What to do with a dog that won’t walk?

Back in the days before Harry, I used to envisage my life with a dog to be one of boundless activity, where I make my dog’s day simply by taking him out for a stroll and a sniff. Just the prospect of someone picking up the leash has sent every dog I’ve ever known into a frenzied excitement – so when Harry came to live with us last June, it was a shock to discover not all dogs enjoy a daily constitutional.

I love walking and would hike for miles every day given the chance. Harry, however, does not. He’s happiest in the comfort of his bed/our bed/the sofa (much like Him Indoors, come to think of it) and, upon sighting his leash, his first reaction is to run and hide. A gentle tug of encouragement results in Harry rolling onto his back and playing dead. We have tried tempting him out with treats and favourite toys but to no avail (it’s the only time he doesn’t care about playing ball) and, more often than not, we end up carrying him out the door.

I'll just stay here on the sofa instead.

I’ll just stay here on the sofa instead.

Once we’re out, he generally picks up momentum. Although on occasion he will dig his heels in and refuse to move (I have carried him home on more than one occasion) the majority of the time his tail is up and he seems to be enjoying the atmosphere and odours of the great outdoors. We do our best to make things fun; we have a game of ball, a belly scratch – we’ve even embarked on the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal cliff walk, to see if a stunning view might put those paws into action.

Taking in the sea air.

Taking in the sea air.

At six kilometres, including lots of steep gradients and stairs, it’s a fair hike for your hound. While younger dogs with plenty of energy may lap this up, it was  a bit much for 10-year-old Harry so instead we’ve done it in stages over the past months, picking and choosing the most appealing sections to explore.

Harry takes a well-earned break.

Harry has a well-earned break.

While dogs must be kept on leashes on the path (and are not allowed on beaches or in Waverley Cemetery), Burrows Park, just south of the cemetery, is a designated off-leash area with plenty of opportunity for sniffing and socialising. Along the route there are picnic shelters, barbecues and toilets, so it’s easy to make a leisurely day of it. You can detour to cafes in Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee, or Clovelly Bowling Club has outdoor benches where you can enjoy a pint and a pit-stop with your pup.

The boardwalk steps were a bit much for Harry.

The boardwalk steps were a challenge for us all.

Unfortunately, not even one of the world’s most scenic walks can change Harry’s attitude towards leaving the house. Every time we return home, he still races to the front door, tail wagging and jumping up, scratching to be let in. Kind of how every other dog behaves when they’re about to be taken for a walk.

This reluctance to walk pre-dates Harry’s time with us. When we first walked him at Monika’s Doggie Rescue, we were told he didn’t like to leave the gate and may need to be carried out. I thought it would be a temporary problem, one that would resolve itself once he felt secure in his new home.

We are at a loss as to what to try next so if anyone has any tips on how to make our daily walk a happier occasion, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us via FacebookTwitter or at sydneydogslife@gmail.com.

A Sunday social at Sydney’s Café Bones.

On the bank of Leichhardt’s Hawthorne Canal, Café Bones is an institution among Sydney dog-lovers.

This dedicated dog-friendly eatery offers both human and canine refreshments – including the famous pupaccino – and has only outdoor seating, meaning no discrimination against patrons who think the best café company is a dog.

With the chance for some off-leash adventuring in the adjacent reserve, it’s little wonder the place is a favourite weekend destination for dogs and their owners.

It was a hive of activity when we arrived, with dogs bounding and barking, circling and sniffing, presumably in sheer excitement of being among such good company – and possibly in eager anticipation of some café treats.

Of course, we treated Harry to one of the “secret recipe” pupaccinos (a lower fat version of the beverage, the dogaccino, is available for those carrying a bit of extra “cuddle”) and a Bone Bix ($2.50 and $1 respectively).

Sunday session, Harry-style.

Harry’s Sunday session.

