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Pet Safety

pet safety

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Pet safety is something most of us don’t think about until we are forced to think about it. Hurricane Harvey striking the Texas coast has me thinking about it.

After Hurricane Katrina came ashore in New Orleans and the aftermath of destruction from all of the flooding, I joined an online group of volunteers trying to track down the displaced owners to help reunite them with their pets. In 2005, facebook didn’t exist. Many people didn’t use cell phones yet. Trying to track down people when their homes are flooded, the electricity is out and you have no idea where they went was a challenge. Our group was responsible for helping to reunite over 1000 pets with their owners.

Hurricane Harvey just struck the Houston area. The flooding after the storm reminds me so much of Katrina. People were caught off guard. Many had to abandon their homes in the middle of the night to save their lives and to save their kids lives. Some may have been forced to leave their pets. Some may have thought it wouldn’t be that bad and they’d be able to return soon. Just like Katrina, some Houston pet owners ended up leaving their pets behind.

I am not here to judge. I think until you are in that situation, you don’t know what you’d really do. I don’t have children whose safety I need to ensure so I’d like to think I would rescue my own dogs. But do you know what? My dogs weigh 80 and 90 lbs. I can’t carry either one of them and I certainly can’t carry them both. I can’t imagine if something happened in the middle of the night, there was no power so I couldn’t see and the water was rising. My heart breaks for the people forced to make these decisions. Instead of judging, we should say a prayer for them. Pray that their souls have peace because I know if I were ever forced to make these types of decisions, I don’t know that I could live with the guilt if I left.

Sadly some of the pets that died in Harvey were being rescued. They were in boats on their way to safety but some got washed overboard. Some got scared and jumped. What I would hope is that I would have enough warning to know if I might be in danger so that I could leave in advance with my dog. I don’t live in a flood zone but if I did, I would be one of the first ones out. I’d load up my car and hit the road to safe, higher ground.

pet safety in a storm

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So, what can we do to try and ensure our pet’s safety, follow these tips:

  1. Make certain your pet’s collars are on and that the information on the tags is up to date
  2. Microchip your pet. Make sure you contact the microchip company and register the chip to you. This is a free service. If you’ve moved or changed cell phones, contact the chip company and update your information.
  3. Have current copies of your pet’s vaccines. You might need them if you go to a shelter or hotel.
  4. Have enough water, food and medicine for you and your pet for several  days.
  5. Charge your cell phone.
  6. Fill your car with gas.

The biggest tip I have is to plan in advance. My thoughts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma and I hope these pet safety tips help.

pet safety during a hurricane

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Dog Photography in Charlotte NC

 

dog photography in Charlotte NC

Dog Photography is something I have grown to love. I started See Spot Run Dog Walking in 2009 and in 2016 I launched BARKography my dog photography company here in Charlotte. Here is a link to my dog photography website: BARKography.  I write at least one blog post / week on the site.  You can see some of my latest work there and read about my journey to become a dog photographer.

When I got my first camera, I knew next to nothing about dog photography. I actually didn’t even realize there was much to learn about photography. Early on I got really frustrated with myself and my camera. I didn’t understand why my photos weren’t any good and why they were frequently blurry. For those of you who try to take photos of your moving dogs with your phone, you know it’s hard. If they’re sitting still it’s easier (still hard but easier) but when they’re moving, it’s almost impossible to get a cell phone photo.

local dog photography

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Fast forward to today and I am in love with dog photography. I love my camera. I love learning new things about photography and I love trying out new lenses. For my birthday, I got a lens that allows me to take really close up shots that are super sharp and clear. I love those types of photos: close ups of their eyes or their fur. I feel like I can see my dog’s soul through his eyes. I know I’ll cherish the photos that I’m taking of them forever.

