Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Remove a Tick From Your Pet

Pet owners who find a tick on their pets typically act swiftly with the goal of removing this parasitic arachnid as quickly as possible. However, moving too quickly can hurt the pet and even its owner. Tick removal kits can be highly effective and are often inexpensive, but owners can remove the tick themselves as well. The following are a few tick-removal tips courtesy of the ASPCA.

Be prepared to keep the tick
Some tick bites are worse than others, and if your pet falls ill after a tick bite, the tick itself might provide some valuable insight for your pet’s veterinarian. So owners about to remove a tick from their pet should prepare to keep the tick, ideally in a screw-top jar containing some rubbing alcohol. Keep the jar close to you when you begin the removal process.

Protect yourself
Ticks, even those that have already bitten your pet, can carry infective agents, which may enter your bloodstream through breaks in your skin or if you touch your eyes, nostrils or mouth. When removing a tick, be sure to wear rubber or latex gloves to protect yourself from direct contact with the tick or the bite area.

Enlist help
Pets will likely try to squirm away as you remove the tick, so enlist some help to hold the animal still or help it relax.

Prepare the area, and remove the tick
When you’re ready to remove the tick, treat the bite area with rubbing alcohol. Once treated, use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the animal’s skin as possible before pulling the tick straight upward with steady, even pressure. During removal, do not twist or jerk the tick, as doing so can leave parts of the tick embedded in the pet or cause the tick to regurgitate infective fluids. Once the tick is removed, do not squeeze or crush it, as this can cause it to expel fluids that may contain infective organisms. Immediately place the tick in the jar you’ve selected for storage.

Examine the area where the tick was removed
It’s not always possible to remove the tick entirely. Sometimes parts of the tick’s mouth will remain embedded in the animal’s skin. If the area is not red or inflamed but parts of the mouth remain, disinfect the area and leave the mouth parts in. Apply a warm compress to the area, which may expel the remaining mouth parts.

Clean the area and yourself
When the tick is removed, disinfect the bite area thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean yourself as well, washing your hands even if you wore gloves. Sterilize the tweezers with alcohol or carefully run them over a flame.

Continue monitoring the bite area for infection

Even if the tick removal process goes smoothly, continue to monitor the bite area for infection. If the area is red or inflamed or becomes red or inflamed following the removal, visit the veterinarian and bring the jar with the tick inside along.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Animal Haven of Asheville

Animal Haven of Asheville (a 501c3 organization) has been in operation for 14 years and is located in East Asheville.  The ten acre sanctuary is currently home to 100 homeless and abused animals, with an emphasis on farm animals.  Current residents include sheep, goats, geese, pot belly pigs, ducks, rabbits, chickens, cats, and dogs.  Animal Haven receives many of the farm animals from cruelty cases and animal shelters all over Western North Carolina.  Each animal that comes to live at the sanctuary receives any necessary medical treatment, rehabilitation, and enormous amounts of nurturing from the volunteers.  Animal Haven of Asheville is a cage free environment and those animals unable to be placed in a forever home live their lifetime at the sanctuary.

Animal Haven of Asheville is a volunteer based organization with volunteers ranging in age from six to sixty six.  Opportunities for volunteers range from hands on with the animals i.e. feeding, cleaning animal habitats, walking dogs to working in our on site Thrift Store.  The 1500 square foot thrift store was built by volunteers and through the generosity of the community is overflowing with housewares, furniture, clothes, books, tools, electronics, jewelry, and more.  Since Animal Haven is a volunteer based organization, all the proceeds from the thrift store benefit the animals.

Animal Haven has a very strong and all inclusive Humane Education program.  Throughout the year, many schools come to the sanctuary either to work directly with animals or for an educational tour about the current animals and the plight of homeless and abused animals in the community and beyond.  Once a month for the past seven years, 2nd and 3rd graders come out to help feed the animals and clean their habitats.  Groups of college students also come out for major projects such as fencing, painting, cleaning the creek etc. Rehabilitation centers also pitch in as well as church groups, mentor programs, and Brownie Troops, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Eagle Scouts.

Animal Haven is also involved with the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women (for the past 8 years) and the Craggy Correctional Center for Men(for the past 2 years) through the “New Leash on Life” program.  This program allows up to five homeless dogs to live at these facilities for an 8 - 12 week period where they are taught basic obedience, crate training, housebreaking, socialization etc. by inmates selected to be their trainers.  An outside trainer visits weekly to instruct the inmate trainers and to address any other issues.  Animal Haven provides all medical, food, crates, toys, treats, food, blankets etc.  During this training period new homes are actively sought for the dogs and upon graduation, complete with “pomp and circumstance”, the dogs are united with their new families. 

