Responses to Peer Pressure to Smoke that Won’t Work

Here are four commonly-recommended responses to the peer pressure to smoke, that actually will not work, even though they come highly suggested by anti-smoking groups and even parents. 

There may be rare instances in which these responses to the peer pressure to smoke will work, but that’s if the friend who’s offering a cigarette to you is offering out of kindness, rather than the ulterior motive to control you.

“My parents will kill me.” This won’t work because it leaves the door open for your friends to try to figure out a way to prevent your parents from finding out. You then must come up with more excuses as your friends try to convince you your parents will never find out.

A second reason is because this response reflects a fear of your parents, rather than your own intrinsic dislike of smoking. A third reason this response won’t fly is if it’s well-known among your friends that your parents are lenient.

Fourth, what if one of your friends replies, “Well, my parents would kill me too if they found out I smoked, but they haven’t, and I’ve been smoking for two years!”

Finally, using the “My parents will kill me” excuse is flawed because…well…isn’t this true for the majority of kids who smoke – that their parents would “kill” them if they found out? How many parents wouldn’t freak if they ever found out their kid was smoking?

Telling your friends you’re afraid of your parents will not be new news to them; they may be quite fearful of their own parents as well. This excuse will be old, and kids who are seasoned at dishing out peer pressure will easily shred this excuse for not smoking. True, some parents don’t care if their kids smoke, but this is not the majority of parents.

“Maybe later.” The most this will ever work is delaying when your friends will next pressure you to smoke. And then what? Another “Maybe later” ? This response is weak and leaves the door wide open for your friends to take you up on your suggestion: They will indeed ask you later!

“No thanks.” If your friends are pushy, this polite, tactful response will not work. It may do the trick temporarily, but if your friends really want to pressure you into smoking, you’ll have to come up with something stronger than “No thanks.”

Now, it’s possible that if you’re with one friend who lights up, that friend might actually offer you a cigarette out of his or her own politeness, figuring that maybe you’d like to try it, or maybe this friend thinks you’re already a smoker. She might genuinely ask, “Want a smoke?” You might feel comfortable simply responding “No thanks.”

If you’re pretty decent at reading people, however, you’ll know if the situation is more of a peer pressure one than a sincere one, especially if there’s more than one person smoking and they’re eagerly awaiting your response to their offer. “No thanks” will not cut it. By definition, peer pressure is a persistent phenomenon, not stopped by two polite words.

Changing the subject. Do you think your friends will really fall for this? This won’t get past your friends. They will quickly reroute the subject back to getting you to smoke. Changing the subject without addressing the issue head-on will show your friends that you are vulnerable.

I have never smoked in my entire life. I have never even touched a cigarette. I have been around smokers. I got through it all smoke-free without a hitch. Yes, it can be done. Believe in yourself!

Calve Muscles Shortened with High Heels; Tendons Thickened

An experiment shows that high heels shorten calve muscles and thicken and stiffen the Achilles tendon.

Marco Narici of Manchester Metropolitan University and colleagues recruited high heel wearers for the experiment. The results are in the July 2010 Journal of Experimental Biology.

The 11 volunteers were age 20 to 50, who felt discomfort when actually not wearing high heels. A second group of women, who preferred flats, was the control group. MRI scans showed that in both groups, the women’s calve muscles were the same size.

Narici says, "We were expecting slightly smaller muscle volumes in the high heel wearers because we thought that if the muscle is in a shortened position then you are loading it less and the muscle volume should be smaller."

However, ultrasound was used to measure calve muscle fiber length. The calve fibers in the high heel wearers were 13 percent shorter than the calve fibers in the flats wearers. This shows that when you place the calve in a shorter position, as is the case when wearing high heels, the fibers become shorter.

So indeed, the calves in the high heel wearers were shortened, but how would this make it uncomfortable for these women to walk in flats? The shortened fibers means that the muscles would have to contract more to shorten by the same length. These calve muscles would then be shortchanged of optimal function, generating less force production than the calve muscles of the flats wearers.

The researchers focused on the tendons that join the calve muscle to the heel. MRI revealed that the Achilles tendon in both groups of women was the same length. But the Achilles tendon of the high heel wearers was thicker and stiffer when compared to the flats wearers. 

The researchers concluded that this thickening and stiffening allowed the Achilles tendon to compensate for the shortened fibers in the calves of the high heel wearers, allowing their calves to function optimally during walking  --  but explaining the discomfort the women felt upon walking in flats  --  the thickened, stiffened tendon could not stretch sufficiently during flat shoe walking.

If you love high heels, does this mean to stop wearing them? Narici says you don’t need to give them up, but recommends that you perform stretching routines to stave off soreness or discomfort when you walk in flats. If you experience any signs of foot problems, see a foot specialist.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100715194407.htm

Smallest Warning Signs that a Man May Abuse a Woman

Find out the smallest, most subtle warning signs that indicate a man may abuse his new girlfriend or wife.

Perhaps you’ve read about the “earliest” warning signs that indicate a man may become abusive to a woman in a relationship, but earliest doesn’t always mean the smallest or most subtle.

For this article I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again.

Not all red flag behavior means that a man will eventually hit a woman or repeatedly put her down. But a man who’s destined to abuse his new girlfriend or wife will typically start off with very small or subtle signs that, to an astute woman, will raise red flags.

“The problem with the subtle signs is that they're not very conclusive,” says Tessina.  “A good man can exhibit them, too; he just won't go all the way to angry.”

A woman who begins observing peculiar behavior in her new boyfriend or first or second date must put everything in perspective, since one isolated incident of a little angst doesn’t necessarily paint a man as evil.

