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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

Dog Illustrations: Kim Hye-rim

I recently came across these interesting dog illustrations by Kim Hye-rim, which take you to zen places. She captures life with our furry family members during the simplest, most enjoyable moments, illustrating the steady companionship we have with our furry family members, which likely has blossomed even more during this pandemic. Each colorful illustration typically features only one person often with his/her dog, with faces turned upward, while pondering. Her images display a person and his/her dog — strolling side by side through the streets at night; sipping coffee at a corner cafe, watching the world wander by; and stretching out together on the sofa. You can view more of Kim Hye-rim’s work here; and a few of her images are shown immediately below.

All images courtesy of Kim Hye-rim.

How to Prepare Our Dogs For When We Return To Work

There has been an increase of “pandemic puppies” during this pandemic, where people have been adopting dogs seeking companionship due to social distancing. There are also many dogs that have been part of our families since before the pandemic started. So how do we prepare our dogs for the day when some of us finally head back to the workplace and leave them home alone?

This situation is similar to dropping your child off at school for the first several times. Without preparing your child, in advance, it could prove to be really difficult on your child to have a huge, sudden change thrusted upon the child. Similarly, just as you need to prepare your child for big changes, many dogs, “pandemic dogs,” who have been adopted during this pandemic, have been home with their human companions for over a year now, and they do not know life with their human companions any other way. Dogs are creatures of routine, like children, and they have likely gotten very accustomed to having their humans around the house all day during the pandemic. As a result of the pandemic and the introduction of vaccines, some people may be working from home for a really long time, and others will transition back to work at some point. Therefore we need to prepare our dogs for this new routine. Below are some ideas that might help you make this transition with your dog, if you must return to the office.

Slowly introduce workday routines — Schedule waking up, feeding and walking as you might for your expected workday routine, then introduce a consistent departure schedule that builds on that routine.

Practice departures — Practice short departures on a daily basis and gradually extend the time you are gone. Give a small treat just as you walk out the door to condition the dog to find it rewarding when you leave. If signs of anxiety — such as destructive activity — occur, do not punish your dog. Instead, shorten the time away and slowly build up to longer periods. Stay calm when leaving or returning home.

Exercise and play time — Before leaving, engage in play and activity. Burning energy can help keep dogs calm and relaxed.

Consider a dog walker or doggie day care — Most of our dogs have been used to being let outside by their humans for potty numerous times a day during this pandemic. So, if you introduce a new person for care of your dog, you will need to make sure that you and your dog feels comfortable and safe with this new person providing care. And, while the risk of dogs becoming infected with COVID-19 is believed to be low, as a precaution, if you intend to have a dog walker or send your dog to daycare while at work, treat your dog as you would a human family member to protect them from possible infection with COVID-19.

Keep them engaged — Long-lasting treats, food puzzles, and automatic feeders can help keep dogs occupied during the day while you are not home.

Create a safe space — If you have typically used a crate when you were gone but have not been crating your dog while at home, now is a good time to either explore not using a crate while you are away (gradually increasing the length of time you are away) or reintroduce crating while you are still working from home by making it rewarding for the dog to go into the crate for short periods of time.

Look for signs of stress — Excessive barking or whining, agitation, destructive behavior, and inappropriate urination/defecation can all be signs of stress. You may need to consult your veterinarian to figure out how to best help your dog with his/her anxiety.

Nine Year Blogivesary!

Today is the nine-year Blogiversary of the blog!  It is really difficult to believe that nine years have already passed by so quickly!  Where has the time gone?  Many things have changed, but some things remain the same, fortunately.  I am grateful for this little space here.

If it were not for our beloved Biscuit, I am not sure I would have ever started blogging and I know that I would not have started my long-term photography project, which I am, finally, onto submitting the work, for which Biscuit and Victory are my inspiration.  Biscuit was such a blessing and gift to us.  Biscuit permanently changed our lives in so many positive ways and he sent us our precious little rescue sheltie, Victory, who we adore and love, shown below!  We have savored our time together with Victory during the pandemic. And, coincidentally, Victory is as old as the blog!

Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been visiting!  I truly enjoy creating content for the blog to share with all of you, and I hope that you continue to enjoy visiting and reading the blog!

Thank you so very much!

The First Rescue Dog: White House

You may have already heard, but there are dogs in the White House, again, including the first rescue dog in the White House named Major, who Biden adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018! Recently, there was even an “Indoguration” for Major, which you can view here!

This positive attention on rescue dogs will help highlight that there are many abandoned dogs and other animals that are in need of homes, which is especially timely during this pandemic, as many animals have been displaced due to the current pandemic.

We will always have a rescue dog, and I cannot imagine life without a rescue dog in our lives. Our little family has gained so much from our beloved, Victory, a rescue Shetland Sheepdog, who has been a member of our family for over seven years, already, pictured below! My life has been forever changed, for the better, because of our rescue dogs. One positive aspect of the pandemic is that we are getting to spend even more time with our fur girl, Victory, which she loves as well! And, our girls are bonded for life.

