Tag Archive | dogs

Future of Pet Ownership

Could Baby Boomers Change the Face of Dog Ownership?

Boomers helped make dogs into bonafide family members. But as they get older, will the bond — and the industry that sprung up around it — endure?

Maria Goodavage  |  Jul 11th 2012  |   5 Contributions

Not all that long ago in many parts of the country, dogs were just dogs. They slept outside or in the barn or a doghouse, and perhaps only occasionally came indoors. If they lived in the house, it was rare that they had their own bed, much less shared their owners’. Most were loved, but in a different way than they are now; not so much as kids, but as protectors, hunting companions, ratters, and pets who either had a job or could look like they did.

It wasn’t a bad life, and you could argue that in some cases, it was a lot more natural than the way some of today’s dogs live (stuck in apartments all day, maybe getting out to doggy day care or going to expensive dog hotels when their owners/parents go away). The dogs my daughter and I saw last year in our relatives’ small village in Italy lived this life, staying outside their owners’ house or in a little shed, eating fresh (and by virtue of the rural life, organic) leftovers from their owners or their neighbors. They weren’t coddled, but they co-existed well enough, and generally seemed to enjoy their long days reposing in the grass in the spring sun.

These sweet fellas live across the little road from my relatives’ small village in Italy. Their lifestyle is not typical of dogs in the U.S., but they seem pretty content. (Photo by Maria Goodavage)

There are still some parts of the U.S. where dogs live like this, but for the most part, there’s been a tremendous shift in the way dogs are treated here. A recent survey shows 81 percent of Americans consider their dogs as family members — a far cry from the backyard dogs of the not-so-distant past.

No one really knows the official dates when dogs started making the transition to being considered real family members, but from my experience in the dog-travel world, I can tell you that it was quickly picking up steam in the late 1980s. I’d gotten my first dog as an adult in 1989, when I was a reporter for USA Today. I was single and had to travel quite a bit. Back then, there were no pet hotels, no doggy daycares, and most of my friends weren’t allowed to have dogs. I wouldn’t leave Joe in a regular kennel, so I’d usually pack him along.

Joe and a friend at the sidewalk tables of a dog-friendly San Francisco cafe toward the end of the Dark Ages of dog-friendly businesses. (Photo by Maria Goodavage)

But as it turned out, there were so few places that allowed dogs that on a few occasions, I had to sneak him into motel rooms. There were no guides to dog-friendly lodgings, and certainly no Internet with dog-friendly sites, so it was a blind crapshoot. If you showed up and asked if dogs were allowed and they weren’t, you couldn’t very well stay. But if you didn’t, you took your chances with being kicked out. That happened to me once, and it wasn’t anything I cared to repeat.

Those were the Dark Ages of dog-friendly businesses. But little did I know that was all about to change.

Many Baby Boomers were delaying having children, so dogs often played important roles in their lives. On the other end of the generation, some older Boomers who’d started families young were done raising their kids, and longing for something to fill their empty nests. What better than a loyal, loving, non-college-tuition-needing dog?

As this generation grew up and out with their dogs at their sides, more businesses started allowing dogs. Lodgings found that people given the privilege of a nice room with their dog were among their best customers. Ditto for al fresco restaurants and other businesses. And so began the age of Canine Enlightenment.

While I was still grousing about how few places allowed dogs, I wrote a book on great places to take a dog in California. I really had to scrounge around, but it turns out I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see a guide like this. It sold very well, and became the basis of the Dog Lover’s Companion guidebook series. The book is in its seventh edition, and weighs in at more than 1,000 pages. There are so many dog-friendly venues that I have to be pretty choosy about what makes the grade.

Over the years, other businesses started catering to the people who treated their dogs as family members. Some Boomers will spare no expense for their dogs. Among the results: High-end dog food and treats; state-of-the-art medical diagnostics and treatments; super-swank boarding facilities; loads of boutique pet stores offering the choicest beds, collars, and fancy duds; and even canine massage therapists and doggy “psychologists.”

Senior man walking dog by Shutterstock

As Boomers age, dogs are becoming more empty-nest fillers than “first kids.” The fiscal result is a record $52 billion we’ll be spending on our pets (mostly dogs) this year. 

“Boomers are different, for the most part,” according to Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association (APPA). “What did they call us? Helicopter parents, because we were constantly hovering over the kids. The kids left home and now we’re looking to hover over something else. And so we wind up doing it over pets.”

But pet ownership tends to drop as people retire — which includes the leading edge of Boomers. It’s causing the pet industry to wonder what this means for its future as this massive generation ages, gets into fixed-income mode, and doesn’t have the money to expend on its four-legged family members. Sure, Generation X-ers, behind it, are also mad about their pets (whew), but the Boomer generation is so huge that the effects of its aging could shake up the industry.

The pet industry is trying to prevent a downturn in pet ownership by promoting the benefits of pets for seniors. The APPA is a founding sponsor (with Petco and Pfizer Animal Health) of theHuman Animal Bond Research Initiative, a nonprofit that promotes the positive role pets play in our health. And what older person doesn’t want to do what it takes to keep their health up? Dogs help blood pressure? Bring on Fido!

Of course, even Boomers are not immortal. The pet association can do only so much, and as Boomers start to die off, there may not be the dollars to keep alive all the businesses that support our love of dogs.

The future of dogs-as-family could go many ways. My hope is that our love of dogs will be so engrained that there’s no returning to the Doggy Dark Ages; that even though dog owners will be fewer in number, they’ll be just as passionate about their dogs. Maybe there will be fewer businesses to support this relationship, but there will be more than enough of them to nurture it without any jarring changes.

Woman holding dog by ShutterstockAnd who knows? A whole new industry of pet services could come from this. Mobile vets are already on the increase, and dog-walkers continue to grow in number. As Boomers age, businesses that make it easier for older people to keep their pets with them could have a heyday.

It will be interesting to watch this unfold. As David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, notes, “Boomers have traditionally been rule-breakers, and pet product marketers are counting on this group to buck the historical trend of sharply lower pet ownership rates among seniors.”

Do you think dogs will maintain their beloved status as we grow older? Are you a Baby Boomer? Do you plan to have dogs in your life as long as possible? We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know in the comments. We have something of a dog in this fight ourselves. 

Thanks to Dogster for questioning, researching and writing this article!

While this article does bring up some very interesting issues, I am unsure if have the same beliefs. My parents are from the baby boomers time, which according to this article makes me part of generation X so to speak. With that said, looking at my friends and family members of the same generation, all but a few (by a few I mean I can count them on both hands) have pets whether it be dogs, cats, or both ( And maybe bird or other exotics!). More interestingly enough, majority of the people I have known to get married, unlike the baby boomers who had kids and marriages at young ages, I have seen a shift. I see more people marrying at earliest age 23-25 and then they still don’t start making babies, they buy pets. I think the status dogs have will not fade, but if anything grow stronger. (Which may also be a very scary thought) If a statistical analysis was run on the generation X, or maybe surveys, I’m sure what I have seen and experienced is very common.


What you think?


Training a dog

There are many methods to training dogs. I am not about to list them off, I will say, my blog today is in completely rebuking the following article:

 Power of Positive: Train Humane


Many of us are intent on trying to be (or at least aspiring to be) positive, saying good things to each other, and looking to positive affirmations to boost our and other’s self-esteem, and to make us succeed or communicate better with each other.

When it comes to dogs though, and other animals, we usually take the military style approach to communication, or the approach of the drunk father who comes home and smacks or yells at the kids because they spilled the milk.

I work with aggressive and fearful dogs and have always used an entirely humane and compassionate approach. I do not follow or abide by dominance hierarchy or what I call “bully training.” People who embrace humane training and behavior modification principles generally have blessed and astounding relationships with their dogs and it shows by how their dogs respond to them.

Sadly, I go into homes where dogs are a wreck, emotionally, and sometimes physically, from the dominance, hierarchical, bully style approach to training dogs that has become so popular from television, i.e., the hang em’, jerk em’, jab em’, alpha roll em’, growl at em,’ stare at em,’ and generally make a dog’s walk miserable approach; force a dog to walk at an uncomfortable pace behind a person, no sniffing allowed, and sometimes preventing a dog from looking at anything of interest with a swift yank on the neck.

Dogs walk faster than most people run, and have four legs with a much lower center of gravity than we do—forcing a dog to walk behind a person is extremely unpleasant and stressful (for both the person and the dog). Dogs then disconnect. They begin acting out, don’t respond to their owners (especially off leash), become more reactive, avoid their owners, or get into a depression.

We would never shock a child into learning math. Why would we shock a dog into learning where to go potty, or to come to us when we call him?

