The Wolf who worked for ABC

27 02 2014

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey

The Criminologist from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

They all kept telling me that I should do it, they told me over and over again, those friends of mine on a forum I was on, It could do this, it could do that, I wasn’t interested, because Second Life looked too much like a game, and I wasn’t a gamer, there would be no way that I’d ever use it.

Then I saw it on “Beyond Tomorrow” on Channel Seven, and decided that I could try it, and if I didn’t like it, I could simply leave.

I signed up.

I found myself on an island where avatars were born, and I couldn’t get off that Island, I was getting frustrated and may have logged out forever, except a friend found me and teleported me, to her.

Things started to look better, except I was still somewhat lost, but I found other friends were already in there, and they helped me get started. One of the first things I wanted to do, was to shed my human form, something many of us furries would eagerly do in real life, if it were possible.

One of my friends felt he could see the potential of Second Life and so bought us an island, which would be our home base, I was kind of shocked, buying an island was expensive, but I couldn’t stop him from getting one, and about a week later, there it was.

We were just feeling our way around, the experience was like being on another planet, and one where we were free to be ourselves completely, like some sort of hippy commune, we would walk around “naked” in this world. It’s funny, but it doesn’t take long for the avatar to feel as though it’s an extension of yourself, so when someone catches you naked, it’s a little bit embarrassing.

Furry culture thinks that sex, of any kind, is quite a normal thing, and that genitals are merely another part of the body.

I had genitals, multiple kinds for each avatar… human, equine, canine and dragon and we wore these proudly and flashed them about with gay abandon.

Psychologically it was quite interesting, there was a certain child-like thing about this stage of our lives in this virtual world.

Then I found out, via a friends forum, that ABC were investing in an island, and they wanted help, So I offered to help which was accepted, but it took months before the island opened, and there was lots of speculation and rumour about the island.

Abi, who was going to be the owner of the island, met with us on our own island, and we had a talk about how we’d set up our island, I think in general, most people want newbies to set up an island just like theirs, I think it’s an ego thing, I think we had a certain amount of pride in our island too.

The island did finally have a grand opening and loads of people went in to see it, I thought it started off really well, and I would meet some new people that day who I would get to know well over the next few years…

…Oh yes, did I say I was using Second Life every day now? It was now my main reason for using the internet, it ate data like crazy.

Later that day, a group of us were made Admins of the island, which allowed us to look after it, the fact was that ABC staff couldn’t keep an eye on it 24 hours a day, but the users could.

We could remove pests from the island, if we needed to, and we could report any technical issues with the island if anything went wrong.

Once something went very wrong, the island had pretty much vanished, and we thought that it was due to “Griefers” (a sort of internet vandal). Before we could get a definite reason for what went wrong, the story, and a photo of me flying around a deserted island, was published… but of course the story was laughable, it was a complete cockup, but loads of people read the story and many believed it.

The real story was that the computer which runs each island on Second Life, makes a backup of the island, every twelve hours or so, and during one backup, either the power failed or the computer crashed, resulting in a partial backup… so when the faulty backup was used to re-start the island, it looked as though someone had destroyed the place.

The people who run Second Life were told, and the island was started using an earlier backup, and everything went back to normal.

That’s all it was, but it’s not as exciting as the first story, is it?

I was on ABC Island a lot, trying hard to get people to come in and use it, but most people, like me at the start of this story, didn’t want to, and refused to even try it.

If they did, they’d get to the difficult first stage and give up.

Or their computer was too old and too slow to cope with Second Life.

Some people found the learning curve too steep, they either just wanted to play a game, or chat, this was over-complicated.

Or they lived way out in the country with extremely slow, or no broadband.

I knew that If we had the NBN back then, Then Second Life would have been wonderful for people in small communities around Australia, but sadly, with the woeful internet we have in regional areas, that wasn’t possible.

The Admins worked hard to get people to try Second Life, and especially our ABC Island which we were very proud of.

I should say at this point that many people thought I worked at ABC, because I was on ABC island so often, I told them that wasn’t the case, but  I did work *for* ABC, though only on a voluntary basis… Oh yes, it was work, it was surprising how much work there was, just to keep it going. If I had kept my own home that clean, the place would have been spotless.

But it was like having a really serious hobby which I was heavily involved with, so I enjoyed it.

