Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

Blue comes home

 

I finally got my little Boo Boo home from California.  Only he’s not so little any more!  He was 15 ounces when he was born and now, 12 months later, he’s 62 pounds and taller than my tallest dog.  He must be about 27 inches tall at the top of his shoulders.  His dad’s a big dog but the last time I saw his dad he was outdoors so he didn’t seem so big.  When you have a dog this size in your house, along with four others, you really notice!

 

100_0625It’s great to have him home.  He left here when he was four months old to go to my friend in California for field training.  She showed him a few times, too.  I wasn’t sure if he would remember me and the other dogs but when I picked him up at the airport I saw him staring at me from his crate like he was trying to remember me.  When I put him in the car he buried his nose in my hair and took a huge sniff, then slept all the way home.  And when I brought him in the house the other dogs greeted him like he was one of them.  It was like, “Hey!  Where you been?  What took you so long?”

 

Little Pearl has been beside herself, she’s so happy he’s home.  From the moment he was born she decided he was her personal toy.  She’s only six months older than he is so she was a combination mom-big sister-tormentor to him.  She is NOT his mother, but she would get in the whelping area every chance she could to try to take care of him.  Then as soon as he started walking and was able to see, she must have figured out that he was another puppy because she wanted to play with him.  She started picking him up and trying to carry him with her around the house like a stuffie, with him protesting the whole way.  His real mother never did anything to stop her.  She was glad to have another dog taking care of him, except for the nursing.  A little later Pearl decided he should go outside with her so I’d have to try to catch her before she dragged him outside by his hind leg, with him screaming.  I don’t know why she wanted to take him outside with her in January, but she was very determined.

 

At least by then little Boo Boo (or Blue, or Colin — his proper name) was big enough to walk and get around by himself.  Pearl would drag him out by his back leg and he would come puppy-running back inside the house if I missed catching Pearl.  But he was crazy about Pearl, too, because she was like a mom to him, so he played with her a lot in the whelping area and everywhere else.  He finally got too big for Pearl to try to haul around but they still played all the time.  Right up until I sent him to California.  Pearl was heartbroken.

 

Blue was a singleton — an only puppy — so Pearl was sort of like a littermate to him, I guess.  She kept him from being a lonely puppy.  I never knew puppies could bond with each other like this but they had a very special relationship.

 

As soon as he came home the other night he and Pearl picked up right where they left off.  They haven’t stopped playing since I brought him home.  Beau tries to play with him and sometimes he is friendly with his big sister, Billie, but it’s really only Blue and Pearl who play together.  They sleep next to each other.  They do everything together.  Pearl is usually devoted to me but with Blue here she has forgotten all about me for now.  That’s okay.  I’m just happy they’re happy.  The only thing that’s changed is that Blue is about twice as big as Pearl now!  It’s so funny because sometimes he has to almost lie down in the floor to play with her.  He towers over her.  But they still race and chase around the backyard and they wrestle and play for hours.  It’s wonderful to watch them.  I think Pearl is even happier he’s home than I am.

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November 30, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

A Fabulous Find!

A few weeks ago, I was looking through one of my favorite online stores – Etsy.com – and came across some Whimsical Lampwork Beads. I fell in love with the animal designs and ordered some for Greyt Inspirations. They came in a few days ago and I was oooh-ing and aahh-ing over every single one. They are soooo adorable!

I now have them on the Greyt Inspirations website and just had to show you. Here are a few of my favorites.

Biscuit the Pound Puppy Lampwork Bead Calliope Cat Lampwork Bead donkey lampwork bead Owl Lampwork Bead

You can use them for any bead work, for a necklace pendant, earrings, or a decoration…use them for anything you can think of.

These would make a fabulous Christmas for the pet-lover on your list.

You can see the rest of our collection here.

Happy Shopping!

November 28, 2008 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Things to do over the holidays

If you have some time off during the Thanksgiving holidays there are some dog-related things going on that might be of interest.

 

NBC will be presenting the National Dog Show Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) at noon (all time zones) following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The dog show is otherwise known as the Philadelphia Kennel Club show and it’s been held for some 125 years.  This year’s show will help raise money for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and is supported by Purina, which sponsors many dog show events.

