Walk Your Dog Month: 5 Benefits of Walking Your Dog



January 9, 2023
January is designated as Walk Your Dog Month! Did you know there are many benefits to walking your dog—not just for your pup, but for dog owners too!?

Physical Health and Conditioning
Regular walks are a great way for both you and your dog to stay in shape and help with overall health. Healthier pets mean fewer trips to the “dogtor”! For your pup, walking helps maintain a healthy weight, get better sleep, keep joints healthy, and can even help regulate their digestive system. For humans, research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of serious illness.

Mental Health
Walks provide the mental stimulation your dog needs and not only exercise the body, but exercise the mind too! Your dog will be wagging their tail over all the exciting things they see during their walks—from wildlife, other dogs, sniffing everything their hearts desire, and, of course, all the people who will pass them by while telling them how cute they are.

Builds Trust and Confidence
Setting a regular walking routine will help build your dog’s trust. Knowing they have their daily walk with you is reassuring and will reduce any potential stress. As you and your dog explore and experience different situations during your walk, your pup will gain confidence knowing that you are by their side for support.

Reduces Destructive Behavior
Destructive behavior is often a sign that your dog has pent-up energy. When not stimulated enough, dogs are more likely to chew on items that are not toys or bark more. Walks are a healthy way to reduce this behavior and help them release any excess energy.

It’s likely that you’ll run into other dog owners and dog lovers on your walks. This is a wonderful opportunity to socialize your dog and have leashed introductions. Your dog can meet other people and pups safely and provides them with an opportunity for them to learn proper social skills.

With the many benefits of daily walks, we encourage you to take a new leash on life this month and dedicate extra time to walking your furry best friend.

For any questions or to schedule an appointment, call us at (609) 298-3888.


So you want to be a furniture maker?

So you want to be a furniture maker?

1 Comment

I frequently get emails from people who are interested in becoming a furniture maker or have recently started a furniture making business and are wondering if I would be willing to give them some advice. Usually they ask a very broad question along the lines of “What do I need to know to become a successful a furniture maker?”

My first thought is always a joke my father used to tell.

Question: How do you end up with a million dollars in the dairy farming business?

Answer: Start out with 2 million dollars.

Furniture making is tough way to make a living. The start up costs are high (tools, shop space, materials) and there is a lot of very good competition (see for some of the competition in Vermont alone) and a lot of very cheap competition (China, Indonesia, etc.).

When someone dreams of becoming a furniture maker they are probably dreaming of working in their own shop making their own furniture designs out of beautiful lumber with all the tools they need. Certainly there is that aspect to it (which is very satisfying) but there are a lot of other aspects that are often overlooked.

I think the most important skill needed to become a successful furniture maker is the ability to sell your furniture. After all, if you can’t sell it you’ll very quickly run out money and have to get a “real job”. Don’t think that just because you’re making really nice furniture it will sell itself. When you’ve finished that really nice dining table it will just be a really nice dining table sitting on the floor of your shop. It will not sell itself.

There are many approaches to selling your furniture. Many furniture makers get started by making pieces for family and friends and letting word of mouth sell their furniture. This is certainly the least expensive method but can take quite a while to build up.

You can sell through galleries. If you can find a gallery that will display your furniture and they manage to eventually sell it the gallery will typically take at least 40% of the sale price as their commission. That adds a lot to the cost of your furniture. A piece that you need to get $1000 for will need to be priced at $1700.

If your shop is in a good location you may be able to get enough traffic to be able to sell through your own showroom at the shop. Usually if this is the case then shop rent will be much higher than it would be in a less desirable location.

Since the advent of the internet most furniture makers now have a website that they use to help sell their furniture. This can be extremely effective but building a good website takes a lot of time and knowledge if you do it yourself and can get very expensive if you hire someone to do it for you.

There is also newspaper and magazine advertising, direct mailing of postcards and catalogs, radio advertising and craft shows.

None of these approaches is a silver bullet that will solve your marketing problems so that you can forget about it and just make furniture. Selling is a fact of life if you’re a furniture maker. And in addition to selling you’ll need to learn about taking photos of your work (or pay to have them taken), accounting, doing drawings (most drawing is done with CAD these days), writing effective copy for ads, websites, brochures etc.. The number of different skills that a successful furniture maker needs is almost limitless but, for me, that is what keeps things interesting. There is always something new to learn.


Furniture Designer

Furniture designers produce designs for furniture such as tables, chairs, bookcases and cabinets. Working to the needs of clients or manufacturers, they may design individual handcrafted pieces or design for mass production.

The Work

You could be:

  • planning the design and selecting suitable materials including wood, metal, plastic or textiles
  • researching market trends and new techniques, as well as period styles such as Mackintosh
  • producing designs and technical drawings using computer-aided design (CAD) packages (such as AutoCAD and TurboCAD), sketches or models
  • discussing designs with individual clients and manufacturers
  • using tools to make a prototype model
  • testing how well the model stands up to wear and tear and then solving any problems
  • incorporating mechanical parts of some items into the design, such as levers in adjustable office chairs
  • taking into account issues such as cost, market trends, demand, materials and manufacturing methods and techniques and safety
  • liaising with individual craftsmen, or with various departments of the company: marketing, production, supply and sales, regarding the process of construction or manufacture
  • attending seminars and workshops on areas of furniture design and manufacturing.



