Never a Replacement

The other day my now six year old niece came up and asked this question: “is Scarlett sad that we replaced her?”

At first I was not quite sure how in the world I was supposed to answer her. The question was so out if the blue it actually hit me rather hard, but knowing my niece she would expect an answer so I knew that I would have to do my best to give her one.

“No honey,” I said. “I do not think that Scarlett would be sad, because we did not replace her. We will never be able to replace her. Just know that when we adopted Scarlett, she was just a little puppy who needed a home (this was in 2001) and someone to love her and that’s what we did. And when we got Pilot he was also a little puppy who needed a home and someone to love him, and so that is what we will do. Scarlett will always have a place in our hearts and we are not replacing her, we are just giving another puppy the same chance that she had.”
If there is one thing I want my readers to remember,  it is what I said above. When a beloved pet passes away, you are not replacing them by going out and adopting another, you are simply expanding the room in your heart. 
Keep your tail waggin’.
Gail

Insta-dog!

Grumpy Cat, Harlow, Indiana, and Reece, Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund, Toast, Doug the Pug, and….Pilot?

If there is one thing for sure, the Internet loves its animal pictures. So much so that some animals have their own social media accounts, taking in millions of followers and huge chunks of money from product endorsements. I decided to see what the fuss was all about and created an account for my little guy and so far the numbers are pretty steady. It’s also somehow a great deal of fun. With so much negativity going on in the world right now, people need a little something to brighten their lives and animals are great at doing just that. I know Scarlett certainly did a great deal to brighten mine, and Pilot is doing the same. 
Because who could resist this face?

Keep your tail waggin’, and be sure to follow more of Pilot and his antics @pilottheflyingace on Instagram!

A View From the Cockpit

It’s been a busy last couple of days here at the house. Having Pilot around has certainly changed a great many things.

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"I'm a TMNT fan."

He wakes me up promptly at 6:30 almost every morning (7 AM if I’m lucky), and is in bed by 9:30 at night (with a few naps squeezed in here and there throughout the day). I take him with me to my sister’s house every morning and he has fun time with everyone there. He’s a very interesting pup to be around that’s for sure. At my house he is rather calm, although he does play, but at my sister’s house he is constantly on the go, pin balling off of everything in her living room.

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I AM the baby of the family after all.

I’m also fairly certain he thinks he’s a human. His favorite thing to do is to be cradled in my sister’s lap and have a chew toy in his mouth….holding it in his paws.

Fairly soon I’m going to have to start looking into training classes for the little guy and I will post more updates on what’s going on at that front soon. Last night I had my first real scare though when he got stung on the face by wasp. Poor little thing jumped as high as he could and then ran to me shaking. He was rushed to the nearby emergency vet where he was given some medication through injection to prevent anything worse. He’s been doing well though and there hasn’t been any reaction. He did sleep most of the day though.

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Meanwhile on the book front, everything is going pretty well. I just did a book sale at the very shelter that Scarlett was adopted from and was able to meet some very nice people. Pilot even came by for a minute to help me out.

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Don't I look author-rey?

I may have some other events that I will have lined up which I will add to the calendar as soon as I book them. That’s all for now though. Until next time….

Always keep your tail waggin’!

Gail

New Arrival!

I have been terribly busy the last week or so and that is because there has been a new arrival at my house. 

Meet Pilot, a nine week old Chihuahua mix from the Douglas County Animal Shelter in GA. He is so named due to his airplane wing ears. Isn’t he cute?!

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He is fitting very well with me so far and I will continue to try and update everyone on his antics as we begin our journey together.

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(First trip to the vet and we got a clean   clean bill of health! As you can see, he was very impressed. )

By the end of the month I am hoping that I can have him in obedience school. It’s been over a year since my Scarlett passed away and I finally decided that it was time. No one can tell you how long to grieve for your loved ones (pets or humans), and only you can decide when it’s time to move on, but please remember to always seek help if you feel like you need it.

In the meantime, I’m going to play a rousing game of chase.

Always keep your tail wagging!

Gail

June is National Pet Adoption Month!

Now that June is here, some people may be feeling that the start of summer has officially arrived. For the pet lovers out there, June is also National Pet Adoption Month! I’ve always been big advocate for adoption. My girl, Scarlett, was adopted from  Cobb County Animal Control in Marietta, Georgia 14 years ago. In fact, I revisited the animal shelter just a few weeks ago and I very nearly cried. I’m pretty sure it was a combination of knowing that this was the place that I found my best friend as well as the fact that there were so many dogs and cats there! I learned later that 50 dogs and cats were adopted out that day, which made me rather happy, but I was also rather saddened to remember that for every dog and cat that gets adopted from an animal shelter or rescue, one more is already there to take its place. Let’s look at it this way though: when you adopt from a rescue, you are not only adopting a new best friend, but you are also potentially saving the life of another as well. When you adopt from a rescue, that frees up space in that rescue to bring in another dog or cat out of an animal shelter and placing them in loving foster homes where they will get the tlc that they need before going to their forever homes. When the rescues are able to obtain more animals out of the animal shelters, that also helps free up space in those animal shelters so that can make more room for other animals in need. So basically, when you adopt from a rescue, or even directly from an animal shelter, you are not just saving one life, but you could be saving as many as 3 (albeit, indirectly of course)!

