Setting a fabulous example of what an animal shelter should be like!
The chances are that the great majority of domestic animal lovers have an impression of the standard animal shelter. The chances are that this impression is not one of wall-to-wall approval. It is tragic that animal shelters are required but it is a fact of life that they are needed. Many of them depend heavily on volunteers and donated money.
But that’s not to say that there can’t be a shelter setting a very high example of how a shelter should be.
The words “county animal services” don’t really evoke thoughts of luxury, comfort or state of the art anything, but Miami-Dade is about to change that.
In June, the county opened its first ever “adoption mall,” an air-conditioned, high tech building where potential adopters can “shop” for their new furry best friend without even realizing they’re in a shelter.
“The old shelter was outdated and we wanted more capacity and to improve the wellness of the shelter pets,” explains Alex Muñoz, Director of the Animal Services Department about the project. “We have both cages and free roaming rooms and all areas for pets are air-conditioned.”
The Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center is a massive 72,000 square-foot facility that sits on five acres. Instead of sitting in kennels that don’t have much more than a small bed or sometimes just a couple of blankets on the concrete floor, adoptable dogs have plenty of space to move around and they stay stimulated in the outdoor canine exercise areas. When they’re done playing they can then retreat inside where the temperature controlled rooms keep them safe from the Florida heat.
For the kitties, a lounge area filled with toys allows them to play or just communally nap–after all, they are cats.
In 2015, Miami-Dade became a no-kill county, reaching a 90 percent save rate for all animals going into its shelters. Now with the larger building, the department was also able to expand the number of animals it houses. The new facility has 25 percent more dogs and 50 percent more cats than the previous shelter.
Since disease outbreaks are not uncommon in shelters, the new facility was built to prevent the spread of viruses among the animals.
“The HVAC System includes multiple air exchanges per hour to clean the air in order to avoid air borne diseases,” says Muñoz adding that “dogs are separated in different pods to avoid cross contamination.”
With the new spiffy location, the county is also hoping to fight the association people make of shelters being depressing and its animals sad or broken.
A 2013 study done by Best Friends Animal Society found that 46 percent of people considered shelter pets second-rate compared to dogs from breeders and only 31 percent of young people were willing to consider a shelter adoption.
In addition to happier and more comfortable animals, the building also houses professionals and volunteers who will spearhead programs advocating for rescuing, fostering, caring for neonatal kittens and working with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to teach kids about responsible pet care.
This new type of shelter comes with a hefty price tag of $15 million but Muñoz says it could definitely be implemented anywhere.
And, please, if anyone who reads this is thinking of getting another cat or dog then do make a visit to your nearest shelter your first step. For if all the dogs and cats in shelters were found good homes there would be no need for shelters. An idyillic dream, I know!
Yesterday, Val published a post over on her blog Find Your Middle Ground that really ‘spoke’ to me. That’s not to imply, by the way, that her other posts don’t very often reach out to me and, undoubtedly, to many others.
Instinctively most people would regard us humans as far more complex than our animal companions. As the old Devon (South-West England) expression goes, “There’s now’t so queer as folk.”
Yet, once we have really got to know a dog there will be many who will see behind those fabulous eyes a sense of a depth of character, a soul comes to mind, that suggests that the brain of the dog offers a canine psychological complexity most of us don’t allow for.
To support that proposition just look at the eyes of Pharaoh in this photograph going back to June, 2007.
However, today I am republishing Val’s recent post and I do so with great pleasure.
I read an interesting article some time ago by coach Michael Neill on how there are different levels in our relationships with others. I’m not talking about literal closeness, for example a brother is closer than a colleague at work, but more about our ability to truly connect in an authentic way with another person.
Have you noticed that you can feel a deep connection almost immediately with a stranger? Or feel like a member of your family is hiding behind a mask and being superficial? … That’s what I am talking about.
Surface Level – How we pretend to be
On the surface, people present themselves to the world in whatever ways they would like to be seen. They may be clever or cynical, light and cheerful or intellectual and deep. This is our persona or the “mask” of our personality, often revealing our fears, judgments, and insecurities in the very attempt to hide them.
Whether we enjoy or dislike someone’s personality is fairly arbitrary – an accidental coming together of our own innocently acquired preferences and prejudices from a young age.
But like it or not, at some point the mask slips and we see through to…
One Level Deep – The selfish self
Underneath the masks of personality, we’re continually navigating the world through a swirl of thought. Because we feel that thinking is coming at us from the outside world, we tend to see our actions, as one of my clients once put it, as being ‘the only sane response to an insane world’.
