Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembering 2-28: Chinese or Taiwanese?

What I knew from books, I learned from experience soon after my arrival in Taiwan in the mid-60s: the U.S. view of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s government as “Free China” was a myth. When enough trust was established with Taiwanese individuals and we were out of earshot of the big ears of government agents, again and again I heard the same thing: “We don’t want Chiang and we don’t want Mao [Tse-tung, Chairman of the People’s Republic on mainland China].” The sentiment, I learned, had little to do with political ideology, but rather control of Taiwan by Mainlanders.

Had I not been appointed to work in Taiwan, I would doubtless have perpetuated the ignorance of the American public about the history of the island; how it had been a colony of Japan for 50 years before it was turned over to the Chinese Nationalist Government for administration by the Allies at the end of World War II, and what happend after.

Taiwanese old enough to remember will tell you that most of the people welcomed replacement of the Japanese overlords by the Chinese Nationalists. They were soon turned off by the corruption and brutality of the occupying force from the Mainland. They had a saying,
“The Japanese were like dogs; they barked and sometimes they bit. The Chinese were like pigs; they just wallowed.”
A year and a half into the occupation, an incident on February 28, 1947 occurred that became etched into the hearts and minds of Taiwanese people like “Pearl Harbor” had been for Americans six years earlier. Chiang’s response to a peaceful protest was the massive slaughter of thousands of Taiwanese. Estimates of the number of deaths vary from 10,000 to 30,000 or more. The Incident marked the beginning of the Kuomintang's White Terror period in Taiwan, in which thousands more inhabitants vanished, died, or were imprisoned. The number "228" refers to the day the massacre began: February 28, or 02-28.

While most all Taiwanese knew about Pearl Harbor within days of the event, it is safe to say that few Americans knew anything about 2-28. Under martial law imposed by Chiang’s government, it was illegal to attend or conduct any observances of the massacre. And the U.S. government that supported the anti-communism of the Nationalists and created the “Free China” myth was not about to tell the American public.

For Taiwanese, 2-28 was a defining moment. Their ancestors might have come from the Mainland in the 17th and 18th centuries, but their history of separation from it and the disastrous experience with Chiang and the Nationalists forged a separate identity.

The new identity gave them a will to survive during the years of White Terror. It was celebrated after the end of martial law and the democratization of the island. Now, with the KMT [the political party of the Nationalists who were in power in 1947] back in power in Taipei and tilting toward the People’s Republic, there are questions about Taiwan’s identity today.

There were memorial observances today all over Taiwan. I have not lived in Taiwan for forty years and so cannot speak to the issue of the people’s identity, but thanks to Michael Turton who does live there, I learned about a new poll in Taiwan reminding us that most of the people there are wary of ties to the Mainland.
Q10. Some people say that the policies of the Ma Ying-jeou government are tilted towards mainland China. Do you agree or disagree?
53%: Agree
39%: Disagree
9%: No opinion

Q11. What is your attitude towards unification versus independence?
61%: Maintain the status quo
21%: Lean towards independence
9%: Lean towards unification

Q12. If the choice exists, would you want Taiwan to become an independent nation or to be unified with China?
68%: Taiwan independence
18%: Unification with mainland China
14%: No opinion

Q13. In our society, some people think that they are Chinese while others think that they are Taiwanese. What do you think you are?
72%: Taiwanese
17%: Chinese
11%: Don't know/refused to answer

Q14. What would you say that you are? Taiwanese? Chinese? Both?
50%: Taiwanese
43%: Both Taiwanese and Chinese
3%: Chinese
5%: Don't know

I hope somewhere in their busy schedules today, President Obama and members of his administration are pausing long enough to take note of this day in Taiwan’s history; and, like the democratic aspirations he has been affirming for the peoples of the Mid-East, he will consider affirming for the people of Taiwan.
- Milo

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Story of an Honest Man

The wonderful and doggedly frustrating part of telling a story is knowing where to begin. All of our stories are parts of others and finally make sense only in the context of those other stories. But to get the original story told you have to start somewhere.

For this story, look at a map and draw a line from Bend, Oregon to Belle Plaine, Iowa. Then, draw the line across the Pacific to Chai-yi, Taiwan and back across the water to Big Spring, Texas. The principals in this story would probably draw the lines in a different order, but never mind that because I’m the one telling the story.

