Category Archives: Dogs

Theo & Layla – Partners in Crime

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Tracy recalls bringing up her two lovely daughters in Sri Lanka and dog were always part of their life. She would be the one to feed a litter of stray pups found on the wayside. Tracy would even bring them in a box to her home along with the mother, if she could be found. It is only after the pups are a little fuller and grown-up that they are sent to kind homes. Moving to Australia the family continued their love for dogs.

“We’ve always had dogs growing up and loved their loving, affectionate nature. We feel dogs understand humans and are loyal creatures with loving hearts” says Sarah the younger of the two teenagers. Theo and Leyla are the names we all agreed on- Theo is little male Terrier who is two and a half years and Leyla a female, Husky cross German Shepherd who is just two.

One day Tracy and her daughters were doing their weekend shopping when they happened to spot a beautiful Terrier gazing through the Pet shop window. Tracy stopped by to give him a cuddle and the puppy had her hooked right there. “It was hopeless” says Tracy, “I knew I had to take him home”.

So there was this little ball of fluff just 3 months old when Leyla joined in. Initially we had to be careful how we treated the puppies since Leyla was a larger dog. Later the two got along well – actually they got on very well and became partners in crime. The three of them had to make an attempt to use stern voices to put a stop to their pranks. Chewing the girls’ favorite items was not done! Each time the puppies had to be reminded it was wrong. Through tough training and discipline some authority was regained by the humans.

But then in March, when all had gone out on Mother’s Day they returned to a house of chaos. “It was like snowing inside the living room, the couch and the floor was covered with white feathers. My heart sank” said Sarah. On one hand what the puppies had done is wrong on the other hand it might be the last straw that broke the camel’s back and the puppies will be gone she thought. Holding the remnants of her favourite quilt, Sarah valiantly put on the act and demanded from the two culprits “Who did this?’ Two guilty faces looked up with a few feathers stuck on to their furs.

Even with all these mischiefs we don’t complain says Tracy, they are a good stress reliever. At the end of the day they are always there to greet us at the door. I don’t know what we would do without their company.

“Dogs do speak but only to those who know how to listen”

The long and the short of it all

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“Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children that they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that a child cannot do much harm one way or other” – Robert Benchly

I had to pick a dog that was small enough it could remain a secret in a small house that was refusing to welcome a dog. It was Ruveen my younger son’s birthday who was quickly growing up and turning nine that year. A tiny puppy just 6 weeks old, turned out to be a wonderful gift for the boy. It arrived one Sunday afternoon wrapped in a cardboard box – still a secret. My two sons were overjoyed.

Based on a Just So Story by Rudyard Kipling we name the female pup Taffiana (Taffy for short). The name somehow in a childish way was meaning- a malleable doggy in spite of it unusual length. The puppy was a glossy black, short-haired miniature Dachshund with telltale markings in Tan. As it grew from been a tiny pup that fitted a 2-kilo Marie Biscuit box, to its full height and length it earned its stay in our house as a damsel would with her charming ways. The smallest dog in the neighborhood Taffy was also bossy and loud when allowed to have her say.

Those days my sons were engaged in a myriad of sports. Taffy would wait impatiently on days that they arrived after evening practices. Playfully she would claim him her own (playmate) by grabbing his Hockey stockings and making a quick dash. My son whined and moaned asking the dog not to rip his socks. Many a times using the Hockey stick he wrench it off the mischievous dog, that was hiding beneath his bed. That was Taffy playing under-cover.

Another tactic she reveled in was to jump into the bed with my children. Taffy would urge and implore the boys to get her up there. Since this was breaking the rules of the house she allowed the boys to hide her deep down under the covers until the lights went out. That way she was able to get cozy and catch up on the warmth she missed during the day.

The long and the short of it all is that a dog will teach us many things – its need of our attention, friendship, warmth and tenderness and above all loyalty.

Dachsie, meine dachsie the best canine under the sun; Call you “wiener” or “sausage” or “hotdog”; We know that you are number one!

