Doggy Diva to Cat Burglar

Have you ever thought you were going crazy?  That was the case for me at the end of the day on Friday as I gathered all the accoutrements that go with a full day of babysitting an almost 4-year old boy and his 5-month old little sister. The late afternoon schedule for the sweet little miss consists of a bottle after her afternoon nap and a little play time on her activity mat as we begin to pack up respective back packs, clean up blocks, cars and trucks, and manipulatives that did not find their way to the appropriate bins prior to naptime, and then one last diaper change for the road.  Her Mommy says there is no need for her to wear the little “bloomers” at nap time that are part of her adorable little summer dress sets.  I distinctly remember placing them on the bed when I changed her and zipped her into her cozy little sleeper.  She woke up right on que, so I went upstairs gave her a few snuggles, removed her sleeper and once again changed her diaper.  I reached for her little bloomers and they were not where I had placed them on the bed.  Hmmm.  What the heck?  We headed downstairs for her afternoon bottle.  All the while in my mind I am retracing my steps, knowing full well I had put them on the bed beside the basket that held the fresh diapers, cream, etc.  Bottle enjoyed, I placed her on her mat so she could explore all the fun activities.  At that point I invited her brother to join in the hunt.  We searched both bedrooms, as there is a changing station on the first and the second floor.  Jay suggested we look in his toy area and around the table as well. We found nothing.  Sheepishly I texted her parents to say I would be returning her without her little pink bloomers. We had a good laugh about it, but as soon as I returned home I continued the hunt.  I shook out blankets, looked under pillows, in the diaper baskets and came up empty. As I entered the living room I noticed there was a decorative pillow from the guest bedroom on the floor.  Wait a minute!  “Jellybean, did you put this here?”  Of course she did, as it wasn’t there when I left the house.  Then I recalled recently finding one of my shoes in the middle of the stairway, one of my socks in her doggy bed, and one of Jay’s toy cars in the hallway.  “It was you!” I said out loud.  Jellybean popped her head out from behind a sofa pillow and gave me a “Who me?” kind of look.  I intensified my search and wouldn’t you know, I found the lost bloomers under the bed.  Who would have thought my sweet little Jellybean would one day become a sneaky old cat burglar?  Are there any other canine cat burglars out there?   

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

There’s A New Sheriff in Town

Hey everyone!  Have you heard the news?  There’s a new sheriff in town and Jellybean is her name. She’s dressed all in pink and is sassy and sweet.  The platform she stands for is that there is no such thing as too many treats.  She advocates for all her puppy pals there is always a good reason to give your dog (or at least my dog) a treat.  Here are just some of the things Jellybean believes are treat-worthy; because it’s morning, because she ate her breakfast, because it’s afternoon, because she ate her lunch, because it’s evening, because she ate her dinner, because she did a trick, because she is so stinking cute, because she spent the morning alone, because she weathered the latest thunder storm, because she’s such a good pup, because she wore her new outfit, because she didn’t bark when Amazon delivered, because her name is Jellybean, because she only shredded a few tissues today, because she sat through yet another home renovation show, because she is seven, because she has brown eyes, because she has a beautiful tail, and last but not least, because she is the star of her very own children’s book series. 

Obviously I’ve exaggerated just a little bit, but I was wondering if you are as much of a pushover as I am.  What super power does your pooch possess that results in you dispensing a treat? 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Halloween Quandry Avoided

One of my all time favorite Halloween pictures; Jellybean as a ladybug

Every year about this time I begin to search online for ideas that inspire me to create Jellybean’s Halloween costume.  Here we are, closing out July and I already have my idea.  Not only do I have the idea, I already have the costume and all the accoutrements to go along with it.  In the past, Jellybean has been a Spanish dancer, Minnie Mouse, a ladybug, a clown and a cow.  This year, however, she is going to shine as a pretty princess in pink.  I scoured the internet for princess costumes for little girls.  I finally found a fancy pink princess dress with a satin bodice and flouncy, glittery, pink satin tulle skirt in 3T.  Ooh la la! A pink crown was also included. I ordered it and the package arrived a few days later.  Excitedly I interrupted Jellybean from her afternoon nap for a costume fitting.  It fit perfectly, well, except for the beautiful satin and tulle skirt that is about 30” too long.  But we can fix that with a snip, snip of the scissors.  Only one modification!  I can handle that.  Did I mention I also ordered a cardboard princess castle to complete the ensemble?  We often participate in a local Trunk or Treat event and I thought the castle would be the perfect backdrop to set up in the trunk of my SUV.  It will also work well on Halloween eve as we wait in the driveway for some enthusiastic trick or treaters out looking for yummy treats. I can’t wait for Halloween to get here so I can share with you what will be the most adorable pictures ever. 

