Friends of Falmouth Dogs - Founded in 1990.
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Sunday: 3:00-5:00
Monday and Thursday:
10:00-12:00 & 4:00-6:00
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150 Blacksmith Shop Rd.
Falmouth, MA

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P.O. Box 438
Falmouth, MA 02541

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Our Weekly Falmouth Enterprise Column


By Pamela Alden Kokmeyer

Friday, May 26, 2017

Montesquieu was a man of letters, a student of the law, a biting satirist, a prodigious traveler and a political philosopher. But when he wasn't running around lettering, lawyering, satirizing, traveling and philosophizing, he had a soft, sensitive side. In perhaps one of his best known and widely acclaimed works, "Persian Letters," Montesquieu wrote: "Friendship, that sweet bond of hearts which creates a gentleness of existence."

Pet owners know this sweet bond of hearts on a visceral level. And anyone who has ever provided a lap for a napping dog's head feels that gentleness of existence.

Fortunately, it goes both ways. Just ask George. Well, actually, you can't ask him right now because he's enjoying his gentleness of existence in a foster home even as we speak. Yes, George, the German shepherd with heartworm, has moved to a very special foster family. And by the time this column goes to press, he will have started treatment for the heartworm. The good news is that George has proven to be a perfect houseguest—he's respectful, loving, obedient, grateful, housebroken, and just plain fun. His foster family tells us that he is a remarkable dog. He came to visit a few days ago and already the transformation in his physical condition is impressive. We'll keep you posted on his progress and as he nears time for adoption, we'll encourage you to come down to get more information.

George, German Shepherd

* * *

Recently, we've received several calls from people needing to re-home their dogs, including such breeds as Labs, beagles and the ever-popular "mix." Often, the specifics of these dogs aren't known until after this column goes to press, so we encourage you to call us from time to time and get updates.

* * *

We know the worst of the hot weather is still down the road a bit but the few warm days we had last week remind us to remind you to remind yourself and to remind others NOT to leave pets in cars, even "just for a moment while I run an errand." Cars heat rapidly, especially on sunny days, even with windows partially open. Dogs can suffer heat stroke in a very, very short time.

* * *

One of our go-to websites is PetPlace for information, education and fun factoids. And a recent entry confirmed what we knew: play is serious business.

According to the experts, play serves a very real purpose and can even serve as a dress rehearsal for the real life to come. Running, jumping, mouthing, chasing and wrestling are all part of play. And when done at the proper stages of life and in the proper environment, puppies learn appropriate behavior that can take them to adulthood. (Ideally, puppies that bite too hard quickly learn how to control themselves.) You could call it Emily Post for the doggy set.

We've all seen the play bow, when one dog signals its intention to another. And the play bow may be accompanied by an open mouth, pricked ears, barks and sometimes leaping about. These are signs easily read by other, properly socialized dogs. Much of this behavior is learned during the crucial early months of a puppy's life, first with its littermates and later with its friends.

But there is also a form of play that manifests in chewing behaviors: balls, bones, stuffed toys, shoes, remote controls, eyeglasses—you get the picture. And anyone who's raised a puppy knows all about that!

And those of you who have older dogs probably know that although the types of play may be modified, your dog still has the need and urge to play. In fact, experts tell us that domesticated dogs don't outgrow their need for play, but rather, remain in a sort of permanent puppyhood. Interestingly, and sadly, dogs that are stressed, unhappy or unhealthy do not play. A word to the observant dog owner: If your formerly happy, playful pet stops enjoying his stuffed animals or tennis balls or whatever, he or she may be telling you something and you may want to consider consulting your vet.

* * *

And speaking of play, as always, we encourage you to come down and play with our dogs. (How is that for a subtle hint?) We are open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to noon; Sunday from 3 to 5 PM; and Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6.

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