There are several ways in which we bring a pet into our family. Some purchase a puppy from a breeder, or buy from someone who's advertising that their dog has had a litter. Others get their pet by adopting from a shelter, a rescue or even from a flyer on a bulletin board. Even though discussions can get heated over how we obtain our pets, I really do feel like there is no right or wrong way.
For me, the decision to "shop" or "adopt" is actually determined by what my reason was for getting a new pet in the first place. If I were looking for a dog for a specific purpose like training a show dog, a dog for search and rescue, or a hunting dog, then I would probably look at reputable breeders for those specifications. If I were looking for a companion to hang out with at home and didn't have anything specific that I wanted from the dog except to love on and to be part of the family, then I would most likely adopt. This is not to say that adopted dogs can't be great hunting, service, or even show dogs. It's just more plausible if those dogs were raised and trained to perform from the very beginning. Likewise, this is not to say that all dogs from a breeder are going to meet your expectations either. If you're thinking about a breeder you need to do your research on the breed you're considering AND you need to research your breeder. There are some very responsible breeders, but like in every industry there are also those who do not exactly meet the standards that they represent.
Every dog that has joined our family has been acquired differently from the others. Our first dog I found in the newspaper. Bangle was half boxer and half Siberian husky. My reason for getting her was companionship as I was newly married to an Air Force pilot who was gone a lot. (Remember paper scrapbooking? They said it was perfectly ok to cut up your pictures! eek!)
The next two were litter mates that Santa got from a box on a sidewalk in the neighborhood. He brought them to our twin boys because he wanted them each to have a puppy of their own. (I do NOT recommend this type of reasoning/justification/insanity for getting multiple dogs at once!) Christmas Carol and Sandman were pointers with more energy than my 3 boys combined!
After a few years of having reptiles for pets my boys started asking for a dog again. It was then that I actually did some research and was able to at least settled on a breed that I thought would be good for our active family and military life. Zoe was a border collie that we got from a working farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Her parents were registered dogs and they were responsible for the cattle on the farm. As Zoe grew she did not disappoint as she spent her whole life keeping track of our kids as well as the school kids in the back field once we moved to our home in Sioux Falls.
Hermes (little white rat dog) was a gift to my youngest when his life was turned inside out as his older brothers and all their friends left for collage (and his dad deployed) leaving an always full house with just the two of us. Looking only for companionship, I found Hermes online from a goggle search for a small dog. He was and always has been a perfect fit in our home.
Dash was not planned. (I guess you could say he was a happy accident. ha!) A woman who saw Hermes on a weekly basis at doggie day care emailed me a Craig's List link and said, "I thought of you and Hermes when I saw this little guy." (That's how all great love stories start out, right?) I classify Dash as a hand-me-down dog as we are his 4th (and forever) home.
It seems to be socially acceptable these days to criticize others for how they obtained their pet. I think people lose site of the dog when they do this. In order to find the right pet for our family, our lifestyle, our needs, and our personality, we need to do some research before we make them a part of our life. Research breeds and research breeders. It's only fair to the animal after all as they really don't get much of a say in the matter.
Faust is a strong, lean German short hair. He is very handsome and confident, quite mellow, and like a lot of dogs showed me that he can also be a little derpy, too. Picture him with his ears back, nose in the air looking at you with a huge grin on his face (and maybe a bit of slobber). What's not to love??!!! What he didn't show me was his age. He's a vibrant nine year old dog who's distinguished white face is the only thing that gives it away.
Faust participates in obedience competition (I swear I didn't even know this was a thing, but how cool!), but his real love is "the hunt" part of hunting. He loves to search out the birds! Actually, I don't think it even has to be a bird. At one point during his session he became very alert and drug his dog mom off across a trail. It was a mouse. I never saw it, but Faust did and he was determined to sniff it out. I feel like if the grass had been mowed that little mouse might not have fared as well.
If his dog mom is around, then you'll find Faust with her. She is his person and they love to spend time together. Besides hunting and competitions they like to hike, run, and dabble in agility. If the weather's bad he'll even hop on the treadmill with mom.
Faust was a sport letting me drag him to different sections of different parks trying to avoid the still flooded areas around town. He really liked the tall grasses best I think. It was the end of the day, but he mustered up plenty of energy to run in and out of them. (I was pooped just watching him at this point. ha!)
In the end he relaxed a bit with mom and we got a couple of very sweet silhouettes. I wish you lots of fun adventures with your dog mom, Faust. She's a very lucky lady.
Does your dog love the water? Looking for something fun, challenging, and (dare I say) cool? When summer hits and the temperature starts to rise dock diving might be just the thing for you and your dog.
Dock diving is not a sport that you'll find in the Olympics (but, never say never). The idea is this... Your dog sits at the back of the dock and waits for you to give your command and throw his favorite toy out into the pool. When he hears the command he runs and dives off of the dock to catch his toy in mid air before it hits the water. The idea is to have the longest jump. It can be 2 feet or 30 feet, but all the dogs agree that no matter what, you're always a winner if you catch the toy.
