Tag: loyalty

The Love of a Dog

Pharaoh – from whom I have learnt so much.

German Shepherd, Pharaoh, born June 3rd, 2003

I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear.

I know that you humans lead very busy lives.  Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone.  It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now.  Stop looking at your computer and look at me.  See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.

You smile at me.  I see love in your eyes.

What do you see in mine?  Do you see a spirit?  A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of your time?  That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on.  Sometimes we die young and, oh, so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat.

Sometimes, we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes.  Still the love is always there even when we must take that last, long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.

I may not be here tomorrow.  I may not be here next week.  Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when grief fills their souls, and you will mourn the loss of just ‘one more day’ with me.

Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me.  I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.

We have now together.  So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes.  What do you see?  Do you see how if you look deeply at me we can talk, you and I, heart to heart.  Come not to me as my owner but as a living soul.  Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.

I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go.  Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general.

I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me.  I know how hard you have worked to help me be the teacher that I was born to be.  That gift from you has been very precious to me.  I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you and to be there always for you.  I am very different to you but here I am.  I am a dog but just as alive as you.

I feel emotion.  I feel physical senses.  I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls.  I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are.  You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

So, come and sit with me.  Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes.  Look deep into my eyes and whisper in my ears.  Speak with your heart and I will know your true self.  We may not have tomorrow but we do have now.

(Based on an article sent to me, unfortunately from an unknown author, and modified to reflect the special relationship that I have with my 6 year old German Shepherd, Pharaoh.)

By Paul Handover

And a P.S. to the Thanks, Guys.

The Los Angeles Times update on this wonderful story.

The Los Angeles Fire Department firefighter who rescued a panicked dog from the brown, rushing waters of the Los Angeles River this afternoon said that unless firefighters acted, someone else was likely to have ventured into the concrete wash and wound up a casualty.

Joe St. Georges, 50, the firefighter who captivated much of  Los Angeles as he was lowered by a tether into the churning waters to rescue the hound, told reporters late Friday that he suffered a bite to his thumb but was otherwise OK.

“I didn’t have time to establish a rapport with the dog,” St. Georges said, in a classic understatement, as he held his heavily bandaged hand in the air. “He did what dogs do.”

Joe St. Georges and 'Vernon' the dog!

The dog was taken by [human] ambulance to a Downey shelter run by the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, which serves 14 cities, including Vernon.

Animal Control Officer Justin Guzman said the 6-year-old German shepherd mix was cold and wet, but otherwise unhurt. He showed no further aggression, and shelter staff named him Vernon.

“He’s really lovable,” Guzman said. “He’s appreciating all the attention he’s getting here.“
Guzman said there were a “million” ways and reasons Vernon could have gotten into the river channel.

“Whether he got scared by the thunderstorm and jumped the fence, we don’t know,” he said.
The dog was never really swept away, but managed for the most part to maintain his footing on a slender ledge in the middle of the river, the officer said.

The dog will be quarantined and watched for signs of rabies.

Marcia Mayeda, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, said the disease is extremely rare in domestic animals. Untagged and loose, the dog was technically in violation of city codes, but the owners will face no repercussions if they step forward and take him home, Guzman said.

If they don’t, the shelter by early evening already had a list of 20 people who want to adopt Vernon.

Mayeda said she was very impressed by St. Georges’ actions.

It’s a great and lovely story.

By Paul Handover

Thank you, guys!

Fire-fighters rescue dog from flooded Los Angeles river.

Tomorrow on Learning from Dogs there is part one of a six-part Post about The Secret Life of the Dog.  It includes the amazing proposition that our relationship with dogs was instrumental in early man becoming civilised.  (Assuming, of course, that you believe mankind is civilised!)

Thus it is with great pride that today’s Post presents the courageous and successful efforts of LA Fire Fighters rescuing a German Shepherd dog, scared out of its wits, from drowning in a river.

Here’s an extract from the Los Angeles Times:

We don’t know about you, but we were glued to our TV screen earlier this afternoon as the effort to rescue a large dog trapped in the flooded Los Angeles River was broadcast live.  The rainstorms that have been pummeling L.A. over the past few days have caused the river to swell.  It’s unclear who, if anyone, owns the dog, or how it managed to fall into the fast-moving river in Vernon.

The full article and a video of the rescue may be seen here. The article goes on to say:

Firefighters first attempted to rescue it by dangling flotation devices from a bridge overhead, to no avail.  The dog then evaded firefighters who tried to approach it, sloshing further down the river.  Around 12:30 p.m., it managed to reach the edge of the river and attempted to climb up a steep concrete wall to safety, but several times fell back into the river.

