Tuesday, May 19, 2009

meeting new friends

On Sunday, the Boss and I walked about 5km to Alexandria to meet a new friend, Jackie and her Boss, Leonard. Together, we had something to eat - well the Bosses did - while I sat around for a while before getting bored and started wandering. I didn't stray too far.

It was a fantastic autumn day with lot of sun and some AFL footy players training in the park. It's been a while since I've been over to Alexandria Park and they've put up a new picket fence around the cricket/footy oval. I was showing off, jumping then fence over and over again, on command.

Jackie is a Jack Russell - of the Parsons or wire hair type, I smell. She's much older than me and doesn't tend to like new company too much. So, I kept my distance from her. I found lots of sticks to play with and keep bringing hem up to the Boss and Jackie's Boss and wanting them thrown.

The grass was really green at Alexandria Park and very lush. I like it there. I also ran into a relative - another smooth Collie. For a while, we were playing frisbee together. It was her frisbee and I didn't want to interrupt, but somehow, I just couldn't help myself and had to chase after it. I caught the frisbee in the air a couple of times - but was careful not to intrude on this bitch's territory.

As the Boss and I walked home together, I found a small pond in the garden of an apartment complex. I had a good lie down in the pond and rolled from side to side to cool myself down. I was so hot!

It was a great day and I look forward to long walks with the Boss and perhaps Jackie, if she's a little more sociable, and her Boss, too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Doggy Olympics

For some time i've been training in secret and learning how to dive and swim. i've been practicing by swimming in Sydney Harbour and learning to fight off sharks, fish, plastic bags, seagulls, and fellow swimmers - some of whom are drunk and hurl abuse at me.

Here you can see me in full flight diving into the Harbour to fetch Doggy News ("Man Bites Dog" is the headline) on Easter Saturday. And the same thing from a different angle plus me returning from my swim. The Boss usually gets me to wait on the edge and counts "1, 2, 3, dive". Sometimes, i'm so impatient and just can't wait until "dive", so i dive in after 1 or 2. The Boss throws the toy in the water and it skips over the surface and floats. i swim out to get it and swallow lots of salty water. But i'm so excited, i don't really care. I return the toy to the Boss or sometimes, Japanese toursits if they're nearby and shake and get them all wet. Sometimes they laugh, other times they're really angry. I nose it at them and want them to throw it again and again and again.

One of the best bits of fun is a little further around from Mrs Macquarie's Chair and past the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is a walkbridge that crosses a rocky outcrop. The bridge is quite high and because the water levels are tidal, sometimes you can see the rocks below - and other times the water nearly touches the bottom of the walkbridge. Diving off the walkbridge is the best.

It took some time for me to develop the courage to do it. But with a bit of coaxing from The Boss and the understanding that I'll do anything for a ball or toy, i dived in and got it. Here you can see me crouched and ready to dive in. It's sort of a belly-flop really, as i try and keep my head above water as much as possible. And the other thing that is really good, is that if Rusty Crowe is home, i bet he can see me and audition me for co-staring in one of his movies.

After my swim and walk, when i get home there are two things i like to do. 1) drink lots of water because i've usually swallowed lots of salt water when swmming. And 2) is sleep. Swimming really tires me out and i like to have a huge sleep when i get back home. Sometimes, The Boss even lets me sleep in the sun on the outside table. This is absolute heaven. When are the next Doggy Olympics?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

no need for cats at my place

WOOF! Great news! I caught them. Two in two consecutive days.

They've been annoying the hell out of me for weeks. Sometimes, when I go for a walk with the Boss, or Graham or with flip and his Boss, when I get back home, some of my dry food has disappeared.

When I'm chilling about in the back yard, every now and then, I catch them out of the corner of my eye, working their way through the garden - trying to be as quiet as a church mouse. There ain't no church going mice in this house! Perhaps some field mice. Anyway, I caught them. Let's hope there's no more, but I think with the weather getting cooler, they're likely to bring their mates back to my place.

When the Boss came home, I presented him with my catch and He gave me lots of praise, a hug, and the extra-special yummy organic treats that I like. It was fun catching the mice, too. I watched them for a long time, studied their hid out in the back shed, and reached out my big paw and went 'whack'. I think that's why their eyes are all red.

Can't wait 'til winter sets in and the rats start coming looking for food! WOOF!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

taking the chill out of flight or fight

There are only three things that make me afraid:
1. belvedere (the Great Dane that has balls)
2. fireworks and
3. thunder

I'm slowly learning to deal with belvedere. The Boss has been encouraging me by making barking sounds at him and I've gone within a few metres of belvedere - but I've only developed the confidence to approach him from behind. I haven't got the courage to bark at his snout.... belvedere drools, as well - and it's pretty yucky drool, so I'm careful not to get any of his drool on me. Normally, when belvedere comes into the park I take my ball and leave. This is 'flight'.

Fireworks only happens rarely, but because the Boss' house is not far away from the Harbour, whenever there are big celebrations - like New Year, Australia Day, Mardi Gras, or even a passenger liner arriving or leaving the Harbour - I'm able to hear the fireworks and it makes my ears pop. I like to jump up on the neighbours tin roof and make lots of noise so that the fireworks goes away. It does eventually, so I think my theory works. This is 'fight'.

Now thunder is the one that really gets me. I can usually feel it building, the smell, the pressure in my ears and then the bang. It happens often and sometimes for hours on end. This afternoon and tonight is one of those nights. I find that I can never rest easy. Often the Boss gets me to come inside and tells me to "chill" which I find really difficult to do when the thunder is around. Sometimes I try and do the same thing as what I do with fireworks by jumping on the tin roof - but then I get all wet - and the Boss doesn't allow me inside. So, I tend to stay inside but I'm always on high alert.

The Boss completely ignores me. I've heard him say "ignore bad behaviour, reward good behaviour". So, he ignores me. I try to adopt the fight approach - but it doesn't work with thunder. I'm at a loss on what to do.. and it makes my ears go pop. Perhaps I should try 'flight' - and run away and hide - or alternatievely, perhaps learn to chill and ignore it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

a few degrees of separation

It’s hot – really hot – and it’s been hot for days. The heat makes me lethargic and i just lie around and chill and am not interested in eating. Right now, the Boss says that the air temperature is 31.0°C (87.8°F) with low humidity and a zephyr of a breeze. The temperature peaked at around 35°C earlier this week. But at least the Boss and i don’t live in either Melbourne or Adelaide, where the mercury hit 45.1°C yesterday, having peaked at 44.3°C on Thursday and 43.4°C on Wednesday. Now that’s unbearable heat.

In the yard, there are a number of different micro-climates where i can rest my lazy bones and dream of chicken necks, chasing balls and catching Frisbees. The favourite spot is on the tiles in the bathroom. They are cool – real cool, man. But the Boss doesn’t let me inside unless there is thunder or fireworks. So those cool tiles are out of bounds. Another of my favourite spots is at the top of the stairs near the gate. If there is a breeze, it will flow under the gate in the hole that some dog (before my time) created and cool me down. The Boss says that the temperature can be a few degrees cooler up here and is good during the heat of the day.

Later in the afternoon, as the air temperature cools down and the sun gets lower in the sky, this spot gets direct sun – so the temperature warms up again. There are other spots that i head to, in the shade, like under the garden seat where my head rests neatly on one of the cross-bars. Or slowly work my way down the stairs as the temperature changes each step down into the side of the hill.

When the Boss gets home from work, if it has been a really hot day, we go for a long walk to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and I swim in Sydney Harbour to cool me down. Sometimes flip and his Boss comes with us, too.

If there are puddles around, they cool me down and i really love to lie in them. The Boss doesn’t worry too much about me lying in puddles – he reckons it’s a smart thing to do. And this is what separates us from the rest of pack – a few degrees!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The true meaning of Christmas

One of life's pleasures is unexpected gifts. Another is the kindness of relative strangers and from those who give simple, practical, gifts that will be valued by the recipient.

Each day, when the Boss walks to walk, He spends some time talk with the men who do not have a permanent home. Often, he will cross the road simply to just say g'day. Other times he will spend 10-15 mins having a chat about what's going on in their life right now.

Sometimes these men come to my local park, Frog Hollow, where they sit in the shade of the Ash tree and chat and share stories. If I'm around and allowed out, I'll rush up to John (Scotty aka Jock), Lonnie, Bruce, Kingy and the late Pete and push my ball at them and encourage them to throw the ball and play with me.

Even though they smell a little different from other bi-peds and their coordination at times is not the best, they love the fact that I don't discriminate in my choice of ball throwers. I get lots of pats from these men. They know not to feed me as my passion in life is chasing ball - not begging for food. So they throw the ball - even though it is often covered in my saliva. That's not a problem for them.

Together with my Boss and me over the past two years, we've got to know each other and the men, us. All of us together have shared good times and hard times.

Today, when the Boss was walking to the office. Lonnie said that they have a present for us. Bruce reached into his bag full of Christmas gifts for his family and his mates - and after about five minutes of searching, Bruce pulled out a tennis ball and said. "This is for caesar from Lonnie, Scotty, Kingy and me."

The Boss was moved to tears. Such a simple humble and thoughtful gift - and thanks - for taking the time each day to get to know them and enjoy a laugh and a joke.

If only all of us could reach out to those in need and take the time to listen to each other, the world would be a much better place.

Merry Christmas from caesar and the Boss.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grief and loss

Loss can occur suddenly, without rhyme or reason and can cause a huge shock to the system. It's hard to know what to do and you feel numb and exhausted. Some feel the need to talk; others feel the need to be silent. Some throw themselves into work; others take time to smell the roses.

As a dog the only real losses that i've suffered come from loosing a ball. Like when i was swimming in Sydney Harbour the other day - off Mrs Macquarie's Chair with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in view. It was a magical day. The sun was shining, the tide was up so that i could dive in without hitting the rocks, and i was playing with one of my favourite balls.

And then it sank. Submerged into the water without a trace. No bubbles, Nothing.

i kept swimming around in circles, like a shark, trying to round the ball up, But, alas, it was not to be found. I started to panic a little, thinking that i had done something wrong, that it was my fault. i was angry with myself.

A lady commented to the Boss: “That’s unusual behaviour for a dog.

Yeah, he’s suffering some anxiety from loosing his ball. It just sunk,” He said,

The Boss called me over and pulled me out of the water. i shook myself dry and then he hugged me…. the best hug ever. The Boss went and found a surrogate ball – a used water bottle – but it was not the same. The wind caught it and it didn’t fly in the air anywhere near as well. And i had difficulty concentrating. i was stating to get tired, too.

We both knew it wasn’t right. So we gave up and started our walk back home.

And then i ran into Dennis. Dennis is the cute-ist male Silky Terrier that i know. He’s always happy, no matter what dog or bi-ped he sees. And when we saw each other, he wagged his tail like there was no tomorrow and it took my mind off what had just happened and i was OK again.

My boss suffered some loss today - the loss of a work colleague. No doubt He’s feeling like i did when i lost the ball. i get to spend tonight inside for a change. The Boss gets to hug me and hold me and pet me and i get to lick the salt from His face.

We both feel for each other and our loss.