Saturday, June 29, 2013

Barbie's sore foot and long eyelashes...

Barbie has had an abscess on her foot for a little while now. We went to the vet and she gave us antibiotics, but once the course was over it opened up again, so we had to go back.

This time the drainage hole is much bigger and the vet said it doesn't look very deep, so we are going to try more antibiotics and some cleaning with saline water - hopefully it heals as I don't want them to have to do surgery.

After the Vet visit, we walked a couple of blocks to the nearest City Farmers where I got a big Kong Wobbler for Zelda, and one for the cats as well. As we were walking, Barbie gave her sweet doe eyes to a young lady who was walking next to us. The lady couldn't resist, and said hello and tried to pat Barbie, but Barbie pulled her head away. Big tease. I apologised and she thought it was cute. 

Once in City Farmers, I was looking for the kitty Kong Wobbler, and Barbie caught a few people's attention. Some people are just drawn to her like a magnet, and she accepted pats from most of them, especially if they gave her a scratch under the chin. 

I am not sure it was a big enough outing for her but until her foot heals she is going to have to be happy with boring on-leash adventures. Oh, the poor princess!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Legend of Zelda - Finding Hidden Treasure

Sorry I have been a bit slack in updating the blog, we just spent 5 days in the South West with all three dogs and I will write about that next, but I have a great Zelda story to share in the meantime.

Zelda, overall, has been a really good dog. We have been leaving her in the house with Bender and Barbie and without supervision for a few hours at a time and she has not stolen anything at all. Last night we went out to see P!NK in concert, and it was a bit wet and cold outside, so the dogs stayed in. When we got home everything was how we left it, except for a wee puddle on the tiles. That was probably my fault because I took Zelda into the garden but didn't have an age to wait for her to go, and she never did!

Anyway, we cleaned up and went to bed a lot later than usual. I was already half asleep when N came in with the dogs. They were given their usual dentastick treats and they spent a while chomping away, then Zelda started sniffing around the room.

It's not unusual for Zelda to sniff around looking for cats under the bed but she did sniff for an unusually long time. Then the sniffing was replaced with chewing sounds.

N: "hasn't Barbie finished her Dentastick?"
J: "I'm pretty sure she is finished"
N: "what is that chewing noise then?"
J: "I don't know, let me sleep"
N: "Is Barbie just chewing on her leg?"
J: "If she was making that much noise chewing on her leg, she would be doing damage to herself"

At this point I forced myself awake and turned on the light so I could see what is going on. Barbie was lying in a ball on her bed, so I looked over to the other side of the room and spotted Zelda enthusiastically chewing on N's jumper.

J: "she's chewing on your jacket, you better get it off her!"

N confiscated the jacket and realised that she had left treats in her pocket. Zelda apparently doesn't understand how pockets work, so she was using brute force to chew a hole in the pocket and allow access to the treats. She was mainly successful at getting the food out.

N put the jacket in the cupboard to prevent further chewing and not long after everyone settled down and went to sleep. We all learned to empty unused treats from pockets from now on!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Transporting the lovely Pico

Today I drove for 2.5 hours to get a Greyhound called Pico from the pound and deliver him to his foster home.

Pico is a BIG boy - much taller than Zelda, though not quite as heavy as she was when she first came here. He was mainly good in the car, there were a couple of little howls but I think he was just confused about where he was being taken.

I was handsomely rewarded with Pico cuddles and he immediately took a shine to his new foster pawrents. They have whippets, and he was very good at ignoring them when they were bouncing around.

The whippets were very active and absolutely adorable. One day I might have one in the household, though they seem to run around a lot more than greyhounds do. 

Pico already knows how to sit and lie down and he comes to his name as well. He has really been fairly well looked after and he's a beautiful gentleman. I am sure he won't take long to find his forever home! 

When I got home, Zelda was most displeased that I smelled like another greyhound and lots of whippets!! She stuck very close to me and gave a lot of cuddles.

Early bed time tonight I think! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Greyhound Angels Picnic, Mouse date and Zelda Update

Yesterday we had a fundraising picnic for the group I am fostering Zelda for, Greyhound Angels of Western Australia.

The picnic raised about $600 with a bit more in the donation tins, and mainly it was just adopters and foster carers. I took Barbie and Zelda along and they made a very cute couple.

Barbie is the one in the white muzzle being leaned on by Zelda. The big brindle that Barbie is leaning on is Jeffrey. Usually Barbie only lets big boys lean on her back like that but she doesn't mind Zelda there. 

The Greyhounds proved how amazing they are socialising with so many other Greyhounds on leash in close proximity. I did not see anyone get cranky. 

I convinced Mouse's mum to bring her for a run in the dog park, and to come over and meet some of the Greyhound Angels crew. She was almost mobbed, so many people recognised Mouse and came over to say hello. She did a great job of selling greyhounds to an older couple who were asking her a lot of questions. 