I think cell phone photos are great. They’re great for capturing the moment but if you want to ever print out your photos, your cell phone photos aren’t going to look very nice. I’m a big advocate for printing your photos. Even before I got into photography, I’d print my photos. I have a zillion photos of my first 2 dogs Sam and Sloan but none of them are very good. I’m so glad that the photos I have of Willow and Moose are nice quality, printable photos.

I saw a stat recently that 20-30 year olds are the most photographed generation ever but their kids and grandkids won’t ever see photos of them in their younger years because all the photos are cell phone shots – the ones people never print.  There’s a hashtag #printyourphotos (I’m not making that up!)

If you’d like photos of your dog, contact me. Don’t wait. Time goes by too fast and you don’t want to have any regrets about not having decent photos of your furry kids.

local dog photographer

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Heat, Humidity and Dogs

Heat, humidity and dogs were the topics of the online recording I listened to while on hold at my vet yesterday. As a dog walker, I am always really cautious in the heat and humidity with my dogs and any of my client’s dogs. I always make certain the dogs don’t overdue it in the heat. With some high energy dogs, I stop the playing before they act like they want to but I do it because I don’t want them to get overheated.

Charlotte area dog walker

In this heat and humidity, I also pay attention to the dog’s paws when I’m walking them. The pavement can get really hot. The pads on their feet can burn. Some dogs seem to be more sensitive to it than others and I guess that makes sense since they’re all created differently.

The message that I heard yesterday while I was on hold was that dogs don’t sweat the way we humans do. They aren’t able to cool off like we do or as quickly as we do. It went on to say that if you’re outside and you’re hot, your dog is hotter. That really surprised me.

Unfortunately I know of an instance a few summers ago when a woman I knew was running with her dog. Her dog collapsed on the run and died of heat exhaustion.

I may be overly cautious when I’m with my client’s dogs but I want to err on the side of being too careful. You can rest assured when you dogs are being walked by See Spot Run, their safety is our #1 priorty especially in this heat and humidity. I’m not a fan of the heat and humidity either so if a dog seems ready to come inside after doing his business, I am good with that.

Take care of your pets. Keep in mind that you are probably going to need to be the one to know when to stop playing in these extremely hot temperatures.

local dog walker

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New Midday Dog Walker

See Spot Run has not one new walker but two new dog walkers. I’m so excited to announce I’ve added two ladies, Tiffany and Christina to the team. I’ve known them for years… they live in my neighborhood. I can personally vouch for them.

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Does your dog need to stetch his legs during the day? We love to toss the ball and watch them run after it.

Last September I took some time off and Tiffany covered for me while I was away. She loved it so much so we got to talking and she decided she’d like to walk dogs regularly. That conversation spilled over into a conversation with Christina and now both of them are my new midday dog walkers.

They are taking on new clients Monday – Friday who work during the day and would like their pup to get a walk, play time, or cuddles. We are covering the greater Southpark areas including parts of 28209, 28210 and 28226. If you know of anyone who would like to add this service for their dog, please let me know.  You’d make the dog’s day and you’d make Tiffany and Christina’s too.

This is Rivers, a weimeraner puppy that needed a walker and someone to throw the ball for him while his dad was at work. I’ve said this before, this is the best job ever. Watching dogs like Rivers play and have a good time is a great way to spend my day.

We also love to take them for walks. Not only does the dog enjoy going for a walk, so does the walker. Getting to stretch my legs while watching a dog enjoy his time outside makes me happy.

If you know of anyone else who would like to be a walker, let me know. We may be adding more walkers on in the future.

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Snow Days

Snow Days

Buster and Buddy are two BARKography clients sporting their coats during our session.

Snow days in Charlotte are a big deal. The famous Charlotte weatherman Brad Panovich has starting making his #snOMG forecasts and that means the bread and milk aisles at the stores are already empty.  The following is a true story and personal testament about keeping your dogs warm when it is so cold outside.

