Mera, a peak dog!

This is an astounding story of bonding.

This is an amazing story. Utterly amazing! Taken from Mother Nature Network.

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This stray tagged along with mountain climbers and set an elevation record for dogs

Mera, a street dog, climbed 23,389 feet to the top of Baruntse in Nepal.

By MARY JO DILONARDO

March 6, 2019

Mera seemed to have little trouble in the snow and ice. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

When Seattle-based mountain guide Don Wargowsky was leading an expedition to Mera Peak and Baruntse in Nepal’s Himalayas last November, he picked up an extra member on his team. A stray dog noticed the climbers somewhere around 17,500 feet and decided to stick around with the group.

The climbers had just summited Mera Peak, and when they were coming down around Mera La pass, they saw the pup going up.

“What struck me was to get to that pass, there were a few hundred feet of fixed rope which means the terrain was so difficult that most climbers need rope to help themselves up,” Wargowsky tells MNN. “To see a dog up there just running by all these climbers in their $2,000 down suits and crampons was very unusual. When she came up to me, I gave her a bit of beef jerky and she didn’t leave for 3 1/2 weeks.”

The team dubbed their newest four-legged member “Mera” and she tagged along on the way back down the mountain. Wargowsky realized he had seen her in the town of Kare a few days earlier, but she had made no effort then to get close. He thinks that’s because street dogs aren’t treated very well in Nepal due to the fear of rabies.

“Dogs are shooed away pretty aggressively,” he says. “So, she was naturally pretty shy.”

A new climbing partner

Climbing is hard work. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

But once Mera decided to join the expedition, she gradually lowered her guard. The first night, Wargowsky tried to encourage her to sleep in his tent, but she wouldn’t come inside. The next morning, he found her curled up outside the flaps covered in a layer of snow. After that, he was able to coax her inside. He gave her one of his sleeping pads and a coat to keep her warm.

Wargowsky was in a difficult position with his uninvited guest. The elements were unforgiving, and he was worried about the dog who had no protection for her paws or her body in conditions that likely reached minus 20 or minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. But he had no luck getting her to leave … and where would she go?

“Obviously my responsibility was to the group, but I was super happy to have her with us. I didn’t encourage her to come along, but I wasn’t going to have her starve, so I would feed her,” he says. “I really tried to persuade her to stay at camp as we got into steeper and more dangerous terrain. Where we were was a more remote part of Nepal. If we didn’t feed her, she was going to starve.”

Mera stuck with the expedition the entire time, never venturing far from Wargowsky’s side. Or technically, his knee.

“She would walk with her nose almost in the back of my knee when we would walk,” he says. “But she wanted to be up front. If I would drop back to hang out with a slower client, she would go up and walk with whoever was up front. She didn’t get out of sight pretty much the entire time we were there.”

‘No clue what her motivation was’

Mera celebrates with her fellow climbers. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

There was only one time when Mera was gone for several days.

While Wargowsky was working on training with some members of the expedition, showing them how to climb the ice with rope, Mera followed the team’s sherpas instead. They were working to set up ropes to “camp one” at around 20,000 feet. She scrambled up the steep terrain but seemed afraid to go back down and wouldn’t return with them to base camp.

“She ended up spending two nights alone on a glacier at 20,000 feet. I really thought she was going to freeze to death,” Wargowsky says. The sherpas went up to continue working and she was there. But instead of going back down right away, she followed them to 22,000 feet as they continued working before going back to base camp.

The next day when the entire team went to make the climb, Wargowsky tried to keep her at base camp because he didn’t want her to make the steep climb again. He tied her up but she got out of her rope and quickly caught up with them. Wargowsky couldn’t leave his human clients to take her back, so Mera was allowed to stay with the group.

“I have no clue what her motivation was,” he says. “We were feeding her at base camp, so it wasn’t the food. It’s not like there was anything up there for her, but it was amazing to see.”

Tackling the ice and snow

Mera often trotted ahead of the climbers, waiting for them to catch up. The temperatures didn’t seem to faze her. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

Early on, Mera started to slide and Wargowsky was able to catch her and save her from what could’ve been a dangerous fall. When the team moved to camp two at around 21,000 feet, they were sidelined there for four days because of bad weather. Mera stayed with Wargowsky, who shared his tent and his food with the pup.

“I split all my meals with her 50/50 so we both lost weight,” he says. He guesses the scruffy brown-and-tan stray weighed probably 45 pounds to start with but lost maybe five or 10 pounds during the trip. Wargowsky says Mera looked like a combination of a Tibetan mastiff and a Nepali sheepdog.

Wargowsky was impressed with how well Mera navigated the snow and ice and handled the cold.

