Travel Tips For Memorial Day Weekend


Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the beginning of summer, and if you’re planning a fun weekend getaway, you’re not alone.  There will be millions of drivers on the road this weekend and all of them will be eager to get to their destination.  Everyone wants to make good time during travel, but it’s more important to be safe and prepared for anything.  Keep these tips in mind this weekend and your drive should go smoothly, safely, and hopefully quickly!

  • Make sure your car is in tip top shape.  If you’ll be traveling a long distance, get an oil change, make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid, make sure all of your headlights and blinkers are working properly, and make sure your tires have enough air in them.
  • Be prepared.  Holiday travel can be very stressful, there are tons of other people on the road and anything can happen.  Make sure you’re prepared by keeping an emergency kit in your car.  It should include first aid, a flashlight with extra batteries, equipment to change a flat tire, water and food such as granola bars, a fire extinguisher, reflective cones, jumper cables, duct tape, and a blanket.
  • Plan your route.  Make sure you know how often you will need to stop for gas and bathroom breaks, and map out potential rest stops and gas stations where this would be possible.  It’s also a good idea to download traffic apps as many of them will tell you where these things are along your route.  You also want to make sure your auto insurance is up to date and that you have all of the proper coverages you need.
  • Get an E-ZPass transponder.  This will make your life much easier when it comes to tolls, you can just quickly pass through the toll without having to stop which will definitely save you some time compared to those drivers without an E-ZPass.
  • Obey the law.  Make sure everyone in your car is wearing their seat belt and that you’re obeying all posted speed limits.  The other thing that we want to stress is to avoid distracted driving at all costs.  This can be extremely dangerous not only for yourself but for other drivers as well, so if your phone is going off or you need directions, ask the person in the passenger seat to do it and avoid getting yourself a hefty ticket.  Police officers will be out in full force this weekend so make sure you’re obeying the law.  Nothing like getting a ticket to start your weekend off on the wrong foot.
  • Use a designated driver.  If you plan on drinking this is a no-brainer.  Technically the legal limit is a blood-alcohol level under .08.  Drunk driving tends to increase over the holiday weekend, and as we said police will be out in full-force looking for drivers endangering themselves and others.  We want everyone to have an enjoyable weekend, but we want them to do it responsibly.

This weekend is sure to be full of family, friends, food, and fun in the sun!  Enjoy the weekend but make sure you’re prepared for anything and most of all drive responsibly!

Photo By: Land Rover MENA

It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week!

dog bite

Did you know that May 18th – 24th is National Dog Bite Prevention Week?  Did you also know that according to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2013?  The average cost paid out for these claims in 2013 was $27,862.  No one wants to deal with a disaster such as this, not only is it traumatic for the victim, it can also be traumatic for yourself and your family.  In order to avoid these situations, we’ve come up with some tips to prevent you from being bitten, and to prevent your dog from biting.

  • Make sure your dog is properly socialized at a young age.  It’s important that they interact with other dogs as well as people so they learn how to properly act.  Under socialized dogs may bite out of fear when approached.
  • Be cautious when exposing your dog to new situations where you are unsure of how they will react.
  • If you own a dog that can be defensive, make sure there are signs posted in your yard warning visitors to “Beware of dog”.
  • Avoid aggressive games such a tug-of-war, it can encourage inappropriate behavior, fetch is a much better option.
  • Make sure your dog is always leashed when walking them outside.  If you allow your dog to run outside, make sure it is inside a fenced enclosure.  Putting them on a runner or behind an electric fence will keep them in your yard, but won’t prevent humans or other animals from approaching your dog.
  • Never leave young children alone with a dog unsupervised.
  • Teach children to always ask for permission before approaching an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never approach a dog you don’t know without asking it’s owner for permission.  Some dogs may react differently than others and may even feel threatened, especially if you’re on their property.
  • Do not disturb a dog if it is sleeping, eating, playing with a toy, or caring for puppies.  They may interpret you as a threat and react on instinct to defend their territory.
  • Pay attention to body language, if you come across a dog with a tense body, raised hair, a stiff tail, bared teeth, and especially if they growl at you, avoid eye contact and slowly back away to put some space between you and the dog.  Whatever you do, do not turn your back and run, as their instinct will be to chase you.
  • If a dog that appears tense does approach you, stand very still and avoid eye contact, try to toss an object away from you so that the dog will go investigate.  That should give you enough time to slowly walk away without provoking the animal.
  • If your dog does being to display aggressive behavior, consult your veterinarian or a behavioral specialist immediately.

