Sweet Senior Solutions!

Where did it all go?

I am, of course, referring to the years of one’s life. From the minutia that we are already over half-way through the month of March to the rather broader acceptance that this coming November will see me turn seventy-three!

The trick to surviving these senior years is to focus on living in the present moment as much as one can and not worrying about the world around us or where on earth it is all heading to!

Yes, this living in the present lark is so much easier to write than it is to practice. If only we had the same knack of living in the present that our dogs do. Take, for example, dear old Pharaoh. Now well into his thirteenth year (he will be fourteen in June) he really struggles to move around with his very weak rear hips. He frequently poops himself and just as frequently has to be assisted by me or Jean to get him onto his feet. But is there ever a complaint from the old man? No! Never!

Every evening when we are all ready to go to bed and the dogs are let out for their night-time ‘pee’, Pharaoh always comes up to Jean and nuzzles her and enjoys having his head fondly stroked by Jean. What a stoic, wonderful dog he is.

So after yesterday’s post about dear old Roman up in Seattle how serendipitous it was to read yesterday the following item over on the Mother Nature Network site.

It is republished here.

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9 sweet reminders why you should adopt a senior pet

Mary Jo DiLonardo   March 13, 2017

Older rescue dogs have a leg up on younger dogs when it comes to napping skills. (Photo: ShawshankRedemption/imgur)

When you decide to bring a new pet into your home, it can be tempting to pick up a puppy or kitten. They’re all cuteness and goofiness and you know that hopefully they’ll be with you for a healthy, long life. But there’s a special place in animal lover’s heaven — or at least boatloads of good karma — for people who adopt older pets. They don’t know the animal’s history and know their time with them is limited, but they open their hearts and homes just the same.

Here’s a look at some of these sweet senior adoptions that will make your heart melt.

Reddit user ShawshankRedemption got the sweet rescue dog above, who apparently really knows how to nap. “The pound had guessed her at 14 when they picked her off the street and the vet doesn’t bother to guess. Medical costs have been ok, it was just a lot at first since she was sick and malnourished from being neglected,” he writes. “I have to say it’s all been worth it.”

Polly was given up to a shelter by her owner, who offered to pay to have her euthanized. (Photo: rocknroll_heart/Reddit)

Reddit user rocknroll_heart adopted Polly, a special needs senior dog that was about to be euthanized. She’s deaf and had to have dental surgery because of major issues with her teeth.

“I’ll be honest — I was a little worried about adopting a senior dog because I knew I’d be devastated if I only had a limited time with her,” she writes. ” However, I’ve made it my mission to make sure her limited time here would be the best time a dog could ever have because she hasn’t had the best of care up until now. Now I’d like to only adopt senior dogs because I see how happy she is now, and I’m sure there are many out there who need that level of care as well.”

Steve Greig hangs out with his dogs, while posing for the RescueMen charity calendar. (Photo: wolfgang2242/Instagram)

Steve Greig’s house in Colorado is kind of a sanctuary for mostly senior dogs and the occasional pig and rabbit. He’s been featured on a RescueMen charity calendar and is constantly opening his home to older pets in need of a place to stay.

“I get asked a lot about how I managed to cope with the inevitable heartbreak that comes with senior dog adoption. I think that the heartbreak is offset by the increased appreciation I have for life specifically because I have a house full of seniors,” Greig writes on his popular Instagram account.

“When you are young or when your pets are young its easy to take them (and everything else) for granted. The end is so far away that you don’t even think about it and it’s easy to overlook the intricate beauty of the daily dance … Having senior pets helps to change that pattern and slow everything down. I watch them so closely. I help them with things that younger pets can do for themselves and so I get to celebrate the ordinary; days when everyone eats all their food, the nights we are able to go for a walk, the times they don’t need any medicine, or the times when the medicine they do need cures them. Those little things make me stop and feel that everything is right in the world at that moment. It makes me look around and take stock of all the love in my life, and smile about the love that has been there before.”

Pepper’s new owner doesn’t know how he lost his left ear. (Photo: CallMeAl_/Reddit)

Senior cat Pepper was given up for adoption when his owner moved to a place that doesn’t allow cats. Reddit user CallMeAl_ says the kitty was obviously well loved and well cared for. She believes his owner was elderly and had to move to a senior facility.

“That broke my heart imagining someone crying while dropping off this sweet sweet cat,” she writes.

