Category: Musings

Eating out with your ….

…. dog!

The last few days have been sidetracking me from writing the blog. Apart from editing my third book The One We Feed and dealing with critical fire conditions and hoping with all our hearts for the rain due on Friday night to materialise, and … You get the message!

Anyway, The Dodo came up with a lovely snippet on the 20th August. Here it is:

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Diner Spots A Guy Out On The Sweetest Date With His Dog

Relationship goals 💞 

By Stephen Messenger, Published on the 20th August, 2021.

The other day, Gemma Colón stopped by a restaurant in New York City to grab a bite. But the visit ended up satisfying more than just her appetite.

“I was presented with one of the most unexpectedly heartwarming views,” Colón told The Dodo. “I noticed this dog seated across from his owner, perched up on a chair, acting like an absolute proper gentleman.”

The dog and his owner were apparently on a date.

GEMMA COLÓN

Colón was fortunate enough to be seated in view of the adorable pair — basking the sight of the good thing they have going.

“[The man] was doing a crossword puzzle and sipping a glass of red wine with his meal. His date (the dog) was enjoying his own bowl of water, which he slurped politely,” Colón said. “It was really amazing how well-behaved the pup was. I saw better table manners displayed by this dog than I’ve seen from some humans.”

While the man and his dog dined, Colón saw other patrons smile at the sweet scene as well. No one had the heart to interrupt their meal to comment on their cuteness, but Colón did overhear an exchange with their server — revealing that this wasn’t just a one-off outing.

“I heard a waitress comment on how good the dog was at one point, and the man replied saying he brings the dog with him everywhere,” Colón said. “It definitely seemed like a very pleasant date, with lovely company.”

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This is really a delightful story but it isn’t surprising. Because dogs that are loved and cared for by us humans are so loving and caring in return. As the waitress heard the man brings his dog everywhere. He is never separated from the dog.

Perfect!

A short but interesting video

CBS present an item about dogs.

I was a bit tight on time yesterday and just looked for a YouTube video that might please.

Anyway, I quickly came across this from CBS. It goes back 7 years but so what, it is still very pertinent today.

People will tell you it’s not what you say to a dog that counts, it’s how you say it. But now researchers say dogs respond to much more than your tone of voice. They say brain scans confirm that canines can understand exactly what you’re saying. Michelle Miller reports.

The big question!

That I wonder if it will ever be answered?

For the first day of September I wanted to change the topic to an item that was recently published by The Conversation.

Space has always been fascinating to me. One of my enduring memories was standing on the roof of my Land Rover in 1969 during a long journey around the interior of Australia. We were in the Nullabor desert and it was flat, and lonely, for miles and miles. This particular night I clambered up onto the roof and just took in the night sky. There was not a single spot of human-caused light pollution and the night sky was beautiful beyond words.

Later on when I was sailing I used to regard the North Star as my friend.

Anyway, here’s a little question for this day.

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Does outer space end – or go on forever?

It can stretch your mind to ponder what’s really out there. Stijn Dijkstra/EyeEm via Getty Images

Jack Singal, University of Richmond


What is beyond outer space? – Siah, age 11, Fremont, California


Right above you is the sky – or as scientists would call it, the atmosphere. It extends about 20 miles (32 kilometers) above the Earth. Floating around the atmosphere is a mixture of molecules – tiny bits of air so small you take in billions of them every time you breathe.

Above the atmosphere is space. It’s called that because it has far fewer molecules, with lots of empty space between them.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel to outer space – and then keep going? What would you find? Scientists like me are able to explain a lot of what you’d see. But there are some things we don’t know yet, like whether space just goes on forever.

Planets, stars and galaxies

At the beginning of your trip through space, you might recognize some of the sights. The Earth is part of a group of planets that all orbit the Sun – with some orbiting asteroids and comets mixed in, too.

A diagram of the solar system, showing the sun and its orbiting planets.
A familiar neighborhood. Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

You might know that the Sun is actually just an average star, and looks bigger and brighter than the other stars only because it is closer. To get to the next nearest star, you would have to travel through trillions of miles of space. If you could ride on the fastest space probe NASA has ever made, it would still take you thousands of years to get there.

