Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

Real Love is…

Just some thoughts about the real meaning of Love. With Valentine’s Day round the corner, and Romance on the minds of many, it might be prudent to stop for a minute, and ponder on what Love is. And try not to confuse Love with Lust or just plain obsession.

I found these on Google Images.

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Dog Observations: Memphis (Part 3)

In this final part of my Observations, I write about how Memphis’s behaviour changed from when I first met him, until the day he got adopted from the Dogs’ Refuge Home:

Over the space of the 10 sessions I enjoyed playing with Memphis, I observed how his behaviour changed. He went from being a fearful dog, with fear-aggression issues, to a beautifully affectionate dog, displaying high levels of intelligence. He stopped being startled, barking and growling at everything and everyone. His body language improved drastically – he went from skulking around or cowering in a corner, to bounding around excitedly whenever I approached his kennel door. He never once tried to slip out of his enclosure past me. Instead, he would politely stand away from the door, tail wagging enthusiastically, eyes big and hopeful. When I entered his run, he would immediately nose around me to find out what treats or toys I had for him. Once I accidentally left the zip on my treats pouch open, and Memphis promptly “robbed” me blind of treats. I noticed that when confronted with the choice of squeaky toy or treats, Memphis always chose the squeaky toy first.

Memphis also stopped barking at strangers standing outside his run. In fact, he was often so enamoured with his squeaky games of fetch that he was often able to completely ignore everything that was happening around him. I taught him how to Sit, Give Paw, Lie Down, Roll Over and Wait, but I suspect he already knew those tricks and our play sessions only served as practice reminders. Again, when there was a squeaky toy at hand, he would often ignore cues to perform those parlour tricks, preferring to “kill” the squeak first, and only then would he turn his attention to trick or treat. He certainly knew how to prioritise!

You may remember earlier I mentioned Memphis “eyeballing” and giving the “whale eye”. I attended a Training session on dog body language and micro expressions at the Refuge, and the Trainer had used Memphis as an example. However, the more time I spent with Memphis, the more I’m convinced that his “eyeballing” and “whale eye” is actually part of his physiognomy…his eye sockets are just built that way, so that no matter what he was looking at, or what his mood, the whites of his eyes would always show, making him look soulful.

One incident with Memphis will remain forever etched in my mind. It was the day he was adopted. That morning, when I went to see him, he didn’t want to play fetch like he normally did. Instead, he seemed very content to just lie down on his bed with his head in my lap, and let me rub his tummy. He would glance up now and then and lick my face. I believed his doggy senses may have picked up something was afoot, and he just wanted cuddles to make the most of what time we had left together.

I missed seeing Memphis leaving the Refuge with his new furever family. But they have shared photos of his new life with them on the Refuge’s Facebook page. Memphis is very much loved by his new family. He goes to the dog beach, he loves the park, he’s made many new friends. His new “dad” even has Memphis’ name tattooed on his arm. He looks happy and well-adjusted, a far cry from the frightened dog not so many months ago.

I just wonder if they’ve discovered what he’s like with a squeaky toy. 

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Dog Observations: Memphis (Part 2)

Here, in Part 2 of 3 of my observations on a Refuge dog, as part of my coursework for the ISCP Diploma in Canine Psychology, I describe how I first made my acquaintance with Memphis. Part 3 tomorrow concludes my observations.

MY OBSERVATIONS:

When Memphis first arrived at the Refuge, I remember he was kept tucked away in a quieter part of the compound, where there was less human traffic. Even so, whenever I walked past his run, he would growl and bark at me. I noticed that he would always give me the whale eye. In the beginning, I knew nothing about Memphis’ history, but I could see that it was fear-aggression that was driving him to behave the way he was.

About a month after he first arrived, Memphis was transferred to the main Kennel compound, otherwise known as “General Population”, or “On The Floor”. This meant that he was in a prominent position for potential adopters to view him, and that his chances of being adopted were vastly improved.

It was about this time that I asked for permission to spend time with Memphis in his enclosure, as a Canine Carer. This permission was given informally, as it was generally felt that Memphis was not quite ready for human contact. He was still growling, barking and eyeballing visitors who stood outside his run.

