Sunday, May 31, 2009


I used to swim. Quite a lot actually. I really enjoyed it - you can't tell when you are sweating, it is great on your joints, it provides a full body workout, and when you get tired you can either just hold on to the side or just float on your back and relax. But it has it's downfalls too - you have to deal with incredibly dry hair and skin, shaving frequently is a must, the hours are bad (generally if you are swimming laps you have to go early in the morning when you'd rather be in bed) and it can get a bit boring because you can't listen to music or podcasts while you swim. Or at least that is what I thought. I want one.


Amanda tagged us to blog about how we got our dogs.

I've always wanted a dog. When I was around 12 we got a golden retriever named Orlata and when I moved out, she of course, stayed home. I desperately wanted to get a dog but knew that a pet would really limit my accommodation choices when I was renting (especially in Vancouver) so I chose not to. When Marlin and I settled in Lethbridge and it looked like we were going to be here for a while, we decided to buy a house - mainly so we could get a dog. Marlin wanted a husky, I wanted a golden retriever. He seemed to think that a golden retriever shed too much (um ya... apparently huskies don't shed) so he tried to convince me we should get a lab instead (um ya... apparently labs don't shed either). We started scouring the papers looking for a dog (I know, I know, not the best way!). We went to visit one litter of lab/golden crosses and were just disturbed by their attitudes. As far as I was concerned, 8 week old puppies should be running around having fun, not sitting petrified in a corner. So we kept looking and we eventually spotted an ad for border collie/retriever puppies - only $50! :) We gave them a call, hopped in the car and went for a visit. The dad was a giant of a golden and the mom was an over-active border collie who didn't stop jumping up and down in the dog run the whole time we were there. The pups were cute, energetic and not shy at all. Marlin was worried. All he could see was the mom jumping and jumping and jumping. I convinced him she looked like her dad and therefore would act like her dad (ha!). We spent about 30 minutes visiting with the puppies and while we were there another man came, literaly scooped up the first pup that came his way, handed over $50 and walked away. We were all a little dumbstruck. So by the time we left, Coulee was the only one still avaialble, which was fine by us, as she was the one we had wanted. We ran out, bought supplies and picked her up that night. As you can see, we had a lot to learn and she made us learn very quickly. The rest is history and I can safely say that I owe it to Coulee for even thinking about starting a dog walking business and for starting me down this path.

When Lacey came into our lives, we were debating whether or not we had the heart to keep fostering dogs for the rescue. With each one, it seemed harder and harder to part with them and Marlin really didn't want a second dog. We both knew a second dog was inevitable if we kept fostering. When Amanda got a call about a litter of pug cross puppies left behind at an auction house, she called to see if we would foster one. I'm not even sure if I talked to Marlin before saying yes. A pug puppy. We won't fall in love with a pug. Not my type of dog I said. (Apparently I still had lots to learn!). Oh my they were cute. Big heads, little bodies and not very pug like at all. We took the only black and tan one in the litter home. She was adorable - both in looks and personality. We were in love, but Marlin still wasn't ready. We were also worried if this little girl, with her pug heritage, would be able to join us on long hikes and hot camping trips. She was the first foster dog that Coulee never played with and we wondered if they ever would. We loved her, but was she right dog for us? Then Amanda got a great application on her and that was the push we needed. No way was she going somewhere else. It turns out she was the runt of the litter (only 25 lbs as opposed to 50) but is quite the little muscular powerhouse who has no problems doing all the activities we enjoy. She is completely in love with Coulee and while Coulee still pretends that she thinks her little sister is a brat, they really are the best of friends.

I couldn't imagine life without either of them.

I'm not really a "pass the buck" kind of girl but I'm dying to know how StellarStar got Stella and Rufus so I'm tagging you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Walking for a Cause

Today Amanda, Sandy and Jo and I went to the Purina Walk for Dog Guides. It was a 2.5 km walk around Nicolas Sheran Lake. I was without any pups as I was busy taking photos. I volunteered to take pictures for the event and had a lot of fun trying to capture the candid moments. You can see more pictures on the photography blog and a few more on the Daycare Blog as well (I'm spreading the wealth around!).

Kort, with good looking ears... at least I think so.

Amanda getting Sadie to be well behaved. :)

Sorry for the logo, it was the default option and I'm way too lazy to take it off.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Lacey definitely did not fetch this... more like stole it from Coulee.
I finally figured out how to get her to look at me while holding the camera. I just have to say "Readyyyy".
I love the little ear flip.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Spy...

... with my little eye, someone biting, someone else's tail!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Wee One

Isn't she cute?

