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Rupert The Brave

“Rupert The Brave”

(The Protector)

By Kylie Southgate

Every night before going to sleep, my baby sister Chelsea asks me the same thing.

‘Please tell me the story of ‘Rupert the Brave’.

‘Aren’t you tired yet of that story Chelsea?’ I sigh in mock disbelief, I am secretly thrilled she still likes to hear it.

‘Noooo.  I love that story.  It helps me go to sleep and to feel safe,’ she says, her big brown eyes looking at me through her long dark lashes.

‘Okay then, as long as you promise to go straight to sleep afterwards, and don’t get up to wander through the house during the night.’

‘I promise, I promise.’ Chelsea bounces up and down excitedly on the edge of her bed.

‘Settle down young miss, lie on your bed and curl up nice and small,’ I say in my best big-sister voice.

Chelsea hops into her bed, puts her head on the pillow and tucks her long legs up beneath her.

Chelsea asleep

‘I’m ready Billie. See I’m being a good girl.’

‘That’s very good Chelsea.  Now, where shall we start?’

‘At the very beginning Billie. I want to hear the whole story.’

I settle on to the bed next to Chelsea and reach out so my paw is resting on hers.   The story of ‘Rupert the Brave has been passed down through the generations and has become legendry amongst our greyhound friends.  I never tire of telling the story to Chelsea and hope one day she will tell it to her children, and so on.

‘Once upon a time, a long time ago, when your great, great grandmother was a girl, greyhounds were forced to race around a track. Some of them had to chase terrified possums or rabbits and even cute piglets who were tied to a lure, squealing for mercy. Even back then, greyhounds were gentle creatures and didn’t want to hurt the poor little animals. They didn’t want to run for money either. But if they didn’t win, they were treated badly by their keepers. They were given poor food, little shelter and only had concrete floors for a bed.  There was no time for fun or long walks in the park.  Some got bad injuries and were left maimed and untreated.  Some were taken out to the bush and shot, with their ears cut off, their identities stolen forever.’  I pause for a moment to let Chelsea wrinkle her nose and shudder at the horror, as she always did.

‘But others were much luckier and were rescued by kindly folk who found them lovely homes.  They were allowed to meet with their friends, go on long walks together and sleep on warm soft beds inside nice houses’. Chelsea smiles, glad she has only ever known kindness, compassion and love.

‘One day, early in summer, a group of rescued greyhounds met at the park for a walk.  As each one arrived, they gave the customary greeting; a wag of the tail, a sniff of the bottom and a little kiss on the muzzle.

Jeffery was the only male in the group that day.  He was a big fair haired boy with kind eyes. Jeffery liked everyone and everyone liked Jeffery.  The big scar on his back leg was evidence that his life had not always been as happy as it was on that day though. He didn’t like to talk much about what had happened to him, but he was not one to hold grudges and was a fine example to the newer members of the group of how to remain dignified despite a difficult past.

Jeffery and Molly

Jeffery shared his home with Molly and sometimes he gave her snippets about his racing days.  She was normally a shy girl but knowing a little of what he’d been through she was protective of Jeffery, and thought of him as her big, gentle older brother.  She was petite and pretty with dark hair and dainty white feet.  Molly had been in some races too, but she didn’t like it, and she didn’t like having to share her food and her racing kennel with anyone else. Now that she was safe, Jeffery was teaching her to be tolerant and kind to other greyhounds.  She liked everyone else in the group well enough once she got to know them, but was still wary of strangers.

Lady was a gorgeous, quiet girl with blue hair and enquiring amber eyes. She had been too small to race fast enough so was given up by her owner, to whom she was of no use, to a rescue group. She now lived in a lovely, safe warm home.  She had fallen for Jeffery the moment she met him on her first group walk. He returned her affection in a way that made her feel special, but she noticed he was careful not to exclude the other ladies either.

‘Hello Jeffery,’ Lady said demurely, as she gently nuzzled his face. ‘Hello Lady, it’s lovely to see you again.  Would you care to walk with me today?’

‘Thank you, that would be most pleasant Jeffery’ she said, blushing profusely.

