Eight is Great!

Eight years ago the lord blessed the WORLD with a little bundle full of all things boy. Having never had a brother, and my mom never having a brother… I don’t know that we have been the best prepared for that. But we are learning as we go and trying not to fight it too hard. While I see a lot of my sister in Coley, Cameron you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT all me. From your moodiness, to your shyness, to your eyes… I feel like I’m looking in a mirror every day both inside and out. It can be pretty unnerving at times. I get exasperated at things you do, only to realize I do the exact same things. What’s a mom to do with THAT?!?!?


So here is a little documentary on Cameron at eight years old…

We have repeatedly asked you about playing ball. You love to hit and throw and run. You are GREAT at it. But when asked… you’d rather just come home in the evenings and play outside and not have your time eaten away by practice and games. Ok. Got that.


You are finally starting to eat. Thank goodness. I know I will probably regret saying this in a few years. But your bird-like appetite was starting to worry me. Fruit out of the yard is by far your favorite. Blackberries, blueberries, plums, and figs. Thank goodness we bought a place with a built-in summer produce department!


When you aren’t outside playing on the dirt hill or riding your bike or hunting varmints with your BB gun, you like to build things or tear them apart. Electronics are your favorite. This reminds me of my dad. I hope you turn out just like him! Your most used Christmas present this past year was a tool bag complete with REAL tools. Followed by your Bogs boots- which you would wear every day if I let you.


You love your sister. You hate your sister. But at the end of the day you are a pretty jam up big brother. She is going to be very lucky to have you if you don’t strangle her first. From personal experience I can assure you the whole sibling thing gets MUCH MUCH better when you grow up. There may or may not have been some incidences where I was close to planning severe bodily harm to my sister growing up when she insisted on being annoying (like playing John Secada’s ANGEL on repeat for HOURS on end) but that gets replaced by a sensible adult that really becomes a ton of fun to hang around. You just have to wait for them to graduate…college. I will try to have your back as much as possible until that happens. Please just try to rise above. ūüėČ


You are a practical jokester. A big helper. A fixer. A country-song singer. A hunter. A wonderful son.


We are all blessed to have you in this world.

Happy Birthday!


Can It Really Be True?!?! Coley Turns Five.


To My Daughter Coley,

Somehow we have come to this… You, my baby, have turned five.

And since I have enjoyed so many times reading your post from last year, I have decided to make it a birthday tradition. So here are your “favorite things” of the year:

You still rock the Macaroni and Cheese out of the “blue box”, but you have expanded your horizons to Spaghettios with Franks and ABC’s and 123’s.


I just asked you where you wanted to go for your birthday dinner, and without hesitation you let me know that the Waffle House was the only place that would suit. So any of you who want to join us for birthday dinner tonight… we catch ya there!

Your favorite color made a drastic and violent turn somewhere before Christmas from Purple to Pink. You however failed to let anyone know in time and so we were met with a lot of looks like these when the gifts came out:


Your new favorite hobby is to annoy the crap out of your older brother. Sometimes I think you are trying to make this into an olympic sport. This is especially true when his friends are over. Thankfully most of the time you guys do actually play well together… I hope this lasts.

Your second favorite hobby is stalling. You have made it into an art. At bedtime, especially. Its amazing how many of your parts suddenly start aching at 8pm. When you are called on it, you smile, so I know its on purpose.

You still want to be a veterinarian or a princess when you grow up. We really need to sit down and discuss the pros and cons of each. I’m thinking we need to come up with a better plan…


Your favorite TV shows are Doc Stuffins and Sheriff Callie. THANK GOD FOR DVR!!!! Every morning starts off with some Ovaltine and Sheriff Callie on the couch.

You refuse to wear green… This too was a sudden and unforseen change. NO matter how pretty and frilly… if its green… its out. I don’t know when fashion suddenly became important to you, but O.K. I finally got it.


Your hair is still untamed. That is the best description I have for it. I’m lucky if you let me brush it. Bows and barrettes are completely out of the question.


You still occasionally mispronounce words.. and I still refuse to correct you. This feels like the last bit of little baby you have left in you. It makes me sad to let it go. Just yesterday you told me there was something bothering you in one of your “arm pips” and I just smiled. When you went to complain about your ailment to your dad, he corrected you and my heart sank. Please feel free to use the terms “arm pips” whenEVER you want to! The rest of the world will figure out what you mean and smile.


Next year you head to kindergarten. Already you are beginning to read, so I know you are going to knock it out of the park. I hope homework is not the chore with you as it is with your brother. I’m counting on it… so please don’t let me down!:)

So happy birthday, my dear. Let’s please try to slow down this process. Its all going by too fast.

I love you,
Your mom


The WHY of Rescue…

Last week I had the task of photographing 8 dogs in one evening.¬†¬† I wasn’t sure I was up to it, but since the time I have available to volunteer my services for Paws Rescue has decreased dramatically in the past few weeks, I decided I would dive in head first and see what we could get accomplished. ¬† Thanks to the great fosters¬† of Paws Rescue and Leigh Conerly (my awesome photography assistant) we got them all done and had a great time doing it as usual!



