Tag: Cleo

Spreading love and kindness

The huge gift we receive from therapy animals.

Our Brandy is a Pyrenean Mastiff!

I know there are times when giving Brandy a big hug feeds something very deep inside me. That unconditional affection Brandy shows me has a very strong healing sense.

I know that Jean shares my sense of being loved by Brandy, and by all our other dear dogs.

I am without doubt that hundreds of thousands of other people experience this.

Yet there must always be room for more therapy dogs which is why an item on Care2 just a few days ago is being shared with you today.

(P.S. When a photo of me hugging Brandy was sought his nibs did not comply!)

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Could Your Pet Become a Therapy Animal?

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If you have a pet who’s mellow and loves being around people, and the idea of helping your pet bring joy to others appeals to you, you might just have a therapy animal in the making.

Accompanied by their owners, therapeutic visitation animals – which are most commonly dogs, but can also be cats, rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, horses, etc. – regularly visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities, providing furry comfort and compassion.

“Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others,” says the website of  Therapy Dogs International (TDI), a nonprofit organization that regulates, tests and registers therapy dogs and their handlers. “It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.”

What It Takes to Be a Therapy Animal

Therapy animals are “born, not made,” according to TDI. They must have an outstanding temperament, and be outgoing and friendly to people of all ages. They must also behave well with other animals.

 In general, therapy animals must also be at least one year old; current on all vaccines required by local laws; and be clean and well groomed when visiting people.

As for dogs, along with the ability to obey basic commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “Come” and “Leave it,” they are tested by therapy dog certification organizations to ensure they can do the following, according to TDI (most of these requirements apply to other species of potential therapy animals as well):

  • Listen to their handlers
  • Allow strangers to touch them all over
  • Not jump on people when interacting
  • Not mind strange noises and smells
  • Be calm for petting
  • Not be afraid of people walking unsteadily

Getting Your Pet Certified as a Therapy Animal

Think your pet has the right stuff to be a therapy animal? To get an idea of the type of testing involved, this TDI brochure describes each of the 13 tests a dog must pass in order to be certified. The tests are similar for other animals.

Some therapy animal organizations, including Pet Partners, offer workshops so you and your pet can practice the required skills before being tested for certification.

The AKC website has a list of therapy animal organizations all across the U.S. from which your pet can receive certification. Contact the one nearest you for further information.

The Difference Between Therapy and Service Animals

Although the two are often confused, therapy animals are not the same as service animals, which “have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability,” according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind or assists someone who has a physical disability,” the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains. “Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as planes, restaurants, etc.”

Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are privately owned. Unlike service animals and their handlers, in most U.S. states, therapy animals and their owners don’t have protections under federal law (ADA, the Fair Housing Act, etc.), reports the National Service Animal Registry.

Additional Resources

You can find out more about therapy animals and getting your pet certified from these organizations:

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Closing this post with some photographs Jean took yesterday afternoon. Me with Pharaoh and Cleo.

(OK, they were staged for this post as the look on Cleo’s face rather suggests!)

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P1160419Have a very huggable weekend!

We are what we think of most!

A republication of a recent post from Val Boyko.

Yesterday, Val published a post over on her blog Find Your Middle Ground that really ‘spoke’ to me. That’s not to imply, by the way, that her other posts don’t very often reach out to me and, undoubtedly, to many others.

Val’s post was called The Depths of our Relationships and explored the different levels of relationships that we have with others in and around our lives.

Instinctively most people would regard us humans as far more complex than our animal companions. As the old Devon (South-West England) expression goes, “There’s now’t so queer as folk.”

Yet, once we have really got to know a dog there will be many who will see behind those fabulous eyes a sense of a depth of character, a soul comes to mind, that suggests that the brain of the dog offers a canine psychological complexity most of us don’t allow for.

To support that proposition just look at the eyes of Pharaoh in this photograph going back to June, 2007.

Pharaohjun2007However, today I am  republishing Val’s recent post and I do so with great pleasure.

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The Depths of our Relationships

Continuing the puppy theme.

A republication of an earlier post.

