Posts Tagged ‘dog’

15 warning signs you like animals better than people

They don’t argue back, they’re wonderful listeners, they love cuddles, and they never lose enthusiasm for seeing you at the end of a long day. Animals are the best, aren’t they? They’re so awesome, in fact, that sometimes I think I like them better than people (my family excluded, ahem). Here are some warning signs to look out for to see if you, too, tend to like animals better than humans:

1. When you get some great news, the first “person” you want to tell is your dog.

2. When you snuggle up on the couch to binge-watch Downton Abbey, the warm body next to you has furry legs and paws.

3. That secret ingredient in your amazing coconut-vanilla cupcakes (and all of your cooking, really) is 1 dog hair.

4. When your cat starts to cough up a hairball (again), you’re at the ready with a towel or paper bag to catch the mess before it hits the floor.

5. When holiday shopping, you can easily spend 30 minutes deciding whether she’d rather have the pink or red heart-shaped chew toy.

6. “Vacation!!” means hitting the road for some fun in the sun at your favorite pet-friendly hotels, beaches and restaurants.

7. When the person next to you on your flight to New York brings a ferret on board as an “Emotional Support Animal,” you don’t bat an eyelash.

8. You actually think rat tails are cute.

white rat

Fact: Rat tails are cute.

9. When your neighbor adopts a dog from the local animal shelter, your first question is, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

10. “Deathly afraid of needles” quickly turns into “superstar subcutaneous fluids-giver” when your cat becomes diagnosed with kidney failure.

11. When your best friend talks about her new shoes, you immediately think of your horse’s shoeing appointment you forgot to schedule.

12. The first thing you see in the morning when you wake up is your cat’s stomach laying across your face.

13. Your favorite smells are puppy breath and fresh manure at the barn.

14. When you find a spider in your apartment, you summon all your bravery and find a glass (or wide-mouthed jar, depending the size) to safely put it outside.

15. Your dog knows how to eat off a fork.

What about you? (Guilty as charged?) When did you know you were a delightfully unapologetic animal person?

5 most inspiring animal amputees

I’m so amazed by the work being done by innovative prosthetists and veterinarians for amputee animals. Their forward-thinking work—often in the face of complaints such as, “Why would you spend so much time and money making a prosthesis for an animal, anyway?”—not only saves animals’ lives, but also often leads to new discoveries that help human amputee patients, too. With countless success stories out there, here are five beautiful animals and their amazing prosthetics:

Derby the dog:
Try not to cry tears of joy while watching this beautiful Husky mix with deformed legs run in his new feet. Once in line to be euthanized, Derby is now happy in his forever home. He even has a Facebook page! You can learn more about his special prosthetics here.

Oscar the cat:
Oscar lost his back feet in an accident, but thanks to supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog) and his heartful humans, Oscar can now live a normal, happy cat life on all four paws.

Beauty the bald eagle:
You almost wouldn’t know this beautiful bald eagle has a 3D-printed beak; it looks that realistic. But after surviving a shot to the face by a poacher and being nursed back to health from the brink of death, Beauty’s beak was reconstructed by a team of scientists. The prosthetic beak now allows her to drink water on her own, groom herself and, basically, live a normal life.

Allison the sea turtle:
Following an attack by a predator, Allison lost all her fins but one and could only swim in circles. But thanks to a helpful intern and the “ninja suit” ultimately designed for her, Allison the Atlantic green sea turtle can now swim like a pro. Click here for a closer look at her awesome prosthetic fin and jacket.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1422579428&v=P72PTMcS820&x-yt-cl=85114404

Winter the dolphin:
The movies “Dolphin Tale” and its sequel are based on the story of Winter, who was found caught in a crab trap. Her prosthetic tail, which now allows her to swim normally, is made of silicone and plastic. Human amputees are now benefiting from the lessons learned in building and fitting her with this device.

{P.S. For a few more inspiring stories of animal amputees, including an Appaloosa-Shetland pony who lost a leg, check out this striking photo essay in Wired.}

Coolest tech gadgets for your pet

This stat kind of surprised me: Did you know that the market for high-tech wearables for pets is going to explode over the next 10 years? According to a recent report by market research firm IDTechEX in Cambridge, England, the market for wearable tech for pets is expected to hit a staggering $2.6 billion by 2025.

My dog is pretty low-tech at the moment, but perhaps that will change in the future. Especially after discovering these amazing new high-tech products! Though not all of the techy products below qualify as “wearables,” one thing’s for sure: Companies are finding smart ways to keep us better connected to our animals, whether we’re at work or traveling. And some are even going that extra mile to help us keep a watchful eye on their health and wellness.

