Monthly Archives: May 2013

What Brings Your Pet Joy?

By Julia Williams

One of the things I find most interesting about human beings is our uniqueness. We each have a distinct set of things we like, and things we don’t like. No matter how many humans you compared side by side, you’d never find two whose preferences matched. It’s the same with our pets. While some people think animals are a less complicated species than humans, in terms of their preferences each pet is unlike any other. However, without the ability to speak our language, pets generally have a harder time making those preferences known. They have to rely on body language and their own “animal speak” to get their point across. They also need an owner who is tuned in and takes the time to discover what floats their boat.

Understanding what brings your pet joy and then doing what you can to provide that for them is a wonderful way to deepen your bond. We humans appreciate it when others make a point of knowing what we love and what we don’t, so why should it be any different for our pets? It’s really not, but because of the language barrier we typically don’t learn all of our pet’s likes and dislikes as quickly as we do with humans. It can take many months, sometimes even years, of observation and trial-and-error to figure out what makes them tick. The reward – a beautiful, close-knit relationship – is well worth it, though.

Discovering what your pet loves is important, but what is also crucial is making sure that others know these things, too. When I wrote Have You Made Arrangements for Your Pet, I neglected to mention this, but I should have. It’s an essential arrangement for every family with pets but especially those who are single. I was reminded of this while reading Gwen Cooper’s novel, Love Saves the Day. The cat protagonist lived with a single woman who passed away. Even though the cat’s new family was the woman’s daughter, she was thrust into a home where they knew nothing about what she loved and what she didn’t. Many pets are surrendered to shelters without this critical information as well.

Change is hard enough for any pet. Imagine suddenly being in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers, unable to tell them that the food they offered wasn’t appealing to your palate, or that you wanted a lighter touch of the brush when they groomed you, or that what you really wanted someone to do, more than anything, was scratch your belly. It would be frustrating, to say the least. A pet’s quality of life would surely be diminished if they weren’t being provided with what they love most.

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Patsy Ann, the “Official Greeter” of Juneau, Alaska

By Linda Cole

The mystery of how and why dogs do certain things has never been solved, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a conundrum that constantly reminds us of the amazing abilities of dogs. Such is the case with Patsy Ann, a white Bull Terrier who left her home and family behind to become the “Official Greeter” of Juneau, Alaska, welcoming ships as they docked. What impressed the townspeople was that even though Patsy Ann was born deaf, she was able to “hear” the whistles of ships preparing to dock before they were even in sight. She was the most famous dog west of the Mississippi during the 1930s.

Patsy Ann was born on October 12, 1929 in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Keyser, a Juneau dentist, purchased the pup for his twin daughters, and Patsy Ann traveled by ship to her new home in Alaska. Once there, however, things didn’t go well in her new home and she was given to another family in Juneau. But Patsy Ann had a mind of her own and wasn’t the “settling down with one family” type of dog. She regularly escaped to make her rounds around town and visit human friends. A friendly soul adored by everyone, Patsy Ann had become Juneau’s dog.

How Patsy Ann knew a ship was coming has remained a mystery. Maybe she felt vibrations from the whistle in the air or smelled the smoke coming from the smokestacks on the steamships. As soon as the first whistles were heard, no matter where Patsy Ann was in town, she eagerly trotted to the pier before the ship was even in sight. She even knew which of the seven docks the ship was making its way to!

A story the locals loved to tell was the time the newspaper misprinted the dock for an incoming ship, which sent everyone to the wrong dock to wait. As Patsy Ann made her way to the wharf, she saw the crowd gathering at the published dock. She stared at them for a moment before moving on to the correct dock and sat down to wait. Every now and then, she’d glance at the people and then turn her head back towards the channel. When the crowd realized the ship was heading for the dock Patsy Ann was at, they began to wander over to join her.

For twelve years, Patsy Ann endured bitter winds cutting across Gastineau Channel as she waited for ships to come into view. She waited through pounding rainstorms, wicked sleet, the harshness of winter, and docks groaning and rolling in heavy waves. Through it all, Patsy Ann stared into the gloom – waiting and watching. When a ship broke through the mist, Patsy Ann wiggled with excitement. The positive attention she received from the passengers and ship’s crew was her reward.

