Author: Paul Handover

My Corgi

This is wonderful!

I have been a subscriber to Ugly Hedgehog, a photographic forum, for a little while.

Recently Vicki posted a couple of photographs of her Corgi. They are fabulous and Vicki was kind enough to give me permission to republish them.

First Vicki in her own words:

The morning light backlit my Corgi, Lexi, as she enjoyed the sunny warmth on the back deck, and the house acted as a very large reflector. No fill flash was needed. The catchlights clearly reflect the windows of the house and may or may not be appealing.

I simplified the background with a layer mask in the second shot.

So this is Lexi!

And this is number two!

A brilliant two photographs!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ninety-Seven

A reprint of the second picture parade.

This was published on the August 3rd, 2013. Nothing to do with dogs but some great photographs nonetheless.

More photographs courtesy of Neil Kelly, Devon.

Time to hang on!
Time to hang on!

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Is it a bird? A man?
Is it a bird? A woman? Take your guess!

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Carbon copies??
Carbon copies??

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All taped up and nowhere to go!
All taped up and nowhere to go!

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Belt tightening.
Belt tightening.

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Snake Pass, maybe?
Snake Pass, maybe?

 

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A bit of a fiddle!
A bit of a fiddle!

 

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Your wish is my command.
Your wish is my command.

Aren’t these terrific!

OK, next week it’s back to normal!

Oregon wolf pups!

A good news story of recent days!

I will go straight to the story!

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6 wolf pups caught on trail cam in Mount Hood area

Posted Jul 11, 2019

Two wolf pups were observed on the Warm Springs reservation in early August, marking the first time the wolves have successfully bred in Oregon’s northern Cascades since the animals returned to the state.

MOUNT HOOD — Officials say six wolf pups have been born this year to Oregon’s White River wolf pack in the Mount Hood area. Biologists with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs posted footage of the pups from a trail camera that was shared on Facebook by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Oregon.

The White River Pack is located just southeast of Mount Hood and east of Timothy Lake. With five members in 2018, it was one of the few confirmed packs in Western Oregon, along with southwest Oregon’s Rogue Pack.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife carnivore biologist Derek Broman told The Statesman Journal that the current size of the White River pack is 11 animals.

The latest wolf count shows Oregon is home to a minimum of 137 wolves. The majority are clustered in northeast Oregon.
— The Associated Press

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Now it’s a great shame but the video of the young pups, evident if you go to this link, I cannot put into a WordPress blog, namely Learning from Dogs.

Another wonderful example of dog nurturing!

I take my hat off to The Dodo.

It’s a brilliant site and one that has reams of good stories about dogs.

Plus it’s OK to republish them which makes a huge difference to so many of you. For I get the impression that you love what they publish as much as I do.

Take this latest example of a dog nurturing an infant.

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Dog Gets Up During The Night To Help Put Crying Toddler Back To Sleep

When he walks in the room, we know she is in good paws and we can all get some more rest.

By 

PUBLISHED ON 07/12/2019

Almost 2 years ago, the lives of Sara Lebwohl and her husband Zach changed forever. That was when the first-time parents welcomed into the world their newborn daughter Halle.

But as the couple embarked on the journey of parenthood, they soon discovered there was someone eager to help them along the way.

That someone, of course, was their adorable dog Prince.

Sara Lebwohl

Even before Halle was born, Prince seemed to understand their family was about to grow. In fact, he rarely left Sara’s side, already devoted to the little one on the way.

Then the big day arrived.

Sara Lebwohl

“When she first came home, he went right up to her and sniffed her,” Sara told The Dodo. “He knew she was little and fragile. But he always stayed close and kept a very close eye on her. He was truly a nanny dog from the first day.”

Sara Lebwohl

Since then, Prince’s dedication to Halle has only grown deeper.

Sara Lebwohl

The two of them are simply inseparable — but although they always have a great time together, Prince still clearly sees himself as both playful companion and caretaker.
And it shows.

Sara Lebwohl

Halle is now nearly 2 years old, and has begun sleeping in her own room. But, as is often the case for youngsters her age, she still requires some comfort and reassurance in the early morning.

Prince, who usually sleeps in Mom and Dad’s room, has always been the first to notice when Halle is seemingly restless. And, without fail, he’d accompany whichever of them got up to attend to Halle during those inconvenient wake-up calls.

