This really is a great story
Anyone who has pets will really like this. You’ll like it even if you don’t and you may even decide you need one!
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.
Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box..
It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.
She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her… what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.
The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.
Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap..
Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.
When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now, and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky, he still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure..
Remember… Live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget… the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us. For those of us true pet lovers, our dogs and cats are people too; perhaps even better friends than our human friends and acquaintances.
Live simply… Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
A small request
All you are asked to do is keep this sharing this, even if it is only to one more person, in memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still fighting their battle.
And also to use it as an encouragement to fight against animal abuse. Please intercede on their behalf whenever you are needed, even if it is just a hunch.
Get a dog or a cat
The often underestimated significance of a pet in the life of a human has been brought forward in a growing body of research that suggests that a household animal can provide a range of relational benefits.
Dr. Froma Walsh poured the research in two articles, entitled “Human-Animal Bonds I,” (focused on the benefits of companion animals) and “Human-Animal Bonds II,” (focused on their role in couple and family dynamics and family therapy).
The expert sought to determine the value of the human-animal bond in child development, elderly care, mental illness, physical impairment, dementia, abuse and trauma recovery, and the rehabilitation of incarcerated youth and adults.
She further looked at how the relationship can strengthen human resilience through times of crisis, persistent adversity, and disruptive transitions, such as relocation, divorce, widowhood, and adoption.
The expert found that a pet maybe seen as part of the healing team and even as a co-therapist in ensuring the well-being by providing a range of benefits, ranging from stress reduction and playfulness, to loyal companionship, affection, comfort, security, and unconditional love.
Dr. Walsh said: “The powerful meaning and significance of companion animals is underestimated.”
The study was published in the October 2009 issue of the Family Process. (ANI)
Posted: Just One More Pet
Photo by the UCLA Shutterbug
Our Pups Goji and Princess With Their Dad Apachi Looking On…
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” ~ Ben Williams
If Mom or Grandma has been considering getting a dog or cat, Mother’s Day is a perfect time —not to surprise her — but take her to several shelters and see what’s out there. Use Petfinder to screen for the best candidates. That way she’ll get exactly what she was looking for and the pet has a good chance of staying put rather than being returned.
If Mom is in love with a particular breed, check Petfinder in case one is available through a shelter.
Here’s the top 10 reasons to consider adopting a homeless or shelter pet:
1. You save many lives. Not only do you save the life of the animal you adopt, you will get an animal that is spayed or neutered, which means no unwanted litters to end up at an animal control facility.
2. You won’t be supporting puppy mills. Puppy factory farms will have one less customer to feed their reprehensible business. They produce pets with expensive health issues, physical and mental, and look at pets as “products”. Female dogs are forced into a constant state of pregnancy for the duration of their lives, not cared for or let out of their cages. When you buy from a pet shop, it supports this industry.
3. You get the best deal ever. Shelter animals are fully vaccinated, spay/neutered, and more often than not, micro-chipped, and heartworm tested.
4. You become an active participant in preventing cruelty to animals. The Oprah show on puppy mills made it very clear to all that, even if unwittingly, pet shops selling pets get their animals from puppy mills. You can dismantle this practice by making different choices.
5. Shelters are not the scary places they used to be! Many provide added services. The progress that has been made over the past decade in sheltering practices means that many shelters offer their “temporary residents” basic training, so they are at least familiar with the concept of being on leash, and the concept of “sit” and “walk” Some shelters are set up so that daycare, kenneling, and grooming are available.
6. Shelters, good ones, always want their animals returned to them if there’s a problem–not to some other facility, or to another family. You won’t get any guarantees like that from a pet shop.
7. Shelters will know the dog or cat, their personalities, some of their querks and a lot of their personality. New puppies are so cute, cuddly, but they have a lot of needs. They require that someone be home all day to care for them, potty train them, feed them often and teach themeverything. If you are getting a puppy and will leave him or her in a cage more than an hour please don’t get a puppy. It is not at all advisable to cage a puppy all day long. That kind of life would be a cruelty to the dog and to you. You would not be happy with a puppy that went wild every time you let him or her out.
8. Shelters are part of the community and work to save lives every day. They are there to serve the animals and match them to the best possible homes.
