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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dog Food Dilemma

Here's a great, funny, article about choosing just the right food for your dog:,0,7896394.column

I've always been stymied by all the different standards, ingredients and claims for the zillions of different dog foods on the market these days and find that my dog does just as well on a simple maintenance diet. But what do all these terms mean? Turns out a lot of them are not regulated at all rather simply made up by the companies.

So what do you feed your dog and how did you come about choosing that food? Do you feel confident in your food choice? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bed partners

This issue has been going around for a long time and the discussion goes back and forth regarding whether it is safe or not to sleep with your pets. Here’s a new article arguing against it:

I’m sorry but I feel that most people who allow their pets in the bed probably take good care of their pets’ health and are likely safe from these zoonotic diseases.

I’ve also heard the argument that dogs shouldn’t sleep in their owners’ beds because it upsets the “balance” of their relationship. These people believe that owners should be the leader of the pack and the dog should be subservient. I think that now days most trainers take a different view. Owners aren’t taught to be dominant anymore but rather partners with their dogs. To be completely honest, my dog, Blizzard, doesn’t sleep in my bed but that’s only because there isn’t enough room for him. He prefers his crate, where he knows he won’t have to share space with the cats. The crate is his own private space, no cats allowed.

If you do sleep with your pets just be sure that he is healthy, vaccinated, parasite-free (including fleas) and well-groomed and you should be fine. In fact, don’t you think this is a good time to bond with your pets? The only other consideration is if you have allergies. Allergists usually recommend keeping pets out of the bedrooms of people who have allergies and that is understandable.

Do you sleep with your pets? What about pets other than cats or dogs?

Strays and You

I’m one of those softies that gets terribly concerned whenever I see an unescorted animal wandering near my path. I don’t usually pick them up but I have been known to report them or follow them to find out if they have a home. Sometimes it’s obvious that they are strays as in my sister’s situation (see ). Other times you just can’t be sure.

I’m also obsessed with the Lost and Found ads in the paper. I always check them out just in case I happen to see a stray animal that fits the description. Sometimes I notice a Lost ad and a Found ad that seem to match and call them to make sure they’ve noticed each other. I know, I know, I’m a worrier and maybe a busy-body but I like to think I might be helping in some small way.

The AVMA has posted a podcast to their website addressing this situation with their recommendations here:

What steps would you take to help a stray animal? Have you ever done anything to help strays? I’d like to hear your stories.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silly Grief

Most of us know the stages of grief, especially if we’ve experienced them ourselves. But have you ever gone through the “silly” stage? That’s what I’m feeling now. It’s where all those little, seemingly inconsequential things in your relationship with the deceased suddenly become so important.

Here are some examples:

·      Tonight I was taking advantage of what might, perhaps, be our last really nice day before winter sets in to wash the litterpans outside and realized a part of Bluebird was there. Yeah, I know, it sounds a little gross but she had really bad diarrhea her last couple of days and some of it was still smeared on the pans. I felt a strange sense of loss as I scrubbed it all off the pans and washed it out with the hose.

·      Twice a day I line up the many pills I have to give the various cats for their varied maladies and conditions. Twice a day this past week I’ve set out Bluebird’s too, then had to put hers back in the bottles. Even though I regularly suffered skin scrapes from her teeth as I tried to pill her, I really miss those moments.

·      Her bowl still sits on top of the stack of carriers waiting to be filled with her “special” food. I can’t bring myself to clean it and put it away yet. When I go to aliquot the many different types of food to everyone I feel like I’m forgetting something when I don’t fill her bowl too.

·      At feeding time, after everyone has been fed I stand and watch them eating, waiting to release the troublesome ones – the ones that will steal food from the others. I wait and I wait until I start wondering what I am waiting for. Then I realize that I am used to waiting until Bluebird finishes her food. Usually she is the last to finish and she wouldn’t eat in a cage so the others are caged until she finishes. I’m going to have to get used to the idea that feeding time is shorter now.

·      I look at the cases of D/D venison that I bought for her but hadn’t finished yet. I will eventually donate them to someone who can use them but for now I have to leave them where they are.

·      Each night after I brush my teeth I refill the small bowl in the bathroom sink for the cats to drink out of making sure to let the water just overflow the rim. That’s the way Bluebird liked it. She drank from the overflow rather than from the water inside the bowl. I guess I don’t really have to do that anymore.

·      Tonight is the first time I’ve sat at the computer without Bluebird’s bed in my lap. Maybe I can stop carrying it around with me everywhere.

·      I put off picking up her ashes today because I keep thinking about them in one of those small, white, plastic containers. She deserves better than that. But I also wonder, in the existential sense, how can a life be reduced to just a small pile of ashes? How can one life so vibrant, so sweet, be gone in an instant?

What is this thing called grief? Why does it play games on us like that? Have you ever gone through this stage? If so, what “silly” things did you recognize? I’d really like to hear yo