May I Have An Adjective, Please?

IMG_1354 (1)

Someone recently asked me to describe Jellybean in one word.  What? Describe her in one word?  I don’t see how I can do that!  Always up for a challenge, however, I thought about it for a while.  Sassy would be a good word to describe her, but so are playful and silly.  Then there’s lovable, spoiled and stubborn.  Okay, okay.  I can’t do it. There is no one word to describe this precious little puppy.  So, let me flip this game around and ask the question “May I have an adjective please?”  Here’s a few that would describe Jellybean quite well:

Rambunctious, affectionate, happy, precocious, amusing, joyful, assuming, bright-eyed, trusting, feisty, demanding, cuddly, stubborn, shy, eager-to-please, spoiled, rowdy, energetic, pouty, bright, faithful, loving, fun, pretty, exhausting, gentle, timid, goofy, pampered, therapy dog, naughty, frisky, loyal, mischievous, unpredictable, diva-like, friendly, cute, protective, smart, family, entertaining, pouty, loved, furry, snuggly, chubby, joyful, daring, sweet, devoted, wonderful, unassuming,  soft, best friend, well-dressed, accommodating, active, needy, merry, hilarious, well-groomed, gleeful, and lucky.

So there you have it, just a few words to describe my sweet little Jellybean.  Our pups are our family.  They have so much personality and are such a big part of our lives.  Now I’ll pass the challenge on to you.  Can you describe your furry little friend in one word or will you too need a plethora of adjectives to get the job done right?

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Advertisements

Spring Has Sprung

IMG_3764 (1)

Spring has sprung – or almost.  Technically I am a day early.  That being said, Jellybean and I welcome the warm sunshine and the longer, brighter days.  Our walks are becoming a bit more leisurely.  The cold, bitter air that stung my face and chilled Jellybean’s little paws has become gentler and kinder to my skin and Jellybean’s sensitive foot pads.   Jellybean once again has her nose to the ground following the scents of squirrels that recently scampered along our path.  The furry little rabbits that zig-zagged their way across the grass left a trail of bunny “delights” for Jellybean to savor.  Finches, blue jays and robins sing their sweet songs as we pass underneath the trees in our community.  Jellybean lifts her chin and looks up into the trees trying to determine the source of the beautiful songs.  The honking of geese as they return from their winter flight stops Jellybean in mid step.  She is very curious as to the strange honking sounds that seemingly come out of the sky.  Her stance is absolutely beautiful, with three feet solidly on the ground and one drawn up with paw in perfect point formation; her big curious eyes look skyward.  She intently watches the honking geese as they make their way to a nearby stream.  I must admit that as spring begins to make its’ appearance, I am a bit sad about one thing.  It’s time to put away Jellybean’s ridiculously large wardrobe.  Into her closet go Jellybean’s hoodies, jackets, snow suits, snow boots, sweaters, and pajamas. I will miss watching my little fashionista strut around the neighborhood in her fashionable garb. But alas, as much as I enjoy showing off her extensive wardrobe, I am quite cognizant of the temperature changes that are forthcoming and recognize she needs to go all natural in order to be comfortable.  But all is not lost.  She still has her hat collection, ball caps to be exact;  there is her pink floral cap, a pink cap with white polka dots, and a beautiful lilac print cap to name a few.  What little puppy doesn’t need a cap complete with a visor to keep the sun out of her eyes while tooling around in the car?  I breathe a sigh of relief as I realize that although her closet will be virtually untouched until next fall, she will still be that loveable, fashion forward little pup that proudly prances her way through life.

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

My Little Chubba Wubba

IMG_1543

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! 

One Smart Cookie

img_0245.jpg

Is it possible that dogs understand the English language?  If so, then my puppy, Jellybean, would be considered a high achiever, at least in the canine world.  She has all the normal conversational words down pat; go potty, walk, leash, treat.  However, my smart little cookie comprehends entire conversations.  Case in point; yesterday as I was preparing to do laundry, I looked at Jellybean and said, “So…what did you do with my sock?”  Ever since she was a puppy, Jellybean has slept with my socks.   She lays claim to them as soon as I take them off.  Therefore, I would naturally assume she would know the location of my blue sneaker sock’s partner. She looked up at me with those big black eyes, as if to say “Well, how would I know?”  Then, she suddenly turned and ran down the steps.  As I was putting the laundry in the washing machine, Jellybean came running out of the guest bedroom, my blue sock dangling from her mouth.  Wow!  That is downright amazing!

