As you know, dear reader, we are on the move. I’ve been talking about it for a couple of years and now the time is here! 2.5 weeks until we make our way up to the North Island. I’m actually quite excited about the change. I haven’t minded the cold weather in the South Island but El Hubs is over it. I’m not sure how mild the winters are up North but I have visions of wearing T-shirts. We’ll see.

We will drive up slowly with Zeph and Zsa Zsa. We were sending them by pet bus but have decided to keep them with us. Especially because Zeph gets a bit anxious in a car. The vet has provided a very mild anti-anxiety medication and we have purchased from iTunes calming music especially for dogs.

The Cook Strait ferry that sails from Picton to Wellington has crates for dogs and we have booked two of them. We’ll be taking their fleecy blankets so they will have them in the crate. On the drive up, we have found accommodation that allows pets to be indoors with you.

So we’re hoping we have this move covered! I do know that I won’t have Internet connection for maybe three weeks. That will give me an opportunity to hunker down and write.

I’ve just finished four mentoring sessions with a fantastic New Zealand poet. I have revised three of my poems under her guidance and will be submitting them soon to various poetry journals.

Meanwhile, Autumn (or Fall) has arrived in NZ and this week had a sudden cold snap. Zeph decided to steal Zsa’s Zsa’s moose blanket and have a snooze. Just look at that elegant paw!




Did you have a good Easter break? I resolved not to eat much chocolate and, hooray, I ate just one small choc bunny. I bumped up my walking to around 17,000 steps per day. I have a FitBit and really love how it motivates you to get out and about.

We had some friends over on Easter Monday for hot cross buns and a sausage sizzle. Zeph is such a social dog and loves to get in on the human action. He is a cheese connoisseur and loves toast with butter. So we had to watch the hot cross buns and butter, as well as the Camembert we had on the table.

He puts his paws up on the seat, with a view to leaping up on the table and scoffing food. So we were all on guard, preventing Zeph from snatching delights.

Just look at the cheeky smirk on his face!IMG_8226

We’re enjoying wonderful weather here in NZ. The days are getting quite warm. Some unsettled weather but, on the whole, coolish mornings followed by glorious bright blue sunny days. The cherry blossom in the front yard is in full bloom. I look forward to its appearance every year. It only blossoms for a few short weeks and that’s that.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa love spending time under the cherry blossom. Since the tree is right next to the stream in the Secret Garden, insects and small white butterflies buzz around. Both dogs love to chase fluttering things.

Walking back to the house the other day, after walking the dogs in the paddocks, I spotted an amazing cloud formation. Looks like a speech bubble to me.


Weird cloud formation.


Zeph leaps after an insect – under the magnificent cherry blossom.

Zeph is having a birthday week. He’s turning four years old. Where has time gone? He is the world’s most delightful dog – quirky and expressive.  He’s enjoying birthday bones and lots of cuddles this week. Wait…that’s every week!

Happy Birthday to my Zephilicious.


Tomorrow, September 1, is officially Spring!! Yeehah! Winter hasn’t been all that bad really. We’ve had a couple of nights with wet flurries but no huge dump of snow. Temperatures haven’t been icy cold either. In fact, Winter has been pretty mild. It’s just that it has seemed looooooong.

Zeph and Zsa Zsa are spending more time outdoors. When it’s cold, you’ll find Zsa Zsa, in particular, under a fleecy blanket or two or Zeph in front of the fire. The last couple of weeks though, the days have been so sunny and bright – Zeph has been sunbaking during the day, lying on his pet bed outside in the sunshine. Zsa Zsa spends her days chasing butterflies and sniffing the cheery daffodils that are popping up all over the place.

The horses are already shedding their winter coats. When I groom Saffy, tufts of blonde hair fly around and all the horses are enjoying morning sleeps in the sun. Every time I look at Saffy, she has a ray of sunlight shining down on her. Spring favours such a pretty horse angel.


Spring shines down on sweet Saffy!


The dogs are spending more time outdoors.


Cheery yellow Daffodils are springing up all over the property.



Zsa Zsa would like to update her concerned followers. She recently told you about a weird spot or lump that had appeared on her nose. Out of the blue. At first, it bled (which alerted her human to the situation) and had a crater-like appearance. About a week later – during a course of antibiotics prescribed by the vet, who thought it was an infection – it seemed to be larger and more raised. It also looked like it was filled with liquid.