This is how we justify our ambition and ruthlessness; our cruelty to ourselves and others. After all, if it wasn’t a dog eat dog world out there, who would ever want to eat a dog?
When we see through someone’s “nice person” or “tough guy” mask, we often see only as far as this level. And it’s difficult for most of us to feel warmly towards someone who is seemingly only out for their own self-aggrandizement or self-preservation.
Until, that is, we see through to…
Two Levels Deep – Doing the best we can as we’re all in this together
There is a quote often attributed to Philo of Alexandria that we should “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is not only true in the physical world, where our bodies begin to decay long before our thoughts are ready to let go, but also in our innate psychology.
Every human being I know wants to love and be loved; to be happy more and suffer less; and to feel like in some way their life had meaning and value. How they go about achieving these aims is a product of their level of understanding and experience of the world.
It’s easy to love people “two levels deep”, because we see ourselves reflected in them. We all have a natural compassion for the suffering of others and an abiding conscience which ensures that while we may at times act in ways that are harmful to ourselves and others, we do it in spite of and not because of who we are at core.
Loving people at this level doesn’t mean we have to live with them or let them get away with murder, literally or figuratively. It just means that we don’t get so upset by their humanness or carried away by our own delusions that we can escape the human condition.
While seeing through to people’s innate humanity makes for richer and more wholesome relationships, there is a level beyond even that which takes us past the illusion of separation which allows us to play judge and jury to our fellow humans…
Three Levels Deep – Who we are before the fact of thought
Who are you before thought comes into the equation? Mystics throughout time have described our essential nature as being made of spirit – a name for the invisible life force that makes up the visible world of form.
It’s difficult to even talk about “loving someone” at this level because rather than two or seven or even seven billion separate people, there is simply the presence of Love with a capital “L” – and as we dissolve and surrender into that Love, we fulfill the age-old proverb that “we are that which we seek”.
We are one in shared consciousness and spirit.”
p.s. This makes me think about how that pesky neighbor, or annoying colleague and Donald Trump appear one level deep for many of us.
Val concluded her post with the proverb “we are that which we seek”. I used a very similar idea as the title to today’s post, “We are what we think of most!“. I am clear in my own mind that those two sayings are opposite sides of the same coin.
All of which reinforces in spades the benefits that flow from open and honest self-awareness.
If only for the wonderful quality of a deep sleep that results from that self-awareness.
Anyone who has been close to dogs in their lives knows that they are frequently very vocal creatures. Likewise, anyone who has been close to a dog or two quickly learns to understand the basic emotions being conveyed by a dog’s vocal sounds.
But, nonethless, there was an item over on the Care2.com site recently that provided a comprehensive tutorial on listening and interpreting the sounds from our dogs. I wanted to share it with you today.
Your dog communicates with you and other dogs in a variety of ways — including growling. Depending on the context, a growl can be anything from a sign of enthusiastic play to a warning of an impending attack. It is important to understand why your dog growls and when you should be concerned about this behavior.
A growl doesn’t always signal an unfriendly dog. Here are some common reasons your dog might growl and some situations where you may need to seek outside help.
Growling in Play
Dogs often growl during friendly play with other canines. This type of growling is typically higher pitched and shorter in length than other growls. To ensure that play is friendly, watch for the proper play signals and keep arousal levels low by taking frequent breaks.
Your dog may also growl when he plays with you. Pay attention to your dog’s body language during play — sometimes growling can indicate discomfort. Avoid rough play with hands and physical wrestling. If you are unsure about the distinction between acceptable play interactions and aggression, seek help from a professional.
Growling as a Warning
A dog who is afraid of something may growl to fend off potential harm; the message he’s sending is that he will defend himself if necessary. Some dogs may growl at any unfamiliar person, while others may respond only to specific types of people, like men with beards, or to sights they are uncomfortable with, such as a horse. If your dog growls only at specific people or things, remedial socialization help is needed.
Or your dog may growl at another dog as a way to tell him to back off before a confrontation occurs. Many times, the other dog will heed the growl and give your dog the space he desires. There are dogs, however, who will not back down when they are growled at; in this situation, a fight may ensue.
If your dog’s warnings to back off go unheeded, his growling may increase into other aggressive behaviors, making it difficult for him to be around other canines. Some dogs do best with only select doggy playmates, while others should be limited to socializing only with humans.
