Friday, October 30, 2015

Boo! Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 
Are you scared?!




Ike and Kelly say all treats and no tricks for everyone! Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Behind the Scenes book signing- wordless wednesday

Here's a behind the scenes peek at my recent book signings for Faithfully Yours, the amazing bond between us and the animals we love. One book signing was even pet friendly!

Zeke came to say hi Grandma!
We had a fun photo op we had at one of the signings. We tried to set up dogs to look like the book cover.


Diamond

Iz

Milo

Zeke

 How do you think we did?!


* KATE VOLZ is the winner of a signed copy of the book on the Faithfully Yours blog tour book giveaway.

Join the Blog Paws Wordless Wednesday blog hop!


Monday, October 26, 2015

House Trained- Sweet and Funny Fido-Friendly Fiction

What could be better this fall than curling up with a warm blanket, your favorite book, and a dog by your side? And I've got the perfect book. I'm excited that I got an advanced look at my blog pal Jackie Bouchard's new novel, House Trained.



The thing I love about Jackie's books (yup, I've read them all!) is that they're not just about dogs, they're about people with dogs. People with situations and struggles and stress and messy lives. And having a dog makes all the difference.
Isn't that the truth?!

The other thing I love about Jackie's books is her humor, and her honest, direct approach. (Yup, that first line of House Trained is about as open and direct as they get!) The book is about a woman named Alex who is in for a few surprises in her neat and orderly life. It's also about Marie, a floppy-banged labradoodle, who teaches Alex a few lessons about acceptance.


House Trained is a funny, honest look at family--the good, the bad, the messy, and the misunderstood. Childless-by-choice Alex struggles with relationship challenges, but it's lovable labradoodle Marie who reminds her of the qualities we all aspire to, but only a dog perfects. This sweet and funny book is a Fido-friendly must-read.

Check out House Trained on Amazon. It's also available at select Walmarts. And, if you snap a photo of the book in your Walmart (or even just the Walmart book section, if you can't find it there.) you can be entered into a contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Click here for more information.
I can't wait to go check it out and see if it's at our local stores!

Jackie Bouchard is the USA Today bestselling author of Rescue Me, Maybe and What the Dog Ate. She blogs at Pooch Smooches. Stop over and say hi!

Note: I received an advance copy of House Trained in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed here are 1005 my own.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Should you switch to Grain Free Dog food?


What ingredients should I feed my dog? What is the best dog food? Should I use grain-free?
Important questions. There are no easy answers. 















And it's so personal. And what's best for one isn't always best for the other. It's something I've read about and researched, and will continue to do so. I can't pretend to tell you what is the best food for your dog. But I can tell you about our experience and some research I've done.

Quite some time ago, we used to feed our dogs what we thought was pretty good quality dog food. But after doing some research, I realized that we were way off. That was way back, before I started getting fit and healthy, and dieting with my dog. Not only was my dog Kelly overweight, but she was also at risk of many serious health conditions. I remember that all her lab results were borderline...and I determined that it was up to me to change her diet and get her healthy and get those lab tests going in a positive directions.






















So I learned about quality protein sources. And I learned which fruits and vegetables were healthy for my dog. Then I also switched to grain-free dog food. All of these changes helped get Kelly fit. With the healthy food, combined with increased exercise, she lost weight. And best of all, her lab results all improved to healthy/normal ranges.

Here are some reasons to consider switching to grain-free dog food.

1. Grain-free dog foods often have more concentrated energy levels. Higher levels of protein and fat allow you to feed less quantity while still giving your pet fuel for the day.

2. Grains, like corn or wheat can be triggers for food allergies or food sensitivities in some dogs. Choosing a grain-free dog food can help lessen food allergy symptoms and optimize digestion.

3. A protein-based diet that is free of grains more closely mimics a dog’s ancestral beginnings. Grain-free formulas contain more meat-based protein as well as easy-to-digest animal fats.

Taste of the Wild recently contacted me to ask me to sample some of their new grain-free Appalachian Valley and Pine Forest formulas. This variety features venison as the primary ingredient. Real beef, chicken, fish or venison protein sources provide dogs with the amino acid building blocks necessary for ideal lean body condition. Taste of the Wild grain-free formulas also are enriched with fruits and vegetables, including peas and garbanzo beans, that provide a better tasting food for your pet.

Taste of the Wild grain-free formulas rely on ingredients like quality meats and probiotics that maximize the nutritional health benefits for your pets. The probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that help your dog by keeping the digestive system healthy and in balance. They do this by suppressing the bad bacteria that reside in the digestive system.

 NOTE:  If you decide to switch your pet to a grain-free dog food, be sure to make a slow transition to help your dog’s digestive system adjust. Taste of the Wild veterinarians recommend transitioning food over a 6-9 day period. You can do this by starting with 25 percent of your dog's feeding portion of the new formula mixed with 75 percent feeding portion of your dog's old formula for 2-3 days. Then, move to 50 percent of each for 2-3 days and then 75 percent of the new with 25 percent of the old for 2-3 days before feeding the new formula exclusively.

