Cooler Weather Is Coming. Is Your Pet Ready?

Cool weather may not be here just yet, but, rest assured, it’s coming. And if you are a first-time pet owner, you should know that caring for your furry friend during the fall and winter requires a little more work than in the spring and summer. Silver Paw Pet Tags invites you to keep reading for a few things you should be aware of and ways to alleviate cold-weather woes.

Stiff joints

Perhaps one of the most unexpected issues surrounding cooler weather and pets is stiff joints. However, as explains, cooler weather may trigger an inflammatory response. This can lead to joint discomfort and arthritis, particularly in older animals. One way to reduce pain is by giving your dog CBD oil, which can be mixed with their food. Be sure to discuss this with your vet first.

Behavioral issues

As pets spend more time indoors, you may find that they are anxious. They might bark, play a little too rough, or get aggressive when you get into their space. Because of this, it makes sense to invest in dog training, particularly if your dog is still a puppy. Look into online training programs you can work on at home together. 

Cold feet

According to the American Veterinary Management Association, dogs have different tolerance levels for the cold. Specifically on their paws, some animals are more prone to cold-weather injuries, such as cracked, rough, or bleeding paw pads. Make a point to check your pet’s feet every time you come in from the outside, even if the weather is not freezing. Some animals may be more comfortable outside in foot coverings made specifically for the cold.

Unintentional poisoning

While your dog may not be spending more time unsupervised outdoors, they do have more opportunities to come into contact with chemicals, such as antifreeze, that can make them sick during the winter months. Animal Emergency Care cautions that even a small amount of antifreeze on your dog’s feet can be deadly if he licks himself after coming into contact. Make sure to wipe your dog’s legs and feet really well after you’ve been outside together. 

You can either purchase inexpensive grooming wipes, or make some yourself with basic ingredients. A quick sprucing up after outdoor trips can save you some heartache—and the cost of an emergency vet bill.


Allergies are mostly associated with the spring, but fall brings mold and other irritants to the air. If you notice that your dog has more eye or nasal discharge, diarrhea, or is scratching and chewing himself more often, call your veterinarian.

Other tips

A few other things you can do for your dog this fall to keep them safe and healthy include:

  • Scheduling their annual wellness visit
  • Investing in a new ID tag with your name and phone number
  • Continuing with flea and tick preventative
  • Watching the weather, and keeping them indoors as much as possible when the temperature is below freezing
  • Investing in a cozy and durable indoor dog house for pups with a shorter coat
  • Feeding them a healthy diet
  • Providing plenty of shelter outdoors or installing a dog door so they can come in from the cold
  • Spending as much time with them as possible to reduce anxiety

Having a pet is hard work. Having a pet in the fall and winter is even more so since you don’t have the freedom of letting them run free. But just because it’s work doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. The advice above can help you be a better pet parent so that you can enjoy your pet no matter the season.

When you want a quality dog tag that’s rust, chew, scratch and salt water-proof, you want a Silver Paw Pet Tag. Our stainless steel tags have a lifetime guarantee, and they come in sizes small, medium and large. Check out our selection today! 

Do you feel concerned about stray animals, neglected pets, or even suffering wildlife in your area? You don’t have to sit idly by – you can reach out and help! Silver Paw Pet Tags has collected plenty of resources to spark your inspiration!

Easy Ways to Help

You don’t have to have any special skills to help animals in need – there are so many things that an individual can do to pitch in!

  • Are there any proposed pieces of legislation for your area concerning animal welfare? You can call up your representatives to share your opinion!
  • You may notice strays or wildlife roaming around your home. This guide will help you decide who to call for help if necessary.
  • Are you interested in getting a pet of your own? Consider fostering.

Support Local Organizations

Do you want to connect with other people who share a passion for the same cause? Check out these local organizations!

  • You can donate to an organization like Paw Works, which aims to help animals find good homes. 
  • If you want to contribute to rescue programs, you can direct your donations to The Humane Society.

