Friday, 31 December 2010

happy new year to all canines and humans

Penny is seeing in the new year by lying prone on the kitchen floor. And I'm obviously seeing it in by sitting at my computer. I guess having a dog enriches my life so much I don't need to go to any parties, lol.

Happy New Year and best wishes for health and happiness in 2011.

Friday, 24 December 2010

eating the knuckle bone days two and three

Penny worked on her big knuckle bone for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon.

And then, in the evening, she began hacking and coughing, pacing around from spot to spot and salivating. After a while I rang the emergency vet and they said I could come any time during the night.

I decided to stay up and watch her, because I thought perhaps she was nauseous - I did until about one in the morning and felt she was sleeping comfortably at that stage. I woke her and took her outside in case she wanted to eat grass, but she only spent a few minutes letting the possums know who's boss and went back inside.

Was the marrow in the bone too rich for her? I had a look around the net, but didn't find any answers. And I did do what Hsin-Yi suggested, on Honey's blog, which was to get the butcher to cut out the hard middle part of the bone where most of the marrow is.

Well, today she dug up the bone and worked on it again for about an hour (followed by fifteen minutes of deciding where to bury it and doing so).

So, here's hoping she's not uncomfortable tonight...

a dog eats a knuckle bone to clean her teeth

After I read Honey's post about knuckle bones being good for cleaning dogs' teeth, a mystery was solved. I'd heard about knuckle bones but didn't know what they were. But Hsin-Yi, Honey's human, explained that they are the knobbly ends of marrow bones, with the hard, potentially tooth-breaking middle cut out.

Since Penny did break a tooth when she was young, and unfortunately had to have it removed, I'm nervous of bones. But we give them to Penny because we realise the value of bones as part of a dog's diet. Usually we stick to the soft brisket bones of beef or chicken bones such as necks, but I decided to take Hsin-Yi's recommendation and try Penny out on a knuckle bone.

She worked on it for about thirty-five minutes, actually getting quite puffed with all the exercise, and then buried it in the backyard for later retrieval. I was pleased at the way she took weight on her back leg during the long eating session, and also at the way she walked down the steps to the garden. Her limp was more apparent on the way up the stairs after she'd buried the bone, but we do realise she may limp for as much as six months after her surgery on the cruciate ligament.

Here's a video with the story of the Magnificent Huge Bone.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

dogs and life's simple pleasures

Penny went down the back steps today and into the backyard to rest in the sunshine.

How wonderful such simple pleasures are! Six months ago I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but after four months of her recovery from cruciate ligament surgery, going everywhere with her on lead, it's so great so allow her to come and go as she pleases.

DCH rescue calendar

We've received a beautiful calendar in the post. It has exquisite photos of rescued animals and the profits go to DogCatHorseRescue in New South Wales.
Of course I had a peep at each month's photo - I can never wait a whole year to see December's picture on calendars - and I particularly liked the photo for November, which includes Master Teal'c, whose human took the photos.

And those photos are all beautiful!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Penny's Christmas party

At last! Penny is able to go out with other dogs. And, just after Penny reached week 14 after cruciate surgery, it was the day of Cindy's doggie Christmas get-together at Kepala.

My dilemma was that Cindy, quite correctly, told me that Penny needed to be off lead when she was with the other dogs. (And how true it was - Penny curled her lip and snarled at her old friends when I tried to take her into the pool area on lead.) Once she was off-lead she was fine.

So, how to keep Penny from exhausting herself racing in and out of the wonderful pool?

Well, a simple solution. I threw her favorite toy, the Whirl Wheel, which she hasn't set eyes on for four months. Off she swam to get it.

Hurrying, of course, to make sure none of the other dogs beat her to it.

And then, of course, she had to guard it, which mostly involved standing around on the edge of the pool - and, incidentally, resting.

After a few swims, we joined the others who had moved on to the grassy area. I thought Penny might race around with the dogs who were playing chasey, but she preferred to take it quietly with the humans.

