A New Hobby?

A new hobby would imply that I have an old hobby. Which I don’t. Unless you count fostering dogs. Anyway, for years I’ve been taking photos for work (I work in college athletics so I take lots of headshots and action photos) with a DSLR and I sometimes, ah, “borrow” my work camera to take pictures at Marty’s races, of the dogs, etc.

I also took an online digital photography course through my professional development account so that I could actually figure out what the hell I was doing with the camera (rather than point, click, and pray for one or two usable pictures. Spoiler – I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing). My dad knew I was doing some research into DSLRs for myself and thought a DSLR would make for a good birthday gift.

He was right.

So this week we took a trip into NYC to make a day of lunch and camera shopping and I came home with a brand new Canon EOS Rebel T3i with an 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens.

My parents

My parents

I poured over the manual and have been clicking away since we got back to my parents’ house in NJ.

Quality-wise, not so good. Subject-wises? Phenomenal.

Quality-wise, not so good. Subject-wises? Phenomenal.

A mid-walk picture break.

A mid-walk picture break.

Sidenote: Isn't my mom beautiful?

Sidenote: Isn’t my mom beautiful?

This is a dog blog, though, so of course Lucy will be the unwilling subject of my photo-taking as I try to learn what the hell I’m doing. I got back to PA this afternoon and took advantage of the sunny conditions to grab a few photos of Lucy.

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Like I said, I still don’t really know what I’m doing but it is going to be a lot of fun figuring it out!

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Birthday Weekend

This weekend I turned 30. I never wanted to be one of those women who hated getting older. But I kind of am. I think it’s mostly because I’m not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. I thought I’d be married. I thought I’d own a home. I thought I’d have kids. I thought I’d be in my forever job. I’m 0-for-4. Not exactly a stellar batting average.

Now, it’s not like I haven’t accomplished anything or even have any real room for complaints. Life’s been pretty good. I just think it could be better. Fortunately I have the important things – family, friends, Lucy, a job, a home, etc. Looking forward to the next decade. Sort of.

Anyway, we had a very low-key weekend, which was perfect. I even busted out the “real” camera today to snap a few pics of Lucy now that’s she’s feeling better (thanks to everyone for the well wishes, by the way!).

Her favorite stick.

Her favorite stick.

She has ups for a bulldog.

She has ups for a bulldog.

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Concentration.

Concentration.

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A man and his dog.

A man and his dog.

I even found this picture of Buddy left on the camera. What a cutie.

His sun spot at my parents' house.

His sun spot at my parents’ house.

So, a great weekend if we can just forget about the whole 30 thing. 🙂

The Best Laid Plans

It’s Saturday morning and I’m currently blogging from my couch which is not where I was supposed to be this morning. I was supposed to be cheering Marty on at his triathlon and providing my professional amateur photography skills.

Instead, I’m sitting next to this (sick) squish.

Cute, even when sick.

Cute, even when sick.

I had a group conference call/assignment for class last night (I know, on a Friday night) and a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call. I managed to get in bed by 9:45 and fell asleep at…11 p.m. And was then awake at 4:10 a.m. I gave in, got up and came downstairs to the distinct smell of poop.

For the first time since she was 10 weeks old, Lucy crapped in the house. I took her outside where she proceeded to have projectile diarrhea. Honest to goodness, first time I’ve ever seen that.

Not feeling well at all.

Not feeling well at all.

I quickly cooked up some bouillon and rice (my go-to for upset doggie tummies) to see how she’d handle it. Not well because a few minutes later I was cleaning up puke. My travel to the race was a no-go. 😦

Lucy had a hard time keeping down just bouillon but a half hour ago managed to keep down a teeny tiny scoop of rice so I’m crossing my fingers it continues to stay down. I hate when she’s sick and I hate that I couldn’t be at Marty’s race but there just wasn’t any way I felt comfortable leaving Lucy alone.

I adore having a dog, especially one as cute and fun as Lucy, but man, dog ownership is stressful and on days like this, it’s also really, really disgusting.

Buddy Found His Forever Home

This evening I dropped Buddy off at his forever home.

