Category: Art

Little by little!

It takes so little good news to uplift one’s heart!

For reasons I can’t readily put my finger on it’s been feeling like a bit of a struggle recently. But that’s enough of that! For our gorgeous dogs have yet another lesson for me: How little it takes for a dog to wag it’s tail!

I so frequently share stuff that I read over on the Care 2 site and why not because as the home page declares:

40,107,687 members: the world’s largest community for good

Just three days ago there was a wonderful article shared on the Care 2 site about some dogs being rescued from a so-called backyard breeder. Better than that, it highlighted the wonderful consequence of a donation from George and Amal Clooney.

Here’s the story.

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9 Dogs Successfully Rescued From Backyard Breeder Thanks to George and Amal Clooney

By: Alicia Graef May 5, 2017

About Alicia Follow Alicia at @care2

Nine lucky dogs have just had their world turned upside down in the best way possible.

Camp Cocker Rescue, based in California, just took in the “Mojave 9″ who were being kept by a backyard breeder. They’ll be getting all the love and veterinary care they desperately need thanks to a generous donation made by George and Amal Clooney.

The nine dogs have had little human contact, and are all in need of extensive veterinary treatment for health issues ranging from mammary tumors and dental disease to skin and ear infections to ingrown toenails. The organization relies on donations, and expenses for this rescue operation were quickly rising.

“We literally didn’t know how we were even going to begin to start paying for all of these new dogs that we took in on the same day,” Camp Cocker’s founder Cathy Stanley told PEOPLE.

Now, the organization is celebrating a generous and unexpected donation of $10,000 made by George and Amal Clooney, who are parents to two adopted cocker spaniels from Camp Cocker — Einstein and Louie.

Their donation is going to help cover the cost of care for these dogs, who have never been to a vet. The Clooney’s will also be matching donations up to $10,000 for the rest of May.

“After we all did happy dances and cried with happiness for this unbelievable matching donation offer – we then asked the donors if (and only if they gave us their permission) . . . if we could reveal their names to our supporters in order to help us reach our big goal this month. They were so very gracious to give us permission to reveal their names,” Camp Cocker wrote in an update.

While this was a huge boost for them, Camp Cocker is quick to point out that no donation is too small to help.

“We have a philosophy where we want to be very inclusive of all of our supporters and it’s important to us that no matter how small of a donation, every person feels like their donation is meaningful and that we appreciate them,” Stanley added.

Hopefully news about the Mojave 9 and the attention it’s getting will help raise awareness about rescue and inspire more people to get involved … and will help find each of these precious dogs their perfect forever home.

For more on how to help, and info on how to adopt one of these dogs, check out Camp Cocker Rescue and follow updates on Facebook.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Here’s the video that accompanied that story.

And there’s only one way to close.

By thanking George and Amal for their wonderful generosity and their love for ex-rescue dogs!

Thanks, you two!

So little good news makes such a huge positive difference!

The aesthetic beauty of mathematics!

Sorry! Did you say the beauty of mathematics?

Those of you that read this blog fairly regularly know that from time to time I drift away from all things dog and potter in the garden of simply fascinating ideas.

Such is the case today.

It is an article on mathematics that was sent to me by Jim Goodbrod. He had read it in The New York Times in April.

Read it and see if you, too, find it as fascinating as I did!

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The World’s Most Beautiful Mathematical Equation

Five years in the blink of an eye!

“Events, dear boy, events!”

That quote was one uttered by Harold Macmillan, the British Conservative politician and publisher, who served six years as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963. It was in response to a question regarding what sort of thing was most likely to blow a government off course.

Why did that quotation come to my mind? Simply because all my grand plans for writing a post for you good people were stymied by our internet connection being down for much of the weekend.

So rather than get cut off half-way through a new post, I decided to re-post what I published on this blog five years ago to the day: on April 24th. 2012. Here it is.

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How lady luck brought joy for a ‘down-and-out’ Londoner and a cat called Bob!

I was chatting with my son yesterday and he happened to mention that perhaps I should write about a cat for a change! Alex mentioned a book recently published in the UK called A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets.

This is how the book is described on Amazon (UK site),

When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts. A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.

A quick web search found volumes of material.

As in the local London newspaper the Islington Tribune wrote this back in 2010,

Two cool cats… the Big Issue seller and a stray called Bob

Inseparable: musician James Bowen with Bob

Down-on-his-luck musician teams up with ‘wonderful loyal friend’ he rescued from streets

Published: 24 September, 2010
by PETER GRUNER

NOT since the legendary Dick Whittington has a man and his cat become such unlikely celebrities on the streets of Islington.

Big Issue seller James Bowen and his docile ginger cat Bob, who go everywhere together, have been attracting comments since they first appeared outside Angel Tube station.

The story of how they met – widely reported in blogs on the internet – is one of such extraordinary pathos that it seems only a matter of time before we get a Hollywood film.

James, 31, who lives off Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, is a musician who has fallen on hard times.

