Monthly Archives: April 2016

My favourite Art Journals

I’ve always been fascinated by Art Journals. My artistic abilities lie more in the digital realm, I can’t draw to save my life, so I’m in awe of artists who produce such gorgeous Art Journals.

Here are some of my favourite Artist Art Journals, curated from Pinterest. I have a Pinterest board on the subject itself, containing hundreds of examples, feel free to follow me!

Enjoy!

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Beautiful Flowers

Back in the days of yore, I used to be an avid photographer of flowers. My favourites were water lilies; I used to visit a Koi and Lily farm north of  Perth, and spend a happy hour snapping photos of water lilies, then buying a fish or two.

I also love peonies, roses, lilies, dahlias, zinnias. I’m not very good at identifying flowers though, 😄.

These days I haven’t much time to take photos of anything other than dogs, because of work. But I still enjoy curating photos of inspiring flower photography on Pinterest. If you’ve not discovered Pinterest yet, you’re missing out on eye candy galore. Go!

Here, for the fun of it, are some of my newest favourite flower photographs, from Pinterest. If you’re interested, you can follow me there, I keep about 70-75 Boards on my Pinterest profile.

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Beautiful Lilly

Lilly is a young dog at the Refuge, available for adoption. I took tons of photos of her, as she’s so photogenic. By the time you see this, she’s probably been adopted, and why not, she’s so pretty.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Cats and Dogs

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain. And it wasn’t your usual soft drizzle or smattering of rain from a passing cloud, either. This was quite a deluge. I had the curtains drawn, but I didn’t have to look out to know that the clothes on the washing line were sodden, and that there would be puddles on the ground.

It was, as the old saying goes, “Raining Cats And Dogs”.

Which is the inspiration for today’s post. Cats and dogs, which of old were believed to be mortal enemies, are actually quite capable of living together in harmony. Animals constantly amaze us humans with their capacity for inter-species friendships and love. Meanwhile, humans, who belong to the same species, can’t even get along and resort to killing each other…shame on us! There’s so much we could learn from animals, if we only allowed ourselves to.

At home, my 2 dogs, Scruffy and Shelagh, get on very well with the cat, Boo. Boo lets them groom him, and sometimes even gets up onto the chaise when one of the dogs is sleeping there. Both dogs have a healthy respect for Boo, and if he’s already claimed the chaise before they arrive, they will contend themselves by lying on the floor, instead of trying to oust Boo. They never rush for Boo’s food bowl when he’s having his breakfast or dinner, but will sit patiently watching him until he’s done and has moved away from the bowl. Such respect!

I found these sweet images on Pinterest. Thought you might enjoy them.

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The Secret to Finding Love

…continuing from where I left off yesterday…

While researching yesterday’s topic, on Loving Yourself, I found these on Pinterest, so I’m just sharing them here with you. I hope you find some measure of comfort in the words and perhaps for some of you, it inspires you to do some soul-searching.

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Secrets of Life

The No.27 Bus Ladies are 3 lovely women who have become my friends this year. It’s quite a story about how we met, but that’s for another time 😉. The ladies are Ida, Marie and Noeleen. We get on so well that we’ve had breakfast in the City before work. Marie, Ida and I catch the No.27 bus from St.Georges Terrace in the CBD, and lately Noeleen has decided to walk from her usual bus stop to ours, so she can join us for a chat while waiting for the bus.

Last week, Ida, who’s a very attractive, svelte 50-something, regaled us with stories of her boyfriend, her ex-boyfriend and another younger man who tried to pick her up on the bus ride home one evening. Boyfriend looks set to be exiting the scene, being so full of himself and having no time for her. Ex-Boyfriend looked to be coming back into her life, but Ida reckons he just wants to get in her pants, so let’s not even go there. Would-be Boyfriend is a mysterious question mark, but maybe he likes older women? Ida’s wondering who she should pick…

Well, I’m glad I don’t have men problems like Ida. I did say to Ida that maybe she didn’t need to choose between her 3 paramours. Maybe she simply needed to learn to love herself and enjoy her own company. She said she often felt lonely, and having a man in her life would make it more exciting. She didn’t want to be on her own.

I’ve been down that route before. I know the empty, aching feeling of not having a partner or boyfriend. I remember the pangs of loneliness stemming from the very idea of being all alone, on my own, unloved by a man, unwanted, left on the shelf, past my sell-by date. I remember asking myself what was wrong with me, that I couldn’t find myself a good, honest, hardworking man, who loved me.

But that was years ago. I’m wiser now, and I’ve learnt one very important Life Lesson that everyone should learn.

And that is: YOU DON’T NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO SAVE OR RESCUE YOU FROM A LIFE OF LONELINESS. YOU JUST NEED TO LOVE YOURSELF.

