Feral Dogs Blog & Dr. Mark Johnson
by Suzanne Clothier
My friend Tom O'Dowd is not just a long time friend as well as a wonderful, kind, smart man and a talented videographer. He's also a singular source for cool information from every corner of the 'net. We share a fascination with animals and behavior, and so he's great about passing along to me all kinds of stuff.
Today's Tom-O-grams brought me this: the blog for Dr. Mark Johnson. This blog offers a wealth of information and thinking for those interested in animals, especially canids such as wolves, dogs. His particular expertise & passion are the humane handling of these animals when they must be captured, handled, transported, etc.
Impressed by his words at the Feral Dog blog, I skipped over to see a video of a wolf being humanely restrained using his techniques at Greater Wildlife Resourcessite.The 14 minute video is worth watching, as the wolf's behavior and expression tells the tale about how humane this approach is when done right. You also get a chance to watch Dr. Johnson in action - a study of clarity, confidence, centeredness, and intent.
From the GWR site, his own words:
I have found there is a huge craving for most professionals to bring heart and compassion into their work, especially as it relates to our connection with animals. This relationship with animals and all of life is a part of our very Being. Yet the wildlife and veterinary professional cultures do not help us address or explore this deep and longstanding connection.
In the field there are many ways to practice and demonstrate care, honor, and respect for each animal by our words, actions, equipment, and techniques. It is imperative that we get away from the 'good old boy' comedy and 'yucking it up' behavior and work with focus and calm and quiet mannerisms. This not only demonstrates a clear choice to be respectful, it reduces veterinary complications.
True respect is not selective and it is essential that we show care, honor, and respect for every colleague and organization as well.
Dr, Johnson is offering a number of courses in the US for animal professionals, teaching his humane approach to dealing with feral dogs, shelter/rescue/hoarding situations, wildlife handling and more. I am making plans to be there for the Massachusetts seminar in late May.
Please -- if you are interested in learning more about bringing respect and clear intent to all situations, however desperate or difficult they may be, I urge you to visit Dr. Johnson's blog and website. You may find a kindred spirit who has much to teach us all. After all, he learned a lot of what he knows from the animals.