Category: Spirituality

How we love.

Reflections!

This the fourth day since my mother died.

They have been days of a great jumble of emotions.

But the over-riding emotion has been one of feeling very loved and cared for. Not only by Jeannie, of course, and by my son, Alex, and daughter, Maija, but also by so many of you from my Learning from Dogs ‘family’.

A dear friend, Richard, living in England was incredibly supportive. Richard and I go back nearly 40 years to when we first met. We were both selling Commodore computers for our respective companies back in the early 1980’s. (Richard used to be a typewriter salesman for Olivetti UK and I was an ex-IBM Office Products salesman.)

Anyway, Richard pointed me to this beautiful song by Beth Nielsen-Chapman How We Love.

It sums up perfectly what all your ‘Likes’ and responses to my post The End Of An Era meant to me.

Love you all! I will return to daily posts from this Saturday.

I will not forget your kindness when I needed it so much.

Returning the love.

Wonderful reminders of how so many offer so much love to our animals.

p1160586On Saturday Jean and I spent the day at PetSmart’s store in Medford, OR., supporting another of their wonderful pet adoption events.

There were many dogs and cats available and even more wonderful people coming to find a new dog or a new cat for their homes (the final figures not available at the time of writing this post).

Yes, there are a great deal of people who are unloving and uncaring towards our beautiful animals. But never let that cloud the fact that there are countless people who will put their love for animals way ahead of their own needs.

So when Marg emailed me a link to a recent story on ABC News not only did I want to share it with you good people but it was the perfect story to follow Saturday’s adoption event. Here it is:

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#WalkWithWalnut: Hundreds tread Cornwall beach to mark final walk for 18yo whippet

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-13/mark-woods-and-walnut-were-joined-by-hundreds-of-dog-walkers/8021246

Before a trip to doggy heaven, 18-year-old whippet Walnut was joined by hundreds of people and their pups for a walk along an English beach.

Walnut’s owner Mark Woods posted details about the dog’s final walk along the beach on Facebook, inviting dog owners to join him on a beach in Newquay, Cornwall to celebrate his pet’s life.

“He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand age of 18 is ready for his final sleep,” Mr Woods wrote.

“I would love it if dog lovers/owners and friends would join us for a celebration of Walnut on his favourite Porth Beach.”

Hundreds of pooches left paw marks on the sand and supporters used the hashtag #WalkWithWalnut on social media to pay tribute to the animal, who also became a media star in his final days.

“If #walkwithwalnut has done something, it’s restored my faith in the compassion of humanity, in a particularly dreary year,” one tweeted.

“Meanwhile, at Porth Beach Newquay, humans demonstrate proper love and solidarity on their #walkwithwalnut and Mark,” tweeted another supporter.

Mr Woods carried Walnut across the beach as his ill health meant he was no longer able to walk.

He told local media Walnut had provided much comfort over the years, seeing him through two marriages and three engagements.

After Walnut was euthanased the evening after the walk, Mr Woods posted a thank you to all who attended.

Photo: "He went very quickly and in my arms," Mark Woods said in a Facebook post on the day they euthanased Walnut. (Facebook: Mark Woods)
Photo: “He went very quickly and in my arms,” Mark Woods said in a Facebook post on the day they euthanased Walnut. (Facebook: Mark Woods)

“Walnut passed away this morning at 11.56am … he went very quickly and in my arms,” Mr Woods wrote on his Facebook page.

“Thank you to the hundreds of people that attended the walk this morning and to all those that had their own walks with their beloved pets around the world.”

The whippet breed originated in England and have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

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There were many videos taken of the walk lots of them being uploaded to YouTube. I chose the following one to share with you. Be warned, this will bring tears to your eyes!

Finally, let me return to the overall theme of today’s post: how much we return the love our dogs give us.

By including the following photograph of this woman, whose name we missed, chatting to Jean at the PetSmart event. Not only had this loving lady taken in many rescue dogs she also fostered other dogs as they awaited their new home. The terrier mix in her arms is her dog and, of course, was one time a homeless dog that she rescued.

p1160612Don’t our wonderful pets bring out the best in us!

For Dollar and all the other lost dogs.

A beautiful amendment to this blog!

Last Thursday, I published a post under the name of Affairs Of The Heart.