I never had been put in a position of responsibility before, and because I wanted this project to work, I put as much into it as I could. and now I was dealing with new psychological changes, I found myself becoming strict, and if anyone disobeyed the rules, I’d get cranky about it and they’d suddenly “leave” the island.

Eventually there was another point where I gave myself a really good shake-up and told myself to lighten-up, I didn’t like what I was becoming, I wasn’t nearly as nice to people as I ought to be, at least that’s how I felt, I’ll let any of you who met me in world be the judge.

I had also, mostly been left with the job, You see, the other Admins, although they liked ABC Island a lot, and certainly helped me when I needed it, had found other creative interests and had decided to set up their own islands. They had developed and wanted to do their own things, which was great, but it had the effect of fragmenting the group.

A documentary crew had asked me to make a film about Second Life with them, which I did, but sadly, a lot of the facts about what I did on Second Life were dropped, I knew this at the time, but felt that making a film would still be fun. There was no mention of ABC because the film was made for another network, so a big part of what I really did on Second Life was left out.

I don’t blame the Director, She was under pressure from the network, who, after all, were funding the thing, but I was really quite unhappy about the result… ahh well, at least I had a few free meals and some fun.

The Doco involved Katie, My Alaskan Malamute, She had a few car rides out of it so she was happy.


Katie and I, Taken during filming of Alter Ego: Photo – Matt Calissi, December Films.

I waited for a long time to see this Doco on air, and find out what people thought, but the network held onto it for ages, and then had some sort of review and changed from a station which played documentaries, into something which was more about general entertainment, the doco was shelved until one night, at 11pm on a December 23rd, thus, very few saw it.

As a good friend says “That’s Showbiz”.

Alas ABC was getting fewer visitors in later years, and I found myself standing around for hours, hoping someone would turn up, it was clear to me that Second Life wasn’t working, I had created Rockit, a music quiz show which did get people back to the island, but I was the only host, for what would always be a very small audience, as only a small number of people could ever be on an island at one time, We needed more hosts and more shows, Whenever anything was done which would draw an audience, it often did… but the logistics of getting it done were always difficult, there were roadblocks from ABCs side which couldn’t be overcome.

Second Life was an idea which came along at a point when computers weren’t up to the task and the internet wasn’t up to it either, If Second Life can hang in there for another ten years, then maybe it can regain some ground, but it’s going to take some imagination and some serious forward thinking, something we might have, but our government (like any right wing government) completely lacks.

This was also a time when I thought the ABC could do no wrong, but I have since seen it’s other face, and didn’t like it one bit.

When ABC Island closed down, I left Second Life completely, I had no purpose there anymore.

Wolfie Rankin

* I didn’t explain what Second Life was, Those who were there know exactly what it is, and those who weren’t, won’t care.


11 02 2014

Perhaps this is a stereotypical viewpoint, but it is not a boys are better than girls thing either.

The idea that Women remember dates, and us blokes forget, true or false?

If true, then it has its uses, someone has to record things for others… Births, Weddings, Deaths.

What I find though, is that knowledge of the worst dates, especially by female friends, is not always for the best.

A happy day can be spoilt by simply looking at a calendar, and being reminded of heartbreak.

I have had quite enough death in my own family, and would rather not be reminded of it, I remember enough as it is and that hurts enough.

I remember Birthdays, but I don’t remember deaths,

I know My Dad languished in hospital, with cancer, and I know it was around ANZAC day, because I had shot video of planes going overhead, and of our Dog, Benny, and Mum making soup. Things from home which I thought might make him feel a little better, he died a few days later.

I recently lost Katie, who was my better half, who thought that she was my mate, and who is to argue with a girl, perhaps she was? It tore my heart out, we were always together, and now I was on my own, completely.

I remember that it was in September last year, but I have forbidden myself to remember the day, but I have papers to remind me, the same with Dad.

With Mum it was different, She died right on Halloween, an event she hated, as it wasn’t Australian.

So when Halloween rolls around, it’s in my face, and I really would prefer it wasn’t, it only serves to remind me of losing Mum, and that’s all it will ever do.

I’m just trying to avoid things that bring me down.

My heart is broken into pieces, what good will knowing the date someone died be to anyone?

I don’t need reminding, I remember my family well enough as it is.

Loyalty greater than death?

10 10 2013

I’m going to say it anyway.

I’m getting very strong impressions that Katie is here, and not only Katie, but my other dogs before her.

