October 29, 2010

Fireworks - Some good advice for those of us with scared pets

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
It is fireworks time again in New Zealand, and many other countries. Yesterday, my vet clinic, who have a great website, reprinted their article on fireworks and it caught my eye as I have been thinking about how to help Jessie through the next weeks without Saffy for company when the rockets start flying.
You can read it in full here, as well as see more of their webpage and read all about Dog Appeasing Pheremone.
They have given me permission to quote some of it on the blog.


Fireworks

by Gina Cameron, VN
(Appeared in Spring 2009 Newsletter)
Fireworks time is coming up and for many pets and owners this is a very stressful time of the year. Dogs that have firework phobia show signs of fear in response to the sight and sound of fireworks. Some are only mildly distressed while others suffer severe anxiety or sheer terror.

Signs you may see your dog displaying are panting, trembling, cowering, hiding, vocalizing, destructiveness, salivation, attention seeking, urination and defecation.

As much as you may want to cuddle and comfort your dog this only reinforces the message that the dog has something to be frightened about. Do not punish your dog either. There are several things that you can do to reduce the dogs’ fear of fireworks:
  1. Make sure that your dog has a good long walk during the day. Before it gets dark take your dog outside to go to the toilet, then inside and close all the doors and windows to minimize the noise.
  2. Close the curtains or blinds early and turn on the lights. You can turn on the TV or radio for some background noise.
  3. Feed your dog its evening meal an hour before the event. You can add some cooked chicken and white rice for extra carbohydrate. This is to fill the dog up and make it feel sleepier.
  4. Provide your dog with a ‘safe’ place like a crate or its usual bed and blanket.
  5. Give your dog a distraction like a Kong or its favourite toy.
  6. Do make sure your dog is kept in a safe and in a secure environment at all times, so that it does not bolt and escape if a sudden noise occurs.
  7. Stay calm and go about your normal routine.
  8. Use Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) spray or diffuser plug in.


Note to self.... Must get more DAP for the diffuser...we have plenty in spray form for her bandana, but not a lot for the room left.
Now where did I put that DVD of fireworks noise we got to desensitize her...and keep forgetting to use!!!

Safe Guy Fawkes for you and your pets....

October 28, 2010

Woman loses head in riding accident | Stuff.co.nz

A British woman had to pick her own head up off the ground after badly breaking her neck in a horrific fall from a horse, according to reports.

The Daily Express newspaper reports that 26-year-old Thea Maxfield suffered a horrific "hangman's fracture" - a clean break of her upper cervical vertebra - after she was bucked six metres into the air in the accident.

After she fell off the horse Ms Maxfield tried to get out of the animal's way, but found that when her body moved her head stayed where it was.

She was forced to cup her hands around her head and lift it back into place to avoid damaging her spinal cord after her vertebrae shattered.

"I had to literally pick my head up and carry it in my hands. I didn't have much hope of a recovery," she told the newspaper.

Amazingly she can still walk.
Not so amazingly she is back riding horses.
hmmmm

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October 25, 2010

A taste of summer in Christchurch

Hagley Park - Band Together from press.co.nz



Sun and music and a public holiday - bliss.

Started with a huge free concert in Hagley Park on Saturday..  all day, hot sun, alcohol free, great music, enjoyed by over 100,000 people there and many more watching on tv at home.
See more pix at http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/canterbury-earthquake/4266161/100-000-of-us-banded-together
Heat control!
The aftershocks held off during the concert, but yesterday we got a good one - interesting because it was a strong 4.7 shake, centred just offshore to the East not far from our home - completely the opposite direction to the usual ones. Hmmmm!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4269091/Big-offshore-aftershock-rocks-eastern-residents


You can see more info on this, and all the quakes at Christchurch Quake Live.

Today we decided to celebrate a day off and take Jessie to the Waimakariri  River for a walk... and landed up following it east into Brooklands that you can see at the top part of the map above. We have been avoiding the area because of the damage and to avoid being rubberneckers but just landed up there - eventually we found somewhere to stop and explore the river.. but less of the water and more of the cracks and liquefaction!



Not sure if this was new from yesterdays shock nearby, but there was plenty of damage and damp mud around.



