Tag: Pets

A re-run of a very popular post.

Back on the 2nd October, 2010 Chris Snuggs wrote a post for Learning from Dogs.  It has consistently been the most popular and most frequently-read post ever since.  Just seemed nice to republish it today. Thanks Chris.

Cats and Dogs

Peek into a dog’s diary …

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm- Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Milkbones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Peek into a cat’s diary …

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. All though I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe, for now……….

Just chilling out …

Cats in Physics

1 – Law of Cat Inertia: A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force – such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

2 – Law of Cat Motion: A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

3 – Law of Cat Magnetism: All blue blazers and black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

4 – Law of Cat Thermodynamics: Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.

5 – Law of Cat Stretching: A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.

6 – Law of Cat Sleeping: All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved as is possible for the cat.

7 – Law of Cat Elongation: A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.

8 – Law of Cat Acceleration: A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.

9 – Law of Dinner Table Attendance: Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.

10 – Law of Rug Configuration: No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.

11 – Law of Obedience Resistance: A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.

12 – First Law of Energy Conservation: Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

13 – Second Law of Energy Conservation: Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.

14 – Law of Refrigerator Observation: If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along and take out something good to eat.

15 – Law of Electric Blanket Attraction: Turn on an electric blanket and a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light.

16 – Law of Random Comfort Seeking: A cat will always seek, and usually take over, the most comfortable spot in any given room.

17 – Law of Bag / Box Occupancy: All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

18 – Law of Cat Embarrassment: A cat’s irritation rises in direct proportion to her embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

19 – Law of Milk Consumption: A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

20 – Law of Furniture Replacement: A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

21 – Law of Cat Landing: A cat will always land in the softest place possible.

22 – Law of Fluid Displacement: A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.

23 – Law of Cat Disinterest: A cat’s interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest him.

24 – Law of Pill Rejection: Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

25 – Law of Cat Composition: A cat is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It Doesn’t Matter.

26 – Law of cat reading: Cats pretend to be really short sighted and evince the need to read a newspaper by lying on it while you are attempting to read it.

27 – Law of cat antipathy: Any cat will immediately sense a person who doesn’t like cats and go and sit on their lap.

28 – Law of cat confinement: A cat will always have its kittens in the warmest possible place, usually in your bed while you are sleeping.

29 – Law of Sleeping: A cat sleeps every day for 24 hours minus the time it takes to wheedle food out of you and eat it ..

By Chris Snuggs

Back to dog healing!

Yet more evidence of the healing powers of dogs.

For today, I was going to post a graphic that was sent to me recently by ZocDoc (will offer the link tomorrow).  It’s a fabulous visual reminder of just how important dogs are to humans.

But aware that this subject has been touched on before (the name of the blog rather suggests this might happen!) I was trawling through nearly 4 years of posts and came across a post first published on October 7th, 2010; Real healing power.  So presuming that many of the current readers of Learning from Dogs (big hugs to you all) will not have seen that one, here it is again.


Ricochet – just another healing dog!


This story has spread far and wide but, nonetheless, deserves a Post on Learning from Dogs because it is the essence of what dogs offer the world – unconditional love.

To gain the trust of a dog and enter the special relationship that humans have with dogs is to understand the significance of taking people at their face value and expect nothing in return, as dogs do.

Ricochet was born as a service dog and entered into the appropriate training. But there was a hic-cup in her learning, fortuitous as it happened and …. no, that’s enough from me. Watch it yourself ….

Now take a few minutes and understand what Ricochet and Ian McFarland demonstrated to the world.

and here’s Ricochet website.

and, well … just think what the world would be like if we all understood the power of love!

Love is the only answer


Tomorrow – How wonderful it is to have a dog in our life.

Have a great Sunday!

If you are not into dogs, especially big dogs, then skip today’s post!

Two ways to view these wonderful pictures of large dogs.

Either watch the video, if you don’t mind the advert at the end, (cool music, by the way.)

Or take a look at the pictures, one by one, with a big thanks to Dan for sending them to me.

Here we go!

Dogs Who Don’t Realize

They are BIG!!!!

































Finally, assuming you haven’t had sufficient of dogs, here’s a lovely animated GIF sent to me by Chris Sunggs.


The power of touch

Nature, once again, shows the value of loving contact during those crucial early years.

I’m writing this at 7.45am on the 30th.  Coincidentally, Jean and I were chatting in bed about an hour ago about this ‘touchy – feely’ stuff.  This was a bed having four dogs on it!  One of those, Hazel, was laying alongside my left leg just sucking up me stroking her head and tummy.  Jean and I were musing that for animals and humans, how we are touched by our parents, especially our mother, during those first few years of growing up has profound implications for how we as adults respond to being touched and hugged.

So then I opened up my mail box and there was this sent by Cynthia Gomez serving as a wonderful reminder of the power of touch.  Thanks Cynthia, great timing!


Some pictures just don’t need captions.
There is nothing like Mom’s lap no matter who you are. This is precious !!!!
This is a newborn offspring of Taskin, a Gypsy Stallion owned by
Villa Vanners of Oregon ..
These pictures were taken immediately after his birth on April 6.
The mare laid down, and then he trotted around and
crawled right up into her lap.
So give someone a hug today!

Just some ‘ah’ moments.

Taking a rest from the serious stuff!

The first picture comes from Merci O. from here in Payson.

Lost for words!

The next two are from the camera of ‘yours truly’.

Tough work being a puppy!

Cleo has settled in so beautifully and we can’t believe that these two weeks have gone so quickly.

Finally, talking of settling in, our five young chicks have reached the stage where they could be housed outside in their new chicken house, the move taking place just five days ago.

Welcome to your new home, young chick!

The logic of dogs!

A gorgeous set of photographs underlining the many truths about dogs!

This has done many rounds on the Internet but I hadn’t been seen it before.  Ergo, I am indebted to Michele N., here in Payson, for sending it to me.

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. – Anonymous

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. – Ben Williams 

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. – Josh Billings 

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. – Andy Rooney 

Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate. – Anonymous

Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like has never washed a dog. – Franklin P. Jones 

If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise – Unknown 

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That’s almost $21.00 in dog money. – Joe Weinstein 

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. – Robert A. Heinlein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. – Mark Twain 

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. – Roger Caras

If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. – Phil Pastoret

And the final image ….

The Power of Joy

Yet another fabulous example from dogs.

This is a guest post from Joelle Jordan.  Let me broadcast my gratitude for this lovely story. For two reasons.  The first is that Joelle is very generous in sharing her fine work and the second is that at the time of me putting this Blog post together, 4pm yesterday, I really needed a helping hand – have been short of time all week-end.  So thank-you Joelle.  Here’s her story.


Joy is a difficult commodity to come by these days. I don’t mean entertainment, I don’t mean a good laugh, I mean pure joy, where, even just for a single moment, all worries and doubts, frustration and anger are lifted as though by Atlas.

Like so many other humans in our world, I often find myself in a constant state of stress. There always seems to be something to worry about, whether it’s money, job fulfilment, the state of my relationships, getting the house cleaned, finding time to get to the market, and more. If given the chance, I know we all could spend nearly all of our waking hours (and some of our sleeping hours, too) worrying about something. We spend so much time on the many things that inevitably work themselves out, and so little time on things that will create a memory and a crystal moment of joy.

Jordan and Charlie

My little dog Charlie spends his time in the completely opposite fashion; spending his waking hours seeking joy, and committing less time to things that worry him.

Charlie seems to exist normally in three states of being; content, happy and utterly joyful. When I see him in an emotional state other than these, it nearly breaks my heart. I wonder why this little carefree being who brings such happiness to my life should be anything less than blissful at all times.

I notice something about how Charlie handles his stressful moments, however few and far between they may be. A recent example just occurred. My partner and I are teaching him how to behave on a leash. He has generally not given us any problems on a leash and took to the activity rather quickly. My partner can easily walk him to the corner and back, and he happily accompanies her, listening to her commands and responding, exploring his world in the safe company of his mama, creating a nice outing for them both.

However, his behavior closer to the house is less than stellar, barking at people (especially children who are frenetic and loud) and other dogs, generally forgetting that he is neither a big dog nor in charge of everyone, and just acting rather rude. A change in behavior from his human friend and he learned quickly that running after something and barking while on the leash earns him a very sudden and not so gentle stop, all powered by his own momentum, his harness jerking him off his paws and backwards. After the first incident or two, he ran back to me, the little boy that he is, placing his paws on my leg as I squatted down to him, burying his head in my chest. I assured him that he was fine and stroked him, and told him, “You can’t do that, buddy, see what happens?”