I am Woman

Hear me roar.

I biked up the west-side hill this morning. It was only my third attempt. The first time I felt like vomitting and the only thing that stopped me was the fact that I was right outside my husband's office and someone I knew would probably see me. The second time, I crashed on a park bench at the top and rested for a good 5-10 minutes before I had the strength to move on. This time, I barely broke a sweat. OK that might be a little exaggerated but still - I didn't stop and I didn't walk. Not one step! Yippee.

I won't mention the two guys that biked by me chatting away like they were standing in their kitchen instead of biking up a hill. I could barely manage a breathy "Hi" in between gasps when they rode past.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Into the Wild

Marlin and I went to Waterton for the weekend for a much needed get away together. We headed down Friday afternoon and had a great leisurely drive, taking pictures on the way and just generally took our sweet time. When we arrived we took the pups on a stroll along the lake. It wasn't quite as relaxing as I had hoped as Lacey has apparently learned what ground squirrels are, and we were surrounded by hundreds of them. Every time they chirped (think constantly) she was off lunging in their direction. Needless to say, we walked back to the hotel through the town so we could avoid the "cute" little critters.

The next day we scoured the town for a Chai Tea and eventually headed off for a hike up to Bertha Falls. There were only a few trails not covered in snow and Bertha was one of them. The trail was perfect - it wasn't wet, muddy or snow covered. We ran into a few people, dogs and even a horse, but it was pretty quiet on the trail. We took a little detour on the way home to get down to Boundary Bay. Marlin had never been down there and it was very quiet and peaceful... until a guy near us started throwing rocks in the lake which caused Coulee to bark and lunge with excitement. Sigh! So much for the peace and quiet.

That evening we headed up to Red Rock Canyon for another short stroll. On our way back to the hotel we saw some bears. They were pretty far away but they had gathered quite a crowd of admirers.

Sunday morning we attempted to sleep in but were not met with much success. So we packed up, had some breakfast and headed home. We don't mind being home early - we still have laundry and errands to do before work tomorrow.

And don't you just love Lacey's little backpack? She wore it the whole hike and had a cute little spring to her step. She carried poop bags (empty of course!), granola bars for us, a water dish for her and Coulee and my bank card just in case she had to do some shopping on the way home. Sorry for the crappy photo - I took it while she walked along beside me.


I'd like to say we saw this guy while on a hike in the wilderness but we didn't. Marlin and I did go to Waterton National Park this weekend but this big fella was hanging out near our hotel room and not out on the trails. As I type this on early Saturday evening, we still haven't seen any truly wild animals (and by truly wild I mean anything not snacking on grass or flowers in the townsite) but they are still amazing to see. Lacey nearly blows a gasket because she is so excited when she hears the ground squirrells chirping and she was basically levitating when we had to walk by a group of 20 deer calming grazing on the side of the road. The girls have been great, the weather has been gorgeous and the company amazing. More on all of that tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


As Amanda wouldn't let me take a picture last weekend of her momentous event (driving on the highway for the first time), Marlin agreed to do a re-enactment.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I took pictures for the first time in RAW today. I'm not sure I like it. It slows the camera down, slows the download down and takes up much more room on the memory card! But I know it is better for editing as I can make some adjustments without degrading the file. I still don't feel up to snuff with my editing. If it isn't good to begin with, I can't seem to make it better. So I guess that means I just have to take decent pictures in the first place!

This one is going into my favorites file for Lacey.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tired, Sore and Happy

I went with Amanda this weekend to the Flashing Canines Agility Trial in Medicine Hat to take pictures. It was a whirlwind, but very fun. Amanada and I drove up Friday night as we had to be there around 7:30 Saturday morning. I finally convinced Amanda to take a turn driving and she drove from Taber to Bow Island. It was her first time on the highway and you should have seen her face. It was hilarious. She wouldn't let me take a picture and I was afraid she'd take a hand off the wheel to hit me if I tried so I refrained. She was quite nervous but she did great. We are all still alive. :)We got up bright and early on Saturday and off we went. There was a great area in a ball dugout just on the edge of the trial site that I set up in. It was perfect. First up was a Standard Course and off I went to take pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. It was pretty crazy how many pictures I took that first day - around 4,000. It definitely got better as the weekend went on. I took less pictures and there were many more in focus. I was learning.

