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Celebrating Valentines Day the Furry Way: Gifts for Pets and Pet Lovers

Celebrating Valentines Day the Furry Way: Gifts for Pets and Pet Lovers

FTC disclosure

Happy (early) Valentines Day! Do you have anything special planned–for the cats and dogs, that is? What do they have planned for you? 🙂 You’ll want to avoid the Valentine’s day pet dangers, of course. How do your pets show love?

I get a boatload of pet products at various events, conferences and through the mail from folks who ask me to try them out. I’m very grateful, even if I’m not always able to review them–it’s best NOT to send unless you ask first. At times, it looks like a pet toy box exploded at our house.

Valentines for pets? Of course!

Sort of embarrassing, but past dogs like Bravo preferred dirty socks to high dollar toys, and Karma thinks the 15-year-old peacock feather is da bomb. Cheap thrills, right? Pets don’t care what you spend, as long as it’s TIME with them! But here are some of my favorites and maybe your cats and dogs will enjoy them, too.

Climate Changer Quick Drying Fleece zips up the side for a snug fit, and available for $49.95 at Amazon. It comes in four colors — I think Shadow looks great in blue! (Click picture to go to the site).

Valentines Gifts for Dogs

PLUSH KISSING BOOTH TOY: Shadow LOVES hide-and-seek toys. He inherited a squirrel-treehouse one from Bravo-Dawg but I think this Frisco Valentine Kissing Booth Plush dog toy from Chewy has his name all over it. Measuring about 10″ x 8″ it works well for medium to large dogs at $16.98. And hey, it squeaks! ‘Nuff said.

COATS & SWEATERS FOR DOGS:  Ruffwear for Dogs makes some of the most stylish and useful outdoor equipment for dogs. If you love to go camping, play dog sports, or just hang out with your dog in the great outdoors, check out the offerings. They sent Shadow-Pup a couple of coats. Our Texas weather rarely requires extra coats, but for those who must deal with extra ice, snow, or rain, check them out. They’re also available from Amazon.

The Ruffwear Quinzee Jacket comes in four colors, and is $74.95 at Amazon (click picture for the site). Easy on with click-release side buckles, an elastic gusset for better sizing, and leash/harness opening in the back.

Dog Treat Dispenser for Dog Valentine Gifts

Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Snoop Treat Dispenser: Oh my doG, just rediscovered these! I love the Planet Dog products–made in the US out of recycled materials. Many years ago, I got a bunch to review with Magic as a puppy, and they lasted forever. Now, I need to get a fresh supply, because Shadow-Pup would adore them. They come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes (fruit and veggies, for instance). This one’s new to me, but has nearly 500 great reviews at Chewy.

You can fill the Snoop Treat Dispenser with over a cup of dry food or treats, and even add a small ball inside to provide more challenges. Great to keep dogs occupied when bad weather keeps them confined inside.

KONG WOBBLER: I’m a big fan of the Kong line of products. Shadow-Pup inherited Bravo’s Kong Wobbler, the same one that Magical-Dawg used. It’s like the kid’s toys that “wobble but they don’t fall down.” The weighted bottom holds it upright, while you fill the screw-on top with treats or regular dog food. And the dog “wobbles” the feeder to knock yummies out the small hole. Some genius dogs (like Magic) learn to unscrew the top and get everything out at once. So far, Shadow hasn’t managed that. And here’s a bonus: It sorta-kinda looks like a football…and the Superbowl (and puppybowl) are the day before Valentine’s this year!

Valentines Gifts for Cats

STRAWBERRY CATNIP DELIGHT: Here’s a basket filled with catnip-infused strawberries (four of them) that looks good enough to eat. Don’t worry, it’s fake chocolate, and crinkles with Kitty grabs and rolls on the toys. Another cute plush toy from Frisco, the Valentine Strawberry Basket is $8.98. Karma-Kitty loves catnip, so this would get his purrs rumbling.

GREENIES TREATS FOR CATS: Karma-Kat’s favorite treat helps keep his teeth nice and clean. The last time he had his vet checkup, Dr. Clay couldn’t believe his age and said Karma’s teeth looked like a one or two-year-old cat. I love Greenies (for dogs, too!)

