Guest Blog Post: Ignorance by Chuy

Photo of Chuy dog

It took me a long time to learn this. Paz’ dog Chuy taught it to him…

Chow Dog Zen

Road to The Wonder Woods

Just because you 

Don’t Know

You are 

Beautiful,

Perfect,

And Precious to this

Great Cosmos

Doesn’t mean

It isn’t So.

  • Chuy

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5. Ever been told…? by da-AL

Ever been told that the ultimate tragedy (and crime) for a girl or a woman is not to be regarded as physically attractive?
Ever been told that the ultimate tragedy (and crime) for a girl and a woman is not to be regarded as physically attractive?

Guest Blog Post: Reconnecting via Photography by Richard Keys

Puffin (Bempton)
Photo courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Fellow blogger Richard’s photos are stunning! Here he describes his process and how photography can heal…

Dandelion: Photos courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Introduction
Hey, I’m Richard, and my blog is photosociology.wordpress.com. To be honest, I’m surprised that my blog is followed by others, I’m just a guy with mental health problems, which photography helps me to cope with. Initially, it got me going outside when I was too scared to do so. Basically, I’m a middle-aged guy, trying to grow up and find a way to live in this confusing world.

Close up of a fly courtesy by Richard Keys of Photosociology.wordpress.com

Reconnecting
Although I am a student photographer and use photography to explore social issues, such as inequality, mental health, and diversity (and more), I also thoroughly enjoy photography. Macro photography and photographing birds are my joy and my peace, especially when I am having a day of intense anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia.

When photographing birds, flowers, bees, and bugs, I have to slow down. I mean really slow down. I’m not here to take a quick photo and walk on. I want to make a great photo and that means searching. Seeking out the best angle, ensuring that the background doesn’t distract from the subject, checking the focus, and making sure the exposure is correct. When it comes to bugs, bees, and butterflies, I have to slow down even further, firstly to spot them and then to ensure great focus by getting close without scaring them off.

Having a mental illness brings challenges with living, over-thinking, analyzing, being busy because I’m scared of my feelings, and being suspicious and paranoid about people. At first, I was scared of slowing down because I thought these difficulties would overwhelm me, but the opposite is true.

Slowing down is vital for my mental health, it refreshes me, recharges me, helps me to stop running from my emotions and thoughts, and allows whatever is there to be allowed to be, as it is. The process of connecting with nature means that I reconnect with myself, and all is surprisingly well.

Richard Keys

Guest Blog Post: “Everyday heroes…” in Katherine’s exact words

Photo of cat keeping an injured dog company inside of the dog's big cone sort of collarHelp is all around us, if only we open our eyes. Fellow blogger Katherine reminds us that we must acknowledge such heroes…

A Hansen Chronicle

“Great deeds may make heroes; but it is the small deeds, the everyday acts of caring and attention that make friends. And while heroes may inspire us, it is our friends who make inspiration worth pursuing. And so, in the end, the real acts of heroism are simple acts of friendship. So thank you, for being a hero.”

(Sarah Pulscher)

dog cone kitten friend

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Guest Blog Post: “Oh Crap, It’s About to Be Winter,” in DGGYST’s exact words

Photo of frosty berries on tree

DGGYST’sblog’s long name is Damn, Girl Get Your Shit Together, but this post applies to all. Her subheading, “Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong,” totally conveys her one-two punch style of wise and witty, silly cum useful. This one’s on seasonal depression…

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

There is that first day of fall where you feel like the world is a magical place, full of wonder and change. A bit later comes that fall day when shit starts to get real and you realize you have fifty years of fucking winter stretching out before you.

On that day, which for most of us is between November 1st – 5th, you need to take your supplies of feel-good fall energy and use them to rescue your future self.

Seasonal depression is the bane of my existence. It will be the middle of July and I will be like, “You Fools! Put down your volleyballs and summer shandies! Winter Is Coming!”

I’ve been training for this all year, so consider me your honorary Ph.D in S.A.D. and how to dodge it

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Guest Blog Post: “Molly the unofficial Therapy dog,” in Darren Sleep’s exact words

Don’t care for dogs? Scared of them? No matter. Give one enough time and they’ll will make you fall in love with them. If you take a look first here, and secondly here, and then lastly here, you’ll understand how I’m my own best example of this!

Darren Sleep of Northern England, who’s blog I recommend everyone visit, tells how Molly dog converted him…

Molly the spaniel
Could you resist Molly?

I was truly honoured to be asked to write this, my first guest post!

I would like to introduce you to Molly, also known as ‘Mollymop’, ‘Fuzzbutt’, or several other less repeatable names depending on her current level of mischievousness. Molly is our little buddy.

Molly sprawled on floor.
Mollymop or Fuzzbutt?

A confession: Molly is not our dog. She belongs to our friends Abi & Tom who run the flower nursery where my wife Susan works. Molly has the run of the site all day and is utterly devoted to Susan, at least partly because Susan often has a pocketful of doggy treats.

Molly loves tummy rubs.
Molly loves tummy rubs.

Molly is a Liver and White English Springer Spaniel, bred from working stock (very different from show stock Springers which almost look like a different breed). She is quite elderly now, at 11, and spends a lot of time snoozing. When awake her age does not seem to slow her down!

Molly dog with a toy
Still playful at 11.

My own relationship with dogs has been a complicated one. Like Susan, we had a black Labrador as a family dog when I was a teenager. I did not really trust dogs then, even our Labrador was a bit grumpy (rare for the breed). I also did a newspaper delivery round and worked as a postman/mailman for a time – these also taught me to be wary of dogs. We have never had our own dog in 30+ years together because of career and other commitments.

Molly among plants
Admiring nature.

Then in 2011 Susan started working for Abi & Tom and regaled me with tales of how lovely they (and their dog, Molly ) were. So she took me to visit one weekend and I met Molly. I was smitten by this friendly, curious but slightly feral and very mischievous looking beastie. When out of sight her favourite hobbies are raiding rubbish bins and eating and/or rolling in carrion, so she is frequently a bit ‘fragrant’ but we love her anyway.

Molly sleeping
Demonstrating how to relax.

My own fondness for dogs has grown a lot since meeting Molly – I frequently go and make a fuss of friendly looking dogs that I see. For several years Molly was joined by a beautiful Golden Retriever pup, Ella, but Ella had to be rehomed with Abi’s sister in late 2016, leaving Molly alone again. Susan and I both adored Ella too!

Earlier this summer (2017), my struggle with depression came to a crisis point and I had a meltdown at work one morning. I was a shaking, weeping mess and went straight to my doctor. When Susan picked me up from the doctor my only request was that we go and visit Molly as I knew some dog therapy was the only way I was going to calm down that day. I spent the afternoon at the nursery with Molly and knew that even if I never have a dog of my own, I was now a devoted fan of dogs.

Molly in bed
Now Molly has beds at two homes!

A few weeks later, when I was back on an even keel, a family emergency meant that Abi & Tom had to go away and were faced with the possibility of putting Molly in boarding kennels alone for the first time in years, and they knew she hated being in kennels. It was a no-brainer for us and we offered to have her for a few days. We loved having her and have since had Molly for two more weekends, with another planned this month. She now settles instantly and is completely at home.

We have attached a bolt to the food cupboard and bought a set of bowls, a leash and a dog bed to keep at our house. Basically all the paraphernalia except the actual dog!

I fully acknowledge my place in the pecking order is several rungs below my wife in Molly’s eyes. She really is devoted to Susan but that is OK. I obviously kind of like Susan myself – so fully understand. But it doesn’t matter. When Molly sees me she gives me the kind of enthusiastic greeting I have never experienced from a human being and makes me feel that there is a corner of my world where everything is OK.

Visit Darren at his wonderful blog!

Has a dog helped you?