Finally, a firefighter dangling beneath a helicopter managed to grab hold of the terrified dog, who responded (rather predictably) by biting its rescuer and thrashing about.  Despite the inherent difficulty of rescuing an animal that doesn’t want to be rescued, the firefighter managed to lift the dog to safety; both were deposited on a nearby bridge.  The dog was transferred to an ambulance for veterinary care and its rescuer was taken to a hospital for treatment of bite wounds, KTLA reported.

The BBC also has a nice video clip here

And a great set of pictures here. Such as this one …

Well done, all involved.

Fantastic effort.

By Paul Handover

Learning from Horses

This guest post is contributed by someone very different to the profile of the rest of the LfD authors.  AJ is a young American girl.  It’s a pleasure to publish her Post.  I am told that almost every little girl goes through the ‘horse phase,’ but very few actually take it to the next level. The few who do generally end up competing, but for many different reasons. Most kids are doing it for the title. But then there is a small group of them who compete for the love of the sport and the relationship you form with your horse.

AJ (age 13) jumping Penny 3 ft 6

My name is AJ Easton and I have been riding since I was five, in other words for eight years now. I have been around some pretty incredible horses, one of whom became my best friend. Her name is Heads Up Penny (more fondly known as Penny) and she is my life. She is a 14.2 hand (a hand is four inches, so she is 4’10” tall), red dun Grade Pony. My father purchased her for me in 2005, just before I turned nine. She cost only $2,650, but to us, her disposition alone is worth millions.

AJ (age 6 ) riding Chip

My first horse, Chocolate Chip, died a year before we bought Penny. Chip and Penny taught me almost everything I know about horses, but that isn’t all I have learned from them.  Chip taught me about letting go, and how important it is to show the special people and pets in your life how much you love them.  Penny has taught me how to be responsible, patient, understanding, and so much more. She has also given me endless amounts of love; she always has a look on her face that can melt your heart. Penny always tries her hardest to please and has gone way beyond our highest expectations.

We bought her to help me perfect the basics of riding to see where I might want to go with my riding career, but she has turned out to be one of the most incredible pony jumpers I have ever seen. I still remember being excited about jumping 2’6” in my first year of showing, but now we are sailing over 4′ fences together.   Remember, she is only 4’ 10” tall!  We have so many new goals for her this year, now that she is going consistently over 3’3”, which is what she needs to be able to do to compete successfully in the top Pony Jumper shows.

This year we are trying to qualify for the 2011 USEF [United States Equestrian Foundation. Ed.] National Pony Jumper Finals, the show where all of the top jumpers come together and compete to be the best. We don’t expect to win, or even place, but being able to show in it would be one of the greatest honors ever, especially if I was able to do it with my best friend, Heads Up Penny!

By AJ Easton

A Perfect Neighborhood

The best place to live?  It’s all down to your neighbors!

No offense to anyone else, but I live in the perfect neighborhood.

My neighborhood is not big; it consists of only one street, a circle; where you enter the street is the same place you exit.  There are only about 30 homes on my street.  None of them are very fancy or very big. Most of the houses are older.  Some need repair.  One or two are empty now.  No, it isn’t the size of the neighborhood or the grandeur of the houses.

I live close to the University where I work.  I could walk to work if I needed to.  But I haven’t needed to, except for the one time, when the Presidential debate was held on campus and security closed it down to all but pedestrian traffic.  Although it is certainly convenient, proximity to work is not the reason my neighborhood is perfect.

My girls are unlikely to agree just yet with my assessment of our neighborhood.  But they are still young, and there are no kids their age on our street.  One neighbor does have grandchildren their age who visit sometimes, but that doesn’t really count, they tell me.  Off and on, they complain and say they want to move.  My 15-year-old wants to live in a city, the bigger the better, the more people the better; my 13-year-old wants to live on a horse farm, the bigger the better, the more horses the better.

But I tell them that some day, when they are married and have children and are busy with life, they will look back on this time in our neighborhood, and will understand what I meant when I told them how very lucky we are to live here.

Because we have neighbors; real neighbors!

They welcome new families with home-baked bread; take in your mail when you are away; call to check on you when you are sick; give you a ride to get your car out of the shop; lend you their extra tall ladder.  All without hesitation and without expecting anything in return.  And they let me do what I can for them.  There’s genuine warmth and support between neighbors on my street. It’s like an extended family.

Maybe even a little better!  Why? Because they do all of this without pushing, without invading your privacy, without crossing into your personal space.  They are supportive without being nosy.  How totally wonderful:  to have support when you need it but, as important, perhaps more important, you also have your privacy.  I can’t imagine a better combination.  I can’t imagine feeling safer.   I can’t imagine a more wonderful neighborhood.   I can’t imagine a better home. My neighbors are the best.

