Pets Are Family Too!

By Dawn Combs

I am sure that I am not alone in saying that my husband and I love our pets like they are our children. Many people treat their pets as members of their family and shower on them all the love, care and concern someone would give any member of their family and we are no different. We personally, have three dogs, a cat and a mini macaw. There are more animals than humans in our household but it is a harmonious place. They all have their own personalities and place in our family unit, and they are all cherished for their foibles, charm, the great love and affection they give us freely, and the easy going and malleable natures they have developed over the years. We are proud pet owners and I feel like we have done our fare share in rescuing wonderful animals that were in dire need of a forever family.

My husband and I got our first dog very soon after we met and moved in together. He was a Beagle Black Lab mixed breed that we rescued from the local Humane Society and he was three months old (we named him Garcia…yes…after Jerry). He had kennel cough when we adopted him and the folks at the Humane Society told us he may not live. They didn’t take into account the stubborn Beagle traits the little guy had because not only did he survive the kennel cough but he lived to be 15 years old! Never having a puppy before I was surprised at how much work it was! The potty training, shots, bathing, feeding, walking, training…and of course many hugs and kisses. Talk about a wakeup call; it was a wakeup call I would never regret.

I have always loved animals and my family and I had many different kinds while growing up. We had rabbits, hamsters, fish, dogs, cats, birds and horses. But once I reached adulthood I was too busy with the normal things twenty-something people do to consider getting a pet. When I met my husband that changed and our one rescued dog named Garcia turned into three rescued dogs. We would eventually we would adopt two more when our first two died of old age.

After many years owning pets I can honestly say me and my husband have definitely made some mistakes, but we have also learned a lot. If I were asked what one of the most important factors is in owning any pet I would say to simply give them the attention, love and proper care they need and crave. So many people get a pet on a whim and then quickly forget about them when the shine and novelty wear off. Pets are not toys, they are sentient beings with very definite needs and a very clear dependency on their human caretakers.. What is one of the biggest mistakes people make in pet ownership? Not giving adequate boundaries and corrective training! Dogs especially, are very pack driven and need clear direction on who the pack leader is and what is their role in the family unit is. Without calm, consistent and assertive guidance from a human pack leader dogs will sometimes develop aggressive tendencies and/or neurosis. This bad behavior will make life difficult for everyone in the family. In the long run the animal suffers since they end up in killing shelters, destroyed or simply chained out in a yard alone and uncared for. Start boundary and corrective training early, by three months of age, and be consistent; you will save yourself, your family and your pet much heartache, confusion and grief in the future. Pets are family too!

Dawn Combs, author

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Jan 17, 2012 | 0 | Looking after your dog, Miscellaneous

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