Photo© Mary Alice Alnutt

It is amazing what joy and compassion, consistency and structure will bring to dogs. They blossom. When individuals follow correct approaches based on how animals actually learn (association learning, context learning, repetition) and build their dog’s confidence, dogs become attentive, reliable, trust their people, and are happier all around. I love rebuilding people’s relationships with dogs and watching the emotional bond strengthen between them. It’s wonderful to see clients learn how to interact with their dogs to encourage behaviors they never thought before were possible.

Animals respond to compassion, love, positive reinforcement, emotional and physical safety, psychological and physical nourishment, and consistency. It’s much easier, more effective, and results in no behavioral fallout, to teach an animal with compassion and joy, and to direct unwanted behaviors to desired ones, than it is to be reactive and yell, or bully a dog into submission.

Now that you read that, you may have on of many reactions, maybe sheer joy, or maybe like me you vomited a bit.

I by no means consider myself domineering or inhumane in my training of my animals or my friends….

I do not think using a shock collar is inhumane or says an owner doesn’t love their dog.

I do think positive reinforcement is wonderful, but I do not think this article is 100% true….clearly they haven’t had too many problem dogs…that is my direct opinion….


Is my best friend in the whole world. I love her more than anything, but I did not follow the ways of training this article suggests…

I used a shock collar, I have yelled at her before, I never give her treats, I walk her more than 90% of dog owners walk their dogs, I play with her every day, I sleep with her at night, and she loves me like there is no tomorrow….

Let me go into detail here…

As a puppy, Zuzu did over $1000’s damage to my parents house (she was their dog then) ..she was unruly, wild and crazy, and didnt listen to people. My dad took her to puppy classes and she excelled, she was smart, but take away treats…she didnt care what you asked, she wouldn’t listen. We then contacted a trainer named Renee who incorporated the use of shock collars to help zuzu focus her energy. But before using the collar on the dog, everyone in the family who had access to the collar had to wear it first, to make sure no one misused it, and to see what the dog was feeling. Did it hurt? Not really. it felt funny, and yes the sensation was shocking…but it was not painful. And the collar also had a unique vibration system in it as well, so once she was trained, you could switch to the vibrate mode instead.


I have never rewarded my dog with a treat, in fact, whenever she gets treats, she tends to walk all over that person like a spoiled child…Instead I reward her with attention, playtimes and praise. I do not go around yelling at her for no reason, but I yell to get her attention just like I may yell a friend or a child to get their’s. Is is mean? No. Does she fear me? Maybe in some cases, but hey, if My dog fears me more than the dog might attack her…well I just stopped a dog fight…and if aggressive dog truly wants to attack, I can safely get the aggressive dog away without getting injured or worrying my dog may accidentally bite me (Not that I break up dog fights but jumping in the middle…clothes, water or other objects tend to work better than flesh)

I don’t believe anything I have done is inhumane…..no two dogs are alike, just like no two people are, everyone learns differently and responds differently, and the same thing goes for training. My vote isnt one method of training, but a mixed method.



Tomorrow I will be heading down the ATL aka Georgia to visit some family.

I am very excited about this, mainly because of the activities that I will be doing such as:

Swimming with Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium like this scuba diver….

Potentially checking out other creatures at the Aquarium such as

The Beluga….who was preggers and hopefully had her calf!!!!

Potentially checking out the zoo for the land animals!

Not pictured, is helping train Mickey, my aunt’s dog who apparently just needs a visit from Cesar Millan….

Keeping this one short and sweet! Expect lots of photos and fun stories next week!!!


Dog Days of Summer

This weekend was a good one. Many friends graduated and I had made plans to go hiking.

Friday night, after working all day, I headed to my friends for some pizza and a doggie play date. It was a great way to end the week and begin the Summer Vacation that officially started last Monday. Saturday I had to work yet again, and stayed late do to some technical issues. Afterwards, Me and Jooj went for a nice run before going to celebrate my friend’s graduation.

Finally Sunday arrived, and it was time to hike. Originally we had wanted to go to Kelly’s knob, however, we kinda got lost and just hiked a chunk of the AT.

For those of you not savvy in the acronyms of hiking..the AT stands for the Appalachian Trail. The AT runs from Georgia through Maine and  lucky for me has many access points in/near the Blacksburg Region.

Although Sunday’s Hike was by no means Kelly’s knob, I know we were close and the hike was not only an amazing workout, but had some good views along the way. It also allowed the dogs to really tucker themselves out!!!

