Benny Kisses!

Benny Kisses!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty - Albert Einstein

Sometimes I am deeply moved by the unspeakable suffering that goes on in this world.  None of us escape being heart wounded.  If you take the time to talk at a depth with anyone they have experienced suffering and may even be deeply heart broken in a way you had no idea about right now.  I have noticed that when any of us reach this understanding we can no longer, at least in that moment, feel sorry for ourselves.  We are able to be a little more humorous, loving and compassionate.  We are able to overcome our critical orientation to others and ourselves.  We are able to love in a much more expansive way that goes beyond our family, our group of friends, our neighborhood, our nation.

The woman who initially stepped forward and said, "I will do what it takes to save Benny," had her birthday on Tuesday this week.  She spent her birthday rescuing a dog named Batgirl (she had been hit with a bat as well as enduring many other abusive behaviors by humans).  This woman is Cindy Marabito of Reunion Rescue.  I rescued my beautiful dog Raven through Reunion rescue.

As Einstein suggested in his later years we are all connected to each other, the humans and the non-humans.  Let us widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures.

Here is a photo of compassion, our hero Doug and Benny asleep together:

  

Wishing you all the beauty of giving and receiving compassion,
Love,
Benny

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coloring Books and ABC's

This past weekend one of my art students shared that her bunny had died.  She had had this bunny for 2 years and loved him deeply.  Her mother is also currently in ICU fighting cancer.  I asked her what might help.  She said that she just wanted to color in a coloring book.  So I purchased a LARGE box of crayons and a variety of animal coloring books for very young kids.  It wasn't long before all of us, the boys too, were all coloring.  The room was quiet for the most part.  As we finished our pictures we tacked them up on the wall.  I have to tell you all of the colored animals were truly beautiful.  We gave them to my student to take to her mother.
Marc Bekoff, a compassionate spokesperson for non-humans has what he calls the ABC's of animal protection and compassion:  Always Be Caring and Sharing.
To me, these ABC's are truly guidelines for all beings.

Here is a photo of sweet Raven wanting to share my salad with me:




Wishing you all Sharing and Caring,
Love,
Benny

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Only When We Understand Can We Care; Only When We Care Shall We Help" -Jane Goodall

I have been considering lately how we get to a place where we can actually harm children and animals.  I think that how we treat others has a lot to do with our upbringing.  Were we brought up learning respect and care for animals?  Many of us were not.  Jane Goodall was very fortunate, she was brought up by  a mom who encouraged her interest and respect for animals.  Jane's first memory of this was when she was almost a year old.  She brought a handful of earth worms to bed with her!  When her mom found them in bed with her she gently explained to Jane that the worms would die without earth.  So Jane took them back outside.
Probably most of us were not brought up this way and yet we can learn to care and share with our non humans by being educated.  When children are taught good information which enables them to have an understanding of the issues of non humans they will care.  For example, if children are taught about the painful cruelty that may result from the pet trade they will come to the conclusion themselves why it makes sense not to buy an exotic animal.
If knowledge and respect can lead a child to concern for animals then the reverse is also true.  Everytime a child sees an animal abused it will become easier for them to do the same behavior.
Children and adults who are kind to and respectful of animals also are much more likely to show respect and kindness to humans as well.

Wishing you kindness and respect for all beings,
Love,
Benny

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.” - Karl William Von Humboldt

How do we help ourselves when we are feeling sad?  This can easily happen in rescue work as well as in many other types of work.  I have been feeling very sad about what is happening to so many of the non humans on this planet.  What are some healthy ways to deal with sadness?
1.  We have to name what we are feeling and accept these feelings.  For example: I'm feeling sad.  It is okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated and it is important not to act out those feelings.  People acting out their anger for example is often how animals get hurt.

2.  Learn from the feelings.  What did I learn from the situation?  Can I make any changes?  Is there anyone I can ask for help?  Is there a plan I can put into place?

