Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two doggie incidents to do with Thunder.

Yesterday there was a very large thunderstorm in Bowral. It scared Bernie's dog, Buddy, but not Lena, who seems not to be frightened by thunder and lightning.

Anyway, by coincidence there was a fine example of a Slime Mould*** growing on Bernie and Dorothy's lawn during the day.This is one of those fine yellow foam-like structures which goes under the name of "Dog's Vomit" Slime Mould.

It was in peak condition when I first found it, - full of very fresh foam-like substance. The weather was hot and humid. Perfect for Slime Moulds.

Later in the afternoon, after the thunderstorm I went back out and inspected the Slime Mould and it had transformed itself into a dark, nearly black, blob of something barely able to be described. The outer surface was now black with spores, and what had been a creamy yellow "blancmange" substance had now turned to what, as a parent, I can only describe as a cacky-yellow colour underneath. It looked very nasty indeed, but, hey, that's all right - it was doing its job - reproducing itself.
I suspect that the thunderstorm would be important for this Slime Mould to spread its spores.

*** Slime Moulds were once regarded as Fungi, but these days they are classed as a separate Kingdom of creatures, which are closer to amoebas than fungi. They move around. They do not have the same cellular material as fungi do. This species, probably Fuligo septica, appears to be universal in distribution. It is classed within the Amoebozoa.

And now for the bad news and the good about thunderstorms.

When I returned home this morning, after being away for the weekend, there was a lost and frightened dog on my front verandah. Presumably this little dog had panicked in the thunderstorm, yesterday.

I had never seen this dog before - a small, red, long-haired Terrier. From doing some research it is likely to be a Cairn Terrier. The dog was nervous, and clearly wet and tired. I offered it some food, but it did not accept it (straight away). Lena offered her a friendly welcome too. But the little dog went away.

Anyway, after asking around the street, I tried the Robertson Supermarket, and asked Neil if anyone had lost a small red terrier. Yes, yesterday.

I went home again, to see if the dog had returned and sure enough, it had, and had eaten the food I left out for it (smart dog - pretending not to be interested at first). Good. That meant I was half-way to winning its confidence. I quickly went back to the car and got the rest of my lunch, a Chicken sandwich from the Robertson Village Bakery.

The little dog was very hungry and she and Lena helped me eat the rest of the sandwich. By this time, the little dog had been enticed inside my house, and was safe.

And I quickly called the owner, who was happily re-united with "Ginger" shortly afterwards.

It turns out "Ginger" had walked some 2 Kms from her house, which is actually visible from my back deck. But she was in need of some TLC, which she was clearly about to receive from the very relieved owner.

A good news story. Being a dog-person myself, I understand how special that moment of reunion can be. I was happy to help out on this occasion.


mick said...

The slime mould is interesting and looks quite nice in the first couple of photos! The rest- well not so nice! Glad you were able to find the owner of the little lost dog.

Flabmeister said...

What a nice story Denis. Well done too, owner of shop who knew about the missing dog.

Terriers appear to be susceptible to, and scared of, thunder. Our small dog was initially sleeping in our lounge and banned from the bedroom until we woke up. Then there was a loud thunderstorm in the middle of the night nd got scared and made pitiful whimpers. So we let her come through.

In politics this tactic is known a "wedging". Before too long she had assumed her rightful (in her eyes, which are the only ones that really matter to her) in the middle of the bed. At least it means we don't need hot water bottle in the night!

Mosura said...

Nice set of pics of the Slime Mould! Fascinating things aren't they.

Mark Young said...

I'm glad your dog story had a happy ending. I doubt you get many fireworks where you are, but here they cause the same sort of issues with dogs as thunder does.
The slime mould seems interesting. I haven't seen it before and will keep an eye out for it. Does it inhabit a certain habitat?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Martin
Some Slime Moulds look absolutely nothing like this one. Thin black fibres with rusty spores. Others are like small blobs of jelly.
Shape-changers and also totally unrelated creatures, which only "fit" a category (really a "catch-all" category at best) by being so different from all other creatures (not plants, not animals, not fungi). So they are not really defined by their similarities, but by their differences from everything else. Not good taxonomy, I fear.
Martin. Your commment: "she had assumed her rightful (in her eyes)" says it all. I rang the Shop Keeper and told him that the dog and owner had been re-united. Hving lost Lena once myself, (in Canberra) before I moved here, I know what it is like - the bad and the good of it all.
Always worth helping out our fellow creatures, I believe.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mark and Mosura.
Well I find them fascinating, especially the first time I watched one move (even just a few inches).
Mark, Lawns are common, but I have sent hem in piles of mulch and wood chips, too. Mostly the trick is observing the odd looking lump a bit closely, and knowing that it might be something other than a dried up dog-poo, or, as they say "dog vomit".