Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There has been some confusion on the ever so special Miss Aurora. I would like the opportunity to explain Auroras situation and condition so that all of her fans can grasp what she is going through and will continue to go through.


Aurora was found as a stray in Ohio and landed herself in a shelter. Upon arrival she was noticeably abandoned and neglected. Her frail frame was emaciated. Her hip bones protruded from her back end, every rib could be counted and scrawny legs were left with little muscle mass. Besides being noticeably underweight, her skin was raw. She was COVERED in fleas and flea bites. Her possible once luxurious coat was now gone. She was missing skin and hair over her entire body. Her skin peeked out from her meager coat and raw pinkish color. Another visible area for Aurora was her bred body. Her nipples dangled low and her "womanly parts" had been used for all the years of her life. This pathetic looking young lady had been OVER BRED, UNDER FED and severly neglected, nonetheless left to fend for herself through the Ohio winter.

Saintly Bernards Rescue, stepped to the plate to give this lovely lady a second chance at life- the GOOD LIFE. Prior to transport, she was updated on her shots and cleared to cross state lines from Ohio to Pennsylvania. With the help of a great team of people, Jamie Byrnes got Aurora to Saintly Bernards Rescue and into a warm foster home.

After consulting with our veterinary team, they decided to postpone her original spay until she had sometime to heal and gain some weight. In her foster home, she would get 3 meals a day of quality grain free kibble, yummy and nutritious goats milk and necessary supplements and medication to begin getting her GI tract back on track. Also, while in foster care, she began to refresh her manners (sit, down, stay, come) and learn to walk nicely on the leash. She got along with all dogs (big or small, dominant or submissive, annoying or kind), cats,adults, kids etc… She loved laying on the dog bed or even the couch. Miss Aurora was on the road to recovery and the good life.

While in foster care she packed on a whopping 12 pounds! She was eating consistently, having solid bowel movements and gaining back her energy. The veterinary team thought Aurora was ready for spay so she can begin her pursuit for her forever family.

Aurora was brought into the vet for her spay in the morning and her spay was done around lunch time. The amazing vet, Dr. Heller, informed us that she had had some complications during her spay. When she was opened up her uterus was swollen, full of puss and blood. They took a sample and were going to send it away, but it could have been a multitude of issues. Another issue that presented itself during the surgery were the rocks found in her intestines. The vet did her best to push them down her GI tract so she could easily pass them. Amongst the biggest issue was her lack of clotting, recovering from the anesthesia and her body temperature. A dog's normal body temperature is at 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Miss Aurora was hovering around 97 or 98 and not increasing progressively. They asked that Aurora stay in their care as long as she could for the day and be sent home as close to closing as possible.

Auroras foster family and Jamie met to pick up the lovely lady, hear the vets diagnoses and prognoses and take it easy with the princess for the next few nights. When they brough Aurora out to us, she collapsed to the ground, began urinating and bleeding from her surgery. Her skin turned pale, her gums turned white and our little lady laid there limp and lifeless. The vet rushed out and said she would have to go back in to stop the internal bleeding and that there was a strong chance that Aurora was not strong enough to survive the second surgery. But, this was her only hope at life.

Several more hours of surgery, many more bleeds and a warm sleepy night at the emergency vet- Miss Aurora survived the surgery. The vet sampled Auroras blood because she saw the lack of clotting that was happening. She discussed with us that Aurora is suffering from a genetic and life threatening blood clotting disease. Even if she pulls through the night she has A LONG and ROCKY road to recovery. She also will live a more disabled life for the rest of her life. She received 24 hour care at the emergency vet, where they did SEVERAL blood plasma transfusions and had her sleep in a heating tank. The next day she received testing, evaluating and intravenous fluids.

After an extremely rough and uncertain 24 hours, Aurora was still fighting. She will continue to fight. The vet warned us that the internal bleeding issue that came up CAN happen again. With even the slightest fall, nick or bruise, Miss Aurora can bleed out. Her body is not capable of clotting blood at a wound or injury site. Her frail body cannot endure another surgery and there is still a chance that this lady may not pull through. Aurora was going to be on STRICT bed rest the next 4-6 weeks, with close monitoring, daily hemocratic blood tests, hourly body temperature checks and minimal activity.

