Cat’s Holiday Wish–To Go Home

”Mia

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?

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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

Cat Writers Awards for Radio, TV, Article & More

The month of November had me running , and I’m still playing catch-up. First, the BIG NEWS–

I’ve a new book contract! This is a breed book on the American Pit Bull Terrier, and is due January 1st, so I’m typing like the wind to meet  my deadline.

I spent the weekend before Thanksgiving in White Plains, New York overseeing the Cat Writers’ Association’s 16th Annual Writers Conference (www.catwriters.org) , to great success. We had several editors and agents, a host of great speakers, and an exciting awards banquet. I’m please to have won the association’s highest honor, the CWA Muse Medallion, for my Pet Peeves radio show at www.PetLifeRadio.com, my CBS-TV Pet Talk segment, and an online article on cat claw training at www.shojai.com.  

In other news, I was flown to St. Louis by the Purina CatChow group earlier in the month for an all-day photo shoot (with cats!), to update the CatChow.com website and mentor pages. You see, I’ve written an “emotional health” online column as a Cat Chow mentor for many years, along with other veterinarians, and Purina plans to promote our advice columns more widely in 2010. This probably will be in conjunction with the Animal Planet “HousecatHousecall” show.

That same week, I traveled to Austin, Texas for the annual meeting of the CATalyst effort. This group seeks to improve/promote the profile of cats, in order to put them on equal footing (paws?) with dogs that receive more funding for health  and other pet issues. I’ll write, radio, and tv  on the subject in the future.

best,

amy

Pet Writing 101

I began writing about pets more than two decades ago, on a Royal electric typewriter. At the time, we lived in Eastern Kentucky in a very small town that boasted a tiny library that carried a short shelf on how-to writing books. There was no such thing as Email or the Internet—at least, not for aspiring wannabe writers.

            My information came from an outdated version of the writer’s “bible” of the time, Writers Market. It listed the markets (magazines and book publishers), what they published, and how to approach them. I was working blind, sending out stories and articles to the named editor (who likely no longer worked there) and hoping I’d get lucky.

           Because I’d worked at a veterinary hospital, most of my work featured dogs and cats. Therefore, I targeted dog and cat magazines. After reams of paper, rolls of postage stamps, and enough rejection letters to paper the walls of my apartment, the Dog Fancy magazine editor took pity on me and explained what I was doing wrong. 

            I corrected the errors, and sold the very next article. Ain’t it amazing how much difference a bit of guidance makes?

            After learning about other writer organizations that offered that helping hand, the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. was born. I served as the founding president for the first nine years, and this year returned as the president for our 16th annual writer conference.

            The CWA aids aspiring writers become published and supports professionals who have a special place in their hearts for cats. While the organization has a focus on cat topics, the annual writer conference offers seminars that address all writer needs and interests. If you have any aspirations for writing—and especially if you have an interest in pet topics—this conference is the place for you. At past conferences, I’ve garnered multiple artlcle assignments and even landed several book deals, including The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats (just got another healthy royalty check on that one!).

            This year we’ll be in White Plains, New York which is about a twenty-minute train ride from Manhattan. Several New York editors and agents will attend the conference and meet with our members and guests. Editors from the same magazines that first published my work will be there. And because writing has changed so very much since I first began, sessions include topics such as “social networking” and website writing and more. 

            There also will be sessions by veterinarians and other professionals on topics near and dear to pet owners. What’s the latest in feline care? How can we budget the best treatments during economic downturns? I’ll share columns on some of these issues in the future.

            Two featured speakers will bring us laughter as well as wow-information. Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald from Animal Planet “Emergency Vets” speaks at the Friday night banquet—who knew, he’s a stand-up comedian specializing in pet humor? The Saturday lunch features Dr. Leslie Lyons, a researcher into genetic diseases of companion animals. I’ve interviewed Dr. Lyons on one of my previous Pet Peeves radio shows and she has amazing information to share. Saturday afternoon the entire conference moves from our hotel sessions to a cat show at the Westchester Conference Center, and holds a mass pet-book signing event featuring more than 25 authors who write about cats and dogs.

            Writers are a different breed. And those of us who write about cats and dogs are special. We do it because it’s part of what and who we are. Since those first very wobbly steps as a writer, I’ve been blessed to see my work published many times. More than that, readers have assured me that my work has made a positive difference in pet lives.

            As I begin work this week on my next (23rd) pet book, I hope those of you who have a dream waiting to happen take your own steps to make it happen. If it’s writing, maybe the helping hand can be found at the CWA conference–here’s the schedule.

I’ve learned over the years, though, that it’s not only the end result, but the experiences along the way that brings the greatest satisfaction. May your journey, whatever it may be, bring you great joy.

Amy D. Shojai, CABC is a nationally known pet care specialist, author of 22 pet books and the founder/president of the CWA. She can be reached through her website where you can sign up for her free monthly E—newsletter Pet Peeves.

Returning to the Land of Writing

Many months have passed since my last blog post. A lot happened, most of which kept me from posting–or even writing much. I can explain the reason for my absence in one word:

School.

If you want the long story, read on. You see, I’ve volunteered for several years with the local high school, coaching voice and directing the music for their theater productions. Just before the Christmas holidays, the choir director was asked to resign (now THAT’S another dramatic story I’ll share over a strong beverage sometime!). Anyway, she walked out that Sunday during the intermission of the last Peter Pan performance, and the director of fine arts immediately asked me, “What are YOU doing next week?”

Uh…well I…Hmnnnn.

It’s incredibly flattering to be wanted. And frankly, the writing has been challenging with the economy taking a bite out of income, and cost of self-insurance rising. So when I was called for an interview for the job two days later, before I’d even sent in an application, I was ready to make a leap of faith. Another interesting note–that same Sunday in church, I’d made a direct prayerful plea to be shown a sign, given direction for what I needed/should do next in my career. And TA-DA! the choir teacher quit and I was offered the job. And so I became a choir teacher, started January 6, and school ended for summer break June 6.

It’s taken me this long to catch up on everything writing-wise that slid during that period. Don’t get me wrong–teaching choir, taking kids to contest, preparing for two concerts, and assisting with the “Thoroughly Modern Millie” production was enormously satisfying and challenging. But teaching was only a small part of the job. I didn’t have a teaching certificate, and was required to go back to school, take classes and tests myself, to qualify for an emergency license. In addition, teaching is not what it was during my school days. Or my parents’ tenure as teachers. Suffice it to say–

God has a wicked sense of humor–and teaches a pointed lesson. *s* I didn’t know how good I had it!

The job gave me wonderful experience, challenged me and I gained confidence in areas I’d never otherwise have done, helped me financially, and I think…no, I KNOW that I made a positive difference for the students. Training techniques for pets work on students, too! But more than all that, the experience showed me what I was meant to do.

And so I have returned to being a fulltime writer, a spokesperson for people and the companion animals they love. I’ll still teach, but do so through the written word, or my appearances. The High School choir program will go on without me–I did my job, as a place holder to maintain the program until the right person could carry on.

Now it’s my turn to focus on Amy.

best,

Amy