Casey was the senior of the group. She had been dark haired in her youth but was now greying around her long muzzle and her flanks.  Her eyes were kind but becoming hazy with age.  Casey had raced many years ago; almost too ago long for her to remember the bad things that happened. All she knew was cold water made her nervous, but she wasn’t sure why.

‘Okay, ladies, I think we’re ready.  Don’t get too far apart and we can have a lovely time today,’ said Jeffery as he moved majestically towards the path.

I paused to see if Chelsea was asleep yet.  ‘Don’t stop there Billie. This is where the good bit starts.’

‘Just rest your head Chelsea and I’ll tell you the rest of the story.’

‘Before the group had walked very far, a strange looking dog appeared, almost as though from nowhere.  To the tall, lean, elegant greyhounds, he looked quite odd. He had short legs, a stout body and a very short nose.  His hair was blonde and coarse and his head was square.  ‘Who are you?’ asked Jeffery suspiciously, the girls lining up behind him.

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‘My name is Rupert.’ His was voice loud and gruff, which startled the group.

‘What do you want with us?’

‘I would like to be your friend. I would like to come on your walk, and to show you how to have a good time.  I won’t hurt you.  I can protect you.’

Molly looked at him and scoffed.  How would this short, stout, ugly dog protect them?  They were large and fast and could outrun anything.

‘We don’t need your protection thank you Rupert. You can join us though, but if you upset any of the ladies, I’ll make sure you are banished from this park’ Jeffery growled.

‘Can’t say fairer than that.  Let’s go then,’ called Rupert cheerily over his shoulder.

Jeffery and Lady walked together, brushing shoulders occasionally. Molly sulked close by, unhappy Jeffery had let Rupert join them and spoil their walk. She didn’t like the look of him and wanted him to go away.

Casey walked quietly not far behind.  They all ambled slowly along the walking track, stopping to sniff bushes and trees along the way.  The creek meandered beside them, bubbling over rocks and around fallen branches.

Rupert stayed just ahead of the pack but every now and then he would dart back to make sure no-one was left behind.  He slowed his pace to fall in beside Molly to make sure she was alright.  He could sense her dislike of him, and had experienced this kind of discrimination before.  He couldn’t help the way he looked.  It wasn’t his fault that people were suspicious and frightened of him when they met him, even before they knew him.   He was an easy-going chap, but sometimes others wouldn’t even give him a chance to prove it.  He was determined to show the greyhounds, especially Molly, that he was not a threat to her, and that he was in fact quite nice.

‘Is everyone else okay?’ chirped Rupert.  ‘Yes were fine, thanks’ said Casey.  ‘We may walk slowly but we are happy to keep going’.

‘I’ve got an idea .  There’s a good place up ahead where it’s safe for us all to have a run and a play.  Who’s ready?’ Rupert asked enthusiastically, already bounding ahead.

‘We are.’ With Jeffery by her side Lady was feeling quietly confident.

Rupert led the group up a hill to a hole in the fence.  He ran through easily on his short legs, but he was startled to see the greyhounds had to get on their knees to crawl through.  How funny, he mused.  He thought of them as such elegant, graceful creatures but now they just looked plain silly; their long legs stretched out in front and their backs crouched down in a sphinx-like pose. One by one they squeezed through and when they topped the hill, there was open space as far as they could see.

‘Come on everyone, go crazy. Run. Just run for the fun of it.’ called Rupert as he darted from here to there and back again.

Greyhounds had not always been allowed to run just for the fun of it.  They had been made to run on a track and chase lures and be jeered at.  They had to run further and faster than they were able.  Sometimes they collapsed with exhaustion at the end of the race and even after they had given it their all, they were told they were useless and good for nothing.

But now, after many years of campaigning to close down the repugnant industry, greyhounds were finally free to run and run and do zoomies and spins, just because they wanted to.

greyhounds in park

Jeffery, Lady, Molly and even old Casey had a wonderful time playing in the sunshine.  But after ten minutes, everyone was pooped and had to lie down to rest for a while.

‘It’s time to head back down the hill now’ said Rupert. He ran around to everyone and gently nosed them to their feet.  ‘I’ve got a few other fun things to do before we’re done .’

