Daffyd

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dafydjulweb2002.jpgThe bare facts first.

I was born on June 4th, 1998, along with two brothers and three sisters, one of whom didn’t survive the night. I am a kelpie that’s got a lot of throwback to my collie ancestors. My mother, Maddie, was what they call a station dog, that is, she wasn’t a working kelpie. My grandfather was a very well-known working Kelpie up at Euralla, which is in the New England Tablelands of New South Wales in Australia. He was also famous for being the dog pictured jumping through a dog food ring on the can of a product called Good-Os. My father was a kelpie stud from Gladesville in Sydney. Paul thinks I was number three to pop out on the night. I look very much like my sister Olive who lives up in the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney except she’s smaller and has shorter hair.

I have the remnants of some kind of kennel cough that takes me over when I get excited, but that’s really all that’s amiss with me. I managed not to inherit the epilepsy that my brother Blocker got and which in the end got the better of him. Tell you the truth, I haven’t had a sick day in my life.

My heroes are the 2002 Italian World Cup Soccer Team (even though they got knocked out early)
My dog days – an occasional diary

May 2002

My favourite game is digball. I invented it. I used to have this thing where when I was getting a bit tired chasing the ball, I would sit in front of it holding it in my paws on the ground, barking at it, pretending I couldn’t pick it up. One day, we were playing out on the slab, and he kicked the ball onto a pile of sand that the builders had left. I went after it and started to play the old game. But when I went to pick up the ball again, I had to tug at it with my paws. What happened next has changed my life! Sand flew every where, the ball rolled into a trench, and as I pawed at it more and more, more sand flew, the trench got deeper, it sloped a bit and the ball rolled forward without my touching it! I hadn’t been this excited since I chased my first magpie! Now when we go for our walks, I try and find a spot to play the game. Sometimes it works where cars have left deep tyre tracks in the mud. Best of all it works when we go down to the earth piles where they are re-building the park. The ball gets filthy, I get filthy, he gets filthy!

September 2002

I’ve taken over the couch in the office – well, he only uses it on weekends when he wants his afternoon nap! Maddie likes his big chair, but it’s a little small for me as I like to stretch out a fair bit and I’m a little on the lanky side. He’s got these neat cushions on it that are real squishy and just right for resting my head on. When the heater’s on in winter, it’s bliss.

I’m a little glad that Ponni, my sister, has gone back to Melbourne. She was fun to have around, especially as she came to visit just after Blocker died, and it was sort of comforting to have someone else harass me and chew my ear and nip my heels when we set off for the park. But when we went to the park she had this habit of always dropping her ball in the pond in such a way that it floated just out of her reach when she wanted to get it back. She’d try and get her small mouth around it, it would slip and go floating off further out. Like her mother and other brother, she is no swimmer – likes to get the belly wet when she’s hot but that’s it. So Paul would make me go in and get it for her. It took me a couple of goes to get the message from him, but it became bloody obvious that if I didn’t go for it, she would harass me and try and get my ball – which of course was sensible on dry land. So, I gave in and went after it. Boy, what a pain! I mean, I love the water, but you know how it is when you HAVE TO do things for your little sister…..

Since Blocker died, it gets cold down the bottom of the bed in winter. So, I’ve started moving up in the night and curling up against Paul’s legs. He doesn’t seem to mind, and mum has stopped worrying that I’m going to come and take her place at the head of the bed.

September 27 2002

Why do people wonder whether we dogs think or not? Say I’m walking through the park with my ball in my mouth, pretty sure of the path we are going to take. Say Paul decides to go a different way. There’s a point in the walk where he has to do that. If I’ve gone ahead down the usual way, he gets to that point and I can tell with the next step where he’s going, and I’m off ahead of him down the changed path. Now, what do you think just happened in my head? Or take another example – why do I decide sometimes to play in the dirt patch in the park, and other times not to. If a human did that, they’d be saying that the human was making a choice. How come when I do that they carry on about instinct? Clearly, I’ve made a choice that I want to play. I make all kinds of choices. Sometimes when we go to bed, I like him to give my tummy a rub, so I’ll give him the signal when he comes to pat me, I’ll lift my leg as I lie on my side, and he knows I want a scratch. Other times, he can pat and wheedle all he likes, but I just don’t feel like it and my leg stays down. Sometimes I choose to eat the rice and macerated greens we occasionally get for dinner, especially if it’s mixed with some nice raw meat. Other times, Maddie and I have no doubt that we are not interested in it.

