Monthly Archives: April 2012

Every Dog Has Potential for Greatness

By Linda Cole

Inside every dog, there’s a potential for greatness, and all it takes to let your dog shine is to find what he loves to do, what his passion is. Dogs are a reflection of us and when you take the time to learn who your pet is, you might be surprised by what you find in his heart and yours.

‘Great’ has different meanings in the dictionary, according to how the word is used in a sentence. In this case, great (greatness) means outstanding, superior in character, important, noble or distinguished. Each of those words, in my view, aptly describes our canine friends. All dogs have a potential to achieve greatness when they are shown respect and given guidance to find their true calling.

My dogs will never star in a movie or win Best in Show. None of them will ever take first place in dock diving or fly through the air to catch a Frisbee in front of an adoring crowd. However, each one has achieved greatness simply by being. They aren’t perfect, and they try my patience at times. They love to join in and howl with the neighbor’s dogs when a siren is wailing. They bark at neighborhood cats and go crazy when a squirrel is in sight. But they’re all exceptional, in my eyes, and when one snuggles next to me and rests their head on my lap or against my chest and looks at me with loving eyes – that is greatness to me.

Not every dog is cut out to be a show dog or excel in agility. Not every dog has the drive or intensity to herd sheep or sniff out someone lost in the wilderness. A potential for greatness has nothing to do with competing in dog sports, being a therapy dog, or any other job we give to dogs. However, when you teach a dog how to weave through poles or catch a flying disc, you give him an opportunity to discover and learn something he could excel in.

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Why Do We Love Our Pets?

By Julia Williams

Anyone who shares their life with a pet could fill a book with reasons why they love them. There’s nothing quite like the magical relationships we have with our pets, and each one is akin to the ‘no two are alike’ snowflake. The pet-human bond is such a beautiful thing, really, and I’m so grateful for my furry friends. Not a day goes by that I don’t stop to think about how blessed I am to have these precious souls in my life. What follows are just a few of the many wonderful things that being a pet parent offers.

We love our pets because they…
…Show us how to live in the moment.
…Inspire us to be better human beings.
…Help us to appreciate the simple pleasures.
… Do something funny or silly every day.
…See us at our worst and love us anyway.
…Are the best listeners in the whole world.
…Give us a reason to get up in the morning.
…Are great best friends and surrogate children.
…Teach us that it’s okay to ask for what we want.
…Relieve us of the need to own an alarm clock.
…Encourage our nurturing and protective sides.
…Turn a house into a home, just by being in it.
…Eat every CANIDAE meal with unbridled enthusiasm.
…Don’t care what we look like or how much money we have.
…Teach us about forgiveness, patience, devotion and trust.
…Do mysterious things that always keep us guessing.
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The True Story of a Wild Crow That Saved a Kitten

By Linda Cole

We don’t usually think of wild animals as having the capacity to know when another species needs help to survive, and then doing what they can to help. But that’s exactly what happened when an abandoned kitten was left to fend for herself. A wild crow swooped down, not to hurt the kitten but to protect her, and he is credited with saving the kitten’s life.

Ann and Wally Collito have always been animal lovers. Living on the outskirts of town in North Attleboro, Massachusetts they would sit on their porch and watch the wildlife. One peaceful day in 1999, they noticed a small kitten about three months old walking around the edge of their yard. A couple of days later, they saw her again and noticed a wild crow hanging around the kitten. At first, they thought the crow was trying to hurt the young cat, but they were walking beside each other down the street.

When they kept seeing the kitten, Ann was afraid she hadn’t eaten in a while, so Ann decided to set out some food for her. However, Ann and Wally quickly discovered the kitten wasn’t as hungry as they had feared. They watched in amazement as the crow walked around their yard and gathered up bugs and worms. He then went over to the kitten and poked his beak into her mouth, feeding her what he had gathered. There was no doubt in their mind, the crow was taking care of the kitten in the only way he knew how. He even showed her where to find water.

Ann named the kitten Cassie, and the wild crow was given the name Moses. No one really knows why or how the two became friends. Crows are intelligent birds, but to see natural enemies acting like friends is definitely not an everyday occurrence. Ann called her vet to see if they could give her any advice on what to do. They were as amazed as Ann and Wally, and suggested they get the kitten and crow on videotape to prove their story, otherwise no one would believe them. So that’s exactly what they did. You can see their video here.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Can Dogs and Cats Have OCD?

By Langley Cornwell

Who knew that when we rescued our dog three years ago she would give me so much material to write about? Granted, she was in pretty bad shape when she came to live with us – but the physical ailments were relatively easy to fix. What’s been more of a challenge is helping her get over her emotional wounds. If you regularly read this blog you know that we’re making tremendous progress with her social skills. In fact, I’ve recently taken on a new job outside of the home and I’m able to take her along with me. That’s right, I get to take my dog to work! That alone has been a fantastic opportunity for her (and for me; it’s great having her at the office all day). The stimulation of being in a new place and interacting with new people is helping her grow.

