My day job is that of a librarian, I love books and I read a lot. Of course you all know that my other love is dogs so combining these passions are a must for me. Dog Books !!
I thought I would share my favourite dog inspired books – this list will be added to as I continue my reading so please check back from time to time
Five Hundred Mile Walkies by Mark Wallington
This read is what it says on the title; Mark Wallington walks the South West Coastal Path with his friend’s dog. They start in Somerset and walk the five hundred route through Devon and Cornwall.
Neither of them are prepared or your standard ‘walker’ and his dog is more used to travelling on the London Underground than seeing rabbits and the delights that the countryside has to offer them both. I love the personal journeys that they both take in learning how to understand the walk that they are undertaking.
This book follows their adventures walking from place to place, with descriptive narrative on each place they visit – I think this is a go back to book, not only as a story but as a guide to amazing coastal walks.I have used this book time and time again and found some astounding places in my home county of Cornwall.
Marley and Me by John Grogan
You might have seen the film; to be honest I cannot watch the film without crying like a baby. The book is just as good or I would say even better. This is a get wrapped up in a blanket, get a cuppa, turn off the phone and read type of book.
I have ordered my next choice and I cannot wait for it to arrive…
Think Dog: An Owner’s guide to Canine Psycology by John Fisher
This book looks at how our dogs see the world – it is a dogs point of view on things.
I can’t be the only one that looks at my dog and wonders what they are thinking – I am hoping this book will help answer that for me.
“In this seminal pet psychology book, John Fisher examines the mind of the dog with examples taken from his practical experience, with the aim of explaining to owners how the world appears from a dog’s point of view.”
Then in the second part of the book he looks at the A – Z of common dog behaviour problems
I will let you know what I think once I have had a read
4. This is my holiday pick
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
What a lovely book, this one is to be read whilst sat on a sunny patio or in a hammock on a beach holiday, holding a cool drink – this book is going to make you smile. It is a “…dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. A moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose”
Do you worry about the little things in life? Do you worry about what is going to happen in the future ? Why not improve your Mental Health by following the example of dogs. Read on to find steps to improve your Mental health
Sat on the sofa watching my French Bulldog, Dinky Daisy, in front of the fire on her bed, chewing her ‘antler’ toy – a favorite at the moment, it makes me think that she looks so content and happy.
Dinky Daisy – relaxing x
As I sit, I am not completely happy, I always have that worry in the pit of my stomach – what haven’t I done, what should I be doing, I can’t cope with what life is throwing at me, I will not cope with what is coming up…
I am sat thinking that I am looking old, that I should be exercising more – my Joe Wicks book still sat on the shelf. I am sat feeling guilty that I am not a good enough wife, mother, sister and daughter – I haven’t sent my nephew a Birthday card…I should have done that.
I have all the self help books, ‘ overcoming worry’, ‘how to succeed in life’, ‘CBT to help anxiety and depression’ but maybe I am looking in the wrong places to – I look down again at my feet where my French Bulldog is still chewing away stopping just to glance at me with love and happiness in her eyes, well she does also have a little ‘don’t you even think of having my antler bone – it is mine!’ but we will brush past that look – lets stick with the love and happiness look
This may sound completely barking, excuse the pun, but maybe I should learn some lessons from my best friend, Dinky Daisy. I don’t know call it dog mindfulness, becoming more zen dog.
I understand that dogs do not have the pressures that we have as humans, but surely I can learn something from my dog, can’t I ? She is not anxious, depressed, she is confident and happy – so what can I learn from my dog ?
Walking, Running, Exercise
Dinky Daisy needs exercise, she becomes stressed if I don’t take her out for a good old walk in the fresh air – she loves to run and she would be outside all the time if I let her. So how can I use that for improved Mental Health. Well it is a fact that exercise increases the feel good hormones, helps to relax and improves mood. Walking is great and having a dog makes you go out everyday, even if you don’t feel like it, I always feel better after being out on the windy moor where I live.
2. Can sit quietly, completely content
Now this is something I know I can’t do, not like her, she can sit there on the sofa, still, happy, content and quiet – I do everything in my power not to sit with my thoughts as they are not very good company, they are my arch enemy – best if I stay busy. If I sit quietly I will start the self loathing cycle or the worry cycle – why would I want to do that – I can go from ok to feeling useless in less than 60 seconds just by sitting with my thoughts. I should make myself sit quietly for at least 10 minutes, empty my head of the bad thoughts and replace them with thankfulness and appreciation. Yoga meditation is great for practicing this and I have found many free Yoga videos posted online.
3. Staying in the moment
Dogs don’t think in the future, they are in the present, in the moment – worry is mostly about the future…I am going out with friends tomorrow night..great, I am so excited – but wait (let the worry commence), what if I can’t find the new pub we are meeting..Oh god, what if there is not a parking space and I have to parallel park, what if I am not on form and have nothing interesting to talk about..Oh no, I had forgotten about the ‘what am I going to wear nightmare’ I am sure I have put weight on since I last saw them – bet they will think I am looking ugly whatever I put on…and so it goes on – by this point I don’t want to go, I could call and say I have to work late, I have food poisoning…so by thinking about the future I have put myself off from going to what would have been a great night with my best friends. So by not staying in the moment I have not only ruined tomorrow night but also today as I will now spend the next 12 hours worrying, that is a lot of hours to miss what is going on right now.