After researching Auroras blood disorder, we found out that this is a genetic disease. With her obvious years of breeding, her litters can also carry this life threatening disease. All of these Saint Bernards can suffer from a life cut to short with a simple wound or injury due to their blood disease, hemophilia. A dog with a mild form or hemophilia might never even need treatment, unless excess bleeding occurs due to trauma or surgery. Unfortunately, dogs with severehemophilia often die from uncontrollable bleeding problems. Once you know your dog is affected, your vet will help you with managing this lifelong disorder. This will include being vigilant for signs of bleeding, and occasional blood transfusions

Managing this disease is TOUGH. Aurora will have to live a relatively safe life. She may not engage in lots of rough housing, BUT, luckily- our fighter is just as happy being your snuggle buddy.

Through all of these ups and downs we have experience with Miss Aurora, she is still looking forward and not looking backwards. She is steadily eating, drinking, walking and resting just as she should be. Her body temperature has remained steady and her hemocratic tests have not gone backwards (they still need to improve drastically). She is getting lots of rest and not pushing herself to far.

Aurora is a GORGEOUS, GENTLE, SOCIAL 3 year old smooth coat Saint Bernard. Although her past life was not good to her, she holds not grudge. She is a fighter and has fought very hard to have her chance at the GOOD LIFE. She is a special girl who will need a special home to give her the quality of care she will need for the rest of her life.

Donations can be made for Auroras surgery and recovery at

www.saintlybernards.org. If you are interested in providing the BEST

home imaginable for our special lady- please feel out an application

at www.saintlybernards.org. Remember, she will need round the clock

care for the next 4-6 weeks, a quiet home, a quality veterinarian team

and a committed family.

I hope I was able to adequaelty tell Auroras story. If you have any more questions- please feel free to email Jamie at Byrnesbernards@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fleur De Lis

I have been mildy (to put lightly) obsessed with New Orleans since a week before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. My college besties and I planned one last getaway before having to deal with the real world (AKA jobs, stress, marriage, babies etc....) to the BIG EASY. The trip started and ended relatively badly, and by badly I mean BAD BAD BAD. First, we got the travel plans wrong. I thought we were leaving on day X we left on day WTF were you thinking.... Next, we almost missed our flight due to terrible airport chicken caesar wraps and EXTREME traffic into NYC. To top it off, our luggage was lost. No clothes for New Orleans (wait...is it mandatory to wear them there anyway?) was like cutting off my left leg. Excuse to buy more disposable clothing at forever 21(yeahhhh!)!! Being questioned if my Coach purses were real- another yet humbling experience.

So then our trip started & will quickly end- DRAMATICALLY. My friends 18 year old kitty passed away while were in New Orleans. Devastation. Ate to much Cajun & drank to much liquor= a full night on the toilet. Then came  the worst news of all... HURRICANE KATRINA to hit New Orleans and RUIN our vacation. How selfish was this to think that Hurricane Katrina was ruining our vacation, when we got to the damage it did afterwords? Yeah, I must say at 21 years old, I was pretty freaking selfish.

We tried to plan a hurricane party but out parents didn't go for it. They got us on the next BUS (yes BUS) to NYC. 48  hours of pure hell.

I will end that story right here. The rest is history. Since the second I stepped foot in the land of the Cajuns versus the creoles- I have been fascinated. I have been back 4 times since Katrina hit. I am constantly inspired when I visit this city. The passion? Irresistible. The soul? Indescribable. The spirit? Freaking wow. There is NO place in the world like New Orleans. When I am there I feel like I can be home. I love the music, the art, the cuisine. I love it all. I love the darkness of the city. I also love the heart of the city.

My most recent trip to New Orleans was by far the most incredible. I was there with my parents and my husband and being a tourist extraordinaire. We did everything and everything. It was one of the best trips of my entire life. And I wasn't hungover the entire time (oh wait...yes I was... and it was way worse then when I was 21). I would visit the Big Easy- every year for the rest of my life. I cannot get enough of it.

During my last trip I was inspired by the emblem that identified this city- The Fleur De Lis. As a novice photographer- I tried to take pictures of the different Fleur De Lis I cam across my trip. It is a symbol that strongly represents the culture and believes of this unique parisian town buried deep in the southern bayous. I hope you enjoy my photos and have a chance to explore and conquer this FASCINATING city!

