Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snippets of summer #1

My stay-at-home human says she saw her 1st trenchcoat, her 1st woolly beanie and her 1st triple-layered lady complete with winter-weight stockings at the bus stop yesterday. 

Well, why not? It was a chilly 23degreesC.

She says we Sydneysiders are afraid of the cold. I don't know what she's talking about. I'm not so afraid.
Mr Thumper's always happier in winter.

There are some things about summer I'm not going to miss at all -

My stay-at-home human screaming every time she sees a big fat caterpillar.
Cicadas screaming every single day.
Alfred croaking for a girlfriend all night.
Bugs we don't know in the kitchen sink.
Magpies swooping on our heads.
Slugs sliding into the kitchen after rain.
Cockroaches under my paws.
Spiderwebs in our faces.
Ants in our food bowls.

Praying mantises...
...and grasshoppers... 
...and flies in the bedroom.
Moths in the bathtub.
Spiders in the toilet.
Skinks sunning on my bed.
Mosquitoes nipping my ears and toes.

But most of all, I'm not going to miss
the cold butt wash.
More bad things that happen in summer.

Oh oh.

Dear Laura Ingles,

I'm going to keep this short.

Regarding your letter of complaint, I have met with your humans. They seem perfectly nice and no more unhinged than the average petowner. Your Typist offered me some homemade chocolate cake which was very good, so it's entirely possible she might have been able to bake you That Cake.

They also showed me photos of your birthday weekend. Despite the bad weather, your out-at-work human took you to Centennial Park on Sunday. You say you didn't get to meet your bestest friends. It looks to me like you made a few new ones though.
 You met a potential new boyfriend, Bertie.
I do hope you're spayed, Ms Ingles.
You also took part in a conga line.

Finally, Your Typist tells me you received quite a few well wishes from friends, including these spiffy ones -

This one looks like it was painstakingly personalised.

This one even moves and sings!

Ms Ingles, you are obviously not unloved or neglected. I now consider this case closed. I would appreciate it if you do not bother me again with such trivial matters. I do Very Important Work here.

Yours sincerely,
The Person Who Looks After Dogs, SPCA.


My Typist's Best Chocolate Cake In The World Even If She Says So Herself How Would I Know, I'm Not Allowed Chocolate.
1 and 1/2 blocks good quality DARK chocolate, gently melted down
125gm butter, softened
1 cup fine brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda - sifted together
1 cup sour cream - if very thick, may be diluted with a splash of milk
1 generous tsp pure cocoa powder
1 generous tsp dark coffee granules
1 light tsp salt plus another tsp of sea salt crystals
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 generous tbsps frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 180degreesC. Combine all ingredients well in big bowl. Add frozen raspberries last and fold in. Pour mixture into lightly greased baking tin. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until done.

Tastes even better the next day! Keeps well in fridge for few days.


"Did you complain to the SPCA?!"

"Oh oh."
"I think I'm in trouble."

Update Wednesday 11th May  If you're vegan and wondering how on earth that chocolate cake recipe might work for you...check THIS out! Yes, the lovely Ms C has figured it all out for you :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A letter of complaint to the SPCA.

Dear Person Who Looks After Dogs,

My name is *Laura Ingles. My friends suggested I write you to see if you could help me with my sad problem.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 2 and 2/3 years old. It's peculiar I know. Most dogs don't have fraction birthdays. I think it may be because my humans don't really know when I was born and decided to celebrate my birthday on the day they got me.

My day started quite promisingly. I got to sleep in a little and got some good cuddles too.
Then it was time for my birthday walk. I know it wasn't my humans' fault that it was grey and drizzly again.
But all I got was 1 lousy hour of walk. We went to the beach, but there was no one there.
I didn't get to meet Coco or Delle or any of my bestest friends so they could wish me Happy Birthday! What good is a birthday if you don't have any bestest friends to share it with?

All in all, I would have to say it was quite bad planning on my out-at-work human's part not to have organised SOME kind of meet-up. With your years of experience in taking good care of dogs, Mr PWLAD, wouldn't you agree?
When I got home from my walk, my stay-at-home human was preparing some meat. I just knew it was for my birthday! I don't know why Mr Thumper was allowed to be so close to my birthday meat.
In my opinion, being old is really no excuse for bad manners.
All the same, I was very excited! At last! I thought! Someone remembered my birthday! The meat went on the barbie! The smell of sizzling steaks was killing me! It took a little while, but finally, the seared-on-the-outside, tender-and-pink-on-the-inside steaks were done!