There was a reply from Asha:

My mom still cries for my pet GSD we lost 15 years ago to illness. There are no words to describe that loss.

I asked Asha what was the name of that dearly loved German Shepherd. She replied that it had been called Dollar. That then gave me an idea.

Thanks. Indeed, it just crossed my mind that there could be a page on this blog where readers leave the names and a few words of past loved dogs. Would that work for you?

Asha replied, “Oh wow! That so melted my heart.”

So I have just finished setting up a page Keep Their Memories Alive. You will see it listed on the sidebar next under the link for Try The Book For Free.

When you click on the link under the heading Keep Their Memories Alive you will go here:

We Shall Not Forget Them.

For millions, the relationship between a person and their dog is precious beyond words. Do you still grieve the loss of your wonderful dog? Let us all know what your dog meant to you. Write whatever you want. Leave it as a thought to this page.

I am hoping that Asha will be first to leave a message for Dollar. I am hoping that many of you will leave a message so that all of us will not forget the love we have received from our departed furry friends.

Thank you Dollar!

NB: I may have overlooked whether or not comments can be attached to a page under WordPress. If not, I will come up with a fix very soon. In the meantime, leave your thoughts as a response to this post.

Affairs of the heart.

Those four-legged affairs, that is!

In my recent post where I updated you on our longer-term findings of using hemp oil, I included a couple of recent photographs of Pharaoh. As in:

A shot taken of Pharaoh walking past me.
A shot taken of Pharaoh walking past me.

and

Cleo watching Pharaoh come away from the house.
Cleo watching Pharaoh come away from the house.

Blogger RoughSeasInTheMed commented, in part,

How lovely for Pharaoh. It’s a good age for a GSD.

But as delighted as we are with how Pharaoh is combating his weakening rear hips there is no disguising the fact that the day of his death is getting closer all the time. (Not just for Pharaoh, but for all of us!)

So I cherish each day with Pharaoh as, indeed, I do with all our dogs. Both Jean and I have love affairs with our dogs that almost defy description and it’s a not an infrequent reflection between Jeannie and me that as they come to the end of their days each and every death is going to be extremely painful. Jean still mourns the loss of her dogs from many years back.

So on to this beautiful post that was recently published over on Mother Nature Network.

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7 reasons you will never forget your dog

For many, the loss of a dog is harder than any other. Here’s why.

Jenn Savedge October 25, 2016
he passing of a pet leaves a hole in your heart — and your life. (Photo: mythja/Shutterstock)
The passing of a pet leaves a hole in your heart — and your life. (Photo: mythja/Shutterstock)

It’s been three years, but it was only a few weeks ago that I was able to pull my old dog’s bed out of storage and look at it without crying. Otis wasn’t just my dog; he was my friend, my workout partner, my first baby and my stalwart protector. In our 14 years together, Otis was there for me through the birth of both of my daughters, five moves, one tarantula infestation and countless bad haircuts, which he endured without skipping a beat.

It’s no wonder his death left a giant black lab-sized hole in my heart. Anyone who has ever lost a longtime pet knows this feeling, and many also understand completely that the loss of a pet can be as hard as the loss of a close friend or family member. Here’s why you’ll never forget a loyal dog:

1. You may be closer to your dog than you are to some members of your family.

A 1988 study published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling asked dog owners to create a family diagram placing all their family members and pets in a circle whose proximity to them represented the strength and closeness of their relationships. Not surprisingly, the participants tended to put their dogs as close as or even closer than family members. In 38 percent of the cases, the dog was closest of all.

2. You dog’s world revolves around you and your happiness.

If there’s one thing that your dog loves even more than chew toys, cheeseburgers and chasing squirrels, it’s you. His world literally revolves around you, and he will do anything at all to make you happy. There’s no other being in the world that will give you as much nonjudgmental love as a dog will.

3. Your pet is your stress reliever.

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that contact with pets can help to reduce stress by lowering levels of stress hormones, calming the heart rate, and even elevating feelings of happiness. Losing a pet is like losing a friend, counselor and yoga-instructor all in one.

