Blog - Traveling

I travel a lot. What can I say. And sometimes those travels get blog posts, other times they don't.
The New Year Resolutions
01st January 2015 - 0 comments
So like most people, I decided to do some resolutions under the guise of believing I will keep these resolutions up for the rest of my life and never stop. As opposed to what will probably happen, which is I’ll call it quits within a month. But I decided tell everybody what my resolutions were, just so I can feel extra guilty when I stop and you guys can all judge me. Look at me with eyes filled with shame. Also, full disclosure, the pictures in this blog more or less are awful. So you've been warned. I'll start you off with a few good ones though (well ONE good one that I'm proud of, the rest are just whatever).

This post ended up being absurdly long and I wrote it and even think that, so I decided to undermine all of my writing and give you a short list really quick. Then if you are like “that’s interesting, why?” you can scroll and read my ramblings. If you don’t really care, then you can just scroll and look at the pictures. After all, this is a photography blog the vast majority of the time besides whatever I think this post is. So here’s the short list:
1. Do a 52 Week project with both Brittany and Bello.
2. Train each dog for 5 minutes every day.
3. Walk the dogs twice a day.
4. Seriously work on Brittany's dog aggression. Seriously.
5. Work on Bello's recall.
6. Build up muscle in the dogs.

Last year I was in Illinois and kind of annoyed, so I headed off alone with my mutts and my camera and ended up watching the last sunset of 2013 and getting this awesome photo that I adore like crazy (if you've ever been by my booth when I go to events, you've probably seen it).

And it brightened my mood, so I thought I would make it a tradition of sorts, watch the last sunset of the year. Well it has been raining like crazy in Memphis, and I wasn't even sure if we would HAVE a sunset for me to watch, but the weather pulled through in the final two days of 2014, got it's stuff together, and I had a sunset to watch and photograph with my mutts. This was taken on our WAY to Illinois to visit family, but technically we were still in Missouri. It definitely was not as gorgeous as 2013. And I had to pose Brittany on top of my car to even attempt to get a photo with her short little self. She's a good girl who puts up with my stupid ideas, even though it was really cold out.

I even managed to get a few shots of Bello when he wasn't being distracted (hey! this is going to tie in with a resolution, look at me, using foreshadowing in a blog post!). Unfortunately, I couldn't get a combined silhouette of the brats this year.

Hopefully the tradition holds and I'll get some sunset pictures for the end of 2015. And maybe, just maybe, I'll actually still be going strong on my resolutions that I'm about to list out for all of you... right... NOW.

1. Do a 52 Week project with both Brittany and Bello.
By 52 week project, I mean take a photo once a week of each dog separately for every week of the year (52). I wanted to originally do a 52 week project including both of my cats as well, but the reason I've never done one for them is because I travel and am often gone for over a week. And it drives me CRAZY to miss a week (I've done two before, attempted to do a third one last year on my personal Facebook page, and then just quit). Brittany and Bello luck out though because they normally travel with me. So I'm still deciding on if the cats will be joining in or not despite knowing I'll have a few weeks missing for their projects (if I do them).

If you are just getting into photography, I suggest doing some sort of project. They can keep you motivated and picking up your camera to learn new things about it instead of letting it collect dust and crying at the money you just wasted! Although, be careful with making your project too hard. I've seen a lot of people attempt to do 365 projects (a photo every day) and seen a lot of people quit them. Very few people finish them (including people like me, who got to around day 330, realized I had missed several days and just quit). While projects are motivating, if you make it too hard, it kind of sucks the joy out of photography, and you aren't going to keep doing it if you aren't making it fun for yourself... which I think was a nice little entry onto my next resolution!

2. Train each dog for 5 minutes every day.
So I clicker train my mutts, if you don't know what clicker training is, that's a shame and you should learn about it because it is a lot of fun and normally dogs enjoy it! But the quick explanation is that clicker training is positive reinforcement based training, meaning I give my dogs treats when they do things right to encourage them to keep doing correct (good) behavior, the treat is normally food, though some people use toys. The clicker is a little box that makes a click noise. You click when the dog does something right. It marks the behavior in time so that when the dog hears a click they know that whatever they were doing in that moment was good and that some sort of reward will follow. If you just try to get the treat to them without marking the behavior, you run a risk of not getting the treat to them fast enough and the dog not understanding what behavior earned them the reward. Some people use words like good, yes, and x, which are all marker words and work nearly as well as a clicker does! I use a clicker when I'm teaching behaviors most of the time, but if I'm out on a walk or something I typically use the word "good" for Brittany. If you want to learn more, you should check out kikopup on YouTube. Her YouTube Channel is FILLED with dog training tutorials on just about anything, from tricks to behavior problems like aggression.

