A Tribute to Grubie

An internationally loved canine superstar!

Grubie was nearly 12 years old when she died. We got her as a puppy from a pet shop and she was the cutest little strawberry blonde Cavoodle! She was so small she fit into the palm of Michael’s hand. Grubie was always a ‘sniffer dog’, interested in following smells and hunting. She was really obedient until she was about 18 months old. We can remember the exact day she decided that she was in charge and didn’t need to obey if she didn’t want to. We were walking along the Torrens behind Bonython Park when she saw some ducks. We said “No, Grubie! Here!” She looked at us and thought about obeying, then looked back at the ducks - and took off!

Another time we were walking along the beach at West Beach near the river outlet, when she got a whiff of the horses and she was off! She’s so fast and it took us ages to catch up with her. Needless to say, most of Grubie’s walks from then on were with her on a lead, so we could pretend we had at least some measure of control!

When we were in Adelaide, her favourite summer activity was “fishing” and going to the beach. We’d take her to West Beach, get onto the beach and let her off the lead and she would bolt for the water. Then she would wade around in the shallows, looking for the little fingerling fish. When she spotted them she’d bound through the water like a kangaroo, trying to chase them. Grubie made lots of people on the beach laugh with her funny actions. She never caught any fish, but like a true fisherman she knew the places where they were likely to be and she’d run ahead of us up the beach to her next ‘fishing hole’.

While she was a very friendly dog to people and other animals, she had her favourite people that she knew well, people who came to Woolly’s Bar & Grill (our backyard). She also had her doggie friends, Dolly and Winnie. Her favourite place in our backyard was the bar ledge at Wooly’s Bar and Grill, where she used to like to lie and help Michael work from home.

This little dog got very good at hunting, often catching fruit rats as well as hunting possums and lizards, with less success. She also liked rabbits and has been successful in catching quite a few. When in Europe she expanded her hunting to include squirrels – she broke a lead chasing one once - and hedgehogs, but we made sure she never got any. During her life Grubie got up close and personal with many larger animals – cows, goats, camels, donkeys and horses provided her with great entertainment. She was fascinated.

This ‘hunting gene’ got Grubie in quite a bit of trouble. She had some very funny experiences that still make us laugh. One day we were walking her in Heywood Park, not far from our home, when she spotted a possum on the ground. It ran into a hollow tree, up the inside of the trunk and popped out along a branch. Would you believe that Grubie followed! Luckily she stopped when she saw the branch and stayed in the opening, about 20 feet off the ground. It was then too steep for her to turn around and come down – she would have fallen. Michael drove home and got the extension ladder, but even that was too short. Neighbours eventually helped us get her down. It would have made a great photo, Grubie with her head poking out of a tree hollow 20 feet in the air, but we were too stressed at the time to think of it. We’ve heard of cats getting stuck up a tree, but never a dog!

On March 1st 2017 we left Adelaide for Europe. Grubie joined us on March 10th after being looked after by Lindy and JB.  We had spent a couple of months training her to like her cage, ready for the plane trip. We also trained her to be well mannered in coffee shops and restaurants, ready for France. We picked her up at Charles de Gaulle and she was very excited to see us, but not stressed at all.

Then began her 3-and-a-bit years of a European adventure. During this time she visited 10 countries and expanded her transport use. She has been on planes, trams, trains, buses, ferries, speedboats, canal boats, escalators, elevators and of course a variety of cars and vans. We also think she’s done about 3000km in her bike trailer. Nothing fazed her, although she did look a bit green when racing around Lake Como on the speedboat.

Grubie began her Europen adventures with a trip to the Champagne region. We stayed at a pet-friendly AirBnB in the vineyards. They had chooks and geese in a pen close to our door and poor Grubie was desperate to get one. Eventually it just got too much and she broke her lead and got into the chook yard. Michael was running around after her, slipping in the mud, with geese honking furiously and trying to bite him on the arse. When he finally did a sliding rugby tackle in the muddy yard and caught her, Grubie had a mouthful of feathers and one chook was high up in a hedge.  Funniest thing ever!

