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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Several months ago I saw a picture of Oscar on a dog forum. He comes from Mischiefmaka Kennels in Victoria. I’ve admired their dogs for a long time and I’m especially partial to the whiteys! I sent a message to Oscar’s owner and asked if I could photograph him. Life kind of got in the way and I didn’t get around to doing the shoot until today.

I was kicking myself that I hadn’t done it before the clocks changed ’cause getting up at 5am nearly killed me! It nearly killed Oscar too, he’s definitely not a morning dog!!

When I arrived I couldn’t believe how sweet and smoochy and calm he was. For a dog that’s not even two yet he put my lot of crazies to shame. After a few minutes of cuddles we dragged sleepyhead outside to do a bit of modeling.

Being so handsome can get boring so he alleviated it with the occasional bout of zoomies!!

I had a wonderful idea to put him in this chair in front of the trees to get some nice bokeh, but Oscar thought it sucked so he pulled a few “woe is me” faces and then pissed off!

I can haz treat?

Settling in for a hard earned nana nap 🙂

Unfortunately I wasn’t stealth enough to smuggle him into my car when I was leaving! Such a gorgeous dog. He’s a testament to his owners and his breeder 🙂

UPDATE JUNE 2011: Oscar’s owner got one of my photos tattooed onto his arm!! Check it out on my Facebook page here.

1. Ivan is my first dog
My cousin bought Ivan as a puppy. When he was seven he asked if we could take him. I wasn’t overly keen, but Dave was, so we agreed on the condition that I could get a small dog too. I’d always owned cats growing up, I knew nothing about dogs and leadership. I used to let Ivan drag me around the neighbourhood on a flat collar. The day after he moved in we took him to the park for a walk. I thought it would be fun to jog with him. I quickly discovered he could run faster than me and I had to drop the lead before he pulled me over. The bugger ran straight into the duck pond and refused to get out for over half an hour. I think he was letting us know how disgruntled he was with his new living situation!

2. Ivan is invincible
Before he came to live with us he’d been hit by a car, had numerous paralysis ticks and he also had surgery to remove a fishing hook that he’d swallowed before he was caught sticking his nose in a fisherman’s tack box! He’s had no near death experiences since we’ve had him, although he has had two surgeries to remove lumps. He’s an expensive dog!

3. Ivan may die of thirst
He refuses to drink from the outside water bowl. No idea why. We’ve tried different bowls filled from different taps, but he won’t drink out there. He’s weird!

4. Ivan needs space
If one of the other dogs sits or lies too close to him he’ll do a low growl. If they don’t move he will.

5. Ivan knows two words
Walk and chicken! Saying either will result in a cute head tilt.

6. Ivan is remarkably clean
Considering he only goes to the groomers about three times a year he’s remarkably clean and never smells.

7. Ivan’s the alpha
He’s the king shit around here. Angel and Chopper like to challenge him, but they know he’s above them. Occasionally he’ll stare at Trixie and she’ll lie down and roll over. It’s a very powerful thing to observe.

8. Ivan doesn’t belong in this country
I regularly overhear people on the street saying dogs like him don’t belong in hot countries like this. Truth be told, he feels the heat less than Angel. His coat keeps him warm in winter, but it also traps the cold air and keeps him cool in summer.

9. Ivan’s the fun police
If dumb and dumber [Chopper and Angel] are having whacky races around the back garden he makes heaps of noise so I come and stop them! He also alerts me if they’re sticking their nose under the fence or tunneling under the deck!

10. Ivan’s not well
Ivan’s been coughing and wheezing for several weeks. He’s had a course of ABs and a cough bottle, but he’s no better. He’s going for x-rays today. It could be bronchitis, asthma or a tumor. He’ll be 11 in January. Despite the fact that he still does zoomies and roundabouts, he’s not a young dog and it saddens me to think that he might be on his way out.

1. Angel thinks she’s in the army
She likes to drop one shoulder and do a commando roll and then jump up and look around to see if anyone was watching!

2. Angel is not an Angel
She came with the name. I wanted to change it to Pixie, but my husband thought it would confuse her to change it [even though she’d only been called Angel for one week!!!]. I feel like an absolute tool when I’m growling “Angel, behave” at her in the back garden or park. I’m sure anyone within earshot gets a chuckle. On her first day at obedience the instructor took a look at my name-tag and then a look at her and proclaimed “A Staffy called Angel? Was someone having a laugh?!”

