Some Sad News. Followed by some Happy News.

Charlie ended his short life last week. It was sudden. It was very unexpected. I was totally blindsided. This little puppy was finally becoming a trustworthy dog. If you have been following along on our journey you know that he was my special little pup. Coming to me during the CoVid quarantine really bonded us. He was not so comfortable with the outside world, and being aware of this I worked doubly hard to share many different experiences with him.

I hoped to have a dog that would be able to share my world, and so he needed to get used to riding in the car. Short trips, and then longer times accomplished this. He loved his car. Not so much getting out of the car. He was always happier to get back into the car. And he could spot the car in a parking lot full of cars.

Such a beautiful boy

I wanted a dog that would accompany me on walks. He walked with me to the mailbox every afternoon. He knew the words, waited till I got the keys, and attached his Easy Walker Harness. A dog lives near the mailbox, and Charlie always got excited to see this barking dog. But his training was paying off, and I would tell him to sit while I opened the box. Sometimes he would see some of our neighbors and wag, and play the “Don’t touch me” game. That was getting better.

Well, he never wanted to walk past our court. I really don’t know why. So if I wanted to get a walk in we would hop in the car, and go find a park path to follow. Most of the time we did ok. It wasn’t a given that my anxious dog would be happy along the path. Bikes and scooters stressed him. And once he saw that we were headed back to the car he was in full pull mode. That I would not allow, and so we often had to stop until the leash loosened up.

First puppy haircut.

New to me was the process of grooming. Every evening Charlie would get on his grooming table after being enticed with 2 pieces of kibble. I was slowly getting all the supplies needed to start doing a full groom myself. CoVid disrupted the supply chain and I finally got the clippers I wanted in May. Yesterday I spent boxing and returning all the items I no longer need.

Charlie at 1 yr old.

Last winter Charlie visited Lake Tahoe. There was snow on the ground, and he would dig and put his face in the cold snow.

Charlie in the snow at Lake Tahoe

Two weeks ago I took my dog on a vacation to Pacific Grove. It was my first ever time to take a pet on vacation. I am so glad to have had that memory. He absolutely enjoyed the beach. His tail was flying high as he dug into the sand. Then he placed his face in it. I will alway have that to remember. I brought along a pop-up playpen and he went right to sleep for the night.

My happy Charlie
Digging away!
A mouthful of sand!
Visiting Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey

I was proud at his progress, and I was beginning to see him start to adjust to the world. Starting at 4 months his skin rash would be infected. Under veterinary care antibiotics cleared it up. But it would return. Allergy was suspected. So when this happened a third time, Charlie started seeing an animal dermatologist. A strict diet was adhered to, and I started dehydrating treats for him also. After culturing the skin site the vet said that the staph infection would not respond to regular antibiotics. We tried a bleach treatment, and the staph infection spread. So the next step was a stronger antibiotic. Now we did a blood test, and repeated it 2 weeks later. The liver enzyme increased. The staph infection was gone, and the medication was discontinued. But over Memorial Day weekend Charlie stopped eating. On Tuesday his vet admitted Charlie into an iCU hospital. His liver was failing. And on my birthday I said goodbye.

This was a very hard blog to write. I have many photographs of Charlie, but I know that there should have been many, many, many more years together.

Well, Charlie must have some special pull, and he knew how much he would be missed. He knew I was a good dog mama. Just before we went to Pacific Grove my neighbor invited me in to see her litter of Golden Retriever puppies. All the time at Pacific Grove I was thinking maybe Charlie would like a sibling. But I put that out of my mind. On Thursday June 3rd my husband and I went over to see the 5 week old pups, and Moxie will be joining our family in two weeks. Phoebe and Bailey have 9 pups, and my neighbors are happy that they will be able to see her grow up in the neighborhood. The bonding process is starting because she has visited her new home twice. So puppyhood starts again.

