Rehabilitating an Under-Socialized Dog? What You Need to Know

If you adopt a dog that is under-socialized either from a shelter or rescue organization then you are a doing a truly wonderful thing. These centers are under immense pressure with the number of pets that they have to cope with, so you will not only be saving a life, but also freeing up their time to help save other lives.

Some people may think that taking on an under-socialized pooch will be too much and I’m not going to paint a rose-spectacled picture; It can definitely be challenging, time-consuming and you often need the patience of a saint! BUT hopefully, if you follow the guidelines in this article, it will not be too difficult and please believe when I say that it is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had and the end result is more than worth the effort.

However, you always need to bear in mind that your new furry friend may not have had much human contact (if any!), so you will need to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings.

Not surprisingly, they may have a fear of people and noises that we simply take for granted, such as the vacuum cleaner, television, passing cars and so on. Some may not be house trained either, so you will need to show a lot of love and understanding, particularly in the early days.

Many rescue centers are absolutely brilliant in trying to get their charges trained to a very basic level whilst they are in their care, but that isn’t always possible.

Starting from Scratch

If your new pet is under-socialized then they will not understand a number of things about living in a home with people:

  • If you try and pet your pooch they may resist – in fact any handling or holding could be a problem for them.
  • You shouldn’t expect them to know about going for walks on a leash or taking treats from your hand.
  • It is very unlikely that they will obey any commands that you give such as coming to you when you call them.
  • If you give your new furry friend a toy to play with they probably won’t know what to do with it!
  • Sometimes they may revert to a previous unwanted behavior so you will need to retrain them again.

If you persevere and show patience and love it is very likely that your furry friend will improve. Sure, their breed, age and unknown life history can all influence the speed of this process but NEVER GIVE UP ON THEM!  The more attention you give them, the greater the bond will become and you will be rewarded with their unconditional love for the rest of their lives. Don’t expect overnight success – it will take time – sometimes even months!

Safety

You need to consider the safety of your furry friend, you and your family and any other family pets. Your new dog will probably be scared when you first bring them home. They will be tempted to run away and may even try to bite you or another family member.

1. Don’t let your Pooch run away

I know it might be hard to understand why they would even contemplate running away from their new loving family, when you have just “saved” them but sadly, we have no way of knowing what neglect and abuse they suffered prior to their initial rescue and the emotional, psychological or physical impact it has had on them.

To prevent your dog from running away make them wear a collar with ID as well as a harness that fits properly. Always attach a leash to the harness or collar so that you can grab hold of it if your dog tries to run. Take extra care when letting your pooch loose in your home. Restrict access to certain rooms and make the family aware that they need to close doors behind them.

If you are travelling in your car then open the windows slightly for air. Keep the leash on and take a hold of it before opening doors. You can take the crate with you in the car for added safety.  In your yard use the exercise pen. Even if your yard is fenced off your dog may still be able to escape.

2. Biting Prevention

Not all under-socialized furry friends will try to bite but some might, purely as a natural defense mechanism to their fear or protection of what they see as theirs. 

You need to get to know your new pet quickly and if there is a biting situation, keep calm, figure out why it happenedand avoid that happening again e.g. Did someone try to move their food whilst they were eating? Did someone try to take away their favorite toy? Was someone too noisy and boisterous around them?

At the beginning, wear protective gloves when picking up your dog. If there is no biting after a while you can stop using the gloves.Alternatively, you can wrap your pooch in a towel to hold them. Avoid placing your head next to theirs. If you have another dog at home then they can be a good role model. Take everything slowly.

The Initial Days

It is very important that your new pooch is not overwhelmed when you first bring them home. They need a place where they can feel safe and secure. So, choose a single room for their designated sleeping area, make their bed (and/or crate) as comfy as possibleand then let your dog get used to their new surroundings. Expect accidents and use puppy pads – even for adult dogs!

It is best to place a collar or harness on your new pet and have a leash attached in the early days. Remember that your new best friend may not respond to any commands, so you will probably need to grab the leash to control them.