We made our way back to the boat ramp - lots of activity and fast flowing water.  There are still notices everywhere to remind us of possible post-quake sewage contamination, but it looked nice and the guy on his jet ski was having fun :)


Great weekend - and lots of time with family and friends as well.
Contentment.
Hope you all had a great weekend :)

October 23, 2010


Here are the guidelines courtesy of Life With Dogs
* Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed.
* Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button at the upper left of this blog and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
* Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
* Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like
* Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
* Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop


This is a Blog Hop! 20 entries so far... you're next!





October 21, 2010

Pets Help People Feel Loved

Beagle dogs
DECREASING STRESS: Pets help children and adults feel secure and unconditionally loved.

This something that the veterinary world is increasingly aware of - the importance of fur babies and the impact on people of losing them too.  
Most families report they value their pets most at times of crisis. Pets provide emotional support that makes it easier to cope and recover from stressful events.
In the middle of a crisis, one's usual supports may be preoccupied or distressed themselves. The bonds people have with their pets offer comfort, affection, and a sense of security at these times.
I have heard from many of the people I have seen since the earthquake that the children, particularly, have turned to their pets for comfort, with the usual rules about where the pet sleeps being relaxed somewhat.

Our  next decent earthquake two days ago was terrifying for many people and has stretched some already frayed nerves - I can see depression and anxiety and stress increasing dramatically at a time when we are already trying to assess our students,so the anxiety levels are climbing for everyone. One student had a panic attack on returning to the classroom the day after and we had three quakes during the morning classes too...  I know I feel like I am permanently wired on caffeine and not sleeping well. The adrenaline levels are taking a while to resettle.

This video is worth a look - helps explain why it is affecting so many people...
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/cantabrians-wonder-end-3841380/video

I miss my blonde bombshell at home. I wonder if it is why I feel more anxious this week!  Jessie comes and washes my face when I cry and she is "here", but it just isn't quite the same, much as I do love her.  However, many of you might remember when I mentioned a fellow blogger in France, Angus, who lost his dog Digby to tick problems earlier this year, and is now about to lose their lovely Wilf to cancer.  You can find Angus and WIlf here....  http://wilfanddigby.blogspot.com/
My thoughts are with you - losing both dogs in quick succession is just unimaginably sad and sends me off to give Jess a cuddle whenever I think of it.






October 19, 2010

Severe aftershock hits Christchurch - national | Stuff.co.nz

Christ Church Cathedral quakeSevere aftershock hits Christchurch


BREAKING NEWS: Another severe aftershock has rattled Canterbury this morning.
Reports were coming in that power was out to some parts of the city, and that cell networks were overloaded.
The magnitude of the quake, which hit at about 11.30am, has not yet been reported by GNS sciences.
Four other quakes have hit this morning. A 4.0 magnitude quake struck at 10.54am, 20km south-west of Christchurch.
A 3.3 quake hit 10km west of Kaiapoi at 9.43am, a 2.8 hit 10km east of Darfield at 7.48am, and another 2.8 hit 10km south of Christchurch at 3.19am.
Fiona Fidow at the Cupcake Collection in Westfields Mall, Riccarton said it was the second biggest shock they had felt since the original quake.
"This was very loud, very strong shaking.  All our china is smashed in our kiosk. The mall alarms are going off and the mall has been evacuated. Quite a few people are crying and hysterial. There are a lot of frightened people."
Resident Jordan Hornblow said the shock knocked all his plates all over in the kitchen.
"It gave [me] one hell of a fright while trying to study," Hornblow said.
Christchurch resident Sean Scanlon said it felt like it was well over magnitude five.
"The house was rattling and books fell off the shelves."
His wife, Lucy Scanlon, had been forced to take cover on her desk at work in central Christchurch.
NOT NICE
Felt like the first one - fourth floor rattling and definite fear....
Can't believe it is only a 5!!!!!!
Crazy...

Shaken and stirred | Stuff.co.nz


This is a wonderful article on life post earthquake and the changes it has created, regardless of whether we had any damage to our homes.
Worth a read for a smile :)

Life for Cantabrians has changed dramatically since the earthquake, even for those with little property damage. By Amanda Cropp.
After the 7.1 magnitude shake that shook Christchurch six weeks ago, my 14-year-old son has decreed we should henceforth refer to events as occurring BQ (before quake) or AQ (after quake).
Religious folk, like those who recently left a seashell inscribed with a crucifix in our letterbox or the Jehovah's Witnesses who turned up on the doorstep under the guise of seeing if I was "all right after the earthquake", will probably stick with BC (before Christ) and AD when it comes to cataloging events.
But I quite like the notion of BQ and AQ because, make no mistake, even for those of us with little or no property damage, life in Christchurch has changed since we were rudely awakened on September 4.
AQ we have become au fait with a whole new lexicon of earthquake-related jargon, such as liquefaction. The term refers to the sand volcanoes that erupted messily in certain areas, but liquefaction could just as well apply to the uncomfortable feeling that assails the bowels immediately after a particularly sharp aftershock.
more on that link above :) 

Approaching 2000 quakes.... will this set a record?

