Since meeting one another last year, Timofey Yuriev and his faithful dog Kira have been inseparable companions. Indeed, the happy duo do just about everything together.
And that includes saving lives.
Last Saturday, Yuriev, his wife and Kira headed out for a sunset stroll around an ice-covered lake near their home in New York. It’s a tranquil spot, but on this chilly early evening, the quiet, peaceful air was shattered by the sound of a tragedy unfolding.
“We heard a woman screaming something across the lake, so we went to see what was happening,” Yuriev told The Dodo. “Her two old Labradors were crossing the lake, when they got to a spot where the ice is much thinner. One fell in, then the second. They tried to climb out but they couldn’t.”
Yuriev watched as the dogs’ energy was quickly sapped by the freezing water — and he knew time was of the essence.
Having experience swimming in icy waters, Yuriev decided to take the plunge in order to save the two dogs himself — but he was not alone.
After Yuriev undressed and leapt into the freezing lake, he looked and saw Kira by his side entering the water as well to lend him her paw in the rescue effort.
“I knew she was going to follow me,” Yuriev said. “We were going to do it together.”
Here’s video taken by Yuriev’s wife showing him and Kira reaching the nearest dog first:
“She was great moral support; I was not alone,” Yuriev said. “There was my little helper.”
After leading the first dog safely to the shore, Yuriev and Kira headed out for the second:
“She came to each dog and touched them with her nose, then helped guide them back.”
Once back on dry land, both of the rescued dogs were frazzled but in good health.
Yuriev and Kira had saved the day.
“The owner, of course, was in tears,” Yuriev said. “She was so thankful.”
Kira has always been a kindhearted and intelligent dog, able to assess situations and sense when she’s needed.
And on this day, it was clear for all to see.
“We told her that she’s a dog-saving dog. I’m sure she understood that something was happening. She could see the dogs were in distress. I’m positive about it,” Yuriev said, adding that he’s just happy they were able to help.
“It was pure luck that we were at that place at that time. It was like the universe smiled at us.”
As I said in my email to her after Jeannie and I had listened to it:
OK. Have listened to it just now.
I don’t know what to say.
Frankly, I’m overwhelmed. I need some time to let it settle down but it’s going to be featured on the blog very soon.
I’m still ‘processing’ it but that doesn’t stop me from sharing it with you.
Ralph spends the whole hour with independent journalist, Dahr Jamail, author of “The End of Ice,” his first person report on the front lines of the climate crisis.
In late 2003, award-winning journalist, Dahr Jamail, went to the Middle East to report on the Iraq War, where he spent more than a year as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. Mr. Jamail has also written extensively on veterans’ resistance against US foreign policy. He is now focusing on climate disruption and the environment. His book on that topic is entitled, The End of Ice.
“So much of what we talk about is so dire and so extreme and so scary and also disheartening that I quote Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident writer and statesman. And he reminds us that as he said, ‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” And that’s where I get into this moral obligation that no matter how dire things look, that we are absolutely morally obliged to do everything we can in our power to try to make this better.” Dahr Jamail, author of “The End of Ice”
When Seattle-based mountain guide Don Wargowsky was leading an expedition to Mera Peak and Baruntse in Nepal’s Himalayas last November, he picked up an extra member on his team. A stray dog noticed the climbers somewhere around 17,500 feet and decided to stick around with the group.
The climbers had just summited Mera Peak, and when they were coming down around Mera La pass, they saw the pup going up.
“What struck me was to get to that pass, there were a few hundred feet of fixed rope which means the terrain was so difficult that most climbers need rope to help themselves up,” Wargowsky tells MNN. “To see a dog up there just running by all these climbers in their $2,000 down suits and crampons was very unusual. When she came up to me, I gave her a bit of beef jerky and she didn’t leave for 3 1/2 weeks.”
