Tag: Brandy

Surfacing to a new world!

Slowly returning to normal!

As many of you read, last Friday I was discharged from the PeaceHealth Sacred Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon and returned home around 4pm.

It was quite a week as these photos demonstrate. (The background to the event is here and here.)

How I looked still in ICU on Boxing Day. Photo taken by neighbour Dordie who came up with Jeannie to visit me!
General view of a very happy chap!
Photo taken on last Wednesday after I had been transferred to the Department of Neurology.


It is important that I take it very gently and that means, inevitably, that my blogging is going to be very ad-hoc. Possibly for a few weeks!

The next important step is returning to the hospital this coming Wednesday to have the staples removed and a further cognitive check.

But I shall be OK and thank you all for your interest and concern in my escapade!

All of the dogs, especially Brandy and Cleo, are watching over me! (Over and beyond being loved beyond measure by Jeannie!)

Brandy – as pure as it gets!
Cleo living, and sleeping, in the present moment.

A Very Happy New Year to you all!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-One

More from Tanja Brandt (but not entirely!)

As with last week first seen here.







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.)

Book Two!

November is book-writing month for me.

Thus, good people, I shall be distracted for much of the month because despite the fact that book number two is a non-fiction book, as was my first, I am still using National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as my motivational tool to achieve 50,000 words before the 1st December. Ergo, November’s focus is on writing an average of 1,666 words a day, not blogging.

Last time, with my book Learning from Dogs, I did share much of what I was writing each day both in 2014 and 2015. This time I will not.

However, I would like to share the draft Introduction to this second book that I wrote yesterday.



It was a beautiful late-October evening. Not a breath of wind stirred the branches of the tall pines that soared up into the night sky around our house. Even a half-moon high in that sky out to the South didn’t diminish the mystery and magic of the stars that seemed to go on forever. It never ceased to fascinate me how wonderful it was to lose one’s mind in a dark night sky and ponder on the fact that in that instant, in that moment of my life, I was seeing the light from a star that had been travelling for hundreds or thousands of years.

Thus it was this evening around 9:30pm when I had gone outside with all our dogs for their nightly leg-stretch before bedtime. Our six most beautiful dogs: Ruby; Cleo; Sweeny; Pedy; Oliver; and Brandy. There I was utterly oblivious to the sniffing and rustling in the piles of newly fallen Autumn leaves that were everywhere because so quickly once outside the house I had looked up above my head to that night sky and become lost.

But to be returned to this very sweet present moment when ever so gently I felt Brandy’s soft shoulder touch my lower left thigh and then lean into me in what was so characteristic of him.

I lent forward and placed the side of my face alongside Brandy’s warm, furry face and became as lost as I was in that starry sky. Now, however, it was as real and tangible a loss, if one could describe it as such, as that night sky above was as unreal and mysterious. For it was me being lost in the love that Brandy was sending me, in his breathing, in his posture, in his closeness to me, in his whole demeanour and in my own deep emotional loving reply to Brandy.

Then it clicked. A philosophical click that was as bright and clear as that fabulous half-moon.

This is how I would introduce my book. The book that I had committed to write in the month of November. The book that I was going to start writing the next day but hitherto hadn’t a clue as to how I was going to set the scene.

For my next book was an exploration into the relationships that dogs and humans form with each other.

Brandy’s story since he had been part of my life, and the life of my sweet, dear Jean, was a story of just how incredible, glorious and special the love between a human and a dog can be. How the weeks and months since that fateful day on the 9th April, 2016 when we first met Brandy had given me the inspiration to go as far as I could in describing and understanding what having a dog in one’s life truly meant.
Welcome to The Dog And I.


So hope all you good people will understand if my blogging activity is varied and replies to responses likewise a bit ‘up and down’. It is likely I will be re-posting quite frequently items that have previously been shown on Learning from Dogs.

Starting Out on The Meditation Journey

If meditation really works then we want to engage in it.

Those who watched the video that was the central component of yesterday’s post will not have missed the references by Ted Meissner that scientific, double-blind evidence shows that meditation offers benefits for us humans.

Both Jean and I are especially interested in learning more and, hopefully, finding an appropriate meditation group in our nearest town, Grants Pass.

We would also welcome feedback and advice from any of you good people who have trod this path before.

