Archive for the ‘Thoughts on life, pets and art’ Category

My friend Dylan – rest in peace

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I have always been an animal lover and a champion of animal causes for the suffering of animals.

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to be the companion of many a loving dog and they all have their special memories, habits and ways about them.  Dylan was a very special boy from his first day.  He and his litter mates were rejected by their mum and we had the privilege, and the challenge, of bottle feeding and raising these beautiful puppies from the very beginning.

We rose to the challenge and managed to get them through their first tentative weeks and when the time came to say goodbye to them, I could not part with this little man.  I was besotted by him and he by me.

Over the years, he went everywhere with us.  Every house move he took in his stride, every car trip he relaxed into the breeze and every holiday he came along and enjoyed himself as much as we did.

As he became older, his hearing started to go and he developed cataracts but he had no trouble finding the food bowl at dinner time and ‘hearing’ the fridge door open when he was in the front yard.  At night he curled up on our laps or onto his favourite cushion on the lounge to watch television and made sure he was first onto the bed to get a good sleeping position for the evening.

He succumbed to cancer after a long illness and a large operation to try and stem the growth of the tumours.  He was loved and spoiled rotten to the end.

We were there for his first breath and we were again there for his last. What a beautiful boy he was and a beautiful life he gave us.  He will be greatly missed and forever loved.  Rest in peace our beautiful boy.  Until we meet again. xxxx

STOP PRESS!! New Doggy Doodle Portrait coming soon!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I can’t wait to put my next portrait up on site..and it’s almost finished. Hope you love it as much as I do. Stay tuned…

Doggy Doodles new portrait!

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Available for viewing now!  Latest Doggy Doodles Portrait of Sam. Click the Sam icon link in the right column under ‘Latest Portfolio’ or the ‘Portfolio’ link at the top of this page.

Sticking to the plan

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

I recently presented my Mum with a portrait that I’d done of her lovely sister, who passed away recently. I wanted to give Mum something that she would treasure and find some comfort in. I poured my heart and soul into the portrait, and the end result was all that I wanted it to be, and Mum was thrilled. It was almost as if I’d been guided as I was creating the portrait, I was so in tune with what I was doing, it was uncanny.

Every piece that I create, I find that I leave a little of myself in each, along with my interpretation of what my subject represents. More often than not I get it right, and even the small imperfections that are glaringly obvious to me, are either not apparent to anybody else or ‘just meant to be there.’ It was like this with my auntie. I’d made a few small necessary changes that I wasn’t completely happy with, but somehow in the end they felt right and Mum commented that she wouldn’t have liked it as much had I ‘stuck to the plan’.

Flood crisis

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Well, my fur-family and I made it through another year without too much drama, and our new year has brought some good and bad news, all of which was taken on board and dealt with appropriately.

I am extremely grateful that my family, my precious pets and I escaped the ravages of the recent Brisbane flood disaster, and my heart goes out to the families that have suffered in the crisis. There have been many that have lost not only every possession they own, but have lost family members and pets as well. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, children and animals have perished in an flood that could only be described as ‘an inland tsunami’.

My thoughts and prayers are with those that are still missing and those that are left to carry on.

A very furry xmas

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Well it’s that time of the year again. I can’t believe the year has gone by so quickly. It was only January 2010 a few weeks ago…

Things around my neck of the woods generally heat up, as we prepare for the rellies on the veranda, and the habitual Bar-B-Q lunch followed by conversation and the usual disagreement with my over-opinionated brother.

My fur-kids tend to make the most of these occasions and hang around looking like they haven’t had a good meal for a month. Not that they ever miss out, but Christmas time usually means more treats than usual, when they find an extra hand or two willing to offer them the best pickings from the table in a non-stop cycle of sad-eyes and guilt-ridden suckers who fall for it.

This year we are off to my Dad’s place with the fur-kids, where they will lounge in air-conditioned comfort on their own beds, and be fed a ‘special Christmas chicken’ bought just for them by my mother.

Yes, it’s a very happy Christmas indeed for any fur-kid that is lucky enough to be a part of my spoil-the-dog-as-much-as-possible family tradition.

Merry Christmas from my fur-kids to yours, and a very happy New Year!