 

The show will draw over 2000 dogs in some 150 different breeds.  It will be hosted, once again, by John O’Hurley, formerly of Seinfeld, and David Frei, well-known to viewers from hosting the Westminster Kennel Club broadcasts.  It’s always fun to watch and see your favorite breed, along with some of the rarer breeds.  Who will be Best In Show?  Can you pick the winner?  Tune in and find out.

 

marley_lgIf you’re more inclined toward reading, the book Marley & Me is out in paperback and I’ve been seeing it prominently promoted in grocery stores and other places recently.  The movie based on the book is due out on December 25.  If you’re not familiar with the story, Marley & Me is a New York Times bestselling autobiographical book by author John Grogan.  It’s about Grogan and his family’s life during the 13 years they lived with their Labrador Retriever named Marley.  The author and his family learned all kinds of important lessons from this wonderful, if wayward, dog.  The story is advertised as “life and love with the world’s worst dog.”  Marley is not exactly a perfectly behaved, ideal dog.  But his family learns to cherish him and his ways.  You can read an excerpt from the book on the author’s Web site.  Or, watch a preview of the movie, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, at its official site.  It looks adorable.

 

If you like your dogs animated, the Walt Disney film Bolt is in theaters right now.  Bolt is a canine superhero — at least he thinks he is.  He’s actually a dog on a TV show who was raised on the set.  When he finds himself in the real world he discovers that his super powers aren’t so real afterall.  But he must save a friend in trouble so he and a group of animal friends set out to do all they can to save the day.

 

If you have some time at home during these holidays don’t forget to spend a little extra time with your own dog.  A few extra hugs are always appreciated by your best friend.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Day for dogs

I think I’ve already mentioned that I love Thanksgiving.  I like the sentiment behind the holiday — being thankful for the good things and people in our lives.  And I definitely like the food.  I like it, too, because it’s not quite as commercial as Halloween and Christmas.  You don’t see people going all out to decorate their yards with blinking pilgrims or blow-up turkeys.  It’s kind of a laid-back holiday compared to the others.  I know there can be family tensions sometimes but I think the food makes up for it.

 

 

2055470604_a1cce2a261_mIf you’re trying to make Thanksgiving dinner at home, as I am, then you may have a dog or two trying to “help” you in the kitchen.  They know good things are cooking!  Just be careful not to let them accidentally eat a plastic roasting bag or the pop-up timer from the turket.  Watch out for string and skewers, too.  It’s one thing for them to lick a pan but it’s something else for them to grab something that could mean a trip to the vet.

 

You may be tempted to let your dog enjoy some of the turkey, too.  Be careful if you do.  Turkey bones splinter easily, especially after they’ve been cooked.  They can easily tear your dog’s intestines.  It’s best to put all bones safely outside in trash containers with tight lids so your dog won’t be tempted to try to get them.

 

Turkey skin and other fatty food can upset your dog’s stomach.  Many vets see an increase in pancreatitis in dogs this time of year, which results from eating too much fat.  Symptoms include a painful abdomen or abdominal distention, lack of appetite, depression, dehydration, hunched posture, vomiting and diarrhea, and a change in stool.  There is often fever along with these symptoms.

 

Try to avoid giving your dog a big bowl of Thanksgiving leftovers that radically changes his diet.  He will probably have an upset stomach as a result.  You can safely add some boneless, skinless turkey meat to his regular food along with some broth from the turkey.

 

If you’d like to try something fancier, the Halo company, which makes gourmet dog foods, is giving away the recipe for their Spot’s Stew so people can make it at home.  The company was founded on this recipe.  It was developed by their founder when her own dog was struggling with allergies and other health problems.  She purchased ingredients from the grocery store and began making her dog food at home.