This program is a new leash on life for the participating dogs, making them highly adoptable, well rounded and well loved.  But it is also a lease on life for the inmates/trainers directly involved and for the entire inmate population.  These dogs allow an outlet for love, compassion, friendship, and nurturing for the trainers, a reason to get up every morning, responsibility for a living, breathing creature.  For everyone involved, new friendships are made, grievances are down, and morale sky rockets.  The presence of these dogs has created a powerful environment in these facilities, and a change in the lives of the trainers that has no limits and will be with all of them forever.  To learn more about this program or to learn about the dogs for adoption, call Animal Haven at 828-299-1635.

Animal Haven of Asheville is located at 65 Lower Grassy Branch Road in East Asheville and is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm.  Visit the website at

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Four Healthy Hobbies for Men

How a man spends his free time can go a long way toward improving his quality of life and overall health.

Family- and work-related stress might be unavoidable, but a healthy hobby can make it easier for men to cope with that stress. But even if you aren’t stressed out, the following healthy hobbies can improve your quality of life and help you make the most of your free time.

1. Dust off that old guitar
Playing an instrument, whether it’s the guitar, the piano, the drums, etc., is a great way to relax and, depending on when you started playing, may have a significant and positive impact on your mental health in the years to come. A study published in the July 2012 issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that playing a musical instrument may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. Researchers behind the study based their findings on adults who learned to play music in childhood, so men who learned to play their guitar or tickle the ivories as a child might benefit more than those who learned to play as an adult. But even grown men with no previous musical experience can benefit from playing during their free time.

2. Hit the dance floor
Perhaps thanks to the popularity of the hit television show “Dancing With the Stars,” which has seen professional football players like Emmitt Smith, Donald Driver and Hines Ward excel on the dance floor, more and more men are taking up dance, which can improve cardiovascular health and help men shed a few extra pounds. Dancing is also a great way to build muscle and improve bone health. What’s more, few women can resist a man who isn’t afraid to show his stuff on the dance floor.

3. Escape into a good book
Reading is a great way to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world, and reading also provides several health benefits. Research has shown that activities like reading can improve memory function, delaying or even preventing age-related memory loss. Reading is also a great way to cope with stress, providing a welcome respite from the daily grind that allows you to peacefully unwind at the end of the day.

4. Get your hands dirty in the garden
Gardening is another great way to relieve stress while also getting some time in the fresh air. A 2011 study from researchers based in the Netherlands found that gardening is more effective at improving mood than reading. That study examined two groups of people who were instructed to read or garden for 30 minutes. When the half hour was up, the participants who gardened reported being in a better mood than those who read, and the gardening group also had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Additional studies have also linked gardening to reducing the symptoms associated with depression.

by Metro Creative Connection

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Motocross and Supercross Enthrall Fans

Motorcycles remain a popular form of transportation all around the world, but they are also prime machines for thrill-seekers and extreme sport lovers.

Thousands of people enjoy the thrill and power involved in taking motorcycles off-road for extreme racing. There are many varieties of motorcycle racing, but some of the more popular are motocross events and derivatives like supercross.
Those unfamiliar with the world of off-road motorcycle racing may not know the differences between motocross and supercross. Since motocross and supercross are so similar, some people might mistakenly feel they are the same thing. In fact, they are two completely different sports.


Whether you’re having fun on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or in an ROV (recreational off-highway vehicle), staying safe can be as simple as ABC and 123.

Learn the differences between the types of vehicles: ROVs, also called side-by-sides, have a steering wheel, acceleration foot pedal and brake foot pedal. ATVs have a handlebar for steering, a throttle controlled by a thumb lever, and hand levers and a foot pedal for the brakes. Most ATVs are designed for one rider who straddles the machine, out in the open. With an ROV, it’s important to wear the seat belt and keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

It’s critical that ATV riders be the right size for their machines. Children should not ride adult-sized ATVs, though youth-model ATVs let kids as young as 6 enjoy riding under adult supervision. ROVs are only for operators age 16 or older with a valid driver’s license.
Riders of either vehicle need proper helmets that meet Department of Transportation standards, eye protection, gloves, long sleeves and pants, and sturdy boots. An ROV should have seat belts, a rollover protective structure, side retention features and handholds.
These vehicles are for off-road use only and should be taken exclusively on designated trails.

