Tag: Sandra Tucker

The day after.

Trying to cope.

This is a very personal, possibly rather mixed-up, set of reflections of how the day after Pharaoh died felt for me. Some of you may prefer not to read this or view the photos.

I sat down to write this, late morning Tuesday, as it was becoming too hot to stay outside. I felt inspired to be 100% honest about my feelings and the photographs are, in essence, copies of the pictures that are in my head.

I woke early yesterday, a little after 4am, and started listening to BBC Radio Four using ear-phones plugged into my tablet while Jeannie slept on.

But I couldn’t get the images of Monday out of my head. Such that it seemed unreal to think that less than thirty-six hours previously Pharaoh was sleeping quietly near his bed, albeit unable to walk on his own.

Then, in what seemed like the flick of a finger, Jeannie was offering Pharaoh my dinner plate Monday evening.

For every evening, unless we had eaten a very spicy meal, Pharaoh always licked my plate clean.

A routine that had gone on for years.

I lay there in bed as 1pm arrived in England (5am PDT) and BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting The World At One. Despite the gloomy headlines still focusing on that terrible fire at the Grenfell Tower in London (not three miles from where I was born in 1944), the images of Monday kept thundering into my consciousness.

How dear friend, Jim Goodbrod, and I had driven into Allen Creek Veterinary Hospital, where Jim is a visiting DVM each week, to collect the required amount of euthanasia drug (apparently just 1 c.c. for every 10 lbs of animal weight – looking at it in the syringe it seemed such a small amount of fluid to bring an end to Pharaoh’s life.)

Then over breakfast, as in Tuesday morning, Jean said how difficult it was watching Pharaoh yesterday (Monday) when Jim and I were away getting the meds because it seemed to her that Pharaoh sensed something was happening outside the run of a normal morning.

Continuing with Monday. When Jim returned, accompanied by his wife, Janet, and knelt down to examine Pharaoh his analysis was that the time was right. Pharaoh had lost massive amounts of muscle tissue from his rear legs and hips.

It was time. Jean and I settled down sitting on the floor alongside Pharaoh’s bed. Pharaoh shifted his body and placed his wonderful, furry head across my outstretched legs. It was time.

Jim injected Pharaoh with an anesthetic. Slowly, gently Pharaoh fell fast asleep. Jim shaved a patch of fur from Pharaoh’s front, right lower leg.  Janet pinched a vein in Pharaoh’s leg and moments later, Jim injected the euthanasia drug. Jean and I continued to stroke Pharaoh’s forehead but frequently looked down to where the rise and fall of Pharaoh’s lungs was visible.

Then at 11:57 PDT Monday, June 19th., there was no more breathing. Jim took out a stethoscope and confirmed that there was no heart-beat. Jim closed Pharaoh’s eyelids while Jean and I sat quietly just holding on to Pharaoh. A few minutes later, Jean and I had wriggled out from under Pharaoh and then Jim slipped a plastic sack over the rear half of Pharaoh’s still body.

Pharaoh had died without pain and in the most gentle way imaginable.

Back to Tuesday, as in yesterday, and now Jean and I were awake and I was reading every comment and response to the post Adieu, Mon Brave.

I must tell you that the love and compassion extended by every single one of you, including the numerous emails sent to me, is the most precious, special recognition of what Pharaoh meant to me, to my Jeannie, and to you all.

Thank you! Thank you so much!

Time then for a call into England and to let Sandra Tucker know that Pharaoh had died. For Pharaoh had been born at Jutone, the GSD breeding kennels run by Sandra Tucker, and Jim, in Hennock, Devon.

Pharaoh’s legacy will live on forever. What he stood for. What he represented. What I learned from Pharaoh. What he inspired in me. That inspiration that will live with me until it’s my turn to take my last breath.

Then it was time to get up and try and stay occupied. But I didn’t warrant for seeing Pharaoh’s empty bed as I walked out of the bedroom into the living-room.

It looked so empty, so lonely.

I burst into tears.

I turned on my heels and went out to feed the horses and the wild deer. As is done every morning.

Walking back to the house, I stepped up on to the rear deck and looked up at the line where the tops of the forest trees on the hills to the East meet the morning sky. It was a clear, cloudless sky.

The sun was within seconds of rising above that skyline. I took a photograph and then the sun had risen. It was 06:24 am. Fifteen hours to the minute before the exact moment of the Summer Solstice this evening (21:24 PDT).

I don’t know what it all means other than in some mysterious, natural fashion, everything is connected.

