Category: tourism

Eating out with your ….

…. dog!

The last few days have been sidetracking me from writing the blog. Apart from editing my third book The One We Feed and dealing with critical fire conditions and hoping with all our hearts for the rain due on Friday night to materialise, and … You get the message!

Anyway, The Dodo came up with a lovely snippet on the 20th August. Here it is:

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Diner Spots A Guy Out On The Sweetest Date With His Dog

Relationship goals 💞 

By Stephen Messenger, Published on the 20th August, 2021.

The other day, Gemma Colón stopped by a restaurant in New York City to grab a bite. But the visit ended up satisfying more than just her appetite.

“I was presented with one of the most unexpectedly heartwarming views,” Colón told The Dodo. “I noticed this dog seated across from his owner, perched up on a chair, acting like an absolute proper gentleman.”

The dog and his owner were apparently on a date.

GEMMA COLÓN

Colón was fortunate enough to be seated in view of the adorable pair — basking the sight of the good thing they have going.

“[The man] was doing a crossword puzzle and sipping a glass of red wine with his meal. His date (the dog) was enjoying his own bowl of water, which he slurped politely,” Colón said. “It was really amazing how well-behaved the pup was. I saw better table manners displayed by this dog than I’ve seen from some humans.”

While the man and his dog dined, Colón saw other patrons smile at the sweet scene as well. No one had the heart to interrupt their meal to comment on their cuteness, but Colón did overhear an exchange with their server — revealing that this wasn’t just a one-off outing.

“I heard a waitress comment on how good the dog was at one point, and the man replied saying he brings the dog with him everywhere,” Colón said. “It definitely seemed like a very pleasant date, with lovely company.”

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This is really a delightful story but it isn’t surprising. Because dogs that are loved and cared for by us humans are so loving and caring in return. As the waitress heard the man brings his dog everywhere. He is never separated from the dog.

Perfect!

Protect Pipe Fork

Please, let me use the power of the internet to spread the word!

On the face of it this has nothing to do with dogs. Or does it? Because the stream and the forest will most certainly be favourite walks for people and their dogs. (Indeed a very quick search online brought up the following picture🙂

Why Your Dog Will Love A Trip To Klamath As Much As You Do.

So this post is to drum up support for this critically important area. Please also sign the petition. Thank you.

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Protect Pipe Fork

Pipe Fork is a compelling example of lush, mature riparian forest in the Klamath-Siskyou Bioregion of Southern Oregon. Pipe Fork Creek originates from pure-water springs nestled in ancient forest on the east flank of Grayback Mountain, and flows cold and clear and abundantly year-round through a narrow canyon wilderness into the Williams Valley. There it provides generously for farms and homes as well as for rich spawning and nursery grounds vital to chinook and coho salmon. 

Designated a Research Natural Area (RNA) of Critical Environmental Concern by the Bureau of Land Management, the upper reaches of Pipe Fork have also been nominated for designation as a Federal Wild and Scenic River. Rare Pacific fishers and martens, spotted owls, elk, bear, and many other animals, as well as numerous species of rare plants, live in the undisturbed forests of the RNA. 

Josephine County has had plans to sell a 320-acre parcel right next to the BLM RNA that encompasses both sides of Pipe Fork, and to clearcut 114 acres on the north side of the creek. The devastation that would result from clearcutting on the steep slopes above Pipe Fork would do lasting damage to the sensitive riparian forest and would greatly diminish the quality and quantity of water that flows into the Williams Valley. 

But we will not let this happen! We are determined and optimistic that by all of us working together, this precious place will be saved for the benefit of present and future generations.

Williams Community Forest Project invites you to watch our brand new 7-minute film showcasing the wonders of Pipe Fork and our efforts to preserve it, and to sign the petition at the bottom of the page. Please share this page with like-minded friends and family, allies and colleagues! 

Pristine Waters 4K from Wise Oak Productions on Vimeo.

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Now go to the link below which has what I published above but more importantly has the petition. Please sign it!

Protect Pipe Fork

Thank you!

Resilience Thinking – a review

A book to make one think anew.

Let me make myself absolutely clear about this book, indeed I can do no better than to publish part of an email that I sent to the authors last Saturday:

To say that I was inspired by what you wrote is an understatement. More accurately it has changed my whole understanding of this planet, of the natural order of things, of the politics of the Western world, of vast numbers of us humans, and how precarious is our world just now. It has opened my eyes radically, and I thought before that I was fairly in touch with things.

Resilience is a simple idea but in its application has proved to be anything such. On page 2 the authors set out as they saw it The Drivers of Unsustainable Development. Here’s how that section develops:

Our world is facing a broad range of serious and growing resource issues. Human-induced soil degradation has been getting worse since the 1950s. About 85 percent of agriculture land contains areas degraded by erosion, rising salt, soil compaction, and various other factors. It has been estimated (Wood et al. 2000) that soil degradation has already reduced global agricultural productivity by around 15 percent in the last fifty years. In the last three hundred years, topsoil has been lost at a rate of 200 million tons per year; in the last fifty years it has more than doubled to 760 million tons per year.

As we move deeper into the twenty-first century we cannot afford to lose more of our resource base. The global population is now expanding by about 75 million people each year. Population growth rates are declining, but the world’s population will still be expanding by almost 60 million per year in 2030. The United Nations projections put the global population at nearly 8 billion in 2025. In addition, if current water consumption patterns continue unabated, half the world’s population will live in water-stressed river basins by 2025.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2004 Annual Hunger Report estimates that over 850 million people suffer from chronic hunger. Hunger kills 5 million children every year.

It goes on ….!

Now I want to quote from the end of the book, from their section on Resilience Thinking.

In our opening chapter we observed that there were many pathways into resilience thinking and suggested readers not worry too much if the finer details of a resilience framework are a bit obscure. We emphasized that what is of much more importance is an appreciation of the broader themes that underpin such a framework. Those broader themes revolve around humans existing within linked social and ecological systems. These are complex adaptive systems, and attempts to control or optimize parts of such systems without consideration of the responses that this creates in the broader system are fraught with risk. Much of this book has been spent on attempting to explore the consequences of such an approach.

In the broadest sense, optimizing and controlling components of a system in isolation of the broader system results in a decline in resilience, a reduction in options, and the shrinkage of the space in which we can safely operate. Resilience thinking moves us the other way.

It is our hope that readers who are persuaded of this basic premise will be encouraged to explore the inevitable consequences of such thinking. Even if you are not completely clear on the basins of attractions, thresholds, and adaptive cycles, if the concepts of ecological resilience and dynamic social-ecological systems have any resonance then you are in a better position to appreciate what is happening to the world around you.

The phrase complex adaptive system was new to me but intuitively I got what the authors meant. As they state on page 35: The three requirements for a complex adaptive system are:

  • That it has components that are independent and interacting,
  • There is some selection process at work on those components (and on the results of local interactions),
  • Variation and novelty are constantly being added to the system (through components changing over time or new ones coming in),

This was my eye-opener. It was now obvious that many processes, especially in nature, that I had hitherto regarded as constant were changing albeit usually on a timescale of many decades sometimes centuries.

And the other conclusion that was inescapable was that we humans were largely responsible for those changes because we couldn’t see the longterm consequences of what we were doing.

As I remarked in a previous post :

David writes that firstly carbon dioxide is not like other pollutants, for example like air particulants.  Then later goes on to say:

The second difference is that climate change is irreversible.

As Joe Romm notes in a recent post, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera slipped up in his latest column and referred to technology that would “help reverse climate change.” I don’t know whether that reflects Nocera’s ignorance or just a slip of the pen, but I do think it captures the way many people subconsciously think about climate change. If we heat the planet up too much, we’ll just fix it! We’ll turn the temperature back down. We’ll get around to it once the market has delivered economically ideal solutions.

But as this 2009 paper in Nature (among many others) makes clear, it doesn’t work that way:

This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years. [my emphasis]

My last piece in this review is to republish a graph that is shown on the NASA Global Climate Change website:

For all our sakes, dogs and humans and many other species, let us all please change our behaviours! Soon!

Back to the book: It is a remarkable book!

I will close with quoting one of the praises shown on the back cover. This one by Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of political science, University of Toronto, and director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Resilience Thinking is an essential guidebook to a powerful new way of understanding our world – and of living resiliently with it – developed in recent decades by an international team of ecologists. With five clear and compelling case studies drawn from regions as diverse as Florida, Sweden, and Australia, this book shows how all highly adaptive systems – from ecologies to economics – go through regular cycles of growth, reorganization, and renewal and how our failures to understand the basic principles of resilience have often led to disaster. Resilience Thinking gives us the conceptual tools to help us cope with the bewildering surprises and challenges of our new century.

