New Google Rules

I'm sure many of us can relate to the playground bully.

You're happily swinging away when someone much larger than you decides they want your swing. You could stand your ground, but we know how that plays out.

Think of Google as the very large kid on the playground. You want to play there? Well then, you follow their rules. They have their own browser (Chrome) and it is the search engine. Google averages 3.5 billion searches every day.

Google has instituted 2 new rules.

The first you can thank the porn industry for. 12% of all internet sites are porn related. To "protect" users from fraudulent sites, Google is requiring all websites have a basic SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. The purpose of this certificate is to provide an extra layer between your computer and any site. It changes http:// to https://. It provides that little lock you see on some websites. 

Without this certificate, anyone visiting your website will get a warning that this site may be unsafe. That will drastically reduce the number of people going to your site. This rules is supposed to go into effect sometime in Feb or March of this year.

My recommendation is to have your host provider install this certificate. It should run you anywhere from $10-30 a year. DO NOT USE cheaper third party software. 

The second is only important if you have a pop-up on your site. A pop-up encourages people to sign up for your newsletter. If they consider your pop up intrusive, then they will blacklist your site for mobile applications. Pop-up dimensions can appear much larger on mobile devices. If you are uncertain if your pop-up is annoying Google, visit your website from your phone. If it appears quickly or takes up the screen, then its intrusive and you need to fix that. If you don't know how, contact your pop-up provider.

Google is the search engine of choice by billions of users. Don't reduce the likelihood of potential clients even finding your site. These are pretty easy changes to make. If you think this is beyond your capabilities, then let your website hosting company do it for you.





Wesley And The Snake


Wesley was always one of my favorite golden retriever’s, as he loved to take a bath. Whenever I arrived, I would have to step back after opening the door so I wouldn’t get knocked to the ground when Wesley rushed into the van.

One day after I finished Wesley and gave him his treat, I waited in their kitchen for mom to pay me. Wesley settled down a couple of feet away from their kitchen table. A minute later, Wesley picked up his treat and went into the living room with it.

I was still waiting when the 10 year-old son walks past me, sighs very heavily, and calls out to his dad. “Dad, there’s another snake in the kitchen. “ And then just continues walking away.

I’m standing there frozen in place in the kitchen with the snake. I left my glasses in the van, so I’m blind as well. I don’t dare move because there’s A SNAKE IN THE KITCHEN and I don’t know where it is. All I’m thinking is the kid said another, so this is something that happens on a regular basis and that bum Wesley, took his treat and abandoned me with the snake in the kitchen.

I got up the courage to look at the kitchen table as I suspected that Wesley was no fool and had no plans to share his treat with a snake. And there it was, not 5 feet from me. Just curled up being a snake.

Dad comes running over with a bucket, scoops up the snake, tells me the cats keep bringing them into the house and not to tell his wife.

Three months later they moved about 500 miles away. Which sounds like how I would react to finding a snake in my house. While I would miss the traitorous Wesley, I wouldn’t have to worry about standing next to snakes in their kitchen anymore.

That’s not the end of the story. About a year later, a current client bought the house from the person Wesley’s family sold it to.

They also moved about two years later.

Winter Safety Tips 2016


It's that time of year again. 

Car Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. Its sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a thermometer window cling. It tells you what the interior temperature of your vehicle is.  On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling, as it is easy enough for an excited dog to move the gear shift from park to drive or reverse.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent, become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.


Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.


The Holiday Season is in full swing.



The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. Both Pet Poison Helpline ( and the ASPCA ( has a database of toxic plants and phone apps.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember; never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

 Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars cause a fatal drop in blood sugar, especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at both Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA’s website.

TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

©Mary Oquendo