It’s No Happy New Year for Many Dogs

Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

If you drive around your neighborhood, you will see many chained up dogs shivering in the cold. Winter weather means extra hardship for ‘backyard” dogs, and, as responsible pet caregivers, we acknowledge that it is inhumane treatment, but we seem to just look the other way and are silent. These dogs suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration, and often have nowhere to go to escape the cold and snow. Why do so many dogs end up at the end of a chain? There are many excuses. Animals are still considered property in the eyes of the law, and some caregivers view their dogs as “possessions” to do with as they please. Others just shrug and say that people have always kept dogs that way. Some simply don’t want the animal in the house and resort to a chain to prevent him from running away. Most have tired of the responsibility of adequately caring for a dog or are not willing to deal with a behavior problem, and have simply relegated him to the outdoors—tied or penned up. There are thousands of chained dogs in this country who exist with deprivation and loneliness. Let’s begin the New Year by breaking our silence about all the chained and penned up dogs. Lori Oswald tells this true story of a backyard dog.

Donovan was not a special dog. He never pulled a child from in front of an oncoming car; he didn’t win a ribbon in a dog show; he was quite an ordinary dog. His owners could be considered quite ordinary too…a nice family with two children, who decided fourteen years earlier to get a dog. A dog would be fun. So one day, perhaps at a shopping center giveaway, or maybe from the pet section of the local ads, they found Donovan, and brought him home. At first the kids were excited, but the newness soon wore off. Dad build a small house and they staked him outside with a chain attached to it, agreeing that he would be “just fine” outside. I never met Donovan. Although I regularly visited his house, I never even knew he existed. He lived 24/7 on a six foot chain, digging holes for entertainment, watching as life passed him by. Mom assured everyone that he was “well cared for.” For 14 years Donovan lived out back on his chain, hungering for a little attention and affection. One day he finally escaped his little world on a chain and holes and dog house—he died. Donovan, unfortunately, is not a fictional character. Neither are his owners. They have been looking around for another dog. “We sure miss Donovan,” they lament.

How many Donovans are in your neighborhood? It’s no Happy New Year for dogs on chains, and it is up to us to break our silence and say “NO! It is not okay to allow dogs to be tethered for extended periods of time.” A dog is a pack animal and needs to be treated as part of the family.


No Holiday Puppies

Surprising your family or friend with an adorable puppy for Christmas may seem like a perfect gift, but is it really? NO. animals should never be given as impulsive gifts, and the holidays are probably the worst time to bring a dog into your home and life. New puppies and dogs require extra attention and a stable environment which the holiday season does not allow caring for a dog’s round-the -clock care.

A dog is not a toy that can be returned or discarded, and the result of making the wrong choice when selecting a living being as a gift is often tragic. No matter how much you think your loved one would enjoy this “surprise”, you should never presume to make this decision for another person.. A dog is another family member and requires a lifelong commitment, so lifestyle, time, and financial resources are important considerations.

Most professional organizations recommend you give a “puppy gift package” instead of a live pup with a gift certificate entitling the recipient to a “dog of your choice”, a crate, gift certificates for a vet check up or dog toys, bowls, leash, books about dog care, or puppy socialization classes—be creative and have fun. Then if you discover on Christmas morning that the idea of the responsibility for a dog is definitely not wanted, all the items can be returned or donated to a local shelter or rescue group.

The new caregiver must be ready to make a commitment for the animal’s entire lifetime, and be prepared to accept the responsibilities that come with their new family member. Pets are forever and it is important to understand that dogs take time and commitment as shown in this Pet Promise:

  • I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog’s well-being is totally dependent on me.
  • I will ensure that my dog has current identification, including collar tags, and tattoo or microchip ID.
  • I will always provide fresh water and good quality food for him.
  • I will socialize my dog by exposing her to new people, places, and other dogs.
  • I will be responsible to keep him clean and well groomed.
  • I will teach him basic training rules, including sit, stay, and come when called.
  • I will take her to the vet for all needed vaccinations, and regular dental checks. I will regularly do home all-body checks, looking for any bumps or lumps, or changes in either physical appearance or behavior.
  • I will provide both adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation.
  • In good times and bad, in sickness and health, I accept the responsibility and privilege to care for him, and spend time with him.

