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April 2016
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June 2016

The positive influence old dogs have on managing our own aging process

When my dog got into her old age years, I noticed. I listened to her creaky joints when she would get up from a nap. She would step out or off of one of her beds, then slowly stretch her long Husky Shepherd legs out behind her, until her toes flared. My eyes went wide in surprise, the first time I heard her joints make small popping noises like my toes do sometimes.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

I had more firsts with her the next several years. Looking back now, I'm seeing her movement into old age through changes in my own body. Previously I had seen my 80 year old mother in my dog's aging process, now I see myself.

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New British Columbia SPCA ads celebrate how companion animals bring out the best in us

Some people are born animal lovers. My mom described herself as a "horse crazy" child. I have loved everything about dogs for as long as I can remember. 

Minding our family's dogs brought out the caregiver in me, and taught me responsibility. Tender moments together when they got older gave twelve year old me a chance to learn compassion and empathy.

Experiencing the special connection that's possible between a person and a companion animal is something unique, and for many, life changing. 

This year, the British Columbia SPCA is celebrating that special human-animal bond with three different ads...all heartwarming and lovely.

image from www.kelownanow.com

“Our animals don’t see our flaws or shortcomings- they love us as we are, unconditionally, which is a pretty amazing gift,” said BC SPCA general manager of community relations, Lorie Chortyk.

We cannot deny how dogs and cats have moved into a very special place in our lives. Honestly, given the stresses in the world today, companion animals play an even greater role. They can provide a necessary, healthy balance to what worries us. 

This unique bond we share is fascinating, made more so, because of the increase in scientific studies being done. People want to know how dogs work, how they understand the world, how they learn, and why do most of us in the western world consider them as family.

However, if we're already a dog lover, I think most of us are happy with our human and dog symbiosis. We don't need scientific research to tell us why we feel so good when we cuddle on the couch together, or play ball at the park. We only care that our best friend is healthy, and content.

What do you think?

Source

Watch all three videos > here < via BC SPCA.

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Why Caring For Old Dogs Matter

Maybe it's my own old bones talking, but I care a lot about senior dogs. At first, I thought my feelings were due to having my own old dog at home but she passed away almost two years ago. Then I thought it was because of my own rapidly aging parents, and watching their approach to life. But with all of them gone now my caring about old dogs hasn't diminished at all, in fact I care even more!

Why Caring For Old Dogs Matter

When I spend time with an old dog, my empathy for their lumps and bumps is real. If I see one dealing with poor vision, I find myself cleaning my smudged glasses in solidarity. Take an old dog for a walk, and savor their slow and measured pace. It's the perfect balm to impatience.

Bonus from Volunteering

When an old dog smiles with joy it feels like you just won a special prize. If one is feeling grouchy because of an ache, you'll find out fast. Old dogs are very present with their emotions. Spending time with them each week, I benefit from these mini-lessons and go home a better person.

When we care about, and for, old dogs, our lives are enriched as much as theirs. It's that simple. 

Why Caring Four Old Dogs Matters

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Clifford the Big Red Dog® teaches children important pet care in new book series

It's never too early to learn kindness and compassion towards each other, and for animals. Young children are often first exposed to animals through their first toy dog or stuffed bear. As they begin to learn reading skills and watch educational programming, it's a good time to show them the differences between the pretend care of their toy and real caregiving for their family dog.

Having a young child aware of what it means to care for another living creature, especially a beloved family pet, can help grow their empathy. A very popular children's character has been tapped to help educate youngsters in a new book series. 

Bayer Animal Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Carey
Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/AP Images for Bayer Animal Health

Bayer Animal Health has partnered with the iconic storybook character Clifford the Big Red Dog to create custom “Clifford Goes to the Doctor” books, which features tips for families to prevent bites from fleas, ticks and mosquitos which can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia, also known as companion vector-borne diseases (CVBD).

To celebrate the limited-edition book, Bayer Animal Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Carey joined Clifford at a local elementary school in Miami, FL to read the book to first graders and share important pet care tips.

Clifford Book Cover
Bayer Animal Health also donated more than 1,600 copies of “Clifford Goes to the Doctor” to elementary schools throughout the Miami-Dade School District.

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Discover why senior dogs rule: Fall in love with Terry! He's full of wags!

