Fort Williams Park

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Maine, Pet Friendly Travel, Photography

Not only is Fort Williams Park a beautiful dog friendly park on the coast with lots to explore but it is also the home of the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America!

With over 90 acres of recreational space, we have only explored some of it but we plan on making a trip back there soon! Between checking out the lighthouse (and of course getting a photo of it) and walking the cliffside loop to the rocky beach, it’s easy to spend a whole afternoon there. And that’s not even mentioning touring the Arboretum, the Children’s Garden, the Goddard Mansion and of course Battery Keyes and Battery Blair!

Also there are vendors in the park during the summer offering crepes, lobster rolls, sandwiches and gelato! Oh and there is even an off leash area for all those good behaving pups out there! Sounds like a perfect Maine summer day to me!

Since my husband Dave and I are generally shy people when we are out exploring, it was pretty funny that the first time we visited, the place was packed with tourists from a cruise ship that docked near by. When your walking around with 3 beautiful goldens and 1 adorable little boston terrier/pug mix… you get stopped a lot. 

We get stopped so much that we have to plan for extra time when we go out with them. But we totally get it, I would probably stop other people if I walked by a group of adorable dogs! It is actually a great way to meet new people and I find its way easier to talk about my dogs then it is to talk about myself so it works for us! 

Most of the people from the cruise ship that stopped to talk to us were missing their own dogs. They were saying how they wished they could have brought them with them or how their kids are pet sitting and sending them photos. Others had goldens in the past and told us some of their favorite memories of them.

I’ll never forget this one woman who stopped us to compliment the pups and give them some love. Unfortunately, she had just lost her golden the day before while she was on the cruise and her golden was home with her daughter. My heart hurt for her, I know how hard it is to lose a loved one and not being there must make it so much harder. But Tavish, Jax, Jasper and Ali all made her smile from the moment she saw them. I feel like we ran into her for a reason, to share a little joy on a difficult day and that alone made the whole trip worth it.

Definitely put this on your must visit list! With all of the fun outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, you just can’t go wrong. Who knows you might even meet some new friends!

Keep these tips in mind if you visit Fort Williams Park & Portland Head Light:
* Open from sunrise to sunset
* Has a carry in/carry out policy. There are no trash receptacles in the park.
* Now has a parking fee. Click here for more information.
* Click here for more information about Fort Williams Park & Portland Head Light

Keep reading to view more photos from our adventures at Fort Williams Park & Portland Head Light!

Dogs care about your hair.

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Hair, Hair Loss, Maine, Thin Hair, Wigs, Women

Just kidding- no they don’t! That is part of what makes dogs so special. My dogs have never cared about how my hair looks! And trust me, my hair (or lack thereof) has looked pretty crazy throughout the years!

Growing up I had beautiful long thick hair that just started falling out when I was around 17 years old. I remember trying everything I could find that said it helped with hair growth but nothing ever worked. Turns out, I have androgenic alopecia which is also known as female pattern baldness. I ended up cutting my hair really short, right out of high school because it was so thin and was just getting worse. For the last 12 years, I tried really, really hard to not let it stop me from being my true self but deep down, I know that I lost a piece of myself when I lost my hair.

That is why I’m so grateful to have always had dogs in my life, I don’t know what I would do without them! I started spending all my spare time with my dogs instead of people. Dogs don’t care how much hair you have, even if they have better hair than you!

In October 2015, about a week after I had to make the hardest decision of my life to put my sweet sheltie (Jake) of 10 years down because he had cancer & was in pain. Tavish’s previous owner, whose a friend of the family asked if we wanted him because she was looking for a new home for him. Dave and I have known (and loved) Tavish since he was a puppy, we even watched him for a week or so once, so we knew he would be a great fit in our family. However, since I had just lost Jake and we already had my late grandmother’s dog, Ali, I wasn’t quite ready for another dog… but thankfully my parents were! I remember them saying “well… can we do a trial run, just in case it doesn’t work out?” Believe when I say that trial run only lasted about 30 seconds! He’s been a loved member of our family ever since!

Unfortunately our beloved Puppa Tavish unexpectedly passed away on March 5th 2019 surrounded by family. We still can’t believe this happened and miss him terribly. He was a truly amazing dog that came into our lives when we needed him most and he brought so much joy with him everywhere he went, we will never forget him. Up until his last day with us, he was full of life, love and attitude like always! Our family won’t be the same without this joyful golden but we will always see him when we look at Jax and Jasper.