OSCILLOT CAT-PROOF FENCE: Karma-Kat doesn’t get to go outside. And he wants to join Shadow. We take him outside on a harness and leash from time to time.

leash train cats

Karma wears the Puppia Step-In Harness (for dogs, but great for cats!).

But I now have a wish-list for the future to make sure our fenced back area is cat-proof. If you haven’t seen this Oscillot Cat-Proof Fence Kits, it’s worth taking a look! These are rollers that attach to the top of your existing fence to keep kitty from jumping out (or other animals from jumping in. The video below gives you a taste.

Pet Bed: The Furhaven Bed (below) currently ranks #1 for both dogs and cats on the amazon store, with 72,793 reviews averaging 4.5/5 stars. I’d say there’s enough room there for Shadow and Karma to share … aww, who am I kidding? They’d argue over who got dibs on it, the same as they do for prime sofa spots! It comes in 12 colors and 5 sizes with cost from about $36 to $105 (depending on size of the bed). Some reviewers note that the foam can collapse with use, especially for heavy dogs. Shadow would probably chew up the bed, but for older, more sedate dogs and cats, this could be a lovely Valentine’s gift.

Valentine’s for Pet Lovers

If you want to please the pet lover in your life, get ’em something for the dog or cat. And what if your cat or dog HATES your date? Well, there are some things you can do to woo their furry love. But you might also want to package up something in a red bow (or red bottle?) for the pet-loving human to soothe bruised feelings. Here are a couple of fun suggestions.

Oh, and don’t forget the books! Y’all know I got ya covered on the book front. For gift books, my recommendation would be Cat Life, or Dog Life (or both!).

dog life cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What About The Pets’ Valentine’s Gifts?

We don’t wait around each year to have a special day to gift Shadow-Pup or Karma-Kat.  And they gift us every single day with their presence. I dare ya to argue that’s not so! I’ve written before about how pets show love. But how do you return the favor? It goes beyond a Valentine gift for pets.

For the furry-centric folks, I suspect every day is Valentines Day, with pets returning the love with snuggles, wags, and purrs. In no particular order, here are some ways that the Shojai’s show Valentine’s Love all year long to the pets, and how Shadow and Karma reciprocate.

AMY’S (incomplete…) LIST

  • Nutritious food for Shadow-Pup and Karma-Kat (and puzzle feeders from Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting system to keep Karma’s table muscle in check).
  • Yummy treats cuz they’re both such good boyz.
  • Grooming for good health and feel-good scritches
  • Vet care for routine, preventative and even ER visits. I love the Chewy Online Pet Pharmacy, makes auto-ship easy.
  • Exercise, aka PLAYTIME with stuffed squeakies, catnip, feather wands, paper bags, Ping Pong balls and more
  • Schmooze time…the best of all!

SHADOW’S LIST OF LOVE

  • Barking–at strangers, strange noises, the new cat, for treats, during vet visits–all to protect his people
  • Sniffing–to protect his people from dangerous squirrels, rats, bunnies, cats and dirty socks
  • Peeing & poop marking–to warn away dangerous coyotes, rats, bunnies, cats and dirty socks
  • Playing fetch and tug–to teach his people how to have fun by sharing joy with slimy balls and tattered stuffed toys
  • Killing squeakies–to demonstrate a good-dog’s ferocious ability to protect
  • Sleeping with his people

KARMA’S LIST OF LOVE

  • Teeny-soft-mews, to get attention and admiring glances
  • Scratching cat trees–to tell the world he’s home
  • Playing with Shadow–to declare his trust and affection
  • Chasing–toys, feet, dog tails, anything, to show what joy looks like
  • Snuggling with purrs & paw-neck-hugs

Now, it’s your turn. Add YOUR list in the comments! What are YOUR cats and dogs getting for Valentine’s Day this year?

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pets New Years Resolutions

gifts 003

“More treetz, pleeze!” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

It’s 2014, wow. A new year is a time for reflection on the past, and resolutions for the future. This year has been incredibly rewarding on the pet-writing front. I’ve published three new nonfiction pet books in the ComPETability series, a debut dog-viewpoint thriller LOST AND FOUND, and I just sent my editor the copy edits for the sequel HIDE AND SEEK coming out later this month. None of this would have been possible without YOU, my wonderful readers and partners in furry-icity. 🙂 My furry crew tells me it’s a good time to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, too, and the year to come.

