Tag Archives: Dogs

A tail of two dogs and a nursing home / rehab idea…

Here’s Shadow-dog with mud on his forehead. The fence is 4′ tall, with the top of this gate – off the ground – standing at about 4’4″. He could easily put a paw on either shoulder of a 6’2″ man, you know, to ask “Where have you been?” you know, for someone friendly. You see that pipe he’s leaning on? In the next picture, that’s what you see to the left of the picture, looking way, way down to miniscule Laudie-dog. Her greeting is a tap-dance step she knows. I say miniscule, but that’s relative, as she’s about 40 pounds, while Shadow-dog is not quite three times that.

On one of the Communion Calls yesterday – that household having a half-dozen dogs inside – I showed the following picture of Laudie-dog, making the elderly-infirm there go “Awwwww!” with smiles all around, and a chuckle as to how wonderful Laudie-dog is. :-)

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen says that when you visit those who are suffering, try to break the dynamic of suffering, the ol’ dragging all the suffering of the past into the present, and dragging al the predicted suffering of the future into the present, making for extreme agony. Break that, he said, with some humor. Make them laugh.

After seeing the face of Laudie-dog, all were ready to see the Holy Face of Jesus, our Eucharistic King. Of course, we had more preparation for Holy Communion! But don’t discount that in Genesis we read that the animals were created as a help to us all. We need all the help we can get, and if this works to break the suffering enough to pay attention in rejoicing to Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, I won’t hesitate for a second.

Later, I let everyone see the picture of Shadow-dog above. “Oh! … Wow! …” was the reaction. :-)

P.S.: Laudie-dog’s tail had been cosmetically chopped off (Grrrr!) Shadow-dog’s tail, bigger than Laudie-dog all on its own, suffices for both.

P.Ss.: Many Nursing Home / Rehabs are cautiously opening up around the country. Those who have been inside have been cooped up WAY TOO LONG. How about signing up to be one of those volunteers who walks people around outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery, offering good conversation and friendship in the Lord? “…and you visited me,” says the Lord God, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

By the way, will doing something like that also help you to break any monotony of Covid that you have have been in. If it was all weird for you, imagine what it was like for them.

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Shadow-dog steps up accompaniment

I was bringing in groceries the other day, leaving the gate open as Laudie-dog was in the house and Shadow-dog never wants to venture out of the yard. But this time he surprised me and ran out and straightaway jumped into the back of Sassy the Subaru… and he wouldn’t leave the back end of the car. He’s saying:

  • “From now on there ain’t no way you’re going away without me being with you, little Georgie. It’s scary out there. I know, because I’m here when you’re gone, and you have no idea what I keep away from the homestead.”

Of course, that would involve heaps of very expensive training, harnesses, permits (for which I’m not necessarily qualified), etc. I’d rather have him watch over the homestead. We still have no police on active duty.

If I do get him down from the car I just have to say “Up!” and he flies into the back, happy as ever. Still gotta wonder if he was on his way to being trained up as a drug dog. There are some things that just come natural to him. If I did bring him with me, Subaru has a kind of fence you can install way in the back or maybe aftermarket dealers make the same for behind the front seats (with the back seats folded down). That way I could leave him locked in the car with the back windows half down and the front windows all the way down. Anyone reaching inside the front to unlock the doors manually so as to jack the ignition will set off the factory installed car alarm, also setting off a bark-alarm. Shadow could, I imagine, rip down any such fence if he wanted and make quick work of the car-jacker. ;-)

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Dogs eating Easter Rabbits & Easter eggs: Humor lightening it up a bit

Shadow-dog, setting a good example, has most excellent over-the-top skill sets in hunting and shredding and then devouring “Easter Rabbits” with their baskets of eggs.

The Easter Rabbit comes from a time of fasting in which no meat at all was eaten during lent, not even rabbits. But now, with rabbits having had time to proliferate during Lent, they are everywhere just waiting to be devoured as part of the celebration of Easter when there is not fasting.

The Easter eggs thing comes from a time of fasting in which no eggs[!] at all were eater during lent. At Easter, there is no such fasting, and everyone would immediately hunt down all the eggs they could find, both eating them and, in their rejoicing that Lent was over because our dear Lord and God and Savior was now risen from the dead, they would decorate those eggs and give them to others, encouraging rejoicing all the more.

Dogs killing Easter Rabbits with baskets of eggs for the devouring of all and sundry. Great! Perfect card for Easter, actually. Kill that meat-rabbit! Eat those eggs!

Happy Easter!

By the way, Shadow-dog has been practicing right along to kill that rabbit and sack the eggs:

img_20181207_154333539_burst000_cover~21354812363336560812..jpg

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“It’s-The-Face”-dog: Holy Thursday special

Going a million miles an hour with church activities and in the community at large as we are about to begin the Sacred Triduum at the end of Holy Week, this post is a bit of a hodge-podge. Sorry about that. I hope it makes some sense.

With that disclaimer, take a look at the face of that dog pictured above. This dog – what looks to be a kind of American Pit-Bull mix – has a certain expression on his face, a visage of total loyalty to his adopted human being, an expression of utter freedom choosing to be tied in friendship to the guy he’s now accompanying and protecting.

I see this expression daily. When Laudie-dog adopted me – shot between the shoulder blades with bird-shot, mangy, skeletally thin – when Laudie-dog realized that I accepted being adopted, she has used this “look” as her default:

  • Yes, that is a smile.
  • Yes, that is a look of situational awareness against untoward aggression of previous owners and strangers.
  • Yes, that is an expression of pride: “This is my raison d’être, and no one is going to tear me away.”

Laudie-dog is given to protecting Jesus and Mary.

I see this expression daily. When I was designated to be adopted by Shadow-dog, he was a bit rambunctious, wolf-dog that he is. His life had been quite the maelstrom of food gathering, always in all the wrong places. After realizing that being a loyal friend and protector for me was his raison d’être, and that he entirely enjoyed this, he became the dog pictured up top of this post, as it were.

Mind you, that scarred dog pictured at the top of this post is is a street-dog who adopted that human being, a good friend. That street-dog had been and continues to be THE alpha-dog of all the alpha-dogs in that small city where my friend lives, regardless of the size of the gangs of sycophant-dogs gathering around whatever alpha-dog other than the one pictured above.

  • Yes, those are scars of battle on dog in that picture up top, scars surely received from other alpha-dogs who failed in their efforts, scars also surely received from other human beings throwing rocks and other rubbish at him, putting him through all that hell’s minions have to inflict upon any creature of our good God in this world.

That dog in the top picture is by far the most heroic vigilante-dog in the region, meaning that he is good and kind, but able to take care of any threat whatsoever there might be against the one he has taken to protecting.

Dogs sense quite exactly, judge quite certainly, rightly, correctly, what any human soul is on about, whether they are good, or malicious. And if good, whether that person is naïve or has suffered the onslaught of hell but has survived.

The guy in the background recognizing the wherewithal of this dog has, in fact, suffered the onslaught of all the hell that can be launched against any one person in this sorry, fallen world. He’s very much like what I have described about this dog, well able to take care of himself and others, but also carrying within himself the grace of the Living Truth of God. God’s non-human creatures are attracted to this goodness and kindness that has faced the entirety of evil and has chosen to remain with the Light.

After a week or two I’ll be able to link to a much fuller story about these two creatures of our good God.

SOME WORDS ON FRIENDSHIP: In speaking to a possible seminarian from the northeast U.S.A. the other week, friendship came up in the lengthy discussion. I said that friendship, true and deep friendship, is entirely dependent on the depth of unity that both of those souls have with the Living Truth, Christ our God. When there is total respect and reverence and obedience in all humility by God’s grace to Jesus and His Immaculate Mother, there is then shared sincerity in the Living Truth in that friendship. When I mentioned that this friendship is immediately recognized by such souls – the joy of each being entirely sourced in humble thanksgiving to Jesus – there was an immediate expression of recognition of that truth: “Yes! That’s it! Exactly! Jesus is the One!”

That’s the kind of friend to whom you would entrust your life in a life-threatening situation. That’s the kind of friend for whom you would lay down your life in a life-threatening situation. There is no greater love than that of laying down one’s life for one’s friends (see John 15:13), words spoken by Jesus on Holy Thursday as He lay down His life for us at the Last Supper, in Gethsemane, the beginning of this Sacred Triduum.

  • “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (John 15:13-20)

But, here’s the amazing part: Jesus loved us while we are yet minions of hell, while we were yet sinners, loving us in such manner in all truth as to bring us from sin into the joy of the children of God and of Immaculate Mary. Not that we get this right away. Within moments, Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him three times, and then all of them would run away, with Judas committing suicide.

  • Father George, you don’t understand. You’ve been speaking so much about guardian angels and now you speak about dogs, even daring to go from dogs to… to… Jesus?! How dare you!