Pay rates vary, depending on:

  • where you work
  • the size of company or organisation you work for
  • the demand for the job.


Starting salaries for qualified furniture designers in the UK tend to be in the range £18,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience this can increase to around £30,000 and senior designers may earn up to £40,000 a year or more. Some furniture designers work freelance. They charge a fee which varies depending on the job.



  • You might work for a large manufacturing company, a small family business or a design company doing work for several manufacturing firms.
  • You would be based in a design studio or a workshop.
  • You might work on your own or in a team while designing.
  • You may have to travel to visit factories, meet clients or attend trade shows.
  • The hours can be long at times, including some evenings and weekends, to meet deadlines.
  • In workshops, conditions might be dusty when wood is being shaped.

Workforce Employment Status


Getting In

  • You usually need a degree (SCQF Level 9) in 3D design or product design with an option in furniture design. For entry to most courses you need 4 Highers including English and Art and Design or Design and Manufacture.
  • You might be able to get a job with an HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in furniture design. For entry you normally need 1-2 Highers or a relevant NC or NQ (SCQF Levels 4-5)
  • You could start by taking an NC or NQ. Entry requirements vary from no formal entry requirements to 4 subjects at National 4 including English, Art and Design and a technological subject. You might then progress to a more advanced course.
  • You need a very good portfolio of designs to get into college or university.
  • If you are very talented and have an extremely good portfolio, you might get into college or university without the necessary Highers.
  • Some entrants have previous experience in a trade such as carpentry.


For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS.

Entry can be very competitive. Most jobs are in large factories, designing furniture for the mass market, but there is also work with design consultancies, working with for example, interior designers and architects. There are also opportunities in retail and sometimes with smaller bespoke design companies. Some designers are self-employed and take a considerable time to establish themselves.

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

  • artistic, creative and imaginative
  • practical, accurate and good with your hands
  • flexible and adaptable as you may have to alter designs to suit the budget or the client
  • able to accept criticism of your work
  • self-motivated
  • able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
  • willing to keep up to date with new trends and materials.

You need to have:

  • a good eye for 3D design, colour and detail
  • good communication skills
  • good IT skills and an understanding of CAD
  • confidence, to explain and sell designs to clients
  • teamworking skills
  • business and marketing skills if self-employed.


  • You would develop your skills and gain experience on the job.
  • You will be expected to learn CAD skills and other relevant software or technology.
  • You may be able to attend further courses and conferences on relevant topics. The Design Business Association (DBA) runs courses for designers.
  • You will need to keep up to date with design trend developments, technology and materials and equipment.

Getting On

  • Joining a professional body such as the Chartered Society of Designers can be useful.
  • In a large manufacturing or design firm, you could become a senior furniture designer.
  • In time, you might move into a supervisory or management job.
  • With experience you might work on a freelance basis, designing for other manufacturers or designing and making your own furniture.
  • You might specialise in designing particular types of furniture.
  • You will need to develop your portfolio and skills throughout your career.
  • You might move into other fields, such as teaching or lecturing.

More Information

  • Freelance furniture designers can find it difficult to build a good reputation and get enough work.
  • You must be persistent in taking your portfolio and samples of work to exhibitions and to potential clients. You also need to network and maintain a good contact base.


For more information on creative careers see Discover Creative Careers Finder


Can Yoga Help Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Can Yoga Help Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles?

Yoga offers tremendous physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages and abilities. Not only can it decrease stress, support healing, and improve flexibility, it can also strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Yoga can improve mobility to the muscles in and around the pelvic floor and improve these muscles’ overall strength and coordination. Whether you are interested in preventing the issues that come from a weak pelvic floor or are suffering from pelvic pain, yoga could be the right exercise for you.

The Importance of Strengthening Pelvic Floor Muscles

Pelvic floor muscles aren’t always top of mind when it comes to strengthening and maintaining the body, and they often fall into the camp of “out of sight, out of mind” for many women. However, it is just as essential to care for this part of the body as it is for any other group of muscles.

The pelvic floor plays an integral role in women’s health. It serves as the base of the core and works with the deep abdominal, diaphragm, and back muscles to support the spine. Pelvic floor muscles help to control the pressure inside the abdomen when the body lifts or strains.

Additionally, pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus in women, and they play a critical role in women’s sexual health and functions.

Benefits of a strong pelvic floor include:

  • Improved control over the bladder and bowels
  • Reduced risk of prolapse
  • Reduced risk of incontinence
  • Improved recovery from childbirth or gynecological surgery
  • Increased sexual sensation

Causes and Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

However, there are many causes of pelvic pain, and it’s not always possible to prevent the vast array of conditions that can cause pain or discomfort in the pelvic region.

Some common conditions that lead to pelvic floor pain include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
  • Fibroids
  • Cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

Pregnancy, childbirth, and surgery are also common causes of pelvic floor disorders. If the pelvic floor becomes weak or damaged, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Feeling heaviness or fullness in the vagina
  • Pain or discomfort in the vagina
  • Constipation
  • Stool leakage
  • Pain while urination
  • Feeling a frequent need to urinate

At Advanced Gynecology, we treat many patients suffering from pelvic floor pain and dysfunction symptoms. A common question we hear is, “What can I do to strengthen my pelvic floor?” Fortunately, there are many ways to address pelvic pain, and the integration of regular yoga may be part of your overall treatment plan.

