A little more than a year ago, my husband and I lost our nearly 18-year-old cocker spaniel named Cody. We had adopted him when he was almost 10 years of age. He had been used as a stud dog for a breeder and then basically tossed away like yesterday’s garbage. When we discovered him at our local humane society, his sad spaniel eyes ignited my heart. Even though he likely wouldn’t be with us but a few years, we determined to give him the best couple of years of his life. Two years turned into three, into five, into seven. At 17 ¾ years of age, Cody crossed the Rainbow Bridge, knowing he was loved, adored, and pampered to the very end.
Our hearts and home are more empty since his passing, but the nearly eight years we shared with Cody were filled with laughter, joy, and love.
We still have Mary, a springer-cocker mix we adopted four years ago this week. She was nearly seven when she came to live with us, and we credit Mary with helping keep Cody going as long as he did. They shared walks in the woods with us, trips to the dog park, and travels in the car, as well as cuddles on the couch and snuggles in bed. Their friendship was very special, especially considering they were not raised together.
Mary turns 11 next week. We’ve considered adopting another dog as she was raised with a smaller pup prior to her going into rescue at the death of her special person in 2012. She misses Cody; that was readily apparent in the early months after Cody’s passing. She is bonded to us, especially to my husband who often gets to work from home. When does a person know the right time to adopt a pet, whether one pet has passed or a person has never been the guardian of an animal before?
Just like with having kids, no time may be the actual “right time” to adopt, but one thing is for sure: a person must MAKE TIME to care for a pet properly. I would encourage anyone considering adopting a pet to make sure you have time to give, that your life is not so incredibly full that the animal will be left alone for countless hours and have little interaction with its human family. Too many animals are given up because of the excuse “I don’t have time for it.” Just as children need nurturing, attention, and care, so do our pets. They rely on us, they need us, and they want us to share time and activities with them.
So, if you’re thinking of adopting a pet, ensure you won’t change your mind in a month or so and say “I don’t have time.” First and foremost, make sure time is something you do have, or will make, before bringing a pet into your home.
And, if you think you can’t find the type of pet, the breed of dog or cat you want, think again: not all shelter pets are “mutts.” In fact, depending on where you live and what you’re looking for, 5 to 25 percent of shelter pets are purebred. Look on Petfinder.com for a specific breed, sex, and even whether they’re good with children or other animals. And, view this website for some of the types of dog breeds one is likely to find at shelters: https://mom.me/pets/19900-dog-breeds-commonly-found-animal-shelters/. Additionally, specific breed rescues can be found at this website: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/.
Is it time for my husband and I to adopt another dog? Not yet, but likely by the end of the year. I do look, and I do consider. And perhaps we’ll change our minds mid-year and adopt again at that time. We’ll know when the time is right – I believe you will, too for you and your family.
In the midst of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, our family pets can often be the unintended and forgotten victims. No family intends to leave behind their furry companions, as they can often provide comfort in times of stress and extreme change. There are generally extenuating circumstances that leave families feeling like they have no other option but to abandon their animals.
During the winter months especially, freezing weather brings additional concerns for pets left behind, as this recent social experiment in New York shows. Below are the three most common reasons pets are abandoned during a foreclosure; and the resources available for owners who need help.
Food and Care Bills
One of the biggest reasons families leave their pets after foreclosure is the inability to provide for food and care. Homeowners faced with foreclosure are not only unable to pay their monthly housing. By the time a foreclosure has occurred families will typically see bills for everything from utilities to groceries beginning to stack up. Providing food and veterinary care, especially in case of an emergency medical need, can seem like an impossible task to families.
Lack of Housing
Families in the midst of foreclosure will often be faced with difficult choices when it comes to housing. When being forced out of the home that they own, finding a rental property that accepts pets or a friend or family member that has room for the furry companion can be a challenge. Many rental properties have limitations on size, breed, and number of animals and can also charge hefty deposits that make bringing the pets along seem like an impossible task. Similarly, when relying on the compassion of friends or family homeowners can feel embarrassed or guilty regarding burdening their hosts with a pet, in addition to space concerns.
No Other Options
Pets are not intentional victims of neglect and abuse when it comes to foreclosures and abandonment. Losing your home is one of the most stressful life events a family will ever face. During this hectic and chaotic time, families often feel as if they have no other options. Turning their pet over to a shelter will often mean potential euthanasia in increasingly overcrowded and overtaxed local facilities. Abandoning a pet to care for itself is often seen as the better alternative when there is nowhere else to turn.
