Posts Tagged ‘Dog’
Brings a whole new meaning to the description of a ‘seeing-eye’ dog!
Big thanks to Suzann for sending this.
From the WTHI-TV website.
A dog with a special talent
Updated: Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013, 4:58 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 07 Nov 2012, 6:46 PM EST
CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Finding a dog that can fetch is hardly news.
We’ve found a dog that can fetch; that we think is worth a news story.
If your pooch is nearby, bring them near the computer, they’re going to want to see this.
Chica is a happy border collie that lives on the Knox Farm, in Clay County.
When we find her, she darts from the back door of the barn and weaves through the chicken and cattle.
Chica’s favorite pastime is playing fetch with her owners Martha and Buddy Knox.
It’s a sight to see, but it’s a sight Chica can’t see.
Chica has no eyes.
Her eyes were surgically removed when she was a mere pup.
So, how does a dog with no eyes see a moving ball, and bring it back to the feet of Martha?
This is something Martha wonders as well, and so do the experts at Purdue University.
Whatever it is, here is a hound that lives its life in the dark, but seemingly is seeing everything.
Now watch this and be both humbled and amazed.
Something wonderful we can learn from Chica. Accept our limitations, because we all have them, and “see with our heart”.
Thank you so much, Su, for sharing that.
How dogs offer us humans health and happiness.
Many months ago, I was contacted by a Peter Bloch offering to write a guest post on the subject of the healing power of dogs. Peter had read a post that I had published in July last year which prompted the email dialogue between us.
Not going to say much more at this stage except that today I am republishing that post from last July. On Monday, I will introduce Peter and his guest post. Then on Tuesday, I will speak of my own experiences both as entrepreneurial mentor and as a ‘customer’ of a wonderful psychotherapist back in Devon during 2007. Hope that works for you.
So here’s that Learning from Dogs post.
The bond between dogs and humans
Such a beautiful and mutually-important relationship.
But then a flurry of other articles conspired to pass my desk.
In no particular order there was an article on the Big Think website, Do Dogs Speak Human? As the article opened,
What’s the Big Idea?
Perhaps the better question is, do humans speak dog? Either way, the debate over whether language is unique to humans, or a faculty also possessed by wild and domestic animals from dogs to apes to dolphins, is an interesting one. The answer depends on exactly how we define “language,” and who’s doing the talking, says David Bellos, the Booker prize-winning translator.
The article includes this three-minute video,
Broadly, a language is a mode of expression. ”The argument that only human language is language and that animal communication systems, however sophisticated they are — and some of them are quite sophisticated — are not languages because they consist of discrete signals is a circular argument,” he argues. “It’s a self-fulfilling thing. And I think we should be a little bit more interested in the complexity and the variability of animal communication systems and less rigid about this distinction between what is a language and what is not a language.”
For now, we’re happy with this:
The June 30th edition of The Economist had an article entitled, Can dogs really show empathy towards humans? (You may have to register (free) to view this.) That report ends, as follows,
As they report in Animal Cognition, “person-oriented behaviour” did sometimes take place when either the stranger or the owner hummed, but it was more than twice as likely to occur if someone was crying. This indicated that dogs were differentiating between odd behaviour and crying. And of the 15 dogs in the experiment that showed person-oriented responses when the stranger cried, all of them directed their attention towards the stranger rather than their owner.
These discoveries suggest that dogs do have the ability to express empathetic concern. But although the results are clear enough, Dr Custance argues that more work needs to be done to be sure that such behaviour is true empathy. It is possible, she points out, that the dogs were drawing on previous experiences in which they were rewarded for approaching distressed human companions. Dog-owners, however, are unlikely to need any more convincing.
It was then an easy follow-up to that Animal Cognition article which is available online here; here’s the abstract,
Empathy covers a range of phenomena from cognitive empathy involving metarepresentation to emotional contagion stemming from automatically triggered reflexes.
An experimental protocol first used with human infants was adapted to investigate empathy in domestic dogs. Dogs oriented toward their owner or a stranger more often when the person was pretending to cry than when they were talking or humming. Observers, unaware of experimental hypotheses and the condition under which dogs were responding, more often categorized dogs’ approaches as submissive as opposed to alert, playful or calm during the crying condition. When the stranger pretended to cry, rather than approaching their usual source of comfort, their owner, dogs sniffed, nuzzled and licked the stranger instead.
The dogs’ pattern of response was behaviorally consistent with an expression of empathic concern, but is most parsimoniously interpreted as emotional contagion coupled with a previous learning history in which they have been rewarded for approaching distressed human companions.
Yearnings for a new start!
