Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Joy of Giving

The title may sound like a Christmas theme, and though it looked like Christmas in Casper just a few days ago, The Joy of Giving happens anytime, anywhere.

For me, it was today. I transported a dog from rescue toward her new home. She is going to a new family in Canada, and I got to be part of the process! This is not my first transport, and it certainly won't be my last, but it has special meaning for me because this dog has a special story.

I'll call her Jazz for now, Gentle Jazz. Although a large dog, part Great Pyrenees, she has a gentle, kind spirit. But, she had a tough life: abandoned and pregnant; she gave birth to a very large litter of pups, and was found under an overpass in very bad weather and in very bad shape. All the pups lived, but Jazz was depleted from the experience of feeding and protecting herself and her little ones. Yet, at one time, this loving dog was someone's loving, intelligent companion. She knows several commands and is quite docile, even around children. Her heritage of gentle protector is evident is quiet, yet vigilent dog.

Jazz is going on a long journey, from rescue in America to new human companions in Canada. I am grateful to have helped her get her to her destination, and I pray she and her new family will enjoy an enduring, abiding bond. An amazing dog with an incredible story, and many caring people to help her along the way. I believe there is a story to share in Jazz's journey! And in this story is a great lesson - joy of giving: sharing your life, giving of yourself, even just a few priceless, precious moments, to help another. I am thankful to be even just a small part of her special story!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Keep Pets Safe During Halloween!

Although Halloween can be a fun holiday for children and adults, our pets find this time of year down-right spooky! Between extra excitement in the house, people wearing strange clothes, and all the ringing doorbells and loud noises, pets really stress out. Here are some tips to keep your pets safer and happier this Halloween:

· Keep pets safely inside, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. This will ensure that pets won’t become frightened or feel threatened at the sight of noisy costumed children.
· Remember that frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all of the commotion, so keep your pet safe by keeping it in a secure room away from the opening and closing of the front and back doors.
· Be sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags in case of accidental escape.
· Keep candy out of your pet’s reach. Candy can be harmful and chocolate is toxic to pets.
· Keep pets away from decorations. Flames in jack-o-lanterns and candles can quickly singe, burn or set fire to a pet’s fur. Pets can become tangled in hanging decorations like streamers and can choke on some decorations if they chew on them.
· Resist the urge to put your furry friend in costume. Most pets dislike the confinement of costumes and masks, and flowing capes can cause injuries if pets get caught on something.
· Don’t bring the family dog along for trick-or-treating. Dogs may become difficult to handle during the noise and confusion of the festivities, and a lost dog or a dog bite to someone will quickly end your Halloween fun.

These Halloween safety tips are provided by the Humane Society of the United States and others who care for you and your pets. Happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the Face of Adversity

Walking the dogs today, Greg and I and the dogs were charged by a large yellow lab and its golden retriever friends. In the barking and chaos that insued, Greg and I kept our dogs on their leashes and tried to calm them. The dogs' owner can rushing out of the backyard, from where the dogs came thanks to an unlocked gate, and tried to coax his dogs back into the yard. Sage remained at my side and Cody, in an effort to protect us (and him, I assume) lunged at the yellow lab, another male. Thankfully, the dog's owner caught the lab's collar and took him back into the yard. The golden, a female, was more curious than aggitated, and she and Cody sniffed each other then, she, too was taken back into the yard. Our walk resumed.

A thought flashed through my mind -- here we all were, in the midst of adversity, and Sage, though at first surprised by the fast dogs and the barking and sniffing, stayed by my side and remained relatively calm. She trusted Greg and I to take care of her. Even in her blindness, and being blind-sided by these large, fast dogs, she remained close to those who would protect her (and Cody was certainly ready to go to battle for her and for Greg and I!) Sage stood steadfast in the face of adversity; Cody squared off and ready for battle. Maybe we people need to take a lesson here, especially me: God is ready to do battle on my behalf, to take on my enemies and take care of me, if only I stand steadfast in the midst of the adversity I face. Trust and have faith: God will take on my enemies (my fears, my worries, my problems, even Satan himself) on my behalf. All He requires of me is to trust and remain steadfast beside Him in the face of my adversity.

Thanks to Cody and Sage, and two strange dogs, I learned a valuable lesson today.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make Me Smile!

Ever notice how pets bring a smile to our face? Whether it's in the antics they do or the joy and comfort they bring, "pet therapy" is no joke; pets bring smiles and joy to our faces and our hearts.