To train your pooch to go outside to relieve themselves, it’s often best to pick a common spot in the yard. You can even use an exercise pen so that the space is limited. The key is to be consistent and patient with your house training and this will pay off in the end. Build up a routine and go outside with them each time after they have eaten.

Day to Day Living

Introduce one thing at a time and do this slowly so that your pooch has time to adapt. Start off by feeding your dog from your hand. You want to build a bond and this is a great way to do it. Crouch down low and sit with the food in your extended hand.

Gradually introduce your furry friend to busier areas of your home such as family rooms and the kitchen. You can use an exercise pen in these rooms so that your pet feels safe. Don’t use the crate as this is their place of safety and security.

If you have other pets introduce them one at a time. Watch out for any fighting when you do this. If you have another dog then they can really be a good role model. Your new pet will probably be used to or more trusting of other dogs but not people.

Further Socializing and Training

When you feel that your furry friend has settled in, it is best to work with them a few times every day for a few minutes. Keep this momentum going for the best results.

Keep going and avoid plateaus. Once your furry friend is comfortable around the house, introduce them to new challenges such as walking outside and meeting other people and dogs. Introduce everything slowly and avoid pushing your pooch.

If you’re finding the training a bit overwhelming or you don’t feel you’re making progress, seek help from a professional or enroll in a dog training class. As well as helping with their socialization skills, it’s good fun and a brilliant way of having quality time with your furry best friend – which is exactly what they crave!

Consistency is key!It will be hard enough for them to get to grips with commands and routines, so make sure the rest of the family and friends give the same commands and do not encourage bad habits that you are trying to correct.

Last, but not least – remember that IT IS POSSIBLE to teach an old dog new tricks!!

 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

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LYME DISEASE – SOMETHING TO REALLY TICK YOUR DOG OFF!

Seriously, you do not want your furry friend to contract Lyme disease – period! Unfortunately, it is a very common disease transmitted by ticks, but the symptoms only show up in a small percentage of affected dogs – around 5 to 10%. So please read this to find out what Lyme disease really is and how you can prevent it in your pooch.

What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

The cause of Lyme disease is a microscopic organism which is a spiral shape and has the name Borrelia burgdorferi. The eastern black legged tick (also known as the deer tick) carries this bacterium in its gut, and when these ticks make contact with your pooch there is a likelihood of disease transmission.

It is often difficult to spot the offending ticks as they are very small. Some of them will be the size of a sesame seed, while others are so small that they about the size of a grain of sand. These ticks like moist ground that is shady, but you can find them in many different places so it can be tough to avoid them:

  • They often cling to tall grass
  • They inhabit brush
  • Low branches of trees
  • On shrubs
  • In lawns
  • Around stone walls

Deer and mice often carry these ticks and they inhabit every US state. This was not always the case, but with pets travelling a lot more now and Global Warming, ticks have found their way across the whole country.  They live in some Canadian provinces, Europe and other parts of the world too.

Any dog can contract Lyme disease, no matter what breed, size or age they are. Experiments have shown that younger dogs are more susceptible to the disease, but all ages can get it. The reason you need to be more vigilantthan ever is because:

  • The tick population is spreading and they are virtually everywhere
  • It can be very difficult to see these ticks and identifying a tick bite is even tougher especially on dogs with thicker coats
  • The symptoms may not appear for several months after infection
  • Humans can contract the disease too with severe consequences

What is the Impact of Lyme Disease?

A lot of people think that there are no ticks around in the winter but this is not true. The threat to your furry friend is there at all times. Hundreds of these ticks may attach themselves to your dog in just one outing.

Sadly, there can be some very serious complications if your pooch gets Lyme disease, such as damage to the kidneys. It appears some dog breeds are more susceptible to kidney problems than others, namely Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain, Shetland sheepdogs and Labrador Retrievers.

In very rare cases Lyme disease has affected the nervous system and the hearts of some dogs. More commonly there is inflammation of the joints which can make your pooch lame.

Lameness can be a temporary problem, and it can move around from one leg to another. The important thing is not to ignore it and don’t mistake it for an age related joint problem.

