Read Across America Day: Spotlight on Dogs Who Improve Literacy

March 2nd is Read Across America Day, and today we invite you to read all about a very special kind of therapy dog: reading dogs.

A special relationship exists between children and dogs. Children like to dress dogs up in clothes, play games with them like make-believe. As children and dogs interact so effortlessly, reading to dogs is a natural progression.

Meet Coco!

When Did Reading to Dogs Start?

The R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) Program was founded in November of 1999 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Sandi Martin, a nurse and former ICU manager, was inspired by seeing the impact therapy dogs had on her patients. She noticed the way therapy animals encouraged patients to make progress in recovery.

Martin connected the dots and realized how dogs could affect that same motivation in children who are struggling in the area of reading.

A pilot was initialized at the city’s public library. Staff looked on as children read to dogs for the first time as part of an event. It was an effortless success as the children instantly bonded with the dogs and soon all were lost in the world of books.

Now thousands of programs have sprouted from coast to coast. With each dog to child connection, magic is made as both reader and listener reap the benefits of this intimate therapy relationship.

Why Are Children Reading To Dogs?

The sight of a child reading to a dog is sweet and endearing, but it’s more than just cute activity. These dogs are trained therapy animals who understand the role they fill in the presence of children.

While it is a fun activity, it’s fundamentally about therapy. Reading is a foundational skill for young learners and it doesn’t come easy for everyone.

63% of 4th-grade children read below grade level. Intervention programs are needed to improve the state of literacy in our country. Studies have shown that reading skills can improve up to 30% through dog reading therapy. With regular sessions, a progression of benefits is seen for both child and animal.

  1. Getting Comfortable with Reading

    In the first phase, children become more comfortable with reading aloud. A dog will listen without interruption (adults tend to correct a child’s diction). Children who have felt uneasy about reading aloud may finish a book without even thinking about it.

  2. Easing Anxiety

    Children who have been in traumatic situations, perhaps even bullying, deal with a lot of anxiety that interferes with their academic performance. Pets are known to have a calming effect on humans, so a dog naturally deescalates anxiousness and takes away the inhibition toward reading.

    Performance anxiety is another issue. Some children may shy away from reading aloud because they are worried that adults will judge them or other kids will make fun of them. A therapy dog is there to listen without judgment.

  3. Encouraging Kids to Read More

    A side benefit of these programs is an increased desire in children to want to read more often and for enjoyment. Reading to dogs removes a child’s resistance to reading and causes the child to associate reading with fun! 

  4. Emotional Nurturing

    For children who have been through challenging issues like a distressing home life, learning disabilities, and socialization troubles, a dog will have a positive emotional impact. The boost in confidence also helps the child’s emotional and mental well being.

Read More: Animals Who Work!

What’s In It For the Dogs?

As dog lovers we know that they live for attention and affection. When a child reads to a dog, they soak up every second of a child who is reading to them!

Reading therapy would be a perfect job for a dog who has had a difficult life. Some animal shelters have invited children to come read to intakes.

Check out this video of children spending time with shelter animals!

Are There Any Dog Reading Programs in the Columbus Area?

It does not appear that there are any active dog reading programs in the Columbus area. However, AngelPaws out of Newark OH is a R.E.A.D. program affiliate.

Is your dog well behaved around children? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of children? While the R.E.A.D. program website is geared toward those living in Utah and Montana, it has plenty of information for those who are interested in volunteering with their animals including a suitability guide.

Either AngelPaws or R.E.A.D are points of contact if any are interested in promoting literacy through reading therapy dogs in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Read More: How to Help Columbus Area Animal Organizations

There are a number of obstacles humans may not have been able to overcome if not for therapy animals. Reading dogs have proven to be highly effective in improving literacy and mental well being for children.

While we may not read to your them, your Columbus Ohio area dog sitting service will be sure to supply plenty of fun and attention for your dogs.

Call or text us today at (614) 439-1621.

The Scoop on Litter Boxes: A Complete Guide on Keeping it Clean for Kitty

While some dogs can be trained to use a box and some cats can be trained to use a toilet, by and large, our dogs do their business outside and our cats have their own little indoor outhouse: the litter box.

A cat’s natural instinct is to cover their own waste. It is believed to be an inherited survival skill to keep predators from tracking a feline’s scent out in the wild.

Whether you’re a new cat parent or troubleshooting a sticky situation, we’ll cover the basics for you!

The Essential Box: Lid or No Lid?

Item number one is gettin a litter box. On the cat supplies aisle, you have your cheap pan with no lid and then the covered unit.

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A 2012 research study determined that cats had no apparent preference for covered or uncovered, as the usage frequency of each type was evenly split. What’s most important to cats when it comes to a litter box is hygiene: is it clean enough to use? However, some cats may make it obvious that they don’t like a closed box.

Advantages for Covered Boxes

  • Humans don’t have to see the waste.
  • Odor reduction.
  • Keeps small children and other animals out of the box.
  • Prevents litter mess surrounding the box – a cat covering up waste can kick a lot of litter out of the tray (however a box with no lid and high edges would have the same benefit).