Rocky lounges after a walk. (Photo: trebleKat/Reddit)

Reddit users termisique and trebleKat adopted Rocky, an 11-year-old German shepherd and harrier hound mix dog that no one else would rescue. Their cat is still adjusting to the new roommate, but Rocky is certainly getting comfortable in his new home.

“He is missing most of his teeth and has hip dysplasia, but is sweet and well trained. Our plan is to spoil him and keep him happy for the rest of his days.”

Molly says Otitis is very empathetic and can tell when she’s having a bad day. (Photo: Adventures of Otitis/Facebook)

When Molly Lichtenwalner met Otitis, the senior white cat had been surrendered by his family who couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery to have his ears removed. Now earless, he’s no longer suffering from painful cysts, but he certainly has an unusual appearance.

“When I came across Otitis, I knew he was the perfect cat for me,” Lichtenwalner told the Dodo. “He was an older, special needs cat that I knew needed the home and love that I absolutely knew I could give him. I found out later that many people asked about him, but no one ever put in an application for him — I was the first.”

Lichtenwalner is writing a children’s book based on Otitis about discovering how your disability can make you special. You can follow the kitty’s exploits on Facebook and Instagram.

Reddit user sicwriter adopted this sweet older corgi/collie mix. (Photo: sicwriter/imgur)

Reddit user sicwriter posted adorable images of this older corgi/collie mix, who he adopted. “Rescued my new best friend a month ago — a reminder that older dogs need homes too!”

Can you tell where Midnight ends and the blanket begins? (Photo: Kaalb/Reddit)

Midnight has feline herpes and extra toes, but her illness and polydactyl tendencies didn’t stop Reddit user Kaalb from adopting the beautiful senior kitty.

“She’s a cuddle bug and adorable!” she writes.

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This is what life is all about!

(P.S. Don’t forget to keep looking for a loving home for Senior Roman.)

 

A New Roman Home

Please do everything you can to find Roman a loving home.

I am republishing an item that appeared recently on the blog Mitt Skolearbeid.

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Meet Roman

Hello! My name is Roman. Hear my story:

I was left behind, abandoned by my owner who has had me for 14 years. He left me tied up on a 3-foot leash in a trailer for about two weeks (maybe longer) with little or no care by my owner’s parents who were unable to care for me daily. Luckily, a kind and lovely lady named Chrissy, found me after she heard my desperate cries. Chrissy spoke to my owner’s parents and was able to get me out of my filthy living condition and to my foster home, where I’m getting endless love and doggy playmates. Please help me find a forever, loving home!

Roman is old, but he’s still strong and playful. He hops, runs, and bounces around as if he were still a pup. If you’re interested, please contact me!

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Roman’s present home is in Seattle, Washington and if you know of anyone who might be interested then the contact details are here.

Plus, please share this as far and wide as possible.

Thank you!

UPDATE

In response to me querying what Roman was like with other dogs and how far he could be taken in terms of meeting up with a new owner:

He is great with other dogs 🙂 I have two other big pups and they all get along just fine.
It depends on the location. Within a 5hr drive is fair.

 

For They Bring Out The Best In Us!

A wonderful follow-on to yesterday’s post.

As many of you will know, yesterday I published a post under the heading of Dogs: Aren’t They Incredible. It was the first of three essays that have been published by The Smithsonian about the wonderful ways of the dog.

So when I was wondering just what to share with you today and was browsing ‘stuff’ this story over on the Care2 site struck me as a perfect companion to yesterday’s post.

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Man Hears Barking From Under Pavement and Rescues Buried-Alive Dog

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on October 4, 2015. Enjoy!

A pregnant dog buried alive under paving stones for two days was rescued by local hero Rustam Vadim who heard a soft barking sound as he walked home with family in the Russian city of Voronezh.

Concerned about the dog’s survival, Rustam immediately went to the public utilities office to ask for help in rescuing her but was told that that department had not made the repair to a long-standing large hole in the street and they could not help.

Apparently, workers from a different government agency had made the repair and were unaware of the dog hiding in the hole as they sealed it over with paving stones.

[Ed: This video has a Russian commentary but you don’t need words to understand it!]

