Category: Spirituality

More rescue tales.

Or should that be rescue tails!

I have another guest post for you tomorrow that, as with Maria’s story yesterday, will be appreciated greatly by you.

But for today I’m going to republish an item that appeared on the Care2 site that isn’t a million miles away from Maria’s theme about her Ellie finding lost persons.

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3 Rescued Dogs Who Saved Their Family Members’ Lives This Year

3187860.largeBy: Laura Goldman

August 25, 2016

Celebrated on August 26 every year, National Dog Day encourages pet adoptions and honors dogs who save lives, keep us safe and bring us comfort. Created in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige, the holiday falls on the date her family adopted their first rescue dog. Among the ways you can celebrate are by adopting a dog of your own or donating $5 to your local animal shelter.

In honor of National Dog Day, meet three rescued dogs who really “pawed” it forward this year by saving the lives of their forever family members.

Leon Alerts Family to Home Intruders

As Theresa Lero was feeding her horses outside her Gulfport, Miss., home early one April morning, two armed and masked men entered her house.

When she went inside, her rescue dog, Leon, was growling at the door to the sunroom. Peeking through a window, Lero saw a man with a gun.

She ran to wake up her husband. Grabbing a gun, she ran back to the sunroom with her dog by her side. “Get ‘em, Leon,” she told him.

The men began shooting. They missed Lero, but shot Leon in the head. “You shot my dog. I’ll kill you myself,” Lero yelled at them. A neighbor heard her and called 911.

The intruders ran off and were later caught by police. In the meantime, the Leros rushed Leon to the veterinarian. Amazingly, the bullet skimmed his skull and exited out his ear. He was able to walk in and out of the animal hospital.

For saving his family, Leon was given a framed certificate of bravery from the county sheriff.

When the Leros adopted their dog from a shelter two years ago, they thought he was a redbone coonhound, so they named him after the singer Leon Redbone. As it turns out, Leon may actually be a red nose pit bull. One thing is certain: Leon is definitely a hero.

Haus Saves Girl from Rattlesnake

In May, 7-year-old Molly Deluca was playing in her Tampa backyard with Haus, the German Shepherd her family adopted in March from a rescue organization, when her grandmother noticed Haus jump in front of the girl and then rear up.

He was protecting her from a venomous Eastern diamondback rattlesnake that had slithered in from a habitat at a nearby state park. Haus “had every opportunity to run but he didn’t,” Molly’s mother, Donya Deluca, told the Associated Press.

Molly was unharmed, but Haus was bitten three times in the leg. He was successfully treated at an animal hospital for kidney damage, and was given a blood transfusion and anti-venom. A week later, Haus was well enough to return home. His expensive veterinary bills were covered by generous donations from an online fundraising campaign. Haus received a Heroic Dog Award from PETA.

“He just exceeded our expectations all the way around,” Molly’s dad, Adam DeLuca, told the Associated Press. “He’s the type of dog that when you want to go buy a dog, you pay thousands of dollars and that’s the dog you get. But we adopted him and got him for free.”

Earl Wakes Up New Owner as House Burns

Barely a week after he was adopted from Petco’s Stray Animal Adoption Program in July, a pug named Earl rescued his new dog mom by alerting her to a house fire in their Erlanger, Ky., home.

“He just fell asleep with me on the couch along with (another dog named) Tucker, and the next thing I know, he’s waking me up, licking my face. It’s the first time he’s done that,” Kristina Brate told WLWT.

The fire, believed to have been caused by faulty wiring, started in the basement and quickly spread through the rest of the house.

Brate lost almost everything in the fire, but she’s alive thanks to Earl. Petco awarded the hero dog with a $500 shopping spree to help replace the lost pet items and also stock up on some well-deserved treats.

“I believe that he came to me for a reason,” Brate told WLWT. “I think that, for some reason, the first family had passed him up and that there’s a reason why I got him.”

Photo credit: YouTube

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Physically, psychologically and emotionally the number of ways that dogs save us is almost limitless!

Spreading love and kindness

The huge gift we receive from therapy animals.

Our Brandy is a Pyrenean Mastiff!

I know there are times when giving Brandy a big hug feeds something very deep inside me. That unconditional affection Brandy shows me has a very strong healing sense.

I know that Jean shares my sense of being loved by Brandy, and by all our other dear dogs.

I am without doubt that hundreds of thousands of other people experience this.

Yet there must always be room for more therapy dogs which is why an item on Care2 just a few days ago is being shared with you today.

(P.S. When a photo of me hugging Brandy was sought his nibs did not comply!)

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Could Your Pet Become a Therapy Animal?

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If you have a pet who’s mellow and loves being around people, and the idea of helping your pet bring joy to others appeals to you, you might just have a therapy animal in the making.

Accompanied by their owners, therapeutic visitation animals – which are most commonly dogs, but can also be cats, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, horses, etc. – regularly visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities, providing furry comfort and compassion.

“Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others,” says the website of  Therapy Dogs International (TDI), a nonprofit organization that regulates, tests and registers therapy dogs and their handlers. “It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.”

What It Takes to Be a Therapy Animal

Therapy animals are “born, not made,” according to TDI. They must have an outstanding temperament, and be outgoing and friendly to people of all ages. They must also behave well with other animals.

 In general, therapy animals must also be at least one year old; current on all vaccines required by local laws; and be clean and well groomed when visiting people.

As for dogs, along with the ability to obey basic commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “Come” and “Leave it,” they are tested by therapy dog certification organizations to ensure they can do the following, according to TDI (most of these requirements apply to other species of potential therapy animals as well):

  • Listen to their handlers
  • Allow strangers to touch them all over
  • Not jump on people when interacting
  • Not mind strange noises and smells
  • Be calm for petting
  • Not be afraid of people walking unsteadily

Getting Your Pet Certified as a Therapy Animal

Think your pet has the right stuff to be a therapy animal? To get an idea of the type of testing involved, this TDI brochure describes each of the 13 tests a dog must pass in order to be certified. The tests are similar for other animals.

Some therapy animal organizations, including Pet Partners, offer workshops so you and your pet can practice the required skills before being tested for certification.

The AKC website has a list of therapy animal organizations all across the U.S. from which your pet can receive certification. Contact the one nearest you for further information.

The Difference Between Therapy and Service Animals

Although the two are often confused, therapy animals are not the same as service animals, which “have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability,” according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind or assists someone who has a physical disability,” the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains. “Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as planes, restaurants, etc.”

Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are privately owned. Unlike service animals and their handlers, in most U.S. states, therapy animals and their owners don’t have protections under federal law (ADA, the Fair Housing Act, etc.), reports the National Service Animal Registry.

Additional Resources

You can find out more about therapy animals and getting your pet certified from these organizations:

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Closing this post with some photographs Jean took yesterday afternoon. Me with Pharaoh and Cleo.

(OK, they were staged for this post as the look on Cleo’s face rather suggests!)

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P1160419Have a very huggable weekend!

Have a lovely day!

The lesson of love from our dogs just keeps rolling along.

Neighbour Dordie had the following sent to her in an email and, subsequently, passed it on to me.

I share it with you and hope that it brightens your day.

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After losing his parents, this three-year-old orangutan was so depressed he wouldn’t eat and didn’t respond to any medical treatments.  The veterinarians thought he would surely die from sadness.

ATT00001The zoo keepers found an old sick dog on the grounds in the park at the zoo where the orangutan lived. They took the dog to the animal treatment center; the dog arriving at the same time that the orangutan was there being treated.

ATT00002The two lost souls met and have been inseparable ever since. The orangutan found a new reason to live and each always tries his best to be a good companion to his new-found friend. They are together 24-hours-a-day in all their activities.

ATT00003They  live in Northern California where swimming is their favorite past-time, although Roscoe (the orangutan) is a little afraid of the water and needs his friend’s help to swim.

ATT00004Together, they have discovered the joy and laughter in life and the value of friendship.

ATT00005They have found more than a friendly shoulder to lean on.

ATT00006Long Live Friendship!
I don’t know… some say life is too short, others say it is too long.

But, I know that nothing that we do makes sense if we don’t touch the hearts of others… While it lasts!

May you always have – Love to Share, Health to Spare, and Friends who Care… Even if they are a little hairy at times.

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Shared with you with the fondest love of Jean and me and all our furry friends.

Freedom with a capital ‘F’.

Sometimes the most obvious solutions take the longest to find.

I feel a little embarrassed that this introduction may come across as rather self-indulgent; I don’t intend that.

My purpose is to offer an introduction to a recent blogpost from Sue Dreamwalker that explains why her post really ‘spoke’ to me and why it felt important to share Sue’s post with all you good people.

