Category: Spirituality

That giving spirit.

Will you help my son support Parkinson’s UK?

Back on the 24th of February I published a post under the title of Personal Journeys. It opened thus:

Life is a one-way track.

Those of you who follow this place on a regular basis know that last Friday I published a post under the title of Friday Fondess. You will also know that later that same day I left this comment to that post:

Sue, and everyone else, we returned from seeing Dr. Lee, the neurologist, a little under two hours ago. Dr. Lee’s prognosis is that Jean is showing the very early signs of Parkinson’s disease, and Jean is comfortable with me mentioning this.

Everyone’s love and affection has meant more than you can imagine. I will write more about this next week once we have given the situation a few ‘coatings of thought’.

Jean sends her love to you all!

Thus, as heralded, I am going to write some more.

You would not be surprised to hear that the last few days have been an emotional roller-coaster, for both Jean and me. Including on Monday Jean hearing from our local doctor here in Grants Pass, OR, that a recent urine test has shown that Jean has levels of lead in her bones some three times greater than the recommended maximum. While our doctor is remaining open-minded it remains to be seen whether Jean is exhibiting symptoms of lead poisoning, whether the lead is a possible cause of the Parkinson’s disease (PD), see this paper, or whether it is a separate issue to be dealt with.

Both my son and my daughter, Alex and Maija, have been very supportive. Alex has even decided to ride in the Ride London 2016 and raise funds for the notable charity Parkinson’s UK. Parkinson’s Disease is affecting more and more people and there is a great incentive to help any charity in pushing back against this disease. As the sub-title on that Parkinson’s UK home page declares, “CHANGE ATTITUDES, FIND A CURE, JOIN US.”

Alex has started a little blog to record his preparation for his charity ride:

ooOOoo

AlexThis is my blog about training for Ride London 2016, on it I will detail what I get up to, who I’m raising money for and also cycling kit reviews as well.

So I entered the ballot for ride London this year and was unlucky, probably as I’m one of 20,000 odd middle aged men in Lycra (MAMIL) who try to get in every year, so I got my lovely rejection magazine and a cycling top as well.

I then found out that my stepmum Jean, has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, so I thought I would enter on a charity place and raise some much needed funds for research into this disease.  Found out last week that I have been lucky to get onto a charity place and so the training begins…

Link to my fundraising page, thanks 👍

ooOOoo

Please, please if anyone would like to chip in anything at all you can trust me that it will be greatly appreciated by Alex and all those around him. Donations, both from within the UK and overseas, may be made by going here.

Thank you!

The Song Dog

The North American Coyote

When we let the dogs out last thing on Tuesday evening there was a local pack of coyotes not far from our fence line. Cleo started barking and some of the coyotes responded with their spine-chillingly beautiful howls. The sound really does transport one back thousands of years in a mystical sense.

howling-coyote-picturesI started doing some research as to whether we, as in us humans, had studied what the song of the coyote means. I came across The Natural History of the Urban Coyote website and therein was an article called Translating the Song Dog. It’s a fabulously interesting article and I do hope it’s OK to share with you.

ooOOoo

The scientific name for the coyote is Canis latrans, which translates to “barking dog,” a perfect name for this species which has been called the most vocal of North America’s mammals.

Less formally, the coyote is known as the song dog, and one listen to a group howl by a pack of coyotes makes it clear why. Rather than the simple but soul-haunting sound of a wolf’s howl, the coyote’s howl can be made up of high-pitched howls, barks, and yips that make it clear the coyote has a whole lot of lyrics in a single song. But what exactly do those lyrics say?

The coyote has a range of vocalizations depending on social context and message. In 1978, Philip N. Lehner published his research of coyote communication and what the various vocalizations mean, which has been included in Coyotes: Biology, Behavior, and Management.

“The vocal repertoire of the adult coyote contains eleven vocalizations, several of which are also given by pups. These vocalizations grade into one another such that their separation into eleven types is somewhat arbitrary based on their different sounds, behavior context, and physical characteristics.”

In other words, the coyote language is complex and depends on the social situation, the coyote’s body language in addition to the sounds, the intensity of the vocalization, and other factors. This makes sense considering that when one digs a little into hunting forums, some coyote hunters are convinced they know more than eleven calls for coyotes. Indeed, there are likely more vocalizations when one looks at subtleties.

If you have paid close attention the vocalizations of domestic dogs, especially those more talkative breeds, you’ll likely find it easy to decode coyote sounds. There is a lot of overlap in the sounds dogs, coyotes and other canid species make – from a startled huff to a whine of greeting, from an antagonistic growl to a bark of alarm. But coyotes take the language of canids to another level with their extensive list of sounds, especially the yips, howls, and of course their choral group howls.

Though Lehner notes that it’s a bit arbitrary to categorize coyote sounds, we can at least begin to understand them by breaking them down into the types of sounds they make along with their purpose. So he created the following 11 categories, which can also be considered sign-posts on a gradient of meaning and intensity.

Types of Coyote Vocalizations

1. Growl – This vocalization holds no mystery. A growl is used as a threat, specifically for something within close range.

2. Huff – This is the expulsion of air through the nose and mouth, and is also used as a high-intensity threat in close proximity. Huffs are used, for instance, when there’s bickering over carrion.

3. Woof – This vocalization is made as both a low-intensity threat and as an alarm. It’s a sound made when a coyote is startled and unsure of exactly what is happening, but knows it is not comfortable with whatever it is.

4. Bark – The bark is a long-distance threat or alert of low to medium intensity.

5. Bark-Howl – This is when the coyote gets serious about a threat. The bark-howl is used as a long-distance high-intensity threat or alarm. It starts with a bark and blends into a howl.

What is interesting about the bark and the bark-howl is that research suggests that the varying intensity and frequency of barks could contain different information. More recent research by Brian R. Mitchell has shown that coyotes likely identify individuals by their barks and bark-howls.

“By analyzing spectrograms of howls and barks,” writes Mitchell, “I was able to determine that both of these vocalizations do indeed contain individually specific information.  Because of the tremendous advantage of being able to determine individual identities, I presume that coyotes use the information in barks to identify individuals they are familiar with.”