If stars are like houses, then galaxies are like cities full of houses. Scientists estimate there are 100 billion stars in Earth’s galaxy. If you could zoom out, way beyond Earth’s galaxy, those 100 billion stars would blend together – the way lights of city buildings do when viewed from an airplane.

Recently astronomers have learned that many or even most stars have their own orbiting planets. Some are even like Earth, so it’s possible they might be home to other beings also wondering what’s out there.

An image showing detail of one galaxy, but visually implying there are many more.
A galaxy among many other galaxies. Michael Miller/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

You would have to travel through millions of trillions more miles of space just to reach another galaxy. Most of that space is almost completely empty, with only some stray molecules and tiny mysterious invisible particles scientists call “dark matter.”

Using big telescopes, astronomers see millions of galaxies out there – and they just keep going, in every direction.

If you could watch for long enough, over millions of years, it would look like new space is gradually being added between all the galaxies. You can visualize this by imagining tiny dots on a deflated balloon and then thinking about blowing it up. The dots would keep moving farther apart, just like the galaxies are.

Is there an end?

If you could keep going out, as far as you wanted, would you just keep passing by galaxies forever? Are there an infinite number of galaxies in every direction? Or does the whole thing eventually end? And if it does end, what does it end with?

These are questions scientists don’t have definite answers to yet. Many think it’s likely you would just keep passing galaxies in every direction, forever. In that case, the universe would be infinite, with no end.

Some scientists think it’s possible the universe might eventually wrap back around on itself – so if you could just keep going out, you would someday come back around to where you started, from the other direction.

One way to think about this is to picture a globe, and imagine that you are a creature that can move only on the surface. If you start walking any direction, east for example, and just keep going, eventually you would come back to where you began. If this were the case for the universe, it would mean it is not infinitely big – although it would still be bigger than you can imagine.

In either case, you could never get to the end of the universe or space. Scientists now consider it unlikely the universe has an end – a region where the galaxies stop or where there would be a barrier of some kind marking the end of space.

But nobody knows for sure. How to answer this question will need to be figured out by a future scientist.

Jack Singal, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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“But nobody knows for sure. How to answer this question will need to be figured out by a future scientist.”

I wonder if that future scientist will ever be able to answer the question.

Then there’s the thought that the universe may be infinite. That is an astounding idea, that it goes on forever.

There’s only one way to close this post. With this photograph from Unsplash.

Where to pet a dog?

A more informative way to do something most of us don’t think about!

The Dodo recently had an article about petting a dog. I was about to ignore it and then decided to read the article. I am glad I did because The Dodo went to a veterinarian in New York City for the answers.

Here’s the article.

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These Are The Best Places To Pet A Dog, According To A Dog

Your pup will always tell you what’s up 🐶

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO, Published on the 21st July, 2021.

Some dogs love all the pets from all the people, while others can definitely be more finicky.

When it comes to where she’s petted (and who’s petting her), your dog probably has some personal preferences —so it’s important that you learn her boundaries.

Typically, most dogs share safe zones that are OK to pet — as well as areas on their bodies that are totally off-limits.

To help, The Dodo reached out to Dr. Stephanie Austin, a veterinarian at Bond Vet in New York City, who explained the best places to pet a dog — and where to avoid.

Where do dogs love to be petted?

As a general rule of thumb, the neck, chest and shoulders are places that many dogs like to be petted. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to where they like to be touched. “For example, some pups love belly scratches or petting on the rump area, while others may be more guarded about those parts of their body,” Dr. Austin told The Dodo. 

How to pet a dog the right way

If you’re not sure what a dog likes or doesn’t like when you first meet her, your best strategy is to let her come to you and sniff your hand. 

“If the dog is friendly and relaxed, try gently petting the neck, chest or shoulders. Don’t reach for their head from above, as this could appear threatening to a dog,” Dr. Austin suggested. 

You can usually tell if a dog is enjoying being petted because she’ll get closer to you, act relaxed and happy and even lean into your hand where you are petting.