If you’re looking for a new BFF, look no further than Terry! Not only does he have the good looks, this silly guy has the best personality to match.

 

A photo posted by grouchypuppy (@grouchypuppy) on

Terry isn’t quite ready for retirement yet and has plenty of pep in his step! He’s the perfect combination of walking companion and couch potato.

Terry is super friendly and gets along well with people and other dogs. What’s not to love?

We think Terry is between 12-14 years young, weighing 24 lbs.

Meet him at Muttville in San Francisco to discover what a super cutie he is, and such a wagster!

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Veterans with visible and invisible injuries benefit from service dogs

Hey, the dogs with webbed feet were ringers! Service dogs who work with Invictus athletes had an informal dog paddle swimming contest to end this year's games in Orlando, Florida. 

 

The 2016 Invictus Games took place May 8-12 in Orlando. Prince Harry, himself a veteran, created the Games in 2014 for servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible. The prince was on hand for the dogs' impromptu event.

I'd like to see the federal government do more to help our veterans suffering traumatic brain injuries, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans. 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

We have too many veterans suffering, and dying, who deserve our help after serving our country.

We already know pet dogs play a valuable role. Mine uncovered missing items, made me feel protected, got me out of the house, introduced me to my neighbors, listened to my problems, and made me laugh when I was feeling blue.

Imagine what highly trained service dogs are capable of, and the immense benefit they can offer our injured servicemen and women?

Learn more:

Dogs and PTSD - PTSD: National Center for PTSD

New studies focus on service dogs and PTSD - Military Times

Over a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSD - Smithsonian Magazine

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Old dogs are full of tricks!

This is Danny, a very clever senior dog from Muttville. Without me saying a word, he walked up during my recent volunteer duty, and put out his right paw. It was still pretty early on this San Francisco morning, and I needed another cup of coffee, but this little cocker spaniel was intent on showing off his tricks.

Unlike my big old Shepherd Husky, Danny didn't need to sit down to shake hands. He also proved he is ambidextrous by offering his left paw a few minutes later. 

 

A video posted by grouchypuppy (@grouchypuppy) on

If you're lucky enough to meet Danny, or even adopt him from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, you'll find out for yourself why senior dogs rule. Check out the rest of his Muttville background here:

  • Danny likes to explore
  • He's very mellow (yep!)
  • Incredibly soft and very sweet
  • Danny is about 30 lbs and 9-11 years young

 

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Finding your heart dog reflected in another

Volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue every week brings me in close contact with old dogs. All of my desire to help them get another chance at love and affection with a new family is satisfied by the end of my shift.

This week I had the unexpected additional pleasure of spending time with Patricia, a shepherd with the looks and personality of my heart dog who passed away almost two years ago.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

Instead of feeling sad about my loss, or reminded of the hole she left behind, I felt joy. I felt gratitude for having some time with another dog who enjoyed my company so much she dozed off on my feet, and stuck close to me every chance she got. I even got a very sweet smile reminiscent of my angel girl. Her soft eyes and fur are an elixir and soothing balm to noises in the world.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, come see Patricia for yourself and find out what I mean! From the Muttville posting:

  • Patricia is great with dogs
  • Excellent walking on a leash
  • Loves new people (Yep!!)
  • Patricia about 10 years young and weighs 45 lbs.

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Showing kindness to animals made my vacation better

Wherever you are, wherever you travel, around the block, or across the world, be kind to animals. Your heart will thank you, and if you're like me, you get a sweet puppy kiss from an Anatolian Shepherd in the Turkish countryside. Now that's my kind of Turkish Delight!!

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

The first week of May is Be Kind to Animals Week.

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Be Kind to Animals Week 2016 and Giving our Children a Humane Education

This week the American Humane Association invites us to be kind to insects, rodents, bats, and all animals! As a self-declared dog lover, I find that this week is a wonderful opportunity to focus on young adults and children getting a compassionate and humane education. Raising compassionate children is a key to improving the lives of animals, and reducing the homeless pet population.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com
When you welcome a roaming dog while on vacation..

You don't have to get a puppy for your child to teach them about life, or to build empathy. Exposing young people to senior dogs is a great way to have important conversations about life, compassionate care, and respect for our elderly citizens. 

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