Ahhh, Young Love…

About 18 months ago I spotted this young woman in a local supermarket. She was dressed kinda fun, tattoo covered and
joking about with her friends.
I thought she looked like the kind of gal who might appreciate my business wares, so I walked over and gave her my card.
She looked at me oddly, but took it with a smile and we parted ways.

Since that day, a lot has happened…and the weekend past Chili and I had the pleasure of being at her Wedding day.

So how does that happen you ask? (I know you’re wondering).
It started with a coffee, then an order, followed by a visit, which turned into a barbecue, a party and a year later an engagement party!
At the engagement party we found out a little something interesting again-Her Beau is best mates with one of Chili’s workmates, therefore
his Boss was also there, making it a small world indeed. A friendship had bloomed in such a way that it brought people together and peoples people too.

So, Wedding-wise, it was decided to use paper flowers for her bouquet. LenaLime painstakingly made the individual flowers for each of the pomanders and both bouquets, which left me the task of making her artwork into a ‘piece’. I just can’t sugarcoat this process-there was lots of cursing, growling and  luckily nobody came too close for the duration. Putting together fragile *flat* flowers is hard…but I managed….

Then there was the Hens/Bucks night…the sordid affairs-Hahaha! The girls all had a great night out in ‘Jungle theme’ with flowing drinks, great atmosphere and the fab music kept everyone on their feet all night. The boys were on tour, so nobody really knows what happened there (including most of them it seems!). Two of them dragged in to our place close to 5am, not really knowing how they got there 😉

To follow, there was back and forthing about decorating, venue stuffs and all sorts of other little details, but the Bride and Groom made it such a special day for everyone. The venue looked beautiful, the photobooth was heaps of fun and the wedding itself made quite a few eyes tear up, including the Bride.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce two of the cutest lovebirds we know..Mr Aiden & Mrs Carleen McBurney 🙂
 

Carleen is one of the brightest, LOUDEST, most spontaneous randomly fun people I have been around for a long time, and Aiden is her perfect match. He is quiet until he knows you well enough to hold a conversation, and childlike in a way I say, not offensively, but with reverance. He has managed to make the transition to adult, without losing the things he is passionate about. 🙂
The two of you are like a breath of sunshine on a dreary day, and I am proud to call you friends.
We wish you both the best of everything together always.

Cheers
XX-V

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We ALL deserve second chances.

Is your life ordered and normal? House tidy in general? Routine set in place on a daily basis? Time on your hands?
Well what I am about to tell you could change all that!! It has for us and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

As I have mentioned in many previous blogs, we have not long joined the ranks of dog fosterers worldwide.
I struggled with where to start on this topic, as I am so passionate about it, everything just wanted to spill out all at once in a mildly comprehensible babble, so I had to stop and really think about the important things I wanted to say.
The way it is said, should hopefully convey the feelings behind the words….So here goes…

WHY PEOPLE FOSTER?
Because there are so many dogs and cats out there that deserve a second chance. They have mostly had a rough time, been abused, neglected, unloved, un-cared for and then to add insult to injury..rejected.
If you look closer at the reasons why this has happened to them, you would in most cases find out something really important-They did nothing wrong. The people who foster want to help the ones who can’t help themselves.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ANIMALS IN NEED OF FOSTER?
There are many reasons, but this is the main one-People are ignorant!
Pets are dumped, surrendered and abused because their owners lacked something, whether it be knowledge, time or care. My favourite reasons include the following:
“I didn’t know how big it would get and we don’t want a big dog” Do a little research before pretending to commit to an animal huh?
“We had a baby, so the dog has to go” Did you forget you had a dog when you planned the baby or the other way around?
“We are moving to a house that can’t have dogs” Why? Couldn’t you find a house that allows dogs? There are plenty out there.
“I am bored with the dog. It’s old and I want a puppy” Well you shouldn’t have either!!!!
I believe there are some valid reasons for animals requiring foster, which include-…Death. Nope-That’s it. The only one (with the small exception of near death and can no longer physically look after.)

