Tag: Hazel

MaxMello – We Can All Help

This is a very simple message – please help MaxMello.

(Please note: To ensure the widest readership of this post I am running it for two days. I.e. the next post will be on Thursday, 11th.)

Yesterday I republished a post from John Zande. It explained how Sandra Guilarducci and her husband, Francisco, in Ibiuna, Brazil were caring for over 350 dogs and 32 cats. If you haven’t read that post then go no further in today’s post until you have read about the desparate need for funds.

Here’s a section from yesterday’s post (but please do read it in full):

food-e1454493203915Today, MaxMello burns through 5 tonnes of food every month, and a small army of vets help with reduced fees. But it all adds up. It has added up, and over this past weekend, Sandra was forced to admit that she and Francisco (weighed down with over 30,000 reis debt, about $10,000 US, to vets and pet food suppliers) had reached the point beyond which they simply could no longer afford to keep the shelter open. Sandra put out an urgent call to other NGO’s, saying she will keep the sick, the crippled, and the old (the one’s that stand little to no chance of adoption) but new shelter-homes would have to be found for the hundreds of other rescues under their care. With every NGO we know of here in Sao Paulo being already full, this is, in all honesty, an impossible situation. These are good people, and they (and their keep) are in genuine need of a hand.

Please, help keep MaxMello open and donate to the MaxMello PayPal account: associacaomaxmello@gmail.com.

But just as important as making whatever donation you can is letting Sandra and Francisco know you care.

Yesterday, Jean and I sent a letter to John for John’s wife to translate from English into Portugese as Sandra and Francisco do not speak English. We wanted them to read our letter in this post.

So this is the letter in Portugese:

Sandra e Francisco,

Aqui no sul do Oregon, hoje temos 9 cachorros e 4 gatos; há três anos, quando viemos para cá, eram 14 cães e 7 gatos. Eu simplesmente não consigo imaginar o que deve ser cuidar de 350 cachorros e 32 gatos, ainda mais divididos entre duas propriedades diferentes, separadas por 200 km!

Entretanto, Jean sabe bem o tamanho do amor e da dedicação que movem sua paixão por esses animais maravilhosos – porque ela vivia em San Carlos, no México (na Península Baja) e dedicava a vida a recolher os cachorros de rua de lá, tratando de sua saúde, dando-lhes amor e conseguindo adotantes para eles nos EUA. Ao longo de vários anos, Jean acredita ter resgatado mais de 200 cães. A alimentação e tratamento de todos esses animais foram custeados por ela e o marido, Ben, que morreu em 2005.

Foi meio por acaso que a conheci, em San Carlos, no Natal de 2007, e me via com os olhos cheios de lágrimas ao ver a afeição que os cachorros dela demonstravam ao me ver, toda vez que ia visitá-la em sua casa. E essa afeição deve ter causado um efeito profundo em mim, pois, quando voltei para a Inglaterra, em janeiro de 2008, Jean e eu percebemos que queríamos ficar juntos para o resto da vida. Mais tarde, nesse mesmo ano, ao lado do meu pastor alemão, Pharaoh, voltei para San Carlos. Não demorou muito, com 14 cachorros e 7 gatos, fomos para o Arizona, onde nos casamos, e por fim, no segundo semestre de 2012, viemos para o Oregon, onde estamos até hoje.

Pouco antes de sairmos de San Carlos, em 2010, uma cachorra foi deixada na porta de nossa casa. Era uma mestiça de rottweiler e devia ter acabado de dar cria porque ainda estava cheia de leite. Nós a batizamos de Hazel e quase de cara ela mostrou sua natureza amorosa para Jean, para mim e os outros animais. Hazel é uma inspiração para a humanidade graças ao perdão e ao amor incondicional que oferece ao mundo.

Por isso, aceite essas poucas palavras minhas e de Jean, endereçadas aos dois, como uma pequena amostra de amor e gratidão que sentimos por vocês e que certamente também serão sentidos pelos leitores e seguidores do Learning from Dogs

And here is the letter in English:

Sandra and Francisco,

Here in Southern Oregon we have 9 dogs and 4 cats, down from the 14 dogs and 7 cats when we moved here some 3 years ago. I cannot simply imagine what it must entail to care for 350 dogs and 32 cats let alone care for them in two locations seperated by 200 kms!