“Many men who are abusers appear very suave,” says Tessina. “They're well-dressed, often have executive jobs and they like to control things, including people.”

Again, put things in perspective to see a bigger picture, since not all executives or nicely dressed men are looking to beat up on a woman. See if all those subtle things possibly add up to something to be leery of.

For instance, says Tessina, “abusers may insist that they're right, even when they're clearly wrong. Abusers like people fawning on them, so they may be big tippers.”

On the other hand, a potentially abusive man can be a tightwad with a blue collar job. Again, it’s about putting what seem to be subtle warning signs into perspective.

“Abusers usually blame someone else for whatever went wrong in past
relationships or work situations,” continues Tessina. “It's never the abuser's responsibility when something goes wrong.”

“None of these things, by themselves, absolutely guarantee a man's abusive,
but if you test him by disagreeing or having your own opinion, he'll probably get forceful,” says Tessina. See how he responds when, after he insists you order what he’s ordering at a restaurant, you tell him with conviction that you’re ordering something else.

More Subtle Warning Signs of Future Abuse: Emotional Blackmail
Tessina points out four traits that can be subtle warning signs of a future abuser. The first is a man who won’t take “no” for an answer; he doesn’t make requests; he makes demands.

Second, it seems as though every discussion turns into an argument. Next, he pressures you to do something you feel uncomfortable about. Finally, he makes threats (e.g., to end the relationship), though threats are more than a subtle warning sign. But threats can come in the form of badgering. 

A classic subtle warning sign of an abusive man is when he expresses angst that a woman spends too much time with her friends or family.

Another common but subtle warning sign is when a man starts making requests regarding what a woman should wear; suddenly, he’s in charge of her wardrobe. These little things, isolated, may not amount to much, but when they are added up together, watch out: Ask yourself if this is what Prince Charming is supposed to be like.

Source: tinatessina.com/index.html

Signs a Woman Might Abuse a Man

Here are the signs to look for in a woman who’s potentially abusive to a man.

Yes, men do get abused by women, and the mistreatment isn’t necessarily physical; a woman can use her mouth like a fist and savagely attack the man in her life.

One of the most publicized cases in which a woman emotionally abused her husband was that of Jon and Kate Gosselin; millions of viewers witnessed her recurring belittling and criticism of him on their reality TV show.

Signs a Woman Might Abuse a Man
For this article I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in S. California with over 30 years' experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of the book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

According to Tessina, signs a woman can be abusive towards her husband or boyfriend are as follows:

-Emotional outbursts and hysterics
-Making angry demands
-Temper tantrums

“She can also abuse a man financially  –  by not contributing equally to the family, by spending money irresponsibly, by not respecting his work and his contributions to the family,” explains Tessina. 

Signs a woman may abuse a man can take many forms, and can escalate to any of the following: controlling his money; dictating whom he can visit or have over the house; monitoring his phone calls; destroying or damaging his belongings; and making disparaging comments about him in social settings.

What about physical harm?
“Relatively few women are physically abusive,” says Tessina.  “There are some, but in most cases, men are stronger and don’t have to submit.”

My brother was once married to a woman whom he could have easily scooped up and carried up a flight of stairs. One day she threw a fit and threw an iron (for de-wrinkling clothes) at him.

She missed, but the throw was hard enough to put a big dent in the wall. This woman was physically bullied by her mother. Sometimes, an abused little girl grows up to be the perpetrator, not the victim. My brother ended the marriage after two years.

Are women who abuse men usually bigger than their victim?
Tessina explains, “No, it’s not necessary for her to be physically larger. If he has the same kinds of low self-esteem, or a masochistic need to be abused or controlled, he can be abused by a smaller woman.”

In general, signs that a woman can be abusive towards a man is when she doesn’t respect her new boyfriend or husband; dismisses his feelings; insults him; tries to control him and shows jealousy, especially of his spending time with his family.

Revenge on Abusive Parents by Grown Children

Just how common is it for grown children of abusive parents to get revenge
on mom and dad?

With all the mistreatment of children out there, it’s fair to wonder what percentage of adults, who were abused (physically or emotionally) by a parent ever seek revenge.

For this article I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in S. California with over 30 years' experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of the book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

“It’s not all that common for even abused grown children to abuse their parents; they’re more likely to pass the abuse onto others,” says Tessina.

However, she adds that once the formerly bullying parent becomes vulnerable as a result of aging, the so-called elder abuse is more likely. The grown child may not even premeditate this; rather, it’s a spontaneous reflex and may take the form of aggressively grabbing the frail arm of a demanding elderly parent and ordering them to shut up. Often, elder abuse has its seeds.

Nevertheless, even before adulthood, a victimized older child may turn the tables, though it may be in the form of self-defense rather than premeditated revenge on the abusive parent. A 14 year old boy, for instance, four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than he was several months ago, may turn on his abusive mother when she begins raging on him.

“But, unfortunately, sons are more likely to emulate the abusive parent than to abuse back,” says Tessina.  “Abused children more often leave their parents and are estranged.”

However, this can bite harder than premeditated physical revenge or spontaneous physical aggression. I once heard of a woman who was regularly berated by her mother while growing up. The mother had a business specializing in wedding dress alterations. The daughter moved far away and for years had very little contact with her mother, until she announced her engagement.

The bride-to-be paid a stranger a lot of money to alter her wedding dress, even though her mother offered to do it for free. Imagine how hurt the mother was when her daughter had a stranger alter her dress.

