When it rains, it sometimes pours…unless you’re in Michigan in mid-April, in which case you might wake up to snow like we did last week. Anyway, last week an excerpt from my book Something Furry Underfoot was posted on Lifewithpetsmagazine.com along with some cute photos of pets, and one with me from like way back PGH (pre-gray-hair). So thanks to editor Angie Brooks for the lovely exposure on her UK pet site!
Also PetRadioShow.com featured Winston and Snickers as the Daily Pet. Included with their cute photo is the story of how they rescued Mark and me. Thank you to Robert P Hudson for the great coverage and for already re-Tweeting my Tweet about the posting!
I also heard from Jan Keefe from Wag’n Woof Pets and she just posted a most excellent review of my book on her cute web site about pets.
AND to end the week, my book was featured on author Aubrey Wynne’s site. Her site is mostly for touting historical romances and I think it real swell of Aubrey for featuring a, uh, light romance about a man and woman that live in Michigan with a bunch of pets. It’ll be “historical” some day. So thanks for that posting Aubrey!
Next up? An interview on Pet Show Radio on May 3 at 10:30 PST which is like 8:30 Eastern Standard time. Stay tuned.
On April 7, Winston and Snickers turn one!
As you might recall, a day after Dusty, the Angel Pup, passed away last August, Mark fell in love with a black and white puppy he saw online and we drove out to Pennsylvania to see him. When the black and white puppy responded to us with a petrified look and by going catatonic, we asked about a sibling and met a small tan and white puppy with a scratched eye and severe underbite that brought the black and white one to life. Since the tan-white one rescued the black-white one, and the black-white one rescued Mark, we took the two brothers home with us.
This is what the tan and white pup we named Snickers looked like last August.
Winston looked like this.
The two brothers have been inseparable since we got them–they go outside together, sleep together, and eat together. And they got big together. In fact, because of the great food Mark made for them, Snickers is almost as big as Winston. Oh, and less I forget, they get very, very hairy together.
To celebrate their first birthday–and because they were so very fuzzy–we decided to take them to our favorite groomer to get trimmed, bathed, dried, fluffed and to get their nails and teeth done. The extremely patient groomer called moments after we dropped the dogs off, explaining that due to the snaggles in the dogs’ fur, she was going to have to trim them pretty short. While we were prepared for shortness, we were not quite prepared to discover that beneath Winston’s thick coat were so many black spots he appeared to be part Dalmation.
Snickers, meanwhile, was buzzed free of the last of the black on his ears and the caramel color that once offset the off-white on his back. The same thing had happened to Little Dipper back in the day, so Snickers’ look wasn’t quite as shocking to us. Thankfully, neither dog seemed to care how different they looked. When it was time for their birthday cake, they jumped right up to the table to pose for a photo.
Mark brought the cake over, and the dogs got exactly one good lick of chocolate for the photo before we took it away and pigged out without them. See, chocolate is bad for dogs (and my waistline) but Mark and I were both craving chocolate. Not to mention that the contrast of the dogs fur with a chocolate cake is far better a visual than a photo of them with a white cake.
After a bite of cake, the pups got a nice, long walk , a nap, and some new bones…which we took away after a bit because too much rawhide, like cake, is bad for dogs. Poor things.
But all in all, I think it was a good first birthday for our pups, and a good first year. So happy birthday to my pups. Thank you for rescuing us. And may you have many, many more days together.
Two bits of good news! First, I’ve created a new networking opportunity with Critter Joe’s, a nifty site devoted to pets. Critter Joe’s posted information about my book Something Furry Underfoot on his site under Helpful Information! So check it out and all the other great things Critter Joe’s has to offer.
Secondly, I’ve hooked up with www.ebooksoda.com to promote my book on their site, and in so doing, have lowered the e-book version of Something Fury Underfoot to $1.99!
Now for the week’s post. Purrkins appeared under our porch ten years ago, and he grew up with two dogs–Little Dipper and Dusty. Last August, after both of our beloved pups had gone off to heaven, we got two new puppies with boundless energy. Here’s what Purrkins looked like when he first saw the puppies.
As soon as the new pups came into the house, Purrkins headed for the closest hide-out he could find. Lucky for Purrkins, it took the dogs several days to discover this hiding spot.
Another favorite hiding spot is the linen closet, but don’t tell Mark.
Purrkins also found respite in a cat platform he’d ignored for years.
Purrkins also got his own feeding station, one raised up high enough that the pups could not bother him while he ate.
