the one and only

Fri 1st, Mar, 2013

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Sponsored Post for RSPCA Pet Insurance


G’day Beach Cottage lovelies, how the devil are you?

So, a year ago a little puppy was born into this world on the beaches of Sydney – and somehow this little putty and white fluffy haired dude became part of the Beach Cottage Crew…looking back now I find it quite funny, as did many who read this blog, that we ended up with a dog that matches the decor, ahem.


Now, when we found Barley, we had been looking for a dog for quite a few months….Mr. Beach Cottage and Mr. TBC were adamant that we weren’t to get a dog but the other two kiddos were just as adamant the other way…I wanted one too, but I must hold my hands up and say I had absolutely no idea what commitment was involved with a puppy having never had any kind of pet, other than a goldfish, in my life…



The first thing we did in the journey to becoming dog owners was dog sit for friends…there was Dougal who is a Moodle and a complete lunatic and Lucy who had been subject to a stressful situation when she was young involving scissors, her eyes and toddlers and was very wary of most people and did not like tiny children at all…when we had Dougal the day we gave him back I cried in the bath, when we gave Lucy back I had to stay inside because I couldn’t say goodbye….for someone who up until then had been distinctly not an animal lover in any shape or form, something very very strange was taking place.


I must say that many things I have done in my life with Mr. BC have made him shake his head, raise his eyebrows and go to the fridge grab a beer and think of England, but me and wanting a dog had him totally flabbergasted.

Keep ‘em guessing ladies.


After having Lucy we decided that we wanted a rescue dog and spent many many months looking for one and never found one…people kept saying to us that we would just know when we found the one that was for us…but we didn’t think it would ever be…

But it did happen just like that…we knew we wanted a Moodle, maybe a Cavoodle, and we wanted black…and then Barls came into our lives…he certainly wasn’t black but from the moment we set eyes on him, the last sad little one left of the litter, we knew he was ours…he was coming home with us and without Mr. Beach Cottage even knowing he was lock stock and barrel sworn in, named and initiated into the family on the way home in the car by Miss BC and I …

There are so many wonderful things that have come with having Barley it has been a huge huge eye opener for me…I used to wonder quite why people loved their dogs so much, or indeed their cat or parrot…I really truly didn’t get it…and now I am totally the other way…but not just me he has been a great addition to our family and we all love him to the moon and back sixty five times over…


I’ve learnt a lot though…that he likes routines and likes to sleep…he will happily put himself to bed when he has had enough and has slept through the night since the second night he was with us when he was 8 weeks old (like all our babies did funnily enough – Mr. BC says anyone who sleeps in this house is scared of waking me up because it means the whitewashed broomstick comes out)…he looks at vegetables with disdain, he loves to curl up in a ball under the window in the sitting room and somehow he has learnt words…we can’t say ‘walk’ or ‘rabbits’ or ‘Penrith” out loud without a commotion…oh and he absolutely loves a bone…especially lamb…

There was a time too in the first few months of having him where I was like a first time mum, know what I mean? You know when the baby does something you think is ‘odd’ and you lay on the floor beside him all night? …oh yeah, I was the one taking Barley up to the vet when he sneezed or coughed (thank goodness for pet insurance) and at one stage he was having more trips to the hairdresser, to get this, that and the other clipped and foofed than me!


He’s learning too…to not jump up, to not touch certain toys of little Mr BC, to sit calmly for his dinner, and to fetch and drop a ball…

And he knows how to work me like a dream. All he has to do is Mad Half Hour where he does laps from the Sitting Room at the front, through the whole cottage, flying over the coffee table onto the deck, up to the fig tree and around and then full pelt down through the lavender bush and back inside again…a few laps of this at break neck speed and then a collapse on the floor and I am his…

And I like that.

