Best Shot Monday: Meet Goose!


Look into those beautiful eyes!  This is Goose.  He is a nine month old Basset Hound mix, and he was truly the sweetest dog I photographed today.  Even with that adorable face, he doesn't look so handsome right now, does he?  Goose has what is called demodetic mange, also called demodicosis, or just plain demodex. It's caused by the microscopic demodex mite.

Goose is a prime example of a dog that could really benefit from fostering. According to Wendy Brooks, DVM, "Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequences from being parasitized. However, if conditions change to upset the natural equilibrium, such as some kind of suppression of the dog's immune system, the demomex mites may gain the upper hand." It's also not contagious to other dogs, humans or cats in normal circumstances.  Lord knows, I loved all over this boy today!  From my research, there seems to be no singular cause of a demodex outbreak, but research shows it flares up when stress is placed on a dog's immune system.  Think a dog's immune system can be stressed in a shelter environment?  You betcha.  Wouldn't you be a tad stressed out if you were a dog or cat in a shelter with hundreds of other animals, waiting for your forever home?

Do you know one of the easiest ways to help a stressed shelter dog de-stress?  Adoption or foster!  Getting a dog like Goose out of the shelter environment will decrease his stress and, therefore, increase his immune system, giving him what he needs to fight the disease and get back to being his beautiful, adorable self.  Can you imagine how handsome he will be when he's recovered from demodex, and his beautiful shiny coat returns?

You can foster or adopt Goose by visiting Animal Care and Protective Services at 2020 Forest Street, Jacksonville, in the Riverside area.  Goose's ID is A891892.  Visit ACPS on Facebook here and on the City of Jacksonville website here.  Goose and many other wonderful dogs and cats are waiting for you!  (Thanks to ACPS Shelter Manager Jen Walter for sharing this article with me to learn more about demodex.)       

The Documented Life Project: Weeks 42 and 43

Week 42-1

As we are getting close to the end of the year for the Documented Life Project 2014, I better start posting two weeks at a time to catch up! Here are week's 42 and 43.  Week 42's challenge was "stars." I used one of Roben-Marie's postcards as the tip in this week, and it just so happened to be stars, so I used her stars as the inspiration for my stars!

Week 42-2

Week 42-3

This week was all about knowledge dumps, as in sharing my knowledge of my roles at the college prior to my departure.  Commencement was the biggie.  Also had my dear friend Mauricio Garcia on campus that week doing a presentation for the students.  I always love Mo's talks!  We wrapped up the weekend with the girls having a friend over for a sleepover and me heading into the shelter Sunday morning for a photo shoot with the pups.

Week 43-1

Week 43's challenge was "sketch what you see right now."  I've always struggled with my drawing skills, so this was definitely a challenge for me, but I did, in fact, sketch what was right in front of me: my work bench, window and window sill, and what was outside my window. All those little "bottles" in the window sill are spray inks. (I have a ton of spray inks.) That "Happy Shack Designs" up at the top is actually a painted wooden sign my friend Gypsy made for me.

Week 43-2

On the inside spread, I used a poppy stencil and embellished with paint pens and a thick Sharpie marker.   This week's highlights included camping at Flamingo Lake for the weekend. We set up camp right next to Hailey G's grands and enjoyed a great weekend with friends.

Week 43-3

Each week, this journal has become harder and harder to work in and photograph due to its thickness!  Glad we only have a few weeks left!  I'm ready to get started in my new journal for 2015.  See all my Documented Life Project posts here, and check out the Art to the 5th blog and all things Documented Life Project and more here.   

Week 43-4

Best Shot Monday: Navigating the Black Hole of Change

Annie Lytle

See that blackness there at the end of the hallway?  You stand there wondering what could be around that corner.  I took this shot inside the abandoned Public School No. 4, otherwise known as the Annie Lytle School, here in Jacksonville the last time I went sleuthing around in there. I've always been attracted to old abandoned buildings. You never know what treasures you will find in there! (And yes, I chose to believe there are only treasures, not bad scary things, and so far that has served me well. Of course, I only go in on bright sunny days.)

Thinking about what's down that hallway resonates with the huge change my family and I are currently navigating.  I shared with you in this post that, after 22 years, I'm leaving FSCJ for a new role. It's a fabulous new role, and I'm very excited about the challenge that lies ahead for me, yet with this role come HUGE changes for my family, and it's that part of our current navigation that we are struggling with.

