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(click the pic for a larger view)

Dogs are spirit given to our lives…. they know us, help us and protect us… There’s nothing like a dame was once a famous song…(Ha! Now-a-days it might get the deep six, thumbs down action I suspect)… Well yes, I say, there’s nothing like a woman, but there’s nothing like a dog as well:-) Not to equate the two!)

This is my dog, Shadow, smiling bright.

Try dog ownership if you haven’t; your heart-felt energy will enlarge and your life will be a richer experience. Although there are studies that find people who own and love dogs live longer, better, happier lives than those who don’t, there are also similar findings when people who associate with horses or pets of all kinds are compared to those who don’t.

My daughter on her horse, Toby.

Just a guess, but I’m thinking people who open themselves up to loving any or all kinds of life around them find fulfillment in their lives, while those who don’t short-change the scope and breadth of what their own lives might be.

I float better with Shadow in the pool…maybe.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13: 3 (NIV)

It’s interesting that this idea be termed , ‘A new command,’ at the time of Jesus, as though the thought had never been expressed before.

The American Zen teacher John Daido Loori shows us that Zen practice should include not only meditation, the study of Zen literature and liturgy, and moral and ethical action, but should also manifest in work, artistic, and everyday activities….

Basically, you could pick any major religion throughout the world and find the same advice: love one another. But, to expand this thought, Jesus never said it’s okay to kick the dog as you’re busy loving people. No, everyone and everything is included in, “Love one another…” Of course, Native Americans understood that all of creation is sacred.

What about wars? Wars happen; people are far from perfect.

Empathy is a one to one ratio. The more we notice the life around us and it’s living condition, the more empathy we feel. Turning a blind eye to the suffering of our human condition and our Earth’s situation does nothing but blind us. None of us can solve the world’s problems alone, but the pebble thrown into a lake analogy certainly applies. Every good or bad action we do is that pebble, and the ripples that spread out from its splash may reach shorelines, people and places, we can’t even see as we throw that little stone.

My advice? Be kind to yourself: be as good a person as you can be. If you do this, you will sleep easier at night. I’m thinking if we do manage to strive to do our best (hey-I think that’s a Boy Scout motto?) then we are less inclined to worry about the future. That future will come as it may but when it does we will know we’ve done our best. No worries; you’ve done everything you could’ve to improve life.

Take that leap of faith in love.

Alfred E Neuman: what me worry? I loved Mad magazine as a boy (like now) and my Southern Baptist upbringing aligned my understanding of these words with the church teachings to not worry. Thing is, in truth, the history of Alfred E Neuman’s face and its historical meaning  is something different altogether. In fact, Neuman’s face has been used at least since 1883…and to sell mince Plum pudding.

And, later on…

Worse, another version of Alfred E Neuman’s face was used by the Germans during world War II and captioned, “Kill the Jews.” Honest. (Not the picture above.)

So, my interpretation of Neuman’s, ‘What me worry,’ illustrates how what we think about things is related to our preconceived notions, and those notions are usually based upon what we’ve been taught to think. Self realization derived from observation and deduction is a bit skewed now in the human experience. We are taught to be who we think we are. Often, this is not the case at all.  Most often, we are people just like most, people with needs, wants, hopes, dreams and empathy but we’ve been subtly taught to turn off this understanding. We’ve been encouraged to turn a blind eye to the condition of humanity and our earth.

It’s time to turn ourselves back on.

It’s time to be joyful.

My sister, Sharon Franquemont, published a book, “You Already know What To Do.” * This book, published in nine languages throughout the world, makes many points but my favorite is the concept that intuition should be taught in schools as a subject. This way, we might help our children get in touch with themselves, their inner sense of life’s order and magnitude, and how their lives relate to all growth. The world would be a better place if society expressed a true interest in our inner selves and how that inner self relates to the world around us. Point: Dogs help people do this.

Having a dog, or any pet, helps us express love for something other than ourselves and, in turn, that pet loves us back. This way, people learn how love flows from us and back to us. We learn how good this exchange of love feels. Soon, and not depending on the amount of LSD or pot you’ve smoked in the 70’s, the notion that loving the people, the animals , the trees or even the rocks we pass returns love to us becomes less remote and, in fact, a real life experience.

