BY JANET McAFEE
This week, dog lovers and their 4-legged companions ring in the New Year 2018. In 2017, we made great strides in reducing the plight of shelter and otherwise homeless dogs and cats. “Rescue” is becoming the favored route to adopt a dog, as the public becomes more aware of the problems with puppy mills, backyard breeders, online pet sales, and pet stores.
Pictured here, ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2018, is adorable Sammy. This adorable Chihuahua girl was once a stray and frightened dog named Petunia at the Devore San Bernardino County Shelter. Rescued by Loving All Animals, this little pup would not let anyone touch her when she arrived at Quannah Combs’ foster home. Gradually she began to sit next to him on the couch, moving closer each day. With her next foster mom, Jan Cooksley, she continued to trust and love humans. This New Year Eve, in a loving forever home with Linda and Kurt Smith, she plays happily with her new sibling pup.
While our canine companions provide affection and companionship, there is a special love and wisdom bestowed from rescued dogs in their “second chance” home. These animals will not only bring us increased health and happiness in the New Year, but they can also be part of our New Year’s Resolutions. Here are some ideas for your New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
GET HEALTHY – Having a dog will improve your physical health, including reducing your blood pressure. If you decide to quit smoking this year, your pet will give you another reason because a smoke filled environment also jeopardizes their health.
REDUCE STRESS & DEPRESSION – Holding and petting a dog immediately makes you relax. Their loving companionship reduces stress, depression and anxiety. Dogs are utilized by our combat veterans to reduce post-traumatic stress. They work daily miracles for all of us humans, bringing joy to our lives.
LOSE WEIGHT – Obesity in both pets and their people decreases life expectancy of up to 14 years in humans and up to 2.5 years in their animals. As you select healthier foods, make sure to provide better nutrition for Fido. Avoid serving harmful human foods to pets. However, fresh carrots, cooked green beans, steamed broccoli, banana slices, and apple slices are great diet options for you and your dog.
EXERCISE & GET FIT – Walking a dog keeps you healthy, alert, and happy. If you are athletic, enjoy the outdoors even more hiking and jogging with Fido.
MEET NEW PEOPLE – Dogs are natural ice breakers, and that adorable pup you walk down the street can result in new friends or even a new love interest. You score extra points with them when they learn your dog is a rescue dog.
VOLUNTEER IN THE NEW YEAR – If you resolve to help people in the New Year, dogs may also play a role. If your dog is calm and likes strangers, consider getting him certified as a therapy dog and bring joy to hospital patients and nursing home residents. Volunteer at a public shelter or private animal welfare organization. Walk a dog for sick or elderly neighbors.
ADOPT A RESCUE PET IN THE NEW YEAR – The New Year is always the time for new beginnings and second chances. If you are still “dogless” go visit the thousands of animals waiting at shelters and rescue organizations. Adding a second or third dog usually works out well, as long as you thoughtfully plan and introduce them on neutral turf.
Visit the Coachella Valley’s largest county shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, at 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. View their adoptable animals at www.rcdas.com and call (760) 343-3644 for more information. To meet some amazing dogs like Petunia, go to the Devore San Bernardino County shelter at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino or call (909) 386-9820. View the Devore shelter animals at www.petharbor.com. Contact Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 or www.lovingallanimals.org for a list of all rescues and shelters.
Happy New Year 2018 to you and your 4-legged family members!