Sometime in the misty past, an old friend from Alaska days came to visit. While here, Jim wanted Connie to give him a pottery lesson out in the studio. When Jim went to Belle Plaine, he furthered his pottery education by taking a class in which out of wet clay he created several pieces.

When Connie learned of it she insisted that he select and send her a piece of his choosing. (It’s a professional thing of one potter to another, I guess.) And, she insisted that he bill her for the piece. She wanted to be able to say that she had purchased one of this budding artist’s first pieces.

The piece arrived with a bill. We all get all kinds of bills, but when was the last time you received a bill in song, complete with three verses and a refrain like this?
“Two dollars and forty-three cents
Its muggly ugly
From a mind that’s bend
Two dollars and forty-three cents”
So moved were we by Jim’s lyrics that my mind went immediately to Dan in Chai-yi. Now Dan is as much a character as Jim. Dan is not only a journalist but he has a special affection for paper newspapers, or as he calls them, “Snail Papers.” Like Jim with the pottery bill, Dan wrote lyrics for a song titled, “The World’s First Musical Obit for Newspapers.”

Alas, Dan says he doesn’t sing, at least where anyone else can hear him, because he doesn’t want to make them cry or give them a heart attack. Journalist and Searcher of the Web that he is, he found someone in Big Spring, Texas who for $19 dollars will take anybody’s lyrics and turn them into song. From the other side of the world, Dan contacted J. Gale Kilgore and contracted with him to write the music for his snail papers lament. Lo and behold, three days later, Dan had his song and posted it on Youtube. When I heard it, I thought I was listening to Tom T. Hall. Whoever it was I wanted him for Jim’s song. Through the wonder of cyber space, I rushed Jim’s lyrics off to Big Spring, Texas. Three days later I had the song, “A Bill for a Two Dollar and Forty-three Cent Mug that looks like a cross between Frog Lips and a Toilet Seat.”

I expect this song to soon hit the top of the charts in frog ponds and plumbing supply places across the world, but that’s not why I’m telling you this story. Only after he wrote the music and recorded Jim’s bill did I learn that Kilgore he is also an honest man. Here now is the rest of the story.

J. Gale Kilgore is America writ large. A retired man from Big Spring, Texas, Kilgore records songs for song writers around the world via his website store, for just 19 dollars a song recording.

When Danny Bloom, an American expat in Taiwan asked Kilgore to record a song for him, Bloom sent in the required 19 dollars by mail, in cash, from Taiwan to Texas, airmail.

The letter arrived. Kilgore opened it. Inside, unbeknownst to Bloom, was US$118 in cash.

Kilgore sent an email to Bloom that said "You sent me $118, sir. Did you make a mistake? You were supposed to send me just US$19."

Bloom did make a mistake. In his hurry to send the money, he counted out what he thought was a ten, a five and four crisp dollar bills. But one of the dollar bills was a hundred dollar bill. Oops! Bloom says he had no idea he made such a mistake, and if it was not for the honestly of Kilgore, he never would have known.

Bloom contacted Kilgore and said thanks, and Kilgore is now sending a check for 99 dollars to Bloom in Taiwan by airmail letter.

Many people have reacted to this story by calling Kilgore a true American hero and Honest Abe in a new skin. Bloom says he really appreciates Kilgore's honesty and down-home true-blue American kindness.

"It's not the money," Bloom says. "It's this man named J. Gale Kilgore, I feel he represents America writ large. He is the true American hero, in my book!"

When I began writing this blog I said that I would write about understanding the past and adding something better to the present. I think J. Gale does that, and so do Connie, Jim, and Dan. Thank you all!

- Milo

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bible, Homosexuality, and Christians

When the news came yesterday that the U.S. Justice Department would no longer defend “The Defense of Marriage Act,” declaring that the law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and discriminatory and that Department of Justice lawyers will no longer defend it in court. I greeted that news with unmitigated joy and posted it on my Facebook page.

Several friends responded with “About time!” “Amen! Amen!” and other similar sentiments. One friend that I have known for many years responded with these questions:

In Lev. 18 & 20, is it not talking about homosexuality when it talks about laying with mankind as with a woman? The more I learn, the more confused I get. Is not homosexuality a sin? Aren't we supposed to love the sinner, like Jesus did, and not the sin?

For many of you, these questions have long since been resolved, but there are others for whom they are not. Without identifying my friend, I wanted to respond to her questions here so that others might add wisdom and/or questions that can be included in the Comments, or in a subsequent blog.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your questions. Where do I begin in a way that makes sense?