Benefits of Yoga for Pelvic Floor Muscles

Many people are aware of the benefits of yoga for the mind and body. Increased flexibility, weight loss, improved cardio and circulatory health, and boosted energy are just a few of the benefits yogis enjoy.

On top of these benefits, yoga can also help women who are interested in strengthening their pelvic floors. Yoga can help strengthen and stabilize the pelvic floor muscles, reduce pelvic floor pain, and even help women gain control over their urinary functions.

Strengthening the pelvic floor with yoga can also lead to:

  • Reduced risk of pelvic organ prolapse
  • Improved recovery from childbirth
  • Improved recovery from gynecological surgery
  • Increased sexual sensation

Integrating yoga into your routine can lead to many benefits for not only your mental and physical health but also your pelvic floor as well.

Pelvic Floor Yoga Poses To Try

Speak with your doctor before engaging in challenging yoga poses or poses you’re unsure of how to do. While yoga can be a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, the last thing you want to do is exacerbate the pain! Improper form and overdoing it can both lead to more harm than good when it comes to your health.

There are plenty of gentle and low-intensity yoga poses that could help you strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce pain and discomfort in the pelvic region. Some focus on building strength, while others reduce tension in your muscles. The overall goal is to manage any pelvic floor pain you’re experiencing while also improving pelvic functions.

Your doctor may recommend the following poses:

  • Half-happy baby pose
  • Reclining big toe pose
  • Supported bridge pose
  • Lay on your back and elevate your legs on a chair
  • Dynamic tabletop
  • Downward facing dog
  • Wide-legged standing bend
  • Warrior pose
  • Lay on your back with your legs up against a wall

Many of these poses may require the use of a block, chair, pillow, or blanket and can be done from the comfort of your own home. When you consult with your doctor, they’ll be able to provide resources for yoga poses that address your specific needs.

Yoga requires insight into your body that only you have access to. If a specific pose or flow feels like too much, it’s okay to scale back as needed. Your doctor may advise that you begin with simple poses to improve your flexibility and body awareness. As you progress, you may be able to move into more advanced poses to help with your pelvic floor pain.

How Advanced Gynecology Can Help with Pelvic Pain

If you’ve been suffering from pelvic floor pain or discomfort, turn to Advanced Gynecology for help.

Our board-certified team of women’s health experts is ready to help you with diagnostic care and a range of options from pain management solutions, which may include yoga, to surgical procedures or minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures. We will gladly counsel you about the best options for you and will tailor your treatment plan to your health needs.

For more information, schedule an appointment today or call 678-201-1283 to speak with one of our patient coordinators. We look forward to assisting you!


How to Build Your Own House

How to Build Your Own House: A Step-by-Step Guide

Homes come in all varieties to fit all needs. Due to the broad choice of existing housing stock, plus the high cost of building a new-construction home, most would-be homeowners buy existing houses. And this is not a bad choice at all. Most houses are durable enough to last for decades, can readily be remodeled, and they have the potential for increasing in value.

Yet building your own home (meaning to hire a general contractor to complete a new-construction home) has an undeniable allure. A new house can be designed exactly for your needs. It comes with few, if any, hidden problems. Hazardous materials such as lead-based paint and asbestos are non-existent. New advantages are built into the house, and old problems are left out. So, it’s no surprise that most people would choose to build their own home rather than buy an old home if all other factors were the same.

Best Custom Home Builders

Should You Act as Your Own Contractor?

When you decide to build your own home, it is generally best to do so through a licensed general contractor.

Many states do allow homeowners to act as a contractor for their own home. With this arrangement, you become what is frequently termed an owner-builder. In order to contract out for a large-scale project such as a house (rather than an outbuilding or small, lower-cost building), you need to apply for an owner-builder exemption and to sign the building permit application yourself.

Yet very few people are qualified to act as their own general contractor (GC). Building a house requires you to pull together many strings and make sure that they coordinate in a myriad of ways. Projects and subcontractors have to be scheduled in the correct order, interspersed with numerous municipal inspections. You’ll need to know the building code. Plus, it helps immensely to have a network of subcontractors who you rely on to perform trustworthy work.

The person that does all of that is a general contractor. No general contractor overseeing home construction comes cheap. Most general contractors charge between 10-percent to 20-percent of the overall cost of the home build, and this includes permits and materials. It’s a fee that most amateur home-builders find well worthwhile, especially if they have any tried-and-failed experience at general contracting.



  • Save enormous costs by reducing overall cost by 10 to 20 percent
  • More control of timing, especially if the build is a slow, open-ended project


  • Lose out on the GC’s network of subs
  • No personal experience with permitting office
  • Do not receive wholesale discounts
  • Little know-how of coordinating the steps


Save Money With Sweat Equity

If you are intent on pitching in and helping contractors as you build your own house, there is one way to do it: sweat equity in the form of smaller, individual projects.