“My husband started to hammer to pull out the cobblestone and to hand dig out the sand because he did not have a shovel,” Rustam’s wife explains. “There was a gap that laid between the large cobblestones. My husband removed one stone and saw the face of a dog. He started to slowly pull out the dog as she is pregnant. After rescuing the dog, we recovered the hole so there is no threat to people.”

The dog was reportedly taken to a shelter and is being cared for. How many of you would like a man like Rustam as your friend or neighbor?

Photo Credit: YouTube

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How many, indeed, would like Rustam as a friend.

In fact, it underlines the truth that despite all the gloom and doom we read about on a daily basis most of the people out there are nice people!

Finally, I was curious as to where Voronezh was in Russia. Thanks to ‘Google’ that question was quickly answered:

Voronezh is a city and the administrative center of Voronezh Oblast, Russia, straddling the Voronezh River and located 12 kilometers from where it flows into the Don. Wikipedia
It appears to be about an eight-hour drive South-south-east of Moscow and here’s a picture of the city.
Voronezh.

Dogs: Aren’t They Incredible!

The love and admiration for this beautiful animal goes on and on!

It seems as though it is almost on a weekly basis that new and incredible facts about our dear, dear dogs come to the surface.

So what prompted this from me today!

Only a wonderful article that was originally published in New Scientist but then was carried by The Smithsonian. I am hoping that by fully linking this post to both the New Scientist article and the essay in The Smithsonian I am at liberty to republish it for all you good people.

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Dogs Use Deception to Get Treats, Study Shows

When a human partner withheld tasty snacks, the dogs got sneaky

Would these eyes deceive you? New study says yes. (johan63/iStock)

By Brigit Katz     smithsonian.com
March 10, 2017
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that dogs, in addition to looking adorable in sweaters, possess fairly sophisticated cognitive abilities. They recognize emotion, for example, and respond negatively to antisocial behavior between humans. Man’s best friend can also get pretty tricksy when it comes to scoring snacks. As Brian Owens reports for New Scientist, a recent study found that dogs are capable of using deceptive tactics to get their favorite treats.

The study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, was led by Marianne Heberlein of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zürich. Heberlein told Owens that the idea for the study was born when she observed her pet pooches engaging in deceptive behavior; one sometimes pretends to see something interesting outside, prompting the other to give up his sleeping spot.

To find out if dogs engage in similar shenanigans with humans, Heberlein and a team of researchers paired 27 dogs with two different partners, Stanley Coren explains in Psychology Today. One of these partners would repeatedly go to the bowl of a given dog, fish out a treat, and give it to the pup. The other would show the treat to the dog, and then put it in her pocket. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dogs began to show a preference for the more generous partners, and would approach them spontaneously.

Once one partner had been established as co-operative, the other as competitive, the dogs were taught to lead their partners to one of two boxes, both containing food, with the command “Show me the food.” And the same pattern was repeated: when the dogs led the co-operative partner to a treat, they got to eat it. The competitive partner withheld the treat.

Researchers then showed the dogs three covered boxes. One contained a sausage, the second contained a less-yummy dry biscuit, and the third was empty. Once again, the process of treat giving and withholding was repeated, but this time with a twist: when the dog was reunited with its owner, the owner asked it to choose one of the boxes. If there was a treat inside the box, the dog was allowed to eat it. But “if the dog chose the box which had been opened before,” Coren explains, “the owner just showed the empty box to the dog.”

Over the course of a two-day testing period, the dogs were repeatedly presented with this conundrum. They had been trained to lead both partners to boxes containing food, but they knew that the competitive partner would not let them eat the snacks. They also knew that if any snacks remained inside the boxes once they were reunited with their owners, they would get a chance to eat them. So the dogs got a little devious.

Researchers observed the pooches leading the co-operative partner to the box containing the sausage more often than expected by chance. They led the competitive partner to the sausage less often than expected by chance. And here’s where things get really interesting: the dogs took the competitive partner to the empty box more frequently than the co-operative partner, suggesting that they were working through their options and engaging in deliberate deception to maximize their chances of getting both treats.

“It is as though the dog is thinking, ‘Why should I tell that selfish person where the best treat [is] if it means that I will never get it?’,” writes Coren.

“These results show that dogs distinguished between the co-operative and the competitive partner,” the authors of the study write, “and indicate the flexibility of dogs to adjust their behaviour and that they are able to use tactical deception.”