I come out of the Christian tradition that was significantly influenced by John Wesley in the 18th century. How do Christians know God? Wesley’s answer was not new so much as it was an expression of what Christians had practiced from their beginning. We know God through the Bible, through tradition, through reason, and experience. While, for Wesley, the Bible was foremost among the four, he was equally clear that all four were interrelated and necessary.

Throughout most Christian history, the Bible was not regarded as the sole source of our knowledge of God, and there have always been Christians who didn’t believe the Bible to be literally true. The notion that every word of the Bible was dictated by God has had more coinage among certain groups of Christians since the 18th century. While that is the view of Muslims about the Koran, Christians have always had diverse views about it.

You probably thought I would never get to Leviticus. The first five books of the Bible have 613 positive and 365 negative mitzvot (meaning "commandments" as well as "blessing"). Traditional Jews believed that all were of God and binding. The injunctions in Lev. 18 and 20 about homosexuality are among the mitzvot, along with requirements not to eat shell fish, capital punishment for one who commits adultery or works on the Sabbath, and a whole host of others.

For centuries the Levitical Code (21:16ff) forbidding persons with “blemishes” -- we now say “handicapping conditions” --from approaching the altar of God was used to justify discrimination against such persons. When Congress passed laws against discriminating against persons with handicapping conditions, there were Christians who objected citing these texts.

The Jewish tradition has its own history of dealing with the mitzvoth and I will not try to explain it. The mitzvoth have their own history in Christianity. While Christians were expected to obey the “Ten Commandments” (ten of the 613) they by and large believed they were not obliged to follow the other 603. In the view of Paul and others, they were the Law from which Christ freed us. This is an oversimplification, but I believe is not a distortion.

For me, it would have been important to know what Jesus thought about homosexuality. Unfortunately, in our Gospels he nowhere has anything to say about it. He appears far more concerned with adultery in marriage, especially as it related to the unequal treatment of women. Why is there nothing about homosexuality if it was an important issue for Jesus?

The language of the references the apostle Paul makes to homosexuality are directed to relations with prostitutes than to homosexuality itself. He may have been anti-gay, but it is not demonstrable from an examination of the texts in Greek.

Homosexuality has been taboo throughout Christian history and we have been led to believe that there was universal (in the Christian faith) agreement that it was sinful. Yesterday, in response to my reporting the Justice Department announcement, Michael Turton reminded us of research being done on burials in Greek Macedonia: Possible Evidence for Same-Sex Committed Relationships in Early Christianity

I have taken way too long to say that I don’t believe the Biblical texts on homosexuality should be taken in any way authoritatively in this conversation.

Homosexuality is simply another way of being. We do not know why, but it seems to exist in all species.

What Jesus made clear throughout his short life is the mitzvoth are not all of equal standing in the eyes of God. When asked about which commandment was most important, he didn’t say “they are all of equal importance,” but rather
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
Those are the commandments I believe should guide us in this conversation.

Thanks for writing to me about your questions and concerns. I hope this is helpful. I look forward to hearing back from you.

- Milo

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gratitude is a Skill That You Practice

A poem by Dan Bloom, reprinted with permission. He says he still needs practice! The poem was written in 2003 retouched in 2011. Thanks, Dan!


Gratitude is a skill that you practice
and get better at,

said a ten-year-old boy in Tokyo one day when I was a teacher there.

yes, gratitude is something we learn

as we get older

accumulating wisdom and knowledge

but sometimes we forget

gratitude is something to be thankful for it is a skill worth practicing over and over again until we get it right

we need to appreciate what's good in our lives instead of always complaining looking at the negative side of things.

yes, gratitude is a skill that you practice and get better at month by month year by year

and over a lifetime
we might finally learn how to say

thank you

thank you to the universe
thank you to our parents
thank you to our loved ones
thank you to our children
thank you to our teachers

gratitude is a skill that you practice
until you get it just right

and it doesn't happen overnight

it takes a lifetime of rehearsals
awareness and an open mind

to fully appreciate all the good things
that have come our way

on this journey from not being to being

on this pilgrimmage among the stars

on this pathway to enlightenment and aha!