However Jean can imagine the level of love and commitment that fuels your passion for looking after these wonderful animals. For Jean, when she lived in San Carlos, Mexico (on the Baja Peninsula) devoted her life to rescuing Mexican street dogs, loving them back to health and then finding homes for them in the USA. Over the many years Jean believes she found homes for well over 200 dogs. The feeding and caring of these animals was funded personally by Jean and her late husband, Ben, who died in 2005.


Quite by chance, I met Jean in San Carlos the Christmas of 2007 and was moved to tears on numerous occasions by the loving affection shown by her dogs to this visitor to Jean’s home. That affection must have rubbed off on me for by the time I returned to England in January, 2008 Jean and I wanted to be together for the rest of our lives. Later in 2008, together with my German Shepherd, Pharaoh, I travelled out to San Carlos. Subsequently, with 14 dogs and 7 cats, we moved to Arizona to be married and then, in the Autumn of 2012, came up here to our home in Oregon.


Shortly before we left San Carlos in 2010 to go to Arizona, a female dog was dumped outside the house. She was a Rottweiler crossbreed and must have just given birth to puppies for she was still in milk. We named her Hazel and she very quickly showed her most beautiful and loving nature to Jean and me and to the other animals. Hazel is an inspiration to humankind of what flows from offering forgiveness and unconditional love to the world.


So please take these few words from Jean and me, sent to you both, as a small measure of the love and gratitude that we feel for you, and I know will be felt by many of the readers and followers of Learning from Dogs.

I also want to republish a comment from yesterday’s post, left by Mr. Merveilleux, because it speaks such perfect common-sense:

As Zande’s explained, the current exchange rate means donations go a very long way. Keep in mind the minimum wage in Brazil is only around £130 p/month. By skipping one little luxury this month, like going out for a meal today, and sending what one would have spent on that to the shelter, we can all make make a substantial difference to the lives of these animals.
My suggestion is for people not to just reach for the change they’ve got in the car ashtray, but consider a little, insignificant sacrifice that will do one no harm, but will have a disproportionately positive effect.
Skip one bottle of champagne, or a bottle of wine, or don’t buy flowers this week… skip any little thing that one doesn’t really *need*, and put that money to good use.

Let me move on a tad.

As is obvious to any visitors to this place in the last 6 weeks, I have just published my first book. It learningfromdogs_3dbook_500xis called Learning from Dogs, the same name as this blog. I am also donating 50% of the net proceeds from all sales of my book to our local Rogue Valley Humane Society.

However, for the whole of the month of February I shall be donating the other 50% of net proceeds to MaxMello.

So, please, buy the book and help two fabulous charities. The book is available as a paperback, priced $15.95, or either of two eBook formats, MOBI and EPUB, priced at $5:39. Full details here: Buy the Book.

Of course, you may also buy the book from Amazon or you can order it from most booksellers.

If you prefer to purchase it direct from me but do not wish to pay online, then mail me (as in Paul Handover) a cheque for $18.67 ($15.95 + P&P of $2.72) and I will send it to any part of the USA. (For overseas paperback purchasers who do not wish to pay online then email me your address details and I will respond within 48 hours.) My email address is learningfromdogs (at) gmail (dot) com

All of this is part of never forgetting how important it is to care for our dogs – they are man’s oldest companion and have devoted themselves to caring for us for possibly 40,000 years. Is it asking too much to help these dogs in Brazil in return!

Hazel showing her love and caring for our cat, George. Both animals are ex rescues from Mexico. Picture taken last Sunday evening.


The tale of a rescue dog.

We rarely get to know what a rescue dog has been through.

Of the ten dogs that we have here at home, two are pedigree dogs purchased from breeders, that’s Pharaoh and Cleo, two are rescue dogs that came from known sources, Oliver from neighbours who couldn’t cope with him and Pedy from the local Merlin dog pound, and the rest are all ex-rescue dogs that Jean took from the streets of San Carlos, Mexico.

