I’m pretty sure my dog looks sheepish when he farts. I also caught him rolling his eyes the other night when we were trying to fool him by spelling out D-I-N-N-E-R.
I know for sure that it’s not an accident when he bumps visitors’ wine glasses only to dive in and lap up the spill.
I’ve written quite enough about my own dog. It’s indulgent, sorry.
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Why is it that every time I see a pure bred dog I think of Hitler?
I’m certainly not meaning to trivialise the horrific nature of the Holocaust by any means, but I can’t help but draw parallels between the madman’s ideal of a “superior” Aryan Race and a mating system which celebrates a dog’s fashionable beauty over its health and well-being.
Obviously not all breeders, nor all classes of dogs have inherent problems and defects, but it’s undeniable that within certain categories, continuous genetic inbreeding has produced recognised medical flaws which diminish the life expectancy and life quality of man’s best friend.
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My childhood dog, Neddy, had manky bald bits and he’d scoot across the lawn on his bum whenever we had company. He was partial to trying to have sex with inappropriate things. But we could dress him up and he’d sigh with martyred forbearance and let us photograph him.
Our cats were called Soft and Stupid, and Hard and Hairy.
Later there was Sophie, and Fergus, and Sam. And of course long-forgotten goldfish who always got flushed. And rats called Romeo and Juliet. Juliet ate Romeo. I think it may have been my fault for forgetting to feed them.
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The euthanasia of pets is a hot topic. Many healthy animals are put down every year for a complex range of reasons. And a fight between people who should be allies – the animal shelters and the animal rescuers who want a ‘no kill’ rule – is making things even more difficult, Miles Heffernan explains.
Australia is a world leader in killing cats and dogs. Investigating this production line of death opens the door to an insidious world of pet welfare, commercial greed, and pious ideology.
For a short time I worked for a large animal shelter. From that part-time job, I have a beautiful pooch called Thaddeus. One of my mates rudely refers to him as my life partner, given his regular attendance at BBQs and birthdays.
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Dogs belong in backyards digging up bones. Cats, curled up on couches and starring in viral internet videos.
That’s their element.
But what do you think about them wandering around shopping centres? Scurrying around the workplace? Reigning over the window seat on the train? That’s what some of our pollies want.
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“Look Mummy,” the kids shriek excitedly, yanking me towards a surprise waiting on the coffee table. It’s big, square and covered in a blanket. My first thought is, it’s a budgie. My second is, there’s no such thing as a no-fault divorce.
My husband’s been campaigning for years for a second pet “for the kids”. I’ve vetoed the rabbit (“I’ll stew it”), the Mexican walking fish (“Will you get a mullet, too?”) and the budgie (“I’m sure your next wife will love one”).
I stumble through the door after three weeks away, and what’s he bought? A rat. Yep, vermin. Except this precious rodent cost $25, with $80 chucked in for the Hilton of cages, complete with a shelter, a mirror and a wheel he’s evidently too thick to use. (Of course it’s a he – they chose the one with the biggest balls on the grounds that females are “hormonal and bitey”.) Did I mention the cage is maroon? A colour I hate possibly even more than rats.
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Welcome to the fifth edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul. I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former explorer of the Earth’s molten core.
Life is hard. It’s full of disappointments, tragedy and jars that just won’t open, even though you did the hot water thing and the towel thing and now you have to ask someone else to open it for you - which they will and then you’ll have to joke about how you “must’ve loosened it”. But you both know that’s not true. You know you’re physically weaker than them. And now, so do they.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to log onto your favourite online retailer and use any major credit card to purchase, with free shipping, a range of self-help books - all of which are available in 27 languages, including German, French, Mandarin and the hyper-sexual eyebrow arching-based form of communication utilised by terrifying teen bride Courtney Stodden.
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As a teacher’s kid I grew up on a school campus. This was idyllic for children but, for dogs, it was utopia. Hounds roamed free. Leashes did not exist. And the dog community participated in every aspect of the school’s life.
One maths teacher had a beautiful Labrador who dutifully followed him around school wherever he went, including the classroom. As classes were taught, the Labrador would happily sleep up the front, content in the knowledge that he was on top of his subject having heard this lesson many times before.
An Afghan who lived near the oval loved athletics. During the season he would regularly join the final lap of the 800m and was responsible for many a school record as nervous kids found extra pace with a large dog literally nipping at their heels.
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Are there some exes you never get over? He was dark, he was exceptionally handsome, he was better bred than half the entries in Debrett’s, and he came down in a ute from Hamilton.