Please, if you can, think about reading it.

Donate to fund dogs in the Serengeti

This plea came in from Mr. Pedantry!

This came in yesterday and I thought for some time that I wouldn’t be able to publish it quickly owing to me getting my knickers in a twist.

But all was resolved and therefore I am delighted to republish it.

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Donate to fund the dogs saving elephants

Ever heard of dogs saving elephants?

In the Serengeti, a small, specially trained team of rescue dogs sniff out poachers and sound the alarm. Just 4 dogs have helped arrest hundreds of poachers, saving countless elephants being murdered for their ivory.

Almost a quarter of the elephants in the park now live in the tiny area they protect — but poaching is on the rise everywhere else and there are thousands more elephants that still need protection.

That’s why the team behind this amazing project are asking for your help to train up more of these sniffer dogs — and save double the number of elephants.

With 96 of these gentle giants killed each day, every moment counts.

Can you chip in to help?

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Whatever you can spare please contribute to the donation request.

The page to go to is here!

Here is a YouTube video to watch.

Mid-summers day!

Another post from John Brooks

John is becoming a regular contributor to Learning from Dogs. He was last here on March 26th, this year with a guest post Reasons to get a pet portrait.

This is a timely and pertinent post.

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Five Questions you need to ask a Boarding Kennel

If you’re planning a vacation or a work trip, you’ll need to decide what to do with your beloved pooch. This can be a stressful event for both you and your pup, but things will go a lot easier if you pick the right boarding kennel.


How do you know whether you’ve picked a good kennel?

The best way to determine the quality of a kennel is by asking appropriate questions. Not sure what those would be? Never fear! We’ve got you covered!

Read on to learn what questions to ask to help you choose the best available pet hotels or kennels.

Five Questions to Ask a Kennel or Pet Hotel

One – Is Your Kennel or Pet Hotel Certified?


Certification is not mandatory for kennels. However, certified kennels have to comply with 250 standards in 17 areas of pet care facility operation. This certification is known as the Voluntary Facilities Accreditation (VFA) certificate. If they have a certificate, you can assume several things about the facility:

They have put time and money into making sure they have the best facility possible for the animals they care for.
They care about reassuring pet parents that their dogs will be well cared for.
They have all the necessary space and equipment to take excellent care of your pooch.
Your pup will be secure and safe while you’re away.

Two – Can I Tour The Kennel?

You must always ask to tour the facilities. Just like you put in research when you book a hotel, you need to be equally as fastidious when you book a kennel. Therefore, you should look for the following:

Is the kennel odor-free?

A clean kennel will not smell because all urine and feces will have been cleaned up quickly and appropriately.

Is it loud or quiet?

Dog kennels will be noisy, but an extreme amount of noise usually signals that the pups are unhappy.

Are there enough staff?

There should be a 1-to-10 staff to dog ratio. The higher the people to animal ratio, the more individual attention your dog will get.

Are the living and playing areas clean?

Are there feces, urine, and debris? Or are the areas open and clean?

Do all animals have proper bedding and water?

The pooches should look content and stress-free and have both comfortable bedding and ample water.
If a kennel doesn’t let you take an impromptu tour, do not leave your pup there.

Three – What Will the Facility Do if Your Dog Gets Sick?

The kennel must have a procedure in place for dealing with small issues like diarrhea and broken toenails and more significant problems like medical emergencies. Ideally, they will ask you to pre-approve an amount for vet services. They should also know basic pet first-aid.

Four – How Knowledgeable Are the Staff?

Kennel staff, like the facility, are not required to be certified in animal behavior or training. However, what’s more, important than a certificate is the staff’s attitude and attentiveness. Good staff can tell you details about each animal under their care.


When you enter the kennel, staff should welcome your dog and take meticulous notes about your pup’s diet, exercise needs, medications, and any other pertinent information. Take note of whether they are patient, friendly, and seem genuinely interested in your pooch’s welfare.

Five – What Do the Exercise and Play Programs Look Like?


You must look at the package your kennel is offering. Some kennels have one playtime, whereas others don’t include any in their base fee.


Good kennels will have a system for playtime where they divide dogs by style, size, age, etc., to keep the pups safe and happy.


Dogs that need more exercise should get walked by a kennel assistant. So, if you own a dog that needs regular walking, make sure that the kennel offers this service and has enough staff to meet your pup’s needs.

Furthermore, not all kennels offer toys for your pooch to play with. So it’s important to find out ahead of time if you need to provide your own toys.