15 quakes today....
Still seeing a lot of nervous reactions from people, but life is generally continuing around them.  We parked under a condemned building last night, wondering if our car would be safe until we returned, then sat and watched a concert in an old building that has sloping floors ( pre-earthquake apparently), but appears to have withstood events so far.  You do find yourself looking for exits and planning escapes, which is inevitable under the circumstances I guess.

The quakes seem to move all over the city depending on which fault line goes off (did I mention we seem to have two?). A few of the recent ones have sent objects tumbling off shelves but I managed to miss feeling some of them because I have been driving. This morning we got two in quick succession and the classroom, fourth floor, earthquake proofed, rubber foundations or whatever, swayed nicely.

As of 11.47pm on 18th of October we have had 1993 recorded "shakes".... so sometime soon we can celebrate 2000.
You can check the tally on the bottom of this site, popular with Christchurch people, and see the pattern of the aftershocks.
http://quake.crowe.co.nz/

All quakes since sept 4
Snapshot of afteshocks up to 18.10.10

Over the weekend we drove round town, weaving our way though the barriers reducing the traffic to single lanes, assuming you can pass the road at all. There are huge gaps where many buildings have already been removed or major repairs are underway.. and in others, time has stood still; roofs lying collapsed into shops, verandahs piled up outside, bricks scattered. A wasteland, waiting for decisions, insurance claims, heritage orders... the surrounding businesses appearing shut, losing income, struggling to survive.

The church steeple has been lifted off and is standing next to the church....


So Christchurch is still bruised. Visitors often miss the extent of the damage because so many parts appear  normal, but the damage is there and the costs are huge; financially and emotionally.

October 11, 2010

Saffy's Memorial Rose



Golden Celebration - a scented English Rose.
My friend has brought a rose in to work for me to remember Saffy. 

Thank you so much xxxxxxxxxxxx





October 10, 2010

Saffy 2000-2010






Sorry, but blogging has not been a high priority recently... I guess 2010 will be remembered for the many occasions when we got hit with events that made it feel like the world had stopped for a while. The dawn arrival in June of the police at the door announcing Arch's sudden and tragic death and more recently, a morning phone call to share the scary news that Phoebe's mum had been diagnosed with a possible brain tumour. ( you can read some more follow up on that here).

As we coped with all of this we had another rude dawn awakening to a 7.1 earthquake and since then 1500 aftershocks which still rumble away regularly, even another 5.0 last week, .... and finally, last Saturday, the sudden death of our beautiful Saffy. She is back home now; ashes in a tasteful wooden box... on the windowsill of our bedroom, near her bed. We have shed many tears. The house seems so empty without the blonde bombshell and we particularly miss her wrinkly smile as she greeted us when we came home. It took me many mornings to realise I didn't need to straighten her bed in the morning or my partner to realise he didn't have to walk round her in the dark... . Jessie is quiet, but is finally eating again, tempted by meaty foods and cat biscuits.

My friend is going to buy me a rose in a pot ( yellow of course) so I can put her ashes in it and remember her each year when it blooms....

Meanwhile, I have been finally been able to look through all the photos and remember her in pictures. A very small consolation.... these things take time; lots of time.
Miss you Saff xxxx


October 1, 2010

Mishka: Talking dog to singing star

I would love an I pad - but getting the dogs to sing into it was not quite what I had in mind for it's use. However, take a look at this!

In Mishka's latest video, she uses an iPad app called La Di Da, which turns anyone's tortured singing into polished Beiber-esque pop vocals, with backing.
The app analyses your voice, fixes your pitch and creates music to match.

Mishka's Song has had more than half a million hits on YouTube, and is now available for download on iTunes.

Mishka also has more than 3000 Twitter followers, 21,000 facebook fans and has appeared on several TV shows.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/4188883/Mishka-Talking-dog-t...

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