What a fun surprise for us to wake up to! I wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me.. Snowing?? In early December?? In Alabama?? I can't ever remember it snowing like this during all my life this early on in the year.
I couldn't wait to see how Millie would react to the white fluffy stuff and took it upon myself to get outside ASAP!
Lola had seen snow before, had played in it a handful of times and wasn't as eager to get out in it as Millie.. but after Lola saw how much fun Millie was having, she was convinced and joined in like she was a puppy all over again.
I could only imagine how Millie would have acted towards the unfamiliar terrain just a few short months ago. She probably would have not wanted to go near it, let alone jump and run circles full speed ahead.
That is just what she did. She ventured without hesitation onto the cold, wet ground and played like there was no tomorrow.
It warmed my heart to see her running around, coaxing Lola to play and chase her as though her only care in the world was making sure she was having fun.. and having fun is what she knows how to do a lot of these days.
Sept. 2016 - Dec 2, 2017
This has got to be one of the hardest parts about becoming attached to a furbaby and I really am at loss of words on what to say right now.. but I do know that Tucker's paw has made a huge imprint on my heart and I'd like to take a moment and speak on how this little guy changed my life.
Although, he did not belong to me, I felt like he was my very own. I remember around this time last year, I met him for the very first time. My life-long friend Stacie brought him to my home to watch the Iron Bowl. He stayed curled up in a small ball of fur, pressed safely against her chest as he slept.
I was smitten!
It didn't take long for the little guy to grow into his own . He was always happy, carefree and he loved a good challenge and adventure. His little size did not hold him back from hanging with the big dogs.
He was the 'house' favorite play mate and my two, Lola and Millie, couldn't wait to have a full day of fun when we would all hang out. I have so many good memories of them all together where they use to play, places they would go and trips that we all would take.
Tucker touched my life within the short time he was here because without him, I honestly feel that Millie would not be as advanced with where she is today. She was so timid when she first got to my home.. Everything was scary to her and then she met Tucker.
He showed her how to enjoy life, live in the moment and not be scared of everything and anything. He built her confidence and taught her how to play. It didn't take long for Millie to learn that chase was a game and that it was FUN!
On our last day together, it was the perfect day.. we spent the whole day together, little did we know what dark and heavy heartache lay ahead of us. It crushes my spirit to know that Tucker took his last breath out on the street in front of my home and I cannot, for the life of me, ever get this out of my head.
The home that he had come to love and visit, a safe-haven for dogs, the place where all dogs could run and play without any worry.. it all changed in a blink of an eye.
The back yard that once was filled with cheer and fun memories now is vacant, still and empty. The grey sky mimics that of my melancholy mood and the wind chimes sound as though they call out for the precious life we have lost.
I miss him terribly, I know Lola and Millie will always wonder where he is and I can't even begin to imagine the heartache my friend is experiencing right now.
The only peace and solice I can find right now is knowing that Tucker had the BEST life ever. He experienced more than the average dog. He had a lot of love, a lot of friends and a lot of fun! His life was not in vain.. within the short year he had on this earth, he touched many and taught many too!
This is what I like so much about photographs.. They are proof that once, even if just a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
It has now been 17 days since Millie's official adoption... We have put our Christmas tree up and are preparing to celebrate together as one big fam this year! She seemed unsure about the tree and it's festivities at first.. but it didn't take long for her to adjust after I caught her chewing on one of the teddy bear ornaments.
I gently took it away, told her no and have not seen any evidence of 'disappearing' ornaments since that day.
She is so routine that she helps me keep a routine. Millie loves her bed time.. anything later than 10pm and she dismisses herself to our bedroom. I have also started noticing she wags her tail in her sleep during her dreams and acts as though she is running wild and free somewhere.
I can remember when we first got her she would tremble and growl in her sleep as though she was fearful. So, I like to think she has happy thoughts and sweet dreams now.
Her mile speed has increased from 30 minutes a mile to a 15 minute mile time during our daily walk. She has finally found a consistent pace and is no longer in the back of the hiking line as she use to stay.
Millie is full speed ahead. She is now boldly stepping into unknown territory with more confidence. The fallen tree logs that I use to have to pick her up and carry her over on our hikes are now being jumped over at high speeds. She no longer lets this obstacle stop her.
Just earlier today, we took a hike and I put my phone in her backpack to hold.. I unknowingly forgot it automatically detects any movement and exercise.. so when I went to retrieve my phone after our hike it read that I 'ran' 4.5 miles in 45 minutes, not even knowing I had been running.. and then it dawned on me that the phone had been on Millie the whole time.
She is a completely new dog. She looks different, acts different and is different. She has transformed into a happy, confident, loving and loyal companion.
I want to make sure that her first Christmas experience with us as her new family will be one to remember as a time of renewal and rebirth.
So far I am proud to announce that with everyone's help we have raised a total of $590.00 over the past few months! I can't put in words how much this means to me when I see people come forward and book their dog's portrait session with PIT-STOP!
To help put the donated amount of $590 into tangible and useable items.. I hope to help give you some perspective with how each dollar counts!!
With $590 dollars, this can purchase roughly 19 bags of dog food or it can cover the cost of spaying and neutering roughly 6 dogs and/or cats.