For example, when one conducts a quick internet search into the different forms of meditation there are dozens of websites that are returned in the search findings. Almost choosing one website at random, the Visual Meditation website declares there are 7 Types of Meditation.  As in:

  • Transcendental Meditation (TM)
  • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM)
  • Kundalini
  • Guided Visualization
  • Qi Gong
  • Zazen
  • Mindfulness

To my uneducated eye, not one of those types seems to accord with the type supported by the American Meditation Society:


  • To provide instruction in meditation as taught by the founder of AMS, Gururaj Ananda Yogi.
  • To preserve and share the universal teachings of Gururaj with integrity and wisdom.
  • To provide a place where those who wish to unfold the inner self may do so in the company of other like-minded people.

Back to the plot! For this post is about the science.

The following video seemed worthy of sharing with you.

I watched the first 10 minutes before deciding it should be shared. By the time this post is published Jean and I will have watched it to the end. [20:45 yesterday evening. Jean and I have just finished watching the Bob Roth video below. It was both fascinating and very helpful!!]

The Aspen Institute

Published on Jun 26, 2016

Published studies have documented the many physical and mental health benefits of meditation, including decreased pain, better immune function, less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control. Google Scholar turns up almost 700,000 research documents on meditation, among them imaging studies that show increased activity in brain regions associated with attention, a higher volume of grey matter, and lessened amygdala response to emotional stimuli. What actually happens in the brain when we meditate? Why is meditation so nourishing to the mind, body and spirit?

Perri Peltz, Interviewer
Bob Roth

But a search of the YouTube website using the search term “meditation science” brought up many other links to shorter videos.

I selected the following (2:23 mins) because it is presented by Ferris Jabr who is an Associate Editor with Scientific American magazine.

Bottom line to my way of thinking is that this is something worth committing to once we know much more about engaging in meditation.

Your experiences most welcomed.

(And, of course, when it comes to chilling out for hours regularly each day then there’s another thing we can learn from our beloved dogs! No better demonstrated than by Brandy yesterday morning in the following photograph!)

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Six

Forgive the indulgence today.

In last week’s Picture Parade it was mentioned that at some point I would share some of the sights of home.

Well today, all the photographs were taken here at home (that being Merlin, Southern Oregon). The motivation behind these photographs was learning the operation of a new camera that I recently treated myself with. That is turning out to be quite a task; the user manual is 510 pages long!

But in no particular order, here are a few pictures.

Brandy staying cool on the kitchen floor!


Looking out to the East from the deck adjoining the house.


Photo taken at 06:10 on the morning of the 25th July. That is Mount Sexton on the horizon and the view is towards the North-East, again taken from our deck. (I was playing with the exposure control on the camera.)


Looking from the end of the deck towards the South down to where our stables are. Photo taken at 06:20 on the 28th shortly after I had put out feed for the deer that come most mornings.


Taken at 06:10 on the 25th. This shows ‘Doris’ (the second) who has been sleeping under the trees overnight.


Zoomed in a little closer to Doris and she looked up at me exactly when I took the photograph!


Morning sky. Unusual to have cloudy skies at this time of the year. 06:20 on the 26th July.


Our beautiful, gorgeous stag. He has been a regular visitor for the last two years. Taken at 06:10 on the 25th.


Morning sky, with exposure adjustment, taken at 06:00 on the 25th July.

Can’t close without publicly thanking the wonderful photographic forum Ugly Hedgehog. With over 75,000 users it really is a superb place for all those interested in photography. The forum was invaluable in helping me decide what camera to purchase and, just as importantly, where to purchase it from.

Have a great week, everyone!

Yet another smile!

This “good news” theme is rather fun!

p1160817Overnight we had more snow, possibly something approaching 4 inches.

p1160820Now the challenge is seeing at what point we can drive out from the property to the main road. But leave that to worry about tomorrow.

It’s well-known that dogs love snow and are very curious about it. As Brandy is demonstrating below.

p1160822Plus the snowy conditions offer me a good introduction to an item recently published on the Care2 site.


Daily Cute: Rescued Pit Bulls Enjoy a Snow Day

These pit bull pals are overjoyed to play in the snow!

See you all tomorrow!

Can’t resist adding …

…. that when it’s wet and miserable …

p1160526and the dogs don’t want to go out to play …

p1160527… not even go out on the rear deck …

p1160520…. curling up on the settee keeping Dad company seems like the only sensible course of action!

(These photographs were taken just ten minutes ago, Brandy to my right and Cleo to my left – the rain gauge now reading 0.27 in at 11:00 PDT. With the 1 in mark being passed at 15:45 PDT!)

Do dogs hold grudges?

Mary Nielson provides the answer

Yesterday lunchtime was a very stressful period. Because I was speaking to various members of the family in England but especially to my sister, Eleanor, who had come over from South Africa to be with my mother, and to Rose, my cousin, who lives in Baldock, Hertfordshire, and is being so supportive.

In the middle of all of this Brandy came across to the low table where the remains of my lunchtime sandwich were still on my plate and started helping himself. I was striding around the room speaking to Eleanor and when I spotted Brandy eating my lunch I really showed my anger. I shouted “No!” and prodded him hard in the back. Brandy slunk off giving me a really foul look.

Fifteen minutes later Jean and I took the dogs outside for their regular ‘after-lunch’ leg-stretch and Brandy kept his distance from me. I went across to Brandy: “Oh, Brandy! I am so sorry for being cross with you  Please forgive me.” There was real remorse in my voice and, undoubtedly, showing on my face too.

Brandy came over to me and nestled his wonderful, beautiful head against my thighs and I curled down and rubbed his chest with my left hand. As simply and as quickly as it could ever be, Brandy had forgiven me.

A short while ago I was approached by a Mary Neilsen who asked me if I would like her to write a post for Learning from Dogs. I agreed and in hindsight I am so pleased I did.

Read her wonderful post and you will understand why!


Is Your Dog Holding a Grudge?

Your dog throws you that look – you know the one – and walks away. You’ve been snubbed! So what is causing this emotional outburst? Maybe your canine pal is holding a grudge.

What have I done now?” you might ask yourself. Depending on the circumstances, you may not be guilty of anything. You may just be misinterpreting that look – or yes, indeed, your furry friend may be paying you back for some grievance.

No pet owner is perfect. We all make mistakes. We accidentally step on our pet’s tail; take away a favorite toy; or abandon them to a night alone in the house. These are things that can set our dog to turn their backs on us to teach us a lesson – if only for a little while. But is it true? Do dogs really hold grudges?

The Experts Say No

If you live with guilt every time your furry friend gives you a sideways look, you are reading too much into it, say the experts. They don’t hold grudges and they don’t act in petty ways or seek revenge. [Ed: The dogs that is not the ‘experts’! Sorry; couldn’t resist!] Their emotional lives are not as complicated as humans. Dogs are more simple creatures. They live in the moment.

According to famed canine expert Cesar Millan, dogs don’t hold long-term grudges simply because they can’t. They don’t think that way. Sure, they may act miffed now, but will soon forget what’s bothering them and move past it.

People, on the other hand, tend to hold onto negative feelings and expressing that kind of anger or anxiety can make your dog react too. In other words, if you express prolonged feelings of guilt over slamming your dog’s paw in the screen door, he may react by steering clear. It is not the action that is causing him to distance himself from you for a while; it’s your reaction to the event. In other words, it is your angst causing him to act this way.

What We Can Learn From Our Dogs

There may be some who still believe dogs can (and do) hold grudges, while research shows this assumption incorrect. Even so, there is one thing most canine psychological experts agree on and it is that we can learn an important lesson from our canine counterparts: how to let go.

Humans have a really hard time letting go of our grievances. In a recent Gallop poll, more than two thirds of participants acknowledged the importance of forgiveness, yet less than half actually were able to forgive those who hurt them. That equals a lot of grudge holding going on.

While our dogs move past every infraction, humans tend to hold on, dwelling on our hurts and allowing them to rule our lives. This can cause relational issues; depression, or worse. But, when we take after our dogs and let go of those negative feelings we can experience such benefits as:

  • Happier Lives
  • Healthier relationships
  • Less anxiety and stress
  • Lower blood pressure & Heart rate
  • Stronger immune system

[Ed: read the Mayo Clinic article here about forgiveness that Mary referred to above.]

Take a look at your dog. He seems happy enough. Wouldn’t you like to be able to experience the kind of true joy and relaxation he does? The trick to that kind of contentment is learning how to let go of those grudges and live in the moment.

