Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Muchos Adorablos, Es El Diablo!

When I get home in the evenings Ellen is always waiting at the gate.  Sometimes she has a fence paling in her mouth, sometimes a shrub, but she always has a big waggy tail and is very pleased to see me.  And when I leave her in the morning, she sits by the gate and gives me those big brown puppy eyes (in fairness, they're the only ones she has), and looks as though she intends to sit there all day, pausing only to bark at ants (her newest and most endearing pastime) or to dig some test-pits in the lawn to see if any forgotten bones might be down there.

In short, I worry about her being lonely when I'm away, and I think she'd really like a friend to spend the day with.

So today I had a little look at the RSPCA website, and found the Very Cute Diablo:


Diablo looks like an extra from Fraggle Rock, but is actually a "Rough Collie Cross."  I don't know if this means she's a rough collie who is rather angry, or a collie cross who is a bit of a bruiser, or if she was simply the result of forbidden love between a rough collie and an unnamed suitor.  Considering this is what a rough collie looks like....


.... she must have been crossed with something quite unlike a collie.  Possibly a bear or a Fraggle.

Anyway, I sent the photo to the Fella, and received an instant response that I was never allowed to choose pets for us again.  Ever.  

And when I'd finished stomping my feet and pouting, I thought maybe he is right.  Looking into Diablo's biography a little more closely, I was able to apply the translation skills I learned through my experience of getting Ellen to see that maybe she wasn't the best choice for us.  From her listing on the RSPCA site:

"Diablo likes to style her shaggy coat by running into the wind while chasing butterflies (SHOULD READ: Diablo has long hair that will pick up lots of crap and she will probably end up with grass seeds between her toes and a Very Expensive Infection).  She is very playful and has a great sense of adventure, leaping all around the place without a care in the world (SHOULD READ: Diablo has ADHD.  You will never be able to train this dog). Diablo is a social girl and is looking for a family who shares her enthusiasm for life (SHOULD READ: Diablo is suited to someone who doesn't mind being jumped all over, barked at when they are not paying enough attention, and who perhaps has a slightly diminished mental capacity)."

So perhaps she is not the right one for us, but I do think it would be nice to get a friend for Ellen.  The Fella needs some convincing, and the friends I've raised it with face-to-face have told me bluntly that I'm a loony.  So I need some more help for my campaign.  Please feel free to leave messages of support that I can show to the Fella with a jabby "seeeeeeee that" finger.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Revenge Of The Green Pen?

Last night Ellen and I visited the vet.  She had been retching all afternoon, which is not unusual - it's always a pleasant surprise to find chewed up grass, bits of wood, small stones and newspaper in slimy piles on the floor.  However, by evening she was coughing and vomiting, and by midnight it was clear something was wrong.

I got dressed and looked up the nearest after-hours vet clinic.  It was in Fyshwick.  For those of you who don't know Fyshwick, it is our own den of iniquity, a sordid haven for ladies of ill-repute and gentlemen who slip in the discreet side doors of shops.  It is a defiant celebration of our base, animal urges.

Canberra-style.

Nestled alongside the purveyors of adult toys and brown-wrapped magazines are some of the best bookshops in Canberra, a terrific microbrewery and petshop, and those two holy sites of the weekend family pilgrimage: Bunnings, and The Good Guys.

Despite these beacons of good, the suburb clings to its reputation of being born from the insane dreams of Hieronymus Bosch.  So I was nervous about what sort of veterinary practice would be operating there at midnight.  The type, I imagined, where dogs go to have knife wounds stitched up, no questions asked.  Where purebred cats procure speedy abortions, and where a hyped-up rabbit might find a sympathetic doctor to prescribe a little something to help him sleep.

I was relieved, if a little disappointed, to find a very well-lit and nicely appointed surgery.  Ellen must have been disappointed too, because she immediately vomited at the front desk.

The vet who saw us was lovely, and very adept with a thermometer.  She gave Ellen some pain relief and something for the nausea.  Ellen was not dehydrated (a relief, considering a night there on the drip would have been $800), but had a fever and a tender tummy.  Interestingly, she apparently also has malformed feet - a bit "clubby" was the exact word.  The feet, however, were not the source of Ellen's immediate problem, and the two most likely culprits were kennel cough, or the green pen that she ate a couple of days ago.  Or even a cough that developed in response to infection caused by a green pen.

