Slim

Okay, very funny, so I look a bit mad, well, let me tell you how come I look like that on December 8th 2002.

slim

Paul likes to tell people that I fell off the back of a truck. They all laugh, but hey, it’s true. I dunno just how or when, but sometime on the morning of the 7th of December I think I must have fallen of the back of my first alpha male’s truck as he/she sped madly down the Murray Valley Highway between Robinvale and Swan Hill. All I remember is that at some time I found myself standing in the middle of that same highway lookin this way, lookin that way and tyring to work out what had happened.

Then this blue Holden Statesman pulls up right in front of me like it expects me to move for it. I did, just across to the other lane where this other car goes a bit crazy like and skids over to the gravel and stops. Next thing I know, this bald tanned guy (well, I didn’t know people came in that colour, okay) is coming up to me and tyring to shoo me away. This does not make sense to me, so I move a little bit down the road and another car comes to a screeching halt. Trouble is, none of them is mine.

So I decide to get off the road for a bit and think about things. Then this guy, turns out his name is Paul, and this sheila he is travelling with, turns out her name is Marg, are there with a bowl of water and urging me to come and have a drink. Well, I thinks why not. I hear them gabbing about where am I from, and am I lost, and Paul goes off to see can he find any trace of a farm or my tracks or something. Then I hear something about have to come with us to the next town and the front passenger seat door is open and Paul is asking me to get in.

Well, I couldn’t think of any reason not to. I figured maybe they’d take me to my truck. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Because it’s a Sunday, right, and no way are they going to find a vet in any town and even if they did – they give me that look like I remember my former alpha male giving the chooks come Saturday evening. Yeah, they figure right. Who’s going to hang on to a scruffy thin dag like moi. And boy was I thin, hooped like an old keg of the brown stuff.

So next thing I know, they’ve stopped in Swan Hill and I am having primo steak bits while they have a coffee. I have a brand new collar to replace the red plastic strip with the frayed rope that I had around me when found, and I have a new lead too. Not that I need it. They figure out soon enough that I’ve been trained up pretty well so far – no running, mad, no barking, no wandering off, coming when called. So things are sweet as we head the 900klms back to Sydney and Paul’s house.

Along the way, we spent the night in a caravan park cause of course Australia is so paranoid about dog germs that they wouldn’t have found a motel that would take me – hey, sounds like a Christmas story don’t it! This gave Marg the opportunity to sleep in a caravan annexe for the first and last time in her life. I tried to make it comfortable for her – I slept on the floor right next to her and farted from time to time to reassure her, and gave her the occasional lick of the hand.

Marilyn had given the go ahead for me to come back to the Big Den in Petersham, so that’s where I’ve ended up, and boy has it been an experience!.

The first day there I got taken to the torture room – okay, the vet, and the next thing I know I’m being prodded and poked with a thermometer up my bum. Then I’m jabbed with several sharp objects. And then – can you believe it – they cut my balls off! Now, did I give informed consent? I did not! Just because I had no idea what I was doing by ambling along friendly like to that chamber of horrors did not mean consent! Then they whacked some mind control object into my ear – they reckon it’s an identification micro-chip but I know what it’s REALLY about.

Oh, but I didn’t tell you, my name – it’s Slim Dusty. Now, for those of you in the know, you’ll recognise that as being the name of the foremost living country and western singer in Australia. But some of you will also recognise that the Dusty part is also a nod in the direction of Paul’s favourite girl singer, the very dead Dusty Springfield. But the name mostly came because when they found me I was slim and, yep, I was Dusty.

I’m pretty well at home in the Big Den now. Maddie and Daffyd didn’t mind me joining them – though they won’t let me sleep on the bed with Paul. Stiff shit! I’ve got the whole of the office couch to myself at nights – LUXURY! And I keep to it during the day. Daffyd, being the wuss he is, quietly acquiesced and now just lies on the carpet or curls up in what used to be Blocker’s chair.

Not that I want to be alpha male two, mind you. I’m quite happy just being a youngster (I am apparently about 18 months old). I did pee on everything in sight when I first came – but since the balls went, I seem to have lost the urgency for that. I have developed some bad habits, like joining in the general melee of barking and mad rushing when we are getting ready for a walk. And I have a fetish for Marilyn’s shoes. I gave up trying to nick food when I discovered I just had to hang around and it would appear pretty regularly twice a day.

