Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Collectable Photo ~ a Reality?

For a few years, while my son was working by assignment
at a bank in Manhattan, I created a scrapbook of local pictures...
depicting scenery, animal & bird life, and events occurring
 in and about Hamilton and Burlington. His office cohorts
 were astounded at the beauty of 'Canada'
since most could not relate to southern Ontario, 
 or the Golden Horseshoe.
Although, now working locally as a computer analyst (and how could I exist without his knowledge and skill assistance?), I've continued my collection with pics of interest: scenery plus, harbour activities, wildlife, the RBG's floral displays and home gardens. My favourite animals are cats (especially the tigers, leopards, lions and jaguars), dogs, horses and deer...the latter two, in my heart and soul, are the most graceful 4-leggeds on our planet...should also include Panda Bears and Koalas.

Recently, I snipped a dramatic photo from an advertisement in a local newspaper ~ he was a majestic, stately lion sprawled across a wooden wall ~ regal beyond imagination! He spoke to me!

My Burlington home is nestled in Escarpment country, close to the shore of Lake Ontario...adjacent to Hamilton's 2-tier city which features over 100 waterfalls within its region...Couttes Paradise (a nature water gem of aquatic significance). Burlington North is loaded with 'escarpment's green rolling hills, winding streams and rock formations' being Rattlesnake Point, near Milton. Its panorama is one of treed beauty across the broad nature-blessed valley...and from where, on a clear day, one can see the CN Tower in Toronto. Many locals, tourists and rock climbers ascend to this Nature gem to explore.

A year ago, in early October, I drove through our autumn-hued countryside to photo-record Jack Frost's transformation of greens to golds and reds. Partway up the escarpment toward Rattlesnake Point, I stopped to admire the 180-degree scenic panorama enfolding before my eyes. Then, at the Point, parked my car...trail-walking to the rocky precipice to savour Nature's extensive view. Returning to my vehicle, I was followed by an adorable tawny-coloured lion cub...or was it a lynx? He stopped as I searched for my key...and waited.
Where did he come from?
Where was his family...his Mom? (and Dad was nowhere to be seen!)
How could anyone not LOVE him?
Still, he sat like a small statue before me. Kneeling before him, I held popcorn in my open hand. With roughness of tongue, he licked it firmly. His chocolatey-brown eyes haunted me. Should I report him...or should I feed and protect him? The little guy must be hungry.
Needing a name...I called him Zeke.
He yawned...his eyes dreamy...wanting to lay down and curl himself into a cub-ball. Unable to resist, I cuddled him in the crook of my left arm...and drove him to my abode.

After the demise of my 'Maine Coon”, Sheba, I'd kept her toys, her sleeping mat and some cat 'kibble'...the latter I placed on a saucer in front of Zeke who quickly gobbled all of it...then drank water from a bowl (lapping as though from a woodland stream) to quench his thirst. Zeke curled on the mat beside me feet...quickly drowsed into more than a cat-nap...and dreamt he was in paradise.
Decisions! Decisions! Awakening, Zeke was frisky, wanting to play.
Like Sheba, he brushed past my right leg...looking enquiringly into my eyes.
At that moment, he won my heart.
As a cat, he'd leap to the sofa cushions, then to the top...sprawling his lean body, stretched head to tail along this upper edge for a cub-view of the room. “Well, Zeke, as a child-lion, you must learn some manners...and household regulations.” Locating Sheba's blue collar and leash, I introduced him to this 'control measure' and taught him to walk on my left side at all times.
Zeke quickly learned that there was a time to play...and a time to learn!
Zeke was an intelligent lion who'd say, he was a 'quick learner'!
Zeke Was a Good Boy!
* When he needed to 'relieve himself' (if in the house), he'd look for me...then head for the door...sit and and wait for his exit to the back corner of the yard.
* Bursting with wake-up energy, he'd look for food and water to sate his voracious hunger and thirst...then wait at the patio door for his outside romp and play. If I failed to respond to 'his signals', he'd locate the leash, then drag it and place it at my feet.
* As his 'protector' he lavished on all attention I gave him; daily I'd hold him on my lap and brush his teeth by holding his jaws open...he seemed to enjoy the minty-taste; then cuddling him on my lap, I gently combed and brushed his mane as it steadily grew in. In appreciation, he licked my hands.
* Neighbours became intrigued with my 'household kitty' as daily I'd walk, trot and run along the sidewalks with Zeke...while all passer-bys were confounded by this energetic pet.
Overnight, he'd sleep on a mat beside my bed...mornings he'd waken me with gentle paws.
  • In early December, winter arrived with a 6 to 8 inch snowfall. Letting Zeke outside, he was stunned, lifting a front leg to shake off the snow, then the other front leg (as my Sheba did)...then with his back legs, he playfully kicked off the white stuff...and Oh, What Fun it was, to Dash Through the Snow!
  • Through constant effort, he learned to Sit..Stay...and Come, upon request; and he learned not to jump at visitors with his outlandish enthusiasm.
Always, I praised him for good behaviour...patting the side of his neck...and looking into his golden-brown eyes, I'd tell him: “Good Boy!”

