This past weekend, I was able to catch up on things around the house – which I’ve been neglecting with all of the things I’ve been doing lately for the business – and I was able to do some fun stuff just for me.  On Saturday morning, Brian and I went to visit his grandmother and I took my camera along for the ride.  I wanted to try to get some cute photos of her two little dogs, Taco (the Chihuahua) and Waldo (the terrier mutt).  They were not enthused by the camera at all – especially Taco – he flat out hated it.  And they both shivered most of the time they were outside since I guess it was just a little too chilly for tiny dogs to be outside without a coat on.  Come on spring!undefinedundefinedOn Saturday afternoon, I went down to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) for volunteer orientation.  I’ve been meaning to get down there for orientation for about a month now and I was finally able to do it.  The shelter is much nicer than I envisioned – I’ve driven past that shelter numerous times since M&T Bank Stadium is right across the street; it’s a lot bigger than I thought!  The volunteer program there is really, really great and I can’t wait to help out.  We took a tour of the shelter and got to see all of the dogs and cats…  I still have to take some handling classes before I can actually handle the cats and dogs myself, but I’m hoping to get those classes in soon so I can start taking photos of their adoptable animals for their website.  I’ll be honest – it was really emotionally draining for me to be there.  I cried – yes, flat out cried – at least twice during orientation, listening to the stories and seeing the animals.  BARCS is the official shelter of Baltimore City and they take in around 11,000 animals each year.  Most of their dogs are pit bulls or pit mixes, since a lot of the other types of dogs are taken by breed rescue groups in the area (for example, GoldHeart pulls Goldens from BARCS and other local shelters).  I have a big soft spot in my heart for pit bulls because I know what the future holds for many of them.  They are a misunderstood breed and one that has been deeply harmed by the actions of careless humans.  I am hoping that my photography can help shed some light into the playful nature of these dogs and that it will save at least one life from that bleak future.  Keep an eye out – I should have some photos of the BARCS dogs (and cats) on my blog within the next few weeks… I hope!

On Sunday, Brian and I went to the farm where his family keeps their Shetland ponies.  Now, I used to ride horses when I was a kid, so being back on the farm was a lot of fun – although I’m not a huge fan of walking through mud and poop.  Oh well.  It was still really fun!  Shetland ponies are like big dogs.  Except they don’t sit when you tell them to.  They were really curious about the camera and gathered around me.  At times, I felt like they might all gang up on me and attack!  It was fun to see them up close and to pet them – I haven’t been near a horse like that in several years, so it was fun and something I hope to do more often. 

Then we ventured out into the big pasture with the big horses.  Now that was completely intimidating.  Those horses were huge and if they wanted to trample me, they definitely could have.  Luckily, Brian knows how to act around them – he reassured me that they were big scaredy cats and they wouldn’t kick or bite me, so he made me feel safe.  The big horses were really interested in my camera bag and kept chasing (well – not chasing… but following) us to sniff it.  I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed out there, but it was fun to walk the fields and mingle with the horses and ponies. 

We met a mama sheep and her two lambs while we were there.  They were adorable!  I don’t think they appreciated us being in their space, but I had to sneak a picture.  I couldn’t resist.  It turned out a little fuzzy since the lighting was so poor in the barn and my shutter speeds were really slow – sorry for the hand shake!!  But it is too cute, so I’m posting it anyway :)

We also met the barn cat, who was more than willing to pose for a few pictures on the trailer.  And a goat who wanted to come out and say hi.undefined

undefinedundefinedundefinedOverall, it was a very fun weekend full of animals and photography.  I’m very excited for spring… I love the warm weather and sunshine.  Hopefully we’ll have a lot more weekend opportunities to visit the farm this spring.