It’s Zaturday – Ziglet the Piglet

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Zorro here. Okay, I guess it’s Zunday instead of Zaturday, because Mommy’s slow! She didn’t get this put up when she was supposed to.

Recently, Ziggy and I went to the doctor. Mommy had to find a new doctor for us since we live in North Carolina now. Our old one is in Florida.

I checked out good, but Ziggy is too fat! I’m not surprised. He gobbles his food down then stares at me while I eat, hoping I’ll leave some for him. Daddy calls him Ziglet the Piglet. Now instead of calling “Kitty, kitty, kitty” when it’s time to eat, Daddy hollers, “Sooie, sooie, sooie, pig-pig-pig,” and we both come running! Mommy says it’s a pig call. I don’t care how they call us, as long as they feed us.

Every time Daddy calls Ziggy fat, Mommy says he’s just fluffy, and Daddy reminds her that that’s not what the vet says. I agree with Daddy and the vet. I think he’s getting fat, especially when he pounces on me.  He’s HEAVY! Even so, I don’t want Mommy to put Ziggy on a diet. Since we always eat together, that would mean they’d have to give me less, too. Instead, I’m helping Ziggy get more exercise by chasing him around the house and wrestling with him.

I’m glad I have Ziggy for a buddy, even if the vet says he’s fat. He helps me not to get too lonely. We hang out together in our catio…

and play with our toys together…

and take naps together…

…LOTS of naps. In fact, I think it’s time for another one!

Freelance Writing: How to Hone Your Craft and Build Your Client Base

Ryan Goodchild of A Pupper’s Love has been on here several times sharing tips on doggie care. Today he’s back with another great post, this time on making money doing freelance writing. Take it away, Ryan!

Photo by William Fortunato from Pexels

Do you routinely notice grammatical and spelling errors? Do you often think about how a particular paragraph would benefit from rearranging the sentences or start spilling your thoughts out on a word processor in random moments of inspiration?

You might be well-suited for a career in writing. And you don’t have to become a best-selling fiction author to build a fulfilling writing career. You can take many different paths—from blog writing to technical writing to promotional copy. If you’re interested in forging a livelihood as a freelance writer, consider these tips.

Get Better

No matter the writing career you choose to pursue, you will need to be on your A-game to build success. In other words, never stop improving your craft. Constantly look for ways to deepen your knowledge of various writing styles and practices, whether that means returning to school for a degree, finding a program that trains you in writing and editing, or finding a mentor who can help you navigate day-to-day challenges.

Also, read as much as you can. Read books and articles on topics that interest you, read works by authors who have a reputation for their masterful use of grammar, and try to read something unrelated to your work for at least a few minutes each day.

As with any other skill, writers learn best by example. Furthermore, make sure you write every day, whether that means writing pieces for your job or jotting thoughts down in your daily journal.

Explore Your Options

These days, there are many different types of careers to pursue in writing, and a lot of them can allow you to live comfortably on a salary. For example, you could become a speechwriter for a business executive, politician, or celebrity. You could become a screenwriter for film and television shows or try your hand as a technical writer for product or software manuals, user guides, or technical specifications.

If you have a strategic mind, you may enjoy a career as a communications director, which would mean that you oversee various forms of communications on behalf of a business or organization.

You could also write informational blogs and promotional copy for various companies as a freelance writer, or carve a niche in proposal writing, resume writing, or grant writing. If you love to edit, you might find proofreading a fulfilling role, and you could eventually work your way up to being an in-demand editor!

Start a Business (Officially)           

Whatever type of writer you choose to become, you should consider starting your own freelance business and creating an entity. By applying for an employer registration number, the IRS would better track your payroll taxes and identify your business. Also, an EIN will make the process of filing your state and federal taxes much more straightforward, whether you do it every year or every quarter.

There are many steps to starting a business, and it can be difficult to track them all. Fortunately, a monthly planner template gives you a graphic representation of every task and deadline you need to meet. Benefits of an online calendar for planning include looping in other stakeholders and the ability to upload images.

Build Your Clientele  

Having the necessary writing skills is one thing, but putting yourself out there and getting jobs is another. To begin building your client base, make sure you have a writing portfolio that stands out from the crowd. Your portfolio should showcase your best work, and if possible, make sure to include pieces from a wide range of industries and topics. You should also reach out to past clients about providing you with testimonials to put on your website.

Other tactics to gain customers include writing an effective elevator pitch and author bio. When it comes to finding jobs, utilize social media platforms and online job boards to connect with potential clients, and remember to maintain good relations with everyone you work for so that you can develop a solid reputation.

