“Let me show you something,” I offer my husband as I hand him my phone. On the screen are a pair of bloodhounds, sitting noble in calm expressions with the words “litter due date” underneath. My husband chuckles and nods his head, but I can’t determine if his nod is a “yes, this is a good idea” kind of affirmation or if he’s simply pacifying me. We discuss the topic again the following day and agree that we’re not ready for such a serious committment. Bringing home a puppy would alter our lives tremendously.
Two new humans came to my ranch today and put me in this moving box with wheels. I whined and whimpered for the first hour or two of our drive to my forever home. These new humans seem nice and the one with glasses smells of meat sticks. #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
I’ve heard the tall humans in my forever family speaking of my sleeping arrangements. The one who smells of meat sticks says I need to stay in the box with slats; the one who lets me sleep on her lap during the day puts me in their bed. I think it’s my cute eyes that convince her. Or it could be my howls when she tries to put me in the box with slats. #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
We are no strangers to the bloodhound breed. Our first bloodhound, the beautiful and always photogenic Dusty, was 12 years old when we painfully bid her farewell for the final time. Dusty was Michael’s search and rescue partner for several years before we moved to Kodiak, Alaska in 1997. Always patient with our children and other pets, Dusty was one of the best dogs we’ve ever had. She is in close running with our chocolate lab, Tayaux, who turned 10 this year. Tayaux, our Old Man, began having serious health issues about six months ago and we aren’t certain he’ll survive through this summer. Being without a canine family member would be foreign to us, so my husband and I resumed our puppy conversation a few weeks later.
The humans in my forever family have betrayed my trust with the big white hole and their bottle of bubbly liquid. My howls were heard for miles and now I smell of tea tree oil and oatmeal. Perhaps I’ll show my appreciation with a puddle in the kitchen.#mabelthebloodhound #lifewithmabel
This human in my forever family who always smells of pizza is the only one who seems immune to the soulful song of my people. He is unmoved…. as though he is incapable of even hearing me…. I must find a way to remedy this. #mabelthebloodhound #lifewithmabel
Having made the decision to bring a puppy home was exciting, but it wasn’t news we were ready to share with the world. People, well-meaning as they try, will predictably ask unwanted questions, so we kept this information within our home. Each week, we would gather around the computer and smile as we viewed photographs of our newest family member growing. Our breeder has a flawless system of updating images and providing a plethora of information, and our anticipation was palpable.
Fellow country puppies, lend me your ears, be they short or long like mine. We must abolish the boxes with slats that the humans call kennels! Stand strong on your four paws and join my crusade!#mabelthebloodhound #lifewithmabel
About a week before we traveled to pick up our new baby, we slowly began telling close friends. They were joyful for us and wished us an easy transition. It had been a long time since we’d had such a young puppy and we prepared ourselves for not much sleep and lots of walks to the backyard. I knew this puppy would be special, but experiencing how special she is in person has exceeded anything I daydreamed about.
I’m enjoying these tiny little knives that have appeared in my mouth. They help me latch on to almost surface: mom’s pants, dad’s shoes, Tayaux’s tail, curtains, towels, you get the picture. #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
My humans took me to a strange place this morning that smelled of salt and fish. I expanded my pallet with the delicious crunchy lettuce of the sea, which my humans have placed bets on when they’ll see it again.#mabelthebloodhound #lifewithmabel
Her name, which came to me easily, is Mabel aka #mabelthebloodhound on Instagram. There is someone else who began using this hashtag recently, but you’ll be aware of which ones are our Mabel, the black & tan bloodhound, and which are NOT.
I have big paws and I cannot lie. You other dogs can’t deny that when I walk in with my cute, long ears and these huge feet in your face you get sprung, wanna be a bloodhound ’cause you notice my paws are large.#lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
Bringing Mabel home was thrilling for our family! Being met with other’s judgmental comments was NOT. Having adopted three special needs children, we’re familiar with how those who can’t relate to our life lose all filters and make inappropriate and unhelpful remarks. After announcing Mabel’s arrival, I was confronted with “Why did you get a puppy? Isn’t 5 kids enough?” and “Why did you get a puppy? Don’t you already have a dog?” and “Why did you get a puppy? Do you really have TIME for that kind of thing?”. Thankfully, we were also met with many congratulations and many more friends who came by just to meet Mabel. There IS something alluring about puppy breath, right?
I’m not a bragger, but Mabel: 21, Mom and Dad: 0. Just sayin’ #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
Having been asked these questions, however, had me considering and defining exactly WHY we made this adventurous decision, and I want to share the highlights with you all.Here’s where my life’s reality interjects and my sarcasm begins (yes, this is my warning to anyone who thinks the world is all red roses).
Mom caught me rolling around in the grass today. She thought it was cute, until she saw the dead snake. I call my new smell “Arôme du Serpent.” #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
I needed something positive to focus on every day (bc life can suck at times, no matter who you are). I needed a creature in my home who would always be happy to see me and would be thankful for basic care (bc raising an adopted child with reactive attachment disorder can drain the living cells right out of your body. Daily. Continually. Without warning and definitely without regard). I needed a creature in my home who could hear AND understand me, even when my commands and requests were spoken in simple statements (bc my adopted sons with major developmental delays, deafness, brain abnormalities and other special needs can be exhausting. Daily. Continually. Without warning and certainly without regard). I wanted something else to connect to my husband through (bc having another child is most definitely out of the question with one son in college). But why am I documenting a dog’s first year of life with our family?? I wanted a photography project that wasn’t about my family (in human form, bc the humans not eager to be in front of my camera daily) or about my clients (bc you can’t be creative and work at the same time). I wanted a safe and humorous way to express my opinion of the world around me. Somehow, thoughts shared by a dog (or a cat, like Grumpy Cat) can be more accepting, oddly enough. I wanted a reason to stop the rat race each day and have a little fun.
I smell, therefore I am. #lifewithmabel #mabelthebloodhound
Images taken on iPhone 5 or Nikon D800 and edited with VSCOcam app.