Friday, March 30, 2012

What do you see when you look at me?

MAXMOM here...

What do you see when you look at me?
You don't talk, yet you say so much.
What have I done to deserve such devotion?

When I stroke your soft fur, all my tension dissolves. 
I can't help but laugh when I play with your snout:
 Your eyes follow me and become squint as I move closer.  
You sit so still - almost immobilised - as I plant my kiss.And when I finally retreat your tail goes into action; your panting increases and your long tongue hangs out in a broad Golden smile - just for me
Oh Toby, you are so cute!

Who would have thought that one heart-dog would be followed by another?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"One is nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth."

MAXMOM here...

The seasons are changing. Sometime, during the night, the heavens opened and delivered a very welcome shower of soft, soaking rain. I'd slept soundly and didn't hear it. This morning, the world is fresh and clean - a promise of something new.
 Still in our bedroom, the dogs had a session of bitey-face - all snug in their beds while the damp garden awaited.

 I couldn't resist, so I walked out into our garden, still in my pyjamas.  Toby followed.

The few remaining late-summer flowers have opened up their petals to welcome the unseasonal raindrops.  They too have had their early morning wash and have drunk up the nectar from the heavens.  Somehow in the dampened light, they are looking joyous.

Aunt Tam looks on at the world 'out there' from the comfort of the doorstep, while Toby and I take a stroll.  
Toby has no problem examining the flower beds. He doesn't mind his paws wet.  
Besides they'll make good paint-brushes for his artistic endeavours later on the tiles on my kitchen floor.

King Toffee looks on with regal confidence ...

There is a time for everything, but nature glows no matter what the season.
The plaque on the garden wall says it all...
My garden might be simple but I love it! 
 Enjoy this God-given day.

Sending lotsaluv

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

South African Woman & Home Magazine: April 2012. Small snippet of my contribution to the article about Self-Publishing. Page 125

MAXMOM here...

For more information about my book, 'MAXDOG', please click

I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to the members of the North-riding Anxiety & Support Group (SADAG) for your wonderful hospitality on Monday night.  It was a joy to meet you all and to have the opportunity of sharing my 'MAXDOG' journey. 

To my readers:

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, remember that you are one of approximately124 million people around the world who also battle with this condition.  You don't have to 'go-it-'alone'!  There is always someone on call to help if you are in a crisis.  
For more information, please visit:


Wishing all my readers a wonderful, happy week.
Remember always to:
"Live Life to the Max!"

Sending lotsaluv 

Friday, March 23, 2012


Goodbye little 'Schnapps'. ..
What a sweet little companion you were to Robz.  Despite your size, you helped her through those first difficult veterinary years. Your contribution will be remembered. R.I.P
Today's post is dedicated:
To ALL the animals and creatures of this earth that shape our lives:

Everything in our lives plays a role in our identity as human beings!

  From the smallest microbe to the largest animal on our planet, each one is significant in our experience of this life. The world would not be the same without them.  They enchant us with their unique mannerisms and we marvel at their abilities - some of which we could only dream of - a dog's sense of smell, a dolphin's electronic senses, a firefly's navigational ability, an elephant's subsonic communication ability.  The list is endless.  I challenge anyone to say they understand it all.  But most of all, we wonder about their relationship with us humans.

Sometimes our relationship with animals becomes very awkward: 
They are the source of sustenance for many of us: We eat them, we train, we display them, we breed them, we harvest their hides and process their skins. Sometimes their horns are hacked off for ridiculous reasons, or they are made to stand, drugged and confused, while ruthless hunters aim their rifles at them. More often than not, they land up in our freezers to be enjoyed at dinner tables. Sometimes their dignity is entirely lost.

When we don't think of them as food, we take joy in visiting them in their natural habitats (although sometimes it's in zoo's). Or we watch them demonstrate their skills in controlled situations. Wild animals are brought into our own environments - sometimes as pets; sometimes to teach our children their value.  They are often at our mercy and out-of-place.  

