For the Love of Dog
Our Endless Affair with Man's Best Friend
Photography: Craig Wolfrom
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However They Come to You, It's Your Job to Protect Them.
It’s said around here that you can’t be a contractor in this Valley without a Lab in your truck bed—endearing image, deathly dangerous. We know they love their dogs, but . . . you can’t save them all. While we wish them luck, and say a little prayer as we see them, ears flapping, eyes squinting, doing 70 along Highway 75, this is for those of you with a different approach to nurturing a relationship with your dog.
Being owned by a dog is a huge responsibility. Once the new puppy smell gives way to the soiled carpet stink and the cute way he brought you your shoes is now another pair of ruined shoes, you have . . . a dog.
Whether puppy or dog, you need to choose a vet. Make sure when making your choice that you find a person who will accompany you on your pet’s journey, however long or short, in the style that will accommodate your personal relationship with your pet. If they can’t relate to you in life, they won’t be able to help youin death or crisis.
Most vets offer a starter puppy package, and older pets hopefully have some history, but vaccinations are crucial to your pet’s overall health. The newest option is customized vaccines that are specific to your dog.
If you get a pedigreed dog, familiarize yourself with the quirks in the breed’s health and behavior and take a list of questions with you when you go to your vet.
Raw food diets are a growing trend that you might be interested in exploring. The nearest source here is River Hawk Raw Foods in Bliss, Idaho, but organic and other specialized foods are sold at Ketchum’s Thunderpaws and BasicsPlus in Ketchum and Hailey. Do your homework. Some dogs have allergies just like children. Boxers, for example, are prone to a heart defect that might be deflected if they are diet supplemented with taurine and L-carnitine.
Exercise. It’s good for you, it’s good for them.
These are the basics for maintaining a healthy dog, but what if the unforeseen happens? Something like a broken leg during a hike or an organ failure? That can leave an owner faced with difficult decisions at an emotional time.
“Pet insurance is an issue,” says Dr. Mark Acker. “It is an upcoming industry and more people are getting it and the policies are getting better.”
With advances in technology, artificial limbs, ophthalmology, cardiology and the like, insurance can be a great help in allowing an owner to match life-saving possibilities with the pocketbook. >>>