“Another interesting aspect of coyote barks and howls,” he continues, “is that howls stably convey information for distances of at least one kilometer.  Barks, on the other hand, rapidly attenuated and did not appear suitable for transmitting information.  Barks likely serve other purposes, such as attracting information and providing information that listeners could use to estimate distance to the barking animal.”

Barks and bark-howls, then, can serve in saying, “I’m here, and here’s how I’m feeling” and allow listening coyotes to recognize if those individuals are family or strangers. Mitchell underscores that a coyote recognizing an individual by their howl isn’t about the howling coyote shouting his own name again and again; rather it is akin to how we can recognize a family member or friend by the sound of their voice no matter what they’re saying, because of their unique pitch, timbre, cadence and even accent.

6. Whine – This sound is used to express submission and is usually given by a subordinate coyote to a more dominant coyote.

7. Yelp – The yelp takes the whine up a notch and represents high-intensity submission. However, it can also be a response to being startled. As is the case with several other of these vocalizations, this categorization shows that coyote communication is more of a gradient. Lehner writes, “A yi-e-e-e often precedes or follows the yelp portion and resembles a high-frequency bark [and] appears on a sonogram like a short howl chopped into segments.”

8. Woo-oo-wow – This is the “greeting song” of coyotes, and is used during high-intensity greeting displays. The vocalization modulates in frequency and amplitude as a coyote’s motivation shifts, Lehner notes, and so can fluctuate from a whine to a growl.

9. Lone Howl – The lone howl is just what you probably already know it to be: a howl by a single coyote, which is often started with a series of barks that reseracher R. M. Mengel called “herald barks.” As mentioned above, coyotes can distinguish individuals based on their unique howl, and the purpose of the howl is to announce one’s location to others in their social group. Often, the lone howl gets an answer, and the coyotes can find each other to meet up.

10. Group Howl – A group howl is sent up when two or more coyotes come together after being apart, or it could be given as a response to the howls of distant coyotes. It is, according to Lehner, essentially two or more coyotes giving their own lone howls either successively or simultaneously, as a way of giving out location information to any listeners.

11. Group Yip-Howl – This is what coyotes are really known for. The group yip-howl is sent up when coyotes reunite, or just before they separate to go off hunting individually. As more coyotes join in, the more intense the vocalizations become, increasing in frequency and amplitude. Lehner notes that the group yip-howl includes sounds that researcher H. McCarley called screams, gargles and laughs. In other words, the many variations of coyote vocalizations show up in this chorus.

According to Lehner, the group yip-howl probably strengthens social bonds, may help to synchronize mood, and may also reaffirm social status within the pack. He also notes that the group yip-howl “may be most important in announcing territorial occupancy and preventing visual contact between groups of coyotes.”

The chorus tells any nearby coyote packs about whose turf this is, and thus keeps other coyotes away. It also reveals (or hides) how many coyotes are in the area and may help regulate coyote density through reproductive rate. Research has shown that female coyotes will produce larger litters when there is little competition, and smaller litters when there is a high density of coyotes in the habitat. This is one of the secrets to the coyote’s success at spreading across the continent in the last century.

[Note: This is also why indiscriminate killing of coyotes to decrease their density doesn’t work as a management strategy. Coyotes repopulate an area quickly and easily when competition is eliminated, with the population rebounding or even expanding in a very short time. Perhaps a more effective, cost-cutting and non-lethal strategy for reducing the number of coyotes in an area would be playing recorded group yip-howls to make resident coyotes think there is more competition for resources. This is something several researchers have expressed interest in exploring, specifically in order to reduce conflicts with ranchers. If we can discover more about what specific messages are embedded in certain howls or barks, ranchers could play specific recordings to keep coyotes away from livestock as well as minimize the number of coyotes living in an area.]

Mitchell writes, “Group yip-howls are produced by a mated and territorial pair of ‘alpha’ coyotes, with the male howling while the female intersperses her yips, barks, and short howls. ‘Beta’ coyotes (the children of the alpha pair from previous years) and current year pups may join in if they are nearby, or respond with howls of their own. And once one group of coyotes starts howling, chances are that any other alpha pairs nearby will respond in kind, with chorus after chorus of group yip-howls rippling across the miles.”

In Talking to Coyotes with the Song Dog, a pamphlet about using a coyote caller, Major L. Boddicker, Ph.D. brings up a personal experience with such a chain reaction.  After sending up what he calls a “Joy of Life Call” which is a group yip-howl, “It sounded like every coyote in the USA responded in the musical see-saw coyote chant which went on and on for 3-5 minutes. I later called a friend in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (150 miles away) to check for the time when the coyotes started to sing there. Given the time it took sound to travel and coyotes to react, I very likely started the chorus.” Whether or not the chorus traveled that far, it is indeed possible to start a chain of coyotes sending up group yip-howls.

Boddicker discusses Lehner’s list of vocalizations in his pamphlet, and brings in two more vocalizations that he or experienced coyote callers have heard. He notes that these my fall into the umbrella categories identified by Lehner, but are distinct enough to point out anyway. They are:

Whoop – This sound is used as part of more complex sounds such as the group howl or group yip-howls.

Yodel – This is when a howl tapers up and ends abruptly, rather than tapering down in a typical howl, which gives the howl a sound like the coyote is asking a question. Boddicker notes that this happens when coyotes howl for an unusual reason such as for a lost family member.

How Many Coyotes Are Howling?

“When people hear coyote howls, they often mistakenly assume that they’re hearing a large pack of animals, all raising their voices at once,” writes Mitchell. “But this is an auditory illusion called the ‘beau geste’ effect.”

Coyotes howl both to reunite and to keep trespassers at bay. It may be in their favor that if they howl, they sound like a bigger pack than they really are. They accomplish complicated and confusing howls by a smart strategy of using wavering howls and changing their pitch rapidly. This, combined with the howls bouncing off objects in the environment such as rocks, trees, or the far side of a valley may make it hard for a listener to know if they are hearing one coyote or several howling simultaneously.

When two or three coyotes howl together, they can sound like a pack of six or ten or more, which perhaps makes them seem much more formidable to any nearby competitors or predators.

Coyotes May Have Local Accents

We know that coyotes vary in size and build depending on their location, as the difference between western and eastern coyotes clearly demonstrates. Does their location also mean they have accents? We know that other species with complex communication such as whales have different accents, so it makes sense that coyotes may also have regional accents. And does that affect how they might interpret or respond to strangers?