I spent 2 days observing Memphis from outside his run. He would come up to the fence willingly, even wagging his tail, and he would take one or two treats out of my hands. And then, just as suddenly, his behaviour would change and he would back away, growling and barking at me. I continued with giving Memphis treats through the fence, and progressed until he would allow me to stroke his side and pat his head.

Then, I plucked up my courage and entered Memphis’ enclosure, from the inside. It was a big step for me, as there was a chance he would become aggressive towards me. To prepare for this, I had treats and a squeaky toy ready, as I’d been told he loved squeaky toys and playing fetch. I also had a tug toy ready, in case he liked to play tug too. Memphis greeted me in a friendly manner, took a treat from my hand, and got really excited at the sight of the squeaky toy. I sat down on his bed, and he willingly came up to me for a cuddle and pats. I threw the squeaky toy for him to fetch. He flew down the run after it, shook it in his mouth like a rat, brought it back to me and dropped it at my feet. Then he looked at me with anticipation, eyes bright and tongue lolling. I’d found his weakness.

I tried the tug toy as well, but Memphis clearly was a squeaky toy fiend. He could play fetch for hours if I had the time. His main objective, in all our sessions, was to “kill” the squeak out of the squeaky toy. His record was 30 seconds. I found myself digging through the donated toys buckets at the Refuge, trying to find a squeaky toy that would last more than one session with Memphis. Sadly, many perished along the way, until I discovered a Kong squeaky ball, where the squeak mechanism was buried in a less accessible place than the other cheaper toys. This red see-through ball lasted for many sessions, before it finally got “killed” by Memphis. He was such a fiend with the squeaks that sometimes he went through 2 or even 3 toys in a session. He seemed not to care that his enclosure run was relatively short, and he often had me cracking up with laughter when he ran into the end of his run, couldn’t stop in time, and ended up with his face squashed against the fence.

I tested Memphis out on squeaky plush toys too, to see if it was a combination of squeak and fetch that motivated him. Or whether it was just the squeak that stimulated him so much. One such toy, a large plush bunny with a squeak in its tummy and head, met its untimely demise within 1 minute of meeting Memphis. He disemboweled the poor thing and dug out its squeaks, scattering polyester filling all over his run. Once he’d bitten through the squeak mechanisms and silenced them forever, he declared himself sated, and came over for a cuddle and a scratch.

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Dog Observations: Memphis (Part 1)

(The following is a 3-parter, about my observations of a Refuge dog. This is part of my current coursework for the ISCP Diploma in Canine Psychology. I have taken out any information of a sensitive nature, for confidential reasons).

For this assignment, I’m using the example of Memphis, a dog from the Refuge where I volunteer. Memphis was adopted in November 2015, so this account is retrospective. At the Refuge, I’m a Dog Walker as well as a Canine Carer, however, at the time I got to know and work with Memphis, I had not been inducted as a Dog Walker yet, so my experience with him is based solely on what I observed as a Canine Carer.

I’ve taken and modified the ISCP’s Case History template, to better answer this question:

Date of sessions : September – November 2015

Number of sessions in total : 10

Name of the dog : Memphis

Breed : Rhodesian Ridgeback Cross

Age : 2

Gender : Male
Is the dog neutered/spayed? : Desexed

Length of time owned, or in rescue kennels : 3 months at the Refuge

Who is the main carer for the dog? : Kennel hands are the main carers. Volunteer Canine Carers are allowed to enter the kennel and and interact with the dog.

Are there any other animals living in the environment, or visiting regularly? If so, how does the dog respond/react to them? : Memphis’ kennel run is part of a larger building, consisting of 20 runs, 10 on each side connected by an inside corridor. Access by Staff and Volunteers is via the inside corridor. Visitors are able to view the dogs from the outside of the runs, on both sides of the building. At the time of these sessions with Memphis, the only dog in close proximity to him was Otto, a young mixed breed dog. Memphis and Otto could see and touch each other’s noses, if they stood on their hind legs and reached through the chain-link wire fence between their runs. In all my sessions with both Memphis and Otto, neither ever showed any aggression towards the other. Although, I did observe that when I was with Memphis, Otto would often jump up and down clamouring for my attention, sometimes vocalising; and when I was with Otto, Memphis would do likewise.

