The “M” litter   

I got to meet the newest litter for the Joys of Living Assistance Dogs this week. These little beauties are only five days old.

A tale of two sofas


Sometime around the holidays, I wrote about our amazing find at the Goodwill. I knew that our new white leather love seat would be perfect for photographing pets. Lacking for a place to put it, we put it behind my computer desk and as it turns out, it is perfect for our dogs to lounge around on. At this point in time, if we moved it, it would be considered some form of animal cruelty.

This is the place where Karen would tell you I drive her crazy. I was on a new mission. I was in search of an antique settee.

Craigslist, antique stores, antique malls… We searched high and low.

I am still amazed at how many red and various shades of pink came out of that genre. What on earth were they thinking?

As it turns out, it is all in the spelling. I could have saved myself miles of travel if I had only looked up love seat under antiques on Craigslist.

Yes, it turns out that this little not pink or red gem was only five miles from our house. It was more than I had mentally budgeted, but the minute I saw it, I was in love and I knew I had to have it. The family and I finally connected and we hotfooted it over their house.

Turns out, this settee sat in grandmothers front room for as long as she could remember.

I told her I had visions of beautiful pet images upon my new antique settee. She admitted to me the next day that she thought I was a little crazy when I told her why I wanted it.

The settee is perfect for eight doggies and once she saw the photo of the puppies on the couch, she agreed, it was absolutely perfect for it’s new intended purpose.

The biggest splash

The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs

Last night I had the pleasure of photographing the assistance dogs during their first swimming lessons.

I loved watching them and they all seemed to enjoy it, well sort of.

After awhile however, I enjoyed trying to catch the biggest splash.

This was a much more delicate splash.

This was definitely the most artistic.

The double splash.

This was barely a splash, but I loved the big paw.

And I call this one the multiple drop splash.

I had so much fun anticipating the splashes, that I didn’t pay attention to my battery, the only battery I had with me. I nearly didn’t make it through the session.

Graduation day

The Joys of Living Assistance dogs

Last Friday we attended The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs graduation. After 18 months of training, it was time to hand over the leash to the humans they would be companions and assistants to.

To say the least, it was a beautiful ceremony.


Diego graduated from the program a year ago. He has made a wonderful difference for his mom.


Eli is a new graduate and is ready to go to work.


I loved the look of adoration from Ida, another new graduate.


And Gary was so excited, he could hardly wait for his leash to get handed over.


The graduates

And it is time for the Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

Many thanks to our three hosts Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.  If you’d like to participate, follow your three hosts, add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste the html code into your html editor.  Thanks again to our hosts for putting on the hop!

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Caught in a whirlwind

The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs

I have found myself in a flurry of activity. I didn’t expect to be this busy this summer, but we are nearly to the middle of July and everything is moving so fast.

For all of you pet photographers out there, I want you to know about Creative Live. It is this amazing online education source that provides entire workshops for free. Most workshops are three days and they stream over the Internet and you can watch them for free. If it is something that you are really interested in, you can actually buy the workshop and download it. The cost during the broadcast is $99 and after the week-end it jumps up to $149. It is so worth the money.

This month they are doing a pet photography workshop. I’m sure it will be fabulous and if you have any interest at all, go here and sign up to watch.


Going on a boat ride

The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs

I was thrilled when Joy asked me to join The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs in training when they went out on boats. As part of the assistance dog training, the dogs go out on boats to experience what it is like out on the water.

Jumping in and out of the boat is the first challenge. Dakota tried it a few times, but quickly became a champ.

The boats were operated by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian element of the Coast Guard. They had three boats at Henry Hegg Lake and one at time, they took the dogs out on the lake.

Each dog spent some time in the boat with the motor off just getting used to the feel of the water motion.

We left the dock and the captains of each boat went through a series of maneuvers, turning tight corners around the buoys, going through the wakes of other boats and my personal favorite… going fast.

Before we ever left the dock was the dogs donned their finest life jackets.

I was completely impressed with how comfortably they adapted to the new situations. Ida had no problem walking onto the boat.

The comfort level of the dogs was amazing. Ida thought it was just a more scenic car ride. Secretly, I think she wanted to drive the boat.

She climbed up on the engine motor and took a nap.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary put on a fabulous barbecue for us at the end of the rides.

I think everyone left with a smile on their face that day we had so much fun.

A training competition

Two weeks ago the puppy raisers for The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs had their second annual competition. I was so lucky to be there with camera in hand.

First up was the obstacle course. Both of the older puppies and the younger puppies attended.

They jumped.

They rounded the corner in a tunnel.

And they wove through cones. The younger puppies had the guidance of a leash, but the older puppies were expected to to do with verbal and hand commands.

This was the first time the younger puppies had been exposed to the obstacle course, I loved how quickly they figured it out. Of course, a few of the trainers had to jump first.

But they all seemed to enjoy the jump.

Next up were the stays. Need I say more about the goldens? They seem to be born with some natural talent for a “stay.”

The younger puppies had a pretty good handle on staying put too. With each prompt the trainer walked backwards three feet. As soon as the puppy broke the stay, they were eliminated from that part of the competition.

Next up was the heel on each side and walking backwards.

They had the “to your kennel” challenge. This guy was so much fun to watch. Clearly he relates his kennel with something really good.

My very favorite of the whole day was when they had to wait for their dinner. This little guy didn’t see he humor, but he did such a good joy waiting.

And the older puppies were a riot. They had rivers of drool, but they knew the drill.

I had more fun watching the trainers and their pups.

Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Many thanks to our three hosts Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume.  If you’d like to participate, follow your three hosts, add your blog to the Linky and copy and paste the html code into your html editor.  Thanks again to our hosts for putting on the hop!

Take that

Sergeant John

I made it. The week is over.

Now I think I shall sit back and enjoy the Saturday Pet Blog Hop. Have a rest week end.

Game day


Today the assistance dogs had a game day. Actually, it was a friendly competition amongst the trainers. It was a blast. The very last challenge was to sit a food bowl down in front of the dogs and see which trainer could keep their dog in a wait the longest.

The dogs were absolutely priceless. The older dogs held their waits really well, JJ is one of the pups I took photos of just a few months ago at 8 weeks old.

Judging by the look on his face, I don’t think he was really thrilled about this game.