Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Leopold’s Crate: Allow me to make introductions.

MEET Leopold:  

This is Leopold.

He is 65 lbs of what I believe to be one of the most handsome dogs in all of existence.  He is the first dog I’ve raised on my own, having adopted him when he was just 10 weeks new to the world.  He can be a goofball, stubbornly intelligent, and is the biggest wuss I’ve ever known.  He has eyes that can speak and has never met another dog he didn’t like.

He is one of the greatest joys of my life. 
His goofy antics light up a smile on my face, and every sloppy wet kiss he gives is a kiss that I cherish.  I feel special when he greets me at the door with his entire body in full wag.  And every time he saunters up to me in exhaustion with a gigantic, jovial grin on his face after he’s had a hard run at the dog park, I can’t help but feel lucky that I am the one who got to adopt him.  I cherish every moment spent in his company and will always want to hug him just one more time.

Leopold has also been the source of much grief, frustration, and veterinary bills due to a slew of issues ranging from allergies to anxiety to explosions of energy at inappropriate times.
He is the reason I've spent money, time, and effort trying to learn the best way to care for a dog in general and to help Leopold live a happy and healthy life in particular.

MEET the writer:

Laura with Leopold winter 2011
My name is Laura.  I could say to you that I’ve loved animals all my life, but I feel that this is not only trite but inadequate.  It would be better to say that in addition to an innate curiosity and fascination with the animals with which we share our lives and world, I have always been compelled by an unseen force to care for animals and to help animals in need.  Whether it be a squirrel pup that fell from its nest, the growing numbers of homeless dogs and cats struggling for their slice of happiness, or the dwindling populations of critically endangered species, I’ve always wanted to put in my time and effort to help animals live the happy and healthy lives they deserve.

As a result, my life has led me to be a pet owner, pet sitter, aspiring ecologist/conservationist, animal shelter volunteer, animal shelter employee, pet training instructor, family vet clinic volunteer, and, most recently, an emergency vet assistant.  I originally set out to fight for the lives of endangered species, and for a while I pursued a career as an ecologist.  However, not too long ago I realized that I would like to change paths—I now hope to go to vet school and become a veterinarian specializing in exotics.

In no way do I consider myself to be an expert on animal care.  Though I aspire to become an authority on the subject, I am currently just a person who has had some experiences that I believe will prove helpful to those of you out there struggling with the same issues I have.

MEET the blog:

This is a blog of what I’ve learned thus far from the experiences I’ve had caring for animals.  It is a blog of my missteps and retries, my clever tricks and experiments, my disasters and triumphs.  It is the journey I’ve traveled so far on my quest to quench a thirst for animal care knowledge and know-how—a thirst that might possibly never be satiated.

It seems to me that not too long ago owning a pet was a simpler task.  Apparently we didn’t know any better back then.  Now we feel responsible for the mental and physical health of our animals in such a way that requires more thought and decision on things like food, playtime and exercise, and even dental care.  And making the wrong choice could cost our pets their lives or at least their happiness.
Though I have learned much from caring for many different pets, including turtles, rabbits, birds, and many other pocket pets, I’ve learned the most from raising Leopold.   As such, posts on this blog will most likely center on canines.

My search for doggy knowledge has led me to books, videos, TV shows, chats with veterinarians, chats with fellow dog enthusiasts, and of course the internet.  The only solid thing I’ve learned from my search is that there is a lot of information out there on pet ownership and on dog ownership in particular.  The body of information for every aspect of pet ownership is enormous; and growing.  It’s hard to sort through it all and come out knowing what’s right and what’s not, especially when opinions and theories are sometimes contradictory.  While one could call this a wealth of information, I think it would be more appropriately called a mountain that takes forever to climb, or maybe even a flood in which a person can easily drown.

I have slowly been sorting through the depths of pet care information and am excited to share with you what I’ve learned thus far.

Welcome, again, to Leopold’s Crate.  I hope you enjoy your visits here

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