Okay, so sometimes I get carried away and look like I’m just doing it all by instinct. Like the time I raced out the gate and jumped onto what I thought was the tray of the ute to go for a ride, except he had moved the ute and I actually jumped onto the closed boot of the neighbours car. But hey, how many of those Funniest Home Video shows are made up of humans making a mistake because they have switched to automatic and not to thinking about what they are doing. Paul does it all the time. He’ll get in the car to go somewhere and find he’s automatically started going somewhere else that he goes to more regularly. Now, whose being instinctual or conditioned her?

There’s a new standard poodle in the park who has a tail that kind of curves up and over her back, a bit like mine. The dykes who own her say that they vet calls this a ‘gay tail’. Naturally Marilyn and Paul nodded their heads when they heard this and looked at me meaningfully!

October 3 2002

I have made new rules for the dirtball game. In Sydney Park where we now go again since Blocker isn’t with us to maul other dogs (well, he was a mite over-protective, it’s true – but then, what’s an alpha male to do) there’s no dirt mounds. So, I’ve decided now that any patch of dirt will do, no matter how sparse nor how flat. I dunno, maybe it’s the smell. Maybe it’s the taste of the ball when it’s covered in dirt. I can’t pin it down. I just love it.

Blocker never used to talk much (and don’t be cruel and say that’s cause his mouth was mostly full of some other dog). Mum, Maddie, talks a blue streak when she wants to make a point. She’s always telling Paul off when he’s late taking us on the walk, or when he’s been away for some days without ringing in, or when he’s paying attention to me and not to her. And boy, when he’s watching tv, she gets really annoyed if I go anywhere near him, and let’s all and sundry know.

I didn’t talk for a while, but since Blocker’s gone I’ve taken over a bit of his role and so now I give Paul an earful from time to time. I am perfecting the art of the low, long meaningful moan – just enough annoyance, just enough humour to carry it off without being roused on.

I can see him these days wondering if one day I’m going to put my paws through the glass door as I scratch at it when he’s coming in the back. I suppose I shouldn’t, but it’s one of those things I’ve got into the habit of.

October 9 2002

We are on bivouac – or at least that’s what Paul calls it. His dad is staying with us because he – the old man, not Paul – is ill. So he – the old man, not Paul – is in our bed and the three of us – me, mum and Paul – are sleeping on a mattress in the office. Delicious! Soooo much lower to the ground for when my leg gets a little stiff as it is beginning to do in winter. That’s the leg that got injured when I forgot not to chase cars one day in my youth. We are using a sleeping bag like a doona – at least he is, Paul; I am having a wonderful time lying on its silkiness. I wonder if I can convince him to get a satin doona cover for the big bed!
October 18 2002

Sometimes I think Blocker possesses me. I can’t account otherwise for why I’ve suddenly taken to nipping and yelping at mum when we are about to head off for our walk. Very Blocker thing to do. I dunno what happens. Do my synapses goa bit haywire and think mum’s a sheep I have to herd? Do I think that she’s annoying Paul with her own frantic behaviour when we are off to do work, and so I have to keep her in line? Something sure goes on because I never treat her like that at other times. And I never did that when Blocker was around, it was his schtick.

October 31

Look, I’m not selfish, really I’m not. But I see a bone and I have to have it. I see two bones and I have to have both of them. What can I say? Paul thought it amusing that I started off sleeping in the corridor last night with my jaw nudged up against the bone I’d been gnawing all day. He asked me who I thought might steal it in the night. Well – how would I know? But someone just might! Anyway, I have noticed that when I leave a bone in his office or in the corridor overnight it is certainly gone by the next morning or at least by the time I come back from my walk. So, I have cause to be cautious. Okay, I can go with the rule of not taking the bone to bed with me. I can accept that Paul doesn’t want anything smelly and lumpy in his bed other than mum and me. But then he ought not get smirky when I want to feel that hard cartilage against my jaw at least in the corridor at night. Oh, and of course mum’s not averse to nicking the bone if she gets the chance. So who’s paranoid?
Daffyd, corridor, Oct 2002
Not the best shot of me, I admit, but Paul wants it in cause he thinks it amusing – so be it. And hey, it’s comfortable, all right – NOT an invitation!daffydincorridor.jpg
Okay, so I take my ball to bed sometimes!

