Jellybean’s Closet – The Book

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Jellybean and I have been enjoying the success of the three children’s picture books I have written since retiring from the public school system.  These books star none other than Jellybean, my own diva dog extraordinaire.  The trilogy highlights Jellybean’s playful and rambunctious personality through simple story lines suitable for the young crowd.  Thirty five years working with children, ages three to six, made it a rather predictable genre for me to choose.  Having a puppy with such a big personality made for some great story lines.   I guess you could say it was a match made in heaven.  Naughty Little Puppy, The Perfect Hiding Place, and Sloppy Kisses are simple, predictable and easy to read books that portray positive messages such as unconditional love, problem solving, and perseverance.

I thought the trilogy was it.  Three is a nice number.  The books bring opportunities for some Amazon sales and many author visits to local schools, libraries and community events.  Sharing my stories and seeing children react with laughter at Jellybean’s antics or by recognizing repetitive patterns in the stories that encourage audience participation, brings more joy than you can imagine.  Having the real life character right in the classroom as the stories are being read is a big deal to young children who are just beginning to understand the concepts of print, characters in the story, parts of a book, and the role that the author and illustrator play in creating the book.  I have truly been blessed to have this opportunity.  Like I said, I was happy with three stories, until one day I was standing in front of Jellybean’s closet and thought, “Oh, this is a story just waiting to happen.”

You’ve heard about Jellybean’s closet in previous blogs.  I should be embarrassed at the amount of doggy apparel that Jellybean’s perfectly organized closet is able to hold.  But I’m not.  I’m happy she is such a good sport when it comes to showcasing the latest canine fashion trends and that I am able to keep her in such adorable doggy attire.  You have to admit she wears it well, right down to the fashionable swimsuit she is modeling in the photo at the top of the blog.  This photo was snapped when Jellybean was taking a break from water play on the deck with her best bud.  I am fortunate that my very talented illustrator is on board as well.  As a matter of fact, I just finished texting lots of pics to her of Jellybean’s infamous closet and the outfits that will be highlighted in the new book appropriately titled, Jellybean’s Closet.  It is such an exciting time!  Over the next months, I will be anxiously awaiting to see Shana’s sketches  as she expertly uses her watercolor pencils to make her drawings come to life!  Children can expect to see Jellybean wearing outfits that are a perfect match for the weather during a week in the life of my precocious little pup.  Goodbye Jellybean’s trilogy! See you soon Jellybean’s quadrilogy, tetralogy, or would it be quartet?  Book number four, here we come!

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

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It’s Tongue Out Tuesday!

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Have you noticed all the pictures of dogs with their tongues hanging out that are plastered all over Facebook often under the caption Tongue Out Tuesday?  There certainly are some cute ones out there.   There was one in particular that made me pause for a second and ask myself, “Just why do dogs stick their tongues out?”  I know Jellybean does it quite often.  Of course I’ve caught several adorable pictures just at the right moment with my ever ready Smart Phone.  I was curious enough to do a little research and here is what I found. There are actually some very good reasons for this canine phenomenon;

  • A dog with its tongue hanging out could simply mean that the pup is enjoying total relaxation.  Just let the good times roll!
  • Dogs also use the tongue as a way to cool down. They do not sweat like their two-legged counterparts.  Instead, they pant, which in turn allows moisture to evaporate off the tongue as it hangs out.  The actual term for this is “thermoregulation.”  Now there’s a word of the day for you!
  • A tongue hanging out could also mean you are in for some good old fashioned slobbery dog kisses. Yay!  Who doesn’t love them?
  • A dog that has its tongue out excessively, or for no apparent reason, could actually have a medical problem that requires a visit to the vet. An example of this would be that your dog is taking a new medication and you notice that its tongue is out even when afore mentioned reasons do not apply.  This could signal an allergy to the medication.
  • There is also a condition known as “hanging tongue syndrome” in which the tongue hangs out of the mouth at all times. In this case, the dog has the inability to pull it back in, as there is a lack of muscle control.  What a challenge this must be for the pup, as it could potentially impact eating and drinking.

Of course I would be remiss for writing a blog without including pictures of my silly little Jellybean participating in Tongue Out Tuesday.  Here are a few of my favorites, although I am not sure they all fit into what would be considered the “norm” as discussed above.  Well, Jellybean has always marched to the tune of her own dog bone, if you know what I mean.  Enjoy!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

Stop, Drop, and …..Stop!

