Thursday, 31 December 2015

Beating the heat with a new doggy pool

It sure is hot in our house since the day before Christmas, when the evaporative cooling on the roof flooded our lounge room. Water poured down through the light fittings and through the cooling vents.

And it did it again on Christmas Day!

So now we don't have any cooling, for the first time in Penny's lifetime. And she's feeling the heat. It's still about 35°C at 10:15 at night (about 95°F), and Penny's lying in front of a fan, worn out, as we all are.

But we did have some fun earlier in the evening with our new doggy pool. It's called 'buddy and belle' and so far it seems to be suitable. I like the fact that it folds away when not in use, not like those plastic sand-play shells we had when Penny was a puppy.

I wondered how the material would stand up to a dog's claws, but it does seem to be thick material. The man in PetStock, where we bought it, hadn't sold one before - I think it's a new product - but we examined it and it's the thick material used for lining human pools, so it should be okay.

Just in case it does spring a leak, I've positioned it uphill from a major tree in the garden, which could use the water, and also uphill from our goji vine.

Penny jumped in to fetch thrown toys, and out again, and normally I'm not keen for her to jump, due to her arthritis, but with such heat it seems worth the risk. She sure had fun. I guess we could try out a little stool for her to get in, but I think she'd ignore it. When she's after a ball she's focused on the task!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Penny's invisibility trick

Penny has a lovely new collar. She received it because her old one mysteriously fell off when we were walking. A kind neighbour read our phone number on it and called us to say he'd found it in the street, so we hurried around - well, in the recent heat it couldn't actually be called 'hurrying' - to collect it. But the clasp was broken off.

So we bought a lovely new one. And Penny christened it this morning in a mud puddle. (We won't be complaining about the puddle, because it's so thrilling to have had some rain at last.)

 And then she rolled in the grass, which is very yellow after the long dry weeks, and did a disappearing act. It's hard to see where Penny finishes and the landscape begins.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

hot weather and allergies and chest infections

How come I'm willing to get up at the crack of dawn, before the stifling heat lands on us, yet Penny's acting like a wimp about going for a walk?

Luckily she can always be persuaded to walk out the door to eat a treat.

Ooops, just noticed how I titled this post...

Well, the allergies are being experimentally treated with Cetirizine. I read online that the basic dose is 1mg per dog body weight, and the vet agreed. This site has lots of info.

As to the chest infection, she's still taking Amoxyclav 250.

I'm so looking forward to the time when she is on no medications.

Friday, 11 December 2015

recuperating at Wangaratta in lovely Fleur de Lys house

Last week, while Penny was recuperating from her bout of gastro, which hasn't completely settled, we headed off for a few days at Wangaratta, taking the Royal Canin 'gastro' dry food with us. (How easy it is when you just offer the same food every meal!)

Things were complicated by the fact that Penny was also taking antibiotics for the 'significant' chest infection that had been diagnosed after the vet washed liquid into her trachea and pulled it back, thus obtaining a sample from her trachea and her lungs. He also did a swab of her trachea.

At least we now knew what the strange cough was, and could start to treat it. Hoping, of course, that the antibiotics didn't upset her stomach too much. (Oh, what a tricky thing it is to look after a dog!)

We found a dog-friendly house near the centre of Wangaratta, called Fleur de Lys. Polished floor boards, except for carpet in the bedrooms, and immaculately clean throughout.

A few days resting in the sunroom was just what Penny needed.

And when the days got hot, we opened the doors so a breeze flowed through. (The yard was fenced and safe enough for a home-loving, calm dog like Penny.)

I think it would be a great town to walk around in cooler weather, and it has a river for a swim, but we kept exercise to a minimum while Penny isn't well.

She's still on the antibiotics, and we're trying anti-histamines for her itchy skin. But more about that in a subsequent post...

Monday, 16 November 2015

on the special diet again, sigh...

Penny had been well for the last couple of weeks, after her hospital visit for gastroenteritis, and I had even reintroduced some aspects of her normal diet.

But... last Friday she was to go to the vet to be sedated so he could look down her throat to check out her strange puffy breathing. He says he can hear 'congestion'.

So, no food after 10 pm. But in the morning she was desperate to go outside to eat grass. I took her on a street walk, but she was searching for grass. What could I do? She obviously felt ill, and there was no point in letting her be sedated if she was unwell. So out to the back yard to act like a sheep and mow the long grass.

My garden always has at least one patch of yummy grass, just in case!

