Great news! The paperback version of Something Furry Underfoot fits perfectly in most holiday stockings! Not to mention, at $8.55 on Amazon, it’s quite a stocking stuffer steal.
But in case you can’t part with $8.55 you have three–yes that’s 3–opportunities to enter into sweepstakes for a free copy of my book:
Lisa Taron, a.k.a. The Pet Blog Lady, recently posted my guest post and some of my cute pet photos and is offering a give-away. Go here: http://www.petbloglady.com/2013/12/something-furry-underfoot-celebrating-all-kinds-of-pets.html and enter a comment at the bottom of the posting. Lisa’s contest ends December 14. It’s for folks in the US and Canada.
Secondly, my other new friend Ella Johnson posted an author spotlight on lots of her social media sites including her blog. If you go to here: http://mymcbooks.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/book-spotlightgiveaway-something-furry-underfoot-ends-dec-20th/ all you have to do is enter a comment at the end of the spotlight and you’ll be entered to win! Ella’s contest ends December 20.
On Saturday, December 14, all you have to do is listen to the radio, specifically, Talkin’ Pets with Jon Patch, as he interviews me starting at 505 p.m. EST. As part of this show, he will give away 3 copies of my book, which I will sign and send to the winners. The call-in number for this is: at: http://talkinpets.com/new/.
So get going and get entering to win a free copy. And if that doesn’t work for ya, just order a copy from Amazon.com!
Fun things have been happening with my book, Something Furry Underfoot! Today, The Pet Blog Lady posted my guest post on her web site–she has 25K followers! My post is a fun, bubbly write-up that includes cute photos of some of the pets in my book. So check out this nifty guest post: http://www.petbloglady.com/2013/12/something-furry-underfoot-celebrating-all-kinds-of-pets.html.
Also, in the last month, I was interviewed on not one, but two radio stations! What’s great about these interviews is that my every word is recorded so you can listen to me over and over again! Or just once? My first radio interview was on October 26 with Adrienna Turner on Dream4More Blog Talk Radio. My interview follows Adrienna’s 15-minute summary of just some of the 30-40 books she reads a month. Check out the interview at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dream4moreradio/2013/10/26/adrienna-reads-dream4more-review.
On November 27 I was interviewed for 45 minutes by Eden Blackwell on A Kind Voice Blog Talk Radio. Just imagine how much you’ll learn about pets in 45 minutes! Check it out here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/akindvoice/2013/11/28/a-kind-voice-on-books-episode-15.
Other possible things on the horizon: a review by Ray Walsh, East Lansing’s Curious Books store owner and Lansing State Journal writer, and an author spotlight on Ella Johnson’s Mymcbook’s Blog http://mymcbooks.wordpress.com. Oh, and I submitted a 140-word poem to the Oakland County Register in California about Winston and Snickers, our new pups.
About two weeks ago, I saw @Pickupthatpoop was not only following me on Twitter, they were reading my humorous, touching memoir about pets called Something Furry Underfoot. @Pickupthatpoop’s singular cause is to get people to pick up their dogs’ poop. And since they’re helping me out, I figured the least I could do is to write something to help them. This posting is to let everyone know why it’s important to pick up your dog’s poop.
See, dog poo contains bacteria E. Coli bacteria, which on a web site called Giantmicrobes.com–home of some very cute stocking stuffers–looks like this.
So, if you don’t pick up your dog’s poop and your neighbor or their dog steps in it, then you’re exposing them to E. Coli. Oh sure, dog poop can be washed off shoes and hands with water and anti-bacterial soap, but why expose people to something that may result in nausea and other related problems?
Now, for those that poo-poo E. Coli please note the other scary things in dog poop. Say your dog has kennel cough and you leave your dog’s poo where others are exposed to it. Your neighbors’ dogs could pick up this cute little fella, called bordetella. Wouldn’t that make you feel kind of bad?
Dog poop might also contain giardia (a.k.a beaver fever), which will get your neighbors’ guts in knots and provide them quality time in their bathroom.
And it can contain Salmonella,which will provide your neighbors the pleasure of feeling sickly at both ends, so to speak.
