Category: Spirituality

Gratitude – the Penguin model!

The Bricklayer and the Penguin.

The following glorious story, a true story I should have made clear, was sent to me recently by Cynthia, wife of my long-term Californian friend Dan Gomez. It’s a story that was broadcast by TV Globo, not a station I had previously heard of. Unsurprising really when a quick web search finds their details:

Rede Globo, or simply Globo, is a Brazilian television network, launched by media mogul Roberto Marinho on 26 April 1965. It is owned by media conglomerate Grupo Globo, being by far the largest of its holdings.

Here’s that story.


The Bricklayer and the Penguin

This penguin swims 5,000 miles every year for a reunion with the man who saved his life.

Mail Attachment
Best buds (Picture: TV Globo)

Todays most heartwarming story is brought to you from a beach in Brazil. The story of a South American Magellanic penguin who swims 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

Retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , found the tiny penguin, covered in oil and close to death, lying on rocks on his local beach in 2011. Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.

The prodigal penguin returns (Picture: TV Globo)
The prodigal penguin returns (Picture: TV Globo)

After a week, he tried to release the penguin back into the sea. But, the bird wouldn’t leave.

He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared, Joao recalls. And, just a few months later, Dindim was back. The penguin spotted the fisherman on the beach one day and followed him home.

Look who's back (Picture: TV Globo)
Look who’s back (Picture: TV Globo)

For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile. It is thought he swims up to 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

(Picture: Rio de Janeiro Federal University )
(Picture: Rio de Janeiro Federal University)

I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me, Joao told Globo TV. No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up.

It's thought Dindim believes the fisherman is also a penguin (Picture: TV Globo)
It’s thought Dindim believes the fisherman is also a penguin (Picture: TV Globo)

Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.

(Picture: Rio de Janeiro Federal University)
(Picture: Rio de Janeiro Federal University)

Biologist Professor Krajewski, who interviewed the fisherman for Globo TV, told The Independent: “I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

And, just like that, the world seems a kinder place again.


Unsurprisingly there are numerous videos of Joao and Dindim to be found on YouTube but I have selected the following one for you.

It’s wonderful how our worries about the nature of us humans can be swept away just as easily as an ocean wave breaking on a beach near an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro.

The magic of touch!

At all levels and in so many ways it is life-giving.

dt14Animals must see touch as a natural way of living. We humans are less natural about touch especially with people that we don’t know so well. Not everyone, of course, but as a general statement it is probably not wrong.

The topic of touch has come to me today as a result of a recent item read over on The Conversation blogsite; specifically about the importance of touch between a doctor and his or her patient. Here it is republished within the terms of The Conversation:


Touch creates a healing bond in health care

May 23, 2016 8.23pm EDT

Touch is a powerful tool in medicine. Hands via
Touch is a powerful tool in medicine. Hands via

In contemporary health care, touch – contact between a doctor’s hand and a patient – appears to be on its way out. The expanding role of CT and MRI imaging is decreasing reliance on touch as a way of making diagnoses. Pressures to move patients through the system more quickly leave health professionals with fewer opportunities to make contact. Our experience suggests that when doctors spend fewer minutes with patients, less time is available for touch.

Yet despite the rise of scanners, robots and other new medical technologies, the physician’s hand remains one of medicine’s most valuable diagnostic tools. Touch creates a human bond that is particularly needed in this increasingly hands-off, impersonal age. Medical practice is replete with situations where touch does more than any words to comfort and reassure.

The USC psychologist Leo Buscaglia, whose habit of hugging those he met soon earned him the sobriquet “Doctor Love,” bemoaned our neglect of touch in his book, “Love,” in these terms:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

For thousands of years, touch has been recognized as an essential part of the healing arts. Native American healers relied on touch to draw out sickness, and kings and queens were long believed to possess the “Royal Touch,” through which the mere laying on of hands could heal. The Bible contains numerous stories of the healing power of touch.

Touch is an essential part of our well-being

An indication of our need for touch can be found among our primate relatives. Psychologists have observed that many such species spend upwards of five hours of each day touching one another, partly through grooming. For many human beings, however, the daily dose of touching would be measured not in hours but minutes, perhaps even seconds.