Here is where the story could turn into his utter contempt of the harness and leash. Rather, though, after a little stroking and encouragement, he became ready to try again. This time, instead of running and barking after the children at play in the neighbor’s yard, he calmly walked with me to the end of our driveway and then sat quietly and watched them shoot hoops. When it was time to go in, we walked back to the front door, accompanied by the cheering compliments of “Good job!” and pats from my partner. I saw him begin to walk a little taller and prouder, somehow understanding about a job well done and lesson learned. He trotted through the front door in search of his brother, our Chihuahua Jordan. His happy tongue dangled in wait for the promised treat. The stress he’d been seemingly engulfed in was simply released, gone. It was experienced and then just let go.

Perhaps I’m slightly jaded; after all, it was just a simple leash lesson. In truth, this little animal has no responsibilities except to be cute, not to pee in the dining room and not to chew on things. He has no bills to pay; his only worry is probably something vague about his supper. Sometimes, when letting them out of their crates, Charlie is less happy to see me (master, mama, food giver, spoiler) but is nearly bursting to get at and play with his big brother Jordan. Personal feelings (hurt and otherwise) aside, isn’t there a lesson to be learned here? He continues to teach me.

I watch his eyes. I have since I’ve known my little guy; I find them to be fascinating. In Merle’s Door, Ted Kerasote describes Merle as a “four eyed” dog; a dog that seems to have eyebrows (darker fur over his eyes ) that help express his feelings. Charlie is also a four-eyed dog.

Stanley Coren, the astute canine psychologist from the University of British Columbia, has also noted that these “four-eyed” dogs obtained their reputation for psychic powers “because their expressions were easier to read than those of other dogs. The contrasting-colored spots make the movement of the muscles over the eye much more visible.”

Case in point: the other morning Jordan had burrowed under an Indian blanket for it was a little chilly. Charlie, on the other hand, was in simple need of something: play. Jordan, however, was warming and had no interest. Charlie looked up at me, and held a conversation with me with only his eyes: Mom, make him play!

“He doesn’t want to play, bud, I’m sorry.”

He’s under the blanket! That’s the best time to play!

“But he doesn’t want to play right now, Charlie.”

Distraught. His eyebrows were high but off to the side, the classic cartoon expression of distress. If his lip could’ve quivered from holding back tears, it would have. A soft whimper.

How can that be?

It was a less than joyful moment for Charlie, but it was something out of my power to control. All I could do was redirect him. I enlisted him to come help me with the laundry. This is a favorite past-time of his because there are dryer sheets to be rooted out and torn to shreds. As I moved the clothes from the washer to the dryer, I saw that my boy had found his joy again but not in search of dryer sheets: he had jumped into the basket of dirty laundry and discovered a plethora of good and interesting smells, one of my t-shirts now covering his head like a scarf.

He was in heaven for probably the fourth or fifth time that morning.


Joelle in speaking about joy echoes a part of yesterday’s sermon that I hope to write a little about before the end of the week.

The Tenacity of Dogs, part one.

Stray dogs demonstrate remarkable skills at staying alive.

Before I start, a big word of thanks to Paul Gilding who passed this story to me.  Apart from reading Paul’s powerful book, The Great Disruption, and exchanging a couple of emails, he doesn’t know me from Adam.  But the fact that this undoubtedly busy man (his book has been a great success) not only responded to an earlier email from me and then dropped me a note to say that I might enjoy the following article, says a great deal about the integrity of the person.

The article, from the website The Dog Files, is about Moscow’s stray dogs.  I’m taking the liberty of reproducing it in full.

Each morning, like clockwork, they board the subway, off to begin their daily routine amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

But these aren’t just any daily commuters. These are stray dogs who live in the outskirts of Moscow Russia and commute on the underground trains to and from the city centre in search of food scraps.

Then after a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

Experts studying the dogs, who usually choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train, say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop – after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train.

Scientists believe this phenomenon began after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, and Russia’s new capitalists moved industrial complexes from the city centre to the suburbs.

Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, said: “These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the dogs had to move together with their houses. Because the best scavenging for food is in the city centre, the dogs had to learn how to travel on the subway – to get to the centre in the morning, then back home in the evening, just like people.”

Dr Poiarkov told how the dogs like to play during their daily commute. He said: “They jump on the train seconds before the doors shut, risking their tails getting jammed. They do it for fun. And sometimes they fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop.”

The dogs have also amazingly learned to use traffic lights to cross the road safely, said Dr Poiarkov. And they use cunning tactics to obtain tasty morsels of shawarma, a kebab-like snack popular in Moscow.