Yes, well. Methinks that the guardian angel of Saint John Bosco had something to do with Grigio coming to the rescue of the great saint Don Bosco for a good part of his life:

I remember trying with futility to get Shadow-dog to take his meds, which I had to put down his throat. It wasn’t going to happen, what with his being a “cane lupo”, a wolf-dog, indeed, oversized. I stopped trying, prayed to my guardian angel for assistance in the task, blaming my guardian angel, as it were, for getting me such a dog. And then I tried once more. This time and for the rest of the course of these meds, Shadow-dog just sat there calm and respectful as ever, letting me put the medicine down his throat with zero difficulty. Stunning, really.

Speaking of faces during Holy Week:

“It’s-The-Face”-God. Jesus. The Holy Face speaks in death, Jesus having laid down His life for us, whom He later called friends, but at time we became His enemies. God’s in unconditional, taking us where we are at, to start, but He requires that we assent to be changed from death to Life if we are to be with Him in Heaven.

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I’m a donkey & I’m a dog

Whatever the unfortunate political collateral damage good donkeys must suffer because of presently passing circumstances, it remains true that donkeys have always been an intimate part of the life of the Holy Family, with (usually) highly complimentary imagery throughout both Testaments of Sacred Scripture and then in the life of the Church.

It has come to my attention that there are interlopers out there, namely, from a Religious Order that rhymes with the Order of Preachers, those Dominicans, particularly those of the Great Province of Saint Joseph in these USA, who are surely self-fancied as those guard-dogs, those sheep-dogs, who ride around the flock on the backs of donkeys, pretending that donkeys are not really guard-donkeys, just those dogs that they are.

They find agreement with Saint Augustine, who would call yours truly an ass, but then he at least would encourage me that, nonetheless, I carry Christ: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” I won’t begrudge them the ride, of course, because those dogs carry the light of Christ, Himself the Lumen Gentium, to the whole world. Blessings upon them.

Here are those dogs. I note that they are braying away. :-)

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Karma perimeter breach at the rectory. Razer-wire fence sitting humor. ;-)

It’s not always the case, but the other night Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog were both inside with me. But then, at zero-dark-thirty (as always), one of the local thugs knocked quietly on the outer walls of the rectory, surely not to get my attention, but to see if he could get the attention of the dogs. I’m sure the dogs would have been shot yet again with a pellet gun had they been outside. Shadow-dog has now been shot some eight times plus a 9mm to his dog house since he adopted me by way of the Police Department, while Laudie-dog has been shot twice since I’ve had her and once more before she adopted me.

Laudie-dog is a Rhodesian Ridge Back Lion Dog, but Shadow-dog is so huge that he can hardly use Laudie-dog as a pillow just below my bed. So sweet!

Anyway, something must have spooked the thug, maybe someone driving by out front, and he ran in the direction of the drug-house through the creek-side of the back yard of the rectory. Of course, maybe he was smacked by a feather of my guardian angel to get him running full speed. :-)

On the creek-side of the back perimeter of the property there’s four-foot high goat-wire fence, plain as day for all to see, even at night if my flood-lights are on; the lights are about as bright as the sun as pretty much everyone in town informs me. This guy seems to have run full speed right into the goat wire. I’m not sure what that makes him… The neighbor pointed out the destruction to me the next day, calling me up all upset. Together we noted the dynamics of how the fence was violently stretched out of shape blown out from the rectory side of the fencing. The goat wire is attached to the chain-link fence on the one side, but just stands loose and is lightly wrapped around a tree on the far side by the creek (not attached at all).

I can only imagine the scene of this guy running into that fence, flipping him head over heels, having him hit his head hard on the cement driveway of the neighbor. Ouch! Karma? Not so sure about that. How about irony. No, there’s got to be something more personal. Let’s see… my Guardian Angel! Yes, I think that’s it.

I immediately smashed into the ground a couple of what we Minnesotans call snow-fence posts along the fence line as a temporary measure. These were from the once-upon-a-time hermitage, after which I gave them to yet another neighbor. He’s re-envisioned his garden for next Summer and just gave them back to me.

That’s just temporary. The goat wire will be tied up much more sturdily, and I’ll be adding some more lengths of goat wire fencing on the creek side with the help of yet more posts. Meanwhile, the back yard neighbor – really nice guy – gave me quite a lot of barbed wire to add to the top. Heheheh. Of course, any good thievery tools will be able to cut down all the fencing within seconds. I don’t put my trust in fences. I just want to do what I can to protect the dogs. This is also to protect the neighbor at the back. The creek is a kind of highway for the druggies and home-invaders. My neighbors, especially those with little kids, don’t like all the heroin needles and ruffians around the back doors of their homes. The little goat-wire fence helps to dissuade the dark side from making this their avoid-the-police path.

Meanwhile, a funny story about fences and priests:

Some tough church ladies told me a funny story down in Australia as I was installed as the new pastor in that outback parish. I was in Australia to teach in the new country seminary, and the bishop had me doubling up the work by having me do up some trouble-shooting, having me also follow an all-too-weak priest who was doing way too much fence sitting. His fence sitting upset the tough church ladies, and so they hauled him aside and told him the truth of the matter in no uncertain terms, no fence sitters they:

  • “You can’t be sitting on the fence these days, Father, because these days we make fences out of razer-wire.”

Perfect. I love that. Church ladies are always tough.

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Laudie-dog’s neck shot? Again?

Above, a while back, Laudie-dog wakes up safe and secure, happy as ever. But recently that wasn’t the case, with both she and Shadow-dog having been poisoned. But as I now find out, that wasn’t the worst of it.

Laudie-dog has been having problems with a wound on her neck where she had been shot with a pellet gun quite a while back, but the vet recognized that although there might surely be a bit of shrapnel there, causing occasional minor eruptions, that wound was good to go as is. You gotta know, thugs and buffoons shoot dogs in WNC not infrequently. Vets see some of the worst humanity has to offer and know what really needs to be treated or not, or at least not yet. Being a vet might be about animals, but it’s the behavior of human beings that veterinarians all get to know all too well, with which they are burdened. They have to deal with the injuries of illegally placed bear traps, shootings, poisonings, dog-fighting, neglect…

Meanwhile, I inquired about a very recent skin-event on Laudie-dog’s neck, a pyoderma bacterial infection that is most often occasioned by, that is, secondary to local trauma. Looking at the unrepeatable circumstances of what was happening, the doctor said that it’s her best hypothesis that Laudie-dog was shot with a pellet gun yet again. Because of the location this would likely have had to have been point-blank, centered perfectly on the esophagus under her chin. Sweet Laudie-dog, the friendliest dog in the world. Why? That’s the point. She’s defenseless, and the cowardly thugs and buffoons take advantage of her sweetness. For this pyoderma to develop as it has, the timeline is that this would have been triggered, so to speak, when she and Shadow-dog were also poisoned.

For all of my bluster about the tender snowflake bullies, with all their gang safety, their bowie knives and machetes and lead pipes and chains and pistols and rifles and baseball bats and threats to beat the brains of the dogs in the neighborhood, and for all of my complaints about Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog getting shot with pellet guns previously (and Shadow-dog’s dog-house with a 9mm), this most recent violence against Laudie-dog still surprised me, as I guess I just didn’t want to go there.

I’m all the more streetwise, and Laudie-dog is now taking the usual course of 500mg of good ol’ generic Cephalexin every 8 hours for seven days. And she’s as happy as ever. BUT… warned the good doctor, if there is anything weird that develops with that wound, I’m to bring Laudie-dog straight back for a check-up on her progress or lack thereof. I’m keeping close watch. GOOOOD DAAAWG!

Meanwhile, I should examine my own behavior to see if I’m the one bringing this on in some manner, you know, the ol’ if something goes wrong I should blame myself thing: It’s the victim’s fault! That must be it! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

I bet if I cave and take down my thin blue line flag, it’ll all be better. Yes, I’ll do that, take down the thin blue line flag… NOT!

On second thought, maybe such violence is taking place because of the angels and manger scene, because of Mary and Anthony of Padua. Maybe such a presentation is a microaggression worthy of being punished by way of the dogs…

No, no. I bet it’s the combination of all these things. THAT’s it! I’ll go take it all down right now!

Um… no.