My dogs are great examples. Recently, Sage sat with me in the recliner (yes, we can both fit, it's an oversized recliner!). She had been laying with her head near my feet, then suddenly, turned and laid her head on my shoulder, her cheek next to mine. This sightless dog gazed at me with such love and devotion, my heart melted and my smile widened. I stroked her chin and face gently, and said over and over "Such a good dog, Sage. You're so brave and so sweet. What a good dog you are, Sage." I think she understood!

Cody, our cocker spaniel, brings a smile when he holds his green rubber ball in his small mouth. that ball widens his mouth like the Joker's grin in Batman! Cody LOVES that rubber ball like Linus in Peanuts loves his blanket; he can't leave home without it! Cody's antics with his ball or with his little legs trotting down the sidewalk during our morning walks make me smile and laugh.

Even Murphy the cat brings a grin to my face and delight to my heart. She "talks" each morning, possibly telling me about her dreams the night before. Her squeeky voice has given her the nickname in our household "Little Miss Squeek", and she tries very hard to get a conversation started. Needless to say, Greg and I can't ignore her, and we talk back to her. I think she likes that, as she purrs and purrs, and rubs her head into our hand. When she lays on my lap during the evenings we watch TV, she stretches into the afgan in my lap and turns to have her tummy rubbed and her chin scratched. Her long, black and white fur is like silk, and pleasant to touch. Her dedication to us and her adventurous spirit makes me smile and chuckle (yet that spirit can get her into trouble when she climbs the fence into the neighbor's yard!).

My sweet, loving, fun pets... helping me find joy and smiles in what can be a tough, uncaring world!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Having a blind dog that is loving, loyal, and free-spirit is quite cool! Sage is unafraid of snow, ice, or squirrels and she derives pleasure from simply being herself! Maybe there's a lesson in this: accepting your weaknesses and not letting them get you down.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Snow's Come Too Soon!

Although it's officially autumn, Casper (and much of the Rocky Mountain West) looks like Christmas and feels like January! Protect your pets during cold snaps by making sure short-haired dogs have sweaters on when they go outside and by cleaning your dog's feet after they've been outside - ice and snow can build up on the pads and between the toes, causing great pain and discomfort. Watch your pet while it's outside doing its business and don't keep your dog for long periods of time (unless it loves the snow and has lots of fur to keep it warm!)
Make sure your pets stay warm and snug (just as we humans like to be!), and ensure their food and water dishes are full.
And, if your pet is like my Murphy cat, have a blanket nearby that your pet can snuggle against and maybe into! Just make sure they don't dig so far down into the blankets that they overheat!!Keep yourself and your pets warm and safe during this crazy winter-like weather and the actual winter yet to come!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Importance of ID Tags

This morning, after walking my own dogs, I drove to the store and saw a dog running in the street. I pulled my car over and coaxed the reddish, long-haired, medium-sized dog into my car. It was a friendly dog and hopped right in! First thing I checked was a collar -- ah, yes! Then, are there tags? Many times when I've "rescued" a street roamer, there's been a collar with NO tags. But, ah, thankfully, this dog's owner placed the animal's tags on the collar, including a city license that was actually up-to-date! I called Metro Animal Control, gave the staff member the dog's tag number, and was given the name of the owner and a phone number. I asked for an address, thinking I'd just drive up or down one of the close-by streets and be able to get the dog home. But, no! This owner's address was clear across town! I asked the staffer how he thought the dog could be in MY neighborhood, and of course, got the answer "don't know."
So, I called the phone number, thinking I'd get voice mail, but thankfully, the owner answered, and I discovered he and the dog did live a short distance away, so I was able to get handsome RED long-hair back home safely, and into the loving arms of the owner's little boy. I thanked the man for having up-to-date ID tags (in the form of current licensing) but cautioned he probably should update his address with Metro. Still, a happy ending!

How important it is to have our pets wear identification or at least a current rabies and city license tag. It's so much easier for pets to get home timely and safely when their collar has some type of identification. I've rescued several "street urchins" in the past, and rarely have those animals had a license or ID tag on their collars. Remind all your pet friendly pals to insure their animals have collars and tags just in case, as in what transpired today, their pet escapes the yard and runs down the street and hops someone's car! With identification, your pet will go home instead of going to the animal shelter or to someone's else's home!