I’m out and about with Russ the Bus, which is uber-exciting! I’m missing my own pooch, so it’s a perfect time to cue a huge round of barking to welcome back…
Today’s hounds are Maverick (the sook) and Ralph (AKA Destructo), assistants to Australian picture book author Kellie Byrnes.
About Maverick and Ralph
Age: Maverick just turned 11 years and Ralph is almost 9.
Breed (or best guess): Maverick is a Border Collie x Heeler (with a mixture of other things thrown in, particularly Huntaway, Kellie thinks).
Ralph is a Kelpie x Blue Heeler (with perhaps some Belgian Shepherd in the mix, Kellie thinks, based on his big thick lion’s mane!).
Assistant to: Author Kellie Byrnes.
Kellie Byrnes is a children’s author, freelance writer, blogger, book reviewer and presenter. Her debut picture book, Cloud Conductor, was released in May 2018, and her next picture book, Yes! No. will be published in late 2019. Kellie also writes early readers and junior fiction novels, and is slowly working her way up to longer works!
Help or hindrance?
“The dogs both help and hinder me in my writing,” says Kellie.
“As for helping, I come up with most of my story ideas and plot devices when I’m out walking them (many include dogs, of course!). If I’m having a problem with a manuscript, I take the boys for a walk and have usually sorted it out by the time I get back.
“I find that having a break from work, and hanging out and playing with them, clears my head and improves my mood, too. They’re always happy and loving, and it’s impossible to be cranky or stressed when they’re around, being playful and cheeky!
“Something that’s both a help and a hindrance is when I’m working on my computer at night and they’re inside, and think I should finish. If I haven’t stopped to give them attention after a while, they take it in turns coming into the office and bumping my elbow so that I can’t type, or pushing their heads into my lap and staring at me.
“Ralph also likes to give me a bit of a soft nip on the arm if I still don’t get the hint, or he ‘talks’ to me, making short little sighing, yipping sounds which get increasingly louder over time! Maverick also does a lot of sighing, sitting right at my feet, if I don’t get up!
“All of this distraction is a help though, too, because the dogs remind me to stretch and have a break and hang out with them more.”
Fave toys and games: Maverick’s favourite toy is a ball: “Any ball,” says Kellie, “as long as someone is throwing it to him. This is his favourite game, along with being chased, and wrestling!
“And since he’s a complete sook, he will take being patted and cuddled for hours on end. He thinks he is a lap dog, even though he’s 30 kgs. He still seems like a puppy in many ways!
Ralph’s favourite game used to be chasing after balls too, but he has bad knees now, so he’s not allowed. “He adores being given toys to tear apart though,” says Kellie. “His nickname is Destructo. Thankfully he is well behaved and doesn’t try to tear apart other things in the house (god help him if he touched my books!).
“Having said that though, when I bring home stuffed toys or puppets to use at school visits, and he sees them, he does everything he can to let me know he wants them!”