Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Dog's Winning Smile

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Ben, a three-year-old Mini-Australian Shepherd, with his pet parents, Mike and Anne.  All three love music and when Mike plays his guitar, Anne and Ben join in singing. Ben always sings louder than his humans.  Mike is available to play for weddings and musical engagements, but Ben declines.  


Mike and Anne are two of Cottage Grove's unique artists. Wednesday evenings, Mike plays soft Rock, on his guitar, at the Hidden Valley Golf Course Restaurant, and Anne's fiber artwork is at In-Color on 6TH Street. 

Along with their love of the arts, they also love cats and dogs, and have two cats Pepper, Slim Pickens and their Mini-Australian Shepherd (Aussie) Ben.

Aussie's are relatives to Border Collies and Shepherds who are historically known for their intelligence, devotion, and love for work.  If you don't give them a job, they create one.

"Ben decided that his first job of the day is to wake me," says Mike. "Each morning, I wake up to a fur pillow.  Ben's favorite sleeping place is next to my head - or preferably--on my head!  If I don't wake up, fast enough for him, he exuberantly jumps all over me kissing my face with his very wet tongue!"

Dogs may be man's best friend but Ben is a one woman dog! When Mike and Anne take Ben for playtime at the dog park, Ben exhibits his second doggy-job; guardian of Anne.  If Mike walks Ben to the park gate, and Anne stays in the car, Ben refuses to enter the park.  But, when Anne walks Ben into the park, he eagerly enters. 

"Ben designated himself as Anne's personal guardian and he always keeps an eye on her," explains Mike.

Aussies can pull their upper lip back resembling a smile. "Ben shows us his joyful smile and then adds a head toss, a snort, and a little dance. He looks just like the definition of total happiness," describes Anne.

"One time, we laughed at Ben's goofy antics and he became sullen," said Mike. "He was offended by our behavior, and walked away with his ears pressed flat against his head.  As he left the room, Ben paused, and looked back over his shoulder at us, before crawling under the bed.  Ben was mortified that we laughed at him, and he did not appreciate the ridicule.   We never laughed at Ben again.  It did not feel good hurting the feelings of such a loving and sensitive family member."

"Aussie's are high energy herding dogs, making car rides challenging for drivers.  The dogs pace back and forth in the back seat, mimicking herding other cars, as they bark up a storm. Ben also confronts anyone approaching our car making drive-up service, or getting the car refueled difficult," adds Mike.

Mike brilliantly solved the problem of pet and people safety. "We purchased a cloth dog carrier that fits in the back seat.  It safely and securely holds Ben," explains Mike. "At first, Ben resisted the carrier. It did not take long for him to realize he was going for a much loved car ride, so he quickly settled into the carrier.  We recommend the carrier as it increases the safety of the pet.  Added benefits are; it reduces driver distraction and keeps nose prints off the windows!"

A fun side note: Anne named their brown Devon Rex cat Slim Pickens after her father's good friend the Rodeo Clown and TV Star Slim Pickens who appeared in the movies Blazing Saddles and Dr. Strange Love.


Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Ben illustrates how much he loves his new backseat safety pet carrier.
Fox TV news reported a AAA study about the dangerous distraction of driving with pets loose in a vehicle. The study reveals how this habit is as lethal as texting or listening to loud music leading to vehicular accidents. Drivers turning to pet, comfort their pet, or having it sit on their lap leads to crashes.

Two out of every three dog owners admit that while driving, they pet, play, or feed their dogs.

Also, pets not securely strapped into a vehicle, like their guardians, become flying objects during accidents.

"A 10-pound dog in a car driving 50 miles per hour could exert 500 pounds of pressure in a crash. Safety experts recommend strapping pets in place with a restraint that can be bought at many pet stores.  Pet stores also sell dividers, to separate pets in the backseat from the driver in the front seat. The pooches might not like being in the back, but a few minutes of frustration is a small price for a safe ride," advises the AAA study.

The Humane Society offers an additional warning, not to put pets in the back of a truck! It is dangerous, and in some states, illegal. "Flying debris can cause serious injury, and a dog may be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car.
Dogs should ride either in the cab (in a crate or wearing a seat belt harness designed for dogs) or in a secured crate in the bed of the truck," advices the study. Also, consider the liability of your dog flying out of the back of your pickup causing someone to wreck their car, or kill your dog.

Nymbus, the Silver Persain cat swimmingMary Ellen and Miss Wings
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