When it comes to animals we constantly compete for space and territory. Our cities encroach on their ever diminishing habitats, their forests are devastated and they are forced to become extinct. But it's when we are in their own wilderness, unarmed, that we realise that we too could become their prey.  Sometimes we even wonder if we are, indeed, the top predator. This entire relationship is awkward, but let's face it - it's definitely symbiotic.  Each creature (us included) is part of a vast ecosystem which benefits us all and potentially serves to the benefit of the entire universe.

Either way, whatever our relationship with animals, they affect us deeply.
 If you live with them, they are part of who you are and help to shape your ever-changing identity.Even if you shrug your shoulders and hardly given them a second glance, they contribute to your world and your understanding of it.

As a child, I kept a menagerie of animals. 
Some were domestic: 
chickens, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, birds

Some were wild: 
 rabbits, owls, snakes, grasshoppers, antlions, kittens....
  All contributed to shape me into the person I am today.

Whether I watched the creatures from a distance - in their natural habitat:
 antelope, hippos, elephant, lion, cheetah, laguaans, crocodiles, spiders, scorpions...

Or hunted them for food:
guinea fowl, termites, grasshoppers...

or kept them in my bed at night...
dogs, cats....

Or noticed them grace our skies...

 they were intricately part of my world.

For my children, it has been the same...

So many have lived in our household too: 
silkworms, hamsters, birds of endless varieties, chickens, cats, dogs...

Then there were the few who played that extra special role in our lives and we mourned their loss.

To ALL the creatures of our earth, I salute you...
Thank you for enriching my life.
May we, as humans, at least grant you the dignity you deserve.

With admiration and thankfulness

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Even public holidays are doggie-days...

MAXMOM here...


Human Rights Day.  The 'Boss' and I are home alone.  Unfortunately dogs don't recognise these opportunities to 'sleep late'.  The Boss feeds them and returns, wary-eyed to bed and hands me a cup of tea.  Toby crawls up next to me on the bed while I check my laptop.

Later: A gorgeous autumn day.  Perfect weather.  The Boss and I migrate to the garden to lie on the lounger chairs under the shady tree and read our novels  Toby is confused, so he vacillates between barking at phantoms around the perimeter of our property and monitoring feathered 'enemies' in the the branches above our heads.  It's too much noise for me.  I fetch a lead and tether him to my foot.  He settles beside me and closes his eyes content in the knowledge that I have it all under control.

5pm: Dogs are already moaning for their supper.  The Boss feeds them.  He's such a push-over and spends the next hour opening and shutting the sliding door for Aunt Tam to come in...go out...come in...go out...   Doggie doorman!

6.30pm: We give up and put on our walking shoes.  Dogs recognise this and dart up and down the passage in triumph.  I'm not sure its a good idea because it's getting dark nowadays.  Besides the park closes at 7pm.

On arrival we discover only one other car.  "Siberian Huskies" is etched on the trailer.  mmm...  Toby likes Huskies, so all should be good.  In addition, the Boss will be managing Toby while I keep an eye on Tammy and Toffee.  He's too strong for me.  

Leads off.  Dogs fly like the wind.  Even Toffee's feet are a-blur.  It's beautiful walking at this time of day.  Birds are twittering their last news of the day and settling in the trees.  I notice the group of Huskies congregated under the big tree in the middle of the park.  It's getting darker.

We follow our circular walk and two of the Huskies fall in beside us - a beautiful cream and brown dream, and a black and white one.  To keep the peace, I pick up Toffee.  The rest of the pack run along happily.  All is content.  We turn towards the gate and another Husky falls into step alongside us.  Tammy announces her pleasure to the world.  One solitary bark amongst 7 silent dogs.

Back at the gate we realise that the owners are old acquaintances.  We load the dogs and then chat with them in the street for another half hour.  It's dark already, but its a small world and there's lots of news. "You should try Toby with sledding," she suggests.  I'm not so sure. 

