By Susan Spisak
June is a favorite month for many of us. After the long winter—then the dreaded mud season—there’s sunshine and clear skies ahead! This is the perfect time to plan for day trips, vacations, and camping with your family, friends, and favorite canine. June also has plenty of days to observe and participate in, making these days significant for us dog lovers.
Before you head anywhere, please consider microchipping your dog if he’s not. They’re important—the AKC estimates that one in three dogs are lost during their lives. Especially with summer storms and the upcoming 4th of July’s fireworks, noise phobic dogs can go into flight mode. It’s also worth noting that AKC reports that more dogs go missing during the July 4th weekend than any other time of the year.
So, what’s a microchip? It’s a rice-sized, unique-numbered ID with a radio frequency that’s injected between your dog’s shoulder blades. This chip can be the factor that reunites you and your pooch. When scanned by a vet or shelter, registered pet microchips can identify him, so he can be safely returned to you. While there’s no maintenance on the chip, you’ll need to register it and keep your contact information up to date in the database. (Google “free microchip registry.” One such site is 24petwatch.com/) Many local humane societies offer low-cost clinics with microchip services—the average cost is $35.
Make sure your bud is current on vaccines and flea/tick and heartworm preventatives. Keep his medical records in your cell phone—there are scads of free smartphone apps available. If you’re not attached to your phone, keep a hard copy of the records in your car’s glove box. Be sure he’s wearing a collar with his license and a tag imprinted with his name and your phone number.
No matter the length of your journey, pack meal-sized portions of his food as needed, bowls, sunscreen (sans toxic zinc oxide), swim vest if applicable, leash, harness, and waste disposal bags. (I keep my dog’s stuff organized in an inexpensive plastic tote.) Be sure you have plenty of water for the drive, and if camping, check that the site has safe-to-drink water. Whether it’s a day, week, or longer, enjoy your adventure!
June’s Special Call Outs
June is National Foster a Pet Month. Its purpose is to share information and raise awareness about the benefits of fostering animals. The need for dedicated fosters has grown due to the influx of relinquished “pandemic adopted” dogs as owners have returned to work.
Dog fostering is the backbone of many animal nonprofits, in particular those rescues who don’t have facilities. Fostering is a wonderful way to instill trust and confidence back into an animal’s life if that’s been lacking. It’s terrific to give back to your community and assist those who’ve made rescuing and rehoming animals their mission.
Shelters and humane societies with a facility rely on fosters as the kennel environment can stress older canines, specifically if they were owner surrenders and are used to a home. The nonprofits are also grateful to those who step up and take in dogs with medical needs (think sight-impaired or post-surgical) and puppies who need extra attention and nurturing.
Shelters and rescues will consider specific family requirements and
needs before placements. Most nonprofits provided monthly preventatives, guidance, encouragement, and continuing calls to check on progress. You’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment as you watch the dog in your care blossom. My husband and I fostered with a rescue, and yes, it’s hard to let them go to their forever home, but it’s wonderful for that dog. (And as my husband reminded me, “We can’t adopt them all.”)
Check your area for shelters, humane societies, and rescues searching for foster homes—even if you only open your home to one dog a year, it helps. You can also sign up to be a respite home to cover regular fosters’ vacations. For more info, nationaltoday.com/national-foster-a-pet-month/.
June 19th through June 23rd is Pet Sitter’s International Take Your Pet to Work Week. If you work remotely, this is easy to observe. Take pictures of your dog and share with co-workers. Have your pet attend Zoom meetings that week, if allowed. A few of my colleagues have their dogs (and cats) pop in for casual online meetings, and it’s always fun.
Many large companies don’t participate for a variety of reasons. But if you work for a smaller company, approach the powers that be to allow well-mannered, calm dogs to visit during this week. Set boundaries and guidelines that you and your colleagues agree upon to avoid chaos. Be cognizant of those with allergies or are fearful and avoid their area. Be sure to pack pet necessities including a few comforting toys so he can chill in your workspace.
World Pet Memorial Day is recognized annually on the second Tuesday in June. Reflect on the dogs you’ve had in the past and remember them fondly. Go through photo albums, phone pics, and share stories with family and friends. Make a monetary or tangible donation to a worthy animal organization in memory of your dog. Better yet, volunteer at a local shelter or rescue.
June 17 is National Dog Dad Day, and it always falls on the day before Father’s Day. It’s an opportunity for dog dads to spend time with their pets. Keep it simple by taking a hike or hitting a dog-friendly restaurant. For those who prefer to be on the ocean, search for day tour boats that allow dogs. Just get out and do what the two of you like to do best.