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Research + Planning = Doggy Success!

Anyone reading this article is probably a dog lover. I am a dog lover! I have always had bigger dogs. However, running a dog-friendly inn has proven that I am truly a dog lover! No matter the size, no matter the breed or mix, no matter the color, I love dogs! Some of the most endearing qualities of dogs are that they are so very giving, loving, caring, and empathic. Dogs want so much to please and love us, and they ask for so little in return. And yet, whether you are getting a pure breed or mix, a puppy or an older dog, have children, other pets, getting a dog requires commitment, work, and planning to do it right for both you and the dog. You want your dog to be part of the family. You want to love them, and you want the dog to be happy and content. So, do your homework and planning!

First of all, DO NOT GO TO A PET STORE, where you may be getting a puppy-mill dog and may be getting a dog with health issues that even the store owner is unaware of. Secondly, research the breed/mix rather than listen to rumor and innuendo. Know what the breed was bred to do – dig to hunt down rodents, kill snakes, herd, guard, pull or carry, etc. Unless you want your children, other pets, and friends to be herded – don’t get a herding breed. If you don’t want holes in your back yard, don’t get a digger breed/mix. If you are a couch potato, don’t get a dog that needs lots of activity. If you are an active, outdoor person, don’t get a dog that is a sofa ornament. And, remember, if you are rescuing a dog, whether a pure breed or mix, you are also saving a life. Whenever you adopt/rescue, be aware of any issues and problems you may have to work with.

If you want a loving, well behaved dog – plan, work, and reward! To avoid any number of problems, learn how to train your new dog in a positive, rewarding way. My father always used to say, “You can catch more bees with honey then vinegar!” Your dog will learn more, faster, if you train with understanding and a positive, loving approach. Reward the behaviors you want so as to encourage those behaviors. Remember, when you bring your new dog home, it’s all new for you and for the dog. Start right away, so your dog wants to be there with you and so you will want your dog to be there with you. Often people will say, “Dogs are a reflection of their owners.” Trained and treated with love, your dog will be a lover.

When you decide to get a dog – or any pet – you take on a responsibility to care for that pet properly. Don’t say, “Well, it’s just a dog,” because that dog will not only love you no matter what, but that dog is trusting you with its life.

The following was written by an unknown Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Just A Dog!!

From the Therapy Dog Inc. News Magazine (C.F.P. 11/10/07):

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, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog,” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then 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 make me a better person. Because of “just a dog,” I will rise early, take long walks, and look longingly to the future.

So, for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog,” but 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 they can understand that it’s not “just a dog,” but the living being 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,” just smile, because they “just don’t understand!”

This month’s GOOD READ will be a surprise; at least it was for me. A surprise, because I thought I knew about the information presented in the book and I learned I did not know as much as I thought.

And a surprise because of what I learned and how deeply it affected me. This month’s Good Read is truly a Must Read: The Lost Dogs – Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant.