The Greatest Gift; A Passionate Dad’s Tale

As part of the journey of writing my book and self-[ublishing I have shared parts of my story with the media and publications both in Australia where I live and overseas.  This is a story I had published in US on-line and print magazine “You And Your Family”

You and Your Family Magazine logo


For most people, the morning of October 22, 1999, was just another day at the office, but I had been preparing for that special day my whole life. I woke up feeling incredible excitement. By the time the day would end, I would never see life the same way again. Driving to the hospital, I began thinking about how all this had started four long years before.

As a freelance cameraman, I traveled the world. It wasn’t unusual to arrive home from a trip to Africa only to be back on a plane the following week to Indonesia, Vietnam or the Philippines. My wife, Jules, was used to my being away for work, but my being away meant she often was alone.

So we decided to get a puppy. We both loved animals and wanted a dog that would be great with kids. Children were in the bigger picture, and this seemed like good preparation. We decided on a golden retriever, located a breeder and arrived to find only one puppy left out of a litter of nine.

It was love at first sight. Six-week-old Molly came home in a red bucket and now, 14 years later, she sits at my side as I write these words. Jules calls her our firstborn. I feel the same way.

A six-week-old puppy will teach you patience, responsibility and unconditional love. It takes a lot of effort to train and care for puppies, but the rewards are many as they grow. Someone once said that taking care of the outside of a dog is good for the inside of a human.

Molly had a blessed life. We walked her nearly every day, and she often slept on the couch with Jules while I was away. She received plenty of love and attention, and was treated as part of the family. During the day and sometimes at night, she slept outside in the front courtyard where she could peer at the world passing by.

One night when she was about five, I forgot to close the gate behind me after a hectic day at work. In the morning, to my horror, I realized Molly wasn’t there. I couldn’t see her from my bedroom window. I rushed outside with all sorts of thoughts running through my head. What if she had been run over or taken by a passer-by?

Fortunately, I had no need to panic. As I got closer to the gate, there she was — sitting next to the letter box, still guarding the house. She had been there all night. From that day on, we never closed the gate again. Some people ask why she doesn’t run away. My response is always the same: Where is she going to go?

I realized something special that day: If you make your home the most enjoyable, loving experience possible for those who live there, they will never leave you. Molly is free to go whenever she wants. She is her own free spirit. I don’t remember the exact day Jules rang me from work sounding upset. Things had been building for some time. Her job had started to get to her. All she wanted to do was be a mum. She loved kids, and kids loved her. She hated her job and wanted to quit. I suggested she leave straight away. When she arrived home from work that night, she never returned.

As time passed, we talked about having a family. A young healthy couple, we were quite relaxed about the possibility of falling pregnant right away. After a couple of failed attempts, Jules began her search into the world of fertility support. It’s amazing just how many people have an opinion about how to become pregnant. “Eat this, drink that, stand on your head, take three of these twice a day, play this song and wear these … but only on a full moon.”

Both of us had all the usual medical checks and were told no biological reason prevented us from having children.

Read the full article here on You And Your Family published online and in print in the US in July 2015.

The Fathering Project

As a Videographer and Director for a large part of my career I have had the absolute honour of working with some incredible people on some amazing and very inspiring projects.

I was recently approached by “The Fathering Project” here in Perth Western Australia to Produce and Direct three videos for the World Wide Web.

The topic of each video was around how Fathers can best communicate with their children about drugs and alcohol. The approach we used was to use actors to role play “real life” scenarios common in most households, and then by way of a narrator, gently guide fathers through the process of effective communication methods.

I employed one of Perth’s best script writers – Malcolm Maclean to come up with the scripts and then auditioned quite a few actors for the roles. The four who made it through the auditions did a wonderful job and were totally professional on set at all times.

We also utilised the North Beach Junior Football Club and some junior players to highlight the message that alcohol shouldn’t be consumed and junior sporting events.

They were long days and the cast and crew worked extremely hard but as you will see it was well worth it. A big thanks also to Lee Guy who came on board to help produce the videos.  It was an honour to work with the team on The Fathering Project and I hope to be able to share some of this work with you in the near future.