Top 5 Tips for Adopting the Right Dog

walking the labradoodles

October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and Jenna Fernandes, CEO of, the “Open Table” of family and pet care services, knows how important dogs are in the family. As a parent to her two dogs—a Min Pin named Scooby and Great Dane named Casper— Jenna offers 5 tips for adopting the right dog for any family (or even adding a second one!):

1. Make Sure You are Really Ready: Adopting a pet is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s important to realize that adoption is a commitment to taking care of the dog you choose for their entire life – through sickness and health, chewed shoes and “accidents” on the carpet. Only after you’ve decided that you can commit to being a lifelong (for the pets lifespan) pet parent, then you should continue on your quest to find the perfect furry mate.

2. Stay Open-minded: Make sure that the type of dog you think you want and the type of dog you really need are the same. Many people think adopting a puppy is ideal, however adopting a puppy can be a lot more work than adopting an older pet. Stay open-minded about which breeds will make an ideal companion and take into consideration other traits such as temperament, energy level, and health. If allergies are a concern in your family, you should also consider adopting a dog that does not shed or a dog with shorter hair.

3. Do Your Research: Petfinder is a great place to start your search for a new pet—I recommend starting with a local search so you can visit the shelter in person to communicate with the shelter staff/volunteers about what you really want in a pet. Take several of your favorite dogs for a walk and see how they behave outside the cage, providing them crucial time to normalize so you can get a better idea of their personality beyond the initial “I’m so excited to be outside my cage!” moment.

4. Consider Fostering First: If you’re not sure what type of dog you’re looking for, fostering is a great option.  Not only does fostering pets save lives it’s also a great way to get to know a pet over a longer period of time than you would if you just visited the shelter. Many foster pets become “foster failures” after being adopted by the families who were originally only planning to provide them a temporary home.

5. Meet the Family: Before you adopt, make sure all the stakeholders in your life meet the pet you’re interested in making a permanent part of your family.  This includes any other animals in your family such as dogs or cats who will be living with this new addition. Understand that there will be an adjustment period when the dog first moves in. After this, it’s time to make the adoption official and be on your way to a happy life with your new furry family member.

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Divorced? 4 Valuable Life Lessons to Master Now

woman in fall

The aftermath of divorce can be a sense of self-discovery or internment in a self-made prison of depression and resentment. It’s all about our acceptance of what is and determination to use the divorce as a pathway to a new and better life. The good news: it’s all up to us. We can create an attitude of positive expectation or we can subjugate ourselves to months and years of self-pity and despair down the road. The bad news: it’s not always easy to change our attitude or perspective on life. But if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a happier future for yourself as well as your children.

Here are some vital steps to embracing your divorce as a catalyst to a brighter future.

Boost your self-esteem. One of the most damaging effects of divorce can be a toll on your self-esteem, especially if you were not the partner who initiated the breakup. Feeling rejected, abused or like a victim is understandable during and after divorce. However, that mindset can hold you back from using the divorce as a stepping-stone to a healthier new reality. It’s up to us to decide we’re going to create a better life for ourselves and our children by adopting a positive attitude about the possibilities ahead. That means being pro-active and not re-active in your decisions, looking for new friends and activities that are fulfilling, exploring new sides of our self that may have been dormant during the marriage, and developing a higher level of self-confidence. Your children will benefit from watching you re-discover who you are and learn from your approach to tackling life challenges as a positive role model.

Use divorce as a lesson in self-awareness. Ask yourself some crucial questions: What went wrong – and why? What part did I play in the break-up of my marriage? If I had responded earlier to red flags might I have changed the course of our marriage, reduced the hurt and pain, put us back on track or better protected myself and the children? These are hard questions to reflect upon. Find a therapist, coach or support group to guide you in finding answers and insights. Usually, if we knew better we’d have done better. So don’t focus on regrets. Find the lessons you can learn now – and move ahead with more confidence in creating a happier future.

Forgive yourself as well as your Ex. Forgiveness is the gift you give to yourself. It’s not for or about the other person. It releases you from the pain of staying bound up in the past. Blaming yourself or your former spouse serves no purpose in reinventing your life. It holds you back from enjoying today – as well as tomorrow. This is a huge step forward, but you may need professional assistance in letting go, moving on and understanding the value of forgiveness as a positive tool for self-empowerment. Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning the hurtful experiences in the past. It means you’re freeing yourself from letting it hurt you any more!

Re-explore your expectations about healthy relationships. Were you looking for the right partner when you married? Or can you now see that you accepted or settled for less than you deserved? Were you the one who had erroneous expectations about what a committed relationship was about? Do you have a better idea of the kind of person who would complement your interests, values and long-term goals? Successful relationships take skill in communicating, handling conflict, compromising and sharing space. It’s even more challenging when children are involved. Before moving back into the singles-dating arena, take time to learn about who you really are, what you can give and what you need in return to have a fulfilling intimate relationship. Take your time. Get the professional help you may need. Do it right this time. Your future is depending on it. And your children will thank you as well!

rosalind-sedacca-cctRosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right, plus Rosalind’s free ezine and other resources for parents, visit © Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.