9. Shelters provide opportunities to learn through volunteering, expand your network and know more about the community you live in.
10. Adopt—it’s a matter of life, and the life you save may be your own! Studies have it that pets lower blood pressure and that pet people live longer. Just feeling good about how you contribute to solving a societal problem doesn’t hurt, either.
Hope you had a great Mother’s Day!
By: Mary Haight – Examiner.com
Then next year mom and grandma can take their friend to one of the many dog parks with free entrance, goodies and goodie bags for Mother’s Day.
On a sun-drenched weekend last month, cafes from TriBeCa to the Upper West Side were swelling with diners, many of whom left dogs tied to parking meters in deference to Health Department rules that prohibit pets in restaurants. At French Roast on upper Broadway, however, two women sat down to brunch with dogs in tow: a golden retriever and a Yorkie toted in a bag.
Illustration by Hadi Farahani; photograph by Robert Daly/Getty Images
“They both said that their animals were emotional service dogs,” said Gil Ohana, the manager, explaining why now all of a sudden in the last several months, we’re hearing this.”
Anthony Milburn, at right with four of his dogs, rely on their pets for emotional well-being.
he let them in. “One of them actually carried a doctor’s letter.”
Health care professionals have recommended animals for psychological or emotional support for more than two decades, based on research showing many benefits, including longer lives and less stress for pet owners.
But recently a number of New York restaurateurs have noticed a surge in the number of diners seeking to bring dogs inside for emotional support, where previously restaurants had accommodated only dogs for the blind.
“I had never heard of emotional support animals before,” said Steve Hanson, an owner of 12 restaurants including Blue Fin and Blue Water Grill in Manhattan. ”
The increasing appearance of pets whose owners say they are needed for emotional support in restaurants — as well as on airplanes, in offices and even in health spas — goes back, according to those who train such animals, to a 2003 ruling by the Department of Transportation. It clarified policies regarding disabled passengers on airplanes, stating for the first time that animals used to aid people with emotional ailments like depression or anxiety should be given the same access and privileges as animals helping people with physical disabilities like blindness or deafness.
The following year appellate courts in New York State for the first time accepted tenants’ arguments in two cases that emotional support was a viable reason to keep a pet despite a building’s no-pets policy. Word of the cases and of the Transportation Department’s ruling spread, aided by television and the Internet. Now airlines are grappling with how to accommodate 200-pound dogs in the passenger cabin and even emotional-support goats. And businesses like restaurants not directly addressed in the airline or housing decisions face a newly empowered group of customers seeking admittance with their animals.
WHILE most people who train animals that help the disabled — known as service animals — are happy that deserving people are aided, some are also concerned that pet owners who might simply prefer to brunch with their Labradoodle are abusing the guidelines.
“The D.O.T. guidance document was an outrageous decision,” said Joan Froling, chairwoman of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, a nonprofit organization representing people who depend on service dogs. “Instead of clarifying the difference between emotional support animals who provide comfort by their mere presence and animals trained to perform specific services for the disabled, they decided that support animals were service animals.”
No one interviewed for this article admitted to taking advantage of the guidelines, but there is evidence that it happens. Cynthia Dodge, the founder and owner of Tutor Service Dogs in Greenfield, Mass., said she has seen people’s lives transformed by emotional-support animals. She has also “run into a couple of people with small dogs that claim they are emotional support animals but they are not,” she said. “I’ve had teenagers approach me wanting to get their dogs certified. This isn’t cute and is a total insult to the disabled community. They are ruining it for people who need it.”
The 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act states that anyone depending on an animal to function should be allowed full access to all private businesses that serve the public, like restaurants, stores and theaters. The law specifies that such animals must be trained specifically to assist their owner. True service animals are trained in tasks like finding a spouse when a person is in distress, or preventing people from rolling onto their stomachs during seizures.
But now, because the 2003 Department of Transportation document does not include language about training, pet owners can claim that even untrained puppies are “service animals,” Ms. Froling said. “People think, ‘If the D.O.T. says I can take my animal on a plane, I can take it anywhere,’ ” she said.
