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Furry Friday: Mother’s Day for Pets

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Birta og Rjómi

“This is MY purr-son!” Copr. Maria Magnus/Flickr

There’s no doubt we love our pets—but do our cats and dogs love us back? Kitty and doggy shows of affection aren’t always what humans expect. In fact, a pet’s lovey-dovey wishes might instead puzzle, aggravate or even offend some people. To celebrate Mother’s Day here are 14 ways dogs and cats show love.

Cat purrs can mean everything from delight to expressions of concern. A cat that purrs while snuggled in your lap expresses deep trust and love for you.  Return the favor and talk back—say, “I love you!” She’ll understand the emotion, if not the exact words.

Dog howls aren’t nearly as subtle as kitty purrs but can be a canine Valentine. A howl can mean your dog is lonely. Try scheduling extra face time with your special dog, or offer puzzle toys filled with treats to show your love. It’s harder to howl when chewing something yummy.

Kitty rubbing against you leaves the cat’s scent—marking you as “owned” by them. Cats repeatedly head-bump their most favorite people. Bumping your face is the ultimate show of trust since it leaves eyes vulnerable.

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“I trust you no matter what…” Copr. Paul Loades/Flickr

Dogs lean against us. Yes, it can be pushy or awkward especially with big dogs, but it’s a way of showing and asking for love and attention. Either sit down so he can lean and love, or teach him to “sit” before you dole out the attention.

Kitties groom other cats—or humans—that they like. Licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing spreads “family” scent and is an expression of feline love. Return the favor—petting your cat is the kitty equivalent of a love-fest of mutual grooming.

Dogs jump up, not to knock you down, but to give a big kiss. A dog kiss isn’t exactly the same as human kisses. Puppies lick the mom-dog’s eyes and face to show deference. Adults give doggy kisses to humans they love and respect and aim at the face. Kneel to let him kiss you (if doggy smooches don’t bother you). Or offer your hand for a sniff-and-smooch instead.

Cats scratch and pee to calm themselves down, and seek out items that smell most like their beloved human. So scratching your favorite chair or “baptizing” your bed with urine actually is a backhanded kitty compliment. Relieving stress and providing legal scratch and potty opportunities encourages kitty to love you in more appropriate ways.

Puppies pee and roll on their back when owners come home—another way to show deference and declare their love and respect. Most pups outgrow the pee-party, but not the rolling over. Baring his tummy invites a friendly rub, so answer his request to show you love him, too.

Cats knead—honestly, we’re not sure why. Kittens do it to prompt mom-cat’s milk to release. We suspect this instinctive behavior hearkens back to that feeling of comfort and joy. So a cat kneading her human certainly can be a kitty Valentine.

Dogs chew to relieve stress and calm upset feelings, and also seek out owner-scented items like shoes or that Gucci handbag. Why not offer him a Valentine’s gift of a legal chew toy—stick it inside your shoe overnight so it has the appropriate “cologne” to really show your love!

Dog crotch sniffs may not seem all that loving but are the equivalent of a human hand shake. Request a “sit” instead, then pay him with attention.

A kitty butt-in-your-face is an invitation to sniff—that’s a very friendly and loving gesture! (Not that you want to indulge). Scratch the base of her tail, instead.

Doggy wags that are low, loose and wide are technically a “distance-decreasing signal” that invites attention and love. Tail-less dogs wag their whole body.

Kitten tails held straight up with the end tipped over use this to greet mom-cat, and the tippy-tail is a kitty Valentine when directed at humans—in effect calling you “mom.”

What have I missed? How do your fur-kids show you love–on Mother’s Day and the rest of the year? You can show your Mother’s Day love by “gifting” the pet lovers in your life with something for their pets–maybe even a book (hint hint!).

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Contests, Dog Meets Wolf & PET FOOD RECALL!

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“Deadlines” won 2nd place in the suspense/mystery category!