Henry, Max, and Linus are all beginners and they are very keen on making sure that their favorite toy doesn't get lost in this new game.
Otis was a fast learner during his class. He loved the praise for simply getting in the water to leaping off the dock. It was all the same to him and he was eager to please his family.
Then there is something we call style. And, guess what? They all have it (and they all own it!)... and it is soooo much fun to watch!
If you think this might be a sport that you and your dog would like to do together, Paws Pet Resort now offers dock diving classes. Beginners can learn starting with the basics, and seasoned divers can utilize Open Jump days helping their handlers perfect their toss and getting in sync. If you just want to see if your dog might enjoy the sport, there are Try It Days available as well as one on one classes.
Get out there and enjoy the summer with your dog. And, if you feel like you need to cool off (or if you're just feeling like a cool cat) you might give dock diving a try. ;O)
Last week I did something a little out of my comfort zone. I went to Animal Image Makers, the first ever photography conference for pet photographers. What part of that scared me? I did it alone.
As much as I may come across as an extrovert, I'm really quite reserved about putting myself out there without the support of a like minded friend by my side. I like to blend in and be in a position where I won't be noticed. (This is probably one of the reasons I love candid style photography. Those of you who aren't crazy about being in pictures, I get it.) Since I know this about myself, I signed up for the conference right away so I couldn't talk myself out of it.
The 4 day conference was so much fun. It was jam packed with classes from national and international pet photographers and I was soaking it all in learning tips and tricks from each and every one of them.
Is that not the cutest pin??!!!
Besides instructors and speakers, this conference also included an image competition. It was not accredited, but it was a great introduction for people like me who have never entered a competition. I have a friend who is a fabulous photographer and an amazing image maker who is always telling me how much you learn from entering competitions. Dana Rose, of Rose Design Fine Art Portraiture has won top awards for her images and she pushed me until I agreed to enter. (Thanks, Dana.)
I won't bore you with the details, but one of the 3 images that I entered did quite well. It received the 3rd highest score (out of 68 entries) in it's category and out of 484 entries total for the competition, my image score was 21st. It was both thrilling and humbling. The image was this one... The Mountains Are Calling. Say hello to Birdie!
The best part of the whole thing was the people I met at the conference. Soooo many pet photographers, so little time. ;O) Will I continue to enter print competition? Probably not. I realized that I'm not willing to change my style of photography to that which would make good competition images. For instance, this image of Blu was not in the running because, well, her unmentionables are mentionable here. ha!
This "pose" and the look of joy on her face is what makes this image totally Blu! The personalities that shine through the images that I get for my clients are why I do what I do. So, as much as I LOVE looking at the amazing images in competition, I think I will stick to the stands as a viewer and supporter of others. ;O)
If you have the opportunity to better your craft, (be it photography, painting, or any of the arts) even if it means going outside of your comfort zone, don't let those little nagging fears stop you. You will learn and you will make wonderful friends with people who share your passion. One of the ladies at the conference said it perfectly,
The difference between online learning and in person
When I first saw Max all I could think was, wow, what a gorgeous dog! But, it didn't take but a few minutes to see that Max is just as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside. Max adores his dog mom and dad, and he's quite high on their list of friends to hang out with, too.
Max is not shy when it comes to the camera and he was quite happy to show me how much he loves being outdoors. Running, jumping logs, and fetching were his favorites. But, honestly, I think he would be thrilled doing anything as long as it involves being with his humans.
Max played the whole session, stopping every once in awhile to pose. THAT'S when I saw the oh so handsome modeling side of him. (There might be good money in this one day, Max. Just sayin'.)
Yes, Max is a gorgeous dog, (and honestly, I don't think he has a clue how handsome he is), but you can tell when you're around Max that he knows he's a part of a team, a tribe, a family. It's a great feeling to know you belong, and I don't think there is any doubt that Max feels the love.
Enjoy the rest of the snow season with your family, Max!
Location plays a big part in the planning of the sessions I do. They are chosen specifically for the dog's size, color and personality. When I saw a picture of Willow, I knew the perfect spot for her snow session and couldn't wait for it to happen.
Just like I envisioned the colors were perfect for Willow. The bonus was that her dog mom could not have dressed in more appropriate colors if we had tried.
When I mentioned it to her afterwards she said that her favorite color is green and she wears it all the time. This is exactly what I like for my clients to do. The more natural and comfortable everything is, the better the images. It happens all the time. ;O)
Willow had such a great time at her session. She ran, she played fetch, she even slowed down a bit to have a couple of moments with her mom.
There is really only one rule when doing a pet session with me, and that is to have fun! Willow and her dog mom did just that.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job?! ;O)
Hercules - famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.
This boy lives up to his name. He was a big puppy and he turned out to be a very handsome and big dog. And, do you know what you get with a big dog like Hercules? You get a big heart.
Speaking of big, the snow decided to "go big" for our session as well!
