Fabulous Fur Friends

Must Love Animals


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Mother Nature’s a Clever Lady

After an extremely hot and dry Summer, we’ve finally had some decent rain over the past few days.  It’s lovely to see things re-freshed and green already.

You may remember the poor crispy-fried Little Gem Magnolias that were singed in the heat of January?  I thought they were gonners and nearly pulled them out….

Crispy fried Little Gem Magnolia

Crispy fried Little Gem Magnolia

 

Glad I didn’t!  I’ve been watering them for months (until the tank water ran out) and look at them now!  One has even flowered for the first time!

Fresh and green

Fresh and green

Flowering

Flowering

Thank you Mother Nature…. we’ve had enough rain now for a few days, so perhaps you could send us some sunshine for the Easter holiday?


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The Little Book of R & R – Chapter 1

The Little Book of R & R (a dog’s tale by Ralph and Rupert)

 

Our story began in September 2004 when thirties-something couple, Kylie and Mike, went to the Lort Smith Animal Hospital to choose a dog. They had been given a voucher to adopt two dogs as a wedding present from their siblings.  It was not the first time either of them had owned pets, but it was to be the first time they owned any as a couple.  So, a day after returning from a five week honeymoon, they went to the Lort Smith to see which dogs needed a new home.  It was sad for them to see so many lovely dogs desperate to go home with them but when they came across us in the inside pens, the choice was obvious.  We were in a pen together, snuggled up, or chewing each other’s ears.  There were two little girls, our sisters as it happens, in the pen next to us but they had been mean to us and had to be kept away.

Adam the kennel manager  had quite a long chat to Kylie and Mike about what sort of dog they wanted, how many, their prior experience with dogs, and quickly determined they were a responsible, caring couple who would be perfect parents to two needy little fur babies.   Kylie and Mike wanted two dogs but hadn’t decided whether to get one first and then six or so months later introduce a second dog to the family.  We’d obviously charmed Adam and he didn’t want to separate us – he said he’d been watching us and we were such great little mates that if they wanted two puppies straight away, they could take us home the following week.

Kylie and Mike’s sisters came to meet us the next day – we put on as much cuteness as we could muster – and the decision was made.  A few days later (after our little ‘op’ to make sure there were no more unwanted puppies) we were on our way home to start our new life.

We were very small but big on cuteness!

We were very small but big on cuteness!

 

 

My name is Ralph and I’m going to tell you our story.  My little brother Rupert will pitch in now and again but he doesn’t know quite as many words as I do.

After a short car ride which was fun – we just sat in the back with Kylie, our forever  Mum,  hanging on to each other, wondering where we were going – we arrived at our new house.  To little pups – we were very small and no-one really knew how old we were – it seemed like a palace compared with the pen we were in at the shelter.  Kylie and Mike, now we call him Mikey, had created our own play area at the back of the house.  We had access to the garden for wee wees, a long hallway to run and chase along, a very comfy cardboard box with blankets to sleep in, a clock, toys and a hot water bottle. For two abandoned pups who didn’t know which way their life would turn, we were in heaven!

We only cried a couple of times for the first few  nights – not for our previous life, as that wasn’t much fun, but for our birth mum – we still wonder what happened to her and what she looked like.  However,  we soon settled into our new routine with Kylie and Mikey and became model fur-babies.

I bet you’re wondering how we came to having such cool names?  Well, Kylie and Mikey got married at Rupertswood Mansion the month before we met them.  As we were wedding presents, it seemed only logical that one of us would be called Rupert.  I’m not sure how Rupert got to be called Rupert, but now that I know him better, it suits him.  And of course they needed another ‘R’ name and Ralph just seemed to fit my cheeky face to a tee.   So, from then on, we became Rupert and Ralph, the terrible twins!  As with all good Aussie families, we had to shorten or lengthen our names, so we’re often called Rupie and Ralpie, even Scupie and Scalphie! Is it any wonder it took us a while to learn to come when we’re called – we’re not sure who they’re calling sometimes!