You may wonder about the title of this post? Stay with me for a moment.
As has been written before on Learning from Dogs, when dogs were living in the wild just three animals had pack roles. The leader of the pack, always a female animal, was the alpha dog. Second in command was the beta dog, always a dominant male, and the third role was the omega or clown dog. The wild dog pack was thought to have consisted, typically, of about 50 animals.
As leader of her pack an alpha dog had two primary functions . One was having first choice as to the male dog she was going to mate with – thus demonstrating how women always choose!
Her second important duty was deciding that her pack’s home range was insufficient for the needs of her ‘family’. As wolves still do, wild dogs lived within small, well-defined territories when food was abundant. When food became less abundant then it was time to move to more fertile grounds. As an aside, research in South Africa as to the area requirements for a small pack of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) shows they require from 65 square kilometers (25 square miles) to 150 sq. km. (58 sq. mi.). (See footnote.)
Dogs, like all wild animals, instinctively live in harmony with nature. So the call from the alpha dog to find a new range didn’t mean they left their old one as a barren disaster area. You can see where this is heading!
Wild dogs were in contact with early man at least 50,000 years ago. (Just reflect for a moment on the length of that relationship between man and dog.) So each specie has had plenty of time to learn from the other.
Thus, as mankind is on the verge of discovering that our existing ‘territory’ is becoming unsustainable for the healthy life of the species, one fundamental learning point from dogs appears to have escaped us: Mankind doesn’t have a new range available to our species.
This preamble came to mind when I recently read a short but powerful essay on Alex Jones’ blog The Liberated Way. The essay was called A global leaky bucket. Alex has very kindly given me permission to republish it.
A global leaky bucket
Global weather extremes will force people to hard choices.
I write this in despair, it is snowing again here in Colchester UK. I admit envy for those of you who live in California or Hong Kong area, I see your photographs where the seasons always seem to be warm and sunny. The northern Jet Stream refuses to move, Greenland enjoys growing strawberries as the lambs die in the fields of Britain from the winter that refuses to let go.
The extremes of weather are noted in the South of the world as well as the North. Argentina has had the worst floods in decades last week. The cause is that the systems such as the Jet Stream are paralysed in one place, thus everyone suffers flood, drought or winter in excess. Nobody is sure why this paralysis is going on with systems like the Jet Stream, some say it is climate change, the point is that we are experiencing this, and it appears to be more than a temporary issue.
My opinion is that these weather extremes are here to stay for the long duration. One is then left with a harsh reality of does one seek to control the weather or adapt to the weather? How does one control the weather, a chaotic energy system where even a small change can have great consequences? Perhaps adaptation is the better option, but does one know how huge those adaptations will have to be where drought and flood could be lasting decades?
Lets say food, water and energy are all contained in a bucket. We take a jug and scoop out from the bucket what we need. There is a tap that is constantly running filling the bucket with the food, water and energy. We waste those resources so the bucket leaks. We disrupt or destroy the renewal systems in the ecosystems so the tap is no longer running as fast as it should. We are greedy consumers so we take more than we need from the bucket with our jug. How will the bucket look now? Is this a sustainable future to you?
If our global weather extremes continue as they are it will be like a storm rocking the bucket spilling its contents, will our bucket future look even less sustainable? Extreme weather destroys harvests, kills animals, sends already distressed ecosystems into the abyss. What happens when the bucket is so empty that people can no longer enjoy their lifestyle of wasteful excess, or worse that people grow cold, hungry and thirsty? Do they sit there and do nothing but die? Will they fight? Who will fight who? As the bucket contents get ever smaller, who will win in the fighting for what is left?
Copyright (c) Alex Jones 2011-2013.
Colchester has a place in my past as I started and ran a business there between the years of 1978 to 1986. More about that some other day.
Back to Alex’s essay. It strongly resonated with a recent item on Peter Sinclair’s excellent blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week which I will refer to tomorrow.
So I will leave you with this tragic, emotional thought – where, oh where, is our alpha dog?
Footnote: The figures for the ranges of wild dogs were taken from a fascinating paper published by Lindsay, du Toit and Mills that may be read here.
Exquisitely lovely photograph.
Remember that wonderful picture of the young child teaching the dog to read. Yet another beautiful picture found by Chris Snuggs on Facebook.
Thanks to Chris Snuggs.
Having had the internet service down for three days, I’m offering you this lovely dog story as a quick post for today.