This past weekend I attended the annual OWFI Conference and had a ball. It’s as much about reunions and connecting with like minded folks as it is attending the stellar seminars. I had a ball moderating a panel on social networking, was a judge for the contest, and attended sessions on “building brand” and perfecting your elevator pitch to using screen writing techniques to improve writing with Tom Sawyer (of Murder She Wrote fame).

Steven James the thriller writer, poet, and more was the keynote speaker and was the BEST I have ever heard at this conference or elsewhere! I laughed until I cried, was inspired, and came away with a new determination to “throw my hat over the wall.”

I love this conference also for the encouragement and inspiration that arises from the contest–for unpublished work mostly–that garners helpful comments. I even recommended a handful of editors and agents to the contest chair to see if they wanted to judge. The contest is judged “blind” so nobody knows who entered what and the judges aren’t announced publicly until after the winners are announced. I entered my thriller. It was the 4th time I entered.

The first year it was disqualified (the judge failed to find the synopsis). The second year, the mail lost the entry. Last year the judge rated the manuscript about a 15 out of a possible 100 points because “everyone knows dog viewpoint only belongs in kid books.” This year the judge awarded that same manuscript 2nd place! As it turns out, two months after entering the contest I submitted my thriller to an editor who bought the manuscript–and until this weekend I hadn’t a clue that she’d already seen it in the contest! Yes, my editor was that category judge and (perhaps?) as a result of entering the OWFI contest I had a paw-up in getting an acceptance. Wow! The book (new title, LOST AND FOUND) will be published this fall.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

PET SCHTUFF

DIAMOND PET FOOD RECALL has been expanded due to fears of salmonella contamination and includes several brands for both dogs and cats. Check the link for further info to be sure your pets’ foods aren’t on the list. Spread the word!

A DOG’S LIFE BLOG on PET PARTNER EVALUATIONS from Patricia Tirrell, an awesome post for those interested in learning about therapy dogs

PET’S EYE VIEW CAMERAS these attach to the collar–pricy but looks like fun

CAT MAN DREW Mother’s Day Special kitty portraits, awesome!

The AKC Humane Fund, Inc. offers the John Spurling, O.B.E. Scholarship Celebrating the Human-Canine Bond.  Five scholarships will be awarded annually to full-time students enrolled in courses of study that advance responsible pet ownership.

DO YOU WANT “KITTY” WITH YOUR COFFEE? a cat cafe complete with snuggles…in Vienna

CANINE SERVICE DOG FOR–ANOTHER DOG? awesome video, a must-see!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

CONTEST FOR DOG WRITERS from the Universal Cavalier

TARGET DROPS THE KINDLE

DO YOU NEED A BIG SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING? one writer’s experience and insight

THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE interview with true crime author Cathy Scott–you’ll be inspired how she jumped ship on a “safe” job and became a best selling author.

MICROSOFT INVESTS IN B&N DIGITAL

WRITE-WELL ACADEMY from Jennifer Crusie and Lani Diane Rich provide online workshops for beginning and advanced writers.

Now for some pure fun, check out this video and the dog’s reaction to the “wolf.”

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Making Fleas Flee

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magic in paintbrush 2

I couldn't resist another Magic picture (when he was much younger) in spring Paintbrush.

It’s time for my annual flea rant. This year the terrific rain that made wildflowers resurrect in drought-parched North Texas also provides lush habitat for bugs. Magical-Dawg has been scratching like crazy, even though he’s on a flea preventive. There’s just too darn many bugs out there. The cat flea (also infests dogs) can cause allergies, anemia, and transmit tapeworms as well as the agent that causes cat scratch disease. And even though Seren-kitty doesn’t go outside, Magic generously shares any hitchhikers with her.

KEEP REFILLS A-COMING!

I’ve also had some frustration getting refills on Magic and Seren’s medications. It used to be that the monthly spot-on or oral heartworm medications could be picked up from my veterinary office. For convenience sake they’ve gone to an online website with a “store” that keeps track of the pets’ Rx which can be refilled with the click of a button. Only the past couple of times the pets have been ready for a refill, their meds either were “unavailable” or missing from the online store. Grrr!