 

Our first week was relatively uneventful – Kylie and Mikey took it in turns to race home from work at lunchtime to give us our mid-day meal and check that we were ok.  There was lots of changing of newspaper on the floor too as we hadn’t learnt to go outside yet – we were way too little to be out on our own anyway. In the evenings, we’d al l get to play together and learn about each other.  Sometimes when we woke from a snooze, we’d notice Kylie and Mikey just standing together watching us – it was very sweet and we knew then that we had fallen on our feet and were going to love being part of this family very much.

A week later, Mike and Kylie were taking us to puppy school for the first time.  We were nearly there – it wasn’t far, but too far for our little legs – when I heard Rupert groaning in his corner of the back seat of the car.  “ Ooooh Ralphie, I don’t feel very well. My tummy’s sore and I think I’m going to be sick”, he said, just before he threw up all over the place.  Mikey stopped the car but before he could take Rupert outside, he threw up again, and again and again, all the way back to the Lort Smith Hospital.  I said, “what’s wrong little brother?  Are you going to be ok?”.   Rupert looked at me with very sad and sorry eyes and said “I don’t know what’s wrong Ralphie but I feel really sick and I’m sorry for the mess but I can’t help it.  Please get Mikey and Kylie to take me to the hospital quickly so they can find out what’s wrong with me.  Oooh, my tummy…”.


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This Just Can’t Go On Any Longer

Fabulous Fur Friends:

The anti-racing movement is gaining some momentum but there’s still a long way to go. And it’s heartbreaking to know so many beautiful, gentle souls are killed every year.

Originally posted on Lonely Pets Club:

The greyhound racing industry has been killing dogs for years.  Not before time, Greyhound Racing is under the spotlight in a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry.

The Humane Society International’s March Newsletter Issue highlights the failings of the industry.

“Australia represents the 3rd largest greyhound racing industry in the world, with NSW being home to 34 of the 77 racetracks still operating. The industry is fraught with allegations of animal cruelty, corruption, over-breeding and the use of illegal drugs. On average, one greyhound dies every day on an Australian race track.

Thousands of dogs are euthanized each year either after being injured, for being too slow, for reaching the end of their ‘career’, or they are just considered surplus to demand. Although the exact numbers are unknown due to lack of proper monitoring, an estimated 17,000 greyhounds are believed to be killed in Australia each year – it would follow that NSW…

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Summer Fun

We’ve been lucky enough to have 3 mini-breaks this year and after the terrible heat of early January, we’ve had some beautiful warm and sunny days to enjoy the great outdoors.  Here are some photos!

Venus Bay

Venus Bay

 

Phillip Island - Smith's Beach

Phillip Island – Smith’s Beach

Rupert and Billie enjoying the beach

Rupert and Billie enjoying the beach

The dogs must be on lead at all times unfortunately, but they still had fun

The dogs must be on lead at all times unfortunately, but they still had fun

Lots of people enjoying the beach on a long weekend

Lots of people enjoying the beach on a long weekend

A few nice waves suitable for beginners

A few nice waves suitable for beginners

Rupie and Billie exhausted after all the fun

Rupie and Billie exhausted after all the fun

 

 

A wild cockatoo visited our cabin each evening

A wild cockatoo visited our cabin each evening

A very peaceful Lake Eildon

A very peaceful Lake Eildon

More wildlife visiting the Mansfield Country Resort each evening

More wildlife visiting the Mansfield Country Resort each evening

 


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Brutal

While the Northern Hemisphere has been struggling through terrible cold and snow and winds, once again parts of southern Australia have been suffering from brutal temperatures and raging bush fires.

The Australian Open tennis tournament is currently being played in Melbourne in temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius (111 Farenheit) in the shade – temperatures on court in the blazing sun on a hard court would be approximately 60 degrees C (140 F).  Players are making superhuman efforts to keep going, and the term of the tournament to describe the conditions is ‘brutal’.