Yesterday morning I left a comment to a Transition Times article, penned by Jennifer Browdy. The article was headed: Hillary Clinton: Holding the Center in These Complex Transition Times, So We Can Do the Essential Work of Creating a Better World.

Subsequently, I left a follow-up to my first comment, replying to a comment from Diane Husic. This is what Diane wrote:

Many of us realize what a critical junction the country faces in this election cycle. As an academic, I am trying to figure out the appropriate role I should play. We need to teach students to be respectful of difference, to be tolerant, to be problem solvers, and to be civically engaged, but we aren’t supposed to use our positions to “force” our political views on them. But given the magnitude of issues confronting the planet and humanity and the importance of having leadership that “gets it” (and displays compassion and empathy), this is a tough balance to try to find.

and this was my reply to Diane:

Diane, as someone who previously has run his own business and then, after selling it in 1986, spent a number of years as a mentor with the Prince’s Youth Business Trust in the UK, I have come to the conclusion that the best role model we adults can offer our ‘students’ is this: “Be the best you can be!” That flows from being fully aware of the person that one is. For self-awareness is the key to understanding oneself and, consequently, of understanding others. Understanding why people think and behave the way they do, for good and bad, is the only effective way of engaging with others and seeking that ‘civic engagement’ so critically important.

Apologies, that paragraph sounds like a damn speech! I didn’t intend it to be so. Plus, my own journey of self-awareness has been a long and tortuous one – but that doesn’t change my view just expressed.

Coincidentally, I have been having some informal chats with Jan Schmuckle: http://www.janconsults.com/home

Her recently released book on the effectiveness of Role Montage in building leadership skills is highly relevant to today’s students. In Jan’s words (and I have no commercial or financial link with Jan):

Role Montage: A Creative New Way to Discover the
Leader Within You is written from Jan’s experience
with her client work and her research. It helps
leaders explore self-awareness and leadership using
the role montage process.

I’ll creep back into my hole!😉

You can see why I offered a warning about coming across as self-indulgent!

But if you have stayed with me so far (and thank you) you will now understand why Sue’s post spoke so clearly to me. Republished here with Sue’s very kind permission.

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Set Yourself Free..

by Sue Dreamwalker. July 28th, 2016.

This morning I switched on the radio and the first record I heard was this one.. It was the very first time I had listened to this recording, never hearing it before.. It made me smile.. Especially when it mentioned taking Calcium and taking care of our knees..  So I decided to YouTube it to listen to again and to my delight found several versions..

Life has been busy within the Dreamwalker’s Domain this last week.. Last night I was so tired I went to bed at 7pm and slept for 12 hours.

Today the Universe thought to allow me to cool  down in the showers of rain,  so I thought I would share about my Busy time in the Sun on my Gardening Blog. And to share what brought such a smile to my face first thing this morning..

I particularly enjoyed the lyrics in the middle of this narrative of the inclusion of Rozalla’s Song Everybody’s Free to Feel Good, which is an old favourite of mine..

 So Go On FEEL GOOD and DANCE.. LAUGH and SING..

And SHARE THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR 

Sending Love and Blessings

Next time I will share with you the village I grew up in as we went  back to see the Well Dressings.. Along with some of my thoughts..

Sue

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Feeling good about ourselves is the result of knowing and liking who we are. The foundation stone of knowing and liking all the many good people we interact with throughout our lives.

And now go and hug a dog!

Further reflections on the natural world.

An inspirational essay from Arizona.

I was speaking recently with John Hurlburt whom Jean and I knew well when we were living in Payson, AZ. Subsequently, John sent me a wonderful essay with his permission for me to share it with all you good folks!

A quick web search found a photograph of Wildcat Canyon and that is at the end of today’s guest post.

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Midnight in Wildcat Canyon

The dirt road maze in our Arizona forests covers hundreds of miles.  It’s quite possible to drive all day without encountering another human being.  I once ended up at a place called Wildcat Canyon at midnight after taking a wrong turn on a wet rocky mountain road.

Cell phones are problematical in the high country. It would have helped if there had been a back woods road map on board. Fortunately there was a GPS that worked.

Wildcat Canyon in the moonlight was well worth visiting. The heavens were open above without a trace of man made light. The impact was awe inspiring. As we intuitively agree, everything fits together or we’d be random atoms.

Although, it may seem random to the casual observer, we scientifically know that the cosmos is unified from the quantum level of physics up with the classical level of physics and back again through fundamental forces we have barely begun to understand.

