They Call it Puppy Love

I just received an email from Sam’s Club, of which I am not a member.

Sam’s Club challenges, Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!

The link leads you to the Pet Center and a graphic that says Feel the Puppy Love? In the Spirit of Valentine’s Day Show them How Much You Care.” An image of a heart shaped doggy bowl filled with treats is featured.

If you click on this it takes you to an article about general animal care, but let’s dissect the headlines for a moment, shall we?

I have pets and I consider myself an animal lover. We are at an all time low of three cats and two fish right now, but the fauna tally here typically registers higher than that between our own pets, strays we are feeding, fosters we are harboring….you get the picture. I have never once felt the need to prove that I cared about my animals as suggested by Sam’s Club. And I particularly have not felt the need to prove that I care for them buy buying them things, which of course is the implication of the email. As a marketing tool, the goal is to convince the customer to purchase their products, of course, but “Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!” does not accomplish that goal. If anything, I find it to be rather repellent.

Blush Pearl Necklace CHIEN COATURE pearl necklaces are made of natural and dyed freshwater pearls and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. The necklaces are wired with flexible jewelry wire and should not break under normal wear. The clasps are lobster claw in sterling silver. Each necklace is custom-made to fit your dog.

In the Spirit of Valentine’s Day Show them How Much You Care. Really? Do dogs and cats feel left out on Valentine’s Day? No kidding? This is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that animals don’t give a flying frick about holidays and as long as they are fed, watered, sheltered, and given some cuddles, they will be eternally grateful. I’m thinking that the mere idea that animals care about holidays and not only care, but actually require commercially purchased offerings is a symptom of how disturbingly material we have really become as a culture.

I confess, before children I used to put catnip and kitty treats in a stocking for the cats at Christmas. They didn’t much appreciate it, but I did do it for a couple of years. I think we can all agree that it wasn’t for the cats. Well, it was for the cats, technically – I don’t eat cat treats, but the stocking wasn’t for the cats, of course, and as it turns out, they don’t really appreciate wrapping paper either as it only hinders their ability to gnaw through the foil treat package. I have since stopped this ridiculous charade, though the cats still get plenty of treats.

Twinkle Collar Red-Multi Colored Cross
This fashionable collar can be worn as an exquisite necklace or high fashion collar.

What I really don’t understand is buying things “for your dog” that dogs don’t really appreciate. Like jewelry, for instance. I don’t care how adorable your doggy is – the dirty truth is that he would opt for a tasty cat turd over a crystal-laden collar or beaded necklace any day. Now I don’t begrudge the purchases either, but recognize that if you want to buy baubles for your dog, you are not doing it even one iota for the dog – it’s all for you, baby.

Tropical Garden Collar

The Tropical Garden Collar is truly art to wear for your dog! The collar is made of white Italian lambskin and faced with rich white velvet. The collar is faced with hand woven, 3-D floral jewelry made of Czech pressed glass pieces and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. This collar is meant for dress-up and party wear – treat this as jewelry for your dog.

That animal neither wants nor needs such frivolities – he needs attention and nourishment, but he does not need doggy spangles. There’s a lot that animals don’t need. They certainly don’t need us to prove that we love them on any commercial level.

Bluebell Harness

This beautiful harness is made of two layers of buttery-soft Italian lambskin. The motifs are cut away from the pastel blue top layer, the top layer is carefully stitched to of the cream irridescent bottom layer. Three sizes of three-dimensional flowers are appliqued and finished with beautiful CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements.

So buying sparkly pet junk is fun and harmless, unless of course it helps drive you into the mire of debt that plagues most households. But here’s an idea and one that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside: as fun as frivolous pet products are, there are animals out there that do need and they need more than just love, commercially purchased or homemade. They need help. This Valentine’s Day consider giving to your local pet shelter, either financially, of your time, or by helping fill their wish list.

Shelters typically accept the following items, but call to determine the need of your local shelter:

~ Pet food, preferably premium brands (Nutro, Science Diet, Wysong, Eukanuba, ProPlan, Purina One, Special Diets)
~ Ceramic or Metal Food Bowls
~ Small Litter Boxes for cages
~ Large Litter Pans
~ Cat Litter
~ Used Towels for Cages
~ Scratching Posts
~ Cat Trees
~ Cat Nip
~ Cat Toys
~ Postage Stamps
~ Envelopes
~ Computer Paper
~ Printer Cartridges (call for needs)
~ Bleach
~ Paper Towels
~ Rubber gloves
~ Spray Bottles
~ Fuzzy commode seat covers for cage beds
~ Trash Bags
~ Digital Camera and volunteers to nicely capture and edit photos for the website
~ Gift Cards for Petsmart or PetCo, Office Depot, Office Max, Target, Home Depot or Lowes
~ Dog chew toys
~ Dog leashes
~ Dog treats
~ Volunteer dog walkers
~ Round fleece cat beds
~ Newspapers
~ Blankets
~ Cat Collars (quick release)
~ Dog collars-all sizes
~ Gift certificates for grooming
~ Chew Bones
~ Powdered kitten/puppy replacement milk
~ Large jars of peanut butter for dog treat toys
~ Animal shampoo
~ Animal carriers

Even if you are on a budget, this is a great way to dispose of your old towels and pillowcases and that hideous toilet cover set from your first apartment or that perfectly functional digicam that has been gathering dust since you upgraded.

