Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Toby in the woods

toby-sitting-on-wood-path, originally uploaded by phaird.

This last weekend, Toby and I went up in the woods behind the park. He wasn't really interested in playing with the other dogs today. The cold weather is setting in and he doesn't really want to hang out with other dogs. He's better off walking around and sniffing for the next spot to mark. It's funny how he goes from tree to tree, sniffing and marking all along the way. It doesn't matter if he's totally out of pee, he'll still go through the motions. It makes it even harder to take pictures of him. The only time he holds still, is when he's lifting his leg. This picture was posed and took lots of effort to get him to stay for the few seconds I took this picture.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Collie Origami worth noting.

Collie, originally uploaded by Gen Hagiwara.

Okay, I know this is totally off topic but I really wanted to share in this time of giving. What is better for a blogger to do but share such great work. It's just luck that I came across this work by Gen Hagiwara. He's got a bunch of cool dog origami work. The best part is that he's captured the personality in the dogs. Really great work. Enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Maggie and Snuggles

Maggie and Snuggles, originally uploaded by phaird.

Maggie and Snuggles are two new additions to the park on Sundays. Blue's parents adopted these two pups about a month ago. It wasn't really a planned adoption, it was more of lots of good things coming together. After Jake died, they had no plan on getting any new dogs. Blue is an older dog that doesn't take well to puppies so the idea of a new dog wasn't on the agenda right now.

The original owner of the dogs had 5 and was bringing them by the park to see if anyone was interested in buying them. No one ever did and he couldn't keep them. After some back and forth, Maggie and Snuggles came to stay for a week at Blue's house, with the cats and the goats. When the guy came back, Blue's parents said that they this was their new home and they were staying.

There was a few new members at the park on this busy sunny Sunday morning. I hope to see more each weekend.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Richard Olsenius book and video

When I first thought of this idea of doing a book project about dog parks, Many people pointed me Richard Olsenius as someone I had too look at. His book, Dog Stories, has become a major influence on my process and one of the main reasons I'm even perusing this process. Of all the books out about animals, pets or dogs, his is the one that closest reflects what I want my book aspires to.

While spending some down time this morning, I did some dog research and came across him again. Because of the cryptic way his site is created, it's not easy to find so I wanted to point out his site where he is promoting his book and Video. His background as a National Geographic photographer gives him some clout where he can create such a wonderful project. I think his book was created early in the boom of the pet industry and shows that very real bond between human and dogs. The stories are quite engaging and I will go back to his book when I want to read inspiring stories where these connection are very real.

With the holidays coming, for the people who's pets are part of their family, they would really enjoy this book or video. Check it out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Loofah with St. Bernhard

Loofah with St. Bernhard, originally uploaded by phaird.

The time changed today but that doesn't mean anything to Toby and my boys. They don't agree that we should get an extra hour of sleep today. So be it. I got to get up early and went to the park early.

It was a cold fall day and I Geoffrey didn't really enjoy himself too much. Until there is snow to play with, I don't think he's going to want to come to the park anymore. That's okay. I'm just glad that Toby has been enjoying himself and being nice to all the other dogs.

I did get to meet Loofah, the little white dog on the table. If I'm right, he and the Saint Bernhard are both 7 months old. They each wanted to play but not the same way. Loofah wanted the ball and the Saint Bernhard wanted to run. They were very cute though at the bench by the water.

There has always been a big group of Aussies running around but there seems to be a growing number of St. Bernhards around the park the past few months. I was just looking through my old photos and even have pictures of some of them as puppies.

Next week I hope to photograph the two new Aussie's that just joined Jakes family. Geoffrey really wanted to leave so we had to go just as they were arriving today. They are SO CUTE. Keep checking in to see more pics.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chaos at the park

Chaos at the park, originally uploaded by phaird.

This is Chaos. She was running around trying to keep up with all the other dogs this past weekend at the dog park. Super friendly and happy dog but I didn’t get to spend much time at the park this week.

We were at the park for maybe 10 minutes when I turn around to see Toby RUNNING for dear life back out to the parking lot. A couple seconds later, I could hear that the gun club, not far from the park was busy. Toby hates that sound and I found him under a car in the parking lot.

