This is my FurryandFree.com blog, a blog about life in Austin, Texas, especially with regard to dogs.   I have tons of pictures to upload from my past 12 months here in this great city, but my big computer is broken, my laptop was stolen and my kid’s Chromebook, which I’m bumming without his permission, doesn’t seem to be able to handle picture uploads.  I applied for a job as a cashier at Whole Foods downtown, in part to be around people again, but also to save money to buy a new computer, but I haven’t heard back yet.  I’ve gone by four times to introduce myself to the manager at the coffee bar.  I’m expecting a Cease and Desist letter to show up any day now.   Whole Foods is my new nightclub, by the way.  It’s like the best nightlife scene married moms have. Plus the man buns there are to die for.

I started photographing dogs here in Austin last year, because, well, they are cute and they make me smile.  I was down emotionally, having gone through double hip replacement, a resulting loss of the career I’d known for decades and lower body pain that didn’t relent even after getting two shiny new metal hip implant devices three years earlier, before my fortieth birthday.

My husband Skip said, “Just do something that makes you smile.”  I didn’t know yet that photographing dogs would make me smile until one day when I was sitting in the carpool line at the kids’ new school.

I was waiting to turn back into traffic from the school’s driveway.  This black and white spotted dog was sitting in the front seat of a bright red pickup on Exposition Boulevard.  His human’s car was stopped at the Enfield Road intersection.  He was just looking forward like every other passenger in every other car… like he was on the way to the office, getting ready for what he was going to say at the morning meeting or maybe hoping the meeting would be cancelled.  Fat chance, right? I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture.  At that moment the guy driving the bright red pickup looked right at me.   I was busted.  His face exploded with the most genuine smile I’d ever seen.  I smiled back in response.  It was a moment.  A moment I had with a random stranger in a truck, all because his dog was right there in the front seat, stressing about his morning meeting.

Then I thought, “If taking these pictures of dogs makes me smile, maybe dog photographs will help others smile too,” so I started taking dog pictures with more purpose and focus.  God knows we can all use more reasons to smile.

You might see a guinea pig photo on this blog too every now and then.  Guinea pigs were sent here by God to remind us not to worry. Guinea pigs worry about EVERYTHING, even when they’re being well cared for and are living with humans who absolutely adore them. Guinea pigs make me happy too and remind me that God has me, even when I’m scared.  I’m sad to say that’s fairly often.  Most days I overcome the fear.  When I can’t overcome it and life seems totally overwhelming, I grab my camera and start stalking dogs.   Suddenly I forget whatever it was that had preoccupied my mind.

Feel free to download any pictures of your dog you find on here.  Everyone should have a great photo of his or her beloved pet, but a lot of us can’t afford the $100 or even $30 you’d need to book pet portrait sitting.   If you find a shot of yourself on here and want me to take it down, please just ask. Typically I just photograph dogs, but sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the love I see between person and pet, I just have to include the person in the photo too.  Please forgive me.  You were radiant that day.  I just had to take your picture.  Yours was the face of love, and I just had to capture it.

My hope is to collect all these photos in a giant coffee table book called Dogs of Austin; Furry and Free.  If I’ve not photographed your dog yet, just hang on.  I’ll run across you guys sooner or later. If you’d like your dog to be included in my Dogs of Austin coffee table book, feel free to write and we’ll set up a way to allow you to email me your favorite photo, and I’ll include it, or write me and we’ll set up a meeting place so I can take a picture myself!

And thank you for loving your dogs so well.   It gives me inspiration every day.  Thank you for being so kind and warm a city that’s also good to its furry and free residents.  Austin is my healing place.  Thank you for sharing.

Love and wags,


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