DailyECPR : Dealing With Losses

Eddie_2.jpgBringing a pet into our home, inviting a new member of the family to be as much a part of us as everyone else, is not a light decision to make. For me, the moment I take on the responsibility of a new pet I know I will adore them for the rest of their lives.

When I was eleven years old I brought home a kitten for the first time. I loved that kitten more than I had ever loved anything or anyone else, and miraculously that kitten loved me back. She tolerated others and sometimes avoided them but Tinkerbelle loved me fiercely. Throughout the rest of my childhood and teenage years, no matter what friends I was fighting with or who came and went from my life, Tink was a constant. There was never a night, regardless of whether or I was happy or sad, that she didn’t cuddle up under the covers with me and purr. I knew that no matter what was happening in the world around me she would always be there.

As Tink got older she started developing health problems. It began with hyperthyroid but fortunately some medication got that under control, but her difficulties kept on coming. When she was fourteen years old it fell on my shoulders to make the most difficult decision I have ever had to make as a pet-parent, the choice to let her keep struggling or to give her the peace she deserved. With tears streaming uncontrollably from my eyes and my heart sinking into the dark pit of my stomach, I sat with her for her last moments and allowed her veterinarian to help her go to sleep.

At first I resisted the idea of adopting a new pet, I couldn’t shake the thought that it would be as if I was replacing Tink and I knew that could never happen. Even though I know logically I made the right decision putting her down, my emotions fought with my logic and told me a different story. “There must be something I could have done differently, something I hadn’t tried, some way I could have saved her.”

Eventually I healed enough to consider adopting another pet. Without Tink I was lonely, I hadn’t been without a pet in a very long time and I told myself that holding on to Tink was never going to bring her back. There are so many animals out there that need loving homes and the best thing I could do to honor her was to be that person that Tink thought I was and help someone in need.

I brought home a ten month old yorkie-chihuahua mix, my first dog not including my stepmother’s dog when I was younger, but I wasn’t responsible for that animal’s upbringing and care so it was different.

I’ve told the story previously on this blog of Rue, the baby kitten that was brought to Emerald City Pet Rescue along with her six siblings in the fall of 2015. All of the kittens were small, only a few weeks old and without a mother but Rue was by far the runt, not just smaller than her siblings but literally skin and bones. No one was optimistic about her prognosis. I have never said this out loud, not to anyone else and not even to myself, but something about the moment I picked up Rue, a kitten the size of a hamster with the tiniest limbs much thinner than even a pencil, instantly brought me back to the first time I held Tinkerbelle.

Tinkerbelle was also the runt of her litter. I got her from a pet store (don’t judge, I was only eleven) and she was the last kitten left of her litter. She was very small and she was meowing like a newborn, loud and shrill, but the moment I took her into my arms the crying ceased and the purring began. I knew in that moment that Tinkerbelle was meant to be mine. Last fall, the moment I curled sickly little Rue into the palm of my hand I felt an instant connection with her. I stayed up with her night after night to syringe-feed her around the clock, and it was several weeks before she could eat on her own. When it came time for her brothers and sisters to be adopted out, I knew I couldn’t let her go because she was already home. I know Rue is not Tinkerbelle, and yet watching Rue play, or cuddling with her in my arms and listening to her purr is the only time I feel truly at peace about Tinkerbelle’s passing. Although I wish more than anything that our pets could live as long as we do so we don’t have to suffer the heartache of losing them, the best way you can honor a lost pet’s devotion to you is by allowing yourself to love another.

Things brings me to what inspired this personal post. Here at Emerald City Pet Rescue, we’ve suffered a few very sad losses over the last week. It is NEVER easy to decide, when an animal is suffering, what is best for them. I wish more than anything animals could communicate with us in speech and tell us what they want, but the best and most compassionate thing we can do is look into their eyes and try to listen to what is inside of their hearts.

I left work a few days last week with tears in my eyes over the losses and my heart felt heavy. I hugged both of my dogs and both of my cats and I felt comforted. I am sad for those wonderful animals we lost over these last few days.

If I could try to imagine what the animals we have tragically lost would want, I believe it would be for their fellow friends to find the forever homes they so very much deserve. In rescue, there are moments that lift us up and moments that weigh us down, but I wouldn’t change being a part of this world for anything.