Puppies Are Demanding

Our new young puppy is consuming a great deal of attention and time!

As regular readers will know (and your readership is so much appreciated) last Tuesday I published the news that we had taken on a new puppy. He is settling in incredibly well but consuming heaps of attention; as well he should.

So rather than struggle to be creative with today’s post, I’m cheating by going back to the last time I wrote about a new arrival to our flock; namely puppy Cleo. If you will forgive me, I’m going to republish the post I wrote for puppy Cleo back on April 8th, 2012.

But before so doing, let me explain that our latest arrival has gone through a name change. The previous owners had named the young pup Smokey but we were not comfortable with that name; Jean especially so. So Smokey is now Ollie!

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The arrival of Cleo brings us back to eleven dogs.

Way back in 2003 when I became the proud ‘Dad’ of Pharaoh, my German Shepherd dog that you see on the home page of Learning from Dogs, Sandra Tucker who ran the GSD Breeders Jutone, where Pharaoh was born, gave me some advice. Sandra said that when Pharaoh was getting on in life, then bring in a German Shepherd puppy. Apparently, there were two solid reasons why this made sense. The first was that Pharaoh would teach the new puppy many of the skills and disciplines that Pharaoh had learnt as a young dog and, secondly, the puppy would keep Pharaoh active.

Now we know this to be true because years later when Pharaoh had his own mini pack here in Payson, we introduced a new ‘rescue’ puppy called Sweeny. Pharaoh took an instant like to him and became very tolerant to Sweeny’s ‘games’.

Hi! I’m Pharaoh, going to be my buddy? (February, 2011)

But as adorable as Sweeny is, Jean understood the deep reasons why I always wanted a German Shepherd in our lives. So when a chance encounter in Payson Feed Store between Jean and Brendon S. revealed that Brendon had a litter of German Shepherd puppies for sale, just a couple of miles outside Payson, the temptation was irresistible!

Thus a few days ago, Jean and I went round to Brendon’s home and spent a couple of hours mingling with the puppies and their GSD mother. They all looked excellent dogs and a review of their blood lines showed that their genetic background included German stock not too far back. It was difficult to select any one pup as they were all wonderful animals. But one youngster seemed to catch Jean’s eye.

Little bit of bonding going on!

Then the next test was to introduce Pharaoh to the puppies. That took place last Friday and it was wonderful to see how well he coped with the onslaught of puppies!

More puppies that one could shake a stick at!

In the end, we ran out of reasons not to follow Sandra’s advice from all those years ago and we agreed terms on a young female GSD that, inevitably, was christened Cleopatra (Cleo) by Jean!

Cleo meet your new Mum!

Then yesterday, Saturday, we went back round to collect young Cleo, meeting Brendan’s wife Ebony in the process. The following photographs record some of the key moments.

Homeward bound to a new life!
Next step is to meet the gang!
Welcome, young lady. I’m the boss around here!
It’s my pool but you can use it!
Hey Sweeny, fancy having one’s own woods to play in!
She’ll do! Nice addition to my family!

So there we are. Back up to eleven dogs, five chickens, six cats, and a fish!

Finally, a big thanks to Sandra of Jutone for her guidance in the last few days.

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Back to the present to leave you with a picture of puppy Ollie happily playing with Cleo and Hazel. More pictures of Ollie on Sunday.

L-R Ollie, Cleo and Hazel.
L-R Ollie, Cleo and Hazel.

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How the years slip by.

Standing for our puppies

Protecting the health of our puppies.

Making sure this is as widely known as possible.

With kind thanks to Dog Leader Mysteries for permission to republish in full.

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Puppy Nylabone Bone Recall

Puppies need to chew so give them something safe.
Puppies need to chew so give them something safe.

Keep your dog healthy

Please buy your dog food and your dog products from a local pet store or a farm supply. Ask if the business owners or managers subscribe to daily updates on potentially harmful foods, treats and supplements. Ask if they track all lists of recalled pet products everyday they are open.