Mouse has been a naughty greedy guts, stealing a massive loaf of Olive bread at home and eating every last crumb. She didn't even get an upset stomach! She is still lean but looking really good - at least you can't see her hip bones anymore. She is a lean, mean eating machine! 

Mouse seemed to recognise her kennel-buddy Ellie in the park. It was quite sweet, they ran to each other and had a good sniff. Mouse and Barbie did the same. 

There were so many black hounds there I had trouble recognising Zelda when everyone was running in the dog park area. Barbie demonstrated her great recall, even coming to me when once when I was trying to get Zelda's attention, not hers. At least I could always figure out which one was Barbie! 

As I was busy trying to eat, talk and keep Barbie and Zelda from tangling me up, I didn't get to take any photos, so these are from other lovely Greyhound Angels people. 

After spending hours at the park, Barbie and Zelda were pretty tired so I decided to let Zelda and Mittens spend some time in close proximity. Mittens went under my bed where Zelda cannot reach her and Zelda did stare for a while, but then she got on the bed and hung out with me. At one point Mittens had enough and came out, chasing Zelda out of the door, before turning around and going back under the bed. Eventually Zelda left the room with me and slept on the couch. Mittens roamed around the house a little, I found her in the bathroom when I went to put her to bed. 

Zelda hanging out with me while there is a cat right underneath us. 

Bender was a bit upset that he didn't get to come to the picnic. I don't think he would have enjoyed himself as all of the greyhounds would have been after him and his ball. He spent an hour clinging to me when I got home. He has forgiven me now thankfully, and is lying in the very small patch of sun in the lounge room. The greyhounds are both still tired. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Whiteman Park visit with Zelda, Bender, Barbie and my new favorite playmate, Teddy!

I transport all three dogs in my X-trail, and the rule always has been 'foster dogs in the back'. I have a cargo barrier separating the spaces so that no-one gets cranky with anyone else on the drive. The only problem is that Zelda can't jump up there by herself and she is HEAVY. I can lift her more easily now than I could a week and a half ago, but perhaps that is because she has lost a kilogram or two and perhaps I am a little stronger...

Miss Zelda says 'I would never cause any trouble!'

It is a bit of a juggle to get all the dogs out of the car and into the park - but that is mainly because of Bender. He is a sweet boy, but he just can not control himself when there is fetching involved. He runs around and around, and jumps up to try to steal the ball from it's throwing stick. The greyhounds don't appreciate his antics.

We got into the park without too much trouble, and Zelda seems to have some recall programmed into her brain - she came back when I decided to test her response to her name! She needs to be formally conditioned and proofed for recall, sure, but I don't think it will be that difficult with her. 

I bought the Gopro along to see if I could get the hounds running together, but the one time when Zelda and Barbie really went for a burn I didn't have the camera ready. I got some zoomies from Barbie alone though.

You will notice in the video two of the black hounds don't have muzzles. Barbie's was broken when I got it out of the car, so I decided to let her go naked. Teddy doesn't wear one because well, he is a beautiful soul and well...Teddy fetches tennis balls, he is the first greyhound I have met in WA who does. He is very sweet because he lets Bender get to the ball first, even though he is clearly much faster. He doesn't have as much as an 'eye' for the ball as Bender does - you can see that in the video where all the other dogs go in the wrong direction, but Bender's the one who gets the ball.

Anyway, enjoy our trip to Whiteman Park!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Foster Dogs - Introducing Zelda

Zelda is a four year old female who ran a lot of races and has had one litter of pups. She is a big girl who raced at 30 kilograms, and a tad overweight. She makes Barbie look tiny and on the weekend I might be able to get some pictures of her and Mouse together.

Her trainer had kept her as a pet for a while, so the house wasn't totally foreign to her. She does like to watch the TV sometimes, and she has a bit of a thing with her reflection in glass doors and mirrors. She also refuses to do stairs. 

She is quite good on the lead so we decided to take all three dogs to the Botanic Garden Cafe in King's Park last weekend. She did really well for her first time though she didn't lie down. 

She bosses Bender and Barbie around a little bit, she is a bit protective of food and couch space but I think she will get over it with some correction. She is definitely capable of sharing, she just does it when it suits her.

Can you tell who is who? (you can see in the photo that Zelda is bigger). Sometimes when I see a black greyhound out of the corner of my eye I am not quite sure which one it is!

Zelda is a total snuggler and she much prefers sleeping on my bed rather than in her crate. She will lean on you and last night she stood between my legs because she wanted my attention.

She doesn't mind being outside when I go out, she makes good use of the wooden kennel my neighbours gave us. She is good in the yard and I have been putting her out at least a few hours every day when I run errands and other things.