If you are considering getting a dog, I highly recommend visiting your local shelter or local dog rescue groups, which can be located easily, via a Google search. There are so many dogs (and other animals) in need right now. Finally, I look forward to reading this book by Kelly Conaboy about her rescue dog, Peter, and all his lovable quirks!

Happy Halloween from our Crayola red crayons!

Happy Halloween!  I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by that it is already time for Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year!  We love the fall season!  It is Alex’s third Halloween!  Victory is a Crayola red crayon this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  Victory (along with Alex) was Super Woman last year; a unicorn (with Alex) two years ago; Wonder Woman three years ago; a fifties girl four years ago; a lioness five years ago; a butterfly six years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, seven years ago.

(It is still somewhat tricky to get the girls to sit together; and everyone’s patience was at capacity, as we took these photos after celebrating Victory’s birthday! I did my best, shown below!)

Doug spent roughly five hours, the other day, so earnestly working on carving our Halloween pumpkin, featuring a ghost trick-or-treater in honor of Alex and Victory!  He did a wonderful job! A short video of our lit carved pumpkin is also shown below.  A few photos are shown below of the girls with the pumpkin Doug diligently carved! 

Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last yeartwo years agothree years agofour years agofive years agosix years agoseven years ago; and eight years ago!

Alex has greatly enjoyed going on daily walks (and drives) spotting pumpkins, which she affectionately refers to as “punkies!”

Here is a short video of the lit pumpkin Doug carved for us this year!

We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Since this has been a trying time for kids, during COVID-19, we believe Halloween is an opportunity to celebrate since it takes place outside. We plan to set out candy and take Alex trick-or-treating, weather permitting!

Here is a look back at Victory and Alex over the years on Halloween!

Victory: A Birthday Celebration — 9 years!

October 12, marked seven years since we adopted our sweet dear little Victory!  The time is going by much too quickly!  We decided to make October 12 Victory’s birthday — the day we went to Michigan and adopted our sweet fur girl.

As such, we recently celebrated Victory’s birthday marking her seventh year with us since her adoption!  This also marks three years of being a ‘big sister’ to Alex!  This year, for Victory’s birthday, we did a pink theme with a gold accent! (As shown below, last year, we did a pastel rainbow theme with a silver accent; two years ago we did pastel theme with a gold and silver accent; three years ago we did a gold and champagne theme; four years ago we did a light pink and gold themed birthday; five years ago we did a pink themed birthday; and six years ago, we did rainbow themed birthday for Victory!)  We purchased some fun pink-themed decorations, party hats, balloons, and a pink sweater for Victory, a tradition, in honor of her birthday!  Victory also enjoyed her very own cupcake (with no icing, of course!) Victory looked absolutely adorable and beautiful on her birthday, as always, shown below!  This is the third birthday that Victory celebrated with her sidekick, Alex! It is wonderful to witness their relationship blossom as Alex grows older. Alex loves giving Victory treats and hugs (with supervision!) Victory had a fun birthday and she truly enjoyed being over fed and the center of attention!

We are truly the lucky ones to share our lives with this wonderful, loyal, and loving being.  Victory has been such a source of comfort during this pandemic. She is always by our side. Victory has also fully embraced her ‘big sister’ role!  Victory is very attuned to her little sister and loves to greet Alex in the mornings!  It melts our hearts!  Victory continues to join us each morning and evening for play time and story time, in addition to all feedings!  We also do our best to keep Victory fully integrated in our outings as well, and she has gone on some fun, fall outings with us, as always!  We are so very grateful and thankful for our Victory.  She means the world to us and we love her very much.

For Victory’s birthday, we gave her a new: leash; and a new pink sweater!  

(All birthday decorations are via Sweet Lulu.)

Here is a video of the girls celebrating our fur girl, Victory!

A look back at Victory’s birthday celebrations over the years…

Here is a look back at Victory and Alex on Victory’s birthday!

If you are considering getting a dog, especially during this difficult time, I hope that you consider adopting a rescue dog.  There are so many dogs in need of a good, loving home, especially now. As shown below, Victory, a rescue, has changed so much physically and emotionally over the years since we adopted her, pictured on the left (image from Victory’s foster mom via the Michigan Sheltie Rescue).  You really can save a dog’s life, while simultaneously enriching your own life/lives. We cannot imagine not having a rescue dog in our lives!

Beautiful Dog Lettering: Cielle Graham

I fell in love with the work by Cielle Graham, an illustrator.  In Cielle Graham’s illustrated book, An Alphabet of Dogs, each letter takes the form of a small shiny ball surrounded by a cast of different dogs.  Her work is beautiful and highly intricate.  Nearly 200 dogs are contained in her book.  A few images of Cielle Graham’s work from this book are shown below.  Alex would love this book, a perfect combination, combining her love of dogs and letters into one!  There is even a sheltie friend shown below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images are courtesy of Cielle Graham.

Finland: Coronavirus-sniffing dogs at Helsinki Airport

 

In a recent article, Finland has recently launched a pilot program involving coronavirus-sniffing dogs at Helsinki Airport, in the hopes that dogs can play a key role in screening for the virus.

The voluntary canine tests will deliver results within 10 seconds and require less than a minute of travelers’ time, said Anna Hielm-Björkman, a researcher at the University of Helsinki who is using the trial to gather data.

