My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff-Why did we get a Dog?




According to Statista(The Statistics Portal), in 2017, about 89.7 million dogs lived in U.S. Households. In many households, this scene plays out. Little Jimmy comes home from school and confronts dad with this request: Dad, can we get a dog? I won’t go into all the details, but numerous questions have to be answered, What breed? where will he/she live? inside, outside, doghouse, garage, who feeds, walks, brushes, cleans up back yard, etc.? To which Jimmy answers, “I can.” Up until now, the lady of the house has been quiet. Now she says to Jimmy, and to her husband, “we”ll see.”

What Kind of Dog to Get and from Where?

Long after Jimmy had gone to bed, mom and dad explore the idea of adding a new member to the household. Mom knows full well who will ultimately be the dog’s caregiver. They called a couple of friends who already had dogs to get some ideas. They decided to go to the animal shelter and to a couple of rescue adoption centers. And they decided they might try to find a Golden Retriever. Since it was to be Jimmy’s dog, they wanted a gentle dog that would play with Jimmy and his friends but not hurt them. They also decided on a fairly large dog that might discourage people out to do mischief or break in the house.

The Dog’s History

The next day, mom went to see an old school chum who had studied to become a veterinarian. She really didn’t know anything about dogs and wanted to find out all she could before they committed to another house member for possibly ten years or longer. Her Vet friend gave her some background and sound advice on what to expect if a dog joined their household. He told her that dogs originated from the Grey wolf– that is where dogs got their excellent hearing and keen sense of smell. He also told her that dogs were communal animals, they ran in packs, they were usually not “loners.” Mom wasn’t sure what that meant. “Someone in the family needs to be the “Alpha dog”, the vet explained, “otherwise, your dog won’t know who is boss.”

Mon was getting confused, and she was beginning to wonder if a dog wasn’t just going to be a lot of trouble. Her Vet friend explained to her that all dogs needed to be trained and it was better if one member of the family was the “head of the pack,” the one person the dog would look to for commands. Actually, he told her that the whole family needed to be in on the dog’s training so everyone would know how to handle all situations. She wondered if Jimmy was old enough to actually be the “Alpha Dog.” The vet said, “If you think he is old enough, that would be a great idea. “Then the dog would be truly his.”

One more thing the Vet suggested to mom.”Depending on what you get, he said. “Have the dog (male)neutered or(female) spayed. Unless you are planning on raising litters of puppies.” She looked at him with daggers in her eyes.

Family Dogs

A goodly number of dogs are considered “Family Dogs. Mom came away with a list of “family friendly” dogs, some small, some large, some medium-sized. “Main thing”, her vet friend said, “Don’t be in a hurry-look over several dogs–take one home overnight.”

When dad got home that night, mom told him and Jimmy what she had learned from her Vet friend.” Wow!, that’s a lot to think about.” “What about it Jimmy, do you think you can learn how to train your dog, and properly take care of him?” Jimmy thought for a few minutes, and then said,”I think so, dad, after all I am 12, and you ‘ve said I have to start learning to be a man and take responsibility.” Mom said, “Well we will help you, after all the dog will be like a new member of the family-but you will be the dog’s “Alpha Male,” the one he looks to for guidance and for praise and love.

After dinner, they sat around the table and looked over pictures and read about the dogs that Mom’s vet friend had suggested. They finally narrowed down the list of dogs that they thought would work with their family to 6.

Their list included: Golden Retriever– a large dog with beautiful golden fur and listed as intelligent, kind, and friendly. Collie-a large dog with beautiful multi-colored fur and listed as gentle, loyal, intelligent and protective. Beagle-a smaller dog with an even temper, and is gentle, intelligent and determined. Brittany-a medium-sized dog with white and brown coat- is happy, intelligent, agile and quick. Maltese– a small, beautiful,fluffly dog -is playful, lively, docile, gentle. The sixth one--a Mix. After all they were going to check out the adoption centers and rescue places, so they just might find a good mixed heritage animal.


The Final Choice

They spent several days looking at dogs. They actually found a few purebred dogs, but they seemed a little skittish when approached by strangers. They were about to decide on a beagle mix when mom got a call from her vet friend. He had found a Brittany that the family had to give up, because they were moving across country. The dog had been well-cared for and was only about 2 years old. The family made an appointment to see her and fell in love. She was a well-mannered dog and had been spayed. Jimmy hugged her, named her Tippy and told his parents that this was the one.

A few weeks later, Jimmy started training sessions with Tippy and it wasn’t long until she knew sit;stay; go fetch; lay down. She never seemed to tire of chasing balls, fetching sticks, and wrestling with her favorite human.

Why A Story

This was a make believe family, but how they went about deciding on a pet, a new member for their family, was the right way to do it. They did some research, found the kind of pet they wanted, learned how to take care of a pet, and preferred to look for a pet that needed a home.

My first dog was a toy collie. She had a face like a full size collie, but she was about half the size and had a smoother coat. She was a sweet dog and very gentle.

My grandmother had only one pet that I know of–a little white Maltese. He lived to be 17. Every time I went to visit my grandparents, that little dog always sat beside me on the front porch.

My son begged for a dog when he was about 9. A little young to be the leader of the pack. My husband came home one night to tell me that one of the teachers at the Junior College had a dog he would give to a good home. The dog was a Brittany and was gun shy. The teacher wanted a dog to hunt, but since she was afraid of gun shot, he wanted to find her a good home. We went over to see her. She was so smart. She immediately sensed that my husband didn’t really care about dogs. She went over to where he was sitting, put her head on his arm and sat there until we left. We took the dog. My son named her Tippy. She lived to be 13.

Let me hear from you. I would love to hear about your favorite dog.


























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Hello, and welcome to my website. If you’ve stopped here, you must have an interest in pets, or maybe you have a pet of your own, or you’re wondering if there is anything here that will help you with your pet problem, or you are just curious. It doesn’t matter. Stop and learn about “people pets”. You will find some laughs, too.


I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a pet, or there weren’t pets around the house. I was an only child, and grew up  in South Florida where the days were warm.   I played outside almost all day, every day.Since I was outside Mom expected me to check on the chickens and ducks, and gather the eggs.

On Saturdays the movie houses played a double bill–two westerns with short subjects and a news segment.  My dad loved westerns; you can guess where we were every Saturday evening. Of course, in westerns, there were always horses, cows, dogs, etc. Sometimes the horse or the dog was actually the hero, rescuing the master from sure death.

We had several cats during my childhood; I had a dog all during my teen-age years. I also remember having ducks, chickens and even a rabbit.  Since I had no siblings, the cat and the dog were often privy to my closest secrets. I doubt the cat loved to dance, but she did, anyway.

Seriously, I have loved cats and dogs and have lived with them all my childhood and adult life. I have learned what they like and don’t like, what makes them sick, what makes them listen to me, how they can be trained to be socially acceptable. Each species is unique. Cats have quirks that make them different from any other species. Same for dogs. They each relate differently to the one person or family that they live with. Animals have enriched my life. Home is not home without a four-legged creature around.


So many people misunderstand animals, and so many pet owners give up when reality doesn’t meet expectations. The number of cats and dogs that are euthanized each year is appalling. I believe people would be willing to adopt a pet or two if they could find the information they needed to take proper care of them l. I want to help people understand how to take care of a dog or a cat. Cats and dogs give unconditional love. They don’t care how you look, how old you are, or how many cars you have. They will love you, no matter what. People need the love of an animal. I want to help them find that love.


The purpose of this site is to bring pets and pet owners together in lasting, loving relationships.If you ever need help with your pet, or have questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Barbara Nelson

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My-Pet-Toys-and Stuff: Train Cats not to Claw Furniture

Why do cats have claws anyway? To answer that question, you have to approach it from the cat’s point of view. The beautiful little domestic cats that we are familiar with today, evolved from wild cats that lived in a hostile world. In order to live from one day to the next, wild cats needed tools to fight off enemies and to kill food. These tools were teeth and claws. Claws on the front feet were constantly sharpened on logs and tree trunks; hind claws were honed with their teeth. Instinct continues to drive the domestic cat to keep her claws sharp at all times. So, how can you train cats not to claw the furniture?

Remove the Claws

Your little cat is growing up and she is using your finest pieces of furniture to sharpen her claws. No matter how many times you yell at her, you throw something at her, you spray her with water etc., she will yield to temptation. It’s instinct – she can’t stop it-she has to scratch somewhere.

