Tag: Ecuador

Loyalty with a capital ‘L’.

This is almost too beautiful for words.

Recently Jean was sent a link to an item on Mother Nature Network by Trish, a close friend living down in Tucson, AZ. It shows the strength of character of one particular dog but easily serves as a reminder of the power of love, commitment, endurance and loyalty that thousands of dogs exhibit so many times. Qualities that we humans may so easily overlook because our dogs fit so comfortably into the relationship with us.

The article, on Mother Nature Network, was originally published in 2014 and, as the Editor explains:

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in November 2014.

The article is also presented with the enclosed video at the end of the text. But when Jean and I watched the video last night we were so taken by it that I am making an ‘executive’ decision to present the article slightly differently.

In that I think that watching this beautiful, incredible, video first is better.

Now on to the full article that was published on Mother Nature Network.


Stray dog follows adventure race team for 430 miles

The harrowing story of how the dog finished the race with his adopted companions will melt your heart

Bryan Nelson    March 6, 2017

A stray dog named Arthur made an amazing trek with his new companions. (Photo: TrendingVideos/YouTube)

The Adventure Racing World Series might be the most fraught and challenging sports event in the world. It usually involves teams of four navigating through a vast wilderness terrain while utilizing adventure skills from a range of disciplines including trekking, adventure running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing.

During the 2014 competition, for the first time ever, an exception was made so that one team could finish the race with five members instead of four. That fifth member? A stray dog, named Arthur by his adopted companions, who decided to follow one team for 430 harrowing miles through the Amazon jungle, according to the Daily Mail. If this story doesn’t warm your heart, you don’t have one.

Team Peak Performance, hailing from Sweden, happened upon Arthur while sharing a meal in advance of a 20-mile race stage through rough terrain in Ecuador. Mikael Lindnord, one of the team’s members, felt sorry for the scruffy, lonely stray, and decided to share a meatball with him. It was an innocent gesture — Lindnord had no intention but to lift the poor pooch’s spirits — but it was a gesture that would earn him a friend for life.

As the team got up to continue their race, Arthur tagged along. The team suspected he would eventually turn back around, but Arthur kept following them. He trailed them through muddy jungle, across vast distances of the Amazon river, all the way to the finish line.

The sport of adventure racing is not for the faint of heart — no more for dogs than for humans. During the most harrowing stages of the race, the team tried to shrug off their canine companion over concerns for his safety, but Arthur would have none of it. He was determined to stick with his adopted companions.

For instance, one crucial stage of the race requires the team to kayak along the coast for 36 miles. Understandably, the team was required to leave Arthur behind on the shore. But as they paddled away, Arthur broke free and leaped into the water and began swimming after the team. Realizing that the dog was willing to drown in order to stay with his friends, the team lifted Arthur onto the kayak so the dog could complete the race with them, to sounds of ovation from bystanders watching from the shore.

Arthur’s loyalty paid off in the end; Lindnord was able to adopt him and bring him back to his home in Sweden, where the dog is currently living, healthy and happy.

“I almost cried in front of the computer, when receiving the decision from Jordbruksverket (Board of Agriculture) in Sweden!” reported Lindnord when he first heard that his request to adopt Arthur was granted. “I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend.”


Loyalty with a capital “L”.

Love with a capital “L”.

This picture of Arthur speaks for itself.


All and every thing is connected on Planet Earth.

I must share the feelings of millions of others across the world when I admit to going through periods of quiet despair about where ‘modern man’ has got himself. (I don’t intend to be gender specific!)

It goes way beyond the disbelief at some of the things happening today; way beyond the anger that is generated by so many examples of greed and corruption.  It goes to a point where I just want to snuggle down with Jean, curl up with the dogs and kiss the rest of the world good-bye!

The expression that comes to mind is the one about the last person to leave the planet please switch the lights off!

(As if to demonstrate how sensitive dogs are to the feelings of us humans, Cleo just came into the room where I am writing this and laid her head across my left thigh.  I stroked her head and then she wandered back to our bed next door – I then took the following photograph)


So what’s feeding my feelings?