Even with all these get-away places, over the course of several months, Purrkins began to lose weight. And when I finally stopped and thought about it, Winston and Snickers had gotten all the attention since last August. So I began trying to spoil Purrkins. I started by buying him different kinds of canned cat food to make him feel special.
Some canned food was better than other. In fact, some he wouldn’t eat at all.
We also spent more time together getting fresh water from the bathroom faucet, another of his favorites.
And I made time at night to play with Purrkins again, after the dogs were tucked away in the back bedroom area.
What’s really nifty is that Purrkins started putting weight back on again. And over time, he not only was spotted in the vicinity of the puppies…
…he actually let Winston curl up with him for a nap!
So I think all life is better for Purrkins, at least when the puppies are calm, if not sleeping. But just to be sure, I got him a new play tunnel the other day.
See, I knew that it’d take a while for Purrkins to get used to our energetic puppies, but I felt bad that I was a bit slow to realize the real impact on him. He’s nearly back to his usual weight again. And every night, when the puppies disappear to the back bedroom area for bed, Purrkins knows it’s our time to play.
It’s true, I’m spoiled. And this year, Mark spoiled me with not only a Rago Rat fishing lure, but also a chocolate cake with my name on it.
The Rago Rat lure is the floating lure of choice when going after feisty fish like pike or bass. Just throw it out onto the water, wiggle it now and again and wait for the water to boil. The cake needs no explanation, of course, but it did turn out the cake was not chocolate–it was yellow. The cool thing was that when I told Mark “It’s the thought that counts,” he thought some more and there appeared another fishing lure. One I’d never seen before.
It’s called a Shamano Waxwing and it looks quite strange because it seems to have fins on the top of its head and underneath its head. This lure will go down about 1.5 feet and then waggle back and forth under the water.
I then learned one waxwing is not enough, so there appeared another one.
I know, all you ladies out there are super jealous, but consider that it’ll be several months yet before I’ll be able to tell you if these lures catch any fish. Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying on a delicious–albeit yellow–cake. How sweet is that?
Once upon a time, we had a dog named Dusty, the Angel Pup, who, with his pal, Little Dipper, filled our hearts and our days with happiness. In August, 2012, Little Dipper passed away and in August 2013, Dusty went off to heaven to join her. The next day my beloved, retired husband, Mark, spent a full day in the house without a pup. And that was all he could take. He was on the Internet looking for a pup the same mix as Dusty and Little Dipper–Lhasa Apso mixed with Bichon Frise. Soon Mark found this black and white pup.
We drove from Michigan to Pennsylvania to look at the pups, and when he froze–absolutely terrified–we asked if he had a sibling. Out came his brother who made everything okay. We brought both pups home, get the black and white pup on August 24 and had a contest to name the pups , the winners of which received a free, autographed copy of my humorous, touching memoir, Something Furry Underfoot. The winning names were Winston and Snickers.
The pups have been with us about five months and I can honestly say getting both of them was the best thing we’ve ever done. From their perspective, having a sibling nearby probably made it easier to leave their mom and other siblings and travel cross-country with two strange people. Getting used to the noises of the average suburban home–like the dishwasher, the squeak of the front door, and cars driving by the house–was probably easier with a brother around, as was going to the vet and the groomer.
From my perspective, coming home from work and being greeted by two happy pups is awesome. Snickers likes to get picked up and gives me an old-fashioned greeting.
Winston prefers to give what we call a “nose nib,” which is a super gentle nibble on the nose.
The puppies also remind me to have fun, which has been really import an during this very long winter.
And for Mark, the pups are the best companions a retired guy could have.
So thanks for coming home with us pups and making our lives full up again.
For more tips and factoids about dogs and other pets, check out Something Furry Underfoot, my humorous, touching memoir about raising frogs, iguanas, hedgehogs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, a stray cat, mynah birds and tropical fish.
It turns out our nine-month-old puppies, Winston and Snickers are big-time chewers. And after the pups chewed a door frame, we decided we should try to find an indestructible dog toy before our house started falling down.
Here are some potentially indestructible dog toys.
So, let’s start with the one at the top left, the chicken with the rope on it. In action, that toy looks like this.
This particular toy was a leftover from the “Dusty and Little Dipper Days,” being the days we had our two previous lhasa-bichon mixes (which, by the way, did not chew at all in comparison to Winston and Snickers). This toy is probably 10 years old. Its new projected life span is about two days, because after the dogs retrieve the toy, they play tug-o-war. The good thing about this toy is that while the rope part of the chicken is a few stitches from coming off, the body of the chicken is actually doing quite well.
