Monday, December 31, 2012

Puppy breath : They are four weeks old now!

 Last week I received the most beautiful, treasured picture, from Marycke.
This is one of the puppies (I think Pocahontas) with a copy of Maxdog. 
The big lump in my throat was hard to swallow. 
The photograph arrived unexpectedly - a real heart-warmer!
Thank you, Marycke of
(Every single photo is being carefully filed in my new pup's photo folder)
Which one will it be?


I believe the pups are doing well; growing daily. It's such a pity that I'm not closer to Cape Town to share in their early development.  The weekend of the 25th January cannot arrive quick enough!

On Christmas day, the pups had their own Christmas dinner:
"Mommy's milk"...


 ...supplemented by their solid meals...

 In the next couple of weeks, the puppies will undergo a behavioural assessment, whereafter my specific puppy will be chosen for me.

At the moment, it looks like it's going to be little 'BELLE'.

(Please note that this name is a litter-name and may well change when she arrives on our doorstep)

Above: Little "BELLE" being 'stacked' for the first time in her young life.

I asked Marycke about Belle's temperament (at this stage).
Her answer was this:

"Belle is a curious, yet soft puppy!
She's not scared or timid...just soft
She's very pretty too.
I think she will be very loveable.
But I also think that she has a little wilful streak - which means that she is not a pushover...
She hates being medicated and fights the most of all the pups."

Well, consider this sweet picture...and judge for yourself:

Everyone else is fast asleep. Belle says she wants to come out to play


Tinkle, tinkle, little star,
how I wonder what you are?
A precious little Belle I see,
all soft and cuddly you will be.

Tinkle, tinkle, little Belle -
thoughts of yonder - time will tell.
I wait, I wonder, I hope, I love
the little star from up above.
Caryl Moll
30th December 2012


With love, and wishing all my special friends...


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The day after Christmas

Hi there everyone!
Too much food.  Too many presents. Thank goodness we're on holiday.
I'm hooked on Jigzone at the moment, so I thought I'd give you a jigsaw puzzle to try.
(Let's see if this works...)
Toby also enjoyed his Christmas.
Sending lots of love to you all and hoping that your festive spirit continues.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Dear Friends,
I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy and special Christmas!
Thank you for your love and support over the year/s. 
May you be blessed tomorrow and always.

I took this short video last night of a house in our suburbs and want to share it with you.  The owners have been decorating their home for over 12 years.  Every year, the entire neighbourhood takes a drive past this house.  Many stop to enjoy the beautiful lights - children, adults and pensioners alike. There are a few large boxes on the pavement - for collection of goods for various charities - in true Christmas spirit.
  Congratulations and thanks to the owners of 
14 Appelblaar Street
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did
With love and...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Irene Country Market and descending Christmas spirit...

Hello there everyone!

Last Monday was a public holiday here in South Africa.  My daughters took me to 'IRENE COUNTRY MARKET' for a VERY belated birthday outing (My bithday was in May),  This trip has been on the cards for a while, but we've never found a date that was convenient for us all.  It was an exquisite day - clear blue skies with bright sunlight.  Thankfully we went early - to avoid the inevitable heat later during the day.

Some pictures of the market:

 Walking down the country lane, towards the market.

 Reasons to salivate...
 Below: Kudu (antelope) wood carvings.
 Glassware - with embedded flowers...
 Beautiful table cloths...
 Colourful, steel wall-hangings...
 Painted, wooden and clay wall-hangings...
 Below: My favourite:  A small 'baby grand piano' - all made out of steel.  Incredible artistry!
 The creative energy and atmosphere is palpable...
I don't know how it happened, but I was convinced by Robz that a camel ride should be on my bucket list.
  "Ok," I said.  "Let's do it".  I held on tight...
 Very uncomfortable, but lots of giggles...  The worst part is the end where the camel eagerly resumes his spot on his blanket next to the straw.  You soon realise how how high you have been when he finally sinks to the ground.  
Robyn says that I screamed.  Quite frankly, I can't remember.  :)
Camel ride done and ticked!  
Off my bucket list, lol!
The Christmas spirit is descending.  The tree is up, twinkling and laden with gifts.  Carols fill the air, meals are prepared, dogs get extra walks and the family are all 'at home'  (well almost) 

But I must say that my mind and heart is filled with the image of a little golden bundle all those miles away... waiting until she's old enough to come home.