Lack of touch can be hazardous to health. In experiments with primates some 60 years ago,

 A young mother participates in a ‘Kangaroo Mother’ program at the National Maternity Hospital in El Salvador. Luis Galdamez/Reuters
A young mother participates in a ‘Kangaroo Mother’ program at the National Maternity Hospital in El Salvador. Luis Galdamez/Reuters

researcher Harry Harlow demonstrated that young monkeys deprived of touch did not grow and develop normally. Mere food, water and shelter are not sufficient – to thrive, such creatures need to touch and be touched.

The same can be said for human beings. During the 20th century, wars landed many babies in orphanages, where their caretakers observed that no matter how well the infants were fed, they would fail to thrive unless they were held and cuddled on a frequent basis. Touch offers no vitamins or calories, yet it plays a vital role in sustaining life.

More recent studies have corroborated these findings. “Kangaroo care,” using papoose-like garments to keep babies close to their mothers, decreases the rate at which they develop blood infections. Touching also improves weight gain and decreases the amount of time that newborns need to remain in the hospital.

Touch creates a bond between doctor and patient

Novelist and physician Abraham Verghese has argued that touching is one of the most important features of the patient-physician interaction. When he examines a patient, he is not merely collecting information with which to formulate a diagnosis, but also establishing a bond that provides comfort and reassurance.

The notion that touch can reassure and comfort has a scientific basis. Ten years ago researchers used MRI scans to look at the brains of women undergoing painful stimuli. When subjects experience pain, certain areas of the brain tend to “light up.” The researchers studied subjects when they were alone, when they were holding a stranger’s hand, and when they were holding their husband’s hand.

They found the highest levels of pain activation when the women were alone. When they were holding a stranger’s hand, the pain response was decreased. And levels of activation were lowest of all when they were holding their husband’s hand. Interesting, the higher the quality of subjects’ marriages, the more pain responses were blunted.

Touch from parents helps kids in intensive care

We have been studying this phenomenon in our own institution, looking at the effect of touch not only on patients but on the parents of patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.

The project, called ROSE (Reach Out, Soothe, and Embrace), sought to determine whether increasing opportunities to touch patients could promote parent well-being without compromising patient safety.

Instead of merely determining whether patients could be taken off the ventilator or fed, we also identified patients who could be safely touched and even held in their parents’ arms. When a patient was deemed safe to hold, a magnet bearing the image of a red rose embraced by two hands was placed on the door to the patient’s room.

While we are still analyzing the results and further study is needed to fully delineate the health benefits of touch, several findings are already clear.

First, increasing opportunities for touch does not compromise patient safety. Second, the subjective well-being of family members is enhanced when touching is encouraged. Third, promoting touch empowers family members to become more involved in their child’s care.

To be sure, inappropriate and unsafe touching can be harmful. But when touch is encouraged in the right ways and for the right reasons, it is good for patients, family, friends and health professionals alike. Touch is one of the most fundamental and effective ways to create a sense of connection and community among human beings.

In the words of the 20th-century theologian Henri Nouwen, who wrote in his book, “Out of Solitude”:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

So next time you find yourself confronted by a person in distress, remember the power of touch. Medicines and words both have healing power, but so does touch, and it is perhaps the most widely available, financially responsible and safest tool in the healing arts. When we touch, we connect, and when we connect, we create a healing bond for which there is simply no substitute.


“When we touch, we connect, and when we connect, we create a healing bond for which there is simply no substitute.”

Jean with my mother back in July, 2014.

P1150928The healing touch!

Or to repeat the elegant words of Leo Buscaglia:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

3175758.largeWho have you given a hug today?

What really is important.

So much to learn from our animals.

It is so easy to become disillusioned with the world around us. But then all it takes is a little story or an act of kindness to remind us of what really is important.

That was my emotional reaction when I recently read the following item over on the Care2 website. I am taking the liberty of republishing it in full.


Dangerous Dog Rescues Helpless Hummingbird in Grass

3176813.largeBy: Laura S. May 10, 2016

About Laura

One can only speculate why a rescued dog named Rex refused to leave the side of an injured hummingbird lying in the grass. Was it compassion or simple curiosity?

According to Rex’s guardian, Ed Gernon, his German Shepherd mix was homeless for a very long time and had a reputation for getting along poorly with other animals.

