Everybody wants to rule the world…

Everybody wants to rule the world…

“I want to be the person my dog thinks I am…”cropped-20140719_210043_android1.jpg

Being a professional pet sitter is such a fabulous career for me.  There are so many reasons why;  great clients (two legged as well as four!), being able to be outside in the fresh air and having the ability to make my own schedule are just a few.  But one of the main reasons why I love my job is that I never feel slighted when I arrive at “work.” There is no co-worker that felt like I slighted them yesterday or boss who has other things on their mind but is taking it out on me.   With the exception of a cat holding a grudge because of pill I had to give, most times when I walk in the door it’s like a “do-over.”  And who doesn’t long for that?!  Being around so many amazing animals is just that…a never-ending “do-over” for me that allows me to view every day, every experience of every day as a new, fresh start.  Animals don’t hold grudges.  Animals don’t feel slighted because you were late.  Animals take every moment they are given and run with it–usually quite literally!

How different would life be if we all thought like that?  How many feuds would end and tragedies would be avoided?  We could wake up every morning and think about how grateful we were to have a warm place to sleep and someone to rub our bellies.

Not that all problems would be instantly resolved.  For example, there would still, unfortunately, be homelessness.  The difference would be that others would do their best to care for one another.  If a dog saw another dog on the street, he would not walk past quickly and avoid eye contact.  He would say, “hello, friend.” and mean it.  He would give his new friend a piece of his lunch if he had it.  And if he knew of a place his friend could go, he would direct him there.  He would leave his friend with a heartfelt goodbye, and a “can’t wait to see you again.”  And he would mean it!

Cats are different.  More aloof.  But…not less loving.  Even though a cat seems to have a better grip on long term memories (just take out the cat carrier to go to the vet if you doubt me!) that works in my favor as well.  Because a cat will remember me from the last time I visited them.  A cat will remember that I sat in the chair by the window and rubbed behind their ears while they gazed out the window.  A cat will remember that I fed them last time I was there and will look forward to the meal they know is coming.  And a cat will bring me gifts (granted, they are usually dead and disgusting, but still a gift!) to show me how important I am to them.

I wish I had just a little bit of the wisdom that a cat or a dog brings into my life every day.  But since I am JUST a human, I am going to have to continue living my life trying to live up to the person my dog thinks I am!  How about you?

 

Do animals see in color?

Hi there, Amanda here.  It is probably annoying that I start the blog that way every time, sorry! but my hope is that I won’t always be the only contributor.  Anywhoo…

Things have been pretty busy around here, what with Valentine’s Day weekend, Presidents’ Day weekend and February vacation from school.  Throw in some cold (I mean, COLD) temperatures and Murphy’s Law and you have yourself a smorgasbord of visits 🙂  Not to sound even more annoying but I LOVED IT!!!  Yea, it was cold (still…cold…) but I was out representing my own business and working for me.  The fact that I had a really good reason to wear my fur hat was just icing (ice?) on the cake.

One of the things that I discovered this week was that when I wear my pink gloves, I have to constantly guard my hands from well-meaning dog teeth.  Even if I am not wearing them, the pink gloves are some kind of magical energy that draws a dog in and causes them to snatch the gloves off the table and try to eat them.  I am not making this up, I actually had to reach into a dog’s mouth and pull my glove out before he swallowed it whole!!!!  I have since “retired” the pink gloves, but it begs the question–can a dog see the color pink?

I was raised to believe (like a lot of people) that dogs don’t see color.  After more research was done, it is said that they don’t see color as much as humans; mostly blues and yellows, but they do see some.  About a tenth of what a human sees, according to the website http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/can-dogs-see-color/.  In a world where your sense of smell is about a bazillion times more powerful that a human, I guess only seeing shades of two colors instead of three is a good swap.  Especially when you hunt with your nose!  So why do some of the dogs go after my pink gloves?  If I remember from the Ziploc commercial, yellow and blue make green…

The first time it happened, the glove snatching dog had tennis balls that were the same color as my gloves.  That explained it in my mind, he just thought I was holding one of his tennis balls.  But two other times it has happened again.  No pink tennis balls to be found.  Total mystery.