See you next time you Beach Cottage angels…do you have a pet who means so much in your life? Well if so, now I know what you mean!  I’d love to hear about the pets you have and how they are good for your life?


abeachcottage & RSPCA Pet Insurance

The strangest thing of all for me in being a new dog-owner is that I have a new-found love for animals…don’t get me wrong, it won’t be anytime soon that I am the cat lady, the owner of a pet snake in a tank in the Sitting Room (don’t think that would do much for the decor in my life) or a ferret in the bedroom (have totally seen that in a house viewing when looking for this old cottage lol)…

…but I do like myself a non-shedding, colour co-ordinated dog about my person and I now get why people love animals so much (it only took me 40 years but oh how nice to find out at this stage of life) and that’s why I am very happy that this post is brought to you by RSPCA Pet Insurance.   When I first saw that the RSPCA not only supports animals in need but provides pet insurance where part of the premium goes to helping animals Australia wide, I was like, so, totes (as my teenager says) there…

…doing my bit for charity? yep …supporting it with bells on? you betcha

You can find out more about RSPCA Pet Insurance here.

This is general information only and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consider the Product Disclosure statement, available at RSPCA.com.au. RSPCA Pet Insurance is issued by the Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 53 128 692 884, AFSL 343079).



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47 Responses to “the one and only”

  1. Neen says:

    Now you have got me thinking……………………………..I am sooooooo in love with Barls but don’t know if our family would be able adjust as you guys have. Maybe I’ll just continue my doggie luuuuurve fest with Barls online !!!!!
    Honestly how quickly has that year gone ;) Neen

    • sarah says:

      oh it hasn’t been an adjustment at all, he has slotted in perfectly, in fact he has added a LOT to this family, especially with teenage years here if you know what I mean…he has been great for me too…I must say though that the early months were a learning curve, mostly for me getting used to having a tie in the school hours, but now he’s older he is too easy…


  2. Mumofsix says:

    He is divine. I need a dog so badly but mr p says no. I grew up with so many pets I can’t believe I’m not allowed a dog. I’ll get one somehow!
    Been trying to work it out but can’t. Please tell me what is a moodle?!
    Just got it, a mongrel, poodle cross? Have heard of cockerpoos etc but not a moodle! X

    • sarah says:

      yes it is a cross between a Maltese and a Poodle and a bit smaller than a Cavoodle which is why we were looking at one…Barley has turned out to be a bit bigger than we wanted!

      you’ll have to keep working on your hubby…I must say Mr BC was adamant we weren’t to get one but when we brought him home to puppy sit (really we knew he wasn’t going back) he loved him…


  3. Lynne says:

    I wish I could paste a pic of our little eight pound Shorkie right here for you to see. We too are way over the moon in love . . . A visit to Irish Garden House, you will surely find our Snickers . . .

    My favourite visits to A Beach Cottage . . . Barley . . . Happy Birthday Sweet Doggie . . .

  4. Diana says:

    Happy Birthday Barley – the best of all is that you are loved with as much love as you give.

    We collect Golden Retrievers. The only thing better than one Golden Retriever is more ~

  5. Cutest puppy I ever did see ;)

  6. Lou P says:

    a solid cutie award for pup I think! I didn’t realise RSPCAA did pet insurance, thanks.

  7. ChrisEvanlen says:


    I don’t comment much but I read but just had to say he is gorgeous!


  8. Nola says:

    Very cute dog. Can you please tell me where you bought the blue cushion that is on the sofa-just what I have been looking for. Thanks

  9. Naomi says:

    Barls is a gorgeous dog and seems the perfect choice for your family. I’m opposite to you, I was always a mad animal lover bringing home all matter of strays to my poor mothers home. I left home at 23 with my two rescue dogs and then bought myself another dog and rescued 4, yes scary, 4 cats. Now I’m older and wiser and don’t rescee anymore(well for now) and many of those pets have passed. Except my most special boy, a shih tzu named Jordan is still with me, 16 years and strong. He’s my baby, always was and he is a darling little boy, well old man these days and I love him to bits. I dread the day he passes, I know it will come sooner rather than later and it causes heaviness in my heart but I would not replace that love with a single other thing. Dogs are a friend for life. Continue to love Barls as you do and he will keep giving you love and happiness for the rest of his beautiful BC life. I hope you’re as lucky as me and get to have him for a very long time. Getting a dog is a life long commitment but one well worth it.

  10. Rukmini Roy says:

    You know…when I was getting my puppy, my MIL told me who’s going to clean its poop if it does in the home? Somehow the question quite took me by surprise. If I have a baby tom, I am sure no one is going to question me that. And I said the same thing to her. The very thought of it, of having some one to trot on my heels when I go to make breakfast filled me with love. So much love that I clearly looked past his poop.