3. Angel is bold, but not fearless
Angel’s afraid of leaving the house, storms and plastic bags.

4. Angel breaks Ivan’s heart
She’s always tormenting him, biting his ankles and jumping in his face. She’s the only dog that really tries to play with him. Maybe because for a while there was only the two of them. We got her as company for him, I think he wishes we hadn’t!

5. Angel is not fun to play fetch with
She loves squeaky balls. If I show her one she’ll do backflips to get across the road to the park to chase it – apparently going outside isn’t scary if there’s a squeaky ball! If I take both her and Chopper she’ll run flat out and on the rare occasion that she gets to it first she’ll bring it most of the way back and then lie down with her back to everyone and chew on the ball so it squeaks repeatedly. Chopper paces around her and she’ll keep turning her back to him. When she’s had enough she’ll get up and let him bring it back to me to throw again. If I bring her to the park on her own she won’t chase it because it’s only fun when there’s competition. She used to decide she’d had enough so she’d take the ball and run home. The last time she did it I put her in her run and went back out with just Chopper for 20 mins. She didn’t do it again after that!

6. Angel had an abortion
After the rescue group got her from the pound they took her to be desexed. When the vet opened her up they found she was pregnant and aborted the litter.

7. Angel’s not housetrained
She’s approximately five years old and she’ll still pee on the carpet if we’re not careful. We have to watch her like a hawk, especially if it’s raining and princess doesn’t want to get her toes wet!

8. Angel grumbles
If she’s in her crate and doesn’t want to come out to go for a walk she grumbles. It’s not a growl, there’s nothing aggressive about it, It’s just a noise to let you know that she’s not happy. If she’s on the sofa and you move a body part that she’s leaning against she grumbles. If she’s tired and she collapses from a sit to a drop she grumbles. If she’s taking up too much room on the dog bed in the living room and you move her she grumbles. The more force you use, the louder the grumble!

9a. Angel is a social butterfly
Angel can’t be left unsupervised for long periods in the garden. If she gets bored she tunnels under the fence to go and visit the neighbours. She used to do it at our last house too.

9b. Angel tiptoes
If we put her in her crate [with the door open] when we’re eating, as soon as she hears the cutlery go down for the last time she’ll start slowly tiptoeing into the room. When you look at her her tail starts wagging madly and she’s so full of anticipation that she’s almost bursting. It’s GOLD!!

10. Angel’s awesome
I just have to look at her and she makes me smile. She’s always lying nearby and when I look at her she does a little kick with her back leg and the tail starts wagging. She’s a total nutjob on so many levels and she’s naughty as all hell, but I love her to bits and I wouldn’t change a thing about her.

1. Trixie was our third foster
Chopper was dog #3 and our first foster failure. It took a long time for him to settle in. When we moved house and built runs I asked Dave if he wanted to try fostering again. I swore blind that I didn’t want four dogs, three was enough, no way would I suggest keeping a foster again! Handsome Eddie came and went within a week. Woohoo, our first fostering success. Then came Trixie!

At the pound she seemed sweet and calm. After quarantine at some rescue kennels for two weeks we brought her home and realised she was a really dominant, anti-social, handful of a dog. We felt it would be irresponsible to adopt her out. We’d learned a lot about dog behaviour and pack structure in the previous year and a half so we decided to keep her and attempt to rehabilitate her. Introducing a fourth dog to the pack really upset the apple cart. Myself and Dave were fighting all the time. The dogs were fighting and acting out. Loads of my friends told me to have her put to sleep cause she was nothing but trouble. I don’t believe in giving up on a dog because they’re difficult. A year and a half later, she’s by no means perfect, but she’s a very valued member of our family and we’re really happy we kept her.

2. Trixie was nearly called Susie
When I was filling out her paperwork at the pound I had to come up with a name for her. I rang Dave and asked him. He said Susie. I decided I didn’t like it so I called her Trixie. He hated it and for the first two or three weeks he insisted on calling her Susie while I called her Trixie. Some friends called her TrixieSusie to appease us both! Eventually he accepted that she had to have only one name and since Trixie was on her paperwork that what she was to be called.

3. Trixie’s weapon of choice is her bum
When she’s wrestling with the others she’ll whip around quickly and shove them out of the way with her bum. It’s hilarious. One day I’ll manage to photograph it!

