Shop locally: From A to Z nesses.

Now that Christmas shopping season has reached a feverish peak, it is time for the annual reminder that we should try to spend all of our hard-earned money in this region. And yes, it is also time for a list, from A to Z, of some of the many reasons why we make our purchases locally. Here goes: A is for agog and aghast, which are what you will be when you see the vast array of gifts available in businesses. A is for awesome, which is overused all the time but is accurate when it comes to describing the local shopping experience. B is for bonanza, a word that is under- used, and describes the bonanza of sav- ings and value that awaits you at local merchants. C is for collective, as in the collective ben- efits generated by the money spent here. C is for all the charming Canadian prod- ucts that are on local shelves. C is for crime, which will be reduced be- cause thieves know that local shoppers will not be away from their homes all day and night. C is for cockles, which will be warmed by the happy sights and sounds of dollars be- ing spent locally. D is for dire straits and doldrums, the places where many businesses will be in January if people do not make their holi- day purchases in this district. D is for drugs. (Also see C for crime.) Since local consumers will be closer to home, and keeping a closer eye on the youngsters, there will be less opportunity for kids to use drugs. D is for development, as in economic de- velopment, a good thing. E is for environment, which you help pro- tect since you are not spending gas travel- ling outside this region. E is for economic engine. Retailers are a big cog in the economic engine, which generates spinoffs. E is for energy, which you will save by not driving far, far away to big city stores. E is for exhausted, which you will soon be after you have spent a day in a busy, hot, urban centre. F is for fatigue, fits, fiscal meltdown and fracases, all of which can be avoided by shopping locally. G is for guilt, the guilt you will feel if you bought your stuff elsewhere. G is also for the green movement, whose basic tenets include purchasing close to home and backing local business. G is for green, as in the green movement, which is all about shopping locally. H is for Hallelujah! Which is what every- one will be screaming when they calculate how much they have saved by shopping locally. H is for hot feet, hordes and heavy traffic, which you will not have to tolerate if you avoid those crowded city shopping malls. I for intelligence, which you will demon- strate by doing all your shopping in this district. J is for jobs and jubilation, which are by- products of a strong business base. K is for kicking yourself, which you will do if you do not cash in on the array of wonderful gift ideas offered by local busi-

K is for kids, the kids who will benefit from the many community programs supported by local businesses. L is for long line-ups, which you can avoid, most of the time, in this district. Sure, you may encounter line-ups here but you will meet somebody you know in the queue, and catch up on the “real news,” the juicy stuff the papers never print. L is for literacy, which is promoted by newspapers, which are supported by local businesses, which are supported by con- sumers. L is for lump of coal, lethargy and liver lips, which you deserve if you do not sup- port local businesses. L is for LOL, because you will be laughing out loud if you ever encounter anyone who does not shop locally. M is for masochism, a condition that drives people to subject themselves to the madness of big-city shopping, instead of shopping close to home. N is for naughty and nice. (Do we have to tell you which one you are if you shop lo- cally?) N is for narcissistic. Go ahead, be a narcis- sist, and buy yourself something special, locally. O is for OMG, which is the reaction you will get from people if you do not shop lo- cally. O is for opportunities, as in the many op- portunities provided by local merchants. P is for planet, which you are helping to save. (See E for environment.) P is for prosperity and peace of mind, which we get when people patronize en- trepreneurs in the region. Q is for quantity and quality, all of which you find at local stores. Q is for quiet, which local communities will be if all the businesses shut down be- cause some person did not shop locally. R is for robust retailers who will be re- lieved to see consumers rushing in. S is for sound sleep, the experience you will enjoy when you are comforted by the thought of having supported the local economy. S is for service, which you get from local merchants. S is for safety, the sense of security you get when you deal with familiar people in familiar surroundings. S is for slap. Slap yourself on the forehead if you are tempted to spend your hard- earned money outside this district. T is for talent, which is demonstrated by the many local artists, singers, musicians and authors who produce great gifts. U is for underrated. We tend to forget that this region offers a wide variety of goods and services. V is for vexed, which local businesses will be if they find out you shopped outside of this area. W is for wonderful, as in the wonderful wares that are on offer here. X is for xylophone and Xbox, which can be found in this area. Y is for youth, who will be among the many to benefit from the dollars you keep circulating in the local economy. Z is for zip, which is what you will get from Santa Claus if you do not shop locally.

Monique Bonin, with Lili, Nicole Leny, with Molly, Nathalie Oswick, with Blackie, and Judy Sauvé, with Merit, are among the local Therapeutic Paws of Canada members. Comfort, joy, literacy

bury ten years ago, the movement has ex- panded in leaps and bounds, becoming a full-fledged national organization which recently enjoyed a wave of nationwide at- tention. “The phone has been ringing off the hook,” says Sauvé, referring to the public response set off by media coverage of the therapeutic pets program. Media networks have been focusing on how dogs are helping relieve pressure on stressed-out university students. At some schools, students are lining up and waiting for hours for the opportunity to have some face-time with a dog. “It has been crazy,”re- marks Sauvé. The use of animals to help de-stress stu- dents while they are preparing for exams has put the spotlight on PTOC which has its national office in Hawkesbury. Yet the ori- gins of this feel-good story are not all that well known. “A lot of people are not aware that it started here,” adds Nicole Leny, one of the founding members of PTOC. Sauvé launched the initiative with six volunteers, most of whom lived in the Hawkesbury area. Today, PTOC consists of 550 members who share the benefits of “paws with love to share” across the country. While pets are known for their ability to ease mental and physical woes, PTOC’s four-legged mem- bers can also help remove learning barriers. Under the Paws to Read program, children with reading difficulties are turning in bet- ter grades simply because a dog is present during classes. “Children begin reading to the dog,” says Sauvé. “They can relate to the animal because the animal is not going to judge them.”The unconditional affection of a pet can work wonders in almost any situa- tion, including times of loss and grief. Any pet lover can testify to the strength of human-animal bonds. “We visit all sorts of places, including funeral parlours,” re- lates Sauvé. “Some people become so at- tached to one of our animals, that when a person passes away, the family asks if the animal can attend the funeral.” PTOC teams visit hospitals, long-term care centres, retirement residences, schools and libraries on a regular basis. “We always need volunteers,” stresses Sauvé. If you can help, call 613-632-6502, or visit All types of dogs are eligible, however, as Sauvé remarks, “We check out both ends of the leash.”

HAWKESBURY | Lili, Merit, Blackie and Molly are tiny pooches but their mere presence can quickly be felt throughout large institutions. “They can help brighten an entire build- ing,” notes Judy Sauvé, founding president of Therapeutic Paws of Canada. “In fact, staff members at the places we visit tell us that they can tell the difference when the dogs have visited. Everyone’s spirits are better,” adds Sauvé, chair and founder of the rapidly-growing non-profit group. Therapeutic animals are versatile. These four-legged friends not only deliver com- fort and joy all year-round -- some of them are actually used as teaching aids. Since Sauvé began the group in Hawkes-


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