Many of you have read stories about my previous yellow lab Sam. Sam was a dog that loved life. She was always happy, wasn’t fearful of much and generally was just a pretty balanced, happy go lucky dog. He LOVED the snow. He’d get the zoomies. If I leashed him and took him for a walk, he’d walk with his nose to the ground. His nose was literally plowing the snow as he walked along.

As he aged, he starting losing his muscle mass and he got skinnier. He reminded me of a frail elder man. He still loved the snow but I’d always put his coat on him whenever we went out because he would shiver. One particular snow day, he zoomed around and then rolled around on his back like he always did. We didn’t stay outside too terribly long but it was too long for Sam.

When we got back inside, he wouldn’t stop shivering. To the point that it scared me so I called the vet. They said that his internal body temperature had gotten too low and I needed to SLOWLY warm him up. They suggested putting a dry coat or sweater on him (which I had) and wrapping him in blankets. They suggested warming up some water with a little bit of broth in it so he’d drink it.

I did that and it worked but it scared me.

Please be careful with your pets in during snow days or even just in cold weather. They don’t know when enough is enough. You need to know that for them. Dry them off. Get any packed snow out of their paws. Clean off their paws if they’ve been on any salt.

Have fun in the snow but be safe. #dogsincoats

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Adopt a Cat Commercial

Many of you know I am a supporter of rescuing and I saw this video promoting “adopt a cat” so I had to share it. We have dogs in my house so I tend to post more about dogs but I am a proponent of any kind of rescuing. I think this adopt a cat commercial is brilliant.

The man in the video is Paul Preston. He lives in Atlanta and his sister Helen volunteers for this rescue, Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters. His sister came up with the idea and thought her brother would be perfect to cast. I think she was right.

So many rescues struggle to get their adoptable pets noticed. I’ve started photographing pets that are available for adoption in hopes of proving better images for the public to see. I believe that better images of dog and cats that are available for adoption will help the pets get adopted. This afternoon I’ll be photographing a dog that is looking for his forever home. I’ll share those images soon.

I read an article about the commercial that said it took about 30 minutes to shoot. If only every rescue had the capability of producing this type of media attention. I think a lot of cats and dogs would find their forever homes.

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Halloween and your Pet

This weekend many of us will celebrate Halloween and many of us will include our pets. I am photographing a dog Halloween contest and parade on Saturday at Social Pet in Pineville from 11-2pm. Come on out. I photographed the event last year and had a great time.

puppy in Halloween costume

Her name is Wash and she was a puppy when I met her last year. I’ll get to see her again on Saturday and I’m sure she’ll be a lot bigger!

However, keep in mind that not all pets like to wear costumes. My yellow lab Willow doesn’t like to wear anything. If it is raining and I put a coat on her, she freezes and won’t move. She doesn’t like the rain either but apparently she’d rather get wet than wear a raincoat.

If you try to dress up your pet for Halloween and you get a similar reaction from your dog, perhaps you should forgo the costume. My other dog Moose could care less about having a costume or coat on. However if he is around other dogs who have on costumes that even remotely resemble something he’d like to put in his mouth, he will. That’s another thing to think about if you have a crazy dog like my Moose.

Something else to remember: make sure your dog can’t get in the Halloween candy. Chocolate isn’t good for dogs – it can be fatal if enough of it is consumed and the wrapping that is on a lot of the candy can cause blockages. Keep the trick-or-treat bowl and your kids’ stash out of your dog’s reach. Your kids will be happier about that too, right? 🙂

On Monday evening my neighborhood will have a Halloween party in the cul-de-sac. There will probably be a few dogs there although I’m not sure if they’ll be dressed in costumes. This is our 2nd Halloween with Moose. This year we are forgoing handing out candy because Moose is a lot to handle with all that candy around and the doorbell constantly ringing. We’ll give out our candy at the neighborhood party. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Do Dogs Remember Each Other?

I’d love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I’d done a photo session with Tiffany’s dog Jack and when Baxter’s parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte.

