Sunday, December 20, 2009

A New Way To See Things

I wanted to do something different for Windi, a very dear friend who has been extremely helpful with my career. Her dogs are well known in the agility world; Wick, Fli, Star, (which is my Connor's mother), Singe, her up and coming new girl (Connor's 'opposit twin' sister) and then there is Fig.

I love to watch Fig run courses because of the way she does them, her enthusiasm and absolute joy are obvious. She really shows how much fun she is having. The amusing difference between Fig and other dogs is that she barks throughout the whole course. I get many photos of her with her mouth wide open and eyes wild and fiery! 

She has such wonderful energy and her excitement is contagious! I have noticed many non-agility bystanders with big smiles on their faces when Fig runs. You just can't help it!

When I get home from a long day of shooting these are the shots that energize me when I am just plain beat, these are the types of shots that keep me going. They never cease to amuse.

This is the smaller version of the collage I made for Windi.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Every Day

We sat down to dinner and I called Rob, hoping to share our yearly tradition.

We each say what we are thankful for; I start, then my husband, then the next down the table. There's always the comic relief of our daughter who has to add things to the normal "family and friends" like being thankful for Xanax. We laugh (and I silently agree) and the next person speaks and the little bit of embarrassment that any new members of the family may feel is gone. We all realize we are truly thankful to be together as a family.

I had to leave a message.  He worked today.  I just held the phone in my hand.

He just called back a short while ago. 

Once again, I wish to share My Hero with you. I am so incredibly thankful to have him in my life.

Operation Proper Exit

I need to go find the tissues...

Monday, November 9, 2009

He Is My Hero

While I was off shooting this past weekend, I missed Rob yesterday morning on ESPN.

He keeps getting his 15 minutes of fame, and deserves every minute. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So have you read the fall issue...

See this?

Yes, click on that... then see where it says to "Click on Magazine to Read This Issue"? well you should've done that already...but if you didn't...

Turn a few pages...oh let's say to maybe page 15

Purdy dawgy...with a dead duck (It's called a DFT or "dead fowl trainer")

Have I mentioned I love my job?

til next time...
Uni & The Underdogs
(& the Top Cats)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Pictures!

I understand the phrase "dog tired". In the last couple of weeks, I have seen my share of tired dogs and tired owners.  Fortunately for me, there is more to come in the following months. *bounce*bounce*bounce* :)

For those who attend the events and also happen to check in on my blog or Facebook page, this is really an update for you.  I want to let you know that I appreciate the faith you have in me to get the pictures you want of your dogs.  I also want to let you know that if you've put in an order, I am working on them!

I'm also still trying to get other pictures up from this past weekend at the CDTC Agility Trial over on Johns Island.  It rained on Friday and for a photographer that is misery!  However, anyone that knows me, knows I don't give up easy!  It's taking me a little longer to sort through those, but I'll be back on it in the morning and get more pictures up.

I tried very hard to get dogs in both rings. Unfortunately, I did not get Friday's Novice Standard. I am very sorry. I've yet to know if I've missed any others as I am only reviewing as I cull, crop and start putting the photos up.

I truly appreciate your business, and look forward to seeing my dogs *ahem* I mean my friends, in Bluffton the first weekend of November!

I think I see flames and pitchforks in the distance...

Uni & The Underdogs
Bansidhe, Keenan, Cailly, Guinness (aka Rock), Connor & Keeva D. Diva
(and the Top Cats; Kerzy, Tigger & Salem)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pooka 1997 - 2009

I was sitting at my desk typing in an IRC chatroom. It was the end of October 1997, it was cold and had rained earlier in the day. To this day, I don't know why but I suddenly I stood up and walked out to my front porch. Silence. Then a faint whimpering. Barefoot, I ran across the street to the concrete drainage ditch and looked down. There he was a teeny tiny black furball. From four feet down sitting in several inches of icy water he looked up at me and whimpered again.

I ran back to the house and told my husband to get over there quick the new [expletive] neighbor had "lost" another one of her puppies, this time I found it. We hurried back to the ditch and he jumped down in to rescue the little pup. Shivering from the cold, we bundled him in a towel and started back towards our house. Coming towards us was the new next door neighbor, and owner of the puppies. They had moved in a couple weeks before, with their black lab and her six pups. The puppies kept "disappearing through holes in the fence." She never got any of them back or figured out just how they were getting out. Our offers to help with her fence went unheard. We knew this was the last one.

"Oh you found him, he got out again," as she started to reach for him she said, "I'll take him."

I pulled away quickly, "Like hell you will! This one's ours."

And that is how we got Pooka.

I had recently started studies into Celtic mythology and anthropology. Pooka is a name with several definitions, arguable as to it's origin. [See below quotes from Lady Wilde; I named him perfectly] From what I had learned by that time, the meaning intended upon our little guy was that of the "fairy" ('puca') or "nature sprite". The name may possibly originate from 'poc', the Irish word for a male goat, as the satyr-ish appearing Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. (Well we did find him in a ditch, right near the bridge!) The Pooka is normally associated with Samhain and quite the mischievous character.

