Posts Tagged ‘pets’
Throughout the years, my husband and I have rescued and adopted many older and senior dogs ranging in age from 4 to nearly 11 years old. Each has come with a different life experience. Some have been family pets; others were used as a means of guarding or protecting his family or family’s property; some have been dearly loved friends and companions; others have received little love, attention or affection. Many have been neglected, abandoned or abused through no fault of their own. These older dogs have lost their homes for various reasons: divorce or separation of his parents; the death or severe illness of his guardian, change in work schedule, the necessity of moving to a place where a dog is not permitted (i.e. nursing home or assisted living facility, and so on). There are many reasons dogs are surrendered to a shelter – it is a fallacy that these animals are in someway inferior or have health or behavioral problems. Each of the older dogs we have adopted has brought us great joy and deeply enriched our lives. There are many important reasons to adopt an older or senior dog:
1). You can save the life of a deserving animal in need of a loving home, and feel good about yourself. Older dogs are usually not considered as “adorable” or adoptable as puppies or young dogs. Puppies generally have a much better chance of being adopted than older dogs. Therefore, older dogs are much more likely to be euthanized than younger dogs. The joy and fulfillment of rescuing an older dog and providing it with quality of life are unparalleled.
2). You can experience the appreciation, gratitude, devotion and patience of an older dog which are deeply rewarding. She somehow “knows” and understands that she has been saved, and becomes a grateful, loyal and loving friend, companion and family member.
3). Older dogs tend to be calmer, are often obedience trained and socialized and require less supervision or monitoring than younger dogs. They may even form a deeper bond with you than a young dog.
4). When you adopt a senior dog, you know what you’re getting. When you adopt a puppy, you can never be sure of how large he will get or what he will actually end up looking like. When you adopt an older dog, his size and weight, personality, behavior, likes and dislikes are immediately apparent. – all of which make it easier to select the right dog for you and your lifestyle.
5). An adult dog is past the puppy-chewing phase. This phase can last from eight weeks to two years of age or even longer, This is when the dog is “exploring” virtually everything around him and can be a time of destruction of furniture, carpets, art work and other valuable possessions.
6). Adult dogs are better able to concentrate or focus and actually may be much easier to train than a puppy. The bonding that takes place during the training of an older dog is powerful and even deeper perhaps than that developed with a puppy. Adult dogs possess a maturity and range of experience that young dogs simply do not have.
7). Most adult dogs are already socialized. Puppies must be taught basically everything about life, while older dogs have generally already shared and learned from their relationships with other pets, people and children.
8). The first year of expenditures on an adult dog is typically much less than on a puppy that requires all sorts of vaccinations and examinations as well as obedience training. A healthy adult dog does not usually require the frequent visits to the vet that a puppy does.
9). Adult dogs are typically less active than a puppy. Of course, they require walks and playtime but don’t require high maintenance activity, a lot of exercise, walking and running and playtime. An older dog is much more content to share quality time with you and simply enjoying your attention and companionship.
10). Adult dogs are just as handsome and beautiful as puppies in their own way. They can make you feel young again and bring joy, fun and pleasure to your life!
An older or senior dog can make a wonderful addition to your life and family. By adopting an older dog, you can learn much about life and the aging process - in so many ways comparable to our own. You can teach your children respect and compassion for our older friends and family members.
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In light of the fact that obesity is assuming alarming and epidemic proportions not only for humans but for our canine friends, it is important to address the issue of proper nutrition for our furry friends before serious health issues arise as a result of poor nutrition and inadequate exercise. Beyond nutrition, the importance of regular exercise for human and canine cannot be overemphasized.
However well-intentioned we may be in providing the best care for our animal companions, it is always advisable to conduct our own research as well as consult with a reputable, well-respected and knowledgeable veterinarian as to the “best” nutritional program for your particular pets. Just like human beings, each pet is unique and requires individual care pertaining to his or her size, weight, breed characteristics, heritage and ancestry, overall health and well being and personality, exercise regimen, etc.
