Dogs + Beans

As some of you know, in my PhD I’m researching compassion as a means for improved awareness and relationships with nonhuman beings and their worlds, and the larger ecological context. In this semester’s course “Everyday Enlightenment” with Dr. Heesoon Bai we are examining Zen Buddhism for wisdom towards the everyday. For this course, I have began a weekly project on the Tom and Sugi Blog as a contemplative practice. This first post is a bit late because I was gathering courage to post these publicly. Here is the first in a series of posts on Zen and Dogs.

Sept 4

beans

 

  • Lesson from Tom: practice being in the moment including non-annoyance!
  • Tom says, “Bruce shit on the deck”

The first reading for the course is Pierre Hadot “Philosophy as a Way of Life”. Today, I’m reading Hadot in the dining room. Dogs are tucked into blankets after their slightly chilly morning walk. Note taking: historical texts portray the philosopher as outside of daily ‘bios’ or life… For the Greco-Roman philosopher ‘meditation’ was not linked to a physical practice as in Eastern thought, but towards rational, imaginative, intuitive practice including the assimilation of ‘rules for living’ which could be available ‘at hand’ in order to apply to life’s daily circumstances…

I hear dog nails on hard surfaces in my office. I go look. Tom is laying on the work table stretching his nose and forelegs towards the triangle of sun on the south-east corner of the table. Bruce, Lauren’s dog we’re baby-sitting, is on the floor under the table, his body in the sliver of sun reaching the floor. They’re after sun-heat.

I climb the too-steep-for-dogs stairs to open the trap door to the sunroof. They’ll enjoy laying in the sun. Tom barks impatiently as Bruce places his forefeet on the first 2 steps. Tom first. I help him climb the steps. Bruce next but slower (he’s smaller). Sugi says he doesn’t want to go. I return to Hadot: Theory is never considered an end in itself; it is clearly and decidedly put in the service of practice…

Tom, through the roof opening: bark, bark, softly: “bring me down”

...Every school of philosophy practiced exercises aimed at spiritual progress…Plutarch: controlling one’s curiosity, speech, consumption, anger, etc...

Bark, Bark, more insistent.

[annoyed] I climb the ladder, step through the opening onto the deck. The air is clear, warm, perfect temperature. A great day! [no longer annoyed]

Tom elaborates, “Bruce took a shit on the deck”, he points

[annoyed] I go get a bag, clean it up, hose down the deck. I should harvest the beans which haven’t been picked since the recent rain. Start on the red-runners on this end of the fence. They need to either be snapped off the stem, or given a forceful tug to get them off. Move around to the other end of the fence and proceed with the stringbeans. Rule for living: “The joyous acceptance of the present moment.” I tug at a stringbean. I notice I’ve pulled off the end of the vine [argh! too much force!] ….On either side it has a white flower + a tiny forming bean…perfect symmetry…[I feel bad]…

beanvineS

Heimlich Maneuver for Your Dog

heimlich for dogs

  • Lesson from Sugi: chewy Mochi can be a choking hazard! let it dry out before giving it to your dog.
  • Sugi says, “the Mochi got stuck in my throat and I had to ask Greg to give me a Heimlich maneuver”

In my previous post I talked about Mochi Fun Food for dogs. This post is a special ++Mochi Alert++. I now know that the Mochi should be left for a few hours after baking before giving it to your dog.

Last night I made a new batch of Mochi, Sugi’s favorite treat. When you first take it out of the oven it is lovely and chewy like fresh bread. When I gave Sugi a piece he chewed and chewed and then started clawing at this inside of his mouth! He desperately was trying to free the Mochi from the back of his throat! I fished around in his mouth with my finger but couldn’t find it. It must have been lodged further down. Sugi was freaking out and Tom was barking…Greg picked up Sugi and gave him a Heimlich maneuver. It must have worked because Sugi stopped pawing and gasping immediately and seemed very relieved.

How to give the Heimlich maneuver to your dog (from Canadian Living)
1. Stand (if he’s a tall dog) or kneel (if he’s a small or medium dog) behind the dog, with the dog facing away from you.
2. Put your arms around the dog’s waist. Make a fist with one hand and place your fist, thumb side up, on the dog’s abdomen just below his ribs. Wrap your other hand around that fist.
3. Give a hard, fast jerk or squeeze upward, toward the dog’s backbone. Apply enough force to move the dog’s whole body. (If he’s a very small dog, place two knuckles of one hand on the abdomen just below the ribs and the other hand flat on the dog’s back to help steady him, then give a quick, hard poke upward with your knuckles.)
4. If the object does not come out of the dog’s mouth on the first try, give another hard jerk. If after three or four jerks the object still has not come out or the dog still can’t breathe, rush him to the nearest veterinary clinic, where a vet can do a tracheotomy (cut a hole in the dog’s windpipe below the obstruction) to get air into the lungs and then remove the object surgically. YIKES!

 

Mochi Fun Food!

mochi

 

  • Lesson from Sugi: Dogs love fun food!
  • Sugi says, “I just have to give Julie the stare and she knows I want mochi!”

When Sugi was being picky about his food a few months ago, I searched for alternative treats that would be nutritious for him. I came across this product called Mochi by a vegetarian restaurant in Victoria called Green Cuisine. It is based on the Japanese food used for mochi deserts. The Green Cuisine mochi is made from organic brown rice only. It comes as a hard slab, and you can buy it from Capers or Whole Foods. You can freeze it if you need to. You prepare the mochi treats this way:

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Cut the slab into 1″ cubes and spread them out on a cookie tray (I use a pizza stone). Cook the pieces for about 10 min or until they puff up and brown a bit.  Let cool before giving to your dog.

I eat them dipped in salted olive oil!  They are puffy and crispy with a delicious softness on the inside. A nice gluten-free alternative to bread.