Tag Archives: dogs

15 Minutes

On one hand, a couple chuckles and mutters to themselves;

They’re lost in their own world, unconcerned with the rest of us.

On the other hand, two girls type away at their laptops;

One giggles and grins at something only she can see.

 

Time passes, the smell of pizza lingers in the air.

The couple have untangled themselves.

The giggling girl and the girl from the couple are chatting and laughing across the room.

Others chime in and the room buzzes with conversation.

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“Time passes, the smell of pizza lingers in the air.” Photo from: www.duratimeclocks.com

The couple eats ice cream while the two girls talk about the dog wandering through the room.

One takes the dog out for a walk, the room wishes her luck and fun.

Silence has descended about the room.

Finally, the girl from the couple turns to me and speaks.

New app lets you lend your dog and borrow another

Anna Browne is a woman who loves dogs, but unfortunately can’t be responsible for a dog of her own. She discovered an app called Bark’N’Borrow. The app allows for people who don’t have room for a dog, or can’t completely take care of a dog of their own, to be able to borrow other people’s dogs for a small vacation or simply a doggy sleepover.

Browne found the app because she loves corgis but wasn’t ready to have her own. She states “I live in a studio… I work late most nights.” As someone who works in financial services, Browne desperately wanted a cute little pooch to cuddle with at night, but the responsible person in her knew a long term commitment like owning dog wasn’t appropriate for her at this point in her life.

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“The app’s founder, Berkeley, individually reviews and approves every borrower’s profile.”

The app, Bark’N’Borrow, allows for dog owners to reach out to dog lovers who can’t have their own man’s best friend. The CEO and Founder Liam Berkeley said “This is the next best thing between not owning a dog and committing to one.”  It allows for dogs to continue to be put into safe environments, with people who have the time, space, and money to take care of them.

This app, however, isn’t just for people who don’t have the time or space to take care of dogs, it’s also for owners who wish to give their dogs more socialization, exposure to new environments and people. Weiling Chen, the owner of Sam the Corgi, made a profile for Sam after hearing about Bark’N’Borrow.

She said she had some initial hesitations, “It sounded a little odd but you kind of figure if they’re dog owners or dog lovers than it shouldn’t be too bad,” Chen said.

She had found a few potential borrowers, but Browne has become her favorite. “It’s like a delight,” Browne said. “On the weekend if I can hang out with a corgi for a couple of hours it’s amazing.”

To prevent the types of people who go on this app who want to hurt the dogs, the app’s founder, Berkeley, individually reviews and approves every borrower’s profile.

If you want to borrow a sweet, little, cute dog for a short period of time, check out Bark’N’Borrow.

Five reasons pit-bulls are the world’s best dogs

Pit-bulls probably catch the most prejudice from humans. There’s this dumb stigma that pit-bulls are vicious and/or mean dogs. In the last few years, many cities have completely outlawed pit-bulls. I know in the city I’m from, Bluefield, a town ordinance was put against pit-bulls, boxers and German shepherds. Personally, I don’t think any breed is aggressive; it all just depends on how they are raised. In honor of my adopted pit-mix, I’ve decided to give the world five reasons pit-bulls are the best dogs.

  1. They’re cuddly

Pit-bulls love to snuggle. Every pit I’ve been around has thought it was a lap dog, therefore they try to cuddle like one. I would much rather cuddle my dog, Roxy, than my stupid, lifeless body pillow. Although she doesn’t give me quite the warm fuzzies I get from spooning a significant other, she’s a perfect replacement.

An adorable pitbull plays with a chick. Graphic from Buzz Feed
An adorable pitbull plays with a chick. Graphic from Buzz Feed
  1. They’re smart

Pit-bulls are incredibly smart and easy to train. One of my sisters has a 8-week-old pit-mix puppy who already knows how to shake and sit. He’s also mostly potty-trained. Roxy is very smart too. In the first week I had her, she learned not to pull on the leash, to shake, and to roll over. I’ve also noticed the only time she whines when I leave the house is if I don’t say, “I’ll be right back.”

  1. They’re loyal

Pit-bulls are very well-known for being incredibly loyal to their humans. They aim to please their owners. Sometimes, this is why they can have a difficult time adjusting after being adopted. When they’re forced to leave the human they’ve been accustomed to their entire life, their heart breaks. Sadly, pit-bulls will do whatever it takes to please their owners, and some people take advantage of this as they train their pit-bull to be a fighting dog. They will literally die to please their owner. For responsible owners, however, this is a very positive thing. Pit-bulls will be amazing life partners who know the needs of their owners.