Patsy Ann was given the title of Official Greeter of Juneau by Mayor Goldstein in 1934, and when the town issued new dog license laws, he granted her immunity, which was good since she didn’t like wearing collars and somehow lost each one put on her.

When she wasn’t waiting for ships at the dock, Patsy Ann spent time with her friends in town. The local newspaper reported regularly on her activities, like leaving her footprints in freshly laid cement. She was well cared for by local businesses and probably had more friends than anyone in town. Everyone looked out for the dog and made sure she had shelter and plenty to eat. Her favorite place to sleep was in the Longshoremen’s hall.

News of Juneau’s famous Bull Terrier spread around the world by word of mouth, photographs and postcards with her image on them. Everyone wanted a picture of her. For people visiting Juneau, Patsy Ann was the highlight of their trip.

As she grew older, years of diving into the cold channel waters to meet many of the ships, weather and obesity had taken its toll on the old gal. On the night of March 30, 1942, she settled down for the last time in the Longshoremen’s hall. Patsy Ann died peacefully in her sleep at the age of twelve. A crowd of mourners gathered at the pier the next day and watched as a small coffin was lowered into the icy waters of the channel – Patsy Ann was gone.

On July 3, 1992, to honor this remarkable canine, a life-size bronze sculpture was unveiled at Patsy Ann Square which sits on the waterfront. In a heartwarming tribute, when the sculpture was sent to Alaska, part of the journey was by ship. Encased in the bronze are clippings of dog hairs from around the world to symbolically unite the spirit of all dogs. The statue sits on the main dock so Patsy Ann can continue her duty as Juneau’s Official Greeter, her head turned, watching the channel for ships making their way to dock. Visitors are encouraged to “Greet her and touch her and in leaving, carry with you the blessings of friendship through your life’s journey.”

Top photo by gillfoto
Middle photo by by woofiegrrl
Bottom photo by Eric V. Blanchard

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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.

Why Does My Cat Play Rough?

By Langley Cornwell

Our cat is a great hunter as well as an affectionate family man. As an avid animal lover, it’s hard to appreciate it when he proudly presents a wounded or dead “gift” to me and then waits expectantly for my approval. I do my best, and also make sure that he has a loud ringing bell on his collar – just to level the playing field.

Many times when we are lounging on the sofa and our sweet cat is resting on my lap, I’ll mindlessly start stroking between his ears. Sometimes he purrs so loudly and contently that I can’t hear the television. We are both enjoying relaxation time. Then, without warning he’ll suddenly swat at me or quickly twist and nip at my hand. I always know he doesn’t mean to hurt me but I’m still perplexed by his actions. I mean, if we are both completely kicked back, why would he want to change the mood so abruptly?

Apparently there is a direct correlation between high prey instincts and rough play. Cats that have a very high play-prey instinct can get excited quickly and will sometimes gently attack your hands, fingers, feet, legs, etc.

Kittens and adolescent cats often engage in energetic, rough play; feline play consists of mock aggression which helps young cats hone their physical coordination and their social skills. Cats have a good time stalking, chasing, scratching, pouncing and biting one another.

As I suspected, when cats with a high play-prey instinct get overexcited during petting time and start to nibble at your fingers and hands, the cat is not being aggressive. In fact, some people refer to these nibbles and nips as love bites.

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Let’s Have a Birthday “Pawty” for Fido!

By Lisa Mason

Most pet parents are as proud of their four-legged kids as other parents are of their human offspring. Why shouldn’t a dog owner throw their little fur bundle of joy a huge birthday bash, complete with all of the finery that other birthday boys and girls get? There is no reason, and the idea of a dog’s birthday party is starting to become quite popular.

Your dog’s birthday “pawty” can be as small or as elaborate as you would like. If the birthday party is to be a small affair of just family members, it can be accomplished quite easily. Remember that your canine birthday boy or girl can’t eat a traditional birthday cake with all of that sugary frosting. You can easily find recipes online to make your pup a special cake, and there are also bakeries that specialize in dog-safe baked goods.

Wait to offer the birthday cake until after your dog has eaten her regular food. If you can convince your family, spread a blanket on the floor and have everyone sit in a circle. You will have no trouble getting your birthday dog to crowd into the center. You can sing Happy Birthday and then let each family member hand feed your dog a piece of his birthday cake. Your dog will be thrilled with all of the attention!

