Category: Musings

This is very beautiful.

I probably wanted to say “This is very beautiful in a profound and spiritual way.

One of the many things that make this funny world of blogging so delightful is the connections that are made.

Recently Learning from Dogs got a follow from a person who herself was a blogger. This is what she wrote on her About page.

Endurance athlete, artist, and fourth generation Oregonian. I grew up on the central Oregon coast and lived in the Willamette Valley most of my adult life. My endurance work is an intersection of spiritual, personal and creative practices. I fall in love with places, like people, and dream of them often. I am not a travel writer, bucket lister, photographer, peak bagger or a competitive athlete. I seek only passage.

I was intrigued. No, more than that, I was curious about her. I wanted to know more.

When I left a message of thanks over on her blog this is what I said:

Oh my goodness. I came here ostensibly to leave a fairly standard thank you for your decision to follow Learning from Dogs. But then I saw what you had written and, also, the beautiful photographs you have taken. I was just bowled over!

Do you have a dog or two? Because if you do I would love you to write a guest post over at my place. Or give me permission to republish one of your posts? But I would prefer the former.

My dear wife, Jean, and me are both British. We met in Mexico in 2007 and I moved out permanently in late 2008 with my GSD Pharaoh. We came up to the USA in 2010 and were married and then came to Southern Oregon in 2012. We live close to Merlin, Josephine County and just love it to pieces. Originally we had 16 dogs but are now down to 6!

Regrettably she is allergic to dogs but she quickly gave me permission to republish a post of hers.

This is it. It is remarkable!

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Into the fold: Basin and Range

May 26th, 2020

I guess I should have expected the snow, above 6000’ in the springtime. Flurries swirled around my car as I removed my leggings in the backseat and began cleaning my wounds. I was bleeding in four places, the largest of which was a grapefruit sized ooze of blood on my knee. What was supposed to be a quick, 3 mile warm up hike turned into an assorted practice of skills I’ve acquired over the last ten years in the woods.

How to navigate trailless canyons full of thorny brush.

How to step when gaining upon steep fields of melting snow.

How to traverses loose, snow covered boulder fields.

How to field dress a wound.

How to know when to turn around.

How to navigate by sight and evaluate terrain.

How to avoid getting your ankle crushed by a dislodged boulder.

How to stay calm when things get intense.

How to get your head back in the game.

How to self evacuate.

How to accept failure.

How to relish in it.

Just enough snow to mess things up.

Later, with my knee buzzing slightly from the pain, I make my way into a canyon on the western flank of the mountain. I know this canyon well. There is a safe place to hide from the rain, to collect drinking water, and I don’t have to worry about the roads turning to mud if the storms linger through the night. While my water filter drips, I follow the creek upstream. Wind swirls, aspens chatter, clouds are ripping across the sky. House sized, red violet boulders protrude from the hillside, they look like ships caught in the crest of a giant wave.

The sun is setting, the pain in my leg forgotten. I take my full water jugs and find a place to camp along the rocky beach of an alkaline lake. These lakes are the remnants of massive, Pleistocene era inland seas. Their waves are black. In the coldest parts of winter they freeze into a slurry of ice and the motion of the waves seems to slow. Like watching an inky black slurpee ocean crash against the rocky shore.

I eat instant noodles, drink tea, and think about the “real” ocean, where I was born.

To me, the desert and the ocean are like two sides of the same coin. I can watch the light change over the hills for hours, just like I can watch the waves break along the coast. Both are fascinating. The ocean always seems impassable, uncrossable, infinite, unforgiving. The desert is too, if you know the dangers well enough. I think about my close call on the mountain earlier. It’s like an old timer told me once, “…but only a fool tries to cross the desert”.

“Okay”, I said.

When the sun rises, I am already awake, shoving things around, getting ready to ride out to the canyons on the furthest side of the mountain. The dawn strikes a distant rim and is bright pink across the craggy face. I haven’t climbed that peak yet, either. I smile to myself as I toss my pack into the passenger seat, turn up the radio, and turn the ignition. I’m thankful for the warmth in my car this morning. Thankful for a shelter from the wind before my work in the canyon begins.

I found the place, but it took me a while.

After nearly 50 miles on gravel and dirt, weaving around the backsides of sprawling, ethereal lakes, several wrong turns, and a quite sporting, rugged road granting passage across the valley floor, I had finally reached the gates of this remote, unsociable place. Rimrock lined the canyon walls, massive boulders littered the valley floor, scattered throughout the mostly dry river channel. Each possessed its own creepy, brackish pond at its base, resplendent with robust algae colonies.

