About Joyce Holmes

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she's not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

A Month of Trials and Tribulations With Georgie and Bella

Having a puppy is great fun. It’s also work. Having two puppies is even more work. I love my little girls, and I’m grateful for the joy they bring, but I’m ready to put the busy puppy phase behind us.

I made a mistake naming our second puppy Bella. She’s certainly not the dainty little angel the name implies. Despite only weighing four pounds, there’s nothing delicate about her, and with her excess exuberance, ‘Rascal’ might’ve suited her better. Or perhaps ‘Diabla’. I’m jesting, of course. She can be a stubborn brat, but she’s also very affectionate and loves everyone. She just needs more growing up.

And she needs to stop having accidents in the house. She’s five months old now and should be housebroken. She asks to go out during the day, and accidents only happen once it gets dark. We take her outside regularly in the evening, but she’d rather play than pee. Indoor piddles aren’t a daily occurrence, but she still can’t be trusted, and it’s frustrating.

At around four months old, Bella’s facial hair started getting shaggy.

I didn’t trust myself to trim it without poking her eyes, so I contacted several local groomers. All I wanted was her face trimmed fairly short, but apparently the full trim package is the only option available. I wasn’t overly pleased with the job on her face. It looked uneven and choppy, and was still too long. Her moppy little feet turned out nicely, though. And she was a good girl for the groomer.

A month later, she looks cute again. The hair isn’t as jagged looking, but it’s already getting long. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of paying another $40 for services I don’t want.

Georgie and Bella usually play wonderfully together. Georgie mothers Bella, cleaning her face and ears daily, and Bella likes to be wherever Georgie is.

They both love to chew, so we always buy two of everything, to avoid squabbling and jealousy.

This works until one of them decides she wants what the other one has. Bella simply takes what she wants from Georgie, which often makes Georgie snarl. Bella might back off, or she might not. If Georgie wants Bella’s toy, she’s more subtle. She’ll get another toy and enthusiastically play with it right in front of Bella. As soon as Bella drops what she has to take Georgie’s toy, Georgie swoops in and grabs Bella’s. If Bella doesn’t fall for this ploy, Georgie whines and cries and tries to convince us to take it from Bella and give it to her. It’s quite entertaining.

The girls were thrilled when we put a rug in the living room. They have comfy beds, but apparently the rug is superior to nap on.

Georgie turns eight months old today, and we finally got her spayed last week. The vet wanted all her adult teeth in first, but ended up pulling a baby canine. Bella was so vexed about Georgie being gone, she spent much of the morning sulking in her bed.

Georgie sometimes looks stoned in photos, but she wasn’t faking it that afternoon. Poor baby.

She rallied that evening and even ate a few bites of food. When I gave her pain meds the next morning, she got groggy again.

The following morning, she seemed even more drugged after her dose of meds. She acted scared of us and just wanted to be by herself.

So pathetic.

Thankfully once the drugs left her system, she became her busy, happy self again.



Baby Bella B Is Four Months Old

It’s hard to believe that our little Bella is already four months old. Partly because it feels like we just got her, but mostly because she still acts like such a young puppy compared to the maturity of our seven-month-old puppy, Georgie. She’s amazingly solid for only weighing just over three pounds. She likes her food and adores her treats.

Bella isn’t quite housebroken yet, which she should be by now. When we got her, she’d never been outside and she had no idea she should pee on the grass. She’d go on the sidewalk or wait until she came in the house to pee on the floor. Although we’re still working on consistency, there’s been vast improvements.

When we take Bella for walks, she tends to draw a crowd. Everyone wants to know what kind of breed she is. We aren’t really sure. Her dad’s a purebred Papillon and her mom was advertised as a maltipoo, but judging by Bella’s wire-haired coat, there’s some terrier in the mix. We don’t care what breed she is, it’s just hard to explain it to curious people.

Hubby jokes that she’s always walking downhill.She’s a sturdy little rough and tumble thing, who loves to wrestle and chase with Georgie. And she’ll climb onto just about anything. A couple of big jumps (which thankfully didn’t injure her) have scared her enough that she doesn’t do that anymore.

With Bella starting to teeth, she’s discovered the joys of chewing on furniture. I don’t find it amusing, and I tell her all the time, “It’s a good thing you’re so cute.” She’s definitely cute. A little rascal, perhaps, but such a cute rascal.

Penticton’s Waterfronts In The Sun!

I’m pleased to finally have a fun post to share. We’ve seemed to live in limbo for the past year and a half, hanging close to home because one (or both) of us wasn’t physically capable of doing much. Needing a break, I proposed a road trip to Penticton, approximately one hour south of us, to explore Skaha and Okanagan Lakes waterfronts. So one sunny day last week we packed a picnic lunch, grabbed the pups and set off.

