After months of dreaming and pining, today was the day I finally got myself a puppy. Since moving to Ocean Grove in January last year, I have felt my doglessness sorely. Dogs are a far more common accessory for locals on the beach than a bikini.
Dogs in my life have been divided into two categories – Penelope dogs and Killer Dogs. Penelope was my childhood dog – a border collie/sheepdog cross. She lived until she was 17 – and I was 16. She was a beautiful docile dog and I remember more than once crying into her downy fur when no one else understood my adolescent angst.
So, a friendly fluffy pooch is a Penelope dog. A snarling, usually black, usually one of the breeds with a bad rep, is a Killer dog.
We drove from Ocean Grove to Preston (depositing children visiting over the school hols), and then to Kalkallo which as far as town’s go is basically a service station, a pub and a Subway.
It felt like a drug deal.
‘Meet me at the Caltex Station, near the Subway, off the Hume Highway at Kalkallo. ‘How will I know you?’ I joked ‘Will you be wearing a red carnation?’ ‘No’, said she, ‘I’ll be the one with all the dogs.’
I pulled off the Hume into the Caltex station, which along with the pub, signalled downtown Kalkallo. I drove slowly around the Caltex station, my eyes peeled for a large car/van that would be full of barking canines. In the end, I just parked and as it happened, when we got out of the car two uniformed ladies were looking our way. We walked over and met Karen from the Albury Border Rescue Group. In the car was Pip; our new puppy, and his sister – who was going to another family.
Pip had originally been called Mickey but after a family discussion, in which it must be said ‘Carrots’ was the front-runner for some time, we all agreed on Pip. And it suits him.
Karen was very professional. She gave me his vaccination certificates, microchip number and other official documents. She asked if we’d brought a lead and I was embarrassed to say no. I’d bought a designer harness in a fetching red but ahem, no actual lead. So, dear Karen donated a collar and a lead so we could take our new pup over to the car and put him in the newly-acquired crate.
Pip is a border collie/Labrador cross. I discovered on the net that this combination is actually called a Borador – very Middle Earth. By reputation he will be incredibly smart, want lots of exercise and have a lovely nature. And so far, this seems to be the case.
Pip slept most of the way home, although we stopped for lunch and let him sniff around a park. It’s hilarious watching the kids having someone/dog they feel entitled to boss around.
That night, I had to take Pip to Nippers. Alas, it meant my devoted-Mum-on-the-sidelines routine had to be exchanged for devoted Master on the boardwalk (or is that Mistress?) Unfortunately, dogs are banned from the main beach at this time of year. I quickly discovered that having a cute pup is just like having a cute baby – perhaps more so. Every kid and adult wanted to have a pat and a chat and Pip was very obliging – saying hello to everybody.
Later that night, we took him for his first walk around Blue Waters Lake. We are incredibly lucky that our new house backs on to the lake which has a track around it roughly a kilometre long, is full of great bird life including pelicans and is basically a perfect dog walk.
Pip loved the lake although was very shy of other dogs, actually hiding behind my legs!
Managed to get him into his crate in the laundry, said good night, turned off the light and crossed my fingers for a peaceful night’s rest.