Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today is my Amber’s sixth birthday. That’s her in the pictures. Isn’t she lovely? The portrait picture was taken just last week. The other picture of her rolling around on the floor with her favorite toy was when she was about a year or so old. She still has that little stuffed lamb, only it’s not as new looking as it was then. In fact, it’s worn out, torn and over all quite “yucky” looking, but in Amber’s eyes that little stuffed lamb (well the guts have long ago been ripped out) is always beautiful. I named the little lamb “Squeaks” because that’s what it used to do…..squeak. The squeaky part has long been gone, but all I have to do is ask Amber, “Where’s Squeaks” and she goes and gets her bringing her to me hanging from her mouth like a limp noodle.

So today Amber will have Salisbury steak added to her dinner and she’ll get a large dog biscuit to chew on this morning. I’m afraid there’s no cake to announce her birthday because I’d end up eating it all myself and I don’t need any more cake to distract from my already more than “pleasingly plump” figure!

Many people celebrate their animal’s birthdays as well as other national holidays with them. Oh and how about Halloween? Some people love to dress their dogs up in special costumes and make them look goofy. Come on, admit it, you know that you do. I’ve seen some of the pictures.

We just love our dogs. We treat them like children. We pamper them. We spoil them. We indulge them. When it comes to showing our dogs how much we love them, there’s just nothing we wouldn’t do for them. We just love them to death. And when they do die, for some of us, showing our love for our dog doesn’t die with them. We may bury him beneath the old shady tree that he loved to lie under. We might even have special urns with his ashes sitting on our mantles over the fireplace. We all know that our love for our beloved animals hasn’t died because his physical presence is no longer with us.

The pet industry has watched us and listened to us and I guess that’s why the pet industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Designer this and designer that……is no longer just for us humans! The pet industry attaches all sorts of fancy names to attract the consumer to buy their products. You can buy your dog, designer beds, designer cloths, holistic food, holistic vitamins, natural shampoos and conditioners, and on and on.

Some people love their dogs so much that they hire a professional animal photographer to take many pictures of their animals. Beautiful photographs are then displayed in different places in the house for all to enjoy looking at. Then some people will hire a very special artist to paint a picture of their dog. The portrait is then displayed in a prominent area of the home for people to enjoy for many years to come. This to me this is the ulimate in luxury. Many years ago, a young couple bought a puppy from me from a beautiful stud dog that I owned. They loved their puppy and the sire of that puppy so much that one day a knock came at my door. Imagine my surprise when this lovely couple handed me this huge package all wrapped up in pretty paper. After pulling the paper off, imagine my further surprise to see a water color portrait of my stud dog taken from a picture that I had given to them. I was so grateful and happy to have that painting and it still remains with me to this day!

Some people even include their dogs in their weddings. Yes, I’ve seen pictures of that as well. They actually dress up the dog for the official picture! If there’s room for a dog, the dog owner literally will have the dog attached at the hip! I’ve seen dogs in pictures riding on their owners motorcycles. My friend takes her dogs sailing with her and her husband. Some people won’t go on vacation unless they can take their dog. They’ll check out places that have dog friendly hotels before they make their reservations. Just look at some of the people in the German Shepherd Dog community. They plan their vacation around the National Specialty Dog Show that is held every fall at different locations in the United States. This is what they save their hard earned money for. To them, this is their vacation. Yes, some dogs truly know what it is to be loved by their smitten owners!

An animal lover includes their beloved pets in just about anything that they include their family members in. They are treated as part of the family. Many sleep on the owner’s beds, live in the house, ride in the car, are invited to join in parties at the house whether company likes it or not……yes sir; these animals are special in their owner’s eyes and hearts. Some dogs are treated so special that every day is like a birthday for these lucky guys! Lucky for the dog born into this household!

I know that some of you that are reading this have your own little rituals that you may do on his “special” day. Any time that one of my dogs or a friend’s dog finished their championship or made his ROM, we would gather at our houses and put on a big celebration with good food, lively conversation and dogs or puppies taking turns coming in the house to “strut their stuff!” Actually, if truth be told, the parties were more for the people than they were for the dogs. The dogs were an excuse for us all to get together once again.

Then there are those pet owners that don't need any holiday or a birthday celebration to share special times with their dogs. Their bond is not about recognizing any special date on the calendar. Rather every day spent with their animal is a celebration of the life that they share. It might be a hike up the mountain, or a stroll through the park. It might even be when you take your dog out in the back yard and throw a ball for him to fetch. Or maybe it's the quiet times that the two of you share as you read a book and your dog is curled up at your feet resting peacefully by your chair. Special times for you means times spent with your special friend that is reserved just for the two of you!

So for all you special dogs out there that were born today HAPPY BIRTHDAY and may you celebrate many more birthdays! My Amber is sitting by me as I type this article for my blog today. Oh she doesn’t care about the subject matter. She’s just sitting looking lovingly at me waiting for me to share another one of my pretzels with her. Oh she knows that she’s a spoiled dog, but well you know it is her birthday, after all!

From the book: "For the Love of a Dog": Animal behaviorist, dog trainer, syndicated radio talk show host and prolific author on all things canine, McConnell (The Other End of the Leash) presents a compelling combination of stories, science and practical advice to show how understanding emotions in both people and dogs can improve owners' relationships with their pets. This is more than a simple dog-training book: much of what McConnell discusses concerns how dog owners can learn "the language" of dog by recognizing important signals and reading them correctly. She provides numerous helpful examples of how owners can observe dog behavior, especially differences in posture and facial expressions, in order to help dogs be better behaved and help dog owners to be better handlers; her discussion of the meaning of a dog's "tongue flicks" is alone worth the price of the book. Her overall goal is to help owners provide their pets with "a sense of calm, peaceful benevolence," and she skewers current dog-training fads that emphasize "dominance" over a dog. "Don't fool yourself: if you yell at your dog for something he did twenty seconds ago, you're not training him; you're merely expressing your own anger."

My rating: celebrating special times with your dogs: (4)

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