My last day at FSCJ was this past Friday. It was definitely an emotional day, and walking out of my office for that last time Friday afternoon felt so incredibly surreal. There were definitely a lot of tears shed last week. I've made some great friends at the college, many who have become family, and saying goodbye to those I've worked with for so long was particularly difficult.  Sure, we'll stay in touch, but when go you from working with people day in and day out to not seeing them at all, that comes with a bit of separation anxiety!

This week, having two weeks off between roles, I'm feeling very ungrounded.  I know a big part of that is due to still trying to wrap my head around the physical move, leaving Jacksonville for Tallahassee, and that we still are completely clueless as to where we will be living. I've found an apartment that will work for me in the short run, but we'll need to find a home that will work for us by spring so we can ease the girls into the change.  And that, my friends, is proving difficult.  Sure, there are plenty of lovely homes for sale in Tallahassee.  But since we are not selling our home here in Jacksonville, we'll need to rent there, and finding a rental that is large enough but still affordable, is in good shape, is in the school district we want to be in, and has an owner that will allow two large dogs is turning out to be quite the challenge, at least from here. Hopefully once I'm over there for half the week each week starting in December, I'll have a better opportunity to find something for us.

We've left much of this whole process to faith and are hoping that we'll find both the perfect family to rent our home here and the perfect place to lay our heads in Tallahassee soon. The uncertainty has been quite stressful for this usually very go-with-the-flow girl. It truly does feel like we are jumping into a black hole, wondering where we'll land and what we'll find along the way.  So here's to happy landings and a rainbow at the end of the tunnel.  It's true that no one ever said change was easy.   

The Documented Life Project: Week 41

Week 41-1

Week 41's challenge for the Documented Life Project was polka dots.  I had received a sweet little package in the mail from my friend Wyanne Thompson (an amazing artist and friend who is currently kicking cancer's butt), so I incorporated little bits of Wyanne this week.

Week 41-2

The heart on the tip in came from Wyanne, as did the beautiful postcard of her art on the inside spread.  The smaller polka dot circles around the heart were from some spray paint art Sarah made at Mermaids and Mamas this year, and I added to them with some punchinella and spray inks.

Week 41-3

Inside next to Wyanne's card,  I collaged some origami papers from my box of scraps and painted over them. I love the texture that left me.  The polka dot circles on that section came from pieces of scrapbook paper I also had in my box of scraps. 

Week 41-4

We had several highlights this week!  First was Livvie's first Chorus concert, of which I shared a photo here.  My dad also came up to visit that weekend, and we surprised the girls with a trampoline that Sunday.  The tramp was my response to their spending too much time on their tablets and jumping on my bed.  It worked!  They jump just about every afternoon!

See more of my Documented Life posts here, and check out the whole project and all the other things the Art to the 5th gals are up to on their blog here.  I just got my journal for 2015 in the mail today, and I'm psyched.  Love the larger size and thicker pages!
Week 41-5

Best Shot Monday: Zoey

Zoey 10-29-14

We failed again.  At fostering, that is.  Zoey officially became our latest foster failure a couple weeks ago.  After everything we had been through with her, we just couldn't let her go.  She's proven to be the perfect pal for Pete, and we knew he'd be lost without her.  After being so tiny for so long, Zoey finally had a major growth spurt and she's a little chunker now.  As you can see here, she's also quite the ham for the camera.

I realized last week Zoey was sent by an angel. Benny and I were laying in bed watching TV, and Zoey hopped up on the bed, took her spot on my chest, and started purring.  That's when it hit me.  I looked at her and said, "Zoey, Savannah sent you, didn't she?"  She looked at me wisely, and I swear I saw a tiny little barely perceptible nod of her head.  I realized that Zoey has all the same little habits that Savannah did with me (and neither Pete nor Tink do).  She sits on my chest and falls asleep, she follows me around the house, she sits at my feet when I'm washing my face and brushing my teeth at night, and as we took her into the vet this morning for her kitten shots, she sounded exactly like Savannah sounded when she was unhappy with me. :-) She's even getting longer fur and has the same little lion's mane Savannah had.  So I guess we were meant to be, little Zoey and me.  Thanks, sweet Savannah.

You can see Zoey's growth here in early August and here in early July. 