All it takes is a quick scratch to make your dog’s day. (Photo: Wisut/Shutterstock)

4. Pets appreciate your every effort, no matter how small.

At the end of the average day, I will have cooked, cleaned, run errands, worked, shuffled kids from school to after-school activities and home again, paid bills, worked some more, rotated laundry, and organized a playdate , a fundraiser or a closet all without anyone in my household even noticing. Yet my two current dogs (Henry and Honey) are seemingly overjoyed by any effort I make — no matter how small — to keep them fed or happy. It’s easy to feel like a superhero when you see the love in your dog’s eyes reflected back at you.

5. Your dog understands you.

Honey, my energetic running partner, knows well before I reach for my shoes whether or not it’s time to get ready for a run. Henry knows when it’s time to play and when it’s time to dog pile on the sofa for popcorn and a movie. And it’s not just your mood that dogs understand. New research shows that your dog probably understands much of what you say — and even the tone of voice you use to say it.

6. Dogs are loyal to the bitter end.

For all of the good days we had, my boy and I had our struggles, too. Yet Otis never judged me for the days that I forgot to feed him (or myself,) or when I walked around the house like a zombie while caring for a new baby. He didn’t object to squeezing into the middle console of a two-seater truck when we moved across the country. He forgave me for all of those missed walks and harsh words when I struggled to juggle the demanding tasks of caring for a growing family.

Yet, when I needed him, he was there, without fail. It was Otis who sat by my side as I rocked a colicky baby through countless sleepless nights. When the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, I wept silently into his collar. When a close friend lost her son to cancer, Otis walked with me around and around the block as I struggled to understand the meaning of life.

7. Even if your dog is no longer with you, he wants to comfort you.

Your dog would never want you to be sad — even if your sadness is caused by his loss.

Animation student Shai Getzoff captured this sentiment perfectly in his short film “6 Feet.”

“I based this story on my beloved dog who passed away last April,” Getzoff commented in the film notes. “She spent 15 and a half wonderful years with me and my family. After she passed away, it took a while getting used to life without her. It felt like she was always around, when in reality she wasn’t really there any more. This, for me, is a way to say goodbye.”

Grab a tissue and give it a watch.

6 FEET from Shai Getzoff on Vimeo.

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Let me leave you with this photograph of Pharaoh, an image that will stay with me until my last breath.

Pharaoh – just being a dog!

The utterly incomprehensible

A journey of the mind and the soul.

NB: Regular readers will find that today’s post is rather different to my usual run of things. But I do hope that you end up sharing my feelings of mystery; sharing what seems to me utterly incomprehensible. I am speaking of The Infinite.

Let me start with this quotation:

The infinite has always stirred the emotions of mankind more deeply than any other question.

The infinite has stimulated and fertilised reason as few other ideas have. But also the infinite, more than another other notion, is in need of clarification.

Let me now take you back many years, back to the Autumn of 1969 when I left Gibraltar bound for The Azores on my yacht Songbird of Kent. I was sailing solo.

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

Despite me being very familiar with my boat, and with sailing in general, there was nonetheless a deep sense of trepidation as I headed out into a vast unfamiliar ocean.

On the third or fourth night, I forget which, when some four hundred miles into the Atlantic and therefore far from the light pollution from the land, I came on deck and was emotionally moved in a way that has never ever been surpassed.

For way up in the heavens above me was the Andromeda galaxy, clearly visible with the naked eye.

andromeda-galaxy-josh-blash-7-23-2014-e1473897834535
Josh Blash captured this image of the Andromeda galaxy.

That photograph above and the following are from the EarthSky site.

Although a couple of dozen minor galaxies lie closer to our Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy is the closest major galaxy to ours. Excluding the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which can’t be seen from northerly latitudes, the Andromeda galaxy – also known as M31 – is the brightest galaxy in all the heavens. It’s the most distant thing you can see with your unaided eye, at 2.3 million light-years. To the eye, it appears as a smudge of light larger than a full moon.

Not only could I not take my mind off seeing the Andromeda galaxy, I couldn’t easily comprehend seeing the stars come all the way down to the horizon; all 360 degrees about me.  Right down to the edge of my ocean horizon; a swirling blackness out to where it kissed that glorious night sky.

That image of that dome of stars would be forever burnt into my memory. An image that both made no sense, yet made every sense

Fast forward forty-seven years to now!

