Category: Communication

A plea for this planet!

I feel compelled to ‘bang the drum’!

The recent news that many scientists have signed an open letter warning about how soon it will be too late to “save Earth” has been widely broadcast; not that this stops me from republishing the version of the news story that I read on the EarthSky blog site.

Here it is.

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Scientists warn: Soon it will be too late to save Earth

By Eleanor Imster in EARTH | HUMAN WORLD | November 16, 2017
More than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries have signed a letter urging the world to address major environmental concerns. “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

A letter to all of us, signed by more than 15,000 scientists (and counting) in 184 countries, warns that human well-being will be severely jeopardized by continuing trends in environmental harm, including our changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth.

Entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, it was published in the international journal Bioscience on November 13, 2017.

In 1992, more than 1,700 scientists signed a World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. But global trends have worsened since 1992, the authors wrote in the new letter. In the last 25 years, trends in nine environmental issues suggest that humanity is continuing to risk its future.

Read the letter here.

The scientists wrote:

Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

The letter also says …

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.

The article was written by an international team led by William Ripple of Oregon State University led the international team of scientists who created the letter. Ripple said in a statement:

Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist. Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path. We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.

Progress in some areas — such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources — shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote. There has been a rapid decline in fertility rates in some regions, which can be attributed to investments in education for women, they added. The rate of deforestation in some regions has also slowed.

The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions. Such activities could include establishing more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of anti-poaching laws and restraints on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and educational programs for women, promoting a dietary shift toward plant-based foods and massively adopting renewable energy and other “green” technologies.

Scientists who did not sign the warning prior to publication can endorse the published warning here.

Bottom line: A letter entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, urging the world to address major environmental concerns. was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.

Read more from Oregon State University

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As is the way with this modern inter-connected world it was but a moment to track down said William Ripple, find his email address and ask him what he recommended as the top things that you and I should be doing now.

Not just for you and me but for all the animals as well on this very beautiful planet.

Bill’s reply is part of tomorrow’ post. See you then!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-One

More from Tanja Brandt (but not entirely!)

As with last week first seen here.

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More from Tanja in a week’s time. (I presume you spotted the interloper!! Brandy having a love-in with Jean one evening a week ago just before the bedside lights were turned out.)

Memories, dear memories

A republication of a post from earlier times.

(I came across this when researching my posts for my second book.)

It was published on the 18th June, 2016.

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A Eulogy For Hazel

This dear, precious dog!

Back in March, 2014 when I was writing a series of posts about our dogs, I published a Meet the dogs – Hazel post. This eulogy consist mainly of what I wrote then, with a few minor changes to bring it up to date, and a closing thought.

Hazel

I first met Jean in Mexico; namely, in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to be precise. Just a few days before Christmas, 2007. At that time, Jean had 16 dogs, all of them rescues off the streets in and around San Carlos. Jean was well-known for rescuing Mexican feral dogs.

In September, 2008 I travelled out to Mexico, via London-Los Angeles, with my Pharaoh. Jean and I have been together ever since. In February, 2010, because we wanted to be married and to be married in the USA, we moved from San Carlos to Payson, in Arizona; some 80 miles North-East of Phoenix.

One morning, just a few days before we were due permanently to leave San Carlos and move our animals and belongings the 513 miles (827 km) to Payson, AZ, Jean went outside the front of the San Carlos house to find a very lost and disorientated black dog alone on the dusty street. The dog was a female who in the last few weeks had given birth to puppies that had been weaned. Obvious to Jean because the dog’s teats were still somewhat extended.

The dog had been abandoned outside in the street. A not uncommon happening because many of the local Mexicans knew of Jean’s rescues over many years and when they wanted to abandon a dog it was done outside Jean’s house. The poor people of San Carlos sometimes resorted to selling the puppies for a few Pesos and casting the mother dog adrift.

Of course the dog was taken in and we named her Hazel. Right from Day One Hazel was the most delightful, loving dog and quickly attached herself to me.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!
The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Of all the dogs that we have here at home, and, trust me, many are extremely loving, my relationship with Hazel was precious beyond description. She was in Pharaoh’s ‘group’ (Pharaoh, Cleo, Sweeny, Pedy and Brandy) so slept in our bedroom at night. Most nights Hazel was tucked up against me.

