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Tuesday Trumpet! Music, Cat-astrophe & Thrilling News!

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NEWS-ABOUT-KURVES!

First off, I’ve added audio files to the KURVES, THE MUSICAL page (above) so folks can finally hear some of the songs.

NEWS-ABOUT-CAT!

Seren-kitty had her vet visit yesterday. She’s not a youngster any more and I’ve  been worried about her health since she’s drinking/urinating more. I’ll have a full recap on Friday but wanted to thank everyone for the good wishes. It is NOT diabetes (whew!). It may be early kidney issues (her tests are ‘borderline’ and not yet in failure). We’re expecting Texas A & M results tomorrow or Thursday to let us know about thyroid function. Paws crossed that’s negative…

NEWS-ABOUT-FICTION!

Some of y’all know that I’ve long aspired to write thrillers. Last Thursday, just before I headed out for the KWA Scene Conference, I heard from my editor at Who Dares Wins Publishing that they will publish my thriller LOST AND FOUND probably this fall (date tba). SNOOPY-DANCE-O-JOY!

Animal behaviorist September Day has 24 hours to find her autistic nephew and his service dog before he–and hundreds of other children–become victims of a deadly experimental autism treatment. And yes, there is “dog voice” as well as a highly-trained kitty, along with assorted quirky two-legged characters in the book.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. But today I also learned that I’ve been accepted as an ITW Debut Author class of 2012/2013. When I got that email I bawled. With happiness, of course. But that really upset the Magical-Dawg. Any tears upset him. And yes, the hero dog in the fiction came about by channeling my inner dog/cat. *s*

Anyway, I had to let y’all know my news. It’s been an “on top of the world” to “worry-icity” to “floating-again” sort of week. Sometimes you reach for, grab, and actually catch the brass ring.

*humming* If I can do it, you can do it too…

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Cat Smiles & Book Love

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What's not to love?

How does your cat show affection? There are so many ways–and many times folks just assume the kitty purr says it all. There’s no doubt that cats love us as much as we love them. People who haven’t been blessed with furry feline love have a difficult time believing this, though, because kitties show affection very differently than people do. In fact, some cat behaviors that puzzle, aggravate or even offend people are a cat’s way of expressing undying affection.

My kitty Seren often indulges in what I call “flipping” behavior, where she THROWS herself on the ground in front of me and rolls back and forth while meowing. She also cheek-rubs and head-bonks us–and yes, she purrs. Here are 14 unexpected ways cats show love. What are some other ways your cats demonstrate their affection for you? Please share!

In fact, in honor of Adopt A Cat Month, I will draw a name from the comments posted on today’s blog for your choice of one of the books, below, but there’s a catch:

There must be at least 10 comments to do the drawing–and I’ll choose a winner by Sunday night so maybe the autographed book gets to a Father’s Day recipient on time. Forward the link and encourage your friends to comment so somebody can get some free kitty-book-love. Yes, I’m purrrr-fectly evil! Which brings me to the most recent Ask Amy video, below–enjoy!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: About Pets & Heroes

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Is your dog a hero?

I get a slew of press releases each week about cat events, dog products, writing blogs, and outstanding websites. Check in each week for a recap the best, most fun, weird-and-wonderful and really anything that strikes my furry fancy.

Is your dog a hero? The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) celebrates doggy heroes in several categories:  Companion, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Therapy, and Service.  You can nominate your own furry pooch or one you know by June 1st to be considered for an ACE Award. The winners’ names will be engraved on the ACE plaque on permanent display at the AKC Library in New York City, and weach winner receives $1000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expenses-paid trip for the dog and owner to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in December 2011. Dogs with honorable mention status receive engraved bronze medallions.

Dog kissing soldier . . .

Patriot Paws I met writer Meg Reid at the recent OWFI writers conference, and I’m delighted she sent me a link to her Twisted Sisters blog (doncha love that title?!). Patriot Paws is a wonderful group dedicated to training service dogs for veterans. as in the above picture. Check it out!  

My colleague Susan McCullough writes the outstanding Northern Virginia Dog Blog and has a killer post today on Getting A Leg Up  –doggy leg lifting, that is.