When I have a client who wants to do a snow session with their dog we plan things a little differently. Instead of picking a date and planning for it, we plan the session first and then when the weather cooperates we pull on our snow pants and head out.
This particular day was perfect. With temps in the high 20s and very little wind everything was great weather-wise. What we didn't realize was that the snow at our location was deeper than we anticipated. This is where Herc's size was a Greek god-send. ;O)
He ran, jumped and played in the snow, and plowed through so that he could lead his littlest best friend across.
Herc even took a private (well, semi-private) moment with his mom for a picturesque image in front of snow filled trees.
Big dog, big heart and big snow... there was definitely a theme that day... and, it was wonderful.
Hermes went to his very first doggie birthday party! It was such a fun time with lots of dogs, lots of balls, and lots of shenanigans by his truly. (Bet you can't guess who?)
This is Lola, and she had lots of doggie friends to help her celebrate her first birthday. I'm telling you, this girl knew it was her day. She pranced and played and made sure that everyone was greeted in style and brightened the whole room with her infectious smile.
The dogs had so much fun playing fetch and chasing after each other. One dog even threw the ball to another like they were practicing for the big leagues! I'm not kidding, it was awesome!
There were lots of toys to play with, yummy human treats, and the most adorable treats for Lola's doggie guests.
Remember those shenanigans I was talking about? Let's just say his name was said pretty much every time I looked up from my camera.
Hermes those treats are for the guests!
Hermes, that's not your mom!
That's not your mom either!
When the dogs were tired from all the fun, Lola's mom wanted to get a group picture. It was a little tough, but the dogs were making progress. Quite a few of the dogs knew how to wear hats and "stay" for the picture (and one photographer's dog flat refused).
After quite a bit of shuffling around, some of the dogs thought that they deserved a treat (probably for wearing the hat) so they decided to go find their owners. Others just laid down and waited it out.
In the end there were a few who were willing to say, cheese. . . (seriously, Hermes.)
No worries, Hermes was led off to the side and we got a couple of shots to commemorate the day.
Happy Birthday, Lola! I hope you celebrate all month long!
For your dogs safety (and your sanity), the most important thing you can teach your dog is to come when called. The last thing you want is for your dog to chase after something right into oncoming traffic or get into a situation that is not safe.
The main components for any training are consistency and patience. Most people start by teaching their pet to sit and then to stay. Once your dog has these two down, you can start the most important lesson of all - "come."
If you want to teach your dog something new, you need to make sure that you've got something that they want. Be ready to reward your pet with something they love and lots of praise; it can be treats, toys, or whatever makes them happiest. Make it easy for them at first. When teaching them to sit, as soon as their little booty hits the floor, reward them! You can make them sit before everything that they do. Ask them to sit before you put their food bowl down, before you give them a toy, or before you put their leash on, etc. Once they've got the hang of it move on to "stay." When they stay for 3 seconds, reward them! Gradually wait a little longer for each "stay" before you reward them. I might be wrong, but I've always felt that "stay" and "come" work hand in hand once you start moving away from your dog during these training sessions teaching them to stay. When you are able to walk a little ways away while your dog holds his stay, you can give your "come" command. After the second try they will usually be more than willing to run to you for their treat.
After you've worked with your dog for a while and you feel they really understand the "stay" command, you need to take things to a higher level. (If your dog has a favorite treat, you'll want to use them for this command and no other. You want to make sure that your dog will come to you no matter what the circumstances might be.) Call your dog a few times throughout the day when you are not actively training. Make sure that you are prepared to reward them as soon as they get to you and praise them like crazy. You'll want to start off indoors while in the same room. At first make sure there are no distractions by anyone or anything. Once they come each time they are called, try calling them when they are playing or otherwise distracted. After a few days of success, try calling them from a different room. You will eventually end up in the yard with them, then possibly off leash somewhere safe. Remember that practice makes perfect. ;O)
The one thing that can put a kink in your training is if you ever call your dog with a frustrated tone or scold them once they get to you. (I was so guilty of this with Hermes... like every time he ran out the door straight to the neighbor's compost pile. ick!) They need to know without a doubt that you will be happy when they get to you so try not to let them down. When strong-willed Hermes was dining at his private buffet, asking if he wanted a treat never worked because he knew that the treat was not going to top what he was chewing on at that time. The only thing that worked with him was bringing out the leash and asking if he wanted to go for a walk. He would then come to me so I could put the leash on him and I'd take him on his walk... (straight home, darn dog).
*Although I do not post things that I don't agree with (without saying so that is), I need to stress that I am not a dog trainer. Information that I give to you in posts like this one are a compilation of information from others in dog related industries as well as research from books I've read and the internet. My blog posts are designed to give you enough information so that you can research on your own when you think the subject might be something that you and your dog can benefit from. When it comes to training I highly recommend seeking out a dog trainer. You can learn a lot about your dog while they in turn learn great skills. It will be a wonderful bonding experience for the two of you, too. ;O)
Is there a new puppy in your family?
