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Looking for something to do this weekend?  Head on over to Alum Creek Dog Park for Pup-A-Palooza from 10:00 until 3:00 tomorrow, Saturday, July 31.  There will be silent auctions, live music, rescue groups, food, vendors and more!  Bring the whole family and don't forget to stop by and say "hi".  Mention you saw this event on Facebook and receive a special treat at our booth!  Check out their website for more details:

http://www.alumcreekdogpark.com/#

We hope to see you and your furry friend there!

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Think back to when you were a kid.  For many, childhood memories are full of happy, fun and carefree times.  But let’s face it, growing up isn’t easy either.  It can have moments of heartbreak, disappointment and loneliness.  This is why every kid needs a dog.

You may need your parents help on this one.  Who was one of the first family members you met when you were born?  My guess is your family dog was one of them.  Here you are so small and unassuming, yet you have just knocked him down a notch in the pecking order of the family.  Does he care?  Not a bit.  He’s fascinated by you and sticks by your side always.  He’s the first one there when you cry.  He’s the one that sleeps under your crib or outside your door.  He monitors all of your first visitors to make sure no one harms a hair on your little head.  From the very beginning, he’s your defender and protector.  Nothing will ever hurt you as far as he is concerned.

Remember those days before you were even in school when there was no one to play with?  You knocked on every neighbor’s door and none of the neighborhood kids were home or they weren’t allowed to play.  When you’re that little, it’s a devastatingly lonely and bored feeling when no one can play and that’s all you want to do.  But the family dog is always willing to play.  Boredom and loneliness problem solved.

Now think back to grade school.  Remember that bully (or maybe you were the bully) that just wouldn’t leave you alone.  You couldn’t really tell the teacher for fear of being a “tattle tale” and your mom and dad always had that sage advice to “just ignore them” (though now as a parent what else can you really say or do).  No one understood and no one could help you.  But your family dog was there to listen.  He’d look at you with those big brown eyes and just feel your sadness.  He’d sit with his head on your lap just pouring his love and sympathy into you.  When no one else could make you feel better, he could, and just knowing he was always waiting for you at home made things just a little more tolerable.  Comfort is often found in the love of a dog.

Now think middle school (shuttering at the thought too).  Awkward, gawky, and hormonal are about the only words that come to mind to describe this stage of life.  Days could be hard and what look like small disappointments now were monumental when you’re prepubescent.  Some days you’d come home from school simply distraught.  Your parents didn’t get it (and let’s face it, often there was nothing to “get”), but your family dog did.  He’d sit patently, again probably with his head in your lap, and listen for hours to you rant about the cruelties and total unfairness of life.  Understanding and patience are two of dog’s best attributes.

We’re onto high school, where people’s experiences often split.  Some will say best years of their lives and some will say worst.  But there are some experiences that everyone shares.  Think back to that first boy or girl friend that you were so in love with.  That person hung the moon and you never thought it would end.  But it did and your world crumbled.  Whether you cried for days or kept it all bottled up inside, you were hurting.  And your dog knew that.  And he knew, once again, you needed him there to hug and cry or just to sit by your side.  He gladly gave you his strength and would have given so much more if he could.

And then you were off to college.  Saying goodbye to everyone was so hard, but looking at your dog, your truest and best friend for all these years, how do you say goodbye to him?  Will he understand why you’re leaving?  But you go with the promise that you’ll come back and, of course, you do.  And he’s there waiting for you every time you do.  Trust and loyalty are a part of every dog.

You know where this story will end and that part I cannot write.  The point is, the family dog is more than “just a dog” to your children.  He is the truest and most loyal friend they could ever have.  He listens and understands when no one else can or will.  He is trusted with secrets that children cannot share with anyone else, but have to be told nonetheless.  He is comfort and patience and understanding wrapped in a fur coat that catches more hugs, kisses and tears than parents ever realize.  He is the family dog and every family with children needs one.

Please contact us at 614-527-3799 or at info@dogwatchofcolumbus if you need assistance finding your local humane society or a specific breed through a rescue group.

