All true stories, folks!!


If you look really carefully in the tree outside you can see Mr K, as he is known in our house, just checking our whereabouts through the lounge room window.



Our back door is open at night. No fear of home invaders here as three fearless Rhodesian Ridgebacks prowl the darkened house pillaging food stores and betweentimes sleeping on a variety of comfortable and enticing furniture items, beds +/- people, lounges, bean bags and other rough options. Just like the African veldt really. Koalas are said to be an endangered species. Haady, haady, ha ha! Not in suburban Belair they ain't.Over the last year we have had numerous visitations to garden trees and a couple of RR v koala encounters when the latter decided to hang off the underside of the pergola which shades the back door. The dogs went ape and one would think any sensible koala would have gotten the message and decamped forever - but no.

Dr. J. had characteristically fallen to sleep fully clothed on the lounge while watching television. Lyn had sensibly retired to bed. The lounge concerned is situated three rooms and eighteen metres from the open back door. At 1.30am all hell broke loose behind the lounge. Mak had latched onto the ear, Cass the rump and Jo the side of a very angry large koala. Fur flew and the noise level itself was a health hazard. Dogs barking, leaping and baying while the koala hissed, grunted, spat and lashed out with its claws at everything in sight. At this point the designer standard lamp toppled, smashing its irreplaceable embossed glass shade. We now had broken glass, tufts of koala fur, koala droppings and utter cacophony. Not to be outdone, the indefatigable Dr. J., half-asleep and still cruising on an evening bottle of Fox Creek Shiraz, embarked on a program of wildlife preservation.

Three large and excited RRs were somehow detached from their prey when the "victim" decided to escape up the nearest tree trunk which happened to be your scribe's long, shapely (but somewhat ageing) right leg. Two thirds - and only two thirds and I'm grateful for that - up the thigh it realised that this was no tree but part of the enemy. The claws dug in and it bit with extraordinary force. The front verandah door was opened, the beast detached and unceremoniously booted into the night. It then sat, seemingly unconcerned, on the verandah railing for well over an hour preening itself and with no apparent signs of injury apart from missing several tufts of fur - they were all over the lounge room floor.

My linen trousers are shredded beyond repair, I have three lacerations and three deep puncture wounds. Each of the dogs has multiple punctures to the snout, face and head. I am now off to take the dogs to the vet, have a tetanus shot myself, buy a new lamp and some trousers and I'm thinking about a 303. And they say koalas are an endangered species!

How Not to Try to Kill Your Dog

Alyss is now a hale, hearty & happy 10-month-old Ridgeback. All our efforts to cut short her young life have been to no avail. Advice is therefore offered on how not to proceed in your quest to rid yourself of a pesky puppy. Save time, emotional distress & thousands of wasted dollars.

Start with a disastrous labour after an uneventful pregnancy. A ruptured uterus & caesarean hysterectomy (a near death experience for mother Ella) & loss of seven of eight pups leaves Alyss as the sole survivor. This is not a recommended method as it takes a heavy emotional toll while failing to eliminate all Ridgeback mothers & puppies from the face of the earth.

Feed socks to the puppy: After hand-rearing & much loving care you have a chubby inquisitive 4 month old which then proceeds to vomit up two of Lyn's ankle socks. Thank God they're out & go buy a new dirty laundry hamper. But the vomiting persists & the vet can feel a large lump in her tummy. Intravenous drip & emergency abdominal surgery yields a large male sock (John's) totally obstructing the intestine. Dog recovers, bank balance doesn't.

The frozen chicken trick: Have your wife put a one kilo bag of frozen chicken necks on top of the fridge to thaw out. Ensure that when the door is opened this falls two metres onto the inquisitive puppy's head rendering it splayed out unconscious for half a minute. It recovers but is still a bit ditsy.

The broken glass method: Put a glass casserole dish containing leftovers on the edge of the kitchen bench. A puppy-paw assisted fall to the slate floor ensures a myriad of casserole covered glass shards which make for an ideal puppy snack. Vet says, wait & watch. We do. She survives.

To digress, I can advise on how to kill a kitten. Lean an ironing board against a wall, fabric side out. Kitten climbs board, claws get stuck, board overbalances & exit one kitten. An effective but messy method (RIP Fang)

I conclude with a doubly effective but hard - to -reproduce method for dispatching both a dog & a wife. A mate of mine was cleaning up the front garden on the day his wife was to return from an overseas trip. The dog (Maltese x Shitzu) was helping. One out of reach overhanging branch remained. Answer, throw a rope over it & haul it down. Problem, rope wont cast far enough. Answer, tie a billet of firewood to the rope & throw it over the branch. Result, billet of wood swings back & bops the dog on the head killing it instantly just as the wife's taxi pulls in. He says the dog didn't make a sound but his wife did. They are now divorced.

Authors Note: The content of this article should not be taken as personal advice as individual circumstances vary. If in doubt consult a professional hitman.

Alyss with offending sock post surgery.

Living with Bitches - A Male's Tale

I used to be a fairly well- adjusted & agreeable sort of chap. Growing up with a Mum, Dad & Brother & a succession of much loved mongrel male dogs there was a sense that all was well with the world, at least in regard to the proper order of things when it came to gender roles. Father in charge, mother doing motherly things, dogs being dogs ( if you've got to sit down to pee you're not a dog) & boys as always being boys. Boys do it standing up too.

Time passed & the boy became a father of sons & naturally had a (male) dog. The wife & mother conducted her affairs appropriately. Life was good but then things gradually & inexorably changed. The good lady wife resumed her profession, the boys grew up & left home, the male dogs died & a subtle gender revolution ensued. The wife asserted her professional status & then became a functionary of a certain Dog Club, on occasion rising to the rank of Head Sherang but currently holding the rank of under-dogsbody. This seems to involve tens of hours, hundreds of pages of letters/ tape transcriptions & interminable conversations on the telephone as mother - confessor to angry, tearful, or politically oppressed folk. I listen with a mixture of amusement & apprehension as these little dramas play out. There is no comment from me. It's a girl thing (a.k.a secret women's business). It would be foolish in the extreme for a male to voice an opinion in any depth. (ie an honest one).

By the way, did you lads ever consider "what is the difference between a dog & a fox? " The answer is "four beers". So now I sit in gender isolation. Two Alpha bitches, one human, one RR canine, trying to control the pack of one large hairy male human (Irish Wolfhound in type), & two junior RR bitches, one of which is supposed to be suffering from post- oestral depression & the other from a phantom pregnancy. I tell you!. To me it all seems like lots of silly nonsense, many blood spots on the carpet & lots of licking the nether regions (the latter comments refer only to my canine companions).

Did you hear about the guy walking down the street when he came upon a fellow sitting with a gigantic dog who was licking his d----. "I'd love to be able to do that" said the pedestrian. "Just give me ten quid & I'll get his muzzle" said the dog owner. The boys must strike back. Dogs forever!! The Editor said this piece should relate to Christmas. Us boys & I suspect the girls, know when all their Christmases have come at once. Its not often, but it's nice.

Possum Magic

I'm all for native fauna, or at least I was in times past. This has now changed. Readers might recall my account of the matter of the Killer Koala in the loungeroom of our house in leafy Belair - the leafiness is external but the native beasties haven't got that message - the house is the place to sleep, recreate and procreate, much to the chagrin of certain Ridgebacks.

We harbour in the elevated regions of our domicile especially the roof space, the pergolas and the trees, a huge agglomeration of persistent 'friendly' brush tail possums. Our younger RR bitch, Jo, goes ape several times a night between dusk and dawn at the antics of these furry f.......ers. The Australian brush-tailed possum is, on occasional acquaintance, an attractive creature. It is a protected species here but has a price tag on its head in New Zealand - for once the Kiwis have got it right. It has adapted very well indeed to a suburban environment, especially our roof - space. We have possum races inside the 3' box eaves before the chase over the tiled roof. When we catch each other there is much squealing and hissing followed by, on occasion, the most extraordinary caterwauling one could imagine. Charlotte the Harlot or Mona the Groaner could not put on a better act. Maybe possum love? One can only surmise but the possums do keep coming.

I've been hospitalised once thanks to these furry friends and nearly lost a finger on another occasion (a thick oven glove saved the day). You are not allowed to trap protected animals so I wasn't doing that. Someone put a trap on the roof outside our bedroom window. At 3am much clattering against the gutter. Get up, get ladder and torch, climb ladder, shine torch in its eyes, take beam off eyes, trap launches itself off roof and next one finds oneself on the ground, half covered in ladder and next to an inverted and empty trap. The warm wet stuff flowing from my forehead turned out to be arterial blood when I got to the bathroom. Like a scene from Psycho.

The Plastic Surgeon and Theatre Staff all seemed to have problems with their speech - almost as if they were trying to stifle laughter - I can't imagine why.

Saving Miss Ella: A Cautionary Tale.

Lyn and Ella (five & half months old) are at a SACA show while John and the older dogs enjoy a blissful puppy-free morning. Then a shaken Cheryl Currie phones to say that an as yet unidentified lady (bless her soul) has brought Ella to the Ridgeback camp at SACA much to the concern of those still present - what has happened to Lyn who had driven off a few minutes earlier? It transpires that this lady was following Lyn on her way home and at the corner of Cromwell & Churchill Rds, had seen Ella leap from the dog compartment of her 4WD via the open tailgate. Somehow, the lady managed to capture a very high-speed puppy and returned to SACA while Lyn continued on her way home (you can't see the tailgate in the rear vision mirror).