Congratulations! There are usually a lot of new puppies delivered by Santa and his helpers so I thought I'd do a post about what you might expect from your new little family friend in the next couple of months.
Most puppies leave their mom for new homes at around 8 weeks. After getting use to their new family and starting the basics of house training, there are some big changes coming for these puppies between 12 and 16 weeks that you might notice.
Around 12 weeks, puppies tend to have better control of their bladder (YAY!) If you stick to a schedule most puppies can be fully house trained by the time they are 4 to 5 months old. Just keep taking your puppy out first thing when they wake up in the morning (and after each of the many naps they like to take), after every meal, and after playtime as well. As a general rule of thumb when leaving your puppy for work or errands, take the number of months your puppy is in age and add a one to it. This is the maximum number of hours that a puppy should be expected to hold it. (Can you picture them crossing those chubby little legs?!)
By 12 weeks, puppies start teething. You might notice more biting and chewing, redder gums, and you might even find a baby tooth laying around. Be sure your puppy has safe things to chew on during this time and make sure that there is nothing that they can get into that could hurt them like electrical cords, house plants, shoes that they can tear up, or socks that they can swallow (trust me, this happens all the time).
Puppies grow fast between 4 and 6 months and tend to look like miniature versions of their adult self. Small breeds will be nearly finished growing at 6 months where larger breeds will be about half their adult size.
Puppies are adorable, but between 3 and 6 months your puppy might start testing the boundaries (or pushing your buttons, ehem). They might not respond to the training that you have previously accomplished or they might start chewing on things they aren't suppose to chew on (simply because they can). You can lessen these tendencies by making sure your puppy has plenty of exercise and working on basic training. The exercise will tire them physically and the training will tire them mentally. The combination can do wonders for your pup.
At around 4 months old, your puppy might show signs of being afraid. This is normal as they experience new things. Loud noises, for instance might frighten them. Try not to overwhelm your puppy. If you notice that they are afraid, like maybe when you bring out the vacuum, do not "reward" them by cuddling or you will be reinforcing their fear. Simply ignore the behavior and calmly remove them from the situation.
Training and socialization are the best things that you can do for your puppy. From about 8 weeks until 6 months is the time that your puppy is prime for learning to be the best dog that they can be. Enrolling in a quality puppy class is a win-win for everyone, both human and canine. They will learn socialization skills, along with basic commands, walking on a leash, and manners. You want to let them be a dog because that's what they are, but you also want to make sure that they know how to treat you, your guests (both human and canine), and your home. Classes with a qualified trainer will not only show you how to work with and train your dog, but they will help you understand your dog better.
Now... after writing this I think I need to go find a refresher course in doggie manners for this dog mom. Hermes is a great dog and I don't want him to fall short because I didn't keep up my part of the bargain. ;O)
By the way, this little guy is named Scuttle and he will be looking for his permanent home in 3 weeks!
*Although I do not post things that I don't agree with (without saying so that is), I need to stress that I am not a dog trainer. Information that I give to you in posts like this one are a compilation of information from others in dog related industries as well as research from books I've read and the internet. My blog posts are designed to give you information so that you can research on your own when you think the subject might be something that you and your dog can benefit from.
There were so many great faces at the Pawliday Hullabaloo event that Paws Pet Resort hosted. Lots of dogs wearing their holiday best and kids and families posing with their furry family members. Here's a Facebook favorite. (If you'd like to see the event images, you can find them in the Pawliday Hullabaloo Gallery. )
When I go through images for a client or for events like this, I know that the owners are not always going to love the ones that I love. Mostly it's because they know their dog way better than I do. They know when a smile is cheesy and they know when their dog is "making a goofy face." ;O)
A lot of people like images where all the members of the family are facing the camera. It's always great to be able to capture that moment (or split second when dogs are involved), but some of my favorites are favorites simply because I know the story, or because I was there and know what was going on.
This is Abbie and Mabel. This might not be what we'd call a "Christmas card photo," but I love it! Because I know the story....
Abbie (on the left) had a doggie brother that they had to say goodbye to just two days earlier. Mabel is new to the family from Ragom (Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest). When I saw this image, I saw Mabel looking to mom for comfort and maybe asking "Is this ok? Am I doing it right?" Then I saw Abbie's smile. It's as if she's saying, "Everything is going to be ok." You're right, Abbie. So, help your mom and dad take care of Mabel while she settles in.
Wishing you and your furry friends a wonderful, (and even more than ok) Christmas holiday!
The Little White Dog product line grew by two. The first was the Acrylic Album Set and this second is this beautiful Folio Box! This box is sooooo impressive!
Folio Boxes are custom made with whatever you'd like etched into the top. This can be a name, a quote, a design, you name it. The box holds ten of your favorite 8x10 images printed on Fuji Silk archival paper and mounted on ultra thick ridged board substrate. If you purchase the Print Collection from our products then you will also receive digital images of your choice on a matching USB. There are over 60 fabrics to choose from to give your box a unique look. You can choose one for the entire box or mix and match them for the perfect pairing.
