May 31st, 2010
Staying local is a great choice, not a default.
It’s summertime, and the local fair/festival season is off to a great start. Here is my husband doing his ‘Kilroy was here’ interpretation in honor of Memorial Day for the annual White Plains gala, next weekend.
Also next weekend is the Tarrytown Street Fair, which will occupy much of Main Street. www.sleepyhollowchamber.com
Have your Wheaties and slather on the sunscreen, you will need it for the next weekend, where Ossining, Katonah Fire Department and the Armonk Lions are all having soirees.
The Armonk event is called a Fol de Rol. Various web definitions confirm it is a day of family fun, and apparently successful, this being it’s 36th year. www.armonklions.org.
Local artists and craftspeople, good food, and cool vendors will be in good supply at each. Bring your friends, meet new ones and support your community, it doesn’t get better than this.
May 20th, 2010
Glorious color, gracing the front of River Rock Supply on Rte 9 in Sleepy Hollow 5.20.10
May 19th, 2010
I’ve writen in legnth about my passion for doing window treatments before http://www.therefreshedhome.com/2010/05/02/yes-i-do-windows, that what an exponential change they make in the chemistry of a room, but seeing is believing…
We started out with existing blinds, and fleshed out an idea, using the kid’s flannel sheets
Then, 29 yards of fabric later….
Here is a lovely kitchen and eating area,
blinds on the window were a given.
Draw drapes over french doors provide privacy and sound-absorption (great for rooms with hard surfaces and households with young children), balance the line of the cabinetry, but also elevate the feeling of the space…comfortable for kids, great for casual dinners with grown-ups, too.
Almost impossible to discern, but fabric is a mini-mini check fabric. This let us add presence by doing a strong color, but kept it from reading hard, or too dark.
AND ohyes, here is the othe reason I love doing window treatments. Rich Kane is the “R” of “M and R Designs”. He and his wife Marilyn have been doing window treatments for almost 30 years, and they have been my exclusive workroom for the last 10.
This goofy shot belies the seriousness and dedication they put into every job. They “get” the aesthetics as well as the construction/fabrication so it goes from concept to reality, flawlessly, on time, and without you having a ton of fabric left over.
May 17th, 2010
Staging is about putting a property’s best foot forward, in a way that meets the sellers’ needs, expectations and circumstances.
Staging vacant co-ops and condos addressed earlier, in greater detail-
This property was Staged-or, updated, if you prefer. Old curtains taken down, carpet ripped up/floors finished, fixtures changed out and walls painted, approx $5000.00 worth of work, over 2 weeks.
Vacant for months, @$600.00 month maintenance.
4 offers in first 30 days.
Contracts signed for 3% less than asking, unit closing shortly.
Everyone is pleased, life is good.
Ask your Realtor-Staging works!!
May 15th, 2010
Staging is about the whole property – not just the interior. Right or wrong, buyers often see an interesting and well-kept exterior as an indication of how you have maintained the house itself.
Staging your porch, deck, or patio also expands the useful living space of the home. It creates extra value for buyers, very nice if they’ve got a handful of other listing sheets in front of them!!
Attention paid to spiffying up the outside will make your property stand out, and encourage buyers-as well as other agents who bring buyers-to actually come in, and check out the rest of your property.
There is wisdom in the old saw that we have only have one chance to make a good first impression, and selling your home is all about numbers-the more interest there is, the more people will see it; when there is good showing traffic, you will have the best shot of getting an offer you want, quickly.
While first-quarter figures from WPMLS are encouraging, the recovery is not on auto-pilot. Number of sales, and average sale amount are now both headed in the right direction, but inventory in every category is at-or near- historic highs, while average sale are still far below pre-2007 figures: condos down 6.2%, to 2 to 4 family homes down a whopping 39.8%.
Sheri Silver, the owner of fiori garden design, based in Irvington is professionally trained as both an Architect and a Landscape Designer, and she brings an exceptionally thoughtful and stylish touch to the spaces her designs have graced. Creating instant curb appeal for sellers is one of her specialties, so I’ve asked her to speak to some of the quick/high ROI fixes she finds the most effective.
Sheri: The typical home seller is not looking to invest in a re-design of his landscape. That said, creating curb appeal can be the difference between an interested buyer and someone who drives by – and keeps on driving.
