Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.


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Pharaoh – just being a dog!

Dogs live in the present – they just are!  Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value.  Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years.  That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer.  Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming,  thence the long journey to modern man.  But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite.  Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

Dogs know better, much better!  Time again for man to learn from dogs!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

Written by Paul Handover

July 5, 2009 at 02:31

Posted in Core thought

Tagged with ,

How about dogs and boredom?

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A guest post on the subject.

A fascinating look at preventing dogs from becoming bored, by guest author Amber Kingsley.


Dogs and Boredom

by Amber Kingsley.

The daily care and keeping of our canine friends comprises several quotidian tasks. Feeding, walking, fresh water and brushing become just another part of our busy lives, much like our morning shower, dinner preparations, or daily commute. In the hustle and bustle, it’s important to remember that just like us, our dogs, stuck in the mix of the weekly routine, can become bored.

What does a bored dog look like? Often times, a dog that is bored will resort to bad behavior, whether it’s getting into the garbage and strewing it all over the house, or chewing on an expensive pair of dress shoes. Keeping a dog free from boredom requires some simple fixes that boil down to attention and stimulation.

In the first place, it’s necessary that a dog gets enough walking exercise to stave off boredom in addition to bad behavior. A dog that is walked regularly will be better behaved and happier in general. Walking is crucial for your dog’s overall good health both physically and emotionally; dogs experience walking with an owner as quality time that reinforces both trust and bonding.


Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Dogs are very much pack animals, and they enjoy meeting new people and other dogs. Take your dog to the dog park, and bring him along in the car or to new events. Socializing your dog is a great way to keep your dog interested and well-rounded.

Though walks and trips are as necessary as feeding and grooming, one area that may fall by the wayside is play. Playtime is similar to walking in that it offers stimulation for your pet. Squeaky toys and balls are a good option for playing fetch, while rawhides or rag bones are great for games of tug. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with new tricks or toys.

Dogs are intelligent and sensitive creatures. Dogs often react in ways that we do, and just like us, they get bogged down with depressing boredom and the same old routine. In order to get through our at times hectic schedules, we get stuck in routines and forget to play. With all of the daily tasks we need to complete, we sometimes ignore the excitement of imagination or the benefits of self-examination. We are social creatures too, and getting out is just as important for us as it is for our pets, even if we would rather stay at home with the TV.

Taking care of our dog’s boredom reminds us to invest in our lives. Just as it doesn’t take much to get your furry friend’s eyes sparkling, it does us good to see the value of the simple things. Whether it’s getting out in nature, moving our bodies, or setting aside time to play with our family members and friends, we need some of the same basic maintenance as our dogs do. More than that, owning dogs teaches people how to be more human. At the end of the day, we need to bond with each other and get what we can out of our surroundings.


… owning dogs teaches people how to be more human“. Ain’t that the truth!

Thank you, Amber.

Amber Kingsley.

Amber Kingsley.

By way of background, Amber is a journalist as well as a lifetime pet lover. When she’s not traveling the world, she’s usually spending time at home with her pets, and wants to help others make sure that their pets are as happy as they can be.

Don’t know about you but I would love to read more guest articles from her!  Good people, do let me have your feedback!

Written by Paul Handover

March 4, 2015 at 00:00

A repeat for today.

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Apologies, just ran out of time to write a new blog post for today.

So going to repost what has been a top favourite of readers for nearly two years.


Remembering that Monday, 22nd April is Earth day, 2013. Like many others, I subscribe to Mother Nature Network. Recently published on MNN were twelve stunningly beautiful photographs.  There are reproduced below, hopefully without infringing any copyrights.  I just wanted to share them with readers of Learning from Dogs ahead of next Monday.


Earth Day photos: Celebrating the beauty of our planet

From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the surreal glacial formations of Patagonia, here are 12 stunning photos showcasing the diverse collection of landscapes found across the planet. By: Catie Leary Fri, Apr 19 2013 at 11:40 AM

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon, Arizona, U.S.

