Rescue Dogs Wearing Fruit + Veg Accessories

Earlier this week, I spearheaded the most heartwarming and fun shoot I could have ever dreamed up. I somehow talked Los Angeles-based TV hostcookbook author, and veg enthusiast Laura Miller into coming to Napa and making her famed fruit and vegetable accessories to adorn local rescue dogs. She's awesome, lets just get that out of the way. The purpose of this collaborative shoot was two-fold: first and foremost to help find these babies their forever homes, and secondly to raise awareness about the huge number of unwanted older and hospice dogs that are in the system and the importance of fostering, adopting, and raising funds to support them.

I have worked closely with Napa Valley’s Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) for more than a year now, and their focused work and mission is near and dear to my heart. The nonprofit recently purchased a 40-acre ranch with a vision to build Northern California's first rescue and sanctuary for both farm and companion animals (think Farm Sanctuary). JARR also provides transitional and permanent shelter, adoption and rescue services, humane education, animal advocacy, and is committed to ending animal hunger, cruelty, and overpopulation. Such insanely important work.

Now I'd like to introduce you to some of JARR's most eligible adoptable doggies. Spoiler alert: there's nothing cuter than dogs dressed up in fruit and veggies. To find out more about these (and other!) dapper guys and darling gals, please click over to JARR's website or contact Deassa directly. Please note: they are looking to pursue in-state (California) adoption possibilities only.

Meet Carmen. This sweet girl was a stray at the Napa shelter, and after pulling her it was discovered that she has terminal cancer. She is a cuddle bug and her foster mom cherishes every moment they have together. Carmen is considered a "Fospice" dog which means that she lives with a forever foster that cares for her for the remainder of her life. Her healthcare is paid for via  JARR's Emergency Fund  which is 100% reliant on private funds. 

Meet Carmen. This sweet girl was a stray at the Napa shelter, and after pulling her it was discovered that she has terminal cancer. She is a cuddle bug and her foster mom cherishes every moment they have together. Carmen is considered a "Fospice" dog which means that she lives with a forever foster that cares for her for the remainder of her life. Her healthcare is paid for via JARR's Emergency Fund which is 100% reliant on private funds. 

Meet Sally. She's between 8 and 10 years old and enjoys nothing more than a warm lap or a fluffy bed! She was adopted from a shelter in the Bay Area and then surrendered in the Valley when her owner moved to a place with no dogs allowed. Sally is very adaptable and gets along well with large and small dogs. We're sure she would be great friends with a cat too. Do you need a special someone? This is your girl!

Meet Sally. She's between 8 and 10 years old and enjoys nothing more than a warm lap or a fluffy bed! She was adopted from a shelter in the Bay Area and then surrendered in the Valley when her owner moved to a place with no dogs allowed. Sally is very adaptable and gets along well with large and small dogs. We're sure she would be great friends with a cat too. Do you need a special someone? This is your girl!

Meet Gunner. In August of 2014, Gunner's world was shaken apart. His family lost their housing in the big Napa earthquake. A week later they dropped him off at the local shelter for emergency boarding. Eight months later, after the family decided they could not find proper housing, we set our minds to find this smart, energetic, loyal, fun-loving, and inquisitive boy a new forever home. He would do best as an only dog. Gunner is a healthy, 65 pound, 5-year-old pittie mix. He is such a lover and is ready to wiggle his way into your heart!

Meet Gunner. In August of 2014, Gunner's world was shaken apart. His family lost their housing in the big Napa earthquake. A week later they dropped him off at the local shelter for emergency boarding. Eight months later, after the family decided they could not find proper housing, we set our minds to find this smart, energetic, loyal, fun-loving, and inquisitive boy a new forever home. He would do best as an only dog. Gunner is a healthy, 65 pound, 5-year-old pittie mix. He is such a lover and is ready to wiggle his way into your heart!

Meet Cinderella. She is 13 years old and happily living out her golden years in her forever home. She's just a diva and wanted to crash the photoshoot!

Meet Cinderella. She is 13 years old and happily living out her golden years in her forever home. She's just a diva and wanted to crash the photoshoot!

Meet Edgar. This little guy's 10 years young, and was at a Bay Area Shelter with the threat of euthanasia nearing due to his age, but the vet says he’s got a good 5 years ahead of him! He’s a wonderful dog who is devoted to his person and follows you everywhere. Edgar is great with other loving dogs and kids, and is house trained. He loves going on adventures in the car, on long walks, sitting in warm laps, and sleeping under the covers.

Meet Edgar. This little guy's 10 years young, and was at a Bay Area Shelter with the threat of euthanasia nearing due to his age, but the vet says he’s got a good 5 years ahead of him! He’s a wonderful dog who is devoted to his person and follows you everywhere. Edgar is great with other loving dogs and kids, and is house trained. He loves going on adventures in the car, on long walks, sitting in warm laps, and sleeping under the covers.

Meet Malachi. This playful 10-month-old German Shepherd/Doberman puppy was an owner surrender. Malachi gets along with other dogs, likes to ride in the car, sleeps all night in his crate, and is housebroken. He's only had a few days walking on-leash but is learning quickly! This sweet boy will need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Did I mention he's very ball and treat motivated?

Meet Malachi. This playful 10-month-old German Shepherd/Doberman puppy was an owner surrender. Malachi gets along with other dogs, likes to ride in the car, sleeps all night in his crate, and is housebroken. He's only had a few days walking on-leash but is learning quickly! This sweet boy will need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Did I mention he's very ball and treat motivated?

Meet Red Rooster. Are you ready for a good time? This active fella loves to play fetch and go for hikes. Red Rooster is very athletic and knows his basic commands. He enjoys walks and playtime with other canine friends. With proper introductions, he could learn to live with cats too! He is under 2 years old and is about 50 pounds. He can be a little shy at first but warms up quickly and can't wait to get a few kisses in! This sweet guy will make someone very very happy.

Meet Red Rooster. Are you ready for a good time? This active fella loves to play fetch and go for hikes. Red Rooster is very athletic and knows his basic commands. He enjoys walks and playtime with other canine friends. With proper introductions, he could learn to live with cats too! He is under 2 years old and is about 50 pounds. He can be a little shy at first but warms up quickly and can't wait to get a few kisses in! This sweet guy will make someone very very happy.

Meet Merry Ann. This sweet affectionate girl is between 8-10 years old. She weighs 60 pounds and doesn’t need much more than love and a soft bed. She runs to meet new people. She would enjoy being an only dog during her senior years, as she wants humans and her things all to herself. That doesn’t mean that she couldn’t live with a well-matched large dog! She is house and crate trained. Do you have a spot to let her live out her golden years?

Meet Merry Ann. This sweet affectionate girl is between 8-10 years old. She weighs 60 pounds and doesn’t need much more than love and a soft bed. She runs to meet new people. She would enjoy being an only dog during her senior years, as she wants humans and her things all to herself. That doesn’t mean that she couldn’t live with a well-matched large dog! She is house and crate trained. Do you have a spot to let her live out her golden years?

Meet Rose + Sally. Get ready for a tear jerker. These two amazing Lab girls made their way to safety with JARR in August 2015. They are presently in the loving care of a foster home receiving rehab, decompression, socialization, and exercise. They have endured a life no dog should. In their former lives, they lived outside in extreme heat and cold. They foraged for their own food. Both have been badly mistreated, but you would never know it. They are full of love, years of it! These gals are easy to be with: they love when you toss a ball and use both hands to pet them whenever possible. Silly Sally is about 12 and is the family clown. She has kidney disease and must be on a specific diet. Rose is about 10 years old with eyes that will hypnotize you into loving her in mere moments. She has arthritis and takes meds for pain and incontinence.  They are a bonded pair; Sally is protective of her sister Rose. Their dream home is a  FOSPICE  situation where JARR would provide all food, medicine, and vet care. These girls are in desperate need of a gentle, compassionate, loving soul that is home often to spend time with them and dote on them. A home free of chaos and buckets of love, no other animals, a backyard with a solid fence, a cool lawn, and more love love love. They deserve the very best. We are grateful Rose & Sally are safe with JARR and that we were able to get them to a healthier state.  All they need now is you... :)  Donate directly to JARR's senior programs here .

