Are You a Dog or Cat Person?

Life really boils down to 2 questions...

1. Should I get a dog....?


2. Should I have children?

Rambo Loves to Unwrap Gifts: Picture Perfect Pet
Posted by Debbie Palmer -


Age: 10

Owner: Jim Lechko

City: Strongsville

Breed: Shepherd/lab mix

Dines on: Pedigree Adult Large Crunchy Bites

Favorite treat: Whatever we're having! Loves fresh fruits/veggies and any homemade cookies

Occupation: Protector, entertainer and friend

Favorite pastime: Long walks, chasing squirrels and birds from the bird feeder, baths and rolling in the grass immediately after! Also stealing slippers just to get your attention.

Best trick: Loves to unwrap gifts! He methodically removes the paper, using his paws to hold it and teeth to gently strip it off, then uses paws to open and remove contents. He always finds and pulls his own gifts out from under the Christmas tree!

Shared trait with owner: Loves to be outside together. Snacking and napping are shared traits as well.

Praise from owner: "He's the family's best friend. He is always so excited to see us whenever we come home no matter how long or short the absence. He still acts like a puppy, always wanting to play. Very smart, too."

If you could change one thing about your pet: "His alpha personality. When he sees other people and/or animals outside, he runs from window to window, snorting and snarling like a bull until they are out of sight. Truly embarrassing at times!"

See more Picture Perfect Pets online at Do you have a Picture Perfect Pet? Photos and contact information can be sent to, by e-mail to or by mail to Picture Perfect Pet, c/o Mark Morilak, Sun News, 5510 Cloverleaf Parkway, Cleveland, OH 44125.

Pets That Don’t Chew Up Your Wallet
By Emma D. Sapong - Buffalo News

What is best for a pet can be what is least expensive for its owner

A dog may be your best friend, but that relationship doesn’t come cheap. Owning a dog or other pets can incur a lot of expenses. “It’s like taking care of a child. There are many parallels with taking care of a pet,” said Jessica Douglas, a spokeswoman for PetSmart, one of the nation’s leading pet store chains. “Naturally, there will be medical care expenses with the vet, the cost of food, grooming, as well as accessories, like toys and apparel.”

American pet owners will spend $45.4 billion this year taking care of their animals, according to the American Pet Products Association. And since pets often are viewed as members of the family, a recent study found pet owners are not cutting back on spending even in the troubled economy.

But there are ways to lower pet-care costs without compromising your animal’s health or quality of life. Experts say savings can be found in food, veterinarian care and other areas, if owners change just a few things.

In some cases, spending more up front results in spending less: Pet owners who buy better quality dog or cat food may find that their animals wind up eating less, since the food does a better job of meeting their nutritional needs.

They also can save by making their own pet treats and toys. And, as with people, getting regularly scheduled medical check-ups for pets can detect health problems early, before they require pricier veterinary procedures.

Cooking for a crowd

Diane Lattimer’s Grand Island home is alive with eight dogs, three cats and two birds.

She bakes her own her dog treats and biscuits to save money, and to keep her dogs healthy.

“[Homemade treats] are cheaper and healthier, with no preservatives,” Lattimer said. “I know what I’m feeding them, so if somebody gets sick, I know it’s not from what I’m feeding them.”

She makes the biscuits and treats using carrots, liver and flour, and they are a hit with her dogs. Lattimer gets the recipes from the Internet and pet cookbooks.

For those who have time, making their own pet food can be a money-saver, or it can cost even more, depending on the animal’s specific dietary needs. But it does guarantee safety from contamination, which may be a factor for some people.

“A lot of people do it,” said Gina Browning, director of public relations for the SPCA Serving Erie County. “But it has to be done under the supervision of a vet, to ensure proper nutrients and higher proteins.”

Pet owners can cut feeding costs in the long run if they buy food with a higher density — you scoop out less but your pet gets more nutrients and is less hungry.

“The price you pay for a bag of food is not a good measure of how expensive it is to feed,” said Steve Lane, owner of Steve’s Wonderful World of Pets on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville. He recommends doing a feeding trial in which you buy a bag of food and write the date you open it, how much you pay and how long the bag lasts.

Divide the cost by how many days it lasts, he said, “So if the bag cost $40 and takes 40 days to empty out, then you are paying $1 a day to feed.”

Lane also said there is a popular belief that canned food has a higher nutritional value, but it’s not so. “Canned food is not better nutritionally than dry food,” he said. “The palatability is higher, but you pay a premium for that. Cut out the canned food and you’ll save hundreds a year.” He recommends adding gravy or a little water to dry food to enhance the flavor.

Veterinarian Scott Newman said preventive health maintenance can save pet owners plenty.

“It’s no different than people [or] cars, where you have to do routine maintenance,” said Newman, who works at the Georgetown Animal Clinic on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville.