“He was dangerous” told CBS News. “I mean, he fought with other dogs and he killed cats. He was an animal that had learned to live on the streets.”

During a neighborhood walk, Rex came to an abrupt halt with a laser-focus on the ground in front of him.

“He suddenly stopped and he would not move,” Gernon said of Rex’s discovery of the near-death hummingbird. “It’s tiny and it’s dead as far as I’m aware. It’s covered in ants. It’s got no feathers.”

But Rex apparently knew better. Not only did he realize that the bird was still alive, but he refused to leave it.

“He was trying to protect her, so I thought I’d go the distance.”

So, Gernon did the only thing he could think of at the moment. He scooped up the hummingbird and took it home. And there began a year-long process of rehabilitation inside Gernon’s home. That included using a hairdryer to help Hummer fly as well as regular feedings of sugar water.

Today Hummer is strong and ready for return to the wild, only she shows no interest in leaving just yet.

“It’s time for her to start mating,” Gernon said in his recent interview. “I keep leaving the doors and windows open thinking she’ll leave.”


Laura closes her article by including the sensible advice:

Wildlife experts advise that licensed rehabilitation specialists should be consulted when caring for an injured wild animal.

As I said in my preamble all it takes is a little story or an act of kindness to remind us of what really is important.

You all have a wonderful weekend.

Death is part of life.

Slowly picking up the pieces from our internet outage.

The fact that I was sitting in front of my PC at 4:30am yesterday morning writing this says a lot about the inconvenience of losing our internet connection last Friday evening. We love living in this rural part of Southern Oregon surrounded by such dramatic scenery but it does have a couple of downsides, one of which is that we are very limited as to internet service providers.

Anyway, on with the show!

One of the posts that I had in mind for earlier this week was this rather poignant piece from Chris Snuggs. Chris and I go back many years to the time when he was Head of Studies at ISUGA; a French college based in Quimper. I was a visiting teacher at ISUGA covering entrepreneurial topics.

IsugaEnough of me, here is that story from Chris. It was sent to me on the 10th May.


My sister’s dog died last night. Margaret woke me at 03.00 in the morning saying she needed my help. I found her at the front door, where Jasper was lying motionless, having crawled there in his last moments.

“I think he’s gone,” she said, sobbing quietly.

I knelt down and felt his side; indeed, there was no sign of breathing, though his body was still warm. Jasper had died. He had been ill for a few days, been down to the vet and got some medicine, but it had been to no avail. Maggie said he had been unusually quiet and motionless that last evening, making  strange noises as his lungs failed him. At 12 years old, one cannot say it was a surprise, but until the last few days he had been right as rain, barking senselessly at nothing in particular when let out into the garden, getting under my feet as I did jobs around the house.

But death of any companion – or indeed of any living creature – is moving, shocking. He was not my dog, nor do I see him often or for long, but the one thing about dogs is that once they make friends with you – as Jasper had with me – you are a friend for life.

No matter how depressed you are, no matter how low an opinion you have of yourself, no matter how sheit your day was, whenever you walk through that front door, a dog will greet you with his tail wagging. They have infinite love, devotion and optimism; they take you as you are and love you whatever you are.

And so Jasper will be missed by me, but of course more so by my sister, who had him from a puppy. As anyone who has lost a companion knows, the house seems empty afterwards. There will be no more greetings with the wagging tail, no more forbidden jumping up onto the sofa to be patted, no more barking at the seagulls in the garden.

Death is a part of life, but hard to accept even so.

Chris Snuggs


Chris also forwarded some photographs of dear Jasper that are offered in memory of the little chap.


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P1010213 resizedoooo



Embracing the reality of death: One of the most important lessons that we learn from our dogs.


Everything comes down to our relationships.

It is not the first time that I have written on the theme of the importance of relationships. However, I am inspired by a number of separate and discrete outcomes in the last couple of days that compell me to return to this most important principle of all: We are what we think about most.

The first outcome was a lovely reply left by Hariod Brawn to yesterday’s post. This is what she wrote:

My GSD had hip dysplasia too, Paul – if that’s what you’re alluding to with Pharaoh. He still was able to die a natural death though, as his rear quarters became paralysed with the dysplasia and he felt no pain. There were plenty of other problems resulting from his immobility, but I wouldn’t have traded those difficulties and the incredible communication we shared as a result of them, for anything – his last few weeks were some of the most powerful and precious of my entire life.

