Friday, December 18, 2009

Sew on Snow Days



Last week I was home from work for two days because of snow.  It was during this same time that Santa was due to visit the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives.  It was up to the families to make sure their loved ones had a gift from Santa.  Being snowed in meant that I could not get out to go shopping.  So, I decided to sew up a stocking.  Here is the finished stocking.  One side I used material that looked like a crazy quilt and the other side, I used various materials in strips.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Old Empty Houses


Old Empty Houses
By Cynthia Harris

I would love to tell my story
But I don’t know how,
My owners left me forlorn
And some burn me down.

Yet I have lots of stories to tell.

My original owners were proud,
The day the first foundation stone was laid.
They looked forward to having
A new roof over their head,
And to the family they had.

But now they’re gone
And other family members
Have abandoned me
And I’m just
Waiting for my death.

© 2009 by Cynthia Harris

Friday, December 4, 2009

News From Abby - Yoga Anyone?

Hello!

Is it Yoga time yet?

Mom calls me her little Yoga Master when I help her with her Yoga Exercises.

First, you must warm up.

Raise your right paw slowly, like you are trying to pick up something. 

Hold it...Hold it...Hold it...



Next, you must lie down on your right side with your front legs stretched out over your head and your back legs stretched out as straight as possible. 

Slowly raise your left leg and swing it out to your side.

Here I am going into a long stretch.  Once I get fully stretched out, I will roll onto my back and wait for Mom to finish whatever it is she is trying to do, and rub my tummy.






Okay, everyone...lay on your left side and raise your right leg and bring your knee to your chest.  Stretch those hamstrings gals---tighten those buttocks...come on! you can do it!





What?  Yoga Class over so soon?

Until next time.  Maybe I'll see ya around the neighborhood.

Housing Your Pet During the Holidays

Source: Dr. Susan Nelson, 785-532-5690, snelson@vet.k-state.edu
http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/nelsonbio.html

K-STATE VETERINARIAN SAYS WHEN FINDING ALTERNATIVE HOUSING FOR YOUR PET DURING THE HOLIDAYS, THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR PET'S STRESS

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year – even for your pet.

When you leave home for the holidays, it's important to choose the best housing option to ensure your pet's well-being, a Kansas State University veterinarian said.

"It can be very stressful for some pets to be away from their owners," said Dr. Susan Nelson, assistant professor of clinical sciences at K-State. "This stress also may be intensified if the time away is spent in unfamiliar surroundings, so try to prepare in advance in order to make your pet's holiday time as stress-free as possible."

Nelson said the primary options for pet care are a kennel or a pet sitter. Kennels are a good option for sociable animals that don't stress about leaving the house, and pet sitters are a good option for animals that are more at ease at home, especially cats. She said it's important to consider your pet's behavior before hiring a sitter.

"It's best to know whether your pet will be OK staying at home by itself and if it would let a stranger into the home while it's alone," Nelson said.

Some territorial and aggressive dogs don't respond well to a stranger in the home and won't allow someone unfamiliar to enter. Additionally, Nelson said dogs with extreme separation anxiety are best not left at home alone but instead taken to a kennel if there are no other options.

"These are the dogs that when left alone bark all day or have accidents in the house," she said. "They may exhibit destructive behavior and even injure themselves. Some pet sitters will watch your pet in their home, so this may be a more suitable option for certain pets."

To help pets adjust to temporary holiday housing, owners should help prepare their pet beforehand. If hiring a pet sitter, owners should schedule a greeting time when the sitter can meet and play with the pet.

"When the sitter comes to meet your pet, don't be in the house so that you'll find out how your pet will react to a
stranger without you there," Nelson said.

If your pet isn't used to you being gone, you should leave the pet alone at home for short periods of time to prepare for a longer absence. Nelson said owners shouldn't emphasize leaving and greeting their pet when they return, because this can reinforce its anxiety.

