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Articles for Animal People

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April 11, 2010

Buying A Horse Farm, Some Humorous Stumbling Blocks

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

I have sold Real Estate now for about 13 years.  Having lived in the country for many years I do well with the selling of farms, country estates, and cottages.  These particular types of Real Estate do have extra areas of expertise required to help you close the deal.  Over the years I have found that the real stumbling blocks are not so much the added areas of expertise that the salesperson requires, but the attitudes of the various family members involved in the buying of the property, especially in the buying of a property to be used as a horse farm.  Sometimes you just have to sit back and shake your head in wonderment.

Mother or wife of the family wants the perfect house.  It has to be modern, spacious, and be in move-in condition.  Now if mother happens to be the key horse person, then the barn or stable has to be perfect.  The stalls have to be just the right size, the alleys have to be more than adequate, there has to be an automatic watering system, and the stable has to lead to a large, in-door arena without having to set foot outside.   If mother or wife's main focus is the running of the horse operation, then she may overlook some of the short-comings of the house in favor of the perfect horse set-up, but don't count on it.

Let us look at father or husband of the family.  If he happens to be the horseman or horse enthusiast then the horse accommodations of the property are key.  House features are probably secondary to him which can make the real estate agent's life somewhat easier, but again, don't count on it because wife and children will have plenty to say about the house and suddenly a mansion is required while typically the house on a farm property may well be 100 years plus and although it has been completely renovated it just does not cut it for our would-be state-of-the-art horse endeavor.  

Teen-age kids, bless their hearts, have the capability to make the deal a sure thing or go completely South, whichever way the wind is blowing that particular day.  If the teen happens to be all for the horse operation, has a horse or horses of his or her own then the barn has to be the very best that it can be and house will probably be OK as long as the teen-ager has a private area, complete with 4-piece bath, for themselves.  Keep in mind that if the kids are not horse oriented then a rural area is the very last place on earth that they want to live, so nothing will be right with any property you show the family.  It's hard to believe that so many dwellings could possibly have so many faults.

Through all of the looking often the horse property buyers forget to look at some of the most important things such as where the water supply is coming from and is fit to drink, is the septic system working or does it even exist, is the use that you want to put the land to even allowed by the municipality, to name just a few.  But who cares, as suddenly the perfect property has been found!      

Please do not take these musings too seriously.  When the days, weeks, or months are over and you have managed to find that perfect horse property for your worthy buyers you can pat yourself on the back, run and deposit your commission in the bank, consider it a job well done, and try not to count those few extra grayhairs.

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May 16, 2010

Buying Gifts Online, Some Helpful Pointers

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

Should I or shouldn't I?  These are often the questions in the first-time Internet buyer’s mind.  There is no need to be hesitant to buy online, however, there are a few things that you can do to satisfy yourself that you are dealing with a reputable company or individual. 

If you are looking for a gift on eBay, or another auction site, you can readily check the seller’s feedback for number of feedback, kind of feedback, that is, positive or negative, to see what other buyers have said about both the product and the seller.  When buying from an auction site it is important to know the seller’s location prior to bidding or making a purchase especially if the gift you are buying is for an occasion, which is rapidly approaching.  For example, often buyers fail to realize that if you are in the US and the gift is coming from Canada it may take up to 2 weeks to arrive.  Even if this important information is given on the auction, the buyer, in the excitement of the moment, fails to read these pertinent details and then disappointment ensues when the needed item does not arrive in time.

There are lots of good websites to purchase gifts from online.  In fact, the numbers are astounding.  Again, just as with auction sites, be aware of the online store’s location.  If your location is different than that of the online store then make sure that they do ship to locations outside their country and determine, as well, the currency that they will accept for payment.  If the store happens only to accept Canadian credit cards and your card is an US card, then an alternate form of payment will have to be agreed upon, if possible.  This does not have to be a stumbling block as most online stores accept payment through a third party such as PayPal and the problem is readily solved.  If you have difficulty communicating with the online store prior to purchasing your gift item then, in my opinion, be forewarned that possibly this is not the store where you want to buy your item.

