It seemed very appropriate to republish this post that first appeared in March, 2014.
Hazel – our dog number six.
Last week Jean wrote about Casey. Slight difference this week in the sense that both Jean and I equally know the story of how Hazel came into our lives. So you are stuck with me today for the story of Hazel.
I first met Jean in Mexico; namely, in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico to be precise. Just a few days before Christmas, 2007. At that time, Jean had 16 dogs, all of them rescues off the streets in and around San Carlos. Jean was well-known for rescuing Mexican feral dogs.
In September, 2008 I travelled out to Mexico, via London-Los Angeles, with my Pharaoh. Jean and I have been together ever since. In February, 2010, because we wanted to be married and to be married in the USA, we moved from San Carlos to Payson, in Arizona; some 80 miles North-East of Phoenix.
One morning, just a few days before we were due permanently to leave San Carlos and move our animals and belongings the 513 miles (827 km) to Payson, AZ, Jean went outside the front of the San Carlos house to find a very lost and disorientated black dog alone on the dusty street. The dog was a female who in the last few weeks had given birth to puppies that had been weaned. Obvious to Jean because the dog’s teats were still somewhat extended.
The dog had been abandoned outside in the street. A not uncommon happening because many of the local Mexicans knew of Jean’s rescues over many years and when they wanted to abandon a dog it was done outside Jean’s house. The poor people of San Carlos sometimes resorted to selling the puppies for a few Pesos and casting the mother dog adrift.
Of course the dog was taken in and we named her Hazel. Right from Day One Hazel was the most delightful, loving dog and quickly attached herself to me.
Of all the dogs that we have here at home, and, trust me, many are extremely loving, my relationship with Hazel is precious beyond description. She is in Pharaoh’s ‘group’ (Pharaoh, Hazel, Cleo, Sweeny and Dhalia) [NB: Dhalia died in April, 2014] so sleeps in our bedroom at night. Most nights Hazel is tucked up against me.
Plus frequently during the day Hazel will take an interest in what I am doing, as the next photograph illustrates.
Very little more that can be said without the risk of repeating myself.
If ever one wanted an example of the unconditional love that a dog can offer a human, then Hazel is that example.
I was clearing my desk yesterday (yet again) and came across an article that I wrote in 2007. It’s a message of love; the love of a dog for a human. But before going to that article, look at the photo below. It’s a wonderful example of the joy of having Pharaoh in my life. It was taken in July 2006 at the airfield in Devon, SW England, where a group of us shared a Piper Super Cub, about which I wrote in Learning from Dogs in August 2009.
If you think Pharaoh is smiling, I’m not going to argue with you. First time in the Cub, first time strapped in to the rear seat, everything utterly strange and Pharaoh is clearly more joyful than the pilot!
Anyway, to the article. I wrote it in September, 2007, based on something that was sent to me from an unknown author, and modified to reflect the special relationship that I had, and still have, with my then four-year-old German Shepherd, Pharaoh.
I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear.
I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear.
I know that you humans lead 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 much too fast, often never noticing the truly grand things in life.
Look down at me now. 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 wrongdoing for just a simple moment of your time?
That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, and be with me.
So many times, you have been saddened by others of my kind, passing on. Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, so suddenly it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age so 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. 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 to 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, to be there for you always.
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 of your quirkiness, and I love you still.
So come sit with me on the floor. 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.
Just three months after writing the above, on December 17th, 2007, I flew in to Hemosillo Airport in Mexico to spend Christmas with Suzann, sister of dear friend Dan Gomez, and her husband Don down in the coastal town of San Carlos. That’s when I met Jean, leading to me and Jean falling in love. Jean then came to England and I came back to Mexico in June, 2008. In September, 2008 Pharaoh and I left England permanently and travelled out to San Carlos to be with Jean and her dogs. In February, 2010, Jean and I, Pharaoh and twelve other dogs, and six cats all moved to Payson, Arizona.