So instead of a separate heartworm preventative along with a flea medication I finally broke down and purchased Revolution, a product formulated to take care of most all available parasites. Hopefully that will quell Magic’s itch–I do believe that the fleas build up resistance to certain treatments and it’s not a bad idea to rotate products when possible.

FLEA PRODUCT DANGERS!

Choose flea and tick products with care. Even those that ARE safe (when used according to directions) can cause problems if you fail to use good judgment. Age of the pet, health status, and species determines the type of product you should choose. Look at the label to make sure the flea or tick protection says it’s safe for your individual pets.

Dogs tolerate certain types of pesticides better than cats. Products containing permethrin or phenothrin labeled for dogs can kill your cat. Kittens and puppies must be old enough to tolerate the treatment (the label will say the best age). And using more than one product at a time on your pet can add up and poison him when one alone might be fine.

NATURAL FLEA PREVENTION

The safest and most “natural” flea control technique involves using a flea-comb. Frequent vacuuming of the carpet removes up to 90 percent of flea eggs and 50 percent of larvae, and gets rid of incidental ticks, too. Don’t neglect washing pet beds, carriers, blankets, and throw rugs as well as any sofa cushions or other favorite dog and cat resting places.

For outdoor habitats, cut the grass short to allow sunlight to shoo away the bugs. Remember all those wildflowers and waist-high grass in the pictures on Monday Mention blog? Yesterday the fields were mowed, and that should cut down not only the pollen count but reduce parasite habitat. Keeping your pets from problem areas and treating the bug habitats helps reduce the pest population. Nematodes—worms that eat immature fleas—are available from lawn and garden supply outlets.

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Can you see the flea in the picture? Yes, it's there! Ewww!

FLEA BIOLOGY BITES

The adult flea you find crawling through Fluffy and King’s fur represents only the tip of the buggy iceberg. Adult fleas don’t hop on and off your pet. They stay there unless involuntarily dislodged, but they represent only five percent of the total flea population. The remaining 95 percent composed of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae lurk in the environment poised to belly up to the furry banquet.

Fleas can lay 20 to 40 eggs per day, and ten female fleas can create almost a quarter of a million different life stages in a month. Newly emerged flea larvae can survive two weeks without a blood meal, and pre-emerged (pupae/cocoon stage) can survive six months without feeding.

Flea products may address the egg, larvae and adult stages, but no insecticide can kill the cocoon stage. You must wait until it hatches to kill it. It takes fourteen to twenty-one days for the lifecycle to be complete.

Consult with your veterinarian to decide how best to protect your furry family in the bug wars. Some products only are available by prescription. If you choose an over-the-counter product, look at the label and follow product instructions to ensure the health and safety of your pets. You can learn more about fleas and appropriate products in this article, and learn more about ticks here.

How to you keep your dogs itch free and safe from parasites? Do you use “natural” methods along with preventatives? What tips can you offer to others dealing with these nasty vampires? Please share.

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Fabulous Flowers, Furry Pet Care & Fantastic Writing Tips

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Magic in flowers

Last week I mentioned the 500 antique roses around our house? It used to be 700+ but the drought, armadillos and grasshopper attrition left a dent. You cannot believe the aroma! With all the recent rain, we’re fighting with the weeds but it appears the roses are holding their own or even winning. And so are the wildflowers. As promised, some of my favs are shared here today.

This next weekend I’ll be at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference. This is an organization very close to my heart, as I have met some of the most extraordinary writers and friends there, as well as connected with editors and agents. As a result of attending, I ended up writing a Woman’s World pet column for a couple of years, found my agent (we sold 15+ award winning books together!), and also served as contest chair and president. I’m now a life member, wow! This weekend I’ll be moderating a panel on social media. You don’t have to be there, either, to benefit–if you have questions please post in the comments section and I’ll pose them to the panelist and share in a future blog.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the TASTY neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all. But first…some N. Texas spectacular-arity because when you’re feeling angst, there’s nothing like a dose of Mom-Nature to set you right.