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Have you ever been walking your dog, trotting along at a good pace, and all of a sudden your pup just stops and does a full body plant in the middle of the street or on the edge of someone’s yard?  This is a regular occurrence for us.  Jellybean and I take six to eight walks in a day.  Don’t worry, though, they are not excessive.  A normal walk consists of fifteen to twenty minutes for my short-legged furry friend, depending on time and weather.  I can count on Jellybean becoming one with the ground at least twice during any of those walks. It happens to me more often that I would like to admit and immediately my impassioned pleading begins.

“Come Jellybean.”  (Nothing)

“Let’s go, Jellybean.”  (Nada)

“Come, my sweet little puppy.”  (No eye contact)

“Let’s go Jellybean, time is a-wasting.”  (Disinterested glance)

“Hidy ho my friend, let’s go!”  (Flat to the ground)

“Well alrighty then.”  (A crooked dog smile)

I find this behavior very puzzling and I must admit, a bit embarrassing.  Obviously, I am not the one in charge here.  It’s all about Jellybean.  I won’t even begin to argue that one.  As a result, I have done a bit of research on this very topic. As it turns out, Jellybean is not the only pup with a penchant to end her walk on her own terms.  There are quite a few articles and blogs out there that address this very phenomenon.  There could actually be some valid science behind the “mid-walk flop,” a phrase coined by Allison Gray on a website titled petful.com.  After reading several articles and blogs, here are just some of the possible reasons for this behavior:  injury, illness, tiredness, laziness, stubbornness, and weather-related issues.

Hmm….interesting stuff.  I must admit, however, I am well-aware that Jellybean’s short snout does not tolerate breathing in extremely hot air, nor do I allow her to walk on scorching hot or freezing roads and sidewalks – they’ve got lawns and doggy boots for those situations!  I groom her thoroughly every day, so I am quite cognizant of any injury.  Even with having a good awareness of Jellybean’s overall health, the information I gleaned through these readings resonated enough that I certainly will pay more attention and not just assume she is playing the part of Diva Dog.

I also came across a great strategy to end simple stubbornness when walking.  Two leashes; the normal six or four foot length, and an additional leash or cord about twenty feet long are the only things needed.  Attach both to the collar.  Walk as usual, but when the stop, drop, and stop occurs, simply keep walking.  The twenty foot leash allows you to move ahead quite a bit.  It seems many pups do not like this, as suddenly their need for attention is not being fed.  I like that!  No more pleading and begging her to move.  I think I might try this!

Through all my readings, however, I have not found a solution for Jellybean planting her furry little body at the end of every driveway in the neighborhood that has an open garage door.  In these instances, I often text my friend and quip “I can’t get my turtle to move.”  As kindergarten teachers, we often read a story of the same name by Elizabeth Lee O’Donnell to our students.  It is the perfect descriptor of Jellybean’s statuesque position near the curb. In this dog-friendly community, it appears that an open garage door often results in the owner walking down the driveway with a small treat for the waiting dog.  Oh, Jellybean, my little sweet pea, didn’t the Vet just tell us again last week you are a bit chubby, not yet obese, but a bit chubby?  My, oh, my, what is this manipulated doggy mama to do?

 

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Best Buds

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Isn’t it an amazing thing to watch a friendship grow?  I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching just that between my puppy, Jellybean, and Jay, the little boy I am blessed to care for three days a week.  From an eight month old, just beginning to explore the world around him in August, to an energetic toddler now one and a half, Jellybean and my little “Jaybird”, as I like to call him, have become inseparable.  If you see one, you will most certainly see the other not far behind.

It began with some curious sniffing on the part of Jellybean and some reciprocal giggling from Jay.  Playtime on the quilt became part of our morning routine, with Jay precariously balancing himself on the colorful quilt or putting in some tummy time, as he explored the toys around him.  Jellybean positioned herself just out of reach from the kicking feet and occasional flying block or noise-making toy.

As the months passed, and Jay started to become more mobile, he was able to explore not only his basket of toys, but Jellybean’s magnificent collection of dog toys as well.  It literally looked like a toddler tornado went through the room when Jay was finished emptying every basket in that part of the living room.  This activity was to Jellybean’s utter delight!  Admittedly, Jellybean does have a plethora of balls, stuffed animals, squeaky toys, bones, etc.  In his excitement to empty the baskets and experiment with the different sounds of squeakiness, Jay apparently uncovered toys that had been long lost to Jellybean.  Suddenly from her comfy spot along the perimeter of the basket purging area, Jellybean would jump up, tail wagging and run to pick up a toy.  Chaos ensued as she excitedly got reacquainted with her newly found prize, only to be distracted by another toy that had been uncovered from the depths of her toy basket.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the excitement of toddler and puppy as they played off of each other’s discoveries.

