Saturday, February 1, 2014

NoSharkCull protest - Mouse meets horses, and people, and dogs, and more people...

I tend not to get political on this blog, and well, this post isn't that political for people who live elsewhere.... or is it?

Skip this if you are not interested and just want to see Mouse....
In Western Australia, the government has deployed drum lines to catch sharks over 3 metres that come near popular swimming beaches. This is due to a few people being attacked by sharks in recent years. Statistically, your odds of getting chomped by a shark are very very low, especially if you are swimming at a popular beach with plenty of other people. The people who have the most encounters are those who paddle surfskis, surf isolated breaks or dive off shore. People have many reasons for objecting to this, but mine is pretty simple. The 'target sharks' are all 'vulnerable' and 'endangered'. Likely bycatch species are also vulnerable and endangered. So far the hooks are catching small sharks, and a very small tiger shark was caught last night that died on the hook, because sharks need to swim to breathe.
There were 6,000 people on the beach. I was a little bit worried about how Mouse would deal with all the people, the amplified speeches and the police horses. It turns out I didn't need to worry at all.

We stayed on the outside of the crowd, mainly because I didn't want to have to squeeze around people. Mouse was really well behaved, not poking anyone uninvited, and whilst she stared hard at the seagulls she exercised a high level of self-control and did not lunge or bark at them. 

There were a few other dogs in the crowd. Mouse is leash reactive in some environments, especially on walks around the suburbs near our house, but she is improving slowly. I figured that there would be so many people around she wouldn't bother about the other dogs, and I was right. 

This little guy with the shark fin on his back was sitting quite close to us, and whilst she looked at him, she didn't stare. She forgot about him pretty much immediately.

Mouse was far too busy making friends and influencing people. She would lie near me until she spotted people who she thought looked friendly, and then she would wander over and wait to be acknowledged. These ladies said hello to her and started patting her, so she offered her paw to them. 

This little girl came over and patted Mouse for ages. She asked a lot of questions about her, like what was her number when she raced. I had to tell her they got different numbers every time they raced, but I thought Mouse was number 6 most often. She told Mouse she was going to kidnap her and grabbed her leash. When they left for the day, she dragged her mother over to say goodbye. 

Mouse also had her first horse encounter, with these rather large Police horses. They don't like dogs much and baulked a bit when they saw her. Mouse was good though and continued walking with me without making a big fuss. 

She was very much focussed on me which I was very pleased with. There were so many people, and a lot of speeches. There was even a live music performance. The only things that scared her were the helicopters when they came close, and a group of SCUBA divers who we encountered on the beach dressed up in all their gear with tanks, goggles and flippers on their feet. 

From our position on the beach we got a good view of all the people with their banners and placards.
I think Mouse really enjoyed meeting new people, and after a couple of hours it was time to head back to the car. 

When we got back into the suburbs, Mouse decided to stop for a poo right in front of a house with a little yappy dog. For some reason this dog's owner decided to let him out of his yard, and he came rushing up to Mouse barking in her face. Mouse of course returned fire. N came and took Mouse maybe 6 or 7 metres away so that I could pick up the mess without having to worry about the dogs yelling at each other. The little dog then jumped up on me for attention! Mouse was very good standing and watching, but quiet. 

It was a great outing for Mouse and I'm glad she coped as well as she did. I think I am still learning about this plucky little greyhound. 

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