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Let’s put a bow on this. Yes, try loving your neighbor, but it might be mastering that process is easier done if you start with loving a doggie, or pet of any kind…. good luck.

Cheers, and I hope the ripples from my pebble reach you at a most fortuitous time and in the best of light. Namaste; to your light.

Franque23

 

*https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874779464/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

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That’s right. With just a single stroke of something, Shadow has a miraculous hole in his ear flap.

A sock in my face and a hole in my ear—

“Wait! Do you mean I’ll have a hole in my ear when I grow up?”

It all started without me knowing, though my wife had noticed the small offending,’bimp,’* for a while. It wasn’t big enough to be called a bump and not so big to think it wouldn’t go away. Of course, I hadn’t seen a thing since I use, ‘Guy-eyes,’ 100% of the time. Guy-eyes have the unique talent of selectively not seeing when it comes to things like dirty floors, dishes, walls, cars, yards, holes in dog’s ears, just about anything that relates to work or trouble or spending money. Any wife will tell you that, ‘Guy-ears,’ work about the same way. A dripping faucet becomes part of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony and a sink full of dirty dishes is no less than abstract art to guy-eyes. Yard trash is merely a small replica of a Burning Man exhibit in the works. No, my guy-eyes and ears didn’t see anything until Shadow’s special spot started to dazzle spinning disco lights and play sirens that could drown out an ambulance’s song.

Once, my wife called firemen to check on a smokey smell in our house. They searched around as I slept through the whole thing. It’s all about mind-power. I’m on guard 24/7 with this stuff.

More, guys like me have incredible tolerances when it comes to doing very little until we want to get going.  So Monday a week I fell into noticing this spot on Shadow’s ear flap that had now earned the name, ‘bumple’.

“Tick.” I ran upstairs to get the magnifying glass and tweezers.

Leafing thru random news today……

Just a, err,  head’s up! Did you know that  John Boehner  ex-republican speaker of the House is now a CEO of a, Pot, as in weed, company?

Of course, there is this. Shadow is the best dog, the most obedient dog, a polite eater, a perfect beggar and a relaxed, no jumping-up dog who constantly does jump-up with a smile. Except, that is, when my wife or I notice something, a scratch, a tiny piece of dirt, a bit of tree lice, an embedded minute twig or anything else on him.  Exploring the most teeny-weeny, infinitesimal speck of nothing becomes an all-out no can do with this dog. Once our fingers start to investigate anything on Mr. ‘I’m so good,’ he goes into terror mode—his eyes, oh how wide; his tongue now a flashing dart so merry; who knew a dog could twist his neck in so many directions with a paw beside his nose? The body wiggles’ attack any probing finger making the entire dastardly exploration nearly impossible!

“How is any of this going to help me swim better?”

I managed to discover that the offending spot was not a tick but a true bump of a spot!! In aggressive guy fashion, I put off thinking about this for another day, or four days until it was time for our Friday afternoon car ride. That’s when an uncontrollable force drove me and Shadow to the vet who said, “I don’t operate on Saturdays so bring him in at 7 AM Monday morning…”

Gulp!

We have so many more gardens to grow together!

You’ve been helping me weed for four years….

Monday came after a weekend of my mind trying not to construct a gallows or grave for my dog. Dreaded what-ifs became many bowls of ice cream; he’s gonna be fine became my version of the Chiffon’s, “He so Fine.”** Worse, we had to wait a week to hear the biopsy report after Shadow survived the operation. No matter, Shadow’s worth one week of distracted thought and his clown collar gave us plenty of laughs as he banged into walls, chairs and doors before he learned to navigate with a head the size of a huge watermelon.

Ol’ Clown collar face was not happy with his new arrangement at first, but check out his newly manicured toe-nails?!?

“Why do you keep looking at my ear?” Well, first off, it’s the other ear, Shadow. Nice try though.

Drum-stick roll……

Shadow’s fine as it turns out, but for the hole in his ear. Will it heal and close? The jury’s still out but I think he will weigh one hole less when this is all done. But the pills he’s had to take have brought him a boat load of treats and Shadow’s happy about that.

Jump for joy! “Will  I get to wear a clown collar one day? Look at me go!!!”

Sometimes, I almost think he likes wearing that clown collar?!?!?

