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!
I’m pleased to report there have been no recalls since September 26.
However, for the many dog owners who also own a cat…
Go Raw is recalling one lot of its “Quest Beef Cat Food”… because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. Missed any of the 11 other recalls we’ve sent since early July? Be sure to visit our Dog Food Recalls page for full details. 6 Best Dog Food Lists Updated
The Dog Food Advisor has recently updated the following best dog food pages:
I have re-read this post and have choked up. For Pharaoh was the supreme dog for me to have as a companion during this stage in my life. I suspect you will read that clearly in the post that follows.
The concluding part-two of meeting Pharaoh
In yesterday’s first part of my recollection of having Pharaoh in my life for over ten years, I focussed on the early days. Today, I want to take a more philosophical view of the relationship, right up to the present day.
The biggest, single reward of having Pharaoh as my friend goes back a few years. Back to my Devon days and the time when Jon Lavin and I used to spend hours talking together. Pharaoh always contentedly asleep in the same room as the two of us. It was Jon who introduced me to Dr. David Hawkins and his Map of Consciousness. It was Jon one day who looking down at the sleeping Pharaoh pointed out that Dr. Hawkins offered evidence that dogs are integrous creatures with a ‘score’ on that Map of between 205 and 210. (Background story is here.)
So this blog, Learning from Dogs, and my attempt to write a book of the same name flow from that awareness of what dogs mean to human consciousness and what Pharaoh means to me. No, more than that! From that mix of Jon, Dr. David Hawkins, experiencing the power of unconditional love from an animal living with me day-in, day-out, came a journey into my self. Came the self-awareness that allowed me to like who I was, be openly loved by this dog of mine, and be able to love in return. As is said: “You cannot love another until you love yourself.”
Trying to pick out a single example of the bond that he and I have is practically impossible. I have to rely on photographs to remind me of the thousands of times that a simple look or touch between Pharaoh and me ‘speaks’ to me in ways that words fail. Here’s an extract from my celebration of Pharaoh’s tenth birthday last June 3rd; written the following day. It comes pretty close to illustrating the friendship bond.
For many years I was a private pilot and in later days had the pleasure, the huge pleasure, of flying a Piper Super Cub, a group-owned aircraft based at Watchford Farm in South Devon. The aircraft, a Piper PA-18-135 Super Cub, was originally supplied to the Dutch Air Force in 1954 and was permitted by the British CAA to carry her original military markings including her Dutch military registration, R-151, although there was a British registration, G-BIYR, ‘underneath’ the Dutch R-151. (I wrote more fully about the history of the aircraft on Learning from Dogsback in August 2009.)
Anyway, every time I went to the airfield with Pharaoh he always tried to climb into the cockpit. So one day, I decided to see if he would sit in the rear seat and be strapped in. Absolutely no problem with that!
My idea had been to fly a gentle circuit in the aircraft. First I did some taxying around the large grass airfield that is Watchford to see how Pharaoh reacted. He was perfectly behaved.
Then I thought long and hard about taking Pharaoh for a flight. In the Cub there is no autopilot so if Pharaoh struggled or worse it would have been almost impossible to fly the aircraft and cope with Pharaoh. So, in the end, I abandoned taking him for a flight. The chances are that it would have been fine. But if something had gone wrong, the outcome just didn’t bear thinking about.
So we ended up motoring for 30 minutes all around the airfield which, as the next picture shows, met with doggie approval. The date was July 2006.
Moving on again. This time to another flying experience. To the day when Pharaoh and I flew out of London bound for Los Angeles and a new life with Jeannie and all her dogs (16 at that time) down in San Carlos, Sonora County, Mexico. The date: September 15th, 2008. Just ten months after I had met Jean in Mexico and realised that this was the woman that I was destined to love! (Now you will understand why I described earlier the Jon Lavin, Dr. Hawkins, Pharaoh mix as the biggest, single reward of having Pharaoh as my friend!)
There followed wonderful happy days for me and Pharaoh. Gorgeous to see how Pharaoh became so much more a dog, if that makes sense, from having his own mini-pack around him. Those happy days taking us all forwards to Payson, AZ, where Jean and I were married, and then on to Merlin, Oregon arriving here in October, 2012.
I could go on! Hopefully, you get a sense, a very strong sense, of the magical journey that both Pharaoh and I have experienced since I first clasped him in my arms back in September, 2003.
Both Pharaoh and I are in the Autumn of our lives, he is 11 in June; I am 70 in November, and we both creak a little. But so what! Pharaoh has been my greatest inspiration of the power of unconditional love; of the need to smell the flowers in this short life of ours.
Thank you, my dear, dear friend!
