8 facts about dogs you won’t believe are real
1. Taking guide dog to a whole new level:
For eight months in the year 1990, Bill Irwin trekked the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100-mile journey, completely blind. Irwin accomplished this feat with help from his German-Shepherd guide dog, Orient. Dubbed “the Orient Express,” Irwin was the first blind man to finish this famous trek stretching from Georgia to Maine and has since been an inspiration to disabled hikers.
2. Think dogs can’t sweat? Think again:
Unlike humans, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet. This also explains that peculiar corn chip smell owners often report coming from their dog’s feet.
3. Diplomacy at its finest:
Former US President Theodore Roosevelt was known for his many pets, especially his exuberant dogs. In fact, one of his dogs, Pete the bull terrier, was so troublesome that he ripped the pants off the French Ambassador before his eventual exile to the Roosevelt family home.
4. The original hot dog:
If ever you see a dog panting on a hot summer day, have pity. On top of thick coats of fur, dogs have higher body temperatures than humans. Normal body temperature for a human is 37C while a dog has a normal body temperature at 38C.
5. They can sniff out more than just bombs:
If you think your dog is acting strangely, the problem may in fact be you. Research shows that dogs have the extraordinary ability to smell a range of organic compounds that show the human body is malfunctioning. This means that dogs can detect diabetes, the onset of a seizure and even diagnose cancer.
6. The obesity epidemic isn’t just a human problem:
Maybe rethink that enormous bag of dog treats. Obesity is the number one health problem amongst dogs.
7. Chocolate is seriously toxic:
For starters, it isn’t because of the sugar. The reason your dog can’t have chocolate is because of a little- known toxic component called theobromine found in chocolate and other cocoa products. While humans can easily metabolize theobromine, dogs cannot which allows it to slowly rise to toxic levels.
8. They dream just like humans:
We dream about things that interest us during the day, only less logically. Dogs are the same way and, since you are your dog’s entire life, they likely dream of your face and smell.
9. Adorable and Instinctive:
We love watching our dogs curl up in a tight ball and false asleep. However, this is actually an age-old instinct used to keep warm and protect vital organs in the abdomen.
10. Americans love their dogs:
62 percent of homes in the United States own a dog which equates to more than 72 million households nationwide.
62 percent of homes in the United States own a dog which equates to more than 72 million households nationwide.
My parents sat me and my sisters down in the living room of our Washington home on Christmas morning, telling us to wait for our first gift. We sat patiently for several minutes until our mom stepped in, cradling something small.
Bursting from her arms came the present of my dreams and for a moment, we just sat there staring at each other, completely in awe.
Thousands of walks, many kilos of dog food, a few daring escapes, and nearly thirteen years later, our Christmas puppy grew into a sizeable, cherished member of our family. This is why the pain of losing him nearly a week ago runs incredibly deep.
In the last few months, Bodee had been deteriorating rapidly. Crippling joint pain and difficulty breathing followed by a diagnosis of a tumor and fluid build-up around his heart are what led to my parent’s decision to let him go peacefully. These were difficult details to hear over Skype while I sat alone in my Indian flat, thousands of miles from home.
When I made the big move six months ago, the possibility of losing him while I was away crossed my mind. He was an old dog in declining health. But after my parents broke the news, nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming grief. Losing a dog poses its own unique challenges. You can’t talk to a dog and you can’t say goodbye which at times, can make grief more burdensome.
Not to mention, dogs express pain differently than humans. His veterinarian explained to my family that the death of a pet can often feel sudden because, even in a substantial amount of pain and discomfort, dogs can carry on being the happy, care-free canine you know and love. So in the midst of my sadness, I can’t help but wonder if he had been suffering in silence, or for how long. But if the street dogs of India have taught me anything, it’s that nothing is more forgiving than a dog.
More or less ubiquitous throughout the densely populated country, these creatures face the threat of violence, torture, malnutrition, and disease around every corner. Though, I need only step outside my little apartment and I will surely find a half dozen four-legged friends, who have probably seen appalling acts of inhumanity, with tails wagging and bellies up. While I couldn’t say goodbye, or stroke his head as he heaved his final breath, this has been immensely consoling.