Rest In Peace Tavish

Tavish was such a happy, handsome dog who LOVED attention and you couldn’t help but love him! The more time we spent with him, the more he made us smile and after a lot of thought, my mom decided to stud him out and bring home one of his puppies. That is how we got the joyful goofball that we all know and love as Joyful Jax! Once my mom brought him home, you can bet I was at her house every spare minute I had! He was such an adorable little fluff ball of joy and we loved watching Tavish and Jax play together! They constantly made us laugh and even though this may sound crazy, they genuinely made us feel happier.

I LOVE taking photos, so naturally I would capture every moment I was with them on camera. I couldn’t help it- they were just so adorable and they brought so much joy into our lives! That’s when I realized that I needed to share these photos with other dog crazy people and I created the Instagram account’s @Joyful_Jax, @Puppa_Tavish & @BestBud_Ali. People seemed to love our dogs just as much as we did and the pages grew way more than I ever thought they would! So my husband Dave and I started spending all our spare time taking the dogs on adventures and photographing them along the way to share with our new community.

After each adventure, we would come home exhausted, sore, and sometimes even frustrated because it didn’t go as planned. But most of all, whether we were just in the back yard or out exploring somewhere new, we would come home with little more joy in our hearts. At the end of March 2018 Dave and I brought Jasper home and of course I had to create an Instagram account for him too @JasperTheFriendlyGolden. Over the years with the help of my pups, I started growing stronger and stopped caring so much about what others thought and started caring more about what I thought.

In October 2018, I made the biggest decision of my life and quit my safe and reliable job of 11 years so I could focus on doing what I love; photographing my best friends-my dogs! I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing now and I’m so grateful just to have the opportunity, however as someone with really thin hair, it’s not easy for me to get in front of the camera with my dogs. I’m not even kidding when I say that I wear a hat 95% of the time-sometimes two hats, just to hide my thin hair (or lack thereof.)

I know that some people might not understand why it can be hard to live your life to its fullest when you have such thin hair or suffer from hair loss. Some say “it’s just hair,” or “your beautiful the way you are.” And don’t get me wrong, I know that those are both true statements but what no one really talks about how much hair is apart of your identity and how difficult it is to not let it negatively impact your life.

I spent the last 12 years worrying about how my hair looked or if you could see straight through it to my scalp and worried about how the wind, water, lights would affect it. Living through my 20’s worried about my lack of hair sucked and it wasn’t easy but I’d like to think I went through it for a reason. I always did my best to not let it stop me from living my life to its fullest. However sometimes it did and still does but I wouldn’t be nearly as strong as I am today if I didn’t go through so much of my life with thin hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I embraced my thin hair as much I could, I tried not to dwell on it, I tried to focus on the positive things in my life- like my dogs and I started going to yoga/meditation classes (which I really didn’t think would help but it really did!)

But nothing made me really feel like myself again until I put my first wig on…well that is after my brain adjusted to seeing myself with a normal amount of hair again! I had to wear it around the house and out on short trips where I knew I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew for a full week to get adjusted to having a normal amount of hair. Now I’m so excited to have options again and honestly I’m kinda mad that I didn’t start wearing them sooner!

We are all self conscious about something whether it’s our hair, acne, weight, ext. but we cant let it control our lives. When I’m struggling to not let my lack of hair control my life, I go do something that makes my soul happy and that usually makes all my worries disappear… for awhile anyways!

Are you or someone you know living with hair loss? Or do you ever feel self conscious about something else? How do you stop it from controlling your life?

Let me know in the comments!

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Ice Adventures

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Maine, Pet Friendly Travel, Photography

Over the last couple of weeks we have been taking the dogs out on Lovejoy Pond! It has been really fun because there is enough open space for us to let the dogs off leash and RUN. Great way for them to get some energy out!

Jax and Jasper (sometimes Ali too) love to play ‘catch me if you can’ and run as fast as their legs can take them in circles around us! We have to bring multiple toys and treats along with us to keep their attention. Once one of them gets the toy, they run off trying to get the others to chase them (and they LOVE it even more when we chase them) so we always have to keep another toy on hand to bribe them with later.

You may be surprised but we usually keep Tavish, our oldest and wisest on a leash. We don’t always hold on to it but I think just knowing it’s on him reminds him to behave. Tavish is usually the best behaved dog in the family but he has a wild side and when we are out on adventures, he is the most likely to sneak away when we are not looking. It doesn’t help that he is SO good at it, he waits until we are distracted (usually by Jax or Jasper) and then quietly walks off like he’s doing nothing wrong. He’s also a PRO at selective hearing… I know he hears us yelling to him to come back but he won’t turn around or even acknowledge us until we say the right words “want to go for a ride?” – Works every time!