We headed to Skaha Lake first. We parked at Sudbury Beach (huge bonus – parking’s free), and walked along Skaha Lake Road to Skaha Lake Park.

Skaha Lake, Penticton’s south-facing, smaller lake, has such a pretty setting.

We strolled the long, paved promenade, then wandered back through the lovely grassed park opposite the beach.

At lunchtime, we retrieved the car and returned to Skaha Park, to enjoy our lunch at one of the many shaded picnic tables. This parking lot was also free! Georgie and Bella were happy to snack, drink and relax.

Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake are connected by the Okanagan (Penticton) River Channel. Hubby and I had fun floating down that channel several years ago.

We found yet another free parking lot (I’m so impressed!) off Riverside Road. It’s just a short walk to the promenade along the north-facing Okanagan Lake.

The SS Sicamous, Canada’s largest remaining sternwheeler, is situated at the west end of the promenade. This impressive steamship has been beached in its current location for many years, although last Spring’s high lake levels briefly floated it.

The SS Naramata is beached nearby.

Okanagan Lake’s beach and promenade were busier than Skaha.

As usual, it was slow going for us because our puppies draw so much interest. We always let folks, young and old, pat and visit with them. The girls love the attention, and it helps with their socialization. We use the stop times to refresh them with water. Bella takes any opportunity to sprawl in the shade.

The lake was curiously devoid of any type of watercraft compared to Kelowna’s congested waterfront.

The iconic “Peach” is located on the easterly side of the promenade. Their tasty cones were worth the price (and calories).

While waiting for our cones, I spotted “The Romp”, life-sized statues of children playing on the beach and decided on a closer look.

Hubby and the girls waited for me in the comfy shade.

Last year, as I mentioned, our lakes rose to flood levels, and these poor children ended up knee-deep in water. Some kind passerby actually provided them with lifejackets. Nice to see everything’s back to normal this year.

Views of the SS Sicamous and the eroded clay cliffs in the background on our stroll back.

Our last stop was at the Penticton Rose Garden. Georgie and Bella enjoyed the shade. I enjoyed the roses.

Two tired, but happy puppies on the drive home. It was a good day.

Double The Trouble, Double The Fun…Two Puppies Are Better Than One!

Our Chihuahua puppy, Georgie, is six months old already and totally precious! (I blogged about getting Miss Georgie Girl here)

She behaves beautifully on her leash and is enthusiastic about walks.

Outside continues to be a favourite hangout. And she finally comes when she’s called!

She and Rocko, the neighbour dog, are madly in love, sharing doggie kisses through the fence.

With Georgie maturing nicely, what would possess us to get another puppy? Three words: Energy To Spare. Georgie begs to play nonstop.

We give her plenty of attention, just not as much as she’d like. So, five weeks ago, we got her a playmate, “Baby Bella B”. (The B stands for butterfly ears and bunny-rabbit legs)

Bella’s an undetermined mix of breeds – her dad’s a purebred Papillon and her mom’s a poodle cross. The tiny runt of the litter, Bella weighed two pounds at eight weeks, only slightly more than Georgie did. We’ve no idea how big she’ll get.

Regardless, she’s 100% adorable.

Her fuzzy wire-hair coat has nice markings with several cute splashes of brown.

Wherever Georgie goes, Bella isn’t far behind.

Probably from being much smaller than her siblings, Bella’s assertive when playing with Georgie. They both usually want what the other one has, and Bella often wins.

Unlike Georgie, who’s not food motivated, Bella loves to eat and is eager for treats.

Bella adores Georgie, and Georgie really likes her, too (just maybe not quite as much). At first, she refused to snuggle together.

One day I happened across this adorable scene.

As long as Georgie initiates it, she’s now okay with cuddling.

I take way too many pictures of them sleeping. They’re just too sweet and comical to resist.

Georgie still sleeps in funny positions.

Bella’s body is too short and chubby to contort.

Right now, they’re still small enough to both fit on my lap.

Bella had the sweetest puppy ears, and I hoped they’d stay that way forever.

But her Papillon genes soon won out. Still so cute, though.

Maybe it’s because my old pup, Roxy, had tiny, hairless ears, but Georgie & Bella’s beautiful fuzzy ears rather fascinate me.

Like Georgie, Bella loves it outside.

They chase and wrestle constantly. Bella often dominates the wrestling matches, but Georgie leaves the clumsy-footed baby behind when they run. Lean and sleek, Georgie’s the undisputed speed demon.

Time out for a drink.

Our yard offers lots of shady grass, yet Georgie, the sun-lover, seeks out the hottest spots. Sometimes Bella joins her, although with her thick, fuzzy coat, she prefers shade.

