Posts Tagged ‘San Carlos Mexico’
Something new for the New Year – stories about dogs!
Before I met Jean in December 2007, she had been rescuing feral dogs in the Mexican beach town of San Carlos for many, many years. Over those years, Jean must have rescued and found homes for 60 dogs or more. In the month that I met Jean, she had 12 dogs and 6 cats at her home. Ten months later, September 2008, I flew out to be permanently with Jean with my German Shepherd, Pharaoh – that’s him on the home page of Learning from Dogs - taking the total up to 13 dogs.
When we moved up to Payson, Arizona in February, 2010 we brought all 13 dogs and 6 cats with us, much to the amazement of the US Immigration officers at the US-Mexican border town of Nogales! Indeed, our particular officer left his booth excitedly to explain to his colleagues that our dogs and cats represented a border crossing record!
So many of the dogs that have passed through Jean’s loving arms have stories to tell. Thus over the coming months, Jean and I will offer you, dear reader, those stories.
Here’s the first, written by ‘Dog Lady’ Jean about gorgeous, sweet Paloma who, despite her age (Paloma that is!), is alive and well here in Payson.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The old white dog padded down the dusty pavement. Sway-backed and dull-eyed, her teats, heavy with milk, grazed the ground. An anonymous creature in a cruel world. The pavement sizzled in the afternoon Mexican summer sun blistering her tired feet, but she could not hurry. She had to conserve her energy. Her pups were soon coming and finding a safe place to give birth to them was her priority. The beach that had been her home was not a good place. .. needed cool shelter. She would find it.
She was alone among a sea of human legs in this scruffy Mexican beach town. No-one noticed her plight. No-one cared. She was used to it. She had long been adept at finding dried fish, discarded tortillas, sometimes a tasty morsel thrown by a tourist sunning in front of the big hotel.
This would be her eighth litter and she was very tired. As a puppy she belonged to a family with small children. There were plenty of leftovers. But when she became pregnant they drove her to the beach, threw her out and left her to fend for herself.
Her babies were always beautiful. She had Labrador in her genes donating a coat that was pure white. Humans always took her pups; she could only ever hope their fate was always a better one than hers.
Anonymity. She had perfected the art; never make eye contact, move low to the ground, escape the stray kick with a quick sideways leap.
She remembered at the very end of the long beach there was a house with a pool. Plenty of water. Onward she padded.
The lawn surrounding the pool was moist with sprinklers and the hibiscus hedge close to the house made a safe nest. Soon she had dug into the damp earth a big enough hole to curl into; it was cool under the canopy of red flowers.
A human voiced shouted, “Carlos, get that dog out of the hedge.” Then the long hose filling that tempting pool was turned on her and a burst of water hit her in the face. She uttered a low growl. Carlos, the gardener, backed away, “Señor, the dog, she is having babies.”
The owner of the house turned abruptly and went inside. He picked up his phone, made a call to the local English lady who over the years had acquired the nickname ‘Dog Lady’. He practically shouted down the phone, “I have a dog in my hedge having pups. You had better do something about it or I shall dispose of them, and I won’t be pretty about it!”
‘Dog Lady’ was used to this. Had been many years since she took on the practically impossible task of rescuing Mexican feral dogs and she was well-known for never turning a dog away. In less than 15 minutes, she had walked to the fine house overlooking the beach and quietly looked under the hedge. As anticipated, the dog was incapable of being moved, her focus entirely now on the safe birth of her pups. With appropriate feminine wiles, the white dog’s human saviour persuaded the disgruntled owner to allow the mother dog a stay of a few days. ‘Dog Lady’ promised that she would take them away as soon as possible.
“She’s a mean and wild dog, you’ll never tame her,” came the angry response from the house owner.
‘Dog Lady’ just smiled and said nothing.
But every day she took food to the white dog then sat quietly close by on the grass reading her book. The white dog had just the one pup, which ‘Dog Lady’ called Solovino, the Spanish for ‘comes alone’. The mother dog she called Paloma, Spanish for ‘Dove’. Many white dogs in Mexico were called Paloma and maybe years earlier that was what the children named her as the name did seem to resonate with this gentle dog.
Patiently, ‘Dog Lady’ moved closer and closer until Paloma would take meat from her hand, rapidly followed by allowing her ears to be caressed. Ten days later, while Paloma was eating, ‘Dog Lady’ picked up the little Solovino and put him into her car. Paloma’s response was immediate; she frantically ran to her child, her mothering instinct so great that she leapt without hesitation into this strange vehicle. Paloma and Solovino were safe.
The house owner graciously admitted that he had been taught a lesson in empathy and how sorry he was for being so rude and cruel.
