Wednesday, September 14, 2011

National Responsible Dog Owner Month

September is AKC
National Responsible Dog Owner Month

Author, Jan Casey

September. What a month.
At first glance, there seems to be little to celebrate unless you love hot
days, fewer hours of sunshine, and the unofficial end of summer after Labor
Day. Luckily, the American Kennel Club has designated September as National
Responsible Dog Owner Month! It’s a month to applaud all the dog owners out
there who have made the commitment to be the best owner/handler/partner to
their dogs. If you are one of those responsible dog owners (and I’ve been
blessed to meet many in this area), your dog has a message for you:

Thank you for choosing
to provide the best food you can afford for me. I know your budget is tight,
especially lately. I appreciate that you are now looking at the labels on
commercial foods to make sure it doesn’t contain a lot of filler that is not
good for me. Thanks for considering cooked or raw meals that will provide
optimum nutrition to give me a shiny coat and good behavior. I know it would be
easier for you to just pick up just any bag of kibble and throw it in my bowl.

Thank you for providing
adequate shelter for me. I love being with you and am so happy you haven’t just
thrown me in a pen in the back yard or tied me to a tree. You have seen to it
that I always have water, protection from the sun and rain, and a warm place to
go when it’s cold outside.

Okay, I can’t say I was
thrilled when you decided to have me spayed/neutered. I know you did it to help
reduce the number of unwanted dogs and you also want to reduce the euthanasia
rate. Because some studies indicate that dogs who have been fixed have fewer
behavior problems, you may have helped prevent me from biting or fighting. I’m
more likely to hang around home now, too. Thanks for doing what is right.

You know I am not
usually thrilled to go to the vet, but I do thank you for knowing all about me
and my special needs. I’ve watched you spend hours researching what will be the
best treatment for me and then making sure I get nothing less. Thanks for
caring enough about me to see I get a checkup every year even when I appear

About the training – I
really like it. I get to spend time with you and you give me some really yummy
treats when I do the right things. You also praise me a lot. Plus, I don’t get
put away when you have company anymore. I get to spend a lot more time being
part of the family.

You know one of the
things I like best about you? You come home from work really tired sometimes,
but you always see to it that I get to exercise and sometimes you even let me
play with other dogs and people! You’re talking about letting me try a sport –
let’s go! I’m ready! I feel so much better when I’ve burned off some of my
extra energy.

There is so much more to
thank you for, my responsible owner. I appreciate you keeping me safe by
walking me on leash and only letting me run in a fenced area. Sometimes the
call of the wild overcomes me and I forget about cars or bad people that might
hurt me. I love my identification tag on my collar. If I ever got separated
from you, it’s nice to know other people could help me get back to you. I find
it amusing that you pick up my deposits, but I know you do it so other people
will welcome my presence. You never leave me in a hot car and you don’t let the
kids hit me or pull on me. You make sure I don’t annoy the neighbors by barking
and howling at 6:00 a.m. even though I can assure you I have one of the finest
voices in Dogdom and your neighbors just don’t realize it.

Above all, thank you for
loving me and sharing your life with me. I know it’s not always easy and you
could place an ad in the paper to give me away. I also know you could take me
to the shelter and let others worry about me. How easy it would be for you to
just put me out back and forget about me. You don’t! You groom me, you play
with me, you show me how to behave. You think I am beautiful and you protect

So I celebrate you, my
responsible owner, during this month. Most of all, I love you.

Jan Casey is a
reward-based trainer in Florida
at Courteous Canine, Inc.
and owner of Smiles and Wags Pet Services Mrs.
Casey is a member of the Association of Animal
Behavior Professionals.
Casey is a columnist for the Cookeville,
Herald-Citizen Pet
and Kid's Korner .
This column was originally written for the Herald-Citizen


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