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I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a tough year.

The general consensus is that our pets have saved many of us during the lockdowns and throughout this anxious time. But we shouldn’t take them for granted. They have undoubtedly been suffering too, due to the collective uneasiness around them. We’re all hoping for a better year in 2021, and why not begin by setting some intentions to give something back to your furry companion?

I’m guilty of taking my dog for granted at times. And although I do consider myself a responsible and caring dog mummy, I could definitely do better! Couldn’t we all?

Here are my New Year’s Resolutions for a more harmonious 2021 with doggie:

Number one: Pay More Attention To Cues

Spending too much time staring at the screen? This wasn’t hard in 2020, since many of us started working from home, and indeed staying at home much more. If you’re guilty of too much screen time, your dog will tell you. I’ve been getting messages loud and clear from my Charlie this year, and I think it’s time to pay more attention.

She’s also been a good reminder to try to stay connected with people and go outside. She adores being around people and out in the open, and as we move forward with the pandemic still lurking, it’s good to have another living being encouraging you to get out, do stuff and live in the moment.

Number Two: Balance The Socialising

As much as Charlie loves socialising with other dogs (as she should as it’s really important), we got a bit carried away the other day. She ended up overexerting herself and provoking an old injury in her leg. I frequently feel that she’s lonely because we don’t often see other dogs, but too much of a good thing isn’t always the solution either.

Again, I think it’s important to look out for cues from her, and by the end of her ‘play date’, she was definitely giving me some looks which signalled ‘get me out of here’! So, next year, we’ll try to go with the ‘little and often’ theory.

Number three: Go Easy On The Hugs And Kisses

I guess this would differ from dog to dog but Charlie doesn’t really love the hugs and generally leans in the other direction when I move in. I’m going to make a conscious effort to show my affection in other ways, rather than the obvious human method.

Number four: More Interaction 

Get back to the present and bring out your inner child! I get so stuck on schedules and deadlines, and some days I forget to have a good old play with her. This is sad. Dogs really need interaction and if I’m to improve my behaviour next year, it must include this. She’d much rather a play around the living room than a hug. It will show her that I really care. She got some cool new toys for Christmas but perhaps it’s also time to think about investing in some more interactive toys.

Number Five: Less Car Time

I had an international relocation in 2020, and in 2019 for that matter. Charlie and I had a particularly stressful journey during which the car broke down several times. She does not like the car at the best of times, and this was ultra anxiety-inducing for her. Not to mention the two rather long ferry journeys we had to take as well. 

Now, this probably isn’t going to be the hardest resolution to stick to in 2021 because many of us have travel restrictions, but I have to keep it in mind because I often get itchy feet. Charlie, like many dogs, feels comfortable with some kind of daily structure and having her own territory. It’s not surprising that she feels uneasy when she has no idea where she’s going.

Number Six: Less Selfies

Don’t shoot me but I do enjoy taking a good selfie with my dog. I can’t resist because I just love her face so much and she has a bit of fan club amongst my friends on social media. I don’t like to disappoint. But, she hates it, and I really think it would be an idea to cut down. Charlie is very infamous for her sighing and as soon as the camera appears, the sigh emerges and the head turns away. I’ve been told.

Number Seven: Be Aware Of My Emotions 

Having a dog can really help you reflect on how you’re feeling, and unwanted emotions can boil up too, if your dog has a naughty streak. Emotions, whether connected with your human or animal relationships will have a huge impact on your pet.

I want to be more aware of this (without suppressing emotions, because it’s important to feel them) and be conscious it may be affecting my dog. If you’re finding you need some alone time, ask a friend or family member to help out, or try to engage in some practices or habits that may help alleviate your grief/sadness/depression. It’s easier said than done, I know this, but your dog can be the one who helps you keep going if you focus your care and attention on him/her. 

So, there we have it — a set of intentions for a hopeful shift in 2021. For me personally, the lack of hugs and kisses has been a massive miss in 2020. And despite promising to hug Charlie less (she happens to like social distancing!), I hope for many of us, affection, in whichever style you prefer, makes a comeback.

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Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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Want The Perfect Present? Listen To Your Dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/want-the-perfect-present-listen-to-your-dog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=want-the-perfect-present-listen-to-your-dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/want-the-perfect-present-listen-to-your-dog/#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 14:50:04 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=216390 The post Want The Perfect Present? Listen To Your Dog appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this post is full of more holiday gift ideas. But It’s not. Those you can find at our Dharma Dog Shop!

The present we’re talking about is the beautiful, sometimes painful, always arriving, present moment. How often recently have you been there? If you’re like me, then not much. At this time of year especially, we are consumed by other busy thoughts and distractions. We also tend to reflect on the year that has just gone and look ahead to the new one. 

So, why am I banging on about this? Isn’t this a dog blog? That’s just it — you can distract yourself all you want with your future planning and lists, but there is one thing guaranteed to remind you of the present: your dog.

Dogs Don’t Get ‘Busy’ 

Dogs don’t understand your list of chores, your tap tap tapping on your keyboard, and they certainly don’t understand Christmas! They roll with the natural rhythms — sun up and sun down, hunger, thirst, tiredness, the breath. And they are quite literally often staring you in the face, asking you to do the same.

In our last post, we brought you some ideas about how to keep your dog occupied whilst working from home. But it’s about more than keeping them occupied, it’s about being with them in the present.

