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.

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.

 

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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.

She’ll Always Live In My Heart, My Sweet Roxy

It’s still hard to believe that barely a month after I last posted to wish Roxy a happy fifteenth birthday, she was gone. Even though she was old and very fragile, there’s no real way to prepare for that kind of loss. She was truly a special little girl, the joy in my life, and I miss her immensely. A few years ago, I blogged about my wee diva, and if you care to, you can read that post HERE. And another post when she broke her leg HERE.

1 Roxy's last day22a.

As the reality of Roxy’s imminent passing became painfully clear to us, Hubby and I started talking about what it’d be like to not have a fur baby in the house. We’ve both had pets for most of our lives, including the eight dogs and cats we’ve raised throughout our marriage, but Hubby insisted he didn’t want any more. I, on the other hand, couldn’t commit to that possibility.

3 Pets4

I’m mostly housebound now. With my impaired vision, I can’t work, I can’t drive, and I struggle at times to find a purpose in my life. Roxy had been my purpose. My trusting little companion who loved me as much as I loved her. Knowing she was patiently waiting for me at the foot of the stairs, every single morning, gave me a reason to haul my butt out of bed and get on with my day. Her morning kisses were the best antidepressant on the market.

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After Roxy passed, we agreed to get one last pet. I wasn’t in a hurry, but I wanted to keep my options open so I began to peruse the classifieds. I soon came across an ad for teacup Chihuahua cross puppies. Apparently the tiny mama died delivering her pups, and the surviving puppies were brought to a rescue group. We liked the idea of a rescue dog, and that these were young puppies. We especially liked how the adoption fee went back into the rescue operation to help more animals find homes. And coincidentally, their probable birthdate is January 8th, same as Roxy’s.

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It was all so perfect, it almost seemed too good to be true. And turns out, it was, because two days before we were to pick up our new baby, the foster mom texted to say the puppy became sick after getting her deworm meds. After a long, stressful day of exchanging texts, I got the horrible news I’d dreaded. My beautiful puppy had died. How could this have happened? It was so unfair. Unfair for me to go through something so awful right after losing Roxy. And totally unfair to that tiny puppy who’d already overcome such a rough start to life.

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My feelings are raw, and a part of me is afraid to ever open my heart to another pet. But I’m a dog lover, so I likely will get another one, sooner or later. Meanwhile it’s important to remember Roxy as the unique and special little character that she was. That three-pound scrap of preciousness enriched my life in so many ways for fifteen amazing years, and she deserves to be remembered with smiles, not sadness.

5a With Roxy

And I mustn’t dwell on what might have been with that other sweet puppy who captivated me completely in just one short visit. My tiny rescue puppy who never got the chance to rescue me.

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Happy Birthday, Roxy

Today is Roxy’s fifteenth birthday! There were times in the past year when we weren’t sure she’d make it this far, but she’s hanging in there and I’m thankful for every day I have with my little doodlebug.

1712-3 Roxy.jpg

I’d also like to say that I’ll be stepping away from this blog for the foreseeable future. I’m not currently writing, and I have so many other projects to focus on, that it doesn’t make sense to try and come up with viable content every week. I’ll pop back in when I have news to share or vacations to gush about, but it’ll be more miss than hit.

Meanwhile, I’ve attached a link to a post from last year, with links to some of my more popular topics.

Stepping Away…

Have a wonderful 2018 and wishing you all the best. See you when I see you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it.

The tree is trimmed, the house is decorated, now I’m waiting for the spirit of Christmas to arrive. I don’t care about presents, I just want to be with my family and am looking forward to having our youngest son at home. And hoping we can spend some cyber time with our eldest son and his family. We’ll be going to our brown-eyed boy’s new house for dinner to celebrate with him and our daughter-in-law, along with some of her family.

This will be our first Christmas without Mom, and her absence will be felt by so many. We still miss her every day, but during the holidays her loss is more poignant. She’ll be with us in our hearts and in our thoughts.

As I look towards the New Year, I wish all the best for everyone. May it be a great year, full of love, and laughter, and good health. I don’t want to be greedy, so I won’t say “May all our wishes come true”, but how about – most of our wishes. I’m confident a few of mine will! Happy New Year!