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Farewell Wolfie

I spoke to my brother Ian tonight. He, Josie and the boys returned last weekend from a month-long holiday in Europe. They had a ball. Unfortunately, the joy of that trip was tarnished yesterday when they had to make the decision to have Wolfie put down.

Wolfie was a beautiful collie. He had a wonderful 14 year life. What a lottery it is for pets. It is pure fate whether they will be mistreated like so many are, or whether they will come into a family where they are embraced as an integral part of the family. Wolfie was certainly the latter. Ian was saying tonight that he and Josie hadn’t realised what a reference point he was for them – whenever they looked into the backyard, Wolfie was the point of reference.

Carol and I have two dogs – Ned, who we think is a cross between a labrador and a cocker spaniel, and Spike, who is a labrador / rottweiler cross. Spike was the first and is no doubt the apple of both Carol’s and my eyes. Our vets tell us he has one of the most beautiful natures of any dog they’ve seen. It’s so frustrating when people see the rottweiler in him and head the other direction when we’re out walking. You can see the big boy in my profile picture on Facebook.

Ian’s news got me thinking about how much I value true friendship and loyalty, qualities that Spike demonstrates every day. Loss of friendship has been the event that has thrust me into the greatest depths of depression in the past. Still does.

I did a quick search of the web to try and find out the source of the reference to a dog being man’s best friend. I didn’t find it, but I must admit, I didn’t try too hard, because as far as I’m concerned, I don’t care who said it. It’s just so damn true. Dictionary.com nailed it – “A dog is more faithful than most other animals — and more faithful than many people.”

I know that, when Spike’s and Ned’s times come, Carol and I will be absolutely distraught. As Ian, Josie and the boys clearly are at the moment.

Farewell Wolfie! You were a legend!

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With Gina & Alex now having moved from home, and Tom being a bit lacking in the reliability department, heading away for a break now presents a bit of a challenge. Why? Because of a big black labrador / rottweiller cross called Spike, and a golden cocker spaniel / beagle / terrier / whatever else called Ned. Anyone that knows Carol and me will know how they are a very big parts of our lives.

So when we decided to have a weekend off, we went and bought Life Be In It’s Holidaying With Dogs (http://www.holidayingwithdogs.com.au/) and found a place called Red Paws Of Lorne (http://www.redpaws.com.au/). Anyone in Victoria will know of course that Lorne is a short way along the Great Ocean Road, out the other side of Geelong. We knew Red Paws must have been popular – we booked in January and this was the first weekend available.

So mid-Friday afternoon (yep, I couldn’t stand the idea of actually having to work five days, so I took the day off), we headed off to Lorne. It’s about 160 kilometres from home, the traffic was crap and we needed to make a short stop (that turned into a longer than expected stop) in Altona, so it ended up that we weren’t there until 5:30pm. But we all survived the trip pretty well, other than Ned thinking he should have all the back of the car and trying to rip Spike’s ear off at one stage.

So Red Paws is a studio apartment downstairs from where Daryl & Val, the owners, live. It’s about half way up the hill behind the Lorne camping ground. Lesson number one – don’t rent a studio appartment when you have two big dogs with you. Lesson number two – don’t rent at a property that isn’t fenced if your dogs like to race around all over the place. Other than those couple of issues, which of course relate to our lack of experience taking dogs away, Red Paws was great and Daryl & Val were terrific. The wireless internet was a big plus too.

So did we have fun? See for yourself.

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I got a chance to be vaguely artistic with the camera as well.

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Unfortunately the weather turned to crap on Saturday night, so we decided to head back reasonably early Sunday. So as I type this on Sunday afternoon, two dogs are both sound asleep, but look thoroughly satisfied. And Carol and I survived. And yep, I have to concede we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as well, despite being very concerned that we wouldn’t.

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