Sunday, July 28, 2013

Should My Dog’s Teeth Be Professionally Cleaned?

Ten years ago while we were about to become a dog owner for the first time a friend was contemplating whether she should have her 11-year old dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. The procedure would cost $250. Professionally cleaning a dog’s teeth! I had never heard of such a thing. My friend not wanting to subject her older dog to the anesthesia decided to forego the procedure.

I faced a similar decision a couple of weeks ago when my husband returned from taking Teddy our eight-year old yellow Labrador retriever to the vet.

Our vet who had been keeping an eye on Teddy’s teeth for some time now recommended we have his teeth professionally cleaned. Teddy had developed a mild form of gingivitis. His teeth which had begun showing signs of plaque when he was only two year old were now brown and his gums were red and swollen. We received a quote of $412 without x-rays, $599 with for this procedure. The x-rays were needed to determine if any teeth needed to be extracted. The cost of teeth extraction was extra. $600!!! The cost of teeth cleaning had gone up quite a bit in ten years.  

We looked at Teddy’s teeth ourselves:

and decided to go ahead with the procedure. Our vet thought Teddy may be in pain – we had noticed there were times when Teddy ate slower and more tentatively than usual. In addition, not having them cleaned now could lead to other health problems later on. The bacteria from gingivitis could travel through Teddy’s bloodstream contributing to heart, kidney or liver disease. His teeth would also continue to deteriorate which could lead to infection, teeth loss and difficulty eating.

His x-ray’s detected one bad tooth that had to be extracted. The upper right 12 incisor was fractured and its pulp was exposed. Not removing it could lead to an abysses tooth and damage to the teeth surrounding it.

The cost of the procedure included pre-anesthetic blood work. These tests checked Teddy’s blood sugar, kidney values, and red blood cell count. They were to detect abnormalities that could affect anesthesia. He also received intravenous fluids during anesthesia. These were given to combat a decrease in blood pressure which sometimes results from the anesthesia drugs. In addition, an intravenous catheter allows immediate administration of emergency drugs if there is an adverse reaction from the anesthesia.    

Here is the break down of costs for Teddy’s professional teeth cleaning including tooth extraction:
........ ........ ........
Anesthesia and IV Catheter43.70
Pain Injection (2)48.40
Surgical Monitor30.20
Scale and Polish Teeth81.70
Fluoride Treatment23.00
Day-Care Kennel Use20.60
Cefazolin (Antibiotic)21.00
IV Fluids During Surgery21.60
Radio graph Dental Full Mouth130.00
CHEM/CBC/UA In-House0.00
Chem Panel w/Electrolytes72.82
CBC (Complete Blood Count)49.30
Nerve Block(s)18.50
Rimadyl 100mg Chewable (4)18.20
Non-Surgical Tooth Extraction35.00
Teddy did very well at the clinic and other than a couple of hours of whimpering at home (which resulted in lots of pets and belly rubs) he had a speedy recovery. Here is a photo of his clean pearly whites.

We are to begin Brushing Teddy’s teeth in 2 weeks. For best results, we should brush them 3-4 times a week.

Buck our ten-year old golden retriever has never had his teeth professionally cleaned. He hasn’t needed it. We’ve always brushed both our dog’s teeth once a week. Buck does chew on sticks more often and has a morning routine that includes chewing on his Galileo bone which may have helped prevent tartar buildup.

In hindsight, I should have paid more attention when my friend was contemplating whether or not to have her dog’s teeth cleaned. Dogs are expensive, much more expensive than I ever could have imagined before owning one. Though I do think our vet is on the high side and some of the above services may not have been necessary, i.e. a charge for day-care kennel use I do want my dogs to be healthy and receive good veterinary care.

Have you ever had your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned? Are there any home remedies you practice to keep your dog’s teeth clean? What about the cost of Teddy’s professional cleaning? Was $600 for this procedure low, about average or kind of high?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Explaining why I was fired – and when to tell a potential employer I’m pregnant?

Dear Savvy,
I recently was let go from my job as a financial representative’s assistant. This was my first job out of college and not related to my major. I wasn’t told until after I was hired I needed to obtain both an insurance and series 6 license as a requirement of continued employment. I took the insurance classes, but was having difficulty passing the life exam. I then took several days off due to a family event and a vacation. When I returned my manager called me into his office to inform me I wasn’t working out. He needed an assistant who was certified. Since losing this job, I’ve had one phone interview for a position in my field of study. When asked why I was no longer working, I told the interviewer I had difficulty passing the insurance exam. I was nervous and rambled a bit giving the dates of my exams and the scores I received. I was not called back for a second interview. My parents think I shouldn’t have given so much detail about the exams and instead say I was not told during the interview process I needed to become a certified insurance agent nor given a drop dead date for accomplishing this. How do you think I should respond to the question, “Why did you leave your last job?”  

