Saturday, March 31, 2012

5 Star Review of Heat of a Hero by Beachbound Books

Heart of a Hero
by Billi Tiner
Heart of a Hero by Billi Tiner is a heartwarming story about a very special dog named Lady. As the story begins Lady is just a puppy living with her mother and brother on Mr. Thompson's farm. A young man named
Carl begins doing work around the farm for Mr. Thompson and Lady is drawn to him. Lady's heart leaps when Mr. Thompson gives her to Carl as additional payment for the work he has done.

Carl spends all the time he can with Lady and trains her to be a fine hunting dog like her mother. World War II is well underway and Carl decides to join the Marines to help America fight. Lady's is devastated when Carl leaves, but faithfully waits for his return. Carl's father receives word that Carl has been killed and Lady is heartbroken.

Still in mourning over the losing Carl, Lady is sent to participate in a military program that uses dogs as scouts and messengers. When Lady arrives at doggy boot camp she meets Steve, her handler. Lady immediately feels a connection with Steve and although she misses Carl she is once again happy. After undergoing basic training Lady and Steve are sent off to war. Lady becomes a hero. Her bravery as a messenger dog saves the lives of many soldiers, but her and Steve are wounded and relieved of their military duties.

Lady once again settles into her life with, but everything abruptly changes when Steve joins the military and is sent off to fight in the Korean war. Steve gives Lady to a man who intends to use her as a hunting dog, but is shocked to see that the war has left her gun shy. Disgusted, he gives Lady to his daughter. Will Lady find happiness again? It is well worth reading to find out!

Heart of a Hero exposes the reader to the kind of love, devotion and friendship that can only be found in relationships between an owner and their dog.

Although, fictional Heart of a Hero is based an real events that were retold to author Billi Tiner by her grandmother.

You can get a copy of Heart of a Hero at

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Billi Tiner interview by Digital Book Today

Author Interview: Billi Tiner – Welcome Home

March 29, 2012
Welcome HomeOur interview today is with Billi Tiner the author of Welcome Home ($2.99). If you love animal or dog stories, than Welcome Home will be of interest to you. Before we get to his interview, here is a brief book description: Welcome Home is the story of Jake, a black Labrador Retriever mix. For as long as Jake can remember, he has been having the same dream. In his dream, he lives with a wonderful man in a beautiful home. He has never seen the face of the man in the dream, but he knows his voice and is certain that they are meant to be together. When the day comes for Jake to be given away to his new home, he believes that he will finally get to meet the man from his dreams. However, when he is chosen, it is definitely not by the man from his dream! He is taken to a home where he is terribly mistreated. After suffering years of abuse, Jake finally escapes and is able to begin the search for the man he has been dreaming of his entire life. Along the way, Jake meets some interesting characters, survives amazing adventures, and forms life-long friendships. Join Jake on his incredible journey home.

Author Interview with Billi Tiner:

1) Was there a basis for your story? A previous experience? Something else?
The inspiration for Welcome Home came from two main areas. First, the title character, Jake, is a black Labrador Retreiver mix who was based on a patient that I treated my first year out of veterinary school. He was brought into the veterinary clinic where I worked after being struck by a car. He was unable to use his back legs. I convinced the Animal Control Officer to let me keep him at the clinic for a few days in order to see if the paralysis was temporary. Thankfully, it was and the dog was eventually taken home by a wonderful family.
The second inspiration was for the idea of the theme. The main theme of the story is that the dog has been dreaming of an owner he believes he belongs with since he was a puppy. The story centers around the title character, Jake’s, search to find this man. The inspiration behind this came from the many stories that I have heard from clients describing how they were united with their pets. Although the stories vary, there is a theme that connects them all; the idea that the animal “Chose” them to be their owner and “Somehow knew” they were meant to be together.
2) What is unique about the theme of this book?
Welcome Home is written from the lead character, Jake’s, point of view. This allows the reader to share in Jake’s thoughts. I think this allows the reader to become more sympathetic toward the character and gain a better understanding of the dog’s motivation.
3. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?
When I am writing, I first formulate an overall outline and theme for the story. Before I begin writing the story, I want to have an idea where things are going to end up. However, as I begin to write, the stories usually start to write themselves. I let the story flow, not worrying too much about grammar and typos. Then after I get a chapter finished, I will go back and make corrections.
Digital Book Today: Thank you for the interview.
Twitter @TinerBooks

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pet Health Tip #6- "Is my pet too fat?"