This motivates me all the more to try and keep these sessions up and going! I am so proud of what we have gathered so far but I also realize that there is so much more to give..
I hope we can raise even more before the end of the year!!
It hasn't even been a week since Millie was officially adopted into our family and my husband and I both can see an amazing transformation. It is almost as if she knows!
Millie is confident with exploring new areas, she is showing more of a sense of curiosity than she is fear. She walks up to people to smell them and see what they are about... and I have seen her ask strangers to be petted... and of course, they reach down to do so!
I have finally heard her speak! Her voice is an amazingly, fierce and powerful bark that sounds like a low rumble. This past week she heard a strange noise coming from the back porch. It concerned her, so she ran to the door and gave it one loud bark. I went to check and it appears that the wind had blown over some boxes. I nodded in approval for Millie's diligence and observance.. she seemed to puff up in a proud manner..
Prior to adoption, I had hoped she would grow to love the outdoors, hiking, adventure, people and being around social situations. I think it is safe to say, she LOVES being on the go. I can't even put my shoes on or grab her leash without her jumping up and down from excitement.
She has learned how to do about almost everything except jump in a car. I find it comical to be seen lifting this big ol' 60lb of muscle into a little car.. but I will do what I have to do until she feels comfortable doing this on her own time.
Millie does insist that she is a lap dog and I often endure my leg falling asleep from her weight in the evening time when we all watch television.. She is one of the most affectionate dogs I have known.. maybe she is making up for lost time?
This week is a great week to remind myself how thankful I am.. I am thankful for taking a chance.. (I can remember hesitating on calling about Millie as she was not available for adoption at the time.) I am also thankful for the staff at the GBHS that work day in and day out caring for animals such as Millie, in hopes they too will one day find a home. I am thankful for my husband and family for being supportive of my decision to take on another dog and responsibility. With their support, it made me caring for her needs all the more easier. I am thankful for that woman who found her and surrendered her that day to the Humane Society, in hopes she would have a better life.
It wouldn't and couldn't have worked if all of these things did not come into play as it isn't just one person who makes a difference.. but rather all of us!
It's so rewarding to have friends interested and participating with this venture! I loved having the opportunity to work with Jaime and her pups for the cause. She has two babies.. Daisy, who is at the young age of 12 and Petunia.. who is approximately 3.
Daisy was the only child for a while until about a year or two ago when Jaime learned of a dog hoarding case.. to which, she rescued Petunia from.
These two pups were precious and I loved having the chance to photograph them alongside their beloved fur mom.
Not only do I know these photos will be cherished for years to come but they are also helping give the chance of adoption to a dog or cat in need at the shelter.. so that they may too, hopefully , one day experience the love that Petunia and Daisy receive.
Lets pay it forward!
There is nothing better than meeting someone for the first time because of our mutual love of animals. The Clowers were such an awesome couple whom I met this past weekend. They learned of the PIT-STOP Process through social media and their involvement with the GBHS.
I got to meet their sweet baby Penelope.. They call her a Chorkie.. part Chihuahua part Yorkie!! What a cutie she was.
We decided to meet at the Preserve Greenway in Hoover where Penelope could run off leash but by the looks of it.. She prefers to be held.. and I don't blame her.
Lauren and Addison both know how to make a pooch feel loved! She's very lucky to have such an adoring family.
I always am very appreciative of those who donate and support organizations such as the GBHS. Every bit helps! Thank you for the support. I must say, during the process, we got some sweet photos of your baby!
Millie is just about ready to be adopted to Gary and me! We feel that she's been ours all along but just to make things official.. We must make note that she has been in our foster care for the past several months and NOW, we can make the steps to officially call her our own!
We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. To be a part of her journey, her growth and her challenges have made this all the more rewarding. We went through all this together, as a fam.. and because of all the trials we had to endure with her insecurities, hang ups and weird ticks, it has allowed us to feel even more invested with the adoption progress.
She has most definitely taught me more about compassion and patience, endurance, hope, faith.. all things good come from nurture.. and I am a firm believer that Millie is a perfect example of what a little bit.. well.. A LOT of love in her case.. can conquer most anything.
Again!!! This is so exciting to see my portrait clients including their family pet with their seasonal portrait sessions. The Shoultz family have always included their beloved family dog, Bailey, with all our previous sessions.. so when I told them what I was doing with PIT-STOP and the donations, they didn't hesitate to participate!
Bailey is 9 years old now and is a former shelter pup. She was rescued and has been adored from day one. Bailey is a lucky girl and it is evident that she has found her forever home with the Shoultz family.
I am loving the TACKY SHEDDER sessions for the fur babies.. They are fun, bright, colorful, short and sweet.. which I am sure Penelope was happy about this past weekend. It was after all 80 degrees and for her sake.. she is probably thankful her family bypassed her tacky sweater this year and just went with a cutsie bell bow collar.
I'm a big sucker for any bulldog breed.. and a Frenchie just melts my heart everytime.. being a French Bulldog owner myself, I love how expressive they can be.
I love the Moore family and was thrilled to see them on the PIT-STOP Photos bookings this year as they have booked with my portrait company, L.A. Photography, LLC. So I enjoyed having them on this side to my photography this year.
Their donation was well received and is already being put to good use over at the GBHS. I know we are all very appreciative!