And then there’s my personal favorite, a tapeworm, which allows your neighbor to eat a lot but steals all their nutrients and can migrate to their brain and kill them.
Now, I know there are few people who are not bothered by passing a few microbes to their neighbors, and to them I ask consideration of the environment, because the bacteria from dog poop can contribute to E. coli in our lakes and streams. Too much E. Coli in our lakes and streams may make it so that you–and your dog–shouldn’t swim in said lake or stream. And what’s more fun than that?
Finally, for those of you who still think I’m full of poo, I offer you this:
- People don’t like stepping in dog poop. Ever.
- Dogs don’t like stepping in dog poop. Mostly ever (okay, some dogs do roll in gross things, but let’s move on).
- People shouldn’t have to look where they are walking to avoid your dog’s poo.
- While there is no reward in this life for picking up your dog’s poo, it’s the right thing to do. For people, for pets, for the environment.
To help support this effort, not only can you pick up after your own dog, you can follow my new pal at www.Twitter.com/@pickupthatpoop AND go to www.pickupthatpoop.com where you’ll see information about picking up dog poop, and biodegradable poop bags, metal yard signs, and–coming soon–t-shirts. Something Furry Underfoot and those cute microbes at Giantmicrobes.com also make great presents for the holidays.
Now go walk your dog, and do the right thing. Thank you!
A lot of people get their kids hamsters, mice or gerbils as pets. And the thing is, most of these small fuzzies only live 1-3 years. Here’s 10 Things to Know to make those good years for your fuzzy pal:
- Most pet stores will send your small fuzzy home in a cardboard box. We live 7 minutes from our pet store and the hampy we got yesterday almost chewed her way out of the box by the time we got home!
- A good cage is one that snaps securely shut. Most cages for small fuzzies have plastic bubble-like end caps that are easy to forget to snap into place after cage cleaning and easy targets for your fuzzy to chew. Habitrail Ovo cages snap shut securely and the end caps are less prone to being chewed completely, though, having said that, we did have one hampy that chewed its way out! Habitrail Ovo cages can be as big as you want to make them, because the inter-connecting tubes fit snuggly together, allowing your hampy different cubbies for pooping, for peeing, for storing food, and for sleeping. These cages are also very easy to clean.
- Even with a Habitrail OVO cage, it’s still possible for a hamster, mouse or gerbil to escape, because all it takes is for someone to forget to re-latch a latch or not connect one piece well to another. As a result, it’s critical to keep your little fuzzy in a room that will keep it contained if it escapes from its cage. Our hamsters are secured in a spare bedroom; when two escaped the day after we cleaned all the cages, we found both on the floor behind a storage container, alive and well.
- Hamsters, mice and gerbils are all chewers to varying degrees. After our gerbils chewed their way out of their cage (and we got a new cage because they’d done such a good job destroying their first one!), we began feeding them our junk mail. All three were like professional shredders. Other small critters prefer apple twigs and chew sticks that you can get from pet stores.
- Hamsters, mice and gerbils need access to food and water 24 hours a day because they have very high metabolic rates.
- Hamsters, mice and gerbils are very fragile. Put cages on short storage containers, shelves or dressers so that if your pet escapes, the distance from the cage to the floor is less than a foot onto carpeting. Also make sure that if people handle your small pet, put the cage and the people that want to hold the pet on the floor so that if your fuzzy pal happens to fall, it won’t get hurt.
- Most hamsters, mice and gerbils don’t bite, but if one does—and no matter how hard you try–its bite will make you jerk your hand away, which may send the little fuzzy flying. When you first get your small pet and until you are used to handling it, put the cage and yourself on the floor.
- Hamsters, mice and gerbils can run over 5 miles a night on an exercise wheel, so be sure your cage has an exercise wheel suitable to the size of your pet. For variety, you might allow your pal to run inside a ball for 30 minutes, but be sure he rolls around in a safe environment, free from stairs or other dangers should it escape from the ball.
