Sound the alarms!

Talley

I am fairly certain that in a previous life I must have been a kept woman. I have visions of maids and cooks. Something happened to last week-end (like work) and the vacuum and I never had a chance to have our bonding moment. Friday morning, Talley sounded the alarms. With all of the rain and muck we’ve had, it was time to take some desperate measures.

As I exited stage left from work early Friday, I told our administrative assistant that I would be doing battle with the giant dust bunnies and probably would not hear my phone over the roar of the vacuum.

Talley observed from her perch of safety on the couch. Well, she bossed the job a bit too. Seems there was a considerable amount of stuffing mess she had created. Nothing like adding to the already existing problem Talley.

At last, she was able to relax, knowing that the giant dust bunnies had lost their battle. Retreating I am sure to a safe place only to be back in full force within 48 hours.

Dust bunnies zero, Terri one… at least for today.

The roller coaster

Talley

When we woke up (5 am) there was blood every where. Cushions, floor, rugs, even the top of my computer desk. Talley was bleeding from her mouth. We could either dash her to the evets or wait until 7:30 when we could see our vet. Since the evet would charge us at least $200 to send us to our own vet when they opened, we tucked her away in a kennel, took care of everyone else and cried. Of course our minds went to the worst possible place. Talley settled down and started sleeping on her back.

15 minutes before we were going to leave, my co-worker called and said he just gotten a text saying the campus was closed due to police activity and since he has a journalism background, he just wanted to confirm. I hadn’t heard anything but said I would leave right then and swing by the campus to check on the way to the clinic. Sure enough. Campus was closed because of a bomb threat.

Seriously, who sends a bomb threat to a community college in Salem, OR? It wasn’t until I got home and relaxed for awhile that I really thought about the seriousness of a potential bomb.

We arrived at the vet clinic, only to find that the office was closed because of a staff meeting. Well, staff meeting or not, Karen went in and told them what was going on. Three techs and Dr Mills came right out to the car. Have I said recently how much I love my vet at Companion Pet Clinic? We took her in, he checked over and couldn’t find the source of her bleeding. PCV was 58.  We x-rayed her from stem to stern (Love, love love digital xrays), and everything was clear.

She has always been shy and Dr. Mills felt that being home with me would be much less stressful than hanging out at the clinic waiting to see if she would bleed again. Just as we were leaving the room Dr. Mills looked down and there was blood pouring out of her mouth again. He thought it was a tooth and they scheduled her for surgery today.

Timber

Get home to buckets of blood every where and tuned into Facebook as a diversion to begin the clean-up only to find out that Aidan, Timber’s daddy won Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Show.

Now we are dealing with Timber’s even bigger “I am beautiful” head.

Before I get serious with the cleaning there is a knock on door. A very attractive young woman looks at me and says “Karen?” Ummm, no. Can I help you?

“I’m her niece, I live in Portland.” Karen has never met her and since they are both from Boston, it was quite a surprise.

Timber’s head has decreased in size enough so that he can fit through the door again. Talley’s surgery went very well, they pulled the offending tooth plus a couple of more and she has a clean bill of health. She is resting peacefully (probably still under the influence of drugs).

Sheesh, I’m pooped.

The skinny on da skinny dog

Timber

When my friend Jeff called and asked if we would be interested in a one-year old borzoi, I seriously thought he was kidding.

I didn’t know very much about borzois. I knew they were sight hounds. And I remembered back to when we got our first greyhound. My youngest daughter Holly, now 25 really wanted a borzoi.

We didn’t give it much more thought, Jeff was kidding. Two weeks later he called again and asked if we had thought any more about adopting Timber.

As a puppy he traveled from Florida to Oregon to be with a family that really wanted him. What they never expected were the allergies he brought with him. The family had greyhounds and the husband didn’t suffer, but when Timber entered the scene they got a whole lot worse. I have never suffered from allergies, but I remember how miserable my ex-husband was during certain seasons. In everyone’s best interest, they were looking for a home for Timber.

We drove out to Estacada Friday morning to meet him. Estacada is an hour long beautiful drive through foothills of the Cascades. We talked a lot about what we were potentially about to do. We’ve never taken a dog commitment lightly and we weren’t about to start now.

I asked how big he was and Jeff said about 70 lbs. I’m thinking cool, he’s about the size of a greyhound. We’ll have a kennel for him, in hind sight, I really meant he can have the kitchen.

First night at home

We picked him up Sunday afternoon at 3. The rain was coming down in buckets. One by one we let each greyhound out to meet their new big baby brother in the pouring rain. Poor Timber was soaking wet and maybe a little overwhelmed. He found safe harbor on the cushion in the kitchen. Karen slept on the floor beside him all night just to make sure he wouldn’t be lonely.

