Cat Naps (Photos)

Do Pets Mourn?

We occasionally hear about pets that seem depressed or lose their appetite when their buddy passes away. An animal behaviorist gave some tips on how to help a mourning pet.

Some animals seem to mourn quite deeply at the loss of a beloved companion, whether it is another pet or a human. This is evident by the dramatic changes in our pet's behavior when they suffer a loss. What makes it so difficult is that we cannot explain to our pets what happened and why.

Somehow, our pets seem to understand that the companion is not coming back. Some pets will refuse to eat, become lethargic or refuse to play. Some will cry or howl. Some will wander around looking for their lost companion. Some will hug an object that belonged to their lost buddy.

Their eyes will look sad and when we see this it hurts, because we feel helpless and unable to ease our pet's pain. There is no one way to help a pet who is mourning, just as there is no one way to help a human who is mourning.

In some cases, getting a new companion for a pet helps. But in other cases, the pet will ignore a new companion. The best way to see if this will help is to let your pet interact with other animals and watch how (s)he reacts.

In most cases, the best thing to do is to interact with your pet more than you normally would. This includes playing, walking, and sitting with your pet. Just as humans need time to mourn, so do pets.

Even if we could talk to our pets and explain what happened, they would still go through stages of mourning. Many people claim from personal experience that they never forget their companion.

The best thing you can do for a mourning pet is to be there, but do not lavish affection on them, let them come to you. If you get emotional or upset, your pet will see this and could become even more upset. Do initiate activities, but do not force them to do things when it is obvious that they would rather be left alone.

Make sure you have an upbeat attitude around your pet, but not a forced one. You cannot fool your pet! In time, your pet will get over it.

This information in this article was provided to me by a colleague, Dr. Phil Zeltzman who has many more articles and information on his website,

Sara Lash, DVM

Healthy Pets Mobile Vet

Tips for Prospective Pet Owners in Cities

City living for pets: Some tips for owners before and after getting a new animal

Suggestions for happy, healthy city pets:

— Do your homework on animals and breeds. Use the Internet, library or animal shelter to learn about options.

— Be realistic about the time you can commit when deciding whether to choose an energetic animal that needs lots of exercise or a mellower one.

— Check with your landlord or co-op board before adopting an animal; make sure you know what is and isn't allowed before you get attached.

— Take time to help your pet adjust to its new environment. Sirens, traffic or construction might scare an animal unaccustomed to them. Reassure your pet if it seems troubled by its surroundings.

— If you are having difficulties, seek help. Ask other dog owners at the dog run, connect with others through online resources such as Meetup, or get help from the adoption agency you used. You're probably not the first one to deal with your issue.

Duck Hunter Gets Shot in the Back -- by His Own Dog!
Kelly Burgess - Los Angeles Times

Talk about a stupid pet trick

A duck hunter was accidentally shot in the back Saturday when his female Labrador retriever stepped on the man's loaded shotgun, causing it to discharge.

The Fresno Bee reports that the man was hunting with his dog and a friend near Los Banos in central California. When they decided to call it a day, the hunter set his shotgun down and left the blind to go retrieve some duck decoys about 15 yards away.

Though the gun's safety was set, the lab somehow stepped on it, causing the safety to disengage and the weapon to fire, hitting the dog's owner in the upper back.

The 53-year-old man was treated at Memorial Hospital Los Banos for the non life-threatening injury and released the same day.

Neither the names of the hunter nor his dog were released.

Tips to Choose a Pet Sitter While Traveling
By Penelop Jones -

We all love our pets. A large number of people in the world have pets in their respective houses. One should keep good care of such animals as they are a part of our house. First of all, let us understand what pet exactly is. Well, an animal kept for companionship in one's personal residence is known as a pet. Some of the people are very much attached with their pets that they regard them as a family member. So, if you are one of such people then this article could really help you in keeping good care of your pet.

Well, in this topic we are going to talk about some of the tips to select a pet sitter for your personal pet. While you are traveling it becomes really difficult to carry your pet along with you. There a few times when you need to travel suddenly. Such are the times when you need a reliable pet sitter for your pet. Now, given below are some of the finest tips to select a fine pet sitter.

1. Always go for a reliable person. If you really love your pet then you must hire a reliable pet sitter whom you know well. You should have a small conversation with him before leaving your pet along with him.

2. Consider his experience and methods of working. He should possess a proper method of dealing with pets. He should be polite in his ways of working. We all know that dealing with pets is not an easy task for everyone. One really needs to go step by step.

3. A good pet sitter needs to have ample amount of patience. So, you should hire an individual who doesn't breaks down in critical situations. He should handle pets with a certain amount of patience.

4. You could surf the net and look for a professional sitter. I must tell you that internet is one of the best ways to look for a pet sitter. You would certainly find a reliable person on the net.

5. Ask for reference from your family members and friends. They could certainly provide you some help.

6. Also get a service agreement with the dog sitter before handling over your pet to him.

So, these are some important things that could really help you choose a suitable sitter for your pet. Don't forget to read this article once. Have fun!

If you are interested in traveling with your pets and looking for Pet Friendly Hotels then kindly visit us at

Article Source:

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Comfortable Ways of Sleeping in a Box
Thanks to Kathy in BHC, AZ

Use the box side as a pillow.

Start from simple sleeping on your back...

or on your side.

If you are longhair, use the benefit of your coat and tail.

Remember that you and your box must nearly amalgamate.

Use your imagination: try S-like positions..

or C-like positions...

or even L-like ones..

If you totally trust your humans, relax your back legs to the maximum.

Sometimes O-like positions do not fit the box well, but you can always make an experiment.

If the box is rather small, try sticking your paws&tail out of it...

or stretch just one paw out, like this (back paw)..

or like this (front paw)..

Invite your friend to join you...

and enjoy it.

Your humans may wonder how you can sleep like that..

ignore them and enjoy..

Perhaps they will not even notice you..

Try disguising to avoid unwanted attention..

or you can hide in an absolutely unexpected box..

This position is for experienced yoga cats..

as well as this one..

Even small boxes can do..

Be creative..

practice makes perfect. To get more experience, use as a box any structure you can find..

View Photos of Singles -
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WeHo Pet Page: First Aid
By Dr. Karen Halligan, West Hollywood-

Being prepared for an emergency is the best thing you can do for your pet. Know where the closest emergency clinic is, have the address and phone number in a safe and accessible place. Also, try not to panic.

Knowledge is power so take the steps right now to learn how to handle an emergency with your pet. It can make the difference between life and death for your pet.

Be very careful when a dog or cat is in severe pain or frightened, they may bite their owner. Always be cautious and make safety your first priority.

BLEEDING: Severe bleeding should be addressed with pressure. Place gauze and/or a bandage over the wound and apply direct pressure using your hands or fingers. This should be done for five minutes and then recheck wound. Continuous pressure may be needed for a long time.

Tourniquets are dangerous and should only be used as a last resort. Place the tourniquet just tight enough to significantly reduce the flow of blood and loosen every five minutes. Do not keep on longer than 20 minutes because you can damage the blood supply to the entire limb.

Place cold packs over oozing wounds to also help reduce swelling and bleeding.

Take your pet to the hospital immediately.

BROKEN BONES: Immobilize your pet, holding him still and place pet on a stretcher (you can use a board, car floor mat or even a folded blanket). Do not attempt to bandage or splint broken limb as you can actually do more damage. Take the pet to your veterinarian immediately.

CHOKING: Gently open your pet’s mouth to check if you can see the object and remove it. If you try this and are unsuccessful, take your pet to the vet right away. If your pet is not breathing and you cannot find what is obstructing the air passage, try the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the object.

Hold your pet against you and clasp your hand around their upper abdomen. Or place your pet on his side on the floor. Then place one of your hands on top of the other. Your bottom hand should be just below the rib cage, on the midline of their abdomen. Push or lift upward to dislodge the object.

CPR: Always follow the ABC order -- airway, breathing, circulation.

Airway: With your pet on its side, gently extend the head and neck. If your pet is unconscious, pull the tongue out of the mouth and with your finger clear the inside of the mouth of any saliva, vomit or foreign objects.

Be careful, if an animal is conscious make sure you do not put your fingers in their mouth and get bitten. Only perform CPR on an animal that is in full cardiopulmonary arrest.

Breathing: If your pet is not breathing for at least 15 seconds, proceed with artificial respiration. Hold the animal’s mouth closed with a hand around the muzzle. This is unnecessary for cats and small dogs like Persians and pugs, which have little or practically no nose.

Then place your mouth over the pet’s nose and exhale. Breathe forcefully enough to cause the pet’s chest to rise a normal amount only. Do not be too forceful as you can injure the lungs in small pets.

Give the animal five to 10 breaths, then stop to see if the animal resumes breathing on its own. If not, continue to breath at 30 breaths per minute for animals that weigh less than 30 pounds or 20 breaths per minute for animals that weigh more than 30 pounds.

Circulation: You can feel the heartbeat by placing a hand or fingers on the chest behind the left elbow and the pulse is felt high on the inside of the thigh. If no heartbeat or pulse is felt, you need to perform chest compressions.

For small puppies and cats, place one hand on the chest and steady the animal with the other hand. Place the thumb on one side, fingers on the other and gently press in.

For dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds place the animal on its right side and place one hand on each side of the chest. Compress the chest one half to one inch. Perform five compressions then do a breath then check for a pulse. Repeat but be careful not to compress the chest too forcefully with small pets.

For dogs that weigh more than 30 pounds again place the pet on its right side and place both hands over the area of the animal’s heart, on the chest behind the left elbow. Compress the chest one to three inches, depending on the dog’s size. Perform five compressions, then do a breath, then check for a pulse. Repeat.

