Posts Tagged ‘German Shepherd dogs’
Our beautiful young German Shepherd is one year old today.
How time flies! How life moves on!
On the 8th April, 2012, I wrote a piece about the arrival of Cleo into our home in Payson, Arizona. Then on the 26th April, I added a few more pictures to say how well Cleo was setting in. (I include the links in case you want to look at the pictures in those posts.)
Cleo was born on the 23rd January, 2012. Thus today is her first birthday. She has grown into the most loving, friendly dog and she is adored by all who meet her.
Here’s a picture of Cleo from last year.
Now two pictures taken this week. This first one showing Cleo lifting her head to the camera.
The next one showing Cleo and Sweeny having one of their frequent ‘kiss ins‘.
Finally, a picture of Cleo enjoying our recent snows.
We are so fortunate to share our lives with these beautiful creatures.
The mystery of the call of a dog in need of help.
Two days ago, I wrote a piece about how the evolution of the domestic dog has been reliably re-calibrated back to around 33,000 years ago. I quoted from an article in the Arizona Republic, here are the opening paragraphs of that article.
Tamed dogs may go back 33,000 years
by Anne Ryman - Jan. 24, 2012 11:33 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Dogs have been “man’s best friend” longer than any other animal. And, as it turns out, longer than previously thought.
A pair of research papers published in the past few years, one most recently by a team that includes the University of Arizona, significantly pushes back the timeline for domestication of dogs from about 14,000 years ago to more than 30,000 years ago.
Researchers at UA and universities in England and the Netherlands used radiocarbon dating to determine that the skull of a Siberian dog was about 33,000 years old. Slightly older dog remains were identified in Belgium a few years ago by a separate research team.
The full Post is here.
So moving on, and apologies for a bit of a personal muse.
Last night (the night of the 30th/31st Jan.) a single, gentle yelp from Pharaoh had me instantly awake. Initially hadn’t a clue about the time but instinctively knew it was an un-Godly hour! Jean and I had been late to bed and I was pretty tired when the lights went out – off to sleep in an instant. Ergo, waking up at 2am as it turned out to be, the classic deep-sleep time of the night, was challenging! It is also relevant to mention that Pharaoh is reliably a very good sleeper at night.
Yet, in literally an instant of time, I had transitioned from being totally asleep to being mentally alert wondering what had caused him to cry out. Pharaoh came to the side of the bed and let me rub his head, then went back to near the door and uttered another soft yelp. I knew without any doubt at all that he was in pain and lay on my back anticipating what would be coming – putting a dressing-gown on and leading his nibs out into a very cold and dark night!
Then a clawed paw on the door told me to get moving, and within moments of Pharaoh being outside, it was clear that he had a badly upset tummy.
The whole episode was repeated around 4.45 am.
It was later in the morning that I was reflecting with Jean about the evolution of the dog-human relationship that a) gave the dog the instinctive confidence to call out to his ‘master’ in a different ‘I need help‘ tone, and b) that the call was so rapidly interpreted by a human as a call for help from another species.
But dogs sleeping near or around their human companions for more than 30,000 years allows plenty of time for species bonding to develop in ways that are both beautiful and mysterious. Long may that bonding remain beautiful and mysterious.
Just a musing about this fabulous breed.
We had to put one of our dogs to sleep on Friday, not a GSD, but one of Jean’s rescued dogs from way back. At this moment in time (11am US Mountain Time, Saturday) I’m writing a piece about this wonderful dog that will appear tomorrow.
Thus not in the mood to post my usual light-hearted item for a Sunday. So I resorted to looking up an appropriate dog video on YouTube.
Came across this,
Of course, that reminded me of how precious our Pharaoh is and it only took a few moments to find a couple of earlier pics of him.
Here’s Pharaoh the day I collected him from GSD breeders Jutone‘s in Dartmoor, SW England. That’s Sandra Tucker, the owner of Jutone, with Pharaoh; the date being 12th August 2003 when Pharaoh was then just over 8 weeks old.
The next photograph was taken on the 11th March, 2008 at London’s Heathrow Airport. The occasion being the time that Jean came across to England from her home in Mexico. Jean came to see if the romance that had blossomed between us at Christmas in 2007 in San Carlos, Mexico was alive and well. Luckily, it was!
Thus it came to pass that in September, 2008, Pharaoh and I travelled out from Devon, England to Mexico where we lived until February, 2010, when Jean and I, Pharaoh and 12 other dogs and 6 cats relocated to Payson, Arizona.
Reflections on a year of Blogging.
Learning from Dogs would not be anything without you, dear reader. So what follows is an accolade to you. This Blog first saw the light of day on July 15th, 2009.
By the end of 2009 there had been a total of 15,800 viewers.
In comparison, by the end of 2010 there had been a total of 85,200 viewers, a growth of 439%!
Today, the last day of 2011, the total number of viewers for the year will be in excess of 243,000, a breathtaking increase over 2010 of nearly 158,000 viewers (184%).
So from Pharaoh and me, thank you all so very, very much and a Very Happy New Year to you all.
Big, big thanks to Dan G. for sending this to me.
Love dogs? Love German Shepherd dogs? Then sit back and love this.
From the BBC programme, That’s Life, filmed in 1986.
This week is a tough one for me with no internet access until the 18th. So I’m quickly offering items from elsewhere that have caught my eye.
Here’s another thoughtful, and powerful, reminder of the power of peace from Zen Habits.
‘The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.’~Thich Nhat Hanh
These days we have an abundance of luxuries, but I’ve found that excess actually decreases my enjoyment of life.
