This Year Make a New Years Resolution You Can Keep

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...

Please Help Me. If not you, Who?

We all do it. It’s really nothing new. We all sit around during the holidays and proclaim that “This coming year it’s going to be different. This year I’m going to ….” and then we go into detail about what we are going to do different and how our life will be different because of it.

But by the end of January the “resolution for change” has been put on the back burner (so to speak) or forgotten completely. But that’s OK. No one got hurt, no one’s life was harmed because of it … it’s just something that never got done. Right?

Well it might not be that simple! Lives might actually be hanging in the balance, be lost, or at the very least, they might be changed for the worst.

I’m not talking about humans here. I’m actually talking about the pets that live in shelters and with rescue groups across our great land. Millions of shelter pets are counting on us to look after them and to provide the much needed resources that they need so that they can live long enough to find great homes.

So this year, why not make a resolution you can easily keep? Resolve to help your local shelters and rescues … and then do it.

It’s actually very easy! Just search Google or Yahoo for “Animal Shelter” or “Animal Rescue” and then put your city or state behind it. When the results page is displayed, simply click on the links and pick the one (or more) groups that you like the best.

Then contact them and give them a few dollars. Any amount will be helpful. You can also take them some old blankets, towels, a few gallons of bleach or some cleaning supplies. Every shelter and group has something that they need. All you need to do is ask. Better yet, why not give them a few minutes of your time once in a while. They can always use an extra hand so help out where ever you can. They will really appreciate it!

If you can’t decide, just drop us an email and we’ll help you figure out which group is the best fit for your assistance.

Remember … Donate Locally or Your Donation will NOT Help Local Pets In Need!

Your Dog and Your New Diet

Well, for all intents and purposes the holiday season is over. We’ve made it through all of the parties, the shopping, the stress, the cookies, the drinks, the turkey and dressing, the pies, the cakes and cookies and a few tons of Christmas candy!

One more night of dinner and drinks and maybe a well placed New Years Eve party and it’s back to normal living again. Yah, Right! Most of us are now suffering from some form of Post-Christmas-itis! With credit cards melted around the edges from over use, and clothes fitting a bit tighter from the effects of over indulging, life will be far from normal for the next few months.

In the next few days, we will all be sitting around with friends and family make plans for the new year. Among the topics of discussion will be resolutions to stop smoking, eating fatty foods and loosing weight.

Several years ago I was one of those people who resolved to drop some weight as well a few pant sizes. The plan was to eat better, eat less and walk several miles a week. The result was to be a gradual loss of weight that would be easy to keep off.

With the help of my German Shepherd Neka, and more recently now Patchs, I have been walking regularly and clocking up to 15 miles per week. We were biking together for a while, but if you have followed me on Facebook for any time at all you know that that didn’t work out very well. The overall results have been that I am still “on target” to hit my goal in the time I had set for myself.

Oh sure, there are set backs. In my case it was the biking incident, but the point is that I keep going forward. And the dog is much happier for it too. She lives to go for walks! After she gets her leash put on, she gets a bit wound up. She can’t sit still and she wines and squeals with anxious anticipation.

Until we get a few houses down the street she tends to try to encourage me to move a bit faster than I am. But when she gets into her zone we can really cover some distance.

Other than loosing weight, our walks help me in other ways. It builds cardio, it allows me to sleep better, it removes stress, and I also get to meet people when we are walking. Patchs gets some great benefits too. Besides exercise, she gets mental stimulation and she gets a chance to socialize with humans and other dogs.

So if you are thinking about dropping a few pounds in the next few months, consider doing it with your dog! You’ll save money on Gym fees, you won’t need to buy a bunch of workout clothes and you’ll get a chance to bond more deeply with your dog!

Best Wishes in the  #12 …Help yourself, Help a dog!

My Dog Works For Santa Claus

YES, My Dog Works For Santa Claus … but I have to admit that I’m not really all that surprised to find this out. There have been a lot of little signs that I just chose to ignore until today.

– She has been very jolly and cheerful
– She has been very well behaved lately
– She has been eating all of her supper without complaints
– She has been learning a few new tricks
– when we go for walks and we see a deer she wants to run over and talk to it
And …
– She has been hiding her toys from me and she doesn’t want to tell me where they are


Then, today I came into the house unexpectedly and caught her  ….

Merry Christmas Everyone and don’t forget to leave out a few milk-bones for Santa Paws!!!

The True Meaning of Christmas

The true meaning of Christmas is not about parties or presents. It’s not about shopping, or putting up a Christmas tree and hanging lights. It’s not even about putting together a huge feast on Christmas Day. If one or more of these things happens to be the reason we celebrate Christmas, then we’re missing the point. If this is what Christmas is, it’s no wonder that we don’t feel fulfilled when it’s over on December 26th.

Many of us feel some level of depression when the Christmas season is over. For most of us, the depression begins about the time we realize that Santa is a concept, a.k.a. “the spirit” of Christmas and not a real person. That’s when it changed for me too. Christmas went from “the most magical time of the year” to a time to go to a bunch of parties and hang out with my friends and eat lots of food.

After I became a little older and took on even more responsibility, it turned into an often hectic and sometimes stressful time of year. The holiday season became more about multiple lists of gifts, making time to shop, putting up with the crowded malls, planning holiday parties and meals, and arranging holiday schedules to meet all of the added business and personal commitments.

No matter were you come from, no matter what your religious beliefs, or even your geographical location, Christmas should be a time that we spend with the ones we love and care about. It should also be about the giving of our time and resources to make sure that those who are not as well off will have a better life because we crossed their path.

As a whole, I think the human race has lost sight of the fact that every person on earth has the responsibility to respect and care for his or her fellow man. If we would all except and live by “The Gold Rule” the world would become a peaceful place. After all, Giving In It’s Purest Form, expects nothing in return.

[Last lines from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas – by Dr. Seuss – 1966]
Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

Patchs’ Night Before Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas, the season is here.
My dog sleeps beside me, she’s really a dear.

The stockings are hung, we’re relaxing a while.
Life’s pretty good and I’ve got a great pal.

For years now I’ve known that St. Nick is not real.
It’s the sprit of giving, that’s the really big deal.

Millions of children, all snug in their beds.
They dream of new toys, it goes without being said.

I think of their dogs. Are they fed? Are they warm?
I pray that they’re all happy, and not feeling poor.

Just then on the lawn, there begins such a clatter.
I spring from my chair to see what is the matter.

Away to the window I fly like a flash.
I’m thinking a stray might be into my trash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear.
T’was the Spirit of Christmas – dressed up like a deer.

He looked and he saw me, it looked like he winked.
Gotta be the Magic of Christmas! Then he smiled … well, I think!

More rapid than rabbits he ran from the scene.
Just then Patchs barked, and tried to sound mean.

I told her “Be quiet. Listen and learn.”
We went out on the porch without a concern.

We looked into the night, and we saw a great light.
The North Star of Christmas was shinning so bright.

I knew in that instant, if I got nothing else all year.
Santa had been here once already this year.

Patchs came as a gift that was not just for the season.
She’s now a part of our life and God had a good reason.

I still think of companions that were mine in the past,
They’re gone now to Heaven to live with my Dad.

At Christmas we hasten to buy kids a great gift.
But there’s one thing important we sometimes might miss.

A dog will be loyal, your companion for life.
He’ll love and adore you, and help you thru strife.

A dog needs to be family, and cared for the same.
Don’t give someone a life, then put it out on a chain.

What Kinds of Activities Do You and Your Dog Like to Do?

Almost every article I’ve posted in the last 3 months has been presented as “information”. This time I’m looking for YOUR INPUT!

I’m working on an article for the Iowa Dog Trust and I really could use your help.

As the above title says, I’d like to know what kind of Activities you and your dog like to do together? I’d also like to know what your dogs favorite toy is. If your dog doesn’t play with toys, what is it’s favorite treat?

If there are any special activities you both love, please offer a brief explaination of it. I’ve been asking around locally and come up with those who like walking, playing with toys, and we even have some hunters!

SO, don’t be shy, just jump right in and tell me what you and your dog do for fun? Please post below!!!

(As always, your identity will not be disclosed in the article) Thanks for your help!

I Just Wanted a Dog – Confessions of a Dog-o-Halic

Sometimes I just sit and wonder, “What the hell have I done.” Then I remind myself, that I was the one that said, “I just wanted a dog!”

It all started when I was a young boy at the ripe old age of eight. Some of my friends had dogs. When I’d go over to hang out with them, we’d play with the dog. We’d throw a ball, and the dog would bring it back. We’d tell the dog to sit, and it sat down. We’d sit on the floor, and the dog would come over and lay down beside us so we could pet it. That was pretty cool.

For over four decades now I’ve owned and/or been working with dogs. Working with dogs is very rewarding! I wouldn’t trade it for much of anything!

But, I’ve also had my patience and my wallet tested to the breaking point, on more than one occasion. I’ve come home to garbage spread all over the kitchen. I’ve also had shredded clothes, couches and chairs. I’ve also had “messes” left for me to clean up at all times of the day and night. I’m a pretty patient person, so they were all taken in stride … for the most part.

Sometimes the health related bills can be more than a lot of mere mortals can take. I’ve had to deal with sickness, injuries and health issues that I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. There were times I wondered how I’d every pay the vet bills. I was glad I had a credit card so I could charge it for 30 days until I could earn the money to pay the bill. In the past 30 years I’ve spent 10 times more money on vet bills than I have on my own medical care.

But despite all of these things, having a dog around the house has still been a great bargain for me. My dogs have always been my friends. When I walk through the door they have always been glad to see me no matter how late I got there or where I had been.

My dogs have saved me lots of money on therapy and counseling too. That’s because if I have a bad day, all I needed to do is spend a few moments playing and I feel much better. Taking my dogs for a walk has helps me relieve stress, build cardiovascular strength and has helped me loose weight. So, I guess that made them my personal trainers too!

My dogs have also helped me learn a lot about myself. They have tested my patience, my communication skills, and made me “use my head for more than just a hat rack”. (My Dad’s Favorite saying). My patience is tested when they don’t do what I ask the first, second or even the tenth time. They test my communication skills because it forces my to figure out how to “talk dog” so they will understand me. They can’t speak human you know!

Finally, there comes a point in time, (after all of that training, teaching and cleaning up after them), when they reach an age where it’s smooth sailing! They’re well trained, obedient and other than a trip to the vet once a year they’re very low maintenance. We play, go for walks and visit places together. We visit friends (both, 2 footed and four) and have lots of fun. These are truly the greatest days of dog ownership.

Then one day it happens. They start getting old. It seems to happen overnight. Physical changes take place. They begin to loose the intense energy and playful nature they had as puppies and adult dogs.

In ever case, these changes bring back the challenging times again. Like humans, the changes make it more difficult for them to hear, move and see as well. They can’t play as hard or as long, and they spend more time lying around instead of exploring places and things like they did just a few seasons before.

The challenges then turned to something I hoped would never come, but always knew was inevitable. It’s hard to come to grips with the idea that there will be a day when they will no longer be around.

The feeling is one of sadness and helplessness. You spend as much time as possible doing the things you can with them because you know that the time is short. And just when you thought you couldn’t feel any worse, the day comes when you have to say goodbye.

And the pain comes. You tell yourself, “I’ll never do this again”, “I’m never going to get another pet”, or something similar. I have to admit, I’ve said it myself. I’ve actually said, “I didn’t sign up for this, I just wanted a dog!”

It slowly gets better as you go through the grieving process. You talk with friends and family and you remember the good times. It doesn’t take the place of having your best friend around, but it’s comforting to know that the memories will always be there for you.

But I’m what they call, “A glutton for punishment”. Others would call it being a dog-o-halic! Because I just keep getting dogs. I guess I will “Just want a dog” for the rest of my life. Through it all, it is worth having to go through all of the things I have gone through. Now, I can’t imagine Not wanting a dog in my life!