February’s Special Events

LET’S MOVE ON FROM JANUARY. For me January is the longest month of the year. Not certain if it is the shorter daylight or the freezing cold, or like this year the blizzard conditions but I am very glad to put it in the review mirror. February being the shortest month of the year even though 2024 is a leap year is full of pet events. Our profession has done a great job of promoting February as Dental health Month for our furry friends. Let’s look at other fun events that this month holds.

  • Dog Training Education Month
  • National Cat Health Month
  • National Prevent a Litter Month
  • Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month
  • Responsible Pet Owners Month
  • Feb 2nd: Hedgehog Day (Groundhog Day)
  • Feb 2nd: Golden Retriever Day
  • Feb 3rd: Doggie Date Night
  • Feb 7th-14th: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week
  • Feb 14th:  Pet Theft Awareness Day
  • Feb 18th-24th: National Justice for Animals Week
  • Feb 20th: National Love Your Pet Day
  • Feb 22nd: National Walking the Dog Day
  • Feb 22nd: National Wildlife Day (also celebrated in September)
  • Feb 23rd: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
  • Feb 27th: International Polar Bear Day
  • Feb 28th: World Spay Day

The most known celebration would be Groundhog Day on February 2nd each year. I discovered while looking at the history of this event that Punxsutawney Phil and Polk County Paula (yes we have our own celebrity in Iowa!) are only right 40% of the time. If you use their predictions on how many more weeks of winter, you might be disappointed. The Farmer’s Almanac may be more reliable but even that has had a rocky road when it comes to predictions. I believe only the Creator knows and He smiles down as we place our hope in these traditions.

One day I do want to acknowledge in the month of February is Golden Retriever Day. I am aware that multiple breeds have a special day but this one holds a special place in my heart. Our coach shown here was our first family dog. Our kids grew up with him and he left a permanent mark on their lives.

Our first-born child, Jaclyn, chose to follow the tradition and got Ciggy 7 months before our granddaughter was born. It has been a joy watching July grow up with Ciggy. It has brought back many fun memories of watching her mom grow up with Coach. We are only 2 ½ years into this new relationship but they are very bonded. I decided to do a photo drop of Ciggy and July through the last few years. You will see not only that I have one of the cutest granddaughters but also that Ciggy has been an exceptional companion for her. From the moment she came home he has showered her with snuggles and wet kisses. Get ready for some adorable photos and some “Nene pride and joy”.

February 3rd is Doggie Date Night. This could be a fun event during the cold days of winter to plan a special event with your dog. Maybe you could have a dog get together with friends. Maybe you could plan a date at the local dog park. Maybe taking them on a weekend getaway would help break the boredom of long winter days and nights. Lots of hotels are allowing pets access to certain rooms in their buildings. Most have outdoor areas for elimination. They have realized if they want to attract pet loving customers they need to be more open to their fur babies.

I would also like to highlight the February 20th National Love Your Pet Day. Take a great photo of you and your pet or pets between now and then. On the 20th post those photos and let’s show the world how important our animal friends are in our lives. If you have lost a pet recently, share a photo in memory of them. Tell us why they are/were important in your life. With all the negativity in our world lets flood social media with positive messages.

I cannot forget to mention Feb 28th World Spay Day. Since 1988 I have been in the veterinary profession. When I began practicing, we often did wait to spay/neuter cats and dogs. I am seeing a trend in the current pet owner population to wait. These decisions are for various reasons, and I will not go into those here today. I want to comment that the behavioral issues and health implications of waiting needs to be factored into the decision to wait. Dogs and cats that are left intact are going to be more “worldly” in their mannerisms. They are constantly distracted by the environment around them and less tuned into their humans. This is instinctive and they cannot prevent it. If you are questioning whether to spay/neuter early or delay, speak with your veterinarian. The resources are great online to educate yourself about this topic. Your veterinarian would be an even better resource. Most breeders have experiences that may impact their preferences. Friends and family as resources can be helpful but don’t rely only on what others say or think. Make these important decisions for yourself and your pet based on what situations are happening in your life. Our world has shelters that are overcrowded with adult dogs and cats that come from all walks of life. Be a responsible pet owner and avoid unwanted litters by spaying your dog or cat.

1993… Jaclyn and our golden retriever, Coach


January weather has been less than normal but what a great opportunity to travel safely over the holidays. I have been mulling over what my blog topics should be this year. I have covered many different subjects over the last 7 1/2 years. Interesting to note that the “Hacking Cats” blog has had one of the highest hits on the great wide web! Guess we know what gets cat owners frustrated or concerned regularly.