Dogs Do Understand Stress

Recently, my life has been a little chaotic. I had a big move back to Scotland from Europe, my desi dog Charlie in tow, and started a new job in the process. Since arriving back, I’ve moved house twice, started a university degree course, and along with all the other ‘stuff’ that modern life entails, it sometimes feels overwhelming. I often get stressed, putting pressure on myself because the house needs cleaning, or because I’m not cooking perfect dinners.

This stress often affects Charlie. We’re living together day in day out and she feels my emotions. In the last few weeks though, she has been my medicine. All it takes is one glance at her face or hearing her breath as she snoozes beside me, and I can’t help but let it all go. Then it’s simply a case of resting beside her, feeling her abdomen rise and fall, or getting her toys out for a frenzied play after dinner.

The walks are a godsend and there is no getting away with less than two long walks a day, despite the sun setting around 2.30-3pm at the moment. Charlie is gregarious and is always seeking interactions with other creatures, be those humans, dogs, sheep or rabbits. To see her whole body move and shake with delight as she sniffs her way to sheer joy, is everything.

Take A Long Pawwwws!

As I write this, it’s 11.30am in the Shetland islands, which lies at a latitude of 60 degrees north. It’s positively gloomy outside, and feels like it’s getting dark already. We’re approaching the winter solstice, which is on 21st December: the longest night. Winter is absolutely upon us, and the darkness is reaching its peak. 

It can be gruelling, living with so much darkness. And yet, I can feel such a magnificent power at this time of year. When we reach that darkest point, it’s almost like taking a huge pause. We go to the deepest recesses of our body and soul, feel everything inside, so that we can meet the light once more with renewed energy. 

There’s Always Light, Even In A Dark Moment

Charlie was particularly delighted this morning when I discovered that the embers from the fire were still lit, and so I resurrected the fire. Again, this reminded me that it’s important to be at rest, so that the glowing embers can spring back to life given the right conditions. I don’t normally light the fire during the day, but again Charlie’s reaction told me to just roll with it and enjoy!

As I described earlier, we get so caught up in our frantic ways of living, we forget to pay attention to the natural rhythms. Your dog may not understand Christmas but they sure do understand the winter solstice and nature as a whole. So, take cues from your dog, above all when they are asking you to take a break from lists and screens. Ultimately, they know better, and have an innate sense of how to exist in the present. Keep those home fires burning, even at a low ebb, so that we can meet the light when it returns. We have to be ready for those 3 walks a day come Spring!

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Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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Not sure how to keep your pet entertained while you’re stuck in the house all day?

Your dog might love the fact that you’re staying home, but if other things are taking up your attention, your pet might get a little bored. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to occupy your pet.

Continue reading for a few ways to keep your dog busy while you’re at home. Your pet will love each and every one of them, and you’ll have fun, too.

Info For Puppy And Dog Parents: Ways To Keep Your Dog Busy While You’re Working From Home

bored work dog | Ultimate Pet NutritionWhether you have a puppy or an adult dog, your pet can sometimes get bored. In some instances, a bored dog can become a destructive dog, chewing your shoes or even your furniture. Your new four-legged coworker might get tired of seeing you type on your keyboard all day, and they might commit a little mischief.

One thing that might be great for both of you is taking a break from the workday and getting outside to play a game of fetch. Get a little fresh air, and get your pet some exercise in the process. If the weather doesn’t allow for outside play, you can bring your fetch game indoors. Just use a soft toy or a ball.

Another idea, if the weather allows, is simply to get outside during your lunch break and take a walk. If you can, make it a nice, long walk. Let your puppy or adult dog sniff to their heart’s content. Let them take the lead and nose around – you could even let them choose the direction they want to go, as long as it’s safe.

A good, long, “sniff walk” will do wonders for your dog. They’ll burn off a lot of energy, and they’ll probably be ready for a snooze once you get back home.

What Could Be Leading To Your Dog’s Boredom? 

bored destructive dogs | Ultimate Pet NutritionDoes your dog like to get in trouble during the day? Do you find them unrolling your toilet paper, tipping over the trash can, or using a shoe or pillow as a chew toy? If you’re in another room working and your pet gets bored, that could happen. But why is this the case?

The answer could be as simple as a lack of stimulation. Humans can get bored when they don’t have anything to do. Dogs do too. If they’re tired of their toys or don’t get the chance to play and get exercise, boredom will set in. A dog can even get bored with their dog food.1

If your pet shows disinterest in toys, barks more than normal, or exhibits odd behavior such as excessive grooming, those could all be signs of boredom.2

You might want to think about buying a new toy or two, or taking your dog for a longer walk than normal – or even taking a different route. If your dog gets along with your neighbor’s pooch, maybe invite that dog over for a play date. Just make sure you supervise to make sure their play doesn’t get out of hand.3

Could Separation Anxiety Be Part Of The Problem?

If your dog is destroying things like furniture, clothing, or shoes on a regular basis, your pet might be dealing with separation anxiety.

dog-waiting-for-owner| Ultimate Pet Nutrition

This issue can affect a dog at any age, whether they’re an adult or a puppy. It typically occurs when a dog experiences extreme stress when left alone. Just like humans can suffer panic attacks, a dog can go through separation anxiety “attacks.” If your dog starts to whine or pace when you get ready to leave, howls or barks excessively, or has accidents around your home, talk to your vet.4

Keeping Your Pooch Active: What Are Some Great Interactive Dog Toys?

An interactive dog toy might be just the thing to occupy your furry friend. This type of dog toy will provide hours of fun, and it might keep your pet from becoming bored.

