By Linda Cole
Before 2005, military personnel who were also pet owners were left with a hard choice to make when the time came for them to deploy overseas. If they couldn’t find a temporary home for their pet with family or friends, or a new permanent home, they were forced to relinquish them to a shelter. Linda Spurlin-Dominik and Carol Olmedo decided there should be help for soldiers and their pets. They established an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP), because they felt that no one should have to give up their pet when their chosen job is protecting our country.
Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is a nonprofit, all volunteer operation. Their stated goal is to provide a suitable and loving home environment for a soldier’s pet when they are called to defend or represent our country anywhere in the world, whether it’s in peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, or for combat duty.
By Tamara L. Waters
Have you ever seen a dog walking a person? Perhaps you have even been walked by your own dog. If so, you know how exhausting it can be to walk a dog incorrectly. The ideal way is for YOU to be walking the dog. Check out a few of these tips to help you learn the right way to walk your dog and ensure that you aren’t the one worn out at the end of the exercise.
Walk in Front
From my own experiences with walking my dogs, the proper way to walk a dog is with you in front and the dog following along. A better way to look at it is for you to lead the walk, not your dog. Putting yourself in the role of leader during a walk allows your dog to relax and follow along.
To help start the walk out correctly, do not allow your dog to go first out of the door or gate of his pen. Begin the walk in the position of leadership so your dog understands that his only job is to enjoy the exercise – not to lead you along.
By Linda Cole
Pets are quite creative in finding ways to entertain themselves when they’re home alone, and it’s not always something destructive. I had a cat who loved to unroll toilet paper, but it had to be a new roll before she would touch it. She didn’t just unroll it, she would take the loose end and wind it around chairs and table legs and she somehow always managed to unroll the entire roll without tearing it. I’d come home from work to find my dining room had been TP’d by my cat.
Pets do crazy things sometimes whether they’re home alone or not. I’ve had cats over the years that would while away the hours sitting in a window watching what the neighbors were up to. In fact, I would go so far as to say they were spying on the neighbors. I suppose to them that’s just as productive as when we sit in front of the TV staring at it for hours at a time. However, one cat took more of an interest than the others. She would cock her head back and forth as if she couldn’t believe what was going on outside her window. Anytime she heard a car door shut, voices outside or the mailbox lid flop down, she would race to her window to investigate. New Year’s Eve parties were really hard on her.
By Julia Williams
I recently found a great blog called “24 Paws of Love” that chronicles life with six big dogs. I’m sure it’s not easy to meet the physical and emotional needs of six dogs of any size, but these wonderful people do it willingly because these dogs are family. What inspired me to write this post was their commentary about some of the things people say to them about their dogs. They’re asked how they can afford to feed so many dogs, or told that they’ll never get ahead financially unless they “get rid of some of the dogs.”
Wow – really? I have to wonder about the type of person who could say such things. They’re not pet people obviously, and they seem to be lacking in self censorship and social decorum. Would they walk up to “Octomom” Nadya Sulleman and tell her, “It must be hard to feed 14 children, you should give some of them up.” Unthinkable, right? Never mind that Nadya herself admitted on Oprah recently that she was financially destitute. It’s just not socially acceptable to tell a parent how many children they can or should have. It may or may not be the best choice for someone to have 14 kids, but it’s their choice. Likewise, it should never be acceptable to comment on how many pets a person chooses to have or how much money they spend on them – the exception being, animal hoarders who aren’t capable of caring for vast numbers of dogs and/or cats.
By Suzanne Alicie
People who love pets can’t imagine having to live without the comfort of a furry back to stroke or a purring foot warmer. However, as responsible pet owners age they may have to face the fact that they can no longer live alone and must move to a nursing home. Because there are so many people with different ailments and afflictions in a nursing home, more than likely the person won’t be able to take their beloved pets. New residents in a nursing home may experience depression due to the changes in their life and the loss of their pets.
Just imagine raising a puppy and providing it with wonderful care, attention and all the best in natural pet food like CANIDAE for years and then finding out that you are unable to care for him anymore. You are going to be moving to an assisted living facility and have to give up your precious pet to another family. It’s heartbreaking.
By Linda Cole
Clicker training has been rising in popularity over the last several years as a useful tool for dog training. Many professional dog trainers never leave home without their clicker and use it in conjunction with treats and positive reinforcement. It works well for training both dogs and cats, but there is a trick to using a clicker the right way to reinforce the behavior you want to teach. It’s not hard, but it is all in the timing and knowing when to click.
Dog training doesn’t require a lot of time, but it does require commitment. A puppy’s training should begin the minute you bring him home. This way he grows up knowing what you expect from him, and he’s not as likely to develop behavioral problems down the road. An older dog whose training was neglected when they were young and now has behavioral problems can still be taught appropriate behavior using positive reinforcement. A clicker enhances the reinforcement with a quicker response from the person doing the training.