Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’
This was first published on the 31st October, 2009.
Dogs? Yes, we can certainly learn a lot from them.
We could start by learning to clean up our own mess better …..
First published on 1st November, 2009.
Time for bed
Thanks to Dan Gomez for forwarding it. Classic!
Maybe there’s a new twist to that rather derogatory phrase!
For the life of me, I can’t remember how this story came to my ‘in-box’ but most likely it was from my Big Think subscription. But I do know that the story has spread like wild-fire (poor choice of simile for Arizona!) and not without good reason.
Here’s how it was promoted on Science Daily,
Benefits of Taking Your Dog to Work May Not Be Far-Fetched
Man’s best friend may make a positive difference in the workplace by reducing stress and making the job more satisfying for other employees, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study.
Stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, morale and burnout and results in significant loss of productivity and resources. But a preliminary study, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.
The VCU researchers compared employees who bring their dogs to work, employees who do not bring their dogs to work and employees without pets in the areas of stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support.
Then over at the New York Daily News, it was presented thus,
Bring your dog to work to lower stress; Companies that allow pooches have happier workers
Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga all have pup-friendly policies
A new study supports the stress-reducing benefits of bringing your pooch to work — to play with, look at, and pet while working.
According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, having a dog at work not only reduces the owners’ stress level but also increased the level of job satisfaction for other employees as well. The study, announced Thursday, was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” said head researcher Randolph T. Barker. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
Here’s a great example. The photograph below,
comes from the website of Interior Design Hound (seriously) where the by-line is Good Design with a Canine Twist! (No, I’m not making it up!)
Anyway, back to that NY Daily News item,
The study took place at Replacements Ltd, a service-manufacturing-retail company located in North Carolina, which employs approximately 550 people. The company has a dog friendly policy, similar to other companies such as Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga, according to CBS News, with around 20 to 30 dogs romping through the office every day. The study took place over a period of one work week, and subjects completing both surveys and saliva samples to measure stress levels.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are numerous benefits to having dogs at work, including improved staff morale, worker productivity, and camaraderie among employees.
Numerous studies have shown that having a pet is a good investment for your health. One study found that having a pet lowered your risk factors for heart disease, and another found that dogs encourage more consistent walking and exercise.
Seems pretty obvious to me.
Mind you, going back to the metaphorical ‘having a dog of a day‘ here’s one woman who probably wished she hadn’t got out of bed that morning,
Woman has a dog of a day in court
Sydney – If you have a phobia about dogs and hurt yourself running away from one, is it your own fault or should the owner of the dog pay compensation?
An Australian judge on Wednesday ruled against a woman who had put that case to him and ordered her to pay substantial legal costs.
Mileva Novakovic took her brother, Michael Stekovic, and his wife to the New South Wales Court of Appeal to try to overturn a lower court verdict that found they were not liable for injuries she sustained at his house in 2008.
Novakovic slipped and fell in a panic over finding a dog in their lounge room. She admitted to a fear of dogs and said she was compelled to run despite Cougar, a mastiff, showing no aggression towards her.
As a follow-up to Paul’s post on cats, you may not have seen these …..
Peek into a dog’s diary …
8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm- Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Milkbones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
Peek into a cat’s diary …
Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. All though I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards.
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.
I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe, for now……….
Cats in Physics
1 – Law of Cat Inertia: A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force – such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.
2 – Law of Cat Motion: A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.
3 – Law of Cat Magnetism: All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.
4 – Law of Cat Thermodynamics: Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.
5 – Law of Cat Stretching: A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.
6 – Law of Cat Sleeping: All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved as is possible for the cat.
7 – Law of Cat Elongation: A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.
8 – Law of Cat Acceleration: A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.
9 – Law of Dinner Table Attendance: Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.
10 – Law of Rug Configuration: No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.
11 – Law of Obedience Resistance: A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.
12 – First Law of Energy Conservation: Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.
13 – Second Law of Energy Conservation: Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.
14 – Law of Refrigerator Observation: If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.
15 – Law of Electric Blanket Attraction: Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.
16 – Law of Random Comfort Seeking: A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.
17 – Law of Bag / Box Occupancy: All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.
18 – Law of Cat Embarrassment: A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.
19 – Law of Milk Consumption: A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.
20 – Law of Furniture Replacement: A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.
21 – Law of Cat Landing: A cat will always land in the softest place possible.
22 – Law of Fluid Displacement: A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.
23 – Law of Cat Disinterest: A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.
24 – Law of Pill Rejection: Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.
25 – Law of Cat Composition: A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter.
26 – Law of cat reading: Cats pretend to be really short sighted and evince the need to read a newspaper by lying on it while you are attempting to read it.
27 – Law of cat antipathy: Any cat will immediately sense a person who doesn’t like cats and go and sit on their lap.
28 – Law of cat confinement: A cat will always have its kittens in the warmest possible place, usually in your bed while you are sleeping.
29 – Law of Sleeping: A cat sleeps every day for 24 hours minus the time it takes to wheedle food out of you and eat it ..
By Chris Snuggs
Yet another beauty from Naked Capitalism
Regular readers will have run out of counting the number of times that I applaud Yves Smith and her amazing blog, Naked Capitalism. Not only is it a fantastic source of many stories of real public concern, her daily antidote du jour is often delightful. Here’s the one that came from her Blog posting of the 19th September.
Cattle dog Clarence plays with an alpaca named Cindy in “Alpaca Land” in Goeming, Austria. The two have lived together on the farm since they were 3 months old. Eighty-seven alpacas, the largest flock in Austria, live on the farm.
By Paul Handover
Foreword by Jon
Although I have only seen a trailer for this film, I watched the interviews and excerpts Paul has linked in this article and found them very moving.
