National Love Your Pet Day

girl and dog
Image by pisauikan from Pixabay

Today is Love Your Pet Day. What an awesome holiday!

dachshund sistersBlack catsOver the years, our pets have included a golden retriever/chow mix, two long-haired dachshund sisters, an iguana and numerous cats. All of our pets have been rescues (except the iguana). Right now we have two black cats who are regularly part of my social media posts and who even take over my blog once a week.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I’ve been without at least one cat or dog. Granted, they can be a lot of work, but when they look at you with love in their eyes, it makes it all worthwhile.

Besides all the love and joy pets bring into our lives, there are also health benefits:

cats
Suki relaxing with her buddy Itsy after a tiring game of fetch
sailing
Morgan enjoying an outing on the sailboat

More exercise

Especially if the pet is a dog. Walking, running, playing frisbee or fetch keep both you and your pet in shape. We never could get our long-haired dachshunds to play fetch, but our Siamese cat Suki had a little rubber mouse she would bring to us to throw. She’d tear off after it then bring it back and drop it at our feet. This would keep up until we finally wore her out. Or maybe she wore us out.

Image by Uschi Dugulin from Pixabay

Stress relief and help with depression

What is more soothing than listening to a cat purr or having a dog lying next to you with its head in your lap? Studies have found that being around pets actually reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Pets can make us smile when we’re feeling down, too. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders.

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Lower blood pressure, less risk of stroke and lower risk of heart attacks

A study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased their blood pressure by about 10%. Other researchers suggest owning a cat cuts a person’s risk of having a stroke by one-third. And yet another study found that people with cats were 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Scientists aren’t sure whether it’s the pets’ calming effects that make the difference or whether people who choose pets are at less risk of heart attack and more stress-free naturally. Either way, it sounds like a really good excuse to adopt a dog or cat!

Image by Westfale from Pixabay

Allergy prevention

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

Worried about allergies? Having pets in your home when your children are young can decrease their risk of developing allergies later. A seven-year study of almost 500 children found that those who were exposed to pets as babies, were half as likely to develop allergies and asthma.

For 13 of the most heartwarming pet stories of the past decade, check out this post. Warning: It’ll make you cry!

In honor of this great holiday, how about giving Fido or Fluffy an extra treat? They deserve it.

It’s Zaturday – A Day for Love!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Zorro here. Mommy says yesterday was Valentine’s Day, a day for showing love. Ziggy and I don’t know anything about Valentine’s Day, but we know all about love.

I know Mommy loves me because she feeds me really good food. When she opens the cupboard, there are always lots of cans there, so I’m never afraid we’ll run out.

Weruva

 

I know Mommy loves me because when we’re in North Carolina and I look cold, she puts a blanket over me.

 

I know Mommy loves me, because she lets me sleep with her. She doesn’t even get upset when I wake her up during the night by laying on her head. If I’m really comfy in the morning and not ready to get up, she will wait to make the bed instead of disturbing me.

 

My buddy Ziggy loves me, too. I know Ziggy loves me because he likes to lick me and snuggle with me.

Cats cuddling

 

I know Ziggy loves me because if he finishes his food and is still hungry, he waits until I’ve eaten all I’ve wanted instead of chasing me away from my dish.

 

I know Ziggy loves me because he plays with me and lets me chill out on the catnip toy with him.

Cats with catnip

 

I don’t know who makes up holidays for people to celebrate, but any holiday that is all about love sounds like a really good one to me!

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Love is a Beautiful Thing

rose
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

As romance authors, love is often forefront in our minds. Today, a lot of the rest of the world is joining us.

One part of my job that I always find fun is coming up with unique and sometimes humorous ways to bring my couples together. We refer to that first meeting as the “meet-cute,” which is defined as “an amusing or charming first encounter between two characters that leads to the development of a romantic relationship between them.” I have my own meet-cute, which, though not especially humorous, is a little unique.