I asked the breeder if she could PLEASE take a photo of her daughter and little 'Belle'. 
This is what was posted on FB.  Although it's not labelled, I would bet my bottom dollar that this is my little one.  :)

What a beautiful photo! 
 Thank you Marycke Ackhurst from Quillquest Golden Retrievers.

I can't wait for the 25th January.  The pups are only 3 weeks old at this stage.  They had their first 'real' meal recently.
Wishing all my friends a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas season.
With love

Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE BIG SECRET is revealed...

I admit that I've been holding onto a BIG secret for a while now...  The time has finally arrived to share it....  
Toby, Tammy and the rest of our household are doing the 'happy dance' - in anticipation of the BIG event, early next year... 


 Above: Mommy "EMMI": 
(Quillquest Moonstones (Macanne Shooting Star GMHR FTA x Quillquest Red Hot NHR) with her beautiful puppies.  
BORN 1st December 2012)


If all goes well, we'll be welcoming one of these little puppies into our home in January next year.  Yes, you read it first...A NEW GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY in our household!  And a special new friend for Toby and Tammy.

It's a long story, and it follows months of lengthy discussions and debate, but the decision has finally been made....  
(In Cape Town)

...have selected us as one of the prospective new homes for one of their Golden puppies. 
You can check out there website HERE


Isn't that wonderful?  Such good news!  Toby will finally have an energetic playmate, and Aunt Tammy will have a new pup to nurture.  Me?  I'll have to rope in my energy and commitment towards puppy socialisation and dog training.  Our new pup will be fully integrated into our household.

So let me tell you about these pups...

This is Mommy "EMMI": 
Quillquest Moonstones (Macanne Shooting Star GMHR FTA x Quillquest Red Hot NHR
...with her puppies, born on the 1st December 2012...

 ...isn't this just too beautiful for words?!

and this is...
 Daddy "NEEKO" (Affectionately called 'GOOFY') :
Quillquest Thomas Burberry at Kinndell (Ch Siatham Baron Quillquest at Chardale x Ch Siatham Classic Quillquest)

 (Above: NEEKO's photograph in the 2013 Animal Talk calendar)

 (Above: NEEKO in the show ring)

(Above: NEEKO at field trials)

Both parents are highly pedigreed, KUSA registered and champions in their own rights.  But most importantly though, they have had all their health checks, been loved in compassionate families, and are on the scene because of the vision of Marycke Ackhurst (their breeder).  In one of our discussions, I asked Marycke what she was most proud of as a breeder:  


"I aim to improve the breed; taking into consideration a variety of aspects:
pedigree, temperament, health, conformation and working potential.
As a breeder, I think it is my responsibility to prepare pups for their new life by socialising them well.  I also want to prepare owners as best as possible for their new arrival -  for now, and the future.

I try and match owner requirements and pups to the best of my ability, with the available tools.  For me, the ultimate is to breed Goldens that are beauty and brains combined, adaptable in most situations, that can work, thus a pleasure to love and care for.  I think the main aim is to make people aware of what they are letting themselves in for, and to think a little more about it."


  I would personally like to say that, throughout this whole process, I have been treated with patience, respect, courtesy, care and professionalism.  All health checks on the parents have been done, cleared and been sent to me promptly.  I have been thoroughly screened - something I welcome as an owner of Goldens - it reassures me that every care has been taken to protect and nurture this beautiful breed.

