Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow Monkeys!!

When my human was asked what she would most like to do in Japan she said, "See the Snow Monkeys!!" She thought you might enjoy this video of the day she finally saw them. It was snowing heavily and bitterly cold but she said it was all worth it to tick something off her bucket list. (The other things she ticked off her bucket list while in Japan were seeing her favourite whale - the Beluga - and going to Disneyland! :P)

P.S. That's my human (with the yellow umbrella) getting blown away!
P.P.S. About half of the clips in this video were shot by my human's ex-boyfriend. Thanks Myles!

Love, Oscar and the gang

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Animal Welfare Law and Post-Exam Shopping Spree

You'll be happy to hear that both my human and I survived the dreaded and evil time of year commonly known as exam week (or the 'week of death' as my human likes to call it) only a little worse for wear. To be fair, it's my human that's a little worse for wear.

This is what we do: study, study, study.

One of her assessments this semester was a 5,000 word essay for a subject called Animal Welfare Law. My human was very excited to be able study this subject as it's the first time it's being offered in our state. The essay was worth 100% of the mark for the subject and my human had to research into Australia's animal welfare legal regime and put forward a proposal for reform. My human says the current legal regime is really silly (my words, not hers): we have different laws in each state, different regulations in different council areas, even different laws for individual industries and different laws relating to different animals. The result is inconsistent and inadequate protection for animals. For example, the greyhound industry code of practice allows for greyhounds to be kept in cages smaller than the domestic dog code allows for toy breeds. Anti-cruelty legislation also only protects against "unreasonable" cruelty leaving room for perpetrators to argue that the circumstances justified their being cruel to their animals.

Worse still, some animals are completely excluded from the protection of anti-cruelty legislation, like livestock for example, and some animals may lose this protection simply by being transported across state lines (fish aren't considered animals in some states and so aren't protected). In certain industries (such as those exploiting animals for scientific experimentation or for food) the very bodies who develop protective instruments and are charged with enforcing them are those who stand to gain the most from allowing cruelty to go unpunished. Some of you may know that Australia exports live animals, like sheep, to other countries to be slaughtered. What you may not know is that when deciding whether the minimum standards of welfare are met in relation to these live shipments the body responsible for this decision acts on the advice of the representative body for exporters. In other words there's a huge conflict of interest between protecting the welfare of animals and promoting commercial interests. Finally, most of the enforcement of anti-cruelty laws is done by the RSPCA, a not for profit organisation with very limited resources.

Australia does very little to protect one of its icons - the kangaroo - allowing kangaroos to be killed for profit or even for recreation (!!) with little to no enforcement of welfare standards. Photo credit: Voiceless. Follow the link to read about commercial killing of kangaroos in Australia. Don't worry, there are no graphic pictures. However, if you're interested in the reality of 'humanely' killing joeys via a 'blunt force to the head' a quick YouTube search will show you how humane it really is. :(

My human was very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from so many inspirational people about an area of law that sadly receives very little attention, especially in Australia. So she was very proud of her essay and asked me to pass on a little of what she's learned. She'll soon be able to put all that knowledge and the skills she aquired to good use as she recently successfully interviewed for a position as an animal welfare policy research assistant at the RSPCA. My human has been volunteering at the RSPCA in the kennels for about 6 months but she also wanted to use some of the skills she's acquired at university to help doggies.

Anyway, as soon as exams finished my human did something apparently lots of lady humans do to make themselves feel better. She went shopping! And here are some of the things she picked up for me (I'm so excited!):

I got a new collar and leash from FuzzYard. My human said it was time to get a grown up collar and leash because I've had the same short, thin leash and harness since the first day she brought me home. human considers multi-coloured space invaders 'grown up'.

I also got a special shampoo for doggies with sensitive skin. You may have noticed that I got a hair cut. Well....what a disaster! The groomer clipped my hair so short that she left me red raw around the bum and whatever products she used made my skin so itchy I wanted to scrape it all off. Sadly, I think the grooming business has been sold and my old groomer is no longer working there. Needless to say, I won't be going there again.

My human bought the Fuzzyard products from the RSPCA Store in Burwood East, Victoria. She also bought me a fun new ball from PETstock in Mitcham. I love balls! Especially blue ones!

If any of you are interested in learning more about that state of animal welfare protection in Australia, have a look at the following links:

Love, Oscar and the gang

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Human Lookalike

My friend Honey the Great Dane recently did a post about her human lookalike. I think she looks much more like Cameron Diaz than Walter Matthau! How rude are her humans?! Anyway, if you haven't checked out her post yet, have a look!

