Original_edited.jpg

Issue 15 June 2022

june_flowers002_edited.jpg

the lively eMagazine shimmering substance with  sun

dogs in dublin

PIC Iris sibirica, saga.co.uk
White Fabric

order of contents on emag page laptop version
 

PIC Ian Dooley
Laptop
Original_edited_edited.jpg
  1. my dogs and me   - LETS GREET OUR GUESTS  Ian O'Doherty, opinion columnist with Irish Independent & South Dublin Vets by the editor

  2. lead story -  FESTIVAL FLUSH by Thomas Cantwell

  3. follow-up -  PERISH THE POOP!

  4. DOG SHOWS    by Desmond Purcell

  5.  local dog oozing charm - HOOKED BY HOPE!

  6. DRAWING by  Steffi Baker with  details of TEPEE drawing competition for children 4 - 12 years

  7. elixir for common... EYE INFECTIONS in dogs     by Eric Lowe

  8. SUMPTUOUS SUMMER by Diana Darcy

  9. go from ordinary  to extraordinary - OUTDOORS WITH YOUR DOG AND THE CUCKOO

  10. my pick from archive  by  Eric Lowe

Image by ian dooley

©All rights reserved by dogs in dublin.  It is permissible to refer to material published in both the laptop and phone versions of the eMagazine once proper accreditation is given to both dogs in dublin and also to the author if a by-line is included.  However, reproduction in part or whole is forbidden without our consent.

 

DISCLAIMER: dogs in dublin  does not assume or warrant any legal liability for the accuracy, legality or reliability of any of the material published in either the laptop or phone versions.  That material is largely for entertainment. Anyone using any of the information published do so at their own risk be it veterinary, commercial, legal or otherwise and by so-doing agree to indemnify dogs in dublin from all liability, costs (including legal), loss, injury, damages which might arise from such use. The views and opinions of contributors to dogs in dublin  belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the dogs in dublin editorial staff.

my dogs and me

WhatsApp Image 2022-04-26 at 2.05_edited.png

SEE YOU at our GAZEBO!

'dogs in dublin' eMagazine accepted the kind invitation of the Dog Show to be present in Harold's Cross Park

on Saturday 21st May.

Open from 1000 - 1400 hours​​

1100 - 1200

SOUTH DUBLIN VETS

www.southdublinvets.ie

'We are a friendly, professional veterinary practice committed to providing an excellent, reliable and trustworthy service to all our clients'. Mark Heffernan, Proprietor

Mark, himself, will be out of Dublin so has kindly arranged for his colleague, Jetta Berrill, veterinary surgeon, to be with us at our gazebo to chat with you informally about all things animal health.

 

1200 - 1300 hours

'dogs in dublin' eMAGAZINE

www.dogsindublin.ie

Our Leader Writer, Thomas Cantwell will be with us at our gazebo to gossip with you about the 'dogs in dublin' writing team!

Let's GREET  our guests!

1300 - 1400

Ian O'Doherty, with his dogs

Opinion Columnist

Irish Independent

Ian O’Doherty, born in Dublin in 1971, is an Opinion Columnist with the Irish Independent.  He previously worked for the Evening Herald.  Also, did some time with Hot Press.

 

‘It seems you haven’t really become a success until you have as many people as possible condemning you’ an insightful quote from Ian O’Doherty. 

It certainly takes a powerful fuse of courage and confidence to speak out, liberally mingled with a psychological toughness to handle the consequences, more strikingly in these cyber times.

On Saturday April 23rd 2022 the Irish Independent published a letter entitled ‘Brilliant piece of writing from fearless O’Doherty’. 

 

Brian McDevitt writes of Ian O’Doherty ‘…many of his courageous articles over the years on many contentious issues, whether we agree with him or not, prove how lucky we are to live in a democratic and free society where we can all air our views without fear’. 

 

What an elixir for the soul to be able to value the opinion of another while not always needing to share it, to celebrate the freedom of a talented journalist to vociferate most especially when you disagree with him.