So. Imagine my surprise, when this was what I got for my birthday brekkie.
"Look at all that meat, Laura!" my stay-at-home human a.k.a. My Chef and Nutritionist said. "Let's hope it won't make you sick. Dr Dog** said you're not allowed anything but pap for another 7 days, but it's your birthday! So I'm going to give you some extra bits anyway, okay?"

Dear Mr PWLAD, I know I'm only a dog, but surely there's a big difference in the quantity of meat in the 1st 3 and 4th pictures? Where did all the rest go?

It was all too much for me, so I ate my pap and went back to sleep. Though it was my birthday, nothing special happened all arvo.

Then dinner time rolled round. I sadly went to the kitchen to see if anyone was getting my pap ready. And this is what I saw!
Oh my goodness! I was quite nervous! I'd never seen anything like it before! I heard my out-at-work human shout out from the telly room, "It's for YOU, Laura! It's your birthday pressie. Do you like it?"

It smelt very fishy to me. I was sure I would! So I got ready to have a nice dinner.

10 minutes later, my stay-at-home started to eat my birthday pressie/dinner. It was such a shock!
I tried to tell her maybe she'd made a mistake. But she ignored me and snarfled it all. I ask you, has that human no shame?

And guess what? I got more pap for my birthday dinner.

Dear Mr PWLAD, I want to stress that my humans aren't normally so hurtful. My stay-at-home human says she was planning to bake me a special birthday cake. She looked all over the internet to find one she liked.
Look at that cake! I don't want to sound mean, but I know my stay-at-home human's baking skills and I really don't think that cake would have been achievable. In retrospect, I think she was just playing a cruel joke on me.

So now you know all the tragic events that unfolded on my 2 and 2/3rd birthday yesterday. I've given you as many pertinent facts as I remember so you can launch your investigation. If you need more information, please do not hesitate to write me back. I will be happy to assist in any way. There are too many bad dogowners out there.

Till I hear from you, I wait in hope for retreebusion retribusyun revenge. Thank you. Yours faithfully, Laura Ingles.

*Real name withheld for the safety of the victim.
** I wonder if you should start an investigation into Dr Dog as well. I'm not sure it's good for dogs to eat so much pap. Where's the nutritional value? Please consider my request.

P.S. For more evidence of how far our relationship has deteriorated in the past year, please do have a look at THIS. Thank you.


Looking for the WorldVets ChipIn Fund? Click HERE. Ends April 11th. Now over $41,000!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Villain has her say.

It's Georgia's birthday tomorrow. But the week has really all been about Rufus. It wasn't meant to be. It's just the way things turned out.

There was a time when I used to do "How is Rufus B Thumper?" updates at the end of every post. I stopped when his condition stabilised. But perhaps, it's time for another one now. I'll give you the same warning that preceded my old updates. If you're not here to read sad yucky things about sickly old dogs or my nasty conflicted issues, please stop reading now.


Some days, Rufus wants to chase cats. On other days, he won't walk, not even with The Other Half. Some days, he pushes Georgia aside to get to his pap. On other days, he has to be cajoled, tablespoonful by tablespoonful, to eat. Lately, his stomach has gone Very Bad again. He's been on meds, on and off for the last couple of months. 2 nights ago, he had 4 bad bouts of diarrhea that went from sludge to blood. As of yesterday, he's on another round of antibiotics, a gut protectant and an anti-inflammatory.

So this is Rufus B Thumper's life now.

He can only eat pap, which he tolerates in small quantities. Someone has to be home to feed him at least 3 times a day. If he eats anything else, or bigger meals, he gets sick. We'd love to take him and Georgia on a holiday, but we don't dare to be too far away from his vet. Things can go bad very quickly with him. No more big weekend excursions either. Mostly, he now goes no further than one big block around the house, because he sometimes collapses, and it would be impossible to get him home if he was too far away. His pancreatitis and other gut problems, arthritis and cauda equina syndrome, skin allergies and eye infections, bowel and bladder incontinence and dementia are all colliding in one big mess. The only thing we fully have under control is his hypothyrodism.

There's a woman in the neighbourhood who pushes her dog to the park in a stroller. I was there one day when I heard a man behind me say, "Some people just don't know when to let go." I've often thought about what that man said. Was he being careless and insensitive? Without a doubt. Was he wrong to think it? I don't know.

