Thursday, 24 July 2014

More cool stuff

It's been madly hot this last week. I put my portable car thermometer out in the patio to see just how hot it was getting: it shot up to 94 F and then started going into meltdown. I promptly brought both it and Archie and Angel back indoors again. They love to sunbathe, but aren't always sensible about it.

Lisa loved splashing in her paddling pool
Loves sun, hates water ...
When they first came to live here, I got out the old clam shell plastic paddling pool, thinking that they might like to paddle and play a few games in it as my previous dogs had. No, not a bit of it - they were absolutely appalled at the thought of dipping so much as a toe in it. Angel very reluctantly sploshed in to retrieve a few food treats floating in there, taking them elsewhere to eat. Archie, after a lot of deliberation and realising that his neck was not going to stretch far enough to be able to get hold of 
his tennis ball floating in it, gingerly put first one, then two front paws in, retrieved the ball and took it off indoors in disgust.
No matter how much I tried to interest them in it, they just didn't want to know, and eventually I gave up. The clam shell has, however, gone on to be useful in other ways - it has been converted into a shallow wildlife pond up on the allotment, and a gang of frogs now call it home. You don't have to be so drastic of course if your dog doesn't take to the idea of paddling either - a clam shell also makes a brilliant digging pit for your dog (fill with clean top soil, then bury a few 'treasures' for added excitement) and because it is portable, can be moved around the garden to wherever you want it. And it can also be multi-function: when it isn't being a paddling pool in warm weather, fill the empty shell with balls instead and hide treats or favourite toys in there instead.
If you have a dog that is a water lover, a paddling pool is a great way of having a bit of cooling-down fun on a warm day. If it is the rigid clam shell type, place a rubber bath mat in the bottom to give a bit of grip to paws. If you haven't yet bought a pool, it's worth looking into the canvas type which are a little bigger. They are self-supporting so do not need blowing up. Plastic children's pools may not last very long as claws can easily burst them.

If you are planning to install a water feature in your garden, install a dog friendly one for preference: bubble fountains can look good, and can also be fun for dogs to play with. If you are going for a more traditional pond, build it with shallow sides so that wildlife (as well as your dog) can easily escape from it and always keep an eye on your dog while out in the garden. Youngsters and elderly dogs can get into trouble in even the shallowest of water. With permanent garden ponds, keep an eye out also for blue green algae which can be a problem with standing water in hot water and can be fatal to your dog if he ingests it.   

Finally, this caught my eye the other morning: a slug munching on a snail for breakfast. Ick. I suppose that at least it is keeping down a garden pest and not eating my garden plants ...

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