Dependent on me as his saviour, when showing his affection, he'd stand on his back his front paws on my shoulders (claws withdrawn)...and as I bent, he'd lick my face. This action reminded me of the Husky Dog Teams (each of 16 dogs) in Alaska's annual Iditirod race of about 1,000 miles over 8 to 15 days in early March. Siberian Huskies love to run...and they loved their 'mushers'...and often, one of the team dogs would stand on back legs and with front paws on the master's shoulders, would 'kiss' the human face at day's end.

Quickly growing was Zeke...and soon I realized that I could not forever keep him...he needed to return to a lion's life. I called my friendly veterinarian who advised me to prepare for Zeke's return to a habitat replacement for wild animals; a few contacts he gave me: Ontario Wildlife Rescue...The Wildlife Centre for Rehabilitation...even the African Lion Safari based in rural Cambridge.

Saddened to consider this dilemma, I knew it was necessary for Zeke's livelihood to engage in LION LIFE with fellow pride members. Occasionally I returned to visit Zeke...who'd always meet me with his Husky-Dog-Hug and Kiss!

* * * * * * *

Lauren Hill states, “The strong mother doesn't tell her cub,
Son, stay weak so the wolves can get you.”
She instructs, “Toughen up! This is the reality we're living in!”

Composed by Merle Baird-Kerr...August 29, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Today's Greatest Road Danger!

It is not the 'potholes' that are created and deepened after winter's deep freeze.
It is not the 'sink holes' that suddenly & mysteriously appear.
It is not the 'stop and go lights' that fail to function.
It is not the 'fog' that rolls in off the lake...obliterating drivers' vision.
It is not the man 'imbibing himself' enroute home to still his depression.

It is not the woman who 'consoles herself' with just 1 or 2 drinks...
then carries out wifely duties to drive her kids home from school.
It is not the guys who 'open a case of beer' to enjoy
while driving to a 'wild weekend' of.....?
It is not the teens who 'risk all just for the fun of joy-riding...or daring themselves'
while driving with the mentality that it'll never happen to me/us!
It is not the driver who continually travels exceedingly over the speed limit.
It is not necessarily the daughter who 'steals mother's car' just for revenge...
or for the simple joy of doing so...or with friends to arrive at prohibited
destinations unacceptable to parents' decrees.

Have You Guessed ~ What is Today's Greatest Road Danger???
It is the 'Stupid Individual' (whether man,woman, teen or under-ager)
who gets behind the wheel...and as part of the ritual, needs his CT
to forever be in communication with his friends!
Their morale? Oh, What Mocking Fun it is ~ to do as he/she pleases...or just to prove that they are invincible and beyond judgement of Road Regulations while driving! The RISK is DARINGLY FUN!
The second most the person(s) who ride with these carelessly ignorant drivers!
They're just as NUTS to do so! The drivers' hand-held damn phones, to them,
demand immediate attention...ignoring all safety measures as required by law!

From my writings to you, my dear readers, you're aware I've driven thousands of miles...whether country roads, paved secondary roads, highways, thru-ways and Interstates. I've only had 2 FEARS:
a speeding reckless driver who unable to 'cut in' is forced, himself (or me) to take to the ditch...or be involved in a head-on collision! The second fear is that an inebriated driver is under no control.
Today: I have a Third Fear ~ thanks to Technology!
Those drivers who have that 'inert drive' that they cannot live without...hand-held telephones! It's a phobia that THEY MUST USE and MUST RESPOND order to be sociatal in today's lifestyle!
They RISK their lives...they risk YOURS and MINE!
My Third is: I FEAR FOR MY LIFE on today's roads!

