Category: People

A life on the commons.

The message of common land.

I am far from certain but I have this notion in my head that ‘Common Land’ is an English thing. Here’s a Wikipedia extract:

Common land is land owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel.[1]

A person who has a right in, or over, common land jointly with another or others is called a commoner.[2]

This article deals mainly with common land in England, Wales and Scotland. Although the extent is much reduced due to enclosure of common land from the millions of acres that existed until the 17th century, a considerable amount of common land still exists, particularly in upland areas, and there are over 7,000 registered commons in England alone.[3][4]

Common land or former common land is usually referred to as a common; for instance, Clapham Common or Mungrisdale Common.

Despite the idea of common land having an English ‘ring’ to it common land is also found in the USA. Back to that Wikipedia reference:

Common land, an English development, was used in many former British colonies, for example in Ireland and the United States. The North American colonies adopted the English laws in establishing their own commons. A famous example is the New Haven Green in New Haven, Connecticut.

When I was living in Devon it was not unusual to take a walk with Pharaoh on some very famous open access land: Dartmoor.

Dartmoor: English countryside at its best.

So where the devil am I going with today’s post?

Last Thursday week, the 12th, I published my review of George Monbiot’s valuable book Out Of The Wreckage.

This book struck me as the most important book I have ever read in my lifetime. Why? Because it gets to the heart of what is happening today. But it offers even more than that. For instead of a shrug of the shoulders or eyes turned skywards from a friend when one mutters about the fact that we are living in ‘interesting times’, George Monbiot offers hope and guidance.

The day after I published my review George Monbiot published an article in The Guardian newspaper that threw more light on the commons philosophy and why, as in his book, he “offers hope and guidance”.

It is republished here with Mr. Monbiot’s generous permission. Yes, the focus is on British politics but GM’s core message applies equally to the USA and other countries.

ooOOoo

Labouratory

13th October 2017

We should use the political space being opened by the Labour resurgence to develop a new, participatory economy

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th October 2017

We are still living in the long 20th Century. We are stuck with its redundant technologies: the internal combustion engine; thermal power plants; factory farms. We are stuck with its redundant politics: unfair electoral systems; their capture by funders and lobbyists; the failure to temper representation with real participation.

And we are stuck with its redundant economics: neoliberalism, and the Keynesianism still proposed by its opponents. While the latter system worked very well for 30 years or more, it is hard to see how it can take us through this century, not least because the growth it seeks to sustain smacks headlong into the environmental crisis.

Sustained economic growth on a planet that is not growing means crashing through environmental limits: this is what we are witnessing, worldwide, today. A recent paper in Nature puts our current chances of keeping global heating to less than 1.5°C of at just 1%, and less than 2° at only 5%. Why? Because while the carbon intensity of economic activity is expected to decline by 1.9% a year, global per capita GDP is expected to grow by 1.8%. Almost all investment in renewables and efficiency is cancelled out. GDP, the index that was supposed to measure our prosperity, instead measures our progress towards ruin.

But the great rupture that began in 2008 offers a chance to change all this. The challenge now is to ensure that the new political movements threatening established power in Britain and elsewhere create the space not for old ideas (such as 20th Century Keynesianism) but for a new politics, built on new economic and social foundations.

There may be a case for one last hurrah for the old model: a technological shift that resembles the Second World War’s military Keynesianism. In 1941, the US turned the entire civilian economy around on a dime: within months, car manufacturers were producing planes, tanks and ammunition. A determined government could do something similar in response to climate breakdown: a sudden transformation, replacing our fossil economy. But having effected such a conversion, it should, I believe, then begin the switch to a different economic model.

The new approach could start with the idea of private sufficiency and public luxury. There is not enough physical or environmental space for everyone to enjoy private luxury: if everyone in London acquired a tennis court, a swimming pool, a garden and a private art collection, the city would cover England. Private luxury shuts down space, creating deprivation. But magnificent public amenities – wonderful parks and playgrounds, public sports centres and swimming pools, galleries, allotments and public transport networks – create more space for everyone, at a fraction of the cost.

Wherever possible, I believe such assets should be owned and managed by neither state nor market, but by communities, in the form of commons. A commons in its true form is a non-capitalist system, in which a resource is controlled in perpetuity by a community, for the shared and equal benefit of its members. A possible model is the commons transition plan commissioned by the Flemish city of Ghent.

Land value taxation also has transformative potential. It can keep the income currently siphoned out of our pockets in the form of rent – then out of the country and into tax havens – within our hands. It can reduce land values, bringing down house prices. While local and national government should use some of the money to fund public services, the residue can be returned to communities.

Couple this with a community right to buy, enabling communities to use this money to acquire their own land, with local commons trusts that possess powers to assemble building sites, and with a new right for prospective buyers and tenants to plan their own estates, and exciting things begin to happen. This could be a formula for meeting housing need, delivering public luxury and greatly enhancing the sense of community, self-reliance and taking back control. It helps to create what I call the Politics of Belonging.