“She did very very well like 98 percent of the time. There were certain slopes very early in the morning or late at night when the snow was very crusty and icy when it was very slippery and you could see her kind of struggle with it,” he says. “Her paws got beat up and it was hard to see her paws bleeding a little. But everything healed up that evening and it was all superficial.”

He says it was also hard to believe she didn’t go snow-blind. The humans were all wearing expensive glacier goggles while she trotted along with no protection.

The highest a dog has ever climbed

In one particularly harrowing descent, Mera was clipped to a rope to keep her safe. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

There was only one part of the descent where she was assisted by a rope. Somehow, she had climbed the vertical 15-foot-tall section without incident but when it was time to go back down, she didn’t want to do it. The humans were rappelling, so to coax the dog down safely, they tied a rope harness to her so she could half-run, half tumble. You can see it in the photo above, but Wargowsky points out that the truly harrowing part of the mountain isn’t even visible in the shot.

In the end, when the team — along with their canine mascot — had come down from their completed 23,389-foot climb of Baruntse, Mera was hailed as a bit of a hero. Word had spread about her alleged feat and Wargowsky had to show off photos from his phone to prove she had been with them.

“She was the first dog to ever have climbed that mountain,” he says. “We can’t find anything that says a dog has ever been that high. I believe that is the highest that a dog has ever climbed ever at any point in the world.”

“I am not aware of a dog actually summiting an expedition peak in Nepal,” Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database, an organization that documents climbing expeditions in Nepal, told Outside. “I just hope that she won’t get into trouble for having climbed Baruntse without a permit.” Bierling told Outside that there have been a few reported cases of dogs at Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet) and some who’ve trailed teams through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp II (21,300 feet) on Mount Everest, but Mera’s adventure is perhaps the highest-recorded elevation by a dog anywhere in the world.

‘This dog wants to climb mountains’

Wargowsky shares his food with his climbing buddy. (Photo: Don Wargowsky)

After all that climbing and bonding, Wargowsky was tempted to bring his new friend home with him to the U.S.

“I really would’ve loved to adopt her. But I live in a 700-square-foot unit in Seattle and this dog wants to climb mountains. I gave it a lot of consideration. I didn’t care what it cost. Despite how much I loved this dog, I thought it would’ve been a very selfish thing to do to bring her to such a small space.”

But he didn’t want to leave what he calls “this hero of a dog” out on the streets. Fortunately, the expedition’s base camp manager was also smitten with the adventurous dog. Because dogs can’t fly, NirKaji Tamang paid someone $100 to walk three days to pick her up until they could get her on a bus and get her to his home in Kathmandu.

After what she had accomplished on Baruntse, Tamang changed the athletic dog’s name to Baru. He took her to the vet to make sure she was healthy. Her injuries quickly healed, and she gained weight.

Wargowsky, who told his remarkable Mera story online, was thrilled recently to receive photos of her. He will be back in Nepal several times this year for expeditions, and he plans on visiting his canine climbing partner.

“With what we had available, I don’t know what more I could’ve done to prevent her from climbing. She was definitely there of her own free will,” he says. “I truly loved that dog.”

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This is such a wonderful account of a stray dog coming into contact with a group of such loving people. Plus, the photographs are wonderful especially the fourth one; just following the Tackling the Ice and Snow sub-heading. I could look at that photograph for ever!

Dogs are the most amazing creatures ever!

A dog poem for you!

A beautiful poem and a guest post at that!

This poem arrived during the last two days.

I have real pleasure in posting it!

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A DOG CONNECTION POEM FROM THE HEART

We can learn so much from our dogs. I have written about it and we can feel it. So many of us are lucky enough live with that special dog connection. They can help us through hard times and we feel like our dogs came into our lives for a reason. Here is a little poem dedicated to Jesse.

Ode To My Dog

Jesse- Yellow Labrador, 12 years old

My dog and I have a connection like no other. Unconditional love. She is my shadow and winks at me as I talk to her from above.

Although she is deaf, she knows what I am saying, and wags her tail around. She remembers my voice and can hear it in her head while her tail is pounding on the ground.

My dog is getting older although she still has a youthful mind. Her body tries to keep up when she asks me to throw the ball for her to find.

Even though Dogs only live on Earth about a decade or so. The work they do while they are here will stay with us after they go.

So hold them tight, treat them right and give them your attention while they are here. You never know when the time is up and it’s their last year.

I cherish the moments I have with my furry soul mate and I am excited to see her everyday. To spend time with her and show her love because she can’t hear what I say.

Dogs come into our lives for a reason and that reason is love. To guide us and teach us those important lessons we need to learn from above.

Everyday with your dog is a blessing. Take time to feel the positive influence and give them a great life. You are here for each other not only on Earth but in the afterlife.

