My parents had better not use the W word unless they really mean it. The second I hear WALK, I literally jump for joy. Seriously, I jump up and down like a maniac.
So if you’re at my house don’t use that word in a sentence unless you’re going to follow through. “Did Zoe have her walk yet?” Even if I just got back from a 2 mile stroll, I want to go again!
In case you didn’t know, a tired dog is a happy dog! When people say they are dog-tired, they really mean they are blissfully content.
Walks, like dogs, come in all kinds of forms. There’s the getting down to business walk where all we really need to do is… um… you know… do our “business.” And there’s the “sniff and mark” walk where we try to determine who has been there before us and we leave our scent, too. Dogs make sense out of the world through scents, where humans seem to make sense out of the world through cents or money and power. Let me tell you something, a person who loves a pet and is loved in return is rich beyond measure, without a hefty mortgage payment as proof.
But the best kind of walk is the “power walk” where I lead you on long adventures and we both get lots of exercise. Studies have shown that people with dogs are 25% less likely to be obese. We are great motivators (I don’t mind the rain or the dark!) and we help you improve your social life, too. Mom, how many times have you met someone new in the neighborhood because you stop to talk about your dogs?! These conversations usually start with “Oh, your dog is so cute!” (I’m not vain, I’m just stating facts!)
I also help my mom develop her arm muscles because sometimes I lie down and refuse to move one inch further. Then we go for a “carry” instead of a “walk.” Believe me, when she carries my 7 pound frame for several blocks, she’s getting a great upper body workout while I get a well-deserved rest! I have tiny short legs (and 4 of them) so I estimate I take 16 steps for every 1 step she takes. It’s a wonder I can keep up at all.
The dogs at the shelter get lots of walks because we have wonderful volunteers who take them on meandering journeys throughout the neighborhood. But what the shelter dogs really need is YOU to take them home. Then they can lead you on walking adventures, or some dogs really would love to be your running partner as well as your partner in life. By the way, cats can be taught to walk on a leash, because they need exercise, too. A sedentary pet is often an obese pet and an obese pet is often an unhealthy pet (same goes for humans!)
So if you’re worried about a few extra pounds, if you’re watching too much TV or you need an excuse to get moving, just get up off the couch, adopt a dog if you don’t already have one, and take a walk.
Walk? Walk? Did someone say walk? Let’s go!
Until next time,
Because I’m Happy!
Because I’m Happy!
You take me for a walk. I’m happy! You give me a cookie. I’m happy! You come home from work and that makes me happy!
I wag. I bark. I jump. I spin. Because I’m happy! In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. And it’s MY job to make YOU happy. If you’re having a bad day, I can make you feel better, with just a friendly wag. If you’re really grumpy, it might take the whole power of my being to conjure up the “cute, adorable” look or the “pathetic, woe-is-me” face, but eventually I can make you smile.
What do people who don’t have pets do to change their sad face into a happy one? Maybe they should watch this video!
When Mom tells people she works at Hinsdale Humane Society, quite often they say, “That must be so sad.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s like “happy, happy, happy” all day long. (Notice I did not say yappy, yappy, yappy!) The best moments are when a family walks out the door with their new pet. We see pure joy on everyone’s face, the humans and the pets included. They are starting on an exciting journey as a new family unit.
Which reminds me…Katie Wolfe, our adoption counselor, got married last weekend. Many of our staff members attended her wedding to Mike Baran. I didn’t get to go. (That darn “doggies don’t get to go to weddings” phrase came back to haunt me.) But I heard that it was a beautiful ceremony, filled with love, laughter and happiness. All of us wish them, their 3 dogs and one cat unbridled joy and wedded bliss for their future together.
If you feel you’re lacking in the happiness department, I would encourage you to find a homeless pet from the shelter and bring more joy into your life. That’s probably easier than finding a fiancé and going through that whole wedding thing, especially if you’re already married! Then tap your toe and sing along to the “happy pet” song.
Wag along if you feel like your master loves you. (Because I’m happy!)
Wag along if you feel like your tail is chasing you. (Because I’m happy!)
Howl along if you want a cuddle from me to you. (Because I’m happy!)
Dog around if you think you’re my best friend, too!
I came up with a cat version. I’m not the best poet, but here it is!
Purr along if you feel like your master owes you. (Be unhappy!)
Meow out loud and demand tuna and catnip, too. (Be unhappy!)
Then hiss and screech loudly ‘cuz kitty cats need love, too. (Be unhappy!)
Even then your family will still adore you!
Wishing you all much joy and happiness!
PS: Katie, I really think you should keep your last name Wolfe. It seems so appropriate, given your chosen profession in animal welfare. Or maybe you and Mike can start calling yourselves Katie and Mike Byrd. Katie and Mike Katz. Katie and Mike Doggett. I’m just saying!
When my mom and dad leave town, I usually get to go along. They pack up all my “stuff” including food, toys, gates and my bed and off we go for an adventure! Sometimes we stay in dog friendly hotels. Sometimes I get to go to stay with family and friends. It is “oh-so-much-fun” to see new places, smell new smells and meet pets and people I’ve never seen before.
But sometimes I hear “doggies aren’t allowed to go to weddings” or “doggies are prohibited from certain places” and they make me stay at home. Even when I put on my sad puppy dog eyes and mope around the house, they don’t give in to the guilt trip. So they send in the dog sitter. I stay at home and someone wonderful and responsible takes care of me.
I don’t know why they call her the dog sitter, because she NEVER sits! We are off on wild adventures around the neighborhood. I actually get more walks with the dog sitter than my lazy pet parents ever manage. Mom and dad take the SAME OLD path every day. Down to the corner, around the loop, past the church and then back home. But I can convince the dog sitter to go just about anywhere. Our escapades lead to play parks and unexplored streets. Once a little girl ran into her house and brought me a cookie, just because I’m cute and irresistible and she’d never met me before!
The dog sitter worries that I’m home all alone for long stretches of time, so she brings me new toys or she leaves the radio on. Hello? Mom and Dad? How come you never do anything special like that for me? The dog sitter rubs my belly and combs my fur. She tells me I’m beautiful. When mom combs my fur, she asks me where I’ve been and why I’m so dirty. Do you see a pattern here? The dog sitter is delightful and attentive while my pet parents just take me for granted.
Some of my doggie friends don’t have dog sitters. They go to doggie resorts where there are play groups, private rooms with televisions and spa services. Pooches get treated like princes and princesses. Some of those dogs are asking, “When are my pet parents leaving so I can experience the lap of luxury?” Kitties get treated extravagantly, too. Although the cats I know expect that sort of thing because they think they are royalty.
Did you know the dogs and cats at the shelter get the royal treatment, too? They have special beds, toys and treats. The adult cats stay in kitty condos and the dogs get walked by volunteers several times a day. They have calming music, soft blankets, nutritious food and lots of TLC until they find their forever homes. OK, so it’s not the Taj Mahal, but it’s pretty close!
For the pets who do live in homes, sometimes your people will need to leave the house. And that’s OK, too, if you follow these simple steps. First of all, if your family decides to leave you behind for vacation this year, pretend to act annoyed, pathetic and heartbroken. You’ll get extra treats that way. Then enjoy the time you have with your pet sitter or pet resort. Lap up all the extra attention. Relish all the special play time or extra walks or whatever guilt-ridden appeasements are showered upon you. When your pet parents get home, fake being upset. That way, maybe the next time they will either take you with them… or spring for the deluxe suite complete with tuck in service and a private butler.
For pets and the people who love them, I hope you all enjoy your vacations this summer!
Until next time,