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Paintbrush
antique rose
antique rose
Anitique roses

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Amazon Rewards Content Creators a great post from LJ Sellers

2012 Agents Conference, Writers League of Texas the registration price GOES UP tomorrow (May 1st)

Winners of the 2-12 Edgars Announced

The London Book Fair from an author’s perspective

Writer Beware! avoid this German literary agent and VERY IMPORTANT info on Reversion Clauses in contracts (trust me, authors, you must read this!)

William Bernhardt Writing Programs Best selling legal thriller author’s seminars, workshops and more come HIGHLY recommended (yes, they’re that good). Bill’s also a thoroughly nice guy.

PET SCHTUFF

Big Head Saves Staffie an awesome come-back story about a dog named Diesel hit by car TWICE–from the awesome Dr. Rayya’s Online Vet Journal

Cats Are Con Artists, Dogs Are Sycophants says a new scientific study. Huh? Say it ain’t so, Fluffy…what’s that? Let me fill up your bowl…

39 Pound Cat?! OMG let me NOT fill up your bowl! And here’s more about MEOW the heavyweight kitty and how he came to be where he is today (thanks JaneA Kelley!)

Singer Chris Brown Sells Pit Bull Puppies Online — there are so many things WRONG with this, I don’t know where to start

Protect Cats from Heartworms! According to the website www.knowheartworms.org, in a North Carolina study 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were indoor-only cats. It’s been a mild winter–mosquitoes are already out and about. And yes, Seren-kitty takes her preventive like a treat. (So does the Magical-Dawg).

Parasite Prevention from expert Dr. Blagburn from Good News For Pets

American Humane Association’s Second Chance Fund helps animals in disaster situations

Cat owners are urged to speak with their veterinarians about preventive medications for their cats so that they can protect their feline friends from potentially deadly heartworm infestations. For more information on CAPC, visit their website at www.petsandparasites.org.

2012 Petties DogTime’s Pet Bloggers Awards with awards going to help fund animal shelters of the winner’s choice. Nominations open June 4 and broadcast in November.

34th Annual Winn Feline Foundation Feline Health Symposium.  Learn all about feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy June 28, 2012 at the Boston Marriott Quincy, in Quincy, MA from researchers Leslie Lyons, PhD, University of California, Davis (speaking on genetics), and John Rush, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, Tufts University (causes, diagnosis, treatment). 

Hemingway Cats Case Awaits Federal Appeal The approximately 40 felines descended from the famous author’s “breeding” program continue to live on the grounds of the Hemingway Museum–should they be caged?

Fact Or Fiction: 10 Diet Myths Debunked, a fantastic post from the excellent blogger August McLaughlin

This terrific video “This Too Will Pass” was pointed out to me from terrific blogger Piper Bayard.

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Poop-alicious Remedies

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kitten climbing into litter

When you have pets, shitake happens. (Hey, I figured the word “crappiocca” might have been over-used lately, so…)

One of the most common cat behavior complaints I get has to do with hit-or-miss litter box behavior. And it’s one of the most misunderstood. There are so dang many reasons for Cutey-Cat to snub the litter box and even the felines who are faithful to potty training can get their tails in a twist over “sctuff” and–(ahem)–let their opinion be known.

You can find some of the basics for solving litter box problems in my cats.About.com article on the subject.  And the updated and expanded book ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems In Your Cat-Dog Household has explanations and step-by-step how-to-solve advice, as well (kewl new cover, too, eh? :))  This week’s Woof Wednesday advice about dogs snacking from litter boxes is covered in the book, with more details of course.

Thanks to one of my fav SweetTweet & bloggicity friends for sending me the Ask Amy question, below. It can be a challenge to offer advice in 3 minutes or less, so I hope the info helps.

