A Different Sort of Dog Owner

This week, Sasha went to the groomer for the usual shampoo, trim, and tidy work in addition to a long-overdue blowout. Considering how much hair was left on the groomer’s table and floor, I’m grateful Sasha doesn’t have the super-thick coat commonly seen on Shelties.

The additional time required for a proper blowout meant that Sasha was out of the house much longer than usual, and her absence–and the resulting silence–affected all of us.  (If you’ve ever spent time with a Sheltie, you’ll know that silence is rare.) Perhaps most affected, though, was Buddy The Wonder Cat, who frets whenever his dog is away from home. He prowled and yowled his way through the house, refusing to settle until Sasha was once again safe at home.

Whether he’s supervising the Muffin Tin Game, overseeing meal time, or just hanging out in the backyard, I can always count on Buddy The Wonder Cat taking care of his dog.

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As Seasons Change

Source: Sandra/Fotolia

Today we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox (known as the Fall Festival to some and Mabon to others). I’ve been wondering if/how the season’s change might affect the four-legged family members, and found some answers while wandering through the Internet.

Writing for Romper.com in 2018, Beagle owner Abi Berwager Schreier had apparently wondered much the same. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

So am I a crazy dog lady? Perhaps. But I asked Russell Hartstein, a Los Angeles-based certified dog and cat behaviorist and trainer if the fall equinox affects your dog, secretly hoping I’m really not the crazy dog lady who imagines things about her pups. And it turns out, I’m not super wacky. “Dogs are affected by light cycles more than the position of the sun in the sky. Being crepuscular animals (most active during dusk and dawn), the times of a dog’s increased activities somewhat fluctuate with the amount of daylight,” he explains in an email interview with Romper. So that makes sense why they seem so much more active even at 5 a.m. once the equinox has occurred.

Now, what to do with all that energy? Author Leah Ingram suggests five ways to enjoy the season with your dogs. While you’re online, check out this slideshow of happy dogs compiled by dogtime.com. And finally, keep these Fall grooming tips (courtesy of AKC) in mind.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Dogs Dogs Dogs!

Earlier this week, folks celebrated National Dog Day. In our household, we celebrate dogs–and cats–every day of the year, which might explain how I managed to overlook this one-day salute to canines. In case you thought this was just a day to post photos of your pooch on social media, you might be surprised to know there’s a deeper meaning behind National Dog Day. Here’s what holidayscalendar.com has to say:

Celebrated annually every August 26th, National Dog Day is a day for people to recognize the importance of dogs and how they impact their lives on a daily basis. It is also a day to recognize how hard service dogs work on our behalf and also to draw attention to the plight of abused and abandoned dogs.

This day was founded by author and animal behaviorist, Colleen Paige in 2004. She invented this observational holiday to not only show appreciation for dogs, but to bring attention to the plight of abused dogs, to end puppy mills and to bring an end to breed-specific legislation that regulates, or outright bans, certain breeds in the hope of minimizing dog attacks.

There are a number of different ways to celebrate this day. Some people choose to use this day to spend more time with their dog and to buy him/her new toys or sweaters. Other people take time during this day to volunteer their time and money to various dog welfare organizations.

This day is the perfect time to not only reconnect with your furry family member, but also to consider how you can help society realize the importance of dogs and how their treatment should become more humane.

I can’t bring myself to post images of abused dogs, puppy mills, or abandoned dogs. Instead, I’ll do my part to promote awareness of service dogs. Did you know, for example, that service dogs can be trained to assist individuals with invisible disabilities? Here’s a recorded presentation that can help us all better understand the important kinds of support service dogs can provide:

 I hope you found this as informative and beneficial as I did!

It’s Hot!

Photo courtesy of The Canine Chronicle

Check the Old Farmers Almanac and you’ll see we’re in the middle of what’s known as the Dog Days of Summer. The term was coined long before the Almanac was first published in 1792. Some credit Greek mythology while others track the term back to the ancient Romans. Whatever its source, you might find it a struggle to stay cool in the sweltering heat. And just imagine how your dog feels! Here are a few simple strategies that can help you and your dog enjoy your summer adventures:

Walk early in the day. Our summertime strategy is to walk Sasha in the morning before the temps rise. Even then, she tends to move from one spot of shade to another, and she’s not shy about stopping when she’s had enough.

An important reminder: pavement will always be much hotter than the air temperature. Press your palm against the pavements for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Here’s a helpful infographic from the Grand Strand Humane Society:

Carry water with you. You don’t need anything fancy–just something you can easily carry. I keep two squeeze bottles on hand for Sasha that clip on my belt.  When she wants a drink, she will plop down on the grass and wait for me to flip the bottle and squeeze water into the drinking tray.

Grab the hose. Drag a small wading pool to a shady spot and add a toy or two to entertain the pups while they cool off. Your pups might also enjoy lawn sprinklers. In our house, Buddy The Wonder Cat (who loves any kind of moving water) introduced Sasha to the fine art of chasing the in-ground sprinklers, which helps them cool off while giving them plenty of exercise. We keep a supply of old towels on the patio and enjoy their silly antics. We usually all end up needing a bath, but it’s worth it to keep them cool and happy!

 

Want more ideas? Check out these great resources:

Help your dog beat the heat ( AKC’s tips for keeping your dog cool in summer)

Exercise when it’s too hot outside (Ideas to exercise your dog in hot weather)

**Happy Summer!**

Happy Birthday!

In AKC time, Sasha is five years old today! We chose July 4th for her “official” birthday in declaration of her independence from the old and in celebration of her new life. She’s now formally recognized by the AKC as Ozark Summer Highlands Sasha.

For those new to the story, here’s a quick recap of how her AKC name came to be:

We chose Ozark for our locale and Highlands for her heritage; we’re actually in the Ozark Highlands, so it’s a double play on that last word. We included Summer because she has a warm, sunny spirit. And I wanted her call name included because she came to us with that, so including Sasha gave us a bridge between her past and present.

As I write this, Sasha is sprawled beneath my desk, taking refuge from the incessant bang of fireworks. In previous years, we resorted to noisy fans and cheerful music to block out the fireworks. This year, other than sticking close to me (which, let’s face it, is basically a habit of hers), Sasha seems unconcerned. Progress!