Tag: Reflections

Sorry to repeat myself, but ..

… I just want you to know something!

That is how grateful I am to all of you followers of Learning from Dogs.  Every single one of you.

It seemed just yesterday that I wrote a post offering my gratitude that there were now 1,000 followers of my humble scribblings.  In fact, the post was dated the 12th May.

Yesterday afternoon the number of dear followers had risen to 1,085. Amazing!

But here’s the reason I’m writing this.

The vast majority of followers are bloggers themselves.  It’s easy for me to pop along to ‘their place’ and leave a thank-you note.

But in recent days, there have been a number of new subscribers who are not bloggers and that makes it almost impossible for me to say ‘thank you’ directly.

So to those new subscribers who are not bloggers, and everyone else: Thank You!

Hazel sends her thanks!
Hazel sends her thanks!

Picture parade fifty-six

Some people just keep going.

In last week’s picture parade, I featured my mother swimming up at Secesh Reservoir near Wolf Creek.  There were many lovely comments and it made my mother’s day to read all your kind words.  I also mentioned that my mother was determined to take a swim in our nearby Rogue River and that it would be featured in today’s picture parade.

So here are those pictures.

The Rogue River at Matson Country Park.
The Rogue River at Matson County Park.

Matson Park is not far from Grants Pass here in Oregon and has the great advantage of offering a beach, albeit a stony beach, that makes entry into the water easier.

Gingerly wading in.
Gingerly wading in.

Jean had to lend my mother her shoes as the river bed was pretty stony.

Right out in mid-river!
Right out in mid-river!

Luckily the lack of recent rains meant that the river was flowing much more gently than would be usual.

Just keeping abreast of the current.
Just keeping abreast of the current.

Yet even with the low volume of water flowing by, the current was a good three to four miles-per-hour and Mum was only able to stay local to us by vigorously swimming upstream.

Another swimming 'tick in the box'.
Another swimming ‘tick in the box’.

Very soon it made sense to return to the beach. What a remarkable lady she is!

Last morning together.

Soon the day came round for Mum to return to London.  This picture was taken just before we left for Medford Airport.

Little piece of nostalgia.
Little piece of nostalgia.

Finally, to close today’s post, here’s a photograph of Mum’s Great Uncle.  Believed to have been taken around 1930, Uncle Foreman was the baker in the small village of West Malling in Kent, South-East England.

Picture parade fifty-five.

This takes some beating!

Many of you will know that Elizabeth, my mother from North-West London, is staying with us for a short while.  Last Friday, it was decided to drive the 20 miles to the North and along Speaker Road into BLM land and thence up to Secesh Reservoir.  This beautiful spot was previously written about in June when we first went to find Secesh.  It seemed a perfect spot to take my mother.

Secesh Reservoir.
Secesh Reservoir.

What neither Jean nor I had anticipated was that my mother was determined to swim in Secesh; the remote reservoir is at an altitude of 2,870 feet.

Checking out the best way in!
Checking out the best way in!


Gently does it!
Gently does it!


And away we go!
And away we go!




And safely back to the shore.
And safely back to the shore.


Jean expressing her love and admiration.
Jean expressing her love and admiration.


All good things come to a close.
All good things come to a close.


Pity about the traffic noise! ;-)
Pity about the traffic noise! 😉

Oh, nearly forgot to mention that Elizabeth was born in 1919! That’s 94, by the way!

As I said in the sub-title, this takes some beating!

Just to focus our minds.

One blink of the eye and we’re gone.

Or that’s how it struck me!

Just to put this into context, if you watched the George Monbiot speech that was the highlight of my post last Tuesday, The Goon Show, you might well have been forgiven for wondering if these are starting to feel like the end-times for species homo sapiens.

Almost perfectly on cue, on Monday, John Hurlburt down in Payson, AZ., sent me the following.   It does make one think!

Time Required for the Earth to Heal if the Human Race Disappeared Today

Time Required for the Earth to Heal if the Human Race Disappeared Today.
Time Required for the Earth to Heal if the Human Race Disappeared Today.

(While John over the telephone read out the URL that was the source of this ‘chart’, I was unable to link to it. Thus apologies for not recognising the author.)

Then if you are up for more of the same theme, here’s a film that will ‘entertain’ you.

