At the Estuary Beach Mandurah.

It was a cold and gusty day today with a fine drizzle of mist.

Not enough to stop Mum and I sharing a walk along the foreshore.

KoKo at the Estuary

KoKo at the Estuary

We’d enjoyed a tasty lunch with John and Alison, Anne and Helen and Mum Helen.

The best part of the lunch was that the five of us: Bro, Bonnie, Poppy and Baxter and I, of course, were allowed to sit under the table.

Luckily the humans were feeling generous. We snacked on some crumbed squid, crispy prawn tails and marina pasta!

All in all, a fun social day.

We didn’t even bark at each other.

The only naughty dog to run to another table to be some fish from an elderly couple was someone whom I won’t name!

Woofs from KoKo

5 Steps to a Better Beach Visit with your Dog

5 Steps to a Better Beach Visit with your Dog

It’s hot, too hot. The dog is panting, you’re wilting, and both of you are going stir crazy indoors. The idea of clear blue sea and a cool coastal breeze suddenly pops into your mind. Well, water you waiting for? (Excuse the pun!)

A trip to the beach and a splash in the surf is just the thing for you and your pet pal.  it helps to be prepared. Here are 5 steps to the ultimate beach experience for you and your canine companion.

1. Surfing

Before leaving home, try a spot of surfing – on the web, that is. Not all beaches welcome dogs, check the rules of beach use such as whether dogs must be kept on the leash or can be let off and the hours that they are permitted.

Having found a pet-friendly beach and whilst online, search out the nearest vet clinic. The unexpected can happen in the form of cut pads or fish hook injuries, and by having an emergency number in your mobile, you are prepared for potential problems.

2. Beach Bag

Bikini. Sunscreen. Flip flops. Hat. Sunglasses. Water. Towel. Yep, these are all in your beach bag. So what about your dog’s sun essentials?

Your canine companion isn’t so very different and has similar needs to you. Remember the essentials for them on their beach visit and you won’t go far wrong. Pack plenty of water, not just for drinking but to wash the salt off his coat. Don’t forget doggy bootees – after all, if the sun is too hot for your feet it’s too hot for paws. To keep your four-legger safe in the sun, take along an umbrella or a sun shade for when the sun gets too strong, and don’t forget doggy sunscreen for pink or thin-furred ears and nose.

As for fun, well a floating toy is the ideal inducement for your dog to get their paws wet. But if he’s not a great swimmer, take along a dog life-vest to assist or encourage them. Neither does it do any harm to pack a canine first aid kit containing items such as saline for flushing wounds, antiseptic cream and bandages. Oh yes, and to touch on an un-poop-ular subject, but don’t forget the pooper scoop bags! Remember, leave no trace for to do otherwise is not only antisocial but it gives dog owners a bad name.

Canine Companion Check List

  1. Bag
  2. Fresh Water
  3. Drinking Bowl – we always have one of these in our car.
  4. Sunscreen – like
  5. Poop Bags & Holder
  6. Micro fibre towel
  7. Leash
  8. Floating Rope Frisbee Dog Toy
  9. First Aid Kit
  10. Life Jacket
  11. Vet’s Phone Number

3. Beach Etiquette

Incredible as it may sound, not everyone likes dogs. Human users don’t like badly behaved dogs, sand kicked over their sunscreen, or dog mess on the beach.

Always respect other beach users and keep your dog under control at all times. Whilst your Labrador may be as soft as butter left out in the sun, if in his enthusiasm he bowls a small child over then he’ll spoil their day and that’s not fair. Likewise, you may know he only jumps up is to give kisses, but a stranger on the sand doesn’t know that. If his recall is dodgy, then keep him on the leash. This is also for his safety as well, in case he gets distracted and runs for miles.

4. Beach Safety

Be vigilant for hazard warning signs about strong currents or rip tides. Just as you would never go swimming yourself when the warning flags are up, make sure your dog stays out of the water.

Currents aside, another hazard is the salt water. If your dog swims and then grooms himself there is a risk of him ingesting large amounts of salt water.

This can lead to salt toxicity, of which the signs are vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive trembling, and can possibly develop into seizures. This can be avoided by rinsing him with fresh water after the swim, and ensuring he has plenty of clean drinking water available.

From time to time natural hazards arise such as beached jelly fish or washed up Blow Fish. Do not allow your dog to investigate and keep him well away just in case he snacks first and is unwell second. There may be a very real risk of toxicity leading to an inability to breath, and if you suspect your dog has eaten Blow Fish, contact a veterinarian immediately.

To fully enjoy your day, don’t let your dog overheat. He can’t sweat and that fur coat is great in the cold weather but how would you fancy wearing winter thermals on a hot day? Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, distressed breathing, a bright red tongue, staggering as if drunk, and collapse. If you notice any of these signs, get him into the shade, offer him water to drink, wet his coat, and soak his paws in cool water. If these measures don’t prove effective, then take your dog to the nearest vet.

5. Beach Buddy

If you introduced your dog to sea and surf as a pup, the chances are he’s already a well-adapted beach buddy. If however, this is your older dog’s first trip, don’t be surprised if he’s a little befuddled. Depending on your individual pet’s personality, they may be anything from euphoric (and dig on the beach kicking sand everywhere) to completely confused.