Dogs and dust

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

We are living through a renovation nightmare at the moment – us and the dogs. I think my dogs are coping with it better than me – it’s amazing how quickly they adapt to and accept change in their lives.

Not so their Mamma. I find myself in disarray as my bathroom gets ripped out and gutted and I am without a shower and a toilet to rely on. I’m indebted to my kind neighbours who have offered us the use of their bathrooms on a rotating basis, so we don’t wear out out welcome. My dogs have been confined to the veranda at times, with the coming and going of the workmen, I afraid that one of them will slip out the front gate, and I will be commandeering a taskforce for a seek and find dog mission.

I’m a little frazzled by it all, but for my dogs, life goes on as usual. Sure, there  are a few things happening around them that are unusual, but they greet each new thing with excitement and optimism. You never know if it’s going to be an opportunity to meet somebody new or check out a new thing. Life is an adventure to be lived, not feared. Every moment new, and the past moment is gone and forgotten.

I should be so lucky as to take a leaf out of my dogs’ book.

The Ten pet commandments

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will he painful for me. Remember that before you buy me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me, don’t be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.

3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalieable right.

4. Don’t be angry at me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I have only you.

5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice and your tone, “you only have to look at my tail”.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I’ll never forget it and if it’s cruel it may affect me forever.

7. Please don’t hit me. I can’t hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I really don’t ever want to do that.

8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask your self if something might be bothering me – perhaps I’m not getting the right food, or I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
I may be just dog tired.

9. Take care of me when I get old; you, too, will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention..

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it, or, “Let it happen in my absence.”

Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, irrespective of what you do I will always love you.

Taken from ‘The Ten Commandments, A Pet’s Point of View’ by Stan Rawlinson 1993. (dog behaviourist and obedience trainer) http://www.wolfweb.com.au/acd/tencommandments.htm

After midnight

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I’m up late tonight. I’m working on another portrait, and sometimes I find that it’s the best time to focus and lose myself in what I’m doing. It’s so quiet and peaceful, and it gives me time to reflect on things as I work. My dogs are at my feet, snoring softly with the occasionaly flick of the feet when they are dreaming. 

The portrait is going well, but it’s intricate and full of detail, and will almost certainly take a good deal of time to get it right. The perfectionist in me would have it no other way, no matter how frustrating that elusive ‘colour’ or ‘line’ may be.

I stop occasionally to watch my dogs, and wonder why they choose to hang out with me, when they could be sleeping in more comfortable arrangments with my husband in the next room. I guess that they like being around me and enjoy my company. There might also be a treat coming their way, if at any time I visit the fridge for a quick snack, and they hang around for long enough looking hungry.  The prospect of food is far more likely if somebody in the household has their eyes open and is within visual distance of the kitchen. So I must conclude that they undoubtedly love me, and my husband unconditionally – as dogs do, but are merely exercising their natural instinct for opportunityand survival.

I find myself thinking about where dogs come from and how they have managed, in a mere few thousand years, ten thousand at the most, to evolve from the wolf into the many different breeds that are available today. It is truly an amazing journey from the first tentative interactions in the wild to the soft, gentle bed and feet warmers that will love me unconditionally for the rest of their lives. 

I’m certainly glad that we all persevered. The domestication of the dog may have started out as a curiosity – and used for survivial,  but it has remained a constant, and given the right circumstance, mutually beneficial and rewarding for all concerned.

Do it yourself dogs

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

My husband decided that he was going to buy a new outdoor setting this week with all the trimmings, including oils to coat it. I must say it looked fantastic once it was together and the stain was on. My dogs must have thought so too, as they ran around it in delight to check every nook and cranny they could. The only trouble with that is that the setting wasn’t quite dry and my dogs were very white.

I now have two multi-coloured Bichons, sporting lovely orange puffy heads large orange puffy tails, a white body and light orange feet. They look like they have been to the groomers for a ‘special event doo’. I try not to laugh at them when I look at them, in case I hurt their feelings, and although I’m a little concerned about the actual harmful effects of the oil, my groomer assures me that they will be ok with just a wash until she can cut it off them next week.

My fur kids

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I went on an outing last night with my mother, and as my husband is away, my fur-kids found themselves on their own at night for the first time in their lives. I spend a lot of time at home, either studying or creating another pet or human ‘masterpiece’, so they have gotten used to having me around them ALL of the time – which may not be a good thing. They now suffer from separation anxiety as soon as I step out the door.

