General Interest

Staging Your Home

posted April 21st, 2020 by
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Heat on Oklahoma Cockfighters

Staging Your Home

by Nick Burton

Staging Your HomeWhen you put your house on the market, one of the first things you should do is research everything you can about buying a home in your area. This will help you to better understand sale prices and compare your place with others. For example, homes in Tulsa have been selling for an average of $171,000 over the last month. If you want to get the maximum sale price, you have to focus on home staging. This not only extends to how you decorate but also how you handle staging when you’re a pet owner. Below are some ideas to help you properly stage your home so potential buyers can’t tell you have a pet.

Control odors. You may already know your house has a scent because of your four-legged friend, but if it’s hard to tell, ask someone to come over and assess the situation. Prospective home buyers who don’t have furry friends will immediately be able to pick up on any pet-related odors as soon as they enter a place. You can mask some unpleasant smells by sprinkling baking soda on problem areas where there might have been an accident.

Get rid of any stains. Like smells, stains are a major turn off to prospective buyers. If there are specific areas of carpet in your home that continue to hold stains, it’s time to get those professionally cleaned. According to HouseLogic.com, this can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 per room. If for some reason, you’re unable to remove those stains, consider installing new carpet. Again, the goal is to make this a home that they can see themselves living in, not a place where you live with all your pets.

Keep your place clean. Pet dander, especially for prospective buyers who have allergies, is not something you want to have lingering around your home. To avoid this, tidy up your place regularly so that pet hair doesn’t collect on the floor or furniture.

Choose a new location of your home for your pets. If you’re used to letting your pets hang out wherever they please, this can lead to cleaning on top of more cleaning. Save yourself the time and energy and select a space in your home to serve as your pets’ living quarters. Sure, it’s okay to let them out when you’re around, but keep in mind, any space they access should always be kept in tip-top condition.

Take your pets elsewhere during viewings. One of the most obvious signs that you have a pet, or that a pet lives in your home, is to actually leave your pet there during a showing. According to the experts, this can be a deal-breaker for some. Unfortunately, not everyone likes pets. Have a plan in place to get your pup out of the house for last-minute showings. Doing so will keep you prepared and put you in a better position to sell your home.

Staging your home is all about converting interested parties into buyers and assisting them in visualizing what their life could be like at your place. As the old saying goes, first impressions are everything. Unfortunately, if buyers can tell you have a pet, you’re more than likely not going to get the price you want for your home, and possibly, not even an offer. Remember, you may love your pets, but everyone else may not feel the same way. Stick with the basics: Keep things clean and pet-free.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

4 Best Apps for First-Time Dog Owners

posted December 8th, 2019 by
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Apps Article 2

4 Best Apps for First-Time Dog Owners

by Nick Burton

You’ve just brought home your first dog. You’ve got the basic supplies — food, bed, leash, maybe even a cute holiday dog costume wardrobe. But being a dog owner is also about training, monitoring your pet’s habits, and keeping track of your pet’s medical information for the vet and any temporary caretakers. So to give you a hand, we assembled our favorite apps to put everything you need at your fingertips.

Apps Article

Image courtesy of Unsplash

 

iTrainer Dog Whistle and Clicker

The iTrainer app comes with a bundle that combines a dog whistle with squeaky sounds, over 40 animal sounds, and a training clicker. You can also use the app to record commands, phrases like “Want to go for a walk?” or any other sounds you choose in order to entertain and educate your pup. The app is easy to use and will help you get your dog trained in no time.

 

Paw Tracks

With the Paw Tracks pet tracker, you can track all your dog’s activities. The app tracks the time and distance of your dog’s walks, as well as who walks them. You can also use Paw Tracks to log your dog’s meals and bathroom habits. Paw Tracks includes a GPS tracker, but it’s also great for storing and sharing health data or any other important information to family and caretakers.

 

Dog Monitor and Pet Cam by Annie

CNET notes Annie’s Dog Monitor and Pet Cam is a reliable, feature-rich app. You can monitor up to four pets at once on any device, and if there is a Wi-Fi outage, it will keep searching for a signal and reconnect automatically. The app comes with full-screen video and has long reach when there’s an available network. The app also works well when viewed with a front or back camera and with your device’s night light feature.

 

Say BARK!

Don’t forget to feature your new dog on this year’s holiday cards! Celebrate your dog ownership by designing your very own animated greetings. Product Hunt explains Say BARK! is an app that lets you create cards starring your very own lovable pup. You just need to take a photo of your dog, then select one of the humorous filters that comes with the app. Add an audio message or record your own, and finally, share your original, animated card with all your friends.