I thought it looked like so much fun so, of course, I wanted to join in. Who do you think I look like?

Personally, I think I'm suave and stylish like the silver fox, Anderson Cooper.

Or maybe I look more like Matthew McConaughey. (You're welcome, ladies.)

What about Albert Einstein? I may be cuter than he was but we defnitely have a lot in common in the intelligence department.

My human thinks I am most like Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings. Loyal, sweet and her bestest friend. :) I could protect her from the evil Sauron with my killer licks and deadly waggly butt.

Who do you think you look like?

Love, Oscar and the gang

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doggie in sheep's clothing

Today my human and I played hide and seek. She couldn't find me....

You can't see me!

Be one with the sheepskin blankie.

Love, Oscar and the gang

Friday, September 24, 2010

What a day!

You'll never believe what happened!

It happened yesterday while my human, her sister and I were walking to the shops to buy some hay for the Three Little Pigs. Guinea pigs go through a lot of hay - they eat it and sleep in it - so this happens more often than any of us would like. But yesterday I didn't mind as this meant an extra long walk for me!

Anyway, there we were, walking along, next to a main road, minding our own business when suddenly our path was blocked by a strange, orange thing with two legs, big claws and a beak! My human's sister said something like, "Oh my god! A chicken!" What's a chicken? I had never seen such a thing before and I didn't like the way it kept walking towards me, tilting its head this way and that. Then I noticed two more of the things in some bushes by the side of the road! Well by this stage I didn't know who or what I was, let alone what they were.

As you can see, I am still recovering.

My humans kept exclaiming and cooing and laughing because the three feathery things came right up to them and allowed themselves to be petted and picked up. They were clearly used to being handled so my human thought it likely they had come from someone's backyard rather than a farm. She decided to knock on some doors to see if the chickens had escaped from any of the neighbouring houses. No one answered.

Mi casa es su casa, Chickens!

My humans were worried the chickens would run onto the road, which would not only result in them becoming chicken schnitzel but would probably cause a big accident in the busy intersection. So they made the decision to take the chickens home. I was so excited! I could finally chase them around the yard and maybe even grab a mouthful! But alas, my excitement was short lived as both Iris and I were unceremoniously shoved into the garage! Hmmph! No fair!

Let me at them! Let me at them!


I mostly get to watch them from the window or behind a fence but they don't seem all that great. All they do is dig, poop, eat things off the ground and follow my human around. Well, I can do that too! Worst of all, they've taken over our whole backyard. This morning they were on the balcony and, as my human was helping me write this post, one of them jumped up on the outer window sill!

At least I'm not the only one who has been displaced by the arrival of the walking drumsticks. Apparently, chickens need to sleep in a coop and the closest thing to a coop in our yard is the Three Little Pigs' house. Hehe! The hay we bought for them sure came in handy!

EDIT: We've found the chickens' owner! Some pretty intensive leafleting paid off and their owner is coming to pick them up later today. Good thing too; there's only so much chicken poo one backyard can withstand. Plus, I think 5 animals in one backyard is quite enough, though my human disagrees.

Love, Oscar and the gang + 3 Chickens!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My first blog award!

Hi everyone! It sure has been a while since we've last caught up. Sorry I haven't updated or been round to see you for a while. My human has been having computer problems and assessments and there have been lots of strange people doing things to our kitchen, so she's had her hands full. But never fear! My human is now on holidays so I'm sure she'll help me update my blog more often.

Anyway, I've been really helpful around the house while the strange humans were bashing and banging and generally making more noise than Iris at dinnertime. In fact, you could say I oversaw the whole operation. Literally.

Oh alright, sometimes I just slept.

Tiles? What tiles?

I also had loads of fun harmonising with a creature called Circular Saw. My human said she'd heard of dogs who thought they were human and she often says I am a dog who thinks he's a cat, but a dog who thinks he's a circular saw is going a bit far.

Here's what we've been up to while we've been away from blogland:



Taking over the world.



Making friends.


Eating seafood (left over baby octopus, rice and celery leaves).