In the same way that obesity has become a problem for people, it has also become a problem for our pets.  There are several health issues that can arise as a result of obesity.  Several of these health concerns are the same ones that obese people face.

For cats, the major health problem that can arise as a result of obesity is Diabetes.  Overweight cats are at a significantly higher risk for Diabetes than cats that are at a healthy weight.  I will talk about symptoms and treatment for Feline Diabetes in a future post.

For dogs, the main health concerns associated with obesity are Heart Failure and Arthritis.  Just like in people, when a dog is carrying around more weight than they are meant to carry, their heart has to work overtime.  When the heart has to work extra hard, it wears out before it would have otherwise.  In addition, the extra weight puts too much pressure on the dog's joints causing extra wear and tear that leads to arthritis.

Bottom line: Obesity will SIGNIFICANTLY reduce your pet's lifespan.  So, STOP killing your pet with kindness.  What do I mean by that? 

The number one contributor to pet obesity: Feeding your pet people food!!! I hear all the time, "But he really likes it and will throw a fit if I don't give it to him."  First of all, if you don't start, then you don't have to stop.  Secondly, just like a child will choose donuts over green beans, your pet will choose people food over pet food.  There are some perfectly acceptable pet treats that your pet will appreciate that are much more healthy than people food.  Your pet WILL adapt to the change, just be consistent.

I know, I know, the next question is, "How do I know if my pet is obese?"  There is a simple illustration first make a fist.  If your pets ribs look like your knuckles when you make a fist, then it is too thin.  Second, turn your palm face up with your fingers straight out.  If your pets ribs, look like that pads over your knuckles, then it is too fat.  Finally, turn your palm face down with your fingers straight out.  If your pets ribs look like your knuckles, then it is the ideal body weight.  In other words, you want to be able to easily feel their ribs when you rub your hands over them, but you don't want to see their ribs.

Finally, "What do I do if he/she is obese?" 
First, STOP feeding it people food.  Second, cut back on the fatty treats.  By that I mean, things like beggin' strips, rawhides, pig's ears, etc.  There some very good low fat treats that you can use or one of the best things to do is just give them a piece of their kibble.  Also, if you are feeding canned food, either stop all together, or cut it back significantly.  Canned pet foods are much higher in fat than dry kibble.  Additionally, as I mentioned in a previous post, canned food is a major contributor to dental disease.  Finally, just like for people, pets need to exercise.  So, get them moving.  This will not only help then slim down, it will also improve the health of their joints.

Again, a pet at a healthy weight will live SIGNIFICANTLY longer than an obese pet.  I don't know about you, but I want my pets around for as long as I can get them!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Humorous Life Story #4- "Is it a tumor?"

My first year out of veterinary school I went to work in a small animal veterinary clinic in Gresham, Oregon.  I had spent all but the first 5 years of my life living in Oklahoma.  When I graduated from veterinary school, I decided that I wanted this new phase of my life to be completely new; new job and new location.  There was a whole country out there and I wanted to experience more of it than just Oklahoma.  Don't get me wrong, I loved growing up in Oklahoma and I will be an Oklahoma State University Cowboy for  life; but it was time for something new.  I decided that I wanted to go someplace where there were mountains, trees, and lots of green.  So, I applied for jobs in Washington and Oregon and ended up at a practice in Gresham.

