Alice's Page

Thursday 7 September

Yuck! The new hypo-allergenic diet arrived yesterday and Dave went down to the vets to pick it up. It consisted of a 7 kg bag and cost $134. The label said it was made in France. Now I'd like to say something right away. If you're thinking that at that price and from that country I am getting canine haut cuisine, you'll need to think again. The stuff is REVOLTING.

Look. I'm not a fussy eater. You'll find me dining quite happily off jellimeat and dried Pal or Pedigree dog granules. Toast and marmalade or toast and cottage cheese at breakfast time. Mjeddrah from Charlie's dinner. Whiskas cat tucker goes down a treat, if there's any spilt on the floor. Fish, too, and roadkill if it's smelly enough. And I'll quite happily sample possum poo, duck poo, deer poo, sheep poo, horse poo, and even cat poo if I come across some along the way. But this stuff is FOUL. I'll even eat broccoli for preference, and for a dog that's saying something. Dave reckons broccoli was the one food that Babe wouldn't touch.

(He still talks about Babe quite a lot. It's sort of nice to know he cares that much, so I don't get jealous or change the subject or anything. I could do without him getting us mixed up sometimes and calling me Babe, but that's a matter of time I suppose.)

Anyway, I'm getting 170g per day and nothing else except water. Dave's weighing it out. At that price I don't blame him. No liver treats either until Dave gets some deer liver from Shani and Paul. Honestly, the first time Dave gave me some of these little pellets I spat them right back out on the floor. Dave was fascinated. He hadn't seen a dog spit before.

Soy protein. Dog tofu. Yuck! yuck! yuck! and yuck!

13 September 2006

Well, I don't know. I've tried everything I can think of to get that diet upgraded, but it's no go. No titbits at breakfast or lunch or tea either. No treats for doing what I'm told - and I've got too much simple pride to be good for nothing.

I did, however, locate a bucket of fish scraps which Dave obviously intended to put in the compost bin and got distracted before he actually emptied the bucket. Some weeks later, the bucket ful of scraps , now filled with water from the rain, was simply divine, the fragrance wafting like velvet past my nostrils in the recent light southerly wind. As you now know, my climbing skills are dramatically improved and I was able to get onto the compost bin and investigate. Most of the fish had more or less dissolved, but I don't mind a cold consomme, not at lunchtime anyhow. I'll just never understand Dave, feeding me that soy muck when he's got treats like this tucked away. It's not as though I'm likely to be allergic to fish, is it, really.

I think Miranda might be, though. All I did was hop on her lap and give her a hello kiss.

13 October 2006

Well, it's been a month since I last put paw to keyboard. Not a simple task for a dog, blogging, and I'm eagerly awaiting the software that will allow me to bark direct.

Allergies. Dave persisted for three weks with the soy diet. It may not have helped my allergies but it brought out in me a hitherto unsuspected aptitude for scavenging, and roadkill retrieval. As well, Dave has been down to Lisa's twice with her blue plastic cat dish. When it gets a day or two's catfood scraps dried out on it I like to spend some time quietly licking it all off. It's like a meditation. I got through about 200g of tasty cheese that I managed to snaffle off the bench as well.

But probably the biggest treat of all was when the neighbours netted a haul of mullet and buried a bunch of fish frames in the garden. Dave was quite embarrassed at first as the fish smell was quite fresh and he wondered whether I'd sneaked in and grabbed someone's dinner off the bench. However, he relaxed - well, he did and he didn't - when I wandered in a bit later with a fish head and part of a filleted backbone.

I think he probably doesn't like fish a lot. I've had three showers in the last couple of days, just my head and face, and he's using the lavender soft soap. I can stand it, I mean I quite like rubbing up against the lavender bush myself, but I think he's really missing something. It's mainly been when I've jumped on his bed when he's napping and lick his face.

Anyhow, what this is all leading up to is I had a word with Freya, my malemute mate, and she swears by a guy called "Vet Brett" who is a homeopathic vet in Henderson, in Lincoln Rd, and does not charge the earth. Leigh also swears by Vet Brett and in due course, Dave made an appointment for us. My ears seemed no different after three weeks on the soy stuff, so we figured it was time for some more input. Dave said it would be close to impossible to keep me on a strict diet without a huge effort and it seemed a good idea to see if that effort was likely to be worth it.

