Pit Stop

This image looks way more interesting in sepia that it did in color--why is that?

This image looks way more interesting in sepia that it did in color–why is that?

On Saturday, we went on a not-so-fun road trip.  We took Tisen to see a doggie dermatologist to get allergy tested.  His allergies have been getting worse and worse and he’s been getting more lethargic.

We skipped his antihistamine the night before and the morning of so as not to interfere with the allergy test.  This had a profound effect on his energy level.  When I took him for his morning walk, instead of feeling like I was walking a pet turtle, I was having to double-time it to keep up.  In fact, he actually galloped the last 100 yards back to the building, charged down the hall, and then ran all over the place once we were home, chasing me and tossing his toys around like a puppy.

It made me sad to realize how much the drugs had been affecting him.  My poor boy.

What a silly face!

What a silly face!

We loaded him into the van and took off for Louisville.  That’s Louisville, Tennessee–there are not many unique city names in the Eastern US.

In any case, Louisville is just outside of Knoxville.  It reminds me a little of the Lake of the Ozark’s in Missouri in terms of scenery, but it’s not ridiculously over-developed–or if it is, they hide it well.

We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of schedule, so we made a stop at Admiral Farragut Park.  There, we found a nice little walk by the lake, a good strong breeze, and a sign that told us about Admiral Farragut who was born in Knoxville and joined the navy when he was 9 years old.  I used to think I was industrious because I started mowing lawns at 9–now I feel like a slacker!

My boys

My boys

I got out my camera and attempted to find something interesting in the high-noon sun.  I was impressed that on a Saturday in July, we saw only 3 boats go by in a half an hour–definitely not like the Lake of the Ozark’s.

Then, I turned and saw Tisen and Pat waiting on me.  Pat was petting Tisen and apparently hit a spot Tisen really wanted scratched–he started backing up so Pat could reach better with the silliest expression on his face.  My happy boy . . . I wish he were looking half as happy now.

He was sedated for his allergy test and has been so miserable ever since, I am feeling horribly guilty.  On the plus side, he hasn’t been itching since we got back.  There’s not really a good explanation for that–he’s been so sick we haven’t given him anything new.  The only thing that’s changed is we found out he’s allergic to dust mites (along with about 25 other allergens) so we got rid of his old bed that had a washable cover over an un-washable fill.  We got him one that’s completely washable instead.

I don’t know if I’ll every forgive myself if all this time it was his bed making him itch!

A view of the lake

A view of the lake, which is really a reservoir on the Tennessee River

To Sunset

The fast-fading glow in the Eastern sky

The fast-fading glow in the Eastern sky

No energy.  That’s me tonight.  I’ve barely been able to keep my eyes open since about 8PM.  I hope this doesn’t mean I’ve caught something (again).  It’s just as likely Tisen is the cause.  He is back to scratching all night again.  I feel like I did when we last had a puppy–being awakened every hour or so and finally settling down for the best sleep after taking our boy out to go potty in the wee hours of the morning, just before the alarm would go off.

The park fading into shadows

The park fading into shadows

Except there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  We are trying a drug we’ve tried before that helped.  We’re trying a new dose because it made him sick the last time we tried it.  We’ll see if giving him less helps without the side effects.  I feel guilty about this.  At some point I wonder how much is about my need to sleep vs ending my dog’s suffering?  Should I really be trying to give him a medication that made him sick?  And which is worse for him?  Scratching and chewing himself until he draws blood or a drug that makes him vomit and have diarrhea?  Can’t we have a nice easy route to ending his allergies without side effects?

Only gray is left to the East

Only gray is left to the East

In the meantime, I’m nodding off over the keyboard yet again and wanting nothing more than a good night’s sleep tonight.  I look at these photos of sunset and think that’s an apt way to describe how I feel at the moment–like the light is fading fast.  But, the sun will rise again in the morning and I’ll be blinking, squinting, and, with much resistance, dragging myself back out of bed regardless of how much or how little I sleep.

A bright glow remains in the West

A bright glow remains in the West

Going to be is far easier.  Here’s to sunset!

One final shot of the glowing trail the sun has left behind

One final shot of the glowing trail the sun has left behind

Up Close and Personal

I have decided I need to use my flash a lot.  Nothing fancy.  Just put it on the camera and use it so I can get used to what it looks like on camera.  Then, maybe I’ll be better able to see the differences when I take it off camera.

But what to shoot now that I’ve decided to undertake this learning process?  Tisen looks mighty relaxed laying on a comforter on the couch.  And he did just get a brand new hat from Twiggy’s mom.  Plus, he’s a little bored now that Twiggy has gone home.

I wrap a snoot around the flash and decide to start with capturing him in his hat.  I like the head-on image the best even though the flash catches the haze of blue in his eyes, probably indicating cataracts.

Then, I see my down jacket next to him on the sofa and decide to see what happens when I take a macro shot with my flash.  The snoot projects the light to the background, leaving the jacket in the foreground unlit.  When I look at the shot on the big screen, I’m surprised to discover the fabric has a distinct pattern.  I’d always thought it was perfectly smooth.

Then I decide to go macro on Tisen.  Poor guy.  I would feel sorry for him, but he barely moved once I took his hat off, seeming perfectly content to model for his crazy mom with the big black camera that kept flashing at him.

It’s interesting to see the parts of a dog up close.  For one thing, he’s dirty than I thought he was!  His little pig ears always makes me laugh.  When he walks, the tip bounces up and down, flopped over at about the halfway point.

I try to shoot his tail, another source of a smile.  He wags enthusiastically when we go for walks.  People pass us on the street and say, “Now that’s a happy dog!” as he goes by with a toy in his mouth and his tail keeping a steady beat.  But tonight no shot of his tail is to be had.  It’s the one part he keeps tucked underneath and I don’t want to risk annoying him to the point where he gets up and lies on his bed under the desk.

I do manage to shoot both sides of his face, but the white side keeps blowing out with the flash.  The black side makes for a creepy close up of his eye.  He stares at me, blinking from the flash.  I wonder what he thinks I’m doing to him.

The poor guy is still struggling with allergies and hot spots.  We’ve changed his diet again; it seems he’s allergic to the turkey we’ve been feeding him.  I’m about to give up and put him on antibiotics again.  It’s hard to wait to see if he will heal on his own when it’s obvious he’s uncomfortable.