(BPT) – Tis’ the season for new beginnings. As holiday gifts give way to New Year’s resolutions, general health and wellness is top-of-mind, consistently ranking as a top goal for both men and women this time of year. This resolution season, try incorporating lifestyle changes that benefit both you and your pet. PetSmart veterinarian and pet care expert Dr. Kemba Marshall provides some helpful tips for achieving a healthier lifestyle for you and your animal companions.

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1. Exercise is key. Pets, like humans, need physical activity in order to be healthy. The good news is giving your pet adequate daily exercise is easy! For some dog breeds, 30-minute walks are enough. For others, a game of fetch does the trick. Interested in trying something new? Mix up the activity. Try sprinting alongside your pet in quick intervals. Balls are great for fetch, but have you ever tried a Frisbee? Even a quick trip to the mailbox each day is a great option. No matter what, both you and your pet will have fun spending time together and getting a workout.

2. Stimulate the brain. Maintaining a healthy pet lifestyle goes beyond physical exercise. blends proteins with allnatural ingredients with a minimal processing, resulting in dehydrated, freeze-dried and airdried raw products that deliver the paleo diet for pets. This natural brand eliminates all artificial ingredients such as flavorings or preservatives. The best way to switch your pet’s food is by providing a gradual transition, mixing the old food with the new for up to 10 days.

4. Monitor your pet’s activity and behavior. This may come as a surprise to many, but discovering an unhealthy habit in your pet’s day-to-day life is as simple as pay- Activities to stimulate a pet’s mental skills are fun and important too. Try a treat-dispensing or puzzle toy with your dog or cat to keep their mind active. Introduce the new toy before a meal, this way your pet will be hungry to learn.

3. Optimize the diet. Have you been feeding your pet the same food for years? It may be time for you and your veterinarian to assess his food and make sure you’re providing one that is healthy and satisfying. Only Natural Pet was recently launched at PetSmart as a brand dedicated to the paleoinspired diet for pets. It ing closer attention to his or her behavior. While many humans monitor their daily behavior with technical gadgets and apps, monitoring a pet’s daily activity may also lead to a healthier lifestyle. Is your pup demonstrating pent-up energy? More exercise might be necessary. Are they devouring their food too quickly? Maybe an active feeding approach is the right solution. Most often, correcting the behavior is as easy as discovering it in the first place.

5. Stick with your resolutions. Change can be tough on pets, especially when it disrupts diet or day-to-day routines. The important thing to remember is that positive results rarely come without work. As cliché as it may sound, both you and your pet will be thankful for the change in the long run. These tips are a wonderful way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle for both you and your pet in the new year. Increasing your physical activity and improving your diet are just the first two steps. By monitoring yourself and your pet, increasing mental stimulation and sticking with your resolutions, a newer, healthier life for both you and your furry friend is well within reach. Visit http://petsmartsocial. com/ResourceCenter for additional tips on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Courtesy Brand Point Content

12-3-2015 11-08-25 AM

The holidays are a busy time for many households. Friends and family come and go, deliveries are made to the door, delicious smells emanate from the kitchen, and a general happy hubbub means that something special is happening. Among those affected by these changes is the family dog.

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While one dog may revel in the change of pace, another may find it a confusing, stressful time. Your normally placid dog may suddenly begin to exhibit unusual behaviors, such as stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling and/or snapping at visitors. As pack leader, you need to communicate and demonstrate to your dog that while his world may be different, you will continue to keep him safe and secure.

When an insecure dog (no matter his size or breed) encounters a new situation, he doesn’t know what to do. If he feels threatened, he may react defensively with a snap or bite. On the other hand, a well-socialized dog is comfortable meeting and being with others, both dogs and people. He has been introduced to a variety of situations and knows he and his pack have remained safe through them all.

The following are some tips to help calm your dog and keep everyone in the home safe during the active holiday season.

Children visitors
Dogs that live in a household with no children may not be comfortable when kids come to visit. The chaos created by youngsters like grandchildren will inherently raise the energy level in the house, causing the dog to worry or stress. Here are some ways to control such situations if your dog does not cope well with children.
• Always supervise kids (especially very young children) and dogs when they are together. Most dog bites to children occur when they are alone with a dog.
• With a very young child, parents must be vigilant and monitor their tot’s interactions with the dog. Parents should teach children of all ages to treat dogs with respect and gentleness.
• Never invite a child to feed the dog by hand as this teaches the dog it is acceptable to take any food from a child. Because of a child’s small size, the dog may view her as an equal and thus may try to take advantage of the situation.

Boundaries and security
Dogs need to have their own “home,” a place where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn’t already have a place of his own, create one for him.
• A crate or pet carrier provides a natural safe haven for your dog. Keep his crate or dog pillow in a quiet area of the home, and direct your dog to go there when you need to set boundaries. While he may not like being separated from you, he will still feel secure.
• If your dog begins to bark or nip at visitors, remove him from the area and keep him in his safe place until your guests have gone.
• Keep the dog out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your dog to stay out of the kitchen (where most household accidents occur)is a good safety measure. It also helps to prevent your dog from begging for food.
• If you travel during the holidays, taking his crate/carrier will help your dog feel more relaxed, since “home” is wherever he finds you and his familiar bed.
Elderly dogs
Elderly dogs may not enjoy the extra hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Be mindful of keeping your older dog comfortable when his routine is disrupted.
• If your elderly dog gets cranky around visitors, simply take him to his special quiet place where he won’t be bothered and can feel secure.
• Remind children to be respectful of your older dog. Always provide supervision when dogs and kids are together.

Front door behaviors
A knock on the door can be a stimulating event for a dog, whether he sees it as fun or alarming. It is natural for him to want to know who the visitors are to determine if they are friendly or not. However, a dog that explodes with excitement at the sound of the doorbell is both annoying and unsafe; he may dash out the door and run into harm’s way, he may get underfoot and become a trip hazard, he may knock people over, or he may become aggressive to the visitor.
• To help your dog be calmer, exercise him prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap.
• As a general rule, don’t allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests because commotion and unusual circumstances can cause stress for dogs.
• Consider putting your dog on a leash as guests arrive to maintain better control of him.
• Teach your dog to sit and stay on command. When the doorbell rings, put him in a sit-stay and do not open the door until he calms down.
• If your dog gets overly excited with arriving visitors, remove him from the scene ahead of time. Place him in his crate in a quiet room, and then let him join the party later.
By anticipating how your dog may react to new activities and visitors, you can help ensure that everyone (both two- and four-legged) has a fun and safe holiday season.
• Be sure that your dog doesn’t get too much rich “people” food. This applies to any day, but no holiday has as much rich food as Christmas does.
• Make sure your dog can’t dash out a door when company comes. You are likely to have more company in December than during the rest of the year combined.
• Substances like chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine are dangerous year-round, but are more likely to be in the house at Christmastime.
• Candles are always a worry. Some Christmas decorations include lighted candles next to dry fir arrangements—just don’t do it!
If you have an adventurous dog, remember these Christmas Tree safety tips:
• No glass ornaments, at least on the lower branches. When dogs are batting at ornaments, you don’t want ones that can fall and break.
• No tinsel. It is indigestible, and if it gets caught in your dog’s intestinal tract, you’re on your way to the emergency clinic for some serious surgery.
• No food on the tree. That means no strings of popcorn (if your dog eats the popcorn, the string can end up tangled in his tummy—which means a trip to the emergency clinic!), no candy canes, (since you never know what will strike a dog’s fancy), and it definitely means no cute little fake-dog-treat ornaments. Some dogs who turn up their noses at dog treats will climb a tree to get a lacquered, painted dog treat. We don’t know why, but it’s true!
• No preservatives in the tree water. If you have a fresh tree, keep it well watered, but don’t add those packets of preservatives to the water.
• No presents under the tree. Ribbons, paper, and boxes can become a shredded mess the minute you turn your head.
• If possible, try to separate the tree from the dog. Put the tree in a room that you declare off limits to the dog unless you’re there to supervise. Or, if you have a small tree, put it on a tall table so that your dog can’t reach it.

Will your dog ever outgrow this behavior? Maybe. A lot of boisterous puppies and young dogs become very mellow adults. However, some dogs—like some people—just never grow up, and “better safe than sorry” definitely applies here. Keep a careful eye on your dog and his environment. Make sure that he can’t get in trouble. Love him, protect him, guard him, and make sure he stays safe through the holidays.
By: Kimberly Gosser

9-7-2015 10-33-23 AMEver have guests over to your house and they bring their dog who is a “Holy Terror?” “Holy Terror,” (Joel’s definition) is a very rowdy, mud throwing, slobbering, jumping, pawing, begging, stealing while counter surfing, barking, tornado of destruction and terrorist to your own dog in the house. This dog is so untrained that when it is time for your guests to arrive, you are already taking Goody’s headache powders and calling me, frantically asking for quick counter measures. In this case, I applaud the use of taking a preventative to a migraine.

