Archive | January, 2009

Keeping Animals Safe When the Cold Winds Blow

Keeping Animals Safe When the Cold Winds Blow

Compared to many places in the United States, Texans are lucky when it comes to winter weather. Conditions here remain fairly comfortable, and our winter season is a very short one indeed. However, even though winters in Denton County are relatively mild, pets in our area still need protection.

Dogs and cats are almost always safer and happier indoors, especially when temperatures plunge. If at all possible, don’t leave animals outdoors in winter weather, especially those who are young or old, shorthaired, or have health problems. Regardless of outside temperatures, wind chill can be lethal for animals. All outdoor pets must have a structure with four walls, a solid ceiling, and a floor that is several inches off the ground. This space needs to be large enough for your animal to completely turn around and fully lie down, but also small enough to contain body heat. Be sure the opening is fully covered with a heavy plastic flap. Place plenty of cedar chips or straw on the floor, and change regularly, and turn the entrance toward a house or shed, and place out of the wind.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, pets who spend time outdoors are more quickly drained of energy and require extra food and water. Check with your veterinarian about the diet of outdoor pets, who may need more caloric intake to produce adequate body heat, and may need as much water in winter as summer, if not more. Water bowls should be consistently checked and not frozen, and place all food and water in plastic bowls because metal bowls can freeze and stick to your pet’s tongue. Invest in a warming device for pet bowls to keep from freezing over, available at hardware stores and pet supply sources, costing as little as $15.

Antifreeze-coolant is a deadly toxic green liquid that has a sweet taste and is very appealing to dogs, cats, and children. Keep all chemicals secured, and driveways and garage floors clean. The HSUS recommends antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, stating that “if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.” Salts used on the roads when conditions are icy can cause irritation and burns to your pet’s feet, mouth and tongue. Keep pets away from road ice, and wipe feet clean after walks. A coat that is poorly maintained is also less able to keep animals insulated properly. Consider a sweater for short-haired dogs to wear when exercising.

In cold weather, make sure the engine of your car is critter-free by banging on the hood, forcing animals to flee. Never leave your pet inside a vehicle in the winter, while you are running errands, since interior temperatures can quickly drop and animals can become ill or freeze. Place crates/bedding away from drafts inside the home. Heating ducts and your HVAC system can cause indoor conditions that can be irritating to your pet’s skin and nasal passages. Watch for signs of sensitivity, such as redness, flaking, rashes, or excessive scratching, as well as sneezing and runny nose. Never leave your pet unattended with an electric or propane heater or fireplace.

Companion animals consider their caretakers to be family, and rely on them exclusively to meet their needs. Use caution and care in winter months, and whenever possible, invite them inside! They are social beings and do best when they can be part of the family unit, especially when outside weather is less than ideal.

by Laurie Griffin

Posted in Pet Care3 Comments

See Your Life Differently in 2009

See Your Life Differently in 2009

Thinking about the New Year, I was reminded of a disturbing statistic I once read. According to a study, only ten people cry at an average funeral – 10! It gets worse. Once those ten (or fewer) wipe away their tears, the number one factor in determining how many people would join the funeral procession to the graveside service is . . . the weather. The statistics show that if there is rain, 50% would go home and not attend the burial.

Those are depressing statistics, aren’t they? I mean, there’s a possibility that at the end of my life, only 10 people would cry at my service. And then there’s a fifty-fifty chance they might sneak out the back afterwards if the weather is bad.

None of us want that. We all want our lives to count for something. We want to make an impact in this world, to make a powerful statement with our lives, to leave our marks, to leave a legacy for future generations. It is a deep-seated need we all have as humans. But it won’t just happen. You don’t accidentally make a difference in the world. Rather, to leave your mark takes directed effort. When Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” his reply was simply, “That depends a good deal on where you want to go.”

So where do you want to go in life? What kind of response would you like at your funeral? To get where you want to get in life, you need a vision for your life. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Of course, none of us have goggles that allow us to see into the future. If we did, we wouldn’t worry so much about the economy and the challenging times ahead. So what kind of vision is the Bible talking about?I think there are two aspects of vision we need. We need a  “rearview mirror” vision as we grasp the ancient wisdom of God and his plans. The Bible says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV).”

We also need a “big picture” vision – the idea that God is in control and finding where we fit into his plans. King Solomon said: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).”

Give yourself to God and let Him give you a vision for your year!

Jim Mann, Ph.D. is Lead Pastor of New Life Church of Denton and a
professor at Colorado Christian University. His New Year resolution is to
stop making New Year’s resolutions!
Find out about New Life at

Posted in Spirituality0 Comments

Follow Through New Year’s Resolutions

Follow Through New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Yes, it’s that time again where we think about setting our New Year’s resolutions. Would you like to lose weight, stop smoking, get out of debt, work out more, improve your marriage, find a better job, or even just get a job?

