Category: Communication

Slight pause in my affairs!

No more posts until a week’s time!

Good friends,

I am going in today to Asante Hospital for a minor operation for a hernia.

It has been slowly getting worse and, although it is still an easy op, I didn’t want to delay things any longer.

I shall be out of hospital later today (with a bit of luck) but I have been told in no uncertain words to take it very easy for the first couple of weeks and not to lift anything .

I will be offline until Tuesday, 17th.

But in terms of lifting anything above 15lbs I will have to take it easy for six weeks, or until the end of June. That is going to be hard!

Meanwhile, we have been stocking up, especially for the horses. Because both the equine senior feed and the hay come in too heavy. The equine feed comes in 50lb bags and the hay bales must be about the same, and tough to move around.

Thirteen bales for the next six weeks!

The never-ending sensitivity of dogs!

How about this for a story from Peru.

Not only do dogs come in a myriad of sizes and shapes, witness our own Brandy and Pedi, but they are also conscious creatures, as in they remember and grieve; albeit in a dog fashion.

The Dodo presented this story back on the 4th March about just a dog. Read it and be swept away in the world of dogs.

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Woman At The Beach Meets A Dog Who Won’t Stop Staring Out To Sea

The reason why touched her heart ❤️️

By Stephen Messenger

Published on the 4th March, 2022

The other day, Jolie Mejía and her family decided to visit Punta Negra, a small seaside community near their home in Peru.

It was there, along a rocky shore overlooking the sea, that they came to learn a story of love in its purest form.

After Mejía and her family settled down along the shore, they were approached by a random dog who appeared to be all by himself.

“He didn’t seem abandoned. He wore a ribbon around his neck and his fur was clean,” Mejía told The Dodo. “I pet him, waiting for his owner, but minutes passed and no one came.”

The dog enjoyed Mejía’s pets, but all the while his gaze remained fixed upon the ocean.

And Mejía soon came to learn the touching reason why.

Mejía and her family considered adopting the dog themselves, assuming he had indeed been abandoned. So, when a man local to the area walked by, Mejía asked him if he knew the dog’s status.

“He explained that practically everyone in the area knows the dog and is very fond of him,” Mejía said. “He told us that the dog’s owner was a fisherman who passed away some time ago, and that the dog comes to the beach every day and stares out to sea.”

The dog, it seems, has been holding vigil — awaiting the return of his friend who will never come home.

“We were very moved,” said Mejía.

Mejía believes the dog’s owner died at sea about a year ago, and that the dog has been watching out for him daily ever since.

But though the dog’s owner may never return, the dog isn’t without friends who care for him.

The dog’s sad story is evidently well-known by people in the community, who feed him, shelter him and provide him with health care when he needs it.

A local veterinarian in Punta Negra confirmed to The Dodo that the dog’s name is Vaguito, and that he’s currently in the care of a woman who lives nearby.

By day’s end, Mejía and her family eventually parted ways with Vaguito, his eyes still cast out to sea. But his bittersweet story — one of loyalty to a love he lost, and the loyalty and love he found in the community — is one she won’t soon forget.

“I have a dog at home,” Mejía said. “I love dogs in general. His story really touched my heart.”

(Photos by Jolie Mejía)

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This is the perfect story. But it is more! It is the perfect story of how special a dog is. For this particular dog, Vaguito, clearly was loved by his fisherman and even after a year Vaguito still holds a vigil for him. It is a very lovely article, but that is the unconditional love shown by dogs to humans who care and love them back.

Transformation

A more positive view as to how the future will pan out.

I tend to be rather pessimistic about the future. Maybe it is my age, I don’t know. But a week ago I posted an article by Ophelia Benson called Cruising over the Edge.

For this week I am republishing another climate change article but one that has a positive outlook on where we are going.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts.

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Climate change will transform how we live, but these tech and policy experts see reason for optimism

Authors

  1. Robert Lempert Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  2. Elisabeth Gilmore Associate Professor of Climate Change, Technology and Policy, Carleton University

Published April 18th, 2022

It’s easy to feel pessimistic when scientists around the world are warning that climate change has advanced so far, it’s now inevitable that societies will either transform themselves or be transformed. But as two of the authors of a recent international climate report, we also see reason for optimism.