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Looking for a family fun activity for the weekend?  Come see us at Picnic with the Pups benefiting CHA Animal Shelter.  There will be live music, a beer tent, food and pet vendors, bounce yards, and all sorts of activities for the whole family.  And don't forget your four-legged family members, they are welcome too as long as they are leashed and well behaved.  Stop at our booth and mention seeing this event on our blog or Facebook and receive a free gift.  For more information go to http://www.picnicwiththepups.com/ .  We hope to see you there!

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As the Fourth of July weekend approaches and the 30th anniversary of Red, White and Boom here in Columbus, we are looking forward to the upcoming events.  Picnics, parades and fireworks are so much fun for families and children of all ages.

But what does your family dog think of all these festivities?  The answer is they are probably not as excited about it as you are.  Crowds of people and loud noises are not a favorite for most dogs, so here are a few tips to help make the Fourth of July weekend more enjoyable for your four-legged friend too:

Parades

It may be best to leave your pup at home for this one.  There is a lot of activity at parades – crowds of people, loud noises, items being thrown - it may just be too much for your dog.

If you really want to include your dog in this tradition, be sure to take the following precautions:

  • Keep your dog on a leash.  We would suggest a 4 or 6 ft non-retractable one in order to best be able to maneuver your dog through a crowd or keep him away from things he shouldn’t have.
  • Watch out for thrown candy.  Candy wrappers, chocolate and sucker sticks could be lethal to your dog.  Keep an eye out to make sure he doesn’t snag a stray piece or two.
  • Bring water and offer it often to keep him hydrated.
  • Don’t stay out too long if you’re dog doesn’t handle the heat well.
  • Definitely do not leave your dog in the car during the length of the parade.  Hot cars are extremely dangerous even for short periods of time.

Picnics

As we’ve stated in other holiday related articles, the biggest danger for dogs during get togethers like these is food.  Be sure to keep the “people food” on the people plates.  This will avoid any stomach irritations for your dog, which is good in any case, but especially if fireworks are that evening.

Sparklers, at home fireworks, and other related products could also present several dangers to your pet.  For instance:

  • Anything that you light is obviously potential for burns for people and animals alike.  Be careful and be very aware of who is around you.
  • Fur could catch fire easily.  Be especially careful with your kids and the sparklers they may be having fun with.
  • Some of the firework “toys” could frighten dogs.  Especially the snapping, growing or popping ones.  Best to keep your dog inside during these demonstrations to make sure they don’t get spooked.  Do not let children (or adults for that matter) tease the family dog with any of these toys.  Even the most passive dog can be very unpredictable when frightened or hurt.

Fireworks

Fireworks are tough for dogs.   We all know how loud fireworks are for us, but keep in mind dogs have much more acute hearing than we do.  Even from inside the house, fireworks can be downright frightening.  A dog’s reaction to fireworks may be similar to thunderstorm anxiety.  Please see our related blog at http://tinyurl.com/2g5yd4n to check out those tips.

Specific tips for an uneventful fireworks experience include:

  • No question on this one.  Leave your dog home safe in his crate or favorite room.
  • Play some soothing music (or your dog’s favorite) to help drown out the noise of the fireworks.
  • Be sure all doors and pet doors are locked in the unlikely event of an escape.  In a moment of panic, your dog may try and come to find you (wherever you may be) to find comfort.
  • Be sure his or her collar and tags are on in case of an escape.
  • If there are accidents when you get home, try not to be upset.  Keep in mind the reaction was due to fear and nothing else.

We, at DogWatch of Columbus, wish you and your family a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!  God Bless America!

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DogWatch of Columbus will be at Slobberfest: A Celebration of Dogversity (and Cattitude) on Saturday, June 19 from 11:00 – 4:00 which will be held at the Pavillon at Coffman Park in Dublin (where they hold the ice skating in the winter). 

The event will feature an adopt-a-thon with rescues and shelters from throughout the area and a Celebration Walk too.  Slobberfest is organized by The Humane Society of Madison County.  We hope to see you there!

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