Outside Temp from Car - thank goodness for airconditioning

Outside Temp from Car – thank goodness for air conditioning

Last week in Melbourne, we had the hottest week on record – Tuesday 43 C, Wednesday 42 C, Thursday 44 C and Friday 44 C.  Night time temps didn’t get below 28 C so there was little relief before it soared again the next day.  We had the blinds closed all week, air conditioners  and fans left on inside all day to keep the dogs safe and drank plenty of water to keep hydrated, even while inside. Rupert and Billie didn’t do much at all for the week  - just flopped about the house to conserve energy.  They weren’t interested in going for a walk, which is just as well as neither was I!  Even if they wanted to, it was too hot –their feet would have got burnt on the pavement and the air was so dry and searing hot that they would struggle to breathe. We then had a ‘cool’ change on Friday evening which brought the temperature plummeting to 30 C!  We now have a much more comfortable, if not a little cool (!) temperature of 20 C.

Billie relaxing on her cooler bed

Billie relaxing on her cooler bed

A little too late for our plants however!  A big shady tree in our garden split in three in strong winds a couple of weeks ago and we had to have the rest removed this week as it was no longer safe to be standing.

A third of the tree fell in our garden, a third in the neighbours and the rest was removed

A third of the tree fell in our garden, a third in the neighbours and the rest was removed

The remaining tree was not safe to leave standing unfortunately

The remaining tree was not safe to leave standing unfortunately

A very bare and brown looking garden

A very bare and brown looking garden

So the plants had no where to hide and got well and truly crispy fried!

Fishbone ferns thriving in the spring

Fishbone ferns thriving in the spring

The same fern a few months later

The same fern a few months later

 

Crispy fried Little Gem Magnolia

Crispy fried Little Gem Magnolia

I guess our next garden project will be to re-plant and create some shade; although it’s doubtful we will have such brutal weather conditions again in the near future.  Perhaps we should be prepared though, just in case.


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Back on Board

Hello Blog friends!

It’s been exactly  3 months since my last post and quite a lot has happened.  Today is the first day of our Southern hemisphere Summer and it’s 30 degrees Celsius.  However the weather has been very erratic for the past few months – some days 30+ degrees, the next 17 degrees.  It’s a bit hard for the body and mind to adjust.

To update you, I’ll start from the start (always a good place to begin,  I find!) with our month long European cruise, starting in September.  We had a fabulous time – it was our first cruise and we had  7 days in the Eastern Mediterranean and then 7 days in the Western Mediterranean.  The ship was lovely and bigger than we could imagine, which means it also had a lot of people on board.  It took us a while to get used to being so close to so  many people but the shore trips made it worthwhile.  Everywhere was lovely, but the highlights were Venice, Dubrovnik, Valencia and Dubai (on our way home).  With over 800 photos taken between us it is hard to choose a selection, so here are just a few to give you a feel for our trip.

Venice

Venice

MSC Davina

MSC Davina

Istanbul Gran Bazaar

Istanbul Gran Bazaar

Dubrovnik harbour

Dubrovnik harbour

Dubrovnik walled town

Dubrovnik walled town

Valencia

Valencia

Trevi Fountain - Roma

Trevi Fountain – Roma

Dubai - looking down from the Burj Kalifa, the world's tallest building

Dubai – looking down from the Burj Kalifa, the world’s tallest building

The cities we visited were Venice and  Bari  in Italy, Olympia  (site of the ancient Olympic stadium) in  Greece, Izir and Istanbul in Turkey, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Marseille and Cassis in France, Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, Tunis in Tunisia, Rome and Milan in Italy and Dubai in United Arab Emirates on the way home.

We were tired by the end of the month of September and looking forward to coming home to see our doggies.  We’d had a house-sitter and she took very good care of them and gave us lots of updates.  However, our joy of being home after such a wonderful trip soon turned to concern as we discovered that our beautiful girl April had developed a limp two days before we returned.  The outcome, sadly, was that after 2 weeks of vet appointments and pain relief for what we thought was a sprain, it turned out to be aggressive tumours in her bone marrow which had already spread to her lungs.  There was nothing the vets could do to help her and to our great sadness and shock we had to let her go on October 14.   Rest in Peace Sweetheart, you will always be our funny, happy girl.