    We all change for the ones we love, don’t we? Kisses to Barl.

    • sarah says:

      oh yes for sure…I must say though the poo scooping still turns my stomach…I have to breathe in way before and then not breathe til the bag is in the rubbish…most of the time though the kiddos do it…I trained them very well in this x

  11. alison says:

    Non shedding. The key words here. I have no choice but to live with Bella, the shedding RSPCA graduate. I’ve done my bit for society by living with this cat, nurturing her damaged emotions, or whatever that makes her a nutbag and strategically planning her home vet consultations.


    • sarah says:

      you certainly sound as if you have done Alison!

      the shedding would drive me nuts…it’s bad enough Barley’s muddy pawprints on the white sofa lol!! xx

  12. Robyn says:

    You had me tempted for a while . . . I started to do research and talk to people with dogs. Then I remembered my golden rule, following having first one baby and then twins, to have “NOTHING ELSE THAT POOS”. But I’m still tempted. Going to be strong though!

    • sarah says:

      oh I hear you but I must say it has been fabulous for our family and I REALLY wish we had a dog in our lives earlier…especially the kiddos, it’s been amazing watching them with him and taught them a lot…just sayin’ ;-)

  13. Best not say! says:

    We currently have a very well behaved 9 year old larger (alsatian sized) dog who is very good, my other half has owned her since a puppy and I’ve inherited her since we met 2 years ago. Wouldn’t want to be without he, apart from the smell!! However we are currently housesitting in a place with two little dogs and they are so naughty and badly trained that it has put me off ever getting another dog! Constantly whiney, go to the toilet everywhere and can’t be trusted near food. I had wanted a little pug but now I realise that there is a reason I leave all the dog stuff to my other half and I could quite happily not ever have a pet. I know that sounds bad but it’s probably better to learn the opposite lesson you did BEFORE getting a pet of my own!

    • sarah says:

      what!?? go to the toilet indoors?? and can’t be around food?? wow, that’s not so good….I wouldn’t like a dog like that around…Barley is a breeze, we’ve trained him though he still does go a bit crazy when rabbits are around…I don’t blame him for that really x

  14. Barley is absolutley gorgeous….adn I’m so pleased you found him. My children grew up with dogs…but after they all went to doggie heaven , my husband refused to have another …until last year!

    Boo is sitting on my knee at the computer as I write this – she’s a scruffy, furry faced black and silver terrier …a cross between a patterdale terrier adn a border terrier. All the family adore her!

  15. Happy Birthday Barley!
    I have a little dog named Maggie. She’s a Japanese Spitz x Pug and a real character. She’s very cheeky and I swear she can understand what I’m saying!
    Pet insurance is a great idea. One week after we brought Maggie home she fell/jumped off a wall and broke her foot which resulted in about a dozen visits to the vets (she wouldn’t stop running so we had to get her cast re-applied every few days) and a $2000+ vet bill.
    Lucky she’s was worth it but we’ve learnt our lesson and now have pet insurance.

  16. I have two cats: one that I nearly chose and one that chose me! I always said I didn’t want any pet because they are such a responsability, but here I have become the “cat lady” (sorry) and I can’t change anything, nor would I want to change anything!

    • sarah says:

      I think cat ladies have a few more than two don’t they?

      I am thinking of a cat too…x

  17. Candy says:

    Happy Birthday, BARLS, what a beautiful pup you are! Nothing like the love and total devotion of a dog. Sweet Sailor, my beautiful Mini Aussie, he filled my heart with total joy and happiness. I miss him terribly.

    • sarah says:

      Hello Candy

      Oh dear I am sorry to hear how much you miss your dog…I must say it has crossed my mind how I will be heartbroken if anything happens to him or when he goes… x

  18. Lidija says:

    Happy Birthday , Barley !
    Sending love and paw hugs from Morr ( my love and happiness )!