The last rescue dog to be taken in by Jean before we both left Mexico was Hazel who was abandoned outside Jean’s house in San Carlos a few weeks before we left for Arizona. The picture below is of Hazel taken in March 2014.

Hazel is the most loving and adorable of dogs and the love that I feel coming from her towards me is real, tangible and precious. Yet this is a mother dog who very shortly before she was deposited in front of Jean’s house in Mexico had had all her puppies removed from her as Hazel was still in milk. (The poor in San Carlos frequently sell young puppies for a few Pesos.) It’s beyond the comprehension of us humans, especially women, to imagine what it must be like for a mother to so catastrophically lose her young babies.

That’s why a recent article over on Mother Nature Network really reached out to me. We never know what homeless dogs have to contend with before they find loving homes.


Why our Great Dane is so scared to be alone

Most of us will never know what our rescue dogs have been through. We found out.

By: Ali Berman, August 12, 2015

Author Ali Berman discovered she had a new shadow when she met Cooper. (Photo: Ali Berman)

In February 2015, David and Glenda Berman — that’s my mom and dad — drove from New York to Connecticut to meet Cooper, a 13-month-old Great Dane. When they were introduced, 100-pound Cooper rushed over to give them an enthusiastic greeting, burying his head in their legs, leaning on them, and asking to be petted. My mom and dad fell in love, and Cooper took the two-hour drive back to their house, the place that would become his forever home.

During those first few weeks, my parents got to know Cooper. They went for walks in the snow, played together, and snuggled. (He’s a major snuggler.) But, in addition to those normal doggy behaviors, they noticed something else. Cooper was reluctant to leave their sides. If they left the room, he went with them. He took trip after trip to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the laundry room. When they moved, he moved.

I didn’t believe the extent of it until I got the chance to meet him myself. I traveled back to New York to visit my family in May. For me and Coop, it was love at first sight. We played, we ran, we cuddled, and by the end of the first day, I found myself with a 115-pound shadow. As soon as I showed any sign of movement, his head perked up and he was ready to follow me. In the morning when he opened his eyes, he went directly to my room to wake me up. When I napped in the afternoon, he came with me, opting to sleep right next to the bed. And when I went out to dine with a friend, my parents distracted him so he wouldn’t see that I was leaving.

Now, when a small dog follows you everywhere, it’s not a big deal. But when a Great Dane follows you around, it’s not stealthy. Seeing how much he craved to be near people, I welcomed him wherever I went — even the bathroom. Still, I wondered: Why was he so reluctant to be alone? Did he not believe we’d come back?

If there's a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)
If there’s a hug going on, Cooper wants to be a part of it. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Thinking we knew the full story behind his upbringing, we all wrote it off as him being a little insecure. In just over a year he had experienced four different homes. After he left the breeder (his first home), Cooper went to live with a young woman who loved him very much. Unfortunately, they learned that while Cooper enjoys meeting other dogs on his walks, he has trouble living with other dogs. He got into fights with another pooch in the house and with great difficulty, the young woman sent Cooper to live with her uncle. As he also had animals at home, the problem repeated itself.

Cooper needed to live with a one-dog family. The uncle — who could easily have sold purebred Cooper for a handsome sum — instead decided to put him up for adoption to find the best family possible. My parents had been looking for a Great Dane to adopt, so they sent their references, along with pictures with their previous Great Dane who had died two years before, and a heartfelt message. They were chosen to be Cooper’s new and final family.

Because Cooper was loved and well treated in all of his homes, my parents thought the insecurity came from the many moves.

But that wasn’t the full story. Not even close.

In an email from the woman who originally took Cooper in, my mother learned the truth. Cooper had been born with the rest of his litter in the home of an Iowa breeder. One night, when the breeders were out bowling, their home caught on fire. Everything went up in flames. Cooper’s mother and siblings all tragically perished. Baby Cooper was found alone in the debris in the yard. In just one night, he had lost his entire family, suffering more trauma in an instant than most experience in a lifetime.