Well, guess who’s coming to dinner? The holidays will soon be upon us, and it is my hope that this article will give some advance tidbits to prepare for canine guests.

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“They’re heeerrree!” You say eerily, to warn everyone as you answer the door. First one through the door is the unleashed “Holy Terror” who runs straight to your dog. Your dog, being the age he is, rejects “Holy Terror’s” invitation to become best buddies. The Pet Parents of the dog, now ripping through your house, just smile and say things like, “Awe! How cute! He loves your house.” Then you hear the return of their dog and like nails on a chalkboard, you hear the distinct clawing of the dog’s nails on your nice finished hardwood floor. Remaining civil is one way to deal with the situation because you don’t want to offend your guests. But, what do you do?

Plan A: To deal with said situation is to ask your guests to please control their dog (Be careful how you ask someone to control their dog because it is easy to hurt some people’s feelings). At this point, I can imagine you want to scream at the unruly dog. Don’t do this because yelling and losing your temper will get you the “Have you lost your mind?!” look. Plus, the dog will most likely ignore what you are saying, so you just wasted your breath. If this tactic fails, then we go to plan B.

Plan B: This is the strategy of using a spray bottle or squirt gun (In my case a Super Soaker, hahaha) with the concoction of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3’s water. Set for stream and spray the unruly dog in the face. If your guests have an issue with this, spray them in the face for not taking the time to develop their Doggie Skills. If this fails, we can use plan C.

9-7-2015 10-33-50 AMPlan C: Well, you call me 256-651-2211 and I will come to visit and help your guests see a better way and better dog. Besides, would it not be considerate of them to train their dog?
A lot of people don’t realize they are being inconsiderate when they bring their untrained dog or puppy. I always ask or warn that Zues will be with me and when someone has a problem with Zues, I either don’t visit or I try to accommodate the situation.

So, let’s all try and work things out because soon it will be the season of forgiving and remembering all our loved ones. Gifts will be exchanged and everyone will be eating all sorts of goodies. Lastly, you might get lucky because “Holy Terror” might decide to bring back your slippers that he originally took when no one was watching. Hence, soaking his Pet Parents with vinegar and water can be a great remedy for you and their dog can laugh at them in his own way.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”

By: Joel and Zues Allen
256-651-2211

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8-7-2015 3-06-04 PMI witness this all the time driving down the road. A doghouse sitting out there someone’s yard (you know who you are) with the dog chained to the doghouse. Some dogs I have seen are chained within three feet of the doghouse, and cannot move at all. The owners should be ashamed of themselves. I hear these same people tell me, “Oh, I love my dog!” If anyone loves their dog it will show in the treatment of their dogs.

Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am like a drill sergeant with my “babies” at home, but, they are well taken care of and they know I love them all. When there are seven Great Danes in one house, a person has to show them who is Alpha. No, I do not beat them. I just raise my voice, and that ends any challenge to my “authority” (using my South Park voice there).

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8-7-2015 3-06-31 PMBack to the “chainers” as I call them. If it is what they think is necessary to chain their dog, then let me give them an alternative. How about a cable run so they can burn some energy? I can tell everyone this: most dogs that are chained up are dying for their family’s attention, hence the jumping up and putting their paws on anyone who comes within reach of their chain. If they wish that to stop this behavior, then they need to start walking the dog more and spending time with them. If not, then the jumping and pawing is the fault of the family.

Why have a dog if you are going to ignore it? Was it the novelty of having a dog? Was there a promise made that the dog would be given the attention it should have, and then was it too much trouble? Or was it someone in the family who stated that the dog would be outside after they were brought to their new home? Do that dog a favor and take him/her to a family who will bring it into a loving relationship. Dogs are social animals and they have feelings too. They give us one promise in life: they promise to give us their life and companionship. They ask for the same from us, so don’t be selfish: let them truly live.

