Category: Photography

Our incredible dogs!

Serendipity hard at work!

Why that sub-heading?

Simply because yesterday Anita from Anitashope blog left the following comment:

This article popped up after I responded to todays post but I also have to respond to this one as I need to tell you about Mimi. Mimi is my coon hound black lab mix and she will NOT make eye contact with you when a treat is involved. She will come sit by you and look off in the distance like “I am not looking at you”, then she will cut her eyes sideways just to make sure the treat is still there. Its hilarious.

The post where her comment was left was one that I published back on March 13th, 2017. It included the most beautiful photograph of Oliver’s eyes. I had forgotten that picture.

So for that reason alone, it is being republished today.

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The love and admiration for this beautiful animal goes on and on!

It seems as though it is almost on a weekly basis that new and incredible facts about our dear, dear dogs come to the surface.

So what prompted this from me today!

Only a wonderful article that was originally published in New Scientist but then was carried by The Smithsonian. I am hoping that by fully linking this post to both the New Scientist article and the essay in The Smithsonian I am at liberty to republish it for all you good people.

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Dogs Use Deception to Get Treats, Study Shows

When a human partner withheld tasty snacks, the dogs got sneaky

Would these eyes deceive you? New study says yes. (johan63/iStock)

By Brigit Katz     smithsonian.com
March 10, 2017
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that dogs, in addition to looking adorable in sweaters, possess fairly sophisticated cognitive abilities. They recognize emotion, for example, and respond negatively to antisocial behavior between humans. Man’s best friend can also get pretty tricksy when it comes to scoring snacks. As Brian Owens reports for New Scientist, a recent study found that dogs are capable of using deceptive tactics to get their favorite treats.

The study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, was led by Marianne Heberlein of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zürich. Heberlein told Owens that the idea for the study was born when she observed her pet pooches engaging in deceptive behavior; one sometimes pretends to see something interesting outside, prompting the other to give up his sleeping spot.

To find out if dogs engage in similar shenanigans with humans, Heberlein and a team of researchers paired 27 dogs with two different partners, Stanley Coren explains in Psychology Today. One of these partners would repeatedly go to the bowl of a given dog, fish out a treat, and give it to the pup. The other would show the treat to the dog, and then put it in her pocket. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dogs began to show a preference for the more generous partners, and would approach them spontaneously.

Once one partner had been established as co-operative, the other as competitive, the dogs were taught to lead their partners to one of two boxes, both containing food, with the command “Show me the food.” And the same pattern was repeated: when the dogs led the co-operative partner to a treat, they got to eat it. The competitive partner withheld the treat.

Researchers then showed the dogs three covered boxes. One contained a sausage, the second contained a less-yummy dry biscuit, and the third was empty. Once again, the process of treat giving and withholding was repeated, but this time with a twist: when the dog was reunited with its owner, the owner asked it to choose one of the boxes. If there was a treat inside the box, the dog was allowed to eat it. But “if the dog chose the box which had been opened before,” Coren explains, “the owner just showed the empty box to the dog.”

Over the course of a two-day testing period, the dogs were repeatedly presented with this conundrum. They had been trained to lead both partners to boxes containing food, but they knew that the competitive partner would not let them eat the snacks. They also knew that if any snacks remained inside the boxes once they were reunited with their owners, they would get a chance to eat them. So the dogs got a little devious.

Researchers observed the pooches leading the co-operative partner to the box containing the sausage more often than expected by chance. They led the competitive partner to the sausage less often than expected by chance. And here’s where things get really interesting: the dogs took the competitive partner to the empty box more frequently than the co-operative partner, suggesting that they were working through their options and engaging in deliberate deception to maximize their chances of getting both treats.

“It is as though the dog is thinking, ‘Why should I tell that selfish person where the best treat [is] if it means that I will never get it?’,” writes Coren.

