Category: Health

Rattlesnake Aversion Training

Following on from yesterday’s post.

In yesterday’s post that was about Dan’s dog, Lexi, Dan offered:

She had Rattlesnake aversion training last year in Palm Springs and did very well. She ran a gauntlet of four snakes to learn sound, site and smell.

The company that Dan used was Natural Solutions in Palm Springs.

I haven’t had the time yet to contact them to see if they can provide material of general interest to you.

But I did find the following video on YouTube that seemed to be interesting. (But note that I have no knowledge good or bad about the company and there are many other companies offering aversion training.)

All about Lexi!

Lexi is a wonderful young dog.

Those poor souls who keep on calling in to this place will most likely be aware of my very long-term friend Dan Gomez.

For all of the nearly forty years that I have know Dan he has always had a dog in his life.

Just a few days ago, Dan sent me an email with some pictures of Lexi, a young dog that he has had since she was a puppy.

Lexi! (Photograph taken at the Sante Fe ski basin.)

Or in Dan’s words:

Lexi has been a magnificent example of an adventurous Flat-Coated Retriever.

She’s a wonderful hiker, swimmer, hunter and a great greeter on the trail. She’s happiest when she has her leash clenched in her teeth, parading around from person to person before continuing on her way.

What a great breed these dogs are!

Lexi came from the Brazilian breeder Keli: “Keli is the breeder, a fantastic Brazilian living in a wonderful estate in the hills of San Jose.“; to use Dan’s words.

Apparently, Keli plans for pups that year were taken out of her hands. For the reason that Lexi’s parents, Schmee and Party, decided to creep off into the bushes one day, and:

Schmee and Party are the popular names for the sire and dam and they were free from the kennel one day when Keli was off on a trip and they mated. So, the pups were “accidents”.  But, most assuredly, great accidents!

As Keli’s website explains:

Schmee x Party

Born October 11, 2015

7 girls, 3 boys

Pedigree

J Litter Gallery

While this repeat of our G litter was not planned … We welcomed these ten pups with open arms after seeing the success of the 3 intact G puppies and the stories from owners of other G pups who just adore their dogs.  Not surprising at all, based on Schmee and Party being complete mushballs who just want to hold on to you, be with you and be loved by you.  This litter has surprised and delighted us already with three pointed puppies … Juice, Callie & Popper in their first year of showing.  I cannot wait to see what 2017 holds for them.

Introducing …

Saudades’ Juicy Fruit aka The Juice

Saudades’ Just Do It aka Lexi

Saudades’ Jaboticaba aka Callie

Saudades’ Jelly Belly aka Imogene

Saudades’ Jumbalaya aka Olivia

Saudades’ Jundiai aka Stella

Saudades’ Jasmine Jubilee aka Jasmine

Saudades’ Jewel for Tomme aka Banks

CH Saudades’ Jalapeno RN CGC aka Popper

Saudades’ Jalisco aka Buck

Dan’s email closes:

She will be three in October and her health and performance has been great. She had Rattlesnake aversion training last year in Palm Springs and did very well. She ran a gauntlet of four snakes to learn sound, site and smell.

She’s had two rattler encounters. On one hike, she encountered a rattler, approached it but stopped on a dime when it rattled loudly. I was someway behind, heard the rattle and whistled to her and she backed away, came immediately to me.

Nature vs. training worked perfectly.

We are still hiking two times daily between 3 and 7 miles total all over the West. Addicted.

Schmee and Party were a great “accident”!

Garden of Gods, Colorado

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Sheridan, Wyoming.

Again and again, our lives are so incredibly enriched by having a dog (or six) in our lives!

Learning about our smaller dogs!

Learning about the way they pee!

We have two smaller dogs in our family, Sweeny and Pedy.

Gorgeous Sweeny!
And equally gorgeous Pedy alongside his mate, Brandy, just visible bottom left.

I am sure many of you have dogs that are smaller then the average dog; whatever that means!

So the article that was published, once again on Mother Nature Network, will strike a chord!

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Why small dogs aim high when they pee?


MARY JO DILONARDO   August 3, 2018.

The phrase ‘aim high’ takes on new meaning when you’re talking about dogs. (Photo: Sukpaiboonwat/Shutterstock)

Take your dog for a walk and you might notice that there’s some urinating involved. The tree. The lamp post. The fire hydrant. This scent marking is a way for your dog to communicate to other canine passers-by.

By sharing and sniffing, dogs are able to get information about sex, reproductive status and the identity of other four-footed visitors who have traveled the same path. Although female dogs do it too, this frequent marking is often done by male pups.

Typically the marking communicates true information about the marker; it’s what researchers refer to as an “honest signal.” When another dog comes along and takes a sniff, the info they get in the message is true.

But new data suggests that in some circumstances, dogs tell little white lies when they lift a leg. Researchers found that little dogs tend to hike high in order to give the impression that they’re bigger than they really are.

Betty McGuire and her team at Cornell University studied this “dishonest signal.” They noticed that smaller dogs tend to urinate more often than larger dogs, and they’re more likely to aim higher when focusing on vertically oriented targets.