Some terrain cannot be run, and this was one of those places. I settled in to a comfortable, brisk hiking pace and made my way up the canyon; sometimes following the riverbed channel, other times taking the game trails through winding thickets of sagebrush and thorns. I never saw the animals, but I could feel myself being watched a few times. I do not mind; I always remember that I am their guest.

The otherworldly feeling of the canyon persisted, even as the landscape changed, flattened, rounded itself out. I took the old farm road out of the depths and up onto the flats again. The road leveled out as it wound it’s way around the mouth of the canyon, now obscured by the sagebrush sea spread out before me. You can see everything that is far away and nothing up close. The terrain is flat and easy here. I break into a run.

I love running downhill.

It’s all gravy until the weather blows in. I watch it coming across the valley. The first raindrops are warm and fat. A rainbow spreads across the horizon, snow clouds form on the rim of the mountain, and the wind really starts to rip. I resist the urge to increase my pace. My body is already sore; I’ve been out here nearly a week now. As the rain turns to sleet and then hail, it’s time to practice the things you’ve learned once more.

How to layer for various types of rain.

How to guard your face from the wind.

How to bundle your hands in your sleeves so they don’t go numb.

How to take your backpack off, open it and retrieve a snack without stopping.

How to run.

How to run when your feet hurt and you want to quit.

How to run when the rain turns to hail and catches you out on the flats with not even a rock to hide behind.

How to run when you are crying and you don’t know why.

Where do you go inside yourself when fatigue and boredom set it?

How do you stay present in all of it?

Everything is practice.

When I finally return to my car, the storm has passed, for now. The mountains beyond the valley are fully obscured by clouds. If I stay here, the road maybe be impassable by morning. I want to stay, but I decide the best course of action is to return the way I came. Also, the hot springs are over there, and my tired legs say, YES PLEASE. I hang my wet clothes up to dry along the windows of my car, crank the heat to 85, and hope my puffy dries out by morning. I rally back across the bumpy valley, behind the lakes, across the basin, up the face of the mountain all over again.

The hot springs are mercifully empty. I take off my clothes and stand naked in the cold air for a while, staring at the mountain. When I slip into the water, I feel like home. I feel like I belong. I am right where I want to be. Everything is just right.

But I don’t stay long.

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I subsequently asked where she had gone:

These photos are all from the SE corner of Oregon, reaching down into Northern Nevada. Hart Mountain, the Northern Warner Mountains, Abert Rim, Rabbit Hills, Summer Lake, and the formidable Catlow Valley.

Now you know!

But that doesn’t change my opinion that this is one unusual person who has the spirit of adventure truly in her bones!

Dogs can be very persuasive.

This is a lovely story courtesy of The Dodo.

It is about Mia, a dog who has ideas of her own when it comes to choosing a destination.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to post anything for today but then I saw this story on The Dodo and wondered if it could be put together fairly rapidly.

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Dog Tries To Pull Her Mom To The Beach Every Time They Go On A Walk

“She reacts this way EVERY DAY” 😂

By Caitlin Jill Anders
Published on 9/3/2020

The first time Mia went to the beach when she was around 5 months old, she fell in love. She loves swimming, digging in the sand and chasing her ball around, and it quickly became one of her favorite outings.

Mia and her mom go to the beach about once a week in the summertime — but for Mia, it’s never enough. Their house isn’t far from the beach, so whenever Mia is out on a walk and they pass the way that would take them to the beach, she immediately stops walking and stands her ground.

“She knows the way by heart,” Yoshi Lok, Mia’s mom, told The Dodo. “She also knows that if she keeps heading north, she will eventually get to the beach which is why she always stops in her tracks and pulls me when we are heading in the opposite direction of the beach!”

Mia can be incredibly stubborn and has no problem engaging in a standoff with her mom. Every time, her mom pleads with her to keep walking, trying to explain that they don’t have time to go to the beach that day, but Mia always tries to wait a little bit longer. She hopes that the longer she stands there, the more likely it is that her mom will cave in and take her to the beach after all.

“She isn’t very happy when we don’t go, she does try more than once on our walks to go to the beach,” Lok said. “Sometimes I have to bribe her with treats to keep walking.”

YOSHI LOK

Even though Mia gets to go to the beach more than most dogs do, she would definitely prefer to go every day, and has made her stance on that perfectly clear.