I realize that some of this information may be daunting to the first time Internet buyer but it does not have to be.  Buying on line is just like lots of other new experiences and once done it is no longer something to fear or be apprehensive about.  Unfortunately sometimes we do have bad or unfavorable experiences just like a lot of things in life but if you follow a few simple rules, that is, know where the internet store is located, know their protocols and remember to make your purchases in lots of time prior to when the gift is needed, then, all will be well and you will be a happy customer.         

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May 24, 2010

Care Of Your Pets When Selling Your Home

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

Often when people put their homes on the Real Estate market for sale they tend to forget the impact that showings of their house will have on their animal family members.  Obviously it is up to their listing agent to help them over this hurdle, however, sometimes we fall short of our duty to the family pets.  As Real Estate agents we have to think both of the impact that people coming into our listings will have on doggy, kitty, bunny, or whatever, and the impact that doggy, kitty, bunny, or whatever, will have on the prospective buyer.

 

Often the vendor will have the welfare of their animal or animals at heart and make their own arrangements.  They will put a 24-hour notice on any showings to afford them the time they need to make suitable arrangements for their pet.  This time restriction on the showing of their house is not always in their best interest as showings are often lost because the buying agent cannot get their clients in to see the property at the client’s convenience.  Sometimes the vendor will instruct their agent to allow no showings during the day while they are at work, thus, once again valuable showing time becomes limited.  Often the presence of the pet or pets is not a problem in that the animal is confined to a cage whenever the owner is out of the house, anyway.  This usually works unless the animal is a doggy that is prone to barking.  Often the continuous barking of a dog in a rather confined area will drive prospective buyers crazy and cause them to vacate the property as soon as possible resulting possibly in a lost sale.

 

As a Real Estate agent I do not have the answer to pet quandaries.  As an agent I have to be mindful all of the time during a showing to not let kitty out and to try to prevent a possible doggy attack.  I have found over the years that quite often even the most mild-mannered canine will have a personality change with strangers invading his or her domain.  Being well aware of dog and cat temperaments from having these pets most of my life sometimes I can see looks of bewilderment in their eyes, as well as, fear, when I arrive on the scene as a stranger and with strangers in tow to what they must think is a hostile take-over of their private property.

 

Thinking as a seller and having had pets personally for many years I would be afraid that my best friend would get out during a showing and would not be there when I arrived home.  This would prompt me to make sure to put some form of safety measure for my pet into place before putting my house on the market.  As a Real Estate agent it is my duty to make my vendor aware of possible problems with pets roaming free during a showing and help them reach reasonable solutions to possible pet problems before they occur so that the selling of their property will go as painlessly and effortlessly as possible.   

 

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June 3, 2010

Cats and Therapeutic Touch

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

Over the years I have had a lot of cats.  Some have been my favorites and others have been pets because I did not have the heart to give them away.  I have lived on a horse farm for a long time so cats have a way of multiplying and before you know it you can easily become overrun with furry felines.  My numbers became so great at one point I had to bite the bullet and have mass spaying and neutering done.  From that point on the numbers started to cut back to within reason.  The irony was that the ones that I lost first were my favorites and most of these losses were not due to attrition but due to getting killed on the road.  I never was able to figure out why getting them fixed made them more prone, it seemed, to meeting an untimely death.

After becoming interested in Therapeutic Touch (TT) all of my animals that is the horses, the dogs and the cats all became fair game for me to practice my new found healing talents.  I found that the cats usually responded quite differently to energy work then did the dogs and horses.  As with the other animals some took to it very readily and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it while others, being “cats” wanted no part of it, “thank you very much.”  This did not surprise me, as cats seem to have a way of being entities unto themselves much more so than other animals.  Some love to be cuddled and made a fuss over while others seem to merely tolerate their humans, quite often with disdain, and only then when it suits them.

One of my cats in particular did seem to really like Therapeutic Touch.  He was a black and white Domestic Short Hair, quite small for a male and quite thin seemingly by nature as he did have a good appetite.  His name was Andy.  Andy was strange in that once when I was in picture taking mode and snapped a photo of him it developed with a definite glow surrounding him.  This prompted me to assess him as one does in the TT procedure and found that his energy field was quite phenomenal.  It was then I discovered that Andy really liked a TT treatment so much so that whenever I performed Therapeutic Touch on anyone in the family Andy would appear and lie close by awaiting his turn.

