Tag Archives: pets

Once was a dog


I am not a dog person. In fact, I am not a pet person at all. The only pets I ever owned were short-lived: goldfish, fighting fish, hermit crabs, and billabong bugs. I was successful at keeping caterpillars in the classroom and observing them grow, pupate, and emerge as butterflies. But they couldn’t really be classed as pets. I’ve written about this before here.

I know all the theories about pet ownership; especially for helping children develop a sense of responsibility and care for others. I know about the contribution of pets to the physical and psychological health of their owners of all ages through the companionship and unconditional love they offer. I am touched by the heart warming story of Noah Ainslie, a little boy suffering from autism, and the difference his service dog Appa has made to his life, and the lives of his family. Please help if you can.


It would not be unrealistic, with my focus on nurturing young children, to expect that I would be a pet owner. However, I’ve never been inclined to make the commitment required

My parents were both country people who moved to suburbia to raise their large family. There were never any pets. They said that dogs didn’t belong in towns. The dogs they were used to were working dogs, never pets. I guess there were enough mouths to feed without adding pets to the mix as well.

Unlike for some, lack of a pet as a child did not induce me to want one on reaching adulthood. Consequently, my children also missed out. Daughter had some mice, rats, and a guinea pig at various times; but nothing to compare to a “real” pet, like a cat or a dog. As soon as she moved into a house that allowed pets, she and partner went out and got themselves a dog.


I must say, Ziggy is a gorgeous dog with a happy, friendly, easy-going nature. If I was going to have a dog, he’d be it. I’m beginning to get an inkling of the relationship between humans and their animal friends. There is definitely something very special about it. However, I’m still not interested in forming an attachment of my own.

Ziggy is a very special dog with very special owners. You can get to know the three of them in this video. (Watch from 11:.24 – 15:20.)

Unfortunately the video may not play for those residing outside Australia. Thanks to Anne Goodwin for alerting me to the fact.


Ziggy’s innovative surgery put him in the spotlight for a little while. His story was also featured on the Tripawds blog


and ABC News


The importance and depth of the human-pet relationship was reinforced for me this week when Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch reported that her big brown canine friend Grenny was gone.

Charli was devastated by his unexpected passing and shared stories of his special abilities and the ways in which he added to their lives. Her post is a wonderful tribute to Grenny’s life and his contribution to theirs. Charli asked writers to share stories about big brown dogs this week.

Charli said, In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a Big Brown Dog. I just want to read Big Brown Dog stories this week. I know dogs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you can write about that, too. Keep it happy, write something funny, surprising or tender. Thank you.

Well, Charli knows that dogs aren’t my cup of tea. She also understands that, with no personal experience on which to draw, I feel inadequate to respond appropriately to her situation, other than offer my heartfelt sympathies. As for writing, I could come up with nothing other than nonsense which I don’t consider at all appropriate.  Other writers have written beautiful brown dog stories for Charli.

Please follow the link to read Charli’s post, the lovely comments, and the beautiful stories.

Instead of a flash, I’ll leave you with a few picture books about pets you might like to read:

A Pet for Mrs Arbuckle by Gwenda Smith


What Pet Should I Get? by Dr Seuss


Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie is a beautiful book for explaining death to children. It’s great to read at any time to help children understand that every living thing has its own lifetime. It is also great to read when the death of a pet is imminent or occurs. Understanding that death is a part of life, helps with the grieving process.

Breaths - life is not measured

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.





How good is a pet dog?

The flash fiction challenge set by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications this week is to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a boy and his dog, showing the value or benefit of such a relationship.

I have never really been a pet owner. I have had one or two goldfish and Siamese fighting fish over the years, but nothing for any length of time or anything that could be considered a pet in the real sense of the word. If required to, I could rattle off all the benefits of pet ownership for children and adults but none of these have ever been a strong enough inducement for me to take on the responsibility.

I don’t remember Son ever requesting a pet but maybe I’ve simply eradicated those memories. Or maybe we gave him a little sister when he was twelve instead. Bec, on the other hand did request pets and she had a few at various times. These ones were closer to real pets: guinea pigs, mice and rats; but not the puppy she so longed for. Fortunately, I was required to do little for them other than listen to her joyful stories of their antics and adventures.

I am more than happy for people to enjoy their pets but feel no envy of their special relationship nor any great desire for one of my own. I am happy to enjoy the wildlife that visits my garden: insects, birds, lizards and possums. They can look after themselves and require no effort on my part; a rather nice relationship, I think.

© Bec Colvin

© Bec Colvin

However sometimes I hear a story that indicates a value much greater than the companionship often described, and I view the role of a pet in a new way. One such story is that of Noah, a nine-year old boy who suffers from autism, and his need for a service dog. In order to help Noah get his dog Charli Mills has organised a flash fiction competition. This time the stories may be told in greater length, from 100 to 500 words. While I might struggle with the 99-word limit of most of Charli’s challenges, I am unable to enter the contest as I am on the panel of judges. There are just a few days left to get your entries in with January 31 2016 the closing date. Why not enter the contest, which has great prizes, as well as Charli’s 99-word challenge?

To find out more about Noah, his need for a service dog, and his family, visit The Honeyed Quill, the blog written by his mother Shawna Ayoub Ainslie. You can read about what things Shawna has been up to recently in this post.

Although I am not eligible to enter the contest, I am permitted to submit a 99-word response to Charli’s weekly challenge. Here goes.

The two young males sat on the step. They couldn’t see over the hedge to the park across the road but, from squeals and barks, they knew the neighbourhood children and their pets were at play. Each, with visions of their own participation, smiled as if the reality had come to be. Another life perhaps, but not this one, not now anyway. To an outsider both appeared damaged, confined more by mobility than garden walls. On the inside their hearts were filled with love, acceptance and compassion, happy with who they were, and with each other. Boy, dog; friends.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.