Monday, 24 September 2007

Progress Pets

MacMasters Beach Progress Hall PET SHOW - this Saturday, 29th Sept. for members in the Sydney/Newcastle region. Prizes for Most Unusual Pet, Pet/Owner Look-a-like, Best Dressed, Best Groomed, Best Party Trick and THE FASTEST SAUSAGE EATER! $2 entry per category,. More info, email

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Dog event in no dog park

Newcastle Dogs Day out was HUGE - and held in a no-dog park! Shows just how much discretion council has. Our community could be very dog-friendly now, without a lot of changes to the law. They just need us to support them to offer us access to parks, beaches and public space in general.
We handed out hundreds of cards, signed up new members and made a few friends in the industry and in government. A successful and beautiful sunny day by the sea.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Louie is Alive

I couldn't put him down, it's not his time yet.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle...Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way." I. Townsend
Louie, at age 15, continues to live on - with dementia and a caring family of human minders and he loves living with Pema the border collie.

Monday, 17 September 2007

We are preparing for the beach dog walk and surf club fund-raiser at Bar Beach on Sunday. We had an interview on Newcastle radio this morning thanks to one of our members. We have great support in the Hunter Region of NSW. Hope you can visit the Barking Mad stall this Sunday.
We are a tiny bit distracted - between all the work of Barking Mad, this may be Louie the cat's last night. He is 15...... so it's a sad time as most pet owners can relate to. We know what it is like to lose a pet..

Buzzz . . .

It was a week ago that I woke up early, ready do the 40 metre commute to the office when I heard this amazing noise amongst the quiet of my sea-side bush. I mean BUZZ. What sort of power tool is that? Why have they started before 7am? Where is it from? Was it a power tool? Nope. IT’S SPRING.
The massive Ash tree is a-flower and wow, does it have company. These BEEs are VERY BUSY BEES - just like Barking Mad, except we work all year around AND day and night.
We've added QUEENSLAND campaigns and hopefully have a state coordinator there again. There are some really STUPID dog laws out there.
Did you receive your membership email? That email system costs us a small fortune ($250/month) so I hope it's keeping you informed and happy. We're off to court tomorrow again trying to finish up the litigation that gave birth (so to speak) to Barking Mad. After being defrauded three years ago, I decided to get a dog and the rest is history. So too is my win in court, but have they paid? NOPE. Does the court care? Doesn't seem to, but we'll see. Pema now goes to court with me as they can't find any reason in the Court Security Act to stop her and my judge doesn't mind her in his court. Here is a photo of us waiting for the Sherriff to let us in. So far we've been in three different courts and not even for dog things (yet).
What else? We are busy writing ammendments to legislation for the next session of Parliament in NSW (hopefully).
My 16 year old cat exhibits a zest for life and a quest for death alternatively at least 10 times a day. I'm sure there is a story about compassion and responsiblity there, but now he takes a lot of my emotional energy. Pets are really about caring; we are caring people. It's not nice when we're made out to be criminals because we have (legal) companion animals.
And Pema had a great time at Circular Quay after our last court date making a lot of people happy and creating a warm, social atmosphere in a tourist venue. And how funny to meet a scottish couple with a busines back home called Barking Mad!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Poster Puppy

Isn't our poster puppy on the home page gorgeous? You can have yours as the next poster pet, just send us a good quality photo.

Peaceful co-existence with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyance. It's not my quote, but it sums up what Barking Mad is trying to achieve. Can we achieve peaceful co-existence in our community with the wide variety of people and vast range of preferences people have? Leaf blowers, loud parties, graffiti - different activites both legal and not, driving us crazy - but only AT TIMES.

