Hallelujah

Our dog Ellie on her back in our backyard holding her baby hedgehog dog toy in her mouth

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to dogs who can hedgehog again.”
Luke 2:13-14, more or less

Where were you this morning? Did you see the heavens open? Did you hear the angels rejoice?

I know one dog who did.

Ellie had her final visit to the surgeon today and Dr. Munjar said the x-rays showed a nice boring joint, meaning she had healed nicely and we can start easing her back into her normal routine. Ellie and I celebrated with a few hedeghog throws in the backyard before I had to head in to work.

If you’re in the Portland area and need surgery for your pet, I highly recommend Dr. Munjar and the Veterinary Surgical Center of Portland. Dr. Munjar has a great (doggy) bedside manner and explained everything very clearly and did great work. He provided detailed instructions for her post-op recovery and everything proceeded just like he said. From the moment we met him we felt we had made the right decision. The staff is friendly and knowledgable and took good care of us.

If I ever need surgery I can only hope to be in such good hands!

Portland to Portland

A close-up view of a groundhog eating an apple

We recently returned to Portland from a trip to Portland.

My mother-in-law wanted her ashes spread near a favorite lighthouse in Maine so the family gathered in the Portland on the east coast and we spent a week visiting relatives in the area. Since it was a family trip and not a photography outing, I left the big lens and tripod at home in the Portland on the west coast. I did bring my camera and two zooms, I didn’t know what to expect but they pack down pretty small and were easy enough to take along even if I didn’t get a chance to use them.

My wife and I discovered the delightful Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in nearby Falmouth, Maine, on our first full day in the state. It was hot and humid and we didn’t expect to see much, but my spirits rose when we discovered groundhogs near the headquarters! Thereafter I started getting up at 4:30am each morning to visit the refuge for a few hours of photography and still got back in time for breakfast before most of the others had gotten up.

In this close-up of one of the adults about to take a big bite out of an apple, you can see an identification tag in its ear. The groundhogs there are being studied and sport tags in both ears.

Based on my studies, I’d say they really like apples.

Coping Strategy

A close-up view of our dog Ellie's face as she relaxes with her mouth open in the backyard

Ellie did really well during her recovery, but she did develop a coping mechanism — if I gave her a command she didn’t want to follow, she’d turn her head slightly to the side as if to say, “I’m not being willfully disobedient, it’s just that I can’t hear you, what with my head turned like this and all.” It was such a subtle gesture I didn’t catch on at first, but after a while it became unmistakable. I suppose I should be insulted at my dog’s estimate of my intelligence but it was so cute it just made me laugh. She’d always obey if my tone indicated she needed to, so I let it slide.

The Rise of Lady Em

Our black cat Emma sleeps in the cat bed with her head resting on the edge

Emma is not a lap cat but she is affectionate. When you live in the land of the Snuggle Twins and the 70 lb. lap dog, however, finding that affection isn’t so easy. Emma has solved this dilemma by waiting for me to play with Ellie and then running up tight beside me to be petted with one hand while I play with Ellie with the other.

But one day I noticed her on a ledge near the bathroom after I took a shower and took a few minutes to let her play in my wet hair. Since then she’s became a regular customer and is often there to greet me when I step out of the shower. Eventually I set her on the bed and laid down and patted my chest and to my surprise, she jumped right up and started rubbing her head against mine and chirping her birdie purrs. Our one-on-one snuggles have now become a morning ritual, although they don’t always last for long, one of the others will usually sniff out that snuggling is afoot and jump up with us.