Tips To Deter Burglars From Your Home


Home invasion is a very real danger and can put both your home and family at risk.  There are certain things burglars look for when choosing a house to break in to, but luckily there are precautions that you can take to deter burglars from targeting your home.

  • Invest in an alarm system.  They can monitor your home 24/7 and there’s no better feeling than knowing you and your family are safe.  At the very least find an alarm company sign to put up on your lawn, even if you do not have an actual alarm system, the sign may be enough to ward off any potential burglars and convince them that your home is not an easy target.
  • Lock all doors and windows.  This should go without saying, but people leave doors and windows unlocked all the time because they think they live in a safe neighborhood.  Regardless of how safe your neighborhood may be, you still need to lock your doors and windows every night and whenever you leave the house.  Leaving them unlocked makes your home a very easy target, if thieves try to break in and your doors are locked, they’re most likely going to move on.
  • Use light sensors.  These are a huge deterrent for burglars because they don’t want to have a light shining down on them and risk being seen.  Having light sensors at all doors and even along walkways is a great defense against these prowlers.
  • Secure your garage.  Garage doors without windows are ideal, but if you have a garage with windows, make sure they are covered with newspaper.  You don’t want burglars to be able to tell whether you’re home or not or see any valuables you may have inside.
  • Keep valuables out of sight.  Having valuables outside such as bikes, or expensive items such as a big screen TV or expensive computer visible through the window makes your home a target.  Take all toys inside or put them in the garage, and consider rearranging expensive items so they are not visible through the windows, or at least make sure the blinds are drawn.
  • Make it seem like you’re home.  Did you know that break-ins are most common during the day when people are at work?  Leave on a light or two and maybe even the TV so it appears as if someone is home even if you’re not.
  • Don’t leave a spare key outside.  Burglars know typical hiding spots such as under the mat or under a flower pot, and even if you think you’ve put the key in a secure spot, burglars often case areas they are interested in and may see you retrieve it.  Your best bet is to give a spare key to a trusted neighbor or friend who lives near by.
  • Trim trees and shrubs.  Tall trees or thick shrubs are perfect spots for burglars to hide without being seen.  Keep them trimmed so that it’s not easy for them to hide behind, and try to leave walkways and driveways free of shrubs and trees so that they are completely visible and you can see anyone who approaches.
  • Get to know your neighbors.  If you’re friendly with your neighbors, they may be more likely to notice any unfamiliar visitors outside.  Strangers will stick out to them and if they notice anything suspicious, they can alert you or the police.

These tips can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your home.  These easy adjustments can save you a lot of potential trouble and will set your mind at ease so keep them in mind and stay alert!

Photo By: Eva Luedin

Furry Friend Friday With Pangea!


Did you know that June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month?  To celebrate we’re featuring this pretty kitty named Pangea, she’s 10 years-old and is currently up for adoption at the Lowell Humane Society and is a celebrity in her own right down at the shelter!

So Pangea, I hear that you’re a very popular girl at the shelter, and that you’re even the face of an upcoming event, is that correct?

Yes!  I’m actually very excited for this event! It’s called the Greater Lowell Community Foundations River Ride on Saturday, September 27th.  It’s a giant bike ride and our team is called the Phat Cat Riders, we’re aiming to raise awareness for pet obesity.  I’m the face of the campaign because I’ve had my share of weight issues, I came into the shelter weighing 26 pounds and now I’m down to 22 pounds!  I still have a ways to go, but this event is motivating me to get healthy and be looking my best!  The good news about this event is that our team is being sponsored by Anytime Fitness! so if you sign up to ride with us and commit to raise $100 for  the shelter, your registration fee will be waived and you’ll get a t-shirt with my face on it!

So besides working on your fitness, what else do you like to do in your free time?

Well, I love to be around people, so I get to spend a lot of time in the office at the shelter.  I love being petted, and I’m very vocal when I want some attention, so you’ll hear me meow a lot.  I love to sit by people’s feet too, but now that I’m losing some weight I’m a little more active and enjoy playing with toys.  I also love cardboard boxes, there’s just something about them that I can’t get enough of!

Do you have a favorite toy?

