Dogs Help Save Lives – Need Family And Home


Be aware that each decade seems to bring with it a new ‘breed’ of dog that certain people tend to run with as dangerous.   However, it is NOT a breed that is dangerous.  It is the way certain dogs are treated and trained to be aggressive and made to be in dog fights, which are illegal in the United States.

Here is fascinating info on civilian dogs.  You don’t get to be the 2008 Dog of the Year for nothing and Maya pictured here is no exception.  Maya took home the year’s honor for courageously saving Angela Marcelino, her owner, from a vicious male attacker.  The pitbull’s act of bravery earned her some high praise from the Animal Miracle Foundation, who was happy to report that, “the pitbull breed can be hero dogs just like any other breed.”

Unfortunately we don’t seem to hear too much about those wondrous acts that often pitbulls carry out.  Some of the media and other people are too busy chasing who is the latest breed of dog to sequester since they’re so dangerous to mankind.

We need to judge every dog by its individual behavior, NOT by its breed.  Pitbulls are no more dangerous than a Chihuahua.  It is through training and utilizing certain dogs for dog fighting that we obtain bad behavior in dogs.

The 2012 Department of Defense K-9 Dog Trials were held recently, where Military Working Dogs from all four service branches competed for the title of Top Dog.  I read of two dog and handler teams:  Air Force Tech Sergeant Justin Kitts and his canine partner, Dyngo; and Army Sergeant Jason Cartwright and his dog Isaac. It was amazing to watch the video for both teams to hear them talk about the bond between dog and handler.

 

Both teams recently deployed to Afghanistan, where their primary job was explosives detection, searching for IED’s and roadside bombs.  Dyngo and Isaac (and their well-trained noses) saved hundreds of lives abroad, but they also served an equally important mission: one of being a companion and a reminder of home for both their handlers and the other service members who served next to them.
These days, both dogs and handlers are back home.  Tech Sgt. Kitts is currently stationed at Luke Air Force base in Arizona where he works as an instructor in the dog program, while Sgt. Cartwright, who was the only competitor from the Army’s Engineer Canine Company, is based out of Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.  Both men hope to adopt their dogs upon their retirement from the Military Working Dog program.

If you’d like to find out more about the Military Working Dog program, including information about adopting retired dogs from Lackland Air Force Base, check out the program’s website here.

If this article helps improve your thoughts or anticipation of fostering or adopting a rescue dog – great!  This may also help your decision.  Of course there are terrible abuses in this world and dogs unfortunately are not exempt from these attrocities.  There are also other reasons, however, why many dogs end up in the dog pound or rescue sites.

In fact, the most common reasons a dog ends up with a rescue organization, or the pound, include the following:

  • The owners don’t have time for the dog.
  • The owners find that they can’t afford either basic vet care or the expense involved in treating an illness or injury.
  • The owner dies or goes into a nursing home.
  • The owners divorce and neither party can keep the dog. (You’d be amazed at how many dogs the pound gets as a result of divorces!)
  • A young couple has a child and no longer has time for the dog, or the dog no longer fits into their “lifestyle.”
  • The owner is moving to an apartment building that doesn’t allow dogs.

All dogs are loving creatures, but a pup from the pound is even much more so.  Don’t think your dog doesn’t recognize the difference between the crowded pound where he or she didn’t get the love that only a doting owner can give and of course your home.  Every loving dog needs and wants a home and loving family!

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Just A Dog? You Decide


For whomever believes in God, you must also believe that those who save the loving creatures we call dogs from shelters are doing His work.  After all, we were taught, most of us, that God loves us and wants us to love our neighbor and other living creatures.  St. John wrote in the Bible of God saying, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Well now, are dogs not our best friends?  I should think so.  They have often been known to lay down their lives to protect us.  Dogs teach us the greatest lesson of unconditional love.  Unless they’ve been trained otherwise and suffered abuse in some way, dogs are the most loyal and loving creatures on earth.  I’ve even been fortunate enough to have my girls (a/k/a dogs) know their healing powers.  Nine months after the tragic death of my late husband by suicide, I rescued two dogs from a No Kill Sanctuary.  Their soulful eyes empathize when we are in pain; their playful antics lift our spirits when nothing else can, and their fierce loyalty provides the safety, security and dependability that no human can.

Dogs teach us unconditional love in a myriad of ways.  They even teach us to love ourselves again unconditionally when our four-legged friends bounce back to self-love even after being scolded for misbehaving.  They don’t carry shame and embarrassment for chasing the cat, chewing a favorite shoe or pooping in the neighbor’s yard.

And dogs don’t hold grudges when we arrive home late and offer their dinner even later, or miss a scheduled walk.  They run up to us with wagging tails, nudging us playfully for affection and give those puppy dog stares so lovingly.  No need for forgiveness there as they haven’t judged us in the first place.  And they certainly don’t care that we as humans come with our specific flaws.  They forgive us.

