I read a lot about dogs. As you may have guessed, I love the little critters, all sizes, ages, colours, breeds. If there is any way I can help them or their guardians achieve a better life, have more protection under the law or just in general, I would like to do that. And, to top it off, I would like to make it fun…for me, for anyone else involved. I don’t ask much, do I?
Well, I work at fulfilling my wants here, but now this is your chance. What would you like to read? Has your pet recently asked you questions you couldn’t answer? Have you asked yourself questions you couldn’t find the answer to? I would love to devote some columns in answering your questions or sharing about topics in the pet parent category that interests you. Here are three randomly selected areas to give you an idea of what kind of questions I thought you might be interested in.
• What special care is required for older dogs?
Like people, dogs age. Depending on the breed, some dogs age faster than other (generally speaking, larger breeds age faster than smaller breeds). Tilly Tot is the senior dog at our house, and you can tell from watching her behaviour that she has different needs than the two younger dogs. We’re not sure how old she is, since we rescued her from the street, but Dr. Weir, our vet, estimated her to be about 9 or 10 on his first examination. That would make her 12 or 13 now.
As is true of nearly all Shih Tzus (and many other breeds), Tilly may look like a puppy until she crosses the Rainbow Bridge, but she acts less and less like a puppy the older she gets. The most noticeable thing about Tilly is the amount of sleep she needs, but other things about her let you know she ain’t as young as she used to be.
Do you have an aging pet? What questions do you have about the care and treatment of your dog?
• What kind of dog is best suited for your personality and needs?
If you have a passion for a certain type of dog, or if you had a dog before and got along with it well, you should probably contemplate getting a similar dog. However, take a look at what it was that you liked about this animal. Was it his sweet nature, her size, his willingness to be trained, and so on? Some of this may be due to the breed, or perhaps the age of the dog, or even who raised the dog from puppyhood.
You have to consider the fact that dogs, like people, have different personalities, as well. Our three have many traits in common, such as happiness level, friendliness, and gentleness. However, they also have quite different personality traits. For instance, Tilly is perpetually sweet-natured and calm; Ling Ling is energetic and bossy; Oreo is hungry…for food, attention, good times. It’s good to know as much as you can before picking your dog…oh, and do consider a rescue dog, which leads us to…
• What’s all the fuss about rescue dogs anyhow?
Now we’re getting close to one of my interests that I am passionate about. Tilly Tot is our rescue dog (see her story here), and I can’t tell you how much we treasure her. To think I almost passed her up…! But this is the thing…so many of the dogs who have been rescued from incredibly horrible situations are just so grateful for the rescue that they practically turn themselves inside out to show their gratitude.
Rescue operations often get dogs who are too traumatized at the beginning of their rescue to go to homes right away. Many facilities do the rehabilitation themselves; while others without facilities will send dogs out for re-homing training or have volunteer experts come in and do the retraining on site.
If you are fortunate enough to have a rescue facility near you, you might want to investigate their dogs (and cats) if you are looking for a pet or if you simply want to back them with fostering offers or cash/materials donations. Depending on the facility’s policies, you might be able to foster the pet for a time to see if it is a fit, or you may be able to volunteer at the rescue site and work with retraining the animals to see if you bond with one or more of them.
• Other Ideas for Topics
♦ Some benefits of having cats or dogs (or even birds) in a care home, hospice, and similar institutions
♦ Caring temporarily for someone else’s pet
♦ Cat cafe (this is so intriguing – I just found out about them – hope someone asks about this topic)
Feel free to select one of the above for your question, or to ask an entirely different one. You are most welcome to ask more than one question..
It would be ever so helpful (and a lot of fun) if you would add
what you would like to see in the columns of Puppy Dog Tales.
If you would like to share, please just
enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Enter Your Comment Here.”
(Next week watch for “The Tao of Itching and Scratching”)
Text and photos (except where otherwise indicated)
are copyright © 2013 by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved. (Volume 14-7.2, July 13, 2014)