Category: consciousness

A tribute

To my dear Pharaoh.

I was sorting through some papers over the weekend and I came across something that I wrote on the 14th September, 2007.

Let me explain.

2007 was a very important year for me. I had barely got over the fact that my ex-wife had walked out on me the previous December 20th but had been given the revelation that my fear of rejection had been brought into my conscious state after having been unconscious for 50 years. This was a fantastic outcome from just one visit to a local psychotherapist.

I had been out to California in the summer to see Dan. His sister, Suzanne, had called by and invited me to come to Mexico for Christmas. I was unaware that this trip to Mexico was to change my life for the better in every imaginable way!

Anyway, back to my writings.

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I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead very busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone. It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now. While you sit at your computer. See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.

You smile at me. I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of moment of your time. That is al I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on.

Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes. Still the love is always there even we must take that last, long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.

I may not be here tomorrow. I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when the grief fills their souls, and you will mourn the loss of just ‘one more day’ with me. Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me. I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.

We have now together. So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? Do you see how if you look deeply at me we can talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come not to me as my owner but as a fellow living soul. Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.

I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go. Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general. I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me. That gift from you has been very precious to me. I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you and to be there always for you. I am very different to you but here I am. I am your dog but just as alive as you.

I feel emotion. I feel physical senses. I can revel in the differences of our spirits and our souls. I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

So, come and sit with me. Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes. Look deep into my eyes and whisper in my ears. Speak with your heart and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow but we do have now.

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The anniversary of Pharaoh’s death in 2017 in this Friday, June 19th. He is still missed badly.

Another beautiful poem

Again by Bela Johnson

You don’t want me waffling on so I’m going straight over to Bela’s poem. It is called River Thoughts and was published on Bela’s website on the 24th May, 2021. With Bela’s permission, I should add!

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River Thoughts

The river thunders, to no applause
in particular; rolls along, rippling
and eddying without thought
or expectation of feedback,
though I can’t help but think
all of nature thrives under
an appreciative gaze;

We once watched endangered
river otters cavorting in plain sight
just under the bridge of a much
larger river, we told no one;
fishermen dislike that they are forced
to share with these sleek creatures
we thought dolphins, when first
they caught our eyes,
out of context, having come
from Hawaii only recently;

Our smaller Vallecitos river is
magnificent in its own right,
rushing lifeblood to this struggling
ranching community, altitude
too high to receive much precipitation
in liquid form, preferring the snows
of winter, and those have been
in shortfall for years now, water levels
everywhere having dropped
precipitously, and with the decline
comes the invariable unrest
in people dependent on the bounty
of the land;

And so this rainy day is particularly
welcomed while the dampness
is in marked contrast to the bone dry
of the region, and as a fire blazes
in the hearth, ranch dogs lie fidgety
like grammar school children forced
inside for recess in inclement weather.

Mr. Peanut awaits what’s next!

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Perfect!

Time to end puppy mills

I am republishing a recent email that came to me.

Puppy Mills are disgraceful. Worse than that they are a scar on the face of mankind.

Yesterday I received an email that came in from the Humane Society Legislative Fund. I am sure many of you also received it.

I am going to republish it. Please help if you can.

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Tell the USDA to protect puppies

Dogs suffer horribly in puppy mills. What’s worse is that over the last four years, The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is charged with monitoring, citing and revoking licenses of these breeding facilities if they sell to pet stores, brokers or online, stopped taking their job of puppy mill enforcement seriously and the agency did not take all the necessary steps to make sure that standards of care are improved to ensure that puppy mill facilities meet the basic needs of happy and healthy dogs.

Enforcement has plummeted at USDA since 2017 and citations for violations are down more than 65%. But we have a new Administration leading the United States Department of Agriculture, one that has already promised that they are going to take animal care seriously. Now is our chance to send a message loud and clear: you must protect dogs and puppies and take puppy mill enforcement seriously, and you must ensure that standards of care are improved in puppy mills to meet the needs of the thousands of dogs living in those facilities.

TAKE ACTION
Please send a brief, polite message to the USDA using the form provided.

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The form is available here!

I am going to leave you with a photograph, one of many I am afraid. This one was taken from the Animal Rescue Corps.

Very sad!

A Reunion to break one’s heart.

Tyler is reunited with his dog.

I have a folder where I put items that I think would make a good post. I have 1,139 items at present. Now many of them have been shared with you but by no means all of them. They are a constant reminder of the many ways in which the dog has, and is, the perfect companion for us humans.

Take this story that was published in The Dodo in March.

