Lately I’ve been bombarded with stories of dogs in need, dogs who* need to be rescued before they run out of time. Finding safe places for all of them to go can be a challenge. Here’s one story with a happy ending, a story of how a woman and a dog who were meant to be together were united by a series of circumstances. Sometimes these things work out for the best.
Maximus was tall, dark and handsome — charming with a calm demeanor. But his life hadn’t been easy. He’d had at least three different homes across half of the country and at least two names. He’d roamed the streets and had been picked up. He wasn’t young any more, was settled down, but not quite a senior yet either. He needed a safe place to land, a forever home. He was a gentle spirit, a kind soul, who deserved better than life had offered so far.
Jeanne was lonely, missing her 100 pound shepherd mix who had died after developing debilitating joint problems. After her husband had passed on a few years ago, the dog had been her true companion. He’d been big, solid, and true, a dog she could lean on and count on.
Something happened to bring Maximus to Jeanne, and I’m still not quite sure what made the pieces come together. Perhaps divine intervention and a guardian angel were at work.
Over Memorial weekend, I was in Wisconsin visiting family. My friend Vickie from high school was in town visiting her mom, and they invited me over. I took my dog Chase along. He had recently completed his training to become a Delta Pet Partner, and he loves people. Vickie’s mom Jeanne fell in love with Chase and told me how much she missed her old dog. Chase loved her too and sat by her for much of the evening, enjoying being petted and eying her ready stash of dog treats. Jeanne told me how much she wanted to find another large dog who would be a good companion, but she needed a dog who wasn’t high energy. She used to walk her old dog around the block, take him to the dog park, and hire the neighbor boys to take him for longer walks. In spite of our concern about Jeanne handling a large dog, she was confident that she could still do it. She wanted to keep Chase, but of course, I couldn’t let him go! Instead, I promised to look for a dog for Jeanne.
Back in Minnesota, a local rescue that I had helped support was closing and they needed to find safe places for the dogs in their care. I had met some of the dogs and had seen others posted on the website. With Jeanne in mind, I looked at the website again, but didn’t find a dog that seemed to be a good match. Most were young, high energy dogs who would need more activity than Jeanne could provide and might just pull her off her feet. I commented to my friends who had volunteered at the rescue and they both said, “What about Maximus, the shepherd mix?” Then I learned his story.
They told me how big and gentle Maximus is, and how concerned they were that he might not find a good home before the rescue had to close. There didn’t seem to be a single reason why Maximus had not found a good forever home. It always seemed to be a problem with his person not being able to keep him, but nothing that was his fault. Probably being large doesn’t help a dog sometimes.
I inquired at the rescue, met Maximus, asked a lot of questions, and sent his information and pictures to Jeanne. She was very interested and wanted to know when she could meet him. So in mid-June we arranged to meet halfway, in a small town in west-central Wisconsin, under a statue of an orange moose. A friend who had helped care for Maximus at the rescue volunteered to ride along with me. She wanted to see Max land his new home that day! Max fit in the back seat of my truck, but I didn’t have a crate large enough to hold him. I didn’t know how he would ride in the car, so it was nice to have someone else ride along.
Max settled in just fine and after driving through western Wisconsin, we arrived under the orange moose. Just after we pulled in, Jeanne drove up in her bright yellow car, like clockwork. We let Maximus take a potty break and stretch his legs. He walked over to Jeanne’s car and hopped right into the back seat like he’d been with Jeanne for his entire life. It was love at first sight for both. Jeanne had decided to adopt Max and was anxious to get going on the road back home, to get him settled into his new life. She had already told the whole neighborhood about Max, and people were awaiting their arrival!
That morning when I had picked Maximus up from the rescue, I had told him where we were going and what we would be doing that day. I had told him all about Jeanne and how excited she was to meet him. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when he jumped into her car like he’d been doing it for his entire life. He’d apparently understood what I’d told him and was just as excited to get on with the next chapter of their lives as Jeanne was. The rescue had already approved Jeanne to adopt and she had obviously already fallen in love with Max… so off they went!
Jeanne reported in July that Maximus is now called “Sam”. He didn’t respond to “Maximus”, but responded enthusiastically when she called him “Sam”, so Sam it is! Their veterinarian decided that Sam is part German shepherd and part Great Dane. Now that I think about it, I do see Marmaduke in him! The road for Jeanne and Sam hasn’t been without its bumps. Sam wants to chase bunnies, and there are many wild bunnies in their neighborhood this summer. True to our concerns, Jeanne has fallen a couple of times. But she’s a committed dog mom, and is working to make their life together go smoothly. She consulted with a trainer to learn how to handle Sam better on walks, and hired the neighbor boys to take him for long walks every day. They love him too. Jeanne assured me that Sam has found his forever home. I visited in August to see that they’re doing well together. I wish that a wonderful person like Jeanne would appear for every dog.
Now Jeanne and Sam seem to belong together, but how did this come to be? I happened to see Jeanne in May when I got together with her daughter. I didn’t find Sam on the rescue website and hadn’t known about him until two different people had both said, “What about Maximus”? Something led me to mention Jeanne to these people, and something led them to mention Sam to me.
And here’s the rest of the story… When I was in high school, my family moved out to the country. I loved living in the country and being with my animals. But sometimes living far away meant that I missed extracurricular activities at school. My friend Vickie lived close to our high school. She was an only child and her family was very social. They hosted me overnight many times, allowing me to attend high school activities that I would have missed. Her family was much more social and politically active than mine. They had interesting parties, exposing me to new and different people and viewpoints, even introducing me to activists, which I have now also become! They opened up a whole new world for me.
When I think about that time in my life, I realize now how generous Jeanne was to invite me into their home. As a teenager, I probably took too much for granted. I never really thanked her properly for her generosity and for all the doors she opened for me. I can’t think of a better way to thank her than by bringing Sam into her life. What better gift is there than a noble dog? Although I feel as though Sam was sent, and I was just one of the vehicles that brought him to Jeanne, I like to think that, after all these years, her kindness has been repaid. And we have reconnected, not surprisingly over a dog!
I sent a pouch of Omega Canine Shine® and some Omega Nuggets™ home with Jeanne and Sam, for good nutrition to help Sam get off to a great start in his new home.
*Note: I often use “who” when referring to a dog. Although the spell checker doesn’t like this and it may not be grammatically correct, I know that dogs are sentient beings and I do it anyway.
As an in-home pet sitter there have been many times when I’ve watched multiple dogs at one household. A few years ago, I had a client call to ask me if I was available to pet sit their five-year-old Spaniel mix, Ginger and their Leopard Gecko, Harvey. I told them I was available the first two nights, but after that I was booked at another client’s home to pet sit their two animated, vivacious eight-month-old Standard Poodles named Jupiter and Pluto. Since the two Poodles got along with other dogs, and the owner didn’t mind if I had other dogs over, I offered to take Ginger with me to their home. The client was thrilled, but wanted to make sure I would still be able to take care of Harvey. Now I thought to myself…how hard could it be to take care of a Gecko…sure, I said, no problem.
