Chiquita and Chiya!

Last weekend Aaron and I visited my parents and I got my puppy fix satisfied in the form of Chiquita and Chiya. Being the lovey dog she is, Chiquita believes that no guest should sleep alone or wander the house unescorted.

I love it when she shows me her beautiful feathered ears.
“Excuse me, but do you have any food to share? No? How disappointing…”
Chiquita did this habit with her previous owner too and we’re not sure why. I think it’s cute.
It’s a hard life being a spoiled Fur Person.
Those ears! That face!
Here you can see Chiquita’s tail in action. I just called her a pretty girl and she was thrilled about it.

Meeting Lakota

Two weeks ago, I met my dear friend Evelyn’s foster dog, Lakota, during our monthly Game Night. (Sorry – I meant to get this post up earlier but grad school got in the way!) I don’t have a ton of experience with German Shepherds but I think that Lakota is a rather handsome fellow. From what Evelyn told me, he was found in a sad, emaciated state but had been quickly gaining weight in her care. He has also been neutered.

“Good evening! I’m Lakota. Will you please pet me?”

During the course of Game Night, Lakota showed everyone that he was an exceptionally GOOD DOG and very much people-focused. He knows how to “sit” on command and apparently “shake”!

Everyone commented on Lakota’s good manners. Even when there was a lot of food around, he didn’t bed or attempt to counter-surf. He was more interested in receiving pets.

He didn’t bark at all but it was obvious he was happiest sitting beside someone. (Whenever he did, he was quite the gentleman.) Throughout the evening I was rather distracted because I wanted to pet this handsome boy all the time, especially since he kept giving me big sad “PLEASE PET ME” eyes!

How can anyone resist those eyes and that sweet face?

Don’t worry – I petted him plenty, gave him chest and belly rubs (he appears to be a bit ticklish), and can confirm that he is indeed smoochable.

Here, Lakota gave my friend Tom a smooch. In general, Lakota is not an overly licky dog.
BOOP!

Lakota is available for adoption through Austin Pets Alive! You can find more information about him here.

Dogs and Space

Graphic from the Friends of the Pflugerville Animal Shelter

Socializing your dog is an imperative part of being a responsible pet owner. Other dogs may not appreciate an unknown dog running up to them and invading their space, and similarly, people may not not like a dog doing this, even if that dog does this out of overly friendly enthusiasm. Remember, some people are legitimately afraid of dogs because of negative experiences. Service dogs and their handlers need to focus on going about their business and not being distracted by an unpredictable dog.

Photo by Pexels

Be respectful of other people, their dogs, and the spaces of both.

National Hug Your Hound Day

National Hug Your Hound Day was created by the author and canine behaviorist Ami Moore, the “Dog Whisperer of Chicago”. The holiday is observed annually on the second Sunday of September.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Hug Your Hound Day is about “truly observing your dog (from his point of view” in his environment and everyday life”. Like a number of other pet-themed holidays, it focuses on the happiness and health of your pet. Oh yeah, it might also be a perfect excuse to ensure your dog is sufficiently hugged!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

National Holistic Pet Day

When we humans think about our health, we think of mind, body, and spirit or heart. We strive to be healthy and find fulfillment in our lives. As responsible pet owners, we can extend that kind of thinking to our pets as well. When I say “holistic”, I’m talking about the whole, as in the mind, body, and spirit or heart of your pet.

Holistic health begins with good nutrition, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Is your pet at a healthy weight? Does your pet get enough exercise? Do you think your pet is bored? These are only three questions to consider. As a caring and responsible pet owner, having a healthy and happy pet probably means that you’re happy for your pet too. Everyone wins.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Here are some activities you can do today to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  1. Have an adventure. Take your dog to a new park. Arrange a playdate with a new doggy friend. Bringing your dog to new places, combined with reinforced training, help your dog to be well-socialized and more confident.
  2. Play, play, play. Exercise can be therapeutic for pets and beneficial mentally as well as physically. By regularly playing with your pet, you strengthen pet-owner bonds, let your pet hone skills (fetching, tracking, pouncing, hunting, etc.), and reduce stress.
  3. Enrichment. Mixing things up a bit and encouraging pets to use their minds as well as their paws and noses can help pets, especially indoor ones, stave off boredom. Consider these ideas: food-dispensing puzzle toys; sensory enrichment (i.e. window perch for birdwatching, pet-directed videos); climbing posts, trees, and shelves for cats; novel objects like boxes, paper bags, pop-up tunnels, and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. Seriously!

Photo courtesy of Pexels