Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: The Silence of the Chihuahuas by Waverly Curtis

From the publisher: Pepe, aspiring P.I. Geri Sullivan’s muy clever Chihuahua, has stopped talking. But why now, with Geri’s best friend Brad missing and her ditzy sister in grave danger? Geri’s lost without Pepe’s dogged detective work, especially when a client of Brad’s expires under very murky circumstances.

Luckily, Pepe turns out to be an excelente blogger, and his nose for clues soon has the detective duo chasing down leads. But they’ll have to put a bite on crime quickly, because danger’s afoot – and it’s making tracks in their direction . . .

Last year at Christmas I read a short story featuring Pepe, star of the Barking Detective mystery series, and I fell a little bit in love with the feisty little chihuahua. After reading The Silence of the Chihuahuas, the fifth full-length book in the series, he's completely stolen my heart.

Geri is devastated that Pepe has suddenly stopped talking to her. The truth is, Pepe is worried that Geri's friends think she's nuts and are suggesting that she seek psychiatric help. He decides to start writing a blog in order to communicate with her, but Geri remains oblivious to his plans. Then her best friend Brad goes missing, his partner hasn't reported it, and his difficult client Mrs. Fairchild is found murdered in her kitchen. On top of all that, Geri receives a strange phone call from her estranged sister who claims someone is trying to kill her. Caller ID says the call came from Forest Glen Clinic, a treatment center for additions and psychiatric illnesses. Geri figures that since everyone has been insinuating that she find a quiet place away from Pepe to get her brain back in order, a rest at Forest Glen Clinic might be just what she needs...

Yes, there's a lot going on here, but it's such a fun and madcap adventure that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. We all wonder what's going on inside our pet's heads, and Pepe's observations are spot-on. If he really were a blogger, I'd be his first subscriber!

In real life, Pepe is an eight-year old Chihuahua, adopted by Waverly’s daughter Shaw, when he was a puppy. He likes stuffed toys, especially if they squeak. He hates the rain, which is unfortunate since he lives in Seattle. Like his namesake character, he hates being dressed up and thinks he is much bigger than he is. Unlike his namesake, he has a sweet disposition and doesn’t talk much, but he does have his own Facebook page and website.

Purchase Link:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

4 Invaluable Resources for Managing Feline Diabetes

Whether your cat has just been diagnosed with diabetes or you've been managing your pet's disease for years, there is always more to learn in order to improve the quality of life for both the pet AND the owner. November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so I figured it was the perfect time to put together a list of the most helpful resources I've found to take away some of the fear and confusion surrounding this very complicated disease.

The day Angel Tara was diagnosed with feline diabetes was one of the most overwhelmingly terrifying days of my life. Could I handle her treatment on my own? What choice did I have?

Since it was a recurring urinary tract infection that led to the diagnosis, Tara had to spend most of a weekend at the emergency vet on fluids, antibiotics, and to start an insulin regimen. I had those hours alone to let the whole situation sink in. When I picked her up Sunday night I was shown how to give insulin shots and we were sent home to our "new normal". Over the coming days, weeks, months, and ultimately two years, she was the best little patient ever and received her testing and shots like a trooper.

And you know what I discovered? It wasn't the end of the world. Managing Tara's diabetes wasn't "easy", but it was certainly do-able. My research-oriented mind immediately kicked into gear and I started seeking out everything I could get my hands on about feline diabetes.

There is a wealth of information in books and on the web; these are the resources that worked the best for me:

1) Feline Diabetes Message Board This message board was a life saver. There is always someone online there, even in the middle of the night, to help you through a difficult time. It's a true community, a reminder that you're not alone, because everyone there is going through the same thing you are.

2) Sugarbabies - A Holistic Guide to Caring for Your Diabetic Pet This ebook covers everything from understanding what the disease process involves, through the ensuing medical tests, to treatments, diet, exercise and emergency care. Most importantly, it's written in an easy to understand, user-friendly manner. I combed through this book so much that if it had been an actual print book it would have been dog-eared and falling apart at the seams!

