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Pets and the Wyoming Family By Christi Chapman, Certified Dog Trainer Photography by Joan Adsit At a recent Farmer’s market, I watched a young girl of about 6 or 7 playing with a dog I am fostering for a regional rescue organization. The girl was giggling non-stop in delight at the way she was able to interact with the dog! Her older sister was amazed at how much fun she was having, and said she had never seen her sister get so excited when playing with an animal. She reported that the youngster had her own dog at home and she had never had that much fun with or even tried to interact with the dog. What makes a dog at a Farmers’ Market so entertaining and the dog in your backyard so mundane? It could be that like many families, we take the members for granted until a situation occurs where we begin to value that member more deeply. Most people consider their pets to be a part of the family. Family is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a noun describing: #1, parents and children; #2, relatives; #3, a group or category of like things. By this definition pets are not necessarily included -- or are they? Let’s take a look at the third description of family for a moment: “a group or category of like things.” Are dogs/cats/pot bellied pigs and humans alike? We all belong to the classification of mammals. “Pet people” often consider their pets to be their “children” despite the obvious anatomical

26 Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine | August 2010

differences. Dr. Temple Grandin of CSU explains that most wolf and wild dog packs are familial groups and the leaders of such groups are most often parental figures. She suggests that most dogs in our society today are not in need of a pack leader as much as a parent for guidance and leadership. Including your pet in the family dynamics can create a relationship that is rewarding and enduring. When I was young we had a cat that followed us kids all over the countryside! We hiked the hills with our dog and cat in tow. Now that we have established a possibility for your pet to truly be considered a part of your family, let’s look at ways to involve your ENTIRE family in summer activities and fun! Whether your pet is a cat, dog, pot bellied pig or a hamster there are ways to interact that enrich not only our lives, but also the lives of our pets.

Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine Fall 2010  
Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine Fall 2010  

Our THIRD issue! Covering home, business, community, family, wildlife, athletics, travel and MUCH more throughout the state of WY!