Judging by my wet clothes, this year's dog swim had a record number of dog paddlers. Some of the dogs were in their glory and others were a little intimidated (and I don't blame them) - that'a a lot of splashing when you are down at splashing level with 4 paws per splash!
Because of the enthusiasm of the furry attendees, there was a little less in the way of story-telling images this year, but I was able to capture these single frame "short stories" if you will. (I live for this stuff). ;O)
Then there was Charlie. She wins the title of "most improved" from one dog swim to the next. Last year her human was trying to teach her to fetch in the water. She was a little hesitant.
This year was a different story. Charlie, you've got style.
You can see more images from this year's swim on the Events page (and even more on our Facebook page).
You would never know it by watching her, but this golden girl was not always a happy go lucky pup.
Molly is a dog who was passed from one shelter to the next until she ended up in Garden City where her mom found her. She was told at the shelter that Molly was one of Michael Vick's dogs, and that the scars on her face are the result of her life as a bait dog. But, for some reason when you're around Molly, you really don't notice them. They seem to just be part of who she is... a senior dog with the most infectious smile who really does enjoy life.
Molly is almost 15 years old now. She was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, and still, she smiles, she runs (sometimes showing her affection for tall men by chasing them, ehem) and most of all she's happy. Molly loves to be around people and even watches movies with her family. What's her favorite? The Secret Life of Pets, of course.
You know how some dogs will plant their paw on you whenever you're near? They like you! Well, look at Molly's tail in this next picture....
"because every picture tells a story"
Molly is such an inspiration. Despite many obstacles (starting with being born a pitbull) she has been through a lot, but still it's obvious that she loves being a dog. She loves to play ball, she thinks rolling in the grass is the next best thing to sliced bacon, and she loves being with her family (and two doggie siblings). They love you, too Molly... and I'm honored to have met you.
August 17th is Hermes' birthday and he will be 11 years old! Where does the time go??? This is the day that I let him pick out something fun from Woofs and Waves and then try and come up with a gift for my clients and future clients as well.
This year it's a Win-Win!
Some of you might know that I have been working with Dogs on Deployment for a few years now. Being in an active military family for 30+ years I feel that what they provide to military pet owners is something that you can not put a price on. Dogs on Deployment provides a database of fosters who are willing to board military pets while their owners are fulfilling military obligations, deployments being one of those situations. Because of Dogs on Deployment, military pet owners now have options other than having to give up their pet when duty calls.
Dogs on Deployment is sponsoring a "virtual race." Their 1st Annual Pet and Family Trot can be done with your dog, your family or friends or even your co-workers during lunch. You can run, walk, use the treadmill, bike, skate, pogo stick... whatever you want, wherever you want. (There will also be fun challenges for you and your dog throughout the month with prizes from two of their sponsors.)
During the month of August, when you and your dog both sign up to participate in the Pet and Family Trot you will both receive a medal from Dogs on Deployment, AND . . . You will also receive a free 8x10 (or smaller) desk print from me as a gift for your support. If you are a past client, you can choose an image from your previous session. If you are a new client, then an 8x10 will be complimentary with your booked session.
(If you are not able to participate in a virtual race, but would like to donate, that option is available as well and would result in the same gift of an image of your choice.)
To make things simple, Hermes has his own fundraising page where you can register or donate. If you'd like to create your own team, please do so! You can just let me know the name of your team.
Hermes (and Dash) and I look forward to running with you! (Ok, truthfully, there will be no running on our end, only walking... but then you won't really know that will you?) ;O)
*This birthday special is good for sessions that take place at any time, but they must be booked during the month of August.
This little princess is described as a "diva" by her humans and she does her best to live up to the title. She loves her kennel, loves her humans' bed (and I'm guessing she steals the covers), loves every one of her toys, and has her own little seat on the couch. She will only eat out of white bowls, she's a big fan of cheese and peanut butter, and she feels quite special in her little diva hair bows.
