|Zorro with her new family|
The Golden Rule "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Others Do Unto You" applies to our pets as it does to us humans. When I use this to guide me I do the right thing for my pets. For example: Would I like to sit in a hot car with a fur coat on with the windows rolled up? The answer is "No." Do I like to go without regular meals? "No, again." Do I want to see my dentist when I have an abscessed tooth? "Yes I'm in pain." If I got a foxtail up my nose would it drive me crazy? "Yes, it would." If I got screamed at would I cower in the corner, especially if the screamer was as much bigger than me than I am to my cat? "Yes I would." I think I'd pretty much answer these questions like my pet would. Ask yourself and see what answers you come up with.
Pets feel the same emotions we do. They can be happy, sad, lonely, depressed, scared or excited. Watch them and you can quickly determine what they are feeling. Our pets also have the same senses we do. They feel pain when something is hurting them, they're hungry, or they are ill. They like to be petted and loved like we do.
We humans were given an analytical ability that other species don't have; they were given some things we don't have. We expect our pet to go with the flow when many people (s)he has never seen before come and pet her/him. We don't like everybody touching us—everyone isn't our instant friend. Yet we expect that from our pets and most of them are quite tolerant and patient with all of this. You are way bigger than the animal. What if some person proportionately bigger than you (as you are to your cat) picked you up in the air and expected you to purr immediately and show gratitude for being picked up by a monster. I think we'd be the hissers and scratchers, not the lovers and purrers.
|BB and her boy Ryan|
Animals do need discipline and rules and boundaries, they do not need abuse. For instance, when your child misbehaves it is appropriate to talk to the child, take away a privilege, require some chore be performed to demonstrate "I'm sorry," or incent them with a reward to do better. It is not appropriate to hit, scream or berate your child and tear his/her character down. The same is true for your pet. One of the most effective techniques I used on my very special doggie, Sammie, was a time-out sitting in the corner. A few minutes was enough. He got the picture and altered his behavior and our great relationship remained intact.
Pets are a gift and a treasure just like our children are. Treat them as such and you will have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. No human will ever show you the devotion that a well-loved pet will. Most humans do not have the patience and tolerance that our pets do. Your pets need exercise, discipline and affection—please see that they get it.
|Jupiter gets to drive to the dog park|
----Cheryl Wicks is the Director and Cofounder of Sammie's Friends