Next, we explore the multi-celled, super squeaky uh, dinosaur-looking thingy? Mark had great hopes for this toy, but within hours of its arrival, Winston chewed the head off. I pondered sewing the head back on, but instead, I repaired the opening in the body and threw the head away. The body lasted another day or so before the plastic insides start coming out and I back to was sewing again.
Next, we consider what Mark was hoping would be a super long-lasting dog toy. It’s called the Tubba Wubba, made by KONG.
This toy lasted exactly 20 minutes before the dogs tugged off four of the strands from one end.
Of the other toys, I can only say that none were able to withstand the maws of my puppies for long. An old sock lasted just as long as a twisted piece of rope we paid $8 for at the store. It turns out the toy that has lasted the longest is the one that has the most prongs on it. It’s a jack-shaped plush.
Now, for those of you thinking, “They’re plush toys, they’re not going to be indestructible,” I say, “How wise you are!” See, we had some old toys of Dusty’s to offer our new pups, and after we gave our new pups those, we felt bad about giving them only old ones, so had to try that dinosaur-like thingy, and then Mark saw the KONG pull toy, and so it went. The fact is, we now take stuffed toys away from the puppies when they are done playing and simply want something to chew–we then give them a dog bone.
Winston and Snickers have also proven that not even dog bones are indestructible. We bought a Healthy Edibles bone made by Nylabone, busted it in half and found nary a trace of it when we returned home from dinner an hour later. And while rawhides do last a while in comparison, we limit the time pups chew on rawhides to reduce the potential for small pieces to cause blockages in their wee tummies.
The bones that last the longest in our house are Nylabone DuraChews and the Busy Buddy Bouncy Dog Toy. Even they are not indestructible, and we have to watch to make sure the pups don’t eat any large pieces.
Now, there is one toy missing in our discussion, and that’s the KONG classic dog toy. We’ve had it for months and stuff it with treats when we leave the house for an hour or so. There’s not even a knick out of it, making it truly indestructible. But I struggle with calling this a “toy” because I watched the pups a few times and it seems when the treat is gone, the pups stop playing with the KONG classic dog toy. So it’s really–at least in our house–more of a temporary treat holder, than a toy.
Indeed, it’s hard to keep one’s house from being chewed by puppies. But we’re feeling pup to the task. I mean up to the task, of course.
For more stories about pets, check out my book, Something Furry Underfoot. A p-awesome review of my book was posted Feb. 1 on GoneBookserk. Also, the Pen and Muse posted an interview of me on Feb. 2. AND, Megan Cyrulreski posted another fun interview of me Feb. 3.
Thanks to my squirrel-loving friend, Chris Johnson–who recently shared two very cute photos of baby fox squirrels with me–I was reminded that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day! Now, there are people who like squirrels and there are people whose spouses arm them with Christmas gifts in anticipation of the year’s event: for example, a soft blanket, a t-shirt and a welcome mat.
Hence qualified to write about squirrels, I must share that over the course of the last year, we experienced some very interesting things in the world of squirrels. We saw a mother fox squirrel nesting in a nest box in our front yard, but we didn’t see her babies until one day, late spring, when she guided them across our roof and onto the fence on the left side of our deck. There, she tried to entice them onto the deck, which is usually flush with sunflower seeds. As I took photos of the two babies with their mom, though, I realized that one of the baby squirrel’s tail was injured, as in chopped off. We named the squirrel Stumpy.
While the mom jumped down onto the deck to show the two babies how to stuff one’s face with sunflower seeds, the two babies would not budge. When one of them made a squeaky type noise, the mom ran back up the fence, nudged the one baby, then seemly wrapped her arms around Stumpy. We felt we’d witnessed a very tender moment in the world of squirrels.
Moments later, she guided the babies off the fence, back across the roof, to their nest box in the front yard. We didn’t see the family again for about two weeks. When we did, it seemed Stumpy’s tail was healing over! Mid-summer I took this shot of Stumpy.
In the fall, on another box in our front yard, we saw another touching moment between mother and baby squirrel.
Our yard is also home for a gray squirrel, which is sharing a box with two black squirrels. She appeared as a young squirrel and is now rather, well, matronly.
We also are visited by her black squirrel friends.
I captured this photo after we shoveled the deck off for our pals, during a light snow.
