Friday 28 August 2009

Sunday 23 August 2009

Beware of the toad!

Toads are a common cause of poisoning in dogs.
Toads do not attack or bite or spit or squirt venom but exude a milky white toxin from poison glands behind their eyes. These glands are quite visible. They squeeze this liquid over their skin when they feel threatened. Dogs are poisoned when they try to catch a toad in their mouth. Due to its corrosive and irritant nature, the poison will cause profuse salivation, followed by vomiting. It can cause seizures or convulsions, possibly cardiac arrest.
If a dog shows signs of having eaten a toad or has been seen licking a toad, the immediate thing to do is prevent more toxins being absorbed by thoroughly wiping out the dog’s mouth with a wet cloth or thoroughly rinsing the dog’s mouth from the side with a water hose, making sure water does not go down the throat or nose. Then get the dog to a vet as quickly as possible so that the appropriate treatment can be administered. Untreated toad poisoning can be deadly.
Knowledge about the toxicity of toad venom comes from the past when the venom was used by different people for various purposes. Roman women used toad secretion to poison their husbands. South American Indians, especially from the Amazon region, used the venom on the tip of their arrows for hunting and fighting. In Japan and in China, dried toad venom was used as an expectorant, anti-hemorrhagic, diuretic, and cardiac stimulant.
While most European toads are relatively harmless, some species such as the cane toad in Australia and the US are very venomous and their venom can be deadly.
PS: this picture was taken by me on one of the rare occasions when we were having lunch in our Cornish garden. I have spotted more than one toad but I cannot make out if it is the same one in different disguises.

Monday 17 August 2009

Chien Blanc/White Dog

Chien Blanc, is an autobiographical novel written by Romain Gary. It is a fictionalised memoir set in both the United States and France during the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. Chien Blanc focuses on the events that occur after Gary and his then-wife Jean Seberg, an actress and an activist, find a seemingly lovable stray German Shepherd dog they name Batka. At first, the dog is an ideal new member of the family: intelligent, devoted, and quickly befriending the couple's assortment of other animals. To their dismay, they discover that the dog, a former Alabama police dog, was trained to attack African Americans on sight. Although they are told the dog is too old to be retrained, they take him to a black dog trainer in an attempt to retrain him. The man trains the dog to attack white people, including Gary himself. White Dog quickly became a bestseller in the United States after its release in English. The story was purchased for use by Paramount in 1975, with Curtis Hanson ( LA Confidential, entre autres ) selected to write the screenplay and Roman Polanski hired to direct. However, Polanski was charged with statutory rape and fled the country, leaving the production in limbo. White Dog became a 1982 American drama film directed by Samuel Fuller.
I have not read the book and have not seen the film. Hence I do not know how it ends. Somehow , I feel the dog does not fare well.
Does anybody know?

Thursday 13 August 2009

Did you know? Part 2.

Although basset hounds will jump up at people or steel food off the table or jump into the sofa, they cannot swim. Their crocked legs are too short to keep their long heavy bodies afloat.

Sunday 9 August 2009

Did you know?

Hush Puppies is a division of Wolverine World Wide, the world's leading maker of casual, work, and outdoor footwear. Hush Puppies is headquartered in Rockford, Michigan. The brand was founded in 1958. It’s name and mascot were coined by the brand's first sales manager, James Gaylord Muir. On a selling trip to the southeast, Mr. Muir dined with one of his regional salesmen and the meal included hush puppies, traditional fried southern cornballs. When Mr. Muir asked about the origin of the name, he was told that farmers threw hush puppies at the hounds to "quiet their barking dogs." Mr. Muir saw a connection to his new product. "Barking dogs" in the vernacular of the day was an idiom for sore feet. Mr. Muir reasoned that his new shoes were so comfortable that they could "quiet barking dogs."

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Dogs in Cornwall

We should not forget that Cornwall is a rural and agricultural county. Surfing comes second.