the World According to Cooper- Going New Places

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I love, love, love to go new places.  I get so excited that my mom has to have many conversations with me about being calm and behaving as well as I do at the office every day.  I must admit, I really don’t hear a word she says when we get somewhere new.

awdg

Humans don’t ever seem to get excited about new places. You all just go and never think anything about all the new sites and smells.  This is another reason I would rather be a dog than a human.  I envy those thumbs of yours, but I’ll take my enthusiasm for life over thumbs anytime.

 

I recently got the opportunity to go to downtown Knoxville. Oh my goodness!!  I couldn’t believe all of the new sites and smells.  It was like nothing that I have ever experienced before.  Downtown Knoxville is super dog friendly, we are pretty much welcome everywhere down there.

I have to admit, I kind of lost my mind a little bit.  I went out to dinner with my mom and my Aunt Leslie.  I think those might have been the only two humans on the planet that were patient enough to deal with my “enthusiasm”. I know I was wearing my mom’s patience out. I just kept running from side to side and I HAD to smell everything.

asdgI’m sure if she had thought about it just a little more, we would have gone for a very long walk before going downtown.  I really hope I get to go again, really, really soon.  It is awesome.  I can’t promise that I will be any calmer next time without a long walk before we go.  Unlike you humans, I still get super excited for every new opportunity that comes my way.

Hint, hint.  Humans, it is ok to get excited for new stuff.  Take another learning opportunity from your furry children and live in the moment.  Be excited about new things and stop and smell the smells and enjoy the sites!

Talk to you soon.

Cooper

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4 Tips to Trick-or-treat with Your Pets

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That time of year is here. It’s the time for spooky celebrations, pumpkin carving, cider and,yes, trick-or-treating.  Love it or hate it you will either have your neighborhood haunted by children, or you will be making the night-time trek right along with them very soon. Because Halloween traditions are so fun and family-friendly, we think the WHOLE family should be able to attend, and that means family members on two and four legs. To bring your pet on the door-to-door candy mission, it is going to take some planning, some patience and definitely some coordinating costumes.

Here are 4 tips for Trick-or-treating with your pup (or kitten):

1. Bring the necessities

Image via: jerseygirltalks.com

Image via: jerseygirltalks.com

If you are going to take your pet out for the whole night, you are going to have to bring the usual: water, snacks and toys just as you would for a child. Walking all around the neighborhood is a long way for them, and they need to keep their strength up to have a good time. Always be prepared. You never know what mischief they could get into on a Halloween night!

2. Have an escape plan

Image via: www.dog-toys-wold.com

Image via: www.dog-toys-wold.com

Humans have to remember pups and kittens have a short attention span. We may be ableto go to every house on the block, but halfway through the night your pet could be ready to go home. Have a plan for when your pup may go. It may a checkpoint where you take them home or keeping a kitten-friendly carrying case for when your black cat becomes a grumpy cat.

3. Beg for the right treats

Image via: doggies.com
Image via: doggies.com

 

Please eat your treats responsibly. As most of us know, our animals cannot have chocolate or sugar, and those two things are everywhere on Halloween night. When diving into their candy, ask kids to throw their leftovers away in a safe place out of reach to your furry friends. Also, remind them to never share their candy (not that they would want to anyway). To make it fun for your pet, you can always bring their treats along to make sure they trick-or-treat responsibly.

 

 

4. Make sure your sidekick has awesome duds

Image via: http://www.dog-clothes-world.com/

Image via: http://www.dog-clothes-world.com/

Your pet needs to dress the part on Halloween night. Cats and Dogs are man’s best friends and are perfect for a Halloween sidekick costume. Need ideas? We’ve got plenty:

  • Toto
  • Robin
  • Piglet
  • Stitch
  • Tinker Bell
  • Olaf
  • Goofy
  • Genie
  • Pluto
  • Pumba
  • Bolt
  • Abu
  • Barney Rubble
  • Donkey
  • Chewbacca

Remember to keep your pet happy and comfortable while your whole family trick-or-treats. With your necessities packed, escape plan ready, treats in hand and coordinating costumes, you are sure to have a great Howl-o-ween.