The other night I was feeling this, a strong feeling of needing to let the dog in, but of course I couldn’t, because I know that no dog is there.

Then the “Energy” changed, I realised it wasn’t Katie on the verandah, but Benny…

Katie is in her den (under the dining room table, as usual) and if I type away on my laptop while I’m in bed, I can just about expect to turn and see her there.

Looking at this sensibly, I’d say it was my mind playing tricks on me, since Katie had been here for nine years and was my, and I stress this, my *constant* companion, and for that matter, my assistance dog.

But I’m getting such a strong impression of her that I don’t know what to think, my mind is convinced she is there, and although part of me says she can’t be, I’m being told that she is.

Am I going mad?

I had another impression that my older dog, Laddie was sitting in my bedroom too.

I’m not seeing them or hearing anything, it’s sort of a dream like experience, as if a dream is layered over reality.

What I’m feeling from all of them is that they’re perfectly fine and content, it’s me who wants to let them in and out and who calls to them and is feeling frustrated, but if they are here… then what’s the

You may recall that I used to do a lot of meditation and new age stuff years back, and I remember being told that sometimes we may see our guides, and one evening, I saw this plain little ghost
who did absolutely nothing but sat on the couch for about half
and hour… I think my Dad saw it too.

It wasn’t the least bit frightening, and I examined it by putting my
hands around it, all it looked like was if you put a white shape of
a person into photoshop and reduce the opacity to about 10%…
it had no features at all, it was just a little human shaped bit of
light which just sat there.

And nor are the dogs frightening.

Jette, A new beginning.

7 10 2013

“and If you can’t be, with the one you love, Honey, Love the one you’re with” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

I hope people don’t think I’m a hard arse.

Katie doesn’t even seem cold yet, and I’m getting another dog.

Yes, I’ve been here before, I’ve had a wonderful dog, who has died and it left me shattered.

When Laddie died, it bought my parents and I down, we sulked about it for weeks, Gone was our special boy, Half German Shepherd and Half Collie, The dog who could stand on concrete and bounce a tennis ball and amuse himself, The dog who would (wrongly) be allowed to go to the local park by himself, and return with gifts… a squeaky toy hammer, a babys dummy, a pair of mens red undies, a bag of garbage, an entire tree branch.

Laddie loved us as much as we loved him, and I still love him even today.

Losing that wonderful personality from our lives was gut wrenching.

I can remember my Sister being angry with us, “Oh for Gods sake, It wasn’t the bloody Queen Mother!” No, He was more special than that, He was OUR dog, He was family. But none of us said anything, and if we did, I don’t remember, I only remember the silence and how we felt.

Dad always took him for a walk in the evening, He never had a lead, but we never needed one. Laddie was as sharp as a tack and very well behaved… Well except with the dog across the road who he hated, a fight broke out twice in the park between Buddy and Laddie. I tried to separate the two once and that was a bad mistake, Laddie almost bit right through my hand, He’d bitten first, then understood later.

I remember his guilty look, I remember the blood and the pain, I remember My Dad (A huge, muscular truckie) almost passing out upon seeing all the blood, and Mum left to clean me up.

Mum was always the Nurse.

My hand swelled up like a tennis ball.

It’s what happens when you have a dog, and you just accept it… it was my mistake.

I was never quite sure whose side Laddie was on, I’d sit on Dads side of the table and tell Mum that I was pinching Dads tea, and Laddie sat there growling and showing me all his teeth… But then I’d say “Would you like some, Laddie?” and his face would change from angry to “Yes please!” as he licked his lips, only to resume growling again if Dad came into the kitchen and asked “What’s This?”

Laddie had cancer, and his frame melted away to a skeleton, He was taken to the local vet in the truck that Dad used for work, Laddie had never been in a car before, and although he was dying and in obvious pain, he was really happy.

The vet rang the next day with the worst news, which had been expected.

The Vet suggested that the best thing would be to put Laddie down, and I agreed.

I wanted to see Laddie and asked if they could please hold on and wait till I get there so I could see him one last time.

Mum had never seen me do anything like that before, I cried in her arms and she cried too.

At the time I wasn’t well and had to wait for my Dad to come back from work, I wrung my hands waiting for Dad to return, No Mobile phones back in the late 80s, at least not easily available to the likes of us who didn’t have much.

But with only a few hours to go, the vet rang again, to say Laddie had died.