Do’s and Don’ts

After a long hiatus, I am back. Finals are over and summer has started! Does that me more free time and fun? Not necessarily. Ive actually worked the past five days, organized a picnic (that will be happening in a few hours) and I have my first meeting about summer research this afternoon.

To start my transition into the blogging world again after a whole week and some change away….I am reblogging. I know I am being lazy….but this is worthy to share! (I feel the same way they talk about in this article…) THANKS DOGSTER!

You Date Me, You Date My Dog: Finding Love as a Dog Owner

A woman finds her dogs often have something to say, loudly, about whom she dates. Can dating sites that match up pet lovers help?

Kelly Pulley  |  May 9th 2012  |

It was a night with a full moon, and I should have known something would go awry. I had met up with a male friend for dinner, my first foray into dating since separating from my husband a year ago. Granted, I hadn’t finished filing my divorce papers, and perhaps my Pit Bulls somehow sensed my impropriety, but when Matt came inside my house to meet the dogs, all hell broke loose.

Other folks with Pit Bulls will understand when I say that Hudson and Falstaff were like charging elephants, with Matt as their target. Falstaff was a mix of kisses and loud barking, while Hudson slid into Matt, heavily bruising his knee, and then retreated to the rear to bark and look tough.

Pit Bulls’ reputation unfairly precedes them.

Granted, I could have made this introduction less painful, especially for my date’s knee, but then Matt wouldn’t really see the wonderful (I think it’s wonderful) chaos that is my world. As it was, this greeting was enough to scare off this man who went skydiving last year, his baseball cap flying off and forgotten as he scrambled through the door.

You’d be surprised at how meeting my Pit Bulls affects people, especially when they are prospective suitors. I feel sorry for any guy who has to face my canine committee, which helps sort out the losers from the keepers. I’m upfront about owning dogs and specifically pitties, but most people don’t really know what that entails. And guys (not to discriminate here) tend to think they can handle a Pit Bull with no problem, but don’t take into account the dog’s strength and protective qualities.

Other dates have ended less dramatically, but in the end, my dogs have only approved of one guy. Jake calmly ignored Hudson’s protests and Falstaff’s attempts to trip him by rolling onto his back into his path every few feet. They were both stunned when Jake sat down on the deck steps with a book and continued to ignore them further. Falstaff was forced to pull out his best tricks, such as almost standing on his head, and Hudson just looked dismayed. Sure enough, they both ended up liking this guy. I guess that’s playing hard to get.

Couple on bench by Shutterstock.com

But it’s also more than that: Dogs have great instincts about who people really are. They are naturally discerning. Jake was a dog person, so I imagine he smelled like his dog (a big hound) and that he gave off signals that he loved dogs. Matt was not a dog person. In fact, I realized later that he never talked about dogs. That’s a bad sign.

I’ve learned that, for dog lovers, the first question when you contact a potential significant other should be “Do you like dogs?” Then ramp it up and ask: “Do you love dogs?” Then: “Do you LOVE dogs?” Be persistent. If your would-be suitor can’t meet your dogs for whatever reason, test his reactions by stopping to pet a dog when you’re out, or sending an article about dogs and asking for feedback.

Before I even brought home any dates, I lost some potential connections because the guys weren’t dog-centric. I don’t mean they weren’t “dog-friendly.” I mean they weren’t “It’s okay that I let my dogs sleep in my bed and don’t go on long trips because I can’t be away from them.” Their world has to be focused on dogs, like mine is.

One guy was comfortable with little dogs, but upon hearing about Falstaff’s muscle-y 82 pounds, he flinched, and we never drank coffee together again. Some of my dates never happened at all because the guy was a) afraid of dogs, b) he had allergies and assumed the dog would make them worse, or c) he didn’t want to be expected to help take care of them. Also, one guy was so fussy that the thought of dog hair on his clothes was reprehensible. (Imagine if I had him over for dinner and he found a dog hair in it!)

Couple and dogs by Shutterstock.com

I was enthusiastic, however, when I found out about sites such as Pet People Meet and Must Love Pets, which attempt to match dog people with dog people — a sort of eHarmony plus pets. These dating services are meant to ensure that once you actually meet the other participant, he won’t run screaming from the house with a dog stuck to his leg.