One day, I had a mother and her three small children bring in their 6-month old German Shepherd puppy for me to examine.  I could tell that all four of them were very concerned by the anxious looks on their faces.  The puppy was sitting on the exam table looking happy and full of energy.  I asked the mother, "What's going on with your pup?"

"He has a tumor on his face.  It has doubled in size in the last two days.  Is he going to die?" she replied looking like she was about to burst into tears.

I glanced at the children and two of them were crying. I said, "Well, let's just take a look and see what's going on." I was thinking, What kind of tumor could a 6-month old puppy have?

"The tumor is right there on his cheek. Right above his lip," the mother said.

I looked at the puppy's face and saw an engorged female dog tick attached to the puppies face.  I almost burst out laughing.  I thought, Okay, now what do I say, so she won't feel like an idiot for scaring her children to death?

"Well, the good news is; it isn't a tumor," I said.

"It isn't?" responded the mom in relief.  "Then, what is it?" she asked.

"It's a tick," I answered.

"How do you know?" she asked in complete seriousness.

Now, I really almost lost it.  How did she not know? I wanted to ask.  But instead, I pulled the tick off the puppy and said, "Well, see those things wiggling?  Those are its legs."  I was concentrating so hard on not cracking up, that my face was starting to hurt.

"Oh, she said.  Now I feel stupid, but at least he is going to be okay," she said giving her puppy a hug.

The kids all gathered around wanting to get a look at this strange creature that I had pulled off their puppy.  Remember, I grew up in Oklahoma; land of the ticks.  I was completely amazed that they had never seen one before.  I found out later, that ticks were very uncommon in that part of Oregon.  However, for some reason they were more prominent that summer.  I actually had several "tumor" patients that summer.  Not very professional of me, but I got a chuckle out of every one of them!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pet Health Tip#5-"Are premium pet foods worth it?"

I have had a lot of people ask me whether or not I think that premium pet foods are really that much better than the cheaper brands.  Here is my answer:

Typically premium pet foods such as Iams or Science Diet have been formulated to provide a well balanced diet for your pet.  These brands of pet foods do not contain as much "filler" as other brands.  There are several benefits to this.  First of all, you do not have to feed as much to your pets for them to get the same amount of nutrition.  This actually lowers the cost to make the premium foods a little more comparable to the cheaper brands.  In addition, the volume of feces that your pet will eliminate is significantly decreased when they are on a premium diet.  This is due to the fact that you aren't feeding them as much as well as the fact that they have less "filler" in them.  Finally, the consistency of your pets stools will be more solid.  This is especially important for dogs.  Dogs have glands that are naturally expressed when you pet eliminates.  If the stool is too soft, then they will not be expressed.  This can lead to problems if the glands become impacted.

So, to sum it all up.  Do I think that premium pet foods are worth it?  YES!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Humorour Life Story #3-"Are we having fun, yet?"

Several years ago, my Mom and I decided to take our first cruise.  We didn't want to take a long cruise for our first venture onto the highseas, so we decided to take a five day Carribean cruise to Cancun, Mexico.  As many of you know, when you book a cruise, the price that you pay doesn't include any excursions.  So, they give you a booklet with a list of the excursions that can be added to your trip for you to enjoy at each port.  You feel obligated to buy a few of these, so that you don't spend each day in port on the ship.

Mom and I read through our choices and decided to sign up for the "Jungle Cruise." This excursion included an open jeep ride through a tropical jungle, a visit to an exotic animal park, and a party at the beach.  Sounds great, right?  Mom and I thougth so, too.  We were really excited about it.

