I’ve been a little naughty lately, but it’s really not my fault. I’m bored. Do you hear me well enough?! I said I’m BORED! Nobody pays attention to me. So I sit at home and plot ways to get someone to notice me.
Chewing on things I find lying around the house. Check!
Running around like a hyperactive maniac (what my mom calls the Tazmanian Devil dog.) Check!
Barking at every chipmunk, squirrel, dog or kid in the neighborhood. Check!
Leaving kibble in my bowl, so someone will think I’m not feeling well. Check!
About the only thing I haven’t done is raid the garbage can and that’s because they have one of those dog-proof contraptions.
You see, my mom has been a little under the weather with foot surgery and oral surgery. She complains about pain and can’t seem to get her tush off the couch when she’s at home. My dad is working at his regular job and then coaching football, so he’s never home. My brother is working and also walking
other neighborhood dogs for extra income… so no one ever pays attention to me. Oh sure, they make sure I have food, water, potty breaks, etc. but they don’t really PLAY or WALK or TAKE ME ANYWHERE!
My mom has a so-called “sedentary lifestyle.” It’s just a fancy way of saying she doesn’t move enough. She gets home from work and sits on the couch with her foot up. Let me tell you something. It’s not good for humans and it’s not good for pets, either.
Just a quick Google check will tell you that for humans, sitting too much can cause anxiety, heart disease, obesity and other nasty ailments that can lead to early death. (Don’t seem so surprised. If I can write a blog, certainly I can use a computer!) But did you know being left alone too much or not getting enough exercise can cause problems for dogs and cats, too?
We might do things you don’t like out of pure boredom. Our muscles can get weak and we might lose our ability to run or jump. We can put on extra weight which slows us down even further. And health issues? I’d rather not talk about digestive problems, constipation, high blood pressure or diabetes.
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. But I do want to ask you what are you going to do about it? Seriously, I get that sometimes pet parents are temporarily too busy or physically unable to take their pet for a walk (like my mom.) Mom, you really should heel… I mean heal!
In the meantime, perhaps she should hire a dog walker or try playing an indoor game of fetch from the couch or even blowing bubbles and letting me try to catch them. That’s a game that many cats enjoy, too. And if she can’t exercise my whole body, exercises for my brain (and tummy) are good diversions, too. Think food puzzle toys, peanut butter stuffed Kongs or even teaching me new tricks!
I’m really not trying to scold Mom or any other pet parents for being sedentary, sluggish, slothful or just plain sitting too much. I’m just trying to gently encourage all of you to move a little more. Interact with your pet a little more. And think of clever things you can do together. That way we all can be happier and healthier. And maybe even thinner!
Until Next time,
PS: Mom, the whole “I just had foot surgery” excuse isn’t going to work at all next month, so I’m encouraging you to get your act together. I’ll try to be satisfied with walks that go only 2 blocks, but you’ve got to work on your flexibility and stamina. Deal?
It’s rather embarrassing to say I had surgery last week. It was nothing exotic like an appendectomy or breaking a leg while falling out of bed. Unfortunately, my veterinarian noticed slimy tartar was building up on my teeth. So they “put me under” (under what, I’m not sure!) and scraped away.
I hardly think this is my fault. Lacking opposable thumbs, it is not really possible for me to brush my own teeth. My pet parents are “busy” (translate lazy, afraid, confused) and they don’t brush my pearly whites, either. Although technically speaking, I think they were grungy yellows.
My pet parents refused to let me eat or drink for 18 hours. “It’s for your own good,” they said. Then they pretended we were going on an exciting adventure in the car. I was eager with anticipation…. Until they pulled up to the vet’s office, when I started shaking like a leaf. I realize veterinarians are highly trained professionals who really want the best for me, but it was still a little scary.
My vet let me snuggle with mom in terror while they explained the process. They use a tiny bit of anesthesia, so I would be unaware of the procedure. This appears to be necessary since dogs (and cats) don’t really like to have their teeth cleaned and veterinarians need their fingers intact so they can
examine other patients. After anesthesia is administered, they do dental x-rays to see what is going on under the gum line. Then they scrape and polish the teeth, just like when humans go to the dentist. In cases of advanced periodontal disease, they extract the damaged teeth. (But lucky for me, that wasn’t necessary.)
Mom left me there in the able care of my veterinarian while the team did their magic. She was nervous and scared (so was I!) but we both managed through the next few hours. Afterwards, I got to go home… tired, groggy, wobbly, but with a gorgeous smile. We cuddled and mom took very good care of me. I got
extra treats and soft food instead of dry hard kibble.