Princess April

Princess April

At the same time as coping with April’s loss, I was also organising, along with my sister, a family bike ride  - A Ride to Remember – to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Australia.  November 17 was the first anniversary of my Mum’s passing.  Rather than make the day a sad day, we decided we would make the day a positive day, at the same time as honouring Mum’s memory by gathering friends to raise some much needed funds.  We have never done anything like this before, and without blowing our own trumpet too much, we were pretty pleased with ourselves and what we were able to achieve.  We had articles in the local paper, I spoke on on Melbourne ABC radio, we obtained sponsors to help with costs of putting on the event, and we raised $7500 from friends and friends of friends who all wanted to support the cause.  We were humbled by how much love, support and generosity we received.  Everyone who registered for the event turned up (that must be some kind of record!) and we also had more arrive on the day.  After 2 weeks of poor weather, the morning dawned with mist on the mountains, but as the bike riders left the starting point, the clouds parted and the sun shone.  Perhaps Mum had some influence?  I was exhausted by the end of the day  - I didn’t ride but co-ordinated the lunch stop and cooking the food for over 90 people – many hours on my feet.  But it was a good exhausted.  We had achieved something positive.  My sister, Dad and I still took some time afterwards to remember our mum and a few tears were shed.  We’ve had lots of participants say they had a lovely day and are looking forward to next year… we’ll have to see….

Ride to Remember Banner

Ride to Remember Banner

Start of Ride

Start of Ride

Having fun on the Warby Trail

Having fun on the Warby Trail

On reflection, it’s been a busy 3 months.  I was starting to get disappointed with myself for not having contributed anything to the blogasphere but now I look back, it’s probably not surprising! Now that I’ve sat down to share some important points in my life, I feel I’m back on board and looking forward to writing some more posts and to reading yours.


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Spring Is In The Air

In our part of the world, new seasons start at the beginning of the month.  So, today is officially the start of Spring.  And Mother Nature must have been checking her calendar!  It’s been 24 degrees Celsius, sunny skies and a northerly wind blowing.   The blossoms are out on the trees, they’re sprouting fresh leaves; the daisies and tulips are waving their heads in the sun; and the dogs are enjoying lying in the shafts of sunlight streaming through the windows.  And with the first burst of Spring sunshine, the flies are already buzzing around!

I remembered writing a similar post last year, and yes, almost to the day, the weather came good then too.  We’ll still have some cold and wet days, but the promise of warmth and holidays is in the air.

It’s just over a year ago that we fostered our second greyhound Billie.  Back then she was dirty and woolly, frightened and shy.   A year on and she’s still a bit nervy when she’s out of the house, but at home she’s playful, affectionate and beautiful!

It’s been an interesting year – some good things have happened but some sad things too.  We’ve loved having Billie as an addition to our family, but my Mum passed away after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia for a number of years. It still doesn’t feel real and I often think of things that ‘I must tell mum’, and then with a stab of reality, realise I can’t.

A very special lady

A very special lady

On a more positive note, we, along with my Dad, are going on an overseas holiday and we leave in 3 days!  It’s the thing that’s kept us looking forward and not drowning in the sadness of the past.  We’re going to Europe and doing a couple of cruises on the Mediterranean.  We’re having a stopover on the way home in Dubai, and Dad is going on to England to visit his and Mum’s relatives; something he didn’t think he’d get chance to do again.

My next blog post could well be strewn with  images of ancient cities, blue oceans and opulent cruise ships!  As much as we are looking forward to this wonderful holiday, however, it means we have to leave our doggy family behind for a month; the longest we’ve ever left them.  We have a house-sitter coming to stay and I know she’ll take good care of them, but it still causes me anxiety.  Thank goodness for social media and text messages!

I’ll finish this post with greetings of the season, whichever one you are currently experiencing, and some images of our Spring, and our dogs – well, dog, as Rupie and April were camera shy today.

Spring daisies

Spring daisies

Lavender's first bloom

Lavender’s first bloom

Yellow daisies being battered by the wind

Yellow daisies being battered by the wind

Fishbone ferns thriving

Fishbone ferns thriving

Beautiful Billie

Beautiful Billie

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