Monday, January 28, 2013

Dakota's Den Review of THE RESCUE TEAM

When I first met Author Billi Tiner on Twitter and saw the cover of The Rescue Team, the first thing that intrigued me about this wonderful book for youngsters in the “middle grades” or grades 9-12, was the cover! The cover features the two “stars” of this heartwarming and excitement filled book, Ellie, a Border Collie with an endearing “smile” and a penchant for “spinning”, ( Shelties can certainly relate!), who was unceremoniously “dumped” off at a shelter when his owners discovered they were going to have a baby, and Toby, a silver-gray tabby cat, who was also treated less than admirably by his owners

When I read the first few pages I was hooked! There were many things that I loved about this book, but one of the main themes that I loved was the “pay it forward” message that Ellie and Toby display throughout the entire story. Having been rescued, they live their lives rescuing OTHERS, both people and other animals. Ellie, being a “working” dog, finds her “job”, her ”purpose” rescuing others with Toby the cat, working devotedly by his side.

There are delightful “messages” or “lessons” that are learned when young people AND adults read The Rescue Team. The “pay it forward” message is clear but there are more messages such as, the power of love, devotion, determination, trust, courage, hope, to name a few.

Another aspect of The Rescue Team that I found to be delightful, was how Author Billi Tiner has the animals that are in this book “speak” to each other. There are examples of how they speak with their “eyes” throughout the book, sensing whether a person or an animal can be trusted, just by looking into their eyes. The animals in The Rescue Team “speak” to each other when no humans are around, they also have an uncanny ability to “speak” to the humans, Anne Richards, who adopts Ellie and Toby, and Brent Davis, the EMT who rescues Anne, (in more ways than one!)

Animals have an inherent form of communicating that humans who LISTEN understand, be it a “smile”, a “spin”, a tail wag, a cat showing love through brushing up against a human, Tiner shows throughout this book that SHE is an animal lover by her obvious understanding of these “gestures.”
The Rescue Team also teaches us how, often our first impressions can be wrong, as exhibited when Toby the cat is startled by Tank, the “huge” dog with the “freaky” eyes (one blue, one brown) that sent Toby running up the first tree that he could find!

The Rescue Team is a quick read, fast-moving, exciting, packed with warmhearted “feel good” moments and lessons that can be learned by both young people and adults alike.
Be sure to put this one on your MUST READ list!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pet Health Tip #39- Potential Causes of Vomiting and Diarrhea

A wide variety of underlying factors can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in both dogs and cats.  To narrow down possible causes, look at some important elements in the pet’s history.  These include:

Age- The list of underlying causes in a young, healthy animal is different than the list in an older animal.
Overall health of the animal- Any additional symptoms, such as listlessness or anorexia.
Indoor vs. Outdoor pet- Possible exposure to toxins.
Frequency of vomiting
Presence of blood in vomitus


Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in puppies/kittens: 

1) Foreign Body- This is one of the first things to rule out because puppies and kittens are notorious for eating things that they shouldn’t.

2) Intestinal Parasites- This is a very common cause of diarrhea in young animals.  In addition, a high worm burden will sometimes cause vomiting.

3) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.

4) Viral Infection- In a puppy, it is important to rule out the possibility of a viral infection such as Parvovirus or Distemper virus.

5) Diet- An abrupt change in food or if the puppy/kitten eats something outside of their normal diet, especially something high in fat, can cause vomiting.


Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in older dogs/cats:

1) Stress- Older animals become much more sensitive to changes in their environment.  If the animal has been placed under increased stress in the environment, this can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.  The diarrhea will often be blood tinged.

2) Food Sensitivity- This can be due to a change in diet or sometimes dogs/cats will develop sensitivity to their regular food as they age.  The most common symptom is chronic unexplained vomiting.

3) Underlying health issue-  In older dogs/cats it is very important to rule out the possibility of an underlying health issue, such as pancreatitis, renal disease, or liver disease.

4) Foreign Body- This includes hairballs for cats.

5) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


An Easy Guide to 40 Common Dog and Cat Health Issues


Veterinarian, Dr. Billi Tiner, provides helpful tips and information on 40 of the most common health issues that affect dogs and cats.  Dr. Tiner uses simple language to aid pet owners in understanding some of the health issues they might face throughout their pet’s lifetime.  She tackles everything from housebreaking your puppy to caring for your geriatric pet.  This quick and easy guide is a must have for all pet owners.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Review of THE RESCUE TEAM by the Midwest Book Review

"The Rescue Team is a novel for preteen young adults about two rescued furry friends who work together to help another in need. Ellie is a beautiful black-and-white dog who was abandoned at an animal shelter until a loving woman named Anne adopted her; Toby is a kitten who stumbled across Anne's porch during a thunderstorm. The two devoted animals and their mistress become fast friends. When they hear an emergency broadcast announcement that a little girl has gone missing in the woods near their home, Anne, Ellie, and Toby form a resilient rescue team! But how will the team fare in the wake of devastating tornado? The Rescue Team is a warm-hearted tale of friendship and dedication, highly recommended especially for young animal lovers." Midwest Book Review

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Pet Health Tip #38- Allergies in Cats

Just like with dogs, there are several allergens that can cause allergic reactions in cats.  However, the symptoms shown in cats are a little different than in dogs.  Cats are more prone to showing respiratory symptoms, including: runny nose, runny eyes, coughing, and wheezing.  This is because cats are more sensitive to inhaled allergens than dogs.

Food Allergens:  Cats can be allergic to ingredients in commercially available cat foods, such as fish, corn, chicken, wheat, and soy.  Cats with food allergies will often develop dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) around the face and ears.  However, the skin lesions can occur anywhere.  Similar to dogs, diagnosis of food allergies is done by putting the cat on a restricted ingredient diet for several months to see if the skin lesions clear up. 

Generalized Allergens:  As I stated previously, there are several allergens that can cause reactions in cats.  These include, dust, mold, pollen, fleas, and cigarette smoke.  Cats who are exposed to cigarette smoke will often develop asthma and have difficulty breathing.  In addition to the respiratory symptoms, cats can also develop localized inflammation of the skin that causes the cat to continuously groom that area.  This is usually on the belly or inside the back legs.  They will often groom themselves to the point of creating severe inflammation of the skin in that area.

Flea allergies cause skin lesions referred to as military dermatitis.  These are tiny, scabbed bumps usually located on the face, ears, and rump. 

To determine what allergens your cat may be sensitive to, a dermatologist will need to perform intradermal skin testing.  Once you have an idea of what is causing the issues, the next step is to limit the exposure to the allergens.  This could include: keeping your cat in a room that is smoke free, treating for fleas, or eliminating possible food allergens from your cat’s diet.  Your cat may also need medications such as oral anti-histamines or steroid injections.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers Favorite

"Bounty Hunter: The Beginning" is the story of Ben, an orphaned 16 year old boy whom we first meet when he is living alone in his father’s cabin. The story is set in the troubled years after the Civil War, and as Ben is growing up, his father teaches him to protect himself with his rifle. When two horse thieves attempt to rob him in the middle of the night, he is assisted in his defense by an unlikely ally, a large black stallion which had just been captured by a rancher and then stolen by the rustlers. Ben has an affinity for animals of all types, and they have the same for him, and this stallion is no exception. Ben ties up the rustlers and brings them in to the sheriff. He is surprised and pleased to be given a bounty for each of them and decides to make bounty hunting his avocation. He is determined to find the biggest, baddest outlaws and bring them to justice. His posse consists of the stallion, Blaze, and a coyote, Tracker, that he rescued from a trap. Later on, he meets up with a real bounty hunter, Tom, who takes him under his wing and becomes his mentor and friend.

This historical Western is a great coming of age story. We first see Ben as an isolated and uncertain boy on his own and watch as he becomes a man. The relationship he has with the horse and coyote is a lot of fun and really makes his character come alive. Billi Tiner has the ability to vividly paint the scenes in this book, from the campfire and traveling to the forays into town, and the exciting scenes where Ben and the townspeople try to stop the outlaws from waylaying the stagecoach. It is obvious from the details in "Bounty Hunter" that Tiner put a lot of effort into researching her story. Ben is an engaging hero and watching Tom teaching him how to succeed as a bounty hunter is marvelous. Ben quickly learns that there is much more to people than what their exterior shows as he comes to know and respect Tom. I enjoyed "Bounty Hunter" and was a bit saddened when I came to the last page. There is plenty of action and adventure, and the reader comes away with a new perspective on this period of American history. I highly recommend it.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

HEART OF A HERO has a new cover!!!


by Billi Tiner


Lady, an Irish Setter puppy, is leading a simple life on a farm in Ohio during the 1940’s. Lady’s biggest desire is to become an expert hunting dog like her mother. She has no idea that her life is going to take her down a path where she will find herself in the middle of incredibly dangerous situations, including a world war. On several occasions, Lady will have to find the courage to risk her life in order to save someone she loves. The loyalty and bravery that Lady shows throughout her lifetime illustrate what it truly means to have the heart of a hero.


