Although owning one or more dogs involves a long-term commitment of time, energy, and money, the vast majority of dog owners would have it no other way! While dog ownership isn’t for everyone, few people can resist the unconditional love, playfulness, and companionship that dogs offer. If you grew up with dogs in your household and feel comfortable with them, chances are high that your home is never complete without one. Some people even get a second dog so that their first pet isn’t lonely when the family is at work and school.

Besides the joy of having an affectionate, four-legged companion in the house, the advantages of bringing a dog into the family are practically innumerable.

  1. Exercise: We all need regular physical activity to look and feel our best, but it’s all too easy to come up with excuses for skipping a day or two. As most of us can attest to, a few days of exercise avoidance can easily turn into weeks or more of inactivity. However, since dogs require daily walks to relieve themselves and expend pent up energy, you’re less likely to have a sedentary lifestyle when there’s a dog in the family. Motivating us to take them for a walk and play with them, every day, is one of the countless ways dogs enhance our lives. They may even help us live longer and be healthier.
  2. Home security: Whether a dog is an intimidating German Shepherd or a fluffy, white Bichon Frise, they’re still going to bark when they sense a stranger on your property. While small dogs aren’t going to inspire terror in the hearts of would-be burglars, their barking has a similar effect to that of a security alarm or a motion-sensor floodlight. It’s going to call attention to the potential intruder. Since one of a burglar’s main objectives is to not be noticed, a barking dog — of any size — can be an effective deterrent.
  3. Benefits to kids: If you had a dog when you were growing up, you know what a source of joy and companionship they can be to a child. Dogs not only create fond memories for children, but they can also help teach responsibility, empathy, and compassion for other living beings.

Although dogs can bring a lot of joy to you and your family, they can also be potentially destructive, overly aggressive, and noisy. If you’ve ever watched the TV show The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, you know how troublesome some dogs with behavioral problems can be. That’s why it’s important to select your dog from a reputable breeder, rather than a so-called “puppy mill,” and train them properly, from day one.

It also pays to research the temperament of different breeds before you decide which one would be the best match for you and your family. Some breeds are known to be high strung, while others tend to be more mellow and gentle — a trait that’s especially important with young children. It’s also helpful to know in advance whether a dog sheds, whether it’s prone to any medical conditions, and how much exercise it needs on a daily basis.

If you don’t have experience training or house breaking a dog, there are plenty of videos, books, and articles available on the Internet to provide you with the knowledge and skills to be a successful dog owner. Dog training classes are also available in most communities.

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Having a baby often makes new parents more aware of the chemicals we are exposed to every day. A natural place to start making your home as eco-friendly as possible is the baby’s bedroom; here are a few ways to start creating an organic nursery:

Use low- or no-VOC paints

One of the first things new parents do is paint the nursery but many paints contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are toxic fumes that off-gas from common household items such as paint or a new vinyl shower curtain. When painting the nursery use low- or no-VOC paints.

Don’t use carpet

Keep the baby’s room carpet free. Carpets can trap mold, dust mites, and more. Because carpets need replacing they also add to landfills so they are not a good green option. If carpet is a must choose one made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp or jute. New synthetic carpets also give off-gas VOCs.

Use a green mattress

Where baby sleeps can be another place to go green. Many mattresses are treated with chemical fire retardants or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). That may seems like a good thing but PBDEs have been known to accumulate in our bodies and affect the endocrine and nervous systems. Look for organic cotton or natural wool mattresses.

Avoid stain resistant treated products

Other items that may end up in a child’s nursery that have VOCs are furniture and pressed wood products with resins and glues. Look for furniture made from certified sustainable wood or reclaimed materials. You should also try to avoid plastic as it is made from petroleum. Plastic items also usually end up in a landfill.

Go green with diapers

Reduce the dioxin pollution by using cloth or chlorine free diapers. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals this is not something most parents want next to baby’s sensitive skin.

Choose nontoxic toys

Babies put everything in their mouths, so look for toxin free toys. Look for soft organic cotton toys or toys made from wood that comes from FSC-certified forests. Toys made from PVC, contain phthalates, an ingredient in plastic that can affect reproductive and developmental health.

Making these small changes for your baby are easy and healthy. It may take a a little more time and effort but you will have peace of mind you are starting your baby’s life off the right way.

Why Homes Don’t Sell

On September 24, 2016 By
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