November 26, 2009

My List of Thankfulness

This Thanksgiving is filled with firsts. I am spending my first Thanksgiving away from my family in Cleveland, Ohio. It's my first Georgia Thanksgiving. I will also be roasting my first turkey ever. (Jason wanted to fry a turkey in the spirit of Georgia, but I wouldn't let him. That's one first we can save for unimportant day.)

This year, and every year, I have so much for which to be thankful, and often times it's easy for me to take it for granted. So here's a small list of some of the important things for which I'm thankful:

1. My best friend, the love of my life, my better half, Jason, who spoils me with love, affection, support and encouragement.

2. My mom, grandparents and sisters - the most supportive family ever!

3. My dogs, MacKenzie and Dash, who put love in my life and a smile in my heart.

4. A beautiful home.

5. A new car that has air conditioning, working seat belts, a radio that doesn't take time to warm up on cold mornings to a decent volume, power steering fluid that is not a milky red color, and one that hasn't caught on fire yet. (Thanks, Obama.)

6. Food. All of it...except cooked carrots.

7. My very few, close friends, who are quick to support, slow to judge and have no problem picking up where we last left off...even if it was a year ago...since we are all busy people.

8. Jason. (He's worth a second mention...most days.)

9. I am thankful I got the premature gray hair instead of the tallness and the big nose.

10. I am thankful to have opportunity to live my life the way I want and the chance to pursue my dreams when I am ready. It is largely to the credit of our military, past and present. Thank you for keeping me safe and making this country great!

11. Honorable mention: sushi.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and may both your family gathering and the thanks in your heart be bountiful!

November 23, 2009

Lucie, the foster dog

My heart has been with a certain 3-month old shepherd mix puppy since I first laid eyes on her 2 weeks ago. Lucie and her twin sister were kenneled together at the shelter and, I was told, were two peas in a pod. But since her sister's adoption, Lucie has been nothing but very afraid of everyone and everything. She has been taken on two mobile adoptions, including the one this weekend, and shook like a leaf the whole time. My heart went out to her. So I thought that since I was not doing anything on Sunday (yesterday), I would ask to take her home for the day and try to work with her in effort to get her to come around, trust more and just have fun like a puppy should.

The shelter called Sunday morning, said Lucie was still available, and that I was welcome to foster her for a few days. I raced over to pick her up, and as soon as she saw me, she tried to hide under her bed. She did well on the way home in the portable kennel, hugging her toy the whole way.

I took her out and put on the floor in the living room and she was so scared. I slowly walked around the house and she followed me everywhere, but strayed on her own a little, exploring the new surroundings for herself. She found that she could fit nicely under the coffee table, and chose that as her safe haven. Next, we introduced MacKenzie and Dash to her. They sniffed her like crazy, as was to be expected. Lucie dished out many, many kisses to both of them. MacKenzie was unsure of her and kept hiding under the dining table, while Dash was thrilled to get a new playmate, even though he totally overpowered first.

MacKenzie and Dash didn't really know how to play with such a small creature. They tested her out and tried to play rough but then backed off when they realized she was more delicate than they originally thought.

After a bath, Lucie and I went outside and ran around a little, and she really opened up and came alive. She was smiling and jumping around and just letting loose like a puppy should. Later inside, Dash was persistent at trying to get her to play, and in a few hours...she was kicking his butt! In fact, those two resembled a cyclone for much of the day.

Last night, she slept well in her indoor kennel and whined only when she needed to go out to the bathroom. This morning, she followed the dogs out and went to the bathroom with them. She's getting the hang of housetraining but has had a few accidents.

Jason and I felt bad that we had to take her back already this morning, so we decided to keep her for another day/night. However, MacKenzie and Dash are exhausted! Lucie has given them each a dose of their own medicine. MacKenzie, the licker/kisser, is tired of receiving so many kisses from Lucie, and Dash, the instigator, is tired of playing. I think they'd both be happy if she had left today. :) She is also beginning to chew on things and in general, is exploring everything.

Lucie will make someone a wonderful forever friend. If we had more room on our bed, we'd adopt her ourselves. If you're interested let me know! I'll be happy to give you more information on the little furrball.

Beautiful Lucie

Playing tag with me in the backyard

November 21, 2009

New Faces - 11.21.09

I'm only two posts in, and they're both about dogs. *laughs* What can I say? They're a big part of my life.

I was overjoyed to know that my long time favorite dog, Oscar, was adopted last Monday...three days short of his euthanization date. Patch, who had also been at the shelter for a while, was adopted Saturday, four days shy of his euthanization date. I'm being told more and more that people see my photos of the dogs online, fall in love with them, and come to the shelter to adopt them. What an amazing reward.

Here are some of the newest faces looking for forever homes. Maybe one will find a way into your heart. Contact Glynn County Animal Services in Brunswick, GA at 912-554-7500 if you are interested in someone and want more info about him or her.

Izzy (m) and Cocoa (m)

Terry (m) Razzie (f) and Diana (f)

Samson (m) Patches (dad) & Little Girl (mom)

November 20, 2009

A Change of Pace

Life is constantly leading me in new directions. When I first moved to Georgia with my boyfriend, Jason, and our shelter dog, MacKenzie, I never imagined I'd wind up becoming so passionate about shelter dogs that I'd be volunteering my Saturdays at a local high kill shelter as a dog photographer. Just like I had no idea that photographing shelter dogs would lead to an intense passion about photography. I mean, I had always loved taking photos. I am the family member or the friend who always forces everyone to take time to capture the holiday, the special event, the milestone on camera. But something about working hard to capture a shelter dog's personality through his eyes and face - and then having those pictures be the reason a person comes in to adopt that dog and give him a forever home - drew me deep into the creative, emotional world of photography.

When my pocket Nikon point-and-shoot finally died, and I transitioned to my first Nikon DSLR, it changed me forever. The technology of the DSLR enabled me to take better, crisper, more vivid photos...the way I had always wanted my photos to look. It was insane. That was February. Since then, I've become quite the amateur photographer, my camera at my side wherever I go. Anything and everything is a good subject. I am currently taking workshops and working toward my certification in digital photography at the college where I work.

Early this year, I began a blog about my photography work at the shelter. Now that I've expanded my horizons and learned more about my craft, I thought it was time to expand the scope of my blog where all my photos could be displayed, shared, and critiqued, if people so choose. Yes, I will post shelter dog photos from time to time, but I also have much more to share with you these days. I hope you will enjoy this blog as much as I know I will enjoy creating it. Here's to embracing a new direction.

Peter, my first shelter dog subject.

Cowboy, who survived being slashed across the throat and his heartworm treatments, now resides on a yacht in Jekyll Island.

One of my favorites, Blue, is now happy in a forever home with two young boys.

Maddie, found her forever home in New Jersey with wealthy Ferrari dealer and his family.

Shy girl, Alissa, recently found her forever home with a wonderful family.

"Within every stray lies the singular desire to be loved."