Keep the dog but not the funk: 5 steps to get rid of dog smell

We. Love. Dogs. Period. End of story. Forever and ever!

Their soft fur, their precious kisses, their tail wags, their musty smell. Well, maybe not that last one.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer tiny little chihuahuas or massive St. Bernards, dog smells are not fun in any household. The good news? You don’t have to choose between a house that smells good and your canine companion. Follow these steps to get rid of dog smell but keep lovin’ on that dog!

How to get rid of dog smell

When you’ve amassed amazing amounts of “I love dogs” T-shirts but find you don’t love dog smell, start with these steps to get rid of unwanted animal aromas.

Step one: Buster gets a bath

In the game of odor elimination, start with your most valuable player: the dog.

1. Give the dog a bath before you clean so you aren’t fighting a losing battle. A stinky dog lying all over your furniture seconds after you clean it is like brushing your teeth while eating. Animal Scents® Shampoo is formulated with your pup in mind, so you know it is safe and toxin free.

2. In a pinch? Make Rufus smell better—at least temporarily—with a scent like Animal Scents® T-Away™. Put a drop or two in your palm (depending on the size of your dog), rub your hands together, and give him some pets and pats of love to rub the oil through his fur.

Real talk: If your dog is too stinky, it is worth a trip to the vet. Dogs get their distinct smell from an oil that their skin produces, but if Fido’s funk goes beyond what’s normal, the vet may be able to help. As always, check with a vet knowledgeable in essential oils before using them on your dog.

Step two: Sparky’s stuff needs a wash

Pupper’s bed, blankets, and crate get stinky the fastest. Add washing and scrubbing these items to your Monday through Sunday cleaning checklist to prevent smells from getting overwhelming.

1. Wash Bandit’s blankets. Dog bedding may be the smelliest part of the house because she is constantly rolling around in it. Thieves® Laundry Soap is plant based and leaves no chemical or synthetic residue, so it’s safe for pets.

2. Vacuum dog beds. If your mutt’s mattress doesn’t come with a removable, washable covering, vacuum up hair and dander on a weekly basis. Use an attachment to get into the seams and corners. But really, if removal is possible, throw the bed’s cover in the wash with the blankets.

3. Wipe down the crate. Wipe down the crate inside and out with a damp rag and this DIY cleaner packed with extra deodorizing power, thanks to white vinegar.

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray liberally inside and outside the crate and wipe with a clean cloth.

Dog accessories and bottles of scents on the ground.

Is Thieves Household Cleaner safe for dogs?

Thieves Household Cleaner can do just about everything, but is it safe for furry friends? Yes! When used as directed, it is A-Okay to use around cute and cuddly canines!

4. Food and water bowls. Give Chief clean dishes! Wash and dry all bowls and food stands once a week following manufacturer directions. Remember to wipe down their placemat while you’re at it.

5. Remember the little things. Collars and leashes can harbor stink too. Fill a sink with warm water and a small amount of gentle soap like Animal Scents® Shampoo or Thieves® Household Cleaner. Let the collar and leash soak for 10 minutes, then gently rub it together to remove any stains (avoid using a scrub brush, as it may damage the collar). Rinse and lay flat to dry. Finish with a drop of Animal Scents® ParaGize™ on the collar for an ongoing fresh scent.

Step three: Marley’s messes get tidied up

From drooly jowls to dragging the garbage throughout the house, these tail-wagging sweethearts can be good at making messes.

1. Accidents happen. Use this DIY pet stain and odor remover when they do.

2. Vacuum on the reg. We’re not just talking about carpets, although you should vacuum those twice per week depending on how much your dog sheds. Vacuum the couch, chairs, and anywhere you allow your dog to sit and lay. We know—it’s a hassle. But would the dog lovers of the world have it any other way?

3. Sweep well and mop with a strong solution. Sweep every nook and cranny often to pick up the dirt, hair, and dander your pet tracks through the house; then use a pet-safe cleaner (Thieves to the rescue again!) to mop the floors. For tile and laminate floors, mix up this recipe in your mop bucket:

For wood floors, omit the dish soap and add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil.

