Reprinted with permission from Dorothy Wills-Raftery, 4Knines. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced elsewhere in any form. Copyright February 8, 2017.
Welcome to the month of love! Ah, yes, love. Poets and authors write about it. Singers croon about it. Artists create visions of it. While every day is a day for showing our pets how much we love them, February is a time to celebrate that love with Love Your Pet Day on February 20!
While we can certainly count the many ways our beloved dogs love us and we love them, here’s a few ways of showering our canine best friends with some l-o-v-e!
Nothing says, “I love you,” more than hugs, kisses, and some belly rubs! Dogs are pretty easy to please. They don’t need anything fancy to let them know how much they are loved, just your time and attention (although treats and toys are willingly accepted).
Fetch Me Some Love!
You work all day and can’t wait to get home. Is there anything better than happy, wiggly butts and wagging tails greeting you at the door to wash away all of the day’s stresses? Return the favor by picking up their favorite toy and engaging in a fun game of Fetch to let them know you missed them, too!
Love Is Being Together
There’s nothing that says, “I love being with you,” to a dog more than spending time together. And dogs love to go o-u-t! Go for a stroll, a hike, or just have fun running around the yard together! If your dog has special needs or a medical condition (like arthritis or weak hind-end issues) that prevents them from walking well on their own, a lift-harness is helpful to aid them on short walks (or potty breaks), or simply sit together and just breathe in the outside air while enjoying each other’s company.
One of the most loving gifts we can give our dogs is to ensure that they are in the best health possible by taking them to the vet for their scheduled check-ups and keeping their vaccinations current. Also have them microchipped, feed them a healthy diet, have fresh water available, and be diligent in following up on anything physically or behaviorally suspicious, and if your dogs are on medications and/or supplements, be sure that they receive their doses on time.
Love Is Sweet, but Not the Treats
While red heart boxes filled with candy can make us smile, be careful not to let sweet treats near your dog. Chocolates, nuts, anything with Xylitol, raisins, caffeine, and more can be toxic to your pet. Check the ASPCA’s full list of foods to avoid at: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets. Also, keep your vet, the emergency animal hospital, and animal Poison Control phone numbers visible near your landline phone and programmed into your cell phone.
Oh, boy, it sure can. When we lose a beloved pet, it’s a loss we feel so deep in our hearts we fear we will never heal. To help ease that hurt, why not visit a nearby shelter or rescue and bestow some happiness on a homeless pet. Donate a toy or food in your furangel’s name, give a shelter dog a much-needed hug, and ask to take a dog out of the kennel for a walk. By sharing the love in your heart with a dog less fortunate, you will not only help a dog in need know love, but can also help heal the hurt in your own heart. And who knows? You may even find a new best friend to bring home and love.
The Language of Love
Do you tell your dogs you love them?
I do! Communication is just as important for reinforcing the amazing human-canine bond, as it is to spend time playing and interacting with them. The best part about having a conversation with your dogs is when they answer you back with enthusiastic howls, woofs, woos, licks, and/or tail wags! Pure joy!
Whether your “puppy” is 12 years or 12 months old, all s/he wants is to be with you and share that special bond called love. Not only will you cherish the time spent together, but your dogs will also be happy knowing they are forever cared for and loved.
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories of Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes Tales What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky-Based on A True Holiday Miracle (ArcticHouse Publishing). She is the creator and writer of the FiveSibes™ blog and the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. An official Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation for Canine Epilepsy, she founded the #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness educational and fundraising campaign, named after her Epi-dog, Gibson. A member of the Dog Writers Association of America and BlogPaws, Dorothy is also a regular contributing writer and photographer to 4Knines.com blog, Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine, American Pet Magazine, Kings River Life Magazine, Paws to People Pulse, and also published in Ruff Drafts and Sled Dogger Magazine. She administers the popular FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews community Facebook page, and is on Twitter and Instagram as @FiveSibesMom.