Well, as many of you know yesterday and Sunday had posts about saving the Ecuadorian Jaguar and the African Lion.  In the case of the former, it’s:

The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle.  (That’s 9.9 million acres in old money!)

In the case of the African Lion, it’s:

In the past fifty years, the African lion population declined by as much as 90%. Many of the lion prides that do exist today are so genetically weak from being small and isolated by international borders that they can’t promise a future for African lions ….. two thirds of the African lions killed by trophy hunters end up in the U.S. That’s thousands of lions!

Last Friday I wrote about how community living for wolves and dogs had given those species “group survival and well-being“ that we humans couldn’t even dream about.

Then over at Liberated Way, Alex Jones recently wrote:

I attended a lecture at Essex University Colchester last Wednesday on the plight of indigenous indians in Canada, specifically those in Labrador. The Canadian government has embarked on a scheme to disenfranchise the indians of all their land, wipe out all their rights forever, and place them in perpetual bondage. Underlying this horror was what has happened to the indians themselves, a people tainted with mental illness, alcoholism and high suicide rates.

I asked the lecturer why it is that it appears all indigenous people across the globe share this common trait of high levels of abuse, mental illness, suicide and alcoholism. The answer given was that outsiders desired to force their alien world views upon these people destroying their sense of personal identity. For example many of these people see land as a shared resource, the capitalist ideas of land ownership is at odds with their world view. All Native American problem solving is through talking, and everyone has choice, whereas outsiders prefer to impose solutions and intellectualise with clever words.

Just read that last paragraph carefully again and note “outsiders desired to force their alien world views upon these people destroying their sense of personal identity.”

Back closer to home, the struggles of the North American Indians are well-known.

So no nice, neat solution to this place that I’m in just now other than to put down my pen and let the music from the following two videos wash over me.

If you read this far, thank you for suffering the ramblings of this silly old fart!


Support a good cause

Please help save the Ecuadorian Jaguar and the Amazon jungle

Today’s article is a complete reposting of what appeared on Lack of Environment last Friday.


Please help save the Ecuadorian Jaguar and the Amazon jungle and stop Ecuador’s President from being a total hypocrite!


This courtesy of Avaaz:

Dear friends,

There is one area of the Ecuadorian Amazon that is so pristine that the whole ecosystem has been preserved and even jaguars roam free! But the government is now threatening to go in and drill for oil.

The local indigenous people have been resisting, but they are afraid that oil companies will break up the community with bribes. When they heard that people across the world might stand with them and make a stink to save their land, they were thrilled. The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle. If we can say ‘wait a minute, you’re supposed to be the green president who says no one can buy Ecuador’, we could expose him for turning his back on his commitments just as he is fighting for re-election.

He doesn’t want a PR nightmare right now. If we get a million of us to help this one community defend their ancestral land and challenge the president openly to keep to his word, we could start a media storm that would make him reconsider the whole plan. Sign the petition now and tell everyone — let’s help save this beautiful forest:


After Texaco and other oil companies polluted Ecuadorian waters and irreversibly devastated precious ecosystems, Correa led his country to be the world’s first nation to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth” in its constitution. He announced Ecuador was not for sale, and in Yasuni National Park promoted an innovative initiative where other governments pay Ecuador to keep oil in the ground to protect the rainforest rather than destroy it. But now he’s on the verge of selling out.

Shockingly, the Sani Isla Kichwa land is partly in Yasuni National Park. But even more shocking is Correa’s bigger plan — in days government officials begin a world tour to offer foreign investors the right to drill across 4 million hectares of forest (an area larger than the Netherlands!) Ecuador, as any country, may argue it has the right to profit from its natural resources, but the constitution itself says it must respect indigenous rights and its amazing forests, which bring millions in tourist dollars every year.

Right now, Correa is in a tough fight to win a second term as president. It’s the perfect time to make him honour his environmental promises and make this green constitution come to life. Sign now to stand with the Kichwa people and save their forest:


Our community has fought year after year to protect the Amazon in Brazil and Bolivia, and won many victories standing in solidarity with indigenous communities. Now it’s Ecuador’s turn — let’s respond to this urgent call for action and save their forest.

