Thanksgiving’s a good time to be grateful for our pets
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By Mickey Zeldes  November 29, 2013 12:00 am

At this time of year I love to look at what we get and what we give to our pets – a sort of “giving thanks for the love” column, if you will.  I know I often take my pets for granted or even get frustrated at them for the obstacles they present (can’t go away overnight spontaneously, for example, although that opportunity rarely occurs anyway).  So it’s good to reflect on the positive from time to time.

We love our pets for the unconditional acceptance and love they show us.  Even if we are having a bad hair day, are moody or stressed, they adore us.  They greet us at the door like we are the most important thing in their world…and they actually mean it.  Show me the person whose heart isn’t lifted from that kind of affection (of course, I’m talking more about dogs here – cats greet us like “it’s about time the servant showed up!”).  What about from the pet’s point of view though?  Here’s what your pet would like to thank you for:

1. Healthy food and plenty of water – the staples of life: And not too much since being overweight is just as unhealthy for animals as for people, and their caloric intake is pretty much in our control.

• 2. Exercise and playtime – a good dog or cat is a tired dog or cat:  Given enough exercise and appropriate outlets for their energy, they should be fine being left inside the house while we work.  The naughty animals are usually the ones that are energetic, bored and left to their own devices.

• 3. Vet care: Although it may seem cheaper in the short term to skip regular vet exams, prevention is always cheaper than trying to cure or fix a problem that’s gotten out of control.  That includes regular dental care, necessary vaccinations, and routine exams.

• 4. Grooming – nothing like a good manicure to prevent your cat from shredding your couch: Tangled fur is not only unsightly but can be very painful and actually limit mobility.  Regularly brushing out your pet gives you an opportunity to notice other issues too like fleas and ticks, lumps and bumps and skin irritations.


• 5. Training: Taking the time to teach your pet about good manners pays off hugely throughout his/her lifetime.  It allows you to bring your pet more places and makes the animal a joy to live with.  It’s never too late to start – an older dog can learn new tricks.

• 6. ID and microchip: It’s a definite act of love to label your pet so they have a way back to you if they ever become lost.  The simplest, and a free, method is a visible pet ID tag that has your phone number and address.  That way anyone that finds your pet can just bring him home.  The backup to that (since collars can fall off) is the microchip – also available free at our shelter for all RP and Cotati residents.

 • 7. Spay and neuter: This one-time permanent sterilization procedure allows our pets to relax and not be frustrated by the “call of nature.”  It’s much healthier for our animals to be fixed and, again for RP and Cotati residents, it’s free for cats and very low-cost for dogs through our shelter.

Included in the family: Why anyone would take on a new animal and then leave it outside alone is beyond comprehension.  Dogs and cats are social animals and want to be with you.  They can only do that if allowed indoors and integrated into the family.  We love seeing family portraits that include the pets – it shows that they are truly valued and loved.


Our pets love us whether or not we do all these things, but don’t they deserve the best care possible?  Take a moment to truly appreciate all that your pet gives you and then check the list to make sure we’ve reciprocated the love.  



Upcoming events

Shop at the shelter for all the pet lovers on your list!  We have hearts and paws wine glasses, potholders, earrings, wine bottles filled with dog treats and more items, and the money benefits the animals at the shelter.  Shop during our regular open hours: Wednesday, 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m.; Sun 1-4:30 p.m.


• It’s the last weekend for the Spin the Wheel adoption special.  Get a fabulous discount on the animal you fall in love with during this adoption special.


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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