If the animal’s heartbeat and spontaneous breathing fail to resume after 15 minutes of CPR, the pet has little chance of survival. Note: try to perform CPR on the way to the hospital so that resuscitation can be continued with oxygen and various resuscitation drugs.

HEATSTROKE: You want to gradually cool down the body. Do not immerse a pet into cold water because this may cause them to go into shock. Place the pet on its side and bathe its body with warm water at first, then gradually switch to cooler water. Finally, apply ice packs to his head and neck and take them to the hospital as soon as possible.

SHOCK: Try to keep the pet warm and quiet. Wrap them in a blanket or towel and take them to the hospital as soon as possible.

SEIZURES: Dogs will not swallow their tongue, it is not necessary to put your hand in the mouth of a dog that is having a seizure. Move furniture out of the way and try to keep the area as dark as possible.

Gentle talking and stroking may help to shorten the length of the seizure. If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes, take your pet to the hospital as soon as possible.

20 Health and Fitness Tips For You and Your Dog
by Jennifer White -

1) Doga! All the benefits of Yoga, suppleness, flexibility and muscle toning and dogs can join in too. Take your dog with you on that journey for internal peace. You can both hold the ‘mountain’, ‘lotus’ or ‘cobra’ position, but don’t forget to warm up first.

2) An excellent work out for both human and dog is a good old ‘tug-o-war’. Although usually spontaneous, a five minute session will burn off as many calories as a brisk fifteen minute walk. Use an old rag or t-shirt and go for it. It is best if you crouch down to start with to avoid bending the back improperly. Your dog will love this one, but make sure you win, or you could be saddled with a very cocky young pup!

3) Short and often beats once a day. Walking the dog should never be a chore. Frequent, shorter walks are often more beneficial to you both than one long stroll a day. Bringing your heart rate up regularly, increases cardio-vascular fitness. A two minute jog completed by a five minute stroll four times a day will get results pretty sharpish.

4) Make minor diet adjustments. Replacing fizzy drinks with cordial will benefit a weight loss programme. Small changes that do not overhaul your lifestyle are easier to stick to. Changing an overweight dog’s portion size beats re-designing his whole diet plan.

5) Worming your pet is important all year round, however, for one hookworm in particular, Uncinaria stenocephala, there is a sharp rise from July to September. In heavily infested pups, it can have nasty results such as diarrhoea, anorexia and lethargy. By worming your dog every three months your pet will be protected.

6) Camp it up. A camping trip with your dog is fun and can offer lots of opportunity for exercise. It will give him a whole new world to sniff and the exercise happens without you even noticing.

7) Let him do all the work. If you are looking for an easy ride, but want your dog to get a work out get a Frisbee. All you need to do is toss the thing and he will (hopefully) bring it straight back. This will provide an excellent aerobic work out for him that will also relieve any boredom. If possible, incorporate water into the activity. Toss the Frisbee into the pond or lake (it will float) and let him swim for it.

A natural, high meat diet. A great way to maintain a healthy nutricious diet. Some people achieve this with a BARF diet, some with a more ‘human’ friendly way of sourcing a high nutrition value food from a supplier such as Burns Pet Nutrition.

9) Hide his toys. If you have a lazy dog, a good way to encourage exercise is to move his toys whenever you go upstairs. If he is loafing about down stairs make sure, the next time you go up the stairs that you take his favourite toy with you. It may only be a small amount, but any exercise is better than none. This can also be practised at meal times.

10) To avoid a soaking. Long haired breeds require frequent grooming. When showering or bathing your dog, always wait until the very end to wash the head. You will notice that your dog will only ‘shake out’ when his head gets wet.

11) For supple joints both of you should eat fish once a week. It is high in potassium and low in sodium. Cold water fish such as trout and salmon are both excellent for joints. Older dogs will benefit from a presence of fish in the diet.

12) For a healthy coat. Give your dog a daily dose of Safflower, Corn, Soybean or Cotton Seed Oil in their food (1 teaspoon) this really helps them to have a great looking coat and reduces hair loss. Now you can style your hair in that shiny coat.

13) In the summertime. Make sure nobody suffers from sunburn by being generous with the sunscreen. Even the dog should get some factor 12 on his nose. To keep him cool and burn free, a damp t-shirt will do him no fashion favours, but will keep him comfortable.

14) Water, water everywhere. An oldie but a goodie. Water is never bad for you, but it is especially good for the bipedal during the summer months. Six pints a day (not all at once) re-hydrate the skin and flush out many of your body’s impurities. It is always good for the dog to have a fresh water supply, as an over excited dog can become de-hydrated very quickly.

15) Regular Check ups. A great way to judge a dog’s inner health is by the state of his coat. A full, glossy coat spells a healthy, well looked after dog. But a comprehensive check up by you can be a huge help. You will be able to find any suspicious lumps, be able to tell if he is under or over weight (a thick coat can conceal this) and is a great way to bond with your dog. Once you get used to your dog, you are more likely to spot any alarming changes later on in life.

