There’s A New Kid On the Block

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My neighbors just brought home the cutest puppy!  She is a Bernese mix; roly-poly, soft, fluffy, and oh so playful.  Watching her romp around with Jellybean and her best bud Josie has me reminiscing Jellybean’s puppyhood.  Can it really be five years since I brought Jellybean to her fur-ever home?  Oh my, what a rambunctious little puppy she was, rightfully earning the moniker “The Wild Child.”  This was bestowed upon her by our neighbor a few doors away.  He would watch us “walk” by his house; Jellybean pulling on the leash, chewing on the leash, spinning in circles trying to catch her fluffy tail, stopping to nap in the middle of the road, standing on her hind legs while pawing at the air with her front legs in pursuit of a squirrel or rabbit, pouncing on a pinecone as it rolled down the street, wildly jumping up without abandon on anyone who dared to stop and pet her, and just being a goofball in general. Jellybean is still quite playful and quite a character, but has definitely lost the wild abandon she had as a young puppy.

Getting back to watching her romp and play with her new little friend Candy, I can’t help but think I have done her an injustice by making her an only pup.  Although I must say she is one happy, spoiled little pup, whose mama dotes on her and ensures she has all the necessities in life, and then some.  I am in awe of people who have more than one dog.  How do they do it?  The expenses are doubled, tripled, quadrupled for things such as pet insurance, vet visits, annual medications, apparel, toys, food, treats, etc.  Maybe when my picture books about Jellybean become Caldecott and Mom’s Choice Award winners, and they are flying off the shelves and Amazon can barely keep up with the print orders, I will be able to afford two or three little sisters for Jellybean.  Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?  For now though, I will continue to be the best two-legged mama I can for my four-legged little girl.  I will continue to shower her with love and all the toys, treats, latest doggy apparel, and whatever else her little doggy heart desires.

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

My Little Chubba Wubba

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A trip to the Vet Saturday morning for a routine vaccine for my happy go lucky puppy ended with me feeling like the worst puppy parent ever.  As the doctor flipped through the pages of records that have accumulated in Jellybean’s short four years, I knew from the look on her face, she wasn’t happy.  Now mind you, I usually leave the Vet’s office feeling pretty darn special, as she has proclaimed me to be one of her top three favorite people in the whole world.  Jellybean’s teeth are apparently among the most beautiful set of dog choppers she has ever seen.  That would be thanks to my diligence in perching her on the sink and brushing them every day with doggie toothpaste.  Not the cheap stuff mind you, I pay an exorbitant $10.00 for the Vet-recommended tooth paste.  Jellybean is partial to the Vanilla Mint, although as much as she likes chicken, I thought the poultry flavored would be to her liking.  Her eyes are clear and bright, the fur around them white and clean.  So often dogs of her breed have stains around their eyes from the watering that is a consequence of their shallow facial structure.  Not Jellybean, I wash her eyes every morning, then diligently apply eye drops to keep her allergies and watery eyes in check. She also drinks bottled water, as I have read that tap water can promote staining in dogs of her stature.  She is brushed every day as part of her morning grooming to ensure that her heavy coat does not tangle and mat.  It should be obvious to anyone I make Jellybean’s care a priority.

That being said, I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable when the Vet’s brow furrowed as she flipped back and forth between the pages of visitation notes.  I had a very uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I knew exactly what she was referencing; Jellybean’s weight.  Yep, my little Jellybean is a chip off the old block.  She loves to eat!  She loves to snack!  She lives for cheese!  When I was asked to put Jellybean on the scale, I wanted to pull the old weigh-in trick that I have personally observed at a local weight loss clinic.  The old strip down as far as permissible before weighing in technique could have applied here.  I am certain that the heavy knit cable sweater that Jellybean was wearing that day accounted for at least half a pound.  Then there was also the heavy metal clip on her leash.  If the ladies I observed can take off their earrings and any additional jewelry along with sweaters, jackets, shoes, socks, etc. before weighing in, then certainly Jellybean should have the same option.  But alas, with her squirming and wriggling, they settled for a weight that showed up twice on the digital scale.  So, when the doctor looked up and stated her “concern” that Jellybean has gained three pounds in the last two years….in my mind I immediately began subtracting for the sweater, the clip and the squirminess while on the scale.  I calculate that she is probably two pounds overweight, not three.  Red-faced I stood there and had to answer questions about her daily feeding.  Her kibble is not the problem, and I was honest about that.  I measure out her food daily.  It is the snacks and treats that are doing her in.  I admitted that I am an emotional eater, and my poor little puppy, who loves her mom so much, has taken on the same bad habits when it comes to eating.

The expectation is that when we return to the Vet in June, for Jellybean’s annual physical and shots, she is to be about three pounds lighter.  Although I appear to make light of this predicament, I do understand that it is my responsibility to see that Jellybean is happy and healthy.  This really hit home when I went to the grocery store later that day and bought a pack of ground beef, three pounds to be exact. As I placed it in my cart, it hit me.  Oh my goodness, this is how much extra weight my little chubba wubba is carrying on her small frame.  It’s time for some changes in our household, for both the two-legged and four-legged kind.  New Year’s resolutions, here we come!

To be continued…….

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here!