Meet Rufous – Brother to Harry Dog!

“ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” ~  Marc Brown

A little over a week ago I mentioned in a blog post that we had just begun to think about getting a new baby brother or sister for Harry Dog, who has been mourning the loss of Bert.

Only a few hours later my friend Monique posted some pictures to my Facebook page of a young red cattle dog pup who had just been rescued that very day and who was in need of a forever home. It wasn’t the kind of thing that Monique would normally do, but she felt compelled to share.

I took one look at that puppy’s face and knew we had to try to bring him home. I immediately contacted Janine who was fostering the pup and who had posted the pictures, and then Sharon who runs Australian Cattle Dog Rescue. Many messages and phone calls later and it all looked like this dog could be ours. Just as soon as he had been vet checked and desexed.

On Monday we finally brought him home. I’m still not well, currently treating the tummy bug we picked up from our last overseas trip and now dealing with a resurgence of the nasty antibiotic-resistant superbug urinary tract infection I’d hoped that I’d actually beaten. I was too unwell to travel, so our friend Carly went with Harry and Ben on a nearly five-hour drive (and then back again in the same day!) to meet this rescue pup and see if he could be a good fit for our family. Of course he was! So now we have Rufous at home with us, and he is just a delight.

He loves cuddles and being close to everyone, and he’s simply the best of mates with Harry. They run around like mad things and then collapse in a heap together and nap.

Rufous even went on his very first cafe outing yesterday morning and was very well-behaved and happy!

It’s wonderful to have a puppy at home, and even better is the smile on Harry’s face. He hasn’t stopped smiling since we found him a new brother. <3

Saving Marlo

Image from

Image from

“I believe in integrity. Dogs have it. Humans are sometimes lacking it.”
~ Cesar Millan

Note – All names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved


Last Friday, after a terrible night’s sleep, I spent most of the day napping. I was in a good space, but a worrisome niggle kept bothering me. Not even a worry about a person. A worry about a dog. A dog I’ve never met. A dog called Marlo.

Marlo belongs to one of my clients. He’s a big dog – a Saint Bernard cross – a failed rescue dog who has become the cherished friend and companion of a woman I’ll call Sarah. Each time Sarah has come to see me for a reading over the past few years she has brought pictures of Marlo, and asked about his well-being. He’s one of the most important relationships in her life. Before Marlo, Sarah had suffered from depression and severe social anxiety. This special dog has helped Sarah to get back out into the world again, to make new friends, and to better manage her mental health.

So, as I was napping on Friday, I began to worry about Marlo.

After a few hours of worrying, I ended up digging out Sarah’s details and giving her a call. I felt a bit dumb to do so. ‘Hi Sarah, It’s Nicole Cody here. How’s your dog? I was just thinking about Marlo so I thought I’d call up and say hi.’

Marlo, she assured me was just fine. So was she. Sarah had received a big promotion at work and was currently interstate, doing some training  for her new job. This was a huge step forward for Sarah, and proof of how far she’d come since adopting Marlo. Anyway, Sarah had just skyped home that morning and spoken to both Marlo and the person looking after him. Thinks were all okay. Sarah was grateful for my call, but a little bemused. Me? I was a little embarrassed…

All weekend I still had a sick feeling in my stomach about Marlo though, so on Monday morning I fought my discomfort and rang Sarah one more time.

‘Are you sure?’ I said. ‘Is Marlo okay? I’m still worried about him. Something’s not right and I’m so sorry to ring you, but I can’t get it out of my head.’

Sarah was still interstate, but she called home. There was no response. After several hours passed and Sarah was still unable to raise the person house-sitting and pet-minding for her she rang a neighbour who went round to check on Marlo. The neighbour ended up breaking a window in the laundry, when he saw Marlo collapsed on the tiles.

The poor dog had been locked in the house since Friday. There was a bowl of food left out, but Marlo had knocked over the big bucket of water and had been inside for four very hot days, most of that time with nothing to drink.

The neighbour took Marlo straight to the vet, where they are treating him for severe dehydration. He’d also badly injured his paws trying to dig his way through the laundry door. Luckily, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

The person who’d been minding Marlo? She met up with a guy and that was that. She packed up and left that poor dog alone, locked in a house, without letting Sarah or anyone else know.

I’m so glad I called to check on Marlo and insisted that Sarah follow it up. Sarah’s going to bring Marlo round to visit me when he’s all better so I can give him a proper hug.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s boss is a pet owner who completely understands. He let her come home from training straight away, so that she could be with Marlo while he recovers.

If you’re a dog lover like me, please send Marlo a little extra love and healing energy. I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Thank you!

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Image from

Treasure in a Cardboard Box

The big T at Toombul Shoppingtown – Image from

Have you ever received an unexpected gift? I have, and it came from the carpark at Toombul Shopping Centre.

In the picture above you can see the iconic ‘T’, torn down a few years ago.  If you follow the bitumen down behind the ‘T’ in the middle of the photograph, where it slopes away from view, there is a creek at the end of the parking spaces.

