Learning from Dogs

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

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Picture parade ninety-one

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The power of a good camera, an exceptional eye and patience!

A few weeks back there was a run of picture parades that featured a set a wonderful photographs that neighbour Dordie had found; the last group being Picture parade eight-eight.

Then not so long ago, John Hurlburt, a good friend from our Payson, AZ, days forwarded another incredible set of photographs. So today and for the next few Sundays here they are.

JH1

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JH2

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JH3

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JH4

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JH5

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JH6

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JH7

The set continues next Sunday.

Written by Paul Handover

April 12, 2015 at 00:00

Rescuing has no borders!

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Please, please can you help find homes for these gorgeous puppies.

Please read to the end and share this post as widely as you can! Thank you!

Pup1

Many know that I first met Jean in San Carlos, Mexico over Christmas, 2007.

I met Jean as a result of the kindest gift anyone has given me. Namely, Suzann Reeve, sister of Dan Gomez, whom I have known for 45 years, and Suzann’s husband, Don, invited me to spend Christmas with them at their home in San Carlos.

pup2

Before my arrival on the scene, Jean and Su had worked together for a long time rescuing poor feral dogs off the streets and finding homes for them in the USA.

pup3

After Jean and I moved from San Carlos, with 14 dogs I hasten to add, up to Arizona in 2010, Su has kept going rescuing street dogs and loving them until they can find real homes.

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Many of the Mexican people are so poor that when a female dog has a litter of puppies they sell the puppies for a few pesos and cast the mother dog back out on to the street.

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Our Hazel that we have here at home in Oregon was one such dog and, trust me, never have I experienced a more loving, loyal and affectionate dog.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Hazel loving up yours truly!

In the last few days, Su has been on the telephone to say that she has a litter of nine puppies and is desperate to find homes for them before too long.

pup6

In answer to my question about the background to the puppies, Su replied:

  • They are reputed to have been born on Valentine’s day, which makes them 8 weeks on April 14th.
  • They are about 6-7 lbs each today.
  • There are 4 girls and 5 boys.

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  • Their mom was feral, but wags her tail ferociously when she spies me with her food bowl!
  • Mom eats steak, bone broth, rice, Kirkland Nature’s Domain canned food, Kirkland dry food. She has cared well for her pups.
  • The pups eat Blue Buffalo canned puppy food mixed in with Kirkland puppy food and some water. they have also received yogurt in their food which I weaned them off as of yesterday.

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  • They will be receiving their first vaccination Monday.
  • They have been wormed twice.
  • They have been given anti-tick spray twice.

pup9

  • Several have at least one blue eye with the other being a brownish grey, some have brown eyes, and the others have light brown eyes.
  • I have their grandmother here at the casa as well, and Sofia is looking for a forever home as well. Bella, the mom of the pups, is a medium sized dog with brown, terra cota and white markings.
  • One of the dads is mostly black with a little white, and the one blue eye.

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  • They were born in a small beach side fishing village in La Manga, Mexico.
  • The mom has a sweet disposition.
  • At least 2 of the pups have alpha tendencies.

pup11

 

So dear, dear people, if you or anyone you know might be interested in having one of these beautiful puppy dogs then leave a comment without delay.

If you have any questions or queries, likewise articulate that query as a comment to this post. Su will reply to each and every one.

Please share this post as far and wide as you can.

Don’t even hesitate in wondering how Su and all of us can get a puppy from San Carlos to wherever you are – it will be sorted!

Dogs spend their whole lives offering unconditional love to us humans.

Let’s return that love by finding homes for these nine beautiful puppies.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Written by Paul Handover

April 11, 2015 at 00:00

Writing 101 Day Four

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All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

Yet another WordPress theme:

Day Four: Serially Lost

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Our blogs are often made of standalone posts, but using them to take readers on longer journeys is an immersive experience for them — and you. It allows you to think bigger and go deeper into an idea, while using a hook that keeps readers coming back.

