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!

Follow Joyful Goldens on Facebook to easily stay updated on all 4 dogs!

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!

Mackworth Island



Between the magical fairy houses hidden within the forest, the wooden swings that are strategically placed along the trail and the breathtaking scenic views of Casco Bay, Mackworth Island is easily one of our FAVORITE dog friendly parks to explore!

Mackworth Island is approximately 100 acres, connected to Falmouth by a causeway at the mouth of the Presumpscot River. You can walk the 1.5 mile loop trail or explore the rocky shore around the perimeter of the island, either way you get to enjoy the beautiful scenic views of Casco Bay!

We have brought the dogs here a few times over the last couple years and everytime we do we discover a new spot or a new feature that we never noticed before. The dogs LOVE it here because they get to go into the cold ocean and play in the warm sand. They have many toy options including, rocks, sticks and pinecones galore! Not to mention they always end up meeting new friends while along the way!

On one of our visits there in 2017 we took photos of Tavish, Jax and Ali in pirate costumes for a contest on Instagram! It was not easy getting the props to stay on the dogs-especially because we were near the water so that’s all they could think about! We were so excited that our hard work paid off when we found out we won the contest! Keep scrolling down to see the photos!

Having so many fun memories here is what made it the perfect location for our wedding photo session this week! Dave and I are going to dress back up in our wedding attire and have photos taken with all 4 dogs! Usually we take our own photos so it’s going to be fun having another professional take them!

Keep these tips in mind if you visit Mackworth Island:

*Dogs are allowed but must be leashed
*The limited parking fills up quickly during peak hours
*Owned by the State of Maine and there is a small fee to use it:
Maine Residents Adults $3.00, Nonresident Adults $4.00
Children age 5-11 $1.00, Under age 5 Free
For more information on park fees click here
* Click here for more information about Mackworth Island
* Click here to learn about the dark history of Mackworth Island

Keep reading to view more photos from our adventures at Mackworth Island!

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250 Main Hotel



Jasper was finally old enough to travel to new and exciting places with us in the middle of May 2018. Our first trip was to a beautiful, pet friendly, boutique hotel located on Main Street in Rockland Harbor, 250 Main Hotel. As someone who doesn’t want to go anywhere without my dogs, I really appreciate being able to bring them with us on fun adventures like this! Although I will say that I was a little nervous to bring 3 goldens (one only being 16 weeks old) into this beautiful hotel but thankfully the dogs were so well behaved during this trip!

The drive there was an hour and a half from our house so once we got there, we let the dogs play and get some energy out in Harbor Park, conveniently located directly across the road from the hotel.

Anywhere we go out in public, these three joyful goldens always draw in attention. Its so fun to watch someones face light up once they see Jax, Jasper & Tavish. As we walked into the hotel a very nice older couple walked in behind us, just to ask if they could pet the dogs. The gentleman said that he had a golden who lived to be 16 years old and that he wishes us the same luck with our goldens. Since Tavish is 8 years old, it’s nice to hear about dogs who live long and healthy lives. After we talked for a few minutes, they went on their way and we checked into the hotel.

The staff were so friendly, to us and our dogs! They gave us dog treats, doggie bags and even a coupons to use at the local dog treat store, just a little ways down the road. Plus there were even organic lollipops for us in our beautifully modern, clean and comfortable room! After we unpacked our bags we checked out the artwork on each landing till we made it to the amazing rooftop deck! With the best view, comfortable chairs and even an awesome wooden picnic table, not only is this the perfect spot to watch sunrise or sunset but it’s perfect for any time of day!

In the evening after we fed the dogs, we took them for a walk around Rockland. These dogs can’t help but bring joy to everyone they meet, even people that are just walk or drive by smile after seeing them. During our evening walk, after a car drove by us, they stopped in the middle of the road, backed up and rolled their windows down to say “hi, we are just admiring the golden retrievers.”

After a great night’s sleep, we woke up and went to the rooftop to watch a very foggy sunrise. Since we couldn’t see much up there we decided to take the dogs for a walk around town while everyone else was sleeping. There is something so special about having a normally busy place, all to yourselves. Helps make the 4:45 am alarm worth it.

After we checked out of 250 Main and before we drove home, we took the dogs for a walk to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse! It took us an extra long time to get there and back for a couple of reasons, first reason being that we took our time so that no one would trip or fall. The Lighthouse is about a mile out into the ocean on large granite rocks with big cracks in between them plus we had 3 dogs-including a puppy!

The second reason was because everyone we walked by, stopped to say hi and some even took photos of Jax, Jasper and Tavish! A lot of people thought Jax was Jasper’s mother- which was pretty funny.

It was still a beautiful walk and the views made it worth it! By the time we got back to the car, we were all ready to go home and all three of the dogs were sleeping before we were out of Rockland!

We would highly recommend staying at 250 Main Hotel if you are in the area or even if your not- it’s worth the trip!

Thank you for the wonderful stay 250 Main Hotel!


Keep reading to see more photos from our trip!

Follow us on Instagram @Joyful_Jax for more photos!

Click here for more info on 250 Main Hotel!

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Acadia National Park


Joyful_Jax at ANP-3

Last year my fiancé, Dave and I took Tavish, Jax and Ali on a day trip to Acadia National Park. It is a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from our house and we wanted to be at the summit of Cadillac Mountain for the 5:00 sunrise. We left our house at 2:30am.

We were glad we left early because like almost every adventure with dogs, nothing went as planned once we got there. We missed a great parking spot and had to park in the lower lot. We started walking to the summit when I realized I somehow forgot my memory card! Thankfully, Dave ran back to car to grab the card while I kept walking with the dogs.

We met back up at the summit as the sun started to rise. It was simply BEAUTIFUL! We were so grateful to be able to see the beautiful golden light to come up over the edge of the ocean. Our trip here the year before, we arrived to a very foggy sunrise. We couldn’t see anything more than a few feet in front of us. Which was beautiful in its own way and we definitely didn’t let it ruin our fun. It just made us appreciate the beauty a little more this time.

From there we headed a little ways down the mountain to our car so we could feed the dogs and let them get some energy out. They were SO HAPPY to be out of the car after the long trip!

We drove slowly around the Park Loop Road enjoying the coastal views and stopped at Thunder Hole. Dave had to hold Jax and Tavish back as they really just wanted to jump into the ocean. We were leaving Thunder Hole as the place was getting busy, continuing slowly down the Park Loop with Jax and Tavish’s heads out the window. We could hear them say with smiling faces “ohh look at those beautiful dogs!”

We knew the dogs had some energy to get out so the next stop was an off leash dog park located just outside of the park borders. South of Jordan Pond, between Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor, where Long Pond meets the ocean, you will find a hidden dog park! This land is privately owned but thanks to the Rockefeller family its made available to the public!

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse was our last stop before heading home. Another stunning coastal dog friendly spot that you don’t want to miss if you are in the area! We walked up close to the lighthouse and then we walked around so we could see it from the rocky shore.

*Be aware, at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse there is a long staircase that leads down to the rocky shore which can be hard for dogs after a tiring adventure. Tavish, the oldest dog was feeling a little tired after walking down and back up those stairs.

We had such a great time that we are looking forward to our trip this year when we get to bring Jasper along with the rest of us!

*Don’t forget to bring extra water & bowl for your dog as well as treats to help with energy on long adventures.

*If your walking on pavement, be aware of how hot it is and if its too hot for your dog.

*Take a couple photos and then put your phone away so you all can enjoy the moment.

Keep reading to see photos from our trip to Acadia National Park!

Follow us on Instagram @Joyful_Jax for more photos!

Click here for more info on Acadia National Park!

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