Each pet requires consistent and on-going veterinary care – including regular visits to the vet (not just in an emergency or crisis situation). They require spay/neuter as well as physical examinations and their vaccinations. As they are examined, it is important for you (as your pet’s caregiver) to describe your pet’s physical condition, problems or any health issues that you may have observed. Does your pet limp? Pant? Breathe heavily? Have digestive problems? Walk with difficulty or hesitation? Have difficulty breathing? Tire easily even though not old? Your vet will more than likely be happy to address and suggest a proper nutritional and exercise program that will increase your pet’s longevity and improve his health and quality of life. He/she will take into consideration the age and lifestyle of your dog and help determine the diet best suited for your dog’s health and happiness.
It would be easy to believe that there is one superior pet food or diet that would fulfill all of your pet’s nutritional needs. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As is with the case of people. no one particular diet suits all pets. Your individual pet’s needs must be carefully considered in light of your pet’s age, background and overall health and well being.
Overall, your pet needs certain vitamin and nutrition, and a food that will be easily and well digested without any health consequences. Your pet may not need but generally will enjoy a varied diet – just as you do. Think in terms of your own health and enjoyment of healthy meals. Your pet should be fed a diet specially formulated for his age, breed, size and health history. For example, if he has kidney failure, there are appropriate diets that can help him therapeutically to limit the pain of his disease and prolong the quality of his life.
There is also danger in feeding your pet the “wrong” diet. It is important to give your pet a breed and age appropriate diet and also a special one designed for a dog that is pregnant, anemic or allergic or one who has kidney or liver failure, heart disease or other significant health issues. Therapeutic dies generally contain higher quality ingredients and have tighter quality control. Because they are intended for pets with special health issues, these diets are available through veterinary health professionals and should be administered under veterinary care.
If your pet is overweight, consult with your veterinarian as your pet’s obesity can be responsible for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, liver and kidney disease, endocrine and intestinal problems, cancer, etc. Certain diets, typically those higher in fiber and lower in fat, can help keep obesity in check. Generally, diet and exercise are the keys to helping your pet maintain a healthy and well balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
You may have suspected it, but a visit to the veterinarian with your dogs confirms the fact that your beautiful canine is overweight. Actually, you shouldn’t be too surprised as obesity in our pets, just as obesity in humans has reached epic proportions. You have done your best to feed your dog a healthy and nutritious diet, yet; somehow, you have provided her with more than the daily intake of calories she requires. You may have provided too little activity or exercise. You may have given her extra treats as “rewards” for good behavior or simply to make her happy. Any which way, it is time to deal with the inevitable – placing your dog on a healthy diet, exercise regimen and nutritional program. Proper nutrition will enhance your dog’s longevity as well as her quality of life.
Obesity is the most common nutritional problems veterinarians encounter in dogs and cats today. Being overweight can result in a wide variety of serious health problems for your pet, including heart disease, urinary problems, arthritis, cancer, endocrine issues and cancer. Overweight dogs are at higher risk in surgery, more prone to injury and experience greater stress on their hearts, livers, kidneys and joints. Excess weight can worsen respiratory problems and exacerbate osteoarthritis. Excess weight can lead to diabetes mellitus and generally diminish the overall quality of your pet’s life. Obesity can also decrease your pet’s life expectancy. Obesity is an issue that necessitates serious thought and consideration as well as change in your pet’s lifestyle.
The lives of our pets are generally shorter than our own. Therefore, if we are hoping for our pet to live a long, happy and healthy life, it is imperative that we provide our pets with a healthy lifestyle, sound nutritional program and a regular exercise regimen. It is as important for our pets to eat healthily and exercise frequently as it is for us as human beings. Once we have made the decision to adopt a pet, the animal is ours to care for until its death. We are the one and only caregiver of our vulnerable and trusting canine or feline friend, companion and beloved family member. Our pet’s life is completely dependent upon us. We are responsible for her overall care, health and well being.
To assess whether Fido really is “fat”, note the following:
Have your pet examined by your veterinarian. Consult with him or her to determine what weight loss regimen is most effective and beneficial for her.