Amount of daily exercise, and where this occurs : All dogs at the Refuge get taken out for a walk and/or yard time every day. Depending on the number of volunteer Dog Walkers, sometimes the dogs could go out up to 3 times a day. Each walking session or yard time is between 30-45 minutes duration. If the weather is too warm, and temperatures reach 35 degrees or more, dogs are not to be walked, but can have extra time playing in the yard. The Refuge has a dozen yards, of varying sizes – some are modified for fence jumpers, some are smaller for small dogs, there’s also one large yard with agility obstacles such as ramps, weaving poles and hurdles.

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A New Perth

This week, in a flurry of publicity and media advertising, Perth officially opened its newest tourist destination, Betty’s Jetty. I mean Elizabeth Quay. 😄

The powers that be apparently felt it justifiable to spend AU$700,000 on changing the name of the Esplanade Rail and Bus terminals to Elizabeth Quay. This meant that, as the Esplanade was the main terminus for all Transperth bus and train services, every bus and train timetable was affected and had to be reprinted to reflect the change of name. Every train line that passed through the Esplanade also had to have new destination posters printed and the old ones removed from their walls, ditto every train station affected (what’s wrong with simply sticking the new name over the old one? It would have cost the taxpayer less money).

And so, Perth, Western Australia, has had a facelift. Tourists used to bemoan the fact that Perth, unlike her iconic sister Sydney, lacked a focal point for tourists.

Until now, that is. I don’t rightly know if a little pedestrian and cyclist bridge counts as a major landmark, compared to the size and majestic setting of the Sydney Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or if a smattering of eateries and a new venue for the annual Perth Fringe Festival count either.

I took my trusty mobile phone for a photowalk around Elizabeth Quay last week, after another hot and sweaty day at the Dogs’ Refuge. There was one part of Elizabeth Quay that did remind me of the walk around Sydney Opera House. Perhaps it was the series of stepped seating areas, the boardwalk, or the wavy curves of the new Ferry Terminal’s roof. It was lovely to see a ferry coming in to dock. It did remind me of my jaunt to the Sydney Opera House many, many years ago (25 years, to be exact – OMG, when did I get so OLD?!!), albeit on a much smaller scale.

Anyhow, here are some of the photos I took, so you can see what all the fuss is about. Sightseers are able to walk clockwise or counter-clockwise, it’s a more or less a circular walk. You could start from the Perth Bell Tower and walk clockwise, to end back at the Bell. Or, if you’re starting from the Esplanade sorry Elizabeth Quay train station, you could walk counter-clockwise, to the bridge and over to the Bell and back round to Elizabeth Quay. Below is a map I saw on a wall at the entrance gates.

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And here are the rest of my photos. Sadly, just as I was taking photos from the bridge, my mobile phone battery went dead 😕. So, apologies for the lack of photos after the bridge. I will have to make another trip there, I guess…

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My Lenormand Dogs

Last year, I created 17 decks of Lenormand divination cards, using only my trusty old workhorse, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and photo editing Apps. I had great fun creating these decks, which are available for sale through my eBay and Etsy stores. Just search for my username “AlyZen Moonshadow” and you’ll find me.

These decks are still selling quite well, not enough to sustain me or pay the bills, but enough so that I get pin money to buy things like books. Anyway, I never got into this Art thing to make money, but rather to challenge myself.

For those of you wondering what “Lenormand” divination cards are, (and yes, I’m VERY eclectic in my interests 😄), here are some links:

http://learnlenormand.com/lenormand-card-combinations-2/

http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.com.au/p/helens-lenormand-dictionary.html?m=1

http://www.divinewhispers.net/apps/blog/show/14716898-so-you-want-to-learn-to-read-the-lenormand-resources-

And some good books on the subject, if this has piqued your interest:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-Lenormand-Practical-Fortunetelling/dp/B00JN8D6RE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401965558&sr=8-2&keywords=lenormand+rana+george

http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Lenormand-Oracle-Handbook/dp/1620553252

Today I thought, seeing as I love dogs so much, I would share with you some of my Lenormand dogs.(I’ve put down the names of the deck the card belongs to, below each image, in the event you may wish to purchase a Lenormand deck for yourself).