The team dubbed their newest four-legged member “Mera” and she tagged along on the way back down the mountain. Wargowsky realized he had seen her in the town of Kare a few days earlier, but she had made no effort then to get close. He thinks that’s because street dogs aren’t treated very well in Nepal due to the fear of rabies.
“Dogs are shooed away pretty aggressively,” he says. “So, she was naturally pretty shy.”
A new climbing partner
But once Mera decided to join the expedition, she gradually lowered her guard. The first night, Wargowsky tried to encourage her to sleep in his tent, but she wouldn’t come inside. The next morning, he found her curled up outside the flaps covered in a layer of snow. After that, he was able to coax her inside. He gave her one of his sleeping pads and a coat to keep her warm.
Wargowsky was in a difficult position with his uninvited guest. The elements were unforgiving, and he was worried about the dog who had no protection for her paws or her body in conditions that likely reached minus 20 or minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. But he had no luck getting her to leave … and where would she go?
“Obviously my responsibility was to the group, but I was super happy to have her with us. I didn’t encourage her to come along, but I wasn’t going to have her starve, so I would feed her,” he says. “I really tried to persuade her to stay at camp as we got into steeper and more dangerous terrain. Where we were was a more remote part of Nepal. If we didn’t feed her, she was going to starve.”
Mera stuck with the expedition the entire time, never venturing far from Wargowsky’s side. Or technically, his knee.
“She would walk with her nose almost in the back of my knee when we would walk,” he says. “But she wanted to be up front. If I would drop back to hang out with a slower client, she would go up and walk with whoever was up front. She didn’t get out of sight pretty much the entire time we were there.”
‘No clue what her motivation was’
There was only one time when Mera was gone for several days.
While Wargowsky was working on training with some members of the expedition, showing them how to climb the ice with rope, Mera followed the team’s sherpas instead. They were working to set up ropes to “camp one” at around 20,000 feet. She scrambled up the steep terrain but seemed afraid to go back down and wouldn’t return with them to base camp.
“She ended up spending two nights alone on a glacier at 20,000 feet. I really thought she was going to freeze to death,” Wargowsky says. The sherpas went up to continue working and she was there. But instead of going back down right away, she followed them to 22,000 feet as they continued working before going back to base camp.
The next day when the entire team went to make the climb, Wargowsky tried to keep her at base camp because he didn’t want her to make the steep climb again. He tied her up but she got out of her rope and quickly caught up with them. Wargowsky couldn’t leave his human clients to take her back, so Mera was allowed to stay with the group.
“I have no clue what her motivation was,” he says. “We were feeding her at base camp, so it wasn’t the food. It’s not like there was anything up there for her, but it was amazing to see.”
Tackling the ice and snow
Early on, Mera started to slide and Wargowsky was able to catch her and save her from what could’ve been a dangerous fall. When the team moved to camp two at around 21,000 feet, they were sidelined there for four days because of bad weather. Mera stayed with Wargowsky, who shared his tent and his food with the pup.
“I split all my meals with her 50/50 so we both lost weight,” he says. He guesses the scruffy brown-and-tan stray weighed probably 45 pounds to start with but lost maybe five or 10 pounds during the trip. Wargowsky says Mera looked like a combination of a Tibetan mastiff and a Nepali sheepdog.
Wargowsky was impressed with how well Mera navigated the snow and ice and handled the cold.
“She did very very well like 98 percent of the time. There were certain slopes very early in the morning or late at night when the snow was very crusty and icy when it was very slippery and you could see her kind of struggle with it,” he says. “Her paws got beat up and it was hard to see her paws bleeding a little. But everything healed up that evening and it was all superficial.”
He says it was also hard to believe she didn’t go snow-blind. The humans were all wearing expensive glacier goggles while she trotted along with no protection.