In honor of this month, I have decided to create a board on Pinterest: Scarlett’s Rescue Friends, in which I will try to update regularly with pictures of other animals that are in desperate need of loving, furrever homes. I will probably end up sticking to animals mostly of the dog and cat variety, but I do know that there are other types of animals that are in need of homes as well, so I will also be doing my best to post pictures of them too. There are also a few items of The Tail of Scarlett merchandise now available for sale in my shop on CafePress: Nature’s Wonder. More items will be added very soon so please feel free to head on over there and check them out (and also feel free to check out the other items that are for sale throughout the store as well!). Also, a few days ago someone suggested to me that it might be a good idea for me to place individual prints of the illustrations from The Tail of Scarlett up for sale for those that might like to own an individual print from the book, so I decided to set up shop on Etsy. Please note that all prints are only available for digital download (at least for the moment they are).

Until next time: always keep your tail waggin’!

-Gail

 

 

 

A Nice Little Write Up

Recently, the Marietta Daily Journal in Marietta, GA was kind enough to do a nice little write up about yours truly as well as The Tail of Scarlett which I am going to re-post here below:

Gail Ledford, an Austell resident, has authored a new children’s book titled “The Tail of Scarlett.” Her family members include mother, Lisa Ledford, father, James Ledford, sister, Beth Poirier, brother-in-law, Damon Poirier and niece, Sarah Poirier.

Ledford recently shared a few details with the Marietta Daily Journal regarding her new book.

Tell our readers a little about your book.

“The Tail of Scarlett” is a children’s book based on a true story of my dog Scarlett and all of the different things that she and I went through together throughout her life (and mine).

What inspired this book?

I had always thought about what it would be like to write a children’s book, but for some reason I was never able to come up with anything that felt right. And then Scarlett passed away in January of 2015. She was 13 years of age and she had been with me since she was 6 weeks old. That’s a long time! So, of course I was extremely devastated when she passed and I was trying figure out a way to process my feelings (she was my best friend in the entire world after all), but I also enjoy helping others as well and so I thought that I could use the book as a way to help others who may be grieving the loss of their own pet, especially children, because more often than not it’s the death of the family pet where they have their first experience with this kind of thing. I basically wanted to use this book to create a reminder for people to always remember the good times you had, and when the time comes to say goodbye, to always remember that you gave them the best life that you possibly could and to know that you will see them again someday.

How long did it take you to write it, and what was that process like?

It took me about two months to do the entire thing. I actually thought it would take me longer to do so because I also did all of the illustrations, but it was just one of those things where I knew that if I stopped I did not think I would be able to start again so I just kept going until all of a sudden I had this entire book full of pictures and it wasn’t really until the end that I actually had any ideas to what I was going to do with all of them! Over all though, the entire process felt extremely cathartic because it gave me a chance to release some of those pent up feelings that I had been holding in for pretty much an entire year, so by the time I was done I felt so much better about everything. I remember crying as I wrote the words and feeling like a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

What is your career background?

I am a nanny to my five-year-old niece (who is also in the book by the way!) and I do volunteer work at Zoo Atlanta on the weekends where I work closely with their education department (as do all of the volunteers) where I educate guests about all of the zoo animals that live there.

How can people purchase your book?

“The Tail of Scarlett” can be purchased on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble’s website and I am donating proceeds from all of the profits made from the book to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, at www.wearethecure.org. I also have a website where you can keep track of all of the latest book news (as well as my own craziness) which can be found at “The Tail of Scarlett” at scarlettstails.wordpress.com.

(Link to the original article.)

 

Remember: Always keep your tail waggin’!

Gail

Events!

Hi everyone!

So, I just pinned a post to the top which I posted all of the events that I have scheduled (so far). Hopefully, I will be able to add more to that schedule more in the future.

Always keep your tail waggin’.

Gail
April 29-30th: Tractor Supply in Douglasville, GA Supporting GA Animal Welfare Advocates. 
June 3rd: The Harley Davidson on Thornton RD. Supporting GA. Animal Welfare Advocates. 

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Hi everyone!

I wanted to have a place to put my calendar of events concerning The Tail of Scarlett which will be detailing where I will be promoting the book.

