Australia Day is a day where Australians get together and celebrate the good things about our nation and being Australian. The date for Australia Day, January 26, was chosen because it is the anniversary of the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet from England in 1788. On this day, many Australians join their family, friends and communities for a BBQ, picnic in the park or a game of cricket at the beach, it is a National holiday and if the date happens to fall on a weekend then we get an additional day off to make the most of the event. This year Australia Day was on a Sunday (so I’ve got today off work) which for me, started like any other Sunday with time spent at our local shelter, cleaning up after puppies and dogs, getting lots of kisses and cuddles and taking the dogs out for a bit of exercise. At the moment I have a couple of favourites at the shelter, but there is one particular fellow called Curly whom I absolutely love, he is a British Bulldog/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross (apparently) and he is loud, barking at everyone he sees and sadly, people find it off-putting and interest in this gorgeous guy is minimal. Curly has a huge grin, is a wriggle butt, a snuggler and a kisser, once you get past the barking and spend some one-on-one time with him it is almost impossible not to love him so my mission (when I am there) is to get him out of his kennel and walking where people can see the other side to this gorgeous little man. Surprise, surprise, I also take lots of photos of him to share on social media 🙂
Even wearing the cone of shame he is still smiling that huge staffy smile
Just look at that cute little butt!
Curly in his cone of shame
Curly’s kisses are frequent
Our two black dogs certainly didn’t miss out on the fun of Australia Day, once the heat of the day had passed we loaded them into the car and headed off to the lake for a walk and a (dogs only) swim. The border of the lake has an excellent walking path, rough 4 kilometres in distance, and off leash park, plenty of outdoor gym equipment as well as BBQ areas and playground equipment for children to enjoy. Being Australia Day, every man and their dog was out and about, the carpark was almost full and a variety of activities were being undertaken by the lake including kite flying. I’m not keen on the off leash area and Maxi doesn’t always react well to other dogs after the initial sniff and greet, instead we redirected our pooches to the water’s edge where they sniffed the rocks and reeds, scratched in the sand and paddled in the shallow water until it was time to go home. As we walk to the car we pass by the remnant of someone else’s Australia Day celebration, careless people had expressed their ‘Aussie pride’ by spray painting a rude gesture on an old lounge and leaving it for someone else to dispose of, this thoughtless and often aggressive patriotism is a side to Australia Day that bothers me and one that has been all too prevalent over the last 10 years. Regardless of the blight on the landscape, spending time together at the lake was a lovely end to the day, I stood and took photos of the setting sun while Bundy pulled on the lead in pursuit of a scent, Maxi was grinning like a fool and the husband stood by, rattling the keys in his pocket, his hint for me to hurry up and put the camera away.
Last Friday was Take Your Dog to Work day, a fantastic initiative that celebrates the contribution that dogs make to us and society in general and also to encourage people to adopt from shelters and rescues. It is well known that having a pet can lower stress levels, blood pressure and improve activity levels so surely bringing them to work can assist with productivity and morale, providing you don’t have any dog haters in your office environment.
Dogs are not allowed in our workplace, for many reasons but the main one appears to be health and safety. To get around this I implemented a ‘Bring Your (Virtual) Pet to Work’ day and encouraged staff to bring in photos and fluffy toys that represented their pets and to decorate their office space as they saw fit. That day was today and it has been lots of fun, many of my colleagues are dog lovers so the majority of images and toys were dog related. We tied the event to a fund-raising morning tea for the Animal Welfare League Queensland, they rely heavily on donations of cash and goods from the general public and are always in need of old blankets, towels, pet food and kitty litter. I don’t know how much we have raised, the collection of donations has been extended to a week to give all of our work mates the chance to make a donation but every little bit helps. In the meantime everyone got the chance to eat cake, talk about their beloved fur-kids and contribute to a good cause – what a great day to end the week 🙂
Towards the end of last year I took on a role that has quickly become the best job I have ever had, volunteer dog walker for the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWL). For the small investment of 4-6 hours a week I get to spend time with an array of lovable characters whom through no fault of their own, have found themselves at the shelter awaiting their forever home. We have had lots of rain recently which made walking and playing fetch a little difficult, rather than leave the dogs in their pens we took them out for a cuddle and walk where it was reasonably dry.
Below are some of the dogs I have had the pleasure of spending time with over the last couple of weeks, some of them just want to play with toys but others love to lean on you for tummy rubs. It is sad that they’re still at the shelter but I am hoping that the right person will come along soon and that they’ll never be seen at the AWL again, until then I will make the most of the cuddles and kisses.
January 19, 2007 a litter of puppies is born to a staffy at our local shelter, the Animal Welfare League, five weeks later we fostered two male puppies from that litter and they very quickly steal our hearts. The nicknames we gave them were Cookie and Buddha, two round bellied staffy puppies that walked with a wobbly boot, their tummies so low to the ground that they dragged along the grass. Cookie and Buddha played and and slept together, never straying far from each other and we delighted in their presence, when it came time to return them we did so with heavy hearts because both had been reserved by potential owners. The joy we felt when the shelter rang to tell us that an adoption had fallen through and to ask us if we still wanted one of the boys was immense, it was a great big yes and our happy family went from one black dog to two black dogs in an instant.
Cookie became Bundy, a popular drink in Australia and one of my husband’s all time favourites and life has never been dull with Bundy around. Maxi could have happily remained an only child and some times we feel bad because she has to share the love and affection with a rather demanding, often bossy, little boy. Regardless of their differences, they play together often even though she is now at the geriatric age of 10.
This week Bundy turned 5, which equals 35 dog years, with his penchant for chasing snakes and disappearing into the bush I worried that he wouldn’t make it to 5 so I have enjoyed remembering what life with Bundy has been like for the past 5 years. These are just a few of the strange, worrying and amusing antics of our little black dog:
I hear the chink, chink of glass as the dogs run around the yard, upon inspection I find a drinking glass lying on the ground with at least an inch of the rim missing. It had been chewed off, leaving most of the glass intact.
Barking incessantly at a carpet python making its way along the top of our fence into the neighbours yard, Bundy did not stop barking until the tail of the snake had disappeared over the fence.
Bundy loves getting in the car, once in the car it is difficult to get him out and he is happy sitting there while the car is washed or the lawn is mowed.
Barking at balloons and trying to catch them, when they pop he looks everywhere for them.
Sitting on my lap while I work on the computer.
Sleeping on his back with one fang bared.
Sitting outside and staring at the barbeque for hours, waiting for that pesky rat/mouse to appear even though it is long gone.
Snuggling into my neck and shoulder when he is not feeling well
I could probably keep going with Bundy’s list, but instead I’ll leave you with this short clip of Bundy playing with a squeaky cup cake toy that Maxi got for Christmas. Maxi doesn’t play with toys anymore and poor Bundy didn’t seem to know what to make of this toy that kept ‘barking’ back at him, usually he just chews things until they pop.