If you love writing, you could become the next best-selling novelist. But that is by no means your only option for a fulfilling writing career. Consider the information and advice above as you start laying the foundation for a lucrative writing career, and remember never to stop improving at your craft!

For inspirational and unforgettable romance novels, visit Carol J. Post!

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Thank you, Ryan, for all the great info. (And thanks for the shout-out on my books!) For inspiring stories about man’s best friend, check out Ryan’s website, A Pupper’s Love.

It’s Zaturday – Lonely Kitties!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Ziggy here. Zorro and I were sad kitties last week. Mommy and Daddy left us! They went to Florida and didn’t take us with them! They were gone a really long time—almost a week! We missed them, but Aunt Kim took really good care of us. We got to hang out with Grandma a whole bunch, too. We also had each other to snuggle with.

Zorro and I like going for car rides. When Daddy’s driving, we both get in Mommy’s lap. It’s a little crowded, because she usually has her computer there, too. When Mommy’s driving, she only lets one of us lie in her lap. Zorro always beats me to it. He curls up there and doesn’t move until Mommy stops for gas.

When Mommy and Daddy first got back, Zorro pouted for a whole day. Mommy couldn’t get him to purr no matter what she did. But he finally got over it and forgave them for leaving him. One thing that helped was that the day after they got back, Daddy went to the store and bought a bunch of meat. Then they made a batch of fresh cat food. Mommy and Daddy make really good kitty food. We like it better than the food that comes out of cans. Zorro even stands up for it.

We think we have good parents, even though they do sometimes leave us. But Mommy promised they wouldn’t leave us again until June. We’re not sure when June is, but we’re hoping its reeeeaally far away. Do you think if we try really hard, we can get them to cancel their trip?

It’s Zaturday – We’re back!

It’s Zaturday, the day that we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Zorro here. I know it’s been a really long time since Ziggy and I have been on here, but whew, have we been busy! Well, I guess it’s Mommy and Daddy who have been busy. First, something happened to Daddy. Mommy said he had shoulder surgery. Ziggy and I don’t know what that means, but he came home with this great big thing on his arm and had to wear it for a long time. Ziggy and I were scared of it at first, but we got used to it. Soon we were back to snuggling with him.

Cat in boxThen we all moved from Florida to North Carolina. Ziggy and I like car rides, so we didn’t mind that at all. What was really fun, though, was when Mommy started unpacking. Every time she emptied a box, Ziggy and I got in! Boxes are the most fun thing in the world! Well, catnip toys are pretty fun, too.

Lately, though, Mommy and Daddy have been making lots of noise, and we don’t like that. Even Aunt Kim is getting involved. Mommy says they’re remodeling. While Mommy and Aunt Kim put a new floor in, Ziggy and I hung out on our catio.

For a while, there was white stuff all over the ground, and it was really cold. When I wanted to get warmed up, I just came in and curled up in Grandma’s lap. Grandma has a soft, warm lap, because she wears a thick, fuzzy robe.

Now the room where everybody was working is all finished. Ziggy and I are glad. We like to hang out in there and look out the front window…

…or play on the new floor.

Mommy says she’s not done with the remodeling, though. Next, she’s going to tear up the hall bathroom. That sounds like a noisy job, too, so Ziggy and I are hoping she’ll change her mind. Think we might be able to convince her to play with us instead?

How to Prevent Common Doggie Disasters at Home

By guest blogger, Ryan Goodchild of A Pupper’s Love

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels

Caring for a dog can be a wonderful experience for families, but sometimes, a few doggie disasters are to be expected. These can include your dog going potty inside the house or acting out when you’re not around. If your dog is misbehaving, it’s likely due to underlying behavioral issues that should be addressed. Fortunately, these types of doggie disasters can be prevented and treated so you can live a long and happy life with your pup. Here are some great ways to prevent common doggie disasters at home.

Preventing Your Dog From Going Potty in the House

If your dog is going potty inside the house, it may be a sign of an underlying anxiety issue. Separation anxiety is one of the most common causes of this type of accident and can often be treated with the help of a veterinary behaviorist. Your dog may also be anxious about outside conditions, such as noise. Noise phobias may be triggered due to frightening sounds from outside, such as honking from a car. This may cause your dog to only want to pee inside instead of outside.

This can be reversed by taking your dog to a quieter outdoor setting or playing some soothing music through a music player. Accidents can also be prevented by keeping a clean indoor environment. If a dog smells its past accidents, he or she might believe that the indoor environment is the right place to go potty. Overall, this type of issue must be treated with love and proper care. Scolding or yelling at your dog will only instill more fear and anxiety instead of treating the problem.