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Jack and Lil: The Nose Knows

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By Heather Owens, Category Manager

We all know that dogs have great noses. They seem to have that magical ability to tell when someone is in the kitchen making something yummy even from across the house! What you may not know is that dogs’ sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as a human’s. From hunting companions to narcotics dogs, humans have found amazing ways to harness the smelling power of man’s best friend.

photo 1 (1)Interested in trying out a new activity with Jack, I just completed scent discrimination classes at my local kennel club. What fun we had! My boyfriend and I often chuckle at Jack’s sniffing, as he’ll put his muzzle to the sky and in a bobbing motion inhale quick short sniffs. One thing I did not know before taking the class, is that different dogs have different smelling styles. Some dogs are ground smellers. A ground smelling dog will be great at following the exact path of an animal or a person, being able to say “They went by this bush, then to that tree.” An air smelling dog is going to be more direct to the scent, being able to say “The person is over there by the tree.” Dogs will typically incline towards one or the other method of scent which then can be cultivated for different activities.

The easiest game to start with in scent discrimination is finding a treat. I will put Jack in a room, then go around the house hiding treat filled Easter eggs. I then instruct him to “Find It” as he hunts around the house looking for goodies. In class, we worked our way from finding treats to finding different scents like “Me” which is a cloth smelling like the owner. In nose work competitions, boxes are filled with scents of birch, anise or clove. The dog is then “given” the scent (allowed to smell an item with the same scent they need to find) and then instructed to search the boxes to find that scent. I thought this would be challenging for Jack, but it is amazing how acute a dog’s sense of smell is. I can tell he didn’t like the smell of the oils, yet he was still willing to search for it.

photo 4 (2)

Additionally games can be played outdoors, such as following the track of a scent around a yard or field. One way to play this at home is to drag a cloth with the given scent around the yard and then hide the cloth at the end point. Encourage the dog to follow the path of the scent, rewarding when they find the cloth. If you want to make it realistic, use the scent of a wild animal, which can be purchased online. Jack loved tracking the scent of pheasant and rabbit.

 

 

Some dogs have very obvious signals when they find the scent they are looking for, such as jumping on the box or barking. Jack’s cue is very subtle: he typically lingers at the site of the smell and will put his ears back slightly. He makes me work hard to read his signals! Not all dogs like tracking or nose work.  Making it a fun and rewarding game is the best way to engage your dog in scent discrimination. I found it to be a new interesting activity, and after more practice, hope to enter Jack in a nose work trial.

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October is National Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month

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By: Katie Allison

It’s October, a month when we enjoy changing leaves, cooler temperatures and the fun of dressing up for Halloween. But October is also the month when we celebrate all the joy that adopting a shelter dog can bring to our lives.

To mark Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month, many animal welfare groups, shelters and rescue organizations across the country are sponsoring special educational programs and “adoptathons,” making this month a great time to bring a shelter dog home to join your family. If you’re thinking of adopting a new canine family member this month – or any month of the year – here are some things to consider as you get ready for this big decision.

Capture

Select The Right Shelter

Selecting the right shelter is the first step in selecting the right shelter dog.  While some communities have only one animal shelter, others may have two or even three shelters from which you can adopt.  According to Jim Tedford, the Petsafe Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives, it’s important to look beyond the surface.

“There are certainly shelter facilities that are more well-funded and highly resourced than others.” Jim explains “But, the important thing is for the staff and volunteers to make the most of whatever they have.  You don’t have to have tons of money to keep a facility clean and the animals well cared for.”

Before you select your new dog, take some time to visit each of the shelters in your area. Talk with shelter staff about their adoption policies, and assess each shelter facility for cleanliness. By carefully choosing your dog’s temporary home, you’re more likely to bring home a healthy, happy new family member.

Let Shelter Staff Help Guide You

One of the joys of adopting from a shelter is the wide variety of dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds that are available to choose from.  Jim Tedford suggests letting shelter staff, with their training an experience, help find the best match for you.

“Most people have pretty strong ideas as to what type of pet they want to adopt. Sometimes their decisions are based on good, solid logic and other times on pure emotions,” notes Jim “.Let the shelter staff help guide you in choosing a pet that best matches your lifestyle. For example, if you are a couch potato, you may not want a Border Collie with loads of energy. Making the best adoption decision is step one in a long-term relationship!”

Capture3Arrange A Meet & Greet

Gone are the days when the only way an adopter could get to know the dogs at a shelter was through the bars of a kennel. Today’s shelters offer play rooms and yards that allow adopters to familiarize themselves with dogs they are considering bringing home before making that commitment. And be sure that everyone in your family comes along for at least one of these shelter “meet and greets” before deciding on a particular puppy or dog.

“It’s important to spend plenty of time, preferably outside the confines of a kennel, to get to know a dog.  Presumably this pet will join your family for 10-15 years or longer, so the decision shouldn’t be made lightly or hurriedly,” explains Jim Tedford.

Manage Your Expectations

Because shelters can be stressful for dogs, the first weeks and months after you bring your new puppy or dog home may present some challenges. Remember that you don’t know what your new dog might have been through before coming into your home, and it can take time for some adopted shelter dogs to learn to trust and feel comfortable. This is to be expected.

“My best advice is to set realistic expectations,” explains Jim Tedford. “A new pet will not automatically know what you expect so be prepared to teach him.  Supervision is critical.  An unsupervised pet is more likely to damage property or find other sources of trouble. When you bring your new pet home, be prepared to work through whatever behavior issues and training necessary.”

Visit TrainMyPet.net for lots of great advice on working with your new family member to help him or her become settled in and adjusted to life beyond the animal shelter.

CaptureGet Ready To Love & Be Loved

If you talk to friends who have already adopted from a shelter, they will tell you that your decision to bring home four legged family member is one of the best you’ll ever make.

As Jim Tedford says, “A shelter is one of the few places where you can find a friend who will love you unconditionally. All you have to do is love him back!”

 

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What are the Top Dog Breeds in Your City?

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By: Meghan Finnegan

A new infographic from Dog Breed Identifier shows the most popular dog breeds in various cities across the United States. The Most Popular Dog Breeds in the USA Infographic was created with data from American Kennel Club in reports detailing dog breed registrations for the past year.

Some interesting highlights from this infographic reveal that:

  • Labrador Retrievers are largely America’s favorite dog breed – they’re the #1 breed in 65% of the states surveyed, and are in every state’s top 5 bracket.
  • Golden Retrievers, while no city’s #1 favorite breed, appeared in 85% of the regions’ top 5 brackets, usually appearing in the 2nd or 3rd spot.

Most Popular Dog Breeds in United States

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National Pet Obesity Awareness Day!

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by: Heather Owens, Category Manager

Healthy eating and exercise is just as important for your pets as it is for you! Did you know an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese?* October 8 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day raising awareness on pet weight issues.

How can you tell if your pet is overweight? There are many tools online that show specific breeds and their ideal weight and appearance. The general rule is you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs but not see them. If you place your hands on the sides of their chest and still cannot see them, they are overweight.

What are tips for keeping your pet’s weight in check?

1.  Consult your vet

Your veterinarian is the best resource for helping you create a plan to control, monitor and improve your pet’s weight. They can provide you the best advice to lose weight in a healthy way.

2.  Control the calories

Not all food is the same. If available, check nutrition labels for high quality ingredients instead of fillers. Limit the number of treats and avoid giving table scraps. When giving treats, look for healthy alternatives like carrots or broccoli.