I had missed him, it was awful. I had sent my best friend to the vet and he had died alone, I still feel guilty about that till this day, but there really was no way for me to get there by myself.

Coming home in the car, from anywhere,  and not having that big welcome he’d always give us was hard, and perhaps it was some relief to my parents when I bit the bullet months later, after I started to feel that perhaps we should, really get another dog.

Dad was missing the walks they went on, Mum missed the person she’d share a bit of cake with “If you die, Laddie, We won’t eat any” She’d say.

We received Laddies ashes, I think they were posted, but I’m not sure.

Months passed.

I bought home a newspaper and looked up dogs at the back, in the classifieds.

I found a listing for Alaskan Malamutes, phoned the number and soon I was telling the breeder (Loretta) about Laddie and how much we missed him. and she said, “We have a little one here called Benny”.

So Dad and I set off for Point Cook, not too far from here.

We stood in a little dish at the front door, to kill any parvo virus on our shoes and entered. There were pups everywhere, The poor mum had given birth to fifteen.

We were shown Benny, He was tiny, and fluffy,

He was a long coated Malamute. It’s considered a defect in the breed, as snow and water don’t fall off their coat, instead the coat would get soaked and if it froze, the dog could die.

For a companion, it’s not so bad, but they do need more brushing. Laddie loved being brushed more than anything, but Benny hated it, and so did Katie who was to follow, the two malamutes always told me off when I did it.

Dad loved him right from the start, I wasn’t sure, I still missed Laddie.

Loretta almost made me pick him up saying “He’s your puppy”.

While we were at the house, an Italian man and his teenage daughter turned up, I think Benny was about the last to be sold, but they were all too young to go to homes yet.

Mario, Lorettas husband, ushered Dad into a corner to do business, Dad handed over the cash and the deal was done, Benny was to be the first dog we ever paid for, they’d usually simply turn up, as Laddie had, Mums Boss found him at work.

Mario told us later “I’m Italian myself, and I can see Benny digging a den in Pappas veggie garden and that’d be that” Well as it turned out, Benny did dig a few holes, but they were generally tragic, never deep enough to bury a bone, which would be left with a sprinkle of dirt on the top.

Benny was a brilliant dog, and we loved him.

A month or so passed and we picked up Benny before Christmas, He howled all the way home, in Mums arms.

Unlike Laddie, Benny had rides in the car, Dad hated the idea of a dog in his nice clean Kingsw… oh, Sorry, Fairmont (I hope you got the reference) But Benny was welcome. Mum and I looked at each other, I’m not sure why, but Dad had softened.

So we often went to country markets at Gisbourne, Blackwood and Daylesford, where people always asked us the same questions, What breed is he?, Does he eat a lot?, Does he cope well in summer? Mum and I joked about printing up a sheet with all the answers.

While Laddie would be inside in the winter, curled up near the heater, Benny hated all heat and any trace of sunlight. He would lay on the concrete verandah in winter, or on the cold bathroom tiles, with his back legs stretched out to the back and his pads pointing upwards.

And unlike Laddie, Benny wouldn’t sleep in my room, I have no idea why, It was either my parents room or the bathroom. But he’d come in and sleep near me in the morning after his walk with Dad to get the newspaper, as unlike my parents, I was never an early riser.

Benny had a harness which had been hand made for him, it was made of leather and was lined with sheep skin, and I strongly suspect that the guy who made it, specialised in leather gear, for men, rather than for dogs… in fact it fits me perfectly.

Sometimes Benny would refuse to wear his harness and utter rude howls at us, until Mum spat the dummy and ordered him to “Get your harness on!” though sometimes that didn’t work either.

Then I’d say “Well Mum, I’ll wear this harness” and I’d begin to put it on, Benny would go quiet and give me a look like “Hey, That’s mine!”… then he’d settle and allow me to put it on him instead.

We lost Dad to cancer.

Benny was a comfort to Mum and I, and I was glad to have him with us.

Bennys legs went on him at around ten, his “wrists” were on the ground, and not held up like they should have been, and then his hips went.

One night he was crying in pain, he was actually saying “Oh No, Oh No, Oh No” over and over, it was heart breaking.

The vet was called, and there was nothing to be done for him, I held Benny close and the drug was given in our backyard, Benny was taken away in a body bag, Three of us had to carry him out, We passed by Mums bedroom… She was there crying with our neighbour, I had not expected it, I think she was trying to hide her feelings from me, perhaps because she felt that it might make me feel worse. Mum saw us and I heard her fall apart.