Published on Sep 2, 2012
What will happen when humans disappear from the face of the Earth? This movie will certain make you think about the impact we have made on this beautiful planet. But when humans are gone… Earth does continue.

Imagine if one minute from now, every single person on Earth disappeared. All 6.6 billion of us. What would happen to the world without humans?
How long would it be before our nuclear power plants erupted, skyscrapers crumbled and satellites dropped from the sky?
What would become of the household pets and farm animals? And could an ecosystem plagued with years of pollution ever recover?

Similar to the History Channel’s special Life After People (recommended), Aftermath features what scientists and others speculate the earth, animal life, and plant life might be like if humanity no longer existed, as well as the effect that humanity’s disappearance would have on the artefacts of civilisation.

FAIR USE NOTICE: The material on this channel is provided solely for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Infringement of copyright is not intended. The material is made available to help educate people about health related issues. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17, section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The material is distributed without profit to those who would like to use such material for research and educational purposes.

Sleep well tonight!

New LfD followers.

I write because of you!

Over this day, the number of subscribers to Learning from Dogs has gone from 1,048 to 1,052!

Usually when a new person opts to follow these scribblings of mine, I have the opportunity to email them or go to their own blog and leave a note of grateful thanks.

But for reasons unknown, these recent new subscribers have signed up ‘anonymously’!

So whoever you are, I want you to know that readers and subscribers are the only reasons this blog has gone on for more than five years.

I write because of you!

Thank you!


Five years old!

A part of me really can’t believe it!

Yes, on the 15th July, 2009, I published my first post!  Five years ago today!  That first post was called Parenting lessons from dogs; a shortish post that I republish now.

Much too late to make me realise the inadequacies of my own parenting skills, I learnt an important lesson when training my GSD (who is called Pharaoh, by the way).  That is that putting more emphasis into praise and reward for getting it right ‘trains’ the dog much quicker than telling it off.  The classic example is scolding a dog for running off when it should be lots of hugs and praise for returning home.  The scolding simply teaches the dog that returning home isn’t pleasant whereas praise reinforces that home is the place to be.  Like so many things in life, very obvious once understood!

Absolutely certain that it works with youngsters just the same way.

Despite being a very dominant dog, Pharaoh showed his teaching ability when working with other dogs.  In the UK there is an amazing woman, Angela Stockdale, who has proved that dogs (and horses) learn most effectively when being taught by other dogs (and horses).  Pharaoh was revealed to be a Beta Dog, (i.e. second in status below the Alpha Dog) and, therefore, was able to use his natural pack instinct to teach puppy dogs their social skills and to break up squabbles within a pack.

When you think about it, don’t kids learn much more (often to our chagrin!) from other kids than they do from their parents.  Still focusing on giving more praise than punishment seems like a much more effective strategy.

As was read somewhere, Catch them in the act of doing Right!

According to my stats page, Learning from Dogs has accumulated 1,000,624 viewings, with a ‘best-ever’ of 3,980 for Trust me, I’m an engineer, courtesy of Bob Derham in March, 2013. A total of 2,125 posts have been published.  Plus, it has been a wonderful journey for yours truly with ever so many great connections made across the world of blogging over these last five years.  As evidenced by the rest of today’s post.

Regular readers will have seen comments from Alex Jones.  He is a Brit living in Colchester, Essex in England and is the author of the blog The Liberated Way.  He and I follow each other’s blogs.

Recently, Alex posted under the title of Relating business to planet earth and these are Alex’s last two paragraphs.

I discover my values and personal insights from how I react to what I see and experience in the world around me. I reacted in anger at the greed and vanity of money investors in business ideas in the US reality television series Shark Tank on YouTube. I reacted in dismay at the wasteful stupidity portrayed in a video on consumerism: people queuing for a week to get hold of the latest iPhone, whose only enhancement from the last was its colour; IKEA marketing telling consumers to throw out perfectly good possessions; Apple designing a new type of screw on its smartphones in order to prevent people repairing damaged phones, thus encouraging waste; the extensive scams brands go to called obsolescence to make objects the consumer buys break quickly increasing waste and needless replacement. The contempt the modern economic paradigm has to this planet is at odds with our human ancestors, and at odds with my worldview.

