The life of two

The life of two

Ten-months ago my life forever changed when a little lost and scarred puppy captured my heart. I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

Lucy has been such a blessing, an incredible addition to our little family.

January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015

It’s true, the love and compassion from a dog is like no other. I have received so much comfort and pure happiness from this little nine-pound dog over the past several months.

Every day, Lucy does something that has both Jason and I laughing uncontrollably. The way she plays, sits and stares at you with those beautiful calming eyes, or her cute little quirks, always puts a smile on my face.

The time we spend together away from the house, or even in the backyard, are by far my favorite. Lucy has such an incredible amount of energy that unfolds as soon as you take her off her leash in the backyard. The explosion of speed is hilarious to watch.

January 10, 2015

January 10, 2015

This little puppy has helped in giving me the confidence to go running the Greenbelt path, both with her and now on my own. There’s a certain kind of comfort you feel knowing a dog is with you, no matter how small. She helped in carrying us to new distances while both of us enjoyed the fresh outdoor air. Now, when I know I want to run longer distances, I put on my running gear and head to the Greenbelt.

Lucy has also helped me appreciate the outdoors on yet another level. That appreciation becomes wrapped up in her excitement as soon as we reach a familiar place, the parking lot and then the path. Her curiosity always makes me smile.

When she was three-months old, Lucy also got the taste of going hiking for the first time. She was eager to lead us along the path and find new smells at the bottom of a waterfall that kept her entertained for quite some time.

This little puppy of mine . . .

We are inseparable during the day, yes the beauty of working from home. Lucy always has me within view. In other words, she is either cuddled behind my desk chair, or on my lap snuggled in a ball.

My recent trip to Fort Myers was the first time we were a part since we officially adopted her. The welcome home I received left me speechless with a big ol goofy smile on my face.

There was one point when I sat on the couch and she was instantly on my chest looking me straight in the eye. We both fell asleep on the couch after our reunion. Lucy laid across my neck daring me to leave as we both fell deep asleep.

I love the time we share together. I love how affectionate she is and how eager she is to be in my presence. My favorite part of the day is when we both relax at the end of the night with her cuddled on my lap.

Jason told me the other night that Lucy will never forget that I saved her, which is why she always has to be close by. That comment almost sparked a stream of tears. I think we saved each other. She filled a gap I didn’t know existed.

Although I do not know her history, according to the vet, she will turn a year old on Jan. 21.

I will leave you with this . . . an excerpt from the book I began writing late last year . . .

Jocelyn woke to Oliver’s worried voice asking for her help one brisk Monday morning.

After slowly yawning off the grogginess, she reluctantly climbed out of bed and put on a sweatshirt before heading downstairs to meet Oliver  on the  front porch.

She had no idea the life of two was going to change that day.

It made a difference

I’ve been contemplating a decision for a while now, a decision that has filled my thoughts on a daily basis. A decision that was greater than me.

That decision stumbled upon my thoughts after our new neighbors moved in a few months ago. Those neighbors brought a beautiful white dog with them.

The first day they moved in, Lucy and I were outside. I asked what appeared to be its owners if my puppy could say hello, sniff noses. She said she did not know if her dog was good with little dogs. So, Lucy and I went on our way to the backyard.

I’m a huge animal lover, which I’m certain developed while I was growing up. My sisters, brothers and I were surrounded by dogs, cats, horses and even a duck when we were little living on a farm. Those animals were always well taken care of, often times spoiled. There was absolutely no question they were loved and given the best home possible.

So, you see as the days, weeks and even months passed by, my concern only grew, as my heart continued to break.

The dog, yes the beautiful white dog, remained outside as the owners sought the comfort of their new home. This lonely creature was tied up to a tree without proper shelter.

The barking . . . oh the barking, which truly sounded like crying filled the sky at all hours of the night and day. The excruciating howling ignited a chain reaction with the other dogs in the neighborhood, often times getting the attention of Lucy as well.