A series can take many forms:

We also have advice that might help. If you decide to go serial, we’ve got days scheduled later in Writing 101 for parts two and three, so don’t worry about writing everything now or having to shoehorn the other posts in. If you’re not sure where to start, share your trilogy ideas in The Commons first to get some feedback.

You only need to write the first post in the series today — we’ll let you know when it’s time for the next installment.

This is a very easy theme for me to write about. For I want to share an early story from my yet unfinished book. My book of the same name as this blog: Learning from Dogs. This story has appeared on the blog some years ago but what is presented today is a much-revised version.

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Messages from the night.

Jean, where’s Dhalia?

Don’t know. She was here moments ago.

Jeannie, You take the other dogs back to the car and I’ll go and scout around for her. Oh, and you better put Pharaoh on the leash otherwise you know he’ll follow me.

Paul, don’t worry, Dhalia’s always chasing scents; bet she beats us back to the car. Especially as it’s going to be dark soon.

Nonetheless, I started back down the dusty, dirt road, the last rays of the sun pink on the high, tumbled cliffs of granite. This high rocky, forest plateau, known as the Granite Dells, just three miles from our home on the outskirts of Payson in Arizona, made perfect dog-walking country and rarely did we miss an afternoon out here. However this afternoon, for reasons I was unclear about, we had left home much later than usual.

There was no sign of Dhalia ahead on the road so I struck off left, hoping she was somewhere up amongst the trees and the high boulders. Soon I reached the first crest, panting hard in the thin air. Behind me, across the breath-taking landscape, the setting sun had dipped beneath faraway mountain ridges; a magnificent sight. Suddenly, in the midst of my brief pause admiring the perfect evening, a sound echoed around the cliffs. The sound of a dog barking. I bet my life on that being Dhalia. Just as quickly the barking stopped.

The barking started up again, barking that suggested Dhalia was hunting something. The sound came from an area of boulders way up above the pine trees on the other side of the small valley ahead of me.

Perhaps, Dhalia had trapped herself. More likely, I reflected, swept up in the evening scents of the wilderness, Dhalia had temporarily reverted back to the wild, hunting dog she had been all those years ago. That feral Mexican street dog who in 2005 had tentatively turned away from scavenging in a pile of rubbish in a dirty Mexican town and shyly approached Jean. Jean had named her Dhalia.

I set off down to the valley floor and after fifteen minutes of hard climbing had reached the high boulders the other side. I whistled, then called “Dhalia! Dhalia! Come, there’s a good girl.”

Thank goodness Dhalia was such a sweet, obedient dog.

I anticipated the sound of dog feet scampering through rough undergrowth. But no sound came.

I listened; no sounds, no more barking. Now where had she gone? Perhaps past these boulders down into the steep ravine beyond me, the one so densely forested with pine trees. With daylight practically gone I needed to find Dhalia very soon. I plunged down the slope, pushing through tree branches that whipped across my face, then fell heavily as a foot found empty space instead of the anticipated firm ground.

I cursed, picked myself up and paused. That fall had a message: the madness of continuing this search in the near dark. The terrain made very rough going even in daylight. At night, the boulders and plunging ravines would guarantee a busted body, at best! Plus, I ruefully admitted, I didn’t have a clue about finding my way back to the road from wherever I was!

The unavoidable truth smacked me full in the face. I would be spending this night alone in the high, open forest!

It had one hell of a very scary dimension. I forced myself not to dwell on just how scary it all felt. I needed to stay busy, find some way of keeping warm; last night at home it had dropped to within a few degrees of freezing. I looked around, seeing a possible solution. I broke a small branch off a nearby mesquite tree and made a crude brush with which I swept up the fallen pine needles I saw everywhere about me. Soon I had a stack sufficient to cover me, or so I hoped.

