SNIFF NOTES: Take advice from your pet


I remember an email I received a while ago with an incredible message and I think it’s time to revisit it. It said:

“If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time…

“If you can take criticism and blame without resentment; if you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without alcohol; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs…

“Then you are probably the family dog.”

Seriously, how great is that? And how true?

I’m telling you, people could learn a lot from animals.

I watch the dogs in the dog park behind the shelter run and play like they don’t have a care in the world, and I find myself complaining about the overwhelming heat.  

But the dogs take it all in stride – heat cold, rain, snow, it doesn’t matter. They’re just so happy to be out and have a moment of freedom, it’s actually a joy to witness.

Also, our dogs at the shelter get the same kind of food every day and yet many of them gobble it down like it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted. How often have we complained about a meal not being exactly what we wanted?

And the cats – even though felines can sometimes be temperamental, when I walk up to a cage with a sleepy kitten and say hello, they wake up immediately, stretch and yawn and curl their adorable, little sandpaper tongues and get up just to purr for me.

If you wake me up too early in the morning, I can be downright rude (and I can’t tell you some of the things my sister has said early in the morning before her cup of coffee), and yet these little bundles of fur are so excited for any kind of attention, you can rouse them from the deepest slumber.

They can also fall asleep at the drop of a hat – kittens and puppies, especially. Some nights my brain is so wired and spinning from everything I have to do and remember and complete and write and get done that it takes me a while to drop off.

Not these babies, though. Animals definitely have the right attitude.

In addition to showing us how to live, animals can also give so much to us. A purring kitten in your lap or snuggling with a pup has been proven to reduce blood pressure in humans. Additionally, I have heard that pet owners tend to live longer than people who don’t have pets.

We have a lot of sweet babies at CVAS who would be great stress relievers – come see what I mean.

Maybe we should think about learning lessons from those who are best equipped to teach us.

So as we continue with our fun summer plans and have to deal with the humidity and heat, let’s take advice and wisdom from the animals around us and live life as it should be – easy, free from stress and full of joy.

Sounds like a great way to really have fun in the sun, doesn’t it?


Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at [email protected]. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 263-5791 or visit the website CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.

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