Pupffins, liver and lamb treats are also available, and birthday cakes can be pre-ordered. The biscuit was munched in a matter of seconds but Harry was less enthusiastic about the pupaccino. That moment’s hesitation cost him his drink – it was slurped up almost immediately by one eagle-eyed pupaccino fan who spotted his chance and moved in pronto. You snooze you lose, Harry.

The pupaccino thief.

The (very cute) pupaccino thief.

We found pups and their people to be very well-behaved and responsible, making it an ideal opportunity to socialise our slightly nervous dog.

Luckily, Harry is a sharer.

Luckily, Harry is a sharer.

Harry enjoyed the obligatory bum sniff with dogs of all shapes and sizes and even accepted attention from some of the larger and more boisterous dogs.

Cafe culture canine style

Café culture canine style.

We all watched with interest as one game hound attempted to take a dip in the Hawthorne Canal (and was hastily fished out by his owner). Luckily for us, Harry doesn’t like to get his paws wet at the best of times and, for a dog that spends so many hours fastidiously cleaning himself, those murky waters held little appeal.

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Pups and their people congregate at Café Bones

Café Bones, Hawthorne Canal Reserve, Leichhardt.  Tel 02 8086 2433.

www.cafebones.com.au

Kicking the blues in dog-friendly Kangaroo Valley

Late last year, Harry and I had high hopes for an action-packed first summer together. Ah, the best laid plans…

The sudden death of my dad in November put paid to any such notions and, after a brief return home to my native Britain, we have instead spent the best part of summer in hibernation, venturing out only as far as the local park.

While I would love to say Harry demonstrated an uncanny empathy for my grief, alas, he did not. Whatever my emotional state, his reaction remains the same – he brings a ball and waits patiently for me to throw it.

Nonetheless, dogs are still one of the greatest anti-depressants available and Harry’s endless quirky antics have made me smile when nothing or no one else can. The comforting warmth of him slumped across my tummy (his latest preferred sleeping position) is also extremely effective for easing anxiety. And so, after a couple of months of pet therapy we are back from our hiatus and ready to face the world once more.

A mini-break from Sydney was the ideal way to ease ourselves back into the game. As most dog-owners are aware, finding pet-friendly accommodation can be a challenge. Finding a peaceful and private resort that’s as appealing to your dog as you, even more so. And yet that’s exactly what we recently discovered in Kangaroo Valley.

Kookaburra Hill offers self-contained pet-friendly accommodation in a private country house set on five acres. It’s a beautiful setting, with manicured lawns, rose gardens and mountain views.

The expansive lawns were a real luxury for Harry. They’re securely fenced, so you can play ball for hours (and we did!) without having to worry about your pooch pulling a Harry Houdini. Two kitchens (indoor and outdoor) were a hit with Harry – a second surely just increases the chances of a stray sausage finding its way to the floor – and the outdoor kitchen is also gated, creating another secure space to leave your dog.

Happiness is... a wide open space in which to play ball.

Happiness is… a wide open space in which to play ball.

Harry’s weekend highlights included dead-eyeing Moffat the alpaca (safely fenced off), beating Olivia the resident golden retriever at a game of ball (Olivia visits by invitation only but we found her to be a most welcome guest) and stalking lizards (he displayed the same levels of obsessive compulsive behaviour he shows with a ball, staring fixedly at the lizards with a very waggy tail. I’m not convinced his intentions were friendly…).

Him Indoors and I also had plenty to keep us occupied. Mostly food. Our host, Pamela, generously allowed us access to her vegetable garden, as well as supplying fresh eggs from her hens. And then there was the baking. Fresh berry muffins on arrival, hot pancakes delivered to our door for breakfast – and scones with homemade jam and whipped cream were the pièce de résistance. The pool, which we had exclusive use of, would have been the ideal to burn off those excess calories. Unfortunately, it was also the ideal place for a snooze in the sun.

Harry lives in hope...