"Heart of a Hero is a treasure for dog lovers."- Midwest Book Review

5 stars-"If you are looking for a good read for your child or teen, I highly recommend you grab "Heart of a Hero" by Billi J. Tiner for them. This is a truly awesome book for those who love dogs."-Joy H. for Readers Favorite

"My 10 year old daughter and I read this book together over the course of several nights! This is perhaps the best book that I have ever read with her! We often found ourselves laughing out loud. It's a very hard book to put down (both for me and my daughter). She told me how much she enjoyed the book. If you love dogs, like we do, this is a MUST READ! We will definitely read more books by this author!

I was blown away by just how much this book drew us in! This is a great book to read together with your 10 year old!"- Amazon Reviewer

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pet Health Tip #37 Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs can be very frustrating for the owner.  Often the problem is chronic and the best thing you can do is try to control the dog’s reaction to the allergens.  There are basically three types of allergens that can affect dogs.  All three will types will usually manifest themselves by causing dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).  However, the location, severity, and reoccurrence of the skin lesions help to narrow down what type of allergen is causing the issue.  Some dogs will also show respiratory symptoms such as runny eyes, coughing, or difficulty breathing.  The three types of allergens are: 

Localized (Contact) Allergens:  These are allergens that come into direct contact with the dog’s skin and cause an allergic reaction.  The most common allergens are grass and pollen.  Localized allergens usually cause dermatitis on the dog’s feet or belly.  You will see your dog chewing or licking their feet.  This aggravates and inflames the skin even more, which in turn causes the dog to lick and chew.  It can become a vicious cycle.  The best way to prevent this is to prevent the contact.  There are several ways to accomplish this: make sure the hair your dog’s feet is clipped short.  The hair can trap the allergen against the skin.  Rinse your dog’s feet off when he comes in from being in the grass; or alternatively, have your dog wear booties on his feet when he is outside.  If your dog is severely sensitive to these allergens, then he may require medication, such as anti-histamine or steroid therapy. 

Food Allergens:  The most common ingredients in food that dogs are sensitive to are: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Wheat, Corn, and Soy.  However, they can be sensitive to other ingredients as well.  One of the ways to determine if your dog may have a food allergy is to note whether or not the skin lesions are present all year round or seasonally.  Due to the fact that your dog is exposed to his food all year, these allergies never clear up.  Also, food allergy dermatitis will often cause chronic ear infections.  This is due to the fact that the skin inside the ear is the most sensitive skin on the dog’s body.  Other allergens can cause ear infections, so an ear infection doesn’t guarantee that your dog has a food sensitivity, but you would definitely need to rule it out as a possibility. 

Diagnosis of a food allergy is done by starting a feeding trial.  A feeding trial involves placing your dog on a very restricted diet consisting of ingredients not found in your dog’s normal diet.  There are commercially available foods for this purpose or a home-made meal can also be used.  The feeding trial needs to be conducted for several months to give the dog’s skin time to heal and all the allergens to be eliminated from the dog’s system.  It is also very important to cut out treats, table scraps, etc during the feeding trial to eliminate them as the possible source of the allergens.  Once a diagnosis of food sensitivity has been confirmed, then you can try reintroducing your dog to different treats/dog foods to determine which specific ingredients your dog is sensitive to. 

Generalized Allergens:  There are a variety of allergens that can cause generalized reactions in dogs.  These include: Dust, pollen, dander, fleas, molds, cigarette smoke, cleaning solutions, and shampoos.  Dogs with severe generalized reactions are often sensitive to more than one allergen.  These can be difficult to completely control.  Diagnosis is usually done by a dermatologist who runs a skin test to determine sensitivities to common allergens.  Finding out what allergens your dog is sensitive to is key to being able to control the symptoms.  The more you can limit your dog’s exposure to the allergens, the more successful you will be at controlling your dog’s reactions. 

Treatment of generalized sensitivity reactions usually involves multiple steps: First, limiting your dog’s exposure to the allergen.  Second, using a topical treatment of the inflamed skin with medicated shampoos, steroid sprays, etc.  Third, giving oral medications such as fatty acid supplements, anti-histamines, and/or steroids.  Allergy injections may also be needed to help de-sensitize your dog to the offending allergen.