I signed up for Pet People Meet and immediately got some flirt messages. Woo-hoo! My profile was viewed nine times, though that’s not necessarily a good thing, since at least four of those views didn’t try to connect. (Maybe I need to change my photo.) It’s free to get your ego stroked, but there’s a fee to actually meet, and no guarantee that the hunky guy with the big mutt you see online is real.

After the few dates I’ve had since my husband broke it off, I’ve realized just how sensitive I am. Dating can make anyone vulnerable, though, and I’m glad my dogs have helped me sort out the losers from the keepers. I wonder what they’d think about a double date with a guy and his pooch?

Dogster readers, let me know what you think! Have you found dating is easier or harder because of your love of dogs? Has your dog ever “told” you that a potential partner was a loser and turned out to be right, or hass he sniffed out the keepers? Leave a comment below.

Photos via Shutterstock: Pit bulldog with happy couple

Swimming Season

Good Monday Morning!!!!


This past weekend was filled with all sorts of work. But one thing I did make time for as always was Zuzu.  She got to have lots of fun going swimming. After all this is the beginning of swimming season!

There is nothing this dog loves more than going for a swim, which is Ironic cause it wasnt always that way.

Zuzu, unlike most labs…or dogs really…didn’t learn to swim until she was almost 4 years old. It was circumstantial, as we didn’t have any places for her to go. When she first learned to swim, it was because  I road a horse into a pond and called her to me. She wouldn’t follow any dog in, but she did follow me. Then she realized how much fun it was, one thing led to another, and now, 3 years later, she is still swimming.

This time around Zuzu tried chasing some geese, and then changed her mind when the flock came to chase her back!


All in all, swimming was super fun for Zuzu! If you haven’t gotten your dog into the water, I suggest that you give it a whirl, they will more than likely love it!



But do watch out for geese!!!!

Natural Teachers

So I have come to realize that there are things our pets can teach us that no one else can.  They teach us the meaning of true loyalty, how to enjoy the small things (Like a game of fetch), exercise is important (Get in that daily walk), Curiosity does not kill the cat/always be curious and much much more.

Here is what one pet owner learned from the various dogs she had:

Six Things My Dogs Taught Me

Dogs are wise without knowing it. They do not know why they do the sensible things they do which makes them Taoists of sorts. I have learned, perhaps, the most about living well from my dogs.

Kelly Modzelewski

I am not a wise person. In the midst of the stress of my divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure, I am apt to ignore my body’s cries for more sleep and better food and my brain’s alerts to let common sense guide me.

Dogs are wise without knowing it. They do not know why they do the sensible things they do which makes them Taoists of sorts, creatures who follow the “Way” and “go with the flow.” But it is precisely this which makes their actions so acutely important. When a dog does something, it’s almost as if you’re seeing the real purpose of nature, the best way to live. I have learned, perhaps, the most about living well from my dogs.

Naps get a bad rap. Sleepy Beagle by Shutterstock.The first dog I remember existing in my universe was Socrates, more often called “Soc.” Soc was a huge Beagle – at least he seemed huge in my infant world. Up until I was about four, he was the friendly beast who followed my stroller around and watched encouragingly when I began to take tentative steps. He also served as a pacifier, letting me suck on his long ears before I had teeth. Afterwards, we came to a quick understanding that such activity was no longer appropriate. Soc had an affinity for naps and he snored very loudly even if you moved his head into a different position. These slumbers refreshed him greatly and he always expected a treat for waking up.

Lesson #1 – From Socrates the Beagle: Naps get a bad rap. 

The next dog who entered my life was Skipper, a scraggly terrier mix who had been abused by his former owner. Skipper was a wild card – you never knew if he’d be happy to see you or mistake you for an intruder. His poor little mind was always going, trying to figure out what he was supposed to be doing. He sat outside in his kennel in the winter on his frozen water bucket, oblivious to the cold, ever watchful. He also had epilepsy which wasn’t really treated in dogs in those days. I helped him through many an episode by myself even at age six.

Lesson #2 – From Skipper the Terrier Mix: We all have our kinks.

Siberian Husky via Shutterstock.

When Skipper was old, we got Moses, a Siberian Husky replete with papers. His “official” name was “Kelly’s Baby Moses,” a slightly incorrect moniker since he ended up being mostly my Dad’s dog. But, despite this, Moses and I bonded and spent happy hours running, hiking and watching TV together. He was a staid, noble dog who did not really “play” or “frolic” but his patience was enduring and I could cry my teenage eyes out while burying my face in his silky husky fur for hours. He didn’t move an inch during these sessions though I imagine he had a look of exasperation on his face.