WHAT DOES FOSTERING ENTAIL?
You simply open your heart and home to an animal in need. Using a reputable rescue organisation, you are assigned dogs to care for. You feed them, keep them safe, transport them if required and love them. The rescue organisation will do all paperwork, make all the arrangements for applicants to adopt and take care of vet costs etc. As Foster carer, you can choose to have a say in the home the dog/cat goes to by meeting with the applicants before adoption too.

 

WHAT ANIMALS CAN YOU FOSTER?
Lots! There are heaps of organisations set up out there with animals in desperate need of fostering. There are a lot of dog breed specific rescues too, so if huskies pull your heart-strings, labradors are your style or you’re a sucker for bitsa, you can choose. You can also choose the age and size of the animals you help save, and even the sex (although they are all desexed before fostering).
All the animals are also vet-checked, micro-chipped and vaccinated before the stork drops them off.

And all that said…here is my personal account of the subject….
Above are pictures of the beautiful dogs we have fostered so far…..Starting with Harmony, Nala, Elvira and currently Zodiac…
..Aren’t they just amazing!

Fostering changes your life for the better. Sure there are moments when your new foster puppy has dragged your favourite soft toy off the bed and across the loungeroom floor, when they have chewed up the odd shoe, have a growl at the resident dogs, don’t do what they’re told, but then they look at you. Those sad remorseful eyes should be used in times of war. They are the best weapon I’ve ever seen, reducing a person to a whimpering mess.
-Those moments are outweighted tenfold by the good things they bring into your life.
-The first time this timid foster dog comes to you for a pat or falls asleep at your feet, because they trust you.
-The first time they sit and lie down for you with a treat, because nobody has ever taught them anything before you were there for them.
-The first time you can walk away from toys or food and know it is safe because they have learnt boundaries from you.
All of this, and the knowledge that you have saved a life, which may otherwise have been wasted because nobody else took the time to care.

The question I get asked the most of all is this…”Is it hard to let them go?” Simply-YES. It is very hard, but you do it knowing that they are going to a good home.
A home where they will be loved. A place where they will be safe. It leaves a space in your home to do it all over again and again and again.
I know that one day we will be ‘Foster failures’ (adopting our own foster dogs) but until that day I will pretend to remain strong in front of the new adopting  parents and shed a few tears when I get home. Each foster leaves it’s mark on your heart and home, and these are the moments you remember with a smile.
Soooo…If you think your home is right for a foster, please consider. There are links to two fabulous organisations on the left hand side of this page to start with.
It really is it’s own reward.

Cheers
V

All doggies go to heaven…

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Fact: Dogs are a very important part of my life.They always have been and always will be.

For as long as I can ever remember, there has been a dog in the house I have lived in, and over the past 17 years in every aspect of my life, and now more than ever.
Our first dogs as children were little moppy furballs. Pekinese, my Mother loved them…
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I remember Twinkie and Blossom (to whom I became quite attached), but I know there were many more before them. After that we moved country to live and saved a German Sheperd cross form the local pound and, very unimaginatively, named him ‘Max’. Max was my first intro to big dogs, but we lost him soon after.

Next came Ben, a German short-haired Pointer we acquired from a couple who were moving and couldn’t be bothered to make arrangements to take him with them. He came with all the accessories of a spoilt dog and a warning that he liked to tear clothes from the washing line. Ben had lived in a small townhouse type deal with little space to run and play, with owners who worked all day-it was no wonder he got bored.

Ben was very placid and pretty obedient, but soon turned from ‘Family dog’ into my brother’s dog. I still got to walk him and such, but when Matt got his first ute, Ben became permanent luggage in the back, and so began their love affair with the Maccas drive-through and its’ cheeseburgers 🙂

It wasn’t until I turned 18 that I got my very first dog of my own. I went to pick my 18th present from a special breeder from Blackwater who insisted I view the dogs, meet with them all and choose from there. After a long conversation, instructions and exchange of details I was on my way back with the biggest smile I could have ever thought I would smile and a bundle of fluff. I named my new Rottweiler boy ‘Kadin’ meaning lone soldier, and so he came to be.

