Category: Culture

More floating kindness.

This time it is not deer but kangaroos!

Huge numbers of you reacted so wonderfully to my post of last Tuesday, Afloat on a Sea of Kindness, in which I republished the account of the boat Alaska Quest saving the lives of four deer that were somehow cast into the water.

deer112One of the many comments to that post was from Barb who writes the blog Passionate about Pets.

Barb left a comment to say that she had recently published an account of drowning kangaroos being saved and I thought all you good people would enjoy reading Barb’s post.


Drowning Kangaroos Hitch Boat Ride

roo-hitchhikersThis photo of kangaroos hitching a boat ride touched my heart, and I felt I had to share it with you guys.

The photo was sent to me from friends during the recent evacuation of Theodore, a small country town in Queensland, Australia, which felt the full brunt of the recent floods.

Animal losses were high during the floods with farmers losing livestock, and wild animals were no exception – many got swept  away in the flood waters and drowned – but these guys got lucky.
Under normal circumstances a kangaroo would normally panic and take a swipe at a human, easily tearing him to pieces with his long, strong claws. The feet and tail are even more powerful and dangerous.

So you can imagine how hard it would be to get wild kangaroos into, and then sit, in a boat under normal circumstances . . . this is not a sight you will see often . . . but then, these were not normal circumstances.

These desperate and drowning kangaroos willingly accepted human help and were quite happy to hitch a ride to dry land. Better than the alternative.

I think even wild animals recognize when a human is trying to help them and the compassion this kind man showed to these kangaroos certainly restores my faith in human nature.




Two very cool acts of love towards our animals!

Anyone got a story of an animal saving a human from drowning? (I bet there must be more than one account in history!)

Standing up for the future.

This is no sinecure – the future of mankind is at risk.

Very often I find a topic for Saturday that is easy on the mind. But I make no apologies for republishing, with Jennifer’s permission, a post that she published over on Transition Times yesterday. When you read it you will see clearly that promoting this today is right. For many readers may well be able to join thousands of others in showing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.


World War III Has Begun: Which Side Are You On?

Although you wouldn’t know it from scanning the front pages of the mainstream media, a major battle in what Bill McKibben has called World War Three, the war to save the planet from human destruction, has been going down in Indian Country for the past six months.

Thousands of Native Americans, members of a whole host of tribes, have gathered at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL), which was sited by the Army Corps of Engineers to run dangerously close to the Missouri River and the Standing Rock Reservation.

But as the protesters say, they are not just defending Indian country, they are defending everyone who relies on the Missouri for water—and not just humans but all life.

If there is anyone to look back at this turbulent period in human history on Earth—now coming to be known as the Anthropocene—they will surely wonder at the suicidal tendency of human civilization in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Why, they will ask, would such an intelligent species willingly—even enthusiastically—engage in the poisoning of its waterways and underground water resources; the destruction of its forests; the chemical contamination of its soils and oceans; the overheating of its precious atmosphere by relentless burning of fossil fuels? Why would humans put so much of their intelligence and technological prowess into developing ever more lethal weapons of mass destruction, used to bludgeon each other? Why would they preside blithely over the extinction of millions of other species, the vicious ripping of the great ecological web of life on Earth?

Why indeed?

I know it’s hard for any of us to escape the clutter of our everyday lives, with the constant pressures and worries that beset us on the personal level. But this is precisely what is being asked of us now.

The courageous defenders out at Standing Rock dropped their ordinary lives to be part of the historic encampment protesting the stranglehold of the oil companies on our waterways and our lands. They are fighting in the courts, through the media, and most importantly with their physical presence, standing up to the bulldozers, the attack dogs and the pepper spray.

Image source: Democracy Now!

This is what McKibben’s World War Three looks like—it’s already begun. It will be fought locally, as communities and individuals wake up to the implications of the destruction and decide that hell no, they won’t take it any more.

Oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. Image source:

In my own corner of the world, we are under assault from General Electric, wanting to create toxic waste dumps right in the middle of our small rural towns. We have a gas pipeline being constructed, despite vehement protests, through a pristine old-growth state forest. We have oil tanker trains running constantly right through our communities. Despite a thriving organic and biodynamic farm renaissance, we still have far too many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides being used locally, and too many trees being cut down.

I have been thinking and writing for some time now about how important it is to align the personal, political and planetary in our own lives and in the way we relate to the world around us. On all three of these levels, 21st century American life is way out of balance.

It is time to focus, each one of us, on using our brief lifetimes to create balance and harmony on Earth. Sometimes the way to harmony leads through protest and discord, as is happening now in Standing Rock. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to support local, low-impact agriculture rather than industrial agriculture. Leaning on our political representatives to move faster on policy that will shift our society to renewable energy is key.

Wind farm in Ireland. Source:
Wind farm in Ireland. Source:

There are so many ways to get involved in this War for the Planet, many of them quite peaceful. The important thing is to get off the sidelines. Get involved. Feel the potential of this moment—it’s literally a make or break period for the future of humanity on Earth, and many other living beings too.

The brave defenders at Standing Rock are reminding us that we are all “natives” of this Earth, and we all have a stake in protecting her. Which side are you on?


Yes, we are all natives of this world and that includes our dear animals and our wonderful animal companions.

Make a promise to yourself to make a difference; even one small difference. With that in mind, if you want to find an event close to you then the Sierra Club have a page where you can look up which event you would like to attend.

Make a difference!

If dogs could talk!

Sharing the ups and downs of life with your dog.

Yesterday I used the phrase, “A number of domestic circumstances are taking priority at the moment …” and I wasn’t overplaying that. I can’t say anymore at this stage other than to say that a very close family member has been diagnosed with a terminal illness (and it’s not Jeannie, my son or my daughter.)

Naturally, it has been dominating my thoughts and emotions these last 72 hours but my ability to comprehend what has happened and to weep from time to time would have been impossible without the love of my sweet, dear Jeannie and the emotional sensitivity of our dogs.

For example, yesterday morning when I swung myself out of bed a little after 5:15am, the room still dark, and then sat on the side of the bed wondering what the diagnosis would be from the consultant in London, Brandy came up to me and just buried his head in between my slightly opened legs. With his head held down he pressed himself into my crutch and I then bent my own chest and head down and buried my face in the warm fur of Brandy’s neck just behind his ears.

So on to a short film that has been shown before here on Learning from Dogs but is still worth seeing again.

Published on Mar 27, 2015

Thanks for watching my film. I really hope you share and comment as we love your feedback also feel free to email your thoughts as well. for more info and my email.
The Director
-Shawn Welling
Full Synopsis:
A friend to share the ups and downs of life with him — and, soon, his family. “If I Could Talk” gives this dog the one chance he wants to share his thoughts.
Director: Shawn Welling AXI
Story: Mark Galvin / Shawn Welling
Screenplay: Shawn Welling
Max Welling / The White Lab
Shawn Welling / Shawn Welling
Michelle Simmons / Michelle Welling
Grace Calabrese / Grace Welling
Kalyssa Lauer / Kalyssa Welling
Phillip Glass
Shawn Welling
Art Giraldo
Scott Budge

Thinking of every one of you and what your dogs mean to you!

In praise of beautiful prose.

None better than Alistair Cooke.

In 1968 I went out to live in Sydney, Australia.

By chance a work colleague in my workplace in Sydney introduced me to an organization called Rostrum. They still exist today and as their ‘About’ page on their website explains:

The History of Rostrum

Rostrum Australia is an association of public speaking clubs, founded on 21 July 1930. The original Rostrum club (“The Rostrum”) was founded in Manchester, England, on 21 July 1923 and its first meeting was held under a yew tree at Greendale Farm near Manchester. The first meeting in Australia was held under an Angophora tree in 1930.

This makes Rostrum the longest-running public speaking organisation in the world.

General Information

Rostrum clubs aim to help their members improve their speaking and meeting skills. They do this primarily through regular club meetings and less frequent competitions. The main national competition for members is the Sidney Wicks Speaking Competition, held about every 6 years. State and territory competitions are held throughout the year.

It was a marvelous connection for me for later on in life I was required to give many public speeches.

Anyway, back to those days in Sydney. I still recall how one meeting was devoted to listening to and understanding one of the most eloquent and masterful speakers ever: Alistair Cooke. Listening to Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America on BBC radio was a passion for me until the day he died.

Alistair Cooke
Alistair Cooke

Here’s how Wikipedia describes this wonderful man.

Alistair Cooke, KBE (20 November 1908 – 30 March 2004) was a British journalist, television personality and broadcaster.[1] Outside his journalistic output, which included Letter from America and Alistair Cooke’s America, he was well known in the United States as the host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to 1992. After holding the job for 22 years, and having worked in television for 42 years, Cooke retired in 1992, although he continued to present Letter from America until shortly before his death. He was the father of author and folk singer John Byrne Cooke.

It was a great pleasure to discover that the BBC still holds archives of many of the broadcasts of Letter from America but, in addition, some of Alistair Cooke’s broadcasts are on YouTube.

Please settle down for 15 minutes and listen to one of best writers and speakers to have graced this world.

Broadcast on Fri 12 Dec 1980, BBC Radio

The shooting of John Lennon on the 8th December 1980 sparks a debate over the need for national gun control law in America.

Some issues never go out of date!

That fickle finger of fate!

Coping with an emergency includes looking after our dogs.

Most of us live our daily lives without paying too much attention to the likelihood of an emergency. But as Hurricane Hermine and the recent explosion of that SpaceX rocket show the unexpected does come along.

All of which is my preamble to a recent item over on the Mother Network Nature site that reviewed taking care of our beloved pets when an emergency does strike.

I have pleasure in sharing it with you.


5 steps to ensure your pet is cared for in an emergency

Jaymi Heimbuch August 31, 2016

When an unexpected problem pops up, have a back-up plan for your pet. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)
When an unexpected problem pops up, have a back-up plan for your pet. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

A car crash, an arrest, a natural disaster or a medical emergency. While no one wants to think about these awful possibilities, sometimes we should to protect and provide for those we love, in case one day we can’t make it home as planned. And those we love include our pets.

Imagine something happens to you and you can’t get home to your dogs, cats, birds or other critters. You need a way to not only alert others to the fact that you have pets at home, but also the information they need to care for your pets in your absence. Here are five ways you can ensure that your pets will be looked after.

Carry a card in your wallet

Create a card that you can carry in your wallet or purse. If you’re ever in a medical emergency, a rescue worker or paramedic looking through your wallet for identification will also know that there are animals at your home that need care.

The card can be as simple as a note that you have pets at home on one side, and on the other side lists contact information for friends or family members you’ve designated to care for them. Or it can be detailed, listing how many pets you have at home, their names and the kind of animal each pet is, your address, and emergency contact information for two people you trust to care for your pets. How much information you want to include is entirely up to you.

You can create your own card, download a free template online to print out, or buy cards online that you can fill in information with a pen.

Add a sign on your door or windows to save your pet

Another place to put an alert card is in your window or on the door to your home. An emergency emergency-pet-sign.jpg.838x0_q80pet alert sticker is ideal when you can’t get to your home but someone like a firefighter or rescue worker can.

Like a wallet card, a sticker should list how many pets are inside and what species they are, so any rescue worker would know if they’d found all the animals inside.

This is a small but potentially life-saving step in preparing for emergency situations such as after an earthquake, tornado, fire or flood, so that someone who is searching through homes can rescue your pet even if you can’t — or aren’t allowed — to get back to your home.

Ensure at least 2 separate people you trust have access to your home

Your emergency wallet card states contact information for people you trust to care for your pet if you’re in an emergency situation and can’t get home to them. The next step is ensuring they can get to your pet when needed.

Make sure each person listed as an emergency guardian has a set of keys, or that they know the secret hiding place for your spare set of keys. If you have an alarm system on your home, you’ll need to provide these friends with the access code.

Because these friends or family members not only have access to your home but also will take responsibility for your animal companion, you’ll need to put some thought into who you’ll have in place as a temporary caregiver or as a permanent caregiver.

The ASPCA notes:

When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

You may want to put down temporary caregiver contact information on your emergency cards, and ensure they know who is designated as the permanent caregiver should you not be able to return home to your pets for a long time, or at all.

An emergency kit with your pet's medical information, extra food and other supplies will help rescuers. (Photo: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock)
An emergency kit with your pet’s medical information, extra food and other supplies will help rescuers. (Photo: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock)

Create a kit for your pet

A disaster preparedness kit is a great idea both for you and your pet. This also benefits your pet not just for a natural disaster, but if you’re in an emergency and can’t get to them.

An emergency supply kit should include a document that a temporary caregiver or potential permanent guardian can use to understand your pet’s needs. This includes:

  • vet and vaccination records
  • pet insurance details
  • information about any medications your pet needs
  • an extra leash and collar
  • a carrier if you have a smaller pet
  • information on any behavior problems, quirks or habits that a caregiver should know about

Be sure to tell your emergency contacts and temporary caregivers where this information is located in your home, so they can access it should they need it.

Make formal long-term arrangements for your pet

We briefly discussed designating someone as a permanent caregiver for your pet should you not be able to return to them. You may want to consider setting up a formal arrangement for this to ensure that your pet definitely goes to the person you’ve designated and receives the care they need.

This could be a formal written arrangement with a permanent caregiver or it may be part of your will. You might also consider creating a trust or other financial arrangement to ensure your pet is cared for if you’re incapacitated. However, Petfinder notes:

Before making formal arrangements to provide for the long-term care of your pet, seek help from professionals who can guide you in preparing legal documents that can protect your interests and those of your pet. However, you must keep in mind the critical importance of making advance personal arrangements to ensure that your pet is cared for immediately if you die or become incapacitated. The formalities of a will or trust may not take over for some time.

Such a document may at first seem like a lot to handle for a “what if” situation, but by taking the appropriate precautions ahead of time, you can be sure that your pets are immediately cared for should something occur that prevents you from returning home to them.


This all seems like very sound advice and, believe me, advice that Jeannie and I will review and adopt wherever we can.

Please, good people, do take care of yourselves including all your pets.

Truck buddies!

Of people, dogs and mutual love!

(The second part of Peter and Leslie Sonne’s guest post. Do read the first part before today’s post.)


IMG_2654It was December 2010.  We didn’t need another dog. We had four at the time, one of whom had just started chemotherapy.

A staff member at our specialty vet knew of a rescue that reminded her of our beloved cattle dog, who we had lost the year before, and pushed us to contact the foster mom.  Peter had really been missing his truck buddy and none of the other dogs had worked as his constant companion.

The photos melted our hearts and we contacted the foster mom, Jenn.  The little girl was called Hedgehog, as she had lost much of her hair due to neglect and as it was growing back in, everyone thought she looked like a hedgehog.  It was love at first sight, but Jenn diligently ensured that “Hedgy” got along with the rest of the ranch hands before approving the adoption.  Peter teaching her to roll over within 5 minutes of meeting her helped seal the deal.  The adoption led to an immediate name change and our Peggy Sue joined the pack. We thank Jenn for giving us the thumbs up and allowing us to share the second half of Peggy’s life.

Peggy acclimated to the pack quickly, although she was a loner.  Fiercely independent, she would PS1often be in her rocker in the great room, keeping an eye on the scary ceiling fan, while the rest of the gang was in the office or kitchen with us.  She sort of just tolerated the others, although on rare occasion her nub would go up and she would play with someone for about 30 seconds – almost like she figured it was expected of her now and then.

One of Peggy’s favorites things was to go for rides in the truck.  She preferred to be alone, but would grudgingly share her backseat with one or more siblings if necessary.  We think she actually preferred to be with only one of us so that she could ride shotgun, resting her head on the console and gazing at us with eyes full of love.  The ear massages as we meandered down the road helped!

We discovered right away that she was a foodie. While she never really begged, actually feigning a look of boredom at the human meal process, she moved with lightning speed to get any morsel that fell to the ground and the others quickly learned to not even try to out maneuver her.

IMG_2656Peggy was not overtly affectionate, did not like to cuddle and really did not give kisses. However, it was certainly OK for some humans to give her belly rubs, neck massages and her favorite, massages to her ears.  Peggy had a signature gait where as she trotted along every few steps her back legs would do a little hop, which would propel her back end forward, causing her to look like the letter “J.”  I loved to watch, as she would trot down the hall each morning beside Peter.

Last August, we found a small lump on her neck and she was diagnosed with lymphoma.  She breezed through the chemotherapy and was in remission when a different lymphoma was discovered.  She breezed through that treatment and all was good.  She was in remission from both when she started having GI problems and unspecified infections.  Initially, she was able to respond and rebound but a couple of days ago she got sick again.  Hoping for the best, we treated her, but when our little foodie stopped eating, not even tempted with the tastiest morsel, we felt that she was giving us a sign.

Last night, we spent a couple of hours with her as she relaxed on the lawn.  Her nose was often raised in the air as if taking in all the smells of the ranch that she loved so much.  This morning, Mille, Samantha and Jake all said their goodbyes, and she accepted their kisses, which was another sign to us that she was ready to go.

PS9As we sat with her this morning we knew that she was dancing across the Rainbow Bridge, with her signature hop, as she went to join all of our other ranch hands that have gone before.  We pictured Bucky and Spencer playing in the river with Lexy and Minnie, Sundance egging Jack and Gus into a game of tag and Queenie impatiently waiting for Peggy to brief her on the ins and outs of her new pack.  Big Jake happily grazes nearby and looks forward to a nap in the sun while the others watch his back.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank Dr. Merrianne Burtch from Pacific Veterinary Specialists for her initial treatment and Dr. Theresa Arteaga from Animal Cancer Center for her loving extended treatment (and both of them for their friendship).  Dr. Arteaga and her fantastic staff (Jodi, Linda, Nicole and Elizabeth) always made Peggy’s treatments as relaxing as possible and this morning was no exception.

To know us is to know our dogs. To know us is to know our heartache.

Peter and Leslie

PS- Miss Peggy Sue most certainly did become Peter’s truck buddy and constant companion!


When I was working on this post yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have a clue as to how to close it off. This from someone who is not normally lost for words.

But I wanted some words that would leave the most glorious echo or afterglow of Peggy, and of every other dog that brings out the best of love in us.

One of the followers of this place is Susan Leighton. This is her blog: Woman on the Ledge.

I will close with Susan’s words:

I guess one of the reasons I am enamored with dogs is because they give to us unconditional love. They don’t care what we look like, if we are rich or poor, they are attracted to our souls.

Peggy Love

They ask for so little!

That sub-heading was inspired by a comment left by Barb, author of the blog Passionate About Pets, in response to Maria Matthews’ story on Monday. This is what Barb wrote (my emphasis):

I loved Maria’s story, very uplifting and special. I can’t imagine my life without a dog, they give us so much and ask for little in return, just to be loved and cared for.

Yesterday, I mentioned that as well as Maria’s guest post there would be another today.  In fact, the guest post will be in two parts. That guest is Peter Sonne.

Today, I am going to focus on the email that Peter sent to me and then on Thursday I will publish the article that accompanied Peter’s email. Peter also included pictures of Peggy that will be shared with you both today and tomorrow. So here’s Peter’s email:


IMG_2653Hello Paul, I hope you all have been well.

I wanted to send you this little write-up and photos that Leslie put together for our little cattle dog, Peggy.

We had to let her go about a week ago. We had sent this out to all our animal friends and I thought of you as I have started to read your book. It is giving me a good deal of comfort, for I can relate to most everything. This one has been particularly hard on me.

Peggy was with me most everyday, and went just about everywhere with us. I think what stands out in my thoughts is that we know the first half of her life was pretty much a nightmare all around. When she was rescued, most of her hair was gone, her skin was in terrible shape, her teeth the same, etc. We quickly found that loud noises would send her running and she was a grubber for sure; food was her top priority, even up to the end.

IMG_2655I could see in her eyes when we first met her that she still had a spark, a desire if you will, to be a ‘good’ part of something; a pack.

She took to us, and to me right off she sensed a good change for her. Up until the end, however, when I would reach over to her to put my hand on her, she would always, always have a slight flinch – but followed through the connection.

I would catch her just staring at me many times while in the truck or in the house, just relaxing. You know, as I have mentioned to people before, if its dogs, cats, horses or what ever, if one takes that extra second to pay attention, to look at what’s happening when these beings see you each time, it’s really amazing. They do recognize you, and if one always tries to make that connection a positive one, that reward of seeing the reaction between that animal and you, time after time, can be extremely fulfilling for both, and that bond grows.

I think I felt more protective over her than all the others. That alone is a strong statement from PS8me, as I have loved all those so dearly that have blessed us, by allowing us to be a part of their pack. Leslie was speaking with our cancer vet, whom we have worked with many times before, and mentioned this never gets easier only harder it seems.

Our vet said that is true and more so for us as we always have 3 to 5 dogs, and the odds of dealing with this loss are much, much higher for us. Most families have maybe 1 dog for 10 or so years and then something happens, and it’s time to let them go.

So with us, and others who always have multiple dogs, the need to deal with sickness and that final decision to let them go is greatly increased. It makes sense, but it is still very hard to deal with.

Didn’t mean to ramble, but it seems to help a little. Thanks again for writing that book! It helps as well.


All dogs respond to our love and affection as does almost every species of warm-blooded animal, and a fair few humans as well!

But those dogs that are rescued truly appear to find a joyfulness, call it an inner happiness, that is just a tad richer than with dogs that were born straight into loving families.

Impossible to prove; just my ‘pet’ theory!

Come back tomorrow and read Leslie’s story.


More rescue tales.

Or should that be rescue tails!

I have another guest post for you tomorrow that, as with Maria’s story yesterday, will be appreciated greatly by you.

But for today I’m going to republish an item that appeared on the Care2 site that isn’t a million miles away from Maria’s theme about her Ellie finding lost persons.


3 Rescued Dogs Who Saved Their Family Members’ Lives This Year

3187860.largeBy: Laura Goldman

August 25, 2016

Celebrated on August 26 every year, National Dog Day encourages pet adoptions and honors dogs who save lives, keep us safe and bring us comfort. Created in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige, the holiday falls on the date her family adopted their first rescue dog. Among the ways you can celebrate are by adopting a dog of your own or donating $5 to your local animal shelter.

In honor of National Dog Day, meet three rescued dogs who really “pawed” it forward this year by saving the lives of their forever family members.

Leon Alerts Family to Home Intruders

As Theresa Lero was feeding her horses outside her Gulfport, Miss., home early one April morning, two armed and masked men entered her house.

When she went inside, her rescue dog, Leon, was growling at the door to the sunroom. Peeking through a window, Lero saw a man with a gun.

She ran to wake up her husband. Grabbing a gun, she ran back to the sunroom with her dog by her side. “Get ‘em, Leon,” she told him.

The men began shooting. They missed Lero, but shot Leon in the head. “You shot my dog. I’ll kill you myself,” Lero yelled at them. A neighbor heard her and called 911.

The intruders ran off and were later caught by police. In the meantime, the Leros rushed Leon to the veterinarian. Amazingly, the bullet skimmed his skull and exited out his ear. He was able to walk in and out of the animal hospital.

For saving his family, Leon was given a framed certificate of bravery from the county sheriff.

When the Leros adopted their dog from a shelter two years ago, they thought he was a redbone coonhound, so they named him after the singer Leon Redbone. As it turns out, Leon may actually be a red nose pit bull. One thing is certain: Leon is definitely a hero.

Haus Saves Girl from Rattlesnake

In May, 7-year-old Molly Deluca was playing in her Tampa backyard with Haus, the German Shepherd her family adopted in March from a rescue organization, when her grandmother noticed Haus jump in front of the girl and then rear up.

He was protecting her from a venomous Eastern diamondback rattlesnake that had slithered in from a habitat at a nearby state park. Haus “had every opportunity to run but he didn’t,” Molly’s mother, Donya Deluca, told the Associated Press.

Molly was unharmed, but Haus was bitten three times in the leg. He was successfully treated at an animal hospital for kidney damage, and was given a blood transfusion and anti-venom. A week later, Haus was well enough to return home. His expensive veterinary bills were covered by generous donations from an online fundraising campaign. Haus received a Heroic Dog Award from PETA.

“He just exceeded our expectations all the way around,” Molly’s dad, Adam DeLuca, told the Associated Press. “He’s the type of dog that when you want to go buy a dog, you pay thousands of dollars and that’s the dog you get. But we adopted him and got him for free.”

Earl Wakes Up New Owner as House Burns

Barely a week after he was adopted from Petco’s Stray Animal Adoption Program in July, a pug named Earl rescued his new dog mom by alerting her to a house fire in their Erlanger, Ky., home.

“He just fell asleep with me on the couch along with (another dog named) Tucker, and the next thing I know, he’s waking me up, licking my face. It’s the first time he’s done that,” Kristina Brate told WLWT.

The fire, believed to have been caused by faulty wiring, started in the basement and quickly spread through the rest of the house.

Brate lost almost everything in the fire, but she’s alive thanks to Earl. Petco awarded the hero dog with a $500 shopping spree to help replace the lost pet items and also stock up on some well-deserved treats.

“I believe that he came to me for a reason,” Brate told WLWT. “I think that, for some reason, the first family had passed him up and that there’s a reason why I got him.”

Photo credit: YouTube


Physically, psychologically and emotionally the number of ways that dogs save us is almost limitless!

Delivering a new purpose in life.

Such a precious relationship!

Very frequently when I connect with dog lovers I make it clear that if they have any stories that they would like to share with you good people that they don’t hesitate to submit something. I am always blown away by these submissions. Indeed, there are two being offered to you dear readers this week.

So the first is from Maria Matthews and without any further delay from me, here it is.


How an amazing Collie pup gave me a new purpose in life.

By Maria Matthews, 28th August 2016.

I was redundant, sitting at home, days divided between housekeeping, writing and walking Bob our dog who was then 7 years of age.

The trouble was I hate cleaning a house, and Bob an Norwegian elk-hound is allergic to being energetic.

My husband mentioned he would love to find a husky and as I was at home I agreed; I was 51 years of age and didn’t hold out much hope of finding work. Our search took us to a well known dogs rescue centre. They suggested we needed to build up our walls, as a husky needs a secure environment, plus the home and us would have to be inspected. We agreed, went home and made the necessary changes. When we returned we discovered there was one hiccup in the plan, a dog taken from the centre had to be housed indoors. We couldn’t agree to it, as Bob loves being outdoors.

I pointed this out and stressed that the backdoor is always open, but it was useless for they wouldn’t budge. The internet is a terrific place and google, God Bless him, suggested loads of places but when I rang there was no husky available. Until I contacted a lady in Easky, County Sligo (the Western side of Ireland) and she informed me she had twenty dogs for re-homing.

So on a sunny Saturday morning we, including Bob, set off. He wasn’t impressed with spending more than half an hour in the car and refused to lie down. We joked that he was watching the road, noting the sign posts, etc., in case he needed to make his own way back. However to cut a long story short, none of the twenty dogs liked him or he them. “We do have one other option,” she paused. “We have a collie cross husky who is extremely active, but she is still a pup.

We decided to meet the pup.This time when the gate opened there was a pause of maybe thirty seconds while this tiny pup, with the biggest ears ever seen, inspected us. Then she raced into the compound, ran around Bob, jumped over him, turned about, and then ducked under him. He responded by diving down, front paws on the ground and joining in the game.

An hour later we left, with Bob snuggling up to his new companion in the back. She snored for most of the way home and once there took control of his bed, his life and everyone’s hearts.

However, we discovered a downside to having a clever pup. She loved balls, would do anything to find one, and learned how to open gates, upend the laundry basket and sneak socks and other pieces of underwear out into the garden.

She needed a job. We tried agility, and she excelled at it, but the class was too crowded for her and a distance away from the house. Then I stumbled on an article about dogs that search for people who are lost.

I began by hiding her ball. She loved this game. I made contact with Irish Search Dogs and a local man who agreed to meet with me. He was bowled over by her ability. She quickly began learning how to find people. Our new weekly regime included a drive to County Cork at 6 am on Sunday mornings, a drive of three-and-a-half hours there and another three-and-a-half back home. All for a training session of fifteen to twenty minutes. I needed to find someone closer to home. After much searching I met Fred Quinn a dog trainer of 40 years who agreed to take a look at her.

He was impressed but decided our training methods needed adjusting. And she loved it. We searched: woods; water; urban areas; for our hidden helpers. It became a challenge to think of new places to hide. So we used cars, car boots, trees, dried out ditches, derelict sheds, wheelie bins, massive drainage pipes under the roads, and on one occasion a huge hollowed out hole in the ground with shrubs, etc., covering the opening. And on each occasion she found our volunteer missing body. Then we upped her training further and began using dead scent.

At each change in her training she took it with a big wag of her tail.

She continues to love it. Three years ago we met with a group who recover and rescue people from the rivers and lakes in the County. They were intrigued with her and asked us to join their group. Now it was my turn to train, I learnt how to cox a boat, took more first aid courses, learnt how to walk a river bed, swam in the river Boyne on a star-filled night, learned how to cross a weir safely and feed a boat across it by rope. I think Ellie viewed my training sceptically as she sat on the boat and watched with interest.

When we are on call out, we are a team. We have worked through rain, snow, freezing temperatures even having a picnic in a wood on the top of a hillside during a snow storm and all through it this medium-sized dog was urging me to get up and move again. She knows she has a job to do and is eager to complete it.

In the past two years she has helped in nine recoveries. People wonder why we do it and I suppose now the answer simply is, because she has this great ability or gift and it would be a shame not to make use of it. However, the greatest gift she has given me are the friendships I have gained and the extra life-skills made during the past few years. It is probably down to all of this extra or new found confidence that I have a blog site, two books published and a great amount of energy.

And I thank my four legged friend, my dear Ellie, for bringing me on so many adventures.


Not only is this a wonderful story but it is yet another insight into the precious relationship that so many of us humans have with our dogs. Beautiful!

I’m also going to close by including a little of what was in Maria’s covering email.

Ellie has been working now as a search and recovery dog for the past three years and more than proven her worth to all around us.
I would love to think other people might read it and consider doing something with their own dog even if it was only to bring them on visits to elderly relatives as I have noticed that my own father and mother-in-law get comfort from Bob’s visits to them.
Many times I stop and ponder about these very strange times we are now living in. How they have the potential to be most unsettling.
Then just as many times I know that while I have my darling Jeannie in my life and so many dogs who make me feel so special to them those strange times ‘out there’ are, to me, like water off a duck’s back.
Maria’s story just reinforced that feeling in me and I bet I’m not the only one affected in that way by Maria’s words!