Bad hair days

I knew we should have called him Rastas. After nearly a month spent at the beach Mr Tilley almost has dreadlocks, and that’s despite having had a hair cut only a few days after we arrived.

Surfie dog

We give him a wipe over with micro fibre cloth each evening, which seems to get most of the sand off him, and we give him a bit of a brush before going to bed. Despite our best efforts, Paul’s first words to him most mornings are, “looks like another bad hair day, Tills”

No wonder his hair’s a mess, he gets great value out of the beach:

Chasing birds and their shadows along the beach

Jumping through the surf

Sitting on the sand between swims watching the world go by

drinks are coming out – ‘yes please’ he says

His very own dog water bottle

It was our own Busselton Beach, and the beaches of Broome that inspired our decision to re-join the world of dog ownership. Both beach areas get their fair share of dogs on them, and they all look so happy. Mr Tilley hasn’t proved to be the exception. He just loves the beach, and when not running on it, or splashing in it, he’ll happily sit with us just soaking it all in. He’s a happy little boy, but definitely is happiest, ‘on the beach’, despite the havoc it plays with his hair.

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Walking on Cable Beach

There’s always plenty to see when walking on Cable Beach.

Sea birds diving for breakfast beside a fishing boat

Wings tucked in close for streamlined water entry

A perfect entry – worthy of the Olympics

It took Paul several attempts to manage to get the full descending dive. What he didn’t manage to capture was the success of the dive when the bird surfaced with his breakfast. Maybe next time….

The planes, frequent at this time of year,  fly low over Cable Beach to land not far away.  If we’re directly underneath Mr Tilley gets a bit of a fright, but soon recovers to watch them disappear over the dunes. His curious gaze always follows them until they’re out of sight.

Another plane load of visitors arrive scaring a bird as it comes in to land

And another plane load disappearing over the dunes

There’s cyclists to see. These wide tyre cycles, suitable for beach riding, are available for hire close by to the parking lot at Cable Beach.

Cyclists and a jogger enjoying  early morning exercise on Cable Beach

There’s plenty of people on the beach in the morning, but providing you time your walk to coincide with the lower tides, you’re always able to put a comfortable space between yourselves and others.

Mr Tilley loves it. He’s a bit like our friend Brian. Kaye, Brian’s wife, says he can’t walk from one end of a mall to the other without making at least two new friends. There’s regular canines on the beach that Mr Tilley recognises and greets now like they’re old friends. And there’s new possible friends that he introduces himself to, referencing and cataloging their individual scents with a sniff in the places that dogs use for this purpose.

This boy gets a bit too boisterous for smaller dogs if off his lead. He’s a regular that  Tills recognises now and always says hello to. They’re happy to see each other despite Bluey’s seemingly concerned look.

By the end of each morning’s beach walk I’m sure Mr Tilley has made at least two new friends. I don’t think Brian sniffs his potential new friends rear ends though for future recognition. Such are the delights of the canine ‘meet and greet’ system!

Enjoying Broome’s glorious sunshine and beaches

Anyone familiar with Broome will know that the consistently good winter weather entices more than it’s share of visitors from the south of the country during the colder months. Years ago the Broome caravan parks could name their price, and had strict booking conditions. Whilst the prices still remain high during peak season, the rigid booking conditions are now more relaxed. On our first camping trip to Broome some of the caravan parks would only take a minimum booking of two weeks, and only from Saturday to Saturday. Of course, you could depart earlier, or arrive later in the week, but the payment was in accordance with the Saturday – Saturday fortnightly schedule.

I’m pleased to say the conditions are now a lot more relaxed, and vacancies are usually obtainable, at least somewhere in the town. People who arrive in town without a booking can usually be accommodated, if not in one of the proper caravan parks, at least into one of three additional overflow sites that are now allowed to open for the peak season. Up until this year, it was only in the overflow sites where one could stay if any pets were on board. Anticipating nowhere else for us and Mr Tilley, we arrived at Broome Pistol club’s overflow site where we stayed for the first week.

Whilst we were grateful for a place to be able to stay with Tills, the rustic, dried out, grass sites were full of seeds, and weren’t proving to be overly compatible with Mr Tilley’s scruffy coat. Fearing it was only a matter of time before a seed managed to embed itself in-between paw-pads, or down an ear, and finding out Broome caravan park is this year, trialling accommodating pets, we secured a booking for the remaining two weeks of our time in Broome.

