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!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hawaiian whales, chickens...and wild hogs.

We just got back from two weeks in Hawaii...a wonderful, first time vacation there for the two of us.  What a beautiful state!  The long plane ride was at the upper limits of my tolerance for tight spaces (claustropobia, anyone?!) but every minute was worth it. The incredible flowers, the ocean, and those yummy coffee glazed macadamia nuts made every day a joy.

We spent two nights on Oahu so we could have a day at Pearl Harbor as my husband is a real WW II history buff, then four nights each on Maui and Kauai. Because it will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us--there are still so many places we want to see--we were busy sightseeing every day.  Volcanoes, waterfalls,  whale watching, a couple of luaus, a helicopter tour of Kauai and a day in catamaran going up Kauai's inaccessible coast... wonderful memories, now, which will remembered through the 1000+ digital photos I took.  But some of the most vivid memories are the animals!

That lovely snout, above, belongs to one of Kaua's wild hogs.  Isn't he sweet?  (LOL!)  And the chickens--oh, my.  They are beautiful, and  they are everywhere--in the parking lots, the roadside ditches, around the beautiful pools at every hotel we stayed at.  Everyone we asked said that they are treated as sort of a state pet--no one eats them; they are just on the loose.  We loved the chickens!

And the humpback whales...oh, my.  This was still the season for them to be lingering around the warm waters of Hawaii before heading up to Alaska's rich feeding waters for the summer, and we saw dozens of them while on a whale watching boat---not to mention all of the ones  we could see from the beach in front of the hotels we stayed at.  Take a close look at this photo and tell me---do you think that guy in the water is even aware of how close those two whales are?!  The humpbacks wouldn't eat him--they consume vast quantities of krill (tiny shrimp) once they get back to Alaska, and don't eat anything at all while wintering in Hawaiian waters.  But, I still wouldn't want to be close if one of them decided to breech or start tail slapping!

The animals in Hawaii  surprised and fascinated me.  What are some of your interesting animal discoveries while traveling?

If you are reading this on facebook, come on over to the All Creatures Great and Small blog and say howdy!   http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

Should You Become a Vet Tech?

by Tina Marconi
It’s a good profession if you like animals, or more specifically, if you enjoy working with animals; however, that’s not all being a vet tech involves. When you choose to become a veterinary technician, you should remember that like any job, it has its pros and cons; and when you weigh the advantages against the disadvantages and see which side comes out on top, you know whether you should become a vet tech or switch to some other career.
Vet techs don’t have to attend years of school like a veterinarian – in fact, you can start working and earning enough to support yourself as early as two years after high school. You can choose to earn either a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree, after which you must appear for and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam which allows you to qualify for a license to practice in your state. However, it is better to opt for a two-year degree program, find work as a vet tech, gain a few years of experience, and then go back to school for another two years to become a veterinary technologist. This opens up more opportunities, allows you to earn a higher salary, enhances your skills and repertoire, and lets you climb up the professional ladder.
Nature of the job
As a vet tech, you will be dealing hands-on with animals. Your primary job is to assist a veterinarian in all aspects of their practice, so you’ll be taking care of sick animals, liaising with their owners, advising in their care and diet, assisting vets with surgeries, and even treating minor injuries and suturing up small wounds. You must have a way with animals if you’re to taste any kind of success at this job, and you must be prepared to work with even the most aggressive ones and know how to calm them down and get them to accept your touch. On the downside, you could end up with vets who push you to the limit and dump work on you, you could be forced to deal with unpleasant pet owners who make unreasonable demands on your time, you could be bitten, scratched and injured in other ways by the animals, and you could get too attached to your patients and feel a deep sense of loss when you lose them or have to put them to sleep.
Perhaps this is the biggest disadvantage of being a vet tech – salaries are very low, and even the best in the business can make only around $35,000 a year. You could go higher if you specialize in one particular aspect of animal care and if you work in research or in private industries in any other capacity. However, with further education, you could become a veterinary technologist and earn much more by working in biomedical, wildlife and diagnostic facilities, and in drug and food manufacturing units. This will remove you from direct contact with animals, so if you’re in the job for the proximity to pets, you’re better off as a vet technician than a vet technologist.
Work hours
As in any medical field, the hours are long and erratic, and you could be called in to help with sick animals at any time of the day or night, and even when you’re off duty. You would be spending lots of time on your feet, so you must be physically fit and strong enough to help restrain larger animals. Vet techs must work hard, but there’s an innate satisfaction to the job because the animals you treat and care for respond with affection and trust.
Prospects for advancement
Join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians for more career options, networking with fellow vet techs, and opportunities in continuing education. You could choose to move into research and development options in the field of veterinary science if you want to make more money, and if you’re employed in a private practice where there is a shortage of vets, you could take on more responsibility and enhance your skills. With further education, you could become a veterinary technologist and move into a laboratory or factory setting where you would be responsible for diagnostic procedures and quality control.
This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes on the topic of online vet tech . She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.