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5 Easy Ideas for Planning a Classroom Halloween Party

halloween donuts

Halloween lands on Friday this  year and many moms are scrambling to come up with creative, easy ideas for their child’s classroom Halloween party.  Not all schools allow “official” Halloween parties, but many teachers appreciate a cute snack and a little game on this fun holiday. Kids from Kindergarten to 5th graders will love these […]

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How to Save On Halloween Costumes, Candy and Fun


Halloween is now reported to be the 2nd most expensive holiday of the year! Even though we don’t exchange expensive gifts on Halloween, it is easy to rack up big bills on costumes and candy. The good news is that there are many easy ways to save money on Halloween expenses without compromising on the […]

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The Teal Pumpkin Project for an Allergy-Friendly Halloween

Teal pumpkin

image via Brave Girl’s Club. For 1 in 13 kids in the U.S. who have food allergies, Halloween isn’t the carefree, candy-laden free-for-all that most kids eagerly await. That’s because many traditional treats have the potential to cause an allergic reaction – which can be life-threatening – for children managing allergies to nuts, milk, wheat, […]

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Dogs and Our Health: The Benefits of our Furry Friends

yellow lab

For thousands of years, dogs have been domesticated and bred to have qualities humans deemed suitable–a literal transformation from wild animal to man’s best friend. They are our companions, friends, family, and service dogs. That feeling we get when we see our furry friend jump with joy, give us a kiss (and accidentally hit us […]

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Trick or Treating Safety


“Trick or Treat!” Your children are counting the days until they can walk around the neighborhood hunting for candy! With the big night approaching, some kids are probably thinking that they’re too cool to walk around with their parents and want to venture out alone with their friends. That is not a problem as long […]

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Coping With Things That Go Bump in the Night


Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC & Dr. Kara Beair-Butler, DO Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust As a parent, are you afraid of the dark? Things that go bump in the night for your child can leave you stressed, strained and exhausted before your day ever begins. You may not […]

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The Perfect Pumpkin for Cooking or Carving


Pumpkins are to Fall as Santa Claus is to Christmas. Pumpkin production, a whopping 1.5 billion pounds, reaches its peak in October as Americans prepare to celebrate Halloween. As pumpkins have become ingrained into our Halloween and Thanksgiving cultures, the number of creative ways to use and enjoy them has increased. Grow Pumpkins: A seasonal, […]

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Tips & Tricks for Cold and Flu Season

cold kit

The leaves are falling, the air is chilly and the season has changed. That can only mean one thing… cold and flu season is here! Instead of just waiting for the initial sickness to affect your kiddos, start preventing sicknesses! Here are a few tips to save you and your kids the headache (no pun […]

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Dating After Divorce: Be Careful About How You Tell Your Kids!

Two boys

We all know divorce creates havoc in any family’s life, especially when children are involved. Moving on after divorce can also be challenging. It’s a time to be very gentle, both with yourself as well as with your children. Chances are, you made a considerable emotional investment in your marriage. Having seen that relationship fail […]

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mom and baby

September is Baby Safety Month and is also an especially busy time for parents if toddlers and older children head back to school or daycare. Therefore, now is a good time to do a thorough walk through the home to ensure all rooms are baby-proofed and child-friendly so parents and caregivers can feel more at […]

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Merging Families: Keeping It Simple

black couple

With a background as an engineer in Corporate America, my job required that I solve complex problems. One tool that I used to fulfill my responsibilities was facilitating group meetings. As the team facilitator, I managed teams through the stages of development, resolved personal conflicts and/or hindrances to progress and expedited the team to achieve […]

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Benefits of Family Councils

Christie Monson

Family Councils, either formal or informal, are a great way to keep communication in families open. They are also a good way to solve problems. The following situation could have turned into a crisis, but because this mom and her kids had been talking to each other often and in an open and honest way, […]

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Raising Children with Pets

cute puppy

Raising children with pets is beneficial to your child as it teaches responsibility in caring for the needs of a living creature. Having pets also plays a part in teaching children about compassion, empathy, and kindness while simultaneously teaching them to respect animals and nature. Whether you are an expectant parent or a parent of […]

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His Number One Girl

Valerie Coleman

The family had just finished Sunday dinner. I clanked dishes in the soapy water, while everyone else sat around the fireplace enjoying reruns of The Cosby Show. Ten minutes later, I joined the group in the family room. “Daddy, aren’t I your number one girl?” The hairs on my neck stood at attention. Our blended […]

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Praising Your Child for Good Grades


It’s no secret that children thrive on praise. It is an immediate boost to self-confidence and praise is a great motivator. The highest reward for good grades is praise. When a child does well in school praise is a way of encouraging them to “keep up the great work” and it helps assure them that […]

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5 Ways to Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Your Children

girl on beach

Communication with our children is always important, but never as essential as when they are impacted by separation or divorce. Children are vulnerable and easily frightened by changes in their routines. The more you talk to and comfort them, the less stress and anxiety they’ll experience. This is the time to reassure your children that […]

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