Centre County PAWS 12th Annual Fur Ball

As many of you know, I am a huge supporter of PAWS. Not only do I photograph the homeless cats and kittens, my husband and I have fostered a few dogs and adopted one as well. It's a wonderful organization helping unite hundreds of animals with their forever families each year. In order to do this, they need the generous support of the community through donations. This Saturday September 23 is their biggest fundraising event of the year - the 12th annual Fur Ball. An evening of cocktails, delicious food, a silent and a live auction, the event takes place at the Centre Hills Country Club. Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased by contacting PAWS or clicking HERE

I have donated a pet photography session for up to 2 pets and 2 people AND a 16 x 20 canvas wrap. This will be my last donation of the year, so if you've wanted to get photos of your furry family members and help a great cause, now is the time to do so!

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Bark for Life

Calling all dogs! I'll be at the Bark for Life this Sunday at the Boalsburg Military Museum from 1 - 3 pm. This is a great cause bringing awareness to our canine friends who have fought cancer or have played a role in helping their owners fight this awful disease. Come on out and say "Hi!". It's going to be a glorious day, so what more reason do you need to spend an afternoon with your pooch? I've been a part of this event for a few years and am so excited to be back again! For a donation you can have your photo taken with your furry friends - all proceeds benefit Bark for Life!
 

Hope to see you there!

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Paws-A-Pool-Ooza

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer when public pools close for the year. However, many towns are leaving them open for one last swim - that's gone to the dogs. Literally! For a few hours of fun, pooches of all shapes and sizes can enjoy one last afternoon of summertime fun.

This year, Centre Region Parks and Recreation changed things up a bit. Since the event had grown so much, they broke down the time into two groups - small dog and big dog play time. I think this a great decision since so many small dogs were intimidated by the big dogs. But it sure was like day and night! Not many small dogs attended, and most of them were happier running around chasing one another. By contrast, within minutes of opening the pool to the big dogs, Park Forest Pool had turned into Retriever City! Goldens and labradors of all ages as well as several other breeds came out and the pool was full of happy go lucky tennis ball loving canines! I'm not really sure who had more fun - the pooches or their owners. But it was clear that watching our furry friends have so much fun brought smiles and laughter all around! 

If you've never attended, then this is something you need to put on your bucket list for next summer! I've been to every event since it started four years ago. Each year my golden retriever Izzy gets a little braver. The first year I couldn't get her in the water. The second year she went in as long as I was by her side. Last year, once I got her in, I couldn't keep her out. This year she went in for one quick swim, but only after she hung out along the edge and took all the tennis balls out of the pool first! Don't ask me why, she never cleans up her toys at home!

Here's a few happy canines!

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Then & Now

One thing I love about Facebook is the reminders of posts shared in previous years, you know - the "On this Day" that shows up first in your feed every morning. Earlier this week, I was reminded of a post from the day we brought our golden nugget Izzy home. It made me smile and was a great start to my day. But I was struck by a few things. One - how tiny she was. Two - how fast these 7 years have flown by. And three - the photos I took of her in those first few days. I remember being so excited to have a puppy to photograph again. And how I promised myself my shots would be better than the puppy pictures I took of Mika many years earlier. But I couldn't get over how much my work has changed and grown in these years.

A goal of many artists is to grow and create better work. Sometimes we feel stuck in a rut and not growing as fast as others in our industry. Sometimes that is true. But sometimes it's not. Yet it seems that way because we compare ourselves to others. Which in this digital age is so easy to do.

With so many blogs on internet, you can find plenty of material to read on this subject. And plenty of advice. Perhaps the best suggestion is to stop comparing your work to others in your field. Instead, concentrate on developing your own style and only look at work created by your older self. When you look back at art produced three, six and twelve months ago, you'll see how much you've grown. What once may have been a struggle to achieve, may now be ingrained in your technique. These accomplishments are something to be celebrated! 

As I took a trip down memory lane, reliving those early weeks and months with Izzy, I also found myself reveling in how far I've come since I first picked up a camera. Yes, sometimes I wish I was I better. But imagine a year from now looking back at the work I'm producing today. There's no doubt it will be something I will be proud of. Which makes me think of that phrase - "It's all about the journey, not the destination."

And so I will continue on this journey. Who knows where it will take me. I'm already producing work I never dreamed I would or could. I'm willing to bet one day I'll be creating images that I can't even imagine creating sitting here right now.

Here's a look back at the adorable puppy who has brought so much joy to my life. This shot was one of my favorites and something I was proud of at that time. Isn't she just the cutest???

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Here is an image from my most recent shoot which happened to be with Kita. I'm ashamed to say I haven't done a session with Izzy since we've been back from Florida. But I've got great things planned for her next session during fall peak season!

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Thanks for reading and following along! I don't say this enough, but I really do appreciate the support, encouragement and comments I've received over the years! 

My dream home

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my dream home. Probably because I read an article about millennials who are buying homes in larger numbers than any other age group. Because of their dogs. Which is interesting because when I bought my home sixteen years ago, I put an offer on it because it had a fenced in back yard. For my dog. I didn’t know I wanted this feature until my realtor showed the house to me. It was more home than I wanted, more expensive than I planned on spending and it wasn’t located on a street I wanted to live on. Yet, I had to have that yard. Even though there were already two other bids on the home, I put an offer in and mine was accepted!

While I love my home, it’s not perfect for us. So the other day I sat down and sketched out the home of my dreams. It’s not huge. It’s not expensive. But it has everything I want for our lifestyle and family. Meaning it’s the perfect home for my dogs. 

I’m a huge fan of HGTV. Honestly, I’m probably an addict. I rarely watch TV, and when I do, ninety percent of the time, it’s on this channel. I have a Pinterest page and if you check it out, it’s mostly of recipes and home decor ideas. Sometimes I think if I had to do school all over again, I’d major in a creative field. Obviously photography, but also interior design.

So I have a lot of ideas of features I want my dream home to include. Trendy items like chandeliers and stainless steel appliances. In my drawings, I have a mudroom/laundry room between the garage and home. In this room is also a small shower stall - just for the dogs. So whenever they get wet or muddy, instead of tracking dirt all over the house, I can hose them off first.

Our dogs sleep in bed with us, which is cute, sometimes. But it also means many restless nights as we all fight for space. My home is an old farmhouse, built in 1924. While it has a lot of character, it also has small rooms. None of the bedrooms is large enough for a king size bed. In my dream home, not only will our bedroom be large enough for a king bed, but also have room for the dogs to have their own beds.

You probably already guessed that my dream home has a fenced in yard. This is a feature I’m not sure I could ever live without. But another dream of mine is to have a pool. And yes, my dogs will be allowed to swim in it. In fact, I want the pool to have a gentle slope so you can gradually enter and go as deep as you feel comfortable. I think this is perfect for both kids and dogs. Dogs can’t climb ladders and I won’t have to pull them up every time they want to get out. 

One last feature I included in my design is a space in front of the window where my dogs can sit and watch the great outdoors. While Izzy could care less what’s going on outside, Kita spends most of her time perched on the back of the couch where she has the best view. So why not create a window seat complete with cushions and pillows where they have their own lounging space?

So now, all I have to do is find my dream home, or build it. But first, I must win the lottery!

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