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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Service Dogs: More than just “Man’s Best Friend”

shutterstock_127990052In honor of the Seeing Eye Guide Dog birthday on January 29th, we would like to give a special salute to, not only Seeing Eye dogs, but all service dogs. These special pups are put through rigorous trainings to be more than just a devoted “man’s best friend,” but be by their owner day and night to detect medical emergencies, or help make life a little easier.

Barkpost.com posted an article with some interesting facts about pups. Some of these facts alone prove that dogs are capable, willing, and even honored to take on the role of helping their human.

“Dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures, can count up to five and can perform simple mathematical calculations…” They are smart.

“Some stray Russian dogs have figured out how to use the subway system in order to travel to more populated areas in search of food.” They are resourceful.

“Two stray dogs in Afghanistan saved 50 American soldiers…” They are loyal.

“…pup, Nesbit, earned over one million Delta airline miles in his life and had his own frequent flier card.” They are adaptable.

“One of Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs, Leo, went on to be a therapy dog who comforted dying children.” They are resilient.

“Service dogs are trained to know when they are on duty. When their harness is on, they know it’s business time. When you take it off, the pups immediately become playful and energetic.” They are lovable.

Smart, resourceful, loyal, adaptable, resilient, and lovable…these qualities earn dogs the job of helping humans with medical conditions such as blindness, deafness, autism, and various psychological conditions. So, while dogs are commonly called “man’s best friend,” to some they are much, much more.

Source: “21 Facts About Dogs That Will Blow Your Mind,” http://barkpost.com/fascinating-facts-about-dogs/

Change a Pet’s Life Day – January 24th

shutterstock_245955709Have you ever thought about what it would be like to win the lottery? Dreamt about what you would do with the money? While we, as humans, think about an awesome life-changing event like winning the lottery, the lives of our pets are changed just by making them part of our family.

Change a Pet’s Life Day, January 24th, is celebrated annually to support and encourage pet adoption. By choosing to adopt a pet through the humane society or a rescue organization, you are saving a life. Maybe you have already adopted a pet, or have a house full of furry friends and are not able to house anymore…there are still ways to get involved! Here are some suggestions:

• Volunteer your time at your local humane society or rescue organization
• Donate money or supplies to your local humane society or rescue organization
• Spend extra time with your pet(s) today and let them know just how special they are
• Volunteer to walk or play with the pet of an elderly person who may not be able to have frequent playtime with their pet

On this national day of recognition consider growing your family by a few more sets of paws or participating in one of the above-mentioned activities. While these may seem too simple to be considered life-changing, to a pet it could change their life forever (not to mention that your odds of changing a pet’s life are probably much greater than winning the lottery!)

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

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Wednesday, January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day!  Do you have a cheeky-Chihuahua? A lovable-Labrador? A sophisticated-Siamese?  Or how about a beautiful horse, pig, fish, ferret, mouse, bird, or any other frisky friend?  Get involved…wow the neighbors, impress your friends…or just have a good time with your best friend!

We know it can be silly, but think about it; your pet loves every minute they get to spend with you, so why not make it a special activity for you both.  Break up the routine, and add a little flare to their day.   Plus, it’s a great way to show off your pet’s personality…(think about all the awesome photos)…

For the practical: It’s January. Probably cold outside. (Well, cold enough in AZ anyway). So dressing them up appropriately will help them stay warm and cozy.

For the adventurous: Is your poodle a diva? Try a tiara. Too cool for school? How about some sunglasses. Personally, we’re a big fan of shoes…(do they make Converse for dogs?).

For the crafty: You know you have that leftover fabric from when you made yourself some new curtains…get sewing and make a sweet little shirt or vest.

For the shopper: Do you need a reason to hit the mall? Get yourself matching outfits.  (At least some groovy sunglasses).

For the sports guy or gal: Give your favorite sports team a little more ‘cred and put your furry friend in a jersey – show that your a dedicated household of fans!

No matter what you choose to dress your pet in, snap a photo to celebrate National Dress Up Your Pet Day and share it with us!

(Image Source/Credit: dressupyourpetday.com)

Walk Your Pet Month

shutterstock_232879651It’s the first full week of January, and your New Year’s resolutions are in full swing! And if you are like most,
a ‘little more exercise’ is probably on that list. Well, one great way to help get that ball rolling and start burning those extra holiday cookie calories is to get out and walk your dog a little more! Just like humans, exercise is very important to your furry friends health and vitality.

Regular exercise can:
– Help your pet maintain a healthy weight
– Increase blood flow to help internal organs function properly
– Improve muscle strength and maintain joint flexibility
– Decrease stress levels while improving sleep patterns
– Encourage positive behavior by keeping your pet from getting bored

It is important to choose the right amount of exercise for your pet, which varies based on breed, age, and other conditions. Some dogs have lower-energy thresholds, so short, flat terrain walks a couple times a day are ideal. Other breeds benefit from a quicker paced walk, with some even needing a couple hours of exercise a day for maximum benefit.

And don’t forget…cat’s need daily exercise too! Take some extra time to drag that toy across the floor for them to pounce on; hide some toys in semi-visible places and create a ‘find-it’ game; provide a cat tree or appropriate piece of furniture for your cat to climb on and stretch muscles.

Check with your veterinarian to determine the right amount of exercise for your pet.

National Bird Day

Ishutterstock_242662447ncredible creatures by nature, “National Bird Day” is a great time to pay homage and respect to our feathered friends.  Birds can make amazing pets, but they need just as much care and love as any other pet!  Birds are non-domesticated animals (albeit sometimes raised in captivity), with natural instincts to fly and flock together.  So if you do choose to care for a bird as a pet, be sure to let them have the opportunity to ‘stretch their wings’ outside of a cage.

Here are some helpful tips from the folks at National Bird Day (www.nationalbirdday.com) to help make your bird happy:

    1. Provide a healthy and varied diet — not just seeds, but grains, beans, vegetables (cooked and raw) formulated pellets, and some fruit. (Harmful foods include chocolate, avocado, highly processed or overly salted foods, human junk food, and caffeine.)
    2. Give your bird the largest enclosure possible — no space is too big for a creature adapted to flying through jungles and across savannas.
    3. Provide daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time, preferably to include free flying in a safe, supervised environment.
    4. Offer a variety of toys and enrichment activities.
    5. Provide plenty of socialization with other birds and/or human caretakers.
    6. Give responsible access to unfiltered sunlight and/or full-spectrum lighting. Birds need exposure to UVA and UVB rays from direct sunlight (windows block necessary UV rays) or full-spectrum lighting to synthesize vitamin D necessary for bone health.
    7. Offer daily or weekly misting with a clean spray bottle of water to promote feather and skin health and for fun! Some birds prefer to bathe in a small container (like their water dish); others enjoy being misted with water. It is important to allow the birds to air-dry in a warm room or in the sunshine.
    8. Develop games and teach your bird skills (“jobs”) like foraging or treasure hunts (this can be done in the house or with creative toys in the cage), cleaning up toys by putting them in a basket.
    9. Provide a secure enclosure, carrier, or harness so your bird can enjoy the outdoors with you.
    10. Place multiple perches/stands throughout the house so that your bird can benefit from ambient “flock time” while being included in family activities like watching TV or movies, preparing meals, playing cards or games.

Source: National Bird Day, www.NationalBirdDay.com