very interesting and tells us about the old days. He lent us a book about Oxley, the part of Brisbane where he grew up. He is mentioned in the book. It is called, "Oxley! A Mind of Its Own. A History of a Suburb with Attitude, 1850-1950" It is written by Ralph Fones. Here is an extract;

"It is likely that prior to and during white settlement, that hominids frequented the local area. In other districts around Brisbane, such as Springbrook and Kenmore there have been sightings of hominids- gorilla-like primates, some eight feet (2.5m.) tall and often referred to by Aborigines as 'Yowies'. They were considered 'omnivorous, nocturnal and territorial creatures', had a highly distinctive odour, and not very fond of dogs. White settlers had observed them around Sydney Cove as early as 1795... Increased heavy development of the area most likely forced this creature further and further into the scrub."

I have heard of Yowies before but never heard them described as "likely" in a seriuos book. I thought they were made up to scare pups in the dog park. The troubling part is, "not very fond of dogs." He doesn't explain what this actually means. Does it mean that they are more cat people? Or is it something more sinister that doesn't bear thinking about? Next time I am in the woods, I am going to be very attentive for a "distinctive odour." You never know Tim might get a photo (if he is not busy retreating.)

This photo is called, "Do you smell a distictive odour?"

Life is great when you don't see an eight-foot creature who is not very fond of dogs.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Words, words, words

Don't humans love words. Be it big ones like "anthropomorphism," little ones like "a" and "to" or medium ones like...."medium." (By the way, why is "abreviation" such a big word?) They are forever talking, reading, wathching the TV or listening to the radio or music, which usually contain words. They even have lots of technology to make sure that they are never far from words. They spend very little time not using words. I think that is one reason that thay enjoy spending time with dogs, cats and other animals. Dogs can understand a few words and on the rare occasion even learn to speak a few but that's it (apart from blogging of course.) Words can be very useful and a lot of fun but they can also confuse and mislead. Become too caught up with words and you can lose sight of what is real, for words do not contain any truth in themselves but point in the direction of a truth. Whereas, you can not lie to a dog. We can not be fooled with fancy words or ideas.

Life is great when you are lost for words.