Start a Nonprofit

What if you want to take your efforts even further? With some patient planning, you can start a nonprofit! 

  • Need to work out the details of your idea? You’ll want to create a nonprofit business plan. 
  • If you’re searching for additional funding, you can apply for grants. 
  • Planning to hire employees for your business? QuickBooks’ article on payroll defined covers everything you need to know about paying your workers and reporting taxes. 
  • Want to bring people together in support of animal welfare? Host a fundraising event!

Many people feel compassion for animals in need. From volunteering at shelters to donating money to running your own nonprofit, there is no shortage of ways to make a difference. By referencing these resources, you’ll be able to make a positive change in the lives of animals.

Silver Paw Pet Tags creates beautiful, stainless steel dog ID tags that are guaranteed to last the lifetime of your companion. Explore our hand-cast small, medium, and large dog tags!

Photo via Pexels

If you’re the owner of a brand new business as well as a new puppy, you may be wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. Both require significant time and energy, and they will suffer if you neglect them. The good news is you can nurture each of them to develop successfully with proper attention, patience and the right tools. The following tips from Silver Paw Pet Tags demonstrate how you can use a crate to train your puppy, focus on your business and preserve your sanity all at the same time.

Purchase Two Crates

If possible, purchase two crates: one for a quiet area of the house, such as a bedroom, and one for your office. Sometimes your business requires 100 percent of your attention, and the crate holds the puppy out of harm’s way.

Keeping your business and personal assets legally separate helps provide for your safety too. To accomplish this, along with possible tax benefits, register your business as a Maine LLC. It’s easy and inexpensive whether you file the LLC paperwork yourself or use a formation service so you won’t need an expensive lawyer to handle it.

Make the Crate Comfortable for Your Puppy

Effective crate training hinges upon your dog viewing the kennel in a positive light. That means your puppy should recognize the crate as a personal space where he or she feels safe and comfortable. Use a soft crate pad that fits the dimensions of the bottom and cover the top with a blanket or towel, leaving the front open so the puppy can see out one side. Setting the crate up this way will work well with your dog’s denning instinct.

  • Allow the puppy to explore the crate freely with the door open at first.
  • Leave a treat inside the kennel for the puppy to find, and coordinate the timing with closing the crate door.
  • Create a routine for going into the crate by saying the same phrase, tossing in a small treat, adding a favorite toy or other repeated action.
  • Avoid leaving anything in the box that your puppy could choke on while unsupervised.
  • Never use the crate as punishment or speak harshly when it’s time to go in.

Avoid Future Separation Anxiety

Giving your puppy crate time away from you in a quiet area of the house teaches your pet that it’s OK to spend time alone. Expect some whining and barking at first, just like a baby who doesn’t want to go down for a nap. In most cases, the puppy will settle, but if not, there are barking deterrents you can place outside the crate to help train your young pet to be quiet.

Use a Special Reward for Time in the Crate

When you need to leave your puppy alone for an extended period, make the experience positive by providing a special, long-lasting treat. Use a Kong or other tough, treat-dispensing toy and fill it with goodies the animal has to work at to get out. Freezing the food inside the toy makes it last a long time. That way, your dog is occupied with a rewarding activity when you are away or out of sight. In most cases, the puppy will fall asleep after working hard to get the treat out.

Used properly, a crate can be an effective training tool and a safe, secure place for your pet to nap or work on a chew toy. It also helps you get back to work when your business needs your complete focus.


Image Courtesy: Pexels

You love your dog, and he loves you. He’s your best buddy, and you do everything together. You’ve given him a great home, and the best cushy bed in the house. But have you overlooked something?  When you walk into the coffee shop, do people smile warmly, or do they sigh in annoyance? At the dog park, do the people seem eager to meet you? 

In other words, you’ve mastered the basics of obedience training, but have you taught your pup how to conduct himself in public? 

