Friday, 29 April 2011

Penny still remembers some moves for dancing

I've spent ages roaming around the internet looking for some music for a routine for Honey's dancing competition, but nothing so far has inspired me.

However, I thought I'd see if Penny was still keen to go in the competition. Yep, by the look of her wagging tail, she still thinks dancing is fun. She even remembers some of the moves, which is pretty good considering we've been out of action for nearly a year.

I found an old walking stick in the umbrella stand in the hallway, so maybe that will be part of our routine.

I thought I'd post a clip of our preparation to encourage others to enter. I figure if they see me bumbling around the kitchen they'll know it's a competition for all levels!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Swimming to get fit for the dancing contest

Now that Penny and I are preparing for Honey's dancing contest, she's keen to get fit. So we went off to Ruffey Lake Park today, braving the (wonderful drought-breaking) rain. Penny decided she needed to swim to loosen up her muscles for some of the moves, so we were glad to see a notice that said swimming is 'encouraged'.

We had fun throwing Penny's whirl wheel and she enjoyed the swim.

It was only on the way around the Lake that we came across another sign saying swimming was 'discouraged'. Whoa! What was going on? So we went back to the first sign and checked it more carefully.

Hmm... looks like someone had scraped away one letter from the sign and left it for a cursory glance to give the wrong impression.

Anyway, we all had fun, and we did what they said. We only let Penny swim near the rocks so she wouldn't degrade the banks.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Honey's dancing contest

Honey is having a doggy dancing contest and ...perhaps... we're going to enter!

After Penny tore her cruciate ligament last year, we stopped our fun activities - flyball, canine freestyle (doggy dancing), tricks classes with Cindy and even tennis-ball chasing.

And we've been feeling a bit down, ever since.

But Honey's competition has come along at just the right time, when Penny finally seems to be moving okay. We went to Yarra Bend Park with Cindy on Sunday and stayed there for four hours, and the next day Penny wasn't limping!

We won't win, of course, because I'm such a terrible dancer, but it will be great to have a reason to start dancing again. The rules say that only dogs who've never danced in public can enter, so we should be okay to do that. We did go to classes with Sue Cordwell, at Melbourne Canine Freestyle, but never got to perform, because of having to drop out when Penny had her operation.

So, it's time to get out the music, think of a routine we can do in the kitchen, and get cracking!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Penny and the feather duster

Penny is continuing to let us know she's tired of the Hills z/d ultra low allergen diet.

Last night we decided to close off the gate from the back patio to the back garden for fear she might dine on the fresh compost I had spread on the vegetable garden. However, in a slight glitch to this clever plan, we actually locked her IN the backyard instead of locking her in the house, and sure enough there was a nice big hole in the compost. It looked about the right size to be a well-rotted (and no doubt, tasty) sweet potato.

And then, when I came home in the afternoon I found...

Penny's neck decorated with a little clump of feathers.

And what looked like a dead bird on the floor.

We were mystified, until we realised it was a feather duster.

Seeing Penny hasn't destroyed or chewed anything in the last five years or so, I think we have to take these behaviours as a sign that it's time to give her an interesting diet.

We'll go to the dermatologist as soon as we can get an appointment.

The rains continue and Penny visits Darebin Parklands

We went down to Darebin Parklands today to see the swollen creek and to enjoy the fresh green growth, such a pleasure after the years of drought.

But of course, as in our famous poem, there are 'droughts and flooding rains', and I realise not everyone may be enjoying the flooding we are experiencing at the moment. Today the water was up over the path even early in the morning, and we had to retrace our steps, instead of making a circuit of the park.

Because of the lack of access to our usual route, we didn't go to the off-lead area, so Penny walked on lead for an hour, usually a annoying time for us, as she likes to surge ahead.

However, today was different, because Cindy told me about the Sporn Mesh Non-pull Harness - and it works! I bought one at Coldstream Animal Aid and slipped it over Penny's head as I was shown, and she doesn't pull now. It's just amazing. As you can see from these photos, the lead is quite loose - well, most of the time!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Penny scavenges her own meal

It seems Penny's tired of the Hills z/d ultra low-allergen diet. It's been as boring as can be ever since we started it, but we followed it to try to get a handle on her allergic response to something unknown.

Today I took her with me when I visited a friend's garden. I was talking to my friend and noticed a strange silence from Penny. "Where's Penny?' I said.

'Oh, no doubt exploring the garden,' my innocent friend replied.

'No, where's Penny?' I repeated. Penny is usually relaxing nearby - unless she's discovered something to eat.

A look around and there she was, nose in a nice bowl of leftover rice salad set out for the birds, scoffing the meal as fast as she could.

Well, it was time to start adding something to her diet to see if the allergy returns. I just hadn't counted on it happening today.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Penny has a holiday

Penny's not here at the moment and it's very quiet in the house. It's strange that we are so aware of the absence such a quiet, laid-back dog. (Well, she's not quiet if anyone dares to pass by in the street, or if a person should come to our door, but in general she's just lying around keeping an eye out for someone to go near the lead or the food bowl.)

We went to a family wedding at the weekend, and needed Penny to be safe while we were away, so she boarded with Cindy, our trainer, pack leader and generally wonderful 'dog person'.

Although we're home once again, it seemed a good idea to let Penny stay over with Cindy for a few days extra.

When I dropped Penny off, Cindy wanted me to come near evening, so Penny could go for a walk with 'the pack' and get comfortable with the other dogs (whom she knows from our regular walks), before they all settled down for the night.

She certainly settled in quickly, taking off with the other dogs and with Cindy, not looking back to see whether I was keeping up, which is rare for her to do.

(That's her investigating the grass near the water.)

We know how lucky we are to be able to place Penny with such an experienced, caring person. I've even had photos of her sent to my phone, so I can see what a happy time she's having.

But it will be great to have her home once again!