This evening Jellybean was stretched out in the middle of the living room floor, a pout on her face and some serious dog whining going on.  “What’s the matter Jellybean?  Isn’t anyone paying any attention to you?  Why don’t you go get the bone you hid this morning after breakfast?  Remember, you didn’t have time to eat it before I had to leave for the morning.”  And just like that she took off like a hound dog chasing a rabbit.  Two minutes later, she came trotting back into the living room, bone clenched tightly between her shiny white teeth.  A minute later, the crunchy bone was history and Jellybean was once again a happy camper.

All I have to say is “Jellybean, the cows are out!”  She comes running.  She heads for the sectional sofa, the chaise to be exact and positions herself on the edge so that she can watch the cows that have gathered by the fence in the shade.  She is fascinated by their tails that are constantly in motion as they keep the summer flies at bay.  Me?  I am just amazed that I live in the suburbs and have cows in my backyard and have a dog that understands where the cows are busy shading themselves.

When sitting on the sofa in the evening, I look at her and ask, “Jellybean, did you talk to Lambie today?”  She looks at me, head tilted, then looks at the lamb-shaped pillow pet on the floor in front of the television, looks back at me, and takes off.  She sniffs at Lambie’s ears affectionately, pulls at her with her paws, almost like she is fluffing her up, then, pounces on her fluffy friend.  It is a nightly ritual.

How does she know what I am saying?  I have correctly assumed she picks up on some key words, such as sock and bone.  According to Animal Planet, the average dog can understand somewhere around 165 different words.  They can actually learn all kinds of words, especially if they are associated with concrete actions or objects.  I’m sure Jellybean has mastered at least 300 different words, as she is definitely smarter than the average bear.  It never ceases to amaze me, though, how she appears to listen to my conversations and know what I am talking about.  No doubt, she is one smart cookie!

.

 

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

It’s A Hard Knock Life

IMG_1524

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Jellybean;  recovering from the unfortunate ear biting incident, moving into a new house, and the craziness of the Fourth of July fireworks celebrations that just wouldn’t stop.  Jellybean says, “I’m just going to stretch out here on the couch and take a little nap.  I’ll see you in two weeks.  Maybe by then I’ll be all rested and will be ready to tell you about my new bone and the fun sounds it makes on the hard wood floors, all my new hiding places for treats, my new puppy friends, my amazing closet, or perhaps the cows that come down to graze by the fence that meets my back yard.  I have so many ideas, but I feel this nap coming on.”  Oh my Jellybean, that was a big yawn!  I guess you do need a nap.  We’ll see you in two weeks!

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

The Great Canine Badge Caper

IMG_0079 (1)

This weekend Jellybean and I had the opportunity to participate in an event for the local Girl Scout chapter.  We were there as part of KPets, the Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy organization.  This is an organization whose motto is “Touching lives, warming hearts through human and animal interaction.”  At any given event you may see dogs of varying breeds and size, cats, mini horses, rabbits, etc. The five dogs that were in attendance during our 2-hour session were met with enthusiasm as the 200 plus young ladies oohed and ahhed over these four-legged fur babies.  They petted and stroked their fur, shared stories about their own pets, and giggled and smiled at the apparel and accessories chosen for this specific event.  It was refreshing to hear so many of the girls sharing their accomplishments as they spoke about the various badges adorning their sashes.  These young, achievement oriented girls represented their organization well, and are enthusiastic leaders in the making.  On the drive home, I glanced at my tired little puppy and started wondering what sort of badges she would earn in the dog world.  After some serious contemplation, I actually came up with a few:

COMPANIONSHIP BADGE – Jellybean has brought so much light into my world.  She earns this badge for romping into my life and being my rambunctious, fun-loving side kick.

LOYALTY BADGE  – I could not ask for a more loyal four-legged friend.  Jellybean is constantly by my side.  This badge is awarded for her unwavering loyalty.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE BADGE  – Jellybean asks for nothing in return, yet gives so much!  She earns this badge for her big heart and sloppy kisses.

