Summer Vacations & Life Lessons

Life has, as usual, been going a million miles a minute this summer. Between moving, truly settling into the new job, picking up training clients and learning how to keep up with DC’s speed – I could not have been more relieved when I realized that my annual summer trip to Maine was actually going to happen. Granted, it only ended up being about 2.5 days between traveling and being able to get off work, but I was thankful for any time in my favorite state.

Maine is essentially my second home because I have family there and we’ve been making the 12 hour drive up the coast at least twice a year since before I was born.  Even as all the kids have grown up and moved to different parts of the country we’ve found time to get together and come to Maine as a family – it’s always the same great summer vacation. Until last year. In 2012 I lost my grandmother and my aunt about six months apart. My aunt and godmother, Cookie, finally lost her five year battle to cancer. It rocked my world. I never wrote about it on the blog because I wasn’t quite sure what to say at the time.  I still don’t really know (except that damn I miss her), but after our most recent trip I think the lessons she left with me are becoming clearer than ever – and they’re relevant to many of the messages I write about on here.


It’s cliche, but you can’t say that having a close family member pass away doesn’t make you realize how much you need to live life to the fullest. You certainly never look back on your life – and I talked to Cookie about this after her diagnosis, she emphasized this – and say, “I wish I worked more” or “I wish I surrounded myself with more drama” or “I wish I spent less time doing things I love.” Ya know? Animal welfare, shelter work and even plain old dog ownership can be tough fields to be involved with. You owe it to yourself to find the positive aspects of that work and soak it up. Surround yourself with opportunities and people and choices that make you happy and bring out the best in you – because one day you’re going to look back and be glad you did.

It was a weekend of memories, reflection, family time and, of course, beautiful coastal Maine scenery.  Can’t wait to head back in just a few months.

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Home is where the heart is!


Stick + Beach = One Happy Dog

Every year on Christmas Day we head down to a local beach in Maine after an exciting morning of opening presents.  The scenery is gorgeous: mountains, crashing waves on the sand, ice and snow.  The beach is usually deserted and we spend the afternoon collecting sea shells and skipping rocks. This year, we shared the beach with a stranger and her friendly pup.

The dog was absolutely adorable. We watched as he and his owner played fetch all the way across the beach. He would bound after the stick and then dig furiously as trying to capture it, continually unable to grasp it as he dug it up and reburied it.  It was hilarious, and soon we were cheering for him when he finally was able to retrieve the stick.

My Aunt is extremely outgoing and it was no surprise when she struck up conversation with the dog’s owner. It turns out he is a rescue dog from Alabama named Beckham (a name that perfectly fit his stunning good looks). He has one blue eye and one brown eye that sit below big ears. He demonstrated how lanky and athletic he was as he bounced around the beach, tail wagging wildly. Beckham was actually with his Grandma, who lives in Maine, and he seemed to be loving the cold weather and the soft sand. On our way out we saw them jogging home. He looked like one awesome dog. I so love running into rescue dogs and their humans when I least expect it!

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Maine Dogs

Today is Labor Day: the unofficial ending of summer. It’s a day to celebrate with a big party to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall – a time to look back on all your happy summer memories.

For me, one of my best summer memories is always our trip to Maine. When I was in Maine this August, we stopped by the SPCA of Hancock County‘s Pet Show & Fair. I love going to other organization’s events to see their best practices, and of course hang out with a whole different group of dogs!  This event was smaller scale than ones in the DC area, but their sense of community made it different than many of the events I’ve attended. I loved it!

No matter where you go around the country, there’s always going to be something in common: awesome dogs. Here are some shots of pups I met on that drizzly afternoon.

THREE LEGGED PITTIE!!?!? Not sure her story – but this gal was a total lovebug!

Hope you all have a great Labor Day!

A Little Piece of Heaven

Confession: I’ve blogging remotely for the last few days! I’m in Acadia National Park in Maine, one of my most favorite places in the entire world. I recently got a new lens (more about that later!) so I threw myself into photographing all of the things I love about the Maine coast. Here are a few of my favorite shots – I hope they give you a sense of how amazing this place is. (Then I added some photos of my kitty nephews for good measure.)

You must be wondering… where is Otis while I’m away? Check back tomorrow to find out!

Winter break in review

Our winter break may be over, but Baxter and I still have plenty to share from it!

Baxter would like to show you some gifts he got over the holidays, before he shipped off to spend the week gallivanting around at Jasmine’s House. FosterGrandma saw how generous he was being with his Kibble for [FB] Comments drive, so she got him a nice big order or bully sticks for himself. Lucky DAWG, right?

He enjoyed a few, then promptly asked me to put a bunch in a bag and send them to Jasmine’s House. He is a sweetie.

A good friend of ours also felt inclined to spoil Baxter and get him a little present. Check out how he inspected the package and even opened it, with only a little bit of help from some opposable thumbs.

Baxter & I are so grateful for those who thought about him during the holidays — gift or no gift. He says he is loving his bully sticks and his kong, but he also loves knowing he has all these wonderful friends on the interwebs! He realizes he is lucky in many ways.

While Baxter was having the time of his life at Jasmine’s House, I was busy doing what I always do around Christmas: taking in the Maine scenery.

I’m still kicking myself for – get this – forgetting my camera! Yes, that’s right: I was completely limited to iPhone pictures the entire time. My Canon was waiting nicely for my on my bedroom floor when I came home from my trip, right where I left it. Talk about frustrating.

My Christmas was wonderful, mostly because I spent it with my loved ones. I have to highlight two fostering related gifts I got from my extremely thoughtful family. First, my sister designed this t-shirt for me.

Recognize those two!? Yep, that’s right – it’s Baxter and Zabora!!!

I nearly (okay, maybe I did) teared up when I opened it. I can’t get over how absolutely perfect and adorable it is! I feel like I am still squealing.

Another thing I got? My mom spent hours and hours and hours creating this for me:

The first six months of my blogging life, in hard copy. She copied & pasted everything – comments, pictures, and posts – reformatted it, printed it out, & stuck it all in a neat binder. Now I’ll be able to keep this part for as long as I want. I know I am going to really appreciate having this one day, even more than I do now. There is something to be said about having things in writing, not just on a computer screen. I am so thrilled about this. Thanks mama : -)

So that was a little overview of our holiday celebration. I am so happy & appreciative for everything and everyone around me! Especially Mr. Bax, who is finally back snoozing by my side. I feel like the world is right again. We are ready spend the New Year finding his perfect forever home!

Happy New Year, everyone! Bax & I are wishing you all a Happy & Safe 2012.

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email

Winter Break!

Well folks, Christmas is finally upon us. I’m shipping off to my favorite place in the whole wide world: Bar Harbor, Maine. Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the country.

So since I’m high tailing it up the coast, Baxter gets to spend a week with his favorite humans at Jasmine’s House! They are graciously taking him in while I am traveling. I’m so relieved he will be staying in such great hands with people who know him as well as I do. He will have a great week playing with all of his old pals, but I sure am going to miss the little bugger.

I’ll probably have to skip a few days of blog life because I’ll be out in the wilderness with no access to a computer or internet (just kidding – who actually lives like that anymore?). Really though, sorry in advance if you don’t see me again until sometime next week.

Sneak peek for posts to come around the New Year:

– Scenic pictures from Maine (sorry, I just have to share!)

– 2011 wrap up

– Kibble purchasing & delivery!!!

– Holiday for the animals coverage – better late than never, right?

– Comeback Kid Baxter’s “DNA test”

– Any requests? What do you guys want to know about Bax? Besides all of his totally adoptable traits of course, which are coming also.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas this weekend!

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email