Learning from Dogs

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

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Picture parade twenty-nine.

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We interrupt your life to bring you a moment of beauty.

A wonderful set of photographs sent to me by John Hurlburt.  The first ten below with more over the coming weeks.

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John02

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John03

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John04

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John05

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John06

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John07

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John08

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John09

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John10

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What a wonderful set of pictures.  John, thank you for sharing them.

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Written by Paul Handover

February 2, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade twenty-eight.

with 4 comments

The third set from Bob D.

Derham9

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Derham7

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Derham6

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Derham1

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Thanks Bob.

Now a bonus of one other picture that crossed my screen, so to speak, that I wanted to share with you.  (Think it was from Naked Capitalism.)

cool-girl-elephant-photo-black-white

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You all have a good week.

Written by Paul Handover

January 26, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade twenty-six.

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Yet more fabulous pictures from Bob D.

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Derham17

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Derham16

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Derham15

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Derham10

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If you missed the first set or just fancy looking at the pictures again, then click here.

Written by Paul Handover

January 19, 2014 at 00:00

Beware the alligators.

with 4 comments

Nothing to add!

(Except to thank Bob Derham for sending this on to me.)

Written by Paul Handover

January 18, 2014 at 00:00

Posted in Art, Communication, Culture, Humour, Jokes

Tagged with ,

Picture parade twenty-five.

with 4 comments

More wonderful pictures courtesy of Capt. Bob Derham.

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Derham24

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Derham21

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Possibly, some of these pictures have appeared previously on Learning from Dogs; but so what!  They are so gorgeous they warrant multiple viewings.

Written by Paul Handover

January 12, 2014 at 00:00

One man’s love for a dog.

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Millions will share these sentiments.

I can’t recall how I came across the story but it doesn’t matter.  A story that was presented on the MNN website back in May, 2013.  That had it’s origin in an episode of the Johnny Carson Show back in the year 1981.  An episode where the late Jimmy Stewart read a poem about his dog, Beau.

Here’s the clip of that 1981 show.

Impossible not to be deeply moved by that clip.

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A further web-search came across this item on WikiPedia:

Background

James Stewart owned a “willful but beloved” golden retriever named Beau, of whom he was extremely fond. Beau slept in the corner of Stewart’s bedroom, but would often crawl onto the bed between Stewart and his wife Gloria. Stewart recalled, “he was up there because he wanted me to pat his head, so that’s what I would do. Somehow, my touching his hair made him happier, and just the feeling of him laying against me helped me sleep better.”

While shooting a movie in Arizona, Stewart received a phone call from Dr. Keagy, his veterinarian, who informed him that Beau was terminally ill, and that Gloria sought his permission to perform euthanasia.  Stewart declined to give a reply over the phone, and told Keagy to “keep him alive and I’ll be there.” Stewart requested several days’ leave, which allowed him to spend some time with Beau before granting the doctor permission to euthanize the sick dog. Following the procedure, Stewart sat in his car for ten minutes to clear his eyes of tears.  Stewart later remembered:

After [Beau] died there were a lot of nights when I was certain that I could feel him get into bed beside me and I would reach out and pat his head. The feeling was so real that I wrote a poem about it and how much it hurt to realize that he wasn’t going to be there any more.

You can understand why I sub-titled this post ‘Millions will share these sentiments.’ because there are millions of dog-owners right across the world who have their dogs sleep with them in the bedroom.  We have five do just that: Pharaoh, Sweeny, Cleo, Dhalia and Hazel.  Hazel and Dhalia sleep in line pressed up against me and Sweeny sleeps in the crook of Jean’s legs.  Yes, it can be a pain turning at night.  Yes, it can be a pain going to the bathroom in the night.  But would we miss them sleeping on the bed: YES!

To reinforce that last point, here are two photographs of me and Jean on Christmas Day morning.

Hazel being very slow to get off the bed!

Hazel being very slow to get off the bed!

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Cleo, foreground, and Sweeny helping open presents!

Cleo, foreground, and Sweeny helping open presents for Jean and me!