Back at ‘Dog Lady’s’ home, a quiet sanctuary for so many dogs over the past years, Paloma and Solovino were quickly settled into a cool room. Paloma soon utterly trusted her ‘Dog Lady’ human companion and became the tame and loving dog she always wanted to be. Her shining eyes embraced her new world and she even regained her figure! Solovino grew quickly and found a wonderful family home in Tucson, Arizona.
Now some 6 years after ‘Dog Lady’ rescued Paloma from under that hedge, she is a beloved part of the Handover family. Indeed, she travelled in peace in February 2009 with her twelve dog friends from her sanctuary in San Carlos, Mexico to this dog paradise in the Arizonan forest just outside Payson.
Paloma will never want again.
Copyright © 2011, Jean Handover
More on how dogs adapt to challenges in their lives.
(As readers picked up from my closing comment in yesterday’s part of this story, technology has rather interfered with events. ’Touch wood’ things appear to be back to normal!)
Yesterday’s article (thanks to Paul Gilding for the link) was about the stray dogs in Moscow. Before musing on the more general nature of how dogs survive as strays, there is a video on YouTube about these Muscovite dogs. Just over 7 minutes long, it further underlines the amazing adaptability of the domesticated dog when thrust into self-survival.
As regular readers of Learning from Dogs will know, before Jean and I met, Jean had spent a large part of her life rescuing dogs in the San Carlos area of Mexico, much of that with Suzann (who was instrumental in Jean and me meeting!). Indeed, when Jean and I moved up to Payson in February, 2010 we had with us, much to the amusement of the American border staff at the Nogales crossing, 12 dogs and 6 cats, all rescues except my German Shepherd dog, Pharaoh.
So Jean has lots of stories about how the far-too-many stray dogs in San Carlos developed strategies for staying alive. Dhalia, see story below, shows her feral habits when we go out for a walk in the forest by constantly looking for food, despite the fact that she is a well-fed, happy and contented dog. Jean recounts finding Dhalia,
It was in 2005, about three months after Ben died (Jean’s husband). I was driving out to the small Mexican fishing port of La Manga where there were many stray dogs. The aim was to feed them on a regular basis and hope that they would become sufficiently comfortable with my presence so that they could be caught, so that they may be spayed or neutered and then offered for adoption.
On the way there, I drove past a couple of dogs running alongside the highway. Dogs frequently did this looking for ‘road-kill’ that they could feed on. I stopped the car wanting to put out some food and water.
One of the dogs was so feral that it immediately took off into the bush. I turned around and the other dog was standing about ten feet away. It was cadaverous and obviously suffering from mange but cautiously came up to the food, sniffed carefully and then started to eat. That dog allowed me to pick it up and then sat quietly with me on the front seat of the car while I continued to La Manga. It sense immediately that it was safe and from that day has remained with me. I named her Dhalia.
Fast forward to today. Dhalia is one of Pharaoh’s group of dogs and is a sweet and loving animal.
I am indebted to my life-long friend, Dan Gomez, for this piece.
Background (Personal nostalgia warning!!!)
Dan and I go back too many years; I mean way too many! He and I met in Spring 1979 when I was addressing a national conference of US Commodore PC dealers in Boston, USA. I was there to promote a British Word Processing program called Wordcraft, written by Peter Dowson, that I had exclusive rights to. I was also a Commodore PC dealer in Colchester, Essex, England; indeed I was the 8th dealer appointed in the UK. The luck in finding Wordcraft is underlined by the fact that between 1970 and 1978 I was a salesman with IBM UK Office Products division and ended up as a word-processing specialist salesman for IBM.
Anyway, in my sales pitch to these US dealers, I used the word ‘fortnight’, a common term in England. From somewhere out in the audience, this Californian voice shouted out, “Hey Handover, what’s a fortnight?” Many readers will be aware that Americans don’t use that term. That Californian voice was Dan!
From that cheeky start came a great relationship including Dan being my West Coast distributor for Wordcraft. It was Dan’s sister, whom I have also known for countless years, who invited me to her Winter home in San Carlos, Mexico, to spend Christmas 2007 with her and her husband and which was the catalyst of me meeting Jean, who is now by most beautiful wife!
OK, to the theme of this article.
Shortly after the Newsweek ‘Weather Panic‘ article on the 10th, Dan sent me this email,
Paul – Saw your blog vis a vis Newsweek’s recent cover.
Don’t forget to publish the other side of this perennial story without all the sensationalism of selling newspapers and proselytizing to the unwashed masses or you could end up drinking your own cool-aid. The science of weather cycles, sun activity, ocean currents, high-altitude jet streams, colliding warm/cool fronts have been at work long before any creature walked the earth, let alone man. The facts demonstrate this time and time again. Good science is skeptical science and needs to be viewed carefully by way of verifiable and constant testing of hypotheses.
The below article, although not at all sexy, has a different view, in general, as to the vagaries of weather extremes. There are many like this and represent unbiased, and to some, unpopular scientific reasoning at work.