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness:

Rule number one of good pet stewardship is this: scoop the poop.  Carry bags and gloves with you on your walks in public to collect the waste and dispose of it properly. No one wants to step in a dog mess on a sidewalk or in the grass. Dog feces are a health hazard to people and other dogs; they can harbor bacteria that can be spread to other people and animals. Bring wet wipes with you in case your pet gets himself muddy. No one likes to meet a muddy dog who shakes goo all over your clothes.

Personal Space:

Even the most well-behaved dog can react unexpectedly to new situations, so yours should be trained to walk on a leash. This helps you to control his responses and helps you to keep him safe. Your pet may be friendly, but a threat from another animal could cause him to bolt. 

Respect the privacy of other people and pets by teaching your dog not to approach strangers without your say-so. Always ask other people if it’s okay before you approach with your dog. They may have allergies, phobias, or simply not want to be bothered. If they have their own pets with them, you don’t know how the other pet will react to yours, so always ask before making introductions. When you get the okay, allow the two dogs to greet each other by sniffing, but be watchful for signs of aggression. Raised, bristled tails are a sign they may be gearing up to attack, and a lowered back with hackles raised means the dog is frightened and may be dangerous. 

Silence Is Golden:

We all know that dogs bark, but there are many places where this behavior is not appropriate. Your dog must be trained to be quiet. Learn to redirect his attention to you when barking occurs, and work on getting him accustomed to the presence of other animals around him to reduce unnecessary noise.  Use plenty of positive reinforcement; when your dog barks at something, redirect his attention and give him a treat and lots of petting. 

Good Manners:

Perhaps the most important task to making your dog a more welcome guest is teaching him good public etiquette skills. When you go out in public together, you and your dog should set a good example. Obedience training can be helpful for these situations. Teach your dog not to jump on people, approach them uninvited, or to beg for food. Be mindful that your dog will make the occasional misstep, so be willing to own up to it and apologize when something happens. If your dog damages something (say, he chews a shoe or splashes mud on someone’s slacks), be prepared to open the checkbook and make good on what he ruined. 

Be A Responsible Pet Parent:

Sadly, not everyone wants to see your dog. Call ahead and check that it is okay to bring him. Check out local shops and restaurants and learn their pet policies before you show up. Know the rules and respect them. When you are out with your dog, he should always be wearing his collar and tags, and his certifications and shots should always be up to date. If he becomes lost, rescuers will have an easier time reuniting you. Consider microchipping your pet for an additional layer of protection. A lost dog without tags or a collar is in danger of being labeled as abandoned, and could wind up at the local pound. A dog without up-to-date shots is in even more jeopardy. 

Stay Golden at Home Too:

A well-trained dog can still be a nuisance to your neighbors. Remember what we talked about with barking? Don’t allow your pet to bark and make incessant noise that could be a disturbance. Teach your dog to stay calm when anyone comes to the door, and never allow them to jump on anyone. Finally, never let your dog roam freely off-leash. Not only can this make your neighbors uncomfortable, but it’s also a safety risk for your pet. 

If you really want to give your pet room to roam, invest in a fence around the perimeter of your home. While this can be a costly endeavor (the average price is $4,500), it’s worth the price if your dog can safely run around without bothering anyone. Talk to nearby fencing companies to get a few quotes, but be sure to check out reviews and ratings before you hire a contractor. Don’t be shy about asking to look at a portfolio or for a special offer either. 

Your dog is still a dog, and he’s going to dog things. He’s going to bark, run, snuffle leaves, and ask people to stop what they’re doing and pet him. The trick is to minimize the behaviors that earn him disapproval and encourage those that make him more loveable. The whole point of good “petiquette” is to help your dog show the world his best face so everyone around you can see just why you love him so much. If you teach him good manners and social skills, he’ll be loved by more people, ensuring you’re both welcome wherever you go. 

