Sunday Stills: Celebrating #Pets and #Kids

Aero in sweater

Monday, April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, so let’s share our favorite images of kids and pets. Last week I hinted at some ideas to get you thinking:

No kids or pets? Improvise! Images of other’s kids or grandkids will work, as well as any kinds of images of animal, bird, reptile, fish or critter. Anything goes, so have fun with this theme.

My kids are all grown up, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate them. Now that we live two states away, I miss my daughters, but we talk regularly.

For my only photo of little kids, I captured my grand niece and nephew last fall playing joyfully in the garden in grandma’s front yard. They gleefully unearthed roly-polies and made little leaf houses for them, at least the ones that didn’t flee. I used to love playing in the dirt, how about you?

My “kids” nowadays happen to be our sweet dogs Aero and Brodie. They love carousing around their new half-acre backyard chasing balls and sticks.

Aero prefers his sweater when visiting our nearby relatives.

Brodie on alert in this image taken in Bend, Oregon, where we got the good idea to eventually build a rural or pine-pole fence around our place. Five to six feet high fences are designed to keep the dogs in and the deer, coyotes and moose out!

Aero sort of photobombed this shot of our new welcome mat sent from my brother.

A “painted” version of Aero enjoying a warm RV a couple of months ago.

Brodie remembering the good times playing in the river at the Sacramento delta.

Wind blowing dog's ear

Are Backyard Birds Pets?

For years, while living in Sacramento, I enjoyed a wide variety of birds that regularly visited my backyard. I enjoyed several generations of kites, members the hawk family, for more than 20 years. The kites nested in the huge pine trees in our yard.

Bird of Prey Kite

Every once in a while I would get an unusual bird like this black-headed grosbeak, a “fake finch,” which surprisingly belongs to the cardinal family. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly, Birds with letter F.

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

By far, I enjoyed generations of Anna’s hummingbirds that fed and nested in my backyard. They got quite tame and “let” me take their pictures! I put out some bird feeders in our new backyard, but no hummers yet! I miss these little guys!

The Lens-Artists challenge invites us to explore the relationship with those things that are dear to us and how they affect us. As you have read, my dogs are an integral part of our lives. The birds I have photographed over the years are beloved to me as well and I thank God for nature and this beautiful world in which we live.

House Happenings

Since I’m still struggling along without wi-fi in the house, my photography has slowed down. I managed to upload these two images of our home using the WordPress Mobile app then edited on the laptop using the hotspot. This process works for now. I have 100s of images that need to be uploaded and edited and I need to hang out at a neighbor’s house to use their wi-fi. Soon.

Today I share two quick pics of our finished dining room and a view from our back deck into the house.

Aero managed to photobomb yet another picture. All about pets, right?

View from dining room, and living room from back deck

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. I sure enjoyed catching up with everyone last week! I was so thrilled to see so many purple/violet/lavender images shared by you all.

“No Shrinking Violets” from Last Week’s Links

May themes are listed on my Sunday Stills page. May 2nd’s theme is water. If you followed my blog long enough, you might remember that May is Water Safety Month, and my former identity as an aquatics director rears its head as I still enjoy promoting water safety. Water in any form, from droplets to oceans will be welcomed.

Sharing for Becky B’s Bright Squares

Looking forward to seeing your images of kids and pets! Have a great week!

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© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Who’s Your Top #Dog?

SUPping with Aero

Today is National Pet Parents Day, but you don’t have to own a pet or even a dog to participate in this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge.

Our pets give us comfort with their unconditional love in times of need and uncertainty.

If you have followed my blog very long, you know I have been a happy pet parent since my teen years. Like children, our pets need to be fed and nurtured, loved and bathed (depending on your pet), and involved in our daily lives. We are pet parents to two wonderful Spaniels, Aero and Brodie. Below is my top dog, Aero, who will be 10 years old this July. I think he likes me!

Me and My Aero

Over the years I have had a lovebird, a parakeet, two goldfish, three cats, two horses, and three other dogs. I even found some tadpoles when I was five years old that quickly grew into frogs. They didn’t really need a pet parent.

Being a pet parent is a big responsibility. I think dogs are needier than most, with cats running a close second. However, as a teen, I remember my parakeet needing a lot of attention.

As a pet parent, I take my parenting responsibilities seriously. Enjoy my photo essay!

I clothe them and make sure toys are close by,

Dressed up dogs ready to play

I provide a safe shelter for sleeping or travel.

Aero doesn't like his kennel
You can see by Aero’s expression that he does NOT like his kennel!