And if you aren't convinced or just want to see more about the awesome power of clicker training and positive reinforcement, you should check out this video (THAT IS IN NO WAY MINE) because the camera work is absolutely gorgeous, and the dog does some absolutely amazing tricks.

So if you watched that video and are now in awe like I was and am every time I watch it. I'm going to admit I'm jealous of those tricks. And I know my "dumb" dogs are smart enough to learn quite a few of those if SOMEONE wasn't so damn lazy with them all the time... so! To combat that stupid lazy someone, she's trying to train her pair of awesome dogs more just to have fun. And Brittany and Bello both love training so there's also that. I figure if I can't spare ten minutes a day for training, I'm lying to myself. I can forgo watching ten minutes of television or ten minutes of Facebook to train my dogs and interact with them. If I can keep up with this one resolution throughout the year then I'll already have a resolution for next year which is a 52 weeks of Tricks project, but first I need a solid base of tricks so I don't quit and get frustrated.

3. Walk the dogs twice a day.
When most people train their dogs often through clicker training, they just use their dogs' kibble as the treats. It is small, and the dog works for their food instead of eating extra calories to make their dog overweight. But I have a problem. Britt and Bello eat prey model raw and I am NOT cutting up and training them with little bits of raw meat. It's gross and pretty unsanitary. But they also love raw and do really well on it so I have no intention of switching them back to dog food either. Meaning they are probably going to be eating more than they need. So to prevent weight gain we have walking more.

My dogs, like nearly all dogs on this planet, love going for walks. They think it is a blast. Best part of their day. They'd probably rather spend the day on leash walking around our neighborhood then all three of us sitting off leash in the backyard. They love the smells and peeing on everything.

There is also the fact that I like to tell myself I walk more than I do, when I know I don't. I try to walk Britt and Bello a mile during the day, and then we take a mile and a half walk at night. I've been doing really badly about that lately. So this is more like a vow renewal I suppose. But Britt and Bello will be happy to be back on track. Also, if anyone else out there has an "exercise my dogs more" resolution or you walk your dogs often, you really should install the WoofTrax/Walk For a Dog app which is available for both Apple and Android. It is a free app, all you have to do is turn it on and let it track your walks. While you walk, it donates money to a rescue or shelter of your choice for every mile. Which is wonderful and rescues are always in need of more money. Every little bit helps them.

4. Seriously work on Brittany's dog aggression. Seriously.
So I've kind of mentioned it on the Memphis Mutts Facebook page, and I know it is mentioned a little bit in her bio under "About," but for those that don't know Brittany is dog aggressive. And not like "bark bark bark, oh this strange dog came up to me, I'll be nice." But a more fun "BARK BARK BARK, LUNGE, SNARL, HELL DEMON, BARK, GROWL, LUNGE LUNGE, LUNGE IF I REACH YOU I'LL INSTANTLY START A FIGHT, ATTACK YOUR FACE" kind of way. Which is considerably LESS fun then I sarcastically said. This is where I get on my soap box and yell to the heavens that if you are getting a puppy of any kind PLEASE socialize them well with other dogs (and people). Brittany was NOT socialized basically at all, and is also a terrier. Which is a bad mix, making her even worse. We should have done more research on dogs before we ever brought her home, but I wouldn't trade her aggressive little butt for a different dog if I had to do it over again.

I don't have any false hopes of Brittany ever interacting and loving other dogs in the event I get her dog aggression under control. Even with dogs she gets along with her interaction is limited to the occasional game of tug-o-war. Otherwise she just prefers to do her own thing. She'll never be a dog park dog. I just want Brittany to stop reacting to dogs that haven't done anything to her (stop all the barking and wanting to attack) and be capable of moving on with her little life. We've been working on her dog aggression for a while, but mainly around our neighborhood with the same dogs every day. She's not perfect with them and still lunges and barks.