This last operation episode puts Shadow in the—most expensive dog we ever owned—category.  This is due to his propensity to charge after squirrels through brush, trees, fence and field in random directions with a hurricane force of will. The facial cuts keep coming.  In the end, I imagine Shadow will resemble a boxer, not the dog but the guy in the ring. Speaking of rings,  if Shadow retains his ear flap hole it will be tempting to place a ring through it! But he’d just get that caught on something and rip his ear flap in half.  Sigh.

We not only have the best dog in the whole world, but one with a hole in his ear flap, too! How special is that, baby?

Cheers from thank-goodness land.

And of Thanks, these broccoli, collard greens and kale have been yielding since last October!!! I picked more broccoli today, 4/11/18?!?! Does this give you seed for thought?

Franque23

 

 

 

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3UP2FraDCU

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rinz9Avvq6A

 

 

 


2015 has been a great year around our house. Kids growing; garden sowing. Not a hurricane in sight!

the pool is a playground-Isaiah makes the catch!

The pool is a playground-Isaiah makes the catch!

We learned early on that Shadow, our Catahoula Leopard, is quite a swimmer. Thing is, when I first carried him in the pool he swam to the pool’s edge for his life. When I saw his speed I began to wonder what we had on our hands. Checking his toes revealed our dog was actually a duck of sorts. Those webs between his toes go waaay up to his nails…But this is not to say Shadow took to the pool or lake water early on in his life-yeah, no, he spent almost a year running around the pool’s perimeter while we tried to coax him into the refreshing water.

He made me promise to never carry him into the water again-----so we had to wait.

He made me promise to never carry him into the water again—–so we had to wait.

Things changed after his first trip up to Lake Bonaparte when he gingerly stepped into the water and swam by his own volition for the first time.

Now, at two, Shadow is a swimming maniac, and no-can-stop jumper, a splashing and a I can swim even faster dog face day in day out.

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We noticed that his brown eyes turn blue(look blue) when he stands by the pool. This has to be due to some sort of strange under coating in his eye cause sometimes the camera flash has the same effect on his brown eyes. The Catahoula breed does sport blue eyes often, and sometimes one brown and one blue eye or, as in Shadow’s case, two brown eyes.  Shadow cleared ten feet through the air off our dock during his second year up at the lake.

"I'm absolutely ready to swim...."

“I’m absolutely ready to swim….”

especially up at the lake!

especially up at the lake!

Last year, the fifty-ish steps and  cliff up at the lake created a wonderland of sheer joy for this ready to go puppy. And there’s nothing like chasing squirrels.

Okay, so I love everything about our Catahoula Leopard, Shadow-I’ve made that plain enough over several blogs I call globs about him on this site. But there’s another question dog owners might wonder about. Just how much do dogs love us? The answer is amazing.

A recent study finds Dogs love their owners as much as people love people… the key is measuring the oxytocin level in the dogs’s blood stream when they are with those they love…Here’s the result of the study:

“A general breakdown, according to Zak is that we produce 15 to 25 percent oxytocin when we have a pleasant interaction with a stranger; 25 to 50 percent when we’re engaging with someone we know; and if we release 50 percent or more, it’s in response to someone we really love like a child or spouse.

During Zak’s experiment, dogs, on average, produced 57.2 percent.

“So your dog really loves you … a lot,” Zak said. “But what makes this so amazing is that the oxytocin they produced is for another species, not their own. The fact that this is cross species is really freakin’ crazy/cool. Their brains are telling them that they love us.”

Here’ the link-a-dink for reading further on this amazing study….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cat-vs-dog-who-loves-humans-more_us_56af85a4e4b077d4fe8ed1ed?ref=yfp

I’ve had cats over the years that I’ve thought very special-a part of the family. Everyone knows a cat may be aloof at times and cuddly on other occasions but this study draws a line in the sand between cats and dogs.  The study’s findings break down a cat’s oxytocin level when they interact with humans. The finding? A cat’s affection for their humans can’t hold a candle to a dog’s love for Mankind. But I still think our miniature cats are super to have, hold and love. That’s just me.

The children are counting on us, and don't even know it.

I’m interested to know how other animals rate on the basis of this study-it could go on and on, and be so much fun to know.

Franque23

 

 

 

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