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Sat, Jan. 18

All About Pets: Comfort pets, dog dancing and freezing temps

Duke has been doing much better after being pounced upon by a deer. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Duke has been doing much better after being pounced upon by a deer. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Hopefully, we all had a safe and healthy Halloween. Hopefully, we were able to keep our pet's heads out of the candy bowl!

A couple of updates. After my column talking about the death of my sister’s dog, Walker, and the comforting visit from Lacey, her daughter’s dog, a gal wrote to me reminding me that it is not just dogs that provide comfort. Cats also can be good caregivers.

Kathy Davidson has been dealing with a diagnosis of colon cancer. Her cat, Robbie, stayed by her side constantly for five days from her first chemo treatment to when she finally started to feel better. And she adds, he still checks on her regularly. Such a comfort.

Kathy had another cat many years ago who provided so much love and support after the death of her father, to both her and her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimers. The cat stayed with her mother and provided such love.

She adds, “People who don’t think pets know what’s going on or how we are feeling, don’t know pets very well.”

My pups and I were supposed to have been in Tucson this past weekend competing in a Canine Musical Freestyle event. However, due to some health issues, we had to cancel. My biggest regret is not being able to see and visit with all of my dog friends with whom we have performed together in countless events around the state for several years. It has been great fun.

Some people call this sport — dancing with your dog. I prefer to call it “moving to music with your dog. Try it. Put on some fun music and just start joyfully walking out with your dog by your side.

From there, you can teach a fun bunch of moves: spin, twist, weave and countless more. If you have ever seen horses do dressage, which is said to have been the inspiration for this sport with our dogs. Dressage is now an Olympic sport. The difference between the two is that in dressage, horse and rider move together as one. With freestyle, the fun is discovering all the options.

The other item I wanted to mention is Duke. Remember that darling little Yorkie who was pounced upon by a deer? His prognosis was not great, particularly because he is soon to be 15 years old.

But as you see in this photo, he is up and walking. Part of this is due to his own determination. But his people, Linda and Larry Amsry, have devoted themselves to his improvement including lots of extra treatments like laser and acupuncture. Plus, they do their own physical therapy with him, which has been a great help.

The deer have been everywhere lately, certainly in my neighborhood. And these little spotted babies are tagging along, learning what is good to eat and what to avoid. It is amazing to watch the bond among the family. It is always frightening, with the speed of many drivers, that the deer will be involved in an accident. Hopefully not. We must be ever vigilant.

As the weather cools, it is important to take care of our pets as well as our plants. Hopefully, our pets are not spending the night outside. This is certainly not the time to clip those hairy dogs down close. Those multi-layered coats provide insulation from both the heat and the cold. Regular brushing keeps the air flowing between those layers. With the cold mornings like we have had, keep that doggie jacket handy for our short- haired boys and girls. Lacy has a soft blanket which she enjoys snuggling under on these cooler nights. But no matter how cold, they still want their walks.

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at

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