But the really good news is that now if I call her name she normally stops within a second and comes over to me to get her treat for not barking anymore (we've been counter conditioning her so that when she sees a dog, she knows a treat is coming, dogs mean good things, not something to be barked at). Considering that when I first started giving her treats, she couldn't stop barking until the dog was completely OUT OF SIGHT FOR A FEW SECONDS, she's made HUGE improvement. But not as good as it could be since again, I'm slacking with her. Outside of the normal dogs behind the same fences every day, she still has trouble. If there is a dog coming down the street, she's going to react more, or if we go to a new place. So the goal is to start going places with her and working harder. I know she can do it. Her problem is me helping her.

In the event someone is wondering why I don't put a choke collar, e-collar, or prong collar on her to help her dog aggression, since they can be faster, the answer is that while those devices can and do work for some dogs, they also can and DO make a lot of dog even more aggressive. Brittany falls into the "more aggressive" category. She has had choke collars on her in the past, and just normal collars that I jerked her with when she was barking. She DID stop barking in the moment, but the very next time she sees another dog she's lunging even worse until you jerk on her. I don't want her fighting the urge to attack another dog because she's on leash and knows she'll get in trouble. I want her to no longer have the urge period. And I never had a clearer example between the difference of using treats or correcting her collar than when I was on a walk and angry. I had forgotten treats and was already in a bad mood, just wanting to have quiet, when Brittany who was feeling my frustration started reacting more than her normal at the time (and she had been doing REALLY well at the time). I jerked her leash and she stopped barking at that dog. The very next day we walked past that house and she absolutely exploded. But she didn't just explode at that dog, she was awful with every dog on the entire walk. I kicked myself, and she started wearing a harness on all walks a couple months later which had the added benefit that if I ever lost my temper again (and I'm human) she wouldn't get the correction as badly as she would when all the pressure is on her neck.

5. Work on Bello's recall.
Recall just means Bello comes when he's called. Preferably every time he's called without question. Bello is part husky which are notorious for being terrible at coming when called (although I know quite a few people with good ones that are awesome off leash!). Huskies have high prey drive, love to run, and are not "biddable". Huskies ARE smart dogs, just in different ways than breeds like border collies. Most huskies don't have much of a desire to do what you say when you say it. They're kinda like people. Bello doesn't run off or play keep away. If I walk up to him, he'll stand still and let me leash him, every time. His problem is just that he doesn't come and likes to wander away further than I would like. He knows where I'm at, and that's good enough to him. If I wasn't a slow human being, we could walk together. But I'm slow, and he's fast. So he's going to be fast, and I'll catch up to him when he takes a break to sniff something. Which honestly would be okay if he would, ya know, be reliable in coming when called for the moments I would like my dog briefly near me.

Bello's the white dot...

Bello is nearly five years old now and has chilled out some. He still loves to run, but now he has stupid elbow dysplasia/arthritis which means he doesn't run quite as much. I've also been doing better with him. He comes when called about 70 percent of the time within a few seconds of being called when there are no distractions. Hopefully by the end of the year, I can have him come when called even when there are things like rabbits to distract him (which is the BIGGEST distraction for him).

Maybe one day Bello can join the ranks of awesome dogs I've photographed that don't need leashes. Until then, he'll be like a lot of dogs who have to have his leash cloned out in editing (although in that picture above, he was off leash).

6. Build up muscle in the dogs.
Brittany tore her ACL when she was 7 years old. We didn't have surgery done and instead chose to let her rest and heal. I'm not sure if it was the right decision or not sometimes. I think for the most part she has healed. She can put weight on the bad leg and walk on it, but if she wants to get somewhere fast she resorts to limping. I think what happened was the muscle is just a lot weaker in her bad leg (left back) so it is easier to use her strong leg. Of course a vicious cycle occurs, if she doesn't use it, it just gets weaker. So we've been doing exercises to force her to use it and hopefully build up muscle. And by force I just mean I ask her to do harder things. She can quit whenever she wants since refusal to do something is the only way she can tell me if I'm pushing her too hard. If she would refuse to sit when I ask, I don't push her butt down and make her. That is a good recipe to hurt her. She does things like canine squats.

And pushing herself to lay down on an unstable object and hold her balance (or sit or stand).

I've also taught her to back up onto a wobbly surface so and sit and stand with her back end higher than her front.