But it doesn’t stop there. The rents accruing to commons trusts could be used to create a local version of the citizens’ wealth funds (modelled on the sovereign wealth funds in Alaska and Norway) proposed by Angela Cummine and Stewart Lansley. The gain from such funds could be distributed in the form of a local basic income.

And the money the government still invests? To the greatest extent possible, I believe it should be controlled by participatory budgeting. In the Brazilian city of Porto Allegre, the infrastructure budget is allocated by the people: around 50,000 citizens typically participate. The results – better water, sanitation, health, schools and nurseries – have been so spectacular that large numbers of people now lobby the city council to raise their taxes. When you control the budget, you can see the point of public investment.

In countries like the UK, we could not only adopt this model, but extend it beyond the local infrastructure budget to other forms of local and even national spending. The principle of subsidiarity – devolving powers to the smallest political unit that can reasonably discharge them – makes such wider democratic control more feasible.

All this would be framed within a system such as Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics which, instead of seeking to maximise growth, sets a lower bound of wellbeing below which no one should fall, and an upper bound of environmental limits, that economic life should not transgress. A participatory economics could be accompanied by participatory politics, involving radical devolution and a fine-grained democratic control over the decisions affecting our lives – but I will leave that for another column.

Who could lead this global shift? It could be the UK Labour Party. It is actively seeking new ideas. It knows that the bigger the change it offers, the greater the commitment of the volunteers on which its insurgency relies: the Big Organising model that transformed Labour’s fortunes at the last election requires a big political offer. (This is why Ed Miliband’s attempts to create a grassroots uprising failed).

Could Labour be the party that brings the long 20th Century to an end? I believe, despite its Keynesian heritage, it could. Now, more than at any other time in the past few decades, it has a chance to change the world.

http://www.monbiot.com

ooOOoo

Muddy rambles by Dartmoor Cross on Dartmoor.

The above photo was first seen on the South Downs Walking website.

All of you and all of your dogs have a wonderful weekend.

Life-giving water!

Funny how the world goes around!

Why do I write that?

Well during the last week I was referred by my local doctor to see a urologist in connection with a query regarding my ‘back end’. Dr. N, the urologist pointed out that the human body, especially the brain, places such demands on ensuring that water is readily available (non-scientific description!) that it will ‘steal’ water from the bowel. Ergo, when I do my bike rides in the morning I was told to drink the water that I carry with me but previously have not been consuming. For even my hour’s ride three times a week will cause sufficient perspiration that other parts of my body will remove water from my bowel.

All of which seems more than sufficient introduction to today’s post that I first read on the Care 2 site.

ooOOoo

Is Your Dog Drinking Enough Water?

By: Abigail Geer October 14, 2017

About Abigail

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on June 14, 2015. Enjoy!
Water makes up around 80 percent of a dog’s body. It’s essential for optimum health — for both humans and pets — but how much is enough for our pets? And is there such thing as too much water?

Looking after an animal is a major responsibility, since they depend on humans for their needs. We tend to assume that as long as we provide our dogs with a water bowl, they will drink the necessary amount, but unfortunately this is not always true.

Some dogs are under-hydrated, while others may drink too much. Here’s what every pet owner should know about hydration.

Water’s Vital Role in the Body

Water is the basis of life, as it hydrates, nourishes and cleanses the body. While your dog can survive for a long time without food, insufficient water consumption can seriously damage the body. In a relatively short period of time, just a 10 percent drop in hydration can be fatal.

From mental alertness and ease of breathing, to optimum digestion and bowel movements, every metabolic process in a dog’s body will be affected by its level of hydration.

Blood flow pumps oxygen through the body and removes toxins, but poor hydration can lead to a buildup of toxins in the muscles and organs, causing a huge array of health issues. Dogs regulate their heat by panting, and this heavy breath causes a lot of moisture to leave the body — especially on hot days or while exercising.

Lack of water can result in dehydration, organ failure and kidney stones or other urinary tract problems, but apart from these direct health issues, insufficient water intake can be an indicator of existing problems.

Water Consumption Can Be a Health Indicator

Dogs who are not drinking enough water or who have an insatiable thirst could be displaying signs of more serious health problems — and that’s why it’s essential to keep a close eye on their drinking habits.

Dogs with illnesses such as parvovirus, pancreatitis and leptospirois — as well as many others — do not tend to drink much water, so if you notice that your dog is barely drinking anything, it may be worth taking them for a check-up. On the flip side, dogs with bladder infections, diabetes and Cushing’s disease — among others — are often extremely thirsty and can be observed drinking excessive amounts of water.

While it’s important to monitor how much your dog is drinking, remember to keep things in perspective with their other behaviors, temperature conditions and so on, so that you don’t become overly concerned every time your dog has a big drink of water!

So How Much Water Does Your Dog Need?

A dog’s water needs vary from breed to breed, and they also depend on size, age, diet, activity level and environmental conditions.

The recommended water intake for a dog is approximately one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight, per day.

