by Andrea Hartley
My dog Barney lived to age 20, after being diagnosed with Cushion’s Disease at the age of 14, and given 6 months to live. The doctors were amazed. When I had brought him in to see the vet, his stomach was very swollen. When I returned with him a few months later, the doctor said his stomach had returned to normal. What had I done? I had stopped feeding him dog food and started feeding him the way I fed my family, with good wholesome food. I do not buy any processed foods. I do not buy any foods with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or MSG products in it. I serve only natural, organic when possible, cooked from scratch food, and now, this was what Barney was eating too. He had turkey, beef, organic chicken, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, green beans, peas, apples, and yogurt (plain with no additives). I also gave him vitamins, herbs, and some homeopathic remedies. [Read more]
by Gary Frisch
In February of 2009, I got my kids a pet parakeet, which we named Twitter. This was a special bird, and warmed to my family right away. He was blue, white and grey, very distinctive looking. His wings had been clipped so he could flap around but couldn’t sustain prolonged flight. We gave Twitter a lot of freedom to explore our apartment, knowing he’d return to the comfort of his cage soon enough.
On Dec. 27 that year, Twitter escaped from our third floor apartment when my 10-year-old son left the sliding door to our deck open for a few minute. A family search of the apartment complex yielded nothing. [Read more about Twitter]
Many years ago, I visited a shelter to find a dog. As I went from cage-to-cage, I saw many friendly ones and some shy ones, but the one that stood out most to me was a little poodle mix who was elderly and blind. I felt that no one would want him, so he was the one for me. The shelter, very kindly described me as a “saint” and decided that they should waive the adoption fee. They were nice. Looking back, it is interesting that they used the word “saint’ but they should have used it to describe the dog because he taught me many life lessons. That tiny, old dog had a spirit and a will larger than life. I decided to call him “Lamb Chop” after Shari Lewis’s puppet. “Undaunted” would be a great word to describe his spirit. Though he couldn’t see and was up in years, he never let that stop him. I really should have called him “Mr. Magoo” because, like the cartoon character, his lack of sight had him involved in a ton of near misses and dilemmas. [Read about Lamb Chop dilemmas]
This was our beagle, Daisy, My daughter gave her to us one Christmas. When Daisy was a pup, she had the sign of the cross on her back. She was a very smart dog .” How smart?” you ask. She learned how to open the fridge and managed to remove a whole ham, which she happily ate rather quickly. During the holidays she pulled the table cloth off the table and ate all the Christmas cookies . Never underestimate how smart animals are!
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by Andrea Hartley
Dogs are capable of thinking and planning and no one will ever convince me differently. I witnessed my dog Duke, a Shepherd-Doberman mix actually plot a takeover. Well, ok, it wasn’t a business takeover, but it was a chew toy takeover.
At the time, he was about 6 years old and my other dog, Minute, a Chihuahua mix was about 9 months old. Minute was happily playing with a chew toy in my upstairs bedroom. Duke had already devoured his. I saw him eyeing Minute and his chew toy and suddenly, it was like a light bulb flashed in his eyes. His head bolted up and I swear, he was smiling. He ran downstairs and jumped up on the couch by a window and started barking. Naturally, Minute dropped his chew toy and ran downstairs to see what all the commotion was about. No sooner than Minute reached the bottom step, Duke promptly jumped from the coach and bolted upstairs, where he victoriously snatched up the abandoned chew toy lying on the floor.
Minute paused, then ran upstairs only to discover his toy was now in the large jaws of his brother! I think that Duke was really proud of himself; and to this day, even though our beloved Duke has passed at the age of 16, Minute will still growl if anyone comes near him with his chew toy!
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