Well, I certainly have been quite the disappearing act lately!
Hello! 🙂 I figured it was finally time to peek my blogging head out from the rock I’ve been hiding under for the past few months and give you the inside scoop on what I’ve been up to!
This past Spring and Summer have been record-breakingly busy for Dog Breath Photography! I do realize that ‘record-breakingly’ is not a word, but sometimes you’ve gotta make up your own terms for the most accurate story-telling description. 🙂 I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting and photographing more dogs (and cats! and bunnies!) that I can count over the past few months. The Spring weather here in New England this past season was an absolute gift, allowing me to capture the most gorgeous kind of subjects (four-legged ones!) in the midst of brilliant colors and warm, yellow sunlight. The Spring weather then gracefully trickled over into the Summer months, and aside from the intense heat wave we had here in Boston last week, the light, temperature and colors have been a photographer’s dream. Thus, making me the busiest person on the planet. 😛
All of that being said, with all of the endless shoots and events of these past few months, I have fallen sorely behind on updating this little blog here, and re-telling the stories of my gorgeous, four-legged clients and their photo adventures. So, I am on a mission to do my darndest to get lots of recent session features up on the blog for you to enjoy!
Minnie’s session took place back in November (I know, I know! I wasn’t kidding when I said I was behind on blogging!) On the day of our session, we were blessed with the most gorgeous yellow, autumn sunlight to romp and play in! Minnie was an absolute star for her session – oh, she didn’t hold back! She pulled out all her best looks, including the tragic ‘give me treats!’ face.
Minnie’s Mom, Kim, contacted me for once in a lifetime portraits of her sweet girl shortly after Minnie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The moment that I met Minnie, I knew exactly why these portraits were going to be so important to her Mom. Minnie is has got the most incredible soul, the kindest eyes – and above all else – one of the most intense and loving connections with her human that I’ve ever seen. Her spirit was unprecedented, her wiggly little body was bursting with the purest kind of joy as she bounced about through our session together.
Oh, and Minnie was a sucker for a good joke! We rattled off about 25 knock knock jokes before we had to put a stop to it due to uncontrollable laughter…
When I told Minnie that this blog post was going up – she wanted me to be clear and remind you all that the camera adds 15 pounds. 😛
And how ‘bout Minnie’s array of endless expressions? … It was all I could do not to crack up while shooting.
When Minnie’s Mom, Kim, mentioned she’d like to capture some images of Minnie in her ‘room’ at home, I excitedly obliged – thinking this just might be the coolest dog Mom ever! Minnie has her own room!? Never did I realize that Minnie’s room was going to be so completely fabulous! She’s got her own bed for snoozing, lots of pillows for relaxing, collections of treats on the floor, Beagle themed art all over the walls, and even her name written in sparkles! Yes, this truly is a rags to riches story. From a scared, broken shelter dog – to an endlessly happy, limitlessly loved, joyful little nugget who likes to nap with her door closed! ha! Minnie was so proud to show off her supercool digs!
Looking so fabulous is a tiring job! Minnie settled in for a nap just as we were wrapping up…
Photographing Minnie was truly a treasure of an experience. I am so grateful to have met and spent such a perfect afternoon this sweet little girl. The joy that she infected me with is impossibly sticky and I imagine will never rub off. 🙂
When I delivered Minnie’s images (including her gigantic 30×40 canvas!) to Kim, we both spent a few moments in happy tears, hugging in her kitchen – both knowing that these images are one day going to be the closest connection that Kim will have to her sweet, joyful little girl. I hope they serve to preserve her smile, warmth and spirit for endless years to come.
Thank you for choosing me to be the one to capture your perfect, sunshiney little girl, Kim! I couldn’t have asked for more perfection inside one wiggly, fuzzy little body!
As many of you know, I volunteer quite avidly at my local shelter photographing their adoptable pups in an attempt to give them the best chance possible of escaping a life of lonely cages and metal bars. Every week, I meet new and incredible pups – all unique and wonderful in their own way. All equally innocent and deserving of a warm home to call their own. But, every once in a while, I meet a dog that just turns me upside down with love – a dog that is truly special in his ability to somehow give me more than I can give him. These dogs happen every once in a while. And I’ll know they’ve got me when I’m thinking of them on my drive home – Or waking up in the middle of the night to worry if they’re cold or scared or hungry or lonely. Ill think about them for weeks. Always checking it to see if maybe – just maybe – they found their forever home that day. Turkey was one of those dogs for me.