Symptoms to Look Out for in Your Furry Friend 

  • Joint pain that typically lasts about 3 – 4 days
  • An arching of the back and stiff walking
  • Your dog is very reluctant to move
  • Joints become swollen, sensitive and warm to touch
  • Pain in the legs or other parts of the body
  • Appetite loss
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Breathing problems
  • Fevers
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash (often resembling a bullseye)

Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme disease

Sorry, so far it has been all bad news for your furry friend but, thankfully, there is some good news to make you feel better!

There are a number of tests that veterinarians perform these days, which will diagnose whether your pooch has Lyme disease or a number of other infections caused by ticks.

They will want to know the full history of any symptoms that you have detected and the activities that occurred prior to the symptoms. If they then suspect Lyme disease then they are likely to run a series of tests that could include:

  • Total blood cell count
  • Tests of blood chemistry for kidney, pancreas and liver problems
  • Electrolyte testing for dehydration and imbalances
  • Serology
  • Urinalysis to look for proteins and check for urinary tract infections
  • X-rays
  • Fecal examinations to check for parasites
  • A test of the thyroid to see if the thyroid hormone levels are low

Early detection will significantly increase the chances of successful treatment. Your vet will probably prescribe doxycycline antibiotic treatment as it is the most common way to treat Lyme disease. It will depend entirely on your furry friend’s circumstances and signs.

Doxycycline antibiotics usually help dogs to recover quickly and it is not uncommon to see an improvement in the symptoms as fast as one to two days. If your pooch is on a course of treatment for Lyme disease then it is essential that you attend follow ups with the veterinarian so that they can test the response to treatment. It is also highly recommended that your dog takes naturalprobiotics during this period to avoid antibiotic stress.

Prevention is Better than Cure

You want to prevent your beloved pet from getting Lyme disease and other tick-related diseases, don’t you? Well there are a number of things that you can do, so please follow these steps and protect your pooch: 

  • Find out how prevalent Lyme disease and other tick diseases are in your area by discussing this with your vet and checking relevant websites such as the canine disease prevalance map

http://www.dogsandticks.com/diseases_in_your_area.php

  • Keep your dog away from areas where 
  • ticks are prevalent or make sure you stick to the paths
  • There are tick control products that can repel ticks such as sprays and special collars. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations about these and suitable vaccinations.
  • Check your dog ALL OVER for ticks, ideally on a DAILY basis but DEFINITELY if they have been in a high-risk area, such as woodland or high grass. DON’T FORGET to checkunder their tail, between their paw pads, inside their ears and nose.
  • Check regularly for the symptoms of Lyme disease and any appetite changes and behavior changes. While ticks are thought to be more prevalent in spring and autumn, symptoms can take MONTHS to show or visible signs never do and diagnosis is only found through blood tests.
  • When you take your dogfor their regular check-up ask your veterinarian to perform tick screening
  • Ticks may be in your yard so be sure to spray regularly and seek advice from a pest control company on the best solution
  • Use tick shampoos
  • Use tick repellents around the home such as garlic, apple cider vinegar and citrus repellents
  • DON’T FORGET, your pet always has the best chance of fighting off any disease is they are fit, healthy and have a robust immune system.

Tips on Tick Removal

  • Remove ticks with a proper tick-removal tool; these grip the head, without squashing the body and are designed to facilitate swift and effective removal
  • After removing tick(s)wash your dog’s skin and your hands thoroughly
  • If any mouth parts remain in the skin, these should be removed by a qualified professional. Do NOT squeeze them. Parts that are not removed correctly increase the risk of disease transmission and skin trauma.

 

Please keep you and your canine companions safe and make sure you share this with your dog walking pals.

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

For more detailed information about FidoActive and their All-Natural supplements for dogs visit them at www.fidoactive.com or on Amazon https://amzn.to/2xIQgnS

 

 

 

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Do You Dread Returning to your ‘Home Alone’ Hound?

If you leave your beloved pooch alone do they whine and cry like a baby? Does it break your heart to hear them do this even when you go into another room? If you leave them home alone do they ransack the house and chew your precious personal possessions?

This is Separation Anxiety -but the good news is that you can take steps to reduce this in your dog, so that they are able to accept you leaving them when you need to go to work or other occasions where it’s not possible to take them with you.

