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Turns out the old adage is false, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.  On a gorgeous sunny hot Saturday this weekend, we took off for the beaches on Mornington Peninsula.  The coast on the eastern of the peninsula catches the Arctic winds, but on a hot humid day that seemed like the right place to be.

It was a day of firsts for our little dachshund–he learned to swim and dig!

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This fine Sunday, my husband took his wife and his dog for a walk.  We were both in great need of a little exercise and R&R.  So we took off for Airey’s Inlet, a quiet and remote coastal expanse only a short drive (<2 hrs)  from the city, at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road.

It felt human again to have the sun and wind on my face, and hear the calm crashing of waves.  And Bentley, oh Bentley was beside himself.  We walked up and down the coast for 3 hours, til our tired little pup nearly gave out (he slept the entire ride home, and is snoring next to me now).

Yep, it was a pretty great day. Full pics on the photos page.

The Scrooge somewhat repressed, it still didn’t feel much like Christmas this year:  no snow, no family, no tree and trimmings.  We had ourselves a special Christmas  Weekend Down Under nonetheless, and quite unlike any other: a lovely 4-day weekend on the coast on Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula. Somehow despite windy and cool conditions, I managed to get sunburned, which is to say, we got our beach on.  With turquiose waters like these, in any degree weather, how could you not?  Full pics you know where… on the photos page! 

Oh and, for all the headache of bringing him along, Bentley had a blast!

Well, you can see how much Bentley loves Australia…

I just wish it felt the same about him.  We are in the midst of planning a last-minute Christmas vacation.  It sorta snuck up on us… November was here and gone in a flash, and then we found out I have a 4 day weekend and Steve has a full week of what the employees fondly call “forced leave” and the employers call a “closed office.”  Setting out to get somewhere near the beach (with plenty of coastline to be had around here) and to bring our little sausage dog with us, we thought we’d have no problem finding a booking for 2.

Little did we know, Australia hates dogs.  Seriously.  Notwithstanding the fact that one lone pet friendly website asserts that there are actually more pets than persons on this great continent, pooches are banned from virtually every state park and coastal/beach areas. 

See sign, from a park in S. Yarra.  What is a large expanse of green fields good for in an urban metropolis, if not for dog-walking?  Apparently, they think protection of furry animals like kangaroos and koalas is more important than allowing  furry kids to explore Victoria with their parents.  There’s actually a publication put out by the state of Victoria on where you can take your dog in VIC.  Short answer, 3 pages later:  there’s a few kilometers here and there, so goodonya if you manage to live near one… Aussies also apparently book their Christmas holidays months in advance (and I mean, like in March of the previous year), so when you throw the dog into the mix there are slim pickings.  Undeterred, we are on a mission.  The thought of sunset filled evenings with toes in the sand has invaded my subconscious, and I’m not letting go of the dream.  Stay tuned.

The furry kids are finally home! It’s been 4 months exactly since we last held them, and it feels SO good!

Bentley is up to his old tricks wowing the neighbors. I talked to more people in Richmond yesterday than I did in the whole month of November. Plus dachshunds are apparently rare here, because people kept asking what kind if dog he is. And, when you explain the breed, they say, “OH a sausage dog!” (which Steve loves…)

Smokey spent the entire day checking out the new digs. She’s found a spot under the bathroom counter and on the cool tile floor that she loves (it was 90 yesterday!) And she slept in bed with us last night, which she pretty much hasn’t done since she was a kitten.

Life is good.

Bentley and Smokey have arrived safely in Oz! We went to visit them today at the Spotswood quarantine facility, their new home (pet import prison) for the next 30 days whilst the Australian government satisfies itself that they really, really don’t have rabies.

I knew full well it was likely to be a melancholy affair. What I didn’t expect was my cat to hiss at me. Seriously, open mouth elongated hiss. Then I tried to pet her, and she hissed again. With tears in eyes, I left her blanket I had brought her and went to meet Steve, who was already visiting with Bentley. Thankfully for my poor heart, Bentley was much more receptive and snuggled right up to momma. And, on second visit, Smokey smashed herself against my ankles (a true sign of cat affection) while still hissing and growling occasionally (which I convinced myself was more at the other cats in the room than me). Satisfied.

Visiting hours are over, and the 30 day count is on.

So it’s T-minus 1 week til our “furry kids” depart the U.S. and start their journey to Australia. It can’t come soon enough.

Our house is nearly settled, but it doesn’t really feel like home without Bentley and Smokey. We’ve got Bentley’s bed all set up at the end of ours in the bedroom, complete with a new stuffed toy for him to rip apart in excitement and scatter its fluffy innards all over the place as soon as he gets here. I’ve been trying to think of places Smokey will take her afternoon naps (we don’t have a bay window ledge like the old place, her resident spot), and setting up various areas with soft blankets for her.

It doesn’t help (at the moment) that our new ‘hood is extremely dog friendly. Our new fav place for brekky was selected by a combination of winning factors: terrific cappuccino; fresh baked pastries and breads; and a dog under every outdoor table on the sidewalk. It’s gotten so bad that (1) we’ve started fawning over seriously fuggly dogs (like Pomeranians, yorkies and pugs) and (2) we are bordering on stalking other peoples’ pets to get a pat of fur and an adoring appreciative look from a canine. Steve actually pretended to be tying his shoes (for like, 8 to 10 minutes) so that a reddish brown dachshund 2 blocks down the street he had spotted with big ears flapping in the wind and a sweet goofy smile could catch up to us, and get molested.

Only 1 more week to go til we can give them a good hug at least at the quarantine (before they’re locked up for a month in anti-rabies jail). Man, December can’t come soon enough.