In their study published in the Journal of Zoology, they wrote, “Assuming body size is a proxy for competitive ability, small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability.”

Indirect interaction

As anyone who owns a smaller dog knows, size is just a state of mind. (Photo: Little Moon/Shutterstock)

The researchers recorded adult male dogs while they urinated on walks, then calculated the angle of their legs when raised during marking. They compared those calculations to the dogs’ height and mass and measured the height of the urine marks on the dogs’ chosen targets.

“Small males seemed to make an extra effort to raise their leg high—some small males would almost topple over,” McGuire tells New Scientist. “So, we wondered whether small males try to exaggerate their body size by leaving high urine marks.”

As expected, when the dogs lifted a leg at a greater angle, they hit higher on a surface. But they found that small dogs angled the leg proportionately higher than larger dogs, resulting in marking higher than expected for their small stature. The researchers said it’s likely the goal is to deceive other male dogs.

“Direct social interactions with other dogs may be particularly risky for small dogs,” says McGuire.

Because they can’t measure up physically with larger dogs, smaller dogs can establish a virtually larger presence this way.

So they aim high to look big.

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“So they aim high to look big.”

I’m sure there must be a joke somewhere there but can’t find it!!

So closing with another two pics of our little ones.

Pedy

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Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken October, 2016.

Protecting your dog from dog flu.

Ensuring we are all fully aware of this terrible disease for dogs.

Back in January, 2016 I republished this article when it appeared on Mother Nature News that same month.

But it deserves a re-run. Firstly because there are many more dog lovers reading this blog since then (THANK YOU, EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU) and because the MNN editor has left the following note at the end of this update version: “Editor’s note: This file has been updated since it was originally published in January 2016.”

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What you need to know about dog flu

This highly contagious illness can spread like wildfire. Here’s how to keep your dog safe.

JENN SAVEDGE August 3, 2018.

Most dogs in the U.S. don’t have the immunity to fight off the Asian-based dog flu. (Photo: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock)

As animal experts around the country amplify their warnings about dog flu outbreaks, pet owners are scrambling to understand the illness and learn how they can protect their pets. The virus has been circulating in the U.S. since 2015, infecting thousands of dogs throughout much of the country. So far in 2018, dog flu has hit every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly disease.
What is the dog flu?

Dog flu — or canine influenza — is an infection caused by one of two virus strains: H3N2 and H3N8. Of the two, H3N2 is more commonly seen in pets in the U.S. It is thought that the strain came from Asia, possibly originating as an avian flu that was transferred to a dog.

Dog flu symptoms

Like the flu that affects humans, the symptoms of the dog flu hit the respiratory system causing coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. It’s also usually accompanied by a high fever and loss of appetite. But unlike with humans, your dog won’t be able to tell you how bad she is feeling, and you may not notice the symptoms right away. Animal experts say to watch your dog for changes in behavior. If your normally hyper dog seems lethargic or if your pup who is usually enthusiastic about eating starts skipping meals, it’s time to take a closer look.

Dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs are more likely to be exposed to the virus. (Photo: Dalibor Sosna/Shutterstock)

How does the dog flu spread?

The dog flu virus spreads just like the human flu virus does — through bodily fluids that are released into the air via a sneeze or cough or by touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated. The dog flu virus can live in the environment for two days.

Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs — in dog parks, kennels, shelters, groomers or veterinary clinics — are the most likely to contract the illness.

What to do if your dog gets the flu

Older dogs, younger dogs and dogs that are already sick are the most vulnerable when it comes to the dog flu, not because of the virus itself, but because these dogs are the most likely to develop complications, like pneumonia, that could be fatal. If you think your dog may have the flu, it’s important to check in with your vet to make sure he isn’t getting any worse.

At home, you can keep track of your dog’s temperature by placing a thermometer under her armpit, or for a more accurate reading, in her backside. According to the American Kennel Club the normal range for a dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.)

Keep the fluids going as much as possible and try to entice your pooch to keep eating. Check with your vet about foods that may prompt him to eat without giving him a stomachache.

More than anything, give your pet plenty of time for R&R. Give her a week or so off from running, walking and other forms of exercise and just let her rest and sleep as much as she needs. Just make sure that she is still drinking, eating a little, and relieving herself.

How you can keep your dog from getting the flu?

The best way to minimize your dog’s risk of getting the flu is to keep her away from other dogs. If you spend time with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and even change your clothes before interacting with your own dog. While humans can’t contract canine influenza, we can carry the virus on our hands and clothing for up to 24 hours after handling an infected dog.

You could also talk to your vet about a dog flu vaccine, although there is some question about its effectiveness as the vaccine for H3N8 may not offer protection from H3N2 and vice versa.

A potential pandemic?

A 2018 study showed that the influenza virus can jump across species from pigs into dogs, and that influenza is becoming increasingly diverse in canines. The result could someday be a dog-inspired pandemic.

There’s no evidence of any sort of transmission between humans and dogs, but if left unchecked, researchers believe that could one day become a possibility.

