Monday, March 21, 2011

That's Why They Call 'Em Dogs

We went to Dowses Beach today. This little gem of a beach was just about pristine this sunny winter afternoon… except for the blackening body fluids of dead crabs and crustaceans on the parking lot where Grigri slipped in a quick slime bath before I noticed. Call 1-800 PET MOBILE! Oh, oops, that's me.

Grigri and I had a brisk walk and filled a white kitchen bag full of beverage containers and a few ragged garments. You wonder where things come from when they wash up. I remember as a kid a few times somebody in our neighborhood found a real note in a bottle. This week a mooring washed up on our beach - a heavy chunk of cement with a ring in the top - how could our wimpy Nantucket Sound waves push that thing up the beach?

In 2007, Jan and I spent a few days on a barrier island in Kenya. The warm Indian Ocean reminded me a bit of Nantucket Sound, but with bigger waves. There were beautiful beaches, but in some places the jagged bedrock served as "teeth" to catch flotsam and jetsam heaved onto it by the waves. All kinds of plastic were snared, but particularly foam rubber from "flip flops". The islanders harvest this and use sharp knives and hole punches to carve the brilliant colored foam into sculptures, jewelry and other decorative items. The mastery of some of these artisans is really hard to believe unless you saw the raw materials, the artists working at the doors of their huts to catch the light and the finished products all together.

Thinking about Africa, I was daydreaming and gazing at a flock of seagulls imagining that they were relaxing on the blacktop to enjoy the reflected heat on this bright but cold day. Grigri took this lapse of attention to throw himself onto the pavement and vigorously grind some black slime into his coat. Oh, that's why the gulls are all here; they're dropping crabs and shellfish onto the parking lot to break them up. Grigri had found some very old crab remains which were so juicy they left a big sticky spot on his fur which hardened into a glue-like patch on the way home and I had to drive home with all the wondows open. Yuck! I don't think I've ever smelled anything that bad. Luckily, I'm in the pet grooming business so a quick bath and blow dry is easy and fun. Grigri doesn't favor the bathing part of the process, but I hand dry him in my lap, which he loves. He sits contentedly for me and turns his head this way and that to catch the stream of warm air on his neck and behind his ears where he likes it best.

Your Pets in the Garden

A sign at the West Barnstable Village store got me thinking about spring - it's almost here.

I recently took a refresher First Aid and CPR class for pets, I thought I'd cover a few important points about plants and garden products. Did you know that grapes are bad for dogs? Neither did I. Read on...

Many common plants are toxic to pets, including grapes, onions, garlic, tomato plants, azaleas, rhododendrons, mushrooms, lily of the valley, holly and many more. Some plants are harmful to cats but not dogs and so forth. If you're unfamiliar with these plants, check out the awesome toxic plant guide published by the ASPCA that provides an illustrated list with both toxic and non-toxic plants that can be sorted by whether they are dangerous for dogs, cats or horses.

That's not to say you can't have these plants in your yard but you should know what your pup in munching on while you rake and till. You may want to clean up leaf litter or fence off sections of your yard if you can't keep Fluffy away from a worrisome plant.

More likely to cause problems are garden products that can contain very strong ingredients. Various baits can easily be licked up by dogs or cats and the aroma that attracts the pests may appear very tasty to your curious beast. Naturally, rodent bait is a big health risk and can be carried by critters from where you placed it (or your neighbors placed it) to where your animals can find it. Fertilizers and insecticides of all types should be stored safely and used judiciously to avoid contact with your furry friends and since you don’t know what your neighbors are using it's best to keep your pets off others' lawns and gardens.

Consult a professional pest service for pet friendly recommendations and keep the pet poison control number (888) 426-4435 (and your credit card for the $65 fee) handy in case of an emergency.

Watch for a post on safe "people food" coming soon.

Shakedown Cruise

Today was our "shakedown cruise" for beach cleaning and bleak is the world I would choose that best describes it. Armed with a big black garbage bag, foul weather gear and some lovely purple plastic gloves for me, we cleaned Covell and Craigville Beaches. It was definitely a two person job: one to hold the garbage bag and one to hold the dog while both of us picked up dog poop and trash. That biting wind did not help! It's troubling how many people don't clean up after themselves or their pets - I like to imagine that if a soda can washes up that it probably blew off a deck or slipped out of someone's hand. They probably didn't just chuck it. One can hope, anyway.

The Hyannis marathon was held today and runners were still dribbling down Craigville Beach Road. As the wind was strong we returned the easy way on the pavement but that put us on the trail of dozens of coconut juice containers discarded by the racers, many still full. Although the coconut juice was maybe not so popular with humans, Grigri loved it! He was fetching containers left and right and guzzling as much juice as he could get out of them. Remind me to train him to fetch other kinds of trash so he can help us!

What did we learn? Rubber gloves are not nearly warm enough in February! A "beach cart" would be convenient to hold the garbage bag - especially since most containers are full of sand or water and extremely heavy. A 40 gallon trash bag gets too heavy to carry so smaller bags are better. It will be interesting to clean this beach again and see if our efforts make a visible difference.

We're Aussie Pet Mobile Cape Cod!

My husband, Jan, our little dog Grigri and I are Aussie Pet Mobile Cape Cod, an environmentally conscious mobile pet grooming service that offers more convenience for you and less stress for your pets. We serve dogs, cats and their "fur parents" from Provincetown to Duxbury. Concerned about the environmental degradation we're facing globally we decided to act locally. When we're not keeping your cats and dogs clean and cute, we'll do our part to keep our beaches and trails clean too. This blog is about our adventures in grooming the dogs, cats, trails and beaches of Cape Cod and the South Shore. We'll also cover local pet friendly events and ideas to have more fun with your pets. Join us and if you see us on the beach or trails, come on over and say hello - we'll give you a $10 off new customer coupon.