Puppy therapy

Whenever I see puppies I feel happy. Their sweet puppy breath, little pink toes and fat round tummies make me want to sweep them all into my arms. I watch them play, they’re silly and often uncoordinated as they wrestle with toys, blankets and each other. When they sleep in a puppy pile my heart melts.

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”

Bern Williams

Our little old man’s favourite place

Our little man is slowing down, at 10 years of age Bundy is content to relax in his favourite spots for a large portion of the day. The list of favourite spots now includes our three seater sofa, thankfully it is covered by a throw rug to maintain a decent level of cleanliness. Recently Bundy suffered an ear infection and sadly he has experienced a loss of hearing. This has made him a little more velcro-like, never far from one of us, and he has taken to relaxing on our lounge with regularity. Once upon a time I would have chased him off the lounge, with two dogs in a small house there had to be some boundaries. Now he makes himself at home and all I can do is smile and take a photo. As I write this he is curled up on the lounge beside me, sleeping soundly whilst wearing his snazzy jersey to stay warm. I am a sucker and proud of it.

Remembering a special birthday

Today would have been Maxi’s 16th birthday, roughly 112 dog years. I miss her and think of her every day, sometimes I imagine her still standing at the front fence, barking at me as I pull into the driveway. Although some memories bring tears to my eyes it is easier to remember the happy times now and I want to share them you. Happy Birthday my sweet Maxi girl, may you be happy and pain free wherever you are ❤

Our beautiful Maxi girl
Maxi hated selfies
A golden sunrise and a splash in the surf
Maxi’s favourite spot for an early morning run

She loved a good roll
Maxi loved the beach and rolling in smelly things
Running free by the water
Maxi doing her happy dance at dinner time

Wordless Wednesday: Happy

The year that was.


A relatively quiet month punctuated by time spent cuddling gorgeous shelter dogs waiting for their forever homes. Bundy celebrated his 9th birthday and unbeknown to us Australia Day was the last time we took Maxi to the beach, she loved splashing around in the surf and afterwards would sleep for hours.


A python and lots of cute puppies plus a lunch date with friends by the water. A short, sweet in stinking hot month.


Maxi’s 15th birthday is celebrated, Easter fun and games with the fur kids and a new car.


Sadly, we said goodbye to my father in-law who had been unwell for a couple of years. Even though he had been married to my mother in-law for a few years he was entrenched in our family and is greatly missed.


A much anticipated trip to Scotland. Traveling with a group of artists on a paint-along with my art teacher for two weeks was an amazing experience and provided me with lots of inspiration for my art and further travel in the UK.


Always lots of dogs waiting at the Animal Welfare League, I love my Sundays with them and it is hard not to fall in love with all of them.


Commissioned to do a portrait of Rumpole the chocolate lab in pastel, stalked by a pigeon on our morning walk and an art class focused on drawing birds. Finally winter seems to have arrived bringing with it some spectacular sunrises and the fur kids are loving their new blankets.


The weather starts getting warmer and Hubby celebrates his birthday with traditional fire making and drinks with family and friends. Walks with Maxi are getting shorter and she happily shares the rug with Bundy.


Losing Maxi broke my heart, such a vibrant and happy girl. Gone but never forgotten.


After losing our dear old girl, time with friends was especially important.


The festive season started early at work, our team heading to a winery for a long lunch to celebrate a good year with good people. There are always dogs waiting to be adopted and every Sunday I take photos of them to raise awareness on social media in the hope that it will assist in finding them a family faster. I also finished another commission, Honey the cat, sibling to Rumpole.


A quick trip to Newcastle to visit my brother and his family as well as meeting my new niece. So nice that the two families live in the same city, makes it easy to fit in quality time with all of them. Christmas was perfect, good company and good food. Now I am in need of a break, some quiet time at home after a busy and emotional year.

Walking the dogs and lessons learned

Bundy putting on the pace

Today it is cold and wet, too miserable for taking the dogs out for a walk and they seem quite content curled up on their beds. Normally, Bundy gets a long morning walk and then we take both dogs out in the evening for a short walk. Maxi is over 15 and suffers from arthritis so long walks aren’t recommended, however she does love escaping the confines of the yard.