Advantages for Uncovered

  • Humans see the evidence of waste and remember to clean it out.
  • Better for skittish cats – cats don’t like sensory reduction, they want to be able to surroundings and not feel trapped.
  • Circulation for quicker dry time (compared to the lidded one).
  • Won’t be outgrown as quickly

3 Litter Box Top Sellers

Recommendations from Our Community

“I have used an automatic poop box.
It was rad. It worked well. It had blades that would swipe across and pull the poop into a container.”

Deb H. about LitterMaid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box

“Loved this Martha Stewart one for years. It’s really good for clumping litter because you just shake it out and dump.”

Quinn L. about Martha Stewart Pets® Sifting Litter Box

Fur Star Pet Care recommends top entry cat boxes.

Litter-acy: Filling You in on Product Options

When it comes to cat box compatibility, litter is probably the most important factor since the cat comes in direct contact with it.

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Cat Communication

Some kinds of litter can annoy or hurt some cats. Thankfully, you can alternate between products to find the right material for your pet.

Types of Litter

  • Clay cat litter – Urine absorbed by pulverized clay.
  • Clumping litter – Made with a clay base, waste creates clumps for removal.
  • Odor control – Contains baking soda, enzymes or fragrance to eliminate odors.
  • Crystal – Super absorbent with a combination of clumping and deodorizing benefits.
  • Grain – Natural blend of pine, wheat, and corn. Neutralizes odors, plus reduced tracking.
  • Recycled paper – Absorbent, track-free, dust-free, and eco-conscious.
  • Sand – Absorbent and cats are attracted to sand.

Top Sellers

  • Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Pellets

    • Features: Separates solid & liquid waste for superior odor control,
      non-tracking, long-lasting cat litter pellets, super low dust, and easy cleanup.

Recommendations from Our Community

“I currently mix lightweight scoopable clay with regular… Lightweight is double the price and doesn’t clump as well. But easy to carry home and dispose of. Saves money and my back … They do last longer. Smell okay. Dry up pee. Get one of each. ” – Deb H.

“The wood pellets are much much cheaper and you can buy a giant bag… we have a green recycling bin for garden and food products we can toss the wood pellets in there.” Quinn L.

“I buy Naturally Fresh. It’s made out of walnut shells, which are the same color as my floor, & it’s a lot lighter than the clay stuff.” Tess C.

Owner’s Pick: Garfield brand (get the green bag!)

Scoping Out Scoops

Scoops are needed for boxes that don’t have a sifting system. The cheap plastic ones are in every store, but you can order nicer ones online.

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Everything Has a Place

Top Sellers

  • Petmate Litter Scoop w/ Microban

    • Features: Made from recycled plastic, Microban anti-microbial for stain & odor resistance, extra-wide mouth, and large slits.

Recommendations from Our Community

Tess C. uses Booda Scoop & Hide Caddy!

Need a little help? Sometimes we just can’t get to it. For example, pregnant women are advised not to come into contact with litter.

Our Columbus Ohio area in home pet care service can pitch in with scooping duties. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

What about Liners?

Thinking about using some liners? Here are some best selling suggestions.

Litter Genie Disposal System

For those who have spent some time with babies, remember those Diaper Genies? Well there’s a version for cat litter! Oh, joy!

It’s a condensed waste collection system, so fewer trips to the bin.

Read More: Questions to Ask Your Vet

Creatures of Habit: Tips to Maintain Your Cat Litter Situation

Back from the store. Now, what do we do with all this?

Where to Place the Box?

Place the boxes away from high-traffic or noisy areas, but place them where the cat can find it easily. Keep food and water dishes away. We wouldn’t put a toilet in our kitchen, right?

Some owners recommend having more than one litter box, especially if you have more than one cat in the household.

This increases accessibility, especially if you have a large or two-story home.

How to Prevent Litter Mess Around the Box?

  • Use a litter trapper mat or a bath mat.
  • Use dust-free litter or one of the non-tracking options mentioned above.
  • Trim cat’s nails.
  • Use a box with high walls or top entry.
  • Keep litter bags out of reach or in plastic containers (cats may claw them open}.

If all else fails, keep a hand vac right next to the box for quick clean up.

How Often to Scoop or Clean?

Some say you should scoop twice a day, but a minimum of once a day is probably enough to keep things hygienic for your cat.

Of course, this depends on how many cats are using the box and how much a single cat will produce.

If you aren’t using disposable trays or liners, wash the box a few times per month.

Clean the outside of the box and the area as needed.

How Often Do I Change the Litter?

It is recommended to change out the litter twice per week.

Can I Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet?

This is probably not a good idea. Use waste bags or the Litter Genie mentioned above.

What Should I Do For Multiple Cats?

It is recommended to have at least one litter box per cat. Place the boxes in separate but easy-to-access areas of the home.

If the cats seem to be sharing a box, try a multi-cat litter.

columbus ohio cat sitters

Best Friends

Is It Okay to Use Fragrance Deodorizers?

It’s an achievement to have a home that doesn’t smell like a cat lives there. For that purpose, there are a variety of deodorizing products on the market and some include fragrance products.

This could be disruptive in litter box use if the cat is put off by the smell. Like if you start using a fragrance product and your cat starts to refuse to use the box, he probably doesn’t like the smell. Using a fragrance neutral product like baking soda is a potential alternative.

