Just how many naps does a three-year-old puppy require? I think I assumed that as she got a little older, Jellybean wouldn’t nap as much. However, I have found that is not the case. Now, let’s be real, we do get up early. 4:30 – 5:00 AM has become the norm for us to roll out of bed and get our day started. My shower, our thirty minute walk, breakfast for the two of us, Jellybean’s morning primping; brushing of fur and teeth, colorful bow in place, eye drops for allergies, and a morning treat, pretty much lead up to her first nap of the day. I am heading out the door at 6:00 AM and she is heading to the sofa or her crate to find a cozy spot for napping. I have noticed when I have the opportunity to spend the day with her, she generally takes about six or eight naps at various times throughout the day. How does she do it? She has quite a few favorite places to curl up and relax during the day. Oh, to be so carefree! Maybe we should take a hint, after all, it’s a dog’s life. Do you find your fur baby also seeks out many opportunities throughout the day to curl up, stretch out, put all four paws in the air, roll over, and just plain relaxxxxx?
My third children’s picture book, Sloppy Kisses, captures Jellybean’s journey to becoming a therapy dog. Although not an easy one, due to Jellybean’s playful and precocious nature, I believe it was written in the stars for her to become a therapy dog. Is it a coincidence that her birthdate just happens to be the same date as my husband’s passing? I think not. I truly believe that Dan played a role in sending her to me to help fill the empty abyss of what used to be a heart so content and overflowing with love. She brings much joy to me with her unconditional love and playful nature. My husband was a talented, self-employed hair stylist with a big personality, sparkling blue eyes, and a laugh so big that it echoed through the house from his tiny shop. He loved people! He loved his customers, and loved making them feel good as he expertly snipped and cut until each style was perfect. He also loved playing the role of therapist, counselor, psychologist and the like, as together, he and his customers solved the world’s problems. However, one day a week was set aside to visit the local elder care homes. Here, he served as barber for the elderly gentlemen who lived in the facilities. He called them his “Mr. Potato Heads”, as he removed hearing aids, glasses, and other accoutrements before beginning his duties as barber. After stimulating conversations with some, and quiet conversations with others, he would put them all back together before sending them on their way. He always came home with such great stories. The respect he had for these gentlemen was unwavering. What better ways to honor my husband, than to have Jellybean, my puppy sent straight from heaven, become a therapy dog and provide that same joy to others!
My very talented illustrator, Shana Morrow, has done a wonderful job of capturing Jellybean’s playfulness and sometimes diva-like behaviors throughout the training process. The story begins with Jellybean attending a Canine Good Citizen class at our local Petco. At the onset it is quite clear that Jellybean is not quite on program, unlike the rest of her four-legged classmates. The illustrations in the story depict Jellybean romping through class while the other pups dutifully follow the directions given by the trainer, who, by the way, assured me time and time again that Jellybean would master the skills needed to earn her good citizen award. I was not so sure, but we kept at it. Finally, after taking the class for the third time, Jellybean showed the world that she was indeed a Canine Good Citizen! We moved forward by connecting with a local organization, KPets, that provides therapy services through interactions with pets. Jellybean successfully mastered the various requirements to become a registered therapy dog. Woohoo!!! At this point, my schedule does not allow us to do as much work as I would like, but we do what we can. We visit local colleges to provide stress relief before finals. We support York College of Pennsylvania girls’ basketball team by attending all the home games and sharing the love with the many basketball fans. As my schedule allows, we also attend events at local parks, department stores and elder care facilities. We also visit schools and libraries so that children can read to the dogs, cats, mini horses, or whatever menagerie of animals happens to be there on that particular day.
Sloppy Kisses is a simple story, geared for the very young crowd, that demonstrates the power of practice and working hard for what you want to achieve. Sloppy Kisses is available on Amazon. Simply follow the link: http://amzn.to/2B78X0Z
My puppy and I had the opportunity to vacation in Myrtle Beach this summer. When packing the car, it occurred to me that for such a small dog, Jellybean sure required a lot of “stuff.” I rationalized that it was a three-week stay after all, so of course she was going to need a plethora of accoutrements.
This past week we were scheduled to travel to Rockwood School District in Rockwood, PA for an author visit, coincidentally arranged because of a chance meeting at the pool in Myrtle Beach. It was meant to be; the school librarian and newly published children’s author eager to share her stories. Since it was nearly a three-hour drive, I determined it would be best to arrive the night prior to the event. That way, Jellybean and I would be well-rested for our big day at Rockwood Elementary School. I happened to mention to an acquaintance what a process it was packing not only for me, but also for Jellybean. I wanted to be sure that she would be comfortable in a different setting. She looked at me with a raised eyebrow, and said “What are you talking about? When we take our dog with us, we take food, water and bowls for the food and water.” I thought to myself, “Oh my, what a deprived puppy.” My little diva requires so much more to ensure that she enjoys the same quality of life no matter where we are. I guess the phrase “home away from home” would apply here.