We’re delighted that she’s getting less skittish. There was a time when she’d either cower in the corner or lunge and bark aggressively when a stranger approached. Now, as long as people don’t focus their attention directly on her, she’s okay. One day I hope to say she’s fully relaxed in a variety of environments, but we’re not quite there yet. Something about a stranger looking at her in the eyes makes her uncomfortable. And if the person speaks to her in a sing-song voice she becomes completely unhinged. The guys in the office have gotten used to her behavior; they’ve learned you have to let her come to you. They basically go about their business and if she approaches one of them they understand that’s their cue to give her a scratch behind the ears. That’s a huge step in the right direction. 

Our dog has another issue that we didn’t understand until lately. There’s this one specific spot on her backside, on the left of the base of her tail, that she licks constantly. She has to contort into an unnatural position to reach the exact spot, which is no larger than the size of a half-dollar. It can’t be comfortable to assume that position but she licks the area for long periods of time. She’s gone after that spot since she first came to live with us and she licks it so frequently that it’s discolored. We thought it was because of a skin allergy, fleas, a hot spot, a mosquito bite or some other medical reason.

We’ve taken her to two veterinarians and all of those things have been ruled out. Recently, a new vet joined the clinic where we go. After she conducted a thorough examination and pronounced our dog healthy, we started talking about some of her ‘odd’ behaviors. Since there is no medical reason our dog hyper-focuses on licking this small spot, the vet said it might just be a quirk or nervous habit. She likened it to a human biting their fingernails and that the act of repetitive licking soothed and comforted our dog. That made sense and seemed to fit with some of her other proclivities. 

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Why Do Dogs Like to Lean on Us?

By Linda Cole

One of my dogs, Max, is a big guy. When we’re outside in the dog pen, he likes to come over and sit beside me. However, he doesn’t just sit, he leans and if I’m standing up and not paying attention, he knocks me sideways because his lean is more of a flop against my legs. All of my dogs like to lean on me at times, but why do they snuggle up next to our legs or beside us on the couch?

Kelly, the matriarch of my dog family, will either sit beside me on the couch or climb onto my lap and lean against me. Then she lays her head on my arm or chest and melts my heart with her eyes as she gazes into mine. Some of the time, I know she’s trying to butter me up for some CANIDAE Tidnips treats, but usually it’s because she likes to cuddle whenever she gets the chance. Keikei and Riley are fond of sitting on my feet when I’m standing or sitting, which keeps my feet warm on a cold night.

Cuddling is one reason dogs lean against us, but think about how dogs, especially small dogs, see our world. It can be a pretty intimidating place for some canines. A dog that feels unsure of himself or is shy will press up next to your legs for security. A scared dog may move behind you and seek comfort knowing you are there to protect him. It’s his way of saying you make him feel safe.

Dogs communicate with us on all levels and there’s a reason for what they do. We are the ones that have trouble understanding what they are trying to tell us. But when you think about how we communicate with someone we care about, we respond in similar ways as dogs. How many times have you seen a small child hugging his mom’s leg or leaning against her while she’s chatting with someone. A shy child might peek out from behind his mom as he leans against her for safety. What parent hasn’t had their child sit next to them on the couch or in their lap and lean up against them? Whether it’s for security or just to cuddle, it’s the same reason why dogs lean on us – because we make them feel secure, and because they love us.

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Could your Pet be the Next Facebook Sensation?

By Julia Williams

One cannot help but notice the growing popularity of pets on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Given the number of pet lovers in the world, it shouldn’t be shocking to discover that some pets have more fans than many celebrities. But did you know some pets are even more popular on Facebook than prominent media organizations? Last year, social media news blog Mashable compared the fan bases of some popular internet pets to major media outlets, and the pets trumped CNN, FOX News, ESPN, the New York Times, Current and People Magazine!

Some of the most popular pets on Facebook gained notoriety first, and their large Facebook following came later. However, many were unknowns who somehow managed to captivate the masses. Perhaps most telling of all, the popular pet pages on Facebook are purported to be managed by the pets themselves. According to the Daily Telegraph online newspaper, “One in ten of all UK pets have their own Facebook page, Twitter profile or YouTube channel…” Some pets even have all three!

Further, legions of people seemingly buy into the notion that cats and dogs are capable of using a computer and thus, are managing their own Facebook pages and interacting with their fans. Ok, seriously…they know pets can’t type but prefer to look the other way for the sake of the fantasy. At least, I hope that’s what’s happening here. LOL.

As a pet lover, I understand. So many times, I’ve been caught up in the ‘voice’ of a particular Facebook pet that I find myself believing that what they said actually came from them and not their human servant. Well, not really…but almost. I liken it to that thing in the movie industry called the suspension of disbelief. A moviegoer knows certain things are just not possible, but they suspend disbelief for the sake of the story. Certainly, many tales become far more interesting told from the point of view of a pet, so we play along.

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