His first nickname was "Shredder" there wasn't a piece of paper safe. He stuck to me like glue from the day I brought him in the house. Following me everywhere I went. We had several other dogs, I was doing rescue so he was used to being around other dogs with no difficulty at all, at least from his end. He never showed any signs of possessiveness. When I was busy with another dog, he just faded into the background. But he was always my shadow. When I stood up, so did he. When I picked up my keys, he went to the door, the expectant look on his eyes "Do I get to go this time?"

He was goofy. He bounced. He made me laugh. He made me smile. He jumped up on the bed and snuggled when my husband was gone for months at a time. He always knew exactly when I needed him. He may have had some neediness in him. But to be honest, I'm not sure who leaned on, or needed who, more.

For two years we gathered with a group also interested in Celtic Traditions to celebrate Lughnasadh. On both camping trips Pooka was there. I never had to teach him how to walk on a leash. Signs everywhere said "Dogs must be on leash at all times." So I put a leash on him and dropped my end. He never, ever, left me if I told him not to. I was never alone. If we were on a walk, he stayed with me. He might wander a few steps ahead, linger a few steps back, but a snap of my fingers and he was right by my side in a heel. He is the only dog I have ever had to do that. No matter where we went, how busy or distracting it was, he did not leave me.

In 2001 Pooka was laying at my feet and went suddenly still, then started with tremors. He was as stiff as a board, his eyes unfocused. He'd had a seizure. Having never experienced that before I completely freaked. Within 15 minutes he was happy wiggly Pookie again. I had him in the vets office immediately. They did tests and couldn't find anything wrong. They never did. He went for a couple years were he would have a seizure almost every 3-4 mos. Each time he would come to me first. He knew what was going to happen and he knew I would protect him from the curiosities of any of our other animals. He'd had his last seizure in 2005. We never figured out why.

In 2003 we moved from Oklahoma to South Carolina. We had 3 cats and 4 dogs traveling in two vehicles. On the way here, at a rest stop in Georgia, a black cat popped it's head up out of a ditch while my husband was walking our wolfdog and husky. The cat walked right up to them, face to face. I went and got the cat carrier. Any cat that could do that was our cat. I put our new cat inside the carrier all the way in the back of the car, Pooks jumped in and we were off.

When we got to our new house (I mean just finished, spic-and-span brand new house), we backed both the SUV and car into the garage. Friends were here, eager to meet our wolfdog Odin and the rest of our "Underdogs" so we opened the doors and out they jumped! They ran through their new house, happy and free! Our friend noticed something on the wall and pointed it out to us. A reddish brown streak. idea. I went to grab the cleaner and then we started seeing them more. Pooka stood next to me in the hallway, his tail thwapped against the wall, and there was a streak (and another and another and another, "Pookie move!") We checked and sure enough, his tail had been chewed that cat we eventually named Salem. Pookie had ridden the last couple hundred miles getting his tail gnawed on without complaint. He just took it in stride. This was the nature of "The Pooks."

There was a different side of him where he really showed his fear; he did not like fireworks or thunderstorms. He had very nervous energy. He was never a ball playing dog, toys didn't interest him. I have the picture of the one time in his whole life that he had a rawhide bone. It was really hard to drain the energy from him. He never seemed to relax, always anticipating...

He was terribly fearful during thunderstorms. He would shake and tremble, do everything he could to get as close to me as possible. The first New Year's Eve we lived here, we bought some fireworks to set off out in front of the house. Fireworks are illegal in OK, so this was new for us. I knew he didn't like loud noises. I put him (as well as all of the other dogs) into a crate for his safety. We set off the fireworks. We came in. I went to the bedroom to get Pooka and found a bent crate and Pooka standing there panting, with bloody paws and mouth. I screwed up. Fortunately it looked much worse than it was. From then on, Pookie went outside with us if we were doing fireworks. He could deal with it, as long as he could be with us.

With the thunderstorms came the creation of the "Pooka hat", if we were in bed and there happened to be a thunderstorm, we would be alerted to this by Pooks jumping up on the bed and laying on the top of our pillows. Primarily on our heads. After a while, we got smart and put extra pillows, and eventually a body pillow underneath/right above our regular pillows. It wasn't quite as uncomfortable for us, but he could never get comfortable when there was thunder. There was a constant readjustment. Much like the cough someone does to get your attention. He just wanted either of us to tell him it was ok. If it stormed while we were awake, I would sit on the porch with him next to me. Passing on calm energy to him as best I could. He tried, but he was much happier when he got to come inside. Then he could bounce over to Daddy, "I brought her in, safe and sound." Over the years my husband nicknamed him "Braveheart", his comfort didn't matter, being with mommy did. Making sure we were all together was the goal.