Sebastian (L) and Buddy (R)

Sebastian (L) and Buddy (R)

As is the norm, I didn’t say much of anything leading up to his adoption because until the foster dogs are actually in their homes, I don’t like to count my chickens before they’ve hatched!

On the way to meet his family!

On the way to meet his family!

Buddy is a very lucky boy, though. His family actually lives in the same town as us! I know, the odds of that are practically zero because I live in the middle of nowhere, but he is literally a 90-second drive away. His family is also a “pug family.” Their current pug, Sebastian, is a 10-year-old rescue pug (and looks like Buddy’s dad!). Their previous pug (I think her name was Sassy) recently passed away and the family was looking for a buddy for Sebastian. So Buddy will now be Sebastian’s buddy!

Like I did with Snowy, I wanted to make a list of sorts about what I want to remember about Buddy:

– He is a Velcro pug. Wherever we (Marty and me) were, so was Buddy.

It's my bed but it's Buddy's world.

It’s my bed but it’s Buddy’s world.

– He LOVES his walks. At least twice a day I took Buddy for a walk. I’m going to gain approximately 10 pounds now that he’s gone.

Always up for a walk.

Always up for a walk.

– On a similar note, Buddy would only poop on a walk; I think once in the months we had him did he actually poop in our yard.

– Also related, Buddy would spin around and around in a circle, maybe 4-5 times, before pooping. At least he gave us warning. And it was as hilarious as it sounds.

– Buddy was/is a barker. Barks at the TV. Barks at the train that goes by. Barks when no one is paying attention to him. If he were sticking around we’d definitely do some behavior training with him but his new family can now address that issue if it bothers them!

– He and Lucy got along but I wouldn’t call them best buddies. It’s hard to describe. They didn’t not get along and a lot of times they would cuddle. But they also didn’t really play together. It’s almost like they were just aware of each other’s presence and liked having company, but that was as far as it went.

Ok, they were really cute when they cuddled.

Ok, they were really cute when they cuddled.

– Buddy enjoyed car rides but only if he was given free reign of the car, meaning he hated car rides with us because we made him ride in his crate. Otherwise I would have spent every car ride keeping Buddy off my lap while I drove; not safe, not fun.

Buddy looking deceptively happy in his crate; trust me, he was not happy.

Buddy looking deceptively happy in his crate; trust me, he was not happy.

– Buddy’s cough. He sounded like a goose and it was only bad when he got excited. Alarming at first, normal after a while.

– The way he usually left some breakfast or dinner on his chin.

– His sweet, sweet eyes. He really did have the most soulful eyes.

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Man, we’ll definitely miss Buddy. Unlike Cindy and Snowy, he wasn’t a mill dog and knew exactly how to be a pet. He was house-trained, knew what toys and walks were and was used to life in a home. For that reason he was definitely our “easiest” foster but certainly not easy to say good-bye to. I just love his personality and little quirks. I’ll miss his big eyes staring at me when he wanted to be on my lap and I’ll miss having a shadow follow me around the apartment.

I’m going to be a wreck, as usual, for more than a few days. He even tried to run out the door after us when it was time for us to leave. 😦 It’s so sad to say good-bye and I’ll be thinking of how he’s doing every day. Even now I think about Cindy and Snowy just about every day and wonder how they’re doing (even when I know they’re doing spectacularly!).

What next? This time I’m going to try and take a serious break from fostering to make our lives a bit easier for a while but I know we’ll be back at it after not too long!

A Weekend Away

This weekend I was back in the car, this time driving to my parents’ house in New Jersey, mostly to celebrate Father’s Day Weekend. This time I traveled by myself, leaving Lucy and Buddy with Marty back in Pennsylvania.

I’m told Lucy did this most of the weekend:

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Yup, they didn’t do much but veg and watch World Cup soccer.

Meanwhile, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and spent lots of time outside with my mom. We’re very lucky in that there is a gorgeous park with miles of trails literally around the corner from my parents’.

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We also indulged in a girly afternoon as I took my mom for pedicures to use up the last of a spa gift certificate I won.

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Sunday morning we opened Father’s Day gifts and then I hit the road (again) to head back to Marty and the doggies.