Take it steady. Don’t force your four-legged friend to do anything but let him investigate and try things out for himself. Of course, have those treats ready to reward those bold moves such as stepping tentatively onto the sand.

If he’s overwhelmed, keep him on the leash and close to heel. It may help to do a spot of impromptu training, to give him something to concentrate on other than the strange sights and sounds. Then, put a beach towel down on the sand and have him sit with you, then praise the bold behaviour when they soon start to investigate what’s around them.

If you have the opposite problem and your dog is over bold, remember other beach users and keep him on the leash. Back home, work on those training disciplines, so that you’re better prepared for next time.

And finally…

A day spent at the beach with your dog is a special time, and a chance for them to dig, swim, and run free with the wind in his fur. The beach is for everyone to enjoy so be a responsible pet parent: plan ahead, ensure your pet is under control and monitor them at all times.

(Modified by Helen Potter 2017)

At Mosman Park Beach WA


KoKo’s out and about for the City of Subiaco elections

Not sure any Subi Council campaign is complete without a photo with KoKo Potter.

While Parking is a huge issue as you get closer to the high streets, traffic is the bigger issue further up Townsend.

The impact of the school development on both needs to be seriously worked into the development plan but in honesty believe 2 way Hay and Roberts is the right move.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, dog and outdoor

Tips for overcoming water fear

Mum tried to get me to like water when I was just a puppy, but she wasn’t successful. If the weather is hot I’m a happy race down the sand slope and lower myself into the cool water but I will forever be an “armpit Swimmer” that’s as far as I’ll go! woofs from KoKo.

Tips for overcoming water fear

Greencross Vets’ Behaviour Services Manager Serena Dean gives us her top tips on helping pets overcome their fear of water.

1. Experiences

A bad experience may have prompted your pet’s fear of water. One bad experience, like not being able to find the steps to get out of the pool might make your pet fearful to try again.  Knowing what caused your pet’s fear of water can help with the training process.

2. Slow and steady

Introduce or reintroduce your pet to water in a slow and positive manner, whether this is a bath, pool or the beach. Start off at a distance from the water rewarding them for calm behaviour and slowly move forward towards the water.  Provide them with a small amount of water to stand in, just enough to cover their paws, like a kiddie pool or bath.  If you are near a body of water teach them how to get in and out.  Always start and end on a positive note, treats and games help with this.

3. Make it fun

Water games can be fun for the entire family.  Play games that involve water like fetch at the beach, running with them in the shallows or placing toys in a shallow kiddie’s pool.  Always supervise your pet around water.

4.  Don’t Force

Not all pets like going in the water.  Never force your pet to do something they are uncomfortable with and don’t throw them into a body of water.  If your pet decides they want to move away from the water, let them.

5. Teach them to swim

Contrary to popular belief not all dogs know how to swim, we need to teach them.  Start swim training in bodies of water with a gentle slope where your dog can touch the ground and slowly go out further.  Keep training sessions short by going out a little further at each session and always end with a reward.  Once they are comfortable submerging their body they may start to paddle.  Some dogs may need a little help. Floatation vests are available so your dog can feel supported.
If you’re concerned about your pet’s behaviour, speak with your Greencross Vets.

KoKo – Falling in Love

Love in the air 

One Sunday in 2014 when I was eight years of age, Mum and I walked to The Subiaco Markets as usual about 8 am. The markets are the centre of Subiaco’s social life, with stalls open Friday until Sunday. There’s always a busy and exciting atmosphere here. Over 20,000 people visit to purchase fresh fruit and socialise. Many come via the train which is healthy for the environment. We do not like car pollution in our suburb.

We stroll the kilometre from our home along the curving pathways through Mueller and Kitchener Parks enjoying the crunch and crackle of the crispy red, yellow and orange leaves when I stray onto the grassy verge. I know from this sound that it’s autumn here in Western Australia, my favourite time of the year. The air today smells crisp and fresh with none of the drying heat that is summer.  I detect a slight tinge of moisture but no rain is falling. When I look up I see the tree branches are bare. White fluffy clouds scatter across the blue panorama above me. I’m in my element with all my senses engaging.

My paws slip in muddy patches of damp decaying leaves which then release the moist and fertile smell of the earth beneath. My human Mum says I look like a black-footed Potoroo! (That’s like a type of baby kangaroo that has sooty black paws).

There is no hint during our thirty-minute promenade that an interruption will occur in our usual routine after we arrive at the Markets. Nor do we receive any atmospheric flashes to warn us that a remarkable event is about to occur and change my life forever.

When we arrive at the markets my human Mum and I head to the Pappadams stall if we have a craving for a tasty Turkish Pide or delicious Dahl. On other Sundays, if we need a sugar surge, we rush straight to the French Patisserie to buy a crunchy croissant. Val, my friend who sells creamy milk and yoghurt, always lets me have a cup of milk while she minds me. My staying at Val’s stall leaves Mum free to select her veggies without me getting squashed by the many feet.

