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Category Archives: Life

Alice :: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Thanksgiving weekend offered me my first chance to join my husband and his friends on one of their favorite Thanksgiving traditions… An early morning duck hunt.  The real thing even, no sitting in front of a vintage nintendo for these boys.  As an added bonus for me, since I don’t have a license to actually shoot ducks, was to shoot (photographically speaking) a friend’s dog doing what she too loves to do.   This is Alice, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who clearly loves duck hunting as much as the boys do.







While I enjoy photographing dogs (and other animals) in any setting, there is something truly special about shooting a dog at work.  It is fascinating to watch them get so excited to perform their duties.  Alice could hardly wait for the ducks to fall before she shot out of the brush to bring them back to Marc. Sadly, it was my first attempt at shooting in the predawn light so my shots of her bringing ducks in off the water were less than successful but I am looking forward to more duck hunts to get some more practice in and perfect my settings.

And this last one is just because I love that there is beauty to be found in any season.


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Little Dog

A couple weeks ago I went to toss some boxes in the trash and found a puppy dumped behind our dumpster.  His bed and toys were in the dumpster.  It didn’t take long to figure out why someone had left him and his belongings.  If you’d never had a run in with Parvovirus, consider yourself lucky.  Its miserable, and most often fatal.  But when you take on a puppy, you’re taking responsibility for that animal in sickness and in health… its like a marriage.  Owning a dog isn’t necessarily all fun. Or cheap and easy.  If you don’t look at it like that, I don’t think you should have a dog.  But alas, not everyone sees it that way.  As it was, we gave him fluids and snuggles and he spent his last 24 hours feeling loved and being as comfortable as we could make him.  Rest in peace, little guy.

litte dog1

little dog 2

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Bird dogging

I got to spend the day Saturday with some good friends, their family, and nine bird dogs.  This may be one of my new favorite images.  I’m seeing a big ol’ canvas somewhere…


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Torre and Bronx

These are from a session I should have posted ages ago, but the holidays rolled around and then I got lazy.  But wait no more!  I was playing around with some storyboard templates and it was the perfect excuse to stop being lazy.

Torre and Bronx’s mom is my twitter friend, and will probably be an awesome real life friend if we can ever nail down a day to go antiquing!!    And you don’t have to tell me how adorable this family is.  I mean, just look at them.  If they weren’t so nice, I’d probably hate them.

Bronx, the handsome (energetic) beagle mix…


Torre the  sweet lab-pit mix…


(um, hi. can we say bee-yo-tiful?)

You guys rock! And Ryan, I promise not to be TOO much of an enabler when I finally get to go shopping with your wife.  Bwahahaha…

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Home Improvement :: Operation Dog Kennels

One of the first orders of business after we moved in here, was to put in some dog kennels.  I had a strictly supervisory role in this project, not counting a brief stint with the pneumatic nail gun thingie.  The hubs and his buddy Brant did this all on their own over the course of several weeks, and I will be the first to say, they worked really really hard.  And those two don’t do anything halfway… so these are some spectacular kennels.  Possibly even nicer than Brant’s kennels, after which they are modeled.


They dug out the whole area for the cement pad and dug holes for the supports, then cemented them in.  A company laid the cement pad, but that’s the only thing that got outsourced.  They put up the chain link, framed the whole thing out, and put up the corrugated metal siding.  Perhaps most impressively was wheelbarrowing (yes, i realize that’s not a real verb) all the gravel for the run from our front yard, around the house, and into the run.  When I went to work, there were several cubic yards of dirt and gravel in my front yard.  When I came home, there was nary a trace.

The view from the run back towards the kennels (and yes, we need to spray the grass):


They even put in a water line with a drain at the bottom so the hose doesn’t freeze in the cold weather.


The whole thing is trimmed out with cedar fence slats…


There are three individual kennels, though most of the time they have free run of the whole place.  We still have to sort out what type of dog houses we want to use.


Galvanized buckets are clipped to the chain link to keep the monsters from tipping them over.  And the hubs even used some extra lumber to put in a shelf for me.


Now, don’t get me wrong.  The monsters are out of the kennels as much as they are in it, but its nice to have the option.  The pitbulls, who manage to take over the entire bed every night, sleep out there on nights when they are being especially annoying.  And everyone goes in the kennels when we have company over.  Its also particularly nice when we go out of town briefly, to be able to kennel them and hire a pet sitter, which is WAY cheaper than trying to board four 50-60 pound beasties.

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Mama and Jack :: BFF’s

These two crack me up.  I could seriously watch them for hours.  Jack is a Chihuaha/Dachshund mix that was being fostered by a friend of mine.  We have watched him on several occasions and he is best best friends with our dog, Mama.


In spite of how ferocious she looks here, she lets him climb all over her, chew on her ears, hump her head… you name it.  And when they wrestle, she is super gentle with him.




Jack recently got adopted, which is fantastic, but we will definitely miss his visits.  :(

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Why I don’t exercise…

I am done exercising.  Seriously.  The last time I tried to take a walk with my friend Amy, two poodle mixes followed us around the block and when we stopped to ask some people if they knew who the owners were, we ended up with a cat.   A cat, which Amy carried the rest of the way home and which is now living at her neighbors house.  This morning, I went on a walk by myself and the most adorable little pit mix puppy followed me for almost forty five minutes.  Followed me all around the neighborhood and right to our fence, in spite of me pointedly ignoring it.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to ignore a face this cute??


I almost put him in one of our kennels to keep him out of the street, but decided to leave him out in case he knew his way home.  I did put a big bucket of water out in the alley for him, since it was hot as $%&@ out today.  After a few hours of whining and barking, he either wandered off or his people found him.