Thank goodness that when me and Jeannie had decided to give four of our dogs this late afternoon walk, I had jeans and a long-sleeved shirt on, a pullover thrown over my shoulders. Didn’t make Dhalia’s antics any less frustrating but I probably wasn’t going to freeze to death!

The air temperature sank as if connected with the last rays of the sun. My confidence sank in harmony with the temperature. I lay down, shuffled about, swept the pine needles across my body, tried to find a position that carried some illusion of comfort. No matter the position, I couldn’t silence his mind. No way to silence the screaming in my head, this deep, primeval fear of the dark forest about me, imagination already running away with visions of hostile night creatures, large and small, watching me, smelling me, biding their time.

Perhaps I might sleep for a while? A moment later the absurdity of that last thought hit me. Caused me to utter aloud, “You stupid sod. There’s no way you’re going to sleep through this!

My spoken words echoed off unseen cliffs in the darkness, reinforcing my sense of isolation. I was very frightened. Why? Where in my psyche did that come from? I had spent many nights alone at sea without a problem, a thousand miles from shore. Then, of course, I knew my location and always had a radio link to the outside world. But being lost in this dark, lonely forest touched something very deep inside me.

Suddenly, I started shivering. The slightest movement caused the needles to slip from me and the cold night air began to penetrate my body. I mused about how cold it might get and, by extension, thanked my lucky stars that the night was early October not, say, mid-December. So far, not too cold, but soon the fear rather than the temperature started to devour me. What stupid fool said, ‘Nothing to fear but fear itself!’ My plan to sleep under pine needles, fear or no fear, had failed! I couldn’t get warm. I had to move.

Looking around, I saw an enormous boulder a few yards away, like some giant, black shadow. No details, just this huge outline etched against the night. I carefully raised myself, felt the remaining needles fall away, and gingerly shuffled across to the dark rock. I half-expected something to bite my extended hand as I explored the surface, as I ran my hand down towards the unseen ground. Miracle of miracles, the granite gently emitted the warmth absorbed from the day’s sun. I slowly settled myself to the ground, eased my back against the rock-face and pulled my knees up to my chest. I felt so much less vulnerable than when I had been flat out on the forest floor. I let out a long sigh, then burst into tears, huge heart-rending sobs coming from somewhere deep within me.

Gradually the tears washed away my fear, restored a calmer part of my brain. That calmer brain brought the realisation that I hadn’t considered, well not up until now, of what Jeannie must be going through. At least I knew I was alive and well. Jeannie, not knowing, would be in despair. I bet she would remember that time when out walking here in the Dells we had lost little Poppy, an adorable ten-pound poodle mix, never to be found again despite ages spent combing the area, calling out her name. A year later and Jeannie still said from time to time, “I so miss Poppy!“. First Poppy and now me! No question, I had to get through this in one piece, mentally as much as physically.

Presumably, Jeannie would have called 911 and been connected to the local search and rescue unit. Would they search for me in the dark? I thought unlikely.

Thinking about Jeannie further eased my state of mind and the shivering stopped. Thank goodness for that! I fought to retain this new perspective. I would make it through, even treasure this night under the sky, this wonderful, awesome, night sky. Even the many pine tree crowns that soared way up above me couldn’t mask a sky that just glittered with starlight. Payson, at five-thousand feet, had many beautifully clear skies and tonight offered a magical example.

Frequently during my life, the night skies had spoken to me, presented a reminder of the continuum of the universe. On this night, however, I felt more humbled by the hundred, million stars surrounding me than ever before.

Time slipped by, my watch in darkness. However, above my head that vast stellar clock. I scanned the heavens, seeking out familiar pinpoints of light, companions over so much of my lifetime. Ah, there! The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, and, yes, there’s the North Pole star: Polaris. Great! Now the rotation of the planet became my watch, The Big Dipper sliding around Polaris, fifteen degrees for each hour.

What a situation I had got myself into. As with other challenging times in my life, lost in the Australian bush, at sea hunkering down through a severe storm, never a choice other than to work it out. I felt a gush of emotion from the release this changed perspective gave me.

