Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Did you hug or pet your dog today?

I still think about Aries. He was a laid-back dog who kept to himself and didn't bother any of my sister's cats. He also had amusing habits, such as entering a doorway by walking backwards. And he was a great dog to walk with. Oh sure, Aries might have taken some extra time to roll around on the grass on his back, but doing so made him feel good, obviously.

At the same time, I feel that I could have appreciated him a bit more, perhaps by petting him more often or taking him on longer walks.

That's the thing about pets that we love. We don't really appreciate them until we lose them. We become aware that losing those loved pets leaves a huge gap in our lives and even more aware that eventually, those pets' lives will end at some point. Instead of waiting for such times, and while our minds are on it, take some time now to appreciate your dog by making some quality time to pet or hug or play with him or her today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My sister's dog, Aries, is gone

My sister adopted her dog Aries after learning that he was going to be put to sleep, as no one wanted to take him in. He was a fat black dog with a body that looked like a barrel and very laid-back. He got along with my sister's other dog, Chloe, and her two cats. His favorite activity was sleeping on the rug or bed --- and eating.

But he was loved as any other family member. He was easy to take out for walks and had a very good life under my sister's care.

Then about two days ago, my sister sent an email about Aries being sick. He was listless and not feeling well, so my sister took him to the vet. Blood tests had to be taken and other procedures done to determine what Aries' health issue was and my sister sent me timely emails updating news about her dog. This morning, I checked my email and did not see an email update and felt uncomfortable.

My worst fears came to pass when my sister sent me an email this afternoon, saying that the vet said that Aries died last night. I was shocked and upset and just cried. I had loved Aries and walked him quite often. I still have to find out what did him in. The only thing I know is that Aries had a happy, fulfilling life at my sister's house and is now in the afterlife, healthy again and happily playing with other animals. I still miss him though.

Monday, July 25, 2011

You have a dog and .......

one or two nosy neighbors.

So your own dog pooped on your lawn and you clean up the mess and leave it on your steps. You didn't toss the poo in a neighbor's lawn. You didn't show it off. You didn't leave it for someone else to step on. Ok?

But one of your nosy neighbors didn't like that, so he or she reported you to the police!!!


Yep. The poo was on YOUR property and you were going to remove it and place it in the garbage just as soon as you took care of a last-minute matter. But your nosy neighbor couldn't stand it. She picked up her phone and reported you to the police for something that was on your own property, for godssakes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Putting a dog down because it's going blind?

I saw a question from a reader in today's paper, inquiring if he/she should consider having a pet dog euthanized just because the animal is losing its sight. That's got to be the dumbest excuse ever!

Anyway, the vet answering the question explained that such dogs develop their own mindmaps to compensate for the loss of sight and do fine, provided that the owner doesn't change things around by moving stuff around or placing a new obstacle in the dog's path. There is simply no excuse for euthanizing a loyal pet who has done nothing wrong and doesn't deserve to be put down all because its stupid owner refused to use common sense. And if the owner didn't want the dog, he or she should have tried to place it in the care of someone else, such as with a family member or friend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mind your dog during the heat wave!

I heard a vet on a radio talk-show today, advising all pet owners to keep their pets in a cool place. It's so easy, even too easy, to leave a pet like a dog indoors and forget to turn on a fan or the a.c. By the time the owner gets back home from work, he or she could find the dog in a coma. The dog should be taken to a vet immediately if that ever happens.

The vet also explained that animals feel hot temperatures more so than humans and that their bodies deal with high temperatures differently. Wish I knew how and could explain how, but I'm not a scientist or a vet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Should you have your dog put down?

Believe it or not, some people get rid of their dogs by having their dogs put down. Sometimes the reason is that the dog bit someone or harmed a child. Its owners lose their trust in the animal and have it put down if they can't find someone else to adopt the dog.

One expert believes that this issue doesn't have to exist, if only people chose their dogs more carefully. That is, if only more people knew a given breed's tendencies to become aggressive and whatnot. Then perhaps those people could avoid adopting that dog in the first place and thus avoid future problems. That may be something to consider.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pet food price extortions

A recent report stated that Americans did not mind pampering their pets during the Recession, spending 15% more on things like expensive pet food, vet care and other items. As I read this, I wondered why none of this came as any surprise.

After all, I've known for the longest time that all pet food is quite expensive. All of those trips to the supermarket, walking past aisles stocked with pet food of practically every variety imaginable, I always used to become just a little annoyed at the high prices that were being extorted from customers for a little bag of dry dog food, for example. Eight dollars for a little bag of dry food??? C'mon now. That little bag contains maybe half the amount of dry food inside;  the rest of that bag is air.

There's no telling when this price extorion insanity will end. I love cats and dogs as much as any pet owner, maybe more so. But to keep coughing up all of that money for air-filled bags and miniscule pet food cans is getting out of hand and seems to be rapidly forcing pet owners to make difficult choices, buy the food and pamper the pet. Or give up the pet.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th and your dog

It's July 4th again, which means that dog owners have a problem in helping their pets cope with the booms and bangs from outdoor fireworks shows. If you're really fortunate, your town may not feature such a show this year because of budget deficits. Otherwise, it's all gonna happen, unless Mother Nature puts on a show of her own in the way of thunderstorms and the like.

Hopefully, your dog will be able to cope. A good idea is just to bring your dog in the house and sit with him or her in a room that has the fewest windows. Close your windows and screened doors to eliminate more noise. Usually, the noise lasts for about an hour before it subsides and ends for the night, but for a dog that can't stand it and his or her anxious owner, that noise can seem to last for an eternity. You can speak softly to your dog, pet and play with him if that seems appropriate.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dog's view of a new toy

With the proliferation of the junk that passes for dog toys, you may do better by using stuff that your dog likes to play with anyway, such as ropes, rawhide or frisbees. A junky toy purchased from a regular or pet store will get your dog's passing attention and that's about it. There went anywhere from four to ten bucks-plus out the window, and for what?

This is probably easier to understand if you put yourself in your dog's place. You're sitting or lying comfortably on the carpet or rug in the living room and suddenly you hear your master walking in. He says something before tossing an object at you. The object is round and colorful and you're not quite sure what to make of it, so you touch it tentatively with a paw. The object moves ever so slightly, then becomes very still. You try to get a whiff of a smell from it, but unfortunately get nothing  So you get up and walk toward the kitchen or bedroom or where your master is sitting. Your master notices you, smiles, says something, then looks around you for something. He or she is going through the same phase, happens every time they present you with a toy and you don't play with it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 24th is "Take Your Dog to Work Day"- an appropriate observance?

I can understand the sentiment behind this "observance." A lot of people love and own dogs and care very deeply about them. Dogs are even seen as family members as well they should and that's all good. The thing is that I'm not so sure that everyone bringing a dog to their job is such a good idea.

While bringing a dog to the office might work, But roofers, sanitation people, medical personnel, librarians, and restaurant workers would be hard-pressed to bring their dogs to work, I would think. A dog would be a distraction and even a hindrance in many cases. And what about supervisors and other bosses?

I also like dogs, but believe that there are more appropriate ways to recognize them as great pets, friends and family members.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rant against certain dog "owners"/litterbugs

Yesterday afternoon, a jeep rolled slowly in front of my house. A woman sitting in the front passenger seat threw her bag on the ground. Seconds later, her male companion got out from the back seat and wiped his baggy shorts with napkins that were probably stolen from McDonald's. The woman took out a brown and white dog, walked it to the back of the jeep as the man repeatedly wiped his shorts with white napkins, then tossed the napkins curbside in front of my house.

The woman took out what appeared to be a mat for the dog to sit on, shook it out, and passed it to the man sitting on the backseat. In another minute or two, they were all back in the jeep and left. Too bad none of them thought of taking their trash with them. My thought was that their dog peed in the car and some of the pee wound up on the man's shorts.

Okay, so accidents will happen. This morning and afternoon, the soiled napkins were blown by passing traffic back on lawns and driveways. I, for one, would not touch those napkins, knowing that they had been used to wipe off dog pee. But I did kick them off my lawn back on the street, cursing the culprits as I worked. What goes around comes around though. I hope that they all find dog crap on their lawns or grass or sidewalks wherever they live. Those are precisely the people who should never own dogs or any other pet for that matter.

An animal lies injured on the street. What can/should you do?

Just recently, there was a report about a young woman who was killed while trying to save an injured dog by a hit and run driver. That driver remains on the loose. The young woman/good samaritan is gone from this life. And the dog died anyway. It must have been so badly injured that it had to be euthanized. A tragedy if there ever was one.

At the same time, this shows that a few people do love and care about animals and want to help them. Often, in an emergency, such as trying to assist an injured animal, the rescuer has little idea of what to do and how to do it. I couldn't see myself being in that situation. My first impulse would be to try to place the dog on a jacket or coat placed flat on the ground and getting it to one side of the road, then calling for help. But what should I really be thinking and then doing during such a critical time? How much risk should I consider taking regarding my life and the life of an injured animal? That sort of thing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How does she get away with it?

So this neighbor who lives directly across the street from me has three large dogs that she keeps cooped up in the house all of the time. Occasionally, you can hear them barking when a stranger or other dog walks past the house, but that is about it.

What I marvel at is her or her partner not walking those dogs --- or letting the dogs in the backyard! If I was in her place, I would have been out walking those dogs every day. But that's me.

Her house isn't that large and features dark rooms and a loose gutter hanging off one side. I don't see how those dogs can sit or sleep around without going crazy. Maybe they're drugged to stay quiet or starved or just too weak to move around. Her next-door neighbor probably hears the ravket but says nothing.

I can imagine what that house smells like inside, especially if the dogs' mess is not cleaned up immediately. There's probably dog pee and poo all over the house. Can you imagine stumbling around in that house when it's dark and inadvertently stepping inadvertently into a pile of dog poo?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Next time Chloe does that, she's on her own

It's really hot today, nearly 100 degrees, and I'm thinking about my sister's huskie-mix dog, Chloe. Chloe is white with blue eyes and loves to run. She doesn't seem to let the heat bother her and I can cite proof of that, lol!