Your dog’s diet will play a big role in the amount of water that it needs to consume. For instance, dogs who solely eat dry biscuits or kibble will get significantly less hydration from their food than those on moisture-rich diets.

During the hot weather, if your dog is very thirsty after a long walk or play session, it’s a good idea to let him or her rehydrate over an extended period of time, rather than letting the dog guzzle down too much water at once.

If your dog finishes all the water in its bowl, wait for half an hour before refilling it, so that your pup has time to rest and digest. You can also help keep dogs hydrated during exercise by giving them access to water — little and often is best.

To test whether your dog may be dehydrated, you can lift the skin on the back of the neck and watch to see how quickly it returns to its normal position. If it forms a sort of tent, and doesn’t fall back into place immediately, then your dog may be dehydrated.

Nobody knows your dog better than you, and by keeping a close eye on your dog’s behavior you can tell if he or she is happy and healthy — or showing signs of dehydration or illness. Regularly monitoring water intake should become a habit, as it can tell you a lot about your dog’s health and wellness.

Photo Credit: ThePatronSaint

ooOOoo

Thus picking up on that recommended water intake, a 20lb dog should be drinking 20 oz of water a day. And for your reference:

USA system: 16 USA ounces to the USA pint
Imperial system (old British system): 20 imperial fluid ounces to the imperial pint

So Brandy, who weighs in at 140 lbs, should be drinking 8.75 US pints or more than 1 gallon of water a day!

Our Brandy!

Back to what you and I should be drinking? Sound advice in this Mayo Clinic article (that includes this):

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Cheers!

Out Of The Wreckage: A Review

This is one powerful book!

(Please note that I am letting this post run until Sunday, 15th Oct.)

For many years I have both read George Monbiot’s writings, especially those published by The Guardian newspaper, and deeply respected his insight, intelligence and analysis of the world in which we now live.

So when I heard of his latest book, published by Verso Books both sides of the ‘pond’, it was ordered immediately. It was a book I badly wanted to read. I was not disappointed.

So what is Mr. Monbiot’s message?

To answer that question let me lean on a forthcoming talk being given by him in Edinburgh in eight days time. For he is speaking at a Scottish Green Party event on October 20th.
Here’s the thrust of what is to be covered at that meeting:

What does the good life—and the good society—look like in the twenty-first century?

A toxic ideology rules the world – of extreme competition and individualism. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. Only a positive vision can replace it, a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better world.

Join us for an evening of discussion with George Monbiot as he talks about his new book: ‘Out of the wreckage: a new politics in an age of crisis‘. New findings in psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology cast human nature in a radically different light: as the supreme altruists and cooperators. George argues that we can build on these findings to create a new politics: a ‘politics of belonging’.

So what does this mean for social and environmental justice campaigning in Edinburgh? How do we create a politics of belongings here in Scotland? There will be plenty of opportunity for George Monbiot and the audience to share their insights.

Doors open: 6pm

George Monbiot will speak from 7-7.30pm and there will then be a Q&A, plus a chance buy books, mingle and browse stalls.

This event is jointly hosted by Global Justice Now and the Scottish Green party.

To my mind, this book not only addresses, full on, the madness (my word) of these present times but also offers strong, positive recommendations as to how we, as in the societies of all the major nations, can turn it around and offer a decent future for future generations. That’s why I am so strongly recommending it.

Take this extract from the review of George Monbiot’s book published by the Guardian newspaper on the 14th September this year:

For George Monbiot, neoliberalism should best be understood as a “story”, one that was conveniently on offer at precisely the moment when the previous “story” – namely Keynesianism – fell to pieces in the mid-1970s. The power of stories is overwhelming, as they are “the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals”. The particular story of neoliberalism “defines us as competitors, guided above all other impulses by the urge to get ahead of our fellows”.

Or this extract from the review published by The New Statesman:

It should be said at once that we are desperately in need of new ideas for a society and a democracy where trust in all established institutions is at a record low and even a Tory prime minister admits the country doesn’t work for everyone. Monbiot’s ideas are clear, well-reasoned and sometimes compelling. Many will mock his attempt at a “story of hope and restoration”; even some of his Guardian colleagues call him “George Moonshine”. Human beings, his critics will say, are inherently selfish and self-maximising. Give them the opportunity to freeload off others’ efforts and they will take it.

Such objections are easily dismissed. Yes, there’s a self-interested streak in all of us but, as Monbiot observes, we also have instincts for co-operation and sensitivity to others’ needs. Think of the hundreds who volunteer to run food banks and of the thousands more who donate to them. Think of those Europeans who, at great risk to themselves, sheltered Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. The altruistic instinct can be kindled in almost anybody. It is suppressed, however, in a society that rewards the selfish but penalises – and brands as “mugs” – those who are more mindful of our needs, and the planet’s. That society has led to loneliness, high levels of mental illness and increasingly discordant political discourse. Shouldn’t we at least try developing a society that does more to nurture the better angels of our nature?

Better still, settle down with a cup of tea, put your feet up for fifteen minutes and listen to this:

This book struck me as the most important book I have ever read in my lifetime. Why? Because it gets to the heart of what is happening today. But it offers even more than that. For instead of a shrug of the shoulders or eyes turned skywards from a friend when one mutters about the fact that we are living in ‘interesting times’, George Monbiot offers hope and guidance.

Take the very last two paragraphs from the final chapter of his book.

Coming Home to Ourselves

Through restoring community, renewing civic life and claiming our place in the world, we build a society in which our extraordinary nature – our altruism, empathy and deep connection – is released.

When we emerge from the age of loneliness and alienation, from an obsession with competition and extreme individualism, from the worship of image and celebrity and power and wealth, we will find a person waiting for us. It is a person better than we might have imagined, whose real character has been suppressed. It is one who lives inside us, who has been there all along.

“- our altruism, empathy and deep connection -”

I see these persons every day of my life. Via the pages of this blog.

Yes, I am referring to all of you who wander in and out of this place, who demonstrate your compassion, your love and your dedication to the dogs and all the other animals of this world.

Read this book!

Too many dogs are being killed!

A plea to choose a shelter dog before other sources!

Of the six dogs that we have here at home only one, Cleo, came to us from a breeder. That was because we specifically wanted a GSD puppy to be a playmate for Pharaoh as he was getting into his final years.

Pharaoh demonstrating his benevolent status with puppy Cleo. April 2012.

The other five are all dogs that we took from rescue shelters or, in the case of Brandy, from a couple that couldn’t handle such a big dog despite him being the most placid and loving dog one could ever come across.

The Care2 blogsite recently published an article that hammered home the reasons why everyone should (nay, must!) consider a shelter dog first.

Please read and share this. For the sake of those thousands of dogs that never have the joy of loving owners in their lives.

ooOOoo

6 Common Myths About Shelter Animals (and the Truth About Them)

Adopting a dog doesn’t mean you’re inheriting someone else’s problem. Learn the truth and some common myths about shelter animals.

It’s a sad fact that each year approximately 670,000 dogs are euthanized in animal shelters across the United States. It happens because too many dogs enter the shelter and too few people consider adoption when it comes to getting a new pet. Many buy into one of the most common myths that when you adopt a dog from a shelter you are inheriting someone else’s problem.

The truth is that shelters and rescues are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelter pets are surrendered because of a human problem like a move or a divorce, not because the animals did anything wrong. Many are already housetrained and used to living with families.

“When you adopt a shelter dog you are most likely bringing home a dog who has good manners, is leash trained and knows some commands,” said Ellen Ribitzki, kennel manager for the Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society (B.A.S.S.) in New Jersey.  “In addition, shelter dogs are temperament tested so adopters will have an idea of a pet’s personality―whether he/she gets along with other dogs or with cats and young children.”

In late August the Herrera family visited B.A.S.S. to find a companion for their rescue dog, Charlie. The family had just lost their beloved Roxy, a 12-year-old boxer, and all of them―including Charlie―were mourning the loss.

“We started visiting our local shelters because we know what love rescue dogs can give,” Robin Herrera said.  “We knew that we didn’t want a puppy but we were looking for a dog young enough to be playful. We also knew that Charlie had to approve of the new dog.”

At B.A.S.S. they fell in love with Sophia, an 18-month-old German shorthair pointer mix, an energetic fun-loving and playful dog. Luckily Charlie approved and Sophia is now a much-loved addition to the family.

The Herrera family fell in love with Sophia, a German shorthaired pointer mix, for adoption at the Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter in NJ.
Image courtesy of the Robin Herrera

“Sophia and Charlie are constantly hunting for chipmunks in our yard,” Herrera said. “They love long walks together and enjoy snuggling with us at night.”

Ribitzki said that dogs are rarely returned to B.A.S.S., and when it does happens it’s because of health or life changes―for example, allergies or a job change―and not behavioral issues.

“The majority of dogs and cats are surrendered to B.A.S.S. by heartbroken owners in tears because they can no longer care for their beloved pet,” Ribitzki said. “Unfortunately, with the recent catastrophic hurricanes, there will be a lot more animals impacted and more demands on rescues and shelters.”

Shelter dog Sophia (standing) was recently adopted by the Herrera family in New Jersey and has become a loving member of the household.
Image courtesy: Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and a perfect time to help dogs in shelters across the country find loving forever homes. If you’re thinking of adding a dog to the family, please consider adopting your next animal companion.

6 Common Myths about Shelter Animals

Myth #1: Dogs only end up in shelters because they have behavior problems or are sick.

Truth: Some dogs do end up in shelters and rescue groups because their owners can’t handle their perceived behavior problems (which may be as easy to fix as an older puppy reluctant to housebreaking), but most of them end up in shelters because of a combination of these reasons:

  • They were strays―either they never had a home or they ran away and their owners didn’t reclaim them.
  • The owner moved and couldn’t take his/her pet along.
  • Owners were too busy to take care of their pets, or couldn’t afford to due to job loss or medical emergencies.
  • Owners didn’t know how to train their pet to behave appropriately.
  • Owners got rid of their pet when their baby was born.
  • Owner or family members developed allergies to the pet.
  • The pet required a medical procedure that the owner couldn’t afford.
  • Owners and their family simply lost interest in the pet, this is especially true for older puppies.

