Tara, from “Gone with the Wind” to “Happy Friends”

My first dog, Tara, was one of a kind and with a name chosen from Gone With the Wind.

Do dogs grow up to mimic our appearances and personalities or do we, subconsciously, pick that one puppy who best resembles us?

When I first picked up the small, warm, brown pup, later named Tara, my first house-dog and a German Short-haired Pointer, she looked like a seal.

A seal that looks like a puppy

You know, the luscious, dark furred, round bottomed sea-creature with gleaming eyes and long whiskers. A puppy in a fur tuxedo.

I was not round-bottomed nor did I have whiskers 25 years ago. But Tara did and she also had honey-colored eyes and long ears, framing her face like well-set curls.

It’s all in the… eyebrows

Have you noticed how much a dog can communicate by just looking at you? Each facial expression, punctuated by those magical eyebrows, has a different meaning. Is a full sentence in its own right.

How they’re able to turn every situation in their favor?

So did Tara, just by using her eyebrows; bringing them together, pointing upwards, to created a vertical wrinkle between them. Or creased low over her eyes, deep in thought.

“Doing a PhD thesis on this ball in front of me. Care to help?” she’d often say…

Or by lifting them, curving them over her eyes, suddenly so big and innocent, this movement often combined with a small drop of drool in the corner of her mouth. “I trust you unconditionally to take care of my every need”, they’d say, while intentionally avoiding me.

“And I need a snack, right about now would be ideal.”

Or by just keeping her brows motionless, only her eyes rolling slowly underneath, left, right… watching me, studying me, persuading me…

“I know we did not play during the past hour. Do YOU know?”

Unconditional love

We surely mimicked each other, Tara and I, my heart joyful after hers.

She was always giving and loving, unknowingly fueling my love for animals; teaching me that unconditional love has no limits.

Tara, entering my life from Gone with the Wind to Happy Friends.

Our beloved Tara, German Shorthaired Pointer
Our beloved Tara

You might also enjoy reading about the silent dog heroes of war.

(October 2016)

My Top Five Heroines of all Time

top five heroines all time

Thinking of my top five heroines of all time I only had to look into my heart.

My Number One Heroine is my Mother

A woman of outstanding achievements and utmost kindness. You have to see know many people, from all walks of life, are happy to meet her although she is retired now (she worked as head nurse in the surgery department), and how warmly and highly they speak of her, of how she has helped them or, simply, of how much kindness she showed them. My Mom is my heroine, through all of her sacrifices – those I know of and those I don’t know, yet I wish I would so that they will not be forgotten.

My Number Two Heroine is my Amazing Teen Daughter

My daughter, for her outstanding courage, optimism and perseverance. To be a teenager in today’s über-technologized world, with so much pressure on all levels is far more challenging than it was, um, years ago, when it has been my turn to emerge from my chrysalis.

Yet my daughter’s courage gets her standing tall each day and, through her optimism, she discovers something to be grateful for each evening.

My Number Three Heroine is Agatha Christie

For her unique and never-ending literary flair and for her courage and determination. I first read her Autobiography in my teen years and again, at different stages of my life. She didn’t have it easy; it took years to publish her first novel and she had to balance her writing career with a tumultuous personal life. Yet her plots are complex, well-structured and her psychological insight so profound – I do admire her for her well organized mind. “When I grow up I want to be like Agatha Christie” 🙂

Top Five Heroines Time
Dame Agatha Christie as one of My Top Five Heroines of all Time

My Number Four Heroine is a fictional character

But which one?

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell?

Remarkable, one of the strongest and most memorable female charters of classic literature. Of course, one can admire her or find her fault, or both at the same time. I will always admire her spirit and will to stay alive, to keep her own safe, and to succeed. I was a teenager when I first read this book and Scarlett’s image has followed me well into my (early) adulthood. Perhaps, unknowingly, this is one of the reasons why historical fiction had always been an interest of mine. Mitchell painted in vivid colors the end of an era and the unrest of an emerging one.

We have all mourned the loss of a specific time in our lives, be it a childhood holiday, a ritual, or a state of spirit we can never return to. And especially now, living the Covid-19 Pandemic, we do say our goodbyes to an idyllic era during which rituals were in place, life followed its course, and traditions and values were well established. Much like in Gone With the Wind, we leave the gentle South behind.
What will tomorrow bring us?

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

Charming, intelligent and strong willed, Lizzie has caught my attention (and many late night reading hours) due to the question she rises for all of us. Can two such opposite personalities really find common ground and achieve happiness? And mostly, the question not answered by Austen (but the one I know I have at the back of my mind each time I read this book and looking for clues as to its answer): will they live together happily ever after?

It is a game of give and get, between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. Much like any relationship, isn’t it?

Claire Fraser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon?

