Finding the right pet for you

via Finding the right pet for you

Finding the right pet for you

Pets are wonderful additions to any family. Humans have long held a strong connection with dogs and cats. They make us feel good, give us purpose, provide unconditional love and companionship. If you are considering getting a pet for the first time, congratulations! You are headed for years of joy with your new addition.

Pet ownership is a responsibility, though, so before you make that commitment, take a good inventory of your life. Make sure you are up to the task and prepare your house, family and life for your pet.

Understanding the obligation

When you own a pet, you are responsible for a life. It is similar, but also very different, of course, from the responsibilities of parenting. An animal’s happiness and health are solely in your hands. As a pet owner, you will have to feed and shelter your dog or cat, but that’s not all. In addition to food, you will have unexpected expenses such as veterinarian bills, grooming costs and obedience training.

If you plan to vacation without your pets, like most people, then you’ll need to make arrangements or pay for boarding. Although airlines and hotels have become more accommodating of certain pets, many trips are impossible with a canine or feline companion. If you are adopting your pet, you will likely be made aware of the many responsibilities of ownership at the time of adoption, as shelters and humane societies have a vested interest in making sure that their populations are low. They would prefer than you not adopt if it means you would consider returning the animal if the responsibility became overwhelming.

Determining the right breed for you

When adopting pets from a shelter, your choices are usually limited. Kittens are all essentially the same as far as requirements – although specialty cat breeds have difference grooming and care requirements. Dogs vary more in both size and temperament. If you have a small apartment, make sure you have access to a big field, dog park or jogging area before adopting a large, athletic dog breed such as a Labrador Retriever or Weimaraner that need a lot of exercise. Smaller dogs have less exercise requirements, but have different limitations and concerns.

Preparing your home

Once you know the breed or type of pet you are going to adopt, it’s time to make sure your home is safe and secure. Many household chemicals and some plants are extremely dangerous to pets. Cats often like to swat at plants, so if you have any that are potentially poisonous, make sure to remove them before you set your kittens free in your home.

Both dogs and cats need their own spaces in a home.  A dog bed or crate in a quiet space is preferable for Fido, and cats need a clean and quiet area for their litter box. You’ll want it to be out of the way, but not so much so as to be a chore to clean.

Bonding with your pet

Once your home is made safe and your new pet has its own area, you can focus on bonding. By fostering a close relationship with your pet, you can ensure that their behavior is well-regulated. Both cats and dogs can act destructive if they are not content. Dogs can benefit from obedience training, which can also act as a form of bonding.

Bonding is a two-way street with your new pets. Companion animals provide many benefits to humans, including improving mental and emotional health. Pets also can play a role in supporting those in addiction recovery. Addiction survivors develop healthy routines and focus on caring for another living creature.

As a first-time pet owner, you may feel overwhelmed by responsibility. If you just remember to spend time with your pet and embrace the responsibility as an opportunity to enrich your life and the lives of your pets.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Jessica Brody

Eye Patch Won’t help this Pirate


Our sweet tiny Yorkie, Pirate, recently turned 14 years old. At 4 pounds he is pretty fragile and he’s been a trooper.

I’ve written about some of his adventures and mishaps but now it’s time to talk about something a bit more serious. He is blind. It seemed to happen overnight. About a year ago I noticed his eyes seemed to have a blue haze when the light shined on them…same with his “wife” Skipper who is 16 years old (he’s always loved older women…well actually he loves all women).20160610_153359

It wasn’t till about six months ago that I noticed he started banging in to things and that his left eye was more whitish blue. I think he’s been totally blind in that eye since then…but in the past few weeks, his other eye caught up in color and I don’t even think he sees much light through the right eye anymore, leaving him virtually totally blind. Skipper is pretty much blind also but I think she still has enough sight to figure her way around the house.

My mom is blind and has a service dog so I am particularly sensitive to needs and difficulties of the blind. Several years ago I researched several products to help her travel across the country alone to visit her sister. Word got out and others asked for my help so I started American Service Paws. I soon realized that a majority of items I was finding to help mom and those with service dogs were also helpful to any dog so my store morphed into 4thedogs.com.

I am still trying to find the information on the first product I found back in 2012 but in the mean time I did find Muffin’s Halo. Pirate has been wearing the halo for about 4 weeks now and it seems to be helping him in several ways. It has kept him from smashing into the sliding door before we get to open it. He also is able to avoid hitting his head on the car when we go outside to potty. He has picked up his speed and seems like a snow plow when running through my other three Yorkies.


