Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Living with Eva

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Everyone meet Eva.

Miss Eva

Miss Eva

Eva is the latest addition to the Davies household, weighing in at half of my weight and with more energy than all of us combined. She may not look like a puppy, but give her five minutes and she will be chasing her tail or rolling on her back attempting to bite anything (or anyone) who gets near her face. She does an impressive 4-leg-spring where her entire body is propelled straight up into the air, over and over again.

She enjoys eating leaves and licking humans when they’re half asleep or sweaty. She falls asleep in cars and snores. In the words of Sandra Dee in Grease, Eva is hopelessly devoted to Dad. She whimpers if he leaves her for over 10 minutes and will sit staring at the bathroom door waiting for Dad to finish in the shower.

She’s a messier and louder version of dog than Cali and doesn’t have the same eating etiquette as our previous guide dog in training, however she is fitting in nicely into our family and is being regularly smothered in hugs. It would appear that while I don’t like dogs, I do like Cali and Eva.

Puppy Love

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Last night it dawned on me that Sinead O’Connor is clearly singing about a guide dog that she has been training in her song Last Day of Our Acquaintance. A trainer and a dog who have a final day together before being separated forever. They will meet again when the dog graduates but when the trainer tries to say hello, the dog will be so focused on being a good guide dog that it won’t respond. And we already know this will happen.

Today my family is understanding exactly what Sinead was getting at. Tomorrow Cali is leaving our house and moving on to help a visually impaired woman live her daily life. She has made it through the training, been declared as one of the top 20 dogs EVER (of course, she’s a Davies), and is now going to spend the rest of her life providing an amazing service to someone who needs a bit of help. And while we’re ridiculously proud of her, we all want to cry.

Cali, the smartest dog in the world.

Cali, the smartest dog in the world.

My parents have just spent the last two and half years training Cali, pretending not to be getting attached while really falling in love. My brother has spent almost a year with Cali around while I have gotten to know her in the last three months. When I moved back to Perth I wasn’t all that thrilled that a dog was living in my house and stealing attention from my parents away from me. And now I rush home in order to have pats with Cali. I call her over, rub her tummy, take her for walks every evening, I have given her a soppy nickname and I will do anything she wants when she looks at me with her loveable dog eyes. When I’m sad, she cheers me up faster than chocolate ice cream.

WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED?! No one in my family quite understands how a four-legged furry creature who really is ‘just a dog’ has managed to have such a resounding impact on all of us. We have all been affected by Cali’s presence and she didn’t even do anything other than lie around on our floor. Perhaps this is what all animals manage to do, or maybe Cali is a wonder dog. Whatever the reason, we’re going to miss her and she will always be my favourite dog. I still hate dogs, but I love Cali.

A clean dog is a good dog

A clean dog is a good dog

On that note, we will learn more tomorrow evening whether or not it is possible to like more than one dog, when Dad has taken Cali to school for the last time and returns home with Eva (aka Cali II). Yes, we’re getting another one, because rebound guide dogs are always the best option.

I Don’t Like Dogs. But I Do Like Cali.

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I’m allergic to dogs which is handy as it means I have a socially acceptable reason to ask people to keep their beloved mutts away from me. I have occasionally grown to like some dogs, this being a long process involving them learning not to get too close and to never, ever cover me in their drool. The general worldly consensus appears to be that you are inhuman and an essentially horrible person if you do not ooh and ahh and kiss and throw yourself over a person’s dog. Even when I explain that I am not able to touch the thing as it will result in me breaking out in a rash, sneezing and my eyes turning into tennis balls, I still receive looks of disapproval at my lack of excitement about the animal.

I wasn’t overly thrilled to be returning home to Perth to where a dog had moved in to my house. While I was living overseas, my parents replaced me with a black labrador that they are training as part of the guide dog program. Cali was presented to me on regular occasions via Skype and I could see that even my parents weren’t impressed by my lack of interest. Cali and I were in competition for my parents’ love and I was refusing to let a dog beat me.

Over the last three weeks, Cali and I have some how rapidly progressed from me frowning at my parents childish talk and screwing up my nose every time I felt a wet nose rub against my leg, to us going for walks together and hanging out on the floor. I pat her, praise her, and tell her she’s ‘such a clever girl!‘ for sitting when told to. I look forward to her coming home from puppy school and treat her to ice cubes on hot days.

Cali guide dog

She’s rather lazy.

So I’m not sure how that happened. I have a suspicion that she has somehow become an emotional surrogate for Sir Pubert, who is now on the other side of the world and not providing me with the attention and affection that Princess Jess requires. The other day, I was having a bit of a sob moment and Cali was instantly aware of my sad mood. She immediately came over and sat on my feet and didn’t leave until I was feeling perkier. Clearly, dogs are far more in tune to human emotions than men and I suddenly saw why humans become so attached to their pets. Cali had cheered me up simply through crushing my toes and giving my legs a bit of a lick.

I still don’t like dogs (particularly not small yappy things) so please don’t bring your dogs over to meet me. But Cali is Cali. She is part of the family and has taken on family traits (easily distracted, she likes to wander off and see what’s happening on the OTHER side of the road and this evening she wanted to eat cheese) and therefore I think she’s cool.