Late-stage, post-contract projects can be done by the homeowner rather than by the contractor. These late-stage projects are better for do-it-yourself work because you do not risk slowing down the house building project:

  • Building patios and walkways
  • Planting trees, shrubs, and grass
  • Painting the house exterior
  • Painting the house interior
  • Installing window treatments
  • Installing carpeting
  • Finishing the basement

9 Quick Tips for Hiring and Working with Contractors

Prepare the Home Site

First, it’s time to get situated—literally and figuratively. Not only are you getting your project straight in your mind and on paper, but you are siting your intended home on its intended spot.

  • Clear the building site of brush and other debris, down to ground level and at least 25 feet around the planned house perimeter.
  • A land surveyor stakes out the lot, based on original plot drawings that indicate the property boundaries.
  • Make alterations to the site’s topography if necessary to alter the water flow across the site: This often requires a contractor with earth-moving equipment.
  • Order a dumpster to handle refuse during the building project.
  • Order one or more portable toilets for the workers.
  • Order temporary utilities from the power company.
  • Hire an electrician to hook up a temporary electrical panel, which is usually mounted on an existing utility pole.

Pour Concrete Footings and Foundation

The building site takes shape with the excavation and installation of foundations and slabs. This work is done by excavation contractors and foundation specialists—an entirely different group of contractors than the carpentry crews that will soon be on-site.

Footings and foundation comprise a large part of your entire house building cost. This means that large payment draws happen soon after the project begins.

Important to Know

Payments to the general contractor happen according to a draw schedule, which the client and contractor agree on in advance. The number and amount of payments vary by the size of the project. While payments do not always correspond to a subcontractors’ work, they often correspond when a major step is involved, such as the foundation, framing, or roofing.


  1. The contractor digs trenches that are deep enough for frost footings. Foundations need to rest below your area’s expected frost line to prevent frost-heave, which can damage your home.
  2. Inspectors arrive to check the dimensions of footing trenches.
  3. The contractor pours concrete for footings.
  4. Footing drains are constructed, and these are designed to drain water away from the footers and to protect them.
  5. The contractor builds vertical foundation walls resting on the footings, using either poured concrete or concrete cinder blocks. Other types of foundations are sometimes used, though they are rare.
  6. The foundation is waterproofed all the way up to the finished grade level. Holes are created in the foundation wall to allow for the routing of water supply and drain lines.

Install Plumbing and Electrical

If you are laying a slab-type foundation, you will bring in plumbers and electricians to rough-in ​some of the services prior to pouring that concrete slab:

  • Pipes are laid by plumbers, and these pipes are later covered up.
  • If electrical lines will run through the concrete slab via metal conduits, now is the time for these conduits to be run.

Pour the Concrete Slab

  1. For a house slab, the contractor will first install slab foam board insulation.
  2. A 4-inch minimum gravel base goes over the foam board, forming the base for the concrete.
  3. A plastic vapor barrier comes next.
  4. Wire mesh reinforcement is next laid down and positioned, so it is raised slightly above grade. This will allow the reinforcement to sit in the middle of the concrete layer, where it will offer the most strength reinforcement.
  5. The contractor now pours the concrete slab, likely from ready-mix trucks that deliver a large quantity of concrete.
  6. If you are building a garage or basement, this is also the time to pour concrete in those places. It is expensive to bring the concrete contractor back for another pour, so it is beneficial to do all of your concrete work at once.

Frame, Side, and Roof the House

With the excavation, foundation, and concrete work done, soon you will start to recognize your project as a house. The framing carpenters will arrive to put up the lumber framework for the floors, walls, and ceilings, and then move to the sheathing, siding, and roofing installation. This work can happen with remarkable swiftness. In the space of a week or two, you may suddenly recognize this structure as being a house, complete with walls and a roof.

  1. Work up a framing order of needed lumber, nails, builder’s felt or house wrap, and adhesives, based on your building plans.
  2. When good weather arrives, the carpenter crew arrives to frame the house walls, including the floor, ceiling, and roof skeleton: Framing is the basic shell of the house, minus siding and roof surface. The rough openings for windows, doors, and skylights will be framed at this time. The basic sheathing of the wall and roof surfaces concludes this stage.
  3. Install the windows, doors, and skylights: Usually, this will be done by the same carpentry crew that did the framing, though sometimes a manufacturer’s crew will come in to do this work. It is also a job some homeowners can tackle. At this point, when the building is sheathed, and doors and windows are installed, the subcontractors doing the electrical and plumbing work may now arrive to begin the rough-in portion of their job.
  4. The finished siding surface is now installed over the sheathing after the house sheathing is first wrapped with some form of weather guard membrane: Again, this work is often done by the same contractor who did the framing and sheathing.
  5. Finally, the roofers come in to complete the application of roof flashings and the shingles or other finished roof surfaces: The basic shell of the house is now completed.

Install Electrical, Plumbing, and Insulation

Now the interior work on your house begins with the arrival of masons, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists.

