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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Policy Brings Awareness to Overpopulation
NYC apartment building requires pets to be neutered

Many people are surprised to find that New York City, despite the miles of asphalt, is actually pretty dog friendly. Walk down any street and you’re bound to see someone out with their pup. Trendy pet stores seem to be a prerequisite for every neighborhood and there are almost 30 fenced dog runs on the 23 square mile island of Manhattan. Someitmes it seems as if everyone in New York is an animal lover.

Now one New York apartment building is taking their love of pets to the next level. The Ludlow on the Lower East Side has implemented a policy requiring that dogs and cats be spayed or neutered before moving in. This directive came straight from Chief Executive Archie Gottesman. Archie is a pet lover and chairwoman of Animal Haven, a shelter near the building.

Archie acknowledges that the Ludlow’s policy probably won’t make a huge impact, but she hopes that the requirement will bring attention to the pet overpopulation problem. 

Although the policy seems a little misguided (don’t get me wrong, I’m a big spay/neuter supporter, but I don't think a mandatory policy gets to the root of the overpopulation problem), but I love how this policy seems to have attracted a community of responsible pet lovers.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Toys Are Meant To Be Used
Damage means that they have been

Dogs like to chew on many of their toys. It is common for people to say, “He ruins all his toys!” I like to think of it a little bit differently: When toys are damaged, it’s just a sign that the dog has used them. Toys don’t stay in pristine condition if they have truly been enjoyed, but that just means the toys have been used, not that they have been ruined.

  Of course, if the dog is at risk of being hurt on a rough edge of a broken toy, or by ingesting part it, that’s a different story, and I’ll always intervene to prevent that. I’m not advocating being reckless about dogs and their toys, and I well understand how expensive it can be to supply toys to a dog who is hard on them. I’m simply pointing out that when dogs chew on toys or toss them around, they are using them for entertainment purposes, which is what toys are for. I’m interested in protecting dogs from toys, but I see no need to protect toys from dogs.   I used to have dogs come to my office all the time and start chewing on the toys I had there for the dogs. Invariably, guardians would say, “Oh no! He’s going to chew that up.” I always asked if the dog was likely to swallow the pieces, and if the answer was no, then I assured my clients that it was fine with me for the toy to be shredded, ripped, chewed, torn etc. I would tell them, “We go through dog toys like most office go through paper clips.”   How many toys can your go through in a month or so, and how much money are you spending on your dog’s “hobby”?

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Seasons Greetings from the Dogs
Sending cards from the pets is increasing in popularity

This past weekend, I finally got my Christmas cards out and, as always, they were complete with my dogs’ signatures and the annual holiday photo of the pups. Seasons greetings aren’t the only cards “sent” by my dogs. I routinely mail birthday cards and get well soon cards to friends’ pets from my furry crew. 

 

Years ago, when I first started writing cards from my pets, I rarely received any in return. But recently, the trend seems to be catching on. 

Dog Speak Cards, a company that specializes in pet cards, has seen their sales double in each of the five years they’ve been in business. Many stores started carrying their cards after finding that customers were adapting human cards for their pets. 

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more mainstream greeting card companies jumping on the bandwagon and make cards both for and from pets.

Cards range from American Greetings’ birthday card that says, "You're the one who fills my empty bowl, who always has time to throw my ball and who scratches behind my ears" to Hallmark’s holiday card that says, “Merry Yip-mas.”

Dog Speak even has cards written in the “voice” of a dog (think "happee birfdaaa") and get well cards for dogs to send one another.

Sending holiday cards from pets has gotten so popular that etiquette specialists have begun fielding inquiries from pet lovers seeking advice on how to include their animals in their seasonal greetings.

Do you send cards from your dogs?

News: Guest Posts
Beware of Backyard Bombs
Procrastinating instead of winter poop pickup

It has been cold in the Chicago area. Really cold. I let my four dogs outside to do their business and within minutes, the two Dalmatians are hobbling back to the door because their pink pads are frozen. The two mixes adore the snow and can wrestle in it for hours. Ginger Peach even likes to scoop up the snow with her long snout and toss it over her shoulder like a tiny brindle elephant. Me, I fantasize about the mild winters down south as I layer on the clothing and coats Christmas Story-style before heading out to do my weekly duty: winter poop pick up. Chiseling out frozen brown treasures and narrowly sidestepping yellow snow patches are not exactly my idea of fun. It wouldn't be so bad if I picked up on a daily basis but when the temps plummet, it's all I can do to hussle from hot house to lukewarm car much less wander in circles around a half-acre yard with a poop bag for a mitten. Any suggestions on how to make this winter chore more bearable?   

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
He’s A Penn State Dog
Does your dog wear your school colors?

I recently got to dog sit for a friend who is a big Penn State fan. Actually, I didn’t know that until she brought her dog over and I saw his shiny new navy blue color, which says “PENN STATE PENN STATE PENN STATE” all the way around in white writing.