With children the dogs “play cute” by putting their heads on youngsters’ knees and staring pleadingly into their eyes to win sympathy – and scraps.

Dr Poiarkov added: “Dogs are surprisingly good psychologists.”

By Elaine Furst for Dog Files

Now had this been a normal day then I would have had the time to complete this story about the tenacity of dogs.  But a failed wireless modem earlier today (Thursday) meant the loss of too many hours fighting technology.  It was all sorted just a little before 5pm.  It is now 6.15 pm and dinner is ready and, frankly, my brain is too tired to continue.

So stay with this fascinating story about stray dogs as I continue it tomorrow (Saturday, 20th.).

Why we have cats and dogs!

Author Sue Miller perfectly articulates our relationship with dogs and cats.

As a rest to the number of non-fiction books that I have been reading over the past few months, Jean recommended a novel she recently finished, While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller.  It’s featured on Oprah’s Book Club, from which I quote,

About the Book

A decade ago she put a face on every mother’s worst nightmare with her phenomenal best-seller The Good Mother. Now, Sue Miller delivers a spellbinding novel of love and betrayal that explores what it means to be a good wife.

In the summer of 1968, Jo Becker ran out on the marriage and the life her parents wanted for her, and escaped–for one beautiful, idyllic year–into a life that was bohemian and romantic, living under an assumed name in a rambling group house in Cambridge. It was a time of limitless possibility, but it ended in a single instant when Jo returned home one night to find her best friend lying dead in a pool of blood on the living room floor.

Now Jo has everything she’s ever wanted: a veterinary practice she loves, a devoted husband, three grown daughters, a beautiful Massachusetts farmhouse. And if occasionally she feels a stranger to herself and wonders what happened to the freedom she once felt, or how she came to be the wife, mother, and doctor her neighbors know and trust–if at times she feels as if her whole life is vanishing behind her as she’s living it–she need only look at her daughters or her husband, Daniel, to recall the satisfactions of family and community and marriage.

But when an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo’s life begins to unravel: seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.

While I Was Gone is an exquisitely suspenseful novel about how quickly and casually a marriage can be destroyed, how a good wife can find herself placing all she holds dear at risk. In expert strokes, Sue Miller captures the precariousness of even the strongest ties, the ease with which we abandon each other, and our need to be forgiven. An extraordinary book, her best, from a beloved American writer.

Have to say that even though there’s an obvious gender difference between me, the heroine and the author, I found the book tough reading , as in emotional, from time to time.  Especially, the euthanasia of Arthur the dog towards the end of Chapter 7 – Jo is a vet.  A few paragraphs I just couldn’t read .  But then on page 137 in Chapter 8, comes this,

Pure bliss.

I stood in the center of the yard for a moment and tilted my head back to let the soft snow touch my face.  The dogs pranced and rolled for pure joy in the pale, gray-brown light.  They chased each other wildly.  I made snowballs and threw them; the dogs leapt and bit at where they’d disappeared.  As they played, their muzzles whitened, their paws pilled up.

I left them reluctantly and came back in.  Watson trailed me around as I did my chores, watching me soberly.  I shut him out of the cat room, where we had only two boarders.  I let one of them out to roam and use the litter pan while I checked its cage.  I put more food down.  Then I went back out and worked my way through the dogs’ cages.  Two of them had had accidents, so I cleaned up and changed their bedding.  Several of them had their own food, in cans – those dishes needed to be washed.  Water refreshed, kibbles set out for the others.

I went to the cat room, put the first cat back and let the other one out.  Then I called the reluctant dogs in.  Watson greeted each one like a tiny worried mother, licking at their snow, fussing about how they smelled.  Slowly I recaged them.  I released Lucky and let him go outside for his solitary run while I refilled his food and water dishes.  Three dogs needed medications.  I put the last cat back in, called Lucky inside, locked up.

And while I did all this, I thought only of them, of the dogs and cats, of their requests for affection, of their comical or passionate relationships to one another, of the performance of their bodily functions.  I was taken up by them and their life and energy, by what they needed and asked of me.  I let go of everything difficult or complex in my life.

It reminded me of my days at Dr. Moran’s, caring for the dogs and cats he boarded and treated.  It reminded me of what a comfort it had been to me, even just physical escape into the lives of animals.  As I was driving home, I thought of all this, and it seemed to me that I’d chosen work which offered me daily the presence of pure innocence, a forgiveness for all my human flaws.

the presence of pure innocence, a forgiveness for all my human flaws Impossible to add anything; so I won’t!