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I love to hear from y’all, and chat about your dogs, cats, writing projects and more–and the best way to do that is post your comments in the blog. I promise that I’ll read and reply asap.

Are you a journalist interested in an interview? Reviewer requesting a book? A conference coordinator needing a presentor? Catch me between writerly projects, sparkly appearances, or consults with hissed-off pet owners: amy @ shojai.com (remove spaces, of course!)

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45 responses »

  1. You asked: “How did you find your pet? Did you rescue a mutt or get on a waiting list for a purebred?”
    How about a combination: I got on a waiting list for a rescue dog. Some rescue groups are very careful what home they place their dogs in, and I am very careful what dogs I take on, so I ended up looking at twelve dogs before we all agreed we had a truly excellent match, and my (almost, or mostly) border collie boy came home with me.

    Reply
    • We waited more than 2 years for our GSD boy, and I’ve been “talking” with a lady who’s waiting for her rescue poodle and put through some hoops. It’s always good to be careful. And rescue folks are understandably concerned that the pet doesn’t yo-yo yet again. I wish more folks were as careful as you’ve been, Vanna! What’s your BC’s name?

      Reply
      • I was going to call any new border collie or border collie mix “Runner”, but the dog I ended up with came with such a neat name, I kept it. He is called Eclipse, and I think the black spot on the top of his head looks kind of like the moon in total eclipse. He also came running really fast when he heard that name, so I had a practical reason for keeping it, too.

        Reply
      • Hello Amy!
        My name is Kayla, I work for an animal rescue center in Oshawa Ontario Canada. We get lots, and LOTS of animals coming through the door as well as people asking about information.
        Personally, I am a Veterinary Assistant by trade. In school we used your book ‘First Aid Companion For Cats and Dogs’ a an educational tool. I’ve been looking to get the book (or any of your other books) here in the center for sale, so that the general public are educated as well! I was wondering how I go about doing that, this is the only way I could actually contact someone.
        Here is our website http://www.oasisanimalrescue.ca and my e-mail is kayla_gerard@msn.com
        I would love to hear back from you.
        Thank you,
        – Kayla

        Reply
  2. Neat name! Hey, that would be a good topic for a future blog–how’d your pet get his/her name?

    Reply
  3. Dear Amy!

    I am so glad I met you this weekend!Your presentation inspired me!Keep the good work and GOD bless!

    Sincerely,

    Jessica 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica, So glad you found me here– and was delighted to meet you at the presentation. Please keep me posted how you’re progressing. You’ve got lots to share with the world!

      Reply
  4. I’m glad I got to meet you at OWFI. I’ll be following you now. Have a great summer.

    Reply
  5. steve hammill

    I’d like to see your previous article about kindle publishing and couldn’t find it.

    Can you help? TIA.

    Reply
  6. your article on countertops & cats was very helpful. Thank you. Do you have any suggestions to stop our cat from damaging our window screens and making his own private kitty door? thanks janice

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  7. I don’t suppose you might have any advice for someone who wants to take animal behavior beyond hobby and into career someday? I’ve never formally studied it (only human psychology, though oddly enough I find the same sort of analysis helped me figure out WHY I knew what I knew when it came to animals) – just one of those people who naturally seemed to know what animals are “saying” at a very young age (and is sensitive to a lot of the same stressors, oddly enough – makes it easier to figure out what’s bugging the critters). I know I want to at least try for RVT certification to at least have a LITTLE medical knowledge – have some idea of when to refer people to their vet to weed out medical causes, that sort of thing. But from there, I’m not really sure… the only places I’ve heard of that give formal schooling for it are too far away, and involve actually going through the whole veterinary school thing, which it seems like most of the behavior consultants working with the local shelters here don’t have anyway.

    All I know is after volunteering rather heavily at the local humane society for several months, I found this burning desire to be the person standing between animals and having to go into the shelter in the first place, or, barring that, someone who can help the animals already there, so they can get into a permanent home. I was figuring out things about some of the dogs that the seasoned workers didn’t even see that quickly, I figure I can’t just let that go to waste.

    …geez I ramble enough, don’t I? Maybe should have gone email route instead of comment, but since it DOES say this is the best way to contact you…

    Reply
    • Hi Karyl–Wow! Actually I do have some advice. DO IT! You’ll always wonder otherwise. It sounds like you’ve already got a great start. Many of the animal behavior consultants I know are human psychologists or family counselors or social workers–something having to do with human foibles/interactions–in their day job.