3.  Let Go.  When we 'let go' we are making a genuine effort to do something different.  For example we may need to list or say aloud what we are grateful for.  There is something researchers call "deep acting" which can actually change our underlying feelings.  Deep acting is not plastering on a fake smile and pretending, it is actually genuinely doing what it takes to change our feelings.  Often this takes the form of distracting ourselves from the situation.  Some examples of this are going to see a funny movie, putting on some fast music and dancing, and going for a walk.  It is an activity that helps get you into a different emotional state.

Here is Benny discussing some possibilities for changing our emotional state:



And while he is considering how to get the other dogs to play with him, take a look at all the soft thick hair growing along his back.

Wishing you all the gift of letting go of the tough feelings,
Love,
Benny 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Delayed Gratification

How many of you have heard the story of Louis Vuitton the pitbull who was badly burned?  here is a photo of him:



   Briefly, a mother told her son "No" to something he wanted and he became so angry he went out to her dog, Louis, and badly hurt him.  He had no impulse control, or another way to say this, was unable to delay gratification.  He wanted what he wanted NOW and if this wasn't going to happen someone would pay the price......someone weaker and smaller than him.  An author of the book 'Emotional Intelligence", Daniel Goleman felt that developing emotional intelligence was a way to restore, "civility to our streets and caring to our communal life."
The ability to delay gratification is one of the elements of Emotional Intelligence.  Today I was waiting in line.....a long time.  One of the many daily opportunities to test my delayed gratification skills.  How did I do?  Well, on the inside I was grumbling and complaining and my outward behavior was one of staring off and not looking happy.  At one point a woman farther behind me began expressing her frustration in a loud voice and then, a young teenage man behind me said in a calm and friendly voice, "the checker is moving as quickly as she can." I think the whole line took a breath. 
The line was not going to move any faster because anger and frustration were shared.  A young child or puppy are not going to learn more quickly if frustration or anger are shared.
Perhaps one reason of why so many animals are abandoned is because they take patience and time?  Did the young man who hurt Louis grow up where most things he wanted were given to him immediately and if they weren't he threw fits?
How many animals and people have been abused because someone was unwilling to deal with the feelings that come with feeling frustrated?
On the other hand, how many people have been taught to deal with frustration with maturity.....i.e., delayed gratification.

Wishing you all support in developing delayed gratification,
Love,
Benny
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beautiful Brindle Coat

Benny's coat is getting thicker and more beautiful.  He is still getting his fish oil caps everyday to help with his dry skin.  He is maintaining his weight at 48lbs though now he is building muscle.  Playing everyday with his pack mates and especially with his friend Billy is helping him get stronger.  He is running faster and jumping higher than ever before.
Benny makes numerous goofy faces which keep Doug laughing......like this one:
Here Benny is enjoying the morning sun...look at his coat:


Here is another photo where he is chewing a bone and again his thicker coat is obvious:
He looks like a regular dog now!  This last photo is Benny playing with his good friend Billy:


Wishing all dogs with mange the chance to be rescued,
Love,
Benny

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What Moves the Heart?

I have been deeply moved by a number of stories in the news.  Stories of people being heart moved to action.  There was the story of Jessie a teen girl who used the money she had saved up to buy a car to help a badly hurt dog.    Another amazing story about a maintenance worker who while emptying the trash found Patrick, a starved and barely alive dog and found help.  A story about a wolf with neurological damage and people who helped her.
 I am an artist and one of the questions I get asked a lot is what makes art...art?  The answer for me, is Love.  Whenever any of us truly Love then whatever we are doing becomes Art.  And this is art that heals....heals who see it, touch it, hear it.  Each of us have a sacred art and when we perform that art the heart of all is moved.
It is important to ask what is my sacred art?