Something Jellybean has always done when preparing for a walk, is to run for a toy.  She generally chooses her favorite, Hedgehog, or sometimes “Mr. Pizza”, the stuffed slice of pepperoni pizza with arms, legs and a great big pizza smile given to her as a thank you from a local retirement home.  In most instances, her toy is abandoned at the end of the driveway, only to be reclaimed when the walk has concluded.  My little Jaybird is quite the observant one.  He has noticed that when I say it is time for a walk, Jellybean makes a run for her toy.  He has now joined in the fun.  The other day, I announced it was time to take Jellybean on her potty walk.  As I went for her leash and to grab a potty bag, Jellybean sprinted into the living room to grab a toy and Jay turned around and ran into the living room as well.  Jellybean returned with her hedgehog.  Jay, on the other hand, returned with an Easter rabbit that had been situated on a small chair by the fireplace.  I must admit, it made for a good chuckle and a great photo op, as he insisted the rabbit ride beside him in the stroller.  I mentioned that Jay is quite the observant one.  He knows that I always grab a bag before we leave for our walk, so naturally, being the helpful little guy he is, he likes to grab the bag for me.  This generally results in the whole roll of bags being stretched down the hall.  Although this past week he hit the jackpot with a new roll of bags, which he managed to pull through the hallway, into the kitchen, through the living room and back into hallway.  Jellybean wasn’t quite sure what to do with this one.  She sat and watched as he pulled and shook the collection of bags.  Oh my, have I mentioned how much I enjoy this little guy?

Then there are the hugs!  Jellybean has become quite accustomed to receiving hugs from Jay at various times throughout the morning and afternoon.  Generally they come at quieter times in the day; after story time, preparation for nap, after a diaper change.  How cute it is to see them snuggled up together, Jay being the recipient of Jellybean’s sloppy kisses.  Not everyone is privy to the same bond that Jay and Jellybean have developed.  My grandchildren try and try to get some love from Jellybean, but it takes a lot of work and quite a bit of noisy barking when they first arrive.  I think there are two reasons for this.  Jellybean has never forgotten the first time they came to meet her and sat on the loveseat she had claimed as her own, hence there has always been a bit of a territorial issue, as well as the fact that Jay and Jellybean spend three days a week side by side.  There is simply a different kind of connection between them, but I do know she loves my grandchildren as well.  They just have to work harder for it.

How endearing it has been watching Jay and Jellybean become best buds.  Although we will have a bit of a summer break, Jellybean and I will still spend time with Jay so that our bond is not broken.  Come August, what fun we will have as we begin another school year together and Jay’s motor and verbal skills continue to advance.  I am so excited to see what shenanigans these best buds will get into!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

 

A Mother’s Day Letter from Jellybean

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If a puppy could write a letter to its’ pet parent, this is what I think my sweet little Jellybean would say to me:

Dear Mama,

I hope you know how much I love you!  I love you with all my big puppy heart, my chubby belly and what do you call them?  Oh, yes, my big, soulful eyes!  I am fur-ever grateful you typed hypoallergenic/non-shedding puppy into that laptop thing of yours and I popped up.  We are a match made in heaven!  I know I fill your heart with joy and love.  I can tell by the way you look at me with such love in your eyes.  You have changed over the years since we found each other.  I have helped to heal your heart.  I know that because you smile more, you laugh more, and you are not afraid to try new things.

I am glad I gave you some ideas for writing children’s books about me.  I am dog-gone proud I helped you realize that dream.  Who would have thought that silly ol’ me running away with your sneaker in our book Naughty Little Puppy would lead to such fun opportunities with me by your side?  I love visiting places where we share our stories.  I can tell how much you love when the children join in the reading or laugh at the silly things I do in the books.   That must be a special thing for a mama that taught kindergarten for so long.  I think it – what do they say?  I think it feeds your teacher soul.  I’m sure my teacher, Miss Mickayla, feels the same way when she reads our story Sloppy Kisses.  Although I am wondering, do you really need to tell everyone that I had to take the Canine Good Citizen class three times?  It’s a little embarrassing.  Well, our neighbor did call me your “wild child” when I was a puppy, didn’t he?

Most of all though, I love snuggling with you and I love that you take such good care of me.  I know I am one pampered pooch and I am pawsitively happy to call you my mama.

Sloppy kisses and lots of love from Jellybean!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

A Turkey, A Dog, and A Bear…Oh My!

