Weird Stuff Dogs Eat

rottweiler chihuahua and food bowlOwners fill bowls with nutritious food to keep dogs healthy. So why do dogs eat weird, disgusting and even dangerous stuff?

Dogs use their mouths the way we use our hands. They pick up objects and explore their world by mouthing, tasting, and chewing. That sometimes gets them into trouble if they swallow something they shouldn’t.

Eating Grass

As omnivores dogs benefit from eating vegetables or fruits. Even coyotes and wolves eat vegetable matter found in the stomach of prey, as well as roots, grasses and fruit. Dogs often beg for and enjoy snacks of raw vegetables like lettuce, green beans and carrots.

Most pet dogs occasionally eat grass, which may provide vitamins the dog craves, or he may simply like the taste. Dogs also eat grass to stimulate vomiting when he feels bad. Occasional grazing isn’t a cause for concern unless he turns it into an obsession or he gnaws poisonous houseplants.

Poop Eating Pups

Poop eating—called coprophagia—disgusts owners but this common habit comes naturally especially to puppies. Mom-dogs keep the nest clean by picking up after the babies, and youngsters typically copy-cat the behavior. Most pups outgrow the habit. But many dogs continue to snack on cat box “treats” or the leavings of cows and horses because—well—it must taste good to them. Also, the cat, horse or other critter may not have completely digested all the nutrients so the dog relishes giving the poop another chance.

Eating Dirt

We’re not sure why dogs eat dirt but many seem to relish certain types of soil. Some wild animals target clay-like soils that naturally absorb toxins, and others are known to eat mineral-rich dirt to supplement their diet.

For dogs, scent probably plays a role. Perhaps another animal has “marked” that spot of dirt, so the dog tastes to get a better “read” on the message. Dogs seem to preferentially target specific types or locations of dirt, too. Eating too much dirt can plug up doggy plumbing but an occasional taste probably isn’t worry-worthy.

Eating “Stuff”

Dogs swallow an amazing range of nonedible items and it goes beyond eating the kid’s homework. The behavior is called pica, and can be an accident when the dog gulps down a piece of a toy. Pica may be purposeful if the object proves too tempting—baby bottle nipples that smell of milk, used tampons, and grease-smeared foil or turkey-basted string prove irresistible to dogs.

The most common item is socks, followed by underwear, panty hose, rocks, balls, chew toys, bones, hair ties/ribbons, and sticks. Most items tend to be owner-scented objects and dirty diapers are another favorite—it combines the attraction of poop-eating.

But some dogs seem drawn to such weird items as pagers, hearing aids, drywall, batteries, rubber bands, or anything (including sand!) with bacon grease poured on it. Dogs develop bad habits out of boredom, stress or even obsessive-compulsive behaviors and turn into garbage disposals. These dogs chew and suck down rocks and sticks.

Poke The Poop

In most cases small objects pass harmlessly through the body and end up on the lawn within 24-72 hours. Get a stick and wear gloves to poke through the doggy droppings to be sure he’s gotten rid of the object. Feeding your dog a meal can turn on digestive juices, cushion the item, and help move it along.

But sharp objects can cut, heavy stones can plug the system, and string-type material (thread, ribbon, Easter grass, tape from a cassette) can cut and strangle the intestines. Swallowed coins, batteries or other metal objects can poison pets once they react with digestive juices. String hanging out of either end of the dog shouldn’t be touched, or you risk hurting him worse.

If you’ve seen the pet swallow something he shouldn’t but it doesn’t pass, or the dog begins vomiting, retching without result, won’t eat, looks or behaves distressed, or coughs repeatedly, seek help. It may require X-rays to figure out what’s wrong on the inside of your pet, and surgery to get it out.

Most puppies outgrow indiscriminate munching. But if your dog vacuums up anything that hits the floor, pet proof doggy toys as well as your home. It could save you veterinary bills—and your pet’s life.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Paw-some OWFI Conference & Amazing Pet Expo

I’m traveling nearly every weekend this month, and it’s hard to keep straight where I go next. I’m only now getting caught up with last weekend’s awesome OWFI Conference, and (BAD AMY!) realized I don’t have nearly as many pictures as I hoped. So for some of these, I’ve borrowed from various folks kind enough to tag me on my Facebook page…and forgive me for not mentioning everyone. I know that I’ll forget some folks.