4. Wipe up messes as they occur. Use the same spray you used in the crate to wipe up drool or muddy footprints.

5. Don’t forget the car. Can you get rid of dog smell in the car? Yes! Use a seat protector and wash it according to manufacturer instructions. Wipe down hard surfaces like the dash and door panels.

Step four: Spike’s smell gets evicted

Covering odors doesn’t cut it—you need to absorb them first. It’s similar to diffusing; why cover smells with toxic air fresheners when you can totally eliminate them with essential oils?

1. Scented baking soda. Infuse 1 cup of baking soda with 10–20 drops of your favorite dog-friendly scent—we like Valor®, Stress Away™, or Lavender. Sprinkle the baking soda on carpets, couches, and chairs and let sit overnight, then vacuum up baking soda in the morning. The baking soda will absorb odors, and the oils will leave a pleasant “Our house is always clean!” scent behind.

2. DIY charcoal satchels. Place a few odor-absorbing charcoal briquettes or lava rocks in an old sock and place it out of Bandit’s reach. Replace the charcoal every few months to ensure its odor eliminating effectiveness lasts. For adding great aromas once you take the nasty ones away, add a drop of essential oil to that sock each week.

Step five: Frankie adores fresh scents

When your house no longer smells like your favorite cuddle buddy, it’s time to infuse your space with inviting scents.

1. Choosy dog moms choose essential oils wisely. Remember to use essential oils that are as good for your little buddy as their go-to treats and toys. Check out our guides on using oils around all your pets, whether they have fur, gills, scales, or feathers.

2. Amazing aromas in your abode. Are you officially ready for an incredible-smelling habitat? Essential oils can be a natural and effective way to get out the funk!

Scents on the floor with food and toy

Happy to use your favorite products on your favorite pups?


5 Tips to Help Your Dog Weather Winter

Help Your Dog Weather Winter

With frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall, the first few months of the year can be tough for your dog, making it easy for him to catch the winter blues. Here are five winter tips to show your dog a little extra love and keep him healthy and happy this season!

  1. Play Dress Up with Your Pup
    Just because your dog has a built-in fur coat doesn’t mean he won’t get cold—his breed, size, and even his age affect his internal thermostat. If he doesn’t have a heavy fur coat, a sweater or dog coat can keep your pup cozy during the winter season. Pay attention to the material and the fit when choosing a coat or sweater for your furry friend’s comfort. It never hurts to have several on hand to ensure your dog has a dry sweater or coat whenever he heads outdoors.
  2. Change Grooming Habits for Winter:
    In the drying winter season, less is more when it comes to baths. If possible, minimize baths during the colder months to help your dog maintain naturally occurring oils so his skin won’t dry out as much. If your dog gets hot spots, we recommend using the Animal Scents Ointment. When you do bathe him, pamper your pup by using Animal Scents™ Shampoo to clean and condition your pet’s coat. Make sure your dog is completely dry before going out after a bath to avoid over exposure to the cold temperatures.
  3. Prevent Cabin Fever:
    If you live somewhere cold, your dog may stay inside more during this time of year. After being cooped up all day, it’s easy for your furry friend to catch cabin fever. Combat the boredom by creating indoor activities and stocking up on plenty of toys. Playing with interactive toys—or any toys for that matter—can stimulate you pet’s brain. If you live near an indoor dog park or agility park, an hour a day could be a great physical outlet for him. We even like to bake our fur babies homemade treats with lavender to relax after a fun day playing!
  4. Help Your Pet Stay Hydrated:
    Cold temperatures can cause dehydration, so help your pup stay hydrated by giving him plenty of fresh water and choosing high-quality food for good nutrition and health.
  5. Provide a Warm, Clean Bed and Plenty of Blankets:
    Who doesn’t like to snuggle up to fresh, warm blankets on a cold day? Freshen up your dog’s bedding by laundering it regularly with Thieves Laundry Detergent so he has a clean place to stay warm. Be sure to avoid using dryer sheets as those pose lots of health risks with all the added chemicals and toxic ingredients. Instead, opt for wool dryer balls with a drop of lavender.

Essential oils for dogs: Pawsome tips for your furry friend

Man’s best friend. Doggo. Pupper. Colonel Princess Fluffernugget. Whatever you call your canine companion, your dog is an important member of the family. It makes total sense that you’d want to share your favorite essential oils with your four-legged friend.

