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11 years of Dozer! | RecipeTin Eats

It’s Dozer’s 11th birthday today! Take a trip down memory lane as we look back over the last 11 years of Life of Dozer. From discount dog to cover boy, his life has been as full as ….. well, his tummy. 😂

If you look closely, you’ll spy his pink tongue behind the candles – he’s mid lick!! Cheeky bugger!
Dozer’s 11th birthday pupcakes!

11 years with Dozer! How time has flown!

In recent years, I’ve shared dog friendly cakes and cupcakes for Dozer’s birthday. This year, I thought it might be fun to do something a little different and share a look-back over the last 11 years of Dozer’s life! Are you ready?? Here we go!

Finding Dozer – Bargain of my life

What, I never told you I got him for half price??? WHAT A BARGAIN! 🙌🏻

Yes, the day I got Dozer was one of the best days of my life. And it should only be because that was the day I found Dozer, but it’s not. It’s also because I got him for 50% off. 😂 I’m almost ashamed at how delirious I was. I couldn’t believe my luck!

In case you are wondering – he was discounted because he was the last puppy left and the breeder wanted to move him on. He will always be the bargain of my life!

The thrill didn’t last for long though when he proceeded to throw up in the car for the entire 90 minute drive home….

Settling in

Ahh, memories of Dozer’s first year! It’s hard to believe that this fur ball who has now clearly established himself as the king of the house was once so shy he’d sleep with his head buried in cushions…..

Suffice to say his shyness rapidly vanished as he made himself at home. Kleenex puppy!

And one of my favourite photos of puppy Dozer – the first day I took him down to the beach.

Growing up

My first memory of Dozer before he even turned 1? Outgrowing my zippy little convertible, a hangover from my corporate days.

I had such dreams of zipping around town with the roof down, my hair billowing gracefully in the wind and Dozer perched up in the seat beside me. What a vision!

Well, that never eventuated. He grew so big before he turned 1, he couldn’t fit in the car seat. Also, he also hated the wind in his eyes. So when I put the top down he’d curl up tightly in the seat, head buried in his paws, looking completely miserable.

So that dream was shot down pretty fast. 🤣

So, I downgraded and upsized my car. Enough room for a growing Dozer and his mates!

Not a cute cuddler

As he grew into his giant paws and became a man-dog, it became apparent that he was not going to be one of those cuddly, chilled out Goldies. Nope. He was high energy, living life to the max!

You wouldn’t catch me jumping off jetties into murky waters, but he never hesitates. Those darn fish! He just can’t resist them!

Ah yes, and tug of war. His favourite game!

Yep, he’s definitely at his happiest when he’s out and about! (Or eating).

Dozer smiling Port Stephens May 2019


But with high energy comes injuries. In Dozer’s case, regularly cutting his paw pads on oyster shells littered on the shore that he’d sprint across madly, truly believing that he had a real chance of catching that seagull.

But the only thing he’d take home was shredded paws.

Keeping his cuts clean of dirt was somewhat of a challenge – YOU try to explain to Dozer not to run around a muddy yard when he has bandaids on! I resorted to various methods – socks. And cling wrap, so it seems.🤣

Over the years he’s had more than his share of injuries which comes with a highly active dog. Joint issues, pulled muscles, strained back, knee replacement. That one was not fun – a big surgery and 3 month of keeping him quiet. Quite a challenge for Dozer!

The harness in the photo above was for me to support him so he could walk outside to go to the toilet.

The other challenge was the head cone which is used to stop dogs from licking wounds. Dozer, being the big buff-head that he is, just couldn’t deal with a giant flappy plastic cone around his head. So I ended up resorting to a blow-up ring which he found much more comfortable with the added bonus of amusement for me.

Mind you, he had the last laugh. He totally embraced it:

I’m thankful he’s managed to come back from all of these injuries and he’s in fine, fit form at 11! I mean, does this look like a senior citizen to you??

Ridiculous outfits

Everybody knows that Dozer’s had me wrapped around his paw since the day I got him. But with love comes laughter – and he’s provided plenty of that over the years with the various outfits he’s been squeezed into!

Which one is your favourite??

Dozer golden retriever Mother's Day tux flowers

Me? It’s hard to go past the Dozer tux shot. I mean – come on!!! Look at him. ADORABLE.

On the job

And a look-back on Dozer’s past 11 years would not be complete without snippets of his life on the job! Squeezing himself under tables laden with food I’m photographing……particularly alarming given his size. If he lifted his head, those meatballs would go flying!!

He lifted his head and the meatballs went flying.......

And when I say “squeezing himself under tables”, I mean it. Look at him, squished under this tiny table. Does he not understand his size???

And as my confidence in photography grew and I moved into videos, I invested in more equipment. More valuable equipment for Dozer to squeeze himself under and around.

It shocks me that we’ve had no equipment casualties due to Dozer. SHOCKS me.

Cover boy!

A DOG on the cover of a cookbook??? I am not sure my publisher, Ingrid, ever envisioned her career would involve working with an author who insisted on her dog being on the cover. 😂

Dinner cookbook by Nagi Maehashi from RecipeTin Eats
Cover of the Australian/NZ edition

As crazy as it may sound, the thought of making a cookbook without Dozer (heavily) featured was never even a consideration. Not just because I am a crazy dog lady (note singular, not plural), but also because he is part of the identity of this website and has been by my side since the day I created RecipeTin Eats. The “Life of Dozer” section has appeared in every post I have published since 2016, pursuant to demand by readers for regular Dozer updates. And he was the one constant throughout the seemingly endless months of late nights working on the cookbook.

And thus, it is fitting that he be by my side on the cover, and plastered on big light walls in shopping centres across Australia!!

Nagi Dozer lightwave Big W book singing Warringah Mall

I especially love that no one knows how to pronounce my name. So when I went into shops, I was being stopped by people who exclaimed “Oh! You’re Dozer’s mum!” 😂 I’ll take that!!

Oh, also, let’s not forget that time he became a POSTER boy too – the proudest moment of his life!! (And let’s all pretend that the poster is not on a spider-web covered stinky doggie poo bin).

Post of Dozer on dog poo garbage bin

He did have one or two moments in the media though, without poo bins prominently featured……😂

Ah Dozer! Who would’ve thought a discount dog would have such experiences!!!

Happy 11th birthday Dozer!

You were a seriously adorable puppy, but I love you more today than I ever have.

You will always be the bargain of my lifetime. I know that my business – this website, my cookbook – would not be what it is if it weren’t for you being such an integral part of it.

Plus, you just make life fun and happy!

I was going to say that I’ll do something special for your birthday day. But honestly, it’s like every day is your birthday. It’s not possible for me to hug you more, to give you more treats, more bites of my own meals, give you tastier food or take you out to play more.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy birthday Dozer! ~ Nagi x

Nagi hugging Dozer 11th birthday

OK Dozer. Go for it!!!

In case you are wondering what we’re celebrating Dozer’s 11th birthday with – it’s Pupcakes, with a peanut butter flavour that dogs are made for! Swirled up with fluffy doggy-friendly “frosting”.

Pupcakes for Dozer's 11th birthday
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