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ASPCA: Disaster Preparedness for Furry Family Members

The ASPCA recently contacted me to share information with you about animal disaster preparedness.. September is Disaster Preparedness Month and the ASPCA is bringing together various disaster experts for a Google+ Hangout to talk about how to prepare for disasters with pets.  The virtual event will take place tomorrow, Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. EST and it will be moderated by Good Morning America’s weather anchor Ginger Zee, featuring experts from ASPCA, FEMA and USDA, as well as special animal guests who were disaster survivors.  Please RSVP and join the Hangout and find further information here!

Additionally, the ASPCA is educating pet owners to remember their pets when planning for an emergency.  Please visit here to find out the latest tips and get a free rescue alert sticker for their home.  Further, the ASPCA is encouraging people to download the ASPCA’s free ASPCA App which includes a check-list of actions to take before, during, and after a major storm.  This is important information to have in order for you and your furry family member to be prepared in the event of an unforeseen disaster.


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The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.



Victory: Photography Project — 32

“He speaketh not, and yet there lies a conversation in his eyes …” ~Unknown

Beginning in January of this year, I began a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog!  I have also been documenting Victory’s milestones so to speak each month — you can read these here!  I think that it is fund to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories.

Well, since returning from vacation, Victory was in dire need of a bath!  I am never really able to capture a bath in photos as it takes both Doug and I to bathe her and she is a quick escape artist!  However, below are some photos of Victory post bath, a little wet, and still looking beautiful!  Also, while in Quebec, we got Victory a handmade bath robe, shown below — I mean, really, what furry friend shouldn’t have a bath robe!  (Victory was a bit tired after the bath shown below.  We think the naths wear her out.)  Victory also got some other goodies while on Vacation including a new Orvis bed; Orvis coat; a sweater; and booties for the rain and snow (she can walk in her new booties as we tried them out first!)

Happy Tuesday!


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Snapshot: Vacationing in Quebec!

We’re back!  We had a wonderful time on vacation!  This was Victory’s first vacation and it was very nice!  We began our vacation in Manchester, Vermont for a few days, with a quick stop at Lake Champlain, and then to our destination, Quebec!  Doug drove the entire way both ways and Victory sat on my lap!  We were really fortunate that we had really nice weather and temperatures during our entire vacation!

This was the first vacation that I did little work!  Thus, today’s post is a sneak peek, as I have not finished editing the images.   If you follow along on Instagram, I shared some images from our vacation during our vacation!  I plan to share more images of our trip, once I have edited images!

We had a great time in Manchester, Vermont.  Doug wanted to stop in Vermont on our way to Quebec.  We wanted to bring Victory to the Orvis Flagship Store where we took Biscuit last spring where he was the Orvis Cover Dog Winner and Centerfold and represented the Orvis Petfinder Commitment supporting and promoting dog rescue!  (Plus, Manchester is extremely dog friendly with great places to shop!  Victory went into all of the stores with us, including the dressing rooms!)  The people at remembered us at Orvis and were sad to learn of Biscuit’s passing.  We introduced our Victory and we had a great time together!  Victory had fun trying out (picking out) the Orvis dog beds and trying on her new Orvis coat!

We stopped briefly at Lake Champlain on our way to Quebec and it was beautiful.

We made  it to our lake house that we rented for several weeks in Quebec!  It was on the Lake of Two Mountains and the views were beautiful and we witnessed many lovely sunsets each night!  Victory loved the beach and boating!  We also made ample time to relax, read, and take some long walks in the village where we stayed.   Doug and I are now hooked on Downton Abbey — we watched the first three seasons, which were available on Netflix in Canada, but not at home, so we ordered season four, which is on its way to us!

We walked to the beach and we had a lot of fun with Victory!  She loved the beach and we captured her putting her paws in the water for the first time!  She actually went into the water and she loved walking on the beach!

We went into Montreal a few times and pushed Victory around in her Hound About — which turned out to be a lifesaver as the city is very crowded and it would have been too stressful for her to walk on the sidewalks with so many people!  She rode around in class!  Doug and I loved going to the Orange Julep!  This has the worlds best orange juice!  We went several times to the Orange Julep and we loved it!  If I could order this orange juice online, I would!  It was that good!  Plus, you have to love that the orange juice is served from an orange!   We also visited McGill University and walked all around a good portion of the city!  We went shopping in Montreal and Victory got some new gear!  Doug also showed me the bookstore where he first wrote to me just prior to our first date on Rue Sainte Catherine ten years ago (nearly to the day!)  (Back then, internet cafes were big!)