Now that I’ve lost a little weight, I’m more playful, and some of my favorite toys so far are those little balls with bells inside them!  I like to chase them around, even though I can’t go that fast yet, but I’ll get there!  I’ve also discovered a fascination with laser pointers, so if you have one of those I’m sure we’ll get along.

Is there anything that scares you?

I get very nervous during thunder storms!  They’re so loud so I always run under the bed to hide when one of them is on its way.

What do you think would be the perfect family for you?

I could really fit in anywhere, I love all types of people, and I even get along with most dogs!  I love birds too, they’re so fun to watch so if you have some of those that would be great!  My only request is to go to a home that can help me continue on my weight loss mission.  I need someone who can spend time playing with me and getting me to move around so I can get in shape for bathing suit season!

Pangea, why do you think pet insurance is a good investment for all pet parents to consider?

Well, pets can easily get sick, in fact I may have had a rough path ahead of me if I hadn’t started losing weight.  Pet insurance seems like a good way to make sure your pets can get the care they need should any unexpected illnesses or accidents occur.

Pangea is right!  Pets wind up in the vet’s office all the time, and unfortunately you can’t always plan it around your pay schedule.  Pet insurance is an affordable way to make sure you can get your pet the vet care they need.  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote!



Swimming Safety Tips

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Who doesn’t love taking a swim on a hot summer day?  Whether you’re at the pool, the beach, or a lake, fun is sure to be had, but it can quickly turn into a dangerous situation if parents and children don’t know proper swimming safety.  We’ve listed a few tips below that everyone should keep in mind whether they’re in or around the water.

  • The best thing to do for your family when it comes to water safety is to make sure that everyone knows how to swim and respects the water.  Signing children up for swimming classes at a young age will ensure that they learn proper swimming techniques and learn water safety at a young age.
  • Teach children to always ask for permission before going in the water.  You should always know when they’re swimming so that you can be there to supervise.
  • Make sure swimmers are ALWAYS supervised.  Children should never be left alone in the water for any reason, and whether it’s by you, another adult, or a lifeguard, there should always be someone nearby to jump into action if they’re needed.
  • Even if there is supervision, children should not swim alone.  Make sure they use the “buddy system” and have a friend with them at all times, but do not trust their safety to another child alone, the buddy system should be used in addition to adult supervision.
  •  Children that are still learning to swim should always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or around water.
  • There should always be an adult in the water with non-swimmers, and children should always be within an arms reach of them.
  • Make sure all pools are completely enclosed by fences that are at least five feet tall.  The gates should be self-closing and self-latching, and there should not be anything nearby for children to climb on that can enable them to climb over the fence, such as outdoor furniture, toys, etc.
  • Always keep rescue equipment nearby, such as a life preserver, rope, or solid pole.  In an emergency you don’t want to be searching for something to use, it’s best to make sure they are always in the same place and immediately put back when not in use.  It’s also a good idea to keep a first kit nearby for minor cuts and bumps.
  • Make sure children understand not to run, push, or horse around near water.  Not only can they endanger themselves, they can also cause harm to others if they were to slip and fall.
  • If you’re swimming in open water, only swim in approved areas.  Check the depth of the water, and make sure there isn’t an undertow, which can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal for even the most experienced swimmers.
  • If you’re swimming at a public place, such as a beach or public pool, use a brightly colored towel or umbrella so that children can easily spot you.
  • If your child goes missing, check the water first.  If they are struggling in the water, seconds can make all the difference in this life or death situation.
  • In case of an emergency, make sure there is always a phone and emergency numbers nearby.
  • It’s a good idea for all parents, but especially those that own a pool to be trained in CPR.
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol in them when you’re swimming yourself or supervising others.
  • Make sure that children take breaks from swimming to rehydrate and reapply sunscreen.

With these tips, you and your family will be having fun in the sun and water all summer long!

Photo By: whgrad

Furry Friend Friday With Chico!

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Happy Furry Friend Friday!  Who’s ready for their weekly does of cuteness?  We know we are!  Meet Chico, a feisty 3 year-old chihuahua up for adoption at Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem.  Chico’s been in the shelter for a few months now and is patiently waiting for the perfect family for him!

So Chico, what’s your favorite way to spend the day?

I’m a man of many interests, but I’d have to say my favorite thing to do is just be around my favorite people, and there aren’t many of those.  I’m very selective with who I give my affection to, but if you’re one of the lucky ones you’ll never find a more loyal friend.  If I could, I’d stay with my favorite people all the time, I love sitting on their laps and going for rides with them in the car, and the best part is that I’m travel size!

Do you have a favorite toy to play with?

I like to play ball sometimes but other than that, I’m not very interested in toys.  I’d much rather get a nice head scratch while I lounge on the couch!

Is there anything that scares you?

Well I’d say I get nervous when I’m around new people, if they come at me too fast and I don’t know them it makes me jump and I don’t like it.  I also get overwhelmed in crowds, like if my people were having a party at their house I’d rather be upstairs in the bedroom and have some space to myself.  I also don’t like being in a crate or anything, I get very anxious and would rather be free to roam around the house.

What do you think would be the perfect family for you?

I would prefer to be in a home that’s pretty quiet, and with someone who can be home a lot so we can keep each other company.  If I found someone who was retired that would be perfect! We could have breakfast together and then watch some TV, I’m a fan of “The Price Is Right”, and then run some errands together!  Other than that my only requirement is to be in a home with no kids, sometimes they can make me nervous because I like my boundaries and personal space before I get to know someone, and kids aren’t always good at that.

Chico, why do you think pet insurance is a good thing for all pet parents to consider?

Well, dogs of all ages can get sick or have an accident unexpectedly.  For example, I’m a young guy but when I first arrived at the shelter I had a skin condition on my ears, and luckily the staff here were able to get it cleaned up but if I had owners that had to pay for it, it would have been pretty costly.  Pet insurance seems like a good thing because you only have to pay a small amount each month, to make sure your pet can get the health care they need if they get sick or hurt.

Chico’s a very smart pup, and is right when he says vet treatments can be costly.  Pet insurance is an affordable investment that will help you get your furry friend the care they need without draining your savings.  Call one of our agents today for a free quote!

Tips For Taking A Road Trip With The Kids

road trip

Taking a road trip with the kids can really test your patience and planning skills.  Fending off constant questions like “Are we there yet?” and “When’s the next bathroom break?” can get old pretty quick, so you’ll want to make sure your kids have plenty of things to occupy their time while in the car.  To help you out, we’ve listed some tips that will definitely come in handy if you plan on road tripping with the kids this summer.

  • Make sure kids are comfy.  What your kids are wearing on their road trip can make a big difference to how the trip goes.  If kids are uncomfortable you’ll hear about it, probably over and over again.  Put them in something that they like to wear such as pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt, and save the dressy clothes for your arrival, odds are something will end up spilling on them anyways during the trip, so at least you won’t dirty up one of their nicer outfits.
  • Be strategic about your departure time.  It may be easier to travel with kids during certain hours of the day, for example, if your kids can sleep through the night in the car, you might want to wait until after dinner and drive through the night so you reach your destination by morning.  You’ll probably avoid tons of traffic too, which is always a plus.  Working with their schedules, nap times, and meal times will make the trip easier for you and them.
  • Keep them occupied.  This will help you keep your sanity and theirs, make sure you have plenty of coloring books, toys, games, movies, and snacks.  You’ll also want to charge any electronics they may use, such as tablets or portable DVD players before you leave.
  • Be prepared for anything, and we mean ANYTHING.  You want to make sure you have a first aid kit, wet wipes, paper towels, extra clothes, diapers, batteries, car chargers, trash bags, a flashlight, and extra drinks and snacks in case the ones you already packed spill.
  • Take a break.  It’s inevitable that little ones and even older ones will want to stretch their legs and take a break from the car.  Find a local park and have a picnic so you can have something to eat and they can run around and burn off some energy.
  • Get kids involved in the trip.  If your kids are old enough to suggest landmarks they want to see or places they want to visit, let them!  It will make the trip much more enjoyable for them and you may even visit a place that you wouldn’t have chosen on your own, and end up loving it!
  • Make sure your driver’s license, registration, and insurance are all up to date and haven’t expired.  These are all extremely important to have any day, but especially if you’re going to be driving a long distance.  If you don’t have a membership to AAA, you may also want to consider that.

