"Don't make a bucket list, a list of things to do, but rather a bucket of memories.
"Whatever it is you want to do, just get on and do it."
BBC News – Going for a Lake District walk with Max the Miracle Dog https://t.co/PNV1zMf9wg
— Samantha Barnes (@sambarnesartist) August 31, 2020
Kerry Irving was confined to his house and considering suicide after suffering an excruciating back injury in a car accident. But then he met Max, a yard dog who gave him a new purpose in life. The BBC joined them for a walk in their native Lake District…
In 2006 his car was rear-ended by a lorry, leaving him with crippling back pain.
He spent the following two years barely able to move, declining into a deep and seemingly irreversible depression.
Then one day, having been persuaded by his wife of 22 years Angela to walk to the local shop to get some milk, he met Max.
The then one-year-old poked his nose between the bars of a backyard gate and the two struck up an instant friendship.
Kerry suddenly had a purpose to go out – to see Max.
Max’s owners were struggling to give him the time he needed so were happy for Kerry to take their dog out for walks.
“It’s always been about the eye contact with Max, the way he looks at you and you just feel he cares,” Kerry says, as Max sits a short way away, appropriately enough gazing at us as a soggy stick hangs from his mouth…
He started putting pictures of Max on his business’s Facebook page and found that, perhaps not unsurprisingly, people were more interested in snaps of a spaniel than they were images of deconstructed locks…
“I started getting all these messages from people telling me how just seeing pictures of Max cheered them up,” Kerry says, as we stroll in the shade of the rocky outcrops of Low Riggs.
“And they started telling me their problems too.
“I understand it – if you see someone with a dog, they already seem friendlier. We stop and talk to people who have dogs, and something about Max just made people open up.
“I never used to want to talk about depression, but now I’m perfectly happy to because I have found that just talking about such things lifts them off your shoulders.”…
There are more big pictures at the link, and they are fantastic.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
NVM. This is a positive open thread.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Interestingly enough, just got done reading this article about the health benefits of being a dog person. (At the bottom, “suggested reads” also give the benefits of being a cat person!)
Thank you Anne for this. I didn’t realize how much I needed this today.
The photo captions on the BBC article are excellent.
Follow your passion. I love Max and Paddy and Harry. Out there living their best lives. Thank you for finding that BBC story.
Kerry Irving is an excellent photographer.
Feel MUCH happier having read the piece and seen the fab photos. Good doggies, the lot of ’em. And wow, is that place picturesque.
I love the Lake District. And dogs.
Some of the pictures of the doggos in action are wow inducing.
One of the photo captions: The spaniels have built up a global fanbase
Go. Look. At. That. Picture! LOL
Our Boolebark doggie costume parade is off but we’re doing the calendar (yes, I stole the idea from BJ) again this year. The cover dog last year was 20 years old! We’ll put our old pups in it again and wonder if they’ll be here for next year.
I love that picture so hard.
Had seen, at some point, the photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting Kerry and his wonderful dogs, but there was no backstory provided so I had no idea why they were special.
This is such a nice story. Warms my grouchy old heart.
@raven: Best to you and the Bodh and Lil Bit.
@Elizabelle: And their mommy!
Delurking to say how much I love this story and that it happened in the Lake District.
From one of the Lake Poets:
Surprised By Joy
Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
The Moar You Know
So, in my real life one of the things I did until two years ago is raise Guide Dog puppies. And if they’re good enough, they become Guide Dogs.
In talking to some of our “clients”, the main benefit is not so much mobility; there are plenty of other ways to deal with that and frankly the white cane (which they have to be proficient with anyhow to get a guide dog) is the best. The benefit is the dog. Every damn one of these folks I’ve ever talked to always tells about how isolated they were before they got their dogs, and they got the dog and suddenly they weren’t isolated anymore. Because people will come up to you and (hopefully, it’s a big fucking deal, ALWAYS ASK FIRST AND RESPECT THE DECISION) ask to pet the dog. And then they’ll start talking to you. The dogs give these folks lives.
So why did I stop? Fuck, raise a dog for the first two years of its life and then hand it over to a stranger never to be seen again. My wife and I couldn’t handle it after a while.
@The Moar You Know: I always marvel at people who can do that.
Nanci, Sweet Dreams
I am lookin’ for some love
I guess that’s why people buy dogs
Is there someone up above?
And I wonder is the Captain keeping
I am cursing and I’m praying
Not knowing what we’re saying
And yet, it’s everydaying
And I wonder when those sweet dreams
@The Moar You Know: I didn’t even know it was OK to ask to pet the dog!