PIC  Ian O'Doherty Irish Independent
opinion columist.jpg
DSC_0214.jpg
PIC The HOTSEAT in our gazebo

Frankly, the humour that can be found in the work of Ian O’Doherty is nothing short of elevating.  Sailing close to the wind of ‘A-list celebrities’ he so advantageously puts pen to paper on the Posh and Becks household.

‘‘According to the nanny who sold her story, Victoria used to scream at her husband: I gave up my music for you.  So, the next time you feel like slagging off David Beckham, just take a moment to ponder how much we all owe the man’.*

outspoken O'Doherty.jpg
Original_edited_edited.jpg
PIC  Ian O'Doherty Irish Independent
DSC_0231.jpg
PIC The HOTSEAT in our gazebo, a different angle!

What a wide berth Ian O’Doherty can create!  When it comes to conservationism he tickles pink by really pitching it to the vegetarians. 

‘It turns out that conservationism can be fun, with the news that the Norwegian red king crab – which weighs in at an impressive full kilo of juicy crabby goodness per shell – must be eaten as much as possible, because it’s scoffing all the other fish in Norway.  In fact, it would be remiss of all of us if we didn’t eat as many of these buggers as we possibly can every week because they now provide a genuine ecological threat to fellow marine life.  So, c’mon vegetarians.  Let’s see how much you really care about the environment’.*

The German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer makes a potent, visual comparison between journalists and dogs.

'Journalists are like dogs, whenever anything moves they begin to bark'. 

 

The humanity and clear-headedness of this ‘fearless’ journalist posolutely blasts through with respect to canines.

‘‘Spring has sprung and now I have a pep in my step.

It was only when I was out walking my increasingly crazy and badly behaved young dogs the other day that the realisation struck me – I was happy’.

 

DSC_0206.jpg
ian-odoherty-f2c23834-c89d-437d-9e91-c41516a3dad-resize-750.jpg

We are left with the poignancy of simple things.  The implicit impression that regardless of his subject, he seems to have the important things sussed!

Acknowledgements

*  YouTube, top20quotes.com
** independent.ie
pi5rRr7yT.gif
by Thomas Cantwell
Journalist

festival flush

Image by James Genchi
PIC James Genchi

No doubt about it but we Irish were certainly straining at the bit during those pandemic lockdown years and two elements show this up very well.  Firstly, the chaos at a seemingly unprepared Dublin Airport where thousands of stir-crazy Easter trippers, so long denied their annual sun fest in Lanzarote and other Canary Island boltholes, could not get airborne fast enough. Secondly, the vast and diverse range of summer and Autumn festivals which are now clamoring a little louder for our attention after those long, wearisome restrictions.

A stroll through the internet to see just what is on offer was an eye-opener.  Sure, the true and trusted reign supreme – arts, rock music, literature and food abound - but there is also a platform for the more minority, niche and sometimes – bizarre interests.

Image by Robin GAILLOT-DREVON
PIC Robin Gaillot-Drevon

For example, where in the world would you have a festival based on a wild mountain goat? Puck Fair  (August 10 -12) sees the animal elevated to royalty and holds imperious sway over Killorglin for those days before he is let back into the hills. In the meantime, his majesty gives the royal imprimatur to a 400-year-old extravaganza of trad music and dance, concerts, a horse fair and genuine midnight madness. Cromwell started all this, it would seem. The local story goes that wild goats fleeing from the hills warned the villagers that his Roundheads were on the way.

Rose_of_Tralee.jpg
PIC Wikipedia

Then there’s the Rose of Tralee (August 19 – 23.  Something straight out of the early 1950s and the word bland is too mild to even cover this anaemic excuse of a pageant where a simpering motley of young women from around the Irish diaspora tell Dáithí O Sé how they are going to save the world, stop global warming, protect the Amazon rain forest etc. Presenters really have to earn their fee on this one yet among the heavy hitters who did the stint were Gay Byrne, Terry Wogan and Ryan Tubridy. How this festival still exists defies logic yet it is one of the most popular around and of course, the street fun, live concerts, markets and fireworks do help. 

