Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Small Dog Walking Club

The Small Dog Walking Club

Today I went for a walk on country roads with my friend Pat and the poms, and two of Pat's neighbours and their dogs.  Pat calls it "The Small Dog Walking Club".  Cosmo was the biggest of the four dogs.

I figured it was a good chance to play around with the new point-and-swear camera I bought yesterday, so I might not make a too-hasty decision about returning it.  Of the two hundred shots I took on the walk (plus another fifty or so around Quamichan Lake on the way home), I think twenty were usable.  All of  those were taken on the 'action' setting, as any attempt to change to anything else resulted in a meltdown (mine, not the camera's).  I'll give it one more test tomorrow, when I'm off for a hike-and-explore day with my friend Sally, before deciding whether to commit to the demon camera that requires a PhD to operate.

Here are the usable shots from my walk with The Small Dog Walking Club.

This is Beamer, a six year old shih tzu-yorkie cross (I think).


And this is Teddy, a nine month old toy poodle.


Both were very mannerly and a pleasure to walk with.  They were a little difficult to photograph as every time I knelt down to get a photo at their level, this happened:

Ooooh....what's that in front of your face?
After a while, they became used to the camera, and I was able to get a few more shots:

The route is one Pat and the Poms and I have travelled before, with very little traffic and a few fun farm animals enroute.  We passed some chickens running around a field, and some horses in a paddock,

and then came to the little farm where we've always said hello to two donkeys and some sheep.  The sheep were in a field well away from the road this time,

and there was only one donkey waiting to say hi to us.

Sadly,  the interference of a passerby had resulted in the death of one of the donkeys, as noted by this sign the owner posted on the fence:

It is a sharp and tragic reminder that one should never feed other people's animals without their permission.

I'm lonely now!

We stopped to say hello to the donkey, and then continued on our way.  Further down the road a sweet yellow lab named Tessa came to greet us through the gate to her yard.  She reminded me a lot of my Emma, both in her build and in the thwack thwack thwack of her happy lab tail.

On the walk back, we saw an eagle fly across towards the huge nest Pat had told me about, and I was able to test out the zoom to capture a shot of the eagle sitting in the nest by the time we drew even with it.

Beamer was hitching a ride home in her Mama's arms, so I snapped a few more of her as well.

Beamer gets a lift

Pat requested I take one more shot, this one of the Fashionable Dog Walker's Outfit being modelled by Teddy's mom - coordinated leggings, runners and poop bag!

Matching poop bags and shoe laces! 

It was a lovely walk, and so nice to meet two of Cosmo's and Lexi's canine friends.  See you again, Beamer and Teddy!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nothing to see here.....

Bought a new point and shoot camera.  It is basically a more recent version of the Sony point and shoot I had before and really liked.  But of course they changed everything, the manual is written by someone who has English as maybe a second third fourth  doesn't speak English at all, and I can't figure out how to use it. So no photos.  No stories.  Just a lot of frustration.

Besides, none of you "I don't do facebook" readers commented on the last blog post, so there's no reason for me to post another blog yet.  I'm clicker-trained, remember!  Bwahahahahaha!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

RASTA and the Goat(s) of Many Colours

The two new goats at RASTA, who have been named Simon and Garfunkel, are colourful little guys. Simon has reddish-brown and white hair, and Garfunkel has - well - a funky reddish streak in his otherwise black hair.  I know people who pay big bucks to get their hair streaked like that!



When I uploaded the photos I took last week, I saw something else that was colourful - their eyes, especially Simon's eyes.

Eye shade changes in every shot

I did a little research and discovered that the pupils of goats' eyes are rectangular to give great peripheral vision as a safeguard against predators, and also good frontal vision for fleeing from harm. You can easily see the rectangular pupil in this photo:

Rectangular pupils

This rectangular pupil, however, also helps account for a diversity of colours when photographed.  As rectangular pupils tend to be wider than circular pupils, they catch the flash of the camera differently. As well, animals like goats have something called a tapetal layer behind the retina, which helps them see in the dark.   Shining a light (such as the flash of a camera) into these eyes creates 'eyeshine', a brightness which often shows as two glowing alien-looking orbs in amateur animal photography. Since eyeshine is a type of iridescence, it varies with the angle of the camera - and a wider rectangular pupil provides more angles. Furthermore, since the colour of the tapetal layer varies by the animal's coat colour, a more colourful or multi-coloured animal may reflect more variations in eyeshine than a more solid, less colourful animal.  As Simon is more 'patchy' and colourful in coat, I conclude this is why his eye colours are so varied in the photos.

Ol' Blue Eyes

At least that's how I understand the mind-boggling photo-babble I found from my somewhat brief google search. So...let's move on to other activities at the sanctuary.  Like feeding time, 'cuz that's always fun:

We began by feeding the senior pigs in their pen, but invited Tango, Romeo and Toby to join them.

Age has its privilege

Line forms here! 

Trying to move from the senior pigs' pen to the younger pigs' pen can be a challenge when you are lugging a wagon of food through the mud and have some greedy hungry equines trying to help, not to mention a very large steer making sure we knew he was hungry too.

Hey, there's still food in here!

Don't forget me - I need some too! 

Once into the younger pigs' pen, we decided to move right through to the higher dryer ground of the goats' pen and invite the younger pigs to follow us.  They didn't need to be asked twice:

Follow that wagon! 

The goats didn't mind - there was plenty for everyone and they just turned their backs on the piggy herd as they tasted their veggies and fruits:

Carrot scramble!  

Carrots, yum!

Hey, you gonna eat that piece of apple?

Aw, c'mon, share! 
Server!  More apples and carrots here please! 