She pooed out the strangest thing. (Apologies if you hate the next two photos, but I always look around on the Net when I'm worried about Penny, so I thought these photos might help someone else to understand their own dog.)

Wow! That sure didn't look good. And then she threw up white froth. (You can see some still hanging from her mouth.)

Off to the vet to explain that we didn't want the sedation and to ask for help. He gave her three injections:
anti-nausea (cerenia);
anti-inflammatory - just a little, I think- (dexadreson);
penicillin (benacillin) -in case there's an infection.

She's been good ever since, except for the worrying coughing/sneezing, which is on the back burner until she recovers from this set-back. But we're back to eating the Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Low Fat diet. In looking for the link to add here, I notice the advice that this is a diet for management of a condition, not necessarily a long-term feeding product. (I must ask the vet about that.) It says to monitor your dog's weight. Penny has been losing weight over the last six weeks of illness, so I'll keep an eye on that.

But at least, as far as I know, it's a diet that gives her everything she needs in terms of nutrition. We're also finishing off the boiled rice and boiled chicken that I cooked up.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

hard work to restore indigenous vegetation

Two days ago Penny and I walked at a local reserve, along the Yarra River. We stopped to look at one spot where there was a great difference between two types of vegetation. On the left, native grasses. On the right, ubiquitous wandering trad.

I've heard from many people that dogs can have an allergic reaction to wandering trad, and it's possible Penny does, but I've never been sure. (She does have frequent skin issues.)

I don't usually mind seeing non-native plants around the place, because it seems to me it's inevitable that garden escapees will grow amongst our indigenous plants, but I must say I hate to see this plant, because it seems to have no natural enemies in Australia and smothers every other plant. Here's a photo of it that I wrote about in a previous post, on a day when I walked past literally kilometres of nothing but trad, with only trees able to resist its smothering embrace.

But how lovely to see the native grasses given a chance to succeed against it, with the help of the wonderful volunteers who put so much effort into maintaining Wilson Reserve.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Penny swims in the Yarra

I gritted my teeth and let Penny swim in the Yarra today. The last time she did so was the day before she ended up in hospital with what was eventually diagnosed as gastroenteritis.

It has rained a lot over the last few days and I think any bad stuff will have been swept out into Port Phillip Bay by now. Also, Penny really feels the heat and has swum in the Yarra for more than ten years. With the predicted hot, dry summer coming, I'd like to know she can swim. Otherwise we can only walk at dawn, and that's quite a struggle to do. (For me. I'm sure Penny is more resilient than I am.)

She didn't swim for long. After fetching the stick I threw, she was very pleased with herself and content to carry it back to the car.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

walking past a salsify-eating cockatoo

It's just great that Penny has recovered from her gastroenteritis and I can walk along without stressing about whether she's scouting for food. (She always is, but I'm hopeful she won't make herself sick.)

As we stepped onto a path today, I noticed a cockatoo in the distance. Penny didn't, because she was nose-down checking out for edibles. Or good smells.

We approached, and the bird flew up into a nearby tree, holding something in its beak, and then nibbled on the plant it was holding.

I wish my phone could take a better photo, but if you zoom it up a bit, I think you'll see that it wasn't a grass stem. It was something more substantial. Inquisitively, I looked around to see what the plant might be. And there was a clue...

And lots more clues, actually - clumps of stems bent down and snapped off, all along the edge of the path. Also, a clump that hadn't yet been attacked...

Salsify. How interesting. It's considered a weed in Australia, but recently I've discovered it is edible.

Once we moved further away, the cockatoo landed on the path again and, after considering the available plants, decided on a big grass seed head, which it took up onto the old tree to eat.

Penny and I headed home for our own breakfast, and I'm pleased to say that Penny is now eating her normal range of food, instead of being limited to a 'gastro' diet.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Australian terriers and mutts

It's a wonderful feeling to realise that for the last week Penny has been improving steadily after her scary bout of gastroenteritis. We've gone for some kind of walk each day lately, even if only a stroll and a sniff at a local sports ground.

As we wandered around recently, a passer-by stopped and asked if Penny was an Australian terrier. As far as we know, her ancestry is shih tzu, maltese terrier, and possible poodle.

However... here's the Australian terrier we met that day in the park...

And here's a site with another photo of an Australian terrier...

They sure do look a lot like Penny in some ways.

