Dogs spooked by masks
The Lost Dogs’ Home says masks conceal facial expressions, which are one of the ways dogs communicate with humans. Masked-up owners are reporting changes to their dogs’ “happy go lucky personalities” and displays of “fearful behaviours”. “Traditionally dogs are creatures of habit, so instantly changing routine without a rational explanation can cause anxiety,” the home’s animal behaviour team leader Jade Curry said. As well as advising dog owners to “give them space and don’t force them to approach [ someone wearing a mask]”, Ms Curry said dogs should be counter-conditioned by being offered a treat “regardless of their behaviour”. “They will begin to associate scary people wearing masks with treats, which will change their emotional response from fear to excitement. “If a dog is particularly anxious or frightened by people wearing masks, this may impact their ability to interact with other dogs if they’re fearful of the person on the other end of the lead.” Another tip to get dogs used to seeing people in masks is to speak clearly as masks muffle voices and make it harder for them to pick up commands.
Pressure to keep Holden test site
PROTECTIVE masks may be inconvenient and even intimidating for some humans, but they can be downright confusing for dogs. Dog owners are reporting behavioural changes in their pets since wearing masks in public became mandatory as part of the battle to stop the spread of COVID-19.
THE Holden company may have left Australia, but moves are being made to preserve its former testing ground near Lang Lang “for wildlife and recreation”. Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council has joined with Save Holden Bushlands in calling on the state government to buy the area and open it to the public in much the same way that Devilbend Reservoir was saved from development. “Parks Victoria estimates Devilbend has about 50,000 visits a year,” WPPC secretary Kerri Giles said. “These large bits of bush help keep people healthy and happy and provide a great resource for schools and universities.” Ms Giles said the 877 hectare former test-
ing ground was a 40 minute drive from the Mornington Peninsula and estimated it could be worth $10 million in offsets to the Department of Transport for the Koo Wee Rup bypass. “This fits the bill because it is home to the southern brown bandicoot, or was in the last survey 10 years ago,” she said. “The ecological community is very excited because bush this size in this condition, with this many rare plants and animals, doesn’t come up for sale very often. This could be a very valuable asset.”
Working towards healthier males THE project Men and Boys Making It Happen on the Mornington Peninsula will receive $120,000 over two years from VicHealth. The project will follow the findings of the Jesuit Social Services study, The Man Box, into what it was like being a young man in Australia. The online survey of 1000 men aged 18-30 from across the country, as well as focus group discussions with two groups of young men, focused on their attitudes to manhood and male behaviours. The survey found that pressures to be a “real man” and to follow outdated stereotypes of masculinity was contributing to anxiety, depression, risky drinking and violence against women. Services provider Family Life will join Mornington Peninsula Shire and Jesuit Social Services to deliver training and education sessions to peninsula men and boys with the aim of “challenging unhealthy masculinities and breaking the stigma around men’s mental health”. The project is in the initial planning phase, but updates will be posted on the shire’s website as it progresses into awareness raising, engagement and education activities. For more information about the project contact community change manager at Family Life Jodie Belyea at firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping hand offer to tradies STAFF at mental health charity operating on the Mornington Peninsula say they have spoken to more than 1000 “tradies” over the past seven months to “see if they are OK”. As members of Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT), they promote the message that it is acceptable to ask for help when you need it, and that any stigma linked to mental health is slowly shifting as people accept that it is part of everyday life. The issue was highlighted last week with the death of former Hawthorn and Richmond player Shane Tuck, son of former Hawthorn great Michael Tuck, who took his own life when only aged 38. The HALT message stresses that mental health is our emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act and plays a role in determining the kinds
MELBOURNE AND MITCHELL SHIRE STAY HOME Stay at Home restrictions are now in place for Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. There are only 4 reasons to leave home.
Shopping for food and supplies that you need
Care and caregiving
Work and study if you can’t do it from home
And if you have symptoms, get tested
For all current restrictions go to vic.gov.au/CORONAVIRUS Authorised and published by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne
Southern Peninsula News 29 July 2020