Recently, however, Sara and her husband had an idea: What if they left both their bedroom door and Halle’s open throughout the night? Would Prince put a fussy Halle back to sleep on his own?

Yes, is the answer — and here’s some sweet video to prove it:

“Surprisingly it has worked out well,” Sara said. “We crack the door open for him when she gets up, and he walks in to greet her. He has a little routine he does, including rolling around on the ground. Then he will look at her and lay down. The amazing thing is that this calms her, and she goes back to sleep.”

The dog’s stellar nannying skills have made life better for Halle — and her parents, too.

“Prince has been an unexpected savior, allowing us a bit more precious minutes to hours of sleep. When he walks in the room, we know she is in good paws and we can all get some more rest,” Sara said.

Now, everyone’s morning is that much happier.

Sara Lebwohl

This is just one of the ways that Prince has made life better. Every waking moment is improved by having him around, a faithful companion to those who love him the most. And as Halle grows, there’s no doubt he’ll continue to share in the joys and challenges that lie ahead.

His favorite little girl wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He takes his job as protective big brother very seriously,” Sara said. “Our family feels so fortunate to have a dog that is so loving and good-hearted. We are also thankful that Halle adores Prince.”

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See what I mean!

It’s a beautiful story of Prince being so attentive to the needs of Halle and Halle in turn adoring Prince.

Long after Prince has died, indeed for the rest of Halle’s days, she will love dogs.

Dogs teach us so much!

But the single most important lesson is integrity.

Again, another post from previous times. Albeit just a couple of years ago.

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Another tribute to dear Pharaoh.

The most profound thing that I learned from Pharaoh is that dogs are creatures of integrity. That goes back to a day in June, 2007. Some six months before I met Jeannie in Mexico in December, 2007. I was sitting in Jon’s home office just a few miles from where Pharaoh and I were then living in South Devon.

It was a key chapter in Part Four of my book where I examine all the qualities that we humans need to learn from our dogs.

So here is Chapter 13 from my book Learning from Dogs. (Written in ‘English’ English!)

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Chapter 13
Integrity

In the Introduction to this book I mentioned how the notion of “learning from dogs” went back to 2007 and me learning that dogs were creatures of integrity. Let me now elaborate on that.
It is a Friday morning in June in the year 2007. I am sitting with Jon at his place with Pharaoh sleeping soundly on the beige carpet behind my chair. I didn’t know it at the time but it was to become one of those rare moments when we gain an awareness of life that forever changes how we view the world, both the world within and the world without.

“Paul, I know there’s more for me to listen to and I sense that we have established a relationship in which you feel safe to reveal your feelings. However, today I want to talk about consciousness. Because I would like to give you an awareness of this aspect of what we might describe under the overall heading of mindfulness.”
I sat quietly fascinated by what was a new area for me.

“During the years that I have been a psychotherapist, I’ve seen an amazing range of personalities, probably explored every human emotion known. In a sense, explored the consciousness of a person. But what is clear to me now is that one can distil those different personalities and emotions into two broad camps: those who embrace truth and those who do not.”

Jon paused, sensing correctly that I was uncertain as to what to make of this. I made it clear that I wanted him to continue.

“Yes, fundamentally, there are people who deny the truth about themselves, who actively resist that pathway of better self-awareness, and then there are those people who want to know the truth of whom they are and seek it out when the opportunity arises. The former group could be described as false, lacking in integrity and unsupportive of life, while the latter group are diametrically opposite: truthful, behaving with integrity and supportive of life.”
It was then that Jon lit a fire inside me that is still burning bright to this day. For he paused, quietly looking at Pharaoh sleeping so soundly on the carpet, and went on to add, “And when I look at dogs, I have no question that they have a consciousness that is predominantly truthful: that they are creatures of integrity and supportive of life.”
That brought me immediately to the edge of my seat, literally, with the suddenness of my reaction causing Pharaoh to open his eyes and lift up his head. I knew in that instant that something very profound had just occurred. I slipped out of my chair, got down on my hands and knees and gave Pharaoh the most loving hug of his life. Dogs are creatures of integrity. Wow!