YOSHI LOK

“She reacts this way EVERY DAY,” Lok said. “Ever since we walked to the beach three years ago (when we moved to this area in Vancouver — Kitsilano), she remembered the way and never forgot.”

YOSHI LOK

On the days when Mia finally does get to go to the beach, she’s so happy. As soon as she and her mom start walking in the direction of the beach, she gets so excited and practically runs all the way there. She swims, digs and runs as much as she possibly can until it’s time to go home — and then starts her campaign to go back to the beach all over again the next day.

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I think that Yoshi wouldn’t have quite the problem with Mia, if indeed it is seen as a problem, if Mia had a doggie companion. While a single dog is very common having two dogs doesn’t really increase the workload that much and the rewards in terms of the two dogs playing together is immeasurable.

Just my thought!

The California Wildfires

And now also closer to home.

This is a post about dogs being of comfort to the Californian firefighters. A post presented on The Dodo that I am republishing.

But yesterday afternoon came news that here in Oregon we have a blaze. As the Washington Post reported it, in part:

An unusually expansive outbreak of large and fast-moving wildfires threatens communities in three states Wednesday, with the greatest risks focused on Medford, Ore., and Oroville, Calif., as large fires advance in those areas.

In Oregon on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that four towns have experienced significant damage, and she warned residents to expect news of fatalities.

“Oregon has experienced unprecedented fire with significant damage and devastating consequences for the entire state,” she said. Brown said the communities of Detroit, Blue River, Vida, Phoenix and Talent are “substantially destroyed.”

But back to those Californian firefighters.

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Dog Helps Comfort Firefighters Fighting The California Wildfires

Her hugs help them so much ❤️️

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Ever since she was a puppy, Kerith has been the bubbliest, most joyful dog, and her mom always knew that she was born to help people.

HEIDI CARMAN

Kerith was originally being trained to be a guide dog for individuals who are blind, but ended up changing career paths to become a therapy dog instead. For the past year she’s been working with local firefighters, providing them comfort in times of need — and with the recent wildfires spreading across California, they need her now more than ever.

HEIDI CARMAN

“Kerith has been going to base camps where the crews start their day before they roll out to fight one of the many wildfires in CA,” Carman said. “She lightens the mood first thing in the morning. We walk around to visit all the crews while they are getting ready for their day of fighting fires. Everyone wants to see her to get some love.”

HEIDI CARMAN

As the fires rage across California, the firefighters’ jobs become more and more stressful as they work hard every moment of the day to save homes and lives. Kerith provides them a moment of relief and joy from the realities of their job — and when many of them see her, they can’t help but envelop her in a huge hug.

HEIDI CARMAN

Kerith loves all her firefighter friends so much, and is more than happy to let them hug her close. She seems to know that what she’s doing is important, and that the hugs she’s getting are more than just hugs. She’s helping to bring comfort when the firefighters need it most.

“Kerith clearly loves what she is doing,” Carman said. “When she sees a fire engine she gets so excited because she knows she is going to see her firefighter friends.”

HEIDI CARMAN

Hopefully the wildfires will be under control soon, but until then, Kerith will continue to give her firefighter friends as many hugs as they need.

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I find it amazing that there are dogs such as Kerith who love to be loved. Now plenty of dogs fall into that category but Kerith is part of a team; the rest of the team are human and working their backsides off fighting fires.

I will leave you for today with a random photograph I found from the ABC News website of one of those fires in California.

Roll on the rain!

And a photograph taken at 11am PDT today of the hills to the East. It includes our own property.

It shows the extent of the smoke; the nearest run of trees across the photograph are on our property.

Dogs are amazing!

This is a short story but still endearing!

The instinct of dogs to come to the aid of us humans, friends and strangers alike, never fails to impress.

Here’s a recent story on The Dodo that endorses that in spades!

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Stray Dog Interrupts Performance To Comfort Actor Pretending To Be Injured

“I was very touched. He was like an angel who wanted to help me.”
By Stephen Messenger
Published on 9/3/2020

During a recent theatrical performance in Turkey, the script called for actor Numan Ertuğrul Uzunsoy’s character to get hurt — but, of course, it was all pretend.

The adorable reaction of one furry audience member that day, however, was not.

İZMIT BELEDIYESI

“The character I played was injured and in great pain,” Uzunsoy told The Dodo. “He’d fallen off a horse, and was breathing hard.”