I’m Back.

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

This time one week ago, I was squished between a window and a fat woman with a beard on my flight back to Perth. Having just spent 11 hours in the foetal position avoiding any contact with the excess flab hanging over into my side of the arm rest, I was quite keen to get off the plane, collect my luggage, assure Australian customs that I wasn’t smuggling any dead animals into the country and give my mum a hug.

Since then I have spent my time re-adjusting to life in Australia and drinking a lot of ice coffees.

Jet lag.

I thought I had done so well. After arriving home on Saturday afternoon, I managed to stay away until 9.30pm before having 12 hours sleep and waking up feeling relatively adjusted. However, Sunday evening I lay staring at the ceiling until 4am when I finally felt tired enough to go to sleep. It is a strange feeling to lie in bed knowing that you’re supposed to be tired and that now is sleep time, however your body thinks it is still living on the other side of the world.

Anyway, my body clock is functioning properly now and I have even managed to get into the obscene Australian lifestyle of getting up before 6am to do exercise. Who does that? A lot of people around here it seems.

The weather.

I hear it is a bit chilly in England. My plane was delayed by over an hour when I left Manchester as they had to clear snow and ice from the runway. Apparently the canals have frozen and people are complaining about the cold.

manchester airport

From this…

It isn’t cold in Perth. This weekend we’re expecting 37 and 40 degree temperatures which is a little unnecessarily warm. I had forgotten what it feels like to sweat and I have managed to reach ‘beetroot’ level where people gawk at my red face and ask me if I am ok after my morning runs. I had also forgotten that everything melts and all of my lip balms, hand creams, chocolates and pots of Nutella are particularly runny.

Perth skyline

To this.

My family.

I have managed to catch up with a lot of my family since my return and have spent many hours sitting around chatting with my Dad. We have managed to come up with many great plans of things to build, books to publish, jobs to complete and adventures to have over the next 6 months that I may need to extend my stay.

And I am catching up on four years’ worth of Mum hugs.

Mum lasagna

She may not be Italian, but nothing beats my Mum’s lasagna.

The dog.

While I have been living overseas, my parents have replaced me with a dog. My tendency to sneeze in the presence of any furry creatures and the fact that I was terrified of dogs as a child has meant that I have never been much of a dog-person. However, Cali isn’t any old slobbery mutt – she is a guide dog in training and understands the word ‘sit’. She doesn’t jump, bark, slobber, lick (that much), smell or make a mess. She doesn’t even seem to molt which is particularly impressive. While I still dislike dogs, she has managed to convert me into a Cali-person.

Cali

Cali rests her head after a long day at Guide Dog training school.

The beach.

Oh, the beach. Glorious, glorious beach. Tuesday morning saw my return to the early-morning-swim-at-the-beach ritual as Mum, Dad, Cali and I headed to North Cottesloe for a 7am swim. It was nice to see the regular beach-goers again and for them to recognise me and welcome me back. There is nothing like the smell of ocean air and the feeling of being immersed in salty water. Those 15 minutes of bobbing around really kick start a day. Both Paris and Manchester are definitely lacking on that front.

So I am back. Physically, at least. I’m not sure where my head is living and I have no idea where ‘home’ is exactly. But it is nice to know that I have multiple places across the world where people will be happy to see me.

A Girl, a Man and a Dog

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Tuesday 18 March 2014 – 7am

I am running along the River Irwell, wiping away watery tears as my eyes react to the cool morning breeze. Some music is pumping into my ears; it’s Underworld, I think, but I’m not sure. It takes me a while to wake up and become aware of my surroundings. Not that long ago I was comfortably dreaming in my bed. Then my alarm screamed at me to get up and get jogging.

I pass under the bridge next to the Campanile Hotel. Most mornings the cars of business people and budget-travellers are parked out the back, but today the car park is almost empty. Under the bridge arch a man is pacing slowly. He is wearing Adidas sneakers with very white soles. He stops and pretends to tie his shoe laces to let me pass. He’s here every morning with his hood up, avoiding my eye contact. I have never seen his face. I keep running.

As I round the next corner I spot a familiar face pounding towards me and my spirits lift. I have met this dalmatian and his owner before on the corner of Liverpool Road and Deansgate. His spotted fur is tired but his face shows he has lived the good life; sparkling eyes and a slobbery smile, he lifts his head and sneezes a ‘Good morning’ to me as we cross paths. “Would you like a dog?” says the man, a cheeky grin on his face as he recites the line he uses on every lady he passes. Like owner, like dog, he has a generous face and laughing eyes. “He’s lovely,” I say, “but I’m allergic to dogs.”

His eyes widen in dismay as he contemplates life without his friend, but then he smiles and says, “Well, he’s allergic to humans. He has come out in spots.” He laughs to himself as he walks on.

