So it's Christmas, and my dog is sick. Now, let me say first, there's no one in this world that loves animals more than I. This is an important statement, because I'm sure someone will accuse me of being heartless in the following complaint.

But as much as I love my animals, they are what they were intended to be -- pets. They are not my children. They might sleep on the bed, they might utilize pillows as human being would. They might sleep on my kids' beds, and they might fly off the deep end when someone breaks in, ready to defend their family. They might enjoy a treat slipped beneath the table at meal-time, and most years they get something to unwrap under the Christmas tree.

In the end, however, as loved as they are, they are dogs. Not fuzzy little humans that I will put myself into the poorhouse and 2nd mortgage the house when severe medical issues arise.

So that said, most people who know me understand I have a pretty solid understanding of animal medicine, for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is I've dealt with about everything having run a farm. Yes, there's more grounds for me to have the following opinions, but that delves into too much personal life I'm not willing to disclose personally.

Anyway. The dog is ill. Not falling over ill. But ill enough he won't eat, however, his spirits are bright.

So, after making sure it wasn't just a case of 24 hour "I ate something from the pasture I shouldn't have", I took him to the vet. A new vet to me, used only because it's close to my work. A vet, who I fondly refer to as a "city vet" -- meaning there's a distinctly different approach between those city vets who treat "Fuzzy humans" and the country vets who treat "pets and livestock."

I like the vet, don't get me wrong. His medicine is spot on.

However, when I inform him I don't intend to break the bank on treating my 8 year old dog that, and if it is critical, we will euthanise him, I do expect that to be listened to.

I do not expect to have a phone call telling me that there's a chance the dog has cancer, but we'll know in 24 hours. In the meantime, his recommendation is to hospitalize him for 400.00. (So I can put him down within 24 hours? WHAT?)

Now... if said pooch were stumbling over half-comatose, lethargic, whining over pain, dehydrated, or vomiting, or any number of other critical conditions, I wouldn't object. I wouldn't even lift an eyebrow.

Here, however, we have a dog who, visibily, everything is all systems go, except he's got no appetite.

I'm not hospitalizing a mostly-healthy dog who has no problem drinking water right now. Especially not if I'm going to have to euthanise him to keep him from an unfair deterioration, within the next few days. Not to mention, in this case, this dog is in good enough spirits he would suffer more from being away from his family. He's a people lover. He has not, ever, spent a day away from his family. Not even when he was neutered -- performed on my kitchen table, recovery in the bathroom, and a nice cushy dog-bed set up in the bedroom for after-anesthesia recovery. Which he used for all of two hours.

At any rate. I'm cranky about this. It's the week before Christmas, for jimmanie's sake. I did not need to get the hesitant, tinged with disapproval, "yes we can give him a dose of antibiotics and send him home with you tonight" speech over my pet. (I should note here, that there is a small chance that the only thing wrong with the dog is a major case of gas and the vet is concerned his bloodwork will come back normal.)

He's MY pet. I don't need to be judged for what I choose to do, or not do, with him, unless I am bringing about his suffering. And I assure you, the pup isn't suffering.

On top of it, the vet informs me the pup's hips are shot. Not surprising since as an 8 month old puppy he got nailed by a car and spent one night in critical care. (Again, even then, not performed in the hospital, in fact the vet wanted the dog to go home with me then.)

So I have an 8 year old big dog, not a little foot-warmer, who's got severe arthritis in his hips and possible cancer. And my new city vet wants 400.00 for an unnecessary overnight stay. Hm. Somewhere I missed the logic in this statement, at least any logic that doesn't sound like "We can make your mind feel like you're doing something for this, and meanwhile we'll line our clinic pockets because you're supposed to be super-worried about your fuzzy little human."

I think I'll worry with the dog curled up on my pillow. He likes it there, even if I have to lift him onto the bed. I like him there -- I know exactly what's going on with him at any given point in the middle of the night.

