One of the worst feelings in the world is loneliness. It’s an empty, alone feeling that can lead to severe depression. No one wants to be lonely. In fact, they say that the worst thing that can be done to a person psychologically is to put them in solitary confinement. Interaction with other humans is essential to our sanity and our health.
There aren’t always other humans around, however, and while you probably don’t live in solitary confinement, you might spend a lot of your time at home by yourself. If you don’t live with anyone else, it can get pretty lonely. There are several ways you can try to combat your loneliness, such as by making plans with friends. A more long-term solution is to get your very own four-legged companion. A dog or cat can make a wonderful pet and cure your loneliness.
Adopting a Companion
If you want to get a pet, the best place to go is to an animal shelter. Adopting an animal, rather than buying one from a breeder or pet store, is the most compassionate thing you can do. The best part is that most of the animals in a shelter feel very lonely, too, and they may have been feeling that way for a very long time. When you adopt a shelter animal, you’re curing not only your own loneliness, but theirs as well, which is something to be proud of.
Living with a Friend
After you’ve adopted a four-legged companion, you’ll have to get used to living together. The best part is that you’ll never have to be alone at home, but a pet isn’t as big of a hassle as a roommate. With a pet, you don’t need to share the bathroom or deal with unwanted chatter. You can have the best of both worlds - peace and agreeableness along with companionship. It will be an adjustment, but it will make a big difference in the long run.
Doing Activities Together
With a pet, you’ll also have the opportunity to do lots of things with them, including physical activities like going for walks or playing fetch. Your pet can even accompany you in the car while you run errands or go other places, meaning you don’t even have to be alone while you’re driving. Loneliness often comes with another awful feeling - boredom - and a pet will certainly cure a boredom problem with ease. Pets love to play, and you’ll keep each other entertained.
There are so many benefits to living with a pet. Not only will you be less lonely, you’ll also be happier and healthier, literally. Studies have shown that pet owners live happier, longer lives, which is why pets are especially good for elderly people who live alone or people who are sick. You don’t have to be lonely anymore - go adopt your four-legged companion today. You’ll be very glad that you did, and so will your new companion.
Katherine Walters is an animal assisted therapist who often discusses the ways in which animals can help people with loneliness.
In thinking about caring for a beloved dog, many people forget about trimming the nails. Yet keeping your dog’s toenails trimmed is an essential part of the dog’s health, and trimming should be done at least once a month. If your dog’s nails can be heard on the floor when he walks, or if he’s beginning to limp, that means it’s time to trim.
A dog’s walk can be drastically affected by its nails, since dogs walk and run on their toes. This is a stark difference from humans, since our nails are not used for walking or providing balance. If you’re in doubt about how often to trim the nails or how short they should be, keep these two principles in mind. The nails should not protrude over the pads of the dog’s paws, and they should not touch the ground.
When the nail is too long, walking can become awkward and even painful. Long nails can also contribute to hip and back problems, splayed or deformed feet, punctures that open the skin to infections, and bone trouble. Long nails can also begin to split or bleed into the pad of the foot. This will cause the dog to walk slowly, limp, or not walk at all.
There are two ways to trim nails: with a standard toenail clipper or with a dremel. A standard clipper works well, as long as the person is careful not to take too much off. If the clipper cuts to the quick of the nail, it damages the tender vein that runs through the nail. This will cause even more pain for the dog, along with some light bleeding. On the other hand, the dremel is a gentle sander that can round the edges of a nail without cutting to the quick. In light-colored nails, the quick is easy to see. If your dog has dark or black nails, you may want to use the dremel simple to avoid hitting the vein.
Of course, regular trimming should be part of your dog’s care since puppyhood. Yet if you adopted the dog when it was older, there may be an adjustment period as the dog becomes accustomed to the monthly routine. Dogs can often be frightened simply because they don’t know what to expect. Trusting the process to a professional at your local animal shelter or veterinarian may be the best choice simply because that person is skilled at calming down animals in distress. If you opt to trim the nails at home, make sure to involve someone whom the dog trusts, and reward his good behavior with a treat afterward.
Many dogs, especially younger ones, will wear their nails down simply by playing. Inactive or older dogs, though, will prefer to walk on grass or other soft surfaces, and their nails will not be worn down naturally. Check your dog’s nails periodically until you have a sense of how quickly they grow. No matter what your dog’s breed, lifestyle, and health history are, nail trimming should be a regular part of his care.
Author bio: This guest article was written by Eva Kettler, who often writes for LaPorte Animal Clinic in northern Colorado. When she's not writing, Eva enjoys renovating her 60-year-old house and making peach jam.
Meet Griffin, a dog with a job. As Head of Canine Communications at Proctor and Gamble, Griffin’s days are spent attending boardroom meetings, visiting schools and representing his brand (which conveniently includes Iams dog food) the best he can. Griffin also has a number of canine co-workers in his office in Boston, as Proctor and Gamble’s pet care division is one of a growing number of pet friendly workplaces.
Griffin’s busy schedule includes encouraging other companies to allow dogs in the office, and it is now estimated that one in five workplaces in America now allow pets. The benefits are clear, as some of the biggest brands on the planet allow pets, proving that their presence can breed success. Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon and Build-a-Bear Workshop all allow pets in their head office, and all have reputations for being some of the best companies in the world to work for.