Distracted Driving...
In a Special to TORSTAR on September 8/17, Larry Lantz, president of
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, previously appealed to drivers who continue to engage in activities that divert their attention from driving (by talking and texting on their mobile phones, reading, shaving, applying makeup, combing hair, tending to other dash gadgets, etc.) To that article, Louis at age 81, responded: “It is not the end of the world if you pick up your phone while driving, but it could be the end of your world. Is it worth the risk? Don't be tempted! Put your phone on the back seat before you drive. Be safe and stay alive. He signed it: A Concerned Grandfather.

In another letter from Chris, a road safety advocate, thanked President Larry for his taking a position of zero tolerance on dangerous driver behaviour. Chris commented that despite all of the current efforts to curb Distracted Driving ~ increased driver education, redesigning roads, lowering speed limits, enhanced police enforcement, automated speed and red light enforcement, harsher fines, etc. ~ we are not making much progress. Many of the proposed solutions require government legislation.
Technology has contributed to the problem...
and it can also be a huge part of the solution.
Larry Lantz further wrote: The common message from his reader audience was that “Distracted Driving reinforces the seriousness of this issue...and highlights how widespread 'distracted driving' has become. It now contributes to more deaths on Ontario roads than any other driving offence. In 2016, 65 deaths were attributed to 'distracted driving' ...more than one death per week. We need drivers and passengers to call out others who are talking and texting while they are driving...and we need to ramp up the intolerance of this type of activity.”
My Simple Abbreviated Solution to passengers: Refuse to Ride with a Distracted Driver:
SS: R2R with a DD!

Cliches Garnered from Observers
In the late 1990's the following were quotes on the Web about driving safely...
which started out mostly “dont' drink and drive'.
Today it includes 'texting and cell phone use while driving...
(driving while “intexticated”, as they say)
and other destructive decisions!
Please be responsible and cautious out there! Many lives are at stake!

Drinking and Driving: there are stupider things...and currently, the stupidest is Distracted Drivers!!!
No person should suffer the tragedy of losing someone as a result of any of these 3 offences...which claim the lives of thousands of people both in Canda and United States. Let us all pledge to always drive sober and always be alert to avoid distractions behind the wheel.

Baseball is like driving ~ it's the one who gets home safely that counts.
(Tommy Lasorda)
It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble anautomobile...and one nut to scatter it all over the road.
(Author unknown, as seen on a bumper sticker.)
American Proverb: A tree never hits an automobile except in self-defence!

Texting while driving increases the risk of accidents 23.2 times over unimpaired driving.
A legally drunk driver needs four additional feet to begin braking;
whereas, a 'texting driver' needs 70. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.)

Recklessness is a species of crime...and should be so regarded on our streets and highways. (Marlen E. Pew)
The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.
(Dudley Moore)
Robbins B. Stoeckel states: “Automobiles are not is the driver who is to be feared!

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...September 10, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saving Lives ~ Part 2

Many animals are very intelligent and have sensory and motor abilities that dwarf ours. Dogs (even cats) are able to detect various diseases and can warn humans of impending heart attacks and strokes. Elephants, whales, hippos, giraffes and alligators use 'low frequency sounds' to communicate over long distances. Bats, dolphins, frogs, birds and various rodents use 'high frequency sounds' to find food, communicate with others and navigate.
Many animals display wide ranging emotions...
joy, happiness, empathy, compassion, grief...even resentment and embarrassment.

Androcles and the Lion
(Said to be written by Aesop ~ the great Greek storyteller always summed up his stories
from the animal kingdom with a moral.)
The lesson in this tale: “Gratitude is the sign of a noble soul.”
It happened in ancient times that a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest...and wandered there for a long time until he was weary. Just then, he heard a lion near him moaning and groaning and looking at Androcles, who saw that the lion was holding out his right paw, which was covered with blood and very much swollen. Looking more closely at it, Androcles saw a great big thorn pressed into the paw, which was the cause of all the lion's trouble.

Plucking up courage, he seized hold of the thorn and drew it out of the lion's paw, who roared with pain when the thorn came out, but soon after, found such relief from it that he rubbed up against Androcles and showed that he knew, that he was truly thankful for being relieved from such pain.