Rupert’s enthusiasm was contagious, and although the greyhounds were feeling tired, they followed his lead and headed towards the creek.

At the bottom of the hill, there was a crossing made of large rocks that had been placed across the creek.  Rupert bounded ahead, very sure of his footing, and waited on the opposite bank.

‘Come on, it’s easy.’

‘Ladies first.’ Jeffery was always the gentleman.  ‘I’ll wait here to make sure everyone gets across safely.’

Molly, usually shy, was the first to try.  She put one long leg out and then the other and gingerly picked her way over the rocks without getting her feet wet. She was very pleased with herself on reaching the other side ‘Did you see how well I managed on my own, Rupert?’

‘You did very well Molly. Now please tell the others to come too’.

‘Come on girls.  It’s okay, even a bit fun.’ Molly called out across the creek.  She was enjoying herself immensely and was surprised at how nice a non-greyhound could actually be. Perhaps she had been too quick to judge him.

Lady came next and reached the other side easily, even stopping for a drink of the cool, clean water half way across.

Casey was more reluctant.  ‘I don’t think I can do it Jeffery’ she said, embarrassed.  ‘I’m too old to learn new tricks and I’m scared I might slip into the cold water’.

‘It’s okay Casey, I’ll follow right behind you, and I won’t let you fall’ he said, nudging her gently.

Rupert, ever the optimist, encouraged Molly and Lady to give Casey some support. ‘Ladies, let’s make Casey laugh and forget her fears’.

Come on Casey, come on, come on, come on Casey come on!’ he led them in song.  Despite her apprehension, Casey couldn’t help herself and barked out loud.

Slowly but surely, and with Jeffery to steady her, Casey made it to the other side without incident.  ‘Now we know where the saying comes from – you can teach old dogs new tricks .’ Rupert quipped. ‘Well done Casey, we’re proud of you.’

‘Thanks everyone.’ Casey smiled to herself, realising she must have finally overcome her fear of water.

On the way back to where their walk started, there was green, lush grass under big shady gum trees. They had another lie down, a roll on their backs and a frolick.

‘The sun is now high in the sky and we’ll start to get burnt.  I think we should go home now; it’s time for our mid-day nap anyway.’ Jeffery took charge as usual.

‘Yes, I’m tired and thirsty; it’s been a big day so far’ said Casey. ‘But a lot of fun.’

‘I know a place where we can have a drink and cool our feet on the way back.’ Rupert seemed blessed with boundless energy.  His eyes were bright and his little legs had to go at double speed to keep up with the long strides of the greyhounds but he didn’t show any signs of tiring.

They rounded a bend and before them was a beautiful sight.  There was a big swimming hole and the creek spilled gently over at one end, creating a little waterfall. Large gum trees flanked the banks of the creek and their rugged boughs stretched out, dappled shade providing protection from the hot sun. A huge flat rock bordered the water and allowed the greyhounds to stand comfortably to drink and to paddle to cool their tired feet.

‘This is a lovely, peaceful place Rupert, thank you for bringing us here.’

‘It’s my pleasure to show it to you, Molly.  It’s one of my favourite places to rest and paddle and I’m glad you like it too.’  It seems he was finally winning her over.

Rupert went for a wander and a sniff further down the creek where he knew some of his other friends had been earlier in the day, and checked his wee-mails.

The greyhounds replenished themselves with the clear water and stood quietly for a few moments.

Without warning, their peace was shattered.  A small, angry, fluffy, dog, full of self-importance came hurtling over the creek bank and ran straight into the middle of the greyhounds.  He yapped and yipped so loudly and fiercely nobody could understand a word he said.  His voice was loud and squeaky but he sounded angry. He darted from here to there, nipping at heels and jumping at faces.  Nobody knew what to do. They were not used to being attacked by other dogs.

‘Get this annoying little thing away from me.’ Molly finally found her voice, no longer able to contain her disdain for something so small.  She reeled around and snapped back at the little critter, making him more angry. He screeched at her and bit her painfully on her hocks.  ‘Ouch, that hurt. Go away you little monster.’ Molly, with ears flat back and her head stretched out, was ready to strike if he tried to bite her again. ‘Jeffery do something, don’t just stand there.’

