Anya’s Book Review: Must Love Wieners

My mom first learned about Must Love Wieners by Casey Griffin from a Heroes and Heartbreakers blog post and instantly thought that since wieners dogs obviously play a big role in the book, we should read it together. A few months passed. And then a few more. But we finally spent some time cuddling together on the couch with this book.

It was worth the wait.

Colin and Sophie

Let’s start with the important stuff. The dogs

I must admit that I’m disappointed that there weren’t any chiweenies in the book, but there were lots of dachshunds so that’s a good start. Although several dogs make cameos in the story, the main canine characters are Colin and Sophie, two soul mates who play a pivotal part in the romance between the main human characters. The author didn’t delve very deeply into Sophie’s personality, but Colin was a well-developed guy with a sweet disposition. He’s the kind of wiener dog who’s not afraid to step into a fight when it comes to protecting his human from a crazed arsonist.

I was very impressed by how well the author captured the personality and appearance of the dachshund. She did an excellent job showing that they’re a loyal, scrappy, funny breed that has a mind of their own. Plus they were really cute. Also, if my mom thinks for even a second that I’m willing to ride around in a backpack or purse the way Colin did in the book, she better think again. Just sayin’

Piper and Aiden

The entire story is told from the FMC’s viewpoint. Piper is inches away from becoming a vet, provided she can keep her head above water and pay all her bills while also studying to get her license. In addition to working three different jobs (cab-driver, pizza delivery driver, singing messenger) she also volunteers at a local Dachshund rescue.

At the start of the story, Piper’s day is basically a comedy of errors. Everything she does basically blows up in her face. Even what seems like a relatively simple job, delivering a singing message to the CEO of a huge investment firm backfires, resulting in her falling onto his lap and having an …er… awkward moment, before she’s able to flee the boardroom and return to the comfort of her cab where she promptly loses not one, but two, of her three jobs and also watches helplessly as her cab gets stolen.

Aden has a thing for Piper, though it takes Piper a while to realize it. In an attempt to spend more time with Piper he hires her to walk his newly acquired dog, Sophie. This leads to a great deal of confusion, on both Piper and Aiden’s part about the nature of their relationship. The way the first act was written made the relationship’s progress feel remarkably more organic than most romance novels.

Overall, this was a fun book, it’s primarily a romance novel but there’s a mystery mixed into the plot that will keep you guessing. Casey Griffin did an outstanding job creating an assortment of red herrings so it’s surprising when the bad person is finally revealed. Plus, is there anything more frightening than a dog rescues, especially one full of cute, innocent dachshunds, coming under attack.

There were a few minor points that irritated my mom a bit, but nothing that caused her to put the book down.

Must Love Wieners is a full length novel. It’s a fast read, making it perfect for reading while your between errands or unwinding at the end of a long day. It’s also super entertaining making it a good choice when you’re looking for a vacation book.
Must Love Wieners is the first book in a series, but it stands on its own two feet. At some point this summer, my mom and I plan on diving into the second book, which is already available wherever books are sold.

Ta for now,
Anya

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Anya’s Prospective-Catching Up

Yowza! It’s been a long time since I posted anything to this blog. I blame my Mom, and that’s all I have to say on the subject.

Anyway, a quick update on what’s been happening in my life.

This winter I went on a REALLY long trip that involved going all the way to North Carolina to spend some time with my mom’s youngest sister and my old buddy Cat. IMAG5971
After that, there was another long car ride that didn’t end until we reached what my mom calls the patriarchal farm which in the Upper Peninsula, AKA the end of the world. Once the car riding was over, I had fun there. Not only did I get to play with some new dogs, I met some interesting little kids, chased cows, and played in the snow.

FYI, there’s A LOT of snow in the Upper Peninsula.

Once we got home, life pretty much returned to normal. I played lots, slept lots, and whenever possible I helped my mom with barn chores.

We didn’t get much snow this year, but we made up for it by getting lots of rain. Do you know what happens on a farm when there’s lots of rain. You get mud. A ridiculous amount of mud. For the record, I hate the way mud feels when it squishes between my toes.

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Now that it’s spring time, there’s more wildlife on the farm. A few weeks ago, my mom managed to get a picture of some deer that usually graze in the hayfields.IMAG6764_1
And, we have a new litter of baby foxes. I think they’re cute and would be lots of fun to play with but my mom, the partypooper, says absolutely no way.

That’s all for now!
Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

Something to Consider

Anya had a rough weekend.

She went to the vet for her heartworm test, annual vaccinations, and to have her nails trimmed. The appointment itself went great. The vet was fun and knowledgeable and even had a history of working with chiweenies which is great. I’d like to say Anya behaved well, but the best I can do is she behaved as expected. She hates having her nails trimmed!

The vet suggested a course of Benadryl for Anya to help her with the vaccinations. Which I put her on.

The first sign of trouble hit a few hours later. No, she didn’t have a negative reaction to the vaccinations, but at that point it was obvious that she was feeling the injections. She hurt. My cheerful, carefree little dog’s entire personality changed. She became mellow and extremely cautious. All because she hurt.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there was a great deal of yelping during the next few days. Anya stopped wanting to be near the barn dogs because Cougar kept bumping into her. She even got the point where she’d yelp whenever she was worried I was getting to close and about to bump her. I don’t blame her.

