Thursday, February 28, 2008

Doggy Dilemma

I’ve always had a dog. Life without one seems inconceivable now that Lily’s on the scene.

As child we had a labrador called Buster, he was my constant companion until brothers and sisters became playworthy. He used to do his rounds after we’d headed off for school. A reporter from the Daily Mail obviously was one of his stops and put us all on the front page thanks to a note on his collar written by my father to disuade neighbours from feeding him (why he didn’t just shut the garden gate I’ll never know.)

We went without a pet of any kind for a few years during the transition and emigration to Australia but once settled in Melbourne, we bought Sam . . . we thought he was a labrador but turned out to be something far more destructive and energetic. He was eventually given to someone with a bit of land once he’d completely ruined the back garden and chewed his way through the hose and above ground pool liner and scratched the bejeezus out of the back door and yapped persistently through the night. At least that’s where I think he went!

We then moved to Sydney and bought Ben. Another lab, great with kids, did tricks, didn’t need much exercise and was very easily pleased. My father had him well trained by 3 months to sit, stay, heel, balance biscuits on his nose which were ‘on trust’ until he was given the ‘paid for’ command. He was beautiful but used to shag anything left on the floor. We had him for 17 years! Unheard of but he had a new lease on life when we moved to acreage in 1975. Where he had more exercise space and tagged along with Babysis and I when we went riding. He finally reached his last legs on ClareBear’s Christening day . . very sad.

Then there was quite a stasis for me. Ray wasn’t a dog fan and as a young couple, we spent many weekends away so the responsibility of dog ownership was too much. We bought a cat. About which I’ll write some other time. Once Ray died, and I was left with toddlers, buying a puppy became a priority. I checked one place out and she had a clutch of rolly-polly’s but they weren’t the best strain of labs and I declined. Sur’nuf about three weeks later she rang to say she had one puppy remaining from the litter so we went to take another look. Yep, bought the dog. $400 worth of tumbling blackness. We named her Brenna “Raven Maid”. Bren was a top dog. She was largely outside, allowed in only when it was very wet or very cold so she was a little rough around the edges and had an itchy spot on her back and tail that made her scratching hilarious to watch as she rubbed underneath things with a look of pure bliss! She was a superior guard dog. Vicious to anyone who didn’t know her yet she could pick the sound of friends’ and familys’ cars and never made a whimper. Sadly, she was neglected a little on the training side due to the demands of building a house and raising a young family and never got much beyond ‘sit’ but she’d retrieve, loved a swim and was generally a loyal companion.

She was just 10 when I took her to the vet because she was struggling a little and he examined her and told me she had a huge tumour, was suffering terribly and needed to be put down . . . I acquiesced, not wanting her to suffer. I asked what would happen to her . . the vet said I could take her home and bury her, he would arrange disposal or I could have her cremated. Can you imagine! It just didn’t seem right taking her to the tip and I didn’t have the stamina to bury her myself. So, doggy cremation was the choice. I still have Brenna in a Box. Seriously! A little green box tied with white ribbon and a condolence card from the pet crematorium. They sent her back with a nice little oil and incense burner! She’s outside in a plastic tub containing painting materials and two-stroke. I just don’t know what to do with her. I was going to bury her, then thought about the bulldozers coming through once the block is subdivided and never really got round to scattering her in her little smelly place which probably would have been the right thing to do. So there she sits, in her green box, waiting to be dispatched. I think when I move, I’ll take her with me and plant a little tree in her honour. . . I haven't a digital photo of her royal blackness so here's one of bewfulls instead. I think I'll have her stuffed!

And you thought I was going to give you a smoochy view!
First one to say "nice arse" gets a slap!

Oh alright then . . .

No seriously . . I will . . .

Awww such a bewfulls wooffly snoofly!
(on my pillows I might add!) How very dare she!


steph said...

Nice face, shame about the arse! :D

I loved that post, Baino but I was terrified all the way through you were going to say, your present wooffles' time was up.

Thank goodness, not the case.

Throw her a stick from me!

Thriftcriminal said...

We always had Jack Russels, I know lots of people hate them as yappy little gits, but they had great personality. Especially Bumble, she was a real character, she would pick up her bone and my gandmother would say "Take it to Mr. Sam" and off she would bumble (she was well named) to my grandfather and present it to him. At feeding time she would bark in excitement and leap a good 3 foot clear of the ground. Long live the hounders, that's what I say.

Terence McDanger said...

