Sometimes we need to look back to look forward. In this case, looking back on the famous poem, Sonnet 43 “How Do I Love Thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, which seems particularly poignant.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace.
“I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
“I love thee with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”
For many, this sonnet is geared toward another human being. But for others, they feel this way towards their pets. Since your pet probably isn’t reading sonnets, poetry or any other novels, how can you show them you love them by day-to-day activities? Try a few of these simple tactics and your pet will absolutely know they’re in your heart forever:
1. Feed your pet healthy food. Just like humans, pets thrive when they have a healthy diet. Visit the website of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (acvn.org) for some basic guidelines about what to feed your pet and always check with your vet before changing your pet’s diet.
2. Exercise your pet. Exercise is a vital part of enriching your pets’ lives. Walking, running, playing fetch, and learning agility or flyball are all great ways to keep your dog physically fit. For cats, try interactive play with wand toys or balls. Many of these activities have the added benefit of exercising humans, too. Always check with your vet before starting your pet on a new exercise regimen.
3. Pay attention to what you pet wants to do. Study up a little on animal language and begin to observe whether or not your pet enjoys the activities you’re asking them to participate in. Does your pup indicate through his body language that he really doesn’t enjoy wrestling with other dogs? If so, cut it from your repertoire. On the flip side, try to find things that he loves doing and work those activities into your schedule. For example, if your dog loves to dig, make him a sand pit out of a kiddie pool. If your cat loves going outside, build a cattery so she can enjoy the outdoors safely.
4. Visit the vet for a checkup. Let’s face it — few of us like going to the doctor, and our pets are no different, but you can teach your pets to tolerate going to the vet by doling out delicious treats that make the experience more enjoyable. Some clinics may allow you to simply come and visit, so that later on when an appointment is necessary, your pet will have a more positive association with medical care. Don’t forget to schedule your pet’s annual checkup while you’re there.
5. Play more games. Playing games is an effective stress reliever for you and provides your pets with both mental and physical benefits. To keep your pet from getting bored, find a few activities (such as fetch, hide-and-seek, and scent games) that you enjoy playing with each other. 6. Help him conquer his fears. In animals, fear manifests itself in several ways, ranging from shutting down to retreating to appearing aggressive. We don’t often work on our pets’ fears (or even notice them) unless it becomes a problem for us. Enhance your pet’s quality of life by vowing to change that this year. If you don’t know where to start, consider hiring a behavior consultant who can help figure out your pet’s specific needs. There are many online resources to check out as well.
7. Enjoy and pamper your pets. Most important of all, show them just how much they are loved. Take a few extra minutes to cuddle. Let your dog play with his buddies just a bit longer. Give your cat an extra treat now and then just for being cute. Be slow to anger, quick to forgive and cherish every moment you have with your pets.
MHS Pets of the Week are brought to you by The Cimino Family: Bella is a 3.5-year-old spayed female border collie/pitbull mix. This sweet girl loves attention and treats but she would benefit from losing some of the weight that she’s put on account of all those treats she loves so much.
She would prefer to be the only pet in the home.
Kitty is a beautiful 7-year-old spayed female Domestic Longhair Tortoiseshell and Lily is a 5-year-old spayed female domestic shorthair wearing a tuxedo suit. Zorro is 1.5-year-old a neutered male Blue Heeler mix. Oh, this boy is cute and he’s ready for adventure. He seems to be good in a home with other dogs and children.
Please note, MHS is closed all Sundays in September. Visit midlandshumanesociety.org/adopt.