To Sum Up…


We know you love your dog, so you should plan where they will stay while you’re away as carefully as you planned your vacation. The most essential thing to look for when visiting different kennels or pet hotels is how the environment makes you feel. Listen to your gut. If you feel comfortable and you get along well with the staff, then there’s a high probability that your pup will feel at ease there as well. While no kennel can replace the feeling of home for your dog, it should come close. This way, you’ll be able to go on your trip knowing your pooch is safe, sound, and well cared for.

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This is a very useful list from John. One that will provide guidance to everyone but especially to the new dog owners.

Thank you, John.

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Eight-Four

A continuation of yesterday’s post

But first we want to remember Prince Phillip. Dear Prince Phillip. Jeannie and I watched the whole of the funeral and it was very moving.

So in terms of the photographs already shown yesterday, we had done the Hog Creek landing and the next view point and we are now up to the bridge itself.

Except that I forgot to show you another photograph of the Canyon.

The sheer walls of Hellgate Canyon

The very dramatic scene with its incredibly steep flanks was just amazing!

Now to the viewpoint just before the bridge.

We had the very good fortune to take a shot of a fisherman just upstream of us.

A rock formation on the opposite bank.

All around us were spectacular sights.

Take this shot of a bird approaching a tree standing stark on the top of a small ridge. That was just to the right of the road facing the bridge.

And the bridge itself!

It really is a very scenic place.

That is the end of my set of photographs. My eyes were truly opened.

The Rogue River and Hellgate Canyon

The art of seeing!

A few days ago there was a conversation on the photography forum Ugly Hedgehog about the camera opening one’s eyes. It struck a note in me and Jeannie and I went out in the early morning, taking the camera, to shoot photographs of the Hellgate Canyon.

It is not the first time we have been there but it is the first time I have gone with my eyes wide open!

But first some history of the Rogue River. And thanks to WikiPedia for the following.

The Rogue River in southwestern Oregon in the United States flows about 215 miles (346 km) in a generally westward direction from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean. Known for its salmon runswhitewater rafting, and rugged scenery, it was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Beginning near Crater Lake, which occupies the caldera left by the explosive volcanic eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama, the river flows through the geologically young High Cascades and the older Western Cascades, another volcanic province. Further west, the river passes through multiple exotic terranes of the more ancient Klamath Mountains. In the Kalmiopsis Wilderness section of the Rogue basin are some of the world’s best examples of rocks that form the Earth’s mantle

Hellgate Canyon is just 8 miles from where we live on Hugo Road. But just before Hellgate is the Hog Creek parking area. We stopped there and then went down to the landing stage on the edge of the Rogue River. I took some photographs.

Looking downstream.
Sign of a previous high water.
Just a close-up of a rock.
The level of the river seems pretty low.

Then we motored the short distance further on to the view point above the canyon. Took more photographs.

A faint reflection of the rocks and trees on the bank behind the river.

Then onto the viewing spot just before the bridge.

I am going to pause this now and continue it on Sunday.

The Wapiti wolves

Stunning photographs.

I subscribe to Ugly Hedgehog, a forum about all things photographic.

It is a mine of information, people share incredible photographs, and much more.

On February 17th this year Photolady2014 published a set of photographs of wolves that were just gorgeous.

This is how she introduced the pictures:

So I am still on cloud 9 seeing wolfs rather close. They were about 150 feet away. Not the quality that the pros were getting who were there. I have seen their photos and well I still have a lot to learn. But, for someone who just started wildlife a couple of years ago, I will take these! If you do the download you will see they are not all bad. I have had to do some sharpening and noise reduction. The pros were all using the 600mm F4 with 2x extenders.
Me: Canon R5, 100-500 & 1.4 extender. All are at 700mm.

I asked if I could share them on Learning from Dogs and said Photolady2014 of South West Colorado said ‘Yes’.

Here they are:

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Photolady went on to report:

This is the Wapiti pack in Yellowstone.

We sat in below 0 weather for about 4 hours watching them and the coyotes who were patiently waiting their turn to eat!

Fabulous pictures and one can’t help thinking that some 23,000 years ago there started the long journey of domestication, and the bonding between humans and wolves brought about the dog.

It doesn’t get any better than that!

The Queen’s Christmas message.

Can the Queen save Christmas?

Learning from Dogs is going to take a break. For a week. We will be back ‘on air’, so to speak, on January 1st, 2021.