A puppy pile of Goldens
Present Moxie!
Moxie comes to visit
I get a visit from Moxie at 5 weeks

I guess you can expect many new puppy photographs!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145 – Getting to know you

“The artist’s gaze, the photographer’s eye, when cast on a subject begins a relationship. That relationship can grow into a deep affection and a profound wisdom. It is that aspect of relating to your subject that I invite you to explore in this challenge.” Thank you Priscilla of scillagrace.

Photography has always helped me to see the world. It may be the quiet moment when I am out and can appreciate nature. It allows me to take a deep breath and slow down. You must be still as you press the shutter button.

Exploring my backyard with my macro lens I spot this dragonfly.
Posing for me

Sometimes I am occupied looking for the unusual. This may be a funny sign, or an object found out of place.

This bird is taking a stand!
Found this in Locke, California.
Old Folsom Bridge

Other times I see faces or animals in many of my images. This is pareidolia. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pareidolia as, “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” Hey, photography has even opened me up to learn new terms.

My photography has helped me get away from my introverted self. I like to people watch, and I use my camera as my lookout point. Some images are candid moments, some environmental portraits, and some tell a story

Photography has been with me since I was nine years old. It helps me connect with people, places, and things around me!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #139 – Special Moments

This week Tina reminds us that we should appreciate our days. She wants us to look beyond the life-changing events and share some everyday special moments and what they mean to us. This is not an easy task, but I will try and be selective of the special moments.

Life as a Merry-Go-Round

Looking back over my photographs always brings back all those special moments for me. This box camera started my desire to capture a lifetime of moments. I soon learned how to use my father’s 1940’s German 35mm fully manual camera. I don’t know where that camera went, but my uncle had the same one. I used a separate light meter, needed to screw in the shutter release, set the manual focus, and f stop. I never got into film development, and I mostly used a natural light source. My tiny black & white images are in my photo album. When my father moved up to a Canon 35mm I got his Yashica Lynx. I used this one through my college years. With each camera, the taking of photos became more automatic. Around 2002, I purchased my first Nikon N80. In 2001 I entered the digital age with a Sony Mavica. In 2004 the Nikon D70 became my camera of choice. Upgrades followed with Nikon D200 and D7100. After many satisfying years with Nikon, I made my move to my current mirrorless setup with Fuji xt4 and Fuji x100f.

A gift from my parents for my 9th birthday

I now look at the 45,000 images and the ones that really stand out have either people or animals as the subject. I am not a portrait photographer, but my memories are sparked by the images of people. So I will introduce you to some of my memories.

This is Liberty Love my first dog. Black dogs are harder to photograph, but she was such a good subject.

These images were taken in Old Sacramento along the Sacramento River. Some subjects posed for me, others I captured in the moment.

I attended The Scottish Highland Games held in Woodland, Ca. with my photo friends.

Often I meet up with fellow photographers at Effie Yeaw Nature Center along the American River, or UC Davis Arboretum, or at the monthly Yolo Art & Ag Days.

Early morning fishermen along the American River.

These days are special to me because I learn more about places close by that I may overlook if I didn’t take the time to explore.

With my camera in tow I get to spend time with friends, discover new things about life around me, and I get time to stop and smell the roses or lotus flower!

Connect and Reconnect

I finally decided that I needed to visit my dentist for a cleaning, and realized that CoVid 19 would no longer provide a good enough excuse. Teeth cleaned. My dentist wants to see me again in December. I needed to replace my tired electric toothbrush, and I purchased an updated version.

Not my toothbrush. Just an image of something I found while out taking pictures.

I quickly discovered that many changes have been made over the years. Now I needed a booklet of instructions. I read over the safety directions. My last brush had an on and off switch. I have 6 choices for various parts of my mouth: teeth, tongue, and gums, etc. One light lets me know if it is charging, and another tells me if I am pressing too hard. Ok, I understand the need for those lights. But I stop at the point of blue tooth connection. My brush can keep track of how well I brush each part of my mouth. Do I really need to know this? Maybe if I had problems with my teeth. I do not!

