Monday, 27 April 2009

My Pink Ball

I haven't posted for nearly a week, a record long time. This is because I have been very busy. One activity that has kept me occupied is staring into the middle distance, otherwise known as daydreaming. I have seen humans do this a bit; Tim is fairly good at it. However, most humans are not good at it. I have heard it is because older humans strongly discourage younger humans from doing it. They go to a special place specifically designed to stop them from this very worthwhile pursuit. That place they call "school." The benefits of daydreaming are too many to list here but to get you started; creativity, entertainment, relaxation, improved intelligence and a greater sense of Dog. 

Something else that gets my attention is my pink ball. I love tearing after it and catching it on the bounce. It is great to chase it on my own but much more fun with other dogs. My pink ball is the pride of the dog park. This is the ball that all the dogs want above any other. I love the competition of trying to get it before the other dogs. I am faster than all the other dogs in the park (just stating the facts) so I often do. However, the person throwing it usually throws it to the advantage of other dogs to keep it even and interesting. I don't mind if I get the ball or not, I just love running fast and going after the ball. I think competition is about putting in your best effort. This makes competition rewarding. It is when dogs or people put the importance on winning that competition becomes a negative influence. In summary, competition is good; attaching significance on winning is bad. Little humans intuitively know this but once again big humans sometimes come in and mess things up. 

Life is great when you have other dogs to chase a ball with.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What Would you Have Done?

I don't read or watch the news too much because it is usually depressing and from this state one can't make the world a better place. However, this story caught my eye. A bus driver was taking bus full of commuters home after a day at work. She stopped the bus because there was a frog on the road and she didn't want to run the poor fellow over. So she got out, put the frog to the side of the road and then carried on. Some of the passengers weren't happy and complained to the bus company, which sacked the driver. The media picked up the story, there was a public outcry and the driver was given back her job. She did have to promise not to do it again. I am not here to tell you what to think. I will simply report and let you draw your own moral from this story.

Life is great when you take the time to save a life.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Lost and Found

We have been bleesed with two more sensational days. "Beautiful one day, perfect the next." That's what they rightly say about Queensland. (Admittedly, "they" is the Queensland Tourism Board, but it is still true.) We were on a pack walk on the perfect yesterday when Mandy found a silver earring. She looked for somewhere to put it so that the owner might find it, but it didn't look likely. So I said, "You could put up a sign on the fence." Well, I would have but I'm a dog so I can't talk. Instead, I sent out the thought. Tim picked it up and said as if it was his idea. (I'm OK with it. I've got used to it.) Mandy declared him a genius and, being a woman of action, went home and did it right away. The next day the earring was gone and written in black at the bottom of the paper it says, "Thank you so much. I have been looking everywhere for this." A very satisfying result!

Life is great is when you do a good deed and receive gratitude. 

Thursday, 16 April 2009

What a Day!

I went for a shorter walk with Tim this morning down to the soccer fields. What a magnificent day it was. Tim didn't take a camera so I will have to paint you a word picture. There is a small creek on one side. Several soccer fields in a row make a great, big expanse of green. It is bordered by trees. After the rainy Easter, we have perfect autumnal weather. Clear blue sky with a sun that warmed your bones but wasn't too hot. The high today was 28 degrees celsius. There was a gentle, fresh breeze. Tim had the throwing stick, which sends the ball flying three quarters of the length of one field. In short, it was a bloody marvelous walk. Fresh air, plenty of grass, sunshine and a ball to chase. Then this afternoon I went on a bigger walk with Mandy. 

Life is great when it is a stunning day.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Dog Overboard

A rainy, rainy Easter. There is no agility training today, not because it is raining but because the field is too sodden. Anyway, it is better to stay safe and dry unlike Sophie. This hound fell overboard in choppy water in North Queensland, swam 5 kilometres and then survived 4 months on a deserted island!!!!!!!!!!! Much better to remain safe and sound in bed until the good weather returns I reckon. 