For pets going to the kennel, Nelson said owners can help their pet adjust to living in a smaller space by purchasing a crate for the home.

"You can get your pet used to the crate by having it stay in the crate a couple minutes at a time at the beginning and then slowly increasing that time," she said. "It's also helpful to feed pets when they're in the crate so they get used to confinement during a low-stress time."

To help ease your pet's anxiety at the kennel, you can arrange play dates so your pet becomes used to being around other animals, Nelson said. Owners also can bring the animal's favorite toy or something that smells like home, such as a T-shirt, to the kennel.

When choosing a pet sitter, Nelson suggests finding a family member, a friend or a professional. If hiring a professional pet sitter, pet owners should ask about the sitter's training and experience, check for proof of insurance and ask for references. She also suggests that owners have professional sitters provide a written contract of their fees and services and ask what extra services they offer, like playing with the pet. If your pet has special needs or takes medication, make sure your pet sitter will be comfortable performing those tasks.

For kennels, Nelson said it's important to reserve a spot early in the holiday season. When choosing a kennel, owners can visit the facility and see how it looks and smells. They also can see what kind of safety and security the kennel has, such as video surveillance, fire alarms and sprinkler systems. She said owners should ask how often the animals will be let out of their cages and if extra services are offered, like more playtime. Nelson said it's required by most kennels that your pet be updated on its vaccines and that you provide proof. Make sure you find out ahead of time which vaccines are required.

Whether you're leaving your pet in the care of a sitter or a kennel, Nelson said owners should provide detailed instructions for the pet's food and medications. They also should give the name of their pet's veterinarian and what to do if the pet becomes ill. Nelson recommends owners write and sign a document that allows the caretaker to bring their pet in for care. She also said the owner should talk about how finances will be handled because most veterinarians will require payment at the time of service.

"With any animal, especially if it's old or sick, the owner ought to talk about what to do in a worst-case scenario, such as if something catastrophic happens to the pet or if it dies," she said. "Owners need to discuss these things we typically don't like to think about but for which we should prepare."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pets and the Holidays

Source: Dr. Susan Nelson, 785-532-5690, snelson@vet.k-state.edu
http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/nelsonbio.html

 K-STATE VETERINARIAN SAYS HOSTS SHOULD CONSIDER HOW THEIR PET AND GUESTS WILL INTERACT AT GATHERINGS

Though you love your pet, keep in mind that your guests might not appreciate having your four-legged friend at holiday celebrations.

Dr. Susan Nelson, a veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University, said when having guests over for the holidays, you have to consider how your company will respond to your pets and how your pet will respond to strangers in the home.

"Not everyone likes animals, and some people are very fearful," Nelson said. "You need to be considerate of those who may be afraid of or allergic to your pet."

For your pet, particularly a shy animal, Nelson said it can be difficult for it to accept a crowd of people, especially with little time to prepare. Many pets would take weeks, months or even years to work through their timidity. While cats will typically hide if many people are visiting, Nelson said some dogs can get agitated with new people around.

"The considerate thing to do for your pet would be to put it in a room while you have people over," she said.

This also is good for your pet's safety, because a lot of traffic opens the chance that your pet could escape out the door. When putting your pet in a separate room, Nelson said you can give it a favorite toy or a blanket for comfort. You also can turn on the television or radio to muffle the noise from the party. For extreme phobias, you can talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for your pet.

She said if a pet is used to a crate, it's best to keep it there rather than letting it run around a room. Crates often give dogs a feeling of safety, she said. It's also helpful to get the animal used to being in the room by itself before the party.

If there is no conflict with your guests, a friendly animal can stay around your visitors. But Nelson suggests at least putting your pet away when everyone begins eating, especially if it begs at the table.

Pet owners also should realize that pets often can get to food that is left out on coffee tables for guests.

"If your animal has food allergies, ask people not to feed it snacks," Nelson said. "Too many tidbits also can lead to gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis. Again, the best way to avoid that is to keep your party animal away from the action."