I’m an OWFI Honorary Life Member (yes, I’ve been going to this con every year since 1992), and have run the contest and even organized the 40th Anniversary Conference as president. So I know how much hard work it takes, and how many volunteers make things happen. Kudos to one and all.

There were many highlights of the event. I got to present with my fav co-writer EVAH, Frank Steele, in three seminars, and we got to share details about our playwright experience, collaboration, and even writing in “animal” voice. Stay tuned in case you missed them, because the powerpoint presentations will eventually be uploaded here to the blog for on-demand sessions.

Amy & Frank

My partner in play-writing, Frank Steele.

Just for fun, if you’re in a play-ful mood, I finally got the video trailer done of KURVES, THE MUSICAL and you can watch it on this page. You’ll hear me sing on the video, too (urk!).

Amy-LesEdgertonI got to meet Les Edgerton and we spent quite a lot of time in his “office” (aka the smoker’s bench) in between sessions. Anyone reading this–he is a fantastic speaker and writing teacher, with great stories and even better books. YOU NEED HIM as a speaker on your next writer con faculty! Just saying…

Amy & Les

Amy PresentsThanks to Jen Nipps for sending me a photo of one of the presentations. D’ya think I’m wearing enough bling?
BeckyBookLickMy new friend Becky Franklin has some fun and innovative ways to review and promote books! She’ll read your book and if she truly likes it, you’ll get a Selfie of her and the “Lick Of Love” …obviously she has great taste! (Pun intended…) Meeting her was a highlight of the OWFI conference!
BookOrgyBecky sent this photo, too. She has as couple of doggies and plans to train them to help fetch items for her that are out of reach when she’s in her wheelchair, so I paw-tographed a copy of one of my books for her. Not sure what’s going on with that book-party, but I think Les put her up to it. Below, that’s Becky with Frank.
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AMY’S IN DALLAS!

This month, I’m traveling and speaking/signing books nearly every weekend. So I wanted to give a shout out to the Amazing Pet Expo in Dallas this Saturday. Last year, the event drew a crowd of over 11,000 people, highlighting the impact that the Pet Expo continues to have on the Greater Dallas Area and organizers anticipate another packed event in 2015.

Over 20 local rescue organizations as well as over 100 adoptable pets will be on-hand at the event and looking for new forever homes. Several of these organizations are able to participate at a discounted or fully underwritten rate thanks in large part to corporate partners such as Petfinder.com, Banfield Pet Hospital, Blue Buffalo and Plato Pet Treats.

Lon Hodge and and his service dog Gander will be available all day to meet and greet fans, take photos, and talk about the importance of service animals in military and veteran members’ everyday lives. I was privileged to be in a Google Hangout with Lon recently and will see him the end of this month again at the big Blogpaws event in Nashville.

My friend Arden Moore moved from California to the area and we’ve not had a chance to get together. But she’ll be there, too, presenting about PET FIRST AID and also signing her great pet care books at booth 404. I think she’ll also be recording shows for her PetLifeRadio.com show OH, BEHAVE! Oh…and she’ll have Casey, her demo kitty there (think “Karma-Kat” in orange, LOL!) and a doggy friend, too.

“We’re so excited to return to the Dallas pet community,” says Ethan Barnett, Vice President of Community Partnerships for Amazing Pet Expos, “A huge part of our initiative is to help people become better pet companions, and we look forward to meeting all the amazing pet parents in Dallas and to making an impact in pets lives across the region. Whether you would like to shop, learn, play or adopt – you can do any one of those at the 2015 Dallas Pet Expo.”

PET EXPO/DALLAS is Saturday May 9, 2015 from 10:00 – 6:00, I’ll be at Dallas Market Hall at the Event Stage. It’ll be a fun all-day extravaganza, with book signings (I’ll have mine there!) and I’ll be the EMCEE on the stage announcing pet-centric events throughout the day, and signing books at the AdoptAShelter.com booth #407. You can bring your pet, too. Learn more at this link.

Please stop by and say HOWDY!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Scaredy Cat? 7 Tips to Ease the Angst

CatHiss_10708457_original

Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Does your new kitten hide under the bed? Do your adult cats disappear when visitors ring the doorbell? Does the new puppy send kitty into hiss-terics? Learning why cats act scared helps you know how to avoid “fright night” triggers.

Why Cats Get Scared

Scaredy cats react with fear to unfamiliar people, places or situations, because if they haven’t had a good experience—so they assume the worst. Many kittens are clueless but as the cat matures, this “stranger danger” behavior protects kitties so they don’t walk up to hungry critters, dogs or people.