Just food for thought.
He then included this.
Recent Weather Extremes: Global Warming Fingerprint Not
by Chip Knappenberger
March 21, 2011
On occasion, I have the opportunity to assist Dr. Patrick J. Michaels (Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute) in reviewing the latest scientific research on climate change. When we happen upon findings in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press, Pat sometimes covers them over at the “Current Wisdom” section of the Cato@Liberty blog site.
His latest posting there highlights research findings that show that extreme weather events during last summer and the previous two winters can be fully explained by natural climate variability—and that “global warming” need not (and should not) be invoked.
This topic—whether or not weather extremes (or at least some portion of them) can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming (or, as Dr. Pielke Sr., prefers, anthropogenic climate change)—has been garnering a lot of attention as of late. It was a major reason for holding the House Subcommittee hearing last week, is a hot topic of discussion in the press, and is the subject of an in-progress major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As such, I wanted to highlight some of the findings that Pat reported on. I encourage a visit to the full article “Overplaying the Human Contribution to Recent Weather Extremes” over at Cato@Liberty.
The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010
A new paper by Randall Dole and colleagues from the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) examined the events leading up to and causing the big heat wave in Russia last summer (which was also part of an atmospheric pattern that was connected to the floods in Pakistan). Here is what they found:
“Our analysis points to a primarily natural cause for the Russian heat wave. This event appears to be mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained an intense and long-lived blocking event. Results from prior studies suggest that it is likely that the intensity of the heat wave was further increased by regional land surface feedbacks. The absence of long-term trends in regional mean temperatures and variability together with the [climate] model results indicate that it is very unlikely that warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave.”
As Pat commented, “Can’t be much clearer than that.”
Recent Winter Severity
From Pat’s article:
Another soon-to-be released paper to appear in Geophysical Research Lettersdescribes the results of using the seasonal weather prediction model from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to help untangle the causes of the unusual atmospheric circulation patterns that gave rise to the harsh winter of 2009-2010 on both sides of the Atlantic. A team of ECMWF scientists led by Thomas Jung went back and did experiments changing initial conditions that were fed into the ECMWF model and then assessed how well the model simulated the known weather patterns of the winter of 2009-2010. The different set of initial conditions was selected so as to test all the pet theories behind the origins of the harsh winter. Jung et al. describe their investigations this way: “Here, the origin and predictability of the unusual winter of 2009/10 are explored through numerical experimentation with the ECMWF Monthly forecasting system. More specifically, the role of anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice, the tropical atmospheric circulation, the stratospheric polar vortex, solar insolation and near surface temperature (proxy for snow cover) are examined.”
In a nutshell, here is what Jung et al. found:
“The results of this study, therefore, increase the likelihood that both the development and persistence of negative NAO phase [an atmospheric circulation pattern that was largely behind the harsh winter conditions] resulted from internal atmospheric dynamical processes.”
Or, as Pat put it “Translation: Random variability.”
Pat also examined a third study by Roseanne D’Arrigo and colleagues who found an historical analog of the conditions responsible for the harsh winter of 2009-2010 way back in 1783-1784. The winter of 1783-1784 was a historically extreme one on both sides of the Atlantic and has long been associated with a large volcanic eruption that occurred in Iceland during the summer of 1783. Even Benjamin Franklin connected the winter conditions to the volcano. But D’Arrigo and colleagues now suggest a different mechanism. According to Pat:
But in their new study, Roseanne D’Arrigo and colleagues conclude that the harshness of that winter primarily was the result of anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns that closely resembled those observed during the winter of 2009-10, and that the previous summer’s volcanic eruption played a far less prominent role:
“Our results suggest that Franklin and others may have been mistaken in attributing winter conditions in 1783-4 mainly to Laki or another eruption, rather than unforced variability.
“Similarly, conditions during the 2009-10 winter likely resulted from natural [atmospheric] variability, not tied to greenhouse gas forcing… Evidence thus suggests that these winters were linked to the rare but natural occurrence of negative NAO and El Niño events.”
The take home message of Pat’s post is worth repeating:
The point is that natural variability can and does produce extreme events on every time scale, from days (e.g., individual storms), weeks (e.g., the Russian heat wave), months (e.g., the winter of 2009-10), decades (e.g., the lack of global warming since 1998), centuries (e.g., the Little Ice Age), millennia (e.g., the cycle of major Ice Ages), and eons (e.g., snowball earth).
Folks would do well to keep this in mind next time global warming is being posited for the weather disaster du jour. Almost assuredly, it is all hype and little might.
Be sure to check out Pat’s full article which includes much more in depth coverage of these three soon-to-be-released scientific studies.
I need to mull over this when I am back home with more time. In the meantime, comments from readers most welcomed.