Beautiful Hector, a Weimaraner on a visit to Gorbio last year. Hector lives in Marseille with his two Daddies, good friends of mine.
I volunteer for a small non-profit animal shelter (no-kill) and while we are making it financially and taking care of the animals, we don't have adequate volunteers to do all the extras for the dogs and cats, such as regular walking and cuddling.
Animal lovers….PLEASE consider volunteering at your local shelters. There are many, many jobs that need doing, and posting a comment on a blog or on facebook is just not enough. A few hours a week can really help!
BAD RAP Blog
It took me a good decade, but I can finally say I think I’m getting this motherhood thing figured out. It was not intuitive for me, not easy or instantly amazing the way it was when I brought home my first pet. With my animals, I knew no matter how challenging things were, we would figure it out and it would be ok. I don’t know why I lacked that confidence with the kiddos. Maybe I’m just part dog.
But no matter! We all have our strengths in life, but the one thing I wish I knew a lot earlier was the idea of resilience, that just because one thing comes naturally to us, it doesn’t mean we can’t take on other things and work our way up to competence. It’s too late for me now: I will never know if I could have been a decent volleyball player. All I know is I was horrrrrrrible at it in school, I dreaded volleyball days in PE, and as soon as I could give it up I did.
But parenthood isn’t like volleyball, a hobby you can dabble in and put away when your back hurts. It’s there, sink or swim, and even if all you do is hobble along, well, that’s all you need to do.
I found myself leaning on my veterinary experience quite a bit those first few years, actually. You draw on your own experiences, so it makes sense. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how many things I learned from the clinic that I could apply to parenthood:
1. Your brain can adapt to an obscene level of noise.
Barking dogs, screaming babies, howling cats, ringing phones, all can be intercepted before they hit your cerebrum by some amazing subconscious mom-filter that allows you to get your records completed or bills done. While others may think you oblivious, the truth is you are an amazing compartmentalizer.
2. Multitasking is an art.
Mrs. Jones is on line 3 and will only speak to you, and she insists she will hold. The cat in room 4 is having a seizure. The man in the lobby is yelling at the receptionist about his dog’s worms, something is bleeding in the treatment area but we don’t know who, and you’re still scrubbed into surgery. Getting used to this level of chaos is the only reason I was able to survive the first years of classroom volunteering, PTA politics, work, groceries, and remembering my husband’s name.
3. Blood and poop are things you can get used to.
I don’t think I even need to elaborate on this, do I?
4. The ones who scream the loudest are not the ones you worry about.
If you’re screaming, you’re breathing. It’s the quiet ones you need to check in on, because it usually means one of three things: they stopped breathing, they are getting in a large amount of trouble, or they are about to have a nuclear meltdown. This rule applies to both pets and their owners. And, I learned, to kids.
5. You don’t need to be the best at something. You just need to want it the most.
In a clinic full of creatures without opposable thumbs, it was astonishing to find out how good some of them could get at accomplishments they weren’t supposed to be capable of. Like, how some dogs could patiently sit in a cage for hours and work at a jiggly lever in order to release themselves and merrily run around the treatment area. Or how some cats could push a jar of treats, centimeter by centimeter, all the way across a table until it dumped its chicken-y contents on the floor. They do it because no one told them they couldn’t.
To me this last one is the most important lesson of all. I remind myself of this often, for myself and for my kids. I don’t want them to be the kid who stops trying to open the cage. I want them to be the one who takes the whole thing apart.
I learned, more than anything, to be this dog.
Love is in the air this month, and Halo, Purely for Pets in partnership with Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org, is proud to host their fifth annual Kibble Drop to help spread love to homeless pets in Agawam, Massachusetts!
The 2016 Kibble Drop, “14 Days of Rescue Love” tour will make stops across North America, delivering more than 400,000 bowls of healthy Valentine’s Day love to homeless pets.
Dave’s Soda and Pet City is helping Halo celebrate this national event in its Agawam, MA store where local organizations, Second Chance Animal Shelter, Westfield Regional Animal Shelter and Sweatpea Animal Rescue will pick up their donations of nutritious Halo pet food.
“We are happy to be selected to be part of the ’14 Days of Rescue Love’ campaign,” said Dave Ratner, owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City. “Helping homeless pets in our community is extremely important to us and we know food is one of the biggest expenses for shelters and rescues. Providing a big donation of quality food like Halo is a high impact way we can help our local organizations continue their great work,” he added.
The annual Kibble Drops provide homeless pets the highest quality food possible, helping shelter pets look and feel their best, and in turn, more quickly find their forever homes. “Many pets that come into our shelter are stressed and/or are in need of medical care. Providing quality food to our shelter pets helps to provide them the important nutrients to improve their health, give them shiny coats, and the energy they need,” said Lindsay Doray, Development Manager of Second Chance Animal Shelter.
Pet lovers can show their love and support for their community shelters, too, by entering the 14 Days of Rescue Love Contest. Just send in a story about your favorite adopted pet and be eligible to win one of two, 5,000 bowl donations of Halo pet food for the shelter or rescue of your choice. Winners will be announced on February 14.
Dogs queue too! A cute bichon, wrapped up for winter, at the Orange (telecom) shop in Menton.
Hitler feeding some roe deer, 1936.
Good thing these deer met the animal-loving Hitler and not Goering, who probably would have shot them!
I am aware that Western roe deer are found throughout Europe, but I most strongly associate them with Germany for some reason.
I picked up a pamphlet at a dog expo called “101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet” from the ASPCA recently, and I’ll be running an ongoing feature listing some of these things over the next few weeks. According to the pamphlet, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance customers have seen bills of more than […]