www.yourefirst.net

Archive for the ‘canine companionship’ Category

Animal-Assisted Therapy: Elizabeth Loved Oscar

In canine companionship, Health on March 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

Love is a game that two can play-and both can win.

The fact that Elizabeth loved Oscar might not sound like headline material, but for me it is. Elizabeth is my special granddaughter. She was born with mental retardation and life holds many challenges for her. One particularly frustrating challenge has been an absolute terror of dogs. Just the barking of a dog could send her screaming. It got so bad that Elizabeth would not go on walks in the neighborhood because of dogs behind fences. She was becoming more and more uncomfortable in the world.

A real breakthrough came the day she saw and held Oscar, a little longhaired, miniature [dachshund]. Weighing in at under two pounds, Elizabeth saw no threat in this tiny pup. She was delighted and we were
thrilled, so we gave Oscar to Elizabeth for her birthday. A few weeks later, our daughter Cindy Oates and her large golden retriever therapy dog, Emmitt, began working with Elizabeth in pet therapy. Cindy’s first goal was to get Elizabeth comfortable enough with Emmitt to touch him. This she accomplished in short order and Elizabeth is now comfortable around Emmitt and the Majority of other dogs as well.

The quality of Elizabeth’s life has improved considerably because of these two dogs, and she is not unique. All over the country, pets-and particularly dogs-are helping children, adults, and the elderly through pet therapy. Pet therapy is one of the fastest growing fields in America and the demand for dogs and adults to work with them far exceeds the supply. Today the objective of visits by trained therapy dogs in various hospital settings is to help patients do things they haven’t been able to do because of an accident, an addiction, or a trauma of some kind.

It’s true that others can give you pleasure, but happiness comes when you do things for other people. If your time permits, get involved in a pet therapy program. One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why.

A special thank you to ZigZiglar

Taking Care of Spot

In canine companionship, caregiving on January 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Most of us know that we’re not suppose to give our dogs chocolate but do you know why? There is a chemical called theobromine that dogs can not digest very quickly in chocolate. It can build up in their systems and become toxic. For smaller dogs, eating just one ounce of baking cocoa can result in vomiting, thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death. For a safe treat for our four legged friends try peanut butter.

A dog’s nose has 14 times more scent cells as a human’s. This is why it is important if you have something around the house your spot shouldn’t get into, make sure to put it in a place they don’t have access to…otherwise don’t be surprised if you walk in to find them with it.

Did you know dogs have chiropractors? The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association certifies animal chiropractors who treat skeletal alignment problems in not just dogs, but also in horses, cats, pigs, sheet and even reptiles. There are more than 1 thousand AVCA-certified professionals practicing in the United States. This gives new meaning to “animal cracker”!

The best exercise you can give your dog is a long walk. A one hour investment of your time will give you a well-behaved, tired spot who thinks you are the best! And who will be healthier, with a glossier coan and a better appetite. Bonus: you will get some exercise and fresh air too! Note: to avoid joint damage, never run a puppy (up to 9 months old) for more than 5 consecutive minutes.

And PLEASE remember to brush spots teeth! This is very important to their overall health!

Here’s to man’s and woman’s best friend!

Exercise Your Dog Indoors

In canine companionship, This & That on October 1, 2011 at 1:33 am

Dogs need their daily exercise, and even things like it being too cold or hot outside or the days getting shorter shouldn’t get in the way. Here are some tips on how to work out your dog’s body and mind indoors:

Run your dog up and down the stairs (do not do if he/she is a dachshund).
Using the stairs is a great way to tire out your dog. The steps add an additional challenge to a dog’s workout, as they engage different muscles than those used on a regular walk or run and add an extra level of difficulty with the change in elevation. Stand at the top of the stairs and throw a toy down to your dog. When your dog grabs the toy, call his name and have him bring the toy to you. After several rounds of this, he’ll be winded.

Laser pointer.
Pick up an inexpensive laser pointer at a store and shine it back and forth across the floor. Watch as your dog chases the laser back and forth and works out in the process. Be careful to avoid shining the laser directly in a dog’s eyes, as this can cause damage to its retinas.

Make your dog work for its treats.
Take a variety of your dog’s favorite treats and hide the around the house – behind doors, under tables, underneath rugs, etc. Your dog will be so busy tracking down his treats that he’ll physically tire out in the process. Treat dispensing toys are another great way to keep your dog busy and engage them physically as they push around their toys and try to get to the food inside.

Tug of war and fetch.
Engage your dog in a good old-fashioned game of fetch, keep away, and tug of war. These games keep your dog engaged, active, and help to release pent-up energy.

Take a socialized outing.
Put your dog in the car (always remember to use a car restraint!) and head over to the nearest pet store. Walk your dog through the aisles, let him try out toys and sniff around.

Get your dog on the treadmill (again do not do this if your dog is a dachshund).
A treadmill is a great way to get your dog a dose of healthy indoor exercise. First, allow your dog to get comfortable with the sight and sound of a running treadmill. Next, place your dog on the treadmill and give him a treat. Turn the treadmill on the lowest speed. Give him treats to keep him on the treadmill. You may use the dog’s leash as an aid but never tie your dog to the treadmill. Also, standing in front of the treadmill and rewarding him with treats for walking might make your dog feel more comfortable. Once your dog is adjusted, you can gradually increase the speed to provide a more challenging workout.

Just like us our four-legged friends need to stay active any way they can. You both will be happier and healthier for it!

Our thanks to Nicole Pajer