I recently had another Facebook “conversation” with my sister, who lives on a farm in Mpumalanga, South Africa. According to Google Maps we are exactly 11535.39 km (or 7167.75 miles) apart, as the (pretty damn impressive) crow flies. It’s therefore not possible for us to hop over for a quick visit, which is where Facebook comes in handy. On this particular occasion she asked me how we were doing, or more specifically, me, as well as the Minister of Finances and Home Affairs and our offspring. I provided her with a detailed narrative as requested but then realised that she never enquired about the welfare of Koda, the four-footed member of the family. As you can imagine, this was a cause for serious concern. I knew I had to address the problem right there and then before it became a tendency, so I acted swiftly and decisively, yet with love.
I’d admit that it wasn’t easy. I’m not talking about me having to address her blatant negligence - no a man has to do what a man has to do. The difficult part was coping with the fact that a member of the family was so unashamedly left out. When something like this happens there are many emotions that rush through you. First there was denial. Then I was filled with shocked disbelief, then sad and broken. This was followed by anger, and then there was just quiet acceptance. I consoled myself with the fact that I had addressed the problem and that it wouldn't happen again. It was with that thought that I suddenly realised that I too was guilty in that I have never formally introduced Koda to you, my faithful readers (except perhaps a brief mention in my Australian Corporate Games blog entry). I therefore decided to do just that. After all, this blog is about our lives here in Australia and Koda is a big part of it.
Koda entered our lives shortly after we moved to Queensland. We had a few pets while in Melbourne, in the form of a goldfish and two budgies, but let’s just say things didn’t work out quite so well for them. After detailed discussions between me and the Minister of Finances and Home Affairs, we promised the kids that we would get a dog once we had settled on the Gold Coast, much to their delight. Now when it comes to choosing a dog I’m not too fussed, provided that said dog conforms to two basic criteria:
one: He/she must be a dog:
This may sound obvious, but there are many animals out there which are incorrectly referred to as dogs. For example, Poodles, Shih Tzu’s and Dachshunds don’t qualify. These animals are not dogs. They may have the ability to bark – in the case of a Dachshund, way too much – and they may all have tails, but don’t be fooled by this façade. Now wait before you all skip down to the comments section and leave me abusive remarks. I’m not saying, or even implying, that these fluff balls are not cute. This they most certainly certainly are (except for the Dachshunds of course). It’s just my modest opinion that they cannot be classified as ‘dogs’. No, a real dog is something like an Alsatian, Border Collie or a Labrador. Nothing smaller. There is one exception though, namely a Jack Russel.
two: He/she must not cause a greater haemorrhage in my bank account than what has already occurred with our move to Queensland:
This point immediately eliminated all thoroughbreds, breeders and pet shops. The option that remained was therefore to visit the Animal Welfare League to see if we can find a dog that needed a new home. Little did I know that the meagre remains in the bank account would swiftly be blown away, because the dog needed a kennel and food and mat and water bowl and food bowl and shots and council license and collar and brush and anti-worm stuff and anti-flea stuff and whatever else they could think of to sell to us. But I couldn’t turn around now and renege on my promise at this, the 11th hour. Try telling those radiantly glowing little faces that their dog is no longer their dog. Not an option. It’s in my nature to avoid conflict at all cost but if I can’t avoid it, I at least try to work it out such that I’m in trouble either with them or with the Minister, never both. Had I said no at this point I would have stood alone in my corner, a prospect I could not stomach.
When we got to the Animal Welfare League the friendly folks introduced us to a Collie named Honey. She looked just like Lassie with long golden hair and a sharply pointed face. The Minister liked her at once. I went along somewhat reluctantly because let’s face it, when it comes to the question of being a dog or not, a Collie is a little borderline. Not to be confused with a Border Collie which is not borderline at all, but I digress. Fortunately the decision was not mine, as shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with kennel cough and had to spend a few weeks in quarantine. Next they introduced us to Rex. We liked him immediately, but his name had to change. You simply don’t call your dog Rex. After many suggestions, in-depth discussion, heated debate and rounds of elimination we finally decided that henceforth he would be called Koda. The name change ceremony was moving.
Koda is an Australian Kelpie, a very alert and intelligent breed that is used on Australian farms as herding dogs and more recently as the star of the movie Red Dog. Koda is just a darker version. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog. When I play with him he plays hard, but with the little people he is very placid. He is also very obedient. No matter how good his food smells, he will not start eating until I say so, licking his lips profusely with eyes focused on the bowl.
Koda seeks attention whenever he can find it. When I ask him “Where is your bone?” he will jump up and start searching around the yard, returning soon with his bright orange plastic bone in his mouth, eyes gleaming and tail wagging because it’s time to play "fetch!”. The only thing better than playing fetch is going for a long walk, and when he is hot and tired from walking or playing, there’s nothing better than to go for a swim in his pool.
We can all learn something from him – he is always, and I mean ALWAYS, happy to see us. He always displays exuberant excitement about the littlest things and will always fetch his bone, be it hot or cold, early or late, or whether he is tired or awake. If there is one who gives his all in life, it’s Koda! This is especially true when a bird or cat accidentally strays into the yard, then he gives his all plus more!
So my dear readers, meet Koda:
|Cooling off during our walk around the lake|
|Ready for action to fetch his bone|
|Cat, did you say Cat? Where?|
|And the best part is blowing bubbles under water through his nose.|