Learn to say thank you

in as many languages as you can master

and tell it to everyone you love and care for

thank you
thank you
thank you

shieh shieh,

and as you practice gratitude
day by day
year by year
zen koan after zen koan

gratitude will become you
it will suit you fine
and you will become one
with thankfulness.

Gratitude is more than a 9-letter word,
it is a gift from life.

Use it!
(c) 2003 Dan Bloom

UPDATE: Give legs to your gratitude by sending notes. John Kralik decided to send one note every day. See the results in his 365 Thank Yous.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Teachers make too much money!

My thanks to Sarasota Values Education for this guest blog. It was posted on their site Friday, February 18, 2011. Do the math! - Milo

Are you sick of high paid teachers? Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan — that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

Now how many do they teach in day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET’S SEE…. That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 peryear. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)


Monday, February 14, 2011

Fireproof Moth - A Book the KMT Doesn't Want You to Read

James Wang, a well-known and respected Washington-based Taiwanese journalist and author, graciously agreed to write this article that explains his critical role in my writing Fireproof Moth and his sense of its relevance to current political realities in Taiwan. His newest book, Taiwan in Power Politics: From the Cairo Conference to the San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan, is available in Chinese.

As Taiwan’s ruling party, the KMT, is preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the so-called Republic of China, the publication of Milo Thornberry’s memoir, Fireproof Moth: A Missionary in Taiwan’s White Terror, is a timely book with great contributions to understanding the long struggle of democratization in Taiwan.

Based on personal experiences, Milo tells a shocking and most significant story of an era in that long process which deserved its infamy: White Terror. It was about the story of the darkest era of persecution and suppression in post-war Taiwan brave American missionaries with big hearts helping Taiwanese in their pursuit for freedom and democracy. And they themselves also became victims of White Terror.

Fireproof Moth should be read and appreciated by Taiwanese-Americans and people in Taiwan. Taiwan could not have achieved its democracy without its own political leaders and support of friends around the world. In the late 1960’s, a distinguished Taiwanese professor, Dr. Peng Ming-min, raised the most fundamental political issue in Taiwan: the rule of the minority Chinese over the majority Taiwanese without the consent of the governed through democratic process. Dr. Peng was arrested and convicted for “treason”, attempting to overthrow the government by illegal means.

Under international pressure, the KMT released Dr. Peng but put him under house arrest, refusing to let him return to the teaching job at National Taiwan University. Since Dr. Peng had played a significant role in Taiwan’s struggle for democracy and was a potential political leader, the KMT wanted to nip the Taiwanese leadership in the bud.

Then the courageous American missionaries, Milo and Judith Thornberry, risking careers, freedom, even lives, came to rescue. They secretly helped Dr. Peng escape from Taiwan and persecution by the KMT. They saved a future leader of Taiwan’s democratic and independence movement.

For general American readers, this is a great story of missionaries involved in the spread of fundamental values: freedom, democracy, and human rights. They not only helped Dr. Peng regain his freedom but also raised funds to help family of political prisoners. They were pioneer human rights activists.

I knew Milo when I came across the name Michael Thornberry in my research at the National Archives, looking for diplomatic reports related to Dr. Peng’s case. In September 2008, we met in Taipei when we both were invited by Dr. Peng to participate in a panel discussion in commemorating 44th anniversary of release of the “Manifesto of Formosan Self-salvation,” which had been seized by the KMT as “evidence” of Dr. Peng’s offense.

I gave Milo a copy of a declassified confidential cable from the American Embassy in Taipei to the State Department as souvenir. It mentions that Michael Thornberry was closely associated with the Taiwan Independence Movement.

Milo told me his story of being put into house arrest, summarily expelled by the KMT from Taiwan, and then denied a passport by the State Department. He kindly sent me his papers on his missionary experiences in Taiwan, written as family letters to his children.

As a journalist by training and author of a few books on Taiwan’s political history, I recognized the significance of these papers in the history of Taiwan. I suggested that he re-write the letters in book form and expand it to include American missionary’s support for Taiwanese dissidents during the era of White Terror. I also promised to look into the archives to see if there are any more files related to his activities in that era.

I did find a folder containing “the Thornberrys case” and sent Milo copies of those declassified cables. I was so pleased to know that Milo did re-write his manuscript for publishing, and it is my honor to be one of the first persons to read his manuscript.