16) Back of the net! West Ham United star John Harley is famous amongst his football pals for training with his dog. You too can have a kick about with your mates and get the dog involved. He will love chasing the ball around at your feet and capitalizing on any schoolboy errors you may make defensively!

17) For the more dedicated sports person. Ed Moses, the world’s most successful 400m hurdles runner is making a return to athletics at the age of 48. He trained for the comeback specifically with his dog. You can do the same. Anything athletic will or at least should, appeal to a healthy dog. He will try and join you, but he will never defeat you, because you are the champ, aren’t you? Laps of a track are always good for endurance.

18) A winning smile can be achieved through regular brushing, and not much else. Despite what people might have you believe, biscuits or chews do not replace a good tooth brushing. To clean teeth sufficiently, there needs to be brushing action. Even he protests, get that brush working on those canine chompers.

19) Take a dip. Quite possibly the most beneficial exercise going. This works all muscle groups. The resistance pressure of the water is dictated by how fast you want to go, and if you get tired get Rover to pull you along with his tail, he’ll love it. Most dogs love a good splash about, you’ll spot the ones that don’t.

20) Get in line. If you stick to all of the above you both should be feeling pretty good by the end of the summer. This is when you take that last risk before winter comes round again. Get the skates on. Roller skating or in-line skating is a great way to burn fat, get around faster and provided you can stay vertical, it is a great way for you and your dog to have a good laugh on the park. Watch out for those posing so-and-sos who just want to whip by and make you feel slow.

Ask Ethel: Dog Barks at Everything

Dear Ethel,

My husband and I adopted our doggie when he was a little over a month old in 2008. Baloo is a mutt but predominantly a terrier mix. We had debated getting a dog for some time and I didn't think we needed the added responsibility. Now, I can't imagine my life without him. However, Baloo loves to bark. He sits on the couch at the front window and barks at anything that passes by: cars, people, birds, ANYTHING. We have tried instituting time outs when his barking gets too out of hand. We will put him in the bathroom for five minutes and he will calm down, but once we let him out, he is right back at the window and barking. This is exhausting and futile.

In our city, there are lots of dog-friendly areas with restaurants, cafes, etc. Baloo is small enough that we would like to take him out with us on weekends, but he barks so much when he sees other people or dogs that we are embarrassed to leave the house with him. Please help!

—Lost in the Bark!

Oof. You guys have been writing in with some toughies. LITB, this isn't going to be an easy fix. You just want to make it go away, right away, but I'm sorry to tell you that it won't.

I reached out to Janeen McMurtrie of Smart Dogs Training Center in Minnesota, and she tells me that "excessive barking doesn't exist in a vacuum. When a dog is really reactive and barky, it's part of a larger problem —the dog doesn't have enough self-control." Could be boredom, temperament, upbringing, breed, any number of things.

But, we do have an immediate stop-gap, LITB. You say that Baloo sits by the front window? Go home tonight and close the curtains. Ethel just blew your mind, right? It doesn't have to be that way forever, but you have to cut off the triggers to your mutt's bad behavior. McMurtrie quotes another animal trainer and says, "Practice makes permanent," so you have to keep Baloo from practicing his bark.

Now for the training part: McMurtrie suggests teaching Baloo the "leave it" command. Since dogs don't necessarily understand you when you say, "Don't do" something, you'll want to teach Baloo to actively ignore and look away. Put a treat in your hand, offer it to him, then close your hand before he can get the treat. Wait until Baloo stops looking at your hand and looks up at you, then reward him with the treat. McMurtrie says it won't be long before you can set the treat on the floor and Baloo will understand that when you say, "Leave it," you want him to take his focus off the treat.

You can then progress from treats to toys, and in very controlled bits, you're going to open the curtains. As soon as he looks at something out the window — before the barking starts — say, "Leave it." This is going to take time, so don't give up! We hope that you and Baloo can eventually enjoy your dog-friendly city together.

Readers, got any thoughts for barking barking barking barking Baloo? Tell us in the comments below!


Got a thorny pet (any pet!) problem that you can't figure out? Try Ethel — she'll do her best to help. Send your questions to or send us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Heel. Sit. Whisper. Good Dog.
Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Mike Marder, a veterinarian, had his dog Nestlé, left, debarked after a neighbor threatened to complain to the co-op board.

Nestlé barks when Mike Marder and his wife come home, and he barks when they leave. He barks at delivery boys, he barks at the doorbell, and he barks at the Marders’ new puppy, Truffle.

"Folks, no matter how well intentioned you think you are, please do not take an animal into your life if you cannot accept complete responsibility for it - claws, messes, barks and all."

But for all that effort, the only sound Nestlé makes is a raspy squeak.

Dr. Marder, a veterinarian, tells those who are curious that Nestlé, a dachshund-terrier mix, is hoarse from too much barking.

But that is not true. The Marders had Nestlé’s vocal cords cut by a veterinary surgeon after a neighbor in the family’s apartment building on the Upper East Side threatened to complain to the co-op board about the noisy dog.