Most of y’all know that I’m now the Puppies Guide for Puppies.About.com –and diligently posting new free articles on all-things-puppy (SQUEEE! Cute Alert!). But did you know about the other fan-furry-tastic parts of the “pet group” over at About.com?

Cat folks can’t go wrong with the terrific info over at cats.About.com with Cats Guide Franny Syufy. For the past year I’ve been her partner in cat-crime so there’s some kitty behavior articles from me. The the big-cat share of the site comes directly from the talented paws of Franny. After all, she’s been writing kitty content for the site for more than a decade.

My spanking-new puppies site content will often include links back to the great info for grown-up canines at dogs.About.com from Dogs Guide Jenna Stregowski, RVT.  I’ll also link  back to care content found at the excellent  Veterinary Medicine Guide Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

As a kid, I shared my life with several hamsters, mice, snakes, turtles and loved visiting my grandma’s farm to schmooze with horses, chickens, pigs and more. Today lots of folks enjoy the companionship of interesting pets. You’ll find some great info from Exotic Pets Guide Adrienne Kruzer, RVT.

Or maybe you have a companion bird–at one time I shared my life with a lil’ green chicken (aka Spectacle Amazon Parrot). In fact, the story of her rescue and rehap was the first article I ever sold to be published. I wish that I’d had the help then from Pet Birds Guide Alyson Burgess.

So do you have a hero dog? A hero cat? Horse, gerbil, parrot, snake? How about a hero HUMAN who helps where needed? Please share how people and pets have been heroic and touched your life!

Being a hero is no joke. But the ability to make you laugh is a talent not to be wagged at…so you won’t want to miss this fun video from my colleague, writer Janice Biniok. Enjoy!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Kitty Yowls & Litter-ary Woes

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kitten outside under shrub

Yowling youngsters yearn for luv...

My Seren-kitty has never been a touchy-feely lap snuggler. It wasn’t until she became a senior citizen cat that Seren deigned to snooze on a human, and a lot of that has to do with tormenting the Magical-Dawg. But when I still worked in a “real job” as a vet tech, more than once clients called with concern about the bizarre behavior of feline fur-kids.

Usually it was the girl kitties who began to rub-rub-rub and rollllllllllllllllllllll all over the floor, CRYING out like tortured souls and diggidy-pawing at windows. One frightened woman was sure her cat had caught “the rabies.” I can imagine all you cat-savvy folks nodding wisely–y’all know exactly what’s up. It’s that time of the season when girl kitties pick the lock with their rabies tags, shimmy out the window, and get all lovey-dovey with feline Romeos. . . . and I sell a boatload of kitten books as a result.

cat in litter box

"Fixing" cats often can "fix" hit-or-miss potty behavior.

Of course, the Romeo cats take the opportunity to baptize everything in sight to announce their macho status to the banshee-esque girls. Even if your fur-kids have had their gonads snipped, the love-in-the-air can prompt some serious litter-ary action.

“Going” outside the litter box is the top cat-behavior complaint of cat owners. Litter-box problems lose cats their homes and lives. But cats use urine and feces to “talk” to owners, even if humans misunderstand the stinky message. Cats have logical reasons for inappropriate behavior. Understanding the reasons they snub the box often reveals easy fixes that will keep your cat’s aim on target. Here are five common reasons cats miss the box, and how to improve their aim.

It may be tempting to have the cute-icity of a kindle of kittens on hand–anyone have a litter now? What are your challenges? Has it prompted more hissy fits between your adult cats? Litter box issues? Have you found ’em homes yet?

The yowls have other causes, too–especially for our golden oldie cats. The Ask Amy video mentions a couple of these issues but there’s lots more info in the Aging Cat book. What do you do about your adult cat-erwauling? Did a vet visit take care of the problem? Or are you still losing sleep? Hint: Ear plugs are your friend! What else can you add to the Ask Amy video advice?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Evil vs Bliss

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Watchful

I want to go back to that time of innocence, when we felt secure and didn’t sleep with an ear cocked or watchful eyes scanning for danger. When shoes were shoes and not potential weapons. When profiling was the artist’s way of rendering a painting. But we’ll never go back, whether revenge is satisfied or not. But we can go forward.