      See, it’s relatively EASY to train a dog or correct a kitty behavior problem. What’s tough is getting the pet parents on board, so it takes that added dimension for the total package.

      I always recommend volunteering with shelters or vets or other animal businesses for an up close/personal view and you’ve done that. RVT is great because you can’t separate behavior from health–feeling bad from illness impacts behavior on multiple levels.

      I’m certified through International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and you can become an associate member first to participate in tutorials and learn from those on the front lines. Association of Pet Dog Trainers also is a great resource. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Thanks so much! I’m glad to know I’ve already got a few things going right, and those links should help me get the rest of the way.

        Reply
  8. Barbara Collins

    Amy, I have a beautiful cat I rescued last summer. He is about 3 years old now. He is a full blood Persian (blue tip) white cat with turquoise eyes. We have had some problems with him since we rescued him. First, we were constantly getting ring worms; went online and found out that it is not uncommon for Persians to be carriers. So, I took him to the groomer and had him saved down a couple of times and that has stopped. Then he started messing around the house; I finally figured out he likes a really, really clean box and also moved his food away from his box. He appears to have stopped messing in my house. The final problem and the one that I really am writing you about is that he has all his claws. I don’t want to have him declawed because I believe this is a brutal way of fixing this problem. I have gotten him a scratch mat (the kind that files his nails down). However, he still has very sharp claws and when he “kneeds” me before laying down in the lap, it is painful. I love him very much and have tried to trim his claws. This is a battle even with my husband’s help. Do you have any suggestions on how to trim Lincoln’s claws?

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara, thanks for visiting the blog! It sounds like you’ve got a good handle now on your beautiful boy. I’ve got two links for you for help with claws:
      http://amyshojai.com/2011/04/15/feline-friday-ask-amy-claw-this/
      and
      http://www.pawnation.com/2011/01/14/cat-scratching-7-sofa-saving-training-tips/

      Really the key to the claw trim is to associate the trim with GOOD THINGS for your kitty. Find a treat he really loves and give him a taste right after trimming one claw–just do one claw, then treat, and let him go. There’s no rule says all the claws must be trimmed at once! If you can get him to associate pleasant rewards with the process, he’ll not struggle so much and you can do two or three at a time. *s* There’s also the vinyl nail covers you can get from pet product stores or the vet that dull the sharps. Good luck! and bless your heart for adopting this kitty and working so hard to make it work.

      Reply
  9. i hope this is in the right place. I am technically inept.

    Re my older animal–I have an incredible little Italian Greyhound–Penny. There will never be another dog like her. She has slept with me for 15 years–well almost! She was 15 Nov. 21.

    She has had IBD for several years, but I have it pretty well controlled.

    I do not know how I will handle it when she goes.

    Reply
    • Hi Catherine, you found the right place! Thanks for visiting. Penny sounds like a wonderful little girl. I hope you won’t have to worry about losing her for a long time.

      Reply
  10. Hi Amy – We had four cats for many years who all grew up together so introducing them was never a problem as they all came to us when very young – we confined them to a spare bedroom for a week and all was well after that. We now have a 7 year old, two 15 year olds who came a year ago (all 3 are females and they get along but are not friends) and we just rescued a 10 year old male who is very friendly with us, not so much with the girls. We are keeping him in a bedroom (he came 12/31) and bringing him out from time to time because he is so lonesome. My husband and I differ on how long he should be confined with increasing visits outside – my husband has little patience for this and I will wait as long as it takes …. any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Hi Karen, thanks for visiting the blog. And conCATSulations on the new kitty. I have to say that you have the right attitude–with cats, typically it takes lots of patience for a newbie to accept/be accepted into an existing cat household. Rushing intros can backfire when cats have a bad experience and thereafter associate each other with fear/aggression and act accordingly. It’s a cat “rule” that a strange cat that doesn’t smell right (like the whole family) should be shunned or even driven away.

      Here’s a blog with a lot more details: http://amyshojai.com/2011/02/04/feline-friday-cat-introductions/

      The time it takes depends on the cats involved. THEY tell you when they’re ready. *s* I can certainly understand your husband’s impatience but slow intros now (weeks sometimes) can mean less upset down the road. And you’ll have this kitty for a lifetime, so what’s a few weeks? Upset cats tend to act out with fights or pee-mail and nobody wants that! Keep me posted on how things go.

