Many of y’all know that I write a local P’ETiQuette column for my newspaper. This week’s installment shares my P’ETiQuette column farewell (also posted below). I’m also sharing here as a welcome and hello to new readers of this blog! No matter how much we love the status quo, things change. I’ve become an expert at reinventing myself and my work. So without further ado…
P’ETiQuette Column Farewell
After writing for several years in pet magazines, one of my writing colleagues and dear friend Jessie Stephens suggested I contact the local newspaper about writing a regular column covering pets. For many years, Jessie wrote a gardening column. She introduced me to Kathy Williams, then-editor of the Sherman, Texas paper. Could I sustain a weekly column, though?
Jessie and another friend, Bobbie Grant (who also wrote for the paper) encouraged me to try. Kathy asked for a month’s worth of columns as a sample—she wanted extra content on hand, just in case I missed a deadline.
I don’t remember the exact date my first P’ETiQuette column appeared, but the first ones must have published in the early 1990s. Some of my columns ended up as part of books, like my CAT FACTS and DOG FACTS titles. Over the years, the column earned nearly a dozen awards, from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, Dog Writer’s Association of America, Cat Writers Association, and Texas Press Women to name a few.
P’ETiQuette has covered pretty much everything cat and dog: behavior, training, care and health concerns, first aid and safety issues. I’ve written about ticks and toys, thunder fear and tail talk, pets in weddings, cat diabetes, dog hot spots, and everything in between. My heroes are the veterinarians and researchers who do all the hard work—I just write about ‘em.
Readers have asked for lost pet advice, how to stop loud-mouth-meowing, first aid for poison, dealing with swallowed objects (do you know how to use the Heimlich on pets?), and my ever-popular annual Christmas Eve story Why the Tabby Cat wears an “M.”
Amy’s Pets Inspired P’ETiQuette
With P’ETiQuette columns, I’ve shared my furry and human family, too. You read about how Seren-kitty arrived, and her introduction to the *spit!* Magical-Pup. Y’all cheered when Magic found Karma-Kat and he became part of our family. I shared their trials and tribulations, hoping to inspire and empower your own pet lives with good information. And your support held up my family through the loss of Magic, and Seren, our joyous adoption of Bravo, his awful cancer journey, the blessing of finding a lost puppy and now Shadow-Pup’s adventures.
When new books released, y’all came to launch parties and shared the fun, even suggesting pet character names for the fiction thriller series like the newest DARE OR DIE. My oh my, y’all even attended some plays—the original scripts like STRAYS THE MUSICAL and others.
For 30 years, the Herald Democrat editors and readers have been part of my extended family. I only rarely missed a deadline, those times of illness or holidays. So, it surprised me to learn that the column hadn’t published in several weeks despite my having sent one each week for Tuesday publication.
Blame technology, and nothing else. But I owe y’all, my extended family, an explanation of why the column disappeared.
P’ETiQuette Column Farewell—and Hello to New Readers!
I’m part of this community and wanted to give back by offering the print version to area readers. I hoped the “info-tainment” would make a positive difference in pet lovers’ lives. In thirty years, I have never charged a fee for my weekly P’ETiQuette print column. I’ve made a comfortable living writing for a variety of other venues.
Today, I mostly write for online venues–FearFreePets, Reader’s Digest, Hill’s and others. When the newspaper launched an online version, I reserved the “online” column content for those paying venues. I also frequently use the content in my books.
Now, the latest technology used to publish the Herald Democrat can’t separate print and online versions of my column. I can’t afford to give away these additional publishing rights where I make my living. My newspaper editor understands this, and diligently tried to find a way around this issue, but her hands were tied. So are mine.
This week is my last P’ETiQuette column for the Herald Democrat.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your pets, your support, and your time to read my little pet column. But I’m not going anywhere—and you can still read my cat and dog info-tainment (for free!) on my personal blog–right here!
Have a behavior question? A first aid concern? Maybe a new puppy or kitten has issues you want addressed? You can search for these topics and virtually all the P’ETiQuette column content at AmyShojai.com archives–just type the topic in the search bar. You’ll also see new posts regularly, along with fun pet pictures and videos.
I’m like a cat, and I hate change. I’m deeply saddened to say so long to the Herald Democrat hosting my P’ETiQuette column. It has been my honor to work with the talented individuals at the paper and become connected with all the passionate pet lovers who read my column.
But this isn’t “goodbye.” I hope you’ll say hello in the comments, below, and return time after time here to my blog, and continuing our “family gatherings”…right here, on my AmyShojai.com blog.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!