Life is great when you warm and dry. 

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A dog Substitute

We went to West End for lunch (well, two of us had lunch and one didn't) and I got my tongue on four kids, not a bad consolation. Earlier I went for a walk in the woods. Tim got talking to an interesting man. He said I had a bit of greyhound in me, not the first time someone has said this. He then said Tim had some German in him, which is true. He obviously has an eye for spotting ancestry. On more careful inspection he thought Tim had some Northern Italian due to his tanned skin. It seems Tim is as much of a mongrel as I am. Tim and Mandy celebrated with Mandy-made pizza and red wine last night. He also suggested that I was a substitute for a baby. Tim let this one go through to the keeper but I read a more interesting response last night to the very same remark. 

I finished reading a book called "A Dog's Life" written by a first-time author called Boy, who happens to be the dog of Peter Mayle. For some reason, it is Peter Mayle's name on the cover. I guess it is because he is well-known and it makes the book easier to sell. (A reader recommended this book. I can't remember who but if you are reading, "Thank you. I enjoyed it.") Anyway, in the book they having a dinner party, when...

"Finally, having run out of hard news, she put forward the offensive theory that people have dogs as child substitutes. Misguided and discourteous, of course, but hardly original, and I thought the remark would receive the lack of attention it deserved.

I hadn't reckoned, however, of the effect of the monologue on the other half...At this point- inspired no doubt, by a surfeit of propaganda on the joys of fetility- he pricked up his ears and bit back. Good stuff it was, too, the gist of it being that many couples in these overcrowded times live in small apartments where dogs are forbidden. Desperate for companionship, the couple either buys a budgerigar or has a baby, depending on available cage space. Therefore, one could just as easily put forward the opposite argument that children are, in fact, dog substitutes. Have another drink. 

..Vibrating with emotion like a blancmange on heat, the earth mother fixed him a furious and incandescent eye. 'That's outrageous,' said she. 'Are you comparing my little Tommy with a budgerigar?'

..'Why not?' said he. 'They're both small. They're both noisy. They both spill their food. And they both have difficulty controlling their bowels.' All true of course, but not really what a mother wants to hear."

The result was she stormed out. This is certainly a different approach to the same situation. I have pointed it out to Tim and Mandy. We'll just have to wait and see if they adopt it next time it comes up in conversation. 

This photo is called, "tea and chocolate." It is a ritual in this house. The chocolate is 70% cocoa dark chocolate, which I never get because it isn't good for dogs and the tea is rooibos (red bush) from South Africa, which I sometimes get. Mandy and Tim learnt about it reading Alexander McCall Smith's series of books, "The Number One Ladies Detective Agency." They highly recommend the tea and the books.

Life is great when you have a good book to read written by a dog. 

Friday, 10 April 2009

Aren't humans a funny shape?

Their feet are the shape of a head, more or less, which makes them a great place to rest your weary head. Their heads are the shape of basketballs. Their ears are stubbornly immobile. They are mostly hairless except for random places. Sometimes their hair just doesn't know when to stop. They have great big noses which aren't all the better for smelling with. They plod around on two legs when it is obviously faster on all fours. 

I am not anti-human. I love humans. My favourite beings are human. I am just saying, that's all. What do you find odd about them? 

Life is great when you are well proportioned and sensibly built and life is great when you are not. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

They're on to us!

Dogs beware. We have kept our practice of walking on hind legs secret for years from humans. Unfortunately, Steph posted a picture of a hound doing just that. Just the other day I was strolling through the living room when Tim came out of the kitchen. I got a surprise and just stared at him for a few seconds. He had a camera in his hands and took a shot. Luckily, he didn't frame it too well. If you are caught in the act, it is very important not to let on why we are doing this. Under no circumstance are you to say. They must not know.

Life is great when you can choose between four and two legs.

