Archive | May, 2013

My dogs are not perfect

It’s confession time, people- my dogs aren’t perfect.

I adore my pups, Maggie and Mal, but they do misbehave. Sometimes they jump up on guests in our home. Sometimes they go crazy barking at the person walking by. Sometimes they manage to run multiple pairs of tights on the same day!

If I had to measure their behavior I’d say Maggie is 90% good and sweet, and 10% spazzy and anxious. Malcolm is 90% adorable and chill, and 10% hyper and food/toy possessive.

They are overwhelmingly awesome dogs, falling a little short of perfection. And let’s face it, I’m not perfect, either.

Something about best laid plans…

So I had this idea that the husband and I were going to take the dogs to the 1st annual Run Fur Fun, benefiting Animal House Rescue and Grooming. It was going to be really fun, and I was going to take lots of pictures, and I was going to write a great blog post about the experience. I tell you, it was going to be GREAT!

Uh…. not so much…

The reality is Maggie and Malcolm are just dogs, and hey, I’m just human. Let’s say you take two dogs and surround them with a lot of other dogs of varying temperaments and training and, hell, throw in a bunch of people, too. Oh, the sights, the sounds, the stimulation!

Dogs will be dogs

Here’s where my great idea went out the window- my dogs aren’t perfect. Maggie was over-stimulated and acting about as spazzy as she gets. Malcolm was feeding off Maggie’s anxiety and acting a little unruly himself.

There I was, a bona fide pet blogger, struggling with two temporarily over-stimulated, barking, pulling dogs.One participant commented about Maggie, “she’s certainly feisty, isn’t she?!” Feisty, yeah. The sidelong glances and looks of disapproval were not lost on me.

We purposely hung at the very back of the race, leaving ample space between us and other race participants. Well, that sort-of worked except when people ahead of us stopped to rest and we’d catch up to them. And there were a few other folks that were determined to bring up the rear, occasionally surprising us when a small dog on a retractable leash suddenly rushed up from behind.

Sometimes humans are the real problem

At first I was embarrassed by my dogs dog-like behavior. Other times I was annoyed. Towards the end of the 5K I let go of my unhelpful judgments and attitudes and managed to enjoy the day. And you know what- the more I relaxed, the more the pups relaxed, too- funny how it works that way, isn’t it?

So here I am, writing my blog post about the event, though from a very different perspective than the one I intended to write. Writing about accepting my dogs limitations and still loving them immensely.

In retrospect, and with a little perspective, it was a wonderful event! Just go check out the photos posted by Animal House and you can see all the fun that was had. There’s even a shot of Malcolm:

Mal at AH Run Fur FunPhoto via Animal House Rescue and Grooming

What’s the moral of the this story? I have great, if imperfect, dogs and that’s okay with me. All I have to do is relax and enjoy the run!

Maggie AH Run Fur Fun

Welcome Home, Max!

A new furry family member

Yep, I did it. I adopted a kitty.

Larimer Humane Society was having a $5 adoption special on adult cats and I just happened to have space in my heart and home for shelter pet!

Meet Max, my newest furry family member:

Max's first night

Getting comfortable in a new home

Bringing a new pet into the home is never easy, and it seems there’s always a difficult transition between the new pet and the resident pets. Bringing Max home was no different.

Max spent his first night in the bathroom to give him some time and space to adjust without the dogs and other cats bothering him.

After the first night we moved Max into our bedroom, where he’s been since. So far he spends most of his time sleeping under the bed during the day, and comes out at night to explore.

I allowed Max to roam outside the bedroom one evening to gauge how he interacts with the other cats, and vice versa. I was surprised that Max seemed fairly relaxed and it’s my other two cats that were upset- hissing and growling if Max came too close.

hmmm… it may take a couple of weeks to allow the cats to get used to each other. In the meantime I’m taking full advantage of the Feliway spray and diffuser to calm and comfort the cats during the transition. Hooray for modern science!

For now I’m keeping Max away from the dogs, or the dogs away from Max, as the case may be. That challenge will come later, after Max is integrated with the cats.

A dose of cuteness

I’ll leave you with a dose of cuteness that occurred as I was folding laundry. I opened the dryer door and Max jumped right in! There’s nothing like warm, fresh laundry!

mmm... fresh laundry

7 Tips To Prevent Dog Bites

May 19 – 25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Help me celebrate and educate! Only YOU can prevent forest fires- err, I mean dog bites!

But really, how we behave around dogs- both known and unknown to us- is key in reducing the number of dog bites.

Reporting dog bites in Larimer County- it’s the law!

Did you know any dog bite that breaks skin, occuring in Fort Collins, is required by law to be reported to Larimer Humane Society Animal Protection and Control? Even if the injury is not severe, it is required to report the incident.

In the last year 794 dog bites in Larimer County were reported to Larimer Humane Society Animal Protection and Control.

National dog bite statistics

Let’s look at some national statistics on dog bites, provided by American Veterinary Medical Foundation:

  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

So how can you prevent dog bites?

7 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites

01. Know that any dog, I repeat, any dog can bite!

All dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds, and temperaments can bite.

No matter how long you’ve known the dog or how sweet and cute the dog appears, the dog may bite. Most people are bitten by their own dog, or a dog they know.

Be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and the dogs in your company. And don’t fall into the trap of believing only certain breeds are likely to bite!