One day, a number of soldiers came marching through the forest and found Androcles. They took him prisoner and brought him back to town...and he was condemned to death because he had fled from his master. Now, it used to be the custom to throw murderers and other criminals to the lions and on the appointed day, he was led forth into the arena.

The Emperor of Rome was in the royal box that day and gave the signal for the lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did?
Instead of jumping upon him, the lion rubbed up against him
and stroked him with its paw.
It was of course the lion which Androcles had met in the forest. The Emperor summoned Androcles to him. When he told the Emperor how the lion was showing gratitude for his having relieved it of the thorn, the Emperor pardoned Androcles and ordered his master to set him free...while the lion was taken back into the forest...and let loose to enjoy freedom once more.

True Stories of Animals Rescuing People from Certain Death

Dog Protects Little Girl: A mother in Florida was tending to her garden which backed on one of the many inner canals. Her dog, Chico (a Lab Retriever) lay nearby while the small girl played with her colourful ball. A lengthy poisonous snake lay coiled in the morning sun. As Janie ran to retrieve her ball, the snake hustled into 'strike position' to immobilize 'the prey' (his venom of modified saliva delivered through its fangs). Chico, sensing harm to Janie, put himself between the reptile and her...and he was 'fanged' with poisonous venom. Chico was rushed to the local veterinary clinic for serum injection.

Gorilla Saves 3-Year-Old Boy: In zoos, gorillas are enclosed in a space that they can call their own...they are happy to eat, frolic and mate for the entertainment of gawking onlookers. But that territorial bubble was popped by a small boy at the Brooklyn Zoo in Illinois...he was right over the gorilla enclosure when he fell over the fence. The 18-foot drop left him unconscious and with a critical head injury. Binti Jua stepped of the zoo's gorillas who came to the boy's aid by cradling him in her arms and then bringing him to the enclosure door where paramedics could get to him. The police and staff were quick to note that the situation could have been much worse without Binti's assistance.

Whale Saves Drowning Diver: The Polarland Aquarium in Harbin, China held a free diving contest in their 20-foot-deep, Arctic-temperature whale tank with 7 divers who were not allowed to use breathing apparatus. The winning prize was to apply for a job as a whale-trainer. Yang Yun, 26 years old, when reaching the bottom of the pool, her leg cramped and prevented her from swimming which would have led to imminent drowning...that is, if Mila, one of the 2 beluga whales in the tank, didn't see the trouble and swim to her rescue. Mila grabbed Yang Yun's leg with her mouth and started forcefully pushing her to the surface. The diver survived...and would not have, without Mila's help.

Lion Saves Girl from Kidnappers: These 300-pound, 6-foot-long cats can look at you as nothing more than a delicacy at a fancy restaurant they like to call Africa.` Lions also have a softer kitten center that leads them to care for some unlikely creatures. In this instance, it's a 12-year-old Kenyan girl who had been missing for a week. She had been abducted by several men who were trying to force her to marry one of them. But when the authorities found her, the kidnappers had fled. Instead she was surrounded by 3 lions that had scared away, and hopefully maimed her captors. The police said the lions had been guarding her for about a day when they got there...and ensuring that nothing else got close to her.

Cat Saved Family from House Fire: Dianne Busscher was wakened at 4:45 the cries of the family cat, Oreo, coming from the garage. Going downstairs, she saw smoke and flames. She quickly grabbed the cat and rushed back inside to waken her husband and their 5 children. The fire destroyed the garage and a bedroom. None of the family was harmed...thanks to Oreo's startling cries.

Elephants Paid Their Respects to Late “Elephant Whisperer” Lawrence Anthony: (1950-2012):
A legend in South Africa and author of 3 books, including the best seller, “The Elephant Whisperer”.
He bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, which included the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.
On March 7, 2012, Lawrence Anthony died.
He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons and numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say good-bye to their beloved man-friend. A total of 33 elephants walked patiently over 12 miles to get to his South African Wildlife Conservation house. Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe...not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing... also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.
These elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years.
The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honouring their friend who'd saved their much respect that they stayed for 2 days and 2 nights. Then one morning they left, making their long journey back home.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written August 14, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Saving Lives

Trust instinct to the end...even though you can give no reason.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Millions of species communicate using body language and instinctive 'calls' to another. Humans have instinctive calls too ~ our distress scream, laughter and crying. All humans and animals are deeply intertwined. Several animals contribute to the survival of other species, including humans. Often overlooked, they pollinate crops to cleaning of many roles animals play in preserving the existence of the human species and the planet.

