Archive for January, 2015

5 ways I’m exactly like my dog

Do you ever get the feeling you and your dog are eerily similar? I mean, sometimes I think I have more in common with my huge four-footed furry baby than I do with humans! All joking aside, here are five amazing ways we really just get each other:

1. We both love the outdoors! Take us outside—the barn, the woods, the beach … we’re both happiest and most at peace when out in nature and in the sunshine and fresh air.

2. I love being around people sometimes … but I also crave my alone time. Mystic and I definitely share this trait in common. (She probably likes her alone time a little more than I even do!)

3. We both have a favorite go-to napping spot. Hers: the dog bed in the living room sunshine. Mine: our couch right next to her dog bed in the same pool of sunshine.

Kathleen and Mystic

Kathleen and Mystic

4. Mystic and I both LOVE to sleep in, although we rarely get the chance to! I am definitely not a morning person, and, luckily, neither is my dog.

5. Mystic and I both have a favorite “treat”: baked goods! Seriously, we go crazy over anything baked: cookies, scones, muffins, banana bread, cake … the list goes on. If it’s sweet and it’s baked, it’s our favorite!

OK, now I’m dying to hear: How are you exactly like your dog?

{P.S. An interesting piece on the science behind why pets look exactly like their owners. (Come on, you know it’s true!)}

Photo of Kathleen and Mystic © Lexie Cataldo

Easiest homemade dog treats

I was in the kitchen the other day whipping up a gluten- and dairy-free meal for my family when it occurred to me: Shouldn’t I also be cooking up some healthy treats for our dog, Mystic? After all, the dog snacks you buy in stores have the same problems as the prepackaged foods we humans often buy for ourselves: dyes, preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients.

Homemade dog treats, on the other hand, are healthier, made from wholesome ingredients, and I’m guessing they taste better, too! (I admit, I haven’t tasted her dog treats myself—but who can argue that fresh ingredients are going to taste better than processed ones? Which do you prefer: fresh brownies or store-bought? … Hm, I rest my case.)

How to help military dogs

We see so much in the news about our brave men and women in uniform who are deployed overseas. But what about the animals by their side, either at home or abroad? The following nonprofit organizations are doing amazing work to support our servicemen and women, veterans and even active duty dogs:

Mission K9 Rescue: This wonderful organization is dedicated to ensuring military and active duty dogs find a loving home and lifelong care following their retirement. It also funds missions to bring combat working dogs home from Afghanistan and other war-torn countries and reunite them with their handler for a special adoption. It costs around $3,000 to bring a military dog home. Click here for info on the dogs they’re working to bring home today.

Pets for Vets: This amazing organization pairs U.S. military veterans suffering from PTSD with rescued shelter dogs. Pets for Vets matches vets up with great dogs to fit their personality, then brings in dog trainers to get the dog ready for his or her new life and home. Check out these heartwarming photos and adoption stories (note: you may want to keep a tissue handy).

Fostering military pets: When our active duty members get called to serve, sometimes they need a loving home to place their pet until their return. If you are interested in fostering or making a donation to support these animals in need, the following three organizations can help you get started: Dogs on Deployment, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and PACT for Animals.

Do you know of any other ways we can help military dogs?

 

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Animal Reiki Practitioner or Teacher

6 Questions to Ask

1) What is your animal Reiki experience?

Learning the types of animals they work with and how long they have been practicing with animals specifically can give you a clear idea about the type of animals they enjoy working with as well as their comfort level with different animal healing scenarios. Sometimes they have been working with Reiki for a long time, or have quite a diverse experience, and in this case it can help to ask about their most recent treatments or classes. You want to find a practitioner or teacher that is a good fit for your own interests/needs.

5 compelling reasons to adopt from a shelter

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in animal shelters, so I know all about the misconceptions surrounding shelter animals. For instance: Many people think shelter animals are put there because of aggression or behavior problems. Wrong! According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, the top two reasons for an animal to end up in a shelter are (1) moving/financial and (2) landlord issues. Here, I’d like to clear up some of the myths and point to my top five reasons why adopting from a shelter is the absolute best decision you can make:

1. You’re saving TWO lives: You save the life of the animal you bring home, plus you make room in the shelter for another animal to take their place. This is true even if you’re adopting from a no-kill shelter. The no-kill shelters save animals from the kill shelters whenever they can.

2. You have a better chance of knowing the animal’s personality: Animals in shelters sometimes live there for months or even years. That time gives the caregivers a good handle on the dog or cat’s personality: if they’re sociable, loving, shy and so on. When you buy a puppy at a breeder or a pet store, you truly don’t know what you’re getting until they grow up and their adult personality emerges. Shelters are also invested in helping the animals find forever homes, so there will be many opportunities for you to spend time with the animal before bringing them home for good. (I encourage my readers to please not support pet stores. You can read about puppy mills here.)

3. Shelters offer more options: What do you want, a puppy or a kitten? A calm dog that has outgrown the tiring puppy stage? A cat in her senior years? A purebred golden retriever? Whatever kind of furry family member you’re looking for, you can likely find the perfect fit at one of your local shelters. You’re not limited to just puppies or kittens. And, yes, plenty of purebreds end up in shelters, too. Next time you go for an adoption, keep this startling fact in mind: Black cats and dogs are most often overlooked in shelters, so give special consideration to these little cuties, which are more difficult to rehome.

4. Shelters save other animals, too: Maybe you’re not a dog or cat person; you’d rather save a rabbit, hamster, ferret or bird. Yes, cats and dogs make up the majority of available animals at the rescue—but don’t forget there are other critters, too!

5. It’s less expensive and a good value: Breeders charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single animal. When you adopt from a shelter, they’ve had a health checkup, their shots, may be spayed or neutered (or even microchipped!), come with a collar and ID tag, and sometimes they’re even potty trained.

I hear all the time that rescued pets make the best animal companions. Did you adopt from a shelter? I’d love to hear your story!

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