But she's not an Australian terrier, I feel sure. It's just that the fur is similar.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

baking treats from canned dog food

Well, so far it's been all good on Penny's (boring) new diet. I'm not sure she thinks it's boring, but I  do, so I'm thinking of ways to make the Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Low Fat Diet seem interesting.

As I mentioned previously, I've been putting it into a Nina Ottosson dog toy. That's fine, and it slows Penny down so much that she takes more than three minutes to get the food out of the toy. (Only half the recommended serve, because I'm boiling up a half serve of chicken and rice each time.)

Now I've come up with the idea of buying the same food in a can, and stuffing some into a Kong. I think Penny would vote this a good idea.

Also, I've baked some of the can into crunchy treats, which makes it easier to reward good behaviour and practise tricks.

The instructions on this site explain how to cut the top and bottom off a can and use the cut-off lid to push the food out slowly, in order to slice it evenly and thinly.

It's rather mushy food, so without the idea of pushing it out gently, I don't know how I'd have been able to make slices.

Here are the slices ready for baking.

I did them for about thirty minutes at 180°C. And after enduring the smell that humans would consider pretty awful, put them outside the house to cool down.

Today she sampled them, and seemed to love them. (On the other hand, she loves beef, kangaroo, chicken, rice, red peppers, banana, duck poo, possum poo, stinky buried bones, compost, and anything else you can suggest, so maybe it's not altogether surprising she liked my baked treats.)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Penny tries a special diet

It's been a long, long two weeks...

Penny first became ill on the day before the Very Important Football Grand Final, the long-awaited day when our team contested the last Aussie Rules match of the year. (And won!)

That was Thursday 2 November. It seems such a long time ago...

Then there were days of watching her, after she came back from the Animal Emergency Hospital, checking she wasn't vomiting and that her bowels were once again in action. It seemed as if she had settled, and Gastroenteritis was diagnosed.

But she continued to be unwell, and it's been a tiring couple of weeks, observing her and hoping for the best. She must have been getting well and truly tired of a diet of boiled chicken and rice. The problem for me was knowing whether I was giving her sufficient nutrition, because dogs aren't meant to be on this diet for so long.

When we reintroduced some of her usual foods, she began to vomit again, and the diarrhoea started up again.

A fecal test and a blood test have produced good results - not pancreatitis, as we thought it might be. No little baddies in her gut or her blood.

So, our own vet has concluded that it was Gastroenteritis, as the Animal Emergency vets thought.

Now we're trying a bland diet - Royal Canin Gastro Intestinal Low Fat diet. I don't like the idea of feeding the same thing every day, but after many a cold wait in the dark yard before dawn while Penny circles and vomits, I'm more than happy to stick to this for a while.

Penny looked rather sad in this photo, with a frothy mouth. I hated to see her feeling so bad.

But she's much better now. So far so good..

Two days and she seems well...

BTW, Penny thinks it's delicious, so much so that I'm feeding it in a variety of toys to get her to slow down the eating. She's still getting half of her diet as boiled chicken and rice, but I think we'll gradually take that out and trust the nutritionists at Royal Canin have done their job in formulating the food.

Here she is, enjoying the meal that I think looks so boring. (BTW, the clip is infinitely boring to watch, but Human Number Two is not at home at the moment and might enjoy seeing that Penny's health has improved so much.)

I must pop up to the vet tomorrow and see if there are canned varieties available, because I'd like to try roasting some slices for treats, and also using the soft food to stuff a Kong for her. I learned the trick of baking slices of canned food back in 2011 when we were trying to stick to a non-allergenic diet.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Penny meets a graphic designer

Today Penny and I went to a local park to mooch around, and we met a friend there whom Penny loves. She (the human) and I were discussing 'earthing', so all three of us lay on the grass in the lovely evening sunshine in the hope of improving our emotional welfare. How nice!

I hope I didn't overdo it by taking Penny for this first major outing after her recent illness. She was out in our backyard munching on grass this evening. Back to the vet tomorrow, I think.

But an interesting thing happened while we were in the park. We met the man who is one of the designers of the great signage that I love so much, the signage that explains the fascinating water harvesting that goes on under this park.

And with the Monster El Nino looming over our summer, water harvesting is going to be on everyone's mind soon. Unfortunately. How terrific that Banyule Council has put all this investment into the future.

Here he is with our friend, holding his own dog, Chas. (Chas the Chihuaha - you have to love that name!)

If you'd like to see more of his work, have a look at this.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

First day home after the big scare

So, we go to the hospital to collect Penny...