Soccer Player Makes Life-Saving Play on Hamilton Field
Joe Sterrazza was supposed to be driving a Hamilton Street Railway bus on the night he almost died of a heart attack. But his shift was called off, so the West Hamilton dad headed to his weekly soccer game with friends at Mountain Sports Complex. On the way, he picked up Bruno Bombardieri, who was also supposed to miss the game on January 23, 2013, but changed his plans at the last minute.

Halfway through the game, Sterrazza, a fit 40-year old, collapsed on the field with no warning. He had no vital signs after collapse. Bombardieri immediately came to his rescue, performing CPR for an agonizing 12 minutes until paramedics arrived with an automatic external defibrillator.
You have a very good friend,” Sterrazza remembers a doctor saying
after he was saved. She told me straight out, 'if he wasn't there, you wouldn't be here!'
He tells his story now to illustrate the importance of a national foundation bringing its CPR and defillibrator training program to Halton's 28 high schools in the Public, Catholic and French boards.
Other players felt so helpless that one organized a CPR training session so they'd never be caught not knowing what to do in a life-and-death situation again.
Joe stated, “I had no signs and I never felt anything.
I was playing soccer and I made a pass and then I woke up at Juravinski Hospital.”

Man Who Saved Girl from Fire: “I'm Not a Hero!”
Posted in the Toronto Sun February 14, 2017... Jack Boland from Brampton reported...”Sheldon Teague
doesn't want to be known as a hero after valiantly rescuing a young girl from a house fire that claimed the lives of her mother, father and sister. 'Im just a regular person who did what needed to be done in the moment,' the 19-year-old said. Staying with a friend and her dad, watching a movie, they smelled smoke and saw it coming out of the vents around 3:30 a.m. in a neighbouring home.
Stepping outside, I could see fire coming out of the upper bedroom.”
He ran around to the front of the house, yelling for help...and started to kick in the door only to be met by a wall of flames. He then heard screaming coming from inside. Armed with only a flashlight, he quickly searched, yelling for somebody to come toward his voice. She made it about halfway down the hallway, at which point he spotted her legs under the heavy smoke.
So then I ran towards her..picked her up and brought her outside.”
The girl is now at Sick Kids Hospital recovering from 3rd degree burns.
Her family, sadly did not survive.
Teague said he was 'simply doing what he could do to help. He remained until Brampton Fire crews arrived to battle the blaze. “It was horrifying. I'm not sure how many voices I could hear.”

Ump Saves Woman on Bridge's Edge
As a Major League Baseball umpire, John Tumpane often has to defuse tense situations at the ballpark.
None compared to the scene he came upon Wednesday as he walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh around 3 p.m. on his way back from a run and lunch” reported Stephen J. Nesbitt.
A few hundred yards from PNC Park, he saw a woman climb over a railing and look down toward the Allegheny river below. “Obviously, that grabbed my attention,” Tupane said prior to the Pirates game against the Tampa Bay Rays, in which the 34-year-old Chicago native was the home-plate umpire. The bridge was mostly empty at that time of day. Tumpane rushed toward the woman, who appeared calm and asking what was going on. “I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” she replied. “Oh, no,” Tumpane said, hooking his arm around hers. “You don't want to do that. It's just as good over here. Let's grab some lunch and talk.”

No,no, no,” she answered. “I'm better off on this side...just let me go!” He said, “I'm not going to let you go. Let' talk this out. We'll get you back over here.” She replied, “No one wants to help me,” she repeated. “Just let me go!” “No, we're here to help you.” “You'll forget me tomorrow.” “I'll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.” Tumpane mouthed to a passerby, “Call 911.”

As they spoke, the woman became more emotional. “She cried and tried to slip from my grip. I locked both my arms around her back. At times, she dangled both feet off the bridge's edge, putting her full weight in my arms. I was thinking, God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending...and held on for dear life. She said, “I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.

One man helped grab the woman's arms...and another pinned her ankles against the bottom rail. Soon, a police boat arrived, then a helicopter, an ambulance, a fire truck and a police officer. They put a life preserver on the woman and handcuffed one of her wrists to the bridge. “I advised her, Look, all these people are here who want to help you for the right reasons. We want to get you better.”
Before she was whisked away, Tumpane knelt next to the woman and tried to comfort her.
He asked for her first name and she gave it to him....and he prayed for her.
John Tupane hopes to reconnect with her at the hospital
before he leaves Pittsburgh for his next series in another major city.
In the end, Tumpane said, “It was a matter of right place and right time.