Yes, people are going to hurt us. That is simply life. But those hurts do not have to cause you chronic pain. Take a cue from your dog. Allow yourself to feel the pain in the moment, and then move on. You will discover that life is a lot more enjoyable that way.

About the Author

img-1102 Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger and part-time music teacher. She founded MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.


Please join with me in thanking Mary for such a delightful guest post and hoping that we will be reading more from her.

A Romantic Proposal in mind?

Just had to share this with you!

I sat down in front of my PC a little after 3pm. I was knackered, not to put too polite a spin on it! For the reason that since 9am this morning young Justin and I had been working outside repairing the front, road-side, boundary fence because our lovely Brandy had discovered a hole in it. Jean and I only becoming aware of that break in the fence when neighbouring residents, Dordie and Pam, on setting out for a bike ride yesterday, found Brandy waiting outside our front gate, which is a quarter-of-a-mile from our house. Brandy, as with all the other dogs that we have, is far too precious to delay mending the fence.

Jean and Brandy at our local yard sale last weekend.
Jean and Brandy at our local yard sale last weekend.

So, as I always do, when I can’t muster the creative juices is to see what’s sitting in my ‘blog’ mail folder.


The following recently was sent to me by neighbour Larry, his email simply saying, “Is this what they call “British Humor”??


(P.S. Best to watch a little after you have eaten!)

Follow that, as they say!

Hazel is pulling through!

The powerful combination of good medicine and unconditional love.

In the last post on Hazel’s condition, back last Thursday, I passed on Dr. Codd’s observation, “… that by not having Hazel on her meds we were, of course, letting the fungal infection continue its damage.”

Dr. Codd also recommended reducing the dosage of the Fluconazole to lower its side effect of suppressing appetite.

So since then, with outstanding care and patience, Jean has been coaxing Hazel to eat just sufficient food for Hazel to be able to take the Fluconazole, for her fungal infection in her lungs, and Doxycycline, for her tick infection. (Mind you, Hazel is still a long way from eating reliably.)

Yesterday, (Saturday) Hazel was showing clear signs of feeling better but still having to be hand-fed by Jean.

Then this morning (Sunday) she really was perky and readily came out for a walk with the other dogs.

First time in recent days when Hazel has shown an interest in the world around her.
First time in recent days when Hazel has shown an interest in the world around her.


A return of a gesture unique to Hazel that we haven't seen in ages! :-)
A return of a head gesture unique to Hazel that we haven’t seen in ages! 🙂

More generally, Dr. Jim was trying to track down supporting details to the observation made by Dr. Russ:

Namely, that there was evidence that fungal infections can lay dormat for quite long periods of time.

Jim sent me the following email:

Paul  …
The following article is the one and only reference I have found so far that refers to the possible dormancy of this fungal infection.  In paragraph 2 (Clinical Disease) I have highlighted it in red.  I have to admit, I was skeptical.

The article was:

Coccidioidomycosis (Zoonotic)
Last updated on 2/4/2011.


San Joaquin Valley Fever
Valley Fever

This is that domancy aspect from that paper that Jim highlighted (in red):

The incubation period in the dog is 1 to 3 weeks.1,2 The organism can remain dormant, with exposure preceding the onset of clinical signs by 3 years or more.1,3 Although people may acquire the disease from the same sources as domestic animals and the mycelial forms are highly infectious, with one exception the disease has not been transmitted from animals to people. One published report exists of transmission to a veterinary assistant via the bite of an infected cat.15

Meanwhile, over in Brandy’s corner, he has very quickly healed after his neutering operation last Thursday. It was fair to say that he was not a happy chappy when he arrived home that day.

Didn't like that!
Didn’t like that!


And I can't even lick my balls!
And I can’t even lick my balls!

But his cone was off by Saturday and he is back to the wonderful, bouncing dog we all love so much. (Can’t believe that last Saturday was only the second week that Brandy had been with us; he has so quickly woven his way into all our hearts.)

Checking out the stables yesterday (Sunday) morning.
Checking out the stables yesterday (Sunday) morning.


Behind that placid expression is the most docile, loving brain and heart one could ever wish for!
Behind that placid expression is the most docile, loving brain and heart one could ever wish for!

Returning to Hazel we are still some way from knowing that she has returned to a fully fit dog but the love and caring sent her way by all of you out there has been precious beyond imagination.

Thank You All!