Pharaoh – just being a dog!

Dogs live in the present – they just are!  Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value.  Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years.  That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!

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!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

Protecting our cats

There are some foods that are potentially very dangerous for cats.

Over two years ago I published an article that had been written by a guest. His name is Rohit Agarwal and the article that he wrote for Learning from Dogs was called Dogs and Fences. As it is likely that some readers may not have recalled Rohit’s piece and my introduction, let me repeat a part of what I said in that introduction:

I had no foreknowledge of Rohit, who described himself thus:

Author Bio: Rohit is a dog lover and pet enthusiast; he owns two adorable and wonderful dogs that include a German shepherd and a Labrador retriever. As work keeps him away from home, concerns arise about the safety and comfort of his pet friends, which made him try out various products that facilitate the same. Recently he was worried about leaving his dogs in the yard of his house and tried the underground fence for dogs, which worked great.

Rohit also made clear that he is a contributor to Petstek.com, the company behind the link in the last sentence of his bio.

Rohit’s article was well received so when he recently offered a further guest piece I had no hesitation in saying yes. Here it is.


Six Foods Cats Should Never, Ever Eat!


We all are guilty of sneaking our animal family members some human food. In the case of our felines, they often sneak their own tasty treats. It is all fun and most food is generally safe for cats to eat. Unfortunately, not all of our food is considered safe for cats to consume. Here are a few foods to avoid.

Image Credits ThePixelman, CC0 1.0


Raisins seem like a totally safe option for an animal, but unfortunately they are quite dangerous for felines. Scientists haven’t figured out the toxin, but consuming raisins can lead to sudden kidney failure in cats. This also means that grapes are off limits. If you notice that your cat has consumed either grapes or raisins, watch them closely for signs of toxicity. These signs include diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Usually, to cause death, large amounts have to be consumed, but even small amounts can lead to sickness.


Onions can potentially destroy a cat’s red blood cells which can cause a number of blood problems, such as anemia. This holds true for onions in any form, such as powdered, raw, and cooked. Onion powder can be in a multitude of food so be sure to read labels if you think you might give your feline friend a taste of dinner. Garlic is in the same family as onions, so therefore, all of this holds true for garlic in all forms. Garlic is less toxic.

Raw eggs

Humans are supposed to avoid eating raw eggs, so it make sense that our felines should avoid it as well. Eating a raw egg contains a risk of a bacterial infection which is called food poisoning. Your cat could potentially get salmonella or E.coli. Both of these infections could easily lead to death in such a small animal.


Now, this one might seem obvious, but cats are known for being sneaky and taking a lap of their owner’s drink. Consuming even small amounts of alcohol can lead to intoxication and alcohol poisoning. Because of their size, it can take as little as two teaspoons to do damage to their system or cause the cat to enter into a coma. More than two teaspoons can quickly lead to death.


Just like in canines, caffeine is not recommended for any breed of cats. In large quantities, caffeine is capable of being fatal. It is a diuretic that can lead to dehydration. Caffeine also overstimulates the heart and nervous system. If your cat consumes any, watch for signs of caffeine poisoning which includes restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, and tremors. Remember, caffeine isn’t just in coffee and soda; it is also found in tea, cold medicines and chocolate of all forms.

Chocolate is also lethal to cats, just as it is extremely dangerous for dogs. The agent in chocolate that leads to death is called theobromine. It can be found in all forms of chocolate, but it is especially dangerous in unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating chocolate can lead to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and death.

Fat Trimmings and Bones

This one doesn’t seem so obvious; felines eat meat so one would assume fat trimmings would be safe. Consuming fat can lead to intestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause pancreatitis. Signs of pancreatitis include lethargy, dehydration, and loss of appetite. Sometimes, a cat can also run a fever. Avoiding bones does make more sense. Small bones can easily splinter which could cause lacerations in the stomach or choking.

If you believe that your cat has eaten any of these foods, you should watch them closely for any signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian if concerned. Prevention is key to keeping your feline friend safe.


 Let’s keep all our lovely animals safe!

Dogs will be dogs!

Sully the Saint Bernard still hasn’t outgrown his love for mud.

I was working outside until late afternoon so wanted to find something quickly for today’s post.

Came across this video on YouTube from Rumble Viral – enjoy!

Published on May 19, 2016

At 4 years old Sully the Saint Bernard still hasn’t outgrown his love for mud. Here we find him playing with another dog as they run, jump and lay in a big pool of muddy water. If you’re wondering what pure happiness looks like, this is it!

One hopes these two happy dogs don’t go home and lay on the furniture.

Helping hands.

The PetSmart Pet Adoption Event.

Over the days of the 13th to 15th May, in other words roughly a week-and-a-half ago, a number of pet adoption charities in Northern California and Southern Oregon came together courtesy of PetSmart in Medford, Oregon to find new homes for unadopted dogs and cats.