About five summers ago, on a hot, humid June (early) evening, I was at my sister's house with my father, who had lung cancer. We were about to sit down to enjoy cool treats when my sister asked me to change Chloe's leash so the dog could be brought indoors. So I went out in the heat, pet Chloe and proceeded to switch her leashes. No sooner than I released one leash and was about to click on the other when Chloe took off.

Chloe ran to the neighbor's lawn half a block away before turning around, crossing the street, and running to one of the spacious lawns there. Of course, I was afraid that Chloe would be hit by a car and chased her across that lawn, plus three lawns after that. Seeing Chloe stop and look back at me before taking off again, I realized that she was having fun. Fortunately, one of the neighbors happened to be outside and I shouted for him to hold Chloe. He knew Chloe and caught and held her until I was able to catch up. My sister also drove up in her Jeep and before long, we were all back at her house.

Needless to say, I was relieved that everything turned out ok, in spite of my sweat-soaked top, jeans and hair. My dad had walked to the corner and was looking for us. As I got out of the Jeep, I told my sister that the next time Chloe pulled that stunt, I wasn't going to chase after her, especially in hot, humid weather.

And I haven't since.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Walking (from a dog's perspective)

Watching people walk their dogs, I began to wonder if their dogs were really "into" the walk or struggling to keep up with their owners' footsteps. I kept imagining the view ahead from a dog's perspective. First, the owner's shoes, the sidewalk that seems to be coming at you and leaving just as fast, and the grass on either side just a moving blur of green.

If you're all gung-ho into the walk as a dog, you probably take this constantly-changing scenery as a matter of course. But what happens if you're not feeling up to par --- maybe you have a toothache or a bellyache or tired feet or a painful paw? How can you keep up and not hurt even more? How can you make your owner pay attention and take away the pain or ache? Right now, he or she keeps walking, stopping only briefly when you take a quick time out to pee or examine something interesting in the blades of grass. But that's a fleeting moment as your owner again becomes impatient and tugs at the leash, which in turn, tightens your collar a bit, then a lot, as the collar presses into your skin. If your owner only knew......

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More about Patrick

A few posts ago, I wrote about Patrick, the pit bull that was starved and abused and placed in a garbage bag, then left for dead in a city dumpster. Fortunately, Patrick was rescued and treated at a good reputable veterinary hospital and is recovering nicely. His abusive owner is set to stand trial for nearly killing him.

For now, Patrick is staying at the hospital on the judge's ruling that he is evidence for the trial. The dog has also become a celebrity and has meant big business. He's attracted sizeable donations from kind-hearted donors. And only recently, the Associated Humane Society wanted Patrick back, claiming that they were the ones who rescued the dog in the first place. But the judge ruled against them, and I agree.

Every time I hear or think about that poor dog, I begin to cry, not only for Patrick, but for other abused dogs in similar situations. Their owners are complete monsters and should never had had the privilege of caring for a pet. In the meantime, I am planning on increasing my donations to pet charities, hoping that more money will help to save more dogs AND cats.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Should you adopt a dog based on its looks?

Maybe. A lot of experts on dogs would argue that you have other criteria besides selecting a dog based on the way it looks. But those experts tend to overlook the fact that if you like the way a dog looks, you have a built-in motivation to love and care for it for the rest of its life.

You will love and care for that dog in spite of its tendency to shed fur, to bark, to jump on you or your visitors, to be a finicky eater, to pull on its leash, to chew on your shoes, to become ill, and a hundred other things. Somehow, a bond was quickly established between you and that dog that can't be broken.

As is sometimes suggested, go with your instincts, go with the flow. After all, nothing in this life is perfect. There will always be shortcomings, disadvantages. But the bond and love that exists between you and your dog will surpass all of those negatives and you will have a friend for life.

dogs' tolerance of heat in warm weather

I've lost much of my tolerance for hot humid weather and can't stand walking around in it and increase my misery. But dogs may be different in that some of them seem to tolerate warm weather much better than me. I'm not familiar with local breeds of dogs and can only go by what I have seen.

My sister's huskie-mix dog, Chloe, doesn't seem to be uncomfortable in warmer weather. At most, Chloe sheds huge amounts of white fur. Now that she's groomed however, that shedding problem will surely lessen, but not go completely away.Chloe seems willing to go for a walk just about any time of day. On the other hand, poor Aries, my sister's other dog, is more content settling somewhere in the house, preferably on the bed and fall asleep. The only way that Aries will go out is if he needs to pee or poo. Otherwise, he's got to be encouraged to do so. He can't always be given his own way. That's all good and well, but it's too hot for me to do it.

On the whole, I think that the majority of dogs would rather chill indoors than out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

dogs love to have fun

Late yesterday afternoon, my neighbor's little white dog sauntered out of the house and skipped to the corner outside. My neighbor stepped out of the house and stopped to call the dog, but the dog walked a few steps away. So the neighbor stepped on the sidewalk, called the dog, but the dog didn't listen. Apparently tired of that, my neighbor began to walk over to get her dog, but the dog ran around the corner with my neighbor in tow.

A few minutes later, the neighbor returned carrying her dog in her arms. The dog didn't try to get away from her, but let her carry him (or her) up the stairs and back in the house.

I think that the dog was looking to exercise and was only playing. If that were not the case, it would have kept running away. This incident reminded me of the way in which my sister's dog, Chloe, got away from me as I was changing her leash. Only Chloe covered way more ground, running across the street on five big front lawns with me in tow. And I didn't catch her, but saw one of the neighbors and yelled for him to catch her, which he did and held for me and my sister. It was a hot and humid June afternoon too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

get to know your dog for this important reason

I think that much dog-training that works has to do with having rapport with your dog. Look at it this way. A new dog doesn't know you when you first meet. Obviously, getting acquainted in depth takes time. Give a little, get a little. Over time, a rapport with the dog can be established for the most part.

There's probably a small minority of dogs that will NOT obey oral commands, no matter how hard you try. That's just the way they are. It could be, though, that such dogs are wired to respond to other ways. Of course, some experimentation is in order Just have to remember that individual dogs have their own personalities and respond accordingly, or don't even respond at all.

The upshot is that time and patience are necessary as you get to know your dog better. And you will establish a good relationship with your dog before long!

Friday, May 27, 2011

You don't have to pay a lot of money to get helpful tips for your dog's care

I just finished reading the book, You Had Me at Woof. It was an account of a dog owner and dogs she had owned, loved and lost. I was looking for some practical tips for taking care of a dog as I read. Usually, in books like these, authors generally share their experiences as what to do and what to avoid in caring for your dog. These tips are especially valuable, since they are based on the owner's experience as a dog owner.

In the aforementioned book, I think I found something like three tips. At least, it was something though.

I admit that not all tips are "silver bullets," since the types of situations and dogs differ. But maybe it's possible to tailor a given tip to your own situation and dog. You get some idea of what to try or mistake to avoid. The price is the time you spend searching, but that price is likely to be far less than expensive books or veterinarian consultations.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chloe goes to the groomer

On Saturday, my sister had to take her dog, Chloe, for some grooming. Chloe's thick white fur really grew out and when you pet her, you wind up with a handful of white fur. Not only that, but there was fur everywhere --- on the couch, on the floor and on clothes. So a good grooming was absolutely necessary.

Chloe enjoys going for a ride and sitting in the back seat. Her collar and leash are on, but not attached to anything in the car, so the dog is free to sit or nap ---- or even be a pain in the you-know-what. We were pretty close to the groomer's place when Chloe began to get a little antsy. She'd sit up, lean forward until she was touching our necks, heads or hands. This was so distracting! I would have considered having Chloe sit in a crate for my peace of mind as I drove.

But Chloe was calm and probably wanted some attention. Fortunately, the trip to the groomer wasn't that long or bad, considering the traffic volume. And at the groomer's office, two or three staff members greeted Chloe and us and made a big fuss over the dog ---- this made a big hit with Chloe, as she loves to be fussed over, with everyone telling this huskie-mix how beautiful she is, lol!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Captain Marvel's been adopted, but there's this other dog needing a home

My sister didn't get to adopt Captain Marvel, the dog whose nose and ears turned pink as he's being pet. A lovely couple adopted the dog instead and seem to be great owners. Captain Marvel has indeed lucked out and will have a fine home.

But yesterday, we've seen another American bulldog that reminded me of Captain Marvel. The dog was rescued from the tornados down South. She was clean, but looked like she could gain some weight. And according to her foster owner, the dog gets along with cats and is extremely affectionate. The dog would be perfectly content to sit on a lap and give kisses all day if she could.

My sister liked the dog very much and is seriously thinking of adopting her. This time, I hope that no one else beats her to it, although I have my doubts. My sister is going away for the Memorial holiday and wouldn't be available to provide the dog with a lot of attention. So we'll see.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My wish for the woman who nearly killed her dog, Patrick

Sometimes people show how uncivilized they are when they create or play games involving cruelty to dogs. To make matters worse, such people expose innocent children to random mistreatment and reinforce it in electronic games especially.

When kids are exposed like this, they tend to think that such cruel behavior is the norm and treat real dogs in a similar way to get their kicks or amuse themselves. I don't find anything amusing about mistreating or abusing any animal. It's wrong on so many levels!  It's also sickening, such as the time that a woman nearly beat her dog, Patrick, to death, starved him, assumed he was dead, threw his body in a garbage back and threw everything in a dumpster.

Fortunately, someone found Patrick, who was taken to the hospital, treated, and miraculously survived his ordeal! The woman is not going to be punished harshly for animal abuse. I thought that officers considered making her do community service by working/volunteering in an animal shelter. They can't be serious! Letting such a person serve like this is like allowing a fox to guard the henhouse.

What I'd love to see is have the sh-- beat out of her, and her being stuffed in a bag and tossed in a dumpster, just so that she could experience what poor Patrick endured. That's what she truly deserves and who knows, she just might learn from her experience.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A dog that thought he was a person

One of my sister's former dogs, Cooper, was the dog who thought he was a person. Seriously! He'd raise his paw in response to my command, "Give me five!" And I gave him five!

Another way that Cooper thought he was a person was the way that he loved being dressed up in a costume for Halloween. My sister even entered him in an animal Halloween contest, and no, he didn't win, but he had fun.

Cooper also loved to dance. He'd stand on his hind legs and let you hold his paws. He was a great partner for walking or running down the street.

But at the same time, he wasn't exactly a young dog. In the summer of 2006, Cooper began to slow down, preferring to walk slowly or lie down instead of being more active. He had frequent diarrheas and had to be taken to the vet's office, where he was diagnosed with some sort of blood cancer. Later on that year, poor Cooper passed. But today, he lives on in our memories and hearts. One dog in a million.

Monday, May 9, 2011

People who kill police dogs should receive harsher sentences

A recent bill in the NJ assembly addresses the issue of extending punishment to anyone who deliberately kills a police dog. The fine would be larger as well, up to 15,000 dollars.

This was in response to a police dog who caught up with a criminal who shot the dog and threw its body on the highway. The killer got off too easily and is probably back out on the street like scum.

I say lock such criminals up indefinitely, fine them way more money and even consider administering a harsher punishment, something that will give them something to think about and experience serious pain. No one who harms an animal should be allowed to get off easily.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Only the thought of adopting a puppy is appealing

I love puppies!  They are so cute, as babies are.

That's as far as it goes. Those puppies need constant attention and training. They may be inclined to play rough or pee or poo wherever without some kind of training. And even during training, mistakes are bound to be made. There are also special foods and other needs, like shots. A lot of time, money and patience is needed. I always felt that it takes a special person to be able to do all of those things and wind up with the best dog ever.

For my money, I'll take an adult dog. That dog's personality is already established, along with his or her habits and training. As a matter of fact, an adult dog may be even in more need of a forever home because it is grown and maybe not so appealing in the way of looks. But it doesn't need that much time to become a  loving pet for a loving owner.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the day that you adopted or bought a dog

Many dog owners remember exactly how they wound up with their present dog or dogs. My sister, for example, drove on an exit when she noticed a dog that seemed to be chasing her car. She stopped in a safer location and checked the dog out. The dog turned out to be very friendly and not worse for the wear. My sister assumed that the dog was lost or had run away from home, so she took it to a shelter and waited. Days later, the shelter confirmed that no one inquired about the dog and my sister adopted it, eventually naming it Cooper. That is one incident that my sister will never forget.

But how about you? What circumstances led you to find a dog that is now your companion and best friend? When did you adopt him or her? Where? Why? How? What appealed to you the most about that dog? Do you remember?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Providing different, healthier treats for your dog

Dogs, like other animals, including humans, get tired of eating the same old thing, dog food, all of the time. One way of varying your dog's diet is by cooking for him or her. You'll most likely find recipes online or at the library or even at a place like Pet Smart. To use those recipes without all of the hassle, find two or three recipes that may appeal to your dog, check their ingredients, then buy the ingredients you need. Once you get home and begin to follow the recipe of your choice, you'll have all of the necessary ingredients on hand.

Besides treats, consider cooking vegetables for your dog in meat juices. Dollars to donuts, your dog will absolutely, positvely love the meal and eat it with gusto. My sister, for example, makes a sort of vegetable stew for her dogs and feeds it to them every so often. One of her dogs, Chloe, just loves to be fed raw stringbeans, one by one. And she's healthier for it. My dad used to think that Chloe was nuts, but he gradually became used to feeding Chloe raw stringbeans by hand --- and he wound up with a friend for life!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hiring a professional trainer for your dog worthwhile???

While you may have a good idea about how to train your dog, you may actually save time and money too by hiring a good trainer initially. The trainer will check your dog out, explain what is going on with him or her, and most important of all, identify issues that will likely affect the dog's behavior, plus tips on how to reinforce recent training.

You'll find out what collars and leashes are the most likely to be appropriate for your dog as well.

Depending on the given trainer's competence and fees, you may wish to consider hiring him or her to work with your dog for a few weeks or a few months. You'll probably wind up paying the trainer at least 20 dollars an hour. As in every other job, there are various levels of competency among trainers and if you want the best, you should expect paying more. Remember that you don't have to hire a trainer, but that hiring one once may save you a lot of time and effort in training your dog from scratch. Something worth thinking about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going beyond just advertising a lost dog

You pay attention to your dog's whereabouts ---- always. But deep down inside, you know that the possibility of your dog wandering away or getting stolen or injured exists. This is especially true if you allow your dog to freely wander around on your lawn or backyard.

When you must advertise a lost dog, a colored photo of the dog is very effective. You never know if someone has indeed seen your dog and would happen to recognize that dog's photo on your poster. You should mention your dog's name and your phone number on the poster also.

Too many times, owners of lost dogs merely post a gazillion posters in the vicinity and tend to leave things alone for awhile, hoping that a call will happen soon. Unfortunately, it won't likely, now or ever.

Your best bet is to tour the local shelters to look for your dog, because there's a good chance that your pet wound up there not so long ago and is languishing in a cage somewhere. And even more important, you must visit those shelters right away because most of those places are "kill shelters" and don't hold on to lost pets very long. This is the best favor that you can do for your dog and yourself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time to let the dog out!

I love the way in which dogs let you know that they want to go out or come back in the house. Watching my sister's dogs, I noticed first-hand what her dogs do.

Her really active huskie mix, Chloe, becomes restless and just seems to bounce around the house and runs to the door. Actually, what Chloe wants to do is go for a walk, but that's not possible right now. A meal or movie may be in progress and it's just not the right time. Maybe in a few minutes, but sure as heck, not right now. So what happens is that my sister will open the back door leading to the deck and allow Chloe to run around in the back yard for a little while. Doing this keeps the dog out of trouble and gives the dog something to do.

Now the other dog, Aries, is much more laid-back. What he'll do is calmly walk to the door and just kind of hang out. Patiently. Just trying to let everyone know in his own quiet way that he needs to pee and/or poo. He knows that sooner or later, someone will take notice, and open the door and walk outside with him on the front lawn or simply open the backdoor leading to the deck and backyard and allow Aries to go out and do his thing.

Some dogs are going to be more aggressive, some less. But they do get the point across. It's a matter of being closely observant and acting accordingly.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When it comes to training, a dog is definitely easier to train than a cat

I was at Borders yesterday, perusing books on animal care and training and happened to pick up a book whose subject was training cats in ten minutes. Can you believe that?

After all, a cat is not a dog, but that book's methods reminded me of some of the steps involved in training a dog. I think that dogs are a little easier to train. For the most part, they will cooperate, maybe a bit slowly, but with good results ultimately. A cat, for the most part, definitely will not cooperate. It will do the things it wants when and how it wants. A dog is a tad more cooperative.

Once the dog is acclimated, it's fine and shows its love for its owner. Just yesterday, for example, my sister's husky mix, Chloe, licked her face a few times before settling down. Now do you think for one minute that a cat will do the same or similar thing?  Of course not!  Ok, I know that there are rare instances where a cat may do all of that. Its personality allows it to.

Don't get me wrong though. I like cats and dogs, but given the choice of training either one, I would opt for training a dog in a New York minute.....and get results.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Introducing your dog to your other dogs

The answer is, gradually. Things may not be so bad when you already have one or more adult dogs at home and are bringing in another adult dog. On the other hand, introducing a puppy to a home with adult dogs or an adult dog to a home with a puppy may be an entirely different story.

At no time from the get-go should the dogs be allowed to mingle. The new dog needs some time and space to become acclimated to its new home and perhaps sleep or eat quietly. Ideally, you can use a spare room and provide a dog bed, dish of water and food for your new dog. Once your new dog has had some time to adjust to his surroundings, you should allow your dogs to be in each other's company, gradually at first. I don't think that you'll be able to predict the results of this meeting, given the sizes, breeds and ages of your dogs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

He won't hurt you

You're walking along, minding your own business, when suddenly you look up and see a dog walking up to you and its owner a few feet away. The owner smiles, trying to be reassuring (?). And while you like dogs, you instinctively panic as you watch this dog, afraid to move. In the meantime, the owner says something like, "Go ahead. He won't hurt (or bite) you."

Yeah right.

Maybe if the dog was leashed, I wouldn't mind walking calmly by. This happens to be a rather large dog who could easily jump on me and knock me down. And his attitude doesn't seem very friendly, so who are we kidding anyway?

The fact of the matter is that I don't trust the owner, or the dog, for that matter. An unleashed dog can do just about anything.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coming soon --- Captain Marvel's soon to be Excellent Adventure!

A few posts ago, I wrote about this American Bulldog that I had seen and petted at PetSmart. He was the friendliest dog ever and whose ears and face turned pink when he was being pet up. The dog's name, which I didn't mention, is Captain Marvel.

The coolest thing is that Captain Marvel may just have a new home pretty soon ---- and the person who is probably going to adopt him is my sister! She told me how she was strongly considering adopting the dog. I hope that she can because she's really good with dogs and experienced in caring for them. In addition, she wound up liking Captain Marvel a LOT and is not going to rename him. In my post about this dog, I even said that I strongly considered adopting him, but I've already got four indoor cats and the stray cat outside.

I really love Captain Marvel and know that he will be a great dog!  Hope that my sister can adopt him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

questions on getting your dog to an audition and maybe even in a movie

Seeing dogs in movies in times too numerous to mention, I've often wondered what it took for those dogs to make it and even achieve some fame. Here's my list of questions:
- Where do you find a list of people/places for dogs to audition?

- What are some typical audition requirements?

- Does your dog have to be a certain type, age, ability?

- Will your dog stand a better chance of winning a movie role if it is especially good-looking or obedient?

- Are there talent agencies for dogs?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading dogs

Well, not exactly dogs that actually read. But more like dogs that help children who are shy or who need help in reading to read. In Ohio, these therapy dogs are being used in one elementary school to do just that! A child selects a book to "read" to the dog, then cuddles next or sits in front of the dog and reads the book. And interestingly, that child's shyness problem or reading issue gradually improves.