This wasn’t revenge on an abusive mother; the daughter simply refused to subject herself to a controlling, critical mother, a toxic experience she anticipated would have occurred had she stood there in her mother’s home for extended periods while being fitted for the dress.

When grown kids take revenge on abusive parents, what form may it take?
The “revenge” is usually not premeditated, though the parent may perceive the grown child’s choices as revengeful. Tessina notes that for her clients, the more common revenge is that of distancing themselves from the parent, “to heal and become stronger.” The distancing means that when the grandchildren come along, the grown child’s parent doesn’t get to see them too often.

Why don’t more adults, abused as children, seek out revenge on their parents?
It’s odd, but you’d think this would be a common occurrence. And maybe it IS more common than anyone realizes, but it goes unchecked.

For example, an elderly and infirm man lives with the son whom he habitually beat or emotionally harangued many decades ago. Nobody would necessarily know that this 80 year old man, who no longer drives and is dependent upon his son, is the recipient of his son’s raging temper, or various “punishments” such as being fed dry cereal for dinner or being locked in his room.

Nevertheless, it’s presumed that only a small percentage of kids, abused by their parents, grow up to deliberately seek out revenge, e.g., taunting them that they’ll never see the grandkids, messing up their house during visits, stealing money.

So why is revenge on abusive parents so infrequent?
Tessina explains, “They were overpowered by hostile, powerful, abusive adults as children, so confronting that powerful monster they remember is very hard. It’s easier to withdraw and cut off contact.”

The abused child may grow up to be a 6-3, 230 pound football player and still be afraid of his 5-2 middle-aged mother  --  the very woman who used to beat him with a belt at every turn.

So though abused children are not likely to get physical revenge on their parents later on in life, this doesn’t mean that cruel parents should have no fear of future repercussions from mistreating their helpless young children. After all, few things hit harder than being forbidden to see the grandkids.

Traits of Women Who Are Abuse-Proof

It’s not always luck that some women never end up with an abusive partner; some really are abuse-proof.

We can’t put every woman into the same box and say there’s no such thing as an “abuse-proof” woman. Have you ever wondered why some never end up with an abusive man? Is it luck? Is it because she never encountered him? For some, yes. But not for all women.

For this article I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in S. California with over 30 years' experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of the book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

“Yes, some women are essentially abuse-proof,” begins Tessina, who counsels abused women. This doesn’t mean these feisty, self-assured women are capable of physically overpowering most men.

In fact, a 5’2, 105 pound woman may begin dating a man, and after a few weeks, they get into a disagreement about which restaurant to go to. He shoves her into a wall, then grabs her arm and flings her onto the bed.

Some women will continue dating this man and may even marry him, thinking his violent behavior was her fault, or that she could “change” him.

On the other hand, the abuse-proof woman, all 105 pounds of her, will get off the bed, shake herself off, and if it’s his house, she’ll immediately leave and have NO interest whatsoever in ever seeing him again. And she’ll stick to her guns about that.

Now, if the assault occurred at her house, she’ll figure out a way to get rid of him without risking her safety, then never have anything to do with him again. That’s abuse-proof: Some women have a “one strike and you’re out!” policy.

What makes a woman abuse-proof?
“Women who grew up in an atmosphere of respect and caring are much more likely to be able to tell a bad guy from a good guy,” says Tessina.

Being abuse-proof is more likely when a girl grows up with a caring, loving father who respects her, her mother and other women in her life. This girl will grow up having expectations of how a man should treat her.

“Women who feel able to take care of themselves will also be more abuse-proof,” adds Tessina. If a woman has earning power and family support, she is less likely to be drawn to an evil man who promises, “I will take good care of you.”

Not that such promises always mean trouble; plenty of wonderful men tell their girlfriends this, and then follow through for the next 50 years of marriage. But Tessina also says, “If a women feels too dependent on a man to take care of her, she is vulnerable.”

Being abuse-proof begins with recognizing tell-tale signs of a controlling, wicked man. “Women who realize that even small incidents of abuse are unacceptable won’t stick around for more,” explains Tessina. “When I talk to abused women in my counseling practice and teach them what to look for, they realize the signs were there from the beginning.”

It is never justified to criticize a woman who comments that she is abuse-proof. Again, this is about the “one strike and you’re out!” policy. Those who live by this policy aren’t the ones who make the news, so this creates the illusion that it’s an impossible feat for any woman anywhere to be immune to allowing a man to chip away at her self-esteem. Women deserve more credit than to be lumped into the same cookie cutter box.

Source: tinatessina.com/index.html

Should Women Date Men Whose Dads Beat Their Moms?

If a man’s mother was beaten by his father, shouldn’t a woman avoid dating this man since abuse tends to be passed down?

81 percent of men who abuse women had fathers who abused their mother. (Source: "The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children", N.J. Department of Community of Community Affairs, Division of Women.)

It’s no secret that domestic violence is cyclic or legacy-based. Here’s another statistic: Young boys who grow up in homes of domestic violence are a hundred times more likely to become abusers than boys from stable homes. (Source: Violence Against Women: Victims of the System  -  Washington D.C.: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary).

When a woman develops an interest in a man, seems she should find out as soon as possible how his father treated his mother before allowing herself to become emotionally invested in him.

For this article I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in S. California with over 30 years' experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of the book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

Before asking about his religion, degree, what kind of car he drives, if he likes to dance or what kind of job he has, shouldn’t a woman first find out if his father beat his mother?

“Yes, it does make sense,” says Tessina. “It is possible for a man who grew up in violence to renounce that violence, but it’s difficult for the woman to make sure his respectful behavior is not just a veneer.”