Sorry about the low res images, technology hates us at the moment. Anyway, I also wanted to share with you some very exciting news. I recently received my very first blog award from my friend Sammy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Missouri, USA. As an aside (completely irrelevant if you ask me) my human has asked me to tell you that Missouri is the home state of Brad Pitt, where joke...attended Kickapoo High School! Well, I don't know what the big deal is. My human is full of useless information like that. She recently played trivia with friends and knew the answer to the two most random questions on the whole quiz:

1. What is the deepest part of the ocean? (Mariana Trench)

2. What are the names of Brad and Angelina's children? (Maddox, Pax, Knox, Vivienne, Shiloh and Zahara)

Anyway...back to the serious business at hand! To accept this award I have to follow 4 simple rules:

1. Thank the blogger that gave you the reward.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award onto 15 bloggers that you have recently discovered and think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you sent the award to, and let them know about the award.

So here goes:

1. Thank you Sammy, you've made my day! Sorry it's taken me so long to acknowledge your lovely gesture.

2. 7 things about me:

- If I wasn't named Oscar, my humans would have called me Chip, after the little tea cup in Beauty and the Beast.
- My girlfriend is a sock. A pretty, fluffy, stripey, pastel blue sock of loveliness. I love her.
- I firmly believe that possums are the enemy. Just look at those little devils:

Just listen to their beastly bellows. It is my job, as protector of the household, to make sure no possums so much as sniff our fence. It is a job I take very seriously.

- My human's mother thinks I smell more like a sheep than a dog.
- I am scared of big plastic bags and always give hard rubbish a wide berth on my walks.
- I like to give my kitty sister a hand with her dinner. I help her eat a little faster by barking at her, just a little bit. Then I clean up after her. Aren't I a considerate little brother?
- I have a foot fetish. Too much information?

3. Since I am so late in giving out this award, some of my blog friends have already received it, so I will give it out to 10 blogs I have been following and loving for a long time, the writers of which I have not introduced myself to yet.

- The Army of Four
- Jedi the Keeshond and Ahsoka and Fable the Finnish Lapphunds
- Daisy the Curly Cat
- Huskee and Hershey
- Momo and Pinot the Cavs
- Parlance and her dog Penny
- Ginger and Wiggley the Guinea Pigs
- Kona the hiking dog
- Africa the Boerboel
- Luna the Great Dane

4. Now I'm off to visit all my friends!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Polish sausage and my new haircut!

Phew! It sure has been a long time since I last updated my blog! My human had a sickie again, only this time it was so bad that she couldn't do very much at all, including getting onto the computer to help me write a new post. Well now she feels better and less tired so she said it's time I caught up with all my blog friends. Too right! So never fear, I am back.

I'm back!

It's been really cold and rainy here in Melbourne the last few weeks. My backyard has turned into a swamp. But, of course, I have managed to have a few adventures. (Well, every day is an adventure for me!)

The weather outside is frightful.

Iris has not been impressed by the weather.
She spends most of her time hiding from it.

And looking pretty.

My human and I have been practicing some very basic things that I, being a very excitable sort of doggie, sometimes find too boring to pay attention to. Like my recall. Oh, I absolutely love running up to my human whenever she calls me from any point in the house or yard and I'm also pretty good when we're walking along, but in a park with lots of exciting new smells, not so much. So my human has been taking me to various little parks and ovals to practice random recall.

Let me tell you, I really have a hard time tearing myself away from interesting big sticks and bushes which may hide all manner of stinky treasures! With practice I've gotten better but there are still some smells that prove too powerful. My human was getting very frustrated that sometimes I came the moment she called and five seconds later I seemed to suffer from complete amnesia. Well, she tried to hide her frustration but us doggies are not going to be fooled by all that two-faced human "diplomacy". I could smell it! It smelled kind of like steam coming out of my human's ears. Tee hee! Who'd want to go anywhere near a human with steam coming out of their ears? I stayed well away.

Well, my human racked her brain for ways to overcome my stubbornness (hehe). Finally, she remembered reading something that said humans often underestimate doggies' intelligence. They assume we're going to do something just because humans ask it of us or in exchange for a measly Schmacko. But there are some things that are definitely not worth the trouble for a piece of dried Schamcko. A human puppy might get you a glass of water for a smile and a 'thank you' but if you want them to wash the dishes, it might take a little extra. So my human had to bring out the big guns. Polish sausage! (Shh...don't tell her parents). Now "come" is my fabourite trick!

You called?

In between all that training we also managed to fit in some fun. Like sliding down the slide at the playground.

And zoomies!

And being a doggie hair model!

I call this one: Blue Steel.

And something that's definitely not as fun but probably noteworthy: getting a new hair cut!

Where did my whiskers go?!