The Documented Life Project: Week 40 Brings Big Changes

Week 40-5

Week 40 of the Documented Life Project brought big changes to our little world.  Maybe it was fitting that the challenge was to paint or color with three colors you never use because what does that involve?  Change!  Doing something different!

Week 40-1

The tip in I had for this week was a piece of scrapbook paper with a palm tree vaguely in the background. I don't really have colors I never use because I only buy colors I like, so instead I went to my bin full of paints and pulled out three that I hadn't opened yet. So technically, I had never used them!  They were a neon yellow green, a deep blue, and a sky blue. I used them to bring out that palm tree and then used the colors again to stencil some open space.  I finished it off with black Sharpie pen work. On the inside spread, I glued in some papers from my deli paper stash and brought out the colors.  On the left side, the ghost of that giant bloom was on the deli paper and I just brought it out with paint and markers.
Week 40-2

So the big change for our world?  On Wednesday of Week 40, I interviewed for a new job. On Thursday, I was offered the job. On Friday, I accepted the job.  I have been at my current college for 22 years!  22 years!  So yes, this is a huge change for me. I've accepted the position of Executive Director of the Florida College System Activities Association.  Since it's a state level position, it involves an even bigger change than just changing jobs: we will actually be moving to Tallahassee!

Week 40-3

That's the part we are still having a hard time wrapping our heads around. We absolutely love our home and our neighborhood, and really our whole life here, so the change will be THAT major for us.  But after all the soul searching and little messages from above, we know it's the right thing for us to do. We won't sell our home here, but rather rent it out the right family. The new folks I will be working for are being wonderfully accommodating, allowing me to work half the week from Tallahassee and half the week from home in Jacksonville for now so we don't have to move the girls in the middle of the school year. We'll then make the official move next summer.
Week 40-6

This a truly an incredible opportunity for me, and I'm grateful my family is fully on-board (Benny actually had to convince me it was the right thing to do!). The girls are very apprehensive about the move, we all are, but on the upside we'll be moving to a much better school district. That will be a blessing for them.  And since I am a Florida State University graduate, for me, it's a bit like moving back to my second home.  I love the town, and I know even as much as we'll miss home, I think Benny and the girls will grow to love it, too. We'll get a lot of use out of our camper coming back home to visit Jacksonville and our friends here often. I start December 1!

To see more of my Documented Life Project pages, click here.  To check out the whole DLP project and everything else the Art to the 5th gals have to offer, click here!
Week 40-4

Best Shot Monday: Meet Lola


I made it back into the shelter Sunday morning, and this girl was the first dog I took out. Oh, what a doll sweet Lola is!  She was in the very first kennel closest to the backyard door in A run, so every time I brought another dog out and back in, she looked at me with the saddest eyes, like she was saying, "You really are coming back for me when you're done, right?"  If I didn't already have five animals (two dogs and three cats, all rescues, including two foster failures...), I'd most certainly have taken her home with me. She's incredibly loving and well-mannered, a medium-sized girl with the most beautiful, hug-worthy coat.

Once I finished for the morning, I couldn't resist sitting down in her kennel with her and sharing some hugs and kisses.  We sat like this for a good 15 minutes, below, and my neck and face were completely covered with slobbery dog kisses.  (I didn't share this part of the process in my Anatomy of a Shelter Shoot post, but it's a very important part of my process!)  My thanks to Angie B for catching this picture of us when she came back in and saw us there.  Lola is available for adoption at Animal Care and Protective Services, 2020 Forest Street, Jacksonville. Her ID number is A891995.

We will be moving to Tallahassee next summer (more on that later this week), and I will miss this shelter terribly, so much so that I will make it a point to get back over here once a month or so. The people here are wonderful, and the work they do here is amazing.  Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services truly is one of the best shelters in the state of Florida, if not the whole country, as evidenced by our recent spotlight at the national Best Friends conference.  The way this city-run shelter works together with area non-profit shelters and rescue groups is truly amazing and has helped us work towards our no-kill status.  I've been checking out the shelters in Tallahassee online, and I was so saddened to see the stats for the Leon County shelter; stats show a year to date average live release rate of about 50%, with some months being better than others.  That's incredibly depressing.  It's not their photos as they have a nice website with good photos (and I plan to add to those).  My guess is that they just haven't developed the partnerships that our shelter has developed here.  That will be my goal when I start volunteering over there.  Maybe a "Friends of Leon County Animals" is in our future!   

Kelly and Lola