When considering adding a dog to your household, how do you know which is the right one for you? One way is to understand the needs of the various breeds. And, there’s a great many types of dogs out there! Therefore, choose one that fits your lifestyle.
Do Your Research.
Each breed has a different personality, activity level, and size. Mixed breeds, too, will have their own character traits, likely taking some from one breed and other characteristics from the other. For example, a goldendoodle may have the curly hair of the poodle and the personality of the golden retriever … or vice-versa.
How do you know the various breeds’ needs, size, and personality? One of the best online resources is provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC). You’ll find information about different types of dogs here: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/.
Westminster Dog Show/AKC
Another fun way to learn about the various dog breeds is through your television set. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place February 12 and 13; it will be broadcast in the U.S. on Fox Sports and NatGeoWild. Watching the program, you’ll learn more about the different dog breeds as they appear on stage. You can also learn about dog breeds from the organization’s website: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/breed-finder/. And though the AKC and Westminster Show promote breeding of dogs and encourage people to buy from breeders, they do stress no dogs on the show come from pet stores or puppy mills. Personally, I will always adopt, but I recognize the value of understanding breeds before adoption. Knowing what type of dog is best for you before you adopt is much better for you and for the dog you bring home: less frustration, less chance the dog will end up back at the shelter in less than a year. Westminster’s website also provides information on choosing the right dog for you and your lifestyle: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/find-the-right-dog-for-you/.
Spaniels and Shih Tzus
When my husband and I began searching for another dog to add to our household last fall, our first choice was another spaniel. We’ve been blessed to share life with springer and cocker spaniels, and we both enjoy the breeds. Although originally developed for hunting, springers and cockers have become popular simply as companions, particularly cockers. We’ve experienced their loyalty and friendliness; however, cockers tend to be snippier with young children. Since we don’t have children in our household, we didn’t worry about that. Turns out neither cocker spaniel we lived with had a problem with kids; in fact, one made several schools visits with me for author talks.
So, what dog would we adopt this time? We inquired about some spaniels early in our search, but (not surprisingly) they were adopted quickly. Knowing I wanted a small dog because I am aging, we began to expand our horizons. The Shih Tzu is known to be affectionate, playful, and outgoing, can live to be 15 years old, and usually weighs 12 to 15 pounds (females smaller). We discovered a four-year-old rescued from a puppy mill available through a regional pet rescue sanctuary. He was still available for adoption when we inquired, and our adoption application was approved. Jeremiah came to live with us in September 2017, and though he had some issues, medically and behaviorally from spending three years as a puppy mill stud, he has settled in wonderfully. Jeremiah and Mary, our springer-cocker mix whom we adopted in January 2013, have bonded nicely, and Jeremiah’s happiness living in a loving home is apparent when he dances as I come through the door and as he prances around the neighborhood during a walk. He’s learned the leash takes him places to explore, and that toys are fun to fetch. And, his cuddles on the couch bring out that affection to us, and our fingers scratching his belly relax him and shower him with the love he never really experienced.
Who Will Be Your Next Dog?
As you consider adding a dog to your household in the future, learning about the different dog breeds will benefit you … and the dog you eventually bring home.
Check out this other online resource to learn about various dog breeds: https://www.jenreviews.com/dog-breeds/
Our recently adopted puppy mill survivor, Jeremiah, considers our springer/cocker mix, Mary, his best friend.
Do you know you can change a pet’s life? Wednesday, January 24, is designated Change a Pet’s Life Day, and you can help do that.
Change a Pet’s Life Day started in 2009 to draw attention to the many homeless pets and to encourage adoption, bring awareness to animal welfare issues, and, for many, to establish a time to celebrate shelter/rescue workers and volunteers, who make a difference in the lives of homeless animals every day. All of us can do something to positively change the lives of animals. One of those ways, and an important one, is to adopt.
Every year, millions of animals are brought into animal shelters and rescues. Although adoption rates have increased during the past two decades, there are still about 50 percent that are not. Therefore, as a society, we still have a long way to go and improvements to make regarding pet adoption.
However, for some, adoption isn’t always possible. If that is you, what are other ways you can change a pet’s life? Here are a few ideas:
If you do decide to adopt another pet, it’s important to choose the animal that’s right for your lifestyle. Learn about the variety of dog and cat breeds, including their personalities and needs, from these sources:
American Kennel Club -- http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/?_ga=2.126130569.505065269.1516415304-2085044977.1514578697
Dogtime -- http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/profiles
Jen’s Reviews -- https://www.jenreviews.com/dog-breeds/
Cattime -- http://cattime.com/cat-breeds
Purina -- https://www.purina.com/cats/cat-breeds
Petfinder -- https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/
What will you do this week to change a pet’s life?