3.  Stay consistent

Put a measuring cup in your food bag for consistency in feeding amounts. Assign family members to each meal so pets are not accidentally overfed and track the amount of treats given. Consider using an automatic feeder, which ensures your pet is fed on the same schedule each day.413-843-11_5 Meal Feeder Dog 1_WG7C

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Get out and play!

Exercise is great for you and your pet. For older or disabled animals, a short walk around the block may be appropriate. For younger and more active animals, a swim, running around the park or chasing a laser may be best to keep your pet healthy.

PTY00-14244_Bolt Lifestyle_4046

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obesity in a pet can have the same adverse effects as obesity in humans. Common disorders associated with excess weight include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer. So celebrate National Pet Obesity Awareness Day by making a commitment to the health of both you and your pet!

* http://www.petobesityprevention.org/

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Fourth Annual PetSafe K9 Cancer Walk

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Walk participants get ready to go!As pet parents we know that our dogs expect to be taken on regular walks.. Whether the walk gives us exercise, takes us on an adventure, or brings us peace of mind, our walks together happen so often it may be easy to take them for granted. But when our beloved animal companions are taken from us too soon, every step of every walk becomes hugely important.

On September 21st, 2014, PetSafe held its 4th annual K9Cancer Walk, benefiting Morris Animal Foundation. The Foundation provides funding internationally to further veterinary science, especially in the area of canine cancer research. Over 350 participants joined together to walk for a purpose and raised over $35,000 to help more dogs and people continue their walks together.

Ella leads the PetSafe K9 Cancer Walk 2014

Ella leads the PetSafe K9 Cancer Walk 2014

Every story of cancer and cancer survival is unique. Our 2014 walk was led by a very special guest Ella, a 5 yr old black lab mix. Many of the details of Ella’s story are unknown. She showed up on a back porch when she was just 4 or 5 months old– skinny and covered with fleas. But she was very bright and very much in need of a forever-home. Ella picked the right back porch and immediately stole the hearts of her new parents, Brad and Brittany.

Ella enjoyed many happy moments with her new family. In April 2012, Ella’s lymph nodes became enlarged. Her parents took her to the vet and Ella was diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma.   With care from the University Of Tennessee College Of Veterinary Medicine, Ella’s cancer went into remission. But the story didn’t end there and Ella’s journey has not been a smooth one. She has relapsed twice and spent a week in ICU in September of 2012.

The cause of canine cancer research is one about which Ella’s parents are very passionate. They have attended all of the PetSafe K9 Cancer Walks. In 2012, they participated in the walk without their Ella and with very mixed emotions. Fortunately, in 2013 Brad, Brittany AND Ella participated in the walk—and Ella was able to hit the lake without hesitation. Having this special family lead our walk this year inspires us to keep making strides to find a cure for canine cancer and more dogs like Ella.

PetSafe 4th Annual K9 Cancer WalkIf you weren’t able to walk on Sunday but still want to help Morris Animal Foundation in the fight against canine cancer, visit www.morrisanimalfoundation.org to donate and learn more about great work Morris Animal Foundation has been doing since 1948.

 

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The World According to Cooper: Going to See Grandma

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By Stacie Greene, Supply Chain Cost Manager

Since I am an “only child” I am extra special to my grandparents. They don’t have any human grandchildren so they pay a lot of attention to me. I really love being the center of all of that attention. My grandma forgets things a lot, but she never seems to forget me. I’ve always loved going to see my grandma. She gives great back scratches!

Earlier this year my grandma moved to a new home. She used to live by herself, but now she lives in a place with a lot of other people close to her own age. She has her own apartment and keeps toys there for me.

My mom worked for months to help my grandma find just the right place and get her moved. I really don’t like change very much, but this has been a really good one. My grandma is really happy in her new home and my mom worries a lot less.

