That balance thing…

A while ago I wrote about finding balance. There was too much going on in my head and too many things I wanted to do, something had to give. Your feedback helped, I prioritised the things that were important to me as well as being ones I could realistically accomplish. My health is important, at 45 and with a family history of bowel and breast cancer I am becoming more aware of what I eat. Although I haven’t gone the whole hog in quitting sugar I have reduced my intake and I’m eating more whole foods rather than reaching for what is convenient. This has been a relatively easy step to take and experimenting with new recipes has been fun, plus it makes me feel better.

I put ‘The Artist’s Way’ and ‘The Barefoot Investor’ aside for now, although with a restructure looming at work I may need the finance advice more than anything else on my bookshelf. The weekly online photography course with David duChemin has also taken a bit of a back seat but not because I’m not interested, I’m just a little distracted and finding it hard to focus (pardon the pun). What I am doing is following David’s advice from the first week of the course which was to care deeply about your subject or be deeply curious. It wasn’t difficult to think of something that I care deeply about and as a result I have been taking my camera to the shelter each weekend and photographing some of the dogs. In doing this, I am becoming more familiar with my camera and thinking about the result I am seeking rather than just taking aim and shooting. Not all dogs make it easy, there are plenty of missed opportunities, blurry faces and lots of close ups of their nose or chest as they jump up at me while taking the shot.

Art class, like volunteering is a non-negotiable and it is 2-3 hours a week where I can work on my drawing and be with like-minded people. It is therapy and it helps to shift my brain from worrying about the pettiness that can make a working day unbearable to worrying about which shade of blue is needed to make those hills recede into the background. My trolley of art materials is fully loaded and I have finished one surprise pet illustration and have two landscapes on the go with a couple of potential commissions waiting in the wings. Meanwhile Hubby and Bundy make the most of the peace and quiet by sharing the floorspace in front of the television for a weekly dose of rugby league.

Have I found balance? Yes, to some degree but there is still more I want to achieve and I’m hoping that the cooler weather will help. The hot and humid weather really wore me down, zapping my energy and my motivation. Thanks again for the helpful advice. Have a great week!

 

Take your dog to work day

Shelter Dogs, Animal Welfare League Queensland

Last Friday was Take Your Dog to Work day, a fantastic initiative that celebrates the contribution that dogs make to us and society in general and also to encourage  people to adopt from shelters and rescues. It is well known that having a pet can lower stress levels, blood pressure and improve activity levels so surely bringing them to work can assist with productivity and morale, providing you don’t have any dog haters in your office environment.

Dogs are not allowed in our workplace, for many reasons but the main one appears to be health and safety. To get around this I implemented a ‘Bring Your (Virtual) Pet to Work’ day and encouraged staff to bring in photos and fluffy toys that represented their pets and to decorate their office space as they saw fit. That day was today and it has been lots of fun, many of my colleagues are dog lovers so the majority of images and toys were dog related. We tied the event to a fund-raising morning tea for the Animal Welfare League Queensland, they rely heavily on donations of cash and goods from the general public and are always in need of old blankets, towels, pet food and kitty litter. I don’t know how much we have raised, the collection of donations has been extended to a week to give all of our work mates the chance to make a donation but every little bit helps. In the meantime everyone got the chance to eat cake, talk about their beloved fur-kids and contribute to a good cause – what a great day to end the week 🙂

Puppies

Crafty computer cat

Morning tea

Two black dogs

The job I love the most!

Towards the end of last year I took on a role that has quickly become the best job I have ever had, volunteer dog walker for the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWL). For the small investment of 4-6 hours a week I get to spend time with an array of lovable characters whom through no fault of their own, have found themselves at the shelter awaiting their forever home. We have had lots of rain recently which made walking and playing fetch a little difficult, rather than leave the dogs in their pens we took them out for a cuddle and walk where it was reasonably dry.

Below are some of the dogs I have had the pleasure of spending time with over the last couple of weeks, some of them just want to play with toys but others love to lean on you for tummy rubs. It is sad that they’re still at the shelter but I am hoping that the right person will come along soon and that they’ll never be seen at the AWL again, until then I will make the most of the cuddles and kisses.

KJ, an affectionate and playful Staffy cross
KJ, an affectionate and playful Staffy cross, KJ just loves her toys and doesn't mind playing in the mud.
Rocky the Cattle Dog cross
Rocky the happy Cattle Dog cross, an older dog who loves to keep an eye on everything and he doesn't mind getting brushed.
Prince, a charming Beagle cross
Prince, a charming Beagle cross, happy to be around people and gets along well with Mimi.
Beautiful Leonie, Labrador Staffy cross
Beautiful Leonie the Labrador Staffy cross, she loves to wrestle with a squeaky toy and definitely doesn't mind a belly rub.
Mary Jo, the Staffy cross with a very happy tail
Gorgeous Mary Jo, the Staffy cross with a very happy tail. Recently a Mum, she loves cuddles and lying on the cool ground, legs stretched out like a typical Staffy.
The placed and cuddly Daisy, Greyhound cross
The calm and cuddly Daisy, a Greyhound cross. So easy to walk and she is extremely affectionate.
The water loving Mimi, a cattle dog cross
The water loving Mimi, a Cattle Dog cross that is happy to play in the water as you clean her pen and she loves splashing about in the clam shells filled with water.

Day of the dog

I’ve always wanted to work with animals in some capacity, as a little girl I wanted to be a vet but then I discovered that science was not my friend and without it there was no chance of me becoming a vet. Growing up we always had animals around us, sheep, cows, horses, dogs, cats, ducks and chooks until I went to University and moved away from home. Now, as an adult with my own home, the void has been filled with two black dogs, Maxi the dalmatian cross and Bundy the staffordshire bull terrier cross. There is much joy in having a dog, they provide company, an exercise partner and plenty of laughs with their crazy antics. It is not all fun and games, you have to put in the time and effort to make them sociable, (reasonably) obedient and well behaved – it doesn’t just happen but it is well and truly worth the effort.

Maxi, the dog, dozing in shade of the fence
Nap time for an old girl

As much as I love and obsess over our two black dogs, there are lots of dogs out there that don’t have homes because their owners either don’t want them or can’t have them anymore. Don’t even get me started on the irresponsible dog owners who refuse to get their dog desexed so they keep roaming and procreating and voila! more unwanted dogs. Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of supporting animal welfare groups and our local shelter has an great volunteer program which provides people like me with the opportunity to walk dogs, cuddle cats, foster the young, sick and elderly and help with fund raising. Today was my first day as a volunteer dog walker and it was excellent, I walked dogs of all shapes and sizes and the affection and appreciation comes back at you in spades. It would be easy to walk away feeling depressed about all of the animals that live in the shelter and it is sad that they don’t all have forever homes, yet I walked away feeling good that I was able to help and that each dog I walked spent half an hour less locked in a kennel. My pants were covered in slobber, my t-shirt covered in dirty paw prints, our two black dogs sniffed me from head to toe when I got home and I can’t wait to go back an do it all again next weekend.

Bundy with his ball
Bundy with his ball