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.
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)
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
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)
Ever meet one of those dogs when as soon as you say hello you just know he's where he's suppose to be? Cosmo is one of those dogs.
Cosmo's mom scheduled a session so that she could make a little brag book as a surprise for Cosmo's dad when he deploys. As soon as I met Cosmo I could tell that he was such a happy dog and knew that he felt he was truly part of a family. He was rescued by dad and I'm told he is most definitely a daddy's dog, but he's just as keen on mom when it's just the two of them. Cosmo is 11 years old and wasn't in perfect health when we did his session, but he never let on. He smiled and played through the whole thing! (Well, ok, there might have been a piece of McChicken sandwich involved at one point during the session).
We took Cosmo to one of his favorite walking parks. He was so happy to be there and seemed to want to show us all the best spots. He was a little confused when I'd ask him to "pose" though - it was like he was trying to tell me to hurry up, there was more to see just up ahead!
Cosmo, smart dog that he is, helped me get mom into some of the pictures for dad's book, too. She never even knew what he was up to. (wink, wink)
Cosmo, it was great meeting you! I know you're a snuggler so you and mom take care of each other while dad's away. I wish you all the best that 2018 can bring.
These little balls of fun are quite the trio. They are very different from each other, well except for Lilly and Ruthie looking so much alike (or maybe that's just me; ok, probably just me) and their personalities seem to balance each other out in complete harmony.
Sunshine is the older-wiser one. She celebrated her 17th birthday just before these pictures were taken and still, she didn't miss a beat. She may not be as active as her sisters, but that doesn't mean that she isn't right in the middle of what's going on (even if "the middle" means on the sidelines somewhere simply because she can't see that well). Sunshine, you are beautiful!
Lilly is the little princess. She prances around showing off her long beautiful hair, but she's a gift giver, too... she likes to share kisses with the other dogs in the house (it doesn't matter that some of them are about 10 times her size).
Ruthie is the baby of the family and is very enthusiastic. She loves to play in the water hose and she'll run around the yard at top speed like it's the best place ever! Want to race? Ruthie will take you on.
I can't decide if it's the playing, or the snuggling, or the outings, that make Sunshine, Lilly, and Ruthie so happy. They are so devoted, and so loving. Honestly, I think these little girls are a perfect example of...
It's not what you're doing,
it's who you're with.
These girls live with three other dogs, and I don't know that I've ever seen a more comfortable group. If they aren't as loving and amicable during their normal day-to-day life, then they sure have great manners when strangers come in with a camera. :)
It was so fun to get to know these three. They don't say much and they don't take center stage, so I've found myself wondering, what makes them tick... and is it the same thing that makes them so sweet?
It's tough to keep up with the energy of a golden retriever, much less three of them. But, oh my gosh the fun! ... and, the connection that these girls have with their owner and their housemates is so wonderful to witness.
Lola, Maya and Bea are three of six dogs who share a home. At first you might think, six dogs in one family? But, after spending a few hours with them, I can tell you that they are one big happy family, and if even one were absent for a night the others would notice and miss her. (Oh, and did I mention they are all girls?)
Lola got her name from the phrase, Lots Of Love Always... and, it shows. She is pure and she is golden and I'm pretty sure she will never run out of love for anyone and everyone who becomes part of her family. She's a social butterfly and will make you feel welcome simply by being near you. (and oh, that smile!)
Maya is the younger of the three girls and can be a loner of sorts, taking her toy off to her bed away from the others. Don't let this fool you though, she has lots of energy and is an amazing frisbee player (ok, catcher... for you more literal people like my husband). Maya is that kid who would rather explore by herself than play cards with the rest of the family, but she's right there with them when it matters. (Honestly, I think it's more that she doesn't have time to wait on anyone else once she gets it in her head that she wants to see or do something. I get it, Maya!)
Then there's Bea. Bea is the older-wiser sister who was not sure about me being in her house at first. She would lay on the couch with her favorite blankets and watch as I introduced myself to the other girls. When we went outside Bea seemed a little more comfortable, but once we hopped in the truck to go for a ride, her spirits came alive. It was all good times from then on.
These girls are so beautiful and fun. Just look at those faces!
I had such fun getting to know these three and I'm pretty sure they had fun, too. This was the last image that I took before I left their house and I think it confirms "the fun." ;O)
There once was a little princess. Like any other one year old, this princess rules the house, but only under the watchful eyes of her royal canine playmates, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally. These two love the princess. She reads to them and serves them tea!
To show their gratitude, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally play with the little princess, protect her, and do their best to keep her clean (well, mostly clean).