Here are images of the eight dogs we photographed that day.¬†¬†¬† As I type this, I want to take the opportunity to share something with you… YES YOU READING THIS…



I know it gets old and often depressing, seeing the images day after day, of all the dogs needing homes.¬†¬† Believe me…sometimes I think to myself¬† ¬† “Are we even making a difference?¬†¬†¬†¬† Is this picture even going to matter?” ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† How is a dog like this¬† (scared, hairless, plain- jane looking) even have a chance out there?¬†¬† WHO will want her?




But let me tell you WHY I do what I do, and WHY Leigh and the other volunteers do what they do.



Because we see not only the poor neglected dog in front of us, but in our hearts we see the potential that is behind those sad brown eyes.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† We see not just a dog… but the family bed-buddy underneath.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The nose that nudges under your hand after a long day to give you encouragement to keep going.¬†¬†¬† The playmate that brings the ball back after your kid has thrown it for the umpteenth time.¬†¬† The jogging partner that keeps you going up that next hill.



I have the special privilege of seeing¬† some of these adoptees¬† year after year-after they have found their forever homes and been shown what love is.¬†¬† I have seen them after they have overcome their shyness… ¬† after they have grown back their hair…¬† after they have learned to trust, and give back love ten fold.


I have seen them literally shed their shell of an existence and become outgoing, happy, affectionate members of the family.    And every time I see that transformation my heart gets bigger and allows just a little more room for the next potential dog who is just waiting for someone to give him a chance.



One of these guys never even made it out of the clinic.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Those of us who are adept at seeing the potential peek through the trembles were all too happy when Animal Medical Clinic’s own Robin Cedotal and her family decided to welcome this little guy into their home.¬†¬†¬† Even in just a short while, although he was still scared, you could tell there was a AWESOME dog just screaming to be let out of that tiny little shivering, scruffy little body.¬†¬†¬†¬† I am so lucky that since Robin works for us at the clinic, I get to watch another transformation unfold.¬†¬† I get to see MORE lives changed (both human and canine).¬†¬† And I get to feel my heart get just a little bigger¬† and give me hope for the next one that¬† comes along…



If you are looking for a new family member,¬†¬† or just want to help change a life and foster a dog and help be part of the magic… please contact Leigh Conerly at Paws Rescue and see what you can do to help today!!¬†¬†¬†¬† And don’t forget,¬† if you would like to help by purchasing a 2014 Paws Rescue Calendar you can do so ONLINE by clicking the Link above.¬†¬† We can ship or they are available for local pick-up!



Lisa Prince Fishler - Love this, Rachel! Amazing shots too, btw.

Dianne Gargaro - Beautiful pics and beautifully said. You are such a treasure Rachel Potter!

A letter to my Little Boy…no, my Little Man

How can it be that you are turning 7 today?¬†¬† Seriously… I cannot even remember what is was like without you in my life in some form or fashion.

I remember how sick you made me when you were still in my tummy…EVERY DAY.¬† You were worth every minute of it.

I remember how tired I was near the end of my pregnancy. in JULY… moving from the old clinic to the new in a day… and still you were worth it.

I¬†¬† remember all¬† the horrible things that happen to your body AFTER you have a baby that NO ONE tells you about… and still you¬† were worth it.

I remember you at just a few days old- I was having a breakdown on the front porch after everyone had gone home from visiting… after I had snuck you¬† a bottle of formula because you were SO hungry and I couldn’t be the mom I thought I had to be… I remember thinking that I had just ruined you for life.¬†¬† Caused the death and destruction of your immune system in one fell shake of the formula can… and yet even after all that panic and tears.. you were still worth it – and you survived ūüėČ

I remember the tears I shed when I had to leave you at day care for the first time… again… thinking I was failing you as a mom….

I remember being at your second birthday and thinking how sad it was that the plan was for you to grow up all alone.. and deciding to give you a sibling.    How much more work two are than one, but how much greater the rewards of seeing you together.   Yes.. you are definitely worth it.

You are worth the dirt on my floor, the bugs in my house and the food in my car…

And the struggles of teaching you to read… with you resisting us very step of the way…

You are worth the worries that we are doing a good job as parents to try to train you to be a responsible, caring young man who loves the Lord and shows kindness to those around him.





You are worth the heartbreak that I know is coming when one day you no longer want a hug when you first wake up in the morning…

You are worth the gray hairs… that I KNOW I am getting.

I hope you know how much I love you and how proud I am to be your mom…



Happy 7th Birthday, Cameron Potter!



Aruba Photographers - Cassandra - Heart warming words…

Saying Goodbye


I met you in the Columbus Animal Shelter in 1998.¬†¬†¬† It was my first summer of vet school and since I was out of the dorm and desperate for the dog that mom and dad said I could have “when I was grown” I headed out to pick one out.¬†¬†¬†¬† I was nervous about how I would find you amongst the rows of dogs in the noisy shelter… How would I know which one was the right one?¬† There would be so many,¬† but God led me straight to your kennel and that was that.¬†¬†¬†¬† I don’t even remember seeing any other dogs that day…

As a puppy we shared an apartment with another dog and two cats along with their 2 human counterparts.¬†¬† I remember trying to sneak¬† you down the stairs and not wake anyone at 2 in the morning so that I could take you out to go the bathroom.¬†¬†¬† I remember when you destroyed not one but TWO single beds… ( I thought Amy was going to decapitate me AND you!)¬†¬†¬†¬† I remember how you used to love to play frisbee, but one a lower level because your little short legs could only get you so high.. and the grunty noise you made each time you jumped and caught it in your mouth… so proud.