I will always keep those we have recently lost in my thoughts, but I will honor them by pushing forward and being a support system for their brothers and sisters in spirit who are asking us with their eyes and heart to help them find happiness. I urge everyone else to do the same, together we can make a difference in so many lives. Every single happy ending is more than worth bearing the losses.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Onward we go! 20160326_100721

DailyECPR: Blueberry the Tan Doggy

It is almost summer time. The birds are chirping and the plants are growing. One favored summer activity is picking fresh berries such as blueberries right off the plant! Picking blueberries is fun, so why hasn’t anyone picked our little Blueberry to be their forever buddy?

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Blueberry is a senior dog with a loving disposition and a gentle nature. When Blueberry is with a human pal, he is an extremely mellow, laid back dog. He likes to be near his favored people. He looks up at them with wide curious eyes, his floppy ears slightly perked as he gives a little tail wag. If he is around a group of his human friends, he likes to check in with them all, looking up and expecting a head pat. But when confined and left alone, Blueberry becomes very agitated. Anxiety seizes him when he is forced to be confined in his kennel, away from any people. Blueberry suffers from separation anxiety.

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Separation anxiety can be debilitating for an animal to experience. Instead of living a carefree life, they are confronted with extreme anxiety, making life less wonderful. At Emerald City Pet Rescue, we want all our animals to be happy and healthy. In cases such as Blueberry’s, we work on training that will help him deal with his separation anxiety while problem solving solutions in which he is not put in situations which exaggerate his feelings of anxiety. For instance, during the afternoon, all the dogs go in their kennels for a break while some cleaning is done in the playroom. Blueberry though, spends his afternoon break napping on someone’s lap in one of the offices.

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Whoever adopts Blueberry will also need to work on creating an environment for him that doesn’t exaggerate his anxiety. Blueberry is open to be best forever buddies with all sorts of different folks. He just needs them to understand his dislike of confinement or being alone. Blueberry dreams of a friend who is retired and spend their days reading on comfy chairs or working in a garden where Blueberry can smell the flowers. Or he imagines spending his day with an office worker who can bring animals to their job. During lunch breaks they can take walks to a nearby park and watch the birds. Or maybe Blueberry can be adopted by a boutique owner who needs a store pooch (to keep an eye on any potential shop lifters! Blueberry is confident he can be ferocious if he needs to be). On days Blueberry is feeling especially fantastical, I’m sure he imagines even wilder potential forever people to spend his days with: Undercover spies who take him along on missions as a sidekick or glamorous celebrities in need of a cute doggy friend. Blueberry likes to spend time daydreaming about his future, but what he really wants now is to live his future!

Blueberry’s separation anxiety may need extra attention, but his charming and lovable personality easily compensates for his special needs. Blueberry is the type of friend everyone dreams of. He is loyal, loving and he only sees the best in anyone he meets.

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Blueberry’s favorite activity to do with a friend is to go on strolls. He has a laid back walking style. He likes to slowly lumber along our walking path, stopping here and there to smell the world. Blueberry has a special fondness for smelling all the amazing smells of the world. Some people live by the expression ‘follow your heart!’ But Blueberry would like to modify that expression to ‘Follow your nose!” Because to Blueberry, following your heart is following your nose. His heart tells him to be curious and to investigate the world! And his nose is his best investigative tool.

One thing that makes Blueberry such a good pal is the way he is so keen to just hangout and be supportive. On the worst day, someone could easily spill their heart to Blueberry. Blueberry would nuzzle up next to them and give them a comforting look. Adorable, wonderful Blueberry is ready to put his skills to use. He is ready for a forever home!

DailyECPR : Rescue Dogs Movie + Adoption Event Was Awesome!

Last weekend Emerald City Pet Rescue had an AWESOME opportunity to participate in a unique and fun event. Rescue Dogs, a movie starring real rescue dogs premiered at SIFF’s Uptown Cinema in Lower Queen Anne and the catch was that anyone who attended the premiere showings at 12PM on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 was allowed to bring their own dogs right into the theater! The dogs that arrived with their owners were amazingly well behaved; I imagine they all had a really enthusiastic talking-to before heading to the show. “Okay Rover, today you get to go into a place you are normally not allowed to be in so please be on your best behavior!” The variety of dogs who came ranged from a few little yorkies to a Portuguese water dog, yet no matter what the size, all of the pooches were so very wonderful as they enjoyed the film. Why aren’t dogs allowed in theaters ALL the time?

