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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I am surely better looking than this snail…
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!!
Harry examines the day’s spoils.