November 2002

Hmmm. Seem some scientists have done a study that shows that we dogs are waaaay better at reading humans facial and body expressions than are wolves and monkeys (with the latter coming in that order). In fact they found that puppies with virtually bugger all exposure to humans can nonetheless walk into a room and just by a quick look at a person work out which dog bowl some food is hidden under.

As if this is news to me! I’ve said before how easy it is for me to read Pauls’s gestures when we are out walking as to which direction he may want to go when paths fork. Just takes a nod of his head in the proposed direction and I am onto the case.

Still, I suppose it’s nice to have this validated by the boffins!.

March 2003

Look, it’s just not in my nature to complain about the bad manners of others which is why it ain’t me kicks up the fuss when Slim pees in every bowl, or when he grabs the ball that’s been thrown for me, or the other day when he decided to sit in the chair I had had to move to as he took over the spot on the couch where I used to lie. No, really, it’s all right. I have my orange ball and he has never tried to go for that and he HAD BETTER NOT TRY!!!!

I’m nearly 5 years old! Where has the time gone?

Oh, and I have told them often enough that when I bark and get the others going it isn’t just being twitchy, there is usually someone near enough to the property to cause me worry. So, what did they expect when they didn’t come into the main house when we were barking the other night at the guy who was busy stealing things from Mary’s room! Of course, they jsut thought it was me crying wolf and sat there watching the t.v. and of course the guy got away with it!

July 2003

Wow, I mean, really, WOW! We have had the hall floorboards sanded and polished with a heavy duty shellac. Not only does it shine but it is THE BEST surface to go sliding on!!!!! Paul and Marilyn seem to think that they should/could prevent me from running up and down – hah!!!!! I care not if my admittedly long and rather sharp nails make for the off scratch or two!

Five years old now! That damned bash on the leg I got when I was younger is giving me trouble as a result. Winter is not a good time for it. Paul and I both have arthritis pains on the cold days. He has to have his wrists strapped in neoprene to keep his thumbs supports and warm. None of that for me, though. And I am not bad enough to need anti-inflammatories either, though the time will no doubt come. And it doesn’t get in the way of a good play with the ball. daffydcouchsmall.jpg

Slim is no real replacement for Blocker, and I miss my bro heaps – especially now in winter as he used to lie at the bottom of the bed with me and we would keep each other’s bums warm. Paul has been kind enough to put a hot water bottle down there for my bum and his toes, but it’s not the same. But I do quite like riding with Slim in the back of the ute, and he comes in handy when we need to muster up the pack at the back gate.

October 2003

Finally have Paul trained to give me a few throws of the ball each morning while he reads his paper and has his cuppa. I mean, it’s not like I’m asking for a lot – all he has to do is reach down and toss it – though sometimes just to get the lazy bugger exercising I will drop it a little out of reach and he has to get up and pick it up. Have been taking shark cartilage pills for the arthritis, as does Paul. We are not convinced it makes a heap of difference, but it may be that we aren’t taking the right kind – his masseur is going to give us the good oil so to speak on this.

I’ve been losing a tad more weight than Dr Margaret likes so I am happily back onto getting a bigger helping and the more than occasional treat while Paul’s cooking. I’ve got him figured out on that one. All I have to do is hang around watching and I’m bound to get something tossed my way. Trouble is that Maddie and Slim have caught on as well!

I’ve been sneaking up the bed occasionally on the colder nights and curling up with my back against Paul’s. Suits us both. He’s getting a little annoyed that I’ve been getting up so early these mornings. He keeps muttering about writing to the Premier to get daylight saving brought in earlier. But I think in a way he quite likes having a good licking from me two or three times before he finally gets out of bed.

March 2004

Paul thinks that most writers about their dogs underestimate how much human language we comprehend. He also thinks that it’s perfectly okay to develop different commands for different dogs as he is reckons we are as individual as the humans he deals with. Well, duh! Anyway, he as asked each of us to write down the words we reckon we understand when used to order or request things of us or reward us etc. Here goes my list:

Sit, stay, here, down – these are pretty standard for all of us.