Here's a little information on New Orleans & the iconic symbol:

The history of the fleur de lis (sometimes spelled fleur-de-lys) is "flower of the lily". This symbol, depicticting a stylized lily or lotus flower, has many meanings.

Traditionally, it has been used to represent French Royalty, and it is said to signify perfection, light, and life.

In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII became the first French King to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claim to the throne of France.

Joan of Arc carried of white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem of the fleur-de-lis when she led troops to victory of the English in support of Charles VII, in his quest for the French throne.

The Roman Catholic Church ascribed the lily as the special emblem of the Virgin Mary. Due to its three petals, the fleur de lis has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity.

It was also used as the main symbol of a secret society named The Priory of Sion. Remember in the book and movie "The Davinci Code"? The fleur de lis symbol is used throughout both accentuating its historic roots and religious ties.

Many other cities including Quebec, Canada and St. Louis, Missouri have the royal emblem on their flags and are part of their history as well.

The fleur-de-lis is also the symbol of the National Sorority
Kappa Kappa Gamma . This symbol has unique and hidden meanings within their organization.

The symbols history often has secrecy and mystique surrounding its different uses and meanings, making it even more attractive to people all over the world!


New Orleans Saints have had the Fleur De Lis Emblem on their uniform since 1967. The black fleur de lis outlined in white was a symbol placed on the helmet at the inception of the franchise.

In 2000 the emblem was updated for the first time on the team's uniform. The fleur de lis was added to the jersey sleeves with white, gold, and black outline. This variation stayed on the uniform and was worn with both jerseys, for home and away games.

The most recent update, in 2003 was added to the uniform pants at the top of the stripe near the hip area. The pants with the new placement of the emblem is now worn with both jerseys.

The New Orleans Saints, with its best season in its history, wears the emblem more proudly than ever in 2009. Turning the emblem in to the most worn symbol around town, and a show of support for the team as the team headed to Miami for their first time ever in the Super Bowl.

The team turned the city into a fleur de lis frenzy as everyone was supporting the boys in black and gold. Read more about the
black and gold super bowl and how the fleur de lis will be represented by the entire region.

Winning the Superbowl on February 7, 2010 for the first time ever, the Saints threw the city deeper into it's love affair with the fleur de lis symbol. A diamond encrusted fleur de lis adorns the top of their Super Bowl rings made by Tiffany & Co. that emulates the love between the team and the symbol!


After the devastation of hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents and those who cared for the city and its citizens needed some way to connect from around the world.

The Fleur De Lis, while popular before the storm, then grew in popularity even more afterwards. The emblem then became the symbol of the city. The fleur de lis is recognizable sign to those who are far away from home as well as for those trying to rebuild and come back. The storm torn city has a visual symbol of New Orleans to hold close to their hearts. The Fleur De Lis became an unspeakable common ground for all those who love the big easy.

The symbol of the Fleur de Lis now flies proudly in New Orleans neighborhoods who are continuing the struggle of rebuilding. In New Orleans you will see the Fleur De Lis on signs of the Broadmoor neighborhood, the City of New Orleans official flag, and even on
New Orleans Police Department and Emergency Medical Services vehicles.

Citizens place flags of the Fleur de Lis in their gardens and on their homes, showing their support for a city that is slowly succeeding on the long road to recovery. It's also seen painted on several schools in the area that have changed their logo to the Fleur De Lis, such as Sophie B. Wright, Ronald Mcnair, Lafayette Elementary, and McDonough 15.

Downtown there were large free standing Fleur De Lis statues in front of the Place St. Charles building and the Whitney Bank building on St. Charles Avenue, as part of a city wide promotion. The entire metropolitan area has caught the Fleur De Lis fever!

Several local television stations have recently added the fleur de lis to their logo. Proudly displaying the emblem has become part of the community and will be around for a long time to come.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our Wedding Day (June 12, 2010) PHOTO BLOG BLAST

So I know I have been in newly wedded bliss for the past year and a half- but I do feel like now is the perfect time to share that piece of my life with the world. I married my best friend, my lover and my partner in crime. On June 12, 2010,  we commit to each other that we will withstand all the good and bad-TOGETHER- for the rest of our lives. We commit to supporting each other and making our dreams come true, TOGETHER. We have learned and grown together for the past 8 tears, but being married in the eyes of god, in the eyes of our friends and family and within our eyes- feels completely different! I take pride in calling Tom my husband every day.