I would have loved that sort of thing as a grade school child, as I was very shy and was almost left back simply because I could not speak in class in front of classmates. As a result, my teachers must have assumed that I was stupid and had been more than willing to leave me back. Too bad that therapy dogs weren't available then!

I even think that I would have wound up with a dog of my own, once my parents noticed that I really liked dogs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finding someone to dog sit can be a hassle

If you must leave your dog at home for a few days or weeks at a time, do you miss him or her?  And don't you feel tempted to bring your dog with you sometimes?

It isn't easy, especially if you can't find a volunteer to walk and'or feed the dog for the time that you'll be away. A lot of people who might be good volunteers may be employed full time or live too far away or are too young or too old or have health issues that prevent them from being with your dog temporarily. Of course, you can go the pay route, which may involve hiring an experienced person who knows and likes dogs or even taking your dog to a kennel for the time being.

In any case, doing any of these things can be quite a hassle. If you'll have to be away from home frequently, you may want to think twice before adopting a dog.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miracle dog

An emaciated pit bull who was lying on the bottom of a trash heap, had been abused by his owner and was close to death. But the poor dog was discovered and nursed back to health. His recovery was miraculous, as no one, not even the veterinarians involved in his care, expected him to survive AND thrive.

To look at him today, you would never think that the dog had gone through such torture.

Fortunately, his owner was found and charged with animal abuse. When I heard this, I immediately thought that the owner should have been treated the same way that he treated his dog. That is, he should have been starved and smacked around.

Unfortunately, a lot of potential dog owners are not what they want everyone to believe they are. Once these low-down, worthless scum are given the privilege of caring for a dog, they abuse it by mistreating the dog. The most frustrating thing is that the mistreatment isn't obvious until it's almost too late, with the dog dying or already dead.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Putting away some money to help your dog

Ok, so you wanted to get pet insurance for your dog, and knowing how expensive that was, you postponed it for the time being. That was fine. You just avoided paying extra money for something that was nice to have, but not really necessary.

What you might think about doing instead is just putting some money aside, perhaps in a special bank account, to cover unexpected issues. That money will likely earn interest and yet, help you cover care and other things like medicine and food. You won't owe monthly premiums or be forced to pay additional money out for price increases and the like. If you didn't sock that money in such a special account, you would probably have to reach deeper in your pocket to cover unexpected costs. But you wisely anticipated those costs and saved ahead of time.

Great move!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is it possible to really understand the way dogs think?

You want your dog to do certain things and may figure that thinking like he or she does may strengthen the bond between you and your dog considering everything he's learned already, such as not to steal food from the table or following the cat or not eating grass on the lawn.

Now you probably have some idea of why your dog does those things. It's interesting to think about and even to research. Your vet might have a few answers for you in that regard. You can also search blogs and forums for answers. You'll likely find quite a few guesses, especially from other dog owners. For answers, I've looked through books on dog behavior and ownership and found a number of reasons or guesses. If you're still befuddled, though, just remember that experts are puzzled as well. We still have a lot to learn about our dogs, but that knowledge will come, eventually.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Does a good watchdog necessarily have to be large?

There are many good things to say about owning a large dog and letting that dog serve as a watchdog. His or her growling and barking are likely to be louder and more menacing to a would-be burglar. Plus the dog may well be able to defend himself when necessary. Now I hasten to add that large dogs are just as likely to be affectionate to the point of greeting a burglar with a wag of the tail and allow that burglar to do as he or she pleases in the house. You don't want a dog that's too friendly to strangers.

On the other hand, a smaller dog may be perfect!  It may have a shrill bark and be less likely to be intimidated by a burglar or other criminal. And it can easily bite and nip as well. A smaller dog also tends to eat and poo less and may be easier to walk and control on a leash. At the same time, a little dog is just as likely to be friendly to strangers and allow strangers as burglars to pet and give them treats. So again, you've got to be careful about the type of dog you choose to serve as a watchdog for your home!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wouldn't it be great if .....

Today, I happened to see an old guy waiting for his dog to finish doing his business on someone's lawn. Not only that, but the dog then walked a short distance and then proceeded to smell the grass on another lawn. And of course, his owner waited patiently for him to finish.

Now, wouldn't it be nice if all of the things that dogs love to smell and see could be bottled up somehow and later be opened up indoors instead of our being practically forced to go out in inclement weather to walk the dog? The dog would be happy, we would be happy, and free for a little while. It would be a win-win situation, hands down.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

test potential dog owners?

Owning any pet, but especially a dog, usually involves a lot of soul searching. Why do you want to own a pet in the first place?  After all, you are making a commitment of time and money caring for that animal. More importantly, that animal isn't and shouldn't be regarded as a plush toy. It is a living being and needs love and care. If it is a dog, it needs to be walked and exercised, then sheltered in a good home.

I say this because a lot of people only consider a dog's looks and/or breed and tend to ignore caring and commitment issues. A smaller dog still requires as much care as a larger-sized dog and then some. Every aspect needs consideration. Take, for example, a neighbor who owns three rather large dogs and walks them only when it suits her, which is infrequently at best. But she still views them as her pets and takes them and the companionship they provide for granted. If her dogs' behavior changes, that neighbor will blame them first instead of herself. Her dogs are probably smarter than she is.

She and other assuming dog owners take for granted their pets' unconditional love and see their pets as things or objects. They are the very people who should not own dogs. Their ownership qualities are a sham. They and other potential dog owners probably need to take a test or something that will document their willingness to adopt and care for a dog. Otherwise, their non-concern will imperil dogs' lives and the lives of others.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why do you want to adopt a dog?

Here are a few replies:

- "Because I want one."

- "I want a dog to keep me company."

- "I need a watch dog."

- "A family member wants a dog."

- "I visited a shelter or a place like PetSmart and saw a dog that I love. Now I want to adopt it."

Any thoughts?  Why did you adopt your dog?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thanks to volunteers who help dogs

The dogs featured on hard-cover book jackets are the type of dogs I'd love to own. Their sad brown eyes, well-groomed fur, and overall appearance seemed to beckon me, making me want to reach out and pet them and sympathize. I feel most sorry for dogs serving the military in places in war zones around the globe. It would be nicer if dogs didn't have to be put in harm's way and suffer as much or even more so than their human handlers and companions. My sympathy and heart go out to dogs who are left to cope by themselves in natural and man-made disasters. It's tough out there dealing with floods, mudslides and hurricanes alone, with no familiar human or available food and water.

At the same time, I read accounts of people saving dogs and other household pets, taking them in, caring for them, or volunteering in shelters for those animals despite conditions outside. Thanks to those human saviors, dogs' lives are improved and small comforts become available once more.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

claiming a dog as a dependent on tax forms--- shouldn't that be allowed in certain cases?

Ok, I know that dogs and other pets can't be claimed as dependents on tax forms, other than perhaps seeing-eye dogs. But wouldn't it be nice if senior citizens could claim their dogs as dependents?

If that person should become ill, he or she could get the dog to bring something or run to a neighbor's house for help. At the very least, the dog would probably have raised a racket by barking. At the same time, the dog would be a constant companion, easing that person's loneliness. It would be a win-win situation, especially if no relatives lived nearby or that person had no family left, period. Being able to claim his or her dog would be nice.

The government would probably argue that the dog is not a human, and it is therefore ineligible to be claimed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Selling" dogs to prospective dog owners

Sometimes the dedicated volunteers that oversee individual dogs (mostly) remind me of used-car salespeople. The volunteers express their love and fondness for dogs, for example, and compare their dogs to the dog entrusted in their care for a short time at a pet store. But in discussing the dog in their care, volunteers are more prone to emphasizing their dog's positive qualities, aka, selling that dog to prospective owners.

I'm not complaining, by any means. It's just an observation based on a number of visits to PetSmart. One person's opinion. Many customers stop by, pet the dogs and exchange information about their dogs. Other customers linger a little longer, deciding whether to commit to adopting a given dog --- or not.

I think that the biggest challenge for these volunteers is persuading a potential dog owner that a given dog is very desirable and the perfect pet for that person. But what ultimately matters is that homeless dogs get loving homes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

the difficulty (or ease) in training a dog actor

So I watched "Due Date," a movie I got from Netflix today. In addition to human actors, the movie featured what appeared to be a very obedient chihuahua. This dog seemed to enjoy being fed by hand, sitting quietly in the back seat of a car, on the sidewalk, and even masturbating with its master. When its master told it to stop doing that, the dog stopped. Amazing!

The dog's facial expressions were also interesting and funny to watch. Its expressions revealed amusement and shock very well.

Since I've not had dog training experience, I can only imagine that training that chihuahua must have taken a fair amount of time to accomplish and wondered what the criteria was for dog actors anyway. Did the dog, for example, have to possess a certain personality?  What mistakes or bloops did it make in rehearsals and when? Overall, I would imagine that regardless, training a dog to act is probably a lot easier than training a child to obey. I could be wrong though.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Fell in Love Again at Petsmart

It's true. I bought a few cans of cat food, then walked in an area that was lined with pet handlers and dogs. I came across this American bulldog who reminded me of the Target dog. Only this dog's circles were brown instead of black. That dog, and I forgot his name, had to be one of the most affectionate dogs EVER. He never seemed to get tired of licking ---- and the more he licked, the pinker his face and ears got. Unbelievable.

I've never seen such a friendly, affectionate dog who was found wandering homeless in the streets of Newark, NJ. I would have adopted him in a New York minute. I gotta admit, though, he wasn't very handsome, but still couldn't be beat for a pet having so much love and affection to give. First time I said or thought all of that. I, who have four cats who probably would not appreciate a dog in their midst.

I'll never forget that dog. I hope that my sister adopts him secretly and offers me a chance to bring him home.

As I stated earlier, I fell in love again at Petsmart.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring pamper your dog by brushing him or her

Now's the time to pay closer attention to your dog's general health, particularly its skin. Dogs are also susceptible to allergies, fleas and skin disorders. Seemingly minor issues can soon become major ones if you aren't careful. As you pet or brush your dog, you may likely discover those problems and deal with them before they become serious health issues.