4. Trixie likes to bring shame on me
Every morning I walk Trixie and Ivan for half an hour. We go the same route each time because I’ve found it to have the least amount of off lead or roaming dogs to contend with. We walk up the main street of my town and despite stopping at several green areas beforehand she saves up her pooh to deposit outside the busiest shop or café we pass. Thankfully her diet is such that I can pick it up with leaving any residue. It’s still pretty embarrassing though!

5. Trixie’s the other woman
She absolutely adores Dave. She flirts with him and gives him kisses and looks at him like he’s the only person in the room. I often find them spooning in the bed together!

6. Trixie has a masculine side
For such a pretty and feminine girl, she has a very deep and boy-dog-like “aroorooroo”! It always cracks us up!

7. Trixie has no table manners
When she’s eating, if her bowl is sliding across the floor she’ll just stick her foot in it and eat around it!

8. Trixie had a back lift
Earlier on in the year I found a lump on Trixie’s back. She’s prone to seasonal allergies, so I thought it was a hive. It didn’t go away and after a long period of observation we took her to the vet for a fine needle aspirate. The results came back inconclusive so we waited a bit longer to see if it went away or changed. It remained the same so we booked her in for surgery. The vet took huge margins [from her back fat!] and she now has a 7″ scar there. They tested the lump and found it was a Grade II Mass Cell Tumour. She’s healthy now, but we have to keep a close eye on her as they often return.

9. Trixie craves the sun
Our house is quite dark but I’ll often find her lying or standing in a trance in a shaft of sunlight.

10. Trixie’s favourite toy is Angel
The house became a no toy zone shortly after Trixie’s arrival. Herself and Angel like to pass the time playing bitey face!

1. Chopper was our first foster
We took on Ivan in March 2006 and rescued Angel three months later. When I told my husband in September that I wanted to foster a dog I promised him that I wouldn’t keep it. I did mean it when I said it, but Chopper won us both over pretty quickly! He was our first foster and our first foster failure!

2. Chopper used to be called Bouncer
He was bought from a pet shop originally. His previous owner called him Bouncer. There was a Lab on Neighbours [an Australian soap opera] called that and there was no way I was owning a dog with the same name. I lost the fight about renaming Angel, Pixie, but I was standing firm on this issue! On his first night home we had a friend there and we were having a few drinks, he suggested Chopper and we agreed it suited him. I now wish we hadn’t. I don’t like tough dogs having tough names.

3. Chopper has been DNA tested
We’ve always thought that Chopper was a cross between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and something else. At Pet Expo last year Dave bought a DNA testing kit for $115. We did the cheek swab and sent it off for testing. A week later the results came back. Chopper is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossed with an unknown cross breed. Money well spent I think you’ll agree!

4. Chopper has a licking obsession
It’s soooo annoying. The first thing he does when he walks up to anyone is try to lick them. If he can’t reach you he’ll lick the air. If you encourage him and get him excited he’ll take it a step further and try to bite your chin.

5. Chopper throws tantrums
Because he was such a difficult dog I had to take him to training every week. Now he thinks he’s the chosen one so if I go anywhere with one of the other dogs and not him he’ll throw a tantrum. He ripped a huge hole in his wire crate a few months ago when I took Trixie and Angel for a half hour walk. He’d been walked prior to them. Sigh.

6. Chopper can clear a room with his farts
Once he walked into my office, sat down beside me, farted, then smiled at me and started wagging his tail! Apparently farts are funny!

7. Chopper can make anything into a toy
Flip flops, door wedges, socks … they’re all fair game! He likes to run and get something to present you with when you walk in the door.

8. Chopper has several nicknames
Chops, ChopChop, Chopsy, baby Chopper, the dude, little man, the stripey one, the naughtiest one … I’m sure there’s more!

9. Chopper makes the best bed partner out of all our dogs
He’ll roll up into a tiny ball and not move or snore all night long. The three young ones sleep in crates at night. Sometimes Dave will sneak him into the bed at night and I won’t know he’s there until the next morning when he wakes me for his walk!

10. Chopper’s not my favourite
It’s a tie between him and Angel. They’re both my heart dogs 🙂

This is an outtake from the shoot. He didn’t quite understand what I wanted from him so he just gave up!

Baby Chopper was inspired by this photoshoot by my friend and mentor Kristin Anderson! Between now and Christmas she’s donating $1 to charity for every comment left on her blog, so subscribe to her feed today and leave her some love!!