Here are a number of quick, affordable solutions that will significantly improve the look of any home when being shown to prospective buyers and increase sales potential:
• plant containers and window boxes with seasonal flowers and greens–planters and boxes “dress up” a bare exterior; flowering plants give an instant lift to any home
• plant foundation beds with annuals – detract from a bland row of shrubs by massing quick growing bedding plants (such as impatiens or petunias) to create a field of color in the foundation beds.
• shape and lightly prune overgrown foundation shrubs – shrubs that are blocking windows or hanging into walkways scream neglect. A quick shaping and thinning of these plantings instantly provide a more neat and finished appearance to the property.
• weed, clean, and spruce up neglected flower beds – by simply pulling out weeds and removing dead twigs and leaves, most flower beds will look significantly more appealing. Go one step further and finish the beds with a generous layer of shredded mulch (not the red dyed variety, please!).
• re-seed bare patches of lawn – in the spring, putting down some grass seed in bare areas turns a neglected lawn into a lush field of green.
These suggestions are all inexpensive and, in most cases, can be easily done by the homeowner over a weekend.
Landscaping improves property values – and for someone in the process of selling his home, creating curb appeal is essential to attracting interested buyers and reducing the amount of time his home is on the market.
May 14th, 2010
Although budget cutbacks have forced some changes, Westchester still has a pretty robust schedule for their residents. http://environment.westchestergov.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2550&Itemid=4548 will get you to the basic info, find schedule on right-hand menu. Note each location has different capabilities, so best to see what you have first, then plan.
Last spring I observed one of these at Playland. Stunning. Dozens-DOZENS- of wrapped palettes stacked high with unwanted electronics. Under the watchful eye of several of the County’s finest, many, many clear garbage bags full of unneeded/expired medications. A drive-thru, about the length of a football field, had different stations for the various kinds of chemical waste: guys in HazMat tyvek suits taking things like paint, cleaning supplies and whatever else (I didn’t get too close) out of your car.
The cars moved quickly, most were gone in minutes. But they kept coming. It was a cold and rainy March afternoon, but in the almost 2 hours I was there, I don’t think I ever saw less than 30 cars waiting on line. It was very difficult to see and absorb waste on this scale; as a citizen of the world, I was embarrassed.
Sure, much of this accumulation was years in the making, and the past few years have certainly re-calibrated our urge to procure, but a provacative and troubling question remains: where would it go otherwise?
Illegally dumped chemicals, drugs and other materials will find their way into our water, get ingested by wildlife, poison our soil, then ultimately, us. Materials disposed of legally will cost the individual homeowner big time.
Growing up, my family brought recyclables to a set of dumpsters set up behind the Briarcliff PO. Now it’s law, because enough people wanted it, there are bins and weekly pickups. Things change when enough people speak up.
Right now next year’s budget is being drawn up, maintaining/reinstating these events are part of it. If you understand the alternatives, and believe in the value of these services, let County Executive Astorino and your legislator know. This http://www.westchesterlegislators.com/Legislators/index.htm will help you find and contact your legislator. They are the people who vote on the budget, they need to know what’s on your mind.
May 13th, 2010
Recently a Realtor told me a story a client told him about the Stager her previous agent had brought in. The Stager was adamant; absolutely every personal photograph must go. There was no discussion; this is how it must be.
Another Realtor invited me to her Open House to see the property and get some suggestions. When the seller opened the front door-yes, she was there during the Open House!-it was clear this would just be a courtesy call.
In the first story, the ‘offending picture’ that neither could bend on was a single 10×14 wedding picture of the seller’s only child, on a side wall. In the second situation, the seller actually had a very lovely space and nice furniture, but would not even consider moving a table (that was obscuring the fireplace) to another part of the room, or adjusting the drapes to let in more light for the listing photos. The seller set all the parameters, many of them arbitrary.
The second Realtor in the first story did get the listing and sold the home (wedding picture intact). The controlling behavior of another ran the other interactions, and there were no winners. Both Realtors lost precious time and money, and SURPRISE the home in the second story never sold.
Like many things in life, I believe successful Staging is a collaboration. If you’re living in your house while you are trying to sell it, you need to consider more than what it should look like. There should be an agreed-upon, user-friendly plan, with means that make sense and are in line with your goals.
