Wednesday evening, BHM Pets and I teamed up to photograph the happenings over at SIPS FOR STRAYS with the GBHS. I have been looking forward to taking part with this function because the GBHS is my homebase where I have fostered and volunteered in the past.
I also knew I would probably recognize a few familiar faces! There was also a team of new volunteers I hadn't met yet, so it was great seeing everyone out having a fun time for a good cause.
Sips for Strays sponsor was Tito Vodka. They had all kinds of yummy specialty drinks that when ordered, a percentage would be donated to the shelter. There were also a lot of fun prize giveaways and raffle tickets.
It appeared that all dogs, dog owners and non-dog owners were participating with having a good time!
Last night I teamed up with BHM Pets and Adopt a Golden- Birmingham for Wet Nose Wednesday at Regions Field.. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to take time speaking with other dog owners, learn a little bit more about their furry companion and hear their story.
There were little pups, big ones, shy pups, curious and outgoing ones.. Old, young, disabled, short hair, long haired, grey, tan, white, red, spotted.. you name it... Every dog out there looked like they were on cloud nine.
They had smiles from one ear to the other and it was just such a positive thing to observe and experience the love that so many of these owners had for their dog.
I feel that Wet Nose Wednesday is a fun, positive way to connect the community of Birmingham. It helps to unite fellow dog owners and bring awareness to the not so fortunate dogs who do not have the luxury of having a home of their own.
One in particular was a foster named Charlie! He greeted me at the gate as I entered into the park. He jumped and hobbled over to say hello as he recently had one of his front legs amputated. He didn't let that slow him down. He loved being the ballpark greeter and I don't blame him. It looked like he was enjoying all the love and petting he could get!
As the sun began to set, all the dogs and their owners found their rightful place on the lawn. It was such a sight to see everyone lounging. I met so many people who had never been to Regions Field before, so I feel that Wet Nose Wednesday is also a great way to reach out to people who look for fun places to socialize with their dog.
I ran into one fun couple who drove an hour to attend.. and the look on their Pit-Lab mix named Cash was well worth it!
This past weekend was Easter Sunday.. the weather was perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and we had warmer temps without the muggy humidity! After spending the first half of my morning with family, I dedicated the rest of the day to the pups.
If there is one thing Millie has learned from being a part of our family is that life is fun and it's not so scary to explore the unknown... as I can remember the days when she would be scared to leave the room.
We visited Millie and Lola's local dog park before taking our play time back to the house. This is where Millie really lets loose and lets her personality shine. I think only a few chosen people actually have seen her at her most vulnerable, goofy state.. and if you are one of those few, consider yourself part of her 'pack'..
She is still extremely shy around strangers and always keeps her distance.. and that is okay! I have grown to love that about her. She is loyal to those she knows and trusts and does not seek out attention from strangers as Lola does.
I know, by far.. one of her favorite past-times is being outside. It doesn't matter if she is doing nothing but laying on the back deck. She just loves hearing the birds, feeling the warm sun on her back as she guards over her 'territory'.
There have been times I will look out the window to check on her and she will be laying by the steps on the deck, looking over the yard.. her head up alert as if she is protecting her home.
I know she loves her home here, her affections and actions remind me daily... and I must say, I know Millie's presence has given our home a warmth that would not have if she was not a part of it.
She reminds us to relax and have fun with the ones you love and trust the most...
Everyone.. meet Tank!! Oh my stars!!! I fell in love the moment he ran up to me and said hello with a very long mellow howl. His tail was wagging and his grey muzzle showed that he was aging into his senior years.. but his charismatic energy and personality had me second guessing that he was eleven!!
He was more than ready to be the star of the show as he was not camera shy at all. He loved talking to the camera and even sat in my lap as I crouched down to snap his photo.
Tank's mom, Ellen, learned about PIT-STOP through the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She graciously placed a bid through an auction they held and won a photo session with me! I couldn't wait to meet her and her precious Tank.
I'm very thankful our paths crossed as Tank is one of those dogs that leaves you feeling happy. He loves people, he loves life and his playful nature will keep him young for a long time.
If I would have known this would have been the last time I would see Chevy, I would have kissed him on his little wet nose for luck.
Our foster's time has come and gone so quickly. We cared for him for just two weeks before he had gained enough weight to be placed onto the adoption floor at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.
With each foster I've been blessed to come across, I like to take a little bit of time and ponder on how their life has impacted my own.. knowing that they are out there somewhere.. hoping that someone can see the good that they can bring into their life and give them a chance at life with a successful adoption.