That web-search that found the WikiPedia item also found an excerpt from Professor Stanley Coren’s fabulous book Why We Love the Dogs We Do.  I say fabulous because it’s a book that I have read and is on the book-shelf not four feet from where I am sitting.  With Stanley Coren’s written permission, for which I say thanks, that excerpt is now republished:

While I was on a book tour a few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Jimmy Stewart. He was no longer the young Charles Linbergh character that I remembered from the film The Spirit of St. Louis, or the easy moving character that became a hero in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. His age had begun to show on him, and he appeared to be almost fragile. He was slow moving and even slower talking than I remember him being in the movies. However, when he started to speak about his dogs his face broke into a smile and the pace of his talking picked up. He told me:

“When I married Gloria she already had a German Shepherd named Bello. He loved her a lot and, after a while, he and I got along. Gloria really loves German Shepherds best of all, but sometime after we lost our second one, she decided that they weren’t the breed of dogs that I needed. Anyway, she went out and got me this Golden Retriever named Simba, and its been Goldens ever since for me. “We actually have three dogs now. Kelly and Judy, are Golden Retrievers, and then there is Princess who is some kind of a mixed breed that my daughter found and we sort of rescued. Princess had some behavior problems and I think that Kelly and Judy picked up some of her bad habits–figured that if Princess could get away with it so could they. We had met Matthew Margolis [who co- authored of a number of fine dog training books, such as When Good Dogs Do Bad Things, with Mordecai Siegal] and Gloria liked him. He runs the National Institute of Dog Training. Kelly and Judy were not behaving. They didn’t listen to anything we said, and they were always jumping up and barking and pulling on the leash–both were just imitating Princess, I think. Well, anyway, Matthew told us that he would have to take the dogs to his training kennel for six weeks to get them to behave. The reason that he wanted them at the kennel had something to do with ‘socialization’ and other dog things like that. It was supposed to help their shyness and excitability. Gloria and I didn’t like it, but she felt that we had to do something. Well that lasted just one day. You know I love my house, but without any dogs around it feels like some kind of mausoleum. I told Gloria ‘Get those dogs back home because I can’t put up with them not being here.’ Anyway, Matthew tried to set up a training program at the house, but it really didn’t work so well. In the end we compromised. We broke the three dogs up into squads, so we could send one or two of them to school for short sessions, and still have one or two at home for company. I still didn’t like it, even though we got to visit their school on weekends. Gloria made a lot of phone calls to make sure they were OK–to reassure me I guess. “I suppose the truth is that I’d rather have a happy dog than a trained one. My dogs have never been good at things like ‘sit’, ‘stay’ or even ‘come’. I think that we’ve given the tourists a few laughs, especially when the dogs hit the end of their leashes hard enough to drag Gloria down the street. I don’t even mind it when the dogs jump up. Matthew showed us how to jerk the leash to correct that kind of thing. I suppose that it does have to be done–you know to keep them from knocking someone down or messing their clothes–but it seems kind of cruel to me. If my dog jumps up on me I figure that he wants to kiss my face and tell me that he thinks that I’m a really nice person. I don’t believe that you should punish a dog for saying ‘I love you.’ When your dog’s face is up looking at yours like that I think that you should tell him just how nice you think that he is too. Gloria told me that Matthew says that we mother the dogs too much and that they’ll never really be well trained. Well, they’re a lot better now than what they were before, so some of the training must be working. The difference between ‘trained OK’ and ‘trained perfectly’ doesn’t really matter all that much to me. I once did a film with Lassie. When that dog got excited it jumped all over Rudd Weatherwax [Lassie's trainer]. Now that’s the smartest dog in the world. If the world’s best trained dog can jump around to show he’s happy then my dogs should be allowed to do the same. “The truth is that it’s just really hard for me to get to sleep without a dog in my bedroom. It’s funny about that. I once had a dog named Beau. He used to sleep in a corner of the bedroom. Some nights, though, he would sneak onto the bed and lie right in between Gloria and me. I know that I should have pushed him off the bed, but I didn’t. He was up there because he wanted me to pat his head, so that’s what I would do. Somehow, my touching his hair made him happier, and just the feeling of him laying against me helped me sleep better. After he died there were a lot of nights when I was certain that I could feel him get into bed beside me and I would reach out and pat his head. The feeling was so real that I wrote a poem about it and about how much it hurt to realize that he wasn’t going to there any more.”