Far away, a group of coyotes started up a howl. What a timeless sound, how long had coyotes been on the planet? I sank into those inner places of the mind noting how the intense darkness raised deep thoughts. What if this night heralded the end of my life, the last few hours of the life of Paul Handover? What parting message would I give to those that I loved?

Jeannie would know beyond any doubt how much I had adored her, how her love had created an emotional paradise for me beyond measure. But my son and daughter, dear Alex and Maija? Oh, the complexities I had created in their lives by leaving their mother so many years ago. I knew that they still harboured raw edges, and quite reasonably so. I still possessed raw edges from my father’s death, way back in 1956. That sudden death, just five days before Christmas and so soon after I had turned twelve, that had fed a life-long feeling of emotional rejection. The feeling that had lasted for fifty-one years until, coincidentally also five days before Christmas, in 2007, I had met Jean.

My thoughts returned to Alex and Maija. Did they know, without a scintilla of doubt, that I loved them. Maybe my thoughts would find them. Romantic nonsense? Who knows? Dogs had the ability to read the minds of humans, often from far out of visual range. I knew Pharaoh, my devoted German Shepherd, skilfully read my mind.

I struggled to remember that saying from James Thurber. What was it now? Something about men striving to understand themselves before they die. Would that be my parting message for Alex and Maija? Blast! I wished I could remember stuff more clearly these days and let go of worrying about the quote. Perhaps my subconscious might carry the memory back to me.

I looked back up into the heavens. The Big Dipper indicated at least an hour had slipped by. Gracious, what a sky in which to lose one’s mind. Lost in that great cathedral of stars. Then, as if through some stirring of my consciousness, the Thurber saying did come back to me: “All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

I reflected on those who, incarcerated in solitary confinement, had their minds play many tricks, especially when it came to gauging time. What a bizarre oddment of information; where had that come from? Possibly because I hadn’t a clue about my present time. It felt later than 11pm and earlier than 4am, but any closer guess seemed impossible. Nevertheless, from out of those terrible, heart-wrenching hours of being alone I had found calm; had found a peace within. I slept.

Suddenly, a sound slammed me awake. Something out there in the dark had made a sound, caused my whole body to become totally alert, every nerve straining to recognise what it might be. It sounded like animal feet moving through the autumn fall of dead leaves. I prayed it wasn’t a mountain lion. Surely such a wild cat preparing to attack would be silent. Now the unknown creature had definitely paused, no sound, just me knowing that out there something waited. Now what! The creature had started sniffing. I hoped not a wild pig. Javelinas, those pig-like creatures that always moved in groups, could make trouble – they had no qualms at attacking a decent-sized dog.

Poised to run, I considered rising to my feet but chose to stay still and closed my right-hand around a small rock. The sniffing stopped. Nothing now, save the sound of my rapid, beating heart. I sensed, sensed strongly, the creature looking at me. It seemed very close, ten or twenty feet away. The adrenalin hammered through my veins.

I tried to focus on the spot where I sensed the animal waited; waited for what? I pushed that idea out of my head. My ears then picked up a weird, bizarre sound. Surely not! Had I lost my senses? It sounded like a dog wagging its tail; flap, flap, flapping against something such as a tree-trunk.

A dog? If a dog, it had to be Dhalia!

Then came that small, shy bark! A bark I knew so well. Oh wow, it is Dhalia. I softly called, “Dhalia, Dhalia, come here, there’s a good girl.

With a quick rustle of feet Dhalia leapt upon me, tail wagging furiously, her head quickly burrowing into my body warmth. I hugged her and, once more, tears ran down my face. Despite the darkness, I could see her perfectly in my mind. Her tight, short-haired coat of light-brown hair, her aquiline face, her bright inquisitive eyes and those wonderful head-dominating ears. Lovely large ears that seemed to listen to the world. A shy, loving dog when Jean had rescued her in 2005 and these years later still a shy, loving dog.