And it’s true. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last 6 years. I haven’t changed, but rather my perception of Life has. Stuff that used to bother me no longer does. I used to argue about things I felt passionate about, but these days I just shrug internally and think, “Whatever!” I used to try to convince people to see my side of the argument, but now I don’t even bother to engage.

Some of the best lessons/philosophical quotes I’ve learnt are these:

1. You can’t win an argument with an idiot, so don’t even try. It’ll only be a waste of your time and breath.

2. You can’t change anyone’s mind. They have to do it themselves. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, remember that.

3. Why worry? If you can do something about it, why worry? If you can’t do anything about it, what’s the point in worrying?

4. Some people are just impossible to please. It’s not a reflection on yourself, but on them, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so don’t waste your time.

5. Do what you love, and love what you do. It’s not work if you’re passionate about it. Do it for yourself, not for fame or fortune.

6. When someone tries to draw you into their argument or misery, just think “Not my circus, not my monkeys”, and don’t let yourself get emotionally involved.

7. Don’t take things personally. Don’t allow your Egoistic self to rise to the bait. Sometimes the best response is to not respond. Just because someone’s thrown all their toys out the cot, doesn’t mean you should pick the toys up and hand them back.

Anyway, I digress. The most important lesson is to LOVE YOURSELF. Everything else then simply falls into place from there. It’s true. Believe in it!

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Chelsea, a Malamute at the Refuge, is 9 years old and has arthritis. On her bad days, she’s grumpy and will growl or snap if anyone touches her legs. On her good days, she’s frisky and playful and will even indulge in a game of Fetch. Chelsea’s favourite thing to do is sleep all day, in a nice cool place on warm, sunny days, next to her favourite toys. She holds the record for having the most toys in her kennel.

Chelsea was adopted by an older lady about 6 months ago, then got returned just a couple of weeks afterwards. Apparently the lady had been watching Chelsea sleeping one day, and had gotten worried because Chelsea hadn’t moved in a while. So she had gone up to Chelsea and prodded her shoulder. Whereupon Chelsea had woken up from her deep sleep, feeling no doubt disoriented, and had snapped at the lady.

Whoosh! Back came poor Chelsea to the Refuge! Hadn’t her new owner ever heard of the phrase “Let sleeping dogs lie”?

Why DO dogs sleep so much? My own two, Shelagh and Scruffy, appear to sleep an inordinate amount of time each day. Shelagh loves to snooze on the bed while I read or work on my laptop. She can sleep there for hours, then her internal clock, which seems set for “Swim time!” Or “Walkies!” wakes her up. She’ll then jump off the bed, whining with anticipation, until one or the other activity happens. And then, after about an hour of exercise, she’ll flop down on the chaise (yup, it’s her claim to the sofa, and we let her, Scruffy and Boo the cat share it), and simply go back to sleep again. In fact, if not for toilet breaks, meals and playtime, both Scruffy and Shelagh would sleep for most of the day.

I found this interesting infographic about sleep and dogs, on Pinterest. Sharing it here, hoping you might find it useful for understanding your own dogs better.

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Before you buy that puppy…

I found this infographic on Pinterest. I love infographics, by the way, and when I find one about dogs, that’s even better. I’m starting to have quite a collection of dog-related infographics now, in my Pinterest board “Dogs 101”.

This particular infographic gives you a heads up on what to expect from a growing puppy. I would advise you to please look at it BEFORE you even contemplate getting a puppy, or even a grown up dog. The reason being that any dog is, depending on its breed, anything from 8 to 20 years’ worth of commitment. Are you sure you’re up to it? If not, get a soft toy instead.

A few things to consider when thinking of getting a puppy:

1. Adopt, don’t shop. When you buy from a backyard breeder or a puppy farm, you’re fueling the breeder’s motivation to produce even more puppies for profit. Puppies are hard work, and will try their owner’s patience – dog Shelters are already full of half-grown adolescent dogs that have ended up there not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because their owners gave up on them too early. Please don’t add your puppy to the list. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of raising a puppy to adulthood, then get an adult dog instead. Rescue is the best breed.

2. Get the type of dog that’s compatible with your lifestyle. Don’t get a breed just because you like the look of it, or, even worse, because it’s fashionable and all the celebrities have one. For example, don’t get a Border Collie if your lifestyle is sedentary and your idea of a holiday is to sit and watch TV all day. Because your border collie will drive you mad with its incessant demands to play or go for a walk or just Do Something, and you will BOTH end up going crazy. Similarly, don’t get a British Bulldog if you want a jogging companion or someone to go hill-climbing or hiking with. If you’re obsessed with keeping your house clean from top to bottom, don’t get an Old English Sheepdog…unless of course you’re into the furry look.

