The Curious Incident of a Dog in my Study


Al is a rescue dog. A kelpie staffie cross with severe anxiety issues who is with me when I write.

Every day.

He is a companion, a paper shredder, a muse and a furry reminder to take a break.

No matter how early in the morning or late at night I head to my study, he drudges behind me and sits under the desk or finds a comfortable armchair to nap in while I type.

‘How ya doin’ there mate?’ I glance up from my keyboard.

Al opens one eye. I continue typing. The tap, tap lulls him back to sleep.

Three hundred words later, he plods up to my chair and gingerly places a paw on my knee.

‘You wanna go outside, fella?’

He keeps his paw on my knee.

‘Let me finish this paragraph,’ I tell him and keep typing.


He stretches his paw until it rests on my keyboard. The space bar repeats across my page.

‘Shit, Al!’

I fix the gap in the middle of my sentence and keep typing.

His paw rises again. I lift the keyboard before he hits another key.

‘Al, let me finish.’

He sits upright, back straight, his eyes quizzing my actions.

‘I’m coming.’

He waits.

I type.

‘Just a little longer and I’ll hit 1,000 words. Just another minute’.

He looks up at me. The half moon of dark fur above his eyes gives him eyebrows that make him look woeful, begging — irresistible.

‘Okay, okay.’

I rest a hand on his the top of his head and keep typing one-handed.

He goes to lift his paw.

I stand. Time to leave the words.

I grab his lead and together we race across the road to the park.  He runs ahead. I call his name and he bounds back to me, his mouth turned up at the corners as if he is smiling. It makes me laugh and I forget all about my words.

When I sit back at my writing desk I am refreshed. A break was exactly what I needed.

Al coils his body on a different chair this time. He pushes against the pillow until it becomes a shape he likes.

He looks at me as if to say — now you can write.

Al will be on stage with his author at Writers in the Park on Sept 27 at 1 pm. Bring your own dog to Centennial Park in Sydney to meet and listen to writers at the free festival.

Full program available here at Writers in the Park











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