Every now and then I go to a country Episcopal church in LaGrange, Tn. Sometimes on my way to ride my horse around the corner, other times just to soak in the beauty of the sanctuary with no given destination. It’s a very small church family; I love the warmth of the church and the congregation. But what I love best is the elegant Rhodesian Ridgeback that perches contemplatively on one of the back pews with his human parents. This dog never moves an inch nor does he ever bark. He just lies in quiet meditation as if he were reflecting upon the hymns and sermon. Or maybe he’s just simply resting to the vibrant beat of “Onward Christian Soldiers”?
So, what do you think, animal lovers? Is this dog more connected to spirituality than he is letting on? Do animals gain a sense of peace in these holy places?
Here is a heartwarming story published by AFP, January 16, 2013 that really has to make you wonder.
ROME - Since his owner died two months ago,
Tommy the dog has not missed a single mass in the small
church in southern Italy where his mistress’s funeral was held,
Italian media said Wednesday.
When the bells of the Santa Maria Assunta church begin to toll each afternoon in San Donaci near Brindisi , the 12-year-old German Shepherd sets off from the village to get himself a front row seat next to the altar, Il Messaggero newspaper said.
His owner, who was known in local dialect as “Maria TU lu campu”— “Maria of the fields” — had lived alone with Tommy and three other rescue dogs, who used to follow her faithfully on her daily rounds and have now been adopted by the village.
After following his mistress’s coffin up to the church on the day of her funeral, Tommy has returned daily, sitting quietly throughout masses, baptisms and funerals, according to local priest Donato Panna, who now wouldn’t do without him.
AND what about this?
When visually impaired radio journalist Alessandro Forlani entered the Vatican’s vast Paul VI audience hall on Saturday little did he expect that along with his guide dog Asià, he stood a chance to meet newly elected Pope Francis.
But to his surprise, while he was sitting along with his media colleagues in the Paul VI audience hall a Swiss Guard informed him that the Pope had spotted him and his dog and would like to meet them.
Asià walked on the stage, briefly sniffed the Pope’s shoes and then waited patiently as Forlani talked to the pontiff.
“I asked for a blessing for my wife and daughter at home,” Forlani said. Pope Francis then leaned down and patted Asià, saying: “and a special blessing for your dog too.”
Talking about animal’s souls is a topic for another day. But wondering what these animals must be sensing, seeing, and feeling is an endless quest for me.
WHEN PUDGY IS NOT CUTE ANYMORE
Photo from informationcanine.com
According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) http://www.petobesityprevention.com/, it is estimated that half of the pets in the US are obese!
Read about Obie, the 70-lb dachshund lumbering towards his new weight goal:
And more about Obie:
So, how do pets get this way? Well, it usually circles back to us. When I was putting together this blog, I couldn’t help but think back to some friends that had a lovely Golden Retriever. Not only did this dog get an excess of treats in addition to her regular feedings, but was served a nightly bowl of ice cream. This Golden was broad in the beam and was approaching seniorhood.
Pet Obesity Facts from dosomething.org:
1. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight.
2. 22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners said their pet’s weight was normal, when it was actually overweight or obese.
3. The “fat pet gap” is the normalization of obesity by pet parents. (Read: fat pets = the new normal.)
4. Dogs and cats who are 10 to 20 percent over their ideal body weight are considered overweight. Dogs and cats 20 percent over their ideal weight are considered obese.
5. A golden hamster should weigh 5 to 7 ounces and dwarf hamsters should weigh 3/4 to 1 3/4 ounces.
6. Obesity is the number one health problem in pet birds. Most birds have food available all the time, so they don’t have to work for their dinner. And because there’s not too much else to do, they sit around and rest all day.
7. Amazon parrots, cockatiels, rose-breasted cockatoos, canaries, quaker parrots and budgerigars are more prone to obesity than other birds.
8. Overweight or obesity can cause arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, certain cancers, heart and respiratory disease, and more for your pet.
9. According to the Purina Lifespan Study, obesity takes almost two years off a dog’s life.
10. To check if your pet is obese or overweight, you should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs without pressing on the pet and your pet’s stomach should be tucked in.
