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A Dog’s Purpose by W.bruce Cameron – a book review

18 Mar

Considering this is another dog related book that i have read, and really enjoyed, i though i would share with you my thoughts.

 

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I read this book within two days because it was really good (it probably helped that i had a long train journey as well). At first i thought it was going to be boring as i initially found it difficult to get into, however as i carried on reading i found myself enjoying it more and more.

Reviews have referred to this book as being similar to Marley and Me, and it is, in the way that you fall head over heels in love with the dog, laughing and crying along his journey. What makes this book different is that it is told completely from the point of view of the dog, giving the reader a new insight into the world of dogs (or at least, what we believe it would feel like). The language is beautiful and overall the book is very cleverly written.
As mentioned before, this story is told through the eyes of the dog. We follow him as he fulfills three different lives (being reincarnated each time) in search for his “purpose”. Initially he begins his life as a stray mutt who is found and rescued only to be put down as he is considered adoptable. His life (and the real story) begins when he is reincarnated as a golden retriever and finds his soul mate “the boy”. “This was, i decided, my purpose as a dog, to comfort the boy whenever he needed me”. In his next life he becomes a female German shepherd who is trained to be a search and rescue dog. Still he is reincarnated once more, unsure of what his purpose could be after all that he has already done. He doesn’t have the best start in life this time, and ends up being starved and dumped. Everything comes together once more when he finds “the boy” who is now an old man. he finds his purpose when he realizes that his job was never to simply comfort or to find people, but to save them and ultimately, he fulfills his purpose.
If you liked Marley and Me or any other dog story, this one is worth picking up and having a read. This book had me smiling, laughing and tearing up all within the space of a couple of hours reading (embarrassing when on a train), so before you settle down to read this great book, you had better make sure you have some tissues on stand by.

Today’s puppy panic – Maya was “attacked”

11 Feb

Today on our walk, Maya and I were just one hundred yards or so into the woods, when all of a sudden we heard a loud whistle (not even a dog whistle, just a normal whistle, the kind used by sport referees). Whilst Maya barely looked up, i turned around to see what was going on. A little way behind us was a man with a huge German Shepherd walking next to him, and coming towards us at full speed was a Spaniel, a Springer, i think.

My first thoughts were “yay, a friend for Maya, someone who obviously wants to play” – this is something Maya will often do upon seeing a dog, take off and sprint directly towards them, only going into a play bow at the last moment before reaching the other dog. As he came closer, Maya spotted him, and went into the play bow pose – good, she wants to play and is going the right way about it.

What happened next, wasn’t so great. Instead of stopping, this Spaniel ran straight towards us and bit Maya on the leg. She yelped and ran off, he followed.

I walked towards this dogs owner, all the while watching Maya and the Spaniel. I didn’t want to overreact, i wanted them to sort it out on their own. I often say, that Maya needs to be taught her boundaries by other dogs, but this was different.

The dog kept biting Maya on her legs and side, and i watched as she went further into the trees, cowering and yelping.

Man: “Is that your dog crying, or mine?”

Me: “My dog is the one cowering and crying, your dog is the one biting her”

Man: “Oh, that’s just how he plays”

After one particularly loud yelp, the kind you would expect to hear from a dog that had just been kicked, I had had enough.

I know that the last thing you should do in a dog fight is step in between them to try to break them up. The only real “safe” way of breaking up a dog fight is for two people to each day one dog from behind and pull them apart. This guy obviously wasn’t doing anything to help, so it was down to me.

After trying to call Maya towards me, and her just being chased off again, i stepped forward.  By the now the German Shepherd had began taking an interest and I will admit i was a little wary of his as well, despite his owner saying “the big guy is fine”. Between me and the German Shepherd, we managed to get in between the two other dogs and i quickly popped a lead on Maya, keeping her stood still.

The man called his dogs and walked off. Now that they were gone, i took a look at Maya, she was still cowering, and had a lot of foam around her mouth (not really sure what that is about, stress induced maybe?). I couldn’t find any cuts or anything on her, so i turned around and took her on a different walk, making sure to stay calm and not let her think that there was anything wrong. The last thing i wanted to do was panic and make her think that she should be scared of other dogs/spaniels.

On our walk, she limped for a little while, but eventually seemed to be back to her normal silly self.

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I was furious with this man the whole time, and still am. Although my dog was not hurt, she could easily have been. What if the dog had gone for me? Or what if there were children around to either witness this or be a part of it?

I really wanted to tell the man that his dog needs more training and socializing so that it learns how to act appropriately with other dogs. The fact that the man suggested that this is how the dog plays, makes me think that it is down to poor training. I would have also suggested that until the dog knows how to behave around other dogs and people, it needs to be leashed. At the end of the day, i didn’t do any of this. I am a young girl, with a young dog in the middle of the woods, on my own. Who know’s what this man could have done.

Now, I would never hurt another animal, but at that moment, i was ready and prepared to kick that other dog should it take one step closer to mine. It made me realize just how protective i am of my dog.

We all know what to do and what not to do in these situations – but when it comes down to it, we follow our instincts, and my instincts were to protect my dog. I love that silly dog, and i like to think that should the situation have been reversed, she would protect me, even if she is the friendliest, dopiest dog i have ever met.

Should it have been mine that was chasing and biting another dog, i would have stepped in and removed it from the situation.

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Maya has been fine for the rest of the afternoon. Dogs are lucky in that sense. They just forget and move on, it is us humans who think about the past and dwell on things that cannot be changed. Dogs live in the moment. Maya was happy to come home and have some “mummy cuddles” and a bit of play time before going on her last walk of the day.

Man’s best friend

10 Feb

I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. Of all the animals in the world that have been domesticated, you cant get a better friend than a dog.

I said yesterday, that companionship can be just as important as any other “job”, you tell me, do you agree?

 

Since graduating university in July 2012, I have had nothing to do. I cant find a job (and before you start jumping to conclusions, i have done hundreds of applications, and i am actually trying), i have nothing to do at home, most of  friends live 100 or more miles away from where i do. Basically, at home, i have my mum, my dad, my sister, and my dog. This is going to sound corny, especially considering some of the other stories i have posted on here, but i really don’t know where i would be without my dog.

Maya is the reason i get up in the morning, without her, i would spend hours in bed, just moping around and feeling sorry for myself. Maya is the reason i get up and exercise, shes a Labrador, she needs lots of walks, and she is a puppy, she constantly wants attention. I take my vitamins, because i remember to give Maya her supplements (shiny coat, strong bones). She actually enables me to talk to other people, whilst out on our walks i often meet other people and walk along with them and their dogs. A dog is the perfect ice breaker. I talk to her when i am bored or lonely. She comforts me when i am having a bad day. I often say that she has been my savior, without her (and my family) there really wouldn’t be any need for me to be here any more.

My Nan and Dad were recently talking, and my Nan commented “It’s a good job you bought her that dog” – and it is!

 

Lets not forget, she is the reason for this blog!

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My dad always says, that dogs choose their owners. I always say, that we get the dog we want, not the dog we need.

 

For Maya’s case, i think it was fate. I needed her.

 

I have said before about how she was everything that i planned not to get. But that’s not all, its even in her name. I got her as a graduation present (funny story with that one, i refused to stay at university unless i got a dog when i got home, spoilt brat, i know), her grandfather’s name was Graduation. My mothers name is Deborah, so is her grandmothers. One of her great grandmother’s name’s was Princess, I had read that Maya meant Princess in Arabic (who knows if i’m right?).

Whatever way you look at it, whether you believe in fate, it doesn’t matter, she has been and still is, exactly what i needed.

 

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Appeal for Hearing dogs

10 Feb

 

 

I think hearing dogs for deaf people should be promoted much more. Everybody knows about the guide dogs for the blind, but hearing dogs for the deaf is something that is relatively newer, something that not as many people are aware of, i know i wasn’t until recently.

A teacher, a friend, a therapy dog

10 Feb

I absolutely love therapy dogs, i love everything they do, and everything they stand for. The work a therapy dog does is something that many people probably dont really appreciate it. I probably don’t even appreciate it enough.  What i do know, is that i have read many stories about how therapy dogs have changed lives. They can make us feel better, give comfort and love, even teach us important lessons.

For this reason, i am hoping to one day apply for Maya to become a certified therapy dog. When she is older, calmer and i have trained her well, i hope that she will be able to really help enrich someone’s life. I know she has enriched my life, and i want to share that. I hope that one day, i can give up some of my free time and volunteer to take Maya, and really help people. She is important in my life, and i think she can do much more 🙂

 

 

“My dog Abbey Rose is a certified R.E.A.D./Pet Partners dog. We go to our local elementary school and work with children who have some delayed reading ablities. We have been doing this for 4 years now. Abbey has a few students that do not read at all yet, but they do have sight word flash cards. I have taught Abbey to pick a word from 2 cards shown. We play a game with the childrens flash cards. When Abbey gets a word right, she gets a card, when the student reads the word right they get the card. One day a little girl who doesn’t read at all. (She doesn’t even try) saw Abbey was winning all the cards..well she started to read all of her cards. She will not read for the teacher, but she will for Abbey! It warms my heart when the kids get into reading that were afraid to read to their peers or teachers. Abbey encourages them with a gentle paw on the book or a nudge. They see that she wants them to read and doesn’t care if they make a mistake.”

 

For more beautiful stories like this one, check out: http://www.cesar.com/therapydogs/#

Guide dogs, My story

10 Feb

A Guide dog

10 Feb

“My guide, Amelia, has opened many doors of opportunity; has given me the strength and courage to get out and enjoy
life just as everyone else does. My most difficult time was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My Amelia was there for me all the way, emotionally and physically. She was my driving force to beat it. I had to have radiation therapy five days a week, for seven weeks. Each day when we arrived in front of the hospital door, Amelia knew where we were. All I had to say was Amelia, take Mommy to the room. After a few trips, honestly, I didn’t even have to tell her which hallway we had to turn into, she knew the way. I don’t think I could have faced my breast cancer as I have for Amelia was my driving force to lick this beast.
For I knew Amelia would need me as much or more as I needed her. Our journey still continues with fun and happiness. We have traveled to many places and have met many wonderful people who have the greatest admiration for all guides like Amelia. The trust you gain, the love you receive, and the enjoyment of companionship is unexplainable. If and when Amelia’s journey as a guide comes to a close, I will most definitely seek for another partner to walk with me to reach the different avenues of adventure that is left for us as a team to explore. For then my amazing Amelia will switch to my right side while my new partner is on my left, I then will know and have the angels of God guiding me safely and happily.

Priscilla Arvani”

 

http://communityassociationoftheblind.org/Guide%20Dog%20Stories