Category: Spirituality

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.”

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

 

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!)

P1160423oooo

P1160414oooo

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.