The human (that would be me) decided to research and found out what else it could be. Canine wart was high on the list of possibilities. Then again, it could be an infection and it was taking a bit of time to clear up. Given that Zsa Zsa always has her nose in a bale of hay, it’s possible that a sharp piece of hay pricked her nose.

I had my bets on the canine wart (which is very common with dogs) and found that boosting the immune system is a first line of attack. I also found that Thuja Oil is an alternative treatment because warts may also be caused by vaccinosis or a reaction to vaccinations. Zsa Zsa had her annual vaccination in late April. Thuja Oil contains northern white cedar and arbor vitae, which means “Tree of Life” and it is recommended to give your pet a dose of Thuja Oil within two hours after a vaccination.

So I gave Zsa Zsa 5 drops in her food morning and night for the first week; then dropped it back to once a day in the second week. Shortly after the end of week two, I saw a DRAMATIC difference in the spot. The lump was now flat and much smaller. This was also three weeks after the antibiotics, so I really don’t think they did a thing. Now, in week three, you can barely see the spot and fur is growing back.

English Pointers are also prone to skin conditions and Thuja Oil may help with redness and eruptions. I put Zeph on the oil too and I haven’t noticed an outbreak until last Friday when they went to day care. A couple of female Pointers were in season apparently and, because Zeph has all his bits, I suspect that his teenage hormones get the better of him. He comes back a little red in the groin area. We have found that Aqueous Cream soothes the area and, by the next day, the skin is pink rather than red. But I don’t want to use this cream too much as it contains SLS. Sodium Laureth and Lauryl Sulphate (aka SLS) are nasties and you can read about why here.

I’m going to experiment with a combination of Thuja Oil and ground golden flaxseed (also known as linseed). I put a tablespoon in their dinner every day. Flaxseed contains Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which boosts the immune system.

For those who follow this blog for Pointer information, I’ll take some photos of Zeph’s bits (non-porno ones hahaha!) to show you how his skin can flare up. Meanwhile, Zsa Zsa is extremely happy that she is once again the world’s most beautiful female English Pointer and not looking as though she has a witch’s nose full of warts!


Click on the photo to enlarge. You can barely see the spot now. It’s flat and the fur is beginning to grow back.

Poor Zsa Zsa. About three weeks ago, I saw her running around the property with a bleeding nose. She always has her nose stuck in the hay barn, so I thought that her nose had been pricked by what can often be sharpish bits of hay. I kept an eye on it but I thought it was getting bigger, growing.

So off she went to the vet who considered it to be an infection. Something lodged in her nose with inflammation in the area. She spent 10 days on canine antibiotics but I saw no change or improvement. The lump wasn’t getting larger but it wasn’t disappearing either.

I spent time researching and concluded that it could be a wart or cutaneous papillomas, which is the result of a virus and a weakened immune system. What can cause a suppressed immune system I wondered? More research. And it seems that the vaccinations that are given to dogs may be linked to canine warts as the dog reacts to the vaccination (called Vaccinosis). Zsa Zsa was vaccinated in April of this year. The virus itself is also quite contagious and can be passed on through pets sharing dog toys, greeting each other and so on. So she could have caught it at doggy day care. Young dogs are susceptible to dog warts due to their immature immune systems and Zsa Zsa is three years old.

The vet told us that if the antibiotics didn’t work, then it would need further investigation. I had visions of Zsa Zsa having some sort of biopsy that might only make things worse in the vet’s enthusiasm to diagnose. So I decided to try a combination of natural remedies  – Thuja Oil and boosting Zsa Zsa’s immune system. I dispensed 5 drops into her food (breakfast and dinner) for one week, then dropped this back to once a day in the second week. I also ground up about a tablespoon of golden flaxseed (linseed) and chucked that in her food. Flaxseed contains Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which boosts the immune system. Twice a day, I rubbed Thuja Oil or Vitamin E oil on the spot. I bought Vitamin capsules that you can cut open and get the oil.

During the first week, I saw a change: the lump itself was not as raised as it had been the previous week. By the second week, the lump was flat and decreasing a bit in size. Hair is now growing over the spot and I am hoping that it is a wart I’ve managed to treat with alternative remedies. Zsa Zsa will keep you updated 🙂


The spot on the day Zsa Zsa went to the vet. You can see what seems to be a hole in the middle of the spot.


Just as she finished her 10-day course of antibiotics – the lump looked to be raised and about the same size.


Ten days into treatment with Thuja Oil, Vit E and flaxseed. The lump is no longer raised or rounded. And hair seems to be starting to grow back.




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