Myth #2: You never know what you’re getting with a shelter or rescue pet.

Truth: When you deal with a reputable shelter or rescue group that gets all vetting done―spay/neuter, vaccinations, deworming and heartworm preventative―and temperament tests all of their adoptable pets, you do know what you’re getting!

Myth #3: You have to start the bonding process when your pet is a baby.

Truth: Rescued pets are often noted as being “grateful” for their new lease on life. Forming a bond with an animal whose life you saved comes naturally for most people. Dogs become attached to the people who take care of their basic needs, no matter when those people came into their lives.

Forming a bond with an animal whose life you saved comes naturally for most people.
Image credit: Thinkstock

Myth #4: Shelter animals are not as clean as pet store animals.

Truth: Not only is this untrue, but the conditions of many breeding facilities or puppy mills (which supply pet stores that sell dogs) are nothing short of horrific. Puppies born in puppy mills are usually removed from their mothers at just 6 weeks old and are housed in overcrowded and unsanitary wire-floored cages, without adequate veterinary care, food or water.

Myth #5: Adopting big or very strong dogs is a bad idea if you have little children.

Truth: There’s no evidence that big dogs are more likely than small dogs to harm children. A dog’s behavior is a function of many factors including breeding, socialization, training, environment and treatment by owners.

Myth #6: Getting animals from breeders is safer because the breeders know the animal’s bloodline and family history.

Truth: As a result of their breeding, purebred dogs very often have genetic disorders and medical issue predispositions, certainly no less often than shelter dogs. Also, while bloodlines and histories are useful tools to assess an animal’s value, they are limited in terms of predicting behavior. On the other hand, shelters are motivated to save lives and make strong matches. Some use science and sophisticated tools to appropriately pair up animals and owners and are happy to share everything they know about each animal.

Sources: Second Chance for Pets in Clinton, IL, and the ASPCA

The Humane Society of the United States offers the top reasons to adopt a pet.

ooOOoo

Did you notice that link on the very last line of this article, the one regarding The Humane Society offering the reasons why everyone should adopt? If that link was followed then one would read the most important reason to adopt a pet (my emphasis):

Because you’ll save a life.

Each year, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save a loving animal by making them part of your family and open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.

Because you will save a life!

Well done HSUS!

Here’s what HSUS are doing for the poor dogs out in Puerto Rico.

From time to time we do donate a few cents to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) because their size and huge support from so many people does allow them to step up to the really big needs.

And Hurricane Maria certainly left a big need in its wake for dogs.

So a recent item that was published over on Mother Nature Network just had to be shared with you all.

ooOOoo

Hundreds of dogs are being airlifted out of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

One beach famous for its stray dogs is now hauntingly empty.

Christian Cotroneo, October 3, 2017.

The HSUS Animal Rescue Team (ART) assists with animal rescue and response following Hurricane Maria on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP Images for The HSUS)

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, hundreds of dogs, as well as cats, horses and even a few pigs, are getting off the island.

Several rescue groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, have waded into the breach to rescue some of the island’s most defenseless residents: its burgeoning population of stray dogs, as well as those currently in shelters.

HSUS has a history with the territory, helping with law enforcement training and horse care, and working closely with animal shelters across the island.

“Since the storm hit, we’ve been doing our best to stay in contact, given the communication challenges, with all of our shelter partners and other partners on the island,” Inga Fricke, director of pet retention programs for HSUS, tells MNN.

Puppies under a house in Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP Images for The HSUS)

This week, the organization — with help from partners like Wings of Rescue and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center — began airlifting dogs from stressed island shelters to a processing center in New Jersey.

“They get vetted there, get the care they need and then get parceled out to other partners around the country,” Fricke says.

Not every animal survived Maria’s onslaught. Notably, a southeast corner of the island once teeming with strays — nicknamed “Dead Dog Beach” — was found to be desolate when rescuers arrived.

“We’re hearing from our rescuers who have a feeding area where they go every day and we are hearing that most of those dogs have perished,” Twig Mowatt, co-founder of All Sato Rescue, tells MNN.

While the organization is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mowatt is just outside of Boston, coordinating with the Humane Society of Puerto Rico to get vulnerable dogs airlifted to the mainland.

“I’m kind of like an air traffic controller these days,” she says. “My group is largely rescue and transport but we partner with the humane society for those really badly affected.”

“We were able to get dogs out on Friday and then yesterday,” Mowatt adds.

John Peaveler, an inspector with HSUS, does a field inspection in Vieques. (Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP Images for The HSUS)

Described as “apocalyptic,” the hurricane left much of the island in the dark, without electricity or communications. And while the humanitarian relief effort is ongoing — much of the island was still without power in early October — the search for animals in distress may be even more complicated.

