Tuesday, 30 August 2011

wheelchair for dogs

I received an email today from Dr. James St. Clair, whose booklet about home therapy after cruciate surgery was a wonderful resource when Penny had her cruciate repair.

He included a link to this YouTube clip showing a wheelchair for dogs with crippled hind legs. I was amazed to see the dog running around, climbing down stairs, and even lying down while still in the apparatus.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

dogs, mud and water in the Australian bush

Last time we went with Cindy's walking group to The Black Spur at Narbethong, it was wet.

Penny got muddy.

And guess what? It was still muddy today. Penny had great fun.

Four wheel drive vehicles have been along the road and have made some great ruts, just right for dogs to walk in, roll in, play in, chase in.

What a thrill it was to see Penny dashing around with the other dogs, given that this time last year she was crippled by a cruciate injury and we were waiting for surgery. I am so grateful to the surgeon, Dr Wing Tip Wong, who repaired her leg.

Here's how Penny looked after her adventures in the mud today.

I tried to convince her to clean up in a gorgeous little mossy creek, but to no avail. She sniffed around but I couldn't communicate the idea of laying herself down in the trickle of water. I'll have to brush up on my dog-speak!

She won't need too much dinner tonight, because along the way she dined on some delicious poo from a wombat. The great thing about being a a dog, of course, is that if your human is not quick, you get to not only eat great stuff like that in the Australian bush, but you also get to roll in it.

The idea is to roll so fast that even a camera can't catch the action, let alone a slow old human.

You might be wondering whether I let her back into the car after all this fun. Yes, I was kind to her, and didn't make her walk the eighty kilometres home. But we did stop for a long, long swim in a creek at Healesville.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

dogs and asparagus

It's strange, but fortunate, that Penny doesn't eat the vegetables and fruit in our garden, even though she likes the occasional vegetable offcut in the kitchen. (Oh, she has taken to eating a couple of the fallen olives lately, but luckily they're in the front garden where she's not allowed, so she only gets to snatch one if she's out the front with us welcoming visitors.)

I'm growing lots of baby asparagus plants from seed and I know I'll have to wait about four more years before I can harvest them, but I got to wondering whether it would safe for Penny to nibble on them. I found some sites that say it is safe to feed asparagus. However, I've posted a question on Dr Renee's Roar Kingdom blog, because I'd like to confirm the information with a local vet.

One of the sites mentions the possibility that the dog's faeces might become green, and I'm sure glad to know that in advance, because we had a scare one time when Penny ate black dog biscuits and her poo turned blue.

Another site warns of 'bad odors in their dog’s gas or urine'.

Okay, we'll be prepared, when our asparagus comes up nice and lush - in three or four years!

On my other blog, I'm writing about the history of asparagus, and, guess what? It makes some human's urine smell stinky, also.

But the funny thing is that even though for more than two and half thousand years people have been writing about growing, cooking and eating this plant, no one ever wrote anything about this stinky effect until the seventeenth century.

Friday, 5 August 2011

the singing dog

I know this YouTube clip is not new, but it's new to me! I was sent the link today.

I love it.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Red Dog the movie is coming!

At last the new Australian movie, Red Dog, is coming to our screens! And Margaret and David gave it a great review. It's based on a book by Louis de Bernieres - the book retells the mythology that exists around a real dog who lived in the Pilbara.

Luke Hura, who trained Koko, the canine star, used to train at the Lilydale Showgrounds, where Penny trained with Cindy, and we've taken a great interest in hearing about the search for the right star and the time spent preparing him for this role - about two years, I think. Margaret and David in their review of the film said the dog was found here in Victoria, even though the film is set in Western Australia.

Here's Koko's casting 'interview'. It's great!

It seems that Koko was living it up in a posh hotel in Sydney the night before the premiere.

I wonder what the future holds for Koko.

is pet ownership actually good for our health?

I came across an article today about a psychologist who thinks we should look carefully at claims that pet ownership is universally good for us.

It's generally accepted that it is, but according to Harold Herzog, Professor of Psychology at the Western Carolina University, we need to investigate this claim in more scientifically rigorous ways. He says that previous reports
often suffer from methodological problems, such as small, homogeneous samples, lack of appropriate control groups, and reliance on self-report to measure participants' health and well-being.
I feel that having Penny live with us has been good for everyone in our household, but I certainly don't know any way to prove that, because I don't know how things would have been if we had not brought her home. Somewhere on the Net, as I browsed yesterday, I saw a piece about introducing a new dog into the household, and it made the interesting point that once a dog comes into the home we cease to be individuals and become a de facto 'pack'. I think that's a good thing.

Monday, 1 August 2011

a new toy to make Penny think

I bought a new toy recently, despite my decision to stop buying unnecessary 'stuff' for Penny. (But I can forgive myself for this broken resolution, because someone has to spend money and keep the economy ticking over.)

It's called 'dogit' Mind Games and on the manufacturer's site there's the cutest video clip of a puppy playing with it. I think it would be great for a puppy, but I must admit Penny solved it in seconds.

However, I think it's a well-designed toy. It's made of sturdy plastic and sticks to the floor with suction cups, so that it avoids the problem of the Nina Ottosson toys of the whole thing moving around the floor as the dog investigates. (But I LOVE the Nina Ottosson toys in general and find them more challenging than this one.)

This game involves three different types of activity and here we are trying the first one, in which she simply has to pick up the green pieces to find the food under them:

Penny liked finding the treats, but it was fairly straightforward. So we tried the next activity:

And then I set the toy up for the next type of game:

And Penny tried it.

Overall, I'd say it's a good game.