I love riding in the back of the ute – well, they reckon when you fall of a horse you should get straight back onto it. Daffyd had been riding in the cabin since Blocker died, but he’s now joined me again out back.

I’ve become a hit at the park – well I would, wouldn’t I – check out the photos! Though, it seems that some of them have taken to calling me Persil bum because I have a very white heart-shaped furry arse.

Anyhoo, enough for now.

Later

Forgot to tell you the oogie boogie bit, which I have to just to embarrass the hell out of Paul given he doesn’t go for that stuff. Turns out that the last dream Paul had before he woke up on the morning on which they came across me, Paul was wandering through the Big Den in Petersham calling out for Blocker!!! How weird is that!! Of course, those who are in to that kind of thing immediately on hearing this said Blocker was making sure that Paul would still get his three-dog night in winter – though it has to be said I am pretty puny compared with Blocker and won’t be taking up as much space – well, particularly if I decide that the bed is a total No Go area and stick to the office couch. Then again, I haven’t had a winter up here and may find putting up with the baleful gaze of grumble bum Maddie is a price I’m willing to pay for grabbing some of the heat for myself!

Oh, the other kinda fun kinda oogie boogie thing was that the morning after the found me – hey, maybe I’ve just set up a new way of telling the years: BS and AS, Before Slim and After Slim – anyway, as I was saying, the next morning when they were stocking up with smoked good from Butt’s in Albury (gees you should have seen the boot of the car after those two had wandered around the countryside buying up local produce – I mean, you could have started a deli!) (gees, look who’s getting all Proustian with the long sentences and all) Marg spotted a bottle of – wait for it – Red Kelpie Relish! which of course got into the boot and came out on Christmas Eve to great acclaim.

Paul told Mary I could be her house dog since she doesn’t have much standing with Maddie and Daffyd. So I get to go on visits to Heather and James’ house when she goes, and get taken walking when they go swimming. She thought I might sleep in her room – but she’s a light sleeper and I was quickly shown the door.

Speaking of James, he nearly got into trouble cause he took me onto a building site with him one day – he’s a carpenter – and didn’t bring me back home till 9.30pm. I had a ball, of course, especially when this pet rabbit wandered into the yard where he had sensibly tied me up with some rope. When he first appeared, he was well outside of my reach – I know cause I tried to get him and ended up strung out. But he hadn’t counted on my smarts. I kinda took a step or two back, and he foolishly took a step or two forward. I did the same and he did the same. And ……..yeah, well, that’s when James cottoned on to what I was doing and decided his job wasn’t a rabbit between my jaws. Good game, but.

My dog days – an occasional diary

March 2003

Hoo boy! Not a second even to write till now! Boy am I loving it up here. I have decided to stick to that office couch whenever I am not required for showing off to guests and friends, or for my many walks, or for chasing birds and cats out of the yard etc. Which actually is most of the time – talk about the easy life! Cousin mother Maddie and I now are a pair of great swallow chasers – I had no idea what on earth she was on about at first, but now, boy do they beat sheep! And cousin brother Daffyd has taught me how to bark when I want to express joy, anger, franticness, confusion, etc. and the best thing is they can all be the same! He’s in trouble for teaching me, by the way, but I get away with it when I just bat my eyelashes and simper – which I have also learned to do excellently.

And did I tell you about my tan! Well, what I mean is that under the influence of this bonzer diet – two meals a day and whatever I can pick up on the walk when Herr SS Paul isn’t watching – my fur has darkened rather marvellously. Oh, and I think I am now able to be called Svelte – though that’s such a stoopid name for a dog I think they will stick with Slim!

I am also having some fun digging holes in the backyard to pretend that I am bored. Got into a spot of bother when I did this in the vegie patch and Commandant Paul has now fenced me out – well, I pretend I am as I can frankly quite easily jump over the mingey bit of chicken wire he’s wrapped around his laughable attempts at poles for holding up the grapevine and wisteria – which frankly I could knock over with the touch of a paw.

Daffyd lets me play ball with him and Paul now. Paul throws it, then Daffyd and I chase it with me barking at Daffyd like Maddie used to bark at Gina (who now lives in the mountains). Daffyd picks it up and bring it back most of the way and in that typical Daffyd way drops it nowhere within arms length of Paul (who can’t of course reach far as his shoulder will probably pop out!). Then it’s my turn to pick it up and carry it in closer or right over past Paul and somewhere under a table or something. Both of us insist Paul plays at least five rounds of this every morning before he reads his paper. Daffyd is better at pestering him cause he knows just where to put all 30 kilos of himself behind his paws and gently rest them on Paul like Tony Soprano rests on the odd wiseguy.

I really like it when Paul takes us all down to Cooks River for a walk. The smells down there are out of this world and that squiggy mud when the tide’s out is great fun to oosh between my toes and up my legs. There’s lots of swallows down there too, and it’s great to run along the new paved path they are laying. Wish I could get at those shags that hang out on the boats down there but.

I have to fess up to a silly habit. I’ve taken to peeing in my food bowl after I’ve eaten from it. Hey, I dunno why! Marilyn reckons it’s something to do with making it mine and not letting Daffyd eat out of it. But the way Paul plays the old peanut game with the three bowls, I must have peed in each of them at least once by now and that doesn’t seem to stop Daffyd eating out of them!

July 2003

Well, it just doesn’t get any better than this, does it! Winter’s here and I now join the family in the tv room at night. I get to share the couch with Marilyn – Maddie of course shares with alpha Paul, and Daffyd is so big he has to have one to himself. Warm and ttoasty!! I have tried to sleep on Paul’s bed with the rest of the pack, but Maddie will not have it, and I figure it’s better to keep on her good side.

I have become quite a gardener, or at least, a great digger of holes which I don’t see why Paul doesn’t put plants into. Am I digging in the wrong place perhaps? Got my nose rubbed in it today, literally – now what’s that supposed to mean?

I was having a great time swimming after the ducks in the park pond until Paul got a case of the guilts and thought that was maybe giving me too much leave. I manage to get in there when he’s not looking, though, and occasionally get to do a couple of laps before he calls me back. Loving the swallows, though. Maddie and I have the maddest time withe them. Am becoming a little over-obsessed with crabs in the Cook’s River perhaps. The run in and out of the rocks that form the park seawall – I could stand for hours watching them poking their little feelers out to check whether I’ve gone or not! And somewhere in the second toilet there is a rat, I’m damned sure of it! I think he’s the same one that hangs around the snail composting bin. But Paul never gives me enough time to check it out!

October 2003

Paul got an email the other day from the sister of the woman who makes red kelpie relish. She had been searching the net looking for places that her sister’s product had ended up and got a link to my page and the story of how I got adopted. She reckoned she enjoyed the story.

Boy have I got used to the life here. Sleeping, having a bit of a walk, staring down noisy miners, sniffing out rats and mice (though Paul won’t let me chomp on them, damn him!), sleeping some more. Marilyn got a big round soft bed for me for the tv room to try and get me off her couch – fat chance! I like where I’ve settled thanks very much. The lime green throw that protects the couch goes just fine with me colouring, it’s soft and warm, and I have the couch that faces the tv full on – not that I watch it much, but it’s nice to know that if I chose to I’d not be watching it skewiff, like Daffyd would have to (he has a couch all to himself as he is so bloody big, I mean, how does a kelpie get to be as tall as a German shepherd?). Maddie decided she quite likes the bed as it sits on the floor next to Paul’s couch and she can lie near him undisturbed by him wriggling around.

Loving riding in the back of the ute with just enough lead to be able to put my paws on the wheel rim and get a good face full of air as we drive along. Oh, I did one of those stupid things the other day while walking with Marilyn. Ran off after a bird in the park and forgot where on earth I was. Panic! What to do! Remembered those tv programs about desert survival and thought better get back to the car and wait to be rescued, which is what happened thank heavens. One of the other dog companions walked past and saw me there (okay, and heard me yowling pathetically!) and told Marilyn where I was. Upsetting, though. I have to remember to not get so far ahead of the others – or behind them.

Paul has pretty well given up on stopping me digging under the hawthorn. And I know he also doesn’t mind if I go dig down the side near the snail farm. I do get a tad bored at times – Daffyd is such a solo guy that he only plays ball with Paul and is absolutely uninterested in mucking around with me. Maddie on the other hand quite likes a bit of a rumble from time to time – she’s damn sprightly for a 9 year old!