The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discuss changes ahead, but they also describe how existing solutions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help people adjust to impacts of climate change that can’t be avoided.

The problem is that these solutions aren’t being deployed fast enough. In addition to push-back from industries, people’s fear of change has helped maintain the status quo. 

To slow climate change and adapt to the damage already underway, the world will have to shift how it generates and uses energy, transports people and goods, designs buildings and grows food. That starts with embracing innovation and change.

Fear of change can lead to worsening change

From the industrial revolution to the rise of social media, societies have undergone fundamental changes in how people live and understand their place in the world.

Some transformations are widely regarded as bad, including many of those connected to climate change. For example, about half the world’s coral reef ecosystems have died because of increasing heat and acidity in the oceans. Island nations like Kiribati and coastal communities, including in Louisiana and Alaska, are losing land into rising seas.

Other transformations have had both good and bad effects. The industrial revolution vastly raised standards of living for many people, but it spawned inequality, social disruption and environmental destruction.

People often resist transformation because their fear of losing what they have is more powerful than knowing they might gain something better. Wanting to retain things as they are – known as status quo bias – explains all sorts of individual decisions, from sticking with incumbent politicians to not enrolling in retirement or health plans even when the alternatives may be rationally better. 

This effect may be even more pronounced for larger changes. In the past, delaying inevitable change has led to transformations that are unnecessarily harsh, such as the collapse of some 13th-century civilizations in what is now the U.S. Southwest. As more people experience the harms of climate change firsthand, they may begin to realize that transformation is inevitable and embrace new solutions. 

A mix of good and bad

The IPCC reports make clear that the future inevitably involves more and larger climate-related transformations. The question is what the mix of good and bad will be in those transformations.

If countries allow greenhouse gas emissions to continue at a high rate and communities adapt only incrementally to the resulting climate change, the transformations will be mostly forced and mostly bad

For example, a riverside town might raise its levees as spring flooding worsens. At some point, as the scale of flooding increases, such adaptation hits its limits. The levees necessary to hold back the water may become too expensive or so intrusive that they undermine any benefit of living near the river. The community may wither away.

Riverside communities often scramble to raise levees during floods, like this one in Louisiana. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The riverside community could also take a more deliberate and anticipatory approach to transformation. It might shift to higher ground, turn its riverfront into parkland while developing affordable housing for people who are displaced by the project, and collaborate with upstream communities to expand landscapes that capture floodwaters. Simultaneously, the community can shift to renewable energy and electrified transportation to help slow global warming.

Optimism resides in deliberate action

The IPCC reports include numerous examples that can help steer such positive transformation.

For example, renewable energy is now generally less expensive than fossil fuels, so a shift to clean energy can often save money. Communities can also be redesigned to better survive natural hazards through steps such as maintaining natural wildfire breaks and building homes to be less susceptible to burning.

Costs are falling for key forms of renewable energy and electric vehicle batteries. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Land use and the design of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, can be based on forward-looking climate information. Insurance pricing and corporate climate risk disclosures can help the public recognize hazards in the products they buy and companies they support as investors.

No one group can enact these changes alone. Everyone must be involved, including governments that can mandate and incentivize changes, businesses that often control decisions about greenhouse gas emissions, and citizens who can turn up the pressure on both.

Transformation is inevitable

Efforts to both adapt to and mitigate climate change have advanced substantially in the last five years, but not fast enough to prevent the transformations already underway.

Doing more to disrupt the status quo with proven solutions can help smooth these transformations and create a better future in the process.

Disclosure statement

Robert Lempert receives funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation and Culver City Forward. He was coordinating lead author of the IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report, Chapter 1, and is affiliated with RAND Corp.; Harvard; SCoPEx (Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment) Independent Advisory Committee; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Decision Science and Analysis Technical Advisory Committee (TAC); Council on Foreign Relations; Evolving Logic; and the City of Santa Monica Commission on Environmental, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice.

Elisabeth Gilmore receives funding from Minerva Research Initiative administered by the Office of Basic Research and the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. She is affiliated with Carleton University, Rutgers University, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and was a lead author on the IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report.

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The article makes the proposition that fear gets in the way of change. I think this is true because I tend to be a person that goes around saying ‘what can be done’ or ‘it is down to governments to set the changes required’ but not taking action personally.

So this is wakeup call for me and many others to be more positive and to support those changes that are beneficial, and to undertake them ourselves if at all possible.

Cruising over the Edge

I am very grateful to the Free Inquiry for permission to republish this article!

I am a subscriber to the print edition of Free Inquiry. Have been for quite a while. In the last issue, the April/May magazine, there was an article by Ophelia Benson that just seemed to ‘speak’ to me. I was sure that I was not alone. It was an OP-ED.

I emailed Julia Lavarnway, the Permissions Editor, to enquire what the chances were of me being granted permission to share the story. Frankly, I was not hopeful!

So imagine my surprise when Julia wrote back to say that she had contacted the author, Ophelia, and she had said ‘Yes’.

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Cruising over the Edge

By Ophelia Benson

The trouble with humans is that we never know when to stop. We know how to invent things, but we seem to be completely unable to figure out how to uninvent them—or even just stop using them once we’ve invented them. We can commission like crazy but we can’t decommission.

Like, for instance, cruise ships the size of condo towers. They’re feats of engineering and ship building no doubt, but as examples of sustainable tourism, a small carbon footprint, a sensible approach to global warning, not so much. How many gallons of fuel do you suppose they burn while cruising? Eighty thousand a day, for one ship.

We can’t uninvent, we can’t let go, we can’t stop. We can as individuals, but that’s useless when most people are doing the opposite. It’s useless when cruise ships keep cruising, SUVs keep getting bigger, container ships are so massive they get stuck in canals, more people move to Phoenix as the Colorado River dries up, more people build houses in the Sierras just in time for more wildfires, air travel is almost back to “normal,” and Christmas lights stay up until spring.

So heads of state go to meetings on climate change and sign agreements and pretend they’ve achieved something, but how can they have? Have any of them promised to shut down nonessential enterprises such as the cruise industry? Will they ever? The CEOs and lobbyists and legislatures would eat their lunch if they did. They can’t mess with profitable industries like that unless they’re autocrats like Putin or Xi … and of course Putin and Xi and other autocrats have zero inclination to act in the interests of the planet.

Janos Pasztor wrote in Foreign Policy after COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow this past November:

Even if all Glasgow pledges are fulfilled, we are still facing a temperature overshoot of approximately 2 degrees Celsius. In the more likely scenario of not all pledges being fulfilled, warming will be more: perhaps 3 degrees Celsius. This would be catastrophic in nearly every sense for large parts of humanity, especially the poorest and most vulnerable who are suffering first and worst from escalating climate impacts.

Ironically, the technologies we can’t uninvent aren’t just the material luxuries such as huge cars, they’re also intangibles like democracy and freedom and individual rights. It may be our very best inventions along these lines that are the biggest obstacles to doing anything about the destruction we’ve wrought. We believe in democracy, and a downside of democracy is that governments that do unpopular things, no matter how necessary, are seldom governments for long. Biden and Macron and Trudeau and Johnson probably can’t do anything really serious about global warming and still stay in office to carry the work through.

Pasztor went on to ask a pressing question:

So how do we avoid temperature overshoot? The most urgent and important task is to slash emissions, including in the hard-to-abate sectors (such as air transport, agriculture, and industry), which will require substantial lifestyle changes.

Yes, those substantial lifestyle changes—the ones we show absolutely no sign of making. Maybe the biggest luxury we have, and the one we can least afford to sustain, is democracy.

Democracy at this point is thoroughly entangled with consumerism or, to put it less harshly, with standards of living. We’re used to what we’re used to, and anybody who tries to take it away from us would be stripped of power before the signature dried.

This is why beach condos in Florida aren’t the only kind of luxury we have to give up; we also have to give up the “consent” part of the “consent of the governed” idea when it comes to this issue. Not that I have the faintest idea how that would happen, but it seems all too obvious that democratic governance as we know it can’t do what needs to be done to avoid catastrophe.

We don’t usually think of democracy as a luxury alongside skiing in Gstaad or quick trips into space, but it is. It relies on enough peace and prosperity to be able to afford a few mistakes.

We take it for granted because we’ve always had it, at least notionally (some of us were excluded from it until recently), but it’s not universal in either time or place. To some it’s far more intuitive and natural to have “the best” people in charge, because they are the best. It’s a luxury of time and location to have grown up in a moment when non-aristocrats got a say.