The bag was put into the vets boot, he was clearly upset too, offered some kind words, which I don’t remember.

I watched the car drive all the way up the street, and remember the red tail lights turning left and vanishing, I broke down.

A neighbour came over to offer some comfort.

Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with cancer.

One day the vet returned, He was a tall Indian man dressed in a suit, He handed us the box containing Bennys ashes, He offered us his condolences and sat with us for a while. I thought he was very kind to do that.

I decided that we needed another dog, and this was done fairly quickly too, I didn’t wait.  I consulted the internet, namely the Ozmals group on Yahoo (Yahoo groups were still cool at this time), I knew a breeder who’s girl was about to have pups, and several people were lined up for them… but she had one, just one.

I really wanted a male, so I hung off, I just liked boy dogs, I didn’t think a female would be as good, call me a sexist if you like… Katie was about to change my mind.

Katie had come up too, and unlike the other one, needed a home or would lose her life.

She had been begging food from staff at Pukapunyal Army Base, she would take whatever she could get and sleep in the nearby bush.

Where she had come from, nobody knew, Had she been dumped or had she escaped from a home?… there had been a horrible storm around that time, and fireworks too, she hated both.

The local vet had held her for longer than she should have, She had just put down a male who was apparently aggressive and she didn’t want to do the same to Katie who she thought was lovely and deserved a chance.

She had been driving Katie everywhere, looking for her owners, or looking for new ones, nobody wanted her.

I admit I dallied, Had I known what I know now, I would have taken Katie immediately, but it’s hard to know how a dog will be.

Someone bought Rhondas puppy, and that made the choice easy, I took Katie.

Everything was arranged and Rhonda bought Katie to us, sometimes I think Rhonda told me a fib, but if she did, I don’t mind at all.

We probably didn’t take as much care as we should have,Benny had been old and barely able to walk, but when he was young, he was as powerful as a train, or at least seemed to be.

So Katie bolted up the street and I thought that was it, nobody could catch her. but she saw a neighbour and wanted to say Hello, so thankfully she was retrieved.

Katie and I had some good long walks which I hadn’t been used to as Benny could barely manage the park, just a few doors up, as he got old and his body failed him.

About a month or so later, I had bowel surgery, and it wasn’t long after that that the radiation and chemo began.

I don’t remember much of Katie then, I was barely well enough to do much of anything.

I remember that she used to come into Mums room, and wrap herself behind the curtains, and fall asleep there.

She was a very timid dog though, she would act as if I was about to give her a belting anytime I raised my hand, she grew to understand that I wouldn’t hit her, and began to love me.

She loved her Mum, she’d spend a lot of time licking her… or perhaps she knew something then that wasn’t obvious to us, but was to her… Mum had been losing weight and getting frail.

I remember the day that my PICC line was removed, and that was a huge relief, it was always in the way, I never really had a good shower because of it, and it itched like mad where the sticky patch covered its external bits.

Although I still had the bag, on my body, and that was a nuisance.

As I recovered, Katie and I would go for nice long walks together, and it helped a lot.

Mum had had a few attacks where she almost stopped breathing, and an ambulance was called the second time.

I had found mum on her bedroom floor that morning, whacking the wardrobe with a shoe, hoping to wake me up, Katie was sitting next to her, confused and offering her paw.

The third time it happened, the ambos were too late, and Mum died.

Then it was just Katie, Vicky and I, and somehow, we coped.

Katie and I would generally go on big walks together, We’d walk to Seddon, or to the creek, which has a lovely dog park around it, sometimes I think I was online too much and should’ve been walking with her… but we did go out every day except if it was too hot or wet.

And people would stop us and ask questions, the same ones they asked us of Benny.

And in the evening I would feed Katie, which was one thing Mum suspected I’d forget to do.

She used to get doggy meatballs, an egg, and some milk.

Katie was very fond of milk.

And she’d sleep beside me every night, and I would be soothed to sleep by her breathing, and the knowledge that I wasn’t entirely alone.

Katies health declined, and I’m not sure why, She was slowing, but I could cope with that. I’d rather have an old slow dog than no dog at all.

I’m sure I’ve told you the story.