I encourage daily quiet time and contemplation.

Brodie lounging in the backyard

They are the subjects of endless photography and art experiments.

Artistic Brodie
Artistic Brodie
Aero Birthday

Our dogs are lucky to go with us wherever we go! We are pretty lucky, too! They love road trips in the car. We go to the delta on weekends…

Brodie watching a windsurfer.

Of course they must play while we exercise.

SUPping with Aero
Hans & Brodie on SUP

They even went on a trip to the Grand Canyon! Lucky dogs!

Dogs at the South Rim of Grand Canyon

All that fun makes us tired, Mom and Dad!

Time to kiss Brodie good night!

Daddy loves Brodie

I am linking this post to this week’s photo challenges–Becky B’s Square Tops and new challenge (to me) Jude’s Travel Words Being Creative with Lines.

Not a pet parent? Are you a grand-pet-parent or temporarily looking after a pet during the pandemic? Perhaps the birds in your backyard feel like your pets, or you have a favorite animal you love to photograph? Be creative! I’m looking forward to what you will share as we celebrate National Pet Parents Day!

Visit my Sunday Stills page for May themes.

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: All About #Pets

Brodie pretty in pink

While selecting November’s Sunday Stills themes, I discovered that the entire month is “Adopt a Senior Pet Month.” Awww.

The first week in November is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, so why not make this challenge All About Pets?

We had a similar photo challenge in April (It’s a Dog’s Life) which was a very popular post and a testament to your love for your pets!

My public service announcement about National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week includes this plea for donations. Any time of year, most animal shelters need donations of food, old linens, and your volunteer time. Materials are tax-deductible and provide a good excuse to clean out your closet!

Shopping cart for donations

In California, as wildfires rage across the state, many animal shelters are filling up with lost, surrendered and injured pets. Now, more than ever, donations are needed.

Sadly, many families that become displaced from their homes cannot keep their pets and reluctantly surrender them to the nearest shelter. This is a wonderful opportunity to adopt a rescued animal. The need is such that often, the shelters will reduce their adoption fees or charge nothing in order to place as many pets into new homes as possible.

I have many friends who have adopted older dogs and cats over the years and the animals were happy to have a new forever home. My brother and his daughters occasionally walk dogs at the local animal shelter and have adopted one or two dogs as a result. Sure, puppies are fun, new and wiggly, but a LOT of work. An older dog is already housebroken and brings with it the wisdom of its life.

Fellow blogger and friend, Liesbet, of Roaming About describes her and her husband’s heartwarming adoption of Maya.

The Benefits of Adopting an Older Dog

  • Older dogs usually come leash-trained and understand basic commands.
  • Older dogs are calmer and less energetic than younger dogs and have an established demeanor and temperament, which will give you an idea of how it will fit into your household.
  • Older dogs make instant loyal companions and are ready to accompany you on a long walk. Source

Remembering my sweet old dog Oreo as he neared the end of his life in 2011.

Black Dog Oreo

All pet lovers will appreciate the unconditional love our beloved pets give us. Pets that are in the incarnation of a parrot, fish, reptile, or (gasp!) tarantula instinctively know and love the hands that feed and care for them, even if they don’t always demonstrate it with snuggles and open affection.

Woman and parrot

As I age, I appreciate each day I spend with my sweet dogs, Aero (9 yrs) and Brodie (almost 3 yrs). I can count on one hand the number of years Aero has left with me on this earth. He is a fun dog and we make the most of it! But as you can see, like many seniors, a nap is imminent!

collage of Sleepy Aero

Brodie, who is close to three years old, destroyed shoes, underwear, furniture, ate (and pooped) socks, drove us crazy at 12 months when he was neutered, well…you get the idea. Aero took his teeth-cleaning in stride at age 7 and was mellow!

Dogs resting
Brodie and Aero enjoying a morning at the dog park.
Brodie pretty in pink

I expect this one to be around for another 12 years!

November is Adopt a Senior Pet month and although I cannot take part in this now, I can hope that others will. Hubby and I are retiring to Washington state within the next two years and plan to buy a larger property with room for more than two dogs to run. Until that time, I will imagine the love and forever home I can give to an older dog.

Please visit these bloggers who were new to the Sunday Stills photo challenge in October! Reflections of an Untidy Mind and Photo Poeme

This week, share your photos, stories, poems, and other creative ideas as we celebrate pets of all ages and the important roles animal shelters play in our communities!

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: It’s a #Dog’s Life

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.

