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Walking made easy

posted October 27th, 2014 by
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As a stay-at-home mom, I often find myself home alone with a couple of kids, a couple of dogs and, lately, some gorgeous fall weather.

Playing in the backyard is fun, but a change of scenery is always nice. Giving your dog the opportunity to explore new and uncharted territory can make a huge difference, especially when it comes to behavior. Check out this PetMD slideshow for nine more benefits of walking your dog.

IMG_0998Logistically, however, I’ve been a little at a loss as to how to take all four of my kiddos on a  walk on my own.

And then I discovered the hands-free leash along with the take two coupler. Of course, the coupler works best if your dogs are of similar size and walk at about the same speed.

A baby carrier allows me to wear my son on my back and the hands-free leash means my daughter can hold my hand and feel like she is helping walk the dogs. My dogs were never able to get the hang of walking with a stroller.

After our first walk in what felt like ages, I was feeling a little bit like a supermom. I only hope we don’t run out of beautiful fall weather to enjoy!

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Whose problem is it anyway?

posted August 26th, 2014 by
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The above meme recently popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. And while I agree with the heart of what this is getting at, I feel the way it is phrased puts all of the responsibility on shelters and none on pet owners and citizens of the community.

It is absolutely sad that perfectly good animals are put down everyday. But what would happen if Tulsa Animal Welfare and other shelters that euthanize suddenly stopped this practice?

There is only a finite amount of space at TAW. To fill it with homeless animals beyond capacity would be inhumane. There is also only a finite amount of money in our city’s budget to care for these animals. Pet food, cat litter and staff to care for them adds up quickly.

So for a shelter to cease its practice of humane euthanasia, it would have to cap the number of animals it could accept and would have to turn animals away. This is a common reality for most no-kill rescue groups. Space is limited and there are only so many willing to foster pets.

So then what would happen? Would people just stop surrendering their pets because all of the shelters are full? Maybe.

Or maybe they would dump them somewhere, turning them out on the street. Is death by starvation or being run over by a car really a better alternative to humane euthanasia?

It’s tragic that as a community, we put down so many innocent animals. It’s also tragic that as a community, we are ok with pointing fingers at the shelter.

It is time to start focusing on WHY we have such an overpopulation of pets in our area. Holding pet owners accountable for spaying and neutering their pets would be a good place to start.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Who is training who?

posted August 6th, 2014 by
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We are nearing the end of summer and everyone in my house is getting a little anxious and antsy for our usual routines that come with the school year.

The other afternoon I decided to kill two birds with one stone and attempted to keep my boys and toddler all entertained at the same time. It seemed like a great idea to teach my toddler how to give commands to our two Bostons and reward their behavior with treats.

While I definitely accomplished my initial goal of keeping everyone entertained for the afternoon, I think I also stumbled on to a great exercise as far as teaching my daughter patience with our animals and teaching our animals to listen to our toddler.

At first, things were a little chaotic and it was a free for all with my toddler yelling ‘sit!’ while making it rain treats on the dogs. Once I regained possession of the treat bag and a little control, we started to make some progress.

We kept it simple. Sit. Stay. Lie down. At the end, we added high-five for fun. I had my daughter say the command and use a hand signal at the same time (sometimes toddlers are hard to understand!). This was an easy refresher for my boys, they have been through training before. Admittedly, around the time my daughter was born, we stopped practicing so much.

My dogs loved having the attention of my toddler and got some extra stimulation (and a lot of extra treats!). My daughter got to see what it was like to be in charge and tell someone else what to do, with the added bonus of experiencing the frustration of not being listened to. I don’t think she liked it!

Both toddler and dogs need to work on their technique, but all in all, it was a successful afternoon and an activity we will repeat in the future!

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Are you doing one of these don’ts?

posted July 28th, 2014 by
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saddog

A light bulb recently clicked for me while reading an article called “11 things humans do that dogs hate.” An interesting read, not all of it will ring true for every dog and owner. But one small graph jumped out at me:

“Tension on the leash isn’t the only way a dog can pick up how you’re feeling. You can tell when a person you’re around is feeling tense, even if you don’t realize it. Dogs have the same ability. The more stressed and wound-up you are, the more stressed and wound-up your dog is. And dogs, just like us, don’t like that feeling. You might roll your eyes, but the next time your dog is acting frustrated and tense, check in with yourself — have you been feeling that way for the last few minutes, for the last few hours, or the last few days? Your dog might just be acting as your mirror. If you need a reason to meditate, helping your dog calm down is a great one.”

Aha! With a two going on thirteen-year-old little girl and a recently crawling little boy in the house, my stress level has increased just a tad. And maybe my patience has been waning just a bit. My two sweet boys and even my kitties have been a little more skittish and less than friendly with me lately.

The concept isn’t new to me, of course, and I’m sure it isn’t news to many of you reading this, either. I learned long ago from my childhood pets just how intuitive and sensitive animals can be.

But sometimes when you are in the middle of a stressful situation, it can be easy to focus on yourself and your feelings, forgetting how  others around you are also impacted, furry ones included.

I will be making an effort in the coming days to bring the stress level down for all of the beings in the house, starting with a little yoga.

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

Table food isn’t always a no no

posted July 10th, 2014 by
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mealtimedog

Now that my human baby boy is eating food, my two fur baby boys have taken up semi-permanent residence underneath the high chair. If Nate is in the chair, Yoda and Spock are right there beneath him, keeping my floor and his toes clean.

Most of what Nate eats is fresh fruits and veggies. Not all people food is appropriate for dogs and some is downright dangerous, so I had to give myself a little crash refresher course on what could be shared.

Whether you also have little ones learning to eat or just want to give your a dog a fresh treat, I found this chart from the ASPCA to be quite handy!image.axd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

 

Security breach

posted July 2nd, 2014 by
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escapethumb

My dog’s fenced in yard experienced a breach of security this week after the gate was left wide open.

We had our yard sprayed for pests and the worker forgot to close the gate behind him.

This is something I usually double check when anyone works in our yard. But sometimes life gets in the way and it slipped my mind.

When I let my dogs out later that afternoon only one came back when I opened the door and called them.

I was first panicked and then furious with myself for forgetting to double check the gate. Although it should be a reasonable expectation to have your yard and home left as it was found if someone needs to work on your property. People are only human and mistakes are made.

But to all of the workers who must enter someone’s yard for any number of reasons: meter reading, pest control, yard work, AC repair, the list goes on… Please, please try remember to shut and latch the gate behind you.

This small step will keep dog mommas (and little kid mommas) everywhere grateful.

Thankfully, I found my advantage-taking dog frolicking only a street over. He was hot and thirsty but otherwise unharmed. And for that I am truly grateful.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

escapelargeMy adventurer, back in his own yard. Sorry, buddy.

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