Monday, November 30, 2009

Toss the Retractable Lead

You have your holistic pet owners, your old schoolers (ie, thats how my daddy's dad did it), your co-dependents and your folks who read every puppy rearing book on the market...but there is one single thing you should NEVER do!  Never purchase and use a retractable lead. There are countless reasons why you should not use them and every reason I have heard to support using them often further strengthens my stand to never use them. They are dangerous and offer worst level of control over your pet...thus a recipe for disaster.

Retractable leads have burned, cut and seriously injured so many including the handler, innocent bystanders and even the dog. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 16,564 hospital related injuries occurred in 2007 that were associated to retractable leads.  Injuries are so common that the Germany based company FLEXI posts warnings on their website and packaging as follows: “To avoid the risk of eye or face injury and cuts, burns, and amputations to your body or the body of another person from the leash cord/tape or all belt and hook, (sic) read and follow these Warnings and Directions for Use before using your Flexi leash.”

Most dog trainers will tell you that in order to truly handle your dog, you must have a 4-6ft sturdy lead. This lead should allow you to keep your dog under your control at all times because we all know, the further away you are from your dog, the least amount of control you have over your dog. With a retractable lead, your dog can be extended 10 to 30 feet in front of you. If they were to suddenly bolt across a street, you have given them that much space to move and put themselves into traffic. They see and interact with other dogs, people and small animals and are far enough away from you to get into trouble. There are reports of dogs getting hit by cars and kids on bikes because they are not street smart enough to know to watch for these dangers.

The lack of control of the dog can lead to the cord burns to folks as their dogs get tangled. I have been burned as someones dog walked behind me and the owner tried pulling in the lead. As the cord pulled across my lower leg, I was burned through my denim jeans leaving a red welt on my skin. The owner had already started the damage and I was on my own to get out of the mess before additional harm was caused.  To be honest, there was nothing she could have done other than use a better lead to control her dog. Her tiny Rat Terrier was excited to greet me and my own pup. I had the better (and traditional lead) and was able to untangle our pets while all she would do was stand their while I did my best to save my skin.

If you feel its convenient to allow your dog to wander further from you and do not feel the risk of injury to you, your dog or the people you interact with while walking then do a Google search. Search retractable lead dangers and read all the stories from pet owners who have severed fingers or scared their legs and arms of themselves and their children. You can even ask my friend Berhan about the 9 inch scar on her leg from her Chihuahua walking around her while waiting to cross the street.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Love is True, My Love is Real

I do not have kids....meaning the traditional, two legged variety. I have dogs & cats instead and I love them dearly. I love them more than I can ever explain, basically, I would go to the end of the earth to ensure their safety and happiness. I would be heartbroken to lose them or see them suffer in anyway. I would fight for them, I would do anything...that is a lot of love. That is the farthest reach of my love...its 100%.  But, a mommy of the traditional kind and they will tell you that you do not know love. OUCH!

I would never go up to someone and tell them that their love is not valid, that their love is substandard. But 2-legged mommies do it with vengeance. If your love is for a dog or cat, you apparently do not know love, that you can only know love of a 2 legged child and thus they have set the scale. What I want to know is, when did they crawl in my body, read my level of love and decide that I can not possibly know love? Should I ask them how much I love my husband? My parents? My sister? I find it pretty outrageous that one person can tell another how deeply they love. I thought love came from the heart, meaning from 'my heart'. I thought that the warm fuzzy and smile that bubbles up from my deepest core of emotion was mine and real. I feel it as real, I wrap myself around it as real, but since my love is for a furry face with a big tongue I guess its a myth.

Here is my advice to people who tell others how to live, how to dress, how to act, how to believe, and most importantly how to love: Love is Love and its so deeply personal and cherished....don't be so heartless and try to diminish others feelings. Its cruel and unnecessary...because I would never tell you that you don't know love, you only have a kid.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Party Dogs

I am about to take my dog Hank to a charity event at the Westin in Charlotte. Hank is a social dog...he lives with 3 other pups so he plays well with others. We take him camping 4-Paws Kingdom where he romps and frolics in dog parks with other happy campers. But I am a little worried about Hank at a charity dinner.

In fact, Hank can be quite the little booger. He has this sharp, nerve grating bark that can call the whales from the deepest ocean. He gets excited and jumpy but all with tunnel vision and hearing. He is actually incapable of hearing me when he is most excited and in need of reigning in. So, I am not sure how I feel about this outing of ours.

I do expect to wear, ditching the skirt/dress option since I have no idea what activities I will be forced to partake in. I do not want hosiery snags and rips to be part of my evening and I do not think that high heels will be wise as I may need to move fast.

So, why take the little boog? He is a Humane Society Alumni and the charity event is to raise money for the group that brought my little booger to our home. It hasn't all been fantastic and wonderful, but it has been great. I will take Hank to the Charity Dinner and hopefully he won't cause too much pain and suffering for all involved. I am sure he will land us some laughs....he always does.