I later learned just how intense his feelings were for his dog Beau. At the time, Stewart was making a picture which was shooting on location in Arizona. One evening he got a phone call from his veterinarian, a Dr. Keagy. The call was about Beau. Keagy told him that Beau was very sick. He was having trouble breathing and was in considerable pain. The disease had progressed to the point that it was obvious to Keagy that the dog couldn’t be saved. He was calling for permission to end Beau’s life quickly. Stewart’s wife Gloria said that she couldn’t make that decision since Beau was Jimmy’s dog. “I can’t just tell you to put him to sleep like this,” Stewart said, “Not over the phone–not without seeing him. You keep him alive and I’ll be there.” Stewart was always known as an easy actor to work with, who never made excessive demands. So, the director was taken aback when he went to him to ask for a few days off to fly home to see to his dog. The leave was granted and Stewart got to sit with Beau for a long while before making the decision. He later admitted that when he left the veterinarian’s office he had to sit in his car for around 10 minutes, just to clear his eyes of tears, so that it would be safe to drive home.

NB: Please note that Professor Stanley Coren is the author of the above excerpt, the material is copyrighted by SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd and has been republished with permission.  I would thoroughly recommend visiting the blog-site of Psychology Today, Canine Corner.

Written by Paul Handover

January 4, 2014 at 00:00

Picture parade twenty-three.

with 8 comments

A bit of a compilation for today.

First, a few more of those ‘senior moment’ cartoons continuing from last Sunday.

Sen10

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Sen12

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Now two pictures taken on Christmas Day of a young deer feeding on cob that we put out daily.

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Then animal greetings to you all …

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Finally, enjoy this short video sent to me by Dan Gomez.

These boots aren’t made for walking.

Written by Paul Handover

December 29, 2013 at 00:00

A Winter’s Tale.

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No, not the Shakespeare version!

Shakespeare wrote The Winter’s Tale in 1623.  The title came to my mind following another tale written slightly more recently; just five days ago to be exact.

It’s a story published by George Monbiot that has a wonderful shape.  When I read it on Christmas Eve it seemed yet another story that Learning from Dogs readers would enjoy.  So, as ever, grateful for Mr. Monbiot’s permission to republish it.  His story is called Unearthed.

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Unearthed

December 23, 2013

A winter’s tale of guns, gold and greed.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 24th December 2013.

Perhaps I should have been more careful. Last year I decided that every Christmas I would tell a winter’s tale or two(1). Through a long history of doing stupid things, I’ve accumulated a stock of ripping yarns. But I failed to explain myself. Some people interpreted the tale I told last Christmas as making a political point about Travellers I had no intention of suggesting; a point that is in fact the opposite of what I believe(2). So please read what follows as a story and no more: true to the best of my knowledge and memory but without a polemical purpose.

I was told this tale by a gold prospector in the garimpos of Roraima: the illegal mines exacavated among the river gravels in the forests of northern Brazil. He and his friends swore it was true. Though parts of the story must have been filled in later, in the light of what I had seen I found it easy to believe.

To say that the mines were lawless is not quite correct. They stood outside the laws of the state, but had established their own codes, which were informed by power and honour and greed and lust. Every week, thieves were taken into the forest to be shot. Duels were fought on the airstrips, in which men took ten paces, turned and fired: the miners circulated Wild West comics and acted out scenes that might once have been mythical, but there became horribly real.

To illustrate the point, before we get to the tale itself: one evening João, a remarkable man from the north-east of Brazil, who, after leaving home at 14 then spending ten years crossing and recrossing the Amazon on foot, had found work as a minder for two prostitutes, took me and his charges to a bar at the end of the airstrip village in which I was staying. The bar and the strip of dirt were owned by Zé, a man who spent some of his vast earnings on causing trouble: roaming around with his band of pistoleiros, starting fights and roughing people up. Zé, in whose house I was staying (by his choice, not mine) was said to have killed five men, starting with his business partner: by this means he had acquired control of the airstrip, and the extortionate fees for landing and leaving.

The bar was a flimsy shack in which a ghetto blaster was turned up so high that you could scarcely hear the music. Ragged men swayed and lurched and sprawled across the more sober prostitutes. On every table there was a bottle or two of white rum and a revolver. The men who had stayed in their seats drummed their fingers nervously on the tabletops, halfway between their drinks and their guns. The door was shoved open, and Zé and his thugs walked in.