If your vet puts Fido on a diet, do your best to adhere to the requirements of this health plan:
Limit the amount of food and snacks he gets;
Cut back the amount of kibble in his food bowl;
Feed healthy snacks if you “must” give him any at all: choose green beans, carrots or other low-calorie vegetables, unbuttered popcorn, organic or apple slices, etc. as per the advice of your vet;
Watch the fat content of the food you are purchasing & look for a diet with similar ingredients but fewer calories;
Watch the fat content in the food you buy’
Check the supplements you use for value & caloric quantity;
Keep Fido away from the dining table at meal time so that there is no temptation to your pet to beg or for you & your kids to give him unhealthy, fattening snacks.
Exercise your pet gradually and with the advice/consultation of your vet. Short sessions of low or moderate activity are a great way to begin this program i.e. a walk around the block, a regular obedience class or obedience routine are good ways to begin your pet’s exercise regimen.
Obesity affects approximately 25 percent of the U.S. canine population. Make certain that your dog is not a member of this population. Keep him healthily fed and exercised. Take no chances with your best friend’s health. Give him your love and a healthy dose of nutritional well-being and daily exercise.
Many of us enjoy a swim in a refreshing pool during the hot summer months. Our pets may enjoy a swim as well. I have a yellow Lab named Sunny that not only swims, but also does some serious diving for Frisbees and other toys. Our pool is five feet deep, and Sunny is about 27 inches tall, but she is an excellent swimmer and water-lover supreme. She is fearless, and swims laps both in our pond and our pool. She would have little problem swimming 24/7 throughout the year (we live in Texas, so our winters are generally quite moderate.) She also knows how to get out of the pool via the shallow end and up the stairs. However, other kinds of dogs do not necessarily possess a natural ability to swim and may not be able to get out of a swimming pool.
There are some dangers posed by swimming pools that could prove harmful – even fatal to your pet. Here are some ideas that can keep your pet safe this summer:
1). Assess your dog’s ability to swim. Although most dogs have the ability to swim, this doesn’t mean yours is one of them. Old age, physical disabilities such as blindness or limited vision or other limitations can hinder your pet’s ability to survive in the pool.
2). If your dog displays an interest in getting in the pool, show him how to get in and out. Repeatedly show him and familiarize him with the shallow end and the steps that lead out. You may even want to install pet steps or a pet ramp (incline), which is hooked onto the sidewall of the pool if your pet has trouble climbing stairs.
3). Monitor your pets around a pool – just as you would children. Even if they are familiar with the location of a pool, they may inadvertently fall in.
4). A pool alarm will alert you to the sound of the surface water and water below being disturbed. There are many types of pool alarms- many have adjustable levels of sensitivity-that will alert you to danger.
5). Chlorine can irritate a pet’s eyes as well as their ears and lungs. Check your pet periodically for signs of irritation to the chlorine in the water.
6). Use eco-friendly products to clean your pool that are also pet-friendly. Converting your pool to a saltwater pool is a healthy alternative to one that is chlorinated and cleaned with other chemicals that aren’t pet-friendly.
7). After a swim, make certain to rinse off your pet with fresh, clean water. Always have some fresh, clean drinking water available and accessible for your dog.
8). Make sure that the pool water is not too cold for your pet and that he does not develop hypothermia.
9). Limit your pet’s time in the pool as well as in the hot sun.
10). If your pool is surrounded by concrete, brick or tile, guide your four-footed friend to a shaded, grassy area where he can rest after swimming and where his paws won’t get burned.
Enjoy the pool with your dog – he may even want to swim alongside you. My friends and I play water games with Sunny, and we have a lot of fun swimming together!
Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a visit to the lake, ocean or local watering hole. Whether you enjoy fishing, sailing, jet skiing, canoeing or simply swimming, the water promises a refreshing and fun-filled experience during the hot summer months.
Your dog may enjoy cooling off along with you. To assure that he remains safe, happy and healthy in and around the water, keep in mind the following suggestions:
1). Purchase a life jacket (pet flotation vest) for your dog. These are sold at most large pet product stores. Some dogs are natural swimmers; others are not and can quickly get into trouble in the water. The life vest may give him extra time by keeping him afloat if he actually needs to be rescued.