“The majority of pandemics have been associated with pigs as an intermediate host between avian viruses and human hosts. In this study, we identified influenza viruses jumping from pigs into dogs,” said researcher Adolfo García-Sastre, Ph.D. of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York in a statement.

For a dog virus-related pandemic to occur, it would have to be transmissible from dogs to people and it would have to be easily spread.

“If there is a lot of immunity against these viruses, they will represent less of a risk, but we now have one more host in which influenza virus is starting to have a diverse genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, creating diversity in a host which is in very close contact to humans,” said García-Sastre. “The diversity in dogs has increased so much now that the type of combinations of viruses that can be created in dogs represent potential risk for a virus to jump to a dog into a human.”

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Our dogs mean so, so much to us. Let us doing everything possible to keep them out of harm!

Raw Dog and Cat Food recall

This was received yesterday afternoon regarding G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

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G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

August 3, 2018 — G & C Raw of Versailles, OH is recalling 30 1–pound containers of Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-pound containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

About Listeria Infections

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in animals eating the products.

Furthermore, there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes infections can also spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system (including the brain), resulting in meningitis and other potentially fatal problems.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infection, which can result in abortion.

The young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems also are more vulnerable.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Listeria monocytogenes infections are rare, and pets may display symptoms such as mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervous, muscular and respiratory signs, abortion, depression, shock, and death.

In addition to the possibility of becoming sick, such infected animals can shed Listeria monocytogenes through their feces onto their coats and into the home environment and thus serve as sources of infection to humans and other animals in the household.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Where Was the Product Sold?

Pat’s Cat Turkey and Ground Lamb Dog Food products were distributed in OH, MI, IN, PAN, KY, NC, and GA.

They were also distributed by direct delivery by G & C Raw, LLC.

What’s Being Recalled?

The Pat’s Cat Turkey is sold in 1-pound clear plastic containers with the Lot number WWPKTF051618.

The Ground Lamb product is sold in a 2-pound plastic container with the Lot number MFF022718.

The Lot number codes are listed on the bottom right corner of the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

About the Recall

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria

The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the company continues its investigation as to what caused the problem.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food with the lot number, WWPKTF051618, OR Ground Lamb Dog Food with the lot number MFF022718 are urged to return it to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, OH, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact: G & C Raw, LLC at 937-827-0010 ET, or by email at gcrawdogfood@yahoo.com.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Sincerely hope that no-one out there has a dog or cat that has eaten this potentially suspect food.

 

Loving our dogs beyond everything else.

Stories like this one today are so incredibly inspiring!

The following article was published by Mother Nature Network the last day of July.

But it’s not just about saving the life of a dog! Do see my note at the end re The Dodo Twitter feed.

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Hero hiker says angels and laughter helped her carry hurt dog down mountain to safety

MARY JO DILONARDO July 31st, 2018

When Vargas’s dad saw her carrying a dog, he laughed and said, ‘Isn’t this hike hard enough?’ (Photo: Ted Kasper)

Every year, Tia Vargas and her dad go hiking; this summer’s trip was up Table Rock in the Grand Tetons in early July. Vargas was just below the 11,000-foot peak with her dad waiting about a mile down the trail when she ran into a distraught family of hikers who had found an injured English springer spaniel.

They couldn’t find the limping pup’s owner and, because the family had kids in tow, Vargas figured it would be easier for her to carry the pup to safety.

“I had to crawl under him to get him up on my shoulders,” Vargas, a single mother of three from Idaho Falls, Idaho, tells MNN. “I felt the difficulty of it right away. I never felt 55 pounds like that before.”

Vargas soon ran into her dad, Ted Kasper, who snapped some photos when he saw his daughter coming down the trail with a dog on her shoulders.

Vargas was hoping to run into other people on the trail, but she had to carry Boomer by herself. (Photo: Ted Kasper)

“Dad laughed and said, ‘Isn’t this hike hard enough? You have to carry a dog too?'” Vargas recalls. “My dad makes me laugh. He is such a great man.”

That sense of humor helped Vargas get through the ordeal of carrying the heavy dog down the steep trail, she says. The trek was hard and nearly unbearable at times.

“Every time I put him down so I could rest it was difficult. And every time I got down on my knees to put my head under his belly and try to use neck and body strength to lift him it was painful and difficult. I thought we would see people on the trail on the way down to help. But that wasn’t the case,” she says.

Vargas takes a break from carrying the 55-pound pup. (Photo: Ted Kasper)

The trio got lost twice because of snow and fallen trees that made the trail disappear. “I even lost my dad once and that made me feel very alone in this,” Vargas says. “He was a big comfort to me.”

At one point, Kasper offered to run down the trail and try to find help, but Vargas didn’t want to be left alone. About halfway down the trail, Vargas thought she might not be able to continue. At the time, they were lost and it had started to rain.

“The thought of stopping crossed my mind once. My legs hurt and were shaking,” she says. “When I wanted to quit is when I prayed. Prayer gave me the strength. That and my dad’s jokes. He made me laugh and it gave me energy. And feeling the angels lift the dog off of my neck was what I needed to continue on.”