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon, Arizona, U.S.

 Photo: poorpoor/Flick

Snæfellsnes-og Hnappadalssýsla, Iceland

Snæfellsnes-og Hnappadalssýsla, Iceland

Photo: Greg Annandale/Flick

Hamilton Pool, Austin, Texas, U.S.

Hamilton Pool, Austin, Texas, U.S.

Photo: Stuck in Customs/Flickr

Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Photo: Dietmar Temps/Flickr

Pansarine, Tuscany, Italy

Pansarine, Tuscany, Italy

Photo: hippydreams/Flickr

Muir Woods, California, U.S.

Muir Woods, California, U.S.

Photo: kern.justin/Flickr

Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota, U.S.

Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota, U.S.

Photo: Mary JI/Flickr

Mount Blanc, France

Mount Blanc, France

Photo: OneEighteen/Flickr

Star Trails, Rio Negro, Argentina

Star Trails, Rio Negro, Argentina

Photo: lrargerich/Flickr

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

Photo: gnuckx/Flickr

Tereia Beach, Maupiti, Leeward Islands

Tereia Beach, Maupiti, Leeward Islands

Photo: SF Brit/Flickr

Namib Desert, Namibia

Namib Desert, Namibia

Photo: mariusz kluzniak/Flickr


So you all have a great week-end, wherever you are in the world, and do something, however small, for the one and only planet that nourishes all the life of the world. Planet Earth 1

Written by Paul Handover

March 3, 2015 at 00:00

Posted in Uncategorized

A humour break!

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My son’s last day with us is today.

I was in Bend with him on Friday and got an insight into the amazing world of skiing.

Skiing that was on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, about 20 miles from Bend.

The timing was perfect as a major snow storm hit the region Thursday night, continuing on Friday, as the following photograph shows.

View of the Pine Marten Express ski lift from the balcony of the West Village Lodge at 6,300 ft altitude.

Friday 27th. View of the Pine Marten Express ski lift from the balcony of the West Village Lodge at 6,300 ft altitude.

I returned on Saturday on roads that made the journey ‘interesting’.

Heading South on OR-97. Picture taken around 9am some 10 miles south of Bend.

Heading South on OR-97. Picture taken around 9am some 10 miles south of Bend.

But Alex stayed on for a further day to benefit from brilliant weather behind the storm and able to share such scenes as this one!

Breath-taking view.

Breath-taking view from 7,200 feet.

All of which is a preamble to a very funny item that Alex sent to me.

A woman brought a very limp parrot into a veterinary hospital. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest. After a moment or two, the Vet shook his head sadly and said, “I’m so sorry, Polly has passed

The distressed owner wailed, “Are you sure? I mean, you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.

The vet rolled his eyes, shrugged, turned and left the room returning a few moments later with beautiful black Labrador. As the bird’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the dead parrot from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet led the dog out but returned a few moments later with a cat. The cat jumped up and also sniffed delicately at the ex-bird. The cat sat back, shook its head, meowed and ran out of the room. The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry; but like I said, your parrot is most definitely, 100% certifiably …dead.”

He then turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill which he handed to the woman. The parrot’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried. “$150 just to tell me my bird is dead?!

The vet shrugged. “If you’d taken my word for it, the bill would only have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, what did you expect?

Best wishes.

Written by Paul Handover

March 2, 2015 at 00:00

Picture parade eighty-five

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Not bad for a dog who will be the human equivalent of aged 96 this coming June.

Pictures of Pharaoh playing in our creek taken last Tuesday.













What a magnificent animal he is! Thank you, Pharaoh, for being the dog you are!

Written by Paul Handover

March 1, 2015 at 00:00

Happy Birthday, Oliver.

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Our latest member of our family is one-year-old today!

(NB: I am presently away with my son enjoying the Wintry delights of Bend, Or and Mount Bachelor.)

Long-term followers of this place (thank you!) will recall a post published last October that included the following two photographs.


Do you remember when puppy Oliver came to live with us?

Pharaoh, age 88 years in human equivalent, passing on his wisdom to Oliver, age 3 in human terms.

Pharaoh passing on his wisdom to young Oliver.

Another picture of Oliver sitting on the lap of yours truly taken in the last couple of days.

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!


Here is a current photograph of the beautiful young man taken earlier this week.

Oliver playing in our creek last Tuesday and showing off his most wonderful eyes.

Oliver playing in our creek last Tuesday and showing off his most wonderful eyes.


And another one taken later that day when I was writing this post in readiness for today.

Eyes that sweep one away to some magical land!

Eyes that sweep one away to some magical land!

Written by Paul Handover

February 28, 2015 at 00:00

Posted in Dogs

Tagged with

More on Danna Faulds

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Captivating ideas, thoughts and words.

(NB: I am presently away with my son enjoying the Wintry delights of Bend, Or and Mount Bachelor.)

In yesterday’s post, Be good to yourself, I featured a poem from Danna Faulds.  I had not come across her before and this time around it was thanks to a recent post over on Val Boyco’s blog Find Your Middle Ground.

It didn’t take much effort to find more beautiful ideas from Ms. Faulds. Try these, for example:

Awakening Now
by Danna Faulds

Why wait for your awakening?
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself,
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true nature.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe
in your stories of deficiency and failure.
This is the day of your awakening.

Elsewhere, on a yoga website, we learn that Danna is:

Danna Faulds, poet and dedicated practitioner of Kripalu Yoga, is the author of four popular books of yoga poetry: Go In and In; One Soul; Prayers to the Infinite; and From Root to Bloom. She credits Kripalu Yoga and expressive writing with transforming her life.

Another web search very quickly finds this item over on the All Things Healing blogsite.



by Danna Faulds

Editor’s Note from Diane Renz: I have just returned from the Center for Mindfulness Scientific conference, a powerful gathering for all teachers, researchers, clinicians, and practitioners engaged in Mindfulness in the world. The Center for Mindfulness if the base point for Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program developed over 30 years ago which, through science, has proven to benefit psychological, physiological, emotional, cognitive, and the many neural correlates relative to well-being. The last day we had the chance to practice mindfulness with Jon Kabat Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Bob Stahl, which is where I first heard the Poem here called “Allow”. It is through our allowing where we each find our healing and return to our wholeness. In light of spring and all rebirth and beginning again, learning how to turn toward our pain so we can open to bright new growth rising up from the dark compost of our suffering.


There is no controlling life. 

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado. Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel. Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground. The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.


Again from that All Things Healing website:

About the Author

Danna Faulds is a long-term practitioner and teacher of Kripalu Yoga. A former librarian, she incorporated writing into her spiritual practices DannaFauldsyears ago, and this book is the result. Drawing inspiration from yoga and meditation, from the natural world, and from life, her poems capture both the struggle and the delight of the attempt to live consciously, in a voice that always encourages and uplifts. Common themes include awakening to true nature, touching the divinity within, overcoming fear and self-judgement, and the ineffable joy of spiritual union.

Written by Paul Handover

February 27, 2015 at 00:00

Be good to yourself

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A wonderful recent reminder from Val Boyco.

(NB: By the time you read this, I will be away for three days with my son enjoying the Wintry delights of Bend, Or and Mount Bachelor.)

I spoke yesterday about the many writers who follow this place and, in turn, are followed by me. Val Boyco is one such example.  Val writes the blog Find Your Middle Ground and it is with her permission that I republish a recent post of hers.


Inspiration – Self Observation

Posted on February 24, 2015 by Val Boyko

A reminder for all of us who are working on self observation and dealing with our inner critic.

Be gentle with yourself on this part of the journey.


Self-Observation Without Judgment

Release the harsh and pointed inner voice.

It’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet.

Shift out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.

Danna Faulds from “One Soul”

The last line will be with me all day :)


 Beautiful words!

Written by Paul Handover

February 26, 2015 at 00:00


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