The AVMA recommends physical exams for dogs every six months. Newman’s clinic is among those offering wellness plans for dogs and cats that provide routine testing, vaccines and blood screening at a discounted rate.

“We try to make it affordable for preventative care,” he said.

The SPCA includes a lot of medical services free with an adoption, Browning said. The agency covers spay and neutering services, the first set of vaccinations, microchip identification, the pet’s first visit to the veterinarian and 30-day veterinarian insurance. For cats, it does feline leukemia and FIV testing. And for dogs, it offers four free obedience classes for puppies and rabies shots for older animals. “They are getting a real deal by adopting an animal from here,” she said. “There is a major initial savings.”

Professor Paul Maza at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine also recommends adopting a pet from the SPCA or a local animal shelter when money is a factor. People who aren’t interested in a specific breed save with the free health services, plus the adoption fees generally are far less than buying an animal from a breeder.

Maza said mixed breeds in general tend to have fewer medical problems than purebred dogs and cats because there is not a dominant genetic predisposition toward specific health problems.

“Any particular dog can be prone to any disease,” Maza said, but in the case of purebreds, the chances are higher of the animal coming down with a disease that’s common in their family line. For example, Labrador retrievers, Rotweilers and German shepherds are more likely to be plagued with orthopedic diseases, he said.

Long-hair cats and dogs require more grooming by the owner or a professional, which can be time consuming and expensive.

Maza said the size of the pet is also worth considering when calculating costs. “A bigger dog will generally eat more food than a smaller dog,” he said.

He recommends a small, shorthair dog adopted from a shelter for animal-lovers looking for an inexpensive pet. “Get one that’s easy to train and easy to get along with and with potentially low costs,” he said. “It should also be good with kids and other pets.”

And when selecting a pet, keep in mind certain pets are less expensive to own, saving you money in areas of grooming and health care.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, gerbils and other small mammals are low-maintenance pets that are affordable to have, he said. They also can be good “starter” pets for children. “They are low-cost, not a lot of effort on the owner’s part and not a lot of training,” he said.

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Your Pet's Comfort - A Few Things to Remember
By Audrey Spilker Hagar

We all want what's best for our pet but sometimes we accidentally overlook the simplest ways to help them.

1. Hot concrete burns paws.
People seem to assume that since dogs go shoeless, they are immune to the heat and cold on the ground. This is not true. Nobody wants to hurt their animal intentionally, but while you are standing in a parking lot, leisurely having a conversation or unpacking your bags, your dog's sensitive paws are scorching.

2. Shelter from the elements
It is illegal in some areas now to tie up or chain your dog, regardless of the conditions, but the worst offense is to do so where the animal has no access to shelter from the elements. A cool shaded area away from the sun or a warm, enclosed area as a refuge from the cold are vital.

3. Dogs, cats, and pet rodents are not "wild animals."
Dogs are not meant to survive on their own outside. People who want a "watchdog" need to understand that dogs are naturally protective of their home and loved ones. A dog left outside all day and/or night will bark nonstop because they are social animals that need companionship of humans and to be part of the family and home. They bark just like their wolf cousins howl. They are looking for their "pack." A dog who constantly barks will eventually be considered a nuisance and ignored if indeed an intruder even approaches the home.

4. Fresh, clean water
Sufficient water changed daily in a bowl devoid of debris is very important. Dirty water collects bacteria and can sicken or kill your animal. Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits; all pets need plenty of water daily. Keep your eye on it. Denying water or only providing it at certain times is cruel. Dogs, for example must drink a lot because they pant as a way to cool themselves.

5. Leaving your pet in the car
These days your pet can be stolen or else if a thief decides to steal your vehicle, then your pet could be a sad casualty. Also, a car's temperature may feel appropriate to you, but the heat can increase rapidly. A hot car can actually kill a dog.

6. Keep your pet inside during holidays
Fourth of July fireworks cause thousands of pets to run away from home in terror and wind up on the streets and shelters.

7. Negative punishment doesn't work
"Rubbing their nose in it" or hitting with a newspaper are old, outdated, and ineffective ways to train a dog. Remember, a dog does not know that relieving itself inside is 'bad" versus outside. They also don't instinctively know the difference between an appropriate toy and your shoe. It is your job to teach it. Dogs want to please. Praise your dog constantly every time she potties outside. At first, keep taking her outside on a leash every half hour to make sure she doesn't have accidents.

If you catch her in the act inside, don't yell or scold, she will think you are angry at the act not the fact that its inside so encouragingly say "outside," take her outside and praise her. She will catch on. Make sure to take her first thing in the morning and before bed. Puppies have to go out A LOT. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders. You can always invest in "puppy pads." As far as chewing, dogs are chewers so make sure you have plenty of chewies and toys available. If she has something inappropriate in her mouth, take it out and replace it with her toy or chewie and PRAISE. She will catch on. Again, hitting and yelling, especially after the fact does not work. A cat with potty issues may be ill and you should see a vet.

8. Microchip your pet
If your pet is lost, a microchip can reunite you and keep your animal from being euthanized as a stray. The shelters are very crowded and the animals don't have alot of time.

9. Spay and neuter your pet
Your pet will be healthier and happier, not roam, be less prone to cancers, and you will not be a contributor to pet overpopulation and euthanization. Let your pet recover in peace and quiet. Ask your vet for a next day painkiller pill.

10. Crating for long periods of time is cruel
You will create a frustrated dog and you will become a frustrated owner. Imagine being confined hour after hour, day after day. It's a horrible existence and your animal will become a behavioral nightmare. Anxious and depressed.

11. Pets need fun and exercise
Otherwise they will take their boredom out some other way. Leaving your dog in the yard is NOT a solution.
There is a misconception that dogs will "run around and play" by themselves. Maybe for five minutes, but then the rest of the day they will cry and bark, because they are depressed being left alone and not being allowed in "the cave" the home, and away from people. Remember, dogs are sociable creatures, not lone animals meant to live a solo existence with just a few minutes of human time at night.

12. Think before giving up your pet
Your pet is your family. They love and trust you. Moving or having a baby is no reason to give up your animal. Dogs feel sadness, loss, and love just like humans.

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The Differences Between Cats and Dogs
By Rebeca Rambal

We could spend years debating why cats and dogs are so different, but the answer is easy. They are different species. While it can take weeks to train a cat to "come" or "sit", dogs can learn this behavior in just about five minutes. On the other hand, cats learn to use a litter box with almost no training, but it can take tons of persistence to do the same with a small dog. It's obvious that what's important for dogs is not important for cats and vice versa.

The main difference is this: dogs are pack animals; cats tend to be more independent, though not solitary animals as some perceive them.

Dogs are social creatures and are happy and content in a group situation. If an owner provides proper leadership, he or she becomes the pack leader and the dogs will view them with respect. However, if they are treated badly, they will still remain in the pack because they are attached to their people.

Cats form groups, but there is not a structure of leadership. They are very territorial but they will share their territory, as long as their needs are met and they're not treated badly.

Dogs normally attach to its group, and not their surroundings. You can take your dog to work with you or move to another house, and the dog will be happy as long as he's with you. Although cats also get attached to people, if you take your cat away from its regular surroundings, he or she will develop fear and anxiety.

Dogs learn everything from observing other pack members. They learn by interacting with their owners. When the leader uses rewards to get behaviors that will 'group the pack', such as "come" or "sit", dogs respond promptly. It's embedded in their DNA. Dogs can be trained because they desire to please their owners. Cats.... well, it's not the same with them.

Dogs also learn what not to do when another member of the pack growls or snips at them. The dog will avoid repeating the situation, especially to please a high ranking member of the pack. That negative reinforcement works with dogs, but a cat, will avoid the source of the punishment, clearly, their owner, so punishment will not work on a cat.

Picture a hunting situation in the wild with a cat: she goes out hunting alone, stalks her pray, and in case of danger, she can jump and climb to get away. Now picture a dog in the same situation. He follows his pray through scent, but he's not very stealthy. If confronted, he will have to fight. Dogs use fighting to defend themselves; cats are agile enough to escape. The concept of 'flight or fight' is very important for dogs. That's why hunting in a pack is what's effective for them.

What does all this mean?

The difference between cats and dogs can be summarized beautifully with this statement: "My dog looks at all the things I provide for her and says 'You must be God.' My cat looks at all the things I provide for him and says 'I must be God'."

I do my best to find interesting stories and the best and most useful information, supplies and gifts for your cats and dogs. Please visit me at

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Some Obvious Benefits of Dog Training -
Help For Owners of Older Dogs
By Bob Hunsicker

Wonderful...rewarding...terrific...fantastic...very good...okay...not bad...could be better...let's change the subject. If you were asked how your experience at dog ownership is going, where on this word spectrum would be your response? Well, if it's anything less than fantastic, please read this article in its entirety.

Nothing I can think of has the same potential to make such a tremendous contribution to the quality of your life than opening your home to a dog or puppy. And, nothing has the potential to make your life completely as miserable than opening your home to a dog or puppy.

What makes the difference between the first experience and the second? TRAINING! Every experienced dog owner will tell you that training your dog in obedience and socialization is the absolute best gift you can give your dog, your family and you.

A properly trained dog will provide you with unconditional love, countless hours of enjoyment, and genuine, devoted friendship. While an untrained, non-sociable dog can wreak havoc in an otherwise stable, happy home.

The most frequent excuse I've heard why dog owners don't train their dogs is lack of time. Sure, we're all time-deprived, but the hours you devote to training your dog will come back to you ten-fold in wonderful experiences, fun times, and the benefits that come from having a truly appreciative friend and companion who will stick by you in good times and bad.

The Benefits of Dog Training

It'll help you establish a lifetime relationship with your dog

When you decided to become a dog owner, you took on a responsibility to provide for your dog and make his life the happiest it can be. And, since the most important mission in a dog's life is to please his owner, obedience training will help your dog achieve his lifelong mission.

Whether or not you are aware of it, training begins the moment you bring your dog into your home. Your dog will observe everything you do. How you react to his actions, how you interact with the others in the household. Eventually he will look to you for guidance. He wants only to please. Your lifelong mission should be to help him. He'll very quickly depend on you for food, shelter, and companionship.

While there are many very qualified trainers to help you train your dog, I believe with a passion that you would truly be missing out on such a wonderful experience if you didn't take the task of training your dog on yourself. Many resources are readily available that will help you train yourself to train your dog. And, when you consider the fact that dog training is a lifelong process that continually strengthens the bond between dog and master, it only makes sense that you provide that training.

As you and your dog train together, your bond grows stronger, your relationship becomes closer and an attachment will be established that you'll feel just by being with your dog. Your dog likewise will learn so much about you he'll be able to know what is expected of him, just from your gestures, your facial expressions, your tone of voice.

And don't think it will all be work. You'll find it to be an enjoyable experience. Especially when you move from obedience training to trick training (if you decide to take it to that level). Trick training can be fun. You'll find yourself laughing a lot. And that can only be good for you, for your dog and for your deepening relationship.

It will correct behavioral problems

Let's face it, gone unchecked, a dog can be a furry bundle of bad behaviors. Barking, chewing, digging, running away, jumping up, growling, or even worse, biting, are behaviors no responsible dog owner should tolerate. And basic obedience training - the sit, stay, come, down, heel commands -- will go a long way to correcting the vast majority of those anti-social behaviors. A trained dog will be a joy to you, your family, and even strangers. Your dog will be welcomed in more places which will further strengthen his social skills.

Another advantage to conducting the training yourself is that training should continue throughout your dog's life. Learning keeps your dog's mind vibrant, focused, and active. The alternative is boredom, which fosters bad behavior.

Many of your dog's bad behavior problems are actually normal canine activities that happen to occur at the wrong time, or the wrong place, or directed at the wrong thing. Without training, your dog will soil your carpets rather than eliminate outside; he'll chew your furniture instead of his toy; he'll bark at nothing all night instead of just at the intruder. With proper training you will teach your dog to perform his natural behaviors at the right time, place and in the proper doses.

It will stimulate your dog's intellect

Dogs are by nature very curious. They love to investigate. Smells, sights and sounds all become the subject of investigation. This attribute will help contribute to the success of your obedience training. The other attribute is the capacity for your dog to exhibit exceptional intelligence. But, before a dog has the ambition to learn he needs stimulation. If not a sound, sight or smell, then it can be you providing a challenge with obedience training. Your dog will become smarter, and as a result learn more and learn quicker as your lifelong training progresses.

It will encourage inclusion

Even though you will be the primary trainer, you need to involve the entire family in the process. This promotes inclusion which contributes to the feeling of security for your dog. He'll feel very comfortable in his place in the "pack's hierarchy". When properly trained, you will be able to take your dog on family outings, for walks, car rides, even vacations. This is all quality time that further strengthens bond between dog and owner.

It saves time

Proper training that begins on day one will avoid so much future aggravation as well as the time you will spend disciplining your dog, cleaning up the messes he makes, straightening out trouble he may cause neighbors, repairing the holes in your yard, or arranging boarding instead of simply putting him in the car for the weekend trip. Yes, dog training will eventually prove to be a short cut to a very happy experience.

Training your dog is simply the right thing to do. All involved benefit greatly and directly -- you, your dog, your family, your neighbors, and strangers whose path crosses your dog's.

As I mentioned above, I recommend that you afford yourself the opportunity to provide the training yourself. And, I also recommend below an excellent resource that will help you accomplish just that. Best of luck.

Make the experience of adopting an older dog -- or even a pup -- a positive one for you and your dog. Begin training your new family member immediately. For information on the most comprehensive, economical and easy-to-use dog training manual I've found, visit this post on my blog -- DogsRpeople2: Secrets to Dog Training!. It's available for immediate download.

I created my blog to reach and encourage others who may be considering dog adoption. It provides visitors with actionable information, wonderful stories about successful adoptions, resources that will enable them to help others; and, even the opportunity to post pictures and a story of their own dog. I invite you to visit and join the conversation -

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