Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Paws Giveaway

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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SMOKIE


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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