Black Dog Syndrome

Last Sunday, we took our black cocker spaniel Leaf to Lake Calhoun Park to get his photo taken as part of the Start Seeing Black Dogs program. The walk was organized by the Dogs Around the Lakes annual print series created by Lintu Art’s (www.lintuart.com) Sarah Thornton.

Leaf had a blast with apples and carrots as treats to get him to sit and pose for the camera. So now Leaf will be in the running to be featured on the final display print for this project.

Excerpt from Start Seeing Black Dogs, www.startseeingblackdogs.com:

“Black Dog Syndrome

“Did you know that Black Dogs are generally the last to be adopted and are euthanised in shelters in much larger numbers? People may consider them too ‘plain,’ think they are menacing, or simply don’t notice them because their dark color makes them disappear in their kennels. Those involved in animal welfare have dubbed this phenomena ‘Black Dog Syndrome.’

“According to Wikipedia, Black Dog Syndrome is defined as ‘the low adoption and high euthanasia rate of black dogs in shelters. Black dogs are often the last to be adopted from shelters.’

“MSNBC recently featured an online article that said just that. If you are involved in animal welfare this is not news to you. What IS news is that large media outlets like MSNBC and USA Today as well as publications like BARK Magazine and TIME are featuring articles on the subject. Websites such as Black Pearl Dogs also offer wonderful resources.

“The public is typically unaware that black dogs face such terrible odds at shelters, and are shocked that these wonderful dogs are euthanised in such high numbers. To find out what you can do to help, click here.”

Visit www.angelanimals.net/nlimage38.html to view images of Leaf getting his photo taken for Dogs Around the Lake: Lake Calhoun featuring Start Seeing Black Dogs!

Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net

Send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you can share with others who are “clueless” about training dogs.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT:

We are looking for tips from ordinary people, who are not professional dog trainers, about what you have discovered works with your dog. How have you applied things you learned from dog trainers and failed or succeeded with them? What are you doing to get into more balance and harmony with your dog? What have you done to make peace with a dog who has a strong will and a determination to go the opposite direction of what you want him/her to do?

Tell us a little about your dog and the tip you have found – the more creative and/or humorous the better — in no more than 300 words. Send your tip to cluelessbooks@aol.com. This is for possible publication in an e-book we are writing on the subject. We will get back to you if we can use your tip.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you can share with others who are “clueless” about training dogs.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

When has Nature presented you with a reminder of a divine presence?

Animals and the Mystical Side of Life

When we walked around the magnificent Lake Harriett in Minneapolis with its Victorian-era bandshell, our dog, Taylor, used to often reveal the mystical side of life. Strangers grinned as they passed by after looking at this dog with her head held high and her tail wagging.

In this setting that transported us back to another day and time, Taylor acted as regal as if she were remembering some past life when she surveyed her kingdom from a high and mighty perch. She inspired our fellow walkers and us to savor each moment and live life with joy. Taylor, assured and confident in the now, communicated that cares and concerns are as transient as the breeze rippling across the sunlit, glistening waters of this serene lake.

One day, since we were a bit worn out that day, Taylor allowed us to stop and rest on a park bench overlooking the lake. There, we basked in the sun and beheld a sight so sweet in its simple truth that we continue to marvel at it.

Industrious spiders had woven tendrils of webbing across an expanse of lake water about the size of a small movie screen. The web spanned from the branches of one tree to another. In its center danced a diamond-shaped branch, which was about six inches long.

The wind swirled this branch like a ballerina. It appeared to be suspended in mid-air with no support. The branch floated in the breezy air with a breathtaking beauty, grace, and resilience.

As we gazed at the spectacle, which had entranced Taylor, we began to talk about how this image reminded us of a truth most people tend to forget. Especially when life deals almighty blows.

The branch, held high above the water by the nearly invisible threads of a cathedral-like spider web, was a heaven-sent image. It said that divine love keeps each of us supported even during times when it feels as if we’ve been left to dangle and blow in the wind.

This, too, is the message that the animal kingdom delivers. Animals remind people that an invisible presence sustains them with unconditional love, even through the most precarious circumstances.

When has Nature presented you with a reminder of a divine presence?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

What have your experiences been with surrendering and accepting whatever outcome is truly best for the animal?

The Act of Surrender

The subject of how to know when an animal is ready to leave came up. As we talked with a distraught person who had to face  that most painful decision, we told her something that we want to  share with you.

We’ve noticed over these many years (since 1996) of hearing people’s stories that there is an essential element to making the tough choices. It can be summed up in one word – surrender.

Surrender with its twin sister, trust, are undoubtedly the hardest things you’ll ever do. This means accepting that you will know when it’s time to let go of your beloved pet and that you’ll do the right thing.

We mentioned to our friend that we’d seen the act of surrender have various outcomes.

For some people, when they truly released the situation to divine guidance, they had a peaceful knowingness that the animal needed to be released from a debilitated physical body. This usually was accompanied by some type of outer confirmation from the pet, the veterinarian, or from life.

Making the true and selfless act of surrender allows the animal to choose whether to stay or go. At times, the pet who seems about to die, instead, rallies and recovers. Perhaps because the animal has been holding on to life out of love for a human, this effort has taken energy away from his or her own recovery. Now the pet can focus on getting well.