Harry lives in hope…

Kookaburra Hill is just a few minutes’ walk from Kangaroo Valley’s main street, with its pie shop, fudge shop, restaurants, cafes and shops full of curios and collectables. We enjoyed a social drink (or two…) in the beer garden of The Friendly Inn, which has a large grassy area and plenty of space. Bistro One46 and Cafe Bella both offer outdoor dining options for you and your dog, although Bistro One46 secured our vote for its quieter terrace spot, under the vines.

The Kangaroo River and its associated activities (especially canoeing and kayaking) is a major attraction. While we remained landlubbers, we did take a walk around its banks before exploring further afield.

Back on my adventures.

Back on my adventures.

Nearby Yarrawa Estate, high in the hills, is one of the most welcoming and homely cellar doors you’re likely to find. The wines are award-winning, and the homemade pickles and marmalades delicious. We received an exuberant welcome from wine dogs Jack and Muscat but their enthusiasm proved a little too much for Harry, who refused to get out of the car.

Jack and Muscat are working wine dogs, whose job it is to chase away unwanted birds.

Jack and Muscat are working wine dogs, whose job it is to chase away unwanted birds.

Kangaroo Valley makes for a relaxing country retreat and, for us, it was the perfect place to recharge and re-whet our appetite for adventure.

We saw a wombat! At first we thought it was a sheep but Him Indoors said it was definitely a wombat. And he’s Australian so he should know.

We saw a real live wombat! At first we thought it was a sheep (it was dark) but Him Indoors said it was definitely a wombat. And he’s Australian so he should know.

Kookaburra Hill is currently for sale. Our advice – pay a visit while you can.

Kookaburra Hill, 230 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley. Tel: 02 4465 2285.

www.kookaburrahill.com.au

 

Stocking up for doggie date night

It’s somewhat ironic that, while places to pamper your pooch in Sydney are prolific, it’s still a challenge to have man’s best friend tag along on the most mundane of activities.

Harry can sleep over at five-star hotels and enjoy gourmet dinners in dedicated pet restaurants, but he cannot set so much as a paw in the local hardware store, florist’s shop or newsagency.

It’s enough to give an impeccably house-trained pup a complex, so we like to assure Harry of his social acceptance with regular trips to establishments that actively welcome four-legged patrons.

Paws Point pet deli and boutique is a treasure trove of treats – the ideal place to stock up when you’re expecting special canine company.

Harry was like the proverbial kid in a sweet shop as he inspected the extensive range of chews, pig’s ear pieces and various other animal parts, all laid out in glass lolly jars.

I can smell treats!

I can smell treats!

Him Indoors was a mixture of bewilderment and delight when he clocked the bottles of Dog Beer. I imagine he envisioned a future of boys’ nights in front of the footy, him and Harry cracking open beers and getting stuck into the pizza and pig’s ears respectively.

We eventually plumped for some Dog Beer and Pup Macarons, before taking a moment to admire all the plush toys (Chewy Vuitton, anyone?), beds, outfits and other merchandise. Paws Point really does have everything the indulgent dog-owner could wish for – and the dish of treats by the counter to reward customers never goes amiss either.

But enough of all this shopping, Harry had a date to prepare for.

Although our boy is generally disinterested in other dogs (his attitude seems to be: they can’t throw the ball and they don’t feed him so, really, what’s the point?) we are making efforts to socialise him where possible. And that night we had a rather striking West Highland Terrier calling round for a visit. Harry had bathed especially for the occasion, Jessie the westie was sporting a sleek new haircut…it was looking like game on.

Making new friends can be hard, so what better way to break the ice than with a Dog Beer? The non-carbonated, non-alcoholic and beef-flavoured “DB” – so possibly just stock water cleverly marketed – was a big hit with Harry, who liked it so much he lapped up both his and his mate’s within seconds (Harry – this is no way to impress the ladies!).

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Anyone got a bottle opener?

Luckily, his companion proved to have an equally healthy appetite when she looked set to devour Harry’s Pup Macaron. On this occasion, I am pleased to report Harry behaved like a true gentleman and was happy to defer to the lady’s larger appetite.

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Can we eat yet can we eat yet can we eat yet?