I gave the owners the benefit of the doubt the first week as the dogs crying continued. On more than one occasion I had to turn the music on to drown the sound out. It was breaking my heart.

More time went by and still the dog was left chained to a tree, sleeping and going to the bathroom in a restricted area. In an area as far as its chain would take it.

I never saw the owners give the dog any kind of attention. I never saw the owners feed it.

What began as the dog getting excited when Lucy and I came into view slowly diminished. It appeared that it was too exhausted from lack of nutrition, or freezing because of the temperatures.

I believe the dog was losing weight. I could see it down its back and into its hind legs.

When the temperatures dropped into the 20s and we had frost, the dog was still outside tied to a tree.

Through nonstop rain, the dog was still tied to a tree.

Although Jason and I had talked about intervening on more than one occasion, it was always left untouched.

Last night, I finally broke down.

It had been raining all day and it was a wet cold.

After the sun went down, Lucy and I went outside, with a flashlight in my hand, as she made her way around the yard to go to the bathroom. When we came up to the side of the property, I shined the light where the dog is usually laying under the tree. Although I could see it, it did not move its head. It just laid there curled in a ball. After I said “hi puppy” it slowly lifted its head.

The poor thing had to be freezing.

I walked into the house and looked at Jason and said I have to do something.

I just couldn’t watch this poor dog suffer anymore. I could no longer sit back and watch. I could no longer listen to it howl, obviously saying it was uncomfortable.

I owed it to this poor dog to do something. Maybe enhance the life the owners were giving it.

Jason helped me track down the animal warden’s number for our area.

When I called I instantly felt a sigh of relief.

I did something.

I was however not full of complete confidence something was going to happen. They didn’t ask many questions and I didn’t share a ton of information. They did however have the address of where the dog was located and the woman told me she would have someone look into it.

Around 10 a.m. I started to hear voices out my office window. Voices coming from the property next door.

The animal warden was on the property talking to someone.

That moment, I thought “it made a difference.” That phone call made a difference. Someone listened and was looking into the well-being of that beautiful dog.

Shortly after he left, Lucy and I went outside so she could go to the bathroom. What I saw instantly sparked a smile. Instantly gave me confirmation that I did the right thing. That I made a difference.

The dog was eating. It was the first time I had ever seen it eat. It did not care that Lucy and I were within view. It chowed down on a bowl full of food.

Later I heard more voices and what sounded like hammering. This beautiful white dog was getting shelter. Not ideal shelter in my opinion, but shelter.

The dog now has space under stairs, room that was boarded off, as well as what looked to be some kind of bed. The dog will now be out of the elements, the rain, the snow, the frost, the sleet.

It is still chained up and does not have much room to roam, but it has shelter. Something I desperately wanted for this poor animal.

I feel so much better knowing that I made the living situation better for this animal.

My heart is warmed. I did a good deed. I helped a poor animal in need.

Now, only if they would give it the exercise it deserves and continue to feed it on a daily basis.


Boy seeks very special dog

Boy seeks very special dog

Published in Herald & Tribune Nov. 5, 2014 issue

A young boy who had his first seizure at 11 months old is in need of the community’s support to help his family raise money for a seizure response dog.

Misty Royston, said her son Justin, who is now 8 years old, had his first seizure at a graduation party a friend of theirs was having before he was a year old. She said she knew instantly what was happening because of a family member who has epilepsy.

After he was taken to the hospital, the doctors said they would keep a close eye on him and see what happens. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and has Tonic Clonic seizures, also known as grand-mal seizures.

Misty said Justin has always had extended seizures that last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, which always results in a visit to the emergency room.

When Justin was 3 years old he began taking speech pathology, which he still continues today because of the affects his epilepsy has had on his brain.

The young Sulphur Springs School 3rd grade student is now on medication to help with the seizures.

The family travels to Child Neurology Services in Knoxville twice a year for check-ups and testing because it is the closest pediatric neurologists. Once a year, Justin has an EEG test done to monitor his brain’s electrical activity.