Some dogs will bark and howl like crazy for a long time, which can be annoying and put a strain on good neighbor relations. Others will salivate excessively and leave a mess all over your sofa. Sometimes there is damage to your furniture and other items in your home, as they literally try to scratch their way out and escape the “prison” that you have left them in, with the simple aim of reuniting with you.

If any of these things describe what your pooch does when you leave them alone, then it is time for you to take action.

It’s probably worth mentioning that there are other crafty canines that will simulate separation anxiety. In this situation the dog knows that if they behave badly they will receive the much wanted attention that they crave. There is no stress for the dog in this situation and is just “acting up”. You can easily change this behavior through proper exercise, obedience training and by being a strong leader.

What causes Separation Anxiety in dogs?

As dog owners we can blame ourselves for creating most separation anxiety in our dogs because of the fuss that we make when we are going to leave our dogs alone for a while. We make the same fuss when we return home to them.

As a good dog owner, you probably went everywhere with your pooch when they were a puppy and they became very attached to you because you gave them security and confidence. Taking your dog everywhere with you will do a lot for their socialization but it can make leaving them alone very difficult.

Dogs like a stable routine and if this is changed then they can definitely suffer from separation anxiety. If they are not receiving the correct amount of exercise then they can spend their pent-up energy by chewing up and destroying your living room when you leave them alone.

But let’s not forget that they aren’t doing it because they are naughty, they are doing it because they love and miss you.

How you can you prevent your dog from experiencing Separation Anxiety?

If the problem is really bad then a lot of dog owners will consult their vet first. The vet may well provide you with a prescription for medication that has the aim of calming your pooch down. But drugs are NOT a permanent answer to the problem. The only way to stop separation anxiety is to get to the root cause and treat it.

Most dog owners reward their pets when they cry. If you leave them alone for just a minute and they start crying then you rush back into the room to comfort them. You have to learn to only give a reward when their behavior is correct and what you are trying to achieve.

With young pups, you need to train them to settle down and be quiet for ever increasing periods of time. When they achieve this calmness and improve their patience then this is the time to reward them.

When you are out with your dog do you feel the need to interact with them all of the time? If you do then perhaps try to vary playtime activities, so your pal learns how to keep themselves entertained with things that are around them such as toys and balls.

You can overcome separation anxiety with good obedience trainingand, as always, based on positive reinforcement. You need to let your dog know what you expect from them and then reward the good behavior consistently so that they develop this as a habit. Your dog will learn the difference between good and bad behavior.

 

Train your pet to lay down while you leave them alone for ever increasing amounts of time. Do this in small steps but be consistent here. If your dog starts to cry or whine when you leave them then do not reward them for this. Reward them for being calm and waiting patiently for you to return.

Chewed shoes are common signs of separation anxiety – but maybe that’s because your furry friend associates those with the last thing you do before leaving them. Incorporate this into the training by putting on your jacket and shoes but DON’T LEAVE the house; just walk around the doing your usual chores or just sit on the settee relaxing – this will help break the association in their minds.

Can Crate Training help prevent Separation Anxiety?

I would personally prefer not to keep a dog in a locked crate for any length of time, but I do recognize that for some particularly stressed dogs, these can be a good way of helping overcome separation anxiety, as it provides an environment where they feel safe and secure.

Introduce your dog to the crate and get them to spend more and more time in it starting with short time periods. Make it cozy with their favorite blanket, give them their favorite food while they are in the crate and encourage them to relieve their stress in the crate with a chewable toy or a bone.

The crate should be the place where your pooch feels the most secure and has the most fun if you are with them or not. Make sure that the crate is large enough for your pet to stand up in and lie down comfortably in.

Practice leaving your dog when they are in the crate. Do this quietly and do not make any fuss. You can do things like opening the front door and starting your car. Go back into the room where your dog is and pay them no attention. You can smile and wave at your pooch if they are being quiet. If they are causing a commotion then ignore them.

Once they are used to the crate, you can actually start to leave the gate open and they will still use it, but they also have the freedom to walk around or sleep on the sofa (if allowed!).