With these tips, your next family road trip should go smoothly and be a blast for everyone!

Photo By: Deb

Furry Friend Friday With Skul!


Happy Furry Friend Friday!  Today we have a very special guest, a 7-year-old greyhound girl named Skul.  We know, kind of an intimidating name for such a sweet girl, but trust us when we say there’s nothing scary about her!  She’s currently up for adoption at Greyhound Friends, Inc in Hopkinton and would love for you to pay her a visit!

So Skul, I hear that you’re not originally from Massachusetts, is that right?

Yes!  In fact, I’m a mid-western girl, I came all the way from Kansas!  It’s very different out here, there are so many new things to try and see and so far I’m loving it!  I’m so excited to be here and hopefully find my forever family soon!

What’s your favorite way to spend the day?

I love being outside, we have a fenced in yard that I can run around in, and I get  to play with the other dogs and toys here!  I’m very lucky, and after all that I love being around the people here, they’re so nice and love to pet me!

Do you have a favorite toy to play with?

It’s hard to choose when there are so many options!  If I really have to choose though, I’d say my favorite types of toys are the squeaky, stuffed animal ones.  What dog doesn’t like those?

Is there anything that scares you?

I’d say I’m a pretty self-confident dog, there’s really not much that gets to me except for loud traffic noises.  You know, like horns, sirens, things like that.  Coming from Kansas, I’m not used to hearing those things so often, so sometimes they make me jump a little.

What do you think would  be the perfect family for you?

I really am a people lover, and I would be good with all ages and types of them!  I’m even great with other dogs, not sure about cats yet though.  My only request is to have a fenced-in yard so I can be free to run around as I please.  Even though I’m 7, I’m still a fairly active girl but not overwhelming.  I would just love to find a family that wants me as one of their own, I hope it happens soon because I’m great on walks and the best snuggler you’ll ever meet!

So Skul, why do you think pet insurance is a good thing for all pet parents to consider?

Well, pets can get hurt just like people can, and our doctor’s office can be just as expensive as yours!  Pet insurance seems like a smart way to make sure you don’t have to pay a giant vet bill if your pet were to ever unexpectedly get sick or hurt, and lets face it, are those things ever expected?  No, they’re not, but with pet insurance at least you can be prepared for them!

Skul’s right, if your pet gets sick or has an accident, you never see it coming, but with pet insurance you can be prepared for these things.  It’s a great way to make sure your furry friend can get exactly what they need without you having to worry how much it will cost.  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote!



Massachusetts Events This June!

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The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, so that means it’s time to get out and about!  June is the perfect time of year to enjoy some events outdoors with friends and family, and there are tons to choose from.  We’ve narrowed down the list for you and chosen some of the best things going on this month, and trust us when we say you won’t want to miss out!

Salem Arts Festival – This is an event the whole family will enjoy!  Visit Salem from June 6th – 8th for their annual arts festival, which will turn downtown Salem into a giant showcase for all types of artists to display their work.  Thousands of guests will stroll through the streets looking at all types of art including paintings, photographs, sculptures, performers, and much more.  There will be tons of food, entertainment, and fun for the entire family at this event.  If you need a break from the crowds, take a stroll down to the waterfront and catch some rays or grab a bite to eat at one of the local watering holes.  We guarantee you won’t be bored if you stop by this event, and the best part is, it’s FREE!

Martha’s Vineyard Restaurant Week – If you love fresh seafood, or any type of food for that matter, you won’t want to miss this event.  Not only does it give you an excuse to visit beautiful Martha’s Vineyard, it’s also an excuse to stop by restaurants that you wouldn’t normally visit.  You can enjoy either 3 or 4 course prix fixe meals at most restaurants on the island, with lunch being priced between $10-$20 and dinner being priced between $25-$45.  Restaurant week will take place from Sunday, June 15th – Thursday, June 19th, so take advantage of it before it’s gone!

