It’s National Dog Day

I know some people are annoyed at the prevalence of dog pictures and videos on social media, and I get it. I used to be one of them.

But now that I have a dog and truly understand what the fuss is all about, I think dog pictures and videos are among the highest best uses of the internet. Dogs make the world a better, bearable place for too many people to ever discount their place in the world.

Anyway, I’m marking National Dog Day with Otto the Rescue Pittie, my special needs guy whose only trick is that he soaks up hugs, kisses and cuddles in whatever amounts you are willing to give him.

Otto the Rescue Pittie, looking for love in all the right places.

The squirrels have gone from just mocking my dog to mocking me, too

My dog (Otto the Rescue Pittie) barks at squirrels and the squirrels sit just out of his reach in my backyard trees, chittering and mocking him. Which makes him bark even more wildly.

To keep him from barking, I usually go out and grab low-hanging branches and shake them vigorously, chasing the squirrel off. No squirrel. No barking. Happy neighbors.

But it’s reached the point where the squirrels are onto my game and now they just sit there with whatever nut they have in their mouth, looking at me, chittering and not moving.

The squirrels have won, finally. As they always do eventually.

Otto just had the latest of his horrible butterfly encounters

Otto the Rescue Pittie just had another one of his terrifying butterfly encounters in the backyard this morning.

Fortunately, I am taking a vacation day today and I am currently talking him down from his near-death experience.

For a dog who is fearless in his encounters with real-life bad guys — he’s chased off two would-be burglars in the house — he is scared of the most harmless things the rest of the time.

Otto immediately post-attack by a butterfly, giving me a look like, “Where WERE you when I was being assaulted?”

The NY Times “ethicist” tackles questions of how much we should spend on elderly pets’ health

Man, I’ll bet they get tons of email about this.

The question comes from a retired women of modest means who wants to know how much she should ethically spend on her dog who may be nearing the end of his life.

The answer was nuanced, but leans toward the “animals are not people” end of things:

What you owe your dog is a life worth living by the standards that are appropriate to a canine existence, attentive to what matters to a dog. So you shouldn’t organize treatments that will simply extend a period of suffering, even if you can afford to do so without jeopardizing your own quality of life. Some people, hoping against hope, subject their animals to excruciating courses of radiation and chemotherapy in an effort to buy a few more months of companionship. They ought to do what human beings are capable of doing but often fail to do: reflect on their actions. They should think about whom they’re really helping, about whether this costly form of care amounts to cruelty.

If your dog is entering a final decline, marked by debility and suffering, and, out of concern for his welfare, you choose euthanasia, you will not be letting him down. He has no expectations to disappoint. There are no promises you have made to him. His loss will matter a great deal to you. Don’t make the experience worse by thinking that you have done him wrong.

You can read the rest here.

I think about this a lot.

My dog (Otto, the rescue pittie) is only around eight years old. He seems healthy, but I spend a lot on high-end pet health insurance because I live in fear of him getting sick or injured and me either not having enough money to treat him, or having to go into deep debt to do so.

I’ve even pondered whether, if I am not sure that I will have the money to treat illnesses that accompany old age, I should try to find a good well-to-do family while he is still young who will not have to possibly choose between getting him the best health care or letting him suffer for lack of funds.

But I can’t possibly put him (or me) through that kind of separation. We are both so devoted to one another. And he only eats special food I make for him fresh because I don’t trust commercial pet food suppliers. He will not eat dry or wet dog food.

How could I possibly find anyone who will love him and take care of him the way I do?

So it’s a chance I will have to take.

Otto the rescue pittie.