Then after my response, Hariod went on to say:

It was a deeply profound time for me, and I honestly wouldn’t have believed anyone had they told me what I experienced, but experience it I did. It was not the product of fanciful imagination, much as it might sound so in words. The communication between the two of us was quite incredible, and which really was empathic in nature, in the deepest sense of the word. We always had great communication and understanding, which all dog lovers do with their charges, of course, but this was another level altogether. Some might call it ‘psychic’, as if that meant something mystical and woo-like, but it just means ‘of the mind’. The question is, does the mind have the psychical power to share in understanding across physical borders? You will doubtless know of J. Allen Boone:

I will return to that mention of J. Allen Boone at the end of the post.

Then later on there was a further reply to the post from Barb of Passionate About Pets :

Thanks for re-publishing Gina’s post here, I found it interesting because Poppy, my little shih-tzu is an old dame now – she will be 17 in two months time. She has developed serious separation anxiety in the last year and if I am working in the garden, she barks for me to get back inside even though my husband is inside with her – she wants us BOTH with her. She is weak in her back legs so her walks are shorter. All these signs of old age make me so sad. Just like you and Pharoah, old age is creeping up on us all.
A special thank you to Hariod for including that video clip of J. Allen Boone’s dog Strongheart and the very special connection they had; he was so wise about Strongheart’s qualities – they never die. It really resonated with me.
Thank you for a wonderful post.

You can see why I entitled today’s post Relationships!

Then earlier on in my day I had a call with Jon Lavin, a friend from my days when I lived in Devon, South-West England. Jon and I still speak on a regular basis and yesterday I was complimenting Jon on a wonderful post he had written on his own business blog The People Workshop.

Jon’s post was about relationships in the workplace, his area of professional experience, and I was struck by how far the messages were relevant to all of us, in all areas of our lives. But just as key it was another reminder of the importance of all of us who express themselves on blogs; both as authors and as commentators. Because those expressions make, build and maintain great relationships.

Jon’s post is republished here with his full permission.


Relationships in the workplace

Posted on

Poppies and sea
Poppies and sea

When you look at how much of our lives we spend at work it’s really quite attention-grabbing. I did a very rough calculation based on 40 years and 40 hours a week – and I took out holidays and weekends. It works out approximately at 4900 hours. That’s a lot of hours, especially if you do lots of overtime and weekends. All of that time, you’re probably going to be mixing with people – usually, quite a large number of people.

We are ‘relationship seeking’, says Eric Berne, originator of Transactional Analysis. So for all of that time, we’re moving in and out of relationships with other people. So here, I’m categorising any interaction with another as ‘relationship’.

Then there’s what happens when we go home, another set of relationships, and where we came from – our parents and families.

So how we are in relationship with others is very important and has a major impact on the results we get generally and particularly in the context of this article, at work.

I hear a lot of talk about ’employee engagement’ at the moment. I believe that for employees to be ‘engaged’, so actively involved in what they’re doing, thinking about it, in the ‘here and now’, they’ve got to be in relationship with their manager and probably, the team they’re part of, at least, if the job is being done properly.

I see it as the role of the manager or team leader that they have the skills and ability to develop these relationships with as many team members as possible, any exclusions being the exception. This requires a lot of self-awareness and confidence, plus the ability to build high levels of trust with a wide range of character types. I think it also requires the ability to see the world from the view point of the other person – ‘putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes’, we say. That’s quite difficult to do in my experience. However, we can donate the time to get to know the people in our team and so increase the likelihood of all of us coming from the same angle.

I think this is about the ability to value the uniqueness of others in all the different forms and approaches that manifests in, and finding ways of harnessing those skills and abilities.

These are not easy things and I am aware of the relatively few, good people managers I come across in my work but it is possible to develop these skills. You need to have the intention to want the best from ALL relationships. Also, to be prepared to use the feedback we all get, especially when things don’t go to plan in a relationship, and be continually revisiting and adjusting your approach so that you get more of what works. This way, you automatically get less of what doesn’t work.

Never under estimate the power of intention.