Help is Out There
What the public and families facing foreclosure need to realize is that help is out there and there are numerous resources available for families either seeking to find a new home for their pet or that need temporary financial or housing assistance in order to keep their companions with the family.
For families looking in need of temporary help, websites that offer dog boarding and dog sitting services, such as rover.com dogvacay.com or wagwalking.com, can be lifesavers. Few owners know that each of these sites offer off-location pet-sitting in addition to in home stays and can be used for extended periods of time such as during a physical move or transition into new housing. Long term rates can be very reasonable and will often be discounted, depending on your location. Local families or neighbors may also be willing to board your pet for a short period of time.
Local shelters and humane organizations may have financial assistance available for food or veterinary bills. Shelters or vet clinics in some locations may have vouchers on hand or a list of national or local organizations that will provide short term loans or grants in order to help you care for your pet during economic difficulties. If none of these quite fit your situation, there are a variety of online resources for families that need to find a reputable rescue organization to help place their pet in a new home.
To Sum Things Up…
In short, families facing foreclosure should never feel like they are alone in their struggles to care for both the human and animal members of their families. Leaving behind a family pet is never a decision that is made carelessly and is, instead, typically a result of the owner’s hands being forced when they believe they are out of options. Homeowners facing foreclosure should know that there are a variety of options available and that abandoning your pet should never be a decision you are forced to make.
Simon Campbell has spent over 15 years in all the various facets having to do with real estate including sales, purchases, investment and research. Simon has changed directions and is now sharing his knowledge and experience with others to avoid foreclosure. For more details, check his website http://www.stopforeclosureshelp.com
Every year millions of dogs and cats go into animal shelters and pet rescues. “We’re moving,” is a primary reason given for leaving pets at animal shelters. Sometimes, however, when that move is due to a house foreclosure, the pets are simply left in the home and come to the attention of the bank or real estate broker when an inspection of the home is conducted.
Leaving a pet behind is morally, and often legally, wrong, and can leave a pet not just confused and lonely, but also create behavior problems for it, making it less adoptable. If you must move and can’t take your pet, please contact your local animal shelter or pet rescue organization as soon as possible. Give your beloved, faithful furry companion the opportunity to find a new, loving home by trusting those organizations and people who give of themselves to find homes for needy animals.
If you are facing foreclosure or need to move for another reason, before leaving your animal behind or even with a rescue organization, read this informational guide produced by StopForeclosuresHelp.com – it provides tips and statistics helpful for people who are facing this problem and have animals that will need care. It also provides information for people who want to help abandoned animals. Visit the site for help and information: http://www.stopforeclosureshelp.com/how-to-help-abandoned-pets/.
As noted in last week’s post, many people make resolutions for the New Year, and one of those is to get more exercise. Did you know our pets can help us with this endeavor? Dogs especially encourage people to be more active because most dogs also want to be active. From throwing Frisbees to pitching tennis balls, from walking to hiking, and from the kennel club arena to the backyard, there are many activities we can enjoy with our canine companions.
A person can even take a cat for a walk on a leash, and playing feather toys or chase the laser pointer can engage our feline friends – and make us humans move as well.
Because there are so many varied and enjoyable activities for dogs and their humans, this article will focus on those. Here’s a short list of ways humans and their dog friends can enjoy exercise together (some are event American Kennel Club – AKC – sanctioned events):
Agility: this exciting, fast-paced activity showcases a dog’s intelligence and stamina as well as its connection to its owner. Agility events happen throughout the world and many are AKC recognized events. Learn more, including tips for starting your dog in agility, at http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/10-tips-dog-agility-training/.
Dock Diving: one of the fastest growing sports for dogs, this event open to canines that are not AKC-registered (through the North American Diving Dogs program); however, the AKC does recognize this activity.
Flyball: this relay race for dogs features four dogs on a team. The sport began several decades ago and continues to be a canine activity enjoyed by many people and their animals. Learn more at https://flyballdogs.com/FAQ.html.
Freestyle Musical Dance: a relatively new sport, this activity involves obedience and dance, with the handler and dog performing dance-oriented footwork in time to music. Learn more at http://www.dogscandance.com/.