A dog is a “forever” dog, not an “until you get bored with me” not until circumstances change, you have a baby, you have to move, or you have no time, A dog is forever….if you can’t promise forever, don’t get a dog.


Thunder & Lightning, Lightning & Thunder

There’s a flash of lightning lighting up the clouds…then the thunder sounds and the rain falls…the earth quakes again…..thunder and lightning can be terrifying to dogs. Dogs sense an imminent storm before humans see or hear anything, and many dogs will simply go to a place they have established as a safe haven, but some dogs will become hysterical with fear and anxiety. It is important to understand that if you have a dog with severe thunder phobia, there is no single quick fix effective for all dogs.

Try to create a safe place for your dog to go when she hears noises that frighten her…this must be a safe location from her perspective, not yours. Notice where she tries to go when she is frightened, and if at all possible, give her access to that place. NEVER keep her tied up outdoor, and NEVER punish a dog who has destroyed something in a panic.

Some of the most self-confident dogs may begin to pant and pace around the house, hiding or behaving erratically when the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls. Do not coddle or scold your dog for his fears. Try distracting him by engaging him in play or some activity that will refocus his attention.

  • Don’t do anything that will reinforce the idea that there is something to fear…Remain cool and indifferent to bad weather, talking in a calm, reassuring voice, acting as though you enjoy the storm.
  • Don’t pull a fearful dog from his hiding place. If he wants to retreat to a corner or closet, it is because he feels it is a safe haven….let him venture out on his own, and then try to refocus his attention. If you massage his ears, or give him a body massage, he may relax (or maybe not!)
  • A fan, radio, or television turned on may help block out storm sounds. Soft classical music often helps, and although there are many CD’s that claim to “calm dogs down”, I consider most of them “snake oil.” One CD that we use at the shelter has proven to be successful with many dogs. If you have a dog that is fearful, or exhibits other inappropriate behavior, go to for information on Canine Lullabies, a unique program that incorporates the background of an actual human heartbeat.
  • Holistic veterinarians often suggest Bach flower remedies. Odorless and tasteless, they come in liquid form, and can be given regularly for as long as needed. If you know a storm is coming, you can place a few drops in the dog’s water bowl, and even if the storm comes six hours later, as he drinks all day, it gets into his system. For information, go to or call 800-214-2860.
  • Peppermint oil can be purchased at health food stores, and while no one knows why it works, sometimes putting a drop or two of the oil on the bottom of each foot, right on the pad has a calming effect.
  • Anxiety wraps are very effective in calming dogs, using gentle, constant pressure, similar to parents’ swaddling their babies to act as a security blanket. For more information on the Thundershirt Anxiety Wrap, go to or call toll free 866-892-2078.
  • NEVER give your dog any over-the counter or prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Drugs should always be a last resort solution, and should be prescribed by your vet.
  • Sometimes nothing seems to work. Behavioral treatment takes two different approaches: desensitization, and counter-conditioning, and neither technique is very effective. Consult with an animal behaviorist, or your vet to discuss your options. This noise phobia is something that your dog cannot control….A dog afraid of storms requires plenty of extra patience and love from the caregiver.


No Charge for Love

Easter is one of the most celebrated days in the Western World, and it is the perfect time to reflect on the love and joy emphasized on this special day. You have probably heard this story, “No Charge for Love”, but is one of my favorites, and I recently received a request to repeat it, so here it is:

Oliver Townsend had rescued a neglected pregnant dog, and had cared for her, committing himself to being her forever caregiver. However, he realized that he could not keep all her pups, so he determined to find good homes for them. He painted a sign advertising “Pups for sale to forever homes” and placed it out on the edge of his yard, hoping that they would all be re-homed quickly. Several families expressed casual interest, but Oliver had grown attached to the little ones, and he didn’t feel that any of the families was really serious about adding a pup to their family, so days passed, and the pups were still there. Late one afternoon, he was outside trimming some bushes when he realized that he was being watched. He looked down into the eyes of a young boy.