One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking the route de vines!  I am not a big wine person, but the views and the vineyards were really beautiful.  Doug figured out the routes and drove us everywhere!  We learned about fire cider, which tastes really good!  We brought some home with us!  This fire cider is wonderful!  Victory loved the wineries and dogs were welcome and, of course, everyone called her a “plus beau chien!” (most beautiful dog!)  Of course, we agree!  Victory loved the vineyards so much that she often did not want to leave!  Everyone was so friendly!

Oh, how can I leave out Tim Hortons?  Doug loves Tim Horton’s; we do not have one near us; and they just are not the same in the U.S.  So, as a result, we ate way too many donuts!  (They were really good, as I usually do not eat donuts!)  Also, it is very interesting going to a fast food restaurant where everyone is so nice and everyone knows French and English — this not something you see here in the U.S.!

Most of all, we enjoyed spending time together; getting away and having a break; having a change of scenery; and having days where we had no plans and were able to take each day as it came!   Everyone was so nice in Quebec and the pace of everything was nice and slow!  Enjoy the snapshot of photos from our vacation below!

Happy Monday!


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Heading to Quebec…

We are headed to Quebec for vacation!  This will be Victory’s first vacation!  We are looking forward to our time away together!  Our last three vacations were spent with our beloved Biscuit in Nova Scotia (two times) and Vermont.  We had a wonderful time in Nova Scotia, but we decided to do something different with our little Victory this year!

I have previously blogged during our vacations and trips.  However, I have made the decision to disconnect during our vacation this summer.  So I’ll be back to the blog in approximately three weeks, in mid September, and I will share our vacation adventures at that time!  I look forward to rest, relaxing, reading good books, our adventures together, and spending quality time together!

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to check out the archives — a link to the archives is on the right side of the blog!

Have a wonderful couple of weeks!

P.S. While we are away on vacation, I do plan to post images/videos regularly while we are on vacation via Instagram (our Instagram feed is also shown on the right side of the blog!)


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“What we want out of a vacation changes as we age.  It changes from vacation to vacation.  There was a time when it was all about culture for me.  My idea of a real break was to stay in museums until my legs ached and then go stand in line to get tickets for an opera or a play.  Later I became a disciple of relaxation and looked for words like beach and massage when making my plans.  I found those little paper umbrellas that balanced on the side of rum drinks to be deeply charming then.  Now I strive for transcendent invisibility and the chance to accomplish the things I can’t get done at home.  But as I pack up my room at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.”  -Ann Patchett, “Do Not Disturb, in This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

Interview with Martin Usborne, Photographer

Interview with Martin Usborne, Photographer









Recently, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Martin Usborne, a photographer and animal lover who resides in London with his wife and dogs.  One of Martin’s interests includes man’s relationship to animals.  Martin has been regularly featured in international magazines and his work has been seen in group and solo exhibitions around the world, along with publishing several books.  Last year I interviewed Martin about his important project, A Year to Help.  I truly enjoy Martin’s work, and I am sure that you will too!


KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as a photographer and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression?

MARTIN USBORNE: I started photographing professionally in my thirty’s but I had been taking photos for many years prior.  I was working in children’s television when I got made redundant and so I went traveling for six months.  I took a canon 10D and a laptop and loved taking pictures so much that I started out as a portrait photographer.  I think, however, it was seeing the work of Bill Brandt that persuaded me to go professional.

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KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?

MARTIN USBORNE: I went to Glasgow School of Art but studied 3D animation.  I was meant to get a job working on the first Ice Age movie but there were visa problems!  I ended up working in children’s television.


KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?

MARTIN USBORNE: Fairly psychologically intense but hopefully laced with humour every now and then.


KATHERINE CARVER: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating photographs was absolutely something that you had to do?

MARTIN USBORNE: I think I realised in my late twenties I had to be creative.  I don’t think it has to be photographs.  If the camera didn’t exist, there would be other ways to find expression!

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KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin photographing dogs?

MARTIN USBORNE: I’ve loved dogs since I was a kid.  Adored them.  I have two now and always will have dogs.  I’m also interested in the way we treat animals so dogs were an obvious way in.


KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dogs influenced your artwork?

MARTIN USBORNE: I made a book about my dog Moose (My Name is Moose), which was my first ever photo book.  But other than that these images are kind of too cute to feature in my work, which tends to be a bit more serious.

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KATHERINE CARVER: Where did the idea come from for your work entitled, “Dogs in cars”?

MARTIN USBORNE: I was once left in a car at a young age.  I don’t know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only.  The details don’t matter.  The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back.  The fear I felt was strong: in a child’s mind it is possible to be alone forever.

Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals – in particular their plight at the hands of humans.  I saw a TV documentary that included footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked.  What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back.

I should say that I was a well-loved child and never abandoned and yet it is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard.

When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark.  In a sense, I was attempting to go back inside my car, to re-experience what I couldn’t bear as a child.  What I didn’t expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.

There is life in the darkest places inside us.


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KATHERINE CARVER: Where did the idea come from for your work entitled, “Nice to meet you”?

MARTIN USBORNE:  I remember meeting a stranger on a sunny day whilst I was suffering from depression.

‘Nice to meet you, how are you?’, said the stranger.

‘I’m fine’, I replied.

I wanted to howl.

What happens to those raw, painful parts of ourselves we hide away?  The anger, confusion, uncertainty, hope?  And what strategies do we use to hide these parts of ourselves?  Politeness, arrogance, speed, disinterest?

Each image in this series is a portrait of a dog photographed through a material or substance: a wet pane of glass, faint smoke, dense material, bleeding light.  Nearly all of the dogs are abandoned, untrained, often aggressive.  One is a wolf. (Every dog was carefully handled and protected in the process).  The images are titled with everyday phrases that so often hide subtexts.

As with the previous series, The Silence of Dogs in Cars, canines are used here to reflect that unspoken, instinctive side of our nature.  In my own experience it is dogs – along with some other animals – that have the ability to communicate certain feelings most directly even though they have no words.

But the series is also about the voicelessness of animals, about their hidden pains and silent needs that to many people are not so apparent.


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KATHERINE CARVER: Where do you show/exhibit your work?

MARTIN USBORNE: I’ve show in London, LA, NY, Sao Paolo, and Paris.  A lot of my work ends up in magazines too.


KATHERINE CARVER: What does “being creative” mean to you?

MARTIN USBORNE: It means expressing yourself in the most natural and elegant way possible.  Not always easy but rewarding.  It’s a bit like breathing very deeply.  You breathe in the world, taking in ideas, experience and inspiration, and then you breathe out those same ideas, experiences and inspiration but they are fused with something of your deeper core. You can only hope you don’t have smelly breath.

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KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most challenging aspect of being a photographer?

MARTIN USBORNE: Making the money while doing your own work.


KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated?  

MARTIN USBORNE: Seeing books and exhibitions of my work finished!


KATHERINE CARVER: What are the most rewarding and satisfying part about being an artist and creating art?

MARTIN USBORNE: Being true to yourself.


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KATHERINE CARVER: What kind of patterns, rituals, and routines do you have while making your art?

MARTIN USBORNE: Actually just doing it.  If you wait for inspiration it doesn’t come.


KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?

MARTIN USBORNE: A book about Spanish Hunting dogs…More to be announced soon.

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KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?

MARTIN USBORNE: Bill Brandt, Todd Hido, and Edward Hopper.


KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

MARTIN USBORNE: It’s hard work but, if you have to do it, very rewarding.  Go for it.  But be prepared to be your own engine.  You don’t have anyone else pushing you and you have to often deal with self-doubt.


KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view and purchase your art works?

MARTIN USBORNE: Look at my website,, and get in contact! 

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All images contained in this blog post are courtesy of Martin Usborne.

Victory: Photography Project — 31

“Dogs leave paw prints on your heart” ~W.R. Purche.

Beginning in January of this year, I began a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog!  I have also been documenting Victory’s milestones so to speak each month — you can read these here!  I think that it is fund to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories.

Victory is sporting her Doggles.  We actually got her two pairs (two different sizes) and we are not sure which ones actually feels better on her!  She is wearing two different pairs in the images below!  We are going to take both pairs on vacation!  She sure does look cute and she did not even try to take them off with her paws!

Happy Monday!


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This quote by Goethe, below, is keeping me moving forward with my photography project, and it coincidentally fits nicely with my word for the year —  trust (which I am always working on.)  So far, the Universe has been very supportive.  During the creative process, I think everyone struggles with moving through the work during certain periods along with confronting self-doubt.  I have experienced these feelings while working on this project.  However, I have found the best thing to do is just to keep going and pushing on and not letting obstacles or fear get in my way.  In fact, I have been leaping and the net has appeared in ways I could not have imagined, and I hope that the net will keep appearing for me while I continue to work on this project and bring this vision and body of work to fruition.  I find much truth in Goethe’s quote below — so if there is something you are dreaming, instead of waiting for the ‘right time’ or inspiration, begin it now!

Happy weekend!


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