But what about other animals?  Do cats see color?  The research says, yes.  But, it’s blurry.  Cats have the same number of color cones as humans (3) but they are UV-transparent(humans are not.)  To quote Discovery.com, cats have super psychedelic vision.  They see stripes and patterns that humans don’t see and they see urine marks and trails.  Have you ever looked for cat urine with a black light?  That is because humans are thought to have a filter to block out UV rays which also keeps things focused for us, it is thought.  But it also hides things like cat urine from our naked eye.  And so far, no cats have tried to eat my pink gloves.  One would argue that a cat has better things to do…but that is another story for another blog post!

So there you have it.  While trying to figure out why I can’t wear my favorite gloves, I stumbled upon something of interest to me and hopefully you.  The mystery of whether animals see color is solved.  As far as my pink gloves go, it is still anybody’s guess!  Care to guess?!ladies-plain-winter-ski-thermal-insulated-polar-fleece-thinsulate-gloves-one-size-hot-pink_2476548

References

http://news.discovery.com/animals/pets/cats-have-super-psychedelic-vision-140218.htmCopyright © 2016 Discovery Communications, LLC. The number-one nonfiction media company.

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/can-dogs-see-color/

 

Welcome our guest speaker…Nana Darling!

Hi everyone, Amanda here.  Today we have a special treat for our blog.  Amanda’s Paw Pals recently had the privilege of caring for Nana Darling, most famous for her role of nurse to the Darling children in the movie Peter Pan.  Nana was in town visiting with her niece Ginger, a client of Amanda’s Paw Pals, while their humans went away together for a few days.  We asked Nana if she would talk about her experiences to our readers.  So without further ado—Nana Darling!

                Hello!  It is so nice to talk about my recent experiences with Amanda’s Paw Pals.  I was not happy to find out that my masters were going to leave me alone while they went away.  It was like being dragged out to be chainenana darlingd in the yard and expected to sleep in that little dog house all those years ago by my master, George.  In the end, he came to his senses and let me back in the nursery where I belonged; truth be told, I expected them to turn around and get me this time as well. 

Right from the first visit, I knew that it would be okay.  This human, Amanda, greeted Ginger and me with open arms.  She was so smiley and warm!  She hugged Ginger and stroked her behind her ears.  Ginger’s leg started shaking and she was drooling all over everything…such a country dog!  I waited patiently for this girl to notice me.  When Ginger had rolled onto her back and Amanda had rubbed her belly, she approached me.  Being that we had never met, she was slow and careful when she came towards me.  She was talking to me about how Ginger’s human had told her all about me and how she loved my acting in Peter Pan.  When she got to me, she kneeled down in front of me and let me sniff her for a minute.  She tried to rub me behind my ears like she did with Ginger but since I am a cartoon and 2 dimensional she was not really able to.  No matter, I loved the fact that she tried! 

                After all that was finished, it was time to go for a walk.  Ginger lived right near a beautiful forest and we were able to take a stroll through the trees.  We heard birds singing, and the sound of the brook babbling along while we hiked.  It was heavenly.  Amanda kept us on a long leash and let us stop and sniff whenever we wanted.  Ginger kept sniffing trees and telling me who had been there before us, she knows everyone!  Of course, it is a small area 🙂  Amanda was great, she kept pointing out the different birds and flowers on our walk.  She didn’t even get upset when we were barking at each other and carrying on about Ginger’s friends! 

                When we got home, Amanda told us what good dogs we were (a little simple for my liking, but it was still nice to hear!) and gave us treats and more pats before she left.  I told Ginger that she was pretty nice and Ginger told me it is like that every time Amanda comes.  I didn’t admit it to my niece, but I was looking forward to the next visit!