4. Asking for what she wants with not guilt or embarrassment
Another thing I am terrible at doing, Dinky Daisy lets me know exactly what she wants. she doesn’t go around the houses when asking me to give her a cuddle, a toy, a walk – she lets me know that’s what she wants and needs from me. Me, if I need something I may feel guilty that I need it, afraid to ask in case the answer is no or I am seen as ‘silly’ asking – do you know what I mean? – example – I am feeling low, upset and all I want is some comfort from my husband, I want a cuddle and 5 minutes to explain that I am feeling low and not sure why- so instead of saying something to him I fester, nag about other things, get frustrated and start snapping at those around me, work myself up and get upset about the smallest things. If I changed that into letting those who love me know exactly what I needed and tell them ‘ I woke up feeling not great can I have a cuddle and talk it through for a minute’ he would most likely do it – this could be enough to change the whole day – make me feel supported, listened to and I might even be able to discover what it is that is upsetting me so I can move on from the feelings.
“canines are equipped with a natural instinct to live in the moment, despite having an understanding of the concept of time. It’s that devil-may-care attitude that allows them to forget about what happened yesterday — good or bad — and not worry a bit about what will happen tomorrow.” Click here to find out more
So dogs do have a concept of time, but not in the way us humans do – dogs tend to live in the moment and do not have an instinct to look to the future and worry – I live by the clock, time is either going to fast or slow – usually fast – I worry that I am not going to get everything done in the day – but do I put to much emphasis on time, I understand that we have to clock watch when we have to, for example, get to our jobs, but on those days off – do I really need to clock watch and worry about what I am not doing, and when I am doing something thinking about the other things I should be doing or think I should be doing ! Living in the moment could lessen the anxiety that clocks bring to my life
Dogs play, with out embarrassment, watch your dog play with a ball – pure joy on their part – and fun for us humans to watch. Watch your dog chew at their favorite toy or drag their teddy around – they are completely focused on playing. When dogs are young they play to learn and practice new skills, but they still play when they are adult dogs – to me they continue to play as a release, they enjoy it – Daisy doesn’t care what I or anyone else thinks of her when she plays – Have you seen the TV where it shows wild animals play – why do they do it ? As adults we stop playing, why? Maybe we would feel a whole lot better if we did play – I am not talking all the time – but maybe we should incorporate it into our day – learn to do something we enjoy and do it once a day – live life, to not see playing as a waste of time but as a vital part of having good mental health so we can tackle the harder things that life throws our way…just a thought
6. Have people around you that love you
Dinky Daisy would not be as content and healthy if it was for not of the love of my husband and I – Dogs are only these things when they have a human family who love and care for them. This is the most vital point in her contentment – she has all she needs to flourish into a healthy. well-rounded dog that is provided by us. If this care is withdrawn the dog becomes anxious, aggressive, withdrawn – just look at dogs who have been abused by their owners…same for us as humans – we also need to surround ourselves with people who nourish us for us to flourish.
7. Transparent emotions / show your happiness
When I have been at work all day and I walk through the front door I don’t even get the chance to put my handbag down as Dinky Daisy jumps madly onto me, her bum wiggling ( her attempt to tail wag), running manically around the living room – if she could talk I am sure she would be shouting at the top of her voice …I AM SO HAPPY YOU ARE HOME !!
on the flip side if she is upset, nervous, angry she shows me – she doesn’t hold back showing her emotions, non of this suppressing it – so why do I suppress my emotions ?
After being at work I am happy to be home and see my family, but often this gets buried deep and for some strange reason I will walk through the door and start moaning, either about my day or the mess that is presented to me as I walk in – should it not matter more that I walk in showing the same as Dinky Daisy … you know the…I AM SO HAPPY to be home, that I have a wonderful family and I am now home with them…the human equivalent of the tail wag.
10. Don’t worry or think about what others think if you
Example ; I feel fine leaving the house, I go into town and stop for a coffee – I have mobility problems which means I can walk funny -stiff with a bit of a swingy leg – a woman at the table I walk I think looks at me ‘funny’ – what is she thinking about me? is now all I am thinking about…if she is thinking it everyone else is noticing my swingly leg and thinking I look like like an idiot? I wish I hadn’t come out. Believe me those negative thoughts then start to spiral – bet people I have walked past have thought how fat I am, ugly I am, stupid I am, old…now I am not looking forward to my hot chocolate (with cream and little marshmallows), now I just want to run home and curl up in bed. So what happened – I let my perception of ‘what I think others are thinking of me’ to ruin my day. You know what, I bet that woman in the shop didn’t even look at me, you usually find, if we asked, most people are not looking at you and forming a negative judgement about you – it’s in your head !
11. Don’t judge others on appearance, religion, ethnicity, sexuality and don’t let what others bother you
Dinky Daisy does not judge anyone by what they look like, who their partner is or what they believe – she judges others on how they treat her – Treat Dinky Daisy well and she will love you unconditionally, treat her bad and she will not want to be near you – simple.