With an estimated 150,000 dogs in Puerto Rico and not enough animal shelters, there’s no space for dogs found roaming at large. As a result, many of them are put down immediately.

A crated dog is prepared for transport to New Jersey. (Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP Images for The HSUS)

“We have even done several transports, even just this year, to try and alleviate some of the overcrowding and the pressures on the shelters across the island,” Fricke explains.

“But certainly our focus now, after the hurricane, is to try and remove as many of the sheltered animals as possible so we can allow them to make room for animals that unfortunately have been affected by the storm and can’t be kept by their families any more for any reason.”

If you would like to help HSUS in its efforts to to save Puerto Rico’s displaced animals, consider making a donation here.

ooOOoo

That’s a great way to end the week. See you all on Sunday!

Return to the movies!

Another movie, another dog! Correction: another world-famous dog!

Monday’s post Hail the Hero was about Max.

Max, a feature film by the producers of the doggie classic Marley and Me, intends to explore a soldier dog’s journey that doesn’t end with this heartbreaking image of a pup chasing down his fallen brother, but rather begins with it.

So it’s rather nice to welcome a guest post from Emily Ridgewell that features a dog that became known far and wide thanks to television and the cinema.

ooOOoo

An Incredible Rescue: An Often Forgotten “Tail” From The Golden Age Of Hollywood

By Emily Ridgewell

In the shadow of recent world tragedies, and long before cute puppies and kittens graced the internet, there were former movie legends in the form of incredible canines that found their way onto the big screen in the golden age of Hollywood. Think of adorable dogs like Toto from The Wizard of Oz or Lassie from many different types of these movies and television shows.

But there’s another “tail” (pardon the pun) about a German Shepherd named Rin Tin Tin who stole America’s heart and eventually had millions of fans all around the world long before the advent of the internet. Few of us today know the real-life story of this precious little puppy who was rescued from a war zone long before Toto or Lassie gained their fame and fortune as canine celebrities.

According to a historically-related biography published long-after this rag-tag dog shot to fame in the late twenties and early thirties, there was a young American soldier stationed in Europe shortly before the end of World War I. Corporal Lee Duncan was traipsing through the aftermath of formerly German-occupied farming village in France when he came across a single building, actually it was a kennel, that remained somewhat intact after a devastating bombing had leveled the entire town.

After cautiously entering the building, the young trooper painfully walked over more than a dozen dead German Shepherd dogs. These canine soldiers were trained for combat and left behind by the Third Reich. Corporal Duncan heard whimpering coming from deeper inside this solitary structure and continued on with his mission. To his amazement, Lee discovered some unlikely survivors of this terrible tragedy.

AFTER THE UNTHINKABLE – LIVING & LOVABLE

Lying in the rubble, there Lee saw a female shepard with five young puppies who were just a few days old. Corporal Duncan was no stranger to abandonment since his own father had left him and his mother to fend for themselves back in 1898. Just a year later, his Mom took him and a younger sibling to an orphanage. Perhaps this tugged on his heartstrings and he couldn’t leave behind this young family so he took them all underneath his wing.

He took the entire brood back to his barracks in a living and loving rescue effort. The young Corporal quickly realized he couldn’t care for all of them and found loving homes for all but two of the pups. He kept a little boy and girl, named them Nanette and Rin Tin Tin, both titles given to good luck charms found in France.

THE CANINES AFTER CHAOS

Lee continued to care for his beloved best buddies as the chaos of the war continued. After the conflict had concluded, Corporal Duncan was bound and determined to take his little war refugees home with him. Imagine the red-tape he was faced with and, long story short, he lost Nanette to pneumonia after bringing them both home to the states.

The WWI veteran got a job in his home state of California and began training Rin Tin Tin to perform some tricks in their spare time. After some filming occurred, the former Corporal wrote a screenplay and the rest (as they say) is history.

There’s an old saying (later turned into a Beatles song – also from many days gone by) that rings true in this case, you “Can’t Buy Me Love.” And that’s the whole point.

You can’t purchase the love and affection of an animal, but if you rescue one, you’ll find unconditional love that lasts forever. You might not become rich and famous after rescuing an animal, but you’ll never find a deeper love and connection with your four-legged best friend.

ooOOoo

Emily Ridgewell is an arts professional and a pet enthusiast from sunny LA. Emily has a creative energy and an aesthetic sense of living, where everything beautiful is worth sharing. She loves her yorkie Olivia and writes original and fun articles on ways to learn and improve your pet-best friend’s life. She finds exciting new things to explore and experience! Don’t forget to connect with her on Twitter: @ridgewell_j

Picking up on that ‘old saying’ with regard to The Beatles makes it easy to close today’s post. (And sorry if this makes some of you feel old!)

Here’s a little bit of music history:

Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 29 January; 25 February; 10 March 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick

Released: 20 March 1964 (UK), 16 March 1964 (US)

Can’t Buy Me Love was The Beatles’ sixth British single, released with the b-side You Can’t Do That. It was written while the group were in Paris for a 19-date residency at the city’s Olympia Theatre.

