3rd Foster Pup – Marlie

Dogs, Foster Dogs, Maine, Photography

Our 3rd foster pup was an adorable 11 week old Double Merle Australian Shepherd. I honestly had no idea what I was getting us into but when Mainely Mutts asked if we would be up for fostering a deaf and blind puppy, I immediately said “of course, do you really have to ask?” We were thrilled to welcome this little pup into our home!

I immediately started googling “how to train blind and deaf puppies” to help me prepare for Marlie to arrive from Mississippi. But thankfully she could see a little bit out of one eye so she got around way better than I thought she would. It didn’t take long to realize that she was a feisty little pup that didn’t let being deaf and blind hold her back any!

Marlie absolutely loves other dogs! She wasn’t afraid of my large goldens, Jax and Jasper or grumpy old little dogs like Ali, my boston terrier/pug mix. Jasper and Marlie became instant best friends. They would tire each other out from playing and running around the house. It was so funny to watch this tiny pup stick her whole head into Jasper’s mouth and come back out without a scratch!

When she wasn’t playing with Jasper, she loved to play with toys! She was so vocal too, she would growl and make crazy noises while she tossed toys around! She made us laugh so much! Marlie loved exploring the outdoors too. She would pull all the way to the end of her leash and run from side to side or sometimes she would just sit down and enjoy the view. Or leaves- she loved chewing on dry crunchy leaves!

She may have kept us on our toes but she made up for it 100 times over. And OMG. She was the absolute cutest when she was sleeping…and she slept a lot! She loved to be snuggled right up next to you, or on you, or another pup. When she was sleeping on a bed or in her kennel she would be all stretched out and laying in the funniest positions, it was SO adorable! I literally could have (and sometimes did) capture her on film ALL day!

Marlie stayed with us for a full month, which is twice as long as we’ve had a foster stay with us and we all grew very attached to this feisty little firecracker of a pup. I’ll be honest, I cried the day we dropped her off to her forever home, even though I knew that she was in great hands. I have full faith in the Mainely Mutts team to find the perfect home for each animal they rescue and that is what they did for Marlie. She’s living her best life, being spoiled and loved the way she should be and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Learn more about Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue and their available pets here!

For videos and more photos of our time with Marlie, check out the Marlie Highlights on @joyful_jax’s Instagram profile!

2nd Foster Dog – Sadie

Dogs, Foster Dogs, Maine

Our second foster dog Sadie was a welcome and much needed distraction. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed on August 19th and when we got Sadie on August 29th, I was still in pain. I wasn’t fully healed so I wasn’t as active and couldn’t capture as much of our time with her as I normally would have but I don’t think she cared. She was just happy to sit on the couch and snuggle with me!

Sadie is an estimated 4 year old shepherd mix with the cutest big ears that you couldn’t help but love! Just like our first foster dog Jet, Sadie made the long trip to Maine all the way from Mississippi and she was also a favorite among the people who were involved in her rescue. Sadly, she was missing a lot of her front teeth because she was eating bugs out of the dirt and around rocks before she was rescued. It always breaks my heart when I think about what these dogs go through!

It’s always a little crazy when we first bring a new dog into our house, our dogs are usually thrilled to have a new friend around so they all try to play with the new dog at the same time. But that can be pretty overwhelming for any dog, let alone a rescue dog in a whole new environment! That didn’t bother Sadie any though, when we introduced her to our dogs she was so excited to play with them, especially with Jax! She loved chasing Ali…maybe because he’s smaller than her? I’m not sure but it was pretty funny to watch! And she would even share the couch with Jasper. It was clear that Sadie’s forever home should have another dog in it. 

Sadie got along with everyone she met but she really loved the ladies and she also loved begging for human food (especially chicken!) She was definitely a spoiled pup at one time in her life! 

We had Sadie for 12 days and it was still tough to say goodbye. I tried to prepare myself this time, I tried not to get too attached to her but she was just so sweet and lovable! I’m grateful Mainely Mutts found her the perfect forever family with a fur brother that looks a lot like her! I can tell she’s going to be spoiled the way she deserves to be and I’m thrilled for her!

If you’re looking for a rescue dog to add to your family, I would HIGHLY recommend contacting Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue. Mainely Mutts primarily works with southern rescue partners, pulling high-risk puppies and dogs from Mississippi and Alabama. Not only do they strive to find the perfect home match for each rescue but they also provide education, resources, and support to every family beyond the adoption process. Plus the inspiring women behind Mainely Mutts are also some of the nicest people I’ve ever met!

Learn more about Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue and their available pets here!

For videos and more photos of our time with Sadie, check out the Sadie Highlight on @joyful_jax’s Instagram profile!

1st Foster Dog – Jet

Dogs, Foster Dogs, Maine

I met Lia from Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue at the Target parking lot in Portland, Maine to pick up our first foster dog Jet. I really had no idea what to expect, I just knew that Jet is a 4 year old Husky from Mississippi, that was scheduled for euthanasia days before he hopped on transport to Maine. I knew he was a favorite among everyone involved in his rescue who had a chance to get to know him and he got along great with other dogs.

Two hours later we were home and introducing him to our dogs. My dogs were very excited to have a new friend in the house but he didn’t really have any interest in them. I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that he was the best behaved dog in my house. Even after everything he went through, being passed from shelter to shelter and who knows what else!

Jet made himself right at home and loved settling down on the big comfy dog bed we have! Once he got comfortable in his new surroundings, it didn’t take him long to start showing his personality. He is very talkative which was new to us, our dogs bark but they don’t talk to us the same way Jet did! 

When I started brushing him, he laid right over on his back waiting for belly rubs. We had a large crate for him to sleep in but one of his favorite places to lay down was under a bench in the corner of the house next to my desk where the other pups couldn’t get to him. He would even sit by the door while we were getting ready to leave so that we wouldn’t leave without him!

My 9 year old cousin Sunny came over to hang out with us one day and Jet just loved her! They played and snuggled in his giant crate together, he did really great on leash for her when we went for a walk! We took photos of Jet and Sunny together and he loved all the attention (and treats!)

However, he could not be trusted around human food! Everytime we set food down on the counter or table and looked away (even for a second), Jet would try to snatch the food before we noticed what he was doing! One day we hooked Jet to a runner off the deck when we had grilled chicken and he was not happy, he barked and howled the whole time we were eating! But don’t worry, later on we gave him a few scraps. It was clear that this pup was used to living the good life at some point in his life!

Jet was only with us for 6 days but as soon as his new forever family shut their car doors, I ran back into the house and cried. Of course I was thrilled for Jet and his new forever family to finally be together but at the same time it was sad to see him go. His new family is perfect for him and I was happy to see photos of him enjoying his new life with them!

He is such an awesome dog and I’m so grateful for everyone who was involved in saving his life! From the rescue organization in Mississippi, the wonderful people who transported him all the way to Maine and the wonderful Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue who found him the perfect forever family and of course his new family for welcoming this guy into their lives!

Learn more about Mainely Mutts Animal Rescue and their available pets here!

For videos and more photos of our time with Jet, check out the Jet Highlight on @joyful_jax’s Instagram profile!

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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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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