Cats identify friends by smell. But if they haven’t cheek-rubbed, groomed or slept together, strangers “smell funny” and therefore are suspect. Kitties only used to women may fear men with lower voices or with beards. Kids move and sound differently than adults and can be scary to cats. New dogs or cats often intimidate them, especially when the kitten has never seen a dog before!

A strange environment turns up kitty nerves because the boogyman might lurk in some unknown spot. Your cat won’t know the escape routes or safety zones, so fear becomes the default emotion.

Fearful cats that can’t run away may use aggression to protect themselves from perceived danger. A panic attack shuts down the brain so that the cat literally can’t think and instinctive fight-or-flight takes over. Use these tips to transform shivers to purrs.

Cute little Siberian kitten isolated on white background

Scared Siberian kitten. Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

7 Confidence Boosters to Reduce Feline Fear

Socialize Kittens. The prime socialization period for kittens is two-to-seven weeks of age. When you first adopt your kitten, expose youngsters to happy, positive experiences with a variety of strangers and other pets. That helps them learn that other people, places, and critters can be fun and not scary.

Offer Safe Retreats. Let the cat or kitten hide. Forcing interactions just makes the fear worse. Give time for the pet to cheek rub and become familiar with the new place. Cats prefer to hide in dark places where they can’t easily be seen, and inaccessible places they can’t be reached and/or can most easily defend so offer some neat options.

Use Play. When cats engage in fun games their brains can’t be happy and scared at the same time. A long distance interactive toy like fishing-pole lures teach cats you are fun to be around, but without having to get too close. You can even sit on top of the bed, and “tease” the cat that hides underneath without scaring the kitty by reaching under to grab him.

Offer Treats. If your cat loves food, offer smelly treats to diffuse the angst. Have visitors drop or toss treats when they arrive at the door, so the doorbell means “food” instead of “stranger danger.”

Get On Kitty’s Level. To a little cat, humans look imposing especially when we stare, follow the cat, and try to pet them. Just think of that giant-size hand coming down toward your head! Instead, sit on the floor, and ignore the cat—no eye contact which can be intimidating—and lure the kitten or cat with treats or a toy. Let the cat approach and control the interaction.

Diffuse Cat Fights. Fearful cats act like they’re wearing a “kick me” sign so other felines pick on the victim. Offer lots of cat trees and hiding spots for escapes, multiple litter boxes and feeding stations so they don’t have to argue or interact too closely. Try putting a bell on the aggressor-cat’s collar to give the fearful cat warning to get out of the way.

“Doctor” The Angst. Feliway, a synthetic feline facial pheromone, comes as a plug-in or spray that helps ease tensions related to territorial and environmental stress. Rescue Remedy is a natural remedy that helps some anxious cats when added to the water. You can find Feliway and Rescue Remedy at pet product stores. In severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medications for the scared cat.

NEW-CatDogCompet-lorez NEW-CatCompet-lorez

Some cats are simply less touchy-feely than others and never will be lap snugglers. These tips won’t turn all cats into social butterflies, but they can help dial down the fear. Refer to one of the books, click the covers above, for more specific tips about dealing with feline fear. Patience and giving your cat time to learn she has nothing to fear goes a long way toward turning up the purrs.

Are your kitties Christopher Columbus Cats ready to explore the world, or Shrinking Violets? How did you manage the fear? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Stages of Puppy Development: Birth to Two Years

newborn puppy

Newborn puppy yawning. Images courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

Today I’m celebrating a new cover for my SQUEEE!!! book, COMPLETE PUPPY CARE. I’ve included an excerpt, below, of one of the most popular topics: puppy development stages, birth to two years. Dogs are considered puppies from birth to one year of age and go through several puppy stages and development periods. However, each dog develops differently, with smaller dogs tending to mature earlier and some large breeds not physically mature before they are two years old.

Newborn puppiesvary in size depending on the breed; tiny dogs like the Chihuahua produce puppies sized about four inches long, while giant breed newborns like Great Dane puppies may be twice that size. Rate of puppy development also varies from breed to breed. For instance, Cocker Spaniel puppies open their eyes sooner than Fox Terrier puppies, and Basenji puppies develop teeth earlier than Shetland Sheepdog puppies. However, no matter the breed, all puppies are born totally dependent on the momma dog, technically called the bitch.