Did you know the last Sunday of April is National Pet Parents Day? Hooray, because I am one and I bet you are, too…or maybe so in the pawst!

For this week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge, let’s celebrate the pets that make our lives so much richer!

We make a lot of sacrifices for our pets!

In this photo, I had just brought Brodie home from three days of isolation in July 2017, when he was infected by canine parvo-virus. Between the vet bill and worry, I was a hot mess, but relieved when he came home!

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.
Brodie’s home and missed his orange pillow.

“There is a very special connection, a unique bond, between a pet and its owner. This unique relationship, which can often last for many years, is often a vital part of the ‘pet parents’ life. Their loved pets are a member of the family.”

National Day Calendar
Aero at 2 months old
Me and my Aero at 2 months old

We love our pets. Between myself and my family, growing up, I have owned a parakeet and lovebird; horses Cookie and Star; cats Streaker, Stormy, and Leon; dogs Buddy, Shotsie, Oreo, and currently, Aero and Brodie. I’m also a grand-pet-parent to my daughter’s cat Nova and my younger daughter’s dog Gideon, who lived with us for many years.

Dog Brodie
A Painnt-edited version of Brodie

All but Aero and Brodie are at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for their pet parents to reunite with them in eternity.

My mother’s hobby was raising collies (Lassie) for show and obedience competitions. At one point my mom and dad had 12 collies on our 4 acres near Portland, Oregon back in 1969-70! As kids, my middle brother and I went to a LOT of dog shows all over the Pacific Northwest and then in San Diego when we moved back. I got familiar with most breeds of dogs and appreciated having dogs around.

No wonder I became a pet parent! And see how much our lives are richer for playing with them.

Aero with me on SUP
Aero with me on SUP
Hans & Brodie on SUP
Good pet parents take turns with dogs on the stand-up paddleboards
Han with Brodie

As proud pet parents, we also share images of our beloved fur-babies on social media. Every day I read or see photos of people’s pets doing something adorable or silly, or when someone has said a tearful goodbye.

They are part of our families.

But as much as we all love our pets, they only give us a few short years. We rescue them, feed them, doctor them, grieve them and love them…forever.

I posted this on Facebook last July when I lost my 13-year old cat Leon, one of the hardest decisions I had to make. He loved to sit on the edge of the chair and rested mostly on my shoulder during his last two days.

“Yesterday I made the almost impossible decision to humanely end my 13-year-old cat’s life. Leon gave us 13 years of fun and frolic. He used up his last life, probably in a fight with another animal which ultimately resulted in an untreatable, massive infection. God has a better plan for the spirits of His lovely creatures and only gives us a few years with them until He takes them back home. RIP my sweet Leon.”

Me and Leon the cat
My last days with Leon.
Leon in happy times
Leon rolling around on the porch in healthier times

Perhaps many of us bloggers have written recent and past stories about our pets, so feel free to include the link in your comments to this post and I will happily read them.

For a WordPress Writing 101 challenge in 2015, I wrote three stories about the life and times of my spaniel/Australian shepherd mix, Oreo. My Oreo Lives Forever summed up the series. To reduce spam, comments are closed on that post but feel free to add a comment to this post if you wish.

And of course, share the link for your current Sunday Stills post by using this hashtag #NationalPetParentsDay to post on social media.

Enjoy this Dogoscope: Your Pet’s Zodiac Sign, courtesy of Nationwide

Provided by Nationwide pet insurance

May’s themes are now available to view on my Sunday Stills page.

Are you a pet parent? Show us and tell us more about your relationship with your pet!

Celebrate National Pet Day!

What are you doing for National Pet Day?

What are you doing for National Pet Day?

Celebrate National Pet Day, April 11th!

national pet day logo

Of course, you love your pets! And they love you for giving them their forever home.

Leon, my 12 year-old pussycat
Leon, my 12 year-old pussycat

But what about those animals in need of homes, vet care, food and shelter?

Once you have appreciated your own pet, and lavished your love on it, please consider donating your resources to many of the good causes available to helping animals in need, or volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Can you spare some love for a pet?
Free image from Unsplash

Better yet, adopt a pet!

My brother has adopted several dogs over the years. He and his wife used to volunteer by walking dogs at their animal shelter near San Diego.

If you are not a pet owner, consider making a donation. Many pet retail stores have in-store gift-giving options. Petsmart’s “Buy a Bag, Give a Meal” is just one charity program designed to help pets in shelters and in low-income homes.

