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May is National Pet Month. May 9, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Today’s guest post is courtesy of our friend Ben and Silence Dogood’s black German shepherd, Pioneer Hawk’s Haven Shiloh von Shiloh Special. (That’s just Shiloh to you.)

Hi everyone! OFB and Silence have let me write today’s post, and have even promised to give me an extra treat if I do a good job. (I’m hoping for one of our fabulous Hawk’s Haven eggs, but hey, I’m not picky. Just give me the treat and nobody will get hurt.)

Did you know that May is National Pet Month? What a great reminder to be extra-nice to your pets! Here are some ways to show how much you love us:

* Don’t feed us junk. People aren’t the only ones facing an obesity epedemic. Give us the best food you can afford, don’t overfeed, and when it’s time for a treat, choose a healthy option. We love eggs, veggies, fruits, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole-grain bread and crackers, popcorn, Shredded Wheat, and other healthy options. (Well, we dogs and parrots do, anyway. The cats here at Hawk’s Haven tend to turn up their noses at all treats except cheese and sweet breads like pumpkin and zucchini bread.) If you’ve never given your dog raw veggies, try offering a bell pepper strip, broccoli floret, cucumber or radish slice, or a little arugula next time you’re making salad. you’ll be amazed!

* Please keep us safe. Do everything you can to make sure we can’t run out the door or out of the yard and into the street. Don’t poison us with junk food, chocolate (poisonous to all animals) and other sweets, toxic chemical cleaners, or poisonous plants. Keep us up-to-date on vaccinations and preventive medicine so we don’t get ticks, fleas, Lyme disease, feline leukemia, parvovirus (kennel cough), and the like. Don’t leave us outside unsupervised to burn (in the case of white-furred dogs), broil, freeze, get sopping wet, die of thirst and neglect, or hurt ourselves trying to free ourselves from our prisons. Don’t put us in the open bed of a truck and assume we’ll stay there; teach us to lie down inside instead.

* Don’t break our hearts. We live for your love; please make sure you give us plenty of affection and attention every single day. Let us know how important we are to you. We love you so much!!! You don’t have to spoil us with food and toys. Just let us spend plenty of time with you and remember to talk to us and pet us. If you can, let us sleep in your bedroom at night (on our own beds, not yours). We find your presence reassuring, and it strengthens our bond with you.

* Let us be ourselves. We’re dogs (or cats, or parrots, or bunnies), not little people. Please love and respect us for who we are, not who you are. 

* Don’t add to pet overpopulation. Spaying and neutering save lives—millions of lives. So many unwanted pets are euthanized every day that it just makes me howl. Those lives didn’t have to end, not if pet owners had acted responsibly.

* Let us help. Every May, OFB and Silence lend a photo of me, our parrot Plutarch, and our cats Athena and Linus to our local bank as part of their drive to collect donations to fight pet cancer. We dogs would be happy to walk or run with you for a cause, to become therapy dogs and visit elder-care facilities or literacy dogs helping children become comfortable with reading at the local library. The opportunities are out there; please take the time to find one that you and your pets would enjoy.

* Visit local shelters. Looking for a companion animal? Why not start at your local shelter? (Or, if you’re looking for a special breed, contact a rescue organization.) Silence and OFB have adopted many a rescue bunny from shelters after families had discarded them once Easter was over. You don’t need to be looking for a pet to visit a shelter, either. You can go and volunteer to spend time with the animals, donate food, toys, and other objects, give a monetary contribution, give the poor things some much-needed Reiki or TTouch massage. Every animal needs love and loving care. Please help if you can.

Gee, I guess that’s about it, unless you can think of something I’ve forgotten. If so, please share it with us! Hey, Silence, do I get that treat now?

              Your friend,

                            Shiloh

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