As I sat trying to decide which of my sessions to create this sample box with, I looked over and saw 4 marble shaped eyes staring at me. (Why are they always staring??) Well, the decision was made. Hermes and Dash needed to be the stars of this one. ;O)
Ophie's mom called me wanting to set up a photo session. She wanted to include the fall colors in her session and those were fading fast. So, after learning a bit about Ophie and her two year old schnoodle personality I did some scouting and found that one park had a bit of color left that might work due to the fact that it was low to the ground... like Ophie. ;O)
Rain was in the forecast so we pushed up the session to that evening and Ophie was great! Her mom describes her as feisty, sassy, and lovable. (I think this is a very healthy balance for any young lady, don't you?) Ophie's mom says that she tells you what's on her mind with no beating around the bush. She's a mama's girl and after enjoying her day, Ophie makes sure that she gets her nightly mom-time together in a favorite chair.
Ophie is motivated by treats, but that doesn't help with her diet. What's the next best thing? Her ball! Just when I thought we had tuckered her out, the ball came out of the bag and so did Ophie's enthusiasm. (Never underestimate the power of the fetch!)
Ophie, you are so fun and you mean the world to your mom. I hope your days are full of color, snuggles, and lots of opportunities to play fetch. ;O)
I'm in love with the new Acrylic Album Set that's been added to the Little White Dog product line!
The album is gorgeous with an acrylic cover that has several design concepts, and there are over 60 different cover options to mix and match in order to create a look as unique as your session. The album has thick pages with images printed on beautiful, seamless silk Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper and the Keepsake Box can be created from one cover option or paired with a second.
This album is classy and still uniquely fun at the same time!
(The Acrylic Album is a new album option on my product list, but is also a new Collection item that includes Digital Negatives as well as Gift Prints and more.)
Want to see what a complete session album looks like?
(Feel free to use firstname.lastname@example.org to view the session album.)
I've made some changes to my product line and I have some exciting news about sessions as well!
First, let's talk digitals... :O)
So many people want digital negatives these days. Some people want them for scrapbooking, some for printing their own wall art, and some want them for social media. There are a lot of things that go into a photographer's decision to sell or not sell digital negatives. For me, the point of creating images and artwork for the home is so we can look at them on a daily basis without having to do a thing. They bring us joy, they comfort us, and they bring back fond memories.
How many people do you know who have a CD of their wedding that sits in a desk drawer? The answer for me is "too many." A lot of thought, time, and money went into creating those images (for both the client and the photographer). I know that I have videos of my kids when they were young that were taken and then never looked at (unless you count viewing it on the back of the recorder at the time I took them). I recorded them so that I could look back at them when my boys were grown and relive the memories. Well, how many of you have VHS tapes, or even micro cassettes of video that you can not look at because there is nothing to view them with? Even the CD that most have of their wedding is no longer viewable on a standard computer because most companies have done away with the CD drive.
I feel very strongly that we need to print images so that we have something that does not require a device to view them with. Images that we can share with several generations.
From the photographer's point of view, digital negatives are the most vulnerable product they can provide to a client. They need to protect their art by insuring that it is not poorly represented by a lower quality print from Walmart or canvas from Costco. (This is the sole reason that a lot of photographers do not offer digital negatives on their product list.) If you're the client and willing to take the time and effort that is required to hire a photographer, then you should be able to enjoy the images from that session every day. Having printed images is the best way to ensure that you can.
Having said all that, I totally understand the reasons behind wanting to have digital negatives. In response, this is what I've done...
First, I need for you to know that every session comes with free discreetly watermarked social media files to share. I've always provided these files and there is never a charge for them. If sharing your images on Facebook, Instagram, or through email is what you're looking for, then you are good to go.
For those who want digital negatives to print on their own, I have developed a few digital negative groupings. Additionally, I now have two beautiful new products and have created packages with them that also include the negatives. (I'm anxiously waiting for my samples to arrive and will share as soon as I have them!) With these new products, I know that you will enjoy your images every day from the first moment you receive them (no matter when you decide to print from your digital negatives). It's a win-win! ;O)
Now for the other fun news...
There is no longer a separate session fee when booking!
Now, a retainer fee will be charged to hold your session date and time, but that retainer will become a product credit that can be used during the ordering session! (For those who have already booked a fall or winter session, don't worry, this will apply to you as well.)
I hope you survived the shock of waking up to the first 3" of winter yesterday! I have to admit I thought the leaves sticking up from all the white stuff was quite pretty. Hermes and Dash thought otherwise. ;O)
One hundred (plus) dogs and their families showed up for Paws and Pumpkins held by Paws Pet Resort this past weekend. What a fun day!! I got to say hello to soooo many new furry faces and I only wish that there had been time to get to know them all. Lots of smiles and wagging tails!
Here's one little girl who participated at the event. I bet her owner never has a bad day when greeted with such personality!
If you were at the event, you can download your social media images in the Paws & Pumpkins gallery.