Some years back, on holiday in Byron Bay with Jordan and Rufus, we were on the beach when a group of people arrived. One of the men was carrying a frail-looking old German Shepherd in his arms. He put the dog on the sand, it had a wobbly sniff, then lay down. They stayed a while, watched the sun set. Then, the man picked up his dog and they left. I was sad for the man who so loved his dog. And I was sad for the dog who had to live like that.

There won't be any stroller for Rufus. We won't be carrying him on walks. Even if we wanted to, it wouldn't be physically possible. At his now reduced weight of 53kg, the last time he collapsed, it still took 3 people and a big blanket to lift and haul his deadweight from the car to the house after a trip to the vet. These are the things you don't think about when you want to get a bigdog.

In my year of writing a dogblog, I've been lucky to "meet" vets and foster carers, dog experts and people struggling to be good dogowners. Ms C has a blog that gives good advice for people with senior dogs. Ms J has a blog that keeps me informed about the many medical conditions that can afflict a dog. I learn from all of them. But I still can't find the answer to my most pressing question.

How do we know when a dog is ready for his final walk? Why do so many people say, "You will know." HOW will we know? Do we wait until the dog collapses and shows signs of pain? Or do we give it a big juicy bone and let it go on a good and happy day? I've heard doglovers on both sides of the argument.

Is there even one right answer?


If you've stayed with me this far, I have another Mr Thumper story for you. It doesn't have any pictures because I was too flustered to take any. It happened just yesterday, on our evening amble.

Despite having not eaten for almost 2 days, Rufus was in a mood to walk. After about 20 slow minutes, we got to the park for old, fragile and teacup dogs. Maybe because the sun was finally out after days of grey skies and rain, there were many people there. There were mums and dads, barefeet children, babies in strollers, 1 baby in a papoose. There were also lots of dogs running around, maybe about 10. All of them were little, so I thought, let's walk around the park and avoid the crowd.

One of the littledogs noticed Rufus. It started to bark at him. It wouldn't stop. No one tried to stop him. Like a magnet, Rufus was drawn to his no doubt dulcet yaps, and started walking towards the group of people. He stopped when he got in front of them. And even from where I was standing, some metres away, I could see trouble coming.

Rufus started flicking his tail. I knew what that meant! I started yelling, "NO, Rufus! NO!" I ran as quickly as I could to get to him. Like a flock of sunblinded gulls and for reasons best known to themselves, none of the people moved, even when I shouted to them, "He's going to poop!"

And that he did, as only a dog with colitis can. He strained and pooped, walked a few steps, strained and pooped again, walked another few steps, repeat as before.

Unfortunately for everyone there, Rufus still had the runs. Pretty funky ones too. I pulled out a poop bag and started to wipe up the goo, as best as I could from the previously pristine, freshly rainwashed grass. It was impossible.

Finally, people started to shift, eye me and my dog with disgust concern, and quietly freak out.

I was already freaked out. Because meantime, 3 littledogs had come running up to Rufus to see what the fuss was about. They sniffed his bum, they stuck their heads under his tail, what were they thinking? And where were their owners? Was I the only one concerned that these dogs were about to get a nice splash of diarrhea on their heads? "Go away littledogs!" I said, as pleasantly as I could while secretly wanting to kick them away [strictly for their own good, of course]. One of the littledogs was even braver. It stuck its nose up where-the-sun-don't-shine AS RUFUS WAS STRAINING AWAY.

I screamed again. How could I not? I so hope no innocent child kissed her sweet doggie goodnight.

Rufus, bless his heart, kept on moving and pooping, oblivious to the gallery of 2- and 4-legged spectators. I followed behind, miserably, loudly apologizing to all and sundry for my dog's bad manners. For his funky poo. For his lack of hygiene. For my inability to clean up properly.

But Rufus wasn't done with me yet.

One of our neighbors is away for the week and I've been collecting their mail for them. I thought I'd stop by on the way home and check if there was more. I opened the gate and let Rufus into the yard. I collected the mail and went up to the porch to put them by the front door. I didn't realise that, somehow, my old and lame dog had snuck up the stairs behind me. He was only on the second step so I yelled at him to stop, which he did. I tried to get him to turn around, but he was too big to maneuvre the delicate 3-point turn. So I thought - the only way out would be to let him climb all the way to the top, then turn him round and bring him back down again. It seemed like a good plan.

Except that Rufus didn't like it.