2). If your dog does not like the water, don’t force him to go in with you.
3). Familiarize yourself with the lake or ocean to determine if there are sharp or jagged rocks that could hurt his paws or if there are strong undercurrents that can pull your dog out to high or dangerous waters. At a pond or lake, check to see if the banks have a gradual incline so that your dog can easily get out of the water.
4). Teach and reinforce basic obedience commands – especially “come”.
5). Keep a close eye on him, and don’t let him too far in or away from you.
6). NEVER leave him unattended!
7). Always carry fresh drinking water for your dog, and teach him to drink out of a water bottle so that you don’t need to carry a water bowl with you all the time. Drinking water from a stagnant pond or lake can cause many different kinds of ailments including parasites, Giardia, and bacteria.
8). Pond or lake water with algae, fertilizer/pesticide residue or parasites, if ingested can cause vomiting, diarrhea and make your dog very ill.
9). Don’t let your dog swim for too long a period so that he becomes over fatigued.
10). Don’t let your dog swim in water that is too cold; this could result in hypothermia.
11). Rinse and wipe your dog dry after swimming – make sure you dry his ears off to reduce the possibility of ear infection.
12). Keep in mind that the heat of the sun around a body of water can be intense. Watch your dog for signs of sunburn and heat stroke.
Let good old-fashioned common sense guide you in and around the water. Make sure you and your pet stay, cool, safe and refreshed in the water and wherever else you go this summer!
As so many of us regard our pets as beloved family members, we look forward to spending our holiday time with them. We enjoy including them in our vacation plans. We may take road trips with them or travel with them via plane (although it may be complicated or disappointing to undertake travel by plane, train or bus with our animal companions.) Actually, Greyhound and other bus and railroad companies for the most part, do not even permit pets on board.
As I have twenty-one dogs, it is a Herculean task for my husband and me to leave home for any period of time. We may take brief business or other obligatory trips throughout the year. However, at least once a year, we recognize the need to get away from our personal and professional responsibilities and flee to a place far away from friends, family and colleagues.
We are extremely fortunate to have found a husband and wife pet sitting team who live in our home while we are away. They not only take excellent care of our dogs but also manage and maintain our house and property. They bring our mail and newspapers inside; monitor the sprinkler system; water our indoor and outdoor plants and, of course, most importantly provide our dogs with TLC. They feed, exercise and play with them. They even brush and bathe them. If they require any veterinary care while we are gone, our pet sitters take them to our vet or have one of our vets make a house call. They are a godsend and I don’t know what I would do without them. And yet, even with the confidence I have in them, I know that anything can happen, and I definitely suffer from separation anxiety – probably more so than my dogs!
Before we had twenty-one dogs and before we found our house sitters, we boarded our dogs at a boarding kennel. This can be an excellent option for someone who has only one or two pets and needs or would like to travel, but does not need the extensive home care or attention our many dogs require. My husband and I still periodically rely on an excellent boarding facility to care for some of our special needs dogs while we’re away.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect boarding kennel for your pet:
1). Get referrals from your vet, friends and neighbors
2). Search for and research locals boarding facilities on the Internet
3). Visit the kennels that rank the highest in recommendations from clients and ask for references/reviews from clients. Does the facility belong to the AKBA (American Kennel Boarding Association)? Make sure the kennel is immaculate and well-organized and that it requires each pet staying there to have proof of veterinarian recommended immunizations, rabies vaccines, bordatella, etc.
4). When visiting the kennel, make sure it is clean, sanitary, free of offensive odors, and that the animals look well-cared for and healthy – look and listen for signs of skin irritations, coughing, sneezing or wheezing, eyes oozing, etc. that would cause potential danger or illness for your pet
5). Make sure the facility is climate controlled (air-conditioned in summer; heated in winter) and has adequate ventilation
6). Make certain your pet has an indoor/outdoor kennel enabling him to go in and out as he chooses.