When I look at a dog, I don’t see just another animal. I see another being, I feel a soul. And when we cast aside these beings as worthless, we are in danger of arriving at the conclusion that certain people are also worthless. Indeed, the greatest inhumanity we can express towards our fellow creatures is complete and utter indifference.
I have learned after thirteen years of loving a dog that cherishing an animal with all of your soul awakens a person in a way that’s difficult to articulate. I often catch myself measuring the character of other people based on the way in which they treat dogs, or any animal for that matter. Ultimately, the capacity to love and understand animals is the capacity to love and understand fellow humans.
I recommend to anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a dog to take solace in knowing that because of your dog, you were motivated to go outside, to play, seek affection, go on adventures, be compassionate and stay loyal. And of course, to carry on.
Before I begin, for those who are not familiar with Indian culture, you can do a search on "Lord Krishna", "Vrindavan" to understand this true story better. You can visit the website Krishna.com
Some years back I had visited Vrindavan. I also visited the famous "Baanke Bihari" temple and at a shop near the temple, I bought a book "Miracles of Baanke Bihari". "Baanke Bihari" is another name of Lord Krishna. This book is actually in Hindi and contains real life incidents of people whose lives have had miraculous intervention of Lord Krishna.
One such account deeply touched me and so I have translated it here to share it with you.
Before you read the true magical story
1) Baanke Bihari - This is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. "Baanke" means beautiful."Bihari" means one who wanders about. Lord Krishna was a cowherd so he used to wander about a lot for grazing his cows.
2) Although no date is mentioned in the story I conjecture this incident took place 70-80 years ago.
3) During that time in India, greedy moneylenders used to dupe simple villagers who came to borrow money from them. Such financial transactions used to be very informal with little or no documentation. Receipts for payments were seldom issued and the borrower had to depend on the money lender's word which often turned out untrue.
The story begins
Many years ago, the narrater of this incident had gone to Vrindavan with his friends. After visiting many temples, they became tired and thirsty in the sweltering afternoon summer sun. Suddenly they spotted a hut in which an old woman sat singing bhajans. They approached the hut and this woman lovingly welcomed them and offered them water and food. After having their lunch, the group wanted to leave but could not as the heat was still unbearable. They decided to stay in the hut for a while till the time the sun's intensity lessened. One of the narrator's friends became curious to know about the old woman and upon some insistence, the woman decided to speak.
This is the story related by the old woman.
I am from Aligarh where I was born and brought up. My father Gopal Das was a simple school teacher. He was an artless and honest man who was committed to his job. He never desired great wealth and would be content with whatever destiny meted out to him. I had two younger brothers and both of them went to school. Although we were poor by any standards yet life passed on. I soon grew older and reached marriageable age.
My father would often get disturbed about our financial condition. He would get worried as to how he would be able to finance my marriage but neverthless somehow maintained courage. He made several friends one of whom was one Mr Shastri a gregarious fellow. My mother would often object to my father's carefree way of living, often accusing him of not having saved any money for his daughter's marriage and sons' education. At this my father, with an artless confidence would say when he would need money he would borrow it from his rich friends and would later return it. My mother always knew beyond doubt that none of my father's friends would ever help him financially and would often warn my father about this. But, my father would casually dismiss my mother's skeptism about his friends.
At last the time for my marriage arrived. My father naturally went to Mr Shastri to borrow some money. He was in for a rude shock as Mr Shastri dismissed him outright saying how would my father ever return the money as he was an impecunious fellow. Not only that, the heartless Mr Shastri also alerted my father's other friends in the fraternity, advising them not to lend any money to my father. None of my father's so called friends came forward to help.This was not a surprise to my mother as she knew all along this would happen. Having been snubbed by his friends, my father's anxiety grew day by day. The day of my marriage was fast approaching and there was no money to organise the wedding. Money is always needed for marriages - for feasts, ceremonies, dowry and so on. My father became extremely tensed and disturbed. All thorughout the day he would wander here and there trying to arrange funds for my marriage but he did not meet any luck. He would often skip his dinner after returning home and would sulk and go straight to sleep. He was also deeply hurt at the behaviour of his friends.
Finally only 5 days remained for my marriage. I saw my father coming home with lots of marriage items like bed, clothes, utensils, sweets, jewellery and so on. Both I and my mother was extremely surprised as to how out of the blue my father could arrange all this when just a day before he had virtually no money at all. Upom asking my father replied with quiet confidence that he had mortgaged the house and borrowed money from Lakshmi Chand, the money lender. Upon hearing this, all hell broke loose on my mother for she had heard several tales about Lakshmi Chand's dishonest ways. Any one who had mortgaged his house or land with Lakshmi Chand was doomed for he could be certain he would never get it back. Lakshmi Chand was a greedy cheat who was adept at juggling account records to dupe poor villagers of their property. He would keep duplicate records, one real and the other fake. He was also well versed in legal matters, had a good hold over hawkish lawyers and so would indulge in brazen manipulations to carry out his misdeeds. My mother rebuked my father sharply and tension prevailed in our home. My mother was certain that we were doomed but my father tried his best to calm my mother, saying her fears were unfounded and after the marriage he would surely pay back the money to Lakshmi Chand and get the house released. My mother doubted father's words for she thought that after my marriage, father would become more carefree and would not take much care to repay the loan.
However, my mother's doubt turned out to be unfounded as after my marriage my father toiled day and night to earn money to repay the loan. After four months of very hard work that took its toll on his health, my father was able to repay the loan.
In India, Hindus consider it a sacred duty to take a holy dip in the Ganges after one has married off his daughter. Just a few days after my father had repaid the loan, my mother started insisting my father for the Ganges pilgrimage. My father did not have money then so he asked mother to wait a little. After long hours of hard work for several months my father's aged body was no longer in a condition to work so he tried to tarry the trip. But my mother was adamant. From God knows where, she arranged some money to finance the trip. My parents then went on the Ganges pilgrimage. The day they returned, a registered postal letter awaited my father. When he read the letter he collapsed in disbelief! The document was a court notice sent by none other than the wicked Lakshmi Chand. It stated that if by a certain date my father did not repay the loan with interest, the house would be confiscated and my father thrown out.
Upon reading that notice all life seemed to have left my father. He had honestly repaid the loan with full interest so why this notice? He was a simple man who had never been to the court. The court for him seemed to be a dreadful place where the rich and the powerful openly maipulated legalities to twist cases in their favour to cheat the poor and the helpless. The court was a place where truth was murdered every day and every minute and falsehood reigned supreme. Every brick of the court building was like a snake's bloody fangs ready to strike the helpless and the meek at the slightest chance. My father neverthless gathered courage to seek the help of his friends. Once again they all cold shouldered him. Mr Shastri refused to help my father saying that as my father had not returned the money to Lakshmi Chand in his presence, how could he become a witness to the case. Besides, Lakshmi Chand was a powerful and inflential man so he did not want enmity with him.
Once again my father was plunged in gloom. He despaired and seemed to lose his balance completely. He wondered at the ways of the world. How strange this world is. Even after one has repaid the loan with interest he is served a court notice. He shuddered to think what would happen to him if he did not vacate the house. He would be dragged to court;humiliated; made to beg and grovel before the judge,lawyer and Lakshmi Chand; his family honour would bite dust and what not. My mother kept her hand over my father's forehead. My father was burning with high fever.
The next morning my father woke up in the same condition. He decided to pay Lakshmi Chand a visit and ask him why he was doing all this. My mother sensing an altercation decided to accompany my father. When my father reached Lakshmi Chand's house, he was warmly greeted by the latter and was served tea and snacks. Lakshmi Chand even touched my father's feet (as a sign of respect) and enquired after his well being. Upon being asked by my father, Lakshmi Chand admitted that my father had repaid the loan in full alongwith interest. He said he was primarily interested in my father's house and wanted that house at any cost. He even offered
my father all the money my father had repaid him as a price for the house. He said if my father did not accept the offer he would have to face harrasment in the court.