It was really nice and my son was still out in the park so I quickly put toby in the car and went back to the park. I though, well, at least my son will run around and play with the dogs. He was really animated about the dogs this week. But when I got back to him, he didn’t want to stay either. So even though the weather was nice, the dogs were playing and the lighting was good, I was out voted and I left the park.

Too bad because this was the first time I think I’ve talked with Chaos’s owner and got to take some pictures. There is always next week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chow with fall colors

Chow with fall colors, originally uploaded by phaird.

What a beautiful weekend at the park. The leaves around the pond are changing and the colors were perfect. This is such a short time of the year but I really enjoy it because I can still get out and enjoy the weather without worrying about my toes to freeze or over heating.

It was a busy day for puppies. One guy brought his 4 bernese mountain dogs puppies to the park. They were so cute but the crazy thing was they were carbon copies of each other. I couldn't tell the difference between 3 of them and the 4th difference was the minor coloring on the tip of his tail.

Now that I'm bringing my son, I've got to keep moving and keep him entertained. He's only 3 so everything is still about him and he doesn't understand that we come to the park for our dog Toby. He enjoys himself well enough and I really like socializing him around all the different dogs. He's learning there are so many different kids of dogs will all kinds of personalities. I think the next goal is to get him a soccer ball and let me run around the park with that. That should make for some more great photos of him and hopefully the dogs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fun for all at the park

Ron's love of kids and dogs, originally uploaded by phaird.

It was a beautiful fall day at the park this weekend. The sun was bright and the air was crisp. Geoffrey made a new friend this weekend with Ron who let Geoffrey play with him. Ron ended up getting more love from the dogs as well. When you get down the dogs level you are fair game for a kiss. He was a great sport though and Geoffrey is looking forward to next week.

Each week I've been seeing more and more new people. It's nice that a word of mouth event continues to grow. I hope more people continue to come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Early day at the park.

weimaraner standing by, originally uploaded by phaird.

It was a crazy weekend. On Saturday, I photographed at a Rottweiler fundraiser in Hopkinton State Park. It was a lot of fun. The dogs were all so well behaved and the people were all as nice as can be. I had a great time and took some great photos.

Sunday, a friend from out of town was visiting so I took the boys (Both sons and Toby) to the park to get their energy out. I went early so there wasn't a lot of dogs there yet. I did get to see Sky and Jet but there were others as well I didn't know. My boys needed to get their energy out and are always a lot of fun but can be a handful. I barely had time to take any pictures but I liked this one of the weimaraner. There was a puppy vizsla that just loved Geoffrey and Isaac. He would run back and forth between the boys to give them kisses. Geoffrey got knocked down but they had fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Romp for Rotties this weekend

For the love of Dog, a Rottweiler rescue group is having it's annual fundraiser this Saturday. I'll be there with my camera, a portable studio and a printer taking studio shot of their dogs. This is the third event I've done this summer and the weather for this event is expected to be perfect. The event is from Noon - 4 p.m. at the Hopkinton State Park, Split Rock Group area. It should be a lot of fun. If anyone is going to be there, swing by and say hello.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A word to the wise

Scout waiting, originally uploaded by phaird.

When you go to the dog park, make sure you arrive in a good mood. If you stand around, even trying to put on a cheery face, the dogs will know if your mood is foul.

I went to the park in a foul mood this Sunday. The clouds were hanging low and it's been a crazy September but I wanted to get Toby to the park. I didn't bring my son so I got to stand around and chat with some of the regulars. While just stand there, one of the dogs came right up to me and peed on my leg. No warning, no sniffing; he just came up, lifted his leg and let me have it.

So you might be thinking that this is a fluke and it happens to people all the time. It does happen now and again but the only two times it happened to me was when I showed up at the park in poor spirits. So a word of caution. When heading to the park, remember why you are there and what you get from going. The best part of my week is Sunday when I go to the park, play and take pictures of the dogs and talk with all my dog park friends.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jet playing with Toby

_MG_3299.jpg, originally uploaded by phaird.

Jet loves Toby. As soon as we got to the park Jet was all excited about Toby. What I was happy about was Toby was okay with it. Toby doesn't always want to play "tag" with the other dogs and often doesn't do well with puppies but since Jet is 7 months and bigger so that might help. He's bigger then Toby but still has the puppy curiosity. He wants to push the limits but knows how to back off.

