Like any brothers and sisters, the Oodle Pack sometimes disagree but never for long. Charli and Dougal have a special bond and often sit so close to each other, their backs or noses touch. Riley and Barnzy are best mates and hang together all day waiting for me to play ball with them. Every morning the 6 of us, that’s me, Neil and our four furguys go for our walk as one big happy family, exploring our local countryside and saying good morning to the cows, the birds and we are sometimes privileged to see wallabies bouncing through the paddocks.
Breed: Spoodle (cockapoo)
Birthday: 24th April 2012
Charli was the first of our oodle pack. Charli loves to be the centre of attention, probably because she was our first born and maybe ever so slightly wishes she was still the only one. She is happiest curled up on our laps or just getting constant love. We nickname her, ‘Princess’. Of course, we couldn’t give her attention every minute of every day so we decided to find her a friend.
Or rather, she chose her friend.
We looked in the dog homes and rehoming sites and each time we took Charli with us to choose because it was so important that she liked her new friend. It was tricky, because it took us four or five visits with other dogs until we found her brother.
Birthday: June 14th 2012
Dougal was needing to be rehomed due to a change in a family’s circumstances. When we took Charli to meet him, they hit it off straight away and ran into the garden to play. She had chosen her new brother. Dougal came from a family of 4 children under 5 years old and he always looks up when he hears the sound of children playing. He is a real cutie, very laid back and undemanding. He has the most amazing eyes that just melt your heart.
Birthday: March 19th 2015
Riley was our next family member. We decided we wanted a larger ‘oodle’ and put the word out to friends and oodle sites. Before we knew it, a friend called us and asked if we could take Riley. He was 8 months old at the time and a real handful. He still is full of mischief and so playful, but the cutest, kindest nature. Running around freely on our 5 acres is pure heaven to him. He always wants to bring us a present when we come home, definitely preferring one of our shoes than one of their many toys in their toy box! He is a beautiful boy and just wants to shower us with love and hugs. He is a big cuddler and when he jumps up, his paws wrap around our shoulders.
Birthday: April 9th 2013
Of course, then we decided our big boy needed a larger companion. So again, we put the word out and beautiful, elegant Barnzy completed our family. Barnzy has a lot of poodle in him We are still in regular contact with Tate and her family who so generously allowed us the privilege of loving Barnzy as their circumstances had changed and they couldn’t offer him what he needed. It was a really tough decision for them but it was their pure love for Barnzy that helped them make such a difficult decision. Barnzy is the biggest and probably the soppiest of the 4 dogs. He is elegant, smart, quite clingy and has terrible manners! He steals food whenever he can so every day we have to be sure to be smarter than he is. Sometimes, he wins.
Neil and I love living here at Highland Retreat. Such a beautiful part of the world near Byron Bay. So much beauty around us, green hills, open spaces and beaches, it’s a treat every day to live here. The name, Highland Retreat is a reflection of Neil’s Scottish heritage, the fact that it is on an elevated piece of land with stunning views, and a retreat for people to come and enjoy, relax and recharge their batteries.
I first trained in Education and Psychology at London University, focusing on primary age children. I had a special interest in animal therapy and wanted to do my PhD in that field. But in the 1970’s that wasn’t a subject anyone knew about, so I went on to other things and enjoyed a professional life in Public Health and achieving my PhD (not in animal therapy) in 2014. Over the years, I have written academically but it’s only in the last 4 years that my creative fun writing skills have reemerged. It happened by accident really. I was unwell for a few years, my four beautiful dogs were the best tonic ever and so I started writing about them, the joy they gave me and so many others, just by being themselves. They are now my therapy and Oodles of Fun was born.
I have a keen interest in supporting people with special needs and certainly as a foster parent, clinical counsellor and family therapist I came across children who struggled with the joy and skills of reading.
I know these books will help bridge that gap, open up a world of colour and fun to our beautiful young readers. Neil and I are excited to welcome you into our Oodle family and invite you to follow Charli, Dougal, Barnzy and Riley in their fun-filled days.