Archive for February 2020

The oddball dog that everybody wants……until they realise what they’ve got.

They look majestic, have a wonderful way with all creatures great and small, protect their flock but one thing is certain – they are not suited to a life of domestic family bliss, trapped in a suburban home and unable to carry out the duties they were born to do. Welcome to the world of the Maremma.

Photo Bec Whetham ABC Mount Gambier

Before the 2015 film Oddball, Maremma Rescue Victoria had rehomed only two puppies, but following the film’s success they have rehomed hundreds of young maremmas. Jodie Cawood is the leader of the four-woman operation and has fostered 500 in her home alone.

“People just see something cute and grab it,” Ms Cawood said.

The Italian sheepdogs were made famous in the film Oddball where an eccentric chicken farmer, played by Shane Jacobson, trains his mischievous maremma Oddball to protect a penguin sanctuary from fox attack. While it tried to inform people maremmas are not a suburban backyard dog, Ms Cawood said the film made things much worse.

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Do you give your dog extra vitamins? Could be wasting your money.

Don’t know about you but I’m at an age where stiff, achy joints are painful and most of all frustrating. Gone are the days of a brisk walk along the river, instead replaced by a gentle stroll with my ever faithful companion who looks up with pleading brown eyes begging to be let off the leash to roam freely. Sorry mate but the local Council gendarmes are very strict on that rule and the snakes can be a bit nasty too.*

A friend suggested I start taking turmeric. Nah, I tried fish oil and all the other so called remedies and none have worked but it got me to thinking if old faithful might benefit from them, so I did a bit of research. Got to admit I’m still in the dark but here goes. And please note that throughout this article I use the word alleged a lot, and with good reason. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there still.

First of all you are not going to save any money by trying to avoid the high cost of over-the-counter and prescription medications by using natural anti-inflammatory options like turmeric. Indeed it will probably cost you more.

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Is your dog tripping out? You’d be surprised.

For months it has been nothing but heat and wild fires and now right along the east coast of Australia there is torrential rain with some areas flooded, and while most people have welcomed the deluge others are now cursing the rain that has caused untold damage to their homes. It’s a catch 22 situation, whether your house burns down or its gets washed away in the flood. For pet owners there is another problem. The danger of your dog tripping out – I kid you not. With the advent of rain and hot humid conditions magic mushrooms, indeed mushrooms on any kind are bursting forth and vets are warning they pose a major problem for our four legged companions.

Magic mushrooms are one of the most psychoactive, mind altering substances on the planet – a fact which your dog might find out the hard way.

The names alone should tell you how dangerous they are, although just by looking at them you may not be able to tell. The most common mushrooms to cause death in humans and dogs contain Amanita toxins and have names such as Death Cap and Destroying Angel. So as you tip toe through the tulips beware of the dangers that lurk beneath your dog’s feet.

Of course the hard part is keeping your eye on your dog. I know that even in the large dog park I take my companion each morning mushrooms grow and although thankfully he has shown no interest in them I always knock them down and ground them into the dirt just in case. I’m not willing to take a chance. Ironically I’m more concerned about snakes than mushrooms and their lies the rub.

There are thousands of mushrooms out there, but only about 100 types are poisonous. Dogs that eat mushrooms containing these toxins will show signs of vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, and eventually liver damage .Often dogs do not develop poising symptoms until 6 to 24 hours after ingestion and there is often a period of time after the initial gastro intestinal signs have resolved where the dog seems to be doing better, however liver failure is developing, and may become irreversible if it isn’t treated.

So what do you do if your dog has ingested a mushroom and you think it is poison? First and foremost contact an on duty vet and get your dog on the way to the vet hospital without delay. Then induce vomiting. Your vet will probably ask you to try and get some charcoal into your dogs system and although this is not often on hand it is helpful in getting into the gastro intestinal tract and absorbs the poison. From there on in it is up to your vet and hope you have got it in time.

Just remember to look for the signs and if you see them don’t wait.  

Shocking case of animal cruelty.

The heavily matted King Charles Spaniel. Photo RSPCA South Australia

An Australian has been banned from keeping pets for five years after failing to groom four cavalier King Charles spaniels, in what has described as a shocking case of animal neglect.

RSPCA inspectors seized the four maltreated dogs from the owner’s property following a tip-off. The woman pleaded guilty and was convicted in a magistrates court of 13 counts of ill-treatment of an animal. She was given a three-month suspended prison sentence, with a $500 good behaviour bond for two years. The magistrate also prohibited the woman from having any animals for five years.

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Roll on winter – I never thought I’d say that!

Summer in Australia is something I’ve always look forward to. After all, our national identity epitomizes sun bronzed people enjoying the beach. It is embedded in tourist minds. It’s a time when we go on holidays, and head outdoors. But for many Australians, summer 2019/2020 has been far from carefree.

Bush fires have been burning since September. Lives have been lost. Houses and livelihoods have been decimated in fires that burnt so hot they created their own weather systems.

On the east coast, more than 800 homes have been destroyed in bush fires since December. Behind those statistics is an anxious community. Just a few kilometres from where I live some over 25 homes and hundreds of storage sheds have been lost and farms have been razed along with the death of several people caught in the monstrosity of a fire storm and unable to escape.

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Blue trees lift the blues

The Strezlecki Track is one of the most remote and desolate areas of Australia. In ideal conditions it takes a good 14 hours to get there if you were to drive from Adelaide in South Australia in a 4WD. A few months ago while driving along the track I came across a solitary dead gum tree, devoid of all its foliage painted sky blue. Why? I would ask myself in a conversation with my mind over and over again.

After all, while this area of the world has a certain rugged and naked beauty it is not the type of place where you would sit down and paint for the hell of it. But apparently you do and there is a solid reason behind painting not only this tree but thousands of others too.

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Koalas killed after loggers bulldoze tree plantation.

Hundreds of koalas have allegedly been killed during a logging operation in a regional Australian forest according to wildlife volunteers. Upwards of 500 koalas are thought to have died. This is on top of hundreds of thousands who lost their lives in the devastating bushfires that have obliterated their homes in recent weeks.

Blue gum trees – an important koala habitat – were harvested from the plantation in December, leaving only a few isolated stands of trees. Some koalas had starved to death in the remaining trees. Others were apparently killed by bulldozers brought in to clear the remaining trees following the fires in recent weeks. About 80 surviving koalas have been removed and are being cared for.

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