Doggone Advantages

By Caryl Clem:

February hosts several media ignored holidays. Your dog has the keenest sense of smell, can read human moods, capable of learning support for the handicapped while offering consistent loyalty.  National Dog Walkers Day is 2/23 and February boasts supporting Responsible Pet Ownership month. “Going with the Dogs” has positive not negative results.  Documented healthy advantages include fighting heart disease, lowering blood pressure, and improving muscle tone and stress while improving mental bonding enjoying natural beauty.  Every pet broadens the spectrum of love in your life.

Feeding  your dog is past the time when uneaten food from a dinner plate slid off to land under the table because your dog was ready to lick the floor clean.  Dessert for dogs was not a concern. Dog food has evolved to supply a full range of nutrition. Dog food treats reflect the same food trends their owners are experiencing. February is National Snack Food month and Milk Bone is proof that doggie treats can keep pace with our chips and various munchies markets.

The first dogs walking to consume dog biscuits were show dogs. Spratt from England was marketing a dog biscuit cake to nobility and wealthy owners asserting that his cake would make the dogs stronger and fit to compete. By 1895 his product had arrived in America becoming famous after a 1902 scandal from the Madison Garden dog show claimed a Lady Ella dog contestant had died from poisoning found in her dog cake. The secular market of dog cakes was ready for the common place owner.  An American inventor, Carlton Ellis in 1907 patented the dog bone shaped biscuit in three sizes. Milk Bone pounced on this image in their first big advertising campaign.  The original very expensive biscuit geared to satisfy the wealthy dog owner market shifts its customer base.  In 1908, F. H. Bennet Company was mass manufacturing dog bones packaged in cardboard boxes at affordable prices.

The Milk Bone Company has a web site that shows the marketing themes through 100 years.  The first in 1940 proudly features the three sizes ready to please any dog.  The push for home grown wholesome foods ingredients was seen in the 1958.  The star flavor in 1971 was “Beefy” during the same time big burgers were the rage. Getting rid of teeth plaque has its own video.  ” Ham and cheese” flavors were featured in 2008 and by 2016 along the list of 20 flavors added the all American favorite, “Peanut Butter”.  The latest addition has a pouch in which to place dog medication.  The early ingredients that were causing dogs to gain weight have been streamlined into diet friendly combinations.  Del Monte now owns Milk Bone.

During a time when an increasing number of people are fighting obesity or isolation, owning and walking a dog makes sense.  Dog ownership is a cure for loneliness while a motivation to practice healthy habits for the sake of your dog.   Finding “treats” for your dog(s) offers a wide variety of choices online, below are a few suggestions:

Three Dog Bakeries: Home

Dog BakeryDog Birthday Cakes Cookies & Treats, Fresh…

The Barkery Gourmet Dog Birthday Cakes, Cookies, Treats …

“Treat Your Boo” Event with Pet Costume Contest

Through the years, I have loved picking out Halloween yearly costumes for myself and my own children. Though, I never thought about dressing up the guinea pig we had for a short time and our cats. I assist in a kindergarten class and I wonder if they are going to dress up their favorite pets. Actually, we have a new kitten at home…she might look good in the lion costume. PetSmart is truly the place to share this Halloween holiday with your entire family. You can enjoy picking out ghoulish goodies, classic costumes, and spooky toys for your dog, cat or even your guinea pig.

Have you ever dressed up your guinea pig as a mermaid? What about serving your pets special Happy Halloween treats or have them hang out in their own haunted house? At PetSmart,the leading pet specialty retailer in North America, online and in stores, you will find a full range of costumes for small breeds plus large dog outfits. A variety of pet accessories are available that include different collars, bandannas, bows and hats as well as Halloween bedding.

Pet parents are invited to PetSmart stores nationwide for a “Treat Your Boo” event on Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. local time. Dogs will be able to learn tricks for treats, and pet parents can fill a treat bag for their pet, at PetSmart’s exclusive Trick or Treat stations. The party will feature a costume contest with awards for first, second and third place, plus a certificate for social media bragging rights.

To make those social media posts really shine, stores will offer photos with Chance the Mascot for pet parents to share with followers by tagging with #petsmartparties. For those who want to keep the pet Halloween party going, free yard signs will be available at the event letting neighbors know that dogs are invited to their homes to trick or treat on Halloween night.

And after asking a few in my kindergarten class if they were dressing up their pets, some said that their pets were going to be disguised as pumpkins. More pet parents and families are choosing costumes for their pets in celebration of Halloween as well as pets being included in birthdays, and all sorts of celebratory events.

What a perfect time right now to attend pet parades while sharing pet photos of this dress up event on social media. PetSmart truly enjoys helping pet families share their ultimate experiences of fun together.