In the last couple years he got to the point that he would not leave either of us in the bedroom by ourselves. If I got up early, he would jump up on the bed and lay down next to my husband. All of the other dogs came out of the room. He would look at me as if to say "I'll watch daddy, you take care of everything else." He started to share more time between the two of us. Mostly with me because I am home all day, but you'd think my husband had been gone for years the way that dog acted when he came home from work! With a new job, my husband no longer left for months at a time, he finally got the chance to spend a bit more time with Pooka. They were both better for it. Pooka was the happiest when we were both in his view.

He was needy, but he was never demanding or insistent. He was a wallflower. He helped to raise Rock and Connor. Teaching them "doggy manners" as only another dog can do. In the last couple months, my husband and I would look at Pooka, thinking the same thing... when? He still bounced around the yard like a puppy, but he got tired faster. He couldn't go for the length of walks he used to, especially in the summertime heat. His muzzle was turning very gray. Sometimes he ate. Sometimes he didn't. He'd get grumpy and short with the other dogs. He'd stretch out in the hallway, quiet, and snap at one of the others if they walked by him.

On Friday night, Pooka was laying in the bathroom. When my husband went in to take a shower, he stayed in a bit longer than normal. As he came out he had a very concerned look on his face, "I think he had a seizure." He said he gave him a light massage and talked to him calmly. Pooka walked out of the bathroom over to his spot next to the closet and laid down. I got up to give him his goodnight scratchy and tell him I love him (as I had already done with the others.) All was normal, he looked tired but nothing out of the usual. We turned off the lights and soon after I saw him get up and walk out. Within minutes he was back in the room, as were all the others. I fell blissfully asleep amongst my furries.

Saturday, Sept. 19th, I awoke to the normal routine. Rock on one side of me, Keeva on the other. Keenan at my feet. My husband on the other side of Rock had Connor snuggling with him, Banshee at his feet. I lay for a few minutes ruffling up the fur on my wunderdogs. Then the word "Off" was spoken and, looking dejected, each one slowly plopped down off the bed. I got up and went around the end of the bed and there was Pooka, on the floor laying perfectly still. "Pooka? Pooka! No! No! NO!" My husband got out of bed in disbelief. I kneeled next to the lifeless shell that had held the spirit of Pooka and wept, my tears falling on his fur, my husband's joining. We both stroked the fur, the salt and pepper muzzle, a flash of 12 years instantly gone.

We left him there for a time. So the other dogs could see and smell. Maybe it's important, or maybe it's humanizing, but it seems as if things have been easier on the rest of them. When one leaves and doesn't come back, they don't understand where that pack member went.

We took him to our vet, my husband carried him in. They made a clay imprint of his paw and gave it to us. I drove back home through my tears. Everything was so mechanical. As soon as we opened the door, it was as if I had been smashed in the face. He was always our "tripping hazard" when we came home, bouncing everywhere overjoyed with our return. We were met instead by a happy and mostly calm Banshee. I began to sob, my breathing hitched, I just wanted to wake up from this nightmare.

It has instead been an emotionally painful, surreal reality. Tuesday we got a card from the vet's office. Wednesday we got his death certificate. Most of the time I feel him here. I miss his physical presence. I don't ever want to forget his silly happy grin, his always moving swishing tail, his full body "I'm so happy!" wiggling, the way he sneezed, the way those beautiful brown eyes looked into mine, so trusting and faithful; my constant companion, my shadow for 12 years.

A friend of mine is going through a rough time with one of her animals. I wanted to give her some comfort. I wrote this to her. I think I had an epiphany...

"I know there's always a reason. I've lived long enough now that I see that. I see it clearer and clearer; if this wouldn't have happened, then that wouldn't have happened and I wouldn't be where I am. I don't like everything that's happened, but I like where my conscience is. Life just ain't easy when you love furries. No matter what, you end up suffering terribly emotionally; you give so much of yourself because they give all of themselves."

Emotionally, I'm a train wreck. Logically, death is a part of life. And as far as any of us know, who's to say we are not all sharing the same womb to be reborn into a far more wonderful place than this? It is what my Ancestors believed. Death, Life, Rebirth. If so, then I will be happily, willingly, lovingly ambushed by dogs and cats as soon as I get there, Boomer, Binks, Kiwi, Data, Jean-Luc, Luke, Riker, Worf, Odin, and now Pooka among them. If not? Well, I guess it doesn't matter if I believe what I want to believe then does it?

I miss you Pooka, Pookasaur, Pookasaurus Rex, Shredder, Pooks, Pookinator, Pooka Da Pooks, forever the Braveheart.

Forever my Pooka

Phouka According to Lady Wilde (mother of Oscar Wilde)

"Pooka have a reputation for tomfoolery and hijinks.
Their playful natures make them both beloved and hated among the other fae.
Somewhat childlike throughout their lives, the pooka never outgrow their penchant for pranks."

"However, despite the outward playfulness of the pooka, they hide a lingering sadness deep within.
The clown of the changelings, pooka laugh on the outside to hide their suffering on the inside.
At times, pooka fall into wrenching periods of depression that last for weeks on end.
Whenever this happens, they tend to disappear, returning once their spirits have lifted."

