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I sat down today to write about my wonderful weekend at Photo Pro Network Summer School in Owensboro. I’m finding it hard to write that post at the moment. Right now, my heart is breaking. The health of my 13-year-old Poodle Max, aka UROC URX2 U-Ag1 U-CDX Scherzer Lastline Of Defense CDX RAE OAP AJP CL1-R CL1-F, is rapidly deteriorating. So, today’s post is going to be a living tribute to the greatest dog I’ve ever owned. His registered name is long and his titles are many. We showed together in conformation (until he went over-size), obedience, agility and rally. He was my first agility dog to get to the Excellent level and likely the last since I don’t do agility any more. I don’t really like agility but, in Max’s eyes, “run and jump” was the greatest sport in the world. I ran agility with him because he did every other sport with me that I wanted to do. Once David helped him overcome his fear of the teeter, it became his favorite obstacle. One of my favorite agility memories is from a trial at Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati. It was a Jumpers course and somehow I ended up going one way and Max another. We both stopped and looked at each other. The expression on both of our faces was “What in the world are YOU doing over THERE?” When I watched the video later, I had flicked out a pinky finger toward my left as I turned right. Max took that cue and went left and was more than a bit ticked off at me that I had mis-cued him!
In obedience, he once took the high jump during the figure eight exercise in Open B (the Open level class for dogs with the CDX title). We had been doing a lot of agility without much obedience practice at the time. When I watched the video of that day in the ring, I had to laugh at my boy who was having a blast. In rally, he was always a willing partner. Well, almost always. He sometimes saw ‘dead people’ in the corners of the rings where we trialed. Heck, he still sees ‘dead people’ – demons only he can see. When his demons show up, he just can’t work through them. But that’s okay, because he has always been the dog that will give me everything he has at any given moment. Even when the demons cause him to panic, he turns to me with trust and tries his hardest for me.
From the moment that I met Max, he was destined to be mine and to rule the household. When I met his litter, there were two boys. I really wanted his brother. His brother wouldn’t give me the time of day, but Max kept coming up and crawling into my lap. After several visits with the same reactions from the two boys, I finally relented and Max came home with me. I have never regretted that decision. I had only had him a couple of days when I called my mom, his breeder. I told her that Max was quickly wrapping me around his paw and I knew it, and I didn’t care. Max’s favorite snack was, and still is, french fries from the fast food seafood restaurant, Moby Dick. He learned to beg while waiting for me to share my Moby Dick french fries. Nowadays he usually begs first from my husband, David. However, if there are Moby Dick french fries, he comes to me first.
Max will never steal food. We can leave a plate of cheese on the sofa arm and leave the room. When we come back, Max will still be waiting for his cheese. His latest way to ask for something is to reach out with his right forepaw and tap David on the arm….very gently…..as if to say “Excuse me, sir”. Once he has David’s attention, he will stare intently into David’s eyes and then at the plate of food, then back into the eyes. It’s almost comical to watch, because Max has it down to a science after all these years.
As I said earlier, Max has his demons. He is deathly afraid of small children and anything that rolls. I know exactly when and how that fear developed. It was one of those freakish things that happens during a critical fear period. He was never able to overcome the experience despite years of counter-conditioning. We’ve worked through it the best we can over the years. At this point, it is what it is. And it’s part of who Max is.
Max is the only dog allowed to sleep in our bed. It started at motels when we’d stay overnight for dog shows. Max (with David’s voice) would ask, “Mom? Can I sleep in bed tonight?” The answer was always yes. Slowly, over the years, sleeping in bed started happening at home as well. He usually sleeps at the foot of the bed, between David’s feet. Some nights he’s my dog and sleeps curled up against the back of my legs. Usually it’s very comforting to have Max sleeping against me. Lately, though, his breathing has gotten more labored and I wake up to hear him coughing or wheezing.
At the start of this post, I said that Max had lots of titles. He does. But … that is not who he is. Who is Max? Max is the ‘plain brown dog’ who stole my heart. He is a lover of all things made of (or flavored like) cheese (“Cal-sum” in Max-words.) He is a lover of pop-pop (popcorn), Moby Dick french fries, apples (which he will eat right off the core once you take the peel off for him) and sleeping in bed. He is the best whole-dog cuddler ever. He is the dog who stole my heart and who trusts me implicitly. He is also the dog who defied the odds and survived a splenic hematoma and surgery to have the spleen removed four years ago this August. He has made me laugh and cry.
And now, while I still can……I’m going to get off this computer and go take more photos of one of my best friends.
What a great week I had last week. I entered the three prints below at the “Animal Attraction” juried exhibit of the Arts Association of Oldham County. [Click on the images for a larger view.]
The three prints will be on display at Gallery 104 in historic downtown LaGrange, Kentucky until May 10th. Even sweeter was that my print of Ian that I call My Favorite Old Boy earned a 2nd place. David accepted the award for me since I was in Harrisburg, PA competing at the AKC Rally National Championship with Ian and Flash. Today, David and I drove over at lunchtime to see the exhibit. Wow! There were a lot of nice pieces of artwork there. I feel truly honored to have earned a placement with my pet photography.
While waiting for the news about the “Animal Attraction” exhibit, I was also waiting on scores from my entries at the Southeast District print competition for PPA (Professional Photographers of America). I had entered 4 images: the three above and the landscape below:
The landscape, entitled Morning Has Broken, had earned a merit score and the Horizon Award in February at Photo Pro Expo in Covington, KY. The photo of Wesley the Whippet, entitled I’m Sorry had earned a merit score as well. I was hoping for a repeat performance at the district level. The three pet portraits were all judged on Friday, and I started receiving text messages Friday afternoon with my scores. My Favorite Old Boy and I’m Sorry scored in the Above Average category and the dark horse (no pun intended), Black on Black ended up earning a merit score. I just love the challenge of photographing black dogs against a black background! I was quite pleased that the judges found it worthy.