So what other advice would y’all offer? Do you have kitties that baptize walls? Dig-dig-dig forever and then “get productive” behind the piano? How do you manage? I’ll be adding two NEW books to the ComPETability series (for cat-to-cat and dog-to-dog behavior problems) so who knows? Your specific comments might make it into the book. Please share!

Gotta run, I have someone calling to interview me about–(wait for it) litter box problems! Like I said, it’s been a week filled with crappiocca.

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Pets, Writing & Hero Dogs

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Puppies

"Num-num-num-nummmmmm...." Picture courtesy of Eduardo Luderer

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the TASTY neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Register for Thrillerfest and Craftfest–some of the confirmed instructors include Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, Allison Brennan, Jan Burke, Lee Child, Catherine Coulter, Bob Dugoni, Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, David Hewson, Peter James, Steven James, Joan Johnston, Gayle Lynds, Donald Maass, Phillip Margolin, David Morrell, Michael Palmer, Ann Rule, and they’ll also be featuring martials arts expert and Marine, Jack Hoban, who will be conducting an in-depth workshop on Fighting: Ethics, Tactics, and Techniques for Writers.

Marijuana Mystery Someone mailed more than eleven pounds of marijuana to Macmillan’s St. Martin’s Press offices. The Smoking Gun broke the story today. Bound for an apparently fictitious employee named Karen Wright, the shipments had a potential street value of $70,000. Does that mean our books are going up in smoke? (ahem)

Taking the Mystery Out of Mystery Writing by Dennis Palumbo, a very interesting post.

How to Market Books to Libraries from Publishers Weekly

Jane Friedman on Writing (all kinds of good schtuff)

Chicken Soup for the Soul call-out for writers

Tips for Amazon Categorizing

Who Is In the Middle? from Bob Mayer. Writers create, readers consume, where does that leave the rest?

Neat Post on Lemmings, Words & Pithy Sayings A side note: recently my co-writer and I discovered nobody knew what we meant by “blowing smoke.” Sheesh.

How to Pitch YA to This Agent

Digital Bookworld Article Inventing the future of publishing, terrific article!

Can You Self-Pub Your Way to a REALLY BIG DEAL?

Publishing Resources–Contracts, Terms & More  from the ever-awesome Writer Beware. You’ll want to bookmark this one!

Protection Re: Pinterest which now may be slightly outdated since they just REVISED their terms.

Poisoned Pen Press’s new Discover Mystery Contest for unpublished writers will accept entries until April 30. This competition is similar to the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s contest and the MWA/St. Martin’s contest for first mysteries. The prize is publication by Poisoned Pen and a $1,000 advance.

Crime Book of the Year 2012 contest from Bloody Scotland, you could win £ 3.000 and window displays across the country

Are You A Work-Aholic? Guilty…but this article says working more than a 40-hour week is likely counter-productive. Hmnnn.

Wanna Write About Pets? New “American Pet Magazine” may be your opportunity

PET SCHTUFF

Nominate A Hero Dog! for some nifty funds for charity, courtesy of American Humane Association (check out the video, below)

Leggings For Life helping disabled cats get a paw-ahead. This is awesome! from terrific artist/writer Bernadette Kazmarski

Dogged Politics–speaking for politician’s pets

Famous Paintings IMPROVED by Cats, thanks to Naomi Bulger for sharing.

Judge Not, a moving and oh-so-MUST-BE-READ post on losing and finding that special pet from terrific pet writer Phyllis DeGioia

Spring Advertizing IMPROVED by Cats, thanks to Charlotte Reed

Facebook Rejects Puppymill Ads

Cats Need Help–priest cutting off the kitty food, can you believe it?!

On Desire, Work & Success a great post from dog mystery author Sheila Webster Boneham

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 excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: The New Baby & Suck It Up, Sweetheart!

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Rialto Max & Celia

Frank Steele and Amy Shojai prior to the closing night performance of KURVES premier run.

