Yorkie Yorkshire Terrier Eagerly Waiting in Car Window

A neighborhood comes to the rescue, sort of.

People swarm like ants to the “estate sale” at Anna Mott’s house halfway down the block.

Three days running I hadn’t seen Anna push her walker past my house to the corner and back, and I suspected the worst. After her husband died last summer, their home began to look shabby and sad, the shrubs overgrown, the draperies drawn day and night.

Now I’m the only widow left on our quiet, leafy street. I push that thought away and enjoy this bright February morning—brisk and cool even with sunlight streaming down. This kind of morning is why people flock to Southern California. And I’m alive to enjoy it, still able to wheel my own trash barrel out to the curb—it’s collection day.

Dog at Shelter Awating Rescue

Business plans could help more animal shelters save more dogs

It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that they don’t know. That was the mantra I had been chanting ever since returning from a tour of animal shelters in the rural south. I’d met remarkable people working tirelessly to save as many dogs as they could, but many times coming up short. Too many adoptable dogs were not just dying, but living for weeks or months in animals shelters under stressful conditions without basics like flea/ tick or heartworm preventives, bedding, toys, treats, regular exercise or human contact.

Some of the animal shelters I visited had no budget for spay/neuter, so even when dogs were adopted, their puppies would show up at the shelter a few months later. With so many dogs, there was little time and not enough volunteers for daily play time or walks, enrichment, or simply a few good butt scratches. The stress of life in an animal shelter broke down the hardiest of dogs.

Pug Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year

Improving ourselves for the sake of our best friends

It’s easy to want to improve ourselves and yet hard to do so. If our motivation comes from making our dogs’ lives better, changing things for the better in the new year can be just a little bit easier. Here are eleven of the most popular New Year’s resolutions and the ways in which a canine twist on them can make life better for you and your best friend.

Travel to a new place. Travel can be expensive and daunting. Luckily, when it comes to dogs, there’s no need to go to Paris or Singapore. Any place with new things to smell is an exciting adventure. Whether it’s a new park, a new trail or even a new neighborhood, going someplace new—even if it’s not very far away— will be a great joy for most dogs.

black-lab-winter-care

Cold weather and shorter daylight hours call for extra vigilance and special care.

Winter is officially here and most of the country is dealing with harsh and cold winter weather. The cold weather and shorter daylight hours make dog walks and exercising extra challenging. If you live with companion animals, winter time comes with a few cautions. Read up on some quick dog winter safety reminders.

Dry them off. After a snowy walk or romp in the yard, wipe down your dog’s paws and stomach and check paw pads for cuts or abrasions. Ingested rock salt, antifreeze and other chemicals are dangerous for dogs, and spikey snow and ice can cut.

Keep them warm. Make sure your dog has a draft-free place to sleep, with a nice cozy bed or thick blanket to soften the snooze.

Keep them close. Don’t let dogs off-leash during a snowstorm;  they can lose the scent and easily become lost. Make sure they’re wearing a collar and up-to-date tags, too.

Dog Walker Profile Photo

Health and behavioral considerations of kissing our dogs

Kissing our loved ones at the stroke of midnight on December 31st is supposed to bring good luck into the new year and scare away evil spirits. New Year’s Eve kissing is a tradition that may date back nearly 3000 years to the time of the Romans, and for these past few millennia, the kissing was generally assumed to be between people. With dogs becoming increasingly important as the loves of our lives, should we be kissing them instead of (or in addition to) humans? The answer is a personal one, but your decision should be informed by both health and behavioral considerations.

Dog’s name and age: Max(imus), 6 years

Nicknames: Mr. Max, Maximono

Adoption Story: I went to the shelter with a friend who was looking to adopt. She was looking for a Black Lab. The shelter didn’t have any Labs that day, but Max gave me one look and I was hooked. My friend didn’t get a dog that day, but I struck gold with Max!

Max Likes: Max loves a good walk, swimming and belly rubs most. He has an appreciation for the arts which can be seen on his Instagram @thereal_maximusthedog

Tricks: After 6 years, he finally learned to “give paw.” He also puts 110% into sitting.

Ever since humans teamed up with dogs, lo the many millennia ago, they have been not just our invaluable co-workers but have offered us their companionship and aided in our emotional well-being. There are also so many studies about the healthful benefits that dogs bring to us from our birth and through our whole lives. Now  we might add another reason why dogs are truly our first and best friends. A new study from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has shown that exposure to a pet dog from an early age may lessen the development of schizophrenia as an adult.

dog waiting for dog walker

Best Friends Animal Society, with its inspiring “Save Them All” agenda, recently declared Delaware to be the nation’s first no-kill state. According to Best Friends, at least 90 percent of the dogs and cats who enter a shelter must leave it alive for the shelter to be considered “no-kill.”

In Delaware, the statewide average is 92.9 percent, and some of the state’s shelters—such as Brandywine Valley SPCA—achieve even higher rates. Brandywine rehomed, adopted out or otherwise provided safe haven for 95 percent of the 14,000 dogs and cats it took in last year. Best Friends’ bold goal is for the U.S. to become “No Kill Nation” by 2025. To find out where your state stands, visit bestfriends.org/2025-goal .