Sharing our emotions

Good people, ran out of time yesterday but wanted to republish the following.

It first appeared in October, 2015. The pictures are no longer available online.

Exploring the range of emotions felt and displayed by our dogs.

Like so many bloggers, I subscribe to the writings of many others. Indeed, it’s a rare day when I don’t read something that touches me, stirring up emotions across the whole range of feelings that we funny humans are capable of.

Such was the case with a recent essay published on Mother Nature Network. It was about dogs and whether they are capable of complex emotions. Better than that, MNN allow their essays to be republished elsewhere so long as they are fully and properly credited.

Thus, with great pleasure I republished the following essay written by Jaymi Heimbuch.

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Are dogs capable of complex emotions?

Joy, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness. These are the basic emotions dogs feel that are also easy enough for humans to identify. But what about more complex emotions?

Many dog owners are convinced their dogs feel guilty when they’re caught misbehaving. In the same way, many owners are sure their dogs feel pride at having a new toy or bone. But it gets tricky when you assign these sorts of emotions to a dog. These are definitely emotions felt by humans, but are they also felt by dogs?

(see footnote)

Why we question the presence of complex emotions is wrapped up in the way we get to those emotions. The American Psychological Association explains, “Embarrassment is what’s known as a self-conscious emotion. While basic emotions such as anger, surprise or fear tend to happen automatically, without much cognitive processing, the self-conscious emotions, including shame, guilt and pride, are more complex. They require self-reflection and self-evaluation.”

Essentially we’re comparing our behavior or situation to a social expectation. For instance, guilt comes when we reflect on the fact that we’ve violated a social rule. We need to be aware of the rule and what it means to break it. So, can dogs feel guilt? Well, exactly how self-reflective and self-evaluative are dogs?

Among humans, children begin to experience empathy and what are called secondary emotions when they are around 2 years old. Researchers estimate that the mental ability of a dog is roughly equal to that of an 18-month-old human. “This conclusion holds for most mental abilities as well as emotions,” says Stanley Coren in an article in Modern Dog Magazine. “Thus, we can look to the human research to see what we might expect of our dogs. Just like a two-year-old child, our dogs clearly have emotions, but many fewer kinds of emotions than found in adult humans.”

In other words, if 18-month-old children can’t yet experience these emotions, and dogs are roughly equal to them in cognitive and emotional ability, then dogs can’t feel these self-reflective emotions either. At least, that’s what researchers have concluded so far.

Is that guilt or fear?

The evidence for primary emotions like love and happiness in dogs abounds, but empirical evidence for secondary emotions like jealousy and guilt is sparse. And this is partially because it’s difficult to create tests that provide clear-cut answers. When it comes to guilt, does a dog act guilty because she knows she did something wrong, or because she’s expecting a scolding? The same expression can come across as guilt or fear. How do we know which it is?

Scientific American explains it further:

“In wolves, it is thought that guilt-related behaviors serve to reinforce social bonds, as in primates, by reducing conflict and eliciting tolerance from other members of the social group. The same could be true of dogs, though their social groups would primarily include humans. The problem is that the display of the associated behaviors of guilt are not, themselves, evidence of the capacity to emotionally experience guilt… It may still be some time before we can know for certain whether dogs can experience guilt, or whether people can determine if a dog has violated a rule prior to finding concrete evidence of it.”

Guilt, and other secondary emotions, are complicated. That’s exactly why cognitive awareness and emotional capacity in dogs is still a topic under study. In fact, it’s an area that has grown significantly in recent years. We may discover that dogs have a more complex range of emotions than we’re aware of today.

Dogs are highly social animals, and social animals are required to navigate a range of emotions in themselves and those around them to maintain social bonds. It wasn’t so long ago that scientists thought that dogs (and other non-human animals) didn’t have any feelings at all. Perhaps our understanding of dog emotions is simply limited by the types of tests we’ve devised to understand their emotions. After all, we’re trying to detect a sophisticated emotional state in a species that doesn’t speak the same language.