But brushing your dog benefits him or her in other ways. It establishes a better connection between you and makes your dog feel better. As you brush, you're also removing excess fur from your dog, yourself, your floor and furniture. All of that leads to a cleaner home and furnishings AND dog! It's a win-win situation. You should know that there are special brushes that practically clean themselves. They might cost a little more, but the convenience of using one is priceless if your dog sheds a lot during the year. You and your furniture will wind up with less fur to clean up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What if your watch dog doesn't really watch?

Believe me, there are dogs like this. They don't bark when they should and alert the owner. They merely sit and stare at the window. And even if a burglar did break in, that type of dog would wag its tail. Ok, so I might exaggerate a bit, but you know what I mean.

Personally, I believe that there are better ways of protecting a home besides bringing in a dog specifically for that purpose. A dog is a living being that requires food and other comforts of home, and most of all, costs a lot of money over its lifetime. It can be a loyal pet and loving friend, so its purpose of serving as a watch dog may be a total waste. I think that I would prefer a dog as a pet instead of just a watch dog. I'm sure that it would bark if it sensed danger such as a burglar breaking in.

Still, I find the question intriguing. After all, wasn't one of the reasons for owning a dog knowing that it would also serve as a good watch dog?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

licks from a dog

I like dogs. I really do. But there is one thing about dogs that I find hard to take --- and that is a dog licking my hand and/or face. I know. This is probably equivalent to a sloppy wet kiss from a pet and I'm fine with that. I just have a problem coping with a lot of dog saliva. Yuck!

Actually, this should not be an issue at all. I kiss my cats and let them nuzzle my face and hands in a show of affection. So why should I be any different when it comes to dogs?

Maybe I'm not used to getting hit with a lot of saliva all up at one time. It's wet, it's on my face or hands, and it came from a dog. Then maybe I've not had as much experience in getting used to being licked by a dog. Don't get me wrong --- I'm not blaming the dog by any means! I think that getting used to being licked is a matter of getting used to it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

dogs surviving a disaster

I am always amazed at dogs who are involved in rescue efforts in natural and manmade-related disasters. They nimbly walk over piles of rubble, water and other debris to locate victims in horrible conditions. These dogs are loyal and smart and are owed a great deal of gratitude.

At the same time, there are other dogs, peoples' pets, that are caught and must struggle in unreal conditions just to survive. Last Friday, for example, a few dogs were shown on television wandering around in water that looked fairly deep in god-only-knows- what conditions. Many of those dogs deal with hunger, disease and thirst. My heart went out to those animals. I hoped that those dogs and other pets would soon be found and reunited with their owners, or at least receive comfort and good care until the owners could be found.

In either scenario, locating disaster victims or struggling for survival in a disaster, dogs deserve sympathy and efforts to help them. They were and are victims of circumstances as well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

the main attraction of dogs

I think that I know why many people prefer dogs over cats.

Dogs tend to be more responsive. You call them and they respond. Of course, not all dogs respond quickly;  a few dogs like my sister's Aries takes his sweet time, but he does show up. On the other hand, cats are different. For the most part, they don't respond, especially if they're napping or are otherwise engaged. Their ears may perk up, but that doesn't mean much. It often takes a LOT before a cat comes to you, usually because it is hungrry.

A lot of people consider cats aloof and less friendly. A few dogs happen to be the same way and must be trained, which brings me to the next point. Dogs are probably easier to train than cats. They seem closer to their human owners than cats do. Dogs seem to enjoy being babied, but cats tend to become annoyed and react negatively to excessive attention.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

minding the dog that's home alone

My sister makes sure that she provides for her dogs when she has to be out of the house. If she's only going to be out for awhile, she keeps them in the house. I would do the same thing. Unsupervised dogs wandering the streets could come to harm and/or harm others. As a pedestrian, I try to avoid any dog that is wandering around without its owner nearby, and even if that owner is nearby and says, "He won't hurt ya!" bothers me. I keep thinking, well, suppose the dog does do something, such as bite me?

The story is a little different if my sister knows that she's going to be out even longer. She knows that her dogs tend to sleep on her bed or sofa during the day. But what happens when they're up and about and ready to go? In that case, she arranges for a trusted friend to stop by and keep the dogs company for a little while. Cats too. That friend likes dogs and cats, so sitting with them for awhile isn't a big problem. It is easier for the owner to know that her dogs are being taken care of and even walked as necessary.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why a standard leash is better than an adjustable leash

For some reason, standard leashes are ideal. They allow you more control as you walk your dog. You avoid having to adjust the leash for a dog who would rather run across the street dragging you along than walking calmly with you. As you might have guessed, I'm referring to adjustable leashes.

To be sure, those leashes seem to be very popular. I've seen dog owners walk their dogs, casually adjusting the leash as necessary and no one is worse for wear. However, for people who are unaccustomed to using such leashes on their dogs, adjustable leashes can be quite annoying. You can unwittingly give your dog way too much slack, which leads to the dog doing other things, like chasing squirrels or cats or birds or relieving himself/herself on a lawn two houses down the block. Plus, there is always the possibility of malfunctioning. While you try to find and fix the problem, your dog is trying to cross the street or chasing people or other animals.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting the best dog food for the money

Shopping for pet food is usually a hassle if you are at a supermarket. There are a few brands, including the supermarket brand featured on shelves. One or more of those brands may be on sale, and if it's a brand you normally buy, take advantage of the sale. Otherwise, consider not buying, unless your supply is nearly depleted.

You may be thinking about buying a cheaper dog food, but that may be a false saving. For one thing, you may not be sure if your dog will eat that food. Sure, the food is cheaper, but not so if your dog won't eat it. The other option is just buying your dog's favorite food anyway, regardless of cost.

Another option is going to a pet-supply store and buying your dog's food at a discount. For example, a can of food costing 50 cents at the supermarket may only cost some 40 cents there. While you're at it, take a look at dry foods. You may find a good sale on a brand that your dog will eat, and to discover that the brand is on sale is gravy. Buy it! You should even consider buying in larger quantities if possible. It's a win-win situation for you, your dog and your wallet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Evidence that more dog owners are being responsible

Not that long ago, very few people bothered to clean up after their dog outside. As a dog soiled an area of sidewalk or lawn, his or her owner tended to look the other way, then walk along with the dog as if nothing ever happened. The annoying part was that an unwitting child or adult would sometimes step on the stuff, then have a devil of a time cleaning up his or her shoe(s).

Nowadays, it seems like nearly every dog owner I've seen in the neighborhood carries a plastic bag or a pooper-scooper as he or she walks the dog----and uses it! Fortunately, carrying either item as you walk the dog seems to be fairly routine. More dog owners are finally becoming more responsible, always a good thing.

I was thinking that perhaps fines on irresponsible owners might have done the trick. The fines aren't posted on street signs, but that's okay. There are signs posted, though, warning dog owners to clean up after their dog --- or else. How much simpler does it have to get? All I can say that it's about time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

what if you still don't know what kind of dog to own?

The next best option to actually owning a dog is caring for someone else's. You can "dog sit" or walk dogs or even work in a kennel. You get to know various dogs and their behavior and needs. You wind up having a good idea of the kind of dog you'd like to own someday.

All of this can be used to supplement research on dogs and may even beat research in the long run. Of course, it may involve a lot more time than you think, but will at the same time increase your own knowledge about the type of dog you'd love to own.

This is not to say that personalities for any given breed of dog will always be clear-cut and should be accepted as a given. For example, consider pit bulls. A lot depends on their owner(s) and it's possible to find a pit bull that is loving and well-behaved. Picking a dog to own is just like everything else. Investing time to learn more is well worth the effort.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get a St. Bernard? Why not?

The other night, I was talking to my sister over the phone and thought that I would shock her a little. I mentioned that if I could get a dog right away, it just might be a St. Bernard!  She wasn't shocked, much to my surprise. She said that St. Bernard puppies are cute, and I believed her. They are!

Needless to say, my cats would not appreciate any dogs. But that's ok. All my cats need is a little time to get used to a lovable mutt like a St. Bernard. Now I don't know if those dogs would eventually coexist peacefully with the cats, though I'll be able to know more after researching the matter.

I should be able to bring things off in due time. I love animals and have had experience being around dogs, such as my dad's dog, Princess, and my sister's two dogs, Aries and Chloe.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Neighbor's little dog knows just what to do

So this morning, my neighbor, who owns a little white terrier, opened her front door and let the dog outside. The dog ran down the steps and relieved himself or herself on the little strip of lawn in front of the neighbor's house. It looked back at the neighbor, who seemed to call it back to her, ran the opposite way a few steps, then ran back to her.

Then the neighbor walked to her car and opened its door. I thought that she was going to go out and take the dog out with her for a ride. But that didn't happen. The amazing part was that her dog didn't run across the street or in the car. The little companion simply stayed on the sidewalk, waiting for the neighbor to finish what she had to do. That dog was well trained. It never barked or gave the neighbor a hard time.

That was all such a cute sight to see. The bond between my neighbor and her dog was clearly in place!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

After a short time, your dog just gets to know you

It's true. Your dog can practically tell when you're returning home, when you're planning to feed him or her, and going out for a walk or a drive. When I still lived at home, my dad put on his hat after supper, saying he'd be back in an hour or two. Instantly, his dog, Princess, would appear and start sniffing at his hands. She anticipated that he'd be picking up the leash and taking her out for a walk. And usually, she was right.

Dogs, after living with you for awhile, can practically understand what you're saying, such as the word, "walk." That word holds special significance for a dog that "knows" he or she will be going out for one shortly. I don't know how dogs do it. Do they go by the sounds of words? Gestures of their owners? Who knows? But it's an amazing thing to witness as well as be a part of.

The point here is that your dog just knows.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

what to do about a neighbor's dog that just can't stop barking

I spoke about a particular dog that barked at everyone who walked past. And even long after a pedestrian walked past that barking dog, the dog kept right on barking loudly. Today, I got a better look at the dog as it barked at me. It's some kind of German Shepherd mix, a huge vicious-looking beast out of a nightmare scenario.