My landscape was entered in the Illustrative category and wasn’t judged until Saturday, so I didn’t get the text with my score until I was on my way home from Pennsylvania. The district judges awarded it a score in the Above Average category. I will certainly be sending all of four of my images on to PPA’s International Print Competition (IPC) in a couple of months. There will be different judges and the three that didn’t merit at district just might under different eyes. Black on Black will automatically receive a merit and be entered into the PPA’s General Collection at IPC since it earned a merit-worthy score at the district level.
For more information about the Animal Attraction exhibit at Gallery 104 click here.
Spring has finally sprung! The first day of Spring was lovely here with temperatures in the 70’s. Yesterday was beautiful as well and today the sun is shining. Of course, the weatherman is predicting snow again for tomorrow. Really?!?!?! While it’s a little early for pansies in the garden, these are so colorful and cheery that I have to share them.
AWARDS: In February, I attended the annual PhotoPro Expo in Covington, Kentucky. I entered the print competition for the second time, and this year I was pleased that two of my prints were deemed worthy of a merit. One of those two also won the 2014 Horizon Award, for the highest scoring merit print by an artist who had never previously been awarded a merit. I was pleasantly surprised by the honor, especially since this was the state convention that also received entries from all over the mid-west. Unfortunately, I can’t officially share those images with you just yet, as I am also entering them in PPA’s district competition and International Print Competition later this year. I will hint to you, though, that the winning photos are already on my website. I just can’t divulge which ones.
NEW OFFERINGS: I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, we are offering frames for your prints! We have a great selection in various colors, sizes, and prices. Now you won’t have to wonder where to find frames for any size print we offer. If you have purchased prints from us in the past and still haven’t had them framed for your wall yet, give me a call or email me. We can set you up with beautiful frames at great prices. 502-592-7071 or Apricotnut@msn.com
Well, this winter has made up for all the years when we had little to no snow. We keep going from 50 degree temperature days to 2 – 5 inches of snow on the ground. It started snowing yesterday afternoon and by the time it quit this morning, we had close to 5 inches of snow. Flash, my black English Cocker Spaniel, loves the snow. He loves chasing snow balls, too, and his Poppa David is always willing to accommodate his demands ….er, requests … for a rousing game of snow ball chase. Ian, my older red English Cocker Spaniel, enjoys the snow but not nearly as much as Flash.
Above, Ian looks on as Flash attacks a snowball that just landed. Check out the intensity on Flash’s face!
Above, Flash is about to leap into the air, encouraging his Dad to throw.
My yak (above). The boy is a bit of a coat factory and is in need of some serious grooming. All of that snow just sticks to him, but it doesn’t slow him down at all.
“I can fly!” Or, at least he thinks he can. I am always amazed at how he can zoom over the snow like that. It must be nice to be young and agile.
Oops! Course correction needed. Flash took off towards his left, but David threw the snowball to his right. I love his ears flying in the snow.
Here, he almost looks like he’s laughing. He has such a great joie de vivre.
Here’s my snow-dog! The amazing (and good) thing is that once we quit playing, he shook a couple of times and all the snow was gone from his coat. He came into the house almost dry.
Our Winter White Sale is here! Don’t miss out on that one portrait that you didn’t get. Save 20% on all 10×20 or larger portraits from any session in 2013. 11×14 and smaller are 10% off too!
Place an order by Monday 12/16 and you can have your print in time for Christmas.
Perfect for holiday gifts, you can’t go wrong with a timeless portrait. Place your order today and save.
Offer expires January 31, 2014. Not available with other promotional offers. No cash value.
Our Cyber Monday sale is on now!
Get unlimited $100 gift certificates for only $75 each. This fabulous deal won’t last forever – order by phone at 502-592-7071 or email at Apricotnut@msn.com by 8 pm on Monday, December 2nd to reserve yours today!
Cyber Monday Sale
Leave the holiday rush to the procrastinators this year. Our Cyber Monday sale is the perfect way to cross every pet lover’s name off your list without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Or, if you prefer, shop for yourself! Sale price is good November 28 to December 2. Certificates may be redeemed throughout 2014 for all goods and services provided by Images by Janice, LLC.
January Winter White Sale
Everyone knows that January is the time for a White Sale. While we don’t sell sheets and pillowcases, we will be offering you a special ‘catch up’ opportunity from your 2013 sessions. Watch for more info in December.
In other news
It’s been a great fall. The leaves were spectacular around here. I hope everyone got the opportunity to head out and enjoy the views and crisp fall weather. I know I loved seeing all the color. Now the leaves are falling and it seems like every other day sees David outside raking them up.
Thanksgiving and the shopping season are just around the corner. I can’t believe that the year is starting to wind down already. I have actually managed to find the time to enter a couple of year-end obedience and rally trials with the young English cocker, Flash. We are moving up to the next intermediate level in AKC obedience and will be showing in the Graduate Novice class. In UKC, he still needs 2 more qualifying scores for his UCD, so we will be hoping to finish that up in December too.
Don’t forget the Cyber Monday sale. Give me a call (502-592-7071) or drop me an email (Apricotnut@msn.com) sometime between November 29th and December 2nd. I will be at obedience trials that weekend, so if you get my voice mail, leave me a message. I promise to get back to you.