 The photography was courtesy of Arun Paul Photography,who is based out of Bucks County, PA. He focuses on capturing the most important aspects of ones life! Also, what drew me to him originally, was his level of engagement and excitement. Arun & Julia knew that capturing the essence of the big day was top priority for the future Brosses. He takes time getting to know the people he shoots. Mr. Paul and his stunning wife Julia work as a team! They did our engagement shoot, wedding shoot and EVEN a day with our dogs. Arun knew how important it was for me to have my fur kids with me on my wedding day, but also knew the level of stress it could add to the day. So, he suggested saving a shoot focused solely on the dogs for the future. When the wedding and honeymoon were over and the leaves turned from green to red- he shot us at Villanova Dog Park.  He was genuine and he cared! Not only that- THAT PICTURES are flawless. There is something about revisiting your wedding shots every few months. Reminiscing on the day brings back feelings and memories that can fill a lifetime!

I hope everyone enjoys some of our favorite shots!

If you would like to look at Aruns work here is his WEBSITE LINK & here is his BLOG LINK!! I would HIGHLY recommend him for weddings, engagements, infants, expecting, children and families. Oh heck- he is great with dogs too!!! Also, here is the photo blogs of our shoots!!

The dress that I tried on and INSTANTLY knew it was the one!

Wedding Rings

My favorite little boy, Alex Avery, in the world!

ONE OF MY Favorites from the wedding-BY FAR!

My flowers for the wedding day!

My couture garter

The other man in my life

Looking BEAUTIFUL...by Susie

Maid of Honor, Bride & Ring Bearer

The wind in the trolley on 95 was crazy! Luckily, the laughter could not be contained!

My handsome husband

Mr. & Mrs.Thomas Jospeph Bross
My loves!

The Closer I Get To You
Kandice & Tom

The closer i get to you
The more you make me see
By giving me all you got (tell me more)
Your love as captured me

Over and over again
I tried to tell myself that we
Could never be more than friends
But all the while, inside , i knew it was real
The way you make me feel

Lyin' here next to you
Time just seems to fly
Needing you more and more (more and more)
Let's give love a try

Sweeter and sweeter love grows
And heaven's there for those
Who fool the tricks of time
With hearts of love will find
True love in a special way

Come a little closer so that we can see
Into the eyes of love
Just a little closer let me speak to you
I want to softly tell you something
Come a little closer let me whisper in your ear
Cuz i wanna tell you something
Move on in real close so we can celebrate
The way we feel a bout each other's loving

Some recognition to the following vendors:
Ridley Park Florist (All wedding flowers):Their Website & Contact Info
Arun Paul Photography:Arun Paul Photo Website
The Moshulu (Wedding Venue):Moshulu Website
Nicole Bridal (Wedding/bridesmaid dresses):Amazing amazing dresses (website)
Trinity Episcopal Church Swarthmore:Visit their website
Beautiful by Susie (Hair & Makeup): Facebook page for Beautiful by Susie
Ashley Jacopetti (Hair & Makeup): EMAIL CONTACT

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dog Park Fun (Concord Township Dog Park)

I am writing this blog based on the fundamentals of the dog park with a special emphasis on my regular dog park in Concord Township in Garnet Valley, PA. I thoroughly enjoy my crew of dog owners who feel strongly about keeping their dogs exercises AND socialized. Most owners are at the dog park EVERY day! Cold? YUP...still there. Snowing? YUP... more fun for the pups! HOT? You know it.... owners just sit in the shade (wink wink). Rain? That is what umbrellas are made for! And heck- although we are affected by weather, your pooch is still looking forward to some "them" time- regardless of the climate conditions!

About Concord Dog Park you ask? Well let me tell you a little bit about this marvelous little slice of heaven- donated to the canines of Delaware County, PA. This dog park was once a farm called Bush Hill farm that tended to the needs of other four legged animals- some that still frequent the farm. On any given day you run a HUGE risk of seeing horse back riders, deer, birds and your resident foxes. All in their natural settings.

