Patchs would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a very Happy New Year!
Back in October of 2012 I had a chance to work with two very nice young ladies. They are hungry for knowledge about dogs and I shared quite a bite of it with them. The sisters, then 5 and 10 years old, both love dogs, but the 5 YO was afraid of bigger dogs. Patchs is a bit “high strung” and that didn’t help.
UPDATE: Patchs and I spent a few hours per week playing with the girls and the girls got to safety interact with Patchs in a fenced-in area.
I spent most of my time working with the 5 YO because she clearly needed to learn that the dog would not hurt her. I showed her that by just looking at the dog she could see what the dog was thinking and what it was going to do. Then I showed her how to use her voice and her body to control Patchs.
After about one month, she was no longer afraid of Patchs, and in fact, she started to play fetch and even started playing “chase” with her. Everytime we walk in that neighborhood, Patchs would turn into their driveway. Patchs had a new friend! Even better, every time we would see the little girl she asked us if we could stop to play for a few minutes. I get a big “Warm Feeling” in my heart every time when we get ready to leave because, she asks us, “WHEN are going to come back again!”
As I’ve said before, it’s very rewarding to “pay it forward”. Mentor kids about dogs is exciting for me because I get to watch them learn and when they “get it” their eyes get wide and a big smile spreads across their faces. It’s very cool to see that look when they realize that they can communicate with an animal in a completely natural way.
Teaching kids to properly treat animals (with love and respect) at an early age will build good character that will serve them in all areas of later life. We as adults have a responsibility to give the children in our little corner of the world all of the tools they will need to become not only great pet owners, but responsible members of society.
Teaching them to work with nature (not against it) will help a lot.
I read an article on Buzzfeed.com entitled “10 Heroic Dogs that will leave you in Awe” http://bit.ly/1emuFSc And as the subtitle says: These incredible dogs will shock you with their selflessness. Their stories will truly amaze you.
Over the years I’ve read about a lot of dogs who either wake the family at night to warn of fires, bark at burglars, and even warn their owner about pending earthquakes.
Well, I too have a story of a dog who saved a life. Or at least extended it quite a bit.
This is a story about a little spotted dog (a Dalmatian) who was adopted at 8 1/2 weeks old. It was the cutest little thing, and it was so small and helpless when it started it new life in the city. It had no idea what it was doing or what was expected of it.
It learned quickly, and the dog and owner bonded almost instantly. The puppy seamed to be insightful even though it always wanted to romp and play. It loved to go outside and run in the yard but it was never to far away from it’s owner. If the owner walked out of the play area or toward the house, the pup would drop what it was doing and run toward him to make sure he didn’t loose sight of him.
Before long, the pup was getting restless and the back yard wasn’t giving this little guy enough physical or mental exercise. It was time to go for walks in the neighborhood.
After a week or two of leash training it was time to go exploring. The little guy was more than ready to go and with a extra high energy level he would prove to be a handful on occasion. The first few blocks were always a bit of a challenge. All of the new smells were overwelming and the excitement was more than the pup could take.
But that wasn’t the biggest problem!
The biggest problem was that the owner was a 2 1/2 pack a day smoker. By the time the two had covered about a 1/2 mile the owner was “hands on knees” gasping for air and had to stop frequently to catch some breath. Most of the time they stopped and sat on the curb and the pup would crawl up in the owners lap and lick the owners face as to say: “are you alright”… or … “what’s your problem, we just got started here”.
It was evident very shortly that something had to change. One of two things had to go! It was the cigarettes or the dog!
Well, the dog was cute, the dog was cuddly and dog was a great addition to the family. It also barked and kept strangers away. It also only cost about $1.00 a day to keep and at that time the cigarettes were about $4.00 a day. The clincher was that the dog was better for the long term health.
The dog’s name was Chip … and I was his owner! His love of the outdoors and his love of “the walk” led me to stop smoking and I have now been smoke free for 21 years. Chip has been gone since 2007 but he was my four-footed little brother for 15 1/2 years. He kept me going and helped me with a lot of things in my life. I will always be indebted to him for that!
Personally I choose Merry Christmas … but that’s because I was brought up in the Christian Church and that’s what it has always been for us. But in the spirit of TOLERANCE & RESPECT for others and their religious beliefs I don’t see anything wrong with the greeting “Happy Holidays” and I don’t think it’s an “Attack on Christmas” like some in the media like to make us think it is.
“Happy Holidays” was actually conceived as a way for people of different faith’s to greet each other without possibly offending them with the wrong holiday greeting. After all the United States is a melting pot of different cultures. As CHRISTIANS, Jesus taught us to be tolerant and respectful of others and their beliefs.
Knowing how MANY religious holidays fall within the months of November, December and January I think it is much easier to have developed a “ALL-IN-ONE” greeting.
For those of you who may not be aware, here is the list of “Holidays” that are encompassed in the greeting:
Advent: four weeks prior to Christmas (Western Christianity).
Chalica: A holiday created in 2005, in the first full week in December, celebrated by some Unitarian Universalists.]
Saint Nicholas’ Day: 6 December
Bodhi Day: 8 December – Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
Our Lady of Guadalupe: 12 December – An important honor of Mexico’s Patron Saint before Christmas officially begins on December 16th
Las Posadas: 16 December -24 December – procession to various family lodgings for celebration & prayer and to re-enact Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem 
Saint Lucia’s Day: 13 December – Church Feast Day. Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
Winter Solstice: 21 December-22 December – midwinter
Soyal: 21 December – Zuni and Hopi
Yalda: 21 December – The turning point, Winter Solstice. As the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of days, Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means ‘birthday eve.’ According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on the 22nd of December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera meaning ‘night gazing’. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.
Mōdraniht: or Mothers’ Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival
Pancha Ganapati: Five-day festival in honor of Lord Ganesha. December 21–25. Celebrated by Hindus in USA.
Festivus: 23 December
Yule: Pagan winter festival that was celebrated by the historical Germanic people from late December to early January.
Anastasia of Sirmium Feast Day: 25 December
Malkh: 25 December
Boxing Day: 26 December – Gift-giving day after Christmas.
Kwanzaa: 26 December – 1 January – Pan-African festival celebrated in North America
Saint Stephen’s Day: 26 December
Saint John the Evangelist’s Day: 27 December
Holy Innocents’ Day: 28 December
Saint Sylvester’s Day: 31 December
Watch Night: 31 December
New Year’s Eve: 31 December – Last day of the Gregorian year
Hogmanay: Night of 31 December – Before dawn of 1 January – Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration
Hanukkah: A Jewish festival celebrating the miracle of oil.
New Year’s Day: 1 January – First day of the Gregorian year
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: 1 January
Saint Basil’s Day: 1 January (Christian Orthodox) In Greece, traditionally he is the Father Christmas figure.
Twelfth Night: Epiphany Eve: 5 January
Epiphany: 6 January: the arrival of the Three Magi.
Armenian Apostolic Christmas: 6 January