Lastly, I love my family but if they ever had me choose between them or the dog, everyone knows I would choose the dog every time. That is the only relative that gets chosen.
By Joel Allen

8-7-2015 3-06-41 PM

7-3-2015 4-18-18 PMMy dad shared a story with me years ago. He used to have an Oldsmobile station wagon. One night as he was driving to work on Snake Road, he noticed this black shape that he thought was a cat. Well, as his car came closer the perceived cat had a white stripe down its back and was raising its tail in the direction of the car. Dad knew immediately he was in trouble and he told me as that stream of stink shot toward his car he some how got the car to swerve and it missed. He said he was just a sniffing the air in his car because he just knew he got the car sprayed. Can anyone imagine the sound of tires screeching and the silly look on my dad’s face as he was sniffing the air?

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Just the other day I was driving on Thompson Road and, as always when I see a critter regardless if it is a dog, cat, deer, possum, or skunk (on that critter, I will almost wreck my car to get away from the raised tail and spray) I will beep my horn. Well, except for the skunk, as I prefer to get by them as quickly as possible. This is just my way of letting the critter know I am there and to alert someone (if it is an escaped dog or cat) that they need to look outside their house and put them up. Anyway, I was on Thompson Road and these two Blue Heelers come into the road and I beep my horn to let them know I was coming, because I don’t want them to get hurt. I hope whoever reads this and knows the dogs will say something to the pet parents because they are responsible if their dogs cause anyone to wreck or something happens to their “babies.”

Does anyone reading this live near a road and allow their dog to run loose? If so, they should realize that the responsibility of someone having an accident because of their dogs can be blamed on the owners, not the dogs. Same goes for dogs chasing cars. It is not an accident if the dog chasing the cars is known to do so by the owner. I see this everyday while driving around Limestone County.

What is sad is when someone hits the dog or cat, and most don’t even bother to stop. I find that disrespectful. Yes, the pet parent might become angry, but the best thing to do is to remain calm. Tempers tend to flare and cause the situation to get people into trouble. If the driver of the vehicle that hit the dog or cat was speeding, then it is just as much as their fault as it is for the pet parent who should have protected their “baby” better. Remember this, drivers: a human child can be run over just as quickly as a dog or cat. So, think before speeding down a road with houses on both sides.

One last thing before I close. I just purchased Zues, who is a Great Dane, a seatbelt, and it works very well. He gives me the look that says “Really? You want me to wear this?” But, it keeps him safe and allows him free movement around the car. I bought it on Amazon, and it is called the “Solvit” seatbelt for dogs. So, drivers, that is one more thing I would suggest investing in for those canine family members. It works and keeps everyone from having their huge “baby” land on them in an accident.
By: Joel Allen

7-3-2015 4-18-50 PM

6-6-2015 11-47-31 AMSometimes life is so tough and we have to make decisions that are heart breaking. I recently have lost a few of my “babies” to various illnesses. To me, it is untimely for them because many of them were not old. I know God has His reasons for taking them home, and I await the day I will see them again.

Recently my “baby”, Samson, seems to have developed a case of “wobblers.” It has not been definitely determined by a veterinarian, but he has all the signs. I have added a serious multivitamin to his diet called “Dinovite.” Between that and having a homeopathic animal specialist, Nikki, who comes to work on Samson from time to time, it has helped tremendously. And, let me say, that he has improved. Unfortunately, she has not been able to see him for a few weeks, but I believe the “Dinovite” is working.

6-6-2015 11-51-08 AMSamson has always been very playful and vocal. He loves to run and play ball, even when the neighbors’ kids run in all directions and leave him with their ball. He looks funny with his butt in the air, bowing over the ball between his paws, his tail just wagging in the air. When that happens, I see kids on top of vehicles looking scared because Samson is hovering over their ball looking for them to come play and not understanding why they are gone. Remembering this has been hard for me to see him not as agile as he was. Some people would give up and think they are doing a mercy for Samson and have him put down. To me, that would be the ultimate betrayal. We must never forget that they have feelings too, and they look to us for safety and security.

Now, why discuss this? I will tell you why. Since having him on “Dinovite,” I have seen him up and running more. He still loses his balance from time to time, but he is determined. Because he looks cute running sideways, at times I giggle and call him my “Side Winder.” He gets vocal at times when I pick at him, and then the love he has for me shows because he licks my hand and leans on me. Oh the light in his eyes is so bright when he looks at me!

Someone out there is going through a hard time and I believe they need to hear someone like me tell them not to give up. A dog promises one simple thing to us: they promise to give us their all. We should do the same. So, when life gets tough, don’t give up. When considering the quality of life for our “fur babies,” think as to why we decide what we will for them and whether or not it is being selfish. One more thing: do not allow someone else to influence your decision. It is not they who will answer for what is decided, and if they are a true friend they will support any decision you make.
By: Joel Allen

6-6-2015 11-47-48 AM

5-1-2015 1-08-35 PMOk, how many of us dread giving the dog a bath? Thankfully, the majority of mine understand I am not out to drown them. In saying this, how many out there have a dog who hates the bath and will run and hide? Better yet, how many out there simply have a dog who growls at the mention of the word “bath?”

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I was watching America’s Funniest Videos the other day and there was one scene where the man mentioned “bath” to the dog and all I saw was a big mouth full of teeth bared at the man. I laughed so hard, especially when the man picked up the dog and the dog put his paws across the doorway. Does anyone have a dog like that? I would love to hear your story. So, back to the word “bath.”
I can imagine our dogs who hate baths saying, “Blasphemy!” when we mention “bath.” Ok, let’s talk about the worst dog to bathe. He/she is usually the largest dog. They tend to run and hide, sometimes placing their big body under the bed, raising the bed a few inches off the floor. In cases like this, sometimes the pet parent has to grab their dog by the hind legs and drag them out and to the bathroom (I hope no one has wood floors and if they do I hope the dog has their nails trimmed.)

5-1-2015 1-09-05 PMOnce the dog is in the tub, it does not end there. A smart person will have set their tub area up for the dog by having the shampoo or flea dip ready. If there is a bar in the tub, attach a leash short enough to hold the dog in place in the tub. The bather should know to save their back a lot of pain. Sit on the edge of the tub with your feet inside the tub with the dog. The bar will come in handy to catch your balance if the dog should try and push their way out. One more thing to know: a showerhead that detaches makes bathing a lot easier!

In my experience, if the dog is introduced to bathing early in their life, your life becomes easier later. When Alexander (Zeus’ father) was alive, he would deliberately go outside and lay in a mud puddle. Then he would leave me a trail of paw prints to the bathroom. I would be angry with him until I saw him in the tub waiting for his bath. So, it went that when he felt he needed a bath, he would cause me a lot of work. I miss him so much! One day I will see him again.

Now, I will leave everyone with this food for thought. In my experience, if there is a flea problem, it is safe to use Dawn dish soap or the generic brand to shock the fleas off your dog.
By: Joel Allen

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4-3-2015 1-52-07 PMLet’s talk about the dangers of not doing so. Dogs are very inclined to contracting different illnesses. A real danger is during the hot summer months when Hydrophobia or Rabies is prevalent.
Ever seen Disney’s “Old Yeller?” Wild animals can contract rabies, and easily pass it on to our dogs. It is usually a concern when an animal not known for aggression comes at our dogs and attacks them. If this happens, contact your veterinarian immediately and take your dog in. Some other signs are when the animal acts sluggish or they cannot keep their balance. Never attempt to pick up any carcass during this time of the year unless proper protective equipment is worn.

People easily forget about the threat of rabies. I for one don’t think about it like I should. Sometimes we all need to be reminded before a tragedy strikes our home.
Now when we go to get vaccines, we should be aware of how and where to administer them.

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Your vet should have no problem allowing someone to watch their dog be vaccinated. If they do, I would suggest going to another vet because there is no reason to hide the way it is done. The reason I stress this is because the administrator of the vaccine should place the needle in the skin of the dog by raising the dog’s skin away from their body and injecting in the raised portion of the skin. This is necessary to avoid hitting any nerve in the dog. Nerve damage can lead to the crippling of the dog, so never allow anyone who has no experience doing this to even touch your dog.

I know this article is short this month, but I felt the need to remind everyone about this sickness that could strike anywhere. There was a time rabies was a scourge to our country and was feared. We do not want that to become an epidemic again.