Dear, sweet, noble Pharaoh.

The teaching dog in action

How Cleo was taught by Pharaoh

This post should be read in conjunction with the post that came out an hour ago: Dogs and Learning. It was first published on Learning from Dogs on March 19th, 2014.

Cleo

Cleo between guests Darla and Cody- picture taken yesterday.
Cleo between guests Darla and Cody- picture taken yesterday (March 18th, 2014).

Where to start this story about Cleo?

I guess by going back to the days when I was living in the village of Harberton, near Totnes in South Devon, England. That means going back to 2003, the year when it seemed the right time for me to get a dog. (Jean and I first met in December, 2007) There was always only one breed to be considered; the German Shepherd dog.

Thus that desire for a German Shepherd led me to Sandra Tucker who lived not too many miles away who owned the GSD breeders Jutone. It was at Jutone where I saw the wonderful puppy dog who became my Pharaoh.

But Sandra did better than breed the dog that has meant more to me than words can ever describe, she gave me some fantastic advice. That being that when Pharaoh was getting on in life, then bring in a German Shepherd puppy. 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.

That puppy was Cleo.

First picture of our puppy - taken two days before we brought her home: 4th April, 2012
First picture of what was to be our puppy – 4th April, 2012, just two days before we brought her home.

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Puppy Cleo coming home - April 6th, 2012
Puppy Cleo coming home – April 6th, 2012

Cleo was born on the 23rd January, 2012. At that time we were still living down in Payson, Arizona. Right from the start she was, and still is, the most joyful, loving dog one could imagine. That top photograph shows in her eyes the openness of her heart and soul.

First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.
First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.

So here we are coming rapidly up to the two-year anniversary (6th April, 2014) of when Cleo entered our lives.

Cleo continues to be the most loving, gentle, sweet German Shepherd.

However, as Sandra so correctly predicted, Pharaoh has ‘taught’ Cleo a number of commands such as Sit, Stay, Lie Down, Come, and more. Not a minute’s training of Cleo has come from Jean and me.

Cleo is very fond of Pharaoh and it’s obvious that Pharaoh gets a huge amount from having Cleo around him.

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Fast forward to now, as in January, 2017, and the relationship between Pharaoh and Cleo is still incredibly important. Cleo senses that Pharaoh is in the last ‘phase’ of his life but still shows him incredible respect.

Cleo is a very intuitive dog who appears at times to really understand what Jean and I are talking about, even when it has nothing to do with dogs. For instance, Cleo knows when I am finishing up my lunch and that the next thing that will follow is Jeannie and me taking the dogs out for their afternoon walk.

Cleo is almost certainly the most knowledgeable and obedient of all of our dogs and it’s all down to Pharaoh’s skills as a teaching dog.

What amazing animals they are!

Once again meeting Pharaoh

Can’t resist this being shared again.

Oh, and before I republish the following, thanks for so many ‘Likes’ to yesterday’s post.

The following was first published back in March, 2014.

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Almost two months ago, January 30th to be exact, the first of this ‘Meet the dogs‘ series was published. It came out of an idea from Jean and that January 30th post introduced Paloma to you, dear reader. Since then we have told you about Lilly, Dhalia, Ruby, Casey, Hazel, Sweeny, and Cleo.

So today’s post is the last of the Meet the dogs stories; it is about Pharaoh. I’m going to indulge myself in telling you the story of this most wonderful of dogs.

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Pharaoh

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Photograph taken on the 12th August, 2003, the first day I saw Pharaoh.

That is Sandra Tucker, owner of Jutone Kennels in Devon, England, where Pharaoh was born on June 3rd, 2003.

Here’s something I wrote a long time ago that conveys my feelings of that first day when I met this puppy.

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In no time at all I was turning into the farm driveway, noticing the painted sign for Jutone & Felsental German Shepherds alongside the open, wooden gate.

I turned off the engine and was about to swing my legs out of the open driver’s door when I saw a woman coming towards me.

“Hi, you must be Paul, I’m Sandra. Did you have any trouble finding us?”

I shook hands with her.

“Not at all. I did as you recommended when we spoke on the phone and went in to the local store and got final directions.”

Sandra smiled, her glasses almost slipping off the end of her nose: “Dear Beth. She’s been running that local store since God was a boy.”

She continued with a chortle in her voice, “Some say that Beth was at the store before our local pub, The Palk Arms, opened for business. And the pub’s been in the village for well over four-hundred years.”