When I read the name on the tag on his cage, I giggled. When I peered over the edge to see the fuzzy, wagging gift inside who so proudly held the title of ‘Turkey’ I somehow giggled louder. ‘What a goobery, comical, relentlessly lovable little character’, I thought to myself. Turkey was on my list of pups who needed photos that day and I couldn’t have been more thrilled about it. (If you know anything about me, you know that I am outrageously partial to Pitties. Their overgrown hearts are the purest shades of red, and their trademark smiles bring me the kind of joy that I have trouble expressing in words. Needless to say – their endless character translates like magic to photographs.) So, I took Turkey out of his cage for some playtime and a photo shoot within the gorgeous grounds of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. He thanked me with about 150 little wags and a good, solid lick to the cheek. Turkey and I had the most incredible afternoon together playing in the pen up on the grassy green hill next to the adoption center. He painted joy of every different color into my day. (my week. my month, really.) I admit it, I spent almost my entire afternoon with just Turkey. I was smitten.
At the end of our day together I told him that he wouldn’t have to wait much longer – that his forever family would come for him. That he would finally find a home and somebody would be there to kiss his snout Goodnight. ‘No more lonely nights’, I promised. I kept a close eye on Turkey – always throwing a few extra treats his way – until my promise came through later that month. Turkey had been adopted! My heart swelled with joy when I heard the news! He was a wonderful, joyful little boy with so much love to give his lucky someone. I missed seeing him. But, selflessly, I knew it was just the best thing he could have ever asked for.
Well what do you know, a few months later I got an email from the kindest, most wonderful girl named Emily. She told me she loved my work and that she would be thrilled if I could photograph her pup in his favorite spot on the beach. She explained how this pup had changed everything for her – that he was the love of her life. Then she went on to say that she and her boyfriend had adopted him from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm and that I might know him. ‘His name is Turkey’.
I just about exploded with joy. Turkey! THE Turkey! The one who I had kissed on the head that day under the late afternoon sun and made a promise to. A promise about love. A love that he had so clearly found in an amazing new family. A love that had been given to him in the purest form by incredible, open minded people who didnt judge him for his breed. People who didnt consider him to be a ‘broken’ shelter dog. People who opened up their hearts and gave him a second chance.
Needless to say – we booked a date immediately and I was reunited with this incredible, joyful little man for one more perfect afternoon…
Turkey was just as goobery and playful as I day I met him. We soaked up the afternoon sun together and played and played and played until our hearts were filled to the brim with yellow happiness.
In between the maniacally joyful mad man sprints across the beach, Turk would sometimes stop for a breather and put on his regal face.
And then – right back to it!
Turkey’s whole head disappeared just like this beneath the water quite often throughout our shoot. He may have been digging for gold.
I just adored watching Turk and his Mom interact. His love for her was just about oozing out of his golden eyes. And vice versa. Such a perfect, lucky pair.
Oh, those gorgeous golden eyes in the late afternoon sun, just exactly as I had remembered them. 🙂
Are you flippin’ kidding me with that tongue?! 😛
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect afternoon. The light was pure magic. It was slanting over the horizon in chunky, golden streaks lighting Turkey up like a constellation as he moved across the beach.
My very favorite part of the day was watching these two together. Love comes in many forms. And it’s always, always, always miraculous. I just love happy endings.
Shake, Shake, Shake!
Turkey kept finding all kinds of treasures. He carried his sticks around like a King, wiggling his bum proudly from side to side with his newest find..
Emily and Justin, thank you for giving me the chance to spend one more, incredible afternoon with your furry guy and soak in some of his limitless joy. And more importantly, thank you so much for giving a lonely shelter dog the second chance he deserved. I am so grateful for people like you. Together, we can all change the perception of this misunderstood breed and the plight of shelter dogs as a massive, beautiful whole.
Until Next Time!
This is a story that I shared a few months back on the Dog Breath Photography Facebook Page. It was such a special moment in my life – one that I hold so close to my heart – that I thought it was important that I have it up here on my blog as well. I hope the sweet, canine subject in this story brings you as much joy, happiness and overwhelming love as she did to me…
The other day, the most wonderful thing happened.
It was Halloween, so I brought costumes up to the MSPCA and spent the day dressing up the adoptables and photographing them for their PetFinder profiles. On the way home from the shelter, I had to stop at PetSmart to get Joshua a bag of food. As I was walking in the door, I noticed a woman making her way towards the checkout with her arms full and fumbling with the dog on the other end of the leash she was holding. On the other end of that leash was the world’s sweetest looking, old and grey Pointer mix. My heart just about melted when I saw her.
