Coal for your stocking

Meet Coal (FKA TR Coal Bucket).

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We first met this love bug in November when we visited the GPA-GO Kennel in Orlando.  Coal had been waiting for a home for 1 and 1/2 years at the rescue kennel.  Each hound has their own story, but when we heard Coal’s, we knew we had to help. 

 

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Hearing his story brought back memories of when we heard Booyah’s story.  Maybe it was just my emotions carrying me away, with Booyah’s Gotcha Day falling on the week of our visit and the days approaching the one year anniversary of letting him go to Rainbow Bridge, I am not sure, but for whatever reason, I was drawn to Coal.

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We got Coal out of the crate at the kennel and were able to socialize with him for a bit in the run.  His tail never stopped wagging.  Great personality, we both thought.  Again, we could not believe this hound had been waiting so long for his home.  We called the President of the adoption group we volunteer with and told her about this special boy.  We thought he might be a good match for a young couple we had recently done a home visit for.  As it turns out, he wasn’t a match.   But she could not get him off of her mind either so VAGA decided to bring him up on the next haul that was scheduled to arrive mid December and we agreed to foster him.

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There will always be a soft and special spot in our hearts for the large black male greyhounds.  We have our wonderful Booyah to thank for that.  🙂  We can’t add another to pack.  We have reached our limit at three.  Although we had four hounds for several years, we know we can’t do that again.  But we can do the next best thing……advocate for their adoption.  We do a good bit of volunteer work throughout the year and have been doing so since we adopted Maggie in 2006.  Meet and Greets, conducting phone interviews and home visits of potential adopters, and hosting adoption are all great, but there is something extra special about fostering.  At least I think so. 

It did not take long for the group to find Coal his forever home.  We are still fostering Coal until his new family can take him home on New Year’s Day.  What a great way to start 2014 for Coal and his new family.  He is getting an awesome forever home and will be enjoying the good life.  We will miss him.  It is hard not to form a bond, even with a foster dog, whom you know you will not be adopting, but it feels GREAT to know we played a small part in helping this special boy find his forever home.  It makes it all worth it!

Below are some photos I have taken of Coal since he has been with us.  He is a tail wagging, happy, sweet, friendly, big, love bug and has been a joy to foster!

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Coal loves this orange Afghan blanket.  We carry it from room to room for him.  He has slept on it every night. 

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How he would prefer to spend all day every day.

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He loves that blanket so much, he will work his way on to the bed with that blanket on it until my hounds give up and move to let him have his blanket.  I have a feeling this blanket will be going home with Coal.  🙂

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He is 82lbs of pure love and happiness!  We are going miss him tons but are so thrilled that he has finally found his forever home!

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  Coal sure got the best gift of all this year…..a family.  🙂

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Night Photography

I have been trying out some night photography.  I bought a Tripod and a Wireless Remote for my Shutter recently.  I took a trip out to Brown’s Island.  I plan to go back in a few weeks now that the entire City is lit up.  🙂

This shot was taken just before it got dark.

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The Twin Towers in Richmond just before dark.

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Starting to get dark.  I was proud of myself for setting the camera to the correct F Stop so that I could get the star-burst effect with the street lights. 

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The sun setting.  I like the light reflection in the water.

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This one was my favorite.  The reflections look like little Christmas Trees.

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This is the last one I took before heading home.

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A week or so later, I took my camera to work and took some pictures of the sky.  I got lucky that the clouds were so “angry-beautiful” looking on that particular day.  This was just after an afternoon storm. These were taken without use of a tripod and from the waiting room window at my office.  Next on my wish list is a filter to reduce reflection from glass.

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These were taken a my brother-in-law’s house in Florida during our recent trip to visit family over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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I like the way the flames came out in this shot.  It is like you can feel the fire when you look at the picture.

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I liked the color of the water in the pool on this one.  The Rubber Duck was night swimming. Can you find him?

 

I have not figured out how to get a good shot of the pups at night.  I tried multiple times, but they don’t stay still long enough for the shutter to close.

This was the best I could get of Ziva enjoying being under a blanket next to the fire.  Yes, we brought the cold with us to Florida.  

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The temps were in the 30’s a few nights the week we were there. 

 

Stay tuned, we have some pictures to share of our recent visit to the Greyhound Pets of America Greater Orlando Rescue Kennel.  We met all the kennel cuties!

 

 

Canal Walk

A few weeks ago, we joined our local greyhound walking group (Around Town Hounds) for a walk in Downtown Richmond along the canal.  The weather was perfect for a walk with temps in the upper 70’s.  The pups were excited to be going somewhere.  They are always excited about riding in the van.

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This was Ziva’s first group walk and she was ready for some fun.  We wait for the rest of our group so we can start our walk as the pups look on.

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We begin our walk.

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Ziva and Cueball stop to enjoy the breeze next to the River.

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We saw some neat things on our walk, like this old train.

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And this neat bridge.

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The leaves on the trees were beautiful mixes of orange, yellow and red.

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We stop at the art wall for a group photo. 

