Know Your Subject: Week 40 Pet Photography 52 Week Project
This week's topic in our 52 week challenge is Know Your Subject. This one might be a fairly easy one for all of us if we choose to photograph our own pets. I was at the beach in Hilton Head for this challenge and as soon as I saw the theme "know your subject" I thought of Moose.
Many of you might feel like you know Moose too. Here is a little more of his story that you probably don't know. We rescued him from Lab Rescue of NC on October 4, 2014 exactly 2 years to the day of when I am writing this. He'd spent about 6 months in a foster home with LRNC before we adopted him. I volunteered with LRNC and Moose was an owner surrender in March 2014. This is what I was told about him: the woman who owned him was moving out of state and didn't want to take her 2 dogs with her so she surrendered him. (I have no idea where the other dog went.) Supposedly he'd been living full time in her fenced yard. He was 7 at the time. His name was Duke.
In March 2014, we weren't looking for another dog. When I saw him show up on the list of available dogs and saw his name, I emailed one of the Board Members of LRNC and said, "You have to change that dog's name!" I am a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and this Board Member is an avid UNC fan. All UNC fans vehemently dislike Duke University. She agreed so his name was changed to Deuce. **I am of the opinion that sometimes changing a rescued dog's name is a good thing.**
Fast forward 6 months and we had to say goodbye to our beloved black lab Buddy and the reason I bought my first camera. We are a 2 dog family so we started to look for another dog. (We also rescue the older ones. Many of them are overlooked by other adopters who prefer younger dogs.) We had Willow, our yellow lab, we'd previously had Sam another yellow lab and my first lab was a crazy chocolate lab / weimeraner mix named Sloan. I'd not been able to consider a chocolate before because of Sloan but I finally felt ready.
We scheduled an appointment and brought Willow along to go meet Deuce. He was being fostered by a couple who had 2 other dogs and they said he'd really bonded with one of them. They even slept on the same bed together. I was concerned about separating them but since Don and I both work from home, I knew there would be someone home often to help Deuce during his transition to our home. The meeting went well and a week later, I drove the 100 miles to go and pick him up. In the car on the way home I did think to myself, "what have I done?" :) As soon as he got in my car, he stuck his nose in every crevice in my car checking it out. He did settle down... I'd brought a kong with some peanut butter in it and that did the trick!
He was pretty stressed out when we brought him into our house. I should've thought about it but didn't and the next morning, Don was at the gym and I had to go out and pet sit. We left him and Willow alone in the house and when I returned, we discovered he'd tried to claw his way out the back door so we replaced the broken blinds on that door. The scratch marks are still on that door to this day.
A day or two later Don had to travel and I was working. We were keeping his food in a rubbermaid bin in our laundry room. While he was home alone, he was able to open the bin and in the process of doing so, the door to the laundry room closed and he'd locked himself in. When I returned, I found a completely stressed dog, half the bin of food was gone, vomit was everywhere in the room, complete with foamy drool from being stressed and a door and wall that'd been ruined from his scratching. I felt horrible for him and I dreaded telling Don. I thought he might give up on Moose at that point... and he might have if I'd not been persistent about working with him.
btw - we didn't like the name Deuce so we changed his name to Moose. The name is perfect for him and Moose picked up on it immediately. He is a MOOSE!
The story gets a little worse. Don went to Lowe's to replace the door. You'd think a door to a laundry room would be a standard size and easy to find a replacement, right? No. We had to custom order the door to replace it.... another strike against Moose.
I ended up hiring a neighbor to come and sit with Moose for a few days while I worked and Don was out of town. To this day, when we leave the house now, Moose is baby gated in two bedrooms in our house and we open the blinds in the front bedroom so he can see out. This process seems to work well.
If you're wondering about why we don't crate him, it's because he freaks out. Foam at the mouth, vomit, freaks out. He doesn't like to be contained and I'm sure that's part of why he freaked out when he locked himself in the laundry room.
So at the beach this past week, we were hoping he'd do okay when left alone in this new house. We'd lined up a dog sitter to come and stay with him a couple of nights when we'd planned to go out to dinner. (Seriously.... we hired a dog sitter for him.) We arrived at the beach on Saturday and on Sunday morning, we left him alone for about 20 minutes. When we returned he was panting and jumping on the front door (which was glass.) So much for leaving him alone.
I went to the beach twice for about an hour each time over the 7 days. Otherwise I stayed at the house with Moose. I'd planned to do a lot of work while I was there which was a good thing because I did a lot of work. Moose slept under the table the entire time while I worked. He was happy. I got a lot done. Next time though I'll ask the dog sitter to come over more frequently so I can get out a little more.
Don says this about Moose: "He's a great dog 75% of the time." And he is. This past Sunday I was watching tv and he literally crawled in my lap and slept there for 2.5 hours. I'd move to re-position myself and he wouldn't even wake up. The dog loves to sleep. He loves every human he meets. When we were at the beach as soon as the dog sitter arrived and we'd go to leave, he'd follow her back into the house, content as could be as long as he wasn't being left alone.
He is a needy dog but he is a sweet dog that just wants love and to be near people. It didn't take us long to figure that out and now that we have, I'd say he is a great dog about 95% of the time. He can't be perfect, right? Two years into having Moose, I think we know our subject pretty well. He needs 5 things in life and he is content: sleep, food, walks, toys, and humans not necessarily in that order and we need The Moose. He makes us smile and laugh a lot.
This is a blog circle and to see what the next photographer wrote about Know Your Subject, you can go to Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Continue to click the link at the end of each post and you'll end up right back here.