Friday, October 16, 2015


Last night, or should I say early morning, I could not sleep. Not wanting to waste this productive moment, I surfed the web on ye olde iPad. I visited Karen Pryor's website and was cruising around the Library and discovered an article penned by Irith Bloom.

A lot of interesting things about the usual clicker stuff. One thing stood out in the discussion. She was talking about taking your dog/s for a walk, and the importance that they have some say in the event.

This is how taking walks have occurred for me for the last 4 decades. I put all (up to 5 dogs) on their leads. Pandemonium has broken out already, dogs running in circles, yelling barking, leashes getting mixed up. I open the door and 250 pounds on 16 legs drag me through the front door. I can understand this, the dogs knew I had come back from my run, and now it was their time.

Immediately they attempt to drag me to the nearest tree. My anger surges, how dare they drag me like that. We then surge to the next treasure trove of smells. Oh and wait there is that dog that we hate so much. Now we are stuck against the fire hydrant wanting to smell each one of the 309023568 dogs that have visited it over the last 3 years. I don't have time for this crap, I want to get this 2 mile walk over and done with. Proceed to drag 4 dogs going in different directions in the general direction of where I want to go.

Cursing ensues, the wall flower dog starts looking sad, oh great now I feel bad. If they would all just be more obedient and walk properly. After 40 minutes of cursing, dragging and poop scooping I make it back home. Thank God, that chore is out of the way. Maybe the dogs won't be inventive and eat anything of importance for the next hour.

MOVE forward 24 hours. The usual pandemonium, dogs screeching,doing handstands, running off the walls. All successfully tethered I allow them out the front door. I apply enough back pressure to prevent them from ripping my arm out of its socket.


Usually I stop reading any post that has those four words in that order. BUT WAIT, THERE IS MORE. I allowed the dogs to go up to what they wanted to smell. I allowed them to spend as much time as they wanted to process all the smells. Then at their own pace we moved forward to the next fragrant tree, lamppost or other structure that held scent. We made our way around our usual walk investigating every inch. Quite a while later we made it back home.

The Result: 4 very happy dogs, pictures below attest to this. AND I felt better, more relaxed.

So what's going on here.
Imagine you are a man or woman, who was in a small boring room for the last 8 hours. Your better half arrives and puts the imaginary lead on and says we are going for a walk through your favorite place. (Home Depot, Apple store or fill in the blank) You arrive at the store and your better half immediately starts dragging you through the store at speed.

We are visual beings, we want to look at all the goodies on the shelves, we want to stop to admire them, look at the price. Maybe pick it up. The other half will have none of that, she brought you here so she could walk you through the store as fast as possible. This upsets you, you feel that you have no control over your life, and the other half is pissed off with you now. You are very attuned to them, what have you done wrong?

Dogs are exactly the same, the only difference is you replace sight with smell.

BUT, I have to be in control of the dog, it has to be obedient. NO not really. Is this an obedience lesson? Do you have your clicker and reward system when the dogs all do exactly what you want. Again NO. I am sure you do not like it when someone is shouting instructions and expecting you to follow orders all the time.

The way I approach the problem is that I do not allow the dogs to drag me. If one dog stops, all the dogs have to stop (more than likely the other dogs will want to find out why that dog stopped anyway). I allow them to move forward in a controlled manner. If the dogs are too strong for you consider using a gentle leader, those puppies can control beasts with gentle pressure. The dogs may not attack other dogs, cross roads and generally not chase ambulances and fire engines. That is for their safety. If you have cued the correct behavior like sitting and it can be reproduced in these instances, this would be a great opportunity to reward the dogs. That's not obedience, it is a reward.

Remember this walk is not an opportunity for you to get your exercise in for the day. Do that on your own time. The walk is there to provide the dogs with much needed mental stimulation and a little bit of exercise. It is more about actual time spent outside. Distance is irrelevant. If you are unable to provide at least 40 minutes of this stimulus to your dogs every day consider finding them a better home.

The end effect: I feel satisfied because I allowed the dogs to have some say in how they interact with their environment. I feel closer to them because I actually observed them being dogs. The dogs come home and go to sleep :)

PS. Even better for the dog and you. Take the dog for a walk somewhere were it does not have to be on a lead. This is not open to everyone, but if you can, your dog will thank you.

If you feel this strikes a chord, share it with your friends, it might just make some other puppies very happy :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Two weeks at a pond

A small project I have started. I will be collecting photographs over the next year from this location. I will create a short documentary showing the changing seasons at this pond.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pop! Fall Market

Full Photographic Album
Pop! Fall Market in Mullaney's car park.
Last Sunday I went down to Pleasant Ridge to experience the Pop! Fall Market held in the Mullaney's car park. It was a cosmopolitan affair with vendors of all sorts selling their wares.