Back at home the dogs settle into their evening routine - at our feet.  Toby now looks so much like Max. He acts like him too and I can't remember the difference.  We both settle on the floor while I stroke his silky fur and fondle his soft ears.  Goofball! He loves his feet massaged and I edge my fingers between his paw-pads.  Hands hold paws as we greet the night. 
What would life be without dogs?

Sending lotsaluv

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Never a dull moment ...

MAXMOM here...

Friday 16th March 2012

We have rats in the garden!

I think they've taken up residence in the large pile of wood cuttings behind the house (which is patiently waiting removal at some unknown day in the future). Toby and Tammy are loving this new intrigue - darting in and out of the foliage, through the flower beds and into the pile.  RATS are their best!  They emerge covered with leaves, mud and dust - as if they've won the jackpot. Dogs!!!

We take them to the park for a walk this evening.  On arrival, Toby's long-standing 'fan' - the Border Collie, who has always hated him - notices his arrival and, from a distance, sprints straight at him and into him.  Usually Toby gets such a fright and scurries off with his tail between his legs, but this time he's decided to stand his ground. 

With hackles raised he challenges his opponent. To me it looks serious.  The Border Collie snaps at him.  Obviously he's had enough of these months of unprovoked onslaught. I need to get him away from the situation a.s.a.p but the Border Collie's owner is nowhere in sight.  I am terrified that it will develop into a full blown fight. 

It takes me 3 attempts before I am finally able to slip the lead over his head and restrain him.  He's incredibly strong and powerful and I get really scared that he'll do damage.  Luckily all is okay.  Both dogs forget the incident and eventually run off happily.  I don't forget and I can't curb my shaking.  My fear of dog-fights gets worse every day.

Monday 19th March 2012

The Boss and I go to gym this evening and lock the dogs in the kitchen.  On our return, we discover the newly laid 'Ant Trap' in shreds and Toby has a large piece in his mouth.  He wags his tail in welcome. Panic stations! I message Darryl on my mobile. (Darryl is my wonderful, patient, generous 'on-call', veterinary advisor) who suggests that we take Toby to the emergency hospital a.s.a.p. ...

The Boss and I pile Toby into the car and, without clear directions, head towards Fourways.  We have an 'idea' of where it is located but don't know exactly.  A telephone call to Lorraine and Russell help establish the directions.  Toby looks none the worse for wear, happily watching the world go by and barking at the motor-bikes.

The receptionist calmly marches him behind closed doors and I wonder how much this is going to cost us. Thankfully he's returned to the waiting area, almost straight away. 

"ONE ant-trap, for such a large dog is probably okay," the vet has declared.  "Just watch him."  

Phew! Emergency averted.

Four hours later, Toby still has no side-effects.  He snoozes happily in the corner of our bedroom.  I think it's possible to close my eyes for the night too.  (Thank goodness for friends like Darryl and Lorraine)

Tuesday 20th March 2012

Early morning.  Toby welcomes in the day.  Typically, the dogs wait at my bedside for their biscuits.  Even more typically, one gets stuck in Tammy's palate.  She spends the next five minutes sucking and licking with fervour - her snout pointed to the heavens in euphoria.  "An endless biscuit," she's probably thinking.

Both Toby and Tammy sink to the floor (next to my bed) in the sure knowledge that the only thing that separates them from a second biscuit is....time.  As if to remind me, Tammy starts sucking the carpet.

One pat and Toby's on my bed, on his back, with his paws pointed to the ceiling in glee.  How can one not rub his fluffy tummy?  His jowls droop and his pearly-whites grin at me from upside down.  His heavy tail smooths my duvet as he waves it from side to side.  I put my whole foot on his chest and dig my toes into his silky fur.  He rolls closer - like the wave of a break-dancer.  What a goofball!

There's never a dull moment in this household!

Sending lotsaluv