Image by Nick Fewings
PIC Nick Fewings
pi5rRr7yT.gif

Another beaut is the September Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival in Clare (Sept 2 – 30). Sophisticates may snigger but word is there is a lot of disillusionment with online dating (it can be a jungle) and the old-fashioned matchmaker is making a bit of a comeback). Whether or not the romantic minded will meet their soulmates there is a moot point but music is a big draw and country and western fans will surely get their money’s worth given that Nathan Carter and Michael English are among the top featured names.

A few little gems are worth noting.  The Comic Book Festival (May 17 – 21) at Alliance Francaise, Dublin and supported by the French Embassy which showcases Irish and French graphic novels, comics and narrative art supported by live readings and workshops.  If you are a movie buff and down Galway way you could pop into the Pálás Cinema for the Galway Film Fleadh of feature films and shorts (July 5-10).  For budding writers, the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas (June 10 -12) in Carlow features a stellar guest list including Fintan O’Toole, David Puttnam and Fiona Shaw who should help get those creative juices flowing.

Image by lilartsy
PIC lilartsy

Only the young (and very young at heart) who will be happy to endure rain, mud and general misery (depending on the capriciousness of the weather gods) for their helping of rock at Longitude, at Marley Park Dublin (July 1-3) or the Electric Picnic (Sept 2-4),  Stradbally, Co Laois.

 

Aficionados of  medieval, renaissance and baroque music must be more numerous than I thought for they certainly get a generous look-in this summer with the West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival at Russborough House and Park (May 18 – 22);  Galway Early Music Festival (May 27 -29); the Dublin International  Chamber Music Festival (June 7 – 12) which will be scattered around some very spectacular  locations such as the Botanic Gardens, Castletown House and Rathfarnham Castle. Not to forget the West Cork Music Festival in Bantry (June 24 – July 3) and chamber music features on Valentia (August 18 – 24).

Image by Aditya Chinchure
PIC Aditya Chinchure

In popularity, arts and literature love-ins are leaders of the pack. Most of us may not associate Dublin City Council with anything creative but the International Literature Festival (May 19-29) is their baby with the prestigious Dublin Literary Award on May 19. Carlow arts bash (June 7 – 12) is aimed at “a stimulated, eclectic and curious audience” – their words. Dalkey Book Festival (June 16-19) is offering 60+ page turning events and slightly further afield in Kells, Co Meath - the Hinterland festival of literature and arts (June 23 – 26). Kilkenny Arts Festival (August 4 – 14) is offering, classical music, a new opera and outdoor theatre (hope the weather stays fine)!

Hardly a mention of dogs, you might say. Not so. There is the return of the festival in my own bailiwick of Harold’s Cross on May 21/22 featuring a DOG SHOW in the Green on Saturday, May 21.

At least one festival which is giving our canine buddies a look-in!

Dog Wash
PIC Wix Media The pre-show scrub
Jury at a dog show
PIC Wix Media Jury at a dog show
Original_edited_edited.jpg
rasa-kasparaviciene-cl6IwE0UFRg-unsplash.jpg

Last month in 'dogs in dublin' Desmond Purcell wrote about two missing dog poop bins – one on Rathgar Avenue and the other on the junction of Dodder Park and Orwell Road – just at the kiosk. On foot of complaints from dog walkers  Desmond contacted the city council over seven weeks ago.  They promised to look into the matter but to date the bins are still missing. In a follow-up call we spoke to area manager Padraic Gallagher who referred us to Bernie Lillis, in charge of waste disposal. We emailed her about the situation and we await results.

follow-up

PIC Rasa Kasparaviciene

happy holiday hints

 by Desmond Purcell
Journalist
Image by Chewy
PIC  Chewy

Are you planning taking your dog with you on holidays this summer? If you do this on a regular basis you are probably old hands at the game. Yet, given the last two years of Covid restrictions, lockdowns (and general misery) this may be the first time your four-legged friend has stepped outside the neighbourhood.

