The Sploot & Scoot

I recently discovered there is a term for something that Jellybean does quite frequently.  Apparently when a dog, or even a cat, lies down and stretches out its hind legs flat behind them it is known as splooting.  Who knew there was such a cool word for this relaxing position? Some dogs do the one leg sploot and others engage both hind legs. I have noticed Jellybean sploots quite frequently and she does what I would consider a full body sploot. This very chill pup extends her front and back legs out as far as possible.  She practically doubles in size!  I am not a yoga person, but I have heard of the downward dog pose.  Could this be the flat Stanley of yoga? Apparently this position is very comfortable and has the benefit of helping your furry friend soak up the coolness of the floor or the grass.

As you know, Jellybean always has to one up her furry friends. She has taken that four-legged sploot and put it in action.  It is absolutely hilarious to see her outstretched body scooting across the floor or grass.  Her head is held high and a slight smile appears on her face.  Ahhh….the ecstacy!  I think sometimes Jellybean prefers the sploot and scoot to walking.  I can’t tell you how many times neighbors shake their heads at her or people drive by with the biggest smiles on their faces as I am holding the leash while my carefree puppy just sploots and scoots her way down the street.  Have you noticed your pet engaging in this relaxing activity? 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

It Wasn’t Me

Hi Mama!  Did you call for me?

Why are you looking at me like that?

Did I do WHAT?

Whatever do you mean?

I don’t know anything about it.

OH….THAT! I might know a little bit about it.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Canine Kindness

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

No not just for some, but for everyone…

This song, written by David Hal and Burt Bacharach and sung by Jackie DeShannon way back in 1965 came to mind after a recent conversation with one of Jellybean’s caregivers at her doggy daycare.  She has mentioned numerous times that Jellybean has taken on the role of greeter and mentor when a new pup joins the class.  Apparently, Jellybean is very keen on picking up the vibes of a nervous first timer.  Miranda noted that my sweet little Bean is the first to greet them, and make sure they have a playmate and a friend throughout the day.  I find that so heartwarming.  In the craziness of today’s world a little kindness can go a long way.  I’m so proud that my Jellybean is the quintessential canine – loving, friendly, kind, and intuitive.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith Children’s Author

Birthday Girl Extraordinaire

Birthday Girl

April 1st has come and gone and this sweet little thing celebrated her 8th birthday.  What a big day she had!  She started off of course with extra lovin’ from her mama.  Then off to daycare to celebrate her special day with her friends.  There’s nothing like spending the day with your besties and sharing a cake specially made for you and your puppy pals.  Of course, Jellybean strutted into daycare donning her fashionable Minnie Mouse “It’s My Birthday!” tee shirt.  The icing on the cake, so to speak, however, was for Jellybean to come home to a house full of neighbors ready to celebrate this personable, sassy, loveable little pup.  It really says a lot about the joy Jellybean brings to those who interact with her, when 24 people are in the house because it is her special day.  What a fun evening!  Jellybean was loved on, made sure to partake in some special treats, and had lots of birthday presents to check out as well.  Happy Birthday sweet girl!  You’ll always be my sweet and sassy little Jellybean!

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Little Dog Big Pout Revisited

If today’s post has a familiar ring to it, that’s because I posted it back in December when I met with Shana Morrow, my wonderfully talented illustrator, to discuss my thoughts for book number five.  Today, March 13th, we met at my house for a little brunch and the sketch reveal for the Little Dog with the BIG Pout. Woohoo!  Shana simply does not disappoint!  The pencil sketches she presented as we worked through the story were right on point.  I was hoping to add a few to give a sneak peak, but they were a bit too light to copy properly. She has the amazing ability to capture Jellybean’s image just perfectly.  When the Beaner pouts, it’s all about the eyes.  Even though the sketches were simple pencil drawings, the facial expressions were quite realistic.  Next steps will be to recreate the sketches in black, then begin adding color.  How lucky I am to be able to work with such a talented artist who continues to bring my simple little children’s stories to life. 

(Repost) Look at that face!  What are you pouting about now little one?  Jellybean is such a complex little pup.  As the subject of four children’s books and a member of Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services, she plays the part of adorable, energetic, and loving puppy so well.  Why then, for her mama, does she feel the need to use those soulful black eyes to turn on the biggest pity parties you have ever seen?  It seems that we cannot get through a day without at least half a dozen pouting sessions; on the floor, under the table, on the sofa.  You get the idea.  It’s not like I don’t pay a world of attention to her every day all day long.  She reminds me of a small child using a temper tantrum as a means to an end.  Hmm.  Wait a minute!  Could it be the premise of another picture book? 