PetSmart Charities will distribute the meal donations to pet shelters, food banks, animal welfare organizations or other similar organizations based on the needs of these recipients.

kittens wrapped in a towel
free image from Unsplash

Janis of Retirementally Challenged donates old linens to her local humane society.

“I am so grateful for our local Humane Society for the compassionate work they do. They provide vital services by sheltering and adopting animals, providing positive reinforcement training classes, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, and presenting education programs.” Janis Heppel

I think this is a great idea and I am gathering up some old towels to drop off to the Sacramento SPCA this week!

Like Aero asks Brodie in the featured photo, “What are YOU doing for National Pet Day?

paw prints

I Lost My Oreo

How Emotions Can Inspire Your Writing

How Emotions Can Inspire Your Writing

I just spent a fabulous weekend at a blogger’s conference in Las Vegas. I am truly inspired by the incredible bloggers who are published authors or are living their dreams through their online businesses.  BAM Conference 2016I share this post from a year ago as a testament to writing personal essays using our deepest emotions to tell a story.

This was the second year of the Bloggers At Midlife Conference. If you want to take your blog and writing to the next step, consider attending this conference or other similar conferences.

This was part one of a writing challenge series. If you are new to my blog, I hope you enjoy reading this post.


 

 

Oreo was my beloved 14-year old Springer Spaniel-Australian Shepherd mix. He was 12-weeks old when he and his twin brother were brought to the SPCA. My daughters and I had just gotten a Chow puppy and were taking him home when we saw the cute, freckle-faced black and white pups.

The next day, I came home from work for lunch to check on our little Chow and he had died. Weeping, I wrapped him up in a towel and brought him back to the SPCA. The vet later told me he had died from an infection brought on by the neuter surgery. Who performs neuters on 6-week old pups?

But that is not the story.

Within two days, the SPCA said I could take one of the black and white puppies we had seen earlier. We brought him home and named him Oreo for all the Oreo-cookie crumbs that freckled his nose. Here is what Oreo looked like when we got him (yes, that is me back then).

Oreo-My-Dog
Oreo was 12-weeks old when we brought him home from the SPCA

Fast forward to 2011.

In early 2011, Oreo had already exceeded his estimated life span by two years. Dogs his size usually die by age 12 or 13 years old. I attributed his extra years to going with us to the delta when my husband entered my life in 2009. Oreo loved the delta. In 2010, we acquired Aero, our brown cocker mix, who also kept Oreo company in his last year on Earth.

When Oreo died, I wasn’t even in town.

For several months, Oreo had been losing weight, had lost his hearing, and had cataracts. He never lost his strong sense of smell, so he could maneuver pretty well around the yard.

In late June, at the delta, Oreo got severely tangled in his long lead to which he was tied next to our trailer. We tied him up so he wouldn’t wander over the levee and get hit by a car. Most of the time, he could be off his tether under our supervision. On this particular Saturday morning, having gotten tangled again, I drove the hour drive back home where he would not have to be tied up. When we got home on Sunday evening, my daughter said that he had fallen down the two steps from our backyard deck. He was unharmed but this was not a good sign.

I took him to the vet shortly after. He had gotten into very bad shape very quickly. In a few days, we were travelling for a 5-day vacation in Yosemite. I felt in my heart that Oreo should be put out of his misery and hoped the vet would agree. Instead, she prescribed him some pills (for older dogs). Although I was relieved and hoped that Oreo would get better, that did not happen.

My daughter’s friend agreed to look after Oreo while we were in Yosemite. There is very little phone service in the high country, but we happened to be visiting Yosemite Valley one of the days.

That is when I got the phone call. When Darla checked on Oreo, she found him sprawled across the deck stairs where he had fallen again. He was very near death. While trying to reach me, she and a neighbor put him in the car and took him to the closest vet.

As the vet described Oreo’s condition over the phone to me, wanting to run tests (why??), I told the vet to put him down. In writing this, it sounds so cold and factual, but since I wasn’t there, I cope with this by being so. Darla agreed to stay with Oreo while they injected him with the life-ending serum. She was the last person Oreo sensed.

To this day, I carry the guilt and immense sadness that I could not be by my dog’s side as he was euthanized. I can barely write this even now.

We requested the vet to freeze Oreo’s body. When we came home, my husband dug a deep hole in our backyard under Oreo’s favorite pine tree and buried him there. My husband made a cement grave stone and we managed to use Oreo’s own paw to make a print in the wet cement.

Once Oreo was laid to rest under the tree, what amazed me is how our puppy Aero reacted. He could smell Oreo and spent several days laying on Oreo’s grave, sniffing and “crying.” Sometimes he would run around the yard looking for him.

