My favorite type of photography is, by far, pet photography. Why? Well, the animals don’t care how their photos turn out and there’s just something inherently calming about watching animals do their thing while I’m shooting them. Perhaps I’m a tad biased, but my favorite animal to shoot is our dog, Juno.
Will you look at those eyes! Could he be any cuter? A couple of years ago, the people who owned Juno decided that they no longer wanted a dog. The man who owned him has a brother named Cory (who you may remember from the post about Cory and Kathy’s Family Photo Shoot) and, lucky for Juno, Cory has a big heart and he and Kathy decided to rescue Juno from his predicament. Unfortunately, they were in the middle of building a house and they didn’t have a fenced yard, so they asked us to keep Juno for them until they could get settled in. Sure, no problem. We already had a dog and figured it would be nice to give him a little company.
Well, truth be told, the second I laid eyes on the little guy (who was seven months old at the time of his great journey), I knew there was no chance I would ever be able to give him up.
I mean, come on, just look at him.
My husband, Greg, was fairly against the idea at first, especially when we realized that Juno seemed to have a few “issues” that needed to be dealt with. If we went somewhere and left him behind, he would take every shoe off the shoe shelf and bring it outside, then sit in the middle of the yard, patiently waiting until we came home as if to say, “Hey, look at the masterpiece I created while you were away.” He never chewed on the shoes, but he sure loved to create pretty backyard mosaics with them!
Another of his quirks was digging. After about a month, we had about 100 holes dug in the backyard. Holes that poor Greg continuously filled in, only to have more dug the next day.
It was around this time that I started to realize (yes, it took me a month) that Juno wasn’t getting enough exercise. DUH! So, I decided to kick the daily walks up a notch. The problem was that we live in a place with a cold winter climate and there is usually a lot of snow. It was mid December and there was snow everywhere, so walking a dog could be a bit challenging. I started to do some research and discovered the Dog Whisperer’s suggestion of a doggy back pack to tucker out your pooch during walks. Eureka!
Ha ha! Doesn’t it look like he’s saying, “Hey lady, get this thing off of me.” The back pack was a lifesaver. I started with a small water bottle in each pocket for extra weight and bumped up our walk from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours each morning. That Cesar Millan knows his stuff, I tell you. It didn’t even take three days for the shoe collages to stop and we were down to only two new holes by the end of the first week.
After I increased his exercise, he made this amazing transformation from semi-good dog to best-dog-ever! Training was a cinch (partly becuase he was half trained when we rescued him and partly because he’s so smart). I don’t know how long it took Greg to catch on, but he finally said something about keeping Juno about six months after we first began “dogsitting” him!!! It went along the lines of, “Uh, Joannamin (that was his nickname for me at that time), are we ever going to give this dog back?” I just cocked an eyebrow, tilted my head and smirked and he totally understood. Kathy and I had many good laughs about that – still do, in fact!
The joke’s on us, though, because Greg and Juno are now the best of friends. That man lives to spend time with his beloved pooch. He loves all of our animals, but Juno is his favorite by a long shot. He used to come home from work every day to greet me with a big hug and juicy kiss. Now, he rushes home, gives me a quick peck and then it’s off to the yard to play hockey with the dog. Sigh…
There are so many aspects of Juno that are lovable and hilarious. Here are a few pics showing his favorite activities (yes, I know, we need to have kids so we’ll stop obsessing about our animals).
His favorite toy is a tennis ball and his favorite game is swimming to retrieve it. It doesn’t matter if there is only a puddle around, he’ll drop his ball in it and look at us as if to say, “You will throw my ball into this puddle if you want me to get 100% enjoyment out of this game.”
Having Border Collie in him makes him a fairly speedy. No wonder he needs so much exercise! He lives to run and, of course, chase tennis balls.
And did I mention how much he loves swimming to retrieve his tennis ball???
We took him to a six week beginner’s Agility Class last Spring. He excelled at the jumping tasks. In fact, instead of running through a tunnel, he would often run through it and then come out and jump over it. Drove the instructor crazy, but made us laugh every time. Actually, here’s a funny story about this picture and the Agility idea in general. I didn’t consult Greg before signing Juno up for Agility classes because I knew he would think it was a terrible idea. His response when I told him what I’d done was, “That’s absolutely ridiculous. No dog of mine is going to go into a stupid Agility class.” I admit, Greg is a bit of a redneck and delights in his manly ways. We went anyway and, wouldn’t you know it, the day after our very first class, I came home to find that Greg had built Juno an entire obstacle course in the back yard – complete with a table, jumping tire made of exhaust tubing, three jumps made out of ski poles and PVC pipe and a balance beam made out of 2×6’s. And he said Dog Agility was stupid. After that, we went to classes and I sat and watched while Greg took Juno through his paces during each and every class. My husband, such a lovable grizzly bear.
What can I say, he just loves Whitney Houston.
Okay, I know this post is getting really long and you all have busy schedules, but I just want to add one last thing into the mix. We’ve had some fairly cool weather this winter (weeks of temperatures around the -25 to -30 celsius mark) and I’ve been unable to walk the dogs. One day, I decided it was time to teach Juno to run on our treadmill. Hey, if the Dog Whisperer can do it, so can Jo! I started him with a leash on and just walking for five minutes at a time. It took one day to get him used to it. The next day, I had him running his little heart out for 20 minutes in the a.m. and 20 in the p.m. I sit at my computers editing pics while Juno runs on the mill beside me. Check this out, it makes me smile every time he does it.
See how happy he is. It’s the craziest thing to see. When he gets to a certain speed, his tail pops up and he becomes completely focused and just gives ‘er.
Needless to say, we love this dog. He makes us smile every time we look at him and he makes us laugh out loud several times a day. He’s very well behaved, loves kids and other dogs and, best of all, he makes Greg happy and keeps him laughing all the time. I know that if anything ever happens to me, Greg will be just fine because he has this wonderful dog who won’t leave his side. It’s sometimes overwhelming that an animal can affect a person so deeply.
I am so grateful that the universe decided we needed to rescue Juno. He has truly enriched our lives. The people that decided that he wasn’t good enough for their family totally lost out with this one. They had a practically perfect dog and just threw it all away. Their loss was our gain.
Incidentally, those same people have since added another dog to their family. If I were the type of person who was inclined to get angry, this might spark a bit of anger in me. Truth be told, though, I am just so in love with Juno that I can’t begrudge them actions that brought him to us.
Okay, enough about Juno the Magnificent. I hope you’ve enjoyed his story and I’m sure you’ll be reading more about him in the future. Have a fantastic day!