Over the years I have actually performed Therapeutic Touch more on my animals then I have on humans.  Of all of my animals the cats proved to be both the most challenging and the most rewarding because usually with the other animals a practitioner is able to win them over but I have not found this to be so with the cats.  Dear little Andy was indeed the exception.

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July 1, 2010

Buying a Miniature Horse, First Time Buyer

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

This is about a few things that I learned recently while looking to buy a Miniature Horse.  I had in mind that I would like a small equine of some type.  At first I thought that perhaps a donkey would be appropriate in that they are sturdy animals and are known to not be afraid of wildlife such as coyotes and foxes.  Often you see a donkey out with a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep.  Another choice I had in mind was a pony.  I have had ponies in the past and have found them to be interesting animals in that they can be ridden as well as driven and they are usually quite easy to handle once some groundwork training has been put into them.  Then, I noticed some Internet advertising about Miniature Horses.  The first thing that I noticed was the fact that the asking prices for these little horses were usually quite high.  These asking prices were actually higher than I was prepared to spend on something that I wanted primarily for a pet.  But, I was intrigued so I started looking about.

An animal rescue website caught my eye.  The farm was located close to home and listed 2 or 3 Miniature Horses for sale or adoption.  I went to visit.  One I thought would be suitable was an 11-year-old mare.  Her asking price was negotiable.  Another little 3-year-old mare also looked promising and I thought that perhaps she could be the one.  What I was finding, however, with these particular animals was the fact that to the more-or-less untrained eye (never having had a Mini before) nothing was particularly striking about their appearance, in that, they strongly resembled ponies and without asking you were really not sure what breed you were inspecting.  I came home having made no decision and thinking that maybe a Miniature Horse was not the way to go.

One evening my son called me in to see a Mini advertised for sale, complete with picture, in a classified ad on his computer.  My first comment was, “Oh, that’s a sharp little horse.”  Please bear in mind that I have had horses non-stop since 1962, so I do know good conformation, etc., when I see it.  This little horse was priced in my price range but was located about 3 hours away.  Long story short, we went to see the little guy, a 2-year-old gelding, well mannered, friendly, and most importantly for me, he looked like a little horse.  Much to the surprise of the owners I purchased without hesitation.

Please, I am not trying to offend anyone here, especially the breeders of Miniature Horses.  Quite the contrary, what I am trying to convey is praise for Miniature Horse breeders for as I found out with careful looking and with patience you can find that perfect Miniature Horse meant just for you. 

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July 27, 2010

Popular Gift Ideas On the Internet For a Limited Budget

Barb Wilson-Meyers RN, BAS

I have sold gifts and collectibles from my websites and various auction sites since 1997.  Over the years I have noted that certain items are popular on an on-going basis.  The following is a short list of some of these items.  It is to be noted that in most cases the items can all be described simply as, “nice” and the prices can be described as, “reasonable and affordable.”  It will be obvious, as well, that often the popular items are animal oriented.

1.  Cotton Velour Beach Towels.  These are very popular.  The most chosen ones are those that are suitable, as well, for wall hangings and most often depict horses, cats, dolphins, wild animals, Disney characters and angels.  Price range: $14.98 – 22.95.

2.  Wooly Fleece Hot Water Bottle Covers.  These come in different sizes and        often depict sheep, lambs, cat, and frogs.  Most popular have a full-size hot water bottle included.  Price range: $15.95 – 24.95.

3.  Wind Chimes and Mobiles.  Popular varieties of these include angels and animals, especially cows and horses.  Prices here may range from $14.95 - $59.95 depending on the sophistication of manufacture.

4.  Jig-Saw puzzles depicting horses, cats, dogs, other farm animals, hens, and roosters.  Religious themes such as angels and biblical events are ever popular.  The price range varies depending on the puzzle size (number of pieces) -- $14.95 - $29.95.

5.  Anything Hummingbird.  These items include fan pulls, drawer pulls, mobiles, tapestry cushions, covers and throws.  Varying prices:  $4.95 - $49.95.

6.  Afghans, Throws and Blankets.  Again animal themes such as horses and wolves and spiritual themes including angels and “The Lords Prayer” are most wanted.  Price range:  $29.95 - $49.95.

My list obviously could be longer but generally I have found that if you can provide website or online auction visitors with items such as I have mentioned here and are able to offer moderate prices, you can be well on your way to making a sale and having satisfied customers.

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