Posts Tagged ‘dog blog’

Dog Blogger Hop Intro

Thanks to Pup Love for hosting a fun blogger hop! We’re both “new” to this dog cyberworld, so it’ll be fun to read about fellow four-leggeds. Here’s my bio:

Name: Wes
Humans: Wendy (Mom) and Unnamed (Dad)
Other Furfriends who share my house:
Wilma (puppy), Duncan and Alfalfa (CATS)
Age: 7 or 8 years, the vet guesses
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Breed: The look of a beagle, the silence of a non-beagle
How we met: Mom met me in the parking lot of McDonald’s along a highway. I hadn’t had a home in a while.
Best trick: I make food disappear.
Favorite toy: I hate to admit it, but Wilma’s growing on me. I grrr at her sometimes, but she’s kinda cute:


two beagles dressed for halloween

That's Wilma on the left and me on the right. Halloween 2010. (We don't normally dress up like this. Unless it's a Tuesday. Or Sunday.)

How ’bout you?


A case for bipartisanship.

Democats, Repupicans– it’s time we work together. No more “This is my food” or “I’m going to pee all over you.” Hath not we all have four legs? Most of us, anyway?

We should unite in our goal. WE MUST ALL EAT. As much as we can. As fast as we can. And, preferably, out of a can. (That stuff’s better; I know you agree.)

So let’s agree on our strengths. Cats: You are clever. Wise. Flexible. And able to get where I can’t reach. Dogs: We have sharp teeth. Read: We can pierce cans if you just get them to us. Okay? Deal?

Either we move forward together with our furry friends, or not at all. (Okay, that’s not true; I’m going for my walks with or without you. Just please, get me those cans, okay?)





Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday?

Wordless Wednesday

beagle puppy with head tilted



See more great Wordless Wednesday pics here!

Can toys for shelter dogs stop them from dying?

You’ve decided to adopt a dog, so you’re off to the shelter. Awww…there’s a pooch frolicking with a toy. He throws it up in the air, sees you, runs to you, toy in tow. “Wanna play?” he’d ask if he spoke English. There’s another pup in the corner, disengaged. Which one will you choose? Which one will your kid choose? What if the entire shelter were full of disengaged dogs—or aggressive ones? Would you leave with or without one?


dog with toy

A dog with a toy is a beautiful thing.

Statistics show: socialized dogs—dogs with behaviors that fit their environment and culture—are more likely to be adopted. What helps dogs socialize? Toys. They give dogs something to do. Toys keep dogs calm and interested—and for shelter dogs, this is especially important behavior to exhibit in a less-than-ideal situation. Because the more quickly pups adapt to their surroundings, the faster they’ll get adopted into a forever home, and the more likely they’ll be kept for good.


Teeny’s Friends is a smart project begun by some spirited people in Austin. Last year, they held toy drives at local businesses and ran a benefit buy-one-donate-one sale. They managed to get 300 toys into needy dogs’ mouths last year. And they want to do more.

If they get enough votes (hint, hint), they could win a $5000 Pepsi grant. What would they do with it? In addition to a website, signs, toys and shipping fee, Teeny’s Friends aims

  • To provide 1,000 toys for dogs in local shelters.
  • To significantly decrease the euthanasia rate in Austin, Texas shelters.
  • To raise awareness about the importance of adoption.
  • To provide 200 toys for dogs in low-income families.

So please vote!