After the fire, the breeders had to rebuild their lives, so they put Cooper up for adoption. That’s when he started to move from house to house, finally finding his perfect match with my parents. Now, he starts out every day with a multi-mile walk, a nap in the office while my dad works, and then Cooper spends an hour or two playing with his friends in the dog park in the afternoon. If he’s not snoozing or walking, he’s out in the garden with my mom soaking up the sun.

Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)
Some serious trauma as a puppy made Cooper never want to be alone. (Photo: Ali Berman)

Just part of the story

When we rescue an animal, most of the time we never get to know their complete history. Why do some cry when their humans leave the house? Or some bark and growl at men who wear hats? Like people, animals remember the various difficulties and tragedies they have suffered. Those scars go through life with them, just like our own scars follow us. The only difference is they can’t tell us their fears, and we can’t explain to them that they are safe. The best we can do is show them they are loved and hope with enough repetition, they’ll get the message.

In an ideal world, every dog would only have good memories. Their first Frisbee catch or trip to the beach, their favorite person who knows how to pet the ears just right, and the safety of a single home where they will live their life right through to ripe old age. That’s not the case for every dog. Some need a little extra help from us as they learn to trust, move on from the past and accept that their new reality is the one they can count on.

With time, Cooper might just learn to keep snoozing while his mom or dad goes to get a cup of tea. Until then, we’ll all keep showing him that he’s loved, and that this home and this family are forever.


When one thinks of how dogs, Cooper, Hazel and tens of thousands of others, so beautifully offer their unlimited love to us humans it is just a great shame that we humans haven’t emulated our beloved dogs across mankind in such a widespread manner.

Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.
Picture taken by our guest Don Reeve of Hazel (and me) Wednesday afternoon.

Gorgeous Hazel. Who would have thought from that smiling face of hers that she had ever suffered the catastrophic loss of her puppies that she had.


Human arrogance – a guest post.

A powerful and compelling post from friend and follower: John Hurlburt.

Anyone who can compose phrases such as “an enlightened interest in the quality of the harvest of our transitory lives” deserves to be listened to! Our friend, John, from our Payson, AZ, days, is a regular author of essays that arrive here in Hugo Road via the mail.  It’s always a pleasure to read John’s words and frequently I feel the need to share them with you, dear reader.  So it was with John’s latest.

I’ll say no more except to promise you that you will be enthralled.


Arrogance ‘R Us

We hear the drumbeat of steadily increasing global, national, state, regional and local problems every day. When common-sense solutions are offered for any of these problems, the solutions are immediately demonized as actions which would aggravate the problems they would logically solve. This sort of nonsensical circular argument is both a paralyzing paradox and a guaranteed death spiral for our relatively young biological species.

We imagine that we know far more than we do. The Earth doesn’t need living species in order to regenerate life. Human beings continue to need the Earth from which we are made and which sustains our consciously aware being. Some of us believe that having money is the answer to all our problems. Actually, the imaginary power of human “money” is killing life on Earth from the bottom of the food chain up.

Every government in the world competes with every other government in the world for power and control to one degree or another. The richer the nation, the greater it’s illusion of power. We’ve forgotten about responsibility, morality and faith in the power of Nature. Change is a constant. Failure to adapt to change is a death knell for living beings.

We live to learn. Why? Is death a finality or a new beginning? Both classic and quantum physics recognize Conservation of Information and the exchange of energy and matter at the level of fundamental forces. How much of the energy of our lives is absorbed by the cosmos and how much is recycled as life energy? We have no earthly idea of the answer.

Aye, there’s the rub.

We do know that everything fits together. Otherwise, we’d be random atoms. We also know that the cosmos does not exist for the pleasure of human beings. To the contrary, if the cosmos were even minimally different, life as we know it would not exist. We are an infinitesimally small part of Reality.

Statistically, we’re not alone as consciously aware life forms in our universe. When we release ourselves from the bondage of our biological limitations, we connect with the living energy of our planet in harmony with the geo-magnetic network of our planet, our living galaxy, and our living universe. We realize that other life on Earth shares conscious awareness in varying degrees.