  1. Masons build the chimney if your home is designed to have one. This generally involves the application of brick or stone veneer over a base of concrete block that was laid by the foundation contractor.
  2. Electricians and plumbers do the rough-in work for electrical circuits, plumbing pipes, and HVAC system ductwork. This work is easier without the wall, flooring, and ceiling surfaces in place. After completion, these contractors will return after the walls and ceilings are in place, to complete the final connections of various fixtures.
  3. Inspections are made of rough-ins. Arranging for permits and inspections are handled by the contractor. If you are tackling this work yourself, the responsibility for inspections falls on you.
  4. Install the insulation in the walls and attic. This is sometimes done by the carpentry crew but usually by a specialty insulation contractor.


Hang Drywall and Install Trim

The interior will begin to look finished as wall and ceiling surfaces are installed.

  1. Drywall is hung throughout the house: All of the wall and ceiling surfaces are usually hung before any further work continues.
  2. The drywall seams are taped, mudded with joint compound, and finish sanded.
  3. All interior walls and ceilings are primed: This is often done with spraying equipment and happens very quickly, as there is no need to worry about trim moldings and floor surfaces.
  4. All trim moldings are installed, including door and window casings and crown moldings.
  5. All cabinetry is hung in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas.

Paint the Walls and Perform Finish Work

After the messy work of installing the drywall and priming the walls is done, it is time to bring in the painter.

  1. Walls are painted and ceilings are either painted or finished with texture. These are jobs that homeowners can tackle themselves to save money. But for homeowners accustomed only to painting a room or two, keep in mind that painting an entire house is an enormous task.
  2. The kitchen and bathroom countertops are installed. This job is done by countertop specialists who both fabricate and install the countertops.
  3. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets are installed. Specialty companies supply and install kitchen and bath cabinets.
  4. Installation and hook-up of finished electrical and plumbing fixtures are done: Due to the fact that there are code issues involved here, only the most skilled do-it-yourselfers should tackle this.

Install the Flooring

Lay down the finish flooring (or floor covering) surfaces throughout the house. Floor covering options include carpeting, hardwood, laminate flooring, ceramic tile, luxury vinyl plank, and engineered wood flooring. This is usually a job for yet another subcontractor, though homeowners can tackle the installation of some sections of the flooring.

Clean up the worksite by putting all acceptable debris into the dumpster. The contractor will hire a company that specializes in cleaning up after construction work.

Final Home-Building Matters

Complete exterior landscaping. To save money, this can be a do-it-yourself project. Or you can hire a landscaping company to design and install the landscape for you.

  1. Remove the dumpster: Call the disposal company to pick up the dumpster and specify that you do not need a replacement.
  2. Arrange for final inspections by the permitting agencies.
  3. Schedule a final walk-through if you are using a general contractor.
  4. Arrange a final inspection by your lender, if you financed the building of your house with a construction loan.

What are the advantages of building a new home?

Simply put, everything about it is brand new! A new home will have the most up-to-date technology and energy efficiency, plus you can design it the way you want it, from the layout, picking the colors, flooring, and more.

What are the disadvantages of building a new home?

Building takes time, so you won’t be able to move in right away, and it could potentially take longer to build than projected. There might be some unexpected additional costs that crop up also.

How can you save money when building your home?

If you’re handy around the house, you can save money by taking on some of the smaller projects yourself. Once the house is built, step in and do the landscaping, and build the patios and walkways. You can also paint the inside and outside of the house, and lay the flooring.


Pets, Pets Everywhere: The World’s Most Popular Pets

A dog and cat with all sorts of exotic animals around itChoosing a family pet is an important life decision, one that will affect not only the quality of your daily life, but the health and welfare of the pet you’re considering to bring into your home. There are so many factors to consider when deciding which type of pet is right for you; space, cost, activity level, and time commitment, to name a few.

By taking a look at some of the most popular pets in the U.S. and world at large, we might get a better idea of which types of animals people enjoy living with, and why.


Pet Ownership Around the World

Pets are a big part of life in many parts of the world, and a growing economy often means a growing pet population. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in North America and abroad:

  • Asia – Although some Asian countries are densely populated, there aren’t as many households with pets as in other parts of the world. China ranks as one of lowest pet populations (11 million cats and 26.8 million dogs), while Japan has more pets per capita (9.8 million cats and 13.1 million dogs).
  • Africa – Many African countries haven’t been properly surveyed, so it’s difficult to tell just how many Africans own pets. Ethiopia has an estimated dog population of 5 million, and just 250,000 cats. South Africans also prefer pet dogs (7.4 million) over cats (2 million).
  • Aust ralia – Due to heavy restrictions and regulations regarding pets, Australia’s pet ownership is lower than in other places (only 3.5 million dogs and 2.4 million cats).
  • Europe – The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) performed the largest pet ownership survey so far in Europe (2008), and it found that there are an estimated 6.7 million pet dogs and 9.8 million pet cats.
  • South America – Argentina has the highest pet ownership rates in South America: a whopping 80% of the residents polled reported in as pet owners. Brazil comes in at a close second with 75%.

Most Popular Pets in the U.S.

Studies show that the U.S. ranks fifth in the world for pet ownership. In a recent survey performed by the American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in the United States is at an all-time high, with dogs and cats reigning as the most popular pets.

