Skip to content

Around Here: April 2017

Happy April!  Another month has just about flown by once again!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in April!

-continuing to work steadily on finishing my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I should be able to finish next month, fingers crossed, as I am down to the final stretch!

-enjoying date nights together!

-enjoying time together outside.  With the warmer weather, we have been taking more walks outside, and Victory loves the walks while she rides in her Hound About!  (We know that she is really spoiled!)

-we celebrated 3.5 years this month with our fur girl, Victory!

-we visited Keeneland again, and we won on almost every race!  Coincidentally, one of our horse picks that came in first place was named Victory-to-Victory!

-in addition to our trip this summer, we planned a special trip in honor of Doug’s birthday this summer!  It will be fun!

-continue to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home!

-started our gardening for this year and getting our deck furniture ready to use to enjoy the nicer weather!

-we had to get a new car, as one of our cars, unfortunately, died.  (There is never a good time for this to occur).

-enjoying many snuggles with our fur girl, Victory!  She got another bath this month, which she never enjoys, but she smells and her fur feels so good after the process is complete!

Biscuit was a ‘staff pick’ again for Jones Soda!  You can read more about it here and vote here, which is greatly appreciated!

-started and we are almost through all of the seasons of the Bates Motel — a good series providing the back story to the film, Psycho.

-finished reading Hourglass by Dani Shapiro, a good read!

-also started reading Hallelujah Anyway  by Anne Lamott, also a good read!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym!

-achieving 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Tuesday!


Dogs: Hospice Care


In a recent article, I learned about a wonderful hospice rescue for elderly dogs, which are not usually people’s first choice to choose to adopt when considering adopting a rescue dog.  Kim Skarritt is the owner of Silver Muzzle Cottage, a rescue and hospice for homeless old dogs.  It is the only type of hospice rescue located in Michigan and one of the few in the country.  Silver Muzzle Cottage takes dogs left being either by choice or by circumstance, as when a dog’s owner suddenly dies and nobody else claims their dog.  Skarritt began her rescue about two years ago, and she has taken in more than 70 dogs so far.  Almost all of them are old, many are sick, a lot of them are near death.  No matter how bad the dogs’ lives have been so far, Skarritt wants to make their last days wonderful.

“They don’t ask for much when they’re really old.  They want to be loved and cared for, they want food, and they just need a warm place to lay their head at night,” said Skarritt.  “At some point they were cared for, and then when they needed it most they’re not.  And that’s why they really need a place like ours,” according to Skarritt.

About five years ago, Skarritt purchased an empty tool and die shop on a remote industrial road and opened Bowers by the Bay, a dog fitness, rehabilitation and cage-free boarding center.  Her work was coordinated with local animal shelters where Skarritt became alarmed by a disturbing pattern.

“I kept seeing these 14-year-old dogs and 13-year-old dogs in shelters and needing homes, and I’m going, ‘What is that?  Who does that?'”

As a result, Skarritt telephoned several animal shelters throughout the state of Michigan and estimated there were approximately 900 senior dogs needing homes within a 500 mile radius of Elk Raids, Michigan, where the Silver Muzzle Cottage is located.

According to some local rescues and shelters, some people do not even bother bringing the old dog inside the shelter building.

“Sometimes they dump them down our road a little bit so it’s not right in front of our building.  But we do have cameras up,” said Tia Babera a kennel technician at the Cherryland Humane Society located in Traverse City, Michigan.

At the Otsego County Animal Shelter, people at times come in with a dog they claim was a stay they found, but it’s really their lifelong pet.  If the staff finds out the owner is lying, they’ll make them return and take their pet back, like the guy who recently brought in a tumor-riddled 15-year-old dog, pretending he found it.  It turned out to be his dog.

“They’re just looking for a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility,” said Christie Pratt, a 37-year-old animal control officer.  “We are a little bit harder here.  We will make them have a good reason to surrender their dog.”

These types of stories compelled Skarritt to purchase an empty storage building next door to her business, mentioned above, and opened Silver Muzzle Cottage as a nonprofit rescue solely for elderly dogs, which she defines as age 10 or older unless they’re terminally ill, in which case she’s take the dog at any age.

This is not a typical rescue — there is a large living room with couches and throw pillows, a fake fireplace with decorations atop the mantle, end tables with vases and a coffee table with a thick photo book about dogs atop it.  It is described as looking like a ‘normal house,’ except there is a bunch of dogs lounging on the couches.  “We wanted it to be a home,” Skarritt explained.