 

Word of Warning

When you’re in the midst of checking on your dog’s health, or even creating a hilarious greeting card, the last thing you want to have happen is for your phone to freeze up. If you’re using an older smartphone, you might need to upgrade your phone or plan to keep your apps all running smoothly.

Thankfully, new phones are out in abundance. For instance, you can find Samsung models to fit any budget, and some service providers offer packages which include an Echo Dot and unlimited data. Apple fans can check out the new Apple iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 comes with wide and ultra-wide lenses that let you crop and zoom after you take the photo, and the new video feature QuickTake will have you capturing every moment with your new pup.

Remember, dog ownership entails more than stocking up on doggy equipment and dressing your pup to the nines. Add some apps to your phone and take some time to learn about dog health and training. With a bit of effort and engagement, your pup will be a healthy, happy canine good citizen, and you’ll be able to take the best possible care of your new furry family member.

Willie the Crow

posted May 26th, 2019 by
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Willie the Crow – Certified Great Read!

Linda Harkey just won the RWYK (Reading With Your Kids) award – Certified Great Read Status for her picture book “The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow” (A Hickory Doc’s Tale).

Here is the link of the video that was created and published on their YouTube Channel to announce the achievement of her book.

The Remarkable Story Of Willie The Crow” by Linda Harkey | RWYK Certified Great Read

Willie the Crow

Signed! Tulsa Girl to Equestrian Team

posted May 19th, 2019 by
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Signed

Signed! Tulsa Girl to Equestrian Team

You might remember the inspiring story of Lily Rhodes who was featured with her horse Charlie in our July/August 2018 issue. A dressage rider, 14-year-old Lily lost her right arm in an ATV accident. While in the emergency room, she commented that she would now have to ride Western since she only had one hand. As fate would have it, the surgeon, also a dressage rider, said, “Over my dead body.”

The article detailed how Charlie helped her recover from the accident, and the pair has been winning ribbons and awards ever since.

Signed!

          Fast forward to 2019: Lily graduated from Bishop Kelley this month and is headed to the University of Lynchburg in Virginia where she has been signed to the equestrian team. For now, Charlie is staying in Tulsa.

Congratulations, Lily! You are truly an inspiration.

Grief and Comfort

posted March 23rd, 2019 by
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GRIEF AND COMFORT

“Grieving over a loved one with the adoring kinship of a pet”

By Sherri Goodall

 

As I turn into my driveway, I get a lump in my throat. A little piece of my heart shatters and falls away.

I’ve had this feeling now for over a month. My love, my husband, best friend passed away Nov. 4, 2018. We shared close to 54 years of marriage.

I know I will get through it. I have to, since I’ve been told I can’t go around it, under it or over it—I must go through it.

Suddenly, two little, white furry faces appear at the back door. They’ve been there since I turned the corner onto my street. Somehow they know I’m coming.

If I didn’t have those two little fur balls to welcome me, I don’t think I could enter this house day after day.

If you’re a pet person, you get the gist of what I’m saying.  But until you go through the unbelievable pain of losing your mate, you have no idea of the outpouring of comfort that comes just from looking into your fur babies’ eyes. They know; they feel your grief.

I’ve written articles about how sensitive a dog’s sense of smell is. They can smell an oncoming seizure, a diabetic crash, and they can smell death. I’ve seen it before when a dear friend of mine was in her last days of cancer, and her Poodle of several years—who wouldn’t leave her bedside, day or night, for weeks—suddenly got up, sniffed her once and walked away. My friend passed away that night.

My Westies, MacTwo and Jolene (yes, Jolene!), wanted only to get up on the bed with my husband and curl up next to him as long as he’d allow it. When he finally had to be on hospice care at home, they really couldn’t get up in the bed, but they would lie under it. I was so distraught that I’d have to leave the room at times, but my Westies stayed put. They have never chosen to be somewhere else other than at my heels when I’m home, but Jolene was crazy about my husband.

We’ve had Jolene since July 2018, so she didn’t have the history with my husband that MacTwo had (13 years). However, she was hell bent on conquering all males in the house, including my husband. She is small for a Westie, and her favorite trick was to wait until my husband was seated in his favorite chair with his laptop. Without warning, she would jump into his lap and sit herself right on the laptop so she could lick his face. The pillow that sits on the chair was a gift. It showed a Westie against a lush green backdrop.

