Another Amazon gift card winner

aaf45-indecisionYes, once again we have drawn from the people who have left a comment or asked a question on a Tuesday or Friday post during the month of August and the winner is…drum roll please…Linda Strawn. Congratulations Linda! You’ve won a $10 Amazon gift card. And to think, dear reader, it could have been you.

You’ll have another chance as we kick off September and Fall with the subject of heroes. Don’t forget to check out this week’s 3 Questions Wednesday interview with author and senior acquisitions editor, Barbara Scott at

The Writing Prompts Crew

Should I Get a Dog?


Pet Article courtesy of

The short answer is, of course, yes! If you never had the fortune to grow up with dogs, or to know a friend who had a dog, you do not know the amazingly fun times you are missing. Depending on where you live and what kind of dog is right for you, you can take it swimming, hunting, walking around, on the bus, on a jog, or simply just to the dog park to meet other like-minded dog owners. While there are many considerations to go over as to whether a dog is right for you and your current situation (Do you have the space? Do you have the time?), dogs are scientifically proven to be good for the person who owns them and their family. So, if you have a house with a nice backyard and have a spare hour a day, get looking for a new sidekick! Following are some of the most impressive reasons that owning a dog isn’t just a costly endeavor.

One good thing about owning a dog is that they will help you live longer. That’s right! While pets provide their owners with the love and company they so desire, it is difficult to say exactly why people who own dogs live longer. There is evidence that dogs can help you reduce your blood pressure! This article probably does not have to tell you how fun it can be to play with your dog, cuddle with your dog, or just hang around and watch your dog experience new things. Well, owning a pet can lower your blood pressure as effectively as if you were to start eating a low-salt diet or restricting how much alcohol you drink. So get a dog, then grab a beer. This is why many hospitals and retirement community centers hire on a dog to come in and engage in “animal therapy” with the patients and residents: not only does it help old people by reducing their blood pressure and offering them a distraction from any worries or sad thoughts in their lives, but it also acts as a calming presence that eliminates loneliness. At this point in the article it is already clear that dogs are somewhat of a wonder cure for many of life’s ills!

Studies by the US Department of Health have come to the conclusion that pets helped victims of heart attacks–the study reads that 28% of heart patients who also had pets survived “serious heart attacks”, while only about 6% of people without pets made it through. If that’s not enough, you can also measure how much good it does you to own a dog by measuring your before-and-after waistline. A recent study has concluded that pet owners had 2% lower cholesterol than those without pets, and those pet owners’ chance of going through cardiac arrest was reduced by 4%.

Not only are dogs good for you, but they are good for your kids, too. You do not need to read studies to view the delight on children’s faces as they play with dogs. But, just in case that was not enough evidence for you, a few studies have been done to prove how good it is for kids to own pets. A certain study showed that children who were in the vicinity of a dog during their physical examinations had reduced blood pressure, less behavioral problems or distress, and lower heart rates than when a dog was nowhere to be found.

In conclusion, a dog is sometimes hard work. If you’ve never owned a pet before, you may have to become accustomed to picking up the feces of your companion at the most inopportune times. The dog, depending on what type it is, may be aggressive or too timid, very easy or very hard to train, and may either be too smart for its own good or not live up to your standards of intelligence. These are the facts. However, if you give them love, they will return it with all of their energy–it is what they were bred to do and why the humans have let them stick around for the past thousands of years.

Today’s Writing Prompt: “But, Mom.” Taylor placed her hands on her hips, frown in place. “You said I could have a dog.”
Mom closed her eyes in silent prayer before she answered. “No, I said…

How to Spot Allergies in Your Dog

Thanks Becky O’Neil for this informative article…

Dogs are no different than people when it comes to allergies. Arlington, VA has some of the most highly regarded care providers when it comes to treating an extreme reaction in a dog. You do not have to be a professional to recognize and treat the symptoms of an allergy attack in your animal, however. Most allergens are common in many households and harmless to most animals. But, a dog with allergies will react in an extreme way when contact with the allergen is made. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.

The Arlington seasons bring a number of allergens such a pollen, ragweed, various grasses and mold. Some pet owners enlist the help of pet sitting services to pay extra attention to their dogs over the allergy season. Pet sitting services have providers available to administer medication that may be needed and to ensure that your pet is as comfortable as possible when suffering from allergies.

What symptoms should you be aware of when trying to determine if an extreme reaction is occurring in your animal? Look out for Itchy, red or moist scabbed skin or itchy eyes. The back of the tail is also a prime spot for itchy irritation. More human-like reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea and runny nose are also signs that your dog may be suffering. Look out for paw chewing, constant licking are swollen body parts as well. Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.

Some types of dogs are more prone to allergic reactions, though any breed is susceptible. Terriers, setters, retrievers, and flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers are at the highest risk for extreme reactions. Common household items that may invoke a reaction include dust, dander, feathers, cigarette smoke, food ingredients such as wheat or soy, prescription drugs and flea control products. Also look out for cleaning products, fabrics and plastic materials. Pet sitting services have trained professionals who are constantly on the lookout for potential allergens and can avoid the common outdoor allergens in Arlington.

It may take time and research to discover the cause of the reaction once you notice that one is taking place. Visit your veterinarian and make sure a thorough check up is done yearly as many allergies can present themselves later in life.

The Naming Process

Hey ya’ll. Happy August. Ginger here, and today I’m going to reveal how I name my pets. You’ll be amazed. LOL

Actually, I’m rather boring when it comes to naming pets. A white cat named Snowball, and a black dog named Blackie are some of the names I chose as a child. So absolutely original, don’t you think?  LOL It hasn’t gotten much better now that I’m an adult.

Our family has a number of pets at the moment. Three dogs. One bunny. One cat. One hamster. 



Zorro is my baby. He’s a miniature Australian Shepherd. You can’t tell in this picture, but he has one blue eye, and the other is half blue and half brown. I named him Zorro because his belly and the front of his legs are white, and his back and the back of his hind legs are black–like he has on a cape. He also has the mask around his eyes. Looked like Zorro to me, though I should have named him Shadow, since wherever I am, he is too.



Midnight belongs to my oldest daughter. Midnight is a mutt–some type of short dog mixed with a black lab–and likes to catch and kill various species of wildlife, including small birds, chickens, and a wild bunny. I’ve also found her with a number of mice. Part cat?



Shaggy belongs to my second son. His name came from the Scooby-Doo cartoons, but he didn’t fit the Scooby size requirements, so he became Shaggy. LOL He is also a mutt–probably a German shepherd and pit bull mix, with maybe a little greyhound thrown in–and is afraid of thunderstorms, and fireworks. He digs to alleviate his anxiety. He is well-fed, despite his skinny appearance.



Sam, the bunny, belongs to my other daughter. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl, so we chose a name that could go either way–Samantha (my daughter’s preference) or Samuel. Sam has recently moved into a new cage and apparently likes to dig. Good thing there’s wire four or so inches underneath her. She also likes tomatoes–another recent discovery.



Peeta is our cat. Can you guess how he got his name? He belongs to my third son. We adopted him from a local animal shelter. He is a grey tabby. He thinks he’s a dog though. In the picture he’s eating a bone. He also follows my son around, and comes when my son calls him.

Finally, there’s Teddy. He’s a teddy-bear hamster.  Teddy belongs to my fourth son. I don’t have any pictures of Teddy, not any that I could find anyway. He’s a cutie though. He’s also an escape artist. We have to rubber-band his cage closed so he doesn’t undo the door and run away, which he has done twice so far – once for almost a week.

So those are our pets, and their “original” names. How do you find the PERFECT name for your pet?


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