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Housing Your Pet During the Holidays

Source: Dr. Susan Nelson, 785-532-5690,


The holiday season can be a stressful time of year – even for your pet.

When you leave home for the holidays, it’s important to choose the best housing option to ensure your pet’s well-being, a Kansas State University veterinarian said.

“It can be very stressful for some pets to be away from their owners,” said Dr. Susan Nelson, assistant professor of clinical sciences at K-State. “This stress also may be intensified if the time away is spent in unfamiliar surroundings, so try to prepare in advance in order to make your pet’s holiday time as stress-free as possible.”

Nelson said the primary options for pet care are a kennel or a pet sitter. Kennels are a good option for sociable animals that don’t stress about leaving the house, and pet sitters are a good option for animals that are more at ease at home, especially cats. She said it’s important to consider your pet’s behavior before hiring a sitter.

“It’s best to know whether your pet will be OK staying at home by itself and if it would let a stranger into the home while it’s alone,” Nelson said.

Some territorial and aggressive dogs don’t respond well to a stranger in the home and won’t allow someone unfamiliar to enter. Additionally, Nelson said dogs with extreme separation anxiety are best not left at home alone but instead taken to a kennel if there are no other options.

“These are the dogs that when left alone bark all day or have accidents in the house,” she said. “They may exhibit destructive behavior and even injure themselves. Some pet sitters will watch your pet in their home so this may be a more suitable option for certain pets.”

To help pets adjust to temporary holiday housing, owners should help prepare their pet beforehand. If hiring a pet sitter, owners should schedule a greeting time when the sitter can meet and play with the pet.

“When the sitter comes to meet your pet, don’t be in the house so that you’ll find out how your pet will react to a

stranger without you there,” Nelson said.

If your pet isn’t used to you being gone, you should leave the pet alone at home for short periods of time to prepare for a longer absence. Nelson said owners shouldn’t emphasize leaving and greeting their pet when they return because this can reinforce its anxiety.

For pets going to the kennel, Nelson said owners can help their pet adjust to living in a smaller space by purchasing a crate for the home.

“You can get your pet used to the crate by having it stay in the crate a couple minutes at a time at the beginning and then slowly increasing that time,” she said. “It’s also helpful to feed pets when they’re in the crate so they get used to confinement during a low-stress time.”

To help ease your pet’s anxiety at the kennel, you can arrange play dates so your pet becomes used to being around other animals, Nelson said. Owners also can bring the animal’s favorite toy or something that smells like home, such as a T-shirt, to the kennel.

When choosing a pet sitter, Nelson suggests finding a family member, a friend or a professional. If hiring a professional pet sitter, pet owners should ask about the sitter’s training and experience, check for proof of insurance and ask for references. She also suggests that owners have professional sitters provide a written contract of their fees and services and ask what extra services they offer, like playing with the pet. If your pet has special needs or takes medication, make sure your pet sitter will be comfortable performing those tasks.

For kennels, Nelson said it’s important to reserve a spot early in the holiday season. When choosing a kennel, owners can visit the facility and see how it looks and smells. They also can see what kind of safety and security the kennel has, such as video surveillance, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems. She said owners should ask how often the animals will be let out of their cages and if extra services are offered, like more playtime. Nelson said it’s required by most kennels that your pet be updated on its vaccines and that you provide proof. Make sure you find out ahead of time which vaccines are required.

Whether you’re leaving your pet in the care of a sitter or a kennel, Nelson said owners should provide detailed instructions for the pet’s food and medications. They also should give the name of their pet’s veterinarian and what to do if the pet becomes ill. Nelson recommends owners write and sign a document that allows the caretaker to bring their pet in for care. She also said the owner should talk about how finances will be handled because most veterinarians will require payment at the time of service.

“With any animal, especially if it’s old or sick, the owner ought to talk about what to do in a worst-case scenario, such as if something catastrophic happens to the pet or if it dies,” she said. “Owners need to discuss these things we typically don’t like to think about but for which we should prepare.”


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Pets and the Holidays

Source: Dr. Susan Nelson, 785-532-5690,


Though you love your pet, keep in mind that your guests might not appreciate having your four-legged friend at holiday celebrations.

Dr. Susan Nelson, a veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University, said when having guests over for the holidays, you have to consider how your company will respond to your pets and how your pet will respond to strangers in the home.

“Not everyone likes animals, and some people are very fearful,” Nelson said. “You need to be considerate of those who may be afraid of or allergic to your pet.”

For your pet, particularly a shy animal, Nelson said it can be difficult for it to accept a crowd of people, especially with little time to prepare. Many pets would take weeks, months or even years to work through their timidity. While cats will typically hide if many people are visiting, Nelson said some dogs can get agitated with new people around.