Sara Waller, associate professor of philosophy at Montana State University in Bozeman, told the Bozman Gazette, “We know that dogs have ‘accents’ just as people do — we can reliably tell the difference between British dog barks and American dog barks. When we have enough recordings to really compare Eastern and Western coyotes, we may find that like dogs, and people, they have regionally based differences in the way they communicate with each other. This would show that coyote vocalizations are impacted by social and environmental factors just as human speech is.”

What Can Coyotes Teach Us About Language?

There is still so much to learn about what coyotes are saying through their complex and varied vocalizations. The more we learn about the way coyotes communicate as social predators, the more we can learn about not just their species, but our own as well.

Coyotes can sense things we humans can’t, and Waller questions, “How does that impact the way they think? They are social, communicative predators, and so are very like humans in many ways. If we could figure out what some of these vocalizations mean, it would give us insight into how our own language works, and how human minds differ from those of other social predators.”

Examples of Coyote Vocalizations

In the video below, two coyotes give barks and bark-howls as an alarm against the person recording the video:

The person who uploaded this video notes that the coyotes had been hanging around a lot and ventured a guess that is because her dog was in heat. However, the date on the video is in late May, which is about the time when coyote pups are emerging from the den and becoming active around the den site. So it is possible that these are the parents and/or helper coyote keeping a watch on the person taking a video and giving alarm, warning them away from a nearby den.

In the video below, coyotes send up a group yip-howl. Note that the howls do not begin with a bark, like the previous video. As Lehner notes, the group yip-howl starts usually with the dominant individual of the pack. That seems to happen here as the coyote in the video joins in after another coyote begins the howl:

The video below is a coyote group yip-howl, likely started with reunion of group members, and includes yips, whines and other vocalizations on the coyote-sounds spectrum as the members interact. There is so much great behavior and body language captured in this video, showing the group dynamics of submissive members with more dominant members of the pack:

Listen to more coyote vocalizations on Soundboard or The Social Predator Vocalization Project.

References:
Coyotes: Biology, Behavior and Management
Talking to Coyotes with the Song Dog
Information Content of Coyote Barks and Howls
Coyotes: Decoding Their Yips, Barks, and Howls

ooOOoo

And that beautiful photograph of the howling coyote at the start of today’s post? That came from this website that also included the following that I will use to close this post.

“when the end comes there will be coyotes and coach roaches left in the world and the coyote will eat the coach roach and that will be that!”   Some say that “Cher” will still be on tour though.

Loving relationships

A very Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you.

(And that, of course, means all you humans and your pets.)

I am sharing three very appropriate items for today.

Firstly, a recent article over on the Care2 site.

ooOOoo

Showing Love for the Animals This Valentine’s Day

1374408.largeBy: Katie Medlock February 8, 2016

About Katie Follow Katie at @offbeatherbivor

Whether you’re on board with celebrating a “traditional” Valentine’s Day this year—chocolates, cards, romance—or not, this year should be the year we also show some extra love to the animals in our lives. Whether we focus on our own companion animals or forgotten creatures out there in the world who also need compassion, this Valentine’s Day could be the start of a new tradition. Here are a few ideas to really bring the love to our furry and feathered friends this year:

1. Plan a trip to an animal sanctuary

Animal sanctuaries are wonderful places to visit solo, with your partner or with the kids. Most, if not all, states have at least one farmed animal sanctuary where pigs, cows, goats, chickens, geese, horses and many others have found a permanent home after being rescued on the way to slaughter or from their terrifying lives in the animal industries. There are few ways to connect with an animal and appreciate all they have been through in their lives that shine brighter than spending time petting a goat or cuddling a pig.

 There are also other types of sanctuaries open to the public with different types of animals to behold, such as bats, tortoises, exotic birds, wolves and wild cats. The difference between reputable and respectable animal sanctuaries and zoos is, in many cases, the dedication to the animals’ needs. Some zoos may have great conservation programs, yet any profit-driven establishment who puts animals on display in unnatural living environments and social groupings does not have the animals’ true interests at heart. Sanctuaries strive toward giving the animals the best lives they can have—public observation is not at the heart of the matter. By supporting reputable animal sanctuaries, you are showing immense love and compassion to animals.

2. Dine on a meatless meal

To have a truly animal-friendly Valentine’s Day, don’t serve any of them on your plate! By choosing to dine on a plant-based meal full of fresh vegetables, hearty legumes, sweet fruits, wholesome grains and satisfying nuts and seeds, you are showing the animals the utmost respect. Try these Valentine’s recipe ideas, ethical wine suggestions and delicious vegan chocolate truffles for the big day! And, if you are interested in reducing the amount of animal products you consume beyond V-Day, visit the Meatless Monday website to learn how to tip the scales gradually toward regular vegan meals.

3. Reach out to an animal in need

Do you have a friend who could use a dogsitter for an upcoming trip? Does your local animal shelter or adoption agency need an extra hand with walking the dogs, cleaning cages and spending time with furry friends? Have you spoiled your own companion critter lately with a new toy, extra play time or some homemade treats? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to extend our love to our own companion animals and to those around us who also need a little extra love. The rewards from reaching out to a pet in need are tenfold what we expend putting forth the effort. Use this February as an excuse to spend more time with some critters!

ooOOoo

The second was recently seen over on Mother Nature Network.
ooOOoo

9 ways dogs say ‘I love you’

Laura Moss February 10, 2016
 This dog is serious about keeping the title of 'man's best friend.' (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)
This dog is serious about keeping the title of ‘man’s best friend.’ (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)

Dogs have lived alongside us for thousands of years, earning the reputation as “man’s best friend” for good reason. But while some people may be quick to dismiss a dog’s devotion as simply a relationship based on need, experts say that’s just not true.

“Dogs have developed the strongest ability of all animals on Earth to form affectionate bonds with humans,” says Dr. Frank McMillan D.V.M., director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society, an organization helping adopters find loving companions. “Dogs don’t just love us — they need us, but not just for food and physical care. They need us emotionally. This is why the attachment bond a dog feels for his human is one of deep devotion and is, as has been often stated, unconditional.”

But how exactly does a dog say, “I love you”? Read on to find out.

Your dog wants to be close to you.