For the next 6 years Kadin was by my side every step of the way. I trained him to work with me, he protected me and I loved him with everything I had. Words cannot explain what that dog meant to me…they just can’t. He was the only one there with me during the times I thought I could not go on, for being hugged, cried on and leaned on. He was there when I made decisions that would change our lives and take us to a better place. He was always there.

When I lost my boy my heart broke. He suddenly got sick and nobody could tell me why or what was wrong. He had treatment after treatment. Everything that could have been done, far beyond my means, I didn’t care. I sat on the kitchen floor in tears every night and hand fed him when he would no longer eat from the bowl and carried him up and down the stairs to the yard. He died in my arms waiting for another vet appointment. I screamed at the vet, I cried and yelled and couldn’t make sense of it.

They sent me the bill in a condolence card. That didn’t go well for them :/

I have never gotten over it, I probably never will. But I got lonely and knew something needed to fill the void that had been created, so when the time was right I looked for another friend.

I had fallen in love with the breed, so I spoke to another local registered breeder. The day I walked into the pen, this ball of fur bit my toe, fell over himself and barked at me-spunk! Ty was born with a genetic ‘defect’ on his back. A scar where hair won’t grow, and was therefore deemed as not suitable to show, so they were trying to get rid of him quick. A Bargain basement puppy-we were well suited. So he became mine.

Tyler is now 12, and still thinks he’s a puppy at times, but mostly is a grumpy old man and great foster brother. He creaks in Winter and is becoming more stubborn, but I figure he deserves to be.

Three years ago, even though Ty had accepted him as ‘Dad’, my husband decided he wanted a friend of his own, so we picked out Isabella (Aka Issy, Bella, Bee or Boombah). Issy is a black LabXKelpie with a lot of love and separation anxiety and we love her to bits too.

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Recently our two have become foster brother and sister to four dogs and counting, in our quest to try and help save other dogs less fortunate through such great rescue organisations as Arctic Breed Rescue and fetching Dogs rescue. They play with, accept and mentor the fosters as best they can, and set them straight when they need to be.

Even though I know one day the inevitable will happen, I can’t imagine my life without them. Seriously, how could you resist this smile??
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My brother has sadly recently lost his dog/best friend confidante GSP Monty at age 13.

 Another friend lost his beautiful Beagle girl Hershey just last week. They are both in my thoughts, as is everyone else who have ever lost a loved pet. It sucks. It really sucks. Bad.

The only thing that makes it any easier at all, is knowing they are free from pain and in a better place. And to all those who doubt…of course dogs go to heaven..all they know how to do is love, why wouldn’t they? 🙂

Cheers
V

The Big Fluffy invader

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It is that time of year again, when most of us forget what is really behind the holiday and focus on copious amounts of chocolate. For some of us, it stays a religious deal, but my guess is that they are somewhat of a minority.

Not being a particularly religious person myself, I like to think of holidays like Easter and Christmas as a chance to be giving, enjoy the break and be social by spending time with the ones I love. This includes my husband (of course) and my friends (where possible), my family (also where possible) and my gorgeous four-legged family too.

So, the time we have off work for Easter this year will be spent doing a multitude of things. Friday and Saturday will be spent at home together working on ongoing projects which mean a lot to us to get finished. One afternoon will see a coffee break including terribly fattening chocolate cake with nearby friends.
Sunday will include a trip , most likely to the beach, with the canine component of the family, and lots of treats for all involved.
Monday will be a day lunching with friends, and an extra reminder that all of our friends are very important to us.

We already have a little stockpile of treats stashed away for each other, and a bag of goodies for the pups as well.