Use a trustworthy pet food store

A caring and knowledgeable store will pull all recall items each morning then ship them back to the sellers before the pet shop opens their doors to the public. They don’t want your dog getting sick from anything they sell. Naturally, they want to keep your business and have you refer friends and others to shop with them.

The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly valuable in many ways to dog lovers. Be picky when it comes to buying and giving products to your dog for eating or chewing.

We shop at Western Farm because they assure us that they check all product recalls and pull them off the shelf to be returned to each company that produced any and all pet product recalls.

Recalled Nylabone puppy chews 2015.
Recalled Nylabone puppy chews 2015.

Salmonella tainted Neptune, NJ Nylabones

“April 22, 2015 — Nylabone Products of Neptune, NJ is recalling one lot of its Puppy Starter Kit dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.” The Dog Food Advisor

“The recalled Puppy Starter Kit consists of one lot of dog chews that were distributed nationwide, to Canada and through one domestic online mail order facility. The recalled product comes in a 1.69 ounce package marked with Lot #21935 and UPC 0-18214-81291-3 and with an expiration date of 3/22/18.”

A few responses on Dog Food Advisor

“Be so careful with chew bones, especially if your dog’s a fast eater. I lost a wonderful friend due to a blocked intestine. It was a large chunk of a “digestible” chew bone.”

“I just bought these for my puppy not too long ago. And he chewed up the dark bone and ate it! Next thing I know… He was throwing up for the next 24 hrs – 7 times! Took him to vet and they diagnosed him with an intestinal infection….. Wonder if it was because of the nylabone!”

“Same with my dog! Vomiting and peeing blood! He has a urinary tract infection they said. Same symptoms of salmonella. Call nylabone!! They should foot your vet bills!”

Read more on the Dog Food Advisor

Action, return & complaint

“Consumers who have purchased the affected product should discontinue use of the chews and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Those with questions may contact the company at 877-273-7527, Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm Central time. After hours and weekend calls are covered by a third-party poison control center.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area. Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.” The Dog Food Advisor

“Consumers who have purchased 1.69 oz. packages of the Puppy Starter Kit from affected Lot 21935, UPC 0-18214-81291-3, Expiration date of 3/22/18, should discontinue use of the product and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-273-7527, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central time (after hours/weekends covered by third-party poison control center).” FDA.gov “Safety Recall

Visit The Dog Food Advisor

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s recall notification list now. [Jean and I have done this!]

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Great alert to all dog owners and I am certain that Deborah, over at Dog Leader Mysteries, would have no problem in this being shared and circulated as far and wide as possible.

Only one way to close!

With a picture of a puppy!

Picture taken of puppy Cleo on the 13th April, 2012 when she was then aged 11 weeks.
Picture taken of puppy Cleo on the 13th April, 2012 when she was then aged 11 weeks.

Picture parade ninety

A few more views of home.

Two weeks ago, I presented some photographs of a pair of Canada Geese who had decided our home was their home. I promised to update you.

So here are two photographs taken last Tuesday.

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Plus some of our horses grazing on a misty morning last week.

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Finally, two more of my son’s photographs from his stay with us nearly a month ago.

Pharaoh revealing a face of aged wisdom.
Pharaoh revealing a face of aged wisdom.

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In contrast, your Cleo displaying a nose for a comfortable seating place!
In contrast, young Cleo displaying a nose for a comfortable seating place!

You all have a good week.

Picture parade eighty-nine.

Some family memories.

I can’t believe that it is four weeks tomorrow since Alex, my son, left us to return to England.  I wanted to share some photographs with you.

Bummer Creek that runs across our property is reputed to hold gold.
Bummer Creek that runs across our property is reputed to hold gold.

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None found - but not for the lack of trying.
None found – but not for the lack of trying.

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Pharaoh, instinctively, thought that a dog's nose would raise the odds of a find.
Pharaoh, instinctively, thought that a dog’s nose would raise the odds of a find.

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Alex, I think I see the glint of something!
Alex, I think I see the glint of something!

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Gold! Did someone mention GOLD!
Gold! Did someone mention GOLD!