In July, the test showed an increase in abnormal activity in Justin’s brain while he is sleeping, which has raised some concerns. The doctor had asked Misty if she had noticed any jerking or twitching while Justin was sleeping. Misty said she had not because she too was sleeping.

“They don’t make equipment to alert us if he has one in his sleep,” Misty said of his seizures.

After hearing of the results, Misty had a conversation with her friend who has a diabetic alert service dog for her son. She said her friend encouraged her to look into getting a service dog for Justin.

“I think I spent weeks on the computer looking at different organizations seeing the benefit,” Misty said.

Through the research, she stumbled upon Dan Warren of Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. Having a service dog would keep Justin safe, as well as notify someone to get medicine if needed.

After signing a contract with the nonprofit organization, the family was placed on a six to eight month waiting list.

Misty said the organization tailors a Labrador puppy specifically to Justin’s needs. The specific tailoring is made possible by the family filling out a questionnaire regarding Justin’s activities, hobbies, how he deals with school and how receptive he is to everything going on around him.

The Royston’s have to raise $25,000 to obtain a service dog. The price tag includes the dog, training and travel expenses for the trainer to come to Jonesborough. Once the family receives a dog, they will receive a full week’s training.

“Once the dog is placed with us we receive two years of additional training,” Misty said.

The family began their fundraising efforts in September and has raised $5,000 for the service dog.

“We have received a lot of support,” she said from the community.

The support has come from local businesses, individuals, several anonymous donations and fundraisers.

The 3 Minute Ultimate Shine Car Wash, located in Johnson City and Greeneville, is donating 30 percent of each car wash when individuals use the promo code 899 until Nov. 20.

Lollipop Shop and Ruby Tuesdays is also donating a percentage of the sales when customers show a flyer until Nov. 20.

For more information about the flyers, send Misty an email at

The next fundraising event will take place at Capone’s in Johnson City on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. The benefit concert will feature Bonnie Blue and Southern Rebellion. There is a $5 minimum cover charge.

To follow Justin’s story and fundraising efforts, like his Facebook page “Your Change Can Make a Change for Justin.”

“Justin is very excited,” Misty said. “I don’t think he fully understands everything 100 percent, but he knows he is getting a puppy that is all his and is supposed to help him and watch over him.”

Individuals can also make a donation at


The start of another adventure . . .

Jason and I are about to start another adventure . . .

When we moved to Kingsport, Tenn., we decided to sign a six month lease – a decision that has proven to be very beneficial. Although we like the complex we are living at, we seem to always leave Kingsport on our days off, exploring other areas, but the one we currently call home.

The great part about that is we are leaning towards an area we both think is beautiful, one in which waterfalls are much closer to visit.

So, today I turned in our notice to vacate at the end of October. I’m excited about this new adventure. We have already begun the process of looking for another place to live – this time a home we can rent out in the country somewhat, hopefully.

When we first started dating we rented a house from friends that was on some acreage, which we enjoyed. Although it’s convenient to live in an apartment complex, it’s also nice to live somewhere, somewhere you do not have a downstairs neighbor and upstairs neighbor and everywhere in-between.

The next few months will be fun as we find places we like and take tours of the homes to see if it is a good fit for us. The conversations have already begun of the possibilities that lie before us now that we are thinking of renting a home. I can start a garden and grow everything I need for a salad, or ingredients for a meal. We can possibly get a dog, since we will most likely have a decent yard – that in itself is pretty exciting.

IMG_0081The best part, get this, I can set up an actual office, instead of one in the corner of our bedroom now. That is exciting, very exciting . . .

Everywhere we go, we are looking at houses, not just to rent, but one day to buy. The great thing is we both seem to think the same houses are beautiful – a wraparound porch and a beautiful backdrop – mountains, streams, creeks – as our view into the backyard, or front yard for that matter.

Jason and I are pretty simple people, very simple.

Tennessee is a beautiful state, one in which Jason and I both agree feels more like home every day.