Find out the family background of that nice cute guy, advises Tessina, who counsels abused women. Also learn about his past romantic relationships by getting to know his friends.

“If he doesn’t want you to meet his friends or family, or he has none, it can be a warning sign,” adds Tessina.  “Be interested in his past without interrogating him.  See if you can get him to show you pictures of the past  –  or if you meet his sister or mother, ask to see pictures.  Talking over pictures can show you a lot.” 

It may be very challenging to find out how the father of the man who has your eye treated his mother, but make this a priority. Remember, domestic violence tends to get passed down to the next generation.


Abuse-proofing Daughters from Violent Men

Find out what parents can do to help ensure their daughter will never end up in an abusive relationship.

It’s been said that we are a product of our childhood environment, so certainly, there must be a way to “abuse-proof” your daughter against involvement with abusive men. One thing’s for sure: The more a parent believes this can be done, the more likelihood of success.

To find out what parents can do to “inoculate” their daughters from gravitating towards controlling, abusive men and staying with them, I consulted with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in S. California with over 30 years' experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of the book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

Steps Parents Can Take to Abuse-Proof Their Daughters
“Treat your daughters with respect,” begins Tessina, who counsels abused women. The next step is to teach daughters to be self-sufficient. That’s a major one. Not depending on a man to take care of her is a major deterrent to an abusive relationship.

“Focus on her character, intelligence and competence  –  not her cuteness, beauty or attractiveness to boys,” continues Tessina. An example of this might be as follows: Your 16-year-old daughter expresses an interest in the sport of powerlifting. You can either encourage this, shame her for it because “girls don’t do those kinds of things,” or fall somewhere in between.

Or maybe your 12-year-old daughter announces one day she wants to be an orthopedic surgeon. Are you going to tell her to ditch her dream because less than 5 percent of board-certified orthopedic surgeons are women? Though few people know this fact from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, you get the point.

“Teach her to value her own self: her intelligence, her competence, her kindness and caring, her strength,” says Tessina. She urges parents to show love and respect for each other so that your daughter grows up “with the image of your own relationship as her pattern to follow.”

What if you’re a single parent?
Tessina says to make sure your daughter witnesses couples “in positive interaction.” Make sure she’s around good men (your brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, your father). This way she can learn what kind of people men should be and how to recognize potential for abuse.

Other Ways to Abuse-Proof a Daughter
Tessina says to discuss with your daughter things like song lyrics, TV shows and abusive celebrity behavior (e.g., Rihanna and Chris Brown). 

“Don’t leave your daughter to absorb pop culture without a discerning voice explaining what works in life and what doesn’t. Make sure she’s exposed to good role models in school, in your family, in the neighborhood and in the media. Teach her to value character over notoriety and wealth.”

How does a parent teach a daughter to “sniff out” a potentially abusive young man?
“The opposite of abuse is respect,” says Tessina.  “If she is around respectful people most of the time; disrespectful people appear strange and unpleasant.”

Parents should not punish their daughters for speaking their mind or expressing opinions, though there should be parameters within which to speak (e.g., no foul language).

And yet another way to abuse-proof a daughter so that she never stays with an abusive, controlling man is to encourage her to think independently. This way, she won’t be drawn to a man who wants to control her. Give your daughter lots of opportunities to make choices in life (she can choose her bedroom colors and hairstyle, but she can’t choose the color of your new car or your hairstyle).


Keep Awakening During Night to Urinate? Could Be Sleep Apnea

Waking in the middle of the night several times could be caused by sleep apnea, even if you think it’s just to urinate.

Waking several times in the middle of the night to urinate due to an enlarged prostate? Reconsider this explanation for interruptions to urinate that keep awakening you during the night, because it just might be sleep apnea at work.

Researchers now believe that a substantial number of night-time sufferers of frequent urination with benign prostate enlargement, may in fact have obstructive sleep apnea as the underlying cause. The study comes from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, and looked at men between 55 and 75 years of age.

The men had been diagnosed with benign prostate enlargement, but they had also reported getting up in the middle of the night – at least once in the middle of the night. The control group of men had no benign prostate enlargement, and either no reports of getting up in the middle of the night, or only doing this once per night.

The study results: Over half the men (57.8 percent) who had benign enlarged prostates probably had obstructive sleep apnea, and that the perceived need to urinate, that was awakening them, was actually caused by the sleep apnea.

Awakening in the middle of the night to urinate is called nocturia. Nocturia is a common symptom of benign prostate enlargement. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that ranks very high among medical disorders that are missed by doctors or diagnosed as something else, sometimes for years before the correct diagnosis is made.

“Apnea” means cessation of breathing. In sleep apnea, the patient ceases breathing, up to hundreds of times per hour. With this condition are many other symptoms, most notably snoring characterized by snorting and gasping; and daytime sleepiness in which the patient frequently falls asleep while watching TV, must nap but still never feels refreshed, and is moody, irritable, and often awakens with headaches.

"If nocturia severity in BPE patients is actually a pre-existing sleep disorder, this can now be treated and help improve patients' quality of life," says Dr. Howard Tandeter, researcher in BGU's Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences.

If a physician is presented with a patient who has been diagnosed with benign prostate enlargement, and this patient reports awakening overnight several times to urinate, that doctor should suspect obstructive sleep apnea, says Dr. Tandeter. A test is given to patients while they sleep to see if apnea is present.

This condition, which is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke and heart attack, has a variety of treatments.

"Even among those patients with well-defined medical reasons for nocturia, sleep disorders may still be found as the source of most awakenings from sleep,” continues Dr. Tandeter.

