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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Maggie

My daughter spotted her first of all, on the website of Save-a Dog in Melbourne in October 2006, and suggested I might like to consider her for the position of Big Dog, which had been vacant for some time, and had been much in my mind when I moved to this large country property. Then my son saw her in person, and encouraged me to go and meet her myself. A couple of days later I drove to Melbourne and met her……..then, not wanting to do anything impulsive, that I might regret, I drove the two hours home again. A decision was made by the time I got back, and immediately rang the shelter to say I would collect her the next day. Thus the beautiful and beloved Maggie entered my life.

There was little known about her story, she was surrendered in the North of the state, with a male collie, and thought to be about 5 years old. Mags was in a bad way, she had been infested with fleas, and was still filthy with her coat matted and dreadlocked, very underweight, nervous, and frightened of men. Later a vet told me she had probably suffered a broken leg at some time, and this contributed to significant arthritic problems as she got older. Given that I was told both dogs were often picked up by the local ranger, a car accident was a possibility, but we shall never know.

Initially she was ravenously hungry, stealing food from kitchen benches, and fiercely defending her meals or bones from others, but once she settled in and gained weight, this stopped and her very gentle nature surfaced. She was my shadow, a loyal friend and companion, happy to follow me around the garden, come in the car, or sit beside me wherever I was. She was always waiting at the front door for me if I had gone out without her.

Maggie was a most affectionate dog, she loved to lean against you,  sit on you if you were on the floor, or cuddle up on the couch and she would touch you with her right paw if she wanted something and would lift your hand or arm with her long nose if she needed to be stroked. If clothing was left on the floor, she would sleep on it like a smaller dog might do. She hunted and ate flies that came into the house, and would bark wildly at flocks of sparrows chirping in the bushes. She hated cats, particularly my neighbour’s ones and would fly off the veranda, barking fiercely if she spotted one in her garden, but would always greet visitors who came to the house in a friendly way. Maggie loved to go for walks, usually off the lead, and would become so excited when I put on my walking boots, changed my clothes or collected Bella’s lead, that she would yodel or sing. She never wandered away from home, which was such a joy in comparison to Bella’s desire to bolt at every opportunity, and which has not diminished over the years. Even as her arthritis became more serious, Maggie would valiantly follow, at her own pace when I walked each morning with several friends and their dogs too.

Less than two weeks ago a visit to the vet to investigate a change in her behaviour and breathing revealed that she had Lymphoma, a form of Leukaemia, and a very limited prognosis. Some medication was tried, to make her more comfortable but it did not have much effect, and with much sadness and love, she was put to sleep at home, on Sunday last. She has been buried on a friend’s property as this place will be sold in the next few months, and I could not bear to leave her with strangers.

I could write much more about this wonderful dog, but will not. Suffice to say the loss is enormous, my home feels empty without her……….as does my heart.

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It’s too darn hot…….

The last couple of days have been extremely hot and uncomfortable – 37 C where I was for lunch yesterday, and high 20’s today at home.  Makes me realise how much I dislike the heat, but is good practice for Singapore – except there will have the added bonus of high humidity!  My flights are booked, and I will have ten days away – Singapore and Penang, so am looking forward to it very much.

Both dogs had their summer haircuts today and now look very sleek and bare.  Maggie has gone from this:-

to this:-

Hard to believe it is the same dog!

WordPress seems to have changed the way one uploads photographs………I don’t like the change!

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Sixteen Muddy Paw Prints……

The visiting dogs returned for another few days last weekend, and as usual Maggie was bullied, Clover was pushy, Rusty slept a lot and barked at nothing, the visitors trampled my garden beds, and Bella just ignored anything in which she did not want to be involved, or sniped at the annoying one.

Peace now reigns again….

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A tale of four dogs.

This weekend my house has been full of dogs……two extra ones belonging to my son and DIL have been staying here while they drove to Sydney for business.  The dog dynamics have been most interesting to watch as the visitors cope with missing their devoted owners, and interacting with me and mine.  Now these dogs frequently visit, sometimes with an extra one as well, and mostly they get along together fairly well, but they all have very different personalities.  Trying to get them all to stay in one place for the above photo was a bit like herding cats!

Maggie, the collie……fondly known as “Maggie Gump” – not the brightest of dogs, getting on in years, but with a very gentle nature, a bit submissive, affectionate, loves a cuddle and is any person’s friend.   A little attention seeking, and a bit jealous of other dogs who might be getting attention (or food!) instead of her.

Bella, the poodle/ terrier thing cross…..bright, intelligent, active, mostly obedient but a bolter – show her an open gate and she is off, over the horizon and oblivious to any instruction to return.  Affectionate, a great companion, a bit bossy and able to stand up for herself, but aware when she meets her match.  Boss dog of my two.