Image by Chewy
PIC Chewy

If that is the case it is a good idea to take time to jot down a few pointers that should help all concerned have a hassle-free holiday. There is no shortage of these on the internet and the website dosforghood.org offers sound general advice. If you want a more forensic and detailed approach, see Issue 33 of Edition Dog where Caroline Hearne presents a must-have dog packing list down to the last detail.

Image by Autri Taheri
PIC Autri Taheri

Here are a few of the more essential tips to put in place which should address the needs of the average dog: -

NO PLACE FOR FLEAS: Check to see that your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations and flea, tick and worm treatments are in place. These nasty little entities thrive in summer and your dog can be vulnerable unless protected.

THAT LONG CAR TRIP: If it is your furry friend’s first long trip in a car make sure, for example, he’s comfortable with the car harness. Fast your dog from the night before travel. If it is a long journey do a bit of research to identify pit stops where both you and your buddy can have a meaningful break. Yaker chews are great for keeping dogs occupied on a break in the drive when they cannot eat. 

 

Especially travelling in Ireland, it is not a bad idea to see if there are any forest walks along the way where all can unwind before the rest of the journey.  The travelling must-have kit has to include a watering bowl, fresh water – and don’t forget the poo bags

ON THE BEACH: Check to see that your holiday destination is generally dog friendly.  Are there good walks? On the beach do the dogs have to be restrained?  If heading for foreign climes find out if dogs are limited to certain areas of the beach at particular times.

Image by Emerson Peters
PIC Emerson Peters

FIRST AID: Have a useful first aid kit that can be used by dog and owner alike. Hopefully it won’t happen but if your dog gets seriously sick or injured know beforehand the times, location and phone number of the local vet. Even having that information alone takes a good deal of stress out of the trip. If renting a house check that the fences are secure and your dog won’t be tempted to wander off. 

CALMING THE NERVES: Some hyper sensitive dogs can get very worked up when brought into new surroundings so it would be worthwhile getting advice from the vet on calming sprays to help settle the nerves. Caroline Hearn advises that for maximum benefits your dog should be introduced to these remedies about three to four weeks before heading off on holidays.

Image by Aaron Burden
PIC Aaron Burden

SUN – NOT FOR ALL: Maybe after two years of lockdown you can’t wait to get on the ferry and head for the French sun. If you are aiming to bring your pooch, take note that not all canines will be wagging their tails at the prospect of a vacation in serious heat. The reason is many breeds just can’t cope in high temperatures.  For example, the English and French bulldogs have flat faces with narrow airways and nostrils which makes them very prone to heat stroke.  Boxers with their high-energy levels can lead to overheating. Their short muzzles can also cause breathing difficulties. Pekingese tend to put on weight which can be a problem in the heat.

Image by Daoudi Aissa
PIC Daoudi Aissa

Other breeds which don’t thrive in the sun include the Chow Chow with its thick coat, Pomeranians which have a short muzzle and thick coat and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which is prone to putting on the weight, has a short muzzle and easily overheats.

Image by Laura Mitulla
PIC Laura Mitulla

If you do have one of these dogs that you want to along be very careful.  Lots of water breaks, keep in the shade and plan walks early morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler.  Make sure where you are staying has air conditioning and if you take a break during a long trip don’t ever leave your dog locked in the car.

You owe it to your furry friend to make his trip as safe and enjoyable as it is for you.

pi5rRr7yT.gif
Hope.JPG

hooked by HOPE!

Thomas Carroll, Kenilworth Road, is the proud owner of humdinger Hope.  Watch out for her allure   at the local dog shows this  summer!