Emerald City Pet Rescue, along with BarkHappy and MudBay was there to greet moviegoers, human and canine alike. We added to the festivities by teaming up with BarkHappy for a raffle at the end of the movie and we gave away some ECPR mugs! As an added bonus we also had an adoption event right across the street at MudBay.

Because we have a specific process for adoptions, we typically usually only bring a few animalss with us to events. Last weekend was the first time we ventured out of that comfort zone and brought a lot of adoptables with us! We didn’t know what to expect going to this new adventure but staff, volunteers and animals alike arrived at the MudBay across from Uptown Theater with optimism and enthusiasm. We were not disappointed!

The dogs and cats that came with us to strut their stuff really hammed it up! Tiny young pup Valentine Lee put on her “cute-face” (let’s be real, she never takes it off!) and won the hearts of nearly everyone who stopped by, but even better than that our little lady charmed one family so much that she got a contract! Mister Chico with his giant personality in a little body was next to win the hearts of a new forever family and the rest of the fur-babies that attended received so much love from the flow of visitors that they didn’t know what to do with it all! People were pouring in to visit with our pooches and kitties starting at 11AM all the way until 3PM on both days. Needless to say, the animals got a very good night’s sleep after all of the commotion!

We want to extend a special thank you to MudBay for being such wonderful hosts. Their adoption event section is stylish and comfortable for both humans and pets and their staff is amazingly kind and helpful. The event wouldn’t have been nearly as much of a success without them!

If you live in the Seattle area and you’re considering adopting a pet but did not get the chance to attend our adoption event, remember that all of our animals are posted on our website at emeraldcitypetrescue.org as well as on Petfinder and AdoptAPet. We always have an abundance of precious furry faces in need of forever loving homes!

DailyECPR : Dobie the House Elf – I mean, Min Pin!

Dobie-Photos20160223_05Dobie the 5 year old house elf – oops, I mean the min pin, is an adorable boy! Dobie came to us with his son Bandit, who was quite a bit larger than him and resembled a rat terrier. We don’t judge Dobie for his choice of baby mama though! I tease, I tease.

Dobie’s eyes are by far his best feature. They are bright and filled with expression. When they look up at you, you can almost hear him whispering, “Love me.. please?”

Dobie is a bit shy around strangers, he likes to make sure you are an awesome person before he relaxes into cuddles but once he has realized how amazing you are, he follows you around faithfully and asks for your full attention. Such an affectionate boy once you’ve gained his trust!

Dobie spent a few years at Hogwarts working in the kitchens, so what he seeks most from a forever family is a sock for his freedom! Since he does great with other dogs, he’d do well in a home alongside his house-elf companion, Winky!

Dobie-Photos20160223_10Okay I’m kidding about the Hogwarts thing. Probably. But Dobie is as sweet of a dog as Dobie was a house elf, and he’d be just as loyal to a loving forever family that house-elf Dobie was to Harry Potter.

Don’t make this special guy wait around too long, we just know there’s a min pin loving family that is more than ready to give him love and receive that love back tenfold.

If you think you just might be the freedom – I mean family, Dobie has been waiting for, give us a call at 206 557 4661 and set up a time to come in and meet this little shy guy, feed him a few treats, and make that special connection that will ensure his happiness for the rest of his life 🙂

DailyECPR : Breed Stereotypes

We’ve all been exposed to breed stereotypes over the years. Some are just “general heresay” while others are actually harmful to the willingness of others to give certain breeds a chance. Take the pit-bull for example; banned by almost all renters, generally spoken of in the general public as if they are mean, dangerous dogs.

I can honestly say that every pit-bull I’ve ever personally interacted with has been sweet, friendly, intelligent and playful; innocent fun-loving dogs who really enjoy human companionship. It is unfortunate that sociopathic dog-fighters focus on this breed simply for its naturally powerful jaws, but to me, assuming that pit bulls are naturally aggressive dogs is akin to assuming every naturally muscular man has great potential to be a bully. Did that sound like an unfair assumption?