Yes, thank you, and thanks to all the dogs that love us and to whom we offer love in return.
Today, as in the 20th November, 2019, just happens to be our anniversary, nine years ago we were married. We met just before Christmas, 2007.
I am at the stage in my book where I am having to check certain dates. Luckily I was already writing Learning from Dogs and could use the blog to check dates.
In so doing I came across an earlier post about Pharaoh and thought that was so, so good that it just has to be republished. Part One today and Part Two tomorrow.
‘Meeting’ this dog deserves two posts!
Almost two months ago, January 30th to be exact, the first of this ‘Meet the dogs‘ series was published. It came out of an idea from Jean and that January 30th post introduced Paloma to you, dear reader. Since then we have told you about Lilly, Dhalia, Ruby, Casey, Hazel, Sweeny, and Cleo.
So today’s post is the last of the Meet the dogs stories; it is about Pharaoh. I’m going to indulge myself and tell you the story of this most wonderful of dogs over today and tomorrow.
This is Sandra Tucker, owner of Jutone Kennels in Devon, England, where Pharaoh was born on June 3rd, 2003. Here’s something written elsewhere that conveys my feelings that first day that I met this puppy.
In no time at all I was turning into the farm driveway, noticing the painted sign for Jutone & Felsental German Shepherds alongside the open, wooden gate.
I turned off the engine and was about to swing my legs out of the open driver’s door when I saw a woman coming towards me.
“Hi, you must be Paul, I’m Sandra. Did you have any trouble finding us?”
I shook hands with her.
“Not at all. I did as you recommended when we spoke on the phone and went in to the local store and got final directions.”
Sandra smiled, her glasses almost slipping off the end of her nose.
“Dear Beth. She’s been running that local store since God was a boy.”
She continued with a chortle in her voice, “Some say that Beth was at the store before our local pub, The Palk Arms, opened for business. And the pub’s been in the village for well over four-hundred years.” Sandra’s laugh was infectious and I caught myself already taking a liking to her. The sense of a strong, confident person struck me immediately. Indeed, a working woman evidenced by her brown slacks, revealing plenty of dog hairs, topped off with a blue T-shirt under an unbuttoned cotton blouse.
“Anyway, enough of me, Paul, you’ve come to get yourself a German Shepherd puppy.”
She turned towards a collection of grey, galvanised-sheeted barns and continued chatting as I fell into step alongside her.
“After we discussed your circumstances over the phone; where you live down there in Harberton, why you specifically wanted a German Shepherd dog, I thought about the last set of puppies that were born, just a few weeks ago.”
Sandra paused and turned towards me.
“While, of course, you can select whatever puppy you feel drawn to, my advice is to go for a male. Listening to your experiences of befriending a male German Shepherd when you were a young boy, I have no doubt that a male dog would result in you and the dog building a very strong bond. Indeed, I have a young male puppy that I want to bring out to you. Is that OK?”
Sandra turned and walked out of sight around the corner of the first barn leaving me standing there, my response presumably being taken for granted.
Something in her words struck me in a manner that I hadn’t anticipated; not in the slightest. That was her use of the word bond. I was suddenly aware of the tiniest emotional wobble inside me from Sandra’s use of that word. Somewhere deep inside me was the hint that my decision to have a dog in my life was being driven by deeper and more ancient feelings.
My introspection came to an immediate halt as Sandra re-appeared. She came up to me, a beige-black puppy cradled under her left arm, her left hand holding the pup across its mid-riff behind his front legs, her right arm across her waist supporting the rear of the tiny animal.
I stood very still, just aware of feelings that I couldn’t voice, could hardly even sense, as I looked down at this tiny black, furry face, outsized beige ears flopping down either side of his small head.
It was unusually warm this August day and I had previously unbuttoned my cuffs and folded the shirt sleeves of my blue-white, checked cotton shirt back above both elbows leaving my forearms bare.
Sandra offered me the young, fragile creature. As tenderly as I could, I took the pup into my arms and cradled the gorgeous animal against my chest. The pup’s warm body seemed to glow through its soft fur and as my bare arms embraced the flanks of this quiet, little dog I realised the magic, the pure magic, of the moment. Something was registering in me in ways utterly beyond words but, nonetheless, as real as a rainbow might be across the green, Devon hills.
“How old is he, Sandra?”
“This little lad was born on June 3rd. So what are we today? August 12th. So he is ten weeks old as of today.”
June 3rd, 2003. I knew that this date had now entered my life in just the same way as had the birth-dates of my son and daughter; Alex and Maija.
