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"It helped clue me in that there was definitely an additional underlying condition our dog could have, and the 'wait and see' approach wouldn't work," he said. "Of course, the actual life saving was done by humans, but it definitely pushed me in the direction of getting a second opinion and recognizing there were more things we could do to save our dog's life."
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The dog elements are closely integrated into the game - smells are indicated by lines of coloured smoke, emphasising a dog's acute sense of smell. Locating footprints is also done via this Smellovision mode. Tricks can be learnt, and used to win treats from humans.
Having a good dog is the closest some of us are ever going to come to knowing the direct love of a mother, or God, so it's no wonder it knocked the stuffing out of me and Sam when Sadie died. I promised Sam we'd get another puppy someday, but secretly decided not to ever get another dog. I didn't want to hurt that much again, if I could possibly avoid it. And I didn't want my child's heart and life to break like that again. But you don't always get what you want; you get what you get. This is a real problem for me. You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace, and while theologians insist that grace is freely given, the truth is that you sometimes pay through the nose. And you can't pay your child's way.
Jamie and their dog Sasha arrived 17 minutes after Sadie died. I had pulled the carpet out from under the bed. Sadie looked as beautiful as ever. Jamie and I sat on the floor nearby. Sasha is a small white dog with tea-colored stains, and she has a bright dancing quality -- we call her the Czechoslovakian circus terrier, perky ears and tender eyes -- and we couldn't resist her charm. She licked us, and ran up to Sadie, licking her, too, on her face. Then she ran, back to us, as if she was saying, "I am life, and I am here! And my ears are up at this hilarious angle!"
But one of the Immutable Laws of Being Human is that whoever shows up is the right person, or the right people, and boy, were these the right people. Sadie looked like an island of dog, and we looked like flotsam that had formed a ring around her. Andy Goldsworthy would have had a field day with us, the range of ages and materials, the wit and hard work and unruly elements -- life, death, dogs -- something in us trying to hold something together that doesn't hold together, but then does, miraculously, for the time being.
The study, which evaluated data from more than 50,000 dogs across 12 of the most popular breeds, found that the life span of overweight dogs was up to 2.5 years shorter than that of normal-weight canines.
"A two-and-a-half year shortening of the life span may not seem a huge amount, but when we convert to human terms, we're probably looking at between 10 and 15 years of shortened life span, which is considerable," German added.
The breeds included dachshunds, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, American cocker spaniels, beagles, boxers, Chihuahuas, pit bull terriers, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire terriers. For each breed, researchers compared the life spans of those reported by the owners to be overweight or normal-weight.
Among all breeds, the risk of earlier death was higher among overweight dogs. The impact ranged from a life span of five months shorter for male German shepherds to two years and six months shorter for male Yorkshire terriers.
Dr. Sarah Abood is an assistant professor in the clinical studies department at Ontario Veterinary College at University of Guelph in Canada and wasn't involved in the research. She said the findings support longstanding evidence that dogs and cats carrying extra weight "have significant health risks and that their quality of life can be negatively impacted."
"There are rules of thumb by which a pet's calorie needs can be estimated, and there are large variabilities between individuals based on factors such as breed, age, sex, health status and lifestyle," Abood and Dodd said. But "there are no standard definitions for what makes up 'high quality' or 'low quality' dog or cat foods." 041b061a72