My father begged Lakshmi Chand not to do this and said that if he were to vacate the house where would he live with his wife and two sons. Besides, the house was his ancestral property and he could not abandon something so precious. This was of no use as Lakshmi Chand refused to melt. He warned my father not to teach him what was right and what was wrong. He insisted that he had kept a proposal before my father. If my father agreed he would get the money from Lakshmi Chand for his house or else he would have to run from pillar to post to settle the matter in court. At this my mother lost control and warned Lakshmi Chand that it was not proper to harrass someone like this and there was a court higher than all the courts in the world and that was God' court and God would surely take Lakshmi Chand to task.
Acutely disappointed, my parents returned home. My father was already disgusted at his friends' indifference and so did not bother to consult anyone. Everyone was your friend as long as you had money. The moment you were penniless and needed help, you were abandoned. My mother kept insisting my father to seek help. Finally he got fed up and left home. Coincidentally that day was 'Hariyali Teej (a festival of Hindus) and a bus of devotees was gong to Vrindavan from Aligarh. My father lost in thought, absentmidedly boarded the bus. He had no idea where the bus was going, so mired he was in his mental agony. It so happended that the conductor of the bus turned out to be one of father's old students. He offered my father a seat beside his with great respect. During their talk, father came to know that on special occassions the bus goes from Aligarh to Vrindavan with devotees of Lord Krishna. Today was one of such days. My father had heard of "Baanke Bihari" before also. It was only today that he came to know that several devotees go to Vrindavan just to visit the "Baanke Bihari" temple. So endearing was He to his devotees. My father's soul too now yearned for a darshan (devout glimpse) of "Baanke Bihari" - the one and only Lord Krishna. The bus conductor narrated several miraculous stories about Lord Krishna to my awe struck father. He had heard several tales from bus passengers. Besides his own life had been blessed by Krishna. He narrated his own story to my father - how many years ago he had arrived in Vrindavan as a penniless, hungry youth with no dwelling whatsoever; how he had cried and prayed to Krishna and how miraculously he was spotted by his long distant aunt - a rich lady, who adopted him and put him in service in the little transport business she owned. That bus was one of the many buses she ran.
In the meantime the bus arrived at Vrindavan. The passengers alighted from the bus which was supposed to stay in Vrindavan for two hours after which it would go back to Aligarh. The passengers had two hours to stay in Vrindavan. The conductor took my father to the famous "Baanke Bihari" temple. My father devoutly offered his soul to Lord Krishna and in a spirit of true devotion, surrendered completely to the Lord. It seemed that the grace of Krishna was beginning to touch my father. All my father's mental agony seemed to flow down in the river of his true surrender.
At midnight my father returned home - a different man. He walked with a confident and steady gait. It seemed now, he had no worries; he needed no one's help; he depended on no one; he had no fear whatsoever. He had obtained His assurance - He who was the greatest of all helpers.
The very next day my father confidently sent a bold reply to Lakshmi Chand's lawyer stating clearly that as he had already repaid the loan with interest in full he would not under any circumstances vacate the house. Infuriated at this, Lakshmi Chand sent a court summon to my father asking my father to appear at the court on a specified date. The court summon which would ordinarily terrify my father beyond any limits, was today received like a royal invitation by my father.
He did not feel the slightest fear upon receiving the court summon. How could he feel fear when the Lord was with him? On the specified day, my father alone went to the court. There he was asked by the judge about the whereabouts of the payment receipt which Lakshmi Chand must have handed over to my father upon receiving the full payment. Upon this question my father innocently replied that he was not given any receipt nor had he insisted Lakshmi Chand to give him a receipt. There dealings were of mutual faith and trust and receipts was unnecessary. The judge further asked my father whether he could tell him as to on what dates he had repaid the loan instalments and also the amount he had repaid in every instalment. My father looked up his diary and readily told everything. Lakshmi Chand kept duplicate records and presented the false records at the court. The false records, quite obviously did not have any trace of the transactions. My father kept insisting that he had seen Lakshmi Chand enter the amounts in his records but today there was no trace of the payments in Lakshmi Chand's records. Lakshmi Chand's lawyer started accusing my father of being a liar. Lakshmi Chand's lawyer further asked my father to present any witness in whose presence my father had given the payment. My father kept quiet as he had no witness- there was in fact no witness. Hope seemed to dim, he could seek help from no one but suddenly he remembered "BaankeBihari" - the saviour behind all saviours. The glorious form of the Lord stood there in my father's vision, with his flute playfully at his beautiful lips, smiling a very knowing smile at my father. Father prayed deeply to Krishna - that ocean of mercy. My father blurted out to the judge,"Baanke Bihari is my witness. He was there with me every time I went to make a payment".