Visit Taste of the Wild on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tasteofthewildpetfood

** FULL DISCLOSURE: I am being compensated for spreading the word about Taste of the Wild. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own. The Writer's Dog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday- Autumn Spaniel






 What do you think Kelly has on her mind this autumn?!

Join Blogpaws Wordless Wednesday blog hop! 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Collar Safety and PetSafe KeepSafe breakaway collar #giveaway

A few weeks ago, Ike and Zeke were playing and Zeke somehow managed to get Ike's collar off. This has happened several times before.

They play rough, but it's all in good fun. What wouldn't be in good fun is if Zeke got severely tangled in Ike's collar and as the two struggled, the collar tightened around Ike's neck.


There are an estimated 26,000 collar strangulation accidents a year. This week is Collar Safety Awareness Week. Toni Mark, KPA-CTP, MA, Training and Behavior Education Specialist for PetSafe (R) brand, explains that collar stangulations not only occur during play, but also the collar may get caught on furniture, crates, fences, bushes, trees and heating and cooling vents. "By launching Collar Safety Awareness Week, we hope to help reduce the incidence of these tragedies."

To help, we're giving away one PetSafe (R) KeepSafe (R) Breakaway Collar.





The way this collar works is the buckle releases when pressure is applied or it gets caught on something, allowing the collar to fall off harmlessly and reduce the risk of strangulation or injury to the pet. Here I am putting the collar on Ike and demonstrating the way it breaks away when pulled.



But what about when you're walking, you ask? You don't want the collar to come loose by accident and have your dog run off into the street. The answer is the double D ring. Hook your leash snap into the double D ring, which overrides the breakaway buckle, and you can securely walk your dog.



Now, here's your chance to win a PetSafe KeepSafe Breakaway Collar. There will be two winners! Enter here. Open to U.S. Residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Full Disclosure: I was given one breakaway collar to review, and two to give away in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review. I only post reviews I think will be of interest to my readers. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Change your Chicken Challenge

I've been writing about the human-animal bond, and found that so many people form connections with animals, and not just cats and dogs. There are even two stories in my new book, Faithfully Yours, about a woman who helped her asthmatic chicken, and had compassion for a chicken who wanted to hatch some eggs! So that is why I wanted to share this information with you. The ASPCA is hoping to raise awareness about the plight of factory farmed chickens and how you can help. Introducing: Change your Chicken Challenge! Here's what you need to know:


There is a ton of information on the web about organic products, grass fed beef vs grain fed, having too many hormones and antibiotics in meat and dairy, and buying chickens that have been raised “cage free.” But what does all that mean and why is it important?  It should always be important to know and understand what you are feeding your body, especially when you have kids. But how do you know what is really “good?”
There are some pretty shady foods and labels out there, so make sure you are doing your research.  Even then, don’t be fooled by fancy words and claims. Words like Organic, humanely raised, natural, cage free, free range, hormone free, antibiotic free and vegetarian fed, are thrown around all over the place. But in reality, they do not mean much. 

A great example is “Cage Free.” This is a misleading claim for meat chickens because, unlike egg-laying hens, they are never raised in cages. If someone claims “Hormone Free,” well of course they are, because it is already illegal to feed hormones to chickens. So you aren’t getting anything different than what anyone else has. Another great claim is “Antibiotic Free.” Antibiotics are fed to animals on factory farms as a band aid fix for unhealthy living conditions. However, removing drugs does not alone make for a more humane system.
Over the last few decades, corporatized, industrialized agriculture has largely replaced America’s independent small farms—with catastrophic consequences for animals. While there is no strict definition, industrialized “factory farms” are characterized by extreme confinement of large numbers of animals with practices designed to maximize efficiency and profit, and little regard for animals’ well-being, sentience or natural behaviors. Factory farms often use animals bred to produce unnatural amounts of eggs, milk or meat, causing painful disorders and lameness.
The ASPCA is hoping to raise awareness about the plight of factory farmed chickens in order to inspire the public to demand healthier, more humane conditions. They launched Change Your Chicken– a 30 day challenge that encourages Americans to shift all their chicken purchases from the worst factory farmed products to more humanely raised products. 

So how do you know what you are getting yourself into and what to look for if you are looking for chicken that is truly good? One great place to start - These three certifications represent a range of better environments for birds than conventional farms and require annual farm audits:


