Summer's here!

Ok, well summer may not be here for another 3 1/2 weeks, but with record breaking temperatures here in southwest Florida, it feels like summer made a grand entrance - and an early one at that! I’m still in the mindset of life in PA - looking forward to the temperatures finally warming up - going for a swim in a lake, hiking a mountain, BBQ dinners and relaxing evenings on the backyard deck. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be riding my bike less, spending more time indoors in the air conditioning and cooling off in the evenings swimming in the pool instead!


With average temps between 90 - 92, figuring in the humidity, the real feel in the sunshine state can be around 100! Yikes! I’m certainly used to this. However, we might only experience temps that high in PA for 2 weeks out of the entire summer. Which got me to thinking about my dogs and the heat. Here are a few things I’ve already discovered:

  • Take longer walks in the mornings and evenings

  • Avoid walking on the hot pavement if possible. Even better if you can walk on the grass

  • Take water with you - it’s so easy to get dehydrated

  • Cool off with a swim in the pool or playing in the water from a hose

  • If I’m hot, my dogs who have a fur coat are even hotter!

Here’s to a fun and safe summer!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

dogs at Phillippi Estate Park




What I learned at the Veterinarian this week

When it comes to my dog’s health, I give them medication only when it’s necessary. So if you read my recent blog about tittering, you know that I prefer to have a titer test done before having them vaccinated. If you missed that blog post, click HERE. I’m also cautious about giving them preventative medication. But I won’t skip it altogether when the side effects of the medicine out weigh any illnesses they might get. So when my dogs were due for their annual heart worm test, I asked my Florida vet about this. And I was surprised to learn what preventative medication I should be giving them year round.

Everyone knows that Florida is a warm climate. While we celebrate four seasons up north, in the south, there are really only two seasons - rainy and dry. Thus mosquitos are abundant year round, not just 7 or 8 months like they are up north. And because of that, heart worm is more prevalent in the south than up north. Heart worm is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is spread when an infected mosquito bites our dogs thus making heart worm more prevalent in the southern United States. Thus, my vet recommended we give heart worm medication to our dogs year round. When we lived in PA, in the winter months I didn’t medicate them for it since mosquitos can’t survive in the cold.


I also learned that while there are ticks in the south, it’s not nearly as prevalelant as it is up north. I have always given my dogs flea/tick medication most of the year since ticks were a constant problem especially recently. After Izzy was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was a puppy, I have always been a little more aggressive about being proactive in preventing her or my other dogs to contract this disease.

So, in short, I’ll be giving my girls heartgard year round and only treating for flea and tick medication if we’ll be in areas where ticks are found or if I find any fleas on them. I will keep Nexgard in my medicine closet so I’ll always have it on hand.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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golden retriever among ferns

Location scouting - Phillippi Estate Park

While I’ve been to Phillippi Estate Park before, it’s been a couple of years. Two things that struck me about this location when I first discovered it was how awesome the light is and how beautiful the property is. Oh, and dogs are allowed! Ok, so that makes it three things that I love! This weekend I decided to go back and explore it again with a fresh pair of eyes. I loaded the car with all 3 of our dogs and my husband to head off for an adventure. When we arrived, we walked around the side of the main building just in time to hear over the loudspeaker, “I now pronounce you husband and wife!” As we came around the corner, the bride and groom were walking down the aisle in our direction. Afraid my dogs would start barking, I quickly ran to the other side of the sidewalk and hid behind a tree. The happy couple and bridal party seemed genuinely happy to see the dogs. And to my delight, the girls were well behaved and didn’t make a ruckus barking and carrying on at the wedding party as they walked our way.


We headed off to another section of the property to explore. I set up my gear and took dozens of test photos. The longer we stayed, the more I just loved it. Photographers always shoot with the light and I just couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful evening. I tried new things, practiced old techniques and checked off a bucket list photo I had been wanting to shoot for a while. Some photos I took for specific reasons and I’ll share more when the time is right. But for right now, here’s one of my favorite images I captured of Kita. This is definitely going to be one of my go to locations for client sessions.

Thanks for reading!

 
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terrier mix southwest florida park

Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue seminar training

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of photographing the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue training seminar in Sarasota County. I’ve always admired the dog teams who are involved in finding missing, lost and even human remains to help bring families back together or to provide answers and closure. I met a few of the team members back in January at the Bark for Life event in Venice. Later, they contacted me and asked if I would be willing to photograph their HRD (human remain detection) training this spring. They are a nonprofit organization available for deployment 365 days a year. While this seminar was a 4 day event, training is non-stop. The dogs and their handlers put in hours of their time and spend thousands of dollars so they may selflessly help first responders. I was honored to be asked to document the hard work that takes place behind the scenes.

In typical Florida fashion, it was a picture perfect day - partly cloudy with temps in the mid to high 80s. Several area businesses and parks allowed the teams to use their facility and land to train on. It’s important that the dogs work in situations exactly like they will find when involved in a search and rescue operation. So they worked in open fields, near houses, in rubble, and among objects resembling what you'd find in collapsed buildings.

The teams ranged from novice to experienced and had traveled from all over the country to attend.
I saw a wide range of dog breeds, the most common one being a Labrador retriever. They ranged in age from young adults to 8 or 9 years old. The ability of dogs to be able to find a scent among so many smells is absolutely amazing. I have developed even more respect for what these dogs and their handler do after this weekend.

If you’d like to learn more about the Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue, click HERE to visit their website. I took over 1000 photos the day I was there, it’ll take some time to sort, cull and edit them down. But in the meantime, here’s a quick peak of some of the teams in action.

Thanks for reading!

 
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golden retriever search and rescue K9
Sarasota K9 Search and Rescue
Sarasota K9 search and rescue dog
German Shepherd K9 search and rescue
Sarasota K9 search and rescue lab

Whose home is it really?

I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s usually on HGTV. I love seeing the transformation of old homes from designers like Joanna Gaines, The Property Brothers and others. I never tire of looking at home decorating magazines, or browsing Home Goods for home decor. Sometimes I think I could be happy as an interior designer.

While I love the home I own in PA, it’s not my dream home. One of the features I love most about this house is the fenced in yard. I’m partial in part because my husband rebuilt the fence a couple of years ago and it turned out fabulous. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this project. But it was well worth it.

The rental home we’re living in now does not have much of a yard, let alone a fenced in area. Which means we have to walk the dogs every time they need to go out. It’s good exercise for all of us, but it’s not exactly enjoyable when it’s raining out. Really, what we miss most is allowing the dogs to run freely, playing, chasing balls and each other. There really is truth to the saying a tired dog is a well behaved dog. I can tell they have more pent up energy because walking isn’t the same. And I feel bad that they don’t get to spend more time outdoors.

In addition to watching HGTV, I also enjoy looking at homes during open houses. It’s fun to think about what would make a home perfect for my family and I. My husband and I have been spending part of our weekends touring homes in the Venice and Sarasota area. It’s a great way for us to get to know the area better. We’ve discovered parks, shopping centers and parts of the town we never knew existed before. While we are touring the home, we always chat about what we like, what we don’t like and what we would do to make it the right home for us. This process has really made it clear that one of the most important features for us is having a fenced in yard. Because some neighborhoods have deed restrictions that don’t allow fences, we are also learning where we would not want to live.

I haven’t found my dream home yet, but I am getting closer to knowing what it must have. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the number one requirement is being led by my dogs!

Are you living in your perfect home? How much do your pets play a role in determining what makes your home the right one for you? Leave me a comment and tell me about your home!

Thanks for reading!
xoxo

 
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Australian Shepherd on southwest FL beach