Archive | May, 2012

Dogs

28 May

So I know that I’ll be seriously outnumbered on this one considering that dogs are the number 1 pet around the world however I feel the need to vent my frustration.

I’ve had my fair share of unpleasant dog experiences, from being attacked by a dog as a toddler, to being chased and cornered by several aggressive dogs as an adult and just generally not enjoying many unavoidable dog by-products e.g. poo, unpleasant smells, barking, drool, licking, crotch sniffing, being jumped on etc.

The problem perhaps isn’t necessarily with dogs themselves but with the way that people keep and care (or don’t care) for them. I understand the appeal of having a dog as a pet. They are fun, cheerful, loyal and can be great companions but they also require alot of work and attention – to a level which, most people that own dogs are not willing to undertake.

Caring for a dog could almost be a full time gig. Take my Mum for instance, she is the ultimate dog lady. She has her dog that she has raised from a pup which she is devoted to but she also can’t say no to dogs that need to be re-homed as often cares for 2-3 dogs at a time. She bases her time and her commitments around what the dogs need as well as working full time. However if the truth be told, it’s probably still not enough. The dogs don’t get as much exercise as they need even with a park visit and play time in the back yard every day.

My heart goes out to the dogs who rarely get taken on walks. In fact, many dogs don’t get much more attention than their owner yelling at them telling them not to bark/jump/do some other undesirable behaviour. They are probably barking due to lack of attention. This is one way they can get their owner to interact with them.

This post may seem quite judgemental however I honestly wouldn’t be complaining so much if other people and their dogs didn’t have such a large impact on my life. There are two dogs living in nearby houses that not only bark at me when I am in my own front yard but also have owners who leave them outside unsupervised. Neither of these houses have fences so as a result, the dogs roam free around the street easily at least once a day. They poo in our driveway and terrorise our cat. Even after having spoken to the dog owners about my concerns, this still happens on a regular basis.

Recently my cat Dusty was attacked by another dog that had escaped from it’s house further up the street. It’s escaped close to a dozen times in the past fortnight but the owners have “not yet had time to find where she’s escaping”. If they don’t have time to do this, they don’t have time to own a dog!! This makes me so angry. Poor Dusty was attacked not just on our property but on our front verandah by this huge, undisciplined puppy. She spent 4 days in so much pain that she was unable to walk to her food bowl and now 10 days (and a $200 vet bill) later, she still has painful wounds requiring both anti-inflamatory and antibiotic medication, which she absolutely hates.

I didn’t approach the dog owners initially because we didn’t see it happen and can’t be sure that their dog was definitely the culprit. We heard it happen and saw the dog on the loose so I thought it was a pretty safe bet. Today the vet confirmed that the wounds were from a dog. So now I’m not sure what to do. The owners say they’ll “probably try to find where the dog’s getting out in the next couple of days” but part of me wants them to take more responsibility for the impact their dog has had on our lives.

I’m still torn about what to do on this.

I’d love to see more examples of responsible dog ownership (and pet ownership in general). Pets can enrich our lives and teach us important lessons about love, forgiveness and gratitude but we need to be willing to make the required commitment to ensure that both the pet and the people/animals they encounter are happy and safe.

 

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Nomi Friendly

10 May

In case you find yourself in a situation where you will be making food for me, here’s some ideas and an updated version of my last post about what I can and can’t eat. I’ve had a few situations recently where people have suddenly freaked out about whether or not I can have this ingredient or that ingredient. Here’s the magic rule:

If it is an unprocessed plant food then I can eat it. Nuts, grains, vegies etc – ALL FINE. Gluten is FINE. People seem to think that yeast = gluten but I can eat gluten without any issues. Here’s the 3 foods that I avoid:

Meat  *  Dairy  *  Yeast

That’s it. Meat and dairy are fairly easy to spot and avoid but it doesn’t hurt to check labels for things like milks solids, butterfat, lactose, whey or fish sauce, shrimp paste etc. Yeast is where it can get tricky – it’s everywhere from breadcrumbs to tomato sauce. Avoiding yeast is not just a personal preference – I have an intolerance to it and experience up to a month of tummy pain and symptoms if I eat it by accident. I really want to avoid this!

When dealing with processed foods, these are the major culprits: bread products, anything crumbed, sauces, stock, gravy, potato & corn chips, flavourings, vegetarian meat alternatives, vegan cheese alternatives and tempeh.

Although it is worth checking the label on ALL packaged foods just to be sure.

The ingredients that are known to effect me are:

Yeast, yeast extract, nutritional yeast, yeast flakes, vegetarian seasonings, flavours, seasonings… you get the idea. Anything that is a nondescript ‘flavour’ most likely originated from yeast and is best to avoid.

I do not know of any commercially produced meat alternatives that I can eat! Vegie sausages are out! I do not know of any pre-packaged pizza bases that I can eat – I used to be able to eat the mission ones but they have now changed their ingredients to include both yeast and milk. Thankfully there are a number of things that are easy to find that are nomi-friendly…

Mountain Bread – These make great wraps for lunch with salad and a boiled egg.

Felafels – I can eat most pre-packaged felafels. They go great in wraps, with dips and as a main dish with vegies.

Tofu – I tend to get the unflavoured ones and add soy sauce, honey etc. I can also have dried TVP and soy sauce.

Rice – And all other grains/seeds like quinoa, polenta, millet and barley. I can also have rice noodles.

There are more tips and ideas in my make me dinner post. Thanks for making food for me!