So now that he has more confidence to go out in the yard, I have realized a new hazard. My pool enclosure is surrounded by a ton of bromeliads which he likes to go up close to lift his leg. Although the halo keeps him from running into things, it doesn’t actually protect his eyes. I took an up close look at the plants and they have razor sharp leaves. I am so afraid he is going to injure his eye that now I have to pick him up…place him to go potty and bring him back in.

I thought of putting his Doggles on but that is too much work for the amount of times he needs to go in and out. Don’t get me wrong….Doggles are great for on the boat or a bike ride but to wear them all the time would be too much for him. Imagine having an elastic strap around your head all day long…twelve plus hours….Do dogs get headaches?

I am working with an inventor/manufacturer to try out comfortable protective eye wear for Pirate…and if it works as well as I think it will, I’ll be getting it for Skipper also. I hope to offer it in my store as a solution for those with blind pets (I think it can be used for cats and other mammals too!).

I was horrified when a friend with a pet food ministry told me about the number of pets that are surrendered to the shelters just because they are old, blind, arthritic etc. Just at the time they need you most you just throw them away? Not on my watch. That’s why I am launching GrampPaws.com (under construction 7/2016). I just started the Facebook Page Gramp Paws and hope it will be a place where people will come and share any solutions they found helpful for their ailing pets. I hope you will check it out and spread the word.

In the meantime stay tuned for new solutions that should be popping up shortly!

Sleeping With Small Dogs Safely

I am so happy to be writing a blog about small dog safety.  If you read my previous blog “A FALL TO REMEMBER” you know we dodged a bullet with our tiny Yorkie Pirate.  Thank God for second chances!


Pirate & Skipper 2016

Pirate and Skipper aka Gramp Paw and Gram Ma

With Pirate’s failing eyesight due to cataracts we considered not allowing him to sleep with us anymore.  We couldn’t chance another accident if he missed the ramp again.  But since all of the dogs sleep with us and he has since he was eight weeks old, I was worried he may feel left out of our pack and deteriorate much quicker…so we came up with a few adjustments that seem to be working out very well.

We still have the Carpeted Ramp for the other dogs to get on and off the bed.



We we placed Wellness Therapeutic Pet Mats on each side of the bed in case of accidental falls. Sometimes they like to lay on it during their day nap.

wellness therapeutic pet mat bed jump



We took our Dog Booster Car seat and placed it between our pillows at the headboard, and attached it to the headboard as if it were the car.  The Booster seat has a tether with a clasp that secures the dog  by his harness.  We attached a very short leash to the tether.  We put Pirate in the Car seat (now his bed) and tether him in.  He has freedom to come out of his new bed and cuddle against me through the night but cannot get near the edge of the bed and fall off.  He seems to be adjusting very well.

Kurgo Rover_blue__Car seat

Since Skipper (grandma) also has failing vision and cataracts we got a second short leash and attached it to the tether also.  Skipper usually sleeps on the pillow above my head but now she can sleep in her special spot without fear of her falling off the bed.

My husband and I sleep much better now with the peace of mind that our two seniors are safe and secure.

Please feel free to comment if you have any other solutions to this or other pet safety solutions and visit our brand new Facebook page Gramp Paws

Things you can do to enhance safety if sleeping with tiny dogs:

Pirate dog bed solution


Please add comments or go to our brand new  Facebook page Gramp Paws to add any additional ideas for pet safety or issues you need solutions for.

A Fall To Remember

Here is a warning story for anyone with tiny dogs. We have four…Grandma (Skipper), Grandpa (Pirate), Momma (Maui) and baby (Saylor). They all sleep with us in our king size bed that is a bit higher than a typical bed. Because of this we have a carpeted dog ramp on my side of the bed. The dogs learned to use it and come and go with ease.


Not my dog or bedroom, but likeness of my dog ramp.

Maui is our biggest…almost eight pounds and although she uses the ramp to get on the bed, she has a habit of jumping off Dad’s side onto the hard wood floor. We tried to keep a fluffy rug there as a cushion but sometimes it gets moved and I cringe if I hear her knees hit the floor before I can grab her. Because of this I purchased two Wellness Pet Mats that I discovered at the Global Pet Expo. Since I am starting a site with solutions for older dogs and this helps with arthritis and other ailments I thought we’d get one to try it out and also cushion Maui’s daring jumps.

We got the biggest one for Dad’s side to cover a bigger area to cushion her jumps. We also got one a bit smaller for my side of the bed next to the ramp in case our little ones miss the ramp since Grandpa and Grandma are nearly blind. I never got around to placing the smaller one on my side…until today.

Late last night I came to bed later than usual because we are fostering a 3 week old kitten and I had to bottle feed him once more before bed. The room was pitch dark and as I came in the dogs awoke. Faithful tiny 4 pound Pirate (Grandpa) got up to greet me as I fumbled plugging in my phone in the dark…then I heard the terrible hard thud…He got too close to the edge near the ramp and fell on the very thin throw rug…then he made a terrible long agonizing scream. I got the light on and there he was laying on his side twitching with his little front legs stretched out in front of him.

By now my husband was waking and I grabbed up Pirate, placed him on my bed and his front legs were like straight steel rods, I couldn’t move or bend them…he was breathing heavy…I thought for sure he broke his neck or spine. I dialed the E R vet who said the vet just left (it was 12:03am). I started praying out loud for Pirate as I got the number for another ER. I called them and they said we could come right away.

We flew out the door within less than 4 minutes of the accident. I held Pirate against my chest vowing that if he was paralyzed, I’d carry him around, strap him to my chest for the rest of his life, hand feed him and do whatever it took to bring comfort to my precious little pal.

Then I started to pray…I prayed for full and complete healing in Jesus name over and over again, then I sang a little hymn into his ear as we were exiting the expressway.

My husband dropped me at the door while he parked and they were there to greet me at the door. The nurse asked me to put him down on the big scale….I told her I was worried about his spine and his legs were stiff…she reminded me they would need his weight in case of a RX Prescription. I gently placed him on the scale and he was remarkably quiet. (He is a very vocal dog usually). 4.2 Pounds…I scooped him up and we waited for the vet. By the time the vet came into the room and I put him down on the table, his tiny legs had loosened and were bendable! She took his vitals and left for a few minutes.

By the time the vet entered, Pirate was able to stand by himself on the table…he was a bit wobbly and his right front leg seemed bent in a bit. The vet wasn’t concerned and released him without any meds or treatment. By the next day he was back to his old self! We got our miracle and dodged a bullet!


Pirate on purple rug12-24-10 033

Sweet tiny Pirate…very fragile but big attitude and bigger heart!

In the meantime, I hurried my launch of Gramppaws.com and Gramp Paws on Facebook to bring solutions to older senior or disabled pets. I will detail my solution to keep the Yorkies safe in my next blog. Please stay tuned and be sure to visit and like our new Gramp Paws Facebook page!

When do you start your Christmas shopping?

It’s that time again where we start to think about Christmas shopping…..4thedogs.com has lots of good ideas for animal lovers and their pets.

As I make my list of who I need to buy for, I like to look through catalogs, the Sunday paper and peruse web stores….why not take a look at our pet web store to get unique ideas for the pet lover in your life….practical gifts like a new leash or collar….Fabuleash matching bling leashes and fashion collars are a unique gift that lots of people won’t buy for themselves but cherish as a special gift.

How about our best selling Lion Mane….turn your tiny cat or Yorkie into a roaring lion…or shock people in the park as you walk your golden that looks like a real lion….plus it will help keep them warm during the harsh winter months!

If you have a pet issue and are looking for something to solve a problem, please let us know…we go to the shows and keep up with the latest and greatest new pet products.  Mention you read this blog in your order notes and we will take 10% off your order received by December, 19, 2015!

Happy shopping!

What Exactly is a SERVICE DOG?

What Exactly is a SERVICE DOG?.

What Exactly is a SERVICE DOG?

I’m often asked what qualifies my dog to be a service dog.  The easiest way to answer that is the dog must provide a specific service to their disabled handler.  There is also a Therapy Dog or Emotional Support Dog.  Only Service Dogs qualify for full access under ADA. 

A disability can be obvious such as wheelchair bound, blind, or other physical handicap but it can also be a disability not so obvious to the general public…such as a seizure alert dog, sugar dog for diabetics, balance dog for those with Meniere’s disease, hearing alert dogs…just to name a few. 

A Therapy dog has special training and has to pass a temperament test to be calm and not startle easily around all kinds of situations.  Emotional support dogs that help people with anxiety or depression may travel on airlines only with a Doctor’s letter.

Service Dog on the other hand should be able to travel anywhere with or without documentation….although carrying  documentation or a vest & ADA Full Access cards with the Law spelled out does help avoid embarrassment by the uninformed public and business owners.

There are many types of Service Dog Identification that helps overcome public ignorance of the ADA Laws.( not required by law)

Different Types of Service Dog Identification

Look for my next blog with common questions about Service Dogs.Here is the actual ADA Law:

Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).


This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

  • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

ADA Website


To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,

visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.

ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)

24 hours a day to order publications by mail.

M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.

For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.

Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011



What is your biggest pet pr…

What is your biggest pet problem?