It’s raining buckets in N. Texas today, and started yesterday morning with horizontal winds that blew down power lines, tree limbs, and even church steeples. After the late night news, it’s almost as if the sky weeps for a world that feels the need to celebrate the death of one evil man who caused such anguish to so many. That’s an added horror for me. And I pray that never again will such an act give our nation the justification to seek and then celebrate a man’s death–however justified.

Persian kittens on chair

This coming weekend I’ll be at the OWFI Conference offering sessions on media training for authors, and a how-to course on Ebooks. April is the one-year anniversary of my journey into Kindle-ization with my backlist and a lot has happened since then! Watch the blog, cuz I want to share my successes and challenges–learn from my mistakes. I’ll share a whole series of blogs on Ebooks and Kindle-ization, with lots of great links for how to do it, and ways to market and promote your self-pub’d Ebooks.

One of last week’s posts ask readers, what’s your bliss? Several readers responded either in comments section or privately about wanting to become involved in an animal-related carreer, or writing. Those certainly brought me my bliss! So today’s Monday Mentions offer some resources as a jumping off spot, and also celebrates a few folks who not only found their bliss but have helped others do the same. Enjoy!

Diana L Guerrero (Ark Lady) offers animal career counseling–and has a terrific newsletter and blog that covers animal training, animal careers and animal behavior. She’s also a terrific lady!

Careers with Dogs: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Dream Job  is a terrific guide by Kim Thornton, an award winning columnist for MSNBC and author of many pet care titles. Kim’s one of the best pet journalists out there, and is a past president of the Cat Writers’ Association.

Cat Writers’ Association is a professional organization of folks with a special interest in cats. Members are writers, authors, broadcasters, artists, photographers–you name it. CWA holds an annual writers conference open to the public and aspiring writers, which this year will be the weekend before Thanksgiving in White Plains, New York.

REAL MEN CARE–Promoting compassion by honoring four men who made a big difference in animal lives this past year–if’ you’re in the DFW area, please check it out!

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants offers Continuing Education courses on everything from dog aggression and cat handling to pet first aid courses and how giraffes (or other animals) learn.

“Catch the Wave” of outstanding training sessions at the 2011 Association of Pet Dog Trainers Educational Conference and Trade Show. Speakers include some of the top names in the dog training industry.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Mutts, Ferals & Chew On THIS!

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Hold still!

Thanks muchly for all the wonderful wags and purrs about the new “blog home”–I hope y’all will consider subscribing and sharing with other pet-centric and writer-types. I’ve a whole pack of shout-outs to share today.
Could you be my new family?
Saturday I had the hard job of schmoozing (techie term) with a slew of puppies, courtesy of Lynette George. She also happens to be my PETiQuette newspaper column editor–and runs a local rescue organization. As a result, I’ve now got close to 200 puppy-licious photos for future blogs and other writer-icity projects. That’s Lynette (above) with the land-shark pups guestimated to be a Rottie-cross. Next Saturday, April 2 at 2 pm she’s hosting a “Pet Contest” at the Sherman Petco ($5 entry, benefiting local rescue), for the largest, smallest, furriest, best dressed, best trick, looks most like owner, best behaved, oldest, most colorful pet. I’m donating a couple of books as prizes–and I get to be a judge. So sucking up can officially begin. (Guess folks would frown on me entering my own fur-kids, eh?).

Louise with a special kitty friend.

Do you have feral cats in your neck of the woods? I guarantee that you do, whether you’ve seen them or not! I’m not talking stray cats, or “community cats” that collect kibble by visiting the neighborhood like kitty trick or treaters. You might call them yowling nuisances when they potty in your garden or drive indoor cats crazy—but they’re simply trying to survive. Louise Holton, founder and president of Alley Cat Rescue (ACR), says TNR (trap-neuter-return) can solve a host of feral cat problems in a humane way. My latest Pet Peeves show, Feral Cats – The TNR Solution explains how you can help by partnering with the ACR-sponsored “Free Feral Cat Spay Day” on April 27, 2011. 