  19. Kathy S says:

    Hi, Oh yes our pets are a wonderful addition to a family….they become so much apart of our lives, I had always grown up with outdoor big dogs, but about 7 years ago my then gr 7 daughter ( now college graduate) wanted a small dog, she did a great job with her chihaha cross , taking her outside feeding & grooming her !! But now that my daughter has been away , this little dog has become my best pal , always greets me with a happy good morning, a happy hello &after work and evening visits ! Also this dog had puppies and my 82 year old dad got one of them and it is the best company in the world for him :)

    • sarah says:

      Hi Kathy, yes it’s been a great thing for our kiddos to learn how to take care of Barls…the bathing is a whole family affair! I love too how they fuss over him and care for his welfare…such a great thing to have as a life skill and definitely one my children would not have had…

      It’s so wonderful to come home to a happy dog x

  20. Sue says:

    Loved this as we have our much loved Cavachon who we also got at 8 weeks old. She is the most fun dog we have ever had. She will sit on our laps cuddling, bury herself in mounds of pillows, run at break neck speed, and loves everyone she meets. Barley is beautiful.

  21. Shar Y says:

    Happy Birthday, Barley! I just had one, too, so I knew we had to be soul mates! Could not live without a dog. Their unconditional love is the best thing in the whole world. No matter who doesn’t like me, I know tht they will. I currently have 2 standard poodles, Lola and Piper, and they are just real sweethearts. I have also had 2 Wiemaraners, and they two were just loves. I miss them every day. I think your Barls is just the cutest and only wish I lived near and could take care of him!! So glad to hear you have grown to love him so much!

    • sarah says:

      thanks Shar! I love the way they love! it’s been an amazing journey for me…I swear it has brought much to my life !

      yep he is very cute and we are short on dog sitters lol xxx

  22. dramaqueen75 says:

    Our family is besotted with out little Maltese x something pup. We had a shitzu x maltese who died at aged 14. He had been with our family from the toddler stage to teenage stage and was very loved. We waited a while unsure what to do as we didn’t want to by a pup that may have come from a puppy farm. In the end a friend of a friend found a puppy on the side of the highway – very small, unregistered, too young to have even been microchipped. Enquiries as to where he may have come from had led nowhere. Was there anyone out there who might be interested in taking him rather than send him to the pound?

    Well, we were ready and said of course, yes! He is an adorable little guy and I guess he is a rescue pup really! We named him Clancy after Clancy of the Overflow as he was found in the country.

    As for pet insurance – well, I am glad we have it as he needed knee surgery last week after somehow managing to tear his growth plate from the patella. So far it has cost $4000 – we will get 80% back from the insurance company…eventually. I have been told it can take 4-6 weeks. Finding that kind of money up front is very difficult. I’ve maxed out everything and am desperate for the refund but the wheels of insurance companies turn very slowly. I am glad we had the pet insurance but there must be a better way?

    • sarah says:

      Yes I hear you on the slow turning wheels, I hope you get your money soon. Wow to a $4000 bill that is huge!

      What a lovely story regarding your rescue, unbelievable that anyone could do that…thanks for sharing x

  23. Aisling says:

    Check hosw barls is around cats before you get one. We have two cats and then bought two dogs. The dogs are wheaten terriers and were about 2 yrs old whien we got them. Unfortunately i didnt realise wheatens love cats …. For lunch! The cats have found a safe place under the deck but dont come inside and i dread to think what would happen if the dogs caught one (dh only just rescued one of the cats when we first got the dogs – he found the cat being pulled with a dog on each end!

    My dogs have just developed a very bad habit of bringing in a bone from outside undetected. The first time they buried a very smelly one down the back of our bed – we couldnt figure out where the smell was coming from! We disinfected it etc and a couple of days later i went into the room to find they had “dug up” the bed looking for it! They are strictly anot allowed on the beds! Yesterday i discovered one down the back of a sofa we have in the back hall…

    Your article made me think that i must get pet insurance…

    • sarah says:

      wow how interesting re the bed burying!! Barley is seriously into digging and burying, like sometimes his digging is full-on….I am NOT liking the sound of a bone down the end of my bed lol!

      hmmm to the cat thing, yes obviously we will have to look into it a lot more than just think about it.

      thanks Aisling x

  24. Kathryn says:

    Hi Sarah I have two spoodles(cockers spaniels poodles crosses) Babs & Ches both 13 and a Moodle called Scampi Jo (5yo) and they all have a ball chasing lizards, (rarely do they catch them) flopping on the couch and sharing our day to day lives. When Ches knows his timing is right, he does laps of the house too and finishes with wheelies on the bed (very naughty but addorable for a dog who is a grandpa in dog years 13 x 7= 91yo, ) He is my shadow. I love them to bits along with Marbles the 13 yo cat who mooches in & out when she feels like it. Have a great day with Barls in the sunshine.

