Archive for ‘Pets’

The joy of a companion dog.

I wish I had the money to clone the most loyal companion I have ever had the pleasure to know, You see, nothing compares with the love and affection he gives me no matter what type of mood I’m in or whether – God forbid – I don’t feel like taking him for a walk because it is too hot or cold.

Nugget came into my life 7 years ago as an abandoned and abused puppy from the far north region of South Australia. He was dehydrated, full of worms, had scabies and part of his tail had been chopped off. The area he came from doesn’t care too much about their pets but I got lucky here. To cut a long story short he was brought down to me where a vet spent many hours bringing him from the edge of death to a healthy puppy. Within weeks he was charging around no longer the timid, nervous little four legged creature he had been before.

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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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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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Australian airlines ban some dogs following spate of deaths.

It is a pet owners worst nightmare and after five deaths both Qantas and Virgin Australia have pulled the plug on transporting ‘snub’ nosed dogs.

A Shar Pei, French Mastiff and British Bulldog cross, died during a four-hour flight from Darwin to Brisbane. Two other snub-nosed dogs have died on Qantas flights within the last month, including a six year old boxer, reportedly left on the tarmac in extreme heat, and a one-year-old bulldog which died during a flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Virgin will indefinitely ban boxers, bulldogs and pugs from its flights following the death of two dogs in transit last month.

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Cats kill 1-million birds a day in Australia as bush fires decimate native wildlife.

Not long ago I was walking in the Australian bush admiring the scenary and wildlife when wild cat ran in front of me. Now I don’t know what your impression of a wild or feral cat is like but to me this fella looked like a monster. He was twice the size of a domestic cat and his fangs were very prominent. The picture above gives you some idea of how a once domestic cat evolves once it gets into the wild.

Later that night while trying to get some sleep I heard a loud crashing sound. A feral cat had come into my camp and was attempting to make off with some of the cooking gear. Although all my food was sealed in containers his curiosity got the better of him.

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