Saluting Our Four-Legged Friends with National Dog Week

photoNational Dog Week is celebrated from the 22nd to 28th of every September, with the tradition dating back to 1928. Captain Will Judy, a distinguished dog judge and former publisher of Dog World Magazine, founded the event to educate dog owners and organizations about their role and responsibilities as such.

National Dog Week also acknowledges our canine friends all across the country and recognizes the important roles they play in our daily lives. Aside from providing humans with comfort, delight, and safety, dogs have generously assisted the disabled, participated in search and rescue operations, sniffed out bombs and drugs, and helped law enforcement officials, among others.

This year, the theme of National Dog Week is “Man’s Best Friend,” which is exactly what we consider our canine companions to be. The term is believed to have been coined by Senator George Graham Vest of Missouri. Vest, who was also a lawyer, once represented a man who was suing his neighbor for shooting and killing his dog. Vest won the case after delivering his famous speech Tribute to the American Dog, which can now be seen inscribed on a monument in Warrensburg, Missouri.

The success of National Dog Week mostly depends on the time and efforts of selfless volunteers. If you would like to participate, you can contribute to and/or volunteer in your local animal shelter. You can also invite dog groomers and veterinarians to give talks to your community on topics such as neutering and spaying, obedience training tips, and general dog care and grooming.

Other activities that you can organize are dog shows at your local park, and donation drives to benefit an animal shelter or dog rescue group of your choice. If you have a canine companion, you can throw a party for your pet and other dogs in the neighborhood – it’ll be a great chance for them to socialize! You can also give a pooch a home by adopting one.

Whatever you do during National Dog Week, get your friends and family members involved. Volunteer together, and plan events as a group. Above all, don’t forget to have fun while you’re making a difference for your furry friends.

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How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Dogs

photoYour dog’s barks may not always say the same thing. You might think that your furry friend is asking for treats when he comes up to you, but it is also possible that he feels afraid and is experiencing canine separation anxiety. Studies have shown that just like humans, dogs can also be overwhelmed with fear when they are left behind.

Separation anxiety in dogs typically occurs when a pooch is greatly attached to his owner. It is triggered when he senses that his owner is about to leave. Normal activities such as getting your car keys or opening doors may be harmless and routine, but these can make your canine companion uneasy.

So how do you know if your dog has separation anxiety?

* He howls, whines, and barks.
* He urinates and defecates even if he is housetrained.
* He chews and scratches furniture, shoes, and other items.
* He follows you around the house.
* He digs and scratches at doors to reunite with you.
* He is excited, anxious, or depressed whenever you prepare to leave.
* He greets you frantically.
* The behavior occurs mostly when he’s alone and usually begins after you leave.

If most or all of the above are true about your dog, then he may have separation anxiety. The good news is, it can be treated. Here are some tips for dealing with minor cases:

* Leave a piece of clothing that smells like you, such as a shirt that you’ve worn recently.
* Don’t make a big fuss over arrivals and departures. Ignore your dog first for a few minutes when you get home, then pet him calmly.
* Use a certain word or action every time you leave that lets your dog know you will return.
* You can also ask your vet about drug therapy.

When treating dog separation anxiety, remember to never use punishment as this can aggravate the situation. Don’t place your pet in a crate as he might injure himself trying to escape. Getting another dog doesn’t help either because his anxiety is not just about being alone, it’s the result of being separated from you.

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A Dog’s Purpose – From a Six-Year-Old

Enjoy this heartwarming story…photo

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’ Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

*When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
*Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
*Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
*Take naps.
*Stretch before rising.
*Run, romp, and play daily.
*Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
*Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
*On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
*On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
*When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
*Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
*Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
*Be loyal.
*Never pretend to be something you’re not.
*If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
*When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
*Being always grateful for each new day and for the blessing you have.

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