Growling for Medical Reasons
If your dog suddenly starts to growl when he is approached or touched, it may be a sign that he is in pain. Dogs with arthritis, abscessed teeth or other forms of illness or injury may experience increased pain when they are moved or touched and may growl to avoid it. A pet in pain is also more likely to bite than a healthy pet.
Pregnant or lactating dogs, or dogs in false pregnancy, are more likely to be protective and defensive with people and other animals, and are also more likely to growl at approaching humans. If you think your dog is growling for medical reasons, talk to your veterinarian.
Growling Out of Frustration
Your otherwise-friendly dog may growl as an expression of barrier frustration. A dog may growl or bark when he is on leash or behind a fence, even if he is comfortable with other dogs when he is off leash. Dogs who growl in these situations need to be trained to relax when on a leash or behind a fence, as territorial or frustration-based behavior can escalate over time. Your dog should never be chained up outside, as this can lead to extreme territorial and protective behavior, which puts the dog, other animals and people in danger.
When to Seek Outside Help
Growling is a way of communicating — for instance, his way of saying, “Give me space,” “Stop it,” or “Back off.” But certain situations — growling when approached or handled, and growling as part of resource guarding — require professional help. A dog who is engaging in resource guarding may be protecting food, toys or people, or his favorite places, like a sleeping space. Even with the best management plan in place, a guarding dog may escalate his aggression, which is why this behavior calls for professional intervention.
Your dog may also growl when he is handled, either because he is uncomfortable or afraid. He may growl when his collar is grabbed, his toenails are trimmed, his ears are touched or his mouth is opened. He may also be uncomfortable with direct eye contact, a person leaning over him, hugs or other forward greetings. Again, this behavior can escalate to something much more dangerous.
Talk with your veterinarian about these behaviors as soon as possible; have your pet’s health evaluated and, if necessary, ask for a referral to a behaviorist or trainer who can help you teach your dog strategies for coping with these situations.
By Mikkel Becker | Vetstreet.com
You can imagine that with nine dogs here in the house there are times when Jean and I struggle to hear each other over the top of the doggy conversations.
The so-called Sand Fire that burned for over a week near Los Angeles didn’t only threaten wildlife sanctuaries. Soon after the wildfire started on July 22, Mark and Lisa Tipton, owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America (DDRA), a non-profit organization that rescues, trains and rehomes hearing-impaired dogs, decided it was better to be safe than sorry. They evacuated the rescue ranch’s nearly 50 residents.
“It was no small feat to assemble crates, pack them into trucks and trailers, and load the dogs,” Lisa wrote on the DDRA Facebook page. “Backbreaking and stressful. We have wonderful paid kennel staff here which is why we were able to evacuate the dogs so smoothly. Nobody got bitten, no loose dogs, no drugs were used. They stayed with us in our time of need and they were rock stars.”
The Tiptons were eventually able to find a temporary home for the dogs at the California state prison in Lancaster, which invited them to bring the dogs there. Mark happens to operate the Karma Rescue Paws for Life dog-training program for the prison’s inmates. It is California’s first and only dog program in a high-security prison. Many of the participants are serving life sentences.
In this program, dogs rescued from high-kill shelters around Los Angeles County live full-time with the participating inmates. Over a 12-week period, the inmates learn how to train the dogs for Canine Good Citizen certification. This certification helps the dogs become more adoptable and, in turn, helps save more dogs from shelters. The inmates benefit by learning real-world skills and giving back to society by helping these dogs get another chance at life.
“Paws for Life restored my faith in humanity that I’m a person, that I matter,” inmate trainer Jon Grobman told KABC. “It gave me the opportunity to care for something, love something.”
In the two years the program has been offered at the Lancaster prison, 75 former death-row dogs have found forever homes.
‘They Were Thriving Under Their Care’
After the Tiptons dropped off the dogs, they returned to the DDRA ranch to check on the fire, get some sleep and gather up more supplies for the dogs.
“The dogs were bewildered and watched us walk out the gates,” Lisa wrote on Facebook. “The looks on their faces made me cry when things quieted down and I had time to think about it. I have to admit that I felt guilty leaving them there.”
The couple returned to the prison the next morning with food for the dogs – which, along with the feelings of guilt, wasn’t necessary.
“The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully,” Lisa wrote. “They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs… I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee.”