BUT-also recognize that choosing to sell and Stage your home is a commitment that will temporarily take you out of your comfort zone. Experienced, quality professionals will choose to tell you what is right over what is easy, it’s just about getting the job done.
Lots of little things hanging out visually shrink a space. Also, buyers remember what is most vivid, and too much of anything will get in the way of buyers seeing-liking-and remembering-your space. Iif a buyer gets so entranced/distracted by your frog collection/nudie art/diplomas/etc-that’s what they’ll remember, not the house.
I don’t believe that a handful of personal pictures or cultural/religious icons would be a deal-breaker to a serious buyer. However if you are real about getting the best offers and selling your property quickly, remember: my recommendation to wash the windows, rip up the faded carpet, put the bulk of the 200+ kids stuffed animals or your hubcap collection into storage is just business, it’s nothing personal.
May 11th, 2010
Nighttime baseball, under the lights, no mosquitos! Yorktown Dept of Rec International League, Route 202 field 5/10/10
May 10th, 2010
Last year, at a really low part of the market I got a call from a Realtor I had never met; someone from her office had picked up my brochure from a talk I did at the local library and passed it on.
She had a co-op she needed to sell…been on the market for some months, no interest, but there was no money…but she really needed to sell it…but there was no money…but-well, you get the picture. I had heard it before but this time I heard it a little differently.
Staging is about showing buyers where furniture goes, and how a space would be used, so in a vacant space, the logical and most successful solution is to bring things in. However, in the furniture rental business there are monthly rental minimums, and contracts that start at 3 months; so in units of say, 850 sf or less, the price to furnish them is proportionally higher, while the potential for net gain is…well, for a number of reasons, not so much. YET-at that point in the market, number of sales were down by a third, average sale was down 7-10%, and OHYES there were 350 more co-ops on the market that a year earlier, so something had to be done.
Staging is ALSO about ideally using the resources you have, while creating the solution whose results will most closely meet the seller’s expectations. The online listing photographs were not pleasant; a study in off-white, everything looked old and dingy. Professionally I saw potential in the space, and then-!!-the opportunity, and started looking at vacant co-ops and condos in a whole different way.
With a program I’ve use for my Decorating clients, I did the floor plan above. Printed it in usual 1/4″=1′ scale, on a full-size sheet of graph paper. Placed it in a stand, and made copies available for buyers to take with the actual listing sheet at the end of the showing (complete with selling agent and the agency in the title block). To cut to the chase, signed contracts were in hand in 4 weeks, for 97% of asking price, as is.
Here is the plan for another unit, similar circumstances. Long-time, older owner who moved out of state to live with her daughter; painting, removing badly faded carpet and refinishing the floors was necessary. I picked paint and finish colors, and 5 weeks on the market, multiple offers, contracts were signed for 5% under asking, with a substantial cash deposit.
Real Estate has never been for the faint of heart. In Westchester, end of first quarter saw a combined condo/co-op inventory at a record high of 2420 units.Yet this is the segment that shows the most movement and has the least complicated financing needs. We can wring our hands, and moan about the state of affairs while we write checks for the monthly carrying costs, or see the opportunity, take charge, move forward, and stand out in this very crowded field. (Remember, Staged properties appeal to other agents, too) There are those that would argue that floor plans and paint are not Staging, but I happen to know a few sellers and agents who would disagree with you!
May 9th, 2010
Besides being a proper-noun, “Mother” is also both a noun and a verb, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found my definition of mother has broadened. I choose to include all the strong women I know and admire who provide love and guidance, support and encouragement, all to help make this world a better place to be.
We all have our own lists, on mine are Linda and Jeanette, the crossing guards in my neighborhood; Carol, Cathy, Jan, Katie, Katherine, and JoAnn who are in education; Denise, Ginny, Suzanne, Vicki and Vickie all work in medicine, and Barbara, Carla, Lisa, Kate and Nancy who are some of the many, many who extend themselves in volunteer and public service capacities.
Being colleagues with Elaine, Ellen, Evelyn, Ingrid, Irene, Louise, Nancy and Sarah later grew into deeper relationships when I lost my own mother in 1981. Barbara, Lucy, Phyllis, Rosemarie and Rosina were friends’ moms who included me in their circle, and by marriage I am lucky enough to be related to Ann, Barb, Denise, Janet, Leslie, Lisa, Meg, Peg and Sally.
