I was recently told about a canola field where the owner wouldn’t mind if I used it for a few pictures. I checked it out on a beautiful summer night but it was after a photo session and I didn’t have a dog with me to try it out. So I put a call out on Facebook and Dan and Mandy arrived with their 6 (!) dogs and we did a little impromptu session.Comments Off
I donate my time to Windy City Canine Rescue and take photos of all their new arrivals. It’s usually about 50 dogs a year. I love it. It gives me a chance to meet every dog we help and I get to hang out with them and get to know them a little bit. This year I decided I was tired of just doing the same old pictures in the same old backyards so I started taking the dogs out and about. My husband has been helping me and he’s becoming a great assistant. In most of these photos he’s just off to the side holding the leash (that I’ve edited out). I thought I’d share a few favourites from the past few months.
Here’s my husband helping out. I was going for matching head tilts but all I got was matching forehead wrinkles.
And what I love to do even more than taking pictures of the rescue dogs, is fostering them. One of my dogs can be pretty unreliable around other dogs but we’ve discovered that she is usually very good around puppies. She tolerates them much more than she would an adult dog and often by the end of their stay she has become a good friend to them. Usually these dogs are too young to go out to a park as they aren’t fully vaccinated yet so then I’m stuck just taking pictures around our house and backyard.
I’ll admit it. I love technology. Especially technology that other people might consider “gimmicky”. And I love it even more if it has to do with dogs. There was no doubt that the Whistle was right up my alley. I bought one a few months ago to help track my aging dog’s activity level. We were having trouble determining what was the “right” amount of exercise. She thought she could run and fetch for hours still, and while we knew differently it was hard to reign ourselves in when she kept acting like everything felt great… until the evening… when suddenly she was walking like she was 103 years old.
I’ve been dying to put one on the daycare dogs and today we finally did. Sage got to be our first guinea pig. Sage is a young boxer/lab cross who plays almost the whole time he is here. He arrived at 7:35 and left at 4:00. In those 8.5 hours he was “active” for a whopping 363 minutes (just over 6 hours).
The first graph shows the overall summary. The blue bars are how “intense” his activity was – each bar represents about 20 minutes. I love how you can see how his intensity (aka energy level) slowly dwindles throughout the day, with a brief spike at noon when a few new friends arrive for the afternoon and another spike near the end of the day – almost as if he knows he’s leaving soon so he better get some last minute fun in.
The next three are when you zoom in a bit to see more detail. Now each bar represents about 3 minutes each. The little bits of blue you see starting at 6 a.m. is me. :) I put it in my pocket at home so I wouldn’t forget it. I ate breakfast, made tea, brushed my teeth and came to work… all that equaled only 1 minute of activity. It then just sat on a collar waiting for Sage to arrive.
As you can see Sage didn’t sit still much at all. There was a brief time at around 2:40 and just before 3:30 where he stopped moving for more than 3 minutes. As far as I can tell the dogs need to be moving a fair amount for it to be considered as an “activity” minute. The little white bars would probably register as “rest” and all the other minutes that aren’t accounted for in his “active” minutes would just count as “awake” but not active. So for example if I give my dog a bone to chew for an hour, she has blue bars showing that she was awake and not perfectly still, yet it doesn’t register any “activity” minutes as she isn’t up walking around a lot.
As a comparison, here is an “active” day for my 9 year old dog Coulee. You can see the little blip when we got up at 6 a.m., how she puttered a bit with us as we got ready, that I can home around noon, we went for an hour walk at around 1, she probably barked at the window, or chased the cats around 4:40, my husband got home just before 6 when she ate, I got home after 6:30 said hello and then we played for a bit at 7 and then went to bed at 9. (Yes I go to bed early!) That was 81 minutes of activity total, with 60 minutes on a walk. So that means there was only 20 minutes of other activity as she putters around the house and in the backyard. Quite different from Sage at daycare!
If find the information on these things fascinating! I can’t wait to put it on more dogs at daycare.
Ernie will often hop up on the chair and wait for me to come visit. He perches on the end or up on the arm and it is super cute so today I decided I wanted to get a picture of him doing it. I dragged the chair outside so the light would be brighter and as is always the way, nothing went as planned. Here are my thoughts/actual conversation with the dogs as I tried to get the picture I envisioned.