Instructed to make very sure she has a bland diet, so she can recover successfully. We leave...

Oh, no, what is this? She has snaffled a piece of popcorn in the carpark! Grab it out of her mouth, successful because she's not really all that ready to eat. I think it's just a habit to grab anything remotely edible.

In the car. Home.

Check out the bowl to see whether there's any food. Yes, a tiny little serve of boiled chicken and rice.

Out to the backyard to see if she will have a bowel motion. (Why does dog hospitalisation always seem to end up focused on that all-important evidence that the gut still works?)

What's this? A spot on the back lawn with three-day old vomit. How nice. But her super-clever human - me - has taken the precaution of digging over the spot in preparation for Penny's homecoming. Nothing much to be grabbed, except perhaps a smidgen of disgusting soil.

Oh, well, maybe lie down for a little rest, near the delicious smell.

And it's tricky to get anything nice if your human plonks a container of old gardening pots on top of the best place.

At last, a bowel motion! (I'll spare you the video I took of this, dear reader.)

So, inside to rest at the window and check out the neighbourhood.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Penny gives us a big, big scare

Penny's been in hospital. And we were super worried. (She's home now and resting, having eaten small meals of boiled chicken and rice.) Last Thursday she vomited her breakfast, ate it again - and vomited it again.

Later on that first day, at dinner time, the same thing happened, but this time the 'second helping' stayed down. However, she looked so woebegone that we took her to the vet hospital. It was a public holiday the following day, and we knew it would be at least 36 hours before we could take her to our own vet.

So at midnight she was admitted.

It was scary. Words like 'bowel obstruction' were mooted.

The next day, she seemed a bit better, so we took her home. But she sort of 'faded' throughout the day, lying flat as a carpet, and we decided to go back. She was re-admitted.

The hospital was wonderful. All sorts of tests and examinations were done, and we had a phone consultation with each vet attending to Penny. (Lots of phone calls at midnight and five a.m sure take the energy out of a worried owner.)

Hoping for the less frightening diagnosis, I concentrated my internet info-search on gastro-enteritis. Bowel blockage was just too alarming to consider. And the other possibilities that were suggested I don't even have the courage to write.

What I gathered, from the plentiful info from the hospital, and from sites on the internet, is that gastro is diagnosed by ruling out all other possibilities.

Greenbriar Animal Hospital's advice reassured us that we hadn't overreacted by going to emergency:
How is your dog acting? If he's running around [after vomiting] and acting just like he always does, good. You have more time to address the problem. But if your dog is acting ill, is lethargic, doesn't want to do the things he usually jumps at (like a walk), or is spending lots of time just lying around or sleeping, you need to get him to the vet now. Even if this means an emergency visit.
a dog who has vomited 3-5 times in one day has a lot more urgency to the situation and should be seen now.
The Greenbriar Hospital has good advice about how to handle a less urgent case at home.

Bedfordview Vet Hospital compares a canine case of gastroenteritis with cholera in humans, as to its level of severity.

An article on Hub Pages explains the illness and makes the point that if gastroenteritis is caught early, it can be resolved. It gives a chilling explanation of why we should act on this condition quickly:
While the symptoms of this condition may be pretty worrisome for the owner, when caught early, treatment is much easier and effective. Cases left going on for too long may cause complications and also potentially death. The reason behind this is that untreated gastroenteritis will cause major dehydration. With major dehydration the red blood cell count will increase consistently causing the blood to concentrate and thus, become thicker. 

An article at VCA Animal Hospitals is great and lays out clearly the things we needed to tell the vets, the treatments that could be expected, and some possible causes. The stand-out reassuring quote for me was:
Most cases of acute gastroenteritis improve rapidly after re-hydration. If the vomiting and diarrhea do not improve significantly within forty-eight hours of treatment, the diagnosis should be re-evaluated.
I was very impressed at the way the emergency hospital considered all possibilities throughout Penny's stay.

Pet Health Network has a good overview.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Penny chased her first rabbit

Walking in a fresh spot today, I was enjoying the newly-mown grass, and Penny was enjoying the longer patches that had been left to grow.

She was munching on some long leaves and smelling the smells, and didn't notice a rabbit sitting right near her, ignoring us. Fortunately, before Penny realised what was going on, the rabbit leaped into the long grass and hid.

 I won't be letting Penny into long grass in couple of weeks, because as soon as the weather warms up, the snakes will be out.

