welcome to emmas housethought

pet profile

Mao is a 7 yr old brown Burmese and he is the love of my life.

Mao’s interests include chasing imaginary monsters, fetching small mice, smooching and sunbaking. Mao also enjoys travelling… I brought him here from Australia. He’s never been happier, fatter or smoochier.mao

The Wookies
…were born in December 2007 while I was on holiday in Australia. The day I got back, the neighbours appeared on my doorstep with this brown puppy wondering if I wanted to adopt him. Mao wasn’t even off the plane. There was no way I could consider having a dog until Mao was settled and happy. Just No Way.

But Mao did settle in, and the caffé latte pup was very charming. He clearly stood out from his brothers – more confident and outgoing. We liked each other. So when he was about 10 weeks, I took him home for a trial.

It didn’t go well. He cried constantly and pissed and shat everywhere. He wasn’t ready. I sent him back to his mother.

But then, after a couple of weeks, he came to my house all by himself. It’s about 250 metres over steep and winding cobblestones, but this little guy had the goods. He’d stay with me during the day, and then go home at night to his mum and brothers. It was perfect. I had half-adopted a little brown dog. I named him Wookie because he’s brown and hairy. Like Chewbacca.

After a while he gave up going home at night, and then a funny thing happened. His little white brother made the trip to my place and never went home. I took him home several times, but apparently my house, with Wookie, is where he was determined to be. He was the smallest of all the dogs in the village, and maybe he was tired of fighting for his food. I denied being his owner for quite a while, which is why Babywookie hasn’t got a proper name. But Baby has stuck, because he is one.

the wookies

Dingo is not my dog. He just lives here. Dingo comes from the next village, and when his old owners became ill and went to Lisbon, Dingo decided to come and live at my house. For the first 6 months I fought him. I shouted at him, I threw stones at him, I stuffed him in the car and took him back to his village. I tied him up. Nothing worked. He always came back and sat on my doorstep. So eventually I gave up fighting and realised that he was quite a nice dog. He’s a loyal and enthusiastic guard. No one gets anywhere near my door without a serious warning from him. If the other dogs jump on me he’s always there to make sure they’re not hurting. He sits on your feet. He leans on you when he’s cold. The Wookies love him.



  1. Dee Hawa April 2, 2009 6:32 am Reply

    sooo sweet, here in southern Spain I’ve 5 dogs and 2 cats all characters and all abandoned at some time in their lives, my smallest dog even came free with 6 chickens I just happened to
    be buying at the time! Bless your “crew”

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  2. Chris Chesher July 31, 2009 10:06 pm Reply

    Yours is a wonderful blog Emma, I get great pleasure from reading it because I’m in a pretty similar situation, but in Turkey. Currently the heat is stopping all my attempts at doing anything constructive so I’m lazing and dipping in the pool now and then.

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    Emma   Reply: August 3rd, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Thanks chris… how’s turkey? If I was there I’d be eating baklava every day…mmm… but I don’t envy you the language (although after more than 10 years I still remember tesheker ederim and is beer still 5? or maybe it’s bir)

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  3. Doreen Payne August 23, 2009 9:05 am Reply

    love your pets! I have a dog and 5 cats. one of my cats are having kittens.
    I enjoy reading your blog!

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  4. Amy Jo’ February 5, 2010 6:19 pm Reply

    Luv it! 🙂 This blog is so sweet it made me smile & bought back memories of my grandfather. Stray dogs were renowned for following my grandfather home, many of which were later adopted into the family by my reluctant grandmother. Your pets sound as though they are packed full of character and charm, your blog was fantastic to read. I have two cats myself,Mojo & Oscar. Pets really make a home a home, i never really get people who never had or have pets…

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  5. Mariola May 13, 2010 7:13 pm Reply

    I’m not a permanent resident in Portugal- yet! But whenever I go to my place over there a loppy eared black dog comes for a visit. She craves affection and of course food! When I brought my own dog over last summer they formed an easy tolerance and I fear that when I make the move I will be considered the batty woman who collects dogs. Loppy ears gave me a fright when she appeared with her pups and left them at my house the day before I was due to go back to the UK. Suffice to say my husband wasn’t impressed when I suggested bringing them home, luckily by the end of the day her owner (she has one- hurray!) turned up and them home. Only just discovered your blog today Emma and I’m adding it to my favourites!

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    Emma   Reply: May 16th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    it´s funny how they adopt you… it´s a dog´s sixth sense for the batty woman who collects dogs, I´m one too apparently

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  6. Helder September 21, 2011 8:44 pm Reply

    It was grand to read about Dingo. What a typical story! – And yet so sensible and great!

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  7. Keith Taylor January 12, 2012 1:13 am Reply

    Cara Emma,
    You sound as though you are an exceptional woman, just like my wife, Veronica. We have bought a piece of land near Rio de Moinhos, in the Aljustrel district, sight unseen (we live in South Africa) and hope to move there some time this year (2012). Veronica has Portuguese blood in her veins (her father was born in Lisboa), while I am British (I was born in Newmarket, County of West Suffolk and imported to South Africa at age 18 months), so that she has managed to secure a Portuguese passport and Numbro Fiscal.
    Like you, we have picked up strays. Include among the ubiquitous cats and dogs a baby bat, hedgehogs and some snakes. Veronica was a city girl, but when she met me she had to learn to lose her apprehension of all the denizens of the bush when I showed her that I have no fear of them and would hand her snakes and other “creepy crawlies” to examine. They were all non-venomous, obviously. I handle the dangerous ones and although I have been bitten on more than one occasion, that won’t put me off.
    Among our pets have been donkeys (among the sweetest, most lovable creatures imaginable) and countless birds including chickens, geese, diamond doves, singing quails, guinea fowl, lovebirds, pheasants, white doves, go-‘way birds (grey louries) and also guinea pigs and rabbits.
    We currently have two Bull mastiff X Great Danes and they will be coming to Portugal with us.
    Fortunately, Veronica is quite fluent in Portuguese and I am learning the lingo (Eu falo um muito pouco). She also has family in Portugal, though we have never met them and they can’t wait for us to arrive, urging Veronica to hurry up and get there with every e-mail, so we do not anticipate encountering most of your obstacles and when we do, we will have support.
    We are both very conscious of the environment and I have worked a ‘green’ way around almost every condition and situation imaginable. Feel free to ask if you have any problems in this regard: I’m sure to find an answer for you.
    By the way, I am very impressed with with your blog: Keep it up!

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