Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Prepare to be inspired!

Let me tell you about my friend, Bear. Despite his name and some ursine features, Bear is a dog, and a very admirable dog, at that. His owner, a member of our board, adopted him last year in January from Gentle Giants Rescue of Norco California. Bear was fortunate to have found such a loving and committed owner because he needed lots of help. He had allergies, a worsening limp and his fur had all but disappeared. Thanks to some very talented veterinarians, Bear’s health problems are behind him, and, as you can see from his pictures, he now enjoys excellent health.
Bear hasn’t forgotten his struggles along the road back to good health, so his owner and he have decided to help others who might need their spirits lifted by joining the Love on 4 Paws program. Through the program, Bear and his owner travel to hospitals, schools and nursing homes spreading the kind of good cheer only a big furry dog can provide. (Love on 4 Paws is located in Los Angeles and works exclusively within the greater Los Angeles area.) Bear doesn’t do many tricks, but he doesn’t need to. When you’re as fluffy and loveable as Bear, all you have to do is show up. Everybody loves him, and how could you not?

Bear says the toughest part of the job is slippery floors. His feet are great for traversing the rocky terrain of the Pyrenees Mountains where his ancestors lived; however, linoleum is a different story. He sits for lots of pictures with kids, but because his paws can’t get traction on the slick tiles his front paws slide out from under him and he flops on his belly. He gets embarrassed, but everyone else finds it’s hilarious. Personally, I think that qualifies as a trick.

Bear is a rescued dog who now helps others. I think we can all learn a lot from him. Thanks, Bear. Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So many trees, so little time...

I got an email today from my girlfriend Tilly. It was so nice to catch up with her. Talking to Tilly reminded me of the lovely event we held jointly last October with Old Westbury Gardens. It seems like such a long time ago. Well, in dog years it's already been over a year ago. We dubbed it "Dogs in the Gardens." The grounds of Old Westbury Gardens are just breathtaking. Tilly and I had a wonderful time running around the estate. As you can see from the photo, Tilly is quite an outdoor girl.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Willis takes a bath!

For a dog, grooming isn't about vanity; it's a health issue (although I do like to look my best). So many dogs have skin problems, and because we're covered in fur people frequently miss the warning signs of skin problems. We can suffer from fleas, tick bites, rashes and on and on. The summer is especially hard on a dog's skin. When it's hot out we can develop hot spots, which are very painful.

Here at the Society, my dear friend gives the other pups around here and me our weekly bath. To be commercial for a second, my favorite shampoo is Les Poochs. It smells so nice, it's good for my skin and my fur looks great after using it.

Dogs need their nails to be kept trim, as well. When our nails grow too long, we are forced to walk flat footed, and walking flat footed causes us to have back problems. But cut our nails too short and you can hit the quick, so please, be careful! If you should ever have any trepidation about doing this, please consult your veterinarian.

Remember, a clean dog is a healthy dog!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Discussing the darker side of the Olympics

After reading this article, I am so over the Beijing Olympics.

China is cleaning up Beijing to host the Olympics, but they have a very strange idea about what “cleaning” means. Apparently, they think it means getting rid of cats because that’s what they’re doing. I'm surrounded by cats twenty-four hours a day, and as far as I can tell, they spend most of there time cleaning themselves. They're the cleanest animals I have ever met.

I told my friend, Fiero (he’s the cat I’m talking to in the picture), that the Chinese government was taking cats away from their owners. He was furious. He started shouting, “Let me at ’em!” Fiero can be a hothead sometimes. I had to explain to him that China is pretty far away.

It wasn't too long ago that the Chinese government was trying to get rid of dogs. Who would want to live in a country with no dogs? But people all around the world made lots of noise and the Chinese government had no choice but to stop taking dogs away from their owners.
Looks like it's time to start making some noise again!

I’m definitely not buying any 2008 Olympics merchandise. I don’t think it’s clean.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pills Away!

My personal physician gives me my monthly heartworm pill. She’s so funny – she always tells me it’s a “cookie for being such a good boy”. They think I wouldn’t take it if I thought it was medicine. Aren’t they silly? They’re delicious! I overheard them say that if I didn’t take my heartworm pill and an infected mosquito bit me (ouch), I could get very sick. One day they’ll probably figure out a way to give the mosquito a “cookie” and I won’t get to have my chewable treat. But I hope not – they’re even tastier than the stack of post-its that I tried to eat earlier! They always take the fun stuff like that away before I can swallow it. A guy can’t get a break these days…

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Willis reflecting..................

Have you seen the March issue of National Geographic? National Geographic is one of my favorite magazines! The current issue’s cover story is titled “Animal Minds.” I found the article fascinating, and I encourage all my friends to check it out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Before you take that bite, think about the journey the animal took to your table.

I know the feeling. You’ve been hungry all day. It’s dinnertime, and all you can think about is taking that first bite. I’m the same way; nothing focuses my mind like the smell of free-range, organic chicken in the building. But wait! Before I eat, I try to think about how that meat got on my plate. We all know meat, like money, doesn’t grow on trees. Meat comes from animals, animals like you and me. But a lot of people don’t realize how poorly these animals are treated. Would I want to be stuck in a crate so small I couldn’t turn around? Would I want to be fed bland food that was full of strange chemicals? No way! But many of my cow, hog and chicken friends have to live like that every day. If an animal gives its life for our nourishment, I think it deserves our respect and care.

There are some things we can do to help our friends on the farm. I make sure that all the meat I eat is free-range and organic. Organic farmers let their animals behave like animals; they can walk around, chat with each other, the chickens can flap their wings, the hogs can role around in the mud. Also, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the news. New bills are always being proposed to improve living conditions on farms, and it is up to us to make sure that these bills get enough support to become laws. A good example of this is the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act that is going to be voted on this year in California. Being a dog and a New Yorker, I can’t vote in this one, but maybe you can. If this bill passes, a lot of animals are going to be much happier.

OK, now that I’ve said my piece, it’s chicken time! I mean free-range, organic chicken time!