Billie has such a fun personality. She's so very interested in being part of the action and the camera didn't bother her a bit. A couple of times I thought I might have to talk to her about personal space with my camera, but she just smiled and trotted off to mom whenever I said, "Billie, you're too cloooose!" She seemed to get a kick out of running up and back actually. ;O)
Billie Jean turned 10 this year and to celebrate she was given a new tutu that Grandma made and a special doggie birthday cake. She didn't react quite like we had expected (I swear they are just like little kids). We thought she would rip into that cake, but instead she acted very lady like. ;O)
Billie is such a sweet, sweet girl and I think she's the perfect little princess. Enjoy every day, Billie Jean. Ten looks good on you!
I have been hogging all the fun lately and decided that it was time to share. :O)
This is Phoebe - or Phoebes, or Phoebette, depending on who you ask. She had her mom fooled thinking that she only walked around with her head down checking out everything that was at her feet. Well, just look at that face!
Phoebe is only 2 years old and already she's a silent poser. She might let you think she doesn't know what she's doing, but... well, take a look for yourself.
Phoebe is a joy to her family. She is so appreciative, too. When she gets a new toy, it's her favorite for days. She is a mama's girl and a bit of a clinger, but her mom doesn't mind at all. She is sweet and loving and playful; what more could one ask for.
Enjoy the summer Phoebe, green is a good look for you. ;O)
This year marked the 10th anniversary for the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Sioux Falls. There was great fun for the whole family including a kid's zone, tons of food, great music and dancing, hoola-hooping by young and old alike, and the 3rd Annual Chihuahua Fashion Show. It all took place this past weekend at Falls Park.
We saw some new faces in the fashion show this year along with some familiar ones that have become crowd favorites.
If you were at the fiesta and were able to see the show then you might recognize some of the contestants from past years. If you weren't able to join in the fun then we hope you'll enjoy the pictures from it. Take a look at the Events page to see this year's participants as well as past shows and events and we hope to see you at next year's celebration!
How do we know when it's time to let our family pet go? It's a tough decision and almost impossible for some, but I feel like it's something we can give in return for all that they've given us.
Our pets are often very stoic when they aren't feeling well. They don't have a "poor me" attitude. Instead they just figure out on their own how to do what they want to do with this new hiccup in their life.
When we start to notice something isn't right with our pet we set out to try and fix whatever it is and hope that it will work. So, what if it doesn't work or what if it isn't fixable? What then?
As our dog, Zoe got older the typical things started happening - her eyesight was getting worse, and her hearing wasn't so great anymore, but she never stopped running the fence when the kids were out at recess (she was a border collie and herding kids was her life). During her last 6 months or so something told me that she might not be with us for much longer. I would come down the stairs every morning, see her laying on her bed and think to myself, 'It's ok if you don't wake up, Zoe'. That might sound harsh, but I wanted her to go as peacefully as possible. Maybe it was a little selfish, too... I wouldn't have to make any decisions as to the timing of things.
Zoe was one of those tough dogs who never ever complained. During her last visit to the vet I told him that I did not want Zoe to ever suffer and I asked him how I would know when it was time to let her go. He told me simply that I would know. The day came when Zoe let me know that she was ready. There was no mistaking it and all I could do was thank her for that final gift.
Last week a good friend of mine had to go through this process with her own dog. Unlike Zoe, her dog was one of those dogs who throughout her life had one thing happen after another - allergies, diabetes, that wicked eating glasses, socks and cell phones syndrome... But, Jersey was one of the happiest dogs who ever lived. Always smiling, always giving kisses, always wanting to be with you (and on you!). She was Hermes' best dog park buddy when they were youngsters and Hermes even had a sleepover once with Jersey. Jersey loved everyone and if you aren't afraid of big dogs I guarantee you would have loved her, too.
It's never easy, but sometimes the best thing we can do is to let them go. We tell them we love them, say our goodbyes (and some people feed them 3 hot dogs - can you see the smile on Jersey's face? ) Then we picture them as we want to remember them... happy and healthy and goofy and tirelessly loyal... and carry them in our hearts forever.