Christmas of 1992 was when I met Doug’s family for the first time. As I realized on my own, a number of years later, it was also the first holiday season Doug’s family went through after the sudden passing of Jim, Doug’s dad. Jean, and Stella, my future mother-in-law and grandmother-in- law selflessly had put their sadness aside and welcomed me without pretense, just happy that Doug was happy.
Among other things, by example, my own mother taught me about the importance of family and service, and similarly, I will never forget how much fun things like making cookies or playing rummy 500 for a nickel a hand was with my grandmother, or that it was she who finally got me to understand how to tie my shoes, using a shoelace and an upside-down green cardboard fruit tray.
Some of the women I’ve listed are parents, others are not. But to me, all are due, and I thank you-Happy Mother’s Day!!
May 7th, 2010
A quick perusal of some Real Estate sites shows that this weekend there will be at minimum, 500 Open Houses in Westchester.
Owners/occupants will tidy up and then (hopefully!!) disappear for a few hours, agents will get signs out, inflate balloons, make copies of listing sheets, buy doughnuts and fresh flowers.
Some prospective buyers may just drive around and follow the signs, or be invited by agents they’ve met previously, but an overwhelming majority will troll the online listings first. With so much to choose from, often buyers will look to eliminate choices; will your listing make the first cut?
Whether you are a seller, buyer, or agent for either-good photos where you can clearly see the best of the space works to everyone’s advantage and makes everything happen faster.
They engage the viewer, then are their most vivid memory they will have (via the listing sheet) after they do visit. Even just a simple digital camera, and some forthought can make all the difference. Here are some easy, no-cost ways to make sure you property shines:
CLEAN all glass surfaces-windows, mirrors, lamp globes, even exposed lightbulbs
TURN ON the lamps, OPEN the drapes -buyers can only buy what they see
Bathrooms Use your best matching towels, and fold them nicely. Clear the sink off, ditch the plunger and brush and ohyes-please-PUT THE SEAT DOWN
Kitchen Clear off the fridge totally…too much personal stuff is a turn-off, plus it can be a security issue; stuff on top sends the message-‘not enough storage’.
Bedrooms You’re not selling the bed, are you? Can you tell anything substantial about any of these rooms? Nope, me either.
Big, bouncy color/patterns on the bed become the center of attention-they distract the viewer and visually shrink the room, especially if the walls are light/off white.
Flip the bedspread over-the hem will probably read as contrast banding. Fluff the pillows, make sure bed is made neatly-no lumps, bumps…saw one pic today that looked like there was a body still in the bed.
Living Rooms Clear off tables of ‘stuff’, take the plastic off lampshades. Stow Nana’s crocheted afghan, get rid of sad, tired toss pillows, and dead/dying/out of season plants…no one wants to see this stuff, and poinsettias in May are just creepy.
Relevance: Why is this photo on the left taking up precious listing space? Any idea even what room it is??
Exterior Show current photos in season…this intimates the property has been on the market for a while, and it does not reflect well on the attention that agent has given to the listing.
Accurate and quality photos are taken at the most flattering time of the day, with adequate light, are in focus, and glare-free. Keep perspective in mind, show the room, not the stuff, and take lots of shots-different angles, heights, etc.
Last, before you post the photos, ask the opinion of a disinterested party. Often we can be just so darn familiar with something that we miss the simplest of things.
May 5th, 2010
Recently I was back in a clients’ home, checking in on the progress of her renovation. Since I was there last, she had new appliances delivered, including a washer and dryer.
Bells and whistles, for the sake of being new bells and whistles do not impress, or interest me. Tell me simply and specifically why something is smart, innovative or just better, I want to hear all about it, and know why. Yet sometimes, logic can be the back story.
A few years back we did need to replace the washer in the rental house we own, so I was familiar with the values offered by a front-load machine, kind of. On the Cape, water-or ‘ blue gold’ is dear, plus higher energy costs made the money we spent on a sturdy front-loader a good economic choice. There, for the most part, washers are like Model Ts-you can get any color, as long as it’s white, which was fine.
Fast-forward to the afore-mentioned visit, I could not take my eyes off this new washer and dryer. They were not just pretty, they were beautiful. Sexy. Voluptuous. Really.