The Magical-dawg romped through the year and had only one “emergency” that thank goodness turned out to be a bug bite reaction that resolved on his own. He’s now seven, so I suppose it’s time he started slowing down. Seren-kitty has reached the grand age of 16 and noticeably slowed down. This year she had her first major illness, break out with schnorkles in August and has continued to snort and snuffle ever since. She sleeps more, her black mask has turned cream, her claws click when she walks (arthritis makes it hard to keep them hidden) but pestering the dog keeps her engaged in life. I pray that the years will touch me as lightly as they have my little Siamese wannabe.

Seren 008

“More naps, alla the time. Oh, and treetz, too.” Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

So here are New Year’s Resolutions from Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.

Magic:  “I will train my humans to toss toys with better aim.”

Amy: He insists on fetch both inside the house and out. So I resolve to keep breakables out of tossed-ball-range, and use only the soft stuffed toys to cut down on household damage.

Seren:  “I will train my humans to offer more treats, more often—away from the (spit) dawg.”

Amy: She’s accomplished this and has trained my husband to give her a taste of plain yogurt each morning. So I resolve to keep offering her treats as long as she asks—out of Magic nose-sniffing range. At her age, she deserves feeling like the queen.

Magic: “I will kill all squeakers and chew sticky-out wrong parts on toys.”

Amy: He amputates teddy-bear ears, and SQUEEEEEKS toys forever to drive us crazy. I resolve to find a Magic-proof squeaky stuffed toy—been looking for years now. And I found an “ultra-sonic” squeaky toy, and if it lasts, I’ll be delighted!

Seren: “I will stand on table tops, hassocks and Amy’s lap and cry and yowl to get the (spit) dawg in trouble.”

Amy: She used to enjoy late night gallops from my office down the stairs and back again, but that happens less frequently now. I resolve to keep Magic otherwise engaged so that Seren can enjoy her teasing perch antics for as long as she continues to want to harass the dog.

Magic: “I will grab all the water from the hose, and dig out water from the pool every day.”

Amy: To keep Magic from drinking tainted tank water we introduced hose tag to keep him cool, and found a wading pool for the hottest days. I resolve to find a bigger wading pool that holds more water to cool off my hot dog.

Seren: “I will drink from every water bowl in the house.”

Amy: Seren loves sipping from running water, and she has two “cat fountains” and a water bowl at every sink AND on the kitchen table—and drinks from my glass, given the chance. Her water consumption reduced once we got her diet adjusted for early kidney issues, but sipping water has become a greeting behavior and interactive activity for her. If we’re there, she visits and sips. I resolve to keep giving her the attention she wants, whether she sips or not.

Magic: “I will train Amy to play with the Frisbees—all 12 of them—ALL THE TIME!”

Amy: Magic obsessed over the Frisbees. He’s learned to catch and retrieve them, if Amy can throw them correctly. And yes, he’ll stack and carry as many as I throw. I resolve to keep a supply of fresh Frisbees handy for the times Magic loses them (or they’re stolen by coyotes).

Seren: “I will sleep more, hiss less. Except around the dog.”

Amy: Seren’s blue bed rests on the dining room table under a stained glass lamp shade.  It’s out of reach of her nemesis, and a favorite spot especially on chilly winter days. I resolve to invest in light bulbs to keep the kitty “heat lamp” on at all times.

Magic: “I will go for a ride forever!”

Amy: Magic continues his love affair with the Magic-Mobile. I resolve to give Magic a car ride at least every other day, pending good weather.

Seren: “I will torment the dawg (hiss) at every opportunity! And pretend I don’t like him.”

Amy: Seren’s favorite game is to get Magic in trouble. But her hiss quotient has reduced this past year, and she’s allowed more actual dog-sniffs than ever in the past. Part of that may be her arthritis makes it hard to leap away, so she puts up with it. But she also “flips” and rolls in front of Magic so…I think he’s grown on her! I resolve to “pretend” that I don’t notice Seren actually sorta-kinda-in-a-way likes the (hiss) dog.

Seren: “I will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip. And whisker-kisses.”

Magic: “I will train Amy that naps together are a good thing. So are tummy rubs.”

Amy: I resolve to listen to my furry wonders. What about you?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: NAME THAT CAT, NAME THAT DOG!