It lead to the night I dreaded most of all, She was crying, like Benny had nine years earlier, and I held my darling girl, and the drug was given, I held her to the end, until there was no life left, and wondered yet again, why I was left in witness and why I couldn’t have gone too.

Katie and I were inseparable,  and now we were forced apart, I didn’t think I could bare it.

She had meant more to me than anything, I adored her, I didn’t think I would, but I couldn’t have asked for anything to be so near perfect, I’ve been heartbroken for weeks, and lost, and wondering who I am without her.

It was always Katie and I, always.

I lost her in the car going to the vet, her eyes kind of went blank, and although she lived for two days after that, I know that she wasn’t the same afterwards.

So I sit here typing away with tears streaming down my face, some have said it’s too early, I am still grieving for Katie but know that I must try again or condemn myself to being lonely.

When I picked up Katies Ashes, The vet there said, that she doesn’t understand waiting, because there are other dogs who need a home, she said, it’s like your best friend dies and thinking that you wouldn’t find a best friend again… I’m not sure if she’s right, but I had been thinking along similar lines.

I know the drill now.

I get a dog, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get one who will love me, and support me, though at this time I doubt that any would be as good as Katie… but I thought highly of Laddie and Benny too.

And then, on some dark day in the future, they will have to be put down, or simply die in their sleep. I’ll be fearing that if I’m to go  first, who will take my old dog? and who will take care of them as well as I did? I don’t care about myself, to be frank, I hate being alive but fear death, or perhaps, the dying. but I would like to end all the fears I have and be forgotten, as I will be.

Jette needs a home, I need a dog.


Katie and I

24 09 2013

I’m considering everything that was done for Katie.

I rarely left her, and when I did, she was always safe inside the house, and four times she went to a kennel, just for a few days
when I was either on holiday or at hospital.

Katie had good food and fresh water every day, and had a big walk each day, unless I wasn’t well or the weather was too hot or cold, or wet.

The walks helped me recover too, and am grateful to her for that.

She wanted me to buy her a soft bed, she saw them at the local shops and so I got her one.

She took sick at one point and had a big operation, which she recovered from and probably had an extra five years of life as a result.

She hurt her eyes several times, and had an operation on one, and ongoing medication on the other.

Her teeth were bad, mostly because she chewed through a fence to possibly escape from her former owners, and to escape into the neighbours yard because I was there.

Katie was with me, the day I lost Mum.

She went to a friends farm twice, and twice to the beach, she loved that.

Katie loved furries, and adored Marko and Davids suits, and wanted one of Markos paws.

She was always the first person I would consider whenever I made any plans at all, and I would always prefer to stay here with her, than go out anywhere… unless she could go too.

She was my support dog, perhaps not officially, but I couldn’t have done much without her, she was very special.

I think she was the most loyal dog I’ve ever had, if she wasn’t at my side, she was completely depressed… and that’s saying something, because the last two I had, Benny and Laddie were exceptionally loyal too.

Katie was a rescued dog, had I not taken her in, then she may have been put down in 2005, simply because she was unwanted.

But she was wanted, and she wanted me, Her companionship and love was just magic, and I’d be very lucky if I ever had that again.

I will try this last effort to keep her going, because if I don’t, I will forever wonder if it might’ve worked, and I don’t want to be looking back to this time, thinking If only I tried harder, I would have had her a bit longer.

If she survives this, and has a peaceful life here at home, if she can eat and drink, and get up and go outside when she needs to, then I will keep up her medications and continue to look after her, I am proud of her, she is an honoured member of this house, she is my family, and I will give her as much love and comfort as she needs.

But if she doesn’t respond, then I’ve decided that I will let her go.

Katherine was without a doubt, one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, and I will love her dearly, for the rest of my life.

Today was a bit much

1 04 2013

I decided to go for a walk with Katie, but didn’t want to walk all that far.

But decided to cross our main road and walk to one of the larger parks nearby, which we did and that was ok… but that area is rather unfamiliar to me despite me living around here for 47 years.

So, we got a bit lost.

When I get lost, I begin to feel panic attacks coming on, although I’m pleased to say that I held together well.

Katie and I were pooped, and I was anxious to find anything that looked familiar, and yes I had my iphone with me, and was about to check when things started to look familiar.

We’d come to a park which was further away than what I had hoped for, but still, it was familiar.

There is a walk bridge over the main road, and we headed for that, but I was running low on energy (anxiety) and Katie needed a good drink of water.

