Taylor and Madison – two dogs, best friends and my heros

I was reading stories of dogs rescuing people and I was reminded of the time I had my own experiences with my dogs alerting me to dangers and rescuing me from a nasty fall.
Madison who is now nearly thirteen years old managed to alert me to danger.
I had come home from work, exhausted and desperate for couch time. Finally I made my way to the couch, laid down, opened my book and started reading.
At the time Leroy and Madison were asleep on their beds and all seemed very peaceful and relaxing when Madison got up from her bed and started to nudge me. I thought she wanted a pat, which I gave her, took off her dog collar and continued reading. Again Madison nudged me this time a little more forcefully and again I just patted her but did not look up from my book. A moment later she nudged me so hard that the book fell out of my hands. I looked at Madison about to reprimand her for being so demanding but as I was about to speak I saw the biggest White Tailed Spider only centimeters away from my bare legs on the couch. I looked at Madison and her eyes screamed at me to move. Which I did at a rapid pace.
I had no idea there was a spider let alone one that was so close to me and they are not the sort of spiders some one wants close to them. They are a particularly nasty spider which is known for delivering a horrible bite which can ulcerate.
It was very unusual behaviour for Madison to be so pushy and demanding. I will never forget the look in her eyes trying to gain my attention. I am sure she saved me from a nasty spider experience. I didn’t feel comfortable on the couch for days after that close encounter.

My first dog Taylor was only a few months old when he alerted me to a smoldering fire in the living room. I had been busy in the kitchen when he began barking and barking. Firstly I just yelled for him to be quiet but his barking was relentless. Angrily I stomped down the hall only to find a room full of smoke and a cushion from the couch smoldering on top of the heater about to ignite. I was quickly able to extinguish the smoldering cushion but hate to think what would have happened if Taylor had not alerted me to the situation. He was only a young pup but he had known something was wrong.

Quite a few years later I was sitting watching T.V with Taylor dozing at my feet, suddenly Taylor sprang up and raced down the house towards the front door. I heard the front door slam and then I could see someone running up the street away from the house. I realised I had forgotten to lock the front screen and an intruder had entered my house unbeknown to me but Taylor had heard them and went straight into protection mode. Again I dread the thought of what would have happened had Taylor not been by my side.

The third time Taylor came to my rescue was when I was bush walking. I had decided to go on quite a big bush walk which explored historical sites in my local area. At that time I was living in the Adelaide Hills so I started my journey from home with Taylor on the lead. I had been walking for only thirty minutes or so and I had let Taylor off the lead and he was happily exploring the gully ahead of me. He was quite some distance from me when suddenly I slipped and fell straight onto my knee. The pain was rather shocking and took my breath away. Taylor was instantly at my side, it was like one second he was three hundred meters away and then whoosh right there next to me and in fact I was still in the process of completing my fall when he was suddenly by my side. A wet nudging nose on my face as I gripped my knee. It suddenly dawned on me that although I was not far from home I was a long way from home with a knee that I didn’t think I could stand on. It was as if Taylor knew I had to get to my feet and he had to help me out of there back to home. I gingerly attempted to get up off the ground and I found that Taylor was leaning into me quite heavily, at first I had no idea what he was doing and then I realised he was allowing me to lean on him to get up. I pushed myself up with my good leg and leaned on Taylor to get to a standing position. Taylor didn’t budge he stayed by my side and as I tentatively put some weight onto my knee. It really hurt but I could weight bare a little on it and I was just able hobble back up the hill and head for home. Taylor stuck to me like glue and offered his support by taking some of my weight when I had to climb back through the rocks. The journey back home took nearly two hours as I had to stop several times to rest. He never left my side, he knew I was hurt. Taylor had never been trained to assist me. I had just trained him like a normal dog with the general sit, stand and stay commands, nothing out of the ordinary just everyday dog training.
My knee eventually got better but I will never forget the help Taylor had given me and again without him my walk home would have been much more difficult.
What an amazing dog he was a great friend and protector. Unfortunately Taylor passed away in 2007 leaving Madison and us very broken hearted. He’s big smile always live in our hearts.

There are numerous stories of extraordinary feats dogs have done to save people. I have experienced first hand their protective and nurturing natures and I truly believe there is more to dogs than we know.

Dogs on the bed or dogs off the bed?

Is your bed a no go zone for your pets or is it OK for your pets to sleep on the bed? I was very adamant when Leroy was a puppy that he was going to sleep on his puppy bed on the floor beside my bed, no way was I going to share my bed with the dog. Yeah right!