Also, I am pregnant. I am not showing yet do I need to tell potential employers I am pregnant? If so when?

Dear Lindsay,
I disagree with your parent’s advice. Do not tell interviewers you weren’t informed of the insurance license requirement during the interview process. Interviewers may think you are na├»ve, didn’t do your homework, weren’t listening or are lying. I did a quick search on a local company’s website and found the following listed as a requirement for a similar job:

- Series 6 or 7, 66 or 65 & 63, and Life Insurance license required

Also, do not go into detail about taking the exam. Instead say, “I was required to become licensed by such and such date and when I failed to do so I was let go. I now realize this job wasn’t for me. I went to school for X and this position did not utilize my talents which are ….” The closer your talents match the job you are applying for the better.

As to alerting potential employers you are pregnant, do not do so until you have a firm job offer.  I am reminded of the seminar I attended on hiring discrimination. The speaker, an HR hiring manager at a large company, told us hiring discrimination absolutely exists for women in their child-bearing years. When a manager at her company knows an interviewee is pregnant she is rarely (as in never) considered for hiring or promotion. Why - because someone, either the manager or other employees, have been covering this position since it became open. If they hire a pregnant person they know in a few months someone will once again need to cover this position while the employee is out on maternity leave. There is also the fear the employee will forget everything she learned and need to be retrained once she returns or at the very least will need to be brought up to speed on what occurred while she was out. Then there is the fear she may decide to stay home with her new baby and they will need to start the hiring process all over again.

Once hired you do need to inform your new employer you are pregnant as soon as possible, they will need to plan for it. After you receive a firm job offer in writing let them know you will be accepting the offer, but do need to inform them you are pregnant and the baby is due on…They will not be happy, but most likely will not rescind your job offer in fear of a discrimination law suit.
Have you ever been fired? How did you explain your firing in an interview?

Were you ever pregnant while searching for a job? At what point did you alert the interviewer you were pregnant? Were you still hired?

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Motivation for Reading:
Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail has been on my reading list since Oprah selected it for her revamped book club.

At 26 Cheryl Strayed was by her own admission a mess. She had lost her mother to cancer, was divorced from her young husband, dating a junkie and on her way to becoming an addict herself. Feeling lost she quits her waitressing job and sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The purpose for her journey according to Cheryl:
I had to change. I had to change was the thought that drove me in those months of planning. Not into a different person, but back to the person I used to be – strong and responsible, clear-eyed and driven, ethical and good. And the PCT would make me that way. There, I’d walk and think about my entire life. I’d find my strength again, far from everything that had made my life ridiculous. (pg. 57)
What better book to read for my Be Strong reading project - a reading challenge I created for myself to read one book about strength each month.

My thoughts:
I am glad I read Cheryl Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, a book I had loved, prior to reading this one. If I hadn’t already been familiar with Cheryl’s work I doubt I'd have finished this book. I found Cheryl’s lack of adequate preparation for her hike (no backpacking experience to speak of, too heavy of a pack, one-size too small shoes, not enough money, etc.) irresponsible and dangerous. Also, I kept comparing this book to Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail about hiking the Appalachian Trail which I found funnier and thought he did a better job of actually writing about the trail. Once I stopped judging Cheryl and accepted this book for what it was – Cheryl’s journey - I began enjoying it. I realized Cheryl’s writing is just as beautiful as it was in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar and I had to give her credit; she was no quitter.  She achieves both her goals to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and to find her strength.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
The father's job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it's necessary to do so. If you don't get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.
What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I'd done something I shouldn't have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I'd done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do?...What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?
Also, there is an excellent scene in the book where Cheryl uses the intuition skills Gavin de Becker writes about in his book The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence.  When approached by a suspicious pair of hunters on the trail and though tired and hungry Cheryl runs ‘til she can’t run anymore out of fear one of them will come back to find her.

Bottom Line:
If you are looking for a well-written memoir about a lost soul who embarks on a journey to find herself along the PCT this is a good book for you. If you are looking for a book about the trail itself, a professional guide to backpacking or a book about getting back to nature you probably will not enjoy this book. 

Have you read this book?  If so, what were your thoughts?

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Please Note I am an Amazon affiliate.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Motivation for reading:
I decided to read Cheryl Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar after Rebecca Joines Schinsky included it on a list of books to read through your quarter life crisis over on Book Riot.

Rebecca wrote:
Strayed pushes us to know that we make ourselves, and it’s up to us to make ourselves whole. Someone in these pages will have the problem you have had or are having. Many someones will have it much worse. You will get perspective and reassurance and at least one that’s-exactly-what-I-needed-to-hear moment.
At 50, I’m not going through a quarter-life crisis, but a mid-life one and could certainly use a little perspective as I continue to make my way, so I decided to give the book a try.

What is Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar about?
Cheryl Strayed, the author of Dear Sugar an online advice column at The Rumpus, has put together a book of her best Dear Sugar columns along with a few that have never before been published.

My Thoughts:
Before reading this book, I was concerned an entire book of columns might be advice overload, so when I packed it for a recent vacation it was almost as an afterthought; perhaps I’d read a column or two. Once I began reading, I was so taken with Cheryl’s writing and her advice I couldn’t put the book down. I will warn you though Cheryl includes a story from her own life in every column instead of just giving advice. While I enjoyed this, some of you may not. 

Here is some of the advice I am taking to heart:
To the husband whose wife lost her mother:
Say Oh honey, I’m so sorry for your loss over and over again. (Page 98)
I’ve been in several situations where someone I know has lost a loved one and I’m never sure what I should say or do. Cheryl suggests being there and saying you are sorry over and over is what you need to do. It doesn’t make it okay, but it makes it better.

The guidance Cheryl gives the wife whose husband had an affair with a young woman the wife hired for the family business is perfect. Instead of forgiving the young woman Cheryl suggests she first accept the situation.
“Acceptance asks only that you embrace what is true.” (Pg. 113)
She recommends the wife neutralize her negative thoughts with a breath. Calm your mind. Breathe in deeply with intention, and then breathe out. Cheryl has breathed her way through many people she feels wronged by.

Then there is the Dear Sugar column I wrote about in my post Is It Possible to Change the Course of a Young Girl's Life. In this column, Cheryl writes about her experiences working as a youth advocate. Initially she tries to help the teens by getting the authorities to intervene. When no one comes to their aid and she’s told there is no money for kids over the age of 12, Cheryl changes her advice. She tells the girls to survive it. To endure it. This column gives me goose bumps every time I read it.

And lastly, the mental vision I have of the ‘rain” song Cheryl sings with the children in 'Ten Angry Boys' has stayed with me long after reading the book.

Bottom Line:
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar isn’t what I would call a light vacation read. I had been feeling a bit down prior to my vacation and this book didn’t exactly bring me up. I spent a couple of days wallowing in my dysfunctional childhood, but the book did help me see things from a different point of view. I came away able to forgive someone from long ago and also to feel reassured I did the right thing in distancing someone else. All in all reading the book was good for me and I gained perspective. I can only imagine how much I'd have gotten out of it if I had read it during my quarter-life crisis.

Have your read this book?  If so what were your thoughts?

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Please Note I am an Amazon Affiliate.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Guest Post: 6 Books to Help You Find Inner Strength

Today you can find me over at Sophisticated Dorkiness where I am sharing a guest post on Kim Ukura’s blog. Kim is a bookworm and book blogger who has had a huge influence on this blog and my reading life. In case you don't believe me, check out this list of blog posts in which I’ve mentioned Kim:

Getting a Clue About Feminism

50 Books Every Young Woman Should Read

Anne Lamott's 'Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life' and Jealousy

Searching for the Truth

Memorable Vacation Reads

Making Women Count: Ending the Year on a Low Note

Light Reading

Deciding to Join the Bleak House Read-Along

I also want to highlight Kim’s latest endeavor - a nonfiction recommendation feature where she is offering personal nonfiction recommendations. To receive yours, just fill out the questions on this form and, over the next month or so, she will go down the list and recommend books. Since I am a huge fan of nonfiction, I'm looking forward to Kim’s picks which I'm sure will guarantee my TBR list will never be without books.

My guest post summarizes six of the books I’ve read date to-date that have had the biggest impact on my strength challenge - a challenge I created last summer when after having difficulty once again thinking on my feet I decided to challenge myself to become a stronger person in my 50th year. Initially I had visions of taking yoga classes and pursuing other physical challenges, but after an injury my challenge quickly morphed into a reading challenge. I decided to read at least one book a month that dealt with an aspect of inner strength such as confidence, communication skills, dealing with difficult people or circumstances, self-knowledge, willpower, etc. To read the post in its entirety click here: 6 Books to Help You Find Your Inner Strength.