Image by ian dooley
pi5rRr7yT.gif
SEE YOU at our GAZEBO!

on-the-spot
TEPEE 
drawing competition
for children 4 - 12

1000 - 1200 hours

drawing

by Steffi Baker
Image by Taru Huhkio
PIC  Taru Huhkio

I just love to draw!  As a child I revelled in it.  Ripping out page after page of used copy book.  Hungry for yet another clean sheet to fill with whatever passing thought stayed long enough in my mind.  Something I’m still proud to say I share with Pablo Picasso!  ‘I draw like other people bite their nails’ said he.  Unlike Picasso, my father rolled up my mountains of creativity daily and placed them in the fireplace.  He simply hated waste.

Image by Daria Tumanova
PIC Daria Tumanova

Talk about being in good company!  When it comes to drawing I also share the thinking of Edgar Degas!  ‘Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see’.  Naturally, I impetuously put my name forward to write a piece for the June edition about the on-the-spot drawing competition for children happening this month at ‘dogs in dublin’ gazebo.  Of course I’m over the moon to have got the nod.

Original_edited_edited.jpg

Excited is an understatement when I reflect on the prospect of the children drawing our Kritz.  He is such a charming rogue.  Full of crafty cleverness and positive perks.  The way he pops up on the emag page like a ray of sunshine, comfortable in his own skin.  There is something reassuring about his presence, a vital quality in his eyes that draws the soul.  Kritz is wherever he is, now.  The perfect subject for a quote from George Bridgeman.  ‘In drawing, one must look for or suspect that there is more than is casually seen’.

pi5rRr7yT_edited_edited.png

As you probably all know by now, ‘dogs in dublin’ eMagazine have a Gazebo, independent but beside the dog show, part of the Harold’s Cross festival, in Harold’s Cross Park on Saturday 21st May 2022.  The on-the-spot drawing competition for children is just one of the events that will take place at our Gazebo, open from 1000 to 1400 hours.  Something important to note.  The drawing competition runs from 1000 until noon.

Image by MJ Tangonan
PIC M J Tangonan

It's exciting that the children will draw in a pair of tepees, pink and green, adjacent to the Gazebo.  As a child that sort of curious location would have driven me wild!  There are three categories: four to six, under nine and under twelve.  Each child who wants to participate will be given a hard postcard, a tub of crayons and for those between the Tepees (if weather permits) a kneeler.  Of course some children will be like me and finish in a jiffy while others will be more ponderous.  The tepee manager will ensure that no more than two children will draw in each tepee at any one time and that the finished drawing is handed in with the name and age of the artist as well as keeping an eye on the return of the tubs of crayons and kneelers for the children to follow.

Image by Sharon McCutcheon
PIC Sharon McCutcheon

What I simply adore about the competition is that after prize-giving at 1300 hours every child who participates can take their drawing home as a memento of the day along with a ‘dogs in dublin’ badge.  There will be a single prize-winner in each category who will pocket a very limited edition of a pencil case specially designed for ‘dogs in dublin’ to show-off in school!   A bit like a trophy that you don’t have to give back!  What better way to commemorate a win!

victor-grabarczyk-N04FIfHhv_k-unsplash.jpg
PIC Victor Grabarczyk

elixir  for common ...
eye infections
 in dogs

by Eric Lowe
 

Your dog’s eye is crusty, itchy and red.  There is an ugly discharge of pus or tears.  What do you need to do about it?

Image by Sebastian Coman Travel
PIC Sebastian Coman Travel

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye is a common eye infection in dogs.  The membrane that lines the eyelids and white portion of the eye is inflamed.  The conjunctiva can be irritated by allergies, dust particles, infection among other things.  Hair in your dog’s eyes for instance can cause irritation that can lead to conjunctivitis especially if it’s matted at the corners.  Simple regular brushing of the hair back can train it to stay where it belongs.

Image by Aleks Dahlberg
PIC Aleks Dahlberg

​Beware that any eye infection can result in permanent damage.  If conjunctivitis does not respond to simple home remedies and is persistent, consult your vet immediately.  Anti-biotics may be needed to deal with an infection.  There is also a condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye which occurs when there are a shortage of tears to keep the eye lubricated.  The vet can test the dog’s tears to diagnose this condition.  Sometimes all that is needed is treatment with lubricating eye drops.  In severe cases, anti-biotics and steroids can also be required.