Sandra’s laugh was infectious and I caught myself already taking a liking to her. The sense of a strong, confident person struck me immediately. Indeed, a working woman evidenced by her brown slacks, revealing plenty of dog hairs, topped off with a blue T-shirt under an unbuttoned cotton blouse.

“Anyway, enough of me, Paul, you’ve come to get yourself a German Shepherd.”

She turned towards a collection of grey, galvanised-sheeted barns and continued chatting as I fell into step alongside her.

“After we discussed your circumstances over the phone; where you live down there in Harberton, why you specifically wanted a German Shepherd dog, I thought about the last set of puppies that were born, just a few weeks ago.”

Sandra paused and turned towards me.

“While, of course, you can select whatever puppy you feel drawn to, my advice is to go for a male. Listening to your experiences of befriending a male German Shepherd when you were a young boy, I have no doubt that a male dog would result in you and the dog building a very strong bond. Indeed, I have a young male puppy that I want to bring out to you. Is that OK?”

Before I could utter a reply, Sandra turned and walked out of sight around the corner of the first barn leaving me standing there, my positive response presumably being taken for granted.

Something in her words struck me in a manner that I hadn’t anticipated; not in the slightest. That was her use of the word bond. I was suddenly aware of the tiniest emotional wobble inside me from hearing Sandra use that word. Somewhere deep inside me was the hint that my decision to have a dog in my life was being driven by deeper and more private feelings.

My introspection came to an immediate halt as Sandra re-appeared. She came up to me, a beige-black puppy cradled under her left arm, her left hand holding the pup across its mid-riff behind his front legs, her right arm across her waist supporting the rear of the tiny animal.

I stood very still, just aware of feelings that I couldn’t voice, could hardly even sense, as I looked down at this tiny black, furry face, out-sized beige ears flopping down either side of his small head.

It was unusually warm this August day and I had previously unbuttoned my cuffs and folded the shirt sleeves of my blue-white, checked cotton shirt back above both elbows leaving my forearms bare.

Sandra offered me the young, fragile creature. As tenderly as I could, I took the pup into my arms and cradled the gorgeous animal against my chest. The pup’s warm body seemed to glow through its soft fur and as my bare arms embraced the flanks of this quiet, little dog I realised the magic, the pure magic, of the moment. Something was registering inside me in ways utterly beyond words but, nonetheless, as real as a rainbow might be across green, Devon hills.

“How old is he, Sandra?”

“This little lad was born on June 3rd. So what are we today? August 12th. So he is ten weeks old as of today.”

June 3rd, 2003. I knew that this date had now entered my life in just the same way as had the birth-dates of my son and daughter; Alex and Maija.

The power of this first meeting was beyond anything I had expected, or even imagined. I thought that it was going to be a fairly pleasant but, nonetheless, unsurprising process of choosing a puppy. How wrong could I have been!

What was captivating me was the pure, simple bodily contact between this young dog and me. No more than that. I was sensing in some unspoken manner that this was equally as captivating for this precious puppy-dog. For even at the tender age of ten weeks, the tiny dog appeared to understand that me holding him so longingly was bridging a divide of many, many years.

Sandra motioned with her arm, pointing out a bench-seat a few yards away alongside a green, well-manicured, lawn.

I very carefully sat down on the wooden-slatted bench and rested the beautiful animal in my lap. The puppy was adorable. Those large, over-sized ears flopping across the top of his golden black-brown furry head. His golden-brown fur morphing into black fur across his shoulders and then on down to the predominantly beige-cream colour of his soft, gangling, front legs. That creamy fur continuing along the little creature’s underbelly.

The puppy seemed almost to purr with contentment, its deep brown eyes gazing so very intently into mine. I was entranced. I was spellbound.

Never before had I felt so close to an animal. In a life-time of nearly sixty years including having cats at home when I was a young boy growing up in North-West London, and much later the family owning a pet cat when Alex and Maija were youngsters, I had never, ever sensed the stirrings of such a loving bond as I was sensing now. As this young puppy was clearly sensing as well. This was to be my dog. Of that I was in no doubt.

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Early days at home in South Devon.

 

Let me leave you with a couple of other photographs taken from his early days.

Pharaoh, nine months old.
Pharaoh, nine months old, taken in my Devon home in 2004.

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One year old: June 3rd 2004.
First birthday: June 3rd 2004. Again, picture taken in Devon.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that in the year 2014 I would be writing about Pharaoh from a home-office desk in Southern Oregon sharing a happy life with a wonderful London lady, Jean, and more gorgeous animals than one could throw a stick at.

