Mon, 11/23/2020 - 7:24pm

Question of the Week

As we approach Thanksgiving during this pandemic, how have your dogs lifted your spirits and made you thankful?


Patricia Gregg

Oakdale, California

My dogs have TOTALLY made the difference for me during the COVID crisis and holidays. Not like you can just forget about feeding, poop, grooming and health issues. How can you not enjoy the smiles, licks, funny antics and demands for attention and exercise? I can’t ... and that keeps me off the couch and moving. This is KEY to my emotional well-being during this trying time.


Lori Wilson Paust

Modesto, California

This Thanksgiving we are grateful to our dogs for their companionship while we spent most of our time home. It was extra special that since Bobby is home recovering from a stroke, the dogs would quietly lie with him, and some of the first moments of movement were reaching for the dogs lying with him. 


Beverly Vics

Leesburg, Florida

During the lockdown, my dogs gave me such joy. I usually have to look for and find time for playing with them and training them between life and kennel club duties. During the lockdown I had time to play with them and teach them things. 

I got a new puppy in February. I set up a mock agility run on my patio. We had fun "playing" with mock jumps ... a short dog walk ... and I purchased a kiddie tunnel from Amazon. We learned how to gait politely on a leash and stand square waiting for "bait" for conformation showing. By the time we could go to actual classes, she was way ahead of the other pups. Teaching her anything at a young age increased her ability and desire to learn. Now, she's just 12 months old and is without a doubt the smartest dog I've ever worked with.

I had time to work my other two for obedience. My 12-year-old rescue is ready for Beginner Novice and my 8-year-old for Open. 

Sometimes a bad thing is really a good thing in disguise. I am truly thankful for the time I never would have found if not for the pandemic.


Barbara Pepper

Swannanoa, North Carolina

My dogs have always given me unconditional love and steadfast companionship. They have been a reason to get up every morning, no matter what. Further my dogs have brought me decades-long friendships. During this pandemic my dog has offered me the ability to stay home more but never feel alone.


Ida Kavafian

New Fairfield, Connecticut

I have owned and bred Vizslas for 35 years, but one of my present ones, Popcorn, reached a new milestone – the age of 15. I have had several that made it to almost 15, but this is my first one that actually did, and is still going at 15¼. I am grateful to be there for her, as she has more needs at this age than ever before. Thanks to the pandemic, I have been able to be with her 24/7. I would have hated to miss even one minute of it!


Robin Stansell

Clayton, North Carolina

Our dogs make us thankful every day! These months of staying at home have meant spending even more time interacting with the dogs and appreciating their devotion to us. 


Lisa Weiss

Huntington, New York

I have Labradors and Cavaliers, and my dogs have lifted my spirits and those of my family in many ways. They're always there at the ready to go for a walk or take a nap! I just have to ask, and my wish is their command.

I'm thankful to have more time to do some training and more grooming – the Cavs have started hiding when they see me coming with a comb and a brush, and even the Labs are getting brushed more than is necessary! I'm thankful that I've really had the time to get to know each of them on a different level – the idiosyncrasies I may not have noticed when rushing to feed and exercise them before the pandemic.

My parents are in their 90s now and have very limited mobility – the dogs are all such godsends as they are so happy and willing to lay at their feet or on their laps. They have truly taught themselves how to be therapy dogs all on their own. They give my parents such wonderful companionship.... and that makes my heart sing.


Barbara Burns

Freeport, Illinois

My husband and I take our dog for a lot more walks at home and in the park in our hometown. She enjoys the new smells and greeting other dogs on our excursions. It gets us out, too. We take her almost everywhere, which she absolutely enjoys. We enjoy our “cuddle” times in the afternoons. I don't know how I would have handled this pandemic if it weren't for my dog. Cookie is a Tibetan Spaniel, a wonderful breed. 


Frances O. Smith, DVM

Burnsville, Minnesota

As I watch the sheer joy and enthusiasm of my Labradors to retrieve a bumper or a bird in the snow, my spirits are lifted. The dogs revel in the weather, in the activity and in the opportunity to interact with me. They would rather interact with me than be fed. That is pure love.


