Archive for January, 2011
Have you resolved to do something for someone else in 2011? Maybe you and your dog can team up – if your dog has the right temperament, he or she may be able to be a therapy dog! Therapy dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and affection to anyone in need: people in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, special needs schools and more can all benefit.
Dogs of any size or breed can be a therapy dog. The single most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A therapy dog must be patient, friendly, calm, confident, gentle, and comfortable in all situations. Therapy dogs are “people” dogs; happiest when they are in contact with people (familiar or unfamiliar), petted and handled, albeit sometimes clumsily.
Therapy dogs are trained to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with them, and most recipients enjoy the contact! Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an individual’s lap or bed when invited and should be able to sit or lie comfortably there upon command. Some therapy dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audience or by playing carefully structured games.
My friends Chris and Cynthia Buckley live in Colorado and have a gorgeous Goldendoodle named Custer who recently qualified as a therapy dog. Custer went through a rigorous training program through Pet Partners, which is sponsored by the national Delta Society and now regularly visits residents of a local senior living center. In addition to basic obedience, Custer learned not to react to loud noises, pulls on his tail or ears, or sudden movement. Custer’s calm temperament made him an ideal candidate for the program.
If you think your dog might be a good candidate for a therapy dog or just want to learn more, Long Island Dog Directory (LIdogdirectory.com) is a good place to start. Click on the therapy tab for more info.
by Robyn Elman, President of In Home Pet Services, Inc.
What do Pet Sitters do in a Blizzard?
This has been a rough winter so far with two big storms a rain and ice storm and more snow forecasted to hit our area again. They mayor says to stay off the roads. The schools are all closed and kids get to stay home with their parents or people are away on vacations. So what is a pet sitter to do?
When pet sitters have clients that are away on vacation they, and more importantly their pets, are depending on the sitter to come for their care. Dogs like Sophie the beagle still has to go outside to do her business, get feed, fresh water, love and attention, and cats like Bella needs her daily medications, litter changed, etc.
Dedicated professional pet sitters go with shovels in their cars to each appointment, and if the roads are not plowed they take the train or bus; and if that fails – as in the last blizzard in New York when there was no public transportation – they walked! But pet owners who are hiring pet sitters should also take into consideration the following tips to ensure safety for their pets and their pet sitters:
If you are away during the winter and are relying on a pet sitter, you can make things safer for them, ensuring your pet can get their care.
- Have someone “pre-hired” to shovel in case it snows. Have them shovel your driveway with a path to the road as well as the sidewalk in front of the house, and a path to the door.
- Leave pet safe salt containers for the people shoveling your walk and driveways (with directions to only use that type of salt) – and leave an extra container or two inside incase the pet sitter needs to add additional salt to ice or snow.
- Always have the numbers to your power company and/or heating company displayed for the sitter to call if there is an outage.
- If there is a power outage, or no heat at your home, make sure you have arrangements with your pet sitter so that they can take the dog, cat or bird home with them to board in case of a no heat emergency.
- Extra leashes, collars, dog or cat carrier is great to have available in case the sitter does have to take the pet with them.
- Have the number to the nearest 24-hour vet emergency hospital displayed as well.
- Keep a shovel handy for your sitter to maintain the paths.
- If you have a regularly scheduled dog walker and you are staying home from work – remember to call them to cancel.
- Make sure you have enough pet food, litter, pet medication and bottled water in case you’re stuck and can’t get back on your schedule day due to weather.
Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers truly work through rain, and snow, day and night. Planning ahead during the winter will make the care of your pet a little easier for your sitter to stay safe while caring for your pet. The tips above will make a big difference in the life of your pet and pet sitter during another blizzard.
by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Is your pet Dating?
Ok, so I know what you are thinking, but I am serious – who is your pet’s best animal friend? Or maybe you’re an owner of a single pet and have been looking for a best pal for your beloved dog or cat – well you do not have to look any further. PetsDating.com is a new website getting attention from pet owners as the place to find their pet a date or play date – and maybe even one for themselves.
New Jersey resident Robert Faynblut and Co-Founder of PetsDating.com was inspired to create the website a few months ago after watching a TV show about a man who said he wished that his dog had another dog to hang out with regularly. Faynblut, an avid pet-lover who owns a Bichon Frise, Snoopy, said, “That’s what really got me to realize that if people seek and enjoy companionship shouldn’t our pets deserve the same thing?”
Faynblut researched other pet sites and wanted to come up with the best free service for pet owners, and PetsDating.com was born. The site was set up for anyone looking to find love for their pets, play dates, share valuable pet information and more. It’s simple to sign up and navigate the site too –pet owners that are not that tech savvy will be able to do so easily and have fun while meeting other pet owners on the site.
