Monday, December 31, 2012

Playing with Boats - Bender and Barbie Kayaking

I have mentioned before that I want my dogs to be more involved with my hobbies. This weekend we took both the dogs down to the river to join in on a little paddle in the 'dog kayak'.

Bender still isn't convinced about the kayak. This is his fourth time out, admittedly, with a big gap between this weekend and his previous trip. I managed to get him in and paddle a little, but he decided that he would jump off the back this time.

It resulted in the shot of the day! Though I also got an action shot of him chasing his ball that was pretty good.

When I went for a paddle down the river, he actually followed me along the shoreline. Perhaps that is the way to exercise him, to motor along the river in my kayak with him running along and taking dips in the water along the way. There are a couple of stretches of river where this would be quite possible.

He chilled out on the sand when we had a rest. He was very good, apart from sprinting off once to chase a pelican which was hanging around a guy fishing, hoping to get his fish. Cheeky bird. Well Bender put a stop to that!

Barbie probably had a boring day, mostly. She wasn't allowed to run along the shore because I think she would get distracted and wander off. She did have a very short turn on the kayak though.

This kayak is too small for her to lie down in though, she is just too long. I think with dogs the size of my guys a tandem kayak would be a lot more comfortable.

We shall have to try one out next weekend, perhaps.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas heat and lobster snobs!

N got some Rock Lobster for Christmas lunch and removed it from it's shell in the morning. There were some scrappy bits which N said the furkids could have. I thought the cats would appreciate the seafood the most, so she divided it between their food bowls. They both turned their nose up at it. Apparently they prefer processed 'seafood' that comes in tins over fresh, expensive rock lobster.

Bender has never been a fan of seafood of any kind, so I wasn't surprised when Bender refused to eat any. Barbie was sceptical at first, but true to form she gave it a tentative nibble. After that first nibble she decided she liked it and ate all the scraps herself.

It was forecast to be 40 degrees Celsius, and we expected it would be a few degrees cooler further south where we were having Christmas lunch. We decided to take the dogs with us so that they could enjoy the cooler weather and the air conditioning.

They did have a bit of a run around the garden, but they were not outside for long! I got this very handsome photo of them both.

Then they decided to pull their best ugly faces for the next shot.

There are three cats at this house, but two of them tend to go AWOL when Bender and Barbie come to visit. The third kitty is relatively new to the house, and she is an inside cat, so she didn't really have anywhere to go. She is a stunning kitty, but she was not impressed with the interlopers.

I went to pat her in her room, and she went from purring and meowing at me to standing in the corner with her tail twitching. I didn't know why until I turned around and saw three dogs standing behind me - Bender, Barbie and their dog Harry.

Barbie seemed to be a little irritated that we didn't bring her bed, and there was no room on the couch. She eyed off Harry & Nudge's dog beds but decided they were too small.

She found a nice spot on the tiles but she was pretty restless. She seemed pretty happy when we headed home! I am so glad she tolerates our outings. I am sure next time she will find some way to demand that we put her fluffiest bed in the car.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Cooling Off

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Froufrou's birthday!

I tried to explain to Bender and Barbie that cats are not like dogs, they aren't so much into big celebrations, or road trips, or anything much other than lying around on the couch. They didn't listen to me and insisted that we do a birthday photo shoot for Froufrou, who turns 7 somewhere around Christmas time.

I consented, if only because I thought it would be cute for the blog. I had to tie Barbie's party hat elastic into a knot so that it would stay on her head.

They protested that I took too long to take the picture, but it's done now.

Happy Birthday Little Frou Cat!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Road Tripping Dogs - Dunsborough, WA

Last weekend we went on a 3 hour road trip with the dogs, down to Dunsborough WA for a wedding. We stayed in a dog friendly house so that we could leave the dogs there while we attended to the wedding formalities.

There was a problem with the house though - it was two stories, and both the sets of stairs were scary! Out the front of the house, they had what Honey the Great Dane calls 'skeleton stairs'. They are scary for doggies because they sort of 'disappear' when the dog looks at them.

If you look at them from this angle you can see what I mean. Barbie hates this type of stairs. She tends to lack confidence putting her back feet down. She did manage to get up and down these stairs many times but she really did not like it.

Inside there were shiny, steep stairs.

We drove to Dunsborough after work, and the traffic was shocking, so we were all tired and it was dark by the time we got there. I let Bender run up the front stairs, and N got into the house. I went back down to get Barbie.

While I was coaxing her up the stairs, and we were about half way up, I heard a monstrous crash. N started yelling at me to come and help her. I thought something really bad had happened but Barbie got spooked and refused to move.