Stormy seas
Stormy seas


I am now going to close today’s post with those words of  J. Allen Boone that Hariod had in her second reply:

To echo Jon’s closing message, let us never cease our intention of having wonderful relationships; with our dogs, with others and, not least of all, with ourselves.

Reaching out with love.

Giving back, in so many different ways, is fundamental to who we are, and to whom we must be!

I introduced yesterday’s Earth Day post with the sub-heading, “A fabulous example of how we reach out to others across the internet!” Today’s post is another fabulous example.

Not that long ago, Sue Dreamwalker, a great friend of this place, posted an article that she introduced, thus:

I just had to share this lovely post with you all from a beautiful friend. You have to explore her blog to see all the transformations she does when she gives a new lease of life to furniture. And her home.. What is even more remarkable, and I hope Lois will not mind me mentioning this is that Lois does all of this work from the confines of a wheelchair..

I hope you visit and see just how generous a nature she has ..
Love and Blessings


Curious, I went across to Lois’s blog Living in Denim and to the particular post that Sue had spoken about. Without hesitation I asked if I might republish that post here and share it with you all. Lois was delighted to offer me such permission.

Read it and you will see why I asked so quickly.


Giving Back: A Yard Sale Redo for a Deserving Child

dresser5You must apply the paint in the same direction, with the grain of the “wood” for the best results. It took 2-3 coats of paint to get the desired effect. When the dresser was dry I added two coats of polycrylic to seal the finish, but I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

I was told flowers were important to this child. As I sanded the dresser down I contemplated the best way to add flowers to the piece.  At first I thought maybe I’d sketch grass using green milk paint to the lower drawer then stems up the drawer fronts to use the knobs as the center of the flowers and sketch around them different colored flowers.  This didn’t feel right to me but still I played with the idea.

Then I realized I didn’t have enough colors of paint to do this.  I briefly considered heading to the store to purchase an assortment of different colored permanent markers, but again I dismissed this.  I worked until I lost daylight on Saturday and woke with an idea.

For months now my granddaughters and I have enjoyed coloring Patricia Zapata’s Flower Nook. Patricia is a well-known blogger at A Little Hut. I’ve already removed some of the completed pages to frame for the girl’s room upstairs, now I would remove more and use them on the dresser.

flower-nookI added three designs to the drawers and one to the top of the dresser.

Top of the dresser.
Top of the dresser.

These are the designs I used on the drawer fronts.

dresser-after2The most time consuming part of this was trimming the designs to remove the excess white paper.  I laid them out and when I was happy with the placement decoupaged them on and sealed the entire drawer fronts with polycrylic.

In questioning the little girl I learned she liked gold over silver so I headed to my hardware stash and pulled out all the heavy substantial gold knobs. I toyed around with using two knobs on the left with one pull on the right, the way the drawers were to begin with. In the end I didn’t have enough gold pulls I liked and decided to use only knobs.  I used wood filler to fill in the holes from the original pulls then drilled new holes.  I kept the distance from the side of the drawer for the new knobs the same as the existing knobs on the other side and then centered them on the fronts.

Once I took this photo I saw that I hadn’t painted the very bottom and did go back and paint them, if you were wondering.

The top drawer I simply used a permanent marker, I have a couple in the house, and a four inch stencil to add her first initial.

By Sunday at 3pm I called to let the family know the dresser was ready to pick up.  They arrived with the little girl and a friend of hers. I wish I could show you their faces, but I can’t.  The girls didn’t miss a thing. They spotted the little girl on the middle drawer, they loved the heavy gold knobs and the white washed paint effect.

dresser-comparisonI know a little about this foster parent, I know she adopted a previous foster child and raised him as her own even though she has very little disposable income. She herself is on disability. She loves these children and has given this little child so much love that when the question arose again as to how much they owed me, I informed her the child’s expression was well worth the work and I wanted to make this a gift from me to them. Thankfully, the family accepted my gift as long as I promised to call if there is ever anything they can do for me.

Tonight I am tired and even sore. I did get a bit of work done outside after all but while I thought getting more accomplished on the house would perk me up, in reality it was the dresser that made the weekend a success for me.


Reaching out in love, indeed!


A second and supporting post for today: Earth Day 2016.

Eight days ago I received an email from Jordan Jaeger that included a link to a video that was just perfect for this Earth Day.