So, the instructions on how to take care of Harvey were to change his water and feed him 3 to 5 crickets daily. That all sounded pretty easy to me until they mentioned that I would have to go to the pet store a couple of times to pick up more crickets. Now normally that would be a simple request, but as it was summer time, the busiest time of the year for me, I needed to figure out how to fit cricket-purchasing into my crazy schedule. Especially since the only pet store that carried them was a bit out of the way from where I would be pet sitting.
Well, my cricket adventure began the first night I started watching Ginger and Harvey. The owners were running behind schedule the day of their departure and didn’t have time to purchase more crickets before they left. So, it looked like my dinner would have to wait, as I ran off to the pet store before closing time with the Kricket-Keeper cage in hand to purchase those priceless crickets. After I got the crickets, I remembered that I was to pick up some food for them as well. I found a container of these funny little orange cubes called Fluker’s Orange Cube Complete Cricket Diet… perfect! The container said they were, “…made from kelp, spirulina, brewer’s yeast and more to gutload crickets.” Ok, now my question is, has anybody ever inquired what exactly the “more” ingredient is in the orange cubes? I now realized I was definitely taking my job a bit too seriously. I was actually concerned about the health of the crickets that I would be feeding to the Gecko…are the crickets a pet too? I guess I should have charged for them too!
The next morning, after I let Ginger out and fed her, I headed off to the garage, where I left the crickets, to get Harvey’s breakfast. As I approached the Kricket-Keeper cage and looked inside, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Almost every cricket was belly-up at the bottom of the cage. Yikes! I panicked, how could that possibly be, I just bought them yesterday! With a crazy day ahead of me, how was I going to fit in buying more crickets? Luckily, I managed to catch three of the ten or so crickets left alive out of the cage and put them into Harvey’s lair for breakfast. I then got ready myself, loaded Ginger in the car, along with the dead crickets, and started out for the day. Somehow I would have to squeeze in a trip to the pet store once again.
I finished around 6:00 p.m. that day and decided to make one last stop for the crickets before I headed back to Ginger’s house. When I arrived at the pet store I found a clerk and told him what had happened with my newly-purchased crickets. I asked him if this time he could pick out a few crickets that had a bit more vitality and longevity. The clerk was more than happy to exchange them, the only problem was they were out of crickets and wouldn’t receive any more until tomorrow afternoon. This can’t be happening! How difficult can it be to take care of a simple little desert reptile from Pakistan. I couldn’t believe I would have to return again!
The next day I had to pack up Ginger and myself to move to Jupiter and Pluto’s house. So, at the end of the day, all packed and ready to go, I fed Harvey the last of the living crickets and headed off to the pet store one more time to purchase those irreplaceable insects. Thank goodness they had received a shipment that afternoon. Now all I had to do was transport Ginger and the crickets safely to Jupiter and Pluto’s house.
When I arrived at Jupiter and Pluto’s, I left Ginger in the car for a moment and picked up my precious container of crickets and headed for the front door. Normally, when the owners leave they always put Jupiter and Pluto in the back yard, so I knew I could enter the house quietly and put the crickets up and away before I let them in. As I approached the front door I could hear the dogs barking in the background, although it seemed a little louder than usual this time. I didn’t think much of it as I put the key in the lock, turned the knob and opened the door and…Kaboom! Two out of control, crazy, jumping Poodles hit me like a freight train when I opened the door. The only thing that came out of my mouth was “NOOOoooooooo!” as the Kricket-Keeper cage went flying into the air out of my reach over the top of Jupiter and Pluto’s head. Crash! The container hit the floor, the lid popped off and thirty crickets scrambled across the entryway floor heading desperately for a place to hide from the scary, hairy, four-legged creatures that hunted them. Out of shear desperation I yelled, “Leave-it! Leave-it!”
Needless to say, it took me hours and hours throughout the night to collect the thirty or more crickets that scurried and bustled about all over the floor of the house. By the time I went to bed, as I tried to nod off to sleep, all I could hear was the disharmonious, incongruous sound of chirping coming from the last few crickets I couldn’t find. I felt like I was camping in the wilderness, it was not unlike the annoyance that one experiences with a persistent mosquito that buzzes by your ear just at the moment you’re about to drop off to sleep. How could these tiny little creatures cause such chaos?
Why do dogs jump on people?
It’s not uncommon for puppies and dogs to jump up on people when they greet them. When a dog greets another dog they immediately sniff each other’s faces. And, in the wild, the young wolf cubs will submissively sniff, lick and nibble on their mother’s face in order to stimulate the activity of regurgitating food up for them. So, since humans are much taller than dogs, the easiest, quickest way for them to get to our face is to jump! Dogs of all ages and sizes will jump up on humans for a variety of reasons, such as ritual greeting, playfulness, excitement or arousal and trying to dominate.
Teaching dogs not to “Jump-Up” on People
There are many ways to address a dog jumping-up on humans. Here are a few great ideas to try out:
Ignore the Dog
When you arrive home and open the door to a jumping dog, try walking right past him, totally ignoring him. Don’t look at him, or talk to him, or touch him. Walk right past him as if he wasn’t there and busy yourself with other things until the dog is calm. Once the dog is calm, you can now greet him. But, if he starts to jump again when you bend over to greet him, quickly stand up, walk away and ignore him again. Repeat this exercise until he can remain calm while petting him.
Put “Jumping-Up” on Cue
You can teach your dog to “jump-up” on command. First, take a high value treat, such as cheese, cooked chicken or any other type of food that your dog really loves. Call your dog and ask him to “sit” in front of you. Once he is sitting, take a treat and hold it up high just above his head. When he looks up at the treat say, “Jump!” When he jumps for the treat say, “Yes!” and give him the treat. After the jump ask him to sit again.
Another way to get your dog to jump-up is to take two treats and hold one in each hand. Place the treats between your thumb and first finger of each hand so your dog can see them. Show the dog the treats and then hold your hands at chest level with palms facing out and say, “jump!” Most dogs will jump-up and hit your palms with their paws. When he does say, “Yes!” and give him the treats. Be sure to ask for a “sit” before and after this exercise as well.
Use a Distraction
Have a small bowl of treats somewhere near the front door so when you arrive home or if you have guests coming over, you can toss a “find-it” treat. Simply pick up a treat, show the dog the treat, toss it away from the front entryway and say “find-it!” When the dog goes to find the treat, let yourself or your guest enter the house. When he comes back to the front door again toss him another treat before he gets there. When he goes to find the second treat, walk away and ignore him until he is in a calm state of mind.
Dragging a Leash
When you’re home with your dog and expecting company, you can attach a leash to his collar or a harness and let him drag it on the floor. When someone arrives at the front door you can step on the leash just enough to prevent him from jumping. Once your guest enters have them walk quickly past the dog ignoring him. Release the dog by taking your foot off the leash and walk away, also ignoring him until he is in a calm state of mind.
Use a “Sit” or “Down” Stay
If your dog already knows “sit” or “down” try asking him to do so at the front door before you open it. Before you open the door, put him in a “sit” or “down” position and ask him to “stay.” Give him a few treats to start off with as a reward. When you go to open the door, continue to ask him to “stay.” If he starts to get up when you open the door, quickly close the door and put him back in a “sit” or “down” again. Continue to repeat this exercise until he stays in position when you open the door. Once your guest has entered, praise him, release him and walk away.