As Uzunsoy lay on the ground, his pretend suffering didn’t go unnoticed. From the wings, a concerned stray dog made his entrance — interrupting the play to offer the “injured” stranger comfort.

Uzunsoy didn’t see it coming.

“I felt warmth on my face. First, I thought my costar was approaching me,” Uzunsoy said. He was wrong.

Realizing the truth, Uzunsoy couldn’t help but break character. His face gave way to a smile.

“I was very happy when I felt the dog’s kisses,” Uzunsoy said. “I was very touched. He was like an angel who wanted to help me. It was a very emotional moment for me. I was not expecting it.”

No one seemed to mind that pause in the action. Rather, the reaction to the pup’s interruption was quite the opposite.

“My castmates loved the dog, and the audience was very happy,” Uzunsoy said. “Everyone cheered.”

İZMIT BELEDIYESI

A crew member eventually escorted the sweet dog offstage, where he remained awhile before strolling away. Uzunsoy, however, hopes their meeting that day is just the first of many acts to come.

He wants to reunite with the pup and help him find a home — returning the favor for the kindness he’d shown Uzunsoy.

“The next day I went to the same place, looking for him. People told me he usually hangs out there. I went again today,” Uzunsoy said. “I’ll look for him until I find him. I’ve always loved animals.”

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Here’s a video of the incident (but unless you understand Turkish it will be eyes only).

Beautiful!

Dogs truly are amazing!

That ‘D’ word

And I don’t mean dog!

Still continuing with another dog-free day because this is a supremely important topic: Dementia.

I’m well into my 75th year and have poor recall. I do everything to fight the loss of memory. We are vegan, or technically pescatarian, we both go to the nearby Club Northwest twice a week and I ride my bike every other day.

In the current issue of The Economist magazine there is a special report on Dementia:

As humanity ages the numbers of people with dementia will surge

The world is ill-prepared for the frightening human, economic and social implications

Recently we took delivery of a REDjuvenator because it holds out hope, and is claimed, to offset the more disastrous aspects of ageing.

It’s early days but there are indications that it is doing some good.

So it was with great interest that I read the other day the following article and even more grateful that it comes with permission to republish.

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Does forgetting a name or word mean that I have dementia?

Your medical team should determine whether you have dementia or just normal memory loss due to aging.
Fred Froese via Getty Images

Laurie Archbald-Pannone, University of Virginia

The number of cases of dementia in the U.S. is rising as baby boomers age, raising questions for boomers themselves and also for their families, caregivers and society. Dementia, which is not technically a disease but a term for impaired ability to think, remember or make decisions, is one of the most feared impairments of old age.

Incidence increases dramatically as people move into their 90s. About 5% of those age 71 to 79 have dementia, and about 37% of those about 90 years old live with it.

Older people may worry about their own loss of function as well as the cost and toll of caregiving for someone with dementia. A 2018 study estimated that the lifetime cost of care for a person with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, to be US$329,360. That figure, too, will no doubt rise, putting even more burdens on family, Medicare and Medicaid.

There’s also been a good deal of talk and reporting about dementia in recent months because of the U.S. presidential election. Some voters have asked whether one or both candidates might have dementia. But, is this even a fair question to ask? When these types of questions are posed – adding further stigma to people with dementia – it can unfairly further isolate them and those caring for them. We need to understand dementia and the impact it has on more than 5 million people in the U.S. who now live with dementia and their caregivers. That number is expected to triple by 2060.

First, it is important to know that dementia cannot be diagnosed from afar or by someone who is not a doctor. A person needs a detailed doctor’s exam for a diagnosis. Sometimes, brain imaging is required. And, forgetting an occasional word – or even where you put your keys – does not mean a person has dementia. There are different types of memory loss and they can have different causes, such as other medical conditions, falls or even medication, including herbals, supplements and anything over-the-counter.

Older people wonder and worry about so-called senior moments and the memory loss they perceive in themselves and others. I see patients like this every week in my geriatric clinic, where they tell me their stories. They forget a word, get lost in a story, lose keys or can’t remember a name. Details vary, but the underlying concern is the same: Is this dementia?

A doctor looks at images of a brain scan.
Your doctor may want to do a brain scan to determine if there are any issues.
Andrew Brookes via Getty Images

Normal memory loss

As we age, we experience many physical and cognitive changes. Older people often have a decrease in recall memory. This is normal. Ever have trouble fetching a fact from the deep back part of your “mind’s Rolodex”? Suppose you spot someone at the grocery store you haven’t seen in years. Maybe you recognize the face, but don’t remember their name until later that night. This is normal, part of the expected changes with aging.

