A Simple Way to Help Feed Sheltered Dogs

Every day, 32,000 dogs and cats are placed in animal shelters; this totals more than 11 million animals a year. The average cost to shelter one pet nationally without providing any medical care is $225, per the Sterling Animal Shelter. This October, the people at DogVacay.com are trying to help offset the costs of meals.

For every new sign up made from this DogVacay page (http://dogvacay.com/sheltermeals) in October, DogVacay will donate a meal to a shelter dog. The donations will go to two shelters in the Los Angeles area. If the campaign goes well, the people at DogVacay hope to expand and offer more donations to other shelters across the country.

If you have a few minutes to spare, would you consider this?

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Is your child’s Halloween costume appropriate?

Halloween is right around the corner, and if you’re anything unlike my mom, you may not have decided months ago what your kid is going to be and haven’t gotten a costume yet. Yes, she decided, with no input from me, what I was going to be until I was about 11. (The fact that I asked to be a hooker when I was 9 years old probably didn’t help my case, but I had no idea what the word meant.) As an adult, I appreciate that she was so invested in my Halloween looks, but she didn’t think everything through when it came to them, so I spent many Halloweens being miserable.

When I was 5 years old, she decided I would be a scarecrow, and she had the brilliant idea to stuff me from my neck to my ankles with straw. Not only was it physically uncomfortable, but the straw fell out as I walked. She actually was upset with me for the straw falling out (because it ruined the look of the costume) and for scratching every time an itch came on (which was pretty much the entire time I had the costume on).

Did the costume look good and authentic? I am told it did, but what good is it if your child is miserable in a costume? I think that is a big rule to remember when you’re deciding on a costume for your kid…is it something that is physically uncomfortable? If your child needs to go to the bathroom, does the costume hinder that? Is the costume too heavy or cumbersome to walk in? Also, can your child see and hear in the costume? Don’t sacrifice safety for a good-looking costume.

Another thing to consider is the fit. Do you need to buy (or make) a costume a few sizes larger than what your child normally wears because you need to have layers of clothing on? If you live in a climate that has chilly Halloween evenings, you have to consider that. If you live in a warmer climate, I would suggest reconsidering a costume that is made of fleece.

Probably one of the biggest aspects to consider is if a costume is age appropriate. A few years ago many little girls wanted to be Hannah Montana, but do you want your child to dress like Miley Cyrus? Do you really want to dress your 7-year-old like Lil’ Kim? Do you want your 13-year-old to go to school as a sexy devil? Maybe I am old school, or just old, but I think kids should be kids and be dressed as such.

An age-inappropriate costume is not the only major thing to consider. Would you consider dressing your child in a costume that would offend people? If a suicide bomber or a Hitler came to my door, there’s a good chance that I will not be giving out candy. If a bloody Pat Tillman knocked on my door, there might be an uproar. If you’re making fun of Bethany Hamilton being attacked by a shark, please pass my house. I am all for a good laugh, but I don’t think that it’s right to make fun of someone’s bad fortune or be dressed as something that evokes anger.

Are there any other rules that you think parents should follow when selecting a Halloween costume for kids?

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