Using an X-pen or Baby Gate
Put your dog in a small room and close off the entrance with an exercise pen or baby-gate so he can’t get out. Leave your dog for a brief moment and then return, walking back to greet him. If he jumps up when you arrive at the gate, immediately turn and walk away from him. Walk about four or five feet away, pause and then return, walking back to greet him again. If he jumps up again when you get there, turn around and leave again. Repeat this until he stops jumping when you arrive at the gate. Praise him and release him from the room when he succeeds.
Remember to remain calm and patient when practicing these exercises. If the human gets frustrated or angry during the process, it only creates more excitement and arousal in the dog, which causes them to jump even more. It usually only takes a few minutes for the dog to realize that what he is doing isn’t working. The first step to success is simply to get the dog to stop practicing the behavior. From there, it’s just a matter of being consistent with the new rules you have established with him.
In January, Chase and I started taking a therapy dog class. The point of the class is to familiarize the human-dog team with the exercises they need to pass to become a Delta Society® Pet Partners® team. Chase has been waiting for me to get my act together for years. He loves to meet new people, is very sensitive, and seems like a natural. I’ve thought for a long time that he would make a good therapy dog, visiting the elderly, or kids in the hospital, or anyone who would feel better by having a dog’s company for a little while, a dog to cuddle up with, stroke, and talk to. He’s a great snuggler and a great listener. He’s a sensitive guy—his favorite ball is pink!
Chase has always been tuned in to people’s feelings. He knows when something is different. He intuitively picks up on any unrest among animals or people. He’s the dog who goes into the bathroom and puts his front feet up on the stool, waiting for a hug. I used to think he did it because he wanted attention. I slowly came to realize that he does it when I could really use a hug. He’s thinking about me and is much wiser than most people realize.
My friend Sarah rescued Chase in a poor area of rural Virginia, from a man who was going to shoot him for chasing sheep. This young cattle dog-collie mix had a strong herding instinct and, knowing him, was just trying to keep the place organized. But the man, in a rage, stuffed him into a tiny chicken crate and was going to shoot him. When Sarah intervened and saved Chase, she held him on her lap for a long time before he stopped shaking. He knew what was going on.
You may have read the story of how Chase and I came together (in the book 8 State Hurricane Kate). The short version is that I met Sarah while caring for rescued animals in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. We stayed in contact and I came upon Chase the following spring on Sarah’s rescue website (www.lostfantasystables.com). Seeing that he was a “red heeler mix”, wanting to support Sarah’s rescue efforts, and knowing that my red Australian cattle dog needed a new pal, I followed up. Sarah and I determined that Chase would likely be a good fit with my family. A series of very caring people transported Chase from Virginia to Wisconsin, where I picked him up and brought him home.
That was in 2006. Chase settled in pretty well here, becoming fast friends with Bandit after a few tussles to settle the pack order. One morning, I was puzzled when Chase wouldn’t go into the garage with me to get bird seed. I later learned that the man used to throw him in the garage by himself for hours. Chase apparently didn’t want to go in the garage with me because he thought I was going to leave him there… alone… for hours.
Chase also had a few episodes that seemed like traumatic flashbacks. One occurred when we were in an agility class, getting ready to start a course. I hadn’t unhooked the leash yet, but he began to run, thinking he was already loose. I didn’t see him take off in time and he hit the end of the leash very hard. His reaction was so dramatic, especially for such a gentle dog, that we decided he was reliving bad past experiences of being jerked hard or hung on a leash. He was very traumatized.
In spite of his past, Chase is a very loving and friendly dog. He loves people and wants to connect with everyone. If we’re in a room full of people, like at a book signing, he is bothered if he doesn’t get to greet each person individually. Being locked in the garage all alone must have been a horrible punishment. He’s trying to make up for lost time on the love front.
Chase has been waiting for years now for me to follow through on his potential. I think he will be a great therapy dog, but I’ve often wondered how I would fit another commitment into our schedule. He has an arthritic back now, probably from being thrown around when he was younger. I’m concerned about someone surprising him with a big hug and hurting him. But a year ago at a book event, I learned about READ Dogs (www.readdogsmn.org) and I think he would be a perfect READ dog. READ dogs sit and listen while a child (or anyone who is learning to read) reads them a story. Dogs are great company and aren’t judgmental. They enjoy any story. A kid builds confidence and gains a friend while reading out loud to a dog. Kids who don’t have pets at home get to make a connection with an animal. A dog like Chase gets to bond with a kid and fulfill his purpose to give love.
Chase may have trouble passing some of the Delta tests due to his back problems, but we’re going to try anyway. We know that, just as a dog can learn to pass the required tests, kids can learn how to approach a dog kindly and gently. Chase already knows the important stuff. He knows how to forgive and how to give love. His heart is open.
We’re going to share the “secret” behind Chase’s beautiful, soft coat. Once we let our classmates know about Omega Fields Omega Canine Shine® and Omega Nuggets™, they will all have the key to plush, soft and shiny coats that everyone loves to pet!
June 2, 2006 was my last day with 8 State Hurricane Kate. You may know her story from my first book, 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog. It was with great sadness that I spent that last beautiful early summer day with her, a perfect day to sit together on the hill and say our goodbyes. I wanted to remember everything about her, forever.
A year to the day later, on June 2, 2007, a striking bright orange poppy bloomed in my backyard, near where Kate had rested on that last afternoon. It leapt out of the dark foliage, announcing its presence. The seed was probably planted by a bird, if you know what I mean. But poppies don’t grow here naturally. I had a strong feeling that this beautiful flower was a gift from Kate.
In 2007, I declared June 2nd “Kindness for Kate Day”. In Kate’s honor, I asked people to perform an act of kindness to make the world a better place… plant a flower, say a prayer, help somebody, give hope to a homeless animal or a homeless person, collect spare change and donate it to an animal rescue group or a food shelf, appreciate someone’s efforts, volunteer, or come up with another idea and share it. I challenged people to do something new that they hadn’t done before. I wanted to make June 2nd an awesome day.
In the past few years, a poppy has bloomed in my backyard every year around June 2nd. But now that first poppy has multiplied into a beautiful poppy garden that blooms briefly, reminding me of that June 2nd in 2006.
Why am I talking about June in the middle of winter? Because I’m thinking about planting seeds. I’m thinking about the seeds I planted during the past year, and the seeds that I want to plant this year. Some of our seeds grow and bloom, yet others don’t seem to germinate. Over time, however, some will grow into a beautiful perennial garden that we and others can enjoy.
That one orange poppy that spread into a beautiful garden was like the network of caring people who came together to help the lost Katrina animals, then returned to their homes all over the country and stayed in contact, forming a powerful network. It was like how telling Kate’s story connected me with so many caring people all over the country, and even the world. It was like how that one single decision to go to Louisiana to help lost animals completely changed my life. I have grown too.
Sometimes the seeds that we plant and water and nurture don’t grow into the flowers we envisioned. Yet other seeds that we didn’t even know we had sown yield beautiful and amazing gardens. What seeds have you planted in the past year? What seeds do you want to plant next? What small actions can you take every day to make the world a better place?
