Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Paws Blog Hop

BTS & Wild Child Publishing Presents ~ Christmas Paws Blog Hop December 3rd - 10th

Within my book Going off Dreams the main protagonist, Eryn, has two pets. An elderly cat named Smokie and a big dog named Bryan. Originally, the earthly realm of Eryn reflected more of my real life. During the writing process and going through the many drafts, it was too complicated and complex to continue to write my real life into Eryn's. So, in the final drafts I created a new life for Eryn and the only ones that remained were my pets: Smokie and Bryan. 

Animals have always been a part of my life. It has been scientifically proven that they help lower blood as well as many other attributes. To help celebrate the Christmas Paws Blog Hop I will be giving away a free copy of my e-book Going off Dreams. All you have to do is leave a comment and a winner will be determined and announced before Christmas! Make sure in your comment, if you have a pet(s) or have had pet(s) to share a favorite memory or tell us something about them. We look forward to what you share!
Going off Dreams on Amazon

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Once known as "Fat Cat" Smokie has been with us now for nearly 20 years. It all started when I was 18 and considering moving out on my own with my best friend at the time. She had stated how she wanted a cat - me being the good friend that I was - I made my way to the local animal shelter to acquire a cat. 

He might be an "Old Man" but he's still has a spring in his step.

Walking into the kitten room, there were so many little falls of fur running around. Originally, I had picked out a cute little black cat. As fate would have it, this cat was already collared which meant that it was already claimed and in the adoption process. So, as I sat there looking around, here came a more mature cat walking right up to me. The little lady that was accompanying me through the process explained that "Squiggles" had been there for about a year now and if he doesn't get adopted soon, then he wouldn't last much longer there. She must have read the sucker tattoo on my forehead. Of course I couldn't let that happen - so, I picked him up and knew he was the cat that I would be taking home.

Smokie getting ready to pounce!

Squiggles was the name that the animal shelter had given him because of his little squiggly lines running through his fur. But, this wasn't a name I thought would best fit him and his personality. He was never really a 'kitten' he was more of a Garfield. My cousin is the one that gave him the name Smokie and it has been that way ever since. Of course we have nicknames for him; when he was younger and fatter he was "fat cat". Now that he is older (and we can no longer call him fat cat because he's lost weight) he's now just "old man".

Smokie in the arms of my niece - his BFF

Unbeknownst to my parents, I had brought this cat home and had been keeping him in my bedroom. There is a perfectly good explanation for this: because my parents said I couldn't bring a cat into the house. My best friend at the time had changed her mind about moving out, I had already adopted the cat. Meanwhile, we had a Golden Labrador Retriever at the time and the two did not get along in the beginning. It was more that Sunny (our family dog) was curious about the new family member, and Smokie wasn't having it. I was eventually found out and Smokie has been a cherished family member ever since

Smokie and I have been through a lot together. He moved with me twice now. Once when I was around 18, we moved into a townhouse with room mates. It was a rather stressful time and he kept trying to escape outside. When I moved back home with my parents, he was happy again because he could return to his patrol outside. He would remain with my parents for the next ten-plus years. In this time my dad had been feeding him, sometimes, two cans of tuna a day. This is when Smokie really packed on the pounds. But, they had a great bond. I always thought it was adorable that Smokie would sit on his back legs and "box" with my dad. My dad had been a golden glove champion, in his younger days, back in Massachusetts, so it was adorable watching the two of them square off and play box.

Smokie when he was a.k.a "Fat Cat"

In 2002 I had married and had a child. When we were able to afford our own home I was finally able to move Smokie in with us. This was a special time for me because I had felt like I had left Smokie behind for a couple years. He knew this and was just as happy to come live with us in our new home. He loved being there with me just as much as I loved having him there. I didn't let him out too often because there were a lot of wild cats there and I didn't want to risk anything, but since he was getting older he didn't mind as much. Smokie was ecstatic when we built a screened in porch where he could be the king of the pride and lay on his royal perch watching the neighborhood and what was going on.

Smokie had always been a cat that only showed real affection when he wanted something. He had a way of communicating with you that he needed something too. If he wasn't in the mood to be nice, then he would hop up onto the counter and start knocking stuff off to get our attention. I can still tell him to "show me" and he'll walk to wherever it is that he needs. He's walked me to his water bowl plenty of times before because it was empty and he wanted water and the same goes with eating. Smokie will go crazy when we use an electric can opener (from his two cans of tuna-a-day days). He has his favorite treats: spaghetti sauce and olives. As a special treat we will let him roll around in Cat Nip, but not all the time because he can get carried away. Even though he's an old man he still has that spunk that we all fell in love with.

This is his "Do Not Disturb" face.
As he's aged he's become more affectionate. I often tell him that he's getting soft in his old age. Now, when we retire for the night to watch T.V. he is usually nearby or on my lap. Now that Christmas is officially taken over the house, he's happy. He's always loved Christmas. He loves laying under the tree - when he was younger he would climb up into the fake tree. Some of his favorite things to do during this time of year are to "help" with wrapping, even by getting inside the boxes to inspect them before they are to be used.

