Here he is, the very pup whose breath inspired this entire venture ….

Meet Toby.

We dont like to use the ‘H’ word (halitosis) around Toby but, oh, he knows he’s got a breath problem. One big swipe of his pink tongue across your face and your infected with it: 1 part love, 2 parts special puppy breath scent (stink).

But, no matter how awful Toby’s breath gets despite the constant brushing and pup mints – the fundamental feeling thats left after the smell fades away is simply:  joy. And so much of it.

This canine has changed my life in ways no human ever could.
The life lessons live in his eyes. The way he gives and gives and gives and doesn’t expect to receive never ceases to amaze me. His fur against my cheek is my medicine. Whenever anything hurts – Toby has this magical ability to heal it.

I call him ‘sunshinebutt’, ‘banana jones’, ‘Tobes McGeezac’ and well sometimes, just ‘Toby’. He came to me on a hot sunshine Florida afternoon. he bounded out the back of his foster parent’s van and into my waiting arms.  Well, sort of – it was actually less romantic. He made contact with my face at about 37 miles an hour and bowled me over backwards onto the concrete where he pinned me down with drippy pink tongue kisses. I tried to speak but my words came out all jumbly, as if I was gargling: ‘HE–LL-ooooohh PUp-PPie!!’ And when he finally let me up for air  and I got to my feet – face glistening with saliva – I realized it was destiny. A wagging, smelly, fuzzy, and generally moist destiny – but destiny nonetheless.

His simplicity and happiness is a true inspiration. He never wants for more (except if its peanut butter cookies) and his satisfaction with the present moment is my favorite thing about him. He has so much to teach, and I have so much to learn. Toby has made me a better person on every level.

His face is perfect symmetry – an absolute charm to photograph. And since the first day I saw him, thats exactly what I constantly did. But, it was that one fateful day when I realized that I could slow his speed to 1/250th of a second and actually FREEZE his wagging laugh, his overwhelming happiness in that tiny moment. I realized that I could keep Toby’s joy in my pocket, and share it with anyone at any time.  It was then that I knew that this was absolutely what cameras were meant for – and what I was meant to do.



He struts around the house like he’s a hero – head held high. And really, I think he’s on to something. Because he is a hero.

He’s my hero.

So there you have it – the breath and the inspiration behind this whole fantastic venture.


1 thought on “inspiration”

  1. I’ve been following you from near and far! First while we were still living overseas in Belgium, and now where we’ve landed in Delaware. Love your work, and wanted to thank you for sharing your story…your inspiration & love. You are a fantastic writer equally!

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