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months or even years where life just seems to throw one curve ball after another? I met a beautiful young lady who has managed to come out on top after one such period of time and she gives a lot of credit to her four-legged friend.
Through all the ups and downs Beagan was there. Rachel tells me that she and Beagan "saved each other." She found him in a parking lot, abandoned and malnourished. She took him in and nursed him back to health and in return he was by her side through thick and thin. He helped her through heartbreak, helped pack for moves (like only dogs can do), and probably should have worn a cap for his support during grad school and getting her PHD. They went on runs, hikes and road trips together; Rachel was the center of Beagan's world.
Rachel and Beagan moved to Sioux Falls only to learn (sixteen days later) that they didn't have much time left together. Beagan may have had an idea that his time was limited, but he took it upon himself to make sure that Rachel got to her new home before he said goodbye. On the last evening that they shared together, Beagan was visibly tired, but he made sure that Rachel would be able to remember him as the oh-so-handsome, loving, loyal, derpy dog that she knew and loved.
It's always so very hard to say goodbye to our four-legged friends, but memories of the times we spent with them help us hold them in our hearts forever.
"How Lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
- Winnie the Pooh
It's the event of the year according to the dogs in Sioux Falls (well, if they could talk that is). The Sioux Falls Swimming Gone to the Dogs event marks the end of summer with two paws up. Last night was packed and it was tough to see dogs from my level through all the human legs, but I managed to get a few images that will hopefully make the owners smile.
This was my favorite image of the night. It says everything about why I love my job.
Our pets are part of who we are.
Moments captured between people and their pets results in images that tell a part of their story; a part of who they are. Being able to share in this documentation, whether it be from a session or a city event, makes my day every. single. time.
When Sami told me that Blu liked bubbles, I thought, ok, I'll put some bubbles in my bag to take to the session. Well, "Blu likes bubbles" was quite the understatement! I don't think I have EVER seen a dog like bubbles like Blu likes bubbles. There is no way I can describe the pure JOY on this dog's face when she realized what was about to happen... but, I took pictures. ;O)
Not to be left out, Tex had his turn, too. He wasn't going to give up his fair share of the bubbles.
These two adore their owner and live to please her. Sami says Blu is her "everything dog." She is eager to learn and works as a therapy dog, does search and rescue, agility and dock diving. Tex is just a puppy and is best pals with Blu. They play with and chase other dogs together, and they love to adventure with Sami. Tex will be getting ready for duck hunting soon, and gets excited when he sees a bird or hears a gun. Tex loves everyone, but when mom is around he will not hesitate to claim Sami's lap and let you know that she is his person.
There is a quote that I heard the other day...
There are friends, there is family,
and then there are friends that become family.
From the short time that I spent with Sami, Blu and Tex, I feel like this was written about them. Take care of each other you guys, and have fun!
Bella is definitely the princess of her house. She's a senior who loves bows in her hair and polish on her nails, and she has a basket of toys that would rival that seen on Toy Story.
Bella goes everywhere with her mom. It's a "we" thing as far as the two of them go. If you see one, you'll probably see the other. Bella has attended school functions, family weddings, and she even voted!
Although Bella is a mama's girl, she knows when it's time for dad to come home and she patiently awaits his arrival. Once he's home, it's time to do a few laps around the table just to let him know that she loves him, too. And, speaking of laps, this little girl can run!
This tiny little dog has a big heart and a big personality, and she fills up a big space in her family's life. Take care of them, Bella. I think it's safe to say, you complete them. ;O)
The theme for this week's challenge was "humorous." I secretly hope that all of my clients laugh out loud at some point during their session. I don't care if the cause is their dog or me, I just love it when something unexpected happens causing more fun memories. Here are a few outtakes from some past sessions. Sometimes you just have to be there, but these make me smile simply because I remember what was going on at the time.
When my boys were little, they would run down the isle of the store when trying on new shoes. They said they had to make sure the shoes were "fast." ;O) I guess the same holds true for dogs and capes. When I put a simple red cape on Hermes, he apparently felt the need to make sure that he could fly. And, he did... right into my camera. (Funny, not funny... ok, funny. At least my husband sure thought so.)
He was so happy, too! Right up till the end. ;O)
The challenge this week will hopefully make you smile (if not laugh out loud), so continue around the circle with Danyel with Wag to My Heart serving the Portland OR metro area. Have a great week!
When the weather is nice like it has been lately, I really enjoy walking around downtown. So many fun shops on both sides of the street and I always notice tons of smiles on Phillips Ave.
Jenna Aukerman is co-owner of Coffea Roasterie and I met up with her, her husband, Bryan and their black lab, Bacchus to chat about her pet-friendly business. In answering the questions I had about her business, Jenna also shed some light on why downtown people look so relaxed and happy when you walk by (it's like she read my mind).
Jenna explains how downtown has more of a "live, work, play" vibe to it. There is a residential feel to downtown with dogs and owners being a big part of it. She says making Coffea a dog-friendly business was a natural inclusion.