With hope and determination,

Alex, Pedro, Alice, Laura, Marie, Ricken, Taylor, Morgan and all the Avaaz team

More Information:

Ecuadorian tribe gets reprieve from oil intrusion (The Guardian)

Ecuador adopts rights of nature in constitution (Rights of Nature)

How oil extraction impacts the rainforest (Amazon Watch)

Drilling for oil in Eden: initiative to save amazon rainforest in Ecuador is uncertain (Scientific American)

Ecuador’s indigenous leaders oppose new oil exploration plans in Amazon region (Earth Island Journal)

I am not a pantheist or animist. However, I feel the Western world has much to learn from the attitude of the South American people towards their environment. Former CIWEM President, Nick Reeves, agrees:



Now there’s a set of eyes.  Up to so many of us to be able to look back into those eyes with honesty and love.

So please sign here:  http://www.avaaz.org/en/oil_in_the_amazon_8/?tSkdncb

People power

A lovely postscript to a recent campaign.

On the 9th February, there was a Post on Learning from Dogs about the flower industry.  Here’s a small extract.

At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia — the countries that export the most to the U.S. — two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, they’re routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces.

Apparently some 40% of annual purchases of flowers are purchased for Valentine’s Day in the USA.  Anyway, in today’s in-box is this lovely update from Change.org

Dear Paul,

We are blown away by the incredible impact Change.org members have made around the world by starting, joining, and winning dozens of meaningful campaigns over the past few weeks. So we wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you. And congratulations. And let’s keep fighting.

Here are a few of the top victories and successes we’ve had together:

  • Late last week, the largest florist in the world, 1-800-Flowers, responded to 54,000 Change.org members and agreed to begin selling Fair Trade flowers and insist on a strong code of conduct for all their suppliers to counteract the deplorable working conditions that thousands of female flower workers face in South America. They’ve promised to offer Fair Trade flowers in time for Mother’s Day, making 1-800-Flowers a leader in the industry. (Click here to write a thank you message on 1-800-Flowers’ Facebook wall.)

Nice one!  The website Change.org can be found here.

Flowers for your Valentine

This opened my eyes; thought I would share it with you.

I know that many of the several hundred readers of Learning from Dogs are not in the USA.  But many are.  Hence me deciding, after mulling it over, to publish in full the contents of an email that came in a short while ago from the organisation Change.

Here’s that email.

Dear Paul,

Valentine’s Day, which accounts for 40% of fresh flower sales annually, is fast approaching.

Not always a sweet smell.


If you’re planning to order a bouquet from 1-800-Flowers — the world’s largest florist — you should know where most of those flowers really come from.

At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia — the countries that export the most to the U.S. — two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, they’re routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces.

Many retailers — such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop — have taken the important first step of offering Fair Trade flowers to consumers who want no part of these abuses. Fair Trade certified farms must adhere to strict standards for workers’ rights, which prevents the abuses described above.

1-800-Flowers is the largest florist in the world. Yet they offer no Fair Trade flowers at all.

Tell 1-800-Flowers to join other major retailers in offering Fair Trade flowers.

1-800-Flowers uses a certifying agency called Florverde, which ensures that its flower farms measure up to certain environmental standards — this is a good thing. But Florverde has almost no labor standards: A farm can be certified even if it uses forced labor.Indeed, Florverde is owned by the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, so it has a financial incentive to keep wages low and suppress workers’ rights.

This is the week before Valentine’s Day — more people will purchase flowers during the next seven days than any other week this year. This is our best opportunity to demand a promise from 1-800-Flowers to join its competitors in offering Fair Trade flowers. So after you sign the petition, please share this email widely and post on Facebook — do everything you can to pressure 1-800-Flowers to show a little respect for the women who toil in unbearable circumstances. The women without whom they’d have no flowers to sell.

Click the link below to tell 1-800-Flowers to make a promise this Valentine’s Day to sell Fair Trade flowers:


Since this campaign began, the company has emailed to tell us that it will post more information on its website about the farms that supply their flowers. But this is a far cry from selling fair trade products — and we have much more to do to make sure workers are protected. This is the week to do it.

Thanks for taking action,

Patrick and the Change.org team

If you feel so minded to sign the petition, which can be done by people outside the USA, then that may be done here.