'Humane' is a word that we habitually use to describe something that is merciful, moral, ethical - the best way to do something unpleasant.

Perhaps, in the light of this story (link below), it's time for us to abandon this word, since what we humans do to the animals with which we share this tiny dot is clearly in many cases none of the above. Perhaps it's time we stopped thinking of ourselves as the most principled beings on the planet...

http://www.dogheirs.com/lucybrucey/posts/2886-animal-rights-activisits-in-china-are-fighting-for-the-lives-of-927-dogs
 
 
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The root of the broken-off tooth: it's only a little thing really, but it caused him to pull his "Nobody knows the troubles I've seen!" face for two days.
Yes, above is THE offending broken tooth which was removed a short time ago...requiring of course a general anaesthetic and a full day's care in the hands of our favourite veterinarian. Strange; every time I cast eyes upon this object I hear the sound of an old fashioned cash register in the background...I can't think why.

Bosco had barely recovered from the dreadful torment of having a tooth extracted (his woe-ridden form was to be found in strategic locations for fully two days, his expression one of "What have I done to deserve this suffering?"), when he decided to yet again strain one of his shoulders.

He's a big, powerful dog but we think he is not very aware of his physical parameters, and with a regularity that suggests that this is becoming a hobby, he seems to strain a muscle in his left shoulder.

Bosco doesn't really believe in suffering in silence...or alone. This means that he has been very vocal in telling us when he has twinged his shoulder getting up, lying down, coming upstairs or going downstairs...in fact when he's doing just about anything. He will yelp loudly and then come over to me for comfort and reassurance, shortly before springing silently (and presumably, therefore; painlessly)out of the back door to try to catch the birds on the bird feeder or the mice which seem to enjoy this part of the world.

Similarly, he is apparently utterly without discomfort when out for a walk - funny, that. We think that he tweaks something while in the act of picking up a thrown stick - his technique usually involves stopping very suddenly from top speed and pivoting around his front end. Sticks, therefore are currently not being thrown - unless into water, where he can't injure himself that way. It's a little bit sad to watch him stand hopefully next to hisi heart's delight, pleading with his eyes for me to throw it for him, but thankfully he generally has the attention span of a toddler, and so is quickly and easily diverted - for example by a truly fascinating piece of Coyote scat.

Now, Bosco is thankfully if slowly healing through the emotionally painful process of denying him his favourite game; I'm not sure who this is harder for; him or me...
 
 
This week has so far been dominated by the persistent arrival of droplets of H2O by way of our friend gravity. It's soggy out there, especially after another heavy dump of snow on Sunday began to melt, making the paths and trails less fun to traverse than usual. I thought I'd cheer myself up with pictures from last week, when cold bright weather was gracing us...
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Yep; one of THOSE kind of days, when the sun seems to get in your eyes no matter what you do.
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The only answer is to seek cover in the trees!
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Or, as in this example, travel back in time to a point in earth's history when the sun was more yellow...
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With the wind blowing in off the river and right up my sleeves, it was every bit as cold as it looks...
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Did I say 'river'? Oh yes; it's the bit between the grass and the mountain...mostly.
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Bosco was, of course, there all the time...
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Posing for his close-up.
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And finally, just making sure we got his best side/end.
 

A smile!

26/02/2014

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A friend shared this with me: I just had to do likewise. Enjoy!

http://www.funnyinterestingthings.com/video/Husky-Says-No-To-Kennel#.Uw4XloWdFLY



 
 
Since we live in the Northern hemisphere, and it is officially winter, some snow has been falling and making the world white and slippery. This has alarmed and taken by surprise all the local news channels, who have been carrying the shock/horror/can you believe it? story of wintery weather in winter for several days now.

Dogtastic, however, simply posts some pictures which I hope captures the beauty of where we live and how nature does her stuff.
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Just making sure that the wintery theme is confirmed before we get started.
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Our favourite walk at the moment, and in the cold weather, the smell of the dead salmon is pleasingly absent. That doesn't mean that Bosco can't find them under the snow, however...
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And here he is, trying to do exactly that...
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I'd really like to know what - if anything - goes through his head when he does this (which he does whenever we have the temerity to slow down or pause). It's funny, though.
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Spoiling the Christmas Card scenery.
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A rare picture of yours truly. Put this on the 'fridge door to keep the kids from snacking.
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The fun continues in his own back yard (and the raccoons stay in their dens)...
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Try as I might, I can't make out a face in this...which is a shame because otherwise the site might go viral...(that's a hint, folks, in case you want to share the site with your friends)....
 
 
Well, I've been sick and I've been busy and if truth be known, a little lacking in enthusiasm. However, I haff return-ed. Almost, anyway.

I just came across this absolute pearl which I'd not seen before. Very funny, full of observations which strike close to home, and I hope you'll agree; well worth the short read. I wish the author all the very best!