02. Never leave babies or small children alone with dogs.

Your beloved family pet is far more likely to bite a child than an adult. Babies and small children are unpredictable and may act in a way that stimulates or threatens a dog, causing the dog to respond instinctively.

03. Avoid disturbing a dog while it’s eating or sleeping.

Dogs can be territorial and may protect their space and/or resources- especially when disturbed.

04. Be cautious when approaching unknown dogs.

Avoid running up to unknown dogs, putting your hands in their face, or leaning over the dog- all of these behaviors may appear threatening to a fearful or anxious dog.

The safest way to approach an unknown dog, after getting the owner’s approval, is to stand sideways and bend your knees, letting the dog approach you.

Be aware responsible owner’s may tie a yellow ribbon on their dog’s leash to let indicate the dog should not be approached due to health issues, because the dog is in training, or due to fear or aggression concerns.

yellow ribbon project

05. Ask before petting.

Always approach a dog’s owner first and ask before petting someone’s dog. Give the dog’s owner the opportunity to let you know if the dog is fearful.

Asking before petting also gives the dog’s owner the chance to focus their dog’s attention and give the dog a sit or sit-stay command before the dog is approached for petting.

06. Avoid chained dogs (and do not chain your dog(s)!)

Dogs that are kept chained up in the yard are far more likely to bite than dogs that are treated as family pets. Dogs left chained in yards do not learn the same social behaviors and cues as those that are part of the family.

Additionally, chained dogs are more likely to experience boredom and frustration that could lead to aggressive behavior.

07. Spay/neuter your pets.

The majority of dog bites that cause serious injury happen with dogs that are not spayed or neutered. There are plenty of low cost spay/neuter programs in and around Fort Collins so there’s just no excuse not to spay/neuter your pets!

For more information on dog bite prevention, check out the infographic below, and visit the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dog Bites by the Numbers

3 Steps to a pet friendlier Colorado

I’ve heard people say Fort Collins is a pet friendly city, and Colorado is a pet friendly state, but what does that mean, really?

While some cities in Colorado have a way to go in enacting pet friendly legislation or, as the case may be, abolishing unfriendly animal legislation (I’m looking at you, Breed Specific Legislation! *evileye*), recent local legislation and national reports have shown Colorado is a pretty awesome place for pets!

01. Shelter dogs and cats are the official Colorado state pet!

On May 13, 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to make shelter dogs and cats the official Colorado state pet. Governor Hickenlooper brought his dog, Skye, a former shelter pet, to Denver Animal Shelter to sign the bill.

Hickenlooper signing Dog Protection Act & Colorado Shelter Pets billGovernor John Hickenlooper May 13, 2013 bill signing. Photo via Gov. Hickenlooper’s Facebook page.

02. Colorado law enforcement officers are required to learn about dog behavior and handling.

In addition to signing the bill making shelter dogs and cats the Colorado state pet, on Monday Governor Hickenlooper signed the bill commonly called the Dog Protection Act which requires Colorado law enforcement officers to receive training on dog behavior and handling in an effort to reduce the number of family pets shot and killed by law enforcement in the line of duty.

03. Pets in Colorado live longer!

According to the 2013 State of Pet Health report, published by Banfield Pet Hospital, dogs in Colorado live an average of 11.4 years- a longer life span than most other states.

The longer average lifespan in Colorado is largely attributed to the high spay/neuter rates in the state. There are many health benefits to spaying and neutering your pet, and Colorado is on the right track. Let’s keep working towards 100% spay/neuter rates!

20130512_123546

Coloradoans love our pets, there’s no doubt, and I’m exciting to see progress in pet health and safety in our state! One day I hope to write that all cities in Colorado have abolished breed discriminatory legislation in favor of other legislation and programs that fairly and equally protect our citizens and pets- in the meantime, yay to progress!

Time for a weekend getaway!

Work-life balance- hell, life balance- takes a little give and take, and this weekend we’re taking the dogs and heading up to Estes Park for a weekend getaway!

My favorite dog-friendly getaway

I was planning to write about something else entirely but let’s face it, my mind is already in the majestic Rocky Mountains so instead of what I was going to write about, I’m going to tell you about my favorite dog-friendly Estes Park getaway- YMCA of the Rockies!

I fell in love with YMCA of the Rockies my very first stay in 2004 and I’ve been back just about every year since. The cozy cabins are nestled in the mountains bordering on Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s a great place to stay without dogs but it’s really a great place to stay with dogs. YMCA of the Rockies was ranked #1 out of 10 pet friendly getaways by ZooToo!

While dogs are not allowed on the trails in RMNP, there are many trails on the YMCA grounds where leashed dogs are allowed.

YMCA of the Rockies even hosts Yappy Hour every Friday in July including yappetizers and doggy drinks and educational speakers for their human companions. Talk about pet-friendly!

It’s the dogs favorite getaway, too!

Our dogs love vacationing in Estes Park- there’s so many interesting sights, sounds, and smells. And so many exotic types of poop to eat- horse poop, elk poop, and so much more! Ewww……..

Sometimes the dogs even find special surprises, like this:

Om nom nom!

Om nom nom!

We’re off today and I’m bubbling with excitement! There’s nothing like getting away from it all- yes, even those digital devices I love oh so much. Sometimes I’ve just got to turn it all off. (But let’s be honest, I’ll share a few pics if I get coverage at the lodge. I can’t completely unplug for 3 days, can I?)

See you on the flipside!

What’s your favorite pet-friendly getaway in Colorado?