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Marcus Luttrell’s DASY, John Wick’s Daisy, Fr George’s Shadow-dog & Laudie-dog

Marcus is the Lone Survivor Navy SEAL guy, married, with kids, your normal Texan. Back Stateside, provided a service dog, he named the dog after his team: D.A.S.Y. That is:

  • Danny = Daniel Phillip Dietz Jr: Navy Cross, Purple Heart – 25 years old (RIP)
  • Alexson = Matthew Gene “Axe” Axelson: Navy Cross, Purple Heart – 24 years old (RIP) – [Note that one of Marcus’ kids is named Axe, after Matt Axelson. That should tell you something]
  • Southern Boy = Marcus Luttrell: Navy Cross, Purple Heart – Lone Survivor
  • Yankee = Michael Patrick “Murph” Murphy: Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Silver Star – 24 years old (RIP)

It’s not just that the dog murderers shot DASY. No, no. They also beat DASY’s brains out with a baseball bat. Stats are that anyone who can randomly do that to a dog is also doing that human beings, usually a defenseless partner, usually children, only those who are much weaker than they are, you know, because, as always, guys like these are total cowards. They hit DASY in the middle of the night. In the 911 call played out above we find out that they have also called 911 on themselves so as to be saved from the guy whose dog they murdered. Meanwhile, Marcus, gentleman that he is, had already called 911 so that Law Enforcement and the American justice system would be put into action properly. As Marcus says of himself, he’s no murderer, but rather someone who supports Law Enforcement and the American justice system. That’s why he served in the Military. Yes.

Meanwhile, John Wick’s dog, called Daisy, is an obvious reference to Marcus Luttrell’s DASY, as there are another dozen parallels as to how this film series is all about an alternative ending to the dog-murdering, surely to point out how, instead, Marcus is above the fray of mere vengeance. And that makes Marcus a hero to me, that is, not someone to render hero-worship (that being a sickness), but rather someone whose example I try to follow in my own life.

Meanwhile, my own Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog were both poisoned the other week. They survived, but only because, as I found out later, the perp was interrupted by my good neighbor just before I got home. Continuing to inquire about what the poison could have been, the substance has been narrowed down to that which has a lot more lethality to it than what I originally thought it might be. In this case, as far as the dogs’ owner goes, myself, I’m guessing that the perp knows well that I myself am a relatively easy target, so very much unlike our run of the mill citizen of Texas, the great Marcus Luttrell, and the later fictional John Wick. That I was considered to be an easy target was the opinion of an Army sniper here in town, the one who now owns Jenny the Jeep. We all know how lethal a Navy SEAL can be, but what about John Wick? Take a look at this short analysis of the skills of John Wick and his director at just a 1/4 speed (stunning attention to detail):

Anyway, yours truly, obviously a “weak target”, who’s never pulled a trigger on anyone for any reason, is given over to being at the ready to defend those who are successfully being unjustly aggressed in a deadly manner right in front of me, say, during a mass shooting in my church, but that defense is not comprehensive of Shadow-dog nor Laudie-dog. Sorry for you who are just as much dog-lovers as me. They have many times put themselves on the line for me, but still… Mind you, murdering my dogs right in front of me is going to raise some intensified situational awareness by way of the all focusing adrenaline. I’ll be 360゚at the ready to send off – if need be in unrepeatable circumstances – two to the spinal column and one to the brain box into any number of targets, you know, if I’m fired upon and am actively being hit, set on fire with my lungs being singed, stabbed repeatedly to bleed-out parts of the body, you know the drill. I have done up a bit of scenario drills. The aim, so to speak, would be merely to neutralize not any aggressor(s), but any ultra deadly threat actively being delivered by any aggressor(s). You take out such a threat, not necessarily any aggressor(s) bearing any such threat. Just to be clear. The relatively speaking freakoid record for yours truly which I’ll never repeat again (no target ammo in these USA to keep up the skills…) from a locked holster at a randomly set Competition Electronics’ Pocket Pro II shot timer is – for the two plus one drill – 1.01 seconds. Slow for those mentioned above, of course. And now I’m much, much slower than that.

My neighbors and I have noted how the local cowardly thugs and buffoons carry bowie knives, machetes, baseball bats, lead pipes, heavy chains, pistols, shotguns, (sniper) rifles. Whatever. They look tough, well, laughably, but all that “toughness” only means that they are cowards, always in packs, always almost incapable of even standing up without falling over. The local thugs and buffoons have expressed disdain for dogs to me and have three times stated that they will kill the neighbor’s sweet dog by coming back with a baseball bat to beat that that puppy’s brains out (witnessed). Yep. But, I know, the last thing a thug and buffoon will carry with them is any violence or threats of violence they have ever done or made. Thier own evil is not on their own radar. So, no real ongoing threat. Not in the least.

Having said that, I should add that Laudie-dog was shot in the neck with a pellet gun just under her left ear the other year, and that wound is still festering enough for Shadow-dog to tenderly offer some dog-medic treatment for quite a few minutes even now, with Laudie-dog very appreciative with all that tender care:

The Vet didn’t want to do anything with that ongoing wound just yet. Meanwhile, as I have sometimes said, Shadow-dog is himself well aware of the hurt coming from pellet guns, having been the victim already four times. We’re all happy that, as a wolf-dog, he has fully three coats of fur, all the more thick and heavy around the neck. A bit more worrisome, however, is that his doghouse – next to the house – was hit by a 9mm bullet. I changed out the doghouse so as to confuse the idiot perps a bit. Confusing idiot perps is easy, unless they are not on drugs, unless they are determined just to be evil outside of any evil wrought merely for political correctness with thug peers. Some of the druggies are not druggies at all, but deal only with money and suppliers, keeping track of suppliers, enforcing debt collection. They are likely to be just a bit more dangerous, though I doubt that even they know how to work any safeties on guns, or how to load up a magazine and lock it in, or even whether or not there are any bullets in whatever gun. However, if you yourself get shot in a totally unprovoked attack, you can judge in that very nanosecond that a deadly threat is presently being delivered and if this is in turn judged not to be an accidental discharge but someone continuing to fire at you, the self-defense you render over against such an unprovoked attack is not only justified, but is certainly a contribution to the exercise of the virtue of justice.

The 911 call at the top of this post is after the initial nanosecond of the actual murder of DASY, and Marcus himself was not shot at or attacked with any baseball bat: the perps, the cowards, ran away. The way Marcus brought DASY’s attackers to justice honors those after whom DASY had been named.

May Danny, Axe and Yankee rest in peace. Amen.

And thanks, Marcus, for setting a standard to strive after.

BTW, the comments section after that YouTube 911 call are some of the best on the internet, not because of the hilarious ones (there are a lot) but because the occasional one which is in obvious solidarity with Marcus in a way that could only be done by someone who likewise has suffered for all that is good, who has likewise seen his close friends taken out in front of him. Quite sobering, really. And we need that in these crazy anti-American times we now live in here in these United States of America.

And, yes, it is in God that we trust. Always. Everywhere. In every situation. Amen.

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Never happier dogs: State Department heroine thanks! Post-poisoning report.

Shadow-dog is not barfing up that rope-toy. Pictures are tricky that way. Both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog are in great health once again, and are celebrating with super special treats from dearest Charlene.

Shadow-dog was eager and happy to have a taste of these, but sweetest Laudie-dog was over the moon, dancing, happy, bright eyed, smiling. I think Laudie-dog will get the lion’s share, as it were, because, you know, she’s a Rhodesian Ridge Back Lion Dog.

If you can spot the note on top of the treats in the picture farther above, it is only Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog who get a Happy Thanksgiving. Yours truly is, however, tacked on to the thanksgiving to God, after Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog!

Dearest Charlene, we also thank God for you and the service you’ve done right around the world at the Department of State and now for many years for Father Gordon and so many others. Blessings upon you. God reward you.

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Laudie-dog & Shadow-dog poisoned but now healthy: situation awareness lesson

That’s Laudie-dog above, the sweetest dog in the world. She’s good now. But who would poison her?

And that’s Shadow-dog below, the most playful dog in the world. He’s good now. But who would poison him?

Early Wednesday, just after midnight, I arrived back home after the epic Day Off, relieved in seeing Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog peek through the chain-link fence gate to ascertain it was me. But then they disappeared again to check out I didn’t know what at the other side of the house. That’s never happened. But then they came back to greet me once again as I got to the gate. Whatever had been happening at the other side of the house was now ended. But something was wrong, terribly wrong.

They were totally in malaise, no energy, no dancing around, no fake-fighting with each other to get the first pats on the head, no eagerness, like dead dogs still alive but hardly able to walk without falling over.

Shadow-dog stays out 24/7/365 now that he’s somewhat outgrown his all-night commentary on the druggies and assaulters and rapists and murderers in the neighborhood. He got his supper-dish filled with his evening meal, late, but better late than never. Except this time. He wouldn’t touch it. He was vacuous. A shell of a dog. Empty eyes. Receding into the background. Not this:

Laudie-dog was able to make it up the few steps to come inside but I thought she was going to drop dead right then and there. I put her supper dish down with the usual evening ration. She’s always eager to eat and eager to never stop eating. But Laudie-dog wouldn’t eat. Every movement was painfully slow. She slowly sat down, and then ever so slowly tried to turn her head sideways to stare at her stomach. I’ve never seen that before. Then she took a few steps, sat down, and stared ever so dully at the wall. Vacuous. Nothing there. A shell of a dog. Receding into the background.