Don’t believe it? That’s a matter of choice. Consider that denying the facts of reality is a foundation for ignorance. Letting go is a gateway to enlightenment.

Those who do not accept change profess to believe that the immensity of a universe beyond our inclusive comprehension has existed since the beginning of time solely for their personal benefit. Their corporate slogan is “Arrogance ‘R Us”.

More precisely, the statistical probability of human conscious awareness being unique in the universe is so infinitesimal that it would be laughable if it weren’t for our present species peril.

Not only have we amassed enough fire power to turn the earth into a burning sphere overnight, we are now proceeding to systematically and efficiently eliminate the natural resources we need to live.

We can’t eat computers or opinions. Clean air, clean water, clean food and clean energy are more than slogans. They’re essential for human life. Are we a swarm of predatory locusts or are we stewards of the blessings of a life we don’t fully understand?

Money has dissolved the human contract with Nature which began about 14 million years ago on a planet that’s been around in one form or another for roughly the last 14 billion years. Preservation, sustainability and natural efficiency are enemies of our present delusional global economic system. No living species on Earth is safe from the ecocide being committed by human insanity. We’re experiencing a systemic failure and treating it as a side-show.

We’re suffering from a fatally immoral addiction to what we may personally consider to be the good life. It’s time for our conscious awareness to transcend self and species. We need to combine our spiritual awareness, our natural awareness, our moral awareness, our cultural awareness, our social awareness and our common sense for the immediate purpose of preserving, sustaining and accepting the natural efficiency of our pale blue dot in a universally remote solar system.

So, where do we begin? We begin wherever we are. Today is the tomorrow we dreamed of yesterday. What is our vision of tomorrow? Is it an Earth that is unchanging in the midst of constant change? Is it an Earth that is scorched and barren? Perhaps it can become an Earth that continues to grow and nurture our existence.

The choice is made by our daily actions. Time is not currently in our favor. Freedom is not the exclusive privilege of wealth. Freedom is everyone’s responsibility. Poverty is the deadliest form of violence. Seven trillion dollars of worthless derivatives tick like a time-bomb in dank Wall Street sub-basements. Environmental bankruptcy threatens all life on Earth. It’s more than past half-time to face our shared Reality. There’s no place to hide.

We grieve our former lives. We begin with the suppressed anger we have self-generated through fear until it has become a traumatic syndrome. The antidote for fear is faith. What do we believe? What are our values? Are we moral, semi-moral, immoral or amoral? Do we believe we are the purpose of the Cosmos or a relatively young animal living on a garden planet far from the heart of an emerging universe? Is our immediate gratification more important than any long-term purpose?

Global recovery depends upon inclusive personal recovery and the ability to recognize the urgency of our common purpose. Personal and cultural recovery begin by surrendering the illusionary cocoon of “self”. Stepping stones include daily humility, hope, study, acceptance, inventory, amends, sharing and compassionate service. The result is a new lease on life.

We surrender our politics. We learn to think for ourselves. We question authority. We test our ideas and follow the evidence. Science belongs to all of us. We reserve judgment. We realize that our imagination is nothing in comparison to the majesty of the truth of our shared Reality. We become creative rather than destructive.

We build a global resource management system based on the concepts of common well-being, strategic preservation and strategic efficiency. Our objective is to maintain, grow and recycle natural resources utilizing our technology as a constructive tool rather than as a weapon.

The concept of ownership needs to be replaced by the idea of strategic access to what we need as opposed to what we may superficially believe or think we want. We stop competing and start co-operating as the result of an enlightened interest in the quality of the harvest of our transitory lives.

As we live and learn together, we realize that love is as important to life as air, food, water and shelter.

Peace beyond all understanding,

an old lamplighter


Fabulous essay! Breathtakingly so! Making it clear that there is so much for us humans to learn! Yet offering a clear pathway to that learning. Starting with unconditional love and openness! Now where’s a dog to learn from!

Hazel offering such openness and love in her eyes.
Hazel teaching us openness and love through her eyes.

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!


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.


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.