Remembering your first pet: National Pet Day-April 11

By Caryl Clem:

My constant companion as a child in the 1950’s was not a doll or stuffed animal, it was a petite, soft furry black cocker spaniel named Candy.  She was difficult to hold because she would be licking you furiously while wagging her tail. A spinning top was easier to grip. She followed me no matter where I went, listened to my stories and never told anyone my secrets. She turned me into a dog lover.  After Candy passed away, Mother and Father said, “No more dogs”. I felt inspired after watching Disney movies, a pet could be any willing animal.

Next door to my house was an unsightly lot full of abandoned vehicles, commonly termed a “junk yard”. Naturally, my parents had forbidden me to travel there. During a morning stroll pass the junk yard, I could distinctly hear a dog whimpering.  My heart jumped snapping my body into rescue mode. I broke house rules, I had to find that dog!  I found more than a dog, a starving mongrel mother and puppies. I ran home to plead mercy for them.  A compromise was made between me and my parents, I could cautiously assist animals but I was not allowed to bring them home. I met with the owner of the junk yard and he agreed I could feed approved animals if I told him where they were. I did not realize I was the reason many animals went missing.  I found a variety of critters including several snakes and a snapping turtle during those years.

According to the 2017-18 statistics, over 68% of American households own pets. Dog owners are more prevalent than cats. The pet industry has tripled in the last 15 years.  Pet ownership trends in pet ownership show more seniors are adopting pets (Pets for seniors), most pet owners purchase insurance, diets focus on nutritionally balanced and organic food supplies. Pet spas are offering grooming, massage and exercise with T.V. socialization. There is even a Dog Persons Dating App. Restaurants that advertise “bring your dog to dine”  are opening.

Pets and their owners share a bond that creates a chemical in the brain that lowers blood pressure, fights depression, and lowers chance of strokes. Owning pets can reduce allergies in children according to several medical studies.  Parents debating the value of a pet should check out an excellent review of 22 studies of the impact of companion animals on child development.

The charm of animals can be enjoyed in a variety of movies. Grab some snacks and watch a few of my favorites : Finding Dory (2016), Zootopia ( 2016), Eight Below (2006), Happy Feet (2006)Finding Nemo (2003), War Horse (2001), My Dog Skip (2000),Babe(1995),Free Willy (1993)Homeward Bound, The Incredible Journey ( 1993) Adventures of Milo and Otis ( 1986) and Benji( 1974).

Honoring K9 Veterans on March 13

By Caryl Clem:

Dogs have their own day for military service recognition.  A national day to give them credit took over 100 years.  I had no idea that dogs served as equal partners in combating the enemy dating as far back as 600 B.C.  In the United States, dogs were first used in the Revolutionary War but never gained recognition until after World War I.  A retired military dog trainer, Joseph White originated the idea to honor veteran canines on the birthday of the first Army K9 Corps which was March 13th.  An estimated 2,500 dogs are in service today while 700 maybe overseas.

I grew up watching television famous, Rin Tin Tin dog adventures. I had no idea that the brave, compassionate dog I adored had been rescued from a battlefield during World War I.  One of the strategies noticed by troops overseas during WWI was the Europe’s employment of dogs during warfare. As a young man fighting for his life in Germany, Lee saves a pup from a bombed demolished dog kennel. Lee Duncan, when young had been orphaned then taken away by his mother to have a dog as his sole companion. The fascinating story of Lee and his dog going to Hollywood after the war is in the book, RIN IN TIN, The Life and The Legend by Sue Orlean.

During World War I, several dogs are credited with saving troops lives. One story is about a stray Pit bull who prevent a siren gas attack and survived injuries from other combat arenas. Three Presidents met this dog at the White House.  Sergeant Stubby’s remains are in the Smithsonian.  In Italy, Chips attacked a group of soldiers in a machine gun nest forcing them out to be captured.  Chips was given medals but they were rescinded because the Army has a law that animals cannot receive awards.

Sources to supply United States trained military dogs are from breeders in Germany and the Netherlands. To become a certified pup trainer is a credible career with specialized training. Various duties the dogs perform fighting alongside our soldiers include locating bombs, searching for drugs, tracking people and imitating an attack.  US Navy Seals use Belgian Malinois dogs who join their handlers to parachute from helicopters and rappel on steep inclines.

A life career for a military dog averages from 6-7 years before they are forced to retire. There was no program in place to find homes for these gentle giants so many were released or euphonized before 2000.  President Clinton passed a law that protected these dogs, now over 90% are usually adopted by their handlers. The Department of Defense handles thousands of adoptions and many dogs transfer their military skills to law enforcement police departments. A bomb sniffing canine has $150,000 estimated value. Dogs are 40 times more aware of a scent than humans.

The loving unbreakable bond between a human and a dog is described in the official poem selected by the K9 Corps to represent the regard for the canines that stand by our military men and women Guardians of the Night .

The phrase “Man’s Best Friend” gains more appreciation and depth as we honor our canine veterans on March 13th.