One of the more effective types of interactive toys is a food puzzle. This toy might help break up the typical feeding routine, which might contribute to your dog’s boredom. Instead of using the regular bowl day after day, try putting dog food in a puzzle for your pet instead.5

You can put food or dog treats in the puzzle toy or ball, or you can even hide some food in different areas of the yard.6Your pet will have a blast sniffing around for their reward. Whether you use a puzzle toy or the hiding option, your pet should enjoy the stimulating challenge.

ways to keep your dog busy | Ultimate Pet NutritionHere are a few other interactive toys you might want to consider for your pet.

    • Snuffle mat –This mat has several raised areas where you can easily hide treats or dry food. These crevices will really challenge your dog’s nose, keeping them occupied for hours.
    • Ball thrower – If you can’t spend time with your dog because you’re up against a tight work deadline, this could be the perfect toy. It will automatically throw a ball – sort of an automatic game of fetch. With a little training, you can show your dog how to put the ball back in the launcher so it can shoot the ball again and again.
    • Treat-dispensing chewing toy – This works on the same principle as the puzzle toy mentioned above. You put some dog treats in the middle of the chew toy, and it gradually dispenses them.7Some people will put a little peanut butter on their treats to make the reward even that much more satisfying.

Life Is Particularly Busy And Stressful For Many: Should You Look Into A Doggie Daycare Or A Dog Walker?

dog walker | Ultimate Pet NutritionIf you’re busy on top of being stressed due to the pandemic, it might be worth considering getting your bored dog a little company during the day. You could hire a dog walker to come by a few days a week to get your pet some exercise and to work off energy.8,9,10

Hopefully, one or more of these ways to keep your dog busy will help your pet stave off boredom while you’re quarantined. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to appreciate the extra bonding time you’re enjoying with your beloved companion.

Learn More at Ultimate Pet Nutrition:

Do You Live In A Dog Run House? Training Do’s And Don’ts For Pet Parents With A Dog That Rules The Home

Why Do Dogs Pace And What Can You Do To Help Your Anxious Dog?

Strange Dog Behavior: Weird Pup Habits And What They Mean


1. https://www.thelabradorsite.com/do-dogs-get-bored/
2. https://www.thelabradorsite.com/do-dogs-get-bored/
3. https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/5-signs-your-dog-bored/103752
4. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/puppy-separation-anxiety/
5. https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/5-ways-relieve-your-dogs-boredom
6. https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/5-ways-relieve-your-dogs-boredom
7. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/9-toys-to-help-your-dog-beat-boredom/
8. https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/5-signs-your-dog-bored/103752
9. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/will-your-dog-enjoy-and-do-well-in-dog-daycare
10. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/will-your-dog-enjoy-and-do-well-in-dog-daycare


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About the author

Dr. Gary Richter, MS, DVM loves animals, and is passionate about keeping them healthy and happy as long as possible. He has received more than 30 awards due to his expertise in the field, and The American Veterinary Medical Foundation recently named Dr. Richter “America’s Favorite Veterinarian.” Dr. Richter has been at the forefront of pet nutrition for two decades, and he is also the author of the bestselling “The Ultimate Pet Health Guide.”

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Swag To Make Your Tail Wag: A Dog-Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/swag-to-make-your-tail-wag-a-dog-lovers-holiday-gift-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=swag-to-make-your-tail-wag-a-dog-lovers-holiday-gift-guide https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/swag-to-make-your-tail-wag-a-dog-lovers-holiday-gift-guide/#respond Wed, 02 Dec 2020 21:43:02 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=216152 The post Swag To Make Your Tail Wag: A Dog-Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Whenever I think about dogs and Christmas, that famous slogan always comes to mind: “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”,

This slogan was coined by UK charity Dogs Trust in 1978, but is just as pertinent today. A stark reminder that giving a dog for Christmas is often not the best idea. To be a dog owner, or to live a life with an animal, requires a lot of giving, and a lot of love and commitment. 

What To Give a Dog Lover?

Ok, serious part over. With dogs and pups off the list, there are certainly other ways to give to dog lovers. If you’ve not done your Christmas shopping yet and have a few minutes, this is worth it!

If you’re reading this, it’s clear you’re a dog lover. Perhaps you’re a dog owner, maybe you’re thinking of adopting, or you might be a supporter who knows they aren’t able to give a dog a home right now, but may do in the future. 

Whatever your reason for landing on our blog today, chances are you might be looking for a fabulous holiday gift for the dog lovers in your life. Naturally, we don’t do dogs as gifts, but we can offer dogs in northern India the gift of life!

Have a sniff around our Dharma Dog Shop, where you’ll find the following super duper gift ideas alongside our other “Swag to make your tail wag!”


2 Dogs and a Grrl Leashes

Love dogs and the environment? We got you covered. These leashes are made from upcycled materials, and come in a variety of colours. Could there be a more perfect gift for your friend or family member who has a social conscience? 

Rescue Magnet Pack

My personal favourite — the magnets! Beautiful artistic impressions of some of our DAR dogs in four different designs. The most beautiful thing about these gifts? The money goes to covering medical expenses for sick or injured dogs in Dharamsala. What a fun stocking filler for kids (or big kids) with a healthy dose of compassion thrown in — they’re bound to love it!