Indeed it is!  With all the usual New Year’s resolutions that Jellybean and I profess to conquer, such as eating less and moving more, I find Jellybean’s little pouting sessions the inspiration for the perfect project as we begin a new year.  As a matter of fact, Jellybean and I met with our illustrator, Shana Morrow, two weeks ago to pitch our idea and discuss our visual approach to our fifth picture book.  What fun to watch Shana’s reaction to the collection of photos we shared with her that perfectly capture Jellybean’s tendency to put on a pouty face when she doesn’t immediately get what she wants.  Her doom and gloom attitude remind me of the main character in the book Pout Pout Fish.  “I’m a pout, pout fish with a pout, pout face.  I spread the dreary wearies all over the place.”  Oh, my dear little Jellybean, don’t you know that good manners are so much more rewarding?

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

1000 and Counting

This week I began to pull together a variety of paper work in preparation for the filing of my 2021 tax return. I realized I actually had quite a good year as far as book sales go.  Realistically, anything certainly had to be better than 2020 with the onset of Covid 19. Venues that normally would provide opportunities for Jellybean and I to share our collection of children’s stories simply did not exist.  Schools went to on-line learning, community activities were put on hold and social gatherings were nixed.  As a result, books sales took quite a nose dive.  Although this past year could by no means be considered “normal”, there were opportunities for us to get back in the game.  We had several invitations for classroom visits and a few community events provided the perfect opportunities for Jellybean and I to get out in the public and share our stories about her silly antics.  Local craft shows also generated some revenue, as well as opportunities to connect with people on a personal level, which in turn generated interest in my blog.  Then there is my mother and sister.  They are never without several of my rack cards and neither is afraid to start a conversation that involves Jellybean and her collection of stories.  Just last week my sister called me and said she had sold another set of books and provided the information I needed for signing them.  It turns out that her financial advisor just happened to mention his grandchild.  Just like that, another set of books were in the hands of a “little” which of course is what it is all about. 

When I started this writing venture with my first book, I remember a conversation with my publisher, the wonderful and talented Demi Stevens at Year of the Book Press.  From the start she was supportive, encouraging, and always honest.  She was quick to note this was not a get rich quick opportunity.  She noted that friends and family will be the biggest supporters, but that only goes so far.  I remember her telling me that many independent authors may sell a hundred books or at best two hundred.  All of that leads to this… as I began pulling things together for taxes I pulled up my past spread sheets and began adding my yearly totals.  I am beyond humbled, blessed and proud to say that I have sold over a thousand books.  Of course I recognize that I am at least a million miles away from any best seller list, but the way I look at it, this is quite the feat for a retired kindergarten teacher, who has a tendency to be a bit shy and short of confidence, but also values the magic of nurturing the love of reading in a young child. 

Knowing that children immediately pick up on the repetitive text in Naughty Little Puppy and begin “reading” along brings me such joy. Seeing children laugh at Jellybean’s determination to find the The Perfect Hiding Place for her daily treat and then predict the final outcome of the story is so rewarding.  The disbelief in their eyes as Jellybean clowns her way through puppy school is a hoot.  Hearing them discuss that Jellybean never gave up helped her accomplish her goal of giving Sloppy Kisses as a therapy dog.  Finally, the wonder of my precious pup prancing through every day of the week; all kinds of weather, all four seasons, with a never-ending collection of doggy apparel that comes straight out of Jellybean’s Closet just boggles their minds.  And to think the closet really exists!  What fun! 

2022 here we come!  Wait a minute!  Is that the year or our new goal? 

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Little Dog – Big Pout

Look at that face!  What are you pouting about now little one?  Jellybean is such a complex little pup.  As the subject of four children’s books and a member of Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services, she plays the part of adorable, energetic, and loving puppy so well.  Why then, for her mama, does she feel the need to use those soulful black eyes to turn on the biggest pity parties you have ever seen?  It seems that we cannot get through a day without at least half a dozen pouting sessions; on the floor, under the table, on the sofa.  You get the idea.  It’s not like I don’t pay a world of attention to her every day all day long.  She reminds me of a small child using a temper tantrum as a means to an end.  Hmm.  Wait a minute!  Could it be the premise of another picture book? 