Jet is a new addition to Sky's family and it's been a really interesting addition. Since both are Boarder Collie's, they are very possessive. Since Sky is the senior member, he's had the upper hand but he is now shorter the Jet so the dynamics might shift. I'll have to wait and see. Jet and Sky haven't been to the park much but on this perfect Sunday, few people could resist.

I haven't been around as much just because too many family responsibilities have been taking my time. With Fall approaching and the school schedule starting, things might become more stable and I can spend more time at the park. I'm going to be shooting at another dog event soon and my wife is going to be doing her first craft fair which should both be a lot of fun. I'll try to keep you updated and let you know what exciting news is going on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A perfect Sunday morning

Bella expressing joy, originally uploaded by phaird.

It was a perfect morning at the park on Sunday. It wasn't hot or cold. It was overcast but no chance of rain. Dogs could run around the park or jump in the pond and wouldn't overheat. There was a good number of dogs and no conflicts at all.

This is Bella who I've known since I started coming to the park 3 years ago. She is one of the regular Aussies that come and greet all of her other dog friends or come and stand between someones legs to get her butt scratched. One of the nicest dogs you could ever meet.

There was a good group of dogs, people and kids at the park. I've been bring my boy the past few weeks and he's liked it because he can run around and throw rocks into the pond. I think that is getting old though because this week, he just kept saying he wanted the slide. It's hard to explain to a (almost) 3 year old that the parks with slides are not so friendly to dogs. I should try going back to Waverly Oaks where there is a kids park on one area and a dog park in another. If I didn't have a silly day job taking me away from my dog, kids and photography, I'd be set. I have a plan, I just have to get it in motion.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Water day at the park

in the drink, originally uploaded by phaird.

I'm back!!! So sorry it's been so long since my last post. I've been traveling and dealing with all kinds of family fun. It was our yearly road trip to TN to visit with my folks. But that is another story (with all kinds of family drama).

Sunday, My son Geoffrey and I brought Toby to the Acton Park. From the moment I got up, Toby knew it was "park day" and was so excited. Every time I even got close to the front door, he was at my feet ready to go. By 10am we were ready and Toby was bouncing around, he was so excited. Just during the 2 mile drive to the park, he was crying and bouncing around, just so excited on finally getting back to the park.

The best part of all this is that Toby is now excited again on going to the park. He had a real rough patch where he didn't like the park and just wanted to leave. Now he's happy, and plays and doesn't fight with any of the other dogs. He still wants to be the ring leader but he is much better about it. I don't know why and I'm not even sure if I can take any credit but I'm just happy that I didn't give up on him. There was a long time when he hated the park. I'm guessing that now that I'm bringing my oldest son to the park, he has more support. Either way, I'm just happy he's happy and hope it lasts.

Oh yea, this picture of this bull dog. Isn't he great. He was really enjoying the water. He'd lumber in, following the other water dogs, and come running back out all refreshed. He was super friendly too. Every time I'd squat down to take a picture, he'd come running up to me. Hard to get the picture I wanted but how could I mind. I've seen him there a few times so I'm sure I'll have more pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fun by the pond

Play time, originally uploaded by phaird.

We had a great day at the park on Sunday. It was a good mix of new people and regulars. The only down side was the drama brought on by a 2 year old that got pushed over by one of the dogs. It's so funny how different people deal with it. I've been bringing my 2 year old boy who loves throwing rocks into the water. He got knocked over into the water and my response was to take pictures, wipe him off and give him a hug. The woman with the 2 year old girl was to grab her child, scream at the dog owner and panic. Its free dog day at the park. My (smarty pants) suggestion would be to put your kid on the leash or come by at a later time.

I do have a big request for my fellow dog lovers though who bring their dogs to the park. PICK UP YOUR DOGS POOP! I've been noticing an rise in dog poop around the park. If you think of your dog as one that poops in the woods, just be sure they do. Oh and if a soccer ball can get to the edge of the woods, you should pick up there too. Just because it's the edge of the woods, doesn't mean you shouldn't pick up. I don't mean to be your mom today but I stepped in a serious land mine and was not happy about it so I am using this to share. I always follow my dog until he poops and know him well enough to know there is a good chance he'll poop twice.

Ya all know I love the park, all the dogs and people who go to the park but I had to bring this up so we can continue to enjoy what we've got.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Made it to the park early for once

Romeo smiles, originally uploaded by phaird.