How do I apply essential oils to my dog? Is diffusing oils safe for dogs? What essential oils are good for dogs’ itchy skin? What essential oils can I use with my dog? If these questions sound familiar, you’re barking up the right tree!

Grab your furry BFF and get comfy—we’re about to share the ultimate guide on essential oils for dogs.

How do I apply essential oils to my dog?

First and most important: Dogs are highly sensitive to essential oils. What smells like the faintest hint of Lavender to you might smell like 100 acres of lavender botanicals to little Beethoven. Gradually introduce oils by using them on yourself first. Acting as a human diffuser keeps all those new scents from overpowering your pup.

If you’re the proud owner of new puppy, patience is a virtue. Fur reals. Avoid using topical oils on newborn dogs. For medium- or large-breed puppies, wait until they’re over 8 weeks old. For toy or small-breed puppies, wait until they are over 10 weeks old.

Once you start applying essential oils, pay close attention to Lulu’s behavior. Remember, she wants to be near you and will stay by your side even if she’s feeling uncomfortable. Contrary to popular animated films, pets can’t tell us if something is working or not. Please exercise caution—use oils on that loveable lapdog safely and responsibly.

Should I consult a vet?

YES. Note the caps—we’re super serious about this one. If your dog is pregnant, nursing, or has a medical condition, consult a vet knowledgeable in essential oils prior to use. The following are general recommendations for use. If your pet has a known health issue, please consult your veterinarian before administering essential oils. If your vet suggests other usage, defer to those recommendations. Even if your dog is healthy as a horse, please consult a vet to ensure that there aren’t any underlying issues.

Topical application:

When you’re ready to give Teddy some essential oil TLC, topical application is the way to go. But before you apply, dilute those drops! And remember, size matters. Dilute 1 drop of essential oil to 4 drops of V-6™ for small to medium dogs; 1 drop of oil to 3 drops V-6 for large dogs.

Speaking of dilution, did you know that our Animal Scents® oils come prediluted? Even though they’re not as potent, you’ll want to ease into using them by adding 1 drop of the Animal Scents oil to 1 drop of carrier oil. If your dog tolerates it well, you can try it without diluting.

When you’re ready to give it a try, rub the oil and carrier oil between your palms until your hands are no longer shiny. Rub over your pet’s back, on the belly, and behind the ears. Take extra care to avoid the eyes!

Here are a few more ideas for topical application:

  • Try Animal Scents Ointment or KidScents® Tender Tush* on dry or irritated skin or to soothe the occasional scrape or burn.
  • Use Seedlings® Wipes* to wipe off paws and clean ears instead of the petrochemical-based wipes from the store.
  • Apply Seedlings Diaper Rash Cream* on warm, irritated areas you want to keep dry.
Animal Scents - Ointment

Is diffusing safe for dogs?

Yes! You’ll want to diffuse in small doses—small amounts of oil for shorter periods of time—to help your darling Daisy get used to the scent. Again, pay close attention to how your dog acts with the new aroma. If she seems uncomfortable, use fewer drops or do away with the diffusing entirely.

What essential oils can I use with my dog?

Animal lovers, rejoice! We created Young Living’s Animal Scents line with your pets in mind. The oils in this collection are prediluted and formulated without synthetic perfumes, dyes, and artificial colors and fragrances. Because they’re paws-itively perfect, you can feel confident using them on and around your animal sidekicks.

You can also feel all kinds of warm fuzzies when using Animal Scents products on your fluffy friends. A portion of the proceeds from the line supports Vital Ground, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the habitat of grizzly bears and other wide-roaming wildlife.


PuriClean™ is the first step in our three-part system: PuriClean, Infect Away™, and Mendwell™. PuriClean starts off the system with an impressive list of pet-lovin’ benefits:

  • Soothes and moisturizes dry, flaky, irritated skin
  • Helps clean minor scrapes and scratches
  • Promotes feelings of health and wellness with its warm, comforting aroma
  • Refreshes and prepares the skin for the next step
Animal Scents - Puriclean

Infect Away

Infect Away is the second stage in our three-part system and offers just as many perks for your pet as PuriClean and Mendwell. Here’s what you and your pupper will find behind this bottle’s bright green label:

  • Healthy recovery from minor scrapes and scratches
  • Support for your pet’s natural defense system
  • Protection against harmful contaminants
  • Prep for the final step of our terrific trio
Animal Scents - Infect Away


Mendwell wraps up our three-part system. Use it after PuriClean and Infect Away for a trifecta that packs a powerful pooch!

