Writing on Dogs

by

Harry, my muse for writing on dogs.

When I first met Harry he was 6 months old, the last of his litter, hiding under a kitchen table. When the breeder dragged him out, he flopped his head on my leg and looked up at me with his worried, brown eyes.

At that moment a bond was created between us, and a favourite resting position, Harry’s head on my leg or lap. It was a bond that lasted for just over 12 years, until he passed away, with his head lying on my lap.

Harry was the muse for the articles I wrote on dogs, published in my dog club’s newsletter, PawPrints, and a community newspaper, where I shared my insight into dogs, dog training and dog owners!

When Harry died, I wrote he’d brought so much joy into my life, it seemed wrong to feel sad about him. But as other dog lovers know, that’s not the way grief works.

At moments like these, I like to recall my favourite dog quote by Agnes Sligh Turnbull:

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

Selection of Writing On Dogs

The following is a selection of my published articles on dogs. I hope you enjoy reading them – more of my writing can be found on TallAndTrue.com.

Blind Faith

BLIND FAITH

My local dog club runs a season-ending Fun Day with events designed to be fun and to test the bond between club members and dogs. Our most popular competitions include fancy-dress for members and dogs, an agility-type slalom, the waggliest tail, and an event we call the “Ned Kelly”.

Can I pat that dog?

CAN I PAT THAT DOG?

Last year I gave a talk to the children at my son’s childcare centre about dogs, titled “Can I Pat That Dog?” I broke the talk into three parts: 1) How to approach a dog; 2) How to look after a dog; 3) Dog training and tricks.

Lick, lick dog

CLICK, LICK DOG

In my early days of dog training, I commented to a fellow class member that if aliens landed on Earth and the first dog they saw was my Harry, then they would call his species a “Lick, Lick”.

My first dog, Duke

MY FIRST DOG

When I was 10-years-old I pestered my parents into letting me have a dog. I researched breeds in the library and decided upon a yellow Labrador Retriever. I was in boy heaven when we brought home my new puppy, whom I named, Duke.

New baby in pack sleeping next to Harry

NEW BABY IN PACK

The response from friends and family when told my wife and I were expecting our first child was, “Harry’s nose will be put out of joint!” I was determined our three-year-old Lab’s nose would not be put out, nor would he be shooed outside, away from the “new baby in the pack”.

Not just a Xmas dog

NOT JUST XMAS DOG

I’m often asked for advice on choosing a dog, especially around Xmas. A common misconception among prospective dog owners is that the main concern is matching a dog to your living area. It’s lifestyle, not living area that should determine whether you buy a dog.

Old dog snoozing

OLD DOG, OLD TRICK

My Lab Harry is almost eleven-and-a-half years old. He’s never been a very energetic dog – as I’ve commented to my training classes, his heeling in dog obedience rings was like dragging around a reluctant sack of potatoes!

Power of play - Harry playing with frisbee

POWER OF PLAY

I like to demonstrate the power of play in my dog training classes. I don’t let the dogs run around the training grounds, chasing each other in mad, uncontrolled circles. Instead, I demonstrate with my dog, Harry, how to motivate and reward your dog by playing one-on-one with it.

A well trained Dachshund

WELL TRAINED DOG

Walking to the local coffee shop one morning, my dog, Harry, besides me on-leash, I overhead a passer-by compliment, “Look at that well-trained dog.” “Nah,” retorted another. “You should see the two big dogs outside the coffee shop. They walk off-leash.”

Why train your dog to fetch flags?

WHY TRAIN YOUR DOG?

A question I ask student handlers in the first week of dog training is, Why train your dog? The answers never include wanting to train their dogs to win a flag race!

About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of a middle-aged dad and dog owner. Among other things, Robert is an editor and writer at Tall And True, an online magazine, blog and forum for writers, readers and publishers. Share and showcase your writing -- fiction, nonfiction and reviews -- on TallAndTrue.com.