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This Boy’s Reunion With His Dog Will Totally Make Your Day

They never thought they’d see each other again ❤️

By Lily Feinn, Published on the 26th March, 2021

Earlier this month, a 10-year-old boy named Tyler Bandy got the best present he could ask for. As he walked in the door, he was immediately overwhelmed by love and kisses from an old friend — his dog, Bruiser.

STORYFUL/JAMIE BANDY

In January, Bruiser, a gray and white pit bull, was on a walk when he ran after a rabbit and got lost.

The Bandy family did everything they could to try and locate Bruiser. They posted fliers around their Florida neighborhood, posted on Facebook, put out old clothes in front of their home so he could smell them and repeatedly checked their local animal control.

FACEBOOK/JAMIE BANDY

But as the weeks passed and no leads were found, the family was “starting to lose hope,” according to Tyler’s mom, Jamie Bandy.“

That’s when the phone rang,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. “Turns out their dog had been picked up by somebody on their way to Highlands County and, after a couple of months, it wound up in the hands of our animal services folks.”

STORYFUL/JAMIE BANDY

A staff member at animal services thought the pup looked familiar and, after some digging on social media, she found out why. Bruiser was returned to his parents, but they kept his arrival secret so that they could surprise Tyler.

“To say Bruiser had a joyous homecoming would be putting it lightly,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said. 

You can watch the emotional reunion here:

Tyler was shocked when he came home and saw Bruiser, and both were overjoyed. Tyler immediately started sobbing and hugging his best friend, while Bruiser showered him with licks, wagging his tail as hard as possible.

“[Tyler] was simply overcome when his parents surprised him with his best friend,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said. “The two have been inseparable since.”

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Just another account of a young boy reunited with his dog. But then so much more than that. In this young man’s mind he had lost the one dear creature in his life. Perhaps made worse because Bruiser just disappeared one day. It was what we adults call unfinished business.

Then after a number of weeks fate stepped in and Bruiser was returned and Bruiser and Tyler were reunited. I am going to repeat that sentence towards the end of the piece which shows the response of Bruiser and Tyler. It just doesn’t get any better. “Tyler immediately started sobbing and hugging his best friend, while Bruiser showered him with licks, wagging his tail as hard as possible.”

Beautiful!

This is very sweet!

There is something about a baby!

I must admit to leaving preparing a post until late in the day. I was going to leave it blank but then decided that this was such a sweet story that it had to be shared with you all!

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Dog Loves Listening To Her Baby Brother In Mom’s Belly

She won’t stop wagging her tail ❤️️

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Published on the 16th April, 2021

Avon has always been a very hyper dog, but recently she’s gotten a little calmer — and that’s because she suddenly realized that her mom is pregnant. 

“I think she first noticed I was pregnant when I was around 14 [to] 15 weeks because she would normally jump around so much, but she started being more gentle,” Shea Haugen, Avon’s mom, told The Dodo. 

SHEA HAUGEN

Now, Avon loves to rest her head on her Mom’s belly — because she loves listening to her baby brother moving around inside. 

“She definitely lays her head down to listen to him and she gets really excited when he kicks,” Haugen said. “Typically that’s when her tail starts wagging uncontrollably.”

The dog who used to be so hyper and moving around all the time could now lay with her head on mom’s belly and listen to her baby brother forever, and that’s what true love looks like. Avon can’t wait to meet the newest member of her family, and her mom has a feeling he can’t wait to meet her, too. 

“Funny enough, my baby boy seems to like [giving] her a good kick whenever she lays her head on my tummy,” Haugen said. 

Very soon, Avon is going to be a big sister. In the meantime, she’ll keep following Mom around and laying her head on her belly, proving to everyone what an incredible big sister she’s going to be.

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There’s no question at all that the bond between dogs and humans is so, so special.

I’m sorry but I have to dash now!

The pain of letting go.

Dogs ought to live far longer!

I have spoken before of the bond that we humans make with our dogs, and vice versa, and the love that flows from such a bond.

But they don’t live long enough! And the end of their lives is a very difficult period for us.

Doug Goodman writes a blog. He is also an accomplished author.

Recently Doug wrote about the most difficult decision he had to make. Doug kindly gave me permission to republish his article.

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The Difficult Decision to Euthanize Ryder.

By Doug Goodman, April 20th, 2021

Unfortunately, all dogs die. There’s no easy way to do this, but it’s a fact of life as a pet owner. For me, the key decision was when is the right time to do it? I don’t want to wait too long so that Ryder suffers, but I’d feel guilty putting Ryder down too early.

We’ve talked about this many times, in fact. Often on walks or long rides in the car, my wife and I go through the bullets, like a checklist of emotional redemption. There are many “easy” decisions when owning a dog: which food? That bag of Purina over there. When do you pick up after the dog? At least twice a week in the spring and summer, sometimes every other day. Should you pet the dog? Well, it’s a German Shepherd, so if it wants to be petted, you better do it now because it may not want to be petted the rest of the day.

Deciding to euthanize is nothing so simple.

Years ago when we went through end-of-life with Mojo, a veterinarian recommended as a litmus test to pick the three things the dog enjoys most in life. When the dog can no longer do one or especially two of those things, it’s time to euthanize.

But that litmus test doesn’t apply to all dogs, and certainly not to Ryder. She’s always been a peculiar dog. She likes her backyard and playing with Koda, and she likes to eat*. She still does those things. For me, it is a pain factor based on arthritis and lack of mobility. People will talk about the dignity of life for a dog, and I think there is some truth to that. I remember laying in bed one day and Mojo walking in and telling me he was ready. A few months later, he again looked at me, and his eyes were full of truth. He wasn’t happy, he didn’t like this anymore. He was ready. Sometimes Ryder gives me that look, but I’m not sure. She’s always had a pained, scared-of-the-world emotion in her eyes.

But there is “pained” and there is “pain.” Ryder can’t put in words her suffering, so it’s up to me to observe her closely. Over the past few months, and certainly over the past year, my family and I have noticed changes to her behavior, physicality, and mental state:

-She had urination problems. She was diagnosed as a UTI and corrected. Alone, this is not a sign that she is close to dying, but I believe it may be a sign of the severity of her back arthritis. She’s not cleaning herself. This is especially troubling considering…

-She has problems holding in poop. Sometimes she’s sitting there, laying in it, and she doesn’t realize she’s pooped herself. Often, she can’t make it through the night without releasing her bowels in the house. If she isn’t able to clean herself, and she isn’t aware that she is going to the bathroom, this can lead to discomfort and additional UTIs.

-She stopped climbing the stairs. This was a subtle one because our dogs aren’t allowed upstairs. But last week we had a major thunderstorm, and as anyone who owns German Shepherds can attest, GSDs only want to be right next to you when the thunder booms and the lightning crashes. Koda busted down the dog gate and ran upstairs for solace. Ryder, who is usually the first one to bump against the bedroom door until we wake up, stayed downstairs and didn’t attempt coming to us. At least, I didn’t see her attempt it. She may have tried, failed, and gone back downstairs. That’s a first in her lifetime, and she wouldn’t have stayed down there if she didn’t absolutely have to remain on the first floor.

-She is stumbling. She often stumbles in the house, especially walking inside and out. She has fallen doing little playful jumps at my daughter. I’ve seen her fall to the floor and not be able to stand for thirty seconds or more.

-This will sound weird, but she sits a lot, and not on purpose. One of the things she does is get in the way of her people (helloooo, herding dog). She backs out when she realizes I want to get through. Now, she backs out, and her butt falls down, and she stares at me like “That wasn’t supposed to happen. What do I do now? Sorry!” until she can get back up.

-She is whining and yelping. This is the big one. My dogs don’t whine or yelp for no reason. They aren’t talkative dogs. For the past year, though Ryder will yelp when roughhousing with Koda. She wants to jump on him, but she’s incapable. Lately, she’s really reduced her roughhousing. Additionally, Koda is being a son of a bitch about this. A few days ago I noticed they were playing their favorite game of “I’ve got a thing and you don’t.” I posted about this when during one of these games, Ryder knocked the poop out of Koda. That old chestnut. But this last time when Koda wanted the random stick, he bumped her rear with his chest so that she went down. I scolded him, he didn’t understand, and eventually Ryder dropped the stick and guarded it with strong play-snaps. Koda wasn’t going to take any further action to take the prized random stick, but the fact that he knows to exploit this indicates to me that one day we could find out he’s hurt her, perhaps broken her back from bumping her, and now you have to put down Ryder immediately in your backyard. Nobody wants that. 

So we have elected to euthanize Ryder. 

Damn, there’s a lot of finality in that statement. She is a family member, and we lover her very much. I picked her up from the tiny town of Buda, Texas and drove her three or four hours back to Houston. She never liked car rides after that. We have a lot of memories with that dog, some I’m sure I will share in the coming weeks, but for now, I want to focus on the decision.

We are reaching out to companies that can euthanize at home. With all of Ryder’s fears, it seems like the best option. Of course, home euthanasias are the popular choice in the pandemic. Earlier in 2020, some of the vets we looked to wouldn’t allow owners to be present for euthanasias. So we will see if we can make the home euthanasia happen.

In the meantime, I give her half an aspirin to help with the pain, and my daughter purchased some CBD-infused peanut butter, too. We’ve had her on joint vitamins, but that only goes so far. We do as much as we can to keep Ryder comfortable, but it’s clear that she’s in near-constant pain and that her hips/back have greatly reduced function. She is an eleven and a half year old GSD, old for one. So as difficult as it is to decide to euthanize, I know that it is a necessary part of ownership. If I’m willing to own a dog, I must be willing to take care of it throughout it’s life, not just the happy puppy parts, but all of it, including her last days. 

*Ryder only eats infrequently over the past few weeks. It is one of her three joys: play, eating, and protection/perimeter walking, and I would argue that food is her highest joy, so not eating is a big clue that her time is soon.

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I met Jean in 2007 in Mexico. Jean was rescuing street dogs, looking after them for a while, and then finding homes for them in the USA; primarily Arizona. I was then living in Devon, England together with my German Shepherd, Pharaoh. Jean loves all dogs irrespective of size. I moved out to Mexico, with Pharaoh, permanently in 2008. Living with so many dogs around the home quickly brought an awareness of the integrity of dogs, of their ability to love unconditionally, and I started this blog in 2009.

Now Jean and I live in Southern Oregon. Indeed we have been here since 2012. We are down to six dogs: Cleo; Brandy; Sheena; Oliver; Pedi and Sweeny. That means we have had many dogs die in the past. I still miss Pharaoh who died in 2017. Or rather it should be said that the decision to euthanise him was in June, 2017.

In the end we have to make that final decision for our beloved dogs. It is, frankly, so much better than leaving dogs to die because the last few weeks or days can be very brutal.

So we know only too well what Doug is going through. Our thoughts are with Doug and Ryder.

Stranger than fiction.

And I am still talking about dogs!

I wasn’t going to publish a post for today because I had to go to the dentist yesterday for an 11 am appointment. In the afternoon the aesthetic was still making my jaw a little ‘sleepy’. But then I saw this article about a particular dog loving blueberries and figured is was too good to overlook. The article was published in The Dodo.

You will undoubtedly agree with me!

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Dog Has Cared For Every Blueberry Her Mom Has Ever Given Her

She even snuggles them 😂❤️️

By Caitlin Jill Anders
Published on 3/10/2021

Ava is an incredibly sweet and caring dog, and one of her favorite things in life has always been toys.

“Any time anything happens, her answer is to bring over a toy,” Talia Henze, Ava’s mom, told The Dodo. “And I mean any time. If anyone laughs, if she sees anyone sad, she gets up and brings over a toy.”

TALIA HENZE

One day, Ava was watching her mom snack on some blueberries. She looked so curious that Henze decided to give her one. She thought Ava would enjoy having a little treat, but instead, for some reason, she decided to treat the blueberry exactly like one of her toys.

“She’s been trained to only eat her treats and long-lasting chew stuff on her elevated bed or in her crate, so she naturally just brings new toys, treats, etc. to those places,” Henze said. “So it didn’t surprise me that she brought the berry to it. But she just never ate it.”

Instead, Ava gently carried the blueberry around, caring for it tenderly. She showed absolutely no interest in having it as a snack. Her mom thought maybe she just didn’t understand what it was and tried to show her, but it was no use. The blueberry had become Ava’s friend, and that was that.

“She kind of just carried it around to her different places for a while and snuggled it,” Henze said. “When she eventually got bored and left it in her crate, I tried showing her [how] to eat it by breaking it open … She wanted nothing to do with it when it was broken.”

TALIA HENZE

Now, every time Henze gives Ava a blueberry, the same exact thing happens. They’ve become one of her favorite toys, and it’s the cutest quirky habit ever.

“So I know she doesn’t really like eating them, but every time I eat blueberries she seems to want one,” Henze said. “So I just give her one every time … She tried to eat one once when I really encouraged it, but she just spat it out.”

TALIA HENZE

To Ava, blueberries are friends, not food. They’re her little buddies, and that’s never going to change.

No one has any idea why Ava loves playing with blueberries so much, or why she’s so opposed to actually eating them. Her mom doesn’t question it anymore, though. It’s just a part of who Ava is, and that’s perfectly OK with her.

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Dogs are as much a mystery at times as they are pure companions. This is an example of a dog, Ava, who has set her mind on something and that is it! All of us dog carers know this about the animal. I guess there’s a logic to the way that a dog thinks even though that logic is beyond reach to us humans.

But that is one of the many characteristics that makes the dog so precious and so adorable.

Enough said!

Dan and Lexi

Just a reminder of how we treasure our dogs.