Next morning Laudie-dog still hadn’t eaten anything. Shadow-dog did eat sometime during the night, but, like Laudie-dog, was still in total malaise. Later in the morning, Laudie-dog would also eat, choosing just this bit, then that, ever so very slowly, one chew, then opening her jaw with effort, as if in great sadness, then another chew. Excruciating.

Before rushing down to Georgia’s National Cemetery for a military burial, the neighbor filled in some of the details about the previous evening while I was away. It’s said that Shadow-dog was barking, really a lot, fiercely, for hours. The neighbors finally came out to investigate and noticed that the two dogs were on the far side of the house looking up toward the street, barking ferociously. But that’s just when I arrived home. I didn’t see the good neighbors and I didn’t see who had been bothering the dogs. I’m happy with avoiding trouble that could escalate into what nobody wants.

I’m thinking that someone noticed I wasn’t home, and was trying to figure out how to do a home invasion, then went away and came back to give some tasty bits of food to the dogs to eat, but with poison, to knock them out in order to do a home invasion. I’m guessing Laudie-dog ate everything she could while Shadow-dog investigated the first one or two offerings, but let Laudie-dog finish the rest. She got a lot sicker than he did. He was altogether occupied with keeping yet another home-invader, dog poisoner at bay. He did do that. But as soon as the danger was gone, just when I arrived back home, their adrenaline dump now left them and the effects of the poison came to the fore.

In other words, they gave their all to protect the home-front, risking death to do so. Goooooood daaaaawwwgs.

Meanwhile, as I write this, late Thursday, early Friday, I’ve never seen the drug house out back so very, very busy. By Thursday both dogs were back to normal, super-energetic, super-eager, with super-appetites. Great. But. What was it. Sounds like a date-rape drug that guy had at home, and he decided to use it on the dogs.

The other year, at an Advent meal up at Fire House, I was bragging on Shadow-dog, about how good he is at keeping home invaders away. The guy just blankly asked why I thought that. I described Shadow-dog’s anomalously massive size and ferocity over against those judged to be malicious (for instance, those who shoot at him and Laudie-dog here in town), but the guy didn’t accept that as anything to judge their worth. I should have known not to ask why not, as surely this guy was speaking from experience and the topic had to hurt (I’m so stupid):

  • “Any experienced home-invader is going to open the gate to get to your back door, shoot the dog without breaking pace (with a suppressor I’m guessing), quickly break apart the door(frame), and proceed firstly to make sure there are no further threats before taking whatever it is that he wants.”

“I see,” said I, taken aback at his sad tone that told a story.

Mind you, I’ve had trouble getting Shadow-dog to eat before, but not because of malaise for having been poisoned. I only figured out recently just how much he considers me to be part of the security team, just how much he is depending on me, that is, as much as I depend on him.

I stupidly put his supper dish next to the house (as people do), so that he faces the house in order to eat. That’s bad for situational awareness. I should have known. He didn’t feel safe to eat if I was standing next to him, but also facing the house with him. He would spend minutes circling out back of me to bait me to turn and do surveillance for him much the way I’ve so many times seen a buck keep watch while the does put their heads deep into the grass. Having finally figured out what he was doing, all I have to do is put his supper dish down and face away, busy trying to spot those Shadow-dog senses to be malicious.

But this didn’t work the other night. The second the danger was over, both he and Laudie-dog, making sure I was safe, then just collapsed.

But they are good now. It’s all good. Thanks be to God.

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Local drug lieutenant “Pablo Escobar” vs Macie-dog & Tiger-kitty

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Here’s a good picture of Macie-dog. The local neighborhood druggies threaten to smash her brains out with a rock. She’s the sweetest dog in the world. She barks only at druggies. Go figure. Macie-dog lives just across the street from me.

Behind her from this vantage point is Tiger-kitty. She’s had a rough life with only three legs. Sweetest cat in the world. I fear to ask why she only has three legs. I’ll have to make it a point to ask “Pablo Escobar”, the local neighborhood thug who dropped his illegal (to him) Bowie knife in the rectory backyard the other day while escaping multiple law enforcement agencies. “Pablo” has an extreme dislike of Doctor Dolittle, meaning, of animals.

While “Pablo” is hiding out in dark shadows, both Macie-dog and Tiger-kitty are alive and well and soaking up the sun.

  • And yes, Macie-dog is having the last laugh above.
  • And yes, Tiger-kitty is smiling in this picture.

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Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog: traumatized protectors, but happy

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Laudie-dog is her happy self. She guards the door when I’m gone, then insists, as a reward, that she come inside when I arrive back home. Happy, happy, happy! She gets pampered in every way.

She’s been traumatized by her previous owner who, it seems, shot her between the shoulder blades with bird shot when dumping her on the hermitage road to get rid of her. She’s been even more traumatized right through her younger years consequent to her maternal protection of yours truly over against bears and panthers and wolves and all that which also goes bump in the night, dark and stormy nights with dreaded thunder, which sets her to shaking. She still has nightmares.

Someone, playing dog-psychologist, said that the nightmares are all my fault, inasmuch as they continue, in that surely I don’t pamper her enough! Instead, she well knows that she is the princess. As far as I know in speaking with some of our special operators, for human beings anyway, PTSD doesn’t go away, even though in waking moments one might learn how to deal with it. I’m guessing it’s the same for dogs. Laudie-dog also knows she has help with the protection thing, that it’s not on her anymore. Enter Shadow-dog:

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And, yes, he’s had a number of baths and some brushing events a few times since this picture was taken. And his collar got a good scrubbing, and his new rabies shot tag was added to the collar. He’s a strictly outside dog now. He guards the door while I’m gone along with Laudie-dog, but also patrols the fence-line. Although he’s been shot a good four times with a pellet gun, and his dog house was shot with a 9mm bullet, that’s only made him more confident in his abilities to face anything. If Laudie-dog is the princess, Shadow-dog is simply the king. I’m the “alpha” only until there’s trouble, and then he unceremoniously literally knocks me out of the way so that I’m fully behind him. Amazing. I’m grateful to have him.

Did I mention that he can put his jaws entirely around the entire head of Laudie-dog? All in play, mind you. That’s not at all scary to Laudie-dog. Instead, it’s the other way around. She knows that Shadow-dog can fully take care of any situation which comes up. She can relax. Not that she does. Fairly recently I’ve seen her raise her Rhodesian Lion-Dog Ridgeback four-inch wide, shoulders to tail ridge, which stood straight up. I’ve only seen that just the one time when a pit-bull was threatening. She won, actually scaring the pit-bull. :-)

Laudie-dog comes in at 45 pounds. Shadow-dog comes in more than twice that, at 95 pounds. He could easily be 120 pounds or more and still be trim, but the Vet said to keep him a bit on the thinner side, as a dog his size is much happier when light on his feet, and it also helps perhaps to delay any hip dysplasia later in life.

Both dogs are rescues, but not really.

  • Laudie-dog adopted me. I think my guardian angel directed her my way going on ten years ago. We’ve been great friends since.
  • Shadow-dog was arranged for me by friends in the police and firefighters. He was just a pup and needed a home. They brought me over to pick him up at the house of someone who couldn’t take care of him. The school cafeteria couldn’t keep feeding him, liability and all that.

“The LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals.” (Genesis 2:19-20)

Both Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog have the same nick-name: GOOOOD DAAAWG!

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*THAT* would be a felony. Shadow-dog Police-dog and a 9mm bullet.

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I don’t like it. I don’t like it all. That’s a 9mm bullet hole on a corner of Shadow-dog’s old dog house. I made him a new one and was loading up this old one to cart off to the land-fill when I noticed these new holes. The entrenching entry to the right in the picture above, and the exploding exit to the left. The violent entry cleaned off the dirt a bit.

In the picture below, you can see how the bullet exploded on it’s entrance to the right and then plowed through this extremely hard plastic to the left.

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I’m guessing the bullet had slowed significantly by the time it exited the second wall. This could have happened any time. I can’t even guess. This discovery was another reason to get rid of this particular dog house. If you shoot at a target once, you’re much more likely to shoot at it again. Better not to have the same target around.

But a felony? It’s just a dog house after all. But, this was in town. Negligent discharge, as they say. No big deal. However, the rectory is right there, of course. Another inch off the mark and that bullet would have entered the house. Shooting at a house is rather illegal. Or maybe that was the aim. It’s not easy to shoot a pistol. This would have been from the back street, so, I’m guessing some 50 yards away, perhaps a drive by from a vehicle. For someone who is not practicing all the time – and low-level criminals really never practice, as the ammo eats up money for drugs – hitting the main house from that distance, much less the dog house, would be a feat. I’m guessing crack heads couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn.