Recently we have had some beautiful clear nights here in Southern Oregon. Just the other night, before the moon had risen, there up in the night sky just a short distance from the constellation Cassiopeia was Andromeda. Immediately, my memory of that dark night sky out in the Atlantic came rushing back at me

The Andromeda galaxy is 2.3 million light-years away. But how can one possibly comprehend the distance? The fact that light travels at 186,000 miles per second or 671 million miles per hour (the exact value is 299,792,458 metres per second (approximately 3.00×108 m/s) has no meaning whatsoever. Think about it! Light is traveling at the equivalent speed of going around our planet 7.46 times every second!

But if you can’t fathom the distance to the Andromeda galaxy try this!

Back in March, 2016 a new galaxy that has been named GN-z11 was spotted by the Hubble space telescope 13.4 billion light years away. That’s approximately 5,830 times more distant than the Andromeda galaxy!

Now it is starting to become very difficult to comprehend.

Over the last couple of weeks BBC Radio 4 has been airing 10 talks given by Professor Adrian Moore under the heading of A History of the Infinite. They are freely available to be listened to and I so strongly recommend them.

But it was episode eight that made me lose my mind. Just like that night so many years ago on Songbird of Kent.

For that episode was called The Cosmos. You can listen to it here. Please, please do so! This is how that episode is presented:

Does space go on for ever? Are there infinitely many stars? These are some of the questions Adrian Moore explores in the eighth episode in his series about philosophical thought concerning the infinite.

With the help of the theories of the Ancient Greeks through to those of modern cosmologists, Adrian examines the central question of whether our universe is finite or infinite.

For most of us, looking up at the stars gives us a sense of infinity but, as Adrian discovers, there is a strong body of opinion which suggests that space is finite, albeit unbounded. This is a difficult idea to grasp, but by inviting us to think of ourselves as ants, astrophysics professor Jo Dunkley attempts to explain it.

Adrian also tackles the idea of the expanding universe and the logic that leads cosmologists to argue that it all started with a big bang, and may all end with a big crunch.

Finally, we discover from cosmologist John Barrow how the appearance of an infinity in scientists’ calculations sends them straight back to the drawing board. The infinite, which the Ancient Greeks found so troubling, has lost none of its power to disturb.

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.

If you find that episode compelling beyond belief then all the episodes are available on the BBC iPlayer and may be found here.

I started with a quotation that is the opening of the final episode. It is a quotation from the German mathematician David Hilbert. As Wikipedia explains, in part:

hilbertDavid Hilbert (German: [ˈdaːvɪt ˈhɪlbɐt]; 23 January 1862 – 14 February 1943) was a German mathematician. He is recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

I will return to that first sentence in Hilbert’s quotation:

The infinite has always stirred the emotions of mankind more deeply than any other question.

For me that sight of the Andromeda galaxy and the stars back in 1969 was in every meaning of the word a sight of the infinite and it has forever stirred my emotions very deeply indeed!

Oh, I Wish …..

…. that animal cruelty just never ever happens!

Yes, I know that’s a naive wish.

But it doesn’t alter my sincere wish!

So thank goodness for the many wonderful people and organisations around the world that do their utmost to help animals.

Take, for example, Animals Asia. This is what they do:

Founded in 1998, Animals Asia promotes compassion and respect for all animals and works to bring about long-term change. We work to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees over 10,000 bears kept on bile farms in China, and, according to official figures, about 1,200 suffering the same fate in Vietnam.

Animals Asia has rescued over 500 bears, caring for them at its award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

Animals Asia also works to end the trade in dogs and cats for food in China and Vietnam, and lobbies to improve the welfare of companion animals, promote humane population management and prevent the cross border export of “meat dogs” in Asia.

In addition, Animals Asia campaigns for an end to abusive animal practices in zoos and safari parks in Asia, and works closely with governing authorities to improve animal management and increase awareness of the welfare needs of captive animals.

Take this wonderful account of what they did for one bear.

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Freed from a bile farm – is this the happiest bear ever?

Watch Tuffy jump for joy in his first days outside – after being rescued from a bear bile farm where he’d spent years of torture in a tiny cage.

Rescued in September last year on the same day as six other bears, Tuffy’s paws have hardly hit the ground since arriving at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary.

tuffycagedThe vet team has been working hard to rehabilitate him after years of having his bile extracted. In fact his gall bladder was so damaged it had to be removed. Examinations had found numerous gallstones, meaning he’d lived in pain for years.