There’s a lot we don’t know

Marc Bekoff makes the argument for leaving the possibility open. In an article in Psychology Today he writes, “[B]ecause it’s been claimed that other mammals with whom dogs share the same neural bases for emotions do experience guilt, pride, and shame and other complex emotions, there’s no reason why dogs cannot.”

Keeping the possibility open is more than just an emotional animal rights issue. There is a scientific basis for continuing the research. A recent study showed that the brains of dogs and humans function in a more similar way than we previously thought.

Scientific American reports that “dog brains have voice-sensitive regions and that these neurological areas resemble those of humans. Sharing similar locations in both species, they process voices and emotions of other individuals similarly. Both groups respond with greater neural activity when they listen to voices reflecting positive emotions such as laughing than to negative sounds that include crying or whining. Dogs and people, however, respond more strongly to the sounds made by their own species.”

Until recently, we had no idea of the similar ways human and dog brains process social information.

So do dogs feel shame, guilt and pride? Maybe. Possibly. It’s still controversial, but for now, there seems to be no harm in assuming they do unless proven otherwise.

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Footnote: At this point in the MNN article there was a link to a series of gorgeous photographs of dogs. If you dear readers can wait, then I will publish them this coming Sunday. If you can’t wait, then go here!

Our life-savers – literally

I am speaking of the dogs that saved a Canadian woman from certain death.

This story has been widely reported.

I first saw it as a prominent news item on the BBC News website:

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Three dogs help injured woman survive Canadian wilderness

24 November 2017

The search for Annette Poitras and her dogs lasted three days. COURTESY COQUITLAM RCMP

A Canadian dog walker could not have survived over two days in the wilderness without the help of her border collie, a boxer and a puggle.

Annette Poitras, 56, was walking the three dogs on Monday in the British Columbia backcountry when she fell, injured herself and lost her phone.

She was rescued on Wednesday afternoon after a long hunt by Coquitlam search and rescue.

Her husband says the three dogs helped Poitras stay alive during the ordeal.

Marcel Poitras told Global News that his wife and the dogs – a collie called Chloe, a boxer named Roxy, and Bubba, a pug-beagle mix – took care of each other over two days and two nights, with no supplies and periods of “torrential” rain.

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Newsweek also carried the story on November 25th.

(Continuing on from where I left the BBC report.)

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Her husband, Marcel Poitras told Global News that her three dogs—a collie called Chloe, a boxer named Roxy, and Bubba, a pug-beagle mix—helped her stay alive during the ordeal, during which Poitras had no supplies and endured torrential rain.

He said that she saw one of the dogs dig a hole underground to stay warm, and did the same.

“One of them was cuddling [her] and one of them was on guard and the other one was looking for food,” he said.

She also helped the dogs, covering the short haired boxer with her coat after she noticed it shivering during heavy rainfall on their second night.

He said the dogs did not leave her side.

Poitras was rescued after a two day search by the RCMP, which used helicopters and 100 volunteers to scour the countryside near Eagle Mountain for traces of her.

Some rescuers finally heard faint cries for help and loud barking and tracked down Poitras and the dogs to an area described by the Mounties as “well outside the normal trail system”, according to The Surrey Now Leader.

The rescue team said she was “alive and in good condition” in an area off trail, in dense bush and swamp.

CBC reported Friday that two of the dogs visited her hospital bedside Friday.

Poitras is expected to be released from hospital later in the week. Marcel said that after his wife is released from hospital they are hoping things will get back to normal.

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Back to the BBC item or more specifically two more photographs included by the BBC in their report of the incident.

Chloe, Bubba and Roxy stayed with Annette Poitras for the two days. Courtesy COQUITLAM SAR HANDOUT

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Chloe, Roxy and Bubba being rescued from the bush. COURTESY NORTH SHORE RESCUE

In the words of Mr. Poitras, the husband of the rescued woman, “He says they are looking forward to “quiet, peace, walking dogs, visiting family” now the ordeal is over.”

Dear wonderful Chloe, Roxy and Bubba – life-savers all three of them!

Lucky Mr. & Mrs. Poitras.

What would we do without our dear dogs!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Two

Of dogs, and birds, and darlings!