Staying on top of waste removal and cleaning is the best way to fight odors.

Do I Need to Train My Kitten to Use the Litter Box?

Depending on how long a kitten has spent with her mother, she may already be trained to some extent. Kittens learn how to use a litter box from their mother’s habits.

Place a litter box (preferably with no lid) in a room that has no rugs or carpets. After feeding, put the kitten in the room. Having the cat litter as a the only appropriate surface for their excremental instincts, they will likely use the litterbox. Optional: reward them with treats if they successfully use the box.

If the cat or kitten is having issues finding or not using the litter box, try using cat litter with attractant.

Watch for Adverse Reactions to Litter

Refusal to use the litter box can be a telltale sign that your cat is uncomfortable with or allergic to something about the litter box. It’s likely to be the litter itself or something mixed with the litter.

  • Check the paw and pads on the cat. Is there bleeding or sores?

  • Is your cat having allergy symptoms?

  • Know the signs of a UTI  or constipation.

Products galore and a community of cat lovers are here to support your cat litter box success. Ask your local pet store for recommendations or consult the internet community to troubleshoot any issues.

Your Columbus Ohio area in home cat sitters are no stranger to daily scooping duty. Your cats won’t be the only ones getting attention, we’ll also check on the litter box.

If you just need a quick cleaning, we charge $15. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

 

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How to Travel With Pets: The Info You Need To Plan a Trip

When we travel, we leave our lifestyle at home with it ready for us to resume when we return. Pets are a huge part of our lifestyle and not one we can’t put on hold like the mail service.

Of course, you can’t take a 75-gallon fish tank with you on vacation, and maybe it’s not a great idea to bring a pet rabbit along for a trip, but for pets such as cats and dogs, such a trek is feasible.

And now all the “what-ifs” start to pile on top of everything else swimming in your mind. Well, don’t panic! Our community has your back to help you make a solid plan on how to travel with pets.

Get out your notebook and take some notes as we go over the hairy details.

On the Road: Pets in the Car or RV

Road travel perhaps is the preferred way to transport pets on a trip. It may take longer to get where you’re going, but at least you aren’t checking their carrier into airline cargo or not being able to take them out for potty breaks.

Easing In

When taking children on the road, you can explain to them that you’re leaving home, about how long you expect to be driving, how many days you’ll be away, etc.

If only we could have this same talk with our animals.

If it’s been a while since your pet has been on a car ride, or maybe even the first one ever, it’s a good idea to familiarize your pet with what will be their mobile shelter for a day or more.

A day or so prior to departure put them inside your car or RV. Let them roam around and inspect every corner. If you will be using a carrier, place them inside the carrier and give them a chance to settle in within the vehicle.

Taking a quick ride with your pets in your car or RV will give them a preview of what’s to come and hopefully ease them into the change.

Cats will need to be in a carrier. Dogs can either be in a carrier or have a seatbelt clip attached to the collar. For long car rides it’s probably for the best that you have both so your dog can switch back and forth.

Put a favorite toy or a blanket beside them for comfort and familiarity.

Some may want a buffer by placing the animal carrier in a truck bed or the hitched RV, but this causes a problem.

You could drive for hours not knowing that something is wrong. In order to have a timely response to emergencies, it’s important to have your pets within seeing and hearing range.

Additionally, do not allow your animals to move around the vehicle without restraint while you’re driving. They could distract or impede the driver and this would cause a crash.

Pet Pit Stop

Be prepared to make several more stops than you normally would. Time in between stops for a break should not exceed 2 hours. 

Decide ahead of time which stops will be for meals in addition to potty breaks.

Road Trip Starter Kit:

  • Collapsible food dishes
  • Enough food for the trip portioned into baggies
  • Water dispensers that don’t spill
  • Blanket and a few toys
  • Medication
  • Treats
  • First aid kit
  • Cat litter
  • Mini litter pan
  • Waste baggies
  • Cleaning supplies

Here are some suggestions:

Check out this first aid kit made especially for pets.

Of course, dogs doing their business is pretty simple. Take them on a leash and pick up the poop with baggies.

Cats will need a little more help. 

For felines. get a small litter box and dispense a small amount of litter in the box. With all the doors closed to the RV or car, remove kitty from the carrier and place them in the litter box. If they potty, place all the litter in a baggie and discard. Clean the box with some cleaning wipes, and DONE!

We don’t recommend leaving food in the carrier. Plan feedings alongside stretch breaks for cats as you would for dogs.

In home pet care columbus ohio professional dog walkers columbus ohio

Photo by Charlie Solorzano on Pexels.com

One Step Ahead

Who wants to chase a loose pet all over the highway? WE don’t.

Both dogs and cats need regular breaks to stretch out.

Dogs are the privileged ones who get to step outside for some fresh air. Cats should stay inside the cab.

Let kitty out for a stretch inside the car with the doors closed. 

However, Murphy’s Law does show up for road trips, so it’s wise to invest in some tracking devices should your animal somehow get loose.

It happens. One person thought the other was watching, or one of the kids leaves the door open for an animal to slip out, there’s a leash malfunction, etc.