Rest assured, dog lovers: your pooches may be sneaky, but they still love you more than cats.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dogs-use-deception-get-treats-study-shows-180962492/#5r1vc6gkyLQoIQaL.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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 The article from Brigit opened up with a picture of a pair of eyes; a pair of dog’s eyes.

I don’t know about you but some dogs have eyes that reach out and seem to illuminate one’s soul.

Our Oliver has just that set of eyes. I will close today’s post with a photograph of Oliver’s eyes that was taken yesterday afternoon.

Talk about the power of non-verbal communication!

Picture Parade One Hundred and Eighty-Six

Stay Happy Good People!

With enormous thanks to ‘Captain Bob’ who sent these to me.

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Another set of these wonderful antidotes to grumpiness in a week’s time.

Many thanks, Bob!

P.S. Don’t forget the clocks go forward in many US States in two hours time!

Diversions of beauty

To take us away from the madness of present times!

The following is republished with the very kind permission of Belas Bright Ideas.

It makes a wonderful alternative to The State of the World as featured the last three days.

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Tributaries

Black is the color of undefined space,

of chasms so large many fear to fall,
inky background behind the night rainbow
void of busy-ness of day,
flowing cleanly down the split shaft
of an old quill pen, seeping deeply
into dimples of vellum;

Striking contrast, none or full phases
of lunation, back to black, again
and anon, ebony skin bejeweled
in glorious hues, unruly hair
and wild patterned dress,
cradle of civilization suffused
with damp earthen heat;

Unsterile, untamed, U as in unify, more
like u-turn, what did I miss, back to origins,
basics, unity in community, necessitating
complementarity, muting
blinding tonalities of white;

Born into a dusky womb, darkness follows
into death, settled now into the earth,
home we take for granted
until breath and water are gone.

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 Have a wonderful weekend.

Searching for the Truth

Resolving the falsehoods may not be so straightforward as one thinks.

I’m going straight into this last post of my mini-series looking at the state of things. Namely a recent essay published by Professor Ronald Pies:

Professor of Psychiatry, Lecturer on Bioethics & Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University; and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts University

I am a psychiatrist and ethicist affiliated with SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY; and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. I write on a variety of cross-disciplinary topics, ranging from mental health to philosophy of mind to spirituality. Most recently, I have authored the novella, “The Late Life Bloom of Rose Rabinowitz;” and the poetry chapbook, “The Myeloma Year.”

Here is that post, republished within the terms of The Conversation.

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‘Alternative facts’: A psychiatrist’s guide to twisted relationships to truth

March 1, 2017

The phrase “alternative facts” has recently made the news in a political context, but psychiatrists like me are already intimately acquainted with the concept – indeed, we hear various forms of alternate reality expressed almost every day.

All of us need to parse perceived from actual reality every day, in nearly every aspect of our lives. So how can we sort out claims and beliefs that strike most people as odd, unfounded, fantastical or just plain delusional?

Untruths aren’t always lies

First, we need to make a distinction often emphasized by ethicists and philosophers: that between a lie and a falsehood. Thus, someone who deliberately misrepresents what he or she knows to be true is lying – typically, to secure some personal advantage. In contrast, someone who voices a mistaken claim without any intent to deceive is not lying. That person may simply be unaware of the facts, or may refuse to believe the best available evidence. Rather than lying, he’s stating a falsehood.

Some people who voice falsehoods appear incapable of distinguishing real from unreal, or truth from fiction, yet are sincerely convinced their worldview is absolutely correct. And this is our entree into the psychiatric literature.

In clinical psychiatry, we see patients with a broad spectrum of ideas that many people would find eccentric, exaggerated or blatantly at odds with reality. The clinician’s job is, first, to listen empathically and try to understand these beliefs from the patient’s point of view, carefully taking into account the person’s cultural, ethnic and religious background.

Sometimes, clinicians can be wildly mistaken in their first impressions. A colleague of mine once described a severely agitated patient who was hospitalized because he insisted he was being stalked and harassed by the FBI. A few days into his hospitalization, FBI agents showed up on the unit to arrest the patient. As the old joke goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you!

As strongly as she believes, it doesn’t make it true. Talking image via http://www.shutterstock.com.