“Sir,” the boy said, “I would like to buy one of your puppies. My mom says it’s okay, and I have a little money from my chores.” He reached deep into his pocket and pulled out a couple crumpled dollar bills and held them out. “Could I take a look at them?” Mr. Townsend shook his head, thinking that this would definitely not be the right match. “You know, son, the mother of these pups was in bad shape, and I have spent a lot of money nursing her back to health, and caring for her babies.”

The boy looked straight at him, “I would take really good care of the pup, and if I don’t have enough money, maybe I could mow your lawn or something. Couldn’t I just take a look at them?” The man put down his clippers, and let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly,” he called. From the front porch ran Dolly followed by three little balls of fur. As the dogs came closer, the boy’s eyes danced with delight.

Suddenly he noticed something else was stirring on the porch. Slowly, another, noticeably smaller, little ball appeared, and in a somewhat awkward way, began hobbling toward them, doing his best to catch up with his siblings. “I want that one,” the little boy said, “I will work for you until he is paid for.” The man knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. I love him dearly, but he will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

The boy repeated softly, “I want that one.” He reached down and pulled up one leg of his jeans, revealing a brace running down both sides of his leg, attaching itself to a specially made shoe. “You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.” Mr. Townsend carefully picked up the little pup, and gently handed him to the boy. “How much?” asked the youngster. With tears in his eyes, the man answered, “No charge. There’s no charge for love.”

May joy and love fill your hearts on this special day…and every day. Have a blessed Easter.


Redemption & Rehabilitation

Puppy mills abound across the country with facilities housing as many as a thousand dogs with breeding females being forced to give birth to litter after litter of puppies throughout their lifetime. The dogs are usually crammed into wire cages that are often stacked inside dark sheds or barns. Their urine and feces drop into lower cages, where the dogs are forced to stand or lie in the excrement. Many dogs become ill, and receive nothing to alleviate their suffering, because it is cheaper to get a new breeding dog than it is to pay for veterinary care. Many of the dogs have never seen the light of day or felt grass under their feet and they have had little human contact. The conditions that these animals endure are horrific, and pet stores and on-line sources get their dogs from puppy mills, regardless of what they tell you. The story of Buttons is a typical example of a puppy mill dog who was rescued, redeemed, and rehabilitated:

Buttons was a wretched creature, a small mini poodle dumped at an area shelter with six months of matted fur, and he was terrified of everything, including feet and newspapers. He had spent his early weeks in an abominable puppy mill, and was transported to a pet store where he spent four months, up for sale at half price, and then almost two years in a “home” from which he was given up without even a collar to call his own. He was so afraid of his owners, that, when they opened their car door at the shelter, he flew out and hid for a day in the wooded area behind the shelter. He refused to leave the crate in which the shelter put him when they finally caught him.

When he heard his original name, he quivered, rolled over, and peed. He was so thin that his bones showed through, and his frightened eyes peered out of a haggard face. In short, he was a mess, and even the shelter staff doubted that he could be “rehabilitated.” However, the little guy captured me with his eyes…huge, deep, black, watching everything around him intently, and oh so sad and scared. But in there with all the sadness and fear, there seemed to be a spark of hope, almost as if he was thinking, maybe, just maybe this will be different. Why he would trust anyone at this point is beyond me, but he did.

Buttons developed into a feisty, friendly, little fellow with thick black fur, and beautiful black eyes. Only occasionally does the old worried look reappear. He was reliably house-trained within a few days, and developed awesome house manners with everyone. He has become an affectionate little companion who loves his daily walks, and dances on his once pencil legs when he sees a treat coming…A few weeks ago Buttons graduated from obedience class, and has learned the meaning of “kiss” as a greeting, instead of “flip and pee.” The process of redemption and rehabilitation had few rough spots, and he is a better dog than anyone could have ever hoped for.

