Furry Friday: Lulu’s Furry Miracle


I couldn’t do foster work, I don’t think. When I traveled for Purina as a spokesperson and visited countless shelters, the hardest part was walking away from all those needy bewhiskered faces. Bringing a fur-kid into the house, only to later give him/her away into the loving homes of another, would be rewarding but –I know this about myself — it would flat kill me.

Thank God there are rescue organizations and individuals who can do this!

While it sounds romantic to raise up cute babies and unwanted dogs or cats and give them a much needed second chance, reality ain’t the same. Dogs and cats are dumped, relinquished, lose homes for no fault of their own but challenging behavior problems and/or health issues make foster care even more daunting.

Did I mention God has a hand in such things? And the human angels on earth sometimes are granted miracles–my colleague and friend Carol Duncan gave me permission to share the latest. It seems particularly timely because of the BOOM-BOOM noise phobias mentioned in the Woof Wednesday blog that caused Lulu–that gorgeous Border Collie–in the picture–such angst. You see, Lulu panicked during a thunderstorm and tried to escape her crate, resulting in severe injuries that required hip surgery. Yes, they can do amazing things these days with cutting edge medicine for pets–and the video puts a furry face on some of these techniques.

I’ve seen other video of Carol’s foster BCs, one called Possum that was so fearful–and the progress made until she actually PLAYED with Carol’s other dogs. Makes me weepy again just to think of how far some of these fosters can come with the right care. Now, it’s Lulu’s chance.

Carol writes,

“I’m almost afraid to say anything lest I jinx myself, but Lulu, a BC is being adopted on Monday.  Lulu is reactive to other dogs and needs to go to a home with no other dogs.  Plus, she has hip dysplasia and is recovering from an FHO right now.  And she has mild urinary incontinence.  She barks a lot, too!  And she is sound sensitive, terrified of thunder and fireworks.  She is currently on Fluoxetine and Clonazepam.  She’s probably around 6 or 7 years old — has a lot of years left, we hope, but not a young dog, by any means.

Who would want such a dog?

Well, a couple in El Paso contacted me.  Their BC passed away in February at age 15.  The wife is a high school teacher and is home for the summer.  They chose to wait until the summer to get a new dog.  The wife really liked the way Lulu looks and wrote to me.  They have a pool and will be able to continue her rehab there.  They specifically wanted an older dog. And the last time they had a thunderstorm there was 2006. They had a fabulous vet reference and their home check was conducted yesterday by a woman who is a herding trial judge who lives in El Paso.”

WOW! Who can dare argue that God didn’t work a miracle? Well, the Almighty and human angels, that is–the rescue organization, veterinarians, and of course Carol and her furry crew of doggy helpers.

Are you involved in rescue work? What challenges do you individually and your rescue organization face? What about dogs (or cats) with hip dysplasia–have you ever included water therapy for your pets?

The cool video, below, shows Lulu receiving underwater treadmill therapy (WAY COOL!) from the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center, so that Lulu’s new family has a demonstration how to continue Lulu’s rehab. Carol works with Border Collie Rescue Texas which paid for a good portion of Lulu’s treatment–but Carol funded quite a bit herself.

Love doesn’t come cheap! Think about supporting a rescue group in your area. Have you had similar miracle matches–please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday: Pets, Work & Living In The Moment

Tomorrow is “Take Your Dog To Work Day.” I’m one of the lucky folks who does this every day–the cat, too–and after the past week that I’ve had, really question why anyone would not want to do this.

I don’t want to turn this into an Amy Pity Party so suffice it to say I hurt my back last Sunday, pulling weeds. Turned me into cranky-saurus. Pain will do that to you. So will stoopid dumb moves, because I could have prevented this–which somehow makes the pain worse. Funny how many things you CAN’T do when no longer able to bend over, get up off chairs, climb stairs–even get dressed.

I have new respect for those who live with disabling discomfort for years on end.

For the first time, I’ve received treatments from a talented chiropractor–twice a day–and slowly my mobility has improved. Oh, I’d researched and written about these treatments before in several of my pet books (sidebar at right) in relation to veterinary medicine, but it’s different to be on the receiving end.
11 month Magic w Seren
Magic and Seren know when I hurt. Neither is “trained” as a service animal, but they sure did a fine job acting the part. Magic managed to climb into my lap–all 85+ pounds–and I could feel my stress, blood pressure and pain melt away as I hugged him. I had no choice, he insisted.

Seren set aside kitty snarkiness about the dog and stayed by my side. Her head only spun around a couple of times when the dog’s tail nearly thwacked her. Nothing prompts a kitty hissy fit like a rude dog tail.

Monday night after the first two treatments I presented a webinar Senior Moments: Quality of Life Issues for Aging Pets that had been scheduled for many weeks. As always, got a bit choked up during the portion about making choices. How do you know it’s the right time? Do pets understand end-of-life issues? Can they tell you when they’ve had enough? With my back, the doctor’s Xrays and tests diagnosed a sprain that should resolve with treatment. But pets don’t get the benefit of knowing the diagnosis. They don’t know that one moment they’re well, and the next the vet says they have cancer, for instance.