The highest a dog has ever climbed
There was only one part of the descent where she was assisted by a rope. Somehow, she had climbed the vertical 15-foot-tall section without incident but when it was time to go back down, she didn’t want to do it. The humans were rappelling, so to coax the dog down safely, they tied a rope harness to her so she could half-run, half tumble. You can see it in the photo above, but Wargowsky points out that the truly harrowing part of the mountain isn’t even visible in the shot.
In the end, when the team — along with their canine mascot — had come down from their completed 23,389-foot climb of Baruntse, Mera was hailed as a bit of a hero. Word had spread about her alleged feat and Wargowsky had to show off photos from his phone to prove she had been with them.
“She was the first dog to ever have climbed that mountain,” he says. “We can’t find anything that says a dog has ever been that high. I believe that is the highest that a dog has ever climbed ever at any point in the world.”
“I am not aware of a dog actually summiting an expedition peak in Nepal,” Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database, an organization that documents climbing expeditions in Nepal, told Outside. “I just hope that she won’t get into trouble for having climbed Baruntse without a permit.” Bierling told Outside that there have been a few reported cases of dogs at Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet) and some who’ve trailed teams through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp II (21,300 feet) on Mount Everest, but Mera’s adventure is perhaps the highest-recorded elevation by a dog anywhere in the world.
‘This dog wants to climb mountains’
After all that climbing and bonding, Wargowsky was tempted to bring his new friend home with him to the U.S.
“I really would’ve loved to adopt her. But I live in a 700-square-foot unit in Seattle and this dog wants to climb mountains. I gave it a lot of consideration. I didn’t care what it cost. Despite how much I loved this dog, I thought it would’ve been a very selfish thing to do to bring her to such a small space.”
But he didn’t want to leave what he calls “this hero of a dog” out on the streets. Fortunately, the expedition’s base camp manager was also smitten with the adventurous dog. Because dogs can’t fly, NirKaji Tamang paid someone $100 to walk three days to pick her up until they could get her on a bus and get her to his home in Kathmandu.
After what she had accomplished on Baruntse, Tamang changed the athletic dog’s name to Baru. He took her to the vet to make sure she was healthy. Her injuries quickly healed, and she gained weight.
Wargowsky, who told his remarkable Mera story online, was thrilled recently to receive photos of her. He will be back in Nepal several times this year for expeditions, and he plans on visiting his canine climbing partner.
“With what we had available, I don’t know what more I could’ve done to prevent her from climbing. She was definitely there of her own free will,” he says. “I truly loved that dog.”
This is such a wonderful account of a stray dog coming into contact with a group of such loving people. Plus, the photographs are wonderful especially the fourth one; just following the Tackling the Ice and Snow sub-heading. I could look at that photograph for ever!
I read this a few moments ago (10am PST Monday, 18th.) and, without question, knew that I had to republish it. It is done with George Monbiot’s kind permission.
Why older people must stand in solidarity with the youth climate strikes.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th February 2019
The Youth Strike 4 Climate gives me more hope than I have felt in 30 years of campaigning. Before this week, I believed it was all over. I thought, given the indifference and hostility of those who govern us, and the passivity of most of my generation, that climate breakdown and ecological collapse were inevitable. Now, for the first time in years, I think we can turn them around.
My generation and the generations that went before have failed you. We failed to grasp the basic premise of intergenerational justice: that you cannot apply discount rates to human life. In other words, the life of someone who has not been born will be of no less value than the life of someone who already exists. We have lived as if your lives had no importance, as if any resource we encountered was ours and ours alone to use as we wished, regardless of the impact on future generations. In doing so, we created a cannibal economy: we ate your future to satisfy our greed.
It is true that the people of my generation are not equally to blame. Broadly speaking, ours is a society of altruists governed by psychopaths. We have allowed a tiny number of phenomenally rich people, and the destructive politicians they fund, to trash our life support systems. While some carry more blame than others, our failure to challenge the oligarchs who are sacking the Earth and to overthrow their illegitimate power, is a collective failure. Together, we have bequeathed you a world that – without drastic and decisive action – may soon become uninhabitable.
