Is There a Way for Me to Reduce Veterinary Costs?

If you have a pet and are really concerned about their welfare (as well you should be), you probably also know that trips to the vet can be expensive. Unlike human healthcare, pets are not covered by the government. Pet insurance is a possibility, though not for everybody. Fortunately, there are also other options for coping with a hefty vet bill.

Pet Savings Account

Just as you put away money to save for something you wish to buy, or to have some cash-on-hand in the case of an emergency, contributing each month to a pet savings account at your local financial institution can help to cushion the blow of both yearly check-ups and sudden emergencies.

Get a Second Opinion

Ever take your car in for what looks to be routine work only for the mechanic to tell you that a fix will require several thousand dollars? Instead of having a meltdown there on the spot, the smart course of action would be having someone else look at the vehicle for a second opinion. Their suggested charge may not be all that different or may be dramatically different.

The same holds true with veterinarians; some are better at knowing just what is required than others. There are also some practitioners who are in it mainly for the money and will charge you inflated rates. Shopping around can make you more confident about dealing with a certain vet.

Payment Plans

Many vets are honest in regards to their costs and also sympathetic towards clients and their situations. If you are facing a major bill, ask the vet whether if it is possible for you to make payments in installments over the course of a few months. Many will be agreeable to this.

Seek a Loan

Financial institutions might not be sympathetic to your plight, but it is worth a try. Another alternative is organizations that provide grants or loans to help people in your position. Ask your vet for more information on this option.

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Staying Optimistic

Many of us feel pressured to be happy, virtually at all times. The truth is, no one is always upbeat. It’s just not natural to be thinking that everything is always wonderful. That said, it can be difficult to go through life feeling downbeat.

Do you feel like you are lacking in optimism? It can make life seem needlessly bleak if you are not convinced that good things lie ahead.

Here are some ways you can get that feeling of optimism back:

Remember the Positives

Can’t think of the good things in your life? Try writing them down. That way you have them handy and can consult them anytime you feel like there is nothing to be happy about.

In that same notebook, also list things you are looking forward to. These can be thoroughly minor and seemingly unimportant, but list them anyway: life is not always about the big moments, but instead a culmination of many, many small victories and joyous occurrences. These often don’t get talked about, but your life would be very different without them.

Don’t be Blindly Optimistic

Blind optimism has little or no basis in logical fact. It’s the equivalent of walking into a job interview and telling the interviewer that not only should they hire you, you plan to be running the company in two years.

Now, a case of proper optimism might be going into an interview confident that you will do a good job because you have taken the time to prepare. This is a good quality to have; it has a basis in reality (eg. you did the work), so in your mind, this is a feasible way to think.

Consider other areas in life where you have put in the effort and feel confident about your ability to do something. Try and carry that feeling with you whenever possible. Once you start feeling optimistic about a number of things in life, it becomes easier to believe that other areas will also work out.

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Surviving the End of a Friendship

Have you ever had a friendship that meant more to you than just about anything? Most of us have at least one friendship that helps to define our lives. The rest have best friends that they love to spend time with and look forward to seeing.

When we are really close to someone, it can be extremely painful when that person leaves. It may be due to an argument, death, or several other reasons. Consequently, when a friendship of great importance comes to its conclusion, the emotional pain can linger for some time afterward.

Have you and a close friend recently ended your relationship? Are you still hurting and wonder if your life will ever be the same? Try these tips—they can help you to move on and regain your emotional balance.

Accept That People Change

Whether we notice it or not, everyone changes as the years pass. No one is the same person they were 20 years ago; in fact, you might not even be the same as you were 12 months in the past.

These changes can cause friendships to change, decline, and often end. This is no one’s fault, and it’s important to realize that. No one did anything wrong, so neither of you should feel any blame or anger.

Accept That It is Over

Friendships can sometimes rekindle but, for the most, when they’re done, they’re done. Problems can arise if one party does not accept this, and takes unfortunate actions toward the other. In almost all cases, this just makes an unfortunate situation all the worse.

Write Down Your Feelings

Many therapists recommend journaling as a valuable way to come to grips with anxiety and depression. Document what you are feeling at the moment; this allows you to express yourself and, in doing so, let go of some of what you are grappling with. This is healthier than keeping it bottled up inside.

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Having Trouble Finding the Right Gift?