Ah! Nostalgia!

Book Two – Clarity at last!

This is where you all come in!!

From time to time I have let it be known that I had a second book stewing on the back burner. The title that had first come to me was: ‘Of Pets … And Of People’. The book idea and initial title had come to me from visits to our local Lincoln Road Vet Clinic where I had sat in on both Dr. Jim Goodbrod and Dr. Russel Codd as they saw pet patients. As I described it in my original post when I introduced the idea in June:

Some time ago, when we were visiting Lincoln Road, it struck me that the detail of what takes place ‘behind the counter’ of a busy vet clinic is most likely not commonly appreciated by those that visit said clinic.

I asked Russel one day if I might be allowed to spend time watching and listening to what goes on behind the scenes; so to speak. Russel said that he would be delighted for me to do that.

Dr. Jim at work

 

 

I subsequently started publishing posts under the general title of Visiting the Vet.

Back to the book.

Recently it came to me that the title was wrong. Because it didn’t speak directly to the potential reader about dogs.

So I came up with a different name: An Insight into Dogs and Owners.

Here is the Vision for this next book:

An examination of the world of the veterinary clinic including those who care professionally for our dogs and an insight into those people, from many varied backgrounds and circumstances, who have dogs in their own lives.

The first section, dipping into the extraordinary work that goes on in a modern vet’s clinic, is inspired by my belief that the majority of dog owners have very little idea of such work and the skills displayed by DVMs.

But let me move on by sharing with you the Introduction to the book. Firstly, these paragraphs:

There’s a tiny amount of domesticated wolf in all of us. The relationship between canids and humans goes back nearly 40,000 years, when dogs split away from wolves. With our dogs, we have traveled the ancient track from hunter-gatherers to modern humans. That track that in this 21st century sees us having untold numbers of dogs in our lives. In the USA alone there are: “In 2017, a total of about 89.7 million dogs lived in households in the United States as pets. In comparison, some 68 million dogs were owned in the United States in 2000.” 1

Yet a surprising number of those who have dogs as pets and are lovers of those same dogs admit to not really understanding what goes on behind the scenes in a busy veterinarian clinic. Yes, they know what happens when they take their dog to their vet but that view is almost certainly from the perspective of that dog and the specific reason why that animal had to to be seen by a vet.

An Insight into Dogs and Owners seeks to broaden the understanding of the reader to the range of treatments and procedures that are undertaken in a modern veterinarian clinic.

OK! More or less what I explained earlier on in this post.

But!!

But here’s where I do believe (fingers tightly crossed) many of you dear readers can help.

Back to the remaining part of that introduction:

But just as dogs do not live in isolation then nor do we humans. So the book sets out to explore the range of relationships that humans have with dogs. Perhaps better put as the book exploring the range of human circumstances that have led to people having a dog in their life. The homeless, those disabled persons who care for their dog, the service dogs that are, for example, the eyes and ears of the partially sighted and the hard-of-hearing. But not excluding exploring the relationship between police dogs and their handlers, those who work with cancer-sniffing dogs, and all the way through to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Public having a pet dog or two.

1The Statistics Portal

.. explore the range of relationships that humans have with dogs.

If, dear reader, you fancy working with me and can comfortably reply to the following questions, then I want to hear from you!

  1. Where were you born?
  2. Were there dogs in your family home from an early age?
  3. When did you first have a direct relationship with a dog?
  4. Describe that relationship.
  5. Do you presently have a dog in your life?
  6. And if so, what is the name of your dog and how did this dog come into your life?
  7. Finally, can you articulate more or less in a single sentence just what having a dog in your life means to you?

These questions can apply equally to persons who have a dog in their life as part of the family and to those who work with dogs in their professional lives, those who train dogs, hunt with dogs, and those who care for dogs.

If all of this hasn’t put you off then email me at paulhandover (…at…) gmail (…dot…) com putting ‘Book Two’ in the email title. I will then contact you directly looking at the best way to listen and record your answers to those questions.

THANK YOU!!

And we save dogs!

Only right that we save dogs as well.

(I couldn’t have asked for a better post to follow yesterday’s post on dogs saving us.)

As seen on the Lady Freethinker’s site.

ooOOoo

Tiny Dog Rescued from Mexico Rubble 6 Days After Quake

Posted by Nina Jackel | September 26, 2017

Six days after Mexico City was ravaged by an earthquake, there seemed little hope of finding anyone alive among the rubble.

But a Japanese rescue team was thrilled to find one more tiny survivor — a schnauzer, who they managed to pull from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building.

The lucky dog was checked out by vets, and had somehow managed to remain in good health. Authorities now hope to reunite the schnauzer with her family as soon as possible.