No more – used when he is sick of throwing the ball for me. Also the word enough.

Get the ball, get your ball, where’s the ball, where the fuck is the ball – all of these I understand mean I have left the ball behind on the walk. Mostly I can backtrack to where that was, but occasionally it takes a bit of searching, and often it’s where the fuck is that bloody ball.

Bring it here – I understand to mean bring the ball somewhere in the vicinity of an arm or leg’s reach.

Off the bed – is self explanatory.

Daffyd – said when I am sleeping on the pillow where Maddie sleeps I know very well means I have to move off it because Maddie is having a snoot that I am there.

Outside – means I have to back off some distance, not always outside as there isn’t always an outside to go to, but the implication is that I need to get out of the line of fire or sight.

I know that Daffy, Daffyd, Deedo, Doobie, Deefer, Dee, Mr Dibble, Daggleboo, Daggletooth all mean me.

When I think of more I’ll add them in.

He’s also asked me why I insist on grabbing his hand in my mouth when he comes home from being away or in the mornings when he finally gets out of bed. Look, I don’t know, to tell the truth – I mean, does HE know why he does everything he does? Maybe it’s just convenience – when I get worked up and stand up to say hello or whatever, his had is usually there tyring to hold me back and maybe it just gets in the way of my mouth? It’s not like I’m biting him after all, it’s just a friendly grasp. Same for why I insist on getting up and pawing at the glass in the door when I see him about to come in from being out. I just want to say hello and the glass gets in the way.

I am rather chuffed that my ball – the one I play with! – attracts so much attention from the other dogs at the park. It frustrates other owner companions when their little mutt abandons the usual tennis ball and runs over avid for my large orange squeaky alternative.

March 2005

Can it really be a year since I last wrote! I hasten to say it ain’t been cause I have a boring life! Sure, the parameters of it a pretty much known now that I’m 6 1/2 years down the track, but each day things shift a little and every now and them something major happens. Like, for instance, I’ve given up on playing ball in the park. Okay, so Paul had a lot to do with it, but if it hadn’t been for me for the umpteenth time forgetting where I left the ball as I dropped it to chase the magpies, and had it not been for what I fear is a less acute nose than in my youth, both of which resulted in Paul chucking a wobbly at having to buy the umpteenth exact orange ball, the change may never have happened. But hey, I’ve been doing some reading lately and that’s exactly the sort of long odds that got life started on this planet.

Anyway, the result was that I’ve taken up sticks in a BIG way. This has a lot of advantages. There is an endless supply at hand in the park as the gum trees there are forever dropping branches so there’s no expense involved (though why Paul should begrudge the minor expense on the balls is HIS business!). Paul can actually throw the stick further than he could kick the ball and mostly he manages not to hit anyone, though I think there have been two drops on Maddie and one time I got a tad in the way and got knocked on my lip. Then there’s the taste, each stick just that little bit different – different species, terroir, dryness – and the textural variation, too. We do try and hang on to good ones when we find them, give them a few weeks worth of use. Paul carries them in the back of the ute for me – I guess he’s sort of a caddy.

The stick also gives me WAY more opportunity for fun. I don’t know what it is about them, but I just love pawing at them and barking myself silly every time I catch up with them when they’ve been thrown. No, no, I don’t pretend they are snakes or anything, after all as Karl Jung said sometimes a stick is just a stick, and a damned exciting one at that. This means that on weekend mornings we have to now vary our walk route as the some of the people neighbouring on the park were not happy that I was happy early on a Saturday.

Other changes? Well, somehow a sort of round soft bed thingy that Marilyn bought for Slim to snooze on when we are all out the back watching tv has wound up in Paul’s office. And what with Slim never having so much as put a paw on it I figured he wasn’t going to get snooty if I took it over. It’s great. Just the right bigness for me and saves me having to climb up onto the day bed when I want to get comfy.

Thought you might like to see a recent pickie of me and Slim. He is SUCH a show-off about those bloody kelpie ears of his. I can’t help it if mine just never got around to sticking up!

The arthritis hasn’t been so bad lately, but I’m not looking forward to winter. Had a major flea invasion there for a few months in summer, with all three of us scratching away. Paul had to resort to bombing the whole house.

