urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
And on the lighter side...

Makes me smile

Hard to go too wrong with animal pics. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Mirrors has found a new perch on a (mostly unused) spot of kitchen counter:

A black-and-white fluffy tuxedo cat in a cardboard box barely big enough for the cat

And High-Vis Boy was very high-vis indeed, a little while ago:

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier in a hoodie with a reflective, high-vis vest, and a glowstick attached to his collar

I figured that one of the reasons Max has been so excitable lately, with the fireworks especially, is that he hasn't been getting nearly enough exercise; he's pretty high-strung at the best of times. (BTW, the half a Nytol--25 mg diphenhydramine--combined with a couple of Kalms Sleep is the best combo we've found. Thanks, [personal profile] angiereedgarner!) I just about felt up to taking him out today to run around off-leash and work off some nervous energy, but it had started getting dark by the time I got around to it. So, he got to be Super High-Vis Boy.

It was chilly enough for one of his hoodies anyway, so I safety-pinned his Reflectavest with the worn-out Velcro onto it. We had a spare glowstick from when [personal profile] vatine did him up as Low Rider Dog (photos didn't turn out so great), so I rubber-banded it to his collar. That worked well enough that I'm tempted to pick up another 3- or 4-pack at Poundland, for future use. :)

We went to the playing fields nearby, and it was kind of freaky, watching a glowstick bouncing around a little more than a foot off the ground. *g*

But, we already knew that visitors have landed in Romford, and tried to blend in with native dress:

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier in a hoodie, with the flash making eerie eyeshine
"Yawright? This is Essex, innit? Take me to yer lager...innit...mate...?"
Hoodie Boy in the playing fields after dark, last winter.

It turned out to be an even more excellent thing that Max was so conspicuous; when we got back close to the street, he decided to take himself home. *headdesk*

It just about scared the life out of me. I called for him on that street for several minutes, and one of the people living there told me he'd gone thataway, toward the one busy street between there and home. :( Max behaves like a total idiot near traffic; he gets very anxious indeed, and wants to dash straight in front of cars. Before we tried the front-clip harness on him, he almost pulled both of us humans into traffic more than once. (A low-slung 25 kg/55 lb. dog can pull, especially with those bully shoulders.) But, I was relieved to get to that street and not find him lying in the middle of it. :-|

I called for him repeatedly on the about six blocks home, and startled at least one fox crashing through the shrubbery. But, yeah, he was waiting outside the back gate, obviously wondering what had taken Mommy so long.

I was very, very glad to see him. And the next time I let him off lead there, after dark or no, he's getting captured again before we get anywhere near the street.

So much for taking it easy today. *shakes head* It's only 7 p.m., and after that, it feels like at least midnight.

BTW, in other dog-related news, we haven't seen nor heard the pup upstairs in better than a week. Neighbor Weasel took him somewhere in the middle of the night, and he hasn't come back. Wherever it was, it's probably better for him than living with Neighbor Weasel. :(
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Max is not enjoying the fireworks leading up to Diwali and presumably Bonfire Night. Not at all. He's been tolerating the small nightly volleys better than last year, but tonight there were a lot more.

Even after some Kalms Sleep* hidden in cubes of cheese, he found a new shelter earlier. In the shower.

Please ignore the stained grout. Max does. ;)

I guess it felt comfortably enclosed (by glass!), and it's probably the least disruptive place he's holed up so far. (The worst is probably a tie between repeatedly knocking the television over and bringing DVD players, etc. crashing to the floor, trying to hide in the back of the entertainment center; and ripping his way through the Masonite back of a bookshelf trying to get behind there.) I felt kind of cruel choking back laughter and grabbing the camera, but he was cute in a rather pitiful way.

Now that the fireworks are over for the night, he's back out and has even eaten some supper.

* Ye gods, the herbal manufacturer's site has a page on dream analysis. "If you do have a dream that’s concerning you to the extent that it causes you stress or anxiety, speak to your doctor who will be able to offer you the best advice for your circumstances." *snort* Bit of a shame this is the best stuff we've found for Max for thunderstorms and fireworks, annoying as the marketing is.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Some plant pics from when I was cleaning the tank and doing plant maintenance earlier.* Please excuse the bit of water cloudiness; I'd already added FeSO4 fertilizer before I spotted a flower and thought to get the camera.

Not surprisingly, there are fish too, whether I was trying to photograph them or not. :)

Read more... )

BTW, I'm really glad that we can just move the tanks we've got (empty!) to Ireland, without having to buy new electricals or even plug adaptors. Not a cheap prospect, not at all.

* Well past time, too! I hadn't managed to clean it in a couple of weeks, with the viral fatigue. Good thing the heavy planting slurps up a lot of waste products! :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Via the [livejournal.com profile] petbulls LJ community:
Jean Donaldson Interview | ThePitBullHoax | YouTube -- [Jean Donaldson has been at the forefront of the science-based, non-force movement in dog training and behavior modification for over 35 years. As the director of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the SFSPCA, she has trained some of the best and brightest people in dog training and behavior. There is perhaps no one better in the world of pet dog training at determining how best to deal with dogs in all situations as Jean Donaldson.] (via truthaboutpits)

I am not up to making a transcript right now, unfortunately.

Hmm, could it be easier to scapegoat whole breeds of dogs than to look at social inequality? Odd suggestion.