I hope I am not the only doggie mama that goes a bit overboard at Halloween.  How much time do you spend planning your pup’s costume?  Do you make sure not to repeat costumes from year to year?  I’m fortunate that Jellybean is such a good sport about the whole thing.  Of course she has been dressing up since she arrived to her forever home at 14 weeks old, so for her it is just another day with an outfit that came out of Jellybean’s Closet.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

My OCD D-O-G

Is it possible for a dog to exhibit tendencies generally connected to obsessive compulsive disorder?  I ask this because I question some of Jellybean’s behaviors.  In my September of 2020 blog titled The Rule of Three, I wrote about my pup’s consistent habit of leaving three bits of kibble lined up in her bowl, on her mat, or on the floor around her bowl.  Now I am noticing that after a day when she has been rummaging through her basket of bones, I often find them lined up on the floor near her basket.  It’s rather intriguing, don’t you think?  It intrigued me enough to do a little research on the matter and my findings were quite interesting.

Dogs can indeed exhibit compulsive behaviors.  Although I could not find any information connected to Jellybean’s unique skill of ordering objects, I did find that there are quite a few behaviors seen in our four-legged companions that are considered obsessive compulsive; spinning, tail chasing, chewing, sucking on a toy or a part of the body, staring into space, fly biting, snapping their jaws.  While many of these are normal dog behaviors, it is the frequency and context of when they occur that sets them apart.  This topic is fascinating and there is a plethora of information out there if you have ever questioned your own pet’s behavior or simply want to become informed.  As for Jellybean, she is loveable, trusting, rambunctious, sassy, and smart with a doggie IQ higher than the average four-legged fur baby.  At least her Mama thinks so and it makes me love her all the more.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

One Tired Little Puppy

One tired little puppy has been playing with her friends. They’ve been running, chasing and playing all day.  The fun just never ends. One tired little puppy has been giving sloppy kisses. Extra for her Mama, and always careful there’s no one that she misses. One tired little puppy dreaming she’s the bark of the town. She curls up, stretches out and sometimes sleeps upside down. One tired little puppy will wake up refreshed and full of pep. It’s another day with friends and loved ones. Guaranteed she won’t miss a step!

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

The Good Old Summer Time

Summer 2021 officially arrives this year on Sunday, June 20th.  With it comes summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  I’ve noticed that since Covid restrictions have been relaxed, everyone is out enjoying the good old outdoors.  Neighborhood playgrounds are busy with children running, climbing, swinging and interacting with their friends.  Lawn chairs and canopies line the edges of soccer and baseball fields as local sports resume.  Beaches are full.  Theme parks are packed.  National Parks are seeing a record number of visitors.  Even the four-legged members of the community are out and about walking, frolicking and soaking up the sun.  Jellybean and I recently held our first author event/story time at a local camp ground.  It felt so good to once again be among children and adults alike as we sat out in the sun and shared our stories with the weekend campers. 

Jellybean is like most dogs in that she enjoys being outside as long as the temperatures and humidity are not excessive.  She frolics in the grass, rolling her way across the yard.  Of course this often results in a major sneezing frenzy, as her allergies get the best of her.  Jellybean also enjoys splashing in the kiddie pool with her best bud, Jay.  If you know Jellybean, then you know she is fashionably dressed in a colorful bathing suit.  She also proudly wears her little pink flowered ball cap when riding in the car when the sun roof is open. True to form she always dresses the part.  Summer also means lots of bunnies in the yard and for Jellybean that means they will be leaving behind some of their delectable treats, which I refer to as “rabbit delights.”  Is your pup also fascinated with rabbit droppings?  Naturally we take lots of walks this time of the year. However, as my neighbors have noticed, Jellybean is not that into walking.  She strolls, then, flops.  She simply lies in the grass soaking up the sun.  It takes quite a bit of coaxing and tugging to get her moving.  For a little dog she can certainly stand her ground. 

Jellybean loves going out on the deck.  I think it is because she can be outside leash free.  I only have to mention that we are going out on the deck and she instantly perks up, grabs a toy or bone and out the door we go.  She sniffs and snuffs, sometimes plays with her toy, then ultimately jumps up on my lap to get a better view of the field across from the deck.  She is content to sit on my lap, her eyes constantly scanning the landscape looking for birds, bunnies, groundhogs, deer and whatever else nature sends our way.  A couple weeks ago it was a baby black snake.  It took me about a week to talk myself into going back out there to relax in the sun, as I am a big chicken when it comes to things that slither. 