Running in the Dark (or A Man and His Dog)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Every weekday my alarm goes off at 6.10am, the BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! jolting me from my comfort as I thump blindly at my bedside table – evil noise, go away. For five minutes I lie in bed with my eyes closed, my two inner beings having a fist fight and screaming match in my head. Lazy, relaxed Jess thinks lying in is good for me and that I could really do with some extra sleep. Strict, demanding Jess has higher expectations and is insistent that now is the time to get up and go for a run. This second Jess always wins due to copious amounts of guilt, threats of weight gain and promises that the more I run, the more cake I can consume. FINE.

It is DARK in Manchester at 6.10am. The sun currently doesn’t rise above the horizon until 8.22am so I have been for my run, had a shower, eaten breakfast and am leaving for work by the time the sun gets up. There are a few issues with running in the dark:

  1. You can’t see puddles. Manchester footpaths are notoriously bad for pot holes, sloping pavement tiles and for just being generally shocking. If it rains (which it always does) massive puddles form across the footpaths and when there’s no light around they are are particularly difficult to spot. This means you are guaranteed wet and therefore frozen feet by the time you return home.
  2. Your chances of being murdered are greatly increased. Don’t start panicking yet, Mum, but Manchester doesn’t have the greatest reputation for safety. There are a few oddballs and weirdos who like doing things to people in the many dark and dingy streets of the city. This means that I stick to main roads that are well lit and frequented by lots of people and cars and my running routes are therefore really, really boring. I much prefer my summer run that takes me along the canal where I can see water and rowers and evil Canadian geese. I need to devise some more interesting running routes throughout the city but Manchester is so small that it seems like I am back at home before I have even started.
  3. Sleeping when it is dark is much better than being awake. Enough said.

Despite these drawbacks, I do feel much better after I have completed my 45 minute run and there are tears streaming down my face from the cold and I feel like I have been running against tempestuous winds for the entire time. Plus I now have a friend.

I have met this smiling man and his big, friendly dalmatian at the corner of my street and the main drag, Deansgate, three times now. The first time we crossed paths it was as if he was waiting for me – “HELLO!” he said. It felt like we were old friends. I had left the house in a sour mood, stressed by approaching Christmas tasks that I needed to perform and his greeting and enthusiasm at seeing me brightened my mood instantly. Now each time we meet, his dog comes over to have a sniff and say hello. “You can pat him!” said the man the last time we met. After I had explained my allergies to all things with fur, it was as if I had crushed his heart with my bare hands. “Well that’s awful! He is such a good dog! You poor thing!”

Our meetings are only brief – a hello, a how are you, and good wishes for the day. But that brief interaction is enough to bring pure delight to my day and make me run with a lighter step.

Monsieur Chien

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

I can finally reveal my latest linoprint that I created for my friend Chuck. Chuck is a small, flat-faced, wobbly-bottomed dog lover (that is a description of the dogs, not Chuck) and so for his birthday I made him this:

Pug lino print

Le Vie de Chien

I am very pleased with the final print and used my new press that I made with Dad when I was home in Perth a few weeks ago. It made for a nice even pressure and the final image turned out well. I have three more copies in black from this print run if anyone wants to buy one. I’ll be making them available on my Etsy site soon, or just contact me.

Grrrrrrammar

Friday, October 15th, 2010

No one hates incorrect grammar usage more than Griswald. Chief of the Grammar Police, Griswald spends his day handing out fines to those who cannot spell or who do not know the difference between “its” and “it’s”. Griswald has no time for grammatical failure. No time at all.

Griswald

Grrrrrr!

He is one stern dog. Griswald never smiles because he is constantly reminded of the declining quality of the English language in the world. Griswald particularly hates ‘Text Speak’ and is organising a protest outside Parliament House to have it outlawed.

Griswald

Hmmm...

Griswald is passionate about fighting crime – apostrophe crime! He cannot believe how few people understand the use of the apostrophe and frowns EVEN MORE when he sees an inappropriate apostrophe placement. “Apostrophes should not be used willy-nilly,” growls Griswald. “It is a crime against humanity.”

Griswald

Always armed and ready.

Griswald joined (well, formed) the Grammar Police in 1999, when he quit his job as head English teacher at the local high school. He couldn’t handle seeing the youth of today being exposed to such poor language. Teaching English wasn’t enough – he had to take it to a higher level. He realised he had no choice. Armed enforcement was the only solution and he now patrols the streets day and night on the look out for perpetrators. He always carries his copy of the Oxford Dictionary in his holster. That dictionary has solved many cases and proved the negligence of many poor spellers.

Griswald

The Dictionary never lies.

Griswald has developed a strong sense of smell that will sniff out any word-crimes. With a nose as big as his, you’d better watch out! If he catches you using ‘their’ instead of ‘there’, he’ll arrest you before you can say “It’s a dog with a dictionary!” and send you to a 10 month intensive English language course where you will emerge speaking like the Queen. Try and escape and he’ll growl and bite and bark at you until you cry like a baby.

Griswald

That's one tough dog.

At the moment, Griswald works alone, but that suits him fine. He prefers it as other people tend to get in his way and stop him from his duty in life. Watch out, kids. Check your spelling! Griswald knows where you live.

On sale soon!