Making Contact

I’m going to let you in on a dog photography trade secret. Kona’s been trying to teach me this for a while, and after many frustrating photo sessions with him refusing to look directly into the camera, I think I’ve finally gotten the hint.

Are you ready for the big secret?

TREATS

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TREATS

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NO TREATS

Yep. Dogs are a simple bunch. Eat, play, poop, pee, sniff. If you want them to look into your camera, show them the FOOD!

finally remembered to bring some cut up cheese on our last adventure and it was a SUCCESS! An all around win-win. I got eye contact, and Kona got a delicious treat. 🙂

Dog Days of Summer at Bolsa Chica Wetlands

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We woke up to bright sunshine this morning, instead of the usual June gloom. I decided it was a perfect day to hike the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Kona agreed.

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Kona seemed to enjoyed exploring new scents from the multitude of critters that pass through this reserve, and like clockwork, sneaks away from me to get a quick roll on a dead bird when my back is turned. Dead birds = stinky puppy.

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There is usually a wide variety of birds hanging out next to the water’s edge, ranging from beautiful cranes to predatory hawks and vultures.

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The wetlands have a unique beauty. I love the huge, rusty old oil pumps seesawing slowly, groaning and squeaking. Growing up in Huntington Beach, these were always a part of the urban scenery.

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Cactus bloom is a part of the indigenous landscape.

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Sunshine with a cool breeze. All-in-all it was a lovely afternoon spent with my boy.

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Saturday Shopping at Pacific City

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Saturday morning is made for window-shopping at Pacific City.

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Though not all the stores are open yet, there are some really great restaurants and a wide variety of shops.

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One of my favorite stores.

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Kona’s favorite store. Well, not the bath part of it.

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This place smells great! Let’s go in! Hey, who’s that looking at me? She’s kinda cute…

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Just a little lick. They’ll never know.

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Which way is the beach? Are we going swimming now?

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The view from the restaurants isn’t too shabby.

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There’s plenty of outdoor seating available, and a few glass-fire pits for chillier evenings.

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Okay, okay I’ll look at the camera. Sheesh!

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Most of the stores were still closed so we got to peer in and snap lots of pics without disturbing anybody.

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Have a superb Saturday, friends!

 

Dog Day Afternoon, Ocean Style

On this fine Saturday morning Kona and I started off to Dog Beach. As we were cursing along Coast Highway, the traffic became thick with brake lights and people were swarming the are. Oh crap. I finally realized it was the final weekend of the US Surf Open.

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Luckily, we got through downtown without a glitch and found great parking. This guy found great parking too.

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Good ol’ Ruby’s Diner. Back when I was a kid it was The End Cafe, before it was destroyed by huge waves in 1983.

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No, bub, I’m not following you into the water just yet.

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Harbor Patrol keeping it safe.

DSC_0021Remember what happened last time you drank salt water? Highly undesirable after-effects.

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Rottie-love.

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C’mon already! It’s time to get wet!

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Pretty houses on the way back to the car.

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More pretty houses. Some were empty! Do people actually live here?

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 Cheers to a fabulous weekend!

She’s Breaking out the Camera Again…

It’s been a bumpy couple of days. Yesterday, I took Kona to the vet because he was throwing up and his eyes were swollen.

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Turns out he was having an allergic reaction, so the doc gave him a shot of Benadryl and we were on our way. Kona came home and crashed in his bed, sleepy from the meds.

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Oh, no. Mom’s got that black box stuck to her face again. 

This morning, Kona’s back to normal, and I’m inspired to start taking pictures again.

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Camera time. *Sigh*

Pumpkin and Scout are pretty excited about my rediscovered passion for photography 🙂

Raw Food Follow Up

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It’s been a little over a month since I started Kona on his raw food diet. I’m pleased to report that he is scratching much less, and the skin on his belly is no longer red and inflamed. He only licks his paws occasionally, whereas before he was licking them raw. His “corn chip” stinky dog smell is almost gone as well, though he is still getting weekly baths.

All in all I’d say the raw diet seems to be making a difference. Of course, I can’t back it up scientifically, but I do see that my pup is slowly getting back to his goofy, playful self for the first time in a long time.

The folks at the Dinovite website suggest maintaining the no-carb diet for at least three months to get rid of the yeast, so I’m going to keep this going. If Kona continues to improve, I’ll gradually start adding cooked white rice to extend his food supply.

I suppose the real test of success will come next summer, as the humidity rises and the fleas start hatching. Hopefully by then Kona’s immune system will be strong and his itch-free season will continue throughout the year.

Switching to a Raw Food Diet

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

I surrender.

Season after season of watching my dog scratch and lick himself raw, paying veterinarians hundreds of dollars to tell me they don’t know why my dog (and so many other dogs they treat) have these skin issues, and reading heartbreaking accounts about deaths stemming from contaminated commercial dog food has led me to switching Kona to a raw food diet.