A dog ID tag is the perfect way to make sure your dog is never lost. For a durable tag that’s also stylish, check out the varieties offered by Silver Paw Pet Tags. Their steel tags are handmade in Maine, and are chew-proof, rust-proof and scratch proof. Visit the website to see their selection today! 

How to Ensure a Smooth Transition When Moving with a Pet

Moving to a new home is exciting, but it can also get stressful. If you’re moving with a pet, the process can get even more complicated. Cats and dogs are especially sensitive to new surroundings and may get nervous about the transition.

In some cases, cats and dogs may be so bewildered by their new surroundings that they will run away. Before you move, ensure your pet’s tags are up-to-date with your new address and contact information. If they get lost, it will be easier to reunite. Silver Paw Pet Tags offer stainless steel dog tags that are durable and easy-to-read.

Read on for more tips on how to ensure a move that is both stress-free and safe.

Pack up your pet’s essentials in one easy-access box

Before you move, set aside one box for your pet’s essentials. Include the things you will need in the first days after you arrive, such as food, treats, medicine, and a leash and collar. Keep this box separate from other moving boxes. Instead of sending it with the moving truck, pack it in your car. This ensures you have everything your pet needs when you arrive.

Prepare your pet emotionally and physically for traveling

Before moving day arrives, prepare your pet mentally and physically for the process. Preventive Vet has guidelines on how to prepare your cat, starting with getting them used to their carrier However, if you’re moving with a dog, check out these tips from USA Today. They recommend using a carrier or kennel in the car to keep your pup safe while driving. Placing a t-shirt that smells like you into the carrier with your dog can help alleviate nerves.

Ensure your pet’s health and identification records are updated

Before you move, take your pet for one last veterinary checkup. Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet’s health records to bring with you, especially their vaccination record. Beware that rabies vaccination requirements vary between states. If you’re moving across state lines, Fido or Fluffy may need a booster. Finally, make sure the contact information on your pet’s collar tag or microchip is correct.

Set up your animal support system in the new location in advance

When you see your veterinarian, you can also ask them if they have recommendations for an animal hospital in your new home’s location. If not, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has tips on how to find an accredited vet wherever you go. In addition to veterinary care, look into local groomers, kennels, and pet sitters or walkers — whatever your animal may need. You can use online resources like to find local professionals.

Secure affordable transitional housing if needed

Moving if you’re strapped for cash can be tough. If you’re in this situation, Redfin recommends arranging accommodation with a friend or family member while you look for a job and housing. Make sure your loved one can accommodate your pet, too. If they live in a rental property, they should check the regulations to ensure animals are allowed.

Set aside a quiet space in the new home to help your pet feel comfortable

Once you make it to your permanent home, take steps to make your pet comfortable. Set aside a quiet space for them away from the hustle and bustle of movers. If you have a cat, introduce them to their new surroundings slowly. Meanwhile, if you have a dog, check out these tips from the American Kennel Club. For example, they recommend taking the dog through the house on a leash as a first step.


Moving with a pet requires some extra planning, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow the above steps to prepare for a comfortable transition for you and your favorite furry friend.

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Top Travel Tips for Dogs and Their Owners

Are you and your pooch planning a special getaway together? Adventures with your four-legged friend can be big fun for you both so long as you take a little time to make plans with your favorite sidekick in mind. Read on for how to ensure that both you and your dog can make the most of every moment next time you hit the road.  

Destination Unknown?

When you’re ready to explore fresh territories with your canine companion, think about choosing a destination agreeable to you both. For instance, a chilly mountain trek could be the perfect fit if your furry friend is a cold weather lover. For dogs that love water, a vacation centered around swimming and boating could be a dream come true. Dogs with flat faces, on the other hand, generally do best with low-energy activities and mild temperatures. 

