IS THAT SO/Seeing the World through the Eyes of a Pit Bull

Is That So?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

A FEW DAYS AGO, Jody [the Brown Piglet in this blog] came walking into the kitchen, nuevo 1holding a small puppy.


“Who does he belong to?” I asked “Me” he said.


I felt overwhelmed with anger, sadness and despair..all at once.

We are barely feeding the animals we have..thankfully the horses are in a good pasture with fresh water and thanks to my wolf rescue friends, the wolfdogs have a very plentiful supply of food–a freezer full of meats and several bags of dry dog food.

But no more animals and a puppy that requires so much care…NO!

A little later Jody told me that actually his mom was taking the puppy back with her to Colorado but we would need to keep him for a week.

nuevo 2I picked the puppy up then–he’s a 6 week old Pit Bull and I looked into his blue green eyes and I felt so indescribably sad for the animals so loving, so innocent and kind… who have to depend on humans for everything, humans who cannot be depended on, who don’t even know such kindness and humans who are often SO CRUEL

Looking at this little boy, wagging his tiny sticklike tail, I felt like crying. In fact I did cry.

I wrote a friend who has rescued many dogs and I told her that I have always been afraid of Pit Bulls and this is what she wrote back:

I have never met a pittie that was mean.
People MAKE them mean.
They are known “as baby sitters”
In 1880-1900, they were called babysitters because they would lay down & die for a child.
All animals are kind.
It’s the humans that screw it all up. :>(

I guess I will be baby sitting this little boy for a week before he goes to Colorado. I didn’t sign up for it but this morning feeling so exhausted and worn out with just trying to keep things going here, I remembered the Zen Tale above.

And so I rocked him and every so often, he would turn around and look directly into my eyes with an expression that seemed a little sad and resigned and wise all at once.  Then we went for a walk in the woods and I watched him watching, smelling, listening to and noticing everything–the wind blowing through the pines, a fly in the window, a pine cone rolling across the ground and I kind of remembered being like that when I was very small and everything was magical.

NUEVO3Now he’s sleeping next to me in his little basket…so innocent, fragile and dependent and I hope he will find love in his new home.

As for me, I will miss him and I will never think of Pit Bulls in the same way.

Below is a trailer for an award winning documentary called THE CHAMPIONS, the story of the Pit Bulls who were rescued from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting compound. My friend Susan Weidel, who helped me rescue 2 wolfdogs, tells her story of rescuing Little Red at the very beginning.

*If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Because I am no longer able to do the work I did for so many years, this is my way of contributing, of maybe bringing some light to this dark world and so I really appreciate help of any kind…however small…

Thank you and May the Force be with You

Something from Nothing/Drop a Word of Kindness and What are We Being Prepared For?

*I write these blog posts from my heart..about my work with the First Nations People, about my teachers such as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, about my time spent with terminally ill patients, about life off the grid in northern New Mexico. Though in some ways, I write for myself, I try always to share information and experiences that may be helpful to others, that are universal.

If you would like to contribute to to the continuation of these posts, there are 3 ways: the donate button on the side of this post, my gofund me page or poohsstore where we offer sacred and visionary art for these times of transition and transcendence

I was about to finish writing this Friday night when my internet suddenly went down. It was down all weekend until this morning when my son helped me [long distance] figure out what was wrong. But as I experienced being cut off from the internet for 2 days, I had the opportunity to see how I’m addicted to it and what things I missed not having access to it. And I thought about what would happen if it goes down nationally or globally which is part of the theme of this post: what are we being prepared for?

Anyway this is what I was writing before the internet went down:

A couple nights ago, early in the morning when once again, I couldn’t sleep, I went to check my email. A very kind and caring friend of mine, Kathy had sent an encouraging message and encouragement means so much to me these days..really it’s what gives me the strength to keep going..

Drop a word of cheer and kindness:
just a flash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples
circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort
on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume
of the one kind word you gave.

~By James W. Foley~

When I wrote back to Kathy to thank her for her note, I told her about something which has been happening to me just recently: An appreciation for the smallest things, things I probably would have missed or paid little attention to, if all was going well in my life.