One thing that I would like to add to Chevy's future and potential adopter is to be patient.. He is willing to please and listen to you.. you just need to know how to listen to him and his needs. He needs an owner that understands that he isn't going to be perfect the first night, week or maybe even the first month.. ( Millie, my rescue is still growing and learning and it's been a whole year!!) With time, I assure you he can learn to be pretty close to perfect if you ask me.
Chevy is highly trainable and confident. He will walk wherever you walk and loves all people big and small, male or female, young or old. He never meets a stranger!
He learned to sit within his first couple days at my home before I would feed him and his quick temper towards my own dogs subsided after a stern correction. If you are looking to add a second dog into your pack, I believe Chevy could work well with a submissive dog because he loves being the alpha but like any relationships.. It will take time.
He needs a calm yet assertive owner that can teach him right from wrong. I'd like to also brag on how it just took one time for me to tell him NO and he didn't use the bathroom in my home again during his two weeks with us.
To whoever gives Chevy a chance. you will not only save his life but you will also be rewarded with a dog that will live for your approval.. That's a pretty good pal if you ask me!
We are going on two weeks with our foster Chevy. Many of you already know he has had no issues making himself right at home.. as I continue to learn more about him, I realize that he doesn't know how to play.
Oh perfect.. that won't be an issue here at my home. I have two pups that want to play 24/7 and would love to teach him how to play a game of tug or fetch and even show him how to wrestle..
Well.. there may be a slight issue as I think he confuses playful pups as fighting.. It makes him extremely anxious to where he wants to jump down in the middle of their play time to break it up.. and that he does..
The girls quickly retreat back to their couch time and quickly lay down.
That's okay.. we can start him off with baby steps to play time. He seems to have become intrigued by the squishy rubber balls that he observes Millie and Lola chewing on.. It didn't take long for him to find his own squishy rubber ball as my girls were gracious enough to share with him.
He now walks around with the toy in his mouth but doesn't quite know what to do with it. He won't let the other dogs near it and he doesn't know how to retrieve it.. so for now, he just holds it in his mouth.
From my take on Chevy.. this poor guy has had more positive experiences with people than he has other dogs. He seems more nervous around dog behavior than human behavior.. so hopefully with a little bit of socialization, he will be part of someone's pack in no time!
When one of the GBHS staff members told me about a recent surrender who was in need of a temporary foster home, I couldn't help but want to be a part of this guy's journey. His condition was skin and bones plus being heartworm positive with the addition of some deep gashes and open wounds from a recent injury had me wondering what kind of story he had.
He weighed in at roughly 29lbs.. which brought back many recent memories with how Millie was when we first brought her home. I was preparing myself to have a similar experience with him when I went to pick him up.
Nope.. Nothing alike.. He immediately ran towards me as I met him for the first time.. Many of you may recall my first encounter with Millie, my rescue. She wouldn't even make eye contact with me and she would sit with her back towards me in hopes to avoid all human contact.. she was scared to move and was shut down towards everyone and everything.
This guy, who goes by the GBHS name, Chevy, has done nothing but seek out our affection and the affection of every single person he makes contact with. He has already made himself at home and is making my foster experience much easier. He walks everywhere I go, loud noises don't startle him, he rarely barks, he asks to go outside to use the bathroom, he has a great temperament towards all people and aims to please with with anything that I ask of him.
I have gathered that Chevy seems to be more of a people pleaser than he is interested in bonding with other dogs as he rarely acknowledges Lola or Millie. If I'm not careful, he will try to boss them around with a domineering attitude.. but it just took a few days of patience, observation and learning his personality so I could work with him accordingly to his disposition.
This little skinny dog has the confidence of a 100 lb Mastiff.. which amazes me. He most definitely has a zest for life and a love for people. I know he is going to make someone a very, lucky owner one day.. and if I had to give my report on him right now.. I would say, he loves interacting with people more than dogs.. BUT he would make a great pet for someone who may have other dogs within the home as long as the potential adopter is assertive and shows authority.
Chevy is also extremely intelligent. He is a quick learner and only needs to be corrected once if he gets into something he shouldn't or behaves towards Millie or Lola in a negative way. He aims to please and seems to have a deep longing for human interaction. He just needs to find the right person so he can shine like the star he is meant to be!!
When I was asked to help and photograph five dogs in need of fostering or a forever home, I made sure to be available. They are currently being boarded at the Oporto Animal Clinic off of Oporto-Madrid Blvd. in Birmingham.