That wasn’t the only surgery Tuffy faced. In addition he had three fractured teeth removed. He also had painful, dry, cracked paws.

tuffyinacageAnimals Asia Bear Manager Louise Ellis said:

“The cracked paws are common to bile farm bears as they only walk on bars, not grass. Dehydration is likely to have contributed to this too. So for his carers to see him take to the pool so quickly after he first became ready to face the outdoors was an amazing moment.

“Coming from years of little or no water, for Tuffy this must feel like a true oasis after being parched and in pain for so long. It must have felt like such a relief to have the freedom to splash around in the water after only being able to stand on the hard metal bars of the bile farm cage.”

tuffyrescuedIn fact Tuffy loved being outdoors so much he decided not to return to his den in the evening – choosing instead to sleep under the stars.

There are still around 1,200 bears in bile farms in Vietnam and over 10,000 more in China. Animals Asia has rescued nearly 600 bears from the bile industry and continues to care for almost 400.

Bear bile is used in traditional medicine.

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Dearest Tuffy! One of the lucky ones.
But that doesn’t diminish the anger and the disgust I feel at the way too many so called human beings can have such disregard for our beautiful animals!

Reggie the Black Lab.

To whomsoever gets my dog!

With thanks to Suzann Reeve who sent this on to me.

You all have a very wonderful Autumn weekend.

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They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie,
as I looked at him lying in his pen.
The shelter was clean, no-kill,
and the people really friendly.

lab1I’d only been in the area for six months, but
everywhere I went in the small college town, people
were welcoming and open. Everyone waves
when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle
in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.
Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen
Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter
said they had received numerous calls right after,
but they said the people who had come down
to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,”
whatever that meant. They must’ve thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me
in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted
of a dog pad, a bag of toys almost all of which were
brand new tennis balls, his dishes and
a sealed letter from his previous owner.

lab2See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home.
We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter
told me to give him to adjust to his new home).

Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.
Maybe we were too much alike.

lab3I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten
about that. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see
if your previous owner has any advice.”

lab4

To Whomever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this,
a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by
Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it.

He knew something was different.

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So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes
that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier.
Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them.
He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet.

Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after them, so be careful.  Don’t do it by any roads.

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Next, commands. Reggie knows the
obvious ones —“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”
He knows hand signals, too: He knows “ball”
and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.
Feeding schedule: twice a day, regular
store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He’s up on his shots. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet.
Good luck getting him in the car. I don’t know how he
knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. It’s only been Reggie and
me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me,
so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.
He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark
or complain. He just loves to be around people,
and me most especially.

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And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you…His name’s not Reggie. He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. But if someone is reading this …well it means that his new owner should know his real name.
His real name is “Tank.” Because, that is what I drive.
I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.
You see, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with … and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter …in the “event” … to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my CO is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he’d do it personally. And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.  Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to the US I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and
give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.
Thank you,
Paul Mallory

_____________________
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.

Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

lab8I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.
“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.
The dog’s head whipped up, his ears
cocked and his eyes bright.

lab9He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months. “Tank,” I whispered.  His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.
“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.”
Tank reached up and licked my cheek.
“So whatdaya say we play some ball?”
His ears perked again.
“Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?”
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.  And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

lab10If you can read this without getting a lump in your
throat or a tear in your eye, you just ain’t right.
============================== ========
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton

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Millions of us have to fight our demons, both real and imagined. Doing it without a dog by one’s side is so much harder!

Afloat on a sea of kindness!

There can never be too much trust and love in the world!

As many of you know we feed the wild deer as indeed do many of our neighbours.

P1160187So with that in mind just read the following incredible and wonderful story that recently came my way thanks to Dordie from next door.