Every day at home, we tell you that if you make a mess you should clear it up. We tell you that you should take responsibility for your own lives. But we have failed to apply these principles to ourselves. We walk away from the mess we have made, in the hope that you might clear it up.
Some of us did try. We sought to inspire our own generations to do what you are doing. But on the whole we were met with frowns and shrugs. For years, many people of my age denied there was a problem. They denied that climate breakdown was happening. They denied that extinction was happening. They denied that the world’s living systems were collapsing.
They denied all this because accepting it meant questioning everything they believed to be good. If the science was right, their car could not be right. If the science was right, their foreign holiday could not be right. Economic growth, rising consumption, the entire system they had been brought up to believe was right had to be wrong. It was easier to pretend that the science was wrong and their lives were right than to accept that the science was right and their lives were wrong.
A few years ago, something shifted. Instead of denying the science, I heard the same people say “OK, it’s real. But now it’s too late to do anything about it.” Between their denial and their despair, there was not one moment at which they said “It is real, so we must act.” Their despair was another form of denial; another way of persuading themselves that they could carry on as before. If there was no point in acting, they had no need to challenge their deepest beliefs. Because of the denial, the selfishness, the short-termism of my generation, this is now the last chance we have.
The disasters I feared my grandchildren would see in their old age are happening already: insect populations collapsing, mass extinction, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, floods. This is the world we have bequeathed to you. Yours is among the first of the unborn generations we failed to consider as our consumption rocketed.
But those of us who have long been engaged in this struggle will not abandon you. You have issued a challenge to which we must rise, and we will stand in solidarity with you. Though we are old and you are young, we will be led by you. We owe you that, at least.
By combining your determination and our experience, we can build a movement big enough to overthrow the life-denying system that has brought us to the brink of disaster – and beyond. Together, we must demand a different way, a life-giving system that defends the natural world on which we all depend. A system that honours you, our children, and values equally the lives of those who are not born. Together, we will build a movement that must – and will – become irresistible.
Have you ever noticed that your dog’s mood shifts with the weather? Storms, heat, cold, and the changing seasons affect our dogs, just like they affect us. Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.
When the temperature heats up, some dogs rejoice, while others seek out cool, shady spots where they can rest. Though all dogs can be susceptible to hot weather hazards, certain dog breeds are less heat tolerant than others. Brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers, do best when staying cool in hot weather because they can have difficulty breathing in extreme heat. Large breeds are also susceptible to heat, as are longhaired breeds like the Komondor, Afghan Hound, and Alaskan Malamute. If you own a breed like these, you may find that your dog is not as active in hot weather or as willing to engage in play and other activities.
Seasons change gradually, giving your dog time to adjust. Relocating to an entirely new climate, however, can cause sudden shifts in your pup’s mood. Depending on your dog’s breed, you may notice that he becomes more or less active, and some dogs even show signs of irritation if the weather makes them too uncomfortable.
A move to a cold climate can be shocking for dogs that are not used to chilly temperatures. Some pups seek out warm places, like air vents, blankets, or human contact, and you might notice your canine companion becoming cuddlier in the cold. Understanding the cause of your dog’s sudden lethargy or increased activity can help you determine if his change in mood is circumstantial or medical. Lethargy is a common symptom of many illnesses and should be taken seriously, so make sure your dog is not exhibiting any other abnormal signs. If he is, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Avoid taking your dog for walks during the hottest parts of the day.
Make sure he has plenty of fresh water.
Raised canvas platform dog beds offer a cooling alternative to traditional beds, and you can even invest in cooling mats or kiddie pools for particularly heat-intolerant dogs.
If you don’t have air conditioning, adjust a fan so that your dog has access to a nice, cool breeze.
Never leave a dog unattended in an enclosed vehicle or in a warm environment that does not have good air circulation.