Plus frequently during the day Hazel would take an interest in what I was doing, as the next photograph illustrates.

Hazel taking an interest in my potterings.
Hazel taking an interest in my potterings; March 2014.

If ever one wanted an example of the unconditional love that a dog can offer a human, then Hazel was that example. Precious creature.

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Just stay with me for a little longer.

Recently there was a documentary on the BBC about Koko the gorilla and how many hand signs Koko had learnt. As Wikipedia explains (in part):

Hanabiko “Koko” (born July 4, 1971) is a female western lowland gorilla who is known for having learned a large number of hand signs from a modified version of American Sign Language (ASL).

Her caregiver, Francine “Penny” Patterson, reports that Koko is able to understand more than 1,000 signs of what Patterson calls “Gorilla Sign Language” (GSL). In contrast to other experiments attempting to teach sign language to non-human primates, Patterson simultaneously exposed Koko to spoken English from an early age. Reports state that Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English, in addition to the signs.

The reason why I mention this is at the end of the programme it is stated that Koko’s ability to communicate shows very clearly that she is capable of feelings and emotions. Indeed, the way that Koko hugs Penny is very moving.

The presenter of the BBC programme concludes how things have changed over all the years from the birth of Koko some 45 years ago to today. As in back in the ’70s’ the idea that animals had emotions was just not accepted whereas nowadays there is mounting evidence that many warm-blooded animals have emotions; are capable of emotional feelings.

Why do I mention this?

For there isn’t one shred of doubt in the minds of Jean and me that Hazel was full of feelings of love and affection towards her human friends.

That is the epitaph with which Hazel will be remembered! This is her legacy.

Picture of Hazel taken in the last twenty-four hours.
Picture of Hazel taken in March, 2014.

Winter arrives

Keeping our dogs safe and secure through the winter times.

To my mind, it’s always a fine balance when I am sent a guest post from a person who represents a commercial organisation. Do I say ‘No’ because I don’t wish to promote a business that I have no personal experience of. Do I say ‘Yes’ if the guest post carries useful information for lovers of dogs.

Thus I didn’t immediately come to a decision when back in September I received the following email:

Learning From Dogs,

I hope this message finds you well.

I just would like to say thank you for the incredible amount of value you contribute to your website.

I’m reaching out because I’d love to submit a highly valuable piece of ‘pet’ content for your website that would be valuable for your readers.

If you’re still accepting posts, please let me know and I can put together a draft for your review. I hope you have an excellent day.

Warmest Regards,

Lannie N.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Allivet

I replied saying:

 Dear Lannie,

In principle I am always happy to receive guest posts.

That would apply equally to your goodself. All I would ask is that your post is written from a personal perspective and not one that is directly or indirectly promoting what Alivet does.

Simply because my readers assume that I am not for or against any product or service mentioned on my pages.

Lannie sent me the guest article and I judged it had valuable advice especially for this time of the year. Here it is.

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Tips to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy in the Winter

by Lannie, 18th September, 2017

Dogs love the warm, summer months when they can frolic and play outside. But our furry friends can have a hard time in the winter, when the days are shorter and the weather is too cold to go outside. Luckily, if you have a pet dog, there are some things you can do to help him stay healthy and thriving throughout the entire cold season. Here are some of the best.

Take Walks When the Sun Is Out

If you take your dog for walks for exercise, then be sure to walk him during the sunniest parts of the day. By walking in the sun, you can take advantage of the day’s warmest hours. You can also be sure that both you and your pooch get some much-needed vitamin D.

Use a Shorter Leash

When you walk your dog during the winter, make sure you use a shorter leash for him than you would during the warmer months. A dog that has a long lead may pull and run, which can cause both you and the dog to slip and fall. To keep your pooch injury-free this winter, try sticking to a 4-foot lead, which allows you more control over where he moves.