And I'm pleased to say she seemed fine the next day.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

trying out the Nina Ottosson Dog Casino

Boredom warning!!

This is a long video of Penny trying out our new Nina Ottosson Dog Casino toy. I'm only posting it because I think people thinking of buying the puzzle might like to see this warts-and-all tryout of it, with no footage cut out.

It's six minutes long, and seems a bit like watching grass grow, lol.

(And the title is stupid, because the last word, 'Casino', is missing in the title. But it took so long to upload that I'm not willing to do it again.)

the nina ottosson dog casino

It seemed a good time to try out our new Nina Ottosson toy today, as Penny was having kibble for her breakfast - boring stuff!
So we got the box out.

It's one of the hardest puzzles, level three, so we knew we'd have to take it in stages.

First I put the puzzle on the floor, taking out the little bones on top that stop the drawers underneath from moving in and out.

I let Penny see the drawers pulled fully out.

She watched with interest as I placed a piece of food in each little drawer.

And, last of all, I pushed the drawers in part-way, so she could see and smell the food.

I have a video clip of her trying it out, but it's very long and probably boring, to be quite honest. But I'm going to upload it here as a separate blog post, because I think it's worthwhile for anyone thinking of buying this toy. It's a warts-and -all look at how a dog approaches the task for the first time.

Swimming to build stamina

Penny's lost a lot of fitness over the last few months of recovery from surgery, so we're going to try to swim regularly.

When our vet nurse at Dogs in Motion in Doveton asked whether Penny was used to swimming, I said yes.

Well, I didn't consider a few factors:
1. Penny is now much less fit than she was six months ago.
2. This is a different situation, requiring steady laps rather than just fun in the water.
3. There are also other dogs swimming laps around the edge of the pool.

Luckily, they are careful to show you what to do.

Here she is, ready to go. She wears a collar provided for us and is on a longer than usual lead. The collar is tight and high on her neck, and she has a swim jacket to give her confidence.

And she swam well.

But the humans didn't do such a good job. All the other dogs seemed to manage to swim past the steps if they were doing more than one lap. But Penny, who was supposed to do two and then rest, tried to scramble out each time she passed the steps.

We've decided that we'll have the command "get out" when it's the right time for her to do that, and our vet nurse suggested the command 'not yet' for the times when she seems to be heading for the steps at the wrong time.

I guess we'll get used to it.

The other complication is that we're slow and the other dogs overtake, so we have to lay the lead down on the concrete and stand still so the other human steps over the lead and passes us. All this with Penny splashing and scrambling because she can't understand why we're suddenly holding her back.

Hmmm... will I have a person with a camera handy when I eventually tumble into the swimming pool?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

first off-lead walk

A red letter day. We've been given the go-ahead to start to return Penny to her normal activities. However, the physio gave us some advice that I think is very useful: re-introduce only one activity at a time, so that if Penny seems to be in pain or to be limping at all, we'll know which activity caused it.

The first thing we did was allow her to go down and up the steps leading to our backyard. On lead. Slowly. Well, that was the plan. We went on-lead, not-so-slowly. But she seemed fine after that experience. Halleluia! Now we don't have to spend so much time out in the street waiting for her to toilet.

But the big excitement was a visit to the lovely Yarra Bend Park. And, to our great pleasure, we discovered that the planned dog-friendly fence has been installed, so now dogs can walk off-lead without the danger of straying onto the road.

And so we set off along the fence.

Here's the big moment, when Penny was released from her lead:

There were puddles to play in, now that the drought doesn't have a grip on the weather.

And Penny seemed to be fine the next day after her adventure!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

first bath after surgery

Last weekend, Penny had her first afternoon off-lead in the garden, a wonderful day for us all.

She enjoyed the warm sunshine and mooched around finding sticks while her humans tried to make inroads into the massive growth of weeds swallowing up our backyard since these wonderful rains began.

She enjoyed a roll in rotting wet mulch, resulting in such a ghastly smell that we had to give her the first bath since surgery.

Friday, 3 December 2010

twelve weeks after surgery!