December 2003

Been here a year now and I’m just hitting my adolescence at 2 years old. My herding instinct switches on at the weirdest times – like when that pack of fluffy pooches comes over the hill at the park and I just can’t help doing a couple of runs at them – which they ignore, damn them! I’ve got a bit of an obsession for chasing the kurrawongs. Daffyd got me into it I have to say. There’s little more mad than racing across the hills at them as they stalk whatever they stalk in that toxic landfill park, charging after them as the fly off and then spending the next five minutes barking at them up a tree while they squawk irritably. Mind you, the ones I’d love to sink my teeth into are the little bul buls who insist on dive bombing me on me rounds of the park. As if I care that they have a nest in some shrub nearby. Pesky little critters fly just low enough to annoy and just high enough to avoid a quick snap.

But I do admit I may be getting a mite soft. I have developed an awful big liking for having Paul tickle my ears and cheek – could take it days on end. And I do like being said good night to as I drop off in the office chair. One hot night I did sneak into the bedroom and doss on the floor. Hasn’t been that hot again so haven’t had the opportunity to see whether it’s something I want to get used to or not.

March 2004

Hmmm. Words I understand, he wants. Well, I wish he knew some of the whistles I was learning, but then, I’m forgetting them now anyway. So;

Like the others I know sit, stay, come. Okay seems to mean that what ever I was doing before can stop and I can do whatever I want to do – like I can jump down from the ute cause the leash is untied.

‘Here’ said in a sharp tone and with finger pointing at the ground near his feet means I am in trouble – I have probably overstepped the familiarity mark with the ducks in the park and will now have to walk at heel for a while. Or it can just mean that I’ve gone missing in the trees. The period of here ends with the words ‘move out ‘which means I don’t have to follow behind anymore. Sometimes move out is said in desperation as I get a bit close to his heels when he is running. The cry of ‘where’s the birds’ is a signal for me and Maddie to find and chase swallows – not ducks, which is hard to remember. A cry of ‘brown dog’ from down the corridor means that he’s heading for the breakfast room and his cup of tea and paper and he wants me to join him and the others. I am happy to be known as Slim, Slimbo, Slimster, Brown Dog, Brownie and will let Mary call me Bimbo. I am not averse to be called Himbo when I am walking in the park and some owner companion comments on my good looks.

I have to also confess that I haven’t quite gotten used to the fact that I get two good meals a day and don’t really have to scavenge in the park or nick the bones off the kitchen table. I guess I have a touch of the Scarlett O’Haras – I never want to be hungry again.

I have a very good friend in the Park these days called Toby. He’s a chocolate labrador about my age and it’s perhaps embarassing how much I like him as I am wont to race across the Park and lollop with him when I see him in the distance. Well, live with a queen and you are going to have some of it rub off I guess!

Paul has asked me to comment that he always finds it amusing how set in our ways we pooches are. What he means is that for example when we jump into the ute and are waiting to get leashed up to the cross bars, I will always stand near the cross bar and Daffyd will always stand further toward the back of the tray. I will always have my head out the driver’s side of the tray, Daffyd will always have his out the left. I will always wait till Maddie and Daffyd have said good morning to Paul before I come into the bedroom to say my hellos. Well, I don’t know why he finds it amusing. After all, it’s not like human siblings don’t have their favourite seats in the car, or don’t have a pecking order. If they do, why should it be strange that we do?

July 2004

Paul wants us to record our fantastic capacity for spatial imaging. What he means is that he has come to see that we carry quite complicated geographic maps that allow us to take short cuts through parks etc and not always have to smell our way back to where we have been (though Daffyd insists that this is the only way he can find his ball when he’s left it behind as we head madly off after birds).

