If you love and enjoy dogs as I do, one bright spot during these dark days of COVID-19 has been the number of dogs that have found homes. We read that shelters are empty and the demand to adopt has never been higher. It is no wonder. Dogs bring us companionship, comfort, joy, and love – all traits most welcome at this time of social distancing. I easily spot the articles in the newspaper that talk about the difference dogs are making in our lives. One author recently wrote, “I can thank the pandemic for these days with my dog.” She talks about no longer needing dog walkers and how she enjoys aging together with her dog. To humor us there are articles about the variety of names we bestow on our pets such as – Oscar, Damien, Whiskers, Major, and Titan.
Stories abound about rescues finding their forever homes, and those who are still seeking a good home. I live in Virginia, but it is not unusual to read articles about dogs thousands of miles from me such as the dog in Texas seeking his forever home after being returned to the kennel eight times. However, I don’t have to read articles to know the past fourteen months have been good for dogs. I only have to look up from my computer and observe families walking by with all sizes and types of dogs. Two years ago, people with dogs strolled rarely in front of our house. Now it’s a parade. Some are puppies proudly learning how to behave on a leash. Even the older dogs that might have come from a rescue seem content with their owners. Sometimes I wonder what stories are stored inside the mind of a rescue dog. Maybe it’s better not to know.
Like many of you, my husband and I have first-hand experience raising dogs and observing them, as they become a closely-knit member of the family. Dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit. It is no wonder they bring magic into our lives. An important aspect of owning a dog is not only the joy of getting to know them and them getting to know us. At some point, dogs age and may become seriously ill. We are never prepared when a pet becomes ill and therefore people can be at a loss for what to do, when to make critical decisions, how to say goodbye, and how to cope with the loss of a pet, etc. To help people who have a senior dog or one suffering from a serious illness, I recently published a book: When To Say Goodbye – A Dog Story. It is available in Kindle and paperback formats under the name Eleanor E. Fink on Amazon, Google Books, Good Reads, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and local bookstores.
It captures the joy and friendship that developed as our dog, a standard poodle, grew from puppy to a close-knit member of the family. It focuses on challenges we faced, when our companion developed epilepsy and later dementia. Along with photos there are recommendations at the end of the book on caring for your dog that include importance of talking to them, sources for obtaining medication, how to handle difficult situations, signs that the quality of life may be changing, and how to prepare for and say goodbye. I hope it will fill a niche that deserves more attention. For more information, visit my website: eleanorfink.com.
Tip for the day: Around 12 to 16 weeks old, puppies begin to lose their baby teeth and their gums become tender and sore. Keep cut up bananas in your freezer and occasionally give one to your puppy to help soothe sore gums.