Paws Point, Shop 4a, 50 Macleay Street, Potts Point. Tel: 02 9360 6463. www.pawspoint.com.au

 

First family holiday in the dog-friendly Shoalhaven

Him Indoors recently read somewhere that dogs yawning at the same time as their owners is a sign of empathy and affection.

Keen to put this theory to the test, he has since spent many an evening sitting in front of Harry and repeatedly flexing his jaws like a Hungry Hippo. It was enough to bore us all senseless, so when Harry finally rewarded his efforts and gave a yawn back, there was much rejoicing from everyone in the household.

It was in this new cocoon of familial love that we set off on our first holiday together.

For Harry, a car journey is one of life’s great joys (so much so, in fact, that he regularly tries to jump in the back seat of any car that stops in the street) therefore it was only fitting that our first holiday would be a road trip. The chance to watch the world go by, wind whipping back his ears… it’s bliss for a mutt in the prime of his life. The two-hour drive down the coast to the Shoalhaven also provided ample opportunity for Him Indoors to remark upon the marvels of being loved by a dog…

Chilling in the vines at Crooked River.

Chilling in the vines at Crooked River.

Crooked River Wines, just off the Princes Highway in Gerringong, is one of the first Shoalhaven wineries you hit when travelling from Sydney, so it’s an ideal place to stretch your legs (and stock up the wine cellar).

The cellar door isn’t dog-friendly but the quiet outdoor patio makes an ideal dog stop. While we sampled some of the drops (the red wines here are some of my favourite in the world), Harry sat outside taking in the view of the rolling green hills and lapping up the attention from other wine-tasters.

Harry was oblivious to the historic charms of Berry but he was a big fan of Hedgehogs Coffee Shop, where staff brought out a bowl of water, provided food scraps and told him what beautiful eyes he has. Even amid such admiration, dogs are not allowed indoors. However, undercover outdoor seating means dogs and their owners are catered for in all weather.

Still attempting to help Harry appreciate some history, we took him to Coolangatta Estate. It’s the site of the first European settlement on the South Coast and you can even stay overnight in one of the convict-built cottages (your four-legged friend, however, may not). We were quite content to sample some of their wines sitting outside the cellar door in the pretty courtyard. We tried to interest Harry in the giant chess board, but he was more interested in chasing geckos than the king.

Harry contemplates his next move.

Harry contemplates his next move.

If you are looking for dog-friendly accommodation, Silos Estate permits pets by prior arrangement. Although this time we stayed with family, Him Indoors and I have stayed at Silos previously and can vouch for it as a beautiful place to stay. It’s quiet and peaceful, with stunning scenery.

Dogs welcome for a sleepover at Silos Estate

Dogs welcome for a sleepover at Silos Estate

Animal-lovers may also enjoy meeting the resident cat at Silos, not to mention the family of alpacas.

Dog versus alpaca.

Dog versus alpaca.

But enough of the wineries already. By far the most exciting place to Harry on our holiday was Seven Mile Beach. Just north of the surf club at Shoalhaven Heads is a stretch of off-leash sand where Harry proved there was plenty of life in the old dog yet, literally running laps around Him Indoors as they jogged up and down the beach.

There was much empathy in the household that night, as we all crashed out on the sofa and indulged in one big family yawn.

Beach time.

Finally, some well-earned beach time.

Silos Estate – dog-friendly accommodation

Crooked River Wines

Coolangatta Estate

 

 

 

Dog-friendly dining at the Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen

It’s something of a British tradition to sup a pint with a dog snoozing at your feet and, certainly when I lived there, it was not uncommon to see a dog down at your local (check out Dogs in Pubs for some great shot of dogs enjoying the good life).

Here in Sydney, I’m struggling to find as many options to drink with dog in tow. However, Harry and I refuse to be discouraged and continue to hunt down more of Sydney’s dog-friendly haunts.