"Jungle Cruise" day finally arrived.  We were really pumped up about it.  We eagerly jumped into the back of our jeep.  The driver climbed in and we were off!  There was a line of about 10 jeeps filled with passengers from our ship.   The caravan drove for several miles down a highway, where we were getting completely windblown, due to being in an open sided jeep. We finally came to a very small village where we turned down a rutted side road.  On each side of the road, there was thick foliage.  Mom and I got excited.  We were finally make it to the "Jungle" part of the trip.  We started heading down this rutted path getting bounced around like a sack of potatos, when we started getting attacked by a swarm of the largest mosquitoes that I have ever seen.  They looked like hummingbirds.  The driver stopped the jeep and jumped out and started spraying insect repellant all over us.  Then he jumped back ino the driver's seat and off we went again.  We traveled about a mile down this rutted path; came to a dead end; and just turned around and headed back out.  I turned to Mom and said, "Was that it?" 

"I think so," she replied.  "I wonder what the exotic animal park is going to look like," she said.  Then we both started laughing.

Next stop, the exotic animal park.  When we arrived, we all climbed slowly out of our jeep's.  We were all very stiff and sore from the jeep ride.  They took us down a path and the first thing that we came to was a small pen enclosed with chicken wire.  Inside the pen were a few goats and some chickens.  Mom and I burst out laughing.  These were the exotic pets?  We walked a little further down the path and there was a monkey tethered to a tree.  Then, the guide turned around and walked up back up the path.  Sure enough the "Exotic animal park" consisted of some goats and chickens, and a monkey tied tethered to a tree!  By this time Mom and I were laughing so hard tears were rolling out of our eyes.

Final stop, the beach party.  When we arrived at the beach, we were fed some of the best guacaomle that I have ever tasted.  Then we all headed out to the beach for swimming and sunbathing.  I have never really enjoyed swimming in the ocean, so I set up a beach chair and sat to enjoy the view.  My mom headed down to the water. After a few minutes, I see my Mom starting to run out of the water toward the beach.  I hear her yelling, "Run, Billi! Run!"

I stood up and shouted, "What? Why?"  I couldn't imagine why she was telling me to run.  If she had spotted something in the ocean, the how was going to get me on the beach?  I thought my Mom was just joking.  Then, suddenly, a huge gust of wind pick up my beach chair and hurled it through the air.  Then, I could see the line of rain that was pelting down on my Mom as she ran toward me.  I turned and started running toward the building behind me.  I didn't make it in time.  I was soaked to the skin by the time I finally made it inside.

So, there we were, about 30 passengers from the cruised huddled inside a building, soaking wet.  Then the leader of our guides gets up on a table and yells with a heavy hispanic accent, "Are we having fun, yet?"

There was a resounding, "NO!" sent up by the crowd.  My mom and I were back to laughing hysterically.  It was hilarious.  To this day, all one of us has to do is utter the phrase, "Are we having fun, yet?" and the other one starts laughing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Welcome Home Review by The Midwest Book Review

"Happiness isn't much to a dog, but sometimes that's too much to ask for. "Welcome Home" tells the journey of a black labrador retriever who had a hard journey being pulled away from his mother, abused by a new owner, only to find what he was looking for down the line. "Welcome Home" is a charming story of what a dog wants out of life, worth considering."-The Midwest Book Review

Pet Health Tip #4- "Are vaccines really important?"

Routine puppy vaccinations against Parvovirus and Distemper are essential to ensuring your puppies health.  Puppies are protected against these viruses until they are approximately 10-12 weeks old through the antibodies that they received from their mother.  After that, they are susceptible to becoming infected with the viruses.  That is why it is essential that they receive the full vaccine regimen.  Veterinarians recommend that you give the first vaccine at approximately 6-8 weeks of age and then repeat every 3-4 weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age.  This is to ensure that they receive the full round of vaccines and have developed their own protection at close to the same time that their mother's antibodies are no longer effective.  There is a window of susceptibility during which time the puppies mother's antibodies are no longer effective and they have not developed their own protection.  This is approximately between 8-12 weeks of age.  It is really important to keep the puppy away from environment's where they could possibly be exposed to the virus during this time. 

Parvovirus and Distemper virus are both found throughout the environment and can survive for long periods of time in the soil.  It is imperative that you keep young unvaccinated puppies away from any yards where there was a known positive puppy for at least 1 year.

