Lessons from the dog - Get wet!

We've all heard the saying April showers bring May flowers. While I love the thought of flowers blooming after a cold, bleak and colorless winter, getting through the days of rain can be hard sometimes. Muddy backyards, wiping the dogs feet every time they come inside, and bad hair days. Unless you find a way to make it fun!


I have a niece that whenever she sees a puddle, instead of heeding her parents stern rule NOT jump in, she does just that! She squeals with delight as she splashes water everywhere. My dogs are the same way! Sometimes it seems the muddier the puddle, the more they just have to walk right through it! Then they wonder why I throw them in the bathtub or run the hose to wash them off afterwards.

But let's think about this for a bit. Maybe our dogs have something to teach us. It's raining. You can't change that. Getting angry or screaming at the rain gods isn't going to make it go away. If we didn't have rain, we wouldn't have green grass (ever visit the southwest where it's nothing but a sea of brown in the middle of summer?), trees to provide shade, flowers to make the world more colorful, streams that flow, ponds to canoe in and water to drink. Furthermore, we wouldn't have rainbows to chase.

Why not make the most of it? Act like a kid again! Join your dogs and let loose. If you need to, put on a pair of pretty rain boots and a raincoat. Umbrellas are optional. Water never hurt anyone, right? I bet you'll feel so alive and laugh like you haven't in a very long time. I'm looking forward to the next rainstorm. Who's with me?


Lessons from the dog - Get Wet


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!


Unofficial end of summer

Sometimes words fail me. In fact, they've failed me all week. So today, I'll just leave it here with this photo of my pup Kita and a few words. Schools open on Monday marking the unofficial end of summer. I bet I know a few parents who might also be jumping for joy!

Make it a great weekend folks! 


Happy birthday Izzy!

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on the past year and dream about the year ahead. And since Izzy turns 6 today, I thought I’d take a moment and look back on the last 12 months of her life. I’d say she has a pretty fantastic life! While there were a couple of bumps in the road, mostly though, she’s living, well, a dog’s life! 

It was just about a year ago that we found a small tumor on Izzy’s neck. You can read more about that HERE. I’ll never forget when the vet came out and told me surgery (to have it removed) went well, but was dicey for a while. Turns out the tumor was right over her jugular vein, so she had to make her incision very very carefully. The biopsy revealed that they got all of the cancerous cells. I’ve been very diligent with checking Izzy to make sure there are no other tumors. So far, I haven’t found any. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed in hopes we never find another one again.

Those of you who know me, know that Izzy and I run as a team in agility. Two years ago Izzy was having issues with the teeter. It got to the point that she no longer wanted to run agility at all. She was fine with all the other obstacles, but something about the teeter really scared her. So I took a step back and re-evaluated our training. After a brief break, we started training again, by going back to the basics. It wasn’t long before Izzy was having fun and slowly but surely, I helped her overcome her fear of the teeter. She enjoys it so much now that sometimes she runs onto the course looking for it, other times, once she’s gone over it, she runs back to do it again! That’s quite the change from the last trial when she ran out of the jumpers ring because she was so paranoid the teeter was on the course. We’re still working out a couple of small kinks, but I am considering entering her first standard trial in the fall. In the meantime, this process has made us a better team, and we both have enjoyed the time we’ve spent together training.

I’ve been considering offering a limited edition “Dog days of summer” mini session. Each dog would get an ice cream cone (suitable for dogs of course!) and I’d photograph her before, during and after eating the cone. You can get some really funny expressions! For Izzy’s birthday, I thought I’d do this for her and give this concept a trial run. I think it turned out great! If you are interested in having your dog participate in this event, let me know. If there is enough interest, I just may put something together and make this happen. Needless to say, Izzy enjoyed her birthday treat! Here’s to another year of, well, living the dog’s life! Happy birthday Izzy!

Trina Bauer photography | Happy birthday Izzy!

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may enjoy reading what I did for Izzy’s 5th birthday. Click HERE to find out what that was!

Summer time bucket list

Trina Bauer photography | Summer time bucket list

By now, you may have heard about the passing of Bretagne, the last search and rescue dog from 9/11. I had been following her story in part because she was a golden retriever but also because of the therapy work she has done. Not only did she serve in New York city, but also in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as locally in her hometown of Cypress Texas. A friend of mine told me I needed to watch the video of her being honored after she was euthanized. In my google search I came across a video of her birthday celebration when she turned 16, “Bretagne’s best day ever”. That got me thinking about my own pups and how I hope one day to celebrate Izzy’s 16th birthday. Golden retrievers are so prone to cancer, I think the average age is about 9 or 10 these days. Izzy turns 6 this summer, 16 seems a long way off, but 10, not so much.

It may sound silly, but I know a lot of people put together bucket lists of what they’d like to do with their dogs before they pass away after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. I’ve given it a thought only in passing, but while in tears watching Bretagne’s awesome birthday party, I decided I was going to do it. Now. But with a twist. I’m going to do a bucket list for the summer. I don’t know about you, but all winter long I can. Not. Wait.  For.  Summer. And before I know it, it’s dark just after dinner and I’m bundled up in sweaters and turtlenecks wondering where did the last 3 months go! So now that summer is just around the corner, I’m going to make my list and book time in my calendar. After all, she’s worth it!

  • Drive through the Dairy Queen and order an ice cream cone
  • Have dinner on a Monday night at Home D for their pooches on the patio event
  • Attend Wiscoy’s ice cream social on a Friday night in August
  • Go to a Bark in the Park game at the State College spikes
  • Head over to spring creek park and wade in the water – she loves to swim here
  • Hike Mount Nittany - we only live at the bottom of the mountain and have never taken her!
  • Celebrate her 6th birthday (Huh, where did the time go?) with a party fit for the dogs (and her puppy friends)
  • Find a new pond to explore and swim in – there are lots of water holes in the area that allow dogs
  • Take a picnic lunch to one of the many wonderful local parks. Pack some watermelon and frozen yogurt treats to snack on after a long walk.