In these days of uncertainty and fear it is heartening to see and read about a relationship founded on unconditional love.
It signifies to me that it is the quality of our relationships that makes the difference in life, not material possessions – and then how we go about finding more examples of these in our everyday lives.
This is all about Trust
The prompt for writing this particular Post was the other evening Jean and I watched the film The Soloist. I’ll come on to that later.
Before I do, I want to look at another aspect of learning from dogs; that is the question of trust. We have so much to learn from dogs with regard to trust.
Because dogs spend so much of their time living in the present, just being a dog in the ‘now’ moment as it were, they seem to be able to read another dog very quickly. Dogs don’t have ‘hidden agendas’.
You see we humans can be (and should be) as happy in the present as dogs are. But so often our fears, worries and concerns for the future hinder our ability to experience the present, to enjoy the NOW.
Look at the faces of others around you when you have a moment. (Or, indeed look at your own right now in the mirror.) Do you see a face serenely happy unencumbered with the past or the future? Rarely is my guess.
That’s why a dog can read another dog in micro-seconds and know everything about that other animal. There are no secrets – what you see is what you get.
Look at this picture.
This is Poppy (8 lbs/3.5 kg) picking up food droppings from Pharaoh (90 lbs/40 kg). In fact, within seconds of taking this picture, Poppy had pushed between Pharaoh’s front legs and put her face in the dish and started eating Pharaoh’s food, at which point Pharaoh went over the Poppy’s dish and started eating from there. (NB. Anyone that has dogs in their home will know how possessive they can be at feeding time.)
Immediately when Pharaoh met Poppy, when he and I ended up in Mexico in 2008, they instantly trusted each other. This is a beta level (second in status to the alpha, i.e. dominant) pure bred German Shepherd bonding with a Yorkie mix female dog that was found, hairless and starving, on a Mexican construction site – rescued by Jean after almost certainly being thrown out after she had made some Mexican a few pesos from selling her puppies.
Here’s another picture of these two:
Now to the film. It wasn’t a blockbuster and didn’t get rave reviews but if viewed from the simple perspective of trust and friendship it delivers a powerful message that is beautifully compelling.
There’s an official trailer on YouTube here but the better review is this extract from the 60 Minutes programme below.
You need to watch this film to see how trust is built up, and out of that trust comes a wonderful friendship. But you will get a taste of the sheer beauty of this true story by this 12 minute YouTube video. Try and put aside these few minutes so you can watch this without interruption.
And here’s a link to another extract from the 60 Minutes programme concentrating on Mr Ayers playing his heart out.
If you want to read the column in the LA Times that Steve Lopez wrote in December 2004 about Mr Ayer’s Christmas present, just click here.
Finally, the film closes with these words from the actor who portrays Mr Lopez. Please read them to yourself, aloud if you can.
Points West by Steve Lopez
A year ago I met a man who was down on his luck and thought that I might be able to help him. I don’t know that I have. Yes, my friend Mr. Ayers now sleeps inside. He has a key, he has a bed, but his mental state and his well-being are as precarious now as they were the day we met.
There are people who tell me that I helped him, mental health experts who say that the simple act of being someone’s friend can change the brain chemistry, improve his functioning in the world.
I can’t speak for Mr Ayers in that regard, maybe our friendship has helped him, but maybe not.
I can however speak for myself. I can tell you that by witnessing Mr Ayers’ courage, his finality, his faith in the power of his art, I’ve earned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in, holding on to him. Above all else, I believe him, without question that it will carry you home.
And now recall that when you were reading those words, you were totally and completely living in the present. Keep that feeling of grace close to you forever.
By living in the present, you offer yourself as a friend to the world.
By Paul Handover
Just enjoy watching these dogs - as good as it can ever be!
(With thanks to Charlie and Tracy for this heads up.)
Can we ever conquer fear?
In a recent article I discussed the fear of the unknown, linked to the down-turn, redundancies, etc.
Per Kurowski, a great supporter of this Blog, posed the following question.
Great advice… but how do we remove the fear of what is known?
A simple, and slightly flipant answer would be,
“Develop a different relationship with it.”
What I’m saying is that when we are facing the known, and I’m assuming that it’s something unpleasant, our choices are limited. It’s going to happen, so the only thing we can do is change the way we view it.
This brings us back full circle to developing a different relationship with it.
Let’s take the word, ‘fear’.
“All fear is an illusion, walk right through“. I heard Dr David Hawkins say on a CD. Granted, a great trick if you can do it!
Here’s another description of fear: Fear= False Evidence Appearing Real
Fear is generally future-based. We tend to use the past as a learning reference to inform us of what to be afraid of in the future. So human beings live their lives trying to predict and prepare for the future, limited by their past experiences.
Unfortunately, the only way to work with fear of the known is to live in the present! [Just like dogs! Ed.]
Our whole society is geared up to look into the future. We are forever worrying about or planning something for the future.
To begin focussing on the present, try this.
Simply, to start off, become aware of the breath and sensations in the body. This will slowly start to remind us to be present, or embodied, in our own body.
Problems, fear and spiral thinking, often at 3 or 4 in the morning, are generated in the mind.
Thoughts occur randomly, although we call them, “Our thoughts”, and refer to, “Our mind”.
By dropping out of the thought processes into awareness of the breath and body, the noise stops, even if only for a moment.
So very few people in the world will have even the slightest inkling what these words mean.
If more of us got used to coming out of the mind before making an important decision, and simply sat with the question for a while, the answer would probably present itself.
This will probably raise more questions than it answers but that’s not a bad thing.
[If you have been affected by this Post and would like to contact Jon, he would be delighted to hear from you. Ed.]