Recovery Tool Ideas:

Recovering your pet will perhaps be a huge headache, but at least technology can help you reunite with your animals.

Motion Sickness Woes

According to VCA, these are the signs your dog has motion sickness:

Signs Your Dog Has Motion Sickness:

  • Whining and pacing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy or inactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

And this, also from VCA, is a very similar list for cats:

Signs Your Cat Has Motion Sickness:

  • Excessive vocalization (loud meowing or howling)
  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy or inactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Ask a professional you trust for anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medication recommendations and use as directed. The last thing you want is a miserable pet.

Traveling by car can be a lot of work, but it allows you more leeway to care for your animals in a way closer to what you would do at home.

In the Sky: Pet Accommodations By Plane

Oh, airlines. The check-ins, the fees, the delays. But sometimes, for one reason or another, it’s the only way.

Typically, you have two options: carrier carry-on next to you or the dreaded checked cargo.

Service animals are typically permitted to board without being contained and may stay beside their person as long as they are not blocking the path.

In home pet care columbus ohio professional dog walkers columbus ohio

Child In Wheelchair with Service Dog Source: USSupportAnimals.org on Facebook

At one time, putting carriers in the overhead bin was one way to go, but this practice is phasing out due to serious safety concerns.

We would like to think other humans will be careful with our pets in cargo, but those responsible for our pets in carriers are trained to move luggage around rather than to properly care for animals.

The consequences of checking pet carriers into cargo can be tragic.

Unisys seems to fully understand this pain point as they unveiled their Digi-Pet™ product last year.

This app-based system is like a baby monitor for animals, but it also helps you book flights. Important alerts about the animal are sent to airline staff as well as pet owners.

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Our Check List for Traveling By Air with Pets

Don’t assume an airline is going to be careful with your pets just because you forked over the fees. They aren’t required to know the particulars on how to travel with pets.

For example, United Airlines’ reputation has taken a hit with a puppy dying when a flight attendant forced use of the overhead bin, a dog was sent to Japan instead of Kansas, as well as one Greyhound owner’s horror story of negligence.

Research the airline. 

2018 Animal Airline Deaths

  • Hawaiian: 3
  • Delta: 4 (+3 injuries)
  • United: 2 (+1 injury)
  • American: 1 (+1 injury)
  • SkyWest: 0 (+1 injury)
  • Alaska: 0 (+1 injury)

Airlines Transporting Animals with Zero Incident in 2018

  • CommutAir
  • Compass Airline
  • Endeavor Air
  • Envoy Air
  • ExpressJet Airlines
  • GoJet Airlines
  • Horizon Air
  • Mesa Airlines
  • Republic Airways
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Shuttle America

And we also have Pet Airways which is 100% devoted to safe and comfortable travel for pets, but it will set you back several hundred dollars.

Here’s a handy guide on the best airports for those traveling with pets.

Air travel calls for quite a bit of consideration, so it may be best to hold off on booking until you’ve taken plenty of time to think about everything.

Thanks to PetTravel.com for the info! Visit their website for a complete travel planning resource.

Was all this plane talk nerve-racking? Your Columbus Ohio in home pet care and professional dog walking service will take care of everything while you fly the friendly skies. We’re all booked up for 2019, but make sure you call or text us for your 2020 travel plans at: (614) 439-1621.

All Aboard: Traveling with Pets By Train

Traveling by rail, you can avoid air sickness and hefty airline fees. However, services like Amtrak have relatively tight restrictions.

Amtrak Pet Travel Rules:

  • Trip cannot exceed 7 hours
  • Pets only allowed in coach class area
  • One pet per customer
  • Cannot be a multi-ride trip
  • Pets must fit comfortably in a carrier no larger than 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high
  • Maximum weight allowed is 20 pounds INCLUDING carrier weight.
  • Carrier counts as one piece of carry on
  • Pets must remain in carrier while on board and in the train station
  • Pet carrier must be kept under the owner’s seat (“except on Amtrak Cascades trains where you can put your pet carrier on the floor in front of the seat next to you.”)
  • Pets may not travel unaccompanied
  • Pets must be: 
    • At least 8 weeks old
    • Healthy & up to date on vaccines 
    • Odorless 
    • Well-mannered

Whew! So many rules. If by some miracle your pet situation passes all these criteria, our tips are rather simple.

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Our Check List for Traveling By Train with Pets

Where to Stay: Planning Lodging with Pets

If you aren’t staying with family or friends, you’ll need to find pet-friendly accommodations. 

Lucky for you, there are websites out there that know all about how to travel with pets. Check them out to find the best place for your family:

Of course, you can use search filters on your favorite booking sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline or AirBnB.

Just be prepared, dear dog owners, for frequent trips outside to potty and possible barking at whatever is in the hotel hallway.

Is that perfect hotel booked or too expensive? You can still be a happy camper. Read our blog about camping with pets!

In home pet care columbus ohio professional dog walkers columbus ohio

Adorable Dog in Camera Bag. Source: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

The pet parents community has your back. Use all of this info based on real-life experience to use when you make your plans. Bon voyage!

