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,
Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day to all the pet parents out there!
I’m really happy when I get to hang out with my dad. He used to go to the office all the time, but now he works from home. At least I think that’s what he calls it. I see him playing computer games sometimes instead of… you know… returning emails.
I can convince Dad to take me on walks when it’s not really on the schedule. I just give him that “I’m not going to budge from this spot until I get my way” stare and before we both know it, I’m out the door at the end of my leash.
If you haven’t met my dad, he’s a BIG GUY. Over 6 foot tall. He pretends to weigh 215 pounds, but we all know that’s a bit of an understatement. So sweet, cute, delicate, little Me goes for a walk with big, burly, football coach Dad. My beautiful hair floats along in the breeze and my tiny little legs scramble madly to keep up with his size 13 feet and his long stride.
You know what? Sometimes people LOL. Seriously, they actually laugh out loud because they think we are a silly sight in contrast with one another. Once someone shouted “Nice dog!” as they drove by. But it wasn’t a pleasant voice. More like accusatory ridicule.
Why can’t a big guy like Dad love a tiny fluff ball like me? Size or shape or color or species doesn’t matter when it comes to the love between a furry pet and a human. If you think it does, perhaps you need to expand your mind a bit.
Once a great big dude wearing a biker’s jacket and riding a Harley came into the shelter with a tiny Chihuahua tucked into a tummy pouch. The dog was wearing goggles. I kid you not! A 100 pound wisp of a female adopted a 130 pound Rottweiler. And a big fellow with multiple tattoos and piercings came to
Hinsdale Humane Society and adopted an adorable, tiny kitten.
The stereotype of the crazy cat lady doesn’t exist. Men can love cats, too. In fact, we know a professional football player who has a cuddly cat named Ginger. No one says a Dad has to have a hunting dog or a bully breed and a Mom has to have a little lap dog with a pink bow in its hair. (That’s because I hate bows!) There really are no stereotypes when it comes to adopting a pet. Just the love between a pet parent and a pet. Or an adult and their human offspring.
I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.
To the dads who take their kids to sports practice and also know how to make pony tails. And to the dads who have pony tails.
To the dads who love their wives (or partners). And to the divorced dads who are there for their kids no matter what the relationship is with their children’s mother.
To the dads of kids (and special needs kids) who feel challenged and blessed every day. And to all the dads who are doing the best they can, even when they think that’s not enough.
To the men who aren’t dads, but are role models, coaches, teachers, uncles, brothers and guidance-givers to kids who want or need a father figure in their lives. And to the dads who aren’t involved in their children’s lives who need to know it’s never too late to try to build a relationship with a child.
But most of all, I want to wish my human dad a Happy Father’s Day because he’s the best pet parent ever. I’ll bet all the furry ones out there think the exact same thing about their human dads, too!
Until next time,
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,