A Photo Journey of the Beasties Who Walk Among Us

I’ll be honest… It’s been a rough month. My pup Killian, who shared my world from the moment he took his first breath back in December of 2006, passed away in May. There have been many, many tears since that time. Between that, trying to finish the latest book, and waiting on word for a house we may or may not be purchasing in Phippsburg (more on that next month – maybe), I’ve been more than a little bit distracted lately.

As a result, all the pieces I started to write for the blog this month just ended up scattered and just not that interesting. While I was looking for inspiration (aka killing time), I started looking through the photos on my phone. Gradually, a theme began to emerge. I know it’s not about crime. Some of the photos don’t even come from Maine. But frankly, with the amount of chaos in the world today, I could use a break from dark thoughts. So, this month I bring you a pictorial journey of a few of the animals who’ve made their way to my phone over the past year or so. I hope you enjoy!

Ben’s cousins live in Springfield, Vermont, so we usually make at least a little time for the Springfield Humane Society while we’re visiting. We took this sweet girl for a walk and had a rousing game of fetch while we were there. What a face!

While visiting Chicago this winter, Ben and I made the rounds to whatever animal-centric locale we could find. The Orphans of the Storm Shelter was a highlight to say the very least. Their cat rooms had been renovated recently, and were phenomenal. You can’t see it in this photo, but on either end of this massive room were whole sections of dog beds where the cats could snooze in the sunshine together. It was awesome!

This gorgeous girl is Jenga, a Dutch shepherd with Maine Search and Rescue Dogs (MESARD). Jenga’s handler, Chad Carleton, and fellow MESARD handler Michele Fleury very kindly let me tag along during a training session in Dresden, and I snagged this photo in a rare down moment. I was first introduced to the breed while training with the Maine Warden Service K-9 unit a few days before up in Montville, when Corporal Michelle Merrifield and her Dutch shepherd Piper showed me the ropes.


Meet Kia… The dog who made me love my car dealer. I bought my Honda Element from Robert’s Auto in Bowdoinham in October of 2016, and have faithfully brought the beast (which I love, incidentally) in for tune-ups whenever needed — partly because Kia makes the whole thing such a pleasure.

Last spring, I took care of my nieces Maya (left) and Maggie (right) for a weekend in April. One of the things we did to fill our days was head out to Kid Hugging Day in Appleton – where we stopped and hugged some kid goats at Appleton Creamery, and pet some super sweet water buffalo calves at Maine Water Buffalo. Definitely a memorable day.

This handsome guy is head peacock at Appleton Creamery, where the nieces and I hugged kids and sampled goat cheese in April, 2016.

A less-happy shot, of one of the dogs from Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter in Chicago. This sweet girl was being fostered but needed to come back to the shelter for some reason… Her face says it all. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to bring her home with us.

The saintly Princess Serena, Ben’s cousins’ puppy. There’s an ongoing debate as to what breed Serena actually is – they were originally told part poodle, part Rottweiler. I believe the most recent theory is that there is some Rottie in there, but also some schnauzer…? Either way, she’s got a ton of personality, and is far too smart for her own good. Definitely a welcome addition to the family.

My lovely Ben, having a heart-to-heart with the goats of Sunflower Creamery in Cumberland.

Turtles! This shot was taken out on the pond in Cushing, where my mom lives. I love, love, love kayaking out and counting the little turtle heads as they pop up in the water. This weathered tree stump is the favorite hangout of turtles in the know.

And, finally… A parting shot of my beloved Killy. This was taken a couple of years ago, when he was at the vet waiting for a checkup. As shy as he was, I was always amazed at how well he did at these visits. I would love to say it was because he was naturally so well behaved, but I believe the endless supply of treats was the real motivator.

And that does it for this month’s blog post. If you’re so inclined, I would love it if you’d share your favorite animal-related photo from your own phone — or camera, for that matter — in the comments below. Those fuzzy faces never fail to bring a smile to my face! Oh, and if you’d like to see more of these types of photos from me, you can follow me on Instagram, where pretty much my favorite pastime is taking random photos of dogs, cats, bunnies, and birds.