I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.

do dogs remember each other

I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.

I know there are studies about a dog’s memory and many say dogs don’t remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he’d been hit in the past – he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.

When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.

BARKography dog photography

I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog’s scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I’m so glad I was there to witness it.

If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.

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See Spot Run Dog Walking & Pet Sitting

To all my dog walking and pet sitting clients, I have exciting news: I’ve launched my BARKography website and you can click the link to check it out.  If you do, please let me know what you think. This means several things. I no longer have to share my dog walking and pet sitting website with my photography site. Because I’ve spent a lot of time marketing the new dog photography business, it was taking over the See Spot Run site. No more. 🙂 The dog photography piece is still really important but so is the dog walking and pet sitting. It always has been. So now I get to blog about dog walking and pet sitting things here and I can blog about the photography side of the business on the BARKography site. If there is a downside, it is that I now have 2 blogs. Yikes….. 🙂

pet sitting doberman

I recently saw a post from a friend on my facebook page that was an article she shared about a pet sitter leaving a dog in a car and the dog died. The pet sitter was found through an online site. Here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter:

  1. Ask your friends and family for a referral. If you have friends who have dogs, ask them who they use as a dog walker or pet sitter. Contact that person and see if she (he) covers your area. If she doesn’t, ask her for a referral. I get a lot of referrals and sometimes the person lives outside of my service area. I will always refer them to someone else. If it is someone I know well, I will tell them that. If the person has pet sat for me before, I will tell them. If I don’t know the person well, I will tell them that too.
  2. Ask your vet for the front desk staff at your vet’s office for a referral. Ask them how they know the person.
  3. Interview the pet sitter. Seriously interview them! (I would interview them as if you were hiring someone to care for your child. My dogs are my children and they are treated as such.)
  4. Check the pet sitter’s references. Really call them. Really check them out. Ask questions like: how long have you known her, how many times has she pet sat for you, were there any problems, how did she correspond with you while she was pet sitting for you, how frequently did she correspond with you, etc. Ask questions. Lots of them.

As a pet sitter, it breaks my heart to read the stories like what I read this morning. It breaks my heart for the family of the dog. I don’t like the black mark it leaves on my industry either. There are good pet sitters out there. Do your research and find them. You’ll have to plan ahead as this process will take time. Your dogs are worth it, right? Trust me if you find the right pet sitter, she’ll appreciate your efforts and your dog will too.

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Pet Photography Project 52, week 32: Lens Flare

For this week’s pet photography project 52 week challenge, we are examining lens flare. I’m so glad this is the assignment for this week because I have an image and I would really like some honest feedback on it. I took this 3 weeks ago. My mom was looking at all of the images from this photo session and she saw this one and audibly gasped. Now, she is certainly biased when it comes to the photos I take. I like this image but something doesn’t seem quite right and I don’t mean the fact that her front paw is cut off although maybe that is part of my issue. Does this image work? What would make it better? If you took this at a session, would you show it to the client?

lens flare

This is Tess. She is 12 years old and is the sweetest pup ever. I get to see her every week and her mom asked me to do a photo session too. She is a leaner and whenever I see her, she makes it very obvious my job is to pet her. 🙂 I took this photo at the very beginning of our session and when she saw me on the ground, she had to come over and sit beside me so I could pet her. I love her to pieces!

Here is another photo from this same session. I found the raw file while searching for the image above and just edited it now. I didn’t edit it before because I didn’t think it was good enough. Your thoughts? (Seriously, honesty is what I want. :))

lens flare

Lots of lens flare in this image… perhaps way too much??

Here is another of The Moose.

lens flare

Another sunrise photo. This is one I took when we were doing backlit photos and it also has lens flare.

Be sure to check back next week for some super exciting news!! 🙂 This is a blog circle. Click the link at the bottom of each post and you’ll see the other photographer’s take on “lens flare.” Next up is About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud MN.

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