What kinds of things do you do with your four-legged friends this time of the year?  Dog parks are quite popular, although we have never been to one.  My mother has watched one too many Judge Judy episodes featuring horror stories in which dogs have been bitten while playing, and it has made me a bit apprehensive.  Jellybean is a daycare dog and is used to playing and romping with dogs.  In a dog park situation, I fear this would not go over well.  What kinds of opportunities do you give your dogs for outside play?  In the heat of the summer do you give your pooch special treats?  I’ve seen recipes for frozen treats for dogs.  Have you tried any of them or have a cool summer treat recipe to share?  I am excited to hear from you!  In the meantime, stay cool, healthy and happy!  Take it from Jellybean; keep your belly in the cool grass and your eyes on any little treats that may be out there waiting for you. 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Red, White and Blue Cutie Pie

Just in time for this Memorial Day weekend, I rediscovered my all-time favorite picture of Jellybean posing in her little red, white and blue dress.  She’s looking all sassy and cute.  Those bright, trusting eyes remind me how blessed I am to have Jellybean in my life.  I remember the oath I took as a new dog owner to provide a life for her that would ensure she was happy, safe, healthy and loved.  In the bigger picture, however, are those we remember who took an oath and gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and our way of life.  We are truly blessed for their bravery and love of country.  As you gather to remember, Jellybean and I wish you a happy and safe Memorial Day! 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

And Then There Was Jellybean (revisited)

In my last posting I celebrated my 100th blog.  I noted I would be sharing some of my favorites from over the last three years.  I would be remiss if I didn’t share the very first one with you.  Oh my goodness, what joy this little puppy has brought into my life. 

Love comes in many forms.  It most recently came to me via a wet nose and sloppy puppy kisses.  The first time I held this fuzzy little puppy she was so tiny and sweet, like a little nugget of sugar, and so the name Jellybean came to be.  She nuzzled her tiny little head under my chin as if to say “I love you!  Please take me home with you!”   I held her on my lap for the ride home. She snuggled into the soft pink blanket, so trusting and loving.  She napped for a while, but every so often looked up and peered into my eyes. It was if she could see right through to my heart.  With big, dark, soulful eyes and a heart so full of love, it was a match made in Heaven.  But don’t let that cute face fool you, as she is the inspiration for my new picture book Naughty Little Puppy.

My first blog was short and sweet, just like Jellybean. How can she be seven years old already?  Where did those years go?  In case you wondered, she has not lost a bit of her naughtiness.  She is naughty to the core and I love her for it.  After all, isn’t that what unconditional love is all about?

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Celebrating 100!

As a kindergarten teacher, the 100th day of school was such an exciting time of the year.  It was an important academic, social and emotional milestone for our students.  The first one hundred days were spent growing an eclectic group of four and five year-olds with varying skills and needs into a community of enthusiastic learners and caring classroom citizens.  By the time the 100th day of school rolled around the classroom was running like a well-oiled machine…well, on most days.  This special day’s lesson plans incorporated all areas of the curriculum around the one hundredth day theme.  A favorite activity was for each child to decorate a paper bag and bring it to school filled with one hundred items.  The children filled their bags with such things as mini marshmallows, cheerios, and the ever popular bag of one hundred pennies.  One year a student brought a bag that contained 100 false teeth.  Her grandmother worked at a local dental supply company so it made perfect sense for the teeth to be used for the assignment.  I can still see the children sitting in a circle on the carpet anxiously awaiting the reveal of each bag of one hundred items.  This is the kind of memory that gives me a “warm fuzzy” as we used to say. 

Now retired with my constant companion by my side, I am celebrating a different kind of one hundred.  Today is my 100th blog about my sweet little Jellybean on my WordPress site, A Lady and Her Mischievous Little Dog. What fun it is to share my special stories with you.  Whether Jellybean does something cute, silly, loving, naughty, etc. there is always the makings of a little story about it.  Over the next few weeks look for me to bring back a few of my favorites.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read and share my blog posts.  It means so much when you leave a little comment. As for Jellybean, currently stretched out on the floor with all four paws in the air, one can only imagine what her next move will be.  Whatever it is, rest assured I am one proud mama who will be right there with my iphone and laptop ready to share it with the world. 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Look Who’s 7!

Jellybean celebrated her 7th birthday on April 1st.  I think you could say I am in denial.  How is it even possible that I found this little nugget of sugar (thus the name Jellybean) six years and 9 months ago?  We’ve celebrated each of her birthdays in style. This year Jellybean celebrated her birthday with her friends at doggy daycare.  She shared a special cake with all the pups that came to play that day.  She was named Doggy of the Month for April and was provided a special birthday hat to wear when posing with her cake.  Naturally Jellybean checked through her closet in the morning and she went to daycare wearing her Minnie Mouse birthday shirt with the fancy ruffles sewn along the edge.  She was even allowed to strut around daycare wearing the shirt all day. What fun! 

Yummy birthday cake!

Jellybean’s first birthday is most memorable and special because of the “God light” that surrounds her in several of the photos I took that morning.  Those close to me know that I believe with my whole heart my late husband sent her to me and the light that surrounds her is a message of love and healing from him. He left this world on April 1, 2003 and she came into this world on April 1, 2014.  Of all the puppies I looked at, she is the one that captured my heart and has helped ease the pain each year when the anniversary of his passing comes around.  

Surrounded by light sent from heaven above

Happy Birthday to my rambunctious, sassy, loving, sweet little Jellybean! 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author