Aphrodite Clamar-Cohen, who teaches psychology at John Jay College in Manhattan and sees a psychotherapist, said her dog, a pit bull mix, helps fend off dark moods that began after her husband died eight years ago. She learned about psychological support pets from the Delta Society, a nonprofit group that aims to bring people and animals together, and got her dog, Alexander, last year. “When I travel I tell hotels up front that ‘Alexander Dog Cohen’ is coming and he is my emotional-needs dog,” she said. She acknowledged that the dog is not trained as a service animal.
“He is necessary for my mental health,” she said. “I would find myself at loose ends without him.”
It is widely accepted that animals can provide emotional benefits to people. “There is a lot of evidence that animals are major antidepressants,” said Carole Fudin, a clinical social worker who specializes in the bond between animals and humans. “They give security and are wonderful emotional grease to help people with incapacitating fears like agoraphobia.”
Groups of pet owners with specially trained “therapy dogs” have long visited hospitals and volunteered after disasters. Following the 9/11 attack in New York, 100 therapy dogs were enlisted to comfort victims’ families at a special center.
But Dr. Fudin said that emotional reliance on an animal can be taken too far. “If a person can’t entertain the idea of going out without an animal, that would suggest an extreme anxiety level,” she said, “and he or she should probably be on medication, in psychotherapy or both.”
The question of when an animal goes from being a pet that provides love and companionship to an emotional-support animal, without which an owner cannot get through a day, is subjective.
Elicia Brand, 36, said the role her Bernese mountain dog played in her life changed drastically after Ms. Brand suffered severe traumas — being trapped on a subway during the 9/11 attack and being raped the next year. “I am a strong person and it almost did me in,” she said of the rape. “My dog was my crutch. If I didn’t have him I wouldn’t be here now.” After Sept. 11, Ms. Brand enrolled her dog in disaster relief training and put him through 10 weeks of training so he could be a therapy animal to others as well as herself. The dog now accompanies her everywhere, even to work. She also sees a therapist and takes medication.
One reason it is difficult to sort out the varying levels of dependency people have on their animals is that it is a violation of the disabilities act to inquire about someone’s disability, and although service animals are supposed to be trained, there is no definitive list of skills such animals must have.
“The A.D.A. started with the idea of the honor system,” Ms. Froling said. “The goal was to make sure that people with disabilities were not hassled. They didn’t list the services an animal should perform because they didn’t want to limit creativity, and they didn’t want to specify dogs because monkeys were being trained in helpful tasks.”
These days people rely on a veritable Noah’s Ark of support animals. Tami McLallen, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, said that although dogs are the most common service animals taken onto planes, the airline has had to accommodate monkeys, miniature horses, cats and even an emotional support duck. “Its owner dressed it up in clothes,” she recalled.
There have also been at least two instances (on American and Delta) in which airlines have been presented with emotional support goats. Ms. McLallen said the airline flies service animals every day; all owners need to do is show up with a letter from a mental health professional and the animal can fly free in the cabin.
There is no way to know how many of the pets now sitting in coach class or accompanying their owners to dinner at restaurants are trained in health-related tasks. But the fact that dog vests bearing the words “service animal” and wallet-size cards explaining the rights of a support-dog owner are available over the Internet, no questions asked, suggests there is wiggle room for those wishing to exploit it.
One such wallet card proclaims: “This person is accompanied by a Service Dog — an animal individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service Dogs are working animals, not pets.” On the back is a number to call at the Department of Justice for information about the Americans With Disabilities Act.
One 30-year-old woman, a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., said she does not see a psychotherapist but suffers from anxiety and abandonment issues and learned about emotional-needs dogs from a television show. She ordered a dog vest over the Internet with the words “service dog in training” for one of the several dogs she lives with, even though none are trained as service animals. “Having my dogs with me makes me feel less hostile,” said the woman, who refused to give her name.
“I can fine people or have them put in jail if they don’t let me in a restaurant with my dogs, because they are violating my rights,” she insisted.
In general, business owners seem to extend themselves to accommodate service animals. Though Completely Bare, a chain of health spas in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., has a policy barring animals in treatment rooms, Cindy Barshop, the company’s owner, said that she made an exception for a customer who insisted that she needed her large dog for support while she had laser hair removal. “We had to cover the dog with a blanket to protect its eyes during the procedure,” Ms. Barshop said.
