Happy Eighth Birthday, Miss Harper Lee!

A note from Harper Lee’s mommy . . .

Today is Miss Harper Lee’s eighth birthday. She and I celebrated a little earlier this week–just the two of us–with a visit to the edge of the Mississippi River. We watched the barges travel up and down the river, she watched the squirrels travel up and down the trees, and we reflected on eight great years.

I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing dog. She’s sweet and smart and eager to please, and she’s been all of those things every day since the first day her human daddy and I met her.

She has an amazing ability to connect with people. Through the Visiting Pet Program, she goes to nursing homes, universities, summer camps for children with special needs, and shelters for people forced from their homes by natural disasters. She immediately brings smiles to people’s faces. When they pet her, they all say the same thing: “She’s so soft.” 

As much as I try to deny it, eight is sort of getting up there for a Golden Retriever. I have no idea how many more years we have ahead of us, but I do have a promise for my sweet girl: Your health and happiness will be my priority, and I will make every day an adventure filled with love.

Happy eighth birthday, Miss Harper Lee!

 

 

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2016: One Spot, Twelve Shots

This time last year, my humans and I created our own little 2016 photo challenge: Select one location and go there once a month to take a photo of me with my sister, Tallulah Bee. We chose a little willow tree in New Orleans’ Audubon Park, partly because we knew a willow tree would change throughout the year but mostly because it was close to the parking lot and we knew that in summer’s peak heat we’d want a location that wasn’t too much of a hike. We decided to take the monthly photo at the end of each month (mostly due to procrastination) and in the morning (due, again, to the heat that we knew would make summer photos challenging). We posted our pictures each month on Instagram. Today I’m sharing our year in pictures with you.

janfebmarch2016-thek9harperleeJanuary, February, March 2016

After our January photo, Mommy wondered if Tallulah Bee would ever learn to look at the camera (#easilydistracted). By the time February rolled around, the duck population in the pond behind us had greatly increased since the previous month, adding immensely to the degree of difficulty in getting a good photo (#yummyduckpoop, said Tallulah). In March, we had zero cooperation from my little sister. She was obsessed with sticks and water fowl . . . anything but the camera. That’s ok. I managed to notice that the grass was turning green again, and our sweet little willow tree was budding out. I also managed to smile for the camera (#professional).

aprilmayjune2016-thek9harperleeApril, May, June 2016

April was full of showers, which the little willow tree definitely seemed to enjoy (#muddypaws). Tallulah and I should have enjoyed the last of the cool spring temperatures. By May we were starting to feel summer’s heat and appreciating that decision early on to pick a photo spot that was close to the parking lot (#melting). June’s photo was technically taken the first weekend in July. It was the only month throughout the year that we cheated; but notice that Tallulah was finally looking at the camera . . . more or less (#smallvictories).

 julyaugsept2016-thek9harperleeJuly, August, September 2016

Our July photo was taken on a super hot morning, so I opted for a little rest in the cool grass . . . which made Tallulah look like a giant (#perspective). The next picture pretty much sums up our August photo shoot in front of the little willow tree. Despite the unbearable heat, I was ready to pose. And Tallulah? She just wanted to eat grass. Mommy wondered how much longer we could use the “she’s a puppy” excuse (#excusesexcuses). We thought (hoped) August would be our last sizzling monthly photo session in Audubon Park. Wrong! Tallulah and I were desperately looking for autumn (#farinthedistance).

 octnovdec2016-thek9harperleeOctober, November, December 2016

October’s photo was yet another challenge: migrating ducks, duck poo, and the heat that lasted through Halloween. As you can tell, Tallulah was super hyped, while I was not so amused. What you can’t see is my human daddy holding Tallulah still. The magic of editing (#thatswhytheycallitaphotochallenge). Three magical things finally happened for our November photo: 1) We finally had cool weather. 2) Tallulah and I finally both really looked at the camera. 3) Mommy finally brought treats, which is why the second thing finally happened (#humansarehardtotrain). Mommy says that our December photo is her favorite, and not because it was the last of the year, haha. She loves this one because it shows our pure joy . . . and because Tallulah didn’t notice the swan in the background. It only took 12 months (and about a thousand snaps of the camera), but we managed to get the perfect shot (#practemakesperfect). We’re currently scouting locations for this year’s monthly photos. Finding a spot without ducks and duck poop is a priority. 😉


Still Sizzling in September (and Voting Continues)

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Audubon Park Willow Tree // September 25, 2016

Each month this year, Tallulah Bee and I have joined our humans for a photo session in New Orleans’ Audubon Park. We pose on about the same weekend each month (the third or fourth weekend), at about the same time of day (early morning), and at the same spot (in front of a little willow tree that stands next to a pond). When we finished our August photo shoot, we really thought we were saying goodbye to the miserable hot days of summer. Wrong. A few days ago, with tongues hanging out, Tallulah and I did our best to look cool for our sizzling September entry. The weather humans have confirmed that this summer has been unusually warm hotter than blazes: 43 nights during which the temperature did not drop below 80 degrees, shattering the previous record of 13 set in 2010. Enough, Mother Nature. We’re ready for a cool, crisp photo shoot in October.