Max is saddened by the prospect of being considered a Devil Dog. Even though, here in the UK, he has a specific exemption from the "[w]hether your dog is a banned type depends on what your dog actually looks like, rather than the breed or name by which it is called" legal (and perceptual) approach. ("Some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be Pit Bull types.")

Once we're in the US, things may be very different indeed, even though CA does not allow breed-specific bans.

OK, I mostly saw an opportunity to post that particularly vicious-looking photo. ;)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I couldn't resist a few (rather bad) photos.

The goldies now have a serious all-day salad bar.
A 180L tank crammed full of potted plants

That's not even trying to be decent aquascaping, but they seem to like it. *g* The stuff at the top is sunset hygro; the color turned out looking weird, but it really is pinkish at the tops. :)

More photos, including of happy goldies )

The hassle wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Just because we couldn't resist taking advantage of some signage at a school up the street.

[personal profile] vatine holds the leashes of a sitting Max and Boomer, both Staffordshire Bull Terriers, in front of a gate with prominent "Staff Parking Only" signs.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Some not-so-great photos, but the dogs were looking cute enough that I couldn't resist anyway. :)

Max and the pup (now called Boomer), chilling this afternoon, on my laundry bag:

Now behind a cut )

Max wasn't sure he wanted Boomer to join him for a nap, but the pup wasn't taking no for an answer. At least he was chewing on a stuffed tiger instead of Uncle Maxie's ears, this time. And Max got some Kalms (valerian, etc.) earlier, before he got himself too worked up today.

My back is doing better today, and I woke up to not three or fifty-four, but no puppy puddles this morning. *g*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I've got a new, hopefully easy project: a cooling vest for Max.

Mr. Trot N. Grin, in the park.

Bully breeds tend to overheat easily anyway, and so do older dogs. Max is an 11-year-old Staffie. With what passes for a heat wave lately, he has been getting hot more easily than he did last summer, even. I'm sure the mostly-black fur doesn't help. We've been carrying along sports bottles of water for him to drink and to douse him with, but he's still been dancing on the verge of serious overheating when we've taken him out. So, [personal profile] vatine thought of making a cooling vest for him.

Come to find out, there are a number commercially available. If you want to pay £40 or so. He's certainly worth it, but something made from an old towel ought to work just about as well.

I was looking for sewn dog vest ideas, and ran across something easy and very suitable indeed: cool coats for greyhounds, which should be easy to resize.

I had been considering using the purple towel Max uncharacteristically grabbed up and ripped last month--seemed appropriate!--but the color's too dark, as I'd been suspecting. Looking at our stock of towels, I think I'll adapt the general design to use a couple of terrycloth tea towels instead. We have some just about the right size to go over his back--and if I roll one end down and stitch it to shorten the back, it should work somewhat like the cooling snood from that link around his neck. I may put a pocket for a sopping sponge at the neck. Add a chest panel and a wide belly strap from another tea towel, and we're set--without very much sewing required. (Especially good, since I haven't quite gotten comfortable with the "new" sewing machine, so will be doing it by hand!) I'll try large buttons, and go for the velcro or snaps if that doesn't do the trick.

Things have been quieter today, BTW. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The volunteer "Midewivan Sacred" tobacco plants (Nicotiana rustica) are doing very well indeed. They came up in a growbag, so I just left them there. There are seven plants at this point--a little crowded--but they seem happy enough.

The geranium in the background managed to survive the winter, which is the main reason I left the old growbag stack there. The green stuff on the wall is where some workmen upstairs dripped Cuprinol all over the place. And left it there. :-|

The biggest plant, about 2 ft. tall now, is getting tiny flower buds:

The flower clusters (photo) on those are gorgeous in a slightly understated way; you can see how closely related petunias are. I'm particularly pleased with all the volunteers this year. Not knowing how long we'd be here, I avoided planting more stuff this year, but we've got some annuals anyway. :) We did have one volunteer tomato plant, which was growing well until a slug cut it down.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I set up a Fotki account for hair photos, as much for my own reference as anything else. :) I also got [personal profile] vatine to take some yesterday evening, which I put into an album.

The hair seems to be responding well to a lot more conditioning. I'll be interested to see how the curl pattern develops as (a) it gets longer, and (b) I continue not abusing it! It was tighter as it got longer before. (Then I tried to comb it all out. :-| )

BTW, that Bozo orange effect from the evening sunlight hitting it does look like what happens when it gets sunbleached (or, gods forbid, I try 20-volume peroxide on it). I used to get exactly that color every summer, especially from spending a lot of time in a chlorinated outdoor pool. Urgh. I was briefly worried that I inexplicably had splotches like that in my hair again, until I figured out it was from the lighting.

Most of the ones from the front did, indeed, turn out not quite in focus. That was not the only reason I did not include the few that were, however. Even knowing where it's coming from, I recoiled in horror from all of them. It took some courage to ask Ingvar to drag the camera out at all!

At the same time, I got very frustrated at the huge ball of internalized racism and fat acceptance* fail. It still frustrates me today. I did a post on this kind of thing last year: I used to feel very ugly indeed. It's not like I wasn't aware of what was going on well before that. Actually, in this context, a pair of the badly-GIMPed up pics from that post illustrate the point pretty well:

More on this, with pics, behind the cut )

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