Paul’s taken to slaughtering pigs. Okay, not entirely true. The guy he used to buy flowers off from Mangrove Mountain runs a few pigs for himself and has twice now killed one for Paul as well. The last time it was great fun as Paul had a whole pig that he had to butcher up on the kitchen bench. Quite fascinating, standing around watching to see when a stray piece of bone or skin was going to be flung our way. He’s also now getting geese and ducks from the guy which is cause for more fascination as he plucks them and then guts them. The smell at this point is maddening!!! He was boning up hocks today to make pork curry and we had the pleasure of chomping down on some mighty fine pork bone. The pigs are very free range. Robin, that’s the guy who grows them, hang around for the first few months in an old cattle yard and eat the grass in there and all kinds of healthy vegie scraps. Then Robin lets them loose into a fenced off area of bushland and they meander around in there till they get the chop. There was a big storm up the farm one time, and one of the pigs, who in his short life had never seen rain, took off into the bush for days and was lost. Robin was worried that the porker would get nervy and shed kilos. The evidence on or kitchen bench weeks later suggested much the contrary!

December 2005

THE FOLLOWING IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED OR THE EASILY MOVED (LIKE THOSE WHO CRY AT THE DEATH OF LITTLE NELL)

Look, there’s no point in beating around the bush – I have been/am hovering? at the door of the great Cerberus. The specialists at the swish North Short Vet Taj Mahal (well, what else would you call this two story, wall to ceiling glass sided, all light and airy joint I have been lodging in for the last week?) are not entirely sure what’s going on but basically my blood platelets level fell to like 10% of what they should be, I couldn’t walk, was off my food in a BIG way, was extremely depressed etc etc etc. We think it’s basically some kind of meningitis or encephalitis, which is to say basically some bloody bug that’s rampaging in me and turning my immune system into my own worst enemy. All of us at home thought it at first it was just my arthritis playing up as it has all winter – having necessitated me starting on something seaweedy called Sasha’s Blend which is basically supposed to build my bones back but doesn’t seem to have done to much of that, and on the far more exciting Metacam, a pain killer that I could get really really fond of! But after a couple of days of dosing with SB and M things were getting worse if anything. I had a short stint at Margaret’s – our family GPV – but they got worried when my eyes started to flicker and shunted me off to here where I have been basically lying on my side not doing a lot for the first couple of days while a battery of tests was carried out – and now I know why it’s called a battery; I look like something an out of control Victa lawn mower has been getting too – lots of bald patches where various substances have been extracted – no way am I going back to the Park till that’s all grown back!

Anyway, I’ve been on a recovery path for the last couple of days as they does me up with antivirals and antibiotics. I’m off my drip now and have got my appetite back (which is no easy feat as all the salons in which we critters live while inpatients seem to face the operating tables of the hospital!!! – the vets assured Paul that I saw nothing of what went on – yeah, sure!) My platelets are back to normal, I’ve been able to get my chest off the ground, and have been able to pee without being ‘expressed’ though I have to be reminded to do it. Looks like Santa is going to have to make a small diversion to drop of my chrissy pressie as they won’t let me go home till I can move around myself – to prevent me getting swollen joints and sores – and remember to pee.

As to the cause, the forensic heavies back home got their best CSI brains working and think it may have been that I got infected from sipping the algae infested water in the ‘wetlands’ at Sydney Park, with the possible entry route being a sore I had on my tongue. Sounds plausible.

Other than that, things have been pretty good!! No, really, the arthritis is a pain (pun intended) which Paul and I look like we are going to have to put up with for future winters – his and my arthritis, that is, with both of us taking glucasamine one way or the other – though I have to keep an eye on Paul to check he don’t swig ma pain killer when I aint-a-looking!

More when I recover.

Later: Well, back home for Christmas! Slim instantly got in a snoot as I rather think he’d been hoping I’d ‘left the building’ so he could have more of Paul’s attention. Stiff shit! I’m still a bit wobbly in my back legs – can’t quite make that jump into the back of the ute, so all of us are now riding in the cabin, which I suspect Paul thinks rather misses the point of having the ute in the first place. As I said before – stiff! I’m on cortisone pills and some antibiotic for a couple of weeks and then they’ll check progress. The damned cortisone makes me very thirsty and Marilyn is determined I won’t slake my thirst by drinking from the water garden as I am used to. This thirst is leading to a tad of embarrassment at nights, as I get ‘caught short’ despite going for a walk before bed. P & M put paper down for me and I try to be good.

