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Ganny’S Journal: A Tale of Human–Animal Kinship

Ganny’S Journal: A Tale of Human–Animal Kinship

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Ganny’S Journal: A Tale of Human–Animal Kinship

151 pages
2 heures
Aug 27, 2013


Experience along with Doeska, Eugie, Ganny, Gally, Kringle and Lullies as these six canine pack buddies strive to thrive despite the stresses of living in a human world. Ganny, now a Pack Elder, recounts their adventures in his Journal along with the help of his human scribe Bj. Those adventures are alternately humorous and poignant, offering a compelling experience of the richly textured lives of dogs.

See through Gannys eyes as he willingly works to recover from five near- death experiences that test his mettle. These challenges, all occurring within six months, launch him and Bj on a journey to wisdom together.

This heart-warming, experiential journey into how domesticated dogs live in a human world is framed by Bjs comments and observations as the Journals Scribe. Bj, the human alpha of this pack of five dogs and one human, is also a trained animal body-worker. She shares both what her animal work and living with her pack have taught her. She also shares her insights on the many lessons our animal companions are able to teach us. Gannys Journal invites you to share deeply in the social and emotional lives of dogs.

Bj says And here, all this time, I thought it was me who was teaching them

Aug 27, 2013

À propos de l'auteur

Bettejeanne (“Bj”) Hammond is a certified human Massage Therapist, a trained quadruped Body-Worker, a Reiki Master, and an ordained Hands-on-Healing Minister. She partners with animal clients to restore balance and integrated function to their body systems. The basic principles of Bj’s work include support to the nervous system, neuromuscular re-education and restoration of full communication between the energy and physical bodies. For additional information, see www.bjhammond-animaltherapies.net

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Table Of Contents



Section One

Living A Dog’s Life In A Human World

Chapter One Living In A Pack

Chapter Two The Challenges Of Living In A Human World

Chapter Three The Fullness Of Animal Life

Chapter Four Canine Humor

Section Two

Ganny And Bj’s Journey To Wisdom

Chapter Five Putting The Journey Into Words

Chapter Six Experiencing Through Ganny’s Eyes

Chapter Seven Living In The Present Moment

Chapter Eight Helping Animal Companions Evolve

Chapter Nine The Challenge Of Knowing The Right Moment

Chapter Ten Accepting Life As It Is

Chapter Eleven Adjustments

Conclusion The Interconnectedness Of All Life

Epilogue The Dance Of Life

About The Author



The following pages are written in honor of my six beloved companions and partners in learning: Doeska, Eugie, Ganny, Gally, Kringle, and Lullabies. Each of them is a wonderfully complex and entertaining example of the innate joy of life expressed through the many forms of creation.

They also honor all those who support the welfare of animals, be they guardians of pets and animal athletes, veterinarians, holistic healers, or leaders and volunteers for animal rescue and welfare organizations. I salute you all as examples of Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.¹

All over the globe, there is a vast body of experience and learning that is not yet widely known. In particular, the scientific knowledge that man currently possesses cannot begin to encompass the wisdom held by the plants and animals. The utilization of this wisdom is greatly to man’s benefit, and we can expect that sooner or later its fruits will merge with the mainstream of science.

Christian Science Monitor²


A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song. —Ancient Chinese proverb³

This tale began with a deep personal reversal in my life that led to a whole new direction centered on animals. It has been and continues to be enormous fun. More than that, it has opened up a whole new world of learning. That learning has caused me to ask if perhaps humanity has not, over time, become quite isolated from the rest of created life. We have animals and gardens as though they were objects quite separate from us instead of part of the whole intelligent and conscious design of creation. We walk on the earth perceiving through our senses and thinking and evaluating with our brains, seemingly unaware that we are a part of every aspect of our planet. Have we perhaps, over the centuries and without fully realizing it, disengaged ourselves from our innate connection with nature and the wholeness of life that is held in the embrace of the cosmos?

Perhaps our beloved animal companions are in our lives to trigger awareness of such separation, or even to motivate us to reconnect and thereby nourish ourselves by experiencing the wholeness of life. I invite you to join me on a walk through Ganny’s Journal in a spirit of open query about many of our inherited perceptions of animals. There are no answers offered here, for we each are probably better served by finding our own. However, I can guarantee you an adventure. While part of this tale shares some of what I have harvested in my twenty years of close experience with animals, some of it is told from an animal’s perspective. Are you game? Come on, let’s get started.

I would like to add that while my focus in this tale is on dogs, my intention is to honor all animals everywhere that live or work in partnership with humans. They bless our lives with their presence.


Ganny, now a Pack Elder, is a yellow Lab living the good life with the other members of his pack when he suddenly has a near-death experience. That one is followed by four more within a six-month period. Without question, these mature him. At some point within the unfolding of these experiences, he and his human person discover they are both searching for the meaning of these events. Not so much the meaning of why they happened, but rather why Ganny kept rebounding from them. Out of this mutual desire to find the meaning, Ganny’s Journal was born.

Originally, the book was written only by Ganny, but I soon realized that fact might have posed too much of a hurdle by asking you to suspend your disbelief that a dog could be so expressive. When I got to reflecting about how animals perceive, experience, and navigate life without words, that gave me pause. In that pause, I began telling the same tale in a different way. Ganny still talks about his journey to wisdom, but he begins by introducing the seven members of his birth pack and sharing some of the many adventures they had together. Their adventures reveal how they all perceived, felt, communicated, and shared life while attempting to navigate a human world. The content contains a spirit of fun and poignancy.

I am the scribe for Ganny’s Journal, and in this role I both translate his experiences into human words and comment on the meaning that I have harvested from them. I need to be clear about the fact that I am included as a member of the pack in this narrative. As such, I am better able to unveil the deep and fruitful relationship that I have been so privileged to share with the six precocious dogs that animate the following pages. Together, we were a pack of twenty-four paws and two feet.

This is a story full of the kind of joy that can only blossom when each moment of life is lived fully, regardless of its content, and when it is lived in the faith that everything that unfolds in life is an opportunity to see and understand more deeply. If we are open enough to go along on a ride into the mystery of it all, wonders can be experienced.


Living a Dog’s Life in a Human World


Living in a Pack

When an animal has attached itself to man it needs a visual reflection of itself and communication with creatures of its own kind in order to thrive. These connections help to anchor it into the rhythms of nature from whence it came. —Anonymous modern shaman

Who’s Who in the Pack

Doeska (female, yellow Lab): Leader of the canine pack; now deceased.

Eugie (female Coton de Tulear): Sage of the pack; now deceased.

Ganny (male Lab; son of Doeska): Perpetual teenager of the pack who evolves into a wise elder.

Gally (female Lab, daughter of Doeska): Mischief-maker of the pack; now deceased.

Kringle (male Coton de Tulear): Outsider in the pack.

Lullabies (female Coton de Tulear, daughter of Eugie and Kringle): Darling of the Pack; nicknamed Lullies

Bj (Bettejeanne): Human member and alpha of the pack.

As this tale opens, Doeska and Eugie have returned to the Spirit World, and Ganny has been thrust into the position of reluctant leader of the pack.

Introducing Ganny

Bj: For years, Ganny couldn’t seem to grow up. He was a perpetual teenager, preferring to enjoy himself and avoid responsibility. Eventually life handed him some sobering experiences that turned out to be catalysts for change. As a result, Ganny grew into a wise elder and a responsible leader of the pack.

Following is a sample of how Ganny sounded in his irresponsible younger years, had he been able to speak and use human words:

Ganny: Hi! My name’s Gannon, but I’m called Ganny for short. Please give me a minute here; I’m a little nervous, you see. I’ve never talked to a big group of people before. Please bear with me while I get my paws on the ground.

I’m journaling this book! Now you have to know that I can’t hold a pen in my paw, and there’s no way I have all the vocabulary that you’re about to read. So how am I journaling? Well, I have my very own scribe. It’s kind of like a translator and secretary all rolled into one. At least I think I’ve got that right. She’s putting human words around what I want you to know.

I’ve always been a laid-back kind of guy, never demanding a lot of attention. Just love me and feed me. Well, come to think of it, that’s not quite true. It’s more like feed me and then I’m all yours! I’ve got to keep the record straight.


That is how I was in the world for thirteen years. Now I’m less perky and wiser because of all the adventures I’ve had living in a human world. It’s also because I could no longer avoid the duties of being a top dog. Even though I’m a wiser fellow now, I feel good in my heart when I remember my carefree days. Those earlier years were really fun times! I will continue to speak in my younger voice until I start talking about my journey to wisdom. It’ll remind me of those fun times.

Ganny Introduces the Pack

Ganny: For sure it’s true that my pack was a bunch of characters. There were six of us plus our human person, of course. So if I could count the toes on both my front paws, our pack was one less than all my front toes. Does that make seven? I think it does. We were three big guys, three little fuzzy guys, and one human. Like Bj said, all together we were twenty-four paws and two feet.

I almost left the pack twice when I was a puppy. Two different people wanted to take me to their homes. I can’t remember why, but I didn’t go in the end, and so I ended up staying in the home where I was born. I guess that’s what I was really supposed to do, because now I’m writing a book!

Nobody could have had a better life than we did. It was full of good food, romps in the park, and lots of learning and adventures. And always lots of good cheer. And who could forget the hugs and rubs!

Our human person is the pack alpha. She’s always in motion and very busy, but we can always count on her good care and support. We feel very secure.

You must want to meet all the other four-footers. We three big guys are called Labrador retrievers or Labs for short. There’s my mom Doeska and my sister Gally. Doeska was leader of our four-footed pack for most of my life. She was a good leader, quiet but very aware. Gally was my sister; what a handful she was!

The three little guys are a breed called Coton de Tulear. They’re dressy, prissy-looking little things with long cottony hair. They may only top out at fifteen pounds, but don’t be fooled! They are hunters and herders and don’t miss a thing. Their breed used to fight wild boar in packs, so the legend goes. When Eugie, Kringle, and Lullies speak, we big guys always listen!

There’s something important you need to know about Eugie. First, she is the head Coton. It is also very important to pronounce her name right because it means a lot to her. It’s pronounced Ou-gin-ee or Ou-gee for short.

Kringle is a nice little guy. At least

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