Nor had she ever seen the dogs so comfortable around strangers. “[They] were thriving under their care,” Lisa wrote, “and had wagging tales and smiles on their faces.”
Thankfully, DDRA survived the Sand Fire. All the dogs returned to their home July 30.
“Can pretty much guarantee that when they are all safely in their kennels snoring,” Lisa wrote, “I’m going to melt into a huge puddle of tears from sheer thankfulness and relief.”
Coincidentally, while the inmates at the Lancaster prison were caring for the displaced deaf dogs, L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich proposed that, to help with overcrowding in animal shelters, a new one should be built at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.
This essay from George Monbiot just has to be read as widely as possible.
Dear followers of this blog know that from time to time I dip into politics. I do so because something I read strikes me with such force that I want others to read the article or essay. Not infrequently, my ‘dip’ is in the form of republishing an essay from George Monbiot who, long ago, gave me blanket permission to republish his essays. That is the case today.
I was inspired to write my book, subsequently self-published last December, because I truly believe that the values that we see in our longest animal companions are values that we, as in our societies, from top to bottom, have to embrace if we are to stand any chance of surviving as a species.
Reflect on the fact that dogs do not lie, they do not set out to deceive or influence others for their own personal gain and they are utterly creatures of integrity.
OK, I can hear some of you thinking that dogs are dogs and humans are humans and it’s just plain daft to link the two in this fashion. My only answer to that is to read the book or, at the very least, download and read the first twenty-five pages (for free). Better still purchase the book and have 50% of my net income donated to the Rogue Valley Humane Society.
On the 28th July, George Monbiot published an essay entitled So Much For Sovereignty. I read the essay and, frankly, was apalled at what George was describing: the background of the UK’s new international trade secretary, Liam Fox, recently appointed by Theresa May.
Read it for yourself and see if you react the same way that I did!
So Much For Sovereignty
28th July 2016
To this government, “taking back control” means handing Britain to a different set of foreign powers
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 27th July 2016
What does it mean to love your country? What does it mean to defend its sovereignty? For some of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, it means reducing the United Kingdom to a franchise of corporate capital, governed from head offices overseas. They will take us out of Europe to deliver us into the arms of other powers.
No one embodies this contradiction as much of the man now charged with determining the scope of our sovereignty: the new international trade secretary, Liam Fox. He explained his enthusiasm for leaving Europe thus: “We’ll be able to make our own laws unhindered by anyone else, and our democratic parliament will not be overruled by a European Court.” But of all the people Theresa May could have appointed to this post, he seems to me the most likely to ensure that our parliament and laws are overruled by foreign bodies.
Dr Fox looks to me like a corporate sleeper cell implanted in government. In 2011, he resigned his post as defence secretary in disgrace, after his extracurricular interests were exposed. He had set up an organisation called Atlantic Bridge, financed in large part by a hedge fund owner. Atlantic Bridge formed a partnership with a corporate lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is funded by tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. Before it was struck off by the Charity Commission, it began assembling a transatlantic conclave of people who wished to see public services privatised and corporations released from regulation.
He allowed a lobbyist to attend his official meetings, without government clearance. He made misleading statements about these meetings, which were later disproved. It seems extraordinary to me that a man with such a past could have been brought back into government, let alone given such a crucial and sensitive role. Most newspapers have brushed his inconvenient history under the political carpet. He is, after all, their man.
This is the man who has been put in charge of making new trade agreements. What he wants to do with them is pretty clear. “We need to see a reinvigoration of our transatlantic relationship,” he argues. “We have a low regulation and low taxation environment which is only likely to improve outside the EU.” Improve, in this context, means becoming yet more hostile to human welfare, social mobility and the defence of the living world.
They threaten to reduce to the lowest common denominator the laws protecting us from predatory finance, the exploitation of workers, food adulteration, climate change and environmental destruction. They threaten to force the privatisation of public services. They would allow corporations to sue governments for compensation in offshore tribunals that – unlike the European Court Dr Fox professes to hate – are unaccountable, opaque and wildly imbalanced. The EU has no mandate to strike such agreements: a consultation on the offshore tribunals TTIP proposes attracted 150,000 responses, 97% of which were negative.
Leaving Europe should enable us to leave behind biased, destructive treaties of this kind; we will, after all, have to renegotiate most of our trade agreements. But by putting the Fox in charge of the chicken coop, Theresa May seems determined to replace them with something even worse.
