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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Celebrating Memorial Day with Your Dog

by Carrie Boyko

(c) Carrie Boyko
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Like many dog owners, I enjoy including my pack in whatever celebration I am having. Whether it be a costume on Halloween or a special bandanna or shirt, my dogs seem to get the message that something extra special is happening. I know, they sense it from my excitement, but that's all good when we have something special going on in our lives, even if only a long weekend.

Memorial Day was set aside on this day to commemorate U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. A patriotic holiday requires a red, white and blue theme at my house--just for fun. But what else can you do to  participate with your pups in this remembrance of these special service men and women? Here's a few ideas:

  • Take your dog with you to the parade! Like many of the ideas below, it's FREE and he will enjoy the walk, the activity, and passersby will enjoy saying hello. This is a great time to practice friendly, calm greetings with your dog, so remember to bring a few training treats in your pocket, and praise him when he behaves properly. Canine manners are important when you are out in public, so be ready.
  • Visit your closest veteran's cemetery for a walk, and time to contemplate the ultimate sacrifice that these special folks have made to help us keep our freedom.
  • Wherever you go on this special day, take Fido with you, wearing his or her red, white and blue. You too! Don't have a bandanna? Just tie a ribbon around Spot's neck; this will do the trick.
  • If your community is sponsoring a commemorative event, join in with Rover in tow. Likely it will be an outdoor gala, complete with flags, speeches and local performers. Your dog is sure to love the excitement and attention he will get, even if only wearing a ribbon around his neck. This will surely be a good opportunity to socialize your dog--good for his manners.
  • Whenever you take your large or younger dog into a public setting, there is one thing you should do to assure safety and a calmer dog; take your pup on a long walk before you go. This may seem redundant, but it will help to drain his energy and make him a calmer companion during your outing.
  • Today is the perfect day to consider a dog park visit. While you're at it, perhaps you might want to Adopt a Dog Park. What a great way to show your dedication to your dog as well as helping out the government with a little dog park clean up now and then.You can visit Adopt a Dog Park for more information.
  • One last idea for finding patriotic bandannas and other accessories: In addition to pet stores, I have located them at places like dollar stores, craft shops, and discount stores. At this time of year, there is usually stock at most of these places, with Memorial Day, July 4th and then Labor Day, all lined up to take their place in our patriotic celebrations. Now go have some fun with your dog!
Xena, Tanner and Oliver plan a day with their favorite girl this year. We're ready to celebrate her homecoming along with Memorial Day. Maybe just a cookout at home? Here's a plan you might enjoy, complete with a bunch of yummy recipes for your own cookout:  Kicking Back with the Dogs on Memorial Day.

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© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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