Friday, March 27, 2015

Enjoying Life. A Maine Photographer.

9 years ago this week I received that phone call no one wishes to receive.  The one that begins with "We received your biopsy results and yes you have cancer."


"Y O U    H A V E    C A N C E R"


ya, the huh is me.
but you told me not to worry? ... you told me 75% of these are nothing...

ya...then the very next sentence I hear goes something like this

You will need to choose a surgeon.  If you don't know one we can recommend one.  BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH

it is totally true.  The rest is pretty fuzzy.

I do remember they told me it was considered stage zero, so it had been caught extremely early and therefore the prognosis was excellent.
I do remember being given a choice of a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.

Wait a minute!  If this was caught so early then why are my choices so drastic?

I would never live my life the same again.
I'm a little bit free-er :)
I'm a bit more positive :)
I'm definitely happier.

Oh, and the surgeon they recommended, his name was Dr Tom Brady.
Yes please.

I bought myself a gift this week to celebrate, and hung it above my mirror, so that I see it everyday.
Life is good.

I am happy to share my story...all of it...just let me know.  The real celebration date is May 17, that will be 9 years cancer free, so we have plenty of time to plan :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Birthday Puppies. A Maine Photographer in Puppy Love

Chloe's first litter, the one I called the Purple litter turned ONE years old on Sunday!
This is what they looked like last year, right before they went home with their forever families :)

Here is the link if you are interested in reading about the day these beauties went home.
Purple Litter goes Home

In the photo above, Beckett is on the left, Jaxson in the middle, and Violet is on the right.
I am so happy to share an update on each of these beautiful pups!
First, here are some things these siblings all have in common.
They are all very affectionate, love everyone they meet, and love other animals and want to play all day long. Oh my goodness...what is not too love!
Sweet.  That word describes all three pups.
Funny thing, they almost all hate to ride in the car...just like their Mama chance these dogs will be in any of those cute Subaru commercials.
Thank you to the families of Beckett and Jaxson for sharing this info about their pups and some photos too :)
Now, a little bit of individualism

Let's start with Beckett
 Beckett lives with her human family in New York.  I think it's safe to say she truly tried the patience of this young family in the beginning with at least two visits to the emergency vet for ingesting something not meant for consumption.  Today Beckett weighs 58 lbs and still has a fondness for consuming legos...but like most Snowypaw goldens, it is next to impossible to stay mad at her for more than a few hours.

Beckett is very affectionate, gives kisses and hugs on request, loves playing with other dogs, especially ones bigger than her, loves her neighborhood walks, playing fetch, swimming, her human boy Liam, and sitting on the stairs. (yes, that's a bit weird)
 Shari, Beckett's human Mom helped celebrate Beckett's birthday with a special birthday crown, "pupcakes" and a new dog bone.  ( Shari...judge you? ...please remember who you are talking with here...)  Happy Happy first birthday Beckett!!

Next we have Jaxson
Big boy Jaxson, who currently weighs 90 lbs.  This first photo is when he went home for the first time.  Happy Happy boy!

Big boy Jaxson loves being outdoors, doesn't mind the cold, and loves the snow.  Jaxson is one lucky dog who gets to accompany his human to work on a daily basis.  Jaxson loves meeting new people, especially new people who have kids or best yet dogs :)  He loves his toy stuffies, especially squeekers.  Jaxson is very quiet, he rarely barks, and even for a big guy appears to be afraid of the dark.  Jaxson has been spotted with his Mother Chloe's unique smile, but only on a few occasions.  Time will tell if he possesses this unique trait that both his Mom Chloe and his Grandmother Macy display.

and, rounding up the siblings is my very own Violet.

Violet weighs 55 lbs.  She has her human Dad completely wrapped, whipped, and enamored.  She does test our patience on a weekly basis, but she is forgiven within minutes.  She loves to chew sticks, but sticks do not like her...and usually after a stick chewing incident there is a loose bowel incident...needless to say we have a Bissell Spotbot that has become our favorite handy appliance.  Keep her away from sticks you might say?  We try that.  Even with 4 feet of snow, which she loves by the way, Violet still manages to fetch herself a stick...she either pulls one off our hurtin apple tree or steals one from the wood pile.  She's also been known to go lookin for her favorite cat treats too.
Violet was nicknamed "Chicken" out of her litter.  Whenever I went to visit the three of them Beckett was the spunky social one, Jaxson was the confident sweet one, and Violet would hide behind the other two like a little scaredy cat.  That changed the moment we brought her home.  She doesn't appear to be afraid of the normal things other dogs are afraid of...and she absolutely loves the vacuum...which is a good thing...because I use it often.  Unlike Jaxson, Violet is quite vocal.  We never picked up on her silent cues when she needed to go bless her, she has learned to ask.  She has a pretty urgent sounding whine that she emits when she needs to go.  Unfortunately, we humans cannot yet decipher the difference between the urgency whine I-gatta-go with the urgency whine of I-wanna-go-outside-and-play...
 another unique to Violet trait...she drools.  It's pretty gross.  Someone's gonna fall.  Enough said.