Smokie has always loved Christmas time!

Smokie has been by my side through my divorce and a couple failed relationships. He's helped me through loosing my home and now that we are back with my parents he helped me through is own perspective. He was happy to be back outside in the yard he knows, to him he was home. So, I was happy knowing that he is happy to be back here. He always seems to sense when I am depressed or sad. Especially when my son passed, he was always nearby. There have been many hard nights and Smokie has been there. His purring is soothing to the soul and helps me to keep my center during times when it seems things are spinning out of control. He's there purring, calling me back.

All this Christmas stuff is exhausting... time for a cat nap.

Smokie is a part of the family. He's older than my nieces and has been with us for quite some time now. You know he is loved because my sister an her eldest daughter are allergic to him and have to take medication to just be in the same house as him. They wouldn't do that if they didn't care - and Smokie shows his appreciation by trying to rub up against them whenever they're around. Have you ever noticed that - if you are allergic to an animal that they make more effort to come around you more?

Helping Mommy with wrapping.

Smokie is still kicking and shows no signs of leaving us anytime soon. Although, we know life can change in a blink of an eye. He is gracious in sharing the house with two other pets. Bryan is a six year old 100 pound mutt and they have been together since Bryan was a puppy. Smokie was a great mentor in teaching Bryan the ropes of home living. We rescued Bryan around 2007 from Rainbow Tails Rescue. He's a goofy dog but has brought us a lot of joy and laughter. Smokie and Bryan are best buds.

Bryan sitting like a good boy

The other pet that shares the house with Smokie and Bryan is Sammy. He's my parent's dog. He's about a year or two younger than Bryan, he's about 5 years old now. He's a little ball of craziness. Sammy's never really been around cats so he still is trying to figure out Smokie. Which, Smokie has a lot of experience with the dealings of dogs - so he knows what to do best - ignore. But, he doesn't hesitate to put Sammy in his place. It can be quite comical watching them all interacting.

My Niece Arden & Sammy

Bryan - The Protector

My Niece Eryn & Smokie

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Monday, August 19, 2013


When we agreed to foster dogs, I never thought I would have to move and risk their security. Unfortunately, through circumstances beyond my control, we have to move. Where we are moving to has already stated that we cannot bring Ripken with us, the last of the puppies we had taken in. Rip is one of the most lovable dogs I have ever been around. He doesn't know his size, and sometimes he thinks he's a lap dog. He is probably close to a year old now. Ripken is crate trained and should be kept in his crate while he is unsupervised, he is still a puppy and while he has matured a lot he can still get into mischief. Potty training he does well with as long as he is on a strict schedule and gets daily exercise. He does require water intake supervision, if he drinks too much he has a harder time and could possibly have an accident.

Here are some precious video's my cousin was able to take of Ripken. You'll see, he loves to roll around in tall grass. He loves to be outside and on this rare day, he wasn't too interested in the tennis ball as he normally would have been. I love playing ball with Rip cause he pounces on the ball and I think it's really cute. Ripken knows the command for 'sit' and 'paw'. He is a trainable dog and he needs a fur'ever home a.s.a.p. If you or anyone you know if interested, PLEASE email and inquire about Ripken. Thank you.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ripken's Return

It's been a learning experience, even when we thought he had a great future with a great new family, not everything works out the way you envision. Unfortunately, Ripken didn't work out in his new home. It was reported that he showed signs of aggression toward their 1 year old son and male visitors they had come into their home. When we were working and testing Ripken around children, he did not show any signs of aggression toward any of the kids that we had him around. Since I have had him back, the first night he growled at my dog Bryan, but has since been absolutely fine. He has not shown a single ounce of aggression toward people.
As I reported before, he does has crate issues if other dogs come around his crate (especially while he is eating). We have been taking special care to keep the other two dogs away from Rip while he is in his crate to avoid any of these behaviors. Ripken is totally crate trained and since we have had him back I am thrilled to report he has not had a single accident inside of the house. We have him on a strict schedule and this really has been working well. I believe he would be best with a family that do not have other pets or young children. My nieces are 8 and 7 and he was putty in their hands. My cousin's (+Rainbow Tails Rescue)  nephews are a little younger and she reported that Rip was great with them as well. He needs to have daily exercise and a fenced in back yard would be preferable. We believe he is a chocolate lab mix with possibly a bermeise mountain dog. He is approximately 8 months to a year old, he's a big puppy. His unique features are his eyes and he has his duclaws. He's a big teddy bear - goof ball that needs a loving, patient home.
If you would like to inquire about Ripken, you can email

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ripken's Rescue

Yesterday, the 4th of July, our lovable teddy bear was adopted. He's in a new home now and has a wonderful family that will give him the awesome home he so desperately deserves.