And of course they ALL love rolling around and making snow angels! It doesn’t matter if its the perfect ice for skating or icy snow, or slushy snow. Sometimes we can’t even take a few steps onto the pond before they start trying to roll around and they are still hooked up so they get completely tangled! Lets just say its a good thing Dave is a very patient man!

Here are some of our favorite photos from our ice adventures so far this year!

If one photo could truly describe what its like on an adventure with all 4 of these guys… it would be this one.

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2018 Highlights and Happy New Year!

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Maine, Pet Friendly Travel, Photography

We would first like to thank everyone for following our adventures through our Instagram pages! Here are our top 9 photos from each account for 2018:

We had such an awesome year and we are so grateful for every moment of it! First of all we brought Jasper home at the end of March, had a puppy party/reunion with Jasper’s litter mates in June, went on some really fun adventures including visiting friends from Rangeley to Boston!

We went camping at Cathedral Pines and at Matagamon Wilderness Campground. Hiked trails up mountains, to waterfalls and to the ocean as well as through a bog & dense forest that would make Mother Nature proud! We floated the East Branch of the Penobscot River and spent a ton of time paddle boarding in the Sandy River and at our favorite secret swimming hole!

We collaborated with some awesome brands including 250 Main Hotel, Nestle Poland Springs, Daniel Wellington, United Pets US, Gaston Luga, Pet Kind/Canada Fresh, Soufeel Jewelry, Artist Averil Burner & Insta360 One!

October was a BIG month for us, not only did Dave and I get married (yay!!) but I also gave my two weeks notice at my job at the Credit Union so I could focus on my dream job, health and dogs!

Since then I have been working really hard on setting up my new business Joyful Goldens and creating content that makes you smile! So far it has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring!

To start the year off right we are excited to announce that we have made our first product; a Joyful Goldens Wall Calendar for 2019! Trust me when I say it was not easy picking only 13 photos to use but we did our best and hope you love them!

If you are interested, you can purchase one here: Buy a Joyful Goldens 2019 Wall Calendar

We hope 2019 brings more adventures, puppies & joy!

Keep scrolling to take a look back at some of our favorite memories from 2018 & don’t forget to follow this blog to keep up with our adventures!

Joyful Goldens 2019 Wall Calendar NOW available!

Contact us at JoyfulGoldens@gmail.com

250 Main Hotel

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Maine, Pet Friendly Travel, Photography

Our first visit to 250 Main Hotel was when Jasper was just 12 weeks old and we had so much fun! First of all its on Main Street in Rockland and everything about the place makes you feel like royalty! So we were pretty excited when our favorite pet friendly hotel said they wanted us to come back!

Before checking in we decided to go for a hike at Camden Hills State Park. It was steep for us and also very icy, but we made it to the summit! After enjoying the view, we took a few photos and then made our way back down the mountain.

It was dark by the time we checked into the hotel but that didn’t stop us from checking out the view from the rooftop deck! Not only is Main Street lit up with beautiful Christmas lights, but right in front of the hotel there was the coolest lobster trap Christmas tree that had us in awe!

We received a very sweet welcome back note from the manager Ruth and the rest of the wonderful 250 crew. Plus they set out doggie bags, dog treats and coupons to The Loyal Biscuit Co., a healthy pet food & self serve dog wash pet store which is just a little ways down Main Street!

We spent the night on a very comfortable king sized bed that the dogs loved to jump on and off, our whole time there. We woke up to watch the sunrise come up over the ocean from the rooftop deck but it was too cloudy to see. We quickly enjoyed the view and then went back inside to warm up! After that, we braved the cold once again and took the dogs out for a walk. Before checking out, we took advantage of the beautiful morning light by capturing photos in a few different rooms!

We had such a great time in this beautiful pet friendly boutique hotel! Perfect place to stay whether your from Maine and need a staycation or if your traveling here!

Click here for more information about 250 Main Hotel in Rockland, Maine.

Check out photos from our first visit when Jasper was only 12 weeks old!

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Christmas Puppies

Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Maine, Photography

When Jasper was just 3 weeks old we brought a red and white Christmas tree skirt to set all the puppies on for some photos. The pups were so tiny that we were afraid to even touch them- WHAT IF we accidentally hurt one?? Luckily they were so cute, we were able to pull ourselves together and play with these sweet tiny pups. 😉

They stole our hearts the moment we saw them. We never wanted to leave these pups, we would stay for about an hour and a half every visit.