Indeed it is!  With all the usual New Year’s resolutions that Jellybean and I profess to conquer, such as eating less and moving more, I find Jellybean’s little pouting sessions the inspiration for the perfect project as we begin a new year.  As a matter of fact, Jellybean and I met with our illustrator, Shana Morrow, two weeks ago to pitch our idea and discuss our visual approach to our fifth picture book.  What fun to watch Shana’s reaction to the collection of photos we shared with her that perfectly capture Jellybean’s tendency to put on a pouty face when she doesn’t immediately get what she wants.  Her doom and gloom attitude remind me of the main character in the book Pout Pout Fish.  “I’m a pout, pout fish with a pout, pout face.  I spread the dreary wearies all over the place.”  Oh, my dear little Jellybean, don’t you know that good manners are so much more rewarding?

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

A Photo Session Debacle

Jellybean must have thought it was tongue out Tuesday.,

Whether we have a personal connection or you know me through my blog, it should be of no surprise I have an immense photo collection of Jellybean.  I have so many pictures my icloud is about ready to explode.  I love taking pictures of my photogenic pup.  She tilts her head perfectly, shows just enough of her pearly whites to create a canine smile, and those big, black eyes look right into the camera as she poses for her Mama.  I was excited to see her daycare was offering a Christmas photo session for their furry four-legged kids.  The morning of her scheduled session, I took extra time to brush her and added a curly Christmas bow that hung perfectly along her right ear.  She donned her “Santa Baby” Christmas dress and we were off to school.  Throughout the day I anxiously checked my email for the folder of pictures.  When the email came through I could not believe my eyes.  Surely this was not my pup sticking her tongue out at the camera.  As I clicked on each picture I began to laugh out loud.  Each one was funnier than the previous one.  I immediately thought of the mother of the eight month old I babysit throughout the week who had just shared that her little one only smiled on four pictures out of their recent family photo session.  I think I would have expected a more solemn look on Jellybean’s face rather than the ridiculousness she demonstrated.  I never expected this of her, as this Mama’s girl loves to have her picture taken. What went through her little doggy brain throughout this photo session I will never know.  Well, if nothing else, these pictures will surely make you smile.  No disrespect to Central Bark in that I cropped most of their colorful Christmas background out of the picture.  After all, if Jellybean was going to put on a show, you might as well have a good look at her face.

Was she going for the Elvis smile?
The tongue again?
It is just me or does it look like she is braying like a donkey?
Did someone just tickle her funny bone?
Hey, Jellybean, the camera is over here.

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith Children’s Author

So Very Blessed

It’s been a rough week. Not only the hubbub of the holiday weekend, but a run in with a deer (Grandma truly did get run over by a reindeer) and all the hassles that go with insurance and rental agencies, as well as some community obligations have kept this girl busy and a bit frazzled.  Finally, on this Sunday evening, I have a chance to sit down and reflect on my blessings, which are many. My family is happy, healthy and safe. In the craziness of today’s world that means a lot.  From her new favorite spot behind the chair cushion, Jellybean popped up in time for me to send out our Thanksgiving greeting. We hope you had the opportunity to share this special time with loved ones, and that they too are safe and have the gift of health and happiness.  Sending lots of sloppy kisses to you all!

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

She’s Back!

This week marks the return of York College girls’ basketball after a long delay due to the pandemic.  It was a great excuse for Jellybean to rummage through her closet and pull out her bounty of York College t-shirts. After almost two years without this therapy obligation, Jellybean trotted through the gym lobby, down the hall and made the turn into the gym and across the side lines of the basketball court like she had just done it yesterday.  It certainly felt good to be back and not only was today’s game a run away for the girls; it also gave Jellybean the opportunity to spread some joy throughout the crowd.  Never mind that she slept through the whole game, she was alert and ready when it counted.  The oohs and aahs  were many as her admirers complimented her carefully chosen wardrobe; tie-dyed York College t-shirt, big green bow, bright yellow bandana signaling our membership with KPets (Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy) and her super soft, furry, white and black coat. She didn’t skip a beat as she welcomed the many hands reaching down to pet and snuggle with her.  It felt good to be back.  Here’s to a great season of college basketball and lots of four-legged lovin’!

Jellybean’s Closet

Naughty Little Puppy

The Perfect Hiding Place

Sloppy Kisses

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author