Monday, August 27, 2007

Lake Ruffey Today

toxic tennis balls

I watched a thingy on some current affairs program last week about kids getting rashes from their clothing, and they mounted some sort of investigation into why - and it turned out there's toxic levels of formaldehyde in clothing and toothpaste etc being sent over from China. And it got me thinking...Sahara has had an itchy rash on the side of her mouth which she is continually scratching and making bleed. We've been bathing it in salt water and trying to determine what it could be - doesn't look like a bite, very red rash underneath the holes she's making with her dew claw - and we suddenly looked at the new tennis balls she has been gnawing on. We worked out it's only started since she went Doggy Play Dating with Phoenix's brother and got a taste for chasing tennis balls, so I've been buying her 3 a week to keep her interest up in something other than attacking Phoenix. I went to Kmart and checked what was on the label of the bag they came in... and it all said was 'made in China to Chinese standards' or something equally as un-reassuring...

I am so calling Today Tonight and giving them a scoop!

Maybe Sahara can do another photo-shoot, like the 35+ photos the nice man in Count Dogula, the new dog store in Moonee Ponds took on Sunday. She so knows when a camera comes out - ears pricked, turning her head and doing her best to be utterly adorable, big brown puppy dog eyes.....

She's such a little hussy. I know this is an old photo, but just take a look at the way she sleeps - she is so elegant.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bunny Trouble

Last week I took the dogs to Phoenix's all time favorite spot - Rabbiting at the Yarra. It's around Templestowe, and there's mountain bike tracks and a walking path through to somewhere or other, and along it is all sorts of bushy trees and shrubs, which tend to be full of rabbits. I've never seem him so excited - eyes flashing demonically, tongue lolling and spittle flying, and usually I don't see him for about 40 minutes. Now, I have no fear he will ever actually catch one of the small fluffy little things (which I am told are riddled with disease and destroy natural habitat, but are sweet never the less) because for miles around, all one can hear is the sound of a possessed dog smashing his way through undergrowth. He hasn't in the slightest mastered the art of sneaking. He sees one scuttle off, then launches his attack, with no regard to his personal safety, of any of the bike riders crossing his path at that time. Sahara is just downright worried by it - she likes to know where he is at all times, and yet can't be too far from my side, so she skips off like Peppe le Pew, bouncing around on all four legs with her nose in the air, and just sort of half-arsedly following Phoenix around, then running back to me, wrinkling her forheard and snuffling around for some idea where he might be.

Last week though, we got closer to some bunnies than ever before - off went Phoenix and Sahara in a frenzied pursuit, and as I made the fearful comment to D 'I wonder if they will ever catch one', I whistled to Phoenix. As he plunged from the bushy undergrowth, face dripping with blood, I nearly had hysterics. I frantically grabbed him and looked in his mouth, but couldn't see any damage. I yelled for Sahara, and out she popped, entirely covered in blood - in her eyes, her mouth was dripping disturbingly fast, legs and chest bright red.
This time I did have hysterics. I sat down on the muddy, rabbit crap covered dirt and checked Sahara all over, while yelling to D to go see if they could find the remains of the rabbit, all the time thinking there was no chance they could have gotten one. I am sure if they were intelligent enough to bring one down, they wouldn't have left it so willingly, and I know from experience bunny hair is prone to flying everywhere, and sticking to anything it can latch onto, and neither pup had any traces. So we have come to the conclusion they cut their tongues on some brambles, or else got close enough to the wretched rabbit for it to do some damage, and is still giggling with his family about his close shave with the two lumbering mutts.

Never the less, I will be finding somewhere else to walk the dogs until Phoenix can learn to calm down a little, as he seems rather prone to being victim of a heart attack the way he is with rabbits. Maybe then I wont be in danger of wrecking another pair of jeans with lashings of blood, or, worse than anything... being seen publicly crying, because my little darling hurt herself on a blackberry bush.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Breakthrough of sorts

Training last night might best be described as educational. I will not stoop to their level and call it a 'bad' training session. I won't. It was...informative. Interesting. A real eye-opener. I choose to think it was merely a glimpse of what I fear most - Sahara having complete and utter control over myself and my entire life. And I can move on from this. I can - I have promised myself, and Sahara, to stop being one of those 'oh, but she's so CUTE when she jumps all over your new white dress with big muddy paws/bites your ear like that when you're trying to sleep/digs holes and buries your nice new coffee mug in them" type dog owner. From now on, she will be an educated, disciplined little puppy. No more walking all over me. No more of the usual "No, you're not allowed in bed with me...ohh, go on then" and the constant giving in to her. I know she can do this - she's so naughty because she's so smart, I know it. She can learn to love me more than Phoenix, and give ME total focus. I know that, because I feed her, and I know what a giant bowl of stinky lamb and vegetable casserole does to her attention span.

See, I know it's basically all my fault. I was too busy spoiling her to really make her work, and I was too involved in getting mad at her for not doing what I asked for when I was being serious.

There is a vague glimmer of hope now that I know it's me asking for things incorrectly, rather than Sahara simply being possessed by the devil as had previously feared. I just need to work on my anger issues when she's too busy squealing with rage at Phoenix being seperated from her, and instead of thinking she's clearly demented, I must take a deep breath and really focus on what I wish her to achieve.

Shouldn't be too hard, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

M.I.A explained.

My two favorite boys...

Had a very busy few days, visiting family on the coast - Sahara is such a little beach dog (partly why she's named Sahara - she's the color of sand) and loved chasing specks of sand, crashing through the waves with me and fetching sticks. Phoenix allowed himself to disdainfully put a paw in the ocean, and spent the day looking disgusted with himself. He is absolutely appalled by seaweed, and the beach in general, but after much persuasion I managed to teach him how to dig - such a shame my batteries died in my camera a few minutes previously, it was hilarious to watch; he would dig with one paw, kicking up huge amounts of sand and then burying his nose deep in the sand, and snorting it all up like a deranged coke addict.