One minute we are sitting with our team of therapy dogs and handlers talking with children at a local YMCA for a Healthy Kids event and the next minute in my peripheral vision I see something that makes my heart start to pound.  I begin a little self-talk.  “Please don’t come over here! Please don’t come over here!  Oh please don’t come over here!”  Jellybean stands at attention, sensing something is about to happen.  I can feel her body tense and I hear a low growl.  “It’s okay Jellybean.  She won’t hurt you,” said the cowardly one.  She looked at me with such trust, then turned and looked at the big, yellow-beaked creature coming straight toward us.  I take a deep breath and tell myself, “I can do this.  I can do this.”

We are sitting in the stands at York College for the girls’ basketball game.  The game is in full swing; both teams running up and down the court, buzzers going off, whistles blowing, fans cheering, Jellybean and the other therapy dogs sitting behind the home team sound asleep.  Seriously, they sleep during the game, oblivious to the hubbub around them.  Suddenly the buzzer sounding half time goes off and the dogs jump up and quickly spring into action as the fans climb into the stands to pet their favorite four-legged pals.  Jellybean is soaking up the attention from a young fan when I give her leash a little tug.  I take a deep breath and mutter to myself, “Oh, no, not again!”   I sense movement at the corner of the bleacher.  There it is; the green hairy leg, complete with a green and white striped sock and a gigantic orange sneaker.  My eyes are big as I watch and silently plead for it to go the other way.  But to no avail, as it gallivants around the corner of the bleacher heading straight for us.  I start to sweat and my heart beats double time.  Jellybean must sense my fear, because she lets out a bark so loud and ferocious that it scared the other dogs into a barking frenzy like York College basketball has never known.

It’s Bark in the Park Day at the York Revolution baseball game.  Jellybean and I are seated behind third base.  In case you wondered, yes, she has her own seat and yes, she is wearing her favorite pink baseball cap and Revs t-shirt.  I actually brought her little pink bed along and tucked it deep into the stadium seat so it would stay down all by itself.  We are enjoying the game and sharing a basket of tasty chicken tenders, when fans around us start chanting “Down Town!  Down Town!  Down Town!”  I quickly stuff the tenders in my bag and go on high alert.  I look at the big screen in the outfield to see if I can determine where my nemesis is located.  Oh no, it is right behind the players in our section, just a few rows in front of us.  Just as I spot the furry mascot, it turns around and our eyes lock.  I can’t breathe.  Then, its’ gaze shifts to my precious little puppy and it is on the move.  My first thought is, “Oh please, somebody hit a homerun.  Somebody do something to distract this overzealous, overgrown blue bird before it gets to my baby!”  Jellybean on the other hand seems intrigued as it plops in the empty seat beside her, rubbing its’ over-sized belly with one hand and stroking her back with the other.  Me, on the other hand, I am frozen in my seat.  I am watching what is happening right beside me, but I seriously can’t move.

Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now, I suffer from Masklophobia.  This is an actual phobia that is characterized by a fear of people in masks and costumes, and costumed characters, such as the likes of Hilda the Turkey Hill Mascot, Screamer, the York College mascot, and even Down Town, the big-bellied baseball-loving bird for the York Revolution.  For me, I think it is the not knowing who is behind the costume that scares me the most. This is something that has plagued me as far back as I can remember and obviously is still an issue.  Case in point, just a few years ago I attended a conference in California.  Apparently we were a hop, skip and a jump away from Downtown Disney.  I refused to leave the hotel for the entire week for fear I would run into Mickey Mouse and his menagerie of friends.

My trip to Vegas with friends will drive the point home.  We were on the third floor of the M&M store thoroughly engrossed in the colorful candy displays, when out of the back room struts the biggest yellow M&M I have ever seen.  It was waving its’ pudgy white hands and stomping its’ chunky white sneakers as it danced across the floor toward us.  I turned to my friend and frantically announced, “I’m out of here!”  I hopped on the escalator and rode down to the first floor where I waited by the front door until the rest of the group arrived, apparently not at all phased by the phenomena of a walking piece of candy.

What can I say, I’m a mess!  I must admit, however, I am trying to work on it.  Being involved with the therapy dog group, Jellybean and I often participate in community related events such as this past Saturday where interaction with characters such as Hilda – the Turkey Hill Turkey, Smokey the Bear, and McGruff the Crime Dog are part of the entertainment for the event. I certainly don’t want my spunky little puppy to feed off my fear, so…for the sake of my sweet Jellybean I need to muster the courage to look those mascots right in the eye – or eyes, whatever might be the case, celebrate their uniqueness and try to find the joy that others seem to see in them.  Wait a minute, did that giant Hershey Kiss just move?

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

May I Have An Adjective, Please?

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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! 

It’s A Paw-ty!

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What do you do when your fur baby turns five?  Well… you throw a paw-ty, a dog paw-ty!  Oh – you also donate some hand-sewn fleece crate mats to a local shelter in your puppy’s name.  At least that’s what this over the top pet momma has planned.  Jellybean woke up this morning to a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.  After our morning walk, she had a blast ripping paper and opening boxes to discover what doggy toys, treats, and apparel awaited her.  Then we slipped into our usual morning grooming routine of brushing teeth, washing the area around her eyes, applying allergy eye drops, brushing her fur, and adding a colorful hair bow.  This morning, however, there was a special birthday shirt waiting for her.  For her birthday this year, she is wearing a Minnie Mouse t-shirt embellished with tulle pompoms along the bottom edge.  Spiffy!  There is more fun to come, however, as I have invited several of her little friends over for an evening of romping, rolling and running around the house.  It should be a dog gone fun time!

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And a fun time it was!  Just as I imagined, there were four dogs romping, rolling and running around the house.  The party consisted of Jellybean and her furry friends Josie, Kramer, and Oakley along with their respective pet parents.  They surprised Jellybean in that they came bearing gifts for the birthday girl; new squeaky toys and some scrumptious treats. The first few minutes of course were a bit crazy, but these four fast friends quickly settled down and began playing, checking out toys, exploring the house and checking in with us at the dinner table. It was a fun night, which we ended with a quick photo session.  The ladies tried unsuccessfully to round up all four pups into a central location so that we could snap a few pictures.  We finally decided that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.  That being said, each of us grabbed our own little fur ball for a fun photo session.  As we speak, Jellybean is one paw-tied out puppy.  She is sound asleep on the living room floor, no doubt dreaming of romping with her friends and munching on some delicious treats!

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Happy Birthday my sweet little Jellybean!  Momma loves you!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here! 

Spring Has Sprung

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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! 

 

Homegrown Love

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Just when you think you know where life is taking you, it can suddenly take an unexpected turn.  Enter my brother; exactly a year and six days younger than me.  He is a mason/block layer by trade.  Forty two years of climbing ladders and scaffolding, carrying bricks and cement blocks and his hips are simply shot.  He can barely walk, and when he does, he must depend on a walker.  One unsuccessful surgery to date has landed him in dire straits.  In other words, no work equals no income.  After forty two years of making a living building, creating, repairing and restoring homes, businesses, old buildings, and the like, he has hit a wall.  It appears that this wall is even tougher to break through than any brick wall he ever built.  The wall has a name:  Disability.  What a nightmare!  The hoops that one has to jump through and the time frame for having one’s name go into the system, is in my opinion unacceptable.  Six months just to get a name into the system, then scheduling of hearings and continued paperwork.  I am being told it could be all but a year until assistance is available.  This is a pretty hard pill to swallow for someone who started working at the age of fifteen and by twenty had settled into his work as a mason, his livelihood for forty two years.

Why am I writing about a topic such as this today when I usually write silly little blogs about my puppy Jellybean you ask?  Actually, this blog has everything to do with Jellybean.  You see, about two months ago my brother called and asked if he could come and stay for a while.  With no income, a depleted bank account and hips that were failing him, it was all but impossible for him to continue to live independently.  Not to mention that his rental was on the second floor.  Watching him labor up and down the steps to his apartment brought tears to my eyes every time I saw him struggle through it.  Although I never planned on a roommate, other than my four-legged one, how can you say no to someone so totally in need?

Now enter Jellybean, my furry, little love bug.  She has been so happy to have him here.  Who ever thought she would be providing her therapy services right here in my home?  She scampers down the steps in the morning and heads down the hall to the guest bedroom to give him his good morning kisses.  I can hear him greet her with “Hi baby!”  “How’s my little girl?”  “I was waiting for you!”  She eats it up all day long.  She comes running when she hears, “Where’s my little Jellybean?”  She jumps up on the couch and covers him with her sloppy kisses.  When I have to leave for the morning or afternoon, she is right by his side.  They snuggle while watching television.  She checks in on him throughout the day.  They have become quite the little duo.  My sister and mother have been helping as well.  On the days he is at either of their houses, he apparently is always asking about her.  “What do you think Jellybean is doing?  I wonder if she spent much time looking out the window.  Do you think she went out and played in the snow?  I’ll bet she is begging for a treat right about now.”  Upon his return to our house, I don’t know which one of them is more excited to see the other.  I pray that the system does not fail my brother in the end, he deserves way better.  But, I am happy that as a family, we are able to help him in his time of need and that Jellybean so readily acknowledges his need for love and companionship.  Watch out brother, here she comes!  Get ready for some of Jellybean’s unabashed love – in the form of sloppy kisses of course!

Beverly Stiffler Smith

Children’s Author

Check out my books here!