MoreAussieSmiles Interview

Rory, Oakley, & Juno

"I really like taking candid shots of them."

How did Juno, Rory, and Oakley each come to be a part of the family?

Juno: Cody and I had a standard poodle named Walter as our first pet together when we got married. I loved Walter, but he was a one owner dog. He was obsessed with Cody and wouldn’t do much with me. In fact, he pretty much ignored me. So, I told Cody that I would like to get another dog so I would have one too. I found a family who had a litter of Australian Shepherds out of their family dogs. They only had three puppies as this was the first and only litter they had and Juno was the only one not spoken for. So a couple weeks later Cody and I drove 3 hours to meet them, as they lived a couple states over from us in Ohio. Cody and I are strong believers in that whoever holds the dog on the way home is who they will bond the closest too. So, I held Juno and she was the littlest ball of white fluff! She crawled up onto my neck and fell asleep there most of the trip. The nice thing with Aussies is that they love everyone, but Juno and I have a special bond and she will probably be my favorite dog forever.

About 6 months after we got Juno, Walter suddenly passed away at only thirteen months, after he swallowed a pair of socks and aspirated during surgery to remove the socks. The acid from his stomach ended up in his lungs and he died from pneumonia. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. One day he was his happy self and the next he was gone. Juno was so confused and always looked for him. We knew we would get another dog.

Rory: About a year later I came across a local family in Columbus who had a litter of pups out of their family dog. So, we went and Rory picked us. He was playing with the kittens they had because he was the runt and much smaller than the others. He still acts like a cat sometimes! He meowed even as a pup! A couple weeks later we went back and Cody held him all the way home and they have been the best of buds since! Rory was the easiest to house train because every time we went outside for him to go potty, he would grab a piece of mulch and try to bring it back in, so he was house trained within a week because he wanted mulch!

Oakley: We adopted Oakley less than a year ago. He was from a rescue and Cody saw him online and couldn't resist going to see him as he is just so cute! He was very timid when we met him, but he loved Juno and Rory! Even though he was 40lbs (he was 6-7 months) I sat with him and held him for the hour drive home. He was very nervous and we soon discovered that he has very low self- esteem and is afraid of males and submissive pees. The first couple weeks were especially tough as he was terrified of the sliding door to go outside and would drink excessive amounts of water and then have accidents. The vet ruled out any medical issues and most likely his original owner withheld water and food from him because it took months for him to realize he would always have water. He also wouldn't go upstairs for the first 4 months. Despite all of his issues, he has a heart of gold and him and I are so close.  When it's just him and me, I can see what an amazing dog he has inside him. So, I continue to work on his confidence and even though it takes so much time and patience, we are slowly making progress.

Tell us a little about Juno, Rory, and Oakley (age, sex, appearance and personality)
(Also, for fun: nicknames)

Juno: age 4, female, red merle. She has a very adaptive personality and is happy wherever her family is, especially myself. If we are having a lazy day, she is the best couch potato, want to go on a ten mile hike? She will keep looking back at me like “let's go mom!” and set a quick pace. She is queen bee and tries to keep the boys in line. She is a nanny to Avalynn, the 2 year old whose family lives with us. She has always loved to be held since she was a pup, very focused. She loves fetch, unlike the other two! She has one flaw, she likes to eat cat litter, but we don't have a cat, so don't have to worry about that! She loves getting her picture taken and will stand still if I point the camera at her without me asking. She is perfect and makes me realize everyday how blessed I am and loved. Her nicknames include: Boogers (she got a lot of eye boogers as a pup), Princess, June-Bug, and Angel

Rory: age 3 (but a puppy still at heart), male,  red tri Australian shepherd. Rory is a needy dog who wants to be loved and show love more than anything else. While Juno is mellow, he is very excitable. As soon as you tell him “good boy" he loses all control of himself like it's the first time someone told him this. His favorite humans are Cody and Avalynn. They are all very alike, so I think that has a lot to do with it! He will sleep on the front door mat waiting for Cody to get home. He is awful at fetch, but a natural at agility. In Ohio our dog park had an agility course and he loved! Cody wants to train him in agility once he is done with nursing school in a year. Rory's dad was an ability champion in Ohio his first year entering and then held the title for a while, so it's in Rory's blood. But, goodness is he awful at hearing! Juno is a natural.

Oakley: age 1, male, blue merle Australian shepherd. Oakley’s temperament is  between that of Juno and Rory. He is not as excitable and has better than focus than Rory, but he is all puppy still and will do things he knows better than and then give it away with the most pathetic guilty face. He has had a tough life for one so young, but he is a lump of sugar. He is the BEST cuddler! He loves it when I hold him like a baby and he will stay like that for hours! He wants to be with me wherever I go and loves hikes! He picked up off leash pretty fast, but still working on recall. He is super gentle, but clumsy and trips over himself or his butt will hit the doorway as he runs through. But when he runs! He glides! Haven't met a dog who could catch him and he makes it look like it's so easy and he could go forever. When he runs he loses that low self-esteem and is truly free. He is a mama's boy through and through. Nicknames include: Oakerton (my favorite), My Little Pony (he hasn’t grown into his feet), and baby

Biggest quirk of each pup?