Hooray! We've made it to the twelve-week mark after Penny's surgery. The surgeon said after this period we could 'start to return Penny to her usual activities' - whatever that means!

However, the physiotherapist says sixteen weeks is a safer length of time, so I'll go by her recommendation. When I look at this video of Penny walking in the underwater treadmill, I can see that she is still favoring her left rear leg.

So I guess it'll be a few more weeks of the treadmill and of staying on lead whevever she is out of the house. (However, I did let her walk beside me off-lead down a local lane today, because it is quiet and straight and not too interesting. It was so-o wonderful to have her walking free beside me.)

The vet nurse who supervises the treadmill says that the water takes seventy percent of the dog's weight, so the treadmill gives her a chance to walk steadily for fifteen minutes, and of course the warm water not only provides resistance and muscle-building capactiy, but it's also comforting for a sore or aching leg.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

a dog, a blowfly and a spider

Penny eats blowflies.

It came about because, in her impressionable youth, she encountered a mystery infestation of newly-hatched blowflies in our house and thought it great fun to chase them and eat them.

Disgusting, I know. But dogs don't seem to understand the concept of disgust. (And, from reading the article I've just linked to, no-one completely understands the function of disgust in human psychology.)

Anyway, back to blowflies. (I hope your sense of disgust hasn't kicked in so strongly that you've already clicked away from this post.)

One of Penny's humans reported that she was 'licking the front window'. That seemed so strange that I jumped up from the computer, where I was reporting on our walk to Fairfield Boathouse this morning, and went to check it out.

Frenzied buzzing explained it all. A fly was caught in a spider web at the side of the window where Penny keeps an eye on the street.

'Leave it! I snapped. Too late. She'd pinched the spider's lunch. And the little spider, about the size of a fly itself, was coming out to see what the problem was.

You can't live in Australia without co-existing amicably with spiders, but the thought of the spider biting Penny on the mouth or nose had me worried. So Penny had to go into prison behind a baby gate while I chased the spider up and down the narrow rim of the window with a folded-up Woolworths receipt.

Success! The spider is out in a nice little pile of empty plant pots, and Penny is back at the window.

I just hope the fly went down without causing any stomach problems!

just a walk in the park

This sign doesn't scare us these days, lol.

Because Penny has to walk on lead everywhere we go, we're discovering places we wouldn't have gone in the past. Today we went to the park around Fairfield Boathouse.

First we walked down the asphalt path to the Pipe Bridge. Penny did a little self-therapy on the way, doing her 'paws up' exercise as she checked out the grass above the path.

And then down the hill to the bridge.

The bridge was so straight, so devoid of interesting smells, that Penny walked steadily forward for the whole length, which is exactly the sort of walking she needs to do to strengthen her leg muscles.

The path at the end had puddles to walk in and grass to munch on.

All in all, a good walk for both human and canine.

And I note, from this old photo, that Penny's not the first dog to enjoy the bridge.

Friday, 26 November 2010

weaving as therapy for Penny after her cruciate operation

Who'd have thought, six months ago, that we'd be thrilled with a thirty-five minute slow walk to the park, with Penny on lead? It just goes to show it's all relative. After ten weeks' rehabilitation from her traditional extracapsular cruciate operation, walking has become the highlight of our day.

I thought we'd add something extra yesterday, so we did some weaving between the poles along the edge of the park, with the idea that as she changed direction she'd be shifting her weight from side to side.

We might have done more, except that the heavens opened and we got half-drowned in the deluge. (Still welcome, though. We know southern Australia is still in drought, even if it's raining at the moment.)

dog sledding in the Australian snow

During my recent holiday at Bright, I picked up a brochure advertising sled dog tours in the high country. I hadn't realised this activity is available in Australia. How wonderful it must be to live in such a scenic place, have the fun of winter snow, and also get to keep a pack of huskies. The company is named Australian Sleddog Tours.