Now here is the best part of grandma’s new home. All of the other people that live there LOVE me!! I get so excited when we pull in the parking lot, because I know everyone is going to be soooo excited to see me. The only way I know how to explain how great this is would be to compare it to how excited your furry children get when you come home from work or well, when you come home from anywhere! That is how excited all of the older people get when they see me. They all just start calling my name. “Cooper, Cooper, Cooper!!!!” “YEAH, Cooper is here!!” I run right up to all of them and wait to have my ears scratched. They are great, they are all so gentle when they love on me.

My mom thinks it is funny because all of the people that live around my grandmother also have problems remembering things, but none of them ever have a problem remembering me. I get so excited to see all of them that mom has to keep my leash on. Sometime I forget that not everyone can handle me jumping up in their laps. Mom tells me I have to be careful not to break one of them. I would never ever do anything to hurt anyone. I like them all.

I’m not a therapy dog, but I think I bring a lot of happiness to the folks that live at Morning Pointe with my grandmother. Get your parents to take you to see your grandparents. Just remember that you have to keep your own excitement under control. I love my visits to Morning Pointe and I think everyone there loves my visits too!

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PetSafe Mutts vs Purebred Dogs

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Guest post from Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMDOutdoor close up capture of four mixed breed dogs on a grassy hill.

Do you have a pure-breed or mixed-breed dog?

Is a pure or mixed-breed pooch most appropriate for your lifestyle and dog-owning desires?

Some owners prefer the pure-bred dog while others gravitate toward a potentially unknown mix of breeds. Such is truly a personal preference. Regardless of your pet’s pure-breeding or mongrel status, all dogs should be treated with the same degree of love, socialization, and pursuit of veterinary care.

Instead of deciding that one breed is right for you based on the dog’s physical appearance, I suggest future owners create a checklist determining a variety of characteristics about their potential canine companion before going about selecting a pure or mixed breed pooch. The criteria include:

Size

The size of dog you choose will greatly influenced a variety of factors in your day to day life.

Although there is no specific guideline as to what weight makes a dog small versus large, here is the approximate criterion I’ve created for my clients and readers:

Extra Small- 0-5 pounds

Small- 5 to 20 pounds

Medium- 20 to 50 pounds

Large- 50-80 pounds

Giant- 80 plus pounds

Having an extra-small or small dog may appeal to your sensibilities if you want your pooch to accompany you on your daily errands. These more-petit pooches dogs can easily be picked up in one arm and readily nest inside an over-the-shoulder carrier while out and about. Yet, smaller dogs take up less space in a room, can more easily get underfoot, and may cause you to trip and fall or even crush them under your weight. Additionally, smaller pooches may not be able to endure exercise like running or hiking with their human caretakers or hold their own at parks and other canine-socialization areas as well as medium to larger dogs. Extra small and small dogs generally live longer, but are more prone than their larger counterparts to ailments like periodontal disease and endocrine abnormalities (Cushing’s disease, diabetes, etc.).

Medium dogs tend to be universally appropriate in their size and weight to be able to acclimate to a variety of household circumstances and often can readily go with their owners. Yet, midsize dogs aren’t as easily scooped up for safety purposes and likely won’t fit into the confines of a carrier for in-the-cabin airline travel. As a result, medium and large canines are placed in the cargo hold of an airplane away from the immediate observation of their owners.

Large and giant dogs make their presence known due to their impressive proportions, which reduces the likelihood an owner will trip over their pooch but makes sharing a household space more challenging. Additionally, when larger canines are less mobile due to injury or illness, then the burden falls to the owner to provide lift and support in all parts of their dogs’lives including urinating and defecating multiple times per day.

Larger dogs typically live shorter lives than their smaller counterpart in part due to their propensity for painful conditions that negatively affect their movement, daily comfort, and quality of life such as osteoarthritis, traumatic joint injuries (cruciate ligament tear, etc.), and cancer of their musculoskeletal structures (bone, cartilage, etc.). Bigger dogs also are more expensive to feed and medicate as of their larger size requires a higher number of daily calories and greater concentration of medications.

