I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Friday, September 25, 2009

LABRADOR PUPPY UPDATE!


What a week for little Abby. She romped into the vet clinic Monday morning, as boisterous as a pup could be. Many hours later she was still struggling to fully come out of anesthesia. Our vet used the same combination of drugs that are used for thousands of spays across the country every day without a problem (my husband is in the veterinary pharmaceutical business, so he knows.) But just like people who have general anesthesia, there's always that rare chance of an unexpected result.

Such a roller coaster. She looked awful Monday night, with labored breathing and a look in her glazed eyes that said she wasn't long for this world. The vet gently said that the outcome probably wouldn't be good. He stayed up all night with her, adjusting her IV's and careful doses of Lasix, monitoring her labwork.

On Tuesday morning, she tried to lift her head to look at us, but could barely move...she looked almost comatose, and she still hadn't been able to urinate. Her labwork was worse, showing worsening acute kidney failure. Then at noon, the Lasix finally worked--and I've never been to happy to see an animal pee!!! At least her kidneys were finally letting the fluids go through--even if they weren't really functioning correctly.

Her labwork was still critically high on Wednesday morning, indicating kidney damage that could still take her life...and then, a miracle: her creatinine improved Wednesday night, and really improved Thursday morning. A stunning, fast change that means she's now on the road to recovery!

Our whole family is so happy for Brian and his puppy. If she needs special food and special care the rest of her life, she'll always get it. It's just so wonderful to know that her huge spirit of energy and excitement and enthusiasm for life hasn't been lost. My mom and I prayed so hard for her, and I know some of the readers here did too, because they let me know. Thanks so much!

I know that there are people suffering terrible tragedies in their lives--heaven knows that I have, too, including the devastating loss of a precious child-- so a little lab puppy might seem insignificant in the whole scheme of things in this world. But she is part of our family, and I'm just so happy that we'll get to enjoy the gift of her life for (hopefully) a long time to come.

And to me, our vet is such a hero, for not giving up on her, even when he thought she had very little chance of surviving...and for staying at her side throughout that first, awful night!

Roxanne

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A LAB PUPPY IN TROUBLE





What is the value of a life, when all is said and done? A record of good deeds, or great accomplishments? Being known for honesty, a loving heart?

This is Abby, our five-month-old grandpuppy. She is fighting her her life right now. She went in to be spayed on Monday, but reacted badly to the anesthesia, and then her blood didn't clot normally--even though her pre-op blood tests were good. The vet thought she might be seeping blood somewhere, but she couldn't have exploratory surgery and risk anesthesia again. By evening, her labwork wasn't looking good, and the stress had sent her into acute kidney failure. There was thought of doing a transfusion, but that can bring its own risks for severely stressed puppy.

We are so blessed to have an excellent, dedicated vet. He stayed with her all night at the clinic, adjusting meds, checking her labs. This morning she looked awful--so edematous that her back legs looked like balloons and it was hard for her to move. Her labwork was worsening. The Lasix wasn't working. This morning I prayed so hard for her to improve....for her kidneys to start working before it was too late.

The vet did more labwork and gently warned us that things weren't looking good at all....but finally, the most recent dose of Lasix worked. She started peeing like crazy, which is just what she needed to do. Hallelujah! But she isn't out of the woods yet. She's diuresing, but her kidneys still aren't working right, and could fail altogether. She is still under close veterinary supervision. And I am still praying that she can overcome this to return to her wildly joyous, boisterous puppy ways.

The experience, over the last twenty-four hours, has me thinking. What is the value of the life of one of our pets? Whatever it might be to someone else, to me there is no measure. You can have a terrible day and come home feeling miserable about yourself, but your dog still loves you without reservation--with his whole heart. Just by appearing, you fill his life with joy. All he wants, to make his life complete, is to be with you always--24/7 if possible. And how often do you find such pure, honest, unshakable love like that? Our Elmo will sit on my husband's lap for hours (an interesting feat, since he's a long, lanky Border Collie mix) and the two of them watch football and baseball games together, completely content. And Harold, our other Border Collie mix, is just as desperate for love and attention.

These two, and now little Abby, who visits our house a lot and often has sleepovers when our son has to travel, hold such a big place in my heart. She is so young, has so many years ahead of her--years of absolute devotion, and love, and companionship. I know that she is receiving the best of care, but I'm also praying for her....and giving thanks for the dedicated vet, who has now had to go through a full day of work with no sleep at all. He is a hero, in my book.

How about you...have you been through some tough times with your pets, but still had a good outcome? It would be nice to hear some uplifting stories!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

INTERVENTION by Terri Blackstock

Though not in the animal theme of this blog, there's a book I just have to tell you about.

Terri Blackstock's new book Intervention was inspired by her personal experiences with her daughter's addictions. Six years ago she became aware that her daughter (then in her early twenties) had a severe prescription pill addiction that was killing her, and she hired an interventionist to convince her daughter to go to treatment. That's when this book was born.

For a much longer description, go to www.shoutlife.com/roxannerustand and click on the "Intervention"" blog.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cake Toppers & author Teri Wilson

































I recently added a new puppy to my household. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I really had no choice in the matter--my only child just went off to college. (sigh.) So, you can see why that new puppy was a must.

Her name is Bliss and she is the cutest puppy ever born. I know that sounds like something every new puppy owner says, but she really does give new meaning to the word adorable. Look at the picture, and see what I mean!