There are numerous benefits to taking your dogs (or in some cases cats) to work, confirmed by a recent study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. Looking at a small sample of 75 employees, whose stress levels of workers were monitored throughout the day, the study compared those who worked with a company that allowed dogs in the office, and those who didn’t. Workers who shared their desk with a dog had low levels of stress throughout the day, whereas those with no interaction with animals had their levels rise steadily throughout the day.
Help With Stress?
Stress leads to low morale and lost hours due to overwhelmed and sick workers. The presence of dogs can relax workers and increase productivity. Having a dog around also encourages employees to take a break from their work to have a quick play or pet, which helps recharge the batteries and make sure work levels are consistent throughout the day.
Pets also help co-workers get along, as dogs relax people and make them more approachable and easier to talk to. They act as a true ‘ice breaker’ in the workplace, and if someone is having a bad day, it’s always great to see the happy face and wagging tail of an affectionate canine.
Pet owners are usually nervous and stressed about leaving their sweethearts at home, so taking your pet to work can reduce that anxiety, and spread happiness throughout the office. Workers who don’t own any pets are able to share in the joy of a canine’s company.
Taking pets to work is also a great thing for the pet itself. Being inside an empty house all day is a less than ideal environment for dogs, who need plenty of exercise and attention. Being around people all day in a work place means dogs will quickly feel at ease and (hopefully) will even improve their behaviour!
Turning a workplace into a pet friendly zone requires a bit of effort, and there are some stumbling blocks. The decision needs plenty of thought and consideration, particularly if you have any co-workers with allergies or a fear of dogs, who may struggle in a workplace packed with pooches.
Convincing The Boss
Purina, the dog food company, has started a scheme to encourage more workplaces to take their pets to work, and their website includes tips on how to encourage the boss and co-workers to make the leap. Preparation is relatively fuss free and easy, dogs will need to be kept in certain areas, and there should be plenty of sanitation equipment and plastic bags on had just in case there are any accidents! Dogs should also be fully vaccinated and introduced to other pets in the office gently (such as meeting outside the office for a little play) to get rid of any territorial issues.
Cats are a more difficult pet to approach, as they usually enjoy staying at home and sitting on top of warm laptops and unknowingly deleting all your work while having a nap. But feline interaction is also proven to reduce stress levels, as shown by the cat cafe craze that started in Tokyo and is spreading across Europe. These cafes are filled with office workers on their lunch break taking a break by having a coffee and playing with cats. There are plans to open one in London, much to the joy of workers in the capital.
Having pets in the workplace is a growing trend, and is here to stay. If you work with lots of pet lovers, introduce the idea at your next meeting and see if the presence of dogs can lead to productivity and success in your workplace!
Vicky works alongside http://www.hrprotected.co.uk/, a supplier of HR documents for employers. She has experience managing a HR department and is also an animal lover to boot!
If your dog happens to be a runner, he will most likely get very creative when plotting his escape. Dogs that do exhibit the characteristics of a runner will escape by climbing the fence or digging an escape tunnel underneath the fence. Unfortunately, you may be harbouring your own little Houdini of the canine world. Dogs can escape from their yard in any manner that they possibly can, and for a number of different reasons. Understanding the cause of those daring doggy-breakouts goes a long way to curbing the behavior and keeping your dog safely within the confines of his own yard.
A well looked after dog does not run away from home because he is unhappy. Any can feel the need to escape just to satisfy his natural instincts to explore his environment. Sometimes, the boundaries of the yard and an occasional walk around the local park on a leash aren’t enough to satisfy the urge to investigate the smells and activity that are just beyond his boundaries.
Reasons your dog may try to escape your yard are:
- Social contact – if your dog has been left alone for a long time, he may go looking for some company.
- Search for a mate – entire dogs will do whatever it takes to get to a female in season.
- Bored – a lack of play toys in the yard will encourage your dog to look for toys elsewhere.
- Energetic – if your dog needs more exercise, he may take himself for a walk.
- Separation anxiety – dogs with this debilitating condition will escape to search for their owner.
The problem for dogs, when they escape is that they have no concept of the dangers they may face in the wide world. They have no understanding of the difference between roads and pathways, or the injuries they risk by stepping in front of a moving vehicle. What does concern them however, are the distractions such as socializing with other dogs; chasing smaller animals, and raiding garbage bins in a quest for leftover food. These positive rewards only reinforce your dog’s desire to escape, making it difficult to break the habit once it takes hold.
How to Escape Proof Your Fence
Obviously, ‘plugging the leaks’ goes a long way to stopping the escapes, as does an understanding of the underlying causes listed above. Your fence may need to be reinforced both above and below, and any gates with loose latches will need repair. Move any items that your dog could climb on well away from the fence.
If you are struggling with your dog’s need to wander, there are several things that you can do to reduce the number of escapes, or even prevent them altogether. These include increasing the level of physical and mental stimulation through walks, games and interactive toys, providing clean and comfortable bedding, initiating regular feeding times with a well-balanced diet, obedience training to keep your dog’s mind active, and ensuring that all gates are locked and obvious escape routes blocked. If your dog is not neutered, then this would be a good way to reduce his efforts to woo a lady dog.
The sooner the reason for your dog’s escaping is identified and managed, and the more secure your back yard, the less you’ll have to worry about him. You will have peace of mind when you’re not home, knowing that your canine best friend is safe in your yard and not at risk of coming to harm.
Amanda Davis is a service dog trainer and a freelance writer. Amanda uses her love and talent for writing to share dog training and behavioral tips for dog owners.