Thinking Back

When we first picked him up from the transport, he was filthy and I remember thinking that he was a big puppy. But, his cuteness was his saving grace sometimes. When we brought him home I bathed him (twice) and groomed him. He looked like a different dog once we cared for him. His journey was a shaky one at first. We were worried because of some of his behaviors, which if you have followed his progress you are aware of how far he's come. Seeing Ripken leave with his new family made all the trials we went through worth it. All the
clothes he destroyed or ate, the electrical chords he chewed through, all the training... I know that through our trials and tribulations, seeing him behaving appropriately with new people, especially a one year old, was great.
We took this dog from a shelter and brought him into our home, in attempts to train him so that he could have a better chance with a successful adoption. His new family has been in contact with me and reported that he is a joy and adjusting well. The pictures speak for themselves as well. I am so happy for Ripken.

And here we are... 

We finally found the right home. He has a fenced in back-yard and a little human to play with. He is going to an experienced family, their previous canine companion was a St. Bernard! They reported that they have a lot of tennis balls (which Ripken absolutely loves) so I am confident that he is happy, healthy, and secure.

People have questioned "How can you do that?" In reference to letting go of the dogs. It's simple for me really. I knew from the start the goal, to foster shelter dogs so that they can have the chance to acclimate to a home environment to give them a better chance of a successful adoption. Seeing them go to their new families is a happy experience. We gave these dogs this chance, otherwise they may have never of been adopted.
To all the families out there that have adopted rescue or shelter dogs - Thank You!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A'ella Up For Adoption

A'ella the day we brought her
home from the shelter

We have enjoyed this little girl for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I am unable to give her what she needs. This was a hard decision that we had to make. A'ella is a fiesty, energetic, and fun beagle-pit mix. She's approximately 6 months old. While we've made progress with house training, she still has accidents. But, I am confident with someone that can focus more on her potty training, she'll get-it; she is a smart cookie!
She really should not be in a house with other animals. I have a 19 year old cat, he is well seasoned with dogs and he knows how to 'show them the ropes'. But, nearly two months later and A'ella still does not fully respect the cats space. We have two outside cats as well and if she knows they are around she goes into, what I like to call 'crazy mode'. My cousin introduced us to the gentle leader and this has helped a lot! She doesn't like it, but it makes her listen to your commands and actions.
A'ella is great with kids and people. She is a love bug and when she does nap, she loves to curl up with you. She definitely needs a lot of exercise to get rid of some of her adolescence antics.
We have two other dogs and her energy level can cause outbursts, so I would suggest if she is going to be in a fur'ever home with other animals to seek professional training with her a.s.a.p.
She is a lot of fun to play with, she loves to play with the laser pointer, chasing it around, and she loves squeaky toys. While she had success with learning to fetch, if you leave her with the ball, she will tear into it. She will make someone a great companion. If you are interested email

Friday, June 7, 2013

Wait Watch Wonder: Our Favorite Movies Bloghop

I think that this hop could be fun on different levels. It will sort-of be like seven degrees of sepatration. You write about a favorite movies of yours, visit another site in the hop and comment on their choice, then choose an actress or actor from their movie and write about another movie that they are in... easy enough - right? Join the hop! Visit the site here: Wait Watch Wonder: Our Favorite Movies Bloghop: I have this idea for a bloghop. I have a love for movies so what better way to get a bloghop rolling then sharing our favorite movies. Blog...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nothing in Life is Free Training Concept

Techniques for humans to demonstrate the dominant behavior for a dog to understand:

  • "Mount" your dog. This is not an inappropriate behavior, dogs often do this to show dominance, it is not a sexual act.
  • Nip their ear. I would never condone physical abuse, in anyway. But, we have to understand that our dogs life is very physical. If you watch an alpha dog in a pack, they will psychically show their position by holding a pack member down. 
  • Along this train of thought - manipulating a dog to lay on their side while you hold them down is an alpha dog behavior and demonstrates your position within the pack.
  • Claiming. An alpha dog or leader of the pack controls everything and the other members of the pack only get what the alpha gives them. When you are claiming something, the dog cannot take it or make an attempt to take the object until you give them permission.
  • Ignoring. If you do not agree with the dogs behavior, then (when it is appropriate) ignore them. If you reward a negative behavior this is called negative reinforcement and by giving them the wrong recognition you could negatively condition them for their inappropriate behavior. For instance, if a dog jumps up on the couch with you and will not let anyone else near you - they are 'claiming' you - this is not acceptable, and you should remove them (push them off) the couch. They will come to understand this, that you do not agree with their actions. Then, when they are able to demonstrate calm and appropriate behavior, then reward them for that by giving affection in some way.
The smallest pack member can be the leader!
This article is a great resource for pet owners that are dealing with insecure dogs. It really stresses how, in the psychology and hierarchy of dogs, that they have to work for everything. Your canine counterpart, without a reasonable doubt, has to understand that you are alpha, that you are the leader. Through my years of experience I have learned a variety of ways that this can be done. 

Nothing In Life Is Free Article