Small breeds such as chihuahuas also have a “reputation” of being “yappy” and even aggressive. I have met some chihuahuas who were very protective and barky, and I have met countless who are mellow and friendly toward everyone they meet. I am a firm believer that breed is no indicator of an animal’s aggression level, and that all you can really determine by a dog’s size is how easily a young pup can accidentally knock you over if they get overexcited during playtime.

Without further ado, here’s an excellent website that addresses some unfair breed stereotypes, and debunks them! Its a great source of education to get past the gossip in order to get the real facts, which is extremely important and helpful when trying to make a decision about what type of dog would be the best fit for you and your household 🙂

Bad to the Bone, or Misunderstood?

DailyECPR: Sweet Tweet

Tweet is lovable, loyal and the cutest teeny-tiny charmer in all the world. With his dainty deer ears and big bulgy eyes, Tweet has a constant expression of wonder on his face. Tweet has been at Emerald City Pet Rescue for several months now. He has been patiently awaiting the arrival of his forever people at ECPR’s front doors. He can imagine it now! The perfect person for him would be someone kind, loving, gentle and understanding. Tweet isn’t just looking for any person to show up at Emerald City Pet Rescue. He has certain expectations. Tweet wants a best friend….someone he can share in the joys of the world with. This means it is very important that Tweet finds a person who shares his passions.

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Tweet’s greatest passion in life is perfecting the art of coziness. Why live in a hard surfaced and bleak world when you can live in a world full of blankets, warmth and comfort? Tweet’s philosophy is that a life spent enjoying relaxing and a warm and comfy environment is a life well spent. The way Tweet best embraces the cozy life is by burrowing underneath warm blankets. Since Tweet likes the calm lifestyle, he often spends his time in the senior corner of the playroom. This is a gated off-corner where we put older dogs, or any-aged dog who may prefer spending their time in a calmer atmosphere. Tweet is one of our littlest dogs. He does not necessarily want to spend his day dodging and darting away from the larger dogs as they clumsily bound around the playroom, only vaguely aware of the littler dogs scurrying nearby. Tweet appreciates the calm reprieve of the senior corner. Sometimes I will look over to the corner and I will think “Where is Tweet!?” But then, I will notice a blanket with a giant lump in it. The lump will slightly stir. Out pops Tweet’s curious face. “What’s the concern?” Tweet’s expression seems to say. “I was only enjoying some quite moments in the comfort of my blanket fort.”

What goes better with coziness then cuddling? Our cozy connoisseur Tweet certainly agrees that the two are a perfect pairing. Cuddling is Tweet’s other great joy in life. Tweet is a very loyal dog and falls in love with certain people. To Tweet, these people are the apple in his eyes, the stars in the sky, and the sugar in his tea. When he finds someone he absolutely adores, he wants to spend all his time cuddling with them. Whether it be snugly in a lap or anchored in the arms, Tweet is all about a good cuddle session. It is easy to see the great peace that cuddling brings Tweet. Nothing makes Tweet enjoy the beauty in life like a good cuddle with a great friend.

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But Tweet isn’t completely inflexible. If someone he adores has an interest that Tweet doesn’t necessarily share, he is willing to make an effort. For instance…walking! Dogs are known for their love of walking. But Tweet is an independent guy who doesn’t allow rules of dogkind to dictate his opinions. He thinks walking is only so-so. But his apathetic outlook on walks doesn’t mean he’ll refuse a walk. He is willing to give it a shot. But, after walking a short distance, don’t be surprised if Tweet looks up at you with his big eyes. It is easy to see in those eyes that he is saying “Okay, I walked. I’m ready to be carried.” Well, compromise is an essential part of any successful friendship.

Oh, Sweet Tweet! Specialist of all that is comfy and cozy! Master of cuddling! Perfecter of the sweet and lovable! King of cute! Little Tweet is ready to find his home and his best friend. He is ready to snuggle up on a couch. He is ready to curl up in gentle and inviting arms. Tweet is not only ready for his forever home, his sweet heart and lovable personality makes him more than deserving of one! If Tweet may be the perfect fit for your home, please call ECPR at 206 557 4661. Your new little friend is awaiting your arrival!

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DailyECPR : An Editorial; Mistakes and Triumps as a Pet-Mommy

IMG_0395           As a dedicated ECPR employee I have a lot of passion for writing about our precious adoptable animals, the events we create and participate in, our amazing staff and volunteers, and more. In addition to keeping everyone up to date with our adoptables and happenings I now bring you all a first-person editorial series about being a pet parent; the mistakes, the hiccups, the milestones, the joys and the day by day learning that goes along with caring for and loving furkids!

