December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Poppy

She is still wearing her decorations this morning.... Hope everyone had a lovely day yesterday.  
Think mine was one of the 'best ever' Xmas days I have had.  
Off to visit Scott's family today for presents with the girls :)  Looking forward to it very much. 

December 9, 2012

Dog Park Etiquette: Rules to Help Dogs Get Along | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

Sophia Yin is a great dog behaviour specialist. This article is full of good advice for those of us who frequent dog parks :)
- you can get her free poster at
Another good articel is on Dog Bite Prevention and reading dog body language. This is really worthwhile for teaching children too. Ther eis another poster that can be downloaded.

November 28, 2012

Hobbit World Premiere for Wellington tonight

Tonight's the night...

This is the page for our site tonight as the cast do the red carpet for The Hobbit - love the hobbit pictures round the outside.
You can see more reports and film from the red carpet at this link.
We have been watchign it on TV - all 600 m of red carpet and interviews. Hard to believe that Elijah Wood turned 18 when he arrived to start filming the first moviews and he is now 31 - growing up in Wellington really.
It's great to have the world premiere here, the place where it all started and where so much of it was made.
If you are visiting NZ - perhaps you will arrive on this plane?

See more:

November 24, 2012

Dog Shaming - Watch out Poppy

 Great new idea... although it does make you wonder why we have dogs!
Thanks Marinda for sending me these :)
I wish I had known about doing this when our Golden Retriever, Saffy, freaked out after trapping her self in the bathroom and destroyed the door. 
Jessie, a Foxie x Collie is our rubbish bin fiend.... we have to remember to weight the lid when we leave her alone... she is often found standing in the remnants of her illegal trawl.

Thank you to the friend who described wee Poppy as "a toilet brush crossed with a stuffed toy on amphetamines" - it brings a smile to my face when I see her in her perpetual motion.  On the rare occasions when she is "abandoned", she has eaten Alex's Ipod ear buds ( more than once), our  power cords for laptops, and demonstrates irregular toilet habits... so far no mattresses, but she does like to salvage bits of paper out of the bin in my office. 

I dedicate this to a friend who has just taken on her fourth dog.  Some of these may well be in her future. I hope they don't eat her socks off her feet while she is wearing two of these dogs do.

Might give those "Rover vacuum cleaners" a miss too after reading these!

November 19, 2012


Deb has written this great post. Perhaps you need to live here to truly understand what it is like, but great articles must help spread the word.
Do go and read it for yourself.
Thanks Deb...

Hobbit Movie-Mania Takes Over Wellington In Countdown...

New Zealand prepares... or more accurately, Wellington as I haven't seen anything here.
To be fair, I will have to go back and check which date the world premier actually happens - wonder what the odds are of it being the day I am booked to fly into Wellington next month, and if so, is that a good thing or bad? Probably bad as I can't attend it and traffic issues would make it hell! But thenmaybe I might see some dwarves and hobbits at the airport....
Check out more at these links :)

Poppy at Stray Dog Bar for last lunch with the class

They did give her a personal water bowl but the glass was more tempting !

November 16, 2012

Christchurch has a day off

A Friday at home... a long weekend! A lie in, breakfast in bed, sun shining outside.
Show day in Canterbury, where town meets country, filled with racing events, the Canterbury Show.  I see Charles and Camilla will tour the rubble today... then finish at the show to give awards.

I think this photo from Christchurch Daily Photo sums up the feeling of the juxtaposition of normal life and ruins...
She says
Rather dramatic looking isn’t it? And for me, it’s rather a neat synopsis of how odd it can be living in Christchurch – what with the red bus tours of destruction, the tourists peering over the fence, while nearby shoppers are shopping and office workers are lunching! For those of you who don’t know, the red bus is in the ‘red zone’ which normal people can not visit unless they have a pass to the zone or catch a red bus tour of the red zone. See I told you living in Christchurch could be odd at times.
Yes the roads are still a mess in the eastern side of the city. A very deep sinkhole appeared and blew up my friends car tyre before she could avoid it ... we get the impression much of the roading is now deep holes, where the liquefaction water has gone and left a hollow, covered in a layer of asphalt!

Cranes still dot the skyline, demolition in the CBD is still going strong, and now they are starting on the red zoned houses. So sad - a whole aspect of life here that doesn't get the same publicity but is a continuing tale of personal stress and heartbreak recurring all over the area. Spare a thought for them. The poetry and messages left on the walls of the houses as they leave them for the demolition crews is a reminder that these homes have history, that they are loved and people do not leave willingly.

Life is filled with ups and downs. I will focus on the ups and relish these pleasures.
Barbecue tonight at friends...
Tomorrow afternoon, Alex returns home.
Celebrating his return and my birthday over dinner with the rest of the family...
Loving it!

It has been a busy, but rewarding week.

I took some of the students back to visit Peacock Springs this week - another great day holding a tuatara and seeing the sights...
previous posts are here....

We also had another final dinner for the vet nursing class. A wonderful night of awards and flowers and many great memories.

Thank you for a great year.