And in the meantime, I think I'll say a few more prayers that I don't have to lose yet another dog in the holiday season. Last year, going into December, I dealt with senior-issues in my 15 year old Cocker Spaniel. I nursed my 13 year old Lab with bone cancer through the holidays, to part ways with him in late January. The year before, I lost my 15 year old border collie two weeks before Christmas to senior issues.

No more of this Christmas gloom stuff.

So if you'd like to offer a few kinds words of hope for my pup, I'd appreciate it! We'll be curled up at home tonight, watching telivision while I hand him little bites of whatever I can come up with so he's not completely hungry. Last night it was chicken and noodles, and vanilla ice cream. Chuckle.


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Well all, I received word this morning that Timeless Valentine is now available for pre-order.

Officially released on January 6, 2010, Olivia and Lucas return from spending Christmas with Josh and Amanda to discover being roommates comes with complications well beyond their childhood rivalry. Forbidden desire challenges their tenacious truce, and when Lucas sets out to prove Valentine's isn't just a fools' holiday, Olivia's confronted with a terrifying truth. The boy who once cut off her hair while she slept, has become a tender, selfless man. One who's crashing through the walls around her heart, even though she knows he belongs to another woman.

You can read the full blurb here, or check out the excerpt!

Pre-Order your copy now, and make this year a Timeless Valentine.

Don't forget, All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes is out now! While Josh and Amanda's romance is hot enough to melt the snow, Lucas and Olivia make their first appearance in this holiday story available through The Wild Rose Press in both paperback and electronic format.

Last but not least, I'm happy to announce a fourth sale -- Waiting For Yes.

In this steamy contemporary, I return to the world of horses with ambitious breeder, Gabrielle Warrenton, and guilt-laden trainer, Jake Lindsey-Sullivan. The pair encounter a consuming passion even as one breathtaking Arabian stallion challenges every fear they've ever known. Gabrielle's desire for success conflicts with Jake's need to escape, and Bahadur Mamoon stands between what they most want... each other.

More to come on this title in the coming months. For now, read more here!


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Just in time for Christmas!!

All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes releases today from The Wild Rose Press.

Some dreams were never
meant to be...

Renowned architect, Josh McDaniels, spent ten years avoiding his hometown and the unforgettable memories of his youth. But when a former classmate phones him before Christmas with a proposal he can’t refuse, he finds himself back in small-town, Lexington, Missouri, surrounded by holiday festivities and engulfed in memories of a blue-eyed girl.

Amanda Masterson knows three things about Josh. She loves him, he loves her, and he’ll walk out when those feelings terrify him, as he always does. Ten years ago, he abandoned their dreams. Eight years ago, he returned to break her heart again. Now, he’s back once more, and this time, he’s jeopardizing not only her heart but her daughter’s as well.

Can the spirit of Christmas overcome a past riddled with mistakes? Or will fears and doubts destroy the greatest gift of all?

Available in both electronic format and print format.

I hope you enjoy this heartwarming tale set in historic Lexington, Missouri. If you'd like to receive a signed copy, I will be at Hastings in Warrensburg, Missouri on Saturday, December 12, from 1-3pm. Drop in. Or, if you're out of town, give the store manager a call, and ask if you can arrange to have a copy shipped!


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It doesn't seem possible that December is here. The year has gone by so incredibly fast, and half the things I idealized I would get done, lay at the top of my to-do stack. Things like "Fix wallpaper" -- a task I've said diligiently I will accomplish at the start of every month. I'm not even going to say it this month. Bah.

Well, everywhere I look, Christmas is cropping up all over. I can tolerate it now -- seeing it before Thanksgiving is a bit rough, to say the least.

My second book, All I Want For Christmas... Is Big Blue Eyes will be making it's appearance on December 4.

I'm super excited. Josh and Amanda's story really touches me.

I hope you'll stop in and take a peek. If you're interested in the early bird special -- you can preorder a copy here.


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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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