 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to make a tasty Thanksgiving meal for your dog:

 

Spot’s Chicken Stew from Halo

2 1/2 pounds whole chicken 

1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic

1 cup green peas

1 cup coarsely chopped carrots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet potato

1/2 cup coarsely chopped zucchini

1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow squash

1/2 cup coarsely chopped green beans

1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery

1 tablespoon kelp powder

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

11 to 16 cups spring water

 

For dogs only: Add 8 ounces whole barley and 6 ounces rolled oats, and adjust the water content to a total of 16 cups or enough to cover the ingredients. (According to Halo Veterinarian, Dr. Donna Spector, cats require zero carbohydrate content in their diet, so this would be an unnecessary addition for cats).

 

Instructions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a 10-quart stockpot (stainless steel, please) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for 2 hours (the carrots should be quite soft at the end of the cooking time). Remove from the heat, let cool, and debone the chicken. With an electric hand mixer, or using a food processor and working in batches, blend all the ingredients into a nice puree; the stew should be slightly thicker for dogs and more soupy for cats. Using zip lock bags or plastic yogurt containers, make up meal-sized portions. Refrigerate what you’ll need for three days and freeze the rest. Be sure and seek your pet’s advice (and your vet’s) on ideal meal sizes.

 

Serving Size: Amounts will vary depending on age, activity level, current health, weight, and season, but here are some guidelines: The average adult cat will eat roughly 1 cup a day. Because dogs vary so much in size, consult the table below. The amount shown should be split into at least two meals daily.

 

Dog’s Weight                 Total Daily Portion

Up to 10 pounds            1 to 1 1/2 cups

11 to 20 pounds             2 to 3 cups

21-40 pounds                 4 cups

 

For each additional 20 pounds, add 2 cups. Remember, all pets are individuals, so let your intuition and observations guide you, and always consult your vet.

 

Halo Spot’s Stew and many other recipes can be found in The Whole Pet Diet, by Halo founder Andi Brown.

 

For additional Halo recipes, visit the Halo Pets web site.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Flying with dogs

With Thanksgiving coming up many people will be traveling.  Some will be taking their dogs with them to family gatherings or on short vacations.  I can tell you from personal experience that it’s getting harder to fly dogs these days.  One of my dogs has been staying with a friend of mine in California for a few months so he can get some field training.  We’ve been trying to get him home to me for the last few days.  It’s not been easy!  He was supposed to fly home yesterday but we had a winter weather advisory — there was going to be snow where I had to drive to pick him up — and we had to postpone his trip.

 

Our biggest problem trying to fly my dog home has been the size of his crate (he has to have a 500 crate because he’s tall).  Many planes flying to the regional airports don’t have the equipment to handle 500 crates.  We also run into trouble because some planes to regional airports may not have heated and pressurized cargo cabins which dogs must have.  And, when we have the right planes, we ran into trouble because he had to switch planes during his trip and there wasn’t enough time on the ground to allow him to change planes.  It’s been quite an ordeal trying to work things out.  I think it’s harder than it used to be to fly dogs, too, because so many airlines have merged and they have cut some flights.

 

 

Dog at the airport. Courtesy flickr

Dog at the airport. Courtesy flickr

If you’re trying to fly a dog, whether he’s flying alone or flying with you in the cabin or as checked baggage, make sure you begin talking to the airline early.  Even if you want your dog to fly with you in the cabin airlines only allow a limited number of dogs to fly so you will need to advise the airline when you make your reservation and reserve room for your dog, too.  If your dog is flying in the cabin he or she will need to be able to fit in a small pet carrier that can fit under the seat in front of you.  It’s a small space so only small dogs or puppies can fly in the cabin.

 

 

If your dog is flying as checked baggage you will need to make sure he or she is checked in at the appropriate counter 90 minutes to two hours ahead of your flight.  There are extra fees for flying your dog in the cabin and as checked baggage so discuss them with the airline agent when you book your flight.  Your dog will also need to have his rabies vaccination and a health certificate from your vet which you should obtain a few days before you travel.  It’s advisable that your dog be up-to-date on his other vaccinations as well.  The same applies to dogs flying as cargo.  Flying your dog as cargo can cost as much or more as a ticket for yourself, so be prepared.