Lost dog named Boomer

Boomer is in a cast from his 100-foot fall, but vets are hopeful it will heal without surgery. (Photo: Tia Vargas)

Finally hiking six miles and reaching the bottom of the trail, Vargas found a very small note that said, “Lost dog named Boomer, call this number.”

She called the owners, who thought for sure Boomer was dead. They had gone hiking together the day before and Boomer had fallen off a 100-foot cliff and rolled 200 feet. When the family rushed down to find him, he was gone. They looked for him until dark, so Boomer had spent one night out there, alone and injured.

“I was so excited to tell them their dog was very much alive,” Vargas says. “Dad and I couldn’t wait to hear their reaction.”

It turns out that the family loved Boomer very much, but they were moving to Arizona and couldn’t take him with them. They already had a family lined up to adopt him, but when they heard Vargas’s incredible story, the new adopters reluctantly let her adopt him instead.

‘One of my kids now’

Boomer is now part of the Vargas family. (Photo: Tia Vargas)

A trip to the vet found that Boomer was very fortunate: he had mostly bumps, bruises and scratches from his big fall, as well as a dislocated joint with torn ligaments in his leg. Boomer is in a cast now while his new family waits to see whether the joint will hopefully heal on its own without surgery.

Vargas says the 4-year-old pup loves to do tricks and have his belly rubbed. He loves to explore and smell everything and always wants to put his head in her lap. Vargas, who is a substitute teacher, Zumba instructor and sells jewelry, has started a Facebook page for Boomer because so many people are now following his story.

“He is 100 percent part of the family. His personality is perfect with mine and the kids. We all love him so much,” Vargas says. “They begged me for a dog and I was worried because it’s a lot of time and work. I told them no for so long. And I told them if we get a dog it would have to be dropped in my lap and already trained. And he is both of those and so much more. He feels like one of my kids now.”

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Isn’t that just the most wonderful story!

Now I must publicly thank John Zande; he of The Superstitious Naked Ape blog site. For the other day John mentioned a ‘thread’ on Twitter under the title of The Dodo. If I mention that The Dodo has over 1 million followers you will get the idea that it offers some very compelling ‘Tweets’. You bet!

Try this:

Or this:

There are too many humans in this world who are motivated by money, by power and by greed.

Thank goodness there are many others who are motivated by their love for animals!

A step in my own self-awareness.

But the most important step I have ever taken.

In yesterday’s post I wrote:

It was the fickle finger of fate that led me to the arms, metaphorically speaking, of a core process psychotherapist back in Devon in the first half of 2007. That counselling relationship that revealed a deeply hidden aspect of my consciousness: a fear of rejection that I had had since December, 1956. That finger of fate that took me to Mexico for Christmas 2007 and me meeting Jean and all her dogs. That finger of fate that pointed me to the happiest years of my life and a love between Jeannie and me that I could previously never ever have imagined.

Here’s the full account. (But this is quite a long post and has the potential to cause some pain. Of course, I don’t intend that. But it’s best to mention that now.)

First we need to go back to that evening of December 19th, 1956. I had turned 12 on November, 8th and had just completed my first term at a nearby Grammar School. Then the family, as in Mum, Dad, me and my younger sister Elizabeth, were living comfortably in a detached house in Toley Avenue, a road off the main street that comprises Preston Road.

Preston Road is one of the outer suburbs of London to the North-West, sandwiched between Wembley, closer in to London, and Harrow, a little further out.

Anyway, on that evening of the 19th my mother came into my bedroom, located at the front of the house and next to Mum and Dad’s bedroom, at the usual time to say ‘Good night’ to me.

But while it was the usual time for Mum to be saying goodnight to me, clearly something was different this particular evening.

Mum sat down on the edge of my bed, just where my knees were, looked at me, and said, with pain in her voice: “Paul, you do know your father isn’t very well. He may not live for much longer.”

To be honest, all these many years later, I have no recollection as to whether or not I was aware that my father wasn’t very well.

Mum then leaned over to me, gave me my goodnight kiss, got up, and went out of my bedroom switching off the room light as she closed the door. As she always did and no different to any other evening.

Likewise, as with any other evening, I went off to sleep within a few minutes.

However, when I awoke the following morning, the morning of December 20th,  it was clear that something terrible had happened during the night. Let me explain that my father had had two daughters with his first wife, prior to meeting Mum, and I loved them both and saw them as elder sisters. The eldest was Rhona and she was a registered nurse (SRN). (My other ‘sister’ was Corinne.) Of course, Rhona was helping Mum care for Dad.

I got up and went downstairs. There was Rhona in the kitchen. Rhona came up to me and held me very tightly and then quietly told me that our father had died during the night. Rhona went on to add that Mum had thought it best not to wake me and Elizabeth and somehow arranged not only for the doctor to come in to certify Dad’s death but also for our father’s body to be removed from the home. Elizabeth and I had slept through it all!

I don’t recall having any emotional reaction to Rhona’s news; not even crying. It was if it was all just too unreal to take in.

A few days later, Mum, very clearly in her own mind doing her best to protect me and Elizabeth from pain, subsequently thought it wise that we didn’t go to our father’s funeral and cremation.