Toby, Geoffrey and I made it to the park early for once. I wanted to "beat the crowds" as it were. Just to make the transition easier on Toby and let my boy get his energy out by the water. It's harder to take pictures of the dogs when I'm watching my boy but we are still having fun.

I've noticed some of the regulars back at the park. This is Romeo. It's not the best picture because it doesn't show his great ears. He was being really silly. He was barking at a guy for no real reason. The man was wearing a hat and had his sun glasses on the brim so it looked like he had four eyes. He was also carrying a paper bag so that might have been odd too. Dogs don't like things to be out of place. I know Toby has barked at a man walking with a walking stick. It just didn't make sense to him.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sheep as art

Okay, so this is off topic but check out this great video. These Aussie's are so smart to get those sheep to do what the people want.

Sorry, I've not been writing about the park lately. I've been photographing at these dog events like Whisker Walk and Bark in the Park. I miss you all but I'll be back soon enough. This weekend is my anniversary so one more week away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blind Dog Has Her Own Seeing-Eye Dog

This is another example of how smart dogs are. They know how to even care for other dogs that need help. It doesn't surprise me that a German Shepard would do this. They are so good at caring for others.
Blind Dog Has Her Own Seeing-Eye Dog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Walking for Dogs

Here is another example of someone putting the life of their dog equal to their family. This man is walking from TX to Boston, MA to raise awareness of cancer in dogs. I heard about it on the news today and was really moved by this mans commitment to the memory of his dog who he lost to cancer. He'll be arriving in Boston next weekend so if you're in town, check it out.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting ready for Whisker Walk

_MG_1976, originally uploaded by phaird.

I'm excited for a big event this weekend. It's a fundraiser called Whiskers Walk and I'll be setting up a booth their for people to get 5x7in portrait prints of their dogs. It should be a lot of fun. I hoping for good weather. Looks a little sketchy right now but as long as it's in the 70's I think it will be good. I just have to bring a lot of extra towels, just in case. If you're in the area, come check it out.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Active at the park

Active at the park, originally uploaded by phaird.

Another great weekend at the park. Still not as busy as I'd expect but some of the regulars are starting to find their way back to the park. On a busy Sunday, there can be as much as 70 dogs. All getting along and doing what dogs do. Some will play in the water and others will chase in the grass.

I was talking to Jake's owners who were one of the people who was turned away on the day the Soccer fields were being used. They didn't know if the park was back open. There was talk that a lot of dog owners complained and the very next week it was back to being for dogs. I'm glad the Town of Acton fixed the problem. This park has been used by dogs for a very long time. I've heard people say they've brought their dogs here for over 15 years. Some have been coming even longer. It's a great community of dogs and people. That's why I come to this park every chance I get. I've been coming for about 3 years now and been photographing the whole time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dog blog for improving your photography

I didn't make it to the park this weekend. Too bad because it was beautiful out. Toby got lots of outdoors this weekend though so that counts for something.

In looking around the web, I've been finding fun animal links. One is the Blog on getting good pet photos on the North Shore Animal Rescue League in NY. They are just outside NYC and a very large no-kill shelter. I like that they are using their site to do more then just making people upset about how many dogs and cats that need homes. Check it out and you can see some good tricks to get good photos of your four legged family.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another beautiful weekend

_MG_1802, originally uploaded by phaird.

There seems to be a shift of park visitors on Sundays. I'm not sure if because of the season change or the Sunday confusion with the soccer group but there seems to be a lot of new faces and I've been missing some of the regulars. It is still as busy as ever but lots of people that I'm use to seeing haven't been showing up. I know as the school year ends, and with nicer weather, other dog options open up or weekend get eaten up by other engagements. I know my weekends have been filling up with lots of jobs around the house and events.

One event is that I'll be doing is my first photo shoot at a dog event called Whiskers Walk. I'll be setting up a booth to take pictures of peoples dogs and giving them a 5x7 print for a small fee. It should be a big event and I'm really excited about it. I've been spending a lot of time preparing for it. I hope to do a sample setup this next weekend.

I want to do a similar process at our park but without the print out. I'll put all the pictures up online for people to purchase any size they want. The shooting itself will be free.

