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




Featured | Canvas Press blog

I woke up this morning to a Facebook post from a fellow pet photographer and friend who shared news that we had been included among the top 50 pet photographers in the United States. I am honored to be featured in this blog post among some of the best in the business - including some photogs whose work I have admired for years. To read the entire blog post, click HERE.

Canvas press blog post

To titer or not to titer

I’m always cautious when it comes to ingesting harmful foods or chemicals in my body. I try to eat as healthy as I can, one of many reasons why I am a vegetarian, and keep any and all unnecessary chemicals out of my home and body. It’s not that I won’t take a pain killer if I’m experiencing pain. It’s just that I only take as little as I need to help me cope with it. I believe our bodies are fantastic healers, if we let it do it’s job.

As a dog mom, I also apply the same care toward my dogs and their well being. I feed them a high quality dog food and healthy treats. When I share people food, I only give them healthy snacks like carrots and blueberries, if I share anything at all. I am a true believer that our health reflects our diets. Thus, a poor diet, leads to poor health.

So what about vaccinations? My terrier mix, Kita, is due for her rabies shot this month. According to her veterinarian, she is also due for her other vaccinations - canine distemper and Parvovirus. Because I never board my dogs, I don’t give them bordatella.

Years ago, it was recommended that we vaccinate our dogs every year. Then Colorado State University did a study and concluded that we were over vaccinating out pets. So they changed the recommendations to vaccinating every three years. It took a while to catch on, but eventually vets all over the country changed their protocols. But there was always that lingering question, was this still too much?

When I had my first golden retriever, I vaccinated her as a puppy and got a booster shot a year later. After that I titered her. What are titers? They are blood tests that measure the level of antibodies your pet has against a certain disease, like distemper and Parvo. Mika’s levels were high every year I had the test done. Which theoretically indicated she had immunity from these diseases. Thus, I never re-vaccinated her (except for rabies which all pets are required to have by law).

I had my golden retriever, Izzy titered when she was 6. Both her tests came back low, so I chose to re-vaccinate her. Again, I have always kept my pets rabies vaccination up to date in accordance with local laws, so she gets the rabies shot when she is due. My hope is by vaccinating her, she will have immunity from distemper and Parvo for the rest of her life.

Now that my terrier mix, Kita, is due for her rabies vaccination. I am revisiting this question - should I or should I not titer? In an age when research in health care issues is advancing rapidly, we are constantly learning something new all the time. Lyme disease comes to mind for example. What was recommended just a mere 10 years ago, is no longer the protocol for treatment of a positive diagnosis in a dog that is asymptomatic. But, I digress. One concern about titering is the question of whether the results are a good measure of immunity. Thus, while more and more pet owners are getting titers done, it still remains controversial.

I know that I am leaning toward titering Kita as I have my goldens. Having been a pet sitter for over 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how vaccines can negatively affect the health of our pets, most often resulting in skin reactions. I am not, however a veterinarian, so I do encourage you to do your own research and make the choice that works best for you and your pet.

Thanks for reading!
xoxo

 
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terrier mix on Florida beach

The best nurses a girl can ask for!

Spring has arrived here in Florida! Though when it’s green pretty much every day of the year, I haven’t figured out what makes this season different than any other one. Except for the pollen. Oh my gosh! Some reports I’ve read have suggested pollen counts are really high this year because of a mild winter. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know my head aches, my throat is scratchy, my sense of taste has decreased, my eyes are watery and just generally don’t feel very good. This isn’t anything new, I’ve suffered from allergies off and on for several years. However, not usually this early in the season. Medication helps alleviate the symptoms, but mostly all I want to do is sleep or just sit still trying to prevent the feeling that my head is going to explode. I’ve had worse symptoms in previous years, so I know I’ll survive this bout. Even if at times, I find myself questioning that!

Being under the weather is also hard on my dogs too. They don’t get as much attention, and because of the pollen, I spend as little time outdoors as possible, which means short, like really short, walks. I can tell my girls are antsy - they have a lot of pent up energy. But they also have been a source of comfort for me.

This weekend for example, when I curled up on the couch and watched TV for several hours (I rarely watch television, so this is a huge anomaly for me), Kita curled up right there with me. Izzy laid at my feet, giving me big brown sad eyes every time I tried to cough up a lung or used up yet another box of tissues blowing my nose. Tillie did her best to fight her way to my side to comfort me in her own way as well…bumping my arm to get me to pet her. It was all very cute and very sweet. Even though it meant mustering up more energy than I felt I had, I truly appreciated the effort my 3 furry nurses made to try to make me feel better.
It’s hard not to feel cranky and irritable when you don’t feel well. I do my best to keep an upbeat attitude, but I know I have my moments when I fail at this. Having these 3 pups to cheer me up does my soul so much good. They may not be able to “cure” me of my ailments, but they sure do make it easier to suffer through these allergies!

Anyone else feel the same way about their furry kids? Leave a comment and share your story!

golden retriever in bed

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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Florida recap - Week 5

It’s been a few weeks since I posted an update on how things are going here in southwest Florida. I guess that’s a good thing since it means I’ve been busy! And having fun!

I have one more week left before I head back north and I have to admit, it’s going to be hard to leave. I cannot get enough of the sun, which I know has been lacking in PA this winter – what’s new, right? But I am also looking forward to some snow as I do miss taking my dogs out for a romp in the white stuff and watching them run and play. Hopefully Mother Nature will save one more storm for me!

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve done a ton of location scouting and found some great places for photo shoots. I’ve photographed on Sanibel Island, Venice Beach, and Ft Myers. I have some more locations to check out before I go, but I feel that I’ve got a pretty good lay of the land in this part of the state.

yorkie-sanibel-island-beach-florida

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I updated my website. It has a completely new look - I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’ve worked on my SEO as well, so I should start showing up in google searches both in central PA and southwest FL.  In fact, the photo shoot I did in Ft Myers was because of a google search. I can’t wait to share photos from that session – I am so impressed with the young woman who contacted me and absolutely adored her 2 fur-kids!

I’ve also enrolled in PPA’s (Professional Photographers of America) business challenge. This started the first week of Feb and will continue with weekly assignments for the next 12 months.  I’m really excited about this as it is geared toward working entirely on the business side of things.

australian-shepherd-puppy-running

Offering photo albums to my clients has been on my list of things to do for a while and I finally ordered a sample. My book arrived just yesterday and I love it! Perfect for my clients who want all of the images from their session or would like something for their coffee table. The quality of the album is amazing! I’ll post photos soon!

Lastly, I attended a talk from a local southwest FL photographer Clyde Butcher. He shoots landscapes and is currently doing a show featuring his National Parks images. His wife and daughter were also there for the evening and I found the family to be very delightful and down to earth. If you have not heard of Clyde, check him out. He has a fantastic instagram account and has been called the next Ansel Adams by popular photography. He has a studio in Venice, which I also visited. This is where he does all of his printing and the darkroom is on display for his visitors to see. Who said film is dead?

It’s been a busy 5 weeks and while I’ve accomplished so much, there are a few things left to do. A few more sunsets to watch, walks with the dogs on the beach, photos to take in the Florida landscape and books to finish reading. Thanks for following along with me on this journey!

Venice-beach-pier-florida-sunset