Taller, and deeper than top-loaders, gone are the right-angles in the body, and the white glossy but thin-feeling finish. These machines are sculpture-curvy, with generous proportions and rich colors and finishes that rival those of a quality automobile.
Red! Anthracite! Cobalt, Pewter, and wow, Turquoise! Logical brain, professional brain refused to wonder if this year’s Turquoise would become our generation’s version of the dreaded Avocado Green or Harvest Gold, I was smitten. But this blog’s mission is to share information as well as entertain, and many thanks to Tony Martin of Leiberts Royal Green in White Plains for bringing me down gently.
Launched in 1992 by the EPA, ‘Energy Star’ is a voluntary labeling program, designed to identify and promote energy-efficient appliances that will help to conserve money, energy, and resources , while limiting greenhouse gases. It’s always been an important designation to have, it has also-very happily- both raised the bar, and narrowed the monetary gaps among the majority of even ‘average’ appliances.
Tony explained that typically front-loaders use less than half the water of a top loader (17 gallons vs. 40 gallons), less energy (shorter cycles, plus tub is sealed, keeping hot water hot) and is easier on your clothes (no agitator, more efficient too). While most everything Leiberts carry is Energy Star certified, he noted that those few products that might not have the designation come really very close to the specs required for designation.
A family with one of these washers, doing a modest 10 loads of laundry a week will save almost 12,000 gallons of water in a year; 55 families would save enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Everyone wants to be thought of as ‘green’, but an easy way to sort through all the greenwashing rhetoric is to go to the site, www.energystar.gov; an easy way to get through the laundry is TURQUOISE!
May 4th, 2010
You know those old bicycles you’ve been hanging on to? You’ve kept them in the shed, or shimmy around them in the garage, believing there is a better fate for them than the curb…you just haven’t found it yet. Well, your patience is about to be rewarded, Pedals 4 Progress is coming to Westchester.
Founded in 1991 by David Schweidenback, a former Peace Corps worker, P4P www.p4p.org collects your unwanted rust-free bicycles-and sewing machines-and ships them to non-profit organizations in developing countries like Guatemala, Ghana and Nicaragua.
In turn, these partners refurbish, then sell the bicycles at a very low cost, so even those most in need can afford them. Funds raised go towards subsidizing future deliveries and community improvements. Additionally, local jobs are also created, roughly 10 jobs for each shipment of 400 bicycles.
Over 125,000 bicycles have been shipped to 28 countries, providing families in need a cheap, reliable and environmentally sound way to get around, and helps them start to build a sounder financial footing.
Two drives are being sponsored in our area this month: On Saturday May 22 from 9am to noon, Westchester Cycling Club, partnering with Trinity Lutheran Church is holding a drive in the church parking lot on Route 6 in Brewster-click here information P4PFlyer2010-v1. On Sunday, May 23 from 1-4pm, Rotary district # 7230 is sponsoring a drive at White Plains HS, entrance off Bryant Ave-click here for information Pedals4Progress poster
This will actually be the fifth drive Westchester Cycling Club has sponsored. According to club President David Mackay WiIlson, the four previous drives have netted over 1000 bikes, and 60 sewing machines. This year’s drive has already gotten off to a good start, thanks in part to JP McHale Pest Management of Buchanan, who donated 10 new bicycles they purchased from Down Cycle in Croton, as part of a team-building day for their 100+ employees.
This will be the first drive in this area for the Rotary Club. It was introduced as a service project by Karl Milde, the District Govenor, and will be run by about a dozen Rotarians, as well as members of WPHS Interact Club, Rotary International’s service clubs for young adults 12-18. According to Tina Mancuso, a member of the WP Rotary chapter, P4P has provided support and training, and told them to expect anywhere from 80 to 100 bikes.
To help defray the cost of transporting these bikes overseas, a $10.00 donation is required for each bike or sewing machine you donate; both are tax-deductible. You don’t need an appointment, you just need to show up during the drive hours. Bicycles of any size(no tricycles)as long as they are rust-free-and working sewing machines- will be accepted. For any questions, or if you would like to donate but can’t make the drive, please contact the organizer for each event directly, their contact info is on each flier.
I love that there are so many painless ways to easily help our fellow citizens, and get some good karma going. BRAVO P4P, and those who do this work!!