“These results show that dogs distinguished between the co-operative and the competitive partner,” the authors of the study write, “and indicate the flexibility of dogs to adjust their behaviour and that they are able to use tactical deception.”

Rest assured, dog lovers: your pooches may be sneaky, but they still love you more than cats.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dogs-use-deception-get-treats-study-shows-180962492/#5r1vc6gkyLQoIQaL.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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The article from Brigit opened up with a picture of a pair of eyes; a pair of dog’s eyes.

I don’t know about you but some dogs have eyes that reach out and seem to illuminate one’s soul.

Our Oliver has just that set of eyes. I will close today’s post with a photograph of Oliver’s eyes that was taken yesterday afternoon.

Talk about the power of non-verbal communication!

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I will never, ever get tired of looking at the face of such a gorgeous, loving dog as our dearest Oliver. Never; Ever!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Three

The last set of those wonderful Kennel Club photographs.

(As with the previous weeks, words and pictures republished from here.)

Winning Kennel Club images celebrate dogs from all walks of life

  JACQUELINE GULLEDGE   July 17, 2018.

The fifth and final selection of these wonderful photographs and the story behind each one.

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Third Place, I Love Dogs Because…

‘Hide and Seek’ featuring Fenrir, a Border Collie. (Photo: Kirsten van Ravenhorst)

“I am an 18 year old girl from the Netherlands who loves agility, traveling and photography. The dog in the photo is Fenrir, my youngest dog. He is the perfect model, and the reason why I picked up the camera again,” said Kirsten van Ravenhorst. “The camera that I normally use is the Nikon D500, but it needed to be repaired so I used my dad’s D5200 for this photo. This photo was taken in the forest near my house. I went there with my Border Collie Lad Fenrir to test my dad’s new camera.”

Third Place, Man’s Best Friend

‘Home’ featuring Ruby Roo, a Golden Retriever. (Photo: Cheryl Murphy)

“This picture of Ruby was taken whilst she was resting with my friend Chris after playing with her daughter Nellie. My greatest passion is capturing dogs playing and having fun in their natural environment, the camera is a great way of recording what the naked eye would miss,” said Cheryl Murphy.

Third Place, Oldies

‘Resting’ featuring Bentley, a German Shorthaired Pointer. (Photo: Philip Wright)

“This particular photo was taken during an afternoon walk through a local woodland. The ferns were looking wonderful and provided a perfect natural avenue to draw the viewers’ eye in to my subject,” said Philip Wright. “I asked Bentley to lay down and he did so with the most beautiful, almost grave expression. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and looking at Bentley here I’d be inclined to agree.”

Third Place, Portrait

‘A Winters Storm’ featuring Hugo, a Pomeranian. (Photo: Michael Sweeney)

“‘I photographed my dog at the window here in my tenement flat in Glasgow using available natural light during a winter’s storm of hailstones, wind and rain,” said Michael Sweeney.

Third Place, Puppies

‘Let’s call it Roly Poly Puppy’ featuring Snickers, a cross breed puppy. (Photo: Robyn Pope)

“In this image, I knew the moment Snickers began rolling around on the blanket that I had to embody his zest for life in a photo that would help him find the perfect playful home. I truly love working with dogs of all backgrounds to capture extraordinary photos worthy of even the most sophisticated pet parents and discerning commercial clientele,” said Robyn Pope. “At home, we have six gentle giants of our own who serve as ambassadors on our 7-acre pet photography property and the ultimate creative muses.”

Third Place, Rescue Dogs and Dog Charities

‘Over the sea of fog’ featuring Dania, a cross breed Portuguese Podengo. (Photo: Christina Roemmelt)

“My name is Christina and I was born in Munich. I moved to a small village next to Innsbruck in Austria together with my husband 11 years ago. After having settled down, we adopted two rescue dogs from Spain, thrown away like garbage, found in a dustbin. It wasn’t possible to literally touch Dania for the first six month. Now we spend all the time together. The dogs accompany us to work and in our leisure time we explore the nature together,” said Christina Roemmelt. “My wish was to fix the special mood of these moments, staying outside, enjoying nature together and acting as a team. For this reason, inspired by my husband, who is a landscape photographer, I got in touch with photography three years ago.”

