Sunday, July 30, 2017

Day 5

Day 5 has been our best day yet.  She is starting to show a little bit of her playful side when it is just me and Gary.. but still very timid and cautious around people she does not know.  My life long, childhood friend, Stacie, made the sweet effort to visit her this weekend. She brought a bag full of goodies for her and spent some time with her in hopes that Millie will slowly come around.

Millie is seeking out affection more and I have noticed on many occasion when sitting down next to her, she puts her paw on my lap or lays her head on me. Just this morning, I awoke to the weight of Millie's heavy head laying on my stomach.. where as night's prior, she would keep her distance at the foot of the bed.

I can tell that her energy levels are up as she isn't sleeping as much as she did when she first arrived. She has more pep in her step and is finishing her three meals a day without effort.  I thought it be appropriate to start giving her some simple challenges that will help socialize her.

We started out by taking her and Lola on a car ride.  We decided to drive through Chik-Fil-A.  We caught glance of Millie, who was laying down in the back seat.  She did not seem timid or scared and I honestly feel it has a lot to do with observing Lola and her behavior... I still have to pick her up to get in the car but after her 2nd car ride.. she figured out how to jump out all by herself.

After Stacie's visit.. Gary and I walked Lola and Millie to our neighborhood store that is across the street.  The lady working loved Millie and let us take the dogs inside while we purchased a drink.. Millie's tail was tucked underneath her and I could tell she was nervous.. but she did a great job and let the lady pet on her without trying to run or pull on the leash.. As we left the store, I couldn't help but notice her head up, her tail wagging and a big smile on her face.. as though she felt she had accomplished something.

I am finding that including Millie with little things such as a car ride, a walk across the street and hanging out in our TV room on the couch are all great ways to build her confidence.  She is starting to feel like she belongs here now and is starting to make herself at home.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Millie - Day 3

Small steps are large steps when it comes to Millie's daily progress. Gary and I are using this crucial time for healing and recovery. I don't ask much from her and always speak compassionately to her as we want to keep our home as calm and relaxing as possible.

Our goal with her is to eat and rest!  Once she has gained a significant amount of weight and her energy levels are up.. I will then slowly start training her on a leash and allow her to join me and Lola (our Frenchie) on daily walks around the neighborhood and explore the local parks.

She now walks around and is familiarizing herself with our home.  When she walks you can see her little tail wagging back and forth where as on the first day it was kept tucked tight beneath her.. and from time to time,  I do believe I catch a smile.

She's very responsive to my voice and often follows me around when I get up to go in another room or outside but I have yet to hear her voice.  She offers no sound to communicate with me, my husband or Lola.  Her silent nature makes me only wonder what memory or pain she may hold inside.

Millie is highly intelligent and already asks to go outside to use the bathroom by standing at the door. She loves to observe Lola playing with all the dog toys we have accumulated over the years.  Just this morning I saw Ms. Millie nibble briefly on one of the stuffed dog toys Lola had played with earlier and it made my heart happy to see her show a small interest in having fun.

Now that she knows her presence is welcome anywhere that we are, she tip toes ever so quietly onto the couch to where we are and often lays her head on my lap. I've noticed that her body has become more relaxed as she's let down her guard some.

Knowing that these small steps are HUGE.. I still know that we have a loong way to go for her recovery.  She needs to gain roughly 30lbs to be at her healthy weight and we also realize the importance of socializing her with other dogs and people so she will not be so timid.

Our goal is for her to be a dog that is healthy and enjoys life, has no fear and is confident with her ability to be around many situations without shying away, knowing that she is worthy of love.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Millie - Day 1

For the past month or two I have been volunteering at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) and just within the short time I have been there, it has changed my life for the better.  I have become not only more aware and hands on with some of the sweetest, most loving dogs I've ever met but it also brought me to her.. whom I have decided to name 'Millie', which in some cultures, this name's meaning stands for determination and strength.. which I found very fitting for her situation.

