24 Jan 2017


I wanted to keep my blog content pretty, but let's face it, sometimes real life as a dog owner is not pretty!
In November we noticed a small growth on Violet's gum/mouth and after her breeder suggested it was best to get it checked out due to bully's and their sun worshipping, we took her along to the vet.  Well, Mr M took her along to the vet because I got stuck on a train and missed the appointment, which in my head lead to a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

The vet and Andy were unable to keep Violet still for a needle biopsy, so with "it's probably skin cancer" hanging over our heads, she was promptly booked in for surgery to have the growth removed. The day we picked her up from being under, the vet said that she'd probably just removed a wart and that she was sorry, but we were okay with that, because... skin cancer!  The growth was removed via a v-cut, which was sewn back together with dissolvable stitches, lasting all of a day, because... bull terrier!

A week later and to our relief the growth was confirmed as a wart (or a canine oral papilloma if you want to get technical) and we went on our merry/gap-faced way until another one sprung up before Christmas. Then another, and another until Little Miss had clusters in her mouth, one under her chin, one on her snout and one next to her eye!!  Not pretty.  We returned to the vet during the break for Violet's 1 year vaccination and to see if they had more information, or a cure.

Canine oral papillomas usually affect young dogs under the age of 2 because their immune system is not fully developed, dogs transmit the virus to other dogs through greeting each other, sharing toys or drinking out of the same water bowl, so Violet could have picked it up from day care, the dog park or the water bowl at the local park.  We basically have to wait it out, which in a way is a good thing because after some heavy googling I've discovered the drugs sometimes given in these cases are the human equivalent of chemo and there's no way we want to put our fur baby through that.  Patience is not my strongest quality though.

Enter the holistic route!  There is so much info on the internet that it is very easy to go wrong, especially with dosage, but I've done some mega research and even found a blog (here) about another dog that suffered from the same virus, albeit a much milder case.  Last Friday was the second time we've administered 2 crushed tablets of Thuja 30c, we'll do it a third and final time in a fortnight.  I also found a Wart Prescription Pack available through Australian animal naturopath Greenpet - this entails us sprinkling vitamin c powder on Violet's meals, homeopathic drops between her shoulders twice a week, cod liver oil once a week and putting Thuja cream on the warts, which is pretty much an exhausting game of chaseys, not always with a successful outcome.

Mid week, I attended a Hunde Dog Nutrition Masterclass where I learnt more about nutritional needs and what we could add to Violet's meals to boost her immune system.  With two days worth of natural food in a tub, I feel like I found the last piece of the puzzle.  Now, I don't want to jinx anything, but this weekend has seen some improvement, the warts on her snout and next to her eye turned blood red and have almost disappeared and some of the big bastards in her mouth have shrunk.

Fingers and paws crossed that we see a full recovery in the next few weeks!

10 Oct 2016


I think I had delusions of grandeur when buying paper hats for Violet's birthday. I got one decent, but rather miffed looking photo of her wearing one before her chompers got the better of it (plus two).  We booked Violet in for a day at Ka-Pooch! so she could play with other doggies to her heart's content.  I was a bit disappointed that we never thought to let the day care know it was her b'day as I suspect they would've got a hat to stay on her and she could've had a party with her peers, but when she got home we spoilt her with a Mister Riley pupcake and lots of presents to open.

Violet was suitably exhausted, but also unwell on Sunday night, which we think was from eating something/drinking from the manky puddles at the dog park over the grand final long weekend.  We've battled vomiting and diarrhoea on and off since then, but seem to have come out the other end now (excuse the pun) with the help of chicken broth and boiled chicken and rice.  I have to give a shout out to the Bissell Little Green machine, without which I may have had to burn our rug after an unfortunate accident.  Party on Wayne!  Party on, barf!

26 Sept 2016


In 2007, Mr M and I moved from NZ to Melbourne for the music scene.  Pethaus make dog gear that even we would wear, and as avid heavy metal listeners, we HAD to get Violet into one of their battle jackets!  I scored a raw denim jacket in their online sale and also added patches of our favourite bands, with a dog spin on them, to the cart - Judas Pooch, Muttallica, Pawtera & Bark Sabbath.  The lovely Pethaus folk will also shorten jackets for twenty bucks if your pooch is wide, but short in the body.

One week in as a member of our family, I dragged both loved ones to a Japanese clothing store for dogs where Violet quietly modelled a red puffer jacket and a gorgeous knitted letterman cardigan (that was out of our price range), she has since developed an aversion to clothing and turns into a bucking bronco if a bandana so much as comes near her.  I will have to persevere with treats and distraction to get our little rock star out and about to show off her serious attitude. Not too many treats though as we don't want her getting too wide for her new threads!

