Category: Culture

A wonderful step forward.

Setting a fabulous example of what an animal shelter should be like!

The chances are that the great majority of domestic animal lovers have an impression of the standard animal shelter. The chances are that this impression is not one of wall-to-wall approval. It is tragic that animal shelters are required but it is a fact of life that they are needed. Many of them depend heavily on volunteers and donated money.

But that’s not to say that there can’t be a shelter setting a very high example of how a shelter should be.

My prelude to the following article seen recently over on the Care2 site. Read and enjoy!

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All Shelters Should Look Like This

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We are what we think of most!

A republication of a recent post from Val Boyko.

Yesterday, Val published a post over on her blog Find Your Middle Ground that really ‘spoke’ to me. That’s not to imply, by the way, that her other posts don’t very often reach out to me and, undoubtedly, to many others.

Val’s post was called The Depths of our Relationships and explored the different levels of relationships that we have with others in and around our lives.

Instinctively most people would regard us humans as far more complex than our animal companions. As the old Devon (South-West England) expression goes, “There’s now’t so queer as folk.”

Yet, once we have really got to know a dog there will be many who will see behind those fabulous eyes a sense of a depth of character, a soul comes to mind, that suggests that the brain of the dog offers a canine psychological complexity most of us don’t allow for.

To support that proposition just look at the eyes of Pharaoh in this photograph going back to June, 2007.

Pharaohjun2007However, today I am  republishing Val’s recent post and I do so with great pleasure.

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The Depths of our Relationships

The ways our dogs speak to the world.

Dogs are very vocal creatures.

Anyone who has been close to dogs in their lives knows that they are frequently very vocal creatures. Likewise, anyone who has been close to a dog or two quickly learns to understand the basic emotions being conveyed by a dog’s vocal sounds.

But, nonethless, there was an item over on the Care2.com site recently that provided a comprehensive tutorial on listening and interpreting the sounds from our dogs. I wanted to share it with you today.

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How to Interpret Your Dog’s Growls

1387750.large By: Vetstreet.com August 3, 2016

Loving our dogs

even our deaf dogs!

Another day yesterday where my creative juices had evaporated; if that’s what creative juices do!

But that doesn’t devalue the following article in the slightest! An article that was recently read on the Care2 blogsite and is republished here for your pleasure.

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Prisoners Care for Deaf Dogs Displaced by Wildfire

3185692.large By: Laura Goldman  August 3, 2016

Dogs in charge!

Or a particular dog in this instance: Luna the Husky!

We were out much of the day and I only sat down a little before 4pm to offer you dear people something for today’s post. Had a look through my ‘blog’ folder and was reminded of this wonderful video.

It’s very short but that won’t take anything away for you. Enjoy!

Published on May 25, 2016

Watch how Luna the husky begs her owner for more affection during a car ride. How can you say no to that face?!

Such wonderful gorgeous creatures!

A political diversion.

This essay from George Monbiot just has to be read as widely as possible.

Dear followers of this blog know that from time to time I dip into politics. I do so because something I read strikes me with such force that I want others to read the article or essay. Not infrequently, my ‘dip’ is in the form of republishing an essay from George Monbiot who, long ago, gave me blanket permission to republish his essays. That is the case today.

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Buy The Book

I was inspired to write my book, subsequently self-published last December, because I truly believe that the values that we see in our longest animal companions are values that we, as in our societies, from top to bottom, have to embrace if we are to stand any chance of surviving as a species.

Reflect on the fact that dogs do not lie, they do not set out to deceive or influence others for their own personal gain and they are utterly creatures of integrity.

OK, I can hear some of you thinking that dogs are dogs and humans are humans and it’s just plain daft to link the two in this fashion. My only answer to that is to read the book or, at the very least, download and read the first twenty-five pages (for free). Better still purchase the book and have 50% of my net income donated to the Rogue Valley Humane Society.

On the 28th July, George Monbiot published an essay entitled So Much For Sovereignty. I read the essay and, frankly, was apalled at what George was describing: the background of the UK’s new international trade secretary, Liam Fox, recently appointed by Theresa May.

Read it for yourself and see if you react the same way that I did!

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So Much For Sovereignty

Freedom with a capital ‘F’.

Sometimes the most obvious solutions take the longest to find.

I feel a little embarrassed that this introduction may come across as rather self-indulgent; I don’t intend that.

My purpose is to offer an introduction to a recent blogpost from Sue Dreamwalker that explains why her post really ‘spoke’ to me and why it felt important to share Sue’s post with all you good people.

Yesterday morning I left a comment to a Transition Times article, penned by Jennifer Browdy. The article was headed: Hillary Clinton: Holding the Center in These Complex Transition Times, So We Can Do the Essential Work of Creating a Better World.

Subsequently, I left a follow-up to my first comment, replying to a comment from Diane Husic. This is what Diane wrote:

Many of us realize what a critical junction the country faces in this election cycle. As an academic, I am trying to figure out the appropriate role I should play. We need to teach students to be respectful of difference, to be tolerant, to be problem solvers, and to be civically engaged, but we aren’t supposed to use our positions to “force” our political views on them. But given the magnitude of issues confronting the planet and humanity and the importance of having leadership that “gets it” (and displays compassion and empathy), this is a tough balance to try to find.

and this was my reply to Diane:

Diane, as someone who previously has run his own business and then, after selling it in 1986, spent a number of years as a mentor with the Prince’s Youth Business Trust in the UK, I have come to the conclusion that the best role model we adults can offer our ‘students’ is this: “Be the best you can be!” That flows from being fully aware of the person that one is. For self-awareness is the key to understanding oneself and, consequently, of understanding others. Understanding why people think and behave the way they do, for good and bad, is the only effective way of engaging with others and seeking that ‘civic engagement’ so critically important.

Apologies, that paragraph sounds like a damn speech! I didn’t intend it to be so. Plus, my own journey of self-awareness has been a long and tortuous one – but that doesn’t change my view just expressed.

Coincidentally, I have been having some informal chats with Jan Schmuckle: http://www.janconsults.com/home

Her recently released book on the effectiveness of Role Montage in building leadership skills is highly relevant to today’s students. In Jan’s words (and I have no commercial or financial link with Jan):

Role Montage: A Creative New Way to Discover the
Leader Within You is written from Jan’s experience
with her client work and her research. It helps
leaders explore self-awareness and leadership using
the role montage process.

I’ll creep back into my hole!😉

You can see why I offered a warning about coming across as self-indulgent!

But if you have stayed with me so far (and thank you) you will now understand why Sue’s post spoke so clearly to me. Republished here with Sue’s very kind permission.

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Set Yourself Free..

by Sue Dreamwalker. July 28th, 2016.

This morning I switched on the radio and the first record I heard was this one.. It was the very first time I had listened to this recording, never hearing it before.. It made me smile.. Especially when it mentioned taking Calcium and taking care of our knees..  So I decided to YouTube it to listen to again and to my delight found several versions..

Life has been busy within the Dreamwalker’s Domain this last week.. Last night I was so tired I went to bed at 7pm and slept for 12 hours.

Today the Universe thought to allow me to cool  down in the showers of rain,  so I thought I would share about my Busy time in the Sun on my Gardening Blog. And to share what brought such a smile to my face first thing this morning..

I particularly enjoyed the lyrics in the middle of this narrative of the inclusion of Rozalla’s Song Everybody’s Free to Feel Good, which is an old favourite of mine..

 So Go On FEEL GOOD and DANCE.. LAUGH and SING..

And SHARE THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR 

Sending Love and Blessings

Next time I will share with you the village I grew up in as we went  back to see the Well Dressings.. Along with some of my thoughts..

Sue

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Feeling good about ourselves is the result of knowing and liking who we are. The foundation stone of knowing and liking all the many good people we interact with throughout our lives.

And now go and hug a dog!

Further reflections on the natural world.

An inspirational essay from Arizona.

I was speaking recently with John Hurlburt whom Jean and I knew well when we were living in Payson, AZ. Subsequently, John sent me a wonderful essay with his permission for me to share it with all you good folks!

A quick web search found a photograph of Wildcat Canyon and that is at the end of today’s guest post.

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Midnight in Wildcat Canyon

The dirt road maze in our Arizona forests covers hundreds of miles.  It’s quite possible to drive all day without encountering another human being.  I once ended up at a place called Wildcat Canyon at midnight after taking a wrong turn on a wet rocky mountain road.

Cell phones are problematical in the high country. It would have helped if there had been a back woods road map on board. Fortunately there was a GPS that worked.

Wildcat Canyon in the moonlight was well worth visiting. The heavens were open above without a trace of man made light. The impact was awe inspiring. As we intuitively agree, everything fits together or we’d be random atoms.

Although, it may seem random to the casual observer, we scientifically know that the cosmos is unified from the quantum level of physics up with the classical level of physics and back again through fundamental forces we have barely begun to understand.

Einstein’s theories prove that the cosmos turns inside out without breaking.  Slight earthly energy shifts can modify and potentially eliminate all life on earth.  There’s no need to contribute to the problem by aggravating the negative effects of climate shift through either our deliberate negative action or our thoughtless lack of action.

It’s difficult to understand why we’re fussing and fuming as though we owned the earth, the moon, the sun, and the stars. There’s consensus on the body of scientific fact that supports a holistic understanding of our relative insignificance and our corresponding responsibilities as a consciously aware biological species which is presently the dominate life form on a remote garden planet.

Signs of our cultural crisis of consciousness are clear. Science is ignored or denied unless convenient and/or profitable. World economics are systemically corrupt. Slick politicians twist reality on its ear without regard for truth, justice, liberty, or equality.

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are disparaged.

Insanity, driven by both conscious and unconscious human fears, masquerades as truth and reason.  War is profitable and encouraged. Our politicians know better if they have any awareness or compassion at all in their hearts and souls.  It seems that even when most politicians are aware of reality to some degree, they simply don’t care for much beyond themselves in the long run.  Political ends justify the means without regard and without regret.  Hyper concentrated economic power takes no prisoners.

Insanity is cold. We light a fire to keep us warm and to heat our food.
As the flame burns, we realize that matter and energy are interchangeable.  We realize that the earth is finite. We know that we’re energized by the universe. We are children of the light. We are the voice of life and the hope of the future and we’ve lost our moral compass.

Nature always wins and doesn’t care about the quarterly bottom line.  Peace is a verb.

Without a unifying purpose, surrender and unilateral acceptance are dubious. What could be more unifying than our instinctive need to survive? Our common objective is to sustain our natural balance. Our immediate practical objective is to save our planetary farm.

We don’t become fully consciously aware until we are born. We begin learning about our world in our cribs. Consider that we live in a garden cradle at the edge of the Milky Way. Change is constant as our universe emerges. Adapting to change is the prime directive for all life forms.

Our problems are complex.  The simple answer is found in all our human wisdom traditions. “Be of service to the Earth which sustains all planetary life.”  The answer to our political quandary is similarly simple. We can vote for the Nature of Creation or we can vote for Mammon.

We can vote for Sanity (Greek: sanos; balance, wholeness and well being) or we can vote for the meaningless night shades of human insanity. We may vote for Nature or we may vote for global corporate financial interests.

It’s important to note that the unaided human mind is limited.  Dumb comes with the territory with no additional charge. Our lives are a learning experience with an ongoing purpose of growth and service.

It took about an hour to get back to a main highway from Wildcat Canyon. It was a matter of back tracking through landmarks noted along the way such as the occasional miniature lake in the middle of the trail or a stretch of jagged rocky out cropping.  It was a relief to return to an asphalt road about an hour later.

A wave is breaking. Take care and maintain an even strain.

an old lamplighter

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Wildcat Canyon
Wildcat Canyon

You all have a very peaceful weekend. (Oh, and you may want to drop across to Sustainable Rim Country, a fabulous project that John and others have under way.)

Who is the teacher?

The two-way flow from having a pet.

I can’t believe it was so long ago but back in February I received an email:

Hey!

I’m sure you get a ton of spammy submissions so I’ll get straight to the point – I’d love to submit a post for publishing on your site.

If you’re still accepting posts, please let me know and I can put together a draft for your approval.

Thanks for your time!

Emily Parker

Chief Creative Cat
After a quick check to make sure that Emily wasn’t promoting a business I said that I would be delighted to publish a guest post from her.
So who is Emily? This is a short introduction to her:

Emily Parker is a cat parent to 2 lovely cats, Gus and Louis (Gus only has one eye, but we love him all the same!). She has lived with dogs in the past and can’t wait to add a dog to the family again. She writes about all things cats at her blog, Catological.com.

Don’t ask me how late February became late July but that doesn’t diminish in the slightest the quality of Emily’s guest post.

Before you read on let me present you with a picture of one of our cats that we have here at home.

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Cats, Dogs, and Kids: Who Teaches Who.

by Emily Parker, Catological.com
You’ve heard it as a kid, and if you have children of your own, you may have told your kids this.

“Having a dog is a big responsibility.”

This is absolutely true. A dog can teach kids how difficult it can be to take care of another living being, all while teaching them valuable life skills.

But little do we know that raising a dog is not a one-way street. Not only do dogs teach kids, but kids teach dogs, too. And if you’re a cat owner, it creates another web of teaching. Let’s break it down.

What Dogs Teach Kids

The Importance of Feeding, and Nutrition

What a dog will teach a kid is the importance of regular feeding. However, a kid can’t just dump some dog food in a bowl and call it a day. To raise a dog properly, the child needs to make sure the pup is getting the adequate nutrition it needs, all while not overeating.

If you have a kid, you must teach the child that proper nutrition is a must when feeding the dog. He or she will need to measure out the serving size, pay attention to ingredients, and become acquainted with the macronutrient profiles most beneficial for their dog. This can bleed into the child’s own eating habits as they learn to eat healthy and measure out portions.

Also, feeding a dog will teach a child that rewarding yourself is good if it’s done on occasion. Nothing wrong with the occasional treat!
Just be sure to keep up on the latest recalls.

Exercising

A child needs to have at least an hour each day dedicated to getting outside and playing. There are many ways to get a child outside, but perhaps the best way is to have a dog.
A dog needs to be walked every day, and by having your kid walk the dog, they’ll be getting exercise and learning to enjoy the great outdoors. Plus, it can get even more physical. Kids can chase dogs. Dogs can chase kids. Kids can run with their pets. The possibilities, as it turns out, are endless.

That Taking Care of a Pet Can Get Messy

This applies to cats as well. Children will have to scoop a cat’s litter, though it may seem a bit cleaner than picking up after a dog, who will of course be doing its business as the child takes it out for a walk, and the child will have to pick up after their pet.

It can seem a little a messy, and it will teach the child how to handle an animal’s waste, (which works out great if they ever decide to have children).

What Cats Teach Kids

The Importance of Consent

Most dogs are all over you, while some cats tend to want you to pet them at certain times.
Yes, we know that not all cats are like that, but a majority are. Sometimes, a cat doesn’t want to be held, pet, or bothered in general. And that’s okay!

You should teach your kid that sometimes, an animal, or indeed a human, needs their personal space, and that needs to be respected.

The Importance of Sleeping

Cats can sleep almost twice as much as humans can.

While your kid isn’t going to be sleeping for 16 hours a day, they still need 8 hours in most cases (or more if the child is younger), and may be neglecting that.

Having a cat around, who sleeps all the time, can teach the kid that sleep is important to anyone’s life, and they may soon be sleeping along with the kitty.

The Importance of Curiosity

Cats are always curious about their surroundings. If something changes, the cat will examine the surroundings incessantly. While some say that curiosity kills the cat, we believe that being curious about everything around you is a good thing, and should be taught to children.

As Fluffy examines her surroundings, kids will soon learn to examine what is around them. They’ll be aware of the people around them, look around their room when trying to find something, and be aware at all times. All of these are valuable tools for a child to have.

What Kids Teach Cats

How to Have a Little Fun

Despite learning the cat’s boundaries, some kids will still pick the kitty up, pet them excessively, and bother them. The cat may soon learn to be more sociable. They may have points where they don’t want to be bothered, sure, but they can learn to let loose once in a while.

What Dogs Teach Cats

How to Tolerate Each Other

Sure, cats and dogs can get along great, but at the end of the day, they are two different species with two different ways of behavior. Sometimes, an antisocial, sleeping cat can get annoyed by Fido’s constant need for attention. A dog may be confused by Fluffy scratching it whenever it tries to chase her.

Dogs and cats soon learn, however, to get along, or at least tolerate each other’s differences. This can teach children that they may have to be acquaintances with someone who is different than them and who may annoy them to death, like a coworker or a classmate. You may have to be with some people who are different than you. You’ll have to tolerate it. Heck, you may even grow fond of them after a while.

The Importance of Eating What is Yours

Cats can get into dog food, and vice versa. While cat food isn’t going to harm a dog and dog food won’t hurt a cat, the food doesn’t meet the nutritional needs of the opposite species. Dogs and cats will soon have to learn where their food is and not get into another animal’s food (though you should keep their feeders and dishes far apart from each other to prevent confusion and territorial fights). It’s a valuable lesson to learn for any pet.

Finally…

A kid raising a pet isn’t just a learning experience for the child. It can be a learning experience to the pet, as well as a learning experience from one pet to another. In life, you’ll learn different things from different people, and those who aren’t human can ironically be the best teachers.

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Wise words indeed, and a pleasure to publish. Thanks Emily.

Cats and dogs indeed!
Pedy sharing a couch with Mitts.

Picture Parade One Hundred and Fifty-Seven.

The concluding photographs from the 10th annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition.
The first set were published a week ago, together with this introduction:

Incredible, prize-winning, images of dogs.

The following was read over on Mother Nature News on June 30th. They just have to be shared with you.

However, to ensure the integrity of republication and the identity of the photographers, I’m going to include the photographs and the words of the original MNN piece, and split it across today and next Sunday.

Trust me you will adore these photographs.

Here are the concluding photographs.

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These prize-winning images of dogs will steal your heart.

10th annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition drew entries from photographers in 90 countries.

Jaymi Heimbuch June 30, 2016.

Winner of the 'I Love Dogs Because...' category (Photo: Jade Hudson/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)
Winner of the ‘I Love Dogs Because…’ category (Photo: Jade Hudson/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)

Hugo the puppy is the subject of this winning image by 16-year-old Jade Hudson.

Winner of the Oldies category (Photo: Kevin Smith/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)
Winner of the Oldies category (Photo: Kevin Smith/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)

The gray faces of old dogs speak to all the love and friendship they’ve provided over the years as Lizzie, a 12-year-old mixed breed dog, shows us. Curling up with a cracking fire and your four-legged BFF is one of life’s great joys.

Winner of the Dog Portrait category (Photo: Jamie Morgan/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)
Winner of the Dog Portrait category (Photo: Jamie Morgan/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)

This portrait of two Afghan hounds named Ozzie and Elvis took first place for the Dog Portrait category. The setting is the idyllic Ashdown Forest in Sussex.

Winner of the Puppy category (Photo: Linda Storm/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)
Winner of the Puppy category (Photo: Linda Storm/Dog Photographer of the Year Competition)

And finally, the winner of the Puppy category is little rescue puppy Buddy enjoying a bowl of milk. The photo was taken by Colorado-based photographer Linda Storm.

“The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen,” says Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club chief executive. “Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life.”

If you’re a photographer who loves dogs as your subject, keep an eye on the opening date for next year’s competition!

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Going to repeat the words of Rosemary Smart as I can’t even come close to the power of what she said:

The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen.

Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life.

How very important our dogs are to us!