Good morning Greyhound Gardens

I called my boss first thing and said I would be working at home to be with the new baby. I sat at my desk, I tried to work but when I turned around and saw this face… well let’s just say that another 8 hours of vacation is gone.

Barney and Timber

Barney is one of our taller dogs.

Crystal and Barney

Crystal is the smallest.

Talley

What do the greyhounds think? Ahhh, just another day, another dog. Fortunately for them, we have fostered so much in the past that they are used to the revolving door at Greyhound Gardens. It’s been a long time since we fostered, you’d think they would have forgotten.

Timber

Timber has found the acre to be quite amusing. He has friends and a lot of room to stretch his legs. He gave our three little old men a run the other day. They were fine. I nearly had a heart attack.

Timber

On the fourth day, Timber discovered the couch.

Welcome home Timber.

Just for grins and giggles, I’m going to put in one more plug for picking Flocko’s calendar image. I will do a random drawing and send the winner a copy of the Greyhound Gardens 2012 calendar.

Now, please join us for the Pet Blog Hop.

Happy Saturday, and welcome to another installment of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! You’ve found the right place to connect with other pet lovers. Whether you are a seasoned blogger, one who loves reading pet blogs, or if you’re just thinking about starting your own blog – there is definitely something here for you. Acquaint yourself and enjoy – this is your resource, so use it as you see fit! Of course, you have to follow the rules, so let’s get to that. Get those links in and have fun.

  • Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
  • Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button above and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
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  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
  • Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
  • Make friends and grow.

 

Best holiday ever

Thanksgiving day, 2011

I had a window on Thanksgiving day, a window with something other than clouds and rain and wind. We were out of bed in a flash to enjoy the sunrise.

Minnie

Minnie couldn’t believe her eyes, what on earth was that bright ball?

The turkey

I do have a bit of a confession. I was married for 22 years and I never once cooked a turkey. For the last 10 years, I’ve avoided the topic until this year when Karen decided she wanted to do a turkey for dinner. In my best enthusiastic voice, I reassured her that it was a grand idea.

Hind-sight being 20/20, it really was a great idea. Karen spent a great deal of time in the dreaded kitchen and the whole meal was fabulous.

Buddy

Buddy on the other hand, was really annoyed that he had been baby-gated out of the kitchen. Seriously, what was Karen thinking. Buddy is one of the official taste-testers.

Crystal, Talley, Buddy

Who wants the drumstick?

Crystal, Talley, Buddy

Clearly, Buddy thought that since he is the senior member of the pack he should have it. Plus, he’s the tallest of the three, a definite advantage.

The reality is, nobody got the drumstick, but they all got a little bit of turkey with their kibble for dinner.

Crystal and Barney

A fabulous meal that took all morning to prepare was gone in a flash and we couldn’t believe how much we ate.

Flocko

The best that we could do at that point was to waddle into the bedroom and settle down for a happy nappy.

Moose

Of course, no meal is complete without a little desert with our whip cream.

Timber

And did we have left-overs for breakfast you might ask?

Nope, we scrambled out of bed to meet Timber. A one-year old gorgeous, energetic and playful borzoi. I have a few other photos of him here.

Time for the Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

Happy Saturday, and welcome to another installment of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! You’ve found the right place to connect with other pet lovers. Whether you are a seasoned blogger, one who loves reading pet blogs, or if you’re just thinking about starting your own blog – there is definitely something here for you. Acquaint yourself and enjoy – this is your resource, so use it as you see fit! Of course, you have to follow the rules, so let’s get to that. Get those links in and have fun.

  • Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
  • Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button above and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
  • Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
  • Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
  • Make friends and grow.

It’s only a muscle tweak

Talley

At least that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Talley walked out of the house yesterday with a slight limp and again today.

We’ve been down that other nasty road way too many times. It isn’t option and I’m not even going there.

Just sayin’.

Earth movers

Minnie

There didn’t used to be a hole here. Minnie got a wild hair and decided there needed to be one. She quickly grew bored with digging a new hole.

Talley

Talley patiently stood behind her and waited. As soon as Minnie left, Talley stepped in and began digging their latest, greatest hole.

Flo

According to Flo the excavator, Minnie and Talley were total wimps. She definitely is a much more experienced digger and moved more earth than the other two put together.

Flo

And clearly she got to the tasty part.

What do you see?

Flo

A friend of mine e-mailed me nearly four weeks ago asking for suggestions on how to improve her pictures. She’s a greyhound nut too (hi Carolyn!)