  1. They’re patient

Part of a pit-bulls famous loyalty is that they’ll be very patient with their owner. I know my dog, Roxy, will wait for me all day while I’m at work. Some dogs may get annoyed that their owner has left them and as a result, will tear up furniture or even use the bathroom in the house. Although some pit-bulls will sometimes act out if they’re feeling neglected, most of them make very good house pets since they’re very patient. This patience is also great for families with kids. My sister has five very rambunctious children, and her dog, Mr. Wilson, is very patient with them. Despite popular belief, pit-bulls have a nurturing attitude and have a tendency to love children.

  1. Overall, they’re great companions.

It may be hard to get past the stigma that comes with pit-bulls, but I promise when you can look past the stereotypes and what the media tells you, a pit-bull is an amazing choice for someone seeking a companion. They’re very supportive dogs who will be there for you even on your worst day. The way their lips tend to curve into a smile is infectious enough to make you smile after a long day. Pit-bulls tend to be very affectionate, and let’s be honest: there’s no better cure for a bad day than wet puppy kisses.

Having a pet makes you a better person

If you follow me on any social media, you know I’m obsessed with my dog. Besides the (obvious) fact that she’s incredibly cute, I obsess over my dog because of who she makes me as a person.

Ever since I adopted my dog Roxy in October, my outlook on life has become extremely positive — it’s impossible to be sad when your dog is so happy. I also keep her in mind when I think of my future plans, which motivates me so much more to chase the things I want. I often imagine myself living on a beach with Roxy frolicking in the sand and chasing seagulls. For some reason, having her by my side makes it much easier to picture myself where I want to be.

Having Roxy also makes me want to do better because she deserves the best. Dogs have enormous hearts and love their owners so unconditionally. I don’t think I could ever express how much I appreciate that unconditional love. In exchange for that unbreakable bond between my dog and I, I feel the need to work hard so she can have nice things like a big, fluffy bed and all the toys she could ever need.

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Radford student, Janie Maitland, with her dog.

Dogs also force you to live in the moment. There have been times where I’ve sat with Roxy and she’s taken her paw and knocked my phone out of my hand, forcing me to pet her. I began to realize after the 10th or 11th time that I was missing out on life because I was constantly plugged into my phone. Technology is great, but it should never take over your life to the point that you miss out on moments with your loved ones.

Dogs need constant exercise, so having a dog has forced me to get more exercise as well. Roxy and I often take long walks all the way around campus, which I never would have done walking by myself. She also loves to wrestle and play, which makes for a pretty rigorous exercise. Before I adopted Roxy, my weight would fluctuate from 125 to 140 lbs almost constantly. Now that I’m getting more regular exercise, my weight remains at around 133 lbs. I also have to be able to keep up with her so I’m more in shape than I’ve ever been in the past.

There’s something very zen about a sleeping dog on your lap that makes you slow down and appreciate the little things in life. One of my greatest joys in life is simply seeing my dog happy. When I take her to Claytor Lake and she’s allowed to run free, the big smile on her face as she runs about melts my heart.

Adopting a pet has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself because it forces you to work and play all at once. I don’t understand how anyone could be unhappy when there’s a sweet dog around. Having a dog may seem like a lot of responsibility, and it is to an extent. However, having a pet is a relatively inexpensive investment that changes you for life.

The most common misconceptions about pit bulls

Pit bulls have gotten a lot of negative media attention in the past decade or so. Generally, any dog bites that make the news are  by a pit bull or “pit bull type” dog. However, this media coverage doesn’t mean that pit bulls are the only, or even the most, aggressive dogs.

One of the most common misconceptions about pit bull type dogs is that “pit bull” is a breed. Pit bull is simply a “type” of dog, and includes any pure-bred or dogs mixed with the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bulldog and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Unfortunately this causes a lot of dogs to be put under the assumed “pit bull breed.”

Even Police Officers show their love for these sweet dogs. Graphic from The Examiner
Even Police Officers show their love for these Pibbles. Graphic from The Examiner

Another huge misconception about pit bulls, or (as I lovingly call them)”pibbles” is that they have locking jaws. This is a huge myth which has been manipulated by those who push breed-specific legislation. One of the biggest personality traits of pibbles is their extreme determination. If they latch onto a toy, they’re not letting go easily. It’s been misinterpreted as a physical deformity that makes it impossible for their jaws to let go of anything they bite onto. Anyone who has played tug-of-war with a pit bull type dog knows this isn’t true. They’re very determined and once they have their sights on something, they won’t let go.

BSL has been thought to protect communities from dog bites. On the contrary, areas with BSL tend to see an increase in dog bites by pit bull type dogs. Programs that promote responsible ownership and the reporting of dog fighting tend to see a decrease in accidents involving dog bites. The biggest issue with BSL is that it prevents responsible owners from owning these dogs, and makes the animals even more desirable to irresponsible owners. Therefore, these dogs are bred and trained by irresponsible owners who fight or neglect them.

