Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our Pet BJ

NAKOMIS I currently have a 10 year old dog named Nakomis. She is a German Shepherd dog and was one of three pups born that blistery winter day. Nakomis's mother birthed the pups under the trailer and wouldn't allow anyone near her pups, so when Nakomis was given to me at a young 4 weeks old, she hadn't had much, if any, human interaction. Her thick, black fur was puffed up around her making her look like a little bear cub. Her ears stood straight up, but the tips leaned forward, and when our eyes met for the first time I fell in love. I named her Nakomis because in the Algonquian language (one type of Native American language,) Nakomis means "moon" and "grandmother." Nakomis is a black German Shepherd with brown sprinkles here and there, but she also has a big white circle on her chest that looks like a moon. When I first brought Nakomis home I already had a male dog who was 1/2 Dalmation and 1/2 Pit Bull, but he is another story of his own that I will share another time. After Nakomis befriended Bandit they became inseparable, but she was still leery of humans. I really had to work with her to get her to trust me. She would find the smallest places to hide, so I made her a den of her own that she could hide in and be left alone. I decided that it was best to not try to force her to like me right away, so I would coax her out of her den, but never reached in to take her out so that she had a private place when she was feeling scared. Soon she learned to trust me and would follow me everywhere I went. To this day she feels it is her job to protect me and will always lay between me and the door; she is my gatekeeper. When she turned about six months old she started to become fiercely protective of me and I grew scared that she might bite someone, so I began doing a lot of reading on how to get her socialized, and learned that I had to take charge and be the Alpha so that she didn't question whether it was her job or not. It took a lot of work to socialize her, but she did learn to trust me and also learned that I was alpha. After I gained her trust and put us both in our places, she calmed down and today you wouldn't know all that I went through in socializing Nakomis. Today I have several nicknames for her, she's always been my baby girl, but I also call her Komi and KoKo, and she always knows when I am referring to or talking to her. When people see how she interacts with me, they know without doubt that I am hers just as she is mine. She always greets me as if I had been gone forever, she follows me around wherever I go, and it seems she understands the human language too well for a dog. Oh, and did I mention that she talks? She communicates very well and I'm never left to wonder what she needs because she tells me by making noises that are between a howl and a growl. When she says yes she talks, but when she means no she won't say anything. She is a thick dog and always has been, but don't call her "fat" because she doesn't like that word at all and will tell you so. Nakomis is my loving companion, one of my best friends, and one of the best dogs in the world! Nakomis is my loving companion, one of my best friends, and one of the best dogs in the world! This story was submitted to us by our CFA member and columnist, TS of TSBeading on Artfire and Etsy. Tsilos Schoener is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and a direct descendant of the Menominee Nation of Wisconsin. Her late mother, who was Menominee, taught her to bead more than 20 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks TS, for the great story about Nakomis. _________________________________________________________________ DOGS MAY HAVE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES: (HAS YOURS?) BJ Dogs may have something akin to mystical and spiritual experiences, some scientists believe. It’s just that they probably don’t interpret them as humans do, according to Kevin Nelson, a neurology professor at the University of Kentucky, and author of The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain. Research has found that spiritual experiences may sometimes originate in the limbic system of the human brain in areas similar to those of certain non-human animals, including our pooches, according to an article in The Dog Daily. Some scientists think that because of this, dogs may have moments that humans could interpret as being spiritual, even mystical moments of “oneness.” Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, says non-human animals probably can have spiritual experiences, which he defines as “experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have,” reports the article. The article brings up another idea that many dog owners may already suspect: “It is possible that certain sensations are even more pronounced in dogs, given their heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells and more.” (Think about the utter bliss you have seen on your pup’s face for such simple acts as rolling in the grass.) Jean Houston, co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research, says that dogs and other animals “are closer to nature and thus seem to be on a continuum with the natural flow of things.” She believes “they serve as wonderful (spiritual) guides because of their simplicity and the naturalness of their being.” BJ is a CFA member and has the studio EXPRESSIONS on Artfire.


TS Beading said...

Awww, thank you so much for posting about my baby girl. She's amazing!

Pam said...

Enjoyed both of these posts so much. The bond between a dog and its human can be so unbelievably strong. You are blessed. Also, interesting to read about dogs and that they can have what humans refer to as spiritual experiences. Since I was a little girl, I have believed that dogs (and other animals) operate on more than just instinct (as I was always told). They are just too smart and understand language all too well! Nice job.

Debra said...

Great pet story, TS! What a smart, cute, and loving wonder you are crazy about her!