He typically starts scratching in June, when flea season blossoms with the warm, humid weather. Though I have yet to see a single flea on my self or in my home, I have spotted a few crawling around on Kona during the summer. His belly turns pink and he scratches and chews himself bald. I take him to the vet, they tell me he’s probably allergic to flea saliva and hand me a bottle of Prednisone and antibiotics, which brings only temporary relief. When summer comes to an end, his scratching usually stops and his fur grows back.

This year the scratching hasn’t stopped, and Kona is miserable. It’s December and it’s cold out, so I doubt there’s an abundance of fleas around. This seems like something beyond flea allergies. I’ve noticed he has a stronger odor, and his skin feels sort of waxy. I bathe him once a week, just to keep his smell under control. His typically silky fur feels brittle, and he’s licking his paws excessively.

I decided to try the homemade approach. I was a bit overwhelmed by the wide variety of homemade dog food sites there are. Should I cook it, or go raw? My husband likes the prey-model raw food diet. I suspect he fancies himself tossing whole raw chickens into the yard while Kona gnashes on them like his wild wolf ancestors. I wasn’t too comfortable with this one. The reality is my dog would most likely bury it instead of eating it, and we’d eventually end up with a raw chicken graveyard in our backyard. Eew.

One night I typed in “home made dog food” and this popped up. I found simple recipes for both cooked and raw diets, and nutrition information. The site eventually brought me to their product site, where they describe Kona’s exact symptoms, most likely caused by yeast (Candida albicans) overload.

Symptoms Of Yeast:

• Dog has stinky skin that comes from the inside. Does your dog stink right after a bath?
• Dog has goopy, stinky ears. Do you clean and deodorize your dog’s ears continually?
• Dog has irritated skin, paw licking and skin rashes. Are you up all night listening to your dog lick and dig?
• Dog has oily fur, flaky skin and brittle coat. Do you hesitate to pet your dog because of what ends up on your hands? Does your house smell like your “stale frito” dog?

I decided to order a box of Dinovite for large dogs with a bottle of fish oil. I received it on December 5th, and made a large-batch of raw food following their yeast starvation recipe. There is also a video that shows how to do it. I also bought ten small plastic containers so I could freeze individual portions and just pull them out of the freezer as needed.

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Kona loves it. He inhales his food and seems to have a bit more energy, though so far his scratching is about the same. It’s been less than two weeks, and the website suggests using the product for three to six months because the yeast takes a while to go away.

At this point, I’m cautiously optimistic. There are hundreds of positive reviews about this product, so this give me some hope. Like most things natural, it will take time.

What kind of diet is your dog on? Have you ever used Dinovite, or fed a raw food diet to your pup? I’d love to hear from you!

8 Photos of Happiness Challenge…

…Better late than never? Back in August, our friend, Lexi the Schnauzer, graciously nominated Kona and I to participate in the 8 Photos of Happiness Challenge created by Ariel’s Little Corner of the Internet.

Apologies for the tardiness of this reply – I picked out these photos back in August and they’ve been sitting on my computer desktop waiting to be posted! So here goes…

This is my absolute favorite picture of Kona. He loves being chased, as you can see from the smile on his face.

This is my absolute favorite picture of Kona. He loves being chased, as you can see from the smile on his face.

Captain Kona sailing on daddy's boat

Captain Kona loves sailing on daddy’s boat.

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Sitting on mommy’s lap as we take off in the motor home to go camping. Though I loves camping, riding in the motor home makes me a bit nervous, so I just sit all 50 pounds onto mom’s lap for most of the trip.

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Playing “tear apart the stuffed bunny” with my pal, Dexter.

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Watching the sunset with daddy while camping at Jamala Beach.

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“Time for our walky-walky, mommy!” This is the look I give my mom every morning at 7:30. I keep track of time better than she does!

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Camping hiking at the Grand Canyon. Daddy has a habit of pointing at things in pictures.

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Finally a picture with mommy! I loves jumping and biting at the snow. It seems to bring out the Husky instincts in me.

It’s now time for me to nominate the following blogs/friends:

The adventures of the very charming Stuart the Scottish Terrier http://scottiechronicles.com

The life of a golden retriever told with beautiful photographs http://goldenbenn.net

More beautiful photos and words about adorable cats https://blessinganimalcompanions.wordpress.com

A blog about Macy the Australian Shepherd and Castle the Golden Retriever https://macyandcastle.wordpress.com

Clever pictures and tales from Shoko and Kali the Canadian cats https://canadiancats.wordpress.com

I do not wish to be responsible for anyone’s unhappiness because I inadvertently omitted them, so If you want to join the challenge, just JOIN!

Rules and explanation of this tag:

Thank your nominator/s and link them in your post.
Link the creator (Ariel’s little corner of the internet)
Post your 8 photos of happiness;
The photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking!
Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers!