I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks thinking about gratitude, and what it means to me. I was worried that this, the first holiday season without the person who defines it for me, would be horrible and that I would have no interest in celebrating anything. Which is a valid response for sure, but I was hoping I could dredge up enough energy to participate for my kids’ sake.
And then a funny thing happened. I totally was into the whole gratitude thing.
Although my life has had its ups and downs, I would say I’ve been pretty darn lucky, and I’m the first to admit that. This is the first year I’ve had what I consider a truly devastating event, and even that- well, this is part of the human condition. Love and loss, one of the great lessons we learn as humans, one of the great moments for which pets prepare us.
I am grateful for that. I am grateful that my work prepared me for life to the point which I could address loss head on. Sorrow? Yes. Regret? Nope.
I never could have imagined when I started this little blog so many years ago that the people who would show up have turned out to be the most amazing group I have ever met. You have supported me through low points and high (many of which you never even heard about, but trust me, they were there), given me love and encouraged me to fulfill a lifelong dream, allowed me to walk into that bookstore and see my name on a shelf.
I am grateful for readers who, despite a world full of cynics and narcissists, recognize that we are all on the same side. Even when we don’t always agree on the finer points, we all know that hey, we all love animals and do our best in the best way we know how.
Do you realize how amazing that is? How many people spend their lives in anger, drumming up fury over things just because they need something to fill their lives?
We don’t need to do that, because we have all we need. And that frees us up to experience life in all its beauty, pain, and love. Your support and encouragement has in turn given me even more compassion for the people I meet every day, and that is such a gift.
This is the lesson our pets give us every day, and we carry it with us out of our homes and into our interactions with everyone around us.
It is a beautiful thing.
And I am thankful.
I could have used this kind of help when my kids were little. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
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Cast members who shared screen time on the hit NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation for seven seasons have been sharing their love for dogs who need pet parents in a series of adoption-themed…
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The internet was abuzz this week with word about the changes to Delta’s pet flying policy. And as tends to happen, people got about 75% of the way there before they took a sharp left turn and read it incorrectly. Here is what you need to know:
1. Headlines saying “Delta no longer allowing pets as cargo” are wrong.
As of March 1, 2016 pets will no longer be allowed as checked baggage. This does not mean pets over 30 pounds will be allowed in the cabin. It means they must fly as cargo, which is different than baggage. (More on that in a minute.) The exceptions to this rule will be active duty military travelling to new posts, and certified support animals.
2. The in-cabin policies have not changed.
Pets under 30 pounds have always been allowed to travel as carry-on in approved carriers. This policy does not affect that at all, nor does it allow animals into the cabin that it did not before.
3. Delta Cargo is probably going to be a lot safer for the pet than travelling as baggage.
When a pet is to travel, airlines require a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. One of the worst parts for me is when they require a “statement of acclimation“, stating that a pet is acclimated to temperatures above or below a certain range. I live in San Diego. Pets don’t get acclimated to 45 degrees here.
Even if you are flying a pet from San Diego to Miami, if there is a layover in Denver then the pet may be exposed to extreme temperatures during that period, and that is where trouble usually happens. No matter how you plan, delays and problems occur and most problems happen on the ground.
You would be surprised at the number of people who get upset when I say, “This isn’t safe for your pet. I can’t sign this statement.” Most do not agree to delay travel. They just find another vet willing to take on the liability. 74 pets died on Delta flights in the last ten years.
In cargo, pets will be in temperature controlled holds at all times in air and on the ground, not sitting on the tarmac in the rain and snow (it happens). They will also utilize professional kennel services if overnight stays become necessary. While airlines do temperature and pressure control luggage holds, cargo areas often have a separate controlled temperature area specifically for temperature sensitive cargo, and this is where pets will go.
4. It’s going to be a pain.
- There is no guarantee you and your pet will be on the same flight
- It’s probably going to be more expensive
- The pickup and drop off locations will probably be somewhere other than baggage claim
United has a similar plan in place already if you’re wondering how this will probably look. PetSafe costs in the $ 200-$ 2000 range and they have a long list of restrictions for breeds, most notably brachycephalic breeds. (But English Bulldogs shouldn’t be flying in cargo ever anyway.) In short, you’re going to have to REALLY want to travel with your pet.
5. Plan ahead.
Have your ducks in a row in terms of appropriate kennels, health requirements, and travel dates. International travel with pets can require a TON of work. To make it even more fun, domestic travel cannot be booked more than 14 days ahead of time. Those people who start thinking about this stuff a week before they’re supposed to depart are going to be in for a major surprise.
You can read the original Delta blog post here.
The liability of pets in luggage compartments has been a headache for veterinarians and airlines for many years, so I can’t complain about this. Whether this change is due to a genuine concern for pets, bad PR, or financial liability doesn’t really matter to me- all I care about is the fact that this is a good change for travelling pets.
So by now you’ve all seen the videos, right? A person places a cucumber behind a cat who’s blissfully chomping away on some food. The cat turns around, spots the sinister gourd, and jumps about five feet in the air.
The first thing that happened was that a bunch of people thought it was funny and shared it all over the internet.
The second thing that happened was a bunch of experts chimed in warning about how this wasn’t a benign thing, that cats could be permanently scarred, and that people should not do this to their own cats. The Huffington Post called on a cat behaviorist for advice. The AVMA put out a position statement on the controversial topic.
The third thing that happened was another group of people shared the second group’s warnings and began fighting with the first group of people who thought it was funny, and now we have CucumberGate.
Now granted, while I don’t think intentionally scaring other people or animals is a particularly nice thing to do, is it really worth getting all that upset about? Does one startle cause permanent psychological damage?
I unintentionally scare the crap out of my dog every day. Whether it’s a belt on the floor or the vacuum, he worries. Then he gets over it. My kids have been traumatized by Santa Claus from birth until age at least age 5. The first couple of times it was unintentional, then I knew what was coming and did it anyway because #tradition. They still say Christmas is their favorite holiday.
I didn’t have any cucumbers in the house this morning, so I took out a zucchini. I felt comfortable doing this for a couple reasons- first, Penelope is a fearless cat. Second, she’s been watching me cut up zucchini for months now and I thought it was an acceptable risk. As you can see, she didn’t give two hoots, which is exactly what I assumed would happen. If she did get startled, well, I guess I would be a horrible person, but it wouldn’t be the first time I made the wrong call.
- People who don’t think it’s funny aren’t humorless doofs. It’s good to care.
- People who do think it’s funny aren’t sadistic psychopaths.
Unless you’re saying world famous animal advocate and voice of Dory herself is a psychopath, then we’re all screwed:
Yeah, it’s not the kindest way to conduct yourself, but life goes on, right? While I have no problem with people voicing a little, “hey, maybe this isn’t the nicest thing,” I worry when people call something like this animal abuse because we animal lovers have a hard time getting taken seriously sometimes as it is.
I struggle with “that’s not nice” getting conflated with “abuse”, because if that’s where we’re drawing the line I have a few Christmas photos I need to burn before CPS sees them. And so do about 9000 people on Awkward Family Photos.
I have 2 3yr old maltipoo and just got a 2mo old labradoodle whos really full of energy. My male is ok with her playing with him but its been 2 days and he keeps trying to hump her not letting her out of his sight. My other one is scared of her own shadow so shes very slowly coming around but growl and snarls at the lil one but wags tail as doing it… so not sure if thats a good thing. Id like to know best way to go about this. The puppy is bigger than my older dogs.
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