According to the 2007 National Pet Owners Survey, pet preferences in America are as follows:

  • 142 million freshwater fish
  • 3 million cats
  • 8 million dogs
  • 3 million small animals
  • 16 million birds
  • 8 million horses
  • 4 million reptiles
  • 6 million saltwater fish

And the Worldwide Winner Goes To…

Our tried and true best friend, the dog! Pet dogs don’t beat out cats, fish, or birds in sheer numbers, but more households have at least one dog in them than any other pet, making dogs the most popular pet in the world. Recent surveys show cats are a close second, followed by fish (12%), birds (6%), and other pet types (6%).

All pets, regardless of species, need to visit the veterinarian for a wellness checkup at least once per year. This important visit ensures that they are staying healthy, receiving necessary vaccines and parasite preventives, and gives pet owners the opportunity to discuss their pet’s ongoing needs and other concerns.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center for your pet’s next check-up or other care services. We look forward to seeing you!


International Human Rights Law

The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. Drafted as ‘a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations’, the Declaration for the first time in human history spell out basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy. It has over time been widely accepted as the fundamental norms of human rights that everyone should respect and protect. The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, form the so – called International Bill of Human Rights.


A series of international human rights treaties and other instruments adopted since 1945 have conferred legal form on inherent human rights and developed the body of international human rights. Other instruments have been adopted at the regional level reflecting the particular human rights concerns of the region and providing for specific mechanisms of protection. Most States have also adopted constitutions and other laws which formally protect basic human rights. While international treaties and customary law form the backbone of international human rights law other instruments, such as declarations, guidelines and principles adopted at the international level contribute to its understanding, implementation and development. Respect for human rights requires the establishment of the rule of law at the national and international levels.


International human rights law lays down obligations which States are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.


Through ratification of international human rights treaties, Governments undertake to put into place domestic measures and legislation compatible with their treaty obligations and duties. Where domestic legal proceedings fail to address human rights abuses, mechanisms and procedures for individual complaints or communications are available at the regional and international levels to help ensure that international human rights standards are indeed respected, implemented, and enforced at the local level.





When your workout has a “why” behind it, it can be all the motivation that you need to push yourself to complete it. In CrossFit, the notoriously intense Murph workout has a “why” behind it that has encouraged tens of thousands of people to push themselves to the limit each Memorial Day.

This workout honoring fallen Navy hero Lt. Michael Murphy will challenge your physical and mental strength and endurance like it’s never been tested before. To successfully complete your first Murph, use these tips to help you prepare.

If you are in the military and want a discount on select NASM products, check out the military discount page for trainers.


The Murph workout is known as a Hero WOD (workout of the day) in the CrossFit community. This workout honors the life of Lieutenant Michael Murphy- a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 while on active duty. The workout was created to honor not only his life, but also all of those who have lost their lives in active service. It is now considered the Memorial Day workout of the day- performed within and even outside of the CrossFit community.

Here’s the Murph workout:

  • 1 Mile run
  • 100 Pull-ups
  • 200 Push-ups
  • 300 Squats
  • 1 Mile run
  • Performed wearing a weighted vest: 14 pounds for women, 20 pounds for men.

The run is completed first in its entirety, and then you have the option to partition, or break up, the reps of the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, or you can complete each section before moving on to the next, finishing with the 1-mile run. No matter how you break it down, it’s a tough workout!


Now that you know what the Murph entails, the first thing that you want to do is to make sure you can do each of the movements well. The OPT Model is set up to help anyone, beginner or advanced, work toward this physical challenge while also minimizing the risk of injury. Plus, a certified trainer can conduct a series of assessments to help you customize your training by helping you correct any faulty movement patterns.

Recommended Phases of Training to Prepare for Your First Murph:

Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance

  • Goal: Develop proper movement patterns and improve mobility and stability of the entire kinetic chain.
  • Acute Variables: 15-20 reps, 1-3 sets, slow tempo.
  • Length of time in Phase: 4-6 weeks.

Phase 1 Exercise Variations:


See how to do a pull-up:

You can modify this move by:

  • Adding a resistance band.
  • Jumping up to bar height using a box, and then slowly lowering down (doing negatives).
  • Starting with a Suspension trainer row.


See how to do a push-up:

You can modify this move by:

  • Using an elevated surface to place your hands, like a countertop, bench, or racked barbell at the height that allows you to perform the move with good form and proper tempo.


See how to do a squat:

*This video is a prisoner squat with the arms behind the head. For a regular squat, let the arms hang down to your sides, or keep them bent in an athletic position.

You can modify this move by:

  • Performing a ball wall squat (with a ball behind your back, against a wall).
  • Holding onto a suspension trainer, facing the anchor.


Phase 2: Strength Endurance

  • Goal: Increased stabilization endurance, hypertrophy, and strength.
  • Acute Variables: 8-12 reps, 2-4 sets, medium tempo for strength exercise, slow tempo for stabilization exercise.
  • Length of time in Phase: 4-6 weeks.

Phase 2 Strength Exercises:

*Use supersets in this workout by pairing one of the strength exercises below followed immediately with one of the stability exercises from phase 1 for the same movement.


  • Lat pulldown on a machine
  • Seated rows. This one is best paired with a suspension trainer row to help you build back strength as you work toward doing your first pull-up.


  • Barbell chest press
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • If you can perform regular push-ups with good form, you can try adding a light weighted vest, adding weight over time as your form allows.