I am part of a new business paradigm, where I can compete against rivals on equal terms with innovation and clever strategies, but where I care for the planet earth in the same manner as I cared for the grasshopper this morning and my oak saplings. In thinking on these matters in the garden this morning, my garden fox Amber appeared, yawned, then went to sleep in the sun.

Two days ago, another blogger signed up to follow this place.  He writes under the name of Cully and his blog is Ahaa. As I always do, I went across to take a look at Cully’s blog, liked what I saw, especially this ‘header’ post on Gaia.  Very promptly I was given permission to republish that post here.



It’s Time To Stop Living On The Earth and Start Cohabitating With Her – The Earth is a Sentient Living Organism

We are saturated with information and we are used to clipping and selecting segments of what news is thrown our way every day. We can process very little of it for use later on and it is well known that we only see ‘pertinent’ information as information that already supports our existing belief system. This narrow mindset is one of the main reasons why things don’t change. It is why we are happy to listen to shallow news, we simply don’t have time to do anything else. In this we kid ourselves we really don’t need to know which celebrity is dealing with addiction or changing partners.

On this page we hope to introduce a topic that will inspire you to contemplate, even meditate on its importance.

Gaia is more widely accepted now than when it was first introduced, and you’re not being asked to believe it wholesale and certainly not see it as a part of the New Age or hippy movement. Hopefully though whatever you think about our planet you will find it to be a useful platform to consider AND TAKE ACTION on the health of the environment that we are leaving our children.

It is easy …as with all the other scares that we hear about every day to think that we are too small, or that it is a governmental or corporate problem, so why spend any time considering it.

Whatever your particular mindset, Gaia related activities will become increasingly connected and important to leaving a beautiful world behind us. The study of planetary habitability is partly based upon extrapolation from knowledge of the Earth’s conditions, as the Earth is the only planet currently known to harbour life

The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.

The hypothesis, which is named after the Greek goddess Gaia, was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in subjects such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science. In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.

It will take an enormous amount of time to create a menu that covers everything related to Gaia, please be patient or if the time help out in any small way that you can 🙂


[If you haven’t watched this BBC programme about James Lovelock and his history of scientific understanding about how our planet works then settle down and watch it.  I assure you that you will be entranced. PH]


What can I say!

Other than to be extremely grateful for the opportunity to ramble on and make so many good friends, WordPress style, over these last five years.

Thank you.

Time waits for no man!

The coming weeks are going to see some repeats!

In yesterday’s post, I closed it by saying “More on the theme tomorrow.”  What I had in mind was writing about a recent essay that I read; courtesy of Naked Capitalism.  However, the essay struck me as of such interest that it should be republished in full. Thus I sent off a request for permission to so do.  Hopefully, permission granted in time for me to publish the essay tomorrow (and see my note later on).

That then gave me the opportunity to explain my situation for the next few weeks.

In short, as a result of a number of guests coming to stay with us from the end of July right through to the end of September, the hours that I spend pleasurably preparing and writing posts for Learning from Dogs are going to be under some pressure.

For instance!

Ahead of the arrival of our first set of guests, my mother from London and my sister from Tokyo, it has been decided to renovate the guest bathroom by upgrading the wash-basin. Naturally, something yours truly wants to do himself! (Don’t believe me? See the following photo!)


Of course, as well as still not speaking American, I’m a very long way from speaking American plumbing!  I mean fancy going into a builder’s store and asking for a set of taps.

So how does one connect the hot and cold water to these taps!
So how does one connect the hot and cold water to these taps!

I looked at what the store attendant had placed in front of me and said, “No, I don’t mean that sort of tap, I mean a tap for a bathroom basin.”

Oh, you mean force-it!“, replied the attendant.

(Now how did this attendant know that my tool of choice for jobs around the house was a 2-pound club hammer!)

“Of course,” I replied, “You Americans call them faucets!”

So you get the message!

(By the way, the permission to republish the article from The Automatic Earth just came through – just 12 minutes after I sent off my email request – great service, peeps.)

Plus there’s another distraction! Even more bizarre than pretending to be an American plumber!  I am pretending to be an American author!

I have returned to writing the book!