I got her up the stairs in another minute or so with a lot of excited happy voices, and discovered Bender and N at half way point of the shiny stairs. Bender had just charged into a dark room and fell down them. He was OK, and he came up the stairs when I called him.

Unfortunately, no-one has ever accused Bender of being a fast learner. He fell down the steps a second time that night. After that he didn't go near them again.

When they needed to go for their toilet break, I had to leash them up and get them up and down the front stairs. I had to do this twice, once just before bed, and a second time at dawn.

The dogs did enjoy the little backyard though, which of course, was down stairs and around the back.

We decided after the first night that the dogs and I could live downstairs and save all the dramas. It was much more convenient.

The wedding was in the evening, so we had all of Saturday to take the dogs exploring. We found a really lovely dog beach with a sand bar, and Barbie and Bender loved it so much.

Bender spent at least an hour just fetching his ball, over and over and over and over and over and over.

Barbie and I went for a walk, and then I decided, after checking out the beach that it would be safe for her to go for a bit of a sprint. I had my GoPro, so I managed to capture her in action. There was a group of people up the beach, and I could hear them cheering her on, though as usual they assumed she is a boy dog.

As she ran towards them I heard them saying 'go, go, open it up big fella!'

She decided she needed a rest, so she dug up the sand a bit to make it nice and soft. After a while, we packed them up into the car and went to the next dog beach. We went for a wander along the second beach without Bender's ball. It is always a bit strange having him trot along side us without having his eyes fixed on a ball. We can only do this on deserted beaches, as if any other dogs have balls and he doesn't he will go and steal theirs.

After all the running they were very happy to settle down on their beds whilst we went out.

The wedding was on the beach, and it was lovely. We popped back to the house before we went to the reception just to make sure everyone was behaving. They were.

Sunday morning the dogs were keen to go out on another adventure. We were intending on coming back via Dwellingup to check out the Murray River at Baden Powell, as we had a great December storm and the river was up.

We went out for breakfast first though, and the dogs were very patient with us. We drove to the Gecko Cafe and Gallery in Quindalup which seemed like a lovely laid back place.

Bender did decide he wanted to greet everyone who came in though! They were all very nice to him. Breakfast was expensive but yummy.

When we drove to Dwellingup after breakfast with a stop for the doggies to stretch their legs at a road house.

Turns out the river was too high for the dogs to swim, and I got scared off taking it on in my kayak as well.

We drove home from there without much more than a little walk. There were a lot of horrible March flies around and they were trying to eat us all.

The dogs were so exhausted when we got home that Barbie went into this pose for at least 48 hours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mr Cool

This little fellow is part of our extended-dog family. It is a pity that he doesn't like other dogs much, so he has not even met Barbie and Bender, but he is a real little character.

He loves to fetch his tiny toys, and then he 'chews' them. Well he 'chews' the air next to the toys. He makes all kinds of funny doggie noises as he chews too. He is a bit like Bender in that he picks which toy you are playing with. If you try to switch to a different toy, it will be ignored.

He also manages to carry full sized tennis balls home that he finds on his walks around the neighbourhood.

Yes, I do like little dogs. Especially little Mr Cool.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Photos!

Yeah, we do Christmas photos, but not like some other bloggers. We do it in a lackadaisical 'Aussie' way. I have the same reindeer horns as last year, but at least this time Barbie didn't steal them from Bender's head and run off with them!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Petrescue and Jetpets - bring dogs to the city!

I am a bit spoiled because we have a Guide Dog in our office. He works for my offsider at work and spends most of the day asleep under her desk, but we are allowed to play with him every now and then. Today I played tug with him, and his toy broke. He was happy because now he had TWO toys!

Anyway, the city isn't that dog friendly and I don't often see dogs that aren't working in town. I think it's because dogs aren't allowed at inner city apartment buildings, or on public transport. It's a hassle to drive into the city, so people don't bring their dogs to the Central Business District for a stroll.

I think that's what made today so interesting, and hopefully successful. My favorite website if you want to get a new pet, Pet Rescue, brought together two of my favorite rescue organisations, Staffy and Bully Breed Rescue (SABBR) & Greyhounds as Pets (GAP). I ran into Sharon, Barbie's foster carer, and also one of my old footy mates who is quite involved with SABBR. It turned into quite a social lunch break.

I also met the mascot for Jet Pets (the famous Sahara), and she is beautiful. I would love a dog just like her, she reminded me a little bit of Lucy, though she knew a lot more tricks!

There was a bit of buzz on Facebook afterwards and I hope that some of the SABBR dogs find new homes, there was certainly a lot of interest in them.

I really enjoyed my lunch break today, I hope that it happens again because I love seeing dogs in the city!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I promised some NZ doggie photos!

In the last blog entry I shared my holiday video, and promised photos from our short stay with Beryl, Frankie and Sue of Greyhounds Can Sit.