"Most other changelings do not understand this dual nature of the pooka, and few ever take them seriously.
This stems perhaps from the fact that every pooka has an animal affinity that effects his looks as well as his personality.
Most pooka tend toward the terminally cute, with fuzzy ears and big eyes.
Most have tails similar to those of their animal cousins."

" However, those who understand the pooka respect and listen intently to them".
"The expression "from the mouths of babes" certainly applies to them.
They have the innate ability to cut through the fog and, with innocent wisdom, to understand most situations."


"The pooka were born of the dreams of mortals who wished for a better, more carefree life.
These mortals envied animals their relaxed lifestyle.
Cats sleep in the sun throughout the day;
puppies romp and play at their leisure. Horses have no chores to do, no taxes to pay.
Animals have nothing more to do than eat, sleep, and learn about the world.
Thus, early legends said the pooka ate, slept, and watched all that happened around them.
They, like the wise animals, were believed to understand more about the world and its workings than their mortal Dreamers. "


"Despite this, the pooka kept many aspects of what they were before the influence of Christian morals.
The pooka never stopped watching and listening to the world around them.
They remained ever-vigilant, peeking in windows,
always looking for a prank or a gag to pull.
They also never became mean-spirited.
The pooka remained a friendly and well-meaning, if somewhat annoying and amoral, faerie.
Above all else, they kept their desire to cheer up those who needed it. "

"Although all pooka may not do so consciously, they use their pranks and games and even their lies to tip the balance back toward the Dreaming.
Their silliness serves as their weapon against the darkness that would swallow the world.
Quite consciously, the pooka realize the burden that they have taken upon themselves as the jesters of the world."
"They step forth into territory where others refuse to go,
playing the fool or risking the anger of their targets,
only to inject a bit of joviality and laughter into an otherwise grey existence."

"Despite their open frivolity, pooka can tender their behavior to fit the circumstances.
When the situation requires them to be serious, they can be
. _Deeply_ loyal, pooka would never intentionally harm anyone they loved.
Nor would they make light of an intensely serious moment"

"However, pooka cannot bear to see people unhappy.
This stems from their own unbearable sadness
They always attempt to cheer others up, even if they may not always choose the appropriate method
And they greatly appreciate any attempt to cheer them up as well".

originally from
http:// Maintained by: Kent Jakway

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 'And More' part of Uniwolf Photography

I love my dogs. I think that pretty much goes without saying. Like most people, I do have a few other interests and yes they usually include my dogs. As you might expect, these other aspects of my life find their way into my photography. Here are a few photos I've recently taken from my garden...and lastly a little visual lesson on the importance of lighting.

I am an avid gardener. When we moved here to SC we had one huge pine tree in the front yard and one in the back. That was it. I have worked for 6 years to build my own personal sanctuary on my single acre, I'm getting very close to not seeing any neighbors at all. :) I continue to add more every year.

Obviously, along with gardening come insects. I have a fascination with bugs. I don't necessarily like most of them, but from a camera's view they are pretty cool. Ever since I was a small child I have been able to sit and watch all of nature as it has gone on around me, fascinated at the interaction. I've watched birds swoop down to grab a waddling bug in the grass with lightning speed, lizards scurry across the pavement with unidentifiable legs in its mouth, spiders weave a delicate silk cocoon with miraculous speed around a cicada and ants march in formation for hours. Truly, I am that boring. Or that calm in nature.

I have several hummingbird bushes and naturally you'd expect to see hummingbirds at them, occasionally I do. However, more often lately, what I have been seeing is what is called a "Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth"

As you can see they are rather intriguing little critters...

About 2" long, and if you happen to be wearing an orange hat, expect to get buzzed by them. Insect photographer's secret. Want to attract butterflies? Wear bright colors. Keep in mind, that also works for bees, and it can occasionally get you buzzed by an actual hummingbird. :)

Ah yes, the importance of lighting... one of these photos is not like the others... look close. The one below, you can actually see the catchlight in its eye. What's a "catchlight"? It's the photography term for the light reflected in the eyes of the subject. The 'sparkle' that makes a subject reach out and grab you.

While the other photos are pretty good. It's this last one that makes an impact. Just because I popped up the flash on my camera. A little thing can make such a huge difference!

You can click on any of the pictures to make them larger to see detail. :)

If you have a DSLR and can afford a flash unit (there are several good ones out now that are under $200) they are much better than the popup flash. But in a pinch, if you left it in the house [looking at the sky and whistling] just hit the little button that pops up the flash and use it.

That's it for now. I'm off to play with the dogs for a bit I think. Then get my fingers in the dirt... and eventually on my camera...

Uni & The Underdogs

Friday, August 7, 2009

Look A' Me I's Onna Innerwebz!!!

The new GSD, who has been renamed so many times you'd think she'd have a personality disorder, has finally settled into her new name; Caoimhe... pronounced "Keeva" it is Irish for 'beauty'. You'll note all of our dogs have Irish names. For years, all of our animals had names from various Trek shows (yeah, we're geeks.) We have a cat who's going on 14 now, named Kerzon Dax. We didn't keep with any specifics on the names on the cats though, as we have Kerzon (aka Kooshball), Tigger 'TigTig' (my daughter's cat), Salem aka 'George' as in "George of the out for that tree!" he used to run and splat right into a wall *sigh* and Solo (yes, Hans Solo, leave me alone!)

So, unlike most people who talk to their animals, mine is often a two way conversation. Well most of the time it's a one way conversation as I'm constantly telling people "they have no clue what you're saying you know." I proved this to my neighbor recently when I looked at Connor and sternly said "Couch lantern spider filter!" and he calmly laid down, eyes looking directly at me, ears back but relaxed, awaiting his next command. My neighbor looked at me like I was crazy, well maybe he thought we both were. But it doesn't matter, I know how my dogs think, and they know how I think and we communicate fairly well, they are extremely intelligent beings and I pick up what they are trying to say well enough to do as I'm told. ;)

Recently I've had to start sharing the computer too, having to block the doggy porn sites is getting to be annoying, do you know how many are out there? ;) I thought I'd share a conversation we had a few days ago...

[Rock] Mom! Mom! Mom! MOM! Momma! MOMMMMMAAA!

"Yes, Rock?"

[Rock] Look Mommy, Keeva found a pickshur of meee! I's onna innerwebz! Izza pickshur of meee! Momma look!!!

"Why yes it is! That's the picture that was chosen of you for the cover of Off Lead and Animal Behavior Magazine."

[Rock] I 'member when you tooks it, I wuz swimmins an you pointed da big eye at me.

"Yep, that's the camera, the same one I'm always pointing at you guys."

[Connor] Shudda been me

[Rock] Shuddup Bonbonbutt

"Rock, don't talk that way to your brother"

[Connor] I'm much more handsome than a GSD, how stoopid, haffa have 'dog' inna name, cuz someone might thinkz he'z a weasel with that nose.


[Rock] Leas' I'z not a BOREDr Colic! All you do is whine about nuffins!!! hahaha!

[Connor] I do not! I killded an effelant!

[Rock] No you dint!

[Connor] I did! Momma tooked da pikshur of that too!

"Alright you two, that's enough!" [Rock] [Connor] Yes Mommy.

[Rock] Can we go swimmins now?
[Connor] Yeah, can we? [Keeva] I wanna go too! [Keenan]Me too! [Cailly] I wanna go! don't forget me! I'm right here! I gonna go too right? I go swimmins too k? [Banshee] I'd just as soon graze in the garden then find some shade, ok mom? [Pooka] I'm with you mom, wherever you go.

Gotta love'm...

Check out Rock's cover shot, along with the magazine including some kick butt articles online at
Off Lead and Animal Behavior Summer 09 Edition

Until next time...
Uni & The Underdogs

Saturday, July 25, 2009

There Are Three Sides To Every Story...

Yours, Theirs, and The Truth......

After much discussion, the bottom line was we had to look out for the best interest of our household. Katy was not fitting in as well as we had hoped. The pup transitioned into our family very well.

Unfortunately, we had to take her back to the shelter. Anyone who knows us knows that it was one of the most painful decisions we've ever made. However, she went back with more of a chance of surviving than when I took her out a month ago. Assuming I was told the truth (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) then she has been pulled by a GSD rescue and my taking her back to the shelter was the best for her, which is what matters.

Wolfie and I both are still dealing with the loss of her from our home. She will always be a part of our hearts. She is loved and missed very much.

This has been an emotionally trying time for us.

We have adopted the black and tan GSD pup and she has been named Buffy.

"The more things change, the more they remain...insane."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rock Weigh In....

And he's UP! Rock's weight is up to 65.4! Needless to say I'm beyond pleased. I really need to thank my bestest Kaffy the Great and the awesome people on the GSD lists I'm on. I've put him on a mostly raw diet along with using slippery elm to help with the stomach/intestinal inflammation. As long as we can continue on this path, with him continuing to gain weight we are good to go. So keep them prayers and crossed fingers going.

On another note, I now have all EIGHT dogs in different stages of kennel cough. *cry*

Rock and Fifi got into a scuffle yesterday. Fionn has no doggy manners at all and continues to run right up into the face of another dog. Rock had enough after she did so outside near a ball he was going to pick up. Fortunately it was a short fight and they were out by themselves (I don't want to think about what would've happened if all of the dogs had been out, btdt NEVER AGAIN.) She has a small area on her left ear that he got a hold of, and she didn't get him at all. When he let loose, she ran. By then I had the pool gate open, Rock looked at her, looked at me, and went for the pool area (no he did not get to go into the pool, that would have been a reward!) Me thinks he was just trying to say "Enough woman, get out of my face!" I kept them separate for the rest of the day. This morning she is behaving far less obnoxious (much more submissive) and they are doing fine.

