Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Penny pooed Glad Wrap

As far as I know, yesterday was the first time Penny has eaten plastic.

Human Number Two and I were walking in one of our favourite parks when Penny stepped aside to relieve herself, and - as we always do if possible - we glanced at her 'doings' before picking them up. To our surprise, there was something long and strange in it. Closer inspection revealed a short length of Glad Wrap.

Hmm... How could that have happened?

Once we arrived home, we questioned Human Number Three. Yep, he'd wrestled something wrapped in plastic from Penny's mouth yesterday and thought he'd got it all.

Good to know the time span of the plastic in her digestive system. One day doesn't seem too long a time, and we hope that was the sum of it.

Here's hoping all is well. She's eating well and seems happy.

Except for the foot and bottom licking. But that's another story...

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

looking at yellow-tailed black cockatoos at Heidelberg

Dogs are terrific for taking us to new and interesting places. If we didn't have a dog, we wouldn't have  taken a walk along an ordinary-looking mud track in Heidelberg.

And if we hadn't gone there, we wouldn't have found ourselves alongside a flock of yellow-tailed black cockatoos.

They were noisy and busy, seemingly finding food - or something interesting, at least - under the bark of the little trees around us. It was wonderful to realise they didn't much care that we were there, and we could have stayed for hours watching them swoop and land and rip into the trees, but we did eventually tear ourselves away and continue the walk.

Monday, 10 August 2015

ZiwiPeak dog foods do not have carrageenan in them

I emailed ZiwiPeak and got this reply about whether they still have carrageenan in their products.

This is the reply:
Thank you for your enquiry about the carrageenan in ZiwiPeak canned food.As from October 2014 all canned food was produced with the new formulation that excluded the use of carrageenan.Of course it takes many months for the new formulation stock to filter through to all retailers in the marketplace but by now I would expect it it be all carrageenan free.
So that's good.

coffee or chocolate destination when walking the dog

We have a new stopping place on our local walks, because there's a teensy little coffee shop at a local railway station.

I guess we'll have to walk further so I can exercise off the extra fat from the drink, haha.

Penny didn't take any notice of the bookshelf outside the little shop, but I did, because they have a swap going on - you just leave a book and take one. Should be fun.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

pet food with carrageenan in it - is it too dangerous?

Long ago, someone pointed out to me that our favourite canned pet food has carrageenan in it, and said that ingredient is reported to be carcinogenic. I decided not to worry about it, because I thought  ZiwiPeak, the brand I'm talking about, is ethically produced.

However, today I was reading a report by a cardiologist about carrageena. He says he wouldn't eat it himself. Reluctantly, I decided not to buy this terrific brand of food any more.

And then...

In researching this post I found they don't include it any more! Hooray!

Two things occur to me:
1. If they have taken the trouble to replace carrageenan with what they say is a safer ingredient - agar agar - then they must have concluded that carrageenan is indeed dangerous to our pets.

2. Why is carrageenan still listed on some websites as a ZiwiPeak ingredient?

I reckon it's worth looking at the ingredient list on anything you give your dogs - and on any human product - to check for carrageenan.

Friday, 7 August 2015

water harvesting at a popular dog walking park

When we can't be bothered going far from home, we love walking at Chelsworth Park. We can walk around the sports ovals with Penny running free, but if we head off into the network of paths through the bushland along the Yarra River, Penny stays on lead.

We enjoy both types of walking.

Sometimes in warm weather we've seen dogs swimming in the new pool there. I do wonder whether it's safe, in terms of water quality and in terms of the grid across one end of the pool. I'm the sort of person who's always looking out for possible dangers.

Today when we arrived at the park, we saw some explanatory signs that we found really interesting. They explain what the pond is really for. We did know already that under the sports ovals there is a huge network of pipes to collect and store rainwater, and that the pond had something to do with it.

So, now we know to stop calling it a 'pond' and refer to it as a sedimentation basin. It seems to me that the water should be relatively clean, because the trap will have already caught the rubbish from the street stormwater drains.

But as to whether Penny should  swim there, I'll have to wait until we get more information about whether it's allowed. There's no sign forbidding it, though, and the water would only be rainwater.
On the other hand, the cement path leading down to it isn't very inviting.

I've wondered why the second pool rarely has any water in it, and now I see that it's actually a rain garden, allowing the water to sink into the ground.