When what you believe is wrong

We can think of distortions of reality as falling along a continuum, ranging from mild to severe, based on how rigidly the belief is held and how impervious it is to factual information. On the milder end, we have what psychiatrists call over-valued ideas. These are very strongly held convictions that are at odds with what most people in the person’s culture believe, but which are not bizarre, incomprehensible or patently impossible. A passionately held belief that vaccinations cause autism might qualify as an over-valued idea: it’s not scientifically correct, but it’s not utterly beyond the realm of possibility.

On the severe end of the continuum are delusions. These are strongly held, completely inflexible beliefs that are not altered at all by factual information, and which are clearly false or impossible. Importantly, delusions are not explained by the person’s culture, religious beliefs or ethnicity. A patient who inflexibly believes that Vladimir Putin has personally implanted an electrode in his brain in order to control his thoughts would qualify as delusional. When the patient expresses this belief, he or she is not lying or trying to deceive the listener. It is a sincerely held belief, but still a falsehood.

Falsehoods of various kinds can be voiced by people with various neuropsychiatric disorders, but also by those who are perfectly “normal.” Within the range of normal falsehood are so-called false memories, which many of us experience quite often. For example, you are absolutely certain you sent that check to the power company, but in fact, you never did.

As social scientist Julia Shaw observes, false memories “have the same properties as any other memories, and are indistinguishable from memories of events that actually happened.” So when you insist to your spouse, “Of course I paid that electric bill!” you’re not lying – you are merely deceived by your own brain.

A much more serious type of false memory involves a process called confabulation: the spontaneous production of false memories, often of a very detailed nature. Some confabulated memories are mundane; others, quite bizarre. For example, the person may insist – and sincerely believe – that he had eggs Benedict at the Ritz for breakfast, even though this clearly wasn’t the case. Or, the person may insist she was abducted by terrorists and present a fairly elaborate account of the (fictional) ordeal. Confabulation is usually seen in the context of severe brain damage, such as may follow a stroke or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.

Lying as a default

Finally, there is falsification that many people would call pathological lying, and which goes by the extravagant scientific name of pseudologia fantastica (PF). Writing in the Psychiatric Annals, Drs. Rama Rao Gogeneni and Thomas Newmark list the following features of PF:

  • A marked tendency to lie, often as a defensive attempt to avoid consequences. The person may experience a “high” from this imaginative story-telling.
  • The lies are quite dazzling or fantastical, though they may contain truthful elements. Often, the lies may capture considerable public attention.
  • The lies tend to present the person in a positive light, and may be an expression of an underlying character trait, such as pathological narcissism. However, the lies in PF usually go beyond the more “believable” stories of persons with narcissistic traits.

Although the precise cause or causes of PF are not known, some data suggest abnormalities in the white matter of the brain – bundles of nerve fibers surrounded by an insulating sheath called myelin. On the other hand, the psychoanalyst Helene Deutsch argued that PF stems from psychological factors, such as the need to enhance one’s self-esteem, secure the admiration of others or to portray oneself as either a hero or a victim.

Who cares about facts anyway?

Of course, all of this presumes something like a consensus on what constitutes “reality” and “facts” and that most people have an interest in establishing the truth. But this presumption is looking increasingly doubtful, in the midst of what has come to be known as the “post-truth era.” Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, described ours as a period in which “up is down and down is up and everything is in question and nothing is real.”

Are lies becoming our rose-colored glasses? Christian Bucad, CC BY-NC-ND

Even more worrisome, the general public seems to have an appetite for falsehood. As writer Adam Kirsch recently argued, “more and more, people seem to want to be lied to.” The lie, Kirsch argues, is seductive: “It allows the liar and his audience to cooperate in changing the nature of reality itself, in a way that can appear almost magical.”

And when this magical transformation of reality occurs, whether in a political or scientific context, it becomes very difficult to reverse. As the writer Jonathan Swift put it, “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”

Psychiatrists are not in a position to comment on the mental health of public figures they have not personally evaluated or on the nature of falsehoods sometimes voiced by our political leaders. Indeed, the “Goldwater Rule” prohibits us from doing so. Nevertheless, psychiatrists are keenly aware of the all-too-human need to avoid or distort unpleasant truths. Many would likely nod in agreement with an observation often attributed to the psychoanalyst Carl Jung: “People cannot stand too much reality.”

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With Carl Jung’s words echoing in one’s mind the reaction that does come to me and, undoubtedly, to many others, is that the time for limiting what degree of reality we can take on board is rapidly coming to a close.