He has asked me to write about a recent example which shows this skill. We were walking back up over currawong hill in Sydney Park (at least that’s what we all call it as that’s where the currawongs are that Daffyd and I like to chase). I had gone a head – yes, chasing a currawong. At the top of the hill, the path veers to the right down to the car park. Off to the left, is an open area that runs down to the road, and down this I was chasing the bird. Between these two paths – okay, I know one of them isn’t a path, just follow what I am saying! – is a grove of native trees, mostly ti trees, quite large, so if you walk down the actual path, you can’t see the grassy bit down which I was running. Now, Paul and the others were as usual heading down the actual path to the car. At the place where the path they were walking on runs another path, making the base of a triangle with the actual path and the grassy sward (get the picture?). I was down the very bottom of the grassy bit, which continues down past the triangle base path and on to the road. Paul called to me as he began heading down his arm of this triangle. Now, instead of racing all the way back up my arm of the triangle, the grassy sward, and then turning and following him down the actual path, I knew that the base of the triangle would naturally lead me to where I could meet him as he hit the car park. Clearly, this was going to save me a lot of wasted energy, so I did. And that’s what he was quite taken with – that I had enough of map to know that if I cut across the bottom, I would meet up with him, even though my direct vision of him as he went down the path was cut off.

Got all of that?

December 2005

Hey gramps! About time you got around to writing something NEW about me!!!! And do not start it by telling everyone that having been initially named Slim Dusty after the Oz C & W singer who died last year, people of late have been calling me Fat Boy Slim! Well, what did you expect when a lean mean farm machine like me runs out of cattle to round up – especially when Ma Maddie has also given up on chasing swallows at the Park and makes me feel a dang fool if I go after them myself! Thank heaven for Daffyd who at least has the sense to join me in harassing the magpies and currawongs in the Park, though of course he’s been sick the last couple of weeks so that’s gone by the board as well. And then Paul himself ain’t been as reglar as he could be with his running in the Park neither; he’s been flying around the countryside doing some training and so often doesn’t get more than one run in a week. So what did they do? They cut my rations!!!! I’m down to half serves!! And Paul keeps a warden’s eye out when we are in the Park to see that I don’t head off towards where I know Colleen will have left food for the strays she adopts from time to time. Oh, and the old weird guy who used to sunbathe under the trees around the Village Green also headed off for some months so no scraps either – and now he’s back he’s plonked himself just where we first dismount from the ute so of course Paul issues his best Alpha male barks to stop me even thinking of heading off their when we hit the ground.

Well, now that that’s dealt with – what more to tell you? I’ve been getting pushy in grabbing the den bed in the early evenings and trying to pretend I am just some lumpy part of the mattress so I don’t get hoiked off for Daffyd. I often have an arvo sleep on Quentin’s old Balinese mat at the foot of the bed in the den, and then schlep across to Marilyn’s bed for a bit, too. I have given up the office chair I think for good, though I may go back there in winter as its curling possibilities suit the clime.

Toby and I continue to be the talk of the Park for our excessive kissing and cuffing whenever we get within paws length of each other. Hey, the odds are that one of us in the pack had to be, right!

Marilyn has begun taking me to the Growers’ Market on Saturday’s as at least I can behave myself when there – Daffyd would just be frantically excited and pulling on the lead all the time and Maddie would be whining everytime Paul stood still for a half a nanosecond. It’s okay, the Market; there’s lots of other dogs and sometimes Toby comes too. Not that I don’t go anywhere unless he comes!!!

I’m still not happy with the mynahs and butcher birds that hang around the home paddock. I wish Paul would get the renovations finished so they wouldn’t come into the kitchen pursuing moths and spiders. Sure, it’s sport to give them a rousing bark, but they do injure a fella’s pride when they just look at him with a beady dismissive stare and go on about feeding their beaks.

Can’t wait for Daffyd to get better and come home so I can give his ears a good lick out!

Feb 2006

Okay, so today I got a big thumbs up from Paul, which is always great to get since there are times I still don’t quite get city life even after 3 years of it. This one was for not going off after the cat food that Colleen usually sets out for the strays that live in the cement factory bordering the park. It might not sound like a lot, but I have long had the habit of drifting off down the hill and into the trees when in that vicinity to scoff down what I can find – I told you I haven’t got used to city living yet in some things, like knowing I get a meal twice a day and won’t be starving any time soon. But today, we were on the high path above the hill and I just kept walking along with Paul, so quiet and restrained that it wasn’t until we were well past the danger site that he even noticed I hadn’t hurried off. Well, was he chuffed or what – I got big scratchies when he noticed, and even Queen Maddie new that she was in the shade for that moment and didn’t try to muscle in on my glory.