She doesn’t look at me sat on the sofa in my PJ’s and thinks oooo she should be dressed by now… no she comes over and wants a cuddle. My friend doesn’t believe in God but I don’t see Dinky Daisy going over and saying – “no don’t tickle my belly as you are a non – believer !” We definitely should learn that from dogs – not the belly rub thing, the non-judgement thing.
These are just a few of my late night thoughts on the subject and I will look at each one in more depth, and might even add some more as I continue to talk to people and read on the subject.
Please if you have any thoughts on this subject or would like to guest blog for me on the subject of Dogs and Mental Health then comment below or contact me via the contact tab.
Use the Table below to see the important days in your girls pregnancy – see below table to get more detailed information
IMPORTANT DAYS OF 63 DAYS OF PREGNANCY
NOTES – please see notes written below table for more detailed information
1st Day start of 1st Month of Pregnancy
1. Count Birth date of puppies from in between 1st and 2nd mating – 63 days
2. Do not increase food for Mum to Be
3.Ultrasound or Blood test to be done
4. Note all bitches show signs of pregnancy
5. If pregnant changes in behaviour
31st Day start of 2nd Month of Pregnancy
6. Feed Mum to Be Puppy food
56th Day last week of Pregnancy
7. Increase food intake for Mum to Be by 1/3 rd
8. Puppies could be born
9. Puppies could be born
10. Puppies could be born
So what most people say when a Dam is having puppies is that it is a “63” day pregnancy – this can be hard to work out with much accuracy. A rule of thumb is to take the 63 day count to start from the date between the 1st mating and 2nd mating of your girl. So a healthy pregnancy is for 2 Months – in puppy development the puppies develop their organs and limbs in the 1st Month and then the pups will use the 2nd Month to grow in size.
In the first Month of Pregnancy you do not need / or should you increase your females food intake, just feed a good quality feed – it is vital that you do not let her increase her fat (weight ) as it will just make it so much harder and lead to more complications when she is giving birth – None of this feeding for 2 or 3 or 4 business then??
On the 28th Day is Ultra Sound Day – You have to wait until 28 days to have a useful Ultra Sound done to see if she is 1. Pregnant and 2. How many puppies she is having because you would not see much before that – Did you know that all Bitches that have come into season think and show signs of being pregnant ? So in the first 30 days all females can have the signs of a. increased appetite, b. laid back behaviour and c. so changes in pecking order if living with other dogs …that explains a lot in our household at the moment – we have 2 females living together, who came into season at the same time, and it is like an episode of War and Peace going on – “I hate you…I love you…” Believe me it is an EPIC drama going on.
It is important to have a scan at 28 days so that you can also see how many puppies she is going to have – why? Well, if there are only a couple of puppies they have more room to grow and will become very large when she is due to give birth – if they grow too big it may be hard for her to give birth without help
If it shows up that she is having a over sized litter then the Bitch may struggle to get enough nutrition to support to produce all healthy pups – she may well need extra nutrition in the form of Calcium ( but do not give this unless advised by vet)
Other than an Ultra Sound your female could have a blood test to test for the pregnancy hormone ‘Relaxin’ – Only Pregnant Bitches would show up Relaxin – but again this can only show up in the blood from 28 days onwards – of course this will only tell you if she is pregnant and not any more info…like how many.
So the changes you could notice in your female dog are
a) Appetite increase
b) A Lower tolerance in exercise – especially in the 2nd month of pregnancy
c) She can become more aggressive to other dogs in the household
d) Can become picky with her food
So this is the start of the 2nd Month of pregnancy and when it comes to food it is suggested that you feed puppy food, this is due to the nutritional concentration being very high , including the all important Calcium – Phosphorus – which is found in puppy food.
In this last week of pregnancy you can increase food intake ( puppy food ) by 1/3 rd – that is all, she will not be able to fit too much food in any way as all room will be taken up with puppies ! Little and often and think quality not quantity as being the most important thing for her.
So prepare for the puppies to be born on any of these days – If she is carrying fewer puppies then more likely to be on days 63/64/65 – if she is carrying lots of puppies then she is likely to give birth early – day 61/62 – It is suggested by experts that to work it out – Every puppy less will add 0.25 days and Every puppy more will reduce days by 0.25
Feel free to print this out and stick it up somewhere to remind you of next steps
Becoming a expert in getting rid of that embarrassing dog smell in my house – time I won the battle one cleaning product at a time.
OK, I am trying to get my 2 babies – Dinky and Grace, to toilet in the garden and on walks – Grace loves to go for walks and hold it in so she can wee and poo in the lounge for me – I’m sure she prides herself on it, sees it as an accomplishment. Alright, maybe a bit paranoid on my part, but come on…its not that hard to wee on the grass outside. Anyway, I have gone off track – as an owner of a dog who is finding it hard to grasp the concept I have tried and tested everything to get rid of the wee and more importantly the smell. For any puppy owners or ‘leaky dog’ owners I have been doing my own research on the web – this is what I have discovered, hope you find it useful too