She made eye contact with him and he barked. This is all natural responses to a lack of manners, Rock seems to be the one taking it the hardest though. Keenan has really settled down since Odin died. Pooka has a thousand buttons to push before he will snap at another dog. I do watch her with Banshee and Cailly, but so far she seems submissive with them. She really needs to learn about 'personal space' and admittedly, Rock has truly lived up to his GSD potential and become the guardian. He is doing what he is bred to do. I just need to find him a different outlet, it hasn't helped that he hasn't been able to swim, play ball or frisbee in two weeks. :(

Of course, once the girls are spayed, things may change, hopefully for the better.

Considering two weeks ago she wanted nothing to do with us OR the other dogs she is doing so much better. Although I've not been able to take her in for a weight check, she appears to be putting on a little weight. I'm slowly moving her over to a MUCH higher quality food.

Mentally she is more of a puppy. No self-confidence, no doggy manners and no training. We have had to teach her how to sit. She still doesn't like her rear touched, grooming gets her upset if the comb goes to her rear she will try to bite at it. Seriously, she's that bad off and she's approx 3-4 yrs old? I really don't even like to think of what her life had been like. BUT, the truth of it is, it doesn't matter. She lives now, with us, and we'll do our best to change it. We both adore her. We just have to integrate her into a pack environment. The big question is whether we're up for the challenge. Because it IS a huge challenge to do this. Even though I'm home all day, I have all of these different personalities I have to work with. Even if I take only 15 min a day with each dog that's 2 hours. It takes 45 min to an hour to fix meals, meds and clean up (hopefully THAT time will change for the better!) Add in play time for the pack, I'm supposed to be working somewhere in here. When you add in new dogs it takes even more time, and the stress is definitely in abundance!

Our Gracie is definitely all puppy! We're working on a schedule of what we need to work on with her most. So far she has shown a severe prey drive towards cats, and she does NOT like crates. Typical of a GSD, she wants mommy and daddy in her sight at all times (and throws a yapperhead fit when we are not!) So we need to work on her understanding that we will come back. Those seem to be her biggest obstacles, along with basic obedience training needed.

Also, she and Connor play well, but due to her size she occasionally gets the upper hand. That is not good and could become life threatening for Connor as she grows. Rock seems to think he must referee all interactions (we're still working on that) so he tends to get involved. This can start a dangerous chain. Things can go from play to prey very quickly.

All dogs need exercise and discipline along with the love we give them. Unfortunately, my guys have not been getting any exercise due to the kennel cough. I'm hoping that as they overcome the illness and are able to get back into daily walks, and playtime, it will assist more with the integration. After all, a Tired Dog is a Happy Dog!

Uni & the Underdogs

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cough Cough Kennel Cough *hack*

Just a short update because, well frankly I'm too damned tired. But I know there are a few people who actually care so...

I now have FIVE dogs showing obvious signs of kennel cough, the other three, are well, I'm just not sure yet. They're all getting Tussin just in case. Five are now on doxy.

I would LOVE to thank the f*$@^%g shelter for not appropriately quarantining dogs with kennel cough. I should send them my vet bills. Then again, they would've just murdered Gracie and Fifi. Just dogs. Callous morons. YES I am still angry.

I'm also getting sick.


On 7/3 Rock weighed 65 pds. We took him in on 7/7 he was at 61.9, I'm trying to allow for the fact that he's sick. Because he had not been eating. He IS eating now. I'm going to wait until tomorrow or Saturday and take him in to get weighed again.


Ok, well, you know me, I can't stop on a sad note no matter how bad things are.


A couple days ago, I had turned around when I heard this rustling, and I couldn't help but smile ...Wolfie (that would be the DH) made "bunk beds" for the dogs. Smartyboots Gracie decided to take the top bunk, then realized she could squeeze through and get on top of the crate. Needless to say, we've removed everything from the top of Fifi's crate now. ;)

Uni & the Underdogs

Sunday, July 5, 2009

There's Not Supposed To Be Anything Wrong. Ever.

Rock hasn't being doing well for a while. For about 2 mos now he's not been eating well. He's been picky and extremely selective. We changed food to a higher quality (Taste of the Wild - a no grain food) we've supplemented with beets, pumpkin, green beans, sweet potatoes, chicken, rice, and the like. While everyone else has eaten, he has been eating fine one day and the next he eats little to nothing. We'd become worried, we were starting to see his ribs.

Last week, we pulled two GSD's from the shelter, one of which started showing signs of kennel cough within a few days.

Now Rock and Connor both have it. Up until this morning, Connor had been eating fine. He snubbed his nose at chicken. Wants nothing to do with it. Oddly, as I sat here to write this, he started to eat the slices of chicken I put in front of him. Maybe my writing is magic. ;) All three are on medication to relieve their congestion. I don't want them on antibiotics if I can help it.

We took Rock to the vet last week for bloodwork. While he was acting ok, there was something still not quite right. He also got xrays done as there were concerns regarding his liver, etc.

The results of his bloodwork came back fine, well within normal ranges for everything. His xrays looked fine except for the lining in his intestines and stomach were showing signs of inflammation. She sent us home with cans of EN and told us to put him on a bland diet and to keep bringing him in for weight checks over the next couple of weeks to see if there are any changes. With luck, it is is gastritis and we can work with that easily enough. Otherwise the next options we are looking at are an ultrasound or more specific bloodwork (looking for possible nutritional difficiencies), and eventually the probability of a biopsy.