HeroDog2013That’s Elle (pronounced “Ellie”) in the picture and yes–she’s a Pit Bull. She’s also the hero dog of the year! Click the picture to find out about her and the other doggy heroes.

I got NEWS…the next thriller HIDE AND SEEK is done! Well, I’m heavy-duty-head-down in revisions, but I’m very pleased with this book. There’s more dog viewpoint, more cat involvement, more September and her friend Teddy…and some new characters (and villains). Those gnashing their teeth over the first book’s unanswered questions will find out the secrets September must keep.

NAME THAT DOG, NAME THAT CAT!

Oh, and there are a couple of dog and cat characters that need names. Yes, it’s time for NAME THAT CAT and NAME THAT DOG contest! As before, I’d love to include the name YOU choose (and perhaps description, too) in this next book. The winners will have that pet name/description in the book, get an acknowledgement in the book, get an ARC of the book (advance reader’s copy) before  anyone else, AND a paw-tographed print book once it’s released. So what do you have to do? It’s easy…

Post your suggestion in the comments, and whether it’s for a dog or a cat (or both). Tell all your friends. I’ll narrow down the suggestions to the top 5-10 (depending on numbers) and then YOU get to vote on the ones you want. Here’s the furry characters and how they figure in the plot:

DOG CHARACTER is a resident therapy dog in an Alzheimer’s unit.

CAT CHARACTER is a barn kitty, with several half grown kittens, cared for (on the sly) by a nine-year-old girl whose mom won’t let her have cats.

So ready…set…NAME THAT CAT/DOG!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out the THRILLERFEST video at the bottom, too.  For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

The Importance of Self Publishing–Top of the Heap?

The Fussy Librarian a new “match making” service (similar to BookBub) for authors and readers launches today! And yep, one of my books is on the schedule. Check it out, sign up, and get your “read” on!

 Robotic Surgery and another blog on the subject could give y’all some fiction-icity ideas!

Prepare for NaNoWriMo! and yes, this year I’M IN!

 Bloomsbury & Author Solutions, urk…

Merchandising for Apple advice from Mark Coker (and if you have to ask who he is well…

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

Dogs Vs Cats, Which Is Better?   Hoooo boy, here we go again…

 ACL & Dogs, Dexter’s Journey See what you can learn from my friend Carol’s experience with her dog

 8 Ways to Get Your Dog Stolen another great post from Carol Bryant

2012 Thrillerfest Panel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Packing, Parenting & Problems

On Thursday I depart for THRILLERFEST! Yay, I can’t wait! I have a bunch of postcards printed with information about my debut thriller Lost and Found and plan to hand ’em out to readers interested in an “advance look” with an eye toward reviewing the story. If you’re interested, let me know–I’ll keep a list of emails/contact info from the comments section on the book page.

Just so’s ya know, the month of July also will be head-down busy dealing with some angst-icity challenges. One of the problems with being passionate about causes and organizations is that sometimes folks don’t agree with each others’ opinions. That’s perfectly understandable. But it can cause hurt feelings when intentions and/or responses are misinterpreted and unexpected hurtful reactions come from people you respect, admire, or even believe to be friends. Treat Sweet Tweets Right–er, Write, the Hospice Way from awesome blogger Piper Bayard really helped me with this–and maybe it will help readers if/when you find yourself in similar situations.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. And I’m nobody’s parent–except for the fur-kids, of course. But after some public “doing what’s ethically right” stands in three very different recent situations and being misunderstood,  I’m taking a break from angst long enough for the bruises to fade and am reevaluating such things. Meanwhile, I’ll be busy brainstorming next thrillers–make believe thrills appeal to me at the moment!–as well as preparing for the next play production(s) (yes there are TWO in the works!), so stay tuned.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Lots of fun videos today, too, including some PARENT stuff! Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all. PLEASE add your suggestions to the “Name That Dog/Cat” contest because next week the voting begins!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Designing From Bones on cannibalism, awesome post from Gene Lempp

CJ Lyons Indie Success! and you can’t even hate CJ, she’s an awesomely nice person!

WORST Book Covers EVER! a hilarious blog from Colin Falconer

Marketing for Romance Writers with some free online classes, too

Publishing Predictions Score, an interesting evaluation

New Suspense How-To Blog from the awesome Rebecca York, something for all writers!

The Perfect Blog Post template anyone?