What can be done to eliminate the existence of these horrible places? First of all, do NOT shop at stores or internet sites that sell dogs. The only one sure way to combat the tragedy of puppy mills is to NOT SUPPORT THEM….no matter how cute the puppy in the pet store is, please don’t buy her. She comes from a puppy mill, regardless of what the salesperson tells you. PET STORE dogs come from puppy mills. You may think you are “rescuing her,” but in reality, you are only freeing up space for another puppy mill product, while supporting an industry based on abuse. Keep informed and educate your friends and neighbors about puppy mills, and monitor legislation that involves this unethical industry. Let your legislators know your concerns, and above all, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP.


The Perfect of Christmas

If you are considering buying a puppy for a Christmas gift, we urge you to think carefully before impulsively bringing a companion animal into your home. A pet is a living being and involves long term adult commitment. A dog is not a toy, not a disposable item to be discarded when he becomes inconvenient, or the kids lose interest in him. Please avoid the heartache of a poorly thought out pet purchase, and don’t let the kids con you into a decision you will regret. The introduction of a pet into a household should be a total family decision that has been discussed, planned for, and researched before the purchase or adoption.

“The perfect Christmas gift” illustrates how a well intention, impulse purchase can bring heartache to both the family and the animal:

“I am a dog with a story to tell… I was unlucky enough to be born in a filthy wire cage, in a dreadful puppy mill. and was soon sold to a pet store. I was one of those “designer dogs—all of the rage,” and was bought for a Christmas present for the kids, but that didn’t last long before I hit the skids. At first everything was fine; I lived in a nice house and played with the children….it was a great life for awhile. Then things changed, and I was thrown outside to live in the yard. Maybe it was because I shed a little, and once I piddled on the rug, but no explanation or reason was given why. When the sun came up, I barked all day, but no one ever came out to play. Soon they said I I was too big for the house, and too much trouble to train, so I just sit at the end of a chain, day after day, year after year. The seasons change….I freeze in the winter, and swelter in the summer…my joints are sore, and my eyes don’t see as well any more. My fur is matted and provides a home for the fleas. I bark and I cry; I cry and I bark….it is a sad existence. Sometimes I have water….sometimes I don’t. I hope that you think of me when you see a dog on a chain and know that dog is lonely, hurting, and in pain. He was probably that perfect Christmas gift too, now forgotten and alone. Perhaps you could stop awhile and pat him on the head, or just sit beside him and talk to him , offering him a friendly word. It’s sure to be a kindness that he may not have experienced for awhile.. I guess some folks just don’t understand that a dog is not for Christmas….he is for life.”

If you have discussed, and planned for adding a dog to your heart and home, and are willing to make a long term commitment, spending a good amount of time and energy with the dog and have enough space and money to properly care for his needs, go to your area shelter or rescue group and talk to them. They can help you choose the best dog for your situation. (Do NOT buy from a pet store…you will be supporting the puppy mill industry.)

You will never know the joy that dogs bring to the world until you have one of your own. They really do deserve the title of “man’s (and woman’s) best friend. They are loyal, intelligent, devoted and affectionate, and are known to improve both our physical and mental health. Dogs keep a lonely night, less lonely; they treat us like celebrities; they make us smile; they teach us the meaning of unconditional love. A faithful dog will play with you….or cry…he’ll gladly starve to stay with you nor ever question why, and when you’re feeling out of sorts, somehow he’ll understand. His blind, implicit faith in you is matched by his unconditional love.

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ” (Roger Caras)

What’s Your Price?

There is a common saying, “Everyone has a price.” Confusion exists as to the origin of this saying, but it is recorded that Sir William Wyndham wrote in 1734, “It is an old maxim that every man has his price,” and the idea is at least as old as Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who lived AD50-135. (If you want to do a little research, the philosophy of this man is quite interesting!) Howard Hughes reportedly said, “Every man has his price, or a guy like me couldn’t exist.”

There is a price with every choice we make, even in the area of animal welfare. As Barbara Spencer points out, “It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars on an animal whom we love and have an attachment to. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: how much of our time and money are we willing to lay out for an animal to whom we have no ties and for whom we feel no personal responsibility? In other words, what is the price tag on compassion?

