Thursday, August 26, 2010


I guess the little movie below would be the "and more" part about this entry.  It is the Ocoee River Weir dam.  The water is roaring.  I took a bike ride this evening up the river gorge and stopped for a look see.  Whew!  Thrilling to be so close to such natural energy.
Here are a couple stills of the falls.  This river brings white water rafters and kayaker's from all over.
And she's running fine!
It's been awhile since I've mentioned dogs much;  well, OK.  A hem;  I'd like to make a little mention about dogs.  Vivie, the newest addition to the rescue list, has been locked in the yard now for weeks and I thought it would be great to take her with Douglas, Shade and Happy to the old abandoned state park I call the ruins.  She's a little darling and well mannered too.  She loved the outing.  I wanted to tire all of them out and I did.  Dogs need that.  They need to be totally de-energized from time to time.  I have to be careful I don't get attached to Vivie because she will be adopted some day and parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.  But, Vivie had a blast today.
Some thoughts about dogs.  He walked across the room and picked up the seven foot long by two inch diameter pole off the floor that had been leaning against the wall by the door.  It had slid off the wall to the floor during the night.  He picked the pole up at near the center and moved to the 24" by 30" dog door.  The stick obviously would not pass through the opening.  He immediately dropped the pole with out hesitation and exited the room through the dog door.  In the blink of an eye his head, neck and front legs came through the door.  Picking the pole up, dropping it and moving it around;  he finally picked it up at the pole's end and backed himself out the door taking the pole lengthwise with him through the dog door.  I'm talking about Douglas, my boy the Golden Retriever.  He's a sharp cookie when he wants to be.
The point is;  did he use instinct or did he figure out that the pole needed to go through the door end for end with thought process?   I have read and heard so much about how dogs must be trained to be achievers.  Repetitive routines reinforced with treats is the accepted methodology to achieve dog obedience.  But does that make them smarter?  I doubt it.  Dogs indeed need to be trained to make them grand achievers.  Maybe I don't particularly want my dogs to be "grand achievers";  to display actions that delight other humans.  My guys need to come when I call and stay when I say stay.  The rest is up to them.  Oh;  they must be polite. That's a trick for them.
I have never had a dog in my care that acted exactly like any other dog.  Each has been unique.  Do dogs show emotion?  I've been told no.  I know what I know and no fancy study can change what  I know.  Of course they have emotions.  The structure of their faces will not allow the caricature of emotions to show.  In short;  they're muzzles can't be contorted to demonstrate the emotions they experience.
I don't understand why all the questions about dogs feeling emotions.  If one scratches Douglas just right under his chin;  his lips turn up into a smile and his eyes close and soft, indistinct guttural sounds are emitted form his mouth.  Guess thats just a quirk.  I lay on the stream bank half asleep on my back, my head laying in my hands, fingers clasped together and Happy lies down and rests her head on top my elbow.;  her eyes shut as she breaths a deep sigh.  Is that not an indication of trust and affection?  She has the entire world to lay down in and she comes to me and selects my arm.  Is that just instinct or is it trust and affection toward me?
Humans call it bonding.  We are so afraid to admit that dogs feel anything emotional for some reason.  Do you know why?  Because humans kill thousands of beautiful, intelligent dogs every week.  It would be a crime to end the life of a dog that can feel emotion and reflect love back to a human, so we tend to doubt the possibility.  It's easier to segregate ourselves from an animal that is considered no more than a toy; a unique diversion.  Many dogs are cast aside when the novelty wears off.  They are considered simple possessions by many people.  But, they have a heart and a mind and they do know when they are loved and cherished and they do their best to reflect it back.  No;  not a thought process but, a natural act of energy reflection back to the human.  It takes many forms.  A tail wag for instance at the moment of the kind deed or eyes that go soft as he looks you directly in your face.  A lick to the back of your hand or maybe a simple turn of his head in recognition of the deed you just did out of kindness for him.
I've never understood how a dog owner who states he or she loves their dog, the family member, and then puts him in the shelter because of some difficulty in their personal lives.  It's like get rid of the dog and all my personal problems will be over.  What's the dog have to do with anything?   It's all lip service.  If your dog is your friend then his well being is a responsibility of stewardship.
Work out the problems with your little family member in mind.  Put him in the equation.  We humans are supposed to be the smart ones and the thinkers.  He does feel for you and is "bonded" to you.  Can you imagine the confusion he feels when you take him to the shelter and strangers put a leash on him and drags him away from you to a cage where he will be left alone.  Seventy two hours later he'll be injected with the sedative that will relax him for the final shot of poison that will end his innocent life.  And the crime of it all is that he did nothing wrong.  Nothing.  He trusted his care takers and his trust was betrayed.  It's sickening!
  Well;  that's off my chest.  I guess Vivie caused that little rant.  She has been discarded by someone who at one time cared for her.  They took the time to train her to walk on a leash, roll over,  and to sit.  Then they threw her out to forage for herself.  Amazing.  She's safe now.  It is what it is I guess.  I have pasted a email I received yesterday about a Black Lab named Woody.  This is what I mean.  This is shameful.  That guy should never be allowd to own another dog.  Never.  It follows now.  See if it touches your heart:
Meet Woody ……a handsome faithful companion…..wondering what did I do but love you unconditionally ???   Why???
Woody was adopted as a puppy by a man soon to be known to Woody as his dad.  They did everything together-a man and his dog…….Woody was very easy to train, playful and just a joy to have. To this day he still loves to sit, shake and fetch.
When Woody grew older, his dad got married.  Woody was excited to be a part of a bigger family now.  Sadly, Woody's new "mom" was scared of larger dogs which sealed his fate... Woody was put outside, and given a plastic doghouse to live in.   Woody waited patiently each day for his dad to come outside to care for him.... he danced around excited to see his dad even if just for a few minutes - he felt loved………  His life now reduced to nothing more than a few  minutes of love and pats on the head …….
 A few weeks ago, Woody's situation became much more dim.  Woody’s "family" is moving and they do not want to take Woody with them.  They are too busy, they work to much, they won't have a fenced yard, and so forth!!  
Woody will be homeless as of the 29th of August and will end up in the already over crowded shelter.  The sign on his cage to read “willing to love unconditionally again”.   Woody is fully vetted, and very sweet.  The perfect dog for any situation.  He has been shaved down for the summer...but usually has a long, wavy coat.  Please crosspost and save this boys life!~  We all know once woody walks through the doors of the shelter, he will never walk out.
Woody is in Greensboro, NC.
Thats a great thank you to a dog who has shown dedication to his caretaker.  That's his reward!  It's sickening and those people are repulsive.  This email is designed to make them feel better about it.  They can say we tried to find him a home but no takers.  And Woody is tossed on the land fill............If anyone reads this and would like to have Woody;  email me immediately.  I'll go get him.