Well early in the day, Sue's house became Greyhound Heaven, when Stanley and two lovely foster lady greys joined the party.

There was action in the kitchen, and everyone was standing at attention.

Lovely old Lilly with her gammy back leg was so sweet and cheeky. She is being fostered along with Bettina (I hope I remembered her name right) in handsome Stanley's house.

Poor Beryl lost all of her beds to other dogs, and the Princess was quite put out. Here is Bettina hogging Beryl's lounge room bed.

After a bit of time frollicking in the garden, we all loaded up and went to the beach. Stanley likes the water and will dip his belly in it to keep cool. This photo could just as well be a photo of Barbie cooling herself off!

The dogs were tired quickly because it was hot, relatively. Beryl doesn't like to do much when it's more than 18 degrees Celsius. Beryl is actually an Australian, so we made fun of her for being such a wuss. Barbie doesn't start to wilt until the temperature gets over 30 degrees Celsius!

Anyway, we made a second trip to the beach later in the evening in order for Frankie and Beryl to go tearing through the sand dunes.

Frankie says, "what! relax! of course I can drive this thing"

Beryl enjoys showing us her beach when the temperature has dropped and both her ears went up as soon as we entered the sand dunes.

It was really great being able to visit Greyhounds and Frankie whilst we were on holidays in NZ, and Sue is pretty awesome too. I just hope she finds the inspiration to update her blog again some time!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Back from NZ

The dogs are tired after their exciting two weeks in the kennel, and the kitties are being somewhat demanding, but we are now home from our flying two week visit to the North Island of New Zealand. While we were there we met up with Beryl, Frankie and Sue from Greyhounds Can Sit. We also met a few of their friends.

I met a lot of kitties on our travels as well, N likes to call me 'The Cat Whisperer'. I will do a bigger post with photos of everyone soon, but in the mean time here is the holiday video. You will spot the other blogging doggies at the end, but there is also footage from the Bay of Islands, a lot of stuff around Rotorua, snow at Whakapapa, basically all the great bits!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Mittens says no to doping

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Lamb Shanks

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Greyhounds as Pets Stall - Canning Show, the afternoon shift

Sometimes, when you talk to many, many members of the public something someone says just sticks with you. Today that was a lady who said that Barbie's head looked like a bike seat. Actually she said all the Greyhounds had heads that looked like bike seats, especially with their eyes closed.

I thought it was hilarious, and laughed for ages. I can see the resemblance, can you?

Barbie doesn't think it is such a funny joke, I think she is afraid I will try to sit on her head now. 

When we first arrived at the Canning Show, I met up with another Greyhounds as Pets volunteer at the gate, but it took us a while to find the GAP stall. The band was in full swing and it gave Barbie a bit of a scare. It also started to rain. In her attempt to find somewhere safe and comfortable, Barbie ran up the steps of the 'gym bus'. The guy at the door seemed to find it amusing, though I had to expend a lot of effort to convince Barbie to get down. 

When we finally found the GAP stall Barbie was a bit rattled and ended up sleeping in the back corner of the tent. It took her a good hour to calm down and come out to meet and greet people. 

In the mean time Nancy, Nigel and Oscar were doing all the work. Nigel was the youngest of the Greyhounds there this afternoon, and he definitely put in the most effort. 

Nigel was also popular because he was the only dog there in the afternoon shift who wasn't black. A lot of people liked to compare him to a tiger. He wasn't very tiger-ish, unless that tiger was actually a teddy bear!

Nigel lives with a lovely four year old hound called Nancy who looks a little like Barbie, enough that her mum asked who Barbie's parents were as she thought they might be related.

Once Nancy and Nigel were both tired, they settled down together on the dog beds. Nancy adores being patted and she spent a lot of time sitting on my feet getting scratches, while Barbie slept in the corner!

Oscar is a very toy motivated character, the kind of dog that would be great to train for agility. He has a thing for balloons, which his mum only discovered when they were at the Royal Show. Kids would come to pat him holding one and he would be trying to steal it! He had gotten quite crafty at trying to nab a balloon for himself, when he went around the back of the tent for a walk, he nosed under the tent. He had realised there was a balloon there and was trying to get to it. He is very gentle with them though and has never popped one. I am not sure if it would put him off though. 

After Barbie had her sleep and settled down after the scary encounter with the band, the rain also cleared up a little bit, and we all stepped out of the stall for a little while. Oscar and Nancy decided to have a little rest, while Barbie and Nigel were patted.

All the dogs did really well, often being patted by multiple people at once. I thought I got a picture of Barbie with a bunch of cute kids but I guess I didn't! I spent more time taking pictures of her friends. 