Inviting Guests

If you plan to invite guests to the birthday celebration, some dog bakeries have a party planner on staff that can handle the entire affair for you, but it may be out of your budget. You can still throw a wonderful birthday “pawty” for your dog and all his canine friends without breaking your budget.

It’s a sure bet that you have pictures of the dog on your computer. Use a photo to make simple invitations and send them to all of his canine pals. Don’t forget to mention whether or not you will be accepting gifts. It is a good idea to either say, “No gift is necessary” or “If you’d like to bring a gift, Fido prefers CANIDAE food and treats.”

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Five Reasons Why Your Dog Ignores You

By Linda Cole

There’s no getting around it, some dogs are quite good at ignoring their owner! It’s frustrating when you try to get your dog’s attention and he keeps on doing whatever it is he’s doing. Here are five reasons why your dog might not be paying attention to you:

Lack of Proper Training

How we train a dog matters, and can make a difference in how they respond to us. If you don’t take the time to teach your dog how you want him to behave, you can’t expect him to know what you want. Yelling, kicking, hitting or any unfair punishment won’t teach a dog how you want him to behave. As responsible pet owners, it’s also our job to make sure we put valuable or important things up out of a dog’s reach, and provide a safe and secure area in the home where he can wait when we’re away from home.

Poor Timing During Training

Most dogs respond to treat training and praise during training sessions. Poor timing (when the reward is late) can mean the difference between a dog learning a command or not getting it. My dogs love CANIDAE TidNips™ treats, especially Keikei. As soon as she sees the treats, she’s ready for her lessons. To be effective when giving a treat reward or praise, it has to be given immediately after compliance by the dog. You only have a window of about 3 seconds where your dog can associate the treat with the command. If the dog misses the connection between the two, he won’t understand what you want him to learn. If you are teaching your dog to sit, the second his behind hits the floor, give him his reward. When you call him to come, as soon as he’s in front of you, give him his reward.

Not Understanding Body Language 

Dogs learn not only from our verbal words, but also from watching our face and body language for cues. A dog’s knowledge of body language is so refined, they understand what we want by signals we give with our body and tone of voice. If you have an understanding of the body language of dogs and are aware of the signals you are giving your dog, it can help get your point across. It’s possible you are being ignored because your pet doesn’t understand what you are asking him to do.

For example, if your dog continues to jump up on you and isn’t listening to your down command, turn your side to him. Fold your arms so he can’t touch your hands, don’t look at him and don’t speak to him. If he follows you as you move away from him, turn your back to him. If he continues, calmly walk away from him. He knows what that means. Your body language tells him everything he needs to know. Work on his training, but don’t neglect your body language to help him learn.

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Book Review – Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

By Julia Williams

The best novels not only keep us engaged from beginning to end but create such memorable characters that we think of them long after the last page has been turned. Good writers have the ability to “paint” a masterpiece with their words, to describe people, places and events in a way that makes us feel like we’re right there in the scene. We feel what the characters feel; we rejoice when things go well, and cry when they don’t. We wish the story would never end, because it’s hard to bid farewell to people who have become as real as those in our own lives.

Gwen Cooper’s new novel, Love Saves the Day, achieves all of this and then some. With a sassy brown tabby as its primary narrator, the book is certain to appeal to cat lovers. However, it has so much more to offer – with universal themes of love, loss, healing, family and relationships – that I honestly can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be touched by this hauntingly beautiful tale.

Gwen and Homer

Cooper is a wonderful writer who has a true gift. Her memoir titled Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, became a New York Times Bestseller, and it’s highly likely that Love Saves the Day will be equally popular.

Love Saves the Day Synopsis

Prudence is a very cool cat with a great purrsonality. Love Saves the Day allows us to see life through the eyes of a cat – one who is sweet, sassy, wise, witty, clever, loving and funny. Her unique feline perspective is artfully captured by Cooper, who obviously understands cats (and knows them as well as any human can!). To wit: “All cats are born knowing that there’s no point in paying attention to unreasonable rules made by humans,” says Prudence.

The story, set in New York City, begins with Prudence describing her home and her Most Important Person, Sarah. Prudence was just five weeks old when Sarah rescued her from a deserted construction site. Now three, she and Sarah have forged a beautiful bond. Prudence has Sarah fully trained in the feline courtesies and customs, and life is good.

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