At the end of the day it is important that you set the expectations of your pooch so that they accept that they do not have to be part of everything that you do. Always be consistent with your actions and make sure that other family members do the same.

Eventually they will come to understand that you love them and will always return to them.

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

www.fidoactive.com 

 

 

Dental Hygiene in Dogs – The Root of Many Evils

Your pooch relies on you to provide the dental care that they need. Before we start it is worth pointing out that your dog will not suffer with a similar number of cavities like we do. But they do suffer with similar dental problems such as gingivitis and plaque.

In fact, The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of three have some form of gum disease.

If these kinds of problems are not treated, then your dog can suffer from worse problems such as kidney disease, liver and heart problems. So, it is essential that you take care of your dog’s teeth and this article will provide the tips and advice that you need to do just that.

Clean your Dog’s Teeth Properly

If you have never cleaned your furry friend’s teeth before then you are in for a treat! They will not be excited about it at all and you need to be a bit cunning to get the job done. It is best to go for teeth cleaning when your pooch is tired – say after a long walk. They will be a lot happier to sit and let you wield the toothbrush.

Start the teeth cleaning process slowly and speak soothingly to your pet as you make each attempt. If you do not manage an effective clean the first time around don’t worry – keep practicing every day until you get it right. Honestly, they will get used to it eventually if you persevere and like any training, remember to use positive reinforcement. I know it sounds strange to give them a treat after cleaning their teeth, but it’s not like giving your kid a sweet after they’ve cleaned theirs. Alternatively, you can give them their favorite toy to play with.

The earlier you start teeth cleaning the better. If your dog is older then they will take to it eventually. If you have a puppy then start straight away.

CARE: NEVER use human toothpaste for the job as it will contain fluoride which is dangerous for dogs. Be sure to buy special dog tooth paste for the job – and if you get a particularly stubborn hound who doesn’t like fresh minty breath, you can even get flavored toothpaste, so they think they’re actually getting something tasty whilst you’re doing the dreaded deed!

How eating and chewing benefits doggie dentures

It is even more important to clean your dog’s teeth regularly if they eat wet food rather than dry food. The reason is that wet food can stick to their teeth and cause decay more easily.

Your dog can clean their teeth through the act of chewing hard dental and hard rubber or nylon chew toys also massage their gums and exercise their oral structures. A nice bone to chew on will also help get rid of tartar build up and strengthen your dog’s teeth.

Look out for these possible dental problems

If you are brushing the teeth and you notice blood or your pooch cries out in pain then this is a sure sign they probably have a problem that needs professional attention.

Try to check inside your dog’s mouth regularly – like once every week. There are a number of symptoms that can indicate dental hygiene problems and these include:

  • Your canine has suddenly changed their eating habits
  • They are drooling excessively
  • You can see that they have a tooth missing
  • Their gums look swollen, overly red or there are signs of bleeding
  • You can see growths in their mouth
  • They have really bad breath
  • They have started to paw at their mouth

If you spot any of these then it is time to take your beloved pet for a check-up with the doggie dentist! You should visit the veterinarian at least once a year for an overall health check-up anyway and this will include an oral check, but please don’t delay until the annual appointment, if your pooch displays any of the above signs.

Us humans clean our teeth twice a day, so it should be no surprise that it’s recommended we clean our dog’s teeth once a day. But, in case you do skip it now and again, the daily addition of a dental hygiene chew to a regimen of tooth brushingevery other day has been proven to reduce the risk of gingivitis and accumulation of dental deposits (plaque, calculus and stain). There are lots of suitable chews available on the marketin various shapes and sizes – my dog loves getting his teeth into Dentastix or Greenies and they certainly seem to do the trick.

 

Help your pooch by paying particular attention to their dental care – it will avoid painful problems for them and save you a lot of unnecessary expense. That’s a win win in my book!

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team 

 

 

FidoActive donates a portion of sales revenue to charitable organizations in the USA for animal rescue and rehoming. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, which goes towards helping these incredibly worthy causes too.

Become a Neighborhood Chained Dog Detective!

Why chained dogs need YOUR help

Can you imagine being chained up for several hours each day? How would you feel if you could only move around a couple of yards? You would have to eat, drink, sleep and attend to your bathroom needs all in this tiny space. It wouldn’t be very nice would it?