Meals With Mini

A gift with a difference for the foodie in your life! DAR has been partnering with Mini Seth to offer online ‘cook-alongs’ in aid of street dogs in Delhi and Dharamsala. The group sessions are 2 hours and are guaranteed to be a fun, exciting way to spend a weekend afternoon creating delicious Indian treats! To read more about the cook-alongs, visit our blog or see what previous participants had to say. Ooooh, and the exciting news is that we now have a cookbook — packed full of Mini’s delectable, rich and spicy recipes. A holiday gift that gives in so many ways!!

Sponsor a Dog

Good old-fashioned altruism can be the best gift for someone in your life who likes to keep ‘stuff’ to a minimum. Sponsoring a dog, quite literally, means saving lives. Some dogs stay at our rescue center — they can’t go back on the streets and don’t get adopted. So we take care of them. And a gift of a dog adoption means you take care of them too. If you’re reading this and someone comes to mind whose heart would just sing at the very thought of this, you’ve found your Christmas gift for that person.

Thank you

Sponsor Shakira

A Tee for under the Tree

Just perfect for a stocking-filler or a little ‘extra’ for the dog lover in your life, our range of tees are not only super cute, but they tell the world you’re a dog-lover extraordinaire! They come in a long sleeve version for extra layering on those chilly winter dog walks, or if you find yourself in the Southern Hemisphere, there are plenty of bright summery options! ‘Rescue fashion’ is the new black this holiday season. 

So there you have it — a dog lover’s Christmas all wrapped up. You’d be barking mad to miss out on giving the gift of a better life to Indian street dogs. If reading this made you feel warm and fuzzy, get going on your guilt free shopping. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the support and love you show through your purchase. And our dogs would give you a big smacker on the face I’m sure! 


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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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How To Keep Your Pets Warm During The Winter Season https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-to-keep-your-pets-warm-during-the-winter-season/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-keep-your-pets-warm-during-the-winter-season https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-to-keep-your-pets-warm-during-the-winter-season/#respond Fri, 27 Nov 2020 14:32:03 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=216032 The post How To Keep Your Pets Warm During The Winter Season appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


When winter sets in and temperatures begin to fall, one of the most important things that you must do is to keep your pet warm.

Your pets need as much warmth as they can get during their winters, because they‘re not much different than humans when it comes to regulating their body temperature. It’s easy to neglect the need to provide your pet with warmth, which is why it is important to keep your pet’s comfort in mind well before winter begins.

Here are some tips to help you keep your pet warm and comfortable during the coldest days of the year:

1. Buy Your Pet Something To Cover Up With

The best way to keep your pet warm during the cold winter months is to buy them a sweater or something similar so that they can have an added layer of protection. Be mindful when buying your dog a sweater though, because not all dogs need sweaters or coats. You should only buy sweaters for dogs that have a hard time maintaining their temperature. This includes puppies, older dogs, small breed dogs, and short-haired dogs. If your dog has long fur, then they probably won’t need a sweater since their fur does a good job of keeping them warm. Always remember that dogs run hotter than humans so pay extra close attention to your pet if you do buy them a sweater.

2. Take Short Walks

Whether it be spring, summer, fall, or winter, your dog will need their daily exercise. However, winters can be cold and harsh, especially if you live up north. One way to avoid getting too cold or putting your pet in an uncomfortable position is to change up how you do your walks. If you usually take your dog out to walk in the morning and at night, try breaking up those two walks into 4 shorter walks. This will limit the amount of time that you and your furry friend will be exposed to the elements. 

One very important thing about walking your dog in the winter is to always clean off and wipe their paws after every walk. Many cities spray their sidewalks and roads with salt and other chemicals to minimize freezing. These chemicals can be harmful to your pet and cause damage to their paws if not cleaned off immediately.

3. Pet Proof Your Home

As your pet is going to be spending more time indoors for the winter, you want to make sure you pet proof your home. There are several different things that you should look out for. One of those things is space heaters, which are made to keep a certain spot in your house warm. These heaters can be dangerous because they heat up and can easily cause burns. You should always be mindful of your pets around heaters to make sure they don’t burn themselves or damage their fur. 

4. Never Leave Your Pet In The Car

Many people know that you shouldn’t leave your pets in the car during summer. What they don’t realize is that you shouldn’t leave them in the car during winter either. A car can get cold in a matter of minutes after you turn it off, so leaving your pet in the car will be like leaving them trapped in a fridge. The temperature will drop quickly, leaving your dog exposed and vulnerable to the elements.

5. Make Sure not to Overfeed

Your dog’s body may be working overtime in the winter trying to keep them warm but unless they are spending more time outside exercising than usual, do not overfeed. If they do spend a lot of time outdoors in the cold, your dog will need as much energy as they can get because maintaining their body temperature in the winter will burn more calories than usual. Even though your dog does need more food, make sure you don’t overfeed them. Overfeeding them can lead to weight problems, obesity, and other serious health issues.

6. Look Out For Overheating

Dog’s bodies run hotter than humans because of their fur. Many dogs have adapted over the years and grow a thicker and fuller coat of fur during the winter months. Their fur will help keep your pet warm and comfortable in the winter. However, this can also lead to problems since most people have their heaters on in the winter. This can cause your dog to overheat, leading to health problems. Always make sure you keep a close eye on your dog, especially if your heater is on.  Some signs of overheating are panting, throwing up, and breathing heavily.