- In chapter 5 of Something Furry Underfoot, my Tip #28: It is important (although not easy) to know a boy gerbil from a girl gerbil. The same is true of hamsters, gerbils and mice. One boy and girl together almost always equals babies, so be sure to check and double-check the sexes of your hampies at the pet store. The basic rule of thumb: if the holes are the same distant apart, then they’re the same sex. If they’re not the same distant apart, one is a boy, the other is a girl. And if you’re wrong—or unlucky like we were when we bought a hamster we didn’t know was already pregnant—you’ll have babies to deal with.
- Boy hamsters, gerbils and mice usually need their own cages. Every set of boy hamsters, mice and gerbils we had needed to be separated and put into a separate cage. Female siblings may get along—we have twins that have been together over a year—but always be ready to separate your small pets.
- As your hamster, gerbil or mouse ages, it may not be able to open and chew some seeds (like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds). I give my older hamsters small pieces of grapes and tomatoes and pepitas (the inside, edible part of a pumpkin seed) which are softer than other seeds.
- Wet tail is a disease that’s not uncommon in larger (sometimes called Syrian) hamsters. A hamster with “wet tail” has a wet tail due to having diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection. There are several online sites that provide ideas on how to deal with wet tail, including here. Sadly, most hamsters—including 3 of ours—do not recover from wet tail. Ask the pet store or breeder you get your Syrian hamster from if there’s any history of wet tail.
Today is National Cat Day, so congratulations to all the happy kittens and cats out there and all the happy people who own cats!! In honor of National Cat Day I wanted to share some things I’ve learned about cats that may help other people before they run out and get a cat, or kitten, for that matter. So, here goes:
- Cats can live anywhere from about 5-7 years for an outdoor cat to an average of 13-17 years for an indoor cat. I know of several indoor cats that lived to be over 20 years of age. So consider the commitment involved with getting a kitten or young cat.
- Compared to dogs, cats are generally less expensive to care for. After Purrkins $100 hairball, described in Chapter 6 of Something Furry Underfoot, and one mishap with a sewing needle someone left lying around, we’ve had no medical issues with Purrkins. Over the same time period, our dog, Little Dipper, cost us over $1,400 in vet bills for teeth problems.
- Always take your new kitten or cat to a vet for a check-up. Purrkins was a hit at our vet’s because he had both lice and fleas, which, thankfully, the vet treated with one shot. After the basic check-up, note that there are differences of opinion as to whether cats need annual vaccinations. Some vets encourage annual vaccinations, especially for outdoor cats, but many say a blood test should determine what the cat is susceptible to and what shots it needs.
- All cats should be spayed (females) or neutered (males) because there are simply too many cats in the world in need of good homes.
- Cats take to litter boxes with little or no training. Purrkins was probably 12 weeks old when he showed up under our deck, yet he took to a litter box the first day he was inside our house. To keep your kitten or cat happy, plan to empty its litter pan every day.
- Cats have a natural instinct to kill. Keeping a cat indoors will protect outdoor critters. But if you have other indoor pets, you also have to keep them safe from your cat, too Purrkins was great interacting with our rabbit and most of our ferrets, but when our ferrets got oler and were less inclined to play, I had to supervise them so Purrkins wouldn’t play with them.
- Cats love fresh water. Purrkins seldom drinks out of the dog bowl on the floor and he ignored a special water bowl I once filled daily for him. Instead, he follows me down to the bathroom for a fresh drink from the faucet. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can find special watering devices for cats that keep the water fresh and bubbly. The downside of these gadgets is that your cat may play in the water and splash it all over the floor like Purrkins did when we had one.
- Long-haired cats create hairballs and will need hairball medication. You can find anti-hairball medication in bite-size chews, laxative tubes, and included in dry cat food. Purrkins would have nothing to do with bite-size chews or an $8 laxative tube I purchased, so he gets Iams Proacive Health: Mature Adult Hairball Care which we mix with his preferred food, Purina Cat Chow, with a morning side dish of Little Friskies canned food.
- Some cats are pretty communicative. If Purrkins walks in front of me and falls over, he wants to get petted. If he walks in front of me, meows and walks to the front door, he wants me to open the front door (with the storm door closed) so he can “hunt” by looking outside. If he walks in front of me and guides me to his food bowl, he’s telling me I didn’t get put out the right kind of canned food and “Might you try again?”