If your dog is always in your lap, leaning against you or following you room to room, it’s clear your pooch is attached to you.

“A dog’s affection is most evident in their desire to be physically close to you. This can sometimes appear to be a clinginess, and it isn’t always easy to distinguish healthy positive clinginess from insecurity, but in both cases your dog is deeply attached to you,” McMillan says.

Your dog gazes into your eyes.

When you and your pup share a long look, your dog is “hugging you with his eyes,” according to Brian Hare, a professor at Duke University who studies canine cognition, and research shows that this “hug” has a profound effect on both man and animal.

When scientists at Japan’s Azabu University took urine samples from dogs and their owners before and after 30 minutes of interacting, they found that the pairs that spent the most time gazing into each others’ eyes showed significantly higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, the same hormonal response that bonds us to human infants. “It’s an incredible finding that suggests that dogs have hijacked the human bonding system,” Hare told Science.

Loving glances like this can say a lot. (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)
Loving glances like this can say a lot. (Photo: Best Friends Animal Society)

Your dog excitedly greets you.

Does your pup jump up, wag his tail and barely seem able to contain his excitement when you arrive home? If so, that’s a sure sign of affection.

“This becomes even more obvious when your dog learns, like Pavlov’s dogs, that some sound signals your upcoming arrival, like the garage opener or sound of your car, and they show excitement upon hearing that sound,” McMillan says.

Your dog sleeps with you.

Dogs are pack animals that often huddle together at night for warmth and protection, so when your dog snuggles up with you, it means he considers you to be part of the family. And these canine cuddles may even help you get a better night’s sleep.

You are your dog’s safe haven.

“Much affection in animals and humans is based on how much you can be relied on as a source of comfort and support in scary situations,” McMillan says. “If your dog seeks your comfort during thunderstorms, car rides, vet visits or other frightening occurrences, then you are seeing another aspect of her attachment bond to you.”

Your dog ‘reads’ you and reacts accordingly.

A close bond with your dog may enable him to sense your mood and respond with affection. “Many dogs who sense that you are upset or not feeling well will demonstrate their affection by spending even more time by your side. They might give you licks or rest their head or paws on some part of your body,” McMillan says.

dog snuggling sick owner
A cuddly canine can make the day a little better. (Photo: Brian Goodman/Shutterstock)

Your dog yawns when you yawn.

If you’ve ever yawned after witnessing another person’s yawn, you’re aware how contagious the act can be. This contagious yawning is unique to only a few species, and man’s best friend is one of them.

Researchers have even found that not only are dogs more likely to yawn after watching familiar people yawn, but also that dogs will yawn when hearing only the sound of a loved one’s yawn. So if your canine companion yawns in response to your yawns, odds are good that his affection for you enables him to empathize with you.

Your dog focuses on you.

It’s not unusual for dogs to delight in positive attention from virtually anyone, but just because your pooch loves on everyone, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you most. Pay attention to how your dog acts when in a room full of people. If he stays focused on you or ignores others while awaiting your return, you know you hold a special place in your dog’s heart.

Your dog forgives you.

“Part of the affectionate feelings your dog has for you shows up in their willingness to forgive you for things you do that make them feel bad, such as raising your voice, or misplacing your frustration on your dog by ignoring them,” McMillan says. “Forgiveness is your dog’s attempt to maintain the loving bond they share with you.”

However, even if your canine best friend doesn’t show affection in these ways, it certainly doesn’t mean your pooch doesn’t love you. Just as some people can care deeply without expressing their feelings, so can your pup.

“Be sure not to go through the list above and think that because your dog shows very few or even none of these things, he or she doesn’t love you. Odds are, love is very much there. After all, we’re talking about a dog here,” McMillan says.

And how can you show your dog some love? Engage in playtime, take a long walk, bake some yummy dog treats, or give your pup a homemade toy. Above all, McMillan says the best thing you can do is simply give your dog more of you because that’s what man’s best friend wants most of all.

ooOOoo

Finally, enjoy this fabulous video. (Thanks Sue Dreamwalker)

Published on Oct 20, 2014

As humans animals can be also friends. If animals live together they became often friends. Friendship between different species can be cold as unlikely animals friendship. In this you can see friendship between dogs and cats, Lion tiger and bear friends, Baby Chick and Chihuahua best friends, cat and own friendship etc.

So many loving relationships! So many lessons for us to learn from our dogs!

Loving, caring dogs!

A lovely reminder of our fabulous dogs.

Before moving on to the story, can I just say that the link to this report was emailed to me by a follower of Learning from Dogs. It underlines something that I had no idea about when I first started up this blog in July 2009. The wonderful sense of community that develops between a blogger and his or her readers and followers.

So many of you that interact with this place feel like long-established friends, and are treasured.

Marg, thank you for sending me the link to the following. It’s a wonderful item that appeared on the Australian outlet of The Huffington Post.

ooOOoo

Dog Escapes Cage To Comfort Rescue Puppies During Their First Night In Kennel

“We’ve never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them.”

02/03/2016
Kimberly Yam, Associate Good News Editor, The Huffington Post

This concerned dog just wanted to make sure some young pups would be OK in a new place.

Maggie the dog was staying at the Barker’s Pet Motel and Grooming in Alberta, Canada, when she was caught on a surveillance camera sitting outside a kennel that held two 9-week-old rescue puppies named Hannah and Kari last week.

Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming last Saturday
Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming
last Saturday

The canine sneaked out of her own kennel to comfort them on their first night there, and after pet motel owner Sandy Aldred let Maggie into the pups’ cage, the older dog spent the entire night cuddling with the two new guys on the block, according to ABC News.

“We’ve never really seen it before, where a dog sneaks out to some puppies and is so excited to see them.” Aldred’s son, Alex, who also works at the pet motel, told ABC News.

Anna Cain, office manager at the pet motel, told The Huffington Post that Maggie, who is a former shelter dog herself, had been staying there while her owners were on vacation. The puppies were dropped off at the facility after they were rescued by Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming last Saturday
Barkers Pet Motel and Grooming
last Saturday

The thoughtful dog, who recently had puppies of her own that were adopted out by a humane society, likely heard Hannah and Kari crying, according to a Facebook post from the motel. So Maggie squeezed her way out of her kennel after pushing aside a water bowl built into her door. She then went right to the pups’ cage.