In contrast to Georgie’s cautious nature (she won’t even jump off the couch), Bella knows no fear. Hubby had to add a bottom railing to the deck after she leaped three and a half feet to the ground below.

When our son’s family visited with their three dogs, Georgie was initially terrified. Doggie socializing is important though, and she soon warmed up to Piper and Shasa.

Bella loved them all, especially Sukie, the big lab.

Little devil even stole Sukie’s bone.

They were all amazingly relaxed together.

We often take the puppies on outings. They enjoy meeting people, which is beneficial to their socialization. They’re great in the car, and although Bella’s not as keen about walking as Georgie is, she’s learning.

They get plenty of water breaks.

And on the car ride home, they sleep like angels.

So, yeah, we’re busy, and we’re certainly looking forward to Bella being potty-trained. But these sweet little girls have stolen our hearts, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Stellar Reviews For Dare To Risk All Audio Book

The audio version of Dare To Risk All has been available for about two weeks now, and the positive reviews have been pouring in, on Audible.com and a few on Amazon.com.

I’ve posted some samples below, and you can read them in their entirety on Audible’s website. (Canadians have to click the Audible.com link on the top bar to get to the American site)

5 Stars – A very heartwarming story, I loved it very much. The story was well written and very cute and adorable. A very good story to have in my car and listen to it while driving.

5 Stars – Lots of drama and a very enjoyable read.

5 Stars – Joyce M Holmes wrote the story beautifully of Tessa and Ben (plus lovable pet Milo). Lili Dubuque was an excellent choice for this performance. She added to the book with her easy tempo and smooth voice…The author wrote very realistic characters and had the right amount of tension and competition in the book. Well done.

5 Stars – I really enjoyed this book. This story is full of real life issues that deal with decisions and the outcomes as well. The narration was good and kept you entertained.

5 Stars – There were many ups and downs and a plethora of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ – the very definition of the risk we take when we fall in love. The narrator was a great choice. She kept the listen flowing…made the great moments in this obstacle course very personal.

4 Stars – The story has a very interesting premise. It has a unique way of showing how the characters interact with each other. Very good audio book and enjoyed listening.

4 Stars – A good back and forth book with some good and some not so nice sub characters thrown in. I think the narrator did a great job too. This was my first listen for this author and narrator and I’d definitely but another of her books.

4 Stars posted on Amazon – Cute sweet romance story. Great characters. Loved Milo. The narrator did a good job with the characters voices.

You can find links to reviews for all  my books listed here.

Dare To Risk All Is Now Available In Audio!

I actually have some writing news to share today. It’s so exciting to announce that one of my books, Dare To Risk All, has been released as an audio book!

I hate to admit it, but I’d never actually listened to an audio book before I started this process with Dare To Risk All, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My narrator, Lili Dubuque, has a lovely voice, and she did a wonderful job with the narration. While doing the listen-through of the final audio file, I felt a little disconcerted at first because the words she spoke weren’t always exactly the same as my written version. After I got over that perfectionist obsession, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story, and I hope everyone else will take as much pleasure in it as I did.

The audio version is listed on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Audible.ca and Apple’s IBooks. I’d love for you to check it out!

I want to give The Wild Rose Press a huge shout-out and thank you for initiating the conversion of their catalog to audio. Dare To Risk All was part of this daunting process, and I’m thrilled that a narrator has recently been selected for Visual Effects, so it is also being made into an audio book. I’ll certainly let everyone know as soon as it becomes available.

Introducing Little Miss Georgie Girl!

1 Chihuahua heartbeat- Sunfrog.com

I was devastated when our rescue puppy died two days before she was to become ours, mere weeks after we’d lost Roxy, our beloved fifteen-year-old pup, and I wondered how I could risk opening my heart to another puppy. Surprisingly enough, Hubby, the guy who’d been saying he didn’t want any more pets, convinced me to keep looking.

When I came across an ad selling Chihuahua puppies in the Vancouver area, I gave the contact information to my son, who lives out there, and left it up to him whether to get a puppy or not. He chose this precious baby girl.

She snuggled into my son’s jacket and slept the entire four hours to her new home.

After discarding several names, we settled on Georgie. Miss Georgie Girl, to be exact. Gosh, she’s a cutie. Her fluffy coat is spectacular, with lovely markings and silky soft fur.

With her short snout, protruding bottom jaw and tiny jowls, she resembles a micro-mini boxer.

When I tucked Georgie into her sleep crate that first night, she gazed at me for a moment and then curled up and went right to sleep. I thought, “Wow, how easy is this?”

Famous last words. She started whimpering as soon as I left the room and didn’t stop the entire night. Or the next night. Or for many nights after that. It took two long weeks of her wailing nonstop between twice-nightly visits outside before she finally settled down. Broke my heart to put her (and me) through that, but I’m so glad I persevered. She’s a perfect angel at night now.