Dandy Haberdashery
Arland of Dandy Haberdashery was the host having organized the event. Arland has the quaintest store, which is directly across the road from the car park. Arland has been at this location for the last two years. This store originally was the first police station in Pleasant Ridge in 1800. Since then it has been an a shoe, candy, ice-cream, shoe and finally a creative persons mecca. Arland saved this building from destruction and consequently carried on the theme of recycling and responsibility to our Earth. Arland has created a venue where local artisans can place their works of art. He also has vintage items, personalized jewelry and interior design services to name just some of the services he provides. There is always something new every month. Go down and visit him, you will be so happy you did. Location Facebook Instagram
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Urbana Cafe
I found out about the market through Daniel Noguera of Urbana Cafe. I met Daniel a few years back when I visited Findlay Market. I had to go and visit his cute light blue Vespacar P501, and get one of Daniel's creations. Definitely one of the more compact coffee shops you will ever visit. He is available for occasions and can be seen at many markets around Cincinnati and further. He is in the process of creating a brick and mortar store and I look forward to when it opens. I spent some time today and discussed the coffee business and more specifically what goes into making great coffee, cappuccino and more.  What I came away with is that it is a precise art, and much like photography you can change variables and end up with the same masterpiece at the end. But like photography you need to know your equipment and practice constantly. One of my connections with Daniel is his love of dogs, which immediately makes him a friend of mine. 


Finished product - delicious
Daniel creates my drink. 

You come away from meeting Daniel and the people that share his dream, is that they listen to people. He knows his regulars, but always goes out of his way to welcome newcomers to his stand. When you next need your caffeine kick go seek out Urbana Cafe. Facebook Instagram High Definition Photographs Album
Jerri with her photographs

I met up with another photographer Jerri Schultz who had some of her amazing art on show. She photographs one of my favorite themes, old buildings and structures. Jeri was originally from Upstate New York but calls Cincinnati home now. And you will never guess what, she too has a pup. 
Erica on the lef
High Definition Photographs Album

If you are looking to get clean, EB's Naturals Bath and Body was on show. Erica started researching this business in 2009 and opened it in 2012. She sells her products, which are all carefully researched and natural at the following stores.
She also visits various markets when she is not teaching. Her slogan says it all: One Life. One Body. Keep It Clean. Facebook High Definition Photographs Album

Looking for sweaters that are artwork. Angela of Sweater Rescue had some of her work hanging for everyone to admire. Angela takes old sweaters and creates clothing which is not only ecologically sensible but are fashionable as well. Angela has mostly been displaying her clothing at shows for the last two years. Another animal lover, Angela donates 10% of all her sales to animal shelters. Facebook 

Bird houses like you have never seen before
David explaining what he plans to bring out in the future
Last but not least I visited Salvaged, that must have the ultimate in recycled bird houses. David Church a lifelong artist, creates these works of art from old thrown away wood and other objects no-longer having a home. David finds a lot of his "raw" materials using the Nextdoor app. I was blown away by the selection of just bird houses. He also had a lot other works of art, the mirrors being one you should "look" at. David 
started peddling his unique art about two years ago. He teaches technology during the year, and then sells his creations during the summer.

High Definition Photographs Album

Unfortunately I did not have enough time to see all the vendors at the Market, and I apologize for that. There will be another Market this December. The Pop! Holiday Market will be held in Pleasant Ridge on Sunday, December 6. 

POP! Holiday Market! Sunday, Dec. 6 in Pleasant Ridge, location TBA. Because it is a challenge securing artisans and...
Posted by Dandy Haberdashery on Thursday, September 17, 2015
 If you want to see all the photographs from this market go over to my website and have a look at the album.                                                                       

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The International

 The International

I have driven past this fruit and vegetable stands numerous times over the years. Normally on my way to take the dogs for a walk or to train with them at Winton Woods Park.

On my way to Gilmore Metropark the other day I decided to stop and discover this jewel. 

I was met by Cheryl who was very nice and told me about the stand. The stand has been at or near this location for over 45 years. Her husband was 4years old when his father started the stand. The family had this stand and a Mom and Pop store in Mount Healthy. The store is located on the corner of Winton and Corbett Rd in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is well stocked with produce, which is mostly local. Cheryl tells me that some of the produce is grown by them. The also get a lot of organic produce from the Amish

What I found most fascinating was that the tomatoes are sourced from School kids who grow them during the summer. Apparently because of sport commitments they are unable to find summer jobs. Cheryl suggested to them that they should grow some vegetables as a way to make money. This is the fourth summer that they have provided the stand with tomatoes. Some clients come there just for those tomatoes and will not purchase any if they are not available. 

There is no sign visible that identifies the stand. I asked Cheryl if the stand has a name. Cheryl said yes it does but no-one else really knows that. It is called International, which makes sense when you see the 1953 International Harvester Metro R-120 parked in the middle of the stand. These trucks were used as dairy, bakery, ambulance and trash compacter vans just to name a few uses. Some were produced that allowed you to drive them while standing up. This enabled you to drive, stop and get in and out of the vehicle quickly. 

I did notice that this stand does brisk business. For the short period of time that I was there, numerous vehicles stopped to pick up produce. All the produce is reasonably priced, and most importantly fresh. Cheryl tells me that people will travel long distances to come and get her produce. She has clients that come from Butler County and further. She related a story of a girl who stopped at the stand and was taking photographs of the store (most probably selfies :) ). Cheryl approached her and the girl said her parents were no longer living in the area but still talked about the stand. As she happened to be visiting she wanted to get a photograph of the stand to send to her parents. 