With Love,
Benny

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

“It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn compassion by compassioning.” Mary Daly

How do we learn compassion?  How do we become more compassionate?  Here is a photo of Benny, sound asleep after lunch and one of his pack-mates, Raspberry, comes over to lick his face:


Alas, then Benny wakes up!
So, compassion.....Augustus was about 2 years old when he was rescued by a 15 year old young man.  As this young man's mom describes it:  my son was acting strangely, and of course I had no idea why he was wandering back and forth through the yard with towels and such.  He finally needed to confess and called me down stairs.  " Tied up to my basement door was the saddest sight I had ever seen.  Augustus was emaciated, had scars like train tracks across his head and face, puncture wounds, and the pads of his feet were so swollen they were squishing up through his toes. His soft polka-dotted belly was bright pink and his fur was missing from various places on his body. The lady had given my son the dog's canine tooth in a Safeway bag and he had a rusty choke chain draped around his neck. He looked like a fighting dog and I knew we couldn't keep him. I knew people thought I was a nut already and the neighbors would be sure to report me. Well we made a bedroom up for him, with a comfy bed and agreed to keep him for the night. My girlfriend rushed over with various naturopathic remedies to sooth his body. He stunk so badly that we agreed he needed a bath. My husband looked at me and said, well this is the test, if I don't live through the bath, then you know you shouldn't keep the dog! Well to make a long love affair short, the dog was fine and loving and thankful. We all fixed him up and the next day he was brought upstairs. He met my other two dogs, and the foster pittie. And they were all fine...and so begins my fight and love for the underdog. Augustus has been with us for five years." 
Recently Augustus's family has been devastated to learn that he has cancer and they are doing everything they can to help him win this battle.
Here is another example of a young 15 yr old man's and his parents compassionate response.  Compassion is not frequently our first response.  In fact often when someone else is suffering our first response is likely to be one of self protection, i.e. we look for someone or something to blame.  We may protect ourselves from feeling by passing judgment or going into fix it mode.
However, like the parents of this 15 yr old, with practice compassion can become our response.  It is not as easy or as simple as it sounds to practice compassion however the effort is worth it.
Wishing you Compassion,
Love,
Benny

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Compassion

 
Last week I was heading home from my daily walk with Raven.  It was cold and fluctuating between hail and icy rain.  As I got closer to our street I could see the young neighbor boy outside walking with his head down and dipping his hands in and out of puddles.  When I reached him and asked what he was doing he said, "saving the worms from drowning."  Sure enough, he was carefully taking the worms out of puddles and carefully placing them on higher ground.
How is it that this young boy was moved to such an act of compassion?
One possible explanation is Heart Intelligence.  about sixty to sixty-five percent of all the cells in the heart are neural cells which are precisely the same as in the brain,
How do children 'learn' compassion?  How do any of us become compassionate?
One idea, that makes sense to me as taught by Joseph Chilton Pearce is that we model it.  He says: " as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, we can be appropriate models and guides for our children.  What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become."
Perhaps this young boy has a compassionate mom or dad, compassionate teacher, perhaps compassionate neighbors?
If what we are is what we are teaching and modeling....what are we teaching and modeling?
I am waiting for some photos of Benny from our hero Doug.  So I will close today with a recent painting I did of my dog Raven.  I think many of you will be familiar with the expression on her face!
 
 
 So Raven here, filling in for Benny in wishing you all the experience of compassion,
           Love,
           Raven

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone. Person to Person. - Mother Theresa

Hello, Patti, Benny's blog writer here!  Before sharing a couple of wonderful photo's of Benny I want to take a moment and thank so many of you for sending your e-mails and comments.  Each one of us help to make a positive difference with our caring and love for all beings.   For any one to keep taking yet another step forward on this challenging path of caring for non humans (and humans) also takes encouragement and I am grateful for all of your encouragement.
If you would like to e-mail me personally, on the right side of the blog where it says: 'About Me' you can click on either my name or where it says, 'View my complete profile' and it will take you to a page with my e-mail address.  I would love to hear any questions, comments, and stories you would like to share. 

Now here are some additional photos of Kathi (who has helped Benny with Reiki) and her visit with Benny.  Benny is a snuggle bug:


Benny shares some of Kathi's time with Squirt:

and back to having Kathi to himself:



Wishing you all support and encouragement,
Love,
Benny