Thursday, January 31, 2013

Volunteering: First Day At The Shelter

This past Sunday was my first official day as a Williamson County Animal Control & Adoption Center volunteer! I had orientation the week before, and Sunday was  my one-on-one training with a senior volunteer (She was super awesome, and very helpful!). I have to say, it was so much fun!!! I have been wanting to volunteer at an animal shelter for a while now, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing that. I was originally looking for a Pit Bull rescue to volunteer for, but I couldn't find one that was close enough that actually housed the dogs. And since I already have two large dogs of my own, it wouldn't be fair to try and foster another big doggie. But a few weeks ago I found out that this shelter was looking for volunteers and I signed up! And I'm so happy I did. 
This shelter is great! They have a lot of Pit Bulls (one of my favorite!) and lots of other dogs that really need the help. From what I have seen so far most of what the volunteers do is feed/water/clean/ and most often walk the dogs. (They also have a lot of cats there, but I haven't worked with any of them yet.) Walking the dogs was a lot of hard work, but it was also a ton of fun! These sweet doggies spend most of the day in the kennels, so its a real treat whenever volunteers come to walk them around the complex. 

There is a really nice little walking trail that goes around the grounds. And there is aslo a fenced in dog park for the public, as well as a few other fenced in areas just for the shelter dogs. I think its wonderful that the shelter dogs not only get to go out for walks, but also get to have some safe, off leash time as well (they can only go in one at a time for safety reasons). I could not believe how much the dogs lit up when it was their turn to be taken out for a walk. I guess its what they look forward to the most every day. So I am beyond happy to be getting to volunteer here and help these dogs get ready for their forever homes. 
The other great thing about having all the volunteers take the dogs out is that its a great way for the dogs to become used to all sorts of different people. They spend so much of the day in kennels that it can become very scary and stressful for some dogs. By being taken out of that environment for a while and walked by different people they are given a chance to calm down and get used to being around many different humans. This makes them better candidates for adoption. And that is the number one goal. To get these sweet babies adopted into loving and responsible homes. All of the dogs I have encountered so far have been so sweet and deserve another chance at finding a family that will love and care for them the way they deserve.
My next volunteer day is Sunday and I can't wait! It looks like every Sunday I am able to, from 10-noon (this is the only window of time volunteers are able to come in and walk the dogs) I will be at the shelter helping with the dogs. I promised Paul I wouldn't bring home any furry friends. But its going to be a challenge keeping this promise, they are all so cute!!! But we do want to get another doggie after we get married (in November) and move in together. But we will probably have to get a bigger place before that happens. But a girl can dream! I would love nothing more than to have a big huge fenced in yard with a bunch of fluffy doggies running around! Haha! 

I am really happy to be volunteering at this shelter. Both my dogs are rescues, and Axle came from a shelter, so I know how important it is to all of these dogs that people are coming in and helping take care of them. I was so lucky to be able to adopt both of my dogs, so this I guess is my way of saying thank you to all the shelter workers who take care of these sweet dogs and dedicate so much of their own lives to helping them find  loving homes.
Have you ever volunteered or worked at an animal shelter? Have any of your pets come from a shelter or other rescue? What have been your experiences with animal shelters? Leave us a note in the comments below! I love hearing all of your stories about your pets! 

Looking for a new furry friend in the greater Nashville area? Hop over to Williamson County Animal Control & Adoption Center's Petfinder page! or check out their website if you are interested in volunteering yourself! They are always looking for help! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dog Park Adventure: A Sunday Afternoon

Hello dear readers! This Sunday we decided to, once again, brave the dreary weather and make a trip out to the Centennial Dog Park. Thankfully some other people and their dogs decided to come out and play too!

 David the Boxer loves his tennis ball!

 Sittin' pretty at the park!

