Posted on March 31, 2012 in Hounds by Jay16 Comments »

Last week, my lovely Sid had a ‘spa day’.

First we went to the hydrotherapy pool where he had his usual twenty minute swim.  This involves quite a high degree of pampering because not only does he get lowered gently into the warm water by two people, but after he’s had his relaxing paddle around the heated four metre circular pool, he gets lifted out, and laid on a soft towel on a pontoon … and gets cuddled by Ross, one of his favourite people, who prevents him falling back into the pool in his overly relaxed condition while he gets his land-legs back.  Meanwhile, Wendy (the hydrotherapist) gives him a nice warm shower by hand to keep his muscles warm and rinse him clean of pool water.  You can almost hear him saying ‘pass the grapes’.*  After that he gets towelled and blow-dried with the greatest of care for his well-being and comfort.  They’re pretty darned good with all the dogs, but I get the feeling that Sid gets star-treatment, just because he’s a tripod greyhound .. and I’m not going to complain about that!

Next came the really exciting part.  We got back into the car and drove to the other end of the property where Sid met his new friend, Karen Perry, canine (and equine) massage therapist.  Karen visits the greyhound kennel every six weeks or so to take care of any of the resident athletes who need a bit of work, and she’ll see any pets too, if she has space in her diary.

Karen had Sid’s couch bed ready for him in her temporary office, in a shaft of sunlight.  Sid was more than happy to lie on it and allow his new friend to pet him, but he was a little surprised at the next turn of events.

Those of you who have ever had therapeutic massage will know that it hurts when they hit a sore spot.  It’s a ‘good’ hurt, but there is definitely pain involved.  Karen was a lovely, gentle lady, and obviously had a great rapport with animals.  I told her that Sid was good natured, and would not object to her working on him and she confidently set to work.

The first thing she did was find a knot in his left shoulder.  Sid let her know about this by sharply turning his head to look at a point in the air midway between her left ear and her hand.  Then he very slowly relaxed, still with a thoughtful, inward-looking’ expression on his face, and let her get on with kneading the muscles in the equivalent of his upper arm until they were soft.

She checked his other front leg, loosened up his neck, then worked her way down his spine pausing at every ‘hot spot’ and working on the muscles and ligaments until they relaxed under her gentle fingers.  She then did his back leg and even his stump.  Sid never minds people touching his stump, and often stretches it out in response to a scratch in the right place.  I think Karen was a little surprised at this, because stumps can often be highly sensitive and many animals (and probably people) really don’t like them handled much.  Anyway there wasn’t much of Sid that hadn’t been thorough worked over by the time we left!

Karen also showed me how to do a little home massage myself.  I have been doing it for years, just rubbing along his spine and down his legs, but it was good to know which direction to roll each muscle in and how to put the right amount of pressure on.  I mean, you can’t learn therapeutic massage in five minutes, let’s face it, but anything I can do at home to improve his cramps has got to be a good thing, right?

I can see more massage and hydrotherapy and possibly more drugs in Sid’s future as he gets older.  A tripod can have a hard time as he or she ages, and the larger and heavier the dog, the more trouble they’re likely to have.  Sid is unfortunate to be a large greyhound with a stocky frame, and while we’ve kept his muscles good and strong, this is a double-edged sword for him as well; on the one hand they keep him active and help him get around, but on the other, they add to his weight and the overdevelopment of certain muscle groups cause him to suffer cramps and spasms at times.

A cart might eventually be a solution, but we really don’t want to go down that route until we absolutely have to because then those lovely muscles will atrophy and he’ll lose bone density too.

Anyway.  We’ll do everything we can to keep Sid happy, exercised and pain-free, and it looks as if Karen will be one of the people to help us do it!  Thanks, Karen – I think Sid enjoyed his session with you!

Needless to say, Sid will continue to enjoy his hydrotherapy sessions with Wendy, too.  So I’ll leave you with a video of him going for gold in the pool.  Enjoy – Sid does!



* Except that grapes and raisins can be highly toxic to dogs so that wouldn’t really be an option in Sid’s case.  Maybe a nice cube of cheese or ten, instead, huh?

Posted on March 29, 2012 in Oddities by Jay10 Comments »

Now, what did I promise you all last week … ?  Oh yes, that was it!  I said I would post two pictures this week and you could choose the easy one or the difficult one.   Or, I suppose, those of you who are clever clogses might try both!

So here we go.

Puzzle no. 1.  I’ll leave it to you to decide which one is the easy one!

There.  Let’s see how you all do.

Does every home have one?  No, and the number of homes which do have one will vary across the globe according to where you live, how old you are – and also what your poverty or solvency status is, because they can be quite expensive.  In some places it is forbidden to have one at all, but hey, we like to live dangerously here in England!

Are they the same all over the world?  Essentially yes they are, but there will be differences between the types that different people choose to have.  Size and colour vary a lot, but basic shape varies surprisingly little when all’s said and done.  If we’re talking about this particular type, shape is pretty much set in stone though there are a few minor variations both is shape and (more so) in size.  Colour does vary, with some being quite hard to find.

Are they useful?  Some are incredibly useful – you might almost say essential.  Others are acquired more for their aesthetic value.  Most are perhaps a little of both.

And the second puzzle?

I KNOW you all have one of these.  Yep, every single one of you, although yours will be different to mine, and quite a lot get broken over the years so they end up with missing bits or non-functioning bits, or simply bits which have changed shape and seldom for the better!

It’s tough luck though, because we never seem to get the chance to get a replacement, or even an upgrade!