I guess that slightly tempers my disappointment that Paul’s brothers aren’t staying with us any more. They came down a week turn about over Christmas and that meant that – they being mad dog lovers like Paul – I had someone in whose bed to sleep for a whole two weeks!!!! But now it’s back to the usual with Queen M back to watching me like a vulture everytime I get anywhere near thinking about getting onto Paul’s bed with her.

All over January, Toby had a cousin, Frazzle, staying with him. Frazzle’s only 1 year old, and was a pain to have around at times – heavily into humping me to be bald about it. But I played nice with him for Toby’s sake.

July 2006

What a thing it is to have a paddock! Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be called Sydney Park, but hey, it’s just one big paddock to me, okay? Paul is finally recognising that I have a very good sense of direction and am familiar enough now with all the possible permutations of our walks that I can wander off and do great loops away from the rest of the pack and either catch up later or be in front waiting for them to catch up avec moi. Nothing to it, really, for a country lad like me, anyway. There is the odd occasion when he decides to vary the route and that can get a tad confusing but I’m never far enough away to worry. He does get a bit thingy when I don’t respond to his stentorian call on the occasions that I find something delectable to scrounge – like the food Colleen keeps putting out for those fat cats living in the cement making factory. And okay, there are times I get a bit too bold and head off across the roads on the paddock boundary which is probably not the best practice I could take up, but we tend to walk at times of reasonably low traffic volume, and hey, if I managed to survive all those semi-trailers barreling down that highway in the middle of which I was standing when he first saw me, then I reckon I can handle myself in this pissy city traffic flow.

Paul’s been having a slackish time with his work – hence his capacity to spend time catching up our notes for us – and it’s been great to just loll around with the others in the heated office. Took me a little while to realise why they were all so keen to scurry off into there with the morning papers and pot of tea, but hey, I’m on to it, and I love it.

Winter evening walks are great because we usually get to the paddock at the same time as the swallows are out for their late evening feed, and so I get to put in some rounding practice which I miss in summer – magpies are boring as all they do is fly into the nearest tree and sit there despite all my chivvying of them with my barking. Swallows on the other hand are great to race after like Maddie showed me – she doesn’t do it much these days, tho. And the other day I had the BEST TIME EVER. There was someone on top of the big hill with a radio controlled model jet plane that he got flying really high and fast and it was MAD MAD MAD racing up and down the hills under it! It’s the noise of it and the speed of it and the model cars that this other guy sometimes has in the paddock that are thrilling – gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I did make a silly mistake yesterday though, and went off in the direction of someone on a skateboard!

Looking forward to my weekend boardings with Toby while Paul is away.

Nov 2006

Well, a LOT has happened since then.

First, I want it known that I have no idea why I had that attack of what the specialist vet said was like dog Bell’s Palsy. Just cause she told Paul that working dogs have a tendency to it, and that it can be brought on by stress or anxiety, and just because it happened when Paul and Marilyn were both away and I hadn’t seen Toby for a while, doesn’t mean that I got it BECAUSE of said situation. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about – what happened was that while they were away and I was at the Petersham Hilton – a.k.a. Jane and Julie’s place – I very suddenly became sort of paralysed on the left side of my face – which led to some pretty ordinary drooling out that side of the mouth and a loss of the blink response in that eye – and also had a loss of balance on that side which meant I kinda fell over when I did the paws up welcome bit. J & J were naturally aghast and took me to our local vet who wasn’t sure what was going on but hoped all it was was a middle ear infection and treated me with some antibiotics.

I was better by the time P & M returned – the drooling had stopped and I had got my balance back pretty well, but I went off to se a neuro specialist anyway and it was she who diagnosed me with this iatrogenic – which I think means we-have-Buckley’s-idea-why-it-happens – thingy that apparently may be due to stress etc etc. It affects the balance and the facial muscles because at a point near the ear is apparently where the nerves from the brain that control balance and the drooling and blinking travel close together so if one gets crook the other does as well – hey, Darwin! great piece of genetics there!!. Anyway, it comes and goes it seems within about 3 months. The neuro did lots of tests – I had to walk up and down stairs and stand in certain possies etc. – to make sure it wasn’t a brain tumour in the developing. And we guess her diagnosis was spot on as I have completely recovered now. Happily, I didn’t have it then happen on the right side of the face as apparently it does in half the cases.

