Charlie is an urban hunter who specializes in hunting tennis balls. I take him to overgrown fields and woodlands that surround many community tennis courts. "Where's the ball" puts charlie into hunting mode. He blindly follows his sensitive nose which is just an inch off the ground while his tail's wagging action tells me how close he is to his little round quarry. I'm always amazed at where he finds the balls, how many he finds and how fast he finds them. When we work as a team we find even more balls because I am taller, have full colour eye-sight and am able to retrieve balls he finds but can't get at. Charlie and I employ the same basic complimentary hunting skills Charlie and my ancestors used when they first met at the dawn of time. Sometimes it's hard to trust someone who is very different from who you are, how you are, or how you think, but the rewards can be incredible!

charles june 2012


While Charlie sniffed the base of a tall flower, I looked at the blossom in which three ants were marching around gathering nectar. While those ants may have known how to work together to bring the nectar back to their nest, I know they had no idea of the size and complexity of the garden in which their flower grew, that Charlie was sniffing at the stem of their flower or that I was watching the whole show.

Seeing how tiny and irrelevant those three ants and their flower were in the context of the world as I knew it made me wonder about how irrelevant my thoughts and actions are in the bigger picture - and who might be watching me watching the ants and Charlie.

Sharp Knives

My Father was a Cabinet maker who began his apprenticeship in Germany when he was 14. Part of his apprenticeship included making tools and keeping them sharp. when I lived at home you could shave with many of our kitchen knives as well as all of my father's wood-working tools. He died of Parkinson disease. As the disease progressed his mind and his tools lost the razor edge they had held for more than 70 years. Today the knives in our kitchen are like those found in most kitchens: dull. The knives - like the memory of my father are all there - but they just aren't as sharp as they used to be.


I went to Jeff and Lori's wedding today. The rain stopped just before they took their vows and started again just as their were being introduced to us as Mr. and Mrs. G.
The big raindrops that landed on Lori and Jeff today will become, what we in NLP call, 'anchors' - a visceral reminder of the moment. I'm willing to bet that for the rest of their lives that when light afternoon rain drops land on their heads or shoulders they will be reminded of today.
Many marketers use anchors to help lock in their product or service experiences. McDonald's does it overtly with (collectible)toys in their kids meals. Disney brings cartoon characters to life that shake your hand and pose for pictures. Apple does it more discreetly - turning a device into an extension of you.

The next time it rains and you think of 'anchors' you'll understand better how great marketing and advertising works.


I'd say that Charlie loves routine as much as my wife hates routine. I'm more like Charlie than Michelle. For the last three months Michelle and I worked hard to get our home in Toronto ready to rent in April because we needed to move to Winnipeg. I tried my best to keep Charlie calm by respecting his routine: including feeding, down and walk times. To make a long story short we got through it all and now we're setting up a new life in Winnipeg where we'll help care for Michelle's father. And Charlie has become a different dog. In Toronto he was the cock of the walk, the dominant dog who challenged all comers. Here he's the new kid on the block, treads lightly and never strays far from my side or the house for that matter. It's been two weeks now and each day we walk the same 4 km. route to help him establish a new territory he can mark - and make his own. It's working. He's becoming more relaxed and walks with greater confidence and purpose. And we have to go around his territory counter-clockwise. Very important. Why? Please re-read the opening sentence.