In the case our friend’s beloved pet decided to live. This has been a journey with a happy ending. But it did take her act of surrender. She had to say to her animal friend, “It’s your choice. Don’t stay only for me.”

What have your experiences been with surrendering and accepting whatever outcome is truly best for the animal?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

Has an animal showed you the value of persistence?

A Walk with Leaf

Allen took Leaf for a walk around a nearby park yesterday when something odd happened.  The park had a mixture of baseball fields, soccer fields, paved walking trails, and a medium-size pond. After a week of clouds and rain it was nice to be out in the sunshine. Leaf loved getting out.

There were a half of dozen young men playing soccer at one of the fields, which was quite a distance from where Allen and Leaf were walking. After some running, chasing a ball, sitting, and resting on the bench, watching the squirrels, and ducks in the pond, Allen and Leaf began their walk toward home.

Leaf had to do his elimination business so Allen stood by while the deed was being done.  Out of nowhere a soccer ball came from the sky and hit Leaf, knocking him down. Leaf got up, appearing a little dazed.  He looked at Allen as if to say, “stuff happens” and continued what he was doing.

The soccer players were in shock at how their ball had knocked over an innocent little cocker spaniel who had been minding his own business. They ran over and made sincere apologies. They petted Leaf, asking him if he was okay. Leaf wiggled and soaked up all the attention. After they left, Leaf and Allen continued with the walk.

It was interesting for Allen to see firsthand how sometimes, out of nowhere, we are knocked off our feet. Leaf was an example of getting back up to go on with your day.

Has an animal showed you the value of persistence?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
www.angelanimals.net

Send a blank e-mail to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit http://archive.mail-list.com/angelanimals to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

What wildlife do you enjoy where you live? How do you share your space with them?

Animals in the Wild

Those of us who love animals don’t limit our attention to pets. Our caring extends to animals in nature. As the United States grapples with the disaster on the Gulf of Mexico, images of damaged and dying wildlife devastate us. We encourage you to donate to and volunteer with the organizations that are trying to save animal lives.

Also, please consider helping groups such as Animal Rescue New Orleans www.animalrescueneworleans.org and Humane Society of Louisiana www.humanela.org. Because so many people have lost their livelihood due to the oil spill, these groups are experiencing a deluge of abandoned pets who are being left at the shelters.

About a year ago, we posted the following question on Facebook: How are you sharing your space with animals in the wild? Below are some of the answers we received.

Katherine: I live in Western Maine along the Androscoggin River in Canton. We have deer, moose, eagles, some fox, beaver, woodchucks, ground hogs, and the list goes on. I have worked really hard to create somewhat of a sanctuary for the wildlife to visit. We have a lot of land and we grow various plants, fruit trees, etc. We also have a manmade pond, a brook, and of course, the river. All of our plants, vegetables, etc. are grown organically, and we use no pesticides. We do our best to protect the land, wildlife, and all animals.

William: We have a bald eagle, deer, raccoons, skunks, fish, snakes, robins, and birds of all kinds. We have many feeders for them, and they stay year round. They all are so much fun to watch. We have a fishpond with 100 fish. They love it here and have been with us over twenty years.

Donna: We have “domesticated” hummingbirds, meaning we feed them, and they take over our deck. We also enjoy many waterfowl and see beautiful Baltimore orioles everyday in our yard and several wrens’ nests. The wrens peep and squawk at us when we get too close. We love nature and respect it all as God’s gift to us in this physical world. There are so many lessons to learn by observing nature.

William: We feed animals year-round because we are here all year. And if we go on vacation, we have people come in and feed them for us. If we see one hurt, we have a place that will fix wildlife so they can get back to their world. They do a great job and charge nothing.

Joy: My backyard is 26 acres, and we have deer, turkey, raccoons, groundhogs, owls, whippoorwills, turtles, hummingbirds, snakes, lizards, coyote, many songbirds, frogs, dragonflies, field mice, butterflies, and probably some other things I’m not aware of.

Kathy: We live in the desert and constantly are lucky enough to see jackrabbits, desert ravens, lizards and occasionally coyotes. I wish their living space was not shrinking so quickly, though.

Becky: We have 3-1/2 acres and have planted over 300 trees in ten years ago. We’ve let the greenery grow wild around the big pond, and the koi pond looks lush. So far this year we have more wildlife than before. Behind us is a small wildlife area with eagles, herons, geese, ducks, woodpeckers, owls, coyotes, garden snakes, songbirds, and frogs.

Paula: We are surrounded on three sides by DNR property and therefore have the good fortune to see a variety of wildlife — chipmunks, squirrels, numerous wild songbirds, hawks, herons, egrets, deer, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, frogs, salamanders, insect life, toads, too numerous to mention. When I sometimes get irritated with the bats, it is mainly that I don’t like them in the house but appreciate their contribution outside. The absolute worst time is hunting season. All I can do is hope the animals figure out that we’re the good guys.

What wildlife do you enjoy where you live? How do you share your space with them?

Allen and Linda Anderson
ANGEL ANIMALS NETWORK
www.angelanimals.net