What a gift! Pets don’t deal with the “what if” or scary unknowns because–they don’t know! Pets only know how good they feel right now–they only know that they love you, you are there with them, and they trust you to keep them safe. Let me repeat that–

Pets live in the moment. THIS moment–when they feel safe, well, loved–that’s all they know. They care deeply how YOU feel, too–whether they show it directly or not. We are more connected to each other than most of us realize, and how sad that it often takes illness, injury or tragedy for us to slow down and figure that out. Like a stoopid back injury from pulling weeds.

I want to be more like Magical-Dawg and Seren-kitty! I want to live in the moment, enjoy THIS cup of coffee, hold safe in my heart the way fur feels beneath my hands, cherish the poetry of cat-dance, laugh out loud at doggy-on-his-back-gyrations with stuffed toys. I want to stop saying, “later” when an invitation for now-fun appears. Turn that get-‘er-done stuff into a more-fun-all-the-time list.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”500″ caption=”"Your lap is MINE!"” .


Since I was a kid, I’ve yearned to know what dogs and cats think. And as an adult I’ve spent hours, weeks, years studying and unraveling the mysteries between those furry pointed ears. Even in my fiction, the theme continues–just WHAT are they thinking? Wouldn’t it be kewl to really know–to understand, maybe even read their minds? For pet lovers, what a joy–for the less gifted folks who dislike or even fear pets, would “hearing” their thoughts drive ’em crazy?

What do our pets really think? Bet we’d be shocked. Maybe even insulted. Because my pets are very likely smart-asses. Betcha the Magical-Dawg thinks, “Why does she stare at that box-thing all day when she could toss Frisbees and SNIFF stuff!” And the Seren-kitty thinks, “Lap time. Now. That’s MY lap. Move the @#$%^&*(!  box-thing! Oh, and lose the devil-dawg.”

At my house, Take Your Pet To Work Day happens every day. I’ve just not been listening.


I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways! By the way, I just updated the sidebar (on the right) with direct links to all the pet books–check ’em out!

Thrillerfest! Videos, Pictures & More

I had a wonderful time–again–in NYC at Thrillerfest.  With four-track speaker panels, it was tough to choose between stellar topics and terrific speakers. And I have to say, the receptions and after-hours spent in the bar catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances was a highlight. This was my fourth Thrillerfest and (hard to believe) it was the best ever! The picture above is of me with my friend Paula Lanier and author Jason Pinter. Visit me over at my Facebook page for more images of Allison Brennan, John Gilstrap, Shane Gericke, Steve and Liz Berry, Sandra Brown and more.

I also managed to video snippets of some of the sessions. But frankly, I was too busy enjoying the event and taking copious notes to do too much picture snapping. One of the best times for me was participation on a “social media” panel, and then a book signing. Go figure–nonfiction pet books were a hit! Of course, lots of thriller/mystery/suspense writers include dogs or cats in the story, so a book on behavior or treating gunshots, arrow, animal bites and such comes in handy. Videos include:

2010 Debut Authors with Brad Melzer speaker, Thrillerfest Saturday July 10, 2010, Silver Bullet winner Brad Meltzer speaks to the audience, and Debut Authors: Avery Aames, Graham Brown, Ryan Brown, Carla Buckley, Teresa Burrell, Pamela Callow, JJ Cooper, Reece Hirsch, Jeannie Holmes, Brett King, Sophie Littlefield, Boyd Morrison, Alan Orloff, Brad Parks, Sharon Potts, James Rubert, Stephen Jan Schwartz, Norb Vonnegut

Make Your Career a Thriller with Panel Master Jeff Ayers interviews authors Joseph Finder, Laura Caldwell, Stephen Coonts, Chris Kuzneski and John Gilstrap

Is Nonfiction More Thrilling? Peter James interviews True Thriller Award Recipient Mark Bowden, and Panel Master Doug Preston hosts nonfiction panel with authors Sean Michael Bailey, Emily Benedek, Mark Bowden, W. Craig Reed and Kathleen Sharp

Lisa Scottoline interviewed by John Land, and Daniel Palmer and Michael Palmer singing “The Writer’s Prison Blues” at the Awards Banquet.

I can’t wait until next year!



I’m going to be at ThrillerFest in July, and I’d love it if you joined me! Authors appear on panels, sign books, and talk about writing, and it’d be fun to see you in the audience. We’ll have sessions every day, cocktail parties every night (included in your registration price), and there’s a full bookshop on site, where authors can sign your purchases personally to you. You can meet this year’s superstar headliners: Ken Follett, David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, Brad  Meltzer, Linda Fairstein, and our first-ever “True Thriller” recipient, Mark Bowden, famed for his nonfiction Black Hawk  Down. ThrillerFest is Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Register and reserve a hotel room (at a terrific rate for New York in the summer) by clicking on www.ThrillerFest.org and following the quick-and-easy directions. (CraftFest with a “speed dating with agents” is on Weds and Thurs). I hope to see you there!


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.