Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks

Heather with her dog Poppy in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

I recently came across a  study published by Pet Behavior Science in 2016 that found:

  • Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems.
  • Even though lower body condition scores were found, only one dog was found to be underweight.
  • Behavior is not generally an issue in homeless peoples’ dogs

Continue reading “Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks”

Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks

Why do cats purr?

There are many questions our children and grandchildren ask concerning the mysteries of our universe.  Such as, why is the sky blue?  Why do birds sing? And why do cats purr?

While we may often fail to provide satisfying answers to these difficult questions, we instinctively know that so long as the sky is blue, and birds sing, and cats purr – all is right with the world.

One of the things we love most about our cats is the feeling of contentment we share when they climb onto our lap and begin to purr.  When cats purr we feel calmer and more peaceful – even if we don’t hear the purring, we can feel the soft reassuring vibration.

So, just why do cats purr?  And how do they generate that entrancing sound? Continue reading “Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks”

Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Tuscany
Tuscany, transitioned from a foster (recovering from being hit by a car) to a hospice foster (after she was diagnosed with cancer) to being adopted by a loving family.

How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver.  Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.

Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery.  Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love. Continue reading “Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks”

Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and cat
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. They are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.

I’ve always been a dog person, so you can imagine my surprise when I learned that cats have idiosyncrasies no self-respecting dog would ever engage in. For instance, why do cats insist on waking you up before the alarm goes off?

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. “Nocturnal” refers to animals that are awake at night and sleep during the day. However, cats sleep at night, as we do – just not as long. Cats are “crepuscular,” which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. This is because their ancestors’ natural prey was most active at these times. Although cats have good night vision, they can’t see without light, so they do sleep at night.

Two dynamics conspire to create the relentless “pre-alarm” cat.   Continue reading “Thwarting the attack of the pre-alarm cat by Ed Boks”

Pets provide health, emotional benefits for owners by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and health benefits of pets
Pet ownership comes with many proven physical, mental and emotional health benefits

Pet ownership comes with many proven physical, mental and emotional health benefits – from enhancing social skills to decreasing the risk of heart attack.

Consider a University of Wisconsin-Madison study which found that a pet in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing allergies by as much as 33 percent. This research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, shows that when children are exposed at an early age to animals they tend to develop stronger lifelong immunities. Continue reading “Pets provide health, emotional benefits for owners by Ed Boks”

Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and cat
My cat Belle loves to purr; and I love it when she does…

There are many questions our children (and grandchildren) ask concerning the mysteries of our universe. Such as: Why is the sky blue? Why do birds sing? And why do cats purr? While we may often fail to provide satisfying answers to these difficult questions, we instinctively know that so long as the sky is blue, and birds sing and cats purr, all is right with the world.

One of the things we love most about our cats is the feeling of contentment we share when they climb onto our lap and purr. When cats purr we feel calmer and more peaceful – even if we don’t hear the purring, we can feel the soft reassuring vibration.

So, just why do cats purr? And how do they generate that entrancing sound? Continue reading “Why do cats purr? by Ed Boks”

What we learned from Marty Crane and Eddie by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and John Mahoney
John Mahoney and “Eddie” modeled the joy and health benefits pets provide our senior citizens

Many will rightly sing the praises due the remarkable actor, John Mahoney, who died today.  However, I want to take a moment to point out the important public health service Mahoney provided through his character on the popular TV series Frazier.  “Marty Crane” and his loyal dog “Eddie”  beautifully presented the many wonderful benefits pets afford our senior citizens.

According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society there are many health benefits for seniors who have a pet or two. In fact, the Journal states there are many benefits for the seniors, the pets and society as a whole. Geriatric researchers found seniors with pets more active than seniors without pets and they score higher in their ability to carry out normal activities of daily living. Many positive effects on physical well-being are identified, including a healthy ability to fend off isolation and loneliness. Continue reading “What we learned from Marty Crane and Eddie by Ed Boks”

A Tribute to Dogs

Ed Boks and George Graham Vest
George Graham Vest

George Graham Vest (1830-1904) served as a United States Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903, and became one of the leading orators and debaters of his time. This delightful speech is from an earlier period in his life when he practiced law in a small Missouri town. It was given in court in 1855 while representing a man who sued another for the killing of his dog.

During the trial, Vest ignored the testimony, but when his turn came to present a summation to the jury, he made the following speech and won the case.
* * * * *
Gentlemen of the Jury: Continue reading “A Tribute to Dogs”

Anthrozoology studies the human-animal bond by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Jeffrey Masson
A groundbreaking and inspiring book on the unique relationship between dogs and humans

Humans and animals have a long history together. Evidence of this is found with a 12,000-year-old human skeleton in Israel with a hand resting on the skeleton of a 6-month-old wolf pup. Our long relationship with companion animals has given rise to a field of study called anthrozoology – the study of human-animal interactions.

“When you see how long we’ve had pets in our lives, and how important they are to us it’s amazing the study is so new,” says Dr. Sandra Barker, director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Researchers have only just begun to explore this wonderful relationship and its health benefits.”

Best-selling author Jeffrey Masson explains in his book, The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving (How dogs have captured our hearts for thousands of years), that the human capacity for love, sympathy, empathy, and compassion may actually have developed as a result of our long association with dogs. Continue reading “Anthrozoology studies the human-animal bond by Ed Boks”

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus nothing to fear by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and black cat
FIV is responsible for the unnecessary killing of far too many cats in way too many animal shelters; and that is not right, because FIV cats often live long, healthy lives with few to no symptoms.

This week I want to feature Portia, a 4-year-old domestic short hair with a spice for life; described by those who know her as cool, calm, confident, playful and a joy to be around. She is mellow enough to get along with a cat-savvy dog and respectful children.

Portia has had many suitors in her two months in the shelter, but potential adopters quickly lost interest when they learned she has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Continue reading “Feline Immunodeficiency Virus nothing to fear by Ed Boks”