Or so much more elegantly conveyed by Maya Angelou.

Back to more gentle and soft ideas tomorrow – and that’s the Truth!

Smoke and Mirrors

Let me start with a quotation:

I’m not a pessimist, even though I do think awful things are going to happen.

James Lovelock

The author of that quote is fellow Englishman, albeit a tad older than yours truly, Mr. James Lovelock. WikiPedia describes him, thus (in part):

James Ephraim Lovelock CHCBEFRS[2] (born 26 July 1919) is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurist who lives in Devon, England. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system.[5]

Moving on.

These times in this fine country, The United States of America, are troubling as Rebecca Gordon set out so compellingly in yesterday’s post.

But what is so terrible about these times is the failure to put integrity at the heart of every pronouncement that comes from a Government. And it would be grossly unfair to pick on the present US Government as the only example of this failure.

Because just a few mouse clicks can inform millions of us as to the real issues. Such as the effect that Climate Change is having on our health, as this recent Grist article so aptly put it in the opening paragraphs:

Here are 4 ways climate change is messing with our brains — for the worse.

We might think of climate change as purely physical: wildfires blazing through forests, rising seas lapping at the doors of coastal homes.

But those brutal conditions also affect our mental health, changing how we think and act. Mental health professionals are paying attention to the link between climate change and emotional health — and health insurance companies are, too.

Or take the issue of the state of America’s water. Recently the subject of an important essay just presented by Naked Capitalism:

America’s Hidden Water Affordability Crisis

Yves here. Grist has been doing an admirable job of keeping on top of this important yet oddly still-under-the-radar story. In the US, the big driver of rising water costs is the need to invest in aging, neglected water works. But water is going to become an issue in many places for differing reasons. As we have been saying for years, the natural resource that is projected to come under pressure first is potable water. And please don’t push desalination as a magic bullet. That costs money (both the plants and new transportation infrastructure, uses energy, plus has the not-trivial problem of how to dispose of the salt residues.

By Ciara O’Rourke, a freelance writer and 2015-16 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Originally published by Fusion and reproduced at Grist as part of the Climate Desk collaboration

When Elizabeth Mack wondered about a future in which Americans wouldn’t be able to pay for water, a couple of colleagues waved her off. “Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. But the idea niggled at Mack, an assistant professor at the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University. And in January, in an article published in the science journal PLOS ONE, she asked a new question: Is there a burgeoning water affordability crisis in the United States?

Mack, along with research assistant Sarah Wrase, determined that if water rates increase at projected amounts over the next five years, the percentage of households that can’t pay their water bills could triple from 11.9 percent to more than a third. Nearly 14 million households nationwide already struggle to afford water services. An additional 27.18 million — or 8.5 percent of the country’s population — could soon face the same challenges.

Yes, integrity in politics is more, so much more, than a nice idea from this silly old Brit now living in Oregon. Here’s a post I published some four years ago that says it as clearly as it needs to be said.

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Reflections on Integrity.

Going back to basics.

Many will know the origins of this blog; a chance comment by Jon Lavin back in England in early 2007 that dogs were integrous, (a score of 210 as defined by Dr David Hawkins).

Way back in 2009, I wrote this:

“There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyse the causes of happenings.” Dorothy Thompson.

When I started Learning from Dogs I was initially rather vague but knew that the Blog should reflect the growing need for greater integrity and mindfulness in our planetary civilisation. Here are some early musings,

Show that integrity delivers better results … integrity doesn’t require force … networking power of a group … demonstrate the power of intention … cut through the power of propaganda and media distortion …

Promulgate the idea that integrity is the glue that holds a just society together … urgent need as society under huge pressures …. want a decent world for my grandchildren … for all our grandchildren …. feels like the 11th hour….

But as the initial, rather hesitant, start to the Blog settled into a reliable, daily posting, and as the minuscule number of readers steadily grew to the present level of many hundreds each day, the clarity of the purpose of Learning from Dogs also improved.

Because, while it may sound a tad grandiose and pompous, if society doesn’t eschew the games, half-truths and selfish attitudes of the last, say, 30 years or more, then civilisation, as we know it, could be under threat.

Or, possibly, it’s more accurate to say that our civilisation is under threat and the time left to change our ways, to embrace those qualities of integrity, truth and consciousness for the very planet we all live on, is running out.

Time left to change our ways is running out.