Image by Tom Crew
PIC Tom Crew

Some simple home remedies for

common pink eye are as follows:

Clean the discharge using a soft clean cloth or cotton ball soaked in  lukewarm water.  Squeeze it out.  Gently wipe away the discharge moving away for the eye.  Alternatively, use an unscented baby wipe.  Use separate wipe for each eye if both are affected.

Instead of using water you can use an over-the-counter eye-scrub which may cause less stinging than water due to pH balance.

 

 

While eye scrubs can keep the lids clean, a good way to wash the surface of the eye is with simple lubricating eye drops applied a few times daily to remove particles that may be causing the irritation.  Reduce the frequency as condition improves.

Covering the dog’s eyes with a damp, warm compress can be very soothing.  Simply moisten a soft, clean cloth in lukewarm water, wring it out and gently hold it across the eyes for five minutes while talking soothingly to your dog at the same time.  If the dog panics with both eyes covered, then apply the compress to one eye at a time.  Be sure to rinse the cloth thoroughly before placing it over the other eye.  Of course if only one eye is affected, treat only that eye.

Image by Content Pixie
PIC Content Pixie

Natural Dog Health Remedies

suggests rinsing an infected eye with homemade eye wash that contains 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of distilled or filtered water and 10 drops of one of the following herbal extracts: eyebright, calendula, chamomile, red clover or St. John's wort. Use a dropper to rinse the irritated eye two to three times per day.

 suggests making a chamomile tea, soaking a cloth in it, and using that as an eye compress. Apply it to your pet's eye for a few minutes two or three times a day.

 Dog Health Guide suggests that dog conjunctivitis home treatment can include homeopathic remedies such as the herbs burdock, rosemary, and meadowsweet

Image by Iler Stoe
PIC Iler Stoe

When travelling to the dog show or anywhere with your dog, avoid allowing him to put his head out the window.  Debris can get in the eye and make it more prone to infection.

pi5rRr7yT.gif

holiday hiccups

by Diana Darcy

Having made it through two years or so of living with restrictions, followed almost immediately by the threat of world war hanging over us, it’s easy to see why so many people are blowing their tops to get away and let hair fly in the sun.  The current boarding kennel crisis in Ireland, highlighted by Conor Feehan in the Irish Independent, edition 09th May is yet another mountain to climb!

PIC  Kevin Woblick
Image by Kevin Woblick

In short, many kennels and dog minders are saturated by demand and lack the capacity to take on new customers.  Given that there is a twenty per cent increase in dog ownership in Ireland in the past two years according to a recent CSO survey, many novice owners find themselves stranded when it comes to finding a suitable place for the dog while they are overseas.

Escalating insurance costs would seem to have caused some boarding kennels not to reopen.  ‘It can cost €8,000 to €10,000 a year now’ according to Alan Russell, West City Kennels and Cattery on the Old Naas Road in west Dublin in the Irish Independent, edition 09th May.  Put that into the pot with the rising cost of energy and dog food and we’re most likely looking at an increase in boarding rates in the near future to boot.  For those lucky and on the ball enough to secure a place for the dog in a boarding kennel, the rates depend on the size and quantity of dogs to be looked after, currently anything from €18 to €20 per day.

Image by Tejash Verma
PIC  Tejash Verma

Another option is to find a dog sitter.  Some look after the dog in their own home while others house-sit in the dog’s family home.  Petshake is an on-line service which operates internationally.  Essentially, they introduce the dog owner to potential dog sitters.  According to their CEO, Tanguy Peers, Petshake have five thousand dog sitters in Ireland.

Couple with Dogs

The advice is screaming at us!  Get accommodation for your dog arranged long in advance of your trip to the sun.  Regardless of our need to get away, ensure that the dog is in good hands in our absence.  Chrissy Mahon, commercial manager of the DSPCA Pet Hotel and Doggie Daycare Centre in Rathfarnham warns about the lack of regulation in the pet-minding industry in Ireland.