****

Later, when driving home, I couldn’t take my mind off the idea that dogs were creatures of integrity. What were those other values that Jon had mentioned? It came to me in a moment: truthful and supportive of life. Dogs have a consciousness that is truthful, that they are creatures of integrity and supportive of life: what a remarkable perception of our long-time companions.
I had no doubt that all nature’s animals could be judged in the same manner but what made it such an incredibly powerful concept, in terms of dogs, was the unique relationship between dogs and humans, a relationship that went back for thousands upon thousands of years. I realised that despite me knowing I would never have worked it out on my own, Jon’s revelation about dogs being creatures of integrity was so utterly and profoundly obvious.

As I made myself my usual light lunch of a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and some fruit and then sat enjoying a mug of hot tea, I still couldn’t take my mind off what Jon had revealed: dogs are examples of integrity and truth. I then thought that the word “examples” was not the right word and just let my mind play with alternatives. Then up popped: Dogs are beacons of integrity and truth. Yes, that’s it! Soon after, I recognised that what had just taken place was an incredible opening of my mind, an opening of my mind that didn’t just embrace this aspect of dogs but extended to me thinking deeply about integrity for the first time in my life.

Considering that this chapter is titled “Integrity”, so far all you have been presented with is a somewhat parochial account of how for the first time in my life the word “integrity” took on real meaning. That until that moment in 2007 the word had not had any extra significance for me over the thousands of other words in the English language. Time, therefore, to focus directly on integrity.

If goodness is to win, it has to be smarter than the enemy.

That was a comment written on my blog some years ago, left by someone who writes their own blog under the nom-de-plume of Patrice Ayme. It strikes me as beautifully relevant to these times, times where huge numbers of decent, law-abiding folk are concerned about the future. Simply because those sectors of society that have much control over all our lives do not subscribe to integrity, let alone giving it the highest political and commercial focus that would flow from seeing integrity as an “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” To quote my American edition of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Let me borrow an old pilot’s saying from the world of aviation: “If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt!”

That embracing, cautious attitude is part of the reason why commercial air transport is one of the safest forms of transport in the world today. If you had the slightest doubt about the safety of a flight, you wouldn’t board the aircraft. If you had the slightest doubt about the future for civilisation on this planet, likewise you would do something! Remember, that dry word civilisation means family, children, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones. The last thing you would do is to carry on as before!

The great challenge for this civilisation, for each and every one of us, is translating that sense of wanting to change into practical, effective behaviours. I sense, however, that this might be looking down the wrong end of the telescope. That it is not a case of learning to behave in myriad different ways but looking at one’s life from a deeper, more fundamental perspective: living as a person of integrity. So perfectly expressed in the Zen Buddhist quote: “Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.” Seeing integrity as the key foundation of everything we do. Even more fundamental than that. Seeing integrity as everything you and I are.

It makes no difference that society in general doesn’t seem to value integrity in such a core manner. For what is society other than the aggregate of each and every one of us? If we all embrace living a life of integrity then society will reflect that.

Integrity equates to being truthful, to being honest. It doesn’t mean being right all the time, of course not, but integrity does mean accepting responsibility for all our actions, for feeling remorse and apologising when we make mistakes. Integrity means learning, being reliable, and being a builder rather than a destroyer. It means being authentic. That authenticity is precisely and exactly what we see in our dogs.

The starting point for what we must learn from our dogs is integrity.

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The face of integrity!

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Dogs don’t lie!

They offer unconditional love!

Their world is relatively straightforward.

That is all that we need to know about them.

Revisiting an earlier post about Pharaoh

Another post from many years back.

From June 4th, 2013 to be exact.

Continuing the theme of revisiting earlier posts this week!

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More on Pharaoh’s life

What a wonderful relationship it has been.

Years ago if I was ever to own a dog, it had to be one breed and one breed only: a German Shepherd Dog.

The reason for this was that back in 1955 my father and mother looked after a German Shepherd dog called Boy.  Boy belonged to a lovely couple, Maurice and Marie Davies.  They were in the process of taking over a new Public House (Pub); the Jack & Jill in Coulsdon, Surrey.  My father had been the architect of the Jack & Jill.

Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey
Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey

As publicans have a tough time taking holidays, it was agreed that the move from their old pub to the Jack & Jill represented a brilliant opportunity to have that vacation.  My parents offered to look after Boy for the 6 weeks that Maurice and Marie were going to be away.