Georgie weighed 1.7 pounds at her eight-week vet appointment. She has a small umbilical hernia, which is nothing to worry about, but will need repairing when she’s spayed.

Other than pitifully complaining about her sore leg, Georgie simply put herself to bed and slept off the vaccine’s effects.

She quite enjoys her toy crate, and comes and goes as she pleases.

It’s been fifteen years since Hubby and I had a new puppy. We’d forgotten how busy and curious they are. Georgie’s nose is always to the ground and she tries to eat whatever she comes across. And thank goodness she’s so small because she wants to bite and chew everything. Shoes, clothes, furniture, fingers, toes…noses.

Distracting her with toys usually works.

She entertains herself very well.

Georgie accompanies me into the bathroom at night while I wash up, and out of desperation to save my toes, I discovered that toilet paper rolls are highly entertaining.

One day I came across this scenario.

She’d dragged a towel I’d left by the door into the living room and settled in for a comfy chew. She was not impressed when I took the roll away.

Georgie thinks Roxy’s favourite snuggle blanket makes a fine plaything. She drags it from her bed and comically runs laps with it hanging from her mouth.

Works for tug-of-war, too.

She’s not averse to snuggling with it, though.

Roxy hated this little bed and never used it. Georgie took to it right from the start.

If I’m nearby, she keeps a loving eye on me.

The bed is tippy, so I tucked a rolled-up towel underneath to stabilize it. Georgie promptly pulled it out every time I put it there until I finally gave up. Apparently a tippy bed is more fun.

She sometimes sits flat on her bum.

Roxy slept on my lap while I used the computer, and Georgie often does, too.

Or she runs around the room, exploring and playing with her toys.

If Hubby’s in his workout room, she scratches on the door.

Sometimes we play fetch while I’m on the computer, and she’s getting quite good at it. If I’m slow to respond, she smacks my leg and twitters like a tiny bird. When she’s tired, she’ll lie quietly at my feet.

Georgie’s had a couple of playdates with our grand-dog. Daisy, who weighs less than four pounds, looks huge beside Georgie, but that will eventually change. I think they’ll become good friends.

Running is the best fun, ever.

The only thing better than running inside is running outside.

She loves the backyard.

So much to explore…

To eat…

Because of these fun distractions, she rarely wants to go back inside when we do. We won’t indulge in the chase game, so this can become quite time-consuming. Much to my consternation, the little escape artist discovered she could slip through the yard’s front latticework or duck under a few spots in the chain-link fence.

I began taking her outside on her leash, both to keep her safely in the yard and to easily corral her after she’s done her business. Luckily, she doesn’t mind the harness and leash (which is also great for chewing). She’s enthusiastic about walks, too.

Hubby installed new front fencing and put chicken wire along the chain-link. Not too pretty, but it does the job.

We still have problems convincing her to come in, and using the leash isn’t always convenient, so I’ve borrowed a little pen. It’s the best thing ever, for when we don’t have time to let her run loose. Georgie enjoys being in it, does her business right away, and we can easily pick her up afterward.

Just like Roxy did, Georgie helps me with the laundry.

Georgie’s philosophy is “play hard, sleep hard”. I can’t resist taking (too many) photos of how adorable she looks asleep.

Some of her positions are quite hilarious.

She used to stick her tongue out and suckle while sleeping. So precious!

She prefers snuggling near our neck and shoulders.

The couch pillow is comfy, too.

I get this face if I’m on the couch without her.

She can go up and down the carpeted stairs on her own.

But the steep, tiled stairs are still beyond her comfort level.

Like most Chihuahuas, she loves sleeping in the sunshine.

If there’s no sun, the heat register will do nicely.

Those ears though!

Georgie’s ever-evolving ears continue to enchant us. At eight weeks, her right ear stood up and her left one bent down.

Soon after, at two months, both ears bent.

By ten weeks, her left ear decided to stand, while the right continued to bend.

A week later, they both stood at attention.

Currently, at three months, her right ear ripples a bit and the left one stands up. Unbearably adorable.

At Georgie’s twelve week vet checkup, she weighed 2.5 pounds. Although she took to her crate again to sleep afterwards, the second vaccine seemed to hurt less.

At three months, Georgie’s smart, sweet, mischievous, and so entertaining. I’m amazed at how many words she already understands, when she chooses to listen. We’re still working on potty-training and obeying, but that’s slowly improving. She’s my little ray of sunshine and I anticipate many years of fun and adventures together.

Oh, and Hubby, that guy who didn’t want another pet, he’s totally smitten. Georgie completely adores him, too.