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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 26, 2002 - Issue 54


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Why Dogs Fight


(a story based on a traditional story of the Ojibwa – source The Ojibwa Texts (1919) – American Ethnological Society V7 Part 2 pages 762-765 {77. Why Dogs Fight, and Why People are Envious})


Thank you Timm for sharing this

Cute Hound DogThere was a man who mulled things over in his mind and decided he needed to talk things over with his neighbors; he felt they might be able to help him with his dilemma. He invited them over for a social pipe ceremony and of course a good meal to go along with it. For the meal there was wild rice with wild leek in it and a big beautiful piece of roasted venison sirloin for each of the guests.

With each of his guests seated around his wigwam and their meal in front of them, he passed his pipe around for each to smoke. Then he spoke to them, “I asked you here because I find myself in a dilemma. I am new among you and have no leader, no chief. I have no idea who that person should be and I figured as my neighbors, because you have come to know me, you might know who should be my chief.”

Quickly one person spoke and pointed at a man across from him, “That man should be your chief.”

Long-haired DachshundAnother man in the room started laughing and said, “He is not a chief! He is an idiot who could not find his way around the outside of a wigwam.”

Thereupon the man who he insulted reached over and grabbed that man’s piece of sirloin and put it in his mouth to eat it. The other man then bite into his leg and the man dropped the sirloin. He then picked up his sirloin and put it in his mouth to eat. The insulated one then bit him and again the meat was dropped and he picked it up to eat it. This went on back and forth all night long, until there was very little left of the sirloin and both men had dropped dead.

Basset HoundThe Great Spirit was not happy with these two so he assigned the spirit of each to a dog. It is said today that every dog has these spirits in them and that is why when dogs meet they often get into fights.

It is also said that this too is why we two-legged ones are envious of each other in so many ways, wither it be for power, glory, fame, money, love or all the other emotional possession we like to hoard. This is why when people meet every so often they get into fights.

Print and Color Your Own Working Dogs
Working Dogs

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Working Dogs

St. BernardImagine a sheep farmer without his sheep dog?

A police officer on a drug bust without his scent dog?

Dorothy without Toto?

Or a dog-less search and rescue mission?

Dogs have jobs that demand great responsibility and hold tremendous social value. They have become eyes for the blind, hands for the disabled, ears for the deaf and cherished companions for those in need.

They are lifesavers, rescuers and guardians of what we value.

The closer the connection and dependence, the deeper the bond we share with the working dog.

Helping Dogs
Helper Dog opening doorThese dogs are trained to alert the visually impaired to traffic, to sound the alarm for the hearing impaired in case of fire, and to help the disabled turn on lights. In addition, therapists have found that just the presence of a dog can calm and soothe patients. While the primary purpose of these dogs is to help the disabled function in our modern society, an equally important benefit is the social interaction that accompanies being a dog owner. Often these dogs provide a mechanism to help remove invisible social barriers.

Seeing Eye Dogs
First developed in Germany to assist veterans blinded during World War I, Seeing Eye dogs — otherwise known as guide dogs — are now used all over the world. These dogs are trained to help the visually impaired in their daily life.

The Seeing Eye dog is placed in a harness with a stiff handle attached. The dog is trained to guide its owner around obstacles, to stop at curbs and even to prevent a collision with hanging objects. For the visually impaired this means added independence; they do not have to rely on friends or family to travel to work, shop or just take a pleasant walk.

Hearing Dogs
With the success of the Seeing Eye dog programs, trainers began to explore other disabilities that could benefit from the amazing ability of the dog to help people. The natural next step was training dogs to empower the hearing impaired with more independence.

These dogs are trained to basically convert noise into touch. A hearing dog will respond to everyday sounds such as the telephone, the doorbell or even a specific name being called by rubbing, nose nudging or even tugging on its owner. In an emergency such as a fire alarm, the dog will respond with more agitated alerts, such as actually jumping on the owner. The hearing dog is also taught sign language.

Helper Dog and CompanionService Dogs
Service dogs assist physically disabled people by performing all sorts of assistance tasks such as opening doors, turning on lights, assisting in mobility and pulling wheelchairs. In addition, these dogs provide companionship and help reduce societal barriers.

Therapy Dogs
A therapy dog is a dog that is used to improve mental or physical health simply by interacting with a patient. Health care professionals have found that petting a dog can reduce stress and lower blood pressure and pulse in some patients. Some psychologists find that simply having a dog present during therapy sessions is enough to encourage more open and relaxed communication. There are many volunteer programs throughout the country that help train volunteers to take their dogs to nursing homes, hospitals, mental health centers and prisons on therapy missions. These programs allow access to animals for a segment of the population that otherwise may not have access to animals.