3) YouTube video: How to Test Your Diabetic Cat's Blood Sugar at Home Learning how to give an insulin shot is one thing, testing your cat at home is another, but it's extremely important to do because stress effects blood sugar levels, and what's more stressful for your cat than a trip to the vet for a blood test? I watched this video over and over and over again before attempting it for the first time...and once again, Tara couldn't have made it any easier on me.

4) Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM Diet is one of the most important factors in regulating feline diabetes. For some cats, remission is achieved with diet change alone. A print out of these food charts had a permanent place in my purse and were pulled out at each and every visit to PetSmart. Thankfully Tara was a fantastic eater and loved trying new things, so changing her diet didn't prove to be difficult at all.

Have you ever done your own research on a pet's medical condition as a supplement to veterinary care?

Please remember that these resources are no replacement for veterinary advice and care. Diabetes is a very serious disease that must be diagnosed and managed by a veterinarian.

Photo Credit: depositphotos/ben44

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review/Giveaway: White Colander Crime by Victoria Hamilton

From the publisher: In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad...

Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boon boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.

Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.

I've been looking forward to a Vintage Kitchen mystery set during Dickens Days since the very first book, and my wish finally came true!!!

In this fifth book in the series, Jaymie is making preparations for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor, where she will be working at the manor's vintage kitchen, which she's been busy restoring. Tragically, at the end of the evening, Shelby Fretter is found badly beaten in the town handyman's workshop, and later dies. The Fretter family makes regular appearances in the police blotter, so there's no lack of suspects, but it's Cody Wainwright, son of Jaymie's editor Nan at the newspaper who is arrested. Jaymie herself had witnessed a violent altercation between the two just days before, and Shelby's journal all but seals his fate. 

Nan asks Jaymie to clear her son, and the investigation ends up discovering that Shelby's life was filled with secrets and lies. She also uncovers evidence that the murder may be related to the disappearance of another local girl, Natalie. Many twists and turns kept me guessing until the very end, wondering how so many loose ends would end up coming together.

The Vintage Kitchen Mystery series has been a favorite of mine from the beginning particularly for the fact that I see so much of myself in Jaymie Leighton. She's an old-fashioned girl living in a modern world, content to live her own life in spite of judgments from others, and dotes on her beloved rescue pets. She's been in a love triangle of sorts with multi-millionaire software computer mogul Daniel and Detective Zach, but they are both out of the picture now and her new love interest is Christmas tree farmer Jakob, who also has an adorable young daughter. Jakob is just perfect for Jaymie and I can't wait to watch this relationship continue to play out.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, November 27th for your chance to win a copy of White Colander Crime. (US entries only, please.)

Full Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher free of charge, but all opinions in this review are my own.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Selfies on Championship Sunday

Meows from Mudpie!

Well, I've been chatting with Angel Truffles and she's been preparing me for this day. Mommy's driver, Kevin Harvick, is racing for his second Sprint Cup Championship today. He's only of only 4 drivers eligible to win, along with Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex.

Angel Truffles has told me that last year on Championship Sunday, Mommy was an absolute basket case, and already I can tell that she's teetering on the edge.

I might just spend the day napping in Mudpie Manor...someone wake me when it's over?

On NASCAR's Facebook page you could add a Championship frame to your profile picture, so then this happened:

Wish me us luck!!!

We're joining The Cat on My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Caturday Art at Trader Joe's

Meows from Mudpie!

Last weekend Mommy was shopping at Trader Joe's, and one of her favorite things to do when she goes there is to check out the murals. Imagine her surprise and delight on this particular trip when she looked up and saw a CAT!!!

This particular mural was over the Thanksgiving display, and depicted a dairy cow and a catamount sharing Thanksgiving dinner in front of the Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington, Vermont.