Einstein’s theories prove that the cosmos turns inside out without breaking.  Slight earthly energy shifts can modify and potentially eliminate all life on earth.  There’s no need to contribute to the problem by aggravating the negative effects of climate shift through either our deliberate negative action or our thoughtless lack of action.

It’s difficult to understand why we’re fussing and fuming as though we owned the earth, the moon, the sun, and the stars. There’s consensus on the body of scientific fact that supports a holistic understanding of our relative insignificance and our corresponding responsibilities as a consciously aware biological species which is presently the dominate life form on a remote garden planet.

Signs of our cultural crisis of consciousness are clear. Science is ignored or denied unless convenient and/or profitable. World economics are systemically corrupt. Slick politicians twist reality on its ear without regard for truth, justice, liberty, or equality.

Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are disparaged.

Insanity, driven by both conscious and unconscious human fears, masquerades as truth and reason.  War is profitable and encouraged. Our politicians know better if they have any awareness or compassion at all in their hearts and souls.  It seems that even when most politicians are aware of reality to some degree, they simply don’t care for much beyond themselves in the long run.  Political ends justify the means without regard and without regret.  Hyper concentrated economic power takes no prisoners.

Insanity is cold. We light a fire to keep us warm and to heat our food.
As the flame burns, we realize that matter and energy are interchangeable.  We realize that the earth is finite. We know that we’re energized by the universe. We are children of the light. We are the voice of life and the hope of the future and we’ve lost our moral compass.

Nature always wins and doesn’t care about the quarterly bottom line.  Peace is a verb.

Without a unifying purpose, surrender and unilateral acceptance are dubious. What could be more unifying than our instinctive need to survive? Our common objective is to sustain our natural balance. Our immediate practical objective is to save our planetary farm.

We don’t become fully consciously aware until we are born. We begin learning about our world in our cribs. Consider that we live in a garden cradle at the edge of the Milky Way. Change is constant as our universe emerges. Adapting to change is the prime directive for all life forms.

Our problems are complex.  The simple answer is found in all our human wisdom traditions. “Be of service to the Earth which sustains all planetary life.”  The answer to our political quandary is similarly simple. We can vote for the Nature of Creation or we can vote for Mammon.

We can vote for Sanity (Greek: sanos; balance, wholeness and well being) or we can vote for the meaningless night shades of human insanity. We may vote for Nature or we may vote for global corporate financial interests.

It’s important to note that the unaided human mind is limited.  Dumb comes with the territory with no additional charge. Our lives are a learning experience with an ongoing purpose of growth and service.

It took about an hour to get back to a main highway from Wildcat Canyon. It was a matter of back tracking through landmarks noted along the way such as the occasional miniature lake in the middle of the trail or a stretch of jagged rocky out cropping.  It was a relief to return to an asphalt road about an hour later.

A wave is breaking. Take care and maintain an even strain.

an old lamplighter

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Wildcat Canyon
Wildcat Canyon

You all have a very peaceful weekend. (Oh, and you may want to drop across to Sustainable Rim Country, a fabulous project that John and others have under way.)

I dream.

Of there being a day where no animal lives out of sight of love.

Of course, when I speak of animals I have in mind those animals that end up in rescue shelters of one form or another: cats; horses; dogs; ponies; birds; and other species.

But on the broader topic of offering love to animals I must share something with you before going on to the main subject of today’s post.

That is that for the last few years we have been feeding the wild deer.

P1160187Slowly a number of them have grown to trust Jean and me to the point where one particular young female became such a regular that we named her: Doris. It is Doris that is in the picture above eating the cob that we put out twice a day.

Doris doesn’t warm to strangers plus she doesn’t come every day. When she does it is clear that she is familiar with us and perceives no threat from this ‘neck of the woods’, as the next photograph supports:

P1160243In fact, I can now gently stroke her neck when she is feeding and will share those pictures with you all in a future Picture Parade post.

I call the closeness of me and Doris love. I love how this animal trusts me and, in turn, the care and responsibility that is called for from me.

My dream is that the love, care and responsibility offered by people will one day be so widespread and extensive that there comes no call for animal rescue shelters.

OK!

A couple of days ago Cori Meloney signed up to follow Learning from Dogs. Cori is the author of the blog Three Irish Cats. As is my usual way I went across to her blog to leave a ‘thank you’ note for her decision to follow my scriblings. I immediately saw her latest post and knew without doubt that it should be republished here. Cori very promptly gave me permission to so do.

