Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fighting Fur Kids for the Remote


Watching the news the other night, a segment came on introducing DogTV. You guessed it- a cable channel for dogs. Seriously, it’s no hoax! This cable channel was launched recently in San Diego for our fur kids who are left home alone while their human pawrents (coined by Petworld Insider) go out to work. Apparently the need for this cable channel arose solely from the discomfort doggie parents felt over leaving their canine babies home alone. (There’s a movie with that title- oh right; it was a human child left home alone, not a fur kid.) So for an extra $4.99 on monthly cable bills, they can leave behind their fur kids – guilt free.

Everyone’s aware that those puppy owners who can afford it, drop their fur kids off at the doggie daycare with lunch bags brimming over with gourmet snacks. These same fur kid pawrents call in during the day for face-time calls to ensure their babies are content and not suffering any separation anxiety or bullying. You get the picture.

Well, it appears that now the families that can’t afford the expensive daycare experience for their doggies, have found a reasonable alternative – DogTV! The cable company promotes their programming, promising that our dogs will be more relaxed and less anxious about being left alone during work days. Separation anxiety? Really? (Wow! I’m embarrassed to admit that I must have been a lousy fur kid pawrent in my past life, as all my dogs were left home alone. It never dawned on me to worry about whether they were experiencing anxiety or the dreaded “B” word…BORED! (gasp!) We pet owners used to always lament that a dog’s life was something to be envied! Think of all that time spent napping and relaxing during the day. (Apparently that is no longer acceptable canine parenting practice.)                                                                   Image

         “There’s NOTHING worth watching on the Tube! When will they get home?”

One wonders if the fur kids have their favorite shows or do they spend their entire day in front of the tube, no matter what’s playing? How would a cable company know what would satisfy the tastes of every breed?

Apparently, the channel really dug deep with their research, hiring dog psychologists and behaviorists. (I wonder what their credentials are?) They also worked with experts who teach veterinary medicine or train dogs to find out what would be the best programing for the fur kids viewing audience. (Obviously, it would be kind of difficult to survey them), unless you thought you could trust their pawprint on a multiple choice list. I’m not sure how they came to such conclusions, but they decided that human TV shows with car chases, sirens and gunshots were stressful for the Fur Kids; so those have been avoided. They incorporated shows with other dogs in them. I guess they choose their favorite canine celebrity dogs to watch.

The cable discovered that fur kids also like shows that give them a view from outside car windows, helping them to visualize they aren’t trapped inside with no place to go.

Harp and piano music are their choices. (No Latin rhythm and salsa or heavy metal for them!) Maybe this is their spa music, where they visualize being petted (having a massage and pedicure), and simply relax for awhile as they do the hard work of waiting for their human to come home and free them.

One has to wonder whether they have a “let’s get physical” show where they pump a little iron in their mouths or partake in a fitness circuit.  These canine parents would, no doubt, be happy to set up a fitness center and obstacle course in their great rooms to enhance their puppies’ physical self-identity and esteem. (Surely they wouldn’t dream of having a show called the “Biggest Loser” to motivate the obese fur kid to shed a few pounds… would they?)

And then of course, after all that physical exertion, the poor thing is going to have to be hydrated.  Will a simple slurp at the water dish do or will the workout canine require a snazzy hydration system with spring water?

The channel also suggests that the large flat screen tv’s be mounted closer to the floor for the viewing pleasure of the dogs. (I’m not sure how that will work for the pawrents in the evenings…) The channel ensures there is action and sound that they can relate to, such as panting, rough housing, and chasing. (Now that sounds like it could get the fur kids a little hyper, don’t you think?)

Image No doubt there is a “Doctor” show on the channel, as well.  Vets probably demonstrate different procedures, like expressing the anal glands or getting shots, to decrease any Vet phobias out there with their canine friends.  (Neutering procedures are probably avoided!)