Violet loves the snow.  She loves to play in the snow.  She loves to lay in the snow.
Guess she's a Snowypaw :)
Lastly, Violet loves her canine Mama, and I am just about one of the luckiest humans on the planet to get to have them both in my life.
Again.  Feeling Grateful :)
This was from the first day home when she was reunited with her Mama Chloe
(boy doesn't that grass look nice!)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Limited Edition Golden Retriever Puppy Goes Home. A Maine Photographer Who Loves Photographing Heads and Tails.

When Chloe's heat began back in October 2014 I knew immediately that the timing was ripe for a Christmas litter of golden retrievers.
...or so I thought.
then factor in Chloe's history.
At the age of three, she did not get pregnant on the first attempt.  In fact she showed very little interest in her chosen suitor.
At the age of four she was artificially inseminated which did result in a small litter of three beautiful golden retriever puppies.  (Please visit my blog again next week because those three puppies are having a birthday and I will have an update on how they are doing now)
So, at the age of five we sent Chloe off to the breeder Snowypaws and wait to hear if she is playing with her chosen mate or giving him the cold shoulder.  We do get word that she has "tied" least once...but the studs interest in her quickly diminishes and no further frolicking ensues.
About a week later Chloe returns home and we keep in mind the possibility that she could be pregnant, however, as the weeks progress none of the telltale signs of pregnancy are visible and we begin to assume that the one tie Chloe did successfully achieve was not enough to fill her belly up with a Christmas litter.
We begin to make plans to drive to Florida for Christmas.  We are very fortunate to have some relatives that we like living there, and they have welcomed us all, including the dogs for our Christmas vacation.  Although we have made several trips to Florida with Chloe before, this will be our first with both Chloe and her daughter Violet.  We make some reservations to put both dogs in a doggy daycare facility for a day so that we can visit a Disney park while we are in Florida.  The daycare facility requires proof of a kennel cough vaccine, so I begin to make vet appointments to get this taken care of.  I might add, all of these plans are very last minute for us, less then a week away from departure date...and something tells me to take a closer look at Chloebutt...sure enough...some of those telltale signs have now begun to show up...could Chloebutt be carrying around a few jingle bells in that little belly of hers?  My husband makes a guess.  He guesses that Chloe has one puppy in her belly...just enough to show some signs of pregnancy.
Again, let me reiterate.  All this is happening just days before our 28 hour drive to Naples Florida.  Rushell, our breeder secures a vet visit for Chloe within hours, and yes it is confirmed...Chloe has one single, soon-to-be giant jingle bell in her belly.
Let's get something out on the table first of all.  Chloe does not like to ride in a vehicle.  Not one single although we all agree we will miss her being with us over the Christmas holiday...we also agree that we will not miss her constant 28 hour panting on each end of the trip.

While we are gone we are in constant contact with Rushell.  No Christmas puppy...and according to the vet he thinks it's more likely to be a New Years baby.  We return from Florida in time for me to receive a message that Chloe has been taken to the vet where she will deliver her puppy by C-section. We get word that she has been in labor most of the night and nothing is progressing.  We know that there is great possibility that the only way for this puppy to survive is to be born by C-section.  All goes very well.
Mom Chloe does great and we have a New Year's Eve baby! :)

Aside from being a Mom and a wife, I love being a photographer.
With the blessings of Rushell and Snowypaw I was able to photograph Chloe and her puppy every week during their time together.  In addition to photographing dogs...Rushell has a house full of beautiful children...a photographers playground really...

There is one question left.  Many of you have asked me if we will breed Chloe again.  Technically our "obligation" to Snowypaw has been fulfilled and we can retire our beautiful Chloe if we wish...funny thing is...Chloe's puppies are truly wonderful, one-of-a-kind little miracles...and when I say they are "limited editions" that really is no understatement.  Chloe has given birth to only four little ones...and she is a role model of a mother.
At this time I am not sure what her future holds.

The following photos are in the order that they were taken, beginning within hours of the puppy being born, ending with him going home with Marty and Becky, his forever family.  Last I knew they planned to name him Cooper, but once they met him, other names were coming to mind.  He is one very special love bug that is for sure, and he definitely made an impression on Rushell's young family and on me...his grandma :)


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