Jeffery, usually calm and composed, was terrified that Molly and the other ladies would be seriously hurt. He wanted to help, but he didn’t like confrontation and didn’t know what to do.  He stood rooted to the spot, himself frightened of the crazy rampaging fluffy dog in their midst.  He remained standing still, his tail between his legs, embarrassed by his incompetence.

‘Help. Help. Rupert where are you?  Please help us,’ Lady called out desperately.

Rupert was busy sniffing in the bushes, exploring new scents.  He was vaguely aware of a kerfuffle going on back at the creek, but assumed Jeffery, as their leader, would be able to deal with it.  But on hearing his name, Rupert jerked his head up high, cocked an ear to the sky and immediately knew what he had to do.

‘I’m coming.’ Rupert charged out of the bushes like a mad man, his tail held high, his chest puffed out in front of him, and his square head looking formidable, ears pricked forward showing he meant business.

He ran full pelt at the angry little dog, shouting at him with words the gentle, gracious greyhounds had not heard before.  The plucky little dog saw him coming and for a moment contemplated tackling him head on; but quickly had second thoughts when taking in Rupert’s strong jaw line and deep, menacing eyes.

He took one last nip at the shuffling, nervous feet of the greyhounds and then high-tailed it up the bank, Rupert in full-flight only metres away.  The little dog was nimble and sure footed, but his strength was no match for the stocky and powerful legs that propelled Rupert.

Rupert was on his tail in a few paces; there was no need for violence; harsh words and threats were all that was required, and the little dog was no longer so self-assured.  Frightened and intimidated, he ran for his life.

‘Go away and stay away. You’re not welcome here if you’re going to be nasty to these lovely dogs.’ Rupert continued to follow the yappy dog, angry and threatening. He knew it would not come back.  He stopped and watched for a while longer until it was out of sight. He returned to the creek bank and stood at the top, looking down at the huddle of greyhounds, still unable to move.

‘It’s okay, he’s gone and won’t be coming back.  You’re all safe now.  Is anyone hurt?’ he called down.

‘My foot is sore.’ Molly held her hind leg up for effect. ‘But I’ll be okay. Thanks to you.’ Molly bowed her head, glad to she had given this larrikin a chance to be her friend.

‘Thank you Rupert.  You were so brave.’ Lady sidled up to him and gave him a peck on his cheek.

‘Oh Rupert, thank you.  I was afraid the little dog would pick on me next as I’m old.  But you made sure I was safe.’ Casey kissed him gently on his short muzzle.

Jeffery had finally recovered his composure. ‘On behalf of myself and the ladies, I would like to thank you, Rupert, for your courage and bravery. You must come on all our walks and be our protector.’

“It would be my pleasure.” Rupert puffed out his chest, ran around the group, giving each greyhound a friendly lick on the nose. “I will make sure greyhounds are free to run without fear whenever they want,” he vowed.

And so the legend began – ‘Rupert the Brave, Protector of the Greyhounds’.

‘THE END’

I looked at Chelsea. She had tucked her nose under her paw, a smile on her long lips. Her eyelids fluttered gently. I knew she was already having sweet dreams; looking forward to the time she’d be old enough to have an adventure like Jeffery, Molly, Lady and Casey. And of the plucky little fellow who would keep her safe.

‘Good night baby girl, sleep tight.’ I brushed my lips across her forehead and lay down beside her.   We surely are the lucky ones.

 

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Chelsea (left) and Billie (right)

 

 

 

 

 


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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.
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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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Story of Adoption

Our love affair with greyhounds started in September 2010.  We had previously decided that our next dog would be a greyhound as we had a friend who had adopted one and she was beautiful. We’ve always adopted pets from shelters so saving the life of a greyhound fitted with our beliefs. But we didn’t realise that day would come as quickly as it did, as our two dogs, Ralph and Rupert, were only three years old.

Instead of telling you all about us and how much we love greyhounds, we’ll let April, our first greyhound tell you our story.