I always considered myself a cat person (providing they were kept in at night). But no more - dog crazy I now am, even those little snappy yappy ones. How did this happen? That dogs are preferable company to the human male is one theory, but we won't go there. I happened upon a rescue border collie 2 years ago when she was 18 months old. Two things resulted from having a canine housemate for the first time. One, I found out how limited my recreational and transport options were in Sydney if I wanted to have my dog with me. And two, I found myself interested in lots of other dogs breeds, and curious about why the people who now talked to me on my walks (JUST BECAUSE I HAD DOG) choose that particular breed. How do we love our pets? 'Let me count the ways'. The stories people share about how they came to love their particular dog, be one that farts, chews, snores, drools or slobbers, or one that is so old it is no longer house trained – or one that has cost them $3000 from injuries; the commonality is caring and compassion.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Mile High Dogs

Photo: Travelling with pet dog at Venice Airport.

But not everyone likes dogs, and we can't expect them too. Some like obedient, quiet dogs. Some don't mind the yappy ones. Some people think they shouldn't be kept as pets.
Lots of Barking Mad members tell me they don't understand HOW people can not love animals. I'm told almost daily about the direct correlation between cruel treatment of animals and cruel treatment of humans.

I think it is our obligation as responsible pet owners to accept and understand some peoples dislike of man's best friend. As we understand more of our rights, and as we do expand our access to more beaches, parks, transport and accommodation, no doubt the opposing view will be aired as well.

On the subject of RIGHTS. We have so many more then we are led to believe! We have new information from NSW Lands about Council's legal right to fine us (or not) on the beach below the High Water Mark. We have an interesting clause in the discrimination act referring to a 'trainned' animal. We have the railway dog (and goat) carriage rules. We have Manly Council actively allowing dogs within 10 metres of a playground even though this is 'an offense'.

There is simply no reason to put up with draconian restrictions about where you can take your pooch any more. Change is never easy and we are working on it several ways:

  • changing legislation (hopefully in the next session of NSW Parliament)
  • challenging restrictions in court or with whatever authority put this in place
  • debunking myths about 'hygiene, health, food' etc.

Most importantly, by being responsible with our dog when we are out in the community. Sure, some people may say I'm not be responsible to society when I travel on the bus with Pema - because I'm doing something that many people think I "am not allowed" to do. Well - they are wrong, I am allowed, but I don't have to change their view. I make sure I have a clean and quiet pooch that doesn't take up a seat, bark, slobber or wee. If someone takes the seat next to us and doesn't want to be by the dog - I'm the one who offers to move away.

Summing up - assert your rights, respecting those people that may not respect you for doing so.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Bus

THEY TRIED TO STOP US FROM TAKING THE BUS. How rude! The bus driver was so confused when I told him Pema was a registered companion dog - he then said it was ok, but he wasn't happy. Scroll down on the public transport campaign section for the story. We were going to see our barrister, how funny. Yes, we got on the bus, of course, after a vote from the passengers FOR the dog.

Get your COMPANION ANIMAL ID TAG from Barking Mad for just $35. Email us a photo of you and your dog, 300k max size. Post or scan your pooch registration. If you want your insurance details on the tag, scan or post your home contents policy. Send me details.

Apec dog because sniffing is allowed

We're off to the CBD with a freshly washed pooch to visit two of our barristers. Should be interesting with the APEC stuff, but we also need to trial Sydney buses more. One member was denied access to two northern beaches buses with her small pooch; both buses were nearly empty. She couldn't remember the protocol to tell the driver - the code number and to call the depot on the radio, so she didn't get her lift to Manly Dogs Day Out. Very sad. So, we're going on a few buses again.

The Pittwater and Warringah campaigns are launched - do check the Act Now section, write your letters and you can send money, too. We're waiting on the judgment where the magistrate was less than complimentary about Pittwater council dog laws.
And, we're on Pet talk TV and radio, so check out what we have to say.....and, what Manly Council (one of our favourites) said!

Companion Animal ID Tag

Get your COMPANION ANIMAL ID TAG from Barking Mad for just $35. Email us a photo of you and your dog, 300k max size. Post or scan your pooch registration. If you want your insurance details on the tag, scan or post your home contents policy. Send me details.