Friday, December 25, 2009

A Time to Celebrate and a Time to Reflect

Merry Christmas, everyone! The dogs and cats as well as my husband and I enjoyed a delightful Christmas Eve afternoon together and now it's Christmas Day. The snow is falling, the fire is blazing in the woodstove, my husband is air-bound to visit his parents who live far away, and I have time to pause in celebration and reflection upon this past year and the wonderful ways my dear pets, my precious family, my great friends, and my loving God have helped me.

For many people today, Christmas Day, is a time to be with family and/or friends, to celebrate love, especially the greatest love of all - God's love for His creation. That love gave us His Son, Jesus, as Redeemer and Savior of all. I personally believe that includes the animals He created, for Genesis 1 tells us that when God created the Heavens, the Earth and the Earth's inhabitants, He called His creation "good". I believe God makes His presence and His love known to us through our pets - their devotion, their friendship, their comfort all reflect the love God has for us. My pets have been a great comfort and inspiration for me, especially this past year with the various struggles and set-backs my family and I have endured. Their continual loyalty and love, their perseverance, their enjoyment of life and taking things in stride serve as reminders to me that life is precious, life is challenging yet life is also to be enjoyed and friends and family treasured.

So this day, I say THANK YOU to my God, my parents, my husband, my friends and my pets for making my life special because of your presence in it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lend a Paw and a Hand!

Hard to believe Christmas is nearly here!

In the past few days, I've witnessed a number of distressing situations, ones which touched my heart deeply. Two involved animals, the other people. There's only a few days left until Christmas, and I hope each of us will do SOMETHING to help pets and people in need.

Today, I stopped by the Salvation Army to donate a few toys I'd purchased. There was a HUGE LINE filled with adults who were there to pick up Christmas baskets and other donated food products, as well as toys for their children. I could not believe the number of people in that line in this relatively small town of Casper, Wyoming! I walked out of that place with tears in my eyes.

Just a few days ago I took a lost dog to the Casper Humane Society. The little guy was frantically running around my block, getting up on people's porches and asking to come into their homes. He did that at my home, too. He was lost and looking for someone to help him, or hoping one of the houses was his. He had on a collar but no tags. After taking him to the Humane Society in hopes his family would find him there, I was driving back to my home and what did my eyes see? Another lost dog! This time, running in a very busy street! I wonder if either dog is home for Christmas?

Those of us who have our pets at home, our children at home, who still have our homes, those of us who have our relatives healthy REALLY need to be thankful and recognize our blessings this Christmas. And though money may be tighter this year for most of us, surely we can go to the Dollar Store and buy a few things, whether that be little toys, games, bath and beauty products, or pet toys and supplies, to donate to the Salvation Army and the Humane Society/rescue groups in order that people and pets in need will know they are cared about by others in the community. $5 at the Dollar Store buys 5 things to share with others - $5 is about the cost of a Starbucks Coffee or a lunch at a fast food place. Can we all give up one of those to help others?

Stop by your local Humane Society or Salvation Army this week and see if your heart doesn't break, too. And, when you see a lost pet, do what you can to help it. Maybe you can't put the ID tag on that pet, but if you know someone who doesn't have an ID tag on their pet, buy one for them this Christmas - your friend and your friend's pet will thank you if one day, Lord forbid, that's the pet running loose and lost and some good Samaritan helps it get back home.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR to pets and people everywhere! Let's all do something positive to help our fellow humans and fellow creatures this holiday season!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pet Safety During Cold Weather

Baby, it's COLD outside! I mean, FRIGID!! Early December got off to a slam-dunk start in central Wyoming during the weekend, with temps below zero and wind-chills even worse! This cold and snow is expected to move eastward, and the west will also get another winter blast yet this week. My woodstove chugs; the wood is even frigid! As I throw more logs into the wood heater and drink hot chocolate and wrap myself in an extra blanket, my mind thinks of all the homeless pets and people throughout the U.S. who must endure (and hopefully survive!) this Arctic blast.

Those of us with pets should be mindful of how the cold affects them and do our very best to keep them safe. If early December is this frigid, the rest of the winter may be one of the worst winters we've experienced in quite sometime.

So, here are some tips to keep your pet safe this winter:
1. Keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially small dogs, dogs with short and/or little amount of fur and cats. They are suseptable to extreme cold, especially the pads of their paws and their ears. Frostbite can set in quickly with below zero temperatures.

2. Of course, dogs need to go out to do their business, but get them back inside quickly. Keep walks short, just enough to stimulate their necessary functions and to get a brisk exercise.

3. After returning from a walk, clean your dog’s paws of the ice, snow and other materials picked up along the way. Snow and ice can be painful on pet paws, and material such as ice melt for sidewalks may be ingested by your pet as s/he cleans itself, which can cause medical problems. Do the paw cleaning for your pet for better safeguards.

4. Speaking of outdoors and dangers, remember that anti-freeze poisons pets, so keep your pet away from the garage and driveway, and those of your neighbors. Watch where you and your pet walk and keep your furry friend away from anti-freeze!

5. Warm car engines attract cats and small wildlife, so be careful when starting your car. Pound on the hood to scare away any potential animal "renters" (perhaps your neighbor's cat who doesn't keep his kitty indoors as he should!). Be mindful not only of your own pets, but those living in your neighborhood.

6. For large, furry dogs that do live outdoors most of the time (like huskies, for example), make sure they have a bit of extra food during this extreme cold weather. The extra nutrition will help keep them warm. Also, be sure they have a warm doghouse with plenty of straw, hay or blankets inside.

7. Despite the snowy conditions, water is still important for an outdoor dog. Use a heated pad or other heated water device to keep your dog's waterbowl from freezing.

Other winter-related pet care tips can be found on the Humane Society of the U.S.'s website:

May we and our pets all be safe this winter season!