So if you are ever in the area make sure to stop and say Hi to Cheryl, and purchase some of the yummy produce. I sure did, got myself a nice seedless watermelon. 

The store is open from 10 am - 8 pm, all week from Memorial day to Halloween.

If you want to see the rest of the photographs in high definition go to my album: 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Patriotism knows no boundaries

Patriotism has no boundaries.

Driving past the Army National Guard depot this afternoon I was reminded of the significance of this day. I remember it clearly. I was still living in South Africa and my wife to be was in Medical School in Charlottesville, Virginia. I heard of the event on the news and then tried to contact my wife on the telephone. Not surprisingly it was almost impossible to get through. And when I finally did I could still not get hold of her. I was very concerned about the situation and was not sure if she would be going to New York to assist. Later that day she did get hold of me, and told me that they would not be going there. 

First day home with Airis, we were both tired.
This event had a pivotal effect on my life. I had always thought about having a Search and Rescue K9 and this is what pushed me over the edge. After immigrating to the USA I started the process of getting a K9. Don't get me wrong, I had no intention of having an USAR K9. I was and always will be an outdoors type of person and consequently I got involved with Wilderness Search and Rescue. I joined CARDA in Davis, California. Shortly afterwards I acquired Airis a German Shepherd puppy and started training her for Search and Rescue. It is a very rewarding process training these dogs. For the first few years of her life Airis was by my side 24 hours a day. I have been involved in Search and Rescue in some shape or form ever since. I have photographed a large number of SAR and law enforcement K9's over the years at no cost, and these photographs can be viewed on my website. Http:// 

I am now proudly an American citizen, and remain committed to this country I now call home. 

It is amazing to see how everyone still remains patriotic and this can be seen just driving around town.

Gilmore MetroPark

Gilmore Metropark or Gilmore Ponds Preserve is an amazing park out in Butler County. I have spent countless hours walking around this park over the last three years. It is over 268 acres in size, and has numerous hiking trails. If you take the outside loop you end up with a 2.5 mile walk. All the trails are well maintained throughout the year. There are never many people at the park, which makes it very peaceful. You can literally come everyday and expect to see something new and interesting. Most times I bring my dogs with and they have an absolute blast. There is no leash law visible and it is not enforced. But as always be mindful. I always put my dogs back on the leash, when I see people. I also do not allow them to chase wildlife.

Talking of wildlife, this place is awesome. From the multitude of birds that call this place home, to the insects, rodents and reptiles that scuttle around, you will not be disappointed.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has designated this park as one of its “Watchable Wildlife” viewing sites and Audubon Ohio has named it as an “Important Birding Area.”

The water that floods the area seasonally makes up for a lot of its character. The dogs of course love this during the summer months, and in winter they go ice skating on it.The park is accessible from two parking lots.

1: Off Symmes Rd and Bilstein Blvd 2: North Gilmore RdIf you like Google Map View you can walk through the park in 360 degrees from a set photo spheres I created.
As we move into fall, the flowers are giving there all out best, and the butterflies and bees are busy as ever.

Here a Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus one of America's most common butterflies sucks up nectar.

It is most probably picking up stores so that it is energized for the long migration to Mexico.
High Def Photo

For More go to Wiki

The numerous ponds abound with life and are a great place to reflect on life.
High Def Photo

This year the Cup Plant Silphium perfoliatum literally exploded. Wherever you look there are thick stands of these flowers. They stand almost 8 foot tall, and they get so heavy with flowers they bend over. They are found commonly near railway lines and disturbed areas like ditches and fences. What I have noticed is that our dogs occasionally chew on its leaves. With the power of Google and Wikipedia I discovered that the plant is well known for its ability to prevent prevent nausea and vomiting. Who knew?  High Def Photo

I always try to keep my eyes and ears open when I walk in the park. You never no what you might miss. Having the pups with me can sometimes be an advantage, and other times they chase everything away. I watch their behavior and more than a few times they have pointed out something interesting. I take an insanely large number of photographs. I find however that often you see stuff afterwards when you are processing the images that you could not see in the woods.

Have a look at this run of the mill Dandelion, at first glance nothing seems unusual. But if you look closely at the bottom of the white fluff balls, you will see a critter. High Def Photo

I am sad that the Dragonflies will be going soon. I have tried hard this year to capture them in flight, and yet again they have defeated me with their amazing airmanship. Thankfully they do land for short periods of time and allow me to capture them. High Def Photo
Last but not least, Aster got some quality time with his Dad at the park today. I went out on what was a pond a few weeks ago to look for interesting things to photograph. Aster decided to go in the opposite direction and we were separated for a short period of time. Due to my height I could see him crashing through the underbrush trying to find me and this photograph catches that moment when he got eyes on me. High Def Photo

If you would like to see any of these photographs in full resolution go over to my gallery to view them.

If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to a comment please do, I appreciate them.