Trick or Treat! With Halloween just around the corner, we’re looking forward to seeing many creative and adorable costumes among our human and furry friends alike. Here at the ASPCA, some of our favorite costumes involve people and pets dressed in coordinating outfits. We’d like to share a few costumes ideas for your kids and pets:
Monkey and Banana: Your child could choose to be either the monkey or the banana, and dress your pet accordingly!
Police Officer and Police Dog: The ASPCA has partnered with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to enforce animal cruelty laws throughout the city’s five boroughs, and some police officers work alongside canine companions. This costume set recognizes hardworking police dogs in New York City and nationwide.
Tortoise and Hare: Recreate this classic fable with interchangeable tortoise and hare costumes for your child and pet of any breed.
Lion and Zookeeper: This could be the perfect costume set for an outgoing feline and a budding animal caretaker.
When dressing your pet in a costume, it’s important to consider her safety and comfort. Your pet’s costume should not constrict her movement or hearing, or impede her ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider having her skip the costume or don a festive bandana. For more information, check out our Pet Care section for our full list of Halloween safety tips.
Guest blog by ASPCA Volunteer Manager Julie Sonenberg, a mom of one daughter and two dogs in New York City.
Being a working mom poses many challenges, but I believe one of the primary benefits is the opportunity to model what it’s like to enjoy helping others for my almost-2-year-old daughter. Each night, I snuggle with my daughter in our rocking chair and I summarize our day. I talk about what we had for breakfast, who she spent the day with, what activities she participated in and I tell her that mommy was at work and missed her all day. I take comfort that I can tell her about the positive impact I may have had on an animal or on a person while we were apart. Instilling compassion in a child is hard work. It comes naturally to her in some ways, but we also try to find deliberate ways to point out, model and encourage compassion.
My husband recently brought our daughter to visit me at “the office,” which is the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan. They took the bus there, and since that is one of my daughter’s favorite modes of transportation, the trip was already an adventure. She had no idea what was in store for her! When they first arrived, she pointed to every photo on the wall in the lobby (of which there are many) and exclaimed, “Kitty cat!” “Doggie!” “Meow!” “Horsie!” And we hadn’t even gotten to the good part yet.
We walked around and looked at all the animals, and each one gave her a new spark of excitement. We saw big dogs, little dogs, barking dogs and sleeping dogs as well as orange cats, black cats, dozing cats and playful kittens. Some of the animals seemed stressed by her presence, in which case we hurried her along to another dog or cat who showed interest in this small visitor. My coworker gave her a little pug doll which she brought around and “showed” to all the animals. I explained to her that these animals don’t have a home like our two pugs, Dexter and Milton, as well as the other animals in her life. I’m not sure she understood this exactly, but my tone made her scrunch up her face the way she does when we see a “sad baby” in one of our books.
If you’re thinking about adopting a pet, visit your local shelter and watch the delight on your child’s face as they connect with the animals. As parents, we all know that their joy becomes our joy.
Browsing for items for the whole family? Check out our weekly roundup of products in the ASPCA Online Store and from our supporters for your human and animal companions. Each purchase benefits the ASPCA’s work for animals in need nationwide.
Alex and Ani Prints of Love Bangle: Part of Alex and Ani’s Charity by Design collection, the “Prints of Love” bangle features a paw print shaped charm and is available in both Rafaelian Silver and Rafaelian Gold. The ASPCA will receive 20% of the proceeds from each sale.
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for over 10 years. Danielle also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’sBabble.com. Find her on her blog,Some Puppy To Love,Twitter, or Facebook.
Over the past few months, our dog, Hayley has developed a peculiar habit of growling or barking when any member of our family sits down to eat. While she has never turned down a treat, this new desperation for food was a sudden change. At first, I attributed her odd new behavior to her advanced age. But then Hayley’s desperation for extra bites of food grew stronger. She began to scour the living room after school to scout out the kids’ backpacks and break open the zippers to scavenge through the remnants of the day’s lunch. Coupled with that was a more disturbing new pattern: she began having accidents in the house.
This situation brought on a familiar and daunting feeling. About ten years ago, we had an orange cat named Jason. As he grew older, he took to jumping on the counter, biting through the bread bags and munching on plain slices while we slept at night. He also started using our living room chair and even my daughter’s bed as a cat pan. He was diagnosed with diabetes soon after, which accounted for his intense urge to eat and his bathroom issues.
Once I put all of Hayley’s recent behavior patterns together, I made an appointment with our veterinarian for the following morning. As we had already surmised, she was diagnosed with diabetes. Her blood sugar was 675 in the office, and I began a twice-daily routine of injecting her with insulin. Today, on her third blood sugar check in as many weeks, her blood sugar was 615. Our vet suspects that Hayley has an underlying problem that is preventing her blood sugar from regulating, and that she may have Cushing’s Disease.
If it weren’t for our experience with Jason’s health, I might not have noticed Hayley’s issues. Even though she began behaving differently, she has remained in good spirits and doesn’t seem bothered or agitated. Our vet always says that no matter the condition, be mindful of any new or strange behavior in your pets. By staying tuned in to your pets, you can keep an eye on their general health. Hayley is scheduled for an eight-hour blood test next week to determine her underlying problem. As of now, she’s laying in her fluffy bed, tuckered out after a busy day and no doubt not feeling great with a blood sugar in the 600s, but you’d never know it. This little girl, the same one that came to us as an abused little dog who still managed to help my ailing daughter is one tough pup, and hopefully a few months from now, her condition will be under control and she’ll be feeling much better again.
Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blogGrown and Flown.
One of the benefits of travel is having a chance to compare the new with all that’s familiar back home. I recently joined my husband on a visit to Peru where we toured Lima, Cusco and the marvelous Machu Picchu. I loved climbing among the Inca ruins, sampling traditional Peruvian dishes and seeing real llamas! There was one thing, though, that I found troubling—the prevalence of stray dogs roaming village streets. We saw them rooting through garbage and standing in dumpsters searching for food, left to fend for themselves.
Taking care of animals has been a priority in the U.S. for nearly 150 years, beginning with the ASPCA. According to the organization’s history, Henry Bergh created the animal protection agency and was instrumental in seeing the first anti-cruelty law was passed in 1866.
The ASPCA notes that by the time Bergh died in 1888, “The idea that animals should be protected from cruelty had touched America's heart and conscience. Humane societies had sprung up throughout the nation—among the first to follow New York's lead were Buffalo, Boston and San Francisco—and 37 of 38 states in the union had enacted anti-cruelty laws.”
As a society, we depend on shelters to do important work for the public good. Animal shelters promote responsible pet ownership, rescue animals in need, and find loving homes for abandoned or mistreated animals.
But shelters can only care for a limited numbers of animals, which is where families in search of a pet to adopt can play an important role.