Later that day I paged through my notebook to find my list of things to pack for Jellybean. It included the following:
- Back pack
- Food (bagged in individual meals in a snoopy lunch box no less)
- Food bowl
- Bottled water
- Water bowl
- Insulated water bottle
- Several toys
- Doggie blanket
- Doggie bed
- Doggie PJ’s
- Current vaccination record – never leave home without it
- 2 of each book: Naughty Little Puppy, The Perfect Hiding Place, Sloppy Kisses, signing pen, paw stamp & stamp pad, bags, rack cards & business cards (you just never know when you might run into someone interested in a book)
- Waste bags
- Hair bows and bands
- Doggy toothbrush & doggy toothpaste
- Paw wet wipes
- Eye drops (for seasonal allergies)
- 2 or 3 leashes/collars in colors to match hair bows (one 4 foot leash & Martingale collar to use when visiting)
- Doggy ball cap/sun visor
- Hoodie, sweater, or doggy raincoat (if weather report indicates they will be needed)
Reading through the list, I had to chuckle. Obsessive? Over the top? Bordering on crazy? You got it! Who knew that owning this adorable little fur ball would result in me becoming one of “those.” Go ahead, call it what it is. I’m a crazy dog lady and proud of it!
Dogs in general love to hide things. It is a natural canine instinct that has not been lost from their days of roaming in packs. If a dog came upon something to eat, it most likely had to compete with the other dogs in the pack. In order to keep the tasty morsel safe, the dog would bury it near the den, thus saving it for later. That being said, my puppy, Jellybean, by no means needs to fight to lay claim to her food or treats. She is regularly fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. Treat jars are placed strategically around the house, in the event she turns on the charm and performs one of her many tricks. A quick “roll over” is bound to earn her one of her favorite cheese flavored o’s. A “please and a thank you” (right paw, then left) most certainly is worthy of a few bits of doggie trail mix. During the evening when I am enjoying my favorite TV programs, she has learned that sitting precariously close to the edge of the couch, straight up on her haunches; feverishly pawing the air will result in the sharing of my snack of popcorn and goldfish crackers. However, it is the once daily crunchy bone treat that is worthy of hiding and savoring at a later time. Unlike most dogs, that hide their treats under things, behind things, or actually bury them, Jellybean hides her treat in full view. She spends much time considering the perfect “hiding” place, running up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, whimpering in excitement as her big black eyes scan the endless possibilities. Finally, a spot is chosen. She carefully nudges the tasty morsel until it has been positioned perfectly on top of a sofa cushion, in front of the soft green chair, under the dining room table to name just a few. Then the waiting game begins. She lies in wait nearby, watching as life goes on all around her, making sure that no one disturbs her precious prize of the day.
She stares down the bone relentlessly, until suddenly, the temptation can no longer be denied. She feverishly pounces on it until nothing is left but a few tiny crumbs. Even those are quickly savored. Jellybean then prances off to find a toy or a quiet, sunny spot to nap, as she knows tomorrow is another day filled with opportunities to find the perfect hiding place.
Jellybean’s daily ritual with her treat inspired me to write my second children’s picture book titled The Perfect Hiding Place. The perfect title, don’t you think? It is also the perfect read for the young crowd. The Perfect Hiding Place is available at Amazon.com .
Who needs a 130 sheet cross-cut shredder when you have a spunky little puppy that can take care of all your shredding needs? This white and black model shreds paper of all types; copy paper, newspaper, wrapping paper, tissue paper, tissues (both clean and otherwise), magazines, cardboard, and yes, even the paper label around plastic water bottles. Leave a tissue behind on the couch? Leave the newspaper on the chair while you refill your tea? Walk away from your Ladies Home Journal magazine? Forget to put your water bottle in the recycling bin? Never fear, Jellybean the shredder is here! Moving faster than the community shred truck, Jellybean hones in on the treasure of the moment. Using her front paws to keep the object secure, Jellybean, begins pulling and tearing at her prize. Pull, tear, spit! Pull, tear, spit! Pull, tear, spit! She continues until the object has been obliterated and strewn all over the floor. Satisfied that her work has been completed to the best of her ability, Jellybean stands proudly amid the mess.
Not only is this rambunctious puppy a shredder, she is also a taker. She takes things that do not belong to her; shoes, socks, gloves to name a few items. Her tendency to stake claim on my personal items developed very early in life. It amused me so much that it actually became the inspiration for my first children’s picture book, titled – are you ready? Naughty Little Puppy. It’s not a very original title, but quite a true representation of Jellybean, my precocious, yet lovable, albeit naughty little fur ball. The repetitive text and short, structured sentences, make it the perfect book for the 3-5 year old crowd. I should mention that my illustrator, Shana Morrow, did an incredible job of capturing Jellybean’s personality through her artistic rendering of Jellybean. You can see me for a signed copy or purchase a copy at Amazon.com .