“The considerate thing to do for your pet would be to put it in a room while you have people over,” she said.

This also is good for your pet’s safety, because a lot of traffic opens the chance that your pet could escape out the door. When putting your pet in a separate room, Nelson said you can give it a favorite toy or a blanket for comfort. You also can turn on the television or radio to muffle the noise from the party. For extreme phobias, you can talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for your pet.

She said if a pet is used to a crate, it’s best to keep it there rather than letting it run around a room. Crates often give dogs a feeling of safety, she said. It’s also helpful to get the animal used to being in the room by itself before the party.

If there is no conflict with your guests, a friendly animal can stay around your visitors. But Nelson suggests at least putting your pet away when everyone begins eating, especially if it begs at the table.

Pet owners also should realize that pets often can get to food that is left out on coffee tables for guests.

“If your animal has food allergies, ask people not to feed it snacks,” Nelson said. “Too many tidbits also can lead to gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis. Again, the best way to avoid that is to keep your party animal away from the action.”


Kansas State University Veterinary Clinic

American Veterinary Medical Association

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A Nose for Justice

A Nose for Justice
By: Rita Mae Brown
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 4, 2001


Brief Review:

A Nose for Justice is filled with the history of Nevada water rights.  Jeep Reed owns a 10,000-acre ranch near Reno, Nevada and she was smart enough to make sure she owned the water rights that came with the land.  Jeep also rented water rights from her neighbors which kept SSRM and Wade Properties from developing the land.

Mags Rogers, Jeep’s great-niece, was hit hard during a hill slide on Wall Street.  She moved back to Nevada to live with Jeep and to help out on the ranch.

Jeep’s dog, King, and Mag’s dog, Baxter, play important roles in this story of murder, mystery, and mayhem.

Follow Jeep, Mags, King, and Baxter as they dig to uncover the mystery of the buried skeleton in the barn.  And help Deputy Pete Meadows and Officer Lonnie Parrish uncover who is behind the bombing of two SSRM water pumps and the murders Sam Peruzzi, Oliver Hitchens and Egon Utrecht.


About the Author: (from author’s Amazon page)

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sister Jane novels-Outfoxed, Hotspur, Full Cry, The Hunt Ball, The Hounds and the Fury, The Tell-Tale Horse, and Hounded to Death-as well as the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and The Sand Castle, among many others. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.

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“Thanksgiving is Murder on Turkeys Day” (Canada)

“Thanksgiving is Murder on Turkeys Day” (Canada) is printed on the calendar that is hanging on my wall.

The second Monday in October is Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.  It is believed the first Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated by the arctic explorer Martin Frobisher in 1578. That is more than 40 years before the Pilgrims arrived in the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Today is also “Columbus Day” here in the United States.


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Yoga with my cat, Abby


Is it Yoga time yet?

Mom calls me her little Yoga Master when I help her with her Yoga Exercises.

First, you must warm up.

Raise your right paw slowly, like you are trying to pick up something.

Hold it…Hold it…Hold it…



Next, you must lie down on your right side with your front legs stretched out over your head and your back legs stretched out as straight as possible.

Slowly raise your left leg and swing it out to your side.

Here I am going into a long stretch.  Once I get fully stretched out, I will roll onto my back and wait for Mom to finish whatever it is she is trying to do, and rub my tummy.


Okay, everyone…lay on your left side and raise your right leg and bring your knee to your chest.  Stretch those hamstrings gals—tighten those buttocks…come on! you can do it!







What?  Yoga Class over so soon?

Until next time.  Maybe I’ll see ya around the neighborhood.

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Smorgasbord Invitation to an end of Summer House Party – Saturday 26th to Monday 28th August

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

In a few weeks we shall be coming to the end of the summer holidays and I thought that as I am also approaching my fourth blogging anniversary, it was time to have a party.

I have already begun to prepare my guest list with those wonderful writers who have supported me throughout those four years. They will be appearing automatically with their details and links over the three days.

However, as with any good party there is also an opportunity to mingle and share contact details with others to promote your blog, books and social media connections.

There will be some music, personal recollections of my special guests and something to eat and drink…virtually of course.

This is a celebration of a community that never fails to warm my heart with its kindness and generosity of spirit. I hope that you will be a part of it..

I will…

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The Beaufort Woman

51edeut2dml-_uy250_Title of Book: The Beaufort Woman: Book Two of The Beaufort Chronicles

By: Judith Arnopp

Genre: Historical Fiction


Book Excerpt:

March 1461 – Margaret’s husband, Henry Stafford prepares to ride out to fight for the King.

“You cannot go, Harry. You are too sick.”

“I have to go. There is no …”

He sways on his feet, closes his eyes and grips the bedpost.

