Judie Amyot

Pet Tails

Judie Amyot, the proud Mom of two adult children and an adorable rescue poodle, is a long-time volunteer with Animatch, a non-profit dog adoption service. Her love of animals is evident in all of her columns.

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As many humans tend to move away from meat-based diets and focus on other dietary alternatives, becoming vegetarian or vegan has moved into the pet domain as well. It’s a touchy and very personal subject with proponents for both sides squaring off and believing their choices for their pets a…

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The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, formerly Burma, is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and due to a common mispronunciation, many people will argue that the Bernese Mountain Dog — or Burmese Mountain Dog as they will say — originated there. In fact, this glorious breed was b…

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It’s not always easy to find the perfect place to live, a place where you have all the space and amenities you need, where you feel secure and are in pleasant surroundings and above all, a place you can afford. As a baby boomer, I lived in a modest but comfortable childhood home with a decen…

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Whether you are a dog owner or spend little or no time with dogs, it can be relatively easy to understand how a dog is feeling. We know a scared dog tucks its tail, an angry dog bares its teeth or shows its hackles, and a worried dog just looks worried. Trying to decipher what a cat is feeli…

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How many times have you been out walking your dog and another dog is approaching with its owner showing no sign of giving you and your dog some space? And as you move away, they look at you all insulted or confused because their canine can’t socialize with yours. “It’s ok, my dog is friendly…

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When we think about bringing a pet into our home, the most common ones that come to mind are cats, dogs and birds with maybe a few turtles and goldfish thrown in for good measure. But in some places of the world, there are some rare, exotic and unique pets that are perfectly legal to bring i…

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Well, of course we know that dogs can’t talk, at least not in any human language that we would recognize. They bark, whine, whimper and cry and we do our best to understand what they are trying to convey but often, it’s simply guesswork. Having had a dog for 10 years now, I consider myself t…

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During my eleven years as an Animatch volunteer, I have met many different people at our meet and greets who have varying opinions on what the perfect dog is. We volunteers are always asked what types of dogs are attending our events and we do our best to properly identify the breeds. Identi…

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Long thought of as being standard procedure for most cats, the act of declawing has become a hot topic in recent years and rightfully so. This controversial procedure has been deemed unethical and unnecessary by many owners and veterinarians and in several cities and countries it has been ba…

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During my many years of being an office employee, I can recall strict rules that had to be respected in the workplace. Dress code was at the top of the list as a professional and tailored image was an important component to a business’s success. But then, Dress-down Friday’s became the lates…

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Ah, Pugs. Who doesn’t love those adorable canines with their pushed in noses, googly bulging eyes, rotund bodies, curled up tails and that distinct pug waddle — not to mention that perpetually worried facial expression they wear? Many have said that this breed of dog is so ugly it’s cute, bu…

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Now that 2018 has come and gone, there is much chatter as to what fashion was the trendiest, which paint colour was the most popular and what new foods were the healthiest. There are also reams of statistics revealing the annual murder rate, which stores went bankrupt and how many orange con…

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Ah, winter, how do I detest thee? In one day, we go from wearing shoes and fall jackets to hauling on puffy parkas and clunky boots. We are slipping and sliding and walking head first into wind driven, blinding snow and know this is how it will be for the next five months or so.

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I am the first one to admit that I am a creature of habit. I’ve been called rigid and inflexible and I can’t deny that this is true. I like my days to unfold in a planned and predictable way as this keeps me grounded and on an even keel. As I age, I find that sticking to a routine has become…

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Anyone who has a dog knows how affectionate they can be. The minute you walk in the door you’re greeted by a wagging tail, slobbery dog kisses and a furry body that is jumping up and down with excitement. Cats, on the other hand, have long been stereotyped as being aloof and dismissive and y…

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The roles domesticated animals have played in our lives are as diverse and multifaceted as the animals themselves — from being a simple pet to saving us from danger and despair. They calm us, protect us and, not being as complicated as we humans, require so much less than we do to thrive and…

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Ah, friends and family, the people we like to spend time with and whose presence in our life means more than anything. But we all have our own little quirks and idiosyncrasies that, at times, can force us to take a temporary break from these wonderful people we adore lest we get so annoyed w…

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Scrolling through Facebook every day, I am inevitably going to see several posts concerning lost and missing dogs and cats. My heart goes out to the distraught owners who are asking for help in locating their beloved pets but in the back of my mind, I wonder how and why did this happen? We a…

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For some people a dog or cat just doesn’t fit the bill as a pet, but a horse is their animal dream come true. Horses certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea as some people are terrified of them and others don’t live in a rural area where horses can thrive. Nor do they have the means to board …

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‘Tis the season to be sneezin’ and unless you are suffering from a cold or the flu, seasonal allergies may be making you miserable at this time of the year. Thankfully, they tend to subside when the worst of the pollen season is over, but if you have a pet and can’t put down the Kleenex at a…

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If you’re of a certain age, you may remember The Smothers Brothers television show, with Tommy Smothers always berating his brother, Dick, that “Mom always liked you best!” I have come to realize, through personal experience, that liking someone best also applies to our pets and that special…

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They don’t bark. They don’t need to be walked several times a day and they don’t say, “What’s up doc?” But they are warm, fluffy bundles of fur with long ears and a powder-puff tail and for many people, they are the perfect pets. Cuddly, rascally rabbits make wonderful indoor pets as they ar…

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Rats — so misunderstood and often associated with filth and disease, it can come as quite a shock that for many people, these rodents make the perfect pets. Not everyone is squeamish about having these furry critters with long tails and piercing eyes taking up residence in their home.