You can also help your dog acclimate to the cold. After all, who doesn’t love a pup in a sweater? With so many dog sweaters, jackets, raincoats, and booties to choose from, keeping your dog warm is easier than ever. However, it’s important to note that you should never leave an item of clothing on an unsupervised dog. And anything you do put on your canine companion should fit properly (not too tight or too loose).
“Understanding this behavior can help you prepare your canine companion for the forecast ahead.” One wonders just how one prepares our canine companions (all six of them) for the forecast.
You may have already seen this because it was very widely shown.
In the tail end of Deep Adaptation there is reference to Greta’s video because it was so powerful. Young Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old person who passionately wants this world to change and to change soon.
Here’s the piece that accompanied that video:
In this passionate call to action, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August 2018, she walked out of school and organized a strike to raise awareness of global warming, protesting outside the Swedish parliament and grabbing the world’s attention. “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions,” Thunberg says. “All we have to do is to wake up and change.”
I am indebted to Margaret K. for including a number of videos in her long comment to my post The End Of Ice. They are being watched.
On Monday morning we watched one of them Deep Adaptation. It was a stark message.
It is included below. It’s 39 minutes long.
Please watch it!
Then if you are so minded their website is here. It’s free to join and you will be left with the feeling that you are doing something important. From that website:
The Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth
At some point we realize that humanity has strayed down a rabbit hole from which it cannot seem to emerge. This quagmire is the belief in the idea of Consumerism, with its cast of advertising executives, bankers and economists, corporate CEOs, politicians, etc. We have evolved a defective ‘operating system’ that insists on infinite, accelerating economic growth despite the ecological costs – namely the destruction of Nature. Those who have signed or endorsed the Scientists’ Warning through this website have displayed a clear understanding of what is wrong and how we must head to avoid the worst of ecological destabilization that we have inflicted on Mother Earth. We are all therefore de facto members of what we are calling the Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth.
“The world will have to start listening to the good scientists and not the ones paid to justify dodgy developments.”
– Greer Hart
On January 21st this year I republished a post by Tom Engelhardt and called it The song this planet needs to hear. His post was essentially a piece written for Tom by Dahr Jamail. It was called A Planet in Crisis and it included reference to a recently published book The End of Ice.
Subsequently, I decided to order the book by Dahr Jamail, it arrived a week ago and I ended up finishing it last Saturday.
I was minded to publish a review of the book, and here it is:
The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail
This is a book that I wished I had not read.
Yet, this is a book that once started I wanted to finish, and finish quickly.
It’s a brilliant book. Very impressive and very readable. But I speak of it from a technical point-of-view.
Now that I have finished it life will never be quite the same again. Nor, for that matter, for anyone else who chooses to read it.
Dahr Jamail has a background as a reporter, with some other books under his belt. But his reporting skills really come to the fore with The End Of Ice. For he has travelled the world speaking to experts in their own field and listening to what they say about the future prognosis of the planet that you and I, and everyone else lives on.
Earth has not seen current atmospheric CO2 levels since the Pliocene, some 3 million years ago. Three-quarters of that CO2 will still be here in five hundred years. Given that it takes a decade to experience the full warming effects of CO2 emissions, we are still that far away from experiencing the impact of all the CO2 that we are currently emitting. (p.5)
And if you are below the age of 60 or thereabouts you are going to experience this changing world head on. To be honest, whatever age you are things are starting to change.
We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into our oceans, nor the 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening, and far worse things are coming. (p.218)
It really is a grim read. A grim but necessary read.
The eight chapters in the book spell out what is already happening. The diminishing glaciers and rising snow levels, the loss of coral, the rise in sea level and the loss of vast tracts of land as a consequence. Then there is the future of forests around the world. As I said, it is a grim read but a necessary one.