Make Sure Bedding Is Warm and Cozy

Just like you, your dog needs to cuddle up and keep warm at night. Don’t make your dog sleep alone on the floor. Instead, choose a bed that is the right size, and add accessories that can help create more warmth, like blankets, toys and pillows. Consider getting your dog’s bed up off the cold ground by choosing a raised one, and make sure he doesn’t have to sleep somewhere unheated or drafty.

Cut Down on Shampooing

You want to take care of your dog’s skin in the winter. Like yours, it can become chapped and dry. Try cutting back on how often you shampoo your dog. When you do bathe your pet, be sure to check him for ticks and fleas, which can still be around during the winter months. To prevent him from getting ticks and fleas in the first place, try using NexGard.

Protect Your Dog’s Feet

If it’s too cold for you to walk outside barefoot, then it’s too cold for your furry friend. Invest in booties that protect your dog’s feet, and make sure you put them on his feet when you walk in the snow or ice. Booties also prevent snow on sidewalks and streets from getting between your dog’s paw pads, which can cause burning and irritation. Something else to keep in mind during the winter is preventing fleas & ticks from spreading on your dog. Fleas and ticks are capable of surviving in outdoor temperatures as low as the upper 30s. Something to consider is finding a flea and tick product for your dog that will help prevent this from happening. If you would like to learn more, go here for information on Nexgard, which is a chewable preventative that can keep the fleas and ticks at bay.

Consider Feeding Your Dog More

Dogs tend to get cold in the winter, and their bodies have to work harder to keep them warm. For that reason, they can burn more calories during this season. To make up for the extra burned calories, consider boosting the amount you feed your dog by a little bit. Consult with your vet first to figure out the perfect amount to feed your pet.

Be Careful With Ice-Melting Materials

Ice-melting materials like salt and antifreeze can be extremely harmful, or lethal, to pets. Make sure you keep them far out of reach of your dog. If you have to use an ice melter on your sidewalk during the winter, be sure you monitor your dog so he does not eat it.

Your dog might not love winter, but with some help from you, he can spend the entire season healthy and happy. By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure that your pup feels good and is strong enough to take the arriving spring and summer by storm.

Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all of which can be purchased online.

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The Allivet Pet Pharmacy website is here. As I inferred earlier on I have no experience, good or bad, with Allivet.

Thanks Lannie.

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty

Returning to Tanja Brandt’s fabulous photographs.

Specifically sharing, with her very kind permission, more of her photographs from here.

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Another seven of these glorious photographs in a week’s time.

Meantime you all take care of you, your families and your pets!

A new home for Max!

Can you help John Zande find a loving home for this recent rescue?

I can’t recall when John Zande and I first made contact but it was a while ago. John lives in Brazil and is the author of the book The Owner Of All Infernal Names. (Read by me and much recommended.)

John also writes from time to time on his blogsite: The Superstitious Naked Ape. Again, much recommended by me.

Anyway, I awoke yesterday morning to find an email from John. This is what John had written:

Morning Paul, hope everything is fine up there. I have a question. We rescued a dog the other day (part pit bull), lovely fellow, but needs a lot of nursing to get him back to health. Vet thinks he’s around 2 years old. I’d say closer to 1.5. We have him here, in the front of the house (keeping our animals inside and out the back), but he’s a barker. Not aggressive, but seems to enjoy “responding” to other dogs in the street barking… of which there are too many. Do you have any tricks for teaching a dog not to bark? I’ve tried putting him on a leash back on the house (to keep him from the front gate) as a sort of conditioning, but that hasn’t seemed to of worked. I bought a muzzle and put that on when he’s barking, but that hasn’t worked either. Any ideas?

Obviously I looked across at Jean, mentioned the email from John, and read it out to here wondering what would be her advice.

John,

A very good morning in return.

I have just shared your email with Jean and she offered the following.

Namely, that he is most likely barking for attention. If you have the time then stay with him and each time he barks say “No!” firmly and when he stops give him a treat as a reward.

Jean acknowledges that this a difficult one but let’s take it one step at a time. Let us know what you do.

Want me to make it a post on the blog? Do you have a photo of him?

Best of luck!