Image by Kasey McCoy
PIC Kasey McCoy

Undaunted by the struggle to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s before we are airborne, remember never leave dogs alone in cars.  Ella Carter writing in ‘What your dog is trying to tell you’  says ‘it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or just for a short amount of time – don’t leave your dog in the car’.  She explains that ‘dogs usually regulate their body temperature by panting, but when they can’t escape the heat of a car, panting isn’t enough’. 

PIC Julia Solonina

So much to contend with this year on so many levels for everyone.  My father used to say ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’.  Congratulate yourself on securing a safe, secure place for your dog as you take-off to a well-deserved trip, with all the time in the world to spend horizontal on a sun lounger, lazily sipping sangria!

Image by Julia Solonina
Skylark-19-Dick-Coombes-e1554819725352-600x400.jpg
PIC  Dick Coombes
go from ordinary to
extraordinary

outdoors with your dog and the  skylark

‘My first encounter with a singing skylark, a few decades ago, put me flat on my back on the moss of the dunes – a proper posture for awe.

The bird had sprung, as larks do, almost from under my feet and spiralled up to hang as a speck in the clear air, pouring out a ceaseless flow of whistlings and trillings that seemed to stun the whole hillside into listening. They certainly stunned me, just like the countless poets the skylark has hoisted into verse’. Michael Viney

How extraordinary that what birdwatchireland.ie describe as ‘a rather non-descript species, with much brown and black streaking’ can have this impact on so many poets and Michael Viney!

PIC  Colum Clarke

No two ways about it, the skylark is a small brown bird.  When you are outdoors with your dog and the bird is worked-up with excitement or danger, you may notice a small crest elevated.  The wings and tail boast a white outline while the streaked brown feathers are paler on the underside.  The male has broader wings than the female which facilitate his antics.

Skylark-18-Colum-Clarke-e1598970382555-600x400.jpg

The flight of the skylark seems to be the factor that stuns.  If you are lucky enough to witness this with your dog, stop and soak it up.  The male can elevate almost vertically to one hundred metres with the help of rapid wing activity.  There he hovers, almost like a dramatic pause, before plummeting downwards.  Obviously the skylark gets a great kick out of this as he sings continuously during flight.  The music constitutes a melodic whistling with fast up and down chirrups.  No shyness here.  The song of the skylark is loud.  Be prepared to be blasted!

Skylark-Dick-Coombes-e1554819686899-600x400.jpg
PIC Dick Coombes

Skylarks favour open countryside but can be found anywhere from waste ground in city centres to isolated off-shore islands.  Insects, seeds and plant parts constitute their basic diet, with worms and spiders topping the bill in spring and seeds and plant parts in winter.  Be particularly vigilant when you and your dog are in areas of short vegetation as this is mostly where they seek out food.  In winter the skylark usually leaves the breeding area to flock in stubble fields, grasslands and by the coast.  birdwatchireland.ie tell us that birds ‘from continental Europe arrive in variable number from September and depart March/April’.

Skylark-08-Shay-Connolly-3-2-e1554819735477-600x400.jpg
PIC Shay Connolly

Skylarks favour open countryside but can be found anywhere from waste ground in city centres to isolated off-shore islands.  Insects, seeds and plant parts constitute their basic diet, with worms and spiders topping the bill in spring and seeds and plant parts in winter.  Be particularly vigilant when you and your dog are in areas of short vegetation as this is mostly where they seek out food.  In winter the skylark usually leaves the breeding area to flock in stubble fields, grasslands and by the coast.  birdwatchireland.ie tell us that birds ‘from continental Europe arrive in variable number from September and depart March/April’.

Image by Belinda Fewings
PIC  Belina Fewings

When outdoors with your dog be prepared to be dumbstruck. In the words of Michael Viney, the skylark ‘put me flat on my back on the moss of the dunes – a proper posture for awe’.