Newborns

At birth, puppies are blind, deaf and toothless, unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and littermates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles to conserve body temperature. A puppy separated from this warm furry nest can quickly die from hypothermia—low body temperature. Cold, lonely puppies cry loudly to alert Mom to their predicament.

Puppies first experience the sensation of being petted when washed by their mother’s stroking tongue. The bitch licks her babies all over to keep them and the nest clean, and also to stimulate them to defecate and urinate.

Neonatal Period: Birth to Two Weeks

From birth, puppies are able to use their sense of smell and touch, which helps them root about the nest to find their mother’s scent-marked breasts. The first milk the mother produces, called colostrum, is rich in antibodies that provide passive immunity and help protect the babies from disease during these early weeks of life.

For the first two weeks of life, puppies sleep nearly 90 percent of the time, spending their awake time nursing. All their energy is funneled into growing, and birth weight doubles the first week. Newborns aren’t able to support their weight, and crawl about with paddling motions of their front legs. The limited locomotion provides the exercise that develops muscles and coordination, and soon the puppies are crawling over and around each other and their mother.

puppy growthTransitional Period: Week Two-to-Four

The second week of life brings great changes for the puppy. Ears and eyes sealed since birth begin to open during this period, ears at about two weeks and eyelids between ten to 16 days. This gives the furry babies a new sense of their world. They learn what their mother and other dogs look and sound like, and begin to expand their own vocabulary from grunts and mews to yelps, whines and barks. Puppies generally stand by day 15 and take their first wobbly walk by day 21.

By age three weeks, puppy development advances from the neonatal period to the transitional period. This is a time of rapid physical and sensory development, during which the puppies go from total dependence on Mom to a bit of independence. They begin to play with their littermates, learn about their environment and canine society, and begin sampling food from Mom’s bowl. Puppy teeth begin to erupt until all the baby teeth are in by about five to six weeks of age. Puppies can control their need to potty by this age, and begin moving away from sleeping quarters to eliminate.

Socialization Period: Week Four-to-Twelve

Following the transitional phase, puppies enter the socialization period at the end of the third week of life; it lasts until about week ten. It is during this socialization period that interaction with others increases, and puppies form attachments they will remember the rest of their life. The most critical period–age six to eight weeks–is when puppies most easily learn to accept others as a part of their family.

Beginning at four weeks of age, the bitch’s milk production begins to slow down just as the puppies’ energy needs increase. As the mother dog slowly weans her babies from nursing, they begin sampling solid food in earnest.

The environmental stimulation impacts your puppy’s rate of mental development during this time. The puppy brain waves look that of an adult dog by about the 50th day, but he’s not yet programmed–that’s your job, and the job of his mom and siblings. Weaning typically is complete by week eight.

newfoundland puppy laying down - twelve weeks old

12 week old Newfoundland puppy

Week Eight-to-Twelve

Puppies often go through a “fear period” during this time. Instead of meeting new or familiar people and objects with curiosity, they react with fearfulness. Anything that frightens them at this age may have a lasting impact so take care that the baby isn’t overstimulated with too many changes or challenges at one time. That doesn’t mean your pup will grow up to be a scaredy-cat; it’s simply a normal part of development where pups learn to be more cautious. Careful socialization during this period helps counter fear reactions.

Puppies may be placed in new homes once they are eating well on their own. However, they will be better adjusted and make better pets by staying and interacting with littermates and the Mom-dog until they are at least eight weeks old–older generally is better. Interacting with siblings and Mom help teach bite inhibition, how to understand and react to normal canine communication, and their place in doggy society. Puppies tend to make transitions from one environment to another more easily at this age, too.

Juvenile Period

The juvenile puppy period generally begins at age ten weeks, and lasts until puberty and the onset of sexual maturity. It is during this period that puppies begin to learn the consequences of behavior, and determine what is most appropriate to certain circumstances.

Puppies at this age have boundless curiosity, exasperating stubbornness, and enthusiastic affection. Expect your puppy to get into everything, and you won’t be disappointed. This is an ideal time to begin training.

Nearly every waking moment is spent in play, which is not only great fun for the babies, but is great practice for canine life. Puppies learn how to do important dog activities like chasing and running, pawing, biting and fighting. Social skills and canine etiquette are learned by interaction with littermates and Mom. Puppies learn to inhibit their bite when they are bitten by each other, and learn canine language. Through play, they practice dominant and submissive postures, and prepare for life in the world.