3. Find a dog whose temperament suits your own. If you’re an introvert, get an introvert dog. If you’re an extrovert, get an extrovert dog. Yes, these things really do exist…introverts are those shy, timid dogs who just want to be left in peace. Extroverts are the bouncy ones full of energy, who always initiate play and are the first to explore that bush. With puppies it can be harder to tell…but generally, the ones clambering over their littermates or roughhousing them will be the bossy, outgoing ones.

4. Keeping pets is expensive. Consider the cost of vaccinations, booster shots every 1-3 years, dog food, treats, toys, vet bills, the cost of desexing the dog (the wisest choice unless you’re a registered breeder), not to mention replacing your entire set of furniture when your puppy has chewed everything to pieces. When you go away on holiday, you’ll either bring your dog along, which means having to find pet-friendly accommodation (not always easy), or leaving them at boarding kennels (more expenses), or, hiring a pet-sitter to visit and walk and feed your dog while you’re away.

5. Puppies are cute when they’re very young and small. But soon they’ll grow and lose some of their cuteness. That puppy that you thought was going to be a medium-sized dog has turned into a monster the size of a pony. It’s outgrown its bed, crate, dog bowls, toys, your house even. What are you going to do?

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Dogs – Separation Anxiety and Obsessive Behaviour – Part 2

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s, regarding behaviour modification techniques to treat Rufus, a theoretical case, who suffers from Separation Anxiety. Yesterday I wrote about how Bach Rescue Remedy could help Rufus by making it possible for him to get into the right frame of mind for behaviour modification techniques to be implemented.

Treating Rufus’ Separation Anxiety will require several sessions, desensitising him to the trauma of being left, as well as counter-conditioning him to regard his carer leaving as a normal everyday event, and nothing to worry about.

Rufus may well have learnt the signals that his carer is about to leave the house – the jangling of keys, putting on of shoes and coats, carrying a handbag, putting on a hat or scarf, opening the door etc. He knows the exit door is where his carer is last seen and where she reappears, that is why he chooses to stay close to it, so he can be the first to greet her when she reappears. It’s all rather like a game to Rufus, not a good game, but one filled with dread and despair. For example, when his carer picks up the house keys or car keys, Rufus associates this with her leaving, so he will go to the exit and may even try to stop her from going out, by blocking the door with his body or attempting to rush out past her legs. Or, if he sees her dressed up and putting on her shoes, he knows she’s about to go out.

In order to desensitise Rufus to his habit of staying by the exit door and his ability ot anticipate his carer leaving, I would suggest to his carer to, over a period of time, try a combination of these methods:

. staggering the times she leaves the house
. changing at random the exits she leaves the house by
. leaving and coming back at random times, so as to be unpredictable
. getting dressed and pretending to leave the house, but only going out for a couple of minutes and then returning. Or, even not getting dressed up and just leaving the house.
. gradually lengthening the time she’s away from the house, interspersing short periods with longer periods, so that there’s no pattern that Rufus can learn
. not to make a big fuss of Rufus when she leaves and returns

. perhaps getting Rufus used to having other people in the house, coming and going at random, so he gets used to them as well and learns not to miss his primary carer so much when she’s away; this is particularly useful for when she has to go away for a few days and needs someone else to look after Rufus

. going out of the house by one exit, and returning by another, keeping it random so Rufus cannot discern a pattern
. playing hide-n-seek with Rufus, so he gets used to her leaving the room or the house

. leaving treats hidden around the house for Rufus to find when she goes out, making a game of this, perhaps integrating with hide-n-seek
. introducing Rufus to an enrichment toy first while remaining in the house; not using the same treat-filled toy (such as a Kong) all the time, but switching toys at random, so Rufus does not learn to associate one particular toy with the event of his carer leaving (the “Jackpot Effect”)

It would be best to have Rufus in the house with constant company for the first 2 weeks before beginning starting any desensitisation techniques. This time will give his cortisol and adrenaline levels a chance to dissipate, so he isn’t in a hyped up state.

I would also try using an Adaptil collar on Rufus. The Adaptil collar contains natural dog pheromones that work to provide the dog with a sense of well-being and security. The pheromones used are the same as the ones secreted by female dogs from the glands next to their teats, when they lactate and feed their puppies. The pheromones are undetectable to humans, but dogs can scent them and will feel secure and at ease. (​http://www.adaptil.com/au/Adaptil/Adaptil-Collar​) In Rufus’ case, the Adaptil collar may work to lessen his separation anxiety.

There is also another product on the market called Pet Remedy (http://www.petremedy.co.uk), which is available as a plug-in and as a spray. The company is UK-based, but delivers worldwide. Pet Remedy is Valerian-based.

Hopefully a combination of these complementary therapies and desensitisation/counter-conditioning methods will work on getting Rufus to become accustomed to being alone at home but no longer anxious to the point of being destructive.

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