Just as they were passing by me, that sweet old pup must have decided she couldn’t hold it any longer and stopped short to have an accident. The woman who was holding the dog looked so frazzled and upset that I offered to help. I told her not to worry about the pee, that I noticed she had her arms full and that I would take care of the cleanup for her, as I knew right where the paper towels were kept. I smiled and said ‘when you gotta go, you gotta go!’. The woman thanked me profusely and stayed with the puddle until I arrived with some paper towels. As I was cleaning up the pee, the woman began to apologize and explain ‘She has been having trouble holding her bladder, and lately there has been blood in it.’ I could hear the profound and solemn sadness in her voice when she said ‘She is my best friend and she is 18 years old.’
At that moment, I looked up at the woman and saw the tears begin to form in her eyes. She continued, ‘I live with my son, and today we decided together that it’s finally time to let her go.’ She went on ‘I am picking her up from being groomed right now because we wanted her last week with us to be special and for her to feel comfortable.’
It was at this point that I began to cry too. Right in the middle of PetSmart. With a stranger that I had only met 60 seconds before. We talked about the way that dog’s touch our lives, and how some come into our world and when they leave – we’re never ever the same. We talked about the purity of the love of a canine, their endless selflessness, their unwavering loyalty and joy. And that’s when I had a thought. I said ‘This is sort of a strange question – but do you have any beautiful photos of Coco? I mean really nice ones that you will remember her by?’ Her eyes closed for a moment, and she said ‘No, I suppose not.’ And that’s when I told her who I am – what I do. I said ‘I am a professional pet photographer, and I just happen to have all of my camera gear loaded up in the back of my car right now because I’m on my way home from a shoot at the shelter. Do you and Coco have 10 minutes to spend with me outside?’
So we went outside together, and just within the confines of the modest little median in the PetSmart parking lot, we made some memories of Coco. When I showed her one of the images on the back of my camera’s LCD, she lost herself to tears. And then, so did I. She hugged me with an intense gratitude that I have never felt before. I gave her my card and told her to expect an email with Coco’s images very soon. I looked down at Coco with a meaningful gaze and ended our interaction with a kiss to her graying snout.
It’s moments like those that make me grateful to have the privilege of doing what I do. If I am able to take the joy in one tiny moment, and freeze it in time so that somebody can keep it by their heart forever – then I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world. I think serendipity played a thoughtful hand in my meeting Coco and her Mom that day, and I am so grateful that I could give her a part of her sweet girl to hold on to forever.
Here is the beautiful Miss Coco, enjoying the breeze on a very special autumn evening, surrounded by all the love in the world…
*Since posting up this story back in October – sweet Coco has left this world behind. But not without first leaving her powerful & unmistakable mark of limitless love, joy and brilliance. I sent her Mom some big, beautiful prints of these images a few weeks later and I can only hope that she will cherish them forever. The world is an infinitely better place for having had you in it, beautiful girl. May Angels Lead You In.
This is a blog post that I have been meaning to write for a long, long time. Between of all the shooting, editing, designing and ordering for private clients lately – it’s been hard to find a moment to do any personal work. (No complaints whatsoever, I feel so privileged to be doing what I am busy doing everyday, and am so grateful for each individual person that I get to meet along the way! :)) But, that being said, blogging has been put on the back burner – and that really bums me out because I love sharing the adventures that I find myself on on a daily basis with all of you. So, I hope you can lend me your ear, and let me tell you a story about a little boy who changed my life forever..
Just about three months ago – on September 19th, 2012 – my life was affected in the most beautiful way. A humble, grateful and generally squishy little shelter dog wiggled his way right into my life. I knew from the moment I saw his sparkling little eyes peering through the metal bars of his cage that we would be perfect for each other. He had a smile that was selfless, bright and infinite. A smile that was big enough to fill up all of the little holes in my heart – the ones that come as an aside to the general pains that life can sometimes bring. And I had a heart with the door wide open, and with plenty of room for him to come inside. Over the course of the past 90 days, Joshua has done exactly that. He’s wandered into my heart and made himself home here. He adds color to my laughter and purpose to each and every day. If you have been following Dog Breath Photography for the past few months, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen him make an appearance at least once or twice, but I think it’s high time that I formally introduce you to him: Meet Joshua – the wiggliest, gooberiest, happiest little man on four legs…
Don’t get me wrong. Joshua wasn’t always this loved and lucky. Joshua was 1 year and 3 months old on the day that I adopted him. So, I didn’t get to experience Joshua’s puppyhood. Somebody else did. And that somebody else was Joshua’s dark, terrifying past.