  25. Kirsty says:

    So cute Sarah. Thank you for adopting and not supporting breeders! :) You did a wonderful thing!

    • I find this a very odd comment Kirsty. Why wouldn’t anyone support breeders as well as rescue?? Whether they are purebred or designer dog breeders, most breeders are well intentioned in breed/line improvement, responsible and offer guarantees of health and welfare for puppies as well as endless support and advice with new owners -ensuring owning a dog is an absolute pleasure.

      • Kirsty says:

        As it stands at the moment there are far more dogs than there are people willing to own them. Adopting from a shelter saves a dogs life, it means that that dog doesn’t get killed because no ones willing to own it. Our shelters in Australia or even world wide I should say are absolutely over-run and as such most can not afford a no-kill policy. Thus when you support breeders you’re paying them to breed even more dogs and killing shelter dogs chances. There are far too many dogs that are homeless it’s absolutely disgusting that people are breeding more for profit.

        • My apologies Sarah, but I feel that I must respond to my actions being labelled as disgusting.
          Kirsty, I am a breeder. I am a member of Dogs NSW. I do make a small profit from breeding my dogs that I have invested far more time in, than any purchase price would ever cover. All potential owners of my pups are heavily screened for appropriateness. My new owners are of a calibre that would come firstly to myself with an issue that I could help correct, and if it is an insurmountable problem (such as ill health of the owner) my breed club has its own rescue program that would rehome the dog. I seek to ensure that my puppy owners are extremely happy with their new little mate. My mother and sister both adopted rescue dogs, I have nothing against looking for a pet who might be right from a shelter, you can get lucky, but not always. Rescue dogs are not for everyone. Many dogs in shelters are boisterous teenagers, not puppies where you can train from the start, and have been surrendered due to behavioural and social problems that have overwhelmed their owners, some are surrendered as the owners just do not have secure yards. Often they require very experienced dog handlers to manage or retrain them. Now this is hard- some dogs are indeed menaces and do require euthanising, they are unpredictable and dangerous and have no place in society. You seem to have overlooked the fact that it is not responsible breeders ( and I am certainly not including puppy farmers in that category) who are perpetuating these problems, but rather it is impulsive, irresponsible pet owners with a lack of education in dog or pet ownership and training who are surrendering. The problem could be greatly reduced with new owners investing far more than simply the purchase price into a pet. Pets require quality food, training, socialising, neutering if not owned by someone pursuing breeding and the list could go on. I believe that pet ownership education(-perhaps compulsory puppy schooling!) is the key to stamping out this shelter overload not ending the breeding of quality animals so that shelter dogs are your only choice!

          • sarah says:

            thanks for your informed and respectful comment Jodie


          • Kirsty says:

            Don’t get me wrong here Jodie, my comments are not of a personal nature and I’d hate for you to take them that way. I’m also not likening your practice to that of puppy farmers which was what I was describing as “disgusting”. I appreciate the fact that licensed breeders care greatly for their dogs and often do their best to find the best homes. All that is great but it DOES add to the overpopulation problem we are now facing. Which I am extremely opposed to. I will not value the life of a purebred puppy over that of a shelter dog. I see purebreeds in shelters all the time too. You can get what you want from a rescue dog without adding to the problem. Yes some dogs are not able to be rehomed due to behavioral issues but those dogs never make the adoption list anyway. I also don’t think breeding itself is ok. But as I said this is not a personal attack on you. I’ve clearly offended you with my beliefs but please understand that my issue is with the problem and doing what we can to fix it.

  26. yep, i am a craaazzy dog lady! you can’t turn your back on food in this house either, they’ll find their way onto the coffee table or dining table, cheeky buggars, and we do get the odd mistakes happen- more when we have puppies of course!!