“There, you see. Just as I said. Now, lie back down and let me tend you. A sick man will only be a hindrance to the cause, not a help.”

As easily as if he were a child, I push him down and try to tug the blankets to his chin. He pushes my hand away. His face is as white as the linen he lies upon, but he hauls himself up again.

“Bring me something to stop the dizziness.”

“No, I won’t; and the king wouldn’t ask me to.”

By all accounts, the king is too far gone in madness to care one way or the other who rides with him into battle. It is the queen we heed now.
Despite London and most of England having turned against her in support of the Yorkist king, she refuses to surrender her cause. It is for her son, of course, and if I were in her position, I would do the same. But by all accounts, many of my fellow Lancastrian supporters are wary of young Edward of Lancaster. They whisper of cruelty and the mistreatment and bullying of his servants. He is also accused of hiding behind his mother’s skirts, manipulating her love for him.

After the battle at St Albans, when his father the king was discovered in the company of two Yorkist knights, Margaret let Edward decide how the men, who had done no more than follow York’s orders, should die. The boy could have chosen to show them mercy, yet instead, he chose beheading. I suppose battle hardens the best of us, and in his short life, Edward of Lancaster has known nothing but war. Yet I would hope that in similar circumstances, my own son would show mercy.

Now, refusing to give up the fight, the queen is summoning supporters for yet another battle. Everyone is sick of war. Our men are depleted and sickening, our women have been tested to the utmost. We live on a knife’s edge, afraid that each day will bring new disasters. More than anything, England needs peace. Sometimes, I think, for the sake of peace, perhaps it might be better if York wore the crown. But I do not speak that thought aloud; it is a brief and fleeting thing.

I close my eyes, send up an earnest prayer to atone for even contemplating such treason, and turn back to my husband, who is trying to struggle out of his nightshirt.

“No, no, no! Harry, you are sick. Let me at least fetch you a remedy to bring down the fever. Perhaps you will be fit to ride out by morning.”

“It will be too late by then.”

“Then you will have to ride harder and faster to make up for it. You will not set one foot from this house until you are fit enough to do so.”

His capitulation illustrates just how ill he really feels. He crawls back into bed.

“Very well, Margaret. I am beaten. Do your worst.”

I spin on my heel and hurry to the still-room to prepare a posset. Sending my serving girl away, I take down an old book of recipes, drawing the candle closer so that I can read the close-written text. I run my index finger down the page, carefully noting the correct ingredient. It will not do to give him too much.

With great care, I pour an infusion of cherry bark and coriander to treat his recurrent fevers, but after some hesitation and soul searching, I add three drops of poppy juice. I stare for a long moment at the innocuous looking cup before hastily crossing myself and hurrying back with it to his chamber.
He tips it back, drains the cup and hands it to me. I kiss his brow.
He slides down the bed, turns onto his side and hauls the covers over his shoulder.

“See they make my horse ready. I will leave at dawn. Tell them to … wake me …”

Harry will not wake at dawn. If my calculations are correct, he will not wake until the battle is done and the fate of York and Lancaster decided.

“Harry, NO!” I break out of the daydream. He pauses, the cup half way to his mouth. I snatch it away.

“I am sorry. I made a mistake. I will mix you another.”

“Margaret.” He struggles from the bed, his voice halting me in my tracks. I pause and wait for him to confront me at the hearth. He narrows his eyes, twitches his head, silently questioning.

“What do you mean … a mistake? You never make mistakes. I have seen you myself, double checking, making sure before you even dose the dogs for worms. What are you up to?”

“Nothing.” I make to move away, but his hand snakes out and pinions me. He takes the cup, waves it beneath his nose.

“What is in it?”

I swallow, turn my face away.

“Cherry bark, coriander, and something to sweeten it.”

“What else? Have you tried to poison me?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. As if I would ever dream of doing such a thing.”

I am facing him now, hating the suspicion, the disappointment in his eye.

“What then? Tell me.”

He forces me back to the bed, grabs my wrists and makes me sit.

In my mind, I invent a hundred reasons for wanting to prevent him leaving. To me, each one is a viable excuse but I know he will hate me for it. I have spoiled our perfect marriage, possibly forever. A sob is bottled up in my chest; suddenly it releases, an ugly noise marking an ugly deed.

The mattress dips as he sits beside me. Gentle now, he picks up my hand.

“What was in it?”

I sniff and wipe a tear away. “A little poppy juice to make you sleep.”

The hammer of his condemnation hovers just above my head. His voice when it comes is thick with suppressed anger.

“So I would be spared the battle? You think I am not man enough?”

Shame floods me. I let my head fall backward and look upon the smoke-blackened timbers of the roof. They are stark and threatening, hanging over us like a curse.

“No, don’t be silly. You are ill, Harry. My instinct was to protect you.”

“At whatever cost?”

“At whatever cost.”

A long silence. Only the rapid sound of my breath, the rasp of Harry’s congested chest. I feel I am waiting on God’s judgement. I probably am. At last, Harry emits a long breath.

“You are headstrong and … and … devious, Margaret. I feel I hardly know you, as if I have lived these last years with a stranger. How could you do that to me? Have you no care for the king, for the country?”

I sit ramrod straight, enveloped in shame, my hands clenched in my lap. I know my expression is mulish. I know I have done a terrible thing. I wish I could say I am sorry, but I am not. I am only sorry I lacked the courage to carry it through. I will never make him understand.

How can I describe the terror of my last weeks with Edmund, my fear of reliving them? His face blurs beneath my tears. He gets up and strides about the room. I have never seen him lose his temper before. He has always been calm and mild – mistakenly, I also thought him meek … and manageable. Perhaps he is right and we have never really known each other.

“Well? Explain yourself. Why did you do it?”

“You were sick, Harry. I was afraid …”

“Afraid I would die? What of all the men, our friends, our allies, who also risk their lives for our king? Did you think of them?”

I shake my head, remorse and misery washing over me.

“I am sorry, Harry. I thought only of you … of myself. I cannot bear the thought of losing you. I didn’t think, until the last moment. Can you not forgive an action I did not carry through?”

“What hour is it?”

“It must be a little after three.”

“Call for my horse to be made ready.”

“Yes, Harry.”

Miserably, I get up and cross the room to do my husband’s bidding. This battle will be a test. If Harry comes safely home and Lancaster has the victory, I will know God forgives me, but if we lose, I will know that I am by Heaven condemned.

Author Bio:

When Judith Arnopp began to write professionally there was no question as to which genre to choose. A lifelong history enthusiast and avid reader, Judith holds an honours degree in English and Creative writing, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of Wales, Lampeter. Judith writes both fiction and non-fiction, working full-time from her home overlooking Cardigan Bay in Wales where she crafts novels based in the Medieval and Tudor period. Her main focus is on the perspective of historical women from all roles of life, prostitutes to queens.
Her novels include: The Beaufort Bride, The Beaufort Woman (Book One and Two of The Beaufort Chronicles); A Song of Sixpence; Intractable Heart; The Kiss of the Concubine; The Winchester Goose; The Song of Heledd; The Forest Dwellers, and Peaceweaver. She is currently working on Book Three of The Beaufort Chronicles: The King’s Mother.
Her non-fiction articles feature in various historical anthologies and magazines.

Author Contact Links:


Where to purchase the book:
or signed copies available from the author

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Romance is in the Air

Throughout the month of February, I am featuring romance books here on Cindy’s Notebook.

If you have a romance book you would like me to feature, please visit the feature calendar page and fill out the form.  No Charge!  This is my way of paying it forward for

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Black Lilac Kitty names For King and Country Book of the Year!

Charlene Newcomb

2016-book-awardI am thrilled that Cindy Harris has named For King and Country as her very first Book of the Year. Woo-hoo!!

Cindy has been talking about books, writing books, and working with books for years. (Or maybe her work deals more with manuscripts since she works in a university archives.)

Book bloggers like Cindy help spread the word through their reviews, Facebook posts, tweets, and author promotions. I can’t thank her enough for singling out For King and Country with this award. I am honored!

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Charlene Newcomb is currently working on Book III of Battle Scars, 12th century historical fiction filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. There will be more to come, so sign up for Char’s Newsletter. It will be used – sparingly – to offer exclusive content and and to let you be the first…

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Writing Medieval Lincoln – Lincoln Castle

Reblogging from Charlene Newcomb’s site. Beautiful scenery!

Charlene Newcomb

A_view_of_the_observatory_tower_of_Lincoln_Castle The Observatory Tower

I wish I lived closer to Lincoln or could have the Enterprise transporter take me the 4000+ miles in a few seconds. While I am wishing for the transporter, I might as well add a time machine to the mix. Where is the TARDIS when you need it?


I didn’t have a chance to visit Lincoln until after I published Book II of Battle Scars. Lincoln’s 12th century history is background for my novel, but only two scenes from the 579 page book actually take place there.

Photos on image sites are great for seeing what a place looks like, but as I mentioned in previous posts on Lincoln Cathedral and  Nottingham Castle, those pictures only capture a snapshot of a place in a specific time. If I hadn’t dug deeper, I might have assumed the Castle’s Observatory Tower existed in the 1190s, but it wasn’t added until the 19th century…

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November 17, 2016 · 9:46 am