The Loss of a Dog

Why is it so hard to lose a dog? Having a dog die is heartbreaking. Having to euthanize one is worse. I had that experience many years ago and years after that with a cat. As much as I love my cats, I believe that the bond one has with their dog is stronger. It is hard to explain why but it must have something to do with dogs having spent the last several centuries adapting to the lives of humans. While some dogs have been bred to have dual roles as hunters or shepherds most have evolved only to be our companions. 

Dogs are like a friend who never brings up our weak or negative points. Dogs accept us unconditionally. Our dogs are always glad to see us and with their eyes they thank us for every morsel or treat that we provide to them. 

If you’ve never owned and loved a dog, don’t be surprised when someone who does have a dog becomes grieved at its loss. There is no service, no newspaper write up, no visitation to comfort the owner but don’t miss the fact that the owner does need for you to care. They may be hesitant to show their grief, but it is there just as it is with the loss of a friend for a dog is a faithful friend. 

As we established before https://crookedcreek.live/2019/12/05/benefits-of-owning-a-dog/ dog owners live longer and research shows they live happier. Dogs give back so much love and devotion for what they receive from us. 

“May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am,” someone has said. 

“When the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are. The dog is not judging you.” Eckhart Tolle

Title portrait of Luke by Artist Pat Brooks

The Looter

I like to keep Milk Bone on hand for the neighborhood dogs, especially Bailey the little Westie next door. He is always so polite, begs, sits, and then eats every crumb. I kept the treats in a ziplock bag in a large basket on my porch. That worked for a little while.

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One morning I went out and found the top off of the basket and the bag of treats spilled over the porch. I thought how unusual that a dog would do that and decided that Tupperware would solve the problem. The following morning again the top was ajar and the plastic container was demolished. Then I thought it was probably a squirrel because I do feed them and chipmunks all winter. Finally, I put the treats in a coffee can thinking I had solved the problem. I forgot that the can had a plastic lid, so the following morning again my basket and treat container had been breached.

It was then that my neighbor who has a doorbell camera informed me that a raccoon was running about the premises. She had watched it drink from her hummingbird feeder and then head toward my house. I assume he was washing down his Milk Bones!

Animals! I love them all but I now keep my dog treats in the house.

Animal photos by Pixabay

 

Benefits of Owning a Dog

Why Own a Dog

The most obvious reason is that they are wonderful pets who bring immense joy to one’s life. 

As pointed out in an earlier post https://crookedcreek.live/2019/03/06/staying-alive/ owning a dog may help you to live longer. This is strongly indicated in a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes” of the American Heart Association.

The study was a meta-analysis of research published from 1950 to May of this year. This research evaluated dog ownership and its association to mortality. The data was from more than 3 million participants.

Scientists found dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause, according to the study. For people with heart problems, living with a dog had an even greater benefit, the authors said. 

Walking a dog daily for twenty or thirty minutes is one of the obvious benefits and stress reduction and social interaction may also play a role. The scientists emphasized that dog ownership would not make up for cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.

While there are reasons why it is not practical for some individuals to own a dog, longevity might be enhanced by noting the importance of daily walking or other exercises. The American Heart Association recommends weekly activity of 150 minutes of moderate exercise to improve overall cardiovascular health.

Title Art of Luke by Pat Brooks

Baby Birds

Helping Baby Birds

First, it is important to know it is illegal to injure or possess an indigenous bird. There are special facilities such as Raptor Rehab licensed to rehabilitate injured birds, but most veterinarians do not have the resources nor experience to handle injured wild birds.

When birds first leave the nest they are not fully able to fly and spend two or three days on or near the ground. Pet owners need to keep cats and dogs indoors during these sensitive nesting times.

What to do if you find a baby bird out of its nest:

First of all, determine whether or not the bird is injured. If it is not, make sure there are no animals nearby that might harm the bird. If a bird is found on the ground, gently replace it in its nest. It is not true bird parents will not care for a baby once it has been touched by a human.

If the nest is unsafe, place the bird in a small basket and nail the basket to the tree near the original nest, out of direct sunlight. If a basket is unavailable, a small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom to prevent drowning will do. From a distance keep an eye on the baby to see if the parents return. If they do not return in an hour call your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help.

If the basket idea sounds far fetched to you, let me assure you it works. I have witnessed this successfully twice when my husband and later my daughter used a basket to save baby birds.

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If the bird is injured

  • Do not give the bird any food or water!
  • Prepare a small cardboard box by punching holes in the sides and top for ventilation
  • Gently place the bird on a towel or soft cloth in the box and place the box in a dry warm spot
  • Call your nearest DNR or rehabilitation center

Source: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc.

“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”                          David Attenborough

Photos by Pixabay