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The Setting Sun

This is a story about a boy, a horse and the love of his life.

South Bound

I sit here watching the sun drift lower in the sky, sometimes hidden behind the trees. It is now mid Winter: there are no leaves on the branches and the ground looks damp.  I’m glad there’s a thick pane of glass between me and the scene beyond.  I’ve spent many a late afternoon sitting here over the past few years, my chair turned to catch the last of the rays as a blanket lays over my legs to keep them warm.

“Are you still ok sitting there Robert?” the afternoon nurse asks kindly.

“Yes, I’m fine thanks love”.

“That’s good, supper won’t be too much longer, I think you’ll enjoy it tonight – it’s a lamb roast”.

They do their best to make the meals interesting, but to be honest, I only eat them because I have to, not because I enjoy them.  I know cooking for a lot of…

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Little Wilbur

A blog post that my friend Paulette at The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap posted recently inspired me to tell a lovely story about what love and compassion can do for a dog, especially an old dog.

I work in the office of a pet minding business, Lonely Pets Club.  A couple of weeks ago we were contacted by a lady in distress. She owned a little 16 year old Jack Russell called Wilbur. She’d had a bad car accident 12 months prior and was unable to walk and unable to care for Wilbur. So he was staying with her ex-hubby but he wasn’t caring for him properly and wouldn’t let him in the house due to his incontinence. So poor Wilbur was left outside in the cold with little shelter.
Wilbur2
His mum Katherine was desperate to get him somewhere safe and warm.  So we put the call out to our beautiful carers and so many offered their help.
Jess, who had recently lost two of her own little dogs,  was the first to offer her love and is now his foster mum. She is caring for him until his mum Katherine can find a place where she can look after Wilbur again. When he first arrived, he was in a bad way, and Jess got him straight to the vet.  He had excess fluid on his lungs from lack of medication, poor conditions and cold weather. He  needed to wait another week while she fattened him up and got him a little better to have his vaccinations done and he required a blood test to check on his kidneys.  He also got a top up of medication and an arthritis injection and while he was violated for a temperature check and then again for a prostate check… he was willing to accept the apology treats the vet was spoiling him with!!  Wilbur is partly deaf and partly blind but he can still see well enough to avoid collisions and hear well enough for when Jess tells him to go wee wee’s. His incontinence is severe and it prevents him being able to follow them around the house and snuggle for very long… he hates having to get out of bed or up off the couch in the cold.
Wilbur with Jess on the day he arrived

Wilbur with Jess on the day he arrived

A couple of days after his visit to the vet, little Wilbur was looking so much better! His real mum Katherine was being a wonderful support to Jess and providing for all his medical costs.  Jess arranged for Katherine to visit Wilbur, the first time she’d seen him  in 12 months!!

Foster mum Jess said “It was beautiful to see how happy Wilbur was to spend Saturday with Katherine (his real Mum) – he was running around like a mad rat haha.

Unfortunately we have had some bad news from the vet though, Wilbur has been diagnosed with kidney disease and has been put on a special diet to take the stress off his kidneys. Luckily he loves his new food!

Happier news, he has put on more weight, his chest infection has cleared and he is running around my house and playing like he is a puppy again”.

Jess hasn’t been able to take many photos as he looks like a blur roaming around after her cats!! He has also been playing with all the toys they have around the house and loves tug of war!

He has some new jumpers to keep his little body warm when he’s not snuggling up to his hot water bottle, and wears a little nappy to prevent accidents due to incontinence caused by his medications.  So he now has free roam of the house, and love to snuggle into Jess.

So, at 16 years young, Wilbur is again feeling loved, warm and secure. And Jess has fallen big time for the little man!!

Thanks again Jess for everything you’ve done for Wilbur and Katherine xx

Wilbur and his guardian angel Jess

Wilbur and his guardian angel Jess

Wilbur in his warm bed in his nappy

Wilbur in his warm bed in his nappy

Wilbur in his stripey jumper

Wilbur in his stripy jumper

Wilbur in his red jumper

Wilbur in his red jumper

 

 

 

 

 


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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

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.

Doggies and Moggies

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.