I’m reminded of a local story that just concluded with a happy ending. While on a walk with her foster mom, a rescued Sheltie named Lady broke loose and was running free in a St. Paul suburb. Lady was spooked easily and was running scared. People had spotted her, but days went by as the rescue group and local volunteers searched. Winter was coming and the weather was getting colder. Efforts to find and even live-trap Lady were in vain.
One afternoon, a man driving home from work spotted a dog in an industrial area, miles from where Lady had last been seen. He recognized Lady and drove to the grocery store to find the phone number on a flyer he had seen. He called the number, then drove back to the industrial area and found Lady again. But he couldn’t approach her; she was too scared. He followed instructions given to him on the phone and kept an eye on Lady from a distance while Sheltie rescue called volunteers. The foster mom, Mel, and others arrived and sat in a ring around the empty lot, encircling Lady from a distance. Eventually, Mel entered the circle. Each time Lady tried to find an escape route, the person on that side of the circle stood up to keep her from bolting away. Eventually, with much patience, Mel got close enough for Lady to recognize her. Mel spoke, touched Lady, and both relaxed, relieved. With tears in her eyes, Mel fastened Lady’s harness and carried her safely to the car.
If the man, Brad, a complete stranger, had not noticed Lady, interrupted his routine and acted right away, Lady might still be running scared. If volunteers had not immediately dropped what they were doing in the middle of a work day and gone to help form the circle… if people had not listened to the instructions to NOT approach Lady… she might still be out there, or might not have survived.
But that’s not the whole story. Mel realized how much Lady meant to her and decided she didn’t want to be separated again. So now Lady is home with Mel forever. And get this: In an interview on local TV, Mel said that she didn’t even know who had posted that flyer at the grocery store, but she was certainly grateful.
Who posted the flyer at the grocery store?
Think about it. One seemingly small action: a person putting up a flyer about a lost dog at a grocery store. One tired man on his way home from work who remembered seeing the flyer at the grocery store and acted immediately. One patient group of people who showed up right away to form a circle around the scared dog. And, of course, the rescue group and foster mom. They all made a difference. But the happy ending started with the person who posted the flyer at the grocery store.
Think about the seeds you want to sow in 2012, the “flyers” you want to post. If changing the whole world for the better seems like an overwhelming goal, think about the small things that you can do every day to make a difference, about each bright orange poppy you can plant. Think about the seemingly small decisions you make and actions you take each day. By the end of the year, you might just have an amazing poppy garden… or an amazing “puppy” garden.
A few years ago I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a good friend of mine. There were 15 people in all and everyone was focused on drinks, conversation and preparation. It was just about time for everyone to take their seats as the turkey was being pulled out of the oven. My friend’s husband carved the turkey, filled a plate full of freshly carved meat and walked away from the bird to deliver the plate to the table of hungry guests. No one paid much attention or noticed that the big yellow Labrador named Bandit had somehow escaped from the bedroom where he had been secured until the food portion of the festivities were over.
Labs are pretty well known for their voracious appetites when it comes to human food and Bandit was no exception. As the turkey was being delivered to the dining room I saw Bandit, out of the corner of my eye, enter the kitchen. I looked from the dog to the bird and realized what was about to happen. I got up out of my chair and ran to the kitchen yelling for Bandit to “leave-it” as he went for the turkey. I was too late and all that could be heard was the loud crash of the plate hitting the floor. There in front of me stood good old Bandit covered in turkey juice with a big turkey leg hanging out of his mouth. He was looking at all of us like “What? It’s just a drumstick…” What else could we do but laugh! Thank goodness we at least saved one plate-full of turkey to feed the humans.
“Leave-it” is a valuable command for many situations. It should be one of the first things that you teach your puppy. It’s uses are endless, but these are a few things that come to mind.
·Leaving food and clothing items alone
·Staying out of the garbage
·Leaving another dog’s toys or food alone
·Stop eating or rolling in foul things on the trail or walk
·Stop an attempt to go towards another dog or a cat, coyote, skunk or any other animal
Try to be alert and proactive whenever you use this exercise. “Leave-it” works best if you use it the second before your dog gets a chance to react to something. In the beginning, be consistent by rewarding him every time he does what you want with a treat that has a high value to the dog, like chicken or hot dogs or any strong-scented and appealing dog treat like Omega Fields’ Omega Nuggets. After a few weeks or so you can begin to treat him every other time or less, and reward him alternately with praise and affection or even a favorite toy. Most importantly, have fun with this exercise. You will be very surprised how fast your dog will pick it up, and how often you will use it! Be sure to keep a positive, friendly tone in your voice whenever you practice this. Training should always be fun for you and your dog.
This training exercise can be done from the floor or from a standing position.
“Leave-it” Floor Position
Take a large piece of treat in your right hand and show the dog the treat. Then put the treat on the floor and quickly cover it with your hand. Let him try to get at it by sniffing and licking at your hand. The minute he stops touching your hand say, “Yes” and reward him with a treat from your left hand. Be sure to keep the treat in your left hand out of sight by holding it behind your back while he works to get the treat from the right hand. Repeat this three times. The fourth time you do it add the words “Leave-it” as he moves towards your right hand. If he stops or hesitates say, “Yes!” and reward him with a treat from your left hand.
Once you’ve seen that he’s getting the hang of it, start setting the treat on the floor uncovered and say, “Leave-it.” If he stops or hesitates say, “Yes” and reward him. Remember to always guard your treat on the floor and be prepared to cover it up with your hand if he goes for it. Also, never reward him with the “Leave-it” treat, only reward him from the other treat hand.
On occasions when I’m working with a dog or puppy that has been rescued and I don’t know how he may react to food, or when the owner tells me that their dog or puppy is very mouthy or aggressive when he takes treats, I use the standing position to train “Leave-it.”
“Leave-it” Standing Position
Start out by showing the dog the treat in your right hand and then make a fist, closing the treat inside your hand. Now extend your hand out with the fist still closed letting him sniff and lick at your fist as he tries to get at it. The minute he stops touching your hand say, “Yes” and reward him with a treat from your left hand. Again, repeat this three times and on the fourth time add the words “Leave-it” as he moves towards your right hand. If he stops or hesitates say, “Yes!” and reward him with a treat from your left hand.
Once you’ve seen that he’s getting the hang of it, move to showing him the treat in your right hand, leaving your hand open. As he goes for the treat say, “Leave-it.” If he stops or hesitates, quickly say “Yes” and reward him with the treat from your left hand. If he goes for the treat and doesn’t stop, close your fist and start again. Remember, never reward him with the “Leave-it” treat.
After I teach the basics of “Leave-it” I step it up a level and move the training into the kitchen. Almost every client that wants basic obedience training for their puppy always asks me the same questions… “How do I get him to stop going for food and how do I stop him from going for the dirty dishes in the dishwasher?
The first thing I do is ask the client if they have any tasty human food in the refrigerator that I could use to entice their dog with. Once, I even pulled out a whole precooked chicken and set it on the kitchen floor and believe it or not, after successfully perfecting the first stage of teaching “Leave-it”, this dog didn’t even try to go for the chicken! He waited patiently knowing that he would be immediately rewarded with yummy high value treats if he left it alone.
When training the dog to leave the dishwasher alone, I open the dishwasher and pull out the lower rack of dirty dishes. Then I take the same tasty human food from the refrigerator and set it on top of the rack. I use the same steps asking the dog to “leave-it” and immediately rewarding for doing so.