At this, the lawyer again asked my father to tell the name of the witness. My father said that "Baanke Bihari" was the name of the witness. The lawyer growled at my father and asked him the witness's address. My father replied "Vrindavan Mathura". Upon being asked the name of the father of the witness. My father replied after some hesitation "Swami Haridas". (Swami Haridas was a great saint and a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in the sixteenth century. It was he who had discovered the idol of Baanke Bihari (Lord Krishna) which till this day is worshipped in that famous temple).
Anyway, the court attendent reached Vrindavan to present the court summon to the "witness" Baanke Bihari. On reaching there he was accosted by a young beautiful dark skinned lad who offered to take him to Baanke Bihari. (Readers no prizes for guessing who this dark beautiful lad was!)
Before the attendant could answer, the lad took him by his hand and brought him to the Baanke Bihari temple. It was afternoon and the temple was closed. The lad requested the attendant to stick the summons document on the temple door and said Baanke Bihari would read it when he returned. He assured the attendant that on the day of the court proceedings, Baanke Bihari would surely be present to give witness. Satisfied, the attendant returned to Aligarh.
Some people later told me that Lakshmi Chand's wicked lawyer had gleefully remarked to his client that the latter need not worry as the case would surely be settled in his favour as God would not descend to give witness in favour of the poor Gopal Das (my father). They both had had a hearty laugh at my father.
The judge was in a dilemma. He knew not what to do. Deep down he knew my father was innocent and Lakshmi Chand was fleecing him but then what could he do. My father had no proof, no witness. He wondered at my father's devotion and innocence. This man, he mused, has named Baanke Bihari as his witness. Baanke Bihari is the judge of all judges, the ruler of all creation, lord of all that lives. Will He have the time to come to give witness in favour of this ordinary fellow?
Just a few days now remained for the court date. My father now decided to go to Vrindavan one more time. Everyone in the household made fun of my father and tried to dissaude my father from going but my father did not listen and left for Vrindavan. On reaching the temple he once more prayed fervently for the Lord's help. His surrender was complete. In the afternoon he sat outside the temple and went to sleep. In the dream Lord Krishna appeared to him and promised him that he would come to give witness in his favour. In the evening my father took a dip in the holy Yamuna and returned home.
Except for my father everyone in the household felt sure that the case would be decided in Lakshmi Chand's favour. But my father was supremely confident that he would win the case. My father's faith was dismissed as eccentricity by everyone else.
On the day of the proceeding, the judge asked my father whether his witness was ready. My father said that the witness had indeed arrived. The court attendant shouted out "Baanke Bihari be present". There was no response. He called out again "Baanke Bihari be present". No response. He called out the third time "Baanke Bihari be present". This time a voice spoke from outside the room "I am here". Just that instant an old man wrapped in a black blanket entered the court room. Everywhere there an exclamation of utter surprise. "Who is this Baanke Bihari?" "Are you Gopal Das's witness?", the judge asked the mysterious stranger. The figure nodded. The stranger's blanket covered face was irritating the judge. "Please show your face and reply clearly, what is your name?", asked the judge now getting stern.