Human Chain Rescues
Only a few weeks ago, families and children were in danger of drowning in a sudden powerful riptide in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City Beach in Florida. Due to extreme dangerous waters, at least 80 people formed a human chain to rescue a stranded group caught in the riptide.

(Reading this news item, I recalled when Roger and Deanne Woodward
were swept toward Niagara Falls' precipices when a family friend's boat overturned up-river).
The children wore the only 2 life-jackets on board.
Roger, only 7 years old in 1960, now says, “This water looks like it's as big as a house with waves and minute you're pulled can't breathe and wonder if you'll breath again. Then,
you're thrown off rocks as you're going through the rapids.” MIRACLE, it was when the blond, blue-eyed boy was pulled onto the Maid of the Mist tour boat after his plunge over the Horseshoe Falls.
Deanne, then 17 was rescued just before the brink: Two New Jersey tourists, John Hayes and John Quattrochi (one whom I recall was black) one holding the protection railing, the other stepping into the raging water, extended his hand which she was able to the two men pulled her to safety.
I invite you to read Part 2 ~ Animals Rescuing People in next posting.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...August 13, 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

"Foster's Story" Prior to His Rescue

'Tis said that every house has a story'...and every human life has a story.
Many books and movies have been written and filmed
about animals...from horses to dogs to even lions.
Several weeks ago, we heard about Foster whose rescue was 'front-page-news' with his photo everywhere...and everyone in East Hamilton looking for him. Jon Wells researched this story which , on August 26 was published in The Hamilton Spectator. In case you missed it, here are excerpts from his writing:
Best Friends: Hamilton's Rescue Dog Culture
The air in the valley was warm and still. Thunder boomed, darkness fell and it rained. It was the fourth day Foster was loose. He bit at the leash he was still dragging around, trying to cut it away. At one point, middle of the night, the black and white Australian cattle-dog-mix trotted down the centre line of a road. He might have been killed at any moment, but a truck followed close behind at low speed, his roof light on, warning cars to stay clear of the compact 38-pound canine.
Foster picked the right city to go missing in.
The guy at the wheel, Ken Price, is part of Hamilton's crazy-dog community.
The sign on his truck says Dream Team Search and Rescue Tracking.

He figures the volunteer group has helped find and catch 300 run-away dogs in the last couple of years in Hamilton and as far away as North Bay. But more than a dozen volunteers searching for Foster after he ran away Sunday, July 30, discovered that locating the dog was one thing ~ catching him another.
He is a 'rescue' originally from the dog-hostile streets of Taiwan.
Rescue dogs ~ strays or dogs in poor living conditions
that otherwise would be euthanized ~ are resilient and sometimes fearful
which makes them the toughest to reel in.
Eleven days passed. Still no luck despite near 24/7 surveillance, night-vision cameras and traps set with bait. Foster bounced around King's Forest Golf Course in the Red Hill Valley. When he started letting volunteers into his space without fleeing, Price knew this was the moment to 'play the ace card'. He called Brian who had been looking for a dog a few months ago. He is 30, lives alone in Kitchener, works at a software startup and wanted a companion, one he could take on runs.
A friend convinced him: “Adopt, don't shop ~ get a rescue dog.”
Foster hailed from a rescue operation in Taiwan called Mary's Doggies, founded by a woman named Mary Christine Choi. The description on her website said Foster was a happy, playful goofy boy.
He arrived in Hamilton via the Etobicoke Humane Society. Jacklin adopted through Hammer City Paws Rescue and was introduduced to Foster at the dog-friendly Munchie's Coffee House and Bakery on Upper Gage Avenue. Jacklin held out his hand in the cafe...and Foster placed his paw on top. He called him nicknames: Oreo, Dingo, Fostie, Fozzie Bear. Loving him on-sight, Brian took him back to his home...however, apartment living did not agree with felt he had to return him to Hammer City Paws Rescue. He talked to Foster...cuddled him...shed tears.

