By April Boleware
Here in Cooper-Young we love our pets. But as much as we love them, unfortunately they do not come with a how to or a step-by-step instruction manual. We learn as we go and hope that we are doing the very best for them.
Last year the CY Community Association organized a microchipping day where residents were encouraged to have their pet microchipped at a discounted price in order to increase their chance of finding that pet if he or she wandered away. This year we are raising the bar by having our first annual Pet Safety Week. From March 27 to April 2 we will observe all things related to our pet’s wellbeing – everything from what to do or who to call in the event of a pet emergency to the best way to brush a pet’s teeth!
While not officially a part of Pet Safety Week, awareness of pet safety issues will begin at the CYCA General Meeting on March 8. All are welcome to attend from 6:30-7:30pm at the CYCA office building at 2298 Young. The Red Cross will be speaking about how to prepare your pet for times of emergency, such as a tornado or earthquake. There will be a short presentation with plenty of opportunity for questions.
However, the main Pet Safety Week event will take place on Sunday, March 27. On that day from 2-4pm we will have Dog Day at the off-leash dog park at 2599 Avery, behind the Memphis City School’s main administrative building. During this time we will have games and fun for all your pups to enjoy. As for the adults, Hollywood Feed will be on hand with tips, treats, and samples to ensure that everyone has all of the information they need to keep their pets safe. There will also be veterinarians present to answer questions as well as give information on animal CPR. Lastly, we are excited to be joined by Elta Woodliff, a professional dog trainer who will be coaching us on using positive reinforcement to train our pets as well as how to better understand and read animal behaviors (For more info about Elta, her philosophy of training, and her classes, see dogtutoring.com.).
Part of the purpose of Pet Safety Week is to educate pet owners on animal behaviors and proper etiquette for both you and your dog while at the park. There
are a few things to remember about dog park events. Dogs, as we all know, are not like humans. They do not introduce themselves with a handshake and a smile. They sniff each other and try to decide who will be the alpha while they are all at play. It sometimes takes a few minutes for dogs to get to know one another, and sometimes when several dogs are involved it can take longer. We
all have to remember to give them time to acclimate and not panic when they are jumping all over each other. This is actually part of the fun for your dogs when they are allowed to be off-leash. During the event we will talk about the behaviors involved with good play and bad play. Our dogs give off signals when they are around other animals. It is our job as
good pet owners to carefully observe these behaviors, being mindful not to overreact.
There are a couple things to take into consideration before bringing your dog to this event. Older dogs can be like older humans. Their tolerance for puppies at play is usually limited. They do not enjoy being jumped on or tackled and are prone to correcting that behavior if they feel overwhelmed. Usually at an off-leash dog park it is customary that dogs get to know each through a little bit of rough housing and play. If you know that your dog is unfamiliar with this kind of atmosphere, think about whether an off-leash park is the best place to be during a busy time.
Another factor to consider is that people have different sized dogs in their family. Even though your small dog may be accustomed to larger breeds at home, other dogs outside of your family may not be. Our dog park has been designed to ensure that all dogs have a safe environment to play in. There is a fenced area designated for small dogs and one for medium to large dogs. It is best to not immediately put large dogs at a disadvantage by bringing in smaller dogs to the wrong side. This way all of our four-legged friends can mingle without worry.
In the event that there is a scuffle between pets, please remember that all dogs will not get along. It doesn’t mean that one person’s dog has behavioral issues. It simply means that those two pups may not be suited to play together. In that event, try not to scold your dog or the other person’s dog. Just leash your dog and chalk it up to a disagreement. Safety should always be the main focus anytime you and your dog venture to a new site.
Letting your dog run and play with new friends can be an enjoyable experience for you and your pet. So come on out and enjoy Dog Day on Sunday, March 27, from 2-4pm! If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All pets featured on the cover belong to Cooper-Young residents. Thanks to everyone who sent pictures in. We certainly have more beautiful and well-loved animals in our neighborhood than a single page can hold!