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Quite a Catch

Awesome act of trust and love!
deer on boat08A once in the history of mankind kind of thing. The Best Day Of Fishing Ever! Some fishing stories are a little hard to believe but this guy has pictures to prove his story… I’ve heard of salmon jumping into boats, but never anything quite like this.
TomSatreTom Satre told the Sitka Gazette that he was out with a charter group on his 62-foot fishing vessel when four juvenile black-tailed deer swam directly toward his boat.
“Once the deer reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at us. We could tell right away that the young bucks were distressed.
deer111I opened up my back gate and we helped the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals onto the boat. In all my years fishing, I’ve never seen anything quite like it! Once on board, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.”
“This is a picture I took of the rescued bucks on the back of my boat, the Alaska Quest. We headed for Taku Harbour .
deer112oooo
deer113Once we reached the dock, the first buck that we had pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back as if to say ‘thank you’ and disappeared into the forest.
deer114After a bit of prodding and assistance, two more followed, but the smallest deer needed a little more help.
deer115This is me carrying the little guy.
deer116My daughter, Anna, and son, Tim, helped the last buck to its feet. We didn’t know how long they had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive.
My daughter later told me that the experience was something that she would never forget, and I suspect the deer felt the same way as well!”

I told you! Awesome!
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Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear. – Mark Twain

Truck buddies!

Of people, dogs and mutual love!

(The second part of Peter and Leslie Sonne’s guest post. Do read the first part before today’s post.)

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IMG_2654It was December 2010.  We didn’t need another dog. We had four at the time, one of whom had just started chemotherapy.

A staff member at our specialty vet knew of a rescue that reminded her of our beloved cattle dog, who we had lost the year before, and pushed us to contact the foster mom.  Peter had really been missing his truck buddy and none of the other dogs had worked as his constant companion.

The photos melted our hearts and we contacted the foster mom, Jenn.  The little girl was called Hedgehog, as she had lost much of her hair due to neglect and as it was growing back in, everyone thought she looked like a hedgehog.  It was love at first sight, but Jenn diligently ensured that “Hedgy” got along with the rest of the ranch hands before approving the adoption.  Peter teaching her to roll over within 5 minutes of meeting her helped seal the deal.  The adoption led to an immediate name change and our Peggy Sue joined the pack. We thank Jenn for giving us the thumbs up and allowing us to share the second half of Peggy’s life.

Peggy acclimated to the pack quickly, although she was a loner.  Fiercely independent, she would PS1often be in her rocker in the great room, keeping an eye on the scary ceiling fan, while the rest of the gang was in the office or kitchen with us.  She sort of just tolerated the others, although on rare occasion her nub would go up and she would play with someone for about 30 seconds – almost like she figured it was expected of her now and then.

One of Peggy’s favorites things was to go for rides in the truck.  She preferred to be alone, but would grudgingly share her backseat with one or more siblings if necessary.  We think she actually preferred to be with only one of us so that she could ride shotgun, resting her head on the console and gazing at us with eyes full of love.  The ear massages as we meandered down the road helped!

We discovered right away that she was a foodie. While she never really begged, actually feigning a look of boredom at the human meal process, she moved with lightning speed to get any morsel that fell to the ground and the others quickly learned to not even try to out maneuver her.

IMG_2656Peggy was not overtly affectionate, did not like to cuddle and really did not give kisses. However, it was certainly OK for some humans to give her belly rubs, neck massages and her favorite, massages to her ears.  Peggy had a signature gait where as she trotted along every few steps her back legs would do a little hop, which would propel her back end forward, causing her to look like the letter “J.”  I loved to watch, as she would trot down the hall each morning beside Peter.

Last August, we found a small lump on her neck and she was diagnosed with lymphoma.  She breezed through the chemotherapy and was in remission when a different lymphoma was discovered.  She breezed through that treatment and all was good.  She was in remission from both when she started having GI problems and unspecified infections.  Initially, she was able to respond and rebound but a couple of days ago she got sick again.  Hoping for the best, we treated her, but when our little foodie stopped eating, not even tempted with the tastiest morsel, we felt that she was giving us a sign.

Last night, we spent a couple of hours with her as she relaxed on the lawn.  Her nose was often raised in the air as if taking in all the smells of the ranch that she loved so much.  This morning, Mille, Samantha and Jake all said their goodbyes, and she accepted their kisses, which was another sign to us that she was ready to go.

PS9As we sat with her this morning we knew that she was dancing across the Rainbow Bridge, with her signature hop, as she went to join all of our other ranch hands that have gone before.  We pictured Bucky and Spencer playing in the river with Lexy and Minnie, Sundance egging Jack and Gus into a game of tag and Queenie impatiently waiting for Peggy to brief her on the ins and outs of her new pack.  Big Jake happily grazes nearby and looks forward to a nap in the sun while the others watch his back.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank Dr. Merrianne Burtch from Pacific Veterinary Specialists for her initial treatment and Dr. Theresa Arteaga from Animal Cancer Center for her loving extended treatment (and both of them for their friendship).  Dr. Arteaga and her fantastic staff (Jodi, Linda, Nicole and Elizabeth) always made Peggy’s treatments as relaxing as possible and this morning was no exception.

