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editorunleashed Anna Cooke, Editor in Chief


To sleep or not to sleep with dogs? Our dogs helped us settle that argument years ago. Current situation: One dog, a loud snorer, sleeps in her own crate, just outside the bedroom. Another one sleeps on his own bed inside our bedroom. The youngest insists on settling, quite comfortably, into our bed as she has done since her first night home with us, more than a year ago. The dogs decided on this arrangement, we did not; a cause for great consternation, I’m certain, among some dog trainers, animal behaviorists and probably a psychologist or two. Carlo Siracusa, a veterinarian and


director of animal behavioral science at the University of Pennsylvania’s PennVet, said that a dog sleeping in the same room or bed with humans won’t make the dog think he’s the alpha. “Dogs can distinguish between the relationship with its human fellows and other dogs. The way in which they regulate their interactions with humans in the house is not an attempt to establish hierarchy,” he said. Some dogs will never want to sleep


with their humans, especially if you snore or move around a lot at night. “When dogs sleep, they want a safe space and don’t want to be bothered either,” said Dr. Siracusa. While sleep is important to dogs (the


smarter species, no doubt), sleep is overrated for some people. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” wrote the late great singer/songwriter Warren Zevon. The way some animal advocates work


tirelessly on behalf of dogs, it’s a wonder they ever get any sleep at all. We connected with several of them while the Florida Legislature was in session, earlier this year. (I’m pretty sure Debbie Taylor Darino, the person spearheading Ponce’s Law, subsisted on pizza and very little sleep, until the bill was finally signed into law.) Then there are those who regularly


pull dogs from near-death situations, nursing them back to health (physically and psychologically). The goal is to even- tually find the dogs forever homes. As volunteers, a lot of this is accomplished while juggling a full-time job and taking care of families. These folks probably don’t remember what a good night’s sleep is. Earlier this year, with help from Canine Estates, Florida Big Dog Rescue,


6 THE NEW BARKER


Midnight is now living out his senior years in a safe, loving home.


Fluffy Puppies and a host of individuals, including Connie Johnson (profiled in this issue on page 23) and Donna Long, we pulled a dog from Pet Resource Center’s Hillsborough County Animal Services. Owner-surrendered with health and behavioral issues, Midnight, a senior dog, was in danger of being euthanized. The euphoria of ‘saving’ this one dog


dissipated as I exited my car at the shelter, and walked past a big dog in the bed of a truck. His owner was going to surrender him.“He’s pooping too much in his crate and it’s really big,” the man told me. “You want him?” I hadn’t even picked up Midnight. Life’ll kill ya. That’s the title of another song written by Warren Zevon. How does one deal with having to


make a decision on which dogs live or die? Greg Mahle of Rescue Road Trips says he is haunted by the faces of some of the dogs he saw going to their deaths. “I still see the little Chihuahua who


was looking up at me from behind the bars,” he says in the book Rescue Road by Peter Zheutlin (reviewed on page 50). “The dogs know something awful is going to happen, and this little dog looked up silently at me, right at my eyes. I told him ‘I can’t help you,’ and I think he knew I was his last hope. He just laid his head on the ground. He understood me. I will never in my life forget that Chihuahua.” To those who face life or death


decisions with dogs and cats every day – trainers, veterinarians, groomers, shelter workers, and volunteers – I hope you remember to appreciate the work you’re doing on behalf of the animals that you are saving; the ones who, without you, would never have a second chance. “Enjoy every sandwich and every


minute,” said a knowing Mr. Zevon to David Letterman. Sweet dreams, Midnight.U


www.TheNewBarker.com


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