What’s more of a potential problem is forgetting the name of someone you see every day; forgetting how to get to a place you visit frequently; or having problems with your activities of daily living, like eating, dressing and hygiene.

When you have troubles with memory – but they don’t interfere with your daily activities – this is called mild cognitive impairment. Your primary care doctor can diagnose it. But sometimes it gets worse, so your doctor should follow you closely if you have mild cognitive impairment.

You want to note the timing of any impairment. Was there a gradual decline? Or did it happen all of a sudden? This too you should discuss with your doctor, who might recommend the MoCA, or Montreal Cognitive Assessment test, which screens for memory problems and helps determine if more evaluation is needed.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists problems in these areas as possible signs of dementia:

  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Communication
  • Reasoning, judgment and problem solving
  • Visual perception beyond typical age-related changes in vision

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

More severe issues

When memory loss interferes with daily activities, see your doctor about what to do and how to make sure you’re safe at home.

There are numerous types of severe memory loss. Dementia tends to be a slow-moving progression that occurs over months or years. Delirium is more sudden and can occur over hours or days, usually when you have an acute illness. Depression can also cause memory changes, particularly as we get older.

A computer illustration of amyloid plaques, characteristic features of Alzheimers disease.
A computer illustration of amyloid plaques among neurons. Amyloid plaques are characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease.
Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Dementia and other brain issues

Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type of dementia, followed by vascular dementia. They have similar symptoms: confusion, getting lost, forgetting close friends or family, or an inability to do calculations like balance the checkbook. Certain medical conditions – thyroid disorders, syphilis – can lead to dementia symptoms, and less common types of dementia can have different kinds of symptoms. Alzheimer’s has a distinct set of symptoms often associated with certain changes in the brain.

Focusing on safety and appropriate supervision, particularly in the home, is critical for all people with dementia. Your doctor or a social worker can help you find support.

It’s also important to be aware of two other things that can lead to decreased mental functioning – delirium and depression.

Delirium, a rapid change in cognition or mental functioning, can occur in people with an acute medical illness, like pneumonia or even COVID-19 infection. Delirium can occur in patients in the hospital or at home. Risk for delirium increases with age or previous brain injuries; symptoms include decreased attention span and memory issues.

Depression can happen at any time, but it’s more common with aging. How can you tell if you’re depressed? Here’s one simple definition: when your mood remains low and you’ve lost interest or joy in activities you once loved.

Sometimes people have recurring episodes of depression; sometimes, it’s prolonged grieving that becomes depression. Symptoms include anxiety, hopelessness, low energy and problems with memory. If you notice signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, see your doctor. If you have any thoughts of harming yourself, call 911 to get help instantly.

Any of these conditions can be frightening. But even more frightening is unrecognized or unacknowledged dementia. You must, openly and honestly, discuss changes you notice in your memory or thinking with your doctor. It’s the first step toward figuring out what is happening and making sure your health is the best it can be.

And, as with any disease or disease group, dementia is not a “character flaw,” and the term should not be used to criticize a person. Dementia is a serious medical diagnosis – ask those who have it, the loved ones who care for them or any of us who treat them. Having dementia is challenging. Learn what you can do to support those with dementia in your own community.The Conversation

Laurie Archbald-Pannone, Associate Professor Medicine, Geriatrics, University of Virginia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Please, if you are of the age where this is more than an academic interest then read the article carefully and especially that piece of advice towards the end:

But even more frightening is unrecognized or unacknowledged dementia. You must, openly and honestly, discuss changes you notice in your memory or thinking with your doctor. It’s the first step toward figuring out what is happening and making sure your health is the best it can be.

As is said growing old is not for cissies.

None of us can put off the fateful day when we will die and in our case we do not believe in any form of afterlife, in other words we are confirmed atheists, so all we can do is to live out our remaining years as healthily as possible and loving each other and our precious animals.

But having said that I know that all of us want to live out our lives with healthy, active brains and it’s clear that we can’t leave it to chance.

In closing, I recently purchased the book Outsmart Your Brain written by Dr. Ginger Schechter (and others). It was just $9.99 and contains much advice regarding the best foods and exercise for a healthy brain. I recommend it!

The Last Chapter

A poem by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

I have been given permission by Elizabeth to share this poem with you all.

It is profoundly and beautifully written.

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The Last Chapter

Life past, present, thoughts about the future, and ever changing world.