A new “baby” was born this past weekend. That’s me with my writing partner Frank Steele outside the theater, just before curtain time on KURVES, THE MUSICAL. I’ll have more pictures and even video very soon to share, but for now, wanted to offer a brief recap of one of the most awesome experiences of my professional life.

Many of you who read this blog are writers–published or someday-published–and I’m hear to tell you that DREAMS DO COME TRUE! But first, you have to dare to dream. And then you gotz-ta reach out for that brass ring. When you fall off the merry-go-round, it’s tempting to lay there in the dust and watch all the pretty horsies keep racing round and round, just out of reach.

Nobody becomes successful without eating a few dirt sandwiches along the way. You don’t have to like the taste, but you do need to get used to it, and remind yourself where that dirt belongs–in the litter box (or litter-ary toilet!). So grit your teeth, swallow and it’ll all come out in the end where it belongs, but only if you GET UP and keep reaching for those shiny objects. You can’t catch anything unless you open your hand.

Rialto view from stage

View from the stage--waiting for the house to open.

My best advice? Try. Ask. Risk. Surround yourself with those who share–or at least support–your dream. Not yes-bots, but reality-peeps with gentle sage advice willing to give you a butt-kick when needed along with that shoulder to cry on, and support your toddler steps.

What’s the worst that could happen–you fail. So what? Here’s a lesson learned from dog and cat behavior–the only way pets learn on their own is to make mistakes, so failure is value-added. Each setback stings but also adds wisdom that comes with a callous on your nether regions for future protection. Thing is, dogs and cats learn REAL FAST compared to humans. People are just wired to be stupid sometimes, and it takes head-banging angst before I learn there’s an open doorway just waiting for me to walk through.

I have a confession to make. For years, I wanted to write a play and compose music but never got around to it. I was like all those wannabe writers (not YOU of course!) who like to say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel…” and have every excuse in the book to postpone the dream.

Ya know what it took to get me to actually get off the “wannabe” pot? An insult from someone that really didn’t matter in the scheme of things. Yet I let those hurtful comments undermine my confidence and drive me away from something I desperately loved. To fill that hole in my heart my good friend Frank and I decided to create our own show, and KURVES (and the wonderful cast and crew!) put those careless comments right where they belonged–the litter box.

Rialto, KURVES set

The Kurves set awaits . . .

The older I get, the more I realize that life’s too short to let others rule your day or take the shine out of the sparkles. We give others the power to take away our joy sometimes–it’s easy to do but I’m getting better about recognizing that in myself. And, as one of the songs in KURVES says, instead of giving in to the urge, SUCK IT UP, SWEETHEART!

Do you have someone or something–comments, an event, a disappointment–that colors your future expectations? Does it hold you back, or spur you to by-damn prove ’em wrong? How do you manage the nay-sayers in your life? They say that success is the best revenge, so is it true?

I don’t know where KURVES will take us but this toddler seems to have strapped on roller blades and it may be we’re in for an exciting ride. So stay tuned! Oh, and you can scroll down a bit for the usual Monday Mentions mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week.

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Opening night cake courtesy of the Kurves cast!

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In honor of the "new baby" the playwrights were presented with flowers, candy cigars and monogrammed "onesies." Jury is still out whether it's a boy...or a girl.

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Opening night flowers from the cast.

kurves flowers

Closing night flowers from my husband--awwwww!

WRITING SCHTUFF

Time Waster or Time Investment? Social Media for Writers from Laurie Huston

Ebook Pricing for Writers from Dean Wesley Smith, he’s actually done some research, an interesting read

Kindle Nation Survey on reader habits, interesting info

PayPay vs Naughty Pink Bits oh no you DIDN’T?! from Susan Brassfield Cogan’s Blog

Audio Books Anyone? Some how-to info

French Seize Digital Rights?! Writer Beware awesome blog!

