Pet Peeves: Value your pets

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Here we are, already celebrated July Fourth, with some fireworks, some summer fun and a couple of family and friends fun meals: some in person and some from a distance or even virtual. In any case, I sure hope that you and all of your clan had a chance to enjoy.

One of my favorite times of the year is usually summertime, when I can dry my hair outside, making it feel softer than usual. I enjoy washing the dog outside and getting covered with dog hair when the dog shakes some of the water off his body with an extra wiggle at the end of the long tail.

Washing my car in the driveway while attempting to avoid water spots on the dark blue paint, swinging in a hammock or just sitting and enjoying the afternoon breeze with my pets, these are a few of my favorite things. Thank you, Julie Andrews.

This year beaches seem to be a problem due to social distancing issues with the COVID-19, so I won’t be enjoying the wind, sun and sand on the water’s edge. As a teenager, the perfect tan was mandatory in my book. Now the opening up of the ozone layer prevents me from staying in the sun for longs periods of time, even when I am covered with SPF 30 sunscreen.

After working in a pet grooming salon for five years, I learned more about the value of having a pet and how to better take care of them, keeping them clean, feeding each pet the right diet and making sure they were always safe. My pets are my passion, and I loved to work, making the pet store manager position the perfect job for me.

While at work, I often listened to some pet owners’ stories. Some were so great they would make me smile and cry, even while I was standing behind the cash register. On the other side of that coin, I heard stories that were so awful that they made the hair on my arms stand straight up in the air. It’s not like I have tons of hair or anything.

A few people have entrusted me with their pets when they went on vacation, and even now, I am still part of some wonderful pet families. There was only one rule I had when all of these dogs came over to my house: they all had to get along. It was imperative that each dog, big or small, would have to respond to me when I called their name. Period.

With this being said, some training with your canine family member can go a long way.

Experts have said that a trained attack dog is safer than an untrained household dog. The main reason behind this statement is because you can call off a trained dog and you cannot call and guarantee the correct response from an untrained dog in potentially dangerous situations. Just for the record, I have had a few times when a dog responded to me quickly, which made a difference between the good life and serious injury.

With the few fireworks that the neighborhood heard on the Fourth of July – more than I expected to hear by the way – I was reminded of how important it is to shelter our pets from these sometimes terrifying explosions.

What I did and what I have done for years is have all of the family pets watered, walked and fed, maybe a little earlier, to plan for a less frightening night from these fireworks displays.

After bringing all the furry creatures inside the house, I close all the windows and turn on the air conditioning. The television is turned on, a little louder than usual and our family all sits together in the same room until things calm down outside. The whole time I watch for any sign of distress and immediately address any animal that may be having a tough time. This strategy seems to work for all pet visitors and pet family members, distracting the pets from outdoor noises is definitely a planned event.

One big pet peeve I have is in the summer when the pavement is really hot and pet owners are casually walking their dogs on this scalding road surface.

I am not shy to approach the people who have their pets on a leash looking cool, while their pets are suffering more than can be imagined. After getting the pet owner’s attention, I simply ask them to check the temperature of the surface that their pet is walking on with their own hand or better yet their baby skin foot and …Voila! I have seen people grab their pets up after checking the pavement surface and carry them away, and if the dog is too big, they run with them into the shade. One woman thanked me for several minutes as she simply never thought of checking the pavement for her little dog. Please be aware of what you are asking your pet to do.

A part of pet safety really needs to include an outdoor security fence to be sure your pets cannot get out and wander off. When a pet is frightened, they can run into traffic or into unknown territory, leading to a potentially bad outcome.

The shelters are full of animals needing a great home. If you are thinking about getting a pet, please think it through. Many dogs – depending on the breed, size and care – live between 9-15 years old, I would say that pet ownership is a big commitment.

Your new pet will need some training, proper food, clean housing, exercise, a great veterinarian and a ton of care and heartfelt love from you.

Enjoy the pets you have and the pets you will have throughout your life.

Our pet companions do make a difference in our lives.

Give them the great life they deserve.

Cindy Langlois can be reached by email at clanglois@reedermedia.com.