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OK! Oliver's got involved. I'll just stand here and watch the goings-on!
OK! Oliver’s got involved. I’ll just stand here and watch the goings-on!

Let me bring today’s picture parade to a close by including three fabulous photographs taken by Alex.

Little Sweeny.
Little Sweeny.

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Very sultry picture of Cleo.
Very sultry picture of Cleo.

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Gorgeous Sweeny!
Gorgeous Sweeny!

Trust all of you dear readers will forgive the personal indulgence!

Quietening one’s self down.

Not without a touch of serendipity.

I’m speaking of meditation.

That is all I seem to do when I approach the subject: speak and think about it but never do it!

However, I think I may be approaching a turning point. All thanks to a follower of Patrice Ayme’s blog.  It was a comment from ‘R.’ in response to my question on this PA post.  Here’s how the comments flowed (hope this isn’t too long-winded but I wanted to select all that seemed appropriate to the post):

R:

I run 5d/wk, and I notice my thinking/contemplation is “heightened” during cardio. I believe this is no different than the “high” you get when taking some drugs (mushroom, weed, etc).

Physical exercise also helps keep my rest of the day sharp. But this is just keeping the engine (physical body) fit, thus helps thinking straight. Nothing more.

Meditation/awareness is the main key. And you need some way to be in it 24/7, not just during (or little while after) exercise . And “calm and collected” is the way for it. You can sustain this through out the day, and even during sleep/dream states (according to advanced meditators). “Calm” not as in “looking at navel”; calm as in “focused, in control, zen-like”. This involves moral conditioning too, as it’s hard to be calm if you have any shred of fear. And the way to lose fear, is through ideal morals (aka dharma, natural law).

There are higher meditative states (permanent, sustained), humans can get into. Temporary highs are just that.

—-

Patrice:

R: To be answered mostly in a separate comment. Meditative states are numerous. They are even necessary to some physical activities. It can be called concentration in some cases. Deep diving in apnea is an example. There is a case when meditation is life saving. Miss the meditation, miss the resuscitation.paul, like any new habit, meditation takes time to cultivate. It is after all a life long endeavor of “understanding one’s self”. It is easier if we dont view it as some new task (or half-hour daily exercise in navel-gazing).

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Me:

Having re-read the essay and others’ comments, causes me to speak a little about my own short-term memory failings. I’m 70 later this year and in the last, oh I don’t know ( can’t remember 😉 ), 2 or 3 years, my ‘event’ memory has declined dreadfully. But it’s not uniform. Even after 2 years, I still struggle to find certain shops in nearby Grants Pass but do recall clearly when our bridge washed out after we moved into the house in October, 2012.

There is no discernible pattern, and other men of my general age frequently suffer the same way.

If there were mental exercises that helped stem this problem, I would love to know more; assuming I could remember the details!

—-

R:

If i may, try meditation. A simple meditation exercise is just to be aware of yourself in all activities you do (initially we find ourselves lost often, but if you keep at it, soon % of being with yourself greatly exceeds losing self. calm, control and clarity is developed.). A good barometer/progress is to see if the daily activities drive you, or you drive the daily activities.

Of course physical exercises/fitness are absolute minimum. For old-age i would recommend yoga (fancy word for stretching and proper breathing)

Meditation while doing yoga with proper breathing (pranayama) gives out of this world results (this whole process is collectively called “yoga”).

And you can “be in it” 24/7 (as yoga includes sitting, sleeping poses too; It just an art of proper physical + mental positioning through out the day).

If eastern keywords are disturbing, ignore those. Just like everything else, the more you do something, the more you become that. This is particularly (exponentially) true for mind stuff.

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Patrice:

R: Paul is obviously a very reflective person. I do not exactly know what would be the distinctive definition(s?) between reflective and meditative states. I do know, though, that some sports (solo climbing and apnea) require total neurological control.

R:

Reflection/contemplation/meditation all of these help in mind (habits, inertia, anything thats limiting/holds-back) transformation.

Meditation is reflection on self. Reflection on daily activities takes time away from reflection on self. Increasing self awareness makes apparent all blind spots (wisdom).

If you are a physically able, healthy human, almost all your problems (aka “suffering”) are mind related. Physical body (including physical brain) just needs basic (of course healthy) sustenance.

Me:

R, yes I concur entirely about the majority of ‘problems’ being mind related. I have on my bookshelf next to me Roy Masters’ book ‘How Your Mind Can Keep You Well – An Introduction to Stress Management.

But if there’s one thing I would like to crack is starting and maintaining a programme of meditation. So many have recommended this approach and, rationally and emotionally, I know it will offer benefits. However, for some reason I can’t translate that ambition into actually starting.

Would love to listen to your advice about how to get started. You don’t have a blog do you? If not, fancy writing a guest post for Learning from Dogs! 😉 Contact details on the home page.

(Sorry Patrice – didn’t mean to hog the channel!)

Patrice:

Hog all you want, Paul. Even when I disagree with you, I find you interesting. Meditation and memory are vast questions. I pointed out that too much memory could be bad,  basically. The first thing to get good memory, is to stop stressing about it, and thinking about what we really care about, without getting drawn to, and drowned, in formalism.
PA

R:

Paul, If you are just looking for basic stress relieving meditation, this one looks good.

‘R’ then very kindly sent me the following:

To permanently establish this habit, first our mind needs to be convinced of the benefits.

Like any hobby, we need to develop an interest in the topic. And this means reading up on theory, on what is mediation, why do we need it, what happens if we pretend it doesn’t exist.

There are different styles of meditation, and different end goals, different schools of thought.

Self-inquiry is my preferred approach, as it’s the only thing you can rely on (your own self). There is a lot of literature on this. But all of this is just food for thought, nothing more.

There is also vast Buddhist literature: you can ignore all the theology and just focus on basics. Theory becomes a burden , so all conceptual knowledge has to be discarded. So I don’t advocate any philosophy or sect or schools of thought: Only believe in your realisations.

The end-goal of all this is full wisdom; reality as-is; liberation (end of suffering); control of one’s self; “the world is truly yours”; you are capable of handling anything; you can exercise “real free-will”; you are at ease being you; your knowledge will be flaw-less; and, finally, you will naturally empathise with others (as you will be aware what others are going through).

This is not some mumbo-jumbo, you will realize and experience it for your self.

This is about wisdom as in practical common-sense.

I am totally convinced by those heartfelt words. I’m sure there are others who, like me, have talked about meditation but done no more, hence me sharing this with you.

Anything to learn from dogs?

Are you kidding!

Cleo deep in meditation.
Cleo deep in meditation.

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Pharaoh demonstrating the art of contemplation.
Pharaoh demonstrating the art of contemplation.

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Cleo, deep in meditation.
Young Oliver, learning new ways in meditation.

My case rests!

Picking a bone with Cleo!

A cautionary tale for all dog owners.

Among our group of nine dogs we have two German Shepherds.  Dear old fellow Pharaoh and his much younger female playmate Cleo.

First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.
First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.

Cleo was born in January, 2012 and came to us in early April that same year.  From the start, Cleo has been a warm, loving and friendly dog.

For a long time, Jean has treated our dogs by giving them sawn sections, about 3/4 in thick, of beef leg bones.  They love gnawing on the bone and the marrow at the centre is very good for dogs.

Thus it was on Saturday that all the dogs were enjoying their treat.

I was working outside the house and Jean and the dogs were inside.

All of a sudden Jean was calling to me, clearly stressed out, to come into the house straightaway.

I went in and found that Cleo had jammed her lower jaw through her piece of bone and that it was stuck hard behind her lower canines. Jean and I led Cleo outside so she was clear of all the other dogs.

We quickly discovered that once Cleo’s jaw was trapped in the bone, it had started rubbing against her gums, quickly creating a painful area.  This made it very difficult to hold Cleo still, prise her jaw apart to try and gently remove the offending bone.  The more we tried, the more agitated became Cleo.

In the end, I went inside the house to telephone a close neighbour who is also a veterinary doctor at the clinic in town where we take our dogs.  Jim G. dropped everything and promised to be over in a few minutes.