Dhalia licked my tears, her gentle tongue soft and sweet on my skin. I shuffled more onto my back which allowed her to curl up on my chest, still enveloped by my arms. My mind drifted away to an era long time ago, back to an earlier ancient man, likewise with arms wrapped around his dog under a dome of stars, bonded in a thousand mysterious ways.

The morning sun arrived as imperceptibly as an angel’s sigh. Dhalia sensed the dawn before I did, brought me out of my dreams by the slight stirring of her warm, gentle body.

Yes, there it came, the end of this night. The ancient sun galloping towards them across ancient lands; another beat of the planet’s heart. Dhalia slid off my chest, stretched herself from nose to tail, yawned and looked at me, as much to say time to go home! I could just make out the face of my watch: 4.55am. I, too, raised myself, slapped my arms around my body to get some circulation going. The cold air stung my face, yet it couldn’t even scratch my inner warmth, the gift from the loving bond Dhalia and I had shared.

We set off and quickly crested the first ridge. Ahead, about a mile away, we saw the forest road busy with arriving search and rescue trucks. I noticed Jean’s Dodge parked ahead of the trucks and instinctively knew she and Pharaoh had already disappeared into the forest; Pharaoh leading the way to us.

We set off down the slope, Dhalia’s tail wagging with unbounded excitement, me ready to start shouting for attention from the next ridge. We were about to wade through a small stream when, across from us, Pharaoh raced out of the trees. He tore through the water, barking at the top of his voice in clear dog speak, ‘I’ve found them, they’re here, they’re safe’. I crouched down to receive my second huge face lick in less than six hours.

Later, once safely home, it came to me. When we had set off in that early morning light, Dhalia had stayed pinned to me. So unusual for her not to run off. Let’s face it, that’s what got us into the mess in the first place. Dhalia had stayed with me as if she had known that during that long, dark night, it had been me who had been the lost soul.

The message from the night, as clear as the rays of this new day’s sun, the message to pass to all those I loved. If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.

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I know it will cause Jean much angst to republish this photograph but I can’t close today’s post with sharing this picture with you.

Lost and found!

Dhalia died peacefully on April 7th, 2014.

Writing 101 Day Three

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Practice makes perfect.

Again, here is the WordPress theme for the day:

Day Three: Commit to a Writing Practice

Today’s Prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Nailing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5 on your alto sax. Making perfect pulled pork tacos. Drawing what you see. Or, writing a novel. Each requires that you make practice a habit.

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise. – Natalie Goldberg

Author Natalie Goldberg says to “burn through to first thoughts, to that place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor.” Here are some of her rules of free writing practice from Writing Down the Bones, which we recommend you keep in mind:

  • Keep your hand moving. (Don’t pause to reread the line you’ve just written. That’s stalling and trying to get control of what you’re saying.)
  • Don’t cross out. (That is editing as you write. Even if you write something you didn’t mean to write, leave it.)
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. (Don’t even care about staying within the margins and lines on the page.)
  • Lose control.
  • Don’t think. Don’t get logical.
  • Go for the jugular. (If something comes up in your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.)

Jorge Luis Borges said: “Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.” So, what are you waiting for? Get writing. Fifteen minutes. Go. And then, do it again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

Now having written a daily post for well over five years, I’m comfortable with the concept of committing to a writing practice.

Thus I’m going to republish something that gets to the heart of more worldly matters – keeping a smile on your face in these ‘interesting’ times. It comes from a blog that I recently started following: One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Longer.

ooOOoo

How You Can Benefit from a Positive View on Your Life – WSJ

Regular readers know that I have embraced the theory of positive psychology. I have written a number of posts on the benefits of a positive point of view. You can find an index of them at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, I was thrilled to see Elizabeth Bernstein’s piece in the Personal Journal of Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal entitled “It’s Healthy to Put a Good Spin on Your Life.