His was at all times an arresting presence: charming, mercurial and terrifying. A machete scar ran from one cheek, over his nose and across the other cheek. He wore a sawn-off denim jacket and two revolvers on his belt. He opened his arms and announced, in a voice loud enough to carry above the music, that he would buy drinks for everyone. Zé moved through the bar, slapping backs and shaking hands, flashing his gold teeth. João’s eyes darted around, watching people’s hands. Bottles of cachaça were passed down from the bar.

Suddenly João shoved me so hard that I almost fell off my chair. He grabbed my arm, managing at the same time to seize the two prostitutes, and propelled us towards the door. As we hurtled out of the bar it erupted in gunfire. Amazingly, only one man was killed: he was dragged onto the airstrip with a hole the size of an apple in his chest. He was one of an estimated 1,700 people murdered, in a community of 40,000, in just six months.

So here’s the story. Two men established a small stake in the mines, in a remote valley some distance from the nearest airstrip. They cut down the trees and began to excavate. They found the digging and hosing and sifting of the gravel exceedingly hard and, though they had discovered very little, they decided to hire two other men to do it for them. They agreed to split any findings equally with the workers. The two hired men dug for four months without success: with high pressure hoses they scoured great pits into which the trees collapsed; they turned the clear waters of the forest stream they excavated red with clay and tailings; they winnowed the gravel through meshed boxes; they dissolved the residues in mercury and burnt it off; but they produced almost nothing. Then they hit one of the richest deposits ever discovered in Roraima: in one day they extracted four kilos.

If you find a lot of gold in the garimpos you keep quiet – very quiet. A single shout of triumph can amount to suicide. You gather it up, hide it in your bag and explain to anyone who asks on your way out that months of work have brought you nothing but disease and misery. But first it must be divided.

The two men who owned the stake began to comprehend, for the first time, the implications of the deal they had done. “We risked our lives to establish this stake. We spent every cent we had – and plenty we didn’t – travelling here, buying the equipment and the diesel, hacking out a clearing in the forest, hiring these men. And now we have to split the gold equally with people who are no more than manual labourers, who would normally be paid a few dollars a day.” They told the two workers that they wanted a special meal that night, and sent them to the nearest airstrip to buy the ingredients.

As the two workers walked they began to ruminate. “We’ve nearly killed ourselves in that pit. We’ve been up before dawn every day and have worked until dusk. We’ve had malaria, foot rot, screw worm, sunstroke, while those two bastards have done nothing but lie in their hammocks shouting instructions. Now we’re expected to give them an equal share of the gold that we and we alone found.” When they reached the store, they bought cachaça, rice, beans, a packet of seasoning and a box of rat poison. They mixed the poison into the seasoning and set off back to the camp. Before they reached it, they were ambushed by the two owners and shot. The owners then picked up the bags and went back to the camp to celebrate over the first hot dinner they had had in weeks.

Some time later a party of men moving through the forest to look for new stakes walked into the camp. They found two skeletons over which vines were already beginning to creep. And four kilos of gold.

www.monbiot. com

References:

1. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/26/my-inner-anarchist-lost-out-bourgeois

2. http://www.monbiot.com/2013/01/10/as-it-happened/

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Written by Paul Handover

December 28, 2013 at 00:00

Be happy – be more dog!

with 7 comments

OK, it is an advert but it’s still a great message for us all.

(With thanks to Jon Lavin for sending this to me.)

Written by Paul Handover

December 24, 2013 at 00:00

The wild ones!

with 2 comments

Grateful to Cynthia Gomez for sending this to me.

Spikey

I took my dad to the mall the other day to buy some new shoes (he is 70).
We decided to grab a bite at the food court.
I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him.
The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors – green, red, orange, and blue.
My dad kept staring at her.
The teenager kept looking and would find my dad staring every time.
When the teenager had enough, she sarcastically asked: “What’s the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?
Knowing my Dad, I quickly swallowed my food so that I would not choke on his response.
In classic style he responded without batting an eyelid ….
Got stoned once and had sex with a parrot….

…. I was just wondering if you’re my kid.

Written by Paul Handover

December 21, 2013 at 00:00

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