with Jill McLeod
Occasionally the reputation of a town and its surrounding district is closely associated with the personalities of the dogs that take up residence within its confines. Braidwood is such a town together with its surrounding villages.
Residents and visitors find themselves greeting the dogs before they acknowledge the presence of their owners. The dogs firmly believe they are in charge of the domestic arrangements of the various family abodes in both town and country.
Apart from Monty-Boy, my own doggy mate, Fidel who lives upstairs above my business immediately comes to mind. I talk to Fidel most days of the week.
He is named for his leadership qualities. He is an extrovert with great organizational skills, especially in the specific placement of his discarded bones. Boundaries are his to set and us to locate. He checks out the businesses in the main street to make sure all is as it should be.
Fidel can be diplomatic when diplomacy is called for; he enjoys nothing more than serious discussion of political issues and thrives on the cut and thrust of election campaigns. As his mistress describes him, Fidel is a big dog in a delightful small poodle package.
Bruce, the Jack Russell, newly housed at Majors Creek, just loves visiting. He spent most of his life in Germany and suffered the indignity of quarantine when his mistress decided to travel and live in Australia. But soon after he got out of gaol, and much to his annoyance at the time, his carer landed a job in Hong Kong and decided not to relocate Bruce again.
Richard and Sandy came to the rescue and, following a reasonable settling in period with their doggy family, believed he could be left unattended. On his first day without supervision Bruce visited five families, was returned after each sortie, and his travels produced five phone messages in his wake.
As a solution to keep Bruce off the streets he now accompanies his owner in the business vehicle and is employed as an assistant solar power consultant.
Jane’s Ruby is a thirteen year old gentle and faithful pure bred red kelpie. Everyone knows and greets her as she accompanies her mistress or is waiting patiently outside a Wallace Street shop. But it is even better if she is invited in to enjoy a little dose of social interaction.
While Ruby enjoys trudging through the countryside, she is never averse to being taken for a drive and it is only recently that I became aware she is a wildlife expert specialising in the observation and study of echidnas.
Hide and seek is quite good fun and taking a break to do a little sunbaking is high on the list of pleasurable activities. She is a very sensible mature woman and makes sure she doesn’t get sunburnt.
Monty-Boy, my Jack Russell x Beagle, is a great dog. He zealously guards the house boundaries and knows not to mess with kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. He bays at the moon when it’s at its fullest.
Monty has an extensive vocabulary and “where is madam puss?” sends him off on his nightly errand to ensure that my hand-me-down Russian Blue knows her dinner is ready. He can count. When it’s necessary to take him to the boarding kennels (his choice) he warns me when we have two kilometres to go before the entrance gate.
And Monty can tell the time. He adapts overnight to daylight saving. Five pm is dinnertime regardless of the season. And he knows when the cashew nut jar is empty and reminds me to put new supplies on the shopping list.
And there are many more personality dogs to enjoy. I think another episode will have to follow in the future.
Image: Monty-Boy, Jill’s Jack Russell x Beagle.