Love, Oscar and the gang

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Piggy rant

Our human says there are very few things in life as funny as watching a guinea pig eat. Which is lucky for her because we eat all the time! We squeak loudly when it's time for dinner and get super excited when we can run around in the grass because it means....yep, more food!

The reality of being part of a household with lots of animals is that you have to share the love of your human between, in our case, five animals! And one of the many annoying aspects of being part of a household with a dog is that they always need to be the center of attention.

"Oh look, Oscar is eating his dinner!" Snap. Snap.
"Oh look, Oscar is chasing his tail!" Snap. Snap.
"Oh look, Oscar is rolling in poop, how cute! How adorable!" Snap. Snap. Give us a break.

While this suits those of us who are shy just fine *cough* Neytiri *cough* some of us are clearly born to be stars!

Anyway, we've mentioned before that we live outside on account of the orders of our human's Mum and Dad. Our human isn't completely happy about this but she tries to convince herself that it is better for us because we can live more like wild guinea pigs do (before they become Peruvian spit roast...eek!). She likes to think that, this way, we are part of the backyard ecosystem. Well, today our human found out that we are actually more connected to the ecosystem than she would have liked! In fact, you could say that we have our own little ecosystem going in our hutch. Today, while cleaning our cage, our human came a little too close for comfort to one of our friendly neighbours, a huntsman spider! Our human is not exactly scared of spiders (she kept a huntsman as a pet when she was in primary school) and this particular huntsman was just a baby, but she really wasn't happy when he crawled out close to her hand when she wasn't expecting it.

And where was Oscar, "our mighty and fearless protector", during all this? Watching from a safe distance, of course.

Oh hai...

No, look like you're doing just fine.

Love, the Three Little Pigs

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A spoonful of sugar...

Wow...long time no blog! My human has been busy doing her back to uni thing and has had no time to help me post about my most recent adventures. She's got a backlog of photos so hopefully when things settle down she will be able to sort through them and post more frequently.
Oops...sorry! I was so excited about blogging
again that I forgot to brush my hair!

Among other things, I've been working on a video about all the human words I understand. I'm my human's first dog and she didn't know much about dogs before I came into her life. She'd read books and articles but I guess nothing really prepares you for the real thing. Especially when the real thing is as cute as me! I guess it's like reading those books humans read before they have human pups. Apparently they tell you all about the best ways to turn human pups into supermodels and prodigies because no one wants a mediocre human pup. My human found the same thing with books about doggies. The problem was that once I came along my human found it much harder to be something called "The Disciplinarian". So my training wasn't always consistent.
This may or may not be my guilty face.

Still angry?

You see, I love training and showing my human how smart I am but a lot of the time there are just so many more fun things to do! Plus, my human sometimes LIKES me to do slightly naughty things like licking her and jumping up on the bed. So instead of having very rigid rules my human and I worked on building a really close relationship and good communication. That way I trust my human and I look to her to know what kind of behaviour is appropriate in any given situation. On walks, for example, I know I can pretty much roam free unless my human tells me I have to "wait", or "stop" or go "this way" instead of that. At home I know that my human will generally let me curl up on her lap but I have to be given the ok first. I guess my human is pretty lenient compared to other doggies' humans. Just the way I like it!

Oh come can you resist these eyes?

Another thing my human is not strict about is my diet. I don't follow any specific diet but rather a variety of different foods in appropriate proportions. My human read about Malteses being particularly fussy in relation to food and didn't want to encourage me to be picky. So I usually get a combination of dry food (sometimes premium, sometimes not), wet food, raw food, cooked food, bones and treats. Any given week I might eat raw chicken drumsticks, kibble, liver, schmackos, carrots and tuna loaf from a can. I haven't developed any intolerances because I don't always eat salty, processed foods with tonnes of additives.

Your offering pleases me, human.

By far my favourite thing to eat is my human's special recipe of mince, rice and vege pilaf. Every couple of weeks she buys good quality mince (about a kilo), fries it in a bit of olive oil, adds about a cup of frozen veges (carrot, corn, brocolli, peas and cauliflower) and about a cup of cooked rice. She adds a pinch of salt or some grated cheese for extra yumminess. Once it's cooled down she gives Iris and I a serving, puts another serving in the fridge and freezes the rest. This lasts Iris and I a few days. My human says I never devour any food quite as quickly or lustily as this one. And the best thing is that I know that along with protein, fat and vitamins this food contains a bucketful of LOVE. My favourite!


Love, Oscar