Concord township dog park is located smack dab in the middle of Delaware County in an equestrian and scenic setting. The spring, summer and fall back drops are breath taking! But, since dogs don't seem to notice how remarkable the grounds they, lets focus on these pooches and why they seem to have SOOO much fun once they enter the gates.

The reason a dog park is a great place is based around exercise and socialization for your canine. Although the park is divided amongst two separate horse runs, one for small dogs and one for large, most dogs will find themselves frolicking together. They learn to be around dogs of all sizes, breeds, energy levels and temperaments. They get to chase the ball with labs, wrestle with the huskies and chase with the shepherds. They learn body language and how to greet new dogs. They learn to listen to their owner when called in a pack of energized pups. They also get to meet all different types of people!

Concord Dog Park was founded in October of 2008 and is still going strong in 2011. The dog owners of Concord Dog Park take very good care of the pastures! This year they even raised money to put down new mulch for the dogs! The people of Concord Dog Park act as a team and do the best by their dogs and new dogs that want to come and play!

Here are  some of the ground rules:
  • In order to make your and your dog's visit as pleasant as possible, please observe the following:Dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the dog park. Removed dogs from leash prior to entering second gate
  • Dogs must be licensed, vaccinated and shall wear a visible dog license
  • Dogs under 4 months of age and female dogs in heat are prohibited
  • Choke, prong (pinch) and spike collars are strictly prohibited
  • No aggressive dogs allowed; dogs must be removed at he first sign of aggression
  • Dog owners must be in the park and within view of their dogs at all times
  • All off-leash dogs must be under voice control of their owners; if you cannot control your dog off-leash, keep your pet leashed at all times
  • No children under the age of 16 unless accompanied by an adult
  • Dog waste must be collected and placed in the designated receptacle
  • Any holes dug by your dog should be filled
  • Food and smoking is not permitted within the fenced areas
  • No alcoholic beverages allowed anywhere on township property

Are you looking for more information? Concord Dog Park Website

And remember FOLKS... a TIRED DOG is a GOOD DOG!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Habitat for Humanity (Build Smart, Breathe Easy) Merck Community Day

Merck Pharmaceuticals allows its employees to volunteer 20 hours of their business hours to a cause of their choice. I am a respiratory specialist and thought it would be a great team building experience for the South New Jersey District. With the support of my customer team leader- we arranged to work a full day on a Habitat for Humanity Site that Merck sponsored. We helped contribute to a Habitat House being built for a family with a young daughter in a wheel chair who suffered from severe Asthma. They made the house Asthma ready and wheelchair friendly. On November 12, 2011 the house with dedicated to the deserving family.

Habitat for Humanity helps low income families purchase a home. They do not give homes away for free. They sponsor the homes with the help of large contributors, such as Merck, and utilize volunteers to help build the home. The family that will live their upon completion will have to dedicate 350 hours to the construction of the home. They begin to understand all that goes into a house and learn how to appreciate the home that they will live in.

After applying for a Habitat Home, completing your 350 hours and agreeing to a mortgage contract (no interest) the home goes to deserving families in need of some help. They have a huge dedication, where all volunteers, management etc are invited! It is a VERY VERY special day for a lot of people. Many many hours of dedication go into building these homes that are catered to the needs of the families.

Merck successfully launched the Breathe Smart Breathe Easy program to help campaign for bettering build homes to lessen the stress of Asthma. They partnered with Habitat for Humanity, HGTV, Asthma & Allergy Foundation and Carter Oosterhouse to help bring awareness to the disease, Asthma.

Asthma triggers means the elements which causes asthma and prove to be harmful for the asthma patients like dust mites, mold, pet dander, fumes etc. Building these breathe friendly homes creates a more sustainable home for affected patients.

I look for ways in life to give back. I encourage all to find ways to give back to society in some way and to make a difference!

For more information please visit Breathe Smart, Breathe Easy LINK

Saturday, August 27, 2011

McKenzie- OUR SWEET Senior Saint

January 22, 2011 I went to the shelter with Jamie to help temp test a 7-8 year old female Saint Bernard who was dumped due to relocation (from a trailer to an RV). The Saint had been tossed around from family to family and lived most of her life as an outdoor dog. When we got there- she was scared and dirty- but still came right up to us and let us show her it was okay. Jamie temp tested her with Grace Kelly, Angus, Titan, Jake, Boz, Diva and even our very own Mr.Quincy. With flying COLORS- this senior Saint showed that she was balanced and ready to leave her past behind. We loaded her up into my car and that day McKenzie became McKenzie.

The day we went to get McKenzie at the shelter

Initially we were fostering Miss McKenzie. My husband told me we could foster but weren't ready to add another dog to the pack. BUT, he adored the ground McKenzie walked on. He would come home from work and snuggle with her on the floor, on the couch, in the yard...you name it- they would snuggle. McKenzie created a sense of calm amongst my pack. Previous alpha female (not by choice) was Tootsie. Tootsie is uncertain, insecure and anxious. McKenzie stepped up into alpha female role and allowed Tootsie to be Tootsie- the dog. McKenzie would correct Quincy when need be and Quincy took her command graciously. McKenzie slowly became best friend to me and my husband and leader for my pack.

After a few months- the decision was to officially make McKenzie a Bross. Although she was always part of the family- we knew we could not let her go. Tom & I had our first foster failure and she is one of the best things that has ever happened to us. We opened our heart and home to a TRUE breed ambassador and in return she has shown us endless love, dedication, trust, stability and overall...companionship. She is the apple of our eye and not one person who meets her doesn't fall in love with her.

McKenzie has helped MANY foster Saint become better dogs who were ready to be in their forever families. She let Betty Boop (nee Boo) know that she was going to be okay. Betty Boops owner past away and she was devastated. She now is VERY happy with her forever family in Pennsylvania- with her very own pool and canine brother. McKenzie taught foster dog Addie to SLOW down. Addie was anxious and insecure and McKenzie showed her that you can trust again and that life is what you make it. Addie is settled beautifully in her shore house in NJ with a loving family and DOING GREAT! McKenzie stepped up as mother for Tuli (nee Ava) and helped show her the ropes of life. She showed her not to fear the leash or other dogs. She taught Tuli how to respect space and how to play gently. McKenzie taught Tuli how to be the best dog she could be. Tuli is now with a loving family in Pennsylvania (and sometimes at their NJ beach house) with 2 lab sisters and even a horse sister! She spends time getting ice cream cones and greeting the neighbors with Saint love. Tuli is blossoming into a fabulous Saint Bernard- and McKenzie played a HUGE role in her success. Should I go on? McKenzie has also helped Pebbles (nee Mary Rose) and is currently helping Tori, Josie and fellow Senior Gal Ella.

McKenzie & Betty Boop
Addie, Tootsie & McKenzie

Tuli & McKenzie

Ella, Tori, Josie, McKenzie & Quincy

McKenzie changed our views on "age". Many people believe that puppies are the way to go. Young, mold able dogs are the only option. I believed that young dogs were the best route. GUESS WHAT? I am a changed woman. The seniors have WISDOM and bring a level of calm to a pack. They are settled, secure and eager to please. They look for minimal necessities. They enjoy a brisk walk, a laid back dog park adventure, going for a cup of ice cream or just snuggling up with you on the couch. They forget their past and love in the moment. Think an old dog can't be taught new tricks? WRONG!! Every senior who has graced our presence has been taught to sit, stay, walk on a leash, eat on the down and NEVER has had an accident in the house. They trust that you are the leader and you know what is best for them.

McKenzies body maybe that of a senior. She goes to the chiropractor and acupuncturist to help keep her joints and body aligned. She can't walk 5 miles. Sometimes she can't jump in and out of the car. BUT, her soul is that of a puppy. She play bows in the yard, runs from person to person at the dog park and loves to chomp on a good mammoth bone.  She has years of love to give this world- and thankfully she has chosen us  to spend that time with her.

Thanks to Saintly Bernards Rescue and Jamie- I have opened my eyes and heart up our sweet sweet gal McKenzie. I could not ask for a better best friend me, my husband or my pack. She has lots of wisdom to pass onto to fellow fosters and cannot wait to share her love with them!!