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By: Heather Wawrzyniak, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for Riverside Township School District

Surviving Social Circles


t is often said that, “Good character is how you act when no one is looking.” It is true that choosing to do the right thing because it feels right, and not because someone will say “good job” or because you could possibly get in trouble, is part of being a good citizen. But have you ever noticed that sometimes it is harder to do the right thing when people are watching, mostly your peers? When everyone around you decides to

make a bad choice, it can be very hard to be the only person making the right choice. However, you should never follow other people just because you are worried about what they will think of you. Making the wrong choices can have life changing effects that are much more serious than getting a few friends angry with you for the moment. Even if you do make the right choices, but you are hanging around with people that are making the wrong choices you

may get blamed for things you did not even do. Others may think you are guilty of the same bad choices just by association. One of the most important things you can do to make the right choices is to be sure to surround yourself with the right friends who support you. Finding good friends can be hard work but a good friend will help you survive social circles and always be on your side. Choosing a good friend means finding someone with good qualities like trust and respect. Your friend

should be positive and always seek out the good things in you and in life. Stay away from others that put you down rather than build you up. Finally, make sure there is a good balance of give and take. When you find a good friend, be sure to be a good friend, too. In short, if your friends do not except you for who you are, they are not good friends. A true friend will always want you to be happy and will respect your decisions. Friends help friends in tough times. A true friend will always bring out the best in you.

The CaT – The supreme hunter A final note: Back in September, we discovered how puzzle toys like the Kong® can give dogs jobs to do to earn their food. Cats can benefit from the same kinds of mental stimulation offered by puzzle toys such as the PetSafe SlimCat ball and Fishbowl Feeder and the Kitty Kong® Wobbler. This can be particularly good for young, active, playful cats as well as for overweight cats who would benefit from working more and eating slower. (For more tips on enriching your kitty’s life, go to

By Laura Garber


ats are supreme hunters. They are happiest when their lives and their environments support their natural behaviors – high perches for “spying” on their territory, hidden routes of movement for stalking their prey, and toys and games that allow for hunt-like play. Giving them opportunities for solo play (toys that move on their own, window access to watch animals outside, even kitty TV) as well as interactive play with their human(s) can accomplish this! In the wild, cats would hunt for small prey six or more times a day, each hunt being a burst of energy. So arranging a cat’s day around multiple short bursts of activity and interactive play, followed by feeding after their successful “hunt”, will offer the most satisfying lifestyle. People sometimes complain that their young cats become excited with play and have difficulty calming down afterward, but this is usually the result of inappropriate play which leaves them in an excited state.


Start your play session just as the hunt would happen in nature: The prey would be its most energetic, flying or darting away from its pursuer. As “the hunt” continues, you can imagine that the prey would begin to tire, resting for moments between short jerky attempts at escape. Finally, the exhausted prey would give in to the crafty predator, so let your cat catch the toy. And now would be a good time to let your kitty celebrate her successful hunt by putting out some tasty tidbits! Using toys that simulate the hunt, like Da Bird, Cat Dancer, and Cat Catcher, are great choices for interactive play and will make for a happy cat!

A behavior specialist and trainer living in southern NJ, Laura Garber, CPDT-KA, CC, FFCP, CBC, led behavior departments in animal shelters for over a decade. Her company, WoofGang, LLC (www., is committed to deepening the bonds between dogs and their people through positive training and behavior modification techniques, and it is these same topics that inspire her writing. For info contact: NOVEMBER 2018

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