Category Archives: animals

Update on Buck

A month ago I started to write this update about Buck and for some reason I never got around to doing it. I had added the photos but never written anything. I don’t remember why I i didn’t get it done. I’m sure I thought I needed to get something else important done. But now I couldn’t imagine what would have been more important than taking a moment to share about Buck’s life. One more thing I won’t be able to do again.

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Concerned for Big Buck

When dogs are part of your life 99% of the time they bring you pure joy. Then there is that 1% that is fear of the unexpected. Fear of what could happen if some accident befalls them. When that 1% of fear becomes 100% reality it is terrifying.

Buck

Today our dog Buck was hit by a car. Buck is a 10 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. Buck is the only dog left of our original pack of four that we had when my wife and I moved into our first house of our own nearly ten years ago. This is where we have made our home and this is where we have experienced many heartbreaks over the years. We are trying to prevent this accident from becoming another heartbreak.

Anyone who is a dog person knows that your dogs are part of who you are. They are a part of your life in a way that is difficult to explain and difficult for other people to understand. Buck has been with us for ten years now, longer than any of our other dogs. Bucks life and his energy and being is woven into the fabric of our lives. Coming home from the hospital without Buck and knowing we may not even see him for a few days leaves a gaping hole in our home.

As a dog person you always feel like you will find a way to do whatever is best for your dogs in whatever predicament you find yourselves. Money is always tight. You often spend more on your dogs than you do on yourself. Your dogs see the vet more than you see the doctor. But you do what is best for your dogs. You find a way to make it happen. It is the responsibility you have for bringing a dog into your life.

No one wants to come up against that hard reality that money alone will influence what you decide to do for your dog. It is a cold unbearable feeling. But we may have come to it. Everyone has pride in themselves and wants to be responsible for their own life. No one wants to ask for help. No one feels good about asking for help. While I believe in being reasonable for ones actions and fulfilling ones obligations I also believe in a world where we come together and help those that need our help. I believe in a world where people can ask for help without shame. I believe in a world where we can ask for help and receive it when we need it and not feel the weight of guilt for asking for help. I believe in a world where people will reach out and help the people that need help and those that have received help when they need it will pass that help along to others in their time of need.

It is in that vein that I ask for your help in paying for Buck’s medical bills. We will remember your generosity and we will pass it on to others in need.

 

 

Today’s Running Partner

The more I develop myself over the years the more I learn that things I love and that are important to me fit together. I have been a long time dog lover. And over the last few years I have become an increasingly avid runner. I have been making more time to run than to do most other things in my life these days. I never thought I would say that. As I have been getting more into running I have really been wanting to be able to run with one of my dogs. I have tried in the past to run with one of our dogs but it didn’t really work out well for either of us. But I am thinking that I may try to get more dedicated to this idea. So today I set out with my new running partner today.

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Running together will require a lot of learning and training on both our parts. Brynn will need to work on walking and running on my left so we can stay on the proper side of traffic when running and stay away from cars (something I should have been teaching her all along, my bad.) Brynn will also need to learn to stay by my side and not get too far out ahead. She will also need to learn to stay constant and not stop to sniff or investigate interesting things while we are running.

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I will need to learn to modify my running plans to suit Brynn’s needs. Now I have to think about both of us instead of just me. That means extra water for her as well as for me if we are out for long runs as well as extra night lights if we run before or after the sun is out. More planning will be required on my part.

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The best thing is that on what was basically our first run together it went pretty smoothly. Brynn didn’t get too distracted to stop and smell things or try to rip my arm off to run and chase things like squirrels and other dogs. I owe this to the hard work with training my wife and I put in when we first got her, although we need to be more consistent with it. “Leave it.” is a magic phrase that will make your life with your dog much easier if you teach them that cue. Trust me.

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Brynn can dust me in a sprint or in repeated sprints over and over. She seems to have limitless energy playing n the back yard and fetching her Chuck It ball. or even just ramming around the house playing with her infinite number of toys. It was kind of nice to see that even though she can wear me out in short bursts of energy I can outlast her in distance running thanks to my training. We went out for what is a short run for me these days, just a 5k. Brynn started off strong, perhaps too strong. An error that I am sure many of my runner friends can relate to. I started off relatively slow for me.  Brynn started off out in front of me at the end of her leash. She still looked like she was just trotting along out in front, and not really exerting herself. However, by the time we were inside of a mile left to be done she had slowed considerably. She was either beside me or just behind me most of that last mile.

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She didn’t seem to be working too hard nor panting much, but she was definitively slowing down and getting tired from the sustained exertion. It’s nothing like the heavy panting and raged breathing and rapidly expanding chest she exhibits during her sprints across our yard to fetch her ball. She is definitely a sprinter and not a distance runner at this point. Something I definitely would have said for myself at one point, even though I really never was even a sprinter.

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So, Brynn and I will continue to work together. Hopefully frequently to work on her running with me on leash in hopes that I can run with her at events that welcome dogs some day. The sad part is I like that she is currently tired out and sleeping under my desk as I write this after our run. I am not sure if I really want to keep taking her out regularly and build up her stamina so that she will have even more energy and be able to run longer and longer and then require longer and longer runs to tire her out so she comes home and is peacefully sleeping at my feet. I like tired Brynn. I like that it only took 3 miles to tire her out. Here’s to the future of a new running-mate.

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Now I just have to work on incorporating photography into my actual runs. But I have a few ideas about that too. Stay tuned.

Sparky at the River

Today my father invited me to go down to the Chemung River with him and his dog Sparky and hang out. I always enjoy a chance to hang out with my dad. Things only get better when you add the opportunity to be out in nature and to be around a dog.

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Sparky in the Chemung River

Sparky really loves the water. He was pretty eager to be out in the water the whole time. He went right out and wadded through water and swam around the whole time we were down at the river.

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Sparky swimming in the Chemung River

I just sat back and watched him have fun. He is such a fun dog. Photographing him is a joy.

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Sparky in the Chemung River. He loves his toy.

River Osprey

I’ve been working on a project to film and photograph the local osprey nesting on the Chemung river in Elmira. I stopped down the other evening to see them. It wasn’t the greatest night for filing or photography. A storm had just passed through the area. The sky was cloudy and it was dark and gloomy.

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Chemung River Osprey

I hung out with the osprey for a little while and observed their lives. I snapped some photos. I did a little bit of creative editing to bring out some of the details in the photos despite the darkness.

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Chemung River Osprey
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Chemung River Osprey

Luke

 

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Luke

I loved my time photographing this old man dog, Luke, back in 2014. He was such a joy. It is great to see it when an older dog still has the spark. This is some of the great work the Chemung County SPCA does. They make sure older dogs like Luke have a home to live out the rest of their years the way it should be.

I am currently working on a project to help bring more awareness to the amazing work the Chemung County SPCA does. The project will consist of an art exhibit, on display at the Chemung County Historical Society, featuring photographs of dogs that have been at the shelter. Learn more about this project ans support hit here: Shelter Dogs at the Museum: Part 2. The exhibit will begin June.