For the most part, Brittany is game for anything I can throw at her. She thinks it is all easy as long as she gets a treat. When I get out the equipment, treats, and clicker, she starts offering behaviors like crazy, jumping on things, sitting on things, all four feet, two feet, front feet, back feet, lay down, jump off, etc. just over the moon that she gets to work. Although her expression in the photos might not seem like it (she didn't like having to hold still, while I took each photo, she just wants to move on to the next thing I want her to do).

There's even been the added benefit that doing all the same things with Bello seems to be helping his arthritis a little bit. I think because it is building up muscle to help support the bad leg. He seems to be limping less (although, it is still there).

Bello doesn't move at quite the speed Brittany does, while Brittany is busy doing things that are quite a bit harder, Bello for instance is just learning to put his back feet up on a wobbly surface with confidence (he likes to just barely put a foot up there, and then remove it quickly, or he might die, so he thinks). Until then, we mainly use a stack of books.

So that's it!

My hope is that most of these resolutions will help me with my ultimate goal which is to start hiking with my brats more. They both need to build muscle up so they can handle it. If Bello has a better recall, than I can let him off leash to enjoy himself more. If Brittany can learn to not attack other dogs, she can go off leash as well (she already has a really good recall aside from around other dogs). And I'm hoping that just training in general and having fun will strengthen our bond to make everything go a bit smoother.

I actually started my resolutions in early December, so I'm a month ahead meaning when I quit, I can quit a month earlier than everyone else. ;) Although I'm still not doing everything perfectly. I'm still not walking twice every day, and I've missed a few days of training due to the hectic-ness of the holidays. But I've been doing better with everything than I was before I set these goals for myself, and that's what I really want. For anyone out there with resolutions, whether they are dog related or not, try to remember to keep it fun for yourself!
Germany to Austria in Animal Pictures
03rd August 2013 - 1 comment
For those on the Memphis Mutts Facebook page (don't all my blog posts start out this way) and especially you few people on my personal page, you know that I recently came back from a trip from Europe. And well, I can't leave you out now can I? I have to show you a bunch of pictures. I won't post a bunch of landscape photography because I was being a "tourist" and not a photographer. I used my "nice" camera, but I wasn't overly worried about how my photography was going to look. I just made sure to take pictures of the things that were beautiful to me so that in the years to come I would have memories of them. There are a few pictures of non-animals. But I didn't post a bunch, because this blog has a total of 49 photos (or 48, if I forget to upload one more). I took nearly 2,000 photos and when it was all said and done, I had 45 GBs of photos.

So how did I get over to Europe? Aside from the smart-alec answer of "by plane you dummy," I have an awesome Nana (grandma on my Dad's side) who takes her grandkids to a place of their choosing when they graduate from high school. I graduated in 2012, but my Nana unfortunately had tumors on her adrenal glands and was in the hospital for a good portion of last summer and recuperating from surgery for the rest of the summer. But thankfully she is feeling better, and is back to being the person I adore, slightly sarcastic, cracking jokes all the time, and decided she was well enough for a two week international vacation. Along with my Nana, my cousin Kaleb also came with us to Germany and Austria. He also graduated in 2012 and while we could have gone on separate trips if we were incapable of agreeing on where to go, we agreed.

So why Germany? I promise the pictures are coming soon! I'm just giving the pictures time to load. Well, I've been taking German in high school since sophomore year, and decided to continue on in taking it in college. I'm kind of good at it without trying, and I enjoy it. That said going to the actual country where everyone is fluent showed me that I speak at a five year olds level... but I know less words. I was very rarely willing to speak, and mainly just translated things in my head and smiled if I felt I was successful and would get frustrated when I got caught up on a word. Kaleb was willing to go to Germany as long as we went to Austria. So we did that as well.

We left America on June 13th, catching a flight out of St. Louis, MO to Charlotte, NC where we caught another flight to Munich, Germany. The flight was 8 and a half hours, but we sat on the plain for an hour before we could leave thanks to a storm rolling in right as we were all on the plane.

We stayed the night in Munich, and in the morning we met up with our tour guide thing since we decided to do a river cruise so we wouldn't need to worry about lugging our luggage around. The cruise was supposed to begin in Passau, but unfortunately Germany was having awful flooding at the time (thankfully receding when we arrived) and we couldn't begin where it was supposed to originally. So instead we took a tour bus to Passau (the original beginning, but too flooded for the ship) and then continued on with the tour bus to Regensburg.