Meshing climate and activities can help you get started on choosing the perfect spot for your next getaway. Also, search out dog-friendly locations that fit your anticipated plans. There are many places that don’t welcome dogs, so a little research can go a long way to ensuring your adventures are successful. For example, you might think all the national parks are the same as far as pet policies, but some are more dog-friendly than others. Along those same lines, some beaches welcome dogs and some don’t, or if an urban adventure is calling your name, certain cities are particularly accommodating to canine companions.  

Gear Up for Fun

Getting to and from your destination can be half the fun so long as you’re outfitted for success.  Car trips are more bearable with appropriate travel gear, such as a seat cover, travel bowls, and a restraint to keep your dog safely in his seat. Also, think about other accessories that will make experiences more comfortable. If trails or tents are part of your travel plans, your pooch can tote his own supplies with a well-chosen backpack, although there is a surprising variety, so read reviews to select the best one for your dog. Swimming and other water-oriented outings might require a doggy life jacket, and some dogs require coats for cold temps or cooling vests for heat. Thoughtful accessories can equate to delightful fun and less chance for misadventures.  

Safe Travels

For safety’s sake, include some dog-oriented first aid supplies in your travel gear in case there’s an incident. Similarly, your dog should wear an up-to-date, easy-to-read ID tag on the chance he slips away, and make a trip to the vet to ensure your dog’s vaccinations are current. If your dog has any special medical conditions, bring along copies of pertinent records, and research the veterinary clinic or hospital closest to your destination. You can use this search tool to help. Bring your dog’s prescription medications along as needed, and if your pooch is on a special diet, pack enough for your trip plus a bit extra in case you experience delays.  

Where Shall We Dine?

Whether you’re looking for opportunities to stop on the way to and from your destination, or weaving some Fido-friendly events together in your travel agenda, eateries that accept furry companions can ease some of your traveling angst. Many outdoor cafes are dog-friendly, and some chain restaurants allow pets as well. So you, your dog, and other diners all have a good time, Food & Wine suggests brushing up on your pooch’s table manners. And last but not least, when it comes to keeping things enjoyable for everyone, remember to pick up after your pooch.

Planning and preparation can make a world of difference when you’re taking a trip with your dog. Choose a hospitable destination, invest in the appropriate gear, and think about ways you can ensure your getaway is safe and fun for everyone. You and your furry traveling companion are sure to enjoy the vacation of your dreams, thanks to your thoughtful planning.

Travel Tips for Dogs and Their Owners

What’s The Most Important Information to Have On Your Dog’s ID Tag?

Equipping your dog with a highly readable, sturdy, id tag is your first line of defense in your precious pet’s recovery. With so little space and so much important stuff to put in it, what’s the smartest and most necessary information to help your dog get back home if found by strangers? Well, the question varies somewhat with the lifestyle you and your dog lead along with the setting or settings in which you live.

Avoid using up the real estate on a tag with cutesy sayings like “Help, I’m lost”, “Call my Mommy”, or “My name is …”. Useless information crowds the letters and makes everything else on the tag smaller and harder to read. Also, know that using all capital letters will require more room, thus making the letters smaller (less readable) to fit on their lines. Use upper and lower case letters for optimum readability.


Typically id tags begin with a dog’s name. Knowing a dog’s name can help a stranger keep your dog in close proximity when initially found. 90% of dog owners use the first line of a dog’s tag for his or her dog’s name. Owners wary of dog stealing in their locale leave off names. Consider this if you are aware of such issues taking place where you live.

Phone numbers

Phone numbers are next in order of placement. Land lines and cell phone numbers are both great.  If you are out looking for your dog and someone calls your cell phone, you’ll know the dog has been found instantly! Messages left on your land line may not be discovered until you return home. Make sure your phone numbers are easily readable by using hyphens or dots to separate the numbers.


Next, consider your address. Include a house number and street before you think about trying to fit the town and state. Abbreviate when possible. There is no need to use a zip code if you have listed your town and state. However, if your town and state has too many letters, you may elect to just use your zip code.


