Sunday, 30 June 2013

how not to train your dog

Penny and I were in a local park and came across a discarded lunch, consisting of two pieces of bread and a fried egg. I didn't notice the fried egg. I thought it was three pieces of relatively low-interest dry bread. (Of course, subsequent events proved Penny did notice the succulent egg.)

 We approached the food and practised "leave it' with great success. Penny turned away and received her treat - rabbit meat treats.

 We did it again.

 And I, flushed with success, decided to do it one more time, and to film it. Bad idea.


Saturday, 29 June 2013

kangaroo dogs on Flinders Island

While Penny was lounging around at home yesterday, I was in central Melbourne at The Ian Potter Centre (National Gallery Victoria) wandering around a display of indigenous art.

I've written on my other blog about this visit, but the dog-related aspect that struck me was in a video by Julie Gough, an indigenous artist who works in many different mediums. I stood entranced through two viewings of her film of people walking on Flinders Island. (If you'd like to see some of my photos of her exhibition, taken with my phone, visit my other blog.)

Superimposed on the footage were lists of words added to the local indigenous language when Europeans arrived. One of them was legunthawaa:

 followed by its meaning, kangaroo dog.

I wondered what sort of dog accompanied the newcomers, that the local people specifically called it a 'kangaroo dog'. Presumably they watched the Europeans working with the new dog to kill kangaroos.

I presume the  dog, observed in the early nineteenth century, would not have been what we call a 'kangaroo dog' these days, as this type of dog was not established at that time.

When I was searching for Julie Gough's work on the internet, I noticed a word coined for a spaniel - kaetta.

(I've written previously about the impact dogs had on the early settlement of Tasmania.)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

a dog plays soccer

Walking in the park, on Monday, I saw a dog playing soccer (or, as the rest of the world calls it, 'football'). I whipped out my phone and made a short video of it. I'm sorry the clip is so small, but if I went closer the dog stopped playing. You can see that she looks over at me quite a few times.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

midwinter walk along the Yarra river

Our usual swimming spot on the Yarra looked lovely today, even if it is midwinter, just past the shortest day here in Melbourne. Of course, even though the sun was shining, it was too cold for a dip.

Or was it? Penny didn't think so.

Then it was time to dry off with a run around.

Even though we were walking at noon, the shadows were long, a reminder of the time of year.

It's so great to know Penny has recovered from her recent surgery!

Monday, 24 June 2013

the raindrop drinking fountain

Penny has a new drinking fountain. We've found she prefers running water to the still water in her drink bowl, but I thought this new one would be better than her old one, because it's stainless steel and  can go in the dishwasher.

I can't show you a picture of Penny drinking from it, because so far she's ignored it. But it's only been a couple of hours, so here's hoping she likes it.

I hope she doesn't drink from it like this:

And I feel sure she couldn't manage to drink like this from our new fountain:

Saturday, 22 June 2013

An amazing rescue of a dog

This rescue of a lonely, frightened dog is the most beautiful story, with a happy ending. I warn you, you will cry. But the ending is happy. A wonderful story. The moment at 2 minutes and 51 seconds where this gorgeous little creature wags her tail is sensational. I had to watch the video about five times!

Friday, 21 June 2013

After the stitches came out

Sue, from the Portuguese Water Blog, added a comment on my last post saying that Penny's swelling was probably fluid. That's what our vet said, also. He said it would be mostly gone by yesterday - which it was. Aren't vets amazing? I would have said it would take another week for such a big swelling to go down.

Here's a picture of it yesterday, after our first proper walk in more than two weeks:

It's a little swollen, but basically gone. And, hooray, the stitches are out at last.

We had a lovely short walk at Clifton Hill, in the winter sunshine. We used to walk about an hour a day at least, briskly, but for this first outing we simply strolled around for half an hour.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

swelling after lipoma surgery

I'm glad Penny is going back to the vet tomorrow morning, because the stitches around her lipoma surgery don't look too good. (If our vet were open on a Sunday, I'd have taken her there today.)

For a couple of days now we've thought the spot was swelling, but today it's more obvious than it was.
Penny lying on her back, the swelling obvious after her lipoma surgery.

The swelling after the lipoma surgery looks horrible when she's standing.

A couple of things are reassuring, and help us to keep the worry at bay (until tomorrow morning!). One is the fact that Penny seems fine. Here she has taken herself outside this morning to enjoy the winter sunshine, the first we've seen in days.

Secondly, a look around the internet seems to show that this kind of swelling is not unusual, in humans or in dogs, after a lipoma is removed.  Most sites say it will resolve, even if it takes a long time. (I sure hope hot.) One recommends hot compresses.

Here's a short clip of a similar swelling on a man's back. 

I got brave and watched a video of a lipoma surgery. I only gagged once! It was amazing to see the surgeon lift out the lipoma in its own little sack of skin. Now I understand what my vet meant when he said they got it all and it was intact. 