The Dog Connection~

Dog Bless!

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As Holli so aptly says, “So many of us are lucky enough to live with that special dog connection.”

They are the most precious animals of all!

Aren’t they just wonderful!

I’m speaking about dogs!

I am indebted to The Dodo for this next item.

Recently discovered it has a wealth of wonderful stories about animals.

So, I am happy to share this with you.

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Lonely Dog Gets To Go To Shelter To Pick Out Her Very Own Playmate

“I swear, she totally had a smile on her face the whole ride home!”

By  03/01/2019

Liza was born in a shelter after her mother was abandoned on the streets while she was pregnant. Both the mama and all of her puppies were very sick at first, and it was an uphill battle to get them all to a point where they were healthy and thriving. Finally, when she was 13 weeks old, Liza was adopted by Debi Kolak and her other dog Mona, and Liza and Mona quickly became the best of friends.

For two years, Mona and Liza did absolutely everything together — until Mona passed away suddenly this past fall, leaving poor Liza completely heartbroken.

Mona and Liza |

Kolak could see that poor Liza was clearly very lonely without Mona, so when she moved in with her boyfriend and his two senior Jack Russell terriers in December, she hoped that the company of other dogs would help to cheer Liza up. Unfortunately, though, the two terriers weren’t huge fans of Liza, as she was too energetic and playful for them, and so Liza was still left without anyone to play with. Kolak discussed the possibility of adopting a playmate for Liza with her boyfriend, but he was skeptical that they could handle a fourth dog, and therefore put off the idea.

Debi Kolak

Despite her boyfriend’s hesitations, Kolak began researching different animal shelters in the area until she found one that had some dogs up for adoption who seemed like they could be good matches for Liza. She took Liza with her to the shelter and talked to the volunteers there about the kind of dog they were looking for. They showed her a few different dogs — and one of them was Murphy.

Murphy was one of the shelter’s longest residents, and had been there for five months. He was found as a stray, and during his time at the shelter had been adopted by three different families and returned every time. He seemed so defeated, and didn’t strike Kolak as the kind of dog that she and Liza were looking for. Liza needed an active, cheerful playmate, and when she first met him in his kennel, Murphy seemed to be anything but that.

Debi Kolak

It’s the nose!

The remarkable noses of our dogs.

Dogs have about 220 million olfactory cells in their noses. Compared with 50 million in a human nose.

But it’s not a case of saying that a dog’s nose is roughly four times better, as in 220 divided by 50, they are even more skilled at detecting scents.

Therefore a recent item in Mother Nature Network makes incredible reading. You see for yourself! (Well, OK, it was originally published in 2014 but that doesn’t make a difference.)

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Dogs know you have cancer before you do

Studies show that man’s best friend can detect cancer with surprising accuracy. Researchers hope to one day develop an electronic nose that mimics canines’ extraordinary noses.

By LAURA MOSS
May 20, 2014.

Photo: Bart Hiddink/flickr

A Labrador retriever could be just as effective at detecting cancer as a laboratory, according to ongoing studies that test dogs’ abilities to sniff out cancer in patients.

A recent study found that trained dogs were able to detect prostate cancer in urine with 98 percent accuracy.

Two 3-year-old, female German shepherds were trained at the Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center using positive reinforcement to recognize prostate cancer-specific volatile organic compounds.

The dogs analyzed more than 400 urine samples, and one dog detected prostate cancer with 100 accuracy, while the second had 98.6 percent accuracy.

However, prostate cancer isn’t the only type of cancer dogs have successfully sniffed out.

Man’s best friends have also proved their noses can detect breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, skin and lung cancer, typically by smelling breath samples.

Cancer causes the body to release certain organic compounds that dogs can smell but people cannot, and scientists hope that researching the phenomenon will help them one day develop an electronic nose that can detect cancer as dogs’ noses can.

With 220 million olfactory cells in their snouts — compared with a mere 50 million in a human nose — it’s estimated that a dog’s sense of smell is up to a million times better than ours.

In addition to scientific studies, there’s also anecdotal evidence that dogs can detect cancer.

Numerous dog owners tell stories of their pets persistently sniffing or nudging an area of their body that later turned out to harbor a tumor.

Such was the case for Maureen Burns, whose 9-year-old collie mix, Max, started acting strangely. Her dog would insistently sniff her breast and back off with what Burns called a “sad look in his eyes.”

Burns did have a small lump in her breast, but her mammogram had been clear. But as Max’s peculiar behavior persisted, she returned to the doctor and asked for a biopsy.

Doctors were surprised to learn the lump was cancerous.

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A million times better than a human nose! Wow!

This is such a positive story about the power of a dog.

They really are our best friend.

Awesome, just awesome!

This young girl’s wishes are truly special.

This is from Mother Nature Network and I’ll quickly get out of the way!

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Terminally ill girl’s wish is a letter from your dog

A 7-year-old Wisconsin girl with a brain tumor asks for photos and letters from pups to help her feel better.

By MARY JO DILONARDO
February 28, 2019.

Emma Mertens really loves dogs. (Photo: Geoffrey Mertens/GoFundMe)

There’s a little 7-year-old girl in Wisconsin who is dealing with a rare and inoperable brain tumor. To help deal with the pain of her disease, Emma Mertens is asking people to send her letters and photos from their dogs.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family cover medical expenses and in the comments, people from all over the country and in many parts of the world have shared notes and photos from their four-legged friends. They have sent hugs, kisses and tail wags. They’ve written about their favorite hobbies, movies and treats. Most of all, they’ve told Emma she is in their thoughts and she is loved.

Emma has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an aggressive, hard-to-treat tumor found at the base of the brain. So far, she’s had two surgeries and radiation therapy.

According to her GoFundMe page:

Last weekend she was having a normal weekend playing with friends, playing in the snow, and wrestling with her brothers. On Sunday though, she got a headache and started having flu like symptoms. By Wednesday, she was rushed into surgery to reduce swelling on the brain. She has had a second surgery now and is preparing for 6 weeks of daily radiation therapy. She is a fighter and she and her family along with everyone on Team Emma are here to fight for her.

While she fights, dogs everywhere are showing their support.

Burley and Babette in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: Tania Calverley)

Tania Calverley sent a photo of her two snow-covered pups with the note: “Burley and Babette send lots of love and doggie kisses from cold Ottawa, Ontario Canada.”

Daisy and Tymber send love from Michigan. (Photo: Megan Janofski)

Megan Janofski wrote from Michigan. “Hi Emma! Our names are Daisy and Tymber and we live in Michigan. We love cuddling and playing fetch. Our owner told us you aren’t feeling good. We are sending all our love to you! We think you’re pretty incredible for going through this. Stay strong and brave. Love, Daisy and Tymber.”

Shelby and Nikki send kisses from Virginia. (Photo: Maria Emilia)

Maria Emilia sent greeting from her two dogs in Virginia Beach. “Hi sweet and beautiful Emma! My two Aussie pup pups want to send you tons of hugs and kisses – little Shelby and big brother Nikki boy say that you are AWESOME!”

Lola wrote the note, but included photos of her canine siblings. (Photo: Ursula Bedeaux)

Ursula Bedeaux’s dog Lola sent the message: “Hi Emma, our mom told us about you and how brave you are. She also told us that you love dogs, so Harriett, Maggie, and I (Lola), thought we would send you some hugs and kisses from Minnesota!!! ❤️❤️❤️”

She included photos of Harriett and Maggie, too.

Harriett and Maggie (Photo: Ursula Bedeaux)

If you (or your dog) want to send a message to Emma, you can post them to a special Facebook page.

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Emma, you are in our thoughts and, we have no doubt, in the thoughts of all those that read this. Paul & Jeannie xxxx, plus Brandy, Pedi, Sweeny, Oliver, Cleopatra and Ruby! Woof, woof.

Too wonderful for words!

Another very inspiring email from Margaret K.

This is only a short video.

But what it conveys is incredibly inspiring.

Or to put it in Margaret’s own words:

Hi Paul,
I thought that you and Jeannie might like to see this, if you haven’t already done so.
It brought a tear to my eye. Very inspiring – the way the world should be. The best of humanity.
Warm regards
– Margaret K

There are a lot of good people out there!

This is just so beautiful!

A wolf and a bear!

It’s fair to say that whilst people send me a whole range of items, as yesterday’s post demonstrated, what I am about to republish is the high-water mark for everything! Well it is for me!

But you be the judge!

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Unusual Friendship Between Wolf And Bear Documented By Finnish Photographer

By ​Dainius

“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this” says Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen, 56, who took these surprising photos. The female grey wolf and male brown were spotted every night for ten days straight, spending several hours together between 8pm and 4am. They would even share food with each other.

“No-one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends,” Lassi told the Daily Mail. “I think that perhaps they were both alone and they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone…It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”

“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this”

This unlikely pair was spotted by Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen

He photographed the female grey wolf and male brown bear every night for ten days straight

“No one had observed bears and wolves living near each other and becoming friends in Europe”

The two “friends” were even seen sharing food

“No one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends”

“I think that perhaps they were both alone when they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone”

“I came across these two and knew that it made the perfect story”

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“It seems to me that they feel safe being together”

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Taken from here but I wouldn’t have known about this beautiful story if Margaret K. hadn’t sent me the link. Thank you, Margaret!