Now I have not the slightest doubt that many, if not all, of you will have cringed on reading the above.

Once back at school for the first term of 1957, I soon became aware of being the target of a degree of bullying, presumably because I was showing my grief through my behaviour and attitude, that my academic performance rapidly fell apart leading on to me leaving school before I went on to the Sixth Form.

The other thing that I was aware of in 1957, and for every December 20th thereafter, that this day was always a tough one. A day when I remembered with a degree of sadness and emotional pain that fateful night and morning in 1956.

Nevertheless, my adult life really was (is!) a wonderful journey for me. It included a period working as a freelance journalist out in Australia in the late 1960s, becoming an Office Products salesman for IBM UK after returning from Australia to England and then in 1978 starting my own company, Dataview Ltd., in the early days of the personal computer revolution. Then after eight whirlwind years with Dataview growing in leaps and bounds each year, being approached in 1986 by a group of investors who wished to buy me out: I said “Yes”. That resulted in me going to live on a yacht, Songbird of Kent, a Tradewind 33, out in Cyprus (Larnaca Marina).

Tradewind 33 – Songbird of Kent. My home for five years.

While in Cyprus I got to know really well the wonderful, inspiring Les Powells, a three-times solo circumnavigator on his yacht Solitaire, and that thanks directly to Les offering me some very good advice, me experiencing the beauty, and the fear, of solo sailing out in The Atlantic and returning to Plymouth, in Devon, England, via Horta in The Azores, on the 16th June, 1994.

But! But! But!

But there was another part of my adult life that wasn’t such a wonderful journey. My relationships with the opposite sex! Culminating in my third wife, Julie, announcing on the day of the 50th anniversary of my father’s death, as in December 20th, 2006, that she was leaving me. (The reality of what she did to me was not pretty but I will spare you the details.)

Let me explain a little more.

After I had returned to England, sailing into Plymouth, in 1994, I subsequently sold Songbird of Kent and purchased a small house in the little village of Harberton, just a few miles out of Totnes, in South Devon. An easy decision to stay in South Devon because both Rhona and Corinne had their family homes close to Totnes.

Upper Barn, My home in Harberton.

I quickly became involved in the local business community undertaking a variety of coaching roles under the umbrella of Sales and Marketing; I was then a Chartered Member of the Institute of Marketing. In turn, Julie and I met each other and we became married.

In the Autumn of 2006, a Core Process Psychotherapist came to me seeking some business advice.  ‘J’ had had many years of coaching individuals one-to-one but had the idea, the good idea to my mind, of coaching the directors of companies in the whole process of listening to their employees and offering advice and guidance whenever there was the potential of conflict. If the employees worked more effectively together then ‘J’ believed the company as a whole would be more effective in reaching their goals.

‘J’ had no idea how companies worked, for want of a better term, and my role was teach ‘J’ the  fundamentals of operating the sort of company that was common to South Devon.

That’s what I was doing up to that fateful day of December 20th, 2006.

Because upon hearing the news that my then wife was leaving me, I simply blew apart emotionally. In the most terrible manner that I had never experienced before.

Very early on in January, 2007 I felt that I was descending into some bottomless pit of despair. In desperation I rang ‘J’ and explained what had happened on the 20th. ‘J’ listened and then said, quite properly, that he couldn’t see me as his client because we already had a working relationship. I pleaded and pleaded with ‘J’ to allow me to be his psychotherapy client. Finally, ‘J’ agreed but on the very strict condition that if he thought the counselling relationship wasn’t working then we would terminate it. He asked, and received, my understanding and agreement to that condition.

It wasn’t long thereafter before ‘J’ was asking me a little of my early experiences and I recounted that night of December 19th-20th and how I had not been able to say ‘Goodbye’ to my father.

‘J’ was quiet for a few minutes and then said:

“Paul, you have a son don’t you?”

I silently nodded.

“How do you think Alex would react if your death was handled for him in the same manner as your mother handled it for you?”

I gasped, conscious of how much I loved Alex, and Maija my daughter, and could hardly get the words out of my mouth: “He, he, … he would think he had been emotionally rejected ….”, continuing, “Oh my goodness! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh, my sainted aunt! That’s it! I interpreted what happened back then when father died as rejection. That I wasn’t important to my father. So that’s what I have been experiencing all my adult life – a fear of rejection! But until now that fear has been completely submerged in my subconscious! Wow!”

That is the reason why, not to sound too immodest, I have been successful in all matters to do with my working life: I did everything to be accepted by my customers, my managers, my associates, and so on.

But it was also the reason why I had been so unsuccessful in my many, many relationships with women. Why I was unfaithful to my first wife. Why I could never say “No” to an emotional relationship with a woman, whether or not that woman had the potential to be a good long-term companion. Because I behaved in ways that minimised the chances of that woman rejecting me. That was why my last wife, Julie, before I met Jean, so gravely affected me when she chose, quite deliberately, to tell me she was leaving me on the 50th anniversary of my father’s death.

So that’s how ‘J’ held my hand, metaphorically speaking, and walked me into the light of how the past had affected me.

Dear, dear reader of Learning from Dogs, I do hope this makes sense and possibly in some small way this post holds out a hand to you.

I will close with this. Heard on a film that Jean and I recently watched.

Unless you understand yourself, can you be truthful to yourself?

The journey inwards is the most important and rewarding journey we can take!

Getting to know oneself

The journey inwards is the most challenging and yet the most rewarding of all!

This post is essentially a reposting of an item that I published nearly three years ago. It came to me as a result of some delightful exchanges following my post last Thursday: How well our dogs read us!

Tomorrow I will go into more details of that fateful event in my past:  December 20th, 1956.

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Further musings on dogs, women and men.

Published on Learning from Dogs, August 6th, 2015

A few weeks ago, I read a book entitled The Republican Brain written by Chris Mooney and to quote WikiPedia:

The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science — and Reality is a book by the journalist Chris Mooney that is about the psychological basis for many Republicans’ rejection of mainstream scientific theories, as well as theories of economics and history.

On page 83, Chris Mooney writes (my emphasis):

Here also arises a chief liberal weakness, in Lakoff’s view (*), and one that is probably amplified by academic training. Call it the Condorcet handicap, or the Enlightenment syndrome. Either way, it will sound very familiar: Constantly trying to use factual and reasoned arguments to make the world better and being amazed to find even though these arguments are sound, well-researched, and supported, they are disregarded, or even actively attacked by conservatives.

When glimpsed from a bird’s eye view, all the morality research that we’re surveying is broadly consistent. It once again reinforces the idea that there are deep differences between liberals and conservatives – differences that are operating, in many cases, beneath the level of conscious awareness, and that ultimately must be rooted in the brain.

(*) George Lakoff, Berkeley Cognitive Linguist and author of the book Moral Politics.

What Chris Mooney is proposing is that the difference between liberals and conservatives could be genetically rooted, at least in part.

That underlines in my mind how each of us, before even considering our gender differences, is truly a complex mix of ‘nature and nurture’ with countless numbers of permutations resulting.

That there are deep differences, apart from the obvious ones, between man and woman goes without saying. In earlier times, these differences were essential in us humans achieving so much and leading to, in the words of Yuval Noah Harari from yesterday’s post., ” … few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we’ve spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself).”

Speaking of earlier times, let me turn to dogs, for it is pertinent to my post, and I would like to quote an extract from what Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine, Jim Goodbrod, writes in the foreword of my forthcoming book:

But what exactly is this human-dog bond and why do we feel such an affinity for this species above all others? My feeling is that it may be associated with our deep but subconscious longing for that age of simple innocence and innate human goodness that we supposedly possessed before we became truly “human”: that child-like innocence or what Rousseau referred to as the “noble savage”, before being corrupted by civilization, before we were booted out of the Garden of Eden. We humans, for better or worse, somewhere along that evolutionary road acquired consciousness or so-called human nature and with it we lost that innocence. What we gained were those marvelous qualities that make us uniquely human: a sense of self-awareness, an innate moral and ethical code, the ability to contemplate our own existence and mortality, and our place in the universe. We gained the ability to think abstract thoughts and the intellectual power to unravel many of the mysteries of the universe. Because of that acquired consciousness and humans’ creative and imaginative mind we have produced the likes of Shakespeare, Mozart, and Einstein. We have peered deep into outer space, deciphered the genetic code, eradicated deadly diseases, probed the bizarre inner world of the atom, and accomplished thousands of other intellectual feats that hitherto would not have been possible without the evolution of our incredible brain and the consciousness with which it is equipped.

No other living species on this planet before or since has developed this massive intellectual power. But this consciousness was attained at what cost? Despite all the amazing accomplishments of the human race, we are the only species that repeatedly commits genocide and wages war against ourselves over political ideology, geographic boundaries, or religious superstition. We are capable of justifying the suffering and death of fellow human beings over rights to a shiny gold metal or a black oily liquid that powers our cars. We are the only species that has the capability to destroy our own planet, our only home in this vast universe, by either nuclear warfare, or more insidiously by environmental contamination on a global scale. Was it worth it? No matter what your or my opinion may be, Pandora’s Box has been opened and we cannot put the lid back on.

What can we do now to reverse this trend and help improve the quality of life for humanity and ensure the well-being of our planet? I think, if we recognize the problem and look very critically at ourselves as a unique species with awesome powers to do both good and bad, and put our collective minds to the task, it may be possible to retrieve some of the qualities of that innocence lost, without losing all that we have gained.

Dogs represent to me that innocence lost. Their emotions are pure. They live in the present. They do not suffer existential angst over who or what they are. They do not covet material wealth. They offer us unconditional love and devotion. Although they certainly have not reached the great heights of intellectual achievement of us humans (I know for a fact that this is true after having lived with a Labrador retriever for several years), at the same time they have not sunk to the depths of depravity to which we are susceptible. It could be argued that I am being overly anthropomorphic, or that dogs are simply mentally incapable of these thoughts. But nevertheless, metaphorically or otherwise, I believe that dogs demonstrate a simple and uncorrupted approach to life from which we all could benefit. I think the crux of Paul’s thesis is that, within the confines and limitations of our human consciousness, we can (and should) metaphorically view the integrity of the dog as a template for human behavior.

“Dogs demonstrate a simple and uncorrupted approach to life …”

I closed yesterday’s post with these words, “It is my contention that humankind’s evolution, our ability to “cooperate flexibly in large numbers”, is rooted in the gender differences between man and woman.”

The premise behind that proposition is that until, say one hundred years ago, give or take, that co-operation between large numbers of humans was critically important in so many areas: health; science; medicine; physics; exploration; outer space and more. (And whether one likes it or not: wars.)  My proposition is that it is predominantly men who have been the ‘shakers and movers’ in these areas. Of course not exclusively, far from it, just saying that so many advances in society are more likely to have been led by men.

But (and you sensed a ‘but’ coming up, perhaps) these present times call for a different type of man. A man who is less the rational thinker, wanting to set the pace, and more a man capable of expressing his fears, exploring his feelings, defining his fear of failure, and more. I don’t know about you but when I read Raúl Ilargi Meijer words from yesterday, “And if and when we resort to only rational terms to define ourselves, as well as our world and the societies we create in that world, we can only fail.”, it was the male of our species that was in my mind. As in, “And if and when we [males] resort to only rational terms to define ourselves …”.

Staying with Raúl Meijer’s words from yesterday (my emphasis), “And those should never be defined by economists or lawyers or politicians, but by the people themselves. A social contract needs to be set up by everyone involved, and with everyone’s consent.”

Dogs demonstrate a simple and uncorrupted approach to life but that doesn’t extend to them making social contracts. Women do understand social contracts, they are predominantly caring, social humans. Less so for men. But for that social contract to be successfully set up by everyone it must, of course, include men. And that requires men, speaking generally you realise, to find safe ways to get in touch with their feelings, to tap into their emotional intelligence, using positive psychology to listen to their feelings and know the truth of what they and their loved ones need to guarantee a better future. What they need in terms of emotional and behavioural change. And, if I may say, sensing when they might need the support of subject experts to embed and sustain those behavioural changes.

It was the fickle finger of fate that led me to the arms, metaphorically speaking, of a core process psychotherapist back in Devon in the first half of 2007. That counselling relationship that revealed a deeply hidden aspect of my consciousness: a fear of rejection that I had had since December, 1956. That finger of fate that took me to Mexico for Christmas 2007 and me meeting Jean and all her dogs. That finger of fate that pointed me to the happiest years of my life and a love between Jeannie and me that I could hitherto never ever have imagined.

However, as much as I love and trust Jean, wholeheartedly, it comes back to dogs.

For when I curl up and wrap myself around a dog and sense that pure unconditional love coming back to me, I have access to my inner feelings, my inner joys and fears, in a way unmatched by anything else.

Where learning from dogs is a gateway to learning from me.

Pharaoh – more than just a dog!

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I will never be able to look at those eyes of Pharaoh, looking into my eyes, without feeling terrible pangs of loss. For he was the most amazing, the most wise, the most deep-thinking dog that I have ever known. Correction: that Jean and I have ever known!

How well our dogs read us!

Eons of time since man and wolf, as in dog, formed a relationship. And it shows!

Regular readers of this place (and thank you) will be aware that not infrequently I repost an article that had appeared on the site Mother Nature Network.

But the one I am going to share with you today goes to the very heart of why the bond between humans and dogs is so, so special. The article is called Dogs know when we’re sad — and rush to help.

It’s beautiful!

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Dogs know when we’re sad — and rush to help

They’ve had thousands of years to tune their emotions to ours.

CHRISTIAN COTRONEO   July 24, 2018

Dogs proved indifferent to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’ But the sound of a crying human was a different story. (Photo: Irina Kozorog/Shutterstock)

Never doubt a dog’s heart.

Whether it’s a bump in the night — intruder?! — or a leap into the breach to restore forests ravaged by wildfire, dogs rush in.

And all that canine courage, even if occasionally foolhardy, is rightly celebrated.

But there’s an underrated quality that dogs possess: the everyday heroism of just appearing at your side, almost instinctively, when you’re in distress.

Want to test it? Try crying, and see how long it takes for your dog to sidle up next to you.

In fact, for a study published this week in the journal Learning & Behavior, that’s exactly what researchers from Johns Hopkins University did. They pretended to be trapped behind a door — and then alternated between crying and humming “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

Even in the lab, a dog’s empathy shines through

Although it seems that we’ve always been sure that our dogs are emotionally tuned into us, this study represents the first time that empathy has been clinically tested.

And the dogs didn’t let down researchers, either.

When scientists were seemingly trapped behind a door that was magnetically locked, their cries of distress brought the test dogs over in a hurry. In fact, the dogs hustled to the scene three times faster when they heard the cries, than they did when researchers hummed “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

“It’s really cool for us to know that dogs are so sensitive to human emotional states,” study co-author Emily Sanford, from Johns Hopkins University, explains in a press release. “It is interesting to think that all these anecdotes of dogs rescuing humans, they could be grounded in truth, and this study is a step toward understanding how those kinds of mechanisms work.”