“She paid them a lot of attention and you could see her little tail wagging. And she’d do the little bow down to them and poke them through the chainlink gate of their room,” Aldred told CBC News. “She just decided that was where she was going to stay until we came to get her.”

When Aldred returned to the kennels and let Maggie into the puppies’ cage, she supervised to see if all the dogs would get along. And of course they did.

“They were just all so happy to be together,” Aldred told CBC. “She was nuzzling them really gently and nudging them, and then she laid down and let them cuddle with her.”

The trio stayed together and were even found snuggling the next morning, ABC News reported. While Maggie’s actions are sweet, it’s not uncommon for dogs who have had puppies, to act compassionately like she did.

“It’s innate in a lot of female dogs, especially if they’ve had a litter in the past. It’s just in their nature,” Deanna Thompson of AARCS told ABC News. “We’ve seen it in a lot of dogs even with male dogs, when they hear other puppies crying they want to console them and make sure they’re feeling safe.”

Maggie and the pups have parted ways unfortunately as her owners have returned from their trip. There are pending adoption applications for both puppies, but for the time being, the pair are in the motel, Cain said.

ooOOoo

Other readers who know and love dogs will endorse my claim that it is not just crying puppies that are consoled by adult dogs; we humans as well experience a fair degree of compassion from our dogs!

Lovely story!

The beauty and power of words!

You are going to love this – guaranteed!

Eleanore MacDonald is the author of the blog Notes From An Endless Sea. It’s a blog that I have been following for a while.

On the last day of last year, I published a post that contained the following:

There is much in this new world that concerns me and I know I am not alone with this view. But the rewards of reading the thoughts of others right across the world are wonderful beyond measure.

Little did I know that in just five days time Eleanore would demonstrate “wonderful beyond measure” par excellence! With her very kind permission I republish in full her post from last Sunday. Please don’t read any further until you can be very still and read Eleanore’s post with your total concentration on her stunningly beautiful prose.

ooOOoo

January 3, 2016
devotion (©Paul Kamm)
devotion (©Paul Kamm)

I didn’t have to search for it. My word for the year just came to me, and with it, a host of lovely synonyms in its wake. Devotion. Well, devotion––minus the religious connotations––holding hands with dedication, fealty, loyalty, commitment, fortitude and constancy.

In the past I have labored over what it might be for me, that word that embodies all I want to do with my intentions in the year ahead. But this year, it came floating to me like an errant leaf, late falling on a winter’s breeze. It resonated deep within and because it came with an entourage I felt like a farmer with acres and acres of fertile, unblemished land spread before me all waiting for me to plant an endless bounty.

So I start my new cycle, this new year, with the sowing of seeds of intention, digging deeply into this dark, rich soil.  It begins with a renewed Devotion and dedication to loving. To magic. And to beauty.

chalice well, glastonbury
chalice well, glastonbury
magic
magic

And writing – something I failed so miserably at conjuring last year. A block is no joke, it is a deep, dark hole that any creative soul can fall into and in my case is called ‘writer’s block’, and it is real.  And it sucks.  I banish it now with a loyalty to work, those further and continual efforts to paint with words from a palette-full of color.

words
words
and more words ...
and more words …

And then there is Fealty. A deep and resonant fealty to my love/partner/mate, to family and those dear ones who love me as I am whether broken or whole; to those who love the animals and celebrate empathy, truth and compassion; to those who will be happy for me when I succeed, and cry with me in my sadness, who try to pick me up when I fall, and push me hard to continue to explore the vast continents of my interior and to walk onward along the path to becoming the best I can possibly be.

Those beloveds who allow me, in all of that vulnerability, to do the same for them.

Loyalty. Loyalty to my path. And to the greater good. To honesty, integrity, goodness, caring, loving––to kindness and empathy, to staying awake with eyes and ears and heart attentive to the big world around us, to laughter, to weeping buckets when I’m overflowing, to connection, to speaking up and speaking out (loudly!), to celebrating beauty and color, and to a nurturance of the evolution of soul and spirit, my own and that of others.

loyalty
loyalty
there is a world ...
there is a world …
music
music

Commitment.  To continuing to wield light, through music.

Commitment to seeing the glass half full.

And to the voiceless ones, who really are my reason for being. The animals. Commitment to doing what I can to ease the burden of suffering for those in need of compassion and caring, of rescue and respite.

Dear Ouranos
Dear Ouranos
the grande dame
the grande dame

Commitment to honoring those others who continue to do the hard and mostly thankless work attending to the emergent needs of those barely surviving untenable lives in the shadows; those caring for the pets of the homeless, animals who act as angels for the people of the streets whose only tether left to any comfort in this life is a beloved dog or cat companion; those pulling the newborn kits and pups from garbage bins, or flimsy boxes set in the cold rain along busy streets, those rescuing dogs from a brutal existence of abuse, abandonment, fighting, life at the end of a cold chain; those earthly angels whose hearts have been broken over and over again yet they continue on, continue giving, helping, trying to make a better life and a better world for those left behind.  (I have always held that, were humans to collectively realize that the other beings we share this glowing, gorgeous orb with––the animals, the trees, the waters, the land––all require and deserve our recognition, our action, our honor and caring, then the world’s ills would resolve. And so it goes…)

rescued
rescued
but who rescued who? (©Paul Kamm)
but who rescued who? (©Paul Kamm)

Fortitude. The fortitude to walk my path ahead in constancy, through dark and light with no time or inclination to curl into a ball and sink to the bottom of the well. Life now is too short for that.

Dedication, fealty, loyalty, commitment, fortitude… in action, together they reduce down and distill to a fine and pure constancy of devotion.

I am good with that! Right?

Do you have a ‘word for the year’? If so, do try to hold it close, in honor of its gift. When 2016 comes to pass, I would love to hear what your word was and how it served you. Or, how you served it.

Spreading my wings now…  With love and light, and hopes that your year ahead is graced by all that is good,

Eleanore

all that trails behind
all that trails behind

all photos © Eleanore MacDonald except for those taken by Paul Kamm.

ooOOoo

 Adding anything from me runs the risk of diminishing the beauty of Eleanore’s words.

See you tomorrow!

Moments in history

You can blame John Zande for today’s post!

