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Tim Richards
Freelance Writer

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Farewell to a (Feline) Business Associate
Rachel's List
, 22 January 2016

"A lot has been written about companion animals now being treated as members of the family. Thatís true. But as a freelance writer, Petra was more than that. She was my business associate. Weíd rescued her from North Melbourneís Lort Smith Animal Hospital in the same week that Iíd begun freelancing. Whatever the reason, the cat soon became a trusted companion in my home office, and an essential part of my work routine..."

Saying goodbye to my late cat and "business associate" in my home office

[Read the full article here]

Roam or Stay Home?
Pet Living, Winter 2011

"To allow outside, or not to allow outside? Thatís become the question in recent years, as cat owners weigh up the health risks of open access to the outside world, against the undoubted enjoyment a cat receives from exploring and hunting. So whatís the answer? Does it come down to your catís personality type? After all, many believe that some cats are born either homebodies or outdoor explorers."

Discussing whether cats should be kept indoors or allowed outdoors.
Spring Clean / The Sensitive Type
Pet Living, Spring 2011

"Cats present their own spring challenges, particularly in the form of shedding. As the weather warms up, their thick winter coat begins to thin out, leaving behind a lot of stray fur..."

Learning how to get your pet in shape for spring, and combatting pet allergies.
Animal Testing: Exploitation or Necessity?
Adore: A New Breed, March 2007

"Animal testing, as part of scientific research, is a topic thatís usually out of sight and out of mind. We have a vague impression that it's going on, somewhere, but assume that itís limited only to essential medical research, and is tightly controlled by benign government agencies and legislation. But how accurate is this picture?"

An investigation of the complex issues surrounding animal testing.
Summer Racing
Adore: A New Breed, December 2006

"Next to the pub lives a very special citizen, renowned by locals, a sign announcing his existence to all who pass by. The name of this esteemed retiree is Rogan Josh, and heís the horse who won the 1999 Melbourne Cup. Could there be any better proof of our love affair with race horses? Thereís a great deal of sentiment for the champions of the turf."

A look at the colour and variety of horse racing events in the summer months.
Petra Takes to the High Life
Your Life, October 2006

"My cat may not look like Albert Einstein, but in her own quiet way sheís constructing a theory to explain the universe. You can see her at it, perched at the window, peering out at a dramatic world of buildings, cars, trams and people... and a number of tempting pigeons on the rooftops opposite. 'Why is it so?' you can sense her thinking."

Discusses how to successfully match pet ownership with apartment living.
Walking Ella
Adore: A New Breed, September 2006

"Letís be honest: as much as we love our pets, we all have times when the relationship is a bit fraught. But there are degrees of difficulty. Ella is in a class of her own. A compact dynamo driven by her hunting instincts and overly fond of lunching on dead creatures, her colourful escapades drive Robert to distraction."

An interview with novelist Robert Drewe, as he talks about his dog Ella and their sometimes difficult relationship.
For Health's Sake
Adore: A New Breed, June 2006

"Whether a pet has sensed a gloomy mood and is sticking close by in response, or is simply bouncing around the house in a display of crazy critter antics, people with pets know how their animal companions can bring comfort, break a grim mood or provide a moment of escape from the troubles of the human world."

Explores the health bonuses connected with companion animals.
While Away
Adore: A New Breed, March 2006

"There are boarding facilities catering for every budget. Some classy pet hotels even offer private suites complete with TV, beds and bedding. As always, what you get relates to what youíre prepared to pay; but itís important not to be so dazzled by extras that you neglect to check the basics."

Investigates pet boarding options for owners going on vacation.
Separation Anxiety
Adore: A New Breed, March 2006

"Petra is going into a cattery for her first long-term separation from us. Will she suffer from separation anxiety? I guess itís too early to say. Will we suffer from separation anxiety? Yep, big time. In fact, Iíve already started. ĎWill she be OK?í I ask my wife pitifully."

Examines how both animals and owners suffer when separated, and what to do about it.
Mates for Life?
Adore: A New Breed, March 2006

"The Turtle Dove has been the poster boy (or girl) for loyal, lifelong love, the sort of love weíd like to find ourselves. And this came about because nature-lovers observed that certain birds appeared to mate for life. But with the aid of DNA testing and careful observation, scientists are now revealing the truth behind the cosy image of Mr and Mrs Swan at home with the kids."

An exposť of the myth that turtle doves and other birds form unbreakable lifelong bonds.
Mirror Image
Adore: A New Breed, December 2005

"The funniest thing is what the pet owners donít see: the similarities between themselves and their furry charges. Itís what makes us laugh when we encounter an elegant curly-headed lady out with her similarly coiffed Poodle; or a relaxed, rumpled young guy with his lolloping Labrador. The supposed resemblance of owners and pets has made its way into popular culture. But is it true?"

Do owners really look like their pets? The truth is finally revealed.
Chit Chat
Adore: A New Breed, December 2005

"Barney was a very bad boy. The naughty British resident had been placed in solitary confinement after swearing at a mayoress, a lady vicar and two police officers in the town of Nuneaton. Itís a fair cop, you think? Well, yes and no. For Barney is a blue and gold Macaw, once owned by a truck driver. Profanity aside, what do we know about the gentle art of teaching birds to talk?"

How to teach birds to talk, with advice from experts.
Water Safe
Adore: A New Breed, December 2005

"Itís summer, and the living is easy. Long days are spent at the beach or by the pool, with dogs joining in the aquatic activity. But contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers. Their ability depends on breed, age and size, even hairiness: Old English Sheepdogs, for example, can become weighed down by their coats once wet. So itís little wonder that every year, many dogs drown."

Looks at water safety for dogs, covering both problems and solutions.
Cat Speak
Pet New Zealand, September 2004

"Thereís nothing more pleasing to the cat owner than hearing a feline companion vibrate with contentment. Just anticipating a purr is enough motivation to stroke a cat. But what exactly is this rumble from within? And does it always signal a happy cat?"

Examines the mysterious mechanism of a cat's purr, with comments from owners.

On the Catwalk
Melbourne Magazine, April 2004

"What goes up, must come down. Unfortunately, itís a saying that might apply to the feline population of the Melbourne CBD. As more cats take up residence in city apartment towers, thereís a greater risk of injury when falling from a height."

The risks and solutions for people keeping cats in high-rise apartments. 

Cheap and Cheerful Cat Toys
Pet New Zealand, March 2004

"They say kids are exhausting. Itís true, of course, but have you ever had an indoor cat or kitten? Like kids, they have high energy levels and a low boredom threshold. And the last thing you want is a bored kitty, amusing itself by chewing your shoes and scratching the sofa."

A practical piece on how to create low-cost playthings for a cat.


This page contains examples of my writing about pets. Each entry includes a sample paragraph, and indications of available rights.

If you'd like to republish one of these pieces, or would like a new arts piece, please get in touch via the contacts below.

All articles in this archive are available for republication (fee to be negotiated). Articles can be rewritten to meet your style or length requirements. Please contact me by email with your query.

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