Speaking of the kennels, you can kind of see them in the background there.  The hubby and his buddy finished all the trim yesterday so all that remains to be done is running a water line to it.  I won’t lie… they. are. awesome.  (please ignore the tacky, bright yellow banner.  its hanging there for shade for Jack, who has to stay in a crate and can’t follow the shade around the kennel).

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Its been a crazy few weeks here at the Nizhoni household.  I started a new “day” job, which has kept pretty much all other aspects of my life to a minimum.  I’m sort of getting settled in there, so I am trying to make more time for myself now to help relax and get my mind off work.   Due to my crazy schedule, I’m no longer in charge of all the dogs for the HSWT, though I am still fostering and volunteering regularly.  Penelope is our most recent foster (though she did overlap with another who was recently adopted) and she may become a permanent resident.


She came to us just after Thanksgiving after being dumped and accused of attacking people.   I will admit, it was a bad time for the HS and I was almost part of the decision to have her put down, as the organization was not prepared to take on the liability of an animal with a known record of aggression.  Luckily, I decided to talk to the owner of the kennel where she was being temporarily boarded.  I was told that there was no way she was attacking people based on her current behavior, so she came home on a “trial” basis to evaluate her temperment with both people and other dogs.


I am so, SO glad that I decided to bring her home and give her a chance.  She was terrified, and it was three weeks before we were able to pet her consistently without her bolting when we looked at her.


She gets along well with Nizhoni, and LOVES Kodiak.  She loves to chase him around and lick his face, much to his annoyance.  And our entertainment.


She still barks a lot when there are people over, and is very nervous around strangers.   But she loves to cuddle on the couch, and she sleeps on the bed.  And she occasionally takes field trips to Petsmart, and is getting better around other people.

Its been a while since we had nice enough weather for an actual outdoor photoshoot, and I had the day off so I decided Nelly deserved a chance to show off how beautiful she is.



We found not one, but TWO awesome, brightly painted walls downtown and she looked great against the colors.



She has turned out to be such a great dog… and she gets along so well with ours, we may end up keeping her.  Its not certain yet, but its starting to look that way.  I am just totally smitten with her.

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Our gentle giant

We’ve sort of kept this mum because we wanted to make sure all the details were ironed out first.  And because I was afraid I would jinx it and the whole deal would fall through.  Tomorrow Dash and I are making the long drive to Dallas to meet his new family.  I know we said we were going to keep him… and we really meant it.  It breaks our hearts to give him up, but we had one hell of a dog fight two weeks ago and it did not end well.  Two parties needed stitches (not me, luckily) and Kodiak still doesn’t want to admit that Dash is bigger and stronger.  So we decided that it was in everyone’s best interest to find Dash a home where he won’t always have to be butting heads with Kodiak.  Luckily there is a wonderful family in the DFW area that expressed interest in Dash right around the time we decided to keep him.  They were still searching for a companion for their female Akbash when I emailed her two weeks ago, and after much emailing, they have decided he may be the dog for them.  So tomorrow we make the long trek to say goodbye to our gentle, goofy giant.


This is one of my favorite things that Dash does.  He’s so big that you forget he’s still a youngster, until he has one of those goofy, puppy moments.  He does this thing where he flops from side to side with his legs all stretched out, smacking whatever happens to be within his reach.  He just looks so ridiculously carefree and happy when he does it, that you can’t help but laugh.

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In which Kodiak has an unfortunate incident…

Before we get to Kodiak, a quick update on some of the recent dogs that have made an appearance here on the blog.  Dash is staying with us.  Tomorrow I will register his microchip with our information and we will officially be a three dog family.  Prince Edward is going to be adopted by the family that was fostering him.  They changed his name to Harley and are filling out the paperwork on Saturday. YAY!!

As for the dogs from the last post…  Throw Away, the german shepherd mix is going to go to the same home that is taking Lil Girl.  They are staying together in the same kennel while the adoptive family closes on their house and they get along fantastically!  The tiny chihuahua went home with an older woman who really wanted a very small dog.  Red and Blondie, the two nursing mommas are staying with one of our vet techs as both have gotten an infection. (mastitis for Red and a uterine infection for Blondie)  Both were caught early and they are doing great on antibiotics.  Cutie Pie and Ladybird went up to our adoption event, but haven’t found homes yet, so we will try again next week.  As for the rest,  the woman who has been taken care of them thinks she wants to keep them.  Unfortunately, she’s headed into the hospital for a two week stay starting tomorrow so if her health doesn’t improve we may have to work on convincing her its in everyone’s best interest to place a few more of them in other homes.

Now… on to Kodiak’s unfortunate incident.  In case you are new to the blog, Kodiak is my mostest favorite boy ever.  He is a total momma’s boy and he is very sensitive (more than I ever thought was possible for a dog).  He is a long haired Chow/German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix of some random percentages.  That’s him and I in that picture up there in the intro, just for reference.  Today he had an appointment at the groomer.  We take him on a semi-regular basis to get a bath and to get the long hair on his legs and paws trimmed.  Apparently they misheard Ken when he dropped him off today because he was bald when we picked him up today.  Instead of the usual trim, they buzzed him down so he is just a poofy tail and a poofy head with a skinny little body in between.


You wouldn’t think a dog could get embarrassed, but I think he was because he wouldn’t even come out from under my desk when I got home.  And he ALWAYS comes to say hi to me when I get home.  The fact that I was laughing hysterically might not have helped…

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