“On the picture you can see one of these very special moments. We hiked on Keipen on Senja [Norway] last year and stood speechless on top when the nature was bathed in golden light by the midnight sun. Everything was calm and peaceful. The dogs and us were completely on our own. This is one of my absolutely all-time favourite pictures from our trips.”

Third Place, Young Pup Photographer

‘Monty’ featuring Monty, a German Shorthaired Pointer. (Photo: Maisie Mitford)

“I live in the North East of England with my Mum, Dad, Sister Millie and two dogs; Monty & Chester. I have always loved animals and I am constantly entertaining my dogs. I have my own lightweight camera which I carry with me most places and always photographing the dogs,” said Maisie Mitford. “Mum had given me her camera (which is really heavy) and set me a challenge to photograph either Monty or Chester for this competition, Chester wasn’t interested but Monty was willing and keen to please — lots of treats were involved!”

The Kennel Club in the U.K. was founded in 1873 and is the oldest recognized kennel club in the world. The organization is “dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. Besides being a voluntary register for pedigree dogs and crossbreed dogs, we offer dog owners and those working with dogs an unparalleled source of education, experience and advice on puppy buying, dog health, dog training and dog breeding.”

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What an incredibly wonderful set of photographs and, in addition, the wonderful reflections of the photographers themselves.

If you missed the start of these photos then go here.

I shall miss these beautiful photographs and the background stories!

 

People!

What a complex lot we are!

(And that’s putting it kindly!)

I wasn’t planning to publish a post for today. But then a recent post from Patrice Ayme spurred me to so do.

Let me explain.

Our nearest town, Grants Pass, has the wonderful Rogue River flowing through it and alongside it there is Riverside Park. To quote:

Riverside Park in Grants Pass was set aside by our founders for the enjoyment of our citizens and guests.

People come from all over to Riverside Park to watch the majestic Rogue River as it courses its’ way through our city.

As you can see it is a popular place for ducks and geese.

Last Tuesday, we had a contractor completing some new guttering for the house. Terry, the owner of TC Gutters, ran out of the coated aluminium he was folding into the correct shape using a rather cute machine!

Terry apologised and said that he would need to run back into Grants Pass to pick up some more of the sheeting.

He returned a little later and I went over to chit-chat with him.

He was unexpectedly downcast.

Terry, is there a problem?

Paul, when I was in town, down at the bottom of 6th Street near the bridge, there was a flock of ducks crossing the road.

Terry paused for quite a while; I stood there next to him with not a clue as to what was coming.

He sighed, and continued: “Instinctively, I slowed down along with a number of other drivers. But what really upset me was the fact that a few drivers were clearly gleefully driving into the ducks and killing them!

It hurt me to hear that; very much so!

Is it too strong for me to regard those drivers who thought it great fun to drive into those ducks as being evil?

A stock photo courtesy Alamy.

What do you think?

All about Lexi!

Lexi is a wonderful young dog.

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

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

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

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

Or in Dan’s words:

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

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

What a great breed these dogs are!

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

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

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

As Keli’s website explains:

Schmee x Party

Born October 11, 2015

7 girls, 3 boys

Pedigree

J Litter Gallery

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

Introducing …

Saudades’ Juicy Fruit aka The Juice

Saudades’ Just Do It aka Lexi

Saudades’ Jaboticaba aka Callie

Saudades’ Jelly Belly aka Imogene

Saudades’ Jumbalaya aka Olivia

Saudades’ Jundiai aka Stella

Saudades’ Jasmine Jubilee aka Jasmine

Saudades’ Jewel for Tomme aka Banks

CH Saudades’ Jalapeno RN CGC aka Popper

Saudades’ Jalisco aka Buck

Dan’s email closes:

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

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

Nature vs. training worked perfectly.