And even though I don’t remember the wreck, I will remember the stories the nurses and EMT’s told my parents about how I had gotten myself out of the car and was¬† standing on the side of I-55 asking the good samaritans that stopped “Where is Pepper??”¬† all the while holding onto your leash with you beside me.¬†¬†¬† And how the EMT’s put you in the ambulance with me and the nurses snuck you into the ER and hid you behind the desk until my parents came.¬†¬†¬†¬† The only memories I have of that experience are waking up and reading a sheet of paper Mom had placed in my hand (apparently I had become pretty annoying by repeating my questions…)

1.   You were in an accident

2. You hit your head but you are ok

3. Pepper is ok


I remember how you accepted every animal I would bring home (other dogs, cats, pigs, horses, squirrels, possums, racoons) even if you were reluctant to give up more of my attention… you took it so well.¬†¬†¬† And when the babies came you were great about them too.

I will remember your little raccoon tail… it was definitely your trademark.¬†¬†¬†¬† I will remember how you would do anything for cheese.




And I will remember that when you needed me to be strong for you the most… that I was and let you go.¬†¬†¬† I know you have fought hard to stay with us.¬†¬†¬† I would never have imagined I would have had you in my life for over 15 years.¬†¬†¬† But I can see you are tired… and you need your rest.¬†¬†¬† You have repeatedly shown me that over the last few days and with the help and prayers of so many I am ready to help you go home. ¬†¬† You have several of those family members already up there waiting on you…¬† Please give them all a kiss for me.¬†¬†¬† I love you and will miss you so much.¬†¬†¬† Thank you for being my first… there will never be another like you.





Kelly - Tears flowing! What a beautiful tribute to that Sweet baby.You’re in my thoughts and my heart. love you!

Shelley Castle - Typing through tears…Such a beautiful tribute to your sweet Pepper and all that she has meant to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers, comfort and hugs.

Jessica - Oh, Rachel, how my heart breaks for you… I remember like it was yesterday when I made the similar decision to let go of my Grindel. She was my first dog too; I got her in college and she was with me for 15 years too, also through my first apartment, my boyfriend and then husband, our baby… There is something truly special about your first…

Allison - My husband just came in from the garage to find me reading this, crying. Such a moving tribute — beautiful words for a beautiful creature. Such a hard decision to make, but there is often ‘the right time,’ and only we know when that is. Hugs to you and your family.

Anne - I have big tears rolling down my face. Saying goodbye to a beloved furry friend is so so hard. Big big hugs to you, Rachel.

Amy Myers - This is a precious tribute to a wonderful friend. I remember how comforting you we’re to me when I was going through the same situation. I cried for you today and I’m sending hugs your way.

Lexie - What a beautiful tribute to a special dog – my heart hurts for you!! <3

Emma Lee Marshall - What a beautiful tribute to a precious baby dog that shared a part of your life for so long. It is
Never easy. Brings back memories of when I had to put my little poodle down and you were so compassionate. You have been in my prayers and know God will comfort you and family

Michael Foster - I know how you feel. Miss my babies, too. :(
Many prayers being sent your way.

Heidi G - I loved reading about your sweet Pepper. Thinking of you during this difficult time. <3

Jessica - Awh. Big big hugs. What a beautiful post and pictures that bring tears. So sorry!

Beckie - Rest in peace, sweet Pepper <3

Andy - what a lovely way to share your joy and your sorrow. i am wiping tears away as I read this. They are such wonderful friends and loyal companions. I ache for you but rejoice in your 15 years together!

Holly Thompson - Oh Rachel, my heart is so heavy for you. Pepper’s letter brought me to tears… what a wonderful life you gave this sweet little dog. You touched me deeply last year when we lost Rocky and I hope you feel even a fraction of the comfort you brought me. <3<3<3

Kristin Dokoza - I’m so sorry you had to say good bye to your sweet Pepper. Letting a pet go is one of the hardest things to do.

Lisa Benemelis - Rachel, there are really no words. <3 What a beautiful tribute and letter to Pepper. Big hugs – I will continue to keep you in my thoughts.

Reena - oh Rachel, this is so beautiful. I am so glad you and Pepper found each other. As hard as I know it is for you right now, just remember those wonderful 15 years you had together. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

THANKS so much, I really needed to read this.

Leslie - What a precious and beautiful tribute to a faithful, loving furever friend. God bless you, Rachel. You have helped so many of us do what you had to do. It is truly a sacrifice, bittersweet, yet the grandest of “love” gestures that can be made. Pepper is in good company. Rest assured, you’ll see him again. Love you lots.