I always thought you were NEVER supposed to try interacting with the guide dog, for fear of distracting the dog from their human.
Very good to know it is OK, and a great way to start a conversation.
There is nothing sweeter than seeing a dog trot down the street carrying multiple sticks or one stick that is entirely too large to get past the next set of trees.
@raven: And the bride!
Ceci n est pas mon nym
@The Moar You Know: There’s a dog in our neighborhood, buddy of our dog, who washed out of Guide Dog training. Very calm, sweet-tempered dog but according to his owner he had a phobia of toddlers and that was enough to flunk him. Even the ones who don’t make the cut are Good Dogs.
There’s a special place in heaven for you for the time you put in raising them. They are remarkably special dogs.
Or, if you’re like me, stop and talk to the dog, and realize afterward you didn’t say a word to the person. ?
@Redshift: Yup. Sometimes I realize that and make a token effort to include the human :)
@Redshift: Or, there’s the talk to one human and not realize the dog has two humans. When I had my bloodhound, Wimsey, people would start a conversation with either my step-sister or me and then continue with the other the next time they saw him because they had only ever looked at the bloodhound (in Manhattan, so fair). She and I don’t look alike. There were some awkward conversations that resulted.
@Ceci n est pas mon nym:
Bunter? Wimsey? Come over here and let’s talk about Lord Peter.
@CaseyL: I happen to get a personal education here. My uncle is blind. There are times when the dogs are “on”, when you must ask for permission, and when the dog is “off”, usually when their harness is removed. It turns out working dogs need time to be dogs, so that’s the best time to interact with them. But even when the dog is at work, they’re still doggos. Their instinct is to interact with humans. Almost all of them appreciate the occasional stranger pet, but the owners are also trained to be smart enough to know when that’s a good time and when it isn’t. Your odds are much better if they’re seated at a café or restaurant, since that will be “off” time most of the time. Out in public walking it’s better to talk to the owners.
Monet was about 2 when he overcame his wariness of lakes, and became an indefatigable swimmer. He would endlessly retrieve tennis balls and sticks, swim along behind flocks of ducks and geese, and just just enjoy a lengthy paddle around the dog lakes in the open space near our house.
He was also a patient trainer for other young dogs who were scared of the water. He would entice them into the shallows, play, and little by little get them to venture into paddling depth. Grateful owners told their friends, who brought their dogs – for a couple of seasons Monet was a local celebrity.
The lakes eventually succumbed to blue-green algae, we moved; but now at 13 he still makes a bullseye to any streams or ponds (algae free) on our hikes.
@SiubhanDuinne: What else would one call a bloodhound? The girl I never got was going to be Harriet. I will admit that I was disappointed with how few people got it.
The Moar You Know
@Ceci n est pas mon nym: Ours was a failure (anxieties) as well. They’re bred for temperament and, to put it honestly, laziness. Few humans can keep up with a Labrador or Golden that’s been bred for hunting, as they originally were. You’re not getting a dog like that to sit under a desk for a few hours while the owner works.
But they like working and socializing, and we got ours certified as a therapy dog to work with kids. He likes kids. We used to do rally with him when he was younger. He likes that quite a bit, but we don’t do it a lot these days as he’s almost five and really truly getting real nice and lazy.
They’re good dogs, but frankly I’ve met very few bad ones. Badly trained? Yeah, almost all of them. But just because a dog is badly trained/socialized doesn’t mean they’re bad dogs. They just have bad owners. I meet VERY few good dog owners. And yes, I judge people on that, a lot. A person committed to being a good citizen has a well-trained, under-control dog that is on a leash.
@Bunter: I got it! Not fond of drooly dogs, but I love me some Sayers.
@Bunter: Yeah, not in this ‘hood, tho. We get ya!
There are several of us here who get it!
I know we shouldn’t laugh at that. But damn if I can help it.
We had a german shepard who was as good a dog as I’ve ever met and her “mom” used to breed her. She kept one of the pups out of the second litter. Seemed like a normal dog, but this poor dude was the absolute dumbest dog I’ve ever known. Happy, but dumb. And beat out second place by a remarkable level. His mom was one of the best dogs I’ve ever known. In the end I found out I liked the mom dog more than the woman…… Oh well, life and all.
Mai naem mobile
Springers! Max, Paddy and Harry look adorable. I have two springers. They’re great with humans but one of them is territorial with other dogs so we have to be careful – second set of springers we’ve had and they’re very family friendly dogs with sweet personalities. Not bird friendly at all! I’ve gotten a few dead bird ‘gifts’ lol.