 

Never a dull moment with Puma, the lively Labrador

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This is the first article in a series based on interviews done with parents who encourage pets in their homes. Puma’s story as  told by Nadeeja…

For Sanjee and Dammika is giving their daughters Mineli (10) and Umaya (7) a chance to grow up with dogs was to give them a piece of their own childhood. When the kids were still small their older dogs died. This was when we decided to allow our girls to choose their own puppy and take up the responsibilities of rearing it.

We live in New Westminster, British Columbia in Canada. It was a long drive from our home to the farm, including a ferry ride to an island, where we found a litter of Golden Labradors belonging to an elderly couple. The children were thrilled that they could pick their own puppy. Instantly their eyes went to a buttery ball of fur who kept leaping at their skirts. I always say it was the dog that chose us and not how it was initially meant to be.

During her early days the puppy was quite a rumpus mischief, getting into the kid’s room and picking on their shoes, crafts and toys. She was very energetic and wanted a lot of attention. She was quick on her heels and soon out of our reach. So we named her Puma for her speed.

Bit by bit the puppy outgrew his mischievous ways and settled down in our home, as a new member. She was easy to train and discipline. Besides Labradors are found to be good natured and fun family dogs, who are great around kids. Three-year old Puma is best pals with my daughters. My older daughter, Mineli said ‘l lost many of my favorite slippers but I will grow out of it the next season. I will always have Puma and we both can grow together …. I love Puma… as much as I love all my other dogs’. The girls sing and play music for Puma, bake cakes and spend lots of time in the backyard playing together. Occasionally Puma get to ride with us out of town. She really looks forward to family outings.

Growing up with dogs has taught my children their first lessons on been responsible for someone else, also to share, to be considerate and caring. Having pets in a household where both parents are working can be an extra load. But in the end its worth the trouble because they add vibrancy to our lives. My children are very cautious about securing the dog inside the house when we go out. They have already learned lessons of safety.

On our return we find Puma lurched on the window ledge, peeping out. She gives us a warm welcome to show her joy. There is never a dull moment in our home with Puma around. Dogs have a way of leaving their paw prints in our hearts.

(Photo credits: Sanjee Ranasinghe)

Whimpy Dog Tales – Counting the blessings

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Taking a walk down the main road was a new experience for me last Saturday. I have thus far strolled in the safe vicinity of my neighbourhood and never actually ventured out into the streets. To do the entire route from home to the town and back crossing the railway lines twice, was quite a feat.

Sporting a red harness, a new accessory bestowed on me by Uncle Chucks I was walking side by side with mommy. As momentum picked up I was expected to keep up pace even if it was an up-hill stretch. Hullala, boy! was I not panting? I have never done something rigorous but always managed to carouse in the backyard. I was in the army today marching at the heels of my leader. Many a mangy street-dogs came barking probably out of sheer jealousy of my new harness. They came yapping at me as if we were rogues trespassing into their territories. But mommy held on to the leash tight and carried on unperturbed. The dogs retreated. They were careful not to over-step their owned marked territories. We are just passing by chaps you will soon get used to it I said as we made our way through the busy city center.

Buses were turning in all directions, colour lights blinking motor vehicles to ordered lines, men and women and also children with bags in their hands crisscrossing the lanes in spite of their numbers. Horns honking irritably and urging the lanes to push forward, commuters shouting to bring moving buses to a halt to get in, crazy tuk-tuks swerving with ease to change directions.

We cross the railway line and take a turn down a lane that meets up with familiar grounds through a short-cut path. Soon the noises of the town subside. Children were playing on the road, on and off they would pass a remark such as Look! nice doggy and then mommy would stop for a while and let them pet me. And we moved on to get home before dusk.

I was amazed by the number of dogs that I met along the main streets who had no home or a person to call its own. They were of ragged skin over bony structures, tired, oppressed and sullen faced. They were sunbaked and weathered by many-a-storms, taking cover under whatever nook and corner found. It is then I started to realize how lucky I was. I counted my blessings of having a family, a place I can call my own and all the love bestowed upon me.