The British experience in the Second World War is an interesting exception to the “take people’s pleasures away and lose the next election” pattern. Hitler’s blockade on shipping created a very real threat of starvation, and the Churchill government had to take almost all remaining pleasures away in pursuit of defeating the Nazis. Rationing, the blackouts, conscription, censorship, evacuation, commandeering of houses and extra bedrooms were all commonplace. Much of the dismal impoverished atmosphere of George Orwell’s 1984 is a picture not of Stalin’s Russia but of Churchill’s Britain. Life was grim and difficult, but Hitler was worse, so people drank their weak tea without sugar and planted root vegetables where the roses had been.

It’s disastrous but not surprising that it doesn’t work that way with a threat that’s unfolding swiftly but not so swiftly that everyone can see how bad it’s going to get. We can see what’s in front of us but not what’s too far down the road, especially if our contemporary pleasures depend on our failure to see. We’re default optimists until we’re forced to be otherwise, Micawbers assuring ourselves that “something will turn up”—until the wildfires or crop failures or mass migrations appear over our horizons.

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I do not know what the answer is? But I do know that we have to change our ways and change in the relatively near future; say, ten years maximum.

Because as Janos wrote, quoted in part above: “This would be catastrophic in nearly every sense for large parts of humanity…”

We are in a war. Not a military one but a war with the reality of where we are, all of us, heading. We have to stop ducking and weaving and come out fighting. Fighting for the very survival of our species. Do I think it will happen? I am afraid I do not. Not soon enough anyway: not without the backing of every government in the free world.

I really wonder what will become of us all!

Bela, RIP.

John Zande loses a dear doggy friend.

In a comment to a recent post on this blog, John said: “Just sent you an email.

I went to that email and read:

Hi Paul — just a personal note to let you know Bela died yesterday at 3.30pm. Her old beaten up body couldn’t do it any longer. A week after the last of her two operations she started going downhill. Her walks were more laboured. Last Tuesday I stopped walking her because (although she wanted to keep going) she was failing. She deteriorated over the weekend… Monday was spent racing her between vets, diagnostic clinics, and finally to the emergency care hospital. She made it through the night. She made it to us going there to see her. She was in a terrible state, her kidneys dissolving, her heart giving up. She was thankfully without pain, and although barely conscious (she was on heavy, heavy opioids), she managed to lift her head one last time. The vet there later said it was like she was waiting for you to say goodbye. She died thirty minutes later. Her heart gave out, and they could not revive her.

John subsequently emailed me the details of when he found Bela.

I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye driving home one day. I *thought* it looked like a dog. I turned around, and that’s how we found her… skin and bones, leg broken, paw smashed. And as we’d later discover, megaesophagus. We scooped her up and raced her to the vet. First time in my life after a rescue I actually asked the vet that day if we should just end her misery right then and there. Four years is what she gave us, and our lives are richer for it. Four short years.

Since then Bela has had four or five major operations, the last two to remove cancers were in January and March of this year. As John puts it: “In my mind we were setting her up for many more years of health.

Finally, here is a video of Bela. It is rather poor quality because the original is far too large. But it doesn’t matter at all because it just shows Bela alive and well!

Be in peace, dear Bela.

Are we alone?

As in: Is there life on other planets?

Last Saturday, we went to the local Freethinkers meeting in Grants Pass. It was a fascinating presentation by fellow member, Chas Rogers. Chas teaches Earth Science courses for the Rogue Community College and elsewhere.

Here is a taste of what we saw:

The Rare Earth Hypothesis argues that the development of complex life on Earth, not to mention intelligence, was an incredibly improbable thing in terms of the geological and astronomical variables involved, suggesting that the galaxy is not filled with other intelligent life forms waiting to be found.

One important factor is the Drake Equation. Here it is explained on the SETI website:

How many alien societies exist, and are detectable? This famous formula gives us an idea. The Drake Equation, which was the agenda for a meeting of experts held in West Virginia in 1961, estimates N, the number of transmitting societies in the Milky Way galaxy.

Here is that Drake Equation.

N    : The number of civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.

R*   : The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life (number per year).

fp   : The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.

ne   : The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.

fl    : The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.

fi    : The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.

fc    : The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that produces detectable signs of their existence.

