As I am heading down the home stretch toward picking up my new Golden Retriever puppy, ran into a snag with the very reputable breeder I am buying him from.

We had originally agreed on my having first choice of males from the litter. Then, through a series of unexpected events not worth going into, I was suddenly “demoted” to seventh pick out of eight males.

At first, I was dumbstruck. This felt so unfair and unexpected although, to be honest, I had been feeling apprehension about it all for weeks without knowing why.  So, my gut was working just fine. As usual, it was my brain that was not listening.

After hearing this news, for two nights in a row I had some really nasty dreams involving dogs (dogs being hit by cars, dog fights, dogs trying to kill each other). In dreams, “dogs” in general usually have to do with male behavior, masculinity and, in this case, anger, aggression. Usually my dreams are pretty nice – Buddha dreams I like to call them-  and I have learned a ton from analyzing them over the years.

By the way, dreams are very important and remembering them (best to write them down before getting out of bed) is even more helpful – but even if we don’t remember them, we are still being educated every night in our dreams. For those of you who think dreams are not part of a valid reality and/or unimportant, the “reality” you are living in while reading this in is no less a dream – our waking state being just another dream. [Read my soon to be published book, “Dianna’s Way” where the practical use of dreams are illustrated in daily life.]

Anyway, I woke up from these nasty dreams wondering what the heck is going on with me. Since I know most dreams are simply various projections of myself, I suddenly realized I was really angry about this puppy situation.

Fortunately, simply the act of acknowledging my anger rather than suppressing it cleared the way for me not writing the nasty email to the breeder I wanted to write. I cooled off.

The next thing that came up for me was surrender (again, this is also an integral part to the book afore mentioned).

So, I did.

Surrender, I have learned is not an act of will nor can it be a mental decision. It is an act of faith and hinges on having trust in the universe. It is either easy to do or impossible, depending on the state of grace one is in (i.e., connected to Spirit or not).

What I realized was Spirit, my new dog, was coming to me, whether it was my first choice in the litter or the last. So, I put the matter into the hands of the All That Is (my second favorite word for God) If God was not dog spelled backwards, it would be my first. All That Is is really the most accurate description of God because it is bereft of all the social and religious bullshit the word God carries with it, thanks to centuries of religious distortion.

As a fall out from this shift in point of view, I also realized all this breeder wants is the best possible home she can find for her dogs and her sense of responsibility and devotion for them is unquestionable – why I admire her so much and keep going back to her – this will be my third GR she has bred.

So, I emailed the breeder, asking her to do whatever seemed fair to her after reviewing our process together to date. If that was picking first or last, it was going to work for me in some way my ego does not understand.

She replied I could choose from five males and would that work for me?

Certainly.

Everything is still a go.

For the past two weeks, my blog has been dead in the water as I was getting about ~1000 spams per day and just had to delete everything coming in, probably deleting a few legitmate comments along with the river of spam.

Sorry if anyone was swept up in the tsunami.

Think I have the problem solved.Unfortunately the cost has been to require anyone wanting to comment to sign in with their name and email address, then type in a password provided when you do this. I know this is inconvenient and apologize for it but, so far, seems to be the only way to allow comments at all, which I sincerely want from anyone interested in doing so.

I also added a feature that allows an RSS feed so that might be of interest to some visitors. See the sidebar to use it.

Again, thank you for putting up with all my rookie mistakes.

I can now return to doing what I originally wanted to do – start a conversation with you about things of mutual interest, Even if no one is interested, I will continue to use this site to look into dogs, what they have to teach us, spirituality (what is this reality about) and, down the road, post excerpts from my upcoming book, Dianna’s Way, which I hope you will enjoy. Should be out sometime this early summer.

Hope this day works for you.

John

 I got up this morning with a new thought about Spirit coming.

I will be picking him up when he is seven weeks old near the end of June.

The thought was that he will be my last dog.

A very simple thought uncluttered by emotion. Sort of like, oh, the sun has come up already ……  and more like something I know, not just something I think. Something obvious.

This feels like a shift within me.

When my last Golden Retriever,Chile, showed up, I wondered which one of us would leave this reality first. That was a first time thought for me too. Well, Chili suddenly left on June 23, 2011.  

Now, with this dog, it is different again. If my intuition is correct, there will be no other dog for me after Spirit. He will be my last partner along the trails, fields and woods we will explore together.

So what? one might say.

Nothing monumental and yet monumental at the same time. We all die. Nothing interesting about this. But, what might we do about the quality of our living? A much more interesting question.

