Guest Blog Post: The Little Guy Who Stole Our Hearts by Debbie Centeno

Live long enough, and we’re bound to encounter challenges. With the help of a friend, Debbie Centeno (who runs this blog and this blog) uses her grief to help others…

Chewy

I never knew how much a person could grow to love their pet. I wasn’t raised with pets, other than fish in a tank. And, there’s no way you can take them out of the tank to play, pet or cuddle. I just loved my aquarium but in a materialistic way. As an adult, I didn’t think about getting a pet since I was quite busy with three children. But, after my oldest son passed away, and my two other children were no longer small kids, my daughter convinced me to get a dog. So we opted for a rescue.

Chewy as a puppy

I made a few calls to see what dogs were available to adopt. We found a place that had a mama dog who had recently given birth to seven puppies – six female and one male. The male was the runt and was rejected by his mama, but I wanted a female. That was until we met the little guy, of course. All puppies were side by side sleeping on their tummies, except the little runt who was sleeping on his back almost on top of his sisters. He was much smaller than the others. When I saw him – well, I don’t know what I felt, but I just had to have him, so the volunteer picked him up and placed him in my arms, and that was it. I was in love. I handed him to my husband, and he felt the same way. So off we were with a 5-week old 2-pound Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. We named him Chewy, and it suits him well.

Chewy buckled up in a car

Chewy is now 6-years old and 20 lbs. I can’t imagine life without him and don’t regret having followed my daughter’s advice. He is the most loving, spoiled brat ever who stole our hearts. I know he’s not human, but for me, he’s my baby.

Debbie Centaro

Debbie Centeno is a wife, a grieving mom, an accountant, and a travel blogger. Learn more about her here and here.

Guest Blog Post: Six Warm Piglets by Cecilia Mary Gunther

photo of piglets feeding

Warning: reality check, then Cuteness Overload! It’s not for nothing that the human star of the glorious pig movie, “Babe,” went vegetarian…

thekitchensgarden

If you were hanging out in the Kitchen’s Garden Lounge of Comments yesterday you would have read that a piglet was lost in that first cold night.  I found him dead on Poppy’s side of their quarters.  Being the Lady Pig Farmer is not always easy. All our focus these first few days is keeping the babies safe and well fed. This task feels mutually exclusive at times.

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Guest Blog Post: “7 Summer Tips for Furry Companions” by Jenny Perkins

How do you keep your pets cool during the dog days of summer? And do dogs pray to Saint Roch who aids dogs, falsely accused folk, bachelors, and more?

Animal Behavior Specialist/writer Jenny Perkins provides canine nutrition, health, and care tips on her blog. Here Pup helps dog owners become great pet parents…

Dog with sunglasses at the beach
Photo: Unsplash.com

Summers are here in the U.S. which means it is the time for some outside fun. While our dogs love to hit the beach with us, play outside and walk around the block, the soaring temperatures can make it difficult for our dogs to keep themselves cool. Since our furry companions can’t sweat like their humans to regulate their body temperature, we need to take the essential steps to keep our pups safe during the hot weather. Here are seven tips for dog-parents to keep their pooches healthy and happy this summer

Provide Fresh and Cool Water to Your Dog

Our dogs can get dehydrated in the summer which puts them at the risk of heatstroke.  Be sure to provide your furry companion with cold water which is replaced at least every day. If he plays outside, then keep a water bowl in a shaded area and add ice cubes to it whenever you can. 

Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Closed Space 

Leaving your dog in a car is a bad idea even when you feel that you will be back in a few minutes or the temperature isn’t that hot. Just a couple of minutes in a suffocated car can lead to your dog developing heatstroke, so it is best to leave your pooch at home when you head out. 

Prevent Against Fleas and Ticks

Warmer weather is an indication of pesky pests being on the rise which can be dangerous for your pup. Parasites such as ticks and fleas carry the risk of various illnesses so protect your dog against ticks using topical solutions or collars.

Protect Your Dog against the Sun

You may not believe it, but even dogs can get sunburns particularly those with light-colored or short coats; therefore, it is crucial to provide some extra protection in the sun. Consult your veterinarian regarding non-toxic sunscreens that are safe for dogs and apply them before going outside. 

Take Steps to Keep Your Dog Shaded

If your dog lives outside the home, then make sure he has shady spots under trees where he can rest or set up a tent or umbrella. Keep his house in a grassy area as concrete retains heat and add a fan to provide fresh air. 

