Category: dogs have needs too

Once upon a time, we had two children.

Their names were Rusty and Pepper. You’ve met Pepper if you’ve been reading here long enough. But you may not have met Rusty before.

Rusty was the “child” from Steve’s previous relationship. Given to him by his first girlfriend as a kitten, Rusty and Steve came as a package. Long, mischievous, lanky dorks, the two of them. Like cat, like owner.

Little Russ was a great boy. I still miss him greatly, despite Pepper being my very favourite ever of all time (shhhhhh I know, I know, there aren’t supposed to be any favourites). Sometimes Rusty comes and visits me in dreams. Last time, he was enormous, like some huge Cat Monument. I was overjoyed to see him, “Rusty, oh Rusty!” I remember throwing my arms around him – he was larger than me and lay there, posed like a sphynx – and he just did that smiley, all-knowing, closed-eye cat grin they’re so good at doing. I know he came to see if I was okay. Beautiful boy.

But I digress.

This is a post about this one time, back in 1995, when we were upwardly mobile, dual income, pre-first miscarriage – in fact, pre-marriage or even thinking of children – and in our youthful heyday, respectively. Living the fulltime working lifestyle, the animals fit in around us BUT they were also everything to us.

Except this one day. When we forgot to let Russ out in the morning before going to work.

Rusty was never a cat to have a kitty litter tray. Dutifully obliging of our refusal to change it – we drew straws, we tried it for a while…. – it just wasn’t for us. And actually, it wasn’t us, it was most definitely him. That stinky cat. He learned to hold on. He was a good boy. He NEVER went inside.

Erm… Except this one day. When we forgot to let Russ out in the morning before going to work.

That night, we arrived home to find a happy Russell at the front door, maowing and mariah-ing all over the place (I swear to God, the cat used to say “Mariah? MarIIIIAHHH?” and we were forever going, “Not on your life, she’s a bloody wailing show-off, there’ll be no Mariah in this house, boy-o”). Ooops. We’d forgotten to let him out. But a quick check of the house and every room with an open door assured us our boy had been good and had held on. We let him out. He came back in for dinner. We fed Pepper and ourselves and readied for bed.

I wandered in to the bedroom, started to brush my teeth, came out and turned on the electric blanket, finished with my teeth. Got my pj’s on. Steve got into his. It was cold that night. We did the dishes. We turned off the lights. We were chatting as we pulled back the bed covers….

And then all hell broke loose.


Much flapping of arms and squealing like a couple of school girls shying away from a little spider ensued. But it was not a spider we were recoiling from. It was a big, wide, slowly spreading, putrid-smelling catpat.

The cat, apparently pissed off with us for ruining his plans for an outing that day, had backed in under the covers at some point and crapped. CRAPPED. And it wasn’t solid, oh no. It was a good-un. Nice and sloppy. And now warm and spreading because we had been heating it up nicely.

I don’t know if we laughed or cried more that night. The smell. It is still burned into my olfactory brain centre. But in a strange twist, Rusty’s legacy lives on, as told by a rather disturbingly proud Steve whenever he recounts “This one time, we had a cat called Rusty and we left him inside….”


Do you have a delightful pet-revenge story that you recount? Or that you’d rather forget? Any damaged, soiled shoes or mattresses in your pets’ past?



There is nothing more fulfilling to me than putting music on – loud – and doing housework, having a good hard cry, dancing around the kitchen with a child or a dog (or two, back in the day) in tow…. any excuse, really.

Music punctuates my daily life. All kinds of music. I put it on in the morning and play it to suit my day.

True story: The day I called the vets out to attend to Pepper and take her away, I played this (The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan-Williams - If you’ve never listened to it, GO. NOW!) on repeat for nearly two hours. It is possibly my most favourite piece, the most beautiful I have ever heard. Playing it that day was a given. It was cathartic. It helped me. It released her from her body and it was the last thing we both heard as she slipped away. Music can do that. It can lift and carry, seek and heal.

I go through stages of needing to hear a certain genre, or even just one artist, and I will saturate my listening hours with it/them. Recently, it was Carol King, then Billy Joel and then all those lovely jazz artists – old and new, originals and covers – from Louis Armstrong to Sara Gazarek.

While I love them all, there is one instrument that just lifts me up and takes me with it.

The piano.

I am drawn to any artist who can really play. Play as if they are the music, the instrument itself. When you put piano into a rock situation, like Ben Folds does for instance, I am just putty in their hands. I could write a whole other post on my favourite piano-rock songs…. I might just do that for my own enjoyment one day soon.

Playing like this (below) makes me actually feel like my feet have left the ground. It leaves me breathless, it makes me close my eyes and admire. I mean….. my God, how amazing is this (I wish I could see it!):

Listen to this right to the end if you enjoy piano, be amazed~

Meet Candian-born Chilly Gonzales. An unbelievably talented artist.

Now, while the next video kind of annoys me, it was this song of his that got my attention and first introduced me to his work. I heard it years ago on Triple J, a chance hear, but I wrote down the artist’s name. I wanted that song! Strangely, there isn’t a piano to be heard in it. But when I found out the guy is a brilliant pianist, I think I liked the song even more.

Steve absolutely HATES it. So I can only play it when he’s not here. He thinks it’s unintelligent, unintelligible crap. But come on! The guy rhymes “extra testicle” and “chest hair” and “get my prank on”. Makes perfect sense to me…..