More of Ingo and Friends 3 plus two pics from our anniversary dinner.

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And that last photograph seems so perfect a lead-in to my final two for today. Both taken at The Schoolhaus Brewhaus restaurant in Jacksonville, Oregon where we had our anniversary dinner on the 20th.

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A beautiful lady looking down on very beautiful wife!

Don’t try this at home!

All it takes is a moment’s inattention.

The reason I am posting this is simply because it might help someone else out there.

I go bike riding three times a week; weather permitting. Usually with a group from close by: Jim; Richie; Pam; Dordie; Ken.

Two days ago there was a break in the wet weather and Jim rang round seeing who was up for a ride. It turned out that four of us could go riding: Jim, Richie, Dordie and myself.

We decided to ride down Hugo Road, turn left onto the Merlin-Galice Road, follow that right to the end of Galice Road, very close to Junction 61 on Highway I-5, then turn left along Monument Drive, left again down past Grants Pass airport then back on to the Galice Road this time heading west back through Merlin to meet up with the foot of Hugo Road and then home.

All had gone very well for all four of us and it was a great ride and already we had some 14 miles under our belts.

Coming back into Merlin there is a railway track that crosses Galice Road. It has quite a wide shoulder to stop us cyclists having to mix it with the road traffic. But the tracks across that shoulder are not the smoothest of rides for a cyclist.

I did my best to cross the tracks square on but didn’t manage it. My front tyre slipped on the wet, metal rail and in that instant I lost my balance. Tried to recover but just a few yards later went down falling heavily on my left side and knocking myself out.

Luckily I was not riding on my own (Lesson Number One) and Jim and the others were quick to check me out. Jim said later that many drivers stopped including an off-duty medic who quickly summoned the ambulance.

But I was still out!

Dordie had the presence of mind to capture what was going on and it is her photographs that are in today’s post.

I continued being unconscious and later Jim said that I was out for eight minutes.

I was placed in a gurney with a neck brace because the medics were concerned that I might have damaged my neck.

Then carried across to the ambulance.

 I only properly regained consciousness when the ambulance was speeding its way to Three Rivers Hospital in nearby Grants Pass.

The attendant caring for me in the ambulance remarked how lucky I was to have been wearing a safety helmet, for had I not been: “We wouldn’t be taking you to the accident ward!”

Plus, I realised that the other stroke of fortune is that I was riding with a group of friends. Had I been riding alone, something I have been doing, I might not have been helped in such a prompt and timely way.

So that’s my lesson for today! If you ride a bicycle don’t go out alone and never, ever ride without a safety helmet!

Oh, nearly forgot! Lesson Number Two: Don’t ride across wet railway tracks – Get off and walk!

UPDATE 14:20 Friday, 24th

In view of the many helpful ideas and suggestions I thought it would be good to present the follow information.

When I was discharged from the Emergency Department at our local Three Rivers Medical Center, I was given 4 pages of guidance and information. Page 3 of those notes included:

WHEN SHOULD I SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE?

You should get help right away if:

  • You have confusion or drowsiness.
  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or have continued, forceful vomiting.
  • You have dizziness or unsteadiness that is getting worse.
  • You have severe, continued headaches not relieved by medicine. Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, fever, or discomfort as directed by your health care provider.
  • You do not have normal function of the arms or legs or are unable to walk.
  • You notice changes in the black spots in the center of the colored part of your enemy (pupil).
  • You have a clear or bloody fluid coming from your nose or ears.
  • You have a loss of vision.

Thought it might be useful including those.

Plus when I saw the pharmacist at our local RiteAid, he took a look at the wounds on my left knee and recommended a transparent dressing; namely a product called Tegaderm. It is a product made by 3M and more details may be read about it here.

Thanks everyone for you caring responses!

Thanks for our dogs!

And all our other loved animals!

Saw the following on the Mother Nature Network site and knew today was the day to share it with you.

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Which Thanksgiving foods are safe for pets?

You know dogs and cats will be eyeing that holiday table.

