Archive for March, 2010

Book: Skiff Discovers Water

Monday, March 8th, 2010


Children learn about the world around them and how to care for Earth’s inhabitants with the help of a curious, high-energy Sheltie in Danielle Pierard-Deviche’s reality-based, illustrated children’s book series, which debuts the first two of five books this winter. Skiff Discovers Water and Skiff Discovers Valley Fever.

The Skiff Discovery Series, feeds hungry young minds the wonders of the universe, while serving them a generous side of cute, entertaining puppy anecdotes. Pierard-Deviche draws on her PhD in Plant Physiology and practical experience working with plant and mammal collections at the University of Alaska Fairbanks museum for the science behind her books and combines it with her understanding of children, having two of her own and volunteering at their elementary school, to boil down complicated concepts into a sweet “mind candy” easily digested by youths ages 2 through 8.

“Children identify so well with animals,” explains Pierard-Deviche, “and caring for animals, like the kids in my books do for their dog, can be a great educational tool – not to mention funny, because of all the silly antics puppies display.”

In Skiff Discovers Water, readers learn about water safety, avoiding accidents, climate changes and vegetation when Skiff, who’s modeled after Pierard-Deviche’s own dog, moves from Alaska to Arizona. Skiff Discovers Valley Fever teaches children about causes, symptoms and treatments of a noncontiguous disease, while educating them on rethinking old habits and empathy for those with limitations due to illness.

Skiff Discovers Water (ISBN: 978-1-58985-116-0) and Skiff Discovers Valley Fever (ISBN: 978-1-58985-115-3), both Five Star Publications books, retail for $15.95 each and can be purchased through ,,,,, and

Pet Industry Grows in 2009

Monday, March 8th, 2010

The American Pet Products Association’s annual survey says overall spending in the pet industry – including food, supplies, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services such as grooming, boarding and pet sitting – grew by 5.4% from $43.2 billion in 2008 to a little more than $45.5 billion in 2009.

APPA President Bob Vetere said the growth could be attributed to the humanization of pets, which is shrinking the quality-of-life gap between humans and their animal companions in various categories, including food, clothing, health care and services.

APPA signalled the following trends:
Most of consumer’s pet budget goes to health care. With the growing costs of pet health care comes an increase in pet veterinary insurance, currently estimated at $271 million and projected to grow to $500 million by 2012.
Pet services is the next-fastest-growing category as these services become more closely modelled after those offered to people. Doggy hotels now have private suites, heated beds and other amenities. Businesses such as dog walkers, pooper-scoopers, trainers and even massage therapists are booming.
Supplies and over-the-counter medications showed steady growth of about 4% for 2009.
Pet-food trends now mirror human diet trends. Spending has doubled compared to a decade ago.
Hotels reverse their no-pet-policy and offer royal packages for pets.
All kind of companies offer special pet items, such as dog friendly cars, stereo systems for pets or litter robots.