  • Goblet squat
  • Bulgarian split squat

Next Steps:

Once you’ve gone through Phases 1 & 2 once, cycle back through again and try a more challenging variation or add weight as needed to increase the challenge.

Running: Once you’ve gone through these two phases once, you can begin to incorporate some running. Why wait? Running is considered a power move that requires skill. Developing good movement mechanics first is essential to being able to run pain-free and without compensations that may put you at risk for injury. Start slowly with shorter running intervals (ex: jog 30 seconds, walk 1:30-2 minutes) and build from there. You can find running apps that will progress you appropriately.


It’s best to begin using just bodyweight, and to work on perfecting your form and building endurance before adding any additional weight. The CrossFit pros recommend waiting until you can perform 15-20 unbroken strict pull-ups before adding a weighted vest.



Performing the Murph challenge in the partitioned format is similar to performing a circuit workout, where you perform one exercise after the other back-to-back with little to no rest and repeating for multiple rounds. There are several benefits to training circuit-style:

  • Built-in rest time. Each exercise focuses on a different muscle group, so when you move on to a different exercise you are allowing the previous muscle group to rest before you get back to it. I’m not saying this workout feels restful by any means, but your muscles do technically get a small break compared with the unpartitioned format.
  • Higher heart rate = higher calorie burn. In general, a circuit workout burns more calories in less time than a workout where you work and then rest before completing the next round of the same exercise.
  • Condensed overall work time. Because of the above two benefits, your overall workout time is shorter than following an unpartitioned format.


What’s considered a good time is relative to the exerciser. If you’re a beginner, less than 60 minutes is considered a good finish time. For exercisers who are advanced, you’ll want to complete it in less than 45 minutes, and for elite athletes, less than 35 minutes. Following an unpartitioned format will take the longest. The current verified world record for an unpartitioned and weighted Murph is 32 minutes and 41 seconds, completed by Alec Blenis in June of 2021.

Putting it all together:

When you are ready to put it all together, you have options for how you can attack the workout. You will always perform the one mile run first and last, but the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats can be performed either partitioned (split up circuit-style) or unpartitioned (completing all reps for one category before moving on to the next). One of the most popular ways to partition the reps is to perform 20 rounds of the ‘Cindy’ WOD – 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats.

However, you split it up, don’t forget to keep track of your rounds so you don’t lose count of your reps! If you decide to do more consecutive reps at a time, make sure you select several reps that you can perform easily, without fatiguing the muscles.

After a few months of consistent and intentional training, you’ll be more than ready to honor our fallen heroes as you complete your first Murph.


Paper Gift Box Ideas

Paper Gift Box Ideas: 5 Quick & Easy Ways To Present Creatively


Paper gift boxes are the way to my heart. They really are. Great gift choices don’t happen to everyone and I forgive most of my friends-judging them only on the quality of wrapping, paper gift boxes have swept me off my feet- despite their tiny capacity for delicate and fragile things, they hold the feelings of love and care. They bear within themselves the extra thought someone made for you- a beautiful presentation. Wouldn’t it be great if these boxes became a part of your life and celebrations?Without wasting any more time, here is a post, folks, about ten beautiful paper gift boxes specially designed to get your aesthetics tingling. Fresh ideas from all around the web, in one place!

Paper Gift Box Idea #1: Personalize them

Personalized gift boxes and sometimes DIY gift boxes, say a few more words than the casual and rather common wrapping paper.

Paper Gift Box Idea #2: For bulk purchases

The absolutely best place to buy gift boxes is online nowadays- they allow you to venture into options ranging from buying custom gift boxes or making a bulk purchase. However, DIY ideas are aplenty on the internet and one will only have to scour diligently to find ways to twist and turn pieces of paper into gift box. ( Pssst…But it’s always great to have what you need, in one place, right?)

Paper Gift Box Idea #3: Brighten the room

It is imperative to remember, you don’t have to give away your beautiful gift boxes to other people. Sometimes, you can make them for yourself and store cookies, notes, pens, ribbons and any other paraphernalia close to your heart. They can brighten up your tables, shelves and can be strung up from walls as pretty installations.

Paper Gift Box Idea #4: Go Origami

Most paper gift boxes can be made of origami sheets, which are readily available in the market. However, in terms of purchase, one often expects a higher quality of the paper. Commercially available gift bags are usually made of textured paper with a higher GSM value.

Paper Gift Box Idea #5: Simplicity all the way

Another valuable tip is to purchase simple gift boxes online and later decorate them with accessories of your own choice- sequins, pearls, bows, and ribbons. They enhance the experience of gift-unfolding by adding a few more steps to it.Lifestyle

Believe me, everyone judges a gift by its cover. I’m sure these ideas have charged you up enough to start making your own paper gift box. The steps are simple, and an only a few cuts and folds will turn a dull sheet of paper into a usable paper gift box. However, if you’re busy with a hectic schedule and would rather like to purchase gift bags, for the entire year, for all the festivities to come, then there are a variety of options for buying paper gift bags online in India. In terms of the market of gift bags, India is fresh in the business and a young competition is blooming fast. Believe me, season or not, it is always a good time to create your gift bags stash because festivities and celebrations are always round the corner and you can never have enough of Gift bags!