Meet Rose + Sally. Get ready for a tear jerker. These two amazing Lab girls made their way to safety with JARR in August 2015. They are presently in the loving care of a foster home receiving rehab, decompression, socialization, and exercise. They have endured a life no dog should. In their former lives, they lived outside in extreme heat and cold. They foraged for their own food. Both have been badly mistreated, but you would never know it. They are full of love, years of it! These gals are easy to be with: they love when you toss a ball and use both hands to pet them whenever possible. Silly Sally is about 12 and is the family clown. She has kidney disease and must be on a specific diet. Rose is about 10 years old with eyes that will hypnotize you into loving her in mere moments. She has arthritis and takes meds for pain and incontinence.

They are a bonded pair; Sally is protective of her sister Rose. Their dream home is a FOSPICE situation where JARR would provide all food, medicine, and vet care. These girls are in desperate need of a gentle, compassionate, loving soul that is home often to spend time with them and dote on them. A home free of chaos and buckets of love, no other animals, a backyard with a solid fence, a cool lawn, and more love love love. They deserve the very best. We are grateful Rose & Sally are safe with JARR and that we were able to get them to a healthier state.  All they need now is you... :) Donate directly to JARR's senior programs here.


Photography + Concept: Emma K. Morris
Costumes: Laura Miller
Styling: Laura Miller, Alex Healy, and Katie Miller
Special thanks to: Deassa Binstock and all the JARR foster parents
 

→ Check out outtakes on Instagram at @imlauramiller and @emmakmorris.

→ Follow Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch on Facebook.

→ Donate directly to JARR's Emergency Fund and Senior Programs here.

→ Check out Laura's blog here.



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Hillside Homestead

Two years ago, Susan Odom began living out her dream of homesteading — a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, practicing sustainable agriculture and homemaking. A Michigan native with roots in South Carolina, she spent seven years as a lead presenter and special events supervisor for a famous historical hotspot, Greenfield Village. Susan spent those years dressed in traditional garb, reenacting the ways of our forefathers for curious visitors. These practices still play an important role in every day life at Hillside Homestead, her picturesque home and bed & breakfast located in the quaint town of Suttons Bay, MI. Recently, Matt and I had the pleasure of visiting Hillside Homestead and getting to know Susan.

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Hillside Homestead sits on two acres of open fields and is home a pair of mud-bathing pigs, about two-dozen gorgeous free-roaming chickens, and an especially social rescue cat named Beena. The farm house was originally built around 1900 by a Bohemian immigrant named Joe Reicha and is maintained by Susan and one dedicated part-time employee — the daughter of a neighboring farmer. Staying in this cozy bed & breakfast evoked a strong sense of place for me, conjuring my upbringing on my family's farm near MI's Mackinaw Bridge.

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Susan initially stumbled upon the property while visiting a friend in the area. Though she loved the location and house, she was hesitant to commit due to the lack of acreage, originally hoping for ten acres or more. Working with a realtor, she couldn't seem to find anything that matched up, so she ultimately decided to alter the scale of her plan. When the land went back on the market a year later, she wasted no time and purchased it.

During our short stay with Susan,I had planned to read and nap, but from the moment I arrived I was so captivated by my surroundings that I spent my time engaged in conversation, taking hundreds of photographs and mental notes of her incredible stories. I learned how to make Cherry Bounce, that eggs can be stored all winter-long without refrigeration, and how to prepare currant jam. Nearly everything Susan does on her farm is consistent with nineteenth-century ways of life — from morning coffee preparation (this near 45 minute task includes cracking an entire farm-fresh egg, including the shell, into boiling coffee grounds) to cooking traditional meals on a wood-burning stove. Her aprons and dresses are specially made for her using pre-Civil War era patterns, and every piece of furniture, artwork, book, plate, and baking tool was expertly curated through estate sales and vigilant Craigslist scouring.