Joshua came into the MSPCA at Nevins Farms shelter on an animal abuse case. He spent the first year of his life locked in a dark basement. He lived a life of neglect and abandonment. Joshua was starved for countless months. The only thing that I know for certain about his previous people is that they were (and I quote) ‘going to throw his body in the Merrimack River’ once he finally died of starvation. A good samaritan who knew of Joshua’s severe, tragic situation is the one who ultimately saved his life. As soon as she became aware of Joshua’s condition, she stood up in the face of evil and made contact with animal control. Animal Control’s private records make it impossible for me to know who this guardian angel is – but if I ever got the opportunity to meet her – she might never get free of my grateful embrace. I hope she knows how much brilliance and joy she inadvertently brought into my life when she found it in her heart to save a helpless animal.
When Joshua came into Nevins Farm – his paws were stained yellow from months of living in his own urine and excrement. He had small nicks and scars on his face. And, most glaringly, he was emaciated – just a little pile of bones – ribs and hips poking out every which way.
This is when I fell in love with Joshua.
Since I volunteer at Nevins Farm, I had the opportunity to see Joshua very early on – while he was still a far cry from the adoption floor. He was under extremely close veterinary supervision and on a strict, regimented diet for the first part of his stay at the shelter. I was in one summer afternoon, taking photos of all of the adoptable dogs for their Petfinder profiles when I first saw him. I looked over my list and my eye got caught on the name -‘Joshua’. ‘Well that’s a strange name for a dog’, I thought and wandered over to the very quiet cage where he lay. This moment, the next one that I am about to tell you about, is a major turning point in this story. This is when everything changed.
I peered over the edge of the cage, down through the metal bars to the little mass of skin and bones on the floor. His eyes gleamed like little stars, even despite the rest of his depleted and famished body. He was weak, but he was aware. I could not mistake the sparkle of vitality and joy in his eyes. And just at that moment, after brief consideration of my face peering in on him – he wagged. His little tail slapped against the floor in a rage. Slap! Slap! Slap! All of the strength that he had left in his mangled little body, went straight into that tail.
All of that betrayal. All of that evil, and hate. Locked inside that dark basement, Joshua had experienced the very worst that my species had to offer. And yet, he forgave. He was showing me love despite only knowing terror and betrayal from my kind. I started to cry then. Right there, standing outside of his cage looking in on him. Other volunteers and staff members bustling all around me. Tears were running down my cheeks for him, for his pain. I knew from that very moment that I wanted to make it my personal duty to show him the truth about my kind. I wanted to win him back. I wanted to show him love. The love he deserved all along.
I wasn’t able to take Joshua’s photo that day because he was still too weak, confused and new for volunteers to handle him. He was had a sign on his cage that said ‘Staff Only’ – as is typical for dogs when they are newly admitted to Nevins Farm. So, instead, I just sat outside of his cage -talking to him and telling him stories until I had to go. I knew he liked the company. After all, he had been locked away, mostly alone for a year before that.
When I left the shelter that day – Joshua was the only thing on my mind. I worried about him all night; Would he get back up to weight and become healthy again someday? Would he pass his temperament tests? Was he cold? Did he need extra blankets? Would he make it to the adoption floor? I told everyone I could about him – my mother, my boyfriend, my brother, my best friend. Talking about him was all I could do.
When I was in the next week, I was finally able to take his photo. With the help of a staff member, we got Joshua outside and asked him to sit for his photos. He was such a good boy. This is the first photo I ever took of Joshua:
This would be for when he was ready for adoption. It would be up to me to upload to his Petfinder profile when he finally made it to ‘adoptable’ status. Way deep down inside, I was torn. I knew that of course, I wanted nothing but beautiful things for Joshua. But, I had the hardest time posting this photo up to his Petfinder profile when the time came. Selfishly, I was afraid that when people saw his perfect little face in their search for adoptable dogs online- that he would go home and be ripped from my life as quickly as he came in. (which, of course is the point of taking nice photos of shelter animals! haha) This is when I realized that I wanted Joshua. I had, after all, made a pact that day that I saw him, that I was going to show him the truth about love.