Why a catamount, you might be wondering? Rally Catamount is the official mascot of the University of Vermont (UVM), and although the wild cat has been officially extinct for decades, there is still a lot of mystique about the animal in Vermont. There are dozens of reported "sightings" every year, but no evidence of the cat in the state has been found for at least a century.

That's my Vermont history lesson for the week...pretty interesting stuff, don't you think?

Visit more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Savor the Purina Pro Plan Experience #SavorShreddedBlend

During Mudpie's first three months with me I've spent some time chronicling her eating habits. For the first week I was practically in tears because nothing seemed to satisfy her. The food she had been eating at the shelter had run it's course and she no longer had any interest in it. I'd find something she would like one day only to have her reject it the next. Other things I would open and I swear she would've laughed at me if she could.

Then I remembered that I had a sample bag of Pro Plan® Savor® Adult Chicken & Rice Formula that I had picked up for Truffles and never opened.

EUREKA!!! She loved it!!! And as each day goes by, she STILL loves it!!! Mudpie is 100% a Pro Plan girl. We currently have 3 different bags of dry food open, which we rotate on a daily basis, Pro Plan canned food is in our pantry, and the *only* treats she will eat are Pro Plan treats. (She just reminded me to tell you that in a couple weeks she'll be offering a giveaway of some of her favorite Pro Plan treats too!)

Every Pro Plan product we've tried has been a resounding success and I am very happy with her choices.

Brand new to PetSmart store shelves is Purina Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend, which combines crunchy kibble with tender, meaty shreds for an all-new mealtime experience that boasts an aroma, taste and texture your cat will love. Other key features include:
  • 40% protein and real meat is the first ingredient (available in two varieties: Chicken & Rice Formula and Salmon & Rice Formula.)
  • Vitamin A and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, for healthy skin and coat
  • Natural prebiotic fiber, sourced from chicory root, helps promote digestive health 
  • Vitamin A and taurine help promote healthy vision.
Mudpie gives Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend four paws up. Quality nutrition that tastes great, is reasonably priced, and as close as your nearest fur baby is one very smart girl!

Are you following Pro Plan Cat on social media? We love that they have accounts just for cats!
Has your pet ever tried Pro Plan? Do they have any favorite products?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

VitusVet App Provides Peace of Mind

Pet owners know that the majority of emergencies happen late at night, over the weekend, and on holidays. In other words, when your primary vet is most likely closed, thus requiring a trip to the emergency room. 15 million pets went to the ER last year. The number of emergency cases spikes during the holidays, due to pets ingesting people food and other holiday objects. However, what you might not realize is how important your pet’s medical records are during a health emergency and how difficult they are to obtain over the holidays – when most primary vet offices are closed for extended periods of time.

That’s why VitusVet launched a free app for pet parents, which lets users view their pets’ complete medical records at any time. It’s currently the only method that allows veterinary offices to share their patients’ complete medical records, not just lab work or vaccines, with their clients.

I downloaded the free app and was extremely impressed by how easy it was to set up Mudpie's account. VitusVet then emailed my vet's office with a request to upload a PDF file of her medical records. Within a couple of hours I had all of her information at my fingertips.

VitusVet also allows pet owners to upload their own notes, take photos, and schedule appointments with their veterinarians, in addition to the comprehensive medical history and the “Find an ER” function. Pet owners are also able set medication and vaccination reminders and invite family, kennel, dog walkers, pet sitters, and others to view their pets’ profiles, so everyone receives the same instructions for care. Additionally, the app allows for record sharing between multiple veterinarians – this is crucial, as many pet owners mistakenly assume an emergency clinic recommended by their primary care veterinarian will already have their pet’s record on file.

Angel Tara had a primary vet, a cardiologist, and an oncologist, yet it seemed like every few months something brought her to the ER. The VitusVet app would have been invaluable back then. Now with Mudpie, I have the peace of mind that I'm prepared in an emergency situation.

To download the VitusVet app, click here for iOS or here for Android.

I was not compensated in any way to write this blog post. I'm sharing my experience with the app because I think it's such a great tool for pet parents.