In November, 2010 Jean and I were married. So the miracle for me and Pharaoh is that when I wrote that piece back in 2007 this most beautiful future was yet to unfold. I never miss a day when I don’t, “… come sit with me on the floor. 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.” Now not just with Pharaoh but with Hazel, Dhalia, Sweeny, Casey, Loopy, Lilly, Ruby, and all the other beautiful dog souls.
Some recent published research shows just how far back goes man’s relationship with the domesticated dog!
First, a big thank you to Merci O. who originally sent me the link to the item that I will refer to later on. But first, a recap as to the origins of this Blog Learning from Dogs.
Way back in 2007 I was working with a good friend of mine who lives in SW England who, professionally, makes good use of the philosophies of Dr. David Hawkins. David Hawkins has written a number of books including Truth vs Falsehood: How to Tell the Difference which I read a few years ago and found very convincing. Here’s how Amazon describes the book,
The exploration into the truth of man’s activities is unique, intriguing, and provocative. From a new perspective, one quickly grasps the levels of truth expressed by the media, the arts, writers, painters, architecture, movies, TV, politics, and war, as well as academia and the greatest thinkers and philosophies through the ages and up to present-day science and advanced theories of the nature of the universe. Most importantly, the ego and its structure are revealed to facilitate the understanding of religious and spiritual truths expressed by the mystics and enlightened sages over the centuries. It becomes apparent why the human mind, unaided, has been intrinsically incapable of discerning truth from falsehood. A simple test is described that, in seconds, can solve riddles that have been irresolvable by mankind for centuries. This book delivers far more than it promises.
Reveals a breakthrough in documenting a new era of human knowledge. Only in the last decade has a science of Truth emerged that, for the first time in human history, enables the discernment of truth from falsehood. Presented are discoveries of an enormous amount of crucial and significant information of great importance to mankind, along with calibrations of historical events, cultures, spiritual leaders, media, and more.
A science of consciousness developed which revealed that degrees of truth reflect concordant calibratable levels of consciousness on a scale of 1 to 1,000. When this verifiable test of truth was applied to multiple aspects of society (movies, art, politics, music, sociology, religion, scientific theories, spirituality, philosophy, everyday Americana, and all the countries of the world), the results were startling.
Trust me, I am (slowly) getting to the point!
Dr. Hawkins created a ‘map’ of those calibrated levels of consciousness, see details of that map here. Also, it wasn’t too difficult to find a plain B&W version on the Web, reproduced below.
As you can see when you study the map, the boundary between ‘truth’ and ‘falsehood’ is the calibrated level of 200, the blue line in the above described as ‘The beginning of integrity’.
Anyway, back to my psychotherapy friend, Jon, in SW England. When I used to visit him, I always had Pharaoh with me and he would settle down behind my chair and let the human talk just flow over him, happy at some dog level to be included.
One day Jon was talking about the different levels on consciousness and looked over at Pharaoh asleep on the floor and said, “Do you that dogs are integrous!” I responded that I didn’t know that, please tell me more.
Jon continued, “Yes, dogs have been calibrated as having a level of consciousness in the zone of 205 to 210.”
Wow! What a revelation, that in a way didn’t strike me as foolish. After 4 years of having Pharaoh as my companion, qualities such as unconditional love towards me, trust, courage, integrity and forgiveness were an obvious part of his character. See where those levels and emotions appear on the map above.
Later back home, I was idly browsing domain names and saw that ‘learningfromdogs’ was available! Little did I realise then that in September 2008, Pharaoh and I would move out to live with Jeannie and her 12 other dogs in San Carlos, Mexico and subsequently in February, 2010, all of us move to Payson, Arizona. I started writing the Blog Learning from Dogs on July 15th, 2009 when still down in Mexico.
Still awake out there? 🙂
As part of my research into the domesticated dog in the early days of putting the Blog together, I explored the science behind the separation, or perhaps better described as the evolution, of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) from the wolf (Canis lupus). That the domesticated dog was originally a form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.
