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  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
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  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘inspiring dog stories’ Category

Should You Sleep With Your Dog

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Should you sleep with your dog? Do you believe it’s healthy to let your dog sleep in your bed with you? If you’re a person who suffers from pet allergies or asthma you definitely should not allow your dog to sleep in the bed with you. Some people have allergies so bad that they can’t even allow their dog in the bedroom.

Regrettably, most pet lovers feel guilty kicking a beloved companion out of their bed by wrongly assuming that their dog will take it as a personal affront. This kind of thinking is undesirable and counter-productive if your pet is causing your allergy problems. If you suffer from allergies you know are being caused by your pet, you should consider getting allergy shots to build up your tolerance to pet dander which causes an allergic reaction.

If you’re not allergic to pet dander, then by all means, let your dog sleep in your bed if you want unless it disturbs your sleep at night. Some dogs are snorers, kickers, or like to hog the covers and these actions can affect your sleeping pattern to the point of harming your health. A study by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the people diagnosed with a serious sleeping disorder had a dog or cat, and of those people, 53% had their sleep disturbed by their pet every night.

People who sleep with a dog and suffer from insomnia may not realize their sleeplessness could be caused by something so simple as their dog snoring or scratching the bedcovers at night. If you’re a person who has no problem falling or staying asleep, then allowing your dog to sleep in the bed is a decision you can make for yourself. In fact, some people feel calmer with their dog in the bed.

When contemplating whether or not you should sleep with your dog, reflect on the fact that dogs only sleep with people or other dogs they trust. So if your dog wants to sleep with you, it’s just letting you know that it thinks you’re a good person and you deserve its company.

Adopting a Shelter Dog

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Adopting a shelter dog and saving it from a possible early death can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for you, your family and especially the dog.

In most cities the cost to adopt a shelter dog is relatively cheap. Most shelters only charge a modest fee for adopting a dog but that fee actually covers only a small part of the shelter’s costs for food, healthcare, facilities and care giving. Dogs housed in animal shelters will have been examined to make sure they’re in good health before being put up for adoption. The dogs are usually vaccinated, wormed and neutered or spayed. In well-run shelters, a dog’s behavior has been assessed so a prospective new owner can be better matched to the type of dog they want.

Before taking your family to the local animal shelter to choose a new dog, you should understand that the cost of adoption is only a small fraction of the total cost of owning a dog. The average dog owner will spend approximately $2,200 per year on food, medical care, vet visits and other dog related expenses. The actual yearly outlay of expenses will vary depending on the type of dog, and also why it ended up in the animal shelter.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because they have serious behavior problems, and a new owner will have to contend with those behaviors as well as fear and abandonment issues a dog may have from being mistreated or abandoned to a shelter.

It’s fairly easy to recognize a shelter dog who has fear issues. The dog may run or hide from strangers, bark a lot, or growl at humans. It can be difficult to reduce a dog’s fear, but if you fall in love with a dog displaying those symptoms, understand that those fears can be overcome with patience on your part.

If you’re thinking of adopting a shelter dog, you should get some background information on any dog you’re seriously considering. There are some dogs in shelters who have been given back several times because new owners couldn’t cope with the dog’s crying, barking or other destructive behavior when left alone. Sometimes this is caused simply by separation anxiety where the dog becomes fearful every time its owner leaves it alone. You can lessen this fear by spending as much time as possible with your new dog, gradually cutting down on the amount of time spent one-on-one.

Unfortunately, many dogs who end up in shelters have never been properly potty trained. If this is the case, you’ll need to treat the dog as it were a puppy. Set a regular schedule of when you take your dog outside to go. When it does its duty, reward it with a treat and praise. It shouldn’t take long for the dog to associate going outside to the bathroom with getting a tasty treat.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters simply because their owners never taught them how to behave. A dog may display unwanted behavior such as jumping on people, humping people’s legs, or ignoring you when you tug on its leash.

While some people are not bothered by this type of behavior, some are and become very distressed by their inability to correct the behavior. The poor dog then ends up abandoned to a shelter. If the owner had a little more patience and understanding of dog behavior, these unwanted actions could be easily corrected with a little bit of positive training. If you’re adopting a shelter dog be sure it’s the right one for you before taking it home.