The crying starts way before I reach for the front door handle and try to gently shut it behind me. It starts as soon as I put my shoes on and reach for my handbag. They seem to know beforehand if they are coming or not. They must recognise a difference in the shoes I wear for their walkies, and the shoes I wear for my own walkies.

It reaches fever pitch by the time I make it to the carport and climb in the car. They are both howling miserably, and it’s reverberating around the neighbourhood. By this time I’m praying that I don’t find any nasty little surprises from any irate neighbours in my letterbox on my return.

I’m not sure how long it goes on for, and I’m definitely not sure if I want to go out at night again. Better to wear a bit of neighbourhood disdain in the daytime than to suffer neighbourhood abuse at bedtime.

My husband says that I should be more firm, but he’s a fine one to talk about laying the law down when he melts at the first sign of a ‘doe eye’. Yes, he definitely has his favourites, and ‘snuggling up on the lounge’ has taken on a whole new meaning.

Yes, I have created a couple of spoilt fur-monsters, but there’s nothing nicer than being on the receiving end of their excited rants when I finally decide to come home. They have forgiven me instantly and are consumed with a happiness that seems to be limitless. I am amazed at their ability to let go and hold no grudge for being ‘so hard done by.’ I remember when I was a child my mother went away for a couple of days, and the feeling of abandonment was overwhelming. It took me a long time to get over it and I didn’t speak to her for days – which must have been terrible for her. Having the ability to just let it go would have been a much easier exercise for everybody concerned.

We could all learn a little about life from observing our fur-kids.

Dog antics

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I busted my fur-kids underneath the house the other day. I try to keep them from getting under there, but every now and again they discover another unplugged hole or diggable patch of soft earth and run rampant amongst the dust, old wood and furniture, dirt, dead insects, and god knows what else when they find it. I guess that’s why they find it so appealing. It’s new territory and fun and dirty and ….off limits. I’m sure that they know that, but the lure of adventure is strong in my adolescent pair, and I must be forever vigilant.

It’s not that I don’t want them to have fun, that’s a part of being a dog. They go for walks and they do the normal doggy fun things. I just don’t want them to get into things that I may not know are lurking in the darkness beneath my floorboards.  We are prone to the odd poinsonous snake and spider, not to mention a dead rodent or two every now and again. And as it is difficult for me to get underneath and have a really good spring clean – it’s only lower thigh height – I would prefer prevention rather than cure.

They are really  clever, and extremely quiet when they are looking for a route underneath, or are already there.  Now, I know that quiet doesn’t necessarily denote good behaviour in ANY species – so my internal alarm goes off immediately, and I go into search, find and modify mode.

I usually find them either making their getaway from their secret location as I get closer, or dashing madly underneath the house when they discover me standing at their point of entry – it’s not hard to find – just look for the dirtpile and the big hole. There’s only one quick way out – the way in – so it’s inevitable that our paths should cross sooner or later.

I have to admit that I smile about it, although I probably should be stern – I try – but their antics when they know that they are in for it are really quite entertaining. The commando crawl is a good one – keep as low as possible to the ground and maybe she won’t see us. The rollover – ok, I’m busted, but I’m cute and cuddly – whadarya gonna do about it? The wobbly cry – ok, I’m really sorry, truly – but I’ve had a hard time and I’m really quite traumatised by the whole thing. And of course the statue – If I don’t move, maybe she’ll think I’m part of the decor.

My dogs’ antics will keep me amused forever.

Walking the dogs

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I took my dogs for a walk the other night, or rather, they took me – as they usually do. I’m grateful that they are only little dogs and aren’t Great Danes, or I’d be in big trouble.

At present I’m in charge of my father’s Maltese, Dylan. I look after Dylan when my father is not feeling well. Dylan comes along for the walk and often gets pulled along with me by the other two, younger and more exuberant Bichons, Ruby and Angus. I have invested in some good harnesses for the lot of them, and as much as they say that dogs should be controlled by collars around their necks, I’m not one for half strangling my brood, and would prefer the more humane way of doing things. With the harnesses they can drag as much as they want and nobody gets hurt, and we all get some exercise. Let’s face it, a gym workout would probably do more damage to me than being dragged around the block.

