Munson has been shedding rather fiercely in recent weeks. Two days ago I raked enough undercoat off one flank to stuff a football, and there’s still more to come.
I hope we won’t get the fleece that arrived in June 2011, although I must say the flocks of birds hovering overhead at the park are doing more than just murmuring in anticipation. The first hairfall back in Australia was also in June, so this may be the first seasonally adjusted harvest.
It’s going to be interesting seeing how Munson’s flip-flopping between hemispheres is going to affect the timing of the sheddings: by the time Bondi was this age and had arrived in Australia, he was just beginning to show the symptoms of Cushings Syndrome, and never went through a seasonal shedding again. I’m wondering if we’re just going to get a “moderate” drop, or one that will be spread out over six months, before resuming normal timing in 2015.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
My new local coffee joint is also a spot where Munson can curl up under a pew and enjoy the buzz of conversation above his head, and the thicket of legs around tables.
I took him for a walk around Newtown this afternoon, which he enjoyed as much as usual until we crossed to the northern side of King Street and started walking downhill as if on our way home. He started becoming distressed – a continuing annoyance from an event two months ago which I didn’t recount.
Our friend Nick took his malamute Sceolaun on a walk up King St at the beginning of December, and she stopped to drink at the water bowl shown in this post. It was a wet evening and while the footpath sits under an awning, there was enough water on it to carry an electrical charge to it – most likely from a small junction box shaped like a squat green pillar outside HUM records a few metres away.
A few days later, I’m walking Munson down King St on a dry sunny day, and we reach HUM where I often visit to look at music and movie releases. Munson puts one foot on the steel entrance step, and jumps backwards in the air with a yelp. He’s really spooked and wants to get the hell away from the area.
I messaged Nick about it, and he suggests I call Ausgrid, the state electrical company, to report a fault as he had done. I recount what happened, and I’m told that they had investigated Nick’s report without detecting any problems. I said there must be something that can make a 50kg dog leap into the air, and a substantial risk to humans (particularly children) if barefoot. Given Newtown’s rather alternative population, that wouldn’t be an unlikely scenario.
About three hours later Nick messaged me back to say that the front of HUM has been cordoned off as they had discovered the entire shopfront was live at 100V.
Munson was limping for a couple of weeks after that incident, and has been very wary of going with about 10 metres of the spot – generally pulling back or hurrying past. Today’s reaction was unusual in that we were quite a bit further away when he reacted, which made me wonder if he’s detecting some other electrical activity from other junction pillars on that part of the street.
Poor Munson, I thought that he’d be safe from this stuff away from the electric fences on the farm.
Monday, February 10, 2014
| I had one of those major birthdays last week, celebrated quietly with a dinner out with Gustav, and Hugh visiting from Malmö, via his hometown Otago New Zealand. Although it was also New Zealand’s national day, we complicated the matter by eating at an African restaurant, and Hugh bringing me some wares from Sweden : a new Moomin mug and table runner. |
Today Gustav concocted my birthday cake request: a pumpkin coffee crumble cake. Munson sang for me: admittedly it didn’t sound much different to his usual repertoire, but it was taken as kindly as it was meant.
Monday, February 03, 2014
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Friday, December 06, 2013
It’s fifteen years today since a pocketful of hair and need grabbed me by the heart-strings and started nudging my life in unexpected directions. Three malamutes have shared that journey with me, beginning with Bondi in 1998 up to his passing in 2009.
It is characterized by big strength, endurance, and an interesting disposition. It is a very friendly dog, a good and faithful companion. It does not belong to just one man, everybody can provoke it to play. It is very useful to work and play with a disabled child or an adult person. It can serve as a pulling force of a wheelchair and as a soft toy (a confessor) for long lonely hours in the world inaccessible for others.
A related question is “why does your dog look so much like a wolf?” I turn that around and point out that malamutes and huskies are pretty close to what the original dogs looked like; the appearance of most other breeds having been radically altered by humans selecting traits for work or aesthetic preferences. Malamutes have a wild, atavistic majesty that I find extraordinary yet I wouldn’t want a wolf precisely because a wolf wouldn’t want me – it’s a creature of the wild, of wolf society alone, rather than a companion shaped by thousands of years of sharing homes, hearths and hearts with humans.
Overlaid on what is essentially dog, and what is quintessentially malamute, each of the boys has their own quite distinct personality. By ensuring they are widely socialised from their early months, I’ve been tapping into their potential to be complete citizens of both human and canine worlds. Sharing that potential, personality and extraordinary beauty with other people is more often than not a complete joy for all involved. In Australia where the commonality of dog ownership is balanced by vexatious restrictions on where they can go in public, my moots can be ambassadors for other happy, healthy urban dogs for the day where they can walk through city plazas or get on a train as easily as in London or Berlin.
For this post I’ve picked out a picture from each of the last fifteen years not just for the spectacular places that I’ve visited with each of them, but to also show some of the more personal moments and their own canine companions. The six and a half years of El Loco & El Lobo represents less than half that time. I wish I had more pictures of the special moments from earlier days: the endless loops of Green Lake, exploration of greater Seattle, then Puget Sound and even a corner of British Columbia. After that, the return to Australia, travel around Tasmania and more.
This journey has been a very rewarding part of my life, at least as defining as anything I’ve accomplished in the time before. Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped makes the point that the illusion of time speeding up as we get older is perhaps because we reduce the amount of novelty and identity-generating activities in our lives with recurring patterns of life and work. Allowing the dogs more space in my life has given me permission to explore a broader range of experiences, to continue to lay down extraordinary new memories which I will vividly recall as anything from my teens and twenties. One doesn’t have to look for adrenalin-pumping moments or seek out new stimulants to create special moments or step outside of the insistent current of progress; the euphoria of extreme dog-walking will do: pick up a leash, offer it to your young companion and find a new street or park, a new bench or country.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
* Ithaka by C.P.Cavafy