“If a dog becomes tense or standoffish, this may be a warning that they aren’t comfortable with the petting,” Dr. Austin said.

Where to not pet a dog

According to Dr. Austin, there are some places — in general — where dogs might be uncomfortable with someone touching.

Questionable spots include:

  • Paws
  • Legs
  • Tail
  • Face

“And even though many pups appreciate a good belly rub, they may also be protective of their belly and the underside of their body,” Dr. Austin said. 

And be wary of any areas on the body that might be particularly sensitive.

“Some dogs may have areas of the body that are sensitive due to underlying health conditions — for example, if a dog’s hips are painful due to arthritis, they might not like someone pressing on or near their hips,” Dr. Austin said.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some dogs just don’t like to be touched by strangers. So if your dog prefers to warm up to people, advocate for her and let others know that she just needs time. Don’t force her to be uncomfortable by accepting unwanted interactions from other pets!

Of course, the best thing you can do when getting to know a dog is to start off slow and check in with her body language. She’ll usually tell you exactly what she’s comfortable with.

And once you figure it out together, your bond will be even stronger!

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Now Jeannie and I are biased because our six dogs love being fondled in so many ways including much of what is cautioned by Dr. Austin. But we certainly agree with the last few word about the bond being even stronger!

This is still good advice because there are so many different personalities with our six dogs and many just have a single dog.

But Dr. Austin’s advice applies to Jeannie and me and we would never be as relaxed when we have visitors. Then the strong advice is to let the dogs chose in their own time when and how to approach the guests.

Paws Give Me Purpose

I am delighted to share this website with you!

If I were to mention the name of Lea Brandspiegel I suspect that many of you wouldn’t have a clue as to whom I was referring to.

But if I were to add that Lea is the CEO and Founder of Paws Give Me Purpose Inc. and to include a little from the About page on the website then that would make you sit up!

Here it is:

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Welcome to Paws Give Me Purpose! We look forward to sharing our purpose, knowledge, laughter and tears with all of you. We hope you enjoy the time you spend here with us.

Paws Gives Me Purpose Incorporated is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, caring for and providing sanctuary to difficult to adopt dogs. We believe that all dogs deserve a second chance at life – especially seniors, those with physical disabilities, terminal illness, behavioral issues, have been abused and need someone to care for, love, and understand them.

Located in Southern New Jersey, we provide for our pups dependent upon the donations of generous friends, family, businesses, individuals and out of our own pockets. We are limited on both space and funding, as well as physical ability. We are able to take in and provide for only a limited number of dogs at any given time. 

We also feature, network and sponsor shelter and rescue dogs looking for their forever homes. All of the dogs we feature here on Paws Give Me Purpose have been waiting far too long for their chance; oftentimes, these dogs do not get the exposure they need, and we want to change that! For us, education is key; this is why one of our ultimate goals is to change the way that humans think of, and treat, dogs with special needs.

Paws Gives Me Purpose exists on the kindness of strangers, dedicated supporters who follow our efforts, the loyalty of friends, veterinarians, hospitals, rescues, shelters, and private individuals who view us as a staple in the rescue community. We are strictly a volunteer-run organization and all donations go directly towards the care of the sanctuary animals. Know that you are helping to make a difference in dogs’ lives and that you are the driving force behind us.

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So there is the introduction and I will have great pleasure in sharing more stories about the dogs that Lea has rescued and found homes for.

Oh, a postscript! If you fancy making a donation then that page is here. (And it really doesn’t need me to say that I have no relationship at all with Paws Give Me Purpose Inc.)

Perfect families!

What are the best dog breeds for families.

Again I am drawn to The Dodo and to an article that was published earlier this year. It is not a long piece but it seems to be full of common sense.

Have a read and tell me your thoughts.

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These Are Some Of The Best Dog Breeds For Families

And why you should find one at a rescue 🐶👪

By SAM HOWELL, Published on the 26th April, 2021

Adopting a dog is one of the most exciting ways to grow your family.

But you might be wondering if certain dog breeds are better for living with families than others.

