The happiness of your favourate pet – for me – my dog

A beautiful Maremma dog we met in the Bunya Mountains
A beautiful Maremma dog we met in the Bunya Mountains

Dogs are the most loyal, responsive, happiest, and also the silliest or naughtiest occasionally,  animal to own. Over the years my family and myself have owned a few different varieties of the four pawed canine.

Small varieties include sausage dog or a variety of dachshund that my parents owned before my father passed away. My father could do anything with this little dog, he sat where Dad sent him to, he submitted to Dad brushing away any fleas or ticks he had accumulated on their walks together. Dad ended up on a mobile scooter going down the road, and the dog would be sitting on it happily, or as equally happily trotting beside the small vehicle. Dad had looked after horses all his life and occasionally dogs and cats, and he had this amazing rapport with anything four legged.

Some of the dogs he acquired over the years were less successful. We had an absolutely crazy Border Collie, Dad was sure that it would be a good idea because it would love having walks. She was called Bonnie, and was always enthusiastic about anyone who paid her any attention and she lived in our kitchen, which was tiny, on her square of foam and blanket. She barked at the milkman and postman, every time. I loved taking her for walks, as we would go through the footpaths at the back of the area we lived to fields, or the local playing fields and we could let her off and she would go crazy. She had so much energy, she would run for miles. Then sadly we had to leave her behind, after she had been spade, which would have calmed her down. We were migrating to Australia.

In Australia we waited a while before acquiring dogs. One of the silliest animals Mum and Dad owned was a Basset Hound called Peter. I think my brother and littlest sister thought up the name, just to be silly. His biggest attribute was the ability to mark his territory with his pee. One day we were all home and my sister’s boyfriend had brought a cake for all of us, placed in a cardboard box, and he though he would surprise us by leaving it outside the front door, to eventually bring in. Peter considered that it was definitely smelled as if it needed marking and when Paul decided that he would produce his surprise he brought his offering in to my sister with a very obvious wet patch. We laughed so much we nearly collapsed. It was the funniest thing to have happened for a long time. The boyfriend stayed!

My first husband and I acquired a gorgeous, lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback male dog to accompany one daughter, two cats, chooks and assorted goats. That was ok as we had five acres and needed some animal to tear around it, and this dog was tied to a running chain from the house to his kennel, which was in a shady spot.

He hated being apart from us, his herd, and he would howl if we went down the road to visit anyone, Eventually he would stop howling and if you got away without him noticing, all would be well. He would put his whole head on your lap and look with loving brown eyes up to you.

We moved to Cairns and he came with us, and on the trip up he found a Salami sausage in the Esky and thought he would snack on it. As a result of him we had an ordinary rental up there, but we took him for walks every day, in the parks, drop him home so we could go swimming, or we would play in the parks. I had my second child with him around and both children adored him.

He got used to being in the back of the Land Rover with the occasional goat. He got shot at once, and the spine and vital organs were just missed. The neighbour took a pot shot as he was off the lead just once in all the years we owned him, and he had gone to their chook yard to investigate. Several hundred dollars later he took a while to recover, the neighbour came over to check on him, but we weren’t much impressed.

Eventually when my first marriage was over we had to put him down, as I couldn’t manage dog, cat, and children in a rental property with no fence. That was a very sad day for me, he was fine the vets were familiar, he just quietly went to the big dog heaven in the sky.

Since then we have had to borrow dogs, in that we vicariously own them through others. We have two grand dogs. A Spaniel and a Staffordshire Terrier, both very enthusiastic at chasing balls, and both great friends – they will fight over balls but sleep beside each other at night.

And last weekend there was Millie, I have fallen in love with Kelpie’s. I have no room for one, we only own a small house block. But I love them because they are so enthusiastic. She has an older, grizzled partner in crime, Nellie who is just as fast, but wears out quicker, Millie is brown and tan with a quizzical expression, and she is very trainable. She sits and lies down and loves to do what you ask. She didn’t bark when we came into her owners property, she and Nellie just raced up to us and jumped for joy to see more people. A Kelpie needs a farm, and acres to run in. These dogs have that and they are so happy. They chase the chooks and the big rooster pecks back telling Millie off! Millie doesn’t care she is doing things, making sure things are done, and is always ready for a pat. Her owner gave me a hammock to lie to to rest, and Millie had to check it out and see if I hadn’t disappeared.

Last but not least is the Maremma dogs. They are courageous, loving and supportive to their charges and the most quietest dogs ever, We stayed on a property in the Bunya Mountains for three nights and one slept on the front verandah of our hut the whole time. That was his night time spot and we tripped over him to go out on our little verandah for breakfast. One is pictured on the image for this blog entry, which is his brother or sister.

Recently we went to see one star in a movie called “Oddball”. Because this maremma decided that he liked little penguins and would protect them from sharp eyed foxes and any other critter that would swim to this island off Victoria and attack and destroy the colony of Fairy Penguins there. The National Parks have been experimenting with maremma and it works, the fairy penguins have started to reproduce again.

What more can I say….

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” —Robert Benchley (humorist and actor, Broadway Melody of 1938)