Now before I get to the next bit, One of Katies habits, which is generally a good thing, is if she slips from her collar, she will sit and wait for me to put it back on.

Now sometimes the bridge “bounces” as we cross it, and the motion makes me feel worse, and with a panic attack only just being held off, I decided to cross the road… which wasn’t too busy, being Easter Monday.

It should be less stressful.

There were no cars coming, so Katie and I headed across the first part of the highway.

You guessed it, She slipped out of her collar, and sat, on one of the lanes, a car was coming but was in another lane.

I jumped back and grabbed Katie around the neck, and pulled.

Katie thought she was being attacked and yelped.

I pulled, pushed and encouraged her to safety.

My heart was in my throat, and felt like I was about to pass out, but crossed the freeway and we were ok.

Katie was exhausted and so was I.

I got her home, where she’s had a snack and has drunk most of her bucket of water.

She’s laying here panting like mad, but is probably ok.


The Katie FAQ

3 03 2013

Whenever I’m out walking Katie, my Malamute, I’m always asked the same questions, not that I mind re-telling them, though I have often joked about writing a FAQ… Well here it is.

What sort of dog is Katie?

An Alaskan Malamute.


I have heard there’s a difference between the Alaskan Malamute and the other one, what is it? the Husky?

A Siberian Husky is a smaller breed, they’re strong and agile and mainly bred to pull people in the snow. An Alaskan Malamute is larger and stronger, think about Clydesdale Horses in comparison to a Quarter horse. Malamutes are used to pull freight through snow, and people too.

Is it hard to keep her cool in Summer?

It can be, Summers in Melbourne can be very hot, but Katie likes to be inside with me and we have a lovely air conditioner to keep her cool.

Does she eat a lot?

Not really, at least I don’t seem to notice it, a bowl of food in the evening seems to be enough, she has milk and eggs too (sometimes) and a snack in the evening. She will will also lick up whatever the cat (Vicky) leaves behind after her breakfast.

He meals mostly consist of 4legs meatballs which I get from Coles, and if I’m having pasta, Katie will share some of that with me. I might give her canned food now and then, but rarely… she sometimes gets dry food, but I don’t like it and mostly avoid it.

People say dogs should eat dry food, really? Have you ever heard of a wolf going hunting for kibble? and would you eat dry food all the time? I doubt it.

Where did you get her?

Katie had been running free around Puckapunyal military base in Victoria, Australia. She had been picked up by the local vet who loved Katie and tried desperately to find her a good home. She would load Katie into her ute and drive around looking for someone to take her, but nobody would.

I had sadly lost my beautiful dog, Benny, a Malamute too, to Cancer (and didn’t know at the time, but I had it too and would soon be in hospital) and had decided that I absolutely must get another dog.

I had contacted Bennys breeder on via an e-mail list I was on at the time, She had one puppy available, and I was considering buying her, but then the people on the list became aware of Katie.

I wasn’t quite sure of what to do, Buy the puppy or take Katie.

Katie had one day to go before being put down, the vet had kept her a week more than she should have, and the pup had been sold to someone else.

I said I’d have Katie.

Bennys breeder picked Katie up and drove her down to me, where She’s lived since 2005.

Does she get along with cats?

Yes, She lives with Vicky and things are mostly ok between them, though at first it was havoc, Katie wanted to chase Vicky, and Mum and I were forced to feed Vicky on the roof for a few weeks until Mum had enough, and so we began to introduce the pair to each other.

Does Katie bark or make a lot of noise?

No, She rarely barks at all, but will howl for me when I go out, often she’s so quiet that she will bed down somewhere and it will be as though she’s not here… it was the same for Benny.

I bet your carpet is covered with fur.

Yes, and so are all my clothes and every other surface you can name, well, it’s not that bad (though there’s fur on my keyboard as I type). People tend to dump these dogs for that reason in particular, but they make such awesome family members, who cares if there’s a bit of fur here and there? not me.

Does she dig?

Malamutes are known for digging, not just a small hole, but a den… Katie doesn’t dig much, but once I was out in the garden and fell in a hole that went up to my knee!

Is She friendly?

Yes, She loves to meet everyone, especially kids, but I have to watch them carefully. Katie had a disease called pyometra years ago, which made her very sore around her rear end, as such, her tail is off limits to everyone even though she’s all better now, but the kids all want to touch that big fluffy tail, so I try to keep them at the front end.