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Here’s Why You Should Adopt a Pet from a Shelter

Have you been thinking about expanding your family to add a new furry friend? Look no further than your nearest animal shelter. We’ve compiled a list of the top reasons you should consider a shelter animal for your next pet.

You’ll be saving a life.
In the United States, early 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you’re giving that animal a second chance. They’ve likely been given up or abandoned, and by taking them into your home, you’re giving them the loving home they deserve. You’ll also be opening up shelter space for a new animal that needs it.

Adopting costs less than buying from a breeder or pet store.
When you adopt a pet from a shelter, they’re often already spayed/neutered and have their first vaccinations. Some are even microchipped. These services are included in the adoption price, saving you a hefty bill from the veterinarian. 

Many shelter pets are already housebroken.
A lot of the animals at shelters were given up from their previous owners. This means many of them require little to no training on using a litter box or going outside. These animals likely have no issues with socializing with humans, but be sure to introduce them to your current pets before adopting if the shelter recommends it.

Shelter pets are often healthier than those bought elsewhere.
When animals are brought into shelters, they are given full physicals. Many shelters also have veterinary clinics on site to treat any medical conditions animals may have. This way, you’ll know the pet you’re adopting is in tip-top shape. 

Pet stores, and even some breeders, cannot guarantee the same health services for their animals that shelters can. Dogs sold at pet stores are often raised in puppy mills with unsanitary conditions, and they can carry diseases like pneumonia and parasites.

You’ll be supporting a worthy local charity.
By adopting a pet from an animal shelter, you’re helping a non-profit continue its mission. You can also spread the word about the shelter to those who ask where you got your pet. Shelters help the community by spaying and neutering their animals, reducing the odds of more unwanted animals.

You’ll find a friend for life.
Pets bring an endless amount of joy to people’s lives. They’ve been proven to be emotionally, physically and psychologically helpful to their owners. They can also alleviate feelings of loneliness. When you adopt a pet, you’re changing both its life and yours.

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is one of the best things you can do for your happiness, as well as for your pet’s. It instills a sense of purpose and fulfillment. When you adopt, you can be proud you helped an animal in need.

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Healthy Benefits of Reading

Many people are aware that reading regularly is good for their brains. However, they may not know exactly how it improves the mind, or that reading is also good for their health. If you’re not a frequent reader, you might be missing out on some important perks. We’re here to tell you all about the benefits reading can bring, besides knowledge and entertainment. 

Reading boosts intelligence.
Reading, especially starting at a young age, expands your knowledge horizons. In fact, children’s books expose kids to 50% more words than television does. The vocabulary they learn while reading often results in higher scores on both reading and general knowledge tests. Better reading skills in children can also lead to higher intelligence as adults. 

Reading improves your brain power.
Just like hitting the gym exercises your muscles, reading exercises your brain. Reading frequently helps slow down the memory-decline process as you age and helps keep your mind sharp. Avid readers can also be up to 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who participate in less brain-stimulating activities.

Reading can also enhance your short-term memory.
Think about all the information you take in when you read a book. You’re learning new characters’ names, plot lines and words with every turn of a page. The more you read, the better your brain gets at storing fresh information. So keep on reading, and you’ll be able to stop flipping back to old pages.

Reading can help with depression and stress.
A study of depressed patients in a mental ward showed a positive improvement in patients when they read aloud. They reported feeling better with a more positive outlook. Self-help books are best for those with more severe cases of depression, as books are a low-intensity form of intervention. Reading has also been found to reduce stress by nearly 68%, according to researchers.

Reading can make you more empathetic.
Fiction novels, in particular, help readers understand other people’s emotions. By relating to characters in a book, many people can translate that empathy to those they interact with in their daily lives.

Reading before bed can help you fall asleep.
A nighttime ritual, like reading, can signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. However, if you’re going to start this routine, make sure you’re reading physical books. Screens on devices like e-readers and tablets will keep you awake longer and can give you a worse night’s sleep. 

Reading is beneficial in so many ways. It’s great for both your mental and physical health, and is a great way to spend your time. If you’re looking for a new hobby, try your hand at being a bookworm, and you’ll feel better in more ways than one.

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Why You Should Visit Your Local State or County Fair

Ah, fair season. The scent of funnel cakes fills the air, and shrieks of joy from roller-coaster riders are heard all around. Fairs are the perfect way to end the summer season. They offer so many attractions for all ages and interests. If you’re on the fence about making the jaunt to your local state or county fair, you’re in luck. We’re here to tell you all the reasons fairs are worth the trip.