We start off well, eager to get going to walk the walk, sniff the sniffs and see the sights. I’m always optimistic of a good outcome, even though sometimes there’s more effort than reward. On the plus side, I engage with nature and get a bit of fresh air. If I’m feeling really adventurous and my husband comes along, I will let them off their leads on the beach and watch them as they go nuts in the sand.  There’s something about beaches and dogs that makes life worthwhile.

I can recommend dog walking not only for a healthy body, but a healthy mind too. When I watch my dogs enjoying themselves, I enjoy myself. I relax and stop thinking about anything that might be worrying me. I always feel better when I return home, and I am less likely to feel stressed and anxious. Walking my fur-kids may not solve the world’s problems, but it sure solves mine for a while.

Studio stuff

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

I’m hoping to build another room onto our home in the near future that will act as a separate home studio for showing my work to the public and allowing me to have even more space than I do now. I will design my new room with extra light and a separate access for people to be able to look around at their leisure without disturbing the family routine and getting a real ‘feel’ for my work. I will also add another ensuite to my new room, for the convenience when I’m in a ‘creative streak’, and I don’t want to mess up the rest of the house to clean up when I need to. I have yet to convince my husband of this extravagance, but I will eventually talk him around. I have a separate space for my projects now, but the chalk dust finds its way into everything, including clothes and bedding. As my husband is a sensitive soul, I’m sure my idea of a dust-free and environmentally friendly home, and a completely separate studio will win the day eventually. 

I’m nothing if not versatile however, and I will continue to utilise the space that I have to continue to create my projects, while extolling the virtues of a new dust-free environment to whomever will listen. Great ideas will eventualy become reality with a little persistence, faith and hard work…:)

The smartest species

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I went for a walk the other day with my husband and my dogs. We live on a small island surrounded by beach, so most of the time we find ourselves strolling along the sand, picking up shells like a couple of tourists. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and a lot of pleasure watching my dogs dart about madly as if they haven’t seen the beach for at least a year.

There’s something about dogs and beaches. I’ve never known or had a dog that hasn’t liked it. Some don’t like the water that much, like my current brood. They pace along the edges suspiciously watching the gentle swells roll in and break softly on the sand, and will run around the surging waters in an effort not to get their feet wet. But all of my past and present fur-companions have loved the sand. They run, they dig, they leap and bound, they explore and roll. They just can’t get enough of it. And their pleasure is contagious. I can’t help but get in on the act and leap about, as best as I can, to join in the fun and egg them on. My husband looks at me and gives me one of his lopsided grins. I’m sure he thinks I’m bonkers, and he’s probably right. But for those precious few moments, I’m with my dogs and my husband in the moment, just enjoying being alive. Nothing else matters. I’m happy. I’m seeing life from my dog’s point of view, and it doesn’t look too bad.

Who says we are the smartest species?

A family affair

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I spent a nice day with my family today. My dogs joined in and came along to the carnival in the morning. They seemed to handle the noise and the people without too much fuss, and attracted a lot of pats and interest – like they always do. I am thankful that I am able to take my dogs out in public without fear of anybody being snarled at or bitten, but it’s always good to be aware of the potential, especially if there are loud noises or children who like to grab and pull them.

When we arrived home we prepared lunch and sat around and chatted for most of the afternoon.  A good time was had by all, and my fur-kids included themselves as usual. My father had a great time throwing a toy and allowing one of my fur-boys, Angus, to fetch it and deposit it at his feet to prompt him to do it again. Dad has never had a pet that has had this talent, and they both enjoyed themselves immensely until the thrower decided it was time for a rest. My fur-girl Ruby tried out as much lap-sittings as she could manage, and my old fur-boy visitory Dylan, retired to the comfort of his fur covered airbed, watching the procedings with mild interest until it was time to eat. Everyone was treated to a steak or two, including the fur-kids. Afterwards we all sat on the front veranda taking in the laid-back lifestyle and admiring the birdlife that have made this island their home. My son and my mother promptly fell asleep after tea and coffee and stayed that way for a couple of hours, until it was time to go. My husband, bless him, once again was the chief bar-b-quer and bread roll warmer, which made for an easy afternoon for me too. 