This is a home for her, too.  The dogs aren’t caged at night, which means someone has to be at the rescue at all times.  Since Skarritt could not afford to pay someone to do that, she moved into a small room at the corner of the house, with little more than a bathroom and a bed.

There are about 100 rotating volunteers to take the dogs for walks or car rides, or sit on the couches with the dogs and pet or play with them.

Most of the dogs get adopted, despite a short future, thanks to Skarritt’s persistence in spreading the world about the plight of old dogs.  But some are not adoptable as they have such little time remaining to live.

“For some people it’s too hard,” Skarritt said.  “They really can’t handle it.  But for those who can, they find it very rewarding.  We have to look at it in a positive light, otherwise it would be very depressing.  But it’s a win-win for us and it’s a win-win for the dogs.”

This is a wonderful project and I am hope more dog hospices develop around the country to help these elderly dogs that, inevitably and unfortunately, need a home in their final days.

You can read the article and view lovely images of the Silver Muzzle Cottage’s hospice and rescue here.

Additionally, Silver Muzzle Cottage is located at 201 EC Loomis Drive, Elk Rapids, Mich., 49629.  For information or to make a donation, call 231-264-8408 or see

The above image is via Pinterest.


Jones Soda: Please Vote for Biscuit!

I submitted this image, shown below, a few years ago, while our dear Biscuit was still alive, and I was notified recently that Biscuit is a ‘staff pick’ to possibly appear on the Jones Soda label again!

In the image, Biscuit is sitting with many bottles of Jones Soda with his image appearing on the Jones Soda label.

I would be most grateful if you vote today via the link below, which only takes a second and helps increase the chances of Biscuit getting on a Jones Soda label again!  (Also, please feel free to share — 1 vote per I.P. address is permitted!)

*Vote Here:


Thank you!

Victory: 3.5 Years In

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” — Josh Billings

Today marks three and a half years with our fur girl, Victory!  We can hardly believe how fast our time together is passing.  We had our Biscuit for exactly two and a half years, so this mark in time is significant for us.  We had beautiful weather this weekend, and, as such, we went to the Eastern Shore with our fur girl!  I think everyone is ready for spring and we hope spring is here and ready to stay!

Simply stated, we are most grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

Pictured below is Victory three and a half years since her adoption!  (Her fur is finally growing back where she was shaved for her recent dental!)




Pictured above on the upper left is Victory shortly after she was rescued taken by her foster mom in the fall of 2013; pictured on the upper right is Victory one year since her adoption — October 12, 2014; pictured on the lower left is Victory two and half years since her adoption — April 12, 2016; and pictured on the lower left is Victory three and a half years since her adoption — April 12, 2017!



Pictured above is Victory on her 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthdays wearing her birthday sweaters!


Around Here: March 2017


Happy March — I know I am a few days late!  It is officially spring and it is finally starting to feel like it!  Another month has flown by and April is already here.  Below are some items that happened around here in March.

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I am so close to finally finishing and May is my target deadline!

-enjoying date nights together!

-just about finished planning a trip this summer with our fur girl, Victory!

-we recently went to Delaware to one of our favorite restaurants, Iron Hill Brewery!  The weather is getting a little warmer, and we have been able to take Victory with us out to dinner a few times, which she loves!

-finished printing all of our photo books from 2008 through the present via Artifact Uprising, which I will share at some point!

-started hanging and getting more fine art prints printed to frame and hang around the house.  Fortunately, Doug is really good  at measuring and hanging, which is a huge help to me!

-watched the first and second seasons of The Man in the High Castle — an excellent series!

-binged watched the entire season of This is Us with my Mom — I really enjoyed it!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially at the gym!

-achieving 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

(The above watercolor image is via Pinterest).

A First: Dogs will be welcome at the Interior Department

In a recent Washington Post article, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the start of “Doggy Days at Interior,” a program that will launch with test runs at the agency’s Washington headquarters on two Fridays in May and September.  This new policy makes the Interior Department the first federal agency to go dog-friendly.

Zinke said his dog policy’s primary goal is to boost morale at the Interior agency, which includes the National Park Service; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Bureau of Land Management; and six other departments.

Zinke’s dog is an 18-month-old black and white Havanese dog, named Ragnar, pictured below.