Gila Pyke, a foster owner on the east Mountain agreed to take him. That same night when opening her car door, he bolted for the Red Hill Valley. She felt awful for not properly tethering his leash. His escape sounded the 'dog whistle' to the rescue community, including the Dream Team. One of the volunteers searching was Stephanie Baran, who when growing up was socially awkward says that a lot of people like her, gravitate to dogs...often they're easier to get along with than humans and 'Dogs are not judgemental and will love you unconditionally. It takes patience and intuition to live in harmony with a dog that cannot communicate in your language.

The critical final step in finally catching Foster was when Brian Jackson returned to Hamilton on Thursday night, August 10. Price told him to bring clothes, pillow cases...anything with his scent on it. The items were laid out at the golf course to lure Foster. Jacklin called out, “Fostie! Fozzy Bear!”
Eventually, Foster walked to the 16th green and sat on the grass.
Jacklin sat nearby. Foster ran and nearly bowled him over.
Jacklin drove home in his empty car...sad to leave the sweet boy, but believed he was safe; smudges from the dog's nose still dotting the window from 11 days earlier.

Gila Pyke has Foster until a suitable home can be found to adopt him. He is the most anxious dog she has fostered, she says. When she got him home, he never left her side.
He even sat on her feet in the shower.

A reporter visits and Foster is wary of the stranger...his tail curled between his legs, but he is also calm and gentle...and eats pieces of bacon tenderly off his hand. Eventually, Foster even offers his paw.
As for Foster, 'Who knows what's next for him? He is only 2 years old!
Distant rain is in the air. He is living entirely in the moment.”

Dogs are some of the most loyal creatures in the world;
there's a reason why they are known as 'Man's Best Friend.'

Dog Wears Her Owner's Pajamas: Molly has a habit of putting her folded pajamas under her pillow before making the bed. While she was still a pup, her dog, Abby, used to get really lonely and in her absence, so she'd often jump onto her bed...drag Molly's clothes out...and sleep on them in the hallway.
However, recently a career opportunity forced Molly to move to another town, so she left Abby with her parents. She visits frequently, but still misses her 4-legged friend dearly. Last week, her parents called to tell her how they came home from shopping, to be greeted by Abby wearing her pajamas!

Dog Saves Pet Tortoise: Last month, there was a fire at Sam's apartment. Thankfully, Sam, his family and their pet dog managed to get out in time. However, once safely outside, it occurred to Sam that they'd left their pet tortoise behind. Then Sam looked at his dog...and saw him holding the tortoise gently in his mouth. When it comes down to friendship, animals can teach us a thing or two.

Dog Buys Groceries at the Store for his Owner: Grant runs a small grocery shop; one of his regulars is a Royal poodle called Albert. He belongs to an old lady who finds it hard to walk. Every day, Albert trots into the store...gets in line...and waits patiently for his turn at the counter, holding a small package in his mouth. The package contains some money, a shopping list and a string bag. All Grant needs to do is take the money...fill the bag with goods...and give it back to the dog.

Dog Empathizes with Owner Who Lost Leg: Peter lost his leg in an accident a year ago. Right now, the best psychological support that anyone gives him is from his pet Labrador, Princess. Whenever they go for a walk, she deliberately bends one of her hind paws (periodically shifting from one to the other), hopping along on three paws instead of four. Clearly, she is doing this to show her empathy.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...August 27. 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Parents' Obligations

Parenting is one of the most important responsibilities we will ever take upon us ~ and yet, what training do we receive for this awesome task? In school, we were taught algebra, history and English...but NOT 'How to Raise Happy and Responsibile Children'. Our lack of preparation is reflected in the condition of our children ~ who often sulk and glare at us and fail to carry out the responsibilites we give them. For many parents, it's easier “to give in!”
What has this taught them???
It always intrigued me as a teacher, having taught several grades from 2 to 8, I could distinguish those children who came from homes where respect and discipline were fully exercised. In preparing my Grade 8 students for High School (due to Grade 9 staff teachers' observations that their incoming students were lacking in grammar construction, in vocabulary and mathematical procedures) concentration was on the development of these skills when under my tutorage in Grade 8. Delighted I was, knowing that following their June graduations, they were entering High School well prepared.
Being a parent myself, I learned long ago that if you plan to have children,
it is your responsibility to prepare them for adulthood!