Since I’m a police chaplain, I consider Shadow dog to be a police dog of sorts, though not legally. But even non-police dogs shouldn’t be shot, not with a pellet gun, and certainly not with a 9mm.

Shadow-dog and I are quite the team. I don’t like this 9mm thing. I don’t like it at all.

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“Who Let the Dogs Out?” Shadow-dog baits anti-Catholic. State Dept to the rescue.

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Due to a Shadow-dog related incident this past Monday, mid-morning, this post is offered for the record, in case a very much one-sided confrontation is escalated.

who let the dogs out opening scene

So, as the police chaplain, I have to ask:

During the day the security situation is like this with innocent Shadow-dog:

When confronting a GSD like Shadow-dog, don’t be afraid, don’t be aggressive, don’t be suspicious, don’t be malicious, don’t be scolding, don’t be fake-nice (dogs see through all that passive-aggressive rubbish), just be yourself. This is how it should be when encountering people, right?

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog is ready to play, carrying his fetch-toy wherever he goes on his patrols of the fenceline, always game for gaming. He will ever so gently touch Laudie-dog on her shoulder with this fetch-toy. She will jack up the stakes, gaming his gaming, to his delight.

Shadow-dog likes the playfulness of Laudie-dog, but invites playfulness with the backyard neighbor’s old yet playful and big white dog (possibly some kind of quite shaggy Sheep-dog). The invitation – of course in the form of squeaky barking and hopping around on his own side of the fence – isn’t reciprocated, which is frustrating for Shadow-dog.

The situation for Shadow-dog isn’t much better with the next door neighbor’s therapy pony – not much bigger than Shadow-dog. Cooper, the therapy pony, will munch on the same blade of grass for minutes at a time, egging on the invitations of Shadow-dog to play. When Shadow-dog calms down, Cooper the therapy pony will slightly move a hoof, starting the barking invitations of Shadow-dog all over again.

But here’s the deal: all the neighbors find all this to be entirely humorous, laughing at how Shadow-dog is baited by other dogs and ponies. All are perfectly fine with Shadow-dog’s playfulness and voiced invitations to play. Not only are they not bothered, but they are grateful for his antics. They know that he is the reason for a lack of home invasions in our immediate section of the neighborhood. There are rough elements with equally rough crimes (such as murder and assault) which we are all happy to avoid.

On another level – apart from playfulness -Shadow-dog cannot be baited, but instead does the baiting. Anyone taking a fleeting glance at Shadow-dog knows that he could literally rip any human being to shreds should they prove to be malicious in ripping yours truly apart in front of him. He wouldn’t just let that go. Neither would relatively diminuative Laudie-dog for that matter. Shadow-dog could jump fence anytime with zero effort. But he doesn’t. GSDs are loyal to their human servants and their own well-defined territory of responsibility. Some few human beings are mean to him, even having shot at him, accurately, with a pellet gun a number of times. Laudie-dog was also shot, once with bird-shot of – I’m guessing – a 4.10, and once with a pellet gun. Neither of them retaliate. Laudie-dog is too sweet. Shadow-dog is also good to go, as long as he has his own domain under control, with no one who is entirely malicious to the death inside his environs.

During the night the security situation is like this with innocent Shadow-dog:

At night it’s more difficult to ascertain who human beings are, where they are, and what they are doing. Ask LEOs. They say that nothing good happens on the street after 10:00 PM. Nighttime brings out a whole other population of human beings, many of whom are, in fact, malicious. So many beheadings and murders and burnings of other human beings in the area and region demonstrate the objective malice. Shadow-dog knows this well enough.

Shadow-dog, as a GSD – a kind of wolf – has an upped sense of situational awareness. Far from paranoia, categorically diverse from paranoia – not even on the same spectrum – is situational awareness, which instead looks for solutions of deescalation in any given situation, of escape in any situation, or, if it cannot be avoided, how to fight in any situation, etc.

But Shadow-dog ups this by baiting out and downright provoking a reaction. This is not necessarily what human beings should do in direct encounters with possibly and especially probably malicious individuals. But dogs are spectacularly adept at providing running commentary on questionable circumstances so that they can all the more accurately report how contingencies are playing out. Dogs are front-line operatives.

Shadow-dog is now over three years old, and has mellowed out enough for me to have moved him outside the house 24/7/365. His commentary, wonderfully, is limited to possibly malicious human beings. So he barks rarely enough, even at night. But if it’s at night, I pay close attention.

There was a barking-baiting session at 1:30 AM the other night. I listened intently. I heard the cause, loudly: what had to be a maul-ax smashing of a door for a home invasion, or probably just smashing up branches for a druggie fire as it was a really cold night and they wanted to keep warm, which I’m certainly not going to begrudge them. And Shadow-dog should have barked. The maul-ax strikes were really quite violent. Goood daawwg Shadow-dog!!!

But someone in our little town didn’t like it one little bit…

… and came by the next morning to tell me what a terrible sorry excuse for a Catholic priest I am, letting Shadow-dog bark like that and everything. This person was so aggressive, charging me again and again, and not letting me get in a word of explanation in edgewise, that I just retreated, again, and again and again. This person kept charging, so I ran under that back patio and closed the gate. This person kept berating me so I said that I’m requesting leaving the property. And then many drive-bys by this person took place. One of neighbors came to warn me that this person had circled back to my house like four times in as many minutes. Yikes! I’m happy to have neighbors who are concerned for my welfare.

I disagree with poor Shadow-dog being used by this complainer-person as an excuse for anti-Catholic bigotry, you know, against all the damned Catholics and all their damned dogs.

Was it not at the time that Antony was predicting the result of Julius Caesar’s assassination that we hear this:

A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.
Blood and Destruction shall be so in use
and dreadful objects so familiar
that mothers shall but smile when they behold
their infants quartered by the hands of war,
all pity choked by custom of fell deeds.
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge
With Ate by his side, come hot from hell
shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
cry “Havoc!” and release the dogs of war
that this foul deed should smell above the earth
with carrion men, groaning for burial.

Ah, yes! Cry “Havoc!” and release the dogs of war.

I’m not going to release any dogs – and they won’t jump fence – but I’m not going to correct his behavior. He’s quiet all night, every night, unless there is something violent going on. And then, as a town manager said to me, mentioning someone complaining about Shadow-dog, not letting me defend Shadow-dog, but instead himself interrupting me to defend Shadow-dog, asking me whether or not Shadow-dog cuts down on home invasions for all my neighbors. Yes, of course, and they all say it, all appreciative of Shadow-dogs efforts to put himself in danger on the front lines and protect us all. All my neighbors appreciate Shadow-dog’s efforts. All of them. — Of course, he said. And that was that.

Getting the State Department involved:

Meanwhile, in recounting this story to a fellow priest, it was suggested to me to make a comment about my best friend in the State Department (retired) being somewhat delinquent in sending treats for both Shadow-dog and, of course, Laudie-dog, whom she wants to adopt. She’s only said that a million times. But, the problem is, Laudie-dog adopted me. And she softens some of the sharper edges of Shadow-dog. ;-) But actually, dearest Charlene always keeps both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog in good standing with treats of all kinds. They are “rurnt” as they say these parts, “ruined” or spoiled, totally in expectation of treats all the time for any or no reason. Being falsely accused of grave crimes and misdemeanors – such as doing the service of alerting to violent actions – is more than enough reason to load down both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog with treats. I’ll do that right now. I think dearest Charlene will agree with that pampering of her furry friends.

Dearest Charlene has a blog called the Prodigal Catholic Writer, and she’s written a post about what she says is “definitely the most embarrassing evening of my life,” quite funny about one of her State Department experiences in Tanzania. If you want some good humor in your life – and I recommend this to the complainer described above – here’s dearest Charlene:

http://prodigalcatholicwriter.blogspot.com/

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Coronavirus humor is for the dogs

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Dogs is better’n cats: Change my mind. Most playful attack dogs in the world.

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Yes, Shadow-dog does get hosed off. He likes that as much as getting muddy. He likes to bait Laudie-dog into playing, and she shows him who’s really boss, boxing his ears with both front paws at the same time, though not baring her ferocious fangs for a second. They really are best friends. She’s just cleaner, and wants to stay that way.

In an effort to change out mud holes, I restricted Shadow dog to being closer in to the house, as there is still an old fence to use. But his hopping from side to side in front of that fence when making his usual commentary on passing events has made for some embankments. As I kid, when I did that for downhill skiing up in the North Woods: moguls. I got good at it, enough to get little impromptu audiences. But maybe they were just waiting for the crazy-insane-kid to be out of the way.

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It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the turning mogul on the right is dug down and built up from the hopping turns so that from bottom to top is about 1 1/2 feet high. That only took one day of unintentional mogul building. I’m impressed. Shadow gets his exercise all day every day.

The anomalous all-black GSDs have a slightly different genetic structure, closer, I would guess, to wolfdom. They have what some call a straight back instead of the back sloping down from shoulders to tail. But Shadow-dog’s back actually is higher. The speed factor is amazing.

