Is a Dog’s Purpose Enduring Terror for Our Entertainment?

By now, it’s likely you’ve heard about, and probably seen, the video taken during the filming of A Dog’s Purpose. It appears to show a German shepherd being forced into a wave pool. He looks incredibly scared and unwilling.

There’s a lot of opinions about this out there, so what the hell, here’s mine.

Some say, “It’s only a dog.”

Others say, “He’s fine; they’re not hurting him.”

As reported by the New York Times, an official statement released by Amblin and Universal says, “While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.”

I wish I were stating the obvious when I say that pain is pain. Trauma is trauma. Be it physical, mental, or emotional, against human or animal, pain is pain. To say that Hercules wasn’t harmed is a fallacy born from ignorance. When you are scared and robbed of your freedom to flee and ability to defend yourself, you are harmed. That is harm.

Think of how you would feel if forced against your will into a scary situation that no matter how hard you fight, you cannot get out of. Imagine being confused as to the reasoning behind someone doing this to you. Imagine the betrayal in knowing the person terrorizing you is the same person to whom you look for comfort and guidance (assuming the trainer was involved).

What is it all for? Human entertainment. Human profit. I know this probably goes on in many movies and TV shows. Rodeos, circuses, and zoos all use animals in the name of human entertainment and profit. It’s never okay.

The official statement released by Amblin and Universal also says they, “…don’t want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”

Is it possible they don’t value that relationship as much as they wish us to believe they do? It seems to me that with this trauma, in the name of entertainment and money, the only animal/human relationship they celebrate is one of power and dominance over those seen as lesser beings.

The intended message of a movie/story never excuses any questionable methods used to create the movie, especially when helpless beings are the victims.

As far as it being only a dog,  come on. Really? Why are we still having this argument?

Because dogs don’t have a voice many humans are willing to listen to, because they are seen as a weaker species, because we have the ability to lord over them, we should care more about them, not less. There is no noble power in crushing those who are weaker and at a greater disadvantage than us.

Please let me know what you think of it all.

 

 

 

How to Handle Others Disciplining Your Dog

 Sad puppy eyes
Lily and Arliss have one job. They take their job to heart and do it well. When someone comes close to our property, they let us know. From the backyard, Lily and Arliss have a view of the front. They know our friends, neighbors, and the mail delivery persons. If others approach, they bark, we investigate, and job well-done.
 
The other day, I caught a stranger in our driveway screaming, “Shut up!”
 
I glared.
 
She yelled, “They’re barking at me.”
 
I said, “Good. That means they’re doing their job.”
 
She walked on down the road. How dare she?
 
I have a friend who used to rap my dogs on the nose for not sitting long enough. No way, Jose. Not cool. I am never okay with hitting.
 
Despite working with our dogs to stop jumping on people, they do it. Often visitors say things like, “It’s okay. I don’t mind,” and then pet them. Yikes.
 
If you have a dog, you’ve likely felt the pain of people telling your dog how to behave and/or disciplining them. You may have also dealt with someone unraveling your good training by encouraging bad behavior. I find that often, people don’t respect boundaries when it comes to other peoples’ dogs. What do you do about it? At what point do you throw diplomacy out and ask, “How dare you?”
 
This is a tough one, and there are a lot of opinions about it. Here’s my advice:
 
Educate would-be disciplinarians that this is your dog, not theirs. You decide how and when to correct your dog for certain behavior. If you feel like it, explain why you prefer to do things a certain way.
 
If you have a large group, consider removing your dog from the party. This will eliminate risk that someone will treat your dog in a way in which you disapprove. It also reduces your stress from constantly watching and worrying.
 
If you witness any degree of abuse, at least in my book, it’s time to remove the person. If for some reason you can’t remove the person, remove the dog. Speak up, and let the person know you won’t tolerate that business.
 
On the opposite end of the spectrum, visitors can be too polite. If your dog gets in a lick or a jump, tell your guest you’re trying to teach your dog to act differently. Take the pressure off your guest by asking them to correct the dog in keeping with your training.
If someone else’s dog is misbehaving, call attention to it. Ask the person how you should handle it. Are there particular commands they prefer you to use (off or down, stop or quit, leave it)? Some people let their dogs on the furniture. Others don’t. If you don’t know, ask. Be respectful and mindful, as you’d expect of others.
 
Always remember that your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If he’s behaving badly towards others, it’s up to you to correct that behavior.

DIY Catnip Mouse

January is DIY month in the 2017 Awesome Pet Parent Challenge. Head over to Loved and Pampered Pets to check it out; it’s really cool. The challenge is all about becoming an even better pet parent than you already are. In the first week, we were charged with making a toy. I’m a little behind.

