Wow, just wow

Karen and a pup from the Marion County Dog Shelter   

I think I have mentioned a time or two that Karen and I got out to the Marion County Dog Shelter here in Salem to take photos of the dogs available for adoption. It’s something we really love to do. And those doggies, they are always amazing. I have always said Karen has the best job.

Last week we got a letter saying that Marion County was celebrating volunteers this week and invited Karen and I to a meeting on Wednesday morning. Karen had to work, but I snuck away from my job for a little and went down.

Just because we love what we do   

When they called our names, I had no idea this was what we were receiving. What an honor for us.

Celebrating Vanessa

Vanessa Johnson   

Our dogs have brought the most wonderful people into our lives. I am often amazed at how rich our lives are because of them.

Vanessa was one of those people. She owned and operated Shuttle Pets. She transported pets all over the United States and Canada. When Zip’s breeder in Florida asked if we would like him, we said yes before we thought about the logistics. Fortunately for us, Shuttle Pets was out there.

When I contacted Vanessa last December, she said she would be happy to transport Zip from Florida to Oregon, but we would have to wait until the chain and snow tire law lifted on April 30.

Five months to the day, Vanessa arrived at our doorstep with Zip. We loved her instantly. We only had a few hours with her, but she was the kind of person you want to be friends for a lifetime.

We learned today that she had been involved in a single-car accident. They towed her rig and a policeman took her to a pet-friendly motel. I don’t know any other details except that she passed away sometime. We were very sad when we heard the news.

Our Shuttle Pet friend is missing


In May we had the wonderful fortune of having this woman transport Zip from Florida to Oregon. She is amazing with the dogs and we felt so good knowing that she was transporting him. We knew where she was the entire week got pictures along the way.

Tonight I learned that she has not been heard from since November 28. This is very out of character for her.

This is the post on Facebook tonight:

VANESSA JOHNSON, SHUTTLE PETS (canine transport service) – She left her daughter’s house Wednesday in Glenside, PA and her daughter said she wasn’t feeling well, she had flu like symptoms. She picked up a dog in Burtonsville, MD and her destination was Kalamazoo, MI. She never made it to Kalamazoo and has missed two more pick-ups. This is not like her. She was suppose be taking I370, I270, I70 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike & then I 80 to I69. Please check rest stops along the way if you are travelling these routes. She is driving this RV. Her voicemail is full. Her daughter, Novice, has filed missing persons report. Truckers Alert has been notified. If anyone in the states through which she would travel has seen anything, or heard of an accident involving an RV, please comment so information can be passed back to her family. Folks on the west side of MI especially PLEASE be on the look out for this RV and Vanessa!)

If you follow my post and you are on the east coast especially, please share.

Thank you.

Oh the horrors

Reno and Jackpot   

At this rate, I am never going to get out of the doghouse. Not only did we do another event yesterday morning and come home smelling like somebody else’s dog, but then, last night we went out to the beach to do a session with other dogs. We came home smelling like the beach AND somebody else’s dog.

Despite the fact that the weather promised to be clear and beautiful, it was completely socked in with fog. Sure does give a different look to the photos.

To my doggies, I am very, very sorry. We’ll make it up to you soon, I promise.

My bucket list

Noah, Julie and Eli 

I keep a bucket list of photos. Photos that I really want to photograph in the worst way. Photos that I think about at night. And this was one of them.

In casual conversation I heard about how Julie’s two dogs ride on the kayak with her and I knew I had to have a chance to photograph them. Julie paddled back and forth, up and down the Willamette river while I tried to get my best angle against the setting sun. I even waded out into the river waist deep.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had.

The next day was a bonus round. We went back without the camera and Karen and I manned our own kayaks. Neither of us had ever been in a kayak before. It was so much fun.

I had to drive by the river today to get to another photo shoot and I really longed to paddling like crazy again.

I’ve come to the conclusion that kayaking is a lot like really good sushi. You enjoy it so much at the time, but you crave it like mad for the following days.