“Opening the door each evening and seeing him [Ragnar] running at me is one of the highlights of my day,” according to Zinke.  “I can’t even count how many miles I’ve driven across Montana with Ragnar riding shotgun, or how many hikes and river floats Lola and I went on with the little guy.  But I can tell you it was always better to have him.”

The new policy is a first, as it has never been tried in the federal government.  Members of Congress have been bringing their dogs to the U.S. Capitol since the 19th center, but few other taxpayer-funded workplaces have gone dog-friendly.  Private companies, on the other hand, are increasingly promoting their dog-friendliness as an employee perk.


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s dog, Ragnar, is pictured at the Interior Department with a portrait former President Theodore Roosevelt.  (Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann)


However, there are obvious concerns about having dogs at the office, which is why the policy is launching slowly as a pilot, officials said.  Zinke’s staff has been consulting with agency attorneys in recent weeks to work out the parameters for the dogs, including whether the dogs will need to be leashed or be limited to a certain size.  It is likely the dogs will need to be fully housebroken, vaccinated, and have no history of aggression.

Other possible complications when dogs are welcomed to the Interior: Fleas, bites, people with allergies, and pets who may, in a new environment, relieve themselves indoors.  Zinke will permit employees to telework who would rather not interact with the dogs at work.

You can view a short video debuting the dog-friendly work program.

The federal government is large employer where we live.  It will be exciting to see if this pilot program catches on with other federal agencies!  (I think that our little Victory would prefer one of us to be home full-time teleworking versus her making trips to the office!)

National Dog Day: Victory

I feel like a neglectful dog mommy for not posting on National Dog Day.  Victory brings immeasurable joy to our little family and so much more.  And, importantly, she teaches me something every day about just being.  We are so very grateful for our fur girl!

Below is a short video of our little fur girl, Victory, sniffing around at the dog park!

Happy Friday!



Interview: Delphine Crépin, Photographer

Interview with Delphine Crépin, Photographer











Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Delphine Crépin, a France-based photographer and film director, who recently has created a photography series, entitled, Waste, a compilation of images utilizing a collage method incorporating dogs and spaces.  According to Crépin, “The idea [Waste] came to me while sorting through my photographs.  Today the notion of photography as a documentary has been totally rethought.  We take, we throw, and we move on to the next thing, hoping that it is better.  By creating this series, I saw something of a revival of these clichés.”  Crépin hopes the viewer observes an image juxtaposition, which raises the question — has the dog been left alone for a minute or has the dog been abandoned?  A selection of Delphine Crépin’s work is displayed below.  Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions.  Please visit Delphine Crépin website to view more of her wonderful work.


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I’ve always been attracted to the camera.  Being able to freeze a moment forever intrigues me and reassures me.  As a child, I loved leafing through photo albums of family, giving me the ability to live these past moments.  In fact, sometimes, I realize that these albums derive my memories.  Most of all, the fear of forgetting pushes me to photograph the present.  I started reading about the subject and I discovered the work of Jeff Wall, who really gave me the push to continue.


KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Not officially in a school; however, I personally have studied photography on my own – my house is filled with books, essays, films, documentaries, and photographs.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: How do you describe your style?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Both documentary and fiction – a quest for identity.


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I first realized I wanted to create photographs during the collaboration on the InvU project, where I created a portrait series of disfigured people.  At that time, photography as a medium made sense to me.  Photography allowed me to convey a message and touch a large number of people from different universes.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin photographing dogs, as you have several series focusing on dogs, including your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I have always loved animals, especially dogs.  I started photographing dogs by chance.  A few years ago, without asking, while I was preparing my studio for a shoot, my dog, Dogabert, came to the front of the camera.  He sat still, in front of the camera, unwilling to move.  I needed to do some light testing anyway, so I took advantage of this serendipity.  I put a coat on my dog’s back and started photographing him.  The lighting and the intensity in my dog’s eyes pierced me.  I try, through my photographs, to give dogs a voice.


KATHERINE CARVER: How have your own dog(s)/animal(s) influenced your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Dagobert, my dog, is simply my source of inspiration.  He leads me to reflect on subjects that are far from me; and he has opened the doors to another world, not so far from our own.  Importantly, Dogobert has allowed me to see with a less human, unprejudiced outlook.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: Where did the idea derive from for your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: WASTE is both a recent series and a reprint of forgotten photographs.  The idea came to me while sorting through my photographs.  Today the notion of photography as a documentary has been totally rethought.  We take, we throw, and we move on to the next thing, hoping that it is better.  By creating this series, I saw something of a revival of these clichés.