As it happened, when I returned outside Jean had managed, somehow, to remove the trapped bone. I called Jim back immediately but he was already at our front gate and suggested he just take a quick look at Cleo

Here is the piece of bone after it was removed from Cleo’s jaw.

Smaller hole is about 1 & 5/8 in (4 cms) diameter.

Innocent mistake but, nevertheless, seemed like one that should be promulgated in this place just to make other dog owners aware of this tiny risk.

Cleo cautiously eying both me and the bone.
Cleo cautiously eying both me and the bone.

So you all take care out there!

And thank you Jim for being so responsive on what was your week-end afternoon at home.

Puppies are demanding!

Our new young puppy is consuming a great deal of attention and time!

As regular readers will know (and your readership is so much appreciated) last Tuesday I published the news that we had taken on a new puppy. He is settling in incredibly well but consuming heaps of attention; as well he should.

So rather than struggle to be creative with today’s post, I’m cheating by going back to the last time I wrote about a new arrival to our flock; namely puppy Cleo. If you will forgive me, I’m going to republish the post I wrote for puppy Cleo back on April 8th, 2012.

But before so doing, let me explain that our latest arrival has gone through a name change.  The previous owners had named the young pup Smokey but we were not comfortable with that name; Jean especially so.  So Smokey is now Ollie!

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The arrival of Cleo brings us back to eleven dogs.

Way back in 2003 when I became the proud ‘Dad’ of Pharaoh, my German Shepherd dog that you see on the home page of Learning from Dogs, Sandra Tucker who ran the GSD Breeders Jutone, where Pharaoh was born, gave me some advice.  Sandra said that when Pharaoh was getting on in life, then bring in a German Shepherd puppy.  Apparently, there were two solid reasons why this made sense.  The first was that Pharaoh would teach the new puppy many of the skills and disciplines that Pharaoh had learnt as a young dog and, secondly, the puppy would keep Pharaoh active.

Now we know this to be true because years later when Pharaoh had his own mini pack here in Payson, we introduced a new ‘rescue’ puppy called Sweeny.  Pharaoh took an instant like to him and became very tolerant to Sweeny’s ‘games’.

Hi! I’m Pharaoh, going to be my buddy? (February, 2011)

But as adorable as Sweeny is, Jean understood the deep reasons why I always wanted a German Shepherd in our lives.  So when a chance encounter in Payson Feed Store between Jean and Brendon S. revealed that Brendon had a litter of German Shepherd puppies for sale, just a couple of miles outside Payson, the temptation was irresistible!

Thus a few days ago, Jean and I went round to Brendon’s home and spent a couple of hours mingling with the puppies and their GSD mother.  They all looked excellent dogs and a review of their blood lines showed that their genetic background included German stock not too far back.  It was difficult to select any one pup as they were all wonderful animals.  But one youngster seemed to catch Jean’s eye.

Little bit of bonding going on!

Then the next test was to introduce Pharaoh to the puppies.  That took place last Friday and it was wonderful to see how well he coped with the onslaught of puppies!

More puppies that one could shake a stick at!

In the end, we ran out of reasons not to follow Sandra’s advice from all those years ago and we agreed terms on a young female GSD that, inevitably, was christened Cleopatra (Cleo) by Jean!

Cleo meet your new Mum!

Then yesterday, Saturday, we went back round to collect young Cleo, meeting Brendan’s wife Ebony in the process.  The following photographs record some of the key moments.

Homeward bound to a new life!
Next step is to meet the gang!
Welcome, young lady. I’m the boss around here!
It’s my pool but you can use it!
Hey Sweeny, fancy having one’s own woods to play in!
She’ll do! Nice addition to my family!

So there we are.  Back up to eleven dogs, five chickens, six cats, and a fish!

Finally, a big thanks to Sandra of Jutone for her guidance in the last few days.

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Back to the present to leave you with a picture of puppy Ollie happily playing with Cleo and Hazel.  More pictures of Ollie on Sunday.

L-R Ollie, Cleo and Hazel.
L-R Ollie, Cleo and Hazel.