Here's another vet talking on YouTube about fatty lipomas. Very informative and interesting, but if you watch, be warned that suddenly you might be watching him standing with a huge ball of fat in his hand and cutting it off a dog! 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

keeping a dog occupied after surgery

It's been a lo-ong week without our daily walks. Penny is still under vet's orders to take it easy, because of the stitches in her chest. He says that walking would put strain on the wound.

In order to pretend she's still going for walks, we often pop her in the car and take her to a nearby park to mooch around for five minutes. Yesterday we went to a local footy oval, and on the way home I noticed  a green space in our locality. After walking with Penny for eight years, I thought I would know them all, but here was yet another.

It seemed a rather unappealing place, to be honest.

But Penny found some interesting smells.

There was some lovely street art for me to admire while Penny looked around.

Penny's still not feeling good, I think, because after five minutes at each venue, she led the way back to the car. And look how low she was carrying her tail.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

my story has been published at Alfie Dog

I'm excited that my first online short story has been published. It's at Alfie Dog, a site that I found because of it's 'doggie' associations. As I posted when I first decided to try this site for my writing, I like to think the owners of the site love their dog enough to put his name at the top.

If you do want to buy my story - unashamed self-promotion here - you'd need to look under my name, which is Catherine McArdle. The authors are listed down the right-hand side of the home page.

What I'm really hoping, though, is that you might click onto Alfie Dog, even if you aren't interested in buying stories, because I'm trying to do my bit to promote the site. For people who love writing, it's terrific to think that there are places we can sell our creations.

I really should try to think of a story that could feature Penny. On the other hand, she is the star of her own story here, at her blog, so perhaps that is enough.

clipper causes skin rash after surgery for lipoma

I hope you'll forgive me for yet another post about Penny's surgery, but I thought our experience might be useful information for other people deciding whether to go for this option if their dog has a lump.

We visited the vet for a check-up today, four days after the surgery, and the wound looked swollen around the stitches, which the vet said was 'serum' around the wound. It might have been the result of Penny's activity since the operation. We'll take it even more quietly for a few days until the wound is not swollen-looking. On the other hand, Penny has mostly been resting and we only go out to toilet a few times a day, on lead.

The ghastly-looking redness around the wound was most likely a rash from the clippers used to remove her coat around the site for surgery. Here's the photo from a few days ago:

 and today it is much less sore-looking:

In this photo you can see that there is no stitch at one end of the cut. The vet said he left this open in case the wound needed to drain.

Whilst reading up  for this post, I've come across a really good article at The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation, dealing with the question of whether or not to have surgery for a lipoma.

The article discusses the pros and  cons, gives lots of case studies, and talks about other possibilities than surgery, including:
watch and wait
no treatment
injection of collagenaze
weight loss, diet and exercise
herbal medicines
homeopathy (not much success reported)

One thing I was glad to read was that modern anaesthesia means that it should be safe for even an older dog to undergo surgery for a lipoma. I must admit this was highest in my list of worries when  we opted for surgery.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

post surgery for the lipoma

Penny's operation to remove a lipoma has given us peace of mind, and she appears to have bounced back from the anaesthetic, but these photos show there's still a price to pay.

I'll be glad when we've been back to the vet to check it is all healing okay. Two days to wait.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Penny is home again after her surgery

Hooray! Penny is home and resting after surgery to remove a lump on her chest. Thank goodness it was only a lipoma.

It's a pity Penny now has to recover from an anaesthetic, but while she was under, the vet also cleaned her teeth and took off another lump from the top of her head, so I guess it was worth it.

Now we'll have to nurse her back to her usual energetic self.

Many thanks for the encouraging comments. It's great to know that others are thinking of us, and great to hear how other families cope with these sorts of things.

I think this is one of the terrific advantages of the internet. We are not alone.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Penny has a lump

It's a bad, bad moment when you're grooming your dog and you feel a lump. You say to yourself, 'No, I just imagined that.'

You call Human Number Two and she feels the spot and looks at you and says, 'Yes. I can feel it."

Just when you've had this scare, the grandmother of all thunderstorms rolls across the city.

I wouldn't have had a good night's sleep anyway, but the thought of Penny with a lump and the sight of her sitting frightened in the doorway of the bedroom led to her first night ever sleeping on the bed. In the past, she has occasionally been allowed to jump on the bed around dawn, but this was her first all-night sleepover.

First thing in the morning, we rang our vet (Saturday), but had to wait until today for an appointment.

What a worry!

He first tried to get some fluid out of the lump, with the thought that it would be a lipoma. When that did not work, we discussed the situation and he said we could simply wait a while and see what the lump did. But there's the drawback that it might grow quickly, which would be dangerous if it is a 'bad' lump. (Notice I'm a bit scared of writing the 'C' word.)

So tomorrow Penny won't have any breakfast and the vet will take off her lump. It's not the first lump our vet has removed from Penny's chest. I

I hope she will have a quick and full recovery and the lump will turn out to be something that is just a natural part of aging.