Growing up I considered myself to be a cat person. I still adored dogs but my cat-focused obsession stemmed from the fact that I adopted a kitten when I was eleven who became my best friend in the world, the one living being that was always there for me, never judged me, never betrayed me, never failed to cuddle when I needed a hug. Having such a trusting relationship with my precious feline was incredibly important to my emotional development, especially during those tough teenage years. Tinkerbelle was my best friend through and through.

I had always wanted a golden retriever but my mother didn’t want dogs in her house. When I was a teenager, my stepmom got a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and I adored Willie but he was her dog in the sense that she was his caretaker. I loved playing with Willie and spending time with him but it’s not the same type of relationship you have when you alone care for an animal full-time.

IMG_0197            In the early 2000’s a movie blasted through the theaters called “Legally Blonde.” (I LOVE that movie by the way.) The main character Elle Woods played by Reese Witherspoon had a pet Chihuahua that she always carried in a purse.

Naturally, the popularity of Chihuahuas BLEW UP! Everyone realized how adorable it was to have a little purse dog you can dress up and carry around and suddenly an abundance of Chihuahua puppies had new homes, designer wardrobes and jewel-studded collars.

Years ago my beloved Tinkerbelle passed away after many medical complications. I was pet-less for a while, but losing the best friend I ever had left a hole in my heart that wasn’t getting any better. I knew I could never replace how special she was to me but when I felt ready I decided to adopt a new cat. I visited a rescue with the intention of bringing home a kitty but my eyes drifted instead toward a tiny little dog. The moment she noticed that my attention was on her, she raised her ears which seemed much too large for her head in the cutest way possible, locked her giant, sad eyes on me, and yawned. That was it. I knew instantly without a doubt that Lily was my dog. I could almost hear her saying, “You’ll be my new mommy, right?” Yes. Yes I will.

Lily, now a 5lb Chihuahua/Yorkie mix, was ten months old when I brought her home. She was a few months past that especially young puppy stage but she still had a lot of growing and learning to do. At ten months she was still a puppy. As a first time dog owner that had no prior experience raising a puppy, especially a small-breed, I went only with what I saw on “Legally Blonde”. I instantly bought Lily a jewel-studded collar, tons of dresses and doggie shirts, and yes, the dog purse. Lily instantly became my best buddy. Although she could never replace Tinkerbelle in my heart, she found a place all her own and we became inseparable.

As all first-time parents do, I made a few mistakes with Lily. As much as I love bringing Lily with me everywhere, she gets very anxious when left alone, so much so that it triggers her anxiety to a concerning level. I let her sleep in bed with me right away upon adopting her. I brought her shopping. I rarely walked her on a leash other than to take her outside to potty. I allowed her to become so dependent on me that if I so much as leave a room we are both in, she starts crying her little heart out.

In spite of my mistakes with Lily, I feel very fortunate that she is patient, loving, and a near-perfect dog in reference to her disposition. She couldn’t be sweeter if she tried. Little kids can tug on her ears and tail, and carry her around awkwardly and she allows them to. Handicapped people can hug and kiss on her and she is quiet as a mouse and endlessly accommodating. She doesn’t growl or nip. She handles new situations with nonchalance and isn’t fazed by much.

Working in rescue has really shined a light on just how lucky I truly am because I don’t feel like I can take credit for Lily’s amazing disposition. I coddled her a lot when I first brought her home. I took her a lot of places, but I didn’t pass her around from person to person or expose her to playtime with other dogs. She spent our early travel and errand days looking out at the world from a dog purse.

Pay attention everyone because I’m about to write the most important sentence of this editorial. Small dogs are still dogs. There it is, right there! One more time : Small dogs are still dogs.

Would you exclusively carry a German shepherd in a purse? Would you exclusively carry a Saint Bernard in a purse? Would you assume your Akita is too delicate to go on walks in the big bad scary outdoors? I’m guessing most of you said no in your head.

Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pomeranians, terriers etc; they may be small but they are still dogs. They still have all the same desires, instincts and needs that large breed dogs have, for the most part. (You probably don’t need to take your Chihuahua on runs twice a day to give them enough exercise, but you get the point!) Eventually, I started putting the leash on Lily and taking her on walks. She LOVES it! She loves running up to people and other dogs and saying Hello. She loves sniffing all of the glorious outdoor smells, peeing on bushes, and digging in the dirt. She is a dog. Here at the rescue, she enjoys going into our playroom and playing with the other dogs. She has a habit of picking a “favorite” dog and following them around for as long as I’ll let her (hours if she had the opportunity!). Since I have learned and grown as a dog-mommy, I’ve been able to let Lily be the dog that she is and I know she is happier and more enriched because of it.

Again though, I don’t consider my experience, nor my dog, the “norm.” As we are a rescue that currently focuses on rescuing small breed dogs, I see a LOT of dogs come through here that, for all I know, may have very well come from inexperienced pet-parents who let their tiny pooch’s behavior slide just a bit too far. “Oh look my four-pound dog is growling, how cute! Let’s encourage her, isn’t it funny!?” But it’s not so funny when that dog starts biting you, or others. This is not their fault. They are not bad dogs. They have simply not been taught boundaries, manners, or been given the security of a dependable, loving home and caregiver.

Lily could have easily become a problem dog beyond just her separation anxiety. There are many behavioral issues she could have developed simply because I was too inexperienced at the time to understand that sometimes with puppies, you need to show them tough love. Sometimes you need to let them cry in their kennels so they learn that it’s okay to be alone once in a while. Put peanut butter in a kong toy. Make their crate a fun experience and not a traumatic one. If they growl or nip, you need to correct them. Say “no” to nipping, but also understand that as puppies, they are teething. If you say “no” to your fingers, give them a toy that they are allowed and encouraged to chew on instead, instantly. Say “no” to something, but immediately say “yes” to something else. If they display inappropriate behavior or if they are not listening, put them in a time-out or refuse to pay attention to them until they adjust their behavior. For example, if a dog is jumping on you, ignore them until they calm down or sit nicely, THEN love on them and tell them what a good dog they are.) As soon as they do what you’d like them to do (stop trying to nip your fingers, quiet down from crying in a crate, etc) reward them. Let them know how good they are being.

Take your dog on walks. Yes, even if they are a 3 pound Chihuahua. Let them smell and explore in the outdoors. Let them play with other dogs. Let them meet new people. Give them as many positive and new experiences as you can, as often as you can and you will have a wonderful, well-adjusted dog.

Lily is amazingly forgiving with me for my early mistakes with her. She is a tiny, precious little chorkie, but she is still a dog and still needs to do doggie things. I love her so much for so many reasons, but what I find most incredible about her is that despite the mistakes I made with her, she knows that I love her and she loves me back unconditionally.

I recently added a new puppy into my family. She is even smaller than Lily at only 2lbs right now, charting maybe 4lbs as a fully grown Chihuahua. I know I will make mistakes with her, too. I’ll sometimes cave in and cuddle her when she’s crying because it breaks my heart, but I’ll try to be strong and wait until she’s quiet before I let her out of her crate so she will learn it’s not a punishment being in there, and that she will be okay. I’ll remember to be firm when she nips at me and say NO, but I’ll immediately present her with a toy or a chewy and praise her when she starts chewing on that. Lily, my best friend, my guardian angel, my faithful, understanding, patient, forgiving companion, helped me learn a lot. I can’t wait to see what kind of dog my puppy will grow into. I hope she’s half as loving and forgiving as my precious Lily. I hope she realizes what an amazing big sister she has and I hope she looks up to her. I hope I can be a good enough pet-mommy to never let either of them feel like they are second best, I want them to both feel equally loved and cared for. I will try not to coddle her for her small size and let her get “down and dirty” sometimes. I will pass her to strangers and not hover. I will let her play with other dogs so she learns to interact with them in healthy ways. I will still make mistakes, but I love them enough to try and learn every day and ultimately that’s what being a mommy is all about.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good dog-parent. No one can know everything, or always make the perfect choices when it comes to their pet. Just love them the way they love you. Do what you can for them. Be willing to learn what you don’t know. Be willing to help them learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Pay attention to your dog, they will tell you what they need but don’t let them walk all over you, either. Find a balance. Realize that what you have with your dog is a relationship.

As John Grogan, the author of “Marley and Me” says, “A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”