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FEATURED STORY | Great Companions and Pets in the Passenger Seat

When she was younger, Myrna Mitchell always had dogs around. As she grew older she knew she wanted to have that type of companionship for the rest of her life.

"Growing up we always had a dog either in the house or outside," said Myrna, who grew up around Byron, Ohio and still lives in the area. "I lived on the farm, so there were always a lot of varmints to keep under control."

Myrna got Duke, the first dog she could call her own, in the 80's.

"I felt he would be a great companion, and I had horses and generally horse people have dogs."

Myrna has three horses, Twink, a 26-year-old Quarter Horse that's been retired to the pasture and two Paints, Misty and Prince, that she has just started to take on trail rides.

Currently Myrna has two dogs that are both 5 years old; Jasper, a tan, tri-colored Australian Shepard male and Sassy, a female, black merle Australian Cattle dog, commonly known as a Heeler.

She raised Jasper since he was a puppy and got Sassy about two years ago.

"Sassy was advertised in the paper by an individual, free to good home," said Myrna. "I told Dave, my significant other, that I was going to check out a dog that was in the paper. Needless to say I fell in love with her and brought her home."

Jasper seems to agree with Myrna, and he and Sassy have become great playmates.

"Jasper is extremely friendly and loves to disappear in the summer to the four ponds within a two mile radius of our house. He plays ball and Frisbee and likes to prance around with things in his mouth," said Myrna. "Sassy is a little aggressive with the horses because of the herding instinct, but she loves to lick you to death, especially children. When my youngest niece, Jaylene, comes to visit, Sassy will not leave her alone."

Having pets around her entire life, Myrna is no stranger to one of the most difficult parts about owning them, letting go.

Last December, she had to put down her 11-year-old, Australian Shepherd, Bell, due to health complications.

"Bell had a wonderful personality and was very friendly," Myrna said. "She had the working dog instinct. You could leave her off the leash and she would stay close by. She didn't play ball, but she would chase the dog that had the ball."

Myrna doesn't show or breed her dogs; she simply enjoys their intelligence, loyalty and companionship. She also likes that she can count on them for security.

"They protect the property and let us know who is coming up the drive," Myrna said.

But cars coming up the drive aren't the only ones Jasper and Sassy are interested in. Dave often takes them with him in the truck to do errands.

"They sit on the seat like people looking out the window," said Myrna, "Jasper by the door and Sassy in the middle. One time Jasper came up missing, and when I approached the truck there he was, lying on the seat sleeping. I think he was afraid he was going to miss a ride!"

Myrna Feeds her dogs Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food and she fed Bell Exclusive® Chicken & Rice Formula Senior Dog Food that she gets at Edon Farmers Co-op in Montpelier, Ohio.

"In the first month that I started them on the dog food, I noticed a big difference in their coats and muscle," said Myrna. "Bell, who was overweight and had arthritis, did lose some weight and became more active. For the cost and what is put in the food, Exclusive® is well worth it."

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PET TIPS | Lost Pets: What to Do and Where to Start

Generally pets run away because of boredom, loneliness, sexual urges (if they aren't spayed or neutered), fear or an unexpected event, curiosity, or if they're in a new home and trying to get back to something familiar. Our pets are part of our family, often some of our best friends, so when we can't find them, it can be stressful and emotional. Knowing where to start in your search can help save valuable time that could be the difference in whether or not you and your pet are reunited.

One of the most helpful things you can do is something that should be done before your pet is lost. Collars, ID tags with contact information and up-to-date city and vaccination tags will make identification and getting in touch with you much easier for anyone that might find your pet. You can also have your veterinarian implant a traceable microchip into your pet's skin. Most shelters scan incoming dogs for these chips when they come in. Even if you have a microchip, your pet should still have a collar with your contact information to make it easier for individuals that might find your pet.

If you notice your pet is missing, the first step is to search your home and property. Pets often get into some peculiar spaces, so be sure to check behind and under furniture, in closets, under your porch, house or car and in barns or sheds. Once you've confirmed they are missing, try to figure out how and why they escaped. This can help you determine where to search.

Walk around your neighborhood with a friend or family member. Call for your pet and try to talk to as many people as you can that might have seen him or her. Bring a photo so you can show them what your pet looks like. If your dog is very social, parks and neighborhood yards are good places to look. If they're shy, look for places he or she might be hiding. Bring a leash, some treats, a favorite toy and a light with you. These will be helpful when you find your dog or if your dog is hiding in a dark place, which they often do when injured. Have someone stay at your house in case your pet wanders back while you're out searching. You can also put something of yours or your dog's outside your house, such as their bed or used towels, so they have a familiar scent to detect.

If you still can't find your dog after searching, call to see if your dog has been picked up and taken to a local veterinarian, shelter or animal control facility. If any of the dogs they have found sound remotely like yours, go in and check, as often your description and someone else's might not match. If they don't have your dog, be sure to leave a description and photo of your dog along with your contact information. Visit these locations every few days for the first couple of weeks then once a week for following weeks.

Rarely will people try to keep a pet that's not theirs, but they will often try to find its owner for a few days before taking it to a shelter, so put up fliers and posters throughout your neighborhood, at major intersections, at parks, at grocery stores, coffee shops and on any community bulletin boards. Although an old tactic, it's still effective. Use bright colors and other things that attract attention. Include a photo of your dog with a description, where your dog disappeared from, if you know, and on what date. Don't put your name and address on the flier, instead list a phone number for people to contact you.

You can also create an electronic version of your flier to share online and to send to shelters and veterinarians. There are websites specifically for lost pets that you can register on and you can also post free ads on sites like Craigslist. Many local newspapers or advertisers will also run lost pet ads for free.

If someone does contact you about finding your dog, never go to pick up your dog alone. Bring a friend or two and always meet in a public place. Never give your address out to someone that says they found your pet. Be cautious of people that are trying to take advantage of your situation and trying to scam you. Most importantly, don't give up!

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GET TO KNOW | Exclusive® Lamb & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food

Exclusive® Lamb & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food is an alternative for dogs who need a protein-rich diet free from corn, wheat, soy, beef and pork. With lamb as its number one ingredient, Exclusive® Lamb & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food is an excellent, unique source of high-quality protein for building strong muscles and lean, healthy bodies, is highly digestible for small stool volume and is rich in essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Inspired by the comforts of home: savory, natural lamb, hearty flavors and other wholesome, nutritious ingredients, Exclusive® Lamb & Rice Formula Adult Dog Food uses no unnecessary fillers.

  • Antioxidant support—helps keep your dog's immune system healthy
  • Omega 3 & 6 Fatty acids—keep your dog's skin and coat shiny
  • Fiber—from chicory root and microbials like those found in yogurt support a healthy digestive system
  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin—for healthy joints
All Exclusive® formulas are thoroughly researched and quality assured for balanced nutrition your pets will love.

Available Product Sizes:

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