See what you think – he does want to be loved and hated in equal amounts… he says so himself (perhaps just listen, don’t watch, it detracts from the song):

If you’re interested, here’s how he treats it live – just him at the piano.


He’s obviously some kind of cray-cray genius man-child. You can see it in this video (but again, the talent, oh my! the talent!):



What does music do for you? What’s the one instrument or genre you couldn’t do without?
And ummm… what do you think of Gonzales?


I have made some discoveries this last evening.


Jazz (the dog)
• doesn’t like having raspberries blown on her head (don’t ask, but…. okay, yes, I experimented to find this out)
• loses in a stare-off
• winks up to three times a minute (when losing in a stare-off)
• has to have her ‘say’ at being stared at and will bemoan the fact by doing guttural dog-barky-growl things with an indignant look on her face and staring me down the whole time.

That is all. Sorry to disturb you and bring you over here for that.

Carry on, as you were.


Do you torment your animal/s for the love of it? Or is it just me?

Okay, these made me laugh. This is the kind of comedy relief I have always appreciated in my life. At the best of times, but most of all…. at the worst of times. It reminds me that without laughter and humour, I am not truly living a balanced life.

Here’s what happened:

I got the camera out after calling and making the euthanasia appointment with the vets. They were due in a couple of hours. I hardly left Pepper’s side that morning and just lay with her.

Our dear dog, Jazz – not to be outdone (as it is with all little sisters, no?) and being true to photo-bombing form – muscled in on the very last photos I was taking of Pepper just before the vets arrived at home.

She couldn’t help herself. Take this photo below, for example:

All very innocent, very cute. Right? Hmmmm. Let me now put it into context for you:

Lucky she is a funny, cute little shit or I would have been right upset.
Thanks for the comedy relief, Jazz, you narc!

Hello and welcome to post #1199! Add that to the 500 posts I published on my old blog and…. my goodness, you’d think I’d have ironed out the bumps by now, wouldn’t you? But no. That’s just the kinda fly-by-the-seat-o’-my-pants, unstructured writer I am. It’s a curse, not a skill.

I thought I would use this post to make a couple of announcements.

1.  I am seriously investigating – those other times were just dalliances, forays into what was involved (read: all too hard to change platforms and for no real gain) – moving to a self-hosted WordPress blog. *GAG-FACE* I KNOW! It’s just that I have direction now, I have things I want to do, ways to make this a more useful place rather than me just spewing forth my words. That, and, they have the most amazing plug-ins and ways to make your blog look pretty that I can no longer pretend it doesn’t make my designer/visual-eye’s heart flutter to think of the possibilities….

This will be a very positive step forward, I think, for my blog’s direction. But I want to give you ample time to fling yourself at my feet and weep “NOOOOO! Not WordPress, no!” if you must. Are you pleased with this move? Or does it strike fear in the heart? Essentially, nothing should change – however, any of you out there reading this in a Blogger-connected reader (I really should be more knowledgeable about all this, but meh) who are concerned you’ll lose track of me, please wave your hand at me and make yourself (and your concerns) known and I’ll try and find a way to appease you too!

2.  I am very excited to be working on a project in conjunction with Sands Victoria which involves the use of my blog space. It will take a little while yet, but there’s something in the works and it makes my heart feel full. In the meantime, here is my first call-out to any readers who have a parent (mum or dad) who has lost a newborn or suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth and who would like to share their story here (can be anonymous).  Contact me via email (details are in my profile or feel free to drop me a line on my Facebook page). Spread the word too! I believe stories are meant to be shared and love to hear about people, their interesting lives, how they survived, how they thrived… in any number of circumstances.

I, for one, would have dearly loved to learn first-hand from the older generation how they stepped through the loss of their baby. So if you know anyone who might like to add their voice, please do invite them to contact me.  I will be making a proper stand-alone post about it soon, but here’s a precursory, toe-dipping call-out!

3.  Things are heating up heading towards the Digital Parents Conference. It’s all systems GO here and we are receiving, surely, more boxes than a matchstick factory. They contain the incredible amount of swag on offer from companies who are all too happy to throw freebies at bloggers – there are 200 delegates, to be exact, and I am getting up close and personal with each of their swag bags as Steve and I are filling them…. in the sort of methodological, “boy” way you can imagine. I went my own way for a while there, just piffing stuff in – “The bag’s huuuuge, there’s plenty of room”, said I, but Steve was right; proper stacking made for even more much-needed room, so you’ll know if you get one of the bags I packed because it’ll look like someone just took a rampage through a garage sale, dumping stuff in a cotton bag. Hmmm. Sorry ’bout that.

Anyway, big thanks already to Naomi for flat-packing a stack almost as high as my ceiling with me this week. Go and check out her pretty new blog look. She’s fixed the stupid hacks now! It no longer takes you to websites that shall remain nameless……. (don’t ya hate it when meddlesome computer geeks crack your firewall?)

And to finish off, a post from me this past month wouldn’t be complete without mentioning…. Pepper. See what I did here? It’s a brief little photo gallery, come and see me (and her) in our glossy-coated youth – we both had shinier manes back in the day. Sigh. Ah, Pep  :-) I know somewhere she’s still smiling her teddy-dog smile.

Humour me, folks. That is all. And have a lovely weekend!  Chat next week.

“Love” – by Nancy Adams, from the movie “Robin Hood” (1973)

p.s. Did you spy Jazz as a pup??!?! Awwwwwwww!  And I should’ve warned you about the IVF needle shot, sorry…


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