Do you have a chihuahua who likes to dress up? This is my 3rd year photographing the Chihuahua Fashion Show at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Falls Park. This is always a fun time for both those who are in the fashion show and those who are watching... and I have to say it's a blast for me, too. There are so many fun personalities on that stage each year!
There are 6 different categories in which each participant can enter. Every dog receives a gift bag with lots of fun goodies donated by local pet businesses such as Woofs & Waves, Pawsatively Sweet, DooGooders, Mini Critters Sioux Falls, Shop Dog Boutique, and Wags N' Whiskers. This year there will also be gift certificates to Wacko's Comedy Club and area restaurants given as grand prizes in each category!
The Fiesta is on May 13th at Falls Park with the fashion show starting at 2pm. Carl V. Carlson Company and Cemcast are sponsoring the show again this year and along with them I hope to see you there!
For more information about the show and how to sign up visit:
www.cincofiesta.com or contact Jen Rothenbuehler at 605.360.2457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've been working hard on the website these past few weeks and although there are a few things here and there that need a bit more shine I'm pretty pleased. You will see new images in the gallery and lots of kind words from clients (thank you again wonderful people).
The galleries are scrollable now letting you see all of the beautiful faces at a glance. It was so hard to narrow down the images. A photographer's gallery is suppose to show the best of the best as far as images go, but I found myself re-living the sessions and wanting to put them all up just because I love all the personalities. Some photographers have web teams for this sort of thing because they, like me, find it extremely difficult not to put every single goofy grin, crooked tail, and slobbery kiss on the internet shouting, "Isn't he adorable?!!"
Lastly, there is a new section on the Sessions and Pricing page. I've added images of some of the products that tend to be client favorites. Take a look!
My goal is to have a website that is fast, informative, and lots of fun to look at. If you think something could be improved I'd love to hear your ideas. Have a great week!
Hermes and Dash are Italian greyhounds. That means they are very fast, very cute (biased dog mom here) and they have very little fur for warmth. The winter months do a number on us. These two are use to going for 2 or more walks a day during the Fall and then it all comes to a halt as soon as the first snow hits. Oh, we try, but the last two walks (before they give in completely) are less than a block and end in my carrying two limping, frozen dogs home in my arms.
Well, after a week or so of listening to the demands of these two (telling me to entertain them) I decided to do a little research and find a "job" for them. What I learned was that exercising the brain of a dog is just as effective as exercising them physically. It satisfies their need for attention, it stimulates their brain, and it can actually wear them out just like a walk outside can.
The first and most important thing that the dog must know before starting is the "stay" command. If they can't wait for you to tell them what to do then you are going to be exhausted and frustrated and your game will not be a tail wagger. (See Dash's back foot? Yeah, he lept forward as soon as I hit the shutter button, but he's learning.)
Dash has no clue what to do with a toy, a ball, or anyone who says, "wanna play?" I decided to start with a ball and see how he handled that.
At first he just stared at me.
So, I showed him the ball and said, "hit it" as I touched his nose with the ball. I immediately said, "good boy!" and gave him a treat. After 6 or 7 times he actually started tapping the ball with his nose when I said, "hit it." Yay! When I stopped and then started again a minute or so later he wasn't exactly sure what to do, so we started over with me tapping his nose again.
On the second day, Dash became confident with the game and he eagerly waited for me to say the words. Once he got that down I made him sit and I rolled the ball to him saying, "hit it." He would run towards the ball and stop it with his feet and nose and then quickly look at me as if to say, "like that?" I'd give him a treat and we'd do it over and over. Now, he will stop a bouncing ball in action, (kill it dead actually) and then run back to me for his treat.
Hermes has a different game to play. This one is a dog puzzle (Trixie Flip Board). He got it for Christmas and he loves it. Ok, yes he loves it because treats are involved, but at least he's getting some mental stimulation at the same time. The trick to this one is to teach them one part at a time. There are sliders, levers and lids. The sliders and levers are to be operated with the dog's nose to reveal the treat and the lids are to be removed with their mouth. (Hermes insists that those lids are to be dug out with both feet and I haven't figured out how to get him to use his mouth yet. If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them!)