Keep the Paws Cool

We may not realize it, but the asphalt pavements outside can get hot during summers; our feet are insulated by shoes whereas our pups have to walk without their paws having any protection. To prevent your pup’s paws from getting burned, try keeping your pet off the asphalt pavements. Also, avoid metal surfaces such as the bed of a truck.  

Limit Your Dog’s Exposure to the Sun

Don’t risk your dog by taking him out for walks during the time of the day when the temperature is on the rise. Instead, consider exercising him in the early hours of the morning or the evening when it is cooler outside. 

Bearded Baby Boy Dragon Bromance by da-AL

“Introduced as pets to the US during the 1990s, they are a popular exotic species pet even though Australia, from the 1960s onward, banned the sale of its wildlife to the pet trade.” Wikipedia

These little lizards can become big. Instead of hibernating, bearded dragons brumate.

This interesting image is the recent result of a visit to a pet store for some writing research (for my novel)!

2 Bearded baby boy dragons
Bearded Dragon Baby Boys by da-AL

Guest Blog Post: “How Pets Help Raise Kids” in Emily Parker’s exact words

Emily Parker and Gus
Emily Parker and Gus

Blogger Emily Parker describes herself as, “A proud cat parent of two black cats, Gus and Louis (even though Gus only has one eye!). I help cat parents love their cats better by providing helpful articles on my website.”

Click here for her “How Pets Help Raise Kids” infographic.

Have pets helped raise kids you know?

Guest Blog Post: “How to Care for a Dog with Separation Anxiety,” in Alica’s exact words

Dogs are pack animals. They aren’t equipped to spend long periods alone. As our pets, however, sometimes this is hard to avoid. Fellow blogger Alica describes what works for her…

Closeup photo of sad faced brown boxer dog.
Photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

The Separation anxiety in dogs has been one of the most dreadful problems. This will also confuse you as the owner or parent of the pet. Every time you are leaving, your dogs begin to cry, bark, and sometimes scratch the door, showing that they are panic or anxious.

Every time you pick up your coat and keys, your dogs will start becoming bad behaving. While you are gone, your dogs will poop on your bed, pee on your sofa, chew on your wooden furniture pieces, tear your sheets, dig holes in the backyard, and other naughty things.

Not only that these are the signs of the separation anxiety in dogs, but it will also affect your overall life. You may not be able to go for a long time or go for a vacation. You won’t have peace of mind when you leave your dog. But you don’t have to worry. It is reversible.

You can handle this independently. But first, you will need to understand the behaviors of your puppies. The Separation anxiety in dogs can be divided into anxiousness and the insecurity. You could research the characteristics of these conditions from the free resources out there. Then the next step is to fix the Separation anxiety in dogs.

What makes the dog anxious is mostly the owners. The fatal mistake that you do is to consider the dog as your best friends so that you share your bed with them. It is totally wrong. Here are few things that you can do to handle the Separation anxiety in dogs:

  • Don’t let your dog sleep with you at night or day.
  • Don’t greet your dog or feed it with the treats once you get home. Give some time and space.
  • Correct the wrongs immediately. Don’t pamper your dog.
  • Exercise your dog for at least 20 minutes on a daily basis.

About the author: Alica owns the site, hellowdog. The mother of two beautiful children, she loves to travel, socialize, fish, garden, read, and her two dogs. She says, “In short, I am just like you a woman, who is passionate about the care of her dogs and wishes to share that with all of you.”

Guest Blog Post: “Sleep Disorders In Dogs And What To Do About Them,” in Jimmy Aki’s exact words

My dogs snore up a storm. They definitely have no trouble getting to sleep. Read on, however, for Jimmy Aki’s enlightening post about how some dogs do!…

There might be times when your dog finds it hard to sleep and it is quite noticeable when this happens. An adult dog sleeps about 8 to 14 hours daily – this combines naptime during the day and sleeps at night. Sleep is very key to your dog’s overall health as it keeps them refreshed and energetic to get on with the next day.

No one wants a canine that whines, becomes disoriented during the day, or disturbs you through the night. Sleep deprivation is a big problem in dogs and due to how easy it is for their stress hormones to build up when they are deprived of sleep, you might start noticing a change in behavior from your dog as time goes on.

Here are some common types of sleep disorders in dogs and ways you can nip it in the bud when it occurs.