Both of these viruses cause severe intestinal distress.  Basically, they cause the intestines to shed their lining.  These are the cells that absorb water and nutrients out of the intestines.  Therefore, the puppy ends up losing a lot of water (i.e. diarrhea) and losing a lot of weight due to the inability to absorb nutrients.  The shedding of the intestinal lining is also very painful.  Many puppies, especially small breeds, do not survive this loss of water and nutrients.

If you choose not to vaccinate your puppy and they survive puppyhood, their odds of contracting the viruses does decrease significantly.  However, unvaccinated adult dogs can still contract the viruses. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Welcome Home review from Kirkus Reviews

"Veterinarian Tiner’s debut is a middle grade reader told from the dog’s point of view.
The book opens as Jake, a large, black mixed-breed dog, leaves his mother to move in with his new owner.  Jake is horrified to discover that his new master is an abusive man. He escapes to fend for himself on the city streets. But Jake has dreamed of finding a kind owner with a beautiful yard since he was a puppy, and he isn’t prepared to give up hope. As he searches far and wide, Jake befriends a homeless woman, fellow stray dogs Bo and Rico, and a feral cat and her litter of kittens. Though the violence that Jake suffers will be upsetting to young readers, Tiner avoids graphic descriptions; she writes, “Every day Joe would come out with the stick and beat Jake ruthlessly, and each time Jake just felt fear and confusion grip his heart.” The story moves along in episodic fashion as Jake and his friends struggle to survive in the city. In the spirit of such books as Black Beauty and Charlotte's Web, the animals can speak to one another; Chihuahua Rico's stilted dialog may have been meant to evoke accented English, but instead comes across as awkward, tripping up the reader's flow.  Occasional bouts of clunky phrasing also slow the pace of the story.  Finally, the author's failure to wrap up a few loose ends as the book draws to a close may leave readers wondering about the fate of Jake's friends. 

Young readers who like animal stories will appreciate this warm canine tale." Kirkus Reviews

Overall, I thought that the reviewer did a pretty good job.  They provided a very accurate description of the book.  However, I am really unsure what the reviewed means by, "The author's failure to wrap up a few loose ends as the book draws to a close..."  I don't want to give away the book's ending.  However, I will say that if the reviewer is referring to Jake's friends, Bo and Rico, then their story is wrapped up at the end of the book.  So, due to my confusion, I am asking for feedback from anyone else who reads the book.  Please let me know what you think the reviewer meant by "loose ends", because frankly, I think they just got that point wrong.

Humorous Life Story #2- "April Fools"

In honor of the fact that April 1st is just around the corner, I thought that I would share an April Fools joke that my husband and I played on our then 13 year old daughter. 

My daughter had gotten her hands on a couple of pairs of high heeled shoes that she liked to put on and wear around the house.  She had a really bad habit of kicking them off right in the middle of walkways. My husband and I were getting really tired of tripping on them.  So, one day my husband picked them up and hid them in our closet.  They were there for several months.  Then, it dawned on us that April 1st was just a few days away.  My husband came up with an excellent plan.  He went to the school and told them the situation.  He then asked if he could leave the shoes in our daughter's locker on April 1st as an April Fools Day joke.  The principal of the school thought that sounded hilarious and quickly agreed.

April 1st finally arrived and my husband took the shoes in a Wal-Mart bag down to the school and placed them in our daughter's locker.  When my daughter's bus arrived at home, I could see that she was carrying the bag full of shoes.  I went to my computer and pretended to be working, but was dying to know how she had reacted.  My husband wasn't home yet and I didn't know if I could keep a straight face until he arrived, so that we could confess together. 

My daughter came up to me and dropped into a chair.  She just sat there looking at me for several minutes.  Finally, she said, "Something really weird happened at school today."

"Oh, really, what?" I asked, as I tried to keep from busting out laughing.