It appears now that the thingy on my tongue may have in fact been a symptom and not a cause – I may well have been chewing my tongue as I went ga-ga with the lack of platelets.

We are all back to walking in the Park, and I emphasise the walking. Paul is a little put out that he can’t go for his runs with us, but it would knacker me, even though he is taking us out in the mornings now as M is on hols and is sleeping in. I’m not quite up to chasing the ball, though it’s nice to drop it in the grass occasionally and have P have to give it a kick a short distance for me to amble up to.

My appetite is back, and I think the cortisone is also having a hand in this. Paul was mincing up some pork today and it was all I could do to get no closer than a couple of feet from him and hope like hell something would fall over the side. I could do with a tad of fattening up since the enforced diet, though.

I don’t quite know why or how long it will last but I also seem to have developed a high register bark in place of my gruffer old one. Drugs – what can I say!

Feb 2006

Well, the dramas seem to be over. Feel fantastic, mostly, and having a great time jumping into the tray – though Paul is kind enough to put the tailgate down so it’s not quite so much of a leap, my left paw is still a tad gammy and will probably sty that way – DREAD WINTER approacheth! Good to run again, though, and chase those bloody maggies and currawongs who have got a tad above themselves in my convalesence – not helped by a certain BROWN DOG’s failure to keep them in check. And the bark is back in the basso!!

July 2006

Gee, I must have been having an off day when I wrote that last entry – quel brief!

Anyhoo, winter has arrived well and truly and I feel FANTASTIC! Dog bless Immuran, say I, which not only is keeping my neuros in check but also seems to have given my arthritis the flick. Paul is eyeing off my pills, but seems to be doing not too bad on his mix of glucasamine and cartrofin. So I’ve been having my usual fun time leaping in and out of the ute – or truck, as Paul’s youngest kid Arlo loves to call it – and dashing madly after balls. Paul in his usual obsessive way has taken to picking up abandoned tennis balls in the Park and I now have five or six in the ute tray and another dozen or so rattling around the floor of the cabin. Mind you, he still gets annoyed whenever I lose one of these gazillion balls we now have! I’m usually able to find the ones I drop as I go tearing after those bloody magpies with Slim, but in this very wet weather we’ve been having I sort of lose the scent of me among all the other exciting smells coming up from the leaf litter and wood chip mulch. Stand to reason, don’t all those prison movies show how the crims escape the dogs by jumping into various streams so the padders lost the scent? Well, if them, why not I!

Yes, it’s been bucketing down this month, which means that Paul has been wandering deeper and deeper into the bush plantings in search of mushies to document – and he goes on about ME being obsessive! I have absolutely no interest, however, in this mud nuzzling and eating caper that Maddie gets into. The only point of walking through a wet forest as far as I can see is ……..WET SMELLY STICKS, HEAPS AND HEAPS OF THEM. Yes, I’m like a kid in a lolly shop – so many delicious things to chew and harass and so little time! I politely carry the ball from the car to where we start our ramblings, and then promptly discard said ball for the inestimable, ineffable pleasure of damp, stinky sticks. And there’s the added excitement when we get to a patch of really thick leaf litter or mulch of being able to play the digging-around-the-stick-while-barking-madly-at-it game, which I am not allowed to do too near the houses on weekend mornings and people seem to still be asleep when we hit the walk.

And reports from certain vets that I am a couple of kilos overweight ought to be disregarded as it appears to have got Paul into the habit of giving us all short rations for dins! Well, things will be better when I have the holiday stay at the Petersham Hilton where the girls know how to pamper a handsome guy like moi.

Dec 2006

I really don’t have a lot to say. You know me, life just seems to go on and as long as Paul keeps up the supply of balls and sticks, well, what’s the fuss. Okay, so it’s lucky that other pups lose their balls about as often as I do so that P always manages to find their balls just when I lost another of mine, but I think at this stage we are 8 or so balls up at last count of what’s rattling around in the back of the ute.

I seem to be attracting the attention of Francesca, P’s niece, who has rather taken to me and asks after me all the time and goes ballistic when she visits. She’s a nice kid and loves throwing the ball and hanging around my neck. Actually it seems to have become the thing to do for all the kids when they visit. Well, you get not a lot of fun out of mum Maddie, and Slim tends to be only interested if he thinks you may have some food hidden somewhere on you, so it’s left up to good old sociable me to be nanny. One good thing about the renovations is that now that the glass walls are up there is less chance of the thrown balls ending up in the moat!

Paul reckons I am starting to pale out where I used to be a lovely tan orange, but I dunno so much – I think he’s just projecting as he’s now 54 himself while I am supposedly 64 in human years. I don’t feel it, I have to say. Haven’t had a re run of the arthritis or the neuro thingy, still have my appetite and still give the magpies and currawongs a run for it in the Park when I take the notion.

P has moved some furniture around since the renovations and I am not sure I approve. My couch has now become his and Maddie’s and his couch has now gone into the big new space and I am supposed to make do with just a lounge chair in the tv room – so in protest I am pointedly not joining them in the tv room but taking myself off to the big room and lying on the couch there. To tell the truth, it’s very comfortable and now that the area is fully enclosed it’s just toasty comfy for moi. Not sure how it will be when winter hits, but it will do very nicely for the moment.

June 2007

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me! Yessir, here I am 9 years old and still the sleek, active, ball-catching funster I always was. Okay, it’s a little sad that my mum Maddie died, but we are all recovering from that and getting on with things. Mind you, I haven’t quite got up the courage to move up the bed and take up her spot next to Paul, still like curling up down the bottom right hand corner where I lodged when Blocker, mum and I first sorted out our bed positions. It’s not that I think mum would be upset, it just is that I really do like being down the bottom there, and besides it means I don’t disturb Paul when I shift around or get on and off the bed, and he doesn’t disturb me when he turns over.

Haven’t had a rerun of whatever it was that sent me off last year – thank the big dog in the sky for drugs, I say! The immuran I take also helps heaps with the encroaching arthritis – not a sign of it so far this winter. Paul is envious – he has to sit there an type this with mittens on to keep his little paws warm to reduce the pain from his inherited arthritis in the thumbs.

Now that mum’s dead Paul has started running with us in the park a couple of times a week again – couldn’t do it while she was around as she was getting very slow on her walks. It’s okay, the running, as both Slim and I could easily pick the pace up past what Paul’s able to do over the long term, so we mainly have a casual trot while he huffs and puffs. Means I have to wait till we hit the green before I get the ball kicked for me, but that’s okay, he doesn’t get away with NOT kicking it!

The kitchen and dining area have finally been renovated and they bought some lovely leather furniture which I am having a nice time lying on – stiff that they have to put covers on them to stop me scratching the leather with my nails!

July 2008

Happy bir….No wait, I did that last time. But what the heck, yep, I’ve had another one! Paul thinks I’m 11 or 10 or he hasn’t actually got any idea anymore, and you know what, neither do I. I can’t even remember how many balls I’ve lost in all that time – gee, must be heaps and heaps.

Oh, wait, I have to tell you the MOSTFANTASIC thing! You know how the renos had all been done this time last year and there were these leather chairs, well it turns out that the one I LOVE is a repro of some famous chair  – the Barcelona – by this AMAZING architect who’s dead called MIes van der Rhoe (I think that’s how it’s spelt). How did that guy know how exactly I was going to fit on it! It’s SOOOO good I don’t care that Dooki has taken to sleeping on MY DOGGIE BED in the kiitchen, even when it’s winter and the floor is heated and that BED is sooooooooooooooooooooooo warm.

Not a lot more to say, really, days are pretty much same old same old – you know, we wake up and I bark the place stoopid waiting to go for my walk, I lose another ball, we come back, I gulp down my bickies, Paul gets up, I harass him into throwing the ball in the house – playing catch, mostly, then we all have a rest while he reads the paper and does his crossword puzzle, Marilyn goes off to work, Paul heads to the office, I climb on the Barcelona chair, we get all worked up when someone walks past in the street, then it’s time for the afternoon walk and I harass Paul by getting antsy and wandering up and down the corridor and barking, the we lost another ball, then we come home and I gobble my dinner, then I get on the Barcelona chair till it’s bedtime, then I curl up and the foot of the bed – or sneak up to Maddie’s spot sometimes – and then…

IT’S MORNING!!! And AMAZINGLY it all happens all over again! I mean, how good is that!

Oh, but I HAVE to tell you about Frannie,Paul’s niece, who is like 7 or something and the fabbest person in the whole world cause she can spend as much time throwing the ball for me as I can chasing after it! She’s so great I don’t care when she lies on the floor with me and grabs my fur and pulls it – well, for a little while anyway. And Paul’s youngest Arlo is getting to that kinda stage, too, he loves to go for walks with us and is GREAT and THROWING the ball, really far!

So, okay, Paul reckons time to let Dooki take over… and anyway, I think I need to go find another ball.

June 2009

Gee, another year gone! A little greyer around the muzzle, but other than that I reckon I’m still doing darn well. The legs haven’t been playing up at all this winter, which is great. Of course, sleeping on Dooki’s bed during the day on the heated floor helps heaps, and no, I am not worried about her having to head up to the bedroom and like on the cuship up there!

Casey, Paul’s niece has been staying with us for a while and I like her and all but…when Paul, Marilyn and Casey are all watching tv Casey has to sit on MY COUCH and call me a grumpy old bugger, but I like it all the MYSELF really. It was great when Paul was in PNG – I could go sit in his chair, still do if he is in his office at night.  I’m sure Casey would move over if I asked, but you now I am not the king of guy to make a fuss.

Mornings Paul comes out and works in the sunny kitchen and that means we all get to come and join him instead of having to traipse up to the cold dark office. The Mies couch is just perfect for lazing on as the sun pours into the room.

Frannie continues to think I am just the best thing, and of couse she’s right.

June 2010

A whole year older – that’s 13 of them but no-one in the Park believes Paul when he tells them, they reckon I am ‘doing well’ for a dog my age! What do they want – me to be staggering along all arthritic! Stumbling into the fence cause i can’t see! Well, I have my mum’s genes in me and she came from a line of old stayers ,country dogs, so look out world there’s plenty of balls to chase and I am up for it!

And guess what! The day after my birthday we all went to hear Laurie Anderson do the first ever concert for dogs at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, which was a total buzz in itself, but I nearly wet myself when just before her last song she said for everyone to hear ‘And happy thirteenth birthday Daffy’!!! Paul had snuck up to her before the show and asked her would she, and she said yes, and she did, and even more amazing it was her birthday  – not on my birthday but today  -  I mean the day of the concert. I didn’t care that she didn’t get my name totally right, it was SUCH A BUZZ! And Casey and Marilyn were there and heard it and Paul recorded the whole concert and right there at the end you can hear her ‘And happy thirteenth bithday Daffy’ and I didn’t even care that she said how old I was!

Casey has moved out which I miss but then it means I get the whole couch back again for winter, though I liked putting my head on her lap, especially when she was eating. And sometimes I started off the night sleeping under her bed and I’d wait till Slim had got up from lying up near Paul’s head and moved down the bed and then I would sneak in and lie up there like mum Maddie used to.

Oh, oh, oh and the other thing which I need to make sure I tell you is about this sculpture Paul bought after he saw it a Sculpture By The Sea last year. There were these big metal cutouts of dogs on the hill and one of them looked EXACTLY like ME! And get this, the guy who made them doesn’t even have a DOG! Never has, but he loves doing paintings and sculptures of us and somehow he did this one that looks just like it could be off a negative of a picture of me down at the farm at Berry. So now it’s in the garden at home and it’s like looking in a mirror!

Paul’s been away a lot over the last year, going to New Guinea with this work he’s doing, and Shannon our walker moved up the North Coast so now we have a new walker named Mel who is really nice and friendly and because she lives near us we usually get picked up first and dropped off last which means we get to go for really long rides.

Oh, oh, yeah, and, and Paul sometimes now buys these great bickies from the cafe that opened at the Park near the kids playground, and sometimes we meet Colleen and Jan there and I get to eat muffins!

Paul is very pleased that this year I have only managed to lose one tennis ball.

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