Category Archives: Pets

Teaching Children Compassion


Welcome to Marianne, a new contributor to our blog!!!
Hello, I am a mom to an incredibly compassionate nine year old. I had my daughter at 44 years old. She is the love of my life!  I love to write, paint, and bake vegan treats. But my true love lies in animal rescue and teaching compassion for animals to children.

Compassion is not the same as sympathy, empathy or altruism, although each plays a part. The compassionate person feels the suffering of another and takes positive steps to alleviate that suffering.  During his talks, the Dalai Lama emphasizes how important it is for children to experience compassion from their parents or caregivers, from birth. 
True compassion is being highly attuned to your children’s needs and accepting them for the unique people they are.  From birth, compassion is something that can be taught and developed. And the earlier, the better!

Model Compassion:
 Show compassion towards your child and towards others. 
 From the start, every child needs to feel loved and secure in order to thrive. Their needs have to be respected, if we expect them to respect others.  Security comes from knowing that they can count on their parents or caregivers. It comes from knowing that they will be listened to, taken seriously and protected. We must love our children unconditionally and recognize them as the unique beings they are.

Children must also learn to be responsible for their own actions. However, parents and caregivers are very influential in determining how a child acts. Children watch carefully how their parents and other adults treat each other. By modeling compassion towards others, you are teaching them what you value.

This is also true with how we treat our pets and other animals. Your children have watched you closely from birth and are so attuned to your feelings, that they can look at your face and know instantly what you are feeling!  Never yell at your pets, call them names or hit them. Most people who have pets know this and love them and treat them as part of the family.   Your children will learn how to treat your family’s pets with compassion and love, if you model that behavior for them. Show them the correct way to speak to a pet, gently pet them and care for their needs. Show them by doing.

All animal lovers know how to treat a pet, most likely because they grew up in a loving home, with parents who modeled compassionate behavior towards animals. Teaching kindness and respect for animals is the first step in teaching children compassion.

My nine year old daughter with our dog, ChiChi and volunteering at the Bucks County S.P.C.A

Saturday Mornings

Oops50 has a new guest writer:  Noriko Bell!  I hope everyone will welcome her warmly!  Jane

nori detail studio

Noriko is a 57-year old living in Washington, DC with her partner, Dan, and two cats, Louie and Lulu. A creative product development manager for art museum retail, she enjoys dabbling in writing, gardening, cooking, violin, piano. To quote Noriko, she has “many inspirations and ambitions, but not much follow through!”  I would disagree, since she followed through on sending us her first post for the blog!! Here’s her post: 

I used to spend Saturday mornings running errands, doing chores. Then I realized that most stores are crowded with long lines on Saturdays, traffic is miserable, and why am I doing all this anyway?

I decided to switch gears and use Sunday for my errands. Saturday morning is a cherished time, recovering from the work week, having an extra cup of coffee and reading the paper from cover to cover, while my cats lounge about, happy to have a human at home. nori detail

Most of the time, I snuggle back in bed with coffee, laptop, phone and thoroughly enjoy catching up in a leisurely way. Our cats, Lulu and Louie gravitate to the bedroom on those mornings. Both sleep away the morning and I relish the calm coziness.  This time of year, the upstairs bedroom is the warmest room in the house, with sunlight pouring in through the south facing windows.

Louie Fat Cat
Louie Fat Cat

This is my refuge. I once made it into a self sufficient space with a small fridge, microwave, when I was a full time caregiver at home, and it was essential that I could maintain some separation and me time.

Sometimes I wonder if I have become a complete slack, my leisure time at home built around the command station of the bed. But then, I “think” like a cat, and with a big stretch, ease into a little nap.

Lulu Fat Cat
Lulu Fat Cat


The First Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, and New Chicks


Every summer I wait and wonder if my favorite morning glory will appear.

There are many of the deep purple “Grandpa Ott’s” and the pink “Carolina Morning” variety, as well as lots of white and light blue ones with blue stripes that start to bloom very early in the season. They are lovely, but by this time of the year I am pulling them out because they start to take over.

There is only one that truly makes my heart beat fast, and that one starts to open at the end of summer.  It’s called “Heavenly Blue”, for a reason.

Oh! "Heavenly Blue"!
Oh! “Heavenly Blue”!

I saw the first one by the chicken run the other day and it made me feel so happy…that shade of blue, its unreal!  Even if I am stressed and in a hurry or having a time keeping up with things, or missing something or someone, I have no choice but to stop and stare at “that blue” and fall into the moment.