At first, after my husband was gone, Jolene would jump up on the chair, curl up against the pillow and wait for her man to come home. MacTwo would go to the chair around 6 p.m. each evening and wait for my husband. It was dinnertime, of course, and he always fed them.

But neither of them does this anymore. They know.

They also know when I’m having a bad, sad day; they lick my feet, they jump on my legs, they want to be held to share comfort. It’s amazing to me how they can sense this the moment I get out of bed.

I am familiar with grieving over a pet. I’m not familiar with grieving over a loved one with the adoring kinship of a pet. It is soothing, calming and a gift from above.

Me? Ow!

posted March 23rd, 2019 by
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Me? Ow!

The Crazy Dog Lady Takes on Feral Cats

By Nancy Gallimore, CPDT-KA

If you know me at all, you know I’m a self-proclaimed Crazy Dog Lady. Yes, you capitalize that. It’s as official as a royal title at my level of crazy.  Me? Ow!        

Trust me when I tell you I have earned it. I care for more dogs in my paw-smudged, fur-festooned home in the course of a day than most people do in a lifetime. My professional life is filled with four-legged friends of all shapes and sizes to boot. There really isn’t even one tiny part of my life that doesn’t center around dogs.

 

That is, until I found the cats.

 

They showed up at sundown, peeking through the shrubs and darting across the parking lot surrounding Pooches, the dog care business I co-pilot with longtime friend, Lawanna Smith. Little fuzzy tribbles seemed to be popping up everywhere. With a serious cold snap in the forecast, the shiny little eyes peering at us just couldn’t be ignored.

 

Initially, the dog care professionals—that would be me, Lawanna and our business manager, Lindsay Henry—thought we could coax the little kitties out. You know, like you would a helpless puppy. Of course, little kittens who have entered the world with zero help from humankind are highly unlikely to fall for that ploy. All our high-pitched babbling fell ineffectively on disinterested, distrusting pointy ears.

 

Next, we decided to corner them and just, you know, grab them. Oh, naïve, silly dog people. Compared to agile, streetwise kittens, we had reflexes that could only be compared to those of an aging, beached walrus.

 

OK, “plan c.” We borrowed three humane traps from a local rescue group, baited them with yummy-to-them-stinky-to-us canned cat food, and tucked them away in kitty-friendly havens.

 

Bingo. Night one secured two tiny balls of cringing, gray fluff. Poor little critters had no idea that the metal monster that swallowed them whole was really a first step toward a much better, safer life. Once we trapped those first two kittens, we realized we didn’t exactly have a “what now” plan in place. Seems natural to house two feral kittens within the walls of a dog daycare, right? Not perfect by a long stretch, but with a little creative rearranging in a storage room, the Pooches cattery was born.

 

Night two delivered another shiny-eyed baby and one adult cat. OK, we hadn’t really banked on trapping feral adults, but here she was. But hey, how hard could it be? (Cat people are murmuring, “Bless their hearts…”)

Over the next few nights we trapped an additional five cats—three more tiny siblings and two 6-month-old-ish adolescents. First things first, the kitties made reluctant visits to our veterinarian for testing, shots, worming and spays/neuters for the older kids. We confirmed we had two teenage boys, one adult female, three baby boys and two tiny girls. Necessities out of the way, it was time to roll up our sleeves and turn wild kitties into lovable lap cats.

 

As a dog trainer, you can hand me an unsocialized puppy, and I know what to do. You can bring me an unruly year-old pup, and I know what to do. But put me in front of a row of hissing cats who want absolutely nothing to do with me? Yeah, I was a tad intimidated.

 

The older female cat, a petite tabby girl with some calico markings, seemed the calmest of the crew. In fact, with a serene expression on her sweet face she was practically begging for us to pet her, right?

Wrong.

 

The tentative offering of my hand was met not with purring gratitude but rather with a lightning-fast slap and menacing growl. Fortunately, it was only a warning slap—sans razor sharp claws—and I escaped with nothing more than jangled nerves and a scratched ego. Oh, how 9 pounds of angry cat can send this full-grown human scampering.

 

So, here’s the thing about cats versus dogs—nine times out of 10, I find dogs to be very predictable. They don’t have poker faces. I can usually determine if a dog is stressed, scared, angry or happy with a quick glance.