April 29th and 30th

Tractor Supply Co. in Douglasville, GA

Time: 11 AM – 4 PM

Address: 2661 Hwy 92 Fairburn Rd, Douglasville, GA 30135

June 3rd

Harley-Davidson

Time: 11 AM – 4 PM

Address: Thornton Road, Austell, GA

Find a Quiet Place

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Above is a picture of one of my most favorite places: The Sweetwater Reservoir. I like to go there and feed the ducks and geese (the healthy feed specifically sold in their bait shop) and sit there and think on a nearby bench. Sometimes it’s in the quiet stillness that allows for the deepest thinking and reflection.

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It’s always important to make time for yourself. And finding a quiet place to think is one of the best ways to do that. It can be very much anywhere, even someplace in your own house (a special room just for you). It helps to recharge every once in awhile.

Self-Care: Making sure that you are the priority above all else.

Self care is any intentional act that a person does to maintain good physical, emotional, and mental health. It’s something that needs to be done in order to take care of YOURSELF. Good self care is often a challenge for many people, especially for those who have ever been through traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a loved one. Because we are so busy in our grief that we forget take care of ourselves which can be extremely detrimental to your health. Your self care needs might be different then mine, as every person is different, but I think that it is important that everyone take a little bit of time out of their day, each and every single day, to do something just for themselves. Here are a few important things that people often overlook that might be helpful:

  • Your diet. Food is often something that people overlook. We are often so busy that we do not have to eat to eat regularly, or we often substitute fast food for regular meals instead. It might not be reasonable to expect everyone to always eat 3 square meals a day plus snacks, but you should always make sure that you are getting adequate nutrition. Eat something! Even if it is just a small amount, try to at least eat a small amount of food for each of your meals.
  • Exercise. The Center for Disease Control recommends that people get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Now, I know that this might be hard. Perhaps you took your dog out for a walk every single morning and that’s how you got your exercise, and now your beloved animal companion is gone and you don’t feel much like getting out of the house anymore and that’s understandable! But exercise is a great thing because it gives you something to focus on and also, exercise has been known to release endorphins throughout a person’s body (ever had that feeling of euphoria after a hard workout even though you’ve just worked your butt off? That’s your endorphins talking!). Exercise can help combat depression, sadness, and prevent chronic health problems. There are plenty of different things people can do for exercise, and you don’t always have to do it alone either which is great. And, if you do happen to have a new animal companion, you can use it to create new memories with them.
  • Get enough sleep. I think that when my Scarlett passed it was harder for me to get any sleep because I was having a hard time getting over the loss, especially right after it happened. Of course, I’m a natural night owl anyway, but even I know that it is important for people to get enough sleep in order to be able function properly. Not everyone is the same, of course, but a reasonable guideline is that a person may need about 7-10 hours of sleep per night in order to keep in good health (for kids it’s a bit more than that). So make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night.
  • Seek professional help if you need to. When you are grieving over the loss of a loved one (Either human or animal), can be overwhelming, so sometimes it’s best to seek the help of a licensed professional. I learned a long time ago that often seeking outside help is extremely beneficial because it allows you to have someone to speak to without that person already having any sort of pre-conceived bias.
  • Writing. One of the things that I did during the days and weeks immediately following my Scarlett’s passing was I wrote her letters. Now, I know it might seem a little weird that I was writing letters to my dog, but it did help. It helped me get my feelings out, and it made the grieving a little easier. Another idea is to keep a journal with all of your thoughts and feelings. A huge part of the reason why I wrote The Tail of Scarlett was because I was still trying to figure out how to process my feelings and it gave me something to concentrate on, keeping me from dwelling too much on the negative.
  • Meditation and reflection. Doing some meditation exercises can help your body and mind relax, which can be very beneficial to your self-care. Also, finding a nice quiet place where you can just be alone with your thoughts for awhile and give yourself time to reflect can also help you gather your thoughts and give you a chance to just breathe. A few weeks ago I went to one of my favorite places and did nothing but sit by the water, feeding the local ducks and geese that like to hang out there, and just spend a quiet afternoon sitting on a bench and looking out over the water. It can be a very calming thing to do.
  • Surround yourself with good people. Make spending time with family and friends a priority. Spend time with those that you know are going to be supportive, and if you need to, join a support group (there are plenty of support groups out there for people who have experienced the loss of a beloved pet or human loved one). Be wary of those that only call you when they need something, make you feel even more depressed when you leave them then you were when you first saw them, or belittle your experience, or don’t have time to listen to you. Set limits!

And above all, make sure you remember to make yourself a priority. Make sure that your self-care comes first and not just something that happens by accident. And remember…

Always keep your tail waggin’.

Gail