We’ve been known to hand-make some pretty intricate Holiday cards in the past.
But, I’ve had this particular picture in my “Next Christmas” folder for years now…Looks like perfect inspiration for this year’s Christmas card.
Isn’t he just charming?
John Dunfee is the photographer. I can’t find much about him…. I think this is him.
You know how they say, “People look like their dogs”? – Looks to me like they both need a good brushing.
Anyhoo, great jumping off point for this year’s card.
We have a dog.
We have a wreath.
We enjoy the challenge of getting an un-drugged dog to pose for pictures.
All’s we had to do was paint the white gate section, that I’ve been shooting pictures on for the past year & 1/2, red.
Took a few tries to get the color right…….I prefer my colors straight out of the crayon box…….but we landed on Ralph Lauren Stateroom Red. RL4025
Then we simply threw a scratchy wreath around Harley’s neck, forced her to sit on the freezing garage floor and yelled at her to “Look at Daddy with the camera!” for half an hour.
What could be simpler?
Took about 100 pictures…..no lie.
…4 of which might, actually, be usable. (In most of them she was either moving or looked humiliated)
We settled on this one.
That one floppy ear melts my heart every time I look at her.
Using my rudimentary Photoshop skills;…….. I cropped, lightened the wreath, brightened her face, color enhanced the red and even removed some unpainted boards and a few little blemishes.
Then added a little verbiage……..in my 2 favorite fonts.
Yeah, I think we found the one.
Headed to Vistaprint.com , and ordered us up some
Christmas Holiday cards. (Not all our friends are Christians, ya know)
Only took about 5 days to get them into our hands…..
…..and 2 more days to get them addressed and mailed.
Nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like documenting a humiliated Doberman suffering through a photo session in a cold garage.
On a similar note, I was thumbing through the December issue of Country Living Magazine the other day ……and what do they have on the last page?
(Looks like they did a little Photoshop magic as well – lightened the wreath, made the wall red)
Now, get out of my head, Country Living.
Apparently we are those types of gays.
The ones who take their dog to get photos with Santa.
Here’s the shameful, shameful evidence.
“Christmas Card Worthy”, am I right?
You know we are in Texas because Santa’s wearing cowboy boots….and Harley is wearing her “formal” longhorn collar.
Every year in November, The Dog Lofts offer professional pictures with Santa to benefit rescue animals. I think y’all know by now, that Harley Davidson was a rescue.
Don’t think that the above photo was in any way an easy task….
Here’s Jamie trying to wrangle her next to Santa….she wasn’t having anything to do with him.
But then she warmed up……..(after a few treats/bribes)
…and she almost kissed him,
That’s our daughter.
Happy Holidays Everybody!
That’s right, 3 years ago today we were introduced to Harley Davidson.
We found her through an online rescue society, North Dallas Dog Rescue, they specialize in placing Australian Shepards…..but by some act of fate, a Doberman Pincher named Harley Davidson dropped into their laps that week. She had been a puppy mill breeder, and then bounced from apartment to apartment.
I wrote them an email and we jetted to the front of the “Harley getting list”….read about that here. (It’s a good one)
We went to “just meet” her, and fell in love with that quirky girl immediately.
Like all gay men, the child-less variety anyway, we tend to personify our dog. Many’s a day that I would come home from work only to be greeted by a frustrated Jamie at the door shaking his head and saying,
Sure, she’s my daughter when she’s a handful, like when she wakes us up in the middle of the night to let us know the power is off. Why would we ever want to sleep through that? But I know that her heart really belongs to Jamie.
And why shouldn’t it? He works from home and she spends most of her day laying at his feet……when she isn’t corralling the squirrels in the backyard, or warning the walker-bys in the front.
There have actually been times that I have arrived home to a Jamie-less house to have Harley greet me at the door, exhale/sigh loudly upon seeing me, turn around and return to her room to lay down……She was expecting the fun daddy. The one who lets her sleep on the bed when I’m out of town.
That’s right. I know about that.
Like I can’t tell that there’s a Doberman-shapped indent on my side of the bed.
When it came time for us to find some doggy daycare (We call it “school”. Yep, personifying again), Jamie went to the best. The Dog Lofts in Oak Lawn. Jamie works out of the house and there are days when he just needs some office time alone….taking conference calls, and giving training session and demos without 90 pounds of needy loudness 5 inches from him at all times. He toured the Dog Loft facility before committing, and cried like a baby on the first day he left her there.
The staff at the Dog Lofts is amazing.
I’m not sure if Harley truly is exceptional, or if they just tells us that. (She is pretty memorable with her one floppy ear. She will cock her head to the good ear side when someone talks directly to her) They seem to have a new story about her almost weekly. How she can open doors, but only lets the other dogs out. How she occasionally gets overstimulated and needs a “time out” to calm down (that sounds about right). And how she sometimes sits in the middle of the play area and howls straight up in the air like a siren.
There have even been days when she comes home with a French-tip manicure. I don’t know how they hold her still long enough without a horse tranquilizer.
