Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 8, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 8, 2018 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc


Ambrosia is a dazzling 5 year old 
medium-size German Shepherd 
girl with a beautiful black and 
tan coat, lively brown eyes and 
the cutest perked up ears that 
are uniquely round in shape. 
This sweet girl was rescued by 
the shelter’s humane officers 
when she was found confined 
and abandoned in a property in 
Rosemead. Weighing 56 pounds, 
she arrived to the shelter hungry 
and with fly strike on both ears but 
has made a great recovery since 
then and now she has a clean bill 
of health. Ambrosia is a playful and 
rambunctious girl who enjoys long 
walks, playing fetch and hanging 
out with her human friends. She also does well in 
the bathtub and enjoys frequent brushing of her 
beautiful coat. Despite the way she was abandoned, 
Ambrosia has remained a happy-
go-lucky girl and is now waiting 
for the forever loving family 
that she deserves. If you are a 
German Shepherd fan, Ambrosia 
is your girl! Her adoption fee is 
$145 and includes spay surgery, 
vaccinations, microchip and a free 
wellness exam at a participating 
veterinarian. Feel free to call 
us at (626) 286-1159 for more 
information. She currently resides 
at the San Gabriel Valley Humane 
Society located at 851 E. Grand 
Avenue in San Gabriel which 
is located off San Gabriel Blvd, 
north of Mission and south of Las 
Tunas Drive. To arrange a ‘Meet 
and Greet’, please stop by any time from 10:30am 
to 4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday.Website:www.


I enjoy learning new techniques for proper dog-handling 
and I try to expand my knowledge on the subject by reading 
on-topic books and articles, and by viewing tutorials and 
television programs that might help enhance my skills. 
I go through phases of learning, followed by purposeful 
application of what I’ve learned while I’m working with 
my four-legged friends. This process serves me well, but 
most importantly I endeavor to remain teachable and 
keep an open mind about what a healthy human-canine 
relationship looks like.

 Many of us two-leggers have a tendency to assume we 
know more than our pets know, therefore we think we 
need to get them to do what we want them to do, without 
gaining an understanding of who they are and what they 
feel or think. I, personally believe that more often than not, 
I’m the one who can learn from the dog, rather than the 
other way around. I suppose there are important lessons 
to be learned on both our parts, but I’m very aware of my 
own need to look, listen and anticipate the interesting and 
enlightening messages the dog has to offer.

 Domesticated dogs do benefit from the structure and 
consistent routines we humans set forth for them, and I 
agree that basic behavioral training is an important aspect 
of nurturing a puppy to maturity. But I also think there 
is an extremely important balance to be achieved in a 
relationship with a canine companion. Whether the dog 
is to be trained as a family pet or for a position of service, 
the human owes it to the dog to give him all due respect 
and get to know the person inside first. Once a bond is 
established, formal training will go much more smoothly, 
built on the basis of trust.

 `I think we can all agree that some basic leash-training 
is in order if we want our pups to have a happy, healthy life. 
Of course, every pet owner wants to be able to take their 
dog out for a walk in public without the stress of excess 
pulling or over-excitement when another dog passes by, 
and fortunately there are some very simple techniques that 
can help in training a dog to walk obediently on-leash.

 But what about when it comes to allowing a dog to 
take time out for a sniff break during a walk? Should that 
be allowed or does it mean you are being a push-over by 
letting the dog take charge? There are various schools of 
thought regarding this issue, from far right to far left, and 
for some, the bottom-line question is, “Who’s walking 
who?” But I often wonder, is it really necessary to control 
every single moment of the dog’s attention during a walk? 
Exactly what is to be gained by maintaining such an 
extreme, strict regimen with a family pet?

 I was ’on the fence’ regarding this aspect of dog-
handling for quite some time, but I now know for sure 
where I stand. My personal take on allowing the dog to 
stop and have a sniff break during a walk is based on what 
I’ve learned about the canine’s olfactory system, along 
with what I understand to be true about the dog’s way 
of thinking. First and foremost, I accept that a dog does, 
indeed think for himself and that his original thoughts do, 
indeed matter.

