If you are building a pond for the first time, you should check out this video on youtube. Then you might consider purchasing a kit, which will include everything you need to start the process. This is usually the best way to start a project because you know that all of the included parts will work together and fit together correctly.
If you are building your own, you will need to put down a layer of sand before you install the underlayment and liner. You will have to buy a pump, which will move the water around and support any fountains or waterfalls you want to install. You can buy a submersible pump, which works well for smaller ponds, or you can buy an external pump. You will have to spend more up front to buy an external pump, but it will be cheaper to run because it uses less energy that a submersible pump.
You will have to purchase a filter to keep your water healthy and clean. Some filters are submersible, so they actually run under the water. A pond skimmer will also keep the water clean. It works by collecting dirt and other debris from the surface of the water, which helps ensure that debris doesn’t fall to the bottom.
One item you should consider purchasing is a cover. You can order a cover in custom dimensions in just about any shape to fit whatever size you have. A cover is great because it protects your water. Debris can’t get in, but sunlight can still reach the water.
The last thing you should consider is buying a test kit for your water. A test kit will check the ph balance in your water and the levels of phosphate, ammonia, and nitrite to make sure you have a healthy environment for your fish and other aquatic life.
Recently, I’ve had discussions with three animal lovers I know about Internet shopping for pet supplies. Interestingly enough, even though all three people live pretty different lifestyles, they all preferred shopping online for their animals’ needs versus going to an actual brick-and-mortar store.
My friend, Yolande, was the first person who brought up the whole Internet shopping thing. Yolande has two dogs and also owns a quarter horse, which she boards in Virginia at the same stable where I keep my mare. As we were trail riding the other day, she told me that she had just ordered a pair of winter riding boots from an online pet supply store.
I asked her why she hadn’t gone to a local tack shop instead, and she grimaced. Because she lives and works in Washington, D.C., it turns out she has very little time to get to a tack shop, except on the weekends, when she prefers to spend what little free time she has riding to driving to a tack store and shopping.
Yolande also told me that she often orders food, supplies and treats for her two beloved dogs online, as well. Her home in D.C. isn’t close to a major pet store, so getting to one means making a long drive and finding a parking space, which isn’t always easy in the city. She related to me how even buying a big bag of dog food from a nearby market can be a pain, as she then has to haul it home on the metro system. I had never really thought about all this before, as I live in a suburb and didn’t realize what a pain it must be to haul around a big heavy package like that on the train system.
The second person that I had a discussion with about online pet supply shopping was Carla, who runs the barn where both Yolande and I board our horses. I actually thought it kind of surprising to find out that Carla, who lives in a rustic little house, almost a cabin, and drives a tractor, did much of her animal supply shopping online. I guess I was kind of stereotyping her as being a Luddite, who would prefer “real” shopping versus virtual shopping. It turns out I was wrong.
Carla, who is a real nature lover, told me she bought a lot of her horse supplies, as well as a lot of wild bird supplies, such as bird houses, online. She likes the variety of things that she can find on the Internet, especially when it comes to special things for her beloved wildbirds.
In addition, like Yolande, Carla doesn’t live close to any pet stores or wild bird supply stores. The nearest such shops were about a 20-mile round trip that included some very bumpy dirt roads. With a laugh, Carla admitted that she much preferred having the UPS or USPS driver make the trip than having to do it herself. It not only saved her gas and her time, but also considerable wear and tear on her old car.
The third person who told me that they loved online shopping for pet supplies was the most surprising. My mother-in-law, Irene, who is in her 80s, is not exactly a wiz at using a computer, but she has done a really good job at adapting. She actually has a rudimentary Facebook page that she uses mainly to keep up with the grandchildren…anyway, I digress. Irene has found that the computer is an excellent way for her to shop for things for her dog and for the wildlife that populates her Illinois backyard.
Because of her age, Irene tries to avoid unnecessary driving, especially in the winter. Her hometown gets its fair share of rough weather, and her eyes and reaction time aren’t as good as they used to be, so she has found online shopping to be a Godsend. She loves birds and squirrels and has always kept her yard filled with squirrel and bird feeders and bird baths. Irene actually really worries that if she doesn’t feed her feathered and furry friends in the winter time that they might starve, so she makes it a point to keep the feeders as full as possible at all times.
Irene also has a big old Labrador mix that has been having trouble getting to its feet. A friend had advised her to get pet socks and possibly some pet paw wax for the Labrador’s feet to keep it from slipping on Irene’s hardwood floors. But when Irene called her local pet store to ask it if they carried those two items, the teenager who answered the phone could not answer the question and also sounded like he couldn’t be bothered to search for the items for her.