I feel for the beast's neighbors who lived right next door and how the windows of their house face the dog's owners' backyard and how difficult it must be to tolerate all of that noise at various times during the day.

In that case, complaining to the dog's owners probably won't help, if anything, it will make a bad situation worse. Neighbors can be pretty spiteful, especially if they happen to be stupid. You would think that those owners would be uncomfortable about having their dog barking all of the time and try doing something about it----like taking their dog to the vet and getting it checked out for possible health issues.

Not about to happen. Maybe the dog owners are waiting for the dog's life to run its course and the dog dtopping dead at some point. That's the way it looks.

And I feel for the neighbors, who probably stay home over the weekend, and are captive listeners to that dog barking loudly all of the time. Had I been in their place, I would have seriously considered moving out and already have been out of there a long time ago. Never mind selling the house because no one is about to buy it anyway, given the high ridiculous property taxes. Nah, I would have simple given the house away to a charity and reap the tax benefits, anything to get away from a dog that never seems to stop barking.

Friday, March 4, 2011

when a dog is hyper or spirited

I'm referring to puppies and adult dogs who either have the potential to get hyper or are hyper (should I say "spirited?"). Hitting them should never be an option. Same thing goes for yelling at them. When my dad used to walk my sister's dog, Chloe, a husky mix, Chloe was and is rather spirited and often had other ideas as to which direction she ought to walk. Naturally, she pulled at her leash and nearly succeeded in dragging my dad along.

But my dad wasn't having any of it. He swore loudly at her to just walk, damn it. Chloe probably understood, but also thought that it might be more fun to be contrary and she took her sweet time in complying. And my dad calmed down seconds later. The bond between him and Chloe was already in place and the dog really did like him, no matter how much he yelled at her.

Much to his credit, my dad still exercised a lot of patience with Chloe and it all paid off in the end. The dog became his closest companion and never left his side when my dad suffered, and eventually passed away, from lung cancer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is there such a thing as spoiling a dog?

I know that dogs' behavior varies for many reasons, but that all seems to change when those dogs find out that their owner says a certain word or does a certain thing like opening the fridge that means only one thing: TREATS!

Yep, then all hell breaks lose, as the dog or dogs come running to the kitchen or wherever they converge to get their treats. The dogs look up expectantly waiting for their treats and even whine a bit until that treat is forthcoming. Then once the treats are distributed and eaten, the dogs settle down and all is quiet on the western front. They sleep or sit and relax until it is time for that walk or eat dinner.

At first glance,  it seems that these dogs are trained. But I think that it is more like they are spoiled. Not acclimated. Not programmed. Spoiled, lol!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Riding with a dog in the car

For some reason, a lot of dogs love to go for a ride in a car. I've seen this happen time and again when my sister's dog, Aries, heads for my car as I'm opening the door on the driver's side. Now I'm not saying that I've had the experience or pleasure of having a dog accompanying me as I drive. If I ever did that, I'd worry about the dog remaining securely in his or her seat as I drove. There are quite enough distractions on the road as it is, lol!

Which by the way brings me to the issue of being a new dog owner and needing to transport my dog in my car. Of course, I would first assure myself that the dog would enjoy this experience and not likely running around while the car was in motion.

I think that I would be inclined to place my dog, if he or she was small, in a carrier first and then secure that carrier to the car's back seat with a seat belt. After a few minutes, the dog would hopefully settle down quietly. But I think for that to happen, I would train my dog to become used to riding in a car for longer periods of time.

Certainly, my dad never used to have a problem having Princess, a large dog, riding in the passenger seat next to him as he drove. Princess was very well-mannered. She would jump on the passenger seat and remain seated. Mostly, she would stare straight ahead, but occasionally look through the window quietly. She never barked or caused a ruckus of any kind.

Monday, February 28, 2011

buy that new toy now rather than later

Dogs tend to get tired of their toys, which is something that you probably know. Before your dog gets tired of his or her toys, consider preparing for that event and shopping for a new toy.

A lot of those toys are expensive, but all you really need is one toy that your dog may play with. An example is a squeak toy. This toy gives your dog something to do, as the dog hears the squeak and runs after the toy.

Another idea is finding a toy that features a quality that your dog likes, but is different from what he or she already uses. Examples are frisbees and rope toys.

Most important of all, try to avoid shopping for a different toy at the last minute, which will have you paying more money than you intended to spend and winding up with something that your dog will not enjoy using.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Owner is forced to give up his dog. Now what?

I think that one of the hardest things to do is to give up a dog that you've owned for a few years in a row to a shelter. I'd have a hard time doing that myself. But if I were up and years and had a few health issues, I'd probably have no other option ----unless I could find a family member who would agree to care for my pet.

That probably would not happen.

But today, I read an article about this older guy who had to go to an assisted living facility --- and give up a dog he owned for eight years. On the day that he bought the dog to the shelter, he asked the staff if he could walk his dog one last time. And the staff agreed. That turned out to be an emotional event for staff and other people. When it was over, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Got to be honest. I cried as I read this story.

Because this event had such an impact, the shelter did find a great person to take care of the dog, thanks to the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Stern. The dog is going to have an excellent home!  I know, I know, this won't be much of a consolation for the original owner. He'll still think about and miss his dog. He won't be able to see or pet his dog anymore, unless of course, the new owner can bring the dog to the assisted-living facility to see its previous master.

But at least, the dog now is assured of a good home for the rest of its life. It's a win-win situation for the dog.

Monday, February 21, 2011

There's no such thing as one size fits all in choosing a dog

Look in any book about dogs and go online and you'll find a lot of advice on choosing a dog or puppy. The strangest thing about all of this advice is that much of it sounds the same and very little is adapted to a given age group of potential owners.

It's like one size --- or bit of advice on choosing the right dog for you --- is uniform, regardless of your age and circumstances/situation.

That simply isn't true. For the most part, you have to adapt much of that advice. And you're pretty much on your own when it comes down to doing so. That's got to be so unfair!  But I guess that in the interest in reaching as wide an audience as possible, many authors and their publishers overlook differences in potential dog owners, such as age and circumstance that they aim for the middle and hope that their message reaches at least most of their audience, even if it doesn't quite fit.

Friday, February 18, 2011

the toy "guard" dog

My now-deceased aunt always lived alone in a relatively safe, quiet neighborhood. She always remembered to lock her doors when she was leaving the house and of course, remembered to lock them when she was inside. She took other precautions that kept her safe throughout her life.

And yes, she did own a little dog, Skippy, for a few years. But as always happens, dogs age and finally die. So when Skippy died, my aunt didn't adopt any more pets, cats or dogs. My dad knew this and understood that my aunt, because of her age, knew that she couldn't take care of any more animals.

So my dad did the next best thing and bought her a rather large stuffed toy dog. My aunt propped the toy dog close to the window, giving the impression that her house was protected by a guard dog. From the street, that stuffed dog looked like a real dog and I suppose, fooled anyone who happened to be passing by. That strategy must have worked because no one ever tried to get in, thanks to that stuffed guard dog and neighbors who knew her situation and were there when she needed help.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the closest thing to owning a dog

I think I've found a way to overcome doubts about owning a dog, and that way is to volunteer to walk a dog at a local shelter. You begin to know dogs and their behavior first hand and learn useful ways to deal with them as well.

To do this, visit a local shelter and let them know that you'd like to volunteer and you'll likely be handed an application. A few shelters actually provide some initial training once you're accepted. This is done in the best interests of your efforts and the dog's well-being. Your success will practically be guaranteed!

Altogether, this is a win-win situation for you, the shelter, and most important of all, the dog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrating Valentine's Day with your dog

- Buy him or her a trreat

- Buy a special toy that only he or she will like

- Decorate his or her collar for Valentine's Day

- Have him or her wear a red sweater

- Play with him or her a lot today

- Throw a red frisbee for your dog to catch and bring back to you

Sunday, February 13, 2011

on the prospect of having a St. Bernard dog

Lately, I've been fantasizing about adopting a St. Bernard dog. I like the way it looks and would probably be able to manage and care for such a dog properly. I would imagine that St. Bernards eat a lot, but could be wrong. There have to be proven ways to provide a good diet without putting oneself in the poor house.

Even more important, I think that a St. Bernard would be a cool dog to walk. Just the sight of him should make neighborhood dog owners, especially the owner of that little white yippy dog around the corner, bow their heads in respect and even acknowledge that my dog is more royal and well-behaved than any of their small and medium-sized squeakers called dogs.

I would also need a good name for this dog and a few tips for his care.

In the meantime, I'm researching St. Bernard dogs. Regardless, I still think that they are cool!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

sharing living quarters with a cat

I think that a lot depends on the way a dog owner arranges things to prepare for another animal, especially a cat, for the arrival of a new dog. If the cat has had the run of the house in the past, it's unlikely that he or she will willingly allow a dog to roam in his or her territory. On the other hand, it's unlikely that a dog will be willing to remain confined to a single room.

The only solution seems to be temporarily confining the cat to its favorite room, making sure that it has a high enough perch to jump on and sit should the dog accidentally wander in that room. And the challenge is magnified if an owner already has three or four indoor cats and is taking in a dog besides. Maybe in this case, it's a good idea to hold off on getting a dog for awhile. Biding one's time is extremely important, as you don't want to rush things too quickly just yet.

The good news is that if you take things one step at a time, the cat(s) and new dog will eventually get along or at least co-exist peacefully. .

Friday, February 11, 2011

We don't really train dogs, they train us

It's true. A dog that's ill doesn't respond well to us or eat or play or do much of anything, making us take him or her to the vet. A dog that barks a lot prompts us to find out what or who is making him bark, then look for ways to stop it or at least decrease its frequency. A dog that paws at the door trains us to let him in or out. A dog that begs at the table trains us to focus our attention on him and even sneak him some of the food we're eating. A dog that stops playing with one toy trains us to remove that toy and replace it with a different one.

Sometimes, there's a fine line, as in the case of a dog who insists on smelling the grass or a dried piece of another dog's poop and no calling or shouting or pulling can make that dog pay attention to us and what we want, at least not right away. About all we can do is say "No" and hope that the dog listens.

