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04.19.2012Lead The Way
I’ve have always been more of a cat person, but two years ago I had the opportunity to adopt Charlie, a black dachshund, from a friend who was moving away. Once I laid eyes on him, my cat bias was over – it was love at first sight! The friendly pup was laidback and sweet, with a constantly wagging little tail. I knew we would make a great match.
As happy as I was for adopting this little guy, things were a bit rocky in the beginning. I didn’t know jack about being a dog owner, and as someone who has always had indoor animals, I didn’t know the finer things about collars, leashes and harnesses.
Charlie came with a red collar made of a strong fabric, but not a leash. The previous owner told me that little Char-Char was well trained and she never had a need for a leash. Charlie would never leave her sight if they were outside.
Being the paranoid (or as I’d like to say “careful”) pet owner that I am, I wasn’t fully comfortable with this answer. There were many dogs in the neighborhood and I didn’t like the idea of Charlie making a run for the border and getting attacked by a pack of four-legged roughnecks. Plus, I don’t have a fenced in yard, so all kinds of craziness could ensue.
I started to research what collars would work best for my new doggie. There are lots of different collars on the market made of lots of different materials including nylon, rubber, vinyl, leather, recycled materials, natural fiber and even (eek!) metal. I even saw some adorable beaded collars, but Charlie is very masculine and would never go for an elegant pearl necklace (even though I think he could carry that look quite well).
Charlie’s collar seemed to be okay. It was durable, a flattering color
(cherry red) and never caused him any irritation. This was important as I read that some fabric can cause your pet’s neck to itch and break out in rashes. Of course, if such a thing occurs, I have an amazing BooBooLoon® inflatable collar, which will keep pets from scratching at a rash or irritated area and is much more comfortable than those hard, plastic cones.
So, collar-wise, we were okay, but I wasn’t sure what to do about a leash. There are basic leashes and retractable leashes. Basic leashes come in many lengths, materials, colors and patterns. There are 2 foot leashes, which keep your pet very close and are good in crowds – keeping everyone protected in case Charlie wanted to gnaw on someone’s leg. There are also 4 foot leashes which keep pets close, but also allow them room to roam and 6 foot leashes which give pets more room to walk ahead and explore and hopefully not cause any trouble. Of course, there are leashes even longer than that, but those are the basics.
Then you have the retractable leashes which allow you to give your dog more freedom when they go on walks and also are also designed to let you reel them in case of traffic, other animals and scary looking people.
The retractable leashes sounded fun (it’s like fishing for dogs!), but I felt like a basic 6 foot leash would be perfect for my well-trained pup. Just when I had my mind made-up, my dog expert friend told me about harnesses. I never thought of a harness because they never looked that secure to me. But when my friend Garvin told me more about them, I was intrigued.
He explained that dog harnesses are a good option if your dog is a puller or if your dog is known to slip out of collars. I was worried Charlie would be a puller since he wasn’t used to walking on a leash and I didn’t want him to hurt himself.
I decided to start off with a harness and basic leash combo. I can report that this has worked so perfectly with Charlie that I am sticking wth it!
I hope my experience was helpful to you! Feel free to leave comments about your experiences and what has worked best for you.
04.02.2012Indoor Cats vs Outdoor Cats
When I moved to South Florida 7 years ago, I was shocked by how many people kept their cats outside. Wherever I drove, there were cats everywhere — running through the streets, playing in yards, picking through trashcans and rolling around in the dirt. Driving became like a game of Frogger with me holding my breath and dodging these four-legged creatures. Lucky for them, I played to win! I would never get over it if I hit a cat — or any animal!
In Philadelphia, where I am from, it was pretty rare to see cats roaming the streets. Of course there were a few strays (some of which were adopted by my family) but you didn’t see cats running wild in the streets like you do in South Florida. But this is not because of overprotective owners, it’s because of the weather. Only the cruel would let their pets out in cold, snowy and rainy weather. And frozen cats do not make very nice yard fixtures.
By now you may have the idea that I prefer to keep my kitties indoors at all times. I like to keep my little furry hostages up close and personal, with nowhere to run from my hugs and kisses. I couldn’t bear the thought of them out on the mean streets with the neighborhood tough cats. This seems far too stressful for me. Aren’t those who let them roam freely terrified that they might not make it back home?
Surprisingly it turned out that some of my new Florida friends had outdoor cats.
They seem to genuinely love their cats, so it wasn’t like they were cruel, uncaring pet owners. So I had to find out more about this phenomenon. I had to open my mind and get the facts.
I asked friends the reasons why they let their cats roam their neighborhoods. Some told me that their cats would cry at the door for hours at a time and they grew up with outdoor cats. They added that it offers cats freedom and a relatively more natural environment. I could see some of their points. I could especially see the benefits for those who had fenced in yards and had their cats trained to stay in that area.
Of course, having an outdoor pet comes with just as many negatives. If your kitty isn’t spayed, they could easily get knocked up during a hot night on the town. Also, outdoor cats don’t tend to live as long as indoor cats. They are at a high risk of being hit by cars and also could be exposed to poisons far more dangerous than anything found indoors. And there’s always the threat of being bitten by other animals, including deadly spiders and other bugs. If you’re not terrified by this already then I just don’t get it! But, to each their own. . .
Friends counteracted these points by saying that their furniture won’t get scratched up, they don’t need to change a litter box (because their cats go on the lawn) and that their cats are in better shape than mine (It’s true-but still rude to point out- housecats are fatter).
I am standing firm on my position, but am becoming less judgmental on the topic (yards=okay, streets=not okay).
No matter what your opinion is, it’s good to know that there is an amazing product like BooBooLoon® inflatable collars for your pet in case they get into any street fights or scuffles. Unlike hard plastic cones, BooBooLoon® Protective Petwear is more comfortable for your pet as it doesn’t keep them from enjoying their usual activities like eating, drinking and sleeping.