PUNCH. We meant punch.

Here are the perks you’ll find inside every drop of this essential oil blend:

  • Soothes and moisturizes dry, sensitive, distressed skin and improves the appearance of healthy-looking coats
  • Creates an uplifting environment with its inspiring aroma
  • Aids in healing minor scrapes and scratches as part of the three-part system
  • Contains powerful essential oils that support your pet’s natural healing process

Animal Scents - Mendwell


Love the smell of Peppermint but prefer something super safe for your pet? Try ParaGize™! This essential oil blend:

  • Supports your pet’s natural cleansing system
  • Offers a calms and quieting blend you can gently massage on your pet’s belly
  • Helps release feelings of discomfort when diffused
Animal Scents - ParaGize


T-Away™ is one of our most popular essential oils for pets, thanks to a combination of Trauma Life™Harmony™, and Peace & Calming™ essential oil blends. The citrusy, slightly spicy scent supports a new level of emotional freedom and joy in pets, making it ideal for shelters and rescues. It also:

  • Promotes a calming and peaceful environment
  • Encourages relaxation and emotional balance
  • Supports pets during times of emotional stress, anxiety, and trauma
Animal Scents - T-Away

Are any other essential oils Fido friendly?

Feel like trying something outside the Animal Scents line? The following list of essential oils are safe for your pet.* After ensuring your mini Marley is acclimated to these oils, dilute as needed, rub into your hands, and gently massage into your dog’s fur. Rub her back and belly and scratch behind the ears.

You should prepare yourself for an extra dose of doggy kisses. All that attention’s gonna get you a whole lot of extra love!

Frankincense essential oil
Stress Away essential oil blend
Geranium essential oil

Which essential oils should you be extra careful using on dogs?

Dogs seem to be sensitive to the high levels and/or combination of certain constituents in the following oils, so we highly caution their use. Dilute these oils heavily and watch your dog for a reaction:


Top 5 Reasons Why to Raise Chickens and How to Get Started

Raising chickens should not be a fuss. There are actually several reasons why people want to cultivate chickens in their backyard. Some of these are written below.

Reason # 1 Chickens love leftovers.

A chickens appetite is incredible. They can eat almost everything, even their own kind! You can now say bye-bye to those unwanted leftovers being left rotten in your fridge. You feel less guilty of throwing them out into the garbage can. Plus, you can save on chicken feed. But be very careful with what you give for it may be their last supper. Tone down on the onions and garlic.

Reason #2 Eggs!

Who doesnt love eggs? Have them boiled, scrambled, sunny side up, etc. Admit it, pets that live comfortably inside your houses dont give anything more than barks, meows, purrs, and sometimes, chirp. Fishes, in general, can be eaten, but who would want to eat Goldie? None of these domesticated animals produce something edible. Well, chickens, on the other hand, have lots of benefits. One of the many benefits chickens give is their egg. 

Who doesnt love eggs? Have them boiled, scrambled, sunny side up, etc. Admit it, pets that live comfortably inside your houses dont give anything more than barks, meows, purrs, and sometimes, chirp. Fishes, in general, can be eaten, but who would want to eat Goldie? None of these domesticated animals produce something edible. Well, chickens, on the other hand, have lots of benefits. One of the many benefits chickens give is their egg. 

You can eat fresh eggs right from the source. Eggs taken from chickens minutes or hours ago are more tasty and nutritious than those purchased in the grocery store. Youll notice the texture and color is way different than that of the fresh ones.  We have a variety of different breeds of chickens that all lay different colors which makes it more fun for the kids (and us!).

Reason #3 Source of natural fertilizers

Your lawn or backyard couldve never looked better. Chickens love to freely walk around. Chickens also love to peck on anything they see that can be considered as food. And what is food to them? Possibly anything thats organic. If you let your chickens roam around your space, youll find out how reliable they can be. They eat pests living in your backyard grubs, beetles, insects, earwigs, and anything that comes close.