P1160114I came to hear about this from an email sent to me by Tammy Moore of the organisation Shelter Friends. Tammy also c.c.’d her email to Tana Mason who is Fundraising Coordinator for the charity. Tammy’s email was an invite for me, and Jean, to attend the event on the Saturday as the author of my book.

(I would have written about the event before now but many of you will recall that was the weekend when my internet connection was down for a number of days.)

Anyway, that Saturday started off rather damp and grey but all the pet charities had previously been set up for the Friday.

P1160113But soon Jean and I had our own stand all ready for the opening time for the event and we were very grateful for being offered a table position just inside the main entrance door.

P1160117People soon started arriving and all were very friendly.


I shall continue with the photographs of the day over the next two picture parades.

But let me leave you with the results of all the fine people involved, both volunteers and the great staff at PetSmart.

In the words of Tana in answer to my question of how many animals were found homes:

I have the total for all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 9 puppies, 9 dogs and 14 cats!

I am not sure if this is a complete list of all the shelters that attended but certainly the following wonderful charities did:

Shelter Friends, Grants Pass, OR
Friends of Animals, Brookings, OR
Goliath Mountain Rescue, Yreka, CA
Rescue Ranch, Yreka, CA
Curry County Animal Shelter, Gold Beach, OR

So many helping hands!


Utter cruelty.

“I believe in preventing cruelty to all living beings in any form.”

This quote from Morarji Desai, the former Prime Minister of India, is a very appropriate introduction to me republishing a post courtesy of Roughseasinthemed. It concerns the cruelty being meted out to some Spanish dogs. Or in her own words:

Thanks for picking up on the ‘dangerous’ dogs aspect. I think it is really important that dogs are not mislabelled, responsible dog owners have enough problems as it is. People are too quick to point fingers, and those of us who rescue dogs know what a difference food, water, a home, love and affection can make to a starving street animal. No dog asks to be thrown out. Or mistreated and abused. I’m currently trying to get some help and advice for a man who lives next to six Spanish hunting dogs that are chained up all day in a shed with a tin roof, where temps can go up to 50 degrees celsius, no food in their dishes and a floor covered in shit. Deplorable. These poor dogs must be traumatised.
Katherine later sent me a link to another blog with the details and some pictures. It is republished below, first in the original Spanish and then with an English translation.

Perros de caza maltratados en Benissa:

Tenemos un “vecino” aquí en Benissa (Alicante), con 6 perros de caza encadenaros y estaban encerrados en una zona pequeña de 2 x 2m, un agujero tapado de placas de alumnio… las temperaturas en verano pueden subir a más de 50 grados, y los perros sufren terriblemente, lloran y ladran día y noche, viven y mueren en el infierno y sobre su propia “mierda”… Mi esposa y mi suegra están traumatizadas por esta crueldad, mandamos nuestra queja al Ayuntamiento y después de 8 meses respondieron que era lo que esperábamos por vivir en el campo… Tengo fotos tomadas de estos perros y su infames condiciones pero no estoy seguro de qué hacer con ellos porque aquí nadie parece querer saber nada…

dscf0744dscf0753dscf0741techo-de-metalWe have a ‘neighbour’ here in Benissa, Alicante with six hunting dogs, chained up and imprisoned in a tiny hole of a place (agujero is a hole but it’s not a literal hole, or you could use hellhole, which would be my choice), two by two metres, covered with a tin roof.

The temperatures in summer get towards fifty degrees Celsius (122 deg F.), the dogs suffer terribly, they cry and bark day and night, and they live and die in the hell of their own ‘shit’.

My wife and my mother-in-law are traumatised by this cruelty, we’ve complained to the council and after eight months they’ve replied: ‘what do you expect when you live in the countryside?’

I’ve taken photos of these dogs and their suffering but I’m not sure what to do with them, because here, nobody seems to know what to do.


In a response to Katherine I wrote that these dogs must be given better lives. She then added:

Fair enough Paul. We do too, so, easy to do. Sadly this man has contacted Seprona, which is the Guardia Civil section in charge of hunting, and they have washed their hands of it. But people are trying to help, coming up with suggestions, and that is the important thing.

When you read this please hold these dogs in your thoughts and hope that their terrible ordeal will soon come to an end. Also go to that blogsite that is carrying the story and leave your messages of support, in whatever language you choose! Every little bit helps, as this comment on that Spanish post illustrates:

Contact DeAnimals, a firm of lawyers in Murcia who work with the police, judges, vets etc on animal abuse cases. Also ACTIN in Murcia. They will tell you what to do.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Martin Luther King, Jr

What really is important.

So much to learn from our animals.

It is so easy to become disillusioned with the world around us. But then all it takes is a little story or an act of kindness to remind us of what really is important.

That was my emotional reaction when I recently read the following item over on the Care2 website. I am taking the liberty of republishing it in full.


Dangerous Dog Rescues Helpless Hummingbird in Grass

3176813.largeBy: Laura S. May 10, 2016

About Laura

One can only speculate why a rescued dog named Rex refused to leave the side of an injured hummingbird lying in the grass. Was it compassion or simple curiosity?