L    : The average length of time such civilizations produce such signs (years).

There is a great deal of information online for those that want to look into the question in much more detail. But I rather like this YouTube video by Carl Sagan.

(Sorry about the funny ending to that video.)

Carl was speaking of the Milky Way. There are plenty of astronomers who believe that the universe holds many galaxies. Plus, the universe is expanding drawn ever outwards by something that is completely unknown!

What a way to think outside the box for a while!

John Fowler

Never sleeping alone!

A story about an amazing gentleman.

There are so many stories about humans going beyond the call of duty in giving dogs love and attention. In my own case, complete chance meant that I met Jean down in San Carlos, Mexico, rescuing street dogs and giving them love and support before finding homes for as many as she could in America, mainly Arizona. Jean had upwards of 20 dogs around her beach-front home and all the dogs were incredible, as in attentive and friendly and well-behaved.

The following article was seen in The Dodo and I wanted to share it because it says so much about the relationship that can be achieved between a human and dogs.

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Woman Walks In On Her Dad Napping With All The Neighbor Dogs

“They come running when they see his car and follow him inside.”

By Lily Feinn

Published on the 18th March, 2022

When Catey Hall checks in on her dad, it’s not unusual to find him napping on the couch. But Hall’s dad never sleeps alone — dogs from around the neighborhood join him to make one big comfy pile.

“Dad sees, plays with and naps with one or more of these dogs on a daily basis,” Hall told The Dodo. “They come running when they see his car and follow him inside.”

Catey Hall

Hall’s dad, Lon Watson, has always loved dogs and works with the local rescue Pound on the Hill to make sure every animal gets the help they need.

“For as long as I can remember, my dad has rescued stray dogs,” Hall said. “Growing up, we always had a dog. But there was always room for a stray in need. Now that he lives alone with his wife, there’s room for several. They work with rescues in the area to find homes for the dogs in need; however, not all of them are re-homed, and they stay with dad forever.”

Catey Hall

Watson has four resident dogs at home, all of whom he and his wife have rescued and rehabilitated.

But he receives daily visits from Hooch, Fluffer-Nutter and Rosie — all of whom live nearby and have a special connection with Watson.

Catey Hall

The neighborhood dogs are happy to wait all day just for some brief one-on-one time with Watson.

Catey Hall

“The neighborhood is an unincorporated section of semi-rural Alabama. The houses are set far back from the street, so the dogs can bounce from house to house safely,” Hall said. “The dogs can usually hear my dad’s truck coming, and they will meet him in the driveway.”

Catey Hall

Luckily, Watson’s human neighbors don’t seem to mind that their dogs spend most of their time with Watson — and would never get in the way of their special naptime.

Watson just seems to have a way with every dog he meets. Even Hall’s two dogs try to get in on the action. “As a matter of fact, they try to leave with Dad when he’s here visiting,” Hall said.

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Hall’s dad is a very fine person, in my book. If one clicks the link to go to the Pound on the Hill Animal Rescue, almost the first thing that one sees is a piece written by Dana Derby. I am taking the liberty of finishing off today’s post by quoting Dana’s words.

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I am a wiggly butt, adorable puppy. Who wouldn’t want ME? I am cuddly and warm. I look at you as my hero… and you are my hero… you saved me! I want to be with you; I feel safe in your arms. And you know I love you unconditionally. It matters not what you wear, your age, your weight or if your roots are showing… I love you just for you! 

What I need to know is will you still love me? I will make mistakes. I may piddle on your best rug. If I am lonesome, I may chew on your favorite shoe… because it smells like you.

Will you still love me? I will grow into a dog. Though I will be cute, I won’t be the tiny baby you held in your arms. I may be rowdy until I learn my manners. It could be trying, at times. My tail might knock things over when I am so happy to see you it won’t stop wagging! I may run in circles, jump and bark simply because I am happy to love you so very much. 

Will you still love me? As years pass, I will slow down. We age just like humans… only at a faster rate. This is because I cannot live without you. My face may become white with age, my legs not work so well, and my eyesight could deteriorate.

