Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Tessa's Furry Sox

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Tessa, age 12, and her devoted dog Sox, age 3, enjoy summer vacation.

The way that Sox looks at Tessa reveals their deep bond. Sox's beautiful brown eyes adoringly follow Tessa's every move. When Tessa asks Sox to perform a "trick", one can see that he is totally focused upon her with every fiber of his being and that her every wish is his command. Pets are wonderful "life" teachers in that they help children to realize their own loveableness and to also love all creatures in return.

"My Dad fixes heating and air conditioning systems," explains Tessa.  "Two years ago when he was working in a customer's backyard he began playing with their dog, Sox. Then the owner said, 'I see that you like my dog and he likes you. Do you want him?'. My dad said, 'Sure!', so that's how we got him. It was a surprise for us all. I wonder what Sox was thinking as he rode to our house in my father's truck? We all love Sox, even my brother Tyler; and Sox loves us all.

Sox is a four-year-old German Shepherd-Spanish Mastiff mix who loves to dance and LOVES playing ball. We nicknamed him 'Soccer' after he surprised us all by blocking a soccer ball with his chest," says Tessa.

"I enjoy having a dog for the company and love he provides. I walk him for a half-hour to an hour, for exercise. On the weekends, I bathe him, and brush his teeth with his peanut butter-flavored toothpaste. I noticed that he was losing fur near his tail and along his spine, probably from bad nutrition, so my dad bought different food for Sox. Sox has a sweet, caring and funny personality and a special talent to catch a balloon in his mouth without popping it!" laughs Tessa.  "Sometimes Sox lays on his back, wiggles his butt, and moves his paws like he is dancing. He makes us all laugh. Sox loves to show off like this.

I also taught Sox how to high-five, shake hands, and sit. We tried to teach him to lie down, but he would not respond to the command 'Down!'. He responds to 'Chill!', instead. 

When we are downstairs, Sox is not allowed upstairs. In our house, the steps are divided. First there are six steps, then a small landing, then a triangle step curving into the upstairs hallway. Sox likes to sleep on the landing, but when he hears my dad come home, he scoots downstairs. He is a smart dog.
I watch Sox's body language to see what he wants. It is the way he moves his ears, that lets me know his moods. I know when he is hungry or when has to go outside to the bathroom. Dogs are like people; they have needs and feelings too. I treat Sox like a son and only want the best for him."


"I bathe Sox with a medicated shampoo for his skin condition. I learned that it is important to read the bottle to know for how long to leave the shampoo on the dog. It takes two towels to pat Sox dry," says Tessa.

- Before applying refrigerated medications to a pet's eyes, skin or ears, put the bottle into your front pocket for 10 minutes to warm it using your body temperature.

- "Our dog had an 'accident' on the linoleum floor," said Trish in Sisters, Oregon, and a residual odor remained even after clean-up. So, my husband poured club soda over the affected area which immediately removed the odor. Club soda is a natural, safe cleaning agent to use around pets and people."

- "When I saw a duck with a discarded six-pack plastic ring around its neck," said Ellen, "I vowed to cut up all my soda can rings so no other animal would suffer. This duck could not feed itself because the plastic ring was choking it. I phoned the Humane Society to come rescue the duck."
- "I noticed a baby skunk in distress," emailed Victoria a Pet Tips 'n' Tales reader in West Vancouver, Canada. "He had a plastic six-pack ring around his neck which he could not remove and no motorists stopped to help him. That poor baby is going to suffer as he grows with that plastic around his neck. It will choke him, cut into his neck, and become infected. I phoned the wildlife people to come out to trap him."

-When actress Betty White was asked why she preferred the company of animals over people she responded, "Animals don't lie. Animals don't criticize. When animals have moody days, they handle them better than humans do."
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