Zelda has been helping with house-guarding duties but she doesn't try to copy Bender like Mouse did. She takes more of her barking cues from Barbie, which is good because when she barks there is usually a good reason for it. 

Now, she's been here a week and a half, and usually I would have taught a new dog to sit by now, but we have been working on the only real problem - her interaction with Froufrou and Mittens. Zelda was OK with her trainer's cat, but Frou and Mittens were different and exciting. She was quite fixated and made a couple of pounces for the cats when she first met them. 

I couldn't get her attention at all at first, and Mittens did try to give her a scratch but didn't manage to. Not sure if Zelda was too quick to pull her head away or the muzzle was protecting her. I thought she needed more negative consequences for pouncing on the cats, so I bought a water pistol.

She is starting to find the cats less interesting though it has been a slow process, we are getting there. I expect that she will be able to stay until she finds her forever home. She is a robust kind of Greyhound and I think she'd be great in a family with kids. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dog friendly bush walking - Ellis Brook Reserve, Perth

Last weekend was a long weekend inWestern Australia, we had time to take a hike in yet another new location, Ellis Brook Valley. It is a local government reserve near an abandoned quarry which is renowned for it's bird life, wildflowers and 60 foot waterfall. Unfortunately we were a bit early for the wildflower season, which is supposed to start in July, and there was no water gushing down the waterfall, but the dogs still enjoyed the hike.

Some of the trail was easy and flat like this.

There was a metal grate that no self respecting dog would walk on (the gaps were big enough for Barbie's paws to go through!), but both dogs managed to pick their way along on solid ground one side of the grate. 

There were quite a few steep sets of stairs - they were mostly the solid kind just made out of dirt with logs or rocks or pieces of wood supporting the dirt. Barbie didn't have any issues with most of these, though I decided next time I needed to use a longer leash so that I didn't have to walk so closely behind her on narrow trails. 

There was another family there with two Irish Setters, and they let them do the trail off leash. I think it was because it's easier when the terrain is rough. 

Barbie struggled to get down these stairs but she did it in the end. She gets stuck when she forgets that she can move her back legs down onto the next step. After we got down the stairway we saw there was another trail that allows people and doggies to walk down without the stairs. 

It was a shortish walk as we parked in the 'upper' car park, but we weren't sure how Barbie's soft princess feet would hold up in the rough terrain. She did fine on the short walk so I think she would have probably been OK for the full 6 kilometre loop. 

As it was a public holiday, every family and their dog decided to go for a walk - we arrived at about 10.30am and finished the walk in an hour, and the car park was packed by the time we got back down.

At least Barbie got to make a friend on the walk. It's another great winter walk, and we will have to go back late winter when the wildflowers are out and there might just be some water in the water fall. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Barbie's Cafe Reviews - Kinky Lizard Expresso Bar, East Perth

We originally headed to East Perth to check out Toast Cafe, which is listed as 'dog friendly' on Urban Spoon and is located facing the calm waters of Claisebrook Cove. Toast was packed and there were no tables, so we were forced to walk around the corner to check out what else was available.

We ended up at the Kinky Lizard Expresso Bar on Royal Street.

Kinky Lizard has tables out on the footpath but they also have a little courtyard area. We chose the street side tables as there was more room for all of us.

It was a bit chilly and Barbie was very glad to be wearing her new 'Chilly Dog' coat which I won for her at the Greyhound Angels annual fundraising auction.

It was a pretty busy footpath, with prams and other dogs wandering by. There was also a rather stressed out looking lady with a suitcase on wheels. The first time she walked past us, she did at a normal pace. About 10 minutes later she came sprinting back down the footpath, the suitcase making a hell of a racket. Barbie was only slightly perturbed by the strange noise. In another 10 minutes, she was running past us again with the suitcase. I wondered why she would be running around with a suitcase, and N said we should offer to look after it for her. We didn't see her again after that though.

All of the street trees were losing their leaves, and it was funny to watch the dogs as the occasional one fluttered down onto their heads.

Bender was a bit annoyed that he wasn't allowed to go and play with a little blonde boy dog whose owners were waiting for takeaways. They looked like they would have loved to take all the tables down together.

Finally the food arrived. Barbie was remembering her experience at Little Creatures with Honey the Great Dane and was very keen to have a little taste of the food served up to the humans. I had to guard my butter packets. 

The food was good and so was the coffee, but we saved some chorizo for the dogs to reward them for being quiet and well behaved. 

Bender was very impressed and wanted more. I think next time we should order an extra meal for the pups to share!

Kinky Lizard was quite a nice morning stop. It's well located for a nice stroll along the Swan River before or after breakfast as well. I think I preferred King's Park as a breakfast location as the people were more universally friendly. It's a great cafe for the doggies if it's not too busy, and good for humans too. 

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