Physical Therapy

What Is Physical Therapy?

Doctors often recommend physical therapy for people who have been injured or who have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability.

After an injury, physical therapists work to decrease pain, improve movement, and help people return to daily activities. They teach them exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion, and also show them how to prevent future injuries.

A person might need physical therapy any time a problem with movement limits their daily activities.

It also can help someone manage pain, whether that pain is caused by bad posture, an injury, or a disease like arthritis. When done properly and consistently, physical therapy can help prevent permanent damage and recurring problems.

What Happens in Physical Therapy?

Most physical therapy uses a combination of techniques to relieve pain and boost coordination, strength, endurance, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapists (PTs) often ask patients to use exercise equipment like bikes and treadmills.

A PT also may treat the affected area with heat or cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and even aquatic therapy (exercise in a swimming pool). In many cases, PTs will do soft tissue massage on injured areas and oversee the patient during stretching routines.

Physical therapists usually give their patients exercises to do at home. These at-home exercises work with the treatments and exercises done in the PT’s office to help a person heal better, faster, and safely.

How Can I Find a Physical Therapist?

Like doctors, some physical therapists can specialize in different areas: A particular therapist might work mostly with sports injuries, for example. Others may be experts in head injuries or in caring for wound and muscle damage in people with burns or skin injuries.

Your doctor can recommend a PT for you or contact your medical insurance provider. You also can search online at:

  • The American Physical Therapy Association

The First Visit

Many states require a referral from your doctor before you can be evaluated and treated by a PT. If you’re under the age of 18 and going to a hospital or clinic, it’s a good idea to take a parent or guardian with you the first time. Not only will you have support and someone to talk to about the experience, but you’ll also have someone to help with your exercises at home.

Most likely you’ll see a PT in a clinic or office. But some PTs work in schools, helping students with injuries, disabilities, or chronic (long-lasting) conditions. When you go to your physical therapy appointments, try to wear loose-fitting clothing and sneakers so your PT can accurately measure your strength and range of motion. If you have a knee problem, it’s helpful to wear shorts to your therapy visit.

At your first visit, the PT will evaluate your needs and may ask how you’re feeling, if you have any pain, and where that pain falls on a scale of 0 to 10. It’s important to be honest with your PT, so they can treat your condition properly.

Using the results of the exam and your doctor’s recommendations, the PT will design a treatment plan. Many times, they will start treatment during the first visit, including giving you exercises to do at home.

The PT will probably ask you to go through these at-home exercises while you’re there to make sure you know how to do them on your own. The PT likely will write down the exercises for you as a reminder of what to do and in which order (if any). Follow the plan exactly — most of the benefit of PT comes from the routines you do at home.

Ask for another explanation if you don’t completely understand an exercise to do at home. It’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed with information during a first treatment session — lots of people (adults included) feel this way.

Talk with the PT about how the exercises should feel when you do them — for example, if you’re supposed to feel any pain or unusual sensations, and whether you need to stop if you do.

Some people like to keep track of their progress during PT by taking notes on how often they do the exercises, how they feel, and how sensations change. Doing this can help you and your PT monitor your treatment.

Ongoing Visits

Physical therapy sessions typically last 30–60 minutes. You might go once a week or many times, depending on why you’re getting therapy. As you make progress, you might go for shorter visits less often. You’ll learn new ways to continue your healing.

In big offices, you may meet with different PTs during the course of your treatment. Don’t worry if you see a new face, but make sure each PT working with you knows your condition and be comfortable asking questions of each therapist. Remember: If you don’t like the treatment, or something feels wrong, speak up.

Although the long-term goal is pain relief and recovery, physical therapy itself won’t always feel good. Depending on your injury, you may feel uncomfortable or not used to moving the area. It’s important to stick to the routine — and to breathe, be kind to yourself, and ask your PT for other hints on getting through. It’s also important not to put yourself through too much or to overdo it.

If you feel pain, talk to your PT about it. “No pain, no gain” is no way to approach physical therapy. Pain is a warning signal, and by pushing yourself through too much pain, you can do more damage.

What Else Should I Know?

Following a few simple steps can help you make your physical therapy a success:

  • Stick to the plan. It’s important to follow the PT’s instructions. Do your exercises at home in the number, order, and frequency noted. Don’t skip any, and don’t do extra exercises — following the directions will help you heal faster and get moving again. But if a specific exercise is making you feel worse, put it on hold and talk with your physical therapist.
  • Know your body. It helps to know what’s going on and why. Ask questions and pay attention when the PT explains the injury and the treatment. You’ll probably be amazed by the way your body heals itself. And you’ll want to know how the affected area functions so you can spot problems or avoid further injury in the future.
  • Talk to your PT if you have problems. If things hurt, if you have questions, or if you’re not making progress the way you thought you would: ask. The PT is there to help you.
  • Celebrate your successes. When you follow the plan, you should start to see a difference in a few weeks or months. Bouncing back from more serious surgeries may take many months or a year, but there will be milestones along the way. Take a moment to appreciate the difference from where you started! Sometimes, recovery can feel frustrating and slow. But it helps to stop and enjoy the successes, no matter how small they may seem.