Wednesday, 17 December 2014

dogs to protect bandicoots

The Age newspaper recently had an article about a program hoping to train Maremmas to keep predators away from eastern barred bandicoots. These bandicoots are extinct in the wild, and previous release programs have been disappointing, because foxes and cats had killed many of the native animals when they were restored to their natural habitats after being bred in zoos.

Apparently the maremma pups will initially sleep with bandicoot bedding. The photo accompanying the article shows a dog with a toy bandicoot. Cute!

An interesting aspect of the program is that the dogs need to learn which animals are 'friends' - e.g. kangaroos - as well as which ones are a danger to their proteges.

Sounds like a great idea. Donations can be made here, if you wish to help out.

I've blogged in the past about dogs helping to conserve the spotted quoll and hunting enemies of penguins.

Aren't dogs wonderful?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

dogs and sticks

We went for a walk early in the day yesterday, to get away from the hubbub of renovations at home, and to get some exercise before the day's heat built up.

Penny had a swim to collect a stick we had thrown into the Yarra, and subsequently proudly carried her trophy as she walked. I'd have preferred if she had carried it in a safer manner, not sticking out of her mouth like a cigar.

We thought it was a rather nice stick, but when we saw this dog, we realised Penny is just an amateur in the stick-carrying stakes. (In this photo he has put it down to re-arrange it in his mouth, but I can assure you that he was really carrying it along the path.)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Penny and the renovations

Life has been out of kilter  for Penny lately, because we're renovating our laundry and bathrooms. With stuff piled up in boxes all around the house, it's hard to get through a normal day, but as much as possible we have maintained Penny's daily schedule. Fortunately, we never did have a strict routine, so Penny has adapted well to irregular meals and to having doors shut so that she can't access one wing of the house.

A dog wandered into our front yard the other day and the builders collected him before he could roam further. The dog had got out of his own home because that family, also, was renovating, and their builders had left a gate open. This has made us even more careful to check where Penny is at all times. Fortunately, we have dog-aware men working for us, and we also have the advantage that our home is L-shaped and we can close off one end of the house.

Penny is feeling the heat as summer closes in, so we've had her clipped. I think she looks lovely. I'm hoping that she might like to sleep on the cool tiles of the new bathroom floors, but so far she refuses to set foot on the tiles. We'll see how she goes when the work is completed and it's clean and quiet in there.

I think we'd have to be careful of her sleeping on those tiles, though, because she is somewhat arthritic. On the other hand, on warm nights she sleeps on the parquetry floors with no cushions under her.

Friday, 12 December 2014

do dogs go to heaven?

No one who lives with a dog could doubt dogs have feelings, but some doubt they have a soul.

So I was interested to read this report in the New York Times about what Pope Francis said recently to a grieving little boy whose dog had died. Reportedly the Pope said, 'Paradise is open to all of God's creatures.'

The implications if we believe this are huge, in terms of how we deal with other species. I guess it doesn't automatically suggest we should be vegans - though I know some would think so - but at the very least it directs us to deal ethically with animals under our control.

I hate the exporting of live sheep from Australia to other countries.

I hate the torturing of chickens in cages.

I hate the evil treatment of sows in sow pens

I hate...

Oh, there are so many practices that I could now regard as not only disturbing, but as a sin against God's creatures.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

pumpkin for dogs

We often feed Penny cooked pumpkin, so I was interested to read this article today.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Today: high bushfire danger. The temperature reached 31°C. Tomorrow's predicted weather: top of 22°C.

I think Dr Tim Entwistle is right. It's time we realised the 'seasons' we've inherited from Europe don't apply to Australian conditions. Today was summer and tomorrow is predicted to be spring. I'll start adding Dr Entwistle's Sprinter and Sprummer to my vocabulary. Or, perhaps I could investigate the traditional seven seasons of the earliest inhabitants of this area, the Wurundjeri people.
The Wurundjeri clan that inhabited the Melbourne area would often spend the summer months upon the banks of the Yarra and its tributaries. In winter, they would often head to the Dandenong Ranges (known as Banyenong) to make use of its timber for firewood and shelter. Wurundjeri divided their year into seven seasons rather than the familiar four. The arrival of a new season was based on the onset of a natural event such as the blooming of wattle or the first appearance of the blue wren.

As Penny and I drove home from another delightful Bowen session at Yarra Glen with Deb, we stopped at Warrandyte - lunch for me and a swim in the Yarra for Penny, seeing today was a foretaste of summer. We met some girls who'd seen a snake swimming in the river yesterday and I asked them whether the snake swam with its head up out of the water. They said it was flat on the surface of the water. It bothers me that if Penny saw a snake in the water she might think it was a stick and swim towards it.

But it wasn't likely there'd be any snakes around where we swam today, at a delightful little sandy beach, because of the...


Penny didn't even see them the first time she dashed into the water to collect the stick I threw.

It was only when she was shaking out her wet fur that she decided it might be a good idea to stay well back from these enormous dogs. (She hasn't been near horses before.)

Once I threw her stick back into the water she was off again, not in the least bothered by the horses.

Or the inquisitive ducks...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

little miss hug and Penny the dog

There's a new kids' book in Roger Hargreaves' 'Little Miss' series.

I love the innocence of Hargreaves' books, and during my teaching years, enjoyed many of his stories with children.

The new book's called Little Miss Hug and Penny the Dog, but of course it's not written by Hargreaves, who died in 1988. What a fabulous name for a dog, lol.

The profits from this book go to the RSPCA.

I came across the reference to the book in a sad way, because I visited the RSPCA site in order to get information for my letter to the Minister of Agriculture protesting about the abominable cruelty of selling live sheep to countries where they die in horrifying ways. Australia needs to stop sending live animals overseas!