I so much wanted it to be shared with you today but at the same time I didn’t want to create a shadow over the lovely guest post from Mike Shannon that I published at midnight. Yet, at the same time, it so beautifully complemented Mike’s infographic.

Thus my solution was to offer you both Mike’s guest post and Jordan’s video this same day. You will love the video!

Published on Apr 6, 2016

This video was created as a Senior Civics class project. Enjoy!
Special thanks to the talented artists that made the music used in the video. -“Something Good Can Work” by The Two Door Cinema Club, and “Back to the Earth” by Jason Mraz.
Professional Hand Modeling By: Nicole & Ruby Mahr

In praise of the ‘mutt’.

Welcome to Territorio de Zaguates, or “Land of the Strays”.

When it comes to loving stray dogs I thought that the friends of John Zande and his wife were showing the rest of the world how to do it. For it is my understanding that Sandra and her partner down in Brazil are providing a home for around 300 ex-rescue dogs.

Then I came across this recent item over on Mother Nature News about 700 rescued ‘mutts’ living in a doggie paradise.

Here’s the full article:


700 rescued mutts live the life at Costa Rica’s ‘Land of the Strays’

Catie Leary

April 13, 2016.
Dogs frolic in a lush green field at the Territorio de Zaguates dog sanctuary in Costa Rica. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
Dogs frolic in a lush green field at the Territorio de Zaguates dog sanctuary in Costa Rica. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Welcome to Territorio de Zaguates, or “Land of the Strays,” an amazing, privately funded, volunteer-run animal sanctuary in Costa Rica where no mutt is turned away.

Located less than an hour outside the bustling capital city of San José, this doggie safe haven is home to hundreds of abandoned canines that have been given a second chance at life.

This is no ordinary animal sanctuary, though. After all, when you live in a place as beautiful as Costa Rica, you take advantage of what the landscape provides. That’s why volunteers lead the ragtag pack of rescued mutts on scenic hikes through the gorgeous mountains nearly every day. It’s a sight to behold.

 A volunteer at Territorio de Zaguates leads a pack of dogs up a hill. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
A volunteer at Territorio de Zaguates leads a pack of dogs up a hill. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Aside from the free-range mountain hikes with breathtaking scenery, Territorio de Zaguates functions just like any other animal rescue or sanctuary.

“First thing we do when a new dog gets here is spay/neuter, vaccinate and get rid of parasites,” the organization explains on its Facebook page. “Then we assess if the dog requires any other type of special treatment [and] put them in quarantine if necessary.”

Once this initial processing is completed, the new dog is released into the general population, where it can either be adopted by a loving human or spend the rest of its days frolicking in what is essentially a doggy paradise.

There are all kinds of mutts living at Territorio de Zaguates. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
There are all kinds of mutts living at Territorio de Zaguates. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

What makes Territorio de Zaguates even more special is the creative approach to finding the dogs forever homes.

To encourage adoption, every doggie resident at the sanctuary is not only given a name, but also a customized “breed” name based on the dog’s phenotypic traits. These one-of-a-kind breed monikers include memorable titles like “Alaskan collie fluffy terrier” and the “chubby-tailed German doberschnauzer.”

The resounding message behind this strategy is that when you adopt a mutt, you’re adopting a unique breed. Learn more about this clever campaign in the video below:


Caso: Territorio de Zaguates from GARNIER BBDO on Vimeo.

As any animal rescuer will know, maintaining such an massive sanctuary requires an enormous amount of time, money and labor. But thanks to a host of charitable donors and an eager base of volunteers, the sanctuary is a great success.

“We have a very small staff but still we manage to do everything from daily picking up the poo and disposing of it properly, to feeding and medicating the dogs, and everything in between,” a spokesperson for the organization writes.

Continue below for just a glimpse of what life is like for these adorable pups at Territorio de Zaguates:

Mattresses are provided for the dogs to lounge on throughout the day. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
Mattresses are provided for the dogs to lounge on throughout the day. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Mattresses provide natural lounge spots for the dogs throughout the day.

A pack of rescued dogs take a leisurely walk in the woods with a few of the sanctuary's hard-working volunteers. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
A pack of rescued dogs take a leisurely walk in the woods with a few of the sanctuary’s hard-working volunteers. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

The pack takes a leisurely hike in the woods with a few of the sanctuary’s hard-working volunteers and some prospective dog adopters

Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Lunch time at Territorio de Zaguates means serious business, which is why kibble donations are so important!