I told her that a few days ago, I was sitting in our living roombeautiful-pink-livingroom

at the rose table [painted a year ago by Jody Armijo] and wow-rose-table

Jody [sometimes known as the Brown Piglet] was weaving a tiny cross in a heart out of ordinary string that we had in a drawer. The late afternoon light was shining on him and I watched in amazement that something so beautiful could come out of almost nothing, just some old string….string

. string-cross

Part of my amazement too, was watching Jody who is by choice, somewhat rough and tough looking,jody-don't come here

make something so delicate and beautiful. He had learned to make crosses and bracelets and necklaces in prison jodys-pink-cross-3 which other inmates as well as the guards bought, giving him money to buy cigarettes and food.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness:
in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling,
and there’s joy circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort
whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water
just by dropping one kind word.

~By James W. Foley~

The DIY ‘Wolf Food’ Freezer/Something from Nothing

I recently wrote about my experience with the wolfdog rescue people..their kindness and incredible generosity which restored some of my diminished faith and trust in humans.

For months, I had been looking for a companion for Shiloh, my year and a half old wolfdog as his companion had died of old age. Wolfdogs are family oriented, pack oriented animals and they should not be left alone, so for months I tried everything: rescue centers, shelters and even writing to a family member who had experience rescuing dogs. Not only did this person not offer any help, she sent me a the most condescending and degrading note I’ve ever gotten, telling me that I couldn’t afford to adopt a dog. Nothing was working out and I felt so sad and guilty every time I looked at Shiloh all alone in his pen.shiloh-tipi-snow copy

So I was feeling pretty low when I finally found the wolf rescue organizations.

Drop an unkind word, or careless:
in a minute it is gone; 
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples   
circling on and on and on.     
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading       
from the center as they go,         
And there is no way to stop them,            
once you’ve started them to flow.              

Drop an unkind word, or careless:
in a minute you forget;
But there’s little waves a-flowing,
and there’s ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart
a mighty wave of tears you’ve stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy
ere you dropped that unkind word.

~By James W. Foley~

The post is here where I wrote about wolfdog rescue and all the really wonderful people who helpedkaren_wolf but I wanted to mention again Stephanie Kaylan from Wanagi Wolf Rescue and how she has provided us with freezers full of elk, deer, chicken, fish, ground meat not to mention huge bags of dog food, treats vitamins etc.

It was as if in being willing to rescue the 2 wolfdogs, Sakina and Apollo, food was provided not only for them but for Shilohwolfdog-3-prowl and for us as Stephanie contributed frozen chickens [organic], cheese, yogurt, apricots and much more.

When Stephanie offered to donate the food, we moved an old, faded white freezer into the living room/kitchen area but it needed some color in order to make it into into ‘the wolf food freezer’jody-paints-shilohfreezer

shiloh yello:oj:freezer.jpg

wolf-printsfreezerJody painted it turquoise [we already had the paint] and then he started adding wolf art to it. For a little while longer, it’s still a work in progress.

The Something from Nothing Community

We live in a  rural mountain community where the people have lived for hundreds of years making something out of nothing.ruth-panoramic-wagon

ruth-harvestThey may be considered poor by people from the cities but in fact they are rich because they have their land,mule-team-beanfield

their sheep and their cattleearly morning brand

And they know and have always known how to live off the land.

So lately I’ve been wondering what are we being prepared for? I don’t even have a cell phone anymore and much of what connected me to the outside world has been taken from me. I’ve had to let go of a lot but maybe it is meant to prepare me/us for what’s coming.

The world, the earth cannot continue on this way no matter what promises the politicians make and I think most people know in their hearts that a big change coming. There are a lot of warnings and the cities are like war zones, becoming impossible to live in. Just this morning, there was a shooting in Houston just blocks away from where my son and I once lived. It was in a ‘nice’ neighborhood and not a terrorist attack but just one more person who had lost his sanity [easy to do these days it seems].

So now, here, what we do have is most everything necessary to live: a year round greenhouse providing vegetableschard 2 and herbs, solar energy to provide electricity, chickens to provide eggs and wood to provide heat.shimmering woodstove with fire

For me, I keep hearing these words from Anishnabe Elder, Dave Courchene and I think that THIS is what we’re being prepared for:

“Prepare for the hard times that are coming. Don’t waste time in trying to fight a system that will not change. Rebuild yourself, your families and your nation, with your way of life the Creator has given you.
Stop thinking negatively and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Depend on the land again, for all that you will need to survive. Prepare for the times when people will come looking for help. Prepare to receive the land with your leadership as the true stewards of the land.”