The Dodo spoke with Iris Ulbrich, a behavior consultant and owner at Trust Your Dog in Los Angeles, who explained why you should actually pay more attention to a pup’s personality than his breed.

The best dog breeds for families

While there are some dog breeds that tend to be a bit more inclined for family life, it’s super important to remember that breed is not everything.

“Yes, there are characteristics that are tied to dog’s breed, but a lot has to do with the quality of breeding as well as the first few months of a puppy’s life,” Ulbrich told The Dodo.

What’s most important is an individual dog’s personality because, ultimately, that will determine whether or not he will work great in a family environment, regardless of his breed.

With that in mind, here are some dog breeds that — on average — tend to have traits that make them good family pets:

  • Labradors
  • Golden retrievers
  • Collies
  • Wheaten terriers

“Both [Labradors and golden retrievers] are very friendly, active, good with kids and eager to please,” Ulbrich explained.

As for wheaten terriers, they don’t shed. So if someone in your family has allergies, these terriers could be a good fit.

“Collies are very devoted family dogs and can be both very active but also know how to relax and be calm at home,” Ulbrich said.

That being said, these are just generalizations! There are some labs out there who are absolutely terrible with kids — and literally millions of individual dogs from breeds not on this list who are perfect family pets. 

Which is why your best bet is to go to a rescue center, where adoption counselors can match you with a pup who has the exact personality you’re looking for.

Personality traits that make a dog the best fit for a family

Since personality is far more important than breed when finding your perfect pup, you should know which traits to look for in your family’s potential new addition.

After all, a rescue is going to help you find a dog that’ll vibe with you and your loved ones, since you’ll be able to pick a pup with a fully formed personality. If you get a puppy from a breeder, on the other hand, you’ll have no idea if he’ll grow up to be a good match for your family.

When it comes to finding the best dog for your family, here’s the personality traits Ulbrich recommends you look for.

“A healthy amount of energy in combination with eagerness to please their owner is usually a great combination,” Ulbrich said.

And since families are all different, it’s actually most important to look for a dog that’ll mesh with your family’s interests, hobbies and lifestyles.

“An active and outdoorsy family with slightly older kids that live in a house would pick a different dog to a family that lives in an apartment and has twin toddlers,” Ulbrich explained.

In those cases, both of those potential pups might not even be any of the breeds listed above, since it all boils down to each individual pup’s personality.

“A dog’s demeanor also plays a big role in [a] successful family integration,” Ulbrich said. “I try and recommend people ask a trainer to temperament test a puppy before making a final decision on breed and particular puppy within a litter.”

And since that individual temperament is so important, any dog breed can be the best dog breed for your family.

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I hadn’t thought of it before but Iris Ulbrich stating that personality was far more important than the breed of the dog. Of course! Perfect sense! And always take in a rescue dog!

Loving dogs!

Yet another article about a sweet dog! Keep them coming!

I know Jeannie and I are very biased but so are millions, literally, of other good folk around the world. I am speaking of people who love dogs. And thank goodness that is the case because The Dodo is just one of a number of doggie websites and in the absence of such websites Learning from Dogs would have never got started!

So I am pleased to present another story from The Dodo about Levi. Read on:

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Very Sweet Dog Always Welcomes Mom Home With A Gift

It’s the thought that counts 😂

By Lily Feinn, published on the 16th July, 2021

Levi knows to never greet someone empty-handed. The Lab mix gets so excited every time his mom comes home that he immediately has to find the perfect gift to show his love.

However, when it comes to Levi’s presents, his mom knows it’s the thought that counts.

LORI EDDINS

“The very first thing that stands out was when he brought me an open, half-chewed box of screws,” Lori Eddins, Levi’s mom, told The Dodo. “So I took him to the vet for X-rays.”

Thankfully, Levi hadn’t snacked on any of the hardware and got a clean bill of health, but Eddins’ reaction to the “gift” encouraged Levi to start an adorable routine.

“I think my begging and baby-talking for him to surrender the box of screws might be what inspired his deliveries,” Eddins said. “He thought it was great!”