11. Veterinarians determine if a pet is overweight or obese by their body condition score, or BCS. Veterinarians assess the amount of stored fat and assign a number to score if a pet is underweight, overweight, or just right.
Paradiseanimalhospital.com offers 7 Tips For Reducing Dog Obesity
Don’t use self-feeders, which can be describe as candy machines for fat dogs.
Pet your dog when he begs for food. Many dogs really want attention, so “flip the equation.”
Feed the dog small meals often. Divide the daily food servings into small portions.
If the dog is begging for food, take him for a walk as a distraction.
If the dog begs, just give him a few kibbles in his bowl, like 10 or 15 rather than a handful.
Dogs like a crunchy treat. So how about skipping anything fatty and switching to baby carrots, broccoli, celery, or asparagus?
Make sure the bowl is filled with water. Fresh water may hit the spot.
AND I WILL ADD A FEW MORE:
Walk, walk, walk your dog or hire a dog walker!!!
Play games with your dog/throw the ball or Frisbee.
30 minutes of exercise daily, commit to this!
Photo from the Poodle (and the dog) blog
Photo from fatcat.com
HERE’S A COMPARISON CHART TO USE AS A GUIDE
Photo from st.john animal clinic
Ten Steps To Help Your Cat Lose Weight from petloveshack.com
There may not be a fancy, brand-name diet program for fat cats yet, but there are other ways to help your cat drop those extra pounds. Follow these ten steps from Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian and director of technical communications at The Iams Company, to help your cat reach a healthier weight. First, always check with your veterinarian to establish goals and make sure your cat is otherwise healthy. Then, continue follow-up visits with your veterinarian to monitor progress.
Let the games begin! Help your cat burn calories by encouraging her to play. Toss her toys for her to chase, wiggle a wand for her to jump up high, or provide a taller cat scratching post for her to climb.
Go for a walk. Show those dogs a thing or two, and take your cat for a walk-even if it’s just inside the house. Many cats learn to enjoy walking on a leash, especially if trained while still young. It’s a great excuse for you to get more exercise, too.
Ease into shape. Watch how your fat cat handles increased activity. Don’t let your cat become exhausted, overheated or out of breath. Also remember that older cats may not be able to exercise vigorously.
Replace treats with praise. When your cat is begging for treats, it could be that she’s just begging for your attention. Substitute play, grooming, stroking or conversation for food treats as expressions of love. You can also try catnip as a non-food treat.
Resist those pleas. Is your cat an expert at begging for table scraps? If you find it difficult to ignore those “sad eyes” (or wailing!) at mealtime, keep your feline in a separate room.
Feed cats individually. If you have more than one cat, consider keeping them in separate rooms during their mealtime. This will prevent the greediest cat from overeating, and ensure that slower cats get fed.
Play fetch. Toss dry food kibbles to your cat, one piece at time, to combine exercise with mealtime.
Avoid fiber overload. Many reduced calorie pet foods include increased levels of fiber that can interfere with a pet’s ability to absorb and digest nutrients. Food with the proper balance of animal-based protein, fat, carbohydrates and moderately fermentable fiber sources, such as beet pulp, is a healthier choice. Try new Eukanuba® Weight control Formula for Cats-which also has a unique Feline Fat Burner systemª, which promotes health and well-being while helping cats to burn fat and lose or maintain weight successfully.
Smaller meals, more often. As with people, several smaller meals each day vs. one large serving help cats burn more calories. This is through meal-induced thermogenesis-heat produced by the body during digestion, absorption, metabolism and storage of nutrients actually causes more calories to be used.
Tip the scales. A baby scale works great for keeping track of your cat’s weight, or alternatively you can take your cat in your arms, step on your own scale and then subtract your weight from the total weight shown to find your cat’s weight. Check weight loss progress every two weeks.
Walking with Ernie and Zinger
It doesn’t get any better. All in a day’s work. Balmy skies, 75 degrees, and I get to spend my day outdoors with some of my favorite buddies! From Chickasaw and Galloway Gardens to Harbor Town, Hedgemoor, Midtown, Joffre neighborhood and Kirby and Quince, my day was packed with adventure. I loved sharing this glorious day with some of my favorite canine pals.