Therefore, thoughtfully evaluating the size of dog that works best for your lifestyle is a crucial consideration when selecting a pure or mixed breed pooch.

Coat

Shedding versus non-shedding

Shedding dogs may be desirable due to their general lack of need for frequent bathing and coat care. Yet, dogs that shed tend to be more associated with human allergies, as dander (skin cells) and hair are sloughed off in more frequently and in larger quantity.

Non-shedding dogs need regular and often frequent grooming to prevent hair matting, stinky coats, and skin lesions (hot spots, etc.) which requires effort or expense on their owners’behalf to mange. Dogs that don’t shed still lose some hair and skin, but they can be considered hypoallergenic (less allergy-inducing) as they do so less frequently and in smaller quantities. Since environmental allergens tend to accumulate more on non-shedding dogs, humans can still have an allergic response if their pooch has been mopping up seasonal or non-seasonal dust and dirt on his coat before snuggling up.

Short versus long-haired

Shedding dogs may have short or long hair, depending on the breed or mix. Longer-haired dogs, despite their shedding or non-shedding status, typically require more effort and expense on behalf of the owner to maintain a healthy coat. Non-shedding dogs have variable hair lengths depending on the owner’s decision to cut the coat short or to let it grow out.

Considerations the implications of your future dog’s coat is important as the decision will directly affect household cleanness and affect the quality of life the humans also sharing the space.

Activity Level

Some dogs spend all day lounging away on the couch while others require what seems like constant exercise. A dog’s needs for activity, socialization, and household and yard space, must all be considered when selecting the appropriate canine companion for your lifestyle.

If you live in a shoebox apartment in a dense urban setting, then acquiring a high-energy dog needing frequent exercise and behavioral stimulation like a herding (Border Collie, Australian Shepherd or Cattle Dog, etc.) or sporting (Weimaraner, Viszla, etc.) breed or mix may not be the best choice. Alternatively, if you’re a suburban or rural dweller having a sizable, fenced-in yard, then having a high-energy breed or mix may just work out or your dogs needs and your desires as an owner.

Breed-Specific Health Problems

There are known health conditions associated with different dog breeds. As generation after generation of dogs go into the overall health-make up of a particular breed, the trend for health problems to emerge during puppy, adult, or geriatric years becomes evident.

If you were to Google a “health concerns associated with ______ (insert breed here)”, you’ll find numerous websites listing a vast array of ailments potentially affecting pooches having such pedigrees.

The size-related elements mentioned above can translate onto nearly any purebred dog. For example, the Chihuahua, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) are well known for their problems with periodontal disease. In veterinary medicine, we even have a term of less-than endearment for the commonality of severe periodontal disease seen in the Yorkshire Terrier: “Yorkie mouth.”

Alternatively, the Golden and Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, Mastiff, Rottweiler and other large and giant breeds are very prone to mobility compromising conditions like osteoarthritis and often fatal diseases like gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV or “bloat”), hemangiosarcoma (malignant cancer of the blood vessels commonly affecting the spleen and liver), and osteosarcoma (malignant cancer of the bone).

If you are interested in getting a purebred dog, it’s important to become familiar with the potential diseases your pooch may face simple due to his genetics before you actively pursue getting a specific breed. The AKC’s Canine Health Foundation (CHF) has great Disease Information and Breed Specific Health Concerns pages covering a vast array of conditions.

The CHF is striving to promote the best health of pure breed dogs (and therefore all “dog-kind”) by educating canine aficionados about the availability of Genetic Tests that can be determine if a particular dog is a carrier of a gene that may ultimately lead to disease or permit be health problems to be passed on to future generations (i.e. such dogs shouldn’t be bred).

In general, mixed breed dogs are perceived to be healthier than their pure-bred counterparts.

Mongrels are also prone to the above and other conditions, but the fact that they are typically bred without specific intention (i.e accidental breedings) nor for their outward physical appearance often reduces the likelihood breed-specific ailments will occur.