Although there is no reliable estimate as to how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can readily be found — but not necessarily heard — in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.

The surgery usually leaves the animal with something between a wheeze and a squeak. The procedure, commonly referred to as debarking, has been around for decades, but has fallen out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates.

Keeping pets in New York City, of course, has always required delicate negotiations between neighbors and species. The city’s 311 line fielded 6,622 complaints about barking dogs last year, while housing officials banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other large dogs from public housing projects. Real estate experts say that co-op boards large and small always wrestle with pet policies, many of them tied to barking dogs.

Critics of the debarking procedure say it is outdated and inhumane, one that destroys an animal’s central means of communication merely for the owner’s convenience. Many veterinarians refuse to do the surgery on ethical grounds. Those who do rarely advertise it.

New Jersey bans devocalization surgery except for medical or therapeutic reasons, as do Britain and other European countries. Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts, while Ohio restricts the surgery to nonviolent dogs.

But there are still those who perform the operation, and they and other advocates defend the surgery as a useful option for dog owners facing noise complaints and possible eviction.

Dr. Sharon L. Vanderlip has been performing debarking surgeries for more than 30 years as a small part of her veterinary practice in San Diego County. She calls herself a “big, big, big proponent” of the procedure if it is done the right way, for the right reasons.

“They recover immediately and they don’t ever seem to notice any difference,” she said. “I think that in certain cases it can certainly save a dog from ending up being euthanized. If properly done, they behave totally the same afterwards and don’t seem to have any health problems.”

The surgery can be relatively simple. The doctor anesthetizes the dog before cutting its vocal cords, either through the mouth or through an incision in the larynx. Dogs generally recover quickly, veterinarians say, and while they usually can still make sounds, their barks become muffled and raspy.

Dr. Gary W. Ellison, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, cautioned that the procedure can lead to complications. He said he has had to operate on debarked dogs after excess scar tissue built up in the throat, making it difficult for the dog to breathe.

“I think it’s probably going to be a procedure that’s done by fewer and fewer veterinarians” in the coming years, said Dr. Ellison, the curriculum director at the University of Florida’s veterinary school. He said professors there do not teach the surgery, and that he has not come across recent veterinary school graduates who have studied the procedure.

Banfield, the Pet Hospital, which has more than 750 veterinary practices across the country, formally banned the surgery last summer, though Jeffrey S. Klausner, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, said it was rarely, if ever, practiced before that.

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Gary Bogue:
Cats are Very Creative at Finding
Unusual Places to Get 'Lost'
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Little pale rainbow,

Trying hard to express hope

Despite the downpour.

— haiku by Lura Osgood, Pleasant Hill

Dear Gary:

About two days after our cat Jack disappeared, my son found him trapped in a neighbor's shed about three houses away from us.

Fortunately, the cat seems to be none the worse for wear. Still not too sure about why, having received my flyer, the neighbor did not know or tell us that our cat was in his shed. My son tells me that the outside wall with the only door was sealed shut with foam packing (I assume weather proofing).

My attitude is "innocent until proven guilty," but the next time one of my cats goes missing, I know where to look first.

Diana Crawford, Pinole

Dear Diana:

I wouldn't necessarily hold it against your neighbor just because your cat was shut up in his shed. It's very common for lost cats to be found trapped in a neighbor's garage, basement, shed, child's playhouse, etc.

Cats will sometimes even climb through a car's open window to sleep on a cold night and wake up the next morning miles away because a neighbor got in the car and drove off to work before the cat knew what was happening.

I know one case 15 years ago where a cat climbed into a backyard doghouse down the street and was somehow trapped inside for a couple of days (a doghouse with a door?) before it was discovered and released.

Cats are extremely creative at finding unusual places to sleep — and get trapped. Any other unique spots out there where somebody's cat got "lost?"

Dear Gary:

I have been trying to continually feed my wild birds (because I like them here and want them to be here, even in winter). Am I helping them or confusing whatever migration they may have to take? By all means they are welcome in my yard all year.

Charlie, Brentwood

Dear Charlie:

Not a problem. If birds need to migrate, free food isn't going to stop them from heading north or south.

Dear Gary:

I have enjoyed your advice on humming birds. Since I have been making my own food, there are a lot more birds. I have two feeders now and plan on putting more up in my garden this spring.

I feel bad for the little fellows. Is there a hummingbird house? They hang out under the eves where I have the feeders but I want to keep them out of the elements, too.

I have a strange question. Do squirrels build nests in the trees?

Donna Mullane,


Dear Donna:

Bird houses work for some birds, but not hummers. Their "house" is anywhere they decide to perch. If they prefer to hang out up under the eves near your feeders, then that's where they are happy, whether it's sunny or raining. They're tough little dudes and their feathers are rainproof and keep them warm.

Tree squirrels build big stick nests in trees and ground squirrels dig holes in the ground where they nest.

