The Money Bird
Animals in Focus Mystery, Book 2
Sheila Webster Boneham
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date of Publication: September 8, 2013
Number of pages: 336
Cover Artist: Joe and Kathy Heiner/Lindgren & Smith
Murder Takes Flight
For Janet MacPhail, photographing retrievers in training is the perfect way to spend an evening. But a photo session at Twisted Lake takes a peculiar turn as Drake, her friend Tom’s Labrador, fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill.
When one of her photography students turns up dead at the lake, Janet investigates a secretive retreat center with help from Australian Shepherd Jay and her quirky neighbor Goldie. Between dog-training classes, photo assignments, and romantic interludes with Tom, Janet is determined to get to the bottom of things before another victim’s wings are clipped for good.
Traveling Safe & Happy with Pets
By Sheila Webster Boneham
Janet MacPhail, professional photographer, amateur dog-sport enthusiast, and protagonist of The Money Bird and other Animals in Focus mysteries, is often on the road with her Australian Shepherd, Jay. Judy has kindly invited me, er, Janet to share a few of the lessons learned through years of schlepping mostly dogs, sometimes cats, to and from dog shows, training classes, obedience trials, veterinarians, foster homes, buyers and adopters, vacations, major moves, and great walking and hiking spots. Janet and her pet-involved friends have learned a few things about traveling with animals and making the experience safe and pleasurable for everyone involved. Here are some of her tips.
First, last, always—plan ahead! Be sure your pet will be welcome. Check facility policies and charges in advance—not all motels accept animals, and those that do often have additional fees or numbers limits.
Weather can be a factor in traveling safely and comfortably with pets. Before you decide to take him along on a trip, whether it's a 20-minute errand or a 2-week vacation, be sure that he can go with you when you leave the car, especially in warm weather. When the outside temperature is 78 F, a closed car will reach 90 F in 5 minutes, and 110 F in 25 minutes. Even a few minutes in a hot car can kill your pet or cause irreversible damage. Be aware, too, that hot pavement can burn your pet’s feet and increase the chances of heat stroke. So think carefully before you take your pet along for the ride.
Whether you’re visiting friends or family, or staying in a public place, be considerate. Many public places and lodgings no longer allow animals because some pet owners have misbehaved. If you ask me, it’s the owners who should be banned, but I’m not in charge. So please, clean up after your pets, don’t let them damage carpets or other furnishings, and don’t let them disturb other guests. Even I, with my out-of-the-park high tolerance for animal behaviors, get pretty ticked off about dogs barking all night in motels or people not cleaning up in “exercise” areas.
Safety tip—when you check into your lodgings, check the room carefully for hazards before you let you pet loose. Get down and look under the beds. I’ve heard of dogs being poisoned by dropped medications and injured by “things” they find and swallow. Check, too, for roach traps or other potential dangers.
If you can, feed and water your pet at least three hours before you travel, and exercise her well so she will—hopefully—empty her bladder and bowels. If that won’t work, feed a smaller portion than normal, let her have a drink, and plan to stop in an hour or so. If you're driving with a dog, stop every three hours or so to let her stretch her legs, do her business, and have a drink. If you’re traveling with a cat or other small pet, pack some disposable litter boxes, or a small litterbox and bags for disposal. Bags—gotta have bag for dogs, too! (Hint from many years of showing dogs—skip the pricey special poop bags. We by generic plastic bags and stash boxes in the car and at home near the leashes.)
Changing food can cause upset tummies, so bring your pet's regular food along unless you're sure you'll be able to purchase the same kind wherever you're going. If I'm traveling with just one dog for a day or two, I measure individual portions into self-sealing sandwich bags, which I store in a plastic box with a secure lid. If more than one dog is coming, or I’ll be traveling more than a couple of days, I measure enough food for all meals into a plastic box, then tuck the measuring cup in on top. I always take at least one extra day’s food per dog "just in case." Works for other critters, too.
Changes in water can also cause problems, so I try not to let my pets drink local water. If I won't be gone too long, I take water from home. Distilled water is a safe, inexpensive, readily available alternative, especially if you'll be gone several days or longer. Safety tip—close toilet lids or bathroom doors in motels! They use industrial-strength cleaners and you don’t want your pets to drink tainted water!
Be sure your pet's collar fits properly, and that you have up-to-date and readable identification tag, rabies tag, and license tag attached to it. The name tag should include your name, address, telephone number, and email address. Although most people put the pet's name first, leave it off if there isn't room on the tag. The other info is more important.
If you plan to be in one place for a few days, attach a tag with your temporary address to the collar. Include your name, where you’re staying, your cell phone number, your email, and the dates you’ll be there. Of course, leave your pet's permanent tag on the collar, too.
If your pet isn’t microchipped, have that done. Microchips save lives and help lost pets find their way home.
If your pet is traveling in a crate, remove the collar when he's crated—tags and collars can get caught in doors and wires. Teach your pet not to charge out of a crate so that you'll be able to put his collar and leash on safely when you stop. If he hasn't mastered the slow crate departure, then situate your crate so that you can open it and put his collar and leash on before you open the car. If your dog has a tendency to become frightened in new situations, or to slip out of his collar, get her a martingale-style collar that will tighten when pulled and can't be slipped. Also pack an extra leash and collar—they always break or get lost at the most inconvenient times. Small dogs and other pets are safer in harnesses.
If your pet is taking medications or supplements, pack enough for the trip. Some states require proof of rabies vaccination, so keep a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate and vaccination record in a safe place.
If your pet likes toys, take a few of his favorites along. Chew toys are good for relieving stress. The safest way for a pet to travel is in a secure crate, preferably a plastic “airline” crate designed to withstand some impact. If you are involved in an accident, your pet will be much safer in a crate than loose or even in a safety harness. Not only well she be protected from most bumps, but she’ll be secure. More than one pet has survived a car accident and then been killed or lost when she slips out an open car door. If you are injured, having your pet secure in a crate will make things easier for emergency personnel, too.
Never let your pet ride in the front seat of a vehicle with air bags. Like small children, pets can be killed or injured by deploying air bags.
Now Janet needs to pack for her next adventure with Jay, her Aussie! They may be off to train or compete, or they may be going hiking in one of Indiana’s beautiful parks. Or they may be going for a swim with the retrievers in The Money Bird!
3 ebook copies of Drop Dead on Recall or The Money Bird
Winner's choice of book and of Kindle, Nook or Kobo
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Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. She is also the author of Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the Animals in Focus Mystery series. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and resides outside of Wilmington, N.C.
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