All kinds of different variables played a part in preventing me from adopting Joshua immediately. But, the biggest obstacle was the fact that I was in the process of looking for a new place to live and run my business. The place I was living in at the time didn’t allow for a dog of Joshua’s size, breed or energy level. Over the course of the next months that I spent searching for a new place, I continued my wonderful, weekly interactions with Joshua at the shelter. I would be so excited to go in and see him each week. About a month after the first time I met Joshua – I was asked to photograph a special campaign for the MSPCA’s annual Walk For Animals fundraiser. You can see the end result of my work on that here. The goal of the campaign was to communicate what the animals at Nevins Farm might say about their individual stories, if only they had their own voice to say it. It was about trying to make people understand why they should participate in the walk – and what types of miracles for animals the raised funds from the Walk would go towards. I knew immediately that I wanted to feature Joshua in this campaign. He was, after all, a brave little survivor – and a living embodiment of the miracles that the incredible staff at the MSPCA can work for homeless animals. His sign made direct reference to his condition when he came in:
The Walk for Animals fundraiser was held in September, and ended up being a huge success! I can’t help but think that Joshua’s starring role in the photo campaign had at least a tiny something to do with it. 🙂
Finally, three months after meeting Joshua – I found a perfect new place to live and work. An old renovated textile mill building from 1807 just outside of Providence, Rhode Island. The grounds were gorgeous, green and expansive – and the town was safe and quiet. I knew that it would be the perfect place for Joshua and I to call home. I contacted the shelter director immediately to let him know of my interest in bringing Joshua home with me – and much to my chagrin – he informed me that Joshua had been adopted earlier that same week.
My heart sunk.
Of course, I was so thrilled for Joshua – he had finally found his forever home and no longer had to wait behind cold bars for love. But, I was simultaneously devastated inside – I had taken too long.
My move in date to my new home was Saturday, September 15th. Well, wouldn’t you know – that on Friday, September 14th – I got a call from the shelter saying that Joshua had come back. The people who had adopted him had another dog at home. And while the two had gotten along perfectly outside of the home, when they got back to it – their existing dog became a bit territorial and began aggressively resource guarding. The family knew that the right thing to do would be to return Joshua to the shelter – to give him a home that might be better suited for him.
I’ve honestly never been a big believer in serendipity – but — at that moment, all I could think was ‘it was meant to be.’
Needless to say – I hastily drove up the shelter the next available moment that I had, eyes filled with happy tears, to whisk my fuzzy little man away into his new, loving life. When I got up to the shelter and approached his cage with sweaty palms (it was really happening!!) I found this note attached to it:
My heart just about melted all over the ground.
So, it goes without saying that this story has a happy ending. Joshua fell asleep in my car, head in my lap, on the way home that night. It was like he finally found peace. Like he knew, that he was finally headed off to the place where he would belong for the rest of his life.
The rest of this post is filled up with images from our past 3 months together. It’s such a short time compared to the amount that we have left – and yet we have had so many happy, wonderful adventures.
Here’s to a brilliant future, Mister Joshua. 🙂 … (oh, and a relentless camera in your face for the next 12 years or so. You are the dog of a pet photographer after all.) 🙂
He provides me with comic relief on a daily basis. On an every minute basis, really.
He’s joyful. He’s whimsical. He’s goofy. And, it’s a funny thing, but I can tell that he is grateful.
He exudes it from his smile and his little butt wiggle as he rolls around the room on his back. We call it the ‘happy dance’.
After our adventures at the dog park, we take Joshua to a fancy dog wash for bath time! He doesn’t seem to mind one bit..
He’s picked out his very favorite warm spot on the couch at home.
He loves the dog park! (Covered in mud. Hence the bath time photos above. Check out that filthy bandana! haha)
We like to take walks through the gorgeous forest trails behind the Mill that we live in.
Joshua is a superhero!
Even during sleep, he manages to crack me up. He is typically on his back just like this, snoring away. His human-like qualities make me giggle – he particularly enjoys blankets and pillows.
The second night Joshua was at home with us, he decided to dump all of his new toys out of their basket and eat the basket.
YUM! The basket is better than any boring ol’ squeaky toy, Mom!
We just wrapped up an incredible Christmas season together. Joshua was such a good boy for his Holiday photo shoot in front of the tree!
When I shared Joshua’s Christmas images over on the Dog Breath Facebook page, I had a few things to say about being grateful:
‘The Christmas season has always been a time for me to take a moment, step back and count my blessings. This year, I have so much to be grateful for. But, the brightest beacon of light and luck that shines so brilliantly into my life is this gorgeous, fuzzy little four-legged man. Just six months ago as Joshua sat chained in a cold, dark basement with no friends or food to speak of – I bet he wondered why love skipped over him, why it forgot him to long days of neglect and pain. He was worthy, wasn’t he? Well, the answer, my sweet little boy, is Yes. Yes, you are. And thanks to the team of heroes at the MSPCA who rescued you, I am now here to show you the meaning of love. I will keep you safe from harm, stay close by your side, and love you everyday – just the way you always deserved – for the rest of your existence. 🙂 From abandonment and starvation within four forgotten concrete walls, to this; a warm bed, a full belly and love so endless we could build a castle around you. Our hearts are so filled with gratitude.