Readers Say Love, and Leave,
Your Dog at Home
By EMILY S. RUEB - The New York Times

For owners who are “obsessed” with their dogs, it seems only natural for their pets to go where they do. After all, some see New York City as one giant dog park. For these people, it’s a comfort to be accompanied by their pooch. For others, however, the sight of a furry being brings to mind allergies, and bacteria makes others uncomfortable.

This weekend’s dual complaint box that ran in the Metropolitan section, written by Barbara Rosenblatt and Erica Manfred, explored both sides of the argument.

“Animals are joining the ranks of small, bored children who must accompany their grown-ups just about everyplace,” wrote Ms. Rosenblatt. “Can’t tie up my kid on a leash outside, so why should I do it to my dog?”

She continued that stores that allow dogs are “too wimpy” to protect the customers who don’t want them there. “My goodness, aren’t they afraid of being sued by a customer who has an allergic reaction, or claims to have been threatened or bitten by an unmuzzled animal on their premises?”

Countering the claim that dogs are not wanted, Ms. Manfred finagled a therapy dog prescription for loneliness so she could bring Shadow, her black 11-pound Chihuahua-Jack Russell terrier mix, everywhere. And she offered no apologies for what she called her “security blanket.”

“I’ve spent my life accommodating other people’s wishes, and 18 years of it tiptoeing around an explosive husband,” she wrote. “Since my divorce, Shadow has been my security blanket. If you care about me and want to be my friend, you’ll understand that.”

We received more than 430 comments representing both sides of the invisible fence, many who didn’t support the presence of dogs in stores for sanitary reasons, or loneliness as a diagnosis that should require a therapy dog. Other pet owners agreed that common sense is needed when bringing your dog into a public space; just as bulls in china shops are not welcome, neither are large dogs in crowded spaces.

Here, unedited, are several comments we especially liked:

Health Violations
I am a native New Yorker and have worked in food service stores while I was in high school and college. I am aware of the regulations and they exist for a purpose.

Example #1: I witnessed a gourmet deli on 2nd Avenue in Murray Hill that allowed it’s customer to bring her German shepherd throughout the store. As she shopped, the dog sniffed, licked and rubbed against the unwrapped fresh produce in the aisles.

Example #2: I also witnessed a dog defecate solid waste on the floor in a pizzeria. Clear health hazard.

In each case I informed the store management that either they would abide by the law regarding excluding animals or I would take my business elsewhere.

— Ted Larkin

Dogs Have Their Place
I am a dog lover & have 3 at home. But I don’t take them everywhere I go. People who expect others to accept their pets as they would people are just rude & inconsiderate. Even a well trained dog can be set off by something or someone they encounter in their travels. You just never know.

Plus besides having allergies some folks are just plain afraid of dogs. Maybe they had a bad experience in the past but it doesn’t make their fear any less real to them. My grandmother used to say “Common sense & common courtesy aren’t too common anymore” . How right she was.

— Steve Soricelli

No Excuses
Dog owners are worse than smokers in their inflated sense of entitlement. Because they think their dogs are “cute,” you should excuse their rude behavior. They think because their dogs are “fine” they don’t need to be on a leash. Even with a leash, they let their dogs roam all over the sidewalk with no regard for pedestrians. They enter and exit buildings with no forethought for the sudden appearance of another dog, which usually sets off a torrent of barking.

The way to handle a dog in public is preemptively. Always assume you’re going to encounter a hostile dog at any moment. Always assume you’re going to encounter someone who is allergic or phobic. Make him sit in a public place indoors such as a lobby or elevator. Hold your dog on a short leash. I’ve owned a (very well-behaved) dog for 7 years and it took me all of about 1 week to figure all this out.

— Bill

Check Your Obsession at the Door
1) I am obsessed with my dog.
2) No one else is.
3) Therefore, I don’t take my dog with me if there are going to be people there who might not want my dog there.

That’s right. I actually am thinking about my fellow New Yorkers. There are people who are allergic to dogs and afraid of dogs. While it’s easy for them to keep away from a family pet when it’s being walked on a leash, on the street, where it is assumed there will be dogs, why should they have to be stressed out because we, as dog owners, want our dogs with us?

I also oppose fellow dog owners letting their dogs trot down the street while leash-less…..25 years ago an off-leash Pit Bull wandering next to it’s owner in Washington Sq. Park bit me in my arm, breaking through my winter gear, sending me to the emergency room.

City living can be great or really a pain. I try to be on the plus side of the equation.

— Beth Lee

Well-Behaved Pets Allowed
I think we need to draw a distinction between well-behaved animals, and ones that cause trouble. I love seeing animals in public places, whether it’s the Home Depot store, the Pet Supply shop, or even an outdoor cafe. I don’t however want to be around poorly behaved anythings, regardless of whether it’s a pet, an adult or a child. What’s strange though is that we tolerate boorish kids and adults, but not well-behaved pets. Maybe we need to start banning humans from public places as well. Now there’s a law that I can live with.

— Roger S.