And for my lovely flowers and presents ....

Poppy thought they were special too :)

October 30, 2012


Pet Shelter in use - preparing for Hurricane Sandy


Bill Ryan, of Inwood, New York, comforts his cat Amy before leaving her at a pet shelter at Mitchell Park's Field House, run by the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and Pet Safe Coalition in Uniondale, New York, on October, 28, 2012. Pet owners could leave their pets at the shelter and afterwards seek shelter for themselves. before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

See more photos at

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 26, 2012

Beware the Gollum

The latest Weta Workshop display at Wellington Airport - the start of Hobbit Mania...
I get to fly up there in the next two weeks - quite looking forward to seeing Gollum for myself!

October 25, 2012

100 Reasons To Love Christchurch |

1. Roaming the Port Hills, be it on foot, by bike or by car. They are the landmark hills of Christchurch and we love them.
2. Spending an afternoon at the City Mall. The open spaces and colourful containers at Re:Start have given the city centre new life in a very fresh way, with several caf├ęs for pit stops.
3. From an iconic architectural statement to a civil defence base, the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu is even more than an outstanding centre of fine art.
4. A gloriously decadent lunch at Pegasus Bay Winery. The award-winning restaurant focuses on using quality local ingredients matched with their superb wines.
5. Enjoying all the Botanic Gardens offer. From the colourful splashes of the rose garden to the towering trees of the central lawns and family areas, our city gardens show nature at its best.
6. Strolling by the Avon River's sun-dappled waters or relaxing on its green banks. As the lineal heart of the blueprint for the new Christchurch, it's another significant part of our city.
7. Gap Filler. From community chess to dance-o-mats and gap golf, the team at Gap Filler has been working away to fill those vacant city spaces with a little life, light and happiness.
8. New Regent St. Completed in 1931, this picturesque street of Spanish mission-style buildings was one of the biggest South Island construction projects during the Depression. We can't wait to see it open again.
9. The 142-year-old Canterbury Museum continues to impress with travelling displays such as the World of WearableArt Up Close, and permanent exhibits such as the reincarnated Bluff paua shell house.
10. The picturesque setting at Mona Vale. The historic homestead has had better days, but its surrounds are still a welcome respite from the city's hustle and bustle.

A great reminder of why I like living here, despite the quakes...
Looking forward to exploring more of these :)
What do you like about where you live?

October 6, 2012

Horseshoe Lake - Red Zone

This is an aerial view of Horseshoe Lake, where we live - along the outer loop of the river on the lower right section of the photo.
All the houses on the other side, inside the horseshoe, are red zoned and will be demolished. The whole area has sunk and liquified.... most people have moved out and left. This is one area where the army were practicing urban warfare last week - we were woken to the sound of rapid gun fire across the river - quite a surreal feeling. Are we still in a small suburb of Christchurch???

Meanwhile, a whole community of people will have to start again, somewhere else. A scene repeated in many areas, city wide, particularly to the eastern side, and on the hills.
There are more pictures at

I saw a display of pictures at a local mall, The Colombo, taken by amateur photographers at Canterbury University. They showed scenes from the last two years - of people, places, help, progress.. the works. Not of death or destruction, but communities, people working together, living in the altered landscapes. One of the comments in the information sheet pointed out that the earthquakes were not a single event - but an ongoing series of changes impacting on the entire community.
SO true...

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

Nature reclaiming the red zone suburbs of Christchurch

There is a lot of news coverage of the destruction of the central business area of the city, but every now and then I get to venture into the red zoned suburbs. It feels intrusive, and I don't do it much, feeling it is intrusive to the lives of the few remaining residents who have yet to finalise the payouts from the government for their homes.   I did land up in the area shown in this movie recently, when the road suddenly ran out after I missed one of the ever changing detour signs on my way home. The side road I was forced to take took me along the Avon river and I cried; for the people, their homes, their way of life, and the desolate feeling of abandonment everywhere.
Harry has put some footage to music ( that he played) and I felt it captured the sights... will give you some idea of life there, even though photos and videos just can;t capture the "feel" of it all.

Yes it will become a beautiful park. but as a riverside dweller myself, I know that it could so, so easily have been us too.

The river beside us....

My friend has recently taken a job with CERA ( Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority ) and it requires her to patrol the red zones, checking the properties that are now government owned ... properties with green slime in the floors, rat and mice droppings and urine, smashed glas, graffiti, sloping floors and collapsed ceilings.  Hot work in the sun, and today in blustery cold weather, miserable and dusty. I caught up with her in Bexley yesterday. It was unbelievable. There are still people living around there...

Kitchen/back door

Green floor in the house

Peaceful sub division waiting for demolition - stickers on the houses, and the rubbish bin piles which always indicate their fate....

I took Poppy out to have lunch in Sumner at the beach yesterday - did some shopping and enjoyed an escape. 

On the way we checked the progress of Redcliffs School - closed, for reasons which should be apparent if you look closely above the buildings....

We were trapped by the rapidly incoming tide and I got wet feet, but it was a lovely hot day.

Poppy was tired...


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