Day Out With Thomas – The kids will love this event at Edaville, USA where they get the chance to meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his boss Sir Topham Hat!  Thomas will be stopping by from June 14th-15th and June 20th-23rd.  Take a 20 minute ride aboard a 15-ton replica of Thomas and afterwards enjoy unlimited use of all of their amusement rides and play spaces!  Sounds like a kid’s dream come true if you ask us!  The event will be from 9 AM – 5 PM and tickets are $20 per person, ages 2 and under are free.

Nashua River Brewer’s Festival – This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of the region’s best craft beers, while also doing something good for others.  The Nashua River Brewer’s Festival brings together some of the region’s best craft brewers at Riverfront Park in downtown Fitchburg and it’s all for a great cause!  All proceeds will benefit the Gardner Visiting Nurses Food Pantry and Fitchburg Civic Days, two local charities that benefit many nearby residents.  Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event, and you’ll even get a free tasting glass to keep!  There will be great entertainment and plenty to eat and drink all day long.  This event is 21+ so grab some friends and make your way over on Saturday, June 28th from 1 PM – 7 PM.

We definitely can’t wait to stop by some of these events, what about you?  We hope to see you there!

Photo By: Alexis Fam



Furry Friend Friday With Bianca!


Happy Furry Friend Friday!  We’re back with another interview, and today we’re chatting with Bianca.  Such a pretty name for such a pretty girl, are we right?  This little girl is only 5 months old and has already been in the shelter for a whole month!  Do you have room in your heart and your home for this cute little lab mix? She’s up for adoption at the Sterling Animal Shelter, stop by and pay her a visit!

So Bianca, I heard that you came a long way to find your forever home, is that right?

Yes!  I’m originally from Puerto Rico if you can believe it.  I was born in a park there, my mom was a stray and did her best to take care of me and my siblings but eventually a recuse group found us and decided to give us a second chance! So now I’m here, and so far I’m loving Massachusetts but I can’t wait to see more of it.  I hope my new family brings me on lots of fun adventures!

What’s your favorite way to spend the day here?

I love to play!  Whether it’s with toys, other dogs, or people, I’m a very playful pup and love to have fun.  I love playing with squeaky toys a lot, and at the shelter we have tons of options to choose from!  How lucky is that?  I also love being petted and cuddling with my favorite people.

Is there anything that scares you?

Nothing comes to mind, being out on the streets was pretty scary but I know that will never happen again.  I’m mainly just excited to find a forever family, it’s hard to be scared when you have so much to look forward to!

What do you think would be the perfect family for you?

When I say I can really go anywhere, I mean it!  I’m super friendly and get along with people of all ages, and even other dogs!  I haven’t really been around small animals like cats, so I’m not sure how I would do with them.  The only thing I would really need is to go somewhere that I can be active.  I love going for runs, playing outside, and seeing new things.

Bianca, why do you think pet insurance is a good thing for all pet parents to consider?

Well in Puerto Rico I saw a lot of things, and us pets don’t always have it easy.  Accidents can happen, we can eat something that smells really good but is actually bad for us, and then next thing we know we’re at the vet’s office, which is never fun for humans or pets.  Even though we don’t intend to end up at the vet’s, it happens, but pet insurance makes sure that we can get the care we need and you won’t have to drain your savings account to do it!

Bianca’s right! Pets don’t intend to wind up in the vet’s office, but sometimes it can happen whether they like it or not.  Pet insurance is a great way to make sure they get the treatment they need without you having to break the bank.  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and see how affordable it can be to protect your furry friend!



Safety Tips For Hurricane Preparedness Week


It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week!  Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st and ends November 30th, and as we’ve seen over the past few years, hurricanes are a very real danger even in New England.  It’s important for all families to have a plan of action should a hurricane hit, so we’ve listed some important safety tips that everyone should know.