Yes, she is smart and stubborn, but she is also brave, determined and has high personal values and for these qualities I do admire her. I admit having read the entire Outlander series published thus far and, at one stage, I honestly felt like setting camp outside Diana’s home, waiting for “Go Tell the Bees that I’m Gone” to be finished. I tried to imagine leading a life during the 18th century yet I could not see myself having the successful – although tumultuous – existence that Claire Fraser did. Nor could I leave my children behind.
Quite a few modern life necessities and, um, amenities, like chocolate, coffee and toilet paper, would certainly hold me from taking that leap, to say the least.

Temperance Brennan from Bones by Kathy Reichs?

More than once I admitted being hooked on Kathy Reichs’ books. If you are familiar with her novels and the TV series you will admit that the two heroines are different, although both equally strong and appealing and I admire them equally.

Tempe Brennan from the TV series is young, fierce and fearless, successful too, standing on her own two feet despite her young age. I admire her for that. I think that my younger self would have identified with her.

Tempe Brennan the book character is older, independent and equally successful, intelligent and with a sharp sense of humor, although she can get herself in (life-threatening) trouble. I can identify with her now, as a more seasoned reader and as a mother too. In some of the books Tempe’s daughter tags along and Tempe does an admiring job at handling her – and if you have teens in your life you know what I mean.

My Top Five Heroines of all Time
Kathy Reichs (left), author of Temperance Brennan series and Emily Deschanel (right) star of Bones, a TV show loosely adapted from Reichs’ series. My Top Five Heroines of all Time. Image source.

My Number Five Heroine…

Are the strong women. All strong women.

The women who had their heart shredded, and who learned from their past and moved on. Women who were able to leave all pain behind, and follow their road further, stronger and sure of themselves, yet not afraid to show their feelings and that they are vulnerable because they are humans . Women who know how much they are worth and who know when they make a mistake. Women who seize the moment and make the most of each day. Women who do not seek the spotlight, but demand respect. Honest women. Women who still share their heart and follow it.

Because the heart is at the center of life.

I do hope you enjoyed reading My Top Five Heroines of all Time.

Who do you admire?

From MyPuppyClub to Astro’s Adventures, a Journey of Sunday Blog Posts

Our beloved Tara, German Shorthaired Pointer

A lovely collaboration and friendship was born on Twitter. In July 2016 I met wonderful and talented Australian author Susan Day. Susan invited me to write a Guest Spot for her comprehensive blog Mypuppyclub  “all you need for a happy, healthy, well-trained dog!”

Patricia-Furstenberg for MyPuppyClub.net
Patricia-Furstenberg for MyPuppyClub.net

What started as one blog post soon turned into my Sunday Dog Tales column as I wrote a post each Sunday until the 29th of April! 86 posts 🙂

Starting with Sunday the 6th of May I will be moving over to Susan’s exciting blog Astro’s Adventures Book Club!

My very first post written for Mypuppyclub was Tara, From “Gone With the Wind” to “Happy Friends”. Here is my last post for Mypuppyclub:

Bailey the Sea Dog

(inspired by a bunch of dogs we saw during our holiday in Ballito, South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal North Coast)


In the little house with a brown gate, by the sea,

Lives Bailey the dog, his two brothers and one sister, Rea.

And two distant cousins, Scraps and Flea;

Six dogs and their owner – not me.

And if you think a home with six dogs is filled with glee,

Then you are… wrong. I know. Bailey told me.

a Journey of Sunday Blog Posts

In the house with a brown gate, by the sea,

Where six dogs live with their owner and nannie, Calliope,

Happy patter or paws, cheerful barks and… sticks from two trees

Are often seen and heard; as well as… balls; one, two, three.

For where six dogs live there ought to be some balls,

Some sticks to chew on and the rhythm of happy feet on wooden floors.

a Journey of Sunday Blog Posts

All day long Bailey, his sister and brothers, all six

Snooze in the sun, crawl to shade, bark and, occasionally, sneeze;

All along waiting for the hands of the clock to move past three:

The time when “daddy” comes home and they all go to swim in the sea.

All – meaning Bailey, the sea dog; the rest walk with dad, enjoying the view,

Run on the soft sand, fetch the ball and might, just might, jump a wave or two.

But Bailey! Every day he tries to become one with the sea.

White as the foam he is, restless like the waves he flees;

In and out of the swells Bailey jumps, spring, skips,

Although most of the time our brave dog swims licking his lips.

The cool waves, the blue sea, the pungent breeze

Is all he’s been dreaming of while snoozing at 30 Celsius degrees!

Bailey is in love, in love with the sea, the waves, the foam, and the winds

And all Bailey wants, is to swim in the blue deep, to surf the tides.

In and out he jumps; his tail is a flag, a rudder, a mast;

While his brothers chase the ball on the shore, Bailey is having a blast.

Only his sister, Rae, tries every now and then to bring him out of the waves;

You try to ask the swells to obey, the ocean to stand still and behave.

Bailey is one with the sea now; he is the jubilant spray atop the waves!

Thank you for reading!

You can find more poems like this one in my poetry books about dogs Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles and As Good As Gold, a dog’s life in poems both available through Amazon.

As good as gold - dog poems