Compare all of that to our efforts to train dogs. Wow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adopt a senior dog? Why not?

I've been reading a book called, The 50+ Dog Owner by Mary Jane Checchi (TEH Publications, 2010) and thinking about some of the things this author mentions in her book.

Like opting to adopt a senior dog. Undoubtedly, a senior dog would not tug on his or her leash, but would need to exercise regularly in reasonable weather, not too hot, not too cold. That dog might even need some kind of sweater in cold weather, but even providing such a sweater should not be a big deal.

Other issues include greater potential for diseases as arthritis and kidney problems. And all too true, fewer years of remaining life. Hey, no one and no animal lives forever. And to the contrary, a senior dog could likely outlive quite a few of its counterparts. So there.

The more I think about the possibility of adopting a senior dog as a pet, the better I like it. I'm not so young myself nor am I crazy about having to go out in inclement weather. I also tend to be laid-back and hope that my senior dog would be laid-back also.

The question is what kind of dog. I know that I would adopt such a dog from a shelter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Older people who own dogs have problems too

My now-deceased aunt had to be somewhere in her late sixties when she was left to care for Skippy, a little terrier that her brother bought for her mother. Skippy wasn't a large dog by any means, nor was he really hyper. Basically, he had a rather loud shrill bark. Even more important, Skippy was also aging.

My aunt took good care of him while she could. She babied him and gave him a lot of attention. I thought that caring for a little dog would be good for her also, giving her something to care for and have as company. For awhile, that was the case and the two of them had a good life together. At times, Skippy would resist being bathed, though I don't know what exactly went on.

The point here, however, is that while having a dog as a pet can be a healthy situation for the dog and its old owner, it can still present problems in shopping, buying dog food, cleaning up after the dog, walking it, and taking it to the vet. If an elderly person has a hard time managing those chores, maybe he or she can get some assistance.

Right now, I'm doing some research on this very problem and will share it in the next few posts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

should your dog wear boots in ice and snow?

At last, only a few more weeks of winter are left and hopefully, no more snow or sleet. Walking in that stuff is tough enough for us, in spite of our protective foot gear. But for dogs of all sizes, it's probably tougher. Little chunks of ice and salt can easily become trapped in their foot pads during a walk. So it's important to check your dog's feet after a walk and even wipe them off with a damp towel or paper towel. Pay extra attention to the dog's paws and gently wipe away traces of salt and remove those bits of ice.

I understand that there are little booties for dogs!  The sight of a dog wearing booties may be amusing and reason to smile, but maybe it's the best protection for your dog's feet as you'll ever find. Not having experience with this, I would, if I had a dog, take him or her to one of the major pet stores and get a sales associate to help me select and even place the booties on the dog's feet. Maybe I'm wrong, but already I'm thinking that doing this is very much like putting boots on a child's feet. It's work and involves some aggravation, but in the end, your dog is more comfortable and your walk with him or her is more enjoyable.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are dog owners more friendly when ........

they are walking their dogs? 

Say you're walking your dog on one side of the street and another dog owner is walking his or her dog on the other side of the street in the opposite direction.

From my experience, I tend to ignore that dog-walking person because I'm too busy keeping my dog focused on walking calmly in the direction we're headed, rather than exchanging smiles or a pleasant "good morning/afternoon" with a total stranger. So I have no way of knowing what they're up to at the moment, and to be honest, I really don't care.

Now, if we're on the same side of the street, walking in different directions, I might take a second or two to smile and acknowledge the other dog walker. And that's about it. He or she goes his or her way and I go my own. Rarely do I ever see anyone I know and am friendly with, so whether I acknowledge or not makes little or no difference. Nor would the dog I'm walking.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

giving a dog a bath

From what I've seen and heard, giving a dog a bath is not fun. It's often a messy, soaking affair where everyone gets splashed except the dog. This was especially true at my friend's house, where her father attempted to give the family's shaggy dog, Mitzi, a bath. He prepared by having a wooden tub half filled with tepid, soapy water. Then he made the biggest mistake by plunking Mitzi in the drink. The poor man did not get an opportunity to scrub Mitzi down because Mitzi leaped out of that tub like greased lightning, ran to the open door and ran outside, leaving a trail of suds behind her.

That was the funniest thing to watch. Needless to say, Mitzi went unwashed for another couple of days or weeks, I forget which.

Another dog I knew was in a similar position of needing a bath. My now-deceased aunt must have tried to give her little terrier, Skippy, a bath and failed miserably. From that point on, every time my aunt said the word "bath" to Skippy, the dog would growl and show his teeth. That was so funny to witness and I wished that I had a picture of Skippy doing just that. I don't know how he was bathed after that or by whom. My aunt gave up after that attempt.

Before adopting any dog, one of the first things I would want to find out is the best way to bathe him or her. I have a few ideas as to how I could do this, but somehow, too much would go wrong and my dog would join the ranks of the unbathed.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

older dogs still need love and attention

An older dog can be a loyal companion and friend, yet will need additional attention to potential health issues involving cataracts, bone problems such as arthritis, hearing, to mention just a few. This is not to say that younger dogs don't have these or other health problems because they do. But for an older dog, even so-called minor problems can become a big deal, just as they would for an elderly person.

At the same time, an older dog will likely survive that much longer with love and affection. It shouldn't make any difference what health issues he or she may be experiencing. Such a dog is and always be a good friend.

The older dog that comes to my mind is Princess, a mixed breed "mutt" that my sister gave to my father years ago. That dog went nearly everywhere with my dad and enjoyed riding as a passenger in his van. She'd sit up and quietly observe as my dad drove. As she aged, Princess reached a point at which she could barely get in and out of the van without some assistance, which my dad always provided. She never barked or acted aggressively toward him or anyone else. A short time later, Princess passed away from natural causes and my dad had her remains cremated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How long should you leave your dog outside in the cold?

I'm really surprised to see how many people who leave their dogs in the backyard for an extended period of time in the cold, like all morning long. That doesn't seem to be humane. And if I were a dog, I'd be very uncomfortable after a few minutes outside in the cold, and would want to get back in the house asap.

Also, none of the dogs left outside seemed to be supervised. That is, there wasn't a person peering out the window to check on the dog every so often. I mean, what's up with that?  How can such people be allowed to own a dog, or any other animal for that matter? And how would they like it if THEIR partners forced them to stay outside in the cold?

I'm not saying that a dog should not be allowed outside, even in the cold, for a few minutes. My sister, for example, lets her dogs out in the backyard for a few minutes. She also checks up on them to make sure that they are all right, and then lets them in when they paw at the door. But for an entire morning or day?  I think that leaving a dog out that long is heartless and cruel.  It's also unfair to the neighbors who are forced to listen to barking and/or howling for a long time.

Thank God that very few heartless dog owners even tried this and get away with it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

get a professional dog trainer ---- or not?

Before training my dog, I think that I would spend some time getting to know it and its behavior. Of course, I would call it by name and take it for walks. I'd buy a few toys and find out which ones appealed to the dog. Then I;d begin simple training, like having the dog walking with me instead of pulling at its leash all of the time and find out what caused it to bark if that was an issue.

There are quite a few books on dog training and a lot of them include instructions for basic training. The instructions are easy and are sometimes accompanied by photos or drawings. Of course, the "doing" part is the most challenging and at that point, I might even consider a professional trainer.

Not just any old professional trainer, but one that was recommended, charged reasonable prices, did a great job and loved dogs. Already, the idea of getting a professional trainer seems to involve a lot of hassle and at this point, I'm not so sure that I would want to go through all of that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Amusing dogs indoors --- can you count the ways?

With the prolonged cold, snowy, icy weather conditions, sometimes it's better not to bother walking the dog outside, period, though it can be done. This morning, for instance, I've seen one or two people walking their dogs on icy sidewalks as the rain came down. Those people have a lot more nerve and courage than I do.

But anyway, the question soon becomes, what can you do to amuse a dog while you are indoors all day? Well, you can probably play with him or her. Now's a good time to bring out that toy that you've put away for a long time and let your dog play with it. You can also, as one commenter on http://www.discussdogs.com/ suggested, teach your dog tricks. Hey, I'm not that ambitious, and being a new owner, I'm not that sure that I could do so very well.....although as I've said before, it can be done.

My sister's dogs tend to sleep on the bed or sit on a table near the window. Sometimes they play with each other. During the day at some point, my sister will let her dogs out in the backyard to get some exercise and a chance to pee or poo outside. Her dog Chloe loves the snow anyway, so at least for that husky mix, snow is not a big problem.

But I gotta admit that I'm short of ideas, other than the ones included here. You can always hope that your dog will just sleep somewhere in the house and not worry or expect to be amused.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When in doubt, use your own veterinarian

There was a story this morning about a police dog that was shot while on duty. The bullet lodged itself somewhere between the dog's skin and ribs. Nothing really serious and the dog survived, happily. But he will need surgery to get that bullet out sometime soon.

According to the story, the initial examination at a general veterinary hospital was something like 9 thousand dollars!!! Nothing was done other than the exam. Nothing was given.

This kind of thing is just outrageous and unfair. But thankfully, other vets and animal hospitals called in, stating that they wouldn't charge anything to treat a service dog, especially an outrageous sum of money.

I can imagine what happens when a dog owner uses one of those general veterinary hospitals instead of his or her own vet. That dog owner can expect to pay a fortune in fees and yet the animal's recovery can't be guaranteed. It's even possible to wind up with a misdiagnosis.

Monday, January 31, 2011

If everyone adopted a dog.....

Today, someone I know posted a photo of his new dog, Daisy. The dog was cute, needless to say, and as I viewed the photo, I thought how great it was to know that another life was saved by a caring person.....and how lucky Daisy was to have a good home.

I'd like to go out on a limb here and say that there is a great dog for everyone and anyone who feels that he or she could give the animal a good home. If everyone adopted a dog, or even a cat, this world would be a much better place. Everyone, including the animals, would be happy. Everyone would benefit. A lot of blood pressure would go down. A lot of people would be healthier.