He can go from the not-lying-down-but-actually-crouching-attack-position – closely eyeing a potential enemy who needs to be vetted out – to full speed racing as a test-attack to see the reaction of the would-be enemy, the ol’ going straight from zero to a hundred thing in bare nanoseconds. I like that. A lot. Even if the enemy is a squirrel, a cat, the neighbor’s therapy pony or the next-door neighbor’s dog. Sometimes, though, it’s a possibly nefarious human who instantly understands the instruction not to come over the fence to do up a home invasion. To see the speed, I only need to open the side gate to let him go in the bigger back yard.

Laudie-dog is much calmer. But she knows that she doesn’t need to prove herself to me. She’s already saved me so very many times from monsters: bears and lynx and coyotes and snakes and red wolves and now grey wolves, and even a panther. That last one was a fright.

  • Dogs are the best. Cats are… cats…
  • Dogs are man’s best friend. Cats are… cats…
  • Dogs protect you and yours. Cats… watch the worst go down…
  • Dogs are eager to learn. Cats think they know it all…
  • Dogs watch birds. Cat’s eat the birds for whom you put out bird-seed…

I mean, if you can add to the list, or defend cats (which I would be interested in seeing), drop a comment. Let me put it this way, although dogs and cats are equally God’s good creatures, my fallen human nature says:

Dogs are better than cats. Change my mind.

There were both dogs and cats around the house when I was a kid. I have dogs now, but no cats. Am I therefore wrong to even voice an opinion? Do I need to get a cat to be able to legitimately express my inner creation commentary?

If I were to get a cat, it would have to be black (to match priest-clothes), have short hair, not shed, be content with dry cat food, not scratch-attack, purr really really really a lot, and loudly, get along with both Shadow-dog and Laudie-dog without scratching their eyes out, and otherwise not be “catty”… or is that something cats absolutely have to be?

Finally, I know, I know: there are anomalies…

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Shadow-dog play & Laudie-dog calm

Shadow-dog, if taunted and aggressed upon by a home invader who was beating me to death could, I imagine, tear any beast, animal or human, right in half, quite literally, within seconds. That’s a quite limited circumstance. He’s been shot by pellet guns a number of times, but he’s never jumped the fence, never taken revenge. Goooood daaaaawg! He’s totally socialized, having grown up for his first year and a half eating at the high school cafeteria. I’ve never seen him not be friendly with visitors to the rectory, who, mind you, stay dutifully behind the gate. Smart, that.

Shadow-dog might look ferocious in the two second video above, but this is simply an inviting squeak-bark to play offered to the back-fence neighbor’s dog, who has learned to look bored and not deign to respond (though in this video you can hear that other dog in the background offering his own weak-bark commentary, not having mastered the squeak-bark).

This exchange could also be characterized as baiting, by either dog, challenging when you know that actual consequence will come about. One of the parishioners once brought Blue-dog (a Weimaraner). We tried to socialize them with the fence between them and they both realized that they were beloved dogs to their owners, and that their owners were there. Then we put them in the yard together. Soooo, that didn’t work at all. They are both alpha dogs. They are both extremely protective and neither is willing to share anything, least of all space on the earth, unless of course, with, say, Laudie-dog, who is about a third the size of them and given over entirely to deescalation.

But even Laudie-dog, if pushed, can be equally ferocious. Maternal protectiveness even for the likes of this human being kicks in like male aggressiveness never could. She’s proven it, having actively saved me from snakes and lynx and coyotes and red wolves and a grey wolf and bears galore and even – extremely traumatically – from a panther. All that was in the hermitage. She can discern who’s bad and evil among human beings, having gone into protective mode (though without attack, just warning) twice, among the hundreds of human beings she’s met. I didn’t see it the bad and evil aspects of those involved, but she sensed it. I wouldn’t put it past the two she did this with that they likely killed a dog just before coming over. She knew. Goooood daaaawg! Actually, the neighbor to the hermitage confirmed that he wouldn’t have put such malicious violence past them. Mostly, Laudie-dog is calm, content, happy, always a smile, even if, sometimes, woken up and drowsy, just for a picture:

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Becoming upset with the chaos. “Beginning the Church’s downfall”

We usually get upset when we’re frustrated, which is when things are out of control, when we get nervous that the spinning of worldliness is spinning away while the true pole of the earth is tossed as irrelevant. However, it remains true that the Cross remains while the world spins away:

Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

That’s just a two second video of Shadow-dog above. He demonstrates well my reaction to anyone holding the cross to be irrelevant. That’s my reaction because I’m not as close to Christ Jesus as I should be. So, I get nervous, upset. How stupid is that. We must retain our peace of heart even if we also have anguish of soul. Anyway, I had that frustrated reaction the other day to something someone who should know better said of a proclamation of Saint Pope Paul VI to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council which received something like a dozen minutes of thunderous and unanimous applause in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Try anything more than ten seconds of applause…

Because Jesus is the Head of the Body – so to speak – and the members of the Church are the members of that Body, Saint Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae, which title is no innovation, no heresy, but is instead a title which is humbly bestowed upon her so as to celebrate the reality of her motherhood. She is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and her prayers for us under that steadfasat Cross that we might receive the grace of redemption as salvation directly from her Divine Son appropriately confers upon her such a title, for she is, then, our mother in this way, Mother of the Church.

The nasty thing I heard someone who should know better say is that this proclamation was the beginning of the end of the Church. I was stunned. Perhaps I didn’t hear correctly. Perhaps he meant to say that Mary’s inclusion in Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic decree on the Church, was and is somehow the driving engine bringing all to hell. Or perhaps he was saying that in general about the Council itself and he had no intention of demeaning our Lady.

But this is a symptom of the times, is it not? Flippant statements smashing everything and everyone down? Two seconds to throw all into chaos, and then smirking away. Wow.

But things are not “out of control”. The Lord Jesus remains the Lord of History. And we can remain with Him. He can and does make us part of the Holy Family. He does forgive us. He does fill us with sanctifying grace. He does give us the wherewithal to continue.

If that video above were to continue, one would see Shadow-dog immediately lie down and peacefully oversee his domain. A good example. Goooood daaaawwwg!

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Law officers, counterintel, humility. Shadow-dog and Chesterton…

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GSD’s, being wolves, are baiter-hunters. Domesticated just enough, Shadow-dog, for instance, thinks he sees something not entirely irredeemable in me, and so is forever trying his loyal best to teach me about the baiting game, because proper counterintelligence techniques are what anyone who’s not entirely naive would want to have in their toolkit for life, you know, what Jesus mentioned to us all – commanded us, really – that we are to be as clever as serpents even while being as innocent as doves what with being sent out as lambs in the midst of wolves…

So, there Shadow-dog stands in front of me, his instruction for me being in the form of play. That one plays does not mean that one is not deadly serious. Competitive fun as a form of instruction makes learning enjoyable, and therefore naturally memorable.

Shadow-dog is not cross-eyed, but he is that ever so slightly at this moment, trying to guess how I will take up his challenge to take his bait. He’s electrified, and like a contained explosion, is instantly ready to burst in whatever direction. Do I lunge to the left or right or straight ahead?

  • If I go straight ahead he lunges at me and we collide in less than a nano-second.
  • If I go to the left, he also goes to the left, just way faster than I ever could, and is that a dog-laugh I heard?
  • If I go to the right, he also goes to the right, just way faster than I ever could, and is that a dog-laugh I heard?

You would think he would chase off in the opposite direction, but, no. He enjoys a good dog-laugh. And this is the instruction Shadow-dog provides. Trying in every which way to indicate that I’m going to lunge in a different direction, he always is way ahead of me, reading me like a book.

But then, rarely, randomly, after having taught me to lunge in a direction I think he’s going to lunge in, Shadow-dog will instead head off in the opposite direction from which I’m lunging. After just a few steps, he then instantly turns, and, now all relaxed, having done his work in instructing my stupidity, he calmly stares, entirely happy with himself. The dog-smirk is unbearably humiliating. And then it’s time to get petted for a job he knows has been well done. He trots right over to me. Gooooood daaaaawwwg! “Unbearably humilitating” is also great learning territory. And he knows it. We make a good team. Someday, perhaps, I will learn.

chess board robert van der steeg impossible world

The problem with finding the right people for counterintelligence is in finding those who have some humility. Counterintelligence baits people to be arrogant: “I’ve got them now! – I’m in control! – Look at me!” Pride is the enemy of counterintel success. Humility, humility, humility.

Let’s see what that looks like in a counterintel situation. Let’s see what that looks like in the chapter of the Father Brown stories of G.K. Chesterton called The Secret of Father Brown in the volume also by that name. Chesterton uses the Father Brown character to go out of his way to humiliate (with good intentions) all law enforcement and our intel services. All in good humor and in good faith.