One of the more common treatments for OSA is called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. It’s a mask that keeps the airway open in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Risk factors for this disorder are that of being male, overweight, with a thick short neck. However, thin people, including children, can have sleep apnea.

Dr. Tandeter adds, “Therefore, the diagnosis of a sleep disorder should be seriously considered whenever a patient reports frequent awakenings from sleep to urinate since the problem is treatable."

Do Kids with Down Syndrome Suffer?

Do children with Down syndrome actually suffer?

I’ve always found it intriguing that journalists love the word “suffer” when writing about kids with Down syndrome, whether it’s naming a specific child with Down syndrome, or writing about Down syndrome in general. 

Almost every article I’ve ever read about Down syndrome has the word suffer. And it always goes like this: John Doe, who suffers from Down syndrome…or, it goes like this: Jane Doe has a young daughter who suffers from Down syndrome.

Non-journalists do it too, in that they think a child with Down syndrome, or adult, “suffers.” I’ve written several articles about a girl with Down syndrome  --  not a girl who suffers from Down syndrome. I also wrote it out as: She has Down syndrome. 

After all, who am I to decide whether or not someone with this genetic condition suffers? I don’t live with them, nor do I see them often enough to know their lifestyle circumstances. So where would I get off, then, using the word suffers in my articles?

What’s amazing is that the parents of kids or adults with Down syndrome let journalists get away with this. Don’t parents ask to read an article first, before the writer sends the final version off to the editor? You’d think that any parent reviewing an article, in which info about their child with Down syndrome is included, would be quite irritated at that word suffers.

A good journalist will replace “suffers” with a kinder word upon request. The irony is that sometimes, the parents will talk about what an angel her child is, how loving this child is, how everyone’s her friend, how she’s always smiling  --  after the writer says this child suffers from Down syndrome.

If you believe someone thinks your child is suffering, ask them, “When’s the last time you saw someone with Down syndrome who appears to be suffering? In fact, don’t they always appear to be the happiest people in the room?” Then be silent and gloat in the pride of making the skeptic realize his or her blunder.

Or, you can say, “Have you ever seen a disgruntled child with Down syndrome?” If your child has a severe degree of mental retardation, you can say, “Actually, my child is not aware he has something that we all call Down syndrome. He does not know he’s disabled. Isn’t that a refreshing way to go through life—having no understanding of what perfection should be or the difference between sick and healthy?”

Children with Down syndrome, who are very high functioning, know they are “different.” But even THEY seem to have a happy disposition as well. “Look into my child’s face next time you see her, and tell me if you see any suffering,” you might say to the skeptic.

About half of people with the genetic disorder have heart defects, and these can be serious. Hearing impairment is another problem that can come with the condition. Children and adults with this genetic condition have slow metabolisms, poor muscle tone, and are prone to quick fatigue when physically active. “My child can’t cover 100 meters in 15 seconds. Can you?” The skeptic will invariable say, “Probably not.” You can then comment, “Do you suffer because of that?”

Tell the skeptic, “Ever see people with Down syndrome participate in Special Olympics? It doesn’t take much to put a thrilling smile on their faces.”

Parents say their kids with Down syndrome  --  children as well as adults  --  have a sunny, content disposition, enjoy affection and have brought tremendous joy to the family. Many have full time jobs. Who’s suffering?

Ask the skeptic, “How often do you see children or adults with Down syndrome who appear to be in physical pain?”

This condition is essentially painless for those who end up in the 50 percent without the heart defects. And even with the ones who do. When I hear the word suffer, I think of someone who lives in pain, experiences mental anguish, battles drug addition, is obese, has debilitating lupus, diabetes or some other medical sickness, lives with an alcoholic, etc. People suffer from obesity, cancer, drug addiction and schizophrenia. Not Down syndrome. Tell people this who think your family member “suffers.”

Though nobody wants their newborn baby to be diagnosed with any genetic anomaly, at the same time, I doubt anyone with this condition would describe themselves as suffering from it. This is why many people with the condition say they have Up syndrome.

10 Things Never to Say to Someone Whose Dog Just Died

Things you should never say to someone whose dog died.

If you know someone whose dog just died, don’t say the wrong thing, for Pete’s sake. And the wrong thing might actually be what you think is the right thing to say to someone whose dog just died.

Here is a list of things never to say to someone whose beloved dog just died:

You can always get another dog. To some people, their pet was like their child – like your child is to you. Perhaps that stately German shepherd or shaggy lap mutt was all that person had, giving them an unconditional love that they never experienced in childhood; no rejection; only joy when that person arrived home from work.

Dogs have individual personalities. A person whose dog just died can’t get another one just like the pet that just expired. Dogs are intelligent, thinking, sentient animals with actual personalities.

He was just a dog; why are you so upset? Perhaps when a human dies, we should say, “He was just a human.” After all, humans do very horrible things. God must look down upon us in disgust, being that humans are the only creatures who kill for pleasure, for fun, for greed, for revenge. And who get off on torturing others.

Humans rape, pillage and plunder, abuse children, kill babies, beat dogs and have no remorse. Yes, God must be thoroughly disgusted. That “just” dog was incapable of all the evil that humans so easily deliver. That “just” dog gave its owner unconditional companionship and endless hours of joy.

Your dog is in a better place. That may be true, but to the grieving, their pet is no longer here.

He’s no longer suffering; it was his time. The dog wasn’t necessarily suffering before it died. No time is ever right, to a person, to lose a beloved pet.

