This beautiful dog, named Zoë really seems to be saying in no uncertain words “This is my baby”! I was visiting my friend with her tiny, gorgeous new baby, Scarlett when I met her lovely year old dog Zoë for the first time. She was boisterous and determined to jump all over me in her excitement. For the first time I tried out the famous “don’t look at her, don’t talk to her, don’t touch her” trick of the Dog Whisperer (Cesar Milan). We both were amazed at how quickly Zoë relaxed and calmly sat to watch me. She was still and quiet while I moved around, letting me take her photograph (she didn’t see my eyes looking at her behind the camera), while little Scarlett and her mum chatted with me. After she calmed down (Zoë I mean) we had a good pat as her reward!
I love those eyes that look at us with such warmth and wisdom.
I’m so sorry that I have neglected my postings lately. I have been very busy after my bout with the flu’ helping with the Camera Basics mentorship. I hope to get back to resume my regular programming once the mentorship is over in a couple of weeks!
I had taken this photo of Joni a few weeks ago (just before we were hit with the horrible flu virus that has kept me silent for weeks). I wanted to post it, but it wasn't until I made a reply to a comment from someone on a post that I had the thoughts right for what I wanted to say about it.
You see, you look at this picture and you see a dog, someone else's dog. If you like animals you might like the photo, especially if you are a Border Collie fan. But you can only see so much. The picture shows bright shiny happy eyes a snowy face, obviously from a time of play, clean white teeth (could be scary for some). But you can't see the heart of this dog the way you can with your own.
What I am saying is that all dogs are special to their owners who love them and who have seen into their hearts. So when I look at your dog in a photograph, as lovely as it is, I only see a small part of this special animal. It's a bit like an iceberg. So much is hidden beneath the surface. Isn't that the same with us all? You have seen some child misbehaving, perhaps, pitying the poor parents as you see them struggling. They alone really see into the heart of this child and know the beauty hidden in there. Or a good friend of yours might be going through a rough patch and when someone who doesn't know them very well is taken aback by a careless (or cutting) remark, you understand and stick with your friend from the love you have which opens your eyes to see into their heart. You see below the surface.
So I hope you enjoy the photograph of this dog. My dog. When I look at it I see the heart shining through in her eyes. I see a smile.
(I am not sure where the new Google+ is taking us with photos, so am sharing the Definitive Joni album in the hopes that it might encourage people to browse the other Joni images if they want!)
Is there anything more heart warming than having your dog stretching and wagging her tail at you when you come downstairs in the morning? Not much!
Joni gets so excited when she hears Steven coming down the stairs that she can barely contain herself and I had to take this photo to share her delight.
I see that it is “Walk Your Dog” day and of course that is every day when you have a border collie. It’s a win-win situation because when you walk your happy dog you also walk, which is great for the mind and the body. So Happy Walk Your Dog day everyone! (Thanks +Leanne Osborne )
When Joni is leaping around at high speed on top of snow banks you just have to keep on snapping, hoping that some will catch a special moment. This was taken the same time as yesterday's image, but this time she is framed nicely by the green and the snowbank. When she's having so much fun she doesn't always look up when you call her name to try to get her attention. This time she did.
Joni's favourite season has always been the winter. As she was born into a Canadian December, her first trips outside were into the snow and the cold and even as a young pup she loved it and never wanted to come inside, preferring to brave the cold wind and snow to play and run than to be indoors looking out the window at it.
Her new favourite winter pass-time is to jump onto snowbanks, digging around in them for any small creatures that might be hiding under the covered vegetation. Here I just caught her as she leaped joyfully over a bank that was partly covering a holly bush.
Joni is now 2 years old and this photograph appears to portray a dog that is calm and mature and even sensitive. The true story, however, is somewhat different. As I type this, Steven is outside on a ladder in the pouring (and freezing) rain clearing leaves from the gutters in preparation for the snow expected tomorrow. He has trudged back and forth carrying a heavy long ladder all around the house with a wet, bedraggled Joni at his heels. Each time he stops and puts the ladder down to set it in place, Joni drops the Frisbee at his feet ready for him to play. Does that show sensitivity? Maturity? I think not.
Even this photograph, where she is lying apparently peacefully on a rug disguises her real state, which is closer to that of a coiled spring. She is watching us working around the kitchen, gauging where she should drop her blue ball so that we might see it and start a game. It took me several frames to get one this sharp as all the others were blurred by her sudden movements.
She is only 2 years old, still a youngster, so the playfulness and excitement is completely understandable. And she is a border collie, so the focus will never lessen, at least not for several years. But she could show a little understanding and sensitivity to the situation and not ask a busy man on a freezing roof to play Frisbee. Give him a break, Joni!
Border collies are working dogs and are happiest when they have a job. That job can be something as fun as playing Frisbee or ball, or as serious as sheep herding or search and rescue. Joni wears this pack often when we go for a walk, partly because it helps to focus her, but also because the weight it carries gives her additional exercise and builds stamina and muscle. When she sees me holding the pack, she walks up and puts her nose into the harness. As soon as it is buckled on her character changes to being calm and serious. She becomes a working dog in fact as well as name.
She is learning to wait patiently for me while I stop to chat with someone or to take a photograph as I was here. She has also learned to drop to a 'down' position wherever she is, when I raise my arms and call her name (this was how the sheep herder told me to train her). She will also come straight back to me and sit by my left side when I call her name and tap my leg. She needs to work a bit more on it as, like a child, at times she becomes distracted and needs a reminder that life is not all about play. But she is getting there. She will soon be 2 years old.
I know it doesn't look like a lot of fun, when you are hunched against a bitter wind that is whipping your hair (or fur) around and ice is freezing your eyelashes. But you have to admit that there is something exciting about it as well.
I thought that the other day on this walk with Joni. I had my scarf up over my nose and my colourful wool hat pulled down to my eyebrows, held firmly in place with the hood of my winter jacket. I was dressed in layers and layers of thin wool, then ski pants on top and warm thick woolly boot socks. I was trudging along on my snowshoes on top of the thick wind-sculpted drifts, only stopping long enough to pick up Joni's throw toy and send it off into the swirling snow so she could go racing after it. She absolutely loved the game and the walk and bounded over the deep snow in what looked like pure joy. And I looked around me across the white fields that were misted with blowing snow and I felt exhilarated at the sight and the conditions. I love it. And Joni loves it too. What you see in this picture is a happy dog. Photographed by a happy person.*
*If you have your camera out in conditions like this, make sure you bring it into a cool room to acclimatise before bringing it into the warm, to avoid condensation in the camera innards.
Are you not able to comment on Google+ because you don't belong? Would you prefer to comment on my blog? It's right here with all my G+ posts on it: http://www.elliekennard.ca .
Today I discovered that a jet from a spray bottle is a good reminder to Joni to stop doing naughty things. It doesn't hurt her but gets the message across quickly and effectively. I mean such naughty things as jumping up on my chair when I am eating or when I'm trying to use the laptop on the table. As my chair is also her blue ball station, we have come to a compromise where I can sit on it and she can play with her toys, including her blue ball underneath it. There is room for both of us. Here she is just having fun with Steven in between playing the blue ball game.