One more thing: April is here, I will be taking May training sign ups. Due to college and other matters, anyone interested in training will have to call me for times and signing up. I can tell everyone that Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays will be my only available times.
By: Joel Allen

4-3-2015 1-52-31 PM

3-5-2015 2-58-08 PMEver had a dog that just would not listen? “Hey, Ellie, come on girl! Look what I have!” Squirrel! Her head turns away and she is either distracted from your voice or she hears your voice but there is something of more interest catching her attention. She could be shy or mad. I hear this all the time, “My dog won’t listen!” Well, let’s see if we can change that together.

First, ask yourself what does your dog like? Think about this for a second, because this needs to be something your dog really (and I mean really) likes to the point of “Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me!” kind of excitement. This is what we call their reward. No one thinks to ask the dog what they like. There are a lot of assumptions made, and I see people waste money buying toys or treats they think their dog will like. My advice is to listen to your dog.

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Second, we take the reward they really like and we get their attention. Whether it is a squeaker toy, yummy salivating (cause drool to hit the floor and make that a hazard for you) tasty treat, or just a plain old doll, it doesn’t matter. It could even be a wrench as long as we get that response of “Oh! I love you because you have what I really like!,” we are in business. So, while Fido/Fidoette is eyeballing their treat that is the center of their attention, speak to them and say, “Fido! Look at me!” Draw their attention with the treat to your face by pulling the treat up next to your face. Keep talking saying, “Look at me!” We are looking for that moment when their pupils lock with yours. When this happens, immediately give them their reward. Repeat as often as they stay interested but don’t over do it. If they stop trying, don’t make them sit and stay because just like the children they are, they can become rebellious and pouty too.

3-5-2015 3-00-31 PMThis training is designed to assist in confidence building. The more your dog can look into your eyes the more they can read and understand what it is they are being asked to do. If anyone ever wants to if know a confident dog is in their home, all they have to do is say the dog’s name and if that dog should look into your eyes and not falter. If that happens, then they are very confident.

I would also take a moment here to caution you as well. This article is not for anyone who wants to walk up to a dog they do not know and attempt this. The end result might place them in the ER for a dog bite. Anyone attempting this training should know the dog and the dog should know them.
Notice to all who want to train their dog: March is already here and I am taking sign-ups for dog training for the month of April. The available days I have are Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. If anyone is interested, give me a call.
By: Joel Allen

A Visit To St. Vincent’s

2-6-2015 10-39-34 AMLast week, my wife had another infection in her body arise. She had a fever that spiked to approximately 104 F,with a high heart rate and her blood pressure just would not stabilize. So, she was hospitalized at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Pell City, AL, which is approximately twenty plus miles east of Birmingham. Anyway, Zues, my service dog, and I packed up and went down to see what was going on.

We arrived and found my wife was being admitted to the ICU. Before we found that out, we walked into the Emergency Room where my wife was, and Zues stuck his cold nose under the covers to let her know we were there. I wish I had taken a picture, because it was obvious he was saying “Hello, we are here!”

In the Army, we were taught be prepared, and if prepared be even more prepared. Sounds a bit paranoid, huh? I was prepared, though. I had packed an overnight bag and brought a bed for Zues with a blanket. Before anyone wonders, “How can a dog be in the hospital?” let me say that the Americans With Disabilities Act states that service animals are allowed into hospitals, but cannot enter Operating Rooms or Burn Units for obvious reasons. Of course we know not to take them into an area in the hospital where there could be an infection caused by the presence of the service animal. But don’t take my word for it, go to www.ada.gov. Search out service animals, and see what the law says.

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Well, during the first night there, Zues slept under his covers and the nursing staff was so amazed by his easy going attitude. I smiled and just stated the obvious, that he was working in his own way. “He is not like this at home,” I explained. This is how he is in public; relaxed and mindful of me unless he is sleeping. Keep in mind that when he needs to answer nature’s call, a plan of action was in place. I had already prepared security, and got permission to allow us access back into the hospital in the event Zues needed to go outside.

2-6-2015 10-39-56 AMWe stayed two nights down there until my wife was stabilized and I saw that other members of our family would be there for her before I was settled enough to return back to Athens. When Zues and I returned to Athens, she had surgery to remove the bacteria causing her trouble. She called me and seemed so feisty, I teased her and said things like “Maybe I should have the doctor put the bacteria back so I can have some peace.”

I thank everyone for their prayers, because God is moving and I am very thankful. Now, let us hope my wife will be returning home soon, and that there are no further complications. I was glad for all of us that Zues was able to go and be the perfect service dog, a true canine companion.
By: Joel Allen