I wanted to make something that I knew my cats would love and that I could improve upon with practice. I also wanted to be able to use what I had in my home to create the entire thing while I watched no more than two episodes of 30 Rock. Blerg.

Catnip mouse it is!

Materials I used:

Fleece fabric remnant (6 inch square)

Strip of felt (5 inches long)

Embroidery thread

Handful of fiberfill

Catnip

How I did it:

I cut a heart shape in half for the pattern. I folded the fabric in half with right sides facing each other.

I traced the heart-half (flat part against the fold of the fabric), and pinned.

Cat toy template

 

 

 

Cat toy outline

 

 

 

 

 

Note: I did not sew the tail at this point. I placed it here in order to envision the future mouse.

I sewed (small and tight for longevity) from nose to butt, leaving an inch or so unstitched.

Then, I turned the mouse-skin inside out. Well, outside in I guess.

Catnip toy

With a pen, I gently stuffed the mouse with fiberfill. I imagine you could use strips of old t-shirts or other soft fabric. Then, I dropped some catnip into the mouse.

I put the tail in and sewed up the mouse’s little booty.

Homemade cat toy

There it is. Sure, it’s a little wonky, but it’s not bad for my first shot. And I really feel like I can get good at it with practice. It was easy and fun. All that really matters is that the cats like it.

I gave the mouse to miss Dublin. Approved!

homemade catnip mouse

 

 

Then Oslo got his paws on it. He kicked its butt all over the house.

Homemade catnip toy

Wordless Wednesday: Video

Cats love tv

Oslo loves watching television and movies. Hop is one of his favorite movies; he’ll watch it over and over.

Do your pets love watching movies and television? What are their favorites?

Speaking of hops, this is one. Add your post link below.

Heather at Loved and Pampered Pets is conducting a 2017 Awesome Pet Parent Challenge. If you haven’t already, be a cool kid and go check it out and sign up here.

 

Product Review: Pawstruck Bully Sticks

Bully sticks

This is not a sponsored post. While it does contain a third-party link, it is not an affiliate link.

This year while pondering what our babes’ stockings would hold, I knew I wanted something for Arliss and Lily to chew.

You see, Arliss LOVES to chew. When he was but a wee pup, he chewed on everything he could get his jaws on. He ate through the fender on my husband’s dirt bike. He chomped through extension cords, towels, gloves, his and Lily’s beds, and every toy we put in front of him.

With time and training, inappropriate chewing stopped. Still, he’ll get down on a piece of firewood or pretty much anything the raging wind carries into our yard. I caught him with someone’s snickerdoodle recipe the other day.

Lily isn’t as obsessive about chewing, but she has tons of energy. I love playing and running around with her. But I do have a job to do and can’t afford to spend ten hours a day playing rope, chase, and fetch. She needs other things to occupy her and suck out some of her energy on occasion.

Bottom line, I needed something healthy and safe for my babes to chew that would last more than few minutes.

Rawhides are a no because of digestion issues. Smoked bones, of various animal parts, are messy, stinky, and often splinter and crumble. They also give poor Lily the cha-chas.

I decided to look into bully sticks. I asked my vet about them. She said most dogs love them and she’s never seen or heard of a problem. Yay.

After much research, I narrowed it down and eventually went with Pawstruck. I liked the founder’s message, the prices, the user-friendliness of the website, and the variety of product.

When Christmastime came around, these fools were excited to rip into their goodies.

 

pawstruck bully stick

 

 

pawstruck bully sticks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They LOVE these bully sticks (good thing, since I bought 10). I also love these bully sticks. Here’s why:

  • Single ingredient, all natural goodness

They are bull pizzles, roasted in their own natural juices, and nothing else.

  • Taken from responsibly raised bulls

These animals are grass-fed, free-range bulls.

  • Long lasting

I got the extra thick, 7-inch sticks. Chew master Arliss (seriously, even for a dog it’s anomalous), finished his in just under an hour of constant work. Lily managed to make hers last over an hour. That’s with two short breaks to prance about the house and show everyone her prize.

  • No smell, no mess

These sticks are low-odor. When the pups lie at my feet and gnaw away, I get no smell. And they don’t break or crumble into pieces.

When the sticks got down to nubs, I took them away. Call me paranoid, but I didn’t want an obstruction in my dogs’ throats or guts. My vet said I was probably over-parenting, but avoiding the risk makes me feel better.

I’m so glad I found these Pawstruck bully sticks for my babes. They’re affordable and healthier, longer-lasting, and less messy than other chew treats and bones.

What yummy treats or hardy chew toys do you give your pups?

 

 

Wordless: New Year’s Declarations

Cat hiding in laundry
Oslo-Finnegan: Stop instigating slap-fights with mom. Stay weird.
Cat laying on cat tree
Dublin: Lay off carbs. Less lounging, more playing.
Happy dog
Lily: Stop jumping on the humans. Beat world distance record in rope-flinging.