10-16 weeks: Juvenile Delinquent Pups

Puppies test their boundaries during this period that lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks. These dogs challenge owners to see who calls the shots, seem to “forget” any training they’ve learned, and act like rebellious teenagers.

Some of this has to do with teething. Pups lose baby teeth starting about three months of age. There can be discomfort as the permanent teeth erupt and puppies tend to chew more on anything and everything to relieve the pain.

Delinquent behavior also may be influenced by hormones. Unlike many other species, a male puppy’s testosterone level from age four-to-ten months may be up to five times higher than an adult dog’s. That’s so the adult canines recognizes he’s a juvenile and needs “schooling” in the ways of dogs—they make sure to knock him down a peg and teach manners before he gets too big for his furry britches.

But even pups that have been spayed and neutered prior to this can develop the “oh yeah, MAKE me!” attitude. Owners who have done everything right may still experience this difficult, frustrating phase. Grit your teeth, keep him on leash and under control, offer consistent, patient and humane training, and tell yourself, “He’s testing me, it’ll get better.” Because it will.

Whippet puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white background

6 month old Whippet.

Four to Six Months

Pups grow so quickly during this period you may notice changes every single day. Not only may your pup test and challenge you, this is the time frame puppies also figure out where they stand with other pets in the group. Some squabbling and play fighting is expected. It’s a dog rule that older animals teach the pup limits, which is normal and usually sounds more scary than it is.

In fact, an un-neutered male puppy’s testosterone level increases at around 4 to 5 months of age. This is one way adult dogs recognize that even big puppies are still babies and they they must be taught proper dog etiquette.

Puppies can also sometimes experience another fear phase during this period. It may last up to a month, and their maybe more than one especially in large breed dogs. This is normal and nothing to worry about. It tends to correspond with growth spurts, and you may notice some “flaky” behavior or unwarranted aggression, become protective of toys or territory. Just ensure you don’t reward the fearful behavior with more attention, and know how to talk to puppies and not use baby talk. It’s best to ignore the fear rather than risk rewarding it. Build confidence through training and the pup should transition out of it with no further problems.

Adolescence: Six to Twelve Months

Most of your pup’s growth in height finishes by this period but he may continue to fill out and gain muscle mass and body weight. Puppy coat starts to be replaced by the adult coat.

While the baby may still be emotionally immature, during this period the boy pups begin to leg-lift and mark with urine. The testosterone level in male puppies increases to 5-7 times higher than in an adult dog by age 10 months, and then gradually falls to a normal adult level by about 18 months of age. This helps signal the senior male dogs that the youngster must be put in his place so you may notice more adult-pup squabbles during this period. Girl pups may go into heat (estrus) as early as five to six months, and boys begin to be interested in sex during this period.

Puppies at this age seem to explode with high energy and will do well with structured play and exercise. Training and continued socialization is vital to ensure your youngster knows how to behave politely with other dogs, other animals like cats, and other people including children and strangers of all sizes, ages, and looks.

Social Maturity: Between One and Two Years

Depending on the breed, your dog will be physically mature at this age. Small dogs mature much earlier and larger ones take more time. Your pup’s social maturity also can depend on his or her experience with other animals. Socialization and training continues throughout your pet’s lifetime, because there are always new things to learn—or old lessons to revisit and practice. After all, the joy of your puppy’s first year or two predicts a lifetime of love to come.

NEW-PUPPY-COVER-lorezLearn more about your baby dog in the book COMPLETE PUPPY CARE.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–click the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!

BULLIES, SHAMING & NEW COVERS FOR LOST & FOUND and HIDE & SEEK

Lost_Found(2)Today I’m at the OWFI WRITERS CONFERENCE where I’ll be speaking and signing books–and for the first time showing the world the UPDATED COVERS for my suspense/thrillers LOST AND FOUND and HIDE AND SEEK.

I love the new look! What do you think? The third book in the series, SHOW AND TELL follows this new theme. Stay tuned for that cover reveal soon, with another NAME THAT DOG/NAME THAT CAT contest for the animal characters. While all three books are pet-centric with an animal behaviorist hero and service dog viewpoint, my editor and publisher and I believe these new covers will appeal beyond dog and cat loving audience. The timing is good, too, right before the third book comes out.

Many of y’all know that I’ve been in the process of updating the nonfiction book covers–you can see them in the sidebar over there on the right—->. They needed it; styles change, and some of the covers just didn’t look as good as they could, especially the print versions.