Food, Food and More Food
Where else can you find blocks upon blocks of delicious treats, preferably of the fried variety? Fair food is known for its wide range of delicious flavors. Your local fair should have a list of food vendors on its website, so you can browse your options before you hit the road. Take a tour of your local fair’s vendors, and get a taste for all it has to offer. You should be able to find something to swoon over, whether it’s fried cookie dough, corn on the cob or a juicy turkey leg.

Rides for All Ages
The rides at state and county fairs offer fun to kids and adults alike. Most have ferris wheels, giant slides, sometimes roller coasters. Not a heights person? Many fairs have rides like Tilt-A-Whirls or carousels for those who prefer lower elevations. The rides at fairs are also a great opportunity to introduce your kids to theme park-style rides before taking them to a larger park.

All Sorts of Entertainment
When you’re in need of a break from adrenaline rushes, be sure to check out your local fair’s variety of entertainment options. You can often find talent competitions or food-eating contests during the day. Nighttime shows can include concerts, monster truck derbys and truck/tractor pulls. There’s something for everyone at state and county fairs. Visit your local fair’s website beforehand for a schedule of events.

Animals Big and Small
Animal lovers will be in their elements at state and county fairs. You can typically find petting zoos with goats, rabbits and sheep, among other furry creatures. There are also plenty of 4-H demonstrations where people show off their cows, horses, pigs, etc. 

Local Art
Many local artists show off and sell their work at state and county fairs. You can often find handmade jewelry, quilts and paintings, as well as impressive photography. Support your local artists by purchasing some of their work, and feel good knowing you’ve helped someone continue their passion.

Career and Hobby Opportunities
Organizations such as FFA (Future Farmers of America), the National Guard and other local programs will often have booths set up at fairs to educate and recruit possible participants. If you’re looking for a new career, volunteer opportunity or hobby, stop by and ask about how you can get involved.

State and county fairs offer so much to do, see and eat. They’re perfect for people of all ages looking for a weekend activity or a night out. We’ve suggested some of our favorite aspects of fairs, now it’s your turn to find out for yourself just how special these events can be. 

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Essentials for Your Next Family Road Trip

Summertime means family vacations. To many families, vacations include long hours in the car on the way to and from their destinations. Family road trips are a great way to get closer to your loved ones while exploring new places. Making sure you’ve packed thoroughly can make your road trip experience even more enjoyable. Whether you’re headed to the Gulf Coast or the Grand Canyon, we’ve compiled a list of items you’ll need once you’ve hit the road.

1. Chargers. For everything.
Unless you’re doing things old school, you’re likely using a GPS on your smartphone or dashboard to navigate your trip. Be sure to have your charger (with a car adapter) handy when you’re battery starts to drain. Losing your sense of direction can easily create a stressful situation. 

Also include chargers for cameras, e-readers, tablets and any other electronics you’re planning to pack. If you need a device to constantly have power, pack a portable charger to ensure you’ll never suffer from low-battery panic.

2. Something to read
Books, e-readers and magazines are great boredom savers on long car rides. They’re entertaining ways to pass the time for both kids and adults. Grab a sci-fi novel to get lost in a different world, or pick up a non-fiction book to learn something new. Does reading in the car give you motion sickness? Consider downloading an audiobook to get all the content without the queasiness.

3. Your favorite snacks
Most people can agree that snacks are one of the most important components of a good road trip. Stop by your local grocery store before you head out to make sure everyone gets something they like. Packing a cooler with your favorite drinks and eats ensures no one will be left hangry. 

4. Wet wipes or paper towels
It’s no secret that kids can be messy, so having wipes at the ready will make it easy for you to clean them up. They’ll also save your car interior from sticky fingers.

5. Downloaded movies
If you have a tablet or a laptop, consider downloading a few movies to help pass the time. They’re sure to keep kids happy and entertained, and they can give you a break from the age-old, “Are we there yet?” question. Just be sure to remember headphones!

6. Blankets and pillows
Spending long hours in the car can get uncomfortable quickly. If you know you’ll be cold from the air conditioning, bring a blanket with you to keep cozy. Pillows are also essential for a mid-trip snooze or just to rest your head on during the drive.

7. Notebooks and colored pencils
A cheap and fun way to spend drive time, supplies like paper and colored pencils can easily cure kids’ boredom. They can doodle, play tic-tac-toe or practice their writing skills. Try limiting writing tools to colored pencils, though. Markers and pens can stain car interior, and crayons can melt in hot cars, leaving a mess.

Road trips can be a blast when you come prepared. You have the ability to create fond memories before you even reach your destination! Just remember the essentials, and you’ll be set for a drive to remember.