Fireproof Moth is the kind of book that the KMT doesn’t want you to read, but it is a book that our fellow Taiwanese and those who care for the democracy and well being of the people in Taiwan should read.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Untold Story About To Be Revealed

It happened forty years ago. Part of the story was kept secret until 2003. Another part of the story was not known until 2009. Now the story can and will be told. Within a couple of weeks Sunbury Press will release Fireproof Moth in paper where prepublication orders are now being taken.

In the Foreword, Richard Kagan, a specialist in East Asian Studies, writes

The book reveals how Milo and [his former wife] Judith successfully and secretly organized the escape of Peng Ming-min from Taiwan. Peng’s importance in the Taiwan Independence movement is seen on the island as a struggle similar to that of South African political prisoner Nelson Mandela. The Thornberrys were Peng’s closest foreign friends, and they met regularly with him and other dissidents. When they discovered that his life was in danger, they spirited him out of the country, which created an international incident...

But Milo’s memoir is much more than the story of personal danger involving secretive escape and loss of the freedom to travel out of America to foreign shores. Like a Graham Greene novel, the plot is a vehicle for a philosophical and spiritual journey...

Milo has created a document that should become a classic in both the realm of the missionary experience in repressive environments and the broader community of political activists. The narrative’s style is a combination of the detective thriller and the personal memoir. The characters’ conversations are unique to their personality and condition. Each chapter leads the reader into deeper domains of the mystery of the plight of the author and the terror among his friends. Throughout the narrative, there is a running theological and moral debate that gives the story universal meaning.

Jim Campbell, former missionary in Alaska and Director of Humanitarian Aid to the Russian Far East for the United Methodist and Moravian Churches, has written on the back cover,
“Everything in the book is below the radar of 95% of Americans….to this day. It is further insight into the American mind and agenda of the 1960s leading into President Nixon’s trip to China. What is more, the book has relevance to this moment, to the KMT back in power and Chen in prison. Thornberry’s encounter with Taiwan is one not only of intrigue but moral struggle; all the while revealing the crudeness, brutality, and sometimes even comic nature of paranoiac despotism. The storytelling style is involving and then when you think it’s over there is more and more.”
For these kind words from old friends I am deeply grateful.

If you want to keep up with the events around the book as they develop, you can check out the "Fireproof Moth" Facebook page. You can also send links to the page to friends you think might be interested.

- Milo

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cairo - and US Policy - Burning

Glenn Beck could be the poster child for the anti-serious-history tradition in the United States. His recent pronouncements on the protests in Egypt could be called as evidence. Scott Galupo, a Washington-based freelance writer who was a staff writer for The Washington Times, described Beck's position in yesterday's U.S. News and World Report:
"According to Glenn Beck,  the Egyptian crisis is part of a “coming insurrection” that spans the Mediterranean region of Africa and Southern Europe, and could at some point involve Russia and China. The culprits are an unholy alliance of Weather Underground-type Marxists and radical Islamists (both Shia and Sunni).  Step one is to destroy Western civilization. Step two is to establish a new caliphate—an Islamic theocracy. The ’60s radicals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn are, in this schema, willing to live with the latter so long as step one is accomplished."
Even Galupo, who formerly worked for House Republican Leader John Boehner, thinks Beck has blown a gasket:

"His pattern-recognition machine is spewing smoke and shards of metal."
How many Americans are watching events in Egypt and resonate with Beck?

Many would not appreciate the perspective of Rami G. Khouri, a journalist and editor with joint Palestinian-Jordanian and US citizenship whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. I heard him interviewed on OPB's "Here and Now" this morning. I found his paper titled, "The Arab Freedom Epic," in which he argues that what we are witnessing is the unraveling of the post-colonial order that the British and French created in the Arab world:
 "The events unfolding before our eyes are the third most important historical development in the Arab region in the past century, and to miss that point is to perpetuate a tradition of Western Orientalist romanticism and racism that has been a large cause of our pain for all these years. This is the most important of the three major historical markers because it is the first one that marks a process of genuine self-determination by Arab citizens who can speak and act for themselves for the first time in their modern history.