~Elder Dave Courchene, Anishnabe Nation, Eagle Clan ~ from a presentation at Treaties 1-11 Gathering Brandon, Manitoba – August 30, 2016

Below I posted a trailer and Chapter 1 from our documentary, ON THE LAND~Together with the Earth

The times they are a -changin’, the rescuers of the wolfdogs & Bob Marley..they’re all connected

sunrise sept 1 '16Your old road is rapidly agein’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin

~Bob Dylan

“One love, one heart

Let’s get together and feel all right

As it was in the beginning (one love]

So shall it be in the end (one heart)..”

~Bob Marley

“The time will come when people will either make their choices out of love or out of fear. There will be no middle ground. For those who make their choices out of love, things will get much easier, for those who choose fear, much more difficult”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross MD [paraphrased from something Elisabeth said to me]

“Prepare for the hard times that are coming. Don’t waste time in trying to fight a system that will not change. Rebuild yourself, your families and your nation, with your way of life the Creator has given you.

Stop thinking negatively and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Depend on the land again, for all that you will need to survive. Prepare for the times when people will come looking for help. Prepare to receive the land with your leadership as the true stewards of the land.”

~Elder Dave Courchene, Anishnabe Nation, Eagle Clan ~ from a presentation at Treaties 1-11 Gathering   Brandon,Manitoba – August 30, 2016

  from a talk given on August 30, 2016

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….”

~King James Bible

aspens greenRecently, just as you can now feel the seasons change as Summer ends and the Fall comes in…aspens long view 10:12..I can feel things,  Life on Earth changing.

The old world is collapsing. It’s old and dirty and dying…

8th fire stills_pollution
A way of life, a whole way of being is dissolving: the end of huge banks, corporations, mcmansions. You can feel that people are tired of being brainwashed, of being the slaves to those in power.. and many are turning toward simplicity in the form of solar energy, organic gardens…….GREENHOUSE GOOD FRIDAY tiny houses…..millertinyhous….moving toward FREEDOM.
A new way is coming in, it’s on the horizon and much of this new way is coming through the teachings, courage and wisdom of the First Nations People

The Prophecy of the 8th Fire

They will come to a fork in the road. One road will lead to Materialism and Destruction…..for almost all living creatures….The other road will lead to a Spiritual Way upon which the Native People will be standing…This path will lead to the lighting of the 8th fire, a period of eternal peace, harmony and a “New Earth” where the destruction of the past will be healed

~Anishnabe prophecy


Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba  photo credit: Nancy Bleck

In my own personal life, I’ve made some observations lately. As I’ve experienced some very difficult times, quite a few friends have disappeared and as I traveled this road, I found out too, that the family I grew up with, is not my family at all. But at the same time, a lot of new people have come into my life and I’ve come to see that there are some AMAZING AND WONDERFUL PEOPLE in this world, people I never would have known about if I hadn’t gone through this dark night of the soul.

So this is a story about a group of people I’ve connected with recently who for me, represent the qualities that are needed for living in the new world coming in: faith, trust, intuition, courage, humility, appreciation, absolute honesty, generosity and caring for nature and its creatures. They are the rescuers of the wolves and the wolfdogs.
shiloh loves dakota

Dakota and Shiloh

A few months ago my older wolfdog, Dakota died of old age and left behind Shiloh who is a year and a half. Because wolves and wolfdogs are pack animals, very family oriented, I didn’t want to leave Shiloh without a companion for long. So I went on a quest.

 At first I thought I would get a dog, probably a German Shepherd mix or maybe a Husky mix from a local shelter. I had rescued Dakota 11 years ago from a shelter in Texas and I had simply signed a paper promising to spay her, paid a fee of $25 and that was it.