Yesterday we found an off leash park listed online (always scouring for new places to take them to unleash their fury) and it had a mini agility course. We traveled all the way there to find 6 tiny obstacles in a random patch of grass. Slightly disappointed, to say the least - but once we got into the spirit of things, it was great. Phoenix did his usual - too superior to act like a canine - but Sahara was in her element, and had a brilliant time jumping enthusiastically on everything, as opposed to going THROUGH them, like the tunnel.
I am now hell bent on sticking up some broom handles and similar in the back garden and teaching them to weave, and trying to think of genius ideas to get them into a tunnel - steak, tennis balls and similar bribes may come in handy.

Take a look at the video to see how well they did for their first time!

And a few seconds of my big man - there was several takes on this, usually without Phoenix either coming to a complete stop, or not jumping up at all, but YouTube will have a fit if I try and upload them all.

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

summer lovin'

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Summer - so much so, when it reached 17 degrees today, I grabbed a towel, stripped off and laid on the deck for a few quiet minutes with Harry Potter.

Silly me. I obviously had a momentary brain lapse, and forgot what my dogs are like - any time I am close to their level, it is apparently 'Let's Annoy Mummy As Much As Possible' time. Usually this occurs when I work out - which, although relatively rare, is rather hilarious. I'll lay down, and attempt some feeble sit-ups whilst drooling over Mr Stokes on CSI Las Vegas, and I will suddenly find myself with Sahara's leg in my mouth, a tennis ball or some hideously soggy-with-saliva rope toy dangling from one ear, and Phoenix tickling my feet with his seal-like whiskers.

I can always find a reason to quit exercising.

Never the less, I persevered with my relaxing body cooking, praising the Sun Lord as I carefully roasted first one side, then the other. I was slowly dozing off... then it hit me.

A slimy, gnawed hock bone. Complete with the gooey white marrow. In the middle of my back. Yep, a large part of a cow's back leg touched my bare skin.
Another moment of stupidity - I squealed. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, both of them were jumping on me, Sahara attempting to pierce my eardrum with a plastic coat hanger (What? from where??) and Phoenix smacking me repeatedly in the face with his smelly paw. By this stage, Sahara was laying on my back, tail going 'thwack' into the back of my head, whilst Phoenix started snuffling sweet nothings into my neck. Sigh...

Oh, and...

I ordered my new bed a few weeks back, and it finally arrived, much to Sahara's disgust and terror. I have tried several times to upload it, and YouTube tells me it is too large. If only I had a PC and could condense the file...bloody Mac.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The bizarre world of Phoenix

Since Phoenix has come home, he's been somewhat...strange.
He tends to sit for minutes at a time, making direct eye contact, whining and howling, and occasionally coming up and swatting you in the face.

I let him outside for a wee. I feed him. I take him for another 5km walk. I hide some salami under a glass, and make him find where it is. Nothing gives. He just can't settle.

He will come and sit on my lap whilst watching T.V/playing on the internets, strategically placing all 35kg of his long, wiry limbs across my vision, and will sit and snuffle in my ear...and then the moaning starts again.

I just don't get it. They get walked for miles every day, they are fed 2-3 times daily, we train at least once a week with our training centre, and play around in any spare few minutes. I've tried getting him to lower his standards, and actually put a tennis ball or other apparently ridiculous 'toy' in his gob, to no avail.

The only time he seems remotely interested in life is when there's the smell of rabbit somewhere. I have no fear he'll ever actually catch one - he's too busy crashing through the undergrowth, tongue lolling and spittle flying, blank, demonic's the whole thrill of the chase.

I just wonder what goes through his head sometimes, I really do.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sad Realization...

Sahara's 1st birthday will come around on September 27th, and I was wondering how I could celebrate this, without being too much of an insane, molly-coddling pet mother.
I had a little looky at one of my favourite pet apparel websites, PetEdge, and found the costume section...

I am speechless.

I don't know whether to laugh, or cry. Take a look...

So, obviously, I got carried away. I looked at safety reflective vests, so she can go to work with Daddy, and not get squashed by trucks. I looked at life preservers, for our trips to the beach. I even looked at 'East Side Collection Luxury Faux Fur Satin Robes', for when she comes home from the groomer.

And I wonder, even though I think these are slightly disturbing, and a dog should be able to go swimming unaided, or get washed down with a hose in the back yard instead of at a doggy day spa... am I not already half way there?

Recent photographic evidence would suggest I am, in fact, one of those doggy parents.

Brotherly Love

Phoenix came home from the rescue shelter on ANZAC Day this year, and his photo and a little information on him had been posted in their website. After a month or so, I emailed the shelter to give them an update on how he was doing - starting to wag his tail, aggression settling down, letting me touch his belly etc - and I received a response saying a lady had contacted them, saying she tho
ught she had one of his litter mates,
who was around the same age, and very similar looking. Fast forward 3 months, we met up for a puppy play date and re-introduced them - they don't seem to really notice each other, too busy sniffing and playing with other doggies and catching balls etc, but don't you think they're very similar?

You can see Sahara in her most natural state in this photo:
See the rather large hole? She's actually not the mastermind of this one :)
And don't you just love puppies?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

World Domination, one pawprint at a time...

An introduction to some of the damage caused by us.
Cute? Absolutely.

Innocent? Not exactly.
Update: I forgot to mention. My new Fendi sunglasses were demolished in the 3rd photo. The lenses had both been removed, with no trace, and one arm eaten completely off.