I have an Apple watch. Let me say straight out that I refuse to take directions from my watch when it tells me to stand or breathe. I purchased the watch feature to keep track of steps and listen to podcasts and music when out walking. I started to use it to answer my cell phone “Dick Tracy” style. Remarkably, most people I speak with don’t even know I am talking on my watch. Setting a timer, checking the weather, reading messages are helpful features. Sometimes I am asked if I fell and should I need help. Luckily, this necessary feature has not been used, yet. But last week I found that my watch let me know if I was washing my hands long enough. 20 seconds = Good job or Well done! Maybe the app developers are working on a way to let me know if I am standing too close to another person. Corona help me.

The telephone on the left depended on an operator to put through your call. It probably was part of a party-line based on the numbers on the dial at the top. The telephone on the right reminds me of my first experience with a telephone. As a telephone operator, I still put through a couple of party line calls in 1970’s.

One of my jobs while in college was that of a ATT switchboard operator. Boy do I have many stories about that time.
Early in my marriage I worked for a private company and ran the office switchboard. Voice mail has replaced this job.

Having a cell phone makes the pay phone a thing of the past. No more hunting for change. Looking for a working phone that won’t eat your nickels and dimes. No need to make collect calls.

In my first apartment when I worked for the telephone company, I did not have a telephone. My landlady’s phone was downstairs and if needed I could use it. In my second apartment, there was a payphone downstairs in the foyer. To reduce our rent we helped the landlord by doing odd jobs around Magnolia Manor. Many “interesting” characters lived in this house divided into one-room apartments. Hence, the continuous emergency calls.

Many an emergency call made late at night after searching for change under the bed.

I still have a landline as a backup. When it rings my dog Charlie gets all excited. I’m not exactly sure why. The phone is located near the front door, and he acts like he may miss an important call. So funny.

How many of you have a landline? I remember being connected with a cord and having to wait and wait and wait for a doctor to answer. Stuck. Cutting the cord was a BIG improvement. Cordless made its debut with an added addition of voice mail.

If you think about it our mobile phones have not been around for very long. In 1997 I connected using what looked like a large rectangular box. Searching the Internet I came across this article, The Evolution of Cell Phones. Now most everyone is dependent on using pocketable cell phones for much more than connecting with others.

In this time of isolation, I see more people reaching out by computer. And I often do this. But sometimes I just get the nerve and call someone that I haven’t spoken to in years. I find this a daunting task, but so far reactions have been well received. I have two aunts in their 90’s living on the east coast. The last time I saw them was 2004, and it was good to hear their voices. After the death of a second cousin early on in the pandemic I just felt the need to reach out to his wife (second cousin in law). I barely knew her, and she only knew of me through my parents, but I felt that she had been left alone in her house for the first time in probably over 60 years and she could use the company. She is not online, and her cell phone is her only connection. Forty-five years pass so quickly. With the help of the Internet, I was able to locate a college friend and call her up. Now if only Corona leaves we may get to visit. It turns out that her son now lives near me.

My Doodle Charlie helps me connect. Many doodle owners come together from all over and share. I sent out and received around 50-holiday greetings from other members of DoodleKisses. It’s fun to see all the different dogs. I reconnected with my friend Carly who is a CCI trainer. I wanted advice on socializing Charlie. Now Charlie and I attend class masked and outside with some very well behaved CCI pups in training. I belong to a couple of Doodle groups on FB. Feeling connected when raising a new puppy is important. We met other doodle owners at a local park in October. Charlie enjoyed his cup of whipped creme “Puppichino”. The larger doodles are teaching him how to share.

CoVid interferes with getting together now with the pandemic surge. Something to look forward to in 2021.

Zoom has helped many of my groups stay connected. Having a meeting scheduled gives my day some structure. It goes on my calendar, and I feel like I have made a commitment to attend. My brother and sister-in-law organized a Bingo Event, Birthday celebration, and Chanukah Party. I may not have gotten to eat any cake, but the connection is made!

Here’s to connecting and reconnecting in 2021!