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Back to school for people and pets

September 9, 2013 - Jenny Rukenbrod

Is it just me, or do the words "back to school" trigger an emotion resembling nervousness, no matter what our age? I'm not sure if this is related to the symbolism that summer is officially over or the reality that structure, school buses and schedules are words that take priority. Once the school bell rings, widespread adaptation must be made, even if no school aged child exists in the home. In a community where people and pets are connected, "back to school" signals changes not only for human best friends but for best friends of another species as well. As creatures of habit, our internal clocks require some resetting periodically. But, what about the sensitive internal clocks of our furry friends who have set their watches instinctively for millions of years? Can they be impacted by the words "back to school?" Although in the world of my fur-covered best friends where children are an alien commodity, a school bus is a horse of a different color! This wild yellow beast roars down our country road from September to May and reappears seasonally. But, to these precision masterpieces, it threatens and upsets their peaceful slumber. For city dogs that enjoy a leisurely walk on sidewalks, where for three lazy summer months, squirrels are their greatest entertainment. Suddenly, towering 2-legged mutant varieties with backpacks appear in herds. Empty nest syndrome takes on a different meaning in homes where school children and pets share their lives. Pets must adjust yearly to this emotional phenomenon. During the summer months, man's best friend has his or her best friend at home much of every day. Rules are eased and sleeping in, staying up late and extra treats becomes the norm. When the words of forewarning "back to school" begin to chime, nervousness and stress can elevate. For a pet these emotions often produce destructive behavior which can be nipped in the bud with a little extra preparation. Along with the paper and pencils, stock up on some interactive toys that help fight boredom. Created to exercise the mind and redirect energy, a treat filled interactive toy can fill that quiet void left when the kiddos hit the books. Crate training a pet can be a wonderful solution to many problems if executed correctly. A safe haven is the goal for a crate, not a place of punishment. But, nothing beats exercise for alleviating excess emotion and anxiety. A little one-on-one time with your pet, whether it is a game of laser tag or a brisk walk before the family heads out the door, exercise can shorten the time when best friends reunite later in the day. Your back to school transition can be seamless when manĂ¡s best friends are included. Make sure interactive toys are on your shopping list and lights out means for man and beast. In a community where people and pets are connected, getting the school year off on the right foot is as simple as one, two, woof, meow!


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