"Eighty-one percent of dog owners buy gifts for their dogs," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "But what you should really be giving them is consistent exercise, training and stimulation. Try to start the year off right by resolving to do more with your dog in 2010."
What a welcome surprise in our Inbox this morning - a press release from the AKC urging owners to actually take care of their dogs this holiday season, rather than plying them with gifts. They offer up some great tips that you can read more about at their site. Here are our favorites:
- Get Fit with Fido - The National Academy of Sciences reports that one out of every four dogs and cats in the western world is now overweight. Daily walks are a great way for both dogs and owners to avoid gaining extra holiday pounds. According to a recent study, dog owners get more exercise walking their pet than someone with a gym membership.
- Dogs Love Helping Others - Dogs are invaluable in providing service to humans -- visiting the sick, helping the disabled, locating missing persons, and much more. If a dog has the correct temperament, there are many ways dog owners can put their special skills to use in service to their community. Contact the volunteer director at your local hospital to find out how you and your dog can qualify to volunteer or visit a home-bound neighbor.
- Help Kids Learn to Read - There is no better listener than a dog. Many libraries have programs for children to practice their reading skills and gain confidence by reading with dogs. Contact your local library to learn about available reading programs or volunteer to start one with your dog.
We dig the "help kids learn to read" idea so much, we'll be exploring that in Los Angeles to see what kinds of programs are in place. Great idea, and something our community could really benefit from. Stay tuned.