Learning from Dogs

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

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The Joy of Caring.

with 9 comments

Things prosper when cared for and loved.

This is a repost of what appeared over on Alex Jones’ blog Liberated Way last Thursday. It resonated so wonderfully with all the young plants and trees around us here at home in Merlin, and the numerous oak saplings making their way into the world! Republished with Alex’s kind permission.

ooOOoo

Things prosper when cared for!

The joy of caring for something.

These oak saplings prosper because of care.

These oak saplings prosper because of care.

Today, I moved my eight oak saplings into the full sun, added a new layer of quality compost to their pots, and watered them. In their second year of life these oak saplings prosper because of care.

Caring for something means one must pay attention to the small details. For instance, I remove the caterpillars from the oak leaves, and the weeds that grow in the pots. If I did not concentrate on the small details, the little problems could grow into larger problems, the caterpillars destroying the oak saplings, the weeds stealing their nutrients in the pots.

Also, the individual spends time on the thing cared about, establishing regular activities, such as in my case, watering the oak saplings every few days. The individual looks for ways that the cared for thing might benefit, just as I moved my oak saplings into the full sun, added new compost to them, and infected them with a type of symbiotic fungus that aids oak sapling growth.

The thing cared for becomes special, for instance there are millions of oak trees in Britain, but only eight of those, my saplings, are special to me. In such a caring relationship, both sides come to depend upon the other. My oak saplings need my care and attention to survive, I need my oak saplings to feel good about myself when life is hard.

If the individual has nothing to care for, their life becomes empty and meaningless. I love the book by Antoine De Saint-Exupery called The Little Prince, which explores ideas around friendship and caring for things. In The Little Prince is the following beautiful quote:

You are beautiful, but you are empty. One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you — the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars; because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

ooOOoo

Can’t recommend too highly you dropping in on Alex’s blog Liberated Way – even signing up as a ‘follower’!

Written by Paul Handover

June 13, 2015 at 00:00

Saturday serendipity

with 8 comments

Facing up to our challenges often inspires new beginnings.

I subscribe to Val Boyco’s blog Find Your Middle Ground (and love it!).

Last Thursday, Val published a beautiful poem that she, in turn, had seen over on Mindfulbalance, a blog that I hadn’t come across but suspect that I am going to like.

ooOOoo

Originally posted on Mindfulbalance:

Trittsteine_am_oberen_Teich_Japanischer_Garten_Kaiserslautern

It may be that

when we no longer know

what to do,

we have come

to our real work,

and when we

no longer know

which way to go,

we have begun

our real journey

Wendell Berry, The Real Work

ooOOoo

Going to close today’s post by repeating something that is in a little book that I have had for years: Extracts from Peace In Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh originally published by Bantam Books.

Aimlessness

There is a word in Buddhism that means “witlessness” or “aimlessness”. The idea is that you do not put something in front of you and run after it, because everything is already here, in yourself.

While we practice walking meditation, we do not try to arrive anywhere. We only make peaceful, happy steps.

By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future.

You all have a wonderful present moment!

Written by Paul Handover

May 30, 2015 at 00:00

In memory of Clyde!

with 8 comments

This could be the most important lesson we learn from our dear dogs.

Reclining Clyde

Reclining Clyde

Our immediate neighbours to the South of us, Larry and Janell, lost one of their dogs last Saturday. Here’s the email that was sent out by Larry:

Bad day at the ranch

We lost Clyde today. A neighbor who is a veterinarian came by this morning and did the deed. He had cancer in his shoulder, we had a tumor removed a couple of months ago but there must have been some left because his left front became totally unusable and then his left rear started to go too. We tried everything that the vets could come up with but it was starting to eat him up.

He was born in central South Dakota at a cattle ranch where I got him in April 2004, a six week old black bundle of wrinkles. He learned his manners from Barney, who we lost a little over 2 years ago from cancer as well. Barney and Clyde, what a GREAT pair!!

We still have Baxter the Aussie, who has pretty well recovered from getting hit by a car and severely injured the beginning of last month and Bob the cat.

I will miss Clyde terribly, just like I have ALL my labs! They are wonderful dogs. Just thinking that I’ll probably never have another big floppy eared pal like that makes me want to just cry my eyes out!!

One of the fondest memories of my life is/was going bird hunting, especially ducks, and having a well mannered lab as my partner!! I’ve shared time and my lunch with some good ones!! I so very much wish/hope that there really is a “RAINBOW BRIDGE”!!

Jean and I obviously knew Clyde and can confirm that he was the most gentle, kind-hearted dog one could find.

I wanted to treasure the memory of Clyde, on behalf of all the dear dogs in the world, and asked Larry and Janell if they would be comfortable with me publishing the email. They replied without hesitation that it was fine and then sent me some photographs of Clyde to include in this post.

———-

So the easy course for this post would be to leave it at this and move on. (And, please, if you are not up for a degree of introspection from yours truly, then do stop reading at this point!)

———-

But when I awoke this morning (Tuesday), a little after 5am, Jean still asleep next to me, three dogs likewise across the bed, and knowing I would be writing about Clyde later on in the day, I started to reflect on life and death and was there a lesson for us humans in the death of our beloved dogs. When Jean awoke an hour later, I asked her how many of her dogs had died over the years. She replied that there had been at least twenty dogs that had died and that she could remember each and every one of them.

That then opened up a much deeper reflection on death and whether our dogs really can offer us a lesson in this regard. For I’m not ashamed to admit that at times I feel scared about the future. I’m 70-years-old, seeing the signs of what the medics call ‘cognitive ageing’, have a few minor challenges in the areas of prostate, blood pressure, thyroid, and know how terribly unprepared I am for the second of life’s two certainties: death.