Vivie took to the water instantly.  Douglas and Shade are good teachers.  Well;  pretty good.  Yes;  that's Vivie submerged to the left of shade in the picture.  She is totally under water but having the time of her life.
Vivie is delighted to be out here.  She splashes in and out of the water and makes high squeak sounds of joy.  At times she'll crash into the water and just half run and swim in any direction for the joy of doing it.  What a joyful little dog.
  I could be in the canoe today or on the Gheenoe or even putting miles on the wheeled mosquito I just got.  But, the dogs need to get in the woods and in the water.  I elected to care and provide for them and I shall not shirk from that responsibility.  You see;  it's for the good of their emotional well being.
And so;  here we are back at the abandoned state park I call the ruins.  This is Vivie's first day out with us in the woods and field and she is behaving wonderfully..  She is so inquisitive about everything.  Tall grass is meant to jump in and stumps are meant to sniff around.  Water is for splashing.  She is just like a child.  She followed Douglas, Shade and Happy right into the lake.  No hesitation.  Vivie hangs close to Happy as they are about the same size and they share space when at home in the habitat.

They are having a great time.  We have been out for three hours and they are beat.  It's just what I wanted to achieve.  There will be no hesitation when I walk back to the truck.   They are ready  to get home to food and sleep when they become exhausted.  That little Gheenoe would look funny with four dogs heading to the camp site on Calderwood Lake.  It would be like them taking me in the boat.  Funny thought!
You know Shade is tired when she sits down.    It was a great early afternoon and we have to be off.  I guess there's time for a bike ride before dark.  I think I'll ride down to the Ocoee River Gorge later.  I need to complete the engine break-in on the mosquito before the ride up to Pennsylvania via the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The above shot is of Parksvale Lake.  Below is the weir dam on the Ocoee River.
That would be a bad piece of water to come upon in the dark of night in a canoe.  Whew!  That's it for this episode of adventures.  Next entry should be another canoe camp out and then the ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  I plan to stop at the tail race of the Savage River Dam for an overnight camp and one day of fly fishing on the Savage River.  Should be an interesting trip.  Later................................