Keeping your pets warm during the winter is usually overlooked by a lot of pet owners. However, your pets can get cold like everyone else. It’s important to always keep your pets comfortable, no matter the time of the year. This might mean going out of your way to buy your dog supplies to keep them warm. Keep in mind that dogs can overheat because of their fur, so keep a close eye on them, especially when your heater is always on.

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Erin Stone is a full-time blogger who regularly publishes content about pets, parenthood and lifestyle. Aside from updating her own blog, Erin also submits guest posts to other websites to expand her reach and gain more readers.

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Have you ever noticed it? All the stray animals in our streets? Cows, cats, and dogs.

In our Indian Hindu culture, cows are highly honoured, which is an excellent thing for cows because that means people feed them.

But I want to talk about dogs. I don’t ‘officially’ have a dog as a pet right now, but I want to share a story with you.

Feeding The Strays

I’ll tell you what’s been going on in my neighbourhood. In my colony, there are many stray dogs. We have faced many problems because of this. In search of food, the dogs often empty all the garbage from the dustbin. Now that we’ve solved this problem, I want to share how we did it. The real problem of stray dogs is that they are hungry. They need food as we need food, to survive. 

So, local residents made a decision. All colony members should feed different dogs—each family feeds at least one. Many community groups across India came to the aid of stray dogs during lockdown in this way. My family and I feed two dogs. Let me introduce you to them. One is a male named “Kallu” because he is black. He is very naughty. Second is a female called “Safedi,” who is white. She is very calm. All the neighbours call these two dogs by these names. Also, when we call them by these names, they listen to us. So, it makes sense.

A Loyal Pair

Nowadays, these two dogs live around our house and protect our home at night, sleeping in the garden area. Dogs are considered very loyal. I now understand this, having observed them around the place. They treat us like they have known us for a much longer time — a little bit of love can make all the difference. I think you guys can feed your local stray dogs too, and I know that many people are already doing this, which is fantastic news for the dogs. 


Now, I’d like to share a specific event with you, which happened during lockdown. All of us at home were engaged in our work as usual. Suddenly, a snake tried to get in through the front door of our house. Both dogs were sitting nearby and as soon as the dogs saw the snake, they started barking loudly. At first, we didn’t pay much attention, but after some time I felt something was up. I went out to see why the dogs were barking loudly and that’s when I saw the snake and got scared. Because the dogs were barking, the snake slid down into the drain.  

Dad To The Rescue!

I immediately called my father, who came and controlled the situation. He summoned the snake catcher to rescue the snake and they let it go in the forest. Luckily, our local Government Veterinary Hospital has a person who helps to rescue animals in these types of situations. I beg you never to kill snakes when something like this happens. Please check to see if your government hospital has such a person. 

Actually, my father is a veterinary doctor. He knows and respects the right of every animal. Whenever a nearby dog or other animal is sick, my father treats them so they can get back to good health. In India, we need more vets to care for the stray population. Because of my father, I am the type of person who cares about animals. After this particular event, my parents began to trust dogs more as pets. 

Final Thought

This was a big lesson for me, and I think it teaches us a lot about dogs and how they protect us. 

Finally, I would ask that you take care of the animals around you. Spread humanity and spread the love for animals in people as much as you can. I also want to thank the Dharamsala Animal Rescue Team for their continued work with stray dogs.

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Azhar Siddique is from Panna, Madhya Pradesh and is currently studying at college. His inspiration for blogging about animals came from his father, who is a veterinary doctor. During lockdown he decided to do some online work, and with the help of his father, started his own blog called Pet No Med. You can also follow him on Instagram.

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My Dog, My Teacher: How Dogs Can Help Us With Our Emotions https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/my-dog-my-teacher-how-dogs-can-help-us-with-our-emotions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-dog-my-teacher-how-dogs-can-help-us-with-our-emotions https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/my-dog-my-teacher-how-dogs-can-help-us-with-our-emotions/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2020 13:28:59 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=215985 The post My Dog, My Teacher: How Dogs Can Help Us With Our Emotions appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Like all of our relationships, our relationship with our dogs can be a powerful tool for self reflection.

Yes, we love our pets unconditionally, but did you ever feel the eruption of annoyance, impatience or anger when dealing with them? You’re not alone. And it’s ok, it doesn’t mean you love them any less, it just means you’re human.

If we pay close attention to these emotions, how they manifest, how they feel in our bodies, and if we are taking them out on or directing them towards those around us, including pets, we can learn important lessons.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates this point with an analogy:

A monk decides to meditate alone. Away from his monastery, he takes a boat and goes to the middle of the lake, closes his eyes and begins to meditate. After a few hours of unperturbed silence, he suddenly feels the blow of another boat hitting his. With his eyes still closed, he feels his anger rising and, when he opens his eyes, he is ready to shout at the boatman who dared to disturb his meditation.

But when he opened his eyes, saw that it was an empty boat, not tied up, floating in the middle of the lake … At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization and understands that anger is within him; it simply needs to hit an external object to provoke it. After that, whenever he meets someone who irritates or provokes his anger, he remembers; the other person is just an empty boat. Anger is inside me.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

I swear my desi dog Charlie was a zen monk in a former life, and in fact people have actually commented on how ‘zen’ she is. Here are some emotions she’s helped me to confront.


It’s hard to admit that sometimes I get angry with my dog because I love her so much, but I do. The other day she went down a rabbit hole, and she went so deep that her harness came off as she backed out of the hole. I was angry and shouted at her, not for digging down for rabbits, but out of fear. Where I live there are many sheep farms, and if she escapes her harness, she chases sheep, and the farmer then has the right to shoot her.