We agree that mistreatment and neglect of our animal companions is wrong; we claim to empathize with them because we understand our common ability to experience physical and emotional sensations, such as pleasure and pain, joy, fear, and sadness. We abhor puppy mills where animals live in squalid conditions, with dogs spending their entire lives with little or no human contact or medical attention, crammed into dirty cages where they are forced to breed until their bodies can no longer endure. We are disgusted that people “get rid” of their dog when he becomes an inconvenience. We care; we really do, but we have priorities….too many things to do and so little time. Are we paying too high a price in search of material possessions, or power, or prestige?

Epictetus discusses our ‘impulses to act and not to act’, and asserts that our pursuit of one set of objectives rather than others is in our power. It is a matter of choice, and it is in everyone’s power to do something to make a difference in the lives of needy dogs. We cannot save them all, but we can save some, and we can show compassion to all by walking the walk, not talking the talk….it is worth the price of giving up just a little for the dogs who willingly offer unconditional love, faith and trust.

  • Shelters rarely have enough volunteers to help walking, socializing, and providing basic training for shelter dogs. Writers, photographers, and graphic artists can help produce fliers, newsletters, or information packets. Staff members may also appreciate help when dealing with particularly challenging dogs. Call your local shelter to find specific ways you can help, and ask what they have on their “Wish List”….and monetary donations are always needed.
  • Familiarize yourself with local and state ordinances and legislation pertaining to dog welfare. Write a letter, or e-mail local and representatives expressing your views on puppy mills and basic dog welfare legislation.
  • Promote spaying and neutering…we have a crisis overpopulation of unwanted dogs, and this is the only way to lessen this problem. Spay or neuter your own animal, and encourage others by informing them of all the health benefits of this simple procedure.
  • Organize a fund raising event…it can be as simple as a bake sale or car wash, or as involved as a dog festival or black tie event. Have a party to help dogs!
  • Be alert for dogs that are too thin, consistently without food, water or adequate shelter, or appear sick. Call your local animal control office and continue to call authorities until the situation is resolved. Dogs can’t speak; be their voice.
  • Volunteer to foster a dog…Rescues can house only so many, so having foster homes is like having additional space, and a home environment is much less stressful to a dog in transition than a noisy shelter. Providing a calm, caring environment with basic training will increase the dog’s chances of finding a forever home, and remember: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!.

Anything you do for a needy dog will be appreciated, and the rewards are priceless.

Kindness is ALWAYS in Fashion

This year has been a tough time, but lashing out, turning on our friends, hating others, or doing acts that are just plain mean are unacceptable, so let’s spread kindness….to two legged and four legged! We are blessed to live in the best country in the world! Americans will never agree on everything, or completely understand why some people have some points of view, but hateful and cruel acts are never productive, while kindness is always fashionable, and an act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted. From our economic crisis to our political chaos, the concept of making a difference can get lost in the enormity of it all, but the reality is that those who focus on reducing suffering and making individual communities better places to live are happier than those who spew discord and discontent. According to Steven Rowley, “Dogs can help to ground us and guide us to act in kindness rather than hatred. Dogs live in the present; dogs don’t hold grudges…. and dogs let go of all their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase. Perhaps if humans learned these lessons, lives would be enriched.” Dogs offer so much, asking so little in return, and by offering our time or money—or just sharing our love of animals—we can improve our world and make life better for both humans and animals. . We’ll feel better about ourselves too, and that’s a great deal.

Specific ways to get involved in the animal welfare cause include:

  • Promote spaying and neutering. Millions of adoptable dogs are euthanized every year, and by spaying and neutering your animals, you will make sure that you are not contributing to the already overpopulation problem.
  • Become involved in legislation to better the lives of our dogs. Help fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws, and for the abolishment of puppy mills. Puppy mills need to be put out of business for good, and we need to complain enough and often until our message is taken seriously.
  • Schedule regular visits to your area shelter to socialize dogs to get them ready for adoption. Just by playing fetch and giving individual attention is a great way to help. Shelter dogs always appreciate a little walk!
  • If you can’t donate your time, you probably have plenty of useful supplies lying around. Contact your local shelter for specific needs. Blankets you may not need can still be used to keep pets warm and comfortable. Those squeaky toys, balls, and stuffed animals your kids no longer play with may provide entertainment for lonely dogs.
  • Volunteer your specialized skills or talents. If you have expertise in web design, grant writing, carpentry, or other areas, a shelter will certainly welcome your sharing it.
  • If you are planning a school, office or special occasion party, consider a dog drive. Each guest can bring pet food, toys, bedding, etc. to your party, all destined for the local shelter. In lieu of gift exchanges, consider donations in the name of your office or social group to your local animal welfare organization. Hold a community yard/bake sale and donate the proceeds to a shelter.
  • Companion animals play important roles in the loves of their caregivers, but sometimes the elderly or ill have trouble providing essential pet care. If you have a neighbor or friend in need, offer to assist by walking the dog, feeding him, driving him to the veterinarian, etc. These small acts of kindness will be appreciated.
  • You may not be able to end pet overpopulation or stop animal neglect, but every act of kindness will help reach those goals. Kindness always makes a difference—blessing the one who receives it, and blessing the giver. Everyone, human or canine, deserves to be treated with respect and kindness….period…no exceptions. Kindness is always fashionable and always appreciated

You can do something big or you can do something small, but whatever you do in kindness is better than doing nothing at all.


A Magnificent, Genuine Mutt

Dogs fall into one of two groups: mixed breeds and purebreds. Some people believe that purchasing a purebred means purchasing a guarantee of temperament and health, but the only thing that “official papers” from a purebred dog registry organization certifies is that the reported lineage and identity of the dog is recorded, and the fact is that many puppy mill dogs are registry certified. If you are looking for a loyal four-footed companion, it will not matter whether you choose a purebred or a mixed breed dog. Your health maintenance and training will modify the future of any dog, whether purebred or genuine mutt. In fact, there are advantages to getting mixed breeds that you may not even realize. A mixed breed will have the benefits of different breeds , and will be less prone to genetic imperfections common to some purebred dogs, and a mixed breed may have a less extreme temperament than some purebreds. With consistent, loving training, almost any kind of a dog will grow into a uniquely brilliant magnificent friend.

A GENUINE MUTT (with selections from Jim Willis)

Dudley wasn’t sure how many weeks he’d been in the animal shelter, but it seemed forever. Each day was the same as the one before, and he spent most of his time sitting on the palette in his pen. He heard some of the dogs barking a greeting to the old bloodhound Humphrey, mascot of the shelter, as he made morning rounds. Humphrey paused in front of Dudley’s pen , making Dudley uncomfortable. He hung his head a little lower, and avoided Humphrey’s stare.

“You, boy…look alive!” Humphrey ordered….”It’s opening time and the people will be coming.”

“Alive? Alive for what. Nobody wants me. “

“Harrumph!” grunted Humphrey. “Why you’re a fine specimen of a …well, anyone can see that you’re obviously a…um…”

“A mutt,” sighed Dudley. “Nobody wants us.”

“Just a mutt!” Humphrey sputtered. “Why there’s nothing better than a mutt. Mutts are healthy, intelligent and brave. Mutts are some of the most cherished members of the canine community, but it takes more than Mutt Status to get into the right home. Do you do any tricks?”

Dudley looked down again. “Not really. I can have a conniption fit…at least that’s what my former owner called it.”

Humphrey tried hard to not look at the concrete and wire that made up his world, where lace curtains and a comfortable couch used to be before his former owner had died. “You need to put your best paw forward, show your best qualities. You are brave, aren’t you? And honest and sincere? Now I hear some humans headed this way… Just remember that you are a uniquely brilliant , magnificent mutt…..chin up, chest out, show ‘em what you’ve got” and with that Humphrey went on down the hall.

The human couple seemed kindhearted, quietly discussing the various dogs as they walked down the aisle. They paused in front of Dudley’s pen to read the ID card. “Huh, he is rather cute, but he appears to be a mutt.”

