Saturday, June 27, 2015

Date with your dog: Be a superhero, support pet friendly landlords, aid in equine research

Wonderwoman and Superman to the rescue. Photo by Pierre Mardaga.
As someone living with a senior dog, I try to spend as much time as I can with Phil. One of our latest joint ventures has been the Bear Cottage Superhero Challenge. In a nutshell, Bear Cottage is a children’s hospice where kids and their families can have a much needed break while getting 24/7 support. So Sir Philpers and I have been doing our bit to help out.

I don’t have offspring of the human variety, and fortunately I have never had to prevail on Bear Cottage for their services. I learned about them in a newspaper article about Frankie, the live-in assistancedog (she can operate the electric train set and press buttons on the lift). 

My interest was from perspective of a veterinarian, until I visited Bear Cottage and met the staff and families who depend on them. (I also met Frankie who was an angel, though she’s an angel with an appetite and did hit me up for some liver treats). What they do is a huge deal and its a multi-species effort, albeit a bit more on the human front than the non-human front. And every one of them deserves a big, fat, gold medal (except for Frankie who would likely ingest it).

In July every year Bear Cottage runs the Superhero Challenge. Essentially, participants dress as superheroes and raise money to support their activities. Enter Super Phil and Wonder Anne (wondering how on earth Superheroes ever feel confident schlepping round in impractical leotards in public, in winter no less). I've got to say if you're feeling awkward about being a superhero, having a superdog at your side takes a lot of the awkward away.

We’re doing it again in 2015, although neither of us are getting any younger (immortality doesn’t appear to be on our inventory of superpowers).

This was the "superman about to rescue wonderwoman from the burning building"
part of the shoot. Phil is looking incredulous as I was not being very convincing.
Good talent is hard to find! Photo by Pierre Mardaga.
My Dog’s Territory photographer Pierre Mardaga has supported us by taking these photos and allowing us to share them to promote the cause. What Phil and I lack in posing skills, Pierre made up for in masterful photography (if you’re ever considering a themed photo shoot with your pet, he is the guru). The truth is Phil is happy to go along with just about any scheme, as long as it involves a car ride and endless attention. But it's nice to document this one. And these are not the kind of photos one wants to entrust to a smartphone and a selfie stick! 

Cape-swishing and superman-holding simaltaneously is actually hard work!
Photo by Pierre Mardaga.
For our part, Phil and I are completing a few Superdeeds for which you can sponsor us. So far we’ve been sponsored to commit a (hopefully victimless) fashion crime, help a shy dog come out of her shell, proofread an essay, mow a lawn and change a nappy (the scariest of all deeds thus far). A very cheeky vet nurse is negotiating a deed involving Wonderwoman doing the grocery shopping for her at peak hour! If you want to see what we're up to or even sponsor us (all money goes directly to Bear Cottage), just click this link

In other news...

Have you transported a horse in the last two years? Help improve the welfare of horses by taking a few minutes to answer this survey. It is part of a PhD study.
Are you a tenant with a pet-friendly landlord? There should be many more of these, which is why it is important to celebrate yours! The Animal Welfare League is asking tenants to nominate their pet-friendly landlord or real estate agent. All you have to do is click here, explain in a few words why this person is deserving, and submit your entry. You can win a $250 gift card by doing so.

You can also check out this interview with culturalgeographer Dr Emma Power, who spends her time researching how we live with companion animals.

Horses aren’t exactly small animals but they are companion animals. Barbara Padalino is doing a PhD on equine transportation through the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. As part of this she is running a survey to study transportation management and transport related disease in horses.

If you have horses you have moved in the last two years, please complete this survey and contribute to important knowledge that will aid in equine welfare.