Being a writer, I've naturally been writing all about my new puppy. She's all over my blog and website. The website also has a blurb about a free novella I wrote for White Rose Publishing called Once Upon a Collar. The heroine of the novella, Emilie Bonner, is a wedding cake topper artist.

The combination of the phrases Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy and Wedding Cake Topper Artist has brought an interesting mix of people to my website. When I look at the website stats, I've recently been inundated with visitors who found my site based on the following search terms "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel wedding cake toppers."

Who would've guessed?

I immediately began to wonder if such cake toppers actually exist. So I did a little digging. And look what I found! See the picture above.

Aren't these the cutest? Well, maybe not as cute as Bliss, but pretty darn close. If Emilie, my heroine, ever finds her Prince Charming, maybe they should have a cute doggy topper on their wedding cake!

My novella, Once Upon a Collar, is available free in weekly installments at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WhiteRosePublishing
or for more information, come visit Teri at www.teriwilson.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WILD HORSES

This is just so hauntingly beautiful...you've got to listen. I know you've already heard the wonderful story of Susan Boyle, this sweet, middle-aged woman who rose from obscurity to become an overnight sensation, but this is her new song. I cannot wait to buy her first release in November!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR83mG3Ojp4

If this doesn't work it's posted on my Facebook page (just go there and search my name) or go to You Tube and search Wild Horses Susan Boyle. The one by "Tommy" has lovely photos with it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The "RETURN TO SENDER" Horse



As a child, I owned a horse named Cherry. He was a 17-hand Thoroughbred-Clydesdale cross, evidently the result of an intention to produce a heavy hunter, but for me he was just a great kid's backyard horse--one I rode bareback all over our part of the county and took to open shows.

He had the gentleness, height and color pattern of a Budweiser draft horse, and the narrower body of a thoroughbred. He wasn't born with a lot of jumping talent. In fact, he often escaped our pasture by laying down and wiggling under the fence, leaving broken lower boards behind. Like a cow, he must have figured that if he could get his head through a fence, the rest of his body could surely follow.

One moonlit night, he made his escape, and happily roamed our suburban neighborhood until becoming fascinated by the lights streaming from someone's bedroom window. He tramped down ornamental bushes at the side of the house to take a closer look, and--being 17 hands--he was tall enough to press his nose against the screen window.

The people inside saw only a big white shape (his Clydesdale blaze) hovering in the darkness, and what appeared to be two strangely glowing orbs...his eyes. He looked for all the world like some sort of space alien out of a 1950's comic book. In shock, they frantically called the police, who found my gentle giant watching the family's panic with great interest.


Cherry executed numerous escape plans, before his wanderlust was finally curbed by a double row of electric wire on our fences, but his last adventure was the most unforgettable.

My horses were stabled in a small barn added to one side of our garage. One day, when I was 11, I decided to name my barn "Bittersweet Stable" after the bittersweet vines that grew up along the walls. The name sounded so grand to me that I used some raspberry picking money to send away for return address labels with Bittersweet Stable added to my name and address.

I was so excited when those impressive labels arrived that I stuck them on everything: brushes, pitchforks, fly spray cans--and I even put a dozen or so on Cherry's rump. His big swishing tail swept most of them off during the day, but those along his croup stayed firmly glued. The photo here is of a cartoon I drew of him, way back then.

That night, Cherry escaped his pasture and was long gone by the time I went out to do my morning chores. Dad and I were in the car, ready to head for Cherry's usual destination--a wooded area with a nice grassy meadow--when Mom called outside to say that a police officer was on the phone.

She was bursting with laughter when she handed me the receiver.

Cherry had gone a whole new direction this time, and had been found several miles away by someone who had notified the police. The police officer was calling to say that my errant horse had been captured...

And that this was the first time he'd ever been able to identify a loose horse by the return address labels so conveniently attached to its rear!


Sooo...what about you? I'd love to hear some of your animal stories, too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Author Linda Ford: KITTENS!




































We live on a farm. We always have cats. My granddaughter, who loves cats, lives in the city with a little dog and she can’t have cats. This is a girl who says when she grows up she is going to write books and paint pictures and sell them so she can afford to adopt all the cats who don’t have homes.

So what’s a grandma to do?

One year I gave her a cat of her own for her birthday. She understood the kitty would have to live at Grandma and Grandpa’s and she was okay with that. It was the cutest, fluffiest, blackest kitten ever.

It was also female and by the time granddaughter came to visit the next summer she had kittens—3 solid gray with 3 different lengths of fur. And all female, which presents a quandary and forces little granddaughter to face some harsh truths. Either they have to be neutered—a pricey job—or given away. We negotiated. She could keep one and the mommy cat.

By the time she visited the following summer we had two new batches of kittens. Each cat had four. The litters were born within a few days of each other and the two mommy cats shared mothering duties. It was sort of sweet.

However, eight more cats was not acceptable.

So granddaughter got to visit with them and enjoy them, but then had to face a few more hard truths. Some had to go. She chose to keep the two grown cats. All but one of the others has been given away. One is being adopted by the next door neighbor who happens to share the same yard.

So we still have two grown mommy cats. I told granddaughter she could keep them, and I get double the pleasure by providing cats for my granddaughter to enjoy!

My newest release with Love Inspired Historicals, Dakota’s Child, is out in September ‘09 and yes, cats play a role. In fact, you might enjoy the unique role they play in this story.

website: www.lindaford.org