Mentally I've checked out. That's my boy. Hell they all are (well, my girls too, yanno)...but Rock... well. dammit. He's my Rock.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Hope For Two New Underdogs

I volunteer my time and photography with New Hope Pit Bull Rescue. There's a not so long story behind it. In my years of rescue, I had Sissy, a gorgeous black PB, when I found him he was covered in fleas and ticks. I lost count. Oh, the name was short for Sisco. :) We found him a great home where I'm sure he is probably still running around wiggling for attention.

Mostly though, I volunteer because of Devo; he was the dog next door that I constantly had to go over and untangle branches from his chain. He could barely reach the inadequate shed for what little shelter he could get from storms. I took a blanket over for him in the winter, and I took him food and made sure he had water. I also tried to get him released to me. When we left, it took everything I had not to steal him away on that pre-dawn morning. So for Devo and all of the other mistreated, maligned, and unloved pits, I offer time and a bit of effort to help out when I can. I also get to work with some fantastic people who love all animals.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a passion for GSD's. The Director and Assistant Director contacted me about a shelter with a very high kill rate that had 2 GSDs. One a young b&t pup, about 6 mo old that "may" have parvo and another app. 3 yr old white that would not walk on a leash and had to be carried everywhere.

My first response was "What do you mean it won't walk on a leash?"

It is amazing how many dogs have 'parvo' there, yet are in with all of the other dogs and not quarantined. Just another one to be pts to make room for the next one coming in. They have no value other than the intake fee. I won't go into it, but it's thoroughly disgusting and putrid to put it politely.

I said I wanted to temp test. We made arrangements to meet there, as we were also going to TT a PB that she'd asked them to hold. When we got there, the PB had already been pts due to the possibility of, you guessed it...parvo. He was "sick" overnight.

Just because a dog has a runny stool, does NOT mean it has parvo. I wanted to scream. The AD held herself together. Just meant another cell open for another dog to kill. If I had my way it would NOT be a GSD.

As soon as I walked into holding I saw her, a gorgeous white GSD. She was cowering in the back corner of the 3x5 concrete cell. Two cells down, there was a perfectly marked, yappy, black & tan puppy. According to the card, the little boy was about 5 mos old. Happy and bouncy, and trying to push off an equally attention hungry larger hound mix in the same cell. Both eager to see someone with compassion and a smile.

As soon as I saw the pup, I turned to my AD and said, "I'll take him."

"He's had the runs. They're going to say he might have parvo."

"I'll take that risk."

There was no indication whatsoever that this dog was sick. Stressed? You bet. Sick? No way. A convenient excuse to kill dogs. Again, if a dog has or may be considered to have parvo why aren't they being quarantined?

...back to my big white girl...I was told repeatedly, "she won't walk on a leash", "the guy that found her had to carry her in" "she stops dead and plants" "we have to pick her up" and I said very firmly, "she will walk on a leash." I looked to see what they had for leashes and saw the standard leads. I went back out to my truck and pulled out one of my slip leads and went back in. There was no sign of aggressiveness, just fear. I am quite familiar with how quick fear aggression can turn nasty. Her posture, everything about her said "please don't hurt me." I slowly backed into her cell. No contact, didn't look at her, I started with a few heavy sighs, licked my lips, and slowly held out the lead. She decided I was not a threat and leaned forward to investigate. Within 10 minutes we were bonding with calming signals. In another 5 I had the lead on her, and we were walking out the front door, across the parking lot, and into a small wooded area so she could "explore".

All to the 'awe' of people who just didn't have the patience and understanding of the animal. I'm no miracle worker. I'm no 'Dog Whisperer'. I love dogs. They are my passion. They always have been. It's instinct mixed with constantly educating myself.

As I was getting her back across the parking lot, a guy brought in a rather large hound. It slipped the lead and came after my big white girl. She shut down, scared to death and wriggling. I did not. I had to hold on to the lead, but couldn't get between her and the other dog. He got to her from behind a truck and it happened lightning fast. All I could do was firmly tell the guy without showing any panic "Get his back legs! Grab him by the legs!" Fortunately he was not attacking violently, he was scared and fearful (amazing how that happens around shelters.) Finally he got the dog off of my girl. I don't know if he said anything or not. I checked her, she was fine physically. It was at this point I looked at her and told her "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. You're going to be ok." We stood up, and just as before, walked proudly back into the building. I had to put her back into that horrid cell. As I took off the lead, I leaned down and told her "I'll be back, I promise."

Then I took out the little boy. No sweat. Somebody lost an almost perfect GSD. He had few faults physically. A beautiful gait, wonderful disposition, I could not imagine anyone not looking for him! He walked at a perfect heal. Had shown some intense interest in the cats in the front office. Oh great! At least that's something I'm used to, GSD's are herding dogs afterall. In the meantime, my white girl was in the back howling. The first indication of life in her at all I was told. As my AD and I talked, I told her I wanted to pull both of the dogs. I continued to the little grassy area with the pup to walk him around a bit.