Rusty, a kelpie cross of some sort………now elderly, slowing down, and deaf.  A gentleman really.  Missing his owners badly, whimpers and barks at nothing particularly if he can’t see me.  Sleeps a lot of the time, often in Bella’s bed which is far too small for him, or wanders slowly around the house and garden….looking for something….

Clover, the spotty dog.  No idea what her heritage might be as she has a long body and short legs but acts like a hunting dog at times as she can stalk and point.  Young, active, demanding, dependent, pushy, and in your face all the time.  Aspires to dominate the others and constantly tries to show she could be top dog by backing them into corners or raising her hackles.

This morning I found Maggie hiding from her in the sewing room.

I’m definitely a dog person, love them to bits and certainly could not live here on my own without some canine company.  Four dogs permanently ?  I don’t think so…..these guys go home tonight, it’s been pretty full on since they arrived on Wednesday and we all need a little break.  Don’t get me wrong please, I’m more than happy to dog-sit the family dogs, after all, mine are also visitors to other homes when I go away and one needs to reciprocate.  I actually enjoy the challenge, it has been great to have some other dogs to photograph and they are coming back for another few days later next week.   I must start planning my own holiday……………….

Some more shots from weekend.

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You would never believe I have just completed a great online course with Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkley  which was all about blogs and blogging, because there has been nothing to show from it here so far even though I learned a lot!  The course, called Reflection of You/Behind the Scenes is about to run for the second time, and I would strongly reccommend it to anyone who has ever thought about starting a blog, or wishes to improve the quality, appeal and content of one they may have.  It covered every element of blogging from choosing a blogging platform, to setting up your blog, how, what and why one writes, heaps of ideas about designing headers, making blog buttons, photography and processing for the web, other sites and blogs to inspire and inform, tutorials about a wide range of topics, plus many videos of Kim and Xanthe talking via Skype about all sorts of useful stuff.  I think both Kim and Xanthe have information on their blogs about the Round 2 of this course, so do check it out.  In addition to the course, the participants were a bright bunch of creative folk, and there was a private Flickr site for sharing photos – I think I have made a whole new bunch of online friends.

It is more than a month since my last post – hard to believe, but Fractions in Time has been updated frequently with new photography.  I have been fiddling with Lightroom, learning more about its capabilities and how to best process my photos.  I have LR3, and of course, shortly after I purchased it, LR4 was released.

Bella, my small dog had a hair cut today, for which I made her a new coat last night as she will surely feel the cold now she is slim and shapely instead of round and shaggy – particularly as we are all off to the beach for a few days.  These were all taken today and this is my first attempt at making my own slideshow using Lightroom and embedding it in the blog…..so it is a bit of a test.

Definitely room for improvement!

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On a recent trip home from North of the state, we met this little (??) fellow…….only 10 weeks old and weighing 14 kilograms.  His name is Murphy and I thought he was too gorgeous to keep to myself.

This gorgeous bundle of fur would have cost his happy new owners about $3000 as he is a St. Bernard, and when fully grown he is likely to weigh between 50-90 kgs  and be almost a 70-90 cms tall at the shoulder.

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One of the absolute joys of living in the country is the opportunity to attend events that city slickers may have heard of, or seen on television, but never experienced themselves. Once I was one of those, but having been living here for almost seven years, there are now many things I have done, that I had not when I lived in Melbourne.  One such happened on Friday last, when I accompanied a dairy farming friend to the Sheep Dog Trials that were held in Ballarat over four days. Over 250 highly skilled dogs competed – each started with 100 points, and each dog had to attempt to put three young and inexperienced sheep through four different obstacles within 15 minutes. Those with the least number of points lost, progressed to the finals which were held the next day, and a winner was then determined.

I had expected to see a lot of black and white Border Collies, but there were a wide variety of breeds, some were light coloured, some looked like Labradors, some were Kelpies and some that one could never have guessed their parentage as they just looked like mongrel mutts.  Most had short hair, some were obviously more clever and experienced than others, but all were very skilled at their job – a credit to their owners and trainers.  We met a farmer from northern Victoria who breeds working dogs and who had competed earlier in the day.  He was a lovely man, a farmer all his life, having left school at an early age, happy to chat and explain the course and how various dogs were performing.  He was also a jazz man, self taught, he made banjos, and played banjo with his own group for many years.  He also made the whistles and batons that many of the competetors used to control their dogs, and he gave me one as a momento.

It was a great day, I took heaps of photographs of the dogs working, as well as a few of the characters who attended – there were lots of wonderful weather beaten farmer’s faces that I would love to have shot, but did not have the courage to ask permission.  I did sneak a couple though – I hope you enjoy this slideshow.

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