Hi, I’m April!  It all began in NSW in 2002.  My mum Stacey gave birth to my sisters Shawee and Baby, my brother Milagro and me.  When I was being born, I got a bit stuck and had to be pulled out.  Unfortunately it did some damage to my foot and it’s never been normal since. We grew up with a trainer and he and his wife were good to us.  As we grew from gangly, short-nosed pups, our owner could see that my siblings had inherited their mum and dad’s good racing pedigree and started their training.  It all seemed very glamorous to me, but because of my club foot I did not join them.  I had to wait in the backyard for them to come home and tell me all about the outside world.  They were given lovely racing names, but I was only ever called April, after the month in which we were born (not much imagination there!) as it had become obvious that I would never race.  I could only hop around on 3 legs most of the time as it hurt to put my foot on the hard services.  If was on grass or chasing my siblings, I forgot about the pain and used all 4 feet!  Despite my obvious disability, I grew into a handsome girl who looked just like my mum and sister and was pretty happy about life – nothing much fazed me and I enjoyed spending time with my family.

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We were some of the lucky ones – our owner kept us even past the time we could win any races, and of course I couldn’t ever do anything but be sweet and hop around a lot.   Eventually, however, in early 2010, hard times fell on our owners and they couldn’t keep us anymore.  Janet and Peter from Greyhound Rescue took us in as a family (including Princess who is my half sister from an earlier litter) and let us live with them for a while with all their other dogs.  It was fun, but there were so many of us they had to find us new homes. Shawee, Baby, Princess and Milagro were all found lovely forever homes quite quickly but mum and I were going to be a bit of a problem.  Mum was now nearly 14 years old and I was 8 and had special needs as far as my leg was concerned.

On the saddest day of my life, my beautiful mum Stacey passed away in September 2010.  I didn’t understand what had happened and was very stressed.  For the 8 years of my life I’d never been apart from mum and my siblings and now I found myself alone.  What would become of me?  Who would want an old girl who couldn’t go for very long walks?

And then it happened – the start of the rest of my life!  Kylie and Mike in Melbourne had been considering fostering a greyhound a year and a half after their beautiful dog Ralph passed away aged 4 from lymphoma.  They didn’t know if they were ready to have another dog but Ralph’s brother Rupert had been depressed since the loss of his best mate and they thought a new friend might cheer him up.

So they contacted Greyhound Rescue and thought they’d try fostering for a while to see how everyone got on.  Next thing I knew I was on a plane (that was a bit weird!) to Melbourne and a couple of days later Kayleigh from Greyhound Rescue took me to meet my new family.  Rupert (I now call him Rupie) is a cutie – he was a bit wary of me at first and bossed me around a bit to let me know it was his place and he’d lay down the ground rules – fair enough, I reckon.  I was just happy to have a new friend and some owners who really love me.

When it came time to put me up for adoption, it seemed I had wormed my way into the hearts of my new family – they say I am quite a character and make them laugh – and they decided they could not let me go to yet another home, so they made the adoption official.

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Two years later, Martina from Kay’s Greys (now Amazing Greys) put out a desperate call for a foster carer for a young dog who needed rescuing from a trainer’s kennels.  Kylie and Mike had fallen for me big time (and who wouldn’t??) and they couldn’t bare to see a dog at risk of being killed.  So, they offered to take in New Girl (she didn’t even have a name) and in a few days, we had a skinny, dirty, woolly, frightened young girl living in our house.

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Rupie liked her straight away and I guess I did too, but she was a bit scared of us, of Kylie and Mike and every single noise that she heard.  We named her Billie, and gradually, with lots of love, encouragement and space, she came out of her shell and became part of the family.  When it came time to put her up for adoption… well, Kylie and Mike foster failed again!  So she was officially adopted by us in October 2012.

Now we couldn’t imagine life without her – she’s always wandering around, checking to see that everyone’s ok, gives gentle little kisses on noses, hogs the bed and steals all the attention when we have visitors because she is now so beautiful.  The ugly duckling has grown into a graceful swan.

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She’s only three years old and likes to play which has kept Rupie and I from growing into old grumps.  We have a lot of fun together and we’re really grateful that we have a nice happy home in which to live the rest of our lives.  We hear that some of our kin are not so lucky.