We were asked to stack everything in the middle of the tent at the end of the day, but Nancy didn't like the beds being moved, so she made sure they wouldn't be taken away. 

Barbie and Oscar gave each other a little kiss as we walked back out to the car park to go home. I think Barbie's favourite part of these meet-n-greets is meeting the other Greyhounds. She was more than happy to play a supporting role to the others. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ouch - Greyhound teeth

Barbie lost 7 teeth today, with a further 4 that are marginal. The Vet was convinced she ate soft food! She obviously doesn't chew her food anymore and just gulps it down. She is now going to have to eat super-big dental biscuits that force her to chew, and we will have to give her bones when Bender can't steal them from her.

I can't help but feel that we really dropped the ball on this one. I knew that Greyhounds have teeth problems, but I had no idea her teeth could get so bad in the 12 months between check ups. 

The vet has recommended we brush her teeth, or that we get her a clean and scale once a year. I know how ineffective human teeth brushing is (I mean, I still have to get a clean and scale once a year!), so I think we will be switching her to the special dental food and making sure she gets more bones and peace and quiet to chew them in. We shall see what the Vet's opinion is next check up time, and in the mean time I will be a lot more vigilant about what is happening inside her mouth!

The Vet and all the staff seemed to love her, and were impressed with how placid she was. She didn't complain at all. They even sent her home with a spiffy looking bandana, and gave her a nice purple vet wrap which says 'Ouch'. That's my girl, winning fans wherever she goes. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Barbie tricks the hapless Bender

Like Bender's devil eyes? But he really isn't the devil in the house...

Barbie can be very manipulative. She figured out a new trick yesterday when Bender was occupying her spot on the couch. She got up from her bed, ran to the front window and barked. Bender had a puzzled look on his face, he hadn't heard anything outside, but he couldn't let Barbie upstage him, so he got up and raced to the window as well.

As soon as he left his position on the couch, Barbie left her newly adopted guard post, and jumped straight into his spot on the couch.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Greyhound Comfort & Toothy Troubles

I moved the dog beds so that I could vacuum the carpet, and Barbie saw this as a perfect opportunity to continue her pursuit of ultimate comfort. 

I had to let her because she had bad news at the V-E-T this week when she went for her annual vaccinations and check up.

Finally her Greyhound tendency to have cruddy teeth has caught up to her at the age of five. The Vet says that she has to have at least one tooth out, maybe three. The problem is with the molars right at the back of her mouth. They were fine less than 12 months ago but I had noticed she was getting tartar build up over the last 6 months or so. My theory is that she can't do a proper 'teeth cleaning' session with a nice bone because she has such a weak jaw. Her teeth kind of skate over anything hard she tries to eat - it's very similar to the sound human teeth make as a gobstopper or Chupachup rattles around in a human mouth. It is nothing like the crunching, chomping sound Bender makes when he is given a part of an animal's skeleton!

Anyway in a couple of weeks she will be going in to have them out, and have the rest of her chompers cleaned and scaled.

So for now I will let her sleep on her mountain of bedding.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mittens and the Big Bad Greyhound

Doggie stereotypes are alive and well, and one of the stereotypes that irks me the most is the image of the Greyhound as a cold blooded hunter. A vet once told me not to let Barbie near any cats, and was unapologetic when I told him that she lived with two kitties. Then there are all the people who say 'oh yeah Greyhounds need muzzles because they will eat cats on the street'. Recently a Ranger advised a woman who was interested in getting a Greyhound that 'in his experience' it would eat her Maltese! 

Barbie is a great example of a Greyhound who has prey drive but can live quite peacefully with her own cats. She is now always polite with small dogs, even those who bark at her. 

Anyway it brings us to our story for the evening. We were all lazing around on the couch, and Barbie and Mittens were in a very similar position to the one above. Barbie then sat up, and Mittens gave her a playful swat.

Barbie gave Mittens an obliging sniff, and Mittens swatted her again, this time with her claws out. She managed to somehow dig her claw into the back of Barbie's neck. Mittens is not very good at retracting her claws, and so she got stuck. Barbie tried to lie down, and felt the claw tug on her scruff, which elicited the GSOD (Greyhound Scream of Death).

Mittens managed to let go and was duly chastised for assaulting the Princess. I had to examine Barbie's neck but found no blood. The claw was just in Barbie's hair, so no damage done.

My theory has always been that the GSOD is a signal that the dog is not actually hurt, just surprised. The GSOD also illustrates beautifully that Barbie sees the kitties as her equals and not a lowly-ranked being that can be snapped at or growled at. 

Mittens says "No Comment"

Barbie is 5 now, which means we have had 3 years of harmony between her and the cats. Usually any dramas are between the two cats, and everyone else gets along just fine. Take that, anonymous Ranger!

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