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

Schmee and Party were a great “accident”!

Garden of Gods, Colorado

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Sheridan, Wyoming.

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

Learning about our smaller dogs!

Learning about the way they pee!

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

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

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

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

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Why small dogs aim high when they pee?


MARY JO DILONARDO   August 3, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indirect interaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

So they aim high to look big.

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“So they aim high to look big.”

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

So closing with another two pics of our little ones.

Pedy

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

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Two

The penultimate set of those wonderful Kennel Club photographs.

(As with the previous weeks, words and pictures republished from here.)

 Winning Kennel Club images celebrate dogs from all walks of life

  JACQUELINE GULLEDGE   July 17, 2018.

The fourth selection of these wonderful photographs and the story behind each one.

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Second Place, Portrait

‘Waiting Beauty’ featuring Thalia, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. (Photo: Katarzyna Siminiak)

“This photo was taken during session around Old Market Square in Poznań. I’m still amazed how Thalia was calm and focus despite the city noise,” said Katarzyna Siminiak.

Second Place, Puppies

‘Sticking Together’ featuring Beagle mix puppies. (Photo: Charlie Nunn)

“Since early last year, my partner Raymond Janis and I have had the honour of supporting the Vanderpump Dogs Foundation in Los Angeles by photographing their adoptable dogs. In July 2017, we met these adorable beagle mix puppies,” said Charlie Nunn. “As Raymond tried to wrangle them, something magical happened and I was able to capture a perfect moment of a puppy family sticking together.”

Second Place, Rescue Dogs and Dog Charities

‘Happy Girl Rescued’ featuring Magda, a rescue dog cross breed (Hungarian Vizsla and Labrador Retriever). (Photo: Leslie Plesser)

“This particular image is of my own rescue dog, Magda. She was a bit hesitant and shy when my husband and I came home with our baby, but when the baby went off to nursery school, she would curl up on his rocking chair and roll her fur all over, settling in for a nice nap,” said Leslie Plesser.

Second Place, Young Pup Photographer

‘Dinner?’ featuring Dallas, a Whippet. (Photo: Sienna Millward)

“My name is Sienna Wemyss, I’m 10 years old and I’m from England, UK. When I grow up, I want to be a fashion photographer and designer. I have loved dogs since I first encountered one! There are so many different kinds of dogs and they are all so unique,” said Wemyss. “My dream came true in January this year when I became the proud owner of Dallas, a pedigree Whippet puppy. I was overjoyed!”

“I was relaxing on the sofa one day when Dallas crawled beside me. I put my arms out, expecting him to come and cuddle me. Instead, he gazed at the kitchen dreamily! If he could speak then, I bet he would have said, ‘Dinner?’ He looked very curious, so I grabbed my mum’s phone and captured the moment.”

Third Place, Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities

‘A Veterans Best Friend’ featuring Delta, a White Swiss Shepherd. (Photo: Craig Turner-Bullock)

“I am an ambassador for the Kotuku Foundation for Assistance Animals Aotearoa, who source, train and place dogs with people who have any diagnosed condition that dogs are known to be capable of assisting with. This includes diabetes, head injuries, depression and PTSI and many more,” said Craig Turner-Bullock. “Dion is a veteran who fought, and was injured, at the battle of Baghak in 2012. He experienced PTSI and says that ever since Delta came into his life she has made a huge difference. Dogs assisting veterans are now common around the world, but Delta is the first of her kind here in New Zealand.”