Search and Rescue Dogs
Rescue Dogs at WorkImagine a flood, an earthquake, a collapsed building or simply an Alzheimer victim who has wandered off — there is one search-and-rescue element that can find someone in any of these emergency situations: the dog team.

Just one trained search and rescue dog is as effective as ten trained human searchers. Their value is indisputable.

Search and Rescue dogs are trained to find missing people and save lives. These truly heroic dogs rely on their powerful scenting ability and physical endurance in their work on search and rescue missions.

Trained to locate lost or missing persons in a specific area. SAR dogs track human scent - microscopic particles that are carried by the wind for considerable distances. Every person has a unique scent, like fingerprints, and SAR dogs are able to discriminate and sniff out an individual person in a highly populated area. All they need is a sample of that person's particular scent.

The Search and Rescue dog works day or night, rain or shine. They are especially effective where human sight is most limited - in the dark, in dense woods, in heavy brush, in disaster debris, and under water.

Rigorous training exercises prepare the SAR dog for future missions where they may have to search for people amidst chaotic conditions, such as after a flood or earthquake. Above all, these dogs are trained to stay focused while trailing a scent in stressful situations. At least one year of training twice a week is needed before a dog can be evaluated and deemed "mission-ready".

Search and Rescue dogs can be any breed or mix of dog that has the desire to work. The dog must have an excellent scenting ability and be large and strong enough to handle a very physical job. They must have lots of stamina, a sound temperament, and be able to work well with other dogs and people.

Air Scenting Dogs
Air scenting dogs use their noses to detect any human scent present in a particular area. The dog is trained to pick up and follow indiscriminate human scent. The handler's job is to get the dog downwind of any place a lost or missing person could be. Once the dog picks up human scent he begins to follow it, trying to find the strongest areas. The dog then follows the scent to its original source: the lost person.

These dogs are trained to follow the residual scent of a particular human as he/she passes through an area. Each human being has a unique scent, and these dogs learn how to identify it from a piece of clothing or other item with which the individual has had contact. The dog then proceeds to track only that particular scent by following the trail of skin flakes left behind by the lost person.

Disaster Dogs
Similar to air scenting dogs, disaster dogs focus on finding any human scent. In addition however, they must be extremely well-trained in agility, obedience and endurance. Because these dogs must enter collapsed buildings they cannot be afraid of heights, sharp objects, broken glass or twisted metal debris.

Avalanche Dogs
Training Rescue Dogs in WinterThis is another area that requires special skills of the dog and the handler, such as the ability to ride a chairlift or to dig a buried victim out from under the snow. Since scent drifts upward through snow, dogs are able to locate human beings who are buried by avalanches. The key factor for success in these rescues is speed — it is generally accepted that the buried person can only last 15 to 20 minutes before oxygen runs outs. Hence, these dogs are often stationed with the ski patrol on mountaintops.

Water Dogs
A drowning victim who is trapped underwater continues to release gases and scents. These smells travel up to the water's surface, where a dog can detect them. Generally the dog rides in the bow of a boat, and when he picks up scent, he alerts his human teammates; divers then search the vicinity for the drowning victim.

These are just a few of the many ways that dogs help man.

Challenge: See how many other ways that you can think of that dogs help us. We'll be happy to publish your answers in our next issue!!

American Rescue Dog Association
The American Rescue Dog Association (ARDA) is the nation's oldest airscenting search dog organization. ARDA was founded in 1972 by Bill and Jean Syrotuck, who refined the concept of the airscenting search dog and adapted it to wilderness situations. Since that time, ARDA's standards and training methods have served as the model for dog units around the nation.

National Association for Search and Rescue
NASAR is a non-profit membership association comprised of thousands of dedicated paid and non-paid professionals - all active or interested in search and rescue, disaster aid, emergency medicine and awareness education.

Guide Dogs of America
Guide Dogs of America is dedicated to its mission to provide guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada so that they may continue to pursue their goals with increased mobility and independence.

Loving Paws
Founded in 1994, Loving Paws Assistance Dogs™ is a nonprofit organization that trains dogs to assist children under the age of 18 from around the United States who are physically disabled.


Assistance Dogs International
Assistance Dogs International, Inc. is a coalition of members representing organizations and individuals training and placing Assistance Dogs. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of Assistance Dogs.

Last two photos: Copyright ©1996 by ASARD - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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