Cushy bed donations are also very important for the sanctuary. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
Cushy bed donations are also very important for the sanctuary. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

In addition to food, comfy dog beds are also a much welcomed donation item for the sanctuary!

A volunteer leads the pack downhill. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
A volunteer leads the pack downhill. (Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

A sanctuary volunteer leads the pack downhill during a scenic hike through the mountains.

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

In case you were wondering where all those yummy kibble donations went … behold the trough

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

A few of the sanctuary’s senior residents rest on the steps of the facility. Even if the pups aren’t adopted out, they’ll always be guaranteed a luxurious forever home at the sanctuary.

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Concrete drainage pipes makes excellent (and sturdy!) makeshift dog houses

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

Rescued dogs hang out in the shade of the sanctuary’s many trees

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

A nice refreshing dip … in some drinking water

(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)
(Photo: Territorio de Zaguates)

After a long, fun-filled day of being a dog, there’s nothing like cuddling up with a friend and snoozing before dinner time


Well it certainly puts our ten dogs in the shade!

In doing a trawl through YouTube I came across this video that I will use to close off today’s post. Chances are that, as with me, you won’t understand the voice-over but it won’t diminish your pleasure at looking at these dogs.

Published on Jul 3, 2014

“Territorio de Zaguates” ubicado en las hermosas montañas de Costa Rica, es un albergue de animales donde se le da casa, comida, atención veterinaria, ejercicio, esparcimiento y cariño a 700 perros callejeros víctimas del maltrato, el abuso, el abandono y la negligencia humana.
–ENGLISH– “Territorio de Zaguates” is a No-kill-shelter in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica that provides home, food, vet care, exercise, recreation and affection to over 700 stray dogs, victims of neglect, abandonment and abuse.

Actually, let me close off today’s post with these two sets of words from the story above:

Once this initial processing is completed, the new dog is released into the general population, where it can either be adopted by a loving human or spend the rest of its days frolicking in what is essentially a doggy paradise.

“essentially a doggy paradise.”

The resounding message behind this strategy is that when you adopt a mutt, you’re adopting a unique breed.

That is so true! Each and every dog, especially an ex-rescue dog, is a unique breed.

The essence of our relationship with dogs.

Woman Rescues Burned Puppy and He Grows Up to Save Her Life

This wonderful story was recently published on the Care2 site and is republished here to share with you all and to underline the importance of always trying to find your next pet from a rescue shelter.


Woman Rescues Burned Puppy and He Grows Up to Save Her Life

2997475.largeBy: Laura S. April 6, 2016

About Laura

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 7, 2013. We are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Anyone who has ever saved an animal will tell you that its the kind of experience that shakes up your DNA. You won’t regrow hair on a balding head or suddenly run a four-minute-mile, but there is a pulse of positive energy that churns through the human body much like a twister. In some cases, fragments of that emotional explosion are powerful enough to be credited with modern medical miracles. And for one Texas woman, the experience was profound enough to help wake her from a coma.

My Name is Danielle…

“My name is Danielle and it’s been over a year since something terrible happened to me. I am ready now to share my story,” explained the letter we received recently from veterinary technician Danielle Torgerson of Killeen, Texas. ”Four years ago somebody brought a puppy to the clinic. I was not assigned to that room but I was in the second room when I felt something pull me into the hallway. It was strange, but I glanced into the other exam room and saw a puppy on the table. He looked at me with so much pain and despair. A man had brought him in for a ‘sting’ but I knew instantly that was not the case. The puppy was horribly burned on the head like somebody had poured gasoline over him and set him on fire. He was there to be euthanized.”

But Danielle’s conscience began to wrestle down the injustice of extinguishing this young life before it had known the simple joys that every dog should know. She wondered if he might be able to have a bed of his own. Could there be walks through the park in the cool evening air? Was it possible that this puppy might wake up each morning beside a person whose first words were his name?

“I asked the vet if something could be done,” Danielle recalls. “He said that treatment could be carried out, but only with lots of money.”