The Last Chapter

Life is a mystery novel, chapter after

Chapter, words painting every scene;

Leaving the mind filled with anticipation.

Each day viewed with the trusting mind

Of a child, innocence shades the memory,

Memories hide in the mind.

Can time change one’s past…No, and the

Future is unknown.  Life is a sailing ship

Upon the waves of what is soon to be

Tomorrow.

Where dreams may be lost upon turbulent

Seas, disparagement rains unkindly upon the

Unaware.  The guilty accepts no fault or

Responsibilities for a life that they may have

Brought fear and tears.

They do not have remorse, nor do they care.

Chapter after chapter, existence torn and

Ripped apart; the guilty never feel shame, nor

Show that they have a heart.

When one reaches the last chapter and the

End draws near, one’s mind returns to a

Childlike place, a place without tears and

Peace replaces the old fears.

No need to grieve that no one cared, no need

To be sad or try to bring back the good times in

Your yesterdays; the grieving will soon end and

One will no longer yearn for the love never there.

Now one’s heart beats alone and yet sometimes

Briefly filled with grief for those hearts that were

Long ago stilled.

Did sacrifice of the one-heart change how the

Guilty chose to live when the space they occupied

Is empty and the one-heart moved on; do the spirits

Of the guilty wander forever questioning where they

Went wrong.

With the last page read and the book closed

Shut, the one-heart watch page-by- page, chapter-

By-chapter many lives unfold; and the one-heart is

Left to wonder if re-written would a new story be

Told.

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Beautiful, if also poignant, and it speaks of the journeys we are all taking.

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree.

For the last day of August a very special post.

I came upon Elizabeth when she left a comment to my post on the 26th August, The science of dog learning.

This is what she wrote:

Reblogged this on The Last Chapter and commented:
Please visit Paul’s website, something new to read and learn each day. Thank you Paul for bringing your site to the blogging world.

Naturally, I replied:

Elizabeth, thank you for leaving your response, and thank you so much for your republication of my post. I read a little about yourself and, I must say, found it fascinating. And your poem The Last Chapter – wow!

Now I will hopefully republish The Last Chapter for another day. (And I have now heard that I have permission to republish it!)

But today, I want to publish the words of Elizabeth in writing about her dear, dear, recently departed dog.

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Mason Murphree

A tribute

Mason Murphee

Mason Murphree was born on January 31, 2012; what can one say about Mason, I bought him off the back of a pick-up truck, only two pups left out of the litter I held both in my hands as they lay upon my chest; one yellow and the other white.  I did not see their mother or father; I was told that the father was Bichon Frise and his mother Shih Tzu.  The white one instantly begins to crawl into my sports bra, nuzzled himself against my warm flesh and I was instantly in love.

I did not believe that he was six-weeks-old he was still wobbly on his feet when trying to walk.  I made him what the old folks call a “Sugar Tit”, a rag rolled on the end tightly and the tip soaked in warm sweet milk.  I fed him laying on his back in my hand for a week, the second week I started him on baby food.  Then, what I thought to be the seventh-week, he begins to walk with unsteady confidence and I thought was ready for the big world around him.

I found quickly that he had a set of razor-sharp teeth, yep, time for the hard bits of puppy food.  I took him to the Vet when I brought him home, and he was given an “A” in health.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  When I brought him home I sat him on a potty pad he used until he was six-months-old, then he discovered grass.  I might add that in the nine years he was with me he never did his business in the house.

Alas, it was his six-month birthday, and his first time to the groomer, which I found that he had to be calmed down by medicine to get groomed.  It was not too long until the Vet announced that he was out of this world’s atmosphere with anxiety.  He had “MaMa” withdrawal big time when he was not with me.  He would bark for half-an-hour before settling down to wait for me to come back from the store, gym, or anywhere I had gone!  He disliked children, anyone less than teenagers.  He loved every adult he met.  He begins life attached to my hip and me to his.

Mason loved paper products; he would wait patiently to see if anyone would drop a Kleenex, paper towel, or napkin.  The pursuit would begin chasing a four-legged speed demon around the floor, me never winning.  We called him the Tasmanian devil, and he looked like it when he tried to defend his catch of the day.  It was impossible to go on vacation without him; he would stay with one of his two-legged siblings.  Of course, that was only for one day, he would accept his situation for about twenty-four-hours, then once again turn into the Tasmanian devil, the telephones would ring trying to find him another place to stay, he traveled back and forth from house to house until my return.  A chore to his brothers and sisters, but finally he must have thought he had caused enough trouble for me to return home, and he did.