"Well, you know those shoes that I have been looking for, the high heels?" she asked

"Yes," I replied.  "What about them?"

"I found them in my locker today!" she said, clearly in shock.

Really trying to stall things.  I asked, "Didn't we tell you not to take those things to school?"

"I didn't!" she wailed.

"Well, they didn't walk there on their own," I stated sarcastically.  Then, I heard the garage door opening and knew my husband was home.  That was a good thing, because I was just about to lose it. 

He walked in just as my daughter yelled, "I really didn't do it!  I think that I have a stalker!  I think that he must have come in here and stole my shoes, then hid them in my locker.  I am really scared."

My husband and I burst out laughing and said in unison said, "April Fools!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Humorous Life Stories #1- "Oh Crap, What Do I Do Now?"

I am the type of person who tries to see the humor in life.  I have found that if you look for the humor in a stressful or awkward situation, it can make it almost enjoyable. So, in an effort to let you know more about me and my life, I thought that I would periodically share humorous stories about me, my life as a veterinarian, and my family.  Hope you enjoy the first installment.

"Oh Crap, What Do I Do Now?"

It was the beginning of my last year of veterinary school. We were finally to the stage in our veterinary training where we were moving out of the classroom and into the clinics.  We were all very excited to get to finally see patients.  The year was divided into different rotations such as radiology, surgery, anesthesia, large animal medicine, and small animal medicine.  My first rotation was small animal medicine.  This was the rotation that I looked forward to the most.  During this rotation, I was going to get to see examine patients and make diagnoses.  It was the most hands-on real world training of all the rotations.  The first day, I was really nervous about making a good impression.  I was also scared about whether or not I would be able to make the correct diagnoses.  The first thing that we did when we arrived at the clinic was to go to the front desk and sign our name next to the patient that we wanted to see.  All that we had to go on was a time, the owner's name, and the name of the patient.  I was the first one to the sign up sheet, so I signed up for the first patient on the list.

We had been instructed to take a thorough history and perform an examination, then find an instructor to run through our list of differential diagnoses.  We had been given a check-list of questions to ask when taking the patient's medical history as well as a check-list of things to look at during the examination.  I went to the back of the clinic to review the check-lists.  The history questions were things such as:  What symptoms have you noted?, Is your pet eating normally?, Is he having any problems urinating or defecating?, etc.  The examination check-list included things such as:  check ears, eyes, skin, heart, lungs, and temperature. 

So, the time finally came for me to go in to see my first patient.  Armed with my stethoscope, thermometer, and pen light.  I went out into the lobby and called the owner's name.  A woman stood and walked toward me carrying a large cardboard box.  I thought, "Cool, my first patient must be a puppy or kitten."

The woman placed the box on the exam table and opened the lid.  I looked inside and lying there was a large coiled up Boa constrictor!  As you may have guessed, the thought screaming through my brain was, "Oh crap, what do I do now?"  I didn't know anything about snakes.  It was just my luck that the very first patient in my veterinary career was a snake.  The check-lists were of no use to me.  I didn't want to look like an idiot, but I had no idea what to do with a snake.  I asked the woman what symptoms the snake was having.  She told me that the snake had a rash on its belly.  While she was telling me this, the only thing that I could think of was, "How am I supposed to perform an examination on this thing?  Where the heck is the heart?"

I pulled the stethoscope from around my neck and just stood there staring into the box.  The woman laughed and pointing to an area about a third of the way down the snakes body said, "The heart should be right around here." At that point, all of my anxiety whooshed out of me and I started to grin from ear to ear.  I admitted that I really didn't know anything about snakes and thanked her for understanding my awkwardness. The snake ended up having a bacterial infection that was cleared up with a shot of antibiotics.  That was the last snake that I have ever had in an exam room..  At the time, I was really disappointed that my first patient wasn't a fuzzy puppy or a patient with a really complicated issue, but I definitely won't ever forget it!