Whimpy -Howling at the Moon

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The big glowing lantern in the sky is perplexing than ever on a full-moon night. I can’t help but howl like my ancestors, the wolves once did. It’s full moon and the dogs in our neighbourhood are orchestrating a symphony. I just joined in to keep company. However the howling didn’t make the folks at home very happy.

Dogs have phobias, just like people do. There are many dogs who fear things like balloons, streetlamps, and basically anything big and round floating above their heads, which includes the moon. So whimpy dogs like me tend to get carried away on well-lit nights, where more activity is seen and heard. It’s fun to be whistling out to other dogs for a pack meeting. Hey! I am over here. What do you think is happening?

Our home as well as several other homes in the neighbourhood are decked in colourful lights, their long verandahs and hooded patios sporting glowing lanterns swaying to and fro in the wind. The lanterns make whispering noises with long tails made of flimsy kite paper. Children are excited helping their parents with the decorations. I see happy faces lit by lanterns carried in their small hands. They are urging their parents to take them sight-seeing along the main streets where really, really big lanterns come on the pavements to stand stiff competition. Overheads tiny bulbs of multitude of colours shine like a milky-way not far to reach.

Riding in the rear of the car I am mesmerized by the festive décor, the crowds, vehicles and their incessant honking of horns added to the milieu. I haven’t a clue to what all the fuss is about. But I see Ice Creams! And I scream, Ice Cream! They are given out all free – can you believe what luck? I get to lick one off the boy’s hand. What? go grab another, and another.

But if left alone outside on the balcony then I will not hesitate to start a cacophony. It doesn’t seem at all fair when so much fun is taking place.

Howl of hound

Diary of a wimpy doggy

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Kody yeah that’s me!

BORN A STAR
The tale begins one October morning in year 2015. Mummy and Master (the boy) came to see us at the Bellanwila residence. Back then I had my biological parents Cindy my mum and Spinney my dad. I agree their names are a little weird but they are family so let’s not comment on it. When mother gave birth she made sure there was three of everything. There were three males and three females among the puppies and also they differentiated in colour likewise. Three were found to be ginger-brown like dad while the rest were pitch black and had a spread of white stars like mum.

I am the only chap (a boy) who is brown but sported a single white star on the neck that was coming from my mother’s side. She is an English Cocker Spaniel with jet black curly fur and a spread of white flecks running across the back. My dad he’s real cool and friendly. His pleasant temperament which I inherited come from his breed which is actually from the other side of the Atlantic – he is an America Cocker Spaniel.

So that morning I was chosen because I was born a star. My new mummy cooed and I heard her say to the mistress ‘I want that one with the star and I will call him Kodi‘. I gave her one heartbreaking look (see picture). Meanwhile my siblings were nibbling on mummies running shoes. Later I found out they had caused two small holes in her Nikes! Yikes! Such manners you would think. But we were so young and new nothing about shoes and stuff.

As I write this note I am six months past my first year. Which in dog terms is almost the age of adolescence. Life has been pretty good in my new home. But one thing that bugs me after all these months is Mummy leaving home every morning.

It becomes extremely lonely and boring then. It’s kind of sad as us dogs were never meant to be alone. We are pack animals and feel good when belonging to a pack. Once in a while my master (the boy) for whom I was actually bought spends extra time at home. Then we are able to play Frisbee and go for long walks down the lane. I love to run. They say dogs of my breed yearns to run in short bursts.  Which is also the reason why I love to play throw-and-catch. Anybody who spends time with me playing games will receive my adoration. After the game I get to jump into your lap and lick your face which in dog terms translates to a Big Thank You!

 

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself – Josh Billings

 

OOK : A new project of raising Kodi

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Kodi arrived home on a October morning 6 weeks old male Cocker spaniel pup

Project OOK arrived as a package an year ago – what is it, what is it? Asked everyone. Let us see Oh my gosh! To our surprise when we opened the door there was a little brown puppy gazing up from a hamper box, tucked inside were toys, a blanket, a food bowl and his record book – in short everything owned by the little Ginger-Nut.