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And here we are with Pharaoh, as with yours truly, well into his senior years.

Celebrating Pharaoh.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the day Pharaoh was born.

Yes, Pharaoh was born on the 3rd June, 2003.

Last year, I celebrated Pharaoh’s tenth birthday with posts over two days.  Being ten seemed such a significant milestone for him.

So rather than repeat those two posts, as much as I am tempted to so do 😉 , I will just offer you the links and repost one photograph. Thus here is that first post, Meet the dogs – Pharaoh (pt 1) and the second part is here.

Here’s the photograph of Sandra Tucker, owner of Jutone Kennels in Devon, England, holding puppy Pharaoh the day I first met him: 12th August, 2003.

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It would be so easy for me to gush over having Pharaoh in my life these last eleven years.  But I shall resist, dear reader! Will just repeat a few words that were said a year ago.

The biggest, single reward of having Pharaoh as my friend goes back a few years.  Back to my Devon days and the time when Jon Lavin and I used to spend hours talking together.  Pharaoh always contentedly asleep in the same room as the two of us. It was Jon who introduced me to Dr. David Hawkins and his Map of Consciousness. It was Jon one day who looking down at the sleeping Pharaoh pointed out that Dr. Hawkins offered evidence that dogs are integrous creatures with a ‘score’ on that Map of between 205 and 210. (Background story is here.)

So this blog, Learning from Dogs, and my attempt to write a book of the same name flow from that awareness of what dogs mean to human consciousness and what Pharaoh means to me.  No, more than that!  From that mix of Jon, Dr. David Hawkins, and experiencing the power of unconditional love from an animal living with me day-in, day-out, came a journey into my self.  Came the self-awareness that allowed me to like who I was, be openly loved by this dog of mine, and be able to love in return.  As is said: “You cannot love another until you love yourself.

Which, serendipitously, brings me to tomorrow’s post: Celebrating Who I Am.

Obviously, I wanted to include some current photographs of the birthday boy but, try as I did, the perfect image wasn’t captured.

Thus will leave you with these two, both taken yesterday afternoon.

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Happy Birthday, my dear friend!

Meet the dogs – Cleo.

Our penultimate ‘meet the dogs’.

So today, I write about Cleo and then next week it will be the final ‘meet the dogs’, the dog that started this blog: Pharaoh.

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Cleo

Cleo between guests Darla and Cody- picture taken yesterday.
Cleo between guests Darla and Cody- picture taken yesterday.

(Come back tomorrow to learn why Darla and Cody were with us yesterday!)

Where to start? I guess by going back to the days I was living in Devon, England.  That means going back to 2003, the year when it seemed the right time for me to get a dog.  There was always only one breed to be considered; the German Shepherd dog.  Thus that desire for a German Shepherd led me to Sandra Tucker not too many miles away who owned the GSD breeders Jutone. It was at Jutone’s where I saw the wonderful puppy dog who became my Pharaoh.

But Sandra did better than breed the dog that has meant more to me than words can ever describe,  she gave me some fantastic advice.  That being that when Pharaoh was getting on in life, then bring in a German Shepherd puppy.  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.

That puppy was Cleo.

First picture of our puppy - taken two days before we brought her home: 4th April, 2012
First picture of what was to be our puppy – 4th April, 2012, just two days before we brought her home.

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Puppy Cleo coming home - April 6th, 2012
Puppy Cleo coming home – April 6th, 2012

Cleo was born on the 23rd January, 2012. At that time we were still living down in Payson, Arizona.  Right from the start she was, and still is, the most joyful, loving dog one could imagine.  That top photograph shows in her eyes the openness of her heart and soul.

First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.
First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.

So here we are coming rapidly up to the two-year anniversary of when Cleo entered our lives.

Cleo continues to be the most loving, gentle, sweet German Shepherd.  As Sandra so correctly predicted, Pharaoh has ‘taught’ Cleo a number of commands such as Sit, Stay, Lie Down, Come, and more.  Not a minute’s training of Cleo has come from Jean and me.  Cleo is very fond of Pharaoh and it’s obvious that Pharaoh gets a huge amount from having Cleo around him.

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So see you next week for the final Meet the Dogs.

German Shepherd dogs

Just a musing about this fabulous breed.

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.

Sandra Tucker holding young Pharaoh

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!

Jean meeting Pharaoh for the very first time!

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.