Most everyone has something they would like to improve. The challenge with New Year’s resolutions is that most people do not make it past the fifth week before their resolve weakens. They never go on to make a lasting life change and they keep making the same resolutions year after year. Why is this? Negative thoughts get in the way and they end up believing they cannot or will not attain their goal, and so… they don’t! They give up.

You can make this the first year you will finally be able to follow through with a New Year’s resolution and make a permanent life change. To follow through with our goals and resolutions, we start by changing our thinking.

Everything we do starts with a thought. Every action we take comes from a feeling initiated by a thought. Our actions then create our habits, good or bad. In order to change a habit, we must change the action that precedes it, and in order to do that, we must change the feeling before that which is caused by a thought. We change our negative habits by changing our negative thinking. Once we do that our feelings, actions, and habits will change and we can create positive habits and obtain our positive goals.

When you have a negative thought, immediately replace it with a positive one. Staying focused daily and keep the can do attitude. That will keep you on track toward your goals. Believe you can and you will and never give up!

We all have the power and ability to create the lives we truly want and unlimited possibilities can be achieved. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty.

by Mardi Allen, Life Coach

Posted in Denton Women0 Comments

New Wave in Medicine: Mobile Medical Practices

New Wave in Medicine: Mobile Medical Practices

House Calls? Ask any elder and he or she will likely describe to you the days in his or her youth when it was highly common for the family doctor to make regular visits to their house. Whether the patient was sick, hurt, or just in need of a simple physical check-up, the doctor would, medical supply case in hand, travel directly to the patient’s house and care for him or her.

As the years passed, the standard medical house call industry faded as more and more doctor’s offices and hospital medical centers were built. Somehow, it became more popular for people–sick, hurt, elderly–to travel outside of their homes to visit the doctor. Even as mothers dreaded to take their feverish young children out into the cold to get into the car for the doctor’s office, and elderly, handicapped people became squeamish at the thought of having to ride in the car – the patient visiting the doctor remained more popular than the doctor visiting the patient.

Today, medical house call practices appeal to patients who are too sick or fatigued to drive to the doctor’s office, or patients who fear getting sick while sitting in a waiting room full of germs, or patients who don’t want to waste precious gas money or face the traffic that ensues while driving to the doctor’s office.

The medical house call practices of today will commonly see patients for most kinds of medical problems, but may exclude those that are potentially life-threatening, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, serious trauma, or severe problems with a pregnancy. In these cases, patients are advised to head to the hospital for emergency care treatment.

Thankfully, the industry is changing, and society is increasingly accepting of the mobile medical practice – or house call doctor. The “revival of the house call” is duly noted in several media publications, with Medicare having been billed about $1.5 million annually for house calls in the past few years alone.

Posted in Business Focus0 Comments

2nd Street Grand Opening

2nd Street Grand Opening

First of its kind and exclusive to Denton, 2nd Street is now open!

Finally, a true shopping experience, for both guys and gals. Where one shop offers stylish new, recycled, reconstructed, and vintage clothing and accessories at affordable prices. Come rescue recycled clothing, give reconstructed and vintage clothing another decade to live, and create your individual style by mixing it with something new. Oh yeah, we buy too! Bring in your outdated wear, or perhaps something that doesn’t fit or suit you. Fashion finds new life at 2nd Street.

You are invited to the Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, January 31st from 11 am until 8 pm. Live music and  refreshments will be served. All customers will receive 10% off their entire purchase for this event.

With the economy hurting our wallets and handbags right now, it’s nice to know there’s a place in Denton for affordable fashion, and one of a kind pieces. When looking for quality vintage, you no longer have to drive to Dallas or Fort Worth for unique clothing.

Posted in Business Focus0 Comments

Appraising Jewelry Appraisals

Appraising Jewelry Appraisals

The holidays have come and gone. For those of you who were lucky enough to have received jewelry, you may be wondering how to best protect your new acquisition. If you are considering insuring your jewelry, you should first check with your insurance agent to see what the insurance company requires. In many cases, jewelry can be covered under your homeowner’s policy, up to a certain dollar amount. More expensive jewelry usually needs to be scheduled (itemized in your policy), which requires a written appraisal. While jewelry appraisals can establish a value for insurance purposes, each piece of jewelry has multiple different correct values, depending upon one’s needs.

Replacement cost for insurance purposes is higher than the value used for an estate appraisal of the same jewelry. A professional appraiser will provide the correct value to fit your needs; therefore, it is important to investigate the appraiser’s qualifications. Personal property appraisers are not licensed by the government, as real property (real estate) appraisers must be. Anyone can offer personal property appraisals, regardless of their training or  qualifications. However, jewelry appraisals performed by individuals without proper appraisal and gemological qualifications may not protect you if that appraisal is challenged.

The responsibility falls on consumers to research their options when it comes to selecting an appraiser. There tends to be little difference, if any, in cost between appraisals performed by unqualified individuals and trained professionals. Ultimately, any jewelry with enough value to merit a written appraisal should be worth utilizing a qualified appraiser for their expertise and your peace of mind.

Posted in Editorials3 Comments