So the moral of the story is that we’ve all given something to each other – Billie and I have a lovely new home full of love, Rupie has two new friends to play with (and boss around!), and Kylie and Mike have had the opportunity to experience the joy of caring for us and watching us flourish into wonderful pets.

Thanks for reading our story – please consider adopting a greyhound when your circumstances allow.

April, Billie, Rupie (and Kylie and Mike)

The gang

 

 


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A Special Tribute

How do you say goodbye to your Mum?

I have not known life without her.  She was there when I was born (funnily enough!) and she loved me for 45 years.

She was there when I first walked and talked.  She took a photo on my first day of school.

When I wanted a horse, Mum was there to help me choose. She learnt alongside me how to care for him, she walked alongside me when I was too young to ride on my own.  She was there when I did my first show, and she picked me up when I had my first fall.  She carted hay in the old station wagon and trudged through the mud with us in winter.

Over the years we had dogs and cats, horses, sheep, goats and even a duck!  Mum was always there to help us care for them and I believe my love of animals today stemmed from learning what good friends they could be and how rewarding looking after them is.   Mum was a city girl and had never had pets until we moved to Healesville, but she learned along the way and grew to love the country life we had.

Mum was there to soothe a broken teenage heart and told me the right one would come along.  She was there at my wedding, standing beside us smiling her beautiful smile.

As a child you expect your mother’s care, as a teenager you take it for granted.  As a twenties-something, you’re too busy creating your own life to appreciate it.  But as I’ve matured in age and outlook, I’ve realised how lucky we were to have a mum who loved us constantly, consistently and unconditionally. She showed us what it meant to love and be loved, and the great love between Mum and Dad is something we should all aspire to.  We were never left wondering with Mum – always ready with a big smackaroo kiss on the cheek, a cuddle and telling us she loved us.

Mum was there for us always, she never let us down or disappointed us.  It was an honour to help care for her in the past four or five years and in some ways I feel I got to know her and love her even more.  Her true spirit shone through in the way she faced her challenges, and she was always grateful and gracious.

It has been a privilege to be part of such a caring family whose only concern was that mum was happy and comfortable and enjoying her days as much as she was able.

As Mum’s condition progressed, her spirit become more beautiful, if that could be possible.  She maintained her dignity and sense of humour and everyone who met her, even for the first time, would say “oh, she’s got a beautiful smile”.  Even on the bad days, it would light up her face and we’d all smile too.  She even developed a little bit of a wicked laugh!  She knew when she was being cheeky and put on funny accents – her favourite was the posh one – so we’d all have to be posh too!

Mum had a few quirky little sayings, but one that particularly stays with me and has become part of our family’s vocabulary, is one I’d like to share with you.  Sometime over the years, I can’t recall when, Mum started saying “Oooooh, that’s a lovely breeze” when a soft wind would pass over her to cool down a hot day.  I now find myself saying it, and perhaps now you will too, and know that it’s Mum popping by to wrap her arms around you to let you know she’s ok and is looking over us all.   And no doubt she will have a beautiful smile on her face.

So, how do you say goodbye to your Mum?

You can’t. You just say thank you Mum for being the best mum a girl could hope for.  I will love you always and I wish you a peaceful sleep, our beautiful princess.

Bokey – our first dog – he was a Border Collie x Lab

Mum helping me wash my first horse, Toffee

Muffin was my sister’s cat, but stayed with Mum and Dad and became Mum’s great little friend

A very beautiful lady – her smile lit up her face and everyone who saw it

A handsome couple

Mum and Dad were in love for over 55 years – we shall all miss her terribly.


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Because I Can

Today’s post is just because I can – no other reason and no deep meaning!  I have three dogs and I love them all and they’re all very different.  I just wanted to share a picture of each of them with you.

Hope you have a lovely week!

Billie relaxing in the garden after her bath today. Her fuzzy winter coat is starting to come out and she will look beautiful when her new coat starts to grow next season.

April is chilling out behind the Japanese Maple. Can you read the sign in the pot? Maybe it’s time for an update??