Be grateful for something this Christmas.
Happy Holidays everyone.’
And here it is. The culmination of everything this blog post is based upon.
There is a difference between love and neglect. Love is valiant. Love can heal. It has the power to mend broken bones and broken hearts…
A canine’s ability to forgive will never cease to astound me.
And now that Joshua is with me, I will never ever let him forget what love feels like. Every minute of everyday for the rest of his life. Now that we are by each other’s sides, this is where we’ll stay – him with a full belly and a smile that could save the world, and me with a full heart.
I love you my little wagging sunshine. Here’s to second chances.
I am so glad I finally got to introduce you to the happiest thing in my life. I hope you love that smile as much as I do. 🙂
Another Friday, Another Project 52! This is a very strong argument for why Friday is the best day of the week. 🙂
This week’s theme for Project 52 made me giggle the moment I saw it. Why, you ask? Because this past weekend, I happened to have a photo session with the most perfect, most ridiculously charismatic little girl who fit perfectly for this theme. Minnie was a total firecracker during her session. We visited not one, but two different parks where she championed rock walls, steep bridges and did her fair share of puddle jumping. She rocked the session with her big expressive eyes and her glowing ‘can’t deny me treats’ smirk. Little Miss Minnie was kicking butt and taking names – that is until we reached the third location. That’s right – Her bedroom.
And when I say her bedroom, I mean her bedroom. Minnie is the world’s luckiest, most loved little pup. Her parents are some of the nicest people in the world, and not only decided to rescue her from a lesser fate – but also so selflessly gave up a room in their home for her to call her own. (And it’s gorgeous by the way! The little girl inside me was super jealous!)
When Minnie found her bed after her long, tireless day of modeling and looking beautiful, she swiftly punched her timecard and clocked out for the evening. Just moments later, Minnie showed no shame as she snored triumphantly away, with my lens still stuck to her face.
I just love Minnie’s ‘bedtime’ face ….
Honk Shoo. Honk Shoo. Honk Shoo…
Zzzzzzz Zzzzzzzz Zzzzzzz
Oh, and don’t you worry – this won’t be the last you see of gorgeous Minnie! There will be a full blog post featuring Minnie’s awesome session in the not so distant future. Keep your eyes on the blog!
Now, don’t forget this is a blog ring! Continue your adventure by clicking on over to Unleashed! Pet Portraits in Victoria, British Columbia to see what bedtime looks like there! Follow the links all the way around the ring and end up right back here – with sleepy Minnie and me!
Until Next Time!
I can’t believe it’s already Friday again! ahhh! 🙂 (that’s part ‘Yay for Friday!’ and part ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe how time flies!’) ha. Anyway – Another Friday means another installment of the Project 52 blog ring!
This week’s theme is ‘Motivation’.
I absolutely love this theme – because as a pet photographer, ‘motivation’ is an important word. So much more goes into creating an image than you can see from the final photograph. It usually takes quite a bit more effort than you would ever guess to get that ‘perfect shot’. On my shoots, I bring quite the arsenal of goodies along with me: squeaky toys, hot dogs, rubber ducks, tennis balls, cookies, cheese, various sound effects apps, treats, etc. All of this stuff is motivation. When I’m out and about in some gorgeous, expansive park with all kinds of new sights, sounds and smells, the last thing my four-legged models typically want to do it sit and stay still. BO-RING! They want to run amuck and express their joy with crazy little zoomie dances, sniff all kinds of new butts and pee on the world. So having a few tricks up my sleeve to keep them at least a little bit interested in me and my camera is crucial. (of course, I have nothing against zoomie dances, those are wonderful too.) 🙂
In order to demonstrate my point, this fuzzy little guy I know named Joshua is back this week with a starring role.
‘What is Joshua’s motivation’ you ask? Cookies, of course.
In the end, all of Joshua’s patience paid off! His little piece of ‘motivation’ turned into an afternoon snack.
Joshua also wanted to take this opportunity to say a big huge thank you to my wonderful, outrageously thoughtful client who gifted him with those beautiful & tasty gourmet cookies! (Thank You Kristin!!)