Another misunderstanding about pibbles is that they have more behavioral issues than most breeds. I will agree that pibbles can be a little more challenging to train, but this is because they tend to be stronger than some breeds and therefore a little more difficult to control. However, pibbles tend to rank quite highly on temperament tests! Chihuahuas, ironically, have the worst score. When I adopted my pibble, Roxy, the animal control officers told me that she passed her temperament test with flying colors.

The most popular misconception of pibbles is that they’re more aggressive than any other breed. One of the most important factors in being a responsible dog owner, regardless of breed, is knowing your dog’s body language. I’ve been around poodles who were much more aggressive than Roxy. Although Roxy tends to be a bit possessive of her toys, this isn’t attributed to the fact that she’s a pit bull. Every dog has its limits, no matter the breed. Growing up I had a collie mix named Heidi. One day, I was being the hyperactive child that I was when Heidi had enough of me and bit me on the lip. To this day I still have a scar, but that was only one incident. We never had another issue with Heidi biting me, because I learned what her limits were.

Many people argue that it’s better to adopt a pibble puppy as opposed to an adult because you can raise them knowing they never suffered abuse and therefore will have a better temperament. I wholeheartedly disagree with this assumption. If anything, dogs rescued from abusive situations make better companions because of the relief they experience when removed from those situations. Looking at the demographics of animal shelters, it’s very apparent that pit bull type dogs have a heavier presence than other breeds. Because of this, I strongly advocate for the adoption of adult or senior pibbles. One of my favorite Instagram accounts (@rebeccacory) mostly contains photos of a lovely rescue pibble named Angel. Angel suffered unimaginable abuse and neglect and was horribly over-bred. Now, Angel lives a lavish and comfortable life with her mom, Rebecca Cory. It’s very apparent on Cory’s Instagram account that Angel is a loyal and loving companion and her life has improved tremendously since she was found in 2007.

Responsible ownership is vital to owning any breed of dog, not just pibbles. Just as humans have certain limits and pet peeves before we become agitated or even aggressive, dogs are the same way. Dogs became our friends thousands of years ago when wolves realized that if they befriended humans, we would feed them in exchange for loyalty and protection. In my opinion, pit bull type dogs are the absolute epitome of that loyalty. They will go above and beyond to please their owners. Some would say this loyalty has some faults because pibbles will become extremely protective of their owners, to the point of violence. However, I can say from personal experience that any dog would attack in the case that its owners life was in danger, but this is out of loyalty and love for their owners, not out of aggression.

 

Don’t have time for a pet? Think again

Many people argue that college kids shouldn’t have pets because they take up time, effort, and resources. While I agree that many college kids are much too busy or don’t have the resources to properly care for an animal, I don’t believe that is the case for most college kids.

Having a dog does take some extra time, but not everyone can have the perfect home for a dog where he or she will be spoiled and given a perfect environment. Most people have many other obligations that they would have to balance with a pet, but that’s okay.

Thousands of animals are put to death every year because they couldn’t find a home. Animal shelters are extremely over-crowded and no-kill shelters can be very hard to come by. Because of this, I don’t think you have to fit a tight list of criteria to be a pet parent. Sometimes I see billboards encouraging adults to adopt children. These boards often say that “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” I think this saying should also apply to pet parents.

It takes love and care to be a good pet owner. Graphic by Katie Gibson
It takes love and care to be a good pet owner. Graphic by Katie Gibson

Having a dog or a cat is like having a child in some ways–but for the most part, dogs and cats are much less high-maintenance. Dogs can easily be left to roam the house while you’re at work. It’s not only illegal but obviously unethical to leave a baby free to “roam” the house while you’re in class or at work.

College kids may not have the most ideal situations for a pet, but who does? College students are much more flexible in their schedules than other adults are. I get to spend quite a bit of time at home with my dog, even though I have a full class schedule and a part-time job. With training, dogs learn that their owners aren’t going to be gone all day and find ways to entertain themselves with toys or naps.

Whether you have a full-time job or a full-time class schedule, chances are you may not think you have time for a pet. However, I believe you can make it work if you want to. There are so many wonderful pets out there waiting for homes, and in my opinion having to wait for their owner to get off work is a much better situation than being in a shelter with little human contact. It’s also most certainly better than being put to sleep just because someone was told they won’t be a good enough pet owner.

Rescue a dog and they’ll rescue you

I recently made one of the biggest decisions of my life. It was something I decided to do to benefit my mental and physical health. It’s something that’s going to take a lot of responsibility and dedication, but I’m ready for it. This week, I decided to adopt a dog.

Many argue that college is no place for a dog or that I’m young and not ready for the responsibility that comes with being a dog mom. I’ve already gotten a lot of discouragement from family and friends and as I write this, I don’t even have my dog yet! I’m well-aware of the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner. I realize this dog isn’t going to be like my pet rat that I can leave in a cage all day, feed, and give minimal attention (only because she doesn’t seem to like people too much).