After smacking my lips, I’m still wearing a white moustache on my furry lip. I bark politely “Mmmmm – more please Val?” This congenial human cannot resist my pleading deep, brown eyes. She gives in and pours me another cup of milk. I’m sitting now with a warm, contented tummy contemplating the routine of our lives.

Mum returns to collect me, takes my lead and we walk together between big and little humans, prams with babies, and humans with big back packs overflowing with vegetables, towards the flower stall. I look up through the crowd and spy an unusual shape on the counter. It moves a little and I realise what it is. There among the vases of yellow wattle and native orange banksia, is the most beautiful girl dog I’ve ever seen. She is tiny and cute, and a wee bit flirtatious.

With no warning, my chest feels tight; my heart beat goes into overdrive. These sensations are a new feeling for me. “What’s happening?” I wonder. “Am I having a heart attack?” This health tragedy is unlikely as I’m not in a high-risk category. Mum feeds me healthy food and only gives me small pieces of treats. We exercise daily, and of course, I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. My doggie parents are still living energetic lives. What then is this pain stabbing me deep in my chest?

I let out a soft “Yip, Yip” bark to let Mum know something is wrong. She looks down at me through all the legs and can see I’m thin with concern, my ears folded back, and my eyes wide with fear. I’m pitifully anxious and trembling from my little black nose to my fluffy apricot tail.

For a moment, Mum panics thinking I’m ill again. Our last trip to the animal doctor was for an emergency after I’d eaten a poisonous Blowfish at Cottesloe Beach. My life was close to fading for 24 hours. The treatment cost Mum lots of money. Her greatest fear though was not the expense, but the thought of losing me, her best mate.

A dose of medicine forced me to throw up the fish. The doctor then forced black charcoal down my throat. Mum said I looked utterly miserable sitting on newspapers waiting for the medicine to work. If the situation was not so tragic she would have laughed. Luckily, I’m a resilient little dog and lived to tell you the tale.

But back now to a more cheerful event that is unfolding here at the markets.

Mum follows my eye-gaze upwards from human sock level to see what’s catching my attention. It doesn’t take her long to notice I’m staring at the flower stall. A grin creeps across her face, and she relaxes, as the problem becomes clear to her. “Don’t worry, Koko. Your heart is ok. I think you are feeling strange because ………… you are falling in love! We both continue to look at the flower stall counter. I hang my head as blood flows from my heart to spread warmth across my face. If I was less furry, you might have seen me blush!

So, this is what love feels like, I think. What have I been missing all these years? If it’s true love is born in the most unusual places then this is it. At last, at the age of eight, I’ve met a female dog whom I may grow to love more than myself.

Mum is kind and lets me stay with my new love for a while. Bella and I keep staring at each other and panting softly together. Yipping quietly we tell each other a little of our backgrounds. We reveal the usual parts of our lives that humans also talk about when starting to get to know a new companion: our ages, where we live, how we spend our days and who the humans are who care for us.

Mum comes back to collect me carrying a bottle of Val’s creamy milk for our breakfasts the following week. Bella and I say our farewells with a little nose kiss and Mum and I head off back home. This time we walk down Rokeby Road, the main street of Subiaco so we can greet all the humans and dogs we know. Weekends are very social in our suburb.

Of course, we stop at a café to have our coffee. We call mine a Puppicino, but in truth, it’s the milky froth off the top of Mum’s Cappuccino. I’m allowed five fingers of the bubbles “One, two, three four and “Last one””. People at the cafes laugh, they think I’m spoiled, and they’re right!

The following Sunday Mum I wake Mum from her deep sleep with a tap of my paw on her shoulder. I’m anxious to get to the markets. Through bleary eyes Mum looks at the clock and says “KoKo it’s only 4 am. Please go back to sleep.

I keep tapping on her shoulder, barking persistently “Woof, Woof, Mum …… let’s go to the markets, please. Let’s go to the markets NOW”. Mum convinces me to go back to sleep with a promise we will go when they open at 8 am.

As soon as we arrive at the markets, I drag Mum directly to the flower stall. My collar is almost choking me, Mum can’t keep up with my desperate pace. I’m relieved to see Bella is here again, looking gorgeous. We curl our bodies together on the counter generating a warm glow in each of our hearts. Our pleasant companionship goes on in this manner every Sunday for a beautiful year. Sometimes our Mums let us go for a walk together along a few of the many laneways that bisect the Subiaco streets. We sniff Wee-Mails together and just enjoy our time as we walk slowly sharing the growing ease between us. We both look forward to our time together each weekend. our hearts are bursting with love.

When the Station Street Markets close in 2015, we did not get a chance to say farewell. It shatters my heart when Mum revealed to me that I would never see my lovely Bella again. Our happy memories will sustain Bella and me in harder times. We will not forget our joyful interactions.

It is best, I hear, to experience love and lose it than to have never loved at all. Having fallen in love so completely and unexpectedly, I totally agree with this sentiment.

May you all find love in the world somewhere and treasure the experience when you do.

Woofs from

KoKo Harry Potter

(Via Helen Potter)