After the digestion has set its due, they will transform what theyve eaten into poop. But this is not just any kind of poop but a treasure called natural fertilizer. And you know what natural fertilizers do right? They keep the soil healthy for plants to grow. Cool. 

Reason #4 Low Maintenance Pets

Unlike dogs that need combing and brushing everyday to keep their fur alive and shiny, chickens doesnt need such soulful treatment. All you have to do is provide them their daily needs like food and water. You also have to clean their pad at least twice a month and change the beddings too. In return, you can gather all the eggs. Aside from just gathering, you can also start a small business of your own by supplying poultry stores with fresh eggs or chicken meat.

Reason #5 Grass and weed clippers

Got that right. Now you can save on mowing your own lawn by getting yourself chickens! For chickens, grasses, weeds, and leaves are treats. Its like a lifetime dessert offering. Its like having a cow in your own backyard. They will dig through whatever it is without even complaining about the hard work. Chickens will clip it then clean it all at the same time.

With these reasons, why bother getting yourself a dog or a cat? No offense but they cant even water the plants nor lay eggs for breakfast. All they do is prove to their masters that they are either ones best friends. In cases of chickens, you can have a best friend, a lawn mower, a supplier of organic fertilizer and an egg producer all in one.

So how do you get started?

Certain equipments must already be present upon the arrival of the chickens in your own backyard. You have to be geared up before presenting your not so baby chicks outside the world. The transition period can be quite stressful therefore being prepared can help you rid of half of the stress.

You have to purchase a lot of items for your chicks to stay comfortable from where they would lay. You need to pamper them so that when selling or butchering day comes, there are no regrets. 

1. Food

Without this, who will live? The food you will give will entirely depend on the kind of chicken that you have. But to sum it up, just give something that is complete. It must contain the right food substance that your chickens will need like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals and if the budget can still take it, buy them vitamins. There are two kinds of feeds: conventional and organic. Either of the two can be purchased online or at an agricultural poultry store. We choose Scratch and Peck foods for our chickens.

If the time has come for your chickens to lay eggs or is about 20 weeks old, purchase a layer feed. But if they are younger than 20 weeks, starter or grower feed is highly recommended. 

2. Waterer and Feeder

Purchase a waterer and feeder that are suspended from the ground if possible. They should hang at least a couple inches off it. A very good advantage when purchasing such items is that they will prevent your chickens from jumping on top of it and smudging off their feet filled with feces inside the container. An automatic refill feature is also included which is very reliable during times when you have to go somewhere and will take you a couple of days before you come back. Worry-free. 

Our favorite water is one with little refillable cups. Our chickens love to use this, almost year round. During the really cold months, we use a heated waterer. Remember that food and water should be left outside of the coop to avoid unwanted visitors (rodents) and frostbite during the winter. The increased humidity in the coop is the top culprit of frostbite for chickens.

3. Bed

Yes, no matter how absurd it seems, you have to provide them with the proper bedding to keep them warm, comfortable, healthy and happy. But this doesnt mean that you have to buy them sheets from Best Buy. Beddings can be in the form of a pile of clean haystack, old or used newspapers, or if you wanted it to be extra special, there are beddings that can be bought online or in a poultry store. 

Beddings are best inside the coop where it can provide chickens a soft surface to roam around with. Beddings are also beneficial for your flock because it absorbs the odor and droppings. You dont want a foul-smelling coop, right? Another advantage of the bedding is that is saves the eggs from cracking making it an area where eggs are safe to land. 

Our favorite is hemp bedding. There are so many reasons we love it!

  • GIVE YOUR PETS THE POSHEST PAD – Premium Hemp Fiber is the highest quality bedding you can provide for your pets. Super warm, cozy and comfortable, Hemp Bedding is loved by a wide variety of animals big and small.
  • SUPERIOR QUALITIES – Hemp bedding is highly absorbent meaning less mess and less odor. A high thermal rating means your animals will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Low dust means cleaner, fresher air to breathe.
  • LONGER LIFE = LESS EXPENSE – Hemp bedding lasts much longer than traditional paper and wood bedding materials making it the economical choice. When it does finally expire, hemp bedding makes great compost!
  • GREAT FOR PETS AND THE PLANET – Hemp grows super fast, needs very little water or fertilizer and no pesticides making it the eco-friendly and sustainable choice. Naturally Processed and free of chemicals and dyes.