NAPPER BADGE – She earns this badge for leaving no spot unturned to find the very best place to nap.

COLLECTOR BADGE – Jellybean is a collector of many things; toys, sticks, pinecones, treats.  She earns this badge for proudly prancing down the street with her treasure of choice.

CONCEALER BADGE  – Jellybean is a certified concealer.  She earns this particular badge for spending much time and consideration as to the perfect hiding place for her special treats.

BEST DRESSED BADGE – Jellybean is quite the fashion diva with her vast wardrobe and accessories.  Jellybean earns this badge for accommodating me, her over the top pet parent, when it comes to having just the right outfit for any occasion.

TAIL CHASING BADGE – Jellybean earns this badge for her expertise at spinning at a high rate of speed as she pursues her elusive fluffy white tail.

MOON WALK BADGE  – Jellybean has been awarded this badge for having mastered backing up lickety split from behind the couch when she hears the rattle of a snack bag.

NAUGHTY BADGE – This was Jellybean’s very first badge, earned for running away with things that did not belong to her.  She was very quickly deemed a naughty little puppy.

A Klatch of the Four-Legged Kind

 

A klatch is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a gathering characterized usually by informal conversation.”  Therefore, a coffee klatch would involve drinking coffee and chatting.  A sewing klatch would involve sewing and chatting.  It would make sense then when Jellybean meets up with her neighborhood friends it would be considered a wag, sniff and play klatch.  It never gets old watching Jellybean and her four-legged friends meet and greet each other.  It can be compared to a dance, the steps are that choreographed.  Jellybean spots a friend in the distance.  She immediately stops and watches, as she determines exactly which friend she is about to encounter.  Slowly her tail begins to wag, just a bit, to acknowledge she has spotted this four-legged pal.  She takes a few steps forward, then stops, not wanting to appear too “easy.”  Slowly she moves forward as her neighborhood friend approaches from the other direction.  As we get closer, Jellybean can no longer contain herself, and stands on her hind legs, pawing the air as if saying, “Hi there, Sweetie Pie.”  “Hey, it’s me, Gordy!”  “What’s up, Buddy?”  “I see you Sport!”  “Here I come!”  Suddenly, not unlike a nitro funny car, employing all 8000 horsepower when the light goes green, she takes off!  I am by no means a small person, and how this 18 pound dog is able to literally propel me forward is just plain crazy!  We hurry down the street, Jellybean’s tail wagging as she pants and whimpers in her excitement.  Me, I’m just hanging on for dear life! Finally, the klatch commences.  The intense excitement tones down a bit, as these neighborhood friends begin the dance.  Noses twitch and sniff, as tails wag energetically.  They begin to circle each other and sniff all the appropriate details.  After the ritualistic greeting has finished, puppy play time is initiated.  This is where I make the comparison to a coffee klatch.  Their get together is based on friendship and commonalities; things like sniffing, wagging, playing and barking.  They interact with each other; psyching each other out, front legs down on the ground, tushies and tails wagging high in the air, until one pounces.  Soon the real play begins and they race around each other, moving in and out of the leashes with expertise.  Energy spent, they are then content to sit alongside each other while the two-legged variety reach down to pet and praise them.  Just like that the klatch is adjourned.  As if they suddenly remember why they came outside in the first place, these furry friends are now ready to run, army crawl, or play catch your tail as you spin down the street.  At least that’s the direction a walk with Jellybean can take.  Of course, those are stories for another day.  That being said, here’s to a good walk and a good four-legged friend!

April Follies

 

April is a busy month for one little puppy.  Jellybean celebrates her fourth birthday on April 1st.  My how those years have flown by!  She has grown from an energetic “wild child”, the moniker my neighbor gave her at 14 weeks, into my rambunctious, lovable, “fur-ever” companion.  This year she helped to celebrate the upcoming April 1st Easter holiday by participating in an “Easter Trunk Parade.”  Always one to dress for the occasion, Jellybean donned her pink Easter shirt, complete with bunny tail and curly hair bows.  She interacted with the children, letting them pet her soft fur, as they skipped from car trunk to car trunk gathering Easter sweets.  Jellybean will always be the little nugget of sugar that gifted me a new meaning to April 1st.  No longer just the painful memory of the anniversary of my husband’s passing, April 1st is now more about celebrating Jellybean’s special brand of puppy love.  She is my little April’s Fool!