Microchip information, including numbers, may be important to you. ” Microchip” or “Microchip#” followed by the number on the next line are both good. This is definitely a personal call. Remember that microchips must be scanned by a vet and will take longer and considerable more time to identify you as the dog’s owner. Strangers finding your dog need to have an easy reunite with you. They should not be expected to have to hunt you down, driving around the county or neighborhood for a scan to find you. The longer your dog is away from you, the more likely and prone they may be to accidents or injury.


Also, consider the medical needs of your dog if he or she has any. “Needs Meds” is a common line. “Service Dog” can be listed as well.

Getting your dog home safely and quickly is the number one goal of any dog id tag. Provide good samaritans with the easiest, most readable information you can and you will be on the road to a speedy recovery and a most happy day when your beloved friend returns home.


Keeping Your Home Spotless with Pets: 
Tips for Dog Owners

As many pet owners know, it can be difficult to keep a house spotless every day. Even the most well-behaved and well-groomed animal can leave little messes behind, from excess hair to mud from his paws. It can be downright exhausting to maintain everything — especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your home spotless while allowing your pup to stay comfortable and safe. From protecting your furniture to buying inexpensive cleaning supplies, you don’t have to drop a ton of money to keep your home clean and stain-free.

Look for Money-Saving Opportunities

There are plenty of ways to save money when buying cleaning supplies. A great place to start is by checking out sales and weekly ads from stores like Amazon and Target where you can find everything you need for cleaning your home. You can also look for Walmart promo codes for cashback opportunities online, or clip coupons for in-store savings.

A little extra research can point you toward where the discounts can be used; some may be in- store only, while others will be a better deal online. Consider also signing up for subscriptions to make sure you always have cleaning supplies handy.

Cover Your Furniture

If your pet tends to spend time on your furniture, you can use an old sheet or towel to cover his favorite areas so that dander and excess hair won’t stick to the upholstery. When guests come over, you can whip the sheet off and throw it in the wash without worrying about whether they’ll leave with pet hair on their clothing. And by using something you already have lying around the house, you’ll save a little bit of money.

You can also make your furniture less desirable by not eating near it; dogs have a wonderful sense of smell, and any crumbs that make their way into the seams of your couch will definitely be enticing to him. Providing your pup with a soft, clean bed will also help him steer clear of your furniture. Put it in a temperature-controlled spot and give him an old blanket to snuggle with.

Keep Your Pet Clean and Well-Groomed

One of the best ways to ensure your home stays clean is to keep your pet bathed and well- groomed, especially if he has long hair. You can do the grooming yourself at home to save money; just make sure you’re comfortable with cutting his nails with the proper tools; otherwise, you need to have a professional do it. Bathing, brushing, and keeping long hair trimmed will make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your floors spotless.

Use Simple Household Items

One major issue many pet owners have is an ever-present dog smell; even if your pet is clean, most dogs have a very distinct odor that can rub off on your carpets and furniture — and you. One budget-friendly way around this is to use baking soda on the carpet before you vacuum, and use hot water and lemon juice for tile. Vinegar and water can also be a great cleaner, and you can get tons of uses for under a dollar.

Keeping your home spotless when you have pets can be a big job, and the maintenance can become stressful if you don’t have a good plan. Think about the best ways to keep your floors and furniture stain-free without busting your budget, and look online for deals before you buy.

Caring for your first pet is a big responsibility, but it is much easier with the proper preparations. First, it’s important to select the right pet (and breed, if applicable). Next, you must prepare your home for your pet and properly acclimate him so you can bond. Let’s see what you need to make those plans.

Which Pet Is Right for You?