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(The Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The model is my own dog, Shelagh)

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(The Modern Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(AlyZen’s Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Diana+ Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Geometrical Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Olde Worlde Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Eclectic Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Mongrel Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. Shelagh, my own dog features again)

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(The Pictorial Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. This deck simply has images, not the numbers or words associated with the cards)

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(Lenormand Plain And Simple by AlyZen Moonshadow)

Not For Sale

Maybe back in the old days, say 20 years ago, I might have let myself be impressed by rich guys flaunting their wealth. I might have allowed myself the dubious pleasure of being a wannabe WAG of some hotshot businessman/celebrity/sportsman.

Fast forward 20 years and what seems like several lifetimes later, and faced with a similar situation very recently, I found myself laughing instead. One particular phrase of a famous Shania Twain song kept repeating itself in my head – 🎶🎶🎶”That don’t impress me much” 🎶🎶🎶

I’ll call him “Mr Bling” for the sake of anonymity, and to spare him embarrassment. I assure you however, that no matter how bombastic or larger than life some of my experiences may seem, they are, unless I have specifically stated otherwise, based on real experiences.

Mr Bling’s favourite word is “Loaded”, as in “Having plenty of money”. He drives a flash sportscar with individualised numberplates. I’ve given him the nickname “Mr Bling” because he loves wearing chunky gold jewellery around his neck and on his fingers, much like Mr T’s character B.A Baracus from “The A Team”.

I must be the most frustrating, infuriating and annoying potential amorous conquest Mr Bling has ever encountered. Not that I’m in any way interested in a booty call. But Mr Bling seems to think I’m “up for it”, and his lewd suggestions and hints back up his convictions.

The truth of the matter is, when Mr Bling brings out his huge … wad of cash, and slams it down on the table in front of me, and proclaims that he’s “loaded” and has “never wanted for cash”, “always carries around $10000”, and sleeps in his house with “around $38k in cash”, instead of impressing me, it just makes me think of all the homeless people and dogs he could have helped, if he donated that money instead of flaunting it in front of people.

He also believes that because other women swoon and fall at his feet when he throws his cash about, I’d be the same. But I just so happen to be that rare bird that can’t be bought.

Sorry, mate, you can wave your pieces of green, yellow, blue and pink coloured plastic paper all over the place and posture all you like, but🎶🎶🎶 that don’t impress me much 🎶🎶🎶.

Mr Bling thinks he can buy my love. Well, my love isn’t for sale at any price. I give it freely, but only to the few who deserve it. And certainly not to someone who thinks I should be at his beck and call, that I’ll drop everything for him just because he says so. Nope. There are things I have to do and I will do them first, I’m not compromising on my own life because you say so. You have no right to feel so entitled.

Okay, so you finally bought me that cup of coffee…after months of saying you would (what a tightwad! But then again, millionnaires don’t get rich by being generous with their money, right). But that doesn’t mean you’ve bought me. Not at all, matey!

You can’t impress me by showing off your material wealth, and if you even try doing that it just goes to prove that you know nothing about me. And if you, knowing nothing about me, don’t bother to try finding out what makes me tick, then you don’t deserve me.

I found these quotes on Google Images, that echo the sentiment that Money cannot buy Love. Enjoy!

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Underground Graffiti

I don’t usually park in the underground carpark of my local shopping centre, but I’m glad I did the other day. Otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered this beautiful concrete forest of graffitied pillars, see below.

Now, isn’t that a brilliant idea? Not only did the commissioned graffiti artists get to indulge in their passion, legally, the mall got itself some pretty cool artwork, and drivers found themselves a new and unique way of remembering where they’d parked their car.