And of course, canine make-overs would be a must. Can’t you just imagine them being mesmerized by the team of groomers brought on the channel to completely change a bedraggled dog look from dirty and matted to groomed and dazzling. Streaks and hair extensions would be expected, along with mainstream tattoos and sparkly nail polish.                                                                            Image

But let’s not forget there are the “foodie” dogs out there, as well.  They just love anything organic and gourmet. Watching the preparation for their favorite dishes will only help them salivate over their scrumptious, delectable lunches. (Realistically, their lunches are probably  eaten the minute a fur kids pawrent leaves the premises…)

No doubt teeth brushing videos provide the manual instructions for flossing properly and whitening strategies for a sparkling, fresh smile.  Oh, I can only imagine what our little fur friends will spend their days watching.                                                                        Image

So tonight when you get home and sit down to snuggle up with your PIT BULL fur kid in front of your 60 in. flatscreen, be aware that as you grab for the remote, you may just experience a throaty, intimidating growl, warning, “Don’t even think about it.”  (Maybe DogTV was meant for the pawrents, as well… No more Good Wife for you!)


Authors in Bloom Blog Hop is Coming!


Get ready for some fun, tips, and prizes!  You’re invited to participate in an Author Blog Hop.  The tour begins on April 10th at 6:00 am EST and finishes on the 19th at midnight EST, so mark your calendars!

Readers will have 10 days to enter each author’s individual contest (giveaways) and submit their entry for the GRAND PRIZE (a KINDLE FIRE or NOOK and a 25 dollar gift certificate for eBooks). Visiting 6 author sites per day and leaving comments will enter you in author site give-aways and also provide you with 65 chances to win the Grand Prize. As well, each author site (65 in total) will also post a giveaway and either a gardening tip or a recipe. (I know I’ve got my recipe all ready for you, and you won’t want to miss it!)

It’s going to be a blast getting acquainted with all 65 participating authors and YOU may just finish the contest by winning the Grand Prize!

Please forward on email or retweet to anyone who you think would enjoy gathering recipes, gardening tips and competing for giveaways and the Grand Prize.

           Mary’s Blog:

A Title- Can You Help?


Okay, you’re going to want to laugh at me.  I am agonizing over the title of my third MG novel in the Frenchie series.  The novel itself has gone through a dozen edits and revisions and now I need to put a title on it and I’m struggling to come up with the perfect  one that will grab my readers’ attention.

You probably don’t think this part is a big deal, but you would be wrong. Titles are extremely important, they either peak your interest or they don’t. A reader isn’t going to pick up a novel off the shelf and read the synopsis if the title doesn’t grab him/her first.  I know, I know you’re probably jumping up and down by now ready to argue that it’s the book cover that makes the difference.  I don’t disagree, and I’m working on that, as well.  (In fact, I have contacted the publicist of a special celebrity to see if her famous face can be incorporated into the cover of the book. How’s that for the best idea, ever?) But, I’m still sitting here with the daunting task of coming up with a catchy title.

What are the chances that after I share a synopsis of my third Frenchie novel with you, you might offer your opinion on some of my ideas and/or provide me with some other suggestions.  I know what creative people you are out there and I am totally open to any ideas you can provide. Piggy-backing off of others’ thoughts often helps to get the creative juices flowing. I want this title to be the best choice of all! Of course I do!

Brief Synopsis of my third novel of my Frenchie Series:

Canine Star Training for Sissy? What about Pierre? Just how hard was it for Ethan to convince his mom to let Sissy use her showboating skills to get into the biz?  And what’s with Grandma Sis and her crazy belief that she’s about to be discovered herself? I mean, really, who’s looking for a seventy-two year old Cher look-alike performer?  Wasn’t this supposed to be Sissy’s destiny? What could possibly go so wrong that Ethan wants to move to his Dad’s house on the Island, leaving his friends, school, and family behind!

Some of my ideas:
1. Frenchie Celebrity?-Follow the Blog (subtitle)
2. Who’s the Diva?  Sis or Sissy? – Follow the Blog (subtitle)
3. Frenchie Diva? Really!-Follow the Blog (subtitle)
4. Celebrity Wannabes?– Follow the Blog (subtitle)

Please add your suggestions in the comment section of my blog or choose from my list, the one you think is best. HELP!  I need your creativity!



BOOK #3 OF THE FRENCHIE SERIES  – please leave your suggestions in the Comment Section.  Thanks so much for your input.