Juno loves to give kisses, but if you say no kisses, she will look like you just broke her heart, but she won't kiss anymore. She also smiles, like a real one with the corners of her mouth going up if you ask her if she wants to cuddle or sit on the bed. Juno will also stamp her back feet and grunt like a piggy if I scratch her butt right by her nub.

Oakley is talkative. When I get home or even just come down the stairs he will start talking to me like he has so much to tell me and ask why was I gone forever (really was like 5 min). He then face plants and rolls over for his belly to be rubbed, grace and beauty this one!

All- time favorite place to hike?

Lithia Springs State Park. The river is clear and clean as it is spring fed.  It's not super deep and the train is up kept well. Also, it’s not super busy, as everyone goes to the pool area of the springs. Good mix of trails and rivers.

Most unique adventure you and the pups have been on?

Back in 2016, we relocated from Ohio. I drove all the way from Ohio with the U-haul, towing my SUV, and Juno came with me while Rory stayed with Cody in Ohio (we didn't have Oakley yet). Cody still had a month of his work contract left so he followed a month later. I only stopped for gas and Juno slept pretty much the whole way. People at gas stations were always amazed that I was moving by myself across states, but I had Juno, so it wasn't bad. She mostly slept, but at gas stations she would watch my every move and follow my movements inside the gas stations. After 16 hours we hit Florida and there was a tropical storm going on and the rain was pouring down like crazy, even getting into the U-haul and then the rental management company called and told me I couldn't move in that night because their offices were closed due to the storm, so we had to stay in a hotel. Juno’s first time and she hated it!  Too many strange people moving around, she was very restless.

Another adventure was when we had to evacuate during Hurricane Irma and go to Ohio. Cody is an ICU nurse and was on hurricane duty and had to stay at the hospital for 4 days straight during it all. Family and pets couldn't stay at the hospital, so I packed the pups in my RAV4 and we made the 18 hour drive to family in Ohio. The trip up there went well, all three dogs do great in the car since they associate car rides with hiking. We were there two nerve wracking days of staying up late to watch the news as Irma was supposed to hit at 2 am. We left third day at 4 a.m and began the nightmare journey home. All was good until we hit Georgia. We dropped to going 25 mph, GPS rerouted us onto backroads and even at one point to a road that wasn't a real road, just a dirt path through and orchard. I was so proud of the dogs! They mostly slept and were great when I let them out at gas stations. But, the closer we got to home, the GPS ETA just kept increasing! I was pretty much a zombie driver when we finally got home at 4am the next day. Took us 24 hours what is usually around 17. Next time we are staying home!

Stories behind their names?

I am a bit of a geek and love mythology. Juno was named after the Roman goddess of family and the home.

Rory is an old Irish name translates from Gaelic as “red". Very fitting as I am almost 100% Irish and he is a Red tri! (My maiden name was Shannon Meehan, very Irish lol).

I have no idea how Oakley got his name. That was his name when we first got him and we didn't want to further confuse him and rename him. But the name Oakley means “strong like an oak". Oakley is the biggest of the three and hasn't fully grown into his paws yet. So he is my little Oak tree, like a tree out of the Chronicles of Narnia, clomping around the house and running into things.

What made you start your Instagram journey?

My account originally began as my own account. This was way back in like 2015. I only used my phone and hardly ever posted. When I did post it tended to be Juno and then Rory when he joined the family. In December of last year, Cody got me my camera for Christmas, birthday, and 5th year wedding anniversary (Nikon D750). I love being outdoors and that's what I wanted to take pictures of. Well, the dogs come with me and I started capturing shots of them just being themselves. I really like taking candid shots of them. I started accumulating so many photos from our adventures I decided to start posting pictures more regularly from our adventures and started a separate account for my landscape photos and focused @moreaussiesmiles on the pups. This was in January. We had less than 100 followers and now just passed 4K! My landscape account is very small still because I love the interactions I have with all the other dog lovers on Instagram! It's truly amazing to think that we have friends we talk to almost daily from all over the world!

Which of the three would be the most patient with a scared puppy, like me?

They are all really gentle and good with smaller dogs. One of their favorite playmates is a mini Aussie that is always at the dog park near us. Juno would be the most patient as she is very motherly.