MARY JO DILONARDO November 20, 2017

It can be hard to resist those sad, pleading faces. (Photo: Chendongshan/Shutterstock)

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful, of course, but it’s also about food — lots and lots of food. Your kitchen and dining room table will be overflowing with all sorts of tasty offerings, as tempting smells fill the air from early morning until late at night.

While entertaining your guests and seeing to your culinary responsibilities, don’t forget to keep a watchful eye on your pets. It will be hard for them to resist the food from your feast, but some items can cause problems for our furry friends.

Here are some Thanksgiving foods that are hazards and others that are OK in moderation.

1. Turkey: Unless you’re serving a vegetarian meal, the centerpiece of the holiday meal is a turkey, and how could you let your four-legged buddy miss out? Just do so in moderation and watch what you serve, cautions the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If you offer your pet a small bite, make sure that it’s well-cooked and has no bones. Raw or undercooked turkey can contain salmonella bacteria, which can make your pet sick. Never give your pet turkey bones.

2. Stuffing: Stuffing can be packed with ingredients like onions, garlic, raisins and grapes that can make your dog or cat sick. Anything with onions, garlic, chives, leeks or scallions should be off-limits to your pet. Onions and garlic can damage red blood cells and cause gastroenteritis. Cats and certain breeds of dogs (like the Akita and Shiba Inu) appear to be more sensitive, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.

3. Mashed potatoes: If you get to the potatoes before they’re smothered in butter, milk and salt, you’re in luck. It’s OK to offer your pet a small dollop of plain cooked spuds.

Turkey and plain sweet potatoes are OK for your dog, but only in small portions (and be sure to remove the bones from the turkey!) (Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock)

4. Sweet potatoes: These orange tubers are a healthy alternative to white potatoes, as long as you get them to your pet before they’re smothered in marshmallows, butter or brown sugar. A small, plain cooked bite is OK.

5. Gravy: Skip this rich addition to your pet’s meal. If you want to liven up a doggy or kitty dinner, add a dash of low-sodium chicken broth instead.

6. Green beans: These tasty green veggies are a healthy treat year-round. They’re full of vitamins and low in calories. Just be sure to avoid any extra toppings like melted butter, garlic or fried onions.

7. Carrots: These veggies are good for your pet, served cooked or raw. They’re high in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. Plus crunching on raw carrots can be good for a dog’s teeth. Just make sure you don’t feed them to your pet if the carrots are swimming in a sugary glaze.

8. Cranberry sauce: Check what’s in your classic holiday concoction. Some recipes are high in sugar or have alcohol, neither of which is good for pets. Other recipes include grapes, raisins or currants, points out the American Kennel Club, which are toxic to animals. Feeding a small bite of plain cranberry sauce is probably OK, but your pet may not even like it. Some critters turn up their nose at the tart taste.

9. Pumpkin pie: Most pet owners know plain, canned pumpkin is a good thing to help with irregular digestion, but that doesn’t mean pumpkin pie has the same benefits. This tasty holiday mainstay has lots of sugar and spices that aren’t necessary or beneficial for your pet. Plus, the whipped cream or topping may be too rich for dogs and hard to digest for lactose-intolerant cats, says Vetstreet. If you want your BFF to get a taste of the season, offer a scoop of plain, canned pumpkin instead.

When there’s so much going on in the kitchen, counter surfers can have a field day. (Photo: Kachalkina Veronika/Shutterstock)

Some tips:

Watch where you put things. You probably have a lot more going on in the kitchen than usual. Don’t leave garbage bags unattended or food within reach, tempting counter surfers.

Beware of bread dough. If you’re making homemade bread, keep it out of your pet’s reach. When a dog or cat eats raw yeast bread dough, the unbaked dough expands in a warm, moist stomach, as the sugars are converted to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The result is bloat and alcohol poisoning, which can be a life-threatening emergency.

Keep an eye on alcohol. Don’t leave out cups of spiked beverages for your pet to lap up, but also remember that there’s alcohol in some other items like fruitcake. Just a small amount of alcohol (by human standards) can be toxic for pets.

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

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Well done, Mary Jo, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all you dear readers.