Monday, 6 April 2009

More Friends

Here are our two resident brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), they are a mother and her young. They live in the ceiling above the kitchen. They descend through the wall and come out under the house shortly after dark. We live in a typical Queenslander house, which is made of wood and raised off the ground. They are our friends but not entirely welcome tenants as they might do damage up there. But I'm sure they will take good care up there.

 This is what wikipedia has to say about them;

Brushtailed possums are also very intelligent creatures, with brainpower comparable to a dog. This makes hand reared possums ideal to teach tricks. Common tricks can include "sit" and "hiss" but they can also be trained to "fetch" with enough time. It is important to remember when training brushtailed possums to be firm with the instruction and always give a reward such as fruit or vegetables.

This is interesting as Tim and Mandy use apples to give me during agility training, so I don't see why they shouldn't come along.  Their brainpower is comparable to mine (although I have never read a possum's blog.) I reckon they might do all right if we take them along tomorrow. 

Life is great when you have lots of furry friends.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Strange Human Behaviour

I am a keen observer of human behaviour and yesterday I saw something I had never seen or heard of before. Tim went to the phone just before lunch. We have a business line which is used for outgoing calls as it is cheaper. He dialled a number and the home phone rang. He answered it, said "hello" three times, each after a short pause, the last two with a quizzical tone of voice. Then he suddenly burst out laughing and hung up. It was most baffling. It was only after he made another call that I could figure out what had happened. 

He had intended to call his parents but dialled his own telephone number instead. It was only after answering his own call that he realised what he had done. I would like to know if this kind of behaviour is common to humans or is it just Tim.

Life is great when you have humans who provide much behaviour for your study and general entertainment.  

Friday, 3 April 2009

Of Drought and Flooding Rains

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

Dorothea Mackellar

We are up to the flooding rains part. Down south they have had bad floods. We are fine here but we did have a day and a bit of rain. This is a photo from our back deck. Yesterday, I only got a short walk at 10:30pm! This is unheard of. The only thing that one can do is curl up in bed "like a pretzel" as Mandy says. The rain has stopped so I am confident that Tim will take me out for a walk. I think I'll go and give him licks as a subtle hint. 

We are grateful for the rain because our dams are low. The drought was taking up the madia..oops Freudian slip... media space and people's attention. Then, as a friend pointed out, along came the financial crisis and swept the drought from the front page. Then, down came the rain. Once people's attention had been taken off drought, drought, drought, it allowed the rain to fall. Don't put your attention on what you don't want. I should say, put your attention on what you do want.

Life is great when you have a cosy bed to curl up in like a pretzel. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Who Teaches the Spiritual Teacher?

I found an interview with Eckhart Tolle about dogs in Modern Dog magazine. Eckhart Tolle is the best-selling author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. I recommend these books, I thinks humans can get a lot from them and by being in the present can connect more with Dog. Here he is with his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Maya. (Who said people don't look like their dogs.) For the full interview go here. These are some extracts from the interview.

"Something else that's very important for many people is they realize, consciously or unconsciously, that their dog is not judging them. For some people, it's the only relationship that they have where there's no fear and where they realize they are being accepted and not judged. For many people it's the only relationship they have with another being. That's a pity, because really they should have deep relationships with humans also, but that's difficult because every human being has a mind and every human being judges and so people become afraid, they withdraw, they put up barriers. I believe that dogs are keeping millions of people sane who would otherwise become deeply neurotic in our alienated world."

"There are teachings that say every being is a spark of the divine of God. You can see it sometimes more clearly [in dogs] than in a human being because the human being has the veil of mind, negative emotions, and ego, and plays a role. I believe that dogs fill a vital function in the collective consciousness of humanity. I would call them "the Guardians of Being." They show us what we have lost and, once we realize that, they can help us in our shift into a deeper state of consciousness."

"Before Maya came, I didn't go out in the forest here, which is right next to the building. Now I go for a walk in the forest every day, and I know it's good for my body, it's good for the soul."

Life is great when you have a dog to keep you sane.