In honor of National Lost Dog Awareness Day, we bring you our three favorite found dog stories. These stories gave us so much hope over the past year and serve as a great source of inspiration and preparation! Take a moment to check out these heartwarming stories and before you do anything else today, register your dog on the Finding Rover app so you can protect your best friend!
We love this story of how Staff Sgt. Kevin Brady was reunited with his best bud Bailey after they were initially separated in Afghanistan. Brady took the 8-week-old pup in from the streets, training and bonding with her until she was 7 months old. However, when he had to return stateside, the two were separated. Read our in-depth story about how Brady finally located Bailey again from abroad and the efforts it took to ship Bailey over from Afghanistan, reuniting the two for good.
Would you remember you best friend if the two of you were separated for eight years? Baxter, the family cocker spaniel, was stolen from the Day family's home, but when he was reunited with his family eight years later, he immediately remembered his best friend, twelve-year-old Bailey Day. Read about how the boy and his best friend were finally reunited in our story on Baxter's recovery.
Sassy is one lucky little lady. After running away from her home in Kentucky, Sassy made a journey of 400 miles all the way to Pennsylvania before she was ultimately reunited with her overjoyed owner. Read the story about how Sassy not only trekked great distances, but made her way out of a kill shelter into the hands of a good samaritan foster family.
Exercising with your dog is a great time-saver and not to mention stellar for you and your best friend's health. But before you tie up those laces or take your dog on that bike ride, check out this list of tips to ensure that you and your pooch are getting the most out of your exercise together in a safe and healthy way.
Consult the Vet
Just because your dog seems healthy doesn't mean there isn't a health concern beneath the surface that could be preventing her from performing vigorous exercise. Before you and your best friend head out on that road to running a 5K together, make sure you check with your vet to see if your dog has any health or breed-specific limitations that may hinder her physical activity.
Build a Base
Just because you can run a mile effortlessly doesn't necessarily mean your pooch can. Unless you've been exercising regularly with your dog since he was a puppy, make sure to start slow and build a solid base with your pooch. Even the most basic things such as the pads on his paws will need toughening up before he can go long distances.
To the Left, to the Left (or to the Right)
Make sure you train your dog to stay on one side of you while you're exercising with her. Constantly switching sides is bad for her neck and presents the possibility of choking, not to mention could catch you off-balance. Keep your dog to one side of you at all times and if she tries to switch, correct her immediately.
This applies to both you and your pooch! Make sure you bring enough water for both you and your dog—be diligent in keeping an eye out for signs of dehydration in your dog. If he starts excessively panting or slowing down in pace, immediately stop for a water break.
Make sure you check your buddy for any cuts, scrapes, or sharp objects that may have become lodged in her paws. Check her for any ticks, burrs, or other foreign objects, and don't forget to rehydrate her fully after the workout. And don't fail to schedule in rest days—even your workout buddy needs to take a break!
Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren't born knowing how to swim. However, the task comes pretty naturally to dogs (especially if your dog is already curious about water and likes being around it) and is actually easier to teach than training your dog how to roll over! Check out our steps below on how to effectively teach your dog how to swim.
Choose a Small, Calm Body of Water
Salt-water swimming pools are best (but how rare are those, right?), but if you don't have access to this, small, shallow swimming holes or small streams with grassy or sandy banks are also fine. The key is to pick a body of water that has no currents or waves, and is shallow enough and surrounded by enough easily accessible land so that your pup feels safe.
Bring the Correct Gear
A life jacket is a must! Put a life jacket on your dog just like you would on a baby when you teach her to swim for the first time. Bring along your dog's highest-value treat or toy. If your dog is more food motivated, bring along her favorite small treats (pieces of chicken and liver work really well). If you have a dog who's not that interested in food, bring her favorite toy along with you.
Dog, Meet Water
Without introducing the treat or toy just yet, slowly back into the body of water. Call your dog toward the water and allow him to approach the water slowly, sniffing it and slowly getting acquainted if he needs to. Give him ample time to do this and restrain any urge you feel to hurry him into the water!
Slowly Lure Him In
Stand about 2-3 steps away from the edge in the water and offer the treat or toy to your dog, encouraging him to get his front paws wet. Keep repeating this step slowly until all of his paws are in the water. Once he's comfortable in the water (if he keeps running back, just repeat the steps until he can stand comfortably in the water without retreating), take several big steps away from him and then call him toward you, offering him the treat or toy.
Lift Those Legs!
Once your dog has walked all the way to you in the water, lower yourself to your dog's level and gently guide her deeper into the water, guiding her with treats or the toy if necessary. When the water reaches your dog's chest level, place your hand on her belly at the base of her ribcage and gently lift her a little bit so she'll naturally start kicking (swimming!) with her hind legs. Use your other hand to help keep her head and neck lifted above water, and walk alongside her as she progresses. Keep supporting her until her body relaxes and she's no longer stiff. When this happens, you can slowly let go of her and encourage her to swim toward you with treats or toys.
Dogs love peanut butter and while store bought peanut butter is easy, most recipes made at home are almost always healthier and free of preservatives. This peanut butter recipe is incredibly easy to make, and you can make sure it’s salt-free and organic for your pup. While sodium isn’t beneficial for dogs, your pooch can easily digest honey and it’s actually incredibly antioxidant for canines. Try out this delicious and healthy peanut butter recipe for your pup!
2 cups peanuts
1 ½ teaspoons honey
1 ½ peanut oil
Place all the peanuts and honey into a food processor and blend until they are well mixed. Scrape down the sides and add in the oil, blending until the peanut butter is creamy and smooth in consistency. Keep your peanut butter in an airtight container or freeze some in a kong as a frozen treat for your dog!
This is an oldie-but-goodie type of story, and seriously, it gets us a little sniffly every time we hear it. Graham Waspe's guide dog, Edward, had given 6 years of wonderful and loyal service to his legally blind owner when the dog, an eight-year-old Labrador, contract a rare form of Glaucoma and was left blind himself. Though Waspe and his wife were devastated at first, their grief quickly turned to joy when Edward's replacement guide dog, Opal, turned out to be a guide superdog.
Not only is Opal capable of carrying out Edward's former tasks, she's also able to help Edward get around and has become a close canine companion for him. Upon becoming fast friends, Edward now follows Opal closely and listens to her foot-fall to help guide him around.
Edward lives with the Waspes as a retired guide dog and family pet nowadays, and he and Opal make school presentations together where Edward gets to enjoy his favorite activity—getting lots of love, attention, and belly rubs from the kids at school.