Researchers in other countries, including the United States and the United Arab Emirates, are also studying canine coronavirus tests.  However, the Finnish trial is among the largest in scale and farthest along.

Changes in health can affect the way people smell, researchers say.  Dogs have long been valued for their ability to sniff for drugs and bombs, and have also proved able to detect cancers, infections and other health problems.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki this year found promising indications that dogs can detect the virus.  Scientists say only large-scale trials, such as this one, can demonstrate just how effective the method will be in practice.

The dogs to be deployed in Helsinki will sniff sweat samples and will not come into contact with travelers.  People who agree to the test will swab their own necks to produce a sample, to submit through an opening in a wall, said Hielm-Björkman.

Regardless of whether they test positive, they will be urged to take a standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus test, so that researchers can monitor the dogs’ accuracy. All tests are free for travelers arriving at the airport.

Hielm-Björkman added the dogs may, according to preliminary research, be better at spotting coronavirus infections than PCR and antibody tests. They “can also find [people] that are not yet PCR positive but will become PCR positive within a week,” she said.

Out of the 16 dogs trained, four are ready to work.  Six others are still in training, with another six found to be unsuitable for a noisy airport environment.

Experts have warned that canine tests, however effective, can be difficult to scale.  Training is time-consuming and expensive.  Even so, researchers are optimistic that it will come to play a role, even if it cannot alleviate the demands on the world’s overstrained testing systems.

You can view a video of these dogs here.

*Photo credit: Washington Post.

Dogs: Foster Child Development

 

In a recent article, a study finds that a family dog has the benefits of helping young children learn social and emotional skills.  Specifically, owning, walking, and playing with a family dog could encourage a small child’s social and emotional development.  The study found that toddlers from families who owned a dog, who participated in the study, were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems in comparison to preschoolers from families who did not own dogs, the researches found.  Even at this young age, toddlers can benefit from interacting with a pet while supervised.  Dog ownership has also been linked to responsibility, positive identity, and trust.

According to data, toddlers from dog-owning families were more likely to exhibit higher levels of prosocial behaviors, and they had lower overall difficulties.  Children who walked a pet dog with their families at least one day weekly and played with their dogs at least three times a week had higher prosocial scores than those who did so less often.  “These results highlight that even a small to moderate commitment to involving preschoolers in time spent walking with the family dog may provide important social and emotional benefits for young children,” the study said.  One current worry about children’s development and loneliness in the absence of friends and activities during the pandemic “fits nicely with the positive effects of dog ownership for young kids,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Center for Human Growth & Development at the University of Michigan, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Additionally, as separately studied in adults, children might have experienced “vicarious pleasure” and happiness when playing with the dogs, which can also lead to better prosocial behavior.  Animals are sentient beings with feelings and thoughts, but they can’t talk with us, Radesky said.  “You have to work to read what your dog is thinking and respond to their behavior.  That gets kids out of their headspace and more thinking about what another being is thinking,” Radesky said.  “That’s [the magical factor] of empathy and social reciprocity, meaning the back and forth of relationships that helps us heal during times of stress.”

Outside of children, there are so many benefits that adults derive from having a dog, which we have experienced.  We will always have a rescue dog in our family.  Biscuit and Victory have added so much to each of our lives, and we cannot imagine life without a furry family member.  We literally refer to Victory as our ‘older daughter,’ our regal princess!  Alex loves having a fur sister, and their bond is unique; and Alex understands more and more about Victory (and other dogs) as she grows older.  Alex affectionately spots and refers to every dog as a “baby” or “puppy!”  She loves dogs, and I hope that she always will, as a result of growing up with Victory!  Simply put, dogs make life so joyful!

Some Happy News…

I have some happy news . . . I finally finished my long-term dog photography project after seven years of work, including a year of revisions!  I am very elated to have finished this body of work inspired by our sweet dear Biscuit, who changed my life forever.  It is just a feat to finish.  It was one of the hardest endeavors I have ever undertaken.  There were so many times I thought I would never finish; many times where I encountered problems that I had to figure out and resolve; many times I experienced intense fear; many times I felt like my revisions would never end; and there were many times where the path felt uncertain.  However, my desire to finish this body of work outweighed everything else, and I really learned to trust the process and journey.  I, ultimately, learned to have blind faith through this process.  I am ecstatic to be on the other side, which, often times, felt like I would never reach this point, during this process.  I learned so much about myself during this process, while seeing this project though to the end, through think and thin, which is the only way to make dreams happen.  (I previously wrote a blog post about what I learned during this creative endeavor, here.)  I am really proud of this body of work, and I hope that it will positively impact others; and, importantly, helps other dogs like Biscuit and Victory.  My blad and proposal are nearly complete, and I am excited to move onto the next steps of shepherding this work out into the world.

So, if there is something you really want to accomplish, it is possible, and I encourage you to try.  The Universe will always support you.  I am so sincerely grateful to my mentor, Deborah Samuel, who has helped shape my path and provides countless advice, feedback, encouragement, and support.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.  The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.  The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.  The often surprising result of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”  — Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

(Image credit: Morgan Harper Nichols).