Well. Off you go then, and pop your answers in the comments as usual, and I’ll be back – as usual – to add the answer in the form of a picture link at the bottom of this post tomorrow evening. That’s Thursday evening, UK time.

Have fun!

There.  That was better, wasn’t it?   Well, when I say ‘better’, not one of you managed to guess the first one correctly (not even OH, which surprised me somewhat!) but ALL of you got the second.  Well done on that one!  And here is the solution for that second photo.  Not that it will surprise anyone.

Boy, are you all going to kick yourselves when you see what the first one was.  Oh tee hee!  I mean, really, chaps …

Here it is!

Yes, they do have long legs, don’t they?  Ah well … better luck next week.

And the ban?  Yes, there are many places which ban them within various countries, but also they have been banned in Reykjavik, and I recently read that they’re considering banning them in Iran because the authorities consider them to be ‘unclean’.

The clocks have sprung forward, the sun has come out of hiding, and all over Britain, people are squinting and digging out the sunglasses tossed hastily into drawers at the end of last summer.

Most people are smiling.  Some are not.

‘ARGGH! said OH, as we stepped out with the dogs yesterday.  He flung his arms out sideways like a tightrope walker and did a neat (and unintentional) Jack Sparrow swagger.

‘What’s the matter?’ I said, unobtrusively checking that he hadn’t tripped the dog up in the process.

OH: ‘This is really weird.  I feel taller!’

Me: ‘Well, I know it’s been a while since the sun shone … ‘

OH: ‘No!  No, I … Wow, this is strange.  I think it’s the glasses!’

Me: ‘Are they going to be OK, or do you need to go back and change them?’

OH: ‘Oh, no.  It’s OK .. I just feel so tall!

Me: ‘I’d make the most of it, if I were you’.

I have to say at this point that people have accused OH of being many things, but tall is not one of them.  He is a shade under the average on the height front.  I  hesitate to say ‘short’, but … well, he isn’t exactly … I mean … OK, yeah.  He’s short.

We completed the dog walk with no mishaps, though I’m sure a few passing villagers probably thought he was drunk in charge of a wife and two large dogs, and when we got home, we decided that the best thing to do would be for him to accompany me to the opticians when I went for my eye check today and talk to them about replacing the lenses.

This he did.  He brought along his most recent prescription and I left him talking to the young lady at the desk while I toddled off to get my eyes looked at.

I came out (happy to know that my eyes are healthy and I don’t need new glasses) and paid for the test, then joined OH on the pavement outside where he’d gone for a smoke.

He looked a bit sheepish.

‘Turns out I don’t need new lenses.  That’s good, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘Apparently’, he continued, dropping his voice a little, ‘one of the lenses had got upside down’.

I waited.

‘She said I’d probably been cleaning them a bit too vigorously’.

And right there in the main shopping centre of the city on a busy afternoon, I snorted, coughed, bent double and roared with laughter.

It was my turn for people to look sideways at me, but I didn’t care.  I had to have the last word.

‘So .. do you feel shorter now?’ I enquired.




Posted on March 21, 2012 in Oddities, The Home Front by Jay11 Comments »

Feast your eyes on this week’s shadow puzzle, ladies and gentlemen! Lovely, isn’t it? But .. what is it that’s casting that intriguing shadow? Do you know?

It’s a fairly common object, seen in perhaps a slightly unusual place. In the Western world, these things are commonplace – you’re likely to see hundreds of them every day. Thousands! Possibly even millions. But they won’t look like this, because they usually hang around in large numbers, all together, and this is just a single one.

There are some countries, and some places within other countries – where these aren’t used so much, and they can even look a little bit out of place. And there are some countries where they are everywhere. But wherever in the world you happen to live, since you all use a computer, every single one of you will have seen them.

By the way, when I say this one is in an unusual place, it’s not like seeing a hamburger in a coal scuttle, or a horse in your bathroom or anything like that. This one has lived in this particular place (or within a yard of it anyway) for several years and it has a purpose for being there – and many people have them in the same kind of place for the same kind of reason. It’s just not the purpose for which it was made.

So. Are they always seen outside? Well .. yes and no. You won’t see any in my house, but you can see them inside many houses and other buildings.

Do you need them? Well, I do, and many other people do, but other people do not. In other words, not everyone will have them.

Do they always look like this? Er .. no. The shape and construction is pretty much always the same (within a certain set of parameters) – and the size doesn’t vary much either, but there are variations. The holes are very important, but there can be more, or less, or sometimes there are no holes at all!

These variations alter the appearance so that you would be likely, for instance, to be able to pick out this one from a heap of others from a different source. They can tell you roughly how old one of these things is, or whether it has a specialised use. Mine is common, fairly modern, and it’s nothing special.

Oh, and one more thing I should probably tell you: the photo was taken quite late in the afternoon so the shadows are loooong.

As usual, please pop your guess in the comments and I’ll be back tomorrow evening (that’s Thursday UK time) to let you know what it is. I’ll add a link to the whole picture at the bottom of this post so as not to spoil the game for latecomers!

See you later – have fun!

Yoo hoo! Here I am! And no, none of you guessed correctly this week, which is not really a surprise to me, because it was a fairly horrible puzzle, was it not? I am a cruel, cruel woman.

So what was it? Well, it’s just one of these.

Now, stop kicking yourselves (yes, Babs, you do see thousands of them every day, I’m willing to bet!) or plotting to get your revenge on me, because I’ll tell you what I’ll do: next week, I’ll post you two puzzles. One will be the easy-peasy option, and for those who like a challenge, I’ll post another head-scratcher.

OK? Can’t say fairer than that, now can I?

For now, thanks for playing, everyone – you’re all lovely, and very good sports!