Monday, 28 February 2011

optical illusion of a dog skateboarding dogs on scooters

Here's a really silly post about Penny having a snooze on her mat while I play with a little notebook I bought. It has an optical illusion on the front cover, and if I didn't think I could pull off the cover when the notebook's full, I would think it was a bit of a waste of money.

But the dog looks so like Penny. And Penny can ride a skateboard, even if not a scooter. Well, sort of.

So I played with my new toy while Penny, more mature than I am, used her time wisely to snooze.

On the back I read that it's manufactured by They sure have some cute pictures.

The picture reminds me that I still have the cute canine optical illusion from Dog Trick Academy.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

dogs and lost consonants

As I was thinking about the English language and writing a (long overdue) post for my other blog, I came across one of Graham Rawle's "lost consonants' humorous artworks.

For fifteen years he produced collages for The Weekend Guardian. He would use actual pictures and scissors, rather than digital manipulation, to produce a picture of a phrase where one consonant was missing. For instance, 'Statistics showed an increase in violet crime', or 'An accident had left him with a small car over one eye'.

A Google search of his name comes up with lots of examples of his work.

But my all-time favorite would have to be:
Every time the doorbell rang, the dog started baking.
(You'll have to magnify it on your screen to see it clearly.)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

beautiful poem about a dog

I've just been reading a copy of the 30th anniversary edition of the literary magazine Going Down Swinging and I was moved by a poem by Chloe Wilson about the chained dog who died in the volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii.

When an exhibition about the lost city of Pompeii came to Melbourne in July 2009, I was saddened by that cast of the dog's body.

[Photo by Wknight94]

I think it would be okay to reproduce here some of the lines from the poem. If you can get a copy of the anniversary edition of Going Down Swinging you will be able to read the whole beautiful poem. In part it says:

it's the brass
collared dog
who's most articulate-

through its contortion
we can see the cloud advance,
the sulphur exhaust expanding
and another couple of stanzas...
does the dog not seem to suggest

that while we may be
overwhelmed, it's still worth flipping
ourselves inside out,

or sticking up our defenceless paws-
anything, anything that proves we tried
to hold the fire back.
The line about the 'defenceless paws' really gets to me. Our pets are so vulnerable to how we treat them. And there have been so many terrible events around Australia and around the world, and I always wonder how many animals are caught up in these disasters.

eucalypts drop branches when you don't expect it

When we were in Darebin Parklands the other day, we met some people at the big pool in the bend of the creek and stood discussing the recent floods.

Crack! A branch dropped straight down from one of the trees around the edge of the pool. No warning except that infamous sound.

A young boy and his pup had been standing there only moments before.

Of course, inquisitive Penny (and her humans) went over to have closer look. Probably not too intelligent, but we were working on the theory that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot.

It seems that it's not known why some trees (not just eucalypts) unexpectedly drop limbs.I haven't found any information on the internet about the actual process of dropping the limb but here is an interesting article. I took a couple of closeups of the end of the branch, and I don't know if it looks as if there is any particular disease at that spot.

And a shot of the place it dropped from, high up the trunk.

As we wandered further through the park, we came across an even bigger branch that had dropped previously.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

floods in Darebin Parklands

For the last fourteen years or so we've been wishing for rain.

And this summer we have had plenty!

Our famous Australian poem says, in one stanza:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Droughts seem to have taken a back seat in Victoria at the moment, in favor of the flooding rains.

A couple of days ago, Penny took as down to Darebin Parklands to see what has been happening and we saw the results of the recent flooding.

In one way, the rain is beautiful, and I think no-one regrets the water that has sunk into the ground and replenished our water table, reinvigorated our creeks and rivers and added to our water storage. Look how green the parklands are at the moment:

However, there's been a lot of damage in the park and it will take work to get things back to normal.

Here's some of the fencing that protects the new plantings.

But much of it has been uprooted.

And there's junk everywhere.

And big logs thrown around.

It wasn't too hard to work out which direction the water flowed.

There's to be a clean-up day on February 26th and another on Clean Up Australia Day on 6th March.

a blogging friend in a commercial

I just had a look at Amber-Mae's post about her shooting of a commercial. Wow! It was amazing how many people were there to do the ad. Amber-Mae was just great. She looked beautiful and behaved just as she was asked.

Congratulations, Amber!

And congratulations to her human, Melissa!

Monday, 21 February 2011

spiders, a dog and some fruit bats

Penny has been out in the garden the last couple of evenings, enjoying the amazingly cool weather and making sure the pesky fruit bats don't get too much of our fruit.

I've been out there at the same time photographing the exquisite spider - I think a golden orb - that builds an intricate web each night.