As is true with many pet friendly businesses, there are regulars who visit Coffea while out with their owners. Jenna and Bryan lit up when they started telling me about the dogs who frequent Coffea... a spaniel, a rescued greyhound and Aria, the husky. (It makes me want to just hang out sipping on lattes until I meet them all!)
I asked Jenna if she thinks that being dog-friendly has helped her business, and she said she feels that it has. She reiterated how the downtown atmosphere has a different dynamic. People live their lives downtown; they don't have to drive to go somewhere entertaining. People who live downtown, walk their dogs, pop in for a coffee and read a book or visit with friends. It's a place of leisure, and it's a benefit to get to take your canine friend with you. From the standpoint of the customer, Bryan adds that it just adds to the relaxing atmosphere when you walk into a place like Coffea and see a dog lying near their owner.
Saving my favorite question for last, I asked Jenna, "If Bacchus were to come into Coffea for a drink, what would he order?" She said, "If he could melt butter and drink it, he would. (Ha!) Creamy and caloric make the best treats. But, from the menu options Bacchus would probably choose a Con Panna." Espresso Con Panna is a shot of espresso topped with lots of whipped cream. I love the visual of Bacchus taking a sip (ok, slurp), then raising his head to look at me with whipped cream everywhere. (My camera's ready, Bacchus!)
Bacchus was such a gentleman during my interview with Jenna. He sat with us and let me know that he could smell treats in my camera bag, but he still greeted customers who sat down next to us if he felt that they were "pet friendly." He loves to hike, run, swim, and bike with Jenna, but he seemed to enjoy relaxing in Coffea just as much as the next guy. I'm told that Bacchus will snatch his fair share of spilled coffee beans, too. (Jenna says that on those days they work in an extra run.) ;)
"Creating community is part of Coffea's mission, and being dog-friendly helps do that." So, the next time you're downtown with your four legged companion, you know that you are both welcome in Coffea. (And, Bacchus told me that there are Milkbones and water bowls, so if you don't see them, just ask).
Do you follow Coffea Roasterie on Facebook? You might want to give them a 'like" so that you don't miss out on all the fun. Besides offering espresso milkshakes (who knew?!) they also host classes! You can learn from the pros about how to make homemade syrups, everything you've always wanted to know about tea, and even how to pour latte art! Enjoy!
When walking down Phillips Ave in Sioux Falls, there are always lots of signs on the shop windows encouraging people to experience the culture that is so prevalent in our town. These days you might see another sign on some of the windows, one that says, "Dog Friendly."
One such business is PRIMP Boutique. An adorable "cheap, chic, boutique," this store is very inviting to women looking for fun clothing and equally welcoming to the canine companion.
PRIMP Boutique has always been a dog-friendly business. Founded in 2010, Charlie is known as Primp's first employee. There is a shelf in the Sioux Falls store that boasts a jar of dog treats and it is beautifully complimented by a framed picture of Charlie. Charlie also has a line named after him! Charlie Moss. I think that name could easily shine amongst top designers.
Andrea Greve is the manager of the Phillips Ave boutique and she says that although there are a lot of dogs who visit, there have been some regulars who have become good friends. Teddy was a very friendly "downtown dog," who use to come in every morning to say hello and get a treat. Jackson is another friendly face who comes in on Saturday mornings with a smile and a wag of his tail. Andrea says she loves getting to know the dogs and it makes her day every time one drops by to say hello.
Murphie Jane is Andrea's dog and today I got a chance to meet her at the store. What a beautiful girl, and so well mannered! Besides coming to PRIMP Boutique with her mom, Murphie likes to snuggle on the couch, watch out the window for the neighborhood squirrels, and go for car rides. Murphie also has a couple of boy friends that she likes to hang out with (four of them! but, who's counting.) Andrea says that being such a social dog, when Murphie Jane goes to the dog park she's more interested in the humans than the other dogs. (Good girl, Murphie. No need to make the guys any more jealous than they already are.)
I asked Andrea, 'If Murphie were to come into the store, what do you think she would be looking to buy?' The answer seemed quite easy for Andrea... "Murphie gets excited about warm blankets when they come out of the dryer, so she would probably be looking for anything that is soft and cozy and fuzzy." In other words she would love PRIMP's popular "comfort sweater." I think that's a very good choice, Murphie. ;)
The next time you are out enjoying downtown with your dog, stop by and say hello to the ladies in Primp Boutique. The dog treat jar is always full and you might just find a treat for yourself as well.
I encourage you to take a look at the PRIMP Boutique Facebook page and hit the like button if you are so inclined. They are always showing fun things from their store and they are very active in giving back to the community through hosted events. AND, they love dogs! I'm so very impressed with these ladies!
This 52 Weeks project is just for fun, but it gets us pet photographers thinking in ways we might not have before, as well as trying things we might not have tried before. This week's challenge was "headshots." I don't have a formal studio so I've never done a traditional headshot, but with treats in hand I gave it a go.
Why would you use a headshot for a dog you ask? For his dating profile, of course!