Sources
 

www.irishtimes.com/Michael Viney 05 May 2018 0600 hours

Birdwatchireland.ie

pi5rRr7yT.gif

cat in the box

by Thomas Cantwell
Image by Biel Morro

The guilt has been building up for some time now – ever since I had the idea to set up dogsindublin.ie. It has now reached a point where I have to do something about it.

And that ‘something’ is to write about cats.    

PIC Biel Morro

For the past year I have been writing about dogs – and a very enjoyable process it is. As leader writer in 'dogs in dublin' eMagazine, I have been making my humble contribution in pointing out how the relationship between canine and owner can be enhanced to the benefit of both. But I am essentially a lifelong cat lover.  Persians are my favourite and there are five of them living in my house- each very engaging and lovable. With all the focus on dogs the cats don’t get a look-in and they are starting to make me feel a little guilty – they are adept at doing that.  

Image by Elias Barbouch
PIC  Elias Barbouch

Not helped by the fact that they have had to cope with the more recent arrival of two very lively Boxer dogs into their lives.  The dogs are the darlings of Bernardine who lives in the house!  I don't quite see it that way!

There is no cosy co-habitation between the two. Boxers are non-aggressive but they are highly charged and in play mode love to jump on anything that moves. From a cat’s point of view a massive bundle of energy charging right at you does not constitute happy playtime. The real danger is what a frightened cat might do to a dog if he felt threatened. Usually, the felines simply adopt an air of superior tolerance to Kirstin and Karl. Most times they keep out of their way except for Claude, the senior cat (so to speak) who has mastered the art of the intimidating stare which when aimed at Kirstin works her up to a barking frenzy.  Fact is, her bark drives me insane!

Image by Marina Khrapova
PIC Marina Khrapova
Image by Kanashi

There were very few times since my childhood when we didn’t have a cat.  I would fret earnestly when my cat would go AWOL for a few days and then the sheer joy to see him again at the garden window looking the worse for wear after some serious squabbles with the neighbouring felines.  How I grieved when my little furry friend would go out the back door never to return.  Then I would make a nuisance of myself by raiding neighbouring gardens hoping (in vain) to find him. Three years seemed to be the maximum time that our cats would hang around.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.-Robert A. Heinlein
PIC Kanashi

My father was a cat person but back then the concept of bringing a feline to a vet was deemed to be a massive expensive indulgence. Had he done so I may have been saved a lot of pain. Later I learned that neutered tabbies – especially females – tend not to wander off as much and I did have a mother and daughter tabby with a lifespan of 18 years each.

Original_edited_edited.jpg

I can remember all the cats I ever had. Too many to write about here but two Manx cats stand out.  We called then Manx as they had no tails but I doubt if they were purebreds. My parents let me name all our cats and often my choice was bizarre. One was called Rollo – inspired not by the chocolate but the first Viking ruler of Normandy from my schoolboy history book.  The other I called Lumby, after the first president of the newly independent Belgian Congo (later assassinated).  Yes, it was a long time ago. Sadly, both cats went missing in action and I have hardly seen any Manx cats since.

It was Pedro who started my love affair with Persians. Pedro was a slightly longhaired tabby with a touch of a Persian in her. (Yes, I know, Pedro a boy’s name – a misnomer on my part). Only in my later adult years did real Persian cats enter my life. What joy.

 

Persian cats have many endearing traits – not least their small button like noses and large expressive eyes.   They are easy going and unlike Siamese don’t get too worked up. They like people although one of the five, Delphine, desperately scrambles for a hiding place when strangers call. They are affectionate but have a way of making you feel bad if it is not returned. They love their comforts but can take their catnaps in the most surprising places. Alex, for example, likes to snooze – would you believe – on top of my printer. They are happy to be house-bound which means they will never go astray.

Image by Karina Vorozheeva
PIC Karina Vorozhoeva

As regards training – well, on that subject I will give one Bill Dana the last words -

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult.  It’s not.  Mine had me trained in two days!!!”.