Paul

John is full in terms of taking on rescues just now and is looking for a caring home for this lovely-looking boy; his name is Max by the way.

Here are some photographs of Max.

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What a kind, loving face!

These are some photos from last Thurs, when we got him. He’s put on some weight since. He was covered in oil, and his blood test has come back: low platelets, and ticks disease. Yeah, I’ve been out with him heaps, sitting with him and spending time. He knows its wrong, but seems to react to everything and every noise. I introduced the girl dogs to him this morning, and he was great. No problem. No aggression. Didn’t stop him barking, though 🙂 Our street has some noisy dogs (bad owners), so I guess he’s having trouble responding.
He is lovely. Would love to keep him, but we’re full, and can’t afford another. Had to get him off the street, though. He was in real trouble.
PLEASE!!! Can anyone find Max a home? If finding the money to transport Max to that new home is going to be an issue then I’m sure we can ‘pass the hat around’ to resolve that challenge.
The main thing is to find Max a home!
Finally …. my apologies to a number of you who have sent in guest posts for this place. You are not forgotten but you do understand why this plea from John had to be published today!

 

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Nineteen

Endless wonderful photographs of our pets!

I was going to offer more of Tanja Brandt’s photos for you today but during the week Belinda, who lives here on Hugo Road, sent me some pictures that I couldn’t wait to share with you.

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Aren’t we so very lucky to have these wonderful creatures in our lives!

Healthy dogs!

15 Research Backed Health Benefits Of Having A Dog

In so many walks of life there are so many competing claims as to this or that and trying to get to the truth is so frequently hard work. No more so than understanding the essence of what to do to stay fit and healthy. Yes, I had in mind you and me when I wrote that last sentence but it applies equally as well to our beloved dogs.

So of course I welcomed this email that came to me not that long ago.

Hi Paul,

I’m Mat Coulton (the owner of Wileypup.com).

I won’t waste your time and get straight to the point, we recently released a kickarse blog post: ’15 Research Backed Health Benefits Of Having A Dog’ AND I was checking out your site and noticed you are linking to an article from wikipedia.org on the same topic in your article Pets – Learning from Dogs: https://learningfromdogs.com/tag/pets/
Our guide goes into much more detail. It’s up to date and quotes more trustable sources. It’s littered with cool custom graphics and images. It would be a great addition to your page, and add value to your readers.

Now, of course, Wileypup is a commercial business about which I have no knowledge or experience but that’s no reason not to share Mat’s article. I asked Mat to pen a few words about himself:

Mat Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of WileyPup, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for paw parents everywhere.

Here is that article.

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15 Research Backed Health Benefits Of Having A Dog

Is this fur ball that follows me around like a shadow, constantly looking at me with those puppy dog eyes no matter what age they are, really that healthy for me? Routine situations like leaving them at home is an everyday mini heartbreak.
Don’t even start us on holidays where we try and think of any possible way to bring them with us and instead feel guilty as hell when they give us that aforementioned puppy eyes when we slowly close the door behind us, hearts breaking ever so slightly again.

BUT!!! We all know that’s just because we love them so much! Read on…

[Ed: You will have to go here to go through each of those benefits. Please do for the benefits are comprehensive and well researched.]

It is a popularly held belief that dogs make our lives better, especially if you ask a dog owner! We wanted to take some time to look into this concept a little deeper to see if there is scientific research to support the idea that there are actual health benefits from canine companionship.

What we found was surprising, even to us! We found 15 ways in which research has shown positive health effects from time spent with dogs!

Although much of the research on how pups effect our health has been done in clinical settings with therapy and companion dogs, there is plenty of reason to believe that dog ownership can have positive effects on our health as well (1, 2, 3).

With rising healthcare costs, the positive effects of dogs on our overall health and their role in assisting in the work of healthcare professionals continue to be avid areas of scientific study (4, 5, 6). In this article, we will be breaking down some of that research for you.

We will start by looking at the physical health benefits of dog ownership and companionship followed by a look at their contribution to better mental and emotional health outcomes. Then we will look at the special contribution dogs are making in the quality of life for a variety of special needs populations. Finally, we will look at the larger social impact of canine companions in our lives.

