Hi! My name is Fred, and I am the mascot for McDonald McGarry Insurance. It is my job to hunt down and sniff out all the latest in Insurance for you. Be sure the check out my columns in McNews too!
-Fred the Insurance Hound
A Beagle’s New Year’s Resolutions…
With the start of a new year, even a Beagle can be ready for a little change. OK, we may not join Weight Watchers, take up jogging or vow to follow a new budget, but I have goals, a purpose in life. In addition to offering my wisdom on the day to day operations of the insurance office, I realize the importance of starting off a fresh new year with lofty expectations of myself and a list of things to do. Around our house, the people constantly have “to do” lists and ask “what’s on your list today?” So, not to be slow on the uptake, I decided a Beagle must do the same. First on my list - computer competence.
So, I pushed the chair to the desk, fired up the computer and took a good hard look at the keyboard. Good gravy, how do you folks do it? I have no opposable thumbs, so keyboarding is a slow and tedious effort at best...and may I point out—the letters are not in alphabetical order. It’s true…while the 26 letters in the ABC’s are not that hard to learn, mixing them up on the keyboard is just plain mean. It does dawn on me that there is a darn fine reason I dictate these columns for McNews. However, independence is part of my plan for the New Year...so on we go.
While the keyboarding does not come easily to me, I have discovered this thing called “surfing the net” and it does not include Debbie the Dogcatcher. You click on various webpages, Google absolutely useless things you always wanted to know and bingo! All of the information right at the tips of your paws. While checking out a Beagle website I ascertained my high opinion of my looks is quite justified, but that Snoopy guy truly gets all the attention
Have you noticed he’s not even in color?
There’s this feature called “Favorites” where you store and access all the websites you regularly visit. I am sure McDonald McGarry is a must have on your favorites list, but if you haven’t quite gotten there yet, visit www.mcdonaldmcgarry.com. While you are there, not only mark it as a favorite, take a gander at recently added upgrades. Wow...how cool is that? I should mention that my photo has been temporarily taken off the site but after an emergency call to our website manager, I was assured it was an oversight and would be remedied immediately. Bet they don’t “accidentally” delete Snoopy’s pictures. Anyway, the new website is not just gorgeous, it has all manners of great information and lets you know all about the folks working at McDonald McGarry and what we do to provide that quality of service you have been enjoying since 1954.
Automation is a wonderful thing. Able to access a world of information with a simple keystroke, it is a temptation to forget that all the information in the world can’t replace a good working relationship. That while online research is essential, there is no substitution for that caring voice when you call our office, the peace of mind that comes from knowing the folks at McDonald McGarry are on your side 24/7. This keyboarding exercise has truly expanded my horizon, and while I will hop up to the computer regularly to not only visit our website (at least until my picture is returned to its rightful place) but to do that Google thing, I must admit this is my first and last effort at word processing. Fireplace patrol, couch sitting and treat distribution are tasks much better suited to my talents. So, as with so many new years resolutions, I have already checked computer competencies off my list.
Until next time...Fred
The Beagle Who Wanted A Boy
This column is usually a dog’s eye view of how our lives intersect with everyday insurance issues. But even a beagle knows, all the insurance in the world can’t cure every growing pain. And this time it’s really hard...you get a kid at a young age, say 13, get him trained and the next thing you know, you’re sending your best friend off to college. Suddenly you’re sleeping single in a double bed and wondering where the years went. Sure, it had to happen. As I watched him grow a little taller, speak a little deeper and disappear for weeks at a time, I knew the day was coming.
We had boxes stacked around the room for weeks, so it wasn’t like he was hiding his departure. And we had some long conversations, with him doing most of the talking seeing as how I am just a dog. But, we both knew it was time. I heard the family joke about finding a campus that had a dog friendly dorm or how they were going to pack me into Mac’s duffle, but when they backed the SUV up to the garage and loaded it up with all the accoutrements for a freshman dorm room, I knew the talking was over and the rubber was about to hit the road.
It’s not easy to send your guy off halfway across the country. Will Chicago be safe? Where there be friends to take my place? More importantly, will Mac be back or is this a forever goodbye? See, as dogs, we don’t really know about time and calendars, so when he says he’ll see me soon, is that like tomorrow or Thanksgiving? I admit, every time the family returns from some event, I check the car to see if perhaps there’s an extra guy in there. And when I hear some old Volvo coming down the street, I check it out to see if Mac is home.