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Every Day Should Be Clear the Shelters Day

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Silly kitty Shadow.

I volunteer with a small (but mighty!) rescue group here in Southern Maryland called Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland. We mostly deal with cats, though we’ve recently begun to rescue dogs as well.

Most of the cats we find homes for come from owner surrenders, friendly cats and kittens from our feral colonies, and at-risk animals from our local municipal shelter, Tri-County Animal Shelter.

Saturday, Rescue Angels was one of the groups that participated in Tri-County’s annual Clear the Shelters Day celebration. Seventy-seven animals found forever homes that day. Watching the parade of happy animals and their new owners as they left the building was totally worth sweltering in the 95-degree heat.

As the only public animal shelter to serve the three Southern Maryland counties, Tri-County is a busy place. It frequently gets full, and organizations like Rescue Angels and others in the area step in when we can to remove animals from the shelter. This is not a no-kill shelter, so a full shelter means animals will die. New animals come in every day.

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Gorgeous husky Damien.

Three things struck me when I was at Tri-County last weekend.

The first is that I wish Tri-County could be this busy every Saturday. Granted, adoption fees on Clear the Shelters Day were eliminated or reduced and there was a lot of publicity for this event, but there are always wonderful animals at the shelter that want to go home with a family. Many animals end up there because the owner surrendered them; the reason often given is “did not want.”

The second is that I am increasingly amazed by the dedication of the shelter staff. They have a difficult job, and it often goes without thanks. It’s not easy to be civil to an owner who is dropping off their pet because they don’t want it anymore. It’s not easy to put down perfectly healthy animals because humans have acted irresponsibly. I can only imagine that the staff constantly feels like it is in crisis mode; they may have nearly cleared the shelter on Saturday, but come midweek, those cages and pens will be filled again with animals in need.

The third thought is that we, the community, created this shelter, and we need to fix it. Tri-County has a terrible reputation here in Southern Maryland. The kill rate for cats is more than 50 percent. The facility is small and needs renovation and expansion. It is nearly always full to overflowing. Members of the community sometimes say terrible things about the staff.

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Beautiful Nadine, who found a forever home on Clear the Shelters Day.

But Tri-County is constantly full because the Southern Maryland has let its companion animals down. Cats are not spayed or neutered, and they’re treated as disposable. Need to move? Drop your cat at the shelter, or worse, just leave it behind. Dog getting too big? Don’t feel like dealing with behavior or health issues? Drop the animal at the shelter.

I’ll be honest: My opinion of Tri-County and its staff has not always been positive. What makes it worse is that I had those opinions without actually visiting the shelter. I am ashamed of that fact. Since I started volunteering with Rescue Angels, I have visited the shelter many times to take cats that our rescue was putting into foster care. I have met some of the staff members, and they are always happy to talk with me about their animals. They’re ecstatic when an animal leaves the building. The shelter has a rescue coordinator whose job is to work with local rescue groups to remove animals from the shelter when they are at risk of being killed or when shelter life is impacting their well-being. These folks are animal lovers forced into a terrible situation by a community that treats its animals as disposable and Tri-County as its dumping ground.

So, now that Clear the Shelters Day has passed, I challenge my fellow residents of Southern Maryland: Visit Tri-County Animal Shelter. Talk with the staff. Visit with the cats in the free-roaming room. Take a dog for a walk. Take pictures and share them on Facebook. Volunteer. Follow Tri-County on Facebook and interact with their posts. Foster, which allows rescue groups to remove more animals from the shelter. Rescue Angels can help you become a foster family for dogs or cats.

All three Southern Maryland counties are working on plans to build their own shelter facilities. In the meantime, Tri-County Animal Shelter is our public shelter. It’s our job as the community to support the staff, help care for the animals, and reduce the number of animals killed there.

I hope to see you there, leash in hand.

By: Cori S. Meloney

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So if any reader is within reach of Southern Maryland and wants to offer an animal love, care and responsibility then please make your way across to Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland.

How to draw today’s post to a close?

In searching for inspiration about all animals living in the sight of love I realised that what I was dreaming of was more about compassion than love; albeit the two states of mind being very close to one another.

That led me to perusing the Dalai Lama’s teachings on compassion: Compassion and the Individual. Here’s how that teaching concludes:

Compassion and the world
In conclusion, I would like briefly to expand my thoughts beyond the topic of this short piece and make a wider point: individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of our entire human community.

Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same.

Ultimately, humanity is one and this small planet is our only home. If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism. It is only this feeling that can remove the self-centered motives that cause people to deceive and misuse one another.

If you have a sincere and open heart, you naturally feel self- worth and confidence, and there is no need to be fearful of others.

I believe that at every level of society – familial, tribal, national and international – the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities.

I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness.  It is the practice of compassion.

Loving animals is very much part of protecting this home of ours.

That is my dream.

Feeding one’s inner wolves.

The wisdom of ancient minds.

The following was published by Val Boyco recently over on her blog Find Your Middle Ground.

It is republished here with Val’s very kind permission.

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* How to Feed your White Wolf

Providing much-needed comfort

Our most favourite furry comforter!

Those of you that read my republication of Deborah’s article yesterday, Six ways dogs help us heal, would undoubtedly have picked up that one of those six ways was Dogs give us physical comforting. They snuggle and lie in our laps.

If we ever needed proof of that quality of comforting then an article from the Care2 site offers such evidence in spades.

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Comfort Dogs Provide Furry Solace to People in Orlando

3180697.largeBy: Laura Goldman June 14, 2016
About Laura    Follow Laura at @lauragoldman

They were deployed to Newtown. They were deployed to Boston. And now comfort dogs have made their way from around the U.S. to Orlando, Fla., to comfort those affected by yet another terror attack — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that occurred on June 12 at the Pulse, an LGBT nightclub.

The dogs are available for anyone who needs a hug or a furry neck to absorb their tears. They wear vests with the irresistible invitation, “I’m Friendly. Please pet me.”

“We are reaching out to anyone that has been affected by this directly or indirectly,” Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) K-9 Comfort Dogs, told WLS.

About a dozen dogs and 20 handlers from the nonprofit are currently in Orlando.

“Your blood pressure goes down when you pet a dog, you feel more comfortable and people end up talking,” Hetzner said. “They’re good listeners, they’re non-judgmental, they’re confidential.”

The dogs will be in Orlando for at least a week, providing comfort to survivors, first responders and Pulse employees. They’ve visited hospitals (many are trained to climb into hospital beds and calmly lie there) and counseling centers, and joined more than 10,000 people at a June 13 candlelight vigil for the victims.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, based in Northbrook, Ill., deploys trained therapy dogs from around the country to areas where tragedies and disasters have occurred, as well as to local churches, hospitals and nursing homes. The nonprofit was created in 2008 after five students were killed at Northern Illinois University. To help ease students’ stress, handlers brought their therapy dogs to the campus, and the effort proved to be very successful.

When it started out, the nonprofit had four comfort dogs. Eight years later, it has more than 100 dogs in 23 states. The dogs are all golden retrievers — Hetzner told the Huffington Post this is because they’re a lovable breed by nature. “Also, because of their fur, they leave a little of themselves with everyone they meet,” he said.

Starting when they’re 8 months old, the comfort dogs-to-be and their handlers go through 12 to 14 months of intensive training before being deployed to areas that need them. Their travel expenses are covered by donations.

“Our dogs have to be able to relate with all age groups and stay calm in all circumstances,” Hetzner told the Huffington Post.

One of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs who was flown to Orlando is 5-year-old Gracie of Davenport, Iowa. She’s a comfort-providing veteran, having previously consoled people after the Sandy Hook massacre and in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes in Illinois and Oklahoma.

Gracie is known as one of the sweetest of all the LCC comfort dogs, Jane Marsh-Johnson, one of her handlers, told BuzzFeed News. “She’s always got a big smile.”

Therapy dogs are also helping people in Orlando cope. Zoey and her owner, Marc Gelbke, have been in town since Monday, comforting visitors to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida. Zoey will also visit a church and hospital, and is available by request, free of charge, through the Loving Paws of Clermont to anyone in the Orlando area who needs a hug.

“We encourage those [in Orlando] who are grieving to sit down on the floor and pet dogs like Gracie,” Marsh-Johnson said.

“The dogs do more for those suffering than human beings can do.”

Care2 stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Orlando, and against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Tell the FDA to fully lift the ban on gay men donating blood, and tell Congress to ban assault weapons immediately. Follow related coverage on the Orlando shooting here.

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Over on YouTube there are many videos of these wonderful dogs in action. I selected a CBC News segment to share with you.

“Furry rugs with heartbeats.” Perfect!