According to Rex’s guardian, Ed Gernon, his German Shepherd mix was homeless for a very long time and had a reputation for getting along poorly with other animals.

“He was dangerous” told CBS News. “I mean, he fought with other dogs and he killed cats. He was an animal that had learned to live on the streets.”

During a neighborhood walk, Rex came to an abrupt halt with a laser-focus on the ground in front of him.

“He suddenly stopped and he would not move,” Gernon said of Rex’s discovery of the near-death hummingbird. “It’s tiny and it’s dead as far as I’m aware. It’s covered in ants. It’s got no feathers.”

But Rex apparently knew better. Not only did he realize that the bird was still alive, but he refused to leave it.

“He was trying to protect her, so I thought I’d go the distance.”

So, Gernon did the only thing he could think of at the moment. He scooped up the hummingbird and took it home. And there began a year-long process of rehabilitation inside Gernon’s home. That included using a hairdryer to help Hummer fly as well as regular feedings of sugar water.

Today Hummer is strong and ready for return to the wild, only she shows no interest in leaving just yet.

“It’s time for her to start mating,” Gernon said in his recent interview. “I keep leaving the doors and windows open thinking she’ll leave.”


Laura closes her article by including the sensible advice:

Wildlife experts advise that licensed rehabilitation specialists should be consulted when caring for an injured wild animal.

As I said in my preamble all it takes is a little story or an act of kindness to remind us of what really is important.

You all have a wonderful weekend.

Hazel – Further Update

Only time will provide the definite answer.

(This update would have been brought to you much earlier this week had it not been for our internet problems.)

You will recall that it was a week ago that we took Hazel to see a specialist and I posted Hazel’s Probable Disease. That evening our vet friend, Jim, brought over a supply of Prednisone tablets with the instructions to stop the Fluconazole treatment and switch to Prednisone. We started at a dosage of one 20mg tablet every 12 hours.

Hazel enjoying the cool floor of our bathroom.
Hazel enjoying the cool floor of our bathroom yesterday afternoon.

Within twenty-four hours the Prednisone had stimulated a return of Hazel’s appetite and for the last seven days she has been eating very well. Plus she has regained an interest in the world around her and now comes out for walks with the other dogs.

Jim and I went for a short hike yesterday afternoon and we were discussing Hazel. Jim reminded me that while the lung pictures and the other evidence were pointing to it being cancer the actual tumour still hadn’t been found.

If there is no noticeable decline in, say, three or four weeks then it may not be cancer. Certainly, Jim said, if it is cancer then Hazel will not live out another three months.

Time will give us the answer.

Death is part of life.

Slowly picking up the pieces from our internet outage.

The fact that I was sitting in front of my PC at 4:30am yesterday morning writing this says a lot about the inconvenience of losing our internet connection last Friday evening. We love living in this rural part of Southern Oregon surrounded by such dramatic scenery but it does have a couple of downsides, one of which is that we are very limited as to internet service providers.

Anyway, on with the show!

One of the posts that I had in mind for earlier this week was this rather poignant piece from Chris Snuggs. Chris and I go back many years to the time when he was Head of Studies at ISUGA; a French college based in Quimper. I was a visiting teacher at ISUGA covering entrepreneurial topics.

IsugaEnough of me, here is that story from Chris. It was sent to me on the 10th May.


My sister’s dog died last night. Margaret woke me at 03.00 in the morning saying she needed my help. I found her at the front door, where Jasper was lying motionless, having crawled there in his last moments.

“I think he’s gone,” she said, sobbing quietly.

I knelt down and felt his side; indeed, there was no sign of breathing, though his body was still warm. Jasper had died. He had been ill for a few days, been down to the vet and got some medicine, but it had been to no avail. Maggie said he had been unusually quiet and motionless that last evening, making  strange noises as his lungs failed him. At 12 years old, one cannot say it was a surprise, but until the last few days he had been right as rain, barking senselessly at nothing in particular when let out into the garden, getting under my feet as I did jobs around the house.

But death of any companion – or indeed of any living creature – is moving, shocking. He was not my dog, nor do I see him often or for long, but the one thing about dogs is that once they make friends with you – as Jasper had with me – you are a friend for life.

No matter how depressed you are, no matter how low an opinion you have of yourself, no matter how sheit your day was, whenever you walk through that front door, a dog will greet you with his tail wagging. They have infinite love, devotion and optimism; they take you as you are and love you whatever you are.

And so Jasper will be missed by me, but of course more so by my sister, who had him from a puppy. As anyone who has lost a companion knows, the house seems empty afterwards. There will be no more greetings with the wagging tail, no more forbidden jumping up onto the sofa to be patted, no more barking at the seagulls in the garden.

Death is a part of life, but hard to accept even so.

Chris Snuggs


Chris also forwarded some photographs of dear Jasper that are offered in memory of the little chap.


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Embracing the reality of death: One of the most important lessons that we learn from our dogs.