  When I lived in Wisconsin, I saw lots of dogs with red and white collars or with ones adorned with badgers to show their allegiance to the University of Wisconsin. I’ve often wondered if schools with canine mascots, such as the Georgia State Bulldogs have even more dog fans, especially of the proper breed.   Our dogs reflect who we are in so many ways, including what we name them, and how we decorate them. Many people who do not actually dress their dogs up in clothes or costumes do like to personalize their dog’s attire with a collar that means something to them. Are you a proud alumnus whose dog wears your school colors? Does your dog’s collar reflect another of your interests?
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Holiday Gifting for Pets
56 percent of dog lovers buy their pups a present

According to a recent Associated Press-Petside.com poll, 56 percent of dog lovers will be buying their pets a Christmas gift this year. The percentage stayed consistent even among people who have lost their job in the past six months.

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is buying gifts for my friends and family—and that of course includes my pets.  This year’s goodies include a Ram Tuff Woolly Tail tug toy, a sparkly pink paw identification tag, and the Nina Ottosson Dog Spinny Game.

I love watching the dogs tear open their gifts, although sometimes I’m sure they think ripping the wrapping paper is much more fun than the present inside.

To add to the holiday fun, in recent years, my friends and I have done a canine gift exchange. After Thanksgiving, we put all of our pets’ names in a bowl and draw a Secret Santa for each dog. It’s lots of fun and my crew always ends up with goodies I wouldn’t have thought to buy.

Do you have any holiday gifting traditions with your pups?

 

 

 

News: Guest Posts
First-Dog Advice for Youngsters
Kid-friendly website for families who want a dog

It’s the time of year when children are encouraged to say what they want for Christmas and Hanukah, and sometimes a puppy is on the list. Families with young children considering adopting a dog, either as a gift or down the road, should check out a new website created by the University of Illinois Extension called “Best of Friends: Kids and Dogs.” Designed for 4th through 6th grade classrooms, anyone can use the site to walk through the questions that need to be asked and answered before such a big commitment.

  From realistic cost estimates to evaluating the best dog for your home, Best of Friends helps guide the whole family through the decision-making process—celebrating the wonderful addition a dog can be but staying grounded in the important challenges and responsibilities of this relationship.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Canardly Marley
What breeds are in this dog?

I love mutts, mixed breeds, crosses and every other sort of unidentifiable dog. Part of me doesn’t care what breeds they have in them. I’m charmed when I ask someone what kind of dog that is and they lovingly say, “He’s just a dog.” Another part of me is fascinated by what the mix of genetics means for a dog’s appearance and behavior. I often describe my dog Bugsy as “half Black Lab, half handsome stranger.” Most of the time that is enough knowledge for me, but sometimes I feel as though it’s my life’s quest to learn more about his ancestry.

  Yes, I know you can have your dog’s DNA analyzed to learn what breeds they have in them, but these results are so unreliable that as a scientist, I just can’t put much stock in them. For me, it’s much more fun, and just as informative, to ask a ton of people familiar with dogs what breeds they think are in a dog.   My friend’s dog Marley is an unknown mix. He’s the sort of dog who was long ago described as a Heinz 57. Nowadays, dogs like Marley are more likely to be referred to as a “Canardly” as in, “You canardly tell what he is.” So, I put it to you. Based on the pictures of his face, his side view, and his back end (I find rears informative—don’t ask me why!) what breeds do you think are in his ancestry? He is approximately 23 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 55 pounds.   I have my own ideas about what’s in him, but I don’t want to bias anyone. To keep me honest, I will tell my fellow bloggers what my guesses are, and in a few weeks, I’ll post them. I look forward to hearing what you think.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Paw Prints Say Welcome
Vacation rental has perfect decorations

Recently, my family spent a week in Puerto Rico, where we spent part of our time on the island of Vieques. Our lodging was a vacation rental called Casa de Kathy, and there was much to love about this cute two-bedroom house near the beach. But what I’ll remember most about it is the decorations in the bathroom.

  Kathy and her late dog Canelo (Spanish for cinnamon) had left their footprints on the wall of the loo along with the traditional symbol of welcome—the pineapple. It was so charming, and the first detail of the place that stuck in my mind. And it will remain in my memory along with thoughts of snorkeling in the paradise of the Caribbean.   What decorations do you have in your home of the canine variety?

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
No Dogs: What Would You Miss?
I'd miss the little things

If I had to live without contact with dogs (shudder!), there are so many things that I would miss. Besides the obvious and main benefits of love and companionship, it’s the little things I think I would miss about dogs.

  I would be sad never to have their tongues on me, especially in the morning when they poke under the covers and give a quick lick to my toes or nose. It would be sad not ever to look in the rearview mirror of the car and see nothing but a dog’s face. I would even miss having dogs step on my foot and continue to stand there, seemingly unaware of my discomfort.   I love seeing dogs twitch when they dream, and stretch while on their backs with their front paws bent up like they are begging. I enjoy the crazy backwards sneezing of dogs, and the way they jump straight up with all four feet off the ground when they get excited. I would really miss the endless excitement of each and every walk, and the way so many dogs act like this walk, this very one, is the highlight of their entire existence.   There are so many more little things that I would miss in the absence of my canine friends. What would you miss about dogs if you could no longer be in their company?

 

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