The Queen has been broadcasting a Christmas message since 1952. I was just eight-years-old when she first broadcast her own message.

How very much has changed over those years. Beyond imagination.

The Conversation has an article about the Queen’s broadcast and it is shared with you all.

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Can the Queen save Christmas?

December 21, 2020

By

Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Aston University

At 3pm UK time on Christmas day, the Queen’s Christmas message is broadcast across the Commonwealth. Each year the format is largely the same, with the Queen giving her own account of the main personal, national and international events of the year and reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. As such, it has become an important part of the festivities for many families in the UK and beyond.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, fresh restrictions imposed and Brexit rapidly approaching, this year’s broadcast has taken on new significance as a source of stability and comfort, a constant in these difficult and uncertain times. Therefore, it is worth examining how the language used in the broadcast creates this sense of reassurance.

Since 1952, the Queen’s Christmas message has performed three ideological functions through rhetorical appeals based on faith and family.

Identification

The Queen shares personal anecdotes, which she often links to ordinary people’s experiences through the pronouns “we” and “us”.

On Christmas Day 1964, for instance, she told viewers that: “All of us who have been blessed with young families know from long experience that when one’s house is at its noisiest, there is often less cause for anxiety”. As most new parents would recognise this truism, it conveys the message that – in this respect at least – the royals are like any other family.

The first televised Royal Christmas message, 1957. The Royal Family/YouTube

The Queen is also aware that some families will be separated during the festive season and regularly expresses empathy for them. As she said in 1956: “I would like to send a special message of hope and encouragement to all who […] cannot be with those they love today: to the sick who cannot be at home”.

This message is made more poignant because of COVID-19, as the Queen recognised in her special address on April 5 2020. Indeed, it is almost inevitable that this year’s Christmas broadcast will include similar words of consolation for those who have been separated from their loved ones during the pandemic.

Continuity

Uncertainty is another recurring theme in the Queen’s Christmas broadcast, as she tries to make sense of the year’s events for the benefit of her audience. She gives her personal responses to national and global problems, which frequently involve the enactment of supposedly timeless (but predominantly Christian) values. On Christmas Day 1980, amid issues such as the Soviet-Afghanistan war and UK unemployment, she said:

We know that the world can never be free from conflict and pain, but Christmas also draws our attention to all that is hopeful and good in this changing world; it speaks of values and qualities that are true and permanent and it reminds us that the world we would like to see can only come from the goodness of the heart.

Among these values are faith, charity and compassion and, by praising them as a source of stability and the means for creating a better world, the Queen is perhaps seeking to strengthen adherence to them. Not only that, her appeals to Christian values and her emphasis on the family provide a sense of security for those who are disoriented by the rapid pace of social change. In turn, this sustains the monarchy by establishing the Queen as “a permanent anchor, bracing against the storms and grounding us in certainty”, as former British prime minister David Cameron said in 2012, marking her Diamond Jubilee.

Unity

The Queen’s rhetoric of unity is based primarily on the metaphor of the Commonwealth as a family, which recurs throughout the Christmas broadcasts. In 1956, for instance, she observed that:

We talk of ourselves as a “family of nations”, and perhaps our relations with one another are not so very different from those which exist between members of any family. We all know that these are not always easy, for there is no law within a family which binds its members to think, or act, or be alike.

Despite these differences, in 2011 the Queen described the Commonwealth as “a family of 53 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals”. As the head of the Commonwealth, it is perhaps no exaggeration to say that the Queen is the matriarch of this family of nations, whose primary role is to keep the unit together and uphold its values. Indeed, the Christmas broadcast has been an important source of soft power since the end of Empire. As Sonny Ramphal, a former Commonwealth secretary general, put it: “without her presence, the Commonwealth will feel it is missing the captain from the bridge”.

With the UK government having tightened Christmas COVID-19 restrictions, as well as the introduction of bans on UK travel in numerous countries, this festive season will be very different. Perhaps more than ever, as families face separation or the disruption of their traditional plans, people will seek solace in the ritual of the Queen’s Christmas broadcast.

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I can’t find a copyright-free photograph of the Queen’s Corgis but this one will do. It is from Pexels.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

So her Majesty The Queen is 94! Wow!

That makes her the oldest monarch to have reigned in Britain. Ever!

Queen Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death, in 1901. That makes Queen Victoria the second longest monarch to have reigned.

So with that, it’s time for a small break.

See you in 2021!