Long-term readers of this blog (you crazy lot) will recall that last November I signed up for NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  From that accomplishment has flowed a number of very positive outcomes.  One of them was being contacted by a company specialising in self-publishing.  I was told that really before I get started in earnest, I need to set out a clear idea of what I am writing about and the audience I have in mind.  I called it my Statement of Purpose and after a number of weeks of being amended and revised (huge thanks to Jon and John for their help) it was finally completed just a week ago.  Here are the opening sections:

Learning from Dogs

the book.

Statement of Purpose v1.51


We live in very challenging times.

It seems rare these days to meet someone who doesn’t sense, to one degree or another, a feeling of vulnerability to today’s world. A sense that many aspects of their lives are beyond their control.

These are also times where it is widely acknowledged that the levers of privilege, power and money are undermining the rights and needs of so many. A feeling of unprecedented levels of deceit, lying and greed.

Then there’s the subject of climate change and the “end-of-world” sword just waiting to descend on us all; the so-called beat of the butterfly’s wing!

Yes, these are challenging times. As we are incessantly reminded by the drumbeat of the doom-and-gloom news industry every hour, frequently every half-hour, throughout the day. A symphony of negative energy.

Yet right next to us is a world of positive energy. The world of dogs. A canine world full of love and trust, playfulness and relaxation. A way of living that is both clear and straightforward; albeit far from being simple. As anyone will know who has seen the way dogs interact with each other and with us humans.

In other words, dogs offer endless examples of positive behaviours. The wonderful power of compassion for self, and others, and of loving joy. The way to live that we humans crave for. A life full of hope and positive energy that keeps the power of negativity at bay.

Reading audience

The book is written by ‘an ordinary bloke’, not by someone who has a specialist or professional understanding in the areas of mind and behaviour. The author is no different to the majority of people out there and, presumably, the majority of potential readers.

Readers who feel the weight of all that ‘doom-and-gloom’ and general negativity that seems to be in the air. Yet, readers who desire a positive, compassionate attitude to their own life, and to the lives of the people around them. Almost certainly readers who are animal lovers, in general, and dog lovers in particular.

Copyright (©) 2014 Paul Handover. All rights reserved.

The clarity provided by the above has been fantastic and I am now firmly committed to writing something, however small in words, each day.

Yet another drag on my blogging time; I regret.

So if over the coming weeks you read something that strikes you as familiar it may be because I have reposted the item from previous years.  Or if there seems to be a string of posts that have been republished from elsewhere, then at least you will understand.

Of course even better would be for you, my dear reader, to send me stuff or point me towards material you think others would enjoy.  Or write a guest post! 🙂  Now that would be splendid!

Fountains of wisdom

Irrespective of the author, it’s always the words that count.

Just recently, a very good friend of this blog sent me a wonderful and inspiring set of words attributed to George Carlin.

As is usual, I took a quick dip into the internet to learn more about how these words came to be.  I soon came upon the Snopes website and their page The Paradox of Our Time.

Here’s what I read:

In May 1998, Jeff Dickson posted the ‘Paradox of Our Time’ essay to his Hacks-R-Us online forum, loosing it upon the Internet. That essay has since spread far and wide and has commonly been attributed to a variety authors, including comedian George Carlin, an unnamed Columbine High School student, the Dalai Lama, and that most prolific of scribes, Anonymous!

George Carlin very emphatically denied he had had anything to do with “Paradox,” a piece he referred to as “a sappy load of shit,” and posted his comments about being associated with this essay on his own web site. (The line about “His wife recently died” which was added to many forwarded versions referenced Brenda Carlin, the comedian’s wife, who passed away on 11 May 1997 of liver cancer. Carlin himself died in June 2008.)

The true author of the piece isn’t George Carlin, Jeff Dickson, or the Dalai Lama, nor is he anonymous. Credit belongs to Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church (who retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post). This essay appeared under the title “The Paradox of Our Age” in Words Aptly Spoken, Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.

Now, of course, what is presented on the Snopes webpage also may not be correct. But does it really matter? No!

What matters are the words themselves and the ability of words to inspire us and change the way we think about our lives.  So with that, here are those words.


The Paradox of Our Age

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how making a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…


I chose to share this with you. (Dear reader, feel free to share this as well!)

That good friend also included some of his own wisdoms.

  • Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
  • Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
  • Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
  • Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
  • Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment. For someday that person will not be there again.
  • Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


  • Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

See you all tomorrow.

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.