This is not the only special pet day this week, this month, or this year. There are many special pet holidays, including yesterday’s National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. For a run-down of the rest of 2018’s special days honoring animals, visit this site: https://www.dogtipper.com/fun/pet-holidays.
For many people, January brings thoughts of better health – new year, new you. We can also resolve to get (or keep) our pets healthier, even if we haven’t started yet. One of the easiest ways for people, and pets, to become (or stay) healthier is by walking.
January is Walk Your Pet Month. Here are five good reasons to walk your pet:
If your dog is one of those that doesn’t walk well on a leash, and therefore, you avoid walks with your canine friend, there are many avenues you can take to train him/her. One includes visiting PetCo or PetSmart and enrolling in a training program offered at the store or enrolling in a class offered by your local Kennel Club chapter. Another is to hire a trainer. Or, you can do it yourself by reviewing instructions on sites like YouTube. There are also many great articles online about training your dog, including ones by Cesar Milan and the American Kennel Club, which you’ll find below:
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be trained to walk on a leash – ferrets can as well and so can cats. Both my mother and I have had cats that were leash-trained, and when I visited and volunteered at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah, I took one cat for a walk on a leash and took another for a stroll in a baby buggy. Walking on a harness and leash allows kitties to explore the outdoors and breath fresh air safely. Learn how to train your cat to walk well on a leash by visiting this Best Friends’ site: https://bestfriends.org/resources/walking-cat.
Even though winter is upon us, walking with your pet outdoors can still be done. See the infographic below, created by NorthStar VETS of New Jersey, on how to walk safely outdoors with your pet during the cold and snowy months.
Keep your New Year’s resolution to get and stay healthy – and resolve to keep your pet healthy, too, – by sharing quality walks with your furry friend.
Living in the 21st century has many perks, from technological gadgets to how, as a society, we view animals. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of people living in the United States own a pet, with the majority (60.2 million) having dogs and 47.1 million having cats. The organization estimates that nearly $70 billion was spent on pets by pet owners in 2017, up from 66.75 billion in 2016. Americans certainly seem to love their pets!
Still, improvements are greatly needed, especially in the areas of animal adoption and pet ownership responsibility.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly 6.5 million animals enter shelters and rescues every year; they are comprised of owner surrenders, strays, and animals rescued from hoarding, dog fighting, and puppy/kitty mill operations. Only about half are adopted. More than 700,000 strays are reunited with their owners; sadly, less than five percent of the cats that come in as strays are reclaimed, and many of the animals brought in are not spayed or neutered.
Pet ownership responsibility includes caring for one’s animal, providing food, water, shelter, and medical treatment. In addition to vaccinations and teeth cleaning, medical care should include spaying and neutering. Such procedures curb the number of litters born, and therefore, helps cut down on the number of animals needing homes, either through the owner giving/selling the youngsters or taking them to rescues and shelters. Cats and dogs can breed two to three times a year, having an average of six babies per litter. Multiple that out over the course of five to seven years, and you have thousands more animals per unsprayed female. For every kitten or puppy sold or given away by owners, that’s one less adopted and therefore, one more possibly euthanized.
Until there are less strays, less owner relinquishment, more adoptions, and more spaying and neutering, no more animal hoarding or puppy/kitten mills, there will be the need for animal shelters and rescues.
We all can do our part to positively impact responsibility and rescue. Here are some suggestions:
Although America has come a long way since the 1970s when 12 to 20 million pets were killed in animal shelters across the country, there a great need still exists for pet ownership responsibility and, therefore, for animal rescues and shelters. Let’s all do something to help continue the downward trend of euthanasia rates and increase pet ownership responsibility. Maybe one we will realize the #NoKill dream many animal welfare organizations envision – that no healthy, adoptable animal is euthanized – but it takes responsible pet owners to get there.
A new year has dawned with blasts of arctic air ushering in 2018 in the United States. From coast to coast, sub-zero temperatures and wind chills have taken their icy grip. These freezing temperatures not only affect people, but they also impact animals, including our pets. As caregivers to our furry family members, we need to insure our beloved companions are safe, warm, and healthy during this cold season. Although they have fur, and some breeds have extra-thick coats, the bitter temperatures do impact pets. Preventing frostbite and hypothermia saves our animals from injury, even death.
Here are six tips for keeping your pet warm during these frosty months:
As we dive into this winter season, following these guidelines can keep your pet safe and healthy during the brutal battle of arctic air we’re experiencing. For more thoughts on winter safety for your pet, visit these websites:
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.