I’ve read that there are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary numbers and those who don’t.

I remember the moment I made a commitment to align myself with one group as opposed -and be opposed-to another. I was in college. This was back in the late 1960s. I’d been cutting across the Oval, a large grassy area in front of The Ohio State University library, to get to my next class. A fellow student was standing on a bench, addressing anyone who’d listen to him. Like a soapbox. I was intrigued. I paused to listen. He looked at me and challenged me. Could I, in good conscience, allow the status quo of war, deceit, and inequality to continue? The straps of my heavy canvas book bag dug into my shoulder. There, in the hot Spring sunshine, awkwardly, uncomfortably, I experienced introspection. Goosebumps. I searched my soul and found my answer, my compass, and my tribe.

There were a lot of us boomers that were awakening. We were young and impressionable. With our affluence and sense of open ended opportunity, we were learning who we were, what our options were, and striving to figure out what our purposes were in life.

We were for love, for social, racial, and gender equality, for religious freedom, free speech, and definitely jazz and rock and roll. Gleefully, we join peaceful sit-ins and rallies. Our goals were to change university policies and political agendas.

Mostly we wanted change. Sound familiar? There was a lot of uncertainty. Automation was replacing workers. Unions were shrinking. The manufacturing from overseas was newer, more efficient, and more competitive. The first early computers were beginning to be introduced into daily life. The Gold Standard was replaced with “faith.” We were still grieving the assassination of our leader, John F. Kennedy, and felt vulnerable. We felt betrayed by his successor, who represented old guard, not the young idealist we identified with so strongly. We were convinced he was entrenching us in the war more every day by only listening to advisors that were the military “hawks.”

Our looming concerns were the Viet Nam war and the Draft. Fiercely righteous, we were “anti-establishment” thinkers and activists.

We saw ourselves as proponents of justice, freedom, and peace. We wore our bell bottom jeans and T-shirts, puka beads, sandals (or Earth shoes), wire rimmed glasses, bandanas, and lots and lots of hair. We acknowledged our fellow tribespeople with a knowing smile and the 2 fingers up “peace sign” greeting. This was the group I identified with. There was us. And there was them, the “not us”.

Us and them. Black and white. Yin and yang. The “people” and the “man.” The Aquarian’s and the Troglodytes. Binary. You know: 10.

As we eventually matured and removed the garlands of daisies from our hair, we learned that life happens in the gray spaces; the dash between 01-10. Like the dash on tombstones that represent the life that happened between the year someone was born and the year they died.

As a population, we are now even more divided than we were in the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war protestations. This is not a new phenomenon.

Political stance has become identity. Each of the binary sides claims exclusive points of view and defends their positions against the other. Each claims their truth to be righteous. Each takes comfort and pride in belonging to the tribe of correct like-minded thinkers, the ones on the right side of history.

Both have painted themselves into a corner, fallen into the trap. Having demonized the “other” for their beliefs, they are committed to disrespect and non-cooperation. The camps are so separate, each has its own news sources and refutes any others as illegitimate. They cannot agree. It’s unreasonable.

Each side says it’s our way or nobody’s way. Agreement, conciliation may create a crack in the philosophical armor.

What we have done is created deep schisms in our families, communities, social networks, and country.

We are so estranged, is there any topic, anything at all, that we can agree on, rally around, to join with each other? Is there anything that we can rally ‘round that can reestablish trust, humanity, harmony, respect, and community? Anything?

If you were to create a Venn diagram, a chart showing overlapping circles to illustrate the similarities, differences, and relationships between our belief systems, and tribal identifications, you’d see an interesting intersection, or “platypode”.

You could identify as Red and Blue, Republican or Democrat. You could make your political statements by buying your paint at Home Depot or Lowe’s, your craft supplies at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, meet for lunch at a Chick-fil-A or a local coffee shop. We have our camps, our tribes.

Platypoding all these, there is one idea, one passion, that we all share. There is a singular conviction that unites us all: our passion for maintaining the health and wellbeing of our dogs.

If this pandemic experience has taught us anything, it’s demonstrated that dogs are essential in our lives. Besides the fact that dogs were instrumental in our human civilization developing in the first place (https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/257145/), they’ve been here for us now. During all the the lockdowns, social distancing, and imposed isolations of this pandemic, it has been our dogs, with their unflagging support and companionship, that have allowed us to keep it together; to maintain sanity and hope. They are one of our most valuable natural resources. More than ever, we realize that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect them.

Whether you are a practitioner in traditional veterinary medicine or TCM, use allopathic medicines or homeopathic tinctures, base your approach on physiology or energy-work, reach for the scalpel or with the palm, one idea that unites us all is the importance of touch. We all rely on using the physical connection to influence the flow of body fluids.

All caregivers of dogs know we need to touch dogs to affect change. Dogs need our touch for the change effect.

Another concept that I’d like to believe unites us is that thorough professional training is essential. The practice of canine massage develops and evolves. Each generation builds on the shared experiences of previous and current practitioners. There is no reason to feel you need to reinvent the wheel from your own resources.

Another, is credentialing. These 3 circles of intent intersect to distinguish professionals from amateurs, practitioners from hobbyists, and those who could inadvertently injure dogs from those who have learned how not to.

The programs we have developed to assist dogs include PetMassage, dry and Canine Aquatic PetMassage.

Contact PetMassage.com when you are ready to be trained to be a professional canine massage practitioner, and become certified/credentialed in canine massage. We will guide you to learn the skills you need to know. And because touch is a personal connection, our training is in person, in on-site vocational training workshops at our school in Toledo Ohio. This is where an instructor with practical canine massage experience works with you. This is the way to learn what professional PetMassage Practitioners say and do to create businesses that are fulfilling, legal, and successful.

During these times of apprehension about catching or passing the corona virus, please be assured that our workshops are safe havens for training.

  • We have reduced class sizes, so that students are spaced 2 meters apart. -Masks and hand cleansing are mandatory.
  • And the hotels and restaurants that we recommend are maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and service.
  • Learn about workshops, home study programs, and original PetMassage books/DVDs (Christmas gifts) here: https://petmassage.com/shop/

It’s easy to find out more about PetMassage and each course and product offering. You don’t have to navigate a labyrinth to get the information you want. On our website nothing is hidden. You can even find Research Papers, previous Helpful Hints, and all of Anastasia’s Affirmations. Check out the extensive site map on the bottom of each page at www.PetMassage.com. It’s there for your convenience.

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