15 years of dog ownership and I’ve learned a few things about walking dogs, although I’m sure that there is always more to learn. With Maxi hubby and I went through training with a ‘dog whisperer’, helpful however I learned more when Bundy came along and I took him to  weekly training at a local obedience school. Obedience school was a definite improvement over the dog whisperer training, Bundy was exposed to all sorts of dogs and people plus we learned how to walk a dog properly. Maxi can still be hard work when walking but we can take Bundy anywhere.

There have been plenty of times when something goes wrong as a result of us not knowing any better or getting complacent. Maxi loves to say hello to everyone, as a puppy we would take her to a local park which was off leash but her recall wasn’t great. Sometimes it would take us 20 minutes to get her back and other times she would run off to say hello to strangers and not everyone likes dogs. As for Bundy, we can walk him past a yard that contains barking dogs and he could not be less interested. Off leash Bundy is happy and carefree, until another dog decides to get amorous, he will not tolerate such bad behaviour and lets them know. I like to keep an eye on things and make sure that I’m close enough to withdraw him from a tense situation. Hubby is much more relaxed and thinks that all dogs should be able to say hello, needless to say we do have the occasional argument about the topic.

I am not a trainer, the points listed below are things I have learned over the years from having attended obedience classes, volunteering at our local shelter and reading.

What have I learned?

  • Take your dog to puppy kindy and obedience school. Socialisation is essential and you will learn about your dog’s needs and how to walk your dog properly.
  • Practice walking your dog and consistently applying the techniques learned. Walking your dog will be more pleasurable if they’re not constantly pulling you around.
  • Practice recall and don’t let your dog off leash if you are unable to recall them.
  • Ask permission to approach another dog with your dog. Don’t assume that all dogs are dog friendly. A wagging tail is not necessarily a sign that the dog is friendly.
  • Carry a plastic bag (or several) with you and pick up your dog’s poo. Dispose of it in a bin.
  • Be aware of you surrounds when walking. You can prepare your dog if something unexpected happens.
  • Stop and wait at the curb before crossing the road.
  • Pay attention to other dog walkers. If they are trying to constrain an over-excited dog don’t add to the problem. Cross the road and give them some space.
  • Don’t let your dog off leash in an area where is is on leash only. Your dog might love to say hello to everyone but a reactive dog on leash will not appreciate your friendly dog bounding over to them to say hi. It can end very badly.
  • Don’t suffer through a walk with a dog that constantly pulls, consider getting help from a professional and/or get the dog fitted for a sporn head halter or sporn harness. For an example of a sporn halter or harness check out OzPetShop online, but do some research to make sure you get the right ‘tool’ for you and your dog.
  • Reward your dog with time to sniff. A walk is not just exercise for dogs, it is an opportunity for them to experience life outside their yard.
  • Use a leash that allows you to maintain control over your dog, preferably nothing longer than six feet. I personally don’t like the extendable leads, if they malfunction your dog could quickly find themselves on a busy road or tangling themselves up with another dog.
  • Let people know if your dog is not dog friendly or gets anxious around strangers. You can attach a yellow ribbon or consider accessories that tell people about your dog such as those available at Friendly Dog Collars.
  • Don’t walk your dog in the middle of a hot day. If the road or path is too hot for your feet it will be too hot for theirs. Wait until it cools down or go early in the morning.

In addition to being a good form of exercise, we’ve made some great friends through our dog walks: Lachie the Blue Heeler, Danny the Staffy, Nala the Golden Retriever and Spartan the Rhodesian Ridgeback. If you can’t take your dog for regular walks but you’re committed to doing what you can to have a happy dog then consider using a dog walking service such as those available through Rover.com. Dog walking services are invaluable for the time poor dog owners and professional dog walkers love their job!

Dogs these days are truly part of the family so it makes sense to do what you can to live a peaceful and easy life together.

Enjoy your walk!

walking the dogs at sunset
Sunset walk with the fur-kids
Off leash at the beach and loving it