Second, I DID NOT put my teeth into that rabbit!! I can’t help it if some idiot goes and dumps their kid’s pet black rabbit in Sydney Park just exactly where I get out of the car when we go walkies. And I can’t help it if my country upbringing leads me to conclude that anything hopping is worth the chasing and munching should it get caught. Anyway, P didn’t let me get my teeth into it after it ran in under a shrub – though Daffyd and I had fun making him chase us as we chased the bunny. P ‘rescued’ the bunny and took it to our vet but he couldn’t find it a home and so it probably ended up dead anyway – and all I can say to that is that it just means I didn’t get to enjoy a bloody (literally) meal!

June 2007

As you will read elsewhere, Maddie is no longer with us. I suppose I miss her, or at least I miss being harassed by her like 1000 times every day! Not allowed to go near Paul and ask for a scratch. Not allowed to try and sneak some of her bickies in the morning. Not allowed to lie on the bed after lights out. Sheesh, what a grouch she was!! Okay, okay, I know, I should be grateful she let me come and stay at all!

Anyhoo, I have stayed well and pill-less – not like a certain D who is turning 9 this month! It’s true I have put on a tad of weight around the tum from too much snacking as we wander around the park, but I can’t help that – I can’t get it in my head that I don’t have to scrounge for food. Paul is determined that he and I will ’slim’ together and has taken to running with us again in the park. Which is fine, except he doesn’t stop when I head off for a snack and on a couple of occasions he has disappeared leaving me a touch panicky! We shall both have to get better at keeping track of each other as we pound around.

They have banned dogs from the growers’ market being run in the school up the road which is a pain as that used to be a real treat visit for me. Marilyn still sneaks me in, but it’s probably not a long term viable thang. We shall have to think of some other pleasure tripping option for the two of us.

How weird was that stuff about that other brown kelpie cross turning up wearing Blocker’s tag! Read about it on his page. I was worried for half a minute there that P would think THAT was the brown kelpie he was supposed to find and not me!!

July 2008

Hmm, I suppose this is going to be just bloody annual from now! Or just when he reads another soppy book about OTHER DOGS and thinks he ought to let us have a bash at our page. Talk about give a dog a bone!

Okay, that’s off me chest (no, that is NOT a typo – I just feel like being all ungrammatical at times to connect back with me origins). So what to tell you?

Well, Sydney Park is off-leash everywhere all the time now, which is bonzer, though I have my eye on the new kiddies’ playground they are buildingĀ  – you can bet some sign will go up kicking us out of that place soon as it’s set up (what is it with Councils that they think that toddlers don’t have dogs they would like to have throwing up along with them as they get giddy on the roundabouts, or shove down the slippery dips). Not that the change is going to make much of a difference to us – we’ve been offleash all the time anyway.

And what’s that they say about old dogs not learning new tricks? Paul, that is, not me, learning, as in. Well, actually I learned first that if I jumped out of the ute tray the minute that Paul let me off the leash, and ran like the greyhound I’ve always known I was in a former life, I could race across to the servo across the road and then work my way down the street on the other side of the Park, having a beaut time sniffin and chewin with Paul yellin at me to ‘Git OVER HERE’, and me pretending U’ve gone premarturely deaf, and if I got him mad enough he’d head off with the others to where we could meet up again further down the ‘official’ walk route and I could subvert this too by sneaking up the other street to this little park that always has the best picnic scraps. Well, the bugger’s decided that he can’t be bothered getting cranky, and now, when I race off, he just rounds up the others (doesn’t take much to round up Daffyd, but Dooki can be pleasantly contrary), and they ALL walk down the side of the Park along the road and he keeps an eye on me all the bloody way down the street so there’s no more hitting the little park. For a while I tried sticking on his side of the road and hiding in the long spiky native grasses till he had ambled on thinking I was following, but the bugger’s on to that as well. I guess it’s an okay compromise cause if I play along here he is less likely to hassle me when I disappear down around the oval or the kids cycle centre later.

I have taken to Dooki very much. Love lickingĀ  those eyeballs free of gunk in the morning, and then we have a bit of a roll around and mock chew on each other. Obviously she has a thing for the younger guy, and she’s not a bad eyeful for an old gal.

