Now in her teens, Snowflake is a happy, contented and very loved cat, but that wasn’t always the case. Stephanna B. rescued the flame point Siamese cat when they were both very young.
Stephanna spent much of her time exploring the outdoors and engaging in imaginative play in her big backyard, often getting lost in play for hours at a time. Inevitably the local wildlife made an appearance, including blue bellied lizards and many different types of birds. The family dog was usually included in playtime and exploring. They were often spotted playing in the tall wild grasses and digging in the sandy soil, perfectly happy and content.
Unbeknownst to the young girl, an underweight, very wary half-grown cat was keeping an eye on the activities, deciding if this interesting, free spirited little girl was safe to be around. She had cause to pause, as she was an abused cat and humans had not been her allies in her young life.
Slowly the cat began to come into the yard, and Stephanna would talk to her. She made a little bed for the cat out of a cardboard box and lined it with soft bedding, then placed it up in her wooden fort at the top of her swing set. Safe under the overhead canvas roof of the fort, the cat soon found the little house to be a sanctuary and the young girl to be gentle and affectionate. They bonded, but the cat still wandered. She returned more and more often to the big untamed back yard and the happy little girl.
Yesterday Linda Cole offered advice on how to choose a reputable breeder if you decide to adopt a purebred dog. Today I want to talk about rescue dogs and how to find the right shelter dog if you decide to go that route.
All but one of my dogs was rescued in some form or fashion; most came from shelters. I can remember going there as a kid. We’d walk up and down the aisles, peer into all those hopeful eyes and try to decide which pup would be our next family pet. I think I have a knack for choosing a dog from the shelter. All the dogs that have come home with me have been healthy, loving, life-long companions. Even so, it’s wise to follow basic guidelines for choosing a dog from a shelter.
Before You Go
Remember that sharing your life with a dog is a huge responsibility. Once you’ve determined you’re ready to take on this commitment, you should narrow down your choices. Are you looking for a puppy, an adolescent dog or a senior? Do you want a small dog, a medium sized dog or a big dog (when fully grown)? Are you prepared to walk the dog and feed him a high quality dog food like CANIDAE?
Do you have a specific breed type in mind? Shelters are filled with both mixed breed and pure breed dogs. If your heart is set on a specific type of dog and you can’t find one at a local shelter, you can always contact breed-specific rescue organizations for help. Critically and realistically evaluate your lifestyle to figure out what type of dog will be the best fit.
Most of my dogs from the past and present have been rescued, but I did have two Siberian Huskies and three American Eskimos that came from breeders. We all have personal reasons for choosing a pet from a breeder or a shelter. If you do decide to go with a dog breeder, there are some things you need to know – beginning with picking a breeder that’s reputable. Asking the right questions and knowing how a credible breeder should interact with you, helps you make a wise choice.
Good breeders are associated with local and national breed clubs, and kennel clubs like the AKC or UKC. They know their dogs well, and their objective is to constantly improve on the breed(s) they raise. Only healthy dogs are mated, and kennels, exercise areas, yards and homes are clean. All of the dogs are clean and well cared for, and their kennels are not overcrowded. Their dogs are family pets first, and many breeders enter them in dog shows, hunting, herding or Earthdog trials and other activities.
Your dog may need more than just a simple collar and leash to wear for a walk or an outing. They may need to use a harness as well. A harness helps with control and safety issues. Take these five reasons into consideration when you are deciding whether or not to purchase a harness for your dog.
Size of the Dog
Large or muscular dogs can be very strong. A harness can give you more control with your dog when you are out and about, even if your dog is not fully trained in good leash behavior.
Some smaller dog breeds may be more delicate and prone to injury. Wearing a harness disperses the pressure from one smaller area on the neck, to the back and the body. It spreads the stress over a larger surface area.
One thing no scientist has been able to do is slow down the hands of time. Like us, as dogs grow older they can start to experience the effects of an aging body and mind. Steps may be harder to go up and down. Hearing isn’t as sharp as when your dog was younger, and he might have a harder time “holding it” in between trips outside. We can’t stop the aging process, but we can recognize and understand difficulties that cause some common behavior issues in senior dogs. Canines are adaptable, and they usually handle getting older better than most humans.
When it comes to a dog’s senses, hearing loss – partial or complete – is the most common loss. If your older dog doesn’t respond when you talk to him, it’s possible he can’t hear you. As canines age, high pitched sounds are harder to hear. Women generally have a higher pitched voice, and praise is given in a happy, higher pitched tone. It might be necessary to lower the tone to help your pet hear you.
Just because he’s watching you as you talk to him, doesn’t mean he hears you, and most dogs aren’t lip readers. Not coming when called or ignoring a command, even when he’s watching you, is a good indication of hearing loss.
If you used hand signals along with commands when you trained your dog, it’s a huge advantage when he gets older and loses his hearing. But if you didn’t, you can still teach him hand signals or use other ways to get his attention to help him understand what you want.
Use a flashlight or laser pointer to get his attention, but remember to never shine a laser light directly into his eyes to prevent damage to the eyes. You can turn on an outside light and flash it to send a signal when it’s time to come inside. Reward him with CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats so he can learn what the light means.
Never stop talking to your pet, even if he has complete hearing loss. His hearing may be gone, but he still enjoys the time you spend with him when talking to him.
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.