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Practical Solutions for Pet Problems & Publishing

With Amy Shojai, CABC

Asian Longhorned Tick Poses Pet Concerns

Asian Longhorned Tick Poses Pet Concerns

Spring has sprung, and with warming weather, the bugs come out ready to make a meal of our pets. If you plan to spend any time outside, it’s not too early to think about ticks, those creepy crawly spider cousins that bug pets and spread disease. I’ve written about tick-borne diseases before. Here in Texas, we have pets (and people!) diagnosed with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and/or ehrlichiosis. Yes, some folks end up with a combination of illnesses. There are other diseases ticks carry, and I recently learned about a new invasive tick species. The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) poses additional risks.

How did the Asian longhorned tick get to America? Officially reported first in 2017, it appeared outside a quarantine facility on a sheep farm in New Jersey. It hasn’t yet reached Texas, but may soon. It looks similar to other tick species and has the ability to transmit many bacterial, viral, and protozoal pathogens that can make humans and animals sick. Kathryn Duncan, DVM, PhD, DACVM, parasitology field specialist with Merck Animal Health, graciously agreed to answer my questions about this new risk to our pets. She says this tick most likely entered our country through imported or shipped animals.

Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly pest.

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Hero Dog Winners for DARE OR DIE Thriller

Hero Dog Winners for DARE OR DIE Thriller

The contest is over, and YOU chose the HERO DOGS to appear as a featured character in my next thriller, DARE OR DIE. The voting and interest in these wonderful nominees made me decide to feature both the winner and the runner-up cats and dogs in the story. Besides them being featured in the story, the pets’ humans are also named in the acknowledgements, and they receive a paw-tographed print copy of the book.

DARE OR DIE answers a lot of vexing questions about the main character, September Day, and launches her into new adventures.

RELEASES APRIL 30, AND AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!

Find out about the hero pet winners here!

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Hero Cat WINNERS for DARE OR DIE Thriller!

Hero Cat WINNERS for DARE OR DIE Thriller!

The contest is over, and YOU chose the HERO CATS to appear as a featured character in my next thriller, DARE OR DIE. The voting and interest in these wonderful nominees made me decide to feature both the winner and the runner-up cats and dogs in the story. Besides them being featured in the story, the pets’ humans are also named in the acknowledgements, and they receive a paw-tographed print copy of the book.

DARE OR DIE answers a lot of vexing questions about the main character, September Day, and launches her into new adventures.

RELEASES APRIL 30, AND AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!

Find out about the hero pet winners here!

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Name That Hero Dog for DARE OR DIE Thriller: Vote Now Open!

Name That Hero Dog for DARE OR DIE Thriller: Vote Now Open!

As promised, it’s time to VOTE for the HERO DOG contenders to appear as a featured character in my next thriller, DARE OR DIE. This story answers a lot of vexing questions about the main character, September Day, and launches her into new adventures. The story also features at least one (1) heroic dog and one (1) heroic feline (maybe more, depending on the results of your votes). Scroll down for more about the HERO DOG requirements–and the poll. The poll for the HERO CAT character is here.

I had so many terrific nominations that I had to include a bunch of options. Many folks also sent pictures of their wonderful companions! I truly wish that every dog (and cat) could have a part in the story. Please forgive me if your dog isn’t on the poll–it had nothing to do with you or them but often with past winners or character names. It’d confuse readers to have more than one Shadow, for instance, or a hero dog with the same name as a human character.

VOTE FOR YOUR HERO DOG

I have planned for ONE (1) dog and ONE (1) cat to include. As always, though, that might change depending on popularity of the vote. So rally your family and friends, your pet’s fan base, and get out the vote. I’m using a new poll software, and hopefully, as in the past, you can vote multiple times (you may have to refresh the page in between votes).

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Name That Hero Cat for DARE OR DIE Thriller: Vote Now Open!

Name That Hero Cat for DARE OR DIE Thriller: Vote Now Open!

As promised, it’s time to VOTE for the HERO CAT contenders to appear as a featured character in my next thriller, DARE OR DIE. This story answers a lot of vexing questions about the main character, September Day, and launches her into new adventures. The story also features at least one (1) heroic dog and one (1) heroic feline (maybe more, depending on the results of your votes). Scroll down for more about the HERO CAT requirements–and the poll. The poll for the HERO DOG character is here.