12 Sept 2016


Since we got Violet we've been making her food using the ingredients recommended by her breeder. Meals consist of blended vegies mixed with pet mince and topped with chopped chicken necks, followed by one Best Care baked biscuit per meal.  We've got the prep down to 45 mins every fortnight!  If we're feeling particularly lazy or life gets in the way, she gets kangaroo mince and/or chicken livers and mashed pumpkin (insert nom nom noise here).

While Mr M and I have our dinner, Little Miss has her hobbit dinner so we can eat in peace. Prepared like a dessert, it's either a sliced banana or apple and natural yogurt with the occasional topping of either a spoonful of peanut butter or coconut oil.

I'm always on the lookout for healthy treats, even attempting my own (here), so when I found Mister Riley, a Melbourne based company that has created five easy DIY low fat treat kits packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, I didn't muck about choosing just one DIY kit, I bought the whole she-bang.  The Mister Riley Box Set has four baking mix packs and one dog treat mix, which is the one I chose to make on the weekend as there was no baking involved.  I simply added peanut butter and honey and rolled them into balls to refrigerate. Voila, Roarrr Balls - Violet gives them 2 paws up!

29 Aug 2016


I think it was kismet that the first stall we went to at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show was for Countrywide Cottages, as we'd been talking about finding dog friendly accommodation for our wedding anniversary getaway and it was perfect!

With a successful car ride there (woohoo!), we checked into Ferny Reach Cottage and let Violet off leash in her back yard for the weekend, even with the car harness still on, she was off like a rocket. Our show goodies included a bag of bird seed, which we didn't think twice about until king parrots and rosellas started landing on the balcony, we were able to hand feed them until Little Miss discovered a fun new game of staring at them before chasing them away.

It rained over the course of the weekend, but that certainly didn't put a dampener on our time away, we trekked on leash through the bush and spotted a family of kangaroos at the Otway Forest Park entrance, Violet was able to run free around securely fenced Ned's Retreat and the yabby dam, and when we needed to dry off (the humans from the rain and Violet from leaping into the dam right after Mr M said "I'd be surprised if she went in"), we snuggled in front of the fire using the chopped wood provided.

If you're looking for a relaxing retreat where your dog will have as much fun as you do, if not more, then I highly recommend.

22 Aug 2016


Who knew there was day care for dogs!?  Violet was fairly new to us when we had our first rental inspection and she'd been attending novice obedience classes at a day care centre, so we thought it would be great timing to drop her off for the day.  While all signs pointed to her loving it, we didn't have much feedback, aside from that she was good, and on her second visit she came home with her metal name tag bent in half.  The mind boggles!

Meanwhile, I had stumbled across Ka-Pooch! on social media and it looked like a place that would really look after our fur baby.  Perfect timing.  Four visits in and we all think it's the best thing since sliced bread (yes, I once accidentally left the pantry door open while in in a different room...)  The first day Violet came home with a report card and a goody bag and the verbal feedback has been great - she's the best bull terrier they've ever met, is very tolerant, a people person (I think they mean treat monster) and most importantly, she enjoys herself.  What stands out for me with Ka-Pooch! is that they provide a safe environment for socialisation, any play is closely monitored at all times AND there's the added bonus of being able to log in to Facebook to see some hilarious photos of your pooch having a blast throughout the day!

  • OVERALL NATURE: Excited. Playful
  • FRIENDS: Extroverted. Lachie - golden retriever, Floyd - lab, Fred - pug, Arkie - poodle

15 Aug 2016


Pre-dog Park Violet never particularly enjoyed the car, but she would sit quietly in the back, or on my lap in the front passenger seat.  Homeward bound, be it from the vet, obedience class or an on leash walk along the waterfront, she'd be smiley dog.

On our very second dog park visit, Little Miss recognised landmarks and twigged to where we were headed, the excitement turning her into a furry cannonball.  Since then it's been a downward spiral into whining, heavy panting and frenzied chewing every time we take a car ride.  RIP leash, dog hammock and a brand new harness.

I'm still half convinced it's excitement, not anxiety, as Violet will leap into the back seat enthusiastically (although, paint work be damned if we don't get the door open quick enough).  When we head home, energy spent, it's like we switched dogs at our destination.  Unfortunately, outings have become a very unpleasant experience of late and I feel like one of us may pass out from the stress... probably me!

Last year Mr M and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a getaway to Hong Kong and Dubai.  This year we're off to *drum roll please* dog friendly accommodation in The Otways.  The upcoming challenge is that the cottage is a 2 hour drive away.

Come road trip day, it'll be Rescue Remedy to the rescue!  We did a test run on Sunday and while successful, after witnessing our dog choreograph an Olympic worthy ice skating routine on the wet floor at the dog wash, certainly not a long-term solution.  In Violet's case, flower remedies seem to be the equivalent of a doggy doobie. We'll be trying some other tips and tricks on our mission to figure out the root cause of her behaviour - any suggestions are welcome!