We all hope to never encounter a situation where our dog bites someone or we are bitten, but sometimes it happens.  These tips are a good way to avoid such situations, and to keep your family and your dog as safe as possible.

Photo By: John M. P. Knox

Furry Friend Friday With Jonah!


We know you missed us last week, but today we’re back and sitting down to chat with Jonah!  This cute little boy is a 2 year-old hound mix up for adoption at Greyhound Friends, Inc in Hopkinton and is waiting to find his new best friend!

So Jonah, I heard that you’ve come a long way to find the perfect family, is that true?

You’re right!  I’m originally from Kentucky, I was found as a stray and brought to a local shelter, but they thought I would have a better chance of being adopted up in Massachusetts, so here I am!

What’s your favorite way to spend the day up in the Bay State?

Well I’ve only been here for a month, but I love it already!  One of my favorite things to do is to play outside with all of my friends here.  I’m great with other dogs and we have a whole acre here that’s fenced in so we can run and play all day long!

Do you have a favorite toy that you like to play with?

Hmm, that’s a tough one but I really love rawhide bones, so I guess that’s like a toy and a treat all in one!  Does it get any better than that?

Is there anything that makes you nervous?

I would say that loud traffic noises make me nervous, being from a rural area like Kentucky, I’m not really used to hearing loud noises like that all the time.  Plus us dogs have extra sensitive hearing, so car horns and sirens sound much louder to us than to you humans.

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

Well, I’d need to go to a family that could handle my activity level, I’m not hyper or anything, but I am still young and would say I have a medium activity level.  I’d love for my new family to bring me for walks and on different adventures!  I get along great with other dogs if you already have one, and I’m great with kids!  I love all kids but would probably do best in a home with children ages 10 and up, just because of my size and activity level.  I’m a great companion and very clean, and I have a really unique widow’s peak which I think makes me extra cute.

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

Well, I’ve met a lot of furry friends during my travels across this country, and a lot of them needed vet care that came as a surprise to them and their families.  It was bad enough for them getting sick or hurt, but then their families had to pay huge bills!  It seems like pet insurance is a good way to make sure pet parent don’t get stuck with huge bills like that if their pets need to go to the vet.

Jonah may be young, but he’s seen a lot, and he’s right!  Vet bills can be extremely expensive, and if they’re unexpected that can really put a damper on your bank account.  Pet insurance is an easy way to ensure your pet gets the care they need without breaking the bank.  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and take the first step in protecting your furry friend!






Emergency Preparedness For Pets

pet evacuation

Hurricane season is coming our way, but emergencies can happen at any time of year, and it’s best to be prepared for them.  Every family should have a plan should disaster strike, and that plan should also include your furry friends!  To help you and your pets be prepared for anything, we’ve listed some tips to keep in mind should disaster strike.

  • Make an emergency kit for your pet.  Make sure it is easily accessible and travel-ready if you need to move quickly.  Your kit should include leashes, harnesses, carriers, and anything else you need to safely and securely transport your pet.
  • You also want to make sure you have a first aid kit, any medication your pet needs, 7 days worth of food and clean water, bowls, and kitty litter/box for cats.
  • If you have room and can easily carry them, bring toys and a bed so that your pet can have some comforts of home, times of disaster can be as frightening for them as it is for you.
  • Make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date with your contact information.  It’s also a good idea to list your contact info on any pet carriers you may have, and consider a microchip for your pet if it doesn’t have one already.
  • Know where to bring your pet.  Unfortunately, most emergency disaster shelters are not permitted to take pets, due to safety and health regulations, so you’ll want to know where you and your pets can seek shelter in case of an evacuation.  If it’s not safe for you to stay behind, it’s not safe for your pets either!
  • Ask friends or family outside of the disaster area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets.
  • If that’s not an option, call motels and hotels outside of your area and see if they are pet friendly, if so ask about any type of restrictions they may have when it comes to size or number of pets.  Even if some hotels aren’t pet friendly, they may make an exception during an emergency.
  • You can also ask boarding facilities, vet offices, and animal shelters if they are able to care for pets during an emergency.  Once you know what your options are, keep a list of them along with phone numbers and email addresses with your emergency kit.
  • Make sure you have all important documents such as medical records stored in a waterproof container.  You should also keep a list of any and all medications, special routines, and important phone numbers on hand.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep recent photos of your pet on hand should they get separated from you during a crisis and you need to create lost posters.