I read elsewhere that there is probably a sled dog event somewhere around the country every weekend in winter (not necessarily on snow), for people who want to participate with their own dogs. Now, I'm fairly sure this is a sport that is just made for the dog that Penny believes she is, as she's never happier than tugging us along behind her. But we'll have to live without it, as her long, low body isn't in synch with her 'inner sleddog'.

Australian Sleddog Tours have a range of stock photographs on their site, and the pictures of dogs are just gorgeous.

And another link I just can't resist adding is this one, about sled dog tours in Lapland. The translation into English will have you smiling, but the content is also irresistibly tempting. I think one day I have to get on a plane, sit squashed beside someone for thirty hours, arrive on the other side of the world exhausted, unable to speak the language...

Hmmm - maybe I'll just head upt to Bright and do a tour in my own state.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

great dog book to read

I've just finished reading Frank Robson's book, Lucky Goes to Sea.

It's the sequel to Lucky for Me, which I loved.

I notice that in this sequel there's a small section that I've read previously in an article Frank Robson published a couple of years ago. He says he and his partner
refuse to be cowed by Australia's official war on dogs: if all the no-go zones were observed, dogs wouldn't be seen anywhere except sulking in backyards, which is crazy.
I wrote about how I felt Penny reacts to being on lead, after I read that article. It's interesting to me to look back at what I wrote, because for the last five months Penny has not walked off-lead at all, and in fact has even been on lead every moment she is in our own garden. She seems not to be bothered by that.

I can't wait until we are given permission for her to walk off-lead. The other day I asked the physio if we could let Penny off-lead in our own garden and she said, yes, certainly...if we could guarantee that Penny wouldn't run or jump. And that's not likely!

Anyway, back to the book...

It's wonderful. I loved every word of it. What I like about it is that the dog is the central point of the book, not like some stories where the dog is just a means of telling the story of the humans. In Lucky Goes to Sea, of course we find out what is happening in the humans' lives, but the love of their dog shines through.

And it's not depressing, as many dog stories are. It's upbeat and optimistic.

He does write about the inevitability of aging, but hopes Lucky will be around for many years to come:
He's our once-in-a-lifetime dog, and even if he lives to be twenty (not that unusual among small breeds) it won't be enough.

I sure know how he feels!

a wet dog

I'm sure that if I were to look back one year at my old posts, I would have been writing about the drought. It was so stressful and depressing.

Well, today, Penny and her two humans set off for a thirty-five minute walk on a lovely cool cloudy day. Yes, she can now walk for thirty-five minutes - we build up five extra minutes each week. At first, we enjoyed the puddles and the dampness, as a contrast to the hot days we've recently had.

And then we got caught in a huge downpour. We sheltered under a tree, but got soaked. We took refuge in a toilet block and still got soaked. We all crowded together into a toilet cubicle with the door shut, standing in rising water and dripping wet all over, and the rain still blew in.

Eventually we decided we'd have to grin and bear it, so we set off at the usual slow, slow, post-operative pace, slogging through the rain.

But you know what?

We still love rain!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

a rescue of a dog swimming out to sea

Penny loves the water. It's great to see her swimming around in the waves when we go to the beach or the river, a pool or a creek.

However, I'm glad she's never headed four kilometres out to sea to play with a sea lion, like this dog did.

I'm glad the story had a happy ending! It amazes me that the rescuers were able to find one little dog in the huge, huge sea.

Dogs in the bush at Bright

I left Penny at home with her other humans over the last few days and went for a holiday at Bright.

However, I didn't forget Penny, and I was on the lookout to see whether it would be a good place for a holiday with a dog.

The first thing I noticed was that dogs don't have to be on lead if you do the Canyon Walk along the Ovens River.

And you don't have to watch out for bike riders!

And the next thing I noticed was that I'd be terrified Penny would fall into the raging river...

I'll have to make sure we visit when the river is not in full flow.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

steady progress by Penny

Penny today passes the ten-week mark since the extracapsular surgery on her cruciate ligament! Now she is allowed to walk daily for thirty minutes!