You're so lucky. I really want a dog but have neither the time nor the space to keep one - but some day I'll have my millions made and retire to a plush country pad!
Labs are great too.
Nice post. Woof and moo!

Anonymous said...

Ah Baino! That's a sad but lovely story :) You know what I'd do? I'd get one of those pretty indoor potted trees and mix her ashes into the roots! I'd love to end up as a tree.

Kate said...

"We thought he was a labrador but turned out to be something far more destructive and energetic."

Somehow this struck me as absolutely hilarious. I feel *precisely* the same way about my daughter some days.

Brianf said...

as a kid we had a German shepard for awhile until the day after it bit a neighborhood kid my Dad, "took it to live on a farm". Since that day no animal owned by myself or any of my siblings have ever died. They have all gone to live on a farm. BTW, you've been tagged.

Quickroute said...

Nice pics. I never had a dog :-(
I think it's a bit cruel to have a dog in a big city unless you have easy access to a park and time to bring them for more than a 15 minute walk in the morning which is what a lot of people do.
They have dog walkers here who will pick up your pooch (and up to 15 others at the same time) while you're at work and bring them to the park for a walk, which I think is great!

Nick said...

I've never had the pet-keeping urge (except mice and hamsters as a kid), but there are a couple of adorable dogs next door, Sam and Lucy. They're brilliant watchdogs, they bark like crazy at any stranger within 100 yards. They even bark at me though they know perfectly well who I am. So in what way do I look like a burglar?

Baino said...

Steph: Lily is a very bouncy six year old and apart from a metal knee (she had a replacement 18 months ago for being too bouncy) she's fit as a fiddle!
Thrifty: I nearly bought a couple of Jack Russells but once a labrador person always a labrador person I'm afraid, they're so good with kids!

Terrence: Yep, she's my third child actually. Very spoiled but I had time to train this one so very well behaved.

K8: If I had a semblence of a green thumb, I'd have a crack but I don't want poor ol Brenna to die twice!

Kate: I know EXACTLY what you mean although I hope Emily hasn't taken to eating swimming pool liners and scratching at the back door!

Brianf: We 'adopted' a sort of bull terrier thing years go. It was before we bought our house so it lived with my mother for a while. It too 'went to a country property' it was years later that I found out it had received the 'green dream'.

Quickroute: I'm surprised you still have any affection for dogs thanks to your noisy neighbours! Fortunately, there's loads of space here so she's a lucky pooch!

Nick: Managed to kill a hamster as a child. Nobody told me it needed water! I dunno? Do you look like a Criminal?

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Well rounded bum, that. ;-)

Don't worry, you're not the only one with the remains of your beloved pet still with you. My boys are in their urns in a cupboard in my study. I finally decided they would be scattered when I get scattered, having given up on trying to decide where to put them.

Please give Lily a snuggle from me.
Oh alright, you can have one too - for being such a good girl ;-)

Baino said...

AV: Wonderful, I'm not the only doggy loon on the planet! Then again, your alter ego is a Chicken from another planet . . .you win!

Anonymous said...

I've only had dogs when living in the country which had to be put down for hunting chickens and sheep for sport :O Your property looks close enough in photos to being 'the country'; a doggie's heaven! Lily is beautiful *achoo* I'm allergic!

nonny said...

Ahhh baino she is gorgeous. I have my Grandmothers Pheasant, Dick-Dock; he is stuffed and kinda lying round the place. I haven’t found anywhere to put him yet. He flew into my Grandmothers back garden years ago and never left. One day we went out and there was poor Dick-Dock lying sprawled across the lawn, we reckoned it was a heart attack that got him, mid stride on his morning walk.

I hate when animals die, I think I’d die myself if anything happened to Floyd, I love him to death, even though he has developed this strange habit of opening the cleaning press under the sink (everybody has the cleaning stuff in the press under the sink don’t they?) and knocking everything down. I hope we don’t have a mouse, I can assure he will not be getting stuffed, it will be just plain old squashed for him.

In unrelated news, I cannot open your site from my work PC anymore. You must have porn on your page. Tut, tut.

Baino said...

Anony: Shame about the allergies. ClareBear is the same which is why Lily deliberately likes to jump up there just to hear her sneeze! Interestingly, she hasn't tried it since Clare left! No sport perhaps.

Nonny: No porn on my site, I'm a good girl I am! You must have a very good filter . . perhaps the expletives?

I have a friend in Yorkshire who has a stuffed peacock in her dining room - a former pet nonetheless. . bit disconcerting I must say!

kousalya said...

What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!

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