Please remember at this time, with all the chocolate flying around left right and centre, that doggies are special and CANNOT have any. Theobromine is a substance in chocolate (more particularly in cocoa) which can harm dogs, so please arrange substitute treats for your special furry friends.
I have included a simple recipe below if you want to show your pups just how much you love them this Easter by taking the time to bake them something special. These can be coated in carob for extra choccy goodness if you like 🙂

Dog biscuits
Serves: 18

Ingredients

2 cups (250g) wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
270g unsalted natural peanut butter
1 cup (250ml) low fat milk

Preparation method
Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 20 minutes

1.Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease baking trays. Stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside. 2.In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter and milk. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to 1cm thickness and cut into shapes using biscuit cutters. Place 2cm apart on the prepared baking trays. 3.Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from baking trays to cool on wire racks.

More importantly, whatever Easter means to you, I hope you have a fantastic one.
Enjoy the break and few days off the hustle and bustle of the passing world. It will still be waiting there for us when we get back.

Cheers
V

The Mexico Theory

When I first moved to the outskirts of the big city 8 years ago, it was a huge decision for me. My world thus far had encompassed
mostly living in small towns around Queensland, mostly with other people. At the time it felt like my world was caving in and I had to
get out before it did-so I packed up all my crap, packed a bag and caught a plane. I arrived Friday (the 13th ironically) with only bag in hand  and searched desperately and quickly for a place I could live with my faithful dog. Striking a helpful real estate lady (yes they occassionally exist) I was moved in by Wednesday and a house full of clutter, and my pooch arrived the next day, very happy to see me.

This was one of the most daunting times of my life. I had never travelled much, lived, or done anything much for that matter, on my own. I knew next to no-one here, so was alone and very unsure of what the future held. I had work waiting, which made the transition a little less scary I suppose, but initially had no transport or any idea where I was half the time. The thought of being able to jump on a train or bus and get where I was going all seemed too cool after living in a town you could walk across, and then I got a motorcycle, which made it better again. Freedom.


The big shows, concerts and festivals were all here. The things that had seemed ‘out of reach’ before.
But…I had a friend come out and visit me one day, and a comment he made kinda stuck with me. He said to me
“Why did you move all the way out here…in Mexico!?”

It got me thinking… why do some people allow their worlds to expand, while others slowly let them get smaller?
Walking along a path last Friday night, hand in hand, letting the sushi digest, a random thought occurred to me. I could have been anywhere at that exact point in time and it really wouldn’t have mattered…anywhere on the whole planet!

So many people seem to have this aversion to moving outside their comfort zone, to travel, to relocating, to adventure, to putting in the extra effort. You hear it every day..”I can’t come, you live all the way over the other side of town” As if a 20 minute drive to visit a friend would be just too much. “I had to organise it in town, there are people travelling from the Southside” And it’s true! People won’t take the time to go. It’s easier not to. Too far away. Too much trouble.

When we visited the U.S a few years back, we travelled a bit, but couldn’t cover it all in just 4 short weeks (although we tried our best!). So…when we lunched in New York, our friends got on their bikes and rode 1, 2 and even 3 hours each way, just to have lunch with us! In L.A we got the same reception. Lunch up on Mount Baldy saw friends coming from as far as 2 or 3 hours away just for a few hours to ride and lunch together on the day. Nobody said “Oh we live too far away, we can’t make it”. No Mexico theory happening there anywhere.

Some of our friends will go anywhere and do anything at a moments notice, no matter where or what, and others confine themselves, but why? Some have kids, some struggle a little financially at times (Don’t we all?) or are time poor from the busyness we create for ourselves, but with a little planning and forethought you can achieve so much more. Travel, fun and adventure are all accessible. There is no better time to step outside that white picket fence and see what’s around the block, the corner, over the sea and further yet.

Hey, if I can do it, coming from small town mentality, where everything seemed ‘out of reach’, than I pretty much think anyone can. In the past few years, I have travelled more and done more than I ever really have in my life, and I can tell you now..that’s not going to stop any day soon. We have another U.S trip planned for early next year to see all the bits we missed last time and who knows what after that. Maybe Mexico 😉

Cheers
V