Sunday, January 31, 2010

Furry Friends

With January drawing to a close, we celebrate 9 years of Sage as part of the Irwin household, and I've been reflecting on the meaning of friendship and how this special dog has impacted not just my life, but my husband's, my parents', my friends, and the many lives her story has affected through the stories and visits to schools. As I think of those positive impacts, the valuable life lessons, and the many people she's encountered and encouraged, I am deeply amazed and profoundly touched by Sage and her beautiful spirit.

What is a friend? Someone you trust, someone you care about, someone who is loyal and loving, someone who helps you smile each day, and someone you enjoy being with and miss when that individual is not around. That is Sage. Her devotion, her courage, her kind spirit, her affection all equal one thing... a special friend. Where else can one find such authenticity than in our pets? They are who they are, nothing more, nothing less, and they require very little from us except our love and loyalty. Our pets don't judge us, they accept us; they don't demand, they just accept, patiently and honestly. We humans can learn great lessons from our loving, loyal four-footed friends.

Pets help us to laugh more, to love more, to give more, to have faith and other words, pets help us be better people.

So, thank you, Sage, for all the blessings you've brought into our lives these past 9 years. And, to you, Cody, as we look to celebrate 2 years of sharing life with you. And, to our cats, Murphy and Bailey, who have been with us for four years, since young kittens. All of you bring joy, affection, and humbleness to our lives, and we are grateful for all the wonderful gifts you give to us: yourselves.

Gayle & Greg

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Know You're a Dyed-in-the-Wool Pet Owner When...

... you want to get back home ASAP because you miss your dog (or cat, or both!)!!

I recently traveled back East to attend a training seminar. I left on an very early Sunday morning and returned home the following Friday night. By Wednesday, I wanted TO BE HOME! I missed my pets and though the people in my training class were very nice and we enjoyed some meals together, I missed my furry friends like crazy! Usually I enjoy traveling, but this particular week, stressed by two major plane changes at two different MAJOR airports, one of which is nortorious for delayed flights and people sleeping in the airport due to missed connections or cancelled flights, just made me long for calm, quiet, and genuine friendship - which I receive at home from my furry, four-footed friends.

And when I did walk through the door at home on Friday evening, I was greeting with welcoming barks, wagging tails, and loving purrs. Now that's dyed-in-the-wool loving friendship! Don't think I'll be traveling so far again any time soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tender Foot

The most recent snowstorm in our area brought about a dog walking nightmare - a big lack of sidewalks shoveled. Cody, our Cocker Spaniel, is a tender-foot, and just the smallest piece of ice between his toes can make him limp. I was even surprised when we walked across a sidewalk that had been shoveled and ice melt put down, that the small particles of ice-melt got between his toes and caused him to limp.

There are many hazards for pets during the winter months, include ice, snow and ice-melt. Therefore, when walking your dog, take a few minutes and clean your dog's feet and toes during the walk as well as after. Walks are important to our dogs, and they need them even when people haven't shoveled their walks (perhaps your routine will be shortened due to the lack of good-neighborliness!) and of course, a short excursion doesn't hurt the dog owner either. However, you want the walk to be enjoyable, not painful, and you want your special furry friend to be safe. Therefore, take some time to take care of your dog's feet during and after the walk. And remember, ice melt can be dangerous to your dog's health if injested, so again, keep your pet's paws clean, and you'll both enjoy your daily outing even more!

Happy Trails!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Make All Things New

A new year has begun, in fact, a whole new decade. I wonder if this will finally be the time that people stop thinking of pets as "dumb animals", disposable and without feelings.

I see the newest ads on TV for the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, and they are heartbreaking. Both organizations fight cruelty and have been doing so for years. All pet lovers need to join that fight; too many companion animals are thrown away, are neglected or abused. Abuse seems to be running amuck in our society, not only of animals but also of children and women , where, in many other countries, women still have few rights and are treated as property instead of people. I pray more of us will step forward this year, this decade, and help combat cruelty in all forms, cruelty found in our communities, our country, our world.

There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "behold, all things become new." (2nd Corinthians 5:17) With God's help, perhaps we can usher in this new year, this new decade, by helping others who need newness in their lives, who need others to show kindness and caring. Let's make a resolution to bring new joy and new hope to animals and people in need throughout our world!