A few good ways to start your search for healthier meat are to find meats that have specific standards with labels that match those standards:
Animal Welfare Approved – Look for chickens that have continuous access to pasture or range. No feedlots. Cage confinement, hormones and sub-therapeutic antibiotics prohibited. Standards extend to breeding animals, transport and slaughter.
Certified Humane, Raised & Handled –Look for chickens that have continuous outdoor access for ruminants. Cage confinement, hormones and sub-therapeutic antibiotics prohibited. Minimum space allowance and bedding required for indoor environments.
Global Animal Partnership 5 Step Program (Steps 2 and above) –Step 2: indoor space and enrichment requirements. Step 3: outdoor access. Step 4: access to pasture. Step 5: full pasture environment. Step 5+: slaughter on farm.
Certified HumaneAnimal Welfare Approved and Global Animal Partnership (levels 2 and above) represent a range of higher-welfare practices, but all three certify that the chicken you’re buying was not subjected to the terrible crowding, filth, sickness and suffering found on the worst factory farms. 
As a part of this challenge, the ASPCA has put together some great resources to help along the way.
So, are you ready to take the #ChangeYourChicken 30 day challenge? I am challenging all of my readers to not only take the challenge, but post on social media, and encourage friends and family members to share and take the challenge as well! There are some awesome resources on the ASPCA website, including the challenge toolkit, which has resources to help you change your chicken. Pledge takers will also receive exclusive tips and help along the way by email. If you’re a fellow blogger, reach out to me to find out how to create your own blog post and spread the word about the #ChangeYourChicken challenge.
With every purchase we have the power to reduce farm animal suffering. Take a stand and #ChangeYourChicken!

*This information was provided by Sandy Gillam, Element Associates, on behalf of the ASPCA.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Faithfully Yours blog tour ends, but still chance to win book!

We had a great time on the Faithfully Yours blog tour! I hope you were able to stop in along the way. But even if not, it's not too late. You can still visit any or all of the stops along the way. And if you haven't entered already, there's still time to enter to win a copy of Faithfully Yours!


















Leave a comment here, and on any of the blog stop posts, and you'll be entered into a giveaway to win a free copy of Faithfully Yours! If you leave comments at all 14 blogs, you'll receive 14 entries. Good luck! Here are the stops:
 
Day 1-
Earl’sWorld
Day 2- Cindy Lu's Muse
Day 3- Melissa's Mochas,Mysteries and Meows
Day 4- Pet Product Review
Day 5- Talent Hounds
Day 6- The Writer's Dog
Day 7- Pooch Smooches
Day 8- Heart Like a Dog
Day 9- Champion of my Heart
Day 10- Joyful Paws and Talking Dogs
Day 11- Fire Safety Rocks and Five Sibes

The giveaway closes 10/16. Open to U.S. Residents only. Thank you!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Last tour stop- Fire Safety Rocks and Five Sibes

Hi and welcome to the very last stop on the Faithfully Yours blog tour! I hope you've been touring along with us. Yesterday "we were the champions" at Champion of my Heart. Today we have a treat, two stops, so be sure to stop by both Fire Safety Rocks and Five Sibes! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tenth tour stops- Joyful Paws and Talking Dogs

Hi and welcome to the Faithfully Yours blog tour! Yesterday we were the champions at Champion of my Heart. Today we have a treat, two stops, so be sure to stop by both Joyful Paws and Talking Dogs! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ninth stop on the tour- Champion of my Heart

Hi and welcome to the Faithfully Yours blog tour! Yesterday we had a heartwarming stop at Heart Like a Dog and today we continue with the heart theme, at Champion of my Heart. Please stop by! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Eighth tour stop- Heart Like a Dog

Hi and welcome to the Faithfully Yours blog tour! Yesterday we visited Pooch Smooches. Did you all get enough doggy kisses? Today we're stopping over to Heart Like a Dog. Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Seventh tour stop- Pooch Smooches

Hi and welcome to the Faithfully Yours blog tour! Yesterday I was delighted to host a stop on the tour and announce the official launch day of the book, and we talked a bit about St. Francis and his love of animals. Today we're stopping over to Pooch Smooches. Pucker up! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sixth tour stop- Me!

Welcome to Faithfully Yours blog book tour. I hope you didn't miss the talented folks over at Talent Hounds yesterday. They're awesome! Today it's my turn! Hi! Welcome!


















Today is the official launch of Faithfully Yours, so I thought it was the perfect day to post. My publisher, Paraclete Press, decided to launch the book about the human-animal bond today because it's St. Francis Day.






















St. Francis is known as the patron saint of animals. St. Francis delighted in God's presence wherever he found it, especially in God's creatures. Many churches, schools and organizations hold a blessing of the animals on this day.


I'm so delighted that Faithfully Yours is premiering on such a special day!

















Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries! Leave comments at all 14 stops on the tour and you'll get 14 entries!

Have you ever had your pets blessed?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fifth stop on the tour- Talent Hounds

Welcome to Faithfully Yours blog book tour. Pet Product Review was a pawsome hostess. Today we are visiting Talent Hounds. Please join us! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fourth stop- Pet Product Reviews

Welcome to Faithfully Yours blog book tour. I hope you had a mocha and curled up with your favorite feline yesterday at Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries and Meows. Today we are visiting Pet Product Reviews. Please join us! Leave a comment there and you'll be entered for a giveaway for a free copy of Faithfully Yours. One winner will be chosen from all the comments from the blog tour. Follow the tour and if you leave comments on all 14 stops, you'll get 14 entries!



Thursday, October 1, 2015

The third stop- Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries and Meows

Welcome to the Faithfully Yours blog tour. Cindy Lu's Muse was an excellent hostess. Now we're headed to Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows. Won't you join us there? If you leave a comment, you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of Faithfully Yours. And if you follow along and visit all 14 blog stops, you'll get 14 entries!



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