I spent a lot of summer nights sleeping up in Maddie’s spot on the den bed, taking it cautious at first but then it seemed a done deal. But with winter now here I’ve remembered how good it is to curl up in the seat of the big old chair in the office – just fits a curled up brown kelpie nice n snug. Paul’s not happy cause he was looking forward to the warmth of me next to him. Daffyd seems to have decided that he can sub for that from time to time.

I’ve given up on ever getting that Slim figure back again, or at least given that Dooki’s presence has really cut down on Paul’s attempt to go for pack runs in the Park, I don’t have to worry to much. Mind you, it being winter, when we get down there in the evening it’s already dusk and the swallows are out and I have a darned good romp on behalf of Maddie, and that makes me feel like if I had to I could run the sheep.

Okay, Paul is saying I have to give up and let the others have a go,so TTFN

June 2009

Things are fine with me still. Doing the rounds of the Park for scraps is still a TOTAL BUZZ. There’s new opps now that they have opened by the kids’ playground – after school and holidays and weekends there’s always something worth the chomping down on. Fed Ex continues to be a source of utter delight – they are SUCH junk foodies.

It’s great having Casey staying cause it means that after I warm up Paul’s bed early in the night I get to sneak off and cuddle up next to her and leave the rest of the bed-warming to Daffyd. It’s not that I don’t want to stick in the den, it’s still kinda cosy, but it’s nice to have more choice – like having more choice of nibbling spots.

I keep up with the odd swallow chase in the park in memory of Maddie, and Daffyd and I still have a good run at the magpies when we find them lurking around. And unlike Daffyd the big male black swan in the Park doesn’t scare me off trying to grab some of that bread people keep feeding him. It was quite a hoot when Daffyd went into to try and get his ball and the cob decided that he was too close to their nest and came at him wings flapping. I note Daffyd hasn’t recounted the episode on his page!

Toby, the chococolate Lab boyf, is getting a tad grey in the gills and a little shaky in the legs, but we still have a good romp when we catch up with each other.

June 2010

Well, Toby has had to have an operation on those legs, but he’s come out of it allright though I haven’t seen a lot of him during the build up and post op.

Me, I’m fine, thank you for asking. No aches or pains. Yes, yes, I am now 10, and the left lower cheek has never quite got back into shape since the palsy, but I think it makes me look interesting n’est pas?

Marilyn and Paul’s friend Lorraine turned up a few months back with quite a surprise. She’d found a book called Our Australian Kelpie, and you wouldn’t credit it but on the cover, and frequently throughout the book, are terrific drawings of me. Well, they may as well be cause it sure looks like I did some sitting for the drawer. Actually Paul even got a tad nervous that maybe I was from the farm and the pack of kelpies about which the book is written and keeps trying to play down the similarity when anyone is around so they don’t ask too many questions like ‘and tell us again, where did you find Slim?’ and ‘hmmm, isn’t that near where this farm is the book’s about?’

I don’t like it when Paul heads of to Papua New Guinea, or at least I didn’t last year cause he used to go and stay with ihs friend Bruce who had 3 dogs who Paul was getting a mite too friendly with, especially the pup that was born whom he named Muriel as in Muriel’s Wedding, cause she used to pee with pleasure whenver he was around and he loved saying ‘You’re terrible Muriel”. and it got to the stage that when he came back it was all Muriel this, and Muriel that. But now Bruce has gone to Malawi and Muriel is being looked after somewhere else and Paul has to stay in motel rooms where there ain’t no DOGS! So now I don’t mind so much.

Mary has come back from being away for a year and has dropped round a couple of times and it’s always great to see her.

Scrap scrounging in the Park continues nicely, especially around the kids playground and new cafe. They have been doing a lot of work in the Park and it’s totally screwed up the usual walks we do so I have been missing out on some of the other old food stops but they should be back on the intinerary soon.

Paul yet again backed the ute into a tree when he was doing a three point turn and now we can’t get the hatch at the back of the tray to drop down and he tried to get me to jump into the tray from the road a couple of times post our prandial in the Park till I convinced him that both Daffyd and I much preferred being able to at least have the height of the footpath of which to make our leap – I played on his synpathies with ageing old Daffyd (ooops, sorry Daff, you aren’t supposed to read that!). Look I could jump all the way if I wanted to, but after mooching around the Park and vacumming up scraps I’m sure he wouldn’t like it if I threw up all over the tray when I jump too high and the centrifugal force brings the recent edibles vulcanising out my throat.

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