The power of this first meeting was beyond anything I had expected, or even imagined. I thought that it was going to be a fairly pleasant but, nonetheless, unsurprising process of choosing a puppy. How wrong could I have been! What was captivating me was the pure and simple bodily contact between this young dog and me. No more than that. I was sensing in some unspoken manner that this was equally as captivating for this precious puppy-dog. For even at the tender age of ten weeks, the tiny dog appeared to understand that me holding him so longingly was bridging a divide of many, many years.
Sandra motioned with her arm, pointing out a bench-seat a few yards away alongside a green, well-manicured, lawn.
I very carefully sat down on the wooden-slatted bench and rested the beautiful animal in my lap. The puppy was adorable. Those large, over-sized ears flopping across the top of his golden black-brown furry head. His golden-brown fur morphing into black fur across his shoulders and then on down to the predominantly beige-cream colour of his soft, gangling, front legs. That creamy fur continuing along the little creature’s underbelly.
The puppy seemed almost to purr with contentment, its deep brown eyes gazing so very intently into mine. I was entranced. I was spellbound.
Never before had I felt so close to an animal. In a life-time of nearly sixty years including having cats at home when I was a young boy growing up in North-West London, and much later the family owning a pet cat when Alex and Maija were youngsters, I had never, ever sensed the stirrings of such a loving bond as I was sensing now. As this young puppy was clearly sensing as well. This was to be my dog. Of that I was in no doubt.
Let me leave you with a couple of other photographs taken from his early days.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that in the year 2014, I would be writing about Pharaoh from a home-office desk in Southern Oregon sharing a happy life with a wonderful London lady, Jean, and more gorgeous animals than one could throw a stick at.
More on that shared journey with Pharaoh tomorrow!
Back to today.
Isn’t that a perfect memory of an outstanding dog. Indeed, more than that. An outstanding memory of a grand, magnificent, intelligent dog who was with me during the worst and best of my life!
These longest-living dog breeds will stick around.Getty Images
By now, most people are aware that smaller dogs generally live longer than their larger counterparts, but by how much exactly?
A 2013 report by Banfield Pet Hospital revealed that most dogs that weighed less than 19 pounds had an average lifespan of approximately 11.3 years, while medium to large dogs in the 20- to 90-pounds range lived approximately 10.8 years, and giant dogs more than 90 pounds usually only lived until the eight-year mark.
But even amongst small dogs, there’s a wide range of life expectancies. So, if you’re looking for a furry companion that will be around for a long time, make sure to narrow your search to one of the following breeds that are well-known to have long life expectancies
The famous “hot dog” dog is one adorably furry creature that generally will live a pretty long life in human years — about 15 to 20 years.
As the smallest member of the hound family, the dachshund — thanks to its distinctive shape — is prone to suffer from back injuries, so it’s important for owners to make sure they don’t jump off of high surfaces like couches, and even beds, to help them live a long healthy life
The sweet, sassy and petite Chihuahua can live up to a whopping 20 years. As one of the smallest breeds on this list, clocking in at a mere 3 to 5 pounds, most members of the Chihuahua family live around 15 to 18 years, but some common Chihuahua health problems to look out for include heart problems and patellar luxation
Not only are poodles sharp as a whip and great with kids, they also happen to be one breed that lives the longest. Toy poodles in particular, thanks to their miniature size, tend to live the longest of all the poodle varieties — about 15 to 20 years.
They do require plenty of physical and mental exercise (hence, the intelligence), so make sure to keep that in mind before you commit to a toy poodle for two decades.
Who can resist those big floppy ears and puppy dog eyes? Long considered a wonderful family pet, the average beagle lives approximately 12 to 17 years. In fact, the longest living beagle, Butch, lived to an incredible 27 years!
Aging beagles commonly deal with back issues, so make sure they stay active and don’t overeat.
The Lhasa apso’s long hair makes it the perfect furry friend.Getty Images
Long-haired, shaggy and slightly goofy looking, Lhasa apsos are definitely easy to love. Luckily for their owners, their best fur buddy will be around for a long time, with an average lifespan somewhere in the vicinity of 15 to 20 years.
They are known to suffer from skin problems — something that can often be managed simply by making sure they eat the right blend of dog food.
These popular small dogs are playful, full of life and super alert. They live approximately 12 to 16 years, although some have been recorded to have lived up to the two-decade mark — that’s 140 in dog years!
Thanks to all that glorious pomeranian hair, this breed will require a lot of grooming (unless you love tangles everywhere), so it’s just something to keep in mind as you’ll likely be brushing that fur for many, many years to come.
Now I just counted the images and there are 50 of them.