Twitter Tips for Tweeps from my writing buddy Nita Beshear

2012 International Digital Awards contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.

DK Seeks Online Marketing Manager

Christina Katz: Author of The Writer’s Workout from Jenn Nips blog

Firearms For Writers a conference speaker April 14 in Ohio from an RWA chapter, looks good!

PET SCHTUFF

10 Ways You Know Your Cat Rules You

AKC Names Most Popular Dog Breeds  is yours here?

Learn the Benefits of Play from Kitty from awesome blogger Angie Bailey

Owners Concerns Re: Euthanasia & Care

Birthday Surprise: Wife gets namesake pet-adoption center

Tough Job…NOT! Perfect for writers–get paid to stay home with the dog!

Trendy Pet Names from VetStreet as well as Least Trendy Pet Names

Why Cats Run the Internet and sell sell sell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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: Beware Easter Lilies!

Copr. Home-and-garden.webshots.com

The gorgeous lily makes its appearance each year, decorating church, home, and garden. I can’t have them in my house, though.  I won’t to risk having an Easter lily anywhere near my cat Seren. For cats, the fragrant blooms can mean death.

Many lilies are lethal to cats. Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, and Asiatic lilies are the most dangerous, and different cats react in various ways. The plants contain a chemical that can damage the kidneys, and kill your cat. Just biting a leaf or petal, or licking up the water from the vase can be enough to cause serious kidney disease.

Spring kitten

Artificial flowers may be just the ticket, as in this posed shot.

Dogs often gnaw leaves, dig up the plant, or eat the whole thing. Cats aren’t as likely to eat plants, but just biting a lily leaf or petal can kill kitty. Felines more often paw-pat and shred leaves and stems during play, and may be poisoned when they later lick and clean their paws and claws.

Cats poisoned by lily toxin typically suffer kidney failure within 36 to 72 hours. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy or loss of appetite. Some cats suffer permanent kidney damage and lose their lives, while others can recover if treated in time with dialysis that gives the organs enough time to heal.

Seren eating yellow roses

Roses can injure cats if they bite thorns, but aren't toxic and actually are edible...according to Seren!

The easiest way to protect your cats is to keep toxic plants out of reach—or out of your house altogether. Besides lilies, other potential harmful plants include rhododendron, sago palm, kalanchoe and schefflera. Azalea can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma and death. Eating or chewing caladium, dieffenbachia or philodendron makes the tongue and throat swell up so breathing is difficult. Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) causes everything from mouth irritation to collapse. Crown of thorns and English ivy will prompt thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, and death in one to two days. Holly also causes stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

Peace Lily

You can keep your pet family members safe and sound by choosing only pet-friendly safe varieties for your garden and home. Calla Lilies (below) and peace lilies (above), which don’t belong to the Lilium genus, are harmless to cats.

Calla Lily

There are many other plants that prompt mild problems, such as excess salivation or mouth discomfort. Keeping these out of reach of curious paws may be sufficient to protect your animals. But pet lovers should steer clear of the worst plant offenders, both inside and out. If you see your pet with one or more of these signs, particularly if a suspect plant is within reach, get help immediately! First aid can save the cat or dog’s life. Then take the pet to see the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Different poisons require very specific first aid. Usually that will be either 1) induce vomiting, (cats do this on their own very well–but never when you want them to!) or 2) give milk or water to wash out the mouth and dilute the poison. Making the pet vomit the wrong poisonous plant, though, could make a serious situation even more deadly, so you MUST know what to do for each type of plant.

Detailed advice for dealing with the most common plant poisoning is available in the book The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats. The ASPCA Animal Poison-Control Center is available for telephone consultations (1-888-426-4435) in case of poisoning emergency.

What cat-safe plants do you have in your home? How do you keep the cat from destroying/eating them? Have you ever had a kitty-plant encounter of the dangerous kind? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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!

Monday Mentions: Writing, Acting & Pets oh my!

