Tag Archives: dog wisdom

Mar 30 – Pet Shelters Are Packed – Article Highlights


When times are tough, the most vulnerable seem to struggle the most. Below are highlights from a recent AP article on how this is impacting Pet Shelters. For the full article see https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/no-rescue-why-animal-shelter-euthanasia-is-rising

“Pet shelters are packed while pet owners grapple with high costs. By Axel Turcios, AP, March 21, 2023

  • Shelters are filling for a multitude of reasons, including a lack of vets and as pet owners’ home and financial situations change.
  • Rising economic costs have made it difficult for pet owners to keep animals they adopted during the pandemic, and for rescues to pay for their care.
  • While the national animal shelter intake numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels, many animal welfare organizations, like the Animal Care Centers of New York City, are struggling with capacity challenges, with more animals coming into the shelters than leaving. They say one of the causes of the rising numbers in shelters is that they are staying longer at the sites.

“As they stay inside the shelter longer, it’s not great for them mentally or physically, and many of them will break down,” said Katy Hansen, director of marketing and communications at Animal Care Centers of NYC. “They’re stressed, so they’re not showing well to potential adopters that come in. We went from an average length of stay of eight days pre-pandemic to now we’re at 13 days.”

  • The Shelter Animals Count database released a report in January 2023 that shows nationwide shelter animal intake was 4% higher in 2022 than in 2021, though still lower than it was in 2019. This report also revealed that the number of animals leaving shelters remained flat in 2022 versus 2021, meaning space for animals in shelters is shrinking.

“I think this is a great time to reach out to your local shelter and see how you can help,” Caceres-Gil said. “Even if you cannot adopt an animal right now, there are many resources, there are many other ways that you can help, volunteering in becoming a foster parent.”

  • According to the February Consumer Price Index, year-over-year pet food is up 15%, and pets and pet products are up 12%. The ASPCA estimates that the average annual cost of a dog is $1,391, while the average annual cost of a cat is $1,149.”


Closing senryu: How You Can Help

Make a difference!

If you can’t adopt a dog,

adopt a shelter.

Feb 11 – My Chihuahua Rescue


I was a lucky man to be offered the chance to adopt a Chihuahua stray rescue. Here’s a brief poem that explains how it all began:

Some Things We May Never Know

Little white Chihuahua, not so young;

not looking your best, coat far from pure.

Animal Control said you were found

living outside, skirting danger.

With matted hair and covered in fleas;

were you abandoned; owner succumbed?

Scrounging for food -and clearly quite lost –

I wonder, where did you come from?

Public announcements brought no results;

two weeks later, “FREE for adoption.”

No resistance, we chose each other;

  optimistic reclamation.

Vet estimated you’re ten years old,

“a very good model”, she confirms.

Fleas now gone and shots have been given;

future routine: monthly heartworm.

Now we go forward,  the two of us;

me asking questions, you staying mum.

Coming from a past only half known;

no longer matters where you came from,

Just one man, one dog walking in tandem.


Feb 8 – The Supreme

The Supreme – 4-year-old female Terrier Mix at Stray Rescue STL http://www.strayrescue.org

Today’s senryu: The Supreme

Praetorian guard

retriever extraordinaire

best friend forever

I love The Supreme and look forward to walking her every Wednesday morning. My goal is to help every rescue achieve and stay in prime condition for “furever home” adoption and The Supreme (aka “Soup”) is in prime condition…

with a few caveats… she’s dog reactive and door reactive which means she doesn’t like to share you with any other dog and she’s a touch nervous around doors. Oh, and she’s also very, very powerful.

The ideal human guardian companion would be someone with no other non-human companions in the homestead, no small humans who could be easily knocked over, and a guardian human able to hold on to her leash should she suddenly be eager to lunge forward to track down whatever catches her senses. Otherwise, she is a delight.

Here’s a poem shared on the Stray Rescue website from another admirer.

A note from her enrichment friend, Kathleen B.:

S-trong: This can not be emphasized enough. She is one of the strongest dogs in terms of strength, willpower and heart.

U-niversally adored: Once you meet her, you have to love her, not because she’s super cuddly, but because she is uniquely Supreme and you can’t help but fall in love.

P-assionate: She goes for what she wants, be that a Jolly Ball, treat or trash on the street. She needs someone to continue working with her to know she will always have food and fun.

R-eady to go: You like adventure? This is your girl! You won’t wonder if she’s up for it, because she will be right by the door!

E-xercise: She is not a lazy couch kind of dog. She loves to take hikes and be on the go! If you lead an active lifestyle, Supreme is your gal!

M-emorable: Whether it’s her strength, love of toys or stunning looks you don’t forget your time with her.

E-nergetic: She can go for days, whether that’s a walk or playing with toys. She gives it her all and then some.

Other things to note:
-Prefers to be an only dog
-She doesn’t know her own strength so kids are probably not the best fit.
-If you are patient, willing to work with her and commit to her forever, she will be your best friend.”

Maybe, there’s a supreme dog in your nearby rescue shelter. If you’re a good personality match, you might find a BFF (best friend forever) for your life.

Jan 12 – A Sane Life

Today’s senryu: A Sane Life

A Cadillac won’t,

maybe enlightenment will,

and dogs can teach us.

Charlotte Joko Beck b.1917 – d.2011 (Photo © Michael Lange)

American Zen teacher, Charlotte Joko Beck, co-founded the Ordinary Mind Zen School and wrote three books:


Beck also authored a keen article for Lions Roar magazine in August 2011 called A Sane Life; see https://www.lionsroar.com/a-sane-life/. I love her opening paragraph:

My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life. She may worry if she doesn’t get her breakfast, but she doesn’t sit around worrying about whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened. As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. But we human beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.

Lions Roar logo

If you’re interested in the relationship between Zen and modern psychology, check out her books, the article mentioned above, or even this < 2-minute video:


Jan 9 – Interspecies, Interspiritual, Dog-Walking Meditation



Walking meditation is a mindful movement practice in which you consciously concentrate on walking so that you know you are walking AND notice the sense perceptions around you with each step.  For example, if you’re walking outside, you see where you are walking, you hear the various sounds of nature while you are walking, you feel the breeze and the temperature of your environment and smell the aromas of Mother Earth. You can also focus your thoughts by using a word, phrase or mantra (e.g., repeating your canine companions name).

As one Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, explains, “Walking meditation is a wonderful practice. The primary purpose of walking meditation is to completely enjoy the experience of walking. We walk all the time but our steps are often burdened with our anxieties and sorrows. When we walk in mindfulness, each step can create a fresh breeze of peace, joy and harmony. Our destination is the here and now.”


Thich Nhat Hanh adds that you can use a small bell to begin and end your walk and use words or phrases during the walk to guide your focused, mindful steps. Specifically, he says, “When the bell sounds for walking, our breath is coordinated with our steps – we take an in-breath and make one step with the left foot. On the out-breath we take another step with the right foot. Then we begin the cycle again. We can also hold words in our heart. For example, with one step we can say, ‘I have arrived’ and with the next, ‘I am home.’ You may continue with other meaning phrases such as, ‘Yes’ and ‘thank you.’ Our body flows in a continuous movement in harmony with our breathing.”

See The Long Road Turns to Joy – A Guide to Walking Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh, (c) 1996

A walking meditation practice can be very beautiful and comforting when done alone or with other humans.  It can also be very enjoyable with “other-than-human” companions but may not be as orderly or synchronized. 😊

For example, when I walk with my companion canine, Zorro, a 7-pound Chihuahua, we begin with me carrying him for the first half of our 300-foot walk. Fortunately, he is easy to carry but he still needs his exercise to maintain his muscle tone AND, equally important, to do his daily duty/doody (i.e., defecate and urinate). 

When I put him down on the ground next to me, he will often sniff, slowly begin walking until he finds the “right place” to do his duty/doody and then, upon completion, sprint the remaining 250 feet to the front door of our house where he knows his water dish and reward treats are located.

Anyone can do this dog-walking meditation knowing that their process and results will vary depending on their canine companion’s needs and desires.

May you and your canine companion enjoy your interspecies, interspiritual, walking meditation experience.


