Friday, 24 October 2014

In the line of duty

Nathan Cirillo, a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was killed last Wednesday while standing guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.  His dogs await his return.  RIP Nathan.



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ozzy and I are back!

It's been a long hot summer and today in the forest Ozzy and I witnessed the first signs of autumn.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Last but not least.

Yet another cousin.
The Entlebucher Sennenhund or Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the last in the Swiss Mountain Dog breeds.  The breed is named after a town and region in the Swiss canton of Lucerne. It is the smallest of the Swiss Mountain Dogs. While its origin is not certain, it is thought to be descended from the fighting and guarding mastiffs of the Roman legions. This breed is popular in Switzerland, but is rarely seen outside its native land.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A dog, not cheese.

Another distant cousin!

The Appenzeller Sennenhund finds its origins in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland and is probably descended from the "cattle dogs left there by the Romans".
The breed was originally kept primarily as a cattle herding dog, and a flock guardian. It was also used as a draft dog, and general farm dog. The breed also was known for its affinity to both herd and guard with such devotion that they would give their life to protect their charge. Just like Ozzy!

I only knew the delicious Appenzeller cheese.  

Monday, 12 May 2014

You could fool me!

This could be Ozzy but it isn't.  It's another one of his cousins.  Close cousin.
It's a Bernese Mountain dog ( Berner Sennenhund in German and Bouvier Bernois in French) which originated in the Swiss mountains and was named after the Canton of Bern. The breed was used as an all purpose farm dog for guarding property and to drive dairy cattle long distances from the farm to the alpine pastures. They make ideal pets.  Just like Ozzy.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Ozzy's Swiss cousin

Whilst walking in the forest, Ozzy and I encountered a most beautiful dog.  It’s an Ozzy look alike with a short haired coat.  Ozzy’s cousin.   

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund ) is considered the oldest of the Swiss breeds and was instrumental in the early development of both the St. Bernard and the Rottweiler. There are several theories regarding the ancient origins of the Swiss Sennenhund breeds. The most popular theory states the dogs are descended from the Mollasian, a large Mastiff-type dog that accompanied the Roman Legions on their invasion of the Alps in the 1st century B.C.

Large, sturdy and confident, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog also referred to as "Swissy" is a draft and drover breed - robust and agile enough to perform farm work in very mountainous regions. As a working dog, Swissies like having a job to do.  Developed in the remote and isolated areas of Switzerland, they were was originally used for draft work, livestock management (herding and guarding) and as a farm sentinel.  The breed was assumed to have died out by the late 19th century, as their work was being done by other breeds or machines, but it was rediscovered in the early 1900s.

I had never come across one before. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This is about a man and an eagle

I read this poignant story of Jeff and Freedom, the eagle.

Jeff Guidry is a rock and rhythm-and-blues guitarist who lives in Monroe, Washington, and volunteers his spare time working as a member of the educational team at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a wildlife care center located in Everett, Washington which provides food, shelter, and rehabilitation to orphaned and injured wildlife.  Beginning in August 1998, Jeff and the staff at Sarvey spent weeks tending to Freedom, a baby eagle.
This is Jeff’s story:
“Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer.

When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken, her left wing in 4 places. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet's office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair, the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last check-up. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone. Yahoo!

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk.. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long. That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power coarse through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom's”.