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In a study of a large number of adults in their mid to late 50’s researchers found that “when people displayed higher levels of agency, communion and redemption and lower levels of contamination, their mental health improved. They consider good mental health to be low levels of depression and high levels of life satisfaction and psychological and social well-being.

They explained the four keys to good mental health as follows:

• Agency—Did the subjects feel able to influence and respond to events in life, or did they feel battered around by the whims of external forces?
• Communion—Are the people connected to others or disconnected?
• Redemption—Did the subjects take a negative experience and find some positive outcome?
• Contamination—Did they tell narratives of good things turning bad?

I would like to point you to a post I wrote in May of 2011 called Super Tools for Handling Stress.

In it I quoted Maggie Crowley, Psy.D., a Health Psychologist at the center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group.

Dr. Crowley listed the following as maladaptive coping strategies:

*Demand our circumstances be different
*Devalue ourselves and others
*Demean/blame ourselves and others
*When the above fail to work, do we choose another strategy?
*Or, do we double our ill-conceived efforts and feed our downward spiral.

She said that we needed something to shift our mental gears out of the stressful/fearful response that triggers that damaging cascade of negative emotion. She suggested the following activities that set off the parasympathetic approach:

*Practicing appreciation
*Making choices that are positive
*Using constructive language
*Employing our strengths and personal power.

I think that there is a great similarity between the four keys to good mental health mentioned in the Journal and the points made by Dr. Crowley in dealing with stressors.

Regarding positive psychology, I have found it answered a lot of questions for me. If you are interested you can explore it in the following posts:

What is Positive Psychology?
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
11 Ways to Become a Better, More Positive You
How to Become a Positive Thinker
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony.

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This is such incredibly powerful and useful advice with lots of further reading to boot!

For we are bombarded with negative news from all quarters and having a healthy relationship with oneself and, thence, with the world around us is, in the end, what life is all about.

Seeing the bigger picture.

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Look beyond appearance and prejudice.

I had in mind to republish a recent George Monbiot essay but then saw this post from Alex Jones’ blog The Liberated Way.  It seemed a perfect follow-on to yesterday’s Picture parade ninety.  It is republished with Alex’s kind permission.

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Look beyond appearance and prejudice

Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus. Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.

Everything in nature is good says the philosopher Heraclitus. Humans love to divide everything into good and bad, thus missing the beauty of what nature offers in the blindness of their prejudices.

A few years ago, I intervened to save a baby crow from traffic and school children, taking it to a veterinarian surgery, who had the contacts of people who could look after it. The receptionist annoyed me on seeing the bird describing it as “evil.”

In fact, if people can look beyond the superstitious nonsense surrounding these black feathered birds, there is an intelligent empathy lurking inside these beautiful corvids. If humans, dolphins and octopuses are in the top division of “intelligent” animals, the corvids, including magpies, jackdaws, ravens, crows, choughs and rooks, are in the same division. The corvids use tools, play, can problem-solve, express empathy and have a rudimentary sense of self based on experiments showing they recognise themselves in a mirror. The BBC recently reported how a child had developed a close relationship with crows she was feeding in the garden, birds that were leaving her gifts. A flood of feedback by readers revealed that gift-giving by corvids to those showing kindness to them was common around the world.

The symbol of my town port is the raven. My business carries the logo of the raven, a symbol for me of its intelligence. The stories of various archetypes such as Apollo, the Celtic Mercury and Odin had ravens as their messenger birds, who symbolised memory, thought, wisdom, intelligence, and the gathering or delivery of knowledge.

The sad situation is that most people blind themselves to the beauty of a living thing like a crow or raven, based on appearance and prejudice, so that they will do it harm, even though it might manifest the very qualities of intelligence and empathy that humans admire but often appear to lack.

ooOOoo

There was a recent TED Talk that fits very nicely with today’s theme. It’s just fifteen minutes long. Enjoy.