Dogs in the study were stressed out, but they kept their emotions in check and focused on the problem. (Photo: Sjale/Shutterstock)

What’s more, the dogs demonstrated an uncanny knack for suppressing their emotions when there was a life-saving job to be done. Although their stress levels spiked when they heard crying behind the door, dogs managed to master their emotions and quietly, efficiently push it open with their nose.

A minority of the test dogs, however, did show a very human response: Their stress levels were so high that they were effectively too paralyzed to help.

Sure, it isn’t the biggest study — researchers looked at just 34 dogs — but it does confirm what we’ve always known in our hearts from living with dogs: dogs get us.

That’s because, the researchers suggest, they’ve been studying the human heart for a very long time.

The Lassie effect

“Dogs have been by the side of humans for tens of thousands of years and they’ve learned to read our social cues,” Sanford explains in the release. “Dog owners can tell that their dogs sense their feelings. Our findings reinforce that idea, and show that, like Lassie, dogs who know their people are in trouble might spring into action.”

Like earlier this year, for instance, when a corgi named Cora suddenly walked away from her human companion at the airport. She was found a few minutes later, perched at the side of a stranger.

It turned out that stranger was grieving the loss of his own dog the night before.

Now, how to explain those dogs who run for their lives when strangers pretend to break into the family home?

Maybe they’re smart enough to know when we’re faking it? Or maybe, at some point, the situation seemed so dire and extreme, those dogs just had to high-tail it out of there.

But we prefer another theory: The dogs were just going to get help.

Dogs are keen students of humanity — and they’ve evolved to read our emotional states. (Photo: Gansstock/Shutterstock)

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Always, and forever, we have so much to learn from our dogs!

Maintaining the good life in later years!

Living well as we age.

TIME magazine published a double-issue in February of this year How To Live Longer Better!

The article, on Page 47, opens:

Old age demands to be taken very seriously – and it usually gets its way!

Then later on in that same article one reads:

Exactly how much – or how little – exercise it takes to begin paying dividends has been one of the happy surprises of longevity research. A 2016 study found that elderly people who exercised for just 15 minutes a day, at an intensity level of a brisk walk, had a 22% lower risk of early death compared to people who did not exercise.

Then two sentences later:

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada even found that breaking a sweat for just 60 seconds may be long enough to improve health and fitness (as long as it’s a tough workout).

As part of Jean’s commitment to slowing down the progression of her Parkinson’s Disease (PD) she attends every Monday and Wednesday a special class at our local Club Northwest in Grants Pass. The class runs for 90 minutes and is a boxing class! The instructor, Mark Whiting, is a boxing coach and the class, called the Rock Steady class, is specifically for PD sufferers. One of the exercises involves rapid punching of a punch bag.

Dr. Laurie Mischley of SIM had a telephone consultation with Jean a few days ago. It was Dr. M following up Jean’s consultation with Dr. Nutt in Portland on the 10th that I wrote about in my post Jeannie’s PD Journey.  Dr. M commented as to how well Jean was doing.

Possibly, vigorous exercise seems to be offering something that many in their elder years may not have cottoned on to.

Readers may recall Patrice Ayme leaving a comment in my recent Facing up to PD post:

The one and only countermeasure we have is violent neurological activity. As in powerlifting. This has been indicated by research published in 2018… But it was long obvious. So the way to “comfort” is the discomfort of maximum motor-neurological… hmmm… violence. Too much local gentleness doesn’t optimize overall comfort and gentleness… I guess that’s one of my overall philosophical messages… Not one popular with the PC crowd…

Now I’m still trying to get to bottom of this link between vigorous exercise and long-term health and have reached out to McMaster University in Canada seeking academic backing for the link.

More from me as I learn more.

Turning to diet.

In that same TIME magazine, on page 53, there is a single page listing five places around the world known as Blue Zones.

Global life expectancy averages out to 71.4 years. That means. of course, that some parts of the world see much shorter spans, while others enjoy far greater longevity.

Five places, in particular, fall into the latter category. They’re know as Blue Zones – named for the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map – and they’re home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution, told TIME why residents of these places live so long – and how you can steal their habits

Those five places are listed below with me republishing just a small extract regarding diet from four of those five place descriptions.

Sardinia, Italy – “A largely plant-based diet ….”

Okinawa, Japan – No mention of diet.

Nicoya, Costa Rica – “The Costa Rican people traditionally get the majority of their caloric intake from beans, squash and corn, plus tropical fruits. This plant-forward, nutrient-dense diet ……”

Loma Linda, Calif., USA – “Adventists live 10 years longer than their fellow Americans. Many avoid meat and eat plenty of plants, whole grains and nuts.”

Ikaria, Greece – ” …. and a strict adherence to the Mediterranean diet – eating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, potatoes and olive oil – propels 1 in 3 ikarians to live into their 90s, often free of dementia and chronic disease.”`

I will return to this topic!

Meanwhile, stay fit and healthy!