Now I don’t need to take a photo of where I parked my car, in case I forget. All I need to do is remember that I’m parked between the Jellyfish and the Banana. 😄

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Pink Bunnies in Perth

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!

Hare, hare, hare!

It’s the 1st of the month, so there! 😄

If you’re up or down in Perth CBD these days, you may have seen 2 rather strange-looking giant pink bunnies standing tall amongst the skyscrapers.

They are the work of artist Stormie Mills. For more information on the Welsh-born, Perth-based artist, click here.

For further information about the ideas behind the Pink Bunnies, this article is a good source.

The Pink Bunny first made its appearance at Cottesloe’s Sculpture By The Sea in 2015, and it was one of my favourite sculptures there. Since then, these “hop art” (a term coined by Mills himself) Pink Bunnies have been popping up here and there, during various festivals around Perth City.

I took some photos of the Pink Bunnies a couple of weeks ago, when they first cropped up in Perth CBD. I won’t tell you exactly where they are, but you can easily figure that out for yourselves, by looking at the surrounding landmarks. I get to say “Hello!” to them on my commute to and from the Dogs’ Refuge Home.

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The Primary Emotional Needs of Dogs (ISCP Diploma in Canine Psychology)

Describe the dog’s primary emotional needs.

Why do dogs need mental stimulation?

(These were two separate questions in the same Unit. I have combined my answers, because I believe they are linked and relevant to each other – A.L)

Dogs have relatively simple emotional needs. If his physical needs are met – food, shelter, exercise/play and human/animal company – he’s happy. If he’s made to feel wanted, loved, included in his human family’s daily life, a useful member of his family – he’s happy. If someone praises him, talks to him affectionately, gives him pats and cuddles and treats – he’s happy. If he has a place to call his own, be it a blanket in a corner, a crate, a dog bed, a cardboard box, as long as he feels safe and secure and not threatened – he’s happy. Take a dog out for a walk in the park, take him to the beach, let him play off the lead with other dogs at a dog beach, take him to the yard and throw a few balls for him to fetch, give him the opportunity to sniff and sample the heady scents of a hedgerow or shrub, tree or lamp-post – he’s beyond happy. Dogs thrive on routine, encouragement and reward. Teach him a trick and when he’s learnt it, reward him with a treat – he’s happy.

Some dog breeds such as working dog breeds, need mental stimulation to avoid negative behaviours born of boredom. Breeds such as border collies, Australian shepherds and kelpies need to be given a task or mission, to keep them occupied. This is why they don’t do as well living in a city apartment, as when they have a 100 acre farmstead to run around in, and sheep or cows to herd. Dogs faced with hours of loneliness and boredom can express their discomfort by excessive vocalization, howling, chewing the furniture, digging holes, or the opposite extreme by becoming depressed and uninterested in anything.

Mental stimulation toys, or enrichment toys, for dogs abound in this day and age. The ubiquitous Kong, with its robust rubber chewiness, is a great favourite. Many Kong models can be stuffed with all sorts of treats, even frozen to provide respite from hot days. More and more companies are coming out with better and better enrichment toys, such as puzzles that make the dog use their brains to figure out how to get to the treat within. There are even dog mazes and slow feeders where the dog has to move the object with his tongue or nose, to release it so he can then eat it. There’s even a toy shaped like a flying saucer, that works using centrifugal force – the dog has to spin or shake the toy to make the treats inside fly out the sides.

I read of a Kickstarter project called the Foobler that claims to work on a timer that releases food periodically, up to 9 hours, or the average time a working person is away from home. And here too: http://foobler.com.au. While this looks like a great idea – a self-feeder that also acts as an enrichment toy, that keeps a dog occupied for hours – I can’t help but think that it’s more of a lazy dog owner’s substitute childminder, an excuse for the owner to justify leaving their dog alone at home for longer and longer hours. There simply is no substitute for human companionship and contact, in a dog’s mind.

All these toys are well and good for dogs whose owners are out at work for much of the day, but nothing compares to the joy a dog feels when his owner returns home and spends time playing, training, walking and rewarding him.

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