Will you still love me? And when my time comes to go to the Rainbow Bridge… I will want you by my side as I say goodbye. Not so much for me, but for you. I will want to be with you during this difficult time, just as we have shared the joy and sorrow of life together for years. I am your companion and will be with you forever… and I will still love you as I live patiently in your heart.. until we meet again.

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Happiness!

Two events, by chance, lead me to today’s post.

The first was the closing paragraph in that guest post by Indiana Lee last Thursday. Let me quote him:

It’s already been said, but it’s worth saying again. A happy dog leads to a happy owner. That isn’t just a cute saying, either. People are literally known to live longer and have good mental health if they have a dog in their lives.

The second was a talk at our local (Grants Pass) Freethinker’s meeting, held on Saturday. Jerry had sent out an introduction a few days before and included in that were three videos that we were encouraged to watch.

One, in particular, was excellent. It is a talk by Robert Waldinger, and it is reproduced below.

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

YouTube

It is just under thirteen minutes long; please watch it!

Keeping your dog happy!

A lovely and very useful guest post from Indi!

I am afraid I was too busy to prepare a post for last Tuesday but no-one seemed to notice!

Today’s post is another one of the gorgeous guest posts from Indiana Lee. It is perfect!

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How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy

Courtesy of Pixabay

A happy dog typically equates to a happy dog owner. With 1.5 million U.S. households owning at least one pet and nearly a third of all pet owners hailing from the younger millennial generation, it goes without saying that many Americans want their dogs to be happy.

If a member of your family has four legs and some fur, you probably count yourselves amongst the ranks of pet owners looking to raise a happy pup. Here are some basic tips to make sure that you’re helping your canine get everything they need to live a comfortable, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Cover the Basics

Before you start thinking too outside of the box, it’s worth putting a little effort into ensuring that your pup has all of the basic elements required for daily life. This generally centers around three primary areas:

  • Water: Your dog should always have access to water. Often dogs won’t drink unless they want to. Whenever they decide it’s time to lap up some H2O, they should have water easily accessible.
  • Food: Dog food is an obvious purchase, but you may want to do a little extra homework. Look for food with quality ingredients and as few fillers as possible. In addition, create a list of approved human foods, like carrots and cucumbers, that you can feed your pooch as a nice treat.
  • Exercise: Every dog needs consistent exercise. The specific amount depends on your dog’s breed and age. Make sure to schedule in time for your pet to stay fit.
  • Visit the vet: Finally, make sure you’ve set up regular vet visits. It’s wise to also find a good pet insurance option to help you handle any additional expenses that might crop up during a check-up.

Once you’ve covered these basics, you can start to consider additional ways to cultivate health and happiness in your dog.

Provide Outside Access

One of the simplest-yet-most-impactful pleasures that you can give a dog is allowing them access to the outside on a regular basis. Some dogs will only want to take in Mother Nature for short stints at a time. Others will spend hours at a time outdoors, especially when the weather is nice.

If you can let your dog out regularly, plan on doing so. If you have a contained yard where they can wander without supervision, consider giving them a doggy door sized for them to comfortably fit through, too. That way they can control the number of times they head outside.

Designate Spaces

Along with outside access, make sure your dog has their own indoor space. Chances are, your happy pup will want to spend plenty of time in your company. However, just like humans, there are occasions when a dog needs some alone time.

The best way to facilitate this is to give them their own designated space. This could be the corner of a room. If you have more space, set up an entire pet room for them to occupy when they want to. This can give them the perfect retreat if they’re tired from a long day or even overwhelmed during a social gathering or a similar event hosted at your house.

Cultivating a Happy Dog and a Happy Home

It’s already been said, but it’s worth saying again. A happy dog leads to a happy owner. That isn’t just a cute saying, either. People are literally known to live longer and have good mental health if they have a dog in their lives.

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What a very useful article and that last paragraph is spot on. Jean and I have never been happier. Yes, we are not as young as we were (and that’s saying something) but having our dogs is perfect. So to Brandy, Pede, Cleo, Oliver and Sheena (and all the dogs that went before them) thank you!

Finally, thank you again to Indi.

Therapy dogs.

What a precious dog this one is.

Margaret down in Tasmania recently sent me a link to a story about a surfing dog. It was remarkable and I am going to share it with you. (I hope that I am allowed to!)

The link was to a website called Goodness-Exchange.

Here is the story.

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The Surfing Therapy Dog Helping Those with PTSD and Autism

It’s no secret that dogs are capable of extraordinary things. We’ve seen them predict seizuresdetect cancersniff out buried truffles, and assist in the conservation of some of our world’s most precious ecosystems. But can a canine heal a wounded soul? Grab your surfboard (and maybe some tissues) because we are about to introduce a dog named Ricochet who is sure to melt your heart and bring on the happy tears. This sweet golden retriever has multiple championship surfing titles under her collar, but it’s the way she uses her unique talents to help others that truly makes her so special. 

As many remarkable stories do, Ricochet the Surf Dog’s story began where another journey ended. She was just a lil’ pup when she began training to become a service dog, where part of her training was balancing on a boogie board in a kiddie pool. In 2009 she took her first steps into the ocean, and just a short time later that year she won third place in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Surfing Dogs Competition!

Alas, the temptation to chase critters was too great for Ricochet to become a service dog, but her owner Judy decided to focus on what she could do instead.

Courtesy of Judy and Surf Dog Ricochet

The “Aha Moment” that decided Ricochet’s destiny. 

2009 was a big year for Ricochet, as this was the year she made it clear to the rest of us what her purpose really was. One day out in the water, she decided to jump aboard the board of quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison, and it was at this moment that her owners discovered Ricochet’s true potential.

Surfing has been at the forefront of Ricochet’s work, but her true magic lies in the way that she intuitively adapts with each individual she interacts with. According to her owner,

“…It’s her mystifying ability to make immediate, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul connections with strangers both in and out of the water.”

Ricochet makes deep connections with all types of people, but she is most sensitive to those with PTSD who have served in the military, and children with autism. In the video we’re about to watch by the Smithsonian Channel, you can see for yourself how Ricochet has an instant calming effect on Audrey Estrada, a military veteran who suffers from PTSD and an intense fear of the ocean.

I get by with a little help from man’s best friend.

Many of us suffer from invisible threats that intrude on our mental well-being. In the U.S. alone, 6% of the population have PTSD, that’s approximately 15 million adults each year. 2

It’s a condition that is often hard to explain to other humans, so it makes total sense that a dog would make the perfect confidant. They don’t judge you, they don’t talk back or tell your secrets, they simply feel you. And in turn, carrying the weight of it all feels less heavy.

Ricochet has had such a profound impact on people’s mental health, it’s enough to make one want to ask the doctor to prescribe an empathetic dog with a pink vest. But in addition to being an adorable floof of empathy and innocence, as of 2015, Ricochet is a certified therapy dog and level II Reiki healer!

The story has only just begun.

Our wish for anything pure and good like Ricochet’s story, is that it will continue to fan out over humanity in the best way possible. And in this case, it really has.

Ricochet’s owner Judy started a non-profit called Puppy Prodigies that offers swimming lessons, canine assisted water rescue, dog training, and adaptive surfing! Click here to meet Aqua Dog Cori, a super cute female golden lab who was donated to the group and now uses her natural instinct to perform trained water rescues!

In addition to these programs, Puppy Prodigies also tackles the root of the problem that they see in many of the people they help by creating awareness for PTSD, anti-bullying campaigns, and mentorship programs. Learn more about these branches of their mission and learn how you can contribute by checking out their website here.

Catch a wave and ride that baby for as long as you can!

I hope you found this story as wonder-filled and inspiring as I did. It really made me think about the journeys that we find ourselves traveling, and the people we can help along the way if we look at our abilities through a lens of opportunity. 

If you find yourself failing at something, or your plans didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, remember Ricochet. If a golden retriever can find it’s true purpose and have such a life-changing impact on others, I have full confidence that you can, too. 

And when you do find it, stand sturdy and ride that wave of goodness!

ooOOoo

What a fantastic video that was. But there are many videos about Ricochet so if you want to stay with him then YouTube is as good as place to start as any.

But as we all know when it comes to dogs each dog is an individual with their own likes and dislikes. Their ability to understand us humans is magical as well. I swear that many of our dogs here at home can understand words spoken by Jean and me. Whether they interpret the words directly or associate the tones expressed with each phrase, rather like a musical sound, is beyond me. I am sure someone knows and if anyone has a link to the researcher who has discovered this about dogs then please let me know.