Well, Brett had a look at my ears and sniffed them. (I like the idea of a vet who uses his nose to get useful information. I can identify with that.) He said there was no sign of any infection, bacterial or fungal, for a start, and he personally would not consider allergy just yet. I was a bit young. He reckoned that like kids, most dogs did not start off early being allergic to stuff. It took a while for sensitivity to build up to the point it became a problem.

Also, he said, and he showed Dave, my ear flaps were not red and inflamed, and he reckoned that was nearly always the case with an allergic response. Were they inflamed and red earlier? Dave couldn't see any difference in my ears from what had been there earlier, so Brett decided to put "allergy" at least temporarily on the back burner. (He has a lovely way of touching my ears. I wish Dave would pay attention.)

He said what I'd got was essentially a low grade ear irritation, and he asked a few more questions about me and water and me and sunlight. I love water, and being at the beach, but I'm only good for a short lay in the sun before I want to go in the shade again. He prescribed homeopathic Nat Mur and Tellurium, one of each twice a day, and call back in a week. And yes, normal diet again..

Well, my diet was always fairly varied, so it was mainly Dave who relaxed. But it has been a nice change to get back to liver treats again, and chicken necks.

Mean sod. Last lot of chicken necks he used for soup first, and gave me the cooked necks minus the flavour. And my ears do seem to be getting better.

Last week we all went off in the van up to Stillwater to complete the last leg of the Okura Walkway. Actually there are two last legs, one around the beach and the other across the cliffs, and we did both, one each way. I had to be on a leash, unfortunately. There were two signs with prohibitions all over them and one mentioned dogs and one didn't, but Miranda figured a leash was a safe compromise, anyway. There lots of dogs on the track and they were all on a leash so I din't feel too bad.

I'd have loved to let loose on the sand though. There was just so much of it. I tried looking wistful, but didn't get a lot of change. I think she was distracted, or something.

miranda took this photo

The best fun of all was when we got to Dacre Cottage and the caretaker was there mowing the lawn and he had his dog with him, a gorgeous hunk of a Great Dane. We hit it off straight away.

However, Dave put the brakes on when we went inside the cottage picket fence rather faster than he was OK with.

Saturday 21 October 2006

I went up to Omeru reserve with Dave today. He was after some shots of spring flowers, the kind that grow on some native trees up there, but if I can judge by his muttering, we might have been a bit early.

But waterfalls....Waterfalls! I've never seen one of these before and they're just great. Like the toilet when Dave flushes it but much, much bigger.

We started in down at the bottom of the falls where we went to check out some ferns, and then went right back around the other side of the creek and up to the top falls. These are still a bit slippery and steep to get down to and Dave didn't have his sticks with him, so we just looked from a distance. I had a ball running round and round, though the long lead slowed me down a bit. Dave was taking pictures so I left him to it and just came back every minute or two and shook myself over him to let him know I was OK.

On the way back, he stopped at the top of the lower falls, to photograph some orange flowers, and I set off to explore. This is what the falls look like from across the creek, so you'll have some idea.

As I said, I set off to explore and I heard Dave swear and then the leash came tight as he picked up the end. Spoilsport.

I headed out towards the middle. Dog, he gets nervous easily. This has got to be some of the best tasting water I've had for ages.

We made our way back to the van, where I had some difficulty with the turnstile through to the parking area, but that was soon sorted. If I hadn't had the lead on I could have just gone straight through the fence. There was a large reddy brown rooster in the parking area and he would have been great to chase, if I'd been free, but Dave was having none of this.

There was a great big rooster poo on the ground though. Sometimes a girl just needs that little bit extra to feel good about herself, and I have to admit I indulged.

Dave was not as happy as I'd have liked. He made me stay on the floor in the front of the van and put the ventilator fan on full until we got home and then he hosed me down with cold water. He said cold water was better for getting rid of smells but I think he was just being vindictive. The big difference between having a hosedown and having a shower is that there are no towels nearby when you get hosed down, and I took advantage of this to shake myself vigorously all over him. If there was any smell left in the water, he got the lot.






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