Towards the end of the book Dahr Jamail quotes author and storyteller Stephen Jenkinson:
“Grief requires us to know the time we’re in,” Jenkinson continues. “The great enemy of grief is hope. Hope is a four-letter word for people who are willing to know things for what they are. Our time requires us to be hope-free. To burn through the false choice of being hopeful and hopeless. They are the two sides of the same con job. Grief is required to proceed.” (p. 218)
Upon finishing this superb book, that you really do need to read, the one emotion that I was left with was grief. For what we have done to this planet. For what we are doing to this one and only home of ours.
P.S. Dogs would not have done this to our beautiful planet.
It’s one of an animal rescuer’s worst nightmares. There’s that limbo moment when a rescued dog is being transported to a new foster home and is getting out of the car. He doesn’t know the people or the area and everything is scary. Often, the dog’s natural inclination is to bolt.
That’s what happened in early January when a 10-year-old Saint Bernard was being taken to her new foster home in Zimmerman, Minnesota. The dog, dubbed “Old Lady,” had been rescued from a puppy mill in Wisconsin, where she had likely spent her entire life locked away, so she was timid and afraid of people. As she was being coaxed out of the car by her new foster, she took off.
“It was snowing really hard and the crunching noise from the snow freaked her out,” Ruff Start Rescue Executive Director Azure Davis tells MNN. “She was pulling and she’s very strong and the driveway was all ice. She pulled the foster down and ran.”
The temperatures were in the teens and there was so much snow on the ground, Davis knew there was only so long the dog could survive outside. In addition, Old Lady had recently been shaved, probably because her fur had been so matted. So she would feel even colder than normal in the freezing weather.
The rescue distributed “lost dog” signs and set up feeding stations and organized search parties. But after a week, no one had seen her.
“We were really concerned. She was dragging her leash, so we were worried she was stuck,” Davis says. “We had signs, everyone knew about her, but no one had seen anything. How does no one see a Saint Bernard?”
After a week, they had a sighting and then another, but by the time they got there, she was gone. They set up a camera and a trap, but she never came back to that particular area.
Tangled in the trees
Then after 17 days, they got a call from the sheriff’s department. Someone had reported a dog tangled in some trees in the woods. Davis and Julie Lessard, director of programs, raced over there and found Old Lady. Her leash had picked up a branch during her travels and that branch got caught up in some trees, trapping her in the woods.
Calming her with soothing voices and canned dog food, they managed to slowly slip two leashes over her head, untangle her and gently maneuver her to the comfort of a waiting car.
“She eventually started trotting along,” Davis says. “When she felt the warmth of the car, it was crazy, she crawled right in. I think she was ready to be done.”
Davis thinks Old Lady probably survived by eating a lot of snow and taking food from the feeding stations that had been set out for her. She may also have scavenged from garbage cans and food people set out for their outdoor pets. She had definitely lost a lot of weight: She was only 88 pounds and she should weigh closer to 120 or 130 pounds when healthy.
The first couple days she was back in the rescue’s care, she stayed in her kennel, just decompressing, Davis says. She was sleeping, eating and working on getting her energy back, just lifting her head when people would stop by, but she was very shut down.
Venturing back out
“Today, she came out of her kennel for the first time,” says Davis, who posted the above video on Facebook of the dog’s stroll. “She was walking very nice, greeting everyone and smelling everyone. It’s really cool to see the progress in just three days.”
So many people have been following Old Lady on the rescue’s Facebook page since her escape and through her rescue, with many people asking if she would be available for foster or adoption. Many have also asked how they can donate toward her care.
One of the volunteers who helped search for the lost dog was also there when she was rescued, helping to untangle her from the branches and get her to safety.
Carolyn Kne is now fostering her with the hopes that the pup will want a permanent spot in her home.
“I think she was out looking for her enough times that she fell in love with her,” Davis says. “She said, ‘If we find her, I’m keeping her.'”
This is a lovely story. One that shows the benefit that comes from dedication and commitment to dogs. Thanks RuffStart Rescue.