A local business looking for office help put a sign in the window saying: “HELP WANTED. Must be able to type, must be good with a computer and must be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.“
One day a dog trotted up to the window, saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist and wagged his tail, then walked over to the sign, looked at it and whined. Sensing the dog’s idea, the receptionist fetched the office manager. The office manager looked at the dog and was surprised, to say the least. However, since the dog looked determined, he led him into the office.
Once in the office, the dog jumped up and sat on the chair staring at the manager. The manager said, “I can’t hire you. You have to be able to type.“
The dog jumped down from the chair, went across to a typewriter and typed out a letter. He took out the page and trotted over to the manager, gave the letter to him and then jumped back on the chair. The letter was typed perfectly; the manager was stunned. He then turned to the dog and said, ”The sign says you have to be good with a computer.“
The dog again jumped down and went to a computer. He demonstrated his expertise with various programs, producing a sample spreadsheet and database which he presented to the manager.
The manager was totally dumbfounded! He looked at the dog and said, “I realize that you are a very intelligent dog and have some interesting abilities. However, I still can’t give you the job.“
The dog jumped down and went to the sign in the window. He put his paw on the part about being an Equal Opportunity Employer.
“Yes,” the manager said, “but the sign also says that you have to be bilingual.“
The dog looked him straight in the face, and said, “Meeow.“
Repeat after me: We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!
There are times when I look back at my writings on Learning from Dogs, now well over 1,500 posts (1,633 as of today, to be anal about it!) and ponder if the fundamental message behind the name of the blog often gets overlooked. The Welcome page states:
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!
Elsewhere on the blog, I underpin that proposition by listing the attributes of dogs:
- are integrous ( a score of 210) according to Dr David Hawkins
- don’t cheat or lie
- don’t have hidden agendas
- are loyal and faithful
- love unconditionally
- value and cherish the ‘present’ in a way that humans can only dream of achieving
- are, by eons of time, a more successful species than man.
Now this is all fine and dandy but of what relevance is this to the mess that homo sapiens now finds itself in? Two parts to that answer come to mind.
The first part is that watching a dog out in the open countryside quickly brings home the fact that these animals are part of nature and, if push comes to shove, can live in the wild and fend for themselves. Not saying that a domestic dog would enjoy the experience but that their wild dog and grey wolf roots still rest somewhere in a dog’s consciousness.
The second part of the answer is that all animals instinctively live in harmony, in balance, with their surroundings; with their environment.
For the incredibly obvious reason that dogs, as with all other animal species, are an evolutionary consequence of the natural history of Planet Earth. That evolutionary journey from the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) part of the Canidae family, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. That journey all the way to the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris).
That ancient journey where the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus – painted dog) came together with early man. No one knows when but the African wild dog was certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago!
Two vastly different natural species, dog and man, evolving compatibly with each other for so many thousands of years.
Back to the attributes of dogs, in particular a dog’s ability to cherish the present. Earlier this week I was chatting with Kevin Dick, friend from Payson, AZ days, about the ‘interesting’ times we are living in. Kevin thought there was a significant difference between the generations born in the 1940′s and 1950′s and those born in later times. Most people over the age of, say 55, were brought up to save for ‘a rainy day’ and, possibly, be able to leave a legacy to their offspring. Kevin then went on to reflect that more recent generations exhibit a ‘buy today, don’t delay’ mentality.
A by-product of this materialistic instant gratification approach is that the whole damn consumer machine has created a total disconnect with the fact that we humans are of this planet.
“The earth is the mother of all people..“
(Chief Joseph 1840 – 1904, leader of the Wallowa band, a Native American tribe
indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon)
Humans today fail to comprehend this fundamental fact: Our ability to harm the planet and think that it won’t affect our species is complete madness! If only we could learn how to cherish the present in the way that our dogs do!
I’m now going to offer an essay from John Hurlburt. I knew John had written this essay but didn’t get round to reading it properly until I had finished the introduction above. I’m blown away by the resonance between the two but, as always, John’s words are so much more eloquent.
Climate change, religion, economics, government, politics and social issues are topics which create strong personal opinions and cultural divisions. We have difficulty accepting ideas which may conflict with our personal understandings. As usual, it’s an ego thing. The arrogance of our species is inclusive. We all suffer the consequences.
To counter our ego, we know that everything fits together. We exist in a unified cosmos with fluctuations and diversities that emerge around and through us.
Our present transformative state is as a biological form of energy and matter which possesses a conscious awareness of the natural order. We choose to ignore or deny the essential nature of our being at our own peril. Do we live only for the moment or do we live to insure our species future? That’s our fundamental choice.
“Seek the truth and identify the common good.” Zoroaster [also known as Zarathustra, Ed.]
