Monday, 18 March 2013

Penny and the Australian Grand Prix

Well, Penny sort of went to the Australian Grand Prix yesterday.

That's to say, she was close to it. We headed off to visit a friend who lives near the St Kilda beachfront, and discovered there's an off-lead dog beach right in front of her apartment. The plan was for Penny and one human to play on the beach while the other human visited her friend.

Wasn't going to happen! Penny was upset that one of the pack had gone missing and spent the first forty minutes tracking up and down alongside the busy roadway. I took her to the beach, but was afraid to let her off-lead as she was so obsessed with finding the lost pack member.

All this was accompanied by the roar of racing cars and the shriek of overflying jets as The Roulettes put on a magnificent display. Penny took no notice. (She has experienced a low fly-over in her flyball days, when our event had to stop because the Roulettes were diving just over the Botanical Gardens where we were racing.)

And the weather was cold! Hooray! After the hottest start to autumn Melbourne has experienced (since detailed records have been kept), I'm loving the cold, wet weather. Not the best day for the beach, but the kite boarders seemed to be having a ball.

And, best of all, we let Penny run around, jump into the waves, chase balls - once the pack was reunited, she lightened up enough to have fun - and she isn't limping the next day!

We'll go and have the third of her weekly cartrophen injection tomorrow.As Honey's human commented on my post a few days ago, this medication is as much about prevention as cure, so we're not expecting sudden results.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

how I prevent my dog eating Bokashi compost

For many years I've buried our tastiest compost in the front garden, where Penny is not permitted to go (unless she's with a human). Tasty by her standards, you understand. Disgusting, by ours.

Amongst the many forms of composting that I use, the most frequent comes out of our Bokashi bin. Because this system is anaerobic and takes everything - dairy, meat, onions, for instance - I need to be sure it is completely out of Penny's reach until it has decomposed completely. (I never put chocolate in it, because I  think even when decomposed, chocolate might still be dangerous - but then again, there's never a skerrick of chocolate left over in our house.)

For seven years, then, the front garden has been enriched by Bokashi compost but not the back yard. But our back garden is the main fruit and vegie growing spot, so I've devised a system to keep Penny out of danger.

First, I obtained - legally! - a bakery delivery tray.

I measure the area of the tray and dig a hole in the ground to match, about 10 centimetres (4 inches) deep. This is less depth than I'm supposed to, but I have a disk problem in my back, and that's all I can dig.

I collect the dug out soil in bins, or even an old cardboard box.

Most important step! Close the gate so Penny can't come out to see what I'm doing...

...because now I'm about to spread out the dee-li-cious compost. (In a Bokashi system, the ingredients get pickled, rather than actually breaking down into soil at this stage.) 

I aim to keep the 'stuff' towards the centre of the hole, in case Penny later digs around the edges.

Then cover it all by replacing the previously removed soil.

And this is the point where I learned my lesson many years ago, because Penny moseyed outside and dug up the compost, which I didn't learn about until she started vomiting.

So, now I cover it with the bakery tray and put a heavy paver on top.

And who's that in the distance having a look at what I was doing? Yep, Penny! Another household member came out to hang out the washing, and Penny appeared.

So now I'll keep an eye on the spot and make sure there's no disturbance around the edges.

Here's a photo of the last place I successfully buried the Bokashi. I've made a fence around the area to be quite, quite sure it's out of Penny's reach until plants have covered it completely.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

An award for Penny's blog

Lilli, who blogs from far, far away, has given us an award. She's in Finland.

I enjoy reading Lilli's blog, because I know next to nothing about life in Finland and Lilli covers a variety of topics. It's fascinating to look at the Finnish words and then see the English version below.
I love language and languages.

It's lovely to get this award. Thanks, Lilli!

holistic arthritis treatments for dogs

Here's an informative and interesting article about arthritis in animals, with lots of suggested holistic ways to mitigate the effects. Thanks to proud womon for the link!

We've been giving Penny a powder called Glyde since she was a puppy, and we feed her many of the foods mentioned, but I'm going to study the other listed foods and additives and see if we can make her comfortable and pain free.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Penny and the limp

Penny's limping once more. Or still limping, to be more exact.

After a month of seeing her limp when she gets up from lying down, and having tried complete rest; partial rest; massage; icing her front shoulder, swimming, we decided it was time to go back to the vet.

Of course she had no limp at the vet surgery. It was pretty difficult to assess Penny's gait, seeing she loves her vet so much that she throws herself at his feet all the time for a tummy rub, but he did his best, and of course he did all that disturbing limb manipulation, trying to find the soreness. Penny, like so many other dogs, is incredibly stoic, but the vet concluded that it is indeed her left front shoulder that is giving her trouble. Probably arthritis, sigh...

So she's having a course of cartrophen. One injection each week. She did have this once before, after her cruciate surgery, so we know she can tolerate this medication. The information on the site says it has no side effects, and our vet said the same thing, but I'm cynical enough to think that NOTHING has no side effects. But we'll settle for 'minimal side effects'.

The difference this time is that the vet suggested continuing with 'moderate exercise'. He used to advise resting a troublesome joint, so it was a pleasant surprise to be encouraged to keep her active. Given that in human medication the doctors and physios generally suggest keeping active after injury, I'm glad to get the same advice for Penny.

It's easy to restrain her from over-exercising, because the weather is awful lately. Hot, hot, hot every day. I've never known an autumn like this. Seeing we've just had the hottest summer ever recorded in Australia, it's frighteningly like what the climate change scientists have been predicting.

Good weather for swimming, though, and there's a nice little beach on the Yarra river up at Warringal Parklands.

And another swim at Kepala Canine Resort wouldn't go amiss.