The corporate army is already at the gates. The Republican senator Tom Cotton proposes that Britain should join the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Using the kind of international tribunals that TTIP threatens to impose, NAFTA has undermined labour rights and environmental protection. It has blocked attempts to produce more progressive laws and greatly restricted legislative sovereignty. Whether we formally join NAFTA, or connect to that trading area through TTIP or another such agreement, the results will gravely threaten our sovereignty – unless negotiations are run on an entirely different basis.
In response to the Philip Green scandal, Theresa May says she wants to “tackle corporate irresponsibility” and “reform capitalism so that it works for everyone not just the privileged few.” We have no idea what she means, but here’s where it should begin. Before her government starts negotiating any new trade treaties, it should open a public consultation about their purpose and scope. The UK’s trading relationships should be debated in parliament and the people of this nation should be allowed to determine how much control over national life our representatives should retain, and how much should be ceded to international agreements and international bodies.
Does this mean a referendum? If we can be trusted to decide whether or not to share our sovereignty with Europe, should we not also be trusted to decide whether or not to share it with transnational capital?
But the Conservative vision of sovereignty is highly selective. People like Dr Fox appear to hate much of what others love about this country: the NHS, our public broadcasters, our social safety net, the protection of the countryside, the notion that power resides in the people, rather than in corporations and their shadowy lobbyists. There are traitors in our midst, who would rip down our most treasured institutions on behalf of the transnational elite and its offshore holdings. This, it seems, is what they mean by taking back control.
Subsequently, I left a follow-up to my first comment, replying to a comment from Diane Husic. This is what Diane wrote:
Many of us realize what a critical junction the country faces in this election cycle. As an academic, I am trying to figure out the appropriate role I should play. We need to teach students to be respectful of difference, to be tolerant, to be problem solvers, and to be civically engaged, but we aren’t supposed to use our positions to “force” our political views on them. But given the magnitude of issues confronting the planet and humanity and the importance of having leadership that “gets it” (and displays compassion and empathy), this is a tough balance to try to find.
and this was my reply to Diane:
I particularly enjoyed the lyrics in the middle of this narrative of the inclusion of Rozalla’s Song Everybody’s Free to Feel Good, which is an old favourite of mine..
So Go On FEEL GOOD and DANCE.. LAUGH and SING..
And SHARE THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR
Sending Love and Blessings
Next time I will share with you the village I grew up in as we went back to see the Well Dressings.. Along with some of my thoughts..
Feeling good about ourselves is the result of knowing and liking who we are. The foundation stone of knowing and liking all the many good people we interact with throughout our lives.
I was speaking recently with John Hurlburt whom Jean and I knew well when we were living in Payson, AZ. Subsequently, John sent me a wonderful essay with his permission for me to share it with all you good folks!
A quick web search found a photograph of Wildcat Canyon and that is at the end of today’s guest post.
Midnight in Wildcat Canyon
The dirt road maze in our Arizona forests covers hundreds of miles. It’s quite possible to drive all day without encountering another human being. I once ended up at a place called Wildcat Canyon at midnight after taking a wrong turn on a wet rocky mountain road.
Cell phones are problematical in the high country. It would have helped if there had been a back woods road map on board. Fortunately there was a GPS that worked.
Wildcat Canyon in the moonlight was well worth visiting. The heavens were open above without a trace of man made light. The impact was awe inspiring. As we intuitively agree, everything fits together or we’d be random atoms.
Although, it may seem random to the casual observer, we scientifically know that the cosmos is unified from the quantum level of physics up with the classical level of physics and back again through fundamental forces we have barely begun to understand.
Einstein’s theories prove that the cosmos turns inside out without breaking. Slight earthly energy shifts can modify and potentially eliminate all life on earth. There’s no need to contribute to the problem by aggravating the negative effects of climate shift through either our deliberate negative action or our thoughtless lack of action.
It’s difficult to understand why we’re fussing and fuming as though we owned the earth, the moon, the sun, and the stars. There’s consensus on the body of scientific fact that supports a holistic understanding of our relative insignificance and our corresponding responsibilities as a consciously aware biological species which is presently the dominate life form on a remote garden planet.
Signs of our cultural crisis of consciousness are clear. Science is ignored or denied unless convenient and/or profitable. World economics are systemically corrupt. Slick politicians twist reality on its ear without regard for truth, justice, liberty, or equality.
Knowledge, understanding and wisdom are disparaged.