The Rescue Begins

And that was all Danielle needed to hear. She wasn’t wealthy, but she was determined and if there was a chance at recovery, she’d already made up her mind to take it. So Danielle had the man who brought in the puppy sign over custody to her. She then contacted Dr. Elaine Caplin in Austin and the puppy was brought in for a surgical consulation to see what could be done.

“He was not able to eat or drink because part of his mouth was melted,” Danielle recalls.
“He was not able to eat or drink because part of his mouth was melted,” Danielle recalls.

Skingraft surgery was undertaken to reconstruct the mouth and soon the puppy’s condition improved dramatically and he began to function on his own.

Danielle named the puppy D’Artagnan (who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard) or Mister D for short and introduced him to other dogs and cats who welcomed him.

Mister D began to grow into a large dog and earned a reputation for his generous nature. “He allows all the cats to sleep with him and we have actually seen him share food with other dogs. He picks out pieces of food and gives it to them.”

All grown up.
All grown up.
But in the street, Mister D is sometimes regarded as a beast.“He looks like a werewolf with his skin grafts and people are kind of scared,” Danielle explains. “But he truly is my loving angel and I know that saving him is what helped save me.”You see, last year, Danielle was in a terrible motorcycle accident when she tried to avoid a collision with a car. Within seconds, she was on the ground bleeding with a broken skull and awaiting a lifelight helicopter to a trauma center where doctors would find no brain function.Photo00811For 12 days, Danielle lay motionless in her pale blue hospital gown while her mother, who flew in from Germany, went back and forth between the hospital and Danielle’s home to take care of not only her dying daughter, but of the animals who meant the world to her.

At night, Danielle’s ex-husband would help look after the pets so that her mother could spend more time with Danielle, and try to get some rest, but everyone feared the worst.

But in the silence of the mind, a louder voice came from Danielle’s soul.

“I had to get back to Mister D and my other ‘kids’ because they needed me and I needed them,” Danielle says of her sense that she carried that desperate need to be reunited with her pets, despite the lack of medical evidence that she was processing those emotions during her coma.

I Had to Wake Up for My Animals

“After 12 days, a miracle happened,” Danielle says tearfully. “I woke up. The doctors and nurses have told me that the first words that I uttered were ‘Mister D.’”

For several weeks, Danielle remained in rehabilitation while she learned to walk and to fully speak again. It seemed so painfully long for her to be away from the ones she loved and that motivated her to work harder each day.

“When I finally got home, Mister D was so happy,” Danielle said. “He checked on me all the time. When he felt that I was hurting, he would put his paw very carefully on my head and sigh. I truly know that if it was not for Mister D, I would not be here. He has become my musketeer, my protector and has given me the security and protection that I never had from people.”

together-todayNow fully recovered, Danielle’s greatest hope is that her story will inspire others to rescue animals. She asks people to consider rescuing, rather than buying pets and explains that “the bond between you is one that can never be broken.”


Please help share this message of the bond and love that is possible between us and our pets and to always consider taking on rescues.

Rogue Valley Humane Society!

Well done the team!

Yesterday morning Jean and I travelled the short distance into Grants Pass to visit Margaret and the rest of the team at Rogue Valley Humane Society, RVHS. As their website proclaims: Helping Our Community, Four Paws at a Time.

Here’s why we went to meet the team.

If you drop across to my page where I offer my book for sale you will read that:

Please do find your way to supporting our pets in need. For 50% of the net proceeds from the sale of my book are being donated to our local Rogue Valley Humane Society. Every cent makes a positive difference!

Well many of you, dear people, have made a positive difference, as the following pictures illustrate.

Yours truly passing a cheque to the value of $750 to Margaret Varner, Director of Facility Operations.
Yours truly passing a cheque to the value of $750 to Margaret Varner, Director of Facility Operations at RVHS.


Explaining what had just been donated to Autzen in the office of RVHS.
Explaining to Authentic the dog in the office of RVHS what has just been donated.
Being thanked in only a way that dogs can properly thank someone!
Being thanked in the only way that dogs can properly thank someone!


Gorgeous shot of Jeannie and Autzen.
Gorgeous shot of Jeannie and Authentic.

So a tremendous vote of thanks to everyone that has purchased my book for this is what your generosity delivers!

Going to write a little more about the Humane Society tomorrow.