Sure, we can get massive amounts of rich foods, feasting to our heart’s content, stuffing ourselves in alarming displays of gluttony … but is that really enjoyable on a regular basis?
And yes, television can be fun, and so can ridiculously large parts of the Internet, but if it’s always on, if we’re always connected, doesn’t that lower the fun factor?
Excesses lead to all kinds of problems, but the biggest problem is that life is less enjoyable.
I’ve been finding that simplifying things means I can savor life more fully.
Savoring life starts with a mindset. It’s a mindset that believes that excess, that rushing, that busy-ness, that distractedness, isn’t ideal. It’s a mindset that tries instead to:
- do & consume less
- slow down
- be mindful & present
- savor things fully
It’s the little things that make life enjoyable: a walk with a loved one, a delicious book, a chilled plum, a newly blooming tree.
And by simplifying, we can savor life to the fullest.
Some ideas I’ve been considering lately:
1. Coffee: Instead of ordering a latte, mocha, cappuccino with whipped cream and cinnamon and shavings … simplify. Just get pure, good coffee (or espresso), brewed fresh with care and precision, with quality beans, freshly roasted. Make it yourself if you can. Drink it slowly, with little or nothing added, and enjoy it thoroughly.
2. Tea: I recently had tea with Jesse Jacobs, the owner of Samovar Tea Lounge, and he poured two different teas from tiny tea pots: Nishi Sencha 1st Flush and Bai Hao Oolong tea. It was fresh, hand-made tea from real leaves, not a tea bag, and it was simply delicious. Drink it slowly, with your eyes closed, fully appreciating the aroma … wonderful.
3. Workouts: I’ve been a fan of simpler workouts recently. While others might spend an hour to 90 minutes in the gym, going through a series of 10 different exercises, I just do 1-3 functional exercises, but with intensity. So I might do some sprint intervals, or a few rounds of pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats. Or 400 meters of walking lunges. Let me tell you, that’s a simple but incredible workout. Another I like: five rounds 85-lb. squat thrusters (10 reps) alternated with pushups (10 reps). Today’s workout was three rounds of 15 burpees and 800-meter runs. No rest unless you need it. These are great workouts, but very simple, and very tough. I love them.
4. Sweets: I used to be a sugar addict. Now I still enjoy an occasional dessert, but in tiny portions, eaten very slowly. What I enjoy even more, though, is cold fruit. A chilled peach, some blueberries, a few strawberries, a plum: eat it one bite at a time, close your eyes with each bite, and enjoy to the fullest. So good.
5. Meals: While the trend these days is super-sized meals of greasy, fried things (more than two people need to eat actually), I have been enjoying smaller meals of simplicity. Just a few ingredients, fresh, whole, unprocessed, without chemicals or sauces. My meals usually include: a breakfast of steel-cut oats (cooked) with cinnamon, almonds, and berries; a lunch of yogurt, nuts, and fruit; a dinner of beans or tofu with quinoa and steamed veggies (or sauteed with garlic and olive oil). These simple meals are better because not only are they healthy, each ingredient can be tasted, its flavor fully enjoyed.
6. Reading: While the Internet is chock full of things to read, I’ve been enjoying the simplicity of a paper book, borrowed from the library or a friend (borrowing/sharing reduces natural resources consumed). When I read online, I read a single article at a time, using either the Readability or Clippable bookmarklet to remove distrations, and in full-screen mode in the Chrome browser (hit Cmd-Shift-F on the Mac version or F11 in Windows). It’s pure reading, no distractions, and lovely.
A couple of Posts from last September.
The wonderful news that US Gray Wolves are now back under protection reminded me of the beautiful story of Tim and his ‘pet’ wolf Luna that was published on Learning from Dogs September, 2009.
The first article opened up as follows:
An amazing true story of a relationship between a wild wolf and a man.
This is a story of a particular event in the life of Tim Woods told to me by his brother, DR. It revolves around the coming together of a man sleeping rough, with his dog, on Mingus Mountain, and a fully grown female Gray or Grey Wolf. Mingus is in the Black Hills mountain range between Cottonwood and Prescott in Arizona, USA
You can read the full Post here.
But then I added a postscript which I am going to reproduce in full again.
The story of Luna has some interesting connections.
The person taking the picture in the Post about Tim Woods was Willie Prescott. He just happens to be the grandson of William H. Prescott from whom the town of Prescott is named. Here’s that picture again.
Pharaoh – from whom I have learnt so much.
I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear.
I know that you humans lead very busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone. It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.
Look down at me now. Stop looking at your computer and look at me. See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.
You smile at me. I see love in your eyes.
What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of your time? That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.
So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on. Sometimes we die young and, oh, so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat.
Sometimes, we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes. Still the love is always there even when we must take that last, long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.
I may not be here tomorrow. I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when grief fills their souls, and you will mourn the loss of just ‘one more day’ with me.
Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me. I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.
We have now together. So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? Do you see how if you look deeply at me we can talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come not to me as my owner but as a living soul. Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.
I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go. Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general.
I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me. I know how hard you have worked to help me be the teacher that I was born to be. That gift from you has been very precious to me. I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you and to be there always for you. I am very different to you but here I am. I am a dog but just as alive as you.
I feel emotion. I feel physical senses. I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.
So, come and sit with me. Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes. Look deep into my eyes and whisper in my ears. Speak with your heart and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow but we do have now.
(Based on an article sent to me, unfortunately from an unknown author, and modified to reflect the special relationship that I have with my 6 year old German Shepherd, Pharaoh.)
By Paul Handover