                So there you have it, folks.  Straight from the dog’s mouth 🙂  Amanda’s Paw Pals makes it their mission to make everyone happy—whether you are human, an animal, or an animation.  If you haven’t let your pooch (or your kittie!) experience our service, what are you waiting for?!

Retractable, or belt leash?

20140325_130856_Android
Barkley walking big brother Cooper 🙂

“Use whatever you feel most comfortable holding,” recommends the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT.  That is all fine and good, but how do you know?  I have used both types of leashes in my years as a pet sitter and dog walker.  I have had pros and cons associated with both, so I thought I would reach out and get a better idea on what is used regularly.  I was not prepared for the emotional response I got from some of my clients and peers.

Here are the pros that are repeated time and time again about the belt leashes–control, control, control.  There are others, like the cute little leash/collar sets a person can buy to match their mood or their outfits, but the biggest one I heard and read about was control.  Mike Walsh, dog trainer and co-owner of Dog Tales–Adventures in Grooming and Pet Care said, “…the way to have the best control by far is a belt leash.” Another client said that when he was training his therapy dogs, retractable leashes were forbidden.   But you aren’t training your dog when you take them for a walk, right?

Actually, you are.  Dogs, like people, learn through repetition.  Just like you can’t tell a toddler not to go in the back of the house 5 times, then the 6th time let them, and expect the 7th time that they will know what to do; the same is true with a dog.  If control is an issue, if you need or want your dog to walk near you and that is why you use a belt leash, you can’t expect them to ignore the fact that they have so much “run” with a retractable leash and just walk beside you.  Training tends to “stick” longer with a dog, but if you only have the dog do what you have trained them to do (for instance walk near you) some of the time it will eventually be forgotten.

Another thing that was said was the breaking point on the retractable leash.  Belt leashes can break, especially if you have a hound that likes to chew on it!  But it seems like every day wear and tear is all that is needed to break a retractable leash.  Everything breaks down eventually but these leashes seem to have a shorter shelf life than most.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had a leash go out as far as it can go and then stick.  Not a lot of control when the leash doesn’t retract!  And those retractable leashes that have a belt in the beginning but cord all the rest of the way are always snapping.  The stories I could tell of the retractable leashes that are riddled with knots where they have been tied back together.  I actually carry a retractable leash to use in those instances because it is an accident waiting to happen.  Oh, and how many people have gotten a “rope burn” when their dog has run behind them and the cord portion of the leash rubbed against the back of their leg?  You can’t see me, but my hand is raised high!

But what about when you are walking in the woods or in the park and it is okay for your dog to explore a bit?  You aren’t going to expect your pal to walk beside you like you would on a busy street.  This is definitely a situation where a retractable leash would be welcome.  Taking your dog to one of these places is a treat for them and they should be allowed to explore a bit.  You are still in control but your pooch can go under bushes and sniff those leaf piles in the corner that are calling them.  A word of caution, even in this kind of situation, is this.  Two people mentioned the fact that if a dog gets into a good run on a retractable leash it can end badly.  Either the dog gets choked by the “jerk” they receive when they reach the end of the rope, or the handle of the leash gets ripped out of the hand of the person holding it.  Not a good ending to what should be a happy experience.  For anyone.

So it seems as though the belt type leashes win in the survey I put out about what people prefer.  I would like to say I prefer belt leashes, but I can’t.  I had a bad experience with a belt leash, a dog, and a squirrel that ended with me breaking a finger.  I was very new in the pet sitting scene and I was not really aware of my surroundings, but I still blamed the leash for a while.  Okay, for a long while 🙂

As my years progress as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, I am beginning to see the use for both types of leashes.  As I stated above, picking a leash is not a one size fits all proposition.  Being comfortable is first and foremost in the decision, but second should be where you will be and what you are expecting of you fur-friend.  After all, to quote Mike Walsh again, “Each type has its benefits as well as its hazards.” Use whichever leash works in the situation and works for you. There really isn’t any better answer!

***This post is meant to provoke thought and discussion but by no means is the author trying to change anyone’s opinion 🙂