Preventing Your Dog from Acting Out

A dog acting out is a form of misbehaving and not listening to his or her owner’s commands. A dog may also act out in front of guests or strangers. Here are some ways to prevent your dog from misbehaving:

  • Play with your dog more often. Dogs who aren’t getting enough activity may become frustrated and act out, so make sure your pup is getting a lot of exercise. If you have a busy schedule, hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to walk your dog while you’re out, or hire a pet sitter who can keep him company more regularly.
  • Create consistency in your dog’s routine. Dogs love consistency, especially with regard to their training. They also rely on their owners for maintaining a sense of order in their life. If a dog’s needs aren’t being met, they may lash out or cause a bit of chaos to get their owner’s attention.
  • Sometimes dogs act out due to stress. They can pick up on our emotions, and if you’re feeling anxious or troubled, your dog will reflect it. So take steps to create a more peaceful and positive environment in your home. Remember, reducing stress in the home isn’t just good for your pets; it’s good for you, too!
  • Don’t use negative reinforcement, but don’t always use positive reinforcement either. For example, if your dog begs or barks for your attention and you give in, you would be teaching your dog that acting out is the “right” way to get attention. Instead, reward your dog for good behavior, such as not jumping on guests.
  • Note when the bad behavior started. Have you moved recently? Have you been spending less time with your dog? Have you been lashing out at your dog due to stressors from life? Identifying the factors that triggered your dog to start misbehaving may provide context to applicable solutions, such as spending more time with your dog or creating a more consistent routine for them.

Protecting Your Dog

One disaster that can be truly tragic is if your dog gets into a rodenticide. First, know the signs — which could include lethargy, bleeding gums, or difficulty breathing — and if you spot them, contact your veterinarian immediately. Also, instead of using poison or traps, if you have a problem with pests, you can hire a professional to safely eradicate them.

It’s also crucial that your pup avoids choking hazards and electrical dangers. ZenBusiness recommends tying up any loose cords and keeping them out of reach. Also make sure to remove any rubber bands, staples, and paper clips off the floor.

Doggie disasters, such as bad behavior or going potty inside the house, may be triggered due to outside factors or underlying behavior problems. It’s important to identify these factors quickly so you can teach your dog proper behavior. If it’s difficult to treat your dog’s behavioral problems on your own, consider consulting a veterinarian or a behavioral specialist.

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Thank you, Ryan, for all the great info. For inspiring stories about man’s best friend, check out Ryan’s website, A Pupper’s Love.

7 Ways You Can Keep Your Pets Healthy and Safe this Winter

By guest blogger, Ryan Goodchild of A Pupper’s Love

Photo by ModCatShop on Unsplash

Now that the cold weather has arrived, you need to make sure your pet has the essentials to stay healthy and happy all season long. Not sure where to start? Then check out these top health and safety tips for taking care of your furkids.

Find Allergy Relief for Your Pets

Itchy pets may be suffering from allergies. Pet allergies are pretty common for cats and dogs, and can be the result of dust, pollen or even certain foods. All of the scratching can lead to hair loss and infections, so schedule a checkup for your pets if you suspect environmental or food allergies. You can also try switching your kitty to an allergen-free food to see if that helps with symptoms.

Address Your Pet’s Behavior Issues

Winter weather can mean more indoor gatherings with family and friends. If you plan on bringing your pets along you should make sure they have at least some basic manners. This can also be helpful if you want to sip your favorite fall lattes on local dog-friendly patios. If you need help with training your dog, consider reaching out to a local, qualified trainer for a consultation.

Be Aware of Signs of Pain in Your Pet

Colder weather can make your pet extra achy. Arthritis is another common health concern that tends to come in during colder seasons, and aches and pains can be particularly common for senior pets. Lifestyle changes can reduce pain and inflammation for your pet, including keeping your pet active and investing in quality beds.

Pain from inflammation, nausea and vomiting from cats with sensitive stomachs is another thing to look out for. In this case, switch your kitty over to food that is specially produced for such ailments. Ingredients in sensitive stomach cat food — such as prebiotics, highly digestible ingredients, and fatty acids like fish oil — are geared towards soothing cats’ digestive systems.

Make Sure Your Pets are Microchipped

It’s always a good idea to microchip your pet. If your pet gets away from you during a hike, a walk, or a holiday vacation, having a microchip will increase the chances of being reunited with you. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure that can be priceless when it comes to protecting your furry family members.