Once again, my fur-kids were a part of my day to day activities, not left out in the back yard, forgotten or locked away. My fur-kids are a part of my life, and they are treated as they should be, as part of my family.

In memory

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I recently attended the funeral of my much loved Aunt in another city. It was a very sad occasion, but made all the more heartbreaking, as I had to take my mother to her only sister’s funeral. They were very close, and I’m sure that my mother will miss her dear sister and best friend for the rest of her life.

So this post is in memory of my dear Auntie, who was a wonderful mother, wife, grandmother, sister, auntie, and friend. She was one of the nicest people that I have ever known, and I will miss her tremendously. The world will be a less brighter place without her in it.

I plan to create a memorial portrait of my auntie in the next few months for my mother. It will be the portrait of my life, I want it to be just right, so that one day my mother can look at it and smile, and remember how beautiful her dear sister was to her.

Rest in peace auntie. Til we meet again.

Life’s good habits

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I had to go away recently, and I couldn’t take my dogs with me. I won’t go into the reason for my absence, but it was an extremely sad occasion, and it made me realise how important my family, friends and pets were to me.

I missed my husband and my dogs while I was away. Their absence seemed to compound my grief even more. I was extremely grateful to snuggle up in bed with all of the above when I returned home.  I have given a lot of thought over the last few days about what is important, and what is not:

  • Family is everything, and the demonstration of solidarity and love is more important than how much money you have or what kind of car you drive.
  • Take the time to keep in touch with those you care about, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.
  • Tell those you love that you love them – often.
  • Tell your dog you love him/her.(yes, your dog – don’t worry if you look stupid – he will know what you are saying and you will feel better for it).
  • Appreciate what you have now – not tomorrow or next year, when you have this or that.
  • Find solace in what brings you peace – read a book, go to church, meditate, practice yoga, stretch the tired body once in a while.
  • Be happy – practice one happy thought once a day. You will be surprised how quickly it will become a habit.
  • Be grateful when you wake up in the morning. Even if you are unwell. At least you are here to experience the day.
  • Love yourself. You can love others better this way.

It can be difficult to get through the sad times, but try to take heart. Others have walked in your shoes. We are with you. You can do it.

Life’s responsibilities

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

There has been a dramatic drop in the temperature recently. Even for Brisbane, which is well placed geographically to receive mild winters, it has been extremely biting – day and night.

I have rugged up, and I have rugged my dogs up as well. They don’t seem to mind, and I suspect they were a little cold. It was becoming an effort to chase them off the bed in the morning and get out onto the cold grass. I have to literally push them down the stairs to get them outside at the moment.

I have spoilt them, I know. But at least they are having a good life, and are not being treated badly and left to starve – like it is in some places.

It frightens me how cruel some people can be to animals. If they are like that with their defenseless pets, what are they like in other aspects of their lives? I wonder what motivates people to be cruel. It wouldn’t matter what kind of childhood you had, or where you come from – it doesn’t warrant taking it out on another living thing.

Get a grip, I say, and live your life as best as you can, regardless of how hard done by you think you have been. It’s up to the individual to make it better for themselves, instead of blaming the world for their misfortunes.

Be responsible for yourself, and if possible, spread a little of what you have to spare to others – whether it be taking care of a pet or looking after somebody less fortunate. It doesn’t take much, just a little self awareness that – yes we are all imperfect and we all have our baggage, but it matter’s nought if we can just turn it around and leave this world a little better for us being here.

My happy life

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I went out today and left my brood at home. Not a momentous statement really, but when you are talking about my brood of spoiled dogs, it can be quite an emotional experience for all concerned. Me, because I sometimes worry about them if they are left alone too long. My husband, because he is the long-suffering hero who has had to race home on occasion to check to see if I have left the right bowl down or the correct door open for the dogs’ comfort. And of course, my precious dogs, who are the real heart-string pullers of the outfit and can sense a soft touch a mile away.

I know that they are spoiled and play me like a fiddle. I know that I should probably be a bit more disciplined in my approach to their upbringing. But my dogs are content and happy, and in return they give me unconditional love and companionship, that will always be looked back on with joy, and a real part of my life’s experiences. Each and every companion that I have loved, now love, and will love, create all kinds of wonderful memories that enrich my life and make me a happier person. And that’s what it’s all about.