We can report that The Dog in Randwick, despite such a promising name, does not allow dogs inside (although they are permitted in the small courtyard beer garden).  The Clovelly Hotel, an ideal pit stop during the Bondi to Coogee coastal cliff walk, does not even allow dogs in the beer garden (they are allowed on the deck out front, but when we visited it was pretty unappealing – more of a functional space for smokers).

No dogs allowed in The Dog.

No dogs allowed in The Dog.

I began to fear that we might have to resort to more drastic measures, as seen in this old beer advert

Fortunately, we have now discovered Chippendale’s Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen.

Welcome to the Duck Inn.

Plenty of room at the inn for canine customers.

Just off Cleveland St, at first glance The Duck Inn looks like your average back street boozer. Inside, however, it’s the kind of gastro pub I secretly dream of owning – and not just because they allow dogs.

It’s light, bright and airy with warm-coloured furnishings that create a cosy atmosphere – I especially loved the painted bookshelf backdrop. Soft, squishy sofas, wooden floors and fresh flowers gives the Duck Inn a real home away from home feel. The kind of home that’s cleaner and nicer than your own.

Sofa looks comfy, shall we take a seat?

Sofa looks comfy, shall we take a seat?

And then there’s the great menu, which left us all salivating over the options. From lighter bites like a charcuterie board to a delicious Sunday roast (Harry can also testify to the quality of the beef) – in short, the Duck Inn was an ideal setting for us all to sit and sagely contemplate our progress together so far.

If only I was allowed to sit and be a good boy in more pubs.

If only I was allowed to sit and be a good boy in more pubs.

Since our first pub trip (to The London) life with Harry has improved considerably. Our early problems with howling have thankfully been resolved and he no longer bothers about being left alone. In fact, due to the elaborate food hunt we set up every time we leave him, he gets extremely excited at our departures. He then settles down for a sleep on the sofa, bed or some other forbidden piece of furniture (we know this because we stalk our dog with a video camera when we’re out. Over-anxious? Us??) .

So Harry’s confidence is definitely on the rise and, while still not much of a barker, he will make himself heard when he feels necessary. This is not always when we might think it’s necessary. For example, scenario one: a stranger enters our home and Harry will wag his tail and bring a ball. Scenario two: a nice person at the Duck Inn approaches softly and tries to pat Harry, and he will bark like he’s about to get beaten. Luckily, this lady also owns a rescue dog, so Harry at least had a sympathetic ear. And, even better, we didn’t get barred from one of the few pubs where we are welcome…

If anyone knows of other pubs in or around Sydney where dogs are welcome, please let us know! Until then, we’ll always have Chippendale…

Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen. 74 Rose Street, Chippendale. Tel: 02 9319 4415. 

www.theduckinnpubandkitchen.wordpress.com

Living it up at The Langham Sydney

The other day Him Indoors looked up from spooning our dog on the sofa and remarked: “until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Ok, so maybe he didn’t phrase it quite as eloquently as writer Anatole France (what he actually said was “I love Harry so much I want to squeeze him really tight – do you think he would bite me?”) but the sentiment was the same.

First-time dog-owner Him Indoors is bewildered on a daily basis by the fact that he has fallen head over heels for a small hairy mammal, that leaves hair all over our furniture, has questionable personal hygiene and occasionally fishy breath.

And so, given the love affair between Harry and Him Indoors deepens by the day, it was only fitting that Him Indoors’ birthday weekend would be spent somewhere man’s best friend was also welcome.

Dog-friendly accommodation can be hard to find, so we were all delighted to discover that The Langham – one of our favourite Sydney hotels – also accepts canine guests.

You're absolutely sure I'm allowed in here?

You’re absolutely sure I’m allowed in here?

On first entering, Harry’s nose was a-quiver at the lovely Langham scent (ginger flower) which wafts all around, but it wasn’t long before he was trotting around the place (with the exception of the bar and dining areas) like he had been born for a five-star lifestyle.

For an extra $70 a night, we were allocated one of the pet-friendly rooms, with a small balcony overlooking the harbour.