However, we still need to go at a slow pace. The physiotherapist says she can move to a trot next week, as long as she is putting her weight on all four legs and doesn't show any lameness.

Another big step (here comes a pun!) is that she is now allowed to go up and down a couple of steps. We'll leave our handy ramp in place, but I've cut back the foliage from the two steps that had become overgrown in the last four months and this evening we used the steps.

Our physio has suggested that we never again throw balls for Penny to chase, never let her jump into the car and never let her jump onto furniture. A few months ago I would have been very sad to think of these limitations, but over the last weeks I've seen that Penny can be happy without all the activities we used to do, so I think we can live with these restrictions.

Friday, 12 November 2010

more grass eating by Penny

Yesterday Penny ate grass again, and this time it was a different species.

In this photo you can see where she has torn off leaves.

Today I thought I could see some grass in her bowel motion, so I assume she eats it for a problem in her bowels. Or is it in her stomach?

I think I'll cook up some rice and chicken and put her on a gentle diet for a couple of days. And we'll visit the vet if she's not looking perfectly fine in a couple of days.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

dogs eating grass

Penny eats a little bit of grass most days - which I hope isn't a sign of an unsettled stomach - and sometimes I've thought she was having a nibble of a plant we call 'bamboo', even though it's not. It's arundo donax.

For a while we thought maybe she was licking drops of water off it.

Well, yesterday I think I definitely saw her chew on it. And here's the photo I took:

In the past, I've seen her eat other types of grass, but I'm surprised that she would nibble on such a tough grass.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

at last, a walk in the park after cruciate surgery!

On Sunday, two of her humans led Penny up into the car on her ramp, and set off, not for the vet... not for physiotherapy... but for a walk!

Yes, a walk in a park.

Unfortunately, by the time we walked, ever so slowly, from our carpark spot to the entrance to the park, and read the scary notice, eleven minutes had passed, which is half of our walking time at this stage.

So we turned back. Did Penny care? Not on your life! She loved the whole experience and went into an orgy of sniffing, and weeing to let other dogs know she'd been there. We actually said hello to a couple of calm dogs, which was great, since Penny hasn't really interacted with other dogs since about June.

There was a lovely set of posts that would be just right for doing some weaving, which I'll ask the physiotherapist about today. I think weaving is good somewhere along the line, because it reteaches her to be aware of her rear end.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

true love on a blind date

My brother gave me the address of today's Non Sequitur and I loved it!

The link I've used comes out really small. I'm not sure why. I had to enlarge the screen to see it clearly. Here's another link that is normal-sized, but I suspect it might only be available today.

I've realised that if you click on the second link above, you just have to click on the calendar there for 7th November 2010 and you get that particular joke.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

the little piglet is training with the dogs

I've posted previously about the little pig who was to train at Kintala, the dog club where Penny first trained. I'm so glad that we started off at Kintala, because they train off-lead from the start. So Penny has never associated dog activities with being on a lead, and has had a good recall from early on.

Today there's another article in The Age about the little pig, and it's good to see the training seems to be going well. (However, I notice the pig is on lead.)

And this time there's the cutest photo!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

the beloved green mat returns

If you look at this clip of Penny settling down on her beloved old green mat, you'll understand why it has been hidden in the cupboard for the eight weeks since her surgery on her knee.

It had been brought out twice over the last few weeks and each time Penny terrified me by her enthusiasm for it. To her dismay it was snatched away each time and put on the shelf.

But I reckon, after eight weeks, it's time to let her enjoy it. That leg is certainly getting plenty of Passive Range of Movement exercise.

Here's an article I've just come across, by Greg Harasen, discussing the benefits of postoperative physical therapy.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Penny walked around a whole block today

Well, what a red letter day! Penny and I set off slow-ly heading down the hill to the end of our street and made it around a whole block.

Dr James St Clair says hill work is important for strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings, which help support the knee, so I thought we'd better venture a little further today. Our house is on the top of a hill, with a gentle slope in one direction and a steeper slope in the other, so we took the gentle slope.

