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)

A Traumatic Chair Chase Tale

My next tale describes an unexpected misadventure one winter’s morning outside Spring Expresso Cafe in Subiaco.

I usually wait, tied to a pole in the street, while Mum buys our coffees.  One day Mum tied me to a chair under shelter instead, as she didn’t want me to get cold and wet. My Mum cares for my well being. She had no idea then of the negative consequence which would happen because of her thoughtful actions.

I was half snoozing when, a big truck thundered past, startling me into wakefulness. My eyes sprang open, my ears flattened against my head as an icy cold fear spread through me. Without taking a paws to think, I ran for home as fast as my tiny legs could carry me.

As I sped along Bagot Rd, I heard “Bang, Crash, Bang, Scrape” behind me. The noise boomed louder and louder. BANG, Crash, BANG. The faster I ran, the louder the clatter. With my tail tucked under with worry, I glanced around and saw the chair was still chasing me. What could I do except run faster and faster trying to reach the safety of my home? As I spun around the corner into Townshend Rd “BANG, CRASH, BANG, SCRAPE” was still shouting in my sensitive ears.

Thank goodness Mum, who was running after me, finally got closer. She grabbed the chair and killed it, saving me from a traumatic death. I was too traumatised even to say, “thank you”. Mum carried me home. She cuddled me and trying to calm me by talking quietly in a reassuring voice. Eventually, after she put me in my bed, my terror subsides, and I slept.

The next day Mum thought I was fine but I put my brakes on and refused to go around the corner into Bagot Rd. Mum tried telling me it was OK; the chair was gone and could not hurt me. Despite her reassurance, I continued to feel frightened. She tried walking me a different way to the cafe to trick me, but I’m no fool, I knew what she was doing. As we approached the cafe, I shook and whimpered.  Mum was sad as she knows I love my Puppicinos.

Mum said, “KoKo, we need to find a solution. Why don’t we go and see Greg to ask if he can help?” Greg my vet explains he has some tablets which will help me feel better. I’m a good boy and eat my medication (wrapped in a meaty treat) every day for a whole month. I’m pleased to say I felt much better. I’m was not afraid to go to the cafes anymore! Mum said, “KoKo, you’re an expensive dog to look after, but I love you.”

 

KoKo and Dog mates

KoKo and Dog mates

I have been staying with my doggie mates at Mandurah again. Bro and Bonnie kept me company on walks in the park and down to the cafe every morning. Of course John and Alison, their humans, had to hold our leads.

“Spill the Beans” Cafe at Seacrest is very popular with the local dogs as the cafe sells tasty treats for us. We are lucky dogs.

At night us “Three Amigos” play “Musical Beds”, thinking that someone else’s bed is likely to be more comfortable. Some nights I creep out of my bed and lay on the floor nearer to John. He is surprised to find me in this spot in the mornings.

I always race back speedily to John when he calls me at the park, as he has an endless supply of doggie treats in his pocket.

Even though I enjoy staying with my mates nothing beats the joy of seeing my Human Mum at the door. All three of us leap over her as she arrives at the door. We slather her with kisses. I let out a sharp bark and run to our car. I stand next to the door barking loudly to ensure Mum knows I want to go back to my home in Subiaco.

Thank you John and Alison for your care and cuddles. Woofs from KoKo

Animal Companions Party

We attended the AGM, waiting quietly for the treat we knew was coming afterwards. The Furbaby cafe had made a scrumptious cake which all us doggies were allowed to tuck into. You can see from the blue cream on our noses that not a lot went astray.

Furbaby cafe cake anxiously awaited

ACDogs KoKo

ACDogs KoKo

Teddy Serious

Teddy Serious

Pace finishing the last lick

Pace finishing the last lick

Just out of reach

Just out of reach

ACDog happy

ACDog happy

Demolishing the cake

Demolishing the cake

Teddy looking for cake

Teddy looking for cake

Puppicino at The Leaky Tap Cafe

We found another dog Cafe this morning in Mosman Park WA. It even had real Puppicinos! They were made of milk served in baby toilets as a special treat. We thought it was very clever so MuM bought me one. You can see here how quickly it disappeared and the froth it left on my whiskers. KoKo

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Drinking my Puppicino

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Finished!

More Subiaco doggies _ They seem to be multiplying!

Here they are; in parks, at cafes and walking the streets of Subiaco. Doggies come in all sizes and colours, some are neatly trimmed and others are a bit woolly.

Luther Displaying what Cognac could look like with a haircut!

Luther a Cognac Lookalike!

Cognac after haircut

Cognac after haircut

Charlie near the Rose Garden

Charlie near the Rose Garden

 

Cafe Dog Fred

Cafe Dog Fred

 

 

 

 

Cognac in Disguise

Cognac in Disguise

Cafe Dog Berkely

Cafe Dog Berkely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe at the end of his park walk

Joe at the end of his park walk