When it was time for our “Sally” hens to be “harvested” a few weeks ago, I decided that I would be able to do something that I was not able to do with the previous 3 flocks we’ve had,  and that is, to eat them.

I can’t do the actual killing, and I can’t even be around the killing of them, but really, since I am a meat-eater I should be all right with eating them, right?  Some of my friends find that thought horrifying!  I also have friends who cannot stand having the bones in the meat they eat because it reminds them that they are eating what was once a living animal.  But really that is what eating meat is!  We couldn’t have loved our hens any more than we did; we fed them homemade organic kefir and organic feed and scratch, and since they had to die one day, I believe they would want us to eat them!

I went back and forth as to whether or not we should get another batch of chicks, because I feel like we’re getting older, and I know that I might have to clean out their house once, plus maybe I don’t want to get attached to another batch of hens.  In the end, I found myself calling McMurray Hatchery to place another order of “Black Star” hens.

Here is how they looked on July 21st when they arrived by post.

Then they started to get bigger and a few days ago I took a video of them coming out of their house.  I decided to name them “Shanti” instead of “Sally” (my mom’s name) since I think it is good to say the word “peace” as often as possible these days.

For the next 2-3 years, these hens will be part of our lives, and I’m OK with that idea.  Plus, I cannot wait until they start laying eggs because once you have had fresh eggs, it is not easy to eat any others.  Om Shanti!

The Best Hip and Joint Tablets for Dogs (and Cats)!

Bello and Me at the Ocean
Bello and Me at the Ocean

I didn’t want kids and I certainly didn’t want a puppy.  And while the kids never came, Bello did.

Sakshi felt strongly that we needed a dog when we bought our fixxer-upper back in 2002.  I don’t remember having any big discussion about it; I just said that I was busy with real estate and he would be busy fixing up the house for years with no time for a pet.

So when he called from the chestnut stand a week later saying that he found our dog, I wasn’t very happy.

Even when “our new puppy” lay sleeping next to me on the couch (with Sakshi placing him next to my back when I was sound asleep so that we could “bond”) I just couldn’t get really excited because all I could think about was how much work it would be to house train it, take it for walks every day, and make sure it was fed with fresh water twice a day.

After 11 years, it turns out that Bello is almost human, has a very big heart, has never once had an “accident” in the house, and lets me sleep in without making me get up to take him out.

He’s also been a blessing in that we both love to go on walks with him which makes me get some exercise, and you know they say that after 50 it is important!

Puppy Bello
Puppy Bello

We were both really sad this past spring when Bello hurt his back right knee so badly that the vet told us he would probably have to have surgery, and even then, it might not help.  Plus with the other leg compensating for the injured one, it was likely to be damaged too within a short period of time.  I cried and cried, but not in front of Bello, who also seemed so sad.

I was seriously thinking about having him put down, since I couldn’t bear knowing he would be in pain and not be able to walk.  Sakshi thought I was a monster with no heart, and said we could have that back leg amputated, which made me think he had lost his mind!

Since there were so many brands and types of hip and joint products in the pet stores, trying to find “the one that worked” was way too overwhelming, so we tried several that friends said were nothing short of a miracle for their dogs, but, Bello never got better.

Bello's First Experience of Snow
Bello’s First Experience of Snow

Then a friend, Adeha, told me about something that she said I should get before I put Bello down, and told me the story of how the company, EHP,  is small and still family-owned.

I thought this would be my last shot at trying to find something that worked, so I ordered the EHP tablets for dogs online (they have formulas for cats and for people, too).  They were cheaper than the ones that I had bought that didn’t work.

Within a week after taking the EHP tablets, Bello seemed to be completely back to normal.

So I’m sharing what I believe has saved him from a life of limping and pain.  He acts like he used to before, which is great because we would like to have a few more years together.

Here is the link, just click on it:

Happy Trails!


Bello Now: 11 years young!

Top 10 Reasons to Go to the Beach After Labor Day


1.  The crowds are gone, and if you’re over 50, you like having the beach to yourself (well, almost)

2.  House rentals are greatly reduced – thank you Edisto Realty

3.  The temperature is still hot (88 degrees at Edisto Beach, S.C.)

Edisto Beach House
Edisto Beach House

4.  The seafood is excellent and the local shrimp practically tastes like lobster

5.  In case of evacuation, easy to get out

6.  The sound of the waves is magnificent

7.  Dogs can be off leash 


Terra at the Beach
Terra at the Beach

8.  No waiting in line at Whaley’s – our favorite restaurant

 9.  All the tacky beach souvenirs are half price

10.  It’s just so much easier