What do you call a veterinarian that can only take care of one species? A physician. In this short and fascinating talk, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health.

Tomorrow things on Learning from Dogs are going to change for a spell. More details in twenty-four hours!

Easter weekend reflection

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As read over on Find Your Middle Ground.

For Christians the world over the Easter weekend is the religious moment of the year.

For all of humanity, believers and non-believers alike, the following simple but powerful words ought to be a reminder of eternal values for every day of the year.

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Today’s Quote from Theresa

Beautiful words and image from Theresa at Soul Gatherings. Let it settle in.💛

Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:

purple-trees

In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things
not meant for you.

~ The Buddha ~

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Thanks Val for allowing me to republish this. (Val Boyco of Find Your Middle Ground.)

Written by Paul Handover

April 4, 2015 at 00:00

Dogs and the inside of our souls!

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The role of dogs in helping young offenders.

In these times of terrible inequality, if there is one thing that has the power to crush a young person’s chances in life it is a criminal record, even a minor one. This is well-known in the UK. For a number of years I was a mentor with what was then called the Prince’s Youth Business Trust (PYBT) and now is just simply called The Prince’s Trust.

What was discovered, courtesy of the PYBT, was that if one taught disadvantaged youngsters the principles of forming and running your own business there were two positive outcomes. The first was that the young person performed much better at job interviews, and increased his or her odds of getting a job offer, and some young persons decided to start their own business; some very successfully so.

Thus with that background it was natural that an article in the US edition of The Economist caught my eye. It was called Pups and perps.

Pups and perps

What has four legs, a wet nose and helps young thugs grow up?

Dec 6th 2014 | LOS ANGELES | From the print edition

WHEN Jordan entered juvenile detention shortly after his 17th birthday, following a conviction for assault and robbery, all he could think about was getting out. The rowdy teenager from Anaheim, California, struggled to control his temper. But when he began working with Lulu, a poodle mix, he got a new leash on life. “I was too busy taking care of the dog to get into fights,” he says.

Jordan was taking part in “Pups and Wards”, a programme that pairs shelter dogs with young inmates. The perps train the pups and, with luck, learn something about personal responsibility. Other programmes allow prisoners to train dogs to be adopted by people with disabilities, such as traumatised veterans. Such training often requires full-time care—but prisoners have plenty of time on their hands.

The Economist article later on reports:

“All the research about the human-animal bond has buoyed these programmes,” says Gennifer Furst, a professor of criminal justice. “We have discovered that prisoners often identify with rescue dogs—they have both experienced trauma—and they are eager to become their protectors.” Crystal Wood, an officer at a maximum-security prison in Lancaster, California, says that several inmates on her yard—who are in prison for life—wept after interacting with dogs. “Many of these guys haven’t seen an animal in decades. It’s been striking to see how much working with a dog has reduced their anxiety levels.”

It was easy to find more information on Professor Gennifer Furst from the William Paterson University website:

Gennifer Furst received her B.A. in psychology (with a sociology minor) from Connecticut College and her M.A. in psychology (with a concentration in evaluation methodology) from Claremont Graduate University. She received her doctorate in criminal justice (with a concentration in corrections) from CUNY Graduate Center.

Dr. Furst is the Department of Sociology’s Criminal Justice Director. Dr. Furst’s research interests focus on issues of incarceration. She published the first national survey of prison-based animal programs in the US. A book based on that work was recently published. Additionally, she is interested in race and the administration of criminal justice, the death penalty, the use of animals in the criminal justice system, and the relationship between drugs and crime.

Read the rest of the good Professor’s background here.

Imagine my pleasure in finding that there is a film Dogs on the Inside and that YouTube carries an official trailer.

As the film website states: “Everyone deserves a second chance.

So if you are motivated to get involved then don’t hesitate to return to the film’s website and read the Get Involved page.

The power of love.

The power of love.

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