Anger often comes from fear. When I think back on the times I’ve been angry with her, much of it has come from fear. I’ve been scared when she has escaped — of her getting knocked down by a car, or something equally terrible happening.

Like in the analogy, I’ve also gotten angry with her when I’ve perceived her as a disturbance — by not doing what I want her to do, by destroying things around the house, or simply by being her wild self. But I realise, she’s just the empty boat, provoking my anger.


Similar to anger, I feel impatience bubbling up a lot when out walking with Charlie. This has been a very important reflection for me. We live very fast-paced lives, and so often I have somewhere to be, something to do. I don’t manage my time well enough, and as a result I’m frequently trying to rush her on her walk. This takes away all the joy — she needs to sniff, she needs to feel a bit of freedom, and be in nature.

It’s also part of the realisation that I don’t live in the present (I’m sure some of you can relate). I’m always projecting into the future — what do I need to get done this afternoon? Always thinking ‘I need to get back to do A, B, and C.’ Sometimes I find myself getting annoyed that she doesn’t understand the pressures of human life, but instead, I should follow her lead and be in the moment we are in


Wow, this is a tough one. There is a lot of guilt embedded in our culture. We’ve been conditioned to feel guilt about the smallest of things. Being a dog owner has brought me face to face with my issues with guilt. I feel guilty that I adopted Charlie, took her from her native place (maybe she was happy there), that she doesn’t get outside enough, doesn’t socialise enough, that she’s lonely. You name it, I’ve felt guilty about it. And I needn’t. 

I’ve started to realise recently how much we can project onto our animals, and to be aware of it is an important part of self awareness. She’s helping me immeasurably to work with these feelings, and I consider her a teacher because of it.


Let’s return to that idea of projecting. I tend to do this a lot, but with loneliness I feel it may be a genuine concern for my furry pal. I do believe that our pets come into our lives for many reasons — to guard and protect, to teach, to act as a mirror, but to empathise also. I believe dogs are capable of empathy. Charlie came to me at a very pertinent time in my life and has helped me walk quite a lonely path the last few years. I often feel she herself is lonely because she lights up around other dogs and people. Is she trying to show me what I need? More community, more human contact, a strong network.

I believe she’s looking for what makes her happy, but she’s also looking after me. She innately understands me in a way human perception only falls short. Aside from saving me from loneliness, she’s actively encouraging me to put myself into a more connected way of being.


I sometimes doubt if Charlie actually loves me. She’s a very independent soul, born free, and can be so stubborn! She reminds me of…myself. This is the ultimate evidence that we project and that our animals (and those around us) mirror us.

Do I need to do a better job of loving myself? Yes. And perhaps what I will see back from her is pure, unconditional love. I’ll hopefully get there one day, but until that day arrives, I’ll just keep loving her unconditionally as she so deserves. 


Photos: Vaila Bhaumick


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About the author

Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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How To Choose The Right Leash For Your Dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-to-choose-the-right-leash-for-your-dog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-choose-the-right-leash-for-your-dog https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/how-to-choose-the-right-leash-for-your-dog/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2020 20:48:49 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=215872 The post How To Choose The Right Leash For Your Dog appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


You should never underestimate the importance of a dog leash.

It’s an important tool that not only provides safety to the dog but also to the owner. It prevents the owner from having to run back and forth, providing a secure way to control the dog. A dog leash has become a must have piece of equipment for many owners. It’s a valuable tool that owners can use to direct the movements of the dog in a safe manner. There are many types of leashes out there. Choosing the right one doesn’t have to be complicated. There are websites like MyBestBark.com that are dedicated to helping you choose some of the best dog supplies for your pet.

Below are some tips on how to choose the right dog leash for your pet.

1. Decide The Function Of The Leash

When you think about the importance of a leash for your dog, the first thing to consider is the function of the leash. A leash has a purpose and that purpose is to hold a dog in place while you’re walking them. If you’re thinking about a new leash for your dog, you need to know what you want out of the leash before you purchase it.

2. Choose The Right Type Of Leash

There are also different types of dog leashes available today. If you’re looking for a leash that’s not only comfortable for the dog to wear, but is also going to work for different dog breeds, check out some options below:

  • The most common dog leash is an elastic dog leash. This type of leash works very well because it allows the leash to stretch to fit the dog in the event that you’re not close enough to get to them.
  • Another option is a nylon leash that comes with a buckle to secure the leash to the collar. This is a very nice leash because it makes it easier for you to take off the leash if you want to let go of it.
  • If you need to choose a dog leash that’s long but can be retracted, then a retractable leash is great because it’ll be long enough without being too heavy.
3. Consider The Length Of The Leash

When you’re going to purchase a leash for your dog, you also need to consider the length of the leash. Longer leashes tend to give you more control over the dog. However, they can also take up a lot of physical space and get tangled if you’re using them on a walk. On the other hand, shorter leashes are easier to walk with, since they are shorter and won’t get in the way. Just make sure that your dog is going to be comfortable, and purchase a leash that is the proper size for your pet.

You also need to look into other considerations such as how to adjust the leash. There are leashes with a feature that allows you to adjust according to your dog’s size. This will also give your dog more control.

4. Check The Quality Of The Leash

Always go for the best quality of material and workmanship available. A quality dog leash will be durable enough to last for years, won’t rust and will be resistant to other wear and tear.