Thank you to rescuers who travelled from around the world to save lives — both human and animal — in the wake of this tragic disaster.

ooOOoo

The video and news item was carried by the New York Post and for reasons I am unsure about I couldn’t include the video in this post. But you can view that video by going here. Luckily other newspapers carried the wonderful event and the following photograph appeared in The Independent newspaper two days ago.

A schnauzer dog who survived the quake is pulled out of the rubble from a flattened building by rescuers in Mexico City 24 September. ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

My guess is that dogs and humans have been saving each other for thousands of years and long may it continue.

Dogs save us in many ways.

With the recent earthquakes in Mexico being a glorious example of that!

Nobody would have missed out on the news of the terrible catastrophe of the  recent earthquakes in Mexico.

As seen on the NBC news site.

Mexico Earthquake Death Toll Climbs as Dozens Sleep on Streets

JUCHITAN, Mexico — The death toll from one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico rose to at least 61 early Saturday as workers scrambled to respond to the destruction just as Hurricane Katia struck its coastline.

The 8.1 quake off the southern Pacific coast just before midnight Thursday toppled hundreds of buildings in several states. Hardest-hit was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where 36 people died and a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were otherwise rendered uninhabitable, President Enrique Pena Nieto said late Friday in an interview with the Televisa news network.

It’s impossible to truly appreciate the terror of such an event unless one has had the misfortune of already living through such an earthquake. Likewise, almost as difficult to appreciate the terror of being trapped.

But thank goodness for dogs that are trained to sniff out those trapped persons. Such as Frida who saved so many lives down in Mexico. Here’s the account of Frida’s special deeds as carried on the Care2 site.

ooOOoo

Frida, the Heroic Rescue Dog, Saves Lives After Mexico’s Earthquake

By: Laura Goldman,   September 25, 2017

About Laura   Follow Laura at @lauragoldman

Photos and videos of a rescue dog named Frida have gone viral — complete with her cute-yet-necessary work uniform: doggie goggles, vest and four protective, Velco-strapped booties. She has become a four-legged symbol of hope during these dark times in Mexico.

Although, contrary to some early news reports, Frida didn’t really rescue 52 people after the devastating 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico Sept. 19, the 7-year-old yellow Labrador retriever has nonetheless become a media sensation.

What’s true is that prior to the earthquake, Frida (she’s named after the artist Frida Kahlo) had helped rescue 12 people and recover the bodies of 40 people during her career as a disaster rescue dog with the Mexican Navy’s (SEMAR) Canine Unit.

Working with 14 other dogs in the unit, she has located 12 victims of the Sept. 19 quake so far.

Frida’s first mission after the earthquake struck was to find survivors at the Enrique Rebsamen School in Mexico City. Eleven children were found alive by other emergency workers. Tragically, 19 children and six adults did not survive.

Frida suffered from exhaustion after searching the school Sept. 20, her handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, told the Los Angeles Times. After napping and drinking plenty of water with electrolytes, she was in better spirits the following day and ready to go back to work.

Frida has two colleagues in the Canine Unit, Evil and Echo, who are both one-year-old Belgian Malinois dogs. Because Frida is getting on in years, Evil and Echo enter collapsed buildings before she does. If they find someone, Frida enters and spends no longer than 20 minutes inside the building.

The disaster rescue dogs can reach areas that are inaccessible to human responders, including spaces that are less than 20 inches high. When they find a victim who’s alive, the dogs bark. Otherwise they stop and slowly approach the body. “They act afraid,” Salinas told the L.A. Times. “That indicates to us that there is a cadaver.”

Like the other dogs in the Canine Unit, Frida began training when she was just two months old. The skills the dogs show in training determine whether they will go on to detect people, narcotics or explosives.

To train dogs to find people, they are first taught to fetch toys and balls. Once they learn how to do that, their trainers run with the toy or ball in their hands. The dogs learn to associate the smell of the person with the reward of the ball, Salinas told the L.A. Times. Before they’re ready to be dispatched to disaster areas, the dogs train for about three hours a day for a year.

Just two weeks before the Sept. 19 earthquake, Frida helped locate the body of a policeman after a massive 8.1 quake struck Juchitan. She also worked in Ecuador after an earthquake there in April last year.

Before Frida won the hearts of the rest of the world, even the president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, was a fan of hers (or at least the person in charge of his official Twitter account was).

“She is @Frida, belongs to the #SEMAR_mx and has helped save 52 lives in various natural disasters at the national and international levels,” says a @PresidenciaMX tweet on Sept. 13.

ooOOoo

I’m going to finish off today’s post with a recent video aired by Quebec News. (Actually, a series of still photographs.)

Quebec NEWS Published on Sep 21, 2017

Thousands of emergency services, military, and civilians are currently searching through rubble across the country for survivors. Among them are Frida, a rescue dog who has saved 52 people throughout her career, according to the office of Mexico’s President. Frida’s adorable outfit has a purpose. The goggles are to protect her eyes from smoke and debris, while the boots protect her feet from rough terrain. A massive 7.1 earthquake rocked Mexico earlier this week,It was the second major earthquake to hit Mexico in two weeks