Are you already using TNR in your community? Me-wow! How’s that working for you? Please share!

The puppy pictures I took on Saturday featured “mixed breed” pets. Betcha a bunch of y’all reading this blog have a “mutt dog” (or a mutt cat) you love.  Even if they don’t have papers (no…I’m not talking about the piddle pads), they are of course just as worthy, smart, loving, and stunning as any purebred or pedigreed pet. My Seren-kitty will attest to that!

And now, in celebration of mixed breed dogs, my colleague author Cheryl Smith has been named the National Mixed Breed Columnist at Examiner.com.

Cheryl and her "furry muses."

Cheryl says, “The examiner column is a national column on mixed breeds. So far it’s been mainly AKC related because of the upcoming agility championship and the first mixed breeds competing. But it will cover all the other dog sport organizations that welcome mixes, as well as mixed breed topics and issues. For example, I looked at canine DNA tests already, and next week hope to look at how many mixes typically go into a mix, and what are actually the correct terms to use when talking about non-purebred dogs.”

Cheryl and her roomate share their home with mixed breeds. “The apricot dog is my dog, Joe Cool, who I’ve only had for a little more than two months, and the white dog is Taiwan Teddy, Judy’s dog. They are a handful. Joe was originally owned by a drug addict who lived in her car.”

How did you find your pet? Did you rescue a mutt or get on a waiting list for a purebred? Did Kitty-kins show up on the back porch? What’s your “gotcha day” story?

I love hearing from you. Do you have a “furry muse” who inspires your writing? Please let me know and I’ll try to get you a Monday Mention. Share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Work, Guilt & Playing Hooky

For the first weekend in…oh, forever!…I didn’t work. Well, I did but it was for fun stuff, arranging music with my keen Sibelius software.

And now I feel guilty. I have multiple ongoing assignments so there’s always something to be done. I received the proofs of my Complete Care for Your Aging Dog, including the cover mock-up, to review and approve. And yes, I really want to get that done and return the book to print. And there’s always cats.About.com content to be written. Also, I have two articles due for Catnip and Your Dog magazines. Then I’ve also promised myself (for several months!) that I’ll revise the first draft of my fiction WIP (which by the way features an animal behaviorist and smart-alec dog very like Magic!) and have subscribed to the Write It Forward workshop with Bob Mayer.

Instead I played music. Interestingly, the WIP song is called “Dreams 4-Sale” and boy, am I buying! It snowed yesterday here in N. Texas, a rare happening, and it  would be a lovely dream to curl up with my Kindle, the fireplace roaring with flame, cat on my lap and dog at my feet . . .Or an even better dream, to visit a favorite Colorado “Dog Bar” hangout with my writer retreat buddies.

But I feel guilty. So instead of music, today I play catch-up.

Do you ever play hooky from reality? What do you do–and do you feel guilty? I work pretty much seven days a week but still can’t get past that guilt-o-meter angst when I’m not being measurably productive.

Meanwhile, Seren’s sleeping under the stained glass lamp and Magic’s dozing with a stuffed pink pig. I want to be my pets today. I want somebody else to be the responsible person. Today I want to be a twelve-year-old celebrating school closings with snowballs pelted for the dog to catch.

*sigh*

Back to work.

Cat’s Holiday Wish–To Go Home

Mia was returned home! Merry Holidays!

UPDATE, 12-16-09–Somebody read this blog and recognized the cat and owner and tonight–MIA IS GOING HOME!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS–May all of your pet dreams (and otherwise) come true!

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Today I received an email plea from a guardian angel  hoping to get Mia the cat back to her proper family. I’ve been given permission to share the information (below) and spread the word. Here’s how she lost her home, and now seeks to be reunited with her loved ones. Can you help?

********************

My family provides a foster home for Red River SPCA. Nearly every Saturday we take some of our adoptable dogs to PetSmart in Sherman. The adoptable cats that stay in the store come from RRSPCA. It is not unusual for people to approach us at PetSmart while we are showing our animals and ask us for help with rehoming their pets.

