Belief and Bugs

With finger on the trigger and murder in my heart another home-invader was in my sights; and with a small finger movement, was dispatched in a cloud of pongy mist. I would never make a good Buddhist as my attitude to Bugs would always get in the way; especially the Spiders, how could I possibly see one as someone’s ex Aunt Ethel reincarnated and let it cohabit?

The good…

Yes, as the menagerie would attest, I am an animal lover however the sight of the very wee sentient beings that are of the bug family leave me not just cold but intent on annihilation. With the possible exception of Ladybugs and Grasshoppers who both do a great carnivorous job of keeping the smaller aphid critters out of the garden, so they are positively helpful. Actually it is easier to be tolerant of general creepy crawlies when they are outdoors and seem to be doing something vaguely useful; but out of their natural habitat i.e in my house  it brings out the hunter in me, and I am off looking for weapons of mass destruction, which can’t be at all good for my Karma!

I give thanks to the inventor of the Aerosol spray (and the nasty chemicals within) , for without them I may have to actually get close to the bugs to hasten their demise; and I probably couldn’t do that. You see I am a sprayer, not a squisher…..a total wimp in the face of six or eight legged blobs, so if there is no hero to hand to do the dirty work for me I am forced to spray from arms length and run away until the coast (and air) is clear. Of course it’s not good for the environment (the chemicals) but I salve my conscience and balance environmental credits by being super good at recycling and water conservation (promise).

The bad…

Spiders are (of course) the scourge of the earth and the best thing I can find to say of them is that they make pretty webs, which can look spectacular when decked in dew drops in a morning mist; but NOT when you walk into one, as happened to me at the weekend when going under a tree, and the sticky threads stuck to my face and hair…EEEECK!!….. Much swatting and ruffling of hair later I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I had somehow missed the body of the beastie and that it was waiting till I wasn’t looking and would drop down from my fringe in front of my eyes.

…and The Hugli

The puppy  (Aggi the farter) was my saviour after the web in hair incident, as she is rather fond of bugs, and frankly will eat anything. All I had to do was retreat from the web to the indoors and roll-around on the carpet with the wee one for 5 minutes; a good licking and hair grooming ensued and I felt not only bug free but well loved…..if there had been any bug in my general vicinity, believe me it would have been eaten. Must say that the first time I saw Aggi eat a bug I felt ill, but now view it as a great help around the house.

Aggi is (of course) cute as a button’, unfortunately , her penchant’ for eating anything from Chook poop  and bugs to socks doesn’t leave her smelling so sweet (hence her nickname). Am going to experiment with adding handfuls of mint to her food to see if it improves the air quality, will let you know how it goes. *Mindful that tolerance levels could do with some work, but thankful that fur baby hero’s give good hug. 

 

 

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Uncommon Ailments of Menageriness

Irritable Owl Syndrome is  the ailment  our semi-resident frog-mouth owl must be having now that we have interrupted his food supply. In addition to the ever prowling cats, we have added some mouse traps in the garage as the wee rodents are attracted to the chook feed store. Poor frog-mouth doesn’t look happy of late and now has to go further than our back garden for his tea; not that he ever does look happy, but who would with a name like that!

Even the puppy isn’t immune to the odd illness and, (as a result of my experiments with Paleo inspired bread making) now seems to have developed Flaxtoast Intolerance’; defined as an intense dislike of my flax seed and coconut flour bread, the symptoms of which result in her giving the best sad-eye pathetic looks to ‘himself” until he caves in and makes her some vegemite toast from his own wheat flour laden loaf to make her feel better.

Influhenza only seems to be fowl based (Not THE bird flu) and manifests in intense flapping of wings and squawking when the pigeons get into the coop and try to pinch their seed; the noise certainly gives me a headache so I can only imagine how they feel.

The cats main complaint seems to be Hypurrtension, the stress  trigger point of which is the critical moment when you have to tip a contented moggy from your lap in order to get anything done. Strangely contagious, at its most active phase it can spread scratch marks to the human thigh.