 

If your dog is flying as checked baggage or flying alone he will need to be securely loaded in an airline crate.  Make sure that the crate is screwed together tightly or secured with cable ties.  You can attach your dog’s leash to the top of the crate.  He should be wearing a collar and identification with your phone number and address in case the crate door should spring open and he gets loose.  You can put additional identification on the crate itself but you will be filling out ID forms at the airport that will go on the crate.  The crate will also need to have some absorbent bedding inside as well as some detachable cups for food and water.  These cups usually come with the crate when you buy it.  If your dog is flying alone you will need to provide a zip lock bag of food for him attached to the crate.

 

Make sure you follow all directions about shipping dogs scrupulously.  If in doubt, call the airport ahead of time and talk to the people in cargo who will be handling the shipping.  Every cargo office is different.  Delta in Atlanta may do things differently from Continental in another city.  Ask them how they want the crate prepared.  Otherwise they can send you home with your dog without letting him on the plane.  It’s happened to me.  I drove two hours to the cargo office to discover they didn’t like the way I had secured the crate.  It was exactly the way the crate had been shipped to me with a dog in it a few months earlier.  At 5:30 in the morning they would not accept my dog and I could only take him and leave.  People in the cargo office, and at the airlines in general, are absolute gods in these matters.  There is no appeal.  Not when the plane is getting ready to leave and your dog isn’t on it.

 

There is just nothing fun about flying dogs or shipping them, at least in my experience.  Many times you are at the airport in the middle of the night to send a dog at 6 a.m., or picking a dog up at midnight.  Flying with dogs can be stressful and worrying.  The paperwork is a complete hassle.  With that said, every dog I have ever put on a plane has arrived safely and, to the best of my knowledge, they have been well cared for by airline and airport employees.  Every dog and puppy has come out of a crate happy and wagging his tail.  I think I was much more worried than they were about flying.  So, if you’re planning a trip with your dog that involves flying you should ask plenty of questions, make sure you understand what you’re supposed to do, follow the rules, and your dog should make the trip just fine.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Is a pet cemetery a good option?

I don’t know if you saw this story reported, but the Associated Press had a small item about a pet cemetery in New York recently:

 

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

 

 

A travel guide’s list of the best places in the world to be entombed includes a cemetery for animals in a New York City suburb.

“Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2009” includes the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery with the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids among the 10 “best places of rest.”

A spokesman for Hartsdale says it’s “delighted to be in such esteemed company.”

The guide says the headstones at the pet cemetery are fascinating to read. One says, “Sport: Born a dog, died a gentleman.”

There are 70,000 creatures and several bereaved humans in the 112-year-old pet cemetery, which is 20 miles north of New York City.

A spokeswoman for the publisher says the book tries to include “a variety of travel experiences.”

 

I would definitely say it would make an unusual travel experience, but I suppose I can see why pet lovers might be tempted to visit.

 

In many places it’s harder to find nice pet cemeteries.  Bereaved owners are faced with allowing their vets to dispose of their pets or of burying their pets at home themselves.  Some people prefer the closure that comes with a burial at home.  But, if you prefer to look for a pet cemetery they should offer caskets, monuments, maintenance, flowers – all the services that a human cemetery would offer. Pet cemeteries often offer cremation services as well. You can opt for a “single” cremation for your pet, in which he or she is cremated alone, or you can choose to have your pet cremated along with some other pets. In the better cremation businesses you can ask to watch the cremation process and are guaranteed to get back your pet’s remains rather than some other pet’s ashes.

 

Many people also choose an appropriate urn for their pet’s ashes to be kept in their home or scatter the ashes in a place that the pet loved during life. They may also include their pet in online virtual cemeteries and memorial sites so others can read about them and pay their respects.

 

I know it’s not an easy subject but it’s one we all have to face at some point.  I’ve always been able to give my pets burials where I lived.  That appeals to me, but it’s a highly personal decision.  Everyone is different and mourns their beloved pet in his or her own way.  What’s most important is that you are able to say goodbye and find peace after losing your loved one.