Now, the best part of Project 52 is that it is a blog ring! To continue your adventure, Click on over to NCS Pet Photography in Windsor Ontario to see what kind of motivation you can find there! Follow the links all the way around the circle and end up right back here where you started – with me and a stumpy, hungry little Joshua monster!
Until next time!
Oh my gosh, I’m finally back. 🙂
It’s been many, many, many weeks since I’ve participated in the Project 52 blog ring. (okay, okay – months.) This past summer and into the current Fall season have been the busiest ever for Dog Breath Photography. Each day has been a dream. I’ve had the privilege of photographing more four-leggers than I ever thought possible while meeting some of the world’s most amazing new people (who are just as crazy about dogs as I am!). That being said – in the midst of the wonderful whirlwind – I hadn’t been able to find a spare second of time to devote to blogging, or to Project 52. Just recently, I decided to take a step back and breathe. I finally put my camera down for a day, took a walk with my pup, and did a lot of thinking. This is what I came up with: when you are passionate about something that way I am about photography – it’s crucial to never stop pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself to be the best you can be. Project 52 is so important to me because it does exactly that. Every week, a group of outrageously talented pet photographers from all over the world come together to photograph and blog about a common, pre-chosen theme. The experience of being a part of Project 52 for the better part of the past year has been invaluable and incredibly fulfilling. (Not only to my technique and work – but also to my heart.) 🙂 At times, it has pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone. It has kept the wheels constantly spinning in my brain, thinking of new inventive ways to see through my lens. I am privileged to be a part of such a wonderful thing, and I am so thrilled to be back.
I have made a promise to myself to find the time do a lot more blogging and reflecting than ever before. And, what a great way to come back to it. 🙂
So – without further ado, here’s the scoop on this week’s theme! I couldn’t have come back at a more perfect time – because this week’s theme is ‘Fall’. I am lucky enough to have the privilege of living in gorgeous New England – where the fall season is just like you’ve read in every storybook – quintessential, colorful, and well – perfect. Autumn in New England is a photographer’s dream. It’s the time of year when warm, golden light leaks in sideways through the trees and little leaves dance as they float down from the treetops.
In honor of this theme, I spent some time with sweet Joshua in the forest yesterday afternoon. He’s the goofiest, happiest, most limitlessly joyful little man I’ve ever met. (more to come on Joshua’s story later – I promise!) We tromped down the paths that wound through the trees, played in the leaves and traded lots of kisses…
Look at that smile. Can you say ‘contagious’?! Oh, and those eyes just melt my heart all over the ground…
Ha! Here he is – showing off. Catching the leaves as they fall from the treetops…
All in all, our day was pure perfection. And when we got home, we hit the couch for a snooze. That’s when you know your adventure was a success. 😛
Now don’t forget, this is a blog ring! Click on over to the wonderfully talented Stephanie Madeline at Chase & Snap Pet Photography in New Jersey to see the season through her lens. Click all the way around the circle and end up right back here with me and Mr. Joshua – the fuzzy and impossibly cute leaf-eating monster!
Until next time!
“We feel like we’ve won the doggy lottery.”
That was one of the first things that Zooey’s Mom, Kate, said to me when I asked her how the love story between her and her sweet pup began. Kate and her husband Chris stumbled upon sweet Zooey’s presence in their life in the most unlikely way. Kate and Chris – both young professionals living in Boston – were in communications with an animal rescue organization about the potential of adopting a dog. They described their lifestyle, and exactly what type of dog they thought would best fit into it. The rescue organization, after listening carefully, said ‘Yes. We think we have the perfect dog for you. And she’s in Tennessee.’ So, never having met miss Zooey, Kate and Chris made the long trek from Boston to Tennessee to meet their new dog. It was love at first sight. And the rest is history.
Zooey’s photo session took place on the most perfect Spring day. (I know, I knowww! I’ve been meaning to get Zooey’s post up here for months. Bad blogger!) The sunlight on the day of our session was absolutely magical. We spent our time together tromping through the over 250 acres of breathtaking grounds at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. Yellow light was sparkling and glinting through the spaces between the trees and the new Spring flowers were wild and abundant sending fragrance spinning into the air with each tap of Zooey’s paw to the ground.
Oh, what a lucky afternoon surrounded by so much beauty…
This is Zooey’s trademark look. She calls it ‘The Point’.
Using this very same face, over and over again, Zooey scored an absurd amount of treats off of me.
(C’mon! You know there’s no way you could deny it!)
Zooey shows us her impressive levitating skills..
Zooey and Kate. Six legs. One heart.
She’s a beauty in black and white. (okaaaay, she’s a beauty all the time.)