Boy was the most gentle loveable dog one could imagine and I quickly became devoted to him; I was 11 years old at the time.  So when years later it seemed the right time to have a dog, there was no question about the breed.  Boy’s memory lived on all those years, and, as this post reveals, still does!

Pharaoh was born June 3rd, 2003 at Jutone Kennels up at Bovey Tracy, Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor.  As the home page of the Jutone website pronounces,

The Kennel was established in 1964 and it has always been the aim to breed the best German Shepherd Dogs for type and temperament. To this end the very finest German bloodlines are used to continue a modern breeding programme.

and elsewhere on that website one learns:

Jutone was established by Tony Trant who was joined by Sandra Tucker in 1976. Sandra continues to run Jutone since Tony passed away in 2004. Both Tony and Sandra qualified as Championship Show judges and Sandra continues to judge regularly. Sandra is the Secretary and a Life Member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Devon.

93ac7d454b15519effff8014ffffffd3
Tony Trant

Turning to Pharaoh, here are a few more pictures over the years.

Pharaoh, nine months old.
Pharaoh, nine months old.

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One year old: June 3rd 2004.
One year old: June 3rd 2004.

The next picture of Pharaoh requires a little background information.

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 Dogs back in August 2009.)

Piper Cub R151
Piper Cub R151

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!

Come on Dad, let's get this thing off the ground!
Come on Dad, let’s get this thing off the ground!

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.

That was fun!
That was fun!

What a dear dog he has been over all the years and, thankfully, still is!

As if to reinforce the fabulous dog he still is, yesterday it was almost as though he knew he had to show how youthful he still was.

Because, when I took his group of dogs out around 7.30am armed with my camera, Pharaoh was brimming over with energy.

First up was a swim in the pond.

Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!
Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!

Then in a way he has not done before, Pharaoh wanted to play ‘King of my Island’, which is in the middle of the pond.

Halt! Who goes there!
Halt! Who goes there!

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This is my island! So there!
This is my island! So there!

Then a while later, when back on dry land, so to speak, it was time to dry off in the morning sunshine.

Actually, this isn't a bad life!
Actually, this isn’t a bad life!

Long may he have an enjoyable and comfortable life.

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Pharaoh died of old age on June 19th, 2017. He was 14!

Despite the fact that we have six wonderful dogs including Cleo there is still a twinge of sadness when Pharaoh is mentioned. And now you know the origins of Pharaoh!

Let me close by sharing a photograph of Cleo.

Picture taken of puppy Cleo on the 13th April, 2012 when she was then aged 11 weeks.

We are 10 today!

What an amazing celebration!

To my utter surprise Leaning from Dogs has been going out for 10 years.

Thank you, all 3,881 followers.

How many recall the very first post? I guess hardly any one of you.

Well here it is again!

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Parenting Lessons From Dogs!

Much too late to make me realise the inadequacies of my own parenting skills, I learnt an important lesson when training my GSD (who is called Pharaoh, by the way).  That is that putting more emphasis into praise and reward for getting it right ‘trains’ the dog much quicker than telling it off.  The classic example is scolding a dog for running off when it should be lots of hugs and praise for returning home.  The scolding simply teaches the dog that returning home isn’t pleasant whereas praise reinforces that home is the place to be.  Like so many things in life, very obvious once understood!

Absolutely certain that it works with youngsters just the same way.

Despite being a very dominant dog, Pharaoh showed his teaching ability when working with other dogs.  In the UK there is an amazing woman, Angela Stockdale, who has proved that dogs (and horses) learn most effectively when being taught by other dogs (and horses).  Pharaoh was revealed to be a Beta Dog, (i.e. second in status below the Alpha Dog) and, therefore, was able to use his natural pack instinct to teach puppy dogs their social skills and to break up squabbles within a pack.

When you think about it, don’t kids learn much more (often to our chagrin!) from other kids than they do from their parents.  Still focusing on giving more praise than punishment seems like a much more effective strategy.

As was read somewhere, Catch them in the act of doing Right!

By Paul Handover.

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Despite all our dogs being our very dear family, I still miss Pharaoh.

Let me close with a photograph of him.

What a fabulous animal!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ninety-Six

I am going to present the first Picture Parade again!

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Perfect timing, set one.