Here’s the deal: When the police chase a criminal they try to think like a criminal. But thinking merely “like” a criminal is not good enough. Meanwhile, the criminal is desperately trying to think “like” the police. But thinking merely “like” the police is never enough. Such scruples on both sides are to be avoided. ;-)

If you grapple with this simple story, it’ll be an occasion to enter deeply into the reality of life, making you quite successful with counterintelligence:

CHESTERTON FATHER BROWN

THE SECRET OF FATHER BROWN

FLAMBEAU, once the most famous criminal in France and later a very private detective in England, had long retired from both professions. Some say a career of crime had left him with too many scruples for a career of detection. Anyhow, after a life of romantic escapes and tricks of evasion, he had ended at what some might consider an appropriate address: in a castle in Spain. The castle, however, was solid though relatively small; and the black vineyard and green stripes of kitchen garden covered a respectable square on the brown hillside. For Flambeau, after all his violent adventures, still possessed what is possessed by so many Latins, what is absent (for instance) in so many Americans, the energy to retire. It can be seen in many a large hotel-proprietor whose one ambition is to be a small peasant. It can be seen in many a French provincial shopkeeper, who pauses at the moment when he might develop into a detestable millionaire and buy a street of shops, to fall back quietly and comfortably on domesticity and dominoes. Flambeau had casually and almost abruptly fallen in love with a Spanish Lady, married and brought up a large family on a Spanish estate, without displaying any apparent desire to stray again beyond its borders. But on one particular morning he was observed by his family to be unusually restless and excited; and he outran the little boys and descended the greater part of the long mountain slope to meet the visitor who was coming across the valley; even when the visitor was still a black dot in the distance.

The black dot gradually increased in size without very much altering in the shape; for it continued, roughly speaking, to be both round and black. The black clothes of clerics were not unknown upon those hills; but these clothes, however clerical, had about them something at once commonplace and yet almost jaunty in comparison with the cassock or soutane, and marked the wearer as a man from the northwestern islands, as clearly as if he had been labelled Clapham Junction. He carried a short thick umbrella with a knob like a club, at the sight of which his Latin friend almost shed tears of sentiment; for it had figured in many adventures that they shared long ago. For this was the Frenchman’s English friend, Father Brown, paying a long-desired but long-delayed visit. They had corresponded constantly, but they had not met for years.

Father Brown was soon established in the family circle, which was quite large enough to give the general sense of company or a community. He was introduced to the big wooden images of the Three Kings, of painted and gilded wood, who bring the gifts to the children at Christmas; for Spain is a country where the affairs of the children bulk large in the life of the home. He was introduced to the dog and the cat and the live-stock on the farm. But he was also, as it happened, introduced to one neighbour who, like himself, had brought into that valley the garb and manners of distant lands.

It was on the third night of the priest’s stay at the little chateau that he beheld a stately stranger who paid his respects to the Spanish household with bows that no Spanish grandee could emulate. He was a tall, thin grey-haired and very handsome gentleman, and his hands, cuffs and cuff-links had something overpowering in their polish. But his long face had nothing of that languor which is associated with long cuffs and manicuring in the caricatures of our own country. It was rather arrestingly alert and keen; and the eyes had an innocent intensity of inquiry that does not go often with grey hairs. That alone might have marked the man’s nationality, as well the nasal note in his refined voice and his rather too ready assumption of the vast antiquity of all the European things around him. This was, indeed, no less a person than Mr. Grandison Chace, of Boston, an American traveller who had halted for a time in his American travels by taking a lease of the adjoining estate; a somewhat similar castle on a somewhat similar hill. He delighted in his old castle, and he regarded his friendly neighbour as a local antiquity of the same type. For Flambeau managed, as we have said, really to look retired in the sense of rooted. He might have grown there with his own vine and fig-tree for ages. He had resumed his real family name of Duroc; for the other title of “The Torch” had only been a title de guerre, like that under which such a man will often wage war on society. He was fond of his wife and family; he never went farther afield than was needed for a little shooting; and he seemed, to the American globe-trotter, the embodiment of that cult of a sunny respectability and a temperate luxury, which the American was wise enough to see and admire in the Mediterranean peoples. The rolling stone from the West was glad to rest for a moment on this rock in the South that had gathered so very much moss. But Mr. Chace had heard of Father Brown, and his tone faintly changed, as towards a celebrity. The interviewing instinct awoke, tactful but tense. If he did try to draw Father Brown, as if he were a tooth, it was done with the most dexterous and painless American dentistry.

They were sitting in a sort of partly unroofed outer court of the house, such as often forms the entrance to Spanish houses. It was dusk turning to dark; and as all that mountain air sharpens suddenly after sunset, a small stove stood on the flagstones, glowing with red eyes like a goblin, and painting a red pattern on the pavement; but scarcely a ray of it reached the lower bricks of the great bare, brown brick wall that went soaring up above them into the deep blue night. Flambeau’s big broad-shouldered figure and great moustaches, like sabres, could be traced dimly in the twilight, as he moved about, drawing dark wine from a great cask and handing it round. In his shadow, the priest looked very shrunken and small, as if huddled over the stove; but the American visitor leaned forward elegantly with his elbow on his knee and his fine pointed features in the full light; his eyes shone with inquisitive intelligence.

“I can assure you, sir,” he was saying, “we consider your achievement in the matter of the Moonshine Murder the most remarkable triumph in the history of detective science.”

Father Brown murmured something; some might have imagined that the murmur was a little like a moan.

“We are well acquainted,” went on the stranger firmly, “with the alleged achievements of Dupin and others; and with those of Lecoq, Sherlock Holmes, Nicholas Carter, and other imaginative incarnations of the craft. But we observe there is in many ways, a marked difference between your own method of approach and that of these other thinkers, whether fictitious or actual. Some have spec’lated, sir, as to whether the difference of method may perhaps involve rather the absence of method.”

Father Brown was silent; then he started a little, almost as if he had been nodding over the stove, and said: “I beg your pardon. Yes. . .. Absence of method. . . . Absence of mind, too, I’m afraid.”

“I should say of strictly tabulated scientific method,” went on the inquirer. “Edgar Poe throws off several little essays in a conversational form, explaining Dupin’s method, with its fine links of logic. Dr. Watson had to listen to some pretty exact expositions of Holmes’s method with its observation of material details. But nobody seems to have got on to any full account of your method, Father Brown, and I was informed you declined the offer to give a series of lectures in the States on the matter.”

“Yes,” said the priest, frowning at the stove; “I declined.”

“Your refusal gave rise to a remarkable lot of interesting talk,” remarked Chace. “I may say that some of our people are saying your science can’t be expounded, because it’s something more than just natural science. They say your secret’s not to be divulged, as being occult in its character.”

“Being what?” asked Father Brown, rather sharply.

“Why, kind of esoteric,” replied the other. “I can tell you, people got considerably worked up about Gallup’s murder, and Stein’s murder, and then old man Merton’s murder, and now Judge Gwynne’s murder, and a double murder by Dalmon, who was well known in the States. And there were you, on the spot every time, slap in the middle of it; telling everybody how it was done and never telling anybody how you knew. So some people got to think you knew without looking, so to speak. And Carlotta Brownson gave a lecture on Thought-Forms with illustrations from these cases of yours. The Second Sight Sisterhood of Indianapolis —— ”

Father Brown, was still staring at the stove; then he said quite loud yet as if hardly aware that anyone heard him: “Oh, I say. This will never do.”

“I don’t exactly know how it’s to be helped,” said Mr. Chace humorously. “The Second Sight Sisterhood want a lot of holding down. The only way I can think of stopping it is for you to tell us the secret after all.”

Father Brown groaned. He put his head on his hands and remained a moment, as if full of a silent convulsion of thought. Then he lifted his head and said in a dull voice:

“Very well. I must tell the secret.”

His eyes rolled darkly over the whole darkling scene, from the red eyes of the little stove to the stark expanse of the ancient wall, over which were standing out, more and more brightly, the strong stars of the south.

“The secret is,” he said; and then stopped as if unable to go on. Then he began again and said:

“You see, it was I who killed all those people.”

“What?” repeated the other, in a small voice out of a vast silence.

“You see, I had murdered them all myself,” explained Father Brown patiently. “So, of course, I knew how it was done.”

Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion. Staring down at the other he repeated his incredulous question.

“I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully,” went on Father Brown, “I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was.”

Chace gradually released a sort of broken sigh.

“You frightened me all right,” he said. “For the minute I really did think you meant you were the murderer. Just for the minute I kind of saw it splashed over all the papers in the States: ‘Saintly Sleuth Exposed as Killer: Hundred Crimes of Father Brown.’ Why, of course, if it’s just a figure of speech and means you tried to reconstruct the psychogy — ”

Father Brown rapped sharply on the stove with the short pipe he was about to fill; one of his very rare spasms of annoyance contracted his face.