We are a consciously aware component of a living world in an isolated corner of a remote galaxy. Everything within and on the earth has an extraterrestrial origin. We live on an incubator we call the earth. We rarely truly communicate with or fully understand the energy of nature in our lives. Our critical thinking ability has become enveloped by an electronic cloud.
We generally agree that the actions of many religions and most politics are based upon short term human interests rather than upon the long term well being of our planet and its disappearing life forms. The fact is that we only began to emerge as a species about 100,000 years ago. Hubble telescope observations have dated our universal origin to roughly 13,002,000,000 years ago.
Could it be that we only imagine ourselves as independent beings? Could it be that beyond the mind games we play there is a vast reality greater that we can understand with our limited sensory apparatus and our finite minds?
Life is a transformative experience. All species, tribes, races and genders are united by the nature of life. We pass through a period of being selfish and ambitious during our journey. Many of us choose to move into these familiar ruts and furnish them. We do not always walk the way we talk.
Nature favors species which adapt to constant change in an emerging universe.
If we agree that our intelligence is judged by choices we make, there is some question about intelligent human life on earth. A recent Harvard University study of species in relation to change estimates that the life span of the human species is approximately 100,000 years. Sound familiar?
The wisdom of our brief human history tells us that we are on a careless and needless path to self destruction. All that’s necessary to verify this assertion is to turn on the news of the day. The systemic paradigm that has been imprinted on our psyches is in constant flux. As we live and learn, we realize that our purpose is to leave life better than we found it.
A delicate balance is necessary to maintain an even strain of faith in the natural process rather than dwelling upon our self centered fears of losing something we imagine we own or not attaining something we believe we want. The earth heals itself from the inside out. We can do the same as a species. Today is the tomorrow we dreamed of yesterday. What have we done to fulfill the true purpose of our lives?
an old lamplighter
So, yes, we have much to learn from dogs.
I will close as I started. We are of this planet! It’s really very simple!
The widely reported story of a dog ‘adopting’ a baby chimpanzee.
(With big thanks to Chris Snuggs for sending me the pictures)
As a quick Google search finds:
Two years ago in a Russian zoo a female chimpanzee for some reason repudiated and abandoned her baby chimpanzee. When one of the employees of the zoo took the little chimpanzee home it never crossed her mind that her dog, a mastiff, would become a mother for the orphaned chimpanzee and treat the baby as her own child.
Judging by the look on her face at times, she is not quite sure why this particular offspring has hands to grab her with!
The unconditional love of a dog.
Fascinating example of the power of upbringing.
What is so wonderful, and amazing, is how ‘mother’ accepts this strange looking and strange smelling creature as it’s own. Think how important smell is to dogs!
Words add nothing to the beauty of this photograph.
You can see the huge difference in body mass between these two. One swipe, one bite and the little chimp would be toast! The dog’s love for the chimp overrides all!
Mummy, what’s that on the wall?
Mummy, your feet are so big …. and not at all like mine!
Dear Chris, thank you so much for sending me these pictures. It’s a privilege to share them with LfD readers. It reminds us that in this difficult era, with so many challenges facing us, that there’s nothing that can’t be solved with love, compassion and understanding.
If you are not into dogs, especially big dogs, then skip today’s post!
Two ways to view these wonderful pictures of large dogs.
Either watch the video, if you don’t mind the advert at the end, (cool music, by the way.)
Or take a look at the pictures, one by one, with a big thanks to Dan for sending them to me.
Here we go!
Dogs Who Don’t Realize
They are BIG!!!!
Finally, assuming you haven’t had sufficient of dogs, here’s a lovely animated GIF sent to me by Chris Sunggs.
The deep values associated with having faith.
This was sent to me by Dan Gomez. I take great pleasure in offering it to you, dear reader.
A dog named Faith.
This dog was born in 2002. He was born with 2 legs. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.
His first owner also did not think that he could survive and he was thinking of putting him to sleep. But then, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him.
She became determined to teach and train this little dog to walk by himself.
She named him ‘Faith’.
In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the movement. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and reward for him for standing up and jumping around. Even the other dog at home encouraged him to walk.
Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on his hind legs and to jump to move forward. After further training in the snow, he could now walk like a human being.
Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he attracts people to him.
He is fast becoming famous on the international scene and has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows. There is now a book entitled ‘With a Little Faith‘ being published about him. He was even considered to appear in one of the Harry Potter movies.
His present owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul.
In life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better you just need to look at life from another direction. I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone and that everyone will appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful day.
Faith is the continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of life.
A small request: All you are asked to do is keep this story circulating.
We can never stop learning from dogs.