I've been talking with my friends at Pawsh who are also working with another dog event in Boston that I might be involved. I hope this will be a busy summer.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fall weather in spring

Tug on stick, originally uploaded by phaird.

It was a cold, windy day at the park today. Very quiet but not unexpected for Mothers Day. Just a few people with their dogs today. It was better for Toby who has been much better in the past few weeks. Toby played well with others and ran all over the place instead of running back to the car and fighting with each other. It was really nice.

For mothers day, my whole family came to the park today. While my oldest, Geoffrey was playing by the water, these two dogs wanted to play tug. It started with the Boxer/Australian Cattle dog mix who really wanted the stick. The Black Lab also wanted a piece of it but he just wanted to hold on while the other ran with it. They were both excited for playing and getting the stick away from me.

It was nice having Geoffrey at the park with Toby. He's now two and a half and can really start to appreciate the park. This is the second time I've brought him this spring and I hope to bring him more though out the summer. My wife often gets to enjoy a lazy Sunday at home but was nice enough to come out for Mothers day. We ended up at Babico's for brunch. All in all, we had a nice family day together, starting with the park.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dogs are still at the park

_MG_1387, originally uploaded by phaird.

This Sunday was a great day all around at the park. Lots of dogs. I got to bring my oldest who LOVED all the dogs, and the pond. But most important, the soccer group moved their event to the smaller field around the corner. The way the park is set up, there is a smaller field off to the side. I'm not sure if they painted lines or if they brought goals over but it seemed to work out.

My last post was about how the park (which happened to be this park) mentioned that a soccer group called Fair Play, was taking over. They were using the park last week and it caused all kinds confusion. This last Sunday tough, they moved to the smaller field which worked out well for everyone. The Fair Play group is for very young players so I don't think they are going to worry about regulation size fields or any other smaller details. They just want the kids to come out and have fun and us dog people want the same for our dogs.

I'm hoping this will work out. If everyone is willing to work together, I'm sure all will be fine.

See you next Sunday at the park!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ALERT: One less park?

Today I got this post on one of my previous posts but I thought it was too important to leave alone.

Alert! April 18, 2010. Acton has given this wonderful dog run park (Spring Hill Conservation) to a for-profit company to run soccer clinics for 3 year olds. Dogs are no longer allowed to run there on Sundays as they have for years! Please write to Acton or to the company running the clinics (Fair Play).
I tried doing some quick research into this but I can't seem to find anything on the Acton MA website or the Fair Play companies website.

This is really upsetting to me but I want to get all the facts in line before I write anything more on the subject. All the interaction I've had with Acton officials have all be very positive so this is very surprising that a decision like this would be made without any interaction from the public.

If you have any information about this that you can help us find out more details, please post a comment or email me at info @

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good for NYC dogs

Less dogs are being put to sleep this last year in NYC then ever before. Check out this article in the New York Times.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Toby's long walk

Toby-on-wall-4, originally uploaded by phaird.

With the continued nice weather, Toby and I are starting to take longer walks. Neither of us our winter weather fans so most of the winter has been cooped up in the house. If Toby was more of a winter dog, I'd be willing to spend more time outside (and buy even bigger winter coats) but he is happy to get back inside and under the covers.

We went for a long walk and he really appreciated it. He was able to get out that nervous energy that he gets at the park and wasn't a compete nervous wreck. I hope he'll continue to do well. I know I could use the walks as well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cesar's Daddy is gone

I'm really sad to hear about the passing of Daddy, Cesar Millan's pit bull. I'm a fan of Cesar but an even bigger fan of Daddy. I know that Cesar's process has some flaws but he also gets results for his clients and loves his dogs very much.

An inevitable truth of inviting dogs into our families is that they will pass. Daddy had everything a dog could ask for. He will be missed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring is such a tease

girl petting dog, originally uploaded by phaird.

Last week was SO nice! The temperature was in the 70's and felt so good. It was short lived though and the cold, rain and even snow has returned. I can't really complain though. More warm weather is on the way and more dogs were out today because of spring. For most dogs, this is ideal. It's cool enough to run around an not get over heated but not too cold to keep them (or their owners) from going out. The pond has thawed out so those water dogs can run in and swim. The melting has passed so the mud is hardening up and little bits of green is popping though the hard ground.