So, take the above information into consideration before you go the route of getting a pure or mixed-breed pooch. Doing so can help to ensure you gifts a dog that is best suited for your lifestyle, desires as a pet owner, and financial situation.

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I’m happily married to my dogs… errr… my husband!

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By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP

I might be a little (a lot) obsessed with my dogs. They truly are the highlight of my morning, afternoon, evening and night. Most of my hobbies include them and, if I could, I would even take them on vacation with me.

My husband doesn’t share these feelings.

Sure, he loves the dogs and he wants to give them the best life possible. But it’s definitely true that he prefers vacations without them and space for his legs in the bed. My cell phone has about 672 pictures of the dogs in various poses and my husband probably has less than 10.

My husband really should be the one writing a blog called “How to stay (happily) married to a woman who just might love her dogs more than you.” But I’m the one with the microphone here, so my blog is labeled “How to stay happily married to a man that doesn’t understand why dogs are the best thing in the world, and (on some days), you might actually love them more than him.”

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

I prefer dogs in all aspects of our lives—holidays, vacations and weekend activities. My husband prefers alone time for us both, so it’s always a compromise. I always get holidays with the dogs. Besides, many holidays are stressful for dogs (i.e. fireworks are scary on the 4th of July and it’s a lot of commotion around Christmas), so the dogs are always with us. Then we go on vacation dog-less. Since we don’t plan our vacations around the holidays, the timing is a lot less stressful and the dogs can safely and happily stay with a family member (as long as they promise to send me lots of pictures and videos while I’m away).

Our weekend activities are mixed. I participate in a lot of dog activities without my husband while he engages in his dog-less hobbies. When we get together, we sprinkle in a few dog-friendly

While walking four dogs is fun for me, it is not fun for my husband.

While walking four dogs is fun for me, it is not fun for my husband.

activities. Choosing these dog-friendly activities is also a compromise. The last thing my husband wants is to be drowning in even more dogs (so dog parks are out), but he wouldn’t mind spending time outdoors on a hike while the pups exhaust themselves sniffing every blade of grass on a trail.

We debated a lot when we got married. I REALLY wanted the dogs to be part of the wedding and my husband REALLY did not want them to be part of the wedding. We had to compromise. I took photos prior to the wedding with the pups and my husband opted out. (In the end, it worked out. These pictures show who I REALLY married anyway!)

You may kiss the bride!

You may kiss the bride!

The compromising sounds easy enough, but the hard part is the patience. We’ve got our own dogs and I often bring home other dogs to foster or doggy-sit. Sometimes our house is so full of dogs, and I just love it! While my husband enjoys playing and seeing them, he sometimes runs out of patience when they are all under his feet. I don’t blame him. I have to make sure that when our lives are filled with four-legged pals, he gets alone time without them. This lets him refuel and he does better with them later.

The other thing that is tough for my husband is the realization that dogs are expensive! He definitely wants the best for them, but when it comes time to cough up the cash for those pricy vet visits, he’s always the first

Although sometimes the pups sneak in and bug him anyway.

Although sometimes the pups sneak in and bug him anyway.

to grumble under his breath. I just have to remind him that I’m with him on that—I hate paying too– but the amount of joy that these goofballs bring to our lives outweighs every dollar.

I am grateful every day that my husband puts up with my over-the-top dog appreciation. Dog appreciation is just like any other hobby and it isn’t a requirement that we share the same hobbies (thank goodness for that, because I don’t think I could sit through a single soccer match if you paid me). I push a lot more on him than the normal dog aficionado and he handles it better than I would expect him to. As long as I respect and give him time to indulge in his

We love you, Dad!

We love you, Dad!

hobbies, he doesn’t mind that I wake up in the morning to be silly with my dogs and buy them toy #762 because “they’ll just LOVE it!”. Deep down, I know he loves those fur-kids anyway — even if they do take up most of his space in the bed. We both know that there isn’t any greater joy than having puppy-dog tails wagging to welcome you home every day.

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