I hear folks saying these are the years young people go off and find themselves...be it college, careers or trips abroad. So I wonder, with all my responsibilities as the Insurance Hound and Canine Security have I found myself? Is that why I got left behind while my guy went out to conquer the academic world? I know I am a better dog for having his companionship the last six years, and I know I am an important part of the insurance office. But, does that mean that the beagle, who wanted a boy, has to give up the man he became...or upon finding himself well educated and ready to join the work force years from now, will Mac come home to find me?
The Dog Days of Summer
The sky is blue, the sun is shining and lying on the back deck, I can feel the warmth on my tummy. A perfect day by any dog’s definition. In my current position as the Insurance Hound, I find myself spending a good deal of time contemplating the world around me. This is due, of course, to the fact that I am an energy saving model of Beagle, thereby only exerting myself when absolutely necessary. Perhaps I could qualify for one of those bright yellow tags you find on washers and dryers, indicating that they accomplish whatever it is they do in a very efficient manner, using very little energy. Quite frankly, isn’t that just the very definition of a true Beagle? I wonder if I could qualify for a rebate.
As I doze, my peace and quiet comes to a screeching halt when all of a sudden Katy the Retriever goes into action. KTR is up and chasing some stupid plastic ball. Like there’s any point to this exercise. She runs out, fetches the ball, brings it back...runs out, fetches the ball, and brings it back...what a waste of time. Plus, let’s face it, she is making me look a little lazy.
Kind of reminds me of those folks who shop their auto insurance each time it renews or a new ad comes on TV. “Give us 15 minutes we’ll save you 15%” or folks who have saved 30% on their auto insurance by dialing 1-800 out of town insurance company. Have they not heard of one agent who can track their policies, watch the rating trends and keep their coverages current? And make sure their rates are fair?
Even a beagle knows the value of doing business with someone you trust. OK, I don’t actually buy any insurance product, or even know how to write a check, or have an actual income, but I do think that there is a value in doing business with people you trust, building up a long term relationship and working together to make sure your family has the best protection, instead of always chasing the “best value”. Listen, I might not be crazy about some of the big red retriever dog’s activities, and yes, I think she spends far too much time and energy chasing balls, sticks and rubber ducks, but I do trust her and our relationship. We work together to ensure meals are served in a timely manner, all security issues are addressed and that treats are fairly distributed, except for when she sneaks an extra cookie after I retire for the evening. Yes, I know what she's up to when she stays up late...but she's old so I let it go. I trust her to watch out for me, and she knows I have her back. All things considered, it’s kind of like doing business with an independent agent you can trust.
And that, of course, is also the value of doing business with an agent you can rely upon. At McDonald McGarry, we have your back. Not only do you get personalized service 24/7, you can always check to make sure you have the right coverage for your situation.
Until Next Time, Fred the Beagle
The Beagle Who Got Left Behind
My people went traveling again...can you believe it? Everyone thinks it’s easy to be the one left behind. Sure, I don’t have to pack a suitcase, get a haircut or go through security...but again, hello, the one left behind. Of course, they always have a great house sitter for us, lots of treats and come home with that vaguely guilty look on their faces, but did I mention I didn’t get to go to Rome? Did I see the wonders of the Vatican? Was my picture taken at the Pantheon? Can a Beagle be a flower dog in St. Peter’s Basilica? We shall never know, because I was the one left behind.
I try not to let it bother me, a quick nap and I’ve forgotten anyway, but I have observed that the family goes through quite a lot of routines before they head to the airport. Take the newspaper for example… I happen to look forward to my morning bark as Delivery Guy throws the paper on the porch. Doesn’t happen when the people travel. And mail, afternoons are a lot more interesting when I have a heart healthy bark at the white mail truck when it stops. Not happening. Then there’s the list of emergency contacts, the most important being the vet of course, along with the phone numbers of the hotel posted on the fridge. Katy the Retriever had to have a quick check-up before the people left since she is old and cranky. It is always important if you are traveling a long distance or for an extended amount of time, to make sure we canines are in good shape and that our vet knows you are on the road.
Since I don’t like car rides, I can’t imagine planes are a whole lot more fun, so I am not really complaining about being left behind. It would be kind of nice to be in some of the family pictures as they’re drinking wine and throwing coins in the fountain. Or, to have walked around the piazzas eating gelato (have no clue how you hold that little spoon) listening to music and enjoying the warm night air. But, then again, who would be in charge of the house while they’re gone? So, instead of feeling I was left behind, I have decided to elevate my status to Canine Security. My people can have peace of mind and I have a real excuse to bark at anything that moves on our street. Sounds like a win-win to me. Although, we are getting painfully close to working here, so I must be very careful.