Having just finished my third novel of the Frenchie Series and reflecting upon my skills as a blogger: I’d have to say that the books are road maps for an author who continues to evolve and improve one’s writing skill. For anyone who has not read my first two MG novels: Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog and Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog; it may be no big surprise that there is a blog post at the end of most chapters.  (You did catch the subtitle- Follow the Blog, right?) The blogs are written in the voice of a thirteen year old who is “gaga” over French Bulldogs and he blogs each night to his following of Frenchie lovers (French Bulldogs, for those of you not up on dog breeds) on his blog site: Frenchie’s Best Friend.

As a retired IB educator, I am reflective about my writing process journey while developing my skills.  Over the last two years, sharing my novels with classes has had the sole purpose of entertaining students so that they’d be inspired to write blog posts themselves. In fact, West Vancouver’s School District (where I used to be a principal) actually has district-wide blogging contests. Isn’t that a cool idea?

I elicit from the students, elements of what makes a powerful blog. They are always able to come up with the criteria. The following is the key message that I leave the students with from my author visits: “Powerful blogs are usually written to provide useful information in an entertaining way.” Of course there is so much more complexity to blog writing, including: style, communication, length, interest, photos, and the purpose of sharing expertise and/or interests with others of common interests.

My contemporary fiction series is humorous! This is the hook used for keeping my readers turning the pages. They can relate to Ethan and his world of being a Frenchie owner wanna-be. Most of my MG readers are technologically advanced and writing blogs is another writing tool with which they are becoming familiar and using on a regular basis.

Take the Blog Analysis Challenge

Compare a sample blog from my first novel with another from my third, analyzing the two according to strengths and weaknesses based on one’s knowledge of writing powerful blogs. Has the style changed between Novel #1 and #3? Is there improvement? Is one more entertaining than the other?  Why? Please give this a try and send me your analysis in the comment section of this blog.  I would value your feedback! It would also give you a chance to read one of the blogs from my third book in the series (which will be published if I ever come up with the perfect title…).

Come on, take a stab at it, you might just pick up some valuable insight into writing your next blog post.  Meet the challenge and participate… You know you want to….

Blog of Day 9 (Frenchie’s Best Friend-Follow the Blog)  BOOK #1

Okay, my dedicated readers, I admit it, I am feeling somewhat smug tonight. Why you ask, would an amateur dog groomer be feeling this way? Well, I have to tell you that I performed a successful anal gland clean today on a Pug. As my trusty (and somewhat grossed out) assistant referred to as emptying out or “expressing” the anal glands. That’s correct my friends, this thirteen-year-old groomer performed a procedure during the bathing process that some people pay vets to do for them. Okay, so I feel successful tonight, so what? I’m sure my next humbling experience is just around the corner. As far as my best friend, I hope he has recovered from the gross ordeal that he witnessed, while reading the instructions to me from his laptop—you’re the man, Mikey! Well, all my fellow French Bulldog lovers, I am turning in early to gloat over my successful dog grooming venture of the day.

French Bulldog Fund: Day One   $35.00

     Day Two   $35.00

     Day Three $35.00

     Day Four  $40.00

TOTAL:    $145.00

Determined and Entrepreneurial,

Frenchie’s Best Friend

Blog: Let It Go  (BOOK #3)- (still undecided on the title)

After all the stress that Mom and I have been through this weekend, it was great to spend some downtime with our puppies, Mr. Cooper, and Prince Harry.  Mom continues to surprise me. With all the stuff she’s handling, I couldn’t believe that she’d let Warren Cooper take us over by ferry to Bowen Island for a hike and brunch. She just went along good naturedly with the whole thing and we had an awesome day! You get off the ferry and have to walk quite a ways uphill to an artisan village. By the time we sat down at our outside table for brunch, the puppies were wiped out and just dozed at our feet. They were completely oblivious to all the adoring comments that were directed towards them by passers-by. I didn’t notice any other Bulldogs on Bowen, so the locals were really interested in them. 

The weirdest thing that happened was some lady who kept gushing about how cute the puppies were and then looked at me and asked, “How did you ever convince your dad to let you have three?” Mom turned red, Mr. Cooper choked on his salad and I replied, “Actually, if I lived with my Dad I could have a complete zoo if I wanted it.” The woman realized she’d made an incorrect assumption and stuttered as she quickly moved on, “Uh yyes, I see, well then, sso nnice to mmeet yyou.”

All three of us broke out laughing at the ludicrous mistake the poor woman had made. How stupid can some people be!

 Amused Frenchie Papa,

 Frenchie’s Best Friend