      Reply
  11. Hi Amy,
    I am a Certified Pet Instructor, and just came across your Pet First Aid Books. I would like to order these for my students. Any way possible to get a discount on a bulk order? Starting out and budget is slight. Many thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle,

      Wow, that would be great! I’ve had a number of folks use the book as a resource for instruction. But I’m afraid I don’t handle the distribution or stock the books myself. You could contact Rodale Press (the publisher) and see if they could offer some sort of deal, but frankly, I don’t hold out much hope there. My editor for the book left the company and I don’t have a direct contact there any longer. Good luck–and thanks for what you do for pets!

      Reply
  12. Hi there,
    I have been searching the internet forever and stumbled across your blog. I havent completely read though everything but im assuming you know about the Belgian Malinois?
    I was wondering if you can help answer a question I have.

    I got a dog a while ago (we then thought was a lab) whos ears ended up standing up and looking more like a really skinny german shepherd type dog. Only shes BLACK with short hair, a slightly brown undercoat in the sun and a white patch on her chest and a little on her paws. I ran into someone today that was SURE she was a black belgian malinois. Is there such a thing? I know there is a black version but they have long hair. I really want to include a picture but am not sure how. Is it possible my dog could be a short hair, smooth fur, black belgian malinois? Any info would be greatly appreciate. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Briana, Thanks for visiting! While there’s no way to know for sure (even the doggy genetic tests these days aren’t 100% accurate), it certainly could be that she’s a Malinois. Most of the breed you see has the lighter coat color, but the descriptions also state that the coat color comes in rich fawn to red to mahogany to black, with black tips on the hairs, and that white toes or a small white patch on the chest is acceptable.

      Best,
      amy

      Reply
  13. Amy,apologies for messaging on your blog site, Hi my name is Paul, and i am a long lost acquaintance of a good colleague and respected vet of yours, Dr Mark Rishniw.- originally from Melbourne Australia. Do you have a contact email for him. if you can leave me his contact on my email- great! Regards, Paul, Australia.

    Reply
  14. Hi Mrs.Amy, I really want to asked you that how can I made my puppy notice me? My puppy is a German Shehperd. Sometimes she bite me and bark at me when She saw me, but she never do that to my dad so I got jelluos about him. Please help me Mrs. Amy! D:

    Reply
  15. Naomi Wadling

    Hi I have just moved in with a friend who has a 1 year old female cat and I have a very docile 11 year old dog who has lived with cat’s before but although he is very fascinated with cat’s he is also still quite nervous around cat’s. Already the cat ( sparks) is appearing to have gotten her confidence up around the dog (jake) and all was going fine until Sparks started using my walk in robe as the toilet instead of her litter box which until a week ago she was using without a bother. Now I shut the door to my room but the minute I open it she darts in and deficates on the carpet! How do we get her to return to using the litter box which is in the laundry downstairs which is not as warm as area as the upstairs part of the house and could this be a dominance thing with myself or my dog as we dwell upstairs and her owner who is male lives downstairs.

    Reply
    • Hi Naomi, I always strongly recommend a vet visit when a cat or dog has a sudden behavior change, since health issues often may be the cause of the problem. Cleaning the area with an odor neutralizer also can help greatly so the smell (you may not detect it!) doesn’t draw the cat back. Third, why not add another litter box in the upstairs? Cats often prefer heights, and many may prefer different toilets for “solids” and another for “liquids.” Hope this general information helps. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Hi Amy, my name is Kyle. I had a question. My cat, Skittles, has stopped covering his urine. Me and my dad found him a year ago as a stray. When we found him we think he was a year old. About a month or two ago he stop covering his urine. He covers his poop fine, but he doesn’t even attempt to cover his urine. I was wondering if you knew why and how I can get him to start covering his urine again.

    Reply
    • Hi Kyle, so glad that you found Skittles and made him your cat-friend. Felines cover their waste for a couple of reasons. First, to “hide” their presence from predators or others that challenge their standing (like more aggressive cats). And second, to show deference to others that are in charge.

      They may leave the waste uncovered as a marking behavior, sort of a way to shout, KILROY KITTY WAS HERE! (or in this case, “I’m Skittles and I ROCK THE WORLD!”).

      The marking behavior may not develop until the cat becomes more mature. So my guess is that Skittles has gotten old enough to feel like he needs to make his presence known, and second, that he’s sort of feeling his oats–that HE is in charge and no longer feels he needs to show deference to the rest of the house.