Pampered pets benefit from a turn-down service, when a plush pink (the Langham’s signature colour) velvet dog bed is delivered, along with pink bowls and some Happy Yappers gourmet snacks for supper. The Langham website states a special pet room service menu is available but we weren’t told anything about this during our stay – no matter, we had brought along Harry’s regular dog food anyway.

Our distinguished dog enjoys some five-star opulence.

Our distinguished dog enjoys some five-star opulence. And some gourmet dog treats.

The hotel does ask that dogs are not left unattended and so, when we headed out for dinner, we engaged the services of a pet-minder, arranged by the hotel. The sitter actually turned out to be from a (human) nanny agency – yes, Harry had his own Mary Poppins for the night! She glided in like a calming pheromone for us all and we were confident Harry was in capable hands.

The Langham management cite a growing demand for pet-friendly accommodation as the reasoning behind their decision to allow pets. Perhaps a sign of good things to come for those of us whose idea of fun involves a four-legged friend tagging along too?

As for Harry, he’s simply hoping his first taste of a luxury lifestyle won’t be his last.

Pretty in pink

Pretty in pink

If you have any recommendations for other pet-friendly accommodation in or around Sydney, please get in touch!

Digs for dogs

In residence at The Langham.

The Langham Sydney, 89-113 Kent St, Sydney. Tel: (02) 9256 2222. www.sydney.langhamhotels.com.au

 

Sydney dog meets Sydney pig

The eccentricities are often what making city-living so much fun and now that Harry and I are out on dog-related adventures each week, I’m seeing a whole other side of Sydney.

This was certainly the case while enjoying a stroll around Redfern Park recently, when we bumped into local celebrity, James the city pig.

There appears to be a pig in my dog park.

There appears to be a pig in my dog park.

Harry was initially a little confused to find a farmyard animal in the park, to say nothing of the fact that this “miniature” pig was 10 times the size of him. However, after a brief investigation of James’s rear end, he gave him a sniff of approval and was happy to trot along beside him.

He doesn't smell like any dog I've met before...

He doesn’t smell like any dog I’ve met before…

Following James’s lead, we sat down for a rest at Park Café on Chalmers. Adjacent to Redfern Park (off-leash before 9.30am and after 4.30pm) and Redfern Oval, it’s a popular hangout for neighbourhood dogs animals. James the pig is a regular at the café and he certainly has good taste.

We love cafes where dogs are not only welcome, but actively made a fuss of by staff, and Park Café scores top points here.

Harry had his very own water bowl delivered to the table, filled with fresh, chilled water. James also trotted over to stick his snout in and although Harry is not usually a sharer, he respected James’s size and social standing and stood back respectfully while he drank.

A happy addition to café life

A happy addition to café life

I was quite prepared to give Harry some of the delicious omelette Him Indoors’ was devouring, but a staff member came over with half a rasher of bacon (look away, James, look away!) and asked if the dog would like it. Harry did not need asking twice.

And so we all returned home from another social Sunday outing, happy as three pigs in muck.

Harry also got to socialise with some canine company.

Harry also got to socialise with some canine company.

If you have any recommendations for more dog-friendly spots in Sydney, please let us know! You can contact us through sydneydogslife@gmail.com, Twitter or Facebook.

Read more about James the pig.

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I am surely better looking than this snail...

A dog’s-eye view of Sydney’s art scene

Sydney’s temperate climate and emphasis on outdoor living certainly makes life easier for those of us who like to get out and about with our dogs.

Coupled with the fact that the city hosts numerous open-air festivals and special events, it means there’s always some kind of entertainment on offer.

This week, Harry and I headed to Hyde Park to check out Art and About City of Sydney’s “festival of art in unusual places”.

A cultural outing combined with a trip to the park – perfect for the pair of us.

The giant snail – one of 24 dotted around Sydney for Snailovation – was proving to be a popular photo opportunity, so we duly lined up to do the honours with Harry.

