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Real Man at Lunch – George Clooney and the Blue Heeler

By Andrew Klein

There I was at Oakleigh. An area that has a mixed community of Greek, Maltese and Asian families with plenty of coffee shops and places to eat.

I had my faithful Labrador, Donna by my side and she really is a diplomat. If you ever want to break that superficial ice that seems to separate people from each other, have your dog along to act as interpreter. They make friends easier and make it possible to have some great talks with people that otherwise would not have happened.

Sitting in the ‘Souvlaki Restaurant’ with my Donna, relaxing, as we had covered some distance examining the many changes on the area that have occurred there since I was there last so many years ago attending a funeral.

Today had been another one of those days and I had driven a friend to a funeral and after making sure everything was organized, there was time to fill.

It was lunch time and I could see the surrounding places slowly fill with people. Office staff going for the more formal luncheons carrying their iPads and other communication equipment, hurried discussions about deals being done, deals pending and where to get good advice to achieve better deals.

Personally, I preferred the little Souvlaki place that had seats on the outside and was happy to serve both Donna and I.

Donna was delighted to have her own version of Souvlaki, but then there is little difference between a Labrador and food or a carpet and a vacuum cleaner. They go hand in hand.

Then an elderly couple sat a few tables away, a lovely old Greek couple. He was fussing over his wife as she seemed a little unsteady on her feet and, once she was seated, he ordered for both and glanced at the Greek newspapers that were freely supplied by the venue.

Then the ‘lads’ arrived. Five rather solid men that, according to the badges they wore, worked on motor cars. Greetings were exchanged and the largest of them, spiky haired and ear rings made friends with Donna straight away.

He laughed as I explained the reasons for Donna wearing a ‘pink collar ‘ (to make her appear less aggressive) and he burst out laughing, gently taking Donna’s head in his big hands and whilst rubbing behind her ears said, “That’s no killer, she is a Daddy’s girl, what a cutey.“

The other guys joined in and within minutes we were talking about dogs. Not hunting dogs, man eating guard dogs, but members of their families.

The skinny guy on the right laughed and said,”Fuck talking about the kids, here, look at this, she is mine. Her head is massive but you should see her with the kids .“ At the same time, he produced his iPhone and was passing it around showing pictures of what could have been ‘Cujo‘ but was a much-loved family dog. Within seconds of the iPhone where being passed around, each with a picture of the ‘dog’ in the life of that man and his family.

They talked about the problems presented by various toys, how balls were torn apart and how the cat was allowed to get away with murder.

So many men, each with a dog in his life. Each of them happily sharing the treasured shots of their beloved pet.

“My Mrs told me she was worried about my blue heeler cross because he was getting grey hairs and she says to me to take him to the vet. I said there is nothing wrong with Bluey, he is beginning to look distinguished. Just think about George Clooney and his grey hairs. Well, that calmed her concerns and Bluey was saved from a trip to the vet.”

Laughter filled the little café as the men discussed a dog looking like George Clooney and keeping the wife happy.

Their lunches arrived and in no time, Donna’s new friend offered to share his Souvlaki with her and you could see the others guys fishing for little treats to pass to her. I politely refused on her behalf because Labradors do get fat quickly if allowed to eat whenever the option arises.

It was time for us to leave and though it was really my problem to cause as little disturbance to their meal as possible, the ‘lads‘ were concerned about Donna being able to leave in comfort and so they moved their chairs, neglected their meals and said good bye to us both.

So, if you ever wonder what ‘real men‘ talk about whilst having lunch, think about George Clooney and his distinguished grey hairs and how that hair saved bluey, the blue heeler from a visit to the vet. Even a dog can look like George Clooney and his ‘Mum’ will love his grey hairs.

Wishing you and your much-loved pets a wonderful week.


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  1. Anne Naomi Byam

    A totally wonderful story … thank you Andrew. A very refreshing yarn that many could and should take hope from… not to mention positive feelings and respect for others.

    A good look to the brighter sides of life.

  2. Patricia

    What a lovely story. It is so nice to read an uplifting, positive, piece for a change. It is true that dogs are the greatest ice breakers and that people, mostly, love their dogs and treat them as a member of the family, and also that the cat/s can get away with murder, and anything else they want to, but the dog is required to toe the line, well it is that way in my household of three cats and one dog. My girl knows that she is at the bottom of the pecking order and she is happy with that.

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