November 20, 2008 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Shopping for the dogs

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be buying presents for my dogs, the answer would have been “no”. It seems that the older I get, and the more dogs I have, the more I buy for them. They are a part of our family and as such, we buy them presents that go under the tree along with presents for each other and our kids. It is as much fun “opening” their presents as it is ours. They seem to thrive on our excitement too.
Greyt Inspirations has a variety of new items for sale. We have recently added many new dog collars, including our new line of DaLuxe Dog Collars – oh so fabulous, luxury dog collars.

Martigale Dog Collars

Checkers Red Elephants Fengshui BW Lace

PooSolution Bags

We have one design on the site already and we are working on a second design. Jungle PooSolution Bag

Blue PooSolution Bag

Pet Urns or Pottery Dishes

Butterfly Pet Urn Gingerbread Genie Chocolate Kiss

And soon to come (very soon) are lampwork beads in animal designs.
We are also working on some other “new” items that should be added sometime within the next few months. We promise that they’ll be equally on the “cute” factor.

November 19, 2008 Posted by | General | 1 Comment

Gearing up for the Holidays!

I know we’re getting close to Thanksgiving but I’m already thinking about Christmas!  Not only am I thinking about what I might get my dogs for Christmas but I am thinking, once again, about whether I want to try to gather them all up to try to get a group picture with Santa.

 

 

Photo courtesy flickr

Photo courtesy flickr

Maybe a group picture is asking too much with four dogs, but I do know people who have dogs who are well-behaved enough (or who have photographers with enough patience) to get a group picture with that many dogs.

 

 

I can manage to have all of my dogs groomed and looking nice at the same time, if I really work on it.  But the thought of trying to get all of them posing, sitting still in a busy store, and sort of looking at the photographer instead of trying to eat Santa’s beard always makes me nervous.

 

Many places already have their pet Santas in place so you can sign up for photos with him.  For sheer cuteness it’s hard to beat a photo of a pet with Santa Claus — or is that Santa Paws?  Pet superstores usually have some days when Santa will be visiting for photos so check with your local store if you’re interested.

 

Of course these stores want you to do a little shopping for your pet while you’re there, too.  Even though our economy is way down this year, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution pet owners say they have no intention of scrimping on gifts for their pets.  More than half of pet owners in about 83 million households are expected to buy their pets gifts this holiday season.

 

Popular holiday gift ideas for dogs include doggy clothing from Orvis, Juicy Couture doggy pajamas (so cute for small dogs!), the Aspen Pet Dogzilla Dog Toy Dumbbell, Chuckit! Fetching Balls, Nylabone Puppy Teething Keys, TFH Publications 50 Games To Play With Your Dog, Orvis Plush Squeaky Toys and ToughChew Toys, and (one of the things I always long to get) a selection of great Orvis dog beds.

 

Juicy Couture Dog Pajamas

Juicy Couture Dog Pajamas

 

 

We’ll look at some more pet gift ideas as we get closer to Christmas, especially some of the new things out for this year.

 

And, of course, don’t forget the beautiful martingale collars, embroidered collars, leashes, jewelry and other items right here on the GreytInspirations.com web site!  There are some wonderful gift ideas here for your pets.

 

I think dogs like this time of year a lot.  There’s usually more cooking in the house, more people.  Lots of things going on, lots of activity.  Of course you have to be careful about a few things, like not giving your dog things to eat that he shouldn’t have, and not letting him get into the decorations.  But, overall, I think it’s a happy time of year for dogs.

November 18, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , | 1 Comment

Dogs and Significant Others

For anyone who is wondering about me beyond my life with dogs, I’m just past calling myself “young.”  In other words, I’m old enough that I don’t tell people how old I am.  Let’s just say that the ‘80s and ‘90s rocked, okay?  LOL

 

I am home with my dogs most of the time and I do consider them my family.  If you’re dog lovers I’m sure you know what that feels like.  I have a semi-significant other who’s in Iraq.  It’s one of those things where we were engaged, then we weren’t.  Now I say we’re friends and he says we’re still dating.  So, who knows?  He will be home for good in December.  I guess we’ll see what happens.  Provided he doesn’t get weird again.  He came home from Iraq a couple of years ago and it took him months to get back to normal.  He’s very hardheaded and he wouldn’t get help when he needed it.  He promises that he will this time if he has any problems.