DAKOTA, a low content wolfdog, when I first rescued her

But adopting a dog in this day and time is nearly impossible. You have to do a ‘meet and greet’ [I hate that phrase], you have to explain how many hours you will be away from home during the day, how you will train your dog, how many hours the dog will spend in the house, how many of your animals have died in the last 7 years, who else lives in your home etc. etc.* and on top of all that, some of the adoption fees are pretty high.
So not being able to drive 2 hours to bring Shiloh for a ‘meet and greet’ which no self respecting wolf or wolfdog or human for that matter would agree to, I got more and more discouraged. [*I appreciate the concern for the animals but there are a lot of them sitting in these shelters who could have good homes if there weren’t so many rules.]
 Every time I looked out at Shiloh alone in his pen I felt sad and somehow guilty.shiloh-tipi-snow copy
 Then I found Wanagi, a wolf rescue sanctuary not too far from me. When I contacted the director, Stephanie Kaylan, things immediately began to change…FAST. Stephanie is part of a national wolf/wolfdog rescue effort and she put me in touch with Susan Weidel at W.O.L.F.Sanctuary in Colorado.
So every time a wolfdog needed to be rescued [which was quite often], I got an email from Susan and Stephanie. There were several animals that seemed like they would be good companions for Shiloh but one after another fell through for various reasons.
Then came Sakina who had been surrendered by her family, taken to the vet with a request to euthanize her. This was heartbreaking to the vet tech and she began reaching out, intent on finding a home for Sakina. Through Susan at W.O.L.F, a home was found in New Mexico but as it turned out, her adopted family couldn’t keep her and so Sakina came here to be Shiloh’s companion.

Shiloh and Sakina

*This is a VERY BEAUTIFUL short video of Sakina’s Journey. It was made by the H2M2 transport organization, a group of volunteers who transport rescued dogs to their ‘forever’ homes. They specialize in the northern breeds and are in most states throughout the US.

 Next came Apollo from Virginia.

Apollo and several other members of his wolfdog family were in a shelter and their time was very limited. Most wolfdogs are immediately euthanized for no other reason than they are some percentage of wolf.farley mowat Just like a t-shirt I once saw which said “LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD LIED.”

Apollo was brought here by Karen Yeager/Auntie Grandma’s Crazy Wolf Adventures from Prescott, Arizona. Karen VOLUNTEERED to make a 5000 mile round trip drive to to the shelter in Virginia so Apollo could live.  ……Who in this materialistic, what’s- in -it -for- me world does things like this??!!






A week ago, I sent a film clip of  Sakina’s Journey to my 16 year old grandsonrb working and he wrote back:

” i cant wait to see her

ive been listening to a ton of bob marley ever since school started. i dont think the two things are connected, but it definitely chills me out :)” Sent from my iPhone
But I thought, in some way they are connected, at least for me they are : the wolves and wolfdogs and their rescuers, Bob Marley and the changing times.
These times we will be living in will be about the return to the land and caring for nature and its creatures, about coming together as ONE.
One of Bob Marley’s best known songs is ONE LOVE:
“One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (one love)
So shall it be in the end (one heart)..”
The wolfdog/wolf rescue people have helped restore my faith and trust in humans which has been at an all time low. They have shown me that seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overcome and great things are possible when people work together for the common good.
Twice in the past 2 weeks, Stephanie Kaylan stephanie has shared  with us, huge freezerfulls of elk meat, deer meat, chicken, fish, dog treats, huge bags of dog food vitamins etc that have been donated to Wanagi. She drove miles out of her way to bring Sakina home and to deliver food.
Karenkaren after making her incredible, leap of faith journey with Apollo, took beautiful photographs of Apollo, Sakina and Shiloh and has offered to make postcards for me. And Susan, who made this all happen,  “I won’t give up until we find your boy the right companion”SONY DSChas kept in close touch with me, appreciating all the photos and stories I have shared, wanting to know how everything is working. An amazing and comforting support system.
As well, John Smith and his daughter Jenn, who fostered Apollo, and Frank Gonzalez who organized Sakina’s transport from Texas…have kept in touch.


I have posted 3 film/films clips below:

Bob Marley’s ONE LOVE music video
Living with Wolves, a documentary about a couple who lived with a wolf pack
and a trailer of our documentary, THE 8TH FIRE, a  First Nations vision
*A few months ago, I started a Gofundme campaign for ME. I had never done anything like this, never tried to raise money for myself but always for others. “How embarrassing” some will say, not having been there themselves, it’s so easy to judge! It was something I had to do however and if you read the stories and watch the film clips, you’ll understand why….so if you appreciate this blog or just want to make a contribution or are interested in reading about the work I’ve done for the past 28 years [AIDS, Hospice, Aging, Loss and Grief, collaborating with First Nations/Native Americans etc.]
PS For everyone who has helped me in these difficult times, I appreciate all of you SO MUCH!