Protect Your Pet’s Paws and Nose

You know how your lips and hands can get dry and chapped during the winter? Well, the same thing can happen to your pet’s paws and nose. If you notice dry skin or cracks on their skin, consider mixing up a protective balm. You can also add a layer of balm to help safeguard your dog’s paws against salt and other chemicals used to prevent ice on sidewalks.

Protect Your Pet From Holiday Hazards

Finally, before you enjoy any holiday celebrations with your pets, you should be aware of some of the most common holiday pet hazards. Human food may be the first thing that comes to mind, and keeping fatty meats, herbs and other risky treats away from your pets can be crucial for keeping them healthy. But holiday decor, including poinsettias, mistletoe and tinsel, can also present poisoning and choking hazards.

Ensuring a safe and healthy season for your pets is all about preparation and planning. So even if the temperatures are still hot and sticky in your area, start making appointments and stocking up on supplies as soon as possible. Then you can rest assured that your pets are healthy enough to enjoy all the fall fun ahead.

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Thank you, Ryan, for all the great info. For inspiring stories about man’s best friend, check out Ryan’s website, A Pupper’s Love. For more pet safety tips How To Keep Pets Safe at Home by LA Homes offers advice for every room of the house.

Book Review – Becoming Future You, Mel Jolly

You’re already becoming Future You, but do you like who you’re becoming? Life coach Mel Jolly encourages us to answer that question and make the journey with purpose in Becoming Future You: Be the Hero of your Own Life. She writes with an easy, conversational style and a good dose of humor. Her personal examples really help the points she’s making hit home, and the questions in the free companion workbook help readers get clarity on their goals, dreams and desires and proactively move toward becoming the best version of themselves. At the end of each chapter is a recap followed by questions and/or action items.

Mel says, “Sometimes we create a vision of our Future Selves who is less stressed and more organized and has her act together… and then we continue to do the same things we’ve always done and wonder why she hasn’t shown up yet.” She encourages us to look at our thoughts, words and responses through the filter of whether it’s helping you become Future You, and to start noticing the difference between what Future You would say and do and what Present You is currently doing. Becoming the best version of ourselves takes work, but Mel encourages us to enjoy the growth journey and make it like an epic road trip with sightseeing destinations (your dreams) and a map (strategy).

Working to fulfill our purpose and become the best we can be isn’t selfish. Just the opposite. As Mel puts it, “It’s only in embracing your talents and desires and chasing your dreams and taking care of yourself that you fill your well. That’s what gives you joy and energy and enthusiasm, which you can then pass on to others.” She says, “Becoming Future You is not about being dissatisfied with your life and wishing it were different. It’s about listening to your gut, embracing who you truly are, and striving to become that version of yourself with joy and gratitude.”

Unfortunately, most of us carry beliefs that hold us back, and we unknowingly sabotage who we want to be in our future. Becoming Future You helps us identify the stumbling blocks that keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves and offers a game plan for overcoming them. One way of sabotaging Future You that hit home with me is committing to things in the near future that we don’t have time for now but somehow think we’ll have time for then. But Mel points out that Near-Future You is probably going to be just as busy as Present You (maybe even more so because we don’t know what unexpected things might arise), and Future You won’t thank you for putting that responsibility on her plate.

Mel poses the question, “Are you going to choose to be the hero of your story? Or are you going to use the excuse that you’re not in control and continue to let life be something that just happens to you?” I highly recommend Becoming Future You. This book isn’t just for those who feel trapped, stuck, defeated or sick and tired of surviving instead of thriving. It’s for everyone who wants to become the best version of themselves that they can be.

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Handy Resources for Moving with Pets – Sans Stress

By guest blogger, Jessica Brody of Our Best Friends

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Moving can be ruff, especially for pet parents. You may be worried about keeping your furkids safe and happy, all while trying to find the purr-fect home and plan a stress-free move. I’m here to let you in on a few secrets that will set your mind at ease and help you keep your move organized from start to happy tails. Let’s dive in!

You Need a New Home

 Obviously, this is going to be the first step you take. The good news is that finding a home with pets in mind isn’t that different than doing so without. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Even in the pandemic, buying a home can be safe and as low stress as possible.
  • The upside to using virtual tools to tour homes is that your furkids can take a look, too!
  • Any home that makes you and your budget happy will be perfect for your pets, as well.
  • If you have aging pets, you may want to buy a new home that doesn’t have stairs.

You Need to Start Packing and Planning

Hopefully, that first step was simple enough. Next, you will want to begin packing your belongings and planning out your move. Keep these tips in mind to keep your pets calm:

  • Feline family members can be sensitive to change, including packing.
  • Your pups will also need some reassurance and planning to avoid anxiety.
  • For all pets, pack their essentials last and unpack them with your day-of box.
  • Your kitties are also going to need some basics to stay healthy on the road.
  • Although many hotels are pet-friendly, confirm their policies before you book.