A ‘new’ portrait

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I was asked if I could do a portrait recently. They were a friend of somebody that had received one of my portraits as a gift. The difference was that they didn’t want me to do a portrait of an animal, they wanted to know if it was possible for me to do a portrait of a dear friend of their’s that had passed away.

Can I do a portrait of a human being? Of course I can. But it’s been a long time since I have attempted such an undertaking, and given the circumstances, I would want it to be perfection itself.

So here I am, beginning another piece. Not quite what I had imagined it would be, but I will approach it with the same intent as I do with all my portraits. The subject is special, and was much loved, therefore they deserve the ultimate respect and consideration. I will do my best to create a portrait of them as it should be.

Satisfaction

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I recently completed another portrait of a rather nice looking Silky Terrier named Millie. I enjoyed drawing Millie, and made virtually no changes to the photograph that I had based my work on – except for the eyes. I believe that the eyes are one of the most important things to get right in a portrait – and I simply couldn’t get Millie to look at me during her ‘photo shoot.’

This is probably not surprising. Most dogs will not look directly at you for long periods of time, unless they are the aggressive or dominating type – or they are staring at you to get your attention for something that they want. Millie didn’t really want to be photographed, and although she was a diva, my little princess refused to look at me, even when I dangled a treat above the camera. Personally, I think she was onto me, and my alpha-female was putting me in my place. So I changed the portrait a little, and she is looking directly into the viewers eyes.  This worked a treat for her Mum, who, I am happy to say, loves the picture so much she endorsed it in the comments section.

Sometimes it’s not so important to have my subject staring straight at the camera. It depends a lot on their personality. Millie is ‘the princess’, and the boss of the household. It would be unlike her not to be staring down anybody. Some of my other subjects have been aloof and distinguished. They wouldn’t be seen dead looking at a camera lense…:)

As long as the end result brings a smile of satisfaction to my lips, it is all that it can be.

Doggy drives

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Every now and again I decide to go for a drive and take the brood with me. The brood these days means my dogs, which includes my Dad’s little Maltese Dylan, while my father is unwell. This would be ok for all concerned if my father’s Maltese got along with my little male Bichon, Angus, but they don’t. Angus wants to be top dog in the pecking order, but Dylan has seniority and considers himself the rightful leader of the pack. Dylan is a little smaller than young Angus, but he doesn’t let that deter him in his efforts to defend his honour and his territory in the backseat. It can become a battle of egos and paws if left unchecked for any period of time.

Commonsense on my behalf usually prevails and I have resorted to the backseat doggy harnesses for all parties on most occasions, but yesterday I had a load of shopping from the boot to backseat, and there was simply no room for doggy backseatbelt etiquette.  I eventually resorted to letting Dylan have his way on the top of the pile as ‘king of the hill’.

It was a sight to behold. Dylan almost jeering at the commoners in the suburbs (the floor of the car) as he surveyed all he had and owned at the time. I’m sure he will remember it forever.

A dog’s life

Monday, May 31st, 2010

My dog’s have a pretty good life. They get pretty much everything they need and then some. Some people would say that they are spoilt, and I would agree, but I like to give a little bit back, when I receive such outstanding loyalty, love and affection.

It’s impossible to imagine that anybody could be cruel to an animal, any kind of animal, but it happens all over the world. Sometimes I tune in to the Animal Planet channel on our cable television, and I see some appalling acts of animal cruelty committed by people from all walks of life. I don’t understand it. I often get angry about the pain and misery that is dealt out to our friends in the animal kingdom and our domesticated pets. It seems people don’t care and don’t have a conscience. I wonder what circumstances have brought these people to a point where they no longer value life, any life, other than their own – and even that is questionable.

I do what I can to help. I give to my local animal shelters. I help with blankets and food when I can, and I donate to organisations. I know it’s not much, and they deserve so much more. But at least I can make it better for some, and as best as I can for my own to have a life well lived while we share the planet together.

Me and the dogs

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

I’ve been spending some time at home over the last couple of weeks, laid-up by a head cold and fatigue. Consequently, I have been spending a lot of time with my fur-kids. As if I don’t spoil them enough, I’ve been adding extra sleeps on the bed to the menu and extra liver treats through the day. I fear that I have created some new bad habits.