By the end of the weekend I was only taking 5-10 per dog per run, while at the beginning it was probably closer to 20. Initially I was trying to follow the dogs around most of the course but I soon realized that there was no way I could keep up. So I ended up just picking certain pieces of equipment and waiting for the dog to arrive. It took me a while to get over the guilt of not taking as many as I could but I got much better photos by picking and choosing my sites. At the start of each event it would take a few dogs to figure out where exactly I should stand to optimize the pictures and if I had enough time to get the camera (and sometimes my body) from spot to spot. By the 10th dog I had a pretty good system down.

That first night, I was so tired I could have fallen asleep at the dinner table. Poor Amanda. After dinner we went back to the hotel room and she continued sorting my photos. I'm not sure how I would have done things without her help as I didn't know most of the dogs so organizing them would have been difficult. I would have had folders labeled as "Border Collie 203", "Border Collie 204", etc. (There were a lot of border collies!). So while Amanda organized I did my best to stay awake. I didn't quite make it.

Sunday was better. I only photographed 2 events instead of 3 but people started to come over to see the pictures and arrange to purchase CD's. It was hard to download and organize while people were trying to look through photos. I obviously couldn't burn CD's until the end and luckily the last event was one I wasn't planning on taking photos of. So I spent that time putting together the CD's. I sold more than I had hoped which was great! But it was a very long day and we were literally the last people packing up. I already have a few ideas on how to make the next trial go more smoothly.

Amanda was a great trooper hanging out and waiting for me and helping with everything, including looking after poor Lacey. On Sunday I hadn't had time since 10 a.m. to get her out of the van and thankfully Amanda had taken her for a few runs in the field with her dogs.

Speaking of Lacey, she did great with the crowds and the dogs. She still didn't really want to be touched much but she had no problems walking by all the people and pups. I was very proud of her. She also managed not to poop in the hotel room this time. :)

I have barely looked through the thousands of photos I took so I'll be doing that more today and will be posting them on the photography blog over the next week or so.

I'm off to burn CD's for friends, who of course got left til the end! This is their sneak peak. All the photos are from the second Standard Run on the first day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I took over 6,000 photos in 2 days. To say I am tired is a huge understatement. You'll see some tomorrow. Promise.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, May 15, 2009


Can you tell by Coulee's eyes she is excited about the long weekend?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Waking up with a headache is never a good sign.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lacey's Purly Whites

Lacey is extra snuggly with me at daycare. Or maybe I should say protective.

She gets quite snarly when other dogs come near. At home, she never sits on my lap, but here she feels the urge to keep me to herself. It is hard not to find it cute, even though I know it is bad.

Thanks Amanda for taking these!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


For our final photography assignment we need to put together a slide show based on a theme. I've been tossing around various ideas for a while and I've finally decided on one - Relationships. I think I'm specifically going to showcase the relationship between people and their pets. Ironically as I was contemplating going with this theme, Lu decided to pose for a picture that symbolizes our relationship.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"China Town"

So last night for photography class we went out to "china town" for some pictures. The assignment was vague but included words such as close-up, minimal, detail, etc.

While I did hope there would be a stray dog or cat wandering around to keep me in my comfort zone, I was looking forward to it. I had lots of fun and ended up with some images I definitely wouldn't have gotten without the push to try something new.

I did find some very cool doors that would make great backdrops for dogs in a more urban setting. I just may have to go back there!

All Alone

The girls and I were the only ones at the dog park today. It was wonderful!

Coulee spent the entire time fetching her frisbee, while Lacey did her usual thing - wandered around sniffing, chased after Coulee briefly, back to sniffing, over to me for a brief pet, steal Coulee's toy, back to sniffing, etc.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Better When Wet

I've never seen Coulee swim just for the sake of swimming, but she loves to fetch in the water. She will give you the toy and then race into the river and wait for you to throw it. Yet, without a toy, she won't do anything more than splash around a bit. She will stay in long enough to get a drink and to give you the "are-you-going-to-throw-anything-look" and then get out. Is this another quirky Coulee mannerism or are most water dogs like this? (Sandy, you don't need to answer that!)

Photo Session

I'm trying really hard to blog about work stuff on the work blogs, and personal stuff on the personal blog but what's a girl to do when they coincide? I met Sandy, Mira and Sadie at the park today for a practice photo shoot. I'll be updating the photography blog with a few posts over the next few days so be sure to check it out!

Deja Vu

This picture looks a little familiar...

Apparently nothing changes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not for Fetching

Unlike Coulee, Lacey doesn't think the Zisc makes a very good fetch toy.

She would much rather try and shake it to death.

And bury it in mud because clean toys are boring and tasteless.

And then shake it some more.

She also thinks that she should be the next cover girl for West Paw Design as her glossy black fur makes the orange Zisc look so good.