The caring and loving folks over at K9 ResQ of Alabama are doing all they can to try and rehome them. I am hoping that by posting this information here on my site as well as social media outlets that somewhere, someone will connect to one of these loving pups.
I assure you there is a personality out there to fit anyone. I fell in love with Suzy, a shy and reserved little girl who took a few minutes to warm up to me.. Paul was also one that I connected with. He is a cute, black shaggy medium sized adult male who is shy at first.. but once he warms up to you.. he is so full of smiles and personality!
If you are active and want a running partner, then without a doubt you should consider Meri, the beautiful Pit-Mix. She is very athletic and would love to have hiking adventures!
Ofcourse, Peter, the Beagle just melted my heart too!! He has an easy, go lucky personality that seems to want to fit in wherever he goes.
These five rescue dogs are more than deserving of a loving home. Their eyes each spoke to me.. Some told me that they would do anything to be loved, to protect, to have a place all their own while another's told me they just wanted to trust again.. another one just wanted to have a family who could throw endless tennis balls in a big back yard and go on adventures with.
Please open your heart and your home! It takes only one person to change the life of another. Lets pay it forward!
If interested.. you can contact K9 ResQ of Alabama .. https://www.k9resqofal.org/
they are located at Oporto Animal Clinic .. http://oportoanimalclinic.com/contact.html
Just incase you don't recognize this sweet girl.. IT'S MILLIE VANILLI, as the carefree attitude and big smiles may mislead you as she splashes and plays in water.
Yes.. we had a major break through the other day.
I had literally accepted that she was terrified of water and only on a need basis would she be willing to tip toe rapidly through a shallow, narrow creek bed to cross the other side.
Well folks, not anymore! She willingly runs and splashes through water as though she's done it her whole life!
It only took a little over a year and one month!
Although I would love to take all the credit for Millie's new endeavors it wouldn't be fair to not give all the glory to our Lolacoaster!! Lola really has been the source to Millie's recovery. Our Frenchie has shown Millie confidence, love, acceptance and yes.. from time to time.. tough love and boundaries.
I truly believe that Lola and Millie are soul-sisters. They are never apart.
Millie trust and follows this girl anywhere.. so over time when we would go to the park, Millie would continue to observe Lola play in the creek.. until one day Millie was tired of watching from the shoreline and wanted to see what was so fun about playing in water.
I hope that the pictures are proof enough that there is no fear here! She just may have to agree with Lola that playing in the water is the best thing since Dog Biscuits!
This breakthrough was just a simple reminder to me that Millie is still progressing and growing everyday. No, I don't believe Millie's story has been written yet.
It is only beginning!
I want to first and foremost thank Clay and Elizabeth for allowing me to come into their home and document this very emotional time for them. I realize that being a dog owner will bless you with some of the happiest days of our life and also one of our worst.
It is something that all dog owners eventually will experience sooner or later and it never gets easy.. NEVER!
Champ was diagnosed with cancer recently and these guys are still trying to cope with his diagnosis as well as appreciate the time that they do have left with him .. It could be days, weeks or months.. but I do know that no matter how much time we do have with our furry companions, it is never long enough.
I broke all rules of being a 'professional' and found myself crying off and on throughout the session.. so my apologies.
The purpose of documenting this time was not to pretend that everything is pretty and perfect.. but to honor and remember Champ while he is here with them and that he is loved always and forever.
Sometimes people want to avoid any grief or sadness but I think more individuals should face these emotions head on. It connects you to humanity and it is what makes us human.
During Champs session we reminisced a little on his life journey. He was part of so much with these guys. From his early puppy years to the beginning of their relationship, their ventures in college, graduation, their wedding day, moving into their first home, starting their careers.
That is when they proceeded to show me a photo from their wedding day that I had forgotten that I took. Champ sat proudly between Elizabeth and Clay with a big smile.. Mouth open, tongue hanging out and the look that they all could conquer the world as they embraced one another.
I again, proceeded to cry. By now it was probably my 3rd or 4th time to tear up.. I again apologized as we took a small moment to regain composure.
I am going to keep all these guys in my thoughts and prayers as they try to embrace, comfort and appreciate the final days of their beloved. I know that this was not an easy session to face but I do hope that they will remember this time as a time for reflecting and also as a reminder that life is short, it is precious and most importantly.. it is fleeting.
'Until one has loved an animal, a part of ones soul remains unawakened. - Anatole France
Helping shelter animals one click at a time!