He ekes out a basic living selling the homeless people’s magazine Big Issue at Angel and Covent Garden.

Bob was a stray discovered by James outside his accommodation one day.

The cat was limping after apparently being attacked by another animal, possibly a fox.

After failing to discover the cat’s owner, James took him to the RSPCA hospital at Finsbury Park, which prescribed a course of antibiotics.

“I kept him for two weeks until he was well enough to go on his way,” said James. “But when I opened the front door to let him out Bob wouldn’t move. He seemed to me to be saying: ‘I want to stay with you.’

“Now we go everywhere together. I even have a cat harness when we go out and Bob gets really excited when I show it to him.”

Read the rest of the article here and if you want more information, a web search on Bob the Cat will finds loads more.

It’s a fabulous story with a great message of hope for not just for James and Bob but for all of us that find ourselves ‘up a creek without a paddle’ at points in our lives.

Here’s how the newspaper The Daily Mail wrote about it on their website,

[last half of the story]

But then Bob started following him and it became increasingly difficult to shoo him away, especially as there were dangerous roads to be crossed. One day there was nothing for it but to put Bob on a makeshift lead and take him along. Bob travelled sitting on James’s shoulders.

The trouble was, so many cat-mad passers-by stopped him to stroke the animal that James arrived late at his pitch, secretly cursing Bob for thereby costing him some of his usual £25-a-day takings. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Within minutes, people who would normally have walked by without giving James a second glance were lingering to make a fuss of the cat sitting sedately in his guitar case, and most made a donation. By the end of the day, he’d racked up more than £60.

It was the beginning of a phenomenon as tourists and commuters befriended Bob and James, many bringing titbits for the cat. People were amazed at how placidly Bob would sit all day, quite happily watching the world go by while James earned a living. Not that it was always without a hitch; on a couple of occasions Bob bolted when startled, leading to a frantic chase through the crowded streets.

Bob’s popularity continued when James switched from busking to selling the Big Issue, the magazine produced and sold by homeless people. This change in direction was part of James’s growing sense of a need to get his life in order, which he puts down to the responsibility of looking after Bob, and the example the cat offered of the possibility of a second chance.

It enabled James to make the final push to end his drug dependency, going through the necessary cold turkey to get off heroin substitutes, and to mend broken contacts with his family. The final result of Bob’s influence came when a literary agent who passed the duo every day and had seen them on YouTube suggested James tell their story in a book. The result is this heart-warming tale with a message of hope that will appeal especially to the many cat obsessives out there.

Read the full story here.

Let me close with another video, this one from a recent UK This Morning TV show with James Bowen and his cat being interviewed by Eamonn and Ruth.

Thank you, Alex; great story!

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Hope you enjoyed that ‘blast from the past’.

Picture Parade One Hundred and Ninety-Two

The third and final set of Janet Goodbrod’s images.

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Weren’t they wonderful. If only there were more!

Well, there are! 🙂 And from the same lovely lady.

So here’s a taster for more over the next few weeks.

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And wasn’t that last one simply stunning!

Be happy good people!

Earth Day 2017

We must have a better relationship with our one and only planet!

There’s a part of me that sadly wonders why we, as in Jean and me, and undoubtedly countless others, bother with recognising ‘Earth Day’!

For in so many ways our Planet is screaming out that we humans are not doing enough to care for it! (Yes, I know that’s an emotional outburst from me!)

It could be argued that we don’t have a friendship with our planet. For if we cared for and loved our home planet as so many of us care for and love our animals what a difference that would make.

My way of introducing this recent essay from Mother Nature Network this Earth Day 2017.

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The power of unusual animal friendships

Studying odd couple animal friendships can help researchers learn what goes into normal human relationships.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

April 20, 2017
A ferret and a cat take a nap together. (Photo: Best dog photo/Shutterstock)

We know that sometimes animals have unlikely friendships. Whether it’s circumstances that throw them together or they just happen to find a friend from another species, animals will occasionally become pals, creating an unconventional alliance.

These unusual relationships cause a certain amount of double-takes — and they’re often incredibly adorable — but there’s also a scientific benefit to studying odd animal friendships.

“There’s no question that studying these relationships can give you some insight into the factors that go into normal relationships,” Gordon Burghardt, a professor in the departments of psychology and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, told the New York Times.

An African elephant and a giraffe have become unlikely pals due to the confines of a zoo. (Photo: Glass and Nature/Shutterstock)

Cross-species bonds typically occur in young animals, and they’re also common among captive animals that have no choice but to seek each other out.

“I think the choices animals make in cross-species relationships are the same as they’d make in same-species relationships,” Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, told Slate. “Some dogs don’t like every other dog. Animals are very selective about the other individuals who they let into their lives.”

And when predator and prey become buddies, that requires serious trust from the animal on the prey end, Bekoff points out.