This depends on what you want from a pet. If you want a pet with little care that can provide some entertainment, then fish are your best option. However, if you are looking for companionship, you’ll probably want a dog or a cat. But there are other factors you should consider before you make your final decision, such as:

  • How much time do you plan on spending with your pet? Dogs require more maintenance than most pets, including training. If you don’t have the time for this, you might want to get a less taxing pet. 
  • What is your budget? Pets require food, gear, possibly habitats, and vet visits. Larger pets require vaccinations and annual check-ups and can be costly if they get sick or injured. How big is your home? Even if you get a fish tank, you’ll need the structure to support its weight. Dogs might require a fence in your backyard to stay safe. Read this post at The Guardian about choosing the right-sized pet for your home.
  • Pets can be messy. Prepare yourself and your home by investing in pet-specific cleaning supplies and products to protect your carpets and floors. A good vacuum is an absolute must for controlling fur and dander from cats and dogs. Be sure to check online reviews before you buy. 
  • Who will care for your pet when you’re away? If you are gone for long hours due to a busy work schedule, you may need to hire a dog walker. If you’re unable to take your dog with you on a vacation or business trip, consider boarding your dog at a reputable facility.
  • Finally, find out if the people you live with are allergic to any pets so you know which to avoid. 

Bringing Your Pet Home: Acclimating and Bonding

If you bring home a dog, be sure to purchase a sturdy id tag for them to wear right away. They may be frightened in the beginning and should they follow their nose or bolt you have some protection. Silver Paw Pet Tags make a great, super durable tag.

Before you bring home a larger pet, you want to make sure that he or she will be safe, particularly if it’s a kitten or puppy. Look for dangers like broken glass, small items, or places they can get stuck throughout your home. Make sure there is no way for him to get lost. You should also decide if you want there to be “off limits” areas for your pet.

Cats are very sensitive to new surroundings, and they may “disappear” for long periods of time. Petfinder has several ideas for acclimating your cat during the first 30 days, including providing him with an area of his own so he can feel safe and comfortable. Kittens will nestle in your hair and purr, so you may find yourself with a few sleepless nights when you bring one home. Not to worry; they are just bonding with you.

Bonding might take a little longer with an older dog or a rescue than a puppy, because they may be nervous about a new home. Shelter dogs can take six to eight weeks to settle in. Understanding his needs is critical. This free canine body language tip sheet from the ASPCA can help you learn how your dog communicates.

Bringing home your first pet is exciting. However, you need to take several things into consideration beforehand, including living arrangements/space requirements, allergies, and the amount of time you have to spend with your new friend. However, with careful selection and a bit of planning, this can be the start of a wonderful relationship.

I’ve had a few dogs over the years. They were loved with all my heart and soul. I’ve never had a dog who really took their time, without any major ailments like cancer, to leave this world. I’ve never cared for a loved one who seriously needed help caring for themselves for an extended time. I know now, it is painful, for them and for me.

My Ruby, the Silver Paw pup, is fourteen, has crippling arthritis in her front paws, and dysplasia on all four ends. She is a survivor, an old soul from way back. Over the last few years I’ve battled her ulcerated paws, lameness, loss of hearing, and eye sight. Each passing ailment a reminder that life does not go on forever. I love her so dearly, want to help with every step she takes, because that is what I feel she has given to me, but it is hard.

Once, such a joyful little wigglebutt character, Ruby, our champion field tester, tromped through every field, forest, ravine, and wild place, but now just sleeps in her bed, oblivious to much of life around her. Everything requires so much effort; getting in and out of the car, up and down from bed, going up and down stairs, and even waking up! I don’t want to be sad but I see the changes happening more quickly.

I miss this joyful dog and cherish the glimpses when she returns briefly before our short, slow walks and dinner times. I watch for the moments when there is real excitement in her eyes and it comes through in her body. I guess that when there is less and less of that excitement she’ll be telling us it is her time to let go. Is that how it happens and how will I possibly say goodbye to my loving, stubborn, relentless, and faithful girl, Ruby? Will it be her doing to decide?

When you love someone so much, it is so terribly hard. I know there will be more joyful dogs, but none just like this one.