He's an incredibly special Golden Retriever, who chose me on that first day of his life. Over the last 18 months, TOBY has grown into a vibrant, strong and demanding, 40 kg pooch. He’s a creature who has fully entrenched himself as one of our precious family members. This young animal does indeed test my patience, but he also ignites my love.
He teaches me daily that life is constantly changing and that a wonderous world exists 'out there'.
And I mustn't forget that he's a fast learner - remember how he surprised us all with his amazing stage performance in the production of 'Annie' last year. He was only 9 months old at the time - just a baby.
Nowadays, TOBY is mainly a family dog. His training has slipped somewhat with my recent publication of MAXDOG, but he's still eager to learn and I plan to spend more quality time with him this year.
TOBY has a gorgeous, fluffy tail whose functionality is confirmed when it sweeps my coffee table clean of its contents. Our "Goofball" provides an example of energised living that I never imagined.
Our ‘Sweet Hooligan’ usurps our swimming pool, and effectively relocates it into our home after demonstrating his rendition of ‘shake’ ,’rattle’ and ‘roll’.
TOBY retrieves everything – including my underwear, and he follows MAXDOG’s tradition of running trenches in our passage, then dropping to the floor to stare at me, innocently.
You can’t ignore him; his evidence surrounds us. His tiny Golden hairs escape the clutches of all state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners.
Never fear if you’ve forgotten his food – Toby reminds us, with purpose!
Poochy arrived with a full PR Function too - should we be grateful?
He announces visitors with euphoric applause. He showers our guests with blankets, carpets and anything he can find. All this, he does whilst grunting melodious preludes to their stay.
And when the tempo has eased, he swaggers to his corner, to fall into doggie-dreamland and occasionally enhance our ambience with healthy emissions.
Toby also provides a free gardening service for his household.
It's not often though, but when he does, you WILL notice: Clumps of grass are carefully extracted from my manicured lawn and designer holes are strategically placed - just for us!
But when I’m lonely, TOBY is immediately there – snuggling to my side and looking cute with some toy in his mouth. I have to smile and tickle his tummy.
Most Goldens come with a demeanour that oozes trust, loyalty, and life-long devotion. In Toby's case, he's been nurtured by faithful 'Aunt Tam' (MAXDOG's soulmate) for his role as my companion. What a privilege he's had to have spent his formative years with his beautiful Matriarch:
Our city has been washed clean with all the recent rain we've had. The local park looks green and lush, if not a little slushy. It's perfect weather for hadedah ibises, who systematically scout around in search of half-drowing crickets and, once satiated, settle for a few hours on the neighbour's roof to dry their large and cumbersome feathers.
"Tweety", our resident weaver bird and his harem are also doing well. As a diligent provider to his ever-growing feathered family, he happily spends his whole life collecting seeds on our front lawn. What a simply beautiful, feisty and determined little feathered friend he is. Aint he sweet?
The past two weeks have been absolutely incredible!
Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask is this really happening?
Is MAXDOG really in print?
I feel so blessed. My original goal of simply trying to make my story available to my blogging-buddies who may have wanted to read it, has gained an unknown momentum. Things seem to be moving beyond all my expectations. I am still struggling to comprehend that I have actually written a book, let alone all this publicity which is going along with it. It feels rather like being encased in a bubble. When is it going to pop?
To give you an idea, these are the main events which have happened over the past two weeks:
*Making the decision to order another 1000 copies of MAXDOG because we are going to run out soon (and the real publicity hasn't yet hit the market).
*The wonderful news that MAXDOG will soon be available as a 'Print-on-demand' book via Amazon.com (in about one month's time) and will therefore become freely available to my international audience. It is already listed on the UK's 'BOOK DEPOSITORY'
****MAXDOG as an"eBOOK" is now available!!! ... from the
*The news that CNA (a large book and stationary store chain in SA has ordered a bulk-order of MAXDOG.
*An invitation from our local pet store (P.E.T.S) in Rock Cottage shopping centre to do a book signing soon.
*The news that MAXDOG sales in the large bookstores are going very well indeed.
*The many emails and feedback from people who have read the book and are singing it's praises. Here is one 'snippet' from Gail in Scotland:
"The next time I get a blank look when I try explaining to someone the appeal of writing a dog blog, I shall direct them to Maxdog, as in it you have put into words many of the things I have tried to tell people, and you have expressed them all so vividly and so much better than I ever could. "
(Thank you, Gail!)
I feel totally humbled by all this...and enormously blessed too.