Neither should ever be operated while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Both should be used only after proper training, through the ATV Safety Institute ( or the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association ( Then go have fun—safely—off-road. courtesy of naps

Motocross motorcycle racing takes place on enclosed, off-road circuits. The sport is derived from motorcycle trial competitions that originated in the United Kingdom.

The outdoor tracks of motocross vary in size, and races are held in all types of weather conditions. Because the space needed for tracks is so vast, many tracks are located in rural locations. Although the natural terrain helps shape part of the course, some man-made modifications are also included to create jumps, pits, sharp turns, and other obstacles.

Motocross is celebrated across the globe. Since the sport was introduced in 1966, motocross has become more popular in the United States. The Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), based in Paris, France, is the global governing sanctioning body of motorcycle racing and represents 103 national motorcycle federations. Canadians also participate in the sport through Canadian Motocross.

Motocross enthusiasts sometimes find attending a motocross competition is difficult due to the rural location of outdoor tracks. And once there, spectators can only see the portion of the race closest to their seat. But enterprising individuals created subdisciplines of the racing that could take place within indoor arenas, and supercross and arenacross were born. Supercross is typically held on man-made tracks that are smaller than outdoor motocross tracks. Football stadiums and other indoor stadiums are retrofitted to accommodate these tracks. Even though the racing takes place indoors, it is still considered off-road racing.

With supercross, the race is shorter than motocross and there are typically fewer racers because of space constraints. The size of the arena also limits the types of jumps and other stunts that can be accomplished depending on the height of the building. Some people argue that supercross is more extreme because the size of the arena forces racers to be more precise and there are a greater number of rules governing the races.

The main motocross championships are the FIM Motocross World Championship, which is typically held in Europe, and the AMA Motocross Championship that begins in early May and runs through September in the United States. The annual Motocross des Nations is held at the end of the year when National and World Championship series have ended. The competition involves teams of three riders representing their nations.

As motocross continues to draw fans and racers alike, different variations of the sport also continue to evolve. Freestyle, supermoto, ATV/Quad motocross, and mini-motocross are derivatives of the original sport.

Extreme sport enthusiasts have many options from which to choose. Motocross and supercross are two sports that boast a loyal legion of fans.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Healthy Foods for Men Looking to Get in Shape

Men hoping to get in shape typically know that getting fit requires a combination of diet and exercise.

While it might be easy to adapt to a new exercise regimen, many men find it difficult to alter their diets. But a healthy diet does not have to be drab. The following are some healthy foods that men can enjoy on their way to improving their overall health.

Each ounce of skinless turkey breast contains seven grams of muscle-building protein, which should interest those men looking to improve their physique. Turkey often has no saturated fat and is even high in vitamin B and zinc.

Beans are loaded with protein and contain no saturated fat. Men who want to get the most bang for their bean should consider black beans, which have the most fiber per serving. Fiber swells in your stomach and makes you feel full, which can quell any hunger pangs you get during the day. This can help you avoid overeating.


Sweet potatoes are a staple of Thanksgiving dinner, but they can be enjoyed year-round, too. Sweet potatoes protect the body against cell damage because they’re loaded with nutrients such as beta carotene, iron and vitamins C and E. Sweet potatoes also help your body’s muscles recover after a tough workout.


Beef might not be the first food men think of when they’re trying to get in shape and improve their overall health, but beef is loaded with nutrients, including protein, B6 and B12, niacin, phosphorous, and selenium. When buying beef, look for lean cuts. They should not be too difficult to find, as the United States Department of Agriculture notes that today’s beef is 20 percent leaner than it was as recently as a decade ago.

Men who need to shed a few pounds should consider yogurt, which contains calcium thats help the body feel full as it effectively burns fat. In addition, yogurt contains active cultures that increase the amount of germ-fighting bacteria along the intestinal walls. Studies have linked those cultures to a reduced risk of getting a cold, so you might just avoid a cold while you’re losing some weight.

Popeye ate spinach, and men looking to get in shape and stay healthy should follow suit, as spinach is loaded with calcium, fiber and beta carotene, which boosts your immune system.


Eating healthy can start in the morning with a bowl of oatmeal. It contains ample soluble fiber that can reduce a man’s risk of developing heart disease by helping reduce your cholesterol levels. If plain oatmeal is too drab, add some fruit like strawberries, bananas or blueberries, which contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals per ounce than any other fruit.
by Metro Creative Connection