Dog Sitting (and Staying)

best dog beds

Really?

Quite unintentionally, my husband and I have become the dog sitters of choice amongst our friends. I just fine with this because it’s a barter system whereupon we get cat and chicken sitting for when we travel. Yes, I said chicken, but that’s a story for another day (or maybe another blog).

Because of a constantly rotating cast of characters I’ve noticed some interesting habits and behavioral traits in different dogs. On a side note, I’ve also noticed that I have what are probably the Worlds’ Most Tolerant cats.  I thought I should capitalize that phrase, it’s the very least I can do seeing as they can very often be found eating their little kitty dinners on top of the table, or even the refrigerator. And even the sanctity of the table dining area was recently violated (see the photo above).

As dog owners, you may be blissfully unaware of the seamlessness that is your daily pack life and make no mistake, if you’re the kind of dog owner I know you are, you do live in a pack. Every day thousands of activities go on in your household with the precision of an expert ballet company or orchestra, you just might not be all that aware of it; breakfast for pets, breakfast for humans, outdoor time, quiet time, kids to school, dogs in car, dogs out of car and so on, ad infinitum. You and your pack waltz through life pretty smoothly, until a new cog in the wheel appears; enter the visiting pooch. Some owners supply their own dog crates and dog crate accessories, fancy pet beds, and even toys. Some just show up with a dog; no leash, no food.  Feeding time can get interesting, especially for the dogs used to being only dogs. In our pack. we have a pretty controlled atmosphere at feeding time; everyone has to sit and wait to be told to eat, and for some dogs that’s a complete mystery, especially for the poor Labs who are more likely to be rather excited about food. On the other end of the spectrum and referring back to the World’s Most Tolerant cats, the visiting herding dogs will usually attach themselves to a cat as a sort of an entourage. HBO should really consider this as a pilot, it’s pretty amusing to watch and oddly enough, on the very rare occasion that a Border Collie’s O.C.D. slips up, the cat will actually turn around to look for “their” dog as if to say “hello, we’re walking now, keep up”.

No matter who visits, low or high maintenance, it’s always interesting around here and when we wave goodbye, it’s always with a calm sense of our pack returning to normal once again. Sigh….

Animal Welfare; What You Can Do

 

Charity, donations and good causes; we all have ones that are closest to our hearts. I have always been an animal charity person, but I know a lot of people who split their charity money evenly among causes.  I’m always interested to speak to people about the charities and organizations that they support. Whichever ones your money or time donations go to, it’s always smart to research them to ensure your investment works the hardest. This is especially true in light of the numerous fraudulent organizations around these days, with scams that are, sorry to say, a lot easier to perpetrate via the Internet.  A great resource for anyone to use is Charity Watch. They have stringent analysis system for rating all different kinds of charitable organizations. In order to get a top rating from them a group needs to meet certain criteria; spend 75% or more of their budget on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, receive an “open book status” for basic financial disclosure to name just a few. Since I write a dog blog and you’re reading it, I thought you might be just the person to be interested in animal welfare/rescue charities, just guessing.

I’ve listed only the top ten, according to CharityWatch at the bottom of the page. All of this is great information to help you me make sound decisions, however, it doesn’t in anyway mean that other charitable organizations aren’t worthy, There are 90 more in the top 100 that do amazing work on local and national levels, not to mention thousands of local animal shelters and rescue societies across the country, just check them out first. And remember, in many cases, your time and effort can be even more valuable than money.

You can never underestimate the infinite value of your kind acts; Adopting a pet instead of buying one, helping catch a stray dog or cat, assisting a neighbor in spaying their fruitful pet, spending time raising money for your local shelter, attending city council meetings and joining political committees where important decisions are made, ones that could impact animals an many levels. Even if just donating your gently used pet beds

Best dog beds

Rescue dogs are part of the family

or surplus pet food to shelters, every act of charity pays back to our world exponentially.

Animal Welfare Institute  A+

Best Friends Animal Society  A-

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue  A-

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International  A

Farm Sanctuary   B+

Friends of Animals  A

Humane Farming Association  B+

Marine Mammal Center  A-

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)  A

PetSmart Charities   A

United Animal Nations/Red Rover  B+

Wildlife Conservation Society  A

 

 

Are your dogs “spoiled’? How would you describe a spoiled dog anyway? I know that my dogs most definitely enjoy more privileges than a lot of other dogs, they’re allowed on the furniture (and before you ask, I’m a clean freak), they come along on family vacations and frankly, we’ve made more than a few detours on those vacations just because there was something I thought the dogs would enjoy seeing or doing.

Excessive? I’m sure many of you would say so, but for us, it’s just a part of the norm. However, and this is a big however, my dogs are trained, polite and almost unfailingly obedient. They eat the best quality food that I can afford, they have regular veterinary care, I groom them regularly and, as I’ve written about before, brush their teeth every night. While this also may seem excessive to some, it is in fact merely what I consider my responsibility to them; to keep them healthy. If your dog only sleeps on the floor or maybe has a cozy dog bed in your kitchen, as well as everything he or she needs to be a happy, healthy member of your family, are you neglecting them? No more than I am spoiling mine. Some might like to buy the finest in designer dog accessories; some might only have an old rope for a leash. As long as you make them a part of our pack, as long as they have what they need physically and emotionally, it doesn’t matter if they have a fancy dog bowl or not. Just as long as it’s regularly filled, you are your dog’s person and they are your very best friend; spoiled or not.

Best dog beds

Tres and the pony Imp, waiting for treats.