However, uncommon ailments are not confined to the animals of the menagerie and I have succumbed (on occasion) to Osteopertoesis, which is the intense throbbing of toes following an accidental barefoot encounter with a discarded dog bone. I must take preventative measures by inoculating myself by  wearing shoes.

One of the saddest looking malady’s is currently endured by “himself” who appears to have Sighnisitis ,exhibited by repetitive tutting and shaking of the head closely followed by long exhalations of breath and a sort of hunching of the shoulders……..poor thing, he always seems just fine until he sits down to read my blog; must be a positional thing.

*Mindful of the importance of good health and laughter is not only the best medicine, but also the best prevention

 

 

 

 

 

Obedience Olympics

It’s all in the quality of the  bones, not the ones that frame our bodies but the flavoured canine variety used as inducements; or as Ms Hi Vis likes to call it ‘positive reinforcement’.

Saturday saw the culmination of the fist phase of puppy training with a Gala event, organised by Commandant Hi Vis (the instructor, and wearer of luminous clothing); which, she assured us would be great fun…..or more accurately ‘You WILL enjoy it’………she is a master of the emphasised word is Ms Hi Vis, certainly gets your attention and you have to overcome the urge to SIT each time she barks in your general direction.

So with trepidation in my heart and a glint in Aggi’s eye we joined the other twenty or so ‘contestants’ from the puppy and advanced pup group in a fenced small paddock, which was festooned with colourful strange obstacles. I should say at this point that the little dogs seemed to all have entered into the spirit of the occasion and were literally straining at respective leashes to get going. It was just the humans in the field, who were showing signs of uncertainty as we climbed over each others frantic  fur balls and dodged tangles of excited affection.

LET THE GAMES COMMENCE..

I was just admiring the outlandish  ribbon and glitter handiwork on a nearby hoola hoop when I heard… “and Aggi will go first and show you how its done”…….how what’s done?….I wasn’t listening, what? what? But no time to consult with the tittering humans as to the Puppy Olympic rules, Ms Hi Vis had said COME, and off we trotted like a pre programmed Borg.

Faced with coloured poles, spaced in rows with hoola hoops  in between, intermittent small jumps and a large blue poly tunnel at the far end, Ms Hi Vis gave me an encouraging wink and told me just to go fast and ‘use the obedience signals’. Well I must have been off puppy school the day those formal signals were taught.  Aggi and I have morphed into our own version, that passes for “this is what I want you to do…pretty please with bells on top”. Not so much obedience as encouraging pleading; and if she is bored or in mischievous mood? I say black and she does white,I make the signal for DROP DOWN and she does a wee leap in the air; go left means shoot off to the right at speed, SHAKE  paw means lay on back and get belly scratched; you get the gist.

THE TUNNEL

The workout commenced at a slow trot, weaving through the poles by signalling Left so she would go right, dodging and jumping over Aggi as she attempted to jump through the hoola hoops (something she was quite good at, after I told her to lay down before the ring!), abandoning all hope of a ‘sit & stay’ on appointed plinth we reached the last part which was the tunnel. Ms Hi Vis came to help, as Aggi had never seen a blue corrugated plastic tube of this size before, let alone ran through one. Hi Vis held her as I went to the other end and encouraged with treats and praise.

Three times she ran around the outside and nabbed the treat from my hand (as if to say ‘don’t be daft, I can just come THIS way)…so on the final try I chucked some dry liver treats into the middle of tunnel and crawled part way in  from other side and she understood what was required………diving at me with such force I had to do a hasty reverse crawl, with a back-tuck roll. now you don’t see many of them at the Olympics!

Sadly, the dignity defying moment, when three-quarters of me was in the tunnel and the least flattering bit sticking out, was when Himself’ decided to appear on the sidelines with Henry as a spectator. I am sure Aggi found the laughter as distracting as I did, and no doubt this is why I slipped on a small poop on the home straight slid past final jump.