Veterinarians estimate 80 % of domestic cats and dogs have dental issues. If left untreated, the bacteria in a pet’s mouth can cause bad breath, difficulty chewing and other unpleasantries. Even heart, kidney and liver organ damage! Humans probably wouldn’t walk around with filthy teeth, painful gums or other mouth issues, but many people simply forget or ignore their pet’s oral hygiene. So I would recommend you and your pet parents seek recommendations from your veterinarian. Find out the correct methods of tooth brushing and use toys or treats which help promote healthy teeth and gums.
The pets at the shelter get their teeth examined by our volunteer veterinarians and in advanced cases, extractions are done. (Under anesthesia, back at the office, no matter how much it costs because it’s the right thing to do.) But I’m begging all of you to never let those pearly whites rot away so your pet at home never has to experience the pain of losing teeth.
As I mentioned, Mom took good care of me after my surgery. Which was a good thing, because a few days later, she had surgery on her foot. Now it was my turn to take care of HER. I was a good nursemaid. I snuggled next to her boot thingy, even though she accidently clonked me on the head with it a few
times. I reminded her to get up and take her medicine. I even took “walks” that were about 30 feet down the driveway and back. And I didn’t complain that my schedule was messed up, because she needed me.
It is good to know that families take care of one another. Doctors and veterinarians are here to help us through the ups and downs of life.
And when it comes right down to it, we’re all lucky to have one another, to love and to be loved.
Until next time,
Things I Wish My Mom Didn’t Do!
If you’re like me, your pet parents do things which are REALLY annoying and they have no idea of the havoc they create! So here are six things my mom does which I could do without.
She upsets my schedule. I like predictability… potty breaks at certain times and meals served like clockwork. But my mom likes to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Or she comes home late from work. I can only cross my legs for so long, you know! And then there are times when she wants me to go out around her schedule… right when I’m in the middle of my nap. Or she doesn’t get home until really late and feeds me dinner at like 8:00.
Even if dogs can’t tell time, we know when our bladders are full and our tummies are empty!
She doesn’t share her cheese. I come running when I smell cheese because I love cheese! Dad shares, but my mom says it’s not good for me. Something about dogs being lactose intolerant and large quantities of cheese can cause… (Can I use this word? Is there another way to say?) … diarrhea. So mom won’t give me cheese except under certain conditions. She thinks I’m oblivious when she sneaks medicine inside pieces of cheese. Believe me, I notice! It’s just worth it to take those doggie pills when there’s delicious cheese involved!
She takes me places I don’t really want to go. Whether we’re traipsing over wet grass or visiting the vet’s office, I try to put the brakes on when I don’t want to go someplace. And even though I weigh only 8 pounds, I can be pretty stubborn! My mom is too kind to actually drag me anywhere. She just picks me up against my own free will. That is just embarrassing and undignified! What would she do if I was a 120 pound mastiff?! Get stronger muscles or wait it out? I realize that sometimes “mother knows best” and I should just cooperate, but I bet you wouldn’t like sticking your bare tushie in the cold, wet grass to go potty, either!
She scolds me for barking. Mom, have you ever noticed I’m a dog?! Dogs bark, so just get over it! You could possibly scold me for meowing or mooing, because that would be weird. (Pretty remarkable, but weird nonetheless!)
She comes home smelling like other DOGS! I get that my mom works in an animal shelter. A little mingling is to be expected. But I can tell when she gets entirely too friendly with some of the pets around there. I’ve come to expect the scent of dogs around the bottom of her pant legs. But, whoa! She’s been snuggling other furry ones in her arms and that stuff has got to stop. I’m the jealous type!
She’s BORING! Sometimes I want to play and mom says she’s tired. Sometimes I want to go to work with her and mom says she has meetings and I can’t wait for her in the car. Sometimes I want a little extra kibble and mom says I already ate. And sometimes I forget how great I have it here with my family. It’s not that it’s boring… I just take it all for granted.
Sometimes I feel sorry for the dogs (and cats) at the shelter. Even though they have nice comfy beds, plenty of food to eat, and someone to take them for walks and play time, I imagine they get pretty annoyed they aren’t in a home with people to love. They have staff and volunteers, but they are still lonely. And that’s where you can help.
Won’t you please consider adopting a homeless pet by opening your heart and your home? Even if you do some of the annoying things my mom does, I just know your new pet will feel eternally grateful. We’ll promise not to tell anyone your secrets or bad habits. And you’ll promise to love us forever. Deal?!
Until next time,