Rupie is hanging about on the carpet. Every time I tried to take a photo, he’d run away. Usually an attention seeker, but when the camera comes out, he gets shy.

How long does it take you to get some good photos in your home?


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I Am Lulu

This is Roxy, not Lulu, as we don’t have a picture of Lulu yet. All Staffys are sweet little characters deserving of love.

Lulu’s story was told to me by her adoring mum, Shirley.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

One dark and stormy night with lots of rumbling noises and bright streaks of light in the sky I was at home alone and I was so frightened that I jumped the fence and ran as fast as I could to try to find my people.

I ran onto a big road with lots and lots of cars coming so fast and the road was slippery.  I didn’t know where I was and I was crying for my people and someone to help me and look after me and take me somewhere warm and dry and safe.

And then something big hit me and I slid over the road and I felt a big pain in my back leg and I couldn’t run on it anymore because it was bleeding and it wouldn’t hold me up.  I lay for a while in the wet grass on the side of the road and I cried with pain and fear but no-one stopped to help me.  I dragged myself along and found a big bin near a tree and I pushed myself until I was under it.

I don’t know how long I was there but it was so cold and scary and my leg hurt so much.  After a long time a car drove past and then slowed down and then came back.  A man with a kind voice looked under the bin, saw me and called me to come out.  I was frightened and didn’t  know him and my leg hurt too much to move, but I knew he seemed kind and so I thumped my tail to say “Thank you for being kind”.

His wife had a kind voice as well and soon they pushed a piece of cardboard under me and pulled me on it till it moved me out and they patted me and told me I would be alright.  They put me in a box from the skip I was under and placed me gently in the back seat of their car.

We went on a long drive until we came to a place called the RSPCA where they took me inside and another man touched me and looked at me and I heard him say “She is an American Staffy, only about one and a half years old I would say, but I will have to put her down”.  I didn’t know what that meant, but the lady and man who helped me seemed very upset and cross and said “No, no, you cannot do that.  She is a beautiful little dog”.  The other man said he could not repair my leg because it was too hurt and if he amputated it (I did not know what that was) he would not be able to find a home for me as no-one would want a dog with only three legs.  Then he said to the people “Unless you would be prepared to give her a home?”.

The kind people said they would give me a home and so I had a big sleep and when I woke up my back leg wasn’t there anymore. It hurt a lot even though it wasn’t there, and my tummy hurt as well, because the doctor said he had desexed me as well.  I had some little puppies at my other house but the doctor said I was too young to have had puppies at my age.  I heard him say he had put a microchip in my neck as well but I didn’t know what that was for.  The people at the hospital called me Twiggy.

After a long time in hospital when I had to learn to stand up again on my 3 legs, the kind people came back and took me home with them.  They gave me a new name, Lulu. They had another brown dog and I thought it would be fun to run and play with him.  But he didn’t seem to want to play much, and after I had been there for a while I heard the man and lady saying that he was too old and I was too young and they would have to find another home for me.

I was very sad as I didn’t want to have to go away another time.  They left me with an old lady whom they called Aunt, in another house and said I would only be there till they could find another home for me.  The old lady was frightened that I would make her fall over inside as I love to run and jump so I had to stay on the back verandah in my bed all day.  She tied me to a post with a long piece of rope but I was lonely and cold at night, and I had no-one to talk to me.

One early morning when it was still a little bit dark I heard some voices coming down the street. One voice was a lady’s and the other was a man’s.  I thought they sounded nice so I pulled hard on my collar and it came off my neck and I ran out as they walked past.  The Aunt’s house didn’t have any gates so I could run straight out to them.  The lady said “Hello beautiful, where did you come from”, because they didn’t see me come out of the gate from behind them. I rolled on my back to see if she would tickle my tummy and she did, and then said “Oh you dear little thing, you only have three legs”.  She leaned down and cuddled me and looked around to see if she could see anyone who might own me or where I may have lived.  I heard her say to the man “We can’t leave her here alone – we must take her home and try to find her owner”.  The lady stayed with me on the footpath and cuddled me while the man went back to their house and got the car.  They took me home with them and I really liked their house straight away.  I was allowed to stay inside in the warm and the lady gave me chicken and smoked salmon and ham to eat as she said she had to make the sandwiches and lunch for some of their friends who were coming the see something on the TV which she called the Melbourne Cup.  I was allowed in their lounge room and dining room where the lady was putting the food and after a little while the lady took me up to a place called a Veterinary Surgery. The people there found the chip in my neck and gave the lady the name and phone number of the people who had rescued me and adopted me.

