Saturday, 11 January 2020

Changeable weather makes it hard for an old dog

It's difficult to feel positive these days, with the tragedy of the bushfires here in Australia, and the terrible loss of life - too many humans and an estimate of a billion animal deaths.

But we keep on trying to have a normal life here, fortunately living in the safety of a big city. Penny's missing her regular walks the last couple of days, because the air is smoky for an old dog (and her old humans). And sometimes it's too hot for her. She struggles if the temperature is higher than about 20°C.

Yesterday we didn't go out early because it was too hot. Here she is briefly visiting the front yard, where some of our plants are protected by our newly purchased beach umbrellas (only useable if the wind isn't blasting like a furnace).

 And then, when we thought of going out in the late afternoon, it was cold and raining.

Hooray for the rain. Here's hoping the exhausted fire fighters can get a bit of an advance on the flames while the cooler weather is here.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Gel cooling mat on a hot day

Two days ago it was 44°C (111.2°F) outside in our yard.

Penny was inside, but that was a dangerously hot day, and we were worried about her health, so human number two came home with a gel cooling mat. We wondered if Penny would use it, as she's averse to finding new bedding on her Coolaroo pet bed. We've never been able to convince her to lie on it without layers of bedding, which is a nuisance, as it would be cool in summer for her with just the mesh.

We put the gel mat on top of the blankets on the bed, and she stayed away from it. Frustrating for us, as the temperature climbed throughout the day, reaching 30°C inside the house. Eventually I had the idea of ripping apart the cover of one of her old doonas and placing the thin layer of cotton on the gel pad.

And, hooray, at last she decided to lie on it.

I was wondering how these things work and whether they are actually effective, but this review seems to be quite positive.

If we're in for more hot days like that one, as the science seems to suggest, we might even try putting the mat in the freezer for a little while before laying it out for Penny. I'll come back to this blog and add any future info as we go.

By the way, the next day the temperature only got up to 20°C (68°F) - around noon - so in the  evening it was more a question of whether Penny was snuggled up into warm enough bedding.

That's Melbourne weather for you!

BTW, we do have cooling in the house,  but it struggled to deal with such a hot day.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Old dogs and new behaviours

Wow! Nearly two months since I posted about Penny and her adventures.

Well, at her age - and mine - just getting out of the house and walking is an adventure.

We're finding that although twenty minutes' stroll is enough for her, it's not sufficient to maintain our own health, so today we humans took a long, brisk walk separately, after taking Penny to Heide Museum of Modern Art in the morning for an amble around the outside artworks.

Here she is posing in the strangely cool evening. How weird that parts of Australia are burning up in bushfires and other areas are so cold that some are even predicting there could be snow on the mountains at Christmas!

As you'll see in this photo, she's quite grey around the muzzle now. I'm not sure when I noticed that - perhaps it was after her latest clipping. 

Friday, 4 October 2019

dog and tree

What a beautiful sight...

A gorgeous dog and a wonderful tree  trunk.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

walking in beautiful surroundings

Penny and I are fortunate in the variety of places we can walk together. Here's a recent location:

It's easy to take these wonderful places for granted, but I was reminded recently that such bushy surroundings occur only because of the work put in by local government,  indigenous people and groups of volunteers.

I thought this sign at the Willsmere billabong in Kew had an excellent explanation of why we dog-walkers need to respect the other users of our spaces, both human and non-human.

These plantings are newer than the one pictured at the top, but in time they will be just as lovely:


Monday, 22 July 2019

snoozing privately

In a busy household it can be difficult to get a few moments' private rest.

But Penny seems to have solved the problem. In an unused doorway that looks out to the street we keep one of Penny's many beds. This one is an elevated one and her preferred spot for sleeping or keeping an eye out for passers-by.

As I walked past, this evening, I did a double-take.

What? A closer inspection showed a canine outline inside the curtain.

Here's hoping she manages to get off the bed without tripping herself on the curtain. (You have probably guessed that we think Penny is more important than clean curtains.)

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

physiotherapy for an old dog

Penny seems to have a weakness in her right  rear leg, so we're doing 'reps'. Or maybe we should call them 'sets'. Who'd have thought it would be so complicated being an old dog?

Anyway, Penny doesn't care what we call them. She just wants to eat the food she's offered. (Usually little bits of raw carrot.)

She puts her front paws up on a little stool.

I tap her left rear leg and she lifts it and I support it gently, not taking her weight, but just reminding her to keep it in the air.

Seeing she's totally focused on gobbling the food, she seems to hardly notice she has her weight on her weak leg. 

I think it might be working, because she jumped from the footpath into the back seat of the car recently, the first time in months we haven't lifted her in.

I wish she didn't lick her paws, though. You can see how stained they are. We're working on that problem too.