John left an intriguing question as a comment to yesterday’s post.

Oh to have a time machine!

Tell me, Paul, if you did have one, a time machine, what three moments in history would you visit?

It really grabbed Jean and me and we spent quite a few minutes during the day kicking around ideas. At first, it was easy just to do a web search on epic moments in history and see if any of them related to me. But that seemed too easy. So I have picked three that do connect with my life.

  1. May 8th, 1945

I was born on November 8th, 1944. I was born in North London (Acton). It was the period of the Second World War when the V2 rockets were landing all around. Take, for example, the incident just eleven days after my birth, when on the 19th November, 1944 a V2 landed in Wandsworth causing much damage and many fatalities around Hazlehurst Road and Garratt Lane. Spend a moment reviewing who died, and their ages, in that bombing.

img7

So I was precisely six months old when the armistice was announced on May 8th, 1945. As Wikipedia describes it:

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 (7 May in Commonwealth realms) to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces.[1] It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.

On 30 April, Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin. Germany’s surrender, therefore, was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The act of military surrender was signed on 7 May in Reims, France and on 8 May in Berlin, Germany.

I would have loved to witness, by being in the crowd that day, the King and Queen acknowledging the end of the war in Europe.

tdih-may08-HD_still_624x352
May 8, 1945: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, are joined by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Nevertheless, that day in May, 1945 has been memorable for me for all of my life. Because my mother, who is still alive today, aged 96, (still living in London but spending Christmas with my sister in Cape Town, by the way), held me in her arms and said aloud: “My dear Paul, you are going to live!” I grew up with those loving words deeply rooted within me.

2. Stonehenge – too many moons ago!

For reasons that I am not entirely clear about, I have always been fascinated by the stars. From the point of view of using the stars to help me navigate strange parts of the world, both on land and at sea. I grew up regarding Polaris, the North Star, almost as a companion. Later in my life when sailing solo from Gibraltar to The Azores, a distance of just under 1,150 nautical miles, on a Tradewind 33 yacht, despite having an early GPS unit it was backup to me using a sextant to maintain (some) awareness of my position.

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

(Reminds me of a anecdote when I was crewing on a privately-owned East Coast Essex fishing smack. I was asking Bill, the owner, why he always laid his thumb on the position on the chart in response to the question, “Where are we?” Bill’s reply: “That’s as accurate as anyone can be!”)

In 1969, when I was driving across the desert plains of Australia, often with inhabited places more than a 150-mile radius away (the Simpson Desert especially coming to mind) the Southern Cross seemed to keep me grounded and remind me that I was making progress.

Back when I was living just outside Totnes in South Devon, my frequent drives up to London along the A303 took me past Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Tuesday December 22nd at 04:49 GMT (Universal time) with the sun rising over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at 08:04.
The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occurs on Tuesday December 22nd at 04:49 GMT (Universal time) with the sun rising over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at 08:04.

THE EARLIEST MONUMENT

It is possible that features such as the Heel Stone and the low mound known as the North Barrow were early components of Stonehenge,[3] but the earliest known major event was the construction of a circular ditch with an inner and outer bank, built about 3000 BC. This enclosed an area about 100 metres in diameter, and had two entrances. It was an early form of henge monument.[4]

Within the bank and ditch were possibly some timber structures and set just inside the bank were 56 pits, known as the Aubrey Holes. There has been much debate about what stood in these holes: the consensus for many years has been that they held upright timber posts, but recently the idea has re-emerged that some of them may have held stones.[5]

Within and around the Aubrey Holes, and also in the ditch, people buried cremations. About 64 cremations have been found, and perhaps as many as 150 individuals were originally buried at Stonehenge, making it the largest late Neolithic cemetery in the British Isles.[6]

Taken from here.

I would have loved being present at Stonehenge when the builders finally were able to stand back and see the Sun “speak” to them at the first Solstice after that point in its construction.

It seems to me to be a most magical place yet Stonehenge offers a mathematical and rhythmic foundation to that magic.

3. First man into space – 12th April, 1961

It was, of course, Yuri Gagarin, who made the first complete orbit of Planet Earth in space.

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin

I would have given anything to be in his seat (and suit). For to look out and see our planet as a small object in an enormous outer space would have to change one’s perception of almost everything; for evermore.

exo-planet-earth-from-space

My wish for the New Year is that we recognise our place both in history and on our Planet Earth, and care for it as the sole, beautiful home that we have.

Now that global recognition would be a moment in history that I would want to experience before I die!

(Thanks John for inspiring me to jot down these thoughts!)

 

Saturday serenity.

If you don’t care for yourself, then you can not care for others.

This beautiful Tao Wisdom was published over on Find Your Middle Ground, Val Boyko’s blogsite, and is republished here with Val’s very kind permission.

ooOOoo

night-and-day

Knowing the world is intelligent.
Knowing yourself is enlightenment.

Bending the world to your will takes force.
Willing yourself to bend is true strength.

Succeeding in the world yields riches.
Being content with what is yields wealth.

Apply Tao to the physical world and you will have a long life.
See past the physical world to the enduring presence of Tao and death will lose its meaning.

Lao Tzu*

This is one of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching.
May it enrich the whole of you and your day. ☯

*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David (2012-12-02). Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 492-498). . Kindle Edition.

ooOOoo

May you, and all your friends and loved ones, including your beautiful animals, have a very contented weekend, extending forever more!

The art of stillness.

Another fabulous lesson we can learn from our dogs.

Stillness. It is a very simple, single word yet, somehow, it sounds as though it belongs to a different age. As though stillness is a very long way from the modern society that millions and millions of us subscribe to.

The dog is the master of being still. Being still, either from just laying quietly watching the world go by, or being still from being fast asleep. The ease at which they can find a space on a settee, a carpeted corner of a room, the covers of a made-up bed, and stretch out and be still, simply beggars belief. Dogs offer us humans the most wonderful quality of stillness that we should all practice. Dogs reveal their wonderful relationship with stillness.

Now watch this entrancing talk from Pico Iyer.

Published on Nov 26, 2014
The place that travel writer Pico Iyer would most like to go? Nowhere. In a counterintuitive and lyrical meditation, Iyer takes a look at the incredible insight that comes with taking time for stillness. In our world of constant movement and distraction, he teases out strategies we all can use to take back a few minutes out of every day, or a few days out of every season. It’s the talk for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the demands for our world.

Why you should listen.

Acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer began his career documenting a neglected aspect of travel — the sometimes surreal disconnect between local tradition and imported global pop culture. Since then, he has written ten books, exploring also the cultural consequences of isolation, whether writing about the exiled spiritual leaders of Tibet or the embargoed society of Cuba.

Iyer’s latest focus is on yet another overlooked aspect of travel: how can it help us regain our sense of stillness and focus in a world where our devices and digital networks increasing distract us? As he says: “Almost everybody I know has this sense of overdosing on information and getting dizzy living at post-human speeds. Nearly everybody I know does something to try to remove herself to clear her head and to have enough time and space to think. … All of us instinctively feel that something inside us is crying out for more spaciousness and stillness to offset the exhilarations of this movement and the fun and diversion of the modern world.”

What others say

“[Iyer] writes the kind of lyrical, flowing prose that could make Des Moines sound beguiling.” — Los Angeles Times

When dark shadows fall across our hearts.

One of the most important lessons we can learn from our dogs: coping with death.

In writing about the lesson of death that we can learn from our dogs I am, of course, speaking of our own death, of the inevitability of our death. That largely unspoken truth that Sharon Salzberg described in her book Faith: “What does it mean to be born in a human body, vulnerable and helpless, then to grow old, get sick and die, whether we like it or not?” [page 34.]

Anyone who has loved a dog has most likely been intimately involved in the end of that dog’s life. It is, to my mind, the ultimate lesson that dogs offer us: how to be at peace when we die and how to leave that peace blowing like a gentle breeze through the hearts of all the people who loved us.

Our beloved dogs have much shorter life spans than us, thus almost everyone who has loved a dog will have had to say goodbye to that gorgeous friend at some point in their lives. Very sadly, perhaps, saying goodbye to more than one loved dog.

All of which is my introduction to a recent essay published on The Conversation blogsite. The essay is written by Bernard Rollin, Professor of Philosophy, Animal Sciences and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. The essay is called: When is it ethical to euthanise your pet?

ooOOoo

When is it ethical to euthanize your pet?

August 12, 2015 6.18am EDT

In the 1960s, I knew people who, before going on vacation, would take their dogs to a shelter to be euthanized. They reasoned that it was cheaper to have a dog euthanized – and buy a new one upon returning – than pay a kennel fee.

Two decades later, I was working at Colorado State’s veterinary hospital when a group of distraught bikers on Harley-Davidsons pulled up carrying a sick chihuahua. The dog was intractably ill, and required euthanasia to prevent further suffering. Afterwards, the hospital’s counselors felt compelled to find the bikers a motel room: their level of grief was so profound that the staff didn’t think it was safe for them to be riding their motorcycles.

These two stories illustrate the drastic change in how animals have been perceived. For thousands of years, humans have kept animals as pets. But only during the past 40 years have they come to be viewed as family.

While it’s certainly a positive development that animals are being treated humanely, one of the downsides to better treatment mirrors some of the problems the (human) health care system faces with end-of-life care.

As with humans, in many cases the lives of pets are needlessly prolonged, which can cause undue suffering for the animals and an increased financial burden for families.

The growth of veterinary medicine and ethics

In 1979, I began teaching veterinary medical ethics at Colorado State University’s veterinary school, the first such course ever taught anywhere in the world.

A year later, the veterinary school hired an oncologist to head up a new program on animal oncology. Soon, our clinic was applying human therapeutic modalities to animal cancer. The visionary head of the veterinary program also hired a number of counselors to help pet owners manage their grief – another first in veterinary circles.

I’d been under the impression that people would be reluctant to spend much money on animal treatments, so I was genuinely shocked when the following April, the Wall Street Journal reported individuals spending upwards of six figures on cancer treatments for their pets.

As a strong advocate for strengthening concern for animal welfare in society, I was delighted with this unprecedented turn of events. I soon learned that concern for treating the diseases of pets besides cancer had also spiked precipitously, evidenced by a significant increase in veterinary specialty practices.

One of the family

So what’s behind the shift in how pets are perceived and treated?

For one, surveys conducted over the last two decades indicate an increasing number of pet owners who profess to view their animals as “members of the family.” In some surveys, the number is as high as 95% of respondents, but in nearly all surveys the number is higher than 80%.

In addition, the breakdown of nuclear families and the uptick of divorce rates have contributed to singles forming tighter bonds with companion animals.

Such attitudes and trends are likely to engender profound changes in societal views of euthanasia. Whereas before, many owners didn’t think twice about putting down a pet, now many are hesitant to euthanize, often going to great lengths to keep sick animals alive.

Vets caught in the middle

However, veterinarians continue to experience extensive stress as they experience two opposite – but equally trying – dilemmas: ending an animal’s life too soon, or waiting too long.

In a paper that I published entitled Euthanasia and Moral Stress, I described the significant stress experienced by veterinarians, veterinary technicians and humane society workers. Many chose their profession out of a desire to improve the lot of animals; instead, they invariably ended up euthanizing large numbers of them, often for unethical reasons.

These ranged from “I got the dog to jog with me, and now it’s too old to run,” to “If I die, I want you to euthanize the animal because I know it can’t bear to live without me.”

In other cases, the animal is experiencing considerable suffering, but the owner is unwilling to let the animal go. With owners increasingly viewing pets as family members, this has become increasingly common, and many owners fear the guilt associated with killing an animal too soon.

Ironically this, too, can cause veterinarians undue trauma: they know the animal is suffering, but there’s nothing they can do about it unless the owner gives them permission.

The consequences are manifest. One recent study showed that one in six veterinarians has considered suicide. Another found an elevated risk of suicide in the field of veterinary medicine. Being asked to kill healthy animals for owner convenience doubtless is a major contribution.

How to manage the decision to euthanize

Here is my suggestion to anyone who is thinking about getting a pet: when you first acquire it, create a list of everything you can find that makes the animal happy (eating a treat, chasing a ball, etc). Put the list away until the animal is undergoing treatment for a terminal disease, such as cancer. At that point, return to the list: is the animal able to chase a ball? Does the animal get excited about receiving a treat?

If the animal has lost the ability to have positive experiences, it’s often easier to let go.