So – that’s where we have been, and are currently staying. Now onto what we’ve been doing. Fortunately we’ve been to Broome several times so have ticked off all of the must do’s. The absolute stand out highlights have been, The Horizontal Falls, Cape Leveque, and last year’s trip up the Gibb River Road using Broome as our starting base. If you’re planning any trips to Broome, you really must factor those places in.

With those things ticked off, we’re free to just relax and enjoy acclimatising Mr Tilley to the pleasures of caravan life. Learning to quietly adapt to people, their pets, and children coming and going from neighbouring caravan sites is uppermost, and for a twelve month old puppy, he’s doing remarkably well.

We start most days with a lengthy walk and ball chase on Cable Beach to ensure he’s used up a considerable amount of his puppy exuberance early in the day.

Cooling off in the shallows after relentlessly chasing his ball

he runs till he’s knackered! and would still run some more if we’d let him

It took us a while to connect his sudden bursts of disobedience with being physically over stimulated. Now we’ve made the connection we’re able to regulate his behaviour (most of the time), by interrupting his break neck speed of ball chasing and beach running, with some quiet trick training.

Time out – ‘right paw shake’ – yes, he knows his right paw from his left paw

Eagerly awaiting the next request (and accompanying treat)

“beg” – yep, but only with a bit of help. Balancing isn’t his strong point yet

A few minutes of quiet mental stimulation provides some much needed respite from all the hectic physical activity, and he remains a reasonably obedient puppy throughout the walk.

Then, depending on the tides we may pack up a lunch and return to the beach for a couple of hours of people watching. Or we may pack up drinks and return to the beach for sunset drinks.

Some things just go together – Bread and butter, flowers and sunshine, Cable Beach and dogs! Mr Tilley understands quite a few words now including, ‘Beach.’ A question of, ‘Do you want to go the beach’, gets an almost whiplash response, followed by his undivided attention as we get ourselves organised to go.

Our long travel days spent getting here seem to be well forgiven and forgotten. I suspect if Mr Tilley could talk, and we were to ask him what the highlight of his life so far has been, the answer would definitely be, “visiting Broome’s gorgeous Cable Beach.” Introducing and sharing this gorgeous spot with our canine companion –  a pleasure that’s sure to be repeated.

A puppy’s first birthday party

Bailey’s birthday cake

We had no idea what a doggie birthday party would be like. Would it be a room full of dogs doing what dogs do to leave their scent (peeing and pooping everywhere), would there be any fights, would Tilly remember his siblings……

I’m pleased to say the first two things weren’t particularly in evidence, and sadly, Mr Tilly was the only one of the birthday boy’s siblings who showed up. Did Tills remember his brother Bailey – it was hard to say, but there weren’t any obvious leaps of joy at being re-united with one of his big brothers. His cousin, Lily though was another matter. Apparently Lily and Tilly are of a similar age, and they grew up together in their first few weeks of life.

Miss Lily coming to say hello to Mr Tilly

I’m not sure if Tilly remembered Lily, but he was certainly enamoured with her, and with good reason. Whilst Mr Tilly and Bailey had the snip early in life (7 weeks old), and all of the other male dogs there had also been neutered, Lily is expected to one day mother a litter or two, so hasn’t been sterilised. She’s been kept safe from any would be father dogs during her recent season, which was nearing it’s end on Saturday. Needless to say, the scent of Lily at the party had Tilly’s attention, and the attention of several of the other dogs. I don’t think Tilly knows he doesn’t have the necessary tackle to do the deed – not for the want of trying though!

Mmmm, she looks a bit of alright!

Who’s courting who!

Tilly didn’t know quite what to make of this

I’ve gotta say, in human terms of courtship Mr Tilly was an absolute gentleman. Whilst the other interested dogs there just wanted to ‘go for it’, Tills took his time getting to know his beau first, and letting her getting to him a little (the way dogs do – a sniff here and there, a lift of his rear leg to let Lily check him out, a bit of pretended nonchalance). No wonder Lily thought he was just the bees knees!

So, apart from Lily providing the equivalent in entertainment of what could only be likened to a female stripper at a bucks night, what else happens at a puppy’s first birthday party I hear you ask? Well there’s party food, some for humans and some for the canines (all of the doggie party food was home made).

Home made doggie donuts and treats

There’s play equipment to play on (the party was at a doggy day care centre), and most of the dogs made good use of it. There were games of chase, and games of wrestling, none of which had to be organised – the dogs thought up the games all on their own. Apologies for not counting the dogs in attendance, but at a guess I’d say around 12 – 15. They all seemed to have a great time.

