Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
|Fuzzy enjoying one of Papa Pete's Organic Pet Treats|
There's a great deal of interest in organic foods for both pets and people. Papa Pete's Organic Pet Treats (http://petesorganicpettreats.com) aren't just natural but gluten free as well. The dog treats, made in Vermont, are also made from hormone and antibiotic free meats. It should be noted that the treats are made to order.
Founders of the company, Lynn Camper and Peter MacDonald say that their standards for making the treats are the same as when they are cooking for their human family members. They believe that good food contributes to good health. That includes treats.
|Fuzzy samples another of Papa Pete's Organic Pet Treats|
Currently living with a cat, not a dog, I have volunteer dog products testers. In this case, I opted for Fuzzy, a rescue from one of the worst shelters in California. Life is good on the "outside" of the shelter in a loving home. Fuzzy had the pleasure of testing two treats: the Vermont Maple Oatmeal Cookie since the California dog had never tasted maple, and the Woofie Cookie which contains peanut butter. The cookies come in several flavors which are listed on their website.
Shipping was speedy and Fuzzy was soon "taste testing" the cookies. Before I knew it, I had a "report" from Fuzzy, via has owner/Dad Gary Rohde.
"Fuzzy Loves the two flavors he tested. One called Woofie is made with peanut butter and cinnamon. Whats not to like!!!!!!" Hmmm, it sounds like Fuzzy's dad was tempted to eat them, too.
There was one caveat, "As much as Fuzz loves them both......I hate the packaging," said Gary who has a handicap that includes not having much strength in his hands. "Its so difficult to open. I put them in a zip lock bag as you have to cut the original bag to pieces," he added.
Not having tried to open a package I'll take Gary's word for it but he seems to have come up with a workable solution. Unless, of course, the manufacturer changes the packaging at some point in the future.
You'll find the full assortment of flavors, their process and more on the website for Papa Pete's Organic Pet Treats: http://petesorganicpettreats.com
Meanwhile, here's a peek at the treats in their packages...
NOTE: I received no monetary compensation
for this review. Two packages of cookies were
sent to Fuzzy's owner, Gary Rohde to sample
and for his and his owner's reaction to the cookies.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
|Mary Jane McKittrick|
Mary Jane McKittrick spent a quarter of a century creating packages for television, broadcast news and corporate communications. That sounds pretty exciting to most of us but perhaps not so exciting to Mary Jane. She has always loved animals and she found her true vocation when she discovered that she could work with animals. Inspiration hit when she was living on a horse farm in North Carolina. Raised in Southern California, she always had pets and has learned from them throughout her life. Storytelling is also part of her new life. She has created a series of children's books, the Boomer and Halley book series. And she has created the website, www.petsteachus.com You'll enjoy exploring the website because, as most of us know, Pet do teach us! Among the many things we learn from our pets is that we learn to nurture them. Mother's Day for Mary Jane will be much like mine. There are no human children to send us cards or take us out to lunch or bring us a present. Instead, we have the unconditional love of our four-legged kids (two-legged for those of you with birds). We very much have a maternal role and we are just as much mothers as any woman who has given birth or adopted a child. Our children are of a different species but we love them and they love us just the same. It's a bond that should never be broken but strengthened and cherished for what it is.
I was fortunate enough to interview Mary Jane McKittrick. As usual with an interview here, my questions are in black, her answers are in my usual brown. Enjoy! And Happy Mother's Day to all of us!
Why did you start Pets Teach Us?
It’s a natural progression from my book series aimed at helping children learn important life lessons from their animals through humorous stories. The Pets Teach Us!™ project has broader demographic appeal. Whether it’s the child with a first pet, to the elderly woman living alone with her dog, most people can relate to stories about the amazing contributions animals make in our lives. I see this project continuing to expand in ways I probably can’t even imagine at this moment.
What do you hope to accomplish?
The goal of the Pets Teach Us! ™ project is to help people recognize that some of the best self-help experts you can find are probably chewing on a bone, chasing a mouse, or fluttering in a cage at this very moment. The insights, unconditional love, and inspiration our animal companions bring to our lives should not be overlooked. Pets Teach Us! – What Matters Most in Life. We hope to build a community of people sharing their stories, and helping one another live more fulfilled lives.
Why did you leave the entertainment industry?
Well, some might argue I’m still in it! I’ve gone from behind the scenes in TV production, to in front of the camera hosting various shows, then transitioning to anchor/reporter/producer for three TV network affiliates. After working in corporate communications and consulting, I’m back with a book series designed for animation television, and the Pets Teach Us!™ project which has the potential for multiple media applications.
Do you have companion animals other than horses?
I also have two cats. But, I was the kid who brought home goldfish, kittens, parakeets, hamsters, even a duck. My childhood Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, is the inspiration for one of the main cartoon characters in my award-winning book series for young children, Boomer and Halley. Halley is Halley’s Comet, a silver streak of a cat. The two, four-legged “children,” of Harold and Edna Sanders are always into something prompting an opportunity to address life lessons. The blended family of humans and animals learns and laugh together in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.
How many horses do you have?
I’ve had many horses over the years. I currently have just one. He is a really big guy who’s taught me the value of cooperation versus confrontation wins! It’s very difficult to win an argument with a 1400 pound animal. He is also very funny and is one of the main characters in another project I have in the works.