P O S T  S  C   R   I    P    T

Of course, toys are part of the answer. But to stop euthanasia altogether, we must:

  • Increase adoption rates. Shelter people work their patooties off doing this, so I’m not going to preach on they can do it better. And I’d say we’re pretty maxed out on the communication that adopting from a shelter is better than buying.
  • Eliminate surrendering. How? Education, education, education. Pre-adoption counseling. (I know, you do.) Free behavior training. (I know, you’d love this.) Free vet care for those who can’t afford it. (Can we get a pet care overhaul?) And how about a nationwide PR campaign finally making it uncool to move without your pet! (Did you know almost 30% of pets are in shelters because their families say they couldn’t move with them? Come again?)
  • Stop the stray cat (and dog) strut. Less than 2% of cats and only 15-20% of dogs are returned home. Why? No ID. The lesson: all pet parents should give all four-leggeds a microchip AND a collar with a tag. Wait—pause—not just a microchip, not just a collar and tag: BOTH. (Read this .pdf by the Humane Society for why.) Tattooing? Err… I have sensitive skin, but maybe your dog doesn’t! Just please ask first. Then send me a picture. Cute!
  • Make sure you and everyone you know are talking to their dogs and cats about sex. A mere 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, versus 75% of pets in homes. Why? Neutered pets have less wanderlust, so they stay at home. Take it from a dog who knows. But I have a microchip, collar and tag, too—just in case my nose takes over.

Anything else you can think of, while I’m dreaming of a perfect world?

Statistical sources:

ASPCA, 2003, 2010
The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP)
“Behind the Numbers” by Stephen L. Zawistowski, Ph.D.

5 things to do when you lose a pet.

I’m sorry. It stinks to lose a friend. And though I usually like things that stink, not this. But please take it from this dog (who has a lot of cat friends): We pets don’t want to lose you, either–and we hope we “go” first.

Here are 5 suggestions psychologists make to those who are grieving the loss of a furry friend.

Basset angel5. Express yourself. It’s normal. The pain might be more or less intense than you thought it would be. That’s okay. Talk, cry, scream, pound the floor; do what helps you the most. Write in a journal. Make a poem. Put up a free online memorial, if it strikes you. Your pet wasn’t just an animal; he/she was part of your family. Don’t try to avoid feeling pain by not thinking about your pet. The more you can walk through this–the slower you can take yourself–the faster the pain will subside. And it will. It will. It will. Give it time.

4. Listen to music and move your body. Note: you don’t have to do those simultaneously. If you don’t like dancing, run. If you don’t like running, walk. If you don’t like walking, jazzercise. But whatever you do, start listening to music. Anything you want. Rock, pop, classical, hair metal– if it feels right, do it.

3. Surround yourself with people who care. There are pet loss support groupscat angel and counselors in your area, message boards and chat rooms. People who say “It was just a pet” or “You can get another one” don’t understand– similar to people who say to someone who loses a leg– “You have another one.” Their intention is to make you feel better, but what you need right now is someone who understands.

Pet loss support groups and individual counselors

Pet loss message boards

Pet loss chat rooms:

2. If you’re unable to move, get help immediately. Sadness and grief is normal. Depression is an illness, but there’s treatment. Can’t get out of bed? Don’t feel like life is worth living? Your brain is playing tricks on you; please just call the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline:  1-800-273-8255.

1. When you’re ready, if your lifestyle supports it, adopt another pet– one that won’t outlive you, either. No cringing; you can do this. You can’t tell me that the pain you’re feeling now is greater than– or will overtake– the joy and the love you experienced with your pet. Now, what do I mean by “if your lifestyle supports it”? That is, don’t get another pet now if you want to make a big change– e.g., move to a smaller place in the city, have a new baby, try a new venture that will take 120 hours/week, get major surgery, travel the world. (Except that last one. If it’s in an RV, most of my friends and I would really dig that.)

Additional Resources:

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement: An extensive organization offering free services to anyone who has lost or will soon lose a pet.  Their chatrooms are hosted by kind folks who are experienced and trained in grief, and they offer information on assisting kids through this time, too.

“Grief and the Loss of a Pet” by Dr. Holly Nash: An article detailing the stages of grief, the different ways grief can be expressed, and information on helping the elderly who’ve lost a pet.

“Coping with the Loss of a Pet” by Dr. Jeff Feinman: Provides age-specific help for children in coping with the loss of a pet.

Free Pet e-cards: Send one to a grieving friend.