Fur Star In Home Pet Care and Professional Dog Walkers in Columbus Ohio has your back! We are booked for the rest of 2019, but if you have BIG travel plans for 2020, we’re here to take care of your pets while you’re away. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

10 Christmas Gifts Under $20 for Your Pets

Christmas Hot List: 10 Pet-Lover Approved Gifts for Under $20

Holiday shopping season is here already? Say it ain’t so.

But let’s not forget to pick up a little something special from “Santa” for our four-legged friends this holiday! They may have just as much fun opening the gifts as they do playing with them!

Who knows better than pet people on what are the best gifts and treats? Below are 10 reasonably priced, pet-lover endorsed presents for your cherished animals you can buy online!

1.) SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy

Fur Star Pet Care’s own Jeanette Hale recommends this awesome cat toy! The kitties just love this!

A toy attaches to a small motor below the fabric circle. The toy moves under the fabric but then peeks out as it moves along. This really keeps the cats interested. The blinking lights feature also adds to the entertainment.

Columbus Ohio area quality cat sitter SmartyKat cat toy

Penelope playing with a SmartyKat Hot Pursuit toy!

The toy shuts off after a while to save on power and limit stimulation. Jeanette says, “Our cats love it so much, they sleep on it! Sometimes even when it’s off!”

Currently $15.14 from Chewy.com

2.) Cat Dancer 101: Cat Dancer Interactive Cat Toy

Is your cat relentlessly attacking the Christmas tree? This Cat Dancer toy may be just the diversion you need to give that tree a break!

The Cat Dancer is a very simple toy that makes for hours of fun. It’s a piece of curved wire with cardboard at either end.

One user says, “This is the cheapest, most amazing cat toy ever. Never met a cat that wouldn’t play with it for hours.”

This fun toy is only $2.09 at PetCo.

3.) Colorful Springs Cat Toys

If you were a kid in the days before tablets and smartphones, you probably played with a Slinky or the spring stopper behind the door. Well turns out cats can pass the time playing with springy toys as well.

These colorful springs come in packs of 10. One cat mom in Alberta, Canada says that her kitty loves to play with these colorful coils.

Columbus Ohio area quality cat pet sitter cat toy colorful coil springs

Colorful coils for cats!

These thrills are cheap at just $4.57 from Amazon!

4.) KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher

Is it time for a new scratching post? Perhaps you’d want to try an inclined scratching product for your cat? The KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher is cheap and has received great reviews!

It has a no-mess design and is made with quality materials.

Chewy offers this great product for just $6.89! 

5.) Temptations Treats for Cats

Guess which product is the number one selling cat treat product on Amazon? It is the chicken flavored Temptations treats!

Amazon users warn that this product is highly addictive. Your cats probably won’t want anything else, including their supper! Buyer beware.

man near orange tabby cat

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

A 30-ounce container of Temptations runs about $15 from Amazon.

6.) Keeping Busy with Pawzzles

Whoever decided to make getting treats a challenge has got to be a genius. When pulling yummies out of a Kong isn’t quite challenging enough for your pooch, there are pawzzles!

See how smart your dog is by watching them work at these puzzles to earn their tasty reward.

These cool contraptions start at about $11 on Amazon

7.) Kong Toy Jumbler Disc

Another toy that will keep a dog busy because of its puzzling nature is the Saturn-shaped KONG Jumbler Disc toy!

In the center of the disc is a spherical compartment that can house other toys, like their favorite ball. The pup can spend hours trying to get at the insides!

One California dog mom says, “they cannot destroy it and have so much fun chasing it. So durable.”

You can order one of these from Pets Warehouse for only $8.96!

8.) BarkShop Best Bets

Amongst all the rough and tumble dog toys are the softer and cuter dog toys. One website offers really cute plushies for your pooch to play with!

A Missouri-based dog mom doted over the Murphy’s Mochi toy from Bark Shop! Unfortunately, this was a seasonal offering, and that season has passed. But there are brand new products to pick from that are just as cute!

Heli-yum Balloons is a close match to the Mochi. You can order one now for $10.

Order soon, because some Bark Shop designs are seasonal and limited edition!

9.) Chuckit! Ultra Grip Dog Ball Launcher

Fetch! It’s what dogs live for. What better way to get some post-Christmas dinner exercise than to toss the ball around in the yard and try out your dog’s new toy!

One Ontario, Canada dog mom says that the ChuckIt! ball his her good boy’s, “Most prized possession.”

Columbus Ohio area quality dog sitter walker fetch ball

Bear loves his ChuckIt ball!

$11.95 will set you up with a launcher and a ball on Amazon! You can, of course, buy extra balls in various sizes. You can add some fun with balls that glow in the dark or whistle. All the balls are reasonably priced.

10.) Bully Sticks: Treats for Dogs

Another product recommended by this dog mom are Bully Sticks. Like herself, other buyers prefer the odorless version of these treats!

They look just like a cinnamon stick!

They last a while and dogs love them! Try out a new treat this holiday! Orders start at around $15 from the Bully Sticks website.

BONUS TOY: Good Boys Go Ballistic over the BazooK-9

This takes tennis ball fetch to the next level! We think it fits perfectly under the tree, too.

Dog toy tennis balls Columbus Ohio area pet sitter pet care

The BazooK-9, Loads of fun!

You can take this to the park for around $20 when your order through Chewy.