What would you like to say that, perhaps, has never been asked before? What would you like people to know?
I’d like people to know that the time-honored saying, “You’re never too old to learn,” is a mainstay as it relates to our relationships – not only with humans – but also with our animal companions. I learn something new all the time, just by paying attention. For instance, one day I was especially stressed out over a situation in my own life. I knew I was uptight, so I tried to relax before I entered the barn to feed my two horses. They took one look at me, and I was busted. The big, red gelding turned around in his stall and showed me is backend. The black mare ducked her head down and pretended to eat her hay. It doesn’t take words for communication to occur, it just takes awareness.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite writers. His books of cat and dog poetry, I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats and I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs, are absolutely priceless. He is also the cartoonist who does the comic strip Sally Forth and as if that and his various published articles weren’t enough, he has won two local Emmy Awards for his work on a children’s puppet show. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art from Duke University. His interests and hobbies include photography, hiking, running, art/comics/film history, creating short films, a love affair with all pop culture, a fascination with almost every animal and an undying hope that one day jetpacks will finally be cheap and plentiful.
When the opportunity arose to interview him, I jumped on it.
Here’s my Q & A with Francesco Marciuliano. My questions are in Black caps, his responses are in my usual brown type.
IT’S OBVIOUS THAT YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT CATS THAN DOGS. HAVE YOU LIVED WITH BOTH CATS AND DOGS OR ONLY ONE SPECIES?
I’ve lived with cats, dogs, birds… I wanted a pig. I have no pets now but I’m getting a cat this year. I had 2 cats, Boris and Natasha, 14 and 17 years respectively. I took a period of mourning and I wrote the books. Everyone mourns differently. Some people can go out and get another pet right away. I couldn’t everyone is different. I needed a period of mourning.
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE THE BOOKS?
When Natasha passed away on Christmas Day I was very sad for awhile. I tried to think of a way to commemorate my cats and didn’t want to write anything maudlin. I didn’t want to write anything cutesy. I wanted to write something like the relationship, that was fun. I wrote about ten poems and put them off to the side. I wrote for myself. Charlie Sheen had a big breakdown and I pulled quotes, and had cats quote Charlie Sheen. It was a huge hit, NY Times and The Today Show, The Los Angeles Times, it went viral. I did it a couple of times. I posted the poems and people said I should publish them. My agent submitted the poems without telling me and called when a publisher wanted to publish.
YOU HAVE A GREAT UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH CATS AND DOGS.
Cats all have particular personalities. They’re lone hunters not lone personalities.
The dog is upfront with you with what is he trying to tell you. A dog will wear his heart on his sleeve but a cat won’t show you. Once you get the eye blinks you’re golden!
I’M EXCITED ABOUT THE SEQUELS, POEMS BY PUPPIES AND KITTENS. ARE YOU ENJOYING WRITING THEM?
I’ve had 3 dogs over 3 different times. I love writing them. It’s a way of remembering my pets. I love animals and as long as people will let me know [they like them]. The kitten book, I Knead my Mommy and Other Poems by Kittens will be out this summer. The puppy book will be released next year.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND THE GREETING CARDS AND CALENDARS THE BOOKS HAVE INSPIRED?
|Boris held by Francesco|
They’re on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and in a lot of greeting card stores. The new calendar will be out in July. The greeting cards are out now.
WHY DID YOU REALLY WRITE A BUCKET LIST WHEN YOU WERE ONLY 10?
Technically I didn’t call it a Bucket list and didn’t think I wasn’t going to make it to 11.
To a certain degree if I looked back on it, this was something a ten year old should do not a 21 year old. I grew up loving comic strips. I read Peanuts religiously, I related to Charlie Brown. I wanted to write a comic strip. I didn’t know the odds against it. I wanted to write humor books, I wanted to write for puppets and a comic strip.
I THOUGHT A WOMAN WAS WRITING THE COMIC STRIP, SALLY FORTH. I’M SURE I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WAS FOOLED. WHY DID YOU OPT TO WRITE ABOUT A WOMAN?
Sally Forth led to writing for a puppet. I took over the comic strip in 1997. It came out in 1982. It was never written by a woman, it was created and written by a man.. It was created to show that a woman could be a mom and an office worker but the strip is different now because of the time. I love writing that strip. I don’t think I’m the voice of a woman, I write the character in the voices of the characters. I know how they would do it.
TWO REGIONAL EMMY AWARDS IS QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. IS IT A CHILDREN’S SHOW?
It was a puppet show. It was on PBS stations for about 2 years. I started as a writer and got to be head writer and wrote about 75% of the shows and involved animal puppets teaching kids all about safety. The company was doing the show and I helped design it. I was also worked at King Features. None of it was working. The first episode I wrote won the Emmy. Funding fell through and ended the show. I would love to do that again.
HUMOR ISN’T EASY TO WRITE. WHAT SENT YOU IN THAT DIRECTION?
|Natasha and Francesco|
My dad is very funny, always making jokes. My brother is very funny. It made sense to me in how to see the world. Just the way I can understand the world.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SAY?
I know there are people who want to know if I’m a cat person or a dog person I love all animals. I love wolves. Wolves have the lowest attack rate on humans. I love them equally. A lot of people who aren’t around cats think they’re not particularly emotional or loving and they are. With the book I hope it shows that there’s a lot going on there.