So what’s rattled my cage, so to speak, that prompted today’s reflection? I’ll tell you! (You knew I was going to anyway, didn’t you!)

I’m drafting these thoughts around noon Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, 17th. At the same time, tens of thousands of ordinary good folk (40,000 plus at the latest estimate) are gathering by the Washington Monument ready to march past the White House demanding that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and move forward toward climate action.

Do I trust the US Government to take this action? On balance, no! That hurts me terribly to write that. I really want to trust and believe what the President of my new home country says.

State of the Union speech 2013. AP photo.
State of the Union speech 2013. AP photo.

Here’s a snippet of what the President did say in his State of the Union speech on February 12th.

Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, all are now more frequent and more intense.

We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late.

A frank admission that the climate is changing in dramatic ways; the overwhelming judgment of science – fantastic!

The evidence that burning carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas) is the primary cause of today’s high CO2 levels is overwhelming. As a recent BBC radio programme reveals (being featured tomorrow) huge climate changes going back millions of years are a natural part of Earth’s history. However, as one of the scientists explains at the end of that radio programme, the present CO2 level, 395.55 ppm as of January, is now way above the safe, stable limit for the majority of life species on the planet.

But say you are reading this and are not yet convinced?

Let me borrow an old pilot’s saying from the world of aviation: If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt!

That embracing, cautious attitude is part of the reason why commercial air transport is among the most safest forms of transport. If you had the slightest doubt about the safety of a flight, you wouldn’t board the aircraft.

If you had the slightest doubt about the future for civilisation on this planet likewise you would do something! Remember, that dry word civilisation means family, children, grandchildren, friends and loved ones. The last thing you would do is to carry on as before!

Which is where my lack of trust of leaders comes from!

Back to that State of the Union speech. Just 210 words after the spoken words “act before it’s too late” (I counted them!) Pres. Obama says, “That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.

Here’s the relevant section:

I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

Now, four years ago, other countries dominated the clean-energy market and the jobs that came with it. And we’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year. Let’s drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.

Now, in the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.

We don’t require any more oil to be used. We are already using a staggering amount of it. Let me refer you to an essay on Nature Bats Last called Math. The scary kind, not the fuzzy kind. Prof. McPherson wrote:

I performed a little rudimentary math last week. A little because even a little pushes my limit for math, these days. And rudimentary for the same reason. The outcome was staggering: We’re using oil at the rate of 5,500 cubic feet per second (cfs).

5,500 cubic feet per second” Don’t know about you but I have some trouble in visualising that flow rate. Try this from later in the essay:

Here’s another shot of perspective: We burn a cubic mile of crude oil every year. The Empire State Building, the world’s ninth-tallest building, towers above New York at 1,250 feet. The world’s tallest building, Taipei 101, is 1,667 feet from ground to tip.

Put those buildings together, end to end, and you have one side of a cube. Do it again, and you have the second side. Once more, but this time straight up, and you have one big cube. Filling that cube with oil takes nearly 200 billion gallons … which is about one-sixth the size of the cube of oil we’re burning every year.

Burning a cubic mile every year! Yes, Mr. President, more oil permits is a wonderful way of taking action before it’s too late!

cubic mile
Image taken from http://www.flashevap.com/bigthings.htm

So let’s see what transpires? Let’s see if integrity is given the highest political focus. As in “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Because if there’s ever been a time when all of us, from every spectrum of society need honesty about what we are doing to the planet, it’s now!

As the tag on the home page of this blog says, “Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

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Going to close with two more quotations from Mr. Lovelock.

The first:

You never know with politicians what they are really saying. And I don’t say that in a negative way-they have an appalling job.

And the second one to close today’s post:

If you start any large theory, such as quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, evolution, it takes about 40 years for mainstream science to come around. Gaia has been going for only 30 years or so.

The State of the World!

Reality warning dear people!

As you all know, my world is dominated by love. My love for my Jeannie and all the wonderful creatures that inhabit this home and these few acres here in Southern Oregon. Time and time again I share with you stories and articles that I come across that underpin that loving umbrella. Time and time again I am deeply moved by your interest in my scribbles. As I said, my world is dominated by love, and your friendship across this blogging world added to Jean’s love for and attachment to me, has created a little paradise for me.

But! (And you may have sensed there was a ‘But’ coming up.)