Be lucky you had him for as long as you did; I lost my Buffie when she was only 3 years old. This won’t cut it because in the pet owner’s mind, their companion should have lived longer. Plus, reminding them that your own pet lived even fewer years, will make the grieving think about all the other people whose dogs lived longer than theirs!

The following things never to say to someone whose dog just died, come from Dr. Susan Phillips Cohen, director of counseling, The Animal Medical Center, and these are actual remarks:

“Thank God it wasn’t one of the children.”

“Now you can visit your cousin/find a man/ have a baby/travel with the money you’ll save.”

The following things never to say to a person whose dog just died, come from Claire Chew, M.A., grief recovery specialist/counselor:

“It is God’s will.”

“Don’t worry; it was probably for the best.”

Shame on a coworker of Decima Cooper, a marketing & public relations coordinator in Texas, for telling her, “You called in? Over a dog?” when she came to work the day after calling in to take the day off because that day her dog died from cancer. Never minimize or invalidate a bereaved person’s reaction to the death of their dog.

To anybody who can’t comprehend how a person could cry or be crushed or devastated from the loss of a pet, ask yourself if you’ve ever had an emotional attachment to an inanimate object; there are men who will literally cry if their sports car gets a scratch, and women who will cry upon getting their hair cut or being told that a one-centimeter scar on their leg is permanent.

Read the things in this article again so that you know what never to say to somebody whose dog just died.

Putting Your Dog Down: Should You Stay or Leave the Room?

When it’s time to put your dog down, should you stay with the dog during the process, or leave the room before the dog starts drifting off towards doggie heaven? I have given this some thought, regarding my grand White German Shepherd, and I’ve made a decision: I’m staying right in the room with him, and I will be the last thing he sees before doggie heaven calls him home.

There’s an easy way to make this decision. You do it by fast-forwarding to that most inevitable future, where your beloved dog is ready to be put down. It will be one of the most dreadful days of your life, and you certainly don’t want to make any regretful decisions. So, imagine that awful day has arrived to put down your dog. There are one of two outcomes:

#1. Stay with the dog as he is being put to sleep. This will be very trying, as you watch the dog’s eyes, which are watching you, slowly start closing. This happens after you witness the vet inject your pet and do whatever else is necessary. You are literally watching your dog dying, and not just dying, but being put to death. To say a pet is put down or put to sleep softens the blow to the master.

When the ordeal is over, you walk out of the room, trembling, because you just witnessed your best friend’s last breath. You saw your dog die. Forever in your mind will be that image. The last memory you have of your dog is of it dying, and then being dead. Can you live with that?

#2. Say your last goodbye to the dog while it’s still fully conscious. The dog is watching you as you slowly back out of the room. You wonder if the dog knows it’ll never see you again. You hurry outside to the parking lot and burst into tears. The last memory of your pet will be when it was alive and watching you. Can you live with that?

Which option is more regrettable? Let’s dig deeper. Is this about you, or the dog? It should be about the dog. What would your dog want? Pretend you yourself are dying. What would YOU want? You’d want your loved-ones at your side, holding your hand, seeing you through to your last breath.

This is what your dog would want. If you choose #1, the last memory of your dog will be as it’s being put to sleep. However, you will have comfort knowing that right up to the last minute, you were at the dog’s side, hand on its head or hand holding its paw. You were there. Your pet felt your protection right up to the end. You helped your best friend make that transition to doggie heaven. You’ll never regret that.

If you choose #2, you may initially think this was the best choice, because it won’t leave any memories of a dying animal, just an awake, alert dog. But give it a few days; something awful will begin sinking its claws into you: The realization that you were not there. From your dog’s point of view, you abandoned him. You left him alone with those people who put him to sleep. You didn’t stay at his side. You chickened out. You’ll regret that for all time.

Should Elderly People Get a Large Breed Puppy: Pros & Cons

Should old people get a large breed puppy?

When elderly people get a large breed puppy: There are tremendous benefits, but also serious drawbacks to consider. My parents are senior citizens and recently lost their beloved German shepherd to cancer, just shy of his ninth birthday. My mother has been talking about getting another German shepherd.

Benefits of elderly people getting a large breed puppy: Of course, the puppy will eventually grow into a big dog. This can make elderly people feel more secure in their homes, and a big dog’s bark can let anyone who’s prowling about the property to case it for a potential robbery think twice about breaking into that particular residence.

Of course this depends on the breed. Some large breeds aren’t prone to delivering territorial barking when they hear someone outside or even when someone rings the doorbell. Nevertheless, the large breeds that do have an inbred guarding quality can be very effective alarm systems for elderly folks.

A large breed puppy, like any breed puppy, will bring unspeakable joy to the lives of an elderly person. The dog will force the elderly owner to become more physically active. A well-trained large dog will encourage an elderly person to walk at a good pace when walking the pet.

A large dog will enjoy playing fetch, and this will get the elderly person’s upper body in motion.

As for whether or not old people should get puppies in general, just petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure. Dogs will provide unconditional love and companionship, and many elderly folks are lonely or have grown kids living too far away to see on a regular basis. A pet in the house will intensify the senior citizen’s purpose in life and give him or her much more to look forward to every day.

The cons of elderly people getting a puppy are obvious: The task of housebreaking the dog can be daunting. And then there’s training; will the new owners have the patience? What if the dog sheds? Is the elderly owner physically fit enough to keep up with all that vacuuming?

My mother was the “poop-picker-upper” for the German shepherd. Every time she scooped up a pile of poop, she did a hybrid of a squat and a “good-morning.” This was exercise she would never get had my parents not had the dog. Now that the animal is gone, my mother is missing out on all that squatting. My father’s upper body is missing out on all the fetch sessions.

