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!


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!