Our beautiful planet.

It is the only lovely planet that we all have.

That ‘we’ being all the animals, plants, insects and humans there are.

I’m not saying anything new and not making this plea for the first time in this place.

But just take a few minutes out of your busy day to reflect that for you, for me, for everyone wherever they are in the world, physically and culturally, doing nothing is not an option.

More of that in a minute.

First I want to share with you a few autumnal photographs of our home here in Oregon.

Below was taken at 9am on October 24th showing the  mountain mist right down to the tops of our trees that mark the edge of our driveway from the house to our Hugo Road entrance.

Next, a sunrise photograph with the camera pointing to the East. The tree line follows the ridge of some hills the other side of Hugo Road. The picture taken on the 19th October at 07:20.
Now a close-up of the remains of a very old tree trunk with the trees that border Bummer Creek, that runs through our land, just showing through the morning mist. Taken on the 24th October at 09:05.

Final photograph I wanted to share with you is this beautiful sight of the moon taken from our property at 16:05 on the 25th. October.

Regular readers will know that Jean and I are not believers in any religion; we are atheists. But to my way of thinking that puts even more pressure on me and Jean to try to make a difference. We do all that we can but there’s no doubt that we can do more.

Yesterday, I referred to Bill Ripple, or to give him his full signature: William J. Ripple, Distinguished Professor of Ecology, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

I sent Bill an email:

Dear Bill (and forgive the over familiarity if that offends),
I am a Brit, just turned 73, living with my beautiful wife, Jean, London-born as I was, down in Merlin, Oregon.

We live on 13 wonderful acres of rural property with 6 dogs (down from 12 when we moved here 5 years ago) and 4 horses, the majority of whom are ex-rescues.

I am the author of the blog Learning from Dogs and want to publish a post highlighting that viewpoint article. Because I believe with every neuron left in my ageing brain that the political changes that this world so urgently needs can only come when 99.9% of the public are screaming out “enough is enough”!

But there’s another saying that comes to mind, the one about being the change you want to see or something like that.

Is there information anywhere online that spells out, almost in words of one syllable, what lifestyle changes each of us can and need to commit to today? Changes that are as appropriate for elderly authors living in the country as young people seeking their first job or those up to their necks in working and raising families?

For that is what I want to publish on my blog!

If it would be easier for me to make an appointment to call you and take notes over the phone then I am just as happy to do that.

Sincerely,

Paul Handover
Hugo Road, Merlin,

Bill promptly replied:

Hi Paul, how long of a list of lifestyle changes do you want to make? Would three or four be enough? Bill

then followed that up with another email:

Paul, Consider suggesting that if people want to help, they could have fewer children, reduce energy consumption such as driving autos and flying, avoid meat and eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid wasting food. Below are quotes from our paper. Bill

“It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources ….

… reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure; promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods

Now watch this video

I will close this post by listing out all the things that you and I can do now!

  • Set a target for reducing your car mileage next year compared to 2017,
  • If you are a regular aircraft passenger, then set a target for flying fewer hours in 2018 compared to 2017,
  • reduce or stop eating meat,
  • do not waste food,
  • reduce the use of heating and cooling in your home/s for next year,
  • commit to a dietary change away from meats and processed foods to a plant-based diet.

Then for younger couples who want a family around them, limit the number of children to a “replacement level” at most. Adopt??

A plea for this planet!

I feel compelled to ‘bang the drum’!

The recent news that many scientists have signed an open letter warning about how soon it will be too late to “save Earth” has been widely broadcast; not that this stops me from republishing the version of the news story that I read on the EarthSky blog site.

Here it is.

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Scientists warn: Soon it will be too late to save Earth

By Eleanor Imster in EARTH | HUMAN WORLD | November 16, 2017
More than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries have signed a letter urging the world to address major environmental concerns. “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

A letter to all of us, signed by more than 15,000 scientists (and counting) in 184 countries, warns that human well-being will be severely jeopardized by continuing trends in environmental harm, including our changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth.

Entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, it was published in the international journal Bioscience on November 13, 2017.