“Leave-it” is a very valuable command and one that every dog owner should teach their dog at an early age. Many of the frustrations of owning a puppy can be nipped in the bud by applying this command early and often. The puppy who will become the adolescent and then adult dog, will know what things are off limits and what things are Ok. Also, always be sure to provide plenty of durable toys for your dog to play with so he won’t look for makeshift toys in the bottom of your closet or the garbage can. Early obedience training is one of the keys to a happy and fulfilling relationship with your dog.
In January, I took my very old dog Rusty to the vet for the last time. Rusty had been a stray, found in a neighboring state. I had adopted him from the local animal shelter and we had been together for over seven years. Now his liver was failing and he was very ill and in pain. Sadly, it was time to let him go.
Once the vet gave the injection and Rusty peacefully passed on, I went back out to my truck for Rainbow. She was Rusty’s pal, a much younger and higher energy dog. I led Rainbow in to see Rusty, so she wouldn’t wonder what had happened to him, then took her back out to the truck.
Before driving home, I was compelled to go back in to the clinic to get Rainbow a chew toy. I knew she would be lonely as the only dog and would need something to keep her busy. Inside, a blue Australian Cattle Dog (ACD, a.k.a. blue heeler) was standing at the counter with an unfamiliar woman. I was surprised because I didn’t see cattle dogs often and hadn’t seen one at our vet clinic before. I asked the woman if it was okay to pet her dog. I told her that I had just lost my cattle dog mix a few minutes earlier. She encouraged me to pet the blue girl, Opal, and told me that she had a red puppy in her van. He was the last one of the litter and needed a new home. People on her waiting list had been looking for blues. I told her that I had another red heeler mix (Rainbow) in the truck and that we like the reds at our house!
I hadn’t even thought about where my next dog would come from. Rusty was very old, but had only recently shown signs of illness. The woman, Louanne, told me that while she was driving to the clinic, she’d been overcome by a peaceful feeling that the red puppy would soon find his new home. She offered to bring him over to meet me. At first I resisted, telling her I couldn’t make a decision on a new dog right away and that Rainbow was probably upset about Rusty passing on. I didn’t know how much more emotion my heart could take that day. But Louanne brought the red pup over. To my complete astonishment, he had Rusty’s double red mask and red ears (Louanne had not seen Rusty). He was a very nice, bold, playful puppy and I was taken with him right away. He and Rainbow got along from the beginning. I didn’t want to make an emotional decision, so I asked Louanne for references. Rainbow and I needed to grieve Rusty’s passing. I was exhausted and needed time to think. Louanne and I exchanged information and Rainbow and I went home. I kept thinking about that red puppy, feeling like he belonged with us. It was clear that Rainbow needed a playmate. I did my homework, contacted Louanne’s references, and two weeks later Bandit joined our family.
The amazing thing is that I had made an appointment for the vet to come to my home at the end of the day to put Rusty down. But Rusty was suddenly in so much pain that I didn’t want to make him wait, and drove him to the clinic. Louanne lived over an hour away and this was not her regular vet. She had been referred to my vet for Opal to have a special procedure, and had brought puppy Bandit along for the ride. If I hadn’t gone back in to get Rainbow a chew toy, Opal would not have caught my eye at the front counter, and I would not have met Louanne, or Bandit. I believe the sequence of events that brought Bandit to me were not a coincidence. In his pain, Rusty led me to the only red ACD puppy for miles. Bandit was Rusty’s gift to Rainbow and me, to help us heal from the pain of his loss. I think we experienced an everyday miracle and that Bandit was meant to be with us. My mom says that “God winked” that day.
Bandit’s formal name is Hillhaven Bolt Out of the Blue. With his puppy antics and his silly rubber chicken, he brought Rainbow and me back to life. He taught me that sometimes the best friends will find you when you least expect them to, and that paying attention to them is important. Jump on a good opportunity when you see it, because life is too short and you may not get the chance again. Bandit has been a wonderful companion, a perfect fit with my personality who has taught me so much about life. He is my bolt out of the blue, my everyday miracle, and my link back to Rusty.
A limited number of personally signed copies of A Book of Miracles (hard cover), the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book (hard cover and paperback), and 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey & Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog (paperback) are available for purchase. Please contact me directly at jenny@8StateKate.net with BOOK REQUEST in the subject line. Find more information at www.8StateKate.net.
When out and about at dog events, I carry samples of Omega Fields Omega Canine Shine® and Omega Nuggets™. I get plenty of questions about these products, so I asked the folks at Omega Fields to answer the most frequently asked questions. Read on for the FAQs and their answers.
Don’t my dogs get all the nutrition they need from their food?
No, not usually. In fact, a lack of sufficient Omega-3 fats in many dog foods can lead to inflammation-type diseases: arthritis, cancer, heart trouble, atopy (itching) and many other degenerative diseases. Please read on and see the additional detailed information about dog food at the end of this article*.
What’s the difference between Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets? How much should I give to my dog every day? Do I need to give them both?
Each of these products is enriched with Omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help maintain the health and performance of your dog. The individual formulas and forms differ a bit. The bottom line is that Omega Canine Shine is a much more concentrated supplement while Omega Nuggets are a most convenient and enjoyable way people have found to “treat” their dogs with the benefits of Omega-3 and fiber. Both products provide dogs the full spectrum of Omega-3s available for optimum health, including the Omega-3 naturally found in flaxseed and the Omega-3 naturally found in fish oil. The details are shown below.
Omega Canine Shine Supplement:
Omega Canine Shine’s base of stabilized, ground flaxseed is enhanced with a high percentage of fish oil, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is the best supplement choice to boost a dog’s diet with short-chain Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 from the flax and grains, long-chain Omega-3 from the fish oil, high levels of four all-natural antioxidants, and a strong blend of 17 vitamins and minerals (especially rich in magnesium). Omega Canine Shine is easily top dressed over your dog’s food. Because of its high oil content, it sticks quite readily to the dog food bits.
Each one-teaspoon serving of Omega Canine Shine (fed at the rate of 1 tsp for every 20 lb dog weight) contains the following Omegas:
726 mg – Omega-3 (Alpha Linolenic Acid – ALA)
150 mg – Omega-3 (Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA)
30 mg – Omega-3 (Eicosapentaenoic Acid – EPA)
221 mg – Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid – LA)
214 mg – Omega-9 (Fatty Acid)
Omega Nuggets Treat/Supplement:
Omega Nuggets are a tasty and nutritious Omega-3 treat/supplement for dogs in all life stages. The Omega Nuggets base of stabilized, ground flaxseed is enhanced with fish oil, plant-based antioxidants, and cranberry fiber for urinary tract health. They are the best treat choice to boost a dog’s diet with both short-chain Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 from the flax and grains, long chain Omega-3 from fish oil, high levels of five all-natural antioxidants, and cranberry fiber.
Omega Nuggets are convenient and fun to give your dog — and dogs love them! Feed as desired while training, working, or playing with your dog – or as an anytime treat. Feed the RECOMMENDED AMOUNT of two treats for every ten pounds of dog weight when using as an Omega-3/Antioxidant supplement. Omega Nuggets Omega-3-rich dog treats are also a fun and effective way to supplement your dog with Omega-3.