I almost need a shovel to pry them off the bed now that Winter is approaching, and getting them out onto the wet grass to get down to business can be an exercise in patience and frustration. Still, they remain good natured creatures, and although spoilt, are not ‘diva-rised’ by their newfound star treatment.

I will be getting out and about soon, and I’m sure they will cry at the front door when I leave, but will adapt again and settle down once they figure out it’s not getting the desired result. I will not adapt as quickly. I have enjoyed my bonus time with them immensely, and regret that I can’t take them along for every ride.

My furry friends

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I’m  sitting on the lounge as I write this. I have one dog on my feet and another trying to squeeze into a space between my computer and what is left of my lap.

My dogs just like to be around me. They love my company. And so they should. They have a good life and I’m sure they appreciate it. I get it back tenfold in companionship and love though. We adore each other. I would consider them my friends through thick and thin. I don’t have to explain myself to my dogs, they just accept me as I am, although they aren’t very accepting at being left behind when I go off on an outing without them. Sadly, there are many public places less accepting of dogs than what I am.

I’ve probably said this before, but I try to learn from my dogs’ attitude to life. They accept it as it is. Hopefully it’s gonna be a good day, but we’ll start off as if it’s gonna be anyway! What better way than to learn to live in the ‘now’ occasionally, than to observe your dog for a while. They don’t worry too much about yesterday or tomorrow, if they do at all.  This is particularly helpful when I have had a stressful day and want to unwind – I sit back and relax and play with my companions, or watch them do what they do best – live in the moment.

Dogs are family too

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

I had a nice day today. It is Mother’s Day and I did the things that mother’s do and went to see my Mum as well. My husband, bless him, gave me a card from my ‘other’ kids, my fur-kids – and a present as well. It was a fun thing to do and I cherish the thought and love that went into it. If you are a real dog lover you will understand. I have managed to bring my husband around to my way of fur-kid thinking over the years, but it probably woudn’t have been manageable if it hadn’t been in him to be a dog lover in the beginning.

As I said, we had a great day. We took the fur-grand-kids along for the gift presentation, and my Mum was thrilled that everyone was present and accounted for. We all had lunch and special treats were found for our fur-babies in the cupboards. Afterwards we all took a leaf out of a dog’s book and goofed around for the afternoon, sitting around and enjoying each other’s company, chasing sticks on the lawn (the fur-kids – although there may have been a couple of human contenders), and a short stroll to the park.

It would be safe to assume that a good time was had by all. It is always nice to include my fur-kids in family activities. They enjoy it as much as we do. My parents are animal lovers and it’s great to see how well my parents and my pets have adopted each other. This comes in handy if I need a fur-babysitter every now and again as well. I know that they will be left in loving and capable hands.

As quirky as some of us dog-lovers seem in the way we treat our fur-kids, I really think it is important that our pets are included in our lives and activities. A healthy companion/pet relationship is essential, and both parties benefit from it. Love and companionship are only a couple of the benefits. There are many more, just ask any pet owner.

My dogs’ personalities

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Some people will tell you that dogs are dogs and they don’t have human qualities, we just attach human qualities to them.

At the risk of offending a dog expert somewhere in the world, I really don’t believe this is true. I believe all animals have a personality of some kind, a consciousness, even a spirit. I see it everyday in the things that my pets do and don’t do. I have three dogs living with me at the moment. Angus, who thinks he’s the alpha dog. Ruby, who just loves to be cuddled and will concede defeat in the face of a waving newspaper by laying on the floor with her legs in the air. And there is Dylan, our senior citizen visitor who I tend to look after more than my Dad does these days.

Dylan and Angus do not see eye to eye. There is a constant battle for supremacy between the two of them. While Angus has youth and exuberance on his side, Dylan has cunning, experience and the downright self-righteousness of a cranky old dog if all else fails. At times I find myself the peacemaker and the lawmaker, but they are a constant source of entertainment and interest as I watch their interactions take place.

Dogs are not stupid. Some may not seem as bright as others, but all have a sense of reasoning that we humans sometimes tend to overlook. They will play their human like a fiddle if they can get away with it. And they are experts on body language, human and dogs alike. They know how to get what they want and how to play their cards right. They are like children to manage, discipline, love and nurture. They can get excited, nervous, sad, cranky, and even depressed.