Jean’s view was that dogs have the ability to live so perfectly in the present that, except in very rare occasions, they don’t grieve for the loss of a loved one. Clearly, a significant difference between dogs and us humans.

Then it was clear that we humans only grieve for the death of someone we knew. That within the family that rarely extended back beyond our grand-parents. That seemed to offer some philosophical help. For if it comes down to the memories that others will have of us, after we have died, then it behoves us to live the best life we can, doing our best at every stage in our lives. Accepting that it is impossible not to make mistakes and end up with regrets, yet so long as we try to be true to ourselves then that’s all that matters.

It was then a very small onward step to love and the potential for the greatest learning from our dogs. For dogs so frequently show us the magic of unconditional love.

Back to Clyde.

Here are two other photographs of dear Clyde, separated by the words in Larry’s covering email.

Clyde cleaning Pearl the lamb.

Clyde cleaning Pearl the lamb.

Paul, here are a few pictures of Clyde. Feel free to use what you like. We always said Clyde had a big heart, big stomach and no ambition as evidenced by these pictures! At one time we were nursing an orphan lamb in the house, Clyde adopted the lamb, Pearl, and looked after her, Larry.

Clyde and Pearl demonstrating such a dear friendship.

Clyde and Pearl demonstrating a dear friendship.

I know that when our Lilly dies, she is 17, Jean will weep many tears.

I know that when our Pharaoh dies, he is soon to be 12, I will weep many tears.

But those pictures of Clyde remind all of us that it is in life that it is important to love. Important, almost beyond words, to be kind to others, to offer and receive love, and to treasure the present.

So, yes, we must shed a few tears of the heart yet thereafter we must treasure the memories.

“For if we cry at losing the sun, our tears will hide the light of the stars.”

Thank you, Clyde!

Wild Nature

with 2 comments

Best laid plans of mice and men!

For reasons that I am still unclear about, yesterday slipped through my fingers before I knew it. That’s the worst mental state for me when I am trying to be creative over a new blog post. So it came around to 4:30pm yesterday and I knew that I was faced with two choices: not post or use something stored as a ‘draft’.

That’s what caused me to look through my draft posts folder and offer you this for today.

The videos are short but nonetheless beautiful.

They are the products of an Australian film company: Riggs Australia.

The list of nature films made by Riggs is impressive; to say the least.

Here’s a couple of examples of their wonderful filming.

Published on Oct 15, 2012
This 4 metre plus female great white had just bitten Mark’s cage and was circling when he turned on his camera …. at 1.09 he see’s it approaching from behind his cage. He’s been down at 26 metres for over half an hour and is forced to make a decision. Stay on the bottom and run into decompression time or confront it …. Starvation Bay, South Coast Western Australia, October 2011.

Published on Jun 11, 2014
Aerial perspectives of a huge pod of Bottlenose dolphins surfing waves off Esperance Western Australia … Enjoy!

Picture parade ninety-six

with 6 comments

Adorable parenting moments

The first of three Sundays showing the most fabulous photographs courtesy of the Higher Perspective website.

Image credits: David Lazar

Image credits: David Lazar

oooo

HP2

oooo

Image credits: Anton Belovodchenko

Image credits: Anton Belovodchenko

oooo

HP4

oooo

HP5

Image credits: dailymail.co.uk

oooo

Image credits: Wolfgang von Vietinghoff

Image credits: Wolfgang von Vietinghoff

oooo

Image credits: Udayan Rao Pawar

Image credits: Udayan Rao Pawar

oooo

Image credits: Daniel Münger

Image credits: Daniel Münger

Come back next Sunday for the second set of incredible parenting moments.

Written by Paul Handover

May 17, 2015 at 00:00

Save the lives of these dogs: Please.

with 7 comments

Johnny Depp’s dogs face death in Australia.

There was an item on the BBC News website yesterday morning that jumped out at me. The BBC headline is my sub-title for today. Here’s how the BBC opened that item:

Actor Johnny Depp has been told he has until Saturday to remove his dogs from Australia or they will be put down.

Depp and his wife Amber Heard are accused of not declaring Yorkshire Terriers Boo and Pistol to customs officials when they flew into Queensland by private jet last month.

Australia has strict animal quarantine laws to prevent importing infections.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said he understood the dogs were being sent back to the US.

The dogs were discovered when a picture was posted of them at grooming parlour.

The dogs were discovered when a picture was posted of them at grooming parlour.

Later on that BBC report mentioned:

An online petition to save the “cute dogs” had received nearly 5,000 signatures by late on Thursday local time in Australia.

“Have a heart Barnaby! Don’t kill these cute puppies,” it appealed.

OK, Mr. Depp was a silly boy but his mistake must not be paid for with the lives of these wonderful dogs.

That petition is over on Change.org and here is the direct link. You will read these details.

There’s just 48 hours before Johnny Depp’s two puppies Boo & Pistol could be euthanised by Australian authorities. Please help save them!

Johnny Depp brought them to Australia with him to shoot the next Pirates of the Caribbean.

But today Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has said that because he didn’t follow particular travel rules that he’ll seize and destroy them by the weekend if they’re not removed from Australia.

This seems so extreme and unnecessary. He shouldn’t kill these cute dogs simply because Depp didn’t follow particular rules.

Help me tell Barnaby Joyce not to kill or remove Johnny Depp’s dogs from Australia!

Have a heart Barnaby! Don’t kill these cute puppies.

Here’s the article: http://www.news.com.au/national/johnny-depp-amber-heard-face-death-row-wait-for-pet-dogs-after-dodging-australian-quarantine/story-e6frfkp9-1227353879412

PLEASE SIGN & SHARE!

Please sign!

Written by Paul Handover

May 15, 2015 at 00:00

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,445 other followers

%d bloggers like this: