Have You Hugged Your Hound Today?

September 8 is National Hug Your Hound Day.

The past month has been a challenge for us. Our beagle, Buddy, started limping on three legs. His lameness required a visit to a vet neurologist. At first we wondered if he might be having another episode with degenerative disk disease, but an MRI showed he did not have a significant level of spinal pressure to warrant another surgery. Whew! We were glad to hear that information.

The neurologist prescribed prednisone and crate rest for four weeks. Buddy likes his bed, which we’ve placed in a small pen in our family room. So that’s where he’s been confined for the past three weeks. The treatment is working. Lately, when we’ve taken him out to do his “business” he hasn’t limped anymore.

During this time of strict rest, I really missed petting and hugging Buddy. I missed having him under foot whenever I cooked a meal. I missed long walks with him around the neighborhood. I can watch him sleep and hear him breathing over there in his pen, but life just isn’t the same. One more week to go.

I’ve learned how much I need my dog. Did you know owning a dog has lots of benefits for people? Here are a few:

  • Improved heart health (studies have linked owning a dog with lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol)
  • Increased exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Improved social life (talking to neighbors who walk their dogs)
  • Reduced stress (spending a few minutes with your dog lowers anxiety)
  • Greater meaning and purpose to life.
  • Less depression
  • Prevention of allergies in children
  • Reduce doctor visits (especially among senior citizens)

Wow! Doesn’t this list inspire you to give your four legged friend a hug? Or if you don’t have the pleasure of owning a dog, you might consider the idea.

National Hug Your Hound Day is about observing the world from your dog’s point of view.

I share Buddy’s point of view in my book, Buddy the Beagle on Blueberry Street. The story follows his recovery from paralysis caused by a herniated disk in 2013. I appreciate this endorsement from our veterinarian, who helped us get through Buddy’s medical challenges.

“Buddy teaches us how to keep perspective and maintain a positive outlook on life no matter what the situation may be.” —Enrique G. Duprey, DVM

This post is for all of you dog lovers who continue to invest in the health of your pets. If they could speak human and thank you, they would! Dogs love unconditionally and inspire us to be better people. How has your dog enriched your life? Leave a comment.

See No Weevil

Do you like oatmeal? It’s a nutritious and low calorie food. Oatmeal is even more nutritious if you throw a few weevils into your bowl. What? Weevils?

One morning I decided to prepare some of the oatmeal that had been sitting in my pantry for months. I think I should also mention I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time.

I scooped the oatmeal into a bowl, added the recommended amount of water, and slid the bowl into the microwave. When the cook time finished, I removed the bowl and carried it to the table. I mixed in a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar, poured a little milk on top, and began to eat while I scanned emails on my phone.

Suddenly I took a closer look into my bowl. What are those funny black specks? Hey, wait a minute, those don’t look normal. 

I walked back in the kitchen and opened the oatmeal container. Brown things were crawling inside! I felt sick to my stomach. Could those things be weevils in the larvae stage? Oh no, I already ate two spoonfuls. Of course, whenever anyone needs medical information, who should you turn to, but Google. Of course, Google knows everything.

Weevils are small beetles that feed on grains. Their larvae is often found in packaged flour, cornmeal, cereals, and dog food. Weevils don’t break inside sealed packages, they are already inside as eggs. When the time is right they hatch.

I was greatly relieved that according to my internet source, weevils are not harmful to people or pets. Heating kills them, so that made me feel a little better. One site even shared that weevils could be considered a protein source . Actually, all of us have probably eaten a few weevils during our lifetime. Maybe we were  totally unaware of their presence.

Even though I felt a little better, that doesn’t mean I finished my oatmeal.  I poured it down the garbage disposal and got rid of the whole package of oats. I decided to eat a bagel with cream cheese instead. This was not a time to think about losing weight. 

The moral of the story: Take a close look (with your glasses on) inside any container of grains in order to be sure you “see no weevil.”

Readers, I hope this story has brightened your election week. Tomorrow many of us may be voting on  “the lesser of two weevils.”