While I’m only 2 1/2 hours away from my parents, given my lack of free time for 10 months out of the year, 2 1/2 hours is usually two hours too far for me to get home as often as I’d like. Which means that even though my gas budget will go through the roof this summer, it’s totally worth it to travel to New Jersey as often as possible. I’ve been in PA for seven years but it’s not home and I’m forever thankful my parents’ always welcome me back!

PS – Hopefully an update on Buddy’s search for his forever home early this week!

We’re Exhausted

Phew. What an incredibly fun and incredibly long weekend. As previously mentioned, we left Pennsylvania on Thursday evening for Marty’s triathlon and returned Monday afternoon. We left Lucy and Buddy with my parents which was a bigger help than I can say. Not having to worry about the dogs while we were at Marty’s race made the weekend more relaxing than it otherwise would have been!

Squished

Squished

From what my parents said, the dogs were great. I knew Lucy would be – she knows the rules of my parents’ house (i.e. no couch!) and is always really well behaved. And Buddy was, too. I’m told he and my mom took a LOT of walks!

"Buddy can take all the walks he wants. Leave me out of it."

“Buddy can take all the walks he wants. Leave me out of it.”

Marty raced Ironman 70.3 Eagleman – that would be a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile half-marathon (another reason it’s tough to bring the dogs – it’s a really, really, really long day). While Marty will be the first to tell you he’s not happy with the results, I’m allowed to brag regardless of how he thinks he did; what he puts his body through for months leading up these big races is ridiculous and Sunday’s conditions were less than ideal (it was hot to say the least).

Heading out for a little half marathon after 57.2 miles of biking and swimming.

Heading out for a little half marathon after 57.2 miles of biking and swimming.

While not as stressful as racing, spectating is still really stressful. At this race, the bike and run courses were single loops so I only saw Marty as he was heading out for each – I had no idea what was going on while he was actually on the course which makes me nervous and stressed; add to that the fact that I was on my own with no one to talk to and it makes for a long day!

So, while Marty may not have been satisfied, as always I was just happy he crossed the finish in one piece!

About to cross the finish.

About to cross the finish.

One of Marty’s teammates has a bulldog; while he didn’t bring his bullie to the race, either, we’re hoping for a bullie playdate at a future race! Of course we talked bulldogs after the race and shared the countless photos we all had on our phones. 🙂

Now it’s time for Lucy and Buddy to recover from a long weekend of travel and fun with my parents!

A Weekend with the “Grandparents”

That’s right, Lucy and Buddy are going to enjoy a weekend at the grandparent’s!

"You can just leave us here, we'll be fine."

“You can just leave us here, we’ll be fine.”

Marty competes in triathlons and this weekend is his “big” race of the summer; it’s in Maryland and because it’s his big race (a qualifier for the World Championship Ironman race), we’ll be in Maryland from Friday through the race on Sunday afternoon. We always book a pet-friendly hotel in case we need to travel with our dog(s) but let’s be honest – like with kids, it’s a million times easier to travel sans-pets.

"You saying I'm difficult?"

“You saying I’m difficult?”

If we’re between fosters (or before we started fostering), my parents generally had no issue watching Lucy but it’s a lot to ask of them to babysit two dogs, none of which are their own! So that’s why the other weekend when my dad offered to watch both dogs this coming weekend, I thought he’d done so in a momentary lapse of judgment. But I double-checked with him (and my mother) and they’re on board with dog-sitting both Lucy and Buddy this weekend!

Now, they’ve met Buddy before and my mother in particular adored Buddy so I’m confident things will go well. Marty and I will drive to New Jersey and spend the night on Thursday then leave the dogs with my parents while we make our way to Maryland on Friday morning. Then, after the race on Sunday, we’ll drive back up to New Jersey, spend the night then hit the road for Pennsylvania on Monday morning.

It’s a lot of driving but this allows us to break up the trip a bit, see my family (however briefly) and make our lives a lot easier by not having to travel with Buddy and Lucy. Hopefully it’s a good weekend for everyone!

Oh, and I am not going to get ahead of myself or jinx things, but we’re slowly making progress on Buddy’s adoption process!