      Unfortunately you can’t MAKE a cat do anything. *s* Adding another litter box in a different location may increase the odds. There is a 3rd reason cats don’t cover–the box is TOO SMALL and they don’t want to stand over top/or in the waste to try and cover. So a very large box (like a storage bin for sweaters?) might help. I’d be grateful Skittles still uses the box instead of finding other outside places to urinate.

      Reply
  17. Thanks Amy, I will try to get a bigger litter box and put it somewhere else. The problem is my dad’s apartment is very, very small. So I don’t know where to put the box, but I’ll figure it out. And also when he pees it has a very strong smell, like ammonia. He isn’t neutered yet, but of we get him neutered do you think it will smell less?
    -Kyle

    Reply
    • Hi Kyle, NEUTER HIM ASAP! Oh my goodness, THAT’S a big part of why he’s not covering. Yes, neutering will reduce the odor and also the chance that he’ll spray/urine mark outside of the box.

      Reply
  18. Thanks Amy I will have my dad get Skittles neutered as soon as possible.

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  19. Dear Amy,

    Calvary blessings to you in the beloved name of our lORd and Saviour Jesus Christ – I came across your blog (website) today, very interesting topics. As an author and publisher myself I thought you and your readers might like this story.

    Four friends one an Architect, one an Book-keeper, one a Pharmacist and one a Production Factory Worker were all proudly out walking their different breed of dog on the Florida beach and bragging to each other about how smart their particular dogs were.

    First the Architect called to his dog “Archie, do your stuff!” Archie a German Shepherd trotted over to his owners car opened the boot and took out from a box a blank piece of paper and ran back to the beach were the awaiting owner and men sat, to draw a perfect circle, a square and a triangle!

    Everyone was impressed especially the Architect. But the book-keeper boasted loudly that his Boxer dog could do better. So he shouted: “Money-Bag’s, go on girl do your stuff!”
    So her dog ran to the nearest supermarket, returned with a box of dog biscuits and divided them into five piles of four on the beach in front of the other dog owners and everyone agreed that Money-Bags was very, very clever!

    Next, the Pharmacist shouted to her dog a tiny Yorkshire Terrier called ‘Quarter-of-a-pint’ to do her stuff! So Quarter-of-a-pint ran to the same supermarket where Money-Bags had gone and returned as fast as she could dragging behind two items in a carrier bag – a pint of milk in a carton and a large glass kitchen measuring jug to pour exactly four-and-a-half ounces into this jug without spilling a drop on the sandy beach. Everybody applauded and cheered in unison, “Well done girl!”

    Finally, they all asked the factory worker what his pit-bull terrier ‘Tea-break’ could do. So he shouted to Tea-break, “Tea-break, Tea-break, go on boy show them what your made of!” Tea-break quickly jumped to his feet, ate all the dog biscuits, drank all the milk, smashed the glass jug, messed on the beach, got into a big fight with the other dogs, claimed he injured his front paws stepping on the broken glass while doing so. Then he filed a grievance and injury report to the beach control guard that the other dogs had messed the beach, put in for dog’s compensation for an unsafe walking area and went home with his owner for the rest of the week on sick-leave. They are agreed ‘Tea-break’ was simply awesome and had won paws down!!!!

    (c) 2005 copyright Daniele Luciano Moskal

    Reply
  20. Hi Amy, what do you think of Iverhart. Is it as good as Heartguard?
    Thanks, Sam Silva

    Reply
    • Hi Sam, I’ve used the Iverhart before myself and yes, I believe it’s quite effective. It’s less expensive especially for the big dogs. Recently I switched from oral heartworm meds for Magic to Revolution, since it also handles fleas/ticks and some intestinal parasite protection with one application so the combo for us was more cost effective. But I still use Heartguard for Seren.

      Reply
  21. I wanted to no why my cat (Jumper) get on top of the tub an puts he paws,tail,an sometimes his body in a full tub of water I never seen a cat that likes to bathe in water is that normal for him

    Puzzled Patricia

    Reply
    • Hi Patricia. Every cat is different–as you’ve discovered. And yes, some cats actually enjoy paddling in water or even getting wet. The Turkish Van is also known as the “swimming cat” because they loved to swim (and fish!) in the Lake Van region of Turkey. You have a very special cat.

      Thanks for visiting the blog!

      Reply

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