Each serving of two Omega Nuggets treats (fed at the supplement rate of two treats for every 10 lb dog weight) contains the following Omegas:
428 mg – Total Omega-3 – (including Alpha Linolenic Acid – ALA, Docosahexaenoic Acid – DHA, and Eicosapentaenoic Acid – EPA)
198 mg - Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid - LA)
198 mg – Omega-9 (Fatty Acid)
Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets provide the correct ratio of essential fatty acids and synergistic antioxidants to promote visibly healthier skin and coat. Improved learning and memory capabilities make training easier. Greater agility, keen eyesight, and approachability will boost performance. Additionally, both products may reduce stress, increase longevity, boost the immune system, and aid urinary tract health — helping to create healthy, happy, hardy dogs.
Can I give Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets to my cat, or do you have a similar product for cats?
Currently we do not offer specific feline products but please continue reading for product recommendations for your cats. Although we market Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets for dogs, they really work quite beautifully on cats as well. They would be excellent choices to boost your cat’s diet with both short-chain Omega-3 (LNA) from ground flax, long-chain Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) from fish oil, and high levels of four all-natural antioxidants.
The dosage for Omega Canine Shine supplement is 1/2 teaspoon for every 10 lbs of cat weight, so you would only need a very little bit of a sprinkle over your cat’s food. The recommended amount of Omega Nuggets treats is 2 per day for every 10 lbs of cat weight. Both are very rich in plant and fish-oil based Omega-3’s, so your cat is getting the full complement of Omega-3’s 6’s and 9’s. Plus the extra plant and vitamin-based antioxidants support optimal health.
Omega Canine Shine can turn your regular cat food into a premium cat food, and Omega Nuggets may become your cat’s favorite treat!Do you have products for other animals? What about people?
Omega Fields takes pride in providing premium stabilized ground flax, Omega-3-rich products that improve health and longevity for: People (Mega Omega and Simply Omega-3 supplements), Horses (Omega Horseshine, Omega Antioxidant, Omega GRANDE, Omega Nibblers treats, and Omega Stabilized Rice Bran), Dogs (Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets treats), and Chickens (Omega Ultra Egg). Plus, Flies Be Gone fly traps (NO toxins, NO poisons, NO insecticides) greatly reduce fly health issues and nuisance factors for people and all animals. Find special offers and more information on these products athttp://www.omegafields.com/all-category.
How do the Omega-3s in Omega Fields products help reduce inflammation in dogs?
The membrane, or outer coating, of every one of the billions of cells in the dog’s body is unusually rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the structural fat that makes up this membrane and plays a vital role in how cells function. To understand how Omega Canine Shine (as a rich source of stabilized Omega-3 essential fatty acids) helps improve a dog’s quality of life, let’s take a look at how cells behave when they are aging and/or damaged by trauma such as skin conditions, allergic reactions, injury, surgery, or disease. When a cell is irritated or damaged, or when it begins to age, its membranes break down. As a result, compounds contained within the cell walls are released into the cell matrix. Some of these substances, such as histamine, give rise to inflammation and associated pain.
Inflammation is a dog’s natural response to skin conditions, allergic reactions, injury, surgery, or disease. Inflammation is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: redness, intense itching, swelling, heat and moderate to severe discomfort. When skin becomes inflamed, your dog may experience any or all of these symptoms. With skin inflammation, extreme scratching and itching may cause the hair to be rubbed off, exposing sore, broken skin.
Researchers have found that "inflammation" in dogs has similar underlying factors: a decrease in cell stability leading to membrane damage, and subsequent release of compounds that promote damage, spasm and inflammation. The powerful Omega-3 essential fatty acids in Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets work by stabilizing the cell membranes, promoting healing of existing cellular damage and helping to prevent further damage. On a practical level, this means quality of life is improved, and you will see your dog experiencing freedom from the allergic reactions of scratching and itching.
Note from Jenny: Omega Fields products worked miracles for my dog Cayenne, who was rescued from the Tennessee wilderness as a feral puppy with a very compromised immune system. She came to me with numerous problems, including severe allergies and itching that inflamed her skin and caused her to lose patches of hair. Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets have helped eliminate her itching and supported her coat to grow back silky and plush.
How much does it cost (on average) to give my dog Omega Fields products?
Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets are very smart buys! There are approximately 200 one-teaspoon servings of Omega Canine Shine in a one-pound pouch and 96 treats in a 12 oz pouch of Omega Nuggets! See ordering information at http://www.omegafields.com/canine-products.htmland receive $2 off your order when you enter the code JP2011.
How long will it take to see a difference after I begin feeding Omega Fields products to my dog?
You can usually expect to see results within four weeks. It sometimes happens sooner but, since every dog has a different metabolism, we usually are comfortable suggesting a minimum of one month.
Let’s take a very basic look at why Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets (as super rich sources of Omega-3) have such a positive effect on the overall health of your dog’s body. As mentioned earlier, the outer membrane of every one of the billions of cells in the dog’s body is unusually rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the main structural fat that makes up this membrane. Consequently, they play a vital role in how cells function.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are the first fats utilized by the body. Therefore, when the cell’s membrane is healthy it can let in all the good nutrition for the cell, as well as eliminate all the toxins which will be carried out of the cell and removed by the bowels. It is really quite simple: Healthy cells = Healthy body!
Since the coat/skin is by far the largest organ on the animal, it will be the first to show the effects of healthy cells with a beautiful, shiny, full, richly colored coat and healthy skin. Omega-3 is effective as a powerful anti-inflammatory, so if you have dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia, you should notice them have more free range of movement within a one month period.
What do I do with the Canine Shine “powder”? How do I feed it to my dog?
Omega Canine Shine is in a powder form that is very palatable and can be conveniently sprinkled directly on your dog’s normal food. In fact, in taste tests completed at Ontario Nutri Labs, four out of five dogs actually preferred food sprinkled with Omega Canine Shine over food without it!
Do Omega Fields products meet AAFCO standards?
All Omega Fields’ stabilized ground flax products meet and exceed AAFCO standards:
* Our Gold Standard Quality Program begins with the selection of the highest quality flaxseed to protect Omega-3 integrity and ensure palatability. Careful selection eliminates damaged seeds and minimizes microbial contamination.
* A natural, proprietary processing treatment further ensures that our products have an all-natural, non-GMO, 99.9% pure, stable, fortified flaxseed composition as a rich source of Omega-3 in the diet. This mild treatment provides long-term stability and palatability, boosts metabolizable energy, and inactivates growth inhibitors typically found in whole grains. Note: The process is all natural, no chemicals are added, and the ground flax is kosher certified. Stabilization consists of how we handle and process the seed. The finished stabilized ground flaxseed is a raw, whole food with full nutritional value.
* Flaxseed is purchased from producers in colder, northern climates. Because of the shorter, intense growing season, the flaxseed from these areas contains a higher percentage of Omega-3 than other flaxseeds.
* The ENRECO® (our parent company) / Omega Fields® manufacturing facility is American Institute of Baking (AIB) inspected to the highest GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and food safety standards. AIB is an inspection program for food-grade manufacturing plants that establishes and recognizes a standard for consistency in food safety. ENRECO® / Omega Fields® is proud to have earned an AIB “SUPERIOR” rating for the last four years in a row.