Howdy!  If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over to The All Creatures Great and Small Blog, where it originated.  You can ask questions or comment on the post, and then page through previous posts--where a variety of writers have blogged about their pets!  http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Hello! I’m excited to be a guest blogger today on “All Creatures Great and Small”. I’m equally excited to share a story or two of the adorable pets I’ve been fortunate enough to have known and loved.

Let’s start with the large.

Norman was big even for a Newfoundland dog, the fourth largest breed in the world.  He had a coat of long shiny black hair, loved humans, and we loved him right back. He was a big, goofy kid disguised as a dog, and he lived to chase anything that moved.

We were never quite sure if it was his puppy enthusiasm that caused the collision, but when we were playing tag one warm summer’s day Norman ran head first into a full grown maple tree. In my mind’s eye, I can still hear the thud of his skull smacking against the trunk. Everyone stopped running. Had he hurt himself? Not a chance. The impact dazed him for all of a few seconds, and then he resumed the game!

Another time we were tobogganing and Norman, being Norman, wanted in on the fun. The only
problem was he was far too big to fit on the Crazy carpet, and there was no way he could fit on my lap. Undeterred, he raced down the hill alongside me. Halfway down he grabbed the back of my jacket in his teeth. Stopping dead in his tracks, he yanked me off the carpet and whipped me around in a circle. Fun for Norman. Kinda scary for me!

Next on the list is the medium.

Peter, a white and black mutt, was born when I was two. He was the runt of the litter and to this day I still cheer for the little guy!

In the 1950s there was no special formula dog food. (Not that we could have afforded it even if there had been.) Peter ate table scraps and what he could forage from our garden. He was particularly fond of green peas and on those rare occasions when he did receive a bone, his tail never stopped wagging.

He spent his life outdoors except for those winter nights when the temperature dropped below freezing. It took forever for my father to coax Peter inside to sleep in the basement. Later, he built him a dog house, but most nights Peter still preferred the top step of the front porch.

Never a cuddly, lap dog, Peter was a true and loyal companion who lived 16 human years, which as you know translates into a very long life in dog years.

Last but not least is the small. Literally. The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog, but many claim pound for pound they rate the biggest in personality.

Meet Peanut.  She may be fictional, but she’s very real to me. She plays an important role in my debut inspirational romantic suspense novel. In true Chihuahua fashion, she’s a bold and brave little watchdog. There’s nothing Peanut won’t do to protect her owner. Or her unborn pups. But wait, I don’t want to giveaway all of the story!

I do, however, want to give away a pdf copy of DEFENDING GLORY, first book of the Piedmont Island Trilogy series.

To enter drop by my website -http://www.AnneKAlbert.com and leave a comment that you saw me on Roxanne’s All Creature’s Great and Small blog. I’ll pick a name at random on March 1st, and announce the winner the following day on my blog - http://anne-k-albert.blogspot.com

Thanks so much, Roxanne, for giving me the privilege of being your guest blogger today. I’ve enjoyed every single minute, and so have Norman, Peter and Peanut!

Anne K. Albert

Howdy!  For those of you reading this on Facebook, this has originated at the All Creatures Great and Small blog, htt://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  I hope you'll come on over and chat with Anne there, or just stop in to say hi!   Roxanne