I'm so looking forward to the trees turning green again though. With spring ramping up, I can shoot more and Toby can play more. I'm going to try to take every chance I get to take him to the park to calm his nerves. It won't be easy because the gun clubs are working too. Having two small boys at home that need attention often leaves Toby to get shorter walks but he has been really good. I hope to bring my oldest to the park on Sundays over the summer.

I hope to even have a photo event at the park this spring. I'm hoping in April to set up a portable studio and shoot dogs as a promo. Keep a look out because I'll be putting dates up soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is coming

Toby BW, originally uploaded by phaird.

We've had a really nice stretch of weather here in New England. It's been sunny and warm for days. As it comes to a close and more normal weather starts moving in, I really wanted to get Toby to the park. We didn't get there till after 11 so most of the regulars I know were already gone.

The hard part for Toby is that with warmer weather comes loud noises from the local gun clubs and soon, thunder storms. I always feel bad for Toby when that happens. He just can't help himself. In this photo, his only thought is to get back to the car. We could hear the gun club from the moment we got to the park and he just wanted nothing of it. There was still a lot of dogs running and playing. The lake was thawed and the water dogs were all splashing around. Only a week or so ago, that was all frozen over and people were still skating on it.

We ended up leaving after only 20 minutes of walking up a trail and back. We didn't make it too far because of all the mud now that the snow has melted. On the upside, Toby was good. He didn't get into any fights even with all the big dogs were charging at him. Good boy Toby.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Animal Odd Couple

This video is over a year old but I just found out about it today and had to share. I always enjoy these videos where love knows know bounds. There is a follow up to this story as well. After this story aired, the couple was inundated with book and movie offers. Not surprising. This youtube video has more then 3 million views.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

another small step for dog rights

The Mass House has voted to ban the surgical "debarking" or silencing of dogs or cats unless a vet says it's needed for the health of the dog. These small steps help in reducing the amount of animal cruelty that happens. The vote was 150-1.

I just found out about this and was shocked to find a 15 year old from Needam high, Jordan Star, proposed this bill with the help of Scott Brown and backed by Democratic House Majority Whip Lida E. Harkins. This process is over a year in the making and seems to be one way of getting both parties to work together. Good work.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bath day

Muddy feet 8/52, originally uploaded by phaird.

Everyone who brought the dog to the park this weekend either planned on giving there dog a bath or had to anyway. It's been raining in and around Mass for a few days and the temps have been staying above freezing. All this makes for some really messy parks. I bailed out on our walk in the woods today because there are too many mud traps on the path. A few weeks ago we had to abandon our walk because of the path being too icy. Today I didn't even try because of the mud.

I am excited that March is here. I've got plans for some spring photo shoots at the park in Acton, Waltham, Boston, and a few other places. I think it will be lots of fun. I'm going to set up a studio shoot and try to photograph as many dogs as I can. I'm hoping that will be a good promotion for my photography business. Still in the planning stages but more info will come soon.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

For the dog that has everything

Dog toys as just toys are so old skool. Check out Nina Ottosson. She has created a whole set of dog PUZZLES. Yea, average chew toys with some food in it isn't enough for the serious dog owner anymore. You've got to get the puzzle to really keep your pet entertained. My mind thought that this might be a little odd for a dog. Almost mean because I would think the dog doesn't really care about the game, only about the treat. But in the article in the Bark magazine online, she points out dogs that are goal driven, like herding dogs, really enjoy and learn the process. I like the idea. I'm not sure my Toby would really be into it but I do know a few dogs at the park who would get a kick out of something like this to pass the time. If they couldn't make it to the park that is.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Aussies out in force

waiting for treats, originally uploaded by phaird.

It was another cold, windy day at the park. Toby and I tried to walk up the paths behind the open area where the dogs spend most of there time. We didn't get very far because the path was too icy. We came back down and hung out with the Aussies. There is always a few here at the park. There can be as many as 12 or more on a busy day but that is more in the summer.

There were some new dogs who found there way to the park this weekend too. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. One dog, Colby (like the cheese), just moved to the area and are really loving the open space. his owner heard about the Acton park from a neighbor and found her way here. It's always good to have more dogs playing. Colby met Ringo and played non-stop for almost an hour.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Busy but cold

Toby surrounded, originally uploaded by phaird.