7). Make sure you’re pet will receive plenty of exercise every day- find out how frequently he is walked and played with each day
8). Find out how often your pet will be fed and given fresh water each day
9). Determine the kind of food and treats you want your pet to consume daily (they should be high quality and consistent or the same as they receive at home). Find out if you can bring your pet’s food
10). If your pet is older or has special needs, make certain that his needs will be met and that medications will be administered regularly
11). Find out the credentials and experience of staff members as well as facility owners –who will actually be taking care of your pet, walking and exercising her, etc? Make a point of meeting the people that will actually be taking care of your pet
12). Is there a 24-hour emergency animal hospital nearby? Are employees trained to recognize and deal with potential health issues or emergencies?
13). Is the boarding facility monitored by nearby fire and police stations? Is the building alarmed directly to a local fire station?
14). Is the facility secure – are there adequate kennel locks and secure fencing so that your pet cannot escape?
15). Make sure that you provide the kennel with specific written instructions regarding medications and special needs. Also leave important/crucial contact information with the owner and staff, i.e. your cell phone # and home phone as well as your destination and it’s phone number, your vet’s name & number, the names and numbers of close friends, family members and neighbors who can respond to your pet’s needs in case of an emergency or crisis.
If you are planning on boarding your pet during the summer or during holidays, make reservations long in advance. Make certain your pet is current on all vaccines and is healthy and has written proof of his health status and medical history before you attempt to board him. Finding an excellent boarding kennel for your pet can provide your pet with quality care and fun and you with peace of mind.
As we spend an increasing amount of time outdoors, generally so do our pets. We need to make certain that we, as well as they, are protected from the various dangers posed by the heat and other outdoor hazards including insect and snake bites, allergies and skin irritations and heatstroke from prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat.
Here are some pet tips on keeping your animal companion safe during the summer
1). First and foremost, make certain that your pet is ALWAYS wearing a collar and identification tag. Microchipping your pet is also an excellent idea – as it offers an even greater chance of locating and finding your pet if she is lost.
2). Keep your pet cool – monitor her when she is outdoors with and without you. Make sure she has adequate shade throughout the day – remember the sun’s position shifts, and while you may have left her in the shade, it may become sunny.
3). Do not leave your pet outdoors for any extended period of time – more than an hour or two- without checking on her condition and making certain she has plenty of cool, accessible water and shelter.
4). As pets get sunburned just like we do, provide her with sunscreen on her nose or ears and other vulnerable areas – especially light haired dogs with pink noses and delicate ears.
5). Exercise your pets during the coolest parts of the day – early in the morning and late in the evening and for only very short intervals, if necessary, during the heat of the day. Make sure your pet does not overexert herself.
6). Remember that concrete and asphalt can get extremely hot and uncomfortable during the heat of the day and can actually burn your pet’s paws.
7). Protect your pet from pesticides and fertilizer, which can prove fatal if ingested.
8). Enclose your pool area to protect your pet from drowning. Supervise your pets when they are near the pool.
9). No matter how tempted you are to “let your pet go free”, keep her on a leash when outside the safety of your fenced in back yard – she could get lost, directly encounter and fight with other animals, and eat or ingest unsafe water and things that could make her sick.
10). NEVER leave your pet in your car – even if you leave the windows partly down, the heat can rapidly rise to unsafe, even fatal levels for your pet.
11). Leave your pets inside in the cool air conditioning as much as possible. Empathize with them and feel the heat. They suffer and certainly don‘t appreciate it any more than you do!
12). Be considerate of elderly, fragile, ill and young animals that are not able to cope well with hot weather and high humidity.
13). Watch out for signs of heatstroke in your pet which may include: excessive panting, staring, glazed eyes, drooling, warm dry kin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting or even fainting or collapse.
14). Maintain and monitor flea, tick and heartworm prevention regimens. The summer months pose an increased danger of your pet being inferred by these parasites.
There are many things to enjoy and share with your animal companions throughout the summer. However, heat, humidity and parasites are not among them. Keep your pet cool, happy and healthy!