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And a little more about our monthly photo sessions in the park. Mommy never ever gets “the shot” on the first try. Tallulah is easily distracted, so it takes a little time and effort. Thank goodness for digital photography!

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Just a quick reminder that voting in my human daddy’s company Pet Supermodel Contest continues. Thank you so very much for all your votes so far. As I dictate this blog post to my human mommy/blogging assistant/typist, I’m in fourth place (with 156 votes) and Tallulah is in fifth place (with 147 votes). Our chances of catching the leaders are pretty slim. (A couple of cats are hanging on to first place with 555 votes and two dogs are in second and third, one with 546 votes and the other with 241 votes.) I’d cry foul and ask for an inquiry into voter fraud, but they’re all pretty cute, so I’m sure the vote count is legit. Anyway, we have a couple of dogs in an inflatable boat who are gaining on us, so remember to vote early and often . . . totally legal in this case.

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You can click here for a link to the ballot box to cast your vote for me.

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You can click here for a link to the ballot box to cast your vote for Tallulah.

Remember: One vote per pet every 24 hours and voting closes at 5 p.m. central time Friday, September 30. Thank you!

P.S. Please feel free to share!


Black and White Sunday: Pups in the Park

B&W Sunday 7-31-16 thek9harperlee

Each month since January, my little sister and I have posed for a photo in front of this little willow tree in New Orleans’ Audubon Park. Click here to see how much has changed in the last six months.

Thank you to Black and White Sunday Blog Hop hosts Dachshund Nola and Sugar the Golden Retriever.

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Wordless Wednesday: Willow Tree//January through April 2016

Willow Tree 1st Quarter Final thek9harperlee

Throughout 2016, we’re taking a photo each month at about the same time beside a little willow tree in New Orleans’ Audubon Park. These are our photos from the first four months of 2016.

Spring has sprung.

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Thank you to our friends at BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

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Black and White Sunday: January in the Park

Audubon Park January 23, 2016 B&W thek9harperlee

Every month this year, Tallulah and I will have our picture taken at Audubon Park in front of this little willow tree. Let’s watch the changes together. Here’s to 2016!

Audubon Park January 23, 2016 Color thek9harperlee

Of course, I had to share the same shot in color.

Thank you to Black and White Sunday Blog Hop hosts Dachshund Nola and Sugar the Golden Retriever.

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Time to Tour Audubon Park in New Orleans

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FinnHoward

You know me: I cannot possibly pass up a party. So today I am celebrating Park Day with my blog dog friends Finn & Charley Too and Gizmo of Terrier Torrent fame. They asked all of their friends in the great blog dog world to go out into the real word, visit a park, and share their experience with the cyber world on this very special day. Now, before I get started, I have a slight clarification. I know the lovely badge for this day says “I hiked for Park Day.” Technically, I did not hike. You may recall that my humans and I had a bit of a Big Easy late night, so my “hike” was more of a “leisurely stroll,” but I think my visit still qualifies. So let’s get started with the tour!

Fountain 1 thek9harperlee

It is my pleasure to welcome you to New Orleans’ beautiful Audubon Park. When you visit Audubon Park, chances are I will not be there to greet you, but I can assure you that the Gumbel Memorial Fountain, installed in 1918 at the park’s St. Charles Avenue entrance, will be there.

Flowers thek9harperlee

The site of Audubon Park began its public life as home to The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884. (That was Louisiana’s first world’s fair. One hundred years later, New Orleans hosted The 1984 World’s Fair: Louisiana World Exposition.) In 1886, the city changed the park’s name from Upper City Park to Audubon Park to honor John James Audubon, who painted many of his “Birds of America” in Louisiana. A few years later, city leaders hired landscape architect Charles Olmsted, whose family developed New York City’s Central Park, to create an urban oasis in Uptown New Orleans.

Moss in Live Oaks thek9harperlee

And what a beautiful oasis it is. Century-old oak trees are decorated with Spanish moss and resurrection fern . . .

Cyprus Stumps thek9harperlee

 . . . and cypress trees with their little stumps line a central lagoon.

Leash Law thek9harperlee

Audubon Park welcomes canine visitors who are attached by a leash to their humans. (Yes, I know, in each of these photos I was not exactly “attached” to my human, but that was special for the photos; I promise you that the entire time we were walking, one end of the leash was attached to my collar and the other end was attached to my human mommy’s hand.)

Doggy Water Fountain thek9harperlee

There are special fountains where humans and their dogs can drink side-by-side . . .

Fountain 2 thek9harperlee

. . . but I highly recommend taking a little sip from that lovely fountain at the park’s entrance . . . if you’re a dog.

WlakingJoggingBike Path thek9harperlee

A 1.8 mile jogging/walking/biking/pretty-much-anything-but-driving path circles through the park.

Golf thek9harperlee

Along the way, you’ll catch several glimpses of the Audubon Park Golf Course. The park is also home to a pool, stables, tennis courts, playgrounds, and the Audubon Zoo.

Church thek9harperlee

Just before the path brings you back to the park’s entrance, there is a pretty little spot to stop and enjoy a view of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. The church is on the campus of Loyola University, which, along with Tulane University, is located across St. Charles Avenue from Audubon Park. This is the perfect place to pause and reflect on all that you have seen during a lovely leisurely stroll through beautiful Audubon Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed your virtual visit!