Tell us a little about you, Mama (if you don’t mind): what do you do? Job? School? Both?
(Anything interesting about yourself)

My name is Shannon and I grew up all over Ohio. I moved over 25 times as a child and have always been adventures! I am the oldest of 8 children, all from the same parents. I grew up mostly in the countryside and was always taking in all the stray animals, rabbits, cats, horse, dogs, it didn’t matter. A deep love for nature became a part of me from a young age as my family would go camping and swimming at local lakes and parks nearby and when I wasn’t reading, I was outside gardening or playing in the nearby creek and woods. Even did some tree climbing! When I was 16 my parents got divorced and we moved to the small town of Washington Court House, Ohio where I met my future husband Cody at the local high school. We were friends throughout high school, but didn’t start dating until two weeks before the end of high school. He was my first and only boyfriend as I was very focused on getting good grades and going to college. I had the whole 5-10 year plan. While in high school I did musical theatre, which I continued into college, as well as stage designing. I went to Notre Dame for my undergrad, majored in Middle Childhood education with a focus in language arts and social studies (love reading and writing!). Cody and I got engaged one year after dating and were engaged for three years as we wanted to wait until at least one of us was done with school because we had a long distance relationship the entire time. I broke my sacrum and tailbone while on a school snowboarding club I was in charge of. While stuck in bed for 4 months, I finished my master in Healthcare Administration with the goal of getting out of teaching and into the medical field. With the winters in Ohio being terrible for me physically due to the back injury and onset of arthritis, we were so excited when Cody was offered an ICU position in Tampa, Florida and we moved here in the fall of 2016. Last fall, I started my prerequisites for nursing school and this will be my last year of teaching, as starting July, I will be doing clinicals and working as a CNA full time at a local hospital. I would love to eventually be a travel nurse and explore all of the US.  My favorite pastimes are hiking, kayaking, camping, anywhere with my dogs, reading, sewing, and photography.

If Juno, Oakley and Rory were human celebrities, who would they be, and why?

This is a tough one! I think Juno would be Taylor Swift, innocent and sweet on the surface, but knows exactly what she is doing. If Oakley was a girl he would be Jennifer Lawrence, awkward, a bull in a china shop, and very quirky, but beautiful and goofy so everyone can’t help but love him. Rory would be Zac Efron, handsome and energetic! No matter how old he gets, he still hasn’t outgrown his High School Musical days.

Mama: you plan on selling hand-made bandanas, correct?

Yes, when I’m done with nursing school and have more time.

How did you get started?

 I started sewing when I was 11. I told my mom I wanted to learn, so she took me to a local shop to take lessons. At the time my family lived in an Amish community and I wanted to be able to make all the dresses for the girls in the family. Well, I ended up only going to a couple sessions because the teacher was frustrating and moving way too slow. So, I started sewing anything I could: dresses, baby doll clothing, blankets, and baby bibs. By the time I was 14, I was sewing all the clothing for my sisters and I and my younger sisters had the best dressed dolls around. I participated in quilting bees and learned to quilt and make comforters. I am very good at looking at something and then drawing a pattern and making it. I have been making smaller bibs for babies (to catch drool) and thought why not adapt the pattern for the dogs. I would love to have a shop for both human and fur babies with accessories, clothing, as well as blankets and quilts. I can also do custom pieces as well.

What are your favorite types of patterns?

I don’t really have a favorite as they change with the season. I tend to go more natural with flowers, creatures, and geometric patterns. Not so much unicorns, cupcakes, and so one. I try to avoid fabric stores as I want to purchase so much! For the dogs, I prefer darker or bold background colors as I am very practical and want them to look nice even after going through the river or getting covered in sand and dirt.

You can’t go on an outdoor adventure! What would you do instead?

The nice thing about Florida is that we have nice weather pretty much all year round, so I spend a lot of time outside. However, if it's a rainy day like today, I usually spend my time cuddling with the dogs, reading, editing photos, sewing, or walking around local flea markets. I like to be busy all the time, so it’s good when a day like today happens, on the weekend and forces me to relax (though I did go for a quick hike this morning still)

Mama: What drew you to Australian Shepherds?

My first dog that was mine only (I saved up and picked out for myself) was a black and white tri standard Australian Shepherd named GAP (God Answers Prayer). Always wanted a dog of my very own to train and take care of, so when I found an ad in the newspaper for a litter of Aussies, I went and picked GAP out. He was my best bud and we went hiking all over the place together. I was 13 at the time and we were surrounded by woods and creeks, so we had a blast together. I loved him so much, but when my parents got divorced, I had to find him a home with some family friends who had a farm because we moved in town and had no backyard for him to play in. My mom also couldn’t afford any pets and we rented a house right off a busy street. It was really difficult for me to let him go with all the changes happening in my life, but I knew he wouldn’t have been happy since he was used to having 5 acres he could run all over. So, when I told Cody I wanted to get a second dog, I knew I wanted an Aussie. I love all dogs, but I understand Australian shepherds best. I love that they are “Velcro” dogs and always stay wherever I am. They want to please so much and love people, but aren’t big chewers. They are very smart and easy to train. I Just love the breed!

Nicknames for mine include: wiggle butt, fluff butt, nubbers (due to lack of tail, which is natural and undocked), ausshole, aussies, ausskissers, and velcro dog.

 If you'd like to follow their journey, or ask questions, or even just gaze at their beauty, please head over to Instagram and show their page some love: Moreaussiesmiles


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