Of days and nights.

That magnificient night sky above us.

On Sunday evening Jean and I were invited around to Jim and Janet’s place as their regular summer movie nights swung back into the calendar.

Around 10pm local time the night sky just shone with stars and planets and my old friend The Plough, or Big Dipper (Ursa Major), was up there pointing the way to the North Star.

BigdipISSThen as we all prepared to return to our homes, around 11pm, there was the wonderful, fabulous full Moon.

So it’s a special day today as for the first time in almost fifty years both the full moon and the Summer Solstice fall on the same day. Or better put over on Time and Date:

First June Solstice Full Moon in Decades

In 2016, a full Moon, also commonly known as Strawberry Moon, will coincide with the June Solstice. The 2 events haven’t occurred on the same day since 1967 and will not coincide again until 2062.

Now technically the exact moment of the Solstice was yesterday evening at 22:34 UTC. Or to put it as it was mentioned over on EarthSky:

On June 20, 2016, the moon turns full at 11:02 UTC. The solstice arrives some 11.5 hours later, at 22:34 UTC.

I will close with the gorgeous photograph of that full moon, again courtesy of that EarthSky article.

Rising nearly full moon – near San Francisco, California – on June 19, 2016 via EarthSky Facebook friend Amy Van Artsdalen.
Rising nearly full moon – near San Francisco, California – on June 19, 2016 via EarthSky Facebook friend Amy Van Artsdalen.

I must admit that there’s a strange feeling inside me knowing that this was the last time that I will see such a coincidence of full moon and summer solstice.

Treasures Within and Without.

We must never let go of admiring beauty.

It’s Sunday lunchtime and I have come in from outside to check my emails and to put together the post for today. For reasons I can’t exactly put my finger on I’m feeling a little distracted. I sense a yearning for being transported away from the ‘outside world’ and turning inwards: Even giving blogging a rest for a couple of weeks (but I won’t).

So thank goodness for the blogging contacts we make all around the world. Just last Saturday Sue, of Sue Dreamwalker’s blog, published an exquisitely beautiful poem. Sue very promptly gave me permission to republish it in full. Sue’s poem speaks to me just now; speaks to me in this rather introspective place. I hope her wonderful words speak to you as well.

Here it is.

ooOOoo

Mother Gaia ~ The Blue Dot.

11 Jun 2016 .

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Three Sisters Glen Coe Scotland.

How many times have you gazed at the stars?

To ask the question of whom we are

This Blue Dot in the vastness of space

Have you questioned the existence of the Human Race?

~~

Did we really evolve from Neanderthal Man?

From Ape to Human imagine if you can

Woolly Mammoths along with Sabre Tooth Tigers

Ice Ages and Floods, Volcanoes and Fires

~~

Mountains crashing, rising from ocean floors

Fossils created into stony forms

Petrified wood in glaciers saved

While Crystals grow beneath deep dark cave

~~

How many times have you asked ‘Who am I?’

As you gaze longingly at the starlit sky

So many treasures now upon this Blue Dot

So sad that we’ve evolved, but we also forgot

~~

That we Humans just like the Dinosaur race

Could soon disappear without a trace

As our superior brains seemed to have lost the plot

Of our coexistence within this amazing Blue Dot

~~

As we pollute our Mother who brings such life

While we rage in greed creating more strife

We poison our land modifying crops

Caring less and less until the last Bee drops

~~

Long after we’re gone as the planets realign

A new dawn will break over the memory of mankind

His legacy I’m sure one day will be discovered

As some future traveller his fossils will uncover.

~~

But it’s never too late to alter our future

When we live in harmony and learn to nurture

Holding onto LOVE and Letting go of Hate

We can all help our Blue Planet Regenerate.

Copyright Sue Dreamwalker 2016.

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This is just one of the beautiful slides from Sue’s slide show. As she writes, “The above slide show are the photo’s I took that inspired the poem above. They were taken in Scotland where I visited a crystal and mineral centre near Fort William. It was a delightful find holding a wealth of Treasures of The Earth which can be found here. “

ooOOoo

 (Please view the full slide show here.)

Sue then completes her beautiful post; as follows:

There is so much more that lays hidden beneath our Earth Mother, as well as within ourselves.

If only we dig deep enough to find the Treasures Within.  

Love and Blessings

~Sue~

I am still digging Deep How about You?

Life is an endless dig to find treasures within.

Beautiful, Sue!