And this fella showed me something I’d never seen before. He was eating the snow, but it looks from the photo as if he was preparing for a snowball fight.
Our yard is also visited by squirrels that seem to be a mix of colors.
Today we saw six baby black squirrels emerge from a box in our backyard, along with their mom. Soon, they were racing up and down our cottonwood and creating disharmony for the nearby, resident fox squirrel. Below is a photo of six of the family members.
So happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day, all you fellow squirrel lovers! Oh, and remember, this day was chosen because food sources for squirrel are at their lowest. Don’t forget to put out some sunflower seeds or corn for your fuzzy pals.
My 3-minute YouTube Video called What Animals Deserve, features dogs, a stray cat, mynah birds, hamsters and a mouse named Smokey Joe. It promotes the well-being of all animals, including those we choose to bring home as pets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keR2JssTtO.
In 2014, countless numbers of pets will get new homes. Some pets will come from pet stores, some saved from puppy mills, some rescued from shelters. Many pets are gotten on a whim; other pets are brought home by people with a particular goal in mind, yet things don’t always work out according to their expectations. Neither situation is good for the pet. This blog posting is to help people make good decisions before they bring a pet home.
1. Any existing pets. Some pets are tolerant of other pets; others not so much. If your existing pet does not adjust easily to new pets, then you shouldn’t consider bringing any more into your house. Remember, your first commitment is to the pet(s) you already have.
2. The lifespan of the critter you’re thinking about. If you are considering a guinea pig, you’ll learn online that guinea pigs live on average 5-8 years. But what happens if instead your guinea pig–like ours–lives to be 12 years old? Will you be there for the guinea pig if it lives longer than you originally thought? My recommendation: take the “average lifespan” of the pet from online information and add several years, just in case. Then look into the future and see where you might be down the road. Can you commit to that pet for its entire life?
5. Your lifestyle. Do you have time in your life to give a pet the attention it deserves? Or, do you travel so much or have such a tight schedule that you’ll seldom be home for your new pal? Do you work 12-hour days and hope that if you get a puppy it can “hold it” while you’re at work? Finally, do you need a neat, finished, perfect look to your house? Answers to each of these questions will help you figure out if the pet you’re considering is the right one for you. Here are some pet-specific things to consider based on experiences I shared in my memoir Something Furry Underfoot:
- If you get a ferret, you’ll need to ferret-proof your house so your fuzzy can’t get harmed. Ferret-proofing our house resulted in adding plastic covers (secured with duct tape) to each of our potted plants, rubber bands on our kitchen cupboards, and duct tape on the underside of our La-Z-Boy recliner (because a ferret in a recliner can be lethal to ferrets if someone sits on the chair!)
- Rabbits are cute and fuzzy, but our rescue rabbit clawed on a bedroom wall and door frame.
- Our two iguanas were very messy and needed their cage cleaned at least weekly.
- Our male hedgehog went missing for three nights before we finally found him…he emerged from the kitchen cupboard. Finding him required three night sitting in the dark, waiting. (Read more in Chapter 4 of Something Furry Underfoot!)
- Our new puppies damaged one baseball hat, one of their own beds, one contour rug, and they chewed a hole in the doorway to our bedroom. We think that adds personality to our home. Would you?
6. What you need. If what you’re looking for in a pet is a companion, you probably shouldn’t consider a hamster, because most hamsters are solitary creatures that are perfectly happy alone, albeit with occasional run in an exercise ball. If what you’re looking for is something to care for, there are plenty of shelter pets that need your TLC. If what you’re looking for is an interactive pet, I can tell you that many cats are stand-off-ish and some are more lively at night than during the day. So, before you bring a pet home, think about why you’re getting a pet, then do research to figure out what pet best meets your needs.
Book Review Posted in the Lansing State Journal; Book Review on Author Alliance; Author Interview Christmas Day and January 2, 2014
It’s simple, it’s sweet and it’s wonderful to get such a nice review and local coverage about my book. Check out this article by Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journalwriter and owner of East Lansing’s famous book store, Curious Book Shop.
Also, hot off the press, Shemeka Mitchell of the Author Alliance posted a 5-star review of my book on the Author Alliance web site! http://www.authoralliance.net/author-alliances-s-mitchell-reviews-something-furry-underfoot-by-amy-l-peterson/
Then, check out Sara’s Rose Salih’s interview on her new web site. http://sararosesalih.com/interview-with-amy-l-peterson
We’re very excited about all this!