I am consoled by the knowledge that Oreo had some extra time on Earth and a puppy companion in his last days.


 

I have wanted to write this story for a long time and this prompt for Writing 101 was as good a time as any.

Grief is a powerful emotion that can be tapped to write compelling personal essays worth reading. Stories such as these can be serialized as I did with this writing prompt. Part two became the back-story, then part three continued the theme to celebrate Oreo’s wonderful life.

Thank you to panel experts Susan Maccarelli and Jill Robbins for presenting the topic “The Art of Crafting Personal Essays that Get Published.”

I Lost My Oreo

Oreo-Loved-the Delta

Oreo-Loved-the Delta
Oreo at age 12 years

Oreo was my beloved 14-year old Springer Spaniel-Australian Shepherd mix. He was 12-weeks old when he and his twin brother were brought to the SPCA. My daughters and I had just gotten a Chow puppy and were taking him home when we saw the cute, freckle-faced black and white pups.

The next day, I came home from work for lunch to check on our little Chow and he had died. Weeping, I wrapped him up in a towel and brought him back to the SPCA. The vet later told me he had died from an infection brought on by the neuter surgery. Who performs neuters on 6-week old pups?

But that is not the story.

Within two days, the SPCA said I could take one of the black and white puppies we had seen earlier. We brought him home and named him Oreo for all the Oreo-cookie crumbs that freckled his nose. Here is what Oreo looked like when we got him (yes, that is me 18 years ago).

Oreo-My-Dog
Oreo was 12-weeks old when we brought him home from the SPCA

Fast forward to 2011.

In early 2011, Oreo had already exceeded his estimated life span by two years. Dogs his size usually die by age 12 or 13 years old. I attributed his extra years to going with us to the delta when my husband entered my life in 2009. Oreo loved the delta. In 2010, we acquired Aero, our brown cocker mix, who also kept Oreo company in his last year on Earth.

When Oreo died, I wasn’t even in town.

For several months, Oreo had been losing weight, had lost his hearing, and had cataracts. He never lost his strong sense of smell, so he could maneuver pretty well around the yard.

In late June, at the delta, Oreo got severely tangled in his long lead to which he was tied next to our trailer. We tied him up so he wouldn’t wander over the levee and get hit by a car. Most of the time, he could be off his tether under our supervision. On this particular Saturday morning, having gotten tangled again, I drove the hour drive back home where he would not have to be tied up. When we got home on Sunday evening, my daughter said that he had fallen down the two steps from our backyard deck. He was unharmed but this was not a good sign.

I took him to the vet shortly after. He had gotten into very bad shape very quickly. In a few days, we were travelling for a 5-day vacation in Yosemite. I felt in my heart that Oreo should be put out of his misery and hoped the vet would agree. Instead, she prescribed him some pills (for older dogs). Although I was relieved and hoped that Oreo would get better, that did not happen.

My daughter’s friend agreed to look after Oreo while we were in Yosemite. There is very little phone service in the high country, but we happened to be visiting Yosemite Valley one of the days.

That is when I got the phone call. When Darla checked on Oreo, she found him sprawled across the deck stairs. He was very near death. While trying to reach me, she and a neighbor put him in the car and took him to the closest vet.

As the vet described Oreo’s condition over the phone to me, wanting to run tests (why??), I told the vet to put him down. In writing this, it sounds so cold and factual, but since I wasn’t there, I cope with this by being so. Darla agreed to stay with Oreo while they injected him with the life-ending serum. She was the last person Oreo sensed.

To this day, I carry the guilt and immense sadness that I could not be by my dog’s side as he was euthanized. I can barely write this even now.

We requested the vet to freeze Oreo’s body. When we came home, my husband dug a deep hole in our backyard under Oreo’s favorite pine tree and buried him there. My husband made a cement grave stone and we managed to use Oreo’s own paw to make a print in the wet cement.

Once Oreo was laid to rest under the tree, what amazed me is how our puppy Aero reacted. He could smell Oreo and spent several days laying on Oreo’s grave, sniffing and “crying.” Sometimes he would run around the yard looking for him.

I am consoled by the knowledge that Oreo had some extra time on Earth and a puppy companion in his last days.

I have wanted to write this story for a long time and this prompt for Writing 101 is as good a time as any. The twist to this prompt, to make it a three-part serial, will give me the opportunity to continue the series with the back story to celebrate Oreo’s wonderful life…stay tuned.