There has been a growing awareness over the past few years through national campaigning by dog lovers, leading to the introduction of laws regarding the chaining of dogs in many (but not all!) States.  However, these laws are only enforceable if they are brought to the attention of the necessary authorities and that’s where the problem lies.

It is impossible to resource this centrally, meaning many poor dogs have not seen a jot of difference and continue to live a lonely and miserable existence in appalling conditions.

We want to help continue to highlight their plight and put theissue in perspective with this article, so that you understand the suffering that a dog experiences when chained up and what each and every one of us can doabout it.

Why do people chain up their pets?

Often people will chain up dogs with all of the best intentions. They know that their pooch enjoys being outdoors but they are busy and do not have the time to supervise their pet. They are also worried that if their canine does not have a chain or leash that they will run away.There is also a belief that a dog chained up outside will guard the home well but, in fact, they will do a better job if they are left inside the home.

If a dog is chained up what are the consequences?

Deprived of Social Interaction

Our canine friends like interaction with others and are social creatures. Chaining up a dog means you are depriving them of this interaction. In this situation it is possible that a pooch can change their behavior and even become hostile and aggressive, but this reaction is normally only through fear, as they can’t run away from strangers or other dogs that they perceive as a threat.

Become more Territorial

You probably already know that your dog is a territorial animal. By confining them to a very small space you will heighten this instinct. They can take it upon themselves to aggressivelydefend their small territorial area and this can be a problem for anyone that comes into contact with them.

If you keep your dog on a chain for long periods then you can cause deep psychological problems. Your dog can become unhappy, neurotic, aggressive and anxious. These problems are usually a result of the environment and when the poor pooch is actually unchained, they will normally resort back to being docile with no aggression – but ALWAYS approach a chained dog with caution.

Chains and other Restraints can cause Injuries or Death

A chain, leash or zip line can be dangerous on several fronts:

• Owners run the risk of their pooch experiencing back or neck injuries, and the chances of this happening increase significantly if the chain gets tangled up with something else.
• The potential of hanging through falling from a raised platform such as a deck or porch. This is too horrific to think about but sadly it happens far too often.
• 
They may accidentally knock over their food and water, resulting in hunger and dehydration.
 If the dog were to break free from a restraint then they may face injury or even death by wandering on to a busy road or highway.

Extreme Weather Exposure

Depending upon the location, chaining a dog can expose them to all kinds of problems such as extreme weather, bites from insects and even attacks from other animals. Often when a dog owner chains up there is an “out of sight out of mind” scenario. This is not intentional but the poor pooch suffers.

If there are severe weather extremes then a chain may restrict a dog’s ability to shelter in extremely hot or cold conditions. Also a dog may need more food or water. If the weather is really hot then water that is exposed will evaporate very quickly.

How YOU can help a chained dog

If you see a dog in your neighborhood that is constantly chained then please do everything that you can to stop this. People are busy but hopefully you can now understand how much these poor animals rely on caring animal lovers like you.

It is all too easy to for people to leave adog outside and then get involved in other things and forget about them. If a canine is chained up then this will make things a whole lot worse. Owners need to think about alternative ways to give their dog a good balance of indoor and outdoor life without the chain.

In manyStates chaining dogs up for too long is illegal, but it still happens. If you see a chained-updog here is what you can do:

 Have a conversation with the owner – talk to them politely and point out that their pet doesn’t look very happy/safe/comfortable on the chain and ask if there isanything you can do to help. The owner may be elderly and not as able to look after their dogs needs like they used to and unable to take them for walks.
 
If you notice that the dog is low on food and water then do what you can to give them more.
• 
It you get a hostile reception from the owner, then walk away and file a complaint with the local authorities or ASPCA– take pictures of the dog, note down the details of the residence and tell them everything you have observed.

These poor animals are reliant on being discovered by someone like you, so become a chained dog detective. When you are out walking,please beon the lookout for dogs constantly tied outside with chains or lines and be their voice, to secure a better future for them – a one they truly deserve!

Wishing you and every dog a happy and healthy life!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team