There are seven pups in "DISNEY" litter and they are identified by their collars:

Alladin (Light blue)
Mowgli: (Teal/blue green) 

Mulan (Maroon)
Aurora (Pink)
Belle (Orange/Yellow)
I would like to compliment QUILLQUEST GOLDEN RETRIEVERS on their impeccable professionalism.  After completing an extensive questionnaire, submitting references and having lengthy telephonic discussions, I have been told that I am on their final short list.

I have requested a female puppy - "The pup who is the quietest in the litter; the more laid back one; the gentlest one"

A full behavioural assessment is conducted at around 7 weeks of age.  
Thereafter the final decisions are made.
There is, indeed, one particular pup which is standing out as 'the one' at this stage...

 This is 'BELLE', growing fast but still the smallest in the litter...

It is still early days yet...the pups are only two weeks old at the moment.

Although we are separated by over 1400 kilometers, the puppy which is earmarked for me is already tugging at my heartstrings.  Time will tell...

Our new little Golden bundle will be flown up to Lanzeria airport, Johannesburg (from Cape Town) towards the end of January.

We will be there to welcome her, in full force!
Grow well, little one...
With love,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Life can turn on a tickey" ...

"Life can turn on a tickey"...

... is a saying I've heard over the years.  Basically it means that nothing is ever guaranteed; nothing is certain; everything can change in a split second.  One day may glorious and the next may bring despair. 

I am so sad about the tragedy which has befallen the Connecticut community.  For them, nothing will ever be the same. What horror! What impossible comprehension.  I can't imagine how it must feel to lose a child, let alone a child in elementary school.  

My thoughts and prayers go to those who have lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy.

(Photo from the internet)

Thunderstorms in Johannesburg are somewhat reflective of this saying.  In the morning we may be blessed with clear, blue skies. and glorious weather throughout the day. In the afternoon this may all change.  The skies get darker and the deep, threatening rumble filters our way.  I can feel my own tension flare.

Thunderstorms/water/floods are things that prod my anxiety and the rumble is a sure sign of it potentially coming our way.  Perhaps its a spill-over from my childhood, who knows?  But when these storms start building up on the horizon, I've already starting to close windows and call for the dogs. How big will it get this time?...

Last night was such a night. The darkening skies settled, the rumble started, followed by the first heavy drops.  The flashes of lightning and the roar of ever approaching thunder:

"One, Two, Three..." I count

 This will determine how far off the storm is - every count means one kilometer.  

In a matter of minutes it was upon us - the heavens opened and it poured !  The small river below our house broke its banks. I don't know how much rain we had, but it was one of the biggest storms we've experienced.  The "Boss"s flight, from Durban to Johannesburg, was delayed by 2 hours because of the storm. Poor Tammy edged closer to my ankles, moaning and pawing in fear.

Then it happened:  

A loud 'BANG!' - like an extended gunshot, and then a deep and violent ...


My heart lurched as the loud siren outside our house went into full alarm mode.  Our electric fence had been compromised. We rushed to the patio to investigate ... The rain kept pouring down....

Thankfully I am on good terms with my neighbour.  Thankfully, too, no one was injured or hurt.  Thankfully, again, her car wasn't damaged...and there was nobody inside. 

 The photo above is what it looked like in my neighbour's courtyard.  Luckily we were able to move her car out and into our own garage for the night, but her entire front entrance was covered with the huge branch of our white stinkwood tree.

This morning, the sun is shining again.  Toby has diarrhea (who knows if the storm contributed to his demise).  A call to the insurance company and an emergency call-out to the tree fellers...  

I am just so thankful that it didn't go too wrong... it could have been a lot worse.

(Toby watches the 'Hadedah Ibises' looking for grubs in the water-logged lawn)

It's a long-weekend here in South Africa. I have my family home too, so life is good. 
I wish you peace and comfort this weekend, wherever you may be. 
Have a cyber-(((hug))) from me - because you never know...

"Life can turn on a tickey"

Lots of love

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Golden whirlwinds and the Guinepigs' residence...

Hi there everybody,
Welcome to the new friends who have joined me here on this new, more private blog!

