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Love Your Pets
Here are tales of four-legged heroes and stories about Washingtonians who are crazy for cats or who met the loves of their lives in dog parks. Plus—the latest training tips and the pros and cons of buying pet health insurance.
Photographs by Vincent Ricardel.
Which methods work best? Here’s helpful advice on how to teach your dog to behave.
Trainer, behaviorist, positive reinforcement—the lexicon of dog training can be baffling. To complicate matters, there’s debate within the training profession about which methods are most effective. Add in the fact that there are no state or federal legal requirements or agreed-upon standards for what constitutes a dog trainer or behaviorist—anybody can claim to be qualified.
The dog park led to happily ever after for these couples.
When Amy Gaus and her husband, Ed, sent out save-the-date announcements for their 2009 wedding, they made sure the cards pictured Maxine, Sarah, and Charlie. After all, the three dogs were responsible for bringing the couple together.
They’re cute and cuddly but also a lot of work.
Rabbits can be great companions, but they require special attention. “People need to know what they’re getting into,” says Mary Ellen Whitehouse, founder of Bunny Lu Adoptions, a rabbit-rescue facility in Haymarket.
More pet owners are buying health insurance for their dogs and cats. Here’s help with the math.
Saône Crocker picked out a puppy at a friend’s farm in 1992. She named him Tobias and later bought health insurance to guarantee he’d always have the best care. Crocker, a retired attorney in DC, says having the insurance gave her peace of mind: “You have that restful feeling that if you face a terrible diagnosis like cancer, you won’t have to make a decision based on a terrible reason like money.”
These four-legged heroes have gone above and beyond the duties of man’s best friend.
Kate Condon didn’t think she was ready for another dog when her brother took her to the Washington Animal Rescue League in 2008. Condon’s 14-year-old Welsh Pembroke corgi had recently died, but her brother insisted on the visit. It so happened that the shelter had two corgis. Condon fell in love with the female. “She was real quiet but real sweet,” says Condon. “I just kind of connected with her.” She adopted her and named her Lucy.
They don’t have “yappy hours” or off-leash parks, but these devoted cat owners are passionate about their pets.