Celeste M. Gonzalez

Thomasville, North Carolina

Some days during this pandemic, my dogs are what keep me going and looking forward to a better day and healthier future. They make me laugh at myself more often, as “we” compare increasing waist sizes and missing seeing (and being able to hug) friends at shows. They cause me to reminisce and think about what will be again. I am thankful to my dogs for opening up a whole new world of people 45 years ago that has led to enduring friendships and a fraternity of amazing folks from the show and field worlds. I am thankful that, despite this pandemic, we persevere because of our dogs.


Bob Vandiver 

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thanks that my dogs were a great stand-in for the hundreds of dogs I was unable to evaluate in the ring due to the virus.


Laurie Telfair

Fayetteville, Arkansas

I’m always grateful for my dogs, but now, through this period of sadness, isolation and disruption, they have been a connection to a more normal time. 


Johnny Shoemaker

Las Vegas, Nevada

My babies have been my godsend. When I am down, they always lift me up and say to me, "Daddy, everything is going to be OK." Nicky D and Rorrie B, my two Toy Poodles, make me thankful for all the love these babies have, and I am so thankful for them. They have also helped me when I studied for my last seven Hound breeds by sitting at the table with me and looking up at me (when they were not sleeping) and giving me the look that says, "Everything will get better." For all my babies now and the ones in the past and those in the future: "Thank you for always being there for me!"


Carol Fellbaum

Houston, Texas

Having my Bichons during the pandemic has been a godsend. They have given me a reason every day to get out of bed. Caring for them, interacting with them and planning for their future in the ring and in the litter box. Having them with me in bed when I had COVID brought me a great deal of happiness and comfort. They have made my world brighter during these difficult times.

Dr. Margaret A. Reed

Wilton, Connecticut

Every morning, I wake up and try to find the positive side of the chaos we find ourselves currently living in. I am so thankful to my dogs, who provide the perfect reminder of the importance of living in the moment. They are a constant source of companionship and provide just the right amount of distraction during these challenging times. Lord Byron said it best, "All the virtues of Man, without the vices.”


R.C. Carusi

Oxford, Massachusetts

Throughout this pandemic I have felt very grateful to have my dogs. I have purpose; I have a reason to wake up each day. I’m so fortunate to have them to care for and to receive their love. I cannot imagine having gone through this without them.


Julie L. Mueller

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Our dogs are the reason we jump out of bed every day. What's not to love? They give us unconditional love and companionship. I cannot imagine my life without our dogs. I thank God every day for blessing our lives with these incredible creatures that fill us with joy, laughter and love.     


Michele Luther

Anacortes, Washington

As disappointing as the end of the year’s cancellation of our traditional dog shows, there have been some bright spots. I was able to enjoy a recent AKC scent-work trial weekend with my partner and champion Smooth Fox terrier. We are grateful for the club that hosted these trials and especially the many volunteers that made the event safe and fun.


Janice Leonard

Denver, Colorado

I had a litter of four Shelties born on February 27. Raising this litter was a blessing during the months of COVID-19. They filled our time and made us feel involved and needed. Their training is now filling our days with accomplishments.


Cindy Cooke

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Easy question to answer. First, they are always joyful this time of year. They love the leaves blowing around, and the squirrels trying to hide acorns. The cold weather always lifts their spirits.

Second, they keep me busy. I still need to clean their pens and runs, cut their toenails, groom their coats, train the youngsters and make sure they are all fed and exercised.

Finally, just having time to play with them and watch them, enjoying their different personalities and admiring their beauty – all these things make me joyful and grateful to have them.


Janina Laurin

Ashford, Connecticut

My dogs are a source of daily joy with their silly antics. They are very insistent that I stay active by entertaining them. Nothing like a slimy ball getting dropped in your lap to make you move!


James Zarifis

Sullivan, Ohio

They keep me from killing my neighbor!


Kate Romanski

Hales Corners, Wisconsin

Lockdown these days has never been a problem for me, as I have lived alone for many years. But I could never cope without my English Cockers, which keep me going from early morning until bedtime.  And I am ever grateful for their companionship, even if they drive me crazy at times. 

But more recently, since we are allowed to walk dogs outside without masks, one bitch has gone even further. She has taken it upon herself to keep our little suburb neat and tidy by collecting three-dimensional trash – bottles, tin cans, plastic cups, etc. – tossed on sidewalks or roadsides.

