Friday, June 27, 2014

Dogs galore on a 'stay at home morning.'

Today was going to be a nice long walk with two dogs and friends to Kakamatua Inlet. We were then going to the Huia Café for a late breakfast. Well, things didn't quite turn out like that. The 'wheel of fate' intervened in a not unpleasant manner.
My sister had arrived, all wrapped up and ready to go, although by that time we had decided that maybe the weather out west may concur to force us into a change of plans. The change most definitely happened but not quite in the way you would expect.
Our friend arrived with her pooch, Milo, much to Perdy's delight----shenanigans ahead folks! However once through the gate and inside where the usual doggie greetings took place; you know, the personal sniffing and unabashed sticking of noses in places that humans usually avoid! We heard the sound of whimpering at the gate---a stranger had appeared---the canine type. Upon investigation we observed a forlorn looking Fox Terrier, complete with lead, urging us to let 'him' in to join the fun.
It was pretty obvious that he had followed out friend down the drive, but where on  earth had he come from? We did not know of any such dog in the near vicinity. I took him by his lead and he meekly followed me back up the drive. No anxious owner prowling  the street. I took him back into the warm house and rang the number on his collar and the Council, much to their credit quickly linked us up with the owner, who informed is that she had left "Mason" tied up safely up at home a few streets away, but he had 'broken free' to explore the world. She was amazed that he had come so far, on a very busy road.
The doggie mum asked if we could keep him with us until she could get away from work, which was quite a distance away. The hour turned into two hours but in the meantime this lovely dog made himself at home and being an older dog than the two 'crazies' at out place, he managed to put-up with the antics, which included a great deal of pseudo-humping amongst the sniffing and frolicking that Jack Russells and Milo type dogs do!
Part of the original plan was to take the two dogs for a walk/run, terrorize walkers type morning followed by a nice brunch at a café. It was becoming increasingly obvious that the latter was not going to happen. We decided to cook up a café style breakfast so on went the bacon, mushrooms stuffed with soft cheese, scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes with toast. Yeah I know---I am not able to eat all that, but take away the toast and lessen my meal size and I do pretty dammed well and NO----I have not put on an ounce of weight since reaching my 'new me' size.
Of course the dogs partook of the bits and pieces that 'feel on the floor.' Lets say---Mason had settled in as if he had known us for ages. Being an older dog, he seemed to know the score when 'visiting'--hey he might want to come back!
Finally, the owner of Mason arrived at the gate. My sister had given up on the walk and gone home. Mason's mum was friendly and very appreciative of our efforts to keep her boy safe. Indeed she made that very clear by giving us a nice box of goodies. That was not expected. I think that 'real doggie owners,' look after the pooches of others, when things aren't going well. Wouldn't it be nice if that was the case for some of the kids out there!
We said our goodbyes and I offered the sanctuary and fun of my place any time Mason wanted to visit, preferably by the more accepted means---with his MUM.
It all ended well and Perdy and I headed for our beloved Onehunga Bay. I wonder what else is in store for us this weekend, eh Perdy!

Perdy, Milo and 'visitor,' Mason.

What goes around comes around...yum. The unexpected reward.

My struggle with cannabis!

I bet that header got some of you who know me well wondering if you had me all wrong. OK---it was just to get your attention, so now I shall describe the 'battle within', in terms that reflect my real thoughts, garnered over many years as a school counsellor.
Ask any teacher what the effects on learning are for young people who do more than 'dabble' in the world of cannabis (and other substances) and how their lives can take a turn from which they never fully recover. Ask any 'long-term user' of cannabis if they would have taken the same pathway if they could 'go back.' I expect to see some strong denials to my postulations, and I think I know from whence they will come!
My thoughts are driven primarily for the young people who I work with. I am not going to worry about the arguments you old buggers use, expressing your freedom of choice and all the arguments that go along with the 'medical use of this possibly useful drug.' As far as I am concerned, you have made your bed, so go sleep in it and yes, I want to see the use of cannabis re medical reasons legalised, researched and acted upon.
Having said that, I am sure the befuddled minds of those wishing nothing more than to be able to wile away their days, sucking on some lovingly rolled  joint, and complaining that they can't get work because of some 'dastardly cruel employment rules that curtail one's right to work in jobs that require clear herds.' Deal with it dudes! Yes, I include any 'substance' re the former statement.
My concern is always going to be for the young people and how the legalization of cannabis will affect them. The situation in any school is such that at any one time, you can take it as fact that there will be significant numbers of students who are attending class in a 'stoned' state. Sure, for some of them, it may not cause problems to the learning of others, especially if they are in that 'zoned out' state of equilibrium that is more one of 'quiet contemplation,' rather than the buzzy problematic place that does challenge the learning environment.
These students in the problematic state, 'steal' the educational chances for other students, taking unnecessarily from the efforts of already hard-pressed teachers, to instil something that looks like 'learning' for teenagers. That is the teachers job---to help kids to learn and anything that takes away form this task is problematic for the future of our young people----and the nation.
There is little doubt that students who use cannabis regularly (and some would say intermittedly) figure far more highly in the makeup of those who drop out of school or who leave with few qualifications. I know there are exceptions to that statement and hopefully those of you who say that 'I'm just fine---nothing about cannabis use has affected me'---you should have stopped reading this by now and gone and had another joint!)
There is also a great deal of research that points to the links between young people using cannabis and impaired mental health; some to the degree that their useful lives re the workforce an d other life opportunities, is effectively damaged to the point that they become disconnected to society and economically disadvantaged, to say nothing of the possibility of becoming part of a darker world that involves crime. Of course I am not saying that to take 'dope' is propelling young people into an 'underworld!' Well-----maybe not, but possibly, YES.
My argument is based around the premise that the teenage years are critical in the development of all aspect of a person's life and that many of the 'things they do,' can influence the subsequent direction of their lives. That is a taken. For those who succumb to any substance, particularly cannabis, but also the 'newbies' on the block, plus the ones that have existed for generations, there are going to be problems. Most of us find a 'balance,' but for some, this period is a time of danger. Yes, we have to mitigate against this danger, even if that treads on the 'aspirations to express freedom,' for those us, well and truly beyond our teenage years. Lets have that freedom, but please----put in some real effort to nurture our precious young people---our future!