Looking back on 50 years of love
IT'S often the little things that keep couples together - for Robert and Barbara Taylor, it's been their chihuahuas.
The pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week with family, marking 600 months or 18,262 days together since they married in Redcliff, Brisbane.
Like most modern-day fairytales, their story began at a pub.
"The Bee Gees were playing - all young fellas back then,” said Barbara.
"He came up and asked me to dance. That's how it all started.”
Within 12 months of Robert's request, the two were engaged, much to everybody's surprise.
"I think it was his brother or sister who said to me that (Robert) wanted to marry me, but I didn't believe them at the time,” said Barbara.
"He was always out with his horses and the boys, and I didn't think he'd be the type to settle.”
But Robert had other ideas.
As a young man he was involved in trotting horse harness racing and one day caught a lucky break.
"I used to win quite a few but this one was a bit more than usual,” he said.
"My brother had told me to never let (Barbara) go, so I bought an engagement ring and held on to her.”
Sadly, the nuptials were delayed as Robert's mother fell ill and passed away before the ceremony could take place, but otherwise life went on for the married couple as they settled in Kallangur, north of Brisbane, to raise their three children.
Though Robert kept active with his horses in Burpengary, it wasn't long before a new creature captivated the Taylors.
"Our son got a little chihuahua given to him off Robert's aunty, who used to show them - a little short-coat male,” recalled Barbara.
"And (Robert) wanted nothing to do with it.”
"I hated them,” chuckled Robert.
"I would say what horrible little rats they were, until you get one and then you realise what an asset they are.
"They're a good dog and people just love them.”
From that moment onwards, the pair were smitten.
"The first night he took it to bed with us and it slept between our two pillows,” Barbara said.
"He was a dear little thing.
"We bought a couple then - our daughter got one to show - and we've had (chihuahuas) since.”
Through the years, Robert's chihuahuas have earned the retiree more than a few accolades.
"I've shown some of the best in Australasia,” he said.
"I got Best of Breed at the Ekka for two years running, that was in 1997 and 1998.
"The dogs have been very successful for me.”
The Taylors have largely retired from show life now but the chihuahuas keep coming at their Atkinson Dam property as people continue making requests for Robert's breeds.
"We still get people calling up about dogs from Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and everywhere else,” said Barbara.
"Usually it's because they've bought a dog from Robert years and years ago and they call up again to ask if we're still breeding them.
"Then they'll go home with another dog, having got one from us 20 years earlier.”
"It's just a hobby now,” said Robert.
"A hobby with a lot of love.”
Though it might be "just a hobby,” Barbara firmly believes the dogs have done almost as much for them as they have done for their dogs.
"(Robert) probably wouldn't be here if not for the dogs,” she said.
"Even when he's not well, he'll be getting up to do something for the dogs.”
Looking back, the married couple partially credit their shared hobby of raising the dogs as a reason for their long-lasting love and thanked their children for keeping the family close, with Robert sharing one last piece of marriage wisdom.
"We don't argue for long - because she's always right!” he said.