No Children Allowed; Dogs, Yes
Most dogs are better behaved than most children. I don’t like listening to wailing babies and whining children or their parents hissing at them. Nor do I like being jostled by kids as they run around full tilt in stores and restaurants. Unlike many parents, who make no attempt to control their out of control children in stores and restaurants, most people with dogs are careful to restrain their dogs’ behavior. Leave the kids at home, please, and bring the dogs on!

— Fed Up

Humans Are Your Best Friend
Seriously people,

If you think that a dog is going to replace what ever human contact is that you lack you are woefully mistaken. It doesn’t make you appear anymore caring or sensitive as a person, it just makes you look high maintenance and insecure.

Leave the pets at home. You’ll be better for it.

— M.F.

In Defense of Businesses
It’s much easier for businesses to allow dogs into their establishments than it is to provide space/safety/clean-up/noise control on the sidewalk, and it’s much easier for owners to take their dogs wherever they go than to actually spend one- one-one time with their animals that oftentimes were adopted out of guilt and societal pressure not to euthanize.

I can’t understand a culture that treats pets better than humans. it’s increasingly important to control pet population, resulting in fewer pets and fewer problems.

— kda

Service Animals
People who bring their companion animals into public places have made it harder for me to have access with my service animal. I am constantly stopped and have to produce documentation even though my dog wears a cape to identify her reason for being there.

I think I should have the right to move around in society without having to “prove” something constantly just because a few selfish people want to drag along a pet to run errands.

— Dog Lover

Blame the Owners, Not the Pets
As a professional dog trainer I am an animal lover of the biggest kind. That said I do not feel pet dogs belong in most public settings. Pet owners are too often not responsible enough to safely bring their pets into the public arena. I would have no qualms bringing one of my own pets to a clothing story or coffee house see as how I can maintain calm well mannered behavior from my dog. But bringing my pet to a food store is unsanitary for the people allergic or apposed to dogs. Also a movie theater?! I can not think of a more miserable place for a pet dog, it’s crowed, loud, filled with strangers. It’s a veritable nightmare! (Note: working animals are there to serve their owners and are exempt from all of my statements)

— sam

Cats vs. Dogs, an Epic Battle
Kristen Pearson -

There has been a battle for many years between cat and dog owners of which of the two pets is better.

When I was younger, I wanted a dog. After being attacked by a large dog, that desire quickly changed to cats.

Finally, for my 16th birthday, my parents let me adopt a cat from the Humane Society. Since that day eight years ago, I've enjoyed the perks of having a cat.

Knight, my cat, has shown me that cats can have some of the same personality traits dogs have.

Cats, similar to dogs, can fetch small things, beg, do tricks and comfort their owners.

Having a cat has been a great pleasure.

Shortly after I adopted my cat, I had five successive surgeries on my knees and was on bed rest for months. During that bed rest, Knight sat right above my head on the arm of the couch all the time, and aside from eating and going to the bathroom, he stayed by my side to comfort me.

He was my "Knight" in shining armor.

Knight, however, did have some of the important cat personality traits. He became angry with me when I moved out, became very jealous when my brother brought a kitten home, and finally started hissing after another cat was in the house.

After moving back into my parents' house, he became better behaved and tried to please me again by coming to me when I called, allowing me to pet him, and not terrorizing the kitten as often.

Now, since I've moved out again into a small apartment downtown, he seems fine because I visit quite often, but I wonder if he'd be okay if I decided to get a dog for safety at my apartment.

Because, since the dog attacked me years ago, I have forgiven it because I don't believe dogs usually attack their owners. And I have once again found the perks of having a dog.

Dogs are usually extremely friendly. In fact, one of the great things about dogs is they don't attack their owners - they attack their owners' attackers.

A major perk of having a large dog would be safety. I would feel safer leaving for work at 4 a.m. if there was a dog watching out for me. I would feel safer going for a run downtown if there was a dog running with me. I would feel safer walking to dinner if there was a dog walking with me.

Of course, there are other perks. A dog owner always has someone to walk or run with, dogs are always happy to see their owners, and dogs never want anything more than to be loved, fed and exercised.

Living downtown has given me a new perspective on pet ownership. I would need to walk the dog every day for sure, which could be interesting considering my insane schedule, but I think it would be worth it, just to have a dog around.

It would be a great comfort to have a dog, but it is still a joy to have my Knight waiting for me at my parents' house every time I visit.

Help -
My Dog Is A Canine Couch Potato

This article is dedicated to all of you canine couch potatoes out there. It’s time to get up, get out, and start having some real, competitive fun with your dogs - I’m talking about dog sports!

Did you know that dog sports are a great way to have fun and show off your pet’s skills and intelligence? Whether you’re into earning titles or just looking to have a good time, you and your dog can have tonnes of fun with dog sporting events.

From basic obedience to splashing in a lake, active breeds can succeed at almost any canine sport. Most energetic breeds possess stamina, strength, courage, drive and a willingness to please their owners.

Do not underestimate your own dog’s intelligence and ability to learn new things, including complex maneuvers that will earn you top titles in competitive events, or at the minimum the family appreciation award at home after an exciting day playing outside.

Competitive Obedience

The first sport we’d like you to learn about is called competitive obedience trials. Does your dog have the perfect “sit”? Well this is the perfect sporting event to show it off. Your dog will perform a series of exercises in a ring while a judge evaluates the performance. The rules are strict – you can’t give treats, extra commands or encouragement to your dog as it performs.

In general, the types of breeds best suited for these sporting events are Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, Pointers and Spaniels. These dogs make excellent obedience dogs because of their willingness to please, but are sometimes a little difficult to train because they can have a stubborn streak.

Competitive obedience consists of several increasingly difficult levels – Novice, Open and Utility. Novice-level competition primarily demonstrates the dog’s ability to heel on and off leash, stand for exam, come, and stay in a site and down position.

In the Open Class, your dog will perform retrieving and jumping exercises in addition to off-leash heeling and long sits and downs; in the Utility Class, your dog must also discriminate between scented articles and retrieve specific items.

To earn titles, your dog must score no less than half the points allotted for each exercise. For most titles, he must earn three “legs”, or qualifying competitions, in which you must earn at least 170 points out of a possible 200. He must be able to consistently follow a variety of basic and advanced commands (sit, stay, stand, come, heel) to be a successful obedience dog.

The best way for a novice to learn to compete is to find a professional dog trainer that specialises in competitive obedience training. Simply look under “dog training” in the phone directory or on the internet and you will find plenty of qualified individuals and schools at your disposal.


Does your dog love to fetch tennis balls and run? If so then why not put the two together and add hurdles - now you’ve got flyball - a fast-paced, team relay sport! Not only is flyball an excellent form of exercise for your pet, it also is a great way for you and your pooch to bond.

Of course not all dogs are cut out for this event, but most active sporting breeds are, and that includes common household pets such as the Labrador Retriever, Pointers, and various Setter breeds.

A flyball team consists of four dog-and-handler pairs. Each dog runs one at a time over four hurdles to a flyball box; steps on the box’s lever which ejects a tennis ball into the air; catches the ball; then returns back over the hurdles so the next awaiting dog can be released by its handler.

Flyball is said to have originated in the 1970s after Herbert Wagner invented the first tennis-ball launcher. Dogs earn titles according to the number of points scored per run. For example, if a team’s time is faster than 32 seconds, each dog on the team earns one point. If the team’s time is faster than 28 seconds, each dog earns five points.

A flyball team earns points when it makes a qualifying run – so beating another team’s time is not required to score points. Each team’s hurdle height is adjusted according to the height of the smallest dog (at the shoulder) on the team.

The best way to get started in flyball is to spark your dog’s interest in catching and retrieving tennis balls, which is a naturally rewarding activity for most dogs, especially for the active, sporting breed-types. Your dog will also need to learn to jump hurdles going toward and away from you. If you can combine both skills together you may have a potential flyball champion.

As in all canine sports, mastery of basic obedience commands is a must, especially a solid recall (the come command), so that your dog doesn’t just take the ball and run. In addition, your dog should be in good physical shape (not overweight) and cleared by your veterinarian for strenuous jumping.

Look for dog trainers or flyball clubs in your area that may specialise in training for flyball.

Sporting events are considered the most engaging activity that any proud owner of a sporting breed can enjoy. Complete and total stimulation for the mind and body, your dog will get the exercise of its life while becoming a smarter and more obedient companion.

Even dogs without registration papers can compete and earn titles in most activities. To compete in the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC) events, your dog will need an Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) or Limited Privilege (LP) number, all of which can be easily obtained through these organisations.

Before you get started though, be sure that your dog is healthy and in good shape. Always have the veterinarian check your dog before starting any sports that require a lot of exertion or jumping. If you have a puppy, wait until it’s about 2 years of age (or is cleared by your vet) before competing in activities that can stress it’s growing joints, such as agility, flyball, flying disc or sledding.

Rally Obedience

Rally obedience, or rally, is best described as a cross between a rally car race and an obedience trial. Your dog must perform a series of commands, such as jumps and weaves around people or objects, in order as directed by a series of signs on a course.

At each station, the sign states which exercise to perform. Performances are judged on the proper completion of the course within the time limit, but judging tends to be looser than in formal obedience trials. Handlers can talk to their dogs as much as they want and may give multiple commands.

Rally is a great way for people and dogs who normally don’t like the rigidity of traditional competitive obedience to have fun and compete. When running a rally course, you must perform exercise such as a halt, right turn, send over a jump and a finish (a finish is a return to a site or the heel position). And like other types of competitive obedience, your dog will need 170 out of a possible 200 points to qualify for a leg.

To compete successfully in rally your dog should be familiar with basic obedience commands and should be able to heel on and off leash. Familiarity with some basic agility obstacles such as bar jumps and weave poles is also helpful.

As in formal obedience, taking classes with a professional trainer is a great way to get started in this sport. Trainers who specialise in obedience are often familiar with the training requirements for rally.

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