Archive for April, 2009

Be Kind to Animals Week contest at Speaking for Spot

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Dr. Nancy Kay, veterinarian and author of the new book Speaking for Spot: be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life, is collecting tips from readers on pet care at her web site

Tips  will be entered into a contest and winners will be published on the site during Be Kind to Animals Week.

Support the Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenge

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

From now through July 26, you can vote daily for your favorite animal shelter or rescue group, making them eligible for prizes of $1,000 to $20,000. Go to

and click on Shelter Challenge. You can also send an e-card to friends. Spread the word – in these tough times shelters need help more than ever!

Honoring the memory of pets at Easter

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

It’s been fifteen years since that Easter Sunday when I burst into tears at the sight of lilies surrounding the altar.  I was standing at the back of the church, looking over the crowded pews for a place to sit, and there were those dozens of lilies, each one representing the loss of a loved one. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. Clutching my bulletin, I rushed past the startled ushers and left the church, my head down, fumbling in my purse for my sun glasses to hide the tears. After that, it was a long time before I could get through a church service without crying. Even now, sometimes the music will bring tears. I’ve learned to have a tissue in my purse. I’ve learned also that it’s okay to honor the memory of a pet in church. (more…)

Waiting for the Easter Bunny

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

We have a small back yard, bordered by a row of hemlocks and a small stream. Aside from being a bird sanctuary, it has become a bunny sanctuary. More than once Alex has nearly jerked the leash out of my hand, if he spots a rabbit before I do. Sensing a predator, the rabbit freezes. Finally, it hops off to the next yard. Alex has discovered he can see the rabbits from the bedroom window. He checks frequently.

Alex looks for the Easter bunny

Alex looks for the Easter bunny

Maybe tomorrow, I tell him.

A Big Week for Puppy Alex

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Alex passed Basic Obedience last night! To the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” he performed all the commands on cue. He is a bit challenged to focus on something other than playing when other dogs are around, but with plenty of treat bribes, we made it through. LOTS of work still to be done – in fact, the instructor emphasized that training is a life long process. But the class gave me the confidence that I can do it.

Alex rests with his bunny toy

Alex rests with his bunny toy

A puppy grows up

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

My puppy Alex is ten months old today. “They grow up fast,” his breeder warned me. He was ten weeks old when I picked him up last August. I hardly slept the night before, wondering what I was getting into. After years of shelter dogs and rescues and adapting to the rhythms of old dogs, a puppy was a new experience. Would he destroy the house? chew all my shoes? keep me up all night? Would he and Emily, my elderly English springer, get along? Would she feel shoved aside? Would she live to see him? (more…)

Just a dog

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

As anyone who has lost a beloved dog knows, there will be comments such as “It was just a dog.” A variation that I have personally experienced is, “You spent a lot of money on that dog.” That was my boss’s reaction to the news that my dog Marmaduke had lost her battle with an aggressive cancer. “Yes, and I don’t regret a penny of it,” I replied. I came across this recently and found it helpful.
From time to time people tell me, “Lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or, “That’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, time spent, or costs involved for “Just a dog.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “Just a dog.” Many hours have passed with my only company being “Just a dog.” and not once have I felt slighted. Some of my saddest moments were brought about by “Just a dog.” In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “Just a dog” provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “Just a dog,” you will probably understand phrases like “Just a friend,” “Just a sunrise,” or “Just a promise.” “Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person. Because of “Just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly into the future.
For me and folks like me, its not “Just a dog.” It’s an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. “Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday people can understand it’s not “Just a dog.” It’s the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “Just a man or woman.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “Just a dog,” smile, because they “Just Don’t Understand.”
Author Unknown