And if you have kids, big or little, this is a fabulous opportunity to demonstrate what loving animals is really all about.


Cabinet Extreme Makeover

This afternoon I cleaned out a set of cupboards that held a metric assload of craft stuff for the kids which looked really bad. And by “bad” I mean it looked like what would happen if Hobby Lobby turned into a black hole and imploded on itself. Just like that. Total and complete disarray. And the next shelf up held all of my plastic Rubbermaid storage, also in fearful shape.
The thing is, we are cutting down on our plastic usage, not just the BPA-containing plastics which are not welcome in my house, but general plastic use where we reasonably can. For example, while I still store foods in plastic, like the kids’ preschool lunches, I try not to put hot foods in it or ever heat items in plastic, especially for the kids.

So I bought two lidded 18 piece sets of Pyrex sets a few weeks ago and needed somewhere to put all that glass. The craft stuff went out of the cabinet, the plastic got reduced by a third and moved up a shelf and the glassware went on the bottom shelf, for easy access. I am sure if I hid it away it wouldn’t get used as much as it should.

The craft items were banished to various points in the house, but it all ended up quite well organized. The whole process took the entire afternoon, which is pretty ridiculous. I guess that give you an idea of just how bad it was, huh?

Tomorrow I have teacher conferences midday and then I plan on hitting the nursery (no one’s in it right now) and de-cluttering it. Thanks to the generosity of friends with little girls and an eye for sales, I have enough baby girl clothes to clothe the Dionne Quintuplets, especially the early months. So the plan is to organize all of that and make it look presentable in case we decide to give Babybeast the boot from her present location in our room. As if an infant cares what their room looks like, right?

To tell you the truth, and this is no surprise to some, but I really don’t like housework. And I’m not very diligent at getting it done, especially with the three little “helpers” I have. Sure the babies get fed and bathed and the really nasty things get done (I have some standards, people!), but I’d much rather read than spot clean the carpet, put away the laundry, or scrub that mysterious sticky substance off the inside of the fridge. So there’s my confession. And if you gather nothing else from this entry, then take this in: don’t even think of driving by the house and dropping in without calling beforehand.

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Now with Tasty Mercury!

High Fructose Corn Syrup creeps me out. This is nothing new – once I became aware of it about four years ago, I started eliminating it from our family’s kitchen. It still sneaks in sometimes
when I forget to read labels, but for the most part we are HFCS-free

I wonder how much we consumed before I stopped buying products with it, though? Pounds and pounds of it, I am certain, since its use is pervasive. HFCS can be found in bread, sweetened drinks, granola bars, most sauces like barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup, cereal, crackers, canned soups, and yogurt. The list goes on – in fact it’s easier to list the things it’s not in.

The HFCS manufacturers, courtesy of promotional ads by the Corn Refiners Association, would like you to think that it’s harmless stuff, that it’s “made from corn,” that it “doesn’t have artificial ingredients” “has the same calories as sugar or honey” “is nutritionally the same as sugar”, and “is fine in moderation.” Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

For starters, here is a description of how it is made. Tasty, no?

Why not use real sugar, you ask? Because sugar tariffs and corn subsidies converge to make HFCS a bargain ingredient and table sugar (sucrose) much less attractive in terms of product profitability. It’s all about the bottom line – nothing more, nothing less.

HFCS is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and more.

And it is used in products primarily marketed to our children.

And so I turn on my computer today and see that HFCS has made the news again. Somewhat (ok, extremely) disturbingly, it appears that there are two basic grades of HFCS. The kind with mercury in it and the kind without. Presumably the kind with mercury is cheaper. Which do you think is used in foods marketed at young children and families such as Quaker, Hunt’s, Manwich, Hershey’s, Smucker’s, Kraft, Nutri-Grain, and Yoplait?

Yes, folks, if you have HFCS in your home, you have probably been noshing on mercury tainted foods. And so have your children.

For the full article, please click HERE.

Please contact the makers of foods that use HFCS (via the 1-800 number on the packaging) and tell them you do not intend to purchase their product until they cease using high fructose corn syrup. And then follow through with your promise not to purchase them – there are many products that are HFCS free, you just have to look for them. And today would be an excellent time to start.

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