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I must say that many, many of you who have dogs in their lives will not be surprised by the findings spelled out by Mat.

Book Two!

November is book-writing month for me.

Thus, good people, I shall be distracted for much of the month because despite the fact that book number two is a non-fiction book, as was my first, I am still using National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as my motivational tool to achieve 50,000 words before the 1st December. Ergo, November’s focus is on writing an average of 1,666 words a day, not blogging.

Last time, with my book Learning from Dogs, I did share much of what I was writing each day both in 2014 and 2015. This time I will not.

However, I would like to share the draft Introduction to this second book that I wrote yesterday.

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Introduction

It was a beautiful late-October evening. Not a breath of wind stirred the branches of the tall pines that soared up into the night sky around our house. Even a half-moon high in that sky out to the South didn’t diminish the mystery and magic of the stars that seemed to go on forever. It never ceased to fascinate me how wonderful it was to lose one’s mind in a dark night sky and ponder on the fact that in that instant, in that moment of my life, I was seeing the light from a star that had been travelling for hundreds or thousands of years.

Thus it was this evening around 9:30pm when I had gone outside with all our dogs for their nightly leg-stretch before bedtime. Our six most beautiful dogs: Ruby; Cleo; Sweeny; Pedy; Oliver; and Brandy. There I was utterly oblivious to the sniffing and rustling in the piles of newly fallen Autumn leaves that were everywhere because so quickly once outside the house I had looked up above my head to that night sky and become lost.

But to be returned to this very sweet present moment when ever so gently I felt Brandy’s soft shoulder touch my lower left thigh and then lean into me in what was so characteristic of him.

I lent forward and placed the side of my face alongside Brandy’s warm, furry face and became as lost as I was in that starry sky. Now, however, it was as real and tangible a loss, if one could describe it as such, as that night sky above was as unreal and mysterious. For it was me being lost in the love that Brandy was sending me, in his breathing, in his posture, in his closeness to me, in his whole demeanour and in my own deep emotional loving reply to Brandy.

Then it clicked. A philosophical click that was as bright and clear as that fabulous half-moon.

This is how I would introduce my book. The book that I had committed to write in the month of November. The book that I was going to start writing the next day but hitherto hadn’t a clue as to how I was going to set the scene.

For my next book was an exploration into the relationships that dogs and humans form with each other.

Brandy’s story since he had been part of my life, and the life of my sweet, dear Jean, was a story of just how incredible, glorious and special the love between a human and a dog can be. How the weeks and months since that fateful day on the 9th April, 2016 when we first met Brandy had given me the inspiration to go as far as I could in describing and understanding what having a dog in one’s life truly meant.
Welcome to The Dog And I.

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So hope all you good people will understand if my blogging activity is varied and replies to responses likewise a bit ‘up and down’. It is likely I will be re-posting quite frequently items that have previously been shown on Learning from Dogs.

Beware of antifreeze

A very timely reminder!

The other day we went to buy more hay and feed from our local supplier The Red Barn on Upper River Road in Grants Pass.

Tyler, the owner, was distraught having just returned from urgently running his dog in to see Dr. Russ at local Lincoln Road Vet Clinic. The reason being that his dog had eaten some rat poison that he had put out on one of the upper floors of the barn.

Later I was discussing this with our good friend, Jim Goodbrod, also a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and Jim said that so long as the dog is caught quickly and taken to a vet it is unlikely that it would leave the dog with any permanent harm.

However, Jim then went on to say that especially at this time of the year the thing that vets see far too often is dogs who have drunk antifreeze that car owners put into their radiators ahead of the winter season.

Jim stressed that dogs very rarely are unharmed after having contact with antifreeze. Even a teaspoonful was sufficient to kill a cat and cause severe kidney damage in dogs!

So it was essential to spread the word.

No better done than by offering you this video. Watch it! Especially through to the end where Dr. Barker offers clear advice as to what to do if you suspect antifreeze poisoning of your dog or cat.

Published on Nov 23, 2014

If this prevents even a single dog or cat from being poisoned by antifreeze then that’s a win!
So spread the word!