By Tamara McRill
We love our dogs like they are part of the family, but they are more than just cute rambunctious balls of fur offering endless amusement. They can actually make a family unit stronger, on emotional and physical levels. Sometimes I think we can only aspire to give as much back to those we love as our pets enrich our lives.
How do dogs make a family bond stronger and help us live better lives? Let’s count the ways.
1. Creating Memories and Milestones
If you’ve ever been around a tightly knit family, then you have probably heard a few stories about their shared recollections and probably a few pet memories. Having a dog creates a shared being to love, and we tend to note the things those we love do. And dogs seem to provide endless antics for us to notice.
Beyond their antics, milestones in our pets’ lives become ones in our own. When my family begins reminiscing about past Christmases, the first one brought up is almost always the Christmas Eve our family dog, Daisy, had puppies. She brought extra joy to the holiday and added to our family history.
2. Bonding Over Common Ground
It’s these moments and what people have in common that make them close. People are so diverse in interests, and just plain busy doing their own thing, that common ground can be hard to find, even if they are related. Even when family members feel like they have little to say to each other, they can still talk meaningfully about their pets, or work together to feed or play with them.
This can open the channels of communication and lead to further conversation on other topics, instead of everyone retreating behind closed bedroom doors.
By Linda Cole
I wrote an article awhile back on how pets find their way back home. Some pet owners claim their dogs and cats are psychic, and there have been a number of studies and experiments using mazes to see if pets can connect with us telepathically. There was an interesting study done in the early 1950s by parapsychologist Dr. Karlis Osis, who experimented with his cats in a maze. There is one researcher, however, who believes the bond we share with our pets may go much deeper than we realize, and it’s our bond that may make it possible for some lost pets to find their way back home. Bonding is what binds us together, and understanding a pet’s love just might make you see them in a whole new light. We should never take for granted the importance of a pet’s bond.
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author who has an interesting theory on the connection some pets have with their owners. He believes pets have the ability to connect with their owners telepathically, and conducted experiments to prove it. Sheldrake filmed pets waiting at home for their owner to return. Pet owners assume their pet knows when they are close to home because they can recognize the sound of their owner’s vehicle, but not all pet owners have a car. Some people use public transportation. To eliminate the possibility of a pet recognizing the familiar sound of a car engine, Sheldrake asked pet owners to think about going home at random times and then travel there by taxi. In each instance, the moment the owner thought about heading home, that was when the pet moved to a window or door to wait for their owner to return. Sheldrake believes this proves the telepathic connection our pets have with us.
He also says morphic fields exists in all mammals and links groups of social animals, including us, together at the cellular level; pets may actually bond with their owner at the very core of who we are. According to Sheldrake, a pet that has formed a strong bond with their owner feels a physical link. When that link is broken, there’s a disruption in the rhythm the pet feels, which may be one of the ways some pets are able to find their owner over long distances. When they go in search of someone they love, they begin to feel more in balance as they close the distance between the person or another animal they are looking for.
I find this theory interesting – I want to believe that it’s possible to have such a deep and strong bond with our pets. We know how important building a bond is, but the importance of it should not be taken for granted. Why is it pets have the ability to give us unconditional love and give it willingly, without question? We have to earn their trust, and once we have it a pet never asks for anything more. They accept us as is, and will forever honor their end of the unsigned contract we make with them.
By Tamara McRill
If your dad or husband is the type of dog lover who takes his canine companions everywhere he can, then he’s just the type of guy who would get a kick out of Father’s Day plans that include them as well.
To let Dad enjoy the day with his best friend, you need to plan activities that will make them both happy, but are still safe for his pet. Even better, most of these activities do double duty by providing gift ideas.
Here are six great activities and gift ideas to ensure your favorite guy has a wonderful Father’s Day with his favorite pet:
Is your dad often bemoaning the issue of not being able to take his dog fishing, because he would be uncomfortable? You can put an end to that and a smile on Dad’s face by planning a pet-friendly excursion to a fishing hole that allows animals. Treat him to some new fishing gear, and his faithful sidekick to the pleasure of a family outing—and the promise of more to come.