With these tips, you and your furry friends will be prepared for anything!  Although we always hope that we won’t be nearby when disaster strikes, it’s good to be ready just in case.  We always hope for the best, but need to be prepared for the worst!

Photo By: North Carolina National Guard


Massachusetts Events In May

Make Way for Ducklings

It’s official, the weather we love is finally here!  What better way to celebrate than by checking out some of the exciting events taking place this month?  There are plenty of fun happenings going on to fill up your social calendar this month, and we’re sure you won’t want to miss out on these!

Duckling Day – This family-friendly event comes just in time for Mother’s Day, and celebrates the literary classic Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.   This event takes place on Sunday, May 11th from 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM at the Boston Common and children are invited to dress up as their favorite character from the book.  There will be face painting, a puppet show, and much more to keep the kiddos entertained all afternoon.  Following the celebration, guests will march through the common behind the Harvard Band to the Public Garden.  Admission for a family of any size is $35 in advance, and $40 the day of the event.

Brimfield Outdoor Antiques Show – You never know what treasures you may find while out antiquing!  This event will feature thousands of dealers from across the country, so we can only imagine how many items there will be to search through until you find the one(s) that will look perfect in your home.  Ranging from heriloom-quality silver, to country collectibles, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for, and you may even find something you didn’t know you needed!  This massive showcase will take place from May 13th-18th, and there will also be additional shows in July and September.

Nantucket Wine Festival – For those of you that are 21+, can you think of a more relaxing way to spend a spring afternoon than by sipping some wine by the sea?  There will be over 100 wineries and restaurants on site for different seminars, tastings, and dinners in various Nantucket homes.  This annual event will take place from May 14th-18th and ticket prices vary depending on the event.

Newburyport Spring Festival – We can’t think of a better way to spend a warm spring day than by this picturesque coastal town.  Join them for their annual Spring Festival, taking place May 25th and 26th, the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend.  There will be entertainment for the whole family, live music, art, fine crafts, and food from local restaurants.  If you need a break from the crowd, take a stroll down by the water and enjoy the fresh sea air.  The event will be from 1o AM – 5 PM, rain or shine and is sure to be a good time for the whole family.

Don’t these events sound like the perfect way to kick off spring? Grab your friends, family members, and enjoy!

Photo By: Charles Hoffman

Furry Friend Friday With Lilly!


As if Friday’s weren’t exciting enough, today we’re here with Lilly to brighten up your day even more!  This adorable, 7 year-old girl is up for adoption at the Lowell Humane Society, and even though she loves her friends at the shelter she’s ready to find a family of her own!

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

Hmm where should I start? I love playing outside, that’s probably my favorite thing to do.  What?  Did you think that because I’m 7 years old I’d be a couch potato?  I’m still very active and love playing fetch and going for walks!  Now that the weather is warming up, I love laying in the grass and soaking up some sun too.  If I had to choose my all-time favorite thing to do though, it would be to be around my people, I’m a true love bug and really warm up to people once I get to know them!

Since you love to play, do you have a favorite toy?

It’s so hard to choose!  I love all toys but I’d have to say I’m most partial to things I can play fetch with, like balls and frisbees.  Kong toys are also fun, and who doesn’t love those plush squeaky ones?  The only thing is that I tend to chew on my toys, so they have to be sturdy if they’re going to last long around me!

Is there anything that scares you?

I do tend to get nervous around loud noises.  I know I look tough, but I’m a real softie on the inside.  I can also be a little shy around new people, I just like to take my time to get to know new faces but as soon as I warm up to them, I’ll be begging them for belly rubs!

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

Well I really want to find the perfect forever home, and I’ve been here at the shelter for over 2 months now so it’s taking a little longer than I would have hoped.  I do have some specific requirements, such as being the only pet.  I get a little nervous around other dogs and don’t really like small animals like cats.  I would also do best in an adult-only home just because of my size.  Other than that I would really appreciate a quiet home without loud noises that scare me and a home where I can get plenty of exercise.  I know that’s a lot to ask for, but I promise I’m worth it!  Plus I’m fully trained and housebroken, so my family wouldn’t have to deal with puppy antics, I’m way too mature for that.

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

Well I know I’m no expert, but I think that as a pet part of my job is to protect my family, and I hope that they would protect me if I needed it!  Pet insurance seems like a good way to make sure your pets are protected if they ever needed vet care that would otherwise be extremely expensive.

Lilly is a very smart girl, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves!  Pets are family, and they do their best to protect us so as owners it’s our job to return the favor!  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and take the first step in protecting your furry friend!







Which Marylou’s Coffee Flavor Are You?


If you’ve had the pleasure of trying a dessert flavored coffee from Marylou’s, we’re sure you’re hooked.  If not, you need to make your way down to the south shore ASAP!  This local business is known for their delicious coffee flavors such as mocha mint, raspberry truffle, butterscotch, blueberry cinnamon crumble, and much more.  If you’ve ever wondered which one of these flavors you should be ordering, find out with our quiz!



Furry Friend Friday With Bella!


Happy Furry Friend Friday!  Meet Bella, this little girl is is far too cute to be sitting in a shelter, she’s ready to find her forever family.  She’s a 1 year-old pup up for adoption at the Scituate Animal Shelter so stop by and pay her a visit, she’d love to be your new best friend!

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

I love being outside playing, I can run and run and run!  I’m a very active girl, seeing as I’m still considered a puppy, so if you love to play we’d make a great team!  I love playing with other dogs too, but sometimes I can play a little too rough for some of them, especially if they’re smaller than me.  I’m very friendly when it comes to people too, and all I want is to find someone to go on long walks with and to throw me a ball every now and then, is that so much to ask for?

Do you have a favorite treat?

Funny that you mention that, I actually am on a special diet, and no it’s not because I’m watching my weight, I’m 40 pounds of all muscle!  I’m a pit bull terrier and shar pei mix, and I have shar pei skin which is extra sensitive and is allergic to grains.  Basically I’m on a grain-free diet, it’s not a big deal, I just can’t have any old treat so when I want a snack I get pieces of my special kibble.

Is there anything that scares you?

Nope, nothing I can think of!  I’ve been a very lucky girl and haven’t encountered anything too scary in my days, I just get nervous sometimes that I won’t find my forever family, but I never lose hope!

Bella, what do you think would  be the perfect family for you?

I think I’m a very lovable girl if I do say so myself, and I would be happy to go anywhere, I’m not picky!  My only request is to go with a family that would be able to give me regular exercise so I can burn off all of my energy!  It would probably be best if I were the only pet in the home as well and if I were with children ages 8 and older, not because I don’t like little kids, but because I’m still one myself and sometimes forget my own size and strength.  I wouldn’t want to knock someone down because  I got too excited and wanted to play.

Why do you think pet insurance is a good thing for all pet parents to consider?

I mean I know I’m still young and have a lot to learn, but from what I’ve seen so far pet insurance seems like it can only help out in a tough situation.  Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friends?  After all, we think of you as family so we hope you think the same of us!

Bella’s right, anyone that has owned and loved their pet does consider them family, so they should be protected like it!  Pet insurance is an affordable way to make sure if your pet needs emergency vet care, they have access to it, without breaking the bank!  Call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and take the first step in protecting your furry friend!






Get Your Yard Ready For Spring


Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house and car, it’s also for your yard too!  The weather will soon be warm enough to make being outdoors enjoyable again.  That means it’s time to get your yard ready!  We know you’ll want to have your yard looking ship shape for barbeques, bonfires, and any other parties you may have planned, so we’ve listed these tips to make the process easier.