He loved everyone he met except children, let me explain; when he was six-months-old I took him to the park.  On the playground were about a dozen small children, when they spied him, they came running.  He jumped up for me to protect him, and that was that.  He loved his favorite human friends and his family.

He was the best companion anyone could have; his personality was so individual those who would see him thought he would start talking at any moment.  He look intently at you when you were talking, always smiling.  He thought he was a Great Dane when in his protection mode, but a clap of lighting and boisterous thunder would send him under my feet.  He loved to walk; he loved all the trees on his block and several other blocks.

I won’t describe Mason’s death other than it was quick and painless, he got to spend one day saying good-bye to his two-legged brothers and sisters.  We covered our faces and our tears and sadness until we walked away, he knew.  As his MaMa, I watched him go from a lively, wonderful, sweet little dog to one that was holding on to every minute waiting for his family to arrive.  There are not enough words for me to describe the heartache and loneliness with him gone.

My heart feels much like a patchwork quilt, many little pieces sewn back together after being shattered.  Saying good-bye, he took a piece of my heart and soul with him.  I know that I will see him again, that is the only thing I have to hold on to this moment.   And, that is how I am living my life one moment at a time until I see my four-legged fur baby again.  He loved and he was loved.

Sweet dreams little boy.

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How we become so attached to our dogs. Elizabeth not only was beautifully attached to Mason but also wrote perfect words in her tribute.

So who is Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree?

This is her biography but it doesn’t really tell me who she is; in a feeling, living, emotional sense. I suspect one has to read her writings to learn more.

Born in Alabama to a Native American father and an emotionally absent mother.
Raised by her father, her Native American Great-grandmother, her Aunt, and an African-American woman, all magnificent storytellers.  Her childhood was filled with listening to the stories her great-grandmother would tell about the grandfathers and grandmothers that perished on the Trail of Tears, of she and the grandmother living in the slave quarters in northern Alabama.
Aunt Francis needed a home when her son went to prison, she would tell the stories of her parents being slaves and how she survived the Civil War.  Aunt Vina, her father’s sister a fantastic storyteller; she could bring together characters and build a story that would have you at the edge of your chair, only to find it was all fiction.
As a child, Elizabeth ran free in the woods, fields, and the caves below Burleson Mountain where she grew up.  Elizabeth has been writing all of her life, seriously since 2010.  She has published a memoir about her daughter who passed in 2010; a small coffee table book filled with pictures of her precious Mason, and ten books of poetry.  Her poetry is filled with happiness, sadness, spirit, and anger. The memoir is the private life of her daughter, living with bipolar, and schizophrenia.  The books of poetry range from light to darkness that appeared during the creation of each book.

That is a special post, as I said at the start.

I look forward immensely to sharing with you Elizabeth’s poetry.

Haircut!

How hard could it be, really? Just a few snips here and there should do it.

I hadn’t intended to publish a post for today. But then I saw Stephen Messenger’s post over at The Dodo and I thought that it was far too good not to share with you.

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Well-Meaning Mom Decides To Try Cutting Dog’s Hair Herself

“I fell on the floor laughing.”

By Stephen Messenger
Published on 8/15/2020

How hard could it be, really? Just a few snips here and there should do it.

That, apparently, was what one well-meaning dog mom thought when she decided to cut her dog’s overgrown hair herself at home.

And, well, you’ll see how that turned out.

SUSANA SOARES

The other week, Susana Soares was hanging out with her dog, Mano, when she realized his hair had gotten rather overgrown. It’d been a while since Mano had been to the groomers, and his shag was becoming a bit of an issue.

“Hair was getting in his eyes,” Soares told The Dodo.

Mano wasn’t loving it.

SUSANA SOARES

Soares, who’s actually worked as a hair stylist for humans, figured that taming Mano’s unruly mane would be no sweat.

“I decided to cut his hair at home,” she said.

So, Soares grabbed some scissors and got down to business — and this is what resulted:

SUSANA SOARES

Soares had solved Mano’s hair-in-the-eyes issues sure enough.

She gave him bangs — bangs that inadvertently gave Mano a questionable new look.

It was almost as if the little dog had cut his bangs himself. Without a mirror.

SUSANA SOARES

Mano didn’t have to ask Soares how she thought his new ‘do’ turned out.

“I fell on the floor laughing,” she said.