These are the two games that we started with. I'm going to get a clicker trainer so that I can change things up so that they (ehem, I) don't get bored doing the same thing over and over and over and over and... I'll let you know as we find new winter games to play and I'd love it if you shared any that you like to play :O)
Enjoy your week!
(Just a short announcement . . .)
For over a year I've had people ask me, "Are you on Instagram?" Well, today the answer is YES! If you are an Instagram-er, Hermes and I would love for you to add Little White Dog to your pretty pictures. :O)
This handsome young dog goes by the name Gus. He was my last session for 2016 and thus my year ended with love. Look at those eyes and you'll know what I mean.
Gus was originally told that he should be a guide dog, and in fact was the poster puppy for his school. However, it seems that Gus had other plans in mind. His plans included Emily in his life so somehow he managed to eloquently squirrel his way out of school (completely intentional of course). Now, Gus goes to work with Emily at a doggie daycare (pretending to be in charge), and he insists on accompanying Emily during her travel and hiking adventures. (Do you even know how lucky you are, Gus?)
I first saw Gus at the Dog Swim this past summer. He is an amazing jumper. He loves the water and it appears that he's just as happy in the snow.
No one can deny that Gus is a beautiful dog, but I don't think that he knows just how handsome he really is. His world revolves around Emily and the two of them have a connection that is felt by anyone who sees them together.
Gus, you are a special dog with a special human and I'm so glad you found each other... It's a gift so keep smiling.
It's always hard when we lose a pet, but at the holidays it seems tougher still. I had the privilege of spending time with these pups and I know how much they are missed.
You were my favorite hello
and my hardest goodbye.
I met Susie in August. She was used for breeding before her owners brought her to live with them so she never really knew how great it could be to be a dog. Susie was a quiet dog, very shy, and would follow her mom from room to room. She learned what love was as she had two little boys who adored her. Susie would go camping with her family and watch from the sidelines during the boys' soccer games. Besides belly rubs, I think her reward for her previous hardships was that she knew she was finally where she belonged.
Earlier in July I had a wonderful session with Maggie, (who went by the more stately name of Margaret during her senior years ). She was devoted to her owner and lived a very full life with him. She was a sweet, energetic pup who grew up loving tennis balls, her stuffed monkey, car rides and cheese. She was very attached to her human and they enjoyed hanging out together. Maggie was a wonderfully spoiled dog right up till the end . . . (as they all should be ).
You might remember a certain Vikings fan named Sophie . . . She, too has walked over the rainbow bridge to run and play to her hearts content. Sophie didn't play fetch, but she liked to play ball on the floor by pushing it back to her owners when they would roll it to her. She was so cute and I'm guessing that those warm eyes of hers saw more smiles than a dog could wish for. She was so very loved and she knew it . . . you could see it in her little westie face.
All three of these pups were living out their last few weeks or months when we did a session. I'm so thankful that I got to meet them. Like all of the pets I do sessions with, I think of them when I encounter certain things. I will always think of Susie when I see daisies; red convertibles will always bring Maggie to mind; and I heard a goose the other day and immediately thought of Sophie and her sister Sage. (You had to be there.) ;O)
Peace and love to our furry friends and their families.
"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
-Sydney Jeanne Seward
These two girly girls had a great time at their session. They mostly stay close to home playing in the back yard and going on walks around the neighborhood, but on this day they headed out to the park and sniffed and sniffed and explored and sniffed and investigated and sniffed.
Sophie enjoyed all the new sights and smells and Sage was VERY interested in the geese that were outdoing me in the noise maker department. (I wonder, can a person hire a goose to help out during the busy season?)
I don't know if they realize it or not, but Sophie and Sage are big Vikings fans. . . or maybe it's just their owners that they're big fans of. No matter which it is, they do look good in purple. Enjoy the game, girls and make sure you get snacks during halftime. ;O)
I can't really get them to say "cheese," but I can almost always make them smile. -Kelly
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