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For so many people, their pets are the children they never had, filling a place in their hearts and lives that otherwise would have remained empty. A companion animal chases away loneliness and graces us with the loyalty and devotion many of our human friends sorely lack. Dogs, cats, birds, …

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We all want our dogs to live long and healthy lives and it’s up to us to ensure that their diet consists of foods that will provide everything they need to thrive. It’s so tempting to slip them a little something under the table when we’re having a meal or add human foods to their doggy bowl…

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With all the different dog breeds inhabiting our planet today, very little thought is given to those breeds that have become extinct over time. Mixed breeding may result in new types of dogs, but it may also cause the demise of certain breeds that existed decades and centuries ago. Let’s tak…

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When I was 12 years old, an Italian family moved in around the corner and I quickly became friends with the four children, even though they were all younger than me. I hadn’t learned Italian yet and they couldn’t speak English or French but we all managed to understand each other. I actually…

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I have given a lot of thought to this topic lately since my neighbourhood has an overabundance of roaming cats that enjoy leaving their deposits all over everyone’s property — including mine. They’re on my porch or under my car and as much as I love animals, I do not appreciate any of this.

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In the past 10 to 15 years, many newly formed animal rescue organizations have taken their place alongside the well established SPCA in helping abandoned animals find new homes. All too often, unwanted pets are given up or turfed out into the streets for various reasons — some understandable…

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Did you know that the popular domesticated pet we call the guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig? It is believed to have originated in the Andes and is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavil. Used for biological experimentation in the 19th and 20…

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In a perfect world we’d all get along and play nicely together without any disagreements or quarrels. In reality, this is but a pipe dream for humanity but often in the animal world there is a greater chance to achieve world peace. Introducing a new animal to your household when there is alr…

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We all love our pets and do everything we can to ensure they remain healthy and well cared for. Annual vet exams, keeping vaccinations up to date, quality nutrition and plenty of exercise are key to maintaining good health. But there is one component to a pet’s overall health checklist that …

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Meet Barbie. No, not the 11-½ inch vinyl version with a boyfriend named Ken, but an adorable Maltese whose life has been less than stellar up to now. While the vinyl Barbie is 58 years old, this little canine namesake is around 8 years old and spent all her life breeding one litter after the…

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Spring is my favourite season of the year. Not only is the weather warming up but the smells and sounds of this season of renewal coax us out of hibernation and put a spring in our step. Some of the smells, those neglected doggy remnants, may not be too pleasant but the sounds are a delight.…

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Bringing a pet into your home — be it a goldfish, rodent, cat, dog or bird and everything in between — can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Yet, we can’t help but wonder how long they will be a part of our family before we mourn their passing and remember them with love. Rar…

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No, this isn’t a column about a new variety of mini burger but a look at a pet that I had as a teenager — and one that may have taken a back seat in recent times to the ever popular dog and cat. Let’s show some love for an aquatic little buddy, the turtle.

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It may not be something we humans want to accept but apparently we need to stifle the urge to wrap our arms around our canine companions and embrace them lovingly.

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‘Tis the season to be jolly, not to engage in spontaneous folly. It happens every year during the holiday season and those of us who volunteer at animal rescue organizations know that come January, we will be bursting at the seams with unwanted pets that were bought on a whim. Dogs, cats, bi…

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Senior citizens and senior dogs sometimes, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, “don’t get no respect.” At Animatch, a West Island dog adoption service where I volunteer, we often see abandoned senior dogs looked upon with pity by prospective adopters but not chosen for various reasons. They’re …

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Back in the dark ages when I was just a pup, dogs seemed to come in very basic, easy to understand breeds. You had your Poodle, German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel and maybe a Great Dane or Collie to name a few. You could recognize these breeds with ease as their physical characteristics were ea…

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It’s hard to resist this adorable breed of dog with its pushed in nose and sassy under bite that gives it a fierce look incompatible with its size.

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We all get a little lazy during the heat of summer but there are some dogs that aren’t particularly energetic all year round. Some may have short bursts of energy that quickly dissipate while others don’t even want to be dragged out the door for a short walk. If you’re into couch potato pooc…

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The golden retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid 19th century. At that time, waterfowl hunting was popular with the wealthy Scottish elite but the existing retriever breeds were inadequate for retrieving downed game from both water and land. Consequently, the best water spanie…

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Not being able to talk, our dogs’ actions and sounds are their ways of communicating to us what they are feeling. Have you ever wondered what every little sound and wiggle meant? Here are some human interpretations of what we think dogs are trying to convey to us:

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We all think we have the cutest, smartest and friendliest dog on the planet. That may be the case for some but not for all — including yours truly.

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Separation anxiety. These two words are often the reason why many dogs are given up by people who simply can’t cope with a pet that cannot deal with its owner’s absence. You come home to a war zone of torn curtains, chewed up sofa cushions and overturned garbage bags — not to mention liquid …

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One of the most intelligent of dog breeds — and my personal favourite, the poodle — is popular with many dog lovers. Its origins can be traced back to Germany and then France as it was bred to retrieve fowl, mainly ducks, in the water. The name “poodle” is said to come from the German word “…

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I want to thank Bill 54 for finally declaring what all pet lovers have always known. I am a sentient being. I am not a piece of property to be discarded when you decide I am no longer useful or entertaining to you.

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It’s almost Christmas and as happens every year, many people are considering having a puppy jump out of a gift box under the tree. For many families, this will be a well thought out decision and all will work out well. But for many others, it will be a spontaneous indulgence with the end res…

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While not a pleasant topic, cancer is a dreaded disease that strikes terror in our hearts when either we or a loved one are diagnosed with it. But it is not limited to the human race as our beloved canine companions can also fall victim to it.