A Little Break –

The time has come for a break from my blog and creative writing.  My son will soon receive the completed story of mine and his life, ‘R’s Roots’, and at 100,000 words it has satisfied my writing itch for a bit.

I will concentrate on the health of my little pal Laika, who appears to have a chronic stomach condition that may require a special diet for the rest of her life.  This will mean close supervision, as labrador owners know all about the scavenger gene.

I’ll be back, but not sure when.  In the meantime, thank you for the support.  Laika will continue to feature on my Facebook page for those who miss her antics.

See you in a while!

See you in a while!

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Ouch –

In the past my favourite holiday was backpacking in the Dolomites.  I regularly had a sore knee, which was thankfully totally supported by strong and expensive Italian knee braces. I still sometimes use them when I have a niggle.

This time, it is not a niggle. I have a full blown debilitating ache in one knee that keeps me awake at night, forces me to bandage on top of the brace to keep my knee rigid, and obviously walks with Laika are virtually impossible. She is not yet able to walk consistently to heel, and if she sees another dog or tasty looking person, or perhaps a bird or a blowing leaf, she yanks me in their direction while I howl in agony.

We have been doing lots of fun training in our small garden, played fetch with me sitting in a chair, tried to teach her to take treats without gnawing my fingers, trained ‘Leave’ my backpack and her day-care bag, both of which she treats viciously, and my neighbour’s dog-loving adult son has offered to take her out for a walk whenever. Can I ask anyone to do that? – she is not really your well behaved walking companion just yet…

Here’s hoping that my knee gets better by itself. What would I do with Laika if I had to have a knee replacement?

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Cheers, Laika.

Two days after Laika finished her antibiotics, the scoots were back, and a poorly Laika woke me up at 4 am to get out.

More medication prolongs the hyper-activity. In the waiting room at the vets she barked excitedly, jumped as if on springs and made a bit of a nuisance of herself. One boy of about 8, of the ‘I-am-a-spoiled-brat-who-knows-everything’-variety, loudly declared to the waiting room that if that was their dog, his mum would give her a good skelp.

My mouth acted in advance of my brain and I informed him that if she did that, I would be delighted to return the favour and whack her harder and longer to make her see how much good it did. The mother did not appear to find her son’s remark out of line, and she did not enter into the exchange. Judging by her son’s loud and unpleasant comments about everyone in the waiting room she has a – relaxed? – approach to discipline.

Could dog training sessions become compulsory for such families, since behaviour tends to be the same across a household? Or take it further: introduce an obligatory test and basic training for everyone who owns/wants a pet. Short term, fewer strays would find a home, but long term such commitment might reduce thoughtless momentary fascination with dogs and thus make puppy farming unprofitable. However, from the government down (or should that be up), ‘long term’ does not feature.

The world is approaching the equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire. We reached a pinnacle of riches; debauchery and crime have flourished and we have lost sight of what is important. Does every old person feel like that? My father frequently stated that he was glad he would not be around for too much longer in a world that was becoming dissolute. That’s how I feel.   Caring for a creature with simple needs and no material greed is keeping me sane. Cheers, Laika!

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Fame and Games, a Weekend in Laika’s Life.

IMG_0718Here’s a good game:  I bury the ball, you dig it up again.
– What do you mean, bad for your nails?  You don’t hear me complaining
about my manicure, and I do the hard part.  Get your priorities sorted…


Have I got stage presence?


Would I make a good subject for a monument?

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Silly Mummy

I am on to you, Mum! Those juicy bits of chicken you have uncharacteristically been tossing me while preparing my food contain PILLS. I don’t like pills. I don’t care that the vet says I need them since my tummy is bad for the third time in as many weeks. I don’t care that you have been boasting about me taking my medicines really easily since nothing touches the sides. Well, now it does. Now I have discovered your duplicity and cruel attempts to make me eat things that do not taste nice. This is not like you, and I am disappointed in you.

So, from now on every bit of chicken will be sniffed, carefully chewed, spat out if it contains anything solid and I will look at you with terrible reproach in my little face. How could you try to con me? – I thought we had a good, honest relationship, and here you go and treat me like an idiot.

You are meant to feed me nothing but chicken, rice and scrambled egg until my stomach improves. I heard you mentioning that sardines are good for hiding tablets and have an enticing smell, but no use to you just now, are they…

I forgive quickly and readily, but make no mistake: I do not forget quite as easily. Tomorrow morning you will have even more difficulty getting the tablets into me, the morning after that yet more, and so on. So, what are you going to do about it? You have ten days’ worth of antibiotics and my monthly worming tablets ready to go – all I can say is good luck!

In retaliation, I am off to decimate your Bay trees a little more. I am leaving just enough to make you think they may recover when I grow out of my fascination, but you have to admit, they are beginning to look a little tatty.

Not so bushy and healthy looking now, are they?

Not so bushy and healthy looking now, are they?

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Helping the Family Economy

You said we are needing new tyres - I found one!

You said we are needing new tyres – I found one!

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Laika: Guard Dog or Butterfly

My decision to get a dog was heavily influenced by an unpleasant experience with a workman. When I announced I was getting a labrador, most people laughed and said a pet butterfly might give me better protection.

Although Laika would drench you with doggy kisses and invite you to play were you to ignore her bark, she is a deterrent. Her growly bark sounds threatening and a dark stripe along her spine hints of Rhodesian Ridgeback, a breed renowned for protective instincts. She barks when people come through the gate, when anyone parks in the street or walks past on the way to the beach, when she wants attention – we are working to eliminate that one – when she invites me to come and clear up her poop, and really when there is nothing else to do. We are working on that one as well.

Displaying my stripe and Labrador Zip in my forehead.

Displaying my stripe and Labrador Zip in my forehead.

We were at the vet again yesterday after the explosive tummy returned. She drags me into the building and barks excitedly at the delightful staff. But she is becoming reluctant to enter the consulting room, now that it rarely leads to nice things. Another antibiotic injection, another rectal temperature, another weigh-in (nearly 16 kilos) and mum leaving with a supply of disgusting tasting tablets to be pushed down her throat for the next five days. If that does not clear it up, we will need to consider food allergies.

We will be back at the vet if not before, certainly towards the end of September for her big op. But possibly not just spaying: her fangs are emerging inside the milk teeth and are not pushing those out, so she has a double set. One milk tooth came out by itself, the others seem determined to stay. Baby teeth need to go, under anaesthetic if necessary, and if they have not fallen out by themselves they will be whipped out while she is under anyway.

Oh, the trials of growing up!

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