By Sherry Jarrell

Remarkable people: Kevin Richardson

Trust is both taught and learnt!

Thanks to Naked Capitalism, we posted an item on the 19th December about an unknown wild-life ranger working in the wildlife refuge area of Lanseria, South Africa.  Here was one of the pictures included in that Post:

The Post finished with an appeal to anyone that knew the name of this Ranger.  Many of you did and responded; thank you!

Read who this Ranger is

The Power of Words

Never give up is so much more than just a cliché.

Regular readers will know that fellow LfD author, John Lewis, has been posting regularly on the subject of remarkable people.  I have found them inspiring, to the extent that I’m going to depart from my usual safe area of economics and tell a personal story.  It’s a story of family dynamics, the power of sibling bonds and why hope and trust in the future, especially for young people, is so, so important.  I have called my story the Power of Words.


I can hear it like it was yesterday, resonating in my head, crowding out the doubts and negative thoughts, filling my mind with possibilities:  yes, I CAN do it!

Then ....

I was in my junior year of college and had no idea what I was going to do with my life.  It was becoming quite a burden.

Because I had always been good in school, i.e., the “smart one,” everyone had expected so much of me when I went to school.  I really envied my older sister; she had always been the pretty one, the popular one, the one who got invited to the prom by not one, but three young men.

And, it seemed to me at the time, she was so lucky because no one expected her to go out and conquer the world after high school.   She didn’t go to college; she went to secretarial school and studied to become an airline attendant instead.

I envied her in every way possible!  But at least I had something: I was “the smart one,” or so I thought!  Years later, my sister went back to school to study psychology.  She earned a 4.0 [four straight ‘A’s. Ed] and was invited to continue on to earn her Ph.D.  I’ll be darned if she wasn’t the smart one, too! And she is a wonderful and thoughtful person to boot! But I digress.

Read more of my story

Sabi – the Afghan homing dog!

Sabi – an Australian Army bomb-sniffing dog makes it back to base.

This is a lovely story that has been doing the news rounds recently, and not without good cause.  It’s the sort of ‘cuddly feeling’ story that we all need from time to time.  Anyway, first a thanks to Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism, who included a link to the BBC story in her daily summary on November 12th.


In the words typical of many online newspapers:

(AP) SYDNEY — A bomb-sniffing dog that disappeared during a fierce battle in Afghanistan between Australian troops and militant fighters has been found and returned to its unit after more than a year.

And Sabi the black Labrador is getting a celebrity welcome home.

Sabi was with a joint Australian-Afghan army patrol ambushed in restive Uruzgan province in September 2008, triggering a gunfight that wounded nine troops and earned one Australian soldier the country’s highest bravery medal.

From the Times Online:

Sabi, a four-year-old black labrador, was returned to the Australian base at Tarin Kowt after an American soldier found her wandering in a remote area of the southern province of Oruzgan last week.

The US soldier, named only as John, knew that his Australian counterparts had lost their canine companion during a gun battle between Australian, US and Afghan special forces and Taleban insurgents in south east Afghanistan last September. Nine Australian soldiers, including Sabi’s handler, were wounded during the assault and Sabi went missing.

Sabi, who was on her second tour of duty in Afghanistan, was officially declared missing in action. It is not known how she survived the past year, presumably eluding the Taleban, before being discovered by the soldier, who realised that she was not a stray dog because she understood certain commands.

Nice one, guys!

By Paul Handover

Somebody forgot to tell the dogs!

A reminder about how dogs, just like their human masters, love an ordered life.

We live in a rural country village with some 500 people scattered around, and have the New Forest on our door step, so our two dogs, Millie and Summer, get lots of walks. They are nearly six now, and arrived here as puppies.

Like most dog owners, we are known because of the dogs.  The dogs sit near the five-bar gate during the day waiting to see if anybody will pass by and talk to them. The normal routine when I am home is to go out shortly after 6am for a morning walk, then they get another walk later during the day.

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These are hard times for millions – transformation is the only practical option.

I’ve been working with most of my clients recently through painful transformation brought about by the recession.

An interesting metaphor really because, since the first wave of uncertainty in the UK banking system triggered panic, I deep riverhave been picking up on that uncertainty.

That uncertainty feels like it’s stalking the globe at the moment; one has been aware of an underlying fear that was difficult to name and source in me. It has been rather like a deep river in that whilst the surface feels slow moving, currents are moving things powerfully below.
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