Obedience: All dogs should have some obedience training. How far you want to take it is up to you –competition in obedience trials or just a dog who will obey commands during daily life. Either way, you and your dog will enjoy the benefits of better communication and an increased bond. Learn more at http://www.pet360.com/dog/behavior-and-training/can-dog-training-save-your-poochs-life/Oi_m4yZ6_EKJV1xasL9h0w.
Skijoring: a team sport between handler and dog, this activity involves skiing by the person and running by the dog(s). The canine(s) needs to be obedient and the activity takes a lot of practice. Learn more at http://www.petguide.com/petcare/dog/need-to-know-tips-getting-started-in-skijoring/.
Tracking: this canine sport showcases a dog's natural ability to recognize and follow a scent; it’s the foundation of canine search and rescue work and involves training dogs to use their highly-developed sense of smell through which they find lost humans or animals and/or detect drugs, bombs, and other things. This is also an AKC-recognized event. Learn more at http://www.akc.org/events/tracking/.
Other activities include AKC Rally a course sport, Flying Disc Dog, by which a dog captures a disc or Frisbee-like object in the air, EarthDog tests, a way to assess and engage terriers and other digging dogs’ ability to find and trap quarry, and Field Trials, through which hunting breeds like pointers, setters, and retrievers find game. There are also a variety of harness activities, from carting to dogsled mushing.
One doesn’t have to participate in Kennel Club-offered events nor have a purebred, registered pup. For example, tracking can be done in your backyard or the local park, in which you hide a smelly object, like peanut butter treats in a ball or an article of clothing (like a mitten stuffed with peanut butter) and have your dog find it – this can be done in the snow for an even greater challenge! Also, you can set up agility equipment in your yard and simply run your dog through a course. Play Frisbee with your dog or take him/her skiing, hiking, or running. There are many ways to engage your furry friend in a fun activity that you both can enjoy – and you both will get exercise along the way!
Find more information on fun activities to enjoy with your pet at http://bestfriends.org/resources/fun-things-do-your-dog.
A new year has dawned. Many people make resolutions at the start of the New Year; studies show that most will not continue after a few weeks or months. However, if we humans resolve to eat better and exercise more, perhaps if we engage our four-footed buddies as well, we could be more successful.
Obesity in pets, like humans, is on the rise. Activity, or lack thereof, plays a role; so does food. Additionally, pet food and treat recalls are, sadly, very common. The ingredients in pet food has become more and more questionable, especially for products made outside of the United States; however, even pet food and treats made in the USA have problems. Purina, a well-known company based in St. Louis, Missouri, had a large class-action lawsuit brought against it in 2015, and Diamond, which has incorporated many small brands, experienced many recalls, including a large one in 2012. How can we as pet owners ensure our beloved animals are receiving quality nutrition? By reading research.
In mid-November 2016, Reviews.com published a large report after studying many brands, interviewing pet owners and food researchers. In that report, they listed the top 10 dog food brands that they believe provide the best nutrition and have the safest ingredients. Although lengthy, the report is filled with important information for dog owners. I discovered that a brand recommended by my veterinarian for my allergy-afflicted dog is NOT on the list; in fact, that brand, Royal Canin, was cut from the “good quality” list because of the ingredients. Other often vet-recommended foods, such as Hills Science Diet, was also on the “naughty list” alongside Royal Canin. Two foods which are sold at one of my local pet supply stores, one at which I worked part-time several years ago, is on the “nice list;” those foods are Fromm and Nature’s Logic. I will likely explore these brands as options for my dog. Read the entire report, and learn which foods Reviews.com recommends and why at this website: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/.
Reviews.com also produced a report last November regarding top-quality cat food. The researchers analyzed the ingredients of 1,700 cat food formulas and examined more than 100 brands. They came up with a list of top 10 cat foods, all from different companies. They eliminated foods with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and dyes. Once again, Royal Canin made the “naughty list” due to ingredients; so did Friskies and Fancy Feast. Nature’s Recipe, Meow Mix, Diamond, and others also made the “naughty list” due to numerous recalls and low-quality ingredients. Read this important report and learn what brands were given top ratings and why at this website: http://www.reviews.com/cat-food/.
Although many of the top brands of dog and cat food are higher priced than Purina or other grocery store-type foods, if your pet experiences health issues, such as kidney failure, due to ingredients in its food, what savings are you gaining should you incur high veterinary bills? Or worse, your pet dies?
Taking care of ourselves with proper nutrition in this new year is a good goal, especially if we also resolve to take better care of our beloved furry friends with better nutrition.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.