Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Penny and our vegie garden

Penny likes some veggies in her dinner, and last night she had a little piece of cooked asparagus. I'm glad she doesn't realise that edible plants grow in our garden - because our asparagus bed is sprouting beautifully. That's very strange, actually, because it's the middle of winter.

Our very first shiitake mushrooms are emerging from the inoculated log, too. Very exciting! Penny wouldn't know anything about fungus being edible, because I've never given her any. I don't think it would be safe for her.

But something has been looking at the log, where it sits on a green plastic garden chair, because we noticed a fresh possum poo right beside it. Here's hoping that the poo fell from the tree above. I'd be disappointed if the possums pinched our mushrooms!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

clever dogs

On The Pet Museum I came across a link to a list of VID (Very Important Dogs). A couple of connections to Australia drew my attention. Firstly, the game little Yorkshire Terrier, Smoky, who assisted his soldier friends in The Philippines and New Guinea in World War Two


the talented black labrador who can sniff out American foulbrood, a deadly disease of honey bee hives. He doesn't look too comfortable in his protective suit, I must say, but he'd be in too much danger of being stung if he didn't wear it.

Thanks, Curator, I always find something of interest when I visit The Pet Museum.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Penny finds a mowed tennis ball

In our local park, Darebin Parklands, someone has been busy mowing, and they seem to have mowed over a tennis ball. What a find for Penny! Balls are good fun, but there's nothing more interesting than one that can be thrown and yet has a squishy, mouthable shape.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

in Australia dogs help conserve an endangered species

Great article today in The Age newspaper about  dogs in our national parks.

Usually we hear only complaints about dogs and native animals, and I do understand that we can't take dogs into areas where we need to protect native creatures.

But this is a video with a difference. An exciting discovery has been made, a camera shot of a spotted quoll in a place where they have not been seen in recent times.  So sniffer dogs have been brought in to try to locate scat (poo) of spotted tiger quolls.

I really enjoyed the film, but unfortunately, on this occasion the dogs did not find any quoll scat.

You might want to read more about the quoll conservation program in Cape Otway, which is where the highly trained sniffer dogs come from.

Reading about these dogs reminds me of the hunting dogs who were trained to kill rabbits but ignore grey-headed albatross.

Aren't dogs amazing?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

more about dogs eating grass

Penny's a grass eater from way back. But she doesn't always go about it the same way, and I've just read an article on PetMD that may explain some of her techniques.

It says that if the dog gobbles the grass in great hunks, the blades may cause vomiting:
A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. When ingested, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation, in turn, may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.

That's one of Penny's techniques.

But sometimes she grazes like a cow, and a couple of days later the grass will come out the other end, folded up neatly. If we come across the resulting 'thing' lying around in the backyard, it's almost impossible to tell which end it came from. On the other hand, the noise of  her vomiting a mass of folded grass will usually bring a family member running to see what the uproar is, so we usually know what has happened.

The article also says:
Whatever the reason may be, most experts see no danger in letting your dog eat grass. In fact, grass contains essential nutrients that a dog might crave, especially if they're on a commercial diet. If you notice that your dog has been munching away on grass or houseplants, then you may want to introduce natural herbs or cooked vegetables into their diet. Dogs aren't finicky like cats, but they're not too fond of raw veggies either. They're kind of like big furry kids that way. 

That's Penny too. She loves vegetables and fruits, cooked or raw. The only one she turned her nose up at is celery. Of course, we never give her grapes or onions. Too dangerous, by all accounts.

BTW, If you do follow the link to PetMD, the long list of comments are very interesting. Lots of people's experiences with their dogs eating grass, vegetables or fruit.

Friday, 9 May 2014

doggy dancing memories

When my sister forwarded me a link to a great canine freestyle routine at Crufts, I enjoyed it immensely, because it was fascinating to see one dog in a routine with two trainers.

And then I looked more closely and saw that one of the handlers was Richard Curtis.

He's the trainer who conducted the sessions here in Australia that Penny and I attended.

The other handler is Mary Ray.

After watching the video, I wondered whether  to push back the furniture here in the kitchen and have  some fun with Penny, as we did when Honey the Great Dane was still with us, and held her doggy dancing competition.

Friday, 18 April 2014

two lipomas on Penny's shoulders

Good Friday - just the day to spend sitting in the waiting room of the Animal Emergency Centre. We certainly weren't complaining that we had to wait, because when families rushed in with unconscious dogs, or dogs who couldn't stand, we knew they had to go first.

It all began yesterday evening, when we noticed not one, but two, lumps on Penny's shoulders. We reacted the usual way, first shock, then the worried internet search, and the reassuring decision that they were - probably - lipomas.

What a terrifying word that is...probably.

We decided we just couldn't wait for the end of the Easter holidays and the opportunity to see our own vet. We would go to the Emergency Hospital straight away.

I rang to see whether it would be appropriate to come in with this problem, because we wondered if on Good Friday (when nothing is open in Australia, generally speaking), they might only deal with life threatening emergencies. But we were reassured that we would be seen.

So off we went, and the vet examined Penny carefully and gave us the good news that she would do a needle biopsy immediately, because otherwise we'd have to wait four days until our own vet clinic was open.

She asked us whether we thought Penny could be distracted while she inserted the needles into the two lumps. Since I had a packet of the little dried fish that Penny has come to love, the answer was a resounding 'yes!' I think Penny didn't even realise she had the two little procedures.

The vet then gave us the even better news that, yes, they were lipomas. Whew!

I've read that most older dogs have at least one lipoma.

Next week we'll go to our own vet to follow up, because sometimes it's better to take lipomas out, in case they distress the dog as they get bigger, or in case they do change into something more dangerous.

Thank goodness for modern medical procedures and good vet hospitals!