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There was lots of neat artwork in this section of the walk.  This one below was my favorite.

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Of course, we got to socialize with our fellow greyhound friends and their hounds.  They are all so sweet and beautiful!  Below are some of the hounds who attended. 

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Sophie hiding behind her mom.

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A pretty Japanese Maple tree along our walk.  The stairs that are to the left of the tree in this picture were a challenge for Pippi.  So I carried her down them.  🙂  I think she may have been playing me.  She knows how to do stairs and use to race up and down ours in our first house, but she froze like Eeyore and refused to move.

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It was worth making the trip down the stairs to see this.

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The water was like glass.

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More hounds.

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Ziva does not look too happy in this picture, but she actually had a great time.

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Roger in for a close up.

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And the highlight of our walk was watching Hilo take a break and rest in his dad Myron’s lap.  He is no small hound either.

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More pretty trees.  These line the front entrance of the Mead West Vaco office building.

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And more hounds.  This was at the end of our walk.  They were all pretty pooped out by then and pretty easy to photograph.

Pawnee Girl.

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Rosie.

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Roger.  This is my favorite shot from the day.  He sure is a stunning hound.  I like his coat color against the big tire.

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But they are all so beautiful.

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And were thirsty!

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Harvey yawning.

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Harvey says: “Now I am ready for my close up.  Don’t I look dignified?”  Yes, yes you do!

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Hilo says: “It is time for a nap”.  I agree!

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My fellow bloggers, I would really like some feedback on my photos please.  All the photos above were taken using Manual mode on my camera with no editing other than cropping. I just started using the Manual mode function. This setting use to terrify me. 

I am finally off Auto mode, and thrilled, so yay, but I have A LOT left to learn!   I am trying very hard to improve my shots, so any feedback you can give would be GREATLY appreciated!

Lastly, I would like to express my deepest condolences to those who have lost a beloved family member this week.  It is never an easy thing to go through. It is especially hard to lose two so close together, which I myself have gone through twice in the last year. I feel for you and what you are going through.   I was very saddened to hear of the passing of three beloved hounds and a beloved cat over this week. It just sucks, there are no other words…..

I hugged all mine a little tighter.  You never know what tomorrow brings; enjoy and love them everyday.

 

The beauty of the Virginia Mountains in the fall

During the month of October, I took three trips to the mountains. This time of year is the perfect time to visit. The leaves are changing colors, which makes for beautiful landscapes. My first trip was to Roanoke, Virginia for a State Conference for work. This was my fourth trip to Roanoke. It has a very quaint and neat downtown area. I set out to take some night pictures. The Roanoke Star can be seen from all over downtown Roanoke. Whenever I visit, I have to make a trip to the Star. I am sure the locals can easily recognize me as a tourist. 🙂 That’s okay, it is too beautiful and too cool to miss!

These were taken before I bought my tripod, so there is a bit of camera shake, but I am pretty happy with the results I got.
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Zooming in for a closer shot.
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The moon and night sky.
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On the drive home, I pulled into an overlook and took some pictures of the Mountain views.
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The following weekend, I took a day trip with a friend and her family to pick apples at Carter Mountain. Her two boys, Hunter and Austin, had a blast picking apples. The apple trees are really pretty.
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And the reward for all that walking, reaching and picking is a fresh, juicy apple.

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We got photo bombed!

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It was quite the workout for me. The terrain is steep and the bags of apples became like little arm weights, but it was fun none the less. 🙂 I picked just enough apples to make an apple pie. Below is looking down the steep hill at all the apple trees.
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Two weekends later, I was in the mountains again. This time, Mitch came along. We ventured up to Graves Mountain for their festival. What started out as a weekend festival years ago has grown in popularity and is now a three weekend festival. We took the hounds with us and met our friend Judy at the festival. She brought her three hounds, Sandy, Jackson and Heidi. When we first arrived, we tried walking around for a bit to look at all the arts and crafts but we were only able to make it a few steps before the hounds drew all the attention. We were like a mini walking meet and greet. 🙂 I gave out all the VAGA business cards I had on hand. We met lots of folks and had fun spreading the word about how wonderful greyhounds are. After making it around to see all the vendors, we set up the ex-pen for the hounds. They still continued to draw in the crowds, so we continued to do meeting and greeting.
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The pups loved all the attention, but were pretty pooped out after a few hours. Below are Heidi, Jackson and Sandy.
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Heidi wanted some time out of the ex-pen with her mom Judy.
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My kids were pretty tired too, except for Ziva. At age four, she has never ending energy. 🙂
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We received some donations for the hounds also. 🙂

Next year, we will be better prepared and will bring all our meet and greet supplies. All in all it was a great event!

After the festival, we went wine tasting at a nearby winery, DuCard Vineyards. They were dog friendly so the hounds got to tag along. On the drive home, we also stopped at Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery for a tasting. The pups were allowed in to this winery as well. I did not bring my camera in, so no pictures.

It was an awesome day trip! I am way behind on my blog posts and have lots of catching up to do over the next week or so. Hope everyone is having a good fall and had a great Thanksgiving!