No..I don’t believe anybody who says a dog is just a dog with no feelings or a spirit.

Ponderings

Monday, April 5th, 2010

As I sit down to begin another portrait, I look at the photographs of my newest subject and I start to ponder his personality. I look at his eyes and the way that he holds his head. He seems to be smiling out at me, a happy little fellow that somebody loves enough to want me to do his portrait.  I want to get it right and capture his mischievious little ‘grin’. I want something for his Mum to have for always to remember him by.

As I start the fine outline of his head, I try to imagine his soft fur and what it would feel like to stroke. I think about his Mum stroking him and how spoiled he would be.  I smile. I come from a long line of animal-lovers and I’ve seen it all in regards to spoiled dogs of all breeds and sizes. I start to feel a kinship for my subject’s devoted Mum. He truly is a lucky boy for having her around.  And she is luckier for knowing him.

My little mates

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

My dogs are great mates. I probably spoil my fur-kids more than what I should, and my husband complains that I have more photos of them on my mobile than of him, but they give me back ten-fold in love and affection as reward for my efforts.

They seem to know my moods and are keen to ‘help’ when I am feeling a little low. When I need to do my work they go about their business until it is time for dinner, and then they let me know they are around no matter what. There is nothing more important than a full belly and a soft blanket to sleep on! The benefits of pet ownership far outweigh the negatives, that’s for sure.

Memories

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Memories are a powerful thing. They can invade the senses and make us feel like we are still in the moment, years after an event. They can make us laugh or cry. Our memories are a part of who we are.

I have many memories of my companion fur-kids, some happy and some sad. Of course, it’s extremely sad when I lose a treasured friend, and for the most part, I tend to grieve for quite a long time, but ironically it’s the happy times that keep me going. The funny ways of my pet, the things they used to do and the places you would go together. Isn’t it better to have met a treasured friend, loved and experienced life with them, then to have never had the privelege at all? I’m better for it, sometimes sadder, but better all the same.

Jackson was my wise old owl, an old soul I believe, who’d been there and done that many times. There wasn’t much you could put past that boy, that’s for sure. He knew where I was going before I did. He called the shots most of the time, but was polite about it. I shall miss him forever. He loved a photo shoot, and would pose dramatically until he got bored, then wandered off to hide. One of the best shots I got of him was only three months before he passed away. A true professional to the end.

Our Loyal Companions

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Don’t you just love it when you walk in the door and there’s a friendly fur-kid waiting for you? In my case, it’s a flurry of activity as I dodge three loving fur-kids dancing around my feet in a frenzy of joy and happiness. One would think I had been gone for two weeks, not two hours. That’s the way it is. If you could bottle this moment and share it with the world…ah..the possibilities.

I try to take a leaf out of my fur-kids book when life gets a bit stressful and there’s a lot going on. Dogs tend to live in the now. They generally don’t worry about what happened yesterday or get stressed out about what is going to happen tomorrow. They live for the day. They are completely in the moment. When I take time out to do this myself, and enjoy what is, the air on my skin, my breathing, and just be – I’m grateful, peaceful, and generally no longer stressed.

You can learn a lot from dogs.

A dedication

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Hello to all mad-keen animal lovers like myself. In this particular blog I will be focusing on my thoughts about life, pets and art, just like the category says. My thoughts, ideas and opinions may not be those of everybody else, but hopefully some will resonate with visitors to this site, and they will enjoy what I have written and contribute their own thoughts by posting a comment.

I am dedicating this site to my wonderful and loving companion Jackson (pictured with me at the beginning of this blog) who is no longer with me physically, but will forever be with me in spirit and in my heart. As I am sure that anybody who has loved and lost their best fur-kid friend will know, the sorrow never really goes away, you just learn to live with it and remember the good times you had and smile a little.

Jackson was a special boy. A loving, intelligent and crafty piece of work when he wanted to be, especially at bath-time. He would hear that tub water running, and off he would go. He was the most accomplished hide-and-seek player (he did the hiding) that I knew.

My memories of him keep him alive in my heart, as I am sure yours do too. If you would like to add your experiences in a comment to my post, please feel free.