Your furry friends have been good all year for Santa. Don’t forget to put something under the tree for them this holiday!

Read More: Season of Giving, How to Help Our Columbus Area Animal Organizations.

Original Version Published Dec 18, 2018

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What Pets Teach Us About Gratitude

This year has flown by, hasn’t it? We’re already planning Thanksgiving gatherings and getting apple cider and pumpkin pie cravings.

This is also the time of year when we reflect on what we are grateful for. Often our relationships are what reveal what’s rare and precious in life.

As we count our blessings this season, let’s also count the ways our pets add meaning to the experience of gratitude.

Appreciation for the Simple Things

Pets aren’t materialistic and image-conscious like humans can be. They don’t need expensive mattresses or a new fall wardrobe. They get excited at mealtimes for food that isn’t appetizing to us.

Pets are happy with the simple things. Like children, they will play with random things around the house rather than that new toy you bought from the pet store.

They teach us that it’s the little things that can be the big things. They set an example for being content with what you have which is what gratitude is all about.

Big holiday plans? We’re your Columbus area dog walkers and in home pet care service. Book now before we’re booked up. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

The Gift of Unconditional Love

While relationships between humans can be very complicated, the relationship between a person and pet is fairly simple.

While people in the home may be holding grudges or irritated at each other’s bad habits, an animal isn’t going to get into a row with you. They have no interest in holding onto the past nor in judging their humans.

They accept you as you are.

While humans tend to withhold love and trust in their relationships, animals are a shining example of loyalty.

Unconditional love between humans isn’t common, but with pets it certainly is! They inspire gratitude by meeting us with an unwavering love every day.

True Companionship

Have you asked your dog if she’s free tonight for an after-dinner walk? Have you asked your cat if he’s available for a fireside cuddle?

Pets don’t keep calendars, have schedule conflicts, nor will they flake on you last minute. They are the ones who are there for us when we need touch and presence. They aren’t too busy for you.

Pets show us what a faithful companion truly is. They show gratitude by showing up for us daily.

The Gift of Healing

Sometimes grief we bear just can’t be put into words. When we turn to others for help, the words of humans can make us feel even more alienated and misunderstood. Other times we just don’t want to feel that we are burdening others with the tough times we go through.

Animals are there for us as healers.

They won’t ask you questions you’d rather not answer.

You can talk to them without fear of saying the wrong thing.

They won’t think you’re being weird for hugging too long.

They don’t need to end the visit or phone call and go back to their lives. You are their life.

They teach us gratitude through healing in giving freely of togetherness.

 

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Amanda Sommers of Houston, TX shares the story of Ted, a rescue cat

A Homeless Cat Learns to Trust: “The beginning was rocky. This kitty only wanted to hide upstairs under the spare bed we had. We had to move all his stuff up there because he refused to come down. After about a month, he began to venture downstairs. It wasn’t long after that that our new kitty, whom we renamed Ted, was this very affectionate loving big furball that always wanted his belly rubbed.”

Amanda Saves Ted: “The firemen had to pull me out of the smoke filled house because I tried to crawl in after them. I could hear them crying for me and I couldn’t do anything. Luckily they were okay and I was able to retrieve them all. After that Ted couldn’t stand to have me out of his sight.”

Ted Saves Amanda: “I was back home with my Ted. He was pouty at first because I had left him but I know he could tell I missed him. After that, we only grew closer. He was my little rock through the divorce, through my depression when it got bad again”

Read More: Grateful for Our Local Pet Rescue Organizations

Daily Purpose & Routine

Sometimes it’s so hard to get the day started, especially if you have nothing planned for the day.

Some days you may wish someone would take the dog out to potty or serve breakfast to the cat, but having that push to get the day going can be beneficial for you.

Having a sense of purpose and routine is a way to stave off boredom and blues. Having pet counting on you to care for them can keep you going when you occasionally feel like giving up.

Through this experience of having creatures to care for every day, we gain fulfillment through responsibility. We can be grateful for the way they keep us going.

Every day is rewarding when your life’s purpose is caring for animals. Fur Star Pet Care is here to lend a hand from needing a Columbus area dog walker or in home pet care. Call or text us: (614) 439-1621.

The Receiving is in the Giving

When love and care are mutual, it is a rich experience. We care for animals and they care for us.

Sometimes the act of caretaking is how we experience the essence of love and the warmth of feeling needed. Gratitude is experienced in needing them just as much as they need us.

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“I realized how her neediness had changed my heart. I realized that her neediness was no different than my own, and that, by making sure her unique daily needs were being met, my needs were being met as well. Just as she needed constant reassurance that she was loved unconditionally, she, in her overwhelmingly quirky ways, was assuring me of that same unconditional love…. So, what has Dora taught me about gratitude? She’s taught me that, even though it’s easy to be grateful for the shiny, beautiful things we’ve been freely given, it’s equally rewarding to find blessings in the strangest, quirkiest, most unexpected places.”

The Virtue of Patience

Generally speaking, pets are so patient. They trust you will eventually fill the food bowl, the water dish, and take the daily walk.

They also require so much patience. They may potty where they aren’t supposed to, run off to make us chase after them, bark too much, or meow too early in the morning.

