Friday, April 26, 2013

Just a Couple of Things...

Today was National Hairball Awareness Day.  For many of us, we're only too well aware of it, especially during Spring and Fall when shedding is at its peak thanks to the change of weather. I tend to look like Aimee's biological mother when she's shedding, awash in blue fur. 

There are some things you can do to help.  Brush and comb your cat or dog daily if he or she sheds. If you have a short-haired dog, use a chamois on the coat to catch that extra hair.  There will still be shedding but it will be less. This is especially important for cats since they are so meticulous about cleaning themselves and the more hair there is for them to swallow, the more hairballs they'll hack up. 

On another note, the new film, Shelter Me, was released on Red Box three days ago. We'll be reviewing it now but don't wait for my review. Rent it now.  Why?  Because during the first week, if you rent the film from Red Box ALL profits from the first week's rentals will go to Ellen DeGeneres' Halo Pet Foundation. Do yourself and some homeless pets a favor. If you were planning to rent a movie, make it this one.  Even if you weren't make an exception, rent the film, and help some homeless pets.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have You Heard of a Pup Protector?

Too many people and dogs have been hit by cars while out for a walk after dark or before the sun rises. Even one would be too many. When it happened to Trevor Jensen who was badly hurt while walking his dog before dawn he decided to do something about it. His dog wasn't hurt but it could have happened so easily. If someone sees the dog's collar and leash, they will also be aware that there is a human present as well as a dog. Two lives can be saved.

Jensen put his thinking cap on and created a collar and leash with battery operated flashing lights, the Pup Protector (patent pending). It's water-resistant and the battery, which lasts 30 hours, is the same as one used for a watch, and can be easily replaced. It's made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane.

The leash matches the collar and can be ordered in your choice of colors both for the leash and collar and for the lights.

Jensen's website has a wonderful video where you can see how it works - and his adorable dog doing a variety of behaviors will entertain you at the same time.  

The collars and leashes can be ordered in a range of sizes. He is currently trying to raise $60,000.  to help get this business off the ground but orders will be filled after the funding period close whether or not he raises the full amount of money.

The website is well worth the visit.  You can find it at:

The Pup Protector will also allow you to easily see your dog if he's off-leash on an outing or in your backyard.  It's certainly an interesting concept and could help save lives.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring & The Name of The Winner of A Copy of "Once Upon A Flock"

Spring is just about here. This is the time of year when many people are planting and doing lawn care. Please think about your pets as well as any neighborhood dogs or cats who may be running loose. Many fertilizers and weed killers can as easily kill a beloved pet.  Cats, of course, should be kept indoors with environmental enrichment provided. Cats who walk across a treated lawn will pick up the poison on their paws and then sit down to groom themselves. Licking their paws will result in digesting the poison. Dogs, too, can get into trouble in this way.  And please, do not use cocoa mulch. It contains the same theobromine that is in chocolate and is lethal to your pets.

Keep pet safety in mind and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, and provide some safe walks for your pets as well as fun activities.

I know you're waiting for the name of the winner of a copy of Once Upon a Flock by Lauren Scheuer (Courtesy of publisher, Simon & Schuster) who also illustrated her wonderful memoir of her life with backyard chickens.  
Photo Courtesy of Lauren Scheuer

Before I do that I want to let everyone know that you can follow Lauren Scheuer's further adventures of her life with her backyard chickens on her blog:

And The Winner is:  Birkiemom

Please contact me via my website ( with your name and mailing address which I will forward to Simon & Schuster.  

My thanks to everyone who entered.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Once Upon a Flock but received no monetary compensation.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon A Flock by Lauren Scheuer

When I was asked if I wanted to review a book about backyard chickens I hesitated for a minute. This blog is PerPETually Speaking.  Dogs,  cats, chickens?! And then I thought, why not? More people are keeping chickens these days. The review copy arrived and I opened it with no real expectations. I give every book a fair read. I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. Lauren Scheuer, a talented illustrator, details the start of what turned out to be more than a hobby but a relationship with a totally different species.

I am familiar with Chicken Camp where dog trainers hone their skills by teaching chickens a variety of behaviors including a version of agility training where chickens go through tabletop weave poles. Chickens certainly can be trained but that's not the goal of backyard chicken owners, they don't need to sharpen their operant conditioning skills. They want fresh eggs and perhaps some living lawn ornaments.