 

But cats! Especially the older, wiser cats. They can mask their emotions and just bait you right in. I know experienced cat people out there are snickering right now, and I sure don’t begrudge you that right. You can likely spot the mood behind that Cheshire cat grin. Me? Not so much.

 

Having escaped with my trembling hand still in one piece, I looked at our momma kitty with a whole new air of respect. Her contented expression was not born of a desire to befriend me; it was born out of confidence that she could absolutely fillet me.

 

This leads us to the next issue I have with cats. They are very, very sharp. There are so many parts of a cat that will poke, cut or slice you before even a nanosecond of your life has a chance to flash before your eyes. Fingers, or any other body part a ticked-off kitty can reach, beware!

 

Leaving all dog training skills at the door of the storage room, we decided that our older, wiser-than-me girl and one of the teenage boys might do best as barn cats. Fortunately, Lindsay has horses and a very nice barn where the feral cats would have safe, warm shelter and regular food and water placed out for them. It was the perfect solution for this duo.

 

OK, two down, six to go. Wow. Six to go.

With an abundance of stray cats and kittens already flooding shelters and rescue groups, our little tribe of unsocialized felines found themselves waiting for a safe place to land in a line that rivaled the worst day at the DMV. After caring for our charges amid kennel smells and sounds that surely made them cringe, it was time for a new longer-term housing solution.

 

So, I loaded the remaining kittens and took them all to my house to set up a new temporary cat condo in my garage. You know, where I could spend more quality time with them. Yet, day after day, the five tiny kittens continued to protest at the mere sight of me.

 

“Good morning, fluffies,” I would call out as I entered the garage each day. To which they would unanimously respond, “Pssssttttt,” followed by several emphatic spatting sounds as they curled their little lips into ferocious sneers.

 

Admittedly, these imps were a tad comical in their attempts to send me running in terror. Even though they already had some sharp parts in their arsenals, they were not yet very skilled in wielding those weapons. I called their tiny hissing bluffs and held each kitten several times a day. I can’t say I won them over quickly, but they did start relaxing a bit with each I-WILL-pet-you-and-you-WILL-learn-to-like-it session.

I dubbed the kittens Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wouldn’t you know that Friday was the first of the little hissers to press his face into my hand and reward my efforts with a soft, buzzing purr. Ah Friday, my favorite day, my best little kitten.

 

Thursday soon followed suit, trading hisses for purrs. Monday through Wednesday held out a bit more stubbornly, but all were easy to handle and would surely be able to adjust to life as pampered house cats.

 

But what about my teenager? I was a little less enthusiastic about calling his bluff. He never hissed. He rarely moved a muscle. He just crouched in the back of the crate and stared me down with his unblinking emerald eyes. Was that a calculating look? Hopeful? Friendly? Angry? I had no idea, but I had to figure it out.

 

I named him Mr. Rogers because I furtively hoped it might help him channel Fred’s kind, gentle demenor. After spoon-feeding him canned cat food for a week, I finally stretched my arm into his crate and lightly rubbed him on top of his head.

 

For a hold-my-breath moment he did not move. Then I saw his ears relax and point slightly sideways from his head. His eyes closed a bit, not in the demonic slits demonstrated previously by his moody peers, but in a somewhat blissful squint. And wait… was that purring? Yes!

 

Success! Full of optimism, I jumped headfirst into the avalanche of the previous summer’s cat population competing for new homes. I begged shamelessly. I pleaded. I guilt-tripped friends. I posted adorable photo after adorable photo. And finally, the little hissers found their happily-ever-afters. Every one of them.

 

I am still very much a Crazy Dog Person. In fact, I raced back into my dog-centric world of chewed shoes and muddy pawprints with unbridled glee. But I did take with me a whole new respect for you Crazy Cat People.

 

To those hardcore, dedicated folks who rescue, rehab and rehome cats every year in numbers that make my fledgling feline rescue effort look like a droplet in an Olympic-sized pool, my dog-hair-covered cap is off to you. I may never go down this prickly path again, but I vow to donate kitty litter and cat kibble each year to aid you in your mission. And leather gloves. I might toss in a few pairs of leather gloves, too.

 

I’m picking up a new foster dog tomorrow. I will know her mood immediately. I will know exactly what she needs; I will be able to teach her new life skills necessary to ensure a successful adoption. But I must admit, I will smile each time I see a fuzzy tribble at an adoption event, and I will give a knowing nod to the mad skills of the band-aid-clad foster person who saved that kitten. You officially have my unwavering respect. Long live the Crazy Cat People!

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