  • Do a walk through.  It’s a good idea to check out your yard after the long winter we’ve just had.  Look for any branches that need to be cut and take a general survey of any work that needs to be done so you know exactly what areas you need to focus on.
  • Break out the rake.  After a walk through you need to clear out all of the debris that may have accumulated over winter, and a rake is the best way to do that.  Once you’ve cleared out all of the leaves, twigs, and other debris, you’ll be ready to get started!
  • Re-seed the lawn.  If you find any bare patches you’ll want to fill those in so your lawn is in tip-top shape.  First you need to loosen and level the soil before you spread grass seed and fertilizer over the area.  Tap the soil down to secure the seeds and make sure to water it.
  • Mulch.  Applying a layer of mulch to the base of trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers will not only make your yard look better, it also deters weeds and maintains soil moisture.  Killing two birds with one stone!
  • Fertilize.  If you want your plants to be looking their best, fertilizer is a must.  It provides added nutrients to plants that they wouldn’t get from soil alone.
  • Prune.  Pruning existing plants and trees will prevent them from being smothered and allow them to grow to their full potential without dead limbs getting in their way.  Plus plants look much better once you’ve gotten rid of the dead stuff from last year.
  • Compost.  Creating a compost pile is easy and has many benefits including being used as fertilizer.  You can dump leaves, cuttings, dead foliage, old mulch, and even old produce that you’re not going to eat into a compost pile.  Make sure you aerate it every two weeks and keep it moist.
  • Update fences.  If you have wooden fences you’ll want to replace any rotted wood or wobbly fence posts and sand and paint any areas that need to be touched up.  If you have pets, make sure you look for any holes or areas that they could dig out under and get that taken care of ASAP.
  • Get ready to plant.  One thing you need to do before you start planting is to test the pH of the soil.  Soil test kits are available at home improvement stores and they’re important because plants grown in the proper pH are much healthier and more vibrant.  Different plants require different pH levels so you’ll want to do your research before you actually begin to plant.  It’s also a good idea to examine the sunlight patterns in your yard so you can choose a spot where your plants will be getting enough light.
  • Plant. Once you’ve cleaned up everything it’s time for the fun part!  Pick out the plants that you want and soak the soil with water before you plant them.  If you’re planting container plants, make sure you loosen the roots so that they can spread out more easily.

If you keep these tips in mind, your yard will be looking as beautiful as ever, so get out there and get to gardening!

Photo By: Lori L. Stalteri


Furry Friend Friday With Yara!


We’re back with your weekly dose of cuteness!  Today’s Furry Friend Friday interview features Yara, a 7 month-old terrier mix up for adoption at the Sterling Animal Shelter.  This little girl is ready to be your new best friend, stop by and pay her a visit!

So Yara, I heard that you came a very long way to find your forever family, is this true?

Yes, you’re right!  I came all the way from Puerto Rico to be here, and so far I’m loving it here!  If it’s this nice here at a shelter, I can’t even imagine how nice it will be once I find a home of my own.

So what will  be your favorite way to spend the day once you do find your forever family?

I love playing!  Whether it’s outside, inside with my toys, or with my favorite people, I just love to be on the move doing something fun.  I’m still just a puppy so I have a lot of energy to burn!  Once I do get tired out after some playing, I’d love to curl up next to my favorite humans and get pets and treats.  Who wouldn’t love a day like that?

Do you have a favorite toy to play with?

I have so many options here at the shelter, it’s hard to choose!  Not a bad problem to have, am I right?  If I had to choose I would say the stuffed squeaky toys, I can’t get enough of those.

Is there anything that scares you?

Nope, not at all!  I’m a very brave little girl and in my short time I’ve already experienced a cross-country move!  I’m really good at cuddles though if you get scared, and I’m a great watch dog so if you’re scared I’m sure I can make you feel safe.

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

Well, since I am so high-energy, I would do best in a home where I can get a lot of exercise!  Also, as I am still a puppy, I still have a lot to learn!  I would need to go to a family that would have patience with me and bring me to a puppy training course so that I could work on my manners.  I also want to be the baby and get all of the attention, so I would do best in a home without small children and where I can be the only pet.

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

Well, even as a young pup I’ve already had to go to the vet a few times!  Just for typical stuff, shots, getting spayed, things like that, but I saw a lot of my fellow canine friends there too and not all of them were as lucky.  Some pups get very sick or even have accidents where they get hurt, and the vet bills for that can really add up!  Pet insurance seems like a good way to make sure you can pay for any unexpected vet bills that may come up.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, call one of our agents today for a free pet insurance quote and take the first step in protecting your furry friend’s future.







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