Thus started project O-O-K. The task of raising Kodi with only a little help coming from my boys was not an easy one. You think making a Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech is challenging? Well try potty training a 6 week old puppy. You think completing the CL manual is a painfully long affair – Okay then take this leash and trying training project OOK. To walk Kodi down the street is like taking a vacuum cleaner. His breed been Cocker Spaniel makes him a fantastic sniffer dog – he recognizes everything by his long snout. Having droopy ears with lots of brown curls makes him able to sweep the road as he goes about smelling every nook, under the bush and over it.

You think its been so long since I made a speech and so what’s happening to your ACS- you seem to ask. We all get stuck in work, in traffic, in arguments isn’t it true? We even lose track of our goals when tasks not meant to be done by you, gets loaded on your back only because you are able and willing– soon these tasks are consuming all of your time and the goals you set in January are now setting on the far horizon – distanced by other commitments.
Soon Kodi consumed all of my time everything else became secondary.

Project OOK was assigned to Toastmaster Ruveen when he completed his ALs and wanted something to do with his time. But being a boy enjoying the last shreds of his teens he soon forgot his assignment and the task fell on to me.
As the club President knows very well I take on these tasks – like if a Frisbee was thrown in any direction, I would be the one catching it without a second thought. It’s a natural tendency. Unexplained! And everybody just loves it.

By December end project OOK became my pet project and I started smothering yet another dog. Another dog? I hear you ask. Yes I have raised two dogs before and honestly both had tragic deaths – my darling Taffiana (a long sausage dog) I imagine to be a princess died of a cancer at the age of 9 years and feisty golden retriever, Snowy died in a car accident at the age of 1. Not only is my pets risk prone the entire process of raising a dog is edged with risks. This (broken foot) is ample proof. Ah I see my son laughing because their up-bringing was not too different, either.

As a young mother I literally juggled – raising kids, a career and housekeeping – Ruveen has a mark on his brow and Chevin has one on his temple. Neither happened on the same day – or for the same reasons. But in general it was because they were allowed to venture on their own without supervision.

As with my sons I wanted my dog also to feel loved and valued rather than be a trophy of a well groomed and behaved individual. I didn’t want to lead them by command and control; instead I wanted their behavior to come naturally as possible.

Errors are plenty during the learning curve -Kodi’s still been potty trained with gentle NOs, and sometimes an exasperated OH NO You Didn’t Do IT! In the evenings I say OOK lets go for a walk and he takes surveillance to the next level. On and off Kodi gets admonished when he steals ornaments, soft toys and underwear!

But let me tell you what really works well for the dogs – a good evaluation and positive feedback. Dogs need to be told they are appreciated and their mistakes need to be pointed out gently. NO and STOP are good words to bring order. But hey boy come here let me give you a good belly rub, and how are you doing today are better motivators than harsh words or threatening moods.

Like one veteran toastmaster said at the Division Conference last Sunday – you need to RESPOND to the communication.
Needless to say while both my boys are busy with their lives, my parents are getting old and siblings are occupied – there were times I could not find a friend to help me. I would scroll down my contact list on the phone that seemed alive and buzzing with calls just days ago– after my injury the calls dwindled and it was a trial to find a friend – who had time to lend a hand.

I turned to project OOK now 10 times its original size, feisty and fury, with a bark that could be heard a mile away. Yet on that day lying beside me quietly, as if he too had taken my sedatives -willing to share my agony was Kodi. The dog did not move from my sick bed – sighing with drooping ears, prodding a wet nose into my hands begging to be petted – Kodi kept company through long nights and lonely days.

Undoubtedly a dog is man’s best friend. That package which arrived on an October morning our Ginger-Nut boy otherwise known as Kodi was initially named Bullet. He is all of that his names imply and more. He has taught me love, patience and tolerance.

Yes boy come here now – you deserve a rub-a dub and roll out – a very good doggie you are!

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Kodi at 6 months sporting a purple & blue baby collar enjoys the breeze on the balcony

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Kodi fully grown Cocker Spaniel retriever playfully stretch on our bed