They serve to teach us again what we learned as children, that being the importance of amusement, fun and play.  And they taught me specifically how to forget my anger, feelings of guilt and despair.

Scientists have discovered that animals have healing powers.  When you stroke a cat or pet a dog, you experience a surge of healing hormones and chemicals that produce feelings of peace and serenity.  [Edward T. Creagan, M.D. – a Mayo Clinic oncologist.]

In a feature article on WebMD, Jeanie Lerche Davis writes that playing with a pet may elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, lower cholesterol levels and increase immune function.

It has also been found that just petting and stroking an animal can help lower blood pressure and calm the heart rate.  This is because simply petting a dog, you can lower the stress and worries of the world.  And all that dog wants in return is love.

   A short while ago, I had a bad night for some reason.  Often my tears just begin on their own and I’ve no way of stopping those waterworks.  My little baby as I call her, Casey, is deaf so she could not hear me and had been fast asleep at my feet as were my other two girls.  She rose up suddenly, I imagine sensing my drastic mood change, and stared into my eyes for the longest time and watched those tears stream down my cheeks.  Then she brought her face close to mine and began softly licking the tears.  So softly she did this as though she were dabbing with a tissue.  And she didn’t stop until I was able to stop my crying.  As abruptly as she stopped, she stared at me again for a while and then brought her face up against mine.  She knew just how I was feeling and wanted me to know, it was going to be okay.  And she was right.

Words cannot express the love, peace and joy that my three girls have brought to my life.  In losing my husband tragically, I was given precious blessings in the form of three little white dogs who have been instrumental in decreasing my depression and PTSD.

If you’re suffering from depression or PTSD or other emotional problem, I urge you to give it a try.  Granted it’s an important responsibility and I suggest beginning with one dog.  (I have three dogs for reasons I’ll explain another time.)  You get love, affection, companionship, as well as a sense of worth and purpose, all wrapped up in a sweet furry little package.  What more could you ask for?

Does Life Hit You Hard … Is Your Life Good?


  

There’s so much we can learn from pets, especially dogs.  I have three female dogs – my little angels on earth.  Their devotion, undying love and friendship all are mine.  They have an inner sense of our feelings too.  When we’re happy – they are happy!  When we are distressed, they offer their hand (a paw) and kisses (or licks) to help ease the pain.  We have so much to learn from them in our daily lives.

Recently I watched the movie “City of Angels” which stars Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan.  She portrays a doctor who loses her first patient and then cannot understand why she suddenly feels so small.  He portrays one of God’s Angels here on earth watching over us.  And he tries to console and help her with the anguish and emotional doubts she suffers.

Later on in the movie Cage (the Angel) asks Meg (the doctor) why humans cry.  Her best effort at an answer is, “Maybe … maybe emotion becomes so intense your body just can’t contain it.  Your mind and your feelings become too powerful and your body weeps.”

That’s it isn’t it?  When I lost my husband Martin by suicide, the overwhelming emotion was more than my body could repress or control and my body wept.  We are designed with an internal mechanism to help us in times of brutal emotion, pain and suffering.  Thus it is why this type of grief takes a long time to work through.  And although it has been two years since his suicide, I still have those moments though they are fewer than they were two years ago.  We never really know how we will react to hardship but our body and mind are made to do what they need to do.   Randy Pausch said, “It’s not how hard you hit.  It’s how hard you get hit … and keep moving forward.”

Which leads me to realize that if we did not know fear, pain, or hunger and never heard music or encounter a magnificent sunrise how could we say we truly felt anything?  Strangely though it may seem, we learn to cope with pain and suffering only by experiencing both.  Just like we enjoy the summer growth of flowers, plants and trees we also admire their brilliant foliage in the Fall as they ready to die and rest through the cold of winter.  I believe C.S. Lewis said it best, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

One of my goals is to truly enjoy life and enjoy my girls – yes, the dogs.  Today – Sunday – I wanted to finish this blog in order to post it.  But it was a bright and beautiful day and the girls kept staring at me as if to say, “Mom, aren’t we going to have some fun?  Can we go out and play?”

So what did mom decide to do?  Work or play … it’s a difficult chore for me, knowing how I was raised to do the ‘right’ thing.  Surprisingly, I realized the ‘right’ thing to do in my ‘2nd chance with my girls’ was to go outdoors with them and play in the pool.  And we had the absolute best time we have ever shared!  And you see, I am finishing this article for my blog, just a bit later than I had on my personal timeframe.

Life is a mystery and I suppose we could agree that death is also.  It is said that there are no “do overs” in life.  But every now and then, I believe that we are gifted with a second chance.  I lost my one true love two years ago.  But God brought me my three little angels who love me like no other human could.  And the question remains: what am I going to do with it?  How am I going to play my second chance?  Stay tuned and I’ll let you know.  In the meantime I ask you, “How will you play your chance at life?”

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!

I don’t know about the rest of you, however, as for me I’d like to say each day without regret, “Today I loved and lived life … and it was good!”