Doggie day care play equipment

How did Mr Tilly go – well he seemed a bit reticent around the general pack, but then again, he was very much preoccupied with the divine Miss Lily. A few times he tried to put a bit of distance between himself and his first love, but Miss Lily wasn’t going to have that. More than once we noticed her seeking him out and reeling him back in to attendance. Clearly Lily wasn’t aware he was of absolutely no use to her – ha, he had her fooled.

After almost two hours of romp and play the birthday cake was presented to Bailey. I must say he showed astonishingly good manners. Sitting with his neck chiefs around his neck, and his birthday hat atop his head, he handled the cake ceremony like a pro. He is a stunning looking one year old, and I’m sure his mum and dad are very proud.

The birthday boy showing great decorum when presented with his birthday cake.

Mr Tilly’s first birthday party

Mr Tilly will turn one on the 13th July. Some of you may remember we were supposed to get a puppy from a later litter. However, Mr Tilly was one of a litter of seven – all boys. Some people anxiously awaiting a puppy from his litter preferred to wait a little longer for a girl puppy in the next litter.

We treated our arrival much the same as we would have treated any new baby – that is, ya get what ya get! So when we were offered a boy from the earlier litter we accepted with joyful delight.

We didn’t go to the selection day, when all the new owners turned up to select their puppy. We were going to be happy with whichever of the seven little boy puppies came our way. The little chocolate coloured runt of the litter came to us, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Our little baby boy

Nine months later and we’re still besotted. Our little boy is the most gorgeous, the most intelligent, and the cutest little boy puppy that’s ever walked this earth. (And wo- be-tide anyone who chooses to dispute it).

Isn’t he just the best looking dog….

I’ve always wondered if the seven brothers would know each other if by chance they met up. It seems I’m going to get to find out. Today an invitation arrived via email for Mr Tilly to attend a birthday party on 14th of July in Perth being hosted by Bailey’s mum and dad (one of his litter siblings). The invitation has been issued to all six siblings.

It doesn’t say it’s a bow tie event, but perhaps we’d better get him one, just in case

We’re accepting the invitation of course. I do hope all seven boys are there. I can’t wait…. what a way for him to celebrate his first birthday. Of course there will be photos – so watch this space.

Mr Tilly gets a bath

Getting a bit long and scruffy

We’ve been home grooming Tills with scissors but now that his adult coat is coming through, he’s going to need clippers to keep his fleecy coat under control.

We’ve purchased clippers, but as yet haven’t tried them out on him. Instead we hired a professional dog groomer to come to the house and get him started, while we carefully watched.

Auntie Bec, his groomer (professional name, not our aunty), is to be marvelled at. Tilly doesn’t like his bath, doesn’t like the hair dryer, doesn’t like his nails being clipped, and has an intense hatred of the brush. Like most parents, he has us treating him with kid gloves and trying to ease him into it. He’s ten months old now, and guess what – it isn’t happening! Yes, he has wrapped around his little fleecy paw.

Compliant, but not happy

Not happy with the hair dryer either – but again, compliant

He hardly puts a foot wrong though for Auntie Bec, and when he does, she stands back and tells him firmly to “stop”. And guess what, he does – he struggles for a minute or two, then with a visible sigh of resignation he becomes like putty in her hand.

All clean, clipped and brushed – now just the nails to go

We should get one more professional grooming in before we head north for a few months. Then we’ll be on our own with the clippers, trying to imitate firm Auntie Bec – what do you think will be our chances???

Mr Tilly’s had a hair cut

Oh dearie me! We decided it was time to get Tilly a proper hair-cut instead of the home done, here and there snip . Sure, I’ve been preventing him from getting matted, but there’s no doubt he wouldn’t have been winning any doggie beauty competitions.

My usual little scallywag

He’s a lot cleaner and tidier looking for sure, and has been shaved really close in the appropriate areas for better hygiene (bottom and inside of ears). The hair has been trimmed well between his toes, and his nails have been clipped.

Who’s this little boy

The verdict – He doesn’t look like the ragamuffin, scallywag Rastas I’m used to, and I think I like the old look better. It’s nice to see his eyes, but there was something endearing about seeing him peeping out from behind his mop top fringe. However there’s no doubt there were definitely areas in his grooming that needed improvement,  plus the cost at $120 is more than we want to be spending on an almost monthly basis too.

Me thinks, it’s time to purchase some clippers and get serious about home grooming. I’ll be aiming for a look somewhere between his usual scallywag look and this prim and proper, perfectly coffered dog that looks like he belongs to someone else.