Importance of Owning a Pet

Monday, November 4th, 2013

The American Animal Hospital Association undertook a survey of more than 1,000 pet owners which revealed that the companionship and affection of our pets play a much stronger part of our lives than most people realize.

This national survey was conducted by The American Animal Hospital Association using its membership rolls covering 39 states across the U.S. plus several provinces in Canada. Those who answered the survey were pet owners who had taken their pets to a veterinarian who was also a member of the AAHA.

One of the most interesting results of this survey was the answer to the question “If you were forced to choose between human or animal companionship if you were deserted on a desert island,” more than 50% of the pet owners surveyed would prefer the company of a family pet rather than another person.

I’m not quite sure whether this speaks highly of our pet animals or it reflects most people’s disenchantment with their fellow man.

The American Animal Hospital Association also asked pet owners about their day-to-day interactions with their pets. The results provide an interesting insight into how people are humanizing relationships with their pets.

Here are some of the more interesting survey responses from the 79% of the respondents who had a dog:

57% would want a pet as their only companion if deserted on an island;
80% selected companionship as the major reason for having a pet;
72% said that affection is their pets’ most endearing trait;
79% give their pets presents on holidays or birthdays;
33% talk to their pets on the phone or through the answering machine;
62% often sign letters or cards that include both their name and their pet’s name;
55% consider themselves a mom or dad to their pets;
94% believe their pet has humanlike personality traits;
50% thought their pet listened better than their spouse did;
34% said their pet enjoyed watching TV, mostly animal planet, followed by cartoons, then sports;
100% said they talk to their pet;
97% felt they knew what their pet was saying;.
78% speak for their pets, speculating on what there pet would say if it could talk;
63% acquired their dog when it was less than 3 months old;
50% did not have a preference for a particular breed of dog while 30% wanted only a purebred dog;
48% specially prepare their dog’s food such as heating it or preparing special meals for their pet.

So the next time someone in your family or a friend criticizes you for paying too much attention to your pet dog, show them these survey results, then sit back and ask them, “Now what do you say!”

Bacon and Dogs

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Bacon and dogs go together like a …well, like a horse and carriage!

“I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.” -Thomas Jefferson

Oh yum, yum – I know what that man meant! Bacon and dogs are just the perfect combination…that is if you’re a dog. Bacon, that most wonderful of foods, had to have been designed especially for a dog like me. There is something about bacon that is just irresistible to me – and also to my friends who love to come over for a bacon breakfast every Monday after my master leaves for work.

Is it the way the bacon sizzles in the pan, or that hunger-pang inducing aroma that fills my nostrils when the bacon hits the heat? Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: I love bacon! I admit it’s more than love – I have a passion for bacon. Bacon was meant to fit nicely between my teeth and find its way down into my hungry stomach.

But cooking those strips of bacon is not as easy as you would think. I’m all paws when it comes to fetching the skillet, turning on the stove, and hardest of all, getting that darn bacon package open. Good thing my teeth are sharp or I’d probably never get the bacon opened.

Getting the strips into the frying pan and then getting them out when they’re done – and not burning my tender paws in the process – is a real feat. In fact, only my friend Daisy and I are able to cook the bacon. The other guys and girls just sit around on the floor, drooling over the smell of the bacon sizzling in the skillet.

Sourdough, our Saint Bernard friend, likes to lie on his back and toss a hot bacon strip from paw to paw, finally springing his gigantic head up and grabbing the bacon strip between his monstrous teeth. Not very couth but he doesn’t care. Gloria, our prima donna Shih Tzu, always eats her bacon delicately, biting off small pieces and slowly chewing until there’s nothing left but a trace of grease on her mouth. Gloria likes to brag that she was named after a famous actress who lived on a street called Sunset Boulevard, wherever that is.

I used to hate having Wheezer, a German Shepard mix, come for our Monday bacon breakfast because he’d gobble down his strips as fast as he could and 20 minutes later he’d have the worst smelling flatulence you could imagine. We kept suggesting that he have his master order Winston’s Digest All for his gas problem. Finally Wheezer started taking the Digest All and now there’s no more unbearable odors coming from him. We no longer have to avoid him after our bacon feasts. Winston’s Digest All seems to have handled Wheezer’s gas, his bloating and flatulence, plus he’s actually lost some of the flab that made him look a little roly-poly.

