The sustainable dog.

Looking for sustainability?  Try this!

Sustainable is an overused word these days.  All for the right reasons, of course!  But how often is the word used in the context of relationships?  Of the relationships between the domesticated dog and man?  I suspect rarely.

Take the example of the Japanese Akita dog called Hachi, (Hachikō in Japanese) that I wrote about almost a year ago.

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at theUniversity of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner’s life Hachikō saw him out from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting. Hachikō was loyal and every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk.

Hachikō 1925

“…. every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk” Truly a sustainable relationship.

Now to something closer to home; literally.

The Payson Roundup is our local newspaper. Last Tuesday’s edition had the following story which Tom Brossart, Editor, has kindly given me written permission to reproduce here on Learning from Dogs.  Thank you, Tom.

Best friends help save man’s life

Both Logger and Harold Green are a little gray around the muzzle, but they have lots of good days ahead after Logger helped save Green’s life back on July 1.Photo by Andy Towle

By Teresa McQuerrey

August 30, 2011

Logger is Harold Green’s best friend. Logger isn’t a flannel-wearing, tattooed burly woodsman; he is a sweet-tempered chocolate Labrador retriever. And this best friend saved Green’s life.

Green makes his home up in Happy Jack. Recently he and Logger drove into the woods and went for a walk, and then Green had a heart attack. He didn’t have a history of heart disease, but all of a sudden his chest became tight. He collapsed and on his way to the ground, he hit a fallen log and wound up hitting his forehead and nose, tearing his bottom lip away from his gums, cutting his chin and breaking a rib.

“Right before I had the heart attack I had a page there was a fire, and that’s the last thing I remember,” he said. Green is an emergency medical technician with the Blue Ridge Fire Department.

He said the next thing he remembers was waking up and trying to call 911. “There was so much blood in my eyes I couldn’t see at first, but Logger licked the blood away.”

Green was conscious long enough to dial 911 and try to explain where he was. He heard the sirens go past him and with that information; the emergency responders had a place to start looking for him.

At that point, Logger left Green’s side to go to the rescue personnel.

“From what they told me, he was like Lassie. He came running to them, barking, and started running back to me, stopped and made sure they were following,” Green said.

The first person on the scene with him was a law enforcement officer with the Forest Service. Green said he told him his nose was bleeding so much he thought it was broken.

Next to arrive was a deputy sheriff. Green said he later learned the guy was off duty, but came to help anyway.

The Blue Ridge ambulance crew arrived next.

“Logger did the same with all of them as he had with the first one on the scene. They told me, without Logger’s help they would have had to search for me a lot longer.”

Green said when they first reached him his heart rate was in the mid-40s and he had no blood pressure. The rescue team stabilized him and carried him out to the ambulance to take him to the fire station where a helicopter could land.

“They said Logger tried to get into the ambulance with me,” Green said.

He said he has little or no memory of everything that took place, when he woke up he was in the hospital in Flagstaff.

Logger couldn’t ride in the ambulance with Green and couldn’t come see him in the hospital, but since he has been out, the dog has not been more than three feet from him for three weeks.

“It is really humbling to have so many friends there to help you out,” Green said.

The people who came to his rescue were all friends and, just like Logger, they did what best friends do, except it was something they do every day, for friends and strangers alike.

Logger has been part of Green’s family for seven years, joining it when he was just a puppy.

Green is the son of longtime Rim Country Realtor Bea Baxter, who has been in the community for around 40 years.

So dear, lovely Logger also demonstrated the same, deep sustainability of relationship that Hachikō did back in 1925.  There is so much that we can learn from dogs.  Think about sustainability, as it relates to the relationship between dogs and man.  It goes back at least 30,000 years.  It’s an unimaginable length of time.

In this context, sustainability is an underused word!

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