Scheuer paints a fascinating word picture of living with chickens and discovering that they have individual personalities. More than that, she's so creative that she builds her own housing for the chickens and devises special housing when the need arises. She has also charmingly illustrated the book and draws us into her world in such a delightful way that I kept turning pages and wondering if this had been written for adults or children because it certainly is an easily read education into life with chickens. I decided to go straight to the source with my questions.

"I wrote the book with an adult audience in mind, but more and more readers are telling me that their kids - 11, 12, 13 year olds - are stealing the book right out of their hands and loving it, too.  And as 
you can see in the photo, my hen Lucy is enthralled.   So I'd say it's for humans and chickens of all ages," Scheuer relates.  

       But was this a how-to book for people who want to have chickens. It does seems, in some ways, like a blueprint.   "Oh, no, no, no," Scheuer assures. Once Upon a Flock is not a how-to. You might learn some things about chickens, but this is actually the story of a woman taken by surprise. And it's about a special-needs hen named Lucy. And it's about coping with change. And about inviting new adventures into one's life. Drawing and building are not requisites for adventures like these. If you are thinking about getting chickens, there are many ways to house them. You can build a coop, you can purchase one, or you can get a friend to build one with you." 
    But did she get chickens with the idea of them becoming pets?  "No, I had no idea they would become pets. I believed that one day I might be able to chop their little heads off and plop them into the stewpot. But the minute my daughter Sarah met my four chicks, that idea evaporated. Sarah named each one of them instantly. When you name a critter, you elevate its status from animal to pet. Suddenly my farming ideas were dashed. I was secretly relieved, though, because really.....what's not to love? 
Would she recommend chickens for others?  "Many friends and blog followers have been inspired by my gals to start a flock of their own. I recommend as a good place to start learning about chickens. There are also many good backyard chicken and urban chicken how-to books."

What was your intention in writing this book? "I wrote this memoir because it is the perfect tale. In my backyard I have the heroine, the protagonist, the evil sociopath, the predator, the nemesis, the love, the loss, the suspense... The story unfolded over the course of about two years, right before my eyes, and I just had to write it (and illustrate it with over 400 color images). Once Upon a Flock is completely true.. And I'm still in awe. I still have Lucy, the special needs hen. She is getting on in years - she's just turned five. Every day with Lucy is a wonderful day. And I still have Lil'White, the beautiful evil Orpington who would kill me if she could. And I adore her still."
I found this book utterly enchanting. It was a wonderful read and I couldn't put it down!  One lucky winner is going to have an opportunity to win a copy of Once Upon A Flock by Lauren Scheuer, courtesy of her publisher, if you live in the U.S. or Canada.  Just leave a note in the comments section and one winner will be chosen and announced on Wednesday. This will give you plenty of time to enter.

I highly recommend this book for children of all ages.  And I think it would make a super gift!

The wonderful pictures and illustrations here are courtesy of Lauren Scheuer.

NOTE: I received no compensation for this review, only a review copy of the book so I could read it.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome to April &WBCL Contest Winners!

It's April First, the major holidays, Easter and Passover, have come and gone, early this year and with many of us still looking at snow on our lawns. It's Spring on the calendar and we hope for warm weather and gentle days.

This is the time of year when we start making changes, airing things out, getting a new lease on life. This is also kitten and puppy season when many little ones are born, a great deal of them unexpected. If you're planning to add a pet to your home be certain that you are ready for the responsibility. Do you have time, money and resources to adopt or buy a new family member? Are you ready to commit to this puppy or kitten for its entire life? Will you do the proper care taking, training, overseeing every aspect of mental and physical development?  Think long and hard. And if you opt for a pet, that newcomer may be healthy now but accidents happen and so do illnesses. Either purchase pet insurance from a reliable company - be sure to compare policies to see which will be best suited to you and be sure it's one that your veterinarian accepts. Many people put more thought into buying a new car than they do into bringing home a new pet.  This shouldn't be an impulsive decision. All babies are cute but babies grow up, tend to be mischievous. There's a lot to consider. We'll be revisiting this topic if you are interested. Just a little food for thought.

I know that many of you are wondering who won the World's Best Litter new Forest Scent Litter contest.

I promised that there would be five winners, thanks to the generosity of World's Best Litter. Here are the winners who were chosen at random.  Thanks to everyone who entered!  Drum roll, please!

1.  Nancy Dionne

2.  Carolyn Kristof

3.  Barbara Brill

4.  Lucy Londoner

5  Sue Janson

Please contact me through my website (, just the way you entered, and send me your mailing address so I can send it on to the company. You will each receive two 6-pound bags of World's Best Cat Litter Forest Scent litter.