The Dog: One Who Wags Tail

Indian folklore describes the dog as a revered companion that must be treated with respect and compassion. Historically, dogs exemplify bravery, & loyalty. They are heroes, hunting partners and man’s best friend. The dog is “one who wags tail.”

Dog’s love us unconditionally, providing constant companionship, that lowers our blood pressure and anxiety level. Snuggle sessions and listening to our silly stories are favorite canine pastimes. Dogs detect cancer, locate explosives and missing people, alert us of danger, and can teach children responsibility, respect, empathy, compassion, and humane treatment of all animals.

Dogs are predictably unique. Some dogs are more energetic and require a great deal of interaction and exercise. Play and environmental enrichment are important to a dog’s daily routine, curbing many behavior problems. Dogs crave human companionship and interaction with their “pack” or family. They do not adapt well to loneliness and the lack of attention.

With over 400 breeds of dogs, which one should you select? Size selection criteria should have more to do with your ability to physically handle the dog, rather than the size of your home or yard. Consider the ages of children in the home, as some breeds are better with little ones. Children must learn how to appropriately interact with a dog. Research the ethology of the breed of dog you are interested in, and be realistic regarding their natural behavior. Ask a veterinarian or professional for their opinion. The American Kennel Club website offers useful information about specific breeds.

Budget for veterinary care, food, grooming, heartworm preventative, spay & neuter procedures, and care for your dog in your absence. In Broken Arrow, each dog must be registered. The registration fee for an altered dog (spay or neutered) is $7.00. Crunch the numbers prior to making your decision to add a dog to your family.

Who does not love puppy breath and their adorable cuteness? Puppies are full of energy. You must teach them desirable behaviors, and provide a safe, enriched environment, including additional exercise. Older dogs are often house trained and much more relaxed. They have a soulful disposition and loyalty, grateful for the opportunity to share their love. Consider adopting an older dog.

Dogs grow old and weary, just as humans. Do not select a dog as a family member, if you cannot commit to provide, love, companionship and care as they age. They will give you the best they have to offer, for as long as possible. Your family must be committed for the duration of the dog’s life. At the Broken Arrow Animal Shelter, June thru mid September, 326 dogs were brought to the shelter and 76 of those were owner surrenders. This number is unacceptable for our progressive community. Dogs, are family members-NOT disposable items.

If you are looking for a dog, I have just the breed for you, the mutt. The myth that a shelter dog, especially a mix breed dog, will be less good or reliable than a purebred dog is not just wrong, it is entirely backward: mix breeds are healthier, less anxious, and live longer than purebreds. Dogs, no matter the breed will wag their tails and be your companion just the same. Check out the Broken Arrow Shelter at www.baanimalshelter.com for great dogs of all sizes and breeds. Remember to spay and neuter all pets, as pet overpopulation is a human issue, not an animal one.

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