Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lizzie, Emma & Panda


 


Word is slowly starting to get out for all those dog and cat lovers!  I am excited to see so much support within the community of those who want to contribute.  Yesterday evening I recruited my sister's dogs and cat for some photos.

I will be the first to tell you, her dogs have got to be the most challenging and timid little things.  I was happy to see we were able to get their cute faces.  They hate eye contact, they wouldn't stay still and they love to bark.. but ya know, I kept reminding myself why I was doing this in the first place.

Panda, the cat, was easy breezy.  He was calm and collective to never have had his photo taken before.  I was impressed with his style.

Panda was born a feral cat and my sister has a huge heart for rescuing animals in need.. so I felt this little project would be right up her alley.

Emma (10) and Lizzie (6) have always been part of her pack.  She has had them both as puppies. They are a Brussels Griffon which is commonly known as the Star War's Eewok dog..

Emma is a fighter.  She survived a car wreck and cancer.. so I feel it only right to pay her luck forward she is more timid than Lizzie and is not as comfortable coming around strangers for petting and love.

Lizzie will follow anyone home, so I guess it's safe to say that they balance one another out... and the cat.. well he thinks that he is a dog!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Progress



So I will be happy to start the Doggie Donation process as my two, Lola and Millie , are more than happy to give to those in need of a forever home at the GBHS.  We are donating $50.00 in hopes this will help towards food and medical needs that these animals need.

I have also recruited my fellow friend and dog enthusiast, Stacie Moore to help with the cause.  She is an awesome Graphic Designer and has offered to help with the flyer design.  Her two pups, Tucker and Jackson are offering a generous $100 donation.



We have one more that decided to join early on the doggie band wagon and that would be my mother and dad's dog, Martin.  He was once homeless, skinny and full of fleas until my parent's rescued him off the street as a puppy.

He has been part of my family ever since and I'm thankful that my mom's donation of $25 will help contribute towards any of the overhead that the GBHS incurs on a day to day basis with proper care of the shelter animals.


Each and every loved one that has so far offered to help and participate has been very heart felt.. I also can't forget to mention how fun it is to have all these adorable fur babies in front of my camera as we attempt at making a difference as well as showing others that as a 'whole' we can make a change through educating the public and bringing awareness.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 25






Millie's life seems to be in full color now!  She is vibrant, playful and has finally started to realize that this is her home. She loves her back yard and will ask to go outside just so she can lay in the grass, look up at the sky and feel the warmth of the sun.

It is as though she has never seen any of these things before and she is just now seeing them for the first time.  When I take her on walks, she loves taking her time and makes sure to look at each blade of grass and rock.  I even catch her watching the butterflies floating by.

She has discovered her 'favorite' toy and loves to walk around with it in her mouth.. she shakes it around, chews on it, tosses it up in the air and prances around in circles as though she is showing it off to me.

It warms my heart to see her play, relax and enjoy life.  I often feel that a pet should show people how to have fun and enjoy life but I feel that it has been opposite as I have literally spent the past 3 weeks trying to show Millie how to let loose, have fun and enjoy the ultimate 'dog's life'.

So far she has learned to love car rides, she enjoys exploring but still is timid to go new places if she hasn't been there before, she loves to play with Lola and will run big circles around in the yard in hopes Lola will chase her. She still has not barked although she has become a little vocal when she plays with Lola..

I do not want to take Millie's trust in me lightly and make sure to find ways on a day to day basis for her to know she is safe in my care.

Caring for a dog who was once considered '2nd hand', 'rejected', and 'someone's trash' really has been a humbling experience.  It has shown me first hand how much good a person can do to another being but it also shows me how much bad an individual can do to another person.

It really all boils down to choices..

As I wake up and get my day started, I have a  new sense of gratitude in knowing that, yes.. even little ol' me has made a difference in another being's life.  There is no other feeling in the world that I would want to have.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Doggie Donations



Since I have started volunteering at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, it has allowed me to be up close and personal with the dogs in need of homes.  I walk them, love on them and play with them in hopes to help them feel loved,  if only temporarily.

Sometimes I hear of an adoption with one of the dogs I have gotten to know and sometimes, unfortunately, I hear that the dog isn't always lucky due to overcrowding and it makes me wonder.. Did I do everything I could possibly do within my power to help prevent this?

This is why I have started the Doggie Donation program!  In hopes that I can involve the community of other dog lovers to contribute and in return be able to grab some awesome, cute photos of your fur baby.

I am not putting a 'DEADLINE' with these doggie headshots and foresee this being an ongoing and open donation for as long as people are willing to participate.  These doggie sessions aren't just limited to dogs, as I welcome all animals!

These sessions are held at a location where your pet feels most comfortable, as we want to grab the best photo possible! I want to treat these sessions as I would any other session with good service and high quality images.

After your pet's session, I will email you a link to view online proofing and you can pick your favorite image for a high res download.  This favorite image will be posted with your dog's name and amount that was donated to help out their fellow fur babies.

Susanna's 1 Year







You would think this this is Susanna's two year old session and I caught myself thinking.. is she two?  Did I loose track of time?  Nope.. not at all.. She is a fast learner.. quick runner and can do most things that I have not experienced in most one year old children.

I loved having this little lady back in front of the camera. This session was stark contrast to her newborn session we did last year.  She seemed so helpless and fragile then. Now, this isn't the case at all.

She was full speed ahead with no fear and don't get me started with all her expressions!!

Lord, how I love this precious baby girl!!  So thankful that her mommy chose me for her one year session.  I was honored to capture this stage in her life.  It was a lot of fun to say the least!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bruce Family










I loved hanging out with the Bruce family this past Sunday!  When I learned that they made the drive from Fort Payne, I was honored to say the least!  They were wanting something different than what they have around their town, so Morris Avenue was the perfect go to location.

I do admit that Morris Avenue is a one of a kind find and I am so thankful that it is here in my own hometown of Birmingham.  I don't think there is another street like it anywhere near, so I do love taking advantage of the historic cobblestone road, vintage lamp post and buildings.

We had the whole place to ourselves.  The morning air was still cool but I could tell that if we waited much later, it would be hot and humid.  They were such a fun family and I loved that they brought their dog, Harley, to the session.  He was too cute not to grab a quick photo of.

I wish the kids the best of luck with the start of a new school year.  Baylee is a senior this year and will plan to attend the U of A next year and her little brother Brody starts his freshman year and is on the football team.

Lots of new exciting chapters for the family and I am happy to have taken part with their family photos.

Day 21 - First Hike

Three weeks and what a crazy, fast, rewarding and challenging three weeks it has been.. and worth every minute of it!  There has been so much laughter and compassion towards this little lady as she went on her first hike this past weekend.  I met my friend, Stacie and her dogs at Moss Rock Preserve.  At first she was very hesitant and would lay down on the ground, not moving an inch... I immediately thought to myself.. 'oh no'.. this hike is going to take FOREVER!!

Laying down on the ground seems to be a common tactic she uses when scared or unsure of a situation... There is nothing I can do when this happens. I have learned that baby talking, petting or any attention just encourages her to stay still longer..

So when this dreaded moments happen while on leash, I find that standing still, calm and quietly will give her enough time to assess the situation and trust that it will be okay and just like that she stands up and starts to walk again.

Small challenges throughout each day seem to work best as it builds confidence in her ability to make decisions when faced with unfamiliar territory.




My friend Stacie has been very supportive and encouraging with Millie's recovery and I really see how Stacie being there, socializing Millie with her own dogs and taking part with activities such as hiking and playing have helped tremendously!

It was through quiet observation that Millie saw playing could be fun. She would sit and watch the other dogs running, chewing and playing and then it happened.. Out of nowhere.. She went into play stance and the other dogs welcomed her with love.





I felt a sense of pride as she ran circles and shared with us her carefree side.  It was such a joy to watch and I could see in her face that this was the most fun she has had in a long while.. If ever.

Now when I pick up the leash, she associates this with 'fun' , 'walks' and 'adventure'.. as she becomes excited to learn where will she be going to explore next.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 16



So it appears that Millie was being social in a not so social way.  I decided to have my closest friends over last night with their beloved dogs to see how she would behave.  To my surprise she did really great as this time last week she would have easily slipped off into the other room and disappeared at sight of any strange face or sound.

Last night she lingered in the room with us.. although by the looks of her, she looked miserable.. but the important part is she stayed and faced her fears and of course all the girl talk one individual could possibly handle.

Millie was a great hit among my friends and everyone loved her.  I was proud to see her eventually venture off of the couch and onto the floor briefly before she retreated back to her comfort zone.

Who would have thought that the same dog laying on my couch, motionless and expressionless would ever have a fun, free spirited personality that she shared with her 'pack' mates just earlier that day.



I look forward to the day to where I can share her adorable personality with everyone else as I think she is just too cute to stay at home alone.  I hope that we will be able to take her to social settings one day and that she will grow to love being around people without thinking that all people are 'bad'.

I often wish I knew her story so that I may better understand but then again.. it is probably best I don't as people have a hard time of forgetting the bad.  I feel that Millie deserves a second chance with not only a new life but a new perspective for others to view her as a normal, healthy, loving pup not the once sad, deprived dog that she once was.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 13 - First Fetch

video

As the new Millie is coming into full bloom, I am slowly forgetting how fragile she once was just over two weeks ago. Just this morning, we awoke, she ate her breakfast, went outside to do her thing and then we went to the local park for our morning walk.

She was stride for stride with very little hesitation as people passed by.. She only laid down once when she saw someone walking past us and it did take a little bit of encouragement to get her to stand.. but she did it and completed her walk like the big girl that she is.

She still needs a little help being put into the car but jumps out after command with no issue and has discovered her love of all things chew toys.. as her and Lola enjoy sharing a bone and tugging on the stuffed toys we have laying all over our home now.

Just a day or two ago she was feeling more playful than the days prior so I had a go at tossing a toy out in the yard.. and to my surprise she ran after it.  I didn't want to miss it, so thankfully I had my phone in hand to grab a quick video.

It was a huge accomplishment to me as we stood out there for maybe 10 minutes as I would toss the toy for her to run after.  She would run around with it and then eventually return back for me to throw it again.

Lola is a complete toy hog at the moment, so I have learned to play fetch alone with Millie as she is hesitant to grab a toy as Lola always beats her to it... which it's nice to have something to share alone with just her and will use this time to bond with her.

It's hard to say, but I honestly feel that this was the first time ever for her to play with a toy as I can remember the weeks prior.. she did not even know what to do with a toy and had no interest in anything.

This is a new chapter for her indeed as she has learned about the art of having fun.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Eli






Oh my stars!!  I just met one of the cutest babies.  His name is Eli and he is 5 months old.  His beautiful momma, Blayke, and I have been corresponding via email for the past few months.. So when it was time to meet for Eli's session, she and her husband Chipta, made me feel right at home.

We were able to prop Eli up on the bed and couch and by the looks of it, it will not be long at all before this little guy will be sitting up all by himself.  His cute little baby rolls on his leg and his cheeky grin and big brown eyes made me all kinds of happy feel good.

His not so little partner in crime, Ram, was only a step behind.. so I had to get his best pal a head shot too.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day 10

Silly Millie and Millie Vanilli are just a couple of nicknames we've given Millie over the past week and a half.  Her personality seems to be shining through and we have found that she can be quite goofy as she trots around, her jowls flopping and her eyes open wide.



She loves to be outside, so I have been slowly incorporating Lola's daily walk with Millie. We are up to about a mile and half walking to which I feel she can walk longer but I'm going to wait before I push her with an exercise regime.

Right now it's all about fun!  I want her to feel and act like a dog.. to which she has seemed to pick up naturally.  She loves to run around in our fenced in back yard and I have even seen her play with some toys.. she still isn't sure why I throw a ball and doesn't know to run after it.


She is still timid around people she does not know and will lie down in the middle of the walking track until a jogger passes by but she doesn't try to pull on the lead and is great on leash.  She hates any loud noises such as my hair dryer, ice maker, washer and dryer, vacuum cleaner, thunder, cars.. you name it.. if it makes a noise, she jumps or tries to run away.. It wasn't until we started going on walks I was able to take notice that her once jumpy demeanor is now more subtle.

 I still notice that she still does shy away if I give her too much attention, as though she doesn't know what to do when someone praises her.

I must say that I've never had a dog that was shy or timid and believe that Millie too will be able to get past her shy spell over time by continuing to introduce her to new experiences and always making them fun for her as I already see a small change with just the few activities I've shared with her.

It is just under two weeks and already her hip bones and rib cage are slowly starting to soften up and disappear as she fills it with muscle and a soft belly.

I believe she has roughly 15 more pounds to gain.  When we got her she was 31 lbs.. after week one she weighed roughly 35 lbs and just by looking at her, I do believe she may have hit 40 lbs now and I believe that her healthy weight will be closer to 50 lbs when it is all said and done as she still has a lot of room to work with.



The most exciting part of this process is to see progress!  I love when she wags her tail and smiles, when she runs around in our yard and plays.  I also love to see when she gains weight and when she comes into her own skin.  Gary and I can't wait to see what she looks like once she is at her healthy weight.

We are guessing that she will look like a Pit mix but the fun is wondering what she is mixed with. We think English Bulldog because of her stocky, wide muscular features and Hound because of her long torso and snout.

Whatever she may bloom to be, we couldn't be happier to see her enjoying life and I often shudder at the thought of not knowing what my life would be like without her in it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Day 7


Today marks one week since we first brought Millie home!  What a difference 7 days can make.  It seems like such a short time but yet there has been so much progress that it feels as though she has naturally been a part of our family.

We have done everything in our power to include her and make her feel loved and we can see through subtle body language that Millie is communicating back to us.  She often licks or nibbles on my hand to show her appreciation and last night, in the middle of the night, she awoke Gary and myself by nudging her nose against us to let us know she needed to go outside to use the bathroom.. she is still mute and does not wine or bark and therefore, she has only communicated to us by touch.

She has literally been a godsend to us as we can see how she is changing our family too.. yes, even Lola. I realize that she came from a sad situation but yet she is resilient and willing to love and trust someone again.

Seeing her smile and act goofy are some of my favorite things to observe.  She does have a goofy side that she only reveals momentarily before she retreats back into her shell.. Just last night while she was outside with Lola, I saw her run side to side and initiate play with us. I stooped down to her level as she came running to tackle me. It warmed my heart to see her being carefree, if only momentarily, for only God knows how long she has bottled up who she wants to be.