 

 

 

The Dog That Thought She Was A Cat

Cats are notorious for lounging on the window sill.  They can relax for hours as the bright sun warms their fur.  With their sharp vision, they observe daily life on the other side of the window.  Out there; people walk by, cars zoom past, squirrels frolic in the leaves and scamper up and down trees in search of the day’s bounty.  Let’s not forget the birds that perch on the edge of the tree limbs and tweet out their sweet melodies or the tiny spiders that busily weave webs that stretch across the window pane.  Cats are intrigued by it all and can lose themselves in the daily activities that surround them.  Wait a minute, hold up, back up the bus…..

High above her cushy bed, Jellybean perches on her window seat.  She basks in the sunshine, letting it warm her fur.  Her eyes scanning the world outside the window, Jellybean watches as people walk by, cars zoom past, squirrels frolic in the leaves and scamper up and down trees in search of the day’s bounty.  Let’s not forget the birds that perch on the edge of the tree limbs and tweet out their sweet melodies or the tiny spiders that busily weave webs that stretch across the window pane. Squirrels, people, and spiders, oh my!  But wait, something is wrong with this picture.  Although demonstrating cat-like behaviors, Jellybean by no means is a cat.  For those who are familiar with my blog, you know that Jellybean is a spunky, sweet, precocious little puppy.  She just happens to love spending her quiet time in the window, demonstrating cat-like behaviors.  She watches.  She stretches and arches her back.  She licks her paws and preens her white fur to satisfy the diva in her.  She watches some more.  She sleeps in the sun as the world passes by her window.  I’m not too concerned that she may be having an identity crisis, as the rest of her day is spent doing what dogs do;  chewing on bones, playing with squeaky toys, hiding her treats, and yes, chasing her tail.

Just how did this penchant for becoming a furry piece of window candy come to be?  Actually, I remember it quite well.  It was Thanksgiving Eve, 2014. I was prepping for Thanksgiving dinner for the usual eleven family members. Jellybean was only seven months old, a rambunctious, care free pup running around the house getting her naughty on.  While Thanksgiving dinner itself is not that involved; stuff a turkey, peel potatoes and make some gravy, for my family it is the infamous “second round” that requires the most effort.  After the noon-time meal has been devoured, football games enjoyed, board games played, and respective naps taken throughout the day, we indulge in an array of homemade goodness.  A spread of various salads, cheese & veggie trays, homemade dips, pickled eggs, baked mac & cheese or rich cream of crab soup, turkey sandwiches with all the fixings, pumpkin pie, cake, cookies, rich desserts, oh and don’t forget all the crunchy stuff like chips, pretzels, tortilla chips and salsa. It is a sight to behold and takes hours of prep work.  I love to cook, however, and nothing gives me more pleasure than having my family over for a day of pure homemade goodness!  Only this year, there was a caveat I had not experienced previously; namely my sweet, energetic, naughty little puppy.  She was into everything, which created one interruption after another.  Sequestering her in the kitchen worked for a while until a piece of onion fell to the floor and she made a beeline for it. At that point I needed a plan C.  It was at that moment I noticed snowflakes falling.  The large bay window in my kitchen allowed me the pleasure of enjoying nature during those times I would get my Betty Crocker on.

Hey, wait a minute! I think I have a plan C!  I folded one of Jellybean’s blankets and placed it on the deep window sill, then picked her up and settled her on the blanket.  She was immediately intrigued by the falling snow.  A squirrel ran down the side of the tree and across the yard.  Her eyes followed it until the bushy brown tail was no longer in sight….and the rest is history!  To this day, three years later, the window is Jellybean’s favorite chill spot.  She soaks up the sun and watches the world go by.  She has actually become quite the neighborhood spectacle.  Neighbors slow down as they drive by and peer out their car windows to see if she is in her spot of choice taking stock of the neighborhood.  People out for a walk with their dogs point and chuckle at her.  The mail carrier even takes the time to give Jellybean a wave.  I am so glad I discovered Jellybean’s appreciation for the world around her, even if it appears she has taken her cue from her feline friends.

Perhaps we all could learn a little something from Jellybean and take the time to slow down and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings, one squirrel at a time.