But the facelift happened sooner rather than later because of a situation from a couple of weeks ago specific to my HIDE AND SEEK “old cover.” This situation was hurtful, embarrassed and insulted me and my publisher and also angered me. I debated whether to talk about this publicly but…for many reasons, have decided to explain what happened. Scroll on down and I’ll give you the back story about why the covers have been changed.

Hide_Seek(2)I very much liked the “old” covers of my suspense novels. My editor and I went through dozens of versions and even asked Facebook friends for input. Both of the old version of the covers featured a dog–a real life dog that I know–as the “cover model” and it was great fun to highlight that wonderful canine. The HIDE AND SEEK cover also included a cat, because–well, that’s intrinsic to the story and readers demanded it!

Yes, I listen to readers. I feel like we’re business partners so I want y’all to be happy.

So I hope you’ll understand why the pictures of the dog viewpoint character Shadow and the Maine Coon cat Macy have been removed to give the covers a more suspenseful look. You see, covers that feature dogs and cats tend to be thought of as more “cozy mysteries” and…well, these ain’t cozy and tend toward the thriller realm.

BULLIES & WRITERS

I’ve been fortunate in reviews of my books–I know other authors have had issues with “bullies” so it was a new experience for me. Here’s what happened.

My cover (old version) of HIDE AND SEEK was anonymously sent to an online “shame” site that invited anyone to make fun of poorly designed book covers. Now, I’ve been in this writing and publishing game for longer than I care to say, and to survive you need a bit of a thick skin. Having one of my books called a “kindle cover disaster” felt personal, for reasons I’ll explain below. Further, while other covers/comments did poke fun, with my book the submitter described the title font in decidedly unsavory, even lewd tones.

Really? Someone felt that strongly about a font on my book that they felt compelled to make rude comments and invite others to join in–and boy, did they join in! As a result, that “shaming” thread got shared all over the internet with my “terrible cover” headlining articles overseas, re-posted on blogs, and additional unkind references made to the wonderful, caring professional writer who shared a cover quote on the book, Dr. Lorie Huston, because of her association with the Cat Writers Association.

That’s not the first time that mention of CWA raised eyebrows. The organization has been around 20+ years and members must be published to qualify for membership. If you read cat books or articles or view cat videos or pictures, chances are the work comes from a CWA member.

At the time she gave me the endorsement, Dr. Lorie was president of our Cat Writers Association. So these comments hurt me more than anything others might say about the cover design, because Dr. Lorie passed away last year. The CWA website got nearly 300 “hits” as a result, with people making fun of her, the organization, my cover, and then were vastly disappointed that it wasn’t the cats writing the books. :) Nope, the cats (and dogs) just inspire the work. Don’t tell my furry crew, they truly believe they are the authors!

What flabbergasted me was Dr. Lorie’s quote only appeared on the cover of my book prior to the book’s release. It had been moved to the BACK of the cover after the wonderful J.T. Ellison also offered an endorsement, which you can see on the new cover, above, as well.

People must have way too much time on their hands. Yes, it hurt and it still hurts. And it makes me also hurt for the dozens of others listed in that shame-posting who maybe had published their one-and-only book, and now will never take that chance again.

Were some of the posts and comments funny? Well, yes. One fellow actually loved the attention and sold a bunch of books, declaring his cover was supposed to be funny–so good for him!

Was my book cover terrible? I don’t think so but it could have been better–and now it is vastly improved to fit in the mystery/suspense genre. So in a way, whoever wanted to hurt me actually provided a great service. So whoever you are, thank you.

I hadn’t planned to say anything, because frankly, it’s still embarrassing to know that there was probably truth in the criticism. Authors and even editors and publishers may be too close to see such things–I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

And I’m done crying, done with red-face hurt, and done with the anger. I’m revealing more than new covers here because 1) this is part of the biz so I gotta own it,  2) newer writers need to know this crappiocca happens to EVERYONE, and 3) I hate letting bullies win.

Besides, as they say, there’s no such thing as “bad publicity” only “publicity” so maybe it’ll sell an extra book or three. :)

Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? Were they right? Did you make “lemonade?” Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–lick the banner, above. Be sure to visit my PetHealthyStore for paw-some products for your furry wonders! Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and get a FREE BOOK when you sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways, kewl product offers, and appearances related to my THRILLERS WITH BITE!