When the princess has had her fill of fun for the afternoon, it's time for a little nap so she can dream about adventures with her royal playmates. (Although, on this particular day that part may very well have happened on the car ride home.) Take care of her, royal canines, for little princesses grow up way too fast.
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.
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 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 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)
Those eyes! The most loved teddy bears have eyes like hers. That perfect little stance with her paws just so. Those tri-colored ears . . . how cool is that?! All of these physical characteristics are just enhanced by Maesa's fun-loving personality.
Last winter Maesa was a snow bunny on the blog bounding off into the enchanted forest looking for adventures. Although winter is her favorite, I have to say she wears fall very well. No matter what the leaf . . . it seems to be her color.
Maesa was very willing to let me capture all of her typical doggie tricks putting her own spin and personality into them. (Well, yes I had treats.) She even demonstrated her treeing skills when she saw a squirrel in the park. She's quite good at it! (And, Dash I now know that you don't have to be loud enough to wake the neighbors when you tree a squirrel. I'm on to you.)
Maesa is such a spunky little thing. . . playing chase with Tigger, meeting new pups in the park; she's very loving with her owner and she can also be a little diva when she wants to.
(She really does need a tiara in this picture.) Maesa is the perfect mix of sass and sophistication. And, did I mention that she's a curious pup? I don't think it matters what season it is, Maesa will always be looking for the next adventure. (Do you think she's looking for snow? I think she's looking for snow.) It will be here soon enough, Maesa. Let's enjoy the leaves while we can.
This beautiful girl is called Raya. She was such a wonderful model and I think she had fun being in front of the camera. As with most huskies Raya has beautiful eyes and wonderful coloring. But those ears . . . . oh, those ears! I love them! They are so soft and fluffy and I have to say, I did a great job of showing restraint during our session.
I had to ask Bethany how she pronounced Raya's name and it's pronounced RAY-ah. My first thought . . . a ray(a) sunshine. (No, I didn't say it out loud . . . I had just met this woman for pete's sake. Plus, it doesn't go over as well when you can't see it written.) It was obvious though from the get go that Raya really is a ray of sunshine.
I did a little research later on and found that this puppy really does live up to her name.
In Spanish, Raya can mean sunny ray. In Bulgarian it means heaven. According to the Urban Dictionary Raya "spreads love around like peanut butter" and "her smile is contagious."
I think the best by far though, is that the name Raya (origin: Hebrew) means . . . friend. You only have to see Raya with her owner for a second or two to know that it was the perfect name for her.
Raya, Bethany has a wonderful friend in you and I wish you one sunny day after another.
This little girl is full of spunk and knows how to have fun. She LOVES the snow (YAY! ) and she loves to run. When I started going through her images I was worn out within minutes; she ran the entire session! lol What a beautiful ball of energy.
Maesa Lou's session happened in quite a unique way . . . It was that morning in January when we all woke up to snow and frost everywhere. It was gorgeous! I had already been out taking pictures and returned home to start my day. I was working on my website when I got a phone call. I was asked about setting up a session so I asked a few questions and answered a few from her. When I asked if she had been to my website she replied with, "Yes, and I couldn't decide if I should contact you through your website (not knowing for sure when I might get the message) or just call because . . . today is a perfect day for it." This was a girl after my own dog loving heart. We can't predict days like that, so to actually be able to have a session on a day as perfect as it was . . . well, lets just say, if I had a tail to wag I probably would have hurt myself.
We decided on a place to meet and I quickly (ok, frantically) packed up my gear, and we made it happen. Maesa Lou ran and ran and played and played. She greeted everyone that came by and then she resumed playing never missing a beat.
I have no doubt that this little girl had a lot of fun at her session. It was a perfect day to be out with lots of new snow, beautiful frosted trees all around and no wind to freeze those of us who don't have fur.
Maesa Lou, I know you will keep your owners on their toes during the rest of the winter and I wish you many snowy adventures together. ;O)
This handsome guy has a big personality. With a name like Rosco P. Coltrane how could it be otherwise?! He's was such a trooper with me following him around with my camera. He did look at me a couple of times and I could swear I heard him say, "really?" Of course I just grinned really big and said, "But, you're so cute!"
Rosco is quite the big dog in a little body. He was right there to protect us when the big plow came by. I'm told that he has a thing for big trucks. He's always there to guard his people from things like big trucks, and Rosco . . . I think that is very heroic of you.
It was getting colder and colder as we walked around, but before we were finished with our session, Rosco got to meet a very popular fellow. Rosco got treats and a few snuggles and I'm pretty sure that he had a visit from him around the 24th of December.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the winter, Rosco. Stay warm and keep you're mom safe from the big trucks. By the way, you look quite dapper in that red scarf. ;O)
It was November and our first snow fell. YAY! I love snow and I love snow photos. So . . . Say hello to Taz and Mayzie! These two had as much fun as I did that day.