All you can do is laugh at her so-serious efforts, and it cheers me almost daily. Especially when someone says, “Did you know your dog has something in her mouth?” and I reply, “Yes, she is recycling.” She carries her object all the way home and it goes into the recycle bin. I’m keeping a log of her efforts!

I never taught her to do this: Thank you, “Rarey,” for making me laugh almost every day!


David Frei

Cannon Beach, Oregon

I thank my dogs every day for letting me be the guy on the end of their leashes and teaching me life lessons every step of the way.


Ann Yuhasz

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

I think that our dog’s innocence to the state of things and his obvious joy that we are with him 24/7 has made us realize that even with a pandemic there is so much to give thanks for.


Iva and Jeffrey Kimmelman

Stow, Massachusetts

We are very grateful people anyway, but at this moment in time, our cup runs over.

Our dogs are the highlight of our lives. Taking care of them as they blissfully live in the moment, as all dogs do is the most appreciated gift imaginable.

I didn't know I could love my dogs any more than I did pre-COVID, but it seems that is the case. I wake up every morning eager to feed them breakfast and start their daily routine.

Just spending time with them every day and looking into their faces makes me realize we will get through this as long as we don't get the bug!


Judy Manley

Ashtabula, Ohio

It breaks my heart because so many people are isolated and lonely during this time with the pandemic. I am blessed to have my dogs. I never feel alone because of their companionship. They constantly keep me amused and ALWAYS make me smile. No one is ever alone when you have dogs that adore you. 


Jan Paulk

Santa Fe, New Mexico 

My three Papillons and onw Anatolian have been extremely important during the COVID pandemic.

They are loving, mischievous, demanding and each one is very special. They have submitted to grooming more often than usual and have reveled in more time with me.

If I am up or down, they are always the same: comforting and comedic. It would have been close to impossible to have been self quarantined for so long without these characters!  I am very thankful for my lifetime with dogs ...


Janina Laurin

Ashford, Connecticut

My dogs are a source of daily joy with their silly antics. They are very insistent that I stay active by entertaining them. Nothing like a slimy ball getting dropped in your lap to make you move!


Peter Gaeta

Iron Station, North Carolina

Since shortly after I retired, Ruffles, our Bedlington Terrier, has been the only dog in our lives. Living with just one dog has been a great reminder of why I got a dog in the first place. In short, she has made very few mistakes, ever, and has been a joy to live with.  

When we brought Ruffles home, we had a geriatric Bedlington bitch that was losing her hearing and her sight. Despite the fact that the old bitch, Doodles, would not even acknowledge that Ruffles was in the house, they worked it out, and Ruffles assumed a caretaker role. She shepherded Doodles about and alerted her whenever we called them. When we lost Doodles, we adopted a 10-year-old rescue cat, Jack. Ruffles immediately started mothering him. Jack has passed, and now she has me to look after.   

She is not at all needy, but she is my constant companion around the house and goes nearly every place I go when I leave the house. She lets me know within minutes of the (same) time I am supposed to feed her every day. She is a perfect traveler and has never lived behind a fence. We lived on a two-plus-acre wooded, lakefront parcel in Michigan that had two good-sized ponds. We shared it with deer, raccoon, beaver, muskrat, squirrel, rabbits, swan, geese, ducks, cranes, turtles and skunks. Ruffles learned to share her domain, and we could turn her out with any combination of critters just feet away and a reminder that she was to leave them alone. She did; and all of our wild guests trusted her to respect their space.   

She loves people, and people love her. When we were showing her, people would see her on the table and come into the set-up to say hello. It was rare for anybody to leave without kissing her at least once on the nose.

So, the question was, “How has she lifted my spirits during these terrible times?” Well, she lifts my spirits every day: every day before, during and will after these trying times by just being my friend. She has taught me humility. I regularly wonder, “What the hell did I ever do right to deserve such a wonderful, devoted pal?” I am humbled.   


Jean Heath

Pleasanton, California

“They always spoil a perfectly lousy day!”  


Sharon Lindgren

Oak Brook, Illinois

My Irish Terriers always make me smile. I am grateful for their companionship and unconditional love.







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