My son bought me the novel “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameronfrom Amazon for my birthday. I am almost at a loss for words in trying to describe this novel. The first word that comes to mind is “emotional”. Emotional only if you’re a dog lover. If you’re not, you wouldn’t be reading it anyway. As I read through the pages, they made me smile, contemplate, laugh out loud (in public), and cry out loud like a puppy spending the first night in a crate. As I sobbed, Simba, my nine year old German Shorthair Pointer, would rush over to console me as she usually does when she senses a change in my emotions
This book has changed the way I look at my two dogs. It is as if I am watching them through different eyes. I find myself wondering if Simba could be my “Bailey”. Of all dog’s that I have had in my lifetime, Simba is very different. She has always been connected to me in more ways than physically. GSP parents know about their Velcro dogs. German Shorthair Pointers are referred to as Velcro dogs for good reason. They never leave your side. The world comes to an end when I close the bathroom door for some privacy. I’m not sure if she thinks because I watched her doing her business as a puppy, that she needs to watch me too. Even when I’m in the shower they both take turns poking their head in to make sure I haven’t been swallowed up by the drain.
GSPs are sensitive dogs to begin with, but Simba has always been in tune with my emotions. She runs around wagging her stubby short tail carrying as many toys as she can fit in her mouth when I’m happy or excited. She slowly approaches to watch over me when I’m sad. First she puts her nose real close to my face and waits (maybe she’s nearsighted) then she lightly nudges me with her nose. Finally, she lays up against me laying her head on me. I will admit that feeling the weight of her head is always somehow always comforting, like a hug. She has also mirrored my ailments and personality. She’s a true tom-girl. She also suffers from stress, IBS, and allergies. One thing she doesn’t mirror is my anger but knows well enough that mum needs space. It is the only time she keeps her eye on me from afar rather than beside me.
Simba’s one year old sister, Gypsy, joined the family at eight weeks old just like Simba did but the connection between her and I is different. It doesn’t go beyond being the normal Velcro dog. I love her immensely and she loves me but she is oblivious to my inner thoughts or emotions. After reading “A Dogs Purpose”, there may be an explanation to the difference between my two pups. Simba maybe a dog with a purpose.
There have been numerous studies centered on how keeping pets has mental and physical benefits for people, and most of these studies reveal that being a pet owner can truly help people stay healthy. A pet can also be a huge advantage in a home with a senior, particularly if the individual is suffering from a long-term mental condition. Animal-assisted therapy can work wonders for people with different health disorders, which is why it is becoming an increasingly popular trend in places like hospitals and assisted living facilities for the elderly. The following are some of the benefits of using pet therapy for senior people with mental illnesses:
Maintaining a daily routine
As most caregivers know, elderly people suffering from mental illnesses like dementia often have difficulties in performing their daily tasks. However, having a dog can change this as dogs require a regular schedule for feeding, exercising, and so on. Doing the same things with the pets every day, like walking your dog, can help seniors remember routines and thus adds structure to their lives, which keeps them calmer. This also boosts their self-esteem, trust, and mobility, making it easier to care for themselves. If, for some reason, a senior citizen can’t have a dog of their own, becoming a dog walker is a great option. Though it may not be best for those with dementia, for those with depression, dog walking will provide many of the same benefits that come with owning a dog while also boosting their income. Continue reading →
Christmas is right around the corner. If your pup is anything like mine, especially Simba, they love to open presents on Christmas along with the rest of the family. Toys don’t seem to last very long with these two. Buying toys can get expensive so I want to share with you a couple of DIY dog toys you can make by recycling some items that you have at home. They’re all very easy to make. First of all, go through your sock drawer. This is a great way to put those old socks to good use. SOCK BALL: If I have a bunch of ankle socks, I stuff a bunch into one sock leaving 3 or 4 for the end. After you’ve stuffed them and created a tight oblong ball, put the ball into one of the ankle socks you saved for the end. Insert it with the open side first, then insert it into the next sock again with open side going in first and continue until out of socks. You can insert one of those squeakers Continue reading →
Gypsy has finally decided to play fetch. Simba has retrieved the ball or frisbee since the first day I brought her home. She was 8 weeks old. Gypsy was too worried about losing the ball to Simba. Once Gypsy gets the ball she won’t give it up and just wants to play “Simba chase me”. Now I throw two balls. One for Gypsy and one for Simba. Simba brings back the ball for more. Gypsy holds on to her and runs with Simba back and forth as Simba chases and retrieves her ball. Either way, they’re both getting the exercise they need. The other night I’m watching TV with Simba on my lap as usual and Gypsy brings her ball and releases it. From there she wanted to play fetch. Simba prefers to sit on my lap instead of playing ball. It works out perfect for Gypsy.
Gypsy is now a little over one year old. She hasn’t slowed down at all but at least the destruction has. She is fully aware that she has done something wrong but just can’t seem to help herself. I believe she has learned right from wrong but every once in a while the puppy brain takes over and wins over her logic. One and a half weeks before Thanksgiving, my oven/stove went on the brinks. The technician came a stated that the electronic panel (the oven’s brains) had to be sent in to be refurbished because they don’t carry replacement for that model anymore. All was fine until he said it would take 3-4 weeks to get back. That would not do! Thanksgiving was a week away! Besides not being able Continue reading →
The holidays are almost upon us. There will be lots of cooking, baking, and parties. You may have family and friends over to celebrate with you. Be aware that some people have no idea that there are foods and herbs that are very poisonous for your dog. They may think they’re doing good by treating your dog with table scraps because it’s a special day. Keep a watchful eye not only during your get togethers but when anyone is cooking or baking because food may be dropped or left on the counter unattended. For example, chocolate is very toxic for your furry family member. Here’s a list of items to watch for.
No/chocolate. It is toxic to dogs and cats and can kill them.
No/alcohol. It’s toxic to animals. Careful on foods that may contain alcohol like fruit bread
No/grapes or raisins. They are toxic and can cause kidney failure
No/onions, garlic, leeks, scallions. Can lead to toxic anemia.
Here are a few holiday foods that are okay to give your furry friend. A piece of advice, never feed them while your sitting at the dinner table. Put the special meal or treat in their own food bowl.
Yes/turkey and chicken. Make sure to remove skin, fat and bones. White meat is best.
Yes/potatoes. Careful with what may be in mashed potatoes. No butter, onions, garlic, gravy, sour cream
Yes/cranberry sauce. Keep it to small amount because of the sugar content.
Yes/popcorn. Air popped corn without butter or salt makes a great treat in moderation.
Yes/plain green beans
Yes/apples but NO apple core or seeds. Apple seeds contain a small amount of arsenic – the same thing found in rat poison
Dogs Will Be Dogs – Jackson was named after Jackson Hole. It’s no wonder he loves to hike. Hiking is a great way to keep your dog active and fit. It also helps wear them out for a bit when they’re active puppies. Those of you that have active puppies know exactly what I’m talking about.