Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Furry family stories

The heroine in Just For Today, Jess Alexander, is a vet. It was pretty brave (or dumb!) of me to write a character who is a vet, because I don't have any pets. Not that I don't want them--I simply travel too much to take proper care of a furry friend. But I am lucky enough to be Aunty to a furry family member: Max.
Max is pretty much the best dog in the whole universe, but then I guess everyone thinks that about their furry family.

He's especially fabulous because of how close he came to almost not being with us.

As a puppy, Max was inordinately fond of sweet things (let's face it, he hasn't quite grown out of it, either). Unfortunately for Max, lots of sweet things are not very good for puppy dogs. He is also a pretty clever pooch, and particularly talented at sniffing out anything tasty that might be in a handbag which has been left within reach.

One day my sister had left her handbag on the floor and Max discovered a packet of headache capsules and had a good old chew on it. The tablets have a slightly sweet coating, and Max found them to be a nummy treat.

The next thing though, poor little Max was being rushed to the vet for a stomach pump and long, watchful night to make sure he was going to pull through. Lucky for all of us, he did.

Those of you who read "Just For Today" might find that story sounds a little familiar once you get a way into the book. When I was researching the book I was lucky enough to get some time with a local vet in my neighbourhood who generously shared his knowledge, and I also reached out to lots of friends to ask them for stories of pet misadventures. There were lots to share! Luckily in almost all cases there was a happy outcome for everyone.

I'm going to do another spontaneous giveaway this week. Tell me about your furry family members' misadventures (happy endings only, though, please!) and I'll chose a random comment on the blog to receive an advance copy of Just For Today...


  1. Kids pestered and pestered for a dog so we bought them a hamster. Much less trouble - right? Collected it from petshop - cost pence but the equipment to keep in in, the cost of a small car. Anyway, get it home, husband is at work, kids want to play with pet.
    Get it out, Mum.
    I wanted to wait for husband but kids were so insistent. How much trouble could one small pet be?
    I did try several times but those teeth.... shudder. Finally, I got it out but it bit me, I freaked out, hamster escaped, we had no idea they were so fast. Had to call husband to come all the way back from work to catch the thing. He just cupped his hands and picked it up with no problem.

    1. I've never had a hamster but I have to say I've always shared a bit of a fear of those sharp little teeth! Ouch! I hope it turned out to be a good pet -- and one you didn't have to handle often!

  2. Hi, Emmie! I can wait to buy a copy of your book, but I wanted to share a story about my Random Cat. ;)

    A few years ago, I popped into the vet's office to re-stock on cat food, when I saw a little grey kitten curled up in a glass box. As the clinic doesn't run an adoption program, I asked the staff, and they told me kitty's story.

    About six weeks before, in the middle of the worst cold snap of our winter, a girl was playing near her home when she spotted the cat huddled in a snowbank on the side of the highway. One can only assume she was dumped there, as it was unlikely a feral cat of her age would be in such a location in the frigid cold. The girl scooped up the cat and ran her home, where the girl's Mom brought kitty to the nearest vet clinic. The staff offered to take the cat in, and faced an uphill battle in nursing her to health. She showed signs of starvation and physical abuse, including a broken tail.

    As the clinic is not open seven days a week, staff volunteered their own time to come in--even in the worst weeks of winter weather--to care for her, until she was well enough that the vet could foster her at home while waiting for someone to adopt her. The vet's family good-naturedly accepted kitty's rambunctious energy and habits of demolishing houseplants, climbing curtains, and sleeping on the family's faces at night.

    Still, weeks were going by and no one had expressed interest in adopting the now-healthy kitten. The staff assumed it was because of her appearance: she retained that half-starved look, and her tail would be crooked for life because of the break.

    While I listened to the story, I held the sleepy kitten in my arms, and was deeply touched by the many acts of kindness and randomness that led to her survival. Had the little girl not picked up the kitten, had her mother not cared enough to bring her to the clinic, and had the staff not been compassionate enough to take on the task of caring for a full-time patient and covering all the expenses of her recovery, she would have died.

    I filled out the adoption forms on the spot, went home to pick up my cat carrier and clear with the landlord the addition of a second pet to my home, and picked her up that same day. Despite her difficult start in life, kitty is exceptionally friendly and playful--especially when she's chasing sunbeams, stealing the dog's bed, and hunting for pieces of furniture to shred. And every night, it's the same battle for territory on my pillow: if she loses, she resigns herself to curl up on my chest and purr herself to sleep.

    1. Aw, that's the sweetest story! I'm so glad you got a devoted kitty and kitty got a loving family. Happy ending indeed!

  3. I apologize if you got two versions of the same story! I was writing on my awful tablet, and it just went "poof!" so I'm not sure if the first incomplete one went through. I can't wait to read this book, I love animals! :D

  4. My uncle's dog gave birth to 9 beautiful puppies, he gave as 2. When the puppies saw our cat they start running and chasing each other. Imagine the sounds they were making. Its a total riot! After a few minutes,we were wondering what happens next. We can't hear them barking. So I went outside the house to look for them but I can't find the puppies and our cat. Later on,my mom went to our garage, there is a small box there lying on the floor and when she looked inside, she found the puppies and our cat sleeping beautifully inside the box. From then on, they were sleeping and eating together. Now who says that dogs and cats can't be friends?!?

    1. Ooh, I can just picture that -- it must have been so cute! I hope someone took a photo!