KATHERINE CARVER: In your series, Waste, how did you decide to implement an image within an image approach, so to speak?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: The collage seems interesting to me in the sense that the two subjects – the dogs and the open spaces share commonalities.  In the unconscious of people, the dog is not discernable from the human and the places that surround the dog and human.  In contrast, when the dog is shown waiting in front of a building, waiting in front of a shop, or waiting in the middle of natural space, illustrates the attachment of the dog to his master – wherever the dog is he waits for his master.  The juxtaposition of these images and the choice of the title “WASTE” (déchet in French) seemed an important indicator of reuse.


KATHERINE CARVER: What do you hope viewers take away after viewing your work entitled, Waste?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Here the viewer observes an image juxtaposition; by this association, I hope that it raises the question: has the dog been deposited there for a minute or has the dog been cowardly abandoned?  I try to make the viewer react in relation to the place given to the animals and the message that these images convey.  The collage leads the viewer in another direction and tries to find a meaning.  I hope that the viewer interprets a larger impact collectively via the collage rather than separately.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: My work has been exhibited in variousmuseums and galleries such as: Au Palais des Papes d’Avignon; à l’Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne; à la Galerie Jean-François Cazeau à Paris; au Pôle international de la Préhistoire; and à la maison de la Culture d’Amiens.  My work has also appeared in various magazines and on the Internet.


KATHERINE CARVER: What does ‘being creative’ mean to you?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Surprising oneself and constantly challenging oneself.


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Succeeding in making a living.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: The satisfaction of creating something that makes me believe that my job improves the daily lives of people.  I like to think that art is the only thing that allows us to dream.  Ultimately, photography, for me, is a part of my identity.


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: When I come home from a shoot, I cannot wait to see the results.  But I refuse to look at the images that day; instead, I wait at least a day to review the images.  Over time, I realized that we must let the images and ideas rest.  One must let one’s mind forget and create a memory.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: I continue to work on my series at the animal shelter, to help encourage adoption.  And, in parallel, I am working on a photographic inventory of community portraits.  I focus on people in a group and how they differentiate themselves as an individual from the group.  I focus mainly on groups of people who do not have a place in society.  In the hour when individualism is the key word of our society, I focus on the people who have chosen to be part of an unusual group.


KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Jeff Wall and Genevieve Cadieux for the moment posed, freeze-frame; Wim Wenders for the side portrait of nature; Alec Soth and August Sanders for the documentary; Diane Arbus for the portrait; William Wegman for his painting and portrait of Man Ray; and David Hockney as a painter, photographer, and complete artist.


copyright 2016 Delphine Crepin


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

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: Be yourself and persist.


KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view your work?

DELPHINE CRÉPIN: On my website; my instagram; and you can contact me via email at


All images are courtesy of Delphine Crépin.

You can read more interviews here.

Fun Dog Cards!

I love cards; and I recently learned of Henry Garrett, a Bristol artist, who makes cards containing hilarious cartoons of dogs sure to make anyone laugh, shown below!  Garrett’s drawings began during his philosophy finals to help him cope with anxiety while earning his PhD.  As a result, Drawings of Dogs was born.  Garrett’s muse, Billie, the Parson Russell Terrier, is a loyal companion who is always by his side!  You can purchase these cards here.

Happy Friday!


The above images are courtesy of Henry Garrett.


Acumen: Creating and Persevering

Sometimes, when one is working, it is difficult to really see the forest through the trees.  Therefore,  I thought that I would share some inspiring words from artists I have interviewed here on the blog about creating and persevering, which I hope you find helpful and encouraging.


IMG_1538 2


“Follow your passion, even if you do not know what lies on the other side.  Passion is infectious to people; and passion is at the root of creating art.  Keep believing in your work and use your passion to help you push through and keep going.  The right thing(s) happen when it is supposed to happen.  Most importantly, put your work on the line and keep pushing your boundaries.”  — Deborah Samuel


“Create what you love and create it consistently, even if you aren’t feeling particularly inspired.  Share what you make with the world so people can find it and enjoy it.  Enjoy the process, and don’t get discouraged.  I don’t believe that there are things any particular person can’t do.  It’s just a matter of putting enough time into it to gain the skill, and asking questions when you don’t know how to do something.  And if you are already talented in your area but have fear of putting yourself out there, or fear of failure, or any fear (and we all do), know that ‘inaction breeds doubt and fear (Dale Carnegie),’ so move forward, make things happen, and ‘always do what you’re afraid to do (Emerson).’  If you do that, soon enough nothing will stop you.  I didn’t always believe it, but yes you can absolutely make a career doing what you love… so go for it.”   — Laura Johnson