Many cat owners resort to having their cats declawed, either surgically or by laser treatment. Onychectomy, or declawing, “—is an operation to remove an animal’s claw surgically by means of the amputation of all or parts of the distal phalanges or end bones of the animal’s toes —amputation of the bone is necessary to fully remove the claw.”(Wikipedia)

The operation is common in North America- but declawing is considered animal cruelty in many countries. Another method of removing the claw is to use laser surgery. The laser removal of the claw seems to give the cat less pain, but regardless, the cat has lost the toe with the claw and the end result is the same.

Declawed cats must remain indoor cats- they have no way to protect themselves outside. Many declawed cats become biters when they no longer have claws.

Alternatives to Surgical Declawing

There are a number of ways to keep your furniture from being torn apart by your cat other than removing her claws.

Vinyl nail caps can be glued on over the regular claw. It is not a permanent alternative. The claws continue to grow and as the cat sheds her claws periodically, new caps must be glued on.

Regular nail trimming will keep the sharp nail ends from tearing furniture. If you decide to use regular trimming, you must learn how to do it without hurting the cat. Have your veterinarian get a professional pair of trimmers for you to use. They are not terribly expensive and will be cheaper than a Vet visit every six weeks. You only need to trim the tiny sharp end of each claw. You never want to trim so far back to catch the quick. If you do it correctly, your cat will eventually let you trim her claws without a fight.

Scratching Posts are a necessity for cats-with or without claws. Most scratching posts are a standard upright pole or post securely anchored on a sturdy stand and covered with carpeting. You should probably have more than one. Place two or three scratching posts throughout the house, so when your kitty gets the urge to hone her claws, she can readily find one.

If your cat is shy about using the scratching post, put some catnip in your hand and rub it around the post -top and sides. She should start scratching on it very soon.

Covering your upholstered furniture with vinyl slip covers will discourage your cat from clawing them. The smooth vinyl is definitely a deterrent. Most cats will leave it alone.

Trees, Condos, Scratchers and Posts

Cats like to climb, jump, and run. Cat Trees and cat condos are built to give cats an ultimate playhouse. And of course while they are climbing and jumping around, they also stop for multiple claw scratching. Some sophisticated cat trees have several ledges, stairs, ladders, tunnels, for curious cats to explore. Cats will tire after a while and find a ledge or tunnel to nap in. Elaborate cat trees come in various carpet colors, so, if you have to live with a cat tree in your family room, at least you can select one that will match your decor. Make sure whatever you get for your cat, or cats, is well-built and sturdy. Above all, you want your cat to be safe.

You can make a Scratching Post or a simple cat stand if you are handy with tools and happen to live near a farm or wooded area. Please have permission to gather or cut on private land. Find a short tree with a good size trunk (maybe 12 to 15 inches in diameter). You might be lucky and find what you need in a wood pile. You need about a four-foot-long section. Leave the bark on it. Your kitty will love it. Find a two by four or maybe a four by four square piece of wood. Nail it under one end of the log. Now you have a small angled log to set on the floor. Your cat will straddle the log, stretch out and hone her claws to her heart’s content. you can also build the standard upright pole. Wrap the upright pole with sturdy carpet and set it in a solid stand. Make sure the scratching post can withstand a cat pushing and pulling on it as she works her claws. If it should topple, she probably will never use it again.

Another Alternative

If you are looking for a cat to enliven your life, you might consider visiting a cat adoption center. You will find some beautiful cats that are just waiting for someone to give them a permanent home. You will find both genders, long and short haired, small and large, of all ages. Most of these cats have been given up for adoption because their owners could no longer care for them. Many of these cats have already been declawed by their former owners. You will be giving a cat a home, without having to face the clawing issue.

Training a Cat

Training a cat to do, or not to do something, is a daunting task. Cats are independent creatures and will do what they want to do. If what you want and what they want happen to collide, consider yourself a lucky cat owner. On a personal note, I have lived with cats all my life. I never had one of my cats declawed. I have pretty successfully used the alternatives listed in this article. For a number of years I have adopted shelter cats that have already been declawed. Cats are delightful creatures and are always ready with surprises. Your life with a cat will never be dull.

I would love to hear from my readers. E-mail me:





Play Time for Cats:The Best Toys for Indoor Cats


In 2017, the total number of cats owned as pets in the United States was about 95.6 millions. Around 68% of all U. S. households owned at least one pet, (Statista Accounts) and you’re just about ready to add your household to that percentage with your new best friend. You’ve adopted a cat and you’re about to introduce her to her new home. One thing you need to remember, once you’ve brought a cat into your home, she assumes everything she sees is now hers, and she is just letting you continue to live there.

However, your cat doesn’t always make the best choices of what she should play with and what she should leave alone. Choosing the best toys for your cat is your job.

Don’t You Become Her Favorite Toy

Your cat has razor sharp teeth and needle sharp claws and you don’t want to become her favorite toy. If you’ve adopted a kitten don’t let her start out biting, scratching and kicking your bare arm or hand. Yes, she is she is a cute little ball of fur now, and she can’t hurt you. But when she is a full-grown cat (nine or ten pounds) she can do some damage. Save your hand and teach her to play with a wand toy– a long stick with bells, feathers, cords etc.that you hold on one end away from those claws. She will love it. When you are through playing, put the wand toy away out of your cat’s reach.

Keep Your Cat Away From DangerousThings

Most people think that cats can’t be trained. They actually can, but it takes a lot of work. It’s faster and easier to train yourself. Put things away that you don’t want your cat to play with while you’re gone. Cats are especially attracted to potted plants because of the potting soil and green leaves. Some plants are dangerous for your cat to ingest. Put your plants on the porch or on a high stand or in another room with the door shut. Keep small things like bits of paper, crayon pieces, beads, etc. off the floor. Cats will end up swallowing them, and you’ll have a sick cat, or a trip to the vet.

There are times when you need to reprimand your cat. When she is about to get into trouble and you need to get her attention quickly, a loud noise will do the trick. Cats hate loud noises. A sharp, loud hand clap, or a rolled up newspaper slapped against a door or a wall will stop her at once. Then you can pick her up and move her to a safer place. One reminder: Never, never hit your cat. She won’t understand why you are hurting her.

Toys Cats Like

Cats like toys that are large enough to pick up in their mouth and carry around. Small toys usually end up under the couch. If there are large and small toys on the floor, your cat may often choose the larger one, especially if the toy has been laced with catnip. She can grab the larger toy in her mouth and carry it around, much like a cat in the wild will carry her kittens from one place to another.

Most cats go crazy with catnip. You might not think catnip is a toy, but it can be very helpful if you are introducing a new toy to your cat. Sprinkle a little catnip on the toy, rub it around on the toy and then give it to your cat. You’ll have immediate acceptance. If you want to give your cat a real treat, spread a newspaper on a hard floor and sprinkle loose catnip on it. Your cat will roll, tumble, toss and act sillier than you’ve ever seen before. Keep a broom handy. When she is through, you will have catnip everywhere.

Toys To Avoid

Especially avoid toys that have beads or buttons sewed on them. Cats will chew them off and may swallow and choke on them. Don’t give your cat toys that are stuffed with odd materials that she can tear apart and swallow. Cats like to play after you’ve gone to bed. They are night creatures. Nighttime is for hunting, daytime is for sleeping. Leave out some larger toys for her to toss around, and put up toys that have loose buttons and strings.

The Best Toys Are Homemade

The best playthings can be made from things around the house. Athletic socks get holes in the toe or the heel. Save a pair or two to make your cat a safe toy. One pair will probably be enough. Open up one sock and stuff the other sock in it until you have a nice big ball at the toe end. Leave enough room at the open end to tie an overhand knot. Your cat will play with it until it falls apart.

A similar toy can be made from lady’s hose. Save up several pairs that have runs in them. Then take one long hose and stuff it with as many hose as it takes to make a long, fat roll. Tie the open end shut with an overhand knot. You can tie cords in a couple of places to give it forms..Use overhand knots. Your cat will drag that thing all over the house.

Finding the Best Toys isn’t Difficult

Remember to select larger toys, select toys with no dangles or beads, put away household items that can be dangerous, and try your hand at making toys for your best furry friend. Your cat is a wonderful animal. She will give you years of love and delight with just a little care from you.