I've decided it's a girl, seeing she works so hard getting her home organised each evening. Here she is doing her weaving.

She takes no notice, even when I stick the camera practically in her face.

But she did have to take notice when Penny came ambling through just now and took out the long strands that anchored the magnificent structure to the ground.

And I guess even though I can admire such a beautiful creature, I'm still nervous of her. She got a fright when the bottom half of her web 'popped' out of existence, and I leaped back with a small scream as she swung perilously near my face.

Here she is with only one section of her web left.

Now I'm in here playing on the computer and I guess she's out there repairing the damage caused by Penny.

EXTRA NOTE: Amber-Mae's comment got me thinking about whether these spiders are poisonous. I've never thought so. The main problem with them is that the webs are all over the place in summer and the thought of getting a big spider on my face is scary.

So I just had a look at the Australian Museum and read
Orb weavers are reluctant to bite. Symptoms are usually negligible or mild local pain, numbness and swelling. Occasionally nausea and dizziness can occur after a bite.

Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

two hilarious blog posts about dogs

I've just cried laughing for five minutes. I was reading blog posts by Hyperbole and a Half. I've only read Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving and Dog.

I'm not sure if there are any other posts about dogs on the blog, but I'm too worn out from laughing to look yet.

I sure hope there are more canine-related posts to come.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

still playing doggy games

We're still refining our game, 'Find this one', in which I show Penny a toy and she has to go around the house looking for the matching one. It's fun and we don't have to reward her with food - just finding the toy makes her happy. By the way, when I say on the clip that the toy is 'in the toilet', that means the room, not the actual toilet bowl!

Monday, 7 February 2011

an artificial sweetener that is DEADLY to dogs

Fully Vetted has a post about the deadly poison for dogs that is such a useful and ubiquitous ingredient in human food - and medication!

It's xylitol, an artificial sweetener extracted from birch trees. Here's a frightening quote:
A few sugar-free breath fresheners, a pack of gum, a spilled tin of mints, a sugar-free dessert cup. It takes only a little of this toxin to send a dog into hypoglycemia-induced seizures, and just a little bit more to bring on liver failure.
It's in so many of our foods.

And it's in many medications!!

I think everyone should read what Dr. Patty Khuly says.

My personal rule is, beware of giving human foods to Penny! Check the label on anything, no matter how innocent it seems.
I shudder when I think of the advice I was given when she had a cough last year, to give her a children's cough elixir. I think it is very likely that it would have had xylitol in it.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

some lovely vintage dogs

I always love reading Curator's blog, especially when it features vintage photos with pets.

Recently I've been looking through the online archives of our local State Library, searching for pictures to inspire me with an idea for a short story, and I came across this one, with the intriguing description, 'country family with city man'. What story lies behind this photo?

However, what I found most interesting were the two dogs in the picture. I wonder what they could tell us about life on the farm?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

a muddy river and a limping dog

Yesterday Penny and her humans went for a walk to Yarra Bend Park, the dog-friendly place where she can walk off-lead. To our surprise, the Yarra was at the lowest we have ever seen it. (Later we discovered the weir at Dight's Falls has been taken apart for repair, which has left the river at what our informant said is its natural level.)

The low level of the water had revealed an interesting object.

But Penny was more interested in the water than what was on the bank, so she went for a swim.

As we strolled back along the path, Penny hastened to a boat ramp that leads down to the water. We don't usually swim there, even though it's an off-lead park, because there's a strange sign that seems to indicate that in this spot dogs should be on lead. (Very strange) Penny jumped off the ramp edge, which is usually under water, and couldn't get back up, because she was stuck in the soft mud.

With our physio's advice 'no scrambling from now on' in our minds, we raced down to try to lift her onto the edge of the ramp, to no avail. Eventually we managed to direct her around the side of the ramp where she could scramble up onto dry land.

We didn't worry too much until later in the day, when she hobbled across the kitchen on three legs, her left leg held off the floor. Oh no! The lovely extracapsular surgery - had it been ruined?

The vet nurse was reassuring when we rang for advice, saying that even though it's common to have a setback, the surgery is strong - but we made an appointment for today.

And then gave Penny some tender loving care - an ice pack on the joint, ten minutes at a time, and hand-feeding of nice little carrot tidbits.

During the rest of the evening, we gave her lots of massages to the leg, as the physio had done during the recovery from surgery.

This morning the vet said she has probably strained the leg, but she seems okay. She's not limping, but we didn't exercise at all today.

Here's hoping!

New blog about dog shopping

I've mentioned Jess the Dog Shopper a couple of times since she commented here. I think she has an interesting idea for a useful blog - she tries out products and reports in an impartial way. She has two dogs of her own and also tests products out on her mother's dog.