Tag: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home

Sixth sense? Of course, say dogs!

 

Science is catching up with dogs!

Those of you who have come across Rupert Sheldrake and, in particular his book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home will really not be surprised at what is coming, in terms of the rest of this Post.  Because most dog owners know, from countless observations, that dogs have an uncanny ability to see the world around them in a more deeper and intuitive manner than we can explain.

I wrote of Sheldrake’s book on the 1st June including touching on a report of Mason, a small terrier mix …

On April 27th, Mason was hiding in his garage in North Smithfield when the storm picked him up and blew him away. His owners couldn’t find him and had about given up when they came back Monday to sift through the debris, and found Mason waiting for them on the porch.

A few evenings ago, we watched a documentary from the website Top Documentary Films from the series Through The Wormhole.  This particular documentary was entitled Is There a Sixth Sense? Here’s how that film was introduced,

Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are the tools most of us depend on to perceive the world. But some people say they also can perceive things that are outside the range of the conventional senses, through some other channel for which there is no anatomical or neurological explanation. Scientific researchers who study such abilities call them extrasensory perception (ESP), but lay people often refer to them as the sixth sense.

Either term really is a catch-all for a variety of different purported abilities that vary from person to person. Some people claim the power of telepathy – that is, the ability to perceive others’ thoughts, without having them communicated verbally or in writing. Others claim to have the power of clairvoyance, which is the ability to perceive events and objects that are hidden from view because of barriers or distance. Still others claim to be gifted with precognition, which enables them to look into the future and glimpse what hasn’t yet occurred.

The belief in ESP or the sixth sense dates back thousands of years. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Croesus, who ruled a kingdom in what is now Turkey in the sixth century B.C., consulted oracles – that is, groups of priests claimed to be able to predict the future — before he went to war. In ancient India, Hindu holy men were believed to possess the power to see and hear at a distance, and to communicate through telepathy.

In the late 1700s, the Viennese physician Franz Mesmer claimed that he could give people ESP powers by hypnotizing them. Just before his assassination in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln told friends that he’d dreamed of his own body lying in state in the White House. In the 20th century, Edgar Cayce and Jean Dixon attracted wide followings by claiming that they could foresee future events. During the Cold War, U.S. military and intelligence agencies, spurred by reports that the Soviets had psychics at their disposal, even tried to utilize clairvoyants who claimed remote-viewing powers for espionage purposes.

As well as watching it directly from the Top Documentary Films website, it is also available from YouTube.  Here are the four links.  It is a most fascinating review of the scientific findings in this area.  If you have a dog with you when you watch the videos, don’t be surprised if he or she fall asleep!  Nothing new for dogs in all this!

Present perfect!

Probably the best lesson dogs offer their human companions.

Having surfaced recently from being completely immersed in the writings of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (start here and work backwards if you missed my musings on Sheldrake) I used the recent flight across to London to start into the book by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson Dogs Never Lie About Love.

Masson's book

While I might disagree with some minor aspects of the way that dogs relate to humans, the essential premise of the book is very powerful.

Indeed, the very last sentence of Chapter 2, Why We Cherish Dogs reads as follows:

Questers of the truth, that’s who dogs are; seekers after the invisible scent of another’s authentic core.

For me, any attempt to seek our own ‘authentic core’ can only come from understanding the power of remaining in the present.  Dogs do this so naturally and instinctively.  As Masson writes a little earlier in the above chapter,

A dog does not tremble at the thought of his own mortality; I doubt if a dog ever thinks about a time when he will no longer be alive.  So when we are with a dog, we, too, enter a kind of timeless realm, where the future becomes irrelevant.

One could almost imagine this being the ancient wisdom of the teachings of Buddha!

Anyway, in a rather serendipitous manner, just before starting this essay, I read my weekly News and Notes from Terry Hershey.  This is what he wrote about being in the present.

Did you see Mr. Holland’s Opus? About Glenn Holland’s lifetime of teaching music to a high school band. In one scene he is giving a private lesson to Gertrude. She is playing clarinet, making noises that can only be described as other-worldly. He is clearly frustrated. As is she. Finally Mr. Holland says, “Let me ask you a question. When you look in the mirror what do you like best about yourself?”

“My hair,” says Gertrude.

“Why?”

“Well, my father always says that it reminds him of the sunset.”

After a pause, Mr. Holland says, “Okay.  Close your eyes this time. And play the sunset.”

And from her clarinet? Music. Sweet music.

Sometime today, I invite you to set aside the manual, or the list, or the prescription.

Take a Sabbath moment. . . close your eyes and play the sunset.

Mary Oliver describes such a moment this way, “. . .a seizure of happiness. Time seemed to vanish. Urgency vanished.”

Because, in such a moment, we are in, quite literally, a State of Grace.  In other words, what we experience here is not as a means to anything else.

If I am to focused on evaluating, I cannot bask in the moment.

If I am measuring and weighing, I cannot marvel at little miracles.

If I am anticipating a payoff, I cannot give thanks for simple pleasures.

If I am feeling guilty about not hearing or living the music, I cannot luxuriate in the wonders of the day.

Living in the present is not specifically mentioned but how else could one interpret these beautiful concepts.

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home

What an amazing book this is.

Amazing!

I have written about Dr Rupert Sheldrake a few times on Learning from Dogs for pretty obvious reasons!  You can do a search on the Blog under ‘sheldrake’ but here are a couple of links.  Serious Learning from Dogs on January 10th, 2011 and Time for a rethink on the 14th April, 2011.

Anyway, I am now well towards the end of Sheldrake’s revised book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and it is more than fascinating.  Bit short of time just now so please forgive me if I do no more than show this video which sets out some of the background to the book.  Sheldrake’s website is here, by the way.