Jen Blood is author of the USA Today-bestselling Erin Solomon Mysteries and Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. To learn more, visit www.jenblood.com

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16 Responses to A Photo Journey of the Beasties Who Walk Among Us

  1. Sandra Neily says:

    Oh Jen! That was great! Made my day as I could not bear any more political cruel news. Ben, turtles, family pets, shelter visits (great idea….will do that too), and just the richness of the animal world. I realized, writing my novel, that all my dogs needed to appear collectively in a central character, because they were vital, just in general, and added meaning (and often trouble) all the time. Thank you for taking the time to share all that!

    • Jen Blood says:

      Thanks so much, Sandra – I’m so glad it made your day! And I highly recommend visiting the local shelters. There are no shortage of inspiring stories or fuzzy faces in need of love and a few minutes of your time. It completely turns my day around every time I visit!

  2. Sennebec says:

    Fantastic photos!

  3. Elaine and Stephen says:

    We love this post!

    • Jen Blood says:

      I have so many photos between visits with Sammy, Kenny, and Serena at your house, Springfield Humane, and VINE, that it was very tough to choose. I’ll have to come out with a photo book just of the Vermont beasties! 🙂

  4. Jen, I’m so, so sorry about sweet Killian. I’ve enjoyed all your tales about that pup over the years. All these photos brought both smiles and tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing all this.
    If I can figure out how to add a photo here, it will be of my pup Sasha wearing her Pope Memorial Humane Society scarf. Nope, copy and paste didn’t work.

    • Jen Blood says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Susan. Killy is indeed missed, but visiting with the other animals in this wide world invariably eases the pain and shifts my focus a bit.

      And I realized after the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a way to share photos in the comments of this blog — oops. The mental picture of your Sasha still brings a smile, though!

  5. Love it! Thanks for the great post, Jen.
    This program wouldn’t let me share any photos of my own, but I have a ton of my dogs and cats! And others that I encounter. Animals are always great subjects for photos.

    • Jen Blood says:

      Thanks for the comment, Maureen – I’m glad you enjoyed the post! And, yeah, I really should have checked to find out whether it was possible to share photos in the comments before I asked people to, well, share photos in the comments. Live and learn. Animals do indeed make for great subjects – they are my favorite.

  6. Stephen and Elaine says:

    Too smart…Serena certainly is too smart and adorably trouble and destructive. Her DNA test shows 50% Poodle and 25% Rottweiler, but looks like a very leggy Schnauser to me. She, and her 2 buddies, have over 2 fenced acres for their safety and pleasure. This whole month she has been challenging the fences, digging and around them and they are high and reinforced! This has turned the carpenter who is supposed to be renovating here into a full-time fence repair specialist. While she is trying to figure out her next move she has discovered our strawberry patch (also fenced). She can leap in and out from a stand still! What a show off.

    • Jen Blood says:

      Ben has been keeping me updated on Serena’s exploits with the fencing! So funny that Sammy and Kenny have lived there all these years with no problems, and then along comes little sister who makes such short work of the whole system. She is indeed an adorable trouble maker!

  7. Beth Clark says:

    I loved seeing these pictures especially the new cat room. That type of place was new to me. I had never heard about Kid Hugging Day. I looked it up on line. If it happens next year, I am definitely taking my granddaughter.

    • Jen Blood says:

      I love seeing what different shelters are doing with their facilities – there really are some inspiring spaces, and people are becoming more and more creative with the way they house cats. And the beauty of most animal shelters is that they welcome visitors, even ones who may not be adopting just then – one of my favorite things when visiting a new place is to spend an afternoon at their local shelter. It can be heartbreaking, without a doubt, but I think it’s an important way of getting to know a community.

      And I absolutely recommend Kid Hugging Day! If you check around, Sunflower Creamery also does a few days every year where they introduce the new kids, and there’s even a place locally that offers goat hikes! Be forewarned, though: It’s best to get in early, as the lines are long!

  8. Cheryl says:

    Loved this visit with your furry friends. I’m sure Killy would love you to rescue another pup to fill your heart! Would love to share a photo of my fur girls but this program doesn’t allow it, I guess.

    • Jen Blood says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the visit, Cheryl! I’m thinking about the next pup already, but am taking my time right now – Ben and I are in the middle of a move, so that’s an automatic excuse for me to ease into the whole process. I don’t expect I’ll be able to go very long without a dog by my side, though. Life just isn’t quite the same without them!

      I’m sorry you couldn’t share your photos – I didn’t realize when I posted that this program apparently doesn’t offer that option. So sorry about that!

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