Irresistible dogs. Holiday pet adoption drives. This time of year it is tempting to adopt a dog to give as a gift. Please don't if you have any, any, question about what to expect from the experience. We adopted our dog the two weeks before Thanksgiving, and even with our preparation, it made for a pretty stressful holiday.
This time of year, the sights and smells attract me as much as they do my dog Cleo. We both noticeable pause, when we encounter the delicious food smells coming out of kitchen windows and bakeries.
While we both might like the smell of rosemary and a nice fir tree, on our neighborhood walk, my dog definitely prefers the smell of newsprint - because it means we're at Sammy's Newstand, where he has a container of special holiday treats waiting for Cleo.
Tis the season for holiday parties, family get togethers and hostess gifts. Are you like me and have friends with dogs? Does your boss have a beloved pooch?
Depending on your time, talents and budget, these gift ideas can range from a homemade bag of dog treats or an ornament, to a fancy weekend sleepover at a Wag Hotel - Here are my ten favorite gifts to give for any occasion:
Reflective collar or vest for evening or late night walks - It's cold and dark outside. A simple reflective collar to slip over an existing collar is something us dog folks always need.
Dog Treats - Are you a baker? Try these dog treat recipes No time? Have you seen Canine Confections all natural dog treats? They are creative, beautifully boxed and delicious!
Dog DNA Test Kit - For many with blended dogs, we can only guess what our beloved is made of, besides sugar and spice (and in Cleo's case, kids believe she is part wolf.) Wisdom Panel Insights is one of several kits that just might solve the mystery.
Dog Ornament - Many online sites offer easy ways to create a customized ornament. Add a photo, their name and the year, and you've a sweet personal gift.
This morning I am at the vet with my senior dog Cleo. She is due for an annual exam, and recently seemed to be under the weather. Besides the check up, we are having her evaluated for possible new issues related to her current medications, and any extraordinary new developments. Is her vision worsening faster than expected? Is that hitch in her step the result of arthritis or something more serious internally? We hope her results will be normal for a Shepherd-Husky who is about 10 years old, and whose puppyhood wasn't the healthiest.
When we take our dog Cleo out for a walk, we carry poop bags. It is a reflex to grab house keys, wallet, phone, hat and poop bags before heading out with her. Sometimes I might add hand sanitizer to a pocket. Poop bags are never optional, though the type of bag can fluctuate. We have used lavender-scented and biodegradable bags, a reused newspaper bag, and even reused fruit and vegetable bags from the store.
In addition to getting people to automatically pick up their dog's poop, disposing of the poop is hotly debated these days. Do you bag it? Flush it? Bury it? We don't like the idea of adding to landfill but in the city, when given the choice, leaving the poop to be stepped in or washed into the San Francisco Bay through a storm drain is a bad idea and our initial focus. However, if biodegradable bags create methane, a greenhouse gas, in a landfill, then what? Read more of the debate and share your ideas in the comments [...]
We just came back from a walk with our dog. Once again, a nice encounter for our dog and a few kids and senior folks. However, once more I was surprised when a clearly smart woman, didn't know the chocolate in her hand, was poisonous to our dog.
This encounter was a reminder for us to pay close attention as the holidays begin. Starting with the ABC's of what to avoid, be aware of, and watch out for, especially if you plan to have people over. The holidays bring out happy and well-intentioned guests, and isn't better to be safe than have to make a trip to the emergency room?
When we adopted our dog, she came from the San Francisco SPCA, which has a policy of implanting a microchip in pets before they can be adopted. Before our dog adoption, we knew little about the procedure. However, living in an area prone to earthquakes, this added identification is appreciated.
We know it comes with possible health risks, like all implants, human included. But, for us, given our incredible bond and love for Cleo, the reward would be incalculable. We couldn't imagine losing track of her, and having her adopted to another family, because they didn't know about us, or how to find us. [Cue my childhood matinee weeping during Snoopy Come Home]
Reading this reunion story of Petey returning to his Tennessee home from Michigan, had us cuddling with Cleo after we doubled checked her microchip number and the contact information with HomeAgain.
Across the United States, 26% of dogs had implanted microchips in 2010 compared to 17% in 2009, according to an annual survey of pet owners by American Pet Products Association.
(Veterinary technician Trevor Van Eeuwen uses a hand-held scanner to check for an implant, a rice-sized microchip, on Roxy a 7-year-old maltipoo, with the help of Veterinary technician Natalie Hartman.)
Trick-or-treating is fun for kids but not for many dogs, especially senior dogs. Our dog, she loves little ones when we are out walking, and we'll stop and have a happy moment. But, a strange looking shadowy shape that is waving its arms, in low light, is another story.
Our dog is older, and her eyesight is going. She goes bump in the night, every night. Dogs with limited vision, hearing or mobility, are probably happiest away from the action. We certainly run extra interference for our dog on Halloween. We don't want her to accidentally spook a child, nor do we want her to get scared so that she feels even more protective of us, and the house.
Daylight encounters between dogs and kids in costumes, can be safely handled by aware parents. We see that in our neighborhood, with one parent watching the stroller, while the other handles the toddler. However, here are the best five tips to consider that we have learned over the years:
Senior dogs need big naps after a long walk. Our dog Cleo had a good drink of water after our walk this afternoon, now she'll be resting the rest of the day. However, it is sunny out & her thick fur had her panting extra hard.
With all dogs, watch closely for signs of heat exhaustion. Dogs sweat out heat through their foot pads and nose. Prevention is key to keeping your dog safe. Visit dogs.about.com, "Dogs and Heat Stroke - Understanding and Preventing Heat Stroke in Dogs" to learn more.
When we adopted our dog, we had prepared, but only after we brought Cleo home did I realize how much I still didn't know. Part of my adoption theory was that at some point, you just have to do it. You can't know everything, nor can you plan for every contingency. You need to have an open heart, ready to set your new dog up for success in their new life with you. You can prepare your household and life for this new family member, but at some point in the planning process, you need to trust your instincts and open your home.
Our dog has become a family member, blossoming into a happy girl over the past six years with us. However, with that said, I wish I had known some of these great tips for creating a well adjusted dog. We had a few avoidable mishaps in those first days. The first thirty days in a home are special and critical for a dog.
We got lucky with Cleo, and she is resilient. She knows that we love her unconditionally, and now if there is ever a question, she seems to give us the benefit of the doubt and pause before she reacts to a situation. In celebration of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and to help you avoid some of our mistakes, I've shared a few highlights from Petfinder, followed by a link to the entire list.
The start of October in San Francisco brings the sound of jet engines across our sky. If we have forgotten it is Fleet Week, our dog Cleo reminds us. She does not like the sound of July 4th fireworks, or F/A-18 Hornet jets.
Today and tomorrow, the planes will fly from about 1:00pm to 4:00pm to practice before the weekend festivities, in honor of Fleet Week. By lunch time, whether you are taking your dog out for a walk or not, every neighborhood will have heard the Blue Angels practice runs overhead. However much fun it is for you to see their amazing skill and aerobatics, it might be scary for your dog.
It will be six years next month since our adoption of our dog Cleo. She has been with us through thick and thin. We adopted her after months of thought and visiting with various adoption groups. However, ironically, the night we adopted her, we had nothing in the house for her. We couldn't have been more unprepared for a dog.
We scrambled, with her bewildered but loving self, driving around town to one resource after another to find appropriate dog gear and supplies. It was not what we had planned, but we love her even more for how well she seemed to trust our good intentions back then.