These two have so much energy and had so much fun that by the time I got in my van to leave my cheeks hurt from smiling. . . (and, I still smiled all the way home). They ran and jumped and played and it was so fun to watch big 'ole Taz play like the puppy that he is.
Mayzie, being smaller had a little more trouble with the deeper parts of the snow, but nothing stopped her from keeping up with Taz. She can hold her own, too . . . When Taz stole her stick she was not going to let a little snow get in the way.
I didn't notice during the session how much Mayzie mimics Taz. Once I uploaded the photos though it was very obvious that she watches and soaks up everything he does. Be a good dog, Taz . . . Mayzie is right behind you. I know you'll always be a wonderful big brother. :O)
What a sharp looking guy! There should be a GQ magazine for dogs like Ricco. Jo says she loves his coloring and his ears. I agree, he's a very handsome dog, and I couldn't help noticing that he's a sharp dresser, too. That tux is stunning on him! He may be starting a trend with those lapels.
Ricco is still a pup really. He's so fun and quizzical and he makes sure that Jo is where he can see her at all times. He's fun, he's energetic, and Jo says he's spoiled rotten, to which I can only reply, ". . . as he should be." ;O)
But, lets be honest . . . Who here doesn't spoil their pet just a little? I'm pretty sure they know it, too.
Fall is almost over and I'm one of those weirdos who likes the end of the season browns and tans that we see everywhere. I take my camera out just to capture these not so bright colors and textures. To have such a wonderful subject to photograph during this time was such a treat. So, thank you, Ricco, for trekking through the leaves with me. You look so handsome in Autumn (I think it could be the new black). ;O)
What's not to like about a dog named after a legend like Vince Lombardi?! This little guy is sharp, he's fun and he can throw a pass like nobody's business. Yep, he can throw a ball! Bardi's favorite game is to play catch with his snowball. Like a lot of dogs he will catch the stuffed ball in his mouth when you throw it to him, but Bardi goes one step further . . . he will throw the ball back! (Now, don't expect him to have perfect aim; he's throwing it with his mouth after all.)
After playing in the yard and getting to know each other, we headed to the park for Bardi's photo session. Leah and I chatted about this and that (Ok, it was Bardi and Hermes) while we followed Bardi around snapping pictures as he checked out all the best spots for sniffing. Bardi lead Bruce from one spot to another and pointed out everything from leaves and sticks to ducks on the water. Once he decided that things were as they should be in an area, he'd look for the next adventurous spot and we'd take advantage of the photo opportunities at each one.
This dog loves his family and they are his biggest fans. I love that I get to meet so many different dogs and their families. Every personality is different and they all have their hidden talents. Keep practicing, Bardi. One day a scout is bound to notice. . . And, wouldn't it be cool if his favorite colors were green and gold?! :O)
This little guy is one lucky, lucky dog. He has an owner whom I'm told loves him to the moon and back, but he also has a human Aunt who adores them both.
Becky set up a photo session for Rocky so that she could give her sister a surprise gift featuring her four-legged friend. Rocky was all for it and had a ball, only getting side tracked by the geese just a couple of times . . . and it was soooooo cute! He strutted his stuff and hammed it up, even greeting a few people who stopped to tell him how cute he was and ask if it was his birthday since he was having his photo taken. ;O)
As Becky and I chatted, Rocky explored the area and was more than happy to check out anything that we thought might interest him. He had a great time being a dog and only questioned my sanity once . . . when I purposely got down on the ground lower than he was. I wish I could have heard what he was thinking because the look on his face was priceless.
Rocky, you are a joy.
After meeting you in person I have to say, your humans, too are very, very lucky.
Winter always seems to produce my favorite photos no matter if they are animals, people or places. There is just something about the combination of snow and bare branches that draws me into a landscape photo, and bright colored winter coats amongst all that white is pure fun to capture. When it comes to animals, it is my opinion that all dogs look great in snow. A dog in the snow is like a man in a tux ... They can't help but look good.
This is Maximus. He's such a fun pup and I think he could really love the snow if only it wasn't so cold; the genetics of a bull terrier don't come with warm, fur-lined armor. Lucky for Maximus, he has people who will let him play for short periods of time, and then after he's warmed up, not complain when he wants to go out and do it all again. Enjoy the snow, Max, and by the way, I'm glad(iator) that I got to meet you. (Ack, I know. I couldn't resist.)