Germany (and I suppose all of Europe) has huge churches that are super ornate. Unfortunately the first one we went in, was my favorite of the whole trip, so while the others were certainly fantastic, this one left the others looking too "simple."

While the church in Passau was amazing inside, many other churches had awesome outsides, like this one in Regensburg.

We also went to Nürnberg where the Nürnberg Trials were held. This is Hitler's congress hall that he wanted built next to the lake so that it would twice as big.

And while we were on the tour, I saw an authentic German Shepherd. I actually saw lots of dogs, and took lots of creepy pictures, but this is the only one I'm uploading. I was suffering from dog withdrawals for two weeks.

I can’t remember where the next picture is from, but I just know it was gorgeous and picture worthy. We unfortunately did not go inside it.

And my awesome Nana resting on a bridge in one of the many small German towns we visited.

We were normally cruising the river at night and docked during the day to explore the local towns. I enjoyed taking pictures of what we say along the river as the sunset.

After being on the rivers for a while thanks to the cruise we took, I realized we hadn’t seen much wildlife. No deer at dusk. No squirrels. Just a few birds and mainly water fowl at that. I did make friends with two Mallard ducks. I fed them Bavarian pretzel (a few days later an article about how feeding ducks and geese starchy things like breed is super bad for them showed up in my Facebook News Feed).

Germany also had swans. Swans are gorgeous birds. And huge. Brittany is the kind of dog (only 15 pounds and a foot tall) who normally has no issue chasing any kind of wildlife, but I have to wonder if they would have given her pause.

The first pair I met were pretty cool and had swum across the river (which was pretty wide) to come say hello, but after them any “liking of swans” that I may have had disappeared.

You can see the swan in the background which caused my swan liking to disappear. He would be the one biting the other. There were quite a few and we watched them for quite a while before deciding we wanted to return to our ship. When we tried to move past Mr. Vicious he hissed at us and if we moved closer would snake his long neck forward threatening to bite us. Luckily my cousin and I had an umbrella with us and used it like a shield to move past him since a wall and a long walk to get around the wall prevented us from turning back.

We entered France for a day, but decided to take a tour in Germany to visit the Black Forest and a local museum which was reminiscent of how people in the Black Forest lived in the days of old. As we were driving back to the Black Forest our tour guide told us about the storks in France and Germany and how they had nests built on top of houses and churches. We got to see a few pairs of them and I managed to snag this picture of them as we drove.

Once in the Black Forest museum we saw some “Black Forest Foxes” which are an old breed of horse. They were quite short for a horse, but super thick. Some info on Black Forest Foxes.

There were also sheep, pigs, cows, goats, chickens, and rabbits. But the only ones that had decent enough pictures to post were the rabbits. Which were adorable. Because the rabbit had babies with her.

After the Black Forest we headed back to our ship where we went to Switzerland (I think, don’t hold me to that, we were there for very little time) and exited our ship for the last time. We took a taxi to a train station and headed by train to Austria so that Kaleb could satisfy his need for Mozart. We went through the mountains and it was quite beautiful. I kept wishing I could go hiking through the woods (with my dogs!), but instead I was stuck inside this train as we traveled all day with our luggage in tow.

Once we got to Salzburg, Austria we didn’t do much except for prepare for a night of sleep. The next day it was raining and we tried to decide what we wanted to do for the day. I convinced them to go to the Salzburg Zoo. Which if you are on the Memphis Mutts Facebook page, you know the reasoning for that. IT WAS FOR THE BABY SNOW LEOPARDS, NATURE’S CUTEST BUNDLE OF JOY EVER IN THE HISTORY OF FOREVER. We almost didn’t see them. And I squealed like the girl I am in my excitement. And instead of being cruel, I will just post those pictures right off the bat.

What they will grow up to look like for those not familiar with snow leopards.

So with the cutest things out of the way, we can almost relive my journey through the zoo, well the decent and/or cool animals I saw that we don’t normally see in our zoos around here. First up in the “cool not around here” category is the Maned Wolf. I had never heard of these before, but they were quite leggy.