The quality of our living is deeply affected by how conscious we are of the preciousness of life, by our capacity to be in a space of Appreciation.

If Spirit is to be my last dog, then he is offering me an opportunity to embrace the limited number of minutes we will have together more consciously and at a feeling level too. We may not know how many minutes there will be but we do know they can be counted – they are not infinite.

This insight changes everything.

 

God, this dog is talking to me already and he has not quite been born yet.

But, soon. 

 

For any of you serious readers out there, I have had to do two things I did not want to do but …………… did it.

1. I have placed all incoming comments in moderation, meaning they do not get posted unless I approve them first. So, if you have made a legitimate comment and do not see it show up, this is why.

2, I have destroyed (marked as spam and trashed) ALL comments coming into my blog for the past two weeks because this site is being bombed with spam, mostly from Russia and eastern Europe and I have received over 5,000 “comments” in the past two weeks and just do not have the time to sort through them all to save the “real comments” so am just deleting all of them for now.

3. I will get some help with this problem – there surely are plug ins that will stop most of this – just have to find the time to research it.

Sorry for this – just my rookie mistakes and still on a learning curve about it all. One thing I have learned though – if you are going to start a blog, set it up with all comments going to moderation until you are sure you have spam under control – otherwise your site will be cluttered with garbage.

Hope your day goes well.

 

 

Eric (youngest son) and Chili, grouse hunting in upper Michigan

Well, decided to cave on my original intention of trying to create my own limited vaccination protocol for my puppy, Spirit.

I wanted only parvo, distemper  and canine hepatitis done but am going to allow the standard 5 way vaccine to be used for Spirit, which also includes para influenza (would exclude this if I could but not a big deal because reactions to it are uncommon and not severe) and canine coronavirus (often referred to as a vaccine searching for a disease).

Why?

All the vets in my area use only the 5 way (or even more) and they would have to special order my preferred 3 way in a 25 dose package costing ~ $400+. Since I would need but a small portion of the order, basically the rest would be wasted.

 Of course, I will also have to do the rabies vaccine (will do this at 20 weeks of age to keep it 4 weeks away from all the other vaccinations completed at 16 weeks).

I  will also do the lepto vaccines annually unless Spirit reacts adversely to it, in which case I will forgo it permanently – but, as mentioned in a previous post, will not do the first lepto until next spring.

 What I am not giving in on is my plan to not vaccinate my dog again in his lifetime unless the periodic blood tests I will have done show antibody levels indicate he needs to be re- vaccinated.

End of story

For those of you with dogs, it is worth thinking about vaccinations.

Without impugning anyone – companies who produce the vaccines or the vets that administer them – it is worth thinking about what is best for your dog.

I will be getting a puppy soon, already named Spirit, so I am evaluating all this and want to share my conclusions with you.

To begin with, the way I look at it is Spirit is my dog, in my care and no one else will ever care as much about him as I will. Since he gets no say in the matter, it is up to me to figure it out and do what is best for him, us.

No doubt in my mind, he needs to be protected from the usual – parvo, distemper and rabies (by law) but what about the other vaccines and how often does he need any of them?

As for the unintended negative side effects of vaccines, Spirit isn’t talking – at least not until it is too late – not until after the vaccine has been given and he reacts to it – maybe acutely, visibly, maybe in some unknown chronic way I, at least, will never notice, maybe not at all.

So, what I am going to do is follow the advice given at the website given here. Makes sense to me:

http://www.dogs4dogs.com/blog/2009/09/09/combination-shot-for-dogs/ 

This is a terrific website for pet owners, by the way!

So, I am going to seek a vet that will give Spirit just four vaccines: the parvo and distemper vaccines separately or at least those two together with no other vaccines combined with them. When he gets his booster for those two after 16 weeks of age (so he will be certainly past his mother’s immunity influence and the vaccines are sure to take) I will also add in the adenovirus-2 vaccine, not because he is likely to get this disease (has become rare in US due to widespread vaccination) but to prevent the disease from resurfacing for others in the future. Then, waiting until at least 20 weeks of age, give him his first rabies vaccine.

What about all the other vaccines?

For Spirit, I plan on giving none of the others except a vaccine for the bacterial disease called leptospirosis. I struggled with this one because adverse reactions are more common, especially in small dogs and puppies, it is often unnecessary, does not last long (because it is preventing a bacterial infection not a viral one), and it protects against some strains of the bacteria but not others.  