The reason I wanted a shelter dog is that they seem to know that you’ve saved them, and  show a wild amount of gratitude. My brother and his wife adopted a beagle named Copper. Copper is the sweetest, most loyal, and thankful dog ever. You can see the love and thankfulness in his eyes.

When I announced to my friends and family that I wanted to get a dog to help me cope with my anxiety, many of them asked if I was getting a puppy. I love puppies very much but I decided to look for a dog who was a little bit older. Puppies are cute, but they’re also very needy. They also don’t give me quite the warm-fuzzy feeling that shelter dogs do. There’s something so specifically special about a dog who’s been through so much.helter dogs often have wounds that we can’t see as a result of being abandoned by their previous owner. Although these issues may be a burden for some owners, I see it as an opportunity to help the dog heal their wounds, while also helping me heal mine.

Animals are very intuitive creatures. They know when their owners are sick, sad, happy or just need some extra puppy kisses. A friend of mine recently got a puppy and after spending some time sick in the bathroom, she got into bed and her puppy laid his head on her stomach. When I was a kid and  I was sad our dog, Heidi, would always come sit by me. I remember crying while sitting on my porch, with Heidi just sitting by me, letting me hug and pet her.

There’s very little research on what it is that makes dogs so therapeutic. However, people suffering from depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders reap many benefits from owning a dog or cat. Whether it’s the increase in exercise that dogs come with, or just having a dog to pet, there are undeniable benefits. I’m very excited to see where this journey with this dog takes me. Hopefully, I’ll see some of the benefits that are so common among those who opt for an emotional support animal.

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“Many argue that college is no place for a dog or that I’m young and not ready for the responsibility that comes with being a dog mom.”

College can be RUFF

Many college students crave the attention and affection that can be generated from friendly canines, while their schools make it difficult to own and care for one.

Most dormitories and on-campus residential halls only allow pets such as fish, while banning dogs, cats, hamsters and most other animals. This could be due to the fact that hall residents could have complications relating to allergies, noise, and filth. It could also be detrimental to the animal to live in a condition where they could be among hazards with little space to roam.

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“From a financial aspect, college students typically do not have enough money to afford a dog and all of its fees and needs on top of spending their money on school, textbooks, rent, groceries and more.”

Some students living in off-campus housing are denied the opportunity to house a pet as well, given the threat of large fines and sometimes eviction. Many rental companies require their residents to sign a lease agreeing to no-pet policies. Others require a high-priced fee be paid for each animal being housed within the residence. There’s also a chance of a pet causing major damages, which would yield yet another fee. Yard space is also an issue since off-campus college housing is usually in the form of apartment complexes; the doggies don’t have much room to play.

Although there are many college students who are responsible enough to own and care for a dog, there are also many that neglect to care for their dog in a proper manner.

From a financial aspect, college students typically do not have enough money to afford a dog and all of its fees and needs on top of spending their money on school, textbooks, rent, groceries and more. With spending money to spare, some college students are unable to afford quality pet nutrition, vaccinations, procedures and veterinary appointments which can lead to serious health problems for their dog.

A lot of time must be dedicated to a pet dog. Their walks, exercise, training, eating, and appointments all must be scheduled. College students are generally under a tight schedule with classes and also add on extra-curricular activities. What does the dog do while a student is gone all day long? Unfortunately, the dog is usually crated or locked inside for long hours of the day with a lack of necessary attention.

Many don’t oppose the idea of owning a dog in college, but hope people can think of the animal before themselves. From this point of view people believe if an individual is unable to devote their affection, time, energy, and large portion of their life to their dog, then it’s unfair to the dog to be under their care; they see this as abuse.

Dogs can be a great companion and stress-reducer for students, but can also be a worrisome hassle. Make sure you can be dependable for your doggies!

What to love about pets

We’ve all heard the expression “dog is man’s best friend.” Anyone who owns a dog knows that they are loyal, passionate, fun-loving creatures. Dogs aren’t the only pets that are renowned for the love and compassion they provide. Cats, gerbils, hamsters, birds and even snakes are capable of creating meaning in your life and teaching you more than you may think.

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Faith Williams with her pet Gerbil, Dixie. Photo by Kat Provost.

Several health studies indicate that a pet’s love can reduce tension and improve your mood. Continue reading What to love about pets

Angel tree for pets

While the semester is coming to an end, Radford University students have a lot on their minds. Studying, finals, projects, papers, Christmas, gifts, food, decorations and everything else that goes along with the holiday season fills the agendas of every student. As if we don’t have enough to worry about, there is one thing that we can add to that list of to-dos that will be beneficial to everyone. Continue reading Angel tree for pets