He climbed to the top. But despite me immediately turning him round, he plonked his butt down and refused to budge. I screamed yet again because he only narrowly missed sitting on the pile of mail by the door. Did I mention that his butt, tail and legs were a bit gummy from his exertions at the park? No?

I spent the next few minutes trying to get him to come back down the stairs. But Mr Thumper had decided that he liked the neighbor's front porch and wasn't going anywhere. So he lay down instead and ignored me. I had no choice but to go get The Other Half. If Rufus will move for anyone, it's him. But no, not today. At that point, I shook my head, washed my hands of the whole situation, left the premises and went home to wash my hands in fact.

The Other Half and Rufus came back about 10 minutes later. He immediately had another butt wash [the dog, not the man], his 4th in as many days.

There's Mr Thumper for you. He may not have decided when he's going yet, but he's intent on leaving us a few good stories.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mr Thumper tells his side of the story.

Oh my goodness. It's me, Rufus B.

I can't believe Georgia is letting me get a word in here. She must be in a good mood because her birthday's coming up. Anyway, I'm really chuffed at the chance.

Anyone reading this blog would think I'm a decrepit old dog that does nothing but fart, pee and poop in front of bakeries, dress shops and bus stops.

Well, okay, so I do stuff like that. So what? Wait till YOU'RE 90 and see how well YOU do.

I understand I've once again been portrayed as a dim-witted, incontinent, recalcitrant old grump in the last post. Oh, what a surprise.

That is so far from the truth. Here's what really happened on Sunday.

It'd been raining all night. I'm not talking one of those pretty little autumn showers here. This was like something out of Darwin, pounding down on our tin roof, keeping us awake. By morning, the ground was soaked, slugs were oozing along the soggy pavers, and Alfred was croaking so loudly, we all wished he'd croak.

It didn't take a genius to figure it'd be the sensible thing to stay indoors and sleep in. Especially since it was Sunday.

So there I was snoozing in the kitchen, when I heard The Typist bouncing down the stairs. She yelled out something cheery like, "Goo..od  mo..oo...ooorning Rooo.fus!" Then, she unceremoniously threw my raincoat over me and started to shake my leash like it was some kind of noose. I tried to ignore her. She got upset. She tried to get me to stand up so she could pull the raincoat straps on.

Now, why would I want her to do that? I had no intention of going out in the rain. I'm old, not stupid. I tried telling her that, but would she listen? No. As usual, she just HAD to have her way.

So I gave up, and followed her out the gate. And what did we see?
"I told you it'd be wet."
"Let's go back inside. How about it?"
I gave her my best Cute Old Dog look, but she wasn't buying it.

I really don't know about The Typist sometimes. She has ants in her pants about stuff like taking me for walks. I mean, is it really going to hurt for me to pee in the kitchen once twice many times in a while day?

I still can't believe she dragged an arthritic geriatric like me out in the rain. If I catch a cold, you know who I'll be blaming.
"Look at that! How am I going to get up the kerb without drowning?"
"Pull me up! PULL ME UP! What are you, some kind of weakling? I'm only 53 kilos, for heaven's sake! PULL!"
"Oh God, not another one! That's a raging torrent!"
"Give me a moment here please.""Alright. Here goes...hold on to my leash, okay? I don't want to get swept away."
"Help! Ugh! HELP! Wet! WET! urkkk."


"It's okay. Don't panic. I'm alive. My goodness, that was hard. I think I might be ready for some sustenance now."
"Come on, don't be stingy! Give it to me.
Give it to me!"

All that water was dreadful for an old dog with bad legs like me. And yet, that wasn't the worst of it.

All through the walk, The Typist kept rustling poop bags in my face like I was deaf and blind or something.

"Poop, Rufus, poop!" she went. "Come on, Ru, you can do it.. pooo...oop!"

? ? ? Where? In the rain? On the soggy grass? In a puddle??

It was too ridiculous. So I ignored her and did what every sensible dog would have done in my situation.

I waited till I got home.
Had a nice wipe down.
Found somewhere dry and comfortable.
"Hmmm...back to bed, I think."

And THEN, I did a nice big poop. 
"Hey! Do you guys smell something?"

Seriously, I don't know why The Typist thinks I'm stupid.

And THAT is all I have to say on the subject.


I don't know when I'll be allowed back here again, so thanks for reading. I hope you like that I made the words really big. My eyes aren't so good anymore. It's a lot easier to read this way, isn't it? :)