If you want children to 'keep their feet on the ground', put some responsibility on their shoulders.
Treat a child as though he already is the person he's capable of becoming.
Your job as a parent, is NOT to be's to help your kids become healthy, functioning adults.
It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves...that will make them successful human beings.
(The foregoing quotes by Abigail Van Buren, Haim Ginotti, Denis Waitley,
Dr. Laura and Ann Landers)

Fall Registration...
Comparing the Costs of Staying Home and Going Away for School
(Excerpts from a recent publication in a local newspaper)
As a parent with a teenager heading to post-secondary school, you've begun tricky conversations of whether they will live in residence, off-campus or stay at home. Either way, you can expect a crop of new or addtional expenses. Set realistic expectations now by working together to create a budget and to develop financial goals that will get them on the road to healthy money management.”
If Staying at Home: Talk about household expenses! Sharing information with your teen around how much it costs to run the household, will be helpful in future expenses for when they live on their own.
Save for Later: Living at home while in school is an opportunity for them to save for their future. This will encourage your teen to put money aside on a regular basis to give them a head start when it's time to move out.

Living Away at School: Prepare for the new routine and location! Work together to identify local transportation, grocery stores and other amenities. If they're living with roommates, suggest they decide in advnace how costs will be shared so there aren't any surprises.

Plan for the Unexpected: Students who live away are likely on a tighter budget. Whether it's a late-night pizzi or taxi home; having a plan to pay for contingencies will be 'key'.

Look for Creative Ways to Stretch Dollars and Offset Costs: For example, redeem rewards points with credit or loyalty card for practical merchandise like a coffee maker, gift cards for groceries or clothes... even a train ticket or a gas card for trips back home. Students should not expect parents to pay all.
By developing a rewards-based attitude towards saving,
you'll encourage them to be mindful of their spending ~ and disciplined about debt.
It is also important they understand all factors that impact the cost of borrowing money
should they need to...whether by using a credit card for daily spending
or taking out a loan for tuition.

Talk to your bank about how credit cards work...and ask about an automatic savings plan to help them stay 'on track' with their spending. Find more information at

Parenting Truth ~ (also referred to as 'tough love')
If you protect your children from mistakes or rescue them from the consequences...
you delay them from learning the lessons they need to learn.
Sometimes, loving your child means...'setting limits', giving consequences
and saying No! And never back off from these decisions.
(Author Unknown)

Don't be your kids' emergency matter how well-meaning
or how great your relationship is! (Who is in control?)

Gifting Car to a Grandchild More Complicated Than I Imagined!”
(writes Don Crossley...a Guest Contributor to The Burlington Post)

We recently purchased a newer car and at the same time, decided to 'gift' our older car, a 2007 model, to our grandson, Aidan, who is 18 years of age and a very careful driver. We soon learned this was not going to be as easy as we thought. First of all, I cannot 'gift' this car directly to our grandson Aidan, but must first 'gift' it to our daughter, (Aidan's mother) who can then decide when to 'gift' it to her son.

Then we learned that the car required a full safety check before the transfer of ownership could take place and we needed to bring that document with us to Service Ontario. We then had to complete the necessary documentation obtained online...and that had to be sworn before a commissioner for oaths.
There is a commssioner at city hall, and we had this done.
Our daughter then arranged insurance coverage on the vehicle
and obrtained a copy of the necessary pink slip proving that coverage was in place.
Then the current licence plates were removed from the vehicle and taken with us to Service Ontario. Bright and early last Saturday morning, our daughter, Laurel and I visited the local Service Ontario office on Fairview Street. We arrived before 9 a.m. only to find a line up of people in front of us waiting for the office to open. It certainly is one very busy place!

Aidan arrived later that day with a big smile on his face to attach the new licence plates...and since his mother has him named as an 'occasional driver' on her insurance, he was able to drive the vehicle home. We hope they have many more years of enjoyment with this car!

Just a reminder to any parent or grandparent wanting to 'gift' their vehicle
to their son or daughter, to first go to the Service Ontario website...and then ensure
they follow each of the steps outlined, in order to allow for proper change of ownership.

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...August 26.2017

Discovered this today (August 31):  "What's happening to our young people?  They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents, their morals are decaying!"  This quote could have appeared in yesterday's newspaper...but it's actually from the Greek philosopher, Plato.  If parents, today, are struggling with teens, they are not alone!  Many parents have had/are having similar experiences. Adolescence is a time when children want more independence and question...or challenge authority...some more so than others.