And then we saw some rhinos. Which I have never developed much of an opinion about. I’m a predator kind of gal. Cats. Dogs. Ferrets. But rhinos are awe-inspiring and as has been said by many a person in many a book, they look like something from a different era in time with their armor plating and it upsets me that they are being hunted to extinction by people who believe their horns hold some mystical power when ingested.

Cute little deer thing.

Majestic looking peacock. He could have possibly, not actually been majestic.

Peacock chasing the peahen.

Zebras. For those that don’t know why zebras are striped, the best guess is that it is too confuse predators and make it hard to single one of them out. And despite the Salzburg Zoo having only two of them, I have to say, it is a pretty accurate guess.

Little adorable mustached monkey. Absolutely adorable.


Some parrots who fought the whole time and were screeching. They might not have been actually fighting. It was probably more the equivalent of bickering. “I’M NOT TOUCHING YOU!”

Mongoose. The Memphis Zoo (as of the last time I went) does not have these. We should have these. Kind of like Meerkats, but cuter.

The Salzburg Zoo had guinea pigs which I found hilarious since we keep them as pets over here. They had a nice enclosure and Kaleb made friends with them. You can see the mountains outside the zoo. The actual zoo was on a mountain as well which made the enclosures for the animals cooler.

Another little monkey. You can see how tiny he is. He was in love with the plastic bag over my camera since it had been raining all day. Since his area was indoors I could safely take it off and let him look at it close up. Curious little dude that he was.

The zoo also had a petting zoo and Kaleb, in his excitement, went and bought some food to feed the sheep. Well as soon as the sheep realized he had food, Kaleb realized his mistake. I, being free of food, couldn’t quit laughing. My Nana and I both got plenty of pictures of him and his bad decision. His hoodie needed to be washed. 

Little mouse thing.

Lazy Grizzly bear was lazy.

As we hit the end of the zoo, we saw one goat standing outside it’s little barn. The rest were all standing inside out of the rain. Kaleb tossed it a piece of food and suddenly every goat came hurrying out and mobbed the fence.

I’m leaving you with pictures of goats as your final pictures on this blog post of my trip to Germany and Austria. It was fun and I liked it. I think my favorite part was how dogs were welcomed almost everywhere. They were allowed at the zoo which was awesome. As a dog lover and someone who loves to frequent zoos (when the animals appear to be well cared for and given proper mental stimulation), I think the Memphis Zoo should change its policy and allow us to bring our dogs. Let’s lead a revolt! Bring your dogs anyway!

Or maybe not. I would spend so much time at the zoo I would get even less done then I already do. But at least I’d be happy and not feeling guilty when I spend a day at the zoo and abandon my mutts to the boredom of another day at home.
Back from the Emerald Coast
26th August 2012 - 0 comments
I promised a blog post from the trip to Florida, and I have finally gone through the pictures and edited them. We left on August 11th and got back on August 17th. And by we, for clarification, I mean me, my mom, my step-dad, my brother, my brother's girlfriend, and of course the Memphis Mutts.

There are a lot of pictures (sorry dial-up users). I actually didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would, but the pictures I did take, the majority I loved (which is how we have ended up waiting for our computer to load all the pictures, and why I'm allowing you some time by putting things in paranthesesis, or however it is spelled, so that your computer can upload while you get upset that you wasted time reading these past three-four lines of text which were pointless). They aren't all exactly the quality I love in a picture. This stems from the fact that dogs were not allowed on the beach until 6 p.m. I normally didn’t get there until about 6:30p.m. By that time the sun sets quickly. My light begins dying on me and in order to keep my shutter speed (brace yourself, this is for the people who understand cameras and all this hoop-la) quick enough to have any hope of getting action shots, I have to bump of the ISO which causes grain and I, more or less, DESPISE grain.

But now that we have wasted some time, you know the drill (or if you don't know the drill, then prepare for the drill). ON TO THE PICTURES!

This is what is called "content, not quality." I was living in some cramped living conditions, for NINE hours. My legs hurt. And I will never understand how come after so many hours in the car, my body was tired, from what Erica? SITTING? Ohh I bet that was calorie burning. ;) But Brittany and Bello didn't need sleep. They slept basically the whole way.

And then we got to our condo, which we rented specifically for Brittany and Bello so that they could come. Dogs were not supposed to be on the furniture, but no one ever told Bello he was a dog (or Brittany for that matter) so the rules didn't apply to him right? Well he did make that zebra print look good.

And then we went to the beach. Now on the first visit, I didn't have my camera which is regretful, because I was going to make a video of Bello's first visit. As soon as Brittany heard the waves crashing she started choking herself on her collar trying to drag me foward. And Brittany rarely pulls. She is normally in a self-imposed heel. So yeah. She was excited. After that, I kept her in a harness. I don't want her choked. :)

Once she actually made it to the waves, she chased them until she was sick. She came home and drank a lot of water and had diarrhea. She of course did not relate these two events together and would have run herself until she died, or at least got resick, if I hadn't stopped her.

So what about Bello? Well he wasn't overly impressed with it. BUT he did enjoy the sand. It reminded him of the snow we were rudely denied this winter. And his inner husky bursted out.

But while he was acting like a husky, he did have a herding dog moment when he saw another dog. He's a stalker. Yes he is. He actually is a bit nervous around other dogs. So he feels he has to stare them down.

And then we had a variety of other things. Like a picture of Brittany trying to drag me back to the waves.

At one point she even managed to convince Bello to join in on the pulling.

There was also a tad bit of wading into the water. Brittany doing so because she wanted to attack the waves BEFORE they landed.

Bello because he was hyper. And the immediately not so sure about these waves of salt water.

At one point I took Bello off on his own for a mini-shoot. At that time my mom got to hold Brittany. Brittany barked her displeasure at my abandonment.

But my abandoning her resulted in my favorite picture of him. I love all the texture in this photo. And his pose.

And from another day he did some walking along the shore.

One day, we even took them out to one of the state parks devoted to preserving the dunes. I wish I had more pictures, but it was hot, and I was growing irritated. Not at Brittany and Bello. MY ANGELS COULD NEVER DO ANYTHING WRONG. Just kidding. My dogs can be obnoxious (in fact, I'm pretty sure Brittany tries to beat her record everyday), but on this occasion I was just annoyed because of the sweat in my eyes and sand.

And after this vacation, the Memphis Mutts were tired and ready to return home.

Wildflowers One Day, Mowed the Next
14th June 2012 - 0 comments
I've been trying to get out and take pictures of Brittany and Bello recently. I very rarely feel inspired enough to take pictures while at home, (though I would LOVE to take pictures in your home ;D ) and this has caused me to go practically all year with very few pictures of the mutts. This sudden urge is working out for the best though, I'm getting more pictures of the hounds, looking at possible locations for future Memphis Mutts clients, and working on Bello's recall in more distracting places than just our neighborhood.

Today's adventure took me to a field across from the post office on Airline Road in Arlington, TN. I considered procrastinating for a day so I could go with a friend, since she also enjoys photography. The only thing that stopped me was that it seems every time I wait, something happens to the flowers (no matter where they are). Boy was I happy I went today. When I pulled up a man was preparing to get on a tractor and begin mowing the field!

So that was one potential place for sessions ruined, but I had already packed up the dogs, kidnapped a different friend, and driven out to Arlington. Luckily the man was nice enough to begin mowing on the opposite side of the field where the flowers weren't as thick. So while he mowed, Bello, Brittany, and I ran around the field. Bello reminded me why we act like vampires during the summer; his coat is simply to thick for the heat and after twenty minutes he was exhausted. Brittany reminded me why her pictures don't primarily take place in flowers. She's too short! But both of them had a blast and I returned home with some tired dogs and awesome pictures.

But I need to quit rambling, ONWARD TO THE PICTURES!

Brittany "smiling" while eating some grass. When I asked her to smile this is not what I intended.

"Hey Brittany can you stay and let me take a picture of you by those flowers?"

"BUT LOOK AT ALL THIS GRASS NEEDING ME TO EAT IT!" She thinks she's a cow. It's the spots that get her confused. Don't tell her that she has the teeth of a carnivore.

Ohh look, short dog with a few flowers making an appearence. Brittany tried to help me by dressing up like a flower... er... getting a petal on her nose.

Now it's time for a couple of my boy. Once he dug himself a nice dirt hole to cool off it was almost impossible to get him moving again, but I managed to get a few of him.

Through the flowers. They were EVERYWHERE. And every once in awhile the flowers jumped in front. But the flowers seemeed to know it wouldn't ruin the picture when they did so.