To know us is to know our dogs. To know us is to know our heartache.

Peter and Leslie

PS- Miss Peggy Sue most certainly did become Peter’s truck buddy and constant companion!

PS8ooOOoo

When I was working on this post yesterday afternoon, I didn’t have a clue as to how to close it off. This from someone who is not normally lost for words.

But I wanted some words that would leave the most glorious echo or afterglow of Peggy, and of every other dog that brings out the best of love in us.

One of the followers of this place is Susan Leighton. This is her blog: Woman on the Ledge.

I will close with Susan’s words:

I guess one of the reasons I am enamored with dogs is because they give to us unconditional love. They don’t care what we look like, if we are rich or poor, they are attracted to our souls.

Peggy Love

They ask for so little!

That sub-heading was inspired by a comment left by Barb, author of the blog Passionate About Pets, in response to Maria Matthews’ story on Monday. This is what Barb wrote (my emphasis):

I loved Maria’s story, very uplifting and special. I can’t imagine my life without a dog, they give us so much and ask for little in return, just to be loved and cared for.

Yesterday, I mentioned that as well as Maria’s guest post there would be another today.  In fact, the guest post will be in two parts. That guest is Peter Sonne.

Today, I am going to focus on the email that Peter sent to me and then on Thursday I will publish the article that accompanied Peter’s email. Peter also included pictures of Peggy that will be shared with you both today and tomorrow. So here’s Peter’s email:

ooOOoo

IMG_2653Hello Paul, I hope you all have been well.

I wanted to send you this little write-up and photos that Leslie put together for our little cattle dog, Peggy.

We had to let her go about a week ago. We had sent this out to all our animal friends and I thought of you as I have started to read your book. It is giving me a good deal of comfort, for I can relate to most everything. This one has been particularly hard on me.

Peggy was with me most everyday, and went just about everywhere with us. I think what stands out in my thoughts is that we know the first half of her life was pretty much a nightmare all around. When she was rescued, most of her hair was gone, her skin was in terrible shape, her teeth the same, etc. We quickly found that loud noises would send her running and she was a grubber for sure; food was her top priority, even up to the end.

IMG_2655I could see in her eyes when we first met her that she still had a spark, a desire if you will, to be a ‘good’ part of something; a pack.

She took to us, and to me right off she sensed a good change for her. Up until the end, however, when I would reach over to her to put my hand on her, she would always, always have a slight flinch – but followed through the connection.

I would catch her just staring at me many times while in the truck or in the house, just relaxing. You know, as I have mentioned to people before, if its dogs, cats, horses or what ever, if one takes that extra second to pay attention, to look at what’s happening when these beings see you each time, it’s really amazing. They do recognize you, and if one always tries to make that connection a positive one, that reward of seeing the reaction between that animal and you, time after time, can be extremely fulfilling for both, and that bond grows.

I think I felt more protective over her than all the others. That alone is a strong statement from PS8me, as I have loved all those so dearly that have blessed us, by allowing us to be a part of their pack. Leslie was speaking with our cancer vet, whom we have worked with many times before, and mentioned this never gets easier only harder it seems.

Our vet said that is true and more so for us as we always have 3 to 5 dogs, and the odds of dealing with this loss are much, much higher for us. Most families have maybe 1 dog for 10 or so years and then something happens, and it’s time to let them go.

So with us, and others who always have multiple dogs, the need to deal with sickness and that final decision to let them go is greatly increased. It makes sense, but it is still very hard to deal with.

Didn’t mean to ramble, but it seems to help a little. Thanks again for writing that book! It helps as well.

ooOOoo

All dogs respond to our love and affection as does almost every species of warm-blooded animal, and a fair few humans as well!

But those dogs that are rescued truly appear to find a joyfulness, call it an inner happiness, that is just a tad richer than with dogs that were born straight into loving families.

Impossible to prove; just my ‘pet’ theory!

Come back tomorrow and read Leslie’s story.