Now for you dogs out there who don’t have a great deal of experience in the kitchen, I’ll give you some lessons on bacon preparation. Bacon and dogs are a perfect match but if you’re a dog you have to know the right way to prepare bacon. Pan frying is the best way to cook bacon and it always turns out to be a wonderfully crisp, flavorful treat we all love. It takes some time to learn how to handle a skillet, turn the stove on and off, and get the bacon in and out of the skillet. But when the end result is so delicious like bacon is, it doesn’t matter how many tries it takes before you can handle the whole job.

The Classic Pan Fry is bacon the way it should be cooked: on the stove and in its own grease. You need to use a large flat frying pan and lay out the bacon strips in the pan so that they don’t overlap. Cooking only one or two slices at a time can cause problems because there won’t be enough bacon to fill all the hungry stomachs eagerly awaiting the yummy, greasy strips. But if you overlap the bacon strips, part of some won’t get cooked, and those don’t taste anywhere near as good as the crispy ones.

Please don’t throw cold bacon into a hot pan that’s been heating on the stove. I can tell you from my own unfortunate experience – you don’t want to do that. Hot grease burns right through your fur! Set your bacon out for several minutes before you cook it. That lets the fat loosen up a bit and makes the final cooked strips taste even better. When you’re ready to cook, place the bacon in a room temperature pan and then place it over medium heat. This allows the bacon to gradually take on the heat and cook more evenly and avoids the scorching that results from dropping the bacon into a pan on high heat. Once the bacon begins to sizzle, you’ll feel like you’re in dog heaven.

If you don’t have the twenty minutes it takes to slowly cook the bacon, you can use a microwave. I’ve watched my master make bacon that way but I played around with it once when he wasn’t home and I could never get those buttons to work. My paws, small and masculine as they may be, just can’t manage to hit only one button at a time, no matter how hard I try.

The bottom line is – nothing tastes as good to dogs as freshly cooked bacon. If you’re forced to eat that crappy kibble stuff that comes in those giant bags, then instead of forcing yourself to eat all of it, hide some under the rug or a chair and pretend you ate it all. Then when your master isn’t home, get out that skillet and go to work. Paradise awaits!

How Our Pets Help Us

Monday, July 15th, 2013

How do our pets help us? Let me count the ways:

* Any dog owner knows that our pets help us emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Dogs can also comfort us when we have a serious illness or there is a death in the family. Turning to your pet for comfort when a friend or family member dies can help alleviate the depression that normally accompanies the loss of a person close to you.

* Dog owners are less likely to feel afraid of being victimized when walking their dog and also feel safer just having a dog around the house.

* Dogs help us relax by taking our attention off our current problems and fears. A pet dog sitting by your side is comforting and relaxing for both the dog owner as well as the dog. Having a dog you can touch and caress is important when the daily grind gets you down. Many studies have shown how important touch is to a human’s physical and emotional health. And it doesn’t need to be the touch of another human; it can be your dog. A pet dog can lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing unwavering companionship.

* As humans we want to feel needed and have someone or something to care for deeply. Caring for a pet dog provides consistency and emotional support to our lives. Friends may come and go, but for a dog’s entire life it will be your best friend. Dogs give us the experience of unconditional love which most people will never receive from another human. Perhaps humans are incapable of always giving unconditional love since we always have our own agendas and needs, whether we realize it or not. A pet dog can influence how you feel about yourself and your life.

* Dogs are teachers and healers of extraordinary talent.

* Things can be going really bad out there in the rat race, but once you come home, that furry, four-legged confidante and friend can bring a sense of peace and calmness to your rattled day.

* They shower us with love.

* They amuse and entertain us.

* They comfort us and make our lives better in so many ways.

* They help our soldiers stationed in Iraq who are missing their loved ones back home. The stray dogs adopted by so many soldiers are the best companions and friends some of the enlisted men and women have. More than 300 stray dogs from Iraq have been adopted and now have new homes with their pet parents in the U.S.

* They bring peace and comfort to people who are in nursing homes, children who are in hospitals, and even the poor souls in nursing facilities who are suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer’s.

Our pets help us in so many more ways. There are thousands of inspirational stories available on the internet and in book form. As for me, I could never do without my dog. No matter how much I love him and pay attention to him, I always feel as if I’m the one that’s truly blessed – receiving more love than I can possibly give in return.

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