Firstly, here are some pictures of yesterday's Golden get-together.
A number of friends congregated in our local doggie park, yesterday morning, to give  the pooches some 'Golden' free time.

(Above: Our futile attempts at a group photo of the Golden clan.  Note little 'Abbey' - the little black lab pup in the background - a Guide dog in training, belonging to Darryl Humphris.)

My new collective noun for Golden retrievers is....
A whirlwind of Golden retrievers:

Any human participant would have felt a wave a dizziness creep upon them as we tried to monitor the frenzied mood of Golden Retrievers darting all over the place.  This is one breed that certainly recognises their own and, given half  a chance, will make full use of the opportunity to romp, prance, play and say 'Hello' to any human around.  Yesterday was no exception. There were more Goldens than initially anticipated - some gate-crashing the walk (we didn't mind at all!!!)
 'Training' at these times is usually futile.

 'Belinda', 'Cliff' and 'Liz'


*In the foreground, Hoby (L) and Aunt' Tammy (R);
* The darker golden behind them is also a Toby (a gate-crasher! :) );
* Next to him (on the Rigt) is my own Toby - checking out what is in Cliff's hand and also saying 'Hello' to shy Emily;
 *the smaller pup (Back R) is Ozzy.  
*Behind the dark Toby is?....uhmmmmmm....oh, I don't!  It all got very confusing, especially with two Tobys around.

 Aunt Tammy, our twelve-year-old lady, found the goings a bit too hot...eventually settling down in the shade of a tree...while the others went to meet anyone that was willing...

Anyway, thanks to all my friends - Liz, Lorraine, Darryl, Belinda and Robyn, for the fun time!  We must do it again soon!


Now for today's offering:

As you know, this is 


...And this is their vegetable garden, planted especially for them...

Today, I thought I'd give you a tour of Twix and Bonnie's special residence.
This is just for fun, so...
Enjoy! :)

Hope you enjoyed that!

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and
sending lotsaluv too

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vet Students have a weird sense of humour...

Hey everyone,

I came home one day and discovered that Robz (my Vet student daughter) had taught TOBY a new trick. With a wide grin on her face, she sheepishly showed it to me.

I was rather shocked at first, but then dissolved into giggles.  It has since become a party trick for any visitor that crosses our doorstep.

Thank you, Robyn, for your quirky sense of humour.

Will I forgive you? 
Time will tell.

Sending lotsaluv

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Animals, dear animals...

Animals play such important roles in our lives.  My own animals have shaped the person I have become today..

 I think back on that small little dog - Scampi - on the farm, when I was only 7 years old, who soaked up my tears into his fur and taught me the joy of embracing sunshine, the fields and all the millions of little creatures around me.  'Adventure' was his game and in those days he taught me the same.

Then there was 'Gypsy', a little dog who suddenly appeared in my mother's sewing room one day.  "Can I keep her, Mommy?".  I remember my plea. We had no idea where she came from - the farm was 8km from any civilization, surrounded by fences and thick bush. We tried to find her owners, but it was to no avail.  Gypsy stayed for a number of years.  Her weakness was sweet wrappers.  She had expensive taste, but her previous owners remained unknown. Gypsy taught me that there was mystery behind any large brown eyes, and that I should never under-estimate canine potential.  She was easy to teach and occupied my bed at night; where we shared stories from a book dusted in torchlight under my sheets.  

The menagerie of farm/wild animals which crossed my path in those days gave me a unique insight into the amazing creation in which we live - African bull frogs, African rock pythons, scrub hairs, tortoises, barn owls, pigs, cats, chickens, monkeys, crows....the list of my childhood pets is endless.  

Left: Barn owl
Upper R: African rock python
Lower R: African bull frog

(Above images off the internet)

Each creature, uniquely adapted to its environment, is an incarnate lesson of the universe.  Even the pond-skimmers allowed me an extremely personal spiritual experience one day.