The maze of mirrored posts in FIELD looked intriguing but, since Harry has a tendency to jump at shadows (a hangover from his dark past, sadly), I didn’t think he would enjoy this one.

Sydney Life – a photographic display capturing some of the more eccentric elements of city life – was the highlight of our visit, not least because one of my favourite dogs made it into the exhibition.

The photograph of the footpath tribute to Surry Hills’ much-loved dog, Dasher (RIP), was touching and sweet; a reminder of how much happiness animals can bring into lives. This Dog of the People was mourned by an entire community when he died last year. Dasher was well known for laying on the footpath outside his home on Crown Street, offering friendship and affection to any dog-lovers who cared to stop and say hello. Patting Dasher gave me my dog “fix” back in the days before I had Harry. It’s good to see the memory of this Surry Hills institution living on.

Can we go and play ball now?

Can we go and play ball now?

As for Harry’s appreciation of the Hyde Park art works, I’m sorry to report he was non-plussed by it all and spent most of the time eyeing up the ball in my back pocket.

Someone should paint me

I am so over art.

Shoppin’ ’til we’re droppin’ in Sydney’s dog boutiques

The absence of a family member is always a little perplexing to Harry, so when Him Indoors recently abandoned the two of us in favour of a mini-break with the boys, our dog spent the first day repeatedly checking every room to try and find him.

Harry gazed up at me with those oh-so-soulful eyes that seem to express a thousand words. Why would anyone want to go away without us, he asked? You, who are a tickler of tummies and scratcher of ears, a bountiful goddess of plenty raining down meaty treats on those in your care? And me, the greatest ball player known to man.

You make some excellent points, Harry, said I, while passing him a piece of sausage, but this weekend gives us the opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes. Yes, we are going shopping!!

And then I stopped talking to the dog, picked up Him Indoors’ credit card, and we went on our merry way.

Petbarn tends to be a weekly destination for us these days. Harry, nose-a-quiver, likes to investigate the toys and treats conveniently placed at his eye level.

Shopping is thirsty work.

Shopping is thirsty work.

It’s still a novelty for me to walk into a shop where dogs are welcome and Petbarn is almost as good as the park when it comes to canine socialisation. Harry gets to say hi to lots of furry friends, and usually receives plenty of attention from their owners too.

This particular weekend, we were also curious to explore the luxury end of the retail market and started our exploration of Sydney’s pet boutiques with a trip to Dogue at Bondi Junction.

There’s no shortage of merchandise for pampered pets, from luxury beds so soft I wanted to climb in them, to snazzy outfits and stylish accessories.

Our purchases included a collapsible water dish for when we’re out adventuring (Harry is a selective drinker and generally refuses to touch a drop from any dish that is not his own) and a new blanket for him to sit on when we’re eating al fresco. It comes with a clip-on hook for the leash, which is great because it means I don’t have to try and stuff a dog blanket into a handbag already overflowing with treats, balls and poo bags. Gone are the days of taking out a small clutch to dinner – at least when Harry is in tow.

 

Harry examines the day’s spoils.

Harry examines the day’s spoils.

Next stop, Paddington’s Bowhouse. Harry was particularly impressed with the treats on offer here and he got to sample plenty, thanks to a generous and friendly staff member who got sucked in by his “I haven’t eaten for a week” face.

Kangaroo Valley Natural Treat Company’s selection of meaty treats went down particularly well. Next time we’re keen to try the raw dried tripe, which is like “crack for dogs” apparently.

Our final purchase from the weekend didn’t arrive until the following week as we ordered online from Dharf It was well worth the wait: our package came with a cute handwritten thank you note, wrapped in red ribbon and included a gourmet dog treat for Harry.

Our purchase was a collar, bow tie and lead, which has been put away for an upcoming special occasion (more on that nearer the time). However, Harry did get to model his new “outfit”, and, even Him Indoors had to agree, he looked a real bobby dazzler.

Putting on the Ritz.

Putting on the Ritz.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the snazziest dog of them all?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the snazziest dog of them all?