The figure slightly removed the blanket from his face and replied to the judge "Bihari". The moment the judge looked at the stranger's face, he was completely awe struck at the divine lustre on the stranger's face. This face was unlike that of any other human being the judge had ever seen. It was no human face, it was the face of God himself. The pen dropped out of the judge's hand, his forehead began to sweat profusely and he forgot to ask anything else. The stranger spoke, "Gopal Das has returned each and every pie with interest to Lakshmi Chand. If you want proof of this then it is to be found in a yellow file kept in the topmost partition of the almirah which lies at the right of Lakshmi Chand's office seat. All of Gopal Das's transactions appear under the name of "Das" and are fully recorded in page 2 of the file. I will now even tell you the exact amount and the dates on which Gopal Das made the payments." The witness went on to narrate every detail about the transactions. Everyone in the court was dumbstruck. Lakshmi Chand stood there trembling. His lawyer stood there staring in blank space like an idiot.
After some minutes, the judge regained his composure and asked the witness, "Can you recognise the file?". "Absolutely", replied the witness. The judge adjourned the court and went to Lakshmi Chand's office (a part of his dwelling itself) alongwith the witness, Gopal Das, Lakshmi Chand, Lakshmi Chand's lawyer and two court attendants. There it turned out to be exactly what the witness had told him in court. Lakshmi Chand was caught red handed.
The judge turned around. The witness had vanished! My father after that day never returned home. He who obtains the Lord makes the whole world his friend. The very next day, the judge resigned from his job and became a renunciant and devoted his remaining life to Krishna.
Not only this. Everyone related to this incident in any way whatsoever soon abandoned their dwellings and vocations and got lost in the divine charm of Vrindavan for the rest of their lives -and why not? They had become useless to the world.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this true and marvellous account of Lord Krishna as much as I have enjoyed translating it.
Madlyn Hall is a singer/song writer and a dog enthusiast. She sent me this wonderful video that is dedicated to all shelter & foster animals looking for a loving home. Her dog Lucy costars in this video.
Lucy was missing in the desert of Salvation Mountain for 24 hours completely by herself, and through the grace of God alone, she came back. This experience was so significant it increased Madlyn's faith in the power of prayer, forever transforming her spiritual life. For a boost in faith, spirit, and overall inspiration, see the story after the music video below.
A few words about Lucy from Madlyn
When I first met Lucy, she was only 2 weeks old. She was the runt of the liter, and after only just a moment, I knew that she was the pup for me. We had an unspoken connection, and when I held her, I didn’t want to let go. I named her Lucy, after one of my favorite classic TV shows “I Love Lucy” and one of my favorite Beatles songs, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” After about 3 months of nursing with her mother, Lucy was finally able to come home and officially become part of my family. She grew into a fluffy, friendly adorable little malti-poo; obedient and playful, well-behaved and independent--- truly humanlike in many of her qualities. She was always loved by all who met her; people would often ask if I was going to breed her, and if indeed I was going to, to save them one of the puppies. It was a tremendous honor to know that it wasn’t just me who saw the specialness in Lucy, but all she came into contact with. Lucy is now 3 years old, and is officially a miracle dog and survivor. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through the 24 hours she was missing in the Salvation Mountain desert; all I know is that she is stronger than ever and is such a wonderful blessing. Lucy wasn’t just the perfect pup for my family to love, but was the perfect pup to teach us about the importance of prayer and faith in action. If it wasn’t for Lucy, our amazing testimony of having her return home to us would have never been told--- on one hand, we would have avoided the tragedy of losing her in the first place. But on the other side of that, we wouldn’t have had this victory to stand on, to share about God’s love and mercy He has with everyone. We are so thankful that our beautiful little dog is home, and totally back to normal—Not only was she safe when she returned to us, but completely unharmed. I had taken Lucy to her vet the morning after the night we brought her home- I was told that she was in perfect health- her paws weren’t burned, she didn’t have any cuts or scraps, and she wasn’t dehydrated- truly a blessing from God. When my family takes her to the dog park, Lucy is happy and eager to play with the other pups, running around wild and carefree. She sleeps peacefully, and has a full and normal appetite. We are so overjoyed to have this important member of our family back, and feel it is our privilege to tell her story; sharing about the amazing love and grace God has when we lean on Him, pray, and have continual active faith.