Penny can go at a slightly faster pace now and still put her weight on her injured leg, so we actually managed to go around in a circle and come home a different way, instead of our usual glacial pace to and fro in our own street.

One small step for a dog, one giant leap for canine-kind. Well, it was quite a lot of small steps, actually, but you get the idea...

Dr. James St. Clair's home therapy booklet is still free

Recently Dotty asked me how I had obtained the enormously helpful home therapy booklet produced by Dr James St. Clair and I wasn't sure how I got it, so I emailed him and he's replied with the links for the whole set of booklets.

I think this is one of the most amazing things available on the Net, actually, as it's packed with information that even the best vets and surgeons don't seem to give out - detailed timetables and instructions on how to look after your dog immediately after surgery for cruciate injuries, and how to continue the therapy in the following months.

Here's the list of sites for the different surgeries:
tplo surgery

tplo guide

tta guide

cruciate surgery

fho guide

Saturday, 30 October 2010

home therapy after cruciate operation

One of the problems with a recovery after surgery is boredom, and maybe even depression - and that's just the human, lol!

Anyway, back to the needs of the patient... having to do therapy three times a day helps pass the time. Here we are trying to follow the instructions we were given for the next few weeks. We don't go back for a review until another three weeks, so I sure hope we're doing the exercises correctly. But at least we're having fun.

Though I must admit Penny didn't seem too happy about the last exercise on this clip, to judge by the height of her tail.

going for very slow walks after surgery

I was looking at this video clip I took last week of Penny setting off for a short walk with one of her humans and I was interested to see how clearly it shows the need to go at a slow pace after extracapsular surgery for her torn cruciate ligament.

When Penny came off the ramp, she hopped instead of using her left leg, and when her human picked up the pace a little at the end of the driveway, Penny once again hurried along without exercising the leg that has lost muscle tone.

We've been told that walking is a way to build up stamina and strength, but that it still needs to be very slow at this stage.

Friday, 29 October 2010

apologies to blonde readers for this dog joke

I can't resist passing on this joke that came today in The Friday Funnies:

The veterinarian told the blonde that her dog needed some

"You need to make sure the dog runs around," the doctor
said. "Try playing a game of fetch."

"I can't play fetch with my dog," the blonde said.

"Why not?" the doctor asked.

"Because," she replied, "He can't throw."

And Sheila, in her Pet Hates Cartoons blog has a treadmill joke. I'm glad Penny doesn't have to go on that one!

a dog meets farm animals at Myuna

Penny is once more allowed to go in and out the door, but we've still got the doggy door closed, so she doesn't get stuck in it again! The vet told us weeks agot that she would have to do something quite extreme to ruin the surgery on her knee, but we still like to be extra careful.

We went for her twice-weekly walk on the underwater treadmill this morning and Penny is now doing two sessions of seven minutes.

The great news is that we are also going for seventeen minute slow walks! (Who would have thought, ten months ago, that such a small trip would be exciting?)

We mooched around the lovely farm where the treadmill is situated and Penny met deer and llamas (I didn't go too close to the llamas, as they looked a bit concerned about a dog approaching). However, we walked right past the deer, who were coming close in the hope of getting some bread (didn't have any on me, but I'll take some next time).

After all that exertion, Penny took a rest on our back patio, keeping an eye on the clivia and asparagus seedlings for me.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

dogs and fish

Penny is a real city slicker and only eats fish if it comes out of a can, unlike Noah and friends, who enjoy all sorts of fish. Today I stumbled across a clip of a dog who accidentally caught a fish while trying to ear the bread scraps his human was tossing into the water.

I wonder what Penny would do if the same thing happened to her?

But this dog certainly wanted to catch a fish. I'd have loved to see what happened next. Did he eat the huge salmon he worked so hard to catch, or did his humans steal it from him?

Friday, 22 October 2010

the doggy door is closed

Well, it seems we were too optimistic in opening the doggy door for Penny. Yesterday she raced around the corner to go out through it, slipped and got stuck half-way - which would have been funny in the past, but wasn't so funny now that she's had an operation on her knee.