So I imagine Lyn has discovered the loss and is frantically trawling the Main South Rd looking for bloodied bits of brown puppy, phone her on the mobile and say "don't worry, the puppy is OK" to a rather testy response of "of course the puppy is OK". An outside check revealed the truth. After a flurry of calls Paula Edgar reunited Lyn and Ella somewhere on the side of South Rd. Thank goodness for mobile phones. Lyn's vehicle has a lift-up window and a drop-down tailgate at the rear of a fibreglass compartment. She is obsessional about fastening and locking these and we can't find any apparent defects in the locking mechanisms. But we are fitting additional security all the same.

We are aware of a case some years ago, of two border collies who died after exiting through the rear-opening doors of a dog trailer travelling at speed and I have personally seen three adult RRs, in response to a stranger, lunge at the latched rear window of a stationary vehicle similar to ours, pop it open and escape. So check your locks and latches folks - there are tragedies waiting to happen. And again, thanks to all those who helped on this occasion.

Roofing Woofing.

Buy BHP shares! Banner Hardware reports burgeoning sales in Weldmesh in Blackwood/ Belair! Has someone set up a private Zoo or are the Afghans coming? Rumours abound but Dr John is here to set matters straight. It's all due to the phenomenon of Ellavation in Rokewood Ave. There's Weldmesh on the brush fence on one side cause you can push your way through that wimpy stuff to get to the Maltese Cross & cat food next door and there's more of it around the veggie patch - a great place to dig- but Ellavation has created a new demand. The kid of the other side plays drums so we've gotten used to assorted booms, bangs and discordant rattlings. So have the dogs.

So it was some little time before a new combination of sounds gained our attention. The skills of the drummer had deteriorated markedly and his efforts were now accompanied by the continuous frantic woofing of a Ridgeback and two Tibetan Terriers. Inspection revealed young Ella tap-dancing and sliding on the gabled roof of next doors garden shed as their terriers ran around in a demented frenzy at its base. Alsinite roofing makes a grand sound when pounded in three- four time by frantic Ridgeback feet and the decrescendo slides as nails try to grip the sloping plastic are a pleasure to the ear - which is what she was grabbed by after the collar came off and she was close to hurtling into the abyss. A few loud yelps of pain and embarrassment completed the chaotic sound-scene - but Ella was saved again. Its a pity about the lush cover of the flowering Jasmine vine which used to adorn the paling fence and whose perfume wafted in the air of balmy spring evenings. She had used this, ladder like, to scale the fence then leap onto the shed roof.

As a result of this process and the clearing of its residue to enable elevation of the fence by a metre (hence the Weldmesh) the place now looks like a detention camp from which there is no escape. Believe me I know what it is like - I'm one of the detainees.

Want a Hearing- Ear Dog? (Very expensive)

The day dawned fine & sunny with a forecast of 27. The fourth day of Autumn held great promise for the first full day of my ageless Mother's annual sojourn in Adelaide from her native Sydney. And a special one this time as she was here to help celebrate her elder son's sixtieth birthday. (ouch!!). Lyn & Mum were organized to spend the day visiting the vineyard & winery, plus lunch & chat - sort of girls day out at vintage.

Mum became a little hearing impaired three or four years ago & after multiple machinations & adjustments, finally found a hearing aid which suited her & dealt with the deficit very adequately. A programmable digital job which cost several thousand dollars, but well worth the moolah. She hadn't met Ella (now 13 months) before & they were discovering each other. She thought Ella to be "a nice smallish elegant dog" & that they would soon be friends - Ella shadowed her everywhere. Time to go out & the ladies were getting themselves nice.

Ablutions should have been completed when Mum appeared, still in dressing gown, saying, "Darling, something dreadful has happened". Imagine the icy chill, waiting for the account of a flux of blood or worse, but no. The hearing aid had been deposited on the hob of the bath prior to her using the separate shower. A quick visit to the adjacent toilet preceded the shower & on her return to the bathroom the hearing aid had gone. Much secret searching to no avail before telling me. Ella helped. Tell Lyn. More searching, sweeping, inspecting gardens & dog resting places. No go. I even looked under our bed, a favourite dog personal space. Cool, dark & private.

It wasn't till Lyn, (who is much younger than me & has keener eyes - she is also a woman), reinspected the under-bed space & came up with a curious little palm full of debris. You don't get much for a few grand. A few bits of pink plastic, some fine wires & a couple of tiny computer chips plus a lithium hydride battery. It all looked pretty sad & insignificant. Ella ma bella is now on the outa. We all speak a little louda (which suits me) & the long & expensive process of replacement (hearing aid, then dog) is in train. But such is life at Chez Dr John PS Ella's hearing appears much unchanged.