"The two other pivotal historical markers were: first, the creation of the modern Arab state system around 1920 at the hands of retreating European colonial powers. Some of them were intoxicated with both imperial power and, on occasion, with cognac, when they created most of the Arab countries that have limped into the 21st century as wrecks of statehood. Then, second, the period around 1970-80 when the Euro-manufactured modern Arab state system transformed into a collection of security and police states that treated their citizens as serfs without human rights and relied on massive foreign support to maintain the rickety Arab order for decades more. Now, we witness the third and most significant Arab historical development, which is the spontaneous drive by millions of ordinary Arabs to finally assert their humanity, demand their rights, and take command of their own national condition and destiny."
I wonder what Beck would think of Robert Grenier's Monday op-ed in Aljazeera. Grenier is not a left-wing radical. He was the CIA's Iraq Mission Manager between 2002 and 2004;  and then the head of CIA's Counter Terrorism Center between 2004 and 2006. This is what he said:
"Events in the Middle East have slipped away from us. Having long since opted in favor of political stability over the risks and uncertainties of democracy, having told ourselves that the people of the region are not ready to shoulder the burdens of freedom, having stressed that the necessary underpinnings of self-government go well beyond mere elections, suddenly the US has nothing it can credibly say as people take to the streets to try to seize control of their collective destiny."
Grenier acknowledges that a great power has limits:
"...a great power has competing practical interests – be those a desire for counter-terrorism assistance, or for promotion of regional peace – which it must balance, at least in the short term, against a more idealistic commitment to democracy and universal values."
And then a huge caveat:
"But there are two things which must be stressed in this regard. The first is the extent to which successive US administrations have consistently betrayed a lack of faith in the efficacy of America’s democratic creed, the extent to which the US government has denied the essentially moderating influence of democratic accountability to the people, whether in Algeria in 1992 or in Palestine in 2006.

"The failure of the US to uphold its stated commitment to democratic values therefore goes beyond a simple surface hypocrisy, beyond the exigencies of great-power interests, to suggest a fundamental lack of belief in democracy as a means of promoting enlightened, long-term US interests in peace and stability.
"The second is the extent which the US has simply become irrelevant in the Middle East."
Interesting thing about Grenier is that he was fired in early 2006, reportedly reportedly for being soft on torture. It may be that one reason behind his removal from the Counter Terrorism Center was a very American devotion to democracy.

Something to think about while you're watching the CNN coverage of events in Egypt and across the Arab world.
- Milo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

News on the Janus Canine Front

Dooby (aka "Ike" in the top picture) is the Catahoula mix who came to us as a very sick three month old I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. He had a serious infection and we feared he might not make it through the weekend. We took him back to the shelter to be checked. The vet took him home for the weekend where she could give him special care. He made it through the weekend and then a knowledgable veterinary technician took him home and has been caring for him. He has made amazing progress, but his white blood count is still too high. The folks at the Humane Society of Redmond are amazingly sensitive to the issue of not perpetuating an animal's suffering just to keep it alive. They also do not have some of the more high powered equipment and medicines that are available in other places. But as long as Dooby is responding to the treatment and full recovery looks possible, they are not giving up on him. My hat's off to them!

Nala the hero dog responsible for the rescue of another canine freezing to death, has still not been adopted. I don't understand it. She is a pit bull mix, is not what most would call pretty, and is black. She does well with other male dogs but is not good with other females. Many have come to see about adopting her, but so far have all gone away without her. Alan Borland, who paid attention to her tugs that icy day to find Chadwick,walks dogs at the shelter every day. He told me that she is wonderful, and he would know. He is also baffled, but is confident that when the person comes who is worthy of Nala, she will find her "forever" home.

Shasta is a Cairn Terrier so-named to remind us that she came from south of here. After a rough ride from Klamath Falls and two weeks at the shelter, Shasta gave birth to two puppies: Murdock and Gregor. Another foster home was not available at the time and so they came home with us. They've had to battle kennel cough but are doing well. Shasta is a wonderful mother and the puppies are getting fat (as they should at this point). 

News from Alaska: Well, it was news to me, but probably not to many folks who live on the Kenai Peninsula. I had heard about kids reading to trained dogs to help the kids read better, and I think such programs great; but I had not heard of reading to rescued dogs for their benefit. Not until a good friend on the Kenai told me what was happening there:
"They can sit in by the kennel and read to the dogs and it is for the dog's benefit (of course it's good for kids too). It's helpful in socializing them and calming them as well. (depending on the story of course) The program is just starting in Kenai at the shelter. Christie worked with a young dog today for the first time when we were there and I think she's a bit of a dog whisperer."
I'm eager to know more. What can you tell me?

That's the news on the Janus Canine Front. Have a great day! Woof and wag your tails at your friends!
 - Milo