I want to stress throughout all of this, Anya never even seemed to consider the possibility of biting anyone. She’s smart. She kept a low profile and worked to stay out of people’s way. Instead of hanging with her dog friends, she stayed pretty close to me. She spent a great deal of time tucked between objects or under tables.

She did come out to see her favorite people. Most picked up on the fact that something wasn’t quite right with her. They nodded understandingly when I explained about just vaccinated and sore. They were told not to touch her shoulders, and yet I watched as stroking hands glided really close to the injection sites, not because the people petting her were cruel, but because they simply weren’t paying attention.

I want to stress, throughout all of this, Anya didn’t even think about biting, but while I watched things unfold, I couldn’t help thinking, this is probably why some people claim they’re attacked by family pets who “never bit before.” I can especially see how a  little kid, one that is used to cuddling and hugging a dog, could easily get bit in this situation.

If you sense your chiweenie is hurting, rather than put them and the people they love, in a bad situation, give your pet time to heal. This might even mean confining them to a crate for a few days. The odds are pretty good that your dog will be happier crated than with people anyway. If you absolutely can’t keep your chiweenie separated from house guests and children, you need to take it upon yourself to keep an eagle eye on your pet and make sure they’re not disturbed. It might not be fun, but it’s part of being a responsible pet owner.

I’ve deal with Anya’s situation by deciding to keep her away from everyone but her immediate human family for a few days. At this point, she’s so tired, I don’t think she’ll mind.

I’ve also made a note of her reactions to her shots in my copies of her medical records and will discuss the issue with the vet and see if they want me to try something other than Benadryl to help with the injection pain.

2017 Chiweenie Training Goals

Finally! 2016 has ended and we’re chugging through the first week of 2017. Many have made New Year’s Resolution and I suspect that some of us have already broken a few. Most of us are so focused on what we want to have happen, either personally or professionally, to ourselves, that we fail to think about the others in our life, such as our chiweenies. Today is a good day to assess your chiweenie and think up some training goals for the pair of you to complete during 2017.

Why it’s Important to Have Training Goals

It’s my belief that training goals are important because they encourage you to keep working with your chiweenie, which not only helps turn them into a respectful member of the canine community, but also helps build a close and respectful bond between you and your dog. Spending just 5 minutes a day working on a new trick makes a world of difference.

I feel that it’s important to have goals, rather than just randomly working on stuff because they keep you focused. They help ensure that you’re not pushing your dog too quickly, and they help teach your dog to learn properly. Just remember to be realistic about the goals, both as far as what your chiweenie is ready to learn and how long it will take them to pick up on new tricks. If you’re not sure what 2017 training goals would be good for you and your chiweenie, consult with a professional dog trainer for advice.

Petparent.com also has some training idea goals you may want to consider.

Anya’s and My Training Goals for 2017

I’ve spent the past few days studying Anya and thinking about how far we’ve come in our year together. I couldn’t be happier with the progress she’s made. She’s bolder, better socialized, and knows a few obedience tricks that had been missing. As pleased as I am with her, I have no intention of sitting back and saying she’s good enough. There’s still plenty we need to work on.

General Training

At the very top of my list is exposure. Anya’s come a long way, but she still needs to go out and do more things. Not only would I like to see her become more relaxed when dealing with a new place/situation, I also want to work on her behavior when she sees another dog and dealing with large crowds. The only way this will happen is I keep taking her to new and exciting places.

Obedience Training

By nature, Anya’s an obedient dog and with a strong desire to please, which is handy when working on her obedience training. Right now she knows how to sit, sit pretty, lay down, and roll over. Except for roll over, she knows both the word and hand signals for the tricks (hand signals have proven to be the most effective with her.) The glitch in her training is that she only performs her tricks when I’m sitting on the floor in front of her, so this year we’re going to work on doing each of these while she’s leashed, and once she has that, practice them while on walks and exploring new things. The other thing we really need to drill is stay. She’ll stay put if I tell her to and then proceed to watch her, but she doesn’t hold her position, something I hope to correct in the upcoming months.

If we can master stay this year, I’d like to start working on long call. Since she’s pretty good about coming when called, I don’t think it will take much work.

Trick Training

The last thing I want to work on this year is teaching Anya how to do a Spanish Walk on command. Occasionally, she does this while playing and with her short legs, it’s about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes us to perfect this trick. It might not be a useful trick, but I don’t care. When it comes to tricks, I want to have fun.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Anya’s accomplishments in the upcoming months.

Good luck to you and your chiweenie as you work together to learn all sorts of fun and useful things.

 

Anya’s Book Review: Murder Comes Unraveled

Mom and I spend a lot of time cuddled together on the couch reading, and since some of these books involve dogs, I decided to put together some book reviews. We’re starting off with cozy mystery, Murder Comes Unraveled by Veryl Ann Grace. It’s the second book in 6131f77bbe85d70952538b66f6b50c8dGrace’s Flock and Fiber mystery series, but it does quite well as a standalone novel.