Offas for Ella are invited: C/- RRCSA Rescue Service

Ella ma Bella: The Dillion Dollar Dog

I have previously reported certain escapades of Ella (Kyalami Min McLaren). These have included dancing on next door's shed roof, crunching up Grandma's high tech hearing aid and escaping from the back of a high security dog paddy wagon. She is only 16 months old but the saga continues. It is all very expensive but we still think that she is worth it. Why I don't know, but love transcends financial considerations, (for the time being only). Incidentally, I received not a single offa for Ella after the IPO (Initial Public Offer) following the Hearing Aid Affair (April-May Newsletter).I thank readers for their support (or lack of it).

Possums still live in our roof and must enjoy the best sex known to man or beast as judged by the vocal accompaniments and the humping, thumping and bumping. They break the terra cotta roof tiles in their efforts. Try that one Dad!! It reminds one of the old university song - "Cats on the rooftop, cats on the tiles, cats with their backsides wreathed in smiles, as they revel in the joys of copulation".

The bloody possums descend from the roof, after screwing each other mercilessly, via a tree next to a large floor to ceiling loungeroom window which is glazed with standard glass. They sit in the tree and peer in. Ella goes ballistic, hitting the window with all the force of a pocket rocket. Visions of a semi-decapitated dog loom. A crystal necklace with scarlet ribbons in her hair. So what to do? Dr John recalled advertisements for 'glass security film' which allegedly deters burglars armed with baseball bats, and contacted the suppliers. We now have the unique situation of having security-safe windows, at a cost of some hundreds of dollars, to keep the inmates in, rather than the burglars out.But Heaven help any burglar who got in here. He would be barked at and licked to death if he hadn't decamped already for the need of clean underpants.

Love and cherish your RR's, they are worth it. But the next time we are asked "how much does a RR cost to keep?", the response will be "lots".

Dr John's Trans Tasman Dog Tales.


I am not quite sure about the description of RR colour in the Standard as 'light wheaten to dark wheaten'. Now, I am also not sure that one person in a hundred would have personally observed the ripening of various types of wheat. Neither am I sure that the average body would recognize one colour of wheat or another even if they found it in their muesli. I reckon that RR's are tan.

Some years ago, prior to 9/11, I ventured to Christchurch NZ as the international lecturer to a major scientific conference. The flight was on Air NZ was superb - in the bubble of a 747 with the best of food & wine (with lots of the latter). I was alone as Lyn stayed at home to look after the dogs. After wandering out of arrivals area in a pink haze I must have been one of the few travellers ever to have been asked back into the Customs Area to claim their baggage by an officer who looked like he was out of Z cars except that police dog Radar was absent. Meeted & greeted by the Conference organizers, I managed to leave my tan coloured leather briefcase containing precious slides and notes for my talk in the terminal. The definition of 'speechless' is "the speaker who has lost his slides".

Realising the loss next morning, I rang the Airport to find that the lost-property department was in fact the gift shop/ newsagency.(It was New Zealand). On travelling back to the Airport, I introduced myself to the lady in charge of the gift shop. She was a bespectacled librarian type lady, quite stern. "I've lost a brown briefcase, has it been handed in?" Response -"It's ten" - "Sorry, how many?" - "It's ten" - "Sorry, it's ten what?" - "It's ten, the colour ten". Having resolved the colour problem she said "It's lecky it didn't teck" - "What do you mean it didn't teck?" - "You know like a cleck in a temb bemb, teck, teck, teck".

Whatever the trans Tasman thoughts on the subject, I reckon RR's are tan but I'll give them ten out of ten anyday.

About Turds.

There's a venerable medical dictum, and forgive me dear reader if it seems a little too technical, but it states "If you don't eat you don't shit and if you don't shit you die". I have just come in from the back garden after a tour of cleaning up several piles of dog excrement and depositing them in the compost bin. The dogs are very much alive and having their dinner - the excreting will come a little later (the gastro-colic reflex) so we guess they'll be with us for at least another day. Mind you the one who ate the roast chicken breast which had been deposited on the kitchen bench while I turned to get the butter from the fridge to construct a lunchtime sandwich might have a severely shortened lifespan. Bloody Ella again!! (Love her) But back to the turds. Feed your dogs canned, prepared or cooked foods and you will get turds to be reckoned with. No pooper-scooper will adequately cope without leaving skid marks on all elements in the process. The blowflies (especially the blue arsed version) will have a field day and then go and sit on your sandwich. You will either need a face mask or nose plugs. Answer: Feed your dogs a "natural" diet. Ours eat diced roo, raw chicken necks, finely minced yellow and green vegetables, active yoghurt and the occasional treat in the way of a raw egg or a tin of sardines. No cooked food. If you're a connoisseur of dog turds you will immediately recognise the difference. These objects, which keep your dog alive, dry out in a few hours. They don't smell, they don't smear and there is not a blue-arsed fly (or any other kind) to be seen. Start at the front end and the back will reward you amply.