It was clear that scientists were divided on when this happened. Some argue it occurred 100,000 years ago, others that it was a far more recent development, closer to 15,000 years ago. I wrote here under the heading of Dogs and Integrity,
Dogs are part of the Canidae, a family including wolves, coyotes and foxes, thought to have evolved 60 million years ago. There is no hard evidence about when dogs and man came together but dogs were certainly around when man developed speech and set out from Africa, about 50,000 years ago. See an interesting article by Dr. George Johnson.
On the Home Page, I say,
Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years. That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man.
Those words were more of an instinctive assessment than based on hard science. Now we have the science!
by Anne Ryman – Jan. 24, 2012 11:33 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Dogs have been “man’s best friend” longer than any other animal. And, as it turns out, longer than previously thought.
A pair of research papers published in the past few years, one most recently by a team that includes the University of Arizona, significantly pushes back the timeline for domestication of dogs from about 14,000 years ago to more than 30,000 years ago.
Researchers at UA and universities in England and the Netherlands used radiocarbon dating to determine that the skull of a Siberian dog was about 33,000 years old. Slightly older dog remains were identified in Belgium a few years ago by a separate research team.
The two findings indicate the process of domestication was occurring in separate regions at a time when early humans, including Neanderthals, in Europe and Siberia were small-group hunter-gatherers. About 14,000 years ago, Neanderthals were gone and humans were more mobile, living and hunting in larger groups.
The latest study’s co-author, UA professor Gregory Hodgins, said the finding broadens the timeline of humans interacting with the natural world. While humans have depended on animals since the dawn of the human species, domestication of animals indicates a symbiotic relationship between the two.
“It suggests living in close quarters and some sort of emotional bond,” he said.
Then just a couple of paragraphs later, came confirmation of my speculative position,
Before the most recent discoveries in Siberia and Belgium, the first signs of dog domestication appeared about 14,000 years ago. At some point, humans began relying on dogs for things like protection, hunting and companionship.
Dogs allowed humans to become a different, more effective predator, said Michael Barton, an Arizona State University anthropology professor who was not a co-author of either recent study. A dog’s keen sense of smell allowed humans to track animals better.
“They give us an edge,” he said.
The article closes,
The UA research on dogs was published recently in Public Library of Science One, a peer-reviewed journal. The team included scientists in Russia, Canada, England and the Netherlands. Research on the Belgian dog was published in 2008 in the Journal of Archeological Science.
It really is worth reading in full and a brilliant find by Merci. It may be entirely the case that without dogs man could not have evolved beyond hunter-gatherers to farmers.
Way back before I came into Jean’s life, or perhaps I should expand on that by saying way before Pharaoh and I came into the life of Jean, her 12 dogs and 6 cats, Jean had come across a feral litter of pups.
This was in 1998 when Jean was living with her husband, Ben, in San Carlos, Sonora State, Mexico. Jean had already been rescuing feral dogs for a number of years. This litter of four puppies had been born underneath a trailer parked on a dirt road near Ben and Jean’s house. They were all cute, healthy little pups and Jean quickly found homes for three of them. However, the fourth had ended up being taken in by Jean and Ben and named Sammy.
The picture below shows Jean holding Sammy when she was around 3 months old.
Thus, as it does for all of us, time passed to the point where last Friday, Sammy’s back legs had become so arthritic that she was unable to walk without a great deal of pain and, at the grand old age of 13 1/2, it was time for her to go to that big dog prairie in the sky.
For Jean especially, this was a tough loss as Ben had loved Sammy so much. Sammy was the most sweet and gentle of dogs. I know that all of you who have had experience of putting a dog or cat to sleep will share the angst that Jean endured last Friday.
Thank you Sammy for being such a loving animal throughout your entire life.