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I got a sneak peek into her "modern kitchen" — something she doesn't usually share with guests — where she washes all the dishes (by hand, of course!) and has plenty of counter space to prepare large-scale meals. I also had the pleasure of cooking breakfast with her — biscuits, cream potatoes, and pepper and cheese omelets. Susan even taught me the proper way of rolling out biscuits (I've been putting too much pressure on the pin all this time!).

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Matt and I enjoyed our delicious breakfast with Susan in her sunny breakfast nook while sharing stories and viewpoints on everything from vegetarianism to politics, somehow managing to drink an entire kettle of coffee. After our conversations, I gathered that Susan's motivation when starting Hillside Homestead was not only to carry on these precious traditions, but also to educate future generations about patience, the grave importance of proper farming practices, and living off the land. In the age of iPhones, Wal-Mart, and microwaves, my generation doesn't give much consideration to Susan's historical values and self-sustaining traditions. Most every ingredient used in her daily cooking is local – if not from her farm, from nearby farmers. Like in the olden days, she and her neighbors encompass a close-knit community that often trade goods and services in order to support one another. Speaking of neighbors, Susan took us to a recently opened local cidery, Tandem Ciders — just a mile-and-a-half down the road. The cidery offers almost a dozen handmade hard ciders ranging from ultra-dry to super-sweet. Each one is expertly crafted using a mix of apples farmed on their own land and sourced from other local fruit farmers. I sampled about half of them, and I hope we'll be seeing these bottles carried at Whole Foods nationwide within the next few years.

Susan is active in several educational programs in the area. Every seventh grader in the county visits the Homestead for a day and gets to experience a home-cooked traditional lunch. College-level visits with Northern Michigan University students and hands-on workshops like "Apple Butter Making" are other highlighted educational offerings.

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Part preservationist, part food historian, Susan's chosen path is a difficult but important one. I hope the future generations she is helping to educate will be as impacted by her work as I was. I hope that one day soon farmers and homesteaders like Susan will receive more tax breaks, incentives, and grant opportunities. And I hope when this happens, it will more easily enable similar projects to pop up throughout the U.S. and beyond.

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All photographs by Matt Morris, shot on a 1970s Polaroid land camera.

Internet Cat Video Festival

Whether you know me personally or you're just a follower of my blog, you have probably gathered that I'm pretty enthusiatic about being a cat lady. I have two of my own, which I obsess over and photograph daily, and one of my favorite internet trends of the past few years is the insurgence of silly cats videos. So you can imagine my excitement when the news broke of an Internet Cat Video Festival, which was held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on August 30 — more than 10K showed up to take part in the feline-lovin' festivities. Here's more from their website: "While normally viewed alone on a computer screen, our unofficial cat-lady-in-residence invites you to come gather together on the field and LOL in the presence of others as your favorite silly cat videos are projected larger-than-life one after the other. Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together. Participate in this experiment that tests the social boundaries of the online community with a live, off-line event as we attempt to gather in physical space and real time to enjoy one of the internet’s most popular phenomena."

This is like my dream date night — outside under the stars, with a bottle of wine and my sweetie, watching CAT VIDEOS! I'm in love with the big winner of the festival, Henri 2, Paw de Deux, which won the Golden Kitty Award (below).

Here's a quick recap of the event — most notably, a quote from Minneapolis mayor, R. T. Rybak: "Cool cats are skipping Romney speech to see International Cat Film Festival @walkerartcenter #catvidfest"…YES!

Walnut Animal Society

An acquaintance of mine, Lauren Bradshaw, started a new company called Walnut Animal Society, specializing in absolutely darling 100% brushed wool handmade stuffed animals.

Henry the Fox

Henry the Fox

Chester the Raccoon

Chester the Raccoon

Eleanor the Bear

Eleanor the Bear

Prior to Walnut Animal Society, I always enjoyed looking through her Etsy shop of cute handmade needle-felted owls and bird cake toppers. Here's a bride & groom cake topper I had saved as a favorite from ages ago.

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I just adore her work!

If She Were a Turkey

At school, my [soon-to-be official] niece, Gracie, wrote about how she would celebrate Thanksgiving if she were a turkey. What she wrote made my LIFE!

That's my girl.

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