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Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Guest Post: Cat Trades Up – Leaves Life of Pizza Boxes Behind

In Guest Blogger, Pets on November 11, 2012 at 12:01 am

I always love it when my guests blog about their pets and share their views on animal welfare. This week’s post, by the lovely Magdalena Vandenberg, is no exception.  A very big welcome to you, Magdalena! Thank you for being my guest and sharing Minnie Moo’s story with us.

I can often be heard jokingly telling others that I’m a cat lady in training.Magdalena Vandenberg on Amelia Curzon's blog - Carte Blanche

Without a shadow of any doubt, I’m showing early signs of becoming a stylish spinster sitting alone in her over-stuffed comfy chair watching re-runs of Homeland and The Mentalist while surrounded by the love, or perceived love, of lazy fluff-balls.

Cats are my weakness.

There’s just something about them that resonates with me. Aloof, needy yet detached, loving yet fiercely independent. Always hungry and addicted to napping, these are all admirable traits, and say a lot about me.

I should add here, I love dogs too. I just love cats a little more. They’re infinitely easier to sneak past the landlord’s “no cats allowed” policy.

From pint size pets to the might of the larger beasts, the animal world fascinates me.  And I can’t for the life of me think why anyone would want to purposefully inflict harm, or treat them with malice and ill intent.

This riles me. It goes against my DNA. Maybe I’m too idealistic, but at the very least everyone, person, animal, inanimate object deserves respect. Right?

I’m a firm believer if you own a pet, or any animal it’s your responsibility to give the critter love, food, shelter, attention and a safe place to call home.

I simple don’t get it when people abuse this privilege.

Years ago, I was in Sydney, Australia, driving home from work down a busy commuter road.  While crawling along at a snail’s pace, I remember looking out the window at the most adorable scene. This young boy, he was about twelve years old, was walking while carrying a cute-as-a-button white fluffy small dog.

In the blink of an eye, to my horror, and out of nowhere, the boy started to hit the little dog with his angry fists. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

Incensed and without any hesitation, I plied on the brakes, stopped the car in the middle of the road, left my keys in the ignition, and marched over to the boy.

“Stop that!” I shouted. “Stop that, right this minute. Stop being cruel to the dog.”

I remember my ranting went something like… “You can’t do that to the dog. What’s this poor little dog ever done to you? Stop being a bully.”

All I heard was, “but, but but…”

I continued on in my sterner by the minute voice… “If you don’t stop being mean to the dog, I’m going to report you.”

It was then I could see tears prick in his eyes as he said, sorry.

“Thank you for apologizing, but don’t say sorry to me, say sorry to your dog.”

Walking back to my car, I was oblivious to the honking horns of the irate drivers and the traffic jam I had caused. Driving off, all I cared about was that little white dog. I had to trust and hope he would be ok.

Fifteen years later, I clearly recall the incident, and hand on heart, I would do exactly the same thing.

Mention cats, animals and my heart melts. Particularly the underdogs (sorry cats, it’s just a figure of speech) who’ve had a rough start, but given half a chance have a whole lot of love to give.

Minnie MooThat’s why I fell in love with Minnie Moo.

One day, I left the back door open. The next day, I had a cat. It was as simple as that.

Naturally, I went around the neighborhood asking everyone and anyone if they were missing a boy cat. No one claimed him, and to this day I think he was abandoned. Just left behind like an unwanted piece of furniture.

At that time I lived opposite a Pizza Restaurant, and my theory is he just got tired of sleeping in pizza boxes and eating left over salami. Once Minnie Moo walked through my open door, there was no turning back. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A little bit about Magdalena Annegie VandenBerg

Born to Dutch parents, Magdalena was born in New Zealand. But unlike the flightless kiwi bird, as soon as she could she spread her wings to live and work in Sydney for twelve years.

The career opportunity of a lifetime beckoned as Magdalena travelled the world working in marketing and PR for the creative genius of Cirque du Soleil.

Now back in the land of sixty-four million sheep, Magdalena is pursuing her life long dream of writing.

Her first children’s e-book, Minnie Moo, The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat is out now and available on most e-book formats. This story is ideal for children reading chapter books.

The book is in part, a tribute to the little white dog. An inspirational tail with a big message; it’s always ok to do the right thing. It’s never ok to be a bully.