The polar bears at SeaWorld San Diego in happier times. (Photo: samantha celera/flickr)

Animal friendships — whether in their own species or outside — can be very meaningful. Consider the story of Szenja, a 21-year-old polar bear who died at SeaWorld San Diego in mid-April after an unexplained illness including loss of appetite and energy, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Szenja had recently been separated from her long-time companion, Snowflake, who had been sent to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for a breeding visit. The pair had been together for 20 years. The polar bears made headlines in March when more than 55,000 people signed a petition not to separate the “best friends.”

In a statement, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Remain said Szenja died of a broken heart.

Humpty the hippo and her friend Sala the kudu are orphans who became friends at a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. (Photo: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)

Here’s a look at some animal odd couples that have forged lasting bonds.

A llama nuzzles its sheep friend. (Photo: Katriona McCarthy/flickr)
This squirrel and wren are backyard BFFs. (Photo: Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock)
A pigeon hangs out with its rabbit friends. (Photo: Marina2811/Shutterstock)
This kitten and bearded dragon can’t get enough of each other. (Photo: ohheyitsnikki/imgur)

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Dear people, make a promise to improve the relationship we all have with our planet.

No place for amateurs!

Offering up a tribute to the work of a professional.

Many, many years ago when I was in business on my own account (1978-1986) I had the pleasure of getting to know Frank Tijou. He was running his own very successful business. But more important than that, Frank had this wonderful ability to explain what he had learned over his years of being an entrepreneur. One such learning was stick to what you really know and don’t try and do things that are best left to other professionals. In other words, don’t be an amateur when it comes to important matters.

Thus when some weeks ago I was strongly recommended by some local authors to have an author website, I looked around for a professional. I quickly came to find Christy Kiltz of Design! by Kiltz Internet Solutions.

Talk about finding a true professional.

Forgive me, I’m not coming at this in terms of an ego trip. I just want to promote what a wonderful job Christy did. (And not forgetting Emily’s grand design work.) (And most certainly not forgetting my darling Jeannie who did the image of the man in a flat cap with the dogs!)

Please go across to my new website: Paul Handover – Life Traveller.

The home page banner image from my website.

So in the words of American playwright Garson Kanin:

“Amateurs hope, professionals work.”

Thank you, Christy!

Happy Easter Days

Learning about happiness from our animals as new parents!

Spring is most definitely in the air with this recent post published over on the Mother Nature Network site.

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Happy animal parents show off their babies

Animals feel happiness (and maybe even pride) in their new offspring.

Mary Jo DiLonardo April 12, 2017.

These golden retriever parents appear quite pleased with the new arrivals. (Photo: reinederien/Reddit)

When animals have babies, we often ascribe human feelings to what they’re likely going through. They must be proud and happy showing off those sweet, little babies, we figure. After all, look how adorable the wee ones are.

But as proud and as happy as they might look, do animal parents really feel that way?

We checked in with Jonathan Balcombe, the director of Animal Sentience with the Humane Society Institute for Science, who has published more than 50 scientific papers on animal behavior, as well as several books including “Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good.”

“Having researched and written two books on animal pleasure, I feel well qualified that say that animals clearly know happiness,” Balcombe says. “Bearing and raising young surely brings many forms of satisfaction and joy for animal parents, as we know it does for us.”

The idea of whether animals experience pride may not be so clear.

“Whether they feel ‘pride’ is an interesting question, and a rather anthropomorphic one in that it is an emotion that we egocentric humans know well, but one that might not apply to non-humans,” Balcombe says. “I don’t think that matters though; what is important to recognize is that other species have lives that matter to them and that is not just because they have an interest in avoiding pain and suffering, but because they also seek pleasures and rewards.”

With that in mind, here’s a photo roundup of some animal parents with their new offspring. (They certainly seem happy!)

‘Yep, I made these.’ (Photo: yasmapaz & ace_heart/flickr)
Sweetie looks awfully happy with her new puppy. (Photo: SmileLikeAKat/imgur)
They’re just so teeny. (Photo: mjconns/Reddit)
Sophia, an orangutan at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, holds her new baby. (Photo: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)
This bulldog dad hangs out with his son. (Photo: STARER_OF_CAMELTOES/imgur)
This Australian shepherd mom has a little guy who looks just like her. (Photo: Techdestro/Reddit)

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Yes, Spring is most certainly Sprung.

I have used this line before and will now show my age by sharing the full ‘poem’.

Spring is Sprung

“Spring has sprung,
The Grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is?
The bird is on the wing,
But that’s absurd!
The wing is on the bird!”

I don’t know the origins of this silly verse but suspect it may have been The Goon Show, as described (in part) on WikiPedia:

The Goon Show was a British radio comedy programme, originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme. The first series broadcast from 28 May to 20 September 1951, was titled Crazy People; subsequent series had the title The Goon Show, a title inspired, according to Spike Milligan, by a Popeye character.[1]

The show’s chief creator and main writer was Spike Milligan. The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects. Some of the later episodes feature electronic effects devised by the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop, many of which were reused by other shows for decades. Many elements of the show satirised contemporary life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and film.

We can never have too much laughter and happiness in our lives!