Lesson #3 – From Moses the Husky: Look for patient friends with lots of Kleenex. 

In the next few years, I got a license, went to college, got married, and moved across the country – all by age 21. My then-husband had a dog named Manny who was a beautiful Golden/Chow mix. Manny was stubborn and walked like Mae West, her big fluffy butt swaying from side to side. She was fixed but any male dog within a mile of her fell in love with that bushy bum and followed her around. Manny was independent and always did her own thing. No amount of training or tearing your hair out could get her to do something she didn’t want to do. She even survived on her own in Boston for a week begging and stealing food as needed.

Lesson #4 – From Manny the Chow/Golden Mix: An independent life is an adventurous life.

A few years later, I adopted Kingfish, a white Lab/Chow mix. Kingfish was only 10-weeks-old when he came to my place, the first puppy I’d owned since Moses. He was so handsome with that snowy fur and black eyes. But he soon turned into an adolescent exhibiting traits such as destroying everything in sight. His housebreaking was also a mess since he was home most of the day alone. The stress of that time – no money, unfamiliar surroundings and a difficult marriage – made me less than patient with him. But he would occasionally do something like steal the toilet plunger and run around the house oblivious to the fact that no one wanted to play because, well, it was a toilet plunger.

Happy Pit by Shutterstock

Lesson #5 – From Kingfish the Lab/Chow Mix: Do silly things and then laugh at them.

The dogs in my life now are two wonderful pit bulls, Hudson and Falstaff. I lost my female, Amber, last May – she was as influential as they are. Pit bulls are a different sort of dog altogether. Mine are funny and playful and loving and comforting. They are also stubborn and frantic and downright disobedient at times. Hudson is my little black shadow – he even slinks his way into the bathroom with me. Falstaff gets cranky but is also a clown. They are both engaged and engaging. They are also pragmatic. Pit bulls are known for fighting with each other or other dogs – it was what they were bred for. And we’ve had our share of dog fights in the household. But, a day or so after a fight, they lick their wounds and make up, seemingly knowing that holding onto a grudge is not productive.

Lesson #6 – Amber, Hudson and Falstaff the Pit Bulls: Resentment gets in the way of moving forward.

The lessons I’ve learned over the years from my dogs have enabled me to stay stable and well during this time of extreme stress. I am letting go of past conflicts; using laughter as therapy; enjoying my independence; leaning on friends who are supportive; embracing my quirks; and, hey, taking a nap every afternoon.



I can’t agree with this more. And as I had stated, loyalty is the big one, at least for me. And recently I have been seeing a lot of stories in the news about the loyalty of animals, especially dogs. This next news story touched my heart. The dog was truly heroic and on top of that, I believe it shows a PitBull in their true colors.


“A Staten Island dog is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head after coming to the aid of his owner during a home invasion.


At around 5 p.m. Saturday Justin Becker, 32, said a man posing as a delivery driver forced his way into Becker’s apartment on Lambert Street in Graniteville after falsely claiming he had a package.

When the thug pushed his way inside, Becker struck him and forced him to the floor, slamming the door on him and trapping him briefly. Roused by the commotion, Becker’s pit bull Kilo sprang into action and jumped onto the doorway. When he did, the attacker shot him in the head at point blank range.

“My dog stuck his head out the door, and then [the thug] shot him in the head,” Becker said. The perpetrator fled, leaving a scene of carnage behind.

Becker’s girlfriend was convinced that Kilo was dying. “Hold him in your arms. Let him die in your arms,” she told him. But Becker said it was too soon to make that call.

“I’m not going to let him die,” he said.

He rushed to South Shore Animal Hospital in New Dorp with Kilo in his arms. An examination would return almost unbelievably good news: the bullet ricocheted off Kilo’s skull, exiting through his neck and sparing him from a life-threatening brain injury. Kilo had defied the odds.

“This is like, one in a million,” said Dr. Greg Panarello. “He’s very lucky.”

Kilo is recovering at home now with a stash of painkillers and antibiotics, and is under strict orders to rest. The hospital’s staff were so impressed with his heroics that they adorned his bandage with a little “S” — for “superhero.””

Thank you Lifewithdogs for sharing!


What lessons have your pets taught you?