Because I'd already seen the rabbit, I wasn't too surprised when Penny dashed off from me in pursuit of another one - her first rabbit! I'm super pleased to report that when I called a sharp 'come!', she left the rabbit and headed back to me for her well-deserved reward.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

fruit bats, rabies and dogs

We found a new place to walk, yesterday. If we didn't have Penny to make us go exploring, we wouldn't find all the interesting things around us, I reckon.

As we walked along the Yarra River, we heard a chittering noise, and thought at first it was a flock of black cockatoos swirling through the air nearby. Of course, we headed in that direction to investigate. I love cockatoos.

But it was fruit bats. Hundreds of them, swooping from tree to tree. I thought bats slept in the daytime, but these ones seemed to be quite disturbed. Maybe it was our approach, but I don't think so, because at first we were a long way away, and it was their movement that attracted our attention.

Human Number Two kept Penny away while I went closer to snap these pictures with my phone, because we'd heard the rumours about bats spreading rabies.

But on this government site I read:

 It is assumed that any bat in Australia could potentially carry ABLV. The behaviour or appearance of a bat is not an accurate guide as to whether it is carrying the virus. The rabies and ABLV viruses are unlikely to survive outside the bat or animal for more than a few hours, especially in dry environments that are exposed to sunlight. Contact or exposures to bat faeces, urine or blood do not pose a risk of exposure to ABLV, nor do living, playing or walking near bat roosting areas as long as bats are not handled.

Well, we certainly wouldn't be handling them, because they were way up high.

Friday, 11 September 2015

vegetarianism for dogs

Once I had a falling-out with an acquaintance about her decision to rear her puppy as a vegan. I thought she was being cruel to her puppy and wouldn't be able to raise a healthy dog. Now I'm not so sure.

And just the other day, I noticed dog food labelled as 'vegetarian'. I wondered whether it would be as good for a dog as the labelling suggested it was.

So I was most interested to see this article suggesting that dogs can, indeed thrive on a vegetarian diet.

I'm still not convinced it's possible, but this may mostly be because I don't trust manufacturers of dog food. It seems to me it's not likely that feeding a dog one type of food exclusively would  be healthy. (After all, the manufacturers want us to choose their brand and feed only that.)

I'll continue to feed Penny a diet that is a mixture of commercial canned and dry food, as well as meals I cook myself, and a substantial amount of raw food - all of which is a combination of meat and vegetables or fruit.

It's all a bit of a conundrum, but so far we seem to have the right formula for feeding her.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

regular Bowen therapy

We are so lucky to be able to go to Deb at Bow-Rei-Me for regular Bowen therapy, because it keeps Penny active and happy.

Yesterday we noticed she had started to head-nod, always a sign that she is in some sort of pain, so I was glad she was already scheduled for a session with Deb today.

I'm not good at figuring out just where Penny's pain is, but I assumed it was at the 'front end', because of the head-bobbing. When we arrived, I told Deb that there was some pain but I didn't know where. Sure enough, Deb zeroed in straight away to the left shoulder, which is actually where I thought it might be.

We can usually tell how Penny's feeling by how she goes down the back stairs to the yard. If she's stiff, she bunny hops all the way down, and we feel bad to see that, I can tell you. If she's just a bit uncomfortable, she'll bunny hop a couple of steps and then left-right, left-right smoothly the rest of the way.

Well, I'm super pleased to report she just went outside for her evening visit to check the possums aren't getting away with anything, and she walked smoothly the whole way down.

Thanks, Deb!

Now, should I admit...

Yep, confession time...

Deb treats humans also, and I follow after Penny's session with a delicious, long Bowen session for myself, usually accompanied by soft woofs and snores as Penny relaxes beside the table.

Then it's off to Yarra Glen Cafe and Store to have a leisurely lunch. After all, if I'm going to drive forty kilometres to visit Bow-Rei-Me, why not make a day of it? If it's hot, Penny lies at my feet, seeing the outer part of the cafe is dog-friendly, but lately she's been happier to snooze in the car, because the weather is so cool. (Suits me fine, because I get to sit inside by the fire.)

On the way home, if Penny wants to get out of the car, we might go for a brief stroll along the river at Warrandyte, or even wander around the gardens of Heide Art Gallery. (Best kitchen garden in Melbourne, in my opinion.) Deb says it's important not to go beyond what Penny feels comfortable with, after a Bowen session.

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.