She was banned for a week once because she had a wart on her lip. How humiliating is that? It’s like your kid is the one that almost spread head lice to everyone else in his class.
When I pick her up from school, every time she comes around the corner she slams into the glass door in front of everybody. (Staff, other parents and well-behaved dogs) She’s not trying to open this door, she just doesn’t see the glass.
Yeah, that’s my daughter all right…….
And I wouldn’t want it any other way,
Jamie found this dog bed online,
and it was just about everything we liked…..reclaimed, plumbing piped, pretty freaking awesome…and sadly out of our price range.
To quote A Chorus Line……”I can do that, That I can do.” I have power tools, and a pile of scrap lumber in the garage.
Without going into all boring details, I built a frame from 2 X 4’s and an edge from 2 X 6’s with mitered corners.
The side are held together with lag screws. Just for the look. I drilled pilot holes before Jamie screwed them in.
My finished box frame…..
We beat the wood with hammers and crowbars to make the new pine lumber look more “reclaimed”.
Then we rubbed it down with the same stain from our wood headboard wall in the master bedroom. Jacobean
All those nooks and crannies from the beatings really stand out from the stain.
Here’s a better shot of the lag screws in the corners.
For the feet, we used 1/2 inch plumbing flanges with 3 inch connectors sandwiched between……. but weren’t diggin’ on the galvanized.
So again with the Rust-O-Leum hammered spray paint in Bronze.
For the side rails we used more plumbing pipe. A 12 inch piece connected to 2 elbows and 2 smaller pipes. I drilled holes and hammered them in with a rubber mallet.
The plywood bottom just slips in.
That’s about it.
Looks pretty similar to the inspiration……at a fraction of the cost.
Jamie bought a hunk of 4 inch thick foam from the craft store, and cut if to fit inside the frame with a steak knife.
Then he wrapped the foam in dark brown canvas (dark brown will hide all the little black hair) and just secured it with safety pins.
And does Harley Davidson just LOVE her new dog bed??????
No, not really, (sigh)
We had to bribe her with a treat just to get on it for the photos.
(you can still see the remains of her yellow pedicure….NOT my idea)
This is what she usually looks like…..
Yes, we know that the floor is cooler.
But she keeps walking around the house crying, looking for her old bed.
So we covered the awesome new bed with her old, ratty, Doberman-stinkin’ blankets – and everything is right with her world once again.
You’re welcome, Harley.
It was 2 years ago today that we added Harley Davidson to our home.
It’s a charming story. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recomend that you do.
Or read it again; you know it’s worth it.
You can read it here.
It’s not possible for us to take any pictures around the house without her working her way into the shot.
Here is a sampling of Harley pictures from the past 2 years……some of which she wasn’t supposed to be in.
Starting with the first time we met her.
Now we can’t imagine our lives without her.
Today is the one year anniversary of Harley Coming home with us.
About a year ago we started searching for a dog. And not just any dog would do, but one with plenty of personality. A dog that just fit “us”.
After countless internet searches, and a fruitless afternoon with the North Texas Doberman Rescue….I found a post for a Female Doberman, Harley Davidson, that needed a home. Right away, her name struck a chord with me….But female? Never even considered a female… I poked my head in Jamies office, where he was typing away, and asked…”Would you consider a girl dog?”
“I don’t care….I just want a dog”….was the reply.
So I sent an email asking if she was still available to meet. But we weren’t the only ones interested in her. Apparently, she had about 6 other people ahead of us wanting to adopt her. Sara, the coordinator for North Texas Animal Rescue, asked me to send a longer email explaining a little bit about who we were and our experience with Dobermans….
Here is that email,
I had a Doberman for almost 11 years. Faust was a Warlock who grew to almost 130 intimidating pounds, but never knew that he wasn’t a lap dog. People would cross to the other side of the street at the sight of him when we were walking, but he would climb into bed with me and cry during thunderstorms. I got him from a breeder when he was just 8 weeks old, so we were together almost his entire life, and a quarter of mine. He was intelligent, protective, and loved everyone he met with the same sloppy gentle enthusiasm. Faust died last year after a battle with stomach cancer. He was, without a doubt, the best friend I ever had……
My partner and I are both mature (read: in our 40’s), have stable careers, and have been together about 4 years. We bought a new house 7 months ago and have been waiting until we were settled to find a dog to complete our family. Jamie, my partner, works from home and is here all day long.
I know that Dobermans can be large breeds, and have a large amount of energy. Having raised and trained a puppy, I can understand that they might be a bit much for some people to handle. We want to open our home to a Doberman that needs one. We would love to meet Harley and see if she is the right fit for our family. This is a big decision, and not one that I would ever rush into. Jamie doesn’t care what kind of dog we get; we both have big hearts and plenty of love to share with any new addition………..
But there will always be a special place in my heart for big loving Dobermans.
We both look forward to an opportunity to meet her,
After that email…Sara said that we went to the top of the list…
2 days later we went to “just meet” her ……The minute we saw her, with one floppy ear and one that sticks straight up, we knew that she was the perfect dog for us.