But that doesn’t mean that I am immune to being deeply affected by other, more worldly issues, that are as far away from love as one could imagine; more accurately, as far away from love for this wonderful planet as one could imagine.

So for today and the next two days I am going to share with you the pain and angst that I do feel, and feel all too easily, at what we, as in the collective global ‘we’, are up to. Madness doesn’t even seem to touch it!

Today, I am going to republish a recent TomDispatch essay, with Tom’s very kind permission. Tomorrow, I am going to contrast what fellow Brit James Lovelock has been predicting for years with where we really are heading in terms of the future of Planet Earth. Then on Friday, I will finish up with an essay by Professor Ronald Pies regarding the “twisted relationships to truth”.

So don’t say you haven’t been warned!

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 Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, War Without End

Sarajevo Saviours!

Must be something in their water!

Back last December, I published a post under the title of Maybe we all need saving!

It centered around Caki Bravo from Sarajevo and his passion for saving dogs.

The 6′ 2″ tall taxi driver is a gentle giant whose passion leads to the rescue of at least a dozen street dogs each month.

Care2 recently published an item written by another Bosnian but about the same person: Caki Bravo.

It is shared with you all.

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Drivers Stop Their Car to Rescue Dog Who Leads Them to a Surprise

By: Laura S.   March 4, 2017

About Laura

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on September 29, 2015. Enjoy!

Written by Edina Pasic in Sarajevo, Bosnia

In the middle of the busy highway we saw a female dog running totally confused between cars and trucks. The cars were passing very fast, so I screamed. My teammate Caki stopped the car and tried to get over to her slowly. She was so scared that she started to run away from him. Luckily he managed to chase her over to a widening, so I called on her while Caki went back to get the car. We had left it in the middle of the highway.

After a while, I didn’t even know what I was talking to her about anymore. I begged her to stay there with me. She looked at me obediently. Her eyes were sad and looked bad. She was full of scars. I cried with her. Her breasts were hanging to the floor.

Luckily we had some food in the car. When we gave her some food she ate very fast. It was hard to believe, she ate big cans of food. She was so puffed that we didn’t know if she was with puppies or if she had already had them. We also gave her some doggy crackers. She ate two, took the third in her mouth and started to walk away from us, back towards the highway. It was warm. The cracker (she was planning to give to her puppies) melted in her mouth. She swallowed it and continued going towards the road.

We realized that she had puppies waiting for her, since she was going back. I followed her on foot and Caki with the car. She didn’t run from me anymore. We walked on the edge of the highway together. My heart stopped every time a big truck or a car rushed by. I’ll never forget that. Even now, while I’m writing this, I start to cry.

We walked for about 1.5 kilometers. Just imagine how far she has walked to find food. Imagine how hungry she must have been. She kept turning around to see if I was still following her, like she was taking me to see her babies. We came to a hill and she started going up. There was only one house there, only one. We went to the house and she led me to a shed. I heard the puppies cry for their mother. I couldn’t see how many there were because the shed was filled with clutter.

I decided to knock on the front door of the house and ask them about this little family. An older man opened the door and immediately got mad when I asked about them. I was already upset about this poor dog, so this was the last thing I needed. He told me he was planning to take them somewhere far away when his son came over with the car. He had already planned this for a very long time, but sadly for him and luckily for them, he didn’t have a car. I asked him to help me gather them up and I would take them with me. He was shocked. I asked him how many babies there were. He told me that she had originally given birth to five puppies, but three had died and only two survived. Poor Mimosa was wagging her tail when the owner of the house came towards her. Even though he didn’t love her, she still loved him.

His wife, being more humane than him, started to cry and told me she had been feeding them in secret from her husband. These poor lives. We first placed the puppies in a box, then the mother. She didn’t protest, she trusted me. I started to cry again. Thinking back, I think it was more from the shock.

She Gave Me Kisses the Whole Way

The mommy gave me kisses the whole way. She’s now in a pension with her son and daughter, waiting for their forever homes. She’s great with people. When she’s outside with her babies at the pension, she growls at the other dogs that get too close to her babies, looking out for them. She is very kind. We are now struggling to keep them safe here until they get new homes. I rescue hundreds of animals like these all year long.

Photo Credit: Edina Pasic

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Learn more about the effort to support Edina and Caki’s animal rescue work in Bosnia.

There can never be too many people like this in the world!