Winter can be hit or miss at the park. When one day can be sunny and nice and the next could be windy, snowing and cold. you'll always have the regulars at the park. They know what to expect and their dogs demand that they show up. So the people show up all wrapped up in there winter gear, faces covered, gloves on and leash ready.

There was a group who showed up on sweat shirts thinking that would be enough in an open field with no protection from the wind. I watched as they scurried back to their car to get their heavy coats.

Most of the dogs don't care. Some like mine, a small rat terrier with a short coat is much happier in doors, on the couch, wrapped in a blanket (yea, he's spoiled). But others like the Aussies love it. They can run and never get over heated. The community and interaction is something that they look forward to every week. To be honest, so do I.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Treat time

Aussies wanting treats, originally uploaded by phaird.

How can such a sunny day feel so cold. Okay, I know. I'm a wimp but if I am, so is Toby. It's been really cold for the past few days and even with the sun out, I didn't last too long at the park.

Some dogs, like the Aussies don't care at all. They love being out in the snow, running around, chasing balls. It was great for them. The More the better.

Tikka, Jake, bella and others were all out today. There is a pretty large group of Aussies who come very weekend and they are always great to see. Very smart dogs, they love coming out, being around other dogs as well as good with people, you never have to worry about them getting out of hand. As herding dogs, I'd expect to see them chasing the other dogs around and try to keep an order but that isn't the case. They hang out, play ball, and check in with there owners most of the time. It does help that there owners love them dearly and treat them so well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A popularity contest

It's nice to see that lots of good postings and keeping my blog active is slowly paying off. I've been asked by this dog training website ( to sign up for the 2010 Dog Blog Award Contest. This isn't based on the quality of the blog or even the content. I could put up my other blog about commuting which I abandoned a while back and if I could get enough people to vote for it, I could win. It's all about getting you, my readers to click on the link and sign in.

Now at first I was kinda excited but then was a bit skeptical. This is normally to get people to sign up to be on a mailing list. That is just what this is BUT, I went through the process, signed up, and voted for myself. It does take you to a "join our mailing list" but you don't have to fill that part out. All you have to do is put in a code on the main page and that's it. Once you submit that info, you don't have to join the mailing list. You can if you want but as long as it's an option, I figured, what could it hurt.

SO, if you'd like to help me receive the 2010 Dog Blog Award, Please go the the website and put in this code. 6nfQA. Thanks everyone for being such great fans of my blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Henry checking in with dad

Henry checking in with dad, originally uploaded by phaird.

I got to meet Henry, the Chocolate Lab at the park this weekend. He was adopted from Buddy Dog and is such a great dog. He's super friendly and always happy. His dad was telling me about how he is all Lab except for one thing. He hates the water. They have a pool at there house and one even with lots of coaxing, Henry just won't get in. One time, running around the back yard, he misjudged a turn and he ended up in the pool. Henry's dad said he never saw a dog get out of water so fast. He can swim okay but just hates to get wet. Everything else though is all Lab. Friendly, happy and a lot of energy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Take the dog for a walk and slow down

Jan 3, at 6:28pm, my second son, Isaac was born. He's a happy healthy baby boy. He's been home for just under a week now and my wife and I have been doing our best to adjust to the lack of sleep and keeping our first, Geoffrey, happy and on a schedule. It's been really good all things considered but one things that is really important is to get out and walk the dog.

Toby and I walk twice a day and those walks, even in this really cold January in New England, are times where I slow down and do the simplest of things. I put one foot in front of the other and walk. Toby and I are lucky to have the Assabet river walk right across from my house so during the day, Toby and I will walk along the train. I get to stop thinking about all the other things I have to do and reflect on those things the day often eats away. Between family demand, work, my photography, and trying to design new classes, I often feel overwhelmed. But went I walk Toby, I feel better; I slow down and can collect my thoughts so I can feel better about the mountain of stuff I have to do.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rules for non-pet owners

My Friend, Adriene out in CA is a huge pet lover and has the most extensive online life of anyone I know. She posted a comment on one of her many sites about rules for non-pet owners. They seem like like rules out of frustration but worth the read and very funny ending. Check it out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Off leash at the Fells

There is good talk about an official off leash area of the Fells. Thanks to Lisa of Maydog, I found this article about the positive work being done by Sommerville and the DCR to make the Fells even more dog friendly. Check out the Som|dog website.