Third Place, Dogs at Play

‘Snowy Shenanigans’ featuring Daffy, Taz, and Wile E., Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. (Photo: Sarah Beeson)

“We had just moved from one of the snowiest cities (Erie, PA) to the middle of nowhere USA (yes, I love you dear Indiana). I didn’t expect much snow, but come on! It was nearly mid-February and not a flake! My boys were used to lots of snow having lived in Erie but Daffy hadn’t a clue,” said Sarah Beeson. “And then, it happened: Old man winter arrived. Shame on him, while I was at work, no less! By the time 5 pm rolled around, I was in our backyard – Frisbee soaring and camera in hand. Meet Daffy, Taz, and Wile E. We LOVE frisbee!”

Third Place, Dogs at Work

‘I’ve got your back’ featuring Nyx, a German Shepherd Dog. (Photo: Ian Squire)

“For me, the title sums up the image perfectly from both sides. This is a young trainee Police Dog undergoing some initial training. Taken on a miserable, damp day, it shows elements of the bond, trust and relationship that is vital for the partnership between Police Dog and handler,” said Ian Squire.

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Just one more Sunday’s worth to come. Don’t know about you but I shall miss these. They are going to be a hard act to follow!

Saturday special!

Natural fractals!

Back in April, Mother Nature Network carried a wonderful item about the amazing fractals that can be found in nature.

Nothing to do with dogs but all to do with loving and caring for our planet!

I am not going to republish the full article with all the wonderful photographs so if the following piques your curiosity then go here to read the full piece.

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14 amazing fractals found in nature

Take a tour through the magical world of natural fractals and discover the joy of simple complexity.

SHEA GUNTHER   April 24, 2013

A chambered nautilus shell is an example of a fractal found in nature. (Photo: Jitze Couperus/flickr)

When you think of fractals, you might think of Grateful Dead posters and T-shirts, all pulsating with rainbow colors and swirling similarity. Fractals, first named by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975, are special mathematical sets of numbers that display similarity through the full range of scale — i.e., they look the same no matter how big or how small they are. Another characteristic of fractals is that they exhibit great complexity driven by simplicity — some of the most complicated and beautiful fractals can be created with an equation populated with just a handful of terms. (More on that later.)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

One of the things that attracted me to fractals is their ubiquity in nature. The laws that govern the creation of fractals seem to be found throughout the natural world. Pineapples grow according to fractal laws and ice crystals form in fractal shapes, the same ones that show up in river deltas and the veins of your body. It’s often been said that Mother Nature is a hell of a good designer, and fractals can be thought of as the design principles she follows when putting things together. Fractals are hyper-efficient and allow plants to maximize their exposure to sunlight and cardiovascular systems to most efficiently transport oxygen to all parts of the body. Fractals are beautiful wherever they pop up, so there’s plenty of examples to share.

Here are 14 amazing fractals found in nature:

(Photo: Rum Bucolic Ape/flickr)

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To view the other 13 fractals then go across to here.

Aren’t they beautiful! Or, to pick up on a sentence in the article: “It’s often been said that Mother Nature is a hell of a good designer,”

Not only a good designer but the provider of life as we know it!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-One

Staying with those wonderful Kennel Club images.

(As with the previous weeks, words and pictures republished from here.)

 Winning Kennel Club images celebrate dogs from all walks of life

  JACQUELINE GULLEDGE   July 17, 2018.

The third selection of these wonderful photographs and the story behind each one.

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First Place, Young Pup Photographer

‘My Best Friend Roxy’ featuring Roxy, a German Shepherd dog. (Photo: Mariah Mobley)

The Young Pup photographer is a new category this year for photographers 11 years old and younger. This year’s first-place winner is 11-year-old Mariah Mobley from the U.S.

“I used to live on a farm with horses and dogs, but now live in town with my family, and our three dogs, Hunter, Roxy and Koby. I have always loved animals, especially dogs. I started taking pictures when I was a very little girl, and have loved it ever since,” said Mobley. “I took this photo of Roxy, at about 9 p.m., just before I went to bed. It was dark and she was sitting on our back porch waiting for mom to give her a treat. I used a modelling light and the porch light to put light on her pretty face.”
“We adopted Roxy from a rescue when she was 7 months old. She had been in a shelter since she was 4 months old. She is 5 years old now and is the sweetest girl. As you can see in the photo, Roxy has an eye disease that causes redness and cloudiness. It is called Pannus. Her eyes are not as clear as they used to be, but I think she is beautiful just as she is.”