Over near the barn, Sergio the goose made a ruckus just to remind us that he and Sarah and Splash might like a treat or too as well - some grain, perhaps, might make a tasty snack.

I dunno why they always treat the pigs first! 

One last round with treats for Theo and a few more for Tango, Romeo and Toby, and party time was over.

That's all folks! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Down Memory Lane with Belle

Today a friend nominated me for a Facebook Challenge, in which I have to post a photo of a dog each day for five days, and each day I have to nominate someone else to do the same.  "Easy!" I thought, as I accepted the challenge, "No shortage of photos on my computer!"

HA!  Little did I know what I was getting myself into.  I thought the hardest part of the challenge would be thinking of five facebook friends who might actually accept the nomination and not hold it against me for life - or worse, block me from ever tagging them in facebook again.

Instead, the hard part was choosing (a) the five dogs I would feature and (b) one photo of each dog.  I've decided I will likely do my four rescued shelties plus one other rescue dog - probably Caleb, but maybe Sadie - but that could change, can I leave out Charley? Or foster dog Lucy and all her pups?  Or Mitzi? Or dogs who were in my life earlier, like Muffin and Sam and Emma? Or other sweet fosters like Isaac or Pepper?  But I had to start somewhere, so I started with Belle.

Four hours and thousands of photos later, I  finally selected this one as the photo to post for the facebook challenge:

Belle, the Singing Sheltie

Belle was the first sheltie to come into my life.  She was twelve when I met her, a crippled, skinny, sparsely haired girl (Belle, not me!) who had been rescued from a family's decision to euthanize after her very elderly papa passed away.  Through the combined efforts of BC Sheltie Rescue and Little Paws Rescue, Belle was kept safe, fostered, received much needed vet care, and on Dec. 8, 2007, I adopted her.

(And because this is my blog and not a facebook challenge, I can post more photos of her!)

Belle at home

She fattened up, became a floof ball, and loved to prance in the pasture of the small farm where we lived, or ride in my backpack when I went hiking.  She liked to sing, raising her head high and yipping away as only a sheltie can.  She brought sunshine and shelti-tude into my life and was a constant joy to have around.

Happy Belle in the pasture

Belle, the Shetland Sheep Pig Dog
Herding and watching over my foster piglets

On June 8th, 2010 she was asleep in her bed when I took my other dogs for a walk, and when I returned she was just drawing her last gentle breath.

Belle in Black and White

I still miss that girl, and I'm sure it was her spirit that led me to other shelties in need.

But those are stories for another day.  

Belle in snow

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mitzi's Birthday Dinner

Mitzi is not an easy dog to feed.  Her chronic renal failure often leaves her nauseous and causes her to refuse food for days at a time.  And, as she has other issues with her digestive tract, finding suitable foods to tempt her before an empty gut causes her to vomit bile or pass blood from one end or the other, can be a challenge.  So for the most part I cater to her whims, simply to get food into her belly.  I use a mix of whatever moist dog food she currently finds palatable (it usually changes about every three months, or whenever I try to sneak some medicine into it - whichever comes first), supplemented with home prepared meals or toppers of whatever people foods will entice her to eat.  It's not a very long list - eggs, shredded cheese, occasionally fish, occasionally meat, and occasionally some vegetables.  Forget pumpkin, yogurt, peanut butter, cottage cheese,  rice, potato, sweet potato, or any of those others things that dogs are supposed to like - Mitzi doesn't.

Knowing that eggs are one of the few things that Mitzi will fairly reliably eat when her appetite is waning, a friend with a few back yard ducks gave her some duck eggs for her birthday.

Duck eggs in their natural habitat

Of course, Ms. Mitzi insisted on duck eggs for her birthday dinner that night.  She likes her eggs either scrambled or hard boiled - thank goodness she didn't insist on Eggs Benedict, which would be beyond my culinary skills! So I quickly scrambled two of the rich, creamy eggs and placed them before her:

Two duck eggs, ready to scramble.
The shells will be dried, ground, and added to her dog food later.


Apparently, duck eggs are a zillion times more tasty than her usual chicken eggs, even though her chicken eggs are also from happy, healthy stress-free chickens running around a local man's yard eating lots of fresh greens.  I have never seen Mitzi inhale a plate of anything as fast as she inhaled those scrambled eggs.

Nom nom nom nom nom....

Dat's the best thing I ever ate! 

And then the little nine pound Princess looked at me and said


Well, I knew duck eggs were richer than chicken eggs, and I knew two eggs - chicken or duck - was a lot of egg for one dog (she usually only gets one scrambled egg, once or twice a week), so I said



Saying no to a Princess is bad enough, but saying no to a Princess on her birthday is simply not to be tolerated.

So she whined and cajoled and whined some more.  I offered her some dogfood, with a little grated cheese:

What the h*ll?

That's not duck egg! 

She left the dog food, wandered out of the room, whined some more, came back into the kitchen, looked at the counter, looked at the fridge (she's no dummy - she knew I'd put the rest of the duck eggs in there!), looked at me, whined some more.......and that continued for over an hour.  Back and forth to the kitchen, whining, staring at the counter, staring at the fridge, staring at me......

I know there are more eggs.
Right there.  In the Big White Box.

Pleeaassse, Mama Jean?
It's mah birthday.  Just one more?

Finally she reluctantly ate her dog food and went to bed.

I''m glad I didn't cave to her incessant demands.  The richness of the duck eggs had her - and me - up four times that night.  She's fine, though well cleaned out, but next time she is only getting one egg. Or maybe even just half.  Even if she does think duck eggs are the best food in the whole wide world.

Ah need to get on Canine MasterChef Canada
so I can learn to cook mah own eggs.
But first I need to learn how to open that fridge.

Being a Princess is such hard work!