Insanity, driven by both conscious and unconscious human fears, masquerades as truth and reason. War is profitable and encouraged. Our politicians know better if they have any awareness or compassion at all in their hearts and souls. It seems that even when most politicians are aware of reality to some degree, they simply don’t care for much beyond themselves in the long run. Political ends justify the means without regard and without regret. Hyper concentrated economic power takes no prisoners.
Insanity is cold. We light a fire to keep us warm and to heat our food.
As the flame burns, we realize that matter and energy are interchangeable. We realize that the earth is finite. We know that we’re energized by the universe. We are children of the light. We are the voice of life and the hope of the future and we’ve lost our moral compass.
Nature always wins and doesn’t care about the quarterly bottom line. Peace is a verb.
Without a unifying purpose, surrender and unilateral acceptance are dubious. What could be more unifying than our instinctive need to survive? Our common objective is to sustain our natural balance. Our immediate practical objective is to save our planetary farm.
We don’t become fully consciously aware until we are born. We begin learning about our world in our cribs. Consider that we live in a garden cradle at the edge of the Milky Way. Change is constant as our universe emerges. Adapting to change is the prime directive for all life forms.
Our problems are complex. The simple answer is found in all our human wisdom traditions. “Be of service to the Earth which sustains all planetary life.” The answer to our political quandary is similarly simple. We can vote for the Nature of Creation or we can vote for Mammon.
We can vote for Sanity (Greek: sanos; balance, wholeness and well being) or we can vote for the meaningless night shades of human insanity. We may vote for Nature or we may vote for global corporate financial interests.
It’s important to note that the unaided human mind is limited. Dumb comes with the territory with no additional charge. Our lives are a learning experience with an ongoing purpose of growth and service.
It took about an hour to get back to a main highway from Wildcat Canyon. It was a matter of back tracking through landmarks noted along the way such as the occasional miniature lake in the middle of the trail or a stretch of jagged rocky out cropping. It was a relief to return to an asphalt road about an hour later.
A wave is breaking. Take care and maintain an even strain.
an old lamplighter
You all have a very peaceful weekend. (Oh, and you may want to drop across to Sustainable Rim Country, a fabulous project that John and others have under way.)
After a quick check to make sure that Emily wasn’t promoting a business I said that I would be delighted to publish a guest post from her.
So who is Emily? This is a short introduction to her:
Emily Parker is a cat parent to 2 lovely cats, Gus and Louis (Gus only has one eye, but we love him all the same!). She has lived with dogs in the past and can’t wait to add a dog to the family again. She writes about all things cats at her blog, Catological.com.
Don’t ask me how late February became late July but that doesn’t diminish in the slightest the quality of Emily’s guest post.
Before you read on let me present you with a picture of one of our cats that we have here at home.
Cats, Dogs, and Kids: Who Teaches Who.
by Emily Parker, Catological.com
You’ve heard it as a kid, and if you have children of your own, you may have told your kids this.
“Having a dog is a big responsibility.”
This is absolutely true. A dog can teach kids how difficult it can be to take care of another living being, all while teaching them valuable life skills.
But little do we know that raising a dog is not a one-way street. Not only do dogs teach kids, but kids teach dogs, too. And if you’re a cat owner, it creates another web of teaching. Let’s break it down.
What Dogs Teach Kids
The Importance of Feeding, and Nutrition
What a dog will teach a kid is the importance of regular feeding. However, a kid can’t just dump some dog food in a bowl and call it a day. To raise a dog properly, the child needs to make sure the pup is getting the adequate nutrition it needs, all while not overeating.
If you have a kid, you must teach the child that proper nutrition is a must when feeding the dog. He or she will need to measure out the serving size, pay attention to ingredients, and become acquainted with the macronutrient profiles most beneficial for their dog. This can bleed into the child’s own eating habits as they learn to eat healthy and measure out portions.
Also, feeding a dog will teach a child that rewarding yourself is good if it’s done on occasion. Nothing wrong with the occasional treat!
Just be sure to keep up on the latest recalls.
A child needs to have at least an hour each day dedicated to getting outside and playing. There are many ways to get a child outside, but perhaps the best way is to have a dog.
A dog needs to be walked every day, and by having your kid walk the dog, they’ll be getting exercise and learning to enjoy the great outdoors. Plus, it can get even more physical. Kids can chase dogs. Dogs can chase kids. Kids can run with their pets. The possibilities, as it turns out, are endless.
That Taking Care of a Pet Can Get Messy
This applies to cats as well. Children will have to scoop a cat’s litter, though it may seem a bit cleaner than picking up after a dog, who will of course be doing its business as the child takes it out for a walk, and the child will have to pick up after their pet.
It can seem a little a messy, and it will teach the child how to handle an animal’s waste, (which works out great if they ever decide to have children).
What Cats Teach Kids
The Importance of Consent
Most dogs are all over you, while some cats tend to want you to pet them at certain times.
Yes, we know that not all cats are like that, but a majority are. Sometimes, a cat doesn’t want to be held, pet, or bothered in general. And that’s okay!
You should teach your kid that sometimes, an animal, or indeed a human, needs their personal space, and that needs to be respected.
The Importance of Sleeping
Cats can sleep almost twice as much as humans can.
While your kid isn’t going to be sleeping for 16 hours a day, they still need 8 hours in most cases (or more if the child is younger), and may be neglecting that.
Having a cat around, who sleeps all the time, can teach the kid that sleep is important to anyone’s life, and they may soon be sleeping along with the kitty.
The Importance of Curiosity
Cats are always curious about their surroundings. If something changes, the cat will examine the surroundings incessantly. While some say that curiosity kills the cat, we believe that being curious about everything around you is a good thing, and should be taught to children.
As Fluffy examines her surroundings, kids will soon learn to examine what is around them. They’ll be aware of the people around them, look around their room when trying to find something, and be aware at all times. All of these are valuable tools for a child to have.
What Kids Teach Cats
How to Have a Little Fun
Despite learning the cat’s boundaries, some kids will still pick the kitty up, pet them excessively, and bother them. The cat may soon learn to be more sociable. They may have points where they don’t want to be bothered, sure, but they can learn to let loose once in a while.
What Dogs Teach Cats
How to Tolerate Each Other
Sure, cats and dogs can get along great, but at the end of the day, they are two different species with two different ways of behavior. Sometimes, an antisocial, sleeping cat can get annoyed by Fido’s constant need for attention. A dog may be confused by Fluffy scratching it whenever it tries to chase her.
Dogs and cats soon learn, however, to get along, or at least tolerate each other’s differences. This can teach children that they may have to be acquaintances with someone who is different than them and who may annoy them to death, like a coworker or a classmate. You may have to be with some people who are different than you. You’ll have to tolerate it. Heck, you may even grow fond of them after a while.
The Importance of Eating What is Yours
Cats can get into dog food, and vice versa. While cat food isn’t going to harm a dog and dog food won’t hurt a cat, the food doesn’t meet the nutritional needs of the opposite species. Dogs and cats will soon have to learn where their food is and not get into another animal’s food (though you should keep their feeders and dishes far apart from each other to prevent confusion and territorial fights). It’s a valuable lesson to learn for any pet.
A kid raising a pet isn’t just a learning experience for the child. It can be a learning experience to the pet, as well as a learning experience from one pet to another. In life, you’ll learn different things from different people, and those who aren’t human can ironically be the best teachers.
Wise words indeed, and a pleasure to publish. Thanks Emily.
The concluding photographs from the 10th annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition.
The first set were published a week ago, together with this introduction:
Incredible, prize-winning, images of dogs.
The following was read over on Mother Nature News on June 30th. They just have to be shared with you.
However, to ensure the integrity of republication and the identity of the photographers, I’m going to include the photographs and the words of the original MNN piece, and split it across today and next Sunday.
Trust me you will adore these photographs.
Here are the concluding photographs.
These prize-winning images of dogs will steal your heart.
10th annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition drew entries from photographers in 90 countries.
Hugo the puppy is the subject of this winning image by 16-year-old Jade Hudson.
The gray faces of old dogs speak to all the love and friendship they’ve provided over the years as Lizzie, a 12-year-old mixed breed dog, shows us. Curling up with a cracking fire and your four-legged BFF is one of life’s great joys.
This portrait of two Afghan hounds named Ozzie and Elvis took first place for the Dog Portrait category. The setting is the idyllic Ashdown Forest in Sussex.
And finally, the winner of the Puppy category is little rescue puppy Buddy enjoying a bowl of milk. The photo was taken by Colorado-based photographer Linda Storm.
“The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen,” says Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club chief executive. “Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life.”
If you’re a photographer who loves dogs as your subject, keep an eye on the opening date for next year’s competition!
Going to repeat the words of Rosemary Smart as I can’t even come close to the power of what she said:
The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen.
Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life.