We had to put one of our dogs to sleep on Friday, not a GSD, but one of Jean’s rescued dogs from way back. At this moment in time (11am US Mountain Time, Saturday) I’m writing a piece about this wonderful dog that will appear tomorrow.
Thus not in the mood to post my usual light-hearted item for a Sunday. So I resorted to looking up an appropriate dog video on YouTube.
Came across this,
Of course, that reminded me of how precious our Pharaoh is and it only took a few moments to find a couple of earlier pics of him.
Here’s Pharaoh the day I collected him from GSD breeders Jutone‘s in Dartmoor, SW England. That’s Sandra Tucker, the owner of Jutone, with Pharaoh; the date being 12th August 2003 when Pharaoh was then just over 8 weeks old.
The next photograph was taken on the 11th March, 2008 at London’s Heathrow Airport. The occasion being the time that Jean came across to England from her home in Mexico. Jean came to see if the romance that had blossomed between us at Christmas in 2007 in San Carlos, Mexico was alive and well. Luckily, it was!
Thus it came to pass that in September, 2008, Pharaoh and I travelled out from Devon, England to Mexico where we lived until February, 2010, when Jean and I, Pharaoh and 12 other dogs and 6 cats relocated to Payson, Arizona.
The brown dog with her head nestled against my chest is Loopy. Like Phoebe, the black dog looking at the camera, they are dogs that Jean originally had rescued in Mexico.
Here’s Loopy’s story.
When I first met Jean in December 2007 in San Carlos, Mexico, it was immediately clear that she was an animal lover extraordinaire! There were 13 dogs and 6 cats in her home and many other dogs in a fenced off compound not so far away from the house.
Abandoned and stray dogs in that part of Mexico were numerous, there was no humane society and no real care or interest from the Mexicans for these dogs. So many years ago, Jean decided to run her own unofficial dog rescue society, supported by more than a few Americans who had winter homes in San Carlos. Over the years, Jeannie and her team must have rescued and found homes for well over 50 dogs.
In my introduction to the post last Tuesday, Please Help a George, I wrote about how long it had taken for Loopy to bond with me, but Jean’s experience of Loopy goes way back before I entered their lives.
I mentioned above that Jean had a piece of land in San Carlos that she used as a rescue compound for her dogs. One morning, back in 2003, as usual she had gone to the compound to attend to her dogs. Jeannie noticed immediately, cowering in one corner, this young female, brown-haired dog, the dog had been tossed over the fence of the compound. Jean estimated that she was about a year old, hadn’t yet had any pups. The dog had very cold eyes, growled aggressively as soon as Jean approached her; clearly deeply traumatised.
Jean set out food and water before the dog, hoping that whatever had traumatised the dog would soon abate. The dog was named: Loopy!
Despite the fact that Loopy wouldn’t mix with the other dogs in the compound, she was not mean. But the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and still Loopy would not allow Jean to get close to her. One could only imagine the degree of cruelty that must have been metered out to Loopy – or, rather, one couldn’t imagine it!
Then, one day, when Jean went to the compound, Loopy was amongst the other dogs. Loopy cautiously came up to Jean, sniffed her feet and legs and then, miraculously, allowed Jean to gently stroke her head and back. Loopy’s cold, angry eyes were now soft and brown; Loopy had melted. For obvious reasons, Loopy would never be available for adoption and soon moved into the main house.
When I became a permanent part of the Mexican household in 2008, Loopy was deeply suspicious of me. I was given the cold, hard-eyed stare from Loopy and any attempt by me to touch her was returned with growling, fanged teeth. There were a number of instances where I collected teeth rips across my hands from Loopy.
The aggression towards me lasted a long time, about a year. But then one day, quite unexpectedly, Loopy decided that I was friend, not some reminder of a demon foe from her past. She trusted me, first with strokes and cuddles and then with the most passionate and trusting embraces. I love her so much.
One could wax lyrical about love, patience and trust, but I won’t. The photograph below says it all. We really do have so much to learn from dogs!