Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Becoming a Phd (People Helping Dog)

I was napping on the couch with an ear open to the news when I heard the news person say that dogs are good at helping people who suffer from depression.  That's not news.  I've known that forever.

Our friends Niles and Caber are certified Therapy Dogs.  They visit people in nursing homes or hospitals and help them be not sad.

Harriet is another friend of ours who helps her Mom be able to go to work and not be afraid to leave the house.

You might have read the story about Charlotte, the dog who helped her Dad, a disabled veteran, get a job.  He is a good worker but he has a sickness that make it difficult for him to be with people. Charlotte is his Service dog whose job it is to help her Dad deal with his problem.

Lowe's saw that her Dad would be a good worker and hired Charlotte so she could go to work with him and help him not be anxious.  Charlotte even gets to wear a vest like all the human workers!

People who have depression or anxiety have a hard time leaving their house because they get scared.  
Certified Therapy or Service dogs, like all dogs, give their humans unconditional love.  They understand when their humans are very sad and give them lots of cuddles and kisses.  They don't say things like “Get over it” or “Snap out of it”.  Dogs don't judge, they just love their humans.  More and more studies are showing that the unconditional love a dog gives can make a big difference in the life of a person who suffers from depression.

I help Mom when she gets sad but dogs like Niles, Caber and Harriet have extra special training.  Dogs can be trained to help people who suffer from things like Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety or even Schizophrenia.  

So, the next time your human is feeling sad, cuddle up and give them kisses.  You'll be surprised at how fast they get happy again.  And if you know someone who has a serious illness like those I talked about,  tell them there are organizations that can help them find a specially trained dog to make their life less stressful and easier to deal with.

Your friend,


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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Seniors for Seniors

I recently read a story about a dog who had to go live in a shelter because his human could not afford to keep her.  Her human is old and got sick so he had to go live in a place where he could not have a big dog. My heart broke. But this story had a sort of happy ending.

She was a lucky dog because she got adopted right away. She is a big dog with lots of energy so she is going to live in a house that has children and a big yard. Lots of dogs aren't so lucky. Especially older dogs. Older dogs that end up in shelters have a hard time getting adopted.

That is so sad. Older dogs have lots and lots of love to give and there are lots of good things about older dogs. They are probably already house broken, leash trained and know basic commands like stay and sit. Oh, and old dogs can learn new tricks!

Older dogs aren't as energetic as puppies. They like to go for walks but they don't need to play, play, play all day long. They are happy to sit by your side and nap.

Older dogs make good companions for every body but especially for older people. There are even programs that help older people adopt older dogs! Some shelters give a discount or even wave the adoption fee for senior humans who adopt senior pets. Our vet gives a discount to Mom because she is old.

My Grandmom lives in a community for older people. It's a really nice place because, unlike some places, the people who live there can have pets.

The houses/apartments are small so there are rules about how big a pet can be. That's okay. There are lots of small dogs looking for homes.

So, if you are “getting older” and thinking you should not get another dog because you might need to move into a smaller house or apartment, think about getting a smaller senior dog.

Senior cats make excellent companions too!

Adopt a senior…. I know he or she will be your bestest friend.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Let Me Be Perfectly Clear

Communicating can be frustrating
I love my Mom but there are times … Our friend Kathi is an Animal Communicator.  She is so easy to talk to.  She is a really good listener and she understands when we tell her things. 

I wish Mom was more like Kathi.  I know she understands us.  Like when I want a cookie and she is watching TV or reading.  It’s not like she is doing something important and I know she can see me sitting right in front of her staring but she is not listening.

After a really, really long time of trying to get her to understand that I am starving and need a cookie she’ll say “Not happening, Sweetie” and tells me to go sit on the couch.  So frustrating!

And then there was the other day.  It was really scary.

Mom was at a business thing and didn’t get home until it was way past bed time.  DixieLee and I were waiting up. After she came home I went in the room with her where she keeps her nicer clothes so she could get into her comfortable clothes.

I was busy making sure there were no strangers hiding in the closet or behind the big mirror and the next thing I know, the lights are out and the door is shut.

Well, I immediately told DixieLee what happened and she tried to get Mom to come back and let me out but Mom would not listen.  DixieLee kept running to Mom and then back to me but Mom kept watching TV.  DixieLee was very frustrated because Mom kept telling her it wasn’t time for bed yet and that she should settle down.

Well, finally, Mom decided it was time for bed.  We sleep with Mom and Dad so when DixieLee stopped at the door to the little bedroom instead of going to the big bedroom, Mom thought she was being silly but opened the door anyway.  That’s when she realized she had locked me in! 

I was so relieved!  It was the most awful 30 minutes of my life! I could have starved to death!

I wish I could get Mom to be more like Kathi.  I read recently that humans can be better communicators with their animals.

The first step is to get our humans to talk to us more.  We do understand their language as long as they use the same words all the time. 

We have to get them to ask us only one thing at a time.  They should say, “would you like a cookie?”  Not would you like a cookie now or should we go for a walk first?”, that’s too much all at once.

Once the ask they need to be quiet and give us a time to respond.  Now, if you ask me if I want a cookie, I will either tilt my head, lift my ears or head over to the cookie jar.

Once the animal has responded, it’s the humans turn to react.  The right response to my head tilt is to go to the cookie jar and give me a cookie. They could say "good girl" or something but going to the cookie jar is the best response.

It’s so simple but it takes time.  I am going to practice with Mom now, you might want to practice with your humans too.



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