One of the first things we needed to do after Grubie arrived in France, was to get her a Pet Passport, which is compulsory in Europe. This looks like a passport but is really more a proof of ownership & a health record. It records her microchip, all her vaccinations and the rabies effectiveness test etc. You must present it at any vet you go to all across Europe. It can also be requested when you cross borders, such as when she went to Morocco and returned to Spain.

Grubie has met many new people in her travels and remembers people she has met before. She has a particular fondness for serving staff in restaurants, as they’re the ones who bring her food and water.

She gave us some great laughs, as well as being wonderful company. Once, in the Italian Lakes area we were on a ferry and she was growling at something behind us. We thought she was growling at a jet ski (she hates them) but then she got louder and it became apparent that she was growling at a woman’s fluffy black slip-ons, thinking that they were a cat! It was very embarrassing, as people were laughing and pointing at her.

Another time she was chasing ducks and jumped into a deep canal covered in weed, thinking it was grass. Thank goodness we had her on a lead and could fish her out. She looked so shocked!

Grubie was a great art lover. Of course, she wasn’t allowed in museums and galleries but she loved ‘street art’, the statues throughout villages and cities. She also appreciated old architecture, especially the basements. She frequently stuck her head in the basement air-holes to see what might be down there.

Grubie also enjoyed many a wine tasting. Not actually tasting, but smelling the caves and cellars was an enjoyable activity for her.

Of course, given all the FaceBook and Blog photos, you would know that Grubie is a supermodel. She will look at the camera when asked and if you put something such as sunglasses on her, she won’t move. She posed for photos all over Europe – and not just by us! When we were in Barcelona she got to experience a real fashion shoot and to pose with the models.

Grubie, while very adaptable and flexible, had trained us into a pretty strict routine. Get up, go for a wee&poo walk – she never did either inside a camping ground – and then breakfast. If we were staying put, she’d go outside to watch the world for an hour or two, often placing herself in the middle of the camping road so anyone walking past had to stop and pat her. Then a little nap and a ‘stick’ – Dentastix were her favourite treat and her favourite toys were sticks and rocks – she was very low maintenance! A bike ride and lunch were next on the agenda. She had some non-negotiables, such as a treat after we left her alone for any length of time, to go shopping or out for the day. If we were travelling and started packing up, she was always first in – “you’re not leaving me behind”! All of this made her an incredibly easy travel companion. While on most days she could come with us and be a tourist, in the bigger cities when we wanted to go to museums and galleries, we could leave her at home in the camping car for up to 7 hours. We may have been able to leave her longer, but we never tried.

When we were in Adelaide Grubie went to the vet once a year, but Europe wasn’t so kind to her and we seemed to be always at the vet – a ticque, grass seeds in her paws, gastro from scavenging as we walked, and an operation for anal gland cancer.

In January 2020 she was diagnosed with a ‘heart cough’ and put on medication. This cleared up the fluid in her lungs, although it couldn’t do anything about her enlarged heart. She did very well for 5 months and then it all went pear-shaped within 24 hours. On Monday we all rode to the nearby village of La Tremblade for a walk around town and a coffee at the café. When we came home in the afternoon she didn’t demand a stick. She didn’t want any dinner and overnight she was uncomfortable and panting. As soon as the vet’s opened we got our friend Jasper to phone for an appointment and got one at 2 o’clock. At 11:30 she took a turn for the worse and was short of breath and couldn’t move. Several people from the campsite came over and Jasper and Laurent rang the vet to demand an urgent appointment, even though he was booked out. Pauline, bless her, dropped everything and immediately drove us to the vet and we asked for Grubie to be euthanised. By then she was in a very bad way and the vet took one look at her and did it immediately. He was very gentle and caring and we stayed with her while she went.

What a beautiful little dog she was, so relaxed but also bossy! So much fun! She was a wonderful companion and travel buddy. We all had a great life together and of course, we miss her dreadfully.