For the dog lover…

This past weekend we spent the day at the Northeast Florida Veg Fest! The Veg Fest is an annual event that promotes health and well-being to both people and animals. There were so many pups running around and sniffing vegan treats! We had a great time meeting people and trying new foods and juices. It truly was a positive and exciting environment. William also had a blast alongside his doggie friends :)

Veg Fest

William, my sweet toy poodle, has been my companion for 10 years now. Yes, this little guy is 10 years old! Besides the lack of teeth, William continues to act like the sassy and playful poodle that he is. He has traveled all over the U.S. with me and has bonded with my friends and family, sometimes while continuously barking at them. Although he remains a bit timid and absolutely protective of me, he still finds it in his heart to play fetch with my boyfriend or anyone sitting within three feet of him. Below is one of my favorite photos of him! And yes, I am THAT dog mom who makes a spectacle of his birthday each year. I’m sure I’m not the only one, right?

WilliamBday

So now, you’re either intrigued or think I’m a little too obsessed with my pooch, but either way I wanted to share a bit of wisdom I’ve gained over the last 10 years of caring for William. He wasn’t an ordinary dog at the wee age of 4 months when he was given to me. I believe that he was mistreated and caged up his first few months of life and perhaps taken away from him mom too early. I couldn’t get answers from the breeders, so I chose to raise him with all of the love I could possibly give. He didn’t trust anyone and still finds it hard to do now. Over the years, I brought him around more people and then into public settings and eventually around other dogs and their owners. He needed to break away from his social anxiety, and after 3-4 years, he slowly began to recover from the trauma of his early life. Unfortunately, he still gets nervous when going to the groomer or when he’s with a doggie sitter (who are friends and family that have known him for years), but he’s definitely a different dog than he was at age 3. He’s not a “regular” dog and anyone who knows William will tell you that. I tried asking various veterinarians as to his behavior, but nobody really had an answer for me. I even contemplated calling Cesar Millan! If you have a dog with special needs or a dog who requires extra love and attention, I ask that you please not give up because you are all they have. In my eyes, William isn’t just a “pet,” but he is truly family and I know a lot of people out there can share my opinion.

William Beach William Age 5

Caring for any dog requires providing the same type of nutrients a person should receive on a daily basis. They require vitamins and proteins just like anyone else. I make sure to feed William organic food with proper vitamins and to give him fresh water everyday. This might sound like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, some people may not be as educated as to what their dog food is made from or whether it satisfies their dog’s diet. It’s okay not to be a dog expert, but when it comes to raising a new pet, it’s good to be aware and to do research before diving right into it. For example, I was a lifeguard during college and I happened to come across an article about CPR for dogs. I was like, “Wow, I need to learn this!” Dogs are curious little creatures and get into everything, so it’s a safe and simple technique everyone should look into in case of an emergency. Last year, I came across a video that instructs doggie CPR. It’s fantastic! I read about it on The Kind Life. You can watch the short video here.

Do any of you have doggie recipes to share? Or any words of wisdom about caring for a special pet? I would love to know about your fur children!

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