Many people wonder if their pets have emotions and if they can feel happy, sad or lonely. Find out what true about your pets and their emotions with the following 10 guidelines. Once you realize that your pets may be feeling happy or sad or even perhaps, unwell, you can do something about it with extra attention or a trip to your veterinarian. Observation is key to helping your pet. Here’s how to get started tapping into your pets emotions:
1). Pet emotions are very similar to those of human beings including happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise and anger.
2). Animals don’t filter their emotions like we do. They are pure.
3). It takes training, observation and experience to correctly interpret dog emotions.
4). Care, commitment, and common sense help us decipher their feelings.
5). Emotions are most easily read by paying attention to the expression in your pet’s eyes. Are they sad, happy, fearful and dull, sparkling or full of humor or mischief??
6). Pay attention to their posture (are they rolling happily on their backs waiting for a belly rub?) Are they in the playful bow position (crouching on the forepaws and elevating their behind?
7). Observe their gait – are they walking slowly? Rapidly? As if in pain? Running playfully or prancing with joy? Are they jumping up and down in anticipation of playtime or going for a walk?
8). Listen and familiarize yourself with their vocalizations: are they whining or whimpering in fear, pain, sadness, or in anticipation of separation from you? Are they barking menacingly at a stranger? Are they purring or meowing in contentment and comfort? Are they exuberantly welcoming you home with their enthusiastic meowing, barking or yipping or howling?
9). Is the pet’s tail wagging in happiness or anticipation of fun/playtime? Is the tail down in sadness, depression or disappointment?
10). Are your pet’s ears down in submission or fear after he’s been admonished or frightened? Are his ears up and alert –anticipating fun and adventure?
We commiserate with them and offer them love and hugs and kindness as we would to any human friend or loved one who is sad. We may entice them with a treat or walk or special play time…but it is our love, support, soothing and healing verbal language as well as body language (hugs, petting, etc.) that is of greatest help.
It seems as if it were only yesterday we were immersed in the deep, dark cold dreariness of winter. Who can believe now that it’s almost Memorial Day weekend? Many of us are celebrating the warmth and beauty of spring and are anticipating taking some much-needed and well-deserved vacation time. Just the thought of “vacation” brings a smile to our face and relief to our hearts.
Although many of us would love to spend quality vacation time with our pets, we find it impractical or impossible to do so. And so…we seek ways to keep our pets safe, happy and healthy while we are away.
In my opinion, it is least stressful and most beneficial for us as pet guardians and for our animal companions to be cared for in their own familiar, comfortable surroundings by qualified, pet-loving, well-trained pet-sitters who know, love and care our pets and who will do everything in their power to ensure that our pets will be well taken care of during our absence. As literally creatures of habit, our animal companions fare best when adhering to their regular daily routines regarding diet, exercise and sleep. An experienced and reliable pet sitter can keep our pets happy and healthy while we’re away. But just how do we go about finding this magical being to be entrusted with the care of our beloved pet?
Here are some tips in ensuring that you find the “perfect” pet sitter:
1). Before attempting to find him or her, make a list of all the criteria he or she need to meet in order to meet your needs and the needs of your pet. Does he/she simply need to exercise, feed, provide fresh water and play with your pet? Are there medications required by your pet? Are there plants that need to be watered, mail and newspapers to be taken in and other household functions that need to be addressed?
2). Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues who have used pet sitters for their recommendations and referrals.
3). Consult your veterinarian and vet techs for recommendations- some of them may be pet sitters or they may have clients who use reputable pet sitters.
4). Inquire at your local animal welfare or rescue organization as to whether they know of responsible, caring, professional people who provide pet visits or pet sitting.
5). Ask employees of local pet supply stores such as PetSmart or Petco for recommendations - often they offer dog obedience and socialization classes on-site, and the trainers may themselves be available to pet sit or know of people willing and qualified to do the job.
6. Contact the NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) for referrals as well as their criteria which determine the qualifications of a potential pet sitter. The NAPPS offers a certification program for qualified prospective pet sitters.
7). Speak and meet with a prospective pet sitter and familiarize him with your animal companion as well as your home.
8). Give him ample, detailed information about his anticipated responsibilities in writing so that he can refer to them whenever necessary. Also provide him with contact information, phone numbers and addresses of your vet, friends, and neighbors who can help out if necessary.