Top 25 Free Mysteries & Thrillers from iTunes

Authors Guild & Writers from David Gaughran

Global Book Awards Finalists

Neato writer conference over Labor Day (see video below) and my publisher Bob Mayer (plus many others!) will be there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu2jcSFw5kc

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Nurses Orphan Kitten

Pets In Nursing Homes–lower infection risk!

Ape Intellect another great shared link from Jane Miller

Pet Funeral Industry Changes

Dog Memoirs…but where are the cat books?

Kangaroo Paw Preferences–are they right-pawed or left-pawed?

Top 25 CAT Bloggers of 2012!

A couple more videos on ‘parenting’ enjoy!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter . Don’t forget to check out the NAME THAT DOG/CAT character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Monday Mentions: Thrillerfest, Pet Whisperers & Veterinary Hospice

After an exhausting but exhilarating opening weekend of the show Fiddler On The Roof, I’m ready to return focus to the writer-icity schtuff. Oh, the show runs every weekend this month so I’ll have that to look forward to.

But meanwhile I only have a bit more to go on the thriller edits before sending back to my editor. AND I got my panel assignments for Thrillerfest where the awesome Allison Brennan will again be panel master. Our topic focuses on HOW DO YOU CREATE A SPELLBINDING SERIES CHARACTER? Other folks on the panel include:

Allison Brennan (Panel Master) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 18 romantic thrillers and multiple short stories, and the author of the Lucy Kincaid series.

Jan Burke is a critically acclaimed and national bestselling author of fourteen books—twelve of crime fiction, a supernatural thriller, and a collection of short stories.

William Dietrich is the NY Times bestselling author of 15 books, including the Ethan Gage series of Napoleonic adventures that has sold into 28 languages.

Jack Hoban served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a subject matter expert on close combat who “trained” Nick Heller of the Joseph Finder thriller series.

Avalon Books published Victoria M. Johnson’s fiction debut. As a filmmaker, Victoria writes and directs short thriller films. Her upcoming thriller, The Sea of Cortez, introduces Connie and Jeff York.

Sharon Linnéa is the author of the bestselling Eden Thrillers, featuring Army Chaplain Jaime Richards.  These Violent Delights is the first of her new Movie Mystery Series.

Amy Shojai is the award winning author of 24 pet care titles, and channels her “inner bitch”  to write in dog-viewpoint in her debut thriller LOST AND FOUND which introduces series character animal behaviorist September Day and Shadow, the service dog she’s trained.

Debra Webb is a multi-published, best-selling author who writes spine-tingling romantic suspense and has just launched her first thriller series, the Faces of Evil, with the debut novel OBSESSION.

Yes, I’m feeling seriously outclassed and hope to learn a LOT from the other panelists. I’d encourage y’all to post any questions you might have for the panel and I’ll pass them on to Allison, and give a recap after the conference in July. Incidentally, the Craftfest classes and Agentfest (speed dating with agents!) will again be awesome this year.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

WANA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES! the brainchild of Kirsten Lamb, this is a community of and for artists with more than 40 online instructors, a great resource for stay-at-home writers who can’t attend conferences. I’ll be teaching “virtual” classes here in the future.

What Does “Content Abundance” Mean and should you care?

BlogPaws Registration, a social media marketing conference especially for pet writers (do you channel your inner fur-kid?). And don’t miss voting for your Petties (pet blogger awards)

Facebook Counts “Viral” Shares

Pinterest-Friendly Blog Posts from the terrific August McLaughlin

Whispering Prairie Press contest info

How Amazon Saved My Life a great essay from a traditionally pub’d author (and daughter/co-author with mom Susan Conant of the dog lovers mysteries)

Self Pub’ing with Book Baby

KOBO Self Pub’ing Program Launched I understand this is similar to the Kindle program

Interesting Survey of Self Pub’d Authors, who does it, what’s the success rate, and more

10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

PET SCHTUFF

The Dog Whisperer Show Cancelled

Dogs In The City trainer a fraud? hoo boy…is it too much to ask for the “experts” to really be experts???

CATS.About.com Franny Syufy Interview, now here’s a REAL expert!

Feral & TNR Facts interesting schtuff here

Pet Requiem offers house call veterinary service and end-of-life care for pets, what a compassionate and innovative practice!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

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