I promised her I would get back to her and I’ve been dragging my feet because I’m not sure I’ve got the answers. So today I decided to take my camera out and see if I could come up with some explanations about how I shoot my dogs and maybe some of this will help someone else.

I was meant to live in a digital age. I can keep cranking on the shutter, instantly see what I have and adjust as necessary if my moving target allows. I take a million photos and I ruthlessly cull what doesn’t make the cut.

I never wait for them to do something cute and my guys certainly don’t pose for me, so it is up to me to keep the camera to my eyes.

Moose

A few years back I took a workshop from Faye Sirkus. The workshop was titled “The eyes are the window to the soul.” She is an amazingly talented artist and does some incredible Photoshop work. I learned so much from her as she demonstrated touching up eyes.

When I am out shooting, either people or dogs, I focus on the eyes. Period. Nothing else matters if the eyes aren’t sharp.

I set my focus to a single point and I move it around so that I focus on the eyes. I also make sure that they are standing somewhere so that the catch lights are natural. If I can’t see catch lights, the camera isn’t going to see them either.

I’ll never forget the day I sat in a portfolio review showing a portrait that I thought was really nice. It had catch lights in one eye but not the other and she referred to the other eye as a dead eye. It only took a little Photoshop work to put some life into the other eye.

Catch lights are the reflection of the light source in the eye.

Talley

The background is always important. When you see my dog pics, I want you to see the dog and not look to see what is behind them.

Since I am always shooting dogs on the move, I shoot with a shallow depth of field, that is, I set my aperture somewhere around f/2.8 to f/5.6. This is what gives me the soft and dreamy backgrounds.

It isn’t without risk though. Greyhounds have extremely long noses and more than once I have sacrificed a blurry nose or ear for a sharp eye. The closer you are to your subject, the less your chances are that you will have an entire face in focus. So, if you want the entire face in focus you can do one of four things:

  • Increase your depth of field, shoot at f/8 or higher
  • Shoot with a wide angle lens
  • Shoot a profile
  • Or take pictures of pugs
Minnie

Show something interesting. As you can see, Minnie has started a new hole to China.

This girl just happens to an intense digger and by getting up close and personal, it really shows. If I had backed up for a full body shot, I don’t think it would have had the same effect. She’d still be digging, but by focusing just on her head and front paws, you are right there getting dirt thrown in your face.

Cinderella

Change your point of view.  When I have the camera out with the dogs, I spend more time on my butt than I do my feet. Cinderella just happened to be looking up in the trees (it wasn’t a squirrel this time, or I would be demonstrating motion blur). Had I been standing up looking down, her look would have been entirely different.

I try to shoot at eye level. And, most of the time the dogs take this as an invitation to come clean my lens. They don’t understand “you need to stay five feet away from me, no more, no less.

Crystal

Head in a clean spot. One of my very favorite photographers, Zack Arias, recently did a workshop on Creative Live. It was three days of non-stop teaching. Over and over he drilled “head in a clean spot.”

When I took this, I had to change my point of view so that the green grass line did not cut through the middle of Crystal’s head. Visually, it would have cut her head in half.

Same goes for tree branches, telephone poles or anything else. You have to move with your feet so that the background does not interfere with the head.

Flocko

The last thing that I have some control over is the light. I shot all of the these photos between 12:30 and 2 pm this afternoon. This is my least favorite time to shoot, but sometimes you gotta do what you have to do. The sun was beastly bright.

If I had taken this in the bright sun, the darks would be really dark and the lights or whites would most likely be almost blown out and neither of the areas would have any detail, or the photos would have been really contrasty.

Fortunately, we have many tall trees that provide ample shade. I made sure that the photos I took were in the shade and that the background was in the shade as well.

OK, there is my two cents. I hope it helped. I’m not an authority by any stretch of the imagination and photography is so subjective. These are the things that are running through my head while the camera is plastered to my nose and I’m hoping to capture just one more shot.

Now that I have totally put you to sleep, it’s time to return to the Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

The Pet Blog Hop hosted by Life with DogsTwo Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume. Many, many thanks to the hosts, the Pet Blog Hop rocks.

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Happy birthday Talley

Talley

I did it again. I am going to get the worst mommy in history award. Talley turned 10 today. I thought her birthday was tomorrow. In fact, if I were a betting woman, I would have bet her birthday was tomorrow. But no, it was today.

Happy birthday Talley Ho! And yes, even though you don’t look a day over five and you don’t act any older than three, you are now an official card carrying member of the Double-digit Gang!