LORI EDDINS

Now, the rescue dog always gives his mom something special when she comes home after a hard day’s work. 

LORI EDDINS

“He has brought everything from his toys, to bones and blankets, to clumps of grass, pieces of cardboard or paper (I call them ‘cards’) and landscape timber,” Eddins said. “My favorite was when he found where the flower bed had been cleaned out and he brought me flowers.”

“If he meets me at the gate empty-handed, I let him carry my keys to the door, and he is so proud,” she added.

LORI EDDINS

Some of Levi’s gifts are not necessarily what Eddins would pick out for herself. Occasionally, he’ll bring her clumps of horse manure or try to pick up one of the chickens on the property to deliver to his mom. 

LORI EDDINS

Though Eddins’ chickens aren’t so fond of this gift-giving, Eddins is so grateful to have such a generous, happy-go-lucky dog bringing joy to her life — and she makes sure Levi knows it.

“I give him huge hugs and thank him as if he brought me the winning lottery ticket,” Eddins said. “Most things I give back to him, some end up in the trash. I did keep the flowers!”

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It is a delightful story and one that rings true for so many people. Lori knows the golden rule in the way that she praises Levi.

Always make a dog feel as though he or she is such a special animal that life wouldn’t work without that dog. Always praise them and when a dog does something negative do not punish them. Just don’t praise them.

Dogs are not disposable!

It’s even a difficult title to write for today’s story.

There are some despicable people for whom having a dog is not a loving companion nor a humane business interest. I can’t define them and, frankly, they are not even worth the mental effort required to think of a term.

That makes it all the more important to share this article with you.

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Dogs Are Not Disposable

Some people dump pets that are too old, not ‘perfect,’ or to go on vacation.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo

Mary Jo DiLonardo

Published June 11th, 2021.

Blind puppy Gertie weighs just over 2 pounds. Mary Jo DiLonardo

This may seem like a no-brainer, but with all the news from overwhelmed shelters and rescues this summer, it’s probably worth saying out loud.

Dogs are not disposable.

Disreputable breeders toss out puppies that aren’t “perfect.” Some people give up the family pet when they go on vacation so they don’t have to pay for boarding. Others give up an older puppy whose cute behaviors are now obnoxious or a senior dog who may have other health issues.

That little mouse you see at the top of the page is one of two special needs puppies I’m fostering right now. She’s actually a 2.1-pound puppy that we were told is an Aussiedoodle. I still think she might be an exotic guinea pig.

Gertie was dropped off by a breeder at a vet’s office to be euthanized because she was blind. The vet contacted a rescue instead.

I also have a deaf puppy that was given up by a breeder. Many other fosters are also doubling up because the need is so great right now. Probably the biggest reason is that it’s the summer and people are traveling for the first time again in more than a year. That means it’s hard to find adopters and it’s hard to find fosters. Everyone wants out of the house.

I’ve seen messages and social media posts from rescuer and shelter workers who say they feel helpless because the requests for help right now are so crushing.

“My rescue cannot keep up trying to save them,” one wrote.

“I’m sickened at the number of rescue and surrender requests we are getting and I am completely heartbroken,” wrote another.

“We need a lifeline,” said another rescuer.

There are some news stories that claim many pandemic puppies are being returned, but the numbers don’t back that up. Instead, it’s just a crush of other reasons, many involving summer travel.

I think the hardest thing for most loving pet owners to fathom is the idea that some people would drop off their dog at a shelter on their way out of town. There’s just anecdotal evidence and no statistics about how often it happens, but it’s cited very often from disheartened rescuers and shelter workers. 

The people who surrender their pets say they don’t want to pay for boarding and they’ll just get a new one when they return. Shelter workers say it’s heart-wrenching to hold a dog while they watch their person drive away. Some will stare out the door for hours, thinking for sure their family will return.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise us anymore which is really sad,” says Jen Schwarz, one of the directors of Speak! St. Louis, the special needs rescue I foster for. The rescuers hear the story often from shelter and humane society workers.

“They don’t want to pay for boarding or can’t find anybody to take their dog,” says Schwarz. “It’s basically being selfish.”

And people might think they’re doing their dog a favor by taking it to a shelter, hoping they’ll get adopted by someone else. But typically, if shelters have to euthanize for space, they’ll turn to owner-surrendered pets before strays because they know no one is looking for them.

“That’s the sad reality,” Schwarz says.

The other thing that happens often is people asking to have the family pet put to sleep because they’re too much hassle.

“That happens a lot. The kids are gone, they want to travel, the dog’s too much, and they have it euthanized,” Schwarz says. “That’s worse than dumping it at the shelter.”

Rescuers are saving as many as they can and that’s why I have one puppy sleeping behind me in my office and one napping in a playpen in the living room. Soon everyone will head outside for a game of tag where I’ll make sure everyone gets a chance to win.

And the only thing disposable here is an awful lot of very tiny puppy poo.

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When Jen Schwarz says: “That happens a lot. The kids are gone, they want to travel, the dog’s too much, and they have it euthanized,” I wonder what a lot is numerically. Anyone know?

The stories from the shelter workers breaks hearts here as well. Dogs are so intuitive; so smart. It is no surprise that they will stare for hours trying to work out what has happened.

Another loving dog story!

It just goes on and on!

Here’s another article by Lily Feinn about a rescue dog. Once again it was on The Dodo and once again I am republishing it.

I make no apologies for doing this as we can’t have too many stories of loving dogs in our lives. So without further ado here it is.

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Abandoned Dog Has The Best Reaction To Finding A Loving Family

He slept right in between us the first night we got him, and from then on, we knew in our hearts he was our dog.

By Lily Feinn

Published on the 1st July, 2021.

Mikayla Sengle and her boyfriend, Anthony Noto, weren’t planning on adopting a dog. But when Wylie suddenly came into their lives, it seemed meant to be.

Last month, Noto was on his way home from work when he passed by a dog park near an apartment complex. In the back of the park, a white and brown pittie sat all alone, looking confused. 

As Noto approached the dog, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing a collar and looked a bit banged up. 

“He looked lost, but at the same time, he seemed like he was on a mission to find something,” Noto told The Dodo. “When I walked over towards where my work truck was, he came up [to me] all innocent with his head down, seeing if I’d accept him.”

“Maybe I was what he was looking for,” he added.

Noto slipped a loose rope around the pup’s neck and walked him around the area trying to find his owner. But when no one recognized the dog, Noto put him in his truck and drove him home.

The pup didn’t seem to want to upset his new friends and was determined to show Sengle and Noto that he had the best manners.

“With people, he would wait for them to give the OK to lick and pay attention to people,” Sengle told The Dodo. “He seemed extremely relieved and happy. He got a bath and some treats as soon as he came home.”

“He instantly would look at my boyfriend for permission for everything,” Sengle added. “When he got home and ran in the yard, he was thrilled. It seemed like he never experienced the opportunity to be free and fun.”

The first night, Wylie slept in bed between his rescuers, as if to make sure they wouldn’t leave him. And he’d never been more comfortable and happy in his life.

Sengle posted on social media searching for the dog’s family, but when she finally received a response, it broke her heart.

“A young girl reached out to us and basically said that it was her friend’s dog and [her friend] had seen the post and said she no longer wanted him anymore because he was annoying,” Sengle said. “She even begged us not to give him back if they did reach out to us because they used to hit him and were not nice to him.”

Sengle and Noto kept Wylie for the five-day stray hold, giving the owners time to claim him. But when the week was up, there was no question that he was staying with them — forever.

Sengle and Noto thought their family was complete, but now they can’t believe that they got so lucky.

“He is a very sweet dog and a great companion,” Sengle said. “My boyfriend and him grew a bond almost instantly. He slept right in between us the first night we got him and from then on, we knew in our hearts he was our dog.”

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All photographs by Mikala Sengle.

It shows again how quickly a dog can open up the heart strings of us humans. As Single and Noto remarked above, they now can’t believe they were so lucky. It’s how we feel about our dogs. It’s how countless others feel about their many, many four-legged loved ones!