Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
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.
The set continues next Sunday.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- They will be receiving their first vaccination Monday.
- They have been wormed twice.
- They have been given anti-tick spray twice.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.“
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:
*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
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.
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.
Look beyond appearance and prejudice
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.
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!
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.
Today’s Quote from Theresa
Beautiful words and image from Theresa at Soul Gatherings. Let it settle in.💛
Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:
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 ~
Thanks Val for allowing me to republish this. (Val Boyco of Find Your Middle Ground.)
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.