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8th August, 2019

If you are reading this as a dog lover you will understand every word I write about those most wonderful of natures gifts - dogs.

But if you have not yet experienced life with a dog, or feel that dogs are over rated by fawning owners bewitched by what you may see as a messy, noisy, bothersome creatures, bringing only havoc and mayhem to what is otherwise a perfectly ordered life; then dear reader, I sincerely pray for you rapid conversion, because you are missing out on what may well be life's greatest pleasure - being loved by a dog!

Cody - a dog of a lifetime

After losing our dog Cody recently I realised (yet again) just what an integral part of our lives our dogs can be.

They come into our lives with boundless energy as puppies, and over time wriggle their way into every nook and cranny of our existence. Then suddenly one day they leave us and we realise yet again the power of dogs to bring depth, joy and added meaning to our lives.

This page is not a sad lament at the loss of the dogs that have graced my life on the farm, but a tribute to the the spirit of friendship, the fun, the laughter, and at times the insanity, dogs both past and present have given me, and that have been my honour to know.

"Dogs are everything humans strive to be"

Please feel free to share your precious doggy moments in the comments section below.

My Dogs - the early years

My first memory of a dog in my life was my mum's dog Tootie. She was by the time I came along a bit of a grumpy old girl, a mixed breed of unknown origin, black with a liberal sprinkling of  white hairs in her coat and on her muzzle.

I recall she used to growl at me from her bed, but I was never frightened of her and it was a sad day when she ran, half blind and deaf under the wheels of our car as we returned home and passed away.

A few years went by until a Corgi named Goldie entered my life, I was supposed to get a Collie from Mr Graham, a farmer who lived nearby but for some reason she was sent away for health problems. But Mr Graham happened to have a litter of Cardigan Corgi puppies (the long tailed ones) so I was able to choose a pup from among them. I have fond memories of watching what seemed like dozens of puppies in a pen all vying for my attention. Pat me! No, choose me!, they seemed to be saying with their happy wriggling little bodies and bright eyes as they surged to the front of the pen to greet me.

But there in the middle of the group was one, not quiet, but not as frantic as some of the others, she stood out to me so I chose her as my first ever 'belong to me' dog. She was an outside dog as my parents were not big on dogs in the house, she slept in the garage at night and spent her days in our back yard, playing with me and my sister after school and on weekends. She tolerated our doggy dress ups and mock up zoo under the BBQ where she sat patiently behind some old wire we used as a cage front. She lived from memory a reasonable life, but in the end had a spinal injury common to long backed dogs like Corgis and lost the use of her back legs and bladder control so had to be put down. I remember saying goodbye to her as she sat in the back of the car ready for dad to take her to the vet one last time. As an adult I realise now how hard must have been for my dad, being brave for me but doing the hard task for a dog he had done most of the looking after.

Unusually my second dog was also a Corgi! A school friend had a litter of pups from her female Corgi and I was allowed to have one - this pup was named Winki, in the typical fashion of children naming things as they are - because she looked like she was winking at me. Winki like Goldie had much the same life but eventually was deaf and blind in old age and she to went on that trip to the vet, and dad dutifully buried her in the back yard along with Tootie, Goldie and numerous other small pet birds that had come and gone.

The first dogs on the farm


My first real choice of a dog was after I was married. Peter and I chose a Keeshond pup from a breeder who lived locally and her name was Tasha. She was a very smart dog, although Spitz breeds can be stubborn, she did really well at obedience training and started us on our journey of always obedience training our dogs, some to advanced level, others intermediate, but always to a level where they were a pleasure to be with, and since they all lived inside this was even more important when the Keeshonds went from 1, to 2, then 3!

We became involved with showing the Keeshonds and decided to have a litter from Tasha. The first litter however was a sad event with only 2 pups out of 10 surviving fading puppy syndrome. The pups just stop thriving and the vets had no cure at the time. The 2nd litter went well with 8 pups all thriving and we kept a few for a while to see if they made show grade, but in the end they were all rehomed.

We did adopt an older female Keeshond called Murphy, she was just a pet and a funny dog who never learnt to bark to attract attention until 10 years old! Last Keeshond to call ours was Jack, he came from a breeder as a pup and had one show win, but in the end became just our pet as they all did and we we were happy that they all came with us from suburbia to the farm where they lived out their days in comfort enjoying the rural lifestyle. 

L-R: Murphy, Jack & Tasha

The coming of the first Groodles ....

After Tasha and Murphy sadly passed after long happy lives, and having had the chance to live the farm life, we only had our Jack left. One dog seemed odd to us after having three for so long, so we started looking at what sort of dog we should get to share our life on the farm and to be company for Jack.

Handsome Jack at the farm gate

Peter had always liked Golden Retrievers and they fit our criteria for a medium to large dog, intelligent so we could enjoy training it and not a breed that was bred to chase livestock like many farm dogs!

During my search I came across a site that had the most gorgeous dogs on it, what were they? It seems they were part of the new popular trend to what was called designer dogs - dogs that were mixed breed for specific purposes. All of these designer dogs were mixed with one of the three types of poodles for their non allergenic, non shedding wool type coats. The Labrador mixed with poodle became the Labradoodle, the Spaniel mixed with poodle the Spoodle and so on. The Golden retriever mixed with poodle became the Groodle here in Australia as the US name doesn't quite work for us here in Australia - Goldendoodle - hmm, could raise a few eyebrows and smirks.

The pups available on the site I found were Groodles with the father being a white standard (large) poodle and the mother a Golden Retriever. They had one pup left - a boy and he was well priced because they had their wedding coming up so he needed to find a new home sooner rather than later.

That was the moment one of the most beautiful, kind, affectionate and faithful dogs I have ever owned entered our life. We named him Cody.

He was flown down to us from QLD and I still remember the moment like it was yesterday when they lifted his travel crate up onto the counter for us to collect him. This small 3 month old bundle of fluff with soulful eyes looking out at us. The journey home he sat on my lap, didn't make a sound and hardly moved, he was quiet and cautious. 

Over the next few days he slowly came out of his shell and one night when sitting on the lounge  he placed a small paw on my arm - testing the waters - I responded with praise and so begun a ritual of paw giving as a way to ask for attention that he did for the rest of his life - he was always a polite dog, thoughtful in his approach with a soft and gentle way about him, he asked for the things he wanted, never pushed the boundaries and was very obedient. he would even leave the cat food alone, looking longingly at the bowl with food still in it but leaving it alone as he knew it was not his.

I could write a whole blog on this dog alone - he was that special to me. But for today I'll leave it at that as it's too easy to come to tears talking about him still, and I promised this was not a sad page, but one that counts the blessings of having dogs in our lives....Stay tuned.

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