This strategy can be augmented by pointing out the differences between human and animal consciousness. As philosopher Martin Heidegger has pointed out, for humans much of life’s meaning is derived from balancing past experiences with future aspirations, such as wishing to see one’s children graduate or hoping to see Ireland again.

Animals, on the other hand, lack the linguistic tools to allow them to anticipate the future or create an internal narrative of the past. Instead, they live overwhelmingly in the present. So if a pet owner is reluctant to euthanize, I’ll often point out that the animal no longer experiences pleasant “nows.”

In the end, managing euthanasia represents a major complication of the augmented status of pets in society. Ideally, companion animal owners should maintain a good relationship with their general veterinary practitioner, who has often known the animal all of its life, and can serve as a partner in dialogue during the trying times when euthanasia emerges as a possible alternative to suffering.

ooOOoo

So much to learn from these beautiful creatures and so many ways to return the unlimited love we receive from them.

Synecdoche : Little World

The concluding part of Hariod Brawn’s wonderful essay.

Haroid’s opening part was republished by me in this place yesterday, under the blog title of Alone in a sea of many. For the concluding part, I have named this blog post in accordance with Hariod’s chosen name. Thank you to all who read Part One and I hope you find Part Two equally stimulating.

ooOOoo

Synecdoche (Part Two): Little Person

Fool’s Cap Map of the World. Unknown origin c.1580-1590
Fool’s Cap Map of the World. Unknown origin c.1580-1590

In the first part of this article, we discussed how each person, in coming to understand how they construct themselves as the self-entity they take themselves to be, must in the process come to understand how all others do too. In other words, self-knowledge is not particular to the individual, because the self – in essence an embedded, accumulating and by graduation morphing narrative and body schema – comes into being by identical means in our species. Each of us remains unique in many ways, such as in our formative experience, our psychological make-up, conditioned traits, genetic inheritance, and in our individuated physicalities. Yet that which we regard as our quintessence, the enduring internalised construct we each unquestioningly hold as the self and the aspect of ourselves which we most intimately cling to, is little more than a formulaic pretence determined and governed solely by means of evolved, unbidden and unconscious processes.

Each character has a given name, societal position, cultural identity and perhaps a hierarchical status; yet all such markers are in part a figure of speech, or synecdoche, denoting an undeniable correlation with countless others. The markers delineate superficial distinctions alone, and the greater the number of them, the more we remove from our understanding the underlying truth of the other’s commonality with us. In much the same way, in our coming to understand how the worlds we ourselves inhabit are constructed, we see also that same world as a synecdoche for all others. How I relate to my home and environment, my relatives and loved ones, those I engage with out of chance or necessity, and those whom I depend upon or those who depend upon me, human or non-human, all make up my little world. It is a relational world, an interactive adventure forged from myriad connections, surprisingly few of which do I have great control over.

The argument against this is to assert that such correlations are facile, that how can I, a materially secure Westerner living in a largely strife-free state, possibly share any commonality with the oppressed and malnourished other on, say, the Indian sub-continent? Are these conditions not worlds apart, if only qualitatively? Well, in examining human suffering, we find it has a common genesis, proceeding as it does from the mind. For example, we commonly mistake unpleasant bodily sensations for suffering, failing to distinguish between physical pain and the attendant overlay of mental anguish. Is the suffering of the wealthy financier who contemplates suicide at her portfolio’s decimation greater than that of the homesteader in sub-Saharan Africa facing a crop failure of a few sacksful of grain? Objectively, then yes, these are worlds apart, yet the subjective suffering of each may be qualitatively indistinct, even in their wildly differing experiential settings.

Geography of Twitter. By Eric Fischer, Washington, DC
Geography of Twitter. By Eric Fischer, Washington, DC

And what of care and affection; are we to suppose that our world as comprising love is any the lesser or greater than others? Ought we to suppose the human instinct to loving solicitude is greater than that of our fellow creatures? Who amongst us knows what human love is as distinct from other forms of animal love, and whether it is qualitatively superior? Am I so arrogant as to suggest my altruistic benevolence is any the greater than that of my pet Border Collie, for it seems far from being so? If I am unable to define precisely what constitutes this world aspect, how am I to know that those of other animals are not simulacra of my own, there being no original and authentic love-world other than the one as represented by the many – is this not a truth hard to refute? I may describe a personal world of felt affection, yet in doing so prescribe but a figure of speech alone, a synecdoche for all worlds inhabited perhaps by most beings of sentience.

My little world is forged at the interface between psyche and otherness, between ideas and the world as impressed upon my senses. Those impressions and the precise nature of that otherness differ in every detail from the next person’s, yet the means of forging are identical. This shared action results in distinct narratives of course, and it is these that are held to in our bids to assert the pre-eminence of individuality over commonality. I want to believe I am, if not special, then unique; yet that is only true in the differing stories of what I am and what my little world is. To those without privilege to my narratives of self and world, my assumed mantle of uniqueness is meaningless, and the same is true of theirs to me. We may here be at a cold and sterile juncture, yet it also is a starting point from which we may begin to introduce the binding agents of humankind – our innate qualities of kindness and compassion, of empathic understanding.

So what, why should I care about such ideas when I have altogether more pressing concerns? What is the point in abstracting notions such as these from the warp and weft of daily living, the place where I earn my crust, feed my children, and work on my betterment as a means of personal fulfilment? Perhaps the answer lies somewhat starkly in the evidence, and which seems to me to be in a state of constant deterioration. We live in a polarised world, where theists fight theists and atheists argue against both, where the wealthy seldom flinch in their impoverishment of others, and where power-hungry and psychopathic leaders crush the potential of all they have dominion over. Is it not time to find our common humanity, or even our common animality? We humans are destroying our sole environment; we are chasing down the darkening corridors of economic systems at the point of failure. Can we not rest awhile so as to perceive our little worlds as one?

ooOOoo

My sense is that for quite a few readers who read yesterday’s and today’s postings, they were not the easiest read that has been seen on Learning from Dogs. But in a world where the dumbing down of the English vocabulary seems ever more present, to read Hariod’s essay slowly and carefully, and let the deeper meanings of her arguments settle within the mind, is a profound and compelling reminder of the beauty and elegance of the English language.

This introspective mood continues tomorrow: you have been warned!