Saturday, 27 March 2021

The Dogs that Made Australia: Hunter, Worker, Legend. The untold story of the dog's role in building our nation.

This book is a very thought-provoking read but I do have issues with some of its content.

Firstly though, it does contain reasonably up to date, known history of the Australian Cattle Dog and the Kelpie and accurately dispels many myths about their origins.

It also goes into the history of many other dogs from colonial times brought to Australia for a variety of purposes which I found interesting.

However, in many cases he makes unsubstantiated assumptions and presents unverifiable theories.

My biggest criticism is in relation to dingoes. Again here he spins a yarn on their origin without evidence. To back up his theory.


We know now dingoes are not dogs, but most Australians still view them as dogs. Given acknowledgement that they are their own species is relatively recent, surely, if any “dog” has “made” Australia the dingo deserves a mention in relation to its environmental role.

All the book gives them is repeated and over exaggerated accusations about killing stock.

There is also no mention of the role of livestock guardian dogs who are playing a bigger and bigger part in rural Australia.

For a man who claims to be an all knowing dog trainer he demonstrates no understanding of dingoes living as “pets”.

The section on the German shepherd/Alsatian I also found interesting especially the success of the first police dogs in NSW at a time when importation of the breed was banned.

My rating 2*

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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Ursamer - An Eco Short Story for Children by Karina McRoberts

Ursamer is one of a series of delightful stories for children that teach them about the world we live in and the need for conservation. (See my book review blog for reviews on the other stories to date

Ursamer is a little girl who appears seemingly by magic to a variety of people. She is from the far north and dressed in Eskimo clothes. With her is her dog, a sled, and a hunk of ice. She tries to warn the people she meets about the melting ice and how the tragedy is impacting on wildlife, particularly the polar bears, but no one listens or even tries to understand her message.

It is touching story with a compelling message about global warming written in a style to be shared between parents and children.

My rating 5*

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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

BrodyMonster: A perfectionist and the world's most imperfect terrier by Liz Maritz

I’m a dog tragic (well, any canid actually) so when Liz Maritz asked if I would be interested in receiving an advance copy of BrodyMonster I gladly agreed. I wasn’t disappointed.

Liz wanted a terrier; her husband Jimmy wanted a Border Collie. Two quite different breeds.  To settle it Jimmy told her if she could run a half marathon she could choose the breed. It would be their first family dog
and in Liz’s mind it would be the perfect dog.

To achieve her goal, she knew it would require discipline and training but to achieve that and then find her perfect puppy would take research and planning. This suited Liz’s personality. It was what she was best at – especially planning.  

She contacted breeders everywhere and finally found Brody; perfect, show quality and with a champion lineage.

She took her puppy home planning for the perfect upbringing, but Brody soon demonstrated he was not so perfect. Liz and Jimmy and their respective families all loved Brody but with behaviour problems and ongoing medical conditions their challenges multiplied.

For all his imperfections the reader can’t help loving Brody and feel for his people. It is a heart-warming story and at times funny. It may have been a challenging time for Liz the perfectionist and planner, but Brody taught her lessons about life and sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.

A key point she makes in her book is the importance of learning about the breed you want. Every breed has its positives and negatives. It doesn’t make one more desirable over another but prepares us for the breed’s idiosyncrasies and traits.

The opening page reminded me of when I had to farewell my elderly Belgian Shepherd. It was a moving opening to the book. I agree with Liz that dogs wait for our permission to pass on.

Oh come on Liz, Brody’s not really that bad……..

My rating 4*

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