9). Make certain he has excellent references and experience and is licensed and bonded.
10). Make certain he is able to handle a veterinary emergency or any other kind of potential emergency and is aware of the phone number and location of the nearest veterinary emergency hospital as well as your vet’s office.
When I am away from home and my canine kids, I feel a great sense of relief knowing that they are in the hands of a competent, compassionate and knowledgeable house sitter.
I am much calmer and happier knowing that I have left my babies in the comfort and familiarity of their own home in the care of someone I trust.
Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.
Every year millions of innocent animals are injured, tortured, neglected, abandoned and abused. These helpless and defenseless animals suffer unnecessarily at the hands of humans who have little regard or respect for themselves let alone any other living creature.
These “castoffs” or “strays” are left to struggle to survive under the most stressful and horrific circumstances – alone and at the mercy of the elements - without food or water - without the aid or intervention of humans – without love or compassion – and without any hope of companionship, friendship, help or support from people. They live in fear - lurking in the shadows – running and hiding – attempting to find food, shelter and safety in our cities, suburbs and countryside’s.
Many of these “strays” are picked up by Animal Control, and if they are very, very fortunate and deemed healthy mentally as well as physically, they may be “rescued” by an animal welfare organization or rescue group If they are determined to be unadoptable, or if there is limited time and space in a public shelter, they will most likely be euthanized. within a few days of their arrival.
So many of the animals that end up in shelters or are euthanized have been betrayed by human beings who have behaved irresponsibly, carelessly or through ignorance. They do not recognize animals as sentient beings whose lives can be meaningful and purposeful. They do not regard themselves as the pet’s caregiver or assume responsibility for the animal’s health or behavior. They do not vaccinate or spay or neuter their pets. They do not recognize the animal’s innate intelligence and desire to both serve and please humans. They do not make the effort to “obedience train” their pets to help ensure that they are well-behaved and socialized. They don’t provide them with necessary veterinary care. They fail to feed them healthily or regularly or provide them with clean water.
Dogs are highly sentient and can provide many remarkable tasks and services for people. They can be trained to be of service to people with disabilities; they can provide comfort and companionship for the lonely; they can sniff out potential hazards such as bombs, drugs and weapons; they can provide the police and the military with protection and service in many different capacities and they can assist us in our search and rescue efforts following man-made as well as natural disasters. Some of the finest search and rescue dogs as well as canine companions have been adopted from animal shelters where they were discarded and surrendered by their owners. With respect, affection and the appropriate training, these animals can perform seeming“miracles” and save lives.
If you are considering the possibility of adopting a rescue dog, it is important to learn as much as you can about the type of dog or breed you are thinking about bringing into your home. It is rarely advisable to adopt or purchase a pet on impulse. It is so easy to instantaneously “fall in love” with an adorable puppy on appearance alone without thinking about the long-term ramifications or consequences. Find out as much information as you can about the dog’s physical characteristics as well as his personality and behaviors. Remember, becoming a responsible pet guardian requires a lifetime commitment, and it is essential to know as much as you possibly can about a creature that will become a family member of yours for many years to come.
When preparing to adopt a “rescue” dog, consult with animal shelter workers and your veterinarian as well as an animal behaviorist. Try to discern as much information as you can about the animal by his behavior. Is he aggressive – does he snap, growl, bite, block your path, curl his lips, bark intimidatingly or excessively, lunge forward at other people or dogs, or exhibit any other behaviors that might indicate aggression? Generally, workers at an animal welfare or rescue organization who have spent some quality time with the animal will have a good idea as to his personality and any health or behavioral issues that are or may be potentially problematic. As a rule, animal welfare and rescue organizations will only adopt out an animal that is truly adoptable and will make a good ‘forever” pet.
A rescue dog may require more time, effort, socialization, patience and compassion than a dog that has never suffered abuse of any kind. However, the joy and gratification to be derived from saving the life of and adopting a dog that has been mistreated or discarded are boundless.
To hear real life rescue stories, visit my facebook page. I post a new one every Friday!