Maggie can you wait for me to actually get the chair in place before you hop up? No? OK. Plan B, take cute pictures of you in the chair.
Errrr. Could everyone get out of the way? I’m trying to get pictures of Maggie.
Hey Maggie! Wake up. You are getting your picture taken but I still need everyone else to move.
Oh Hi Ramone. You are looking particularly handsome today but I’m trying to get pictures of dogs (or rather Ernie) in the chair today.
Yay. Finally got Ernie in the chair. Hey Ernie – could you look at me? Please? Just for a sec? You know like you usually do when you want me to come visit?
Over here. Hey Ernie. Shelby, do you have to go there right now? I’m trying to get Ernie to pose for me.
Apollo and Luna. Hey kids. Could you come over here? I’m trying to get a shot of Ernie. Oh wait this could be cute. Could you all look over here please? Sigh…
At this point I went inside, showed Amanda my pictures of everyone BUT Ernie and she pointed out all the messy gravel under the chair. So I went back out and swept… OK. I’m ready now. :)
Oh Charlie. Is it your turn now? Apollo, what are you doing back there? Could you grab the ball while you are there? It is kind of distracting in the picture. Ramone, could you maybe try sitting somewhere else so I could just get one dog at a time?
Hey Shelby. Why don’t you get on the chair. No one else seems to be around. Ummmm…. That isn’t quite what I intended but OK.
Mya and Shelby – do you have to play right there, right now?
Yes I’m talking to you. I’m trying to take a picture of Ernie in the chair remember?
Yes Ramone, I know you are better than Ernie at this but you don’t normally sit in the chair so it just isn’t “you”.
Thanks for showing him how it is done, you handsome dog you.
Yes Charlie you can have a turn too. Charlie if you want your picture taken you need to look at the camera. Ernie now what are you doing? I’ve given up on getting a picture of you in the chair. It’s Charlie’s turn now.
OK Ernie you are in the chair. Great. Could you give me a nice smile now? Why are you giving me such a deadly glare? What did I do wrong?
Oh that’s better. But could you look over here? Ernie! Hey Ernie! You hoo!
Wait. I didn’t get the picture. Where are you going?
Alright Kahlua you can have a turn too but you aren’t any better at this than Ernie. Could you look at me? Please? Just for a moment?
Maggie you are supposed to be ON the chair not next to it.
Thanks Apollo for being such a good sport. You look nice and relaxed up there. OK. Now let’s clear everyone else out of the way…
What are you two doing under there??
I couldn’t have set this up if I tried. Now if you could all look at me please….
Yes Charlie you can have a turn. And hey. You are pretty good at this. First try and everything. Monty what are you doing there?
Alright Monty. You can have a turn too although you really don’t seem comfortable standing on the chair. Hey. Are you just using this as a chance to see onto the street better? Hey Monty! I’m over here. Smile for me…
I’m sorry this is taking so long Luna. Is your head getting too heavy? Why don’t you just stop and rest a minute.
AND finally Amanda suggested I lock everyone else inside and just take Ernie out. Seriously. Why didn’t I think of that earlier!!!!
This is it! This is the moment I wanted to capture, albeit on a cleaner chair. Thanks everyone for all your “help”.Comments Off
Some completely random photos from last week….
Avery and Rosco playing chase.
Finn – take a quick breather between wrestling matches.
A very smiley Echo.
Apollo and Avery playing tug.
Avery playing keep away with Charlie.
Kahlua and Rosco just hanging out.
Ramone always has a smile on his face.
Luna was asking Brodie what he had for breakfast. :)
Alfie sporting the windblown look.
Taylor and Charlie playing tug.
Monty and Alerya keeping an eye on things outside.
Alyera just “chilllin”.Comments Off
Daycare is filled with running, wrestling and fetching. It is also filled with snuggles, pats and naps. I like the quiet moments. Not only are the dogs relaxed, but we get to let our guard down. Keeping a constant vigilance on 30 active dogs can be exhausting. Some days I’m not sure who goes home more tired – me or the dogs. I just wished I burned as many calories a day watching as they do playing.