If elderly people wish to get a large breed or any size puppy, they need to closely examine their health and orthopedic fitness. Some slow-moving old folks live for many years without serious illness, while a young, physically fit person who gets a puppy could die tomorrow in a car accident. Of course, a car accident can also claim the life of an elderly person. Life is unpredictable.

Elderly people who get a puppy should have a backup plan in case they become too incapacitated to care for the animal. Is there someone on standby to take the dog? Or have they familiarized themselves with a rescue operation that takes dogs whose owners can no longer care for them? Are the senior citizens in regular contact with people so that if they “fall and can’t get up,” or lapse into a diabetic coma, or for whatever reason lose consciousness (stroke, adverse reaction to medication, etc.), it will quickly become known, so that the dog doesn’t starve to death?

Some believe that small dogs are best for the elderly. However, small dogs have longer life spans in general than large dogs. My parents have had two large dogs, so they would bring plenty of experience to the picture should they get a large breed puppy. Elderly people who’ve never owned a dog would really need to seriously weigh the pros and cons.

Does Your Dog Pass Gas a Lot? Cause & Solutions

If you have a dog, you know how stinky a dog’s passed gas is. You don’t hear the dog farting; it is silent  --  but deadly; the stink is worse than the gas passed by humans, though some people might refute that.

A dog’s flatulence can really stink up a room, and it lingers. When a dog passes gas, this is a normal biological activity, but does it have to occur so often? Can it be minimized? I asked Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, of Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington, NY.

Dr. Selmer explains, “Flatulence comes from an excess of gases in the intestinal tract. These may represent air that has been swallowed; produced in the biochemical process of digestion; diffusion from the bloodstream, or gases produced by the bacteria that populate the intestinal tract. Over 99 percent of the gases that pass from the intestinal tract are odorless; the gases with objectionable odors are typically those containing hydrogen sulfide.”

Flatulence does not signal a health problem. “A surprising amount of air is swallowed with the simple act of eating and if this is not burped out, it must exit through the other end,” says Dr. Selmer.

“The amount of air swallowed tends to be increased when dogs feel they must eat quickly or in the brachycephalic breeds (e.g., Pug, English bulldog, Boston terrier) who tend to breathe more by mouth rather than by nose,” due to a short nose. “Swallowed air tends not to have objectionable odor.”

But what about the really offensive flatulence? Dr. Selmer explains, “The really stinky gases are produced by colon (large intestine) bacteria. Dietary fiber in pet food is not readily digestible by the pet’s own enzyme systems, but is digested by the gas-producing bacteria of the colon. As these fibers are broken down, gases are produced. A diet heavy in fibers tends to favor these gas-producing organisms. The more supportive the intestinal environment, the more bacteria there will be and ultimately more gas will be produced.”

Thus, the solution to getting your dog to pass less gas, or do it less frequently, is:

No. 1:  Lower the fiber content in your dog’s food. Read ingredients of dog foods for anything that is fibrous. Check the nutrition label to see if a fiber content per serving is listed. Cut back or avoid food that contains grains.

No. 2:  Work on getting your dog to eat at a slower pace. A dog is more likely to rush through a meal if it gets only one big meal a day; it’ll be that much hungrier at feeding time, and thus more apt to scarf down the food.

It’s perfectly okay to feed a dog multiple tiny meals throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you must feed your pet a bigger quantity of food. Parse out the normal daily intake throughout the day. Less food eaten at any given time will mean less gas passed by your dog.

Source: http://advancedcareforpets.com/veterinarians.php

10 Foods Never to Feed Dog with Sensitive Stomach

Dog have sensitive stomach? Avoid these foods.
“Sensitive stomachs in dogs can result from food intolerance,” says Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, of Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington, NY. You’ve probably read about what foods to give a dog that has a sensitive stomach. However, it also helps to know what foods never to feed a dog that has a sensitive stomach.

According to Dr. Selmer, here are at least 10 food items that you should never give a dog that has a sensitive stomach. In fact, don’t give any canine these foods.

High fat foods. They are “difficult to digest and can cause inflammation of the pancreas,” says Dr. Selmer. There are two exceptions to this rule: ground beef and peanut butter. However, you should still choose a lower-fat beef.

Chocolate. Dogs cannot metabolize a compound in chocolate called theobromine. Chocolate, so heavenly to people, can cause seizures in dogs.

Coffee and tea. These are as bad for canines as is chocolate.

Raisins and grapes; can cause kidney failure.

Nutmeg; can cause seizures.

Raw eggs. Avoid giving these to your dog, as they can contain salmonella.

Onions. Dr. Selmer says these “are not advised, as they can interfere with blood circulation.”

Macadamia nuts; “can cause dogs to have tremors and lead to paralysis.”
Dr. Selmer continues, “Other food cautions include moldy foods, yeast dough and fruit pits. Many fruit pits contain cyanide.”

If you suspect your dog has a sensitive stomach, or if your pet has been diagnosed as having a sensitive stomach, Dr. Selmer explains:

“Food intolerances can result from dyes, preservatives, contaminants or even natural proteins in the food. The solution for these intolerances is the feeding of a ‘pure’ diet, ideally a home-cooked food made with carbohydrates and proteins that are novel or new to the patient. Recently a new approach has been introduced using therapeutic diets made from hydrolyzed proteins. This means that a conventional protein source is used but the protein is broken down into molecules too small to excite the immune system.”

Examples of home-cooked foods made with carbohydrates that dogs with sensitive stomachs will benefit from:

Rice. “Rice is a good carbohydrate for dogs. Brown rice is preferable, as it has more nutrients.”