You Need to Help Pets Feel at Home, Too

All of the stressful parts of your move are done. Well, stressful for you anyhow because moving to a new home can also be stressful for your pets. You can soothe their stress by:

  • De-stressing yourself — because your pets will pick up on your moods and anxieties.
  • Maybe make yourself a big and tasty pancake as a treat for surviving the move.
  • You can even share with your pets but remember that some human foods are toxic.
  • Upon arrival, start by allowing your pets to explore one room and then go from there.
  • If your pets still seem anxious after a few weeks, it may be time to talk with a vet.

These are all of the resources and tips you need to ensure a smooth and low-stress move with your pets. As a fellow pet parent, I can say that the most important things to keep in mind are that change can be hard for animals, but patience can go a long way. Pair that patience with positivity and planning to give your pets everything they need.

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Thank you, Jessica, for all the great info. For resources, stories and some cute animal pics, you can visit Jessica’s website, Our Best Friends.

For another great resource on moving with dogs, check out this post on Fluent Woof!

It’s Zaturday – Merry Christmas!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Ziggy here. Yesterday was Christmas! Christmas must be a really special day, because Mommy and Daddy did lots of cool stuff for us. The day before, they brought us to North Carolina to spend time with Aunt Kim and Grandma. We love North Carolina because we get to hang out in our catio and watch the squirrels and birds. This time, though, Mommy wouldn’t let us go out there. She said it’s too cold. I don’t know how cold it is, but there’s white stuff everywhere! The bird feeder is covered, and the stuff’s even on our bar where we like to sit.

On Christmas morning, Mommy gave us a treat of turkey baby food. It was soooo yummy! Zorro even stood up for it.

Then Mommy and Daddy gave us presents! We knew something was going on, because earlier, Mommy sat down on the floor with rolls of paper and a plastic bag with stuff in it. When I checked out what she was doing, I smelled catnip! Zorro and I both go crazy over catnip. Mommy finally had to take everything into the bedroom and close the door, because she said she couldn’t get the presents wrapped with me getting into everything.

Finally it came time to open them. Boy, was that fun! Mommy had to help us tear the paper. She said she put too much tape on it.

The first presents were furry mousies. I got a white one and Zorro got a brown one. The best part was that they were catnip mousies!

Mommy had to finally take them away from us to get us interested in the other presents. The next one had balls for us to play with. Some were fluffy and others had bells inside.

The last presents were bigger. I got a bird and Zorro got a pineapple, both full of catnip!

After opening our presents and playing with them for a while, we were totally worn out. So Zorro took a nap with Grandma…

and I curled up on the dining room chair.

Zorro and I think this was the best Christmas ever!

It’s Zaturday – Kitty Acrobats!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Zorro here. Did you know that a cat can right itself from a fall in less than one second? Pretty amazing, huh? Here’s how we do it. Our backs are super flexible. We bend in the middle so our front half rotates different from our back half. Then we tuck our front legs and extend our back legs, so we can rotate our front half. Then we tuck our back legs and extend our front legs and that lets us rotate our back half. Some cats can do these three steps once and they’re right side up. Others have to do them two or three times. But we go through these steps lightning fast. Since we have the ability to right ourselves, we usually land uninjured. But not always. Cats can still break bones or even die in extreme falls.

A couple of weeks ago, when Mommy and Daddy were sick, I was lying beside Mommy’s feet, and all the sudden, I fell out of bed. Mommy heard a thud, so she doesn’t think I landed on my feet. I’m not sure, because it happened so fast. One second I was sound asleep, and the next I was on the floor. Mommy jumped up to make sure I was okay. I just laid there for a minute, until Mommy made me get up so she could watch me walk. Of course, I was fine. (Mommy worries too much.)

If I ever fall again, I hope it’s falling out of bed. That’s not very far, and the carpet is really soft. I love to climb, and some places I get wouldn’t be good places to fall from. Like the top of the curio cabinet in Florida, especially since the floor is tile instead of carpet.

Or up high in the catio in North Carolina:

Or on top of the upper cabinets in Grandma’s kitchen.

Ziggy doesn’t have to worry about falling, at least not from anything high. He usually doesn’t go any higher than the dining room chair or the back of the couch. He’s kind of a scaredy-cat that way. Mommy says I’m too much of a dare devil and that I make her really nervous when I jump up on high things. I don’t like to make Mommy nervous, but it’s so much fun to look down on everything from my high perch. I think I’ll keep doing it.