Do Omega Fields products contain any GMO ingredients?
As part of our company’s standard operating procedure, we do not purchase any GMO flaxseed or ingredients. Our AIB inspected, food-grade manufacturing plant is GMO free. Additionally, Omega Fields’ products do not contain artificial preservatives. Omega Fields is very proud that all of our manufactured products are “Made in the U.S.A.”.
Is Omega Canine Shine recommended for pregnant dogs?
Omega Canine Shine is recommended as a safe supplement for pregnant dogs. During pregnancy the dog’s body becomes deficient in Omega-3 because fast-growing brains, eyes, and organs of her puppies utilize most of the available Omega-3. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are necessary for normal growth and development and cannot be manufactured in the body. Sufficient amounts of Omega-3 must be added to the pregnant dog’s diet. During pregnancy and lactation the recommended daily serving size for the mother should be increased two or three times.
After the puppies are born and eating solid food, they should also be given Omega-3. Adjust the amount according to the puppy’s weight. They only need a little sprinkle.
Does Omega Fields pay you (Jenny) to say these things?
Note from Jenny: Omega Fields provided me detailed information about their products. They don’t pay me in cash, but rather pay me in Omega Canine Shine and Omega Nuggets. So you know I really believe in these wonderful products! I have seen the amazing effects on my dogs and have now begun giving them to my cat too.
*Omega Fatty Acids – What’s the Right Amount?
How much Omega-3 is enough?
And how much Omega-6 is too much for your dog?
Let’s get some definitions out of the way first. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are called "Essential" Fatty Acids. Because they are not able to be produced by animals it is essential that they be added to a dog’s diet. Omega-3 corrects many dry skin problems and has been reported to decrease arthritic stiffness. People have reported that it gives them and their dogs more energy.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 sources
Omega-3 comes from fish, flaxseed and from the meat of animals that have lived on grass and leaves. Omega-6fatty acids come from corn and from the meat of animals that have lived mostly on corn.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 compete with each other in the metabolic machinery of mammals. Excess levels of Omega-6 lead to inflammation-type diseases: arthritis, cancer, heart trouble, atopy (itching) and many other degenerative diseases. Because the body uses the same pathways to metabolize both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids and since too much Omega-6 inhibits the metabolism of Omega-3, finding the ideal ratio of the two types of fatty acids is important.
According to the book, The Omega Plan, by Dr. Artemis Simopoulus (1998, Harper Collins), in the last 100 years the amount of Omega-3 in humans’ and pets’ diets has decreased 80%, whereas the Omega-6 amount has increased 300%.
Eating a balanced diet is key!
Dr. Simopoulus has found that eating a balanced diet, including the right fats, is the key to good health and longevity for animals and humans. Getting enough Omega-3 fats is key, she says.
Based on research with dogs, canine product researcher, Dr. Greg Reinhart ("The Cutting Edge of Dog Food Technology", Gregory Reinhart, Ph.D. and Daniel P. Carey, DVM, www.GoodDogMagazine.com/articles/) recommends a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ranging between 5 to 1 and 10 to 1. Researcher Dr. Doug Bibus of the University of Minnesota ("Metabolism of a-Linolenic Acid from Flaxseed in Dogs", Bibus D, Stitt P., 1998) completed a fatty acid study with dogs. He suggests a lower ratio: between 2 to 1 and 4 to 1. If you use the 5 to 1 ratio as a middle value, this means that dog food that contains 1% Omega-6 should contain 0.2% of Omega-3. Looking at all of the acceptable ratios, you should find somewhere between 2 and 10 times as much Omega-6 as Omega-3 in the food.
Pet food labels – are you confused yet?
Most Super-Premium pet foods have about 2% to 3% of Omega-6 and thus should contain 0.4% to 0.6% of Omega-3.Very few pet food labels will tell you the exact level of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Some companies we checked didn’t have the data available (shame!). That means you have to guess.
You can estimate the fatty acid content. If the dominating ingredients are corn or corn germ and poultry fat or vegetable oil, you can be sure that the dog food contains mostly Omega-6. Corn oil has a 60 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, and poultry fat has a 20 to l ratio. Those foods need to be balanced out.
To easily provide a more recommended fatty acid ratio to help balance out your dog’s food, you can supplement the food with Omega Canine Shine® – 1 teaspoon for every 20 lb dog weight. Beware of lipid (fat) supplements, as many of them are loaded with Omega-6 and not very much Omega-3. Better to stick with the Omega-3-rich, whole ground flaxseed and refined, medicinal-grade fish oil supplement – Omega Canine Shine®. Plus, Omega Nuggetsdog treats are a fun andconvenient Omega-3/antioxidant treat you can feel good about giving your dog!
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On this day in 2001, I packed for a flight to Washington, DC.
My co-workers prepared to leave for the airport, when someone called us
to the TV,
showing a plane crashing into a skyscraper, unfurling clouds of dark gray smoke.
Over and over, over and over and over we watched that plane strike the World Trade Center.
We wondered, what in the world?
Then another plane struck, and both towers went down in a monstrous cloud of dust.
On it went.
A plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC
And we prayed for our co-worker who was already there. We prayed for everyone there.
What on earth was going on?
A plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Later we learned of brave passengers, who heard over their cell phones of the attacks and said, “no more!” Saying goodbye to their loved ones, they faced the attackers and drove the plane into that field.
Heroes they were.
There would be no more flights that day.
All were grounded.
That night the skies were empty. My dogs and I walked under a clear, star-filled sky and wondered at the quiet, the emptiness.
For surely many new souls had entered heaven that day.
People from the planes
People from the buildings
People from the neighborhood
People and dogs from the rescue crews
Surely heaven was busy that night.
And yet the sky was so quiet. And empty, except for the stars.
New stars lit the night.
Soon fighter jets circled overhead, even here in Minnesota.
And though I had wondered at the peacefulness of the sky, following the violence of the day
And realized, even then, I would never again see the sky this empty and the stars so wondrous.
Once I knew they were ours, I was thankful for the fighter jets watching over. I was thankful to be an American.
I was thankful for the rescue workers, dogs and people, who tirelessly searched in the face of such wreckage, such overwhelming sorrow
Allowing the possibility of hope.
I was thankful for each being who gave hope to another, through a courageous act, a hug, or just a simple word of kindness.
For we all felt so fragile even as we were gathering our strength.
I wondered how this tragedy could happen in our great country—or anywhere.
How does hate go that far?
I wondered at the depth of loss and destruction.
I stood up for Marwane, a man at work. For although some hated him for his name and I had felt his disrespect for me as a woman
I knew he was not a terrorist.
I learned of children born on 9-11-01, of love that was born too, borne on the winds of destruction.
I saw how tragedy brought out the best in people, how love brought us together and slowly built us up again, how love inspired us to help one another.
And I tried to focus on love.
I tried not to hate.
Because hate killed all those people.
Hate killed all those people, and some dogs who went to help.
And somehow the hate has to end.
Somehow the hate has to end.
On this day in 2011, my dog brought me his rubber chicken before I even got out of bed, because he knew I was sad.
Because I have not forgotten.