 I won’t go into the specific ‘rules of the road’ I’ve heard 
told by the many trainers I‘ve come across over the years, 
as it amounts to too wide a variety of opinion to consider 
in this column. And I don’t claim to have all the right 
answers on this subject because I am not a professional 
trainer, myself. However, I am a person who spends lots 
of time with lots of different dogs on a daily basis, and I’ve 
come to realize that each one is an individual, just as my 
human friends are individuals.

 In any given situation, I don’t assume any particular 
reaction or response from one human to another, and the 
same goes for my canine friends. There are no two exactly 
alike. However, there are a few predictable traits I can 
definitely anticipate from every dog I know, one of which 
is the intense desire to take a sniff break during a walk.

 Based on my experience and what I’ve read and heard 
on the subject, I am confident that, to a degree, a dog’s 
mental health depends on being allowed to take periodic 
breaks for sniffing, and I’m here to tell you every normal, 
healthy dog wants to imbibe in those brief yet precious 
moments. Why? Because the dog’s nose works over time. 
He views the world mainly through his nostrils much 
like we view the world through our eyes. Imagine being 
forced to wear a blind-fold every time you leave the house. 
It would be frustrating and ultimately depressing for a 
human to live life blindfolded, and that is how I imagine it 
is for a dog to be prohibited from “viewing” the world with 
his nose.

 There is also another, more physiological reason why a 
dog is sure to benefit from taking a sniff break during a 
walk around the block. In lay terms, it lies in the fact that 
what happens in the dog’s olfactory system can serve as a 
stimulant to what happens in his digestive system. In other 
words,, if you want your dog to do his “business” during 
your daily outings, perhaps you should start letting him 
read his pee-mails! Don’t be a bully who always feels the 
need to be large and in charge. Be kind and humane in the 
way you handle the animals. They will live happier healthy 
lives, and they will genuinely love you for it.



Meet Sasha, a 
female Carolina 
dog, age 2+. This 
little girl is such a 
sweetheart! She is 
potty-trained and 
behaves very well. 
She gets along great with other dogs. She loves 
going for car rides. She might be a little nervous 
and shy in a new home, and will take her 3-4 days 
to open up. Once she opened up, she is so fun and 
affectionate. Sasha is spayed and her vaccination 
records are included. Sasha is currently in a foster 
home until a loving forever home can be found. To 
find out more about Sasha and her story, call our 
dog coordinator 
at 626-358-3726. 
Sasha will come 
spayed, current 
on vaccines, and 
See our website 
at www.
org, where you 
will see more 
pictures and 
video of Sasha 
on our Pooch 
Place page.



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder





[Nyerges is the author of 
several books, such as “Self-
Sufficient Home,” “Extreme 
Simplicity,” “How to Survive 
Anywhere,” and other books. Information about his 
classes, and Blog, can be found at www.SchoolofSelf-]

 “Look at all the money I saved,” my friend excitedly 
told me with an enthusiastic grin, pointing to various 
boxes with Christmas wrappings on his table. I was 
visiting an old friend who I’d not seen in years, who 
I’d heard was experiencing financial hard times.

 “What did you get?” I asked.

 He proceeded to show me some electronic items, 
objects that I mostly did not recognize, plus many 
gifts that he described as “obligatory.”

 “So, how much did you save?” I ventured.

 “Forty percent,” was his quick answer.

 “Forty percent of what?” I asked. I could tell 
that my friend wanted to share his excitement with 
me, but he chose the wrong person to revel in his 
shopping savvy.

 “The retail of this new phone is $300,” he told me.

 “Really?” I said, picking it up and turning it over in 
my hands. “And why do you need this? Was the one 
you already have malfunctioning?”

 “Are you serious?” he challenged. “It’s working, but 
it’s obsolete. This one,” he said, holding it a few inches 
in front of my face, “is the coolest latest model.”