Binatone Scout 500 dog tracker: This product is so much more than your average pet collar; it’s more like a smartphone for your dog. The Scout 500, available this summer for $199, provides GPS tracking, a microphone for voice commands so you can talk to your dog no matter where they are, and video streaming so you can see what they’re up to.

FitBark : This dog activity monitor syncs to your smartphone and tracks your dog’s activity levels (rest, active and play time) 24/7. The FitBark, available in a variety of colors, attaches to your dog’s existing collar and lets you set health goals, compare your dog’s activity levels to other dogs, and notice important changes in your dog’s behavior. Cost: $99.95; available in March 2015.

Petcube Camera: Video chat with your pet? Yes! When you’re at work or out of town, you can use the wireless Petcube Camera to stay in touch with your favorite furry friends (and even play laser games with them!). Features an HD camera, two-way audio and smartphone compatibility. Cost: $199.

Petnet SmartFeeder: This high-tech food dispenser lets you manage your pet’s meals from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can adjust feeding times, manage portion sizes and even the speed at which you want food dispensed; you’ll also get notifications with meal confirmations, info about food inventory and more. Cost: $249 (for sale in Q4), or pre-order for $199.

Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker: This techy pet tracker, which attaches to your dog’s existing collar, aims to prevent your animal from getting lost. Once you create a “safe zone” around your home, the product offers 24/7 animal monitoring, real-time notifications if your dog runs away, nationwide GPS pet tracking and a temperature sensor. Cost: $99.95.

Voyce: This waterproof “smart collar” is basically a wearable computer for your dog. The Voyce monitors your animal’s health, sharing vital signs like resting heart rate, respiratory rate, activity levels, calories burned and so much more. All that info grabbing lets you see wellness trends over time, which can then be shared with your vet. Cost: $299 plus $9.95/month membership plan; available in March 2015.

What do you think? Are you ready to fit your animal with high-tech gadgets?

How to practice mindfulness with your animal

This fascinating article in The New Republic declared 2014 the year of mindfulness. Because meditation is such an important (and beneficial) part of my life, I love that it’s starting to take off in such a big way and that people in general seem more open to this idea than ever before. But the article left out a very important factor: animals. In my work with Reiki, I’ve realized they just “get” meditation and the idea of living in the moment more than we ever will. In fact, by following their lead, it’s easier than ever to find that mindful “ideal” we’re all striving for.

With that in mind, here are some easy ways we can all practice daily mindfulness with our animals (a.k.a. our best meditation teachers):

1. Savor the sun and smell the roses. Yes, it’s cliché. But next time you’re on your daily walk with your dog, instead of rushing through so you can get back to your next task, take a few moments to experience everything around both of you in nature. Smell the salty air, breathe and feel the sun on your skin. Resist the urge to do your daily walk on autopilot. You can even wander in a new direction; the two of you can just enjoy the moment and see where it takes you. If you’re more of a horse person, take the same approach on your next trail ride with your horse.

2. Give 100 percent full attention to your animal. This isn’t always easy. Next time you cuddle with your cat and talk sweetly to her, do so without any other distractions—no TV, laptop, phone, magazine or the like. When grooming your horse, focus on the moment and truly take it in: the sweeping of the brush, his nickers, the shine of his hair. Sit with your dog and give him your 100 percent attention. Really try to feel and embrace every aspect of the moment—sights, sounds and so on—instead of letting your mind fall back on other distractions, like your to-do list or what you’re cooking for dinner tonight.

3. Practice mindful eating—for both you and your animal. We all know the benefits of thinking about what you put into your body. Support your health by eating fresh, wholesome foods—and support your animal’s health, too, by doing the same and serving natural, nutritious foods. Thankfully, due to consumer demand, premium and organic dog and cat foods are easier to find than ever before. And when you want to spoil your favorite dog, whip up some easy (and deliciously healthy!) homemade treats.

4. Meditate and “be” Reiki with your animal. I’ve created a special series of six 20-minute meditations to help you tune into and connect energetically with your animal, with the natural world around you, and with that deep inner space of peace and strength within yourself—all important ingredients to mindful living. Click here to get started.

5. Take 10. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or the very last part of your night, take 10 minutes to breathe, be calm and just “be.” If they’re not already, your dog or cat will probably end up in your lap!

How do you practice mindfulness in your daily life?

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