That’s where we were, back in July, when a lady brought us her pet cat that she’d had for ten years and asked us to rehome “Mia.”

Her reason was that the doctor had told her that her daughter was allergic to the cat and it was causing health issues with the child and the cat must go.

The lady was in tears when surrendering Mia.  It was plain to see this was one of the hardest things that the lady had ever had to do. She loved her cat so much that she had even had the cat’s name tattooed on her arm.

But the illness continued even after she had given up her beloved cat. So the family ended up in Dallas to a specialist who told them that the child’s illness had nothing to do with Mia the cat.

The middle of October was when the lady called us, wanting her cat Mia back.

We contacted the family that had adopted Mia in July and told them the lady’s story. The family wanted to hold a family meeting and discuss it.  They loved Mia very much and now had had Mia for three months and she was part of their family. We offered another cat we had in replacement. 

We did not hear anything more from the family.. We tried to contact the family a few more times but we did not    hear back from them. So we had to assume that they did not want to part with the cat.

Now it is the end of November and out of the blue the family shows up telling us they had prayed on it long and hard. They said if it had happened to their family, they would want their beloved pet back.

“So here is Mia, please give her back to her family.”

I took Mia and went right to work calling everyone that had been involved in Mia’s adoption, trying to get Mia back to her original family. Unfortunately the computer that held her information had crashed and all was lost. We have no records for contacting Mia’s mom to reunite them. All we can remember is the lady’s first name because it’s similar to my own.

 We believe Mia’s moms name is Aubrey.So here I am writing to ask if there is any way that you can please help. All I need is for you to tell the public — hoping Mia’s mom (or someone who knows Aubrey) is listening — that there is a special Christmas wish out there and Mia wants to come home. If Mia’s mom hears this story, she could call me at 903-327-8477.  I would love to reunite Mia with Aubrey and make this a very special Christmas for everyone involved.  Thank you for your time and a special thanks from Mia, who just wants her mom back! Audrey Rowbotham

Blogs, Podcasts, and Info-Dumps

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Seems to be more and more difficult to stay up to date on posting. Forgive the flurry of news, and I’ll try to categorize in separate entries (WARNING, info-dump ahead):

Last Thursday and Friday, I interviewed guests for the next four “Pet Peeves” radio shows. Last month’s final show (“Do Pets Go to Heaven”) has received quite a bit of attention, I’m pleased to say, and hopefully the next offerings also will get some attention. They include:

OUT DARN SPOT, All about pet potty stains and what to do
FURRY INFATUATION Why we Love Pets
SEX-SEX-SEX! and the Single Pet, Part 1 (and 2)
          The first part covers spay-neuter issues, the age controversy, and health benefits. 
          Part two discusses the pro-con issues of mandatory spay/neuter ordinances

You can access these shows anytime (once they’re posted…one each week or so) by clicking on the Pet Peeves logo at http://www.petliferadio.com 

I’ve covered some of the same issues, plus a few unique topics, at my daily “cat blog” at www.petside.com –stop by and browse, post a comment or two. 

best,

amy

CATalist Summit–Your Chance to Talk to Vets!

I have a ‘flavor’ to ask you. *s* I know that many writers share their lives with cats–and this is your opportunity to help improve the lives of your pets.

According to the AVMA’s latest poll, 36.6 percent of cat-owning households received no vet care in 2006 compared to 17.3 percent of dog households. So the American Association of Feline Practitioners (cat veterinarians) host the CATalyst Summit next week.

The goal is to understand the decline in vet visits for cats, why cats’ needs continue to go unmet compared to dogs, and how that trend can be reversed and improve feline care. I’ll be there and would love to pass on cat owners’ opinions to these experts. This is YOUR CHANCE to get them to listen!

1. Nowadays, vets recommend twice a year “wellness visits” for cats. Why do you (or don’t you) do this?

2. Do you think cats aren’t cared for as well as dogs–If so (if not) why?

3. What would help you better care for your cats?

The meetings are Tuesday and Wednesday but please post even after those days and I can still pass on the info. You could help improve the care and health of your cats.

best,
amy