We can be grateful for the patience they grace us with as well as the opportunity to practice more patience with them.

At Fur Star Pet Care we are grateful for our loyal clients and every precious moment spent with these cherished pets.

Every day is like a holiday for a Columbus area dog walker. When we’re not loving every minute of in home pet care, we’re enjoying the variety of taking care of reptiles, rodents, pigs, ferrets, hedgehogs, and even horses! Lucky us. Call or text us: (614) 439-1621.

Read More: Fur Star Pet Care Serves a Variety of Pets

 

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7 Reasons Why It’s Important to Walk Your Dog

How often do you get exercise? The Center for Disease Control has found that only 23% of Americans are getting enough exercise.

Perhaps the general attitude toward exercise is that it’s just not necessary for everyday life. We’re overscheduled, exhausted, and distracted.

After a long day or week, the thought of even more activity can be so unappealing.

With exercise falling off a daily routine, this means dogs will often go without a walk as well.

What does it mean for a dog when they aren’t being walked on a regular basis?

In Their Biology

Dogs have a natural inclination to be on the move. This stems from their ancestors moving in packs in search of food. It’s in their blood to migrate.

Consider all the freedom you have to just go. Like if you’ve been cooped up with a cold all week and now that you’re feeling better, you have the urge to go shopping or to a restaurant. It’s likely that your dog would get “cabin fever” too.

Some animals end up being confined to their homes and unable to carry out the basic instinct of movement.

Working long hours? Schedule too full for a dog walk?

Dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio would love to give your dogs the exercise they need!

Call or text Fur Star Pet Care and book a dog walk this week! (614) 439-1621.

The Special Needs of Breeds

The necessity for regular walking and physical activity increases according to breed.

If you have a sporting or a herding breed, they have even more of a primitive drive for movement.

The more your breed has been conditioned for strenuous tasks, the more they will need exercise for wellness.

dog walkers Columbus Ohio

List of Sporting & Herding Breeds

Psychological Wellness

Getting Vitamin D from the sun is good for humans and it also benefits dogs. The benefit of serotonin can help them sleep better.

If you have a dog who is too active while you’re trying to sleep, making sure they get exercise during the day can help get them back on a diurnal sleep schedule.

Think of it this way. Humans can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder from a lack of sunlight exposure. Making sure your dog is getting plenty of sunshine can help with mental wellness.

We love showing off our adorable clients. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook!

 

We are the luckiest dog walkers in Columbus! Above are the sweet faces we get to spend our days with. This is the best job in the world! 

(Pictured: Katie, Hachi, Scully, Nemo, Bandit, JoJo, Bobby, and Sully)

Active Minds Need Sensory Stimulation

Put simply, dogs need sensory stimulation. Their senses are so much stronger than ours, so it makes sense that they require more environmental engagement.

Smelling is particularly important. Some dogs have a tendency to stop and urinate several times along the way.

While we’re thinking, “How much pee do you save for this?” they’re thinking, “I’m greeting all the dogs around here!”

Lifting a leg on that tree stump is like making a social media post. Dogs marking their scent everywhere is like their own social media network.

They need social engagement just like we do.

Read More: Top Rated Dog-Friendly Parks in the Columbus Area!

Continuous Manners Training

Also important to a dog’s social life is learning how to act around strangers; both other animals and other humans.

Taking your dog for a walk or to the park for exercise gives both you and your dog practice with discipline and control.

Also, it’s important to train your dog against pulling or zig-zagging. This puts them in control but the human needs to maintain control. When you maintain discipline, it mitigates for misbehavior among strangers.

Our professional dog walkers recommend body block and high-value treats as distractions from interfering stimulus (like other animals they want to get after).

A halti, a gentle leader, or an easy walk harness are products we recommend to help with getting walks under control.

Taking regular walks gives both the owner and the dog a chance to maintain good habits.

Walking a dog properly instills discipline in your pet. Professional dog walkers in Columbus Ohio will do it right!

Call or text to schedule a walk this week with Fur Star Pet Care at (614) 439-1621 

Strengthen Your Bond

Thanks to technology, we have a highly distracted culture. When we realize that life has taken time away from our pets, scheduling routine walks is a way to reclaim time with our dogs.

It’s an activity that makes them very happy and you get to share this experience with them. It’s quality time

Behavioral Issues

Is your dog barking too much? Are they tearing things up in the house? Chewing on things? Getting into the garbage?

Many of these behavioral issues happening in the home can be symptoms of being stir crazy.

After about a week or two of consistent walking, you may be able to tell a difference in your pet’s behavior.

Bonus: Benefits for You

Whatever they’re getting, you can get too. The exercise, the sunshine, the quality time are all benefits to you as well. You may both sleep better after an evening stroll.

What’s more, you will also be working out kinks with behavioral matters. This can reduce your frustration with naughtiness.

What seems like just a walk in the park turns out to be a vital part of a dog’s wellness.

Has it been a while since your pooch went for a walk? Professional dog wakers in Columbus, Ohio are here to lend a hand! Fur Star Pet Care really cares about doggies getting enough exercise and stimulation.

Call or text us today at (614) 439-1621.