Mr. Faynblut makes it clear that he has nothing against other websites that allow pet owners to find each other for romance, using love for pets as the basis for compatibility. He also commends websites that promote the rights of pets as we are still a long way from being a society that really cares enough for these helpless creatures. Still, he wants to provide pet owners with a service that really focuses on the needs of their pets.
And when asked what if love blooms between the pet owners, “Well, I’m all for it as long as their pets get along well.” Mr. Faynblut said.
To get started on finding love, a friend for you or your pet, simply go to www.PetsDating.com.
By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
There is a magical place on Long Island if you like nature, birds, and seeing wild animals up close and personal, and no it’s not the zoo, game park or sanctuary. A nature preserve on the north shore of the South Fork is one of best places on Long Island to observe nature and have wild birds actually land in your hand. The Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure that many Long Islanders have either never heard of or have yet to visit. It’s beautiful in every season, but something magical happens when there is a fresh fallen snow. Maybe it’s the fact that there are less people there and more wildlife walking around. The birds are always very active, but in the winter they are amazing. You will never see so many bright red cardinals in one place at one time, and for some Long Islander’s you will see birds you have never seen before at your back yard feeder.
If you are looking for something to do outside with your now cabin fevered up kids, or maybe your kids have never been this close to nature, Morton’s is definitely worth the trip whether you live 5 minutes away or an hour away. There is no other place that I know of like it. On any given day your can see families of deer walking around, wild turkeys who are not the least bit scared of you, bunnies, squirrels, red tailed hawks, and of course the birds: chickadees, nut hatches, blue jays, tons of cardinals, sparrows and many other species, who will literally greet you at the entrance. It’s quite a spectacle.
The first time I ever went, I was with family members and it was a freezing cold day in February of 2006, we had no idea what the place was or that we would be bombarded by birds, and followed through the trails by them. It was really funny. At one point we turned around and there had to be at least 30 red (male) cardinals in on tree.
There is a trail that leads down to the bay beach, (maybe a mile long), and there is a look out deck equipped with binoculars and the view is spectacular. Another part of the trail loops around through the woods and you pass and pond with a deck for observing wildlife, and you will also cross over a few short wooden foot bridges. The variety of the landscape at Morton’s is quite interesting too, from wooded trails, tall pine trees, to a swampy feel near the pond to a magnificent bay beach – there is something to see around every turn.
If you have never been, or have only visited in the summer, you may just want to pack up the kids in their winter gear and head out for a day trip. This place will not disappoint – and wouldn’t it be nice to get those kids off of the video games for a day?
This is a nature preserve so there are rules, like no pets allowed, not even your little cute dog – leave him home. No bicycles, and please don’t liter or take things out of the park.
Directions and all info can be found here. More photo’s below.
Slide show here:
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 is National Bird Day celebrating the diverse species of parrotheads, macaws, parakeets, and wild birds alike. Seasoned birders and novices will learn about conservation, dangers affecting wild parrots and health care for pet birds and birds at your back yard feeders. An interesting species of mini parrots called parrotlets, is brought to light by Pamela Fitzpatrick, read below about these cuties:
“I recently had lunch with a friend, who has several parrotlets. I’ve always loved birds, but didn’t know much about these beautiful little guys. Turns out these mini parrots make great pets, all the benefits of a parrot without the larger size.
Parrotlets (“little parrot”) are very small parrots that are native to South and Central America. In the wild, they travel in flocks of up to 100 birds. With their striking colors, this must be an awesome sight!
Like lovebirds, they are very social, and can form strong pair bonds in the absence of human companionship. For this reason, they are often kept as pairs. You can keep a single parrotlet happy however, by spending lots of time with it and giving it exercise and mental stimulation. (For that matter, providing a fun and entertaining cage environment helps keep any kind of pet bird pet busy when you aren’t around).
Like the better well known cockatiel, parrotlets are intelligent and curious with speaking and whistling capabilities. Some learn to talk, while others never will. As a general rule, males are more talkative than females. In addition to mimicking tunes and sounds, they can learn a vocabulary of 10-15 words.
The most common species of parrolet are the Pacific (Celestial) or GreenRump. Birds of both genders are mostly green, while the males have gorgeous blue markings.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a parrot to your family, maybe these smaller versions are right for you! They are easy to care for, and require a lot less room than their larger parrot cousins. With proper care, they can live 10-15 years. For more information, check out the international parrolet society at www.internationalparrotletsociety.org.”