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Posted by wmmbb in DOG BLOG -.

It is astonishing to think that summer is now almost over. This week has been mixed, but mostly with showers and overcast skies. The creek flowed early on and then it dried out.

Dexter and Hannah were very forbearing when we did not go out. It is not so much the rain that is of concern but rather the slippery conditions underfoot. Sometimes when not paying attention things go astray. Some of the photos are taken on the go, and there is a bit of luck involved in what turns out.

This week, Dexter passed his eight anniversary. I remember the day he arrived sitting on the lap of the young women who had taken him to the vet. I phoned as to whether we should take him, and I said yes on the basis of his coat, which was short and suited the environment. We have had an eventful eight years. Dexter survived and we survived.

The inner lives of our conscious companions, and other mammals can be a mystery. The canine sense of smell with the tangential individualism displayed by Dexter and Hannah can be extraordinary and useful for humans. Marc Bekoff in Yes Magazine writes:

Compared to humans, dogs have about 25 times the area of nasal olfactory epithelium (which carries receptor cells) and many thousands more cells in the olfactory region of their brain. Dogs can differentiate dilutions of 1 part per billion, follow faint odor trails, and are 10,000 times more sensitive than humans to certain odors.

Dogs appear to be able to detect different cancers—ovarian, lung, bladder, prostate, and breast—and diabetes, perhaps by assessing a person’s breath. Consider a collie named Tinker and his human companion, Paul Jackson, who has Type 2 diabetes. Paul’s family noticed that whenever he was about to have an attack, Tinker would get agitated. Paul says, “He would lick my face, or cry gently, or bark even. And then we noticed that this behavior was happening while I was having a hypoglycemic attack so we just put two and two together.” More research is needed, but initial studies by the Pine Street Foundation and others on using dogs for diagnosis are promising.

Rebecca Morelle at the BBC quotes Hungarian research with MRI scanning suggesting that dogs pick up:

Emotionally charged sounds, such as crying or laughter, also prompted similar responses, perhaps explaining why dogs are attuned to human emotions.

If nothing else it goes to demonstrate that humans and the other mammals are related. We have common story connected to the emergence of life on this planet. Then there is the whirling galaxies that tend to shrink us into insignificance.

Picasa has not got its act together – and it doesn’t look as that is going to happen anytime soon. So I have put them on You Tube. Again this week, the accompanying music is from Earth Songs – “My Heart Soars” (Friedemann):

The song by the Grateful Dead, “Box of Rain” while it related to this week’s weather was it turns occasioned by the death of Phil Lesh’s father from cancer:



1. wmmbb - February 23, 2014

The video format for the photos that I would normally take is a learning experience. My closest adviser on all matters tells me she has seen it all before. My response is twofold: that is the challenge, and secondly our relationship, in so far as we can be said to have one, is not insignificant. We cannot avoid being embedded into the dominant cultural paradigm. For non-tribal peoples that extends to the acceptance of the science of climate change.

It is bad enough that many of us do not comprehend the processes of the conduct of natural science, let alone the ramifications of system change. My hunch is that acceptance of scientific theory change cultural, political and economic paradigms. Opposition to any profound change should be anticipated, rather to be a position that causes surprise. In the past the tides and currents of history, generated by new knowledge and technology, perhaps after immense suffering they have been resolved, unfortunately as we can observe today in terms of domination, violence and structural inequality.

Today we are faced with a double whammy: destruction by nuclear war and a catastrophic breakdown in the ecosystem. In immediate terms no piece of the ecosystem is safe from human destruction and desegregation – not least beyond the back fence. This represents the personal and political challenge for each of us, who are as human beings, individually and collectively, the stewards of the Earth.

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