Animals in the Workforce: These 9 Skilled Creatures Have Jobs

Labor Day is just around the corner. As we all know, this day was set aside to recognize the contribution of American workers.

While humans make up the bulk of the workforce, they aren’t the only ones who have jobs. Animals can be trained to work alongside humans.

Animals have sharper senses than humans, be it hearing, seeing or smelling. We recruit these creatures to amplify our abilities in the ways we fall short.

Horse Power

animals that have jobs.

Image: Wikipedia

Ages ago long-distance travel was made easier with the help of animals. Camels, donkeys, and, of course, horses carried humans on their backs or drove carts and carriages.

While horseback riding has become more of a tradition or recreational activity in modern times, horses are still used for police transportation.

From automobiles to motorcycles, and even helicopters a police force has access to all kinds of transportation. Horses don’t typically travel as fast as a car and they can’t fly as high as a helicopter, but they can provide officers a specific vantage point.

Mounted police can move through crowds with ease and be able to get a view where they can see the activities of a dense group of people.

It’s kind of funny that cars replaced horses, but riding horseback is a select alternative to the use of police cars and motorcycles.

Paws on Patrol

We better not leave the dogs out! They help the police too.

Police officers go through a rigorous screening and training process. They are prepared for a wide range of situations.

Sometimes their training just isn’t enough to do their jobs in the area of finding things and people. Human cops just don’t have the right nose for it.

On the criminal side of things, they will search for suspects or drugs. In emergencies, they can locate a missing person.

These select breeds are ideal for police work:

When the police need backup, their K9s are there.

Ratting Out Bombs

Dogs have some competition when it comes to the power of a nose.

Landmines are weapons of war that unfortunately are extremely dangerous to civilians. Long after a war is over, they are still dangerous to those who roam about the lands.

They are designed for destruction and can easily maim, kill, and otherwise injure innocent people.

Sniffer rats help find specific landmine locations. These giant rodent creatures save human lives. Giant pouch rats locate active mines with their noses but are too light to set them off.

Another way rats can provide life-saving advanced warning is their ability to detect deadly illnesses like cancer.

Dogs on Duty

Being disabled presents a variety of challenges. Dogs are ideal for helping those with these challenges get through daily life.

Choice breeds for this special role are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

Here are the ways service dogs help those who need special assistance:

  • Guides for the visually impaired
  • Alert the deaf to sounds that warrant a response
  • Help those who use wheelchairs
  • Aid those with balance issues
  • Companions for those with autism
  • Serve as a messenger for those who are at-risk for emergency response (seizures, diabetes, psychiatric conditions.)

Reminder: while Labs and Goldens are extremely pleasant to touch, please refrain from petting them. They must be distraction-free while on duty.

Personal Assistant Primates

Like dogs, monkeys are extremely intelligent and can be trained to help those with disabilities.

While assistance animals such as dogs are amazingly dutiful, they lack the fine motor skills that are needed to do human-designed tasks.

Capuchin monkies are trained by the Monkey Helpers organization to complete tasks for those who have limited mobility. These monkies are paired with those in need free of charge.

These small primates have the ideal dexterity to do things around the house for those who are wheelchair-bound or otherwise disabled.

What’s the best job in the world? Taking care of your pets! Fur Star Pet Care is your Columbus area in home pet care service. We take care of more than just dogs and cats. We also care for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and reptiles. Call or text us at (614) 439-1621.

Military Marine Life

Another of natures most intelligent creatures is the mammalian dolphin.

The military has found a way to employ marine life to work for them underwater.

Whales, dolphins, and seals can be utilized as maritime guards and may attack intruders. They can also assist divers.

Marine life can find targets, mines, and lost equipment.

Dolphins, in particular, have sonar hearing that can still detect motion amid noisy environments. This makes them the ideal scouts.

Even the best military divers cannot do what marine life does naturally.

Maybe these animals love their jobs or maybe they don’t. At Fur Star Pet Care we absolutely love our job of caring for animals. We’re proud to be your Columbus area in home pet care service! Call or text us at (614) 439-1621.

Dogs Make the Best Hunting Assistants

Dogs are hard-wired to be hunters.

Sighthounds will seek out hidden prey. Gun dogs will fetch the hunters’ foul. Terriers take the place of firearms and archery by killing the animals themselves.

While it’s not really necessary to hunt with dogs, some hunters insist on carrying on this tradition.

Pigeons That Deliver

Not long ago, the story got around that Amazon was planning to deliver packages with drones.

Carrier pigeons are the original drones. They were used to deliver messages during wars.

Watch this video about a shoe business that used pigeons to make deliveries:

Read More: All Creatures Great and Small, Pet Sitters Care for Them All

Professional Cuddlers

animals that have jobs.

Image: Nathan Boadle/Unsplash

You’ve probably heard of therapy dogs and horses. Even cats can be therapeutic to pet.

Have you heard of therapy rabbits though? Rabbits provide the same kind of emotional support as other animals in this class.

Read here about why rabbits make good therapy animals: https://esadoctors.com/8-reasons-getting-emotional-support-rabbit/

Did you know that Fur Star Pet Care offers in home rabbit care? We love animals so much we want to care for pets of all kinds. We’re your Columbus area pet care service. Call or text us at (614) 439-1621.