Dudley’s ears pricked up for an instant…they were talking about him. “Yes!” he barked. “I am a magnificent mutt, and I’m intelligent and loyal and brave.” Dudley barked again, standing up to get their attention. I am uniquely brilliant and can jump, and chase my tail, and roll over, and dance on my hind legs, and….” he toppled over from the effort.

“What was that?” the man asked

“I believe that’s what my grandmother would have called a ‘conniption fit,” the woman laughed. “Isn’t he precious?”

“I think we’ve got ourselves a genuine mutt,” the man answered with a smile.

Dudley beamed with joy as his new humans filled out necessary paperwork, and danced as he went with them to the parking lot. Humphrey watched as the humans picked up the little dog, and gently loaded him into their car. He turned, trying to ignore his aching joints, and walked back down the bleak kennel aisle, pausing just long enough to wipe at his eyes with a paw, thankful that he had helped save another magnificent, genuine mutt.


The Truest Friends We Have

“A mother is the truest friend we have when trials fall upon us, or adversity takes the place of prosperity, and friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when darkness falls. Though trouble thickens around us, still she will cling to us, and endeavor to bring peace to our hearts. Her arms are always open when we need a hug; her heart understands when we need a friend. Her gentle eyes can be stern if we need a lesson, but her strength and love guide us and give us wings to fly.”

Mother’s Day comes once a year, but one day is not sufficient to honor our mothers. Our mothers are the truest friends we will ever have, and every day is Mother’s Day!!

To all moms and special women in our lives, we offer this special tribute of devotion:

“If I could give you diamonds for each tear you cried for me… if I could give you rubies for every heartache I have caused…if I could give you pearls for the wisdom that you’ve shown… then you’d have a treasure, mother, that would mount up to the skies, but I have no pearls, rubies, or diamonds, as I am sure you are well aware, so I will give you gifts more precious: my devotion, love and care. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!”

Dog moms celebrate on Mother’s Day too, and Carol Bryant shares this confession with us:

“I am a dog mom. I love it when folks call me a dog mom…a sense of pride swells over me. I do things with my dog that perhaps those who went before me did not with their dogs in days gone by. I look back on my childhood and cringe: the “family dog” wasn’t allowed in the main part of our home, and I wonder to this day if she ever even saw anything above the basement, where she was “allowed” to sleep if temps fell below zero.

The attitudes toward pets are slowly changing; in fact some argue that “dogs are the new kids” is becoming a worldwide epidemic. Science has finally acknowledged the special connection between humans and canines, and even big name journals like Psychology Today admit that dogs have the propensity to feel many of the same emotions that humans do.

My dog isn’t a child…I understand that. If I am honored to share life with my dog for 15 years or more, unlike a teenager at age 15, my dog won’t be asking for the car keys, won’t enter the dating world, and will never become a source of grey hair as I worry if he is 10 minutes late past curfew. The lifespan of a dog is short, a flicker if you will, compared to a human. There will be no dating, college funds, job search, or prom nights. He will pass from this world too soon, leaving a horrendous hole in my heart.

Since becoming a dog mom, I have learned many lessons including the importance of living in the moment. I have yet to see my dog worry about what happened yesterday or panic about plans for tomorrow. Dogs have taught me to live life to the fullest because, at any time, it can end. Yesterday is gone – tomorrow may never come. Today is best day of my life.

Yes, I spoil too much on my dog, and I certainly spend too much on him. I buy cotton swabs…I use baby wipes on his feet after a muddied walk or rainy day, and I could probably circumnavigate the globe with the amount of paper towels I use. I know he does not need eight leashes, four water bowls, regular trips to the pet supply store, and organized play dates.

I believe that all dogs should be well taken care of and kept out of harm’s way. They live such short lives, and they depend on us to accept the responsibilities of caring for them. They have no voice; they have no choice, Dog moms understand that, and do what is right for them. Dog moms celebrate their dogs every day. Dog moms shop. Dog moms buy….some dog moms even tuck their dogs in at night, and I enjoy the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, and the satisfaction of being a dog mom. Happy Mother’s Day to all dog moms of the world.”