The 52 Project 2014: 30/52

the 52 project2“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014. My goal for the year: highlight her most recently acquired and/or favorite skill, activity, or milestone, in hopes to document her blossoming personality and mind as well as her physical appearance. ” See my series HERE.


Mia and her buddy, Rancho.

I thought I’d use this week’s portrait as an opportunity to highlight Mia’s relationship with Rancho, one of my other “kids” (Roxi’s feature will take place at a later date).

For those of you who don’t know how Rancho came into our lives, I’ll give you the very short version. While driving, Dominic spotted him (at only 4-6 weeks old) running along the center divider of a busy freeway at 6am in Rancho Cucamongo (hence, his name). Dominic and a CHP officer ended up stopping traffic (with the help of some larger trucks/big rigs) while they darted across the freeway to catch the little guy. When asked by the officer if Dominic wanted to keep him, clearly he said yes. I was 8 months pregnant at the time.

Hours of picking ticks out from his ears, a few vet trips, days of de-worming his system, sleepless nights of a howling puppy in his crate, days of potty training, weeks of basic command training and a little over two years later, here we are. You know he’s only a couple of months older than Mia, which is why I think they get along so well. They’ve grown up together. Mia’s lagging in the size department but she’ll have her day when she’s finally bigger than him.

Rancho is playful. He’s still a puppy, after all. He likes to hop, jump, pounce, dodge, sprint and nibble. Mia gets a kick out of him whenever he’s in one of his very playful moods but she still hasn’t quite figured out how to engage with him without being bumped into, knocked over or gnawed on. She keeps at him, though. She’s persistent with him, trying to pet him, pour water on him, shake his hand, lay on him like a pillow when he’s sleeping or yank his frisbee or ball out of his mouth to tease him with them. Rancho ends up interpreting this behavior as annoying and he usually darts away and keeps his distance from her, but he humors her for much longer than Roxi will before he bails.

Mia is to Rancho, as Rancho is to Roxi. Mia is a little taste of his own medicine so whenever Mia is aggravating him, I don’t save him. He deserves it for pestering old Roxi dog. Take that, guy. However, we do step in when Mia continuously chases him with her toy shopping cart or stroller. She thinks it’s hilarious to repeatedly bump these toys into his feet making him jump back and run away. We actually hate it when she does this and have told her repeatedly to stop and it’s the #1 reason that we usually have these toys hidden away in the garage. Take that, little girl.

The only time that Mia and Rancho are face to face or even just inches apart for longer than a minute or two is when Rancho is eating. He’s a slow eater (at least compared to Roxi who inhales her meals) and that gives Mia the chance to crouch or kneel or even sometimes lay right beside him to observe his face while he eats. She stares at his exposed, sharp teeth and follows his steady-licking tongue while he consumes his food. She’s totally fascinated by this and would stick her own face in there to copy him if we let her (oh, she’s tried).

As much as I complain about how filthy this dog is (his size and amount of hair make him a walking sand box, which falls onto my floors every time he lays down inside, leaving mounds of dirt and crap behind…no joke) and how hairy he is (summer = shedding like crazy), it’s worth the trouble (and agony and misery and frustration to clean up after him) to get to watch him and Mia grow up together and strengthen their bond. I never had a dog as a kid so I look forward to seeing how their relationship unfolds and I can’t wait until Mia is old enough to clean up after him. Damn straight, she’s going to.

Okay now just for fun, here is the portrait from last year’s week 30 in 2013 when we took Mia and I had a morning picnic at the park.

30 portrait 2013

The following portraits are my favorite from last week‘s entries at Practising Simplicity’s linkup

Adventures in Jedi // Family.Holloh // Little Red Vikings // My Sentimental Jamboree // Kelli Seeley

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  1. what a beautiful photo!

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this photo! What a sweet relationship beautifully captured :-)

    • Aw, thanks Stephanie! I’ve received such a great response to this photo. It was so in the moment, which I think is what makes it special. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  3. I think this might quite possibly be my favourite portrait of this series all year. It is just such a lovely moment captured so beautifully :-)

  4. This is a perfect capture between a girl and her new best friend. Love the photo!

    • Thanks, Jordan. This little scene is a nightly occurrence and I don’t know why I never captured it earlier. It’s such a sweet and peaceful few minutes between them. A priceless image for me. Thanks for commenting :)

  5. Just wanted to mention that my sister and I grew up with our dog Scottie. We had him all throughout our growing up years, great memories and so much love from our little puppy. Seeing your beautiful photos brought me right back to those days of walking along the beach after school, watching Scottie run free yet always, coming back to check in after a few minutes. Thanks for the memories! – Laura

    • Aw, thanks for sharing that, Laura. Sounds like some special memories of your childhood dog and I’m just glad that I’m giving that (priceless memories) to my daughter now, and that one day she’ll fondly look back on the days she spent with her best bud.

  6. So sweet! I think it’s so important for kids to grow up with animals. Sounds like they are fast becoming best friends. :)

    • I didn’t know the power of the bond between a child and their pet until having Mia. There were cats in my home when I was a kid, but because they were taken in from off of the street they were skiddish and hid often. I never really boded with them. I’m thankful that we’re in a position to even have dogs and that I get to give Mia a true buddy from birth :)

  7. Aw you guys are so nice taking him in. That sounds so scary that he was on the road all alone at such a young age :( How wonderful that your husband and other people cared enough to stop traffic and save him rather than just let him continue on. I love hearing stories like these. I’m glad that not only does he have such a loving family now but also a little buddy to play with. Even though she annoys him half the time, I imagine deep down he appreciates the love :)

    • It’s funny, around the time that my husband saved Rancho we had been casually talking about getting another dog. My husband had strictly said, we’re not going to go out looking for one, we’ll just wait until one finds us. And that’s exactly what happened (or at least that’s how we see it). It was perfect timing. Meant to be. We’re so thankful for this dog and I’m so glad that his and Dominic’s paths crossed…literally. Thanks for the comment :)

  8. I loved reading about Mia and Rancho! I look forward to my little guy interacting more with our dog and to watch them become best buddies.

    Thanks for favoriting us!

    • It’s a pretty magical thing to watch. I honestly can’t imagine Mia’s childhood without him. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

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