 “I see,” I said, rather detachedly. “And you paid for 
it with your credit card?” 

 “Of course,” he said, shocked that I would even ask 
such a ridiculous question. 

 “And do you pay off your credit card bill when it 
arrives each month?” I ventured.

 “Of course, I mean, I pay off what’s required.”

“So you pay the minimum?” I said. “So you don’t pay 
off the card. You pay interest month after month.” I 
paused. I knew I was not there to make him feel good 
about his shopping. I knew that his shopping was the 
reason he was having financial difficulty. 

 “Look,” I said, “I hope I’m not the first one telling 
you this, but your electronic gadget is usually sold 
for less than $300. That’s an inflated retail price 
and so you didn’t really save 40%. And since you’re 
paying interest on it, that supposed savings is even 
less. Are you willing to have a chat about some basics 
of personal economics? I mean, I saved much more 
than you simply by not buying something that I don’t 
need, and can’t afford.” My friend seemed forlorn, 
and went quiet.

Though my friend was constantly having “money 
problems” such as running out of money that he 
needed before the end of the month, I knew that 
his problem wasn’t “money,” per se. In this case, my 
friend’s sense of self-importance was boosted each 
time he purchased something new, even if he didn’t 
need it, even if he really couldn’t afford it.

 And if spending money provides one with a sense 
of self-importance, I knew that my friend would 
continue to make bad monetary decisions until he 
found a more substantial concept upon which to 
base his self-image.

“Look,” I told him, “do you really want to get out of 
debt? Do you really want your life to be different?” 
He nodded enthusiastically.

 “OK,” I continued. “To begin with, you need to 
keep track of your income, and never spend more 
than you make each month. For example, if you can’t 
pay off your total credit card each month when the bill 
comes then you can’t afford those purchases. Unless 
you experienced an emergency, you should not have 
purchased those items, Period.” I emphasized that he 
really needed to scrutinize each purchase and buy 
only those things he really needed, and not just stuff 
that he desired.

 In our short time together, I doubt that I changed 
my friend’s mental wiring that causes him to justify 
the excessive shopping. But perhaps it was a step in 
the right direction. To use the alcohol analogy, he 
wasn’t quite an alcoholic yet who needed rehab; 
rather, he was the guy whose drinking was starting 
to cause more and more problems and disruptions 
in his life. He was not yet beyond redemption.

 As an environmentalist, I have long believed that 
one of our biggest ecological problems is that we 
all want more and more, and that demand pulls 
excessively hard on the supply chain, meaning, 
more and more raw materials, and energy, and 
water, are required to produce the mountains of 
“stuff” that we all seem to revel in. Especially at 
Christmas. And if material things were the source 
of true happiness, I wouldn’t mind, but just the 
reverse seems to be true. 

 I tried to instill in my friend the sense that 
each item, each resource that he handles, came 
from somewhere. Someone mined the materials, 
processed the materials and turned them into some 
object, and then packaged and shipped the materials, 
all using up way more resources than just the object 
in question. My friend nodded, but I’m not sure he 
cared so much about the environment. 

 “Try making something yourself,” I suggested. 
“You know, carving something out of scrap wood, 
growing some food items and canning jam or pickles, 
even fixing up old furniture and chairs and selling 
them or giving them as gifts,” I said. I even suggested 
that he learn to sew and develop the appreciation that 
comes with making something with your own hands. 
“Then, the objects of your life – and the gifts you give 
– have a story, and they don’t add to the burden of 
trash in the world.” He nodded. 

 I don’t know if he will change, but as I left, I shared 
with him the old adage from the Depression: Fix it 
up, wear it out, use it over, or do without. Not only 
would this help him to economize and save money, 
but I believe it will give him an improved self-image.

What do you think?

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and I 
appreciate it so very much. I recognize I’m difficult to 
purchase presents for because I have my books, my 
pens, what else do I really need?

 Once in a while I get a Christmas present to beat all 
Christmas presents. This year was one of those “once 
in a while’s.”

