What Would You Do for Your Pet?

Mickey what would you doBy Julia Williams

I’ve long held the belief that “pet people” are a special breed. I don’t get on that well with people who don’t love animals, don’t want a pet, or have a pet but see it as “just a dog” or “just a cat.” To me, there is no such thing as “just a pet.” My animals are family. And my pets have always been there for me. They don’t place conditions on their love, and they don’t shun me when they think I haven’t lived up to their expectations.

My pets deserve my all…and they get it. I would do anything for my sweet, special furry feline friends. I know, too, that I am not the only one; not by a long shot. At least once a month, I come across a heartwarming story that perfectly illustrates the depths of a person’s love for their animal companion.

People do extraordinary things for their pets. Several years ago, I read about a man who floated in warm water with his 20 year old dog, every day for up to an hour, to ease the dog’s arthritic pain. The emotionally moving photo of him gently cradling his dog went viral; the love between dog and man was obvious.
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Fun Games to Play with Your Dog Indoors

indoor games jamieBy Laurie Darroch

Whether impeded by rain or snow, or by location, sometimes it’s just not possible to take your dog outside for their much needed exercise. However, there are lots of fun games you can play with your dog indoors to help keep her mentally challenged and physically fit. It is also a great way to bond with your dog and spend quality time together. The restrictions of indoor space are a perfect place to work on behavior and obedience too.

Mental Challenges

Like people, dogs can get restless and bored being indoors. Dogs love physical games that burn off energy, but they also enjoy mental challenges that keep them alert and focused.

Hiding games encourage dogs to use all their senses and give them something to strive for. If your dog is learning the “stay” command or has already mastered it, a simple game of hide-and-seek will be fun for her. If she has not mastered the “stay” command and there is another human in the house, have that person hold the dog and repeat the word “stay” while you hide in another part of the house. Then have them say the release word and “Find Mommy,” “Find Daddy” or your name if that is how they know you. For dogs that will stay on command, give them the command, go hide and then call them with your release word and tell them to find you. To challenge your dog, repeat the game and change your hiding places.
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Do You Have What it Takes to be a Humane Law Enforcement Officer?

HLE HugoBy Linda Cole

There is a wide variety of career choices for someone who is passionate about animals, and some don’t require a college degree. Working with animals has its rewards and challenges, but if you have what it takes to be a humane law enforcement officer, you will be on the front lines helping to protect and save the lives of dogs, cats, other pets and wild animals.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a non-profit national organization based in New York City. The goal of ASPCA agents is to ensure the safety and overall welfare of animals. People who work in this field have a love for animals and a passion for humane treatment of all critters. It’s a rewarding career, but it’s not all fun and roses. ASPCA officers have to deal with a variety of situations, good and bad.

In December of 2013, ASPCA officers in New York City were laid off and the NYPD took over their duties, but there are still plenty of opportunities for people wanting to get into this line of work. ASPCA officers are also known as humane law enforcement officers and many have similar powers as police, which aids them in investigating and reporting on issues related to animals. Only agents employed by the state of New York hold the title of ASPCA officer.
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How to Teach Your Dog to Speak

By Langley Cornwell

Call me a sucker, but I love cheesy dog tricks. When someone teaches their dog to drop and roll over when they point a finger at him, I’m hooked. Or when someone says “hello, Spot,” and their dog gives a quick bark in response. Come on, that’s gold. It makes me think of all the time the dog and human spent together teaching and learning these silly games. I also think about all the bonding and love they shared during that time. In fact, when I see other people’s cute dog tricks, it makes me want to teach my dogs some cool new things. With that in mind, I recently learned how to teach my dogs to speak. Turns out, teaching your dog to bark on command (or “speak”) is one of the easiest tricks you can teach him. It keeps your dog mentally sharp, it’s a great opportunity to bond, and it’s a fun party trick. Here’s how to do it.

Get Your Dog Jacked Up

Granted, this is not advice I would usually give. Those of you with dogs that are already overly-enthusiastic are probably giving me the stink eye right now, but just stay with me here. You probably already know that when you get happy and excited, your dog does too. So lay on the hijinks. If your dog likes to wrestle around, do that. If he prefers to play tug or fetch, do that. The idea here is to get your dog’s undivided attention, make him happy and raise his energy level.
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Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

road trip karaBy Laurie Darroch

If you are thinking about going on a road trip with your dog, be aware that locating pet friendly lodging may limit your travel plans. Not all hotels or motels allow dogs as guests in their rooms. Try some of these helpful tips to make finding dog-friendly accommodations  easier.

Be Prepared

Unless you are on an emergency or last minute trip, plan ahead for your road trip. Dogs need to stop for relief or just to stretch their legs on a long trip the same way you do. They also need to have comfortable sleeping accommodations with room to move, ventilation, and a sense of security. You don’t want to be stuck sleeping in the car with your dog when you end up someplace where there are no pet-friendly establishments.

Check ahead of time for the places along the way that allow dogs to stay. Also look into which rest stops have dog friendly areas for stretching their legs, and what the limitations or requirements are in each place. Even campgrounds may have specific limits or requirements for a pet to stay. Do your research to ensure a pleasant stay for all.
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Why Can’t Domesticated Cats Roar?

cat roars andreannaBy Linda Cole

Domesticated housecats share an amazing amount of DNA with tigers – 95.6% actually. In evolutionary history, our furry feline pets became domesticated not that long ago, around 5,000 to 12,000 years. There are many similarities between domesticated cats and wild cats, but why can big cats roar and domesticated cats can’t? It all comes down to a small bone. Cats that roar can’t purr, and cats that purr can never roar.

The cat family (Felidae) is split with the big four cats who roar – lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards – in the sub-family Panthera, and cats who can only purr in the sub-family Felinae, which includes the domesticated cat as well as the bobcat, cheetah, mountain lion and other small wild cats. The mountain lion is the largest of the small cat species, and the tiger is the largest of the big four cats that roar.

What’s interesting about the cat family is their shared instinctive behavior. A head-butt is an appropriate greeting; a wiggle of their behind signals a readiness to pounce; they knead, paw at their food and have an exceptional sense of smell. Around half of all domesticated cats love catnip, which is the same in big cats. All cats, regardless of size, hiss, yowl, snarl, spit and growl. They all love to play, and even wild cats are obsessed with boxes. But when it comes to the ability to roar, not all cats can because of a small bone called the hyoid, which is a U-shaped bone in the throat that sits above the larynx.
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