Following us was another  4 month old Lab called Bobby, who frankly was no competition as he has a ball fixation; his own, not the tennis variety and so stopped at every obstacle to have a good lick at himself. He was followed by a German Shepherd pup that missed every pole and did a clean jump on top of poly tunnel in spectacular fashion, shame that wasn’t one of the events really as he would have romped home. And so the afternoon progressed, with every pup excelling at its own (unspoken or scripted) event……from ‘lick to glitter off the hoola hoops’ through ‘chew the top off the jumps’ to make it easier for the next pup to ‘chase your tail in a circle till you through-up all the treats’.

FINALE

Just when we thought it was all over, Ms Hi Vis revealed the “hide & Seek” challenge. A tarpaulin had been strung from trees in the far corner of the field to make a ‘Hide”, behind which was an infants plastic chair for us to sit on. Object of the exercise was to hide from pup and for them to find you by sound and smell. Commandant Hi Vis took this very seriously, held the pup for us and even covered their eyes as we jogged off to hide behind tarp in our lowly position. Did she come find me?, did she heck-as-like! Was left hanging’ again…….only after she had mine swept the back half of the field for treats others may have dropped did she give my incessant yelling’s any attention. In the end, it took a slight bending of the rules by me jumping up and down behind the tarp to see over and the chucking of  treats to get me found.

Note to self: if you are lost in the woods and want a Labrador to find you, make sure you have pockets brimming with dried liver.

WINNERS ARE CHOMPERS

Aggi’s grand prize (for entertainment and enticing her owner into the tunnel) was a red biscuit bone , which she enjoyed for the three seconds it took to inhale, but we had a fun day and the memories will last a lot longer. Slightly mollified by the fact I was not the only owner that would have been left in the woods to find my own way home, the humans celebrated together with tepid tea and  stale buns ,  which had been  artfully arranged on the wobbly trellis table by our own Olympic volunteers [ the cheerful partners of the participants] . Cheerful because they had somehow avoided taking part. *Was mindful in each ridiculous moment and was reminded of the importance of taking part in new things. Also remembered that there are reasons I don’t do sport. (or tunnel crawling) Went home to a soak in the bath and a good lay down {both of us, although separately!}.

 

 

Pup school, the sequel

Teachers pet typing here, yes, dear Aggi decided to spare me permanent puppy school outcast status and made me look like a dog training savant! , at least initially. She performed every instruction with accuracy, all be it with the bored expression of a Pro that’s done the task a million times.

Ms High Vis *(see puppy school paranoia post) unfortunately took this as a signal to use us as an example of what to do…….oww the pressure of the public performance. Just when I was finding Ms High Vis’s attention slightly creepy, I ‘blew it’ by inadvertently praising my little one by saying “well done darling”; Darling!, Darling? exclaimed Ms High Vis……”there is no darling here, only dogs with names!”….seemingly using terms of endearment is verboten!…., ah well, back to ‘must try harder’, and was that a  smirk from Aggi at me being told off?, surely not.

Joining me on the dunce’s stool was *Pearl (*name changed to protect the fact that I don’t know her name. I know the names of all the puppies in the group but somehow the people’s names are irrelevant) and her miniature poodle pup Fluffy. During the session, where we had to stand immediately in front of the puppy and “keep eye contact while looming over them, so they know who is boss” boomed Ms Vis, was the point that Pearl committed a sin larger than my “Darling” debacle.

You see, God or a surgeon had endowed Pearl with a huge bosom ; the type of impressive shelf  that you could rest a cup of tea on without fear of spilling a drop. The combination of Pearl with Fluffy at her feet clearly put them at a disadvantage as they had  line-of-sight issues; so Pearl took a step back, presumably so she could check the pup was still there……….well, from the way Ms Vis reacted you would have thought poor Pearl had kicked her pup or performed some other heinous crime. “You moved!!, how are you going to teach Fluffy by moving?” bellowed Ms Vis. Pearl and I swapped knowing, commiserating glances that cemented us as pals; even if Aggi treats Fluffy as a chew toy.

We were treated to a ‘meet and greet’ with the Advanced puppy class at the end of the session, (designed, I guess to encourage us to improve and move up a level) and I got goosed by a gusset nuzzling German Shepherd; more forward than advanced if you ask me.            * that day I was mindful and aware that friendships can blossom anywhere.