Saturday, 31 January 2015

information about travelling with your dog in Australia

I received my daily inbox drop from Yourlifechoices today and it has a great set of links about places where you can travel with your dog. Not grotty places where you are a second-hand citizen because you have a dog - I think from these links I'll find a place where Penny and I would feel welcome.

Of course, our favourite places so far have been near Yarram and at Bright. Both of those locations are welcoming, clean, and, as the Yourlifechoices article suggests, have lots of places where you can walk with your canine friend. It's no use going on vacation and leaving our dogs lonely in a strange room.

Friday, 30 January 2015

a free crostic puzzle

I'm not sure if any of you (humans, that is) have ever done a crostic puzzle, but here's one, courtesy of one of Penny's humans.

The diagram is not a crossword, even though it might look like one. The whole thing is an excerpt from a piece of writing, in this case a novel. No hints as to which novel, of course, but if you have read any of Hsin-Yi's doggy mysteries, you might...oops, I wasn't supposed to give any hints.

Each word in the text ends at a shaded square, which is not necessarily at the end of a line. There's no punctuation.

You answer the clues as best you can, and transfer the letters to the diagram. The tiny letter in the top right of each square tells you which clue to transfer from.

Often you can guess incomplete words on the diagram, especially if you've read about Honey and her adventures - oops, forgot I'm not going to give away which author features in the puzzle.

As an extra help, the first letters of each answer, on the clue page, reading down, spell the name of the author and the title of the book.

In case I haven't explained clearly, here are some links to sites that describe the way to solve a crostic:
how stuff works

I'm including it as a jpg, so you would have to print out these two following sections, if you want to do it. I don't know how to make it bigger on the blog page, but if you click on each page of the puzzle, it opens in a new window where it's easier to read.

In a couple of weeks I'll post the answer, just in case someone wants to see it.

Have fun!

BTW, I've just had a thought. Seeing I'm a primary school teacher (elementary school), I'll mention that this puzzle is copyright free. Any teachers using H A Hanna's award-winning books in class are welcome to print off these puzzles.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

dogs' vision compared to ours

Browsing the Dog Trick Academy, I came across a link to an interesting article about how dogs see.

I've often noticed than when something is thrown for Penny to fetch, she waits for a moment before setting off. (And how wonderful it is that many years down the track after her cruciate operation, she is able to run once again. We don't do much throwing for her, though. We're still aware she has a weakness in that leg.)

If it's a long way away, she will circle in a way that makes me think she's depending more on smell than sight.

Monday, 19 January 2015

dog bane plants in the garden

I took a cutting of an interesting plant about a year ago and it's grown big. I've been wondering what it is, and decided to stroll around Bulleen Art and Garden, my favourite nursery.

And there it was, labelled as 'Dog Bane.'

Hmm... I thought to myself, I should research this and decide whether to keep it in the garden. So I started looking, and nearly fell off my chair when I saw that a plant called Dog Bane would be deadly to Penny. I was about to race outside to put it up on a bench so she couldn't nibble on it, but I must admit I took a moment to enjoy the Latin name  - apocynum cannabinum - the first word of which means 'away dog'. I remember once discovering that the word 'cynic' comes from the Latin word for dog.

But then I noticed that the photos of this dogbane plant didn't look like my plant, and discovered to my relief that an American plant, very dangerous, has the same name as a European plant that is not so dangerous. The European one is plectranthus caninus, and although it's supposed to deter dogs from digging in the garden, it doesn't come with the scary warnings.

Here's a site with lots of ideas about how to combine dog ownership with gardening. The interesting part for me is this:
Plectranthus caninus
Dogsbane is a succulent-like plant that has showy large lavender-like flowers in spring and summer. Growing to about 80cm x 50cm high, the musky green leaves apparently deter dogs from digging in the garden. Prefers well-drained soil in a sunny or semi-shaded position. An attractive plant best used at the front of a garden bed even if you don't have a dog.
There's a gorgeous photo of a plectranthus flower on this page. You'll see why I really don't want to get rid of my plant unless I have to.

And, just when I thought I'd got my head around this confusion, a friend visited today, looked at my plant and said, 'What's this? It looks like my dogwort plant.'

So, I headed back to the Internet to check out that name and found little about it, except at one site where dogwort was said to be plectranthus neochilus, a herb with winter flowers shaped like lavender.

An African site lists plecranthus neochilus as 'spur flower' and says it's reputed to scare away snakes. That would certainly be a great feature, here in Australia, lol.

The bottom line is, this plant doesn't seem to be dangerous to Penny.

Friday, 9 January 2015

correction to my post about whether dogs might go to heaven

I've just read an article suggested by proud womon, who added the recommendation in a comment on my post  do dogs go to heaven?

In my post I had  written that Pope Francis comforted a boy whose pet had died, and said we can expect to see beloved animals in heaven. It turns out this was not said by the current Pope, and may have been said by Pope Paul VI. See this NY Times 'Correction' for details.

According to Vatican Radio, Francis did say, in speaking of heaven, 'The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfilment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.'

The article discusses the way in which humans tolerate the terrible treatment of some animals - especially those raised to be killed for eating - yet lavish love on a few species chosen as companions.  It's a confronting topic, but the article is well worth reading.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

dogs and lips and rocks

It's hot now in Melbourne. If we didn't have a dog, we'd be slouched in front of the television in the evenings. But we do have a dog, so we're out walking.

Thank God for dogs.

Otherwise we'd miss seeing  fascinating things like this mouth-shaped cloud. Lips in the sky, ready to kiss the world and make life good.

But Penny teaches us to look down as well as up. Interesting planet we live on. The only one we've got, so we'd better look after it.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

cats can make a dog's hair stand on end

Penny's been creating a mighty racket this evening. She's on watch for our neighbour's cat and she's shouting to tell us she's seen him outside in our front yard.

If we didn't realise that there's such a thing as static electricity, we might have thought the sight of the cat has made Penny's hair stand on end!

The endless renovations at our house are slowly coming to a conclusion, and so far Penny has weathered the awful noises and mess quite well. One of her humans has been living in the neighbour's house, minding the cat that resides there - and getting away from the renovations -  and now that she's come home to our house, the cat thinks he'd like to visit us whenever he pleases.

But Penny doesn't think he should. She seems to think if she barks loud and long enough, he'll go back to his own yard.