We tried to set all 12 of them up in a long line… however every time we set one down, they would immediately move and climb on top of each other. Since we didn’t want to disturb them much and let’s be honest, they look adorable doing ANYTHING, we just let them be.

I just love photographing these amazing little dogs! It’s definitely a dream of mine to be able to photograph puppies and I’m so grateful this is what I get to do!!

I have so many ideas ready to go for the next time I get to photograph some adorable golden puppies!

Here are a few of the best photos we got back in February 2018:

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A Golden Christmas

Golden Retrievers

Last year Dave and I spent what felt like FOREVER trying to get just one good Christmas photo of Jax and Tavish for their Instagram pages. Just about everything that could go wrong, would go wrong for us (Murphy’s law) and I’m pretty sure I left the house thinking we didn’t get any good photos. Thinking about it now all I can think is how easy it was to get two dogs to sit for us compared to the four dogs we try to pose now!

Anyways we ended up with some pretty cute photos of Jax and Tavish plus a few with Ali. The one with Jax and Tavish wrapped up in Christmas lights with their eyes closed is our most popular photos to date! It has been shared more than a few hundred thousand times and been featured on some big social media pages! I love the photo but had no idea how much everyone else would love it either! Sometimes the photos I think are going to do awesome, don’t and the photos I think no one will really like but its all I have to post, do amazing!

Taking these photos with Jax at just over a year old had made us wish we would have taken Christmas photos when my mom first brought Jax home in January 2017. Seriously, what were we thinking?! It was only a few weeks after Christmas and it would have been so easy to leave a few decorations up for photos! But we didn’t and we missed out on a bunch of what I can only imagine to be very adorable puppy Jax photos.

I made sure I didn’t miss the opportunity to take Christmas photos of Jasper when we brought him home at the end of March 2018! During his first two weeks with us, we set up an artificial Christmas tree and took photos as often as we could. I wish we had taken more but let’s be real, when working with dogs, you do things on their schedule, not yours. Plus Jasper was only 8-10 weeks old so when we told him to sit and stay he looked at us funny and then completely ignored us.

To make the whole process easier and more enjoyable for all of us, we would bring all 4 dogs outside to try to get some of their energy out before trying to get them to sit still for photos. That only works half the time though because we tire out WAY before the dogs do.

We also keep their favorite treats and toys near by to get their attention but by the time you get one dog sitting still and where you want him, another dogs moves or stops cooperating. Our photo shoots usually take about an hour or so, we make sure to take breaks in between and we usually end up saying “lets just try one more time” about 3 times before we stop.

It’s definitely not easy and even with all the frustrating moments that photographing these 4 amazing dogs bring, I just love photographing them. Every photo shoots brings us closer and leaves us with memories that are now really funny to look back at. Some moments take us longer to laugh about but we always end up laughing!

We tried to recreate the photo of Jax and Tavish wrapped in Christmas lights with Jasper and Ali but it (like every other photo shoot) did not go as planned. We may not have captured what I was going for but still got a few cute photos from it!

Do you try to take photos of your dogs?
Leave a comment below if you enjoy photographing (or at least trying to photograph) your dogs!

Jax’s 2nd Birthday!

Golden Retrievers

So crazy to think back to two years ago, before we knew Jax was born and going to be coming home with us in 8 weeks. Things were so different!

I remember being meeting Jax and his 5 other litter mates for the first time when they were only 2 weeks old! There were 2 males and 4 females and they were all ADORABLE! I left there with sever puppy fever and feeling high on puppy breath!

Last year Jax’s 1st birthday was on Thanksgiving so we took a couple of photos for Instagram and I made the video below of his first year with us. Believe me when I say it wasn’t easy narrowing down my favorite clips to only 5 minutes but I did the best I could!

Watch the video here!

This year we took some photos a couple of days before his actual birthday because it is on Black Friday and most of our family had to work. I did go over to let them all run around and play in the snow for a couple of hours on his actual birthday. Not only did they have fun but so did I! They always make me laugh…except for when they are not listening to me! Haha

Below are photos from both days!

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Be Thankful

Golden Retrievers

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for every year but this year has been a year of change that has me extra thankful!

I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to start living my life more intentionally, to make a living out of doing something I love and for all of the encouragement and support from my family and friends.

I’m thankful for the dogs in my life that bring me so much joy and remind me to live my life to the fullest! And of course I’m thankful for Dave who is always pushing me to follow my dreams and for helping me get there!

Keep reading to see some photos from our fun in the sun & the snow!

And don’t forget to like Joyful Goldens on Facebook to stay updated on all 4 dogs!