High Coo – Dec 8 – Five Dog Day

Yesterday, I walked five dogs, one at a time. Two I already knew. Three were new to me. Here they are:

Alize – 6-yr-old, 33-pound female mixed breed

Shepley – 4-yr-old, 63-pound, male Terrier

Layla – 2-yr-old, 34-pound, female Rottweiler-mix

Note: no pictures currently available for Frankie or Onion. Will share when they become available. For more pictures of the many dogs at Stray Rescue STL see https://www.strayrescue.org/adopt-a-dog

Today’s dogryu: Five Dog Day

like people, all dogs

are different and the same

worth love and respect

Here’s wishing you a Five Dog Day; if not today, then soon.

CYE Countdown – Dec 2 – National Mutt Day


What is a mutt? A dog of doubtful pedigree.

What is a pedigree? Recorded ancestry, especially upper-class ancestry, a pure-bred.

What is National Mutt Day? “A holiday that celebrates mixed breed dogs. It is also an unofficial holiday that proclaims that these dogs are as special as their pure-bred counterparts and should be afforded the same love, affection, and respect.

This day should also serve as a reminder that there are millions of mixed breed dogs in shelters all over the United States who are just waiting for a family to take them home and love them.” https://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/national-mutt-day/

Why adopt a mutt versus a purebred? They’ve got the best temperaments.

Most purebreds were bred for specific traits, so they’re likely to have a more extreme personality. Mutts, on the other hand, have a blend of traits from different sources, which often leads to a more mellow mood. In fact, purebred dogs are more likely than mutts to have genetic disorders, including cataracts and hypothyroidism.” https://nationaltoday.com/national-mutt-day/

One more thought for consideration. My father would sometimes smile and with a twinkling eye say: “I’m Irish, English, Scottish and Dutch and a little bit German but not very much.”

Today’s senryu/dogryu: Adopt A Mutt

Now think about it

what’s your ancestral record?

Mutts should adopt mutts 🙂

High Coo – Nov 23 – Thankful for My Dog Day

“Big dogs, small dogs, yappy dogs, fluffy dogs, all kinds of dogs deserve our love and affection every day, but most of all on Thankful for My Dog Day.

In Western society, people highly value dogs because of their characteristics of friendship, protectiveness, loyalty, and affection. Dogs are also widely used in animal-assisted therapy. This type of treatment helps to relieve anxiety, pain, and depression in people with a range of mental or physical health problems.

Show off your dog today. Post photos and videos of your pupper on social media and say how proud you are of them. Also, tell your dog you love them when you’re with other people — animals understand when we’re pleased with them.” https://nationaltoday.com/thankful-for-my-dog-day/

Today’s haiku: Thankful for My Dog Day

In ev’ry season

dogs point out nature highlights

let’s follow their lead

Here’s a few photos from our household:

Please post photos of your dog(s) below.

High Coo – Nov 16 – 3 Questions at Rainbow Bridge

Today’s senryu: 3 Questions at Rainbow Bridge

Together again?

Secure attachment regained?

Trust in the Pure Land?

Today is one of those days when big questions collide for me. I’m trying to sort out a few of them and would appreciate your insights.

This bottle-fed young moose has developed an attachment to its caregiver (at Kostroma Moose Farm). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory Might this attachment be mutual?


The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both.” https://vetexplainspets.com/human-animal-bond/

The Rainbow Bridge is a meadow where animals wait for their humans to join them, and the bridge that takes them all to Heaven, together.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_(pets)


“It is only because of our misunderstanding that we think the person we love no longer exists after they ‘pass away.’  This is because we are attached to one of the forms, one of the many manifestations of that person.  When that form is gone, we suffer and feel sad.  The person we love is still there.  He is around us, within us and smiling at us.  In our delusion we cannot recognize him, and we say: ‘He no longer is.’  We ask over and over, ‘Where are you?  Why did you leave me all alone?’  Our pain is great because of our misunderstanding.  But the cloud is not lost.  Our beloved is not lost.  The cloud is manifesting in a different form.  Our beloved is manifesting in a different form.  If we can understand this, then we will suffer much less.” Thich Nhat HanhNo Death, No Fear