There are a lot of bedding varieties. But whatever the bedding that youve chosen, always make it a point that it is at least two inches thick and is truly absorbent. 

4. Dust Baths

If you see your chickens digging a shallow hole and creating a mess with dirt, they are dust bathing! Chickens enjoy bathing in dust. But did you know that when chickens take dust baths, they are actually protecting themselves from parasites and those creatures that find it interesting to live inside their legs and feathers. Therefore, it is necessary to have dust baths.

If you have a dry area in your chicken run that has patches of fresh ground, its the perfect spot to do their thing. But if your pen consists of entirely cement, worry not, because there are artificial dust baths (like this one) available in agricultural stores.


Accidents happen: DIY pet stain and odor remover

Even good boys and girls make mistakes! When your four-legged friend misses the piddle-pad or the litter box, it’s no fun for anyone. Don’t dismay! With this DIY pet stain remover, you and your furry pals will be cuddling odor-free in no time.

Pet Stain and Odor Remover Recipe



If your doggo buddy very recently left a puddle on the living room carpet, use these instructions for removing fresh stains:

1. Add the essential oils to the salt and mix well.
2. In a spray bottle, combine the salt mixture, apple cider vinegar, and water. Mix thoroughly until salt has dissolved.
3. Blot the “accident” to remove excess moisture.
4. Shake the bottle, then spray the stained area generously until wet.
5. Let sit for 10–15 minutes.
6. Using an old towel or rag, soak up the mixture by blotting until moisture is removed. Do not apply heat to aid in the drying process, as it can cause unwanted odors and stains to set permanently.

When you find an older, smellier, set-in stain, use the instructions above to make the DIY pet odor eliminator and then:

1. Spray the area generously until wet.
2. Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and leave for 24 hours or until dry. The baking soda will absorb the stain during this time.
Once dry, scoop up as much baking soda as possible and discard, then vacuum thoroughly to remove any remaining powder.


Furry and bright: 5 holiday survival tips for your four-legged friends

While everyone adores the sparkling decor, scrumptious desserts, and enchanting traditions that the holidays bring, we can all agree that too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. When you’re feeling the stress of the season, your four-legged companions likely are too.

Between holiday hosting and late-night wrapping, don’t forget the most lovable—and furry—members of your family! With all that you have on your mind while you prep for the celebrations, check “remember the pets” off your list and try these five festive tips!

Festive puppy looking at Christmas lights

The most wonder-fur time of the year

The holidays often mean extra house guests, unplanned sledding excursions, and long fireside get-togethers. Throwing off your pet’s schedule can cause rifts in their behavior.

Try to maintain your normal schedule as much as possible by getting up at the same time and taking your little darlings outside for some fresh air. Putting them in bed at their usual hour with some soothing music will keep them well rested, even if you’re still up socializing. Normalcy is the key to a happy howl-iday!

Dachshund through the snow

A well-exercised pet is a well-behaved pet! Nothing makes tiny fur balls quite as sleepy and snuggly as a playdate in the crisp winter air, and family and friends are sure to appreciate the fuzzy nap companion. Bring your pets along for the ride on some of your outdoor winter outings!

Forget the figgy pudding

We get it. We love party food too. If it smells good to you, it smells even better to your pet! The list of foods that are harmful to your pet can be intimidating, so instead of taking the risk, try instituting a general rule with guests that pets don’t get table scraps or handouts. Getting your entire party on board will help you keep your peace of mind.

Placing foods out of reach and in a high place will help keep your pets’ tummies (and you) calm.

No place like home for the holidays

It’s no secret that our furry friends are often the most popular party guests. When the pets are done raising the roof, giving them a safe place to sleep away from the noise and distractions. If your pet is kennel trained, put their kennel in another room where you can dim the lights to help them relax and dream of sugar plums while you entertain.Puppy slipping on bed

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claws

Giving your pet love and attention during the holidays will prevent them from feeling isolated during all the commotion. Dogs especially are pack animals that love to feel seen, appreciated, and “part of the group.” Try working with them on refining commands such as“sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” before guests arrive and praise them as they practice! Not only will this help you bond with your pup, but it will also encourage them to be on their best behavior when it matters most.