1. Canine Insomnia

This is more common in older dogs and while dogs don’t suffer from it too often, it is normal to find your dog getting sleepless nights from time to time but when this trend continues for several days, then you need to check your dog as he could be suffering from insomnia. Visiting a veterinarian will help you identify the underlying problem for insomnia as it often underlines a bigger problem that you’re probably not aware of. Problems such as pent-up energy, itchy skin caused by fleas or even arthritis. Some proven methods of relieving insomnia include changing diet, acupuncture, and aromatherapy. The first stage, however, is to find out what the underlying problem is before deciding on the best solution for your dog.

2. Sleep Apnea

If your dog is constantly being overfed, there is a possibility that it could suffer from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder is common in obese dogs such as pugs and bulldogs. With sleep apnea, the excessive fat that has been stored up in the body narrows the airway, temporarily which ends up keeping the dog wide awake during the night. These constant interruptions could be mild and sometimes, it could be really severe. When it becomes severe, you will notice tiredness and chronic snoring from your dog. Treating this is important as if left untreated, it could lead to loss of life. One easy way of treating sleep apnea in dogs is through a weight loss program. These include creating a weight loss diet for your dog, limit in access to current food or in the quantity being feed, reduction in treats and table scraps. The first step here, however, is a veterinary examination. Medical examination ensures your dog is checked for any underlying cause or if there are other medical conditions that might hinder weight reduction.

3. Narcolepsy

This sleep disorder affects younger dogs and it is a nervous sleep disorder. Just as it is in humans, narcolepsy occurs when a dog suffers from excessive lack of energy and daytime sleepiness. If your dog suddenly collapses on its side and falls asleep during the day, you might have a dog that is suffering from narcolepsy. Check the muscles; are they slacking? If your dog also appears to fall into a deep sleep with rapid eye movement during this period, it’s time for you to visit the vet. As with most sleep disorders, narcolepsy has an underlying problem which is muscle paralysis otherwise known as cataplexy. Currently, this sleep disorder is not curable but it can be managed to reduce the severity and the number of narcoleptic episodes your dog suffers from.

About the writer of this post: Jimmy Aki is a professional writer that lives with his partner and a 3-year old cat called Oscar. You can find his articles on Medium as well as answers on issues relating to pets on Quora. He also spends time crafting content strategies for websites that he manages such as Reviewdots.com

Guest Blog Post: “Canine Car Wash,” in Nick’s exact words

Most things are more fun if done with a dog, fellow blogger Nick and I agree. I say all the better if there’s some Labrador mixed in! Here’s Nick’s account of one such occassion…

Nick’s dog Dudley is quite a helper…

I have a confession to make. I use a ‘legal high’ and I am addicted. His name is Dudley and he’s a chocolate Labrador. Packing a far bigger punch than anything obtained ‘under the counter,’ he delivers mirth and laughter to our house without evening trying, but his most striking quality is his ability to turn the mundane and the ordinary into mayhem.

What could be more humdrum and uninteresting than cleaning your car? A classic Sunday morning chore, and for most of us, one to be endured, not enjoyed. That is, until you get a Labrador to help you. Stealthy forays into your bucket when your back is turned leave you brushless, the only clue as to the perpetrator being the nest of bubbles that still cling to Dudley’s eyebrows like fog patches. Wrestling the brush back from my hapless assistant, I soldier on determinedly. Bending down to clean the wheels, I find myself at his height, a sure cue for mischief. Waiting right until he has nosed his way into beside me, I cup a handful of bubbles and blow them at him, sparking a whirling, spinning frenzy as he chases his tail in confused excitement. Churning his way around the garden, every rotation as mesmerizing as watching an Olympic gymnast doing a floor routine, I struggle to take in each turn and grow giddy with laughter and amusement.

Nick’s dog Dudley takes pride in his work…

With him still distracted, I finish the job and go in search of a watering can, ready to dowse the suds off each streaking panel. And then I remember. Of late, the ‘can’ has become the object of his desires, his number one toy. It becomes a foot race to reach it first. I lose of course, but then I am winning also, my smile growing ever wider as I watch him stealing his prize and doubling away from me at speed across the garden. Looks like I’ll be washing those streaks off another time then. Thanks Dudley.

About the writer: Nick is a teacher with a passion for the outdoors, dogs and writing. Since getting his pet Labrador Dudley as a puppy two years ago, he has been inspired to blog about all the hapless, fun and joyous things that Dudley gets up to. Nick’s ambition is to grow and develop his  blog along with his writing talents and hopefully feel confident enough to write a book about his life with his canine companion. He also writes regular articles for ‘North Wales Magazine’ and enjoys walking and running. Mostly, with Dudley. Visit his blog here.

Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…