Your Furry Valentine by V.M. Burns

Valentine’s Day is a time for lovers. Heart shaped boxes of candy, flowers and greeting cards abound during this time set aside to celebrate the ones we love, but let’s not forget to show love to our four-legged companions too. Our pets provide love, comfort and amusement all year and deserve a little love too. Dogs don’t appreciate flowers or greeting cards (at least mine don’t) and chocolate is poisonous to canines. However, the THREE T’s, will win your pet’s heart every time.

TREATS – Everyone loves getting a treat on special occasions. In THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, Lily Echosby and her canine companion, Aggie, start obedience training. Lily is instructed to bring treats that her dog will “sell her soul to get.” It may seem surprising, but not all treats are created equal. Carrots aren’t even in the same league as cookies in my book. For Valentine’s Day, kick things up a notch and swing by your local pet store and go for the good stuff. Or, better still, make your own. Baking dog biscuits can be surprisingly easy and your dogs will love them. Let’s face it, most dogs aren’t known for being particular and will eat just about anything. So, even if you’re not the world’s greatest chef, chances are good your dog will still eat whatever you bake.

TOYS – Like humans, most dogs enjoy toys. Whether it’s a new tennis ball for a retriever, or a new stuffed animal which has yet to be gutted and the squeaker removed. New toys can be a source of entertainment for your pet for anywhere from fifteen minutes to weeks, depending on the breed and the toughness of the toy. Similar to children who play with boxes rather than the toys that came in the box, dogs can be easily entertained without spending a ton of money. My poodle, Coco (Snickers in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series) enjoyed playing fetch for HOURS when she was a puppy.

TIME – Dogs love spending time with their humans, so the best gift you can give them for Valentine’s Day is the gift of time with you. Spend some quality time with your pet. Roll down the windows and go for a drive. My poodles love riding in the car, even if it’s just around the block (or to a pet store where they can go inside). Go for a walk, play a game, or just cuddle up together with your dogs this Valentine’s Day. A belly rub is a great, inexpensive way to show affection. Plus, your dogs will enjoy it too.

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder. . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .