You are my Sunshine

I live in that wide swath of the country that was hit by arctic storm Cleon. Funny, I didn’t know that they named winter storms, but I guess they do. Anyway, I have been housebound since prepping Wednesday night. I worked from home as a layer of ice blanketed the roads on Thursday. By the end of the day I thought the storm might be a bust – just some sleet and freezing rain. I felt silly for getting out the Carharts and putting the survival kit in the Jeep so early – after all it is still autumn. Cleon raged on Friday and by noon there was a foot of snow over that ice. I would work at my computer for a few hours and then I would have to get up and pace up and down the hallway – the signs of cabin fever were beginning to show. I was out of bread, apple cider, and chocolate. I stepped outside over my lunch hour and shot some birds during the flurries (I’ll save those for another time) but as I passed the 48 hour mark my mind was on all the things I didn’t have. A trip out to the firewood pile to restock was about as much fresh air as I had gotten and I was feeling a bit stir crazy.

Well, this post isn’t really about me (although it sounds like it so far – right?). You see, I live in the Stone House with 4 dogs – 4 very active dogs. Three terriers – Kirby, Velcro, and Squeegee – and a lovely Goldendoodle named Sunshine. I have written posts about all the terriers and their journey to the Stone House, but I’ve only written a dog shaming piece on Sunshine and that is a shame. You see, Sunshine is a very special dog and deserves his own story.

Sunshine is the last dog to be added to my pack. I never imagined that I would own more than two dogs, but then I saw sad Velcro at and adoption fair. After one of my pups was killed by uncontrolled dogs and Kirby came to live with us I began to think about the safety of my terriers. They say that a terrier is a big dog in a small body, but the truth is that when a big dog approaches aggressively these small dogs are scrappy but no match. I started thinking about what kind of dog would blend in with my pack, have a significant size, and would be gentle enough not to harm the smaller pups. I began to research Labradoodles and Goldendoodles. I had made a few calls to breeders and was considering a drive north to look at some dogs. The reputation of the doodles – crosses of Labs or Golden Retrievers with poodles – is one of gentleness, playfulness, loyalty, and they are supposed to be hypo allergic to boot.

I was talking one day with some friends when I mentioned that I was interested in looking at some doodles, but that I was hesitant to buy a dog from a breeder. I really prefer to rescue pets if possible. Someone told me about a group of Goldendoodles that she was fostering. The story was that their owner had died and they had been left unattended to when they were still nursing puppies. He was shy, tall, easily frightened, and had been unsuccessfully placed more than once. He sounded perfect!

When I met Sunshine he was going by the name Duke. I sat down on the couch and he immediately approached me – a good sign. I took him home and he was a little tentative getting out of the car. He walked behind me, hiding behind me as I moved towards the other dogs. As they approached he just laid down on the ground and looked them in the eye. Before the first evening was over he was fast friends with all three terriers. I saw his long blonde mustache and beard and thought he reminded me of an old mellow hippie named Sunshine – so Duke became Sunshine.

Sunshine is the complete opposite of a terrier. He is mild-mannered, gentle, careful, protective – he is a tiny dog in a tall body. He likes to try to hide under tables, even though he just doesn’t fit. When he plays. you can see the poodle in him – he gets his body low behind his outstretched front legs, ready to pounce. He has only two fears, thunder and gunfire – both of which are not uncommon in the woods. Beyond that he will defend me from any danger. He hikes with me, camps with me, and just hangs out with me. I probably neglected to write about him because he is easy. He isn’t pushy or demanding, although he does like his hand held at least once a day.

What made me think about writing about Sunshine today was the sunshine on that foot of snow in my yard. The dogs have been cooped up just like me – running outside for less than 5 minutes in the extreme cold. Today’s sunshine beckoned us all to come out and play. Sunshine hates it when it’s snowing, but the boy loves fresh snow. Here’s a gallery of him as he enjoys that virgin powder in the glorious sunshine – click through to get a sense of his movement:

Sunshine is that dog that watches you and anticipates your next move. He very gently inserts himself into your routine. He lies on a rug while I cook. He’s laying at my feet under my desk as I type this. He is always close by. He is not, however, hypo allergic. He sheds like a horse. I find blonde dust bunnies in ever corner on the floor and his addition to my home has necessitated another addition – a Dyson Animal. Speaking of the Dyson, I need to wrap this up and vacuum – it’s getting awfully fuzzy in the corners of the Stone House.

Because Sunshine doesn’t have as jealous bone in his body, I know he would not mind me including a slide show of his best pal in the snow. Snow is the one thing that Sunshine is the front-runner in their relationship. Kirby had to watch Sunshine run before he was sure he wanted to try it out. Again, click through for a sense of movement.

Everyone needs a little Sunshine in their life!

It’s hard to believe that this is my 200th post. I have been thinking about where I want to take theeffstop. I know I want to take good photos and share thoughtful or silly stories. I get a lot of comments about the camera settings I have shared, so I will continue to include those, but I will put them at the end of each post. I’m not really interested in writing a how-to blog, but I love sharing the knowledge I have picked up along the way. Thanks to all of you who have taken this journey with me. Your support and friendship have meant more to me than you will ever know.

Shutterbug Notes:

Both of these galleries were shot using Shutter Mode. On a bright sunny day you don’t have to push the ISO too high, especially in the snow. I set my ISO to 1000, Shutter Speed 1000. If you keep the focus point in the center of the frame you can focus on the face even as the running dog moves through the frame, in other words, give him room or you will cut his head off. 

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45 thoughts on “You are my Sunshine

  1. Love this! Sunshine looks like a perfect mix of beauty and goofball, two of my favorite doggie traits. 😉 You and I must be on a similar time line, I also just hit my 200th post the other day. Congrats! Many bloggers don’t hang in this long/far, I’m glad you did. 🙂

  2. CONGRATS on your 200th post! Sunshine looks like he was having some fun! Kirby’s pix of him just starting to run is a hoot. I bet he has to hop like a bunny to get thru the snow. I would welcome a ‘shut-in’ snow storm actually. .. Just to have a snow day, but we keep getting missed.
    Btw, thanks for your input on locations to visit down there. We decided to stay in Hot Springs on Lake Catherine. Looks beautiful, and seems to have a fair amount of hiking and other Winter stuff to do. If you think of any things I shouldn’t miss over that direction, lemme know! 😀

    • Thanks so much. I enjoyed the first two days, but by day 5 I had to bust out of here. I did get a lot of things done around the house and spent lots of time with the pups. When Kirby gets up to speed he barely touches the ground, he is lightning fast.

      Hot Springs is fascinating. I think you’ll enjoy it. There are lots of hiking opportunities there. If you get as far north as Eureka Springs let me know. The Buffalo River area is my very favorite place to hike and explore. It’s so rugged and full of wildlife.

  3. Great series of images of your dogs enjoying the snow – they look to be having a wonderful time of it. Thanks for sharing, Lorri.

  4. Well I have learned something today – I’d heard of Labradoodles, but never a Goldendoodle. Sunshine looks amazing, what a dog! And although I have never been a fan of small dogs, your photos of Kirby trying to emulate Sunshine are wonderful. Love reading about your life, so very different to mine, and I also like your photo notes and where you are going with your photography. I’m with you for the next 200 at least 🙂
    Jude xx

  5. I woke up this morning to the start of our first snow of the season. Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful doggy pics with me in my current, unnatural, dog less state.

    And congratulations on 200 posts! I’m pretty sure I’ve read every one!

    • A fresh snow is a beautiful thing, although I am going stir crazy. I hope this dog less state is not a long term phase, they add so much joy. I’m pretty sure you’ve read every one too 🙂 I have appreciated your following and commentary, it’s made theeffstop a better place.

      • No. Hopefully my dog-less state will only last nail spring. I believe in going right out and getting a puppy right away. My husband needs time to mourn. I am running out of patience, though. Unless he starts meeting me at the door with his tail wagging …

        • I fostered a standard poodle years ago and completely fell in love with its temperament – more of a hunting dog than a toy. Very, very smart. The F2 and F3 doodles seem to be the most hypo allergic. Sunshine is a first gen, so it’s a 50/50 chance. The mix makes for such an amazing dog.

  6. Oh Lorri, to skid and snow splash with Sunshine…just how much fun can one Goldendoodle have! I love visiting here – sun or snow, birds, fall colours or fuzzy friends – you always make me smile 😉 much warmth from a sunny South Africa, Marina

    • Thanks a Marina, I appreciate your visits and comments. The dogs really were having a great time, they try to run in the house, but being out in the open after being cooped up was almost more fun that they could handle.

  7. Congratulations on hitting 200, it must be amazing looking back at the whole trip. I know what your cabin fever is like, we had freezing rain in Wv., AND no power, that kept us cooped up for too long. I think the break with the dogs was probably good therapy for you, it looks like they enjoyed the break a lot. I like the format with a brief section on camera details, but have to admit it’s the pictures and your stories, that allow us into your life, that I enjoy the most.

    • Hi Greg! it was really good to get out and I loved the sunlight! it makes such a difference in my mood. I think over the summer I ended up going down a road where I got to be more technical – and I find myself missing the stories and silliness. People ask about settings so I think this is the best of both worlds. I’m hoping to get more into telling a story with pictures again.

  8. I love your action shots and your dogs. Sunshine sounds like a wonderful dog. My Sam loves the snow too even though he’s a little guy. He loves to roll in it. But here it’s been bitterly cold for days (-25c -13F) right now, so he runs out does what he has to and races back. I watch from the doorway so if he has problems with too cold paws I”m ready to rescue him. I bet Sam and Sunshine would be best buds. 🙂

    Congrats on 200 posts! I’m glad I found you way back when and I have loved your stories and pictures. Stay the same Lorrie, or change a bit, I’m around no matter what.

    • Thanks Jackie. Sunshine tends to let the little dogs boss him around, but out there in the deep snow he is the top dog and he knows it. Thanks for sticking with me Jackie, I have always enjoyed hearing from you!

  9. Such happy dogs! I had a Scottish Terrier who would come in with huge balls of snow stuck to his face. Congrats on your 200th post! Like you, I’m trying to decide on a direction for the blog going into a new year. Absolutely love your pictures!

    • Thanks Michelle – they do leave snow puddles by the fire when they finally come inside 🙂 I’m feeling a bit like I strayed into a technical area that is really not what I have wanted to do. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what it is I want to do.

      • I’m in the same place, but for a different reason. One can only blather on about one’s self so long. Even I’m a little bored with it! I wish I had technical skills to share, but I think I’m a conversational blog writer. That might have to be enough, since I’m barely keeping up with it as it is! I have so enjoyed your photos and tales (and tails)!

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