Supplies you’ll need to make sure his pet is well taken care of during the excursion include traveling food and water dishes, a blanket to lie on and an umbrella to help shade from the sun. Include a new lead and stake for dogs that tend to wander, and a towel if you have a swimmer. Don’t forget plenty of water and CANIDAE dog food if you’ll be out past feeding time.
Pampered Pa and Paws
You know his dog enjoys a good rubdown and chances are Dad does too. Turn your living room into an impromptu spa by arranging for a masseuse to come over and work all the tension out of Dad’s muscles while you or the kids focus on his dog. Just remember to avoid chatting away, since this should be an opportunity for them to relax.
By Linda Cole
I already had a young dog when I bought my home. Jack was a fun loving American Eskimo. Shortly after moving in I adopted Puff, a fuzzy yellow kitten. Jack was just shy of his first birthday so he and Puff grew up together and became inseparable. I didn’t understand how closely they had bonded until 17 years later when I lost Puff to natural causes. I found Jack lying beside him in the morning acting as if he was trying to get him to wake up. Jack and I grieved Puff’s passing and Jack never really got over the loss of his friend.
Yes…pets can develop a close bond with one another.
Some people think humans are the only species with the capacity to love and bond closely with others. They argue that pets have no emotions and are therefore unable to care about each other or even their owner. However, there are plenty of documented stories about pets developing strong friendships and bonding with each other and even with wild animals.
In Japan, a farmer was shocked when his cat came home with a baby mouse in her mouth. Now that in itself isn’t odd, but it’s what the cat did with the mouse that is. Instead of attacking her prey, the cat befriended the mouse. They shared food, they played together, and the cat protected her little friend from dogs.
Two tabby cat siblings, Jesse and Jack, were separated when their family decided to move from their home in the southern part of Australia to a new home in the northern part of the country. Before the family could move, however, Jack disappeared. After several months the family feared the worst, and went ahead with their moving plans, taking Jesse with them. Losing Jack was hard on the entire family, including Jesse, as she and Jack had been inseparable. Shortly after moving, Jesse disappeared from her new home and the family once again grieved the loss of another pet. They were surprised to learn fifteen months later that Jesse had arrived back at her old home in the south. She had traveled 1,900 miles across the Australian Outback. In the meantime, Jack had returned home. When Jesse left her new home and headed south on her long and dangerous journey, it wasn’t her old home she was seeking, it was her brother Jack. Their bond was closer with each other than it was with their human family. Jesse and Jack are now happy as can be living in their original home in the south.
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.
By Julia Williams
Each of my three cats is affectionate in their own way, but there’s just something incredibly special about Annabelle. I felt a connection with her the moment I rescued the tiny bedraggled kitten from the jaws of death. These last few years, however, my bond with Belle has grown stronger than I ever could have imagined, and it’s taken me by surprise. Oh sure, plenty of people have formed close bonds with their pets and I have with all of mine, too. Yet this sweet-tempered girl with a diamond on her nose…she is different somehow.
I don’t think of Annabelle as a substitute for human affection; I don’t compare the two, for how could I? What we share is a pure love that makes me feel blessed and happy to be alive. Sure, this relationship has limitations because she is, after all, a cat. But notice I did not say “just a cat.” Belle will never be “just a cat” to me. She is my life, and I love her more than anything on earth. I would do anything for Belle, give her anything she needed to be happy and healthy.
There are many different things that make this little cat so special to me, but what I love most is that she truly wants to be close to me. Every day, Belle comes into my home office and softly mews until I pick her up. She sits on my lap like a child, one leg draped over my left shoulder and her body over my heart. I wrap both arms around her tight and rest my cheek on top of her head. I close my eyes and listen to the sweet melody of her contented purr.