But we didn't stress too much - just settled her down on her mat for some lovely grooming and placed ice-packs either side of the knee.

Today she seemed fine, so we set off for our twice-weekly walk on the underwater treadmill.

And they were having a photo shoot! Penny pricked up her ears at the sight of a camera - I'm sure all you blogging dogs know that when humans get the camera out, treats may be not too far away. I'm hoping I might get a copy of some of the pictures that were taken of Penny.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

funny dog cartoon

Slavenka has posted a doggy cartoon that tickles my fancy. One of Penny's favorite places is on the couch, but she can't jump up there for a few more weeks yet - or, more conservatively, a few more months.

a step towards full recovery

Today was a big day in the story of Penny's recovery from cruciate ligament surgery. As of our visit to the physiotherapist yesterday, she is allowed to go for a twelve minute walk each day!

We set off as a group - Penny and two of her humans - after much bustle and preparation, and went slow-ly around the corner to the local school. Six slo-o-w minutes to get there and six slo-o-w minutes back. We have to go slowly because if she gets up any speed she doesn't use the operated leg, just hurries along on three legs.

Who'd have thought, six months back, that a hundred-metre walk would be so exciting?


In the afternoon there was the official opening of the doggy door so Penny can go out onto the back patio by herself, without being on lead. We'll only let her go out at the moment when one of her humans is sitting at the back door working on her tapestry. She (the human) is just back from a wonderful textiles tour of Turkey and is slaving away at the tapestry, in order to get if finished in the next couple of weeks, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Penny to go in and out.

Monday, 18 October 2010

doggy lookalikes

Hsin-Yi has posted a few lookalikes of Honey, and suggested we join in the game (started by Samantha the Golden Retriever) by deciding who Penny looks like.

Well, I knew instantly that it should be Elvis, as she is known for her Elvis sneer, when her tooth sticks out of her mouth, but I can't find a picture of her that fits, so we'll have to go for her second lookalike, which is Winston Churchill with his famous cigar.

I think you'll agree there's a strong resemblance when Penny carries a chicken neck in her mouth.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

learning to like our dogs

As I drove along yesterday, I listened to part of an interview with a theologian, James Alison, on the ABC radio program, Encounter. I was struck by his claim that the idea of 'companionate marriage' - a loving relationship between two people who like each other - only emerged in the seventeenth century in Europe. He said that previous to that time, men lived separately from women and didn't socialise with them. Of course, as he so delicately put it, the two sexes came together for 'procreation'.

I took this to mean the two genders didn't really understand each other, or respect their similarities and differing strengths, until they began to live as couples and spend time together.

That made me think of the changes that are currently occurring in the way we relate to our dogs. As long as dogs were in the backyard, out of sight for most of the day, we didn't realise how much they are like us, in their emotions, intelligence and needs. But now that many of us live 24/7 with dogs, we realise we need to respect them and treat them well.

And we like them. In fact, we have learned to love them.

This development has been recognised in Australia, in many ways. An article in The Age newspaper yesterday reported that Lifeline Australia, the crisis support telephone service, now offers support to people grieving the death of a pet.

underwater treadmill and cruciate rehabilitation

Penny's gaining confidence in the underwater treadmill. Here's a clip of her third session (we're going twice a week at the moment).

It's interesting to compare with her gait back in August, before the surgery, when we were trying conservative management and trying to avoid surgery.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

striped dogs

When I look at Penny's coat, I have trouble describing its color, but the vet recently called it 'brindle', so I've been describing it that way lately. The Online Etymological Dictionary says of this color:
"marked with streaks, streaked with a dark color," 1670s, from M.E. brended (early 15c.), from bren "brown color" (13c.), noun made from pp. of brennen "burn," perhaps meaning "marked as though by branding or burning."
Once I looked it up, I was surprised the vet would say Penny is striped because I think she's just light brown. Until I got a close look at her shaved leg in the sunshine yesterday, as she lay around 'helping' me to garden:

Definitely striped!