My new lady was told my story by my other owner and that I had been left with her Aunt who was now looking after me till a new home was found or I was sent back to the RSPCA. Soon my new lady was talking to Aunt, and heard how I had been missing when she got up that morning and found my collar lying in my bed.

She asked if I could stay a while longer because she had to go to the doctor and I was very glad to stay as the lovely food was still being fed to me and I was being treated like a little princess. Some of the kind peoples’ visitors started to arrive and everyone made a great fuss of me and they were having some bubbly stuff to drink and were laughing a lot.  I thought I would really like to live here but will they want me, or will I have to go somewhere else?

I heard some of the people say that they would not have a bet on the horses – they would put their money on Lulu ending up living with the Fosters.  That made me very happy but I heard the lady say that they were not planning on any more pets because they were going to retire soon and wanted to do some travelling.

Later on the Aunt and another lady came to collect me and I was sad because I thought my kind new people didn’t like me.  I sat in the back of the car and looked longingly at them and I saw them look back at me.  Then I heard the man say to the Aunt “Don’t take her back to the RSPCA – if you can’t find a good home for her, here is our phone number – give us a ring”.

I went back to the veranda again but I often saw the kind lady drive past and look in at me.  I thought each time she was coming to get me but each time she drove past. One day the Aunt became ill and had to go to hospital.  Another man took me to his house (the man called the Aunt “Mum”) and I stayed with him for a while.  He used to go running and took me with him but sometimes my back leg got tired and I wanted to sit down and have a rest.

Then he couldn’t keep me because he went away for work and so I was taken to the Aunt’s daughter’s house which only had a really small courtyard for me to stay, and I wasn’t allowed to go inside.  I was very scared again because I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t know who would love me and keep me.  I wished so much I could go back to the house where I had the lovely food and the kind people.  But I couldn’t talk and tell them how much I wanted to go back there.

Thanks heavens! This new lady remembered the man giving her his phone number and she rang it and when he answered she said “You know when you said not to send Lulu back to the RSCPA but to give you a ring? Well, were you serious”?

Wow, in half an hour I was sitting in the car of my new Mum and Dad travelling down to their beach house for the weekend.  Oh, happy, happy day!!  I kissed and loved and hugged them so much and they said I would always be their little girl and would be safe and loved and cherished for the rest of my life.

They had to officially adopt me at the Council because sometimes people steal dogs like me.  Mum said she could have adopted African twins with less paperwork than she had to fill out to adopt me!  But then I was officially theirs, and I know I will never be lonely or sad again.

I have a beautiful life now, my parents have retired and I am with them every day and have even wheedled my way into their bed at night, although my own lovely warm bed is beside theirs.  I just love to snuggle into them and know I will never be cold, or hurt or frightened again.  My mummy always tells me how special I am and how my guardian angel brought them to me on that morning a year and a half ago.

My dad loves to play with me on the lawn throwing the ball and running and tumbling and I have a great little friend next door called Timothy.  He is a little Australian Terrier and we have lots of games together except that mum says I am a bit rough because he is much smaller than I am.

We have moved down to the beach to live now and I love to run in the sand and sit in the water and chase the seagulls.  I can run and jump so well now and mum and dad always let me rest for a while if I get tired.  I can run up and down the stairs in our house which is lots of fun.

I love to lie on mum’s lap and kiss her face and let her know how much I love her.  She kisses me back and says I am their little treasure and after all that has happened to me in my short life, I know I am surely in doggy heaven.

I just wish that every little homeless dog or cat or any other animal can find a happy home to live in like I have, so that they too can live happily ever after.

Love from Lulu  XXX

‘UNLESS ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED”.