I had so many terrific nominations that I had to include a bunch of options. Many folks also sent pictures of their wonderful companions! I truly wish that every dog (and cat) could have a part in the story. Please forgive me if your dog isn’t on the poll–it had nothing to do with you or them but often with past winners or character names. It’d confuse readers to have more than one Shadow, for instance, or a hero dog with the same name as a human character.

VOTE FOR YOUR HERO CAT

I have planned for ONE (1) dog and ONE (1) cat to include. As always, though, that might change depending on popularity of the vote. So rally your family and friends, your pet’s fan base, and get out the vote. I’m using a new poll software, and hopefully, as in the past, you can vote multiple times (you may have to refresh the page in between votes).

read more
September & Shadow Audiobook Trilogy only $2.99!

September & Shadow Audiobook Trilogy only $2.99!

In a lead up to the release of thriller #7 DARE OR DIE, I’ve discounted the first three books in the September & Shadow Thriller Series in a CHIRP deal yee-haw! So if you’ve not yet listened, here’s your chance to get all 3 for under $3.

LOST AND FOUND (#1) kicks off the saga, with September searching for her missing nephew in a snowstorm–aided by Shadow the service dog.

HIDE AND SEEK (#2) shares September’s tragic backstory when a stalker from her past finds her, and Shadow helps her heal.

SHOW AND TELL (#3) gives previous victims the chance to become heroes, helping September and Shadow vanquish a deadly drug dealer.

All three books combine in the trilogy (audio), discounted from $24.99 to $2.99 for a limited time at these links…

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Leaving Pets Behind: Choosing Pet Sitters

Leaving Pets Behind: Choosing Pet Sitters

When the holidays or business travel rolls around, pet sitters can be a big help when you plan vacations with or without your dog or cat. After delaying plans for over two years due to the virus, many of us now will travel to visit family and friends, have folks visit, or spend vacation time away from home. Time off from work and a change of routine offers humans much-needed stress relief. But the same is not always true for furry family members. That’s where pet sitters come in. This week is the 29th annual Professional Pet Sitters Week™ — do you have a pet sitter for your furry wonders? Here’s what you need to know!

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Cover Reveal: DARE OR DIE, a September & Shadow Thriller #7

Cover Reveal: DARE OR DIE, a September & Shadow Thriller #7

COVER REVEAL for the latest September & Shadow Thriller! If you love thrillers, mysteries, or suspense that include pets, watch this space for DARE OR DIE, coming soon! In each of my thrillers, I include HERO PETS nominated by readers and voted on by the public. In the past, the books have included every day dogs and cats, service animals, and beloved companions that now live on in the stories. Last week, I announced the latest contest, and today I sent out the invitation to nominate pets to my newsletter list. The suggestions already started pouring in. Watch this space to VOTE on your pick for HERO CAT and HERO DOG.

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AAHA: THE STANDARD OF VETERINARY EXCELLENCE

AAHA: THE STANDARD OF VETERINARY EXCELLENCE

While I was at the BlogPaws conference some years ago, I attended a special session sponsored by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA.org). Having previously worked as a vet tech, I’m familiar with this organization and learned even more during the presentation by Dr. Heather Loenser. If you’re not familiar with this wonderful organization, here’s what you need to know.

What Is AAHA?

The American Animal Hospital Association, founded 82 years ago, is a voluntary accrediting organization for small animal hospitals in the United States. That’s right…accreditation is VOLUNTARY, and it is not required by law. Only 12-15% of animal hospitals have gone through the rigorous and stringent evaluation process to attain this distinction.

That’s not to say that animal hospitals without AAHA-accreditation don’t offer great care from talented and dedicated veterinarians. Dr. Loenser noted that to achieve accreditation requires cooperation and dedication from the entire staff, from veterinarians and technicians to front desk staff and everyone who has a “paw” in the success of the practice.

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6 Easy Fresh Breath Tips & How to Brush Doggy & Kitty Teeth (Without Getting Bit!)

6 Easy Fresh Breath Tips & How to Brush Doggy & Kitty Teeth (Without Getting Bit!)

Do you brush dog teeth? How about brushing cat teeth? The AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February to help prevent pet dental problems.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.

But it’s never too late (or too soon) to get your pets’ pearly whites checked out by your veterinarian. Often the doctor has some great tips for keeping cat teeth clean and dog breath at bay, including how to brush doggy teeth.

Does the thought of brushing dog teeth make you cringe, roll your eyes, whimper, slink away–and feel guilty? You’re not alone. But once that puppy-sweet breath morphs into curl-your-eyebrows stench, it’s long past the time to address that stink-icity.

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