Always check for quality when you go leash shopping. You can find leashes at any pet supply store, but make sure that they are made from the highest quality materials. Just like a pair of shoes, a leash will wear out sooner or later, especially if you’re not caring for it properly. A good dog leash will last for many years if you take care of it properly.

5. Know How Much Wear And Tear The Leash Will See

Another important thing to consider is the terrain where you’ll be using your leash. If your dog is going to use the leash mainly to exercise, it’s advisable to get a lightweight type of leash. You need a lightweight type so your dog won’t tire out too easily while on walks. You also need to consider your dog’s size. If you have a bigger dog, you may want to consider getting a thicker leash since it’ll give your dog more support.

Last But Not Leash…

When you’re choosing a leash for your dog, there are different factors that you’ll want to consider before you make a final decision. Look at different aspects of the design and construction of the product as well as the safety features that are offered. Of course, there are a lot of different types and styles available, so you want to be sure you’re getting the right one for your dog’s needs.

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About the author

Ann Parker is a full-time blogger who writes articles on pet care. Ann’s blog provides tips for different kinds of pet owners – from first timers who don’t have any idea what pet to choose, to helping experienced pet owners grieve the loss of their furry friends.

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Fitness is all about the salubrity of your mind and body.

It involves well-regulated workout sessions coupled up with a nutritious diet routine. Also, you require the utmost motivation and consistency to achieve your dream physique. While building muscles may seem like a daunting task, it gets better with a source of encouragement around. Your friends or gym trainer might leave you hanging  during your fitness journey. However, animal companions never give up on you or complain about the intense workout sessions. 

Here are the top reasons to head out and exercise with your dog for a healthy body:

  1. Constant Source Of Motivation

Almost every pet owner wishes to take the right care of their furry animals. One of the best ways to keep your pet salubrious and active is through regular exercises and walks. If you wish to lose a few pounds, this might be your chance to achieve your goals. Exercising with your dog around boosts your motivation and enhances the duration of the exercise. Also, you might end up walking a few minutes extra than you used to before. After the walking sessions, you can let your dog enjoy the natural surroundings while performing some high-intensity workouts. Not only will it keep your animal companion active, but it also provides you a reason to give up on the sedentary lifestyle. 

A study conducted on pet owners proved that people are likely to be more active with their furry friends by their side. Along with this, you can combine the exercise routine with some healthy supplements like Anavar Canada for faster muscle gain. Be sure to always put your pet’s needs first, and adjust their routine as they age or develop health conditions.

2. Minimal Breaks 

How many times did you end up missing out on your workout due to mood swings or laziness? Probably a lot! With your animal companion by your side, you are less likely to give in to the sleepiness and get your workout done. Also, your dog doesn’t cancel workout plans or show disinterest like your acquaintances. Instead, the pet relies on you for an active and enchanting lifestyle. Such codependency might boost your workout and help you achieve the right physique much faster. Along with this, your dog’s tail-wagging motivation is likely to keep you going for a longer duration. 

Hence, you should take your furry pet along and enhance the quality of your life. Once in a while, try to exercise your dog and teach them the basic moves as well.

3. Enhances Your Mood 

Do you experience depressive episodes and anxious thoughts way more than normal? If yes, then you might consider natural solutions. In case you own a pet, try to get a bit creative and begin a workout routine with your dog. Not only does it act as a constant source of motivation, but it also keeps the mood disorders at bay. Exercise causes your body to release the happiness chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. Along with this, it helps in limiting the release of free radicals via the immune processes. All these factors induce mental resilience and incorporate a sense of well-being. 

On top of that, a workout with your dog might take a toll on the stress levels. You get to enjoy physical training in a playful and fun manner. Don’t wait to embark upon your fitness journey with your furry friend.

4. Keeps You Active

Most people struggle to maintain a mild to moderate intensity exercise routine daily. Due to a lack of physical exercise, you are likely to end up with lifestyle disorders. Considering that more than 10% of people in the US are diabetic, you might want to modify your lifestyle a bit. That’s when your animal companion comes to your rescue with the much-needed motivation and negligible cheat days. Regular workout helps in enhancing the immune functions and prevents pathogenic attacks. Also, it aids in faster weight loss and lowers raised blood glucose levels

Make sure to get your pet on the move and keep them active throughout the session. That way, you can stay active and maintain the health of your pet as well.

5. Strengthens Your Bond 

Are you unable to spend enough time with your pet due to heavy workload or professional constraints? As a pet owner, you must spend some quality time with your dog. This is because abandonment is the primary cause of mental health disorders amongst animals. From the panic attacks to the depressive episodes, your animal companion might go through it all. However, you can prevent such psychological ailments with just a few minutes of exercise. All you need to do is head out in the open with the pet by your side. 

That way, you develop a meaningful relationship with your dog. Not to forget, it also boosts your mental health and keeps the stress reactions at bay.

Final Verdict

A sedentary lifestyle might lead to health derangements and lifestyle-related disorders. If you’re unable to continue your physical exercise routine for prolonged durations, you might include your pet in it. The animal companion acts as the best gym buddy due to many reasons. Not only does your furry animal motivate you, but they also don’t complain about the long exercise hours. Make sure to exercise your dog daily to keep the mental disorders at bay. Working out with your pet enables you to stay determined and achieve your goals faster than ever.

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Grace is a full-time marketer who has been closely studying the cannabis, tech & marketing industry trends for quite some time.  When Grace isn’t writing, she likes to work out, try new cuisines, and play with her dog.