On the other hand, this bacteria is transmitted via soil and water contaminated by urine of typical wild animals like rodents, etc. Hmmmm.

I talked with the world expert reseacher on this disease at Michigan State University, Carole Bolin, who highly recommends doing it. She pointed out there are safer, more effective lepto vaccines available now so the liklihood of adverse reactions is much less and their effectiveness has increased. However, they still last only 6-12 months so must be given annually.

I lean toward doing it because I live in the country, sprinkled with swamps, streams, ponds and my golden retriever (a water loving dog) is, no doubt, going to want to lay in every single one of them and drink out of a lot of them – and we live in an area populated with tons of raccoons, possums, muskrats, etc. so he is going to be much more at risk than, say, a house or city dog. So, after much hand wringing (because this vaccine has more negative reactions than most), I have decided to do this one each spring

However, I am also not going to give him the first one until spring, 2013 since I am not getting this puppy till almost July, 2012, will be training him mostly around home for the first few months anyway. This will give him time to get bigger, better able to handle the vaccine, hopefully. I will definitely have it given to him as a separate vaccine – both to reduce the potential for side effects and to be able to discern such effects if they occur. And, if he does react very negatively, I will just not do them anymore and chance it.

Down the road, once I have proven Spirit has good immunity to parvo, distemper and adenovirious with blood titers, which I will do in spring, 2013, I will likely never vaccinate him for these diseases again but simply check his immunity with blood tests every 3 years or so.

So, this is my game plan.

Wonder if I can find a vet who will cooperate with it?

Next step: interview local vets to see if I can find one on the same page.

Summer not far from home

I am in the end phase of my life now where “the getting” – and even the “doing” of life is waning. More money or more stuff or even more love is all good but these concerns are no longer the focus of my days and nights. 

I have enough. Enough money, enough stuff and even enough love (though love is not a thing one “acquires”). When it comes to love, I do have plenty to give.

And, here comes Spirit!  Just in time!

As for love, we cannot “get” love. Perhaps we cannot “give” it either. Most concisely, I think Love is tightly related to “being”.That is, we can only be love ….. Love is an awareness, a space to be in.

This seems obtuse I suppose but, consider. To genuinely love another being (not “in love” with a projection of what we have decided they are), we must actually be present to them – that is, we “get” the way they are, not the way we wish they were.

Even deeper than this, the peak experience of love is to experience being one with another – the romantic version of this is being with one’s soul mate. But, truth is, a soul mate is simply someone who we find it easiest to be present to, to feel one with.

Of course, if we were fully awake, we would be one with everything – each person we meet, even those we don’t, the trees and stars and the blades of grass under our feet and ……

Well, it is easier to do with someone we feel strongly connected to  – the reason, I believe, this reality comes equipped with male female dualism, , sexual drives, children developed, then born right out of mother’s bodies – so amazing – and all of that.

Fun eh?

Also, has taken me a while to notice love is not a feeling either. Some days I feel love – and loved – and some days I don’t.  Some days I may feel love for someone but some days I don’t  – so, I try to make it up or act like I do feel it. What is this about?

Well, here we go again.

I believe It is about being in the Present (not thinking about past or future – or focused on thinking at all). If I am present to other, love simply, naturally shows up. Love fills the space, fills me up (unless they happen to be a sadistic serial killer – then, I would need the advanced course on being Jesus Christ or the Buddha). Sometimes we are present to another but, mostly we aren’t, so, unlike the romantic phase (when it is new), the bloom comes off the rose. Just the way it is until we, ourselves, are some other way – until we have developed our capacity for being present.

Dogs can help with this.

I have lived with dogs all my life. Everyone who has raves about their unconditional love, man’s best friend, all that (me too) and, it turns out, we have good reason to rave. It is no accident dog is god spelled backwards. In an important way, they can be our teachers.

They naturally know something we don’t.

Dogs know all about being present.

They may not know it intellectually and they certainly cannot write about it – or even talk about it – that is, they cannot language it in our language. So we think they don’t know.

But, they know …….. in the way they know such things.

We have trouble with this because we live mostly in our heads, which separates us from the present, where love lives as an experience. I talk about this in my book, Dianna’s Way (not due out till maybe June so no use looking for it yet)

Dogs are almost always being in the present moment (they can slip out of it too though – expressing fear, aggression, or anxiety, when they are reminded of past pain event or  maybe apprehensive about a feared future).

If we understood their language, we would know they know it. I do not know this because I understand their language – I might stumble into bits of it here and there – but, I know it intuitively ……….. which maybe is part of their language.

Hmmmmmmm.

Chili

The link below is an interesting entry into other dimensions of not so much our world but what we think is our world.

I have had some experiences like the ones discussed in the link …..I will mention only one …………. I was walking Chili (my now deceased dog) in a place where a flock of Canada geese hung out regularly. Each time we went there, same thing happened …….. we would walk toward them and by the time we were within maybe 50 yards of them, Chili would break into a full run, scattering them into the sky, barking their complaints in a cacophony of sound.

This day, I just felt differently. Gentler, maybe. My heart said to them (surely these were the very same geese we saw each day), please stay, it is OK, we will not hurt you, you are safe with us ……… that feeling …….. all in thought and nothing spoken out loud, as we walked toward them. When we had walked within about 20 yards of them (more slowly than usual  – walking fast is, by itself, threatening after all) I sat down in the grass and Chili nosed around a little (maybe considering his options) – usually he would have made a bee line for the geese long before this to scatter them to the winds, one of his simple joys in life. Then, without me saying anything to him, he simply, quietly, sat down beside me, watching the geese.

It is as if Chili, I and the geese were in a shared conversation of sorts.

There were about 40 geese in all and they all kept looking at us, milling around nervously and, after about 3-4 minutes, three of them finally could not stand the ambiguity of it all and flew off. A move like this would, more often than not, stir the rest to follow suit. But, they did not. After several more minutes, most went back to pecking away in the grass while a few kept eyeing us. Interestingly, there was a continual string of singular barks scattered between them, here and there, like they were discussing this unusual situation.

After maybe 20 minutes or so, without a word, I stood up, turned and walked away with Chili coming along with me. The geese finally fell completely silent and went back to their business as we got far enough away to break the spell.

I think we could have more peace than we have in this world if we were open to it.

If we believed it was possible.

Anyway, end of this story.

http://galeglassner.com/2012/03/the-butterfly-story/

Gradually, I am discovering what this blog is about ….

I am exploring what brings meaning to life – my life anyway – by writing about it – and, by publishing it, inviting others to travel along on this journey either as an observer or as a participant by commenting.

So, today, I will begin like this:

Passion points me toward meaning.

What I feel passionate about provides meaning to my life, my reasons for staying a bit longer in this reality.  Otherwise, why be here?

There are no “shoulds” where passion lives. Obligations, duties, what others want or expect, the maintenance doing of life, while all important, do not live here either.

Passion is whatever excites me, move me to action, makes me want to get up in the morning. These days, I feel more passionate than ever. Meaning I am more excited by life than ever.

Right now, my passions are:

  • The book I just finished about my deceased wife, Dianna, called Dianna’s Way (currently in editing, to be published in early summer) – I want as many people who may gain value from reading her story to know it exists – so my next job is to publicize it as well as I can.
  • This new dog I am adding to my life. Already named, Spiritdog will be born in early May and we will join up near the end of June.
  • And, this blog, a novel (for me) way to investigate the meaning of life, and my life.

[The name for this blog came first, by the way. The naming of my dog, Spiritdog, came later – at least in my consciousness. 🙂 ] 

In my next post, I will continue along this theme. Enough for today.

Am in the throes of preparing for the new addition to my family of one. Spirit, a Golden Retriever will show up in this world in early May and I will be picking him up sometime in late June.

Some of the things I have been resolving:

 

  • When to take the puppy?  I will be picking up Spirit when he is 7-8 weeks old.

Lots of confusing debate about this and finally figured out why. It is perfectly fine to remove a puppy from its mother and litter when it is between 7-8 weeks old and also after 10 weeks old – but not between 8-10 weeks, which turns out to be a period of particular sensitivity for the puppy – when they should not be traumatized by separation. My sources for this are http://dparksdachs.com/id17.html and http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/DevelopmentalStages.html  so you can check it out for yourself.

  • Crate or no crate? Decision made: no crate.

Have never used them religiously, tried them once or twice   and, for older dogs, never saw the point of them. But I am going to have to leave this young dog home at times before he is fully housebroken or maybe before I can fully trust him (running errands during hot weather is the main one) – will he poop on the white rug or chew the legs off the dining room table or ……… But, decided I can block off the ceramic tiled bathroom floor with a cardboard box on its side and a blanket in it for him to hide in when he wants – and a dog pillow too. Better than a crate, which, once the dog is grown and reliable, is way too confining when I can give him the entire house to wander and wonder in. Saves the money and the space for a crate too.