Pet Loss books: Though these are not a substitute for talking with others, they can be a great help. Also a good thing to send to a grieving friend.

Do you have other resources? Please share.

Are you an animal addict?

This post is dedicated to the kindhearted peeps participating in today’s BtC4animals’ Blog the Change. They’re writing for animals. I’m writing for them.

“No budget, no donations and my personal credit cards are maxed. I will eat macaroni and cheese and currently even rent rooms in my house to be sure that the animals have the good stuff. I love doing rescue… but… they say they are going to put the animal to sleep and it’s my fault.”Anonymous Best Friends Member

“I scream that I’ll never foster another dog again… then I see another dog with sad eyes that will die if I don’t help…” -Post on Rescue Anonymous

“I became increasingly isolated from family and friends. My… mom ask[ed] if everything was okay. No, everything is not okay! There are thousands of beautiful, loving animals dying needlessly in shelters every day!” -Julia Kamysz Lane in “When a Rescuer Needs Rescuing”

Sound familiar? Are you spending more time with a rescue than with your family? More money on cat food than on treats for yourself? Feeling angry that others abandon or mistreat their pets? Overwhelmed that it never ends? Sad that you can’t fix it all? Burnout, helping addiction, compassion fatigue–call it what you will– if you think you’ve got it, you probably do. And hugs to you for acknowledging it.

1. You’re not alone. See those quotes above? There are oodles more. Though it’s seldom discussed (and difficult to find on Google!), those who help often need help themselves. An estimated 1 of 4 social workers teeter on alcoholism. 23% of psychiatric nurses smoke. Like you, they’re good people doing good for others but harming themselves in the process. And who can blame you? There are lots of loving animals who need help, so…

2. Know that you are needed, but maybe differently than you think. Once, my mom wanted to give blood. As the Red Cross worker prepared mom’s arm, the blood drained from her face when she saw the needle. The nurse stopped, laughed and gave my mom o.j., saying, “There are lots of other ways to give. Having you flat on the floor isn’t going to help us.” Draining your family of “you-time” or your bank account of money will not only hurt you; it will hurt the animals that you love. And your rational mind knows this, but your heart argues. Which leads to (Excuse the gratuitous photo):

Beagle on a lap

This hound takes care of #1. You should, too.

3. The #1 animal NEED is for you to take care of YOU. As a canine, I know what I’m talking about. When my mom is stressed, so am I. Similar to the airlines’ plea for adults to secure their own oxygen masks before assisting children, it may seem counterintuitive to help yourself before helping us–but it’s vital. A burned out you is no good for us.

Of course, there are differing levels of self care. You may just need some stress management techniques, including just talking about it. Or maybe you need some time off, to ask for help in spreading the workload, or to switch duties (e.g., instead of working at a shelter, host a party to raise money; or instead of answering the phones, donate some dog food). But if nothing will be enough–if you’re addicted to aiding animals you may need to stop altogether and do something else. Regardless, it’s important to focus on the work that HAS been done and DOES get done, the dogs and cats and horses and furries that DO get saved. There are a lot of us. And we will always love you, no matter what.

More help for you helpers:

Animals in Our Hearts: Preventing and Healing the Stress of Animal Care Work: A site full of resources for animal activists with compassion fatigue. Wonder if you’ve got it? Need more help? Check it out.

Best Friends’ Solutions for Burnout: An easy-to-follow guide to ensure you stay sane–great if you feel you’re teetering over the edge or have a friend who is.


My Recycled Pets: Diary of a Dog Addict

My Recycled Pets: Diary of a Dog Addict          A cute book to help you stay focused on the positive.

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life A classic book on setting boundaries and saying “no” without guilt. Has a Christian slant.

Rescue Matters: Not for the burnt out, but for the burn-out-inclined; this book is full of helpful reminders and a-ha moments.

Have more suggestions for caring for caretakers? Comments? Please share.
Blog the Change

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