Sit back and be amazed!

A friend from Payson, Arizona, Lew Levenson, recently sent across a set of 38 astounding photographs, all on the theme of perfectly timed shots.

They are so fabulous that I have decided that for today and the following four Sundays I will post a selection.

So today, the first set of 8 photographs. Trust me you will love them, so a big thank you to Lew.  Do say which are your best ones!

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Another set next Sunday.

What if Reporters Covered the Climate Crisis

Like Murrow Covered World War II?

The new Covering Climate Now project will help media “tell the story so people get it.”

This is how the speech by Bill Moyers is introduced in this issue of The Nation:

The following is an abridged version of the speech by the iconic TV newsman Bill Moyers, as prepared for delivery at a conference at the Columbia Journalism School on April 30. A video of the speech can be seen at TheNation.com/moyers-speech.

Well, we have the advantage of going straight to the video.

What is journalism for, if not to awaken the world to looming catastrophes?

This is so beautiful!

Another gorgeous story from The Dodo.

I make no apologies for featuring so quickly another article from The Dodo.

It’s just so beautiful and another example of the special characteristics of dogs.

Just see for yourself.

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Rescue Dog Won’t Let Orphaned Foal Sleep Alone

The foal knew that the dog was trying to help him.

BY
PUBLISHED ON 06/27/2019

At only 9 days old, a foal named Tye lost his mother. But that same night he gained an unexpected friend — an Australian cattle dog named Zip.
Zip had never shown much interest in his horse siblings. “We raise foals every year, and he would kind of look in the door and just look at them,” Karla Swindle, Zip’s mom, told The Dodo.

But on that fateful night in March, it was as if the 5-year-old rescue dog could tell he was needed.

Facebook/Karla Swindle

Tye’s mother became sick days after giving birth, and despite treatment, quickly went downhill. When things looked their bleakest for the mother and baby, Swindle stayed by their side. As always, Zip tagged along after his owner.

“I spent the night at the barn taking care of the mama horse, hoping that I could pull her through,” Swindle said. “Zip stayed with me in the alley of the barn all night — the foal was laying in the alley, and he just lay there beside the foal.”
“He was whining,” Swindle added. “You could tell that Zip knew something was wrong that night.”

The next morning, Tye lost his mother, but he wasn’t alone.

Zip insisted on keeping the newborn horse company, comforting the little animal with his presence. When Zip was around, Tye was relaxed and happy. “It seemed to me that the foal knew that the dog was trying to help him,” Swindle said, “which is so sweet.”

Facebook/Karla Swindle

For six weeks, Zip wouldn’t let Tye out of his sight. Whenever Swindle went to feed the foal, Zip was first in line to greet the little horse. “Every time I would take off to the barn, Zip would run to the stall, and stand in front of the stall and wait for me to get there,” Swindle said. “He would beat me to the barn every time.”

“As soon as I opened the door, he would about knock me down before I could get in there,” she added. “If the foal was laying down, he would go over there and lay his head on him.”

Facebook/Karla Swindle

As months passed, Tye quickly put on weight, growing into a healthy young horse — in part, thanks to his adoptive dad.

Now, Tye spends most days out in the pasture with his older sister, who is teaching him the ins and outs of being a horse. And while Zip still accompanies Swindle to the barn, he doesn’t beg to go in the stall with Tye anymore.

Facebook/Karla Swindle

“The foal is a little rough now,” Swindle said, “raring up, trying to play, so Zip kind of stays away from him now.”

The proud dad understands that Tye needs to test his independence, and it doesn’t make their relationship any less special.

“You could tell that when the foal needed Zip, Zip was there for him,” Swindle said. “And now Zip knows that the foal is OK, so they kind of went their separate ways.”

Facebook/Karla Swindle

But it seems the little horse has opened up room in the older dog’s heart — space that he has since filled with another baby.

“He loves my granddaughter,” Swindle said. “Whenever she comes over here, he goes directly to her. He treats her like he did the foal. He just loves to be around her.”

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We have mentioned it time and time before. That dogs are so special. And then one comes across an account of something that is even more special.

All of the photographs are delightful but that third one shows the intimacy that is in the relationship. The caring that is being shown by Zip!

I have said it before and no doubt will say it many times more: Dogs are incredibly wonderful.