Many thanks to everyone for your continued encouragement and support. I could never have embarked on this journey without your love and faithful presence in my life.
Home life chugs on. My daughters are living elsewhere nowadays and are reaching for their dreams. Our pack of canines has been left to deal with a quieter house, with only 'The Boss' and me to keep them company during the week. This quiet reverie is disrupted again when the weekends arrive. Nobody receives a bigger welcome than my two daughters when they open the front door on a Friday.
Toby remains a "Sweet hooligan", while Tammy continues her role as the regal Matriarch.
She is slowly, but surely, aging and struggles somewhat with her arthritis. We give her glucosamine regularly as well as her eye-drops and she is enjoying the HILLS J/D Diet too. Her arthritis doesn't deter her however from a happy game of 'bitey-face' with the large 40kg goofball named 'Toby'.
King Toffee has gained great benefit from his deafness in recent months. To him, the world is no longer a threat and he has adopted a very 'chilled' demeanour.
Walks, too, are very pleasant with "The King" around. His history of a 'lack of social skills' is no longer a problem. So long as he's near our feet and other dogs don't crowd him, he's fine and happy to run along; enjoying his new-found freedom in his old age.
King Toffee has recently been blessed with a wonderful donation of dog food - a whole case of tinned HILLS K/D diet to help him with his ailing kidneys. (from 'Carole' at P.E.T.S store at Rock Cottage) Toffee is in doggie heaven with this food and always arrives at my side, post meal, smugly satisfied. To him, it's lip-smacking stuff! Thank you so much, Carole, for your generosity!
Well, that's all the news for now. Once again, please accept my sincere apologies for not visiting many blogs. Also accept my love and thanks for the role you all play in my life.
So much is happening in my life that I can hardly think straight at the moment...
My interview with the pretty, young reporter from the RANDBURG SUN, on Friday, went very well indeed (in my opinion). 'Karishma' seemed to enjoy our chat, but one never knows with these things. Hopefully she will be able to put something nice together with all the information I have given her. I also gave her a copy of MAXDOG and hope that she will enjoy my book.
Thank you, Karishma, for taking the time to hear about MAXDOG...
(Karishma Thakurdin: RANDBURG SUN REPORTER)
To my readers living in the Randburg area - look out for the article about MAXDOG in Thursday's edition of RANDBURG SUN ( 19th January 2011)
Well, Friday was a brilliant day in many respects. My heart skipped a beat when Porcupine Press (my publishers) phoned me to tell me that CNA (One of the largest chainstores of books and stationery in South Africa) have put in a bulk order of 100 books. This is fabulous news for both Porcupine Press and me! This order will help greatly with the publicity of MAXDOG too and hopefully other companies/organisations will follow suite with future orders. MAXDOG will be on CNA shelves in the next month or two.
The very important news, however, is that this week, for me, is...
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY AWARENESS WEEK!
It is time to acknowledge the many people around the world who suffer from this illness - including me.
I have received so many emails from friends, who have taken the time to share their own journeys with this sometimes debilitating illness. More often than not, it is the loneliness and isolation of sufferers which hits the hardest. We sometimes feel so alone, but still have to face the horrible social stereotypes, judgement and taboo within our communities. This must stop! It is time to not only speak out, but to learn more about my illness.
One of the themes in MAXDOG is exactly this!
Not only is it a story about my amazing dog, but it is an account of my own journey to 'healing' and my management of this illness.
My dream, through MAXDOG, is to create awareness about this condition and to play my part in ridding the world of these dangerous stereotypes...
(121 million people around the world suffer from this illness)
Tomorrow night, I am sheduled to be interviewed about MAXDOG by Karen Key (SAFM presenter) as part of their radio programme on Mental Health. Thanks to the vigilance of 'Fran' in New Zealand, I was alerted to the fact that my international followers will be able to
Yes, on Tuesday evening (17th January) at 21h30 (SOUTH AFRICAN TIME), you can go to this link on the Internet to listen to the interview, about MAXDOG, LIVE! I believe it will be for about half an hour. Please tune in to support me. Please would you perhaps also take the time to drop me a note if you are going to be listening to the program. You can do so either in the comments section - under this post - or via my email:
carylmoll AT yahoo DOT com.
(It would be so nice to know which of my blogging-buddies are on the other end of the airwaves when I go 'live'...kind of 'moral support', if you like.)
Other good news is that my publicist - Helen Holyoake, from HELCO PROMOTIONS, has managed to secure a number of book reviews for MAXDOG in the next few months. Publications include: Citizen, Daily News, Pretoria News, Sunday Times (read/write), Vets Life, Pets Health, Horses in Harness, Animal Talk, Marie-Claire, Essentials Mag, 'O' Mag, etc.
