Bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers are one of our most reliable defenses against hidden explosive devices. These highly trained canines and handlers help keep our airports, borders and cities safe. I recently had the honor of talking with Officer Armando Cruz of the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Canine Unit. Officer Cruz and his dog, Masc, are both skilled in the art of bomb sniffing – well, Masc does the sniffing – and Officer Cruz and Masc are stationed at the Denver International Airport along with seven other canine teams. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor this Explosive Detection Canine Unit through its Special Achievers program.
The DPD K-9 unit has three Labs, four German Shepherds and one Belgian Malinois. Along with their duties at the Denver airport, they also respond to calls in the Denver area and other jurisdictions when asked. The mission of the DPD Explosive Detection Canine Unit is to detect and prevent criminals from being able to use explosive devices by finding them before they can cause damage or injuries. Established in 1972, the dog teams are a proven and reliable balance to the DPD’s counter-sabotage program, and they help prevent terrorist attacks.
It’s impossible to know just how many pet lovers there are in the world. The Pet Food Institute estimates there are around 75 million pet dogs and 85 million pet cats in the U.S. alone. Our penchant for pets did not go unnoticed by inventors either, as evidenced by the staggering number of pet-related products available today. Many of them are useful and necessary, while others are just plain dumb. Here are a few of my favorite funny pet products.
Kitty Wigs are colorful hairpieces created for fashionable cats. Technically, one might argue these are really wigs for cat owners, especially those who don’t mind their bodies being used as scratching posts. Or as one cat said on a pet blog I read, “If the Human ever put one of those wigs on me, she’d need a transfusion.” Kitty Wigs cost $60 and come in four colors. Founder Julie Jackson says “the wigs are NOT toys but a way to spend some fun time with your cat….especially fun for photo sessions.” Don’t laugh – with more than 5,ooo fans on Facebook and a selling-like-hotcakes book (Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs) it seems there are legions of people who love Kitty Wigs. My take: they’re cute, but I like my limbs scratch-free, thank you very much.
Fur Ever Keepsakes are made from your pet’s hair! You brush your pet, send in your fur and receive the handspun yarn back, or you can have it custom-made into a scarf, mittens, hat, photo frame, pillow, stuffed bear, bookmark and more. VIP Fibers claims to have spun over 1,858 pounds of pet fiber to date, producing nearly 2 million yards of keepsake yarn. My take: gives new meaning to pet owners who want Fluffy and Fido to be with them “furever.”
There really isn’t a single “best” way to feed every pet. It is important to make adjustments to your feeding regimen to fit the lifestyle that you and your pet lead, as well as taking into account any health needs that your pet might have.
Figuring out just the right amount of food to feed our pets can be a real challenge. While pet food packaging provides a detailed feeding guideline in most cases, it is important to realize that this really is just a suggestion, a place to start. Work with your vet to determine your pet’s ideal weight and body condition, and adjust the amount you feed up or down as needed to maintain this “ideal.” Puppies and kittens have higher energy requirements to support their rapid growth and development. Very young pets may need 2- 3 times the amount of food that an adult at the same weight would need.
Most kids are drawn to pets like a moth is to light. We’ve all seen the cute videos of kids playing with dogs or being overrun by a litter of puppies. Screams of delight erupt from the child as they’re covered in puppy kisses and wiggling bodies. Kids can and do accept caring for pets all the time, but like anything that’s learned, taking good care of a pet depends on the age and personality of the child.
I’ll never forget the night my mom brought home my first puppy. I was only about 3 years old, but I remember that night as if it was yesterday. My mom wore a cream colored winter coat with huge, deep pockets. It was a cold night, and the smell of fresh winter air clung to her coat. She called my brother, sister and me into the kitchen. Grinning, she dug down inside her pocket. As she withdrew her hand, tucked inside her palm was a pure black, purebred Rat Terrier puppy with eyes that sparkled like stars. We named the puppy Susie and she, along with four wild kittens that came three years later from my Grandma’s house, taught me how to be a responsible pet owner.
Children have a lot on their minds; growing up is hard to do after all. Being a responsible pet owner isn’t usually on their agenda. But it is for some kids. Susie wasn’t the best dog breed for small children and she put up with a lot from my siblings and me when we were little. But as I grew older, I started to learn who Susie was as an individual dog and discovered the joy of interacting with her. Taming four wild kittens taught me how to be patient and gentle.