Maxine

"Maxine" the owner of the gym in Kurves, Texas.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

This past weekend I finished the orchestration for the overture and exit music for KURVES, THE MUSICAL. Tonight we have a photographer coming for cast pictures during the show. That photo above is during a rehearsal–and that’s my co-author–to give you an idea of the flavor of the show. *s* If you’re in the N. Texas region I hope you’ll join us for this fun time. Rehearsals are a blast, we have a wonderful cast and the venue is outstanding. A reviewer will see the show this week, and we’ll have our premier March 1, 2, 3.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Just Breathe! stress relief tips from awesome author and blogger Joy Held

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2011  so do you agree?

The Writing for Children Competition seeks submissions for all ages of young people, from picture books to young adult (YA) stories. The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to launch its 16th annual Writing for Children Competition, which invites writers to submit a piece for children up to 1,500 words in the English language that has not previously been published in any format. A $1,500 prize will be awarded to an unpublished Canadian writer, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted for consideration to three publishers of children’s books. The deadline for entries is April 24, 2012.

Pinterest for Authors, good tips from Carla Stewart

Writers–You’ve Been Replaced by a Bot this gives me chills and it’s not sci-fi any longer.

R.L. Stine Posts Horror Story on Twitter  Talk about “short short stories…” is this the wave of the future?

AUTHOR BEWARE discusses the pros and cons (lots of cons!) of  BookTango, an ebook aggregator for self-published authors has been released by  Author Solutions (owner of the iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse, and Trafford brands, and the power behind the outsourced self-publishing divisions of Harlequin and Thomas Nelson, among others).

Kirkus Launches Editing Service for Self-Pub’d Authors

SAG + AFTRA = ???  Information on the merger of Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Flags for helping signal your dog’s attitude in advance–“I’m Shy” or “I’m Friendly” for the humans who can’t read doggy communication. Neat idea!

Help for Feral Cats from Examiner writer Stacy Ritz

Westminster Steps In It  Those who watched the dog show will be interested in this discussion by savvy dog-centric folks (be sure to read the comments, too, this is a keeper!).

Super-k9.com Presents Cara Shannon – Dallas/Addison 2012. This two day workshop shows professional dog trainers how to set up ongoing admission classes for reactive, aggressive, and shy dogs. Cara’s methods are all science-based and positive and are focused on not only changing behavior in the dogs but also on changing the emotional response of the dog.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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!

Woof Wednesday: Westminster & More Than Looks

Malachy the Pekingese wins Best In Show at Westminster!

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show crowned the latest winner last night–a dust-mop-size grinning lap dog with an attitude! I have to say, he stole the show for me, too, despite an outstanding field of doggy divas.

But oh my goodness, that HAIR! So much of it he resembled “scrubbing bubbles” from the wrong angle and the cameras had to search to find his face. Don’t get me wrong, Malachy is the absolute perfect example of the Peke–even though the breed has become somewhat of an extreme. Take what you like in a doggy type and exaggerate it to get the show dog, and it absolutely works in some and not so much in others.

Would you know how to care for all that coat? Magical-Dawg sheds bucketloads of fur each fall and spring, and the Furminator helps keep the doggy drifts under control. For a number of the show dogs, when they’re not being campaigned they may be trimmed in more easy-going trims or be covered up with bibs and ear snoods to keep from gumming up those fancy tresses with food or other debris.

I really love David Frei’s and the other announcer’s method of describing the show dogs’ temperament and care/work needs. That Peke is more than a pretty face, and the grooming alone requires hours that some owners may not have. Grooming, of course, involves more than just coat care. Even the mutt-off-the-street needs basic grooming in terms of brush or comb, and a regular bath when they get grubby, as well as toenail trims, ear care, and in the case of the Peke, some special eye care may be needed.

How do you keep your dog spiffy? Do you have a show-stopper? What tips help with the rough-and-tumble dirty dogs like my Magic to help keep grime to a minimum? Please share!

By the way, the winning Peke weighs in at 11 pounds. That’s how much Magical-Dawg weighed when he came home to live with us at 8 weeks.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? 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!