In later life, my animals helped me along the path of empathy and compassion.  My first animal, in the "Big city", was a little budgie, named "Twit".  I was a student at the time and missed farm-life immensely.  I couldn't be without an animal, so I bought that little blue budgie to keep me company.  My room at university was very small and very lonely.  Each day, after lectures, when I opened the door, I'd greet the little bird:  "Hello Twit!".  After 3 weeks of regular greeting he echoed my greeting back to me.  From that day onward, each time I opened the door, I was greeted with "Hello Twit!".  I saw his potential.  After 18 months, Twit had a vocabulary of 36 words.  

"Hello Twit!"
"Shut up, you stupid idiot!"
"I like Kentucky Fried Budgie"
"Kiss me, quick!"
"Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls..."
"I love you!"
"Pretty Boy!"
etc (I can't remember the rest...)

Wow, but that was a mouthfull!  Had it been modern times, that little bird would have been a youtube sensation.  His lesson too - never underestimate the potential of any creature.

Next was our cat - the first animal in our married life.  "Tinny" was an alley cat, purchased from a small pet shop in the heart of Hillbrow, one of the most densely populated areas of our city.  She arrived as a small kitten and took great delight in scampering up my curtains. She mastered the skill of being elusive - a great credit to cats in general.  In 24 hours of her being settled into our home, I realised I was allergic to Tinny.  My allergy was a sad affliction; I could live with her, but I couldn't touch her.  Any attempt at tactile contact would render me covered in horrible welts.  She taught me the trick of loving an animal from a distance.  She also taught me never to stereotype anything: A-typically, Tinny couldn't purr (another mystery).  She lived in our household for 16 years, appointing "The Boss" to be her personal slave during that time. She also brought us many mice, during the night, delivered onto our beds...a special feline gift.  I loved that kitty!

Maltese Terriers were next on my list.  They allowed pampering, cuddling and were excellent little watch dogs.  They preceded my understanding of the importance of 'Dog Training'.  None of my Maltese terriers were ever socialised.  I loved their feistiness and their characters.  In retrospect, it was my ignorance which fuelled their need to terrorise any intruder. 
(Above: Two of the chickens, perched on my kitchen table - about 2004 - which were incubated by Robz in her personally designed 'low-cost-incubator)

Animals were also very much part of my own children's nurturing - hamsters in particular.  They helped me to eventually teach my children how to grieve - each was worthy of a little "send off" and there are many flowering bushes in our garden today which were planted as a tribute to those little creatures.

I can never honour Maxdog enough - my canine soulmate who spent 10 years of his life with me!  Often  I become choked up at the most unexpected momenst. Max's presence remains as strong as ever.

And now there's TOBY...
Toby, my beautiful, sweet Hooligan 'Toby', has taught me that there is always a path ahead - new furry-friends to acquaint myself with.  In his short life, his devotion has allowed me to thrive again.  His first year alone is worthy of a book. When I observe him, in full flight over our swimming pool, I marvel at his athleticism and enthusiasm - a total transformation from that small vulnerable puppy.  Potential realised, he's a magnificent dog now. 

(Right: Toby at 2 weeks of age)
(Below: Toby today - 2 and a half years old)

Dearest Tammy - the epitome of nurturing!  To me she represents everything that is soft and beautiful - patience, peace, joy, self control, compassion, comfort, gentleness....the fruits of the spirit. What a beautiful role-model to all of us!

My recent introduction to Guineapigs also unveils so much that I am yet to learn.  They are the ultimate small animal pet and widely misunderstood, (I think). Although they eat and sleep most of the time, they are incredibly responsive to humans.  

Twix, in particular, has taught me so much about myself - that I am prepared to turn over every leaf possible to ensure the comfort and well-being of the animals in my home.  They are fully-fledged family members and deserve the best!

Yep, animals are most definitely one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I am deeply grateful to those special furry friends who have crossed my path, to those whom I am still to meet and to the many creatures whom I will never know but who add value to this incredible world of ours.

Have a wonderful, happy weekend,
with love,