May 4th, 2010
Cherry Blossom Festival 5/2/10 One of the things that makes this time of year so great.
May 2nd, 2010
Actually, I do a lot of windows! They are an important piece of a room’s real estate, so whether you’re a Decorating client or a Staging client, your windows are one of the first things I’d want us to talk about. The right window treatment can change everything about a room-make big furniture look smaller, totally change the perceived proportions of a room, preserve your furniture, cut down on noise, even cut your energy bills.
The biggest mistakes I see are those made with only one focus, usually COLOR/FABRIC (must be blue, or has to be flowers) or FUNCTION (windows are drafty, or too much sun, must cover window totally). Truth is there are a number of things you need to consider: primary function, aesthetics and budget are the easy ones; proportion, orientation of room (what direction are windows facing), access to handles, clearing AC or heating elements, what is suitable and appropriate for the room, fabric properties and fabrication/construction techniques are some others.
If you had a very bright room with old windows, and you liked blue…blackout draw drapes in a blue fabric might sound like an easy decision, but it wouldn’t be a good one. Besides needing lots of yards of more costly drapery fabric for the full-draw drapes, blue is the least chemically stable of all colors and the edges/other exposed parts will quickly fade. Also there is no in-between here, the drapes would either be “open” or “closed”, leaving the room either very bright, or very dark.
Instead, I’d take a wonderful statement blue fabric, perhaps use felt interlining and install treatment so outer edges are both above and beyond the mouldings, laying mostly on the wall, then use an adjustable or semi-sheer lighter treatment underneath. Interlining minimizes thermal loss while adding sound-deadening properties, and body to the fabric. The beautiful blue fabric hung past the actual window makes the window seem bigger, while the undertreatment lets you add varying amounts of light as you wish.
There are solutions out there for every goal and budget, and if you have been stuck, or hate what you have, we should talk about what’s right for you.
May 1st, 2010
To paraphrase Roger Caras, a former host at Westminster, and the 14th president of the ASPCA, ‘Pets are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole’. A few years ago, Orvis ran a full-page essay in one of their catalogs, why we love dogs. Given the price of color glossy print, I was very impressed, I still have that torn-out page.
Pets bring love into our hearts, and into our homes. While I’ve known some nice cats in my time, I am by and large a dog person. All were rescues, or from shelters: Brutus was the black lab mix who won my mother $25.00 for the story Reader’s Digest bought about how he protected me from the deadly dangerous vacuum cleaner as I lay in my bassinet; Fury was the black and white miniature collie with a wanderlust, he could shoot out a front door like you’ve never seen, and Bogart the Sheppard mix (part kangaroo, I think), with a fondness for butter.
Maggie Mae was the first dog I adopted on my own, as an adult. She was a year-old lab/? mix who came home with me on a cold and grey afternoon, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 1989. Yup, I saw her face, and I couldn’t leave her if I tried. On my third date with Doug-you know, the one where the girl has him over and cooks-he brought shrimp for us, and a rawhide for Maggie. I knew then and there I could love this very kind man, that was 17 ½ years ago.
Now we have sweet Bella Blue. A puppy called ‘Sue’ by the staff, she was one of ten in the litter, the rest were all retriever, blonde, fluffy and bouncy, looking much like the dogs you’d see in the catalogs. She was black, shiny and with blue eyes, and sat quietly, watching. It was that same Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 2002. We had been 3 years without St. Maggie, and had, sadly, just come to the end of a very long journey with my mother-in-law, it was time. Going into it, Doug remembered the work and responsibility; now the two of them are inseparable.
We all have our own stories, but most adoptive homes agree that shelter animals are very special indeed. Yesterday, the US Postal Service launched these new stamps, (and ok, some pricey artwork) to raise awareness of pet adoption from shelters. No funds come from the sale of these stamps/artwork, but the publicity could be priceless, and you can help just by buying and using these stamps.
Also, as s you spring-clean, please check out my Good Turns page to see what you might be able to donate. Spay/neuter, and if you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, please do consider adoption. Because I will still have just way too many words in me, Michelle Mazzacca from the Elmsford Animal Shelter will be guest-hosting next, and tell you how to choose and acclimate the right pet for your family, and how you can help otherwise. Meanwhile if you have a shelter story you’d like to share, please feel free, I’d love to hear it.