 It’s a pretty well known fact that the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage and myself differs when it 
comes to culinary likes and dislikes. How we got along 
for so many years is truly a miracle, I suppose.

 She, for example, loves vegetables, particularly 
broccoli. (Excuse me, I need to go and wash out my 

 On the other side of the table, I love Apple Fritters. 
(Excuse me, I need to relish the thought of an apple 

 Throughout the year she tries tricking me into 
eating vegetables. I’ll take so much, but then I draw 
a line in the sand. That sand sometimes gets a little 
disheveled and I know who is disheveling it.

 I have tried to tell her that a good mother will make 
Apple Fritters for her family. She dismisses that and 
says quite emphatically, “No good mother will ever 
do anything of that nature. A good mother will make 
vegetables for their family.”

 And so the “discussion” goes on and on.

 We were watching the news as they were reporting 
on the funeral of the 41st President of the United 
States. Someone was giving some kind of a eulogy 
concerning that president and said something that 
caught my attention.

 According to this eulogy, the 41st President of the 
United States hated broccoli. Let me repeat that, he 
hated broccoli, as well as all other vegetables.

 I looked at my wife and said, “I’m in good company.”

 She just dismissed that and went on with her 
work in the kitchen. I grinned a lot and relished the 
moment. I just don’t get too many moments like that.

 Then, something wonderful happened.

 Christmas cards were coming from family 
members all over the place. I think people send an 
early Christmas card to make sure we will return 
a Christmas card. I was opening the Christmas 
cards and came to one that made my Christmas the 
delight that it has become.

 Some of my wife’s sisters were sending her 
throughout the year recipes from their mother in their 
mother’s own handwriting. I didn’t take much note to 
that because I’m not allowed in the kitchen to do any 

 Very nonchalantly I was opening these Christmas 
cards and then I came upon “the” Christmas card. I 
noticed it was from my wife’s sister and as I opened it 
there was a little card inside that made my life a true 

 The sister was sending in her Christmas card one 
of their mother’s recipes written in their mother’s old 
hand. You will never guess what the recipe was in that 

 When I opened it up I could not believe my eyes. 
My eyes have fooled me quite a bit down through the 
years, but this time I had to rub them several times in 
order to believe what I was seeing.

 There in their mother’s own handwriting was her 
recipe for “Apple Fritters.” I had it in my wife’s mother’s 
own handwriting.

 You can hardly imagine my joy. There is no 
Christmas joy equal to the joy I felt looking at this 

 Now, how was I going to present this to my wife and 
get all the benefit out of it?

 I put all the cards back together and laid this 
particular Christmas card on the top. I invited my 
wife to come and sit down and look at some of the 
Christmas cards that has come from the family.

 She sat on the couch and I gave her the Christmas 
cards and then returned to my chair to watch her 
opening up these Christmas cards. In the meantime, I 
had such a big grin on my face and I didn’t know how 
to hide it.

 As my wife is opening up the Christmas card she 
looked up at me and said, “What in the world are you 
grinning about?”

 “I’m just having a happy Christmas season.”

Then she opened the Christmas card containing her 
mother’s recipe it her own handwriting for “Apple 
Fritters.” She just stared at it for a few moments and 
then’s looked up at me with one of her classic stares.

 “What did you find?” I said as calmly as I could.

 “You know exactly what I found.” She was quiet 
for a few moments as she looked at that handwritten 
recipe from her mother.

 “So,” I said rather slowly, “when can we expect that 
recipe to be used in our kitchen?”

 She looked at me, then look back at the recipe card 
and spontaneously we both burst out into hilarious 

 I don’t think I could have received a better Christmas 
present than that. Proof positive that good mothers do 
make Apple Fritters. Maybe they’ll be some changes to 
our kitchen.

 Thinking about that I was reminded of a Scripture 
in the Old Testament. “But if ye will not do so, behold, 
ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin 
will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

 No matter what it is, it will always be exposed in the 

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