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The quintessential American dream involves having a house with a beautiful lawn and having man's best friend by your side. Unfortunately, many homeowners find that these two elements don't always go well together. Pups like to dig in the dirt, roll around in the grass, and mark their territory -- all of which can wreak havoc on your lovely landscaping. But the truth is that you don't have to choose between the nice yard and the loyal dog. There's good news for the majority of American households that have at least one pet: your pup and your property can coexist in harmony, as long as you're strategic about the way you landscape. Here are some essential elements you'll want to include in your dog-friendly yard.

Published in Gardening

There are more than 75 million pet dogs in the U.S., which is more than in any other country. In comparison, there were only 68 million pet dogs the year 2000 across the United States.

Taking care of puppies and dogs is a lot of work -- for anyone. You'll need to bring a puppy in for vaccines every three to four weeks until they're at least 16 weeks old. You'll need to train your dog to prevent dog bites, which impact 4.5 million Americans each year. You'll have to walk, train, and feed your dog, and do so much more.

Even taking care of the healthiest dogs can be difficult. Add in some unfortunate cases, disabilities can amplify those difficulties.

Every year, there are more than 2 million new wheelchair users in the United States. Though it's much more common for humans to utilize wheelchairs, for dogs with mobility issues, these devices are great for allowing them to walk, play, run, and get the exercise they need.

According to VCA, thanks to technological advancements, dogs are living much longer today than ever before. With advanced age, however, comes physical changes to the body and mind that can alter day-to-day actives, including general mobility. Dogs are living much longer, which leads many to subsequently develop progressive degenerative conditions that can lead to disabilities and alter their activities of daily living (ADLs).

Exercise is imperative for all dogs in order to keep them in good physical condition and keep their weight down. Dogs who whine, bark, or are restless at night usually do so out of boredom and lack of exercise. With the aid of a wheelchair, these negative behaviors will typically diminish.

Here are a few different types of wheelchairs and support carts that dogs can benefit from:

  • Two-wheeled carts are great for dogs with rear limb weakness or for post-surgery rehabilitation.

  • Two-wheeled carts with extra support and front extensions that gives support to all four limbs.

  • Hand-held lifting devices are great for helping dogs get up and down stairs, into cars, and through doorways.

  • Walking aids, which can help support a dog's hindquarters.

It's important to keep in mind that most dogs who previously struggled with mobility issues relish the freedom that a wheelchair provides. Regardless, it typically only takes a few days for them to adjust. In some instances, however, some training will be needed in order to help your dog learn how to handle their new wheelchair. Also, there is a small percentage of dogs that will reject a wheelchair over and over again.

According to WLOS, Brevard High School students in North Carolina have designed a wheelchair for a puppy who has very little movement in her hind legs.

Monkey, the special needs puppy, is now able to roll around and comfortably get around.

Brevard High School student Courtney Meyer designed the wheelchair for Monkey after Sarah Rhymer, animal science teacher, brought the puppy to school.

"I have a real passion for animals, so when Miss Rhymer first showed me the dog and let me see her walk, I was so heartbroken," said Meyer, a senior.

Now, equipped with a new set of wheels and plenty of newfound confidence, Monkey is excited for her new life thanks to some quality engineering and compassion.

"I got to see her run for the first time down the hallway," added Meyer. "She hasn't been able to run, and I was just overwhelmed with joy being able to see her face light up."

After she graduates from high school, Meyer, who won Brevard's Person of the Week award, hopes to pursue a career in computer engineering at N.C. State. The wheelchair she designed has lightweight flex pipes and black joints, which were printed using the school's 3-D printer, as well as a repurposed tourniquet for support.

"You don't need a degree to help animals," Meyer said. "You don't need a vet degree or engineering degree to do something as simple as this."

Published in For the Home

Political humor is a time-honored tradition that seems to have taken a little bit of a dip in recent years, particularly because the American public seems to have gone pretty soft. As skin gets thinner, I think it's time for me to remind everyone yet again of a fact that I last pointed out back in June of 2017 when DC Comics unleashed a preview of MAD About Trump: A Brilliant Look at Our Brainless PresidentNo matter what your political affiliation or lack thereof, it's okay to make fun of our President. It's also perfectly acceptable to question, challenge and take shots at your elected officials. Respect doesn't come with an office or position - it has to be earned. Political humor is timeless, and if you're the President of The United States of America, you are fair game. In my lifetime, I always think of Saturday Night Live and Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford as the benchmark - the earliest clips I can recall. I see people complaining on Twitter about Alec Baldwin as Trump, yet those same folks have no doubt laughed it up about other actors playing Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Carter and all of their opponents. It doesn't make any sense, because it is always acceptable to make fun of the President - always. While I haven't traditionally written a lot about politics here on the site (something slowly changing as I begin using my platform for my own agenda - people, not party), as a registered Independent that cannot fully identify with any political party in this country (or any other), I say, "Joke 'Em All!" Anyone remember the comic book, "Great Morons in History: Dan Quayle?" I had that one, and I'm sure it was a great white elephant gift upon its release back in 1992. On that same note, as part of Holiday Wish Guide™ 2018, I'm pointing my lens at the man currently in the White House, the 45th President of the United States: Donald J. Trump. No matter what your opinion of The Apprentice and Home Alone II: Lost In New York star, I'm sure we can all agree that these six gift ideas will no doubt provoke a reaction at any holiday gathering. While some may question their taste, they are pretty funny... tremendously funny, even.

Published in Comedy

It's Pumpkin Spice Season. As Starbucks preps to unleash this year's supply of the official beverage of fall, I've already done my first "pumpkin-everything" haul for 2018... sadly, a few days later than usual as it appears my local retailers were slacking in terms of stocking the seasonal goods this time around. But who says that humans should have all the fun? Now, thanks to twitter, I know that Greenies is serving up a Limited Edition batch of Pumpkin Spice Greenies - a worthy treat for all the canines in the house! 

Published in Food and Drink

Last year at Blogger Bash in New York City, I got an early look at Sentiments' first Disney Pets Collection - a series of dog beds and bowls based around the iconic look of Mickey Mouse. Now comes word that the line was a success, and with that they're expanding line - and with Spider-Man: Homecoming hitting theaters this month, it's appropriate that their first foray into the Marvel realm is a collection aimed solely at canine fans of a certain NYC-based web-slinger. Can your dog (or cat) be a Disney or Marvel fan? I don't see why not...

Published in Gardening

They say that "love is a new puppy," and that's something that I've experienced twice in my life - both within the last 15 years. No, I didn't have a pet until my teens, and even then, it was hamsters. I would've enjoyed having a dog running around,  but sometimes having a real-life canine companion just doesn't work - for a lot of reasons. That's where Peppy Pets can come in with their Peppy Pups - adorable puppies that are packed with personality! To celebrate the joy of puppy companionship on National Puppy Day and beyond, TPF Toys and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to get one family hooked-up with a Peppy Pup of their own!

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