Monday, October 19, 2009

Explore Westerville, OH with Debra Shiveley Welch, Chris, Kelly Belle, Emma Lou, and Me!

It's time to meet another one of Mom's friends from the Divas of Boomer Diva Nation! This week we are off to Westerville, OH to meet Debra Shiveley Welch, her son Chris, Kelly Belle, and Emma Lou.

From the time Debra moved out on her own, she has had pets, and of all them were rescued in some way.  So when the time came to find a pet to share with her husband, Mark and son, Chris, she went to the pound and found Kelly.  Actually, Mark found Kelly.  As Debra tells the story, "When my husband saw this white, shaggy puppy, he got what I call “the goofy look”: that expression that comes across a person’s face when they see a cute baby, a fuzzy kitten or any baby for that matter, which they simply can’t resist. Yes, it was there – goofy as could be. So, we chose Kelly."  Kelly was three months old when she became part of the Welch family and has been with them ever since.  Debra says she has been a loving companion to all of them, but especially to Debra's son, Chris.

The other pet in Debra's life is Emma Lou, a gorgeous, black, white and tan longhaired Calico cat.  Emma came to the family in a bit different way.  Instead of Debra and family adopting her, she adopted them!  Debra tells the story of how Emma came to them:  "Chris was sitting on our deck, playing his guitar, when this fur covered skeleton climbed the stairs to our deck and plopped herself in the middle of his lap. Chris pet her for a while, cooing to her and quietly examining her, when she jumped out of his lap as quickly as she had appeared and ran off.  We speculated about the obviously abandoned cat, and decided that the next morning, we’d buy some food, just in case. Around nine that night, a pounding was heard at our back door. It was Emma, knocking and demanding to be let in. We opened the garage door, made a bed, and Emma spent her first night in our garage: alone, but safe.  Early the next morning saw me at the store, purchasing cat food, a litter box and litter. Emma has been with us ever since."

As you can see Debra has her hands full as wife to Mark, and Mom to Chris, Kelly Belle, and Emma Lou.  But she is also an award winning author!  In 2004, at age 52, her first book A Very Special Child was published. It has won the Faithwriters Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read award and has been on Amazon, Amazon Japan, and Barnes and Nobles best sellers list.  And she has passed this talent on to her son Chris, who is a gifted writer himself.  Since that first book in 2004, either she or Chris have published a book a year. Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams made its appearance in 2005, Christopher Bullfrog Catcher in 2006, in 2007, Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher, winner of the Faithwriters Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read, Book and Authors Literary Excellence and Books and Authors Best Non-Fiction Book 2007 made its debut, and Just Chris, her son’s companion book to her latest work in 2008. She is now working on Cedar Woman, her first romance novel and a cookbook with her son.

Debra, her son, Christopher, and her husband, Mark, live in Westerville, Ohio. Home to just over 35,000 citizens and the birthplace of the Anti-Saloon League, Westerville is a charming family-oriented town with several parks, the Inniswood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, and Otterbein, the private liberal arts college founded in 1847. With its low crime rate and diverse parks and family-oriented activities, Debra says it is a great place to raise a family.

If you're planning a trip with your Mom to Westerville, you will actually want to stay in Columbus.  It's only 5.5 miles from Westerville.  When we looked for hotels to stay in, the Columbus OSU Red Roof Inn was our pick.  It's a very good location to bring your Mom because there is a lot of grass so you can take her for a walk.  The rooms are clean.  There are restaurants and a grocery store nearby - in case Mom forgot to pack your food.  When we called to get information about the hotel, the lady on the phone was very helpful.  And best of all - I get to stay for free.  In fact all pets stay free!

Once you get to Westerville, ask your Mom to take you to the Brooksedge Dog Park.  Brooksedge  is a big fenced in area with 3 separate sections for different dog sizes. The area has parking, a dog waste bags dispenser, trash cans, water bowls and fountains for both you and your Mom. There are benches for Mom so she can sit and watch you play, some large climbing toys, and even a water hydrant!

If you just want to go for a nice walk, Mom can take you to Blendon Woods where you can walk the Goldenrod Pet Trail.  It's an easy 1.2 mile grassy trail, located in a beautiful 653 acre metro park with a 118 acre waterfowl refuge and an 11 acre lake that is sanctuary for 100s of birds and wildlife.  You'll want to wear your leash here so Mom doesn't get lost - and anyway it's a rule.  Mom will also need to bring the pooper scooper so she can clean up after you.

Debra mentioned the Inniswood Botanical Garden as a great place to visit.  Dogs are not allowed in Inniswood itself but they also have a trail where you and Mom can take a walk.  The Chipmunk Chatter Trail is easy, less than a mile long, and paved. And of course, you must be on leash, under control and cleaned up after.

No wonder Debra loves living in Westerville.  Next time you're in Ohio, stop by and visit!  Tell her Traveling Bob sent you.