‘Till summer I remain...newly appointed Canine Security, and your Faithful Insurance Beagle
It’s Good to Be A Dog…We Don’t Do Maintenance!
It’s a great time of year to be a beagle...dry days outdoors, new smells all over the yard and a bit of sunshine to bathe in now and again. Personally, give me a warm spring afternoon laying on the deck with the sun on my tummy and I am a happy camper. But along with the blessings of spring come all the “to dos”. Watching John work around the yard last weekend, I am so glad I’m not the worker bee around here.
While I’m diligently checking the perimeter for security breaches, aka squirrels on the loose, folks are getting out their ladders to clear gutters, trim broken branches from windblown trees and are tuning up the old lawnmowers. Around our house, I love the sound of the lawnmower—it signals time to start the great game Katy the Retriever and I play where we drop balls in front of the mower while John tries to mow—hours of canine entertainment.
Every homeowner knows that with a house comes a commitment to maintenance. Without good maintenance you are leaving yourself open to all sorts of complications and unnecessary expense. While your homeowners policy is there for you come wind, rain or fire, etc...It just seems like you don’t want to be turning in claims for situations that could have been taken care of with a little preventative maintenance. Gotta tell you though...just the idea of working that hard exhausts me. That would explain, of course, why so few beagles are homeowners. A beagle’s idea of a busy day around the house consists of following the sun while keeping one large ear open for incoming squirrels. It’s finally dawned on me the chances of catching one of those darn crows is pretty slim, but I still have those trespasser squirrels in my sights.
So while you are taking advantage of this great time of year to start your spring cleanup, make sure you’re looking around your property for all sorts of problems. Clean your gutters and take a good look at your roof, look at the seals around your windows for winter water leaks and check your walkways for slippery moss or overgrown vegetation. And check your fence...not that I personally would have done anything of the sort, I have heard rumors of some dogs that may have chewed through a section of fence on a particularly boring day or they may have dug a hole or two into which folks could fall.
And by the way, can I just say thanks for all my new friends? The pictures and your notes were just great. I do not believe a better looking group of dogs could be found anywhere. Just think, pretty soon our group could be texting, twittering and drinking Frappucinos at Starbucks. OK, probably not, due to the lack of canine thumbs and an inability to drink from a straw, but hey, we are still cool
Till Later, Fred the Insurance Hound
You Gotta Have Friends...Be My New BFF
With the holidays behind us, I don’t know about you guys, but things have gotten a little quiet around our house. Fewer visitors mean fewer friends for me...I mean it’s not like I can wake up in the morning, take a quick shower, grab the car keys and meet a buddy for breakfast. Leaving aside the fact that I can’t see over the steering wheel, there is no auto insurance in the world that is going to provide coverage for a Beagle as a named insured, and restaurants tend not to appreciate the canine clientele. So my circle of friends is pretty well limited to drop-ins, walkers or going out on visits.
In the canine world, as for most people, it’s all about friends. The grass seems greener, the air has all sorts of new scents and, really, is there anything better than sharing a good bark? It gets your blood flowing, drives your people crazy and bonds you to your canine buddy. While my sidekick Katy the Golden Retriever lives right at home with us, I am also fortunate to have drop-in visitors. Gilley, a feisty little Westie, lives just up the street with the Grandparents and comes by for all major get-togethers and summer play dates. Apparently since winter visits by nature are housebound, they are not well tolerated by those who may not enjoy the furniture and rug rearrangement that tends to happen when the Gilster and I hang indoors. And, of course, you’re familiar with Chloe, my BFF who stays with us when her people hit the road. Moses, a docile rescue dog, comes by occasionally when his people are walking, and it’s always fun when Butch the Springer Spaniel from across the street stops by to exchange smells.
Friends are also what keeps me ear deep in dog treats. Friends refer their friends here to the insurance office and the next thing you know I have a whole new bag of Pupperonis. But, since I can always use more friends, we’d love to check out your canine companions. Yes, send us the cutest picture you have of your dog for a chance to be my BFF. You can send the snapshots by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax or snail mail. All dogs are eligible and I am guessing there are a lot of winners out there. Wow, this can be just like a canine dating service. Maybe I’ll even get a reality show deal out of this...and get to attend a dinner at the White House to meet the first dog, Bo. Not sure if the red dress will fit, but hey, a bow tie with my best fur and I am nothing short of dashing. So, send us your favorite dog picture and the winners will be announced in the March newsletter.