At first, I was worried about this book. I figured it would be all about sheep, but while there were a few sheep in the book, as well a killer llama, there were also quite a few dogs. Great Pyrenees were featured throughout the story, which just happens to be the same breed as Duncan, one of my friends. The author uses the fur from her Great Pyrenees dogs to knit. Considering how much Duncan sheds, she shouldn’t ever run out of material. Riding in the car with him for just five minutes leaves me covered in a brand new, white fur coat. It’s very chic …

Anyhoo, I’m digressing, time to get back on topic.

What is Murder Comes Unraveled about?

Well, the main character, Molly Williamson is attending a local fiber fair where she hopes to sell some stuff, talk to people about Great Pyrs, and meet with friends. She doesn’t expect to find herself embroiled in the middle of a murder investigation. Technically, it doesn’t start out as a murder investigation. It starts out as an accidental death brought on by llama attack, but since the llama is very gentle and the newly dead person was good with animals everyone decides that she must have been murdered (For the record, the way that particular plot point was set up drove my mom up a wall. (Accidents, even ones that involve gentle animals and experienced animal experts happen all the time. In this case, all that was needed was for the woman to have been bumped by the llama as it turned around in the stall)

I’d like to say that lots of stuff happened after that, but it really didn’t. The entire investigation went slowly. The character of Molly was nice and seemed quite clever, but the rest of the characters were generic which made telling them apart difficult and I thought the resolution was predictable. The bright spot was the Pyr dogs. The author really knows her dogs and did a great job showing readers how wonderful they are. If you’re a Great Pyrenees lover or just want to know more about the breed, you’ll probably want to read this book.

If you’d like a more human perspective on Murder Comes Unraveled, my mom’s review of the book can be found here. She liked the book better than I did.

Have you read Murder Comes Unraveled? What are your thoughts? Got any cozy dog related mysteries you think I’ll like? Share your answers in the comment section.

Straight From Anya: Walk/Write 5K Challenge

So, in addition to being a phenomenal, pint sized farm helper, I’m also responsible for supervising my mom while she writes. I got to admit, I’m not particularly crazy about the second part of my daily duties. Supervising the writing process … BORING!

anya sleeping

Still, I do my best.

Needless to say, I rarely get excited whenever my mom has a writing thing planned, but this past weekend was different. This weekend the 10 Minute Novelist Group held their autumn Walk/Write 5K event. Basically in addition to writing 5K words, participants were also challenged to get off their duff and walk (or run) 5K. At last, a chiweenie friendly event.

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Friday

The event kicked off on Friday. It was a little cool and a little overcast, but all in all, not a bad day for a walk. My mom and I headed to the local park where we spent about an hour and half rambling through the woods and taking pictures. Lots of pictures. The walk was pretty uneventful. We did hear a woodpecker and accidentally spooked a blue heron.

I did get into a little trouble when I tried to drag mom away from the lake, I REALLY don’t like water, but since she’s bigger than me, she had the last word and even made me lay still long enough to have my picture taken.

When all was said and done, we walked a little over 4 miles.

In addition to finishing up some freelance work, mom did pull out her manuscript, Shattered Glass, and picked at it a bit, but her word count for Friday was embarrassingly low. Still, even a few words is better than no words at all.

Saturday

My mom spent the bulk of the day outside or in the barn working on prepping stalls for the winter, which was just fine with me. The barn is loads more fun than her apartment. It did mean our walk started a little later than planned on. We took a different route, one I haven’t walked in a few months, and headed down to the local lakes. It was lots quieter than when I was last there, which is fine with me since I’m still not crazy about crowds, but I was disappointed to find that the little lakeside ice cream store was closed for the summer. I really like that place.

The sun and lake were gorgeous and it was a perfect evening to be out and about. We spooked another (or maybe even the same one) out of a tree, and spent some time watching the sea gulls and swans. My only complaint is that we got a lot closer to the water than I like. According to my mom, we’re going to work on my water phobia next summer. I’m pretty sure I don’t like the sound of that.

Anyway, we logged 4.1 miles on that walk AND fellow farm dog, Cougar got to tag along. This was great, partly because everything is better with a friend, and partly because Cougar gets in trouble more often than I do.

At the very end of the walk, we made a quick trip to the local Tractor Supply Company Store because it’s dog friendly and Cougar has never been there before. He was a little afraid of the automatic doors and was a little shaky the whole time we were there, but I bet that it won’t take many more visits before it’s his favorite place.

My mom’s word count for the day, 1282. I think she should have written more.

Sunday

Sunday was Sawdust Day in the barn. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but the end result was that the humans push a lot of huge wheelbarrows around, the stalls fill up with fresh sawdust, and my mom said she’d already walked more than enough steps (mind you, she failed to record the exact number) that we weren’t going for a walk later. Personally, I think this had more to do with the fact that she was way behind on her word count than anything else. Next year, I won’t let her get away with that and will insist that she hit the trails and bring me along.

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Mom did spend the extra time writing. Her word count for the day was 3,431 words which bumped her total to 5,038. Not great, but enough to say she completed the challenge. Barely.