I was looking for topics and discovered there are over 150 different pet holidays in a calendar year. I was curious to see what all those could be. January alone has 8 days designated as a pet holiday along with being labelled “Walk Your Dog month and “National Train Your Dog” month. Each special event has a website you can explore to get involved. The information is designed to help strengthen the bond between your dog and family. I have never heard a client say they regretted training their dog or going for walks with their dog. Both activities help your dogs and yourself stay healthier which improves everyones quality of life.

I will list the celebrations that are coming up in January. It was interesting to see the variety of celebrations that you can participate in this month. I was just curious about some of them so will highlight those here. Feel free to do your own research to learn more about these days in January.

  • January  2nd  – National Pet Travel Safety Day
  • January  5th   – National Bird Day
  • January  8th   – National Labrador Retriever Day
  • January 14th  – National Dress Up Your Pet Day
  • January 21st  – Squirrel Appreciation Day
  • January 22nd – National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day
  • January 24th  – Change a Pet’s Life Day
  • January 29th  – Seeing-Eye Guide Dog Birthday

Each of these has their own website giving history about the celebration. January 29th commemorates the date “The Seeing Eye” was incorporated in Nashville, TN in 1929. This organization is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. New Jersey is the location of the current campus that includes not only administration and training centers, but also houses an adult breeding center with puppies that are kept there until 8 weeks of age. These puppies are monitored early for behavioral and physical concerns that could prevent them from being guide dogs for the blind. Not all puppies that begin the program graduate. This is one reason, of many, that it is not recommended that you purchase a puppy and have it trained. One person who did that exact thing stated, “After spending over $20,000 to train a service dog for my son we were left with a very expensive pet.” Be cautious if a trainer indicates they can train your puppy to be a service dog. It is not that easy and failure rates are high even with dogs from an organization like The Seeing Eye.

January 21st – Squirrel Appreciation Day – Never knew there was a day to appreciate squirrels. Many people and dogs get frustrated with squirrels. They are mischievous and crafty – acrobatic and entertaining all at the same time. There are 3 types of squirrels listed on this website worth noting: flying squirrels, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels. Ground squirrels include the chipmunks, groundhogs, marmots, and prairie dogs. Flying squirrels are unique in that they are nocturnal and difficult to see as they glide from tree to tree. Be sure to put out some extra corn to honor these creatures Sunday, January 21st.

National Bird Day is on January 5th. I had difficulty finding much history on this celebration but activities surrounding this day include birdwatching, studying birds, and even adoption. A bird owner must be prepared for screaming, biting, continual clean up, special dietary needs, and social interactions on a daily basis. Some birds can like parrots and Macaws can live 35-50 years. You thought a dog or cat required a long commitment.

During this long month of winter get out and celebrate one or more of these occasions. There are many species of birds that winter here in Madison County. Bundle up and head outside to see and listen for squirrel and bird activity. Dress up your pet on January 14th and post a picture on Facebook for all to see. Let’s enjoy this month as the days are getting longer and we are one day closer to spring.

Forever in our Hearts – FURITOE

At Winterset Veterinary Center we have the joy of spending our days with creatures great and small. We lost a special one suddenly today when Furitoe wandered out into harm’s way and was instantly killed. He will be remembered for his extra large feet and fluffy furry hair coat. He was born in April 2020 and came with his brother, Cheetoe, to work in the Customer Relations department at Winterset Veterinary Center. He took his job seriously and made a point of sitting on people’s jackets, purses, papers to get attention. He would chew on zippers and strings forcing a hand to pet him. He found joy in greeting customers and their pets as they entered our building daily.

The staff at Winterset Veterinary Center were constantly entertained by his interest in flushing toliets, dripping water faucets, empty boxes, etc. He would suddenly appear out of a closed cupboard during an appointment to the surprise of everyone in the room. He was a great retiever of toys. Throw a toy and he would bring it back to you as many times as you were willing to throw it. He loved a good belly rub and a warm lap to sit on.

Furitoe and Cheetoe often gave us photo/video opportunities that we shared on Facebook with our friends. Many of these friends only became  friends because of how adorable these two brothers have been. The photos shown here are just a small sample of a day in the life of Furitoe. We are deeply saddened by his passing and he will be missed tremendously by his brother, Cheetoe and all the staff,  clients,  and Facebook friends of Winterset Veterinary Center. 

If you have a special memory you would like to share we would love to hear it. Furitoe lived his life fast and was full of joy each day that he was on this earth. We know we will see him again someday at the Rainbow bridge and look forward to that soft nose, extra large feet, and soft fluffy hair coat that made him so huggable and loveable.

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