Frustrated by the store’s lack of response and worried for her dog, Irene decided to do an Internet search and was able to find both items online pretty quickly. In addition, she didn’t even have to pay tax on the items, which on her limited income, was a real bonus.
Like my friends and my mother-in-law, I’m a fan of internet pet supply shopping, as well. Also like them, I find it convenient and also enjoy the variety of items available on the Internet, and I can actually see a day in the not-too-distant future where I might actually be purchasing most of my animal supplies online.
Dogs and cats are the animals that naturally come to mind when people think of pets, but is there such a thing as a pet horse? In one of its definitions for “pet,” Merriam-Webster describes them as domesticated animals that are kept by humans for pleasure rather than for their use. With this definition as a guide, then a large percentage of horses owned by humans today would have to be considered pets.
Some horses, such as the ones that pull tourists in carriages around Central Park or racehorses, are still used as a means of income or for utilitarian purposes. Surely, the Amish still consider their equines less a pet than a necessity for their lifestyle. However, for a large number of horse lovers, their horses are sources of pure pleasure, a friend to share a trail ride with or a day at a local show. There is even a large contingent of horse “lawn ornaments,” who do no more work than cats do in their everyday life.
In this way, the horse has been a much luckier animal than, say, the cow and the sheep, which have for the most part remained unfortunately for their sake non-pets and mere vehicles for milk, wool, meat and leather for humans. The horse and its cousins, the donkey, mule and ponies have been the luckiest of the farm and ranch animals, having somehow managed to rise above this strictly utilitarian world and into the hearts of humans.
While most owners might not consider their horses pets, many spoil them the same as they would a prized poodle or Siamese cat. Blanketed, housed in warm stalls, brushed, well-fed and maybe asked to do an hour’s worth of work a day, most horses today could probably easily fall under Merriam-Webster’s definition of a pet.
A pet dog is a better companion than a cat. Cats can be beautiful, attentive and loving, but, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “The cat walks alone.” Cats want your attention, but only on their own timetable. They want to be snuggled, but only when they’re in the mood. They want to sit on your lap, but have you noticed it’s usually when it’s cold outside? Some people admire this self-sufficiency, but dogs have so much more to offer.
Dogs can be slavishly affectionate. Even the strong and aloof among them will wiggle like a puppy if you’ve been away from home long enough. Dogs are attentive to human needs and moods. If you are sick, a dog will likely stay close until you feel better. If you are sad, the same dog will curl up in your lap or try to lick your face. Dogs are also devoted to their pack, even if that pack includes a few humans. If you are in danger, a dog will be the first to defend you. If you are homeless, your dog will be right by your side.
Dogs can also share in a human life in a way that cats cannot. Dogs can go swimming with you, for example. They can hike. They enjoy riding in the car and strolling to the park. There are very few places a person can go where a dog cannot. Dogs even eat the same kinds of foods as people and, unlike the nocturnal cat, sleep at night and are awake most of the day.
A cat is lovely to look at, and soothing to pet, but if you want an animal that can really share your life, your loves and your dinner, then the goofy, joyous creature we call dog is the pet of choice.
Owning and taking care of a pet has been proven to have a positive influence on many aspects of one’s life. Although dogs and cats have been studied the most, others have been shown to have the same effect. These include birds, fish, rabbits, snakes and other animals that one loves and cares for.
Animal ownership can help one in many different ways. Researchers have proven that patting a dog, cat or other animal can immediately start to lower one’s blood pressure. Those who own animals, especially those who own dogs, have better physical health due to the exercise they get when walking their dog. A companion animal can help those who are lonely or depressed feel needed again. Some studies have even shown that those caring for a favorite animal heal quicker after surgery than those without one.
Adults are not the only ones who benefit from having animals in the family. Scientists have found that children who have this opportunity in the home during their first year of life seem to have a smaller chance of developing allergies and asthma. For those children who are autistic, interacting with a family pet has been shown to help them to be more socially appropriate. Researchers have also found that children who take care of an animal seem to have more positive self-esteem than those without one. Recent studies have shown that young adults, especially those in colleges, also benefit from the positive aspects of animal ownership.
No matter the reason, the only thing necessary for one to know is that animal ownership has a positive influence in one’s life, and perhaps more people should try it. They will be amazed at the difference it can make.