Second Place, Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities

‘The Magic of Reading’ featuring Messi, a Golden Retriever. (Photo: Maria Cristina Nadalin)

“This particular photo was taken during the very first time Messi was into a public library to help children acquire interest in reading. The lady in the picture is a writer and reader, and she, along with Instituto Cão Companheiro (Companion Dog Institute), developed this project that is the first one in Brazil,” said Maria Cristina Nadalin.

Second Place, Dogs at Play

‘Flying Free’ featuring Heidi, a merle Chihuahua. (Photo: Steffi Cousins)

“This particular photo was taken in September at West Wittering beach where we were on a large dog meet up and my two dogs were having a blast. I had my back to Heidi as I was photographing dogs playing in the water, I turned to check on my two and just managed to grab this shot in time,” said Steffi Cousins. “I’m so glad I did, it’s my favorite photo of Heidi and it shows off her crazy energy perfectly!”

Second Place, Dogs at Work

‘Springer in the Mist’ featuring Tarly, English Springer Spaniel. (Photo: Richard Lane)

“These are the sort of conditions I dream about for photography! This morning it all came together perfectly great subject and fantastic dramatic natural light to work with,” said Richard Lane.

Second Place, I Love Dogs Because…

‘Simply a ball’ featuring Darcy, a cross breed (Cocker and Poodle). (Photo: Elise Finney)

“I live in Kingston upon Hull [United Kingdom] with my parents and two dogs and I am currently working through education to become an animal nutritionist as well as competing in the dog sport agility with my dog Darcy. I received my first DSLR, in the December of 2016 and photography has quickly become a new passion of mine and a great way to bond and capture special moments with my canines,” said Elise Finney. “This photo was taken during a walk on a lovely summer’s day after a game of fetch. Darcy often rests her head on her ball after she has finished playing and this was the first moment I had managed to capture her doing this on camera.”

Second Place, Man’s Best Friend

‘Divine Connection’ featuring Kodi, a Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix. (Photo: Sherilyn Vineyard)

“Meet Kodi, working therapy dog with Divine Canines. This is him with his person, Susan, during their training and certification class in late April, three years ago. He was a little nervous around the other dogs, but all it took was the reassuring touch of the person he loves and he soared through the training to graduate and serve his community,” said Sherilyn Vineyard.

Second Place, Oldies

‘On a Rainy Day’ featuring Nilo, a cross breed and rescue dog. (Photo: Rachele Z. Cecchini)

“I took this photo on a rainy winter day. My best friend Nilo was a much traumatized rescue dog, but he felt very comfortable in the car. I love to observe him and I always feel very touched about his melancholic expression,” said Rachele Z. Cecchini.

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These are such gorgeous photographs of dogs but that last one of Nilo so perfectly captures the expression one sees frequently in the faces of ex-rescue dogs.

More in a week’s time! (In fact, when I did a count of the images yet to be shared with you, I see that there are sufficient for the next two Sundays!)

A new dawn

Literally.

Three photos taken early last Tuesday morning from our rear deck at home; the deck faces East and Mount Sexton is to the left in the last photo.

NB: While the images recorded by the camera have been cropped no other changes, such as amending the highlights or brightness, have been made.

Taken at 05:55 PDT on the 31st July, 2018

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Taken at 05:56 PDT on the 31st July, 2018

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Taken at 05:56 PDT on the 31st July, 2018. That is the summit of nearby Mount Sexton on the LHS.

Getting to know oneself

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

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

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

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Further musings on dogs, women and men.

Published on Learning from Dogs, August 6th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pharaoh – more than just a dog!

ooOOoo

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