One area in which business owners have resisted what they see as abuse of the law is housing. Litigators for both tenants and landlords say cases involving people’s demands to have service animals admitted to no-pets buildings in New York have risen sharply in the last two years, with rulings often in the tenants’ favor.
“If you have backing of a medical professional and you can show a connection between a disabling condition and the keeping of an animal, I have 99.9 percent success,” said Karen Copeland, a tenants’ lawyer.
One of her current clients maintains that she needs an animal in her apartment because she is a recovering alcoholic and, apart from her pet, all her other friends are drinkers. Another client, Anthony Milburn, lives in Kew Gardens, Queens, with five cocker spaniels and one mixed breed. He says he has severe chest pains from stress and has a note from a social worker saying that he relies on his pets for his emotional well-being. He is pursuing a case against his landlord.
Bradley Silverbush, a partner at Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Schwartz & Nahins, the largest landlord law firm in New York, said people are manipulating the law.
“I’m a dog owner and a dog lover but to claim emotional support is beyond affection,” he said. “People send letters from doctors saying the person relies on the animal, or a person has just lost a parent and purchased a Pomeranian. Some doctors will write anything if asked by a patient.”
Jerri Cohen, the owner of a jewelry store in Manhattan, said she tried living without animals when she married a man who bought an apartment in a no-dog building. “I went into a severe depression and had to go on medication,” she said. “Three years later a friend bought me two pug puppies, and I refused to give them away. My co-op threatened us with eviction. An attorney suggested I get a letter from my psychiatrist. She wrote that I was emotionally needy and the lawyer said that was no good. So she wrote that I can barely function or run my store without them. I won the case.
“They sleep with me,” she said. “They have a double stroller. They go to restaurants with me and fly with me.”
By BETH LANDMAN, originally published – New York Times: May 14, 2006
I have two cats. Buddy is a large tabby tom cat that I found in a snow bank when he was a kitten. He was very young, weak, thin, and had frostbite on the tip of his ear and part of a paw. I can only guess that a thoughtless owner of a litter of kittens tried to get rid of them. I only found one. Lucy is a smaller tabby queen that I inherited when she was a kitten. She is my granddaughter’s cat. I am the permanent foster mom since my granddaughter is not allowed to have another cat in her apartment building. Buddy and Lucy are best of friends. One entertains the other and they are usually found rolled up in a big ball of fur on the couch. They are strictly indoor cats.
Over 16 years after having two strokes, I’ve had a dog, bird, and now the cats. The bird was a cockatiel named Kato that I taught to talk, or perhaps the bird taught me to talk too as I was aphasic (a language problem caused by stroke or damage to the brain which leads to trouble speaking, understanding, writing, or reading) post-stroke. Eventually, the bird talked so much that I couldn’t keep him quiet! When I was on the phone he must have thought I was talking to him and would go on and on about how pretty he was and screeched out to “Be quiet! I’m studying!” It wasn’t difficult to figure out that the old bird had picked that quip up from my years at the university.
The dog was a miniature schnauzer named Cindy. She was our family pet when the kids were young. Cindy used to dance on her hind legs when we played the piano. I’m not sure if it was because she wanted to do a jig or because she wanted us to stop playing. Either way, she added great joy to our family.
Now, the children have grown and I live alone. But I am never lonely with Buddy and Lucy around. As a pet owner I have the responsibility of making sure they are fed each day and are provided fresh water. I make sure they are current with their immunizations and vet checks. I brush them at least once a week. And I talk to them too. Not that they understand me but they do react to the intonation of my voice. Believe it or not, they sleep with me too. No matter how many times I’ve sent them from my room they always come back to cuddle. Buddy curls up by my abdomen and Lucy wraps around my lower legs. Everyone is comfortable, except when I move they seem disturbed and meow their discontent.
Pets are important to all of us. After a stroke, pets can be wonderful housemates as well as giving us an opportunity to care for something else other than ourselves. Pets can heal our souls too. Cindy made me laugh when she danced to music. The cockatiels comb was always messy and he’d cock his head and look at you just to make you smile. The cats play with my knitting yarn then run and hide as if to say, “I didn’t do it!” All of these little creatures have added enjoyment to my life. They have helped me to keep depression, a side effect of stroke, at bay. They have helped me realize that I am an important individual in their lives as well as my own.
by Cleo Hutton @ MyHeartCentral