So through my tears I played with my dog (not yet born in 2001) and his rubber chicken. Through my tears, I played with Bandit and that rubber chicken, and I smiled.
My dog’s simple act of love and compassion showed me how to go forth. My dog showed me how to go forth with love, not hate.
I must be famous. How can I tell? Well, I have an entourage.
My entourage is with me morning, noon, and night. They accompany me while I eat and while I work. I am never alone. I am fascinating to them. They love me, they protect me, they compete with each other for my attention. They argue amongst themselves and jockey for the coveted position nearest to me. When I stand up, they stand up. When I sit down, they sit down. If I go upstairs, they come, too. When I come down again, they come down, too. When I go in the bathroom, they come in, too.
This isn’t my first entourage. I am the mother of four boys, after all. But now the two oldest are on their own out in the world and the younger two are teenagers with friends and activities of their own. I had to get a new entourage.
Each member of my entourage has his or her specific role to play. Apple the Aussie cross is my personal assistant. She wakes me in the morning and lets me know when it’s time to do chores. She monitors my health and nutrition: She never fails to remind me of mealtimes.
Liesl the German Shepherd Dog is my bodyguard. Ever vigilant, she keeps constant watch on me. And on everyone around me. When I step outside the farmhouse, she makes a sweep of the perimeter and checks for suspicious activity. Like a true fan, she is devoted only to me. My husband Kevin could fall in the well and Liesl would never say a word. But let a strange car come down the driveway or naughty horses break out of the fence, and Liesl will let me know.
Hawkeye the Border Collie is my fan club. His role is to look adoringly at me to let me know that I am the coolest, most wonderful person on earth. No matter what I wear, or say, or do, Hawkeye gazes at me with admiration in his eyes.
I not only have an entourage, I have groupies, too. To be honest, my groupies are only part-time groupies. They only show up when I sit down to work at my computer and then they’re out of control. They jump on my desk and walk across my keyboard. They block my computer monitor with their bodies, flick their tails across my papers, and say “We love you. We love you…a little bit.” Sometimes I have to shut my groupies outside the office door in order to get any work done.
My entourage and my groupies are not the only proof of my fame. Outside the farmhouse door, the paparazzi lay in wait for me. I have only to step outside and they mob me, all shouting out their questions at the same time. Really, I wonder if the paparazzi have any idea how much they sound like a flock of squawking chickens? Even their camera shutters sound like the flapping of wings.
So, I have the fame, the next step is the fortune. They go together, right?
Bandit, Chase, and Cayenne Say: We’re dogs, not people in fur coats. As pack animals, we’re very tuned in to you and know a lot about you. Please pay attention to us and learn what we need to thrive and be happy. We love you and have a lot to give and teach you.
With spring on the way, you may be thinking about getting a new dog. Here’s some information from the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book to help you make good decisions regarding your new family member.
When getting a dog, think about your lifestyle and the amount of time, money and energy you have to spend. Research dog breeds and think about what kind of dog is the best fit for you. Be realistic about whether you’re able to make a long-term commitment to a dog. Remember that a puppy is like an infant or toddler in many ways and has a lot to learn from you. An adult dog will also need to learn how to live well in your household. Commit to training, exercising, and spending time with your dog.
Please consider adopting a homeless dog. Millions of dogs and cats are killed in the United States every year while waiting for their own homes. Animal shelters and rescue organizations have all kinds of wonderful purebred and mixed breed dogs, from puppies to seniors, in need of good homes. Rescue organizations that house their dogs in foster homes may be able to give you the most accurate information about the rescued dog. One dog rescue organization that I highly recommend is Braveheart Rescue, Inc. in Hastings, Minnesota (https://braveheartrescueinc.com/Home_Page.html). At Braveheart, dogs are given the veterinary care they need, are socialized with other dogs, and are truly rehabilitated before being adopted out. When you adopt a dog, you also support the organization’s work and make room for them to give a second chance to another dog.
Do not buy from pet stores, ads in the paper that advertise many breeds, day sales, or other outlets for puppy mills (factory farms for dogs). Puppy mills produce puppies in quantity for profit, with little regard for their health or well-being. Puppies are often taken from their mothers at only 4-6 weeks of age, and are not vaccinated before being transported. When you “rescue” a puppy mill puppy, you’re creating a market that keeps the parents imprisoned in deplorable living conditions for the sole purpose of producing more puppies. Some of these dogs rarely leave a stacked tiny wire cage, have never been outside, and are not even able to walk. Learn more at http://www.animalfolksmn.org/ (where you’ll find information about a puppy/kitten mill bill currently being introduced in the Minnesota legislature), http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/puppy-mills, http://www.mainlinerescue.org/ and http://www.mainlinerescue.org/puppy-mills/puppys_parents. Mainline Rescue is the Pennsylvania group featured on the well-known puppy mill episode of the Oprah Show.
If you want a purebred dog from a breeder (for example, if you need a dog that was bred specifically to herd your cattle), please do your homework. Read Finding a Good Dog Breeder at http://www.dogtime.com/finding-a-good-breeder.html. Look for a breeder who actively participates with their dogs in the activities the dog was originally bred for. Learn as much as you can about the breed, the breeder, and the puppy’s lineage. Ask to meet the puppy’s parents and see where the pups were born and raised. Make sure the breeder tests their dogs for the health problems that are common to the breed. Be wary of a breeder who breeds for one color or trait, like “miniature” to the detriment of temperament or health. Check out the breeder’s references, and be wary of a contract that requires a co-ownership or requires you to breed your dog instead of spaying or neutering. Make sure you get what you pay for.
With a new dog in the house, you’ll need to find a good veterinarian. In fact, you might even want your veterinarian to examine the new dog before you make the final commitment and take the dog home.
Choosing a Veterinarian
When looking for a veterinarian, ask your friends and neighbors for advice. Ask veterinarians about their education, training, experience, and credentials. Check their references. Make sure you’re comfortable with the vet, the way the clinic is run, and the way they handle your dog.
Today, many veterinarians are using Eastern medicine techniques and therapies, including acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, homeopathy, and massage therapy to complement the traditional Western medicine protocols they learned in veterinary school. Here’s a list of veterinary and other organizations*, with links to more information:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): www.avma.org
A not-for-profit association representing more than 80,000 veterinarians
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA):
Explores and supports alternative and complementary approaches to veterinary healthcare, and is dedicated to integrating all aspects of animal wellness in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA):
Veterinarians who share the desire to restore health to their patients through the use of homeopathic treatment. Members are dedicated to understanding and preserving the principles of classical homeopathy and advancing veterinary homeopathy through education and research.
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS): www.ivas.org
The IVAS mission is to provide, promote, and support veterinary acupuncture and related treatment modalities through quality basic, advanced, and continuing education; internationally recognized certification for veterinarians; and responsible research.
Acupressure is used to restore, replenish, and maintain the natural harmony and balance needed to create optimal health and well-being. A small animal acupressure course will be taught in Minnesota in July of 2011 (more info at http://tinyurl.com/6x8mru7).
I hope this information will start you and your new dog on the road to a happy and healthy life together. Enjoy the spring and summer with your new friend!
This information originally appeared in The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book, Ó2010 (more info at http://www.8StateKate.net)
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