A foreshore stroll (and a sit-down protest)

Since the onset of Harry’s illness, our progress with walking has suffered a setback. Never an enthusiastic walker, I can’t work out whether he’s too old and doddery these days, or just stubborn. Given his gusto for a game of ball the moment we get back from a walk, I suspect the latter.

However, since discipline is not our strong point, most days we resort to luring him out of the house with a piece of cheese or the promise of a car ride. Both tactics were employed the other weekend, when we embarked on the Glebe Foreshore Walk.

Best foot forward.

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Harry plays wine dog for the weekend

Coromandel Cottage in the Southern Highlands has been on our hit list for a while, after we spotted many glowing online reviews noting its dog-friendliness.

We finally made it up to this peaceful and private two-bedroomed cottage, on the outskirts of Berrima, at the start of spring last year. It’s surrounded by tranquil farmlands and bush, with a back deck overlooking gardens, a pond, neighbouring fields – and plenty of local wildlife. We befriended – and Harry stalked – horses, kangaroos, an echidna, rabbits and ducks.

Meet the neighbours.

Meet the neighbours.

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In sickness and in health

The past 18 months have been a challenge for Harry, who has been battling health issues which bordered for a brief time on the life-threatening.

In the last year he has made a good recovery, although he has never quite regained his former energy levels.

The problems began in 2015, when he began to suffer with a series of digestive complaints. He was losing weight rapidly, unable to tolerate food and plagued by chronic diarrhoea.

After a long journey of biopsies, blood tests, scans and eventually exploratory surgery, Harry was finally diagnosed with irritable bowel disease (IBD).

Visiting hours at the vet hospital

Visiting hours at the vet hospital

A dog with IBD is no fun for anyone. It’s been heartbreaking to watch our gentle boy suffer and his activity has been very limited. Continue reading

A Blue Mountains break

When a holiday rental’s promotional material features pictures of pups enjoying the property, it’s a safe bet your dog is in for a warm welcome.

Sure enough, on arrival at Secret Garden Cottage in Katoomba we found an indoor dog bed, a jar of treats and even a doggie guest book detailing local walks and activities for four-legged visitors.

Harry gives Secret Garden the sniff of approval.

Harry gives Secret Garden the sniff of approval.

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A night at the flicks with Fido

We love a night at the movies but are less keen on leaving our hound home alone. So Centennial Park’s open-air Moonlight Cinema, with its dedicated Doggie Nights, is a highlight of our calendar.

Dogs are in fact permitted at any Moonlight Cinema session, on the condition that movie-going mutts are well-behaved and kept on a short leash. The regular Doggie Nights, scheduled throughout the season, are extra assurance that your dog is a legitimate and welcome guest.

Both Harry and Him Indoors are fond of their creature comforts, so Gold Grass tickets are worth the $35 investment: best seats in the house, a comfy bean bed to lounge on, and food and drink wait service from the friendly staff – who all seem to be dog-lovers, judging by the level of attention Harry received.

Harry spots a particularly enticing picnic at 12 o'clock.

Harry spots a particularly enticing picnic on the back row.

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Surviving the dog days of summer at Silver Beach

The hot and humid days have been getting to Harry and he’s been very lethargic of late.

We thought a trip to the beach might liven him up and so we made our way to Botany Bay, where dogs are allowed off-leash at Kurnell’s Silver Beach.

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Harry looks as morose as the weather as he gazes across Botany Bay.

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A respite from the heat in Sydney’s rainforest retreat

These high temperatures can put even the most active dogs off their daily walk. Now Harry is a such a good walker (*glows with pride) I don’t want the warmer weather to put him off our daily constitutional, so we’ve been seeking out shady excursions that aren’t too taxing for either of us.

We discovered Cooper Park last year, after it was recommended to us by a friend and fellow dog-owner. And what a beautiful find: just a few minutes’ from Bondi Junction, this is a lush and expansive place of peacefulness.

Welcome to Cooper Park.

Welcome to Cooper Park.

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Friends reunited at Sirius Cove

We’ve been hearing a lot about the dog-friendly beach at Sirius Cove, Mosman. One of the few spots in Sydney where dogs are allowed on the sand and in the water, so surely the perfect place for a playdate with an old friend?

Harry arrived early, eager with anticipation.

Harry arrived early, eager with anticipation.

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Celebrating in Sydney Park with a dog that will (finally) walk!

We have had a breakthrough with the walking issue. It’s not been easy and it’s still not perfect, but it is significant progress – and definitely worth celebrating with a trip to one of Sydney’s most expansive and dog-friendly parks, Sydney Park in St Peters.

Hiking the hills at Sydney Park.

And here’s how we do it:

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Dog-friendly beach shenanigans in The Shire

It has come to our attention, thanks to some less-than-subtle comments from family and friends, that our dog is becoming a little stout around the middle.

Since Harry trembles with longing when he’s in the vicinity of food (Him Indoors is much the same actually), I often find myself wanting to over-compensate for any neglect in his past by sneaking him extra treats here and there.

However, while some portliness is forgivable in his golden years, we want our mutt to live a long and healthy life and have therefore been trying to curb the flow of treats and encourage more vigorous exercise.

A trip to the beach is one of the best ways to get Harry’s heart rate up and so we decided to give him some off-leash action at Greenhills Beach, near Cronulla.

The sands at Cronulla are forbidden for Fido.

The sands at Cronulla are forbidden for Fido.

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