Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I’m not the only one.  There are others out there who have felt my disgust, outrage, and humiliation.  I’m not the sole owner who has experienced a dog who loves to roll in shall we say, “unsavory substances.”  Heck, let’s be real and call it what it is — poop!  Any kind will do; animal, fowl, human, or aliens from outer space makes them happy.  And the ultimate achievement for our canine friend is to find something dead to drop down on.

 My Scottish terrier McDuff’s greatest joy other than therapy dog work was rolling in anything he could flop on that was sure to freak me out  The first few times caught me by surprise.  But after the messy and smelly clean ups from his thick double coat, I learned to be on guard during our walks.  I write about what McDuff did the night of his obedience school graduation in a chapter from my book, Life with McDuff: Lessons Learned from a Therapy Dog.

 Why do they do that to us?  Well, dogs descended from wolves and still retain behavior of their wild ancestors.  Wolves roll in animal carcasses or the feces of animals they are hunting to mask their smell.  And they also roll in stinky things to communicate with their pack.  It tells others what they have been up to. 

 Rolling in smelly stuff is perfectly normal behavior for dogs and they should not be punished.  But you don’t have to live with it.  There are things you can do to discourage your dog.  I kept McDuff on a short leash so I could jerk up and prevent his attempt to drop to the ground.  You can also make it unpleasant by squirting them with water when they start to do it, or by shouting to distract.  Once they get the idea that you don’t like it, they will probably stop.

 I know this isn’t a pleasant subject but someone has to tell it like it is.  Hope this sheds some light on what can only be described as “Yuck!”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mandela's Hero

Have you ever wondered who is a hero to a hero?  Nelson Mandela was a man admired, respected, and a hero to many.  He marveled at an eleven year old South African boy, Nkosi Johnson, and referred to him as an “icon of the struggle for life.”  They both are heroes in my book. 

 Nkosi Johnson and Nelson Mandela were South Africans who fought battles in their country.  Mandela fought against the brutal oppression of Apartheid the better part of his life.  Nkosi warred against the discrimination, stigma, and ignorance directed towards those infected with HIV/AIDS during his short lifetime.  He fought especially hard for the children orphaned by or inflicted with the deadly disease. 

Mandela joined Nkosi’s war against HIV/AIDS after his son, Makgatho Mandela, died of AIDS in 2005 just four years after the death of Nkosi at the age of twelve.  Mandela had no idea when he heard little Nkosi Johnson keynote speech at the 13th International AIDS Conference at Durban, South Africa, in 2000 that his world would be touched by the dreaded disease.  He founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation for AIDS research and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to assist children orphaned by AIDS.  Nkosi's Haven founded in 1999 provides care for HIV/AIDS infected mothers, their children, and AIDS orphans.
 Nkosi is listed with Nelson Mandela among SABC3’s Greatest South Africans.  He was honored by the KidsRights Foundation as one of 7 Children Who Changed the World.  Gail Johnson, his white South African adoptive mother, accepted the International Children’s Peace Prize from Mikhail Gorbachev posthumously on behalf of her son in 2005.

 Nelson Mandela is my hero and so is Nkosi Johnson.  They both changed the world!