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!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Please don't spoil our walks at Chelsworth Park

When I was looking around the internet for information to include in my post about our walks at Chelsworth Park, I came across a scary news article saying there might be changes coming. I sure hope no one spoils this place, because it's one spot where walkers, sports clubs, joggers, dog walkers and nature lovers mix happily.

Here's a video clip from YouTube asking that the park not be spoiled for those who love it.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Penny doesn't see the eclipse of the moon

I took Penny down to a nearby street corner to watch the moonrise tonight, because the moon was to come up totally in eclipse.

Penny didn't seem to understand the idea of setting off for a walk and then standing around for ages. In her opinion, that's a waste of time, so she tried mightily to convince me we should dash up and down the footpath, here and there, anywhere. But since it was rush hour on the road beside us, I decided to take her home and go back to watch the eclipse with other humans, who understand that we need to take time to see how the universe around us works.

 Penny looks rather sad in this photo, but she was actually quite happy to stay home, because I had scattered little fish treats around the floor.

The eclipse wasn't very exciting, to be honest. Just an orangey blur barely visible through the mucky pollution on the horizon. But it was great fun to meet other locals and watch the shadow of our planet move across the surface of our nearest neighbour in space.


It's amazing to think that we were seeing the curve of planet Earth across the Moon, just as the ancients did.





A neighbour mentioned to me that it was this phenomenon that first led ancient Greek philosophers to realise Earth is a sphere.

In following up on her remark, I came across this great clip from Carl Sagan's show Cosmos, in which he explains how Eratosthenes worked out the circumference of the earth, so many thousands of years ago. He realised that Earth could not be a flat surface. It must be curved. Just in case you don't want to click across to YouTube, here it is:

Green and lovely looking but deceptive

A visit to Chelsworth Park yesterday made Penny and me feel happy. I was happy because the greenness raises my spirits and Penny was happy because she could roll around on the soft new grass.

A wonderful new project harvests storm water here. More than 30 Olympic swimming pools worth of storm water will be harvested each year. The park and the adjoining golf course should now be green all year. I'll look forward to that next summer!

If you look at these photos, you'll see a lovely-looking expanse of greenery in Chelsworth Park. But don't be fooled!



It's not grass.

It's a wetland, covered in what I think is probably duckweed. I suspect it's not a good thing environmentally, but I can assure you the frogs seemed to be happy, because they were singing loudly as we walked past. (On lead -  we're always careful to obey the restrictions about not disturbing native wildlife.)

Monday, 14 April 2014

regrowth in Darebin Parklands after the dry spell

Yesterday Penny and I ventured back to our favourite old walking spot, Darebin Parklands. It's been so hot and dry over the summer that we have walked in other places where there's more shade, but seeing it has cooled down - at last! - we decided to return to the park.

As you can see from this photo, the thirsty ground had become quite barren in the heat.


But it's great to see that with the recent rain the networks of cracks in the dry soil are starting to close.





And lots of tiny plants are germinating, so I expect that soon the hills and dales of the park will be lushly green.



finding new dog walking places along the Yarra River

How could I not have known about this great off-lead walking place so close to where we usually walk?

We regularly go to Willsmere Park, since the day I surreptitiously followed a car with a dog to see where they were going, because the windmilling tail of the dog in the back seat signalled that it must be a good destination.

But I didn't know there's another huge area adjacent to Willsmere, reachable by a ten to fifteen minute brisk on-lead walk along a bike path.. We've walked along this path before, but never gone far enough to find the new area.

I went further with Penny this time because she's having some problems with her joints and the vet reckons walking on lead is the best exercise. He says an older dog (or one with joint issues) is prone to injury if she races off from a standing start to full speed - which she did a couple of weeks ago when we were walking at night. She, with her super doggy senses, knew there was a cat hiding under a nearby car, shot off, came back when called, and - to our dismay - she was limping on the leg that so long ago had the cruciate operation.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, that's why we walked further than usual on lead. And this is what we found...




We are so lucky here in Melbourne to have all these lovely off-lead walks along the Yarra River.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

dogs at Melbourne rally support a fair deal for refugees

When I walked in today's huge rally asking our government to treat refugees fairly and humanely, I left Penny at home.

She's not good in crowds, so I thought she could best support the cause by resting on her comfy mat.

I did, however, see this dog passing by with his human.


I thought they weren't part of the crowd, but this dog definitely was.


I checked out the dog's eye view Penny would have had if she had come.


To me this sign sums up the issue...