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/dog_paradox

 
 
As I think you will likely agree, dogs are more than merely a useful animal to have around.
 I don't believe that dogs can 'love' in a human sense; my belief is that it's one of those emotions that we as a species project onto them in an almost hopeful way. As humans, most of us want to be loved, and the attention that we receive from dogs is often interpreted as love. It doesn't, in the grand scheme of things, matter very much, I suppose - unless it leads to humans expecting more from a dog than they can feasibly give, and I'm afraid that is probably not uncommon.

One of the gifts that dogs give us, I think - something that transcends mere companionship - is the instinctive level at which they seem to bond with us. There's something indefinable about the link between a dog and a human that I have never experienced with another animal, although I suspect that the same might be true about the great apes, elephants and cetaceans.

We utilize a dog's instincts and senses in ways that benefit us in so many aspects; thus we have seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, dogs to detect illnesses and seizures, etc., etc. Their instincts are perfectly attuned (in most cases) to working with their human pack members, whether it be in some highly trained and formalized role, or in a loose, informal pack (family) environment.

But somehow, there's more, something I can't adequately describe. There's a quiet dignity about some dogs (Bosco being one of them), a calm awareness of mood, health and state of mind. For me, these qualities are what make a dog special, and what makes having a dog so important to me.

The attached link will take you to a video of a very old dog that is using these instincts in ways which bring joy to people at one of, if not the most important times of their lives.

http://www.wimp.com/therapydog/

I don't agree with everything that is said in the video, but I thought that this was worth sharing for two reasons: first (because this is a blog about dogs) to demonstrate that therapy dogs are out there and can be of tremendous help and comfort to those in need, and secondly to highlight the place of Hospice in our civilization.

Do yourself a favour if you are unaware of what a hospice is or what it provides: find your nearest hospice and at the very least check out their website. They provide an amazing service at moments where the word 'care' in its purest sense means everything.

 
 
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Bosco has terrible trouble relaxing and getting comfy, but with the application of The Dambusters' spirit, he usually manages it in the end...
 
 
...of the day (for Bosco). We're talking of course about the daily walk, which, if you're new to this site (and it looks like more and more people are joining in) is always held in a countryside setting where the big black dog can run, sniff, poo and pee to his heart's content. Oh, and get wet - he gets wet quite a lot actually.

Over the Christmas holiday I've mostly been taking it easy (I know, I know; I hear you ask how I can take it any easier than I do already) and not spending as much time online as normal. Partly this is because my son bought me a slightly older flight simulation game, upon which I have been saving the world from the Nazi hoardes by way of my trusty Spitfire. Partly it's because I have tried to spend time out of the office (even now I am sitting at the dining table with my laptop rather than hammering away on the desktop) and to be 'around' in the house for anyone foolish or strange enough to enjoy my company. There's also been work days of course - both paid (working for the local district) and unpaid (writing my novel), and so attending to the websites has, I must admit, slid a little down the priorities list.

Now, however, fortified by huge amounts of food, moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages all temepered by an overwhelming sense of guilt and self-loathing (which lurches into my thoughts each time I pass a mirror and witness the physical wreck I seem to have become), I have returned to bother you with my ramblings.

The following pictures are not my own - they were indeed taken by my gorgeous daughter who came with me on the walk with Bosco on Christmas morning. The BBD (Big Black...oh you get the idea) had been his usual perfect, patient and calm self during the frenzy of present unwrapping, and had even waited very quietly for his slightly later-than-usual walk. I keep saying it, but I have never known a dog like him.
To the photos - and I apologize in advance for any sightings of yours truly, looking rather like a clothed paciderm.
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In the 'gravel mine' as it's rather grandly called, not pretty but the best place to throw sticks a long way...this is not how I throw them, by the way.
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Well a dog set off after the stick, but this strange horned beast is what came back...
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It takes me a long time to bend down to reach the sticks if he drops them...
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...and here comes that weird horned thing again...
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Not at all excited, hates chasing sticks...
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The wildlife was not impressed. This Bald Eagle managed to show disdain from quite a long way away.
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This is what the eagles were hanging around for...salmon are still spawning in the creek.
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Although a lover of the meat, Bosco is less sure about the moving, splashing kind of salmon. I don't think that he'd be a very efficient hunter...
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Sticks in rivers are far more his kind of thing. The poor nutritional value of pieces of wood does not seem to concern him. Come the apocalypse, he'd be useless without a can opener.
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Not excited, doesn't like rivers or sticks...
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I'm not buying his denials: this is a happy dog if ever I saw one.
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Leading the way home...he knows where the food is....
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...although he is something of a back seat driver...
This has been our first full year without Buckley since we brought him home with Bosco. The BBD has coped magnificently and if anything he seems more content and relaxed now that he has the humans all to himself. It's the silver lining to the cloud of losing a lwonderful young dog who had become our companion and cherished pet.

As the year draws the blinds and puts out the lights, I would like to thank you all for continuing to follow my simple little blog and putting up with my nonsense. Thank you so much, and may the next year be even more enjoyable than you hope for!

Leo
 
 
Just a heads up; for the first time in a very long time I have added a walk to the 'featured walks' page...