The drugs gave Ellen a reasonably restful night, and this morning we went to our own vet, a bit brighter than last night.  He's fairly confident that there's no blockage, and her fever has gone. Both excellent bits of news.  We still don't know what the problem is, but we'll keep a close eye on her over the next couple of days, and return for x-rays tomorrow if she doesn't continue to improve.  Fingers crossed that the antibiotics will clear up the cough soon.

We will be sure to make fun of her feet once she has fully recovered.



UPDATE 24/2:  Ellen is doing very well.  No blockage.  Still has a smoker's cough, but is almost back to her old self.  And she loves her cough medicine.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lessons From My Dog: #465

Never duck inside for a glass of water and leave your pen outside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mr Peebles And The Getting Of Wisdom


Apparently Leonardo da Vinci said, "The smallest feline is a masterpiece."

According to The Guinness Book of Records , the smallest feline is Mr Peebles:



Image via here 

Mr Peebles is two years old, weighs about 1kg, and is 15cm long.  Mr Peebles will tolerate being shoved into a drinking glass for photos, and although it is not stated explicitly, he would probably list the following amongst his hobbies: napping, scratching at rugs, glaring and going to the toilet.

Mr Peebles is very cute, but I wouldn't say he is a masterpiece.  And that makes me question the wisdom of some of those people whose quotes grace our desk calendars, and whose utterances are immortalised as captions in picture books of baby-animals-doing-cute-things-that-are-actually-analogous-to-human-behaviour-and-really-make-us-stop-and-think-about-what-we-could-learn-after-we've-gone-awwwwww.

But da Vinci isn't the only one to have spouted spurious cat wisdom.  Take, for example, the following:

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."
- English Proverb
I am quite happy with that.  Why would I want the snotty eye bits and random hairs that float across the iris?

"I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course."
- Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field, Fisher
What clean, cunning and intelligent things are inside the girl you love????

"A cat pours his body on the floor like water." 
- William Lyon Phelps
No, that's actually pee.

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat."  
-Edgar Allan Poe
What is stopping you from writing that, Edgar Allan?

"Are we really sure the purring is coming from the kitty and not from our very own hearts?"
-Emme Woodhull-B├Ąche, translated
Presumably uttered just before Emme suffered a massive heart attack.

"Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges.  Cats have the courage to live by them."  
-Jim Davis
We all feel like killing from time to time.  Doesn't mean it's noble.

I should, however, stop here, on the advice of Dan Greenberg:

"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person."



Quotes sourced from here and here 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Commitment To You, The Seven People Who Read This Blog

Tonight Ellen and I returned to school.  We have been placed in a very big class, and we are the only ones there for the second time.

Ellen already has a new best friend.  He is a greyhound, and he is a week older than Ellen and a quarter of her size.  Ellen could eat her new friend and still have room for the irksome Japanese Spitz that was bouncing around near us.  Even though they have a cool name, I don't especially like Japanese Spitzes, because they are jumpy and dumb.  Nothing at all like Ellen.

I pledge that we will pass this time.  We will pass with a ribbon.

Now it's on the blog it must come to pass.  There are no lies on the interwebs.

Monday, February 8, 2010

For Stuart, On The Occasion Of His Second Birthday. A Poem, Entitled "You're A Terrible Cat, But I'd Take You Over A Monkey Any Day."


Stuart, you're a pussycat,
You don't come from Nantucket,
You are, however, really fat,
And won't fit in a bucket.



Stuart, you're a psycho cat,
You bite and claw and scream,
I'd love to wake, and find out that
The scars were just a dream.



Stuart, you're a pesky cat,
There's nothing you aint clawed,
You've left your hair on this and that,
And stained the ironing board.



Stuart, you're a thieving cat,
You pilfer things that shine,
And never seem to notice that,
I'm angry when they're mine.



Stuart, you're an odd-ball cat,
You must have crazy genes,
Your appetite's so loco that
You'll even eat broad beans.



Stuart, you're a greedy cat,
You gobble like a hog,
You'll even curl up on the mat,
With treats nicked from the dog.



Stuart, you're a handsome cat,
With splendid hairy feet,
And though you do some stinky scat,
You're really very sweet.





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