It's amazing to think of so much water being collected and stored under the grass.

What a fabulous initiative! Living as we do in the driest continent on the planet - hmm, maybe Antarctica is drier, but I think that's not the case - we value our water.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Penny stayed home today

Penny didn't come with me today when I walked in one of our favourite spots, near the confluence of the Merri Creek and the Yarra River.

Long ago, I sort of complained that we had been banned from entering our number one top-favorite, most loved swimming spot. I'm glad that a short time later I wrote about our acceptance of the new restrictions, because today I found out what a special spot this is and why it should be protected and allowed to regenerate as natural bushland.

This week is Wurundjeri Week. The Wurundjeri are the indigenous people whose home is this region of Victoria, and they are conducting walking tours to teach the public about their culture. It seems the places where there is a confluence of streams or a crossing place have special significance, and our old swimming spot is the meeting of the Merri Creek and the Yarra River.

It was lovely to be made welcome in this special place. I've often noticed the sign at the start of the off-lead area, and enjoyed trying to read the language on the sign, but it was even better to hear a speaker of the language welcome us.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Let's ban the use of Diclofenac

I was reading the latest edition of Australian Birdlife and came across a reference to the danger of veterinary Diclofenac prescriptions - it's an anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug. The reason it's mentioned in the Birdlife magazine is that it's highly toxic to vultures.

I can imagine a scenario where a cow, having been medicated with Diclofenac, dies and its carcass attracts vultures, including the wonderful, beautiful lammergeier, the largest bird in the European Alps.

From what I've read online, I gather Diclofenac is not a usual drug for dogs in the USA. It is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it can be prescribed legally by vets as an 'extra-label' drug.

Here's an extract from a review of a book by Dr Tim Flannery, Here on Earth:

For many years, India’s White-rumped Vulture population was large and thriving, but from the late 1990s the number of vultures suddenly declined. So precipitous was the drop that 97% of the birds disappeared over 15 years. As they died out, the animals they once scavenged were left to rot. Cattle carcasses piled up, feral dogs increased in number and the spectre of a rabies epidemic grew. The Parsees, a religious group who place their dead on towers to be consumed by vultures, watched in horror as the bodies of loved ones accumulated and slowly decomposed.
In 2006, autopsies revealed the birds’ kidneys had been destroyed by Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug given to cattle and water buffalo. Completely inadvertently, humans had brought the vulture population to the edge of extinction. In the immensely ambitious Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope (Text Publishing, 352pp; $34.95), Tim Flannery describes the vultures and other case studies that follow this depressingly familiar plot: either through indifference or ignorance, by poisoning the environment, changing the climate or launching more straightforward hostilities, humanity has created one ecological disaster after another. Will the vultures survive? Veterinary Diclofenac was banned in India in 2006 and small groups of vultures returned. However, the drug is still sold illegally, so the birds still suffer. 
The article in Australian Birdlife has this warning:
If we believe that because there are no vultures in Australia this is someone else's problem, we need to think again - there is recent evidence that Diclofenac is toxic to aquila Eagles too.This group includes the iconic Wedge-tailed Eagle and what's more, Diclofenac is approved for veterinary use in Australia as both an anti-inflammatory for horses and available without prescription for human use. With safe and cheap alternatives to Diclofenac available - such as the anti-inflammatory Meloxicam - it is time to phase the drug out before similar consequences start occurring in our own country.

Wedge tail eagle flight Jan13
Given that aquila Eagles live all around the world, for instance the Golden Eagle, I think it's important that this drug be banned everywhere, not just in India.

Monday, 3 August 2015

walking at Heide Art Gallery

We don't often walk at Heide Museum of Modern Art, because Penny has to be on lead, but every now and then we tour around the lovely grounds and take special note of the two wonderful kitchen gardens.

I've been noticing a plant lately that I thought looked like a weed, and finally discovered that it is salsify. It's an edible weed, as I discovered when I did a 'weed walk' recently with Adam Grubb. 

The one in the bottom kitchen garden at Heide sure was huge. Penny and I had a good look at it, wondering whether it might be something interesting to grow at home. Penny loves her vegetables!

I wonder whether it grew as a weed and they left it there, knowing what it is, or whether they deliberately planted it?