Uh oh! Zooey’s up to no good. Whatever wonderfully delicious goodness you got into – Mom says spit it out!…
And here’s Zooey the action movie star! She was proud to show us her fancy feet moves!
‘She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.’
Here’s to the story of Zooey. Of every rescue dog. The story of a lonely little heart sitting patiently in a cage waiting for the type of love with the potential to change her life. Kate and Chris gave Zooey exactly that. I am so blessed to have spent a perfect afternoon witnessing the joy, love and loyalty that one lucky dog has to give so selflessly to the world.
Kate – thank you for giving me the opportunity to photograph your sweet Zooey. I had the best time chasing the sunlight through the Arboretum with you two beautiful girls. I hope these photographs serve to tell her story and spread her infectious joy for so many years to come. And, may they allow you to keep a few Zooey smiles in your pocket with you wherever you go. 🙂
Until next time,
If you’d like to have a photo adventure with your own sweet dog – don’t hesitate to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org I have a few spots still available through the end of October. I look so forward to hearing from you!
So, I have been working on a secret project with the MSPCA for the past few months now. And oh man, have I been having the hardest time keeping my lips zipped about it! But, I wanted to keep it under wraps until it was completely finished. And walah! That day is finally here and I am so excited to share with you!
As most of you may already know, the MSPCA hosts an incredible benefit event every year called the Walk For Animals. So that means that in three different locations throughout Massachusetts, people and their fuzzy companions will be walking for the best kind of cause – to raise funds for the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The money that is raised will go towards kindness and care for animals throughout Massachusetts. On Sunday September 9th, you can come out and walk in one of three locations – at Spencer Pierce Little Farm in Newbury, at Aselton Park in Hyannis, or at the Boston Common Parade Grounds at the corner of Charles and Beacon Street in Boston. Last year, over 2,500 humans and 1,800 animals came out to show their support! (And had a blast while doing so, might I add.)
The annual Walk for Animals is so incredibly important as it is one of the MSPCA’s main sources for fundraising and outreach. And it is important to note that the MSPCA is solely powered by donations. They wouldn’t be able to perform daily miracles for homeless, sick and injured animals if it wasn’t for support from the community. As quoted from the MSPCA’s website: ‘The MSPCA-Angell is a private, nonprofit organization. We do not receive any government funding nor are we funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals.’
So, the question now remains – who are you walking for? Well, recently I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with a few fuzzy faces that wanted to tell you why you should walk for them…
Yesterday morning, I had the privileged honor of photographing a piece of history. I was invited by the MSPCA to photograph Governor Deval Patrick as he signed S. 2192 into law. The air was hot and filled with an energy of joy and celebration as a crowd full of legislators, lawyers, senators and animal control officers waited outside of the Ashland Animal Control facility for Governor Patrick to arrive.
As I looked around at the faces in the expectant, smiling crowd – I realized that it would be impossible to be surrounded by better people. These are people who are selfless. People who have fought, day in and day out, against all odds for something that they believed in. These are people who are guardians for the helpless – voices for the voiceless. And yesterday, they were people who had won.
If you are unfamiliar with S. 2192, here is a summary of the main points of the bill, as quoted from http://www.mspca.org:
Summary of the bill:
- Create a statewide spay/neuter program to reduce the number of homeless animals in the Commonwealth and would, in turn, also reduce the cost to cities and towns for housing and sheltering these animals. This would be funded by a voluntary tax check off.
- Add enforcement provisions to section 139A (the spay/neuter deposit law for animals adopted from shelters and animal control facilities) to ensure these animals can’t reproduce.
- Require animal control officers to receive training. People are often surprised to learn that their local animal control officer is not required to receive training for the complicated work they do to keep the people and animals in their community safe. This would be funded by the tax check off.
- Prohibit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gas as a means to “euthanize” dogs and cats.
- Reduce dog bites by improving the dangerous dog law in a breed neutral manner.
- Allow pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders to protect both animals and people.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to be present at such an incredibly important turning point in the history of Massachusetts and it’s legislation in regards to animals.
I can’t accurately express my gratitude to the people who have worked tirelessly for a brighter, safer and more just future for our animals. It’s these people – people like Kara Holmquist (MSPCA’s Director of Advocacy), Linda Huebner (MSPCA’s Deputy Director of Advocacy), Senator Jehlen (Sponsor of S. 2192) and many others – that make fighting for a dream worth believing in.
Oh, happy day!
Until next time!
*Contact Kaylee Greer at email@example.com with any inquiries regarding any of the above photographs.