Being a responsible pet owner means making a commitment to a pet to attend to their needs, care for them in sickness and health, and love them. Some children embrace responsible pet ownership from the day an animal enters the home, even if they don’t realize it. However, most children need a chance to mature before they’re ready to assume a responsible role in the care of a pet. Kids become responsible pet owners when they are ready to understand what the needs of a pet are.
Tamara Waters’ article, “How to Help Kids Learn Responsible Pet Ownership,” is filled with excellent suggestions for teaching kids about caring for a pet. All kids need a mentor to help them learn what it means to be responsible for another living being. It’s up to parents to teach kids what it means to care for a pet as they embark on a journey to discover who their pet is. Caring for my pets was never a chore for me, because I wanted to play with them, and I loved to feed Susie because she did tricks. But just playing with a pet doesn’t make someone a responsible pet owner. I had to learn about commitment, the proper way to teach a pet, and why it’s important to treat them with respect.
When you love a pet or person, you want to protect them and make them happy. You learn to respect them as you earn theirs and a bond grows no matter which kind of relationship it is. Some kids are ready to be responsible pet owners at a fairly young age, while others may not be ready until they are older. It depends on the child and their level of understanding of what it means to be a responsible owner. It also depends on their ability to take the initiative to do something for the pet without having to be told.
A pet should never be brought into the home for the sole purpose of teaching a kid how to be responsible. Sit down with your child before getting a pet to make sure they are at least willing to learn how to care for a pet and take on some of the responsibility. If they are, then you can decide as a family what kind of pet to get.
Looking back, Susie and our four wild cats we tamed (Smoky, Cinnamon, Taffy and Coco) were my best friends. Learning how to be a responsible pet owner is a process we all have to go through. Some children learn at an earlier age than others. The important thing is moving from feeling like you’re doing chores, to giving a pet what he needs without thinking about it. When it becomes an automatic reaction instead of a forced response to doing chores, this is when a child is on their way to becoming a responsible pet owner.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
Your canine friend is probably looking forward to warmer days as much as you are. He’s eager for longer walks and romping in the yard, visits to the dog park and the great outdoors. However, now that spring has arrived, there are some matters of canine care you should undertake as a responsible pet owner.
A vet checkup in the spring is always a good idea. You will get a general overview of your dog’s health and can also make sure he’s up to date on all his shots. By aligning these visits with the changing of the season, you are making it a routine that you will remember to keep up with.
Check your dog’s toys, leash, collar, harness and other equipment for signs of wear and tear. All of these things can present a danger to your dog when they break. Whether that means a loose dog running around the neighborhood or a choking hazard from a destroyed toy, either one is a problem for you and your pet. Make sure that everything is in good condition.
My neighbor is a crazy cat lady, like me and my co-writer Julia Williams. We are proud of our label and would do anything to help a cat or dog. My neighbor is also a foster mom who nurses litters of kittens that have lost their mom. She gives pets a quiet place to mend a broken leg or heal from the abusive home they were rescued from. Working with our local animal shelter, my neighbor puts a lost soul back together so the pet can be adopted out to a forever home. If you love pets and have been searching for a way to help out your local shelter, opening up your home to animals in need is one of the best things you can do.
I recently wrote an article about an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet. Instead of a soldier being forced to give up a family pet, this organization helps find foster homes to care for the soldier’s pet while they serve our country overseas. Because of caring pet lovers who open up their homes to these temporary pets, shelters across the nation have fewer animals to care for. The soldier can deploy knowing their pet is being well cared for, and they don’t have to wonder what happened to them.
Shelters have seen an increase in the number of pets surrendered to them across the country. An estimated 8 million pets end up in shelters every year and many healthy, adoptable animals are put to sleep because there just aren’t enough people to adopt them. Friends, family and neighbors have all been caught up in an economic downturn that sometimes doesn’t leave them with a lot of choices when it comes to a family pet. I’ve been fostering a friend’s dog to give my friend a chance to get back on his feet financially. It doesn’t matter how long it takes; this is one dog that will not end up in a shelter.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.