“No, no, no,” he said, almost angrily; “I don’t mean just a figure of speech. This is what comes of trying to talk about deep things. . . . What’s the good of words . . .? If you try to talk about a truth that’s merely moral, people always think it’s merely metaphorical. A real live man with two legs once said to me: ‘I only believe in the Holy Ghost in a spiritual sense.’ Naturally, I said: ‘In what other sense could you believe it?’ And then he thought I meant he needn’t believe in anything except evolution, or ethical fellowship, or some bilge. . . . I mean that I really did see myself, and my real self, committing the murders. I didn’t actually kill the men by material means; but that’s not the point. Any brick or bit of machinery might have killed them by material means. I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to the action. It was once suggested to me by a friend of mine, as a sort of religious exercise. I believe he got it from Pope Leo XIII, who was always rather a hero of mine.”

“I’m afraid,” said the American, in tones that were still doubtful, and keeping his eye on the priest rather as if he were a wild animal, “that you’d have to explain a lot to me before I knew what you were talking about. The science of detection —— ”

Father Brown snapped his fingers with the same animated annoyance. “That’s it,” he cried; “that’s just where we part company. Science is a grand thing when you can get it; in its real sense one of the grandest words in the world. But what do these men mean, nine times out of ten, when they use it nowadays? When they say detection is a science? When they say criminology is a science? They mean getting outside a man and studying him as if he were a gigantic insect: in what they would call a dry impartial light, in what I should call a dead and dehumanized light. They mean getting a long way off him, as if he were a distant prehistoric monster; staring at the shape of his ‘criminal skull’ as if it were a sort of eerie growth, like the horn on a rhinoceros’s nose. When the scientist talks about a type, he never means himself, but always his neighbour; probably his poorer neighbour. I don’t deny the dry light may sometimes do good; though in one sense it’s the very reverse of science. So far from being knowledge, it’s actually suppression of what we know. It’s treating a friend as a stranger, and pretending that something familiar is really remote and mysterious. It’s like saying that a man has a proboscis between the eyes, or that he falls down in a fit of insensibility once every twenty-four hours. Well, what you call ‘the secret’ is exactly the opposite. I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside the murderer . . . . Indeed it’s much more than that, don’t you see? I am inside a man. I am always inside a man, moving his arms and legs; but I wait till I know I am inside a murderer, thinking his thoughts, wrestling with his passions; till I have bent myself into the posture of his hunched and peering hatred; till I see the world with his bloodshot and squinting eyes, looking between the blinkers of his half-witted concentration; looking up the short and sharp perspective of a straight road to a pool of blood. Till I am really a murderer.”

“Oh,” said Mr. Chace, regarding him with a long, grim face, and added: “And that is what you call a religious exercise.”

“Yes,” said Father Brown; “that is what I call a religious exercise.”

After an instant’s silence he resumed: “It’s so real a religious exercise that I’d rather not have said anything about it. But I simply couldn’t have you going off and telling all your countrymen that I had a secret magic connected with Thought-Forms, could I? I’ve put it badly, but it’s true. No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how much right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about ‘criminals,’ as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away; till he’s got rid of all the dirty self-deception of talking about low types and deficient skulls; till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees; till his only hope is somehow or other to have captured one criminal, and kept him safe and sane under his own hat.”

Flambeau came forward and filled a great goblet with Spanish wine and set it before his friend, as he had already set one before his fellow guest. Then he himself spoke for the first time:

“I believe Father Brown has had a new batch of mysteries. We were talking about them the other day, I fancy. He has been dealing with some queer people since we last met.”

“Yes; I know the stories more or less — but not the application,” said Chace, lifting his glass thoughtfully. “Can you give me any examples, I wonder. . . . I mean, did you deal with this last batch in that introspective style?”

Father Brown also lifted his glass, and the glow of the fire turned the red wine transparent, like the glorious blood-red glass of a martyr’s window. The red flame seemed to hold his eyes and absorb his gaze that sank deeper and deeper into it, as if that single cup held a red sea of the blood of all men, and his soul were a diver, ever plunging in dark humility and inverted imagination, lower than its lowest monsters and its most ancient slime. In that cup, as in a red mirror, he saw many things; the doings of his last days moved in crimson shadows; the examples that his companions demanded danced in symbolic shapes; and there passed before him all the stories that are told here. Now, the luminous wine was like a vast red sunset upon dark red sands, where stood dark figures of men; one was fallen and another running towards him. Then the sunset seemed to break up into patches: red lanterns swinging from garden trees and a pond gleaming red with reflection; and then all the colour seemed to cluster again into a great rose of red crystal, a jewel that irradiated the world like a red sun, save for the shadow of a tall figure with a high head-dress as of some prehistoric priest; and then faded again till nothing was left but a flame of wild red beard blowing in the wind upon a wild grey moor. All these things, which may be seen later from other angles and in other moods than his own, rose up in his memory at the challenge and began to form themselves into anecdotes and arguments.

“Yes,” he said, as he raised the wine cup slowly to his lips, “I can remember pretty well —— ”

===========

After all that, I wonder if I have to the humility to be the dog, Shadow-dog, not just “like” a dog, but, you know, a dog, and learn what Shadow-dog has to teach me.

After all that, I wonder if I have the humility to be understand just how bad and evil I myself can be, and thus think not just “like” a criminal, but as the criminal I am if I am without the grace of God, and thus be able to catch the criminal, because, you know, I’m him. Of course, when I catch a criminal it’s to bring him to the confessional. The best priests in the Confessional hearing confessions of others are the very priests who also make a practice of regular confession.

Or, heck, instead of all that I could just bait and wait for the counter-bait… and then counter-counter-bait, and then wait for the…

// Hey, I lost track of what’s being reacted to. PAUSE… Then…

Counter-counter-counter-counter-bait…

Counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bait…

Counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bait…

Counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-counter-bait…

// Pause… whew! Time to get out of counterintel…

============

So, let’s see, maybe there is something to just looking in oneself when looking for any and all criminals, any and all terrorists…. If we ever say, “I would never do that,” we’ve already lost the game. Honesty and integrity and humility admit that even if psychologically I probably wouldn’t do… you know… those crimes… because of my upbringing or whatever… nevertheless I probably would if given the circumstances that others have suffered and I were without God’s grace. Yep. There but for the grace of God go I. A bit aphoristic, I know. But so very, very true. Actually, people can change pretty fast. If one has the purity of heart and agility of soul to see that even one’s very self can do such things, it’s that person that will not do such things because of looking to God’s grace with honesty and integrity and humility. God doesn’t save me because I’m good. God saves me because I need saving and can’t save myself.

Then, when that Living Love who is God and that Living Truth who is God are with me, I can easily see the contrast of what would be bad and evil in myself and therefore what would be bad and evil in others. For law enforcement and counterintel this is also a boon to catching the criminal and the terrorist, regardless of culture, regardless of religion or none, regardless of anything else.

For a priest it’s all about more ably bringing people to Jesus. We priests need to get out of Jesus’ way and let Jesus be the priest in the parish.

We all need to let Jesus work through us, and with us, and in us. Needed: HUMILITY!

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Shadow-dog’s mane up against Pit Bull

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A Pit Bull is on the loose… For the first time I saw the mane stand up on Shadow’s shoulders. Very impressive. That added another inch or two to his height, and he’s already taller than the average maximum height for German Shepherd.

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If that Pit Bull attacked Shadow-dog, or me, I’m afraid it would have been a bloody mess, but it would definitely be the Pit-Bull that would be entirely ripped to shreds, literally shaken to pieces. And it wouldn’t be Shadow’s fault. He’s definitely the protector, and when dogs are not on their own property, they are supposed to be on leashes here in town. No leash, no collar.

He looks to be well taken care of. But from this other angle he looks to be emaciated.

He seems friendly enough. Until I approached him in the friendliest manner I could. He bared his teeth.

He then went over to terrorize the neighbor’s dog – Frankie-dog, a Basset Hound, who took refuge in his dog house, until the Pit Bull insisted. Frankie-dog then chased his off the property. Gooood Fraaaankie-doooog!

I’m all for treating all animals well, but when a Pit Bull is emaciated and on the loose and baring its teeth, it’s time for animal control.

Or not. What think you?

In the unfair analogy of the account of the Syro-Phoenician Canaanite Greek “Dog-Woman” whose infant daughter was severely possessed, her take was that it might do the Apostles, the little dogs some good to eat the crumbs of faith, their witnessing of the exorcism, even though they don’t deserve to witness this, dogs that they are.

I gave the Pit Bull a doggie treat.

But that’s it. Animal control doesn’t open until 11:00 AM. Too late for me. I’ll be busy with priest-stuff. We’ll see what happens.

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