It wasn’t long before Leroy was sleeping on the bed. He was quite clever because he would start out on his bed and give me a false sense of security that he would stay there. Then at some point throughout the night he would sneakily get up on my bed and make himself comfortable. I would then awake to an empty puppy bed while Leroy was snuggled next to me, thumping his tail with a look of “I don’t know how it happened but I ended up on your bed”.

I would then demand he got off the bed, and return to his dog bed which he did. I would puff up my chest and remind myself I am the top dog. Then the next morning I would wake with Leroy on the bed again but had no memory of him jumping up through the night. Each morning I would wake up to find him on my bed and each morning I would go through the same ritual, telling him to get off and putting him back on his dog bed.

I had bought him a very comfortable dog bed so there was no excuse of him not sleeping in it. I would find him on it during the daytime all curled up so he definitely liked it. For a joke one night I pretended to go to bed in his dog bed. He was most confused as I faked falling asleep in it. He didn’t seem to mind and seemed to be amused at my antics. I didn’t last too long. I moved back into my bed and Leroy jumped straight into his dog bed, did a few circles and fell asleep. I woke up the next day with his head on the pillow next to me.

I would like to think I decided he could sleep on the bed but really I know I caved in. I could never catch him doing it and he eventually won me over with his cute morning face of innocence. He still starts out the night on his dog bed and sneaks up at some time through the night. I now have a rug on my bed which seems to protect the quilt from his dog hair.

I would say in general beds are best left for humans to sleep in but who would I be fooling. I love waking up to Leroy. The first thing I see is a big smiley face full of joy and excitement of what the new day holds, yes he could express that from his dog bed and I know deep down how wrong it is that he sleeps on my bed but….I’m a sucker!

Whether you prefer your dog on your bed, in a dog bed or sleeping outside, the key thing for having a well behaved dog is that it is your choice – when and where. The fact is that dogs are pack animals and much prefer to sleep with the pack. In cold climates it’s very natural for them to lie against or near each other for warmth. Digging ‘the dog bed’ is also very natural because dogs would ‘burrow’ shallow beds to sleep in. For example clearing away leaves, twigs, or grasses to create a ‘sealed’ dog bed. Hence why the seem to bunch up the doona in their favour or do a 100 circles prefer settling down. Keep this in mind when expecting your dog to sleep in their own dog bed and not yours. It’s not always the ‘comfort’ factor but the company factor that they naturally crave.

The Weirdest Dog Collars Ever Made

Dog Collar MuseumThe Kookiest Dog Collars Ever Made!

So there are 100s of dog breeds and 100s of dog personalities and 1000s of dog collars made to suit some of those kooky dog personalities out there. At the dog park recently I was amazed to see a dog collar that was – well, not a dog collar at all! It was a ripped up t-shirt wrapped and looped to act as a make shift dog collar! It definitely looked comfortable. The t-shirt dog collar obviously wasn’t the permanent dog collar of choice as the dog had lost his permanent dog collar in the deep creek somewhere.

Seeing this funny scenario did get me to thinking about what is the weirdest dog collar ever made?

How about a floaty as a dog collar? A nice idea “use floaty dog collar in case of flood!” Might work well in a sudden tsunami or even a nightclub but maybe not on a day to day basis.

Floaty Dog Collar

So in my hunt for the strangest dog collar ever made I came across a Dog Collar Museum in Britain! I’m not kidding an actual museum in Leeds dedicated to dog collars!!!

If they weren’t so common I’d actually put the spikey dog collars in the weird category. They look great on some dogs and definitely match their owners personality but I can’t just imagine a dog waking up in the morning and saying “toughen me up with dog collar that makes me look like Billy Idol.”

Maybe these ones aren’t weird looking but the fact that million dollar dog collars are now being made and more frequently bought definitely fits the looniest dog collar list.

Have you ever made a make shift dog collar, or can claim the weirdest dog collar ever worn?

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Dog Rescue People are amazing!

I stumbled across this great YouTube video from an American dog rescue association. The video captures a dog rescue of a totally blind dog. It’s quite sad to see a dog dumped in such conditions but great to see it adopted – after a well deserved wash from the dog rescuers and of course a new dog collar and a new dog lead.

I’m continuously inspired by the hard work of dog rescue volunteers and dog rescue professionals. At the Casterton Kelpie Muster in 2011 I was fortunate to meet a few volunteers from the Australian Working Dog Rescue Inc. They are focused on re-homing retired or thrown away working dogs. They are a non profit organisation whose primary function is to save working dog breeds from being euthanased in council pounds and shelters and find new homes for them. We cover the entire east coast of Australia which encompasses Qld, NSW, Vic and SA.