I discovered Millie on the GBHS lost and found section of their website ten days ago and for those ten days my mind wondered to her picture.  She looked defeated, sad, unloved.. and it was that moment, I wanted to be the one to show her love and be her shelter for when she is scared. That day I discovered her photo, I made sure to contact whoever I could to let them know I felt convicted to take her as my own if the GBHS would find a way to let me help her heal and recover.

Thankfully the staff worked with me and has agreed to let Gary and me foster her through the GBHS foster program and eventually.. we are wanting to adopt her once she is healthy enough. She was found as a stray and by the looks of her she has been without food for months!

She is a bit shy and timid.. she is unsure if she is allowed inside and she was almost too scared to move for the first half of her day at our home. She keeps her head down, as though she is scared to look you in the eyes and her tail has stayed between her legs for the most part...

This all slowly started to change when we picked her up to lay her on our couch. it was like a confident booster as though she was thinking.. 'Gee!!!  I must be good enough to be sitting with them." Her head raised slowly and I saw her tail wagging..

Success for Day 1!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017


Many people are familiar with Millie by now and know she is a rescue.. but many do not realize how emaciated she was when she was first brought in.  I never really intended to get another dog but then again, I never really intended on volunteering at the GBHS either.  It just happened after weeks of a heavy heart and conviction.  These same feelings resurfaced again when I saw Millie's image. My heart went out to her, I prayed for her and sent her good vibes but still.. that wasn't good enough.  So soon after I made the first effort to learn more about her situation.  I called and asked about her and it wasn't but a day later, I filled out papers to request adoption.

I had never met her in person, I didn't know her disposition.. for all I knew, she could be a vicious, wild man-eater.. She just spoke to me and I trusted it.

I am so happy I did and feel that through trusting my intuition and listening to my conscious, I was able to make a confident and sound decision.

It's amazing the power of love and nurture.  It's been only under a week and I have seen a very positive transformation.  Just imagine what our world would be like if we loved and nurtured others, our neighborhoods, our hometown and all living creatures.

Love doesn't only help that individual but it also heals and helps the person that loves as well.  Giving of myself when something is in need and distress and cannot give me anything in return has shown me empathy on another level I didn't know existed.

So, the whole point of this is 'ACT' on your convictions and if your heart is heavy.. it's trying to tell you something.  Whatever it is, be proactive.  You'll be happy you did.  It does not only change your life but the life you are helping.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Some of my favorite parts about visiting a home with a newborn is to observe how the new sibling is adjusting.  Sweet baby Stella doesn't quite know what to think just yet.. after all, her new sister came into her home just 7 short days ago!!

I must say, she is curious about baby Valyn but it didn't take long for her loving, big sister instincts to kick in and she was nothing but sweet and affectionate with her new sister.

It has been literally close to 8 months since I last saw the Marchant family for their Christmas photo session.  Amy had just discovered she was expecting again, so this session clearly is a great reminder that I should see my friends more often.

I always enjoy using our sessions as an opportunity to catch up with these guys.  It's always an honor that Amy and Jason have allowed me to come in and document their exciting journey together.  

Valyn was such a sweet baby and had very little complaints during her first photo session. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Drennen Gage

I don't know where to start when it comes to the Turpin family.  They have been kind enough to keep me in mind for all of Hadley's sessions and now that their new baby boy has arrived, I was honored to take part with this new chapter.

Drennen Gage was born on the 1st of July.  He is a real life doll and I couldn't have been happier to meet him in person. Since we last hung out, these guys moved to a gorgeous brand new home. I enjoyed the tour as we started our session this past Sunday and found endless potential with the high ceilings and lovely window light.

Hadley is the big sis and she loves her new baby brother.  She was so good at holding his head and sitting still so he would be comfortable and she was very observant as mom and dad would dress and change her new baby brother too.  She's going to be such an awesome big sis!!

We were able to grab some cute photos of everyone interacting as a new fam and of course, Drennen didn't want to miss out on any of the action..So he made sure to keep his eyes wide open just about the whole time!

I really enjoyed catching up with this beautiful family, seeing Hadley again and meeting Drennen. The Turpin's are always a blast to hang out with and I am so excited to see the new beginnings they are having the the addition of Drennen as well as their recent move into a new home.