Birthday Boy

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One year ago today, this kind and gentle little soul was born. At that point, we hadn’t even thought about bringing a dog into our lives, but that all changed as November rolled around and as a family we started talking about what it would be like to have a dog. We weighed the pros and cons, and we discussed the impact that caring for another animal would have on what we do – and once the decision was made, things moved fast. Within a week of deciding it would be a good idea, we found and fell in love with Oliver, and as they say… the rest is history. Just as we remark about how fast our “real” kids grow up, I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by with Oliver – it really does seems like yesterday that we were driving to Jay, Maine to meet him for the first time and bring him home. Little did we know how much our lives would change, and I don’t think any of us were prepared for how much joy and happiness this little guy would bring to our family. Happy birthday Oliver!

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What I do in my spare time…

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Lay on the kitchen floor and take photographs of a sleepy Oliver of course! The air conditioner squeezed into the kitchen window has seen way more use this summer than in past years. Pre-Oliver, we would probably have turned it on maybe 3 or 4 times throughout the entire summer – and only when the mercury climbed upwards of 90 degrees – but this season it has been churning out the cool air pretty constantly. After all, we’ve gotta keep this fur-coat-wearing-handsome-boy cool, right? He loves to sprawl out on the chilled wooden floor, and while he’s enjoying an air-conditioned snooze, I can’t help but use my iPhone camera to snap a few pics…

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Yay… a backlit dog :)

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From an early morning walk… the sun had just come up behind Oliver, and although as photographers we’re often told to keep the sun to our back and not to shoot into it, I love how my baby was silhouetted against the early light. Never be afraid to try new things… break the “rules”… who knows, you might like the results.

Sleep-over

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We have puppy-proofed the whole of the downstairs, and we use a baby gate to keep him from wandering where he’s not supposed to go. Oliver isn’t allowed upstairs yet, but lately he’s been more and more curious about where it is that we go when we close the gate behind us at night. Our biggest concern with allowing him upstairs is all of Jack’s toys, especially the piles of Lego, strewn all over his bedroom floor. Probably like most dogs his age, Oliver hasn’t met a sock, sneaker, or stray piece of clothing that he doesn’t want to chew, so that’s another reason to corral him downstairs.

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Though we did the whole crate-training thing, he doesn’t sleep in his crate at night any more… we let him have the run of the downstairs (except for the living room), and to date we haven’t had any problems… he’s a good sleeper. Still, we sometimes feel bad about leaving him downstairs on his own at night, so we have a family sleepover in the living room every other weekend. I think he truly appreciates us being close to him, he sleeps through the night like a champ, and he is incredibly well-behaved as he cuddles in beside us in our sleeping bags.

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Taking a break from Acadia… Oliver update

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He’s almost a year old already… I can hardly believe how fast the first year with Oliver has flown by. September 24 will be his birthday, and although people told us that he would probably chill out by the time he gets to around two years of age, methinks he’s not too far from there already. For such a young dog, he really is pretty mellow, and he has the sweetest of demeanors around people. He loves to be in the room with us… he doesn’t have to be right next to us, just in the same room, or in the hall where he can open one eye and make sure we’re still there. He’s still enjoying his early morning walks to the golf course, and whenever possible, we hit the links again in the evening for another run. All that fresh air takes a toll on him though, and these pics are pretty much par for the course when we’re back at home.

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Take a walk with Oliver…

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From a few weeks back… here’s a little glimpse of the walk Oliver and I make every morning. Using the Nike app on my iPhone, I’m able to track – among other things – where and how far we walked, how long we walked for, and how many calories I burned – trust me, Oliver burns waaaaaay more calories than I do as he cavorts all across the golf course in search of good things to sniff and chew. The little red patches on our trail are where we slowed down – to leash and un-leash – and also probably where I stopped to make these photographs. We got a later than usual start on this particular morning – normally we’re out the door by 5:30am – but we still had the course all to ourselves.

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We’re only about a quarter of a mile from the golf course, and when we make a hard right turn to enter the property, we walk through what is probably one of my favorite parts. A winding path covered in tree roots and pine needles meanders through a stand of tall, majestic trees that remind me of the black oaks out west in Yosemite, and when we come out on the other side, we’re greeted by the pretty scene below. Not a bad way to start the morning…

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We’ll walk up and down the fairways, sometimes looping back around to re-explore particularly interesting areas of longer grass, and as you might imagine, like most dogs, Oliver loves to chase the tennis ball. I’ll throw it, he’ll chase it, and no matter how fast he’s traveling, he’ll always – almost comically – roll over as he snags the ball. He gets a treat, and we do it all again… and again… and again. This of course gets him soaking wet from rolling in the morning dew, though during the summer months with warmer temperatures, that isn’t such a bad thing since he gets to cool off.

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There’s a sweet little overgrown cut-through between a couple of holes on the back nine that Oliver and I like to think no-one else uses but us. It’s our secret path, and since he’s a creature of habit, he always runs ahead of me to lead the way. He’s 10 months old today, and just recently he learned how to do some things that the big dogs do. It’s been funny to watch as he experiments with lifting his back leg… as he teeters precariously on three legs, I’m surprised he hasn’t completely fallen over yet! I bet there aren’t many blogs with photographs of their dogs pee-ing, eh?

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I know I’m biased, but isn’t he a handsome dog? He seems to have lost a little bit of the puppiness to his shape, and he looks leaner now than he did maybe even a month ago. About two thirds of the way into our walk, he starts to slow down, and instead of chasing up and down and back and forth across the fairways, he sticks closer to my side, usually breathing pretty heavily. By now we’ll have been walking (running for him) for about 45 minutes, so he likes to take what I consider to be a well-deserved rest. Throughout our walk, we’ll stop off at the water coolers located at every third or fourth tee box to enjoy a drink, so he stays well hydrated. By the time we get back home and up onto the front porch, he’ll be pretty much out of gas. Gassed… but very happy.

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In his element

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Have I mentioned that Oliver loves to visit the golf course? After having the place pretty much to ourselves throughout the winter, I was a little concerned about how much access we might have during the summer months when the course is in season. I needn’t have worried… other than the maintenance crew at 5:30am every morning, we never see a soul. In the evening (when these photographs were made), we’re good as long as we wait until about an hour before sunset. That way, anyone playing later in the day has already tee-ed off and we can enjoy the front nine as we wander the first few holes. Isn’t he turning out to be a handsome boy!

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