I know. That's wishful thinking. But maybe there is an ongoing increase in adoptions of animals that has perhaps accelerated.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Seeing the world from a dog's view

For many of us, including myself, it's easy to take the human/dog relationship for granted ..... especially a view at ground level. For us humans, this means a birds'eye view of the immediate ground, while for dogs, it means that their noses are just a few inches from the ground, especially for smaller dogs.

I suppose, for that reason, things that we don't readily notice and/or take for granted on the ground are precisely what attracts dogs' attention. Amazing how quickly a dog, by smell, can quickly learn if any dogs walked a similar distance and left any "calling cards" in the way of scent or pee or poo there. Dogs also pick up the scent of grass and other plants, other animals such as cats or squirrels, and people. They are quickly attracted to anything that moves or seems like it's going to move.....whereas we humans miss it all. Maybe it's a good thing that we do, given all of the distracttons that we deal with on a routine basis.

Friday, January 28, 2011

special rewards for dogs who are extra good

At some point, a dog pleases so much, whether in learning a trick or like my sister's now-deceased dog Cooper is just a great dog all around, the dog should get some kind of special reward or positive feedback. Responses such as "Good dog!" and a pat on the head or a treat or a toy are fine, but which item can be considered really special? That is the question.

You see, it's not only that a dog learned a trick or is just being a real sweetie, it's that the bond between it and its owner has becomes stronger. So naturally, you want to do something really special. Speaking of this, I think that my sister has found that special something for her dogs:  it's a product called Frosty Paws that looks like ice cream --- and her dogs just love it. Chloe, for example, loves to chase it before she begins to lick and eat it. And Aries accepts it nicely in his mouth or near his paws.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

grooming your dog?

With all the expenses of having a dog as a pet, like food and vet care, is it really worth while having him or her professionally groomed? Of course, the answer is yes if your dog happens to have lots of hair or hair that must be constantly combed. It'll cost money, but the results are well worth the cost.

On the other hand, basic grooming, such as brushing your dog weekly or daily, is cheaper and yields good results. Grooming your dog at home will save you the aggravation of seeing dog hairs on your sofa and bed and rugs, then picking it up. Grooming's other advantage is that your dog will be healthier, as you will be able to notice changes in the dog's skin, fur and body, such as flea bites, lumps, and other abnormalities. Seeing that, you'll be able to take your dog to the vet and have the problem dealt with efficiently and effectively. Yes, that treatment can be expensive, but your dog's life is priceless.

Monday, January 24, 2011

letting your dog sleep in your bed

Usually, you decide whether you'll allow your dog or dogs to sleep in your bed or just provide them with their own beds. It's up to you. Just know that once this habit or routine is established, you'll have to live with  it, like it or not. And remember that you may toss and turn and have to be careful not to roll on your dog. So be careful with this one.

The biggest challenge and source of a lot of fun is whether your partner or spouse will agree to share the bed with the dog. There could be a real conflict if one partner doesn't mind a dog sleeping in the bed, while the other partner absolutely detests it. Would a compromise be possible? If not, can an alternate arrangement that will suit you both be made, and for how long? At this point, you may decide to be flexible about any decisions and find out what works or doesn't and factor that in. Then decide.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

dog bed/cushion --- to buy or not to buy

So yesterday, my sister and I were at Home Goods at TJ Maxx, looking at various dog beds and cushions that dogs could use to lay on the bed. None of the items were really expensive and a few sported interesting designs and features. Almost something for every dog owner at a reasonable price.

The cushion bed that my sister and I liked had a nice pattern and seemed to be just right for either of her two dogs and maybe even her two cats. For a few seconds, I thought that she was going to buy it and when she didn't, I picked it up and bought it for her. Waiting until the following one or two weeks go by isn't going to cut it. That item would have been sold long ago. Either crap or get off the pot.

Now this is a win-win situation for all. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Muffin steals the show

A little dog named Muffin played a comedic role in the movie, Screwed, starring Norm MacDonald. Some of Muffin's stunts were amazing. For example, when Norm, who played Williard, broke in his wealthy employer's home to kidnap Muffin, he finally grabbed Muffin. But Muffin held on to his hand after biting it and in spite of Williard swinging her around and around, trying to get her to loosen her hold on his now-bloody hand.

The other trick was how Muffin managed to escape from the van that was taking her away. The latch on the backdoors of the van was loose and improperly fashioned. The van was also speeding down the road, yet Muffin managed to jump from the moving van and run back to his home. He ran up the stairs to his owner's bedroom and hopped on his bed on his owner's bed and went to sleep.

Norm MacDonald was funny, but in my opinion, Muffin was funnier.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Walking Aries

While walking my sister's dogs, I always wondered what the dog feels when he wants to walk in one direction and feels the pressure of the collar against his neck. Does it serve as a reminder for him not to venture out too far, especially in the street?  Is the pressure of it painful?  I've never seen or heard him react or bark and naturally assume that he's used to it and doesn't really mind. In other words, he "accepts" it.

Of course, I would prefer the dog to walk alongside me like the previous dog, Roxie, used to do. Roxie rarely ventured on a different path. She liked to stop occasionally to sniff the grass, but that was generally all. On the other hand, the present dog, Aries, would much rather take his sweet time by spending much of it rolling on his back and wriggling himself on the lawn, before finally sitting up and still for what feels like forever. Then when he's good and ready, he'll move along until he finds another distraction.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Winterize" your dog!

Hopefully, dog owners walking their dogs in the cold winter weather will want to consider some precautions to help their pets to stay comfortable and enjoy that walk!

- Examine your dog's paws for bits of salt, pebbles and other debris that may be picked up during the walk and gently clean by wiping with wet cloth or towel.

- If you have a small dog, you may indeed want to consider having your dog wear a sweater. Small dogs tend to be more sensitive to the cold, which leaves them more exposed to colds and viruses. Keep them warm when you take them out!

- Beware of extremely low temperatures if you own a dog whose fur is rather short and/or sparse. Shorter walks are recommended, and a sweater wouldn't be such a bad idea.

To you dog's comfort........

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are there any good substitutes for doggy snacks?

I'm referring to items like doggy snacks, like Frosty Paws, which is a great favorite of my sister's two dogs. Those dogs could probably eat that snack all day long if they were allowed to, but thankfully they aren't. Their diets are basically well-balanced, with an occasional meal that is cooked and served exclusively for them and they know it.

Another thing about doggy snacks is that they are basically expensive and could wipe out a modest budget in practically no time at all. I'm sure that dogs can be trained to eat other stuff that is much better for them. Take my sister's dog, Chloe, for example, who enjoys being fed raw stringbeans one by one. Raw stringbeans aren't only good for her, but they're good for the wallet also, as they are much cheaper to buy and store than expensive doggy treats. And they're far better than anything a dog will randomly find in a trash can. I would think that no self-respecting dog would want to bother poking around in the trash and actually find something to bring home in its mouth, like a part of a roasted chicken. Ugh!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Important for new puppy owners!

Most potential and actual puppy owners know that training involves a lot of work, but in http://www.bulldogsavvy.com/ there is a post that offers specific training tips that are intended for owners of bulldog puppies. But its suggestions can probably be applied by all new puppy owners. You can check that post out at the site.

I thought that the most helpful suggestion in this post was the one on creating and implementing a schedule of your puppy's activities, including meals, elimination, and playtimes. That way, the dog becomes accustomed to these routine activities and begins to comply after a little while. It's the whole matter of keeping your puppy focused and  habituated to doing one thing at a time in a given order. Makes it easier to train and follow through. Check it out at the site!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Naming a dog is as much trouble as keeping him or her as a pet

I think that naming a dog deserves careful consideration. To that end, giving a dog any old name is not an option and I'm referring to such so-called "common" names as Rover, Blackie, Spike, Spot and similar cliched names. I admit that it takes imagination and thought in naming a dog.

I've heard dog names such as "Alan" that are cute and unique. My aunt's dog's name was Skippy and that name seemed to fit him. Skippy was assigned his name by another relative and he responded to it, so it stuck. I would definitely get myself a book of baby names for suggestions and start making a list of names that appealed to me. In addition, I would factor in my dog's characteristics and suggestions for names from my family and friends.

Got to confess that I am not good at naming dogs or cats, for that matter. Even the names that I suggested to my sister for naming her dogs didn't quite meet the mark. My sister's dog's names are Chloe and Aries. Her deceased dogs' names were Paco, Roxie, and Cooper. I liked these names and thought that they "fit" each dog appropriately. My sister didn't name her dogs immediately, but took time to ask for suggestions before coming up with good names.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dog rescue that nearly went wrong

A mom and her children went ice-skating in a nearby pond. At some point, one of the family's dogs got out of the house somehow and ran to the pond and fell in because of thin ice. The dog was rescued and bought back home. In the meantime, the second dog also took off and fell in because of thin ice. By this time, the mom and her two kids were frozen from the low temperatures.

At that point, one of the kids tried to rescue the second dog and failed because now his mom had fallen overboard and had to be rescued. The mom had stripped off just about all of her clothing because she felt that the clothing was heavy, due to ice and water, and was weighing her down.

Happily, the son helped to rescue her and called 911. Rescuers arrived and saved them all, including the second dog that had fallen in.

There might be a few lessons here, such as making sure that any dogs are securely locked in at home and calling 911 as soon as an emergency occurs. I think that the family was very fortunate in a potentially tragic situation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dogs can make a lot of people happy

There's nothing like a dog to perk up interest and happiness, especially for people who are in nursing homes. When my aunt was alive and residing in a nursing home, she loved to pet the visiting dog and talk with the dog's owners. At least for a few minutes, my aunt forgot her physical  problems and smiled and laughed. After all, she owned a little terrier dog named Skippy.

Petting a dog or even a cat is a comforting experience as well. The animal responds by encouraging further petting by licking the person's hand or in the case of a cat, purring in contentment. A quick bond is established that is a win-win for all concerned. Love rules. The only downside is that the pleasurable time spent in talking to a pet and petting it goes much too fast. But at least, the next visit won't be that many weeks away!