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Tag: usa today

Top 10 dog-friendly beaches in America

wildwooddogbeach

We put about as much stock in top 10 lists as we do in predicting dog behavior based on breed, but for the record here are what voters selected as the 10 best dog friendly beaches in the U.S.

Receiving the most votes from readers of 10Best, a feature of USA Today, was Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago, which offers a fenced in area where off leash dogs can splash in the waters of Lake Michigan.

Coming in second was Wildwood Dog Beach in New Jersey, easily spotted by the 25-foot-tall fire hydrant sculpture rising from the sand. Dogs are required to be on leashes.

Only one North Carolina beach made the list. Coming in third was Bald Head Island, where unleashed dogs are allowed on all 14 miles of coastline from sunrise to sunset. The island is accessible only by a ferry boat, which is also dog-friendly.

Also making the top five were Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, Calif., the only legal off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County, and
First Landing State Park Beach in Virginia Beach

cannonbeachflickrRounding out the top 10 were, in this order, Long Beach Peninsula in Long Beach, Wash.; Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, Calif.; Cannon Beach in Oregon; Double Bluff Beach in South Whidbey Island, Wash.; and Jupiter Dog Beach in Florida.

Readers voted on 20 nominees chosen by Bringfido.com, a doggy travel website.

(Photos: At top, Wildwood Dog Beach, courtesy of Wildwoods; bottom, Cannon Beach in Oregon by Breanna Agnor / Flickr)

“A comfort none of us can give him”

lloydJanice Lloyd, the voice of USA Today’s Paw Print Post, wrote a spectacularly moving piece yesterday about her brother’s golden retriever and the dog’s newfound bond with her aging father.

The dog, Lloyd writes, “has adopted my father since last Thursday, giving him a comfort he can find no place else right now.” At 93, she says, her father is showing signs of dementia, and since his wife fell and broke her hip on a recent vacation cruise, leading to a stay in a nursing home, he’s been staying with his son, Lloyd’s brother, in Delaware.

“My dad gets teary at night when he has to leave his bride in the home. He doesn’t understand why he can’t sleep with her. We explain that he can’t stay there. He thinks she seems OK and can go home. The conversation recurs nightly, often more than once.”

Sophie, the nine-year-old golden retriever, “seemed to sense immediately that Dad needed a care taker. She rose to the occasion. She curls up with him on the sofa and puts her head in his lap. My dad rubs her head and smiles at her. My brother says ‘she doesn’t even do that with me …’

“When it’s time for dad to go to bed, she goes downstairs with him and jumps up on the kingsize bed and stays the night,” Lloyd wrote. Her brother says when her father gets up early in the morning for a trip to the bathroom, he tells Sophie to wait for him in bed. When he comes back, he’ll say “Good girl, Sophie. I’m glad you stayed. Let’s go back to sleep. ”

A veteran of World War II, Lloyd’s father visits his wife in the nursing home every day, often falling asleep in a chair as he holds her hand.

Back at his son’s home, Sophie is the comforter.

“When I drove him to my brother’s from the nursing home Sunday night, Sophie ran up to the side of the car where Dad was sitting. She smiled at him. My brother says Goldens smile. Now I believe it. She greeted my Dad when he got out of the car. She never left his side while we watched a little TV before going to bed.”

Sophie, she says, “offers a comfort none of us can give him.”

(Photo by Janice Lloyd / USA Today)

Giving thanks for the animals

We can think of no better way to mark this Thanksgiving than with this piece, written by Alcestis “Cooky” Oberg, a contributor to USA Today who remembers more than a few dogs waiting for scraps under the dinner table…

“Spaniels, shepherds, setters, poodles, ridgebacks, Labradors and whatnots. All these dogs were strays — lost canines who wandered into our lives and nestled into our hearts. We lived together as a multispecies family, enjoying the seasons, the feasts, the joys together. The dogs were there to soothe our sorrows, too, and to ease the passage of time in the lonely moments of the night.

In an op-ed piece, Oberg gives thanks for her animals and their rescuers.

“This Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for my animal companions in life and for the hundreds of organizations and thousands of people who take notice of such creatures throughout the nation — rescuing them, defending them and finding them homes. It is hard and sometimes unpleasant work, and nobody gets rich doing it. But the ultimate test of our humanity is how we treat animals, and these people redeem our species by saving millions of helpless creatures every year.

Oberg writes of adopting her dog Sierra.

My local SPCA’s efforts brought me my dog, Sierra, 13 years ago. My kids urged me to go there after a beloved pet dog died suddenly. I was crying as we walked past the cages — and in the last one stood Sierra. She was a large spayed female Labrador/shepherd mix, about a year old. She wagged her long magnificent tail confidently as soon as I looked at her, and her brown honest eyes spoke to me as if to say, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

And of losing her.

“My old girlfriend Sierra died in her sleep this summer at a very old age — the human equivalent of 105 — with three generations of my family and my large circle of friends mourning the loss of this true and noble soul. We buried her in the shade of the pecan tree she favored, not far from the large sand pile where the children play with toy soldiers and trucks, and beside the path to the barn we walked together twice a day to feed the horses. She will remain in death as ever she was in life — in the heart of my family.

“I’ll especially miss my sweet old beggar with her soulful smoldering eyes beside my chair this Thanksgiving. But I’ll say a prayer of thanks for having known her, for how lucky I was to have found her that cold day at the SPCA 13 years ago.

“She brought us laughter, protection, devotion — and a kind of love that was distilled to a purity that we’ve rarely found in any other aspect of our life journey.

(Photo: A Viszla named Laila — who just so happens to have her own blog — appears thankful for her owner, and vice versa, during a walk in Baltimore’s Riverside Park; by John Woestendiek)