 We met Ghost the Husky/Golden Retriever mix today! Clover was so happy to meet another dog just like her! We have never seen another Husky/Golden mix before, so it was really interesting to meet him!
 Sometimes you just have to have a nap in the middle of the park.
 Here is our buddy Ghost again! He is so handsome!

 Clover and Axle climbing on the big rock.
 Here is little Honey!
 We also saw our buddy Noah today!! He is such a sweet boy! 
Booker investigates the camera.

 *sniff* *sniff* *sniff*
 Clover and Ghost!

 "Which tree should we sniff next?!"
 The welcoming committee.

 What's going on over here?

 This sweet Bulldog was happy to pose for a picture!

 Clover and Ghost again! It was so interesting to see all of their differences and similarities! Ghost got more of his looks from his Husky side and Clover from her Golden Retriever side.

 Noah is so fast!!

 Noah making sure we get his good side, haha!
 Clover and Noah.
Honey waiting for everyone else to catch up to her.
 Axle trying to share a Frisbee. Trying is the key word here, haha!

Even though we were only at the park for about an hour and half this weekend, we still had a really great time! Hopefully the weather will be better next week. I know I am ready for it to start warming up! What did you do this weekend? See your dog? Let us know in the comments below so we can put their name with their picture! We love making new friends!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Local Arts: The Franklin Glassblowing Studio

On Monday Paul and I took a glass blowing class at the Franklin Glassblowing Studio. We love taking all sorts of local art classes whenever we can. We have done a few cooking and painting classes, and even a stained glass window class. But we have never done something like this before, so when I saw that there were glass blowing classes close by, I signed us up! 

The Franklin Glassblowing Studio is a great little gem in the heart of Franklin Tn. It is run by José Santisteban. He has been a glass sculptor for many years, and has just recently started to offer classes. 

 These are just some of the work for sale at the studio. Every piece is one of a kind, and all of them are very beautiful. All the different color combinations are amazing!

 This is the oven that is used in the heating process. This thing was about a million degrees!! I could not believe how incredibly hot this thing was. And we were about to be standing in front of it sculpting molten hot glass. And after a quick demonstration the class was under way!
 I was a little apprehensive about the whole process, so I asked Paul to go first. I'm no stranger to burning myself by accident, so I wanted to make sure I was okay with all the steps involved before it was my turn.
Paul blowing air into the molten glass to shape it. This apart was really hard to do! We had to wear heat resistant arm guards so we would't get burned. I was prepared to wear a welding mask after watching this!!
 José showed us how to use the steel table to shape the glass and add a swirling effect to the colors.
 After shaping the 1st layer we added another layer of clear glass over it. This lets more light through the finished piece. Here is José clipping off the excess! This was amazing to watch! I can't believe how easily José was able to handle the molten glass!
 Paul posing with the Jacks (a shaping tool used in the sculpting process.)
 This part was really cool to watch! While José blew more air into the Punties Paul shaped the top of the glass orb with the Jacks.
 This was Paul's final piece! They have to cool down and dry in a special kiln for about 18 hours before they are safe to handle.
 José then added a loop of glass on the top so that it will be easier to hang when its ready.
 Next it was my turn! I was still a little worried about getting burned, but I was excited about getting started. Here José is helping me add crushed colored glass to my piece. He had to help me because I could not lift the Punties by myself! That thing was really heavy! And you have to hold it from the opposite end so you wont get burned.
 My glass orb after adding color!
 Back in the oven!!
 Time for a little shaping! Mine started to get a little wonky in the middle, so I had to do some adjusting.
 Using the Jacks to knock the orb off of the Punties. This Part was a little scary! You have to hit it pretty hard for it to break off. I was afraid that the whole thing would break! But it turned out just fine!
  José added a loop to mine as well! The swirling colors are so pretty!

We had such a good time taking the glass blowing class! And I can't wait to pick up our glass orbs on Saturday! I promise I'll share pictures of how they turned out. Have you taken an art/craft classes lately? What did you make? Any favorite or least favorite projects? Share with us in the comments below!