ALOHA FROM JENNIE: One thing that a lot of seniors have in common is our pet companions. When I initially adopted a dog, I read up on canine care. Basics such as vet visits and grooming were self-explanatory, as were the love and bonding needs.
Providing a healthy and balanced diet was a little more interesting. I have a 15-pound pomeranian/chihuahua and a 55-pound Basenji/boxer mix, and feed them both dry kibble, among other things. At times, I will mix different types of kibble together, such as a basic brand which costs $1 a pound and premium kibble which is more than $5 a pound. I may also mix in crunchy kibble that's 'good for the dog', e.g. made from fish. Invariably, each dog will lay in front of their bowls and slowly pick out the 'non-desirable' pieces with their teeth and place them outside the bowl, and after they're done sifting through the contents, they'll eat what they want, usually the meaty premium meal. Sorting food pieces into two piles and eating only one, is that what they mean by an unbalanced diet?
Next, exercise for dogs is easy in Hawaii, since there's never a lack of great weather, walking paths, parks, and the beach. The key here is to find a (human) group with similar schedules and compatible dogs, since the pups enjoy exercise even more when they're on doggy play dates. On Easter Day, for example, our neighborhood dogs romped in an egg hunt with treats tucked into the plastic containers (a one minute video of the event is shown above).
Finally, a dog needs discipline and structure. My little dog, who arrived in the household four years after her big brother, looks misleadingly adorable. She does get rambunctious at times, and the water spray bottle and coins shaken in an aluminum soda can weren't effective. Thus, I arrived at giving her 'timeouts' when she is placed in a spacious guest bathroom (she has access to a bed and water). Depending on the time of day, she'll usually settle down after the initial protesting, and either wait to be released after 15 minutes, or if it is bedtime, she'll curl up and spend the night. The other month, she apparently had enough of this disciplinary practice and was in a particularly foul mood. Here's what I found, giving new meaning to the phrase shock and awe:
Exhibit A: The petite angelic miscreant
Exhibit B: The 10 inch tall dog has nearly removed the over six foot long door frame, it's still upright only because of a few nails clinging on at the top; guess they don't make wood, nails or paint like they used to
Exhibit C: So close to the outside, let's tunnel our way through the drywall plaster, and when that doesn't work, let's shred six inches off the frame just for the heck of it.
So, Cesar Millan, dog whisperer, where do I go from here?
If you enjoy dog misdeeds, one of my favorite websites is linked here: www.dogshaming.com. Once you see a few hilarious dog photo postings, you'll know what I mean.