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On Remote Volunteering And Encounters With Street Dogs: Interview With Jarika Johnson https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/on-remote-volunteering-and-encounters-with-street-dogs-interview-with-jarika-johnson/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=on-remote-volunteering-and-encounters-with-street-dogs-interview-with-jarika-johnson https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/on-remote-volunteering-and-encounters-with-street-dogs-interview-with-jarika-johnson/#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:13:40 +0000 https://dharamsalaanimalrescue.org/?p=215737 The post On Remote Volunteering And Encounters With Street Dogs: Interview With Jarika Johnson appeared first on Dharamsala Animal Rescue.


Dharamsala Animal Rescue relies on the passion, and compassion, of several volunteers.

Not only do we offer placements on the ground at our rescue center, we also have some ‘remote’ volunteers working behind the scenes. Today we talk with Jarika who is currently volunteering with DAR from the US.

Jarika has traveled extensively and hosts her own podcast interviewing black travelers about their experiences abroad. She has encountered many a stray dog on her travels, and decided to do something to help.

Vaila: Jarika, it’s nice to meet you. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What occupies your time at this point in your life? What are you passionate about? Tell us more about your Podcast and Blog, BlackPacking

Jarika: My name is Jarika I’m originally from North Carolina but I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia. I work as a Marketing Assistant and when I’m not working I’m spending time in the woods with my dog Mishka or drinking coffee. I host a podcast called Blackpacking where I interview Black travelers on their experiences being in a different country. I started the podcast in May 2019 to share my stories and to empower people of color to travel the world.

Vaila: Can you tell us what you are currently doing with DAR as a volunteer? And what drew you to volunteer with the organisation?

Jarika: I am currently working on Google Ads campaigns for DAR. My role is to create ads that market to people that would be interested in donating or sponsoring a dog. I have created ads for the DAR store, to promote the clothing and accessory items that DAR has to offer.

The mission statement of this organization is what attracted me to the organization:

“Our mission is to seek a humane and sustainable environment for animals with direct benefits to the people of Dharamsala, India.”

I have traveled to over 20 countries, some of which had a huge problem with many street dogs. Most of them obviously needed medical attention. Being a dog owner and being away from him during my travels is always difficult for me. What makes this harder still is seeing dogs that don’t have food, shelter, or the love of an owner. So in volunteering for DAR, I wanted to use my own skills to help street dogs in some way.

Vaila: Your experience travelling has converged with your desire to help street dogs. Can you recall any incidents that particularly drove you to volunteer helping street dogs?

Jarika: I remember being in Baños, Ecuador where there were street dogs walking around everywhere. There’s even a bar downtown called The Stray Dog. These dogs looked healthier than street dogs I had previously seen and many businesses in Baños have water bowls outside their establishments for dogs. There were a couple times that I saw restaurant owners setting out bowls of food for dogs as well. And I thought to myself ‘it’s these little gestures that can help improve the conditions most of these dogs live in’.  I always thought in the back of my mind: ‘what can I do to make a difference with street dogs?’ So when I found DAR I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

Vaila: Travel is something very close to my own heart. Without it I never would have met Deb or come to know DAR, or even have adopted my own dog. It’s something that has become harder because of the pandemic, and your podcast deals with the issues facing black travellers. I would always urge people to travel who have not. Can you sum up why travel is so important to you? And why, despite obstacles, we should endeavour to continue travelling?

Jarika: Traveling is important to me because it has been a real life teacher for me. It has helped me feel a closer connection to people from different backgrounds. Traveling has taught me more about different societies, and opened my eyes to the beauty and problems that we all face. I was the person that always thought history was boring until I started traveling. But that’s when I learned a more honest history. Being in a new country, learning about their culture and past, made me feel more informed. It gave me a better understanding of the world. 

Currently there are many obstacles that keep us from traveling internationally. So I have been encouraging people to look at travel in a different way by traveling within their own country. I feel that traveling in your country will teach you something new you didn’t know before, despite it being a familiar place.

Vaila: I believe you have your own pup. Tell us about him…

Jarika: My dog is named Mishka which means little bear in Russian, and he is exactly that, a little teddy bear. He will be 10 years old tomorrow and he’s got the personality of a human. He’s not a big fan of most dog toys but won’t turn down a treat any day, especially if it’s peanut butter. He is calm and sort of an introvert, and I would say laying in a cool puddle is his favorite pastime. 

Vaila: What would you say is something we as humans have to change to make animals’ lives better on this planet?

Jarika: One I think we should change to make animals’ lives better is getting rabies vaccinations for all dogs.

Vaila: DAR is based in northern India. What would you say to readers who feel a bit helpless to change things that are going on in other countries, such as the plight of street dogs?

Jarika: What I would say to someone that feels they can’t make a difference in other places around the world is firstly, travel. Secondly, you are not helpless in fighting issues that are across the world. If everyone felt that way we would barely see any changes. There are many ways to get involved and examples of how people can help include donations, sponsoring a dog, or volunteering. These efforts can also be done in a person’s hometown and people can always help improve the quality of life for animals. 

Vaila: Thank you Jarika for your volunteer work with DAR, and for taking the time to share your insights with us.


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Vaila Erin is a writer, lover of animals, and a bit of a nomad. For her, life is about stories — observing yourself and others so that you can laugh, cry and entertain each other with its absurdities. Connect with her at vailaerin.com or via LinkedIn.

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