Friday, 3 May 2019

senior dogs and mental stimulation

Wow! I see I haven't posted since February. And I know why.. It has been so hot that Penny has been less willing to go for a walk.

She has spent most of the time each day snoozing, and we had put that down to her age. Our vet agrees that perhaps she doesn't deal so well with hot weather these days, so we have let her set the pace on walks and if she didn't want to go we'd let her lie. However, we do manage a walk of some sort most days.

Lately, though, it has become cooler, and we're wondering if her sleepiness might be as much due to boredom as to her senior status. So, we're trying to play a few games each evening, and use some of the lovely Nina Ottosson games when feeding her. ( A bit tricky, given that these days we only feed raw meat, with some additions of vegetables and vitamins.)

Also, today I took her for a swim in the warm water of the indoor pool at Kepala.

Afterwards, I asked in the office whether it would be okay for us to pop into the agility area to see how Penny would cope with it. As soon as we stepped through the gate, she headed for the tyre and the tunnel!

Before I even had time to give the 'begin' signal, she was through. I hurried to catch up so she wouldn't jump over the higher items (because of her arthritis.)

She managed the little seesaw like a pro.

And what was that in the distance? A set of weave poles...

Yes, she sort of still remembers how to do them. Hooray! So, next time, after a warm swim to get her muscles loosened, I think we might try this again.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

hot weather as a start to Autumn

It's been a while since I posted, but the hot weather we've been having takes the energy out of me and out of Penny.

But we still manage a walk most days, even though often a short one if it's a hot day.

Yesterday we headed off to Yarra Glen for a Bowen therapy session for both human and canine together.

And how wonderful it was, for me with a sore aching back and Penny with her arthritic joints.

On the way home we stopped off briefly at Heide Museum of Modern Art for a quick lunch. There's a huge garden with outdoor sculptures and various installations, and many old, substantial shade trees. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on lead.

However, because Penny and I had been in an air-conditioned car driving the fifty minutes down from Yarra Glen in the hills, I hadn't realised how hot it was, even in the shady outdoor section of the cafe. I had already ordered my lunch, so while we waited I quietly poured my drinking water onto Penny. (As you can see in the photo, the kindly waiter had brought the dog drinking bowl inside for us.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

tale of a dog, a djembe and a kangaroo tail

One of the humans has a new goatskin stretched across his dejmbe, so of course he had to try it out as soon as he got it back after the repair.

And of course Penny had to have a look at it as he placed it on the floor. Unfortunately for any future joy she'll have in listening to djembe rhythms, he gave a nice loud thump just as she looked up into the bottom of it. It sure must have been loud to a dog's hearing, as her head was inside the cavity of the drum.

So now Penny hates it. Here she is peeping around the corner of the next room to check what the scary noise is.

To cheer her up, I presented her with the enormous kangaroo tail that we recently bought for her. We got such a huge one because I worry about her choking on a small bone. (Yes, I know it was a bit of overkill.)

As usual, she headed out the doggy door to bury her bone. But what a problem... The bone wouldn't fit through the small space. So round and round and round and round she went, trying to figure out how to get to the backyard.

Until I took pity on her dilemma and opened a door.

So the search began for a place to bury a long, long bone.

This way?  No, perhaps this spot?

And finally, a good hiding place.

By the time she was finished, you couldn't even see there was a bone. I'm constantly amazed at how much dirt she can move with her nose.

And back inside.

But then she changed her mind. She decided to fetch it. At this stage it wasn't a red juicy-looking bone. It was dark with soil.

And so the day continued. Chew, chew, chew, chew... Until she was so exhausted with the effort that I began to worry about her.

Eventually I decided she was panting so much I'd try to take it, as planned. I swapped it for a frozen cube of mashed vegetables in warm water.

Hours of fun for all.

Thursday, 10 January 2019


Tinned sardines are our stand-by food for Penny when we've accidentally run out of the raw meat diet we obtain from Barking Good in East Ivanhoe.

We did try the raw sardines sold in that shop, but for some reason Penny wouldn't eat the non-tinned variety.

She get sardines about once a week, and I was pleased to read this article on Dogster about the benefits of this food.

We've always aimed to feed her only wild-caught fish, packed in fresh water. It's not always easy to obtain those, so we stock up when we see them, especially if they're on special.

One thing we will NOT buy is a tin of sardines (or any other seafood) from Thailand, because of the likelihood that the fish were caught by enslaved men. Penny's food, as far as we know, is not supporting the modern slave trade in Thailand.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Christmas Kong toy for Penny

I intended to begin this post by reporting that for the first time in Penny's 14 years I succumbed to the commercialism of Christmas and bought her a gift, but on looking back through my blogs I see that I did the same in 2011.

This time I decided it was years since Penny had a new toy, and it's never too late to liven up an old dog's life with something novel.

She loved it and immediately hunched possessively over it.

So of course I couldn't resist trying to get it from her. But no way!

After a while I could have sneaked up to steal it while she was sleeping, but she did have her paws resting on it, so I thought I'd leave her in peace.

The instructions say it should only be used under supervision, so I'll put it up on a shelf when I'm not there to watch her.

Monday, 10 December 2018

December with my dog

I'm surprised to see I haven't posted any updates on Penny's day-to-day life since October 6th. Where did October and November go?

Anyway, there is one thing to report for November - Penny had a long-overdue haircut. Here she is, energised after the visit to her lovely groomer, Gabby.

Penny has never been fond of being groomed, but when I took her for a walk prior to going into the salon, she tugged me down the driveway into Gabby's place. That's what I call 'voting with your feet'! Gabby has a gift for making Penny relaxed and happy.

It had been cool for November, so I covered her with a blanket the first couple of nights, as she has quite a thin coat.

I didn't have to do that for long. December arrived with a vengeance, and hot, hot weather landed on us. It was too hot, even at night, to walk, so I drove to Kepala to give her a swim. I loaded up a big container of  water in a cooler in case the car broke down, because I don't think she could deal with 38°C these days. She was panting in the back seat, even with the air conditioner going, but we got there safely after the 50 minute drive.

It was worth it.

The rules specify that humans are not allowed past the blue line, so I took that as a definite instruction to wade in up to the blue line. (When I wasn't taking a break in the shaded hut.)

It's not only about keeping cool. The benefits of swimming are wonderful for old dogs with joint problems. Look at how she stretches her limbs when she swims.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Life with an old dog

Life is quieter these days, now that Penny is older. She's still enjoying life, though. We headed to one of our favourite places late this afternoon, to enjoy the early evening.

Last weekend was the Grand Final of the football, and, hey presto! it's time for cricket now. You can see the teams playing in the background, but Penny wasn't interested.

We walked under a lovely planting of large trees, mostly oaks. There were plenty of interesting scents for a senior dog to enjoy.

Of course, there are always yummy dog treats if you keep your attention on your human when she asks you to.