SUSANA SOARES

Did the cut look ridiculous? Yes, of course it did. But Mano’s not vain. He could see clearly again, after all.

“He likes it,” Soares said.

Fortunately, when tussled, Mano’s haircut looks less silly. If only slightly so.

SUSANA SOARES

Despite how things turned out, Soares did have the best intentions — and that’s what matters most.

SUSANA SOARES

Bad haircuts come and go. And thankfully, in time, Mano’s bangs will grow back into a more natural look.

When it comes time to trim them again, Soares plans to keep her scissors in the drawer and leave it to the pros.

“I will not be repeating that!” she said.

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See what I mean. This was a delightful story and I really have nothing to add other than joining in with the laughter!

Wonderful story of a reunited dog and its owner.

This is just a beautiful story!

Dog lovers have two fears in their hearts: their dog dying and their dog going missing.

I think in many ways a dog going missing is the more difficult of the two to handle. There are so many questions unanswered!

So when The Dodo published this story earlier this Summer I immediately put it in my ‘blog’ folder. Somehow I overlooked the story but that is remedied today!

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Dog Is Overjoyed To Reunite With His Mom After 2 Years Apart.

“[He] looked me straight in the eyes as if he was saying, ‘I gotta see that this is really you.’”

By Lily Feinn
Published on 7/1/2020.
Two years ago, Linda Harmon’s beloved dog Twixx went missing from her yard.

Twixx had been a bit of an escape artist, known for digging tunnels under the fence. That’s how he ended up with a little scar on the top of his head.

Harmon’s husband had recently installed metal posts around the fence making it impossible for Twixx to get out. After checking the gate and the fence, they couldn’t find any signs of tampering — it was as if Twixx had just disappeared.

Linda Harmon

Harmon began searching the neighborhood, making posters, posting on Facebook and checking with the local animal control. Then a woman who had been following Twixx’s story on Facebook reached out to Harmon via text.

“She said, ‘I’m so sorry to send you this, but I found your Twixx. He’s been hit on the side of the road and here’s his picture,’” Harmon told The Dodo. The woman sent Harmon a photo of the top of the dog’s head, and there was Twixx’s little scar.

Linda Harmon

Harmon reported Twixx as deceased to the microchip company, but still had difficulty accepting that he was really gone. “I never truly believed it in my heart,” Harmon said. “My husband said, ‘You’ve got to let this go. You’re grieving over him.’ But I said I would never get another dog and I didn’t for two years.”

Then, earlier this month, Harmon was sitting with her church group when a miracle happened — she received a call from the local animal shelter asking if she had ever owned a chipped pet.

“I just started bawling. I was crying endlessly, and I was around quite a few church members and they rushed to me, thinking I had bad news,” Harmon said. “But when they looked at me I was smiling.”

FACEBOOK/MOBILE COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER

After so long apart, Harmon worried that Twixx wouldn’t remember her. And the last thing she wanted was to make her dog feel scared or uncomfortable.

So the shelter came up with a plan: When Harmon came to pick up Twixx, they would hold him behind the gate while she called his name, and shelter staffers would watch the dog’s reaction.

FACEBOOK/MOBILE COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER

When Twixx arrived at the shelter gate, Harmon began to gently say his nickname — Tootaroota — and as soon as the dog heard her, he put his snout on the ground as if sniffing for his mom.

“Finally, when I bellowed out ‘Twixx’ he ran to the gate and stood at attention,” Harmon said. “And I heard the lady say, ‘Let him out because he’s trying to find her.’”

As soon as they opened the gate, Twixx turned the corner and ran straight to his mom. It was as if he remembered every minute they had spent together, and the two years apart faded away.

“He couldn’t stop wiggling — oh my goodness — and he just jumped on me,” Harmon said. “Then he laid his head in my arms and looked me straight in the eyes as if he was saying, ‘I gotta see that this is really you.’”

FACEBOOK/MOBILE COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER

Soon everyone watching the reunion had tears in their eyes — including Harmon.

Now, Twixx is home safe and sound with the family that loves him. And he hasn’t dug another hole since.

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Dogs store the scents of humans that have loved them forever. In a very real sense it is part of their memory system albeit it is very different to the memories that you and I have. For dogs have a scenting ability, call in a nose, that is 100 million times better than ours. It is impossible for us humans to truly comprehend what that means to a dog.

But Twixx demonstrated this superbly because the first thing he did was to “put his snout on the ground as if sniffing for his mom.

So many stories about our wonderful dogs!