Magdalena’s second e-book is her first foray into contemporary romance. Love in the Vines, tells the story of food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, loves begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.

The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat - Book Cover

Love in the Vines - Book Cover

My Blog – Magdalena VandenBerg

Minnie Moo’s Blog

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Love in the Vines on Amazon

Minnie Moo on Amazon

Feel the stress? Get a Pet!

In Guest Blogger, Pets on April 20, 2012 at 1:05 am

This week I am really excited and delighted to welcome my first Guest Blogger, the inimitable  Catalina Egan

Here in South Florida there seems to be a lot of stressful energy abounding, not in the small nucleus that is my life; after all my predominant existence these days is in the world of the characters’ whose lives I get to manipulate,Guest Blogger Catalina Egan on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"create and destroy.
The stress of which I speak can be seen in places that are meant to feel peaceful and relaxed and there are many such places in this haven for tourists escaping their own realities. It could be this global economy that doesn’t seem to lift or the pending presidential election that seems to promote more anger and rude behavior than other elections have in the past.
I know it isn’t my personal perception. I love (as any writer, I would imagine) to eavesdrop. A few days ago it was not through eavesdropping as my pharmacist stated his views in a very loud voice for all in the rather long line to hear.
“Yeah right a pet helps release stress.” The remark was accompanied by a sardonic laugh.
I waited, just long enough to see if anyone else would voice an opinion. There were obvious looks of agreement and a few of those lost in their own cyber-Bluetooth-twenty-first-century-world of I may look like I am standing right next to you but I am actually very far away.
So I spoke, “Pets are absolutely great to help release stress!”
Raised eyebrow said it all from my pharmacist.
“They don’t talk back like a teenage son or act grumpy like a husband.” I continued.
Smile, sword out and coup de grace.
“Or nag like a wife.”
Quick, think, make comeback remark
“Exactly, pets help relieve stress from everyone’s perspective.”
I picked up my prescriptions (and no, not Prozac or any other stress reducer), although my cholesterol could be due to stress and not my ability to eat an enormous meal and lack of proper exercise.
Prescriptions in hand I boarded my car and remembered when our pet Taco entered our lives in 2004, another presidential election year full of nervous Floridians.
Taco is a 5 pound 3 ounces Chihuahua, unlike mine, his weight never changes. He belonged to a family that had not realized Chihuahuas need a lot of attention and don’t do well alone. Theirs was not a home life. As a writer I may well give the word homebody an entirely new dimension.
So we adopted Taco when he was two years old and in an instant he magically influenced our lives and relieved stress.  To begin with he woke up happy every day ready to look for any and all adventure, a bit like Winnie the Pooh. This Taco the Chihuahua on Amelia Curzon's Blog - "Carte Blanche"made me get out of bed with a smile and take him for a walk. I discovered how many beautiful birds visited us every morning and got to laugh as Taco’s bark made the Blue Heron spread its majestic wings to get away. I saw how flowers are so different during every one of our walks, how they open to the day and close up to relax at night.
This in turn made the hectic get-ready-for-morning-routine or I-don’t-want-to-do-my-homework afternoons so much more fun. There was always Taco to share it with. On one fortuitous occasion my son’s homework was on the floor and Taco decided to pee on it hence providing the perfect excuse for lack of completion.
We got Taco a few months before as a family we lost some loved members and as if by magic Taco always knew who needed him the most. To this day one can notice that this is not just with the three of us but anyone Taco comes in contact with.
We pick up Austin every afternoon and as sure as any teenager he says good afternoon to the dog before he says good afternoon to his mother. Taco has made our little family complete and happier.
Taco will be 10 this September, he still bounces and runs like a young dog and when I am too focused on writing I often find a pile of toys by my feet, the moment I see them Taco’s tail wags and he is ready to play catch. He does not always get to play, but I can certainly feel loved and sought after.

If you would like to read more from Catalina go to  http://thebridgeofdeaths.tumblr.com/

Here are a few of Catalina’s other links which may interest you:

Website:  http://www.thebridgeofdeaths.com

AMAZON UK:  http://amzn.to/I2DRFa
BARNES AND NOBLE:  http://bit.ly/I3Mz9r
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