In 1992, more than 1,700 scientists signed a World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. But global trends have worsened since 1992, the authors wrote in the new letter. In the last 25 years, trends in nine environmental issues suggest that humanity is continuing to risk its future.

Read the letter here.

The scientists wrote:

Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

The letter also says …

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.

The article was written by an international team led by William Ripple of Oregon State University led the international team of scientists who created the letter. Ripple said in a statement:

Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist. Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path. We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.

Progress in some areas — such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources — shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote. There has been a rapid decline in fertility rates in some regions, which can be attributed to investments in education for women, they added. The rate of deforestation in some regions has also slowed.

The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions. Such activities could include establishing more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of anti-poaching laws and restraints on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and educational programs for women, promoting a dietary shift toward plant-based foods and massively adopting renewable energy and other “green” technologies.

Scientists who did not sign the warning prior to publication can endorse the published warning here.

Bottom line: A letter entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, urging the world to address major environmental concerns. was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.

Read more from Oregon State University

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As is the way with this modern inter-connected world it was but a moment to track down said William Ripple, find his email address and ask him what he recommended as the top things that you and I should be doing now.

Not just for you and me but for all the animals as well on this very beautiful planet.

Bill’s reply is part of tomorrow’ post. See you then!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-One

More from Tanja Brandt (but not entirely!)

As with last week first seen here.

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More from Tanja in a week’s time. (I presume you spotted the interloper!! Brandy having a love-in with Jean one evening a week ago just before the bedside lights were turned out.)

Memories, dear memories

A republication of a post from earlier times.

(I came across this when researching my posts for my second book.)

It was published on the 18th June, 2016.

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A Eulogy For Hazel

This dear, precious dog!

Back in March, 2014 when I was writing a series of posts about our dogs, I published a Meet the dogs – Hazel post. This eulogy consist mainly of what I wrote then, with a few minor changes to bring it up to date, and a closing thought.

Hazel

I first met Jean in Mexico; namely, in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to be precise. Just a few days before Christmas, 2007. At that time, Jean had 16 dogs, all of them rescues off the streets in and around San Carlos. Jean was well-known for rescuing Mexican feral dogs.

In September, 2008 I travelled out to Mexico, via London-Los Angeles, with my Pharaoh. Jean and I have been together ever since. In February, 2010, because we wanted to be married and to be married in the USA, we moved from San Carlos to Payson, in Arizona; some 80 miles North-East of Phoenix.

One morning, just a few days before we were due permanently to leave San Carlos and move our animals and belongings the 513 miles (827 km) to Payson, AZ, Jean went outside the front of the San Carlos house to find a very lost and disorientated black dog alone on the dusty street. The dog was a female who in the last few weeks had given birth to puppies that had been weaned. Obvious to Jean because the dog’s teats were still somewhat extended.

The dog had been abandoned outside in the street. A not uncommon happening because many of the local Mexicans knew of Jean’s rescues over many years and when they wanted to abandon a dog it was done outside Jean’s house. The poor people of San Carlos sometimes resorted to selling the puppies for a few Pesos and casting the mother dog adrift.

Of course the dog was taken in and we named her Hazel. Right from Day One Hazel was the most delightful, loving dog and quickly attached herself to me.

The truest of love between a man and a dog!
The truest of love between a man and a dog!

Of all the dogs that we have here at home, and, trust me, many are extremely loving, my relationship with Hazel was precious beyond description. She was in Pharaoh’s ‘group’ (Pharaoh, Cleo, Sweeny, Pedy and Brandy) so slept in our bedroom at night. Most nights Hazel was tucked up against me.

Plus frequently during the day Hazel would take an interest in what I was doing, as the next photograph illustrates.

Hazel taking an interest in my potterings.
Hazel taking an interest in my potterings; March 2014.

If ever one wanted an example of the unconditional love that a dog can offer a human, then Hazel was that example. Precious creature.

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Just stay with me for a little longer.

Recently there was a documentary on the BBC about Koko the gorilla and how many hand signs Koko had learnt. As Wikipedia explains (in part):

Hanabiko “Koko” (born July 4, 1971) is a female western lowland gorilla who is known for having learned a large number of hand signs from a modified version of American Sign Language (ASL).