I was in a particularly good mood that day.  It was the height of summer, a Friday afternoon, and I had raced down to Toombul to catch the bank before it shut.  My husband and I had decided to go out that night.  Dinner, maybe some dancing or a show, or just a walk around town. We hadn’t been out on a date on a Friday night for far too long. We’d been managing a farm in crippling drought, and we really needed a break.

The shopping centre was mental.  It was the last weekend before school went back and there were cars everywhere.  I struggled to find a park, ending up in the corner down near the almost dry creekbed, and then raced in to the bank, getting there as they were beginning to close the doors. They let me in and rushed me through.  When I came back out I went straight to my old ute, baking in the scorching afternoon sun.  I was about to jump in when I heard a sound like a chicken peeping.  Just one or two little peeps then nothing.  But it aroused my curiosity.

I got back out of my car and looked around. I heard one more little peep, and my eyes went to a big cardboard box, all stoved in on one corner, sitting on the baking bitumen. Why would there be a chicken in the box I wondered?

I walked over, dragged it clear of the traffic and opened one corner.  I almost gagged.  That was the corner that had been stoved in as cars had driven over it.  Inside were two tiny puppies, flattened.  The blood pounded in my ears.  Who could do such a thing?

I yanked open the rest of the box, and there he was.  Huddled in behind a big bag of dry dog food was another tiny pup, skin stretched taut over ribs and bones. He looked up at me with his big eyes, but the rest of his body stayed motionless. He looked barely alive. I reached in and pulled him out and he sat like a hot stuffed toy on my palms. The puppy wobbled there unsteady for a moment and then collapsed.

A man came to see what I was doing, and squatted beside me. “Bastards,” he muttered.   “These two are dead, love.  Nothing you can do for them.”

He handed me a scrap of paper. On it was written ‘plese look afta thes pups, there mother is a boxa and dad is a heela. both good dogs’

The man stood up. “Looks like they’ve been here since this morning with nothing to eat or drink. I’d say that one’s a goner too.  Why don’t you put him back in the box and I’ll chuck them in the skip?”

I clutched the puppy’s hot limp body to my chest and shook my head, unable to speak.

“I’ll get this off the road. Good luck, hey?” He patted me on the shoulder, grabbed the box and walked off with it.  I watched him toss it into an open industrial bin.

I walked back to the car and placed the limp puppy on the seat beside me.  His head lolled, and one gummy eye cracked open.

“Don’t you die,” I said to him. “You’ll ruin my Friday night.”

I took him home, where I promptly burst into tears.  My husband then drove us to the local vet. The duty vet was female, and clearly not impressed with our find.  She barely touched his tiny, filth-encrusted body with the flea scabs and pus-filled bite marks.

“You found him, you say?” she said, arching one eyebrow in distaste. “I wouldn’t be spending any money on him.  He’s not going to make it.”

“But what if he does?” I asked.

“If he does, bring him back.”  Her tone was dismissive.

We brought him home and while Ben found another cardboard box and some old towels I found an eyedropper and tried to give the pup some water.  I managed to get a scant dropper in.  Then I mixed up some sugar and salt in some warm water and tried again.  Two droppers full.  It didn’t seem to make any difference.  I tried not to let myself get emotionally attached.

Ben asked if I wanted to stay in.  No, I decided.  Let’s go out.  We had dinner somewhere local, and when we got home a few hours later the pup was still alive.  Barely.  I said a little prayer for him, got a few more eyedroppers of fluid into him, and said goodbye.

When I came down to the laundry the next morning I heard peeping, like a chicken.  The little dog was scrambling to climb the side of the box.  I lifted him out.  He stank, covered in shit and pus and muck, so I bathed him and towelled him dry. Then I put a saucer of water in front of him.  He wouldn’t drink.  I got a few more mouthfuls of fluid into him, and then mixed up some calf-milk mixture and found some minced beef and an egg.  I put them in a bowl and set it down beside the pup.  He sniffed at it but ignored it.

And then I understood.  He wasn’t weaned.  He’d come straight off his mum.  I put my fingers into the milky eggy mixture and let him suck it off.  Slowly I led his little nose down to the bowl and let him suck a little more off my fingers.  The next instant he was snout into the trough, eating for all he was worth.

“He’s still alive? my husband asked, incredulous. “I’ll start ringing round and see if any of our friends want a dog.”

He was right, we already had a great dog, Charlie.  We weren’t in the market for another.  “Okay”, I agreed.  “But let’s wait another day.  Just in case he doesn’t make it.”

By the end of the weekend the little pup was following us everywhere, and eating like a pig.

“I’d better start calling people,” Ben said.

“No!”  It came out stronger than I meant it to. I softened my tone a little as the pup climbed into my lap and licked my face. “I want to keep him.”

So, that’s how we came to have Bert in our lives. I’m so glad for that day.  He’s a brilliant dog, and we love him dearly. Best thing I ever got from Toombul Shoppingtown.

I think you’ll agree he’s pretty special!