Westminster Dog Show, Summer Style

Image of dog in agility competition

Meet Chet, a Berger Picard. AP Photo © John Minchillo

The pandemic has turned much of the world upside down, including many dog-related activities and special events. Of these, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show may be one of the best known. Typically held in February in Madison Square Garden with all the glitter and glamour you’d expect of a 145-year-old tradition, expect this year’s event to be different. Read on to learn more about the show that’s happening this weekend.

Quoting from the AP Wire Services:

The show was rescheduled from its usual February dates and isn’t allowing in-person spectators. Human participants must be vaccinated or newly tested. Dogs will compete as usual on green carpet for televised parts of the competition, but some other rounds will happen on an even more traditional green carpet — the lawn at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, New York….

Some off-the-beaten-path breeds are in the hunt for the big prize this year. Dog cognoscenti are keeping an eye on high-ranking hopefuls including a lagotto Romagnolo — an Italian truffle-hunting breed that first appeared at Westminster only five years ago — and a Dandie Dinmont terrier, the 15th-rarest U.S. breed, by the American Kennel Club’s count. The Dandie, named for a character in Sir Walter Scott’s 1815 novel “Guy Mannering,” is considered to be at risk of disappearing even in its homeland, the United Kingdom.

The show also is due to feature four breeds that are eligible to compete for the first time — the barbet, the dogo Argentinothe Belgian Laekenois, and the Biewer terrier.

Read the rest of the AP story online.

Want to know what’s happening and when to see events? Find a complete listing of “how to watch” events here. And to learn more about the legendary Westminster Kennel Club, visit their website!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what “dog cognoscenti” means: Merriam Webster defines this as “the people who know a lot about something.” As it’s used in the AP article, it’s all about dogs!

Houseplants and Health

Buddy & Sasha

Whether you’re new to sharing your household with cats and dogs or they’ve long been a part of your life, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of potential issues houseplants may pose for our pets. I’ve compiled a “top 5” list of some of my favorite websites with photos and vital information about houseplants you might want to learn more about. Many of these sites include the scientific/botanical names as well. And just to keep it balanced, I’ve included a link to science-based information regarding the benefits of plants in your home.

Houseplants and Pets:

From Rover.com: 15 Common House Plants Poisonous to Dogs

(Includes list of suggested alternative plants to consider.)

Pilea.com: 10 Toxic Houseplants to Avoid

(Great photos & helpful safety tips.)

Farmers’ Almanac: 30 Common Toxic Houseplants From A-Z

(One of my favorite go-to sites for all sorts of information.)

Trees.com: Keep Kids & Pets Away From These Poisonous Houseplants

(This new-to-me site is exceptionally well organized–worth bookmarking!)

Balcony Garden Web: Beware of Plants Toxic to Dogs

(This site includes short descriptions, photographs, and notes about associated toxins, severity, and symptoms. Plus: you’ll learn which part of the plant is malicious. Mystery writers, take note!)

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I’ve had many of these plants in my own home–still do–and none of my cats or dogs have ever suffered ill effects. In fact, like many people, I’ve found houseplants to be a beneficial addition to my home, and support good health and boost creativity. For more information about the positive effects of houseplants (including some listed on the website above), check out healthline.com’s article “7 Science-Backed Benefits of Indoor Plants.”

Wishing you good health and happiness with pets and plants!

This Writing Life

For reasons that totally escape me now, I convinced myself it would be a good idea to plot my current work in progress (WIP) Dangerous Deeds by writing segments based on themes, characters, and key plot lines.

So what, you might wonder, was wrong with that approach? The short answer: everything. Imagine dumping dozens of jigsaw puzzle pieces onto the table and you’ll have a glimpse of the mayhem I’ve been sorting through for far too long.

On the bright side, I have an editor who’s intelligent, patient, and open to the back-and-forth that so often accompanies plot development, revision, and rewriting. Then there are all those who send a steady stream of support and encouragement, and my ever-present writing companions Sasha and Buddy The Wonder Cat.

With all this support, it’s time to be the green arrow and aim for the finish line!

 

Murder, Malice, and More

©Malice Domestic

Want to spend four days immersed in the world of fiction writers and fans? This year, you can participate in the legendary Malice Domestic convention–still going strong after 30+ years–without ever leaving your home. No need to worry about DC-area traffic, or hotels, or crowded venues amid the seemingly never-ending pandemic. It all happens July 14th-17th, and it’s as close as your keyboard.

Whether you’re new to the world of crime fiction or a long-time fan or writer, this could be your perfect opportunity to meet and mingle (virtually, of course) with some of the biggest names in the business. Malice is a fan-focused convention celebrating the traditional mystery–books written in the style of Agatha Christie. As described by the Malice organizers “the genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex, or excessive gore or violence.” (I think the key phrase here is loosely defined. There might well be violence, or even–gasp!!!–sexual scenes, but that’s likely going to take place off-screen–or should I say off-page?)

When I checked the convention website this morning, here’s what I found:

Picture

​Go to the website to see information, cost, registration, Agatha Award nominees, and more.

Have you attended Malice in the past? If you’re so inclined, use the comment section to share your experience and talk about this year’s virtual venue.

Celebrate!

 

My Sheltie Sasha’s best friend is Buddy The Wonder Cat, and he’s 10 years old today!

Buddy the Wonder Cat came to us as a feral kitten, 10 weeks old and weighing just 2½ pounds. Since he joined our household, we’ve discovered he’s a champion jumper (as long as he doesn’t have to jump higher than the laundry room counter). He’s capable of holding a grudge when he thinks he’s been wronged, and he mumbles and grumbles and flat-out worries whenever Sasha goes to the vet clinic or groomers without him.

He’s taught Sasha how to play hide-and-seek as well as the muffin tin game. Since I started teaching Sasha tricks, Buddy has turned into quite a coach. When Sasha achieved Novice level, Buddy promptly claimed the ribbon and dragged it up the stairs. (Upstairs is HIS territory.)

Our boy is an avid TV fan, too. He loves to watch The Detectorists, The Brokenwood Mysteries, and Midsomer Murders with the original Chief Inspector Barnaby. And he never misses the Westminster Kennel Club dog show  or a soccer tournament. (Sasha, on the other hand, sleeps through it all.)

When he’s not watching TV or chasing catnip treats, you can find Buddy tending to his collection of strings. He keeps them by his kibble dish and likes to drag them, one at a time, into his food dish or water bowl. His current obsession, though, is sliding and surfing across the oak floors on sheets of shipping paper.

In celebration of life ongoing, here’s a slideshow of the best of Buddy the Wonder Cat through the years.

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