Until then, I remain, your humble Insurance Hound
Fred’s Grand Adventure
As we continue on with the adventures of Fred Beagle, Insurance Dog, I have to tell you, my life has really changed. Yes, I still have quality couch time and barking remains my reason for living, but now folks know me. I’m like famous. OK, not famous...perhaps well known to clients would be more accurate. And unfortunately, well known also to those fine folks at the Edmonds Police Department. Due to a bad decision, I now have a record, and we’re not talking music here.
Like many folks over the summer, I recently had a houseguest. Chloe, a beautiful long-legged Collie/Shepherd mix, stays with us when her people travel. Now, Chloe likes a little adventure in her day, and I sure didn’t want to look foolish or get left behind, so in spite of our Pet System collars, we dug out under the back fence and went off to explore the world. Of course, seeing the world came to a screeching halt when we met one of Edmonds’ Finest. Apparently the folks we kept barking at didn’t appreciate it, and realized we were escapees. When the patrol car arrived, Chloe jumped right it—can you believe it? Personally, I am not a car kind of guy, so I held my ground. Not a good plan. The next thing you know, Officer Dawg shows up with the paddy wagon and we were busted. Having already mentioned my aversion to cars, you can imagine my horror when I realized we were being transported in small compartments in the back of a dog truck.
I swore then and there that my days of crime were over. No matter what my canine friends might come up with, I knew I wasn’t going back to the big house. As a beagle used to a life of comfort, the stress of being treated like a common dog and sitting in a kennel was simply too much.
Who would have ever thought peer pressure could get a couple of dogs into an afternoon of trouble? With fall being “back to school” time, you realize teenagers can be facing the same issues. Take a 16 year old with a license, add in peer pressure and you can start to see how too many kids in a car, showing off behind the wheel and blowing off a curfew can happen. Teen driving is always a concern around McDonald McGarry Insurance. Many of our companies have teen driving programs, we have a video we can loan out about driving dangers, plus we work with your family to make sure we have just the coverage you need. As much as I dislike cars, even a Beagle knows the importance of talking with your teen about all those rules and expectations. And we have the perfect tool for you...A Teenage Driving Contract. It’s simple! The young driver and parents sit down, go over the ground rules and sign the contract. We’ve enclosed a copy with our newsletter this month for your convenience. Need more than one copy to share with friends or family? You can find it right on our website at www.mcdonaldmcgarry.com.
Is it possible that dogs can be teenagers as well? I celebrated my 5th birthday this summer, and as I seem to recall, you multiply that by one formula or another and bingo...Well, that could explain a lot, I might be a teenager. Or a middle aged guy with a bad haircut and no common sense. Either way, I have learned my lesson. This Beagle is staying on the straight and narrow and not giving into peer pressure. Of course a squirrel going by is quite another issue.
Meet the Insurance Hound!
Hello...I guess I should introduce myself, since it appears I am now a working canine. Fred Beagle, Insurance Dog. Used to be, I just slept on beds, ate good stuff and chased a light around the floor. That was pretty much my day.
Next thing you know, the economy changes and suddenly it’s all paws on deck...yes, after four years of blissful ignorance of the daily grind, I find myself the office mascot. Sure, I’m pretty handsome. I have huge ears, big brown eyes and a pretty good lookin’ coat, so folks seem to make a fuss over me. And, yes, you might say that I’m observant...it’s not like I have a whole lot of other responsibilities, so watching the world go by is a no-brainer.
Did I mention I’m a telecommuter? Trendy Beagle that I am, I have found that since they locked me out of the office for barking, I can just as easily work from home. While in the office, I simply felt security was an important part of my job and when people used the sidewalk I let them know it was our property. OK, I might have been a little excessive. It’s not like I ever bit anyone…
Right now, I am trying to figure out how reasonably intelligent people, those who are supposed to be brighter than the average dog, repeat the same mistakes again and again.
For example, ever notice how many folks drive around with those rock chip “stars” in their windshields? Even a dog knows that’s an easy fix. Simply have it filled, your deductible is waived and you’re home free. And, it seems to me that if you had the option of mailing your check to an insurance company every month or simply having it withdrawn from your account automatically at no charge, the choice would be obvious. It’s called EFT and apparently is the greatest thing since chicken-flavored milkbones. Just ask my staff about it...OK, not really my staff. Just ask the people here at McDonald McGarry Insurance about it-they seem to know a lot about cars and payments.
Until next time, Fred the Beagle