Taking your dog for a walk is something everyone needs to do daily. The exercise benefits both ends of the leash. However, the next time you are out with your dog consider the stranger passing you on the street. If it's me, you should know that your dog may have just made my morning...
As much as I appreciate the blue bird of happiness, having this sweet puppy cross my path made my day. How about you? Do you get a shot of joy from a stranger's dog?
Another study is out proving how dogs are a positive influence on our life. This time the data shows that we are more likely to develop friendships and have healthy social interaction, thanks to our dog.
The type of relationship they may develop ranges from a brief social interaction to the development of new friendships. Interestingly, the U.S. dog owners were much more likely than owners of other species to consider people they met through their dog as a friend.
People were even more likely to meet each other through pets than via their children's school, according to the research results, and walking your dog is among the top five best ways to meet new people.
Many of the pet owners also said their pets helped them establish relationships that led to tangible forms of social support in both practical and emotionally supportive ways.
Three years ago, while looking across the room at my old dog, I had five fast responses to anyone fearful of loving a senior dog pop into my head. Reading through them this weekend, I still think they hold up and make good examples of why you should never let your fear of heartbreak prevent you from having an old dog in your life.
After our Cleo passed late last year, I have had many encounters with older dogs and each time they made me laugh and shake my head at these myths.
Some people think having an old dog is the opposite of fun. I beg to differ with them.
Check out these five myth-busters:
Myth 1. They're boring.
Fact: How can you be bored when you have this face around keeping you in stitches?
Myth 2. They're expensive.
Fact: We eat the same foods as she does, only minus the kibble. Even her pills are delivered via high-grade liverwurst that we share.
Choosing to adopt an older dog can be rewarding in many ways. For my friend Shelah Barr, owner of Happy Hounds Massage, the little old dog she met transformed into an adorkable bundle of curiosity and seeker of sunshine.
In Shelah's own words, this is what happened:
I first laid eyes on Bunny in 2009. I had gotten calls from a few volunteers about a dog who had just arrived at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue who seemed to be in pain. I can't believe what I saw when I got there - what a mess! She had been on the streets for a while, then someone had shaved her entire head, ears and body, but left the long curly foxtail encrusted fur on her legs and paws. She had a rash, was hopping off one back leg and goose-stepping with the front ones, trying to get someone to pay attention to her. What a clown. Anyway, I checked her out and had my suspicions about her knees so after a quick visit to the vet the next thing I know she's had surgery on both knees and I'm rehabbing her! And now I can't get rid of her.
She's the oddest dog I've ever had. She has immense curiosity about people and things - she walked up to a guy jackhammering with genuine interest in the jackhammer and him! She's not afraid of anything, loves big dogs, thinks cats are the best thing ever, and has the strangest penchant for sitting and laying down in driveways. She's recently expanded her proclivities to crosswalks, wheelchair ramps, and a nice cozy space right next to the active streetcar tracks. She even plopped down in front of the neighbor's house where the driveway was going to be built. People like to theorize why she does that, but I think we'll never really know why. Just another mystery that is Bunny!
You never know who you'll fall in love with, but I think Shelah now definitely knows why senior dogs rule.
Going on vacation should be fun. When you have a dog, if you cannot take them with you, leaving them behind can be tough emotionally. It's also not fun if your separation is distressing for both of you. When you love a dog like I do, and your furry best friend is aging rapidly, you choose to stay with them every chance you can rather than leave them, even for an hour. You can question my relationship with her and call the depth of my attachment unhealthy, but I can look back now and say with confidence that I squeezed every ounce out of our limited time together.
Be Kind to Animals Week is here. A reminder that teaching compassion for animals benefits our community in many ways. Raising compassionate children is key to ending animal abuse, reducing domestic violence and moving us toward becoming a No-Kill nation.
While traveling through Turkey, I met wary stray dogs, independent but cared for by the community dogs, and pet dogs. This senior dog came to visit and get a nice snuggle. He was the perfect finish to our lunch after exploring Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dogs will put their lives on the line for us humans, and it never ceases to amaze me. With my own dog, I did not take for granted her willingness to protect and watch over me. I see search and rescue dogs and just want to give them a treat, a pet or anything that is allowed, because as you can see from the photo here, when these dogs are on duty you have to respect their boundaries.