Brewers yeast

Flour (e.g. soy flour)

Cod liver oil or flaxseed; “in small amounts adds omega 3 and helps keep their coats shiny.”

Garlic; “can help get rid of tape worms and fleas as well as fight infection; caution, as large amounts can cause illness in dogs.”

Meats.  Liver, beef, tuna, lamb or chicken. “It’s easier to add to food if the meat is ground.”

Dr. Selmer adds, “Dogs also enjoy peanut butter, and biscuits can be made with them by adding flour, bone meal and/or powdered milk, brewers yeast and even carrots. Peanuts are one of the few nuts that are safe for your dog.”

He endorses carrots, broccoli and spinach, “but they need to be put through a food processor first to aid in digestion. (Broccoli is not good in large amounts.) Finally, add bone meal for calcium. “Raw meaty bones are a good source of calcium. Powdered milk is also a popular ingredient in dog food.”

Follow these guidelines as to what never to feed a dog with a sensitive stomach, and what to feed your pet.

Source: http://advancedcareforpets.com/veterinarians.php

Strep Throat Symptoms in Dogs

Signs and symptoms of strep throat in dogs; yes, dogs can get strep throat.

Yes, dogs can get strep throat, and it can be deadly, so you should know the symptoms. My parents’ dog almost died from strep throat, thanks to a misdiagnosis by a veterinary neurologist who was treating the animal for a brain tumor. One day the German shepherd was listless and had a poor appetite, eyes glazed, not very responsive to commands.

The ER vet at a prestigious veterinary clinic where the neurologist worked examined the GS and couldn’t come up with anything definitive; the animal stayed overnight, and next morning and $1,300 later, we were informed by the vet neuro that the deterioration was from the brain tumor’s fluid buildup and/or the tumor itself, a “bad” day for the dog, par for the course; the animal was treated with a diuretic and anti-inflammatory via IV feed.

The GS was perked up somewhat for the next eight hours, then relapsed, and for the next five days, outright deteriorated: increasing loss of appetite; increasing listlessness; increasing weakness; increasing sleep; glazed look in eyes; depressed disposition.

Our pet was eventually sleeping at all times except when the urge to relieve himself was so overwhelming that he forced himself up and stood by the door; he was also lapping up huge amounts of water.

By then, this beloved German shepherd had had one visit with a new veterinarian in Colorado who uses alternative treatments for cancer. Over the phone at 10 pm I described the dog’s symptoms to this doctor, and he promptly diagnosed strep throat!

“Bring him in tomorrow morning at 7:30,” he said. Next morning the GS had a fever of over 104 degrees. Our pet stayed a few days and was “rebuilt,” explained the doctor, adding that he sees strep throat in dogs all the time.

General symptoms of strep throat in dogs: lethargy; a depressed demeanor; physical weakness; glazed, glossy or foggy eyes; loss of appetite/slower eating; increased water intake, though lethargic lapping it up; fever; unwillingness to get up at commands; increasing sleep to the point of even literally sleeping every moment save for getting up to urinate or get water.

In advanced stages of strep throat, the dog will be virtually unresponsive to commands or verbal signals from his masters; will need help getting on all fours and may even need to be carried to get from point A to point B; refusal to eat.

Early symptoms of strep throat in dogs: subdued nature; glazed or hazy look in eyes; lack of gusto when eating; picky eating; increased water consumption; listless gait; hacking or gagging sounds as though attempting to void throat of something; upchucking or spitting up; diminished interaction with masters.

Our dog began showing early symptoms of strep throat a second time, after fully recovering from the first strep occurrence. (Strep throat can occur in the same dog more than once.)

This time, I was on these familiar symptoms and contacted the alternative vet. Because the strep this time was in its early stages, the dog was simply given a penicillin injection. His full appetite returned that day. Next day he was back for a second injection, and we took home penicillin in tablet form plus two additional drugs to fight the infection, and he was eating like a vulture.

The vet said, “I see 10 dogs a day with strep.”  There are different strains of the Streptococci bacterium. “Many species of Streptococci are normal residents of the skin, urogenital tract, nose and mouth,” says Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, of Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington, NY. 

He continues, “People are the natural reservoir hosts for Group A Streptococci. Group A Streptococci cause ‘strep throat’ in people. Dogs and cats are not reservoirs for Group A.”    
Dr. Selmer further explains, Group B Streptococci have occasionally been associated with neonatal infections, endometritis, endocarditis, and other mixed infections in dogs. Group G Streptococci are normal residents of the skin and mucosa of dogs, and are responsible for most infections in dogs.”

Canines infected with Group G “May have a history of recent trauma or bite wounds, or have nonspecific signs (e.g., lameness, respiratory signs, urinary signs),” continues Dr. Selmer.  “Most dogs develop a rapidly progressive, severely painful cellulitis. The limbs are most often affected. The dogs become depressed and shocky. Fever, depression, hypotension and shock may also develop in infected dogs, in the absence of fasciitis. Acute pulmonary infections with Streptococci appear to be the main cause of this streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Most dogs with toxic shock syndrome (with or without fasciitis) die or are euthanized due to the severity of their signs.” 

Now that you know the symptoms of strep throat in dogs, how can it be prevented? A compromised immune system can bring on symptoms of strep throat in dogs. Dr. Selmer says, “Because most Streptococci are normal residents of the skin and mucosa of the body, animals are universally exposed to these bacteria. Routine prevention involves good sanitation and hygienic care of wounds and other non-infected lesions.”

Source: www.advancedcareforpets.com