My day began with a guided tour from Hershey who did everything he could to resist diving into the cool water and lapping up the fountain. But he managed….GOOD BOY!!!
Here’s a sampler of a few sights I saw today with some of my dog walking clients.
Good old-fashioned tree climbing
Really cool cypress knees
A breathtaking lake
Shep, Lady Bird and I saw lovely, custom homes
Made new friends
Watched a kitty go for a walk
AND…Scrappy and I topped off the day with raucous geese
Like I said…all in a day’s work. Walking Memphis, one dog at a time.
Dogs need social interaction, crave activity and mental stimulation. Is your best friend getting this?
Many of our pets live in crowded urban environments. Numbers of these big city pups live in a condo or apartment where there is often little or no backyard or play area. And why should they wait 10 hours for a bathroom break?
A professional dog walker is just your answer! Dog walking offers you and your pets benefits many times over.
Benefits Of Hiring A Dog Walker For Your Dog
Benefits For You?
Things To Look For In A Pet Sitter
Think about it for a moment. As a dog owner, isn’t one of your main responsibilities of canine ownership to take your best friend out for daily strolls? Nonpurposeful lumbering and ambling around the back yard is simply not enough to get your buddy buff and back to flexing his paws at the beach. Going on walks, with or without a leash supplies your dog with not only exercise, but also an opportunity to respect its boundaries.
Think way, way back to the early dog development years. Didn’t most of the early canines have a job? Pulling carts, carrying objects, herding livestock, hunting for food, defending territory, etc. Now, most of their exercise has been dumbed down to jumping off the sofa, dashing to the food bowl, or barking at the UPS guy. What a pity…
Unfortunately, many of us are time crunched when it comes around to walking our dogs. Yes, we love them and certainly want the best for them. We permit our dogs to be a part of our lives, but we work long hours and have family obligations. AND when it comes down to walking them, we may be either out of shape ourselves or the day ended before we knew it, and who wants to be out walking in the bitter cold or rain?
The bennies of keeping Rover in shape and fit? Countless…it helps keep your guy at his best fighting weight. Builds muscle mass and maintains the integrity of the musculoskeletal system (especially good for dysplastic dogs as it build muscle mass around the displaced joint). It’s great for your pup’s digestion and helps them sleep soundly when bedtime rolls around. It’s a really refreshing antidote from boredom and house and yard lounging. AND as we know, in reducing doggie doldrums, we cut opportunities for the roll of toilet paper to be reamed throughout the house, gnawing on Granny’s antique rocker, and coming home to a roomful of shredded blinds, along with other symptoms of hyperactivity. Sounds like a pretty good trade-off, doesn’t it?
When we talk dog walking, we’re not talking about the senior shuffle and sniff and dawdle ramble, we’re referring to heart rate elevated, movin’ on out kinda stuff. Walking for fitness is much much different than walking to the mail box with your dog and heading back inside.
Soooo….maybe you need to hire a dog walker for many of the reasons mentioned above? Your dogs will love you! It will give YOU peace of mind and less guilt knowing that someone is coming to your house to take your dog out for a delightful spin! Your dog will enjoy the quality time outdoors and will even more love the fact that he is not locked in the house or crate for long periods of time. Hiring a dog walker is relatively inexpensive and they usually charge by the hour or half hour. Besides, a really good dog walker will know/discover the fun and safe routes for walking.This is their job and they LOVE it!
Some things to think about before you start with a dog walking program. Have your dog thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian. Have them monitor heart fitness, and muscle and joint agility and flexibility. Consider the age of the dog – don’t start running or power walking a young dog for extended periods of time; this can lead to dysplasia and ligament issues. Research your breed. Be careful with small/short nosed breeds that are prone to breathing issues. Watch out for the deep chested, narrow bodied dogs as they are subject to bloat. Other breeds like sight hounds are built only for short term runs.
Isn’t it time to put on your track shoes or pick up the phone and call a dog walker? Your pooch will give you big sloppy kisses on your face!