Her caregiver, Francine “Penny” Patterson, reports that Koko is able to understand more than 1,000 signs of what Patterson calls “Gorilla Sign Language” (GSL). In contrast to other experiments attempting to teach sign language to non-human primates, Patterson simultaneously exposed Koko to spoken English from an early age. Reports state that Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English, in addition to the signs.

The reason why I mention this is at the end of the programme it is stated that Koko’s ability to communicate shows very clearly that she is capable of feelings and emotions. Indeed, the way that Koko hugs Penny is very moving.

The presenter of the BBC programme concludes how things have changed over all the years from the birth of Koko some 45 years ago to today. As in back in the ’70s’ the idea that animals had emotions was just not accepted whereas nowadays there is mounting evidence that many warm-blooded animals have emotions; are capable of emotional feelings.

Why do I mention this?

For there isn’t one shred of doubt in the minds of Jean and me that Hazel was full of feelings of love and affection towards her human friends.

That is the epitaph with which Hazel will be remembered! This is her legacy.

Picture of Hazel taken in the last twenty-four hours.
Picture of Hazel taken in March, 2014.

Eating for health

This time nothing to do with our dogs!

In a reply to Colette following my post of last week Caring for animals, I wrote:

Jean is on a diet that is predominantly fruit and vegetables as part of slowing down the progression of her Parkinson’s disease. The diet is essentially a no-dairy, no-grain, no-meat diet to eliminate the risk of any gut inflammation. She is advised by a professional nutritionist here in Grants Pass, OR. I follow along with Jean motivated to slow down my own cognitive decline.

Colette then responded to my reply with quite extensive details of her own diet. Her reply opening:

I have some food sensitivities that started my dietary changes a number of years ago. I found I was allergic to eggs after struggling with severe joint pain that doctors couldn’t explain. Then I began to find that a few other things were problematic including gluten, also prompting dietary change. The animal protein side came into sharper focus during a moment of epiphany at an elephant sanctuary and I started a vegetarian diet. However, I soon switched to a completely (almost except for some contamination in the odd thing now and again) vegan diet.

I am healthier, my cholesterol dropped from a total of 212 mg/dlto 135mg/dl and I have more stamina, fewer infections, colds and illness. (Nothing terrible to put me to bed since I became Vegan).

I do try to get a balance of a variety of fresh fruit and veg, protein and fats in my diet.

… that was then followed by her describing what a typical day looked like in terms of what she eat.

I offered to describe what Jean and I eat.

Fundamentally, Jean was advised to have a diet that reduced the chance of her having any gut inflammation but, if she did, a diet that would bring that inflammation to a close. All to do with Leaky Gut Syndrome and how the brain can be negatively affected.

So …

Breakfast

  • Two tablespoons of milled flax,
  • One tablespoon of hemp hearts,
  • A sprinkling of chia seed,
  • Prunes, banana, dried apricots, walnuts, berries when available,
  • Coconut milk or almond milk

Lunch

  • Mainly salad greens, raw vegetables, tomatoes, avocado, some canned herring,
  • Mixed fruits, as in oranges, apples,
  • ‘Naked Green’ smoothie

Dinner

  • Mixed vegetables,
  • Baked chicken breast,
  • Green salad with tomatoes and avocado,
  • Almonds or other nuts

Drinks during the day

  • Herb teas, ‘V8’ juice, green tea, ‘Naked Green’ smoothies, almond milk.

We are also taking a course of Juice-Plus tablets; a recommendation from our local nutritionist.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for today.

If there’s good interest in me sharing some of the many links to this whole area of diet, the gut and how it can affect the brain, then do sing out! (But I have no professional knowledge; will just report our findings!)

oooo

Wow! What an incredibly useful link thanks to Colette. I am referring to the NutritionFacts website.

Then how easy it was on that site to find a video specifically about diet and PD.

Jean and I are removing chicken and fish from our diet immediately; in other words going vegan.

THANK YOU!