 

Happy dog
Arliss: Stop humping sister’s head. Convince humans to give more carrots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your babes’ resolutions/declarations? Tell me in the comments, and don’t forget to add your link to the hop.

Why Cats Stop Grooming

Grooming cat

Cats love to keep clean. When we first brought Dublin home from the shelter, she stress cleaned. It was so bad, our vet warned us to watch for bald spots and bleeding nails. After she settled in, her grooming habits became less furious and more normal. While Dublin had the problem of over-cleaning, many cats have trouble keeping clean enough. When this happens, it’s usually a troubling sign.

Fatty, Fatty, Fat, Fat

If your babe has pudge, he or she may not be able to contort as well as more slender cats can. This can hinder grooming because they can’t reach all their parts. If you have an overweight cat, keep an eye out during grooming sessions. Notice if they’re able to be thorough. Are they heaving to reach with little success?

Getting on in Years

As cats age, limitations arise. These can include the ability and motivation to clean. Elderly cats don’t move or bend like their younger selves did. Like obesity, this makes it difficult to reach parts. Aches and pains that come with age also hamper their grooming.

Change in Lifestyle

Although we sometimes wish we could switch places with our pampered pets, they aren’t always stress-free. Any upset in routine  (moving, vacations, new pets or people) can throw your babe off their game. This stress can cause your cat to lose interest in keeping good hygiene habits.

Pain/Illness

When we suspect our cats are ill or in pain, we often look for decreased or absent grooming as clues. Movement can be uncomfortable or hurtful. Aside from feeling terrible, cats with pain or illness often suffer from depression and weakness. This makes cleaning too much of a chore.

Addressing the Problem

Even healthy, happy, and svelte cats need a little human-assisted bath and brush once in a while. Some breeds need more than others do. But if your cat isn’t doing their part to keep clean and neat, look for the underlying problem. Is it due to obesity, age, or pain?

Talk to your vet about addressing the problem. Discuss a change in diet, exercise methods, stress reduction, or treatment for pain or the cause of pain.

While working on a solution to your cat’s issues, ask your vet or groomer about how you can help your cat. Talk about frequency and methods of brushing and bathing. You might consider finding a reputable groomer, familiar with handling cats, and treat your babe to an occasional spa day.

How to Involve Your Dog in New Year’s Resolutions

Dogs celebrating New Year's

This post contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links.

Here we go again. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. That means committing to making positive life changes. Our dogs are important parts of our lives. Why not include them? Here are some resolutions you can do with or for your dog.

Lose weight/Get Healthy

If your resolution is to drop some pounds, get healthier, or just move more than you do, include your dog in your plans. Take them on more walks and hikes. Play fetch or tag in the backyard. Go to the park and toss a Frisbee. Check your local area for agility courses or dog yoga for something a little different.

As you evaluate your diet, consider your dog’s food as well. Could it be better/healthier? Are you feeding them the correct amount? Check out the ingredients and life stage of food. Discuss with your vet whether your dog’s food is appropriate. What treats do you feed your dog? Try alternating them with carrots or banana slices.

Save Money

Saving money is also a popular resolution. There are a few ways to save while still serving your dog’s good life. Instead of taking your dog to a professional groomer, save some green by doing the deed yourself. It’s a great opportunity to not only bond with your dog, but also get to know their body and take notice of any changes.

Sign up for pet store rewards programs. Take time to peruse ads, sales events, and coupons. Visit manufacturers’ websites and sign up for notifications of deals and coupons. Compare prices at various stores and websites.

Beds, toys, and treats all cost money. If you’re crafty or interested in becoming crafty, try out some DIY projects. Your dog may not know you made them, but you will. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes along with that, and it could save you some serious coin in the long run.

Get Organized

Part of having an organized life is organizing your pet’s life. As you go through your rooms and clear out stuff, do the same with your dog’s belongings. Go through all their toys, blankets, and towels. Get rid of over-used and under-loved items. Create or purchase a toy box and a storage system for food, towels, brushes, and leashes. I really love this toy storage from Amazon. Set up a calendar for doctor visits, vaccinations, medications, and grooming.

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Do you plan to include your pups?

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Winter

One thing I love about winter is chilling by a cozy fire with the babes.

Dog eating carrot
Arliss
Lap cats
Oslo and Dublin
Dog by fireplace
Lily

How do you and your babes keep warm during the cold months?

 

Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Pets

Cat Shame
Oslo always in trouble
Cat in scarf
Dublin keeping warm
Cat in snow
Dublin out for a winter stroll

Add your cheer to the list below. . .