  • Know the difference between a “Hurricane Watch” and a “Hurricane Warning”.  A hurricane watch will be issued when a potential threat is less than 48 hours away, at this point you’ll want to review your emergency procedures.  A hurricane warning is issued when the threat is less than 36 hours away and that’s when you will want to begin your preparations.
  • It is very important to know where to go in case of an evacuation in your area.  Know the evacuation routes you will need to take if an evacuation order is issued.  Make sure you are listening to the news or a radio for the most updated information, as storms progress evacuation routes may close.
  • If you do need to evacuate, make sure you have a plan for your whole family, including pets! Pets are members of the family and if it’s not safe for you to stay in your home, it’s not safe for them either.
  • Know how to turn off utilities such as gas and water if you have to.
  • Fill up sinks and bath tubs with water for sanitary purposes, such as cleaning.
  • Makes sure you have prepared emergency kits for your car and home, they should include enough bottled food and water to last your entire family 3 days, a flashlight, radio, batteries, important documents, first aid kit, road maps, and a full tank of gas.
  • If you live in a mobile home or do not live on higher-ground, find the nearest shelter to go to.
  • If a storm is coming, board up your windows with plywood if you don’t have permanent storm shutters.  Close and brace any storm doors you may have.  Take your outdoor decorations, furniture, trash cans, and anything else that’s not tied down inside.
  • Once the storm begins, take refuge on the bottom floor of your home, and stay away from windows and doors.
  •   If there is a lull in the storm that may be the eye, it will pick up again so make sure you have a radio to listen to for the most updated information.  Wait until you hear from officials that the storm has ended before going outside.
  • Stay alert even after the storm has ended, there may be subsequent flooding that can still cause damage.
  • If you must drive, avoid low-lying areas, flooded roads and bridges.  You’ll also want to look out for downed electrical wires, weakened walls, bridges, and sidewalks.

Hurricanes are extremely dangerous and can result in severe damage to property, or even death if you’re not cautious.  Even if you are not located on the coast, a hurricane can still affect you and cause severe damage, so keep these tips in mind and stay safe this hurricane season!

Photo By: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center



Furry Friend Friday With Isabelle!

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It’s that time of the week again!  Today we got to chat with Isabelle, isn’t she just adorable?  This pretty gal is a 7 year-old Akita mix up for adoption at the Lowell Humane Society.  We were almost as excited as she was for this Furry Friend Friday interview, and she’s more than ready to find her forever family!

So Isabelle, what’s your favorite way to spend the day?

Well I’m a pretty relaxed girl, I love being around my people most of all.  I really like to snuggle and get nice and comfy.  I’m not sure if you know but I came here as a stray, and that wasn’t exactly an easy way to live, so now I’m ready to just sit back and enjoy the good life.

Do you like to play?

I have my moments, I’ve slowed down a bit as I’ve gotten older but I still enjoy being playful sometimes.  I also enjoy Kong toys, you know the ones that you can fill with yummy stuff like peanut butter?  Those are great and keep me entertained for a while.

Is there anything that scares you?

Nope, being out on the streets made me pretty tough, plus Akita’s aren’t known for being timid.  There isn’t much that scares me, I think I’d make a great watch dog and best friend all in one!

What do you think would be the perfect family for you?

Well I love people and I get along with all of them, but because of my size it’s recommended that I go to a home with older children.  I also love other dogs, especially big ones like me!  So if you already have a furry friend I’m sure we’d get along, as long as it’s not a cat or other small animal, I’m not too fond of them.  As I said I can be playful at times and enjoy going on walks, but I’m really looking for a place where I can mainly relax and snuggle all day, a retirement home if you will.  I really hope to find a family soon, and I love the people here but am ready to find a permanent home!

Isabelle, why do you think pet insurance is a good thing for all pet parents to consider?

I saw a lot of things in my time, I’ve had a home, lived as a stray, and now I’m here at the shelter, and in that time I’ve met a lot of other pets.  Some of these pets have injured themselves in accidents, or gotten sick unexpectedly, much like you humans.  Just like your doctor’s bills, our vet bills can really add up, but unfortunately we can’t pay for them, that’s where you come in.  Pet insurance seems like a great way to make sure you don’t get stuck with a huge bill that will break the bank.

Isabelle has brains to back up her cute looks!  We wish we could adopt her ourselves, but we know once she finds the right family she’ll be happier than ever.  We’re sure that you’ll be happier than ever too if you make sure your furry friend is protected.  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and find out how affordable it is to protect your furry friend!



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