It can be very difficult to choose the right gifts for friends and relatives, especially if you are the type of person who really cares about getting just the right one. I’m one of those people and there is no worse feeling than having to rush and choose something that isn’t all that appealing because the store is in an hour.

If you find yourself in such a situation, stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off and try the following suggestions. They can really help to narrow things down and make the final choice easier:

What are Their Interests?

Think about what your friend or family member really loves to do. Is it something that you regularly do with them? If so, you should have a pretty good idea of what they might need that is related to that interest. Still not sure? Ask a friend or loved one to check and have them get back to you.

If time is of the essence, you can always get a related certificate. This is often seen as a copout, but if the gift certificate is for something the person loves to do, chances are they will be very happy.

Still stumped? Think back over your friendship. What gifts have you given in the past that went over especially well? There is nothing wrong with sticking with something that worked before.

Think Outside the Box

Still don’t know? How about going way outside of the usual parameters and trying something completely different? Perhaps your gift will act as the encouragement they need to start a new hobby or have a completely new experience that proves very rewarding. Give it a shot! If it doesn’t work out, well, that is one possibility you can cross off of next year’s list.


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Work Longer, Live Longer?

There has never been a time in recorded human history when we as a species have lived for so long. Rapid advances in medical technology have allowed us to conquer certain diseases, while effectively keeping others at bay. That means human beings now commonly live into their 80s and sometimes even their 90s and beyond.

While this is certainly good, it is leading to a disproportionately old population. People are also tending to have fewer children, so the older members of our society are gradually outnumbering the younger. As the elderly require some form of medical attention in the vast majority of cases, this puts a disproportionate strain on national and provincial economies and health services.

We are also now seeing other societal shifts. While it was common for people to retire by age 65, the chances are this number will rise as people are able to be healthier and live longer. Also, as governments find themselves increasingly unable to shoulder the bill for Senior care, some people in their late 60s and early 70s will need to continue to work solely in order to support themselves and keep a roof over their heads.

While this sounds distressing, in some ways it might not be a bad thing. Studies have shown that older people remain more vital, additionally mobile, and healthier overall if they keep busy. While certain degenerative health and mental conditions can preclude such a notion, it really would be better for a large proportion of the elderly population to work longer than age 65. It would also be more beneficial for the economy and the country’s financial stability as a whole.

As more and more data comes in from countries around the world, it is clear that the notion of retiring by a certain age may no longer be feasible.

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Tips to Make You a Better Writer

The ability to write is a great gift and it can be a tremendous asset in many careers. For some people, writing comes naturally and they excel at an early age. That is not the case for most people, however. Like any skill, writing is something that you learn and improve at as you get older.

Whether you are a professional writer or just want to do it for fun, there are things you can do to improve the quality of your writing. Here are a couple of tips:

Practice practice practice and practice again

The best way to get good at something is to keep doing it over and over. Whenever you have some spare time, try writing. Even if it does not seem like you are producing anything worthwhile, chances are you are still learning as you go.

It is also good to practice with a friend on a regular basis. This way you can provide each other with motivation and offer suggestions on each other’s work.

Know the Basics

This is very important. One of the keys to mastering any skill is knowing the basics. For example, if you want to be a mechanic, you have to know how an engine works. So, if you want to be a writer, you have to know the basics of grammar and style. You can learn these in high school or through basic English classes taken as a mature student. It is imperative to have this knowledge in order to excel either as a professional or talented amateur writer.

Thanks to programs like Word, which will correct spelling mistakes and basic grammar errors, people think they can get by without proper training. However, this technology will only take you so far and it will not help you when you are writing on paper.

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Motivation to Help You Stay on Your Diet

Dieting is tough. It is a fact, and there is no way to sugarcoat it. Even those people with considerable willpower can find dieting to be a major challenge. Many people want to lose weight, but a large portion of them throw in the towel because they cannot maintain their diet. Have you ever tried to lose weight, run into trouble, and then given up? Do not feel bad! You are not alone.

If you are ready to try dieting again, here are some tips that can help you succeed this time:

Work with a dietitian

Part of the reason that people cannot stay on a diet is unrealistic expectations. They think that if they exercise a certain amount, they can continue eating the same quantities as usual. Unfortunately, dieting does not work that way: you have to think equally about your food intake to supplement the calories you burn off with exercise. A dietitian can help you come up with a plan about what to eat and how much. This will make things much easier for you.

Do it with a friend

Having someone to go through dieting with you can make it much easier for the both of you. You can provide each other with both support and tips, while also exercising together.


Speaking of physical activity, this is something that all of us need to do every day, whether we need to lose weight or not. When you want to shed those pounds, you not only have to do a bit more, but also the right kind for your body and your situation. Consult your general practitioner for tips on the best way for you to approach exercising.

You can also see a personal trainer. These people have the training to know exactly what kind of exercises would benefit you most at your age, body type, and general overall health.

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Don’t Let Pain Ruin Your Life

We all experience pain in our lives at one time or another, but it is usually something that passes fairly quickly without causing us too much disruption or major discomfort. However, due to accidents, disease, or other health conditions, people can find themselves in a state of persistent pain that results in major life changes that can be tough to deal with.

If you find yourself in this category, life can become quite challenging. Fortunately, there are things you can do that will make each day a little bit easier.


Depending on your condition, exercise can help when it comes to dealing with daily pain. Physical movement creates feel-good endorphins in the brain which help to distract you from the discomfort. However, check with your doctor in order to create an exercise plan that will work well with your condition.

Support groups

It can be quite lonely and challenging to deal with a major life issue on your own. Fortunately, there are support groups available for people who suffer from chronic pain. People experiencing the same issues that you are can better understand the challenges you are facing. Those same individuals can not only provide you with support, but also advice on how to better deal with pain based on their own experiences.


It will not entirely rid you of pain, but meditation will help to calm your mind and body. That will leave you in a better place to counter the effects of the pain or, at the very least, be in a better position to lessen its prominence in your mind.

You can learn meditation on your own or in a group. Whichever method you choose, be patient: meditation can take a while to learn, but the positive effects it engenders are more than worth the effort.

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Pets Teach Children Responsibility

Most every child wants a pet, but does every child really understand the responsibility that comes with pet ownership? Animals can bring great joy into the life of people of all ages, and children are especially drawn to them. However, many parents find that their children soon lose interest in a pet or cannot keep up with the responsibility of ownership; thus, they end up doing all of the work.

However, pet ownership can be an excellent way to teach children responsibility in different aspects of life:


Pets require care on a daily basis. This helps to teach children that there are things that must be done everyday and mom and dad cannot be relied upon to do them. Ideally, children will recognize that this extends to aspects of their own personal care, such as showering and brushing teeth.

Kids will also come to realize that care is something that does not have set hours. It is a person’s responsibility to look after their animal whenever it needs attention. Life often does not work on a set schedule and it helps for kids to discover that early on.


Children can be remarkably cruel towards one another because they do not understand the ramifications of the pain they are causing. Looking after a pet can provide a direct lesson; if a child is mean towards a pet, they will see first hand the damage that does. This will help them to better consider their actions in future when dealing with both animals and people.


Having a pet die can help to teach children about death and how it can affect a person’s life. This is good preparation for when family members or friends pass away.


Very few children are patient. Working with a pet, particularly one that requires training, such as a dog, can teach children the importance of patience and delayed gratification.

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Exercising at Work

Exercise at work you say? Sure, that’s fine if you are an aerobics instructor, but what about other professions? There are actually things you can do at work that are not disruptive and will help maintain your physical and ergonomic health.

As you might imagine, sitting around for extended periods is not good for you. You are not burning many calories when stationary and if you have a desk job, lack of regular movement can actually lead to painful physical injuries.

Here are a few basic exercises you can do at work:


These can be done inconspicuously by leaning against your desk on a 45-degree angle and pushing up, rather than doing so on the floor. Try for 10-12.

Squeezing Your Shoulder Blades

Do you tend to hunch over your desk at work? This is not good as it leads to pain and posture issues. Squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10-15 seconds, trying to make the tips touch. This helps to counteract the ill effects that come from perpetual hunching.

Shoulder Shrug

You can also help to reduce shoulder strain by moving your shoulders as high up to your ears as you can and then holding that position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat ten times.

Wall Squats

Have you ever done jungle squats? They are a great exercise, but not very practical for the office. However, all you need for this exercise is a wall. Lean against the wall and slide down to a 90-degree angle and then slide back up. Repeat 10-15 times.

Calf Strengthening

That office chair can also be an exercise aid. Hold the back of the chair and stand on your tiptoes. This raises your calves and helps to strengthen the muscles in your legs reducing the chance of later problems. Hold that position for 10-15 seconds and repeat an equal number of times at two points during the day.

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