Posts Tagged ‘dog’

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!

What’s your animal’s name?

One of the best parts about adopting a new animal into the family is naming him or her! It’s so fun to play with words, read baby name books and even hit the web in search of the perfect fit. My youngest sis recently did just that: She and her husband welcomed home two eight-month-old sister kittens from the local shelter. They finally decided on two beautiful names: Tig (the alpha kitten, after the comedian Tig Notaro) and Quinn (they wanted a beautiful one-syllable Irish name).

A few weeks ago, all the top name lists for 2014 came out: top baby names of 2014, popular puppy names of 2014, and most popular kitten names 2014. If you’re looking to name a new furry family member, these are great places to start your search.

Animal-inspired New Year’s resolutions

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, but I appreciate this idea of letting your animals guide you toward healthier, happier living. What better time than in January, when we’re all ready for a fresh start?

Here are five ways our beloved animal companions (especially dogs) can help us achieve our goals in 2015:

1. Live healthy every day: Walking your dog every single day (or even twice a day!) is an easy and fun way to add aerobic fitness to your routine without even realizing it. (Those of you with dogs know what I mean.) And if you’ve always wanted a dog but haven’t yet adopted one, a loyal and enthusiastic (albeit furry) walking partner could be just the motivational boost you’re looking for. In fact, according to the University of Western Australia, new dog owners walked an additional 48 minutes per week. For more on the amazing health benefits of walking your dog, check out this article.

2. Widen your social circle: Take your dog for regular walks around your neighborhood, and suddenly you meet neighbors you haven’t seen before. Take her to play on the beach or at a dog park, and you just might make new friends (and your dog can have a playdate, too). Let him join you when you travel, and you’ll discover dog-friendly gems like Carmel or Laguna Beach, California, which welcome leashed dogs in many hotels, stores and even some restaurants (on the patio).

3. Try new things: Whether it’s walking a new trail in the redwoods, biking, camping or even trying a fun water sport like kayaking or boating, most dogs are always up for adventure! Both of you will get to experience something new, and that alone can be super rejuvenating.

4. Advocate for animals: Sometimes it can be hard to find your voice or the time to really “live for” the causes and issues you believe in. Let your love for animals inspire you. If you witness cats, horses, dogs or other helpless creatures being neglected or mistreated (like stuck inside a hot car or in other terrible conditions), let the authorities know. If a specific area of concern interests you, such as the plight of feral cats or hoarding, find a local organization supporting that cause and see if their volunteer program is a good fit. You could even start a blog, use social media and fundraise to spread the word about the animal welfare issues you’re passionate about.

5. Give back a little bit more: You don’t need a lot of extra money to give back in small ways. “Shop for a Cause” programs like AmazonSmile, GoodSearch, iGive and Living Zoe let you shop for things you would buy anyway; they donate a percentage of the purchase back to the charity of your choice. Not sure which charity to choose? My favorite would have to be … the Shelter Animal Rescue Association, or SARA, which I founded with Leah D’Ambrosio to support animal Reiki programs at shelters and sanctuaries worldwide. You can find us on AmazonSmile, iGive and Living Zoe.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

 

Gratitude: Five for Friday

As this week winds down, here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for today. …

1. My passport (but not the photo on it—haha) and the many adventures we take. I can’t wait until Australia next year! I’ll be speaking at the ARC 2015 International Reiki Conference in Sydney, along with William Rand, and many others. Please join us if you can!

2. Warm blueberry pancakes on a Saturday morning. Homemade is usually best (and lately I’m trying to go gluten-free), but I love how quick and easy breakfast becomes when using Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Pancake mix. A sprinkling of chocolate chips makes it even sweeter. (I like to use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips.)

3. Long cuddles with my dog, Mystic.

4. The heart-stopping views of Mt. Tam from my office window. No matter how busy I get, I always find the view so calming and I never tire of it.

5. My acupuncturist, Lynette. I can’t tell you how many times she has helped me to feel so much better during these tough times with my health. She works out of Marin Family Acupuncture and I highly recommend her.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. What are you grateful for today?

My first dog

I’ll always remember the day my dad brought home our new puppy when I was just 3 years old. We named her “Muffett,” and she quickly became my best friend.

I remember digging in the sandbox with her, chasing her around the yard while she carried my shoe in her mouth, and lying under the tulip tree together, watching the clouds roll by. I began to insist to my mother that I take my nap lying on the floor next to Muffett (instead of lying in bed like every normal kid).

Muffett and I grew up together, sharing so many things over the years, including long walks on the hill behind our house and ice cream cones (although, to be fair, she usually ate the ice cream in one gulp, leaving only the empty cone for me). She had long, feathery hair growing on the back of her front legs, which I loved to brush, and two golden-colored eyebrows that I loved to kiss. She passed away when I was a freshman in college, but she will always be in my heart!

Who was your first animal? I’d love for you to share your story.

{Photo of Kathleen and Muffett © Kathleen Prasad}