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The Dog Who Healed a Family

Written by Jo Coudert, The Dog Who Healed a Family revolves around the story of three adopted children who wreak havoc in their new home until an exceptional dog brings the family together. This is a charming collection of 19 stories you can’t help but fall in love with the unlucky fawn who is saved by a nursing home, the troublesome rabbit who warms her way into a new family and the good German Shepherd who comforts the sick. These are stories of hope, humour, triumph, loyalty, compassion, life and even death—but most of all, these are stories of love and extraordinary animals who make our lives the richer for it.
For more info, e-mail at: vasudha.r@prpundit.com

Raja… you are now part of a happy family!

Raja, my GSD, is today a healthy, active, playful and obedient pet. But, he was not so one year before. One day, I got a message from my friend, who israja also a canine trainer that Raja, a German Shepherd, is abused and tortured by his pet parents. They are planning to abandon him. I instantly took out my car and reached their place.

His pet parents were happy to know that we have come to take Raja away…probably they just wanted to get rid of him! The sight of Raja was heartening…he looked sick and was obviously suffering from several injuries and diseases. He had scanty fur and his nails were very long due to carelessness. But he was active and happy to go out.

I brought Raja home to my three pets – one German Shepherd girl and two German Spitz girls. I took him to the vet and Raja got proper treatment for tick fever and other ailments. Today, he is a strong and active canine…but he still faces problems in adjusting with other pets and people…maybe his previous wounds have still not healed! Nevertheless, Raja has emerged as a true winner and a happy family member!

Getting ready for the new family member

Keeping a pup is a responsible job, almost as responsible as having one’s own baby, if not more. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure you are getting the four-legged creatures home for all the right reasons, with all the commitment that they deserve — and more!!!

It’s a wonderful feeling to get a pup home and to be able to be a part of his antics, his playfulness, his exuberance and the life he adds to your life. But then, there are many factors that need to be considered before you take the plunge. After all, we are talking of a whole new life here, a whole set of new commitments and a whole new experience —something that most people are not fully prepared for. Which is why, before you think of getting the new canine member into your family fold, you should be completely sure you are ready, not just to let him into your life, but to also give him a life that he deserves!!!.

The right reasons:

Believe it or not, there are many people who consider getting a pup home akin to getting a toy to appease their kids, or to highlight their status, or even to guard their house. Get him only if you want him for what he is, not for what he can do for you. Never underestimate the time, energy and money that you need to invest when you make a dog a part of your family. You must be ready to accept the responsibility for his well being. If you are depending upon the kid or the servant to take care of the pup, then it’s a good idea to drop it like hot cake, because the kids tend to lose interest after awhile, and the servants only consider it as additional work. So, unless you have it in you to personally take care, don’t go ahead.

Right environment:

It is also important to consider whether your house environment is conducive to the pup’s presence, which includes having enough space for him to move around, etc. You should be ready to devote time and energy to play with him, take him for walks, groom and train him regularly and be a part of his life, his playful antics. You should be ready to commit yourself for the rest of his life. If you have a transferable job, then you must ensure that the dog comes with you as a part of your family. It is also crucial to consider whether you will take him along on your vacations, or can ensure his proper care while you are away. Any impulsive decision on this account will lead to surrendering the dog to a shelter or rescue. What is really sad is that many pups are rendered homeless, and are even euthanized not because they were at fault, but because their owners made the wrong decisions.

Matchmaking pup’s breed with yourself:

One of the most common mistakes that prospective dog owners make, is to choose a breed that is most popular, instead of picking one that suits their lifestyle, temperament and needs. It’s imperative to choose a dog, who suits your resources of time, money and energy. For instance, if your house is small and there is shortage of space, then you need to go in for a small breed such as Lhasa Apso, Pomeranians, Dachshund et al. Space is crucial for pets and helps in healthy relationships even between humans and animals.

Puppy proofing your home:

While the excitement of getting the dog home is indeed overwhelming, it is equally important to “puppy-proof” your house, so that the new pup does not harm himself or the things inside. Remember, pups are like babies — babies who can move and chew!!! The over-enthusiastic, exuberant lil’ fur balls are full of life and curious about every nook and corner of the house. And they almost always, want to put everything they can, into their mouths. So, a simple homework before the four-legged member sets paws into the house, is a good idea. All the dangling electric cords must be safely tucked away, since the pup will try and play with those at the very first opportunity; all the electrical switch points must be covered, and all poisonous household items must be put out of reach; all household cleaners, laundry detergents, bleach, disinfectants, insecticides, cleaning fluid, fertilisers, mothballs, insect poisons, rat poisons etc must be put in the cabinets or on high shelves, as these can be harmful to your pup; try not having too many plants in the house as chewing on certain plants can make your pup sick; even plastic bags are known to be harmful as they tend to choke on it.

And more importantly, never leave you pup unsupervised at least initially, till he is into that hyper exploring mood. Make sure all openings on the balcony, porches, high decks or the fence are well blocked, since these small brats not only tend to fall, but even try and sneak out with all their strength. Also keep things like buttons, string, sewing needles, pins and other sharp objects out of their reach, because if he swallows any of these objects, he can damage his mouth and internal organs.

Shopping for the puppy

It’s important to be prepared well in advance with the things your pup will need, before he makes his entry. First and foremost, he will need his food and water bowl, which must be separate and easy to clean. Buy small ones initially and change them with bigger ones as and when they grow up, which believe me, is only a matter of time, as the darlings grow up really fast — basking in the love of their new family. The next important thing is his collar and a leash, since he will need to be taken for walk regularly. Make sure his collar has the identification tag with your puppy’s name, your address and phone number. He will also need to have proper grooming tools, such as a brush (depending on his breed), a shampoo, etc. Pups need toys to play with, and it also helps them to exercise and grow healthy. Large rawhide chips, nylon chews and hard rubber balls are fun and safe. Dog bones are also something that the pup really enjoys, especially when he starts teething. He will also need a nice sleeping place. Some people have crates and many use baskets for the purpose. And once you are ready with all the Dos and Don’ts, then believe me, there is nothing more pleasurable than getting a warm loving pup home, who will not just change your life for the better but will add so many colours to your life, that the commitment will come most naturally.