That's when the kennel worker came out and said "You can't take them. They can't be released yet."

I stopped dead in my tracks. "What?"

"That white one can't go til Saturday, and this one can't go until next week because of the tags."

I knew very well if I left there would be no dogs for me to pick up. The rabies tag on the 5 mo old puppy was from 2005. Something didn't add up on THAT one, ya think?

I went and talked to the manager. "There seems to be an issue with me taking the dogs. If I take them, that frees up two more kennels for you to put your incoming, and you know with July 4th coming up, you'll no doubt get a large influx."

I think she figured out real quick I was not going to let up. I could give plenty of reasons for her to let me have the dogs. The best of which would be me not breathing down her neck. :)

Thanks to New Hope Pit Bull Rescue, there is new hope for two GSD's with my pack of Underdogs.

I know everyone is tight on the money, believe me we are too. The last thing I expected was to have two more mouths to feed, but Wolf and I have always managed and we always will. Assuming everything works the way it's supposed to, you should see a little "Chip In" widget over to the right. If every person that reads this just donates $1 it would help. Know that you're helping to save lives. If you have physical donations or you are a company that would like to donate, please contact me at the e-mail provided. Everything helps. You are helping every dog (and cat, yes cats!!!) that NHPBR assists in fostering, adopting out, getting to the vet, surgeries, shots, etc. everything that needs taken care of in one way or another.

With all that said, I am ecstatic to introduce the two new additions to the Underdog family, both GIRLS (yep, they didn't even have the pups sex right!)...

My big white girl, Fionn Gwen "Fifi" (look at how thin she is!)and my 5 mo old Bridhe Morrigan "Grace"

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Rockin' Cover Shot

He is my Rock.

I am speechless.


everybody buy a copy. :)

Not sure of the publish date but you can go here

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Agility - Yes Your Dog Can!

April 24-26, I had a fantastic time shooting the Charleston Dog Training Club AKC Agility Trial. Three wonderful days surrounded by dogs of all breeds, and people who truly love the sport of agility. If you would like to do something with your dog, and think just because you don't have a border collie or shetland sheepdog that you can't do agility, think again!!!

If you have never had the opportunity to watch agility, and would like to see what it's all about, you might consider going to an event. It is fun fast furries flying fervently forward! (try saying that 5 times fast!)

Standard is probably what most people think of when they think agility. Laid out by a specific plan, the handler leads the dog through the course by means of verbal or physical cues (such as body movement, posture, pointing, etc.) Normally there will be an A frame, dog walk, teeter, tunnel, tire, dog walk, a table where the dog must sit or lay (as directed by the judge) for 5 seconds, chute and of course weave poles and jumps, or any combination of the above.

Jumpers With Weaves (JWW) is what I enjoy watching because I love to see those beautiful dogs fly over the jumps. There are some of the dogs I swear are going through the poles so fast they're doing a time warp! JWW is just that, lots and lots of jumps with weave poles in the line up as well. This too, is a laid out specific plan that a handler leads the dog through.

However, the most challenging (at least to me as a photographer) is FAST (Fifteen and Send Time)
... from the AKC Agility Rule Book: As indicated by the title the Fifteen and Send Time Class uses fifteen (15) point valued obstacles and/or obstacle combinations. The course will include a ‘Send Bonus’ or distance element that will award a bonus of twenty (20) points if completed successfully, and is identified as the ‘Send Bonus’. Six of the fifteen (15) point valued obstacles must be single bar jumps (typically winged) valued at one point each. Winged jumps are assumed to have a value of one point unless other- wise denoted by the judge. Nine (9) additional obstacles on the course will be assigned unique values from 2 through 10 by the judge.

Now, in English. What that means is it looks like a Standard course. BUT there will be a piece of brightly colored tape on the ground marking off 2 or 3 obstacles. That is the "Send" part. The handler cannot cross that tape. They have to be able to communicate to the dog by voice or hand from a distance what they are supposed to do. While there are certain rules that restrict how some obstacles must be attempted; the order of the obstacles, and (at the discretion of the judge) the direction in which the dog goes, is pretty much up to the handler.

The truth is, no matter what is going on in a ring, it is FUN when you're doing agility! Allowing our dogs to enjoy themselves and really "work for their supper" is one of the most important things we can do as owners. Along with proper food, water and shelter, exercise is imperative to their health. Being involved in a sport with your dog can only benefit you as well! Whether it's a long walk on the beach, attending obedience, or doing agility together, regardless of the breed, big or small, Pomeranian to Pit Bull, a tired dog is a good dog!

Pictures from the CDTC AKC Agility Trial...

Uniwolf Photography

Learn more about training...

Doggie Doos

Scoot Dog Agility

Charleston Dog Training Club

Learn more about agility...

AKC Agility



Until next time...Enjoy!!!