- Cats are independent for the most part. Many cats merely tolerate a good snuggle every now and again. Purrkins likes a good rub-down in the morning, a brief snug when I get home from work, and a mere pat on the head when I wander to bed. Other than that and a little play time right before I go to bed, he’s happy if I leave him alone.
Source: PetMD and my own experience. Read about Purrkins in Chapter 6 of Something Furry Underfoot. Purrkins is also featured in my rhyming e-book for kids called Purrkins, the Cat in. See comments at amylpeterson.com by clicking on “My books” or go to Amazon.com or Smashwords.com and type in Amy L Peterson.
This is a photo I took of Winston, one of our five-month-old puppies. He melts my heart every time I look into his eyes.
This is Snickers, our other five-month-old pup. When he posed next to the bay window, I snapped this photo. Again, it’s the eyes that get me every time!
Thanks for posing, pups!
I just stumbled upon this web site yesterday and wanted to join in their mission of promoting causes that improve animal welfare. What’s nifty about Be the Change for Animals is that they are advocates for all animals. For example, on their web page, you’ll learn about blue tuna, breed discrimination inherent in Farmer’s Insurance policies, and National Pet Fire Safety Day.
On October 15 Blog the Change for Animals is trying to raise awareness through animal blogs throughout the world. I’m joining them because their mission is similar to the message in my book, Something Furry Underfoot–no matter where a critter comes from–a stray cat from under my porch, a rabbit released from a wild life area, or the mynah bird we didn’t know was coming via the US Postal Service–it deserves the best life possible. Check out http://btc4animals.com/ and become a stronger advocate for animals. And for a humorous, touching read about trying to spoil a whole bunch of pets, you’ll find Something Furry Underfoot at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. Some proceeds from Something Furry Underfoot will benefit animal rescue organizations.
To get the word out about Something Furry Underfoot, I hired two marketeers, as I call them, which are people who market things like books. One marketeer is Jenkins Group, a book marketing company in my home state of Michigan. They got me set up with something called ReviewDirect which reaches something like 18,000 librarians, book stores, colleges and universities. They also issued a press release on September 25 targeted to media and other folks who are at interested in pets.
Meanwhile, my other marketeer, Stormi, from Lightning Book Productions, set up a virtual book blog tour for me. That means my book will be talked about on various book blog sites from September 26- October 10 by people who blog about books from their homes in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Nigeria, and the United States. The schedule of events is below.
Also, check out my new video about Bumpkin, the domestic duck, by clicking on the Videos page of my web site. Thanks!
Ruth @ My Devotional Thoughts. A 5-star review!
Sara @ A Drunken Druid’s View. Another sweet review! From Ireland.
6th Darryl @ Savage Lullabye and 7th Susan @ Green Frog Reviews. These were both supposed to be reviews and both were no-shows. BUT, my new friend, Blondie, from the UK, posted an amazing review on Amazon.com and GoodReads! Thanks, Blondie!
Overall, the book blog tour was a huge success–bloggers who provided reviews had some awesome comments to help promote the book, and several media contacts were made, including my first radio interview, which will be October 26 at 3 p.m. with Dream4More. (More on that later). Three other media folks are currently reviewing my book, and there were lots of Tweets and ReTweets. Thanks everyone for helping get the word out about Something Furry Underfoot!
It’s been almost a month now since Mark and I drove from Michigan to Pennsylvania to look at the puppy Mark fell for that we named Winston . . .
. . . and also came home with a pal for Winston that we named Snickers.
I’ve never had two puppies at one time. Here’s 10 Things I’ve learned:
- Puppies can’t tell time. Mark is often up between 3:00 and 4:30 a.m. letting the pups out because at some point in the wee hours of the night, Snickers whines to let us know he or Winston has to go out. I, of course, go back to bed. See, Mark’s a guy, and it’s safer for a guy to be outside in the middle of the night, and I have to work most days. It works out quite well. Unless you’re Mark.
- Puppies need special food. When we first got the pups home, we set off to buy one of the best puppy foods available. At one of the four local pet stores we frequent most weekends, we were greeted by a lady with a coupon for Dr. Gary’s Best Breed puppy food which we later found at http://www.bestbreed.com. It’s all natural food with no preservatives or anything else that’s scary. We took a bag home and the pups liked it.
- Some puppies need really special food. Snickers has an underbite and once we fed him some of the new puppy food , we realized that it took a while for him to eat a hard kibble. So we now take some of Dr. Gary’s Pure Breed puppy food, add warm water and some Pet Milk and let it soak. Once the food is all soft, we spoon out several spoonfuls, add some cooked hamburger, microwave the mixed mess, let it cool and put it on the floor for the pups. Snickers has no problem chewing this yummy food.
- Puppies need lots of exercise. Snickers and Winston will wrestle and play together a lot and we also play with them. But a nice walk outside gives them more exercise, allows us to interact with them and practice our leadership skills, and it gets them used to being on a leash and walking properly. Our pups love these walks because they love to sniff and explore.
- Two puppies are better than one . . . mostly. The only downside of having two pups is that you can’t always figure out who caused the trouble–who pulled the roll of toilet paper off the roll in the bathroom, who brought the underwear down from the back room into the living room, and who led the effort to chew up the Ono card game. Just look at these faces? Who’s guilty of the latest crime? I can’t tell.
- Puppies need lots to chew on. So there I was writing at the table, when I felt this strange vibration from the bottom of the table. I looked down and saw Winston gnawing on the table leg. I gave him a stern “No!!” got up and found his Kong ball (a rubber gadget with dog treats stuffed inside).
- Puppies will explore, cautiously. Winston and Snickers came from a farm in Pennsylvania where there were no cars, no people walking by, no skateboards, no kids. We live in a suburban area and every new sound sent the pups scampering back to the front door. Inside, they ran away from the dishwasher, barked at people on TV and, my personal favorite, barked at Stepkid #2 as she Skyped from Germany. Slowly, but surely, though, they are getting used to the noises and their yard.
- Puppies can be expensive. Our first trip to the vet with Winston and Snickers cost us $519. It included two examinations, two rabies shots, one eye dye treatment to make sure the scratch Snickers had on his eye did not affect his cornea, two one-year supplies of heart-worm treatment and two one-year supplies of flea prevention. An hour after the visit, while I was suffering a heart attack due to the money I’d just spent, Winston starting running around rubbing his nose in the carpet and on pillows. I looked him over and discovered his face was all chubby, his lip all leathery and puffed up. We rushed off to the MSU Small Animal Clinic and $129 and a shot of Benedryl later, Winston’s reaction to the rabies shot was under control. On tap in the next month or so: the need to get the pups neutered and groomed.
- Having pals is a good way to go. Winston and Snickers are very protective of each other and seldom more than a few feet apart. Yet they’re also great pals for Mark and me.
- It’ll take lots of time and patience to train puppies–house training, getting them used to leashes, and riding in the car. Mark works with the pups while I’m at work, and we both work with them in the evening. It’s amazing the time it takes, but it’ll be worth it when they are fully trained. In fact, everything about our pups is worth it if you ask me!
Thank you for all the great name suggestions for our two puppies. The Name the Puppy Contest ended on September 6 and after intense debate, Mark and I selected the two winning names: Snickers and Winston.
The winners of the contest are Janet Peterson, my cousin from Alabama, and Virginia Lydic, a.k.a. Stepkid #1 who provided no less than 6 sets of names for our consideration using a fun email address we didn’t know she uses.
To make sure everyone realizes how much we appreciate participation in this event, today I emailed all the participants, offering them either an e-copy or signed paperback of my book, Something Furry Underfoot. Two people did not provide their email addresses, so if you entered the Name the Puppies contest and did not hear from me, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In return, I’m hoping readers of Something Furry Underfoot will feel compelled to provide comments on Amazon.com because comments help sell books. Also, some proceeds of my book will be donated to animal rescue organizations.
Thanks again to all the participants!