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Archive for October, 2012

Don’t Forget Your Favorite Pet This Halloween!

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Birds are beautiful, geckos are gorgeous, cats are cuddly, cute and quite charming. But for me, there is only one animal that upon sight alone causes me to break into a smile, and that animal is the delightful dog.

From the enthusiastic wag of their tails to their wide, happy eyes full of wonder, I think dogs are as close to perfect as living beings get. For starters, they are adorable. And they stay adorable their entire lives, from plush puppyhood to the time their fur turns gray. They are also loyal, compassionate, always up for enjoying the simple pleasures in life, and oh-so-excited to see you. Every. Single. Time. Now, I know there are exceptions to the rule, as there are with all other animals and people as well. But for the most part, in my many years on this planet I have been lucky enough to meet oodles more awesome dogs than grumpy dogs or mean dogs. And one of the things that I find cutest about them is one of the things that is also most annoying: their propensity to beg.

Before you go thinking I’m a bad pet parent, please know that whenever I’ve had a dog, I have done my best to train it well and treat it with respect at all times. As much as a dog begging at the table can make for a tricky lunch, it’s also really not fun for the dog, especially if they never get a piece of whatever it is they’re after. But in my experience, even when they have stopped leaping at the table and barking for a bite – even when their training has been as successful as you hoped it would be – if you glance in their direction while you’re eating something tasty, you can see that irrepressible hunger in their eyes. Maybe it’s because I am most often in the company of beagles, and they are notorious food hounds. But whatever it is, that look of longing for a taste tugs at my heartstrings. Certainly if it were me sitting at the foot of the couch and my human was noshing on something nummy, I would want some!

Every now and then, I do give my pooch a sampling of my meal when it is dog-appropriate food. I am careful not to feed her when I am eating, or from my plate, instead putting the food in her dish. And on holidays especially, a time for sharing your love with those near and dear, I make a special dish for my dog. Always careful to keep it simple and dog-friendly, I know she enjoys this break from her usual fare as much as I enjoy giving her something really good to eat. For those of you who aren’t ‘dog people’, you might think I’m crazy. But I think the fellow dog lovers out there understand where I’m coming from!

One of my favorite holidays is Halloween, and as such I like to go all-out. That said, it’s not your traditional food holiday. I don’t prepare anything extravagant in the way of a meal as I’m usually handing out candy to Trick-or-Treaters or attending a Halloween party. But that doesn’t mean I don’t do anything special for my beagle baby – after all, she would surely win any competition for ‘cutest costume’ before I even put on her Halloween collar! So instead, I’m always sure to bring home some Halloween dog treats from Bisket Baskets. She doesn’t always like when I bring my work home with me, but when it’s Halloween dog treats she doesn’t seem to mind at all!

Remember the Less Fortunate This Halloween

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It’s no secret that many, if not most, of the people in our country are experiencing tougher financial times than they possibly ever have before. For those who were fortunate to start out this struggle with above average income, the impact might not be as severe. But for those who were already just getting by, counting their pennies to make ends meet, the consequences have been much more dire. Many of these people are hardworking individuals who never imagined they might need government assistance or outside help at all, yet they find themselves in a position where turning to others for help is not a choice, but a necessity.

If you are like me and among the fortunate among us to be blessed with a good job, safe home, and full belly, I ask you to consider trying something this Halloween that we often reserve for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I’m asking you to think back on your own childhood, and if Halloween was as central a player in some of your fondest memories as it was in mine, to imagine how much a bag of candy might mean to a child whose family can’t afford such indulgences. A bag of candy is something you and I might take for granted, tossing it in the cart with the rest of our groceries without a second thought. But for children whose parents truly can’t afford to purchase anything beyond the essentials, that bag of candy is just one of their many wishes.

The best route to take in donating candy might be to contact your local food bank and ask if they would be open to receiving candy donations, explaining that you would love for families with children to be able to take a bag home along with their food. If they are open to the idea, you might want to call on coworkers, neighbors or members of your Church to help you raise enough money to ensure as many families as possible get some sweets this season. A fun way to increase interest and offer others added incentive is to sell raffle tickets for one of our Halloween gift baskets. Everyone loves taking a chance on winning something fun and festive, especially when the money donated goes to such a great cause.

To make the most of your candy money, keep an eye out for Halloween candy sales and coupons. You can also help stretch your budget further by checking out the offerings at stores like the Dollar Tree, which can have a surprisingly varied and tasty selection! Additionally, if you or someone you know has some Halloween costumes you no longer need, consider donating those as well. Costumes can be quite pricey, and not everyone can afford them for their children, which can prevent them from having the memorable and candy-filled opportunity to go Trick-or-Treating. Just think – you can clear some clutter from your closet, and help a child have a night filled with smiles and sugar in the process. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!