When veterans return from combat, many can’t leave behind the terrors they witnessed. In the U.S., roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day — or one every 65 minutes — according to a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The psychological pain of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) breaks up relationships, ends jobs and causes depression and other issues. To help manage the haunting memories and pain, some veterans have found respite in four-legged treatment. Trained service dogs have helped some veterans return to their lives after combat.
The documentary “To Be of Service” follows several American veterans of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam and the dogs that help them cope with PTSD. The film was directed by Josh Aronson, known for the Oscar-nominated documentary “Sound and Fury” about deaf families.
Many of the veterans in the documentary had turned to medications, alcohol or illegal drugs to try to cope with life after combat. But the film shows how having to care for a dog gave them a sense of a purpose and an ever-present friend.
‘I had to tell these stories’
Glen Moody rarely left his house before being paired with Indy. (Photo: ‘To Be of Service’)
The documentary follows nearly a dozen veterans including Glen Moody, who was a Navy Corpsman stationed with the Marines in Iraq. He never got into a fight in his life before he was deployed, but he returned an adrenaline junkie. He would get into bar brawls and ride his motorcycle drunk at 100 mph. He was heavily meditated to treat his PTSD, but never went out, eventually losing all his friends.
“They spend millions to make us warriors but not near enough to teach us to return home,” Moody says.
After being paired with service dog Indy, his rage and anxiety has started to subside. He has made friends again and he rides his motorcycle “like an adult,” he says.
It’s stories like this that prompted producer Julie Sayres to get involved. She has been writing about and working with veterans for the past several years.
“I began to imagine how unsafe a veteran struggling with physical and emotional trauma must feel upon returning from war, to a world that doesn’t have a clue what he or she has endured. It’s isolating and terrifying, leading to never leaving the house, excessive drinking or drug use and in many cases, suicide. I began to explore what these amazing service dogs do to mitigate this kind of anguish,” said Sayres.
“I’ve seen men and women come back to life after letting a dog into their life. I’ve seen families come together after the black cloud of despair is lifted from their father, mother, daughter or son. I had to tell these stories.”
Currently, the film is scheduled for screenings in about a dozen cities, but more will likely be added. To find a screening near you or to find out how to schedule a community or educational screening, check out the film’s website.
Here’s a tissue-worthy peek at what to expect:
I have said it before and no doubt that I will say it again many times: A dog is without doubt man’s best friend!
The first weekend of this month saw Jeannie and me in Chicago. Then back home in Merlin, earlier this week, half-an-inch of rain fell to break a long spell of dry weather. I went out last Thursday morning to capture some sights of the first misty morning of Autumn. The contrast between our rural home and Chicago was dramatic; to say the least! Enjoy!
(P.S. I sensed there was no need to describe each photograph in terms of which one was taken in Merlin or in Chicago!)
On Monday when Jeannie and I went to our regular session at Club Northwest, Jean to her Rock Steady class, and me to spend 45 minutes with Austin Raymond, one of the fitness coaches, he and I were speaking of health in general and veganism in particular. Austin, Jean and I are vegans.
Austin mentioned had we watched the film The Game Changers on Netflix? I replied that we had not but we were subscribers to Netflix and would watch it in the evening.
Well what an incredible film! I mean really incredible!
P.S. If you are a Netflix subscriber then you may watch it without any fuss.
(So I taken time out from book writing to publish this post; I’m over 9,000 words already written in November!)
Here’s a YouTube trailer to the film:
Have you ever seen an ox eating meat!
But apart from the solid science that we never were meat-eaters were the facts about illness being so much prevalent in those eating meat compared to vegans. That was just one aspect of the film that grabbed our attention! There were many more.
Back to fundamentals!
Let’s examine one fact, the jaw shape.
Here’s the jaw of a dog.
and here’s another:
That is a mouth that has evolved to tear meat from an animal.
And here’s the jaw of a human:
and the picture of the whole skull.
Notice that the teeth have always been adapted to eat fruit and vegetables.
And that’s before we think how much land has been converted from natural land and forest to grazing land for cattle and sheep!
Now I don’t know how long the full documentary will remain for free on YouTube but here it is:
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I am still working on Book Two. As I announced in November, 2017!
However, I decided to type up the comprehensive notes that I took during 1970 when after touring the outback of Australia I then spent a few weeks travelling through Asia and Japan before boarding the Trans-Siberian Express as a way of coming to Helsinki in order the file my stories.
I also have changed the name. From The Dog and I to A Letter to a Grandson. Simply because my grandson wasn’t yet born when I left the UK to arrive, via Mexico, in the USA. Morten, that being my grandson’s name, when he is of the age where he is curious about his grandfather, will hopefully want the full story.