When I met my husband, it was love at first sight. Well, maybe not love, but definitely a good amount of interest. My best friend had invited me to her church singles group Christmas party, and when I saw him standing across the church yard, I was hooked. I asked her to introduce us. We began to talk, and it didn’t take long for the subject of the conversation to turn to music.

musical notes
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

I told him that I play and teach piano, and he said he had seen me play somewhere. I named a couple of places. When I mentioned performing in the Young Artists Concert with the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra a year and a half earlier, he said, “That’s it! You played Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor!” I decided I was dealing with a man who was really passionate about music. Or a stalker. As it turned out, he played the French horn with the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra and accompanied me at that concert.

Two weeks passed before we had our first date. Two and a half months later, we were engaged, and two and a half months after that, we were married. It’s been almost 40 years, and we’re still making music together. (Except now it’s at church rather than in a concert hall.)

For several heartwarming love stories that give The Notebook a run for its money, check out this post from Good Housekeeping.

It’s Zaturday – Kitty Toys, Yay!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Ziggy here. Zorro and I love to play. He’s three and I’m four. According to the Purina Cat Chow chart, that’s 28 and 32 in people years. We’re still young enough to enjoy toys. A lot. And when the toys we have get pushed under the furniture and we can’t reach them anymore, we look for other things to play with.

Zorro is pretty weird. I don’t understand some of the things he likes to play with. Like the paper coming out of the printer. It doesn’t matter where he is in the house. When he hears it start up, I’d better get out of the way, because he’ll just about run me over getting to it.Cat playing

 

The other day, Zorro walked out of the bathroom carrying Mommy’s toothbrush. I just looked at him like he was crazy. I have more discerning tastes than that. Like a piece of paper crumpled into a ball. When Mommy throws that down the hall, I can’t resist. Mommy’s hair is fun, too. It’s long and sometimes falls into my face when she picks me up. For some reason, Mommy scolds me when I swat at it.

But one of my favorite toys is this. When I hit the ball, it goes ‘round and ‘round. What’s even cooler, though, is the cardboard stuff in the middle. It feels so good on my feet. I sharpen my claws on it, and Mommy doesn’t yell at me like she does when I tear up the furniture or the woodwork.

cats with catnipBut what really makes this toy the bomb is when Mommy or Daddy sprinkle catnip into the cardboard stuff. Aaaah, maaannn! Cats are supposed to act proud and independent. Cool and collected. Disinterested. But something about that stuff just makes us lose all dignity. I can’t resist it. Zorro can’t, either.

It’s been a while since our humans added it, so the smell is pretty much gone. We can walk over to the toy, bat the ball around a few times or sharpen our claws on the cardboard and walk away, still keeping our pride and dignity. As it should be.

Wait. Daddy just got a plastic bag out of the drawer. Is it…I think it’s…yes! It is! Outa my way, Zorro!

I-love-it-I-love-it-I-love-it!

Aaaahh… *long relaxed sigh*

It’s Zaturday – Bath Time!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Zorro here. I just finished my morning bath. One of them, anyway. I’ll be taking several. Ziggy will, too. We pride ourselves on staying really clean.

Mommy says cat saliva has a deodorizing agent in it that helps keep cats clean. That’s why when I lick Mommy’s hand, it doesn’t smell bad. Unless I just finished eating. Then she says I have catfood breath. I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing.

We get lots of benefits from grooming ourselves. Besides keeping us clean, it helps cool us down on hot days. And it feels really good. Our saliva helps heal injuries, too. But Ziggy and I haven’t had any booboos since Mommy and Daddy adopted us, because we never go outside.

Cats groomingI think I spend half my awake time licking myself. The other half I spend licking Ziggy. Cleaning Ziggy isn’t as easy as cleaning myself, because he has long hair. Sometimes I swallow too much of it and get an upset tummy.

The other night, that happened while Mommy was sleeping. And since I always sleep curled up against her, guess where I was. Yep. I didn’t know Mommy could move so fast, especially coming out of a dead sleep.

One time, though, Mommy said it was a good thing that I threw up. We had just left North Carolina to come back to Florida, and I got carsick. When we got to the place with lots of cars and big trucks (Mommy calls it Atlanta), there was a bad accident. Mommy said God was watching out for us. If she wouldn’t have stopped to clean up the car, we might have been in that accident, and that’s the reason I threw up. But I think the reason was those curves. Curves always make me feel woozy.

But I feel good now. In fact, I think it’s time for another bath.