My name is Hermes
I was named after a Greek god who I'm pretty sure was faster than Superman. I wear a white and brown coat and have big brown eyes. I'm 77 years old (that's 11 in people years), 19" tall, and a huggable 17 pounds.
I'm really good at
Head tilts, wagging my tail like a conductor, and knowing when it's Wednesday
The first thing people usually notice about me
My ears. It's all about the ears.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
My falsetto rivals that of Adam Levine.
The four things I could never do without
treats, my blanket, treats and treats.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Food. Since the kids have all grown up and left the house I don't get many hand offs anymore. I get the occasion empty yogurt cup or raw vegetable when someone's making dinner, but I really miss the challenge of grabbing that pizza slice or running with a whole corn dog in my mouth. Those were the days. sigh
My idea of a great date
Playing frisbee in the field, then sharing a cool water bowl before taking a little snooze together in the sunshine.
They call me Dash and I have lived up to my name. I have brown fur with a mature frosted face and brown saucer eyes. I'm 84 years young, 17" tall, and a lean, mean 8 pounds.
I'm really good at
Elvis impressions (oh, and holding it for a really, really, really long time when it's cold outside)
The first thing people usually notice about me
I'm told that I have legs that go on forever.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
I've always wanted a sleeve tattoo, but I was told that the up-keep with shaving would be too much for me. Ok, they really said I lack the muscle tone for pulling off a good tattoo.
The four things I could never do without
squirrels, my blanket, squirrels and squirrels. Oh, and squirrels.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Squirrels... and how to keep people off my lawn...oh, and squirrels
My idea of a great date
Going on a walk with our humans and making them carry us home in their jackets for any reason we can think of.... (full disclosure, this is where we part because I really just want to be by myself. The dating stuff is just so Hermes doesn't think he's better than me.) Call me!
Well, I thought it was kind of fun. ;) I have a feeling there will be a lot more profiles if one of these heart throbs doesn't suit your dog's fancy. Start with Lisa's blog Pet Photography Columbus Ohio.
When picking up Hermes from doggie day care one afternoon, I saw the cutest doggie treats on the counter. When I asked about them, I found out that they were made right here in Sioux Falls! I've now met the artist and learned more about these treats, and I wanted to share with you guys.
Melissa Black says that after her husband's birthday present of two adorable puppies, she started noticing all the products coming out that make having pets even more fun (if that's even possible!). There are lots of new toys, and home and auto pet products that make living and traveling with a pet easier, but she thinks there's a lack of healthy alternatives when it comes to dog treats.
Melissa works for the Avera Institute for Human Genetics, and says she's a "scientist by nature" and never thought she had a creative side. But, she decided that just like we try and choose healthy options for our family, there should be healthy options for dog treats as well (and her's are so fun!).
Melissa named her business, Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and it's very fitting for her adorable treats. The gourmet treats are all natural with no artificial preservatives. They are made with quality human-grade organic, non-gmo ingredients. She even makes her own homemade chicken broth and a special frosting for dogs that doesn't contain lots of sugar. She jokes that if her family were in a position where they were snowed in for very long, that they would probably be just fine with their supply of dog treats. ;) The treats are made with healthy whole wheat flour, but Melissa is working with a local dog nutritionist and hopes to add a grain free option to her gourmet line next.
Five different flavors have been perfected so far at Paws & Enjoy. Every treat is packed with nutrients, but the dogs don't have to know that. All they care about is that they smell bacon! Or peanut butter!
There are different sized treats for all walks of dogs and the fun designs are endless. Each holiday has themed cookies and baskets, and Melissa designs new, whimsical treats monthly. My favorite so far... one of her woodland critters, the squirrel! :D
Melissa's bakery is in her kitchen. She has a duel oven with extra racks and a dehydrator, but says that she may soon have to convert her garage to support a larger oven.
Part of quality control is conducted in-home by her two puppies, Bandit and Bella and her grand-dog, Dallas. (It's very important that she has a mix of little dog and big dog opinions). Melissa's dogs have access to the treats on a regular basis so she has to help with distribution. She says they know when she is baking treats versus when she is cooking dinner and they sit patiently on the kitchen mat for her to give them a small taste. They sometimes even get to lick the spoon after all the mixing is done! (I don't know about you, but this sounds like a pretty cushy job to me.)
When I asked Melissa what she has planned for the future of her business she told me that she's excited to see where it takes her. She loves having a booth at craft fairs and fantasizes about getting an RV, taking the pups, and traveling around to all the fun fairs around the country. She would also like to open a shop outside of her home one day. For now, you can find her gourmet dog treats at local pet businesses such as Precious Pets, Mini-Critters, and Earthwise in Sioux Falls, and at Get Pinned in Mitchell and Alley Cat in Dell Rapids. You'll most likely find her at the craft fairs that will be popping up this summer, and of course you can always order on-line, too!
You can learn more about Melissa's local business at Paws & Enjoy Gourmet Dog Treat Bakery and if you are on Facebook give her page a like!