 

I work at home and I’m able to be with my dogs all day which I really love.  Since I write anyway I use them as examples in lots of things I write about.  They give me plenty of material.  I experiment on them with products, foods, taking them to places for dogs.  I think they get to do some things that they wouldn’t get to do if I didn’t write about their adventures.  Plus, any disaster here at home is likely to turn up in a story.  It helps us find the humor in things.

 

For example, when the dogs first met the significant other that could have been traumatic.  He grew up without pets and was wary of dogs.  I had eight dogs at the time and they were boisterously friendly, to the point of nearly knocking him down trying to meet him.  But we got through it and laugh about it now.  We’re still trying to laugh about all the times the dogs have eaten his belongings.  They seem to ignore my things and only eat his stuff for some reason, like his expensive sunglasses or his digital camera.  I tell him all the time that he has to put his stuff up, keep things up high where they can’t reach them, but he never listens to me.  So his things get eaten.  You’d think he’d learn after nearly six years.

 

I think there are a lot of couples like us, where one person is a real dog lover and the other person is always trying to adjust.  There’s no question that it puts strains on a relationship.  We’ve definitely had fights about the dogs.  But the dogs aren’t going anywhere.  Maybe with some couples they will get rid of a dog, but with people who are really attached to their pets they just try to work it out.  I know of many more couples where the person who started out as a non-dog lover ended up being devoted to the dogs.  Even my significant other has become very knowledgeable about dogs.  He has helped me bathe and groom them.  He can carry on a conversation about dog food or dog breeds.  He listens to me talk about puppies for hours.  He’s gone to the vet with us and paid ER vet bills.  He has come a long way from the guy who was intimidated when he met the dogs in my kitchen on our second date.  Besides, I figure if he wasn’t frightened off by meeting eight big dogs that night he must have some redeeming qualities.  And the dogs really like him.

November 15, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , | 2 Comments

Products for Paws

Have you seen these dog nail grinders on TV?  The kind that they advertise dogs tolerate so well?  I’ve been seeing them in my local drugstore and I’ve been tempted to get one.  I’m usually pretty good about keeping up with my dogs’ nail trimming but I use a Dremel — a nail grinder that is just what it sounds like.  It’s a drill-type hand-held device that came from the hardware aisle at Walmart.  It buzzes and whirls at a pretty high speed and I use little sanding drums on it for the dogs’ nails.  But it would be possible to slip on other attachments, like drill bits, and do other jobs.  No, the dogs don’t particularly like it but they are all used to it and I give them treats as I do each paw so they’ve learned to live with it.  Still, doing nails is kind of a stressful time here.  I don’t usually nick anybody but I have, on occasion, caught someone’s long hair in the rotator, which is a very bad thing to do.  Instant crisis.

 

There are two brands of these new nail grinders being advertised — the PediPaws and the Peticure.  Luckily I know people who have tried both of them.  They really like them.  I think either one would be good for small dogs.  Both kinds also come in more powerful versions for big dogs with stronger, harder nails.  They actually work just like my Dremel, with a rotator and sanding drum inside, though they don’t seem to rotate as fast (unless you buy the professional versions).  They only take off small flakes of the nail at a time that way.  This means that you may have to use them more often to keep your dog’s nails short but you are much less likely to cause your dog any pain.

peticure-safeguard

Another good thing about these products is that they come with a safeguard — the rounded portion that fits outside the actual sanding drum.  This keeps any hair from getting inside near the rotator.  You can also buy these safeguards separately — something I may do since they will fit on Dremel products.  You can also buy extra sanding drums from the manufacturers which you will need eventually, or you can just buy them in any hardware aisle.

 

So far everyone I know who has tried PediPaws and Peticure has really liked them for their dogs, whether they are pets or showdogs.  If you get one for yourself you might think about getting an extra one for a dog lover friend — I think they would make a great Christmas present and the prices are not bad.  The basic PediPaws model is $19.99 and Peticure is being advertised for $14.99.  Prices go up as they get more powerful and add attachments.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , | 1 Comment