Labs hold on to top-dog status
• For a record 28th straight year, Labrador retrievers are the No. 1 pick of dog lovers in the United States. The American Kennel Club’s registration statistics track the numbers of the 192 AKC-recognized breeds. The Lab hit first place in 1990 and hasn’t left it since, mainly because of his friendly character and ease of training. The Lab’s devotion to people may also be a factor. “They live to breathe your air,” says Lab breeder Linda C. Rehkopf. Following the Lab are the German shepherd, golden retriever, French bulldog, bulldog, beagle, poodle (all three varieties), Rottweiler, German shorthaired pointer and Yorkshire terrier.
• Poet T.S. Eliot called April “the cruelest month,” but for animal lovers, it’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Ways to help animals during this month — and year-round — include training them early in life using positive reinforcement techniques so as to prevent behavior problems; playing with them, whether that’s with a rousing game of fetch, a teaser toy for cats or participating in a fun sport such as agility or nosework; adopting from, fostering for or volunteering at a shelter; and supporting laws that protect farm animals and pets from abuse.
• We think of cats as loners, but they can live together amicably given enough space for each cat and a consistent and predictable daily routine. According to cat expert Tony Buffington, DVM, a happy cat has unrestricted access to high-perch resting areas free of loud noises and pursuit by dogs and small children. There should be enough space in a room for each cat to keep a social distance of at least 3 feet. Some cats are happy to share space and groom each other, while others take turns using resting areas at different times of day. Sort of a kitty timeshare! — Kim Campbell Thornton
Photo caption:The multitalented Labrador retriever is not only a popular family companion but also a super service and detection dog and search and rescue partner.