When You’re Still Going To The Zoo At Fifty!

Sydney holds its Vivid Festival at this time of the year – a two-week extravaganza where the city is lit up with, well…lights, and luckily for us, a friend of mine organised tickets for us to celebrate this year’s celebrations at Taronga Zoo.

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Crikey! Crocs!

I like zoos and the old man could hardly contain his excitement as we sat in traffic on the way there. Interestingly, we were the only adults without small children at the event, even though several sets of parents offered us theirs, for forever.  And I admit, that there were moments in between the ‘wows’ and whoops of joy that came from the whole city’s population of children, when the old man and I asked ourselves why the fuck we weren’t in the pub drinking wine.

The event also confirmed my suspicion that Australia has a fascination with crocodiles, which is fortunate because the likelihood is that they will soon be running the country. Where in the past, crocodiles were only found in Northern Queensland, they have headed further south since culling was deemed politically incorrect and their lives became more highly valued than those of the human population. The nation also suspects that they can do a better job of controlling terrorism than our current leader, so I envisage a Planet of The Apes-style takeover, once they decide that feeding off tourists (stupid enough to get into the water at night) isn’t enough of a Masterchef experience.

When we were in Port Douglas recently, I was informed that the reason the locals don’t swim in the ocean has, in fact, nothing to do with the Box Jelly Fish or Irukandji, and more to do with the saltwater crocs that have taken up surfing. The old man says it was the wine, but I swear I spotted one waiting for me in the water beneath our restaurant one evening, licking its lips in readiness for the curves of my newly acquired size 16 body.

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Her Cuteness, who has her aunt’s penchant for sparkles

Only a month or so before that I was on the Sunshine Coast visiting my sister and my niece – Her Cuteness -who we took to the zoo one day to while away the toddler-awake hours before we could open the wine. Australia Zoo is the one set up by the Irwin family – basically the Royal Family here, who will ultimately replace the national emblem on our passports and citizen certificates as well as the various luminaries on our bank notes.  Once you get past the cheesiness and outright terror of the bronze version of this iconic family, Bindi’s dancing and the nauseating sight of green safari suits on every child – could this be a job for VB? – the space is a wonderful representation of Australian wildlife, and in particular of those animals that like to eat us.

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The terrifying Irwin Family

As you might be aware, Steve Irwin had a bit of a thing about crocs and his party piece was to taunt them with meat and then capture them in a testosterone-fuelled display of Australian maleness, and this still goes on in the show, only his offspring have since taken over the mantle. I tried not to think it, but there was a tiny part of me that hoped for a croc win that day as we sat in the blistering heat and watched Robert and Bindi play hide and seek with those poor – toothless, I suspect – crocs.

Fortunately, there is a lot more to see than drugged up reptiles and nocturnal animals that refuse to play ball and look alert when toddlers poke, prod and force feed them. In fairness, I was quite impressed by the spacious green plains for the larger animals and my niece had all her dreams come true when she discovered that the real Kings of the jungle (in the minds of most cute two-year-olds) – the ponies – were offering rides. And while I fretted about the potential nit hazard of hundreds of little kids all sharing the same riding helmets, my sister’s chest filled with pride.

Dog Reports Owner For Putting Her In Kennels

Dear Parents,

Did you say kennels?I have noticed a worrying change of atmosphere at home at the moment, and it’s beginning to make me anxious. (And you know what happens when I get anxious – accidents happen which seem to indirectly affect the premium on the contents insurance).

Everyone is being uncharacteristically nice to each other at the moment… particularly around me. I might be wrong but I’m sensing  parent-guilt. I think that you might actually be contemplating another holiday without me.

Which can only mean one thing….

Kennels!

Do I need to remind you just how awful I smelt the last time you collected me from that dog farm?

The purchase of that new pink fluffy coat is suspicious too. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that you’ve never bothered with a coat for me before. Which leads me to suspect that I must be going to a ‘resort’ where it’s cold at night. Please God, don’t let it be west of Sydney! Those, (shall we say) less pedigreed breeds, show little respect for the delicate nature and physiology of the Spoodle there.

Did you even think about who will give me my daily brush or my treats while I’m there, when you decided to sign my life away? You know how much Dad moans when my hair gets matted and I have to be clipped, or (heaven forbid) I begin to smell like a you-know-what?

I thought I had become a valued member of the family now, that I was above shared equal rights with Kurt and NC.  I thought that you had gained as much from my addition to the family as I have. I have tried to make my transition from dog to human as easy as possible for you.

  • I share your bed – I always sleep between you both to keep you both warm.I eat your food – (even the muck that Mum produces sometimes when she’s stressed and forgets vital ingredients during the food shop). Mum even makes gravy for my food now and cooks extra for me sometimes, (especially when it is Spaghetti Bolognaise which she knows is my favourite). I saw that as acceptance.
  • I help with Kurt and his antics, to give you both a break now and then – I know that’s one of the reasons you adopted me in the first place. And I don’t think I’ve let you down in my duties there, have I? Do you have any idea how loud and annoying that boy can be? I mean, he wears me out! Like, he never stops talking. EVER! And he can’t even throw a ball straight – I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to climb through muddy, tick-infested undergrowth to retrieve it. Those bushes in the courtyard can be a deathtrap and my coat often gets filthy, but do you ever hear me moan about it?  And by the way, when you’re out, he never remembers to let me out to wee… (actually, you might want to check the spare room carpet).
  • I let Dad speak on my behalf in what he thinks is a ‘dog’ voice (loser!). It would be hard not to notice that you guys obviously have a bit of a communication problem these days, now that you’ve been married like, FOREVER, and I don’t mind being the go-between if it helps your relationship. I mean, I don’t want you getting divorced or anything (or I might end up with Kurt!) But it can be awkward, just saying, and for what it’s worth, I don’t have a lisp. Anyway, why can’t he speak to you in his voice?
  • I don’t even demand walks like other Spoodles. (Well, what would be the point?) I might do a bit of eye-balling, follow you about a bit, but I don’t scratch the doors or carpets or any of that manic shit that other lesser breeds do. I know about the rental bond – Dad goes on about it enough. Oh and by the way, that brown mark in Kurt’s room was NOT me – I think Kurt was trying to smoke chocolate or something.

Look, I really appreciate what you’ve done for me, guys, but if you want to treat me like a dog and put me in kennels, (call it a Pet Resort if you like, but we all know), while you go off and have a great time, I will have no alternative but to resort to the behaviors of a dog –  behaviors I have managed to control in the four years we have lived together.

This is neglect.

I might….

  • Not be able to hold on as long as I can now – I might even need to go out in the middle of the night….and for more than just a wee.
  • Bark at anything and everything just to piss off your neighbors – just because I can.
  • I might give Kurt some of his own medicine – lets see how he likes being manhandled on a full stomach or being dressed in a tutu.
  • Start licking Mum again even though I’ve managed to stop such primitive, needy behavior because I know it really grosses her out.
  • NOT eat up my own vomit to prevent Mum freaking out about the carpet.
  • Demand two walks a day and start springing around uncontrollably like those ADHD Jack Russells.
  • Tell everyone how dysfunctional you all really are and report you to the RSPCA.

I’ve actually heard that Thredbo is quite nice at this time of year…..

The Spoodle Princess x

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