I must tell you, I feel rather shell-shocked with this whole journey. At this stage, I am still trying to comprehend the first little fact that MAXDOG is actually in print. All this emerging publicity is very new to me and rather daunting to say the least. What keeps me going is that I believe so strongly that MAXDOG's story really needs to get told. I really want to give voice to the powerful relationships which exist between companion animals and their owners, as well as to throw light (via my personal story) on the hope which exists for people, for people like me, who battle with 'Depression and Anxiety'.
Hopefully this week will also shed some light about what is happening regarding the 'Print-on-demand' version of MAXDOG (scheduled for Amazon.com.) I've had a number of hiccups with this process, but hopefully I'll hear some good news soon.
MAXDOG ebook, too, will soon become available for purchase on a number of sites.
Please watch this blog for updates.
On the homefront, 'Scotch' - Miss "R"s guinea-pig - went in for the 'big snip' on Friday. I am happy to report that he has recovered from his ordeal. He's also been deemed fit to 'socialise' with the other resident guinea-pigs at Onderstepoort Veterinary training facility (where Miss "R" is a student). He is the cutest little bundle of fluff that I have seen in a long time and I have developed an affinity for his sweet little 'Guinea-pig-giggle'.
Sending lotsaluv to all my friends across the world and wishing you a wonderful, happy and fulfilling week.
2012 is upon us and the cogs of business are starting to turn again. By the time the public schools begin their academic year, next week, the city will be back to a buzz.
In our household, most things have also regained a semblance of normality. I need to start writing again, but I must admit that I've had a dip in motivation in recent weeks. The writing ‘itch’ isn’t quite upon me yet, but I can feel its 'call' slowly emerging. This year, when things with MAXDOG settle down, I will be revisiting my old project – writing up my collection of childhood farm stories.
There are also a few other projects which I have in mind, but for the moment, I am just going along with the flow.
My publicist – Helen Holyoake of HELCO PROMOTIONS – has being doing some sterling work for MAXDOG during my absence. She has managed to secure me a number of book reviews which will be featured in various publications over the next few months. On Tuesday, next week, I have a radio interview scheduled to be broadcast live on SAFM. Please tune in at 9.30pm : I'll be chatting to Karen Key about MAXDOG,as part of their 'Mental Health' programme. And tomorrow, I will be meeting with a journalist from our local community newspaper - the RANDBURG SUN. They are planning an article about MAXDOG too.
At the moment, MAXDOG is on many of the shelves of the larger bookstores in South Africa.
Sales are slow, but certainly not stagnant. Perhaps when the reviews start hitting the public eye, we’ll see an increase in sales. Then again, who knows? All-in-all, there are about 350 copies of MAXDOG ‘out there’ at the moment, so I am happy with the progress in this journey. Copies of MAXDOG have been sent (amongst others) to :USA, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, Germany and even Kathleen Coy (the artist of the MAXTERPIECE) received her copy:
Have you got your copy of MAXDOG yet? If not, please contact me at: “carylmoll AT yahoo DOT com”. You can also read more about MAXDOG and the various outlets HERE.
Our three dogs are all very well. Aunt Tam is getting old now, but still up for a jaunt at our local dog park. (She is the lightest coloured golden in the picture above) It’s the highlight of our canine companions' day. Even King Toffee comes off his throne to take part in this daily excursion. One would never say that he is 14 years old - turning 15 in June. A grand old age!!!
(Miss "R" and the pack)
The doggie park is increasing in popularity each week. Every day we see new dogs and their owners arriving. It is simply wonderful to watch the pooches playing and enjoying time together off lead. It's equally pleasant meeting new faces and enjoying the comeradie.
Toby is a ball of unabated energy. (I am sure that he's the biggest hooligan in the park).
At home, he has developed a habit of collecting blankets when visitors arrive and rushing to wrap them up, snorting throughout the whole process.
It's quite endearing, but can also be disconcerting. He's a big, strong dog now, but an absolute goofball. He remains...
OUR SWEET HOOLIGAN.
We’ll see how the journalist reacts tomorrow to Toby's welcome, lol! Sometimes it’s best just to leave him outside on these occasions…but not for long though…remember...
Golden Retrievers HAVE to meet ALL visitors!!!
(It’s just a Golden thing.)
Well, that is all for the moment.
Wishing all my friends the very best for 2012.
I hope this year will see us all reaching for our dreams.