There are few people in animal welfare I admire more than this guy, Richard Avanzino. When I first started writing about dogs after adopting my first dog from the San Francisco SPCA, I learned about a man who fought for the life of a little dog named Sido. As the President of the SF/SPCA in 1979, Rich stood firmly against the current California law that allowed someone to “destroy an animal like a piece of furniture." Thanks in part to his efforts, the law was changed and Sido was given a second chance.
"San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jay Pfotenhauer ruled that the right to dispose of property after death does not extend to killing a living creature."
There is no doubt if my big dog Cleo had been around at the time of Sido, she would have been euthanized, but fortunately perceptions and practices changed, thanks to the work of Rich, the SF/SPCA and Maddie's Fund. I will always be grateful to them.
Maddie’s Fund® announced that its president, Rich Avanzino, will retire this summer [...]
Four years ago I heard about diabetic alert dogs from Dee Bogetti. I knew how common it was for dogs to be diagnosed with Cushing's disease, but until my dog's own diagnosis, I really had no idea dogs could many older dogs become diabetic.
The Grey Muzzle Organization asked me to share our story about what life was like with an older diabetic dog. The following is a little about how we discovered her diabetes, and how we adjusted our life to keep our sweet girl living as vibrant a life as possible.
One lesson that still remains huge for me is how much our time together mirrored my diabetic father's experiences. I will be forever grateful to my sweet senior dog for opening my eyes to the similarities between her life with diabetes and my elderly father's. Thank you Cleo.
Read more about how we handled our dog's diabetes diagnosis [...]
Pet loss isn't unique. How we manage it is. Losing my beloved dog hit me hard. It has thrown my writing life for a curve. She was my primary inspiration for topics, and motivation for striking up conversations. More than three months have passed and it's been a challenge without my canine compass.
There is a feeling of lethargy that is foreign to me. Moving through the day sometimes feels awkward, like wearing an ill-fitting sweater or jacket with too tight sleeves that ride up your wrists. Our dog had my full attention for years and guided much of my writing for the past five.
How do you reset your course when it feels like the captain is missing?
It may come as a surprise to you but some dogs aren't interested in being the center of attention. Reactive dogs like Teddy need their space. When she's ready, she'll seek you out.
For a dog lover, it can be hard on your feelings when you're turned down by a pretty dog, but since spending time with Teddy here, when she decides you're okay by her, and you are allowed to give her a scratch or two on the butt -- it felt like winning a prize! Being allowed to give Teddy some affectionate attention was a wonderful sensation the first time, and many years later, the excitement hasn't diminished.
Have you ever had a reactive dog offer you their affection, or the chance to make physical contact with them? How did it feel?
NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Therapy dogs may improve the emotional well-being of some cancer patients, according to results of a clinical study, the first to document the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients. The research was made available this week in the Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology.
"Thanks to this rigorously designed study, we now have strong evidence that pet therapy is an effective tool to help cancer patients get through challenging treatments," said Gabriel A. Sara, MD, Medical Director, Infusion Suite at Mount Sinai Roosevelt, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
It's encouraging to know there is strong evidence showing the real emotional boost animal-assisted therapy gives to adult cancer patients. This study was released after a million people on Facebook uploaded photos of dogs to cheer up a young cancer patient in Phoenix, Arizona.
Yep, a million. His mom Kristen started an event page in December asking people to share dog photos because they made her son smile on the days he didn't have a therapy dog visiting him at Phoenix Children's Hospital where he is receiving treatment.
There has been a lot of support by people everywhere, including Gabby Giffords, from Tucson. Knowing how my dog made me smile, and the rush of oxytocin I felt with her, you'll find her sweet photo representing Grouchy Puppy well wishes.
Photo: @kris10lyons Anthony and his mom Kristen on Rachel Ray
Learn more how you can make Anthony smile.
Post of a photo of your own dog on the event page Photo Doggies for Anthony, and when you share on Twitter use the hashtag #PhotoDoggiesforAnthony
Everybody benefits from spending time with dogs! This new Georgia program allows service dogs in training to get socialized by kids with autism, while giving these youngsters a chance to be positively influenced by a dog.
“It’s just amazing,” said Elizabeth Dulin, co-founder and head of the Lionheart School, which serves students with autism in Alpharetta, Georgia. “When our kids interact with the dogs, we see reduced anxiety levels. ... They become calm and focused.”
One 11-year-old student named Max can quickly identify all seven of the puppies romping around the school. How can he name them so effortlessly when they look so similar? That’s easy.
“Because I love them,” Max told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
And the impact of the dogs on the children doesn't end there.