“Don’t do what I did and just feel your way through the woods.  Either find a way to make a living that is somehow compatible with your art, and gives you the time and energy to do your work, or get an MFA or PhD and find a job teaching in a university.  High school second best.  Then you have summers and vacations, and if you teach in a university you will even have time in your working schedule to paint or sculpt or write.  Making a living in the commercial arts is fine, but it is not conducive to expressing yourself artistically in a deeper more fulfilling way.”  — Anna Dibble


“It’s easy, especially when just starting out, to get hung up on what kind of work you think you ‘should’ be making, or what others tell you you’re best at – disregard this.  Your best work will happen when you focus on that which you know and love, and your most valuable audience will follow that work.  Not sure you really know how to visualize what you know and love?  Just keep ‘making’, and let each step, each project, lead to the next.  Momentum is HUGE and you never know where the sparks are hiding until you hit them.” — Natalya Zahn


“Don’t give up.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you love.  If you truly love it, there’s always a way to make it happen.”  — Helen Greenstein


“Do not second guess yourself.  You need to question what you are doing, but you also need to follow your instincts.  Often times, what you are working on will lead to something else as well.  It is also very important to appreciate the process.  Additionally, it is important to be confident and to develop your own work.  When you are not as concerned about what others think, you will create stronger work.  It is also important to be playful and be committed to the process of making art.  Finally, for me, it has been very helpful to have a spiritual practice to help understand yourself more deeply and knowing that we are all connected.”  — Valerie Shaff


“Be true to yourself and in it for the love of doing it.  When the phone isn’t ringing, your inbox is empty and you feel like no one loves you or your work, you will have that to keep you going.”  — Andrew Pinkham


“Find your niche and then commit to that.  Since I found the Animal Studies community, I feel more ‘at home’ as a photographer than I ever have before.  I get a lot of support from other scholars and artists interested in the same things I am, and I always have a direction to point myself in when I am working.”   — Julia Scholar


“Don’t ape other people’s styles.  Draw like no one is watching and see what comes out.  Reflect, refine, and repeat.  Be yourself and draw what you know, not what you think you should know.”  — Bee Johnson


“My passion for making images keeps me going.  It makes me feel alive.  I think being creative means a commitment to continually challenging yourself.”  — Shannon Johnstone


“Keep taking photographs and assess what you are trying to say.”  — Rory Carnegie


“Stay true to your own heart — be who you are!  It sounds cheesy but it’s not.  Every single person has an absolutely unique quality that only they can bring to the world.  The world needs authentic beings to have the courage to be who they are.”  — Brigette Bloom


“Be stubborn and keep going.  And don’t overthink it in the beginning and work hard.”  — Eleonor Bosström


“Don’t let anything get in your way.  People love creativity and there are more channels to make your work known than ever before.  No excuses.  The difference between an ‘aspiring artist’ and a true artist is action.  Talent comes through practice.”  — Elias Weiss Friedman


“Nothing happens overnight so it’s important to keep plugging away and doing what you love.  Entering competitions is essential, it’s really important to keep putting yourself out there.  Don’t let yourself get knocked backed if you aren’t successful with a submission – your work may have not been right for them.  Art and photography is very subjective.  If you don’t try you’ll never know.”  — Lorna Evans


“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.”  — Martin Usborne


“Have a good work ethic; be able to take criticism; don’t be embarrassed as I was of what you love; practice social and writing skills; and, above all else, be persistent about working.”  — Robin Schwartz


“I think when you are starting out it is really important to focus on issues or ideas that are important to you.  It is very easy to become mixed up in producing work that others would like to see or that you think will be successful but your best work will always come from a genuine vested interest.”  — Sam Edmonds


“Keep practicing.  And showing up.  Your work will evolve and grow even if you can’t see it happening.  I promise!!”  — Heidi Lender


“Find what you enjoy doing and get extremely good at it.  Keep creating even if you think the idea isn’t going anywhere and stay happy.”  — Josh Bryant


“Know yourself.  Don’t worry about being cool and on trend. ‘Coolness is a strait-jacket for creativity.’  Also, it is important to always put in the hours.”  — Lauren Sheldon