I was speaking two days ago to my friend Dan of many, many years, and also my best man when Jeannie and I were married in 2010, and we were talking of our dogs. In the conversation Dan said this:

You know that Lexi and I are always together for practically twenty-four hours a day!

Dan went on to say that Lexi followed him everywhere and that, literally, they were together for ninety-nine percent of their time.

I asked Dan to send me a photograph of the two of them. Here it is!

Beautiful beyond words.

(And call by tomorrow for some special words about close friends.)

There’s no limit to the care of dogs

For as long as I live I will never stop marvelling at dogs.

Dogs are many things. In a sense they have as many likes and dislikes as us humans. But the one thing that is unique to these beautiful animals is their unconditionality. That, especially, shows through in the way that they care and love the humans and dogs around them.

This story on The Dodo emphasised that special way they care for their fellow dogs. Read it and you will see what I mean.

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Camera Catches Dog Bringing His Bed To His Sick Brother So He’s Comfy

“As he’s dragging it he’s looking at Roman almost to say, ‘This is for you’”

By Caitlin Jill Anders
Published on 6/18/2020

From the moment they became brothers, Spanky has always adored and looked up to his big brother Roman. He follows Roman everywhere he goes, and is always happiest whenever they’re together.

“Roman is definitely Spanky’s security blanket,” Jackie Rogers, Roman and Spanky’s aunt, told The Dodo. “Spanky will do nothing without Roman and always makes sure he is close to him and if he’s not he gets up and goes near him.”

JACKIE ROGERS

About two weeks ago, Roman’s ear started looking a little puffy and infected, so his mom took him to the vet and discovered he has a hematoma on his ear. They scheduled a surgery to take care of it, but unfortunately, while he waited for the surgery, his ear kept getting worse and poor Roman got more and more uncomfortable.

JACKIE ROGERS

At first, Spanky didn’t notice anything was different, but as Roman’s ear got worse, everyone noticed that Spanky was much more gentle and concerned about his best friend.

“We had to take him back to the vet to confirm he could wait five more days for surgery and I brought Spanky along for the ride, but due to COVID we couldn’t go inside with Roman and for 20 minutes Spanky sat in the car crying/whining/barking until Roman got back,” Rogers said.

JACKIE ROGERS

With the surgery set, all the family could do for Roman was to let him rest. During the day while everyone is at work, the family has a Ring camera set up so they can check in on the dogs, which is especially important now so they can make sure Roman is OK. Rogers was checking the camera recently when she noticed Spanky watching his brother lying on the floor, looking very concerned — and then he did the cutest thing.

“I see Spanky pacing for a minute while looking at Roman and then the bed and then I see him dragging the bed to Roman and as he’s dragging it he’s looking at Roman almost to say, ‘This is for you,’ and then the next clip is them snuggling,” Rogers said. “I had to re-watch it multiple times, I was in disbelief that he did that!”

Spanky was worried about his brother and wanted him to be as comfortable as possible, so he brought his bed to him so he wouldn’t have to move — because that’s how much he loves his big brother.

JACKIE ROGERS

Spanky brought the bed over to Roman around 10 a.m., and when Rogers got home that evening, they were still snuggled up there together. Spanky knows his brother isn’t feeling well, and he’s determined to stay by his side until he’s feeling better — and will do anything he can to make sure he’s safe and comfortable in the meantime.

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There’s no real way that words can explain that. It’s beautiful, loving and caring and just goes to show how the loving bond works in practice.

Fabulous creatures!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven.

But first this amazing photograph!

A lightning strike over the province of Batangas during the eruption of the Taal volcano in Philippines, January 2020 (Credit: Domcar C Lagto/Pacific Press via Alamy)

From the BBC:

Eruption of Taal Volcano in Philippines, January 2020

Volcanic lightning occurs when fragments of propelled ash (including glass, ice, and rock) spark against each other in the violent plume that rises above an erupting volcano. The First-Century Roman writer Pliny the Younger is credited with recording the earliest-extant account of a so-called ‘dirty thunderstorm’ after witnessing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. “A dreadful black cloud,” Pliny observed in a letter to Tacitus, “was torn by gushing flames and great tongues of fire like much-magnified lightning.” Photos taken in January 2020 of a similar display near Manila, Philippines when Taal Volcano erupted captured the world’s attention. The intense gnashing of darkness and light preserved by the images recalls the cataclysmic beauty of The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum, the Romantic artist John Martin’s 1822 painterly recreation  of the ancient dirty thunderstorm that Pliny the Younger saw with his own eyes.

This is a copyrighted photograph and I may have to remove it pretty damn quickly.

So on to dogs!

Again taken from Pexels.

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That’s it, good people, for another week.