Merlin was the kind of dog that other dog lovers coveted. He inspired copycat purchases amongst our friends. It was like dating the hottest guy at the SLSC over January. Every time you went to the dog park, people looked - it felt good.
He was smart as a whip, he had eyes that could make strangers do his bidding, and he was loyal in that doggy way to which humans can only aspire. Yet he managed to retain just a little bit of mystery. Just enough so you didn’t feel you had his balls in the drawer – which wasn’t surprising since they were in a wheelie bin behind the vet’s somewhere.
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You can pet a human, but you really shouldn’t human a pet. Things can get… a bit sick.
No, not in a Monaghan kind of way. Wash your mouth out. In an awww-i-wuv-my-widdle-wascal-so-much-I-just-wanna-dress-him-up-like-a-real-little-boy kind of way.
Going overboard on the pet love can nauseate your friends and family, and can make you really – really – sick. Some people anthropomorphise their pets to the point where they forget that pets don’t floss or use alcohol-based sanitation gels as often as they should.
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Max, a young and handsome American pit bull, sits on death row in Miami-Dade County’s Animal Services, a victim of possibly the world’s toughest breed-specific dog laws.
The paperwork on his cage labels him “aggressive”, but it’s more out of caution. He’s never bitten anyone.
Max has got 24 hours for a reprieve. His owner is a soldier on duty in Afghanistan who left the dog with his family. They became panicked that they would be fined for harbouring an outlawed breed and handed him to the Animal Services pound.
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Watch this. Now, do you have a dog? Did you get it from a pet store? Or online?
If you did get your dog from a petshop or ordered it online, there’s a strong chance you have unwittingly bought a dog from a puppy factory.
A puppy factory – like the dark satanic mills which ruthlessly exploited children of the Industrial Revolution – churns out cute designer crossbreeds which we all go goo and gah over. While the puppies mostly go on to have good lives with owners, walkies, grass, toys, food and vet care, the breeding animals do not. They exist for the sole purpose of breeding, and live in appalling conditions, in tiny cages, sometimes with barely enough food and water to sustain their horrible lives.
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It’s illegal to teach your children responsibility by buying them a dog to look after. At least, that’s what my local council would have you believe.
The other morning my wife and I and our dog went to the local oval to meet with a friend and her dog. We live in a small rural area, nothing but dairies as far as the eye can see. At nine o’clock in the morning the only people in the park were the five of us – three humans and two dogs.
Everyone was having a tremendous time, the dogs playing, the humans talking. Then a ranger turned up and told us we weren’t allowed to have dogs on the oval, even on a lead.
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A friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of their well-loved pug sleeping companionably underneath their sleeping baby’s cradle.
“Protective pug”, she posted, and a flurry of exclamation marks followed in reply - pug and baby were bonding, our friends’ fears were allayed, their household was harmonious, everything would be fine.
As any dog person will tell you, this was an important step. Dogs need heaps of love, care and attention, especially when life is apt to change.
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Next week is Hair Expo. The very best stylists in the land will gather in Sydney to show off their talents.
There is no more defining characteristic than hair. It is both unique to the person yet capable of dramatic change. What we do with our hair is an expression of our personality.
Yet the pinnacle of hair expression lies not with people but with poodles. The poodle coat has become a canvass for the most artistic of canine coiffeurs. With a pom-pom on the tail and an afro on the head a non-descript mutt can be transformed into the elegant high society hound.
It’s the month of love. Of greeting cards, long stemmed roses and boxed chocolate. Of old flames, new flames, love hearts and lonely hearts.
I figure people can be roughly divided into two groups – those who love Valentine’s Day and those who avoid it.
While my longest relationship is with my husband Richard (and don’t get me wrong it’s a very happy one) some of my most treasured moments in life have been with my fur family.
This week I stood by two long time friends as one of them was euthanized.
It followed a “tough conversation” I had recently with the human friend after witnessing the canine friend’s decline in recent months.
I had called up first and asked permission to discuss the topic. “When it is my turn with [my cat] Mikki I want you to be objective,” I told my friend.
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Lucy and Gemma, two pretty little girls, live across the road from me.
While walking on the beach, I regularly meet a trio of handsome hunks named Max, Henry and George, as well as a stately old lady, Rosie, and her sprightly young companion, Ruby.
Their owners are Shane, Riley, Jordan and Tayla. (That’s one boy and three girls, for the record.)
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