Early April had been quite busy with a Mother’s Day Special and several other shoots, planning a surprise birthday party for a friend, along with a long trip out of the country (and let’s not forget tax filing). I found myself bustling around with not much free time. Just when I thought I was getting a grip on what seemed to be serious demands, I received a phone call that quickly changed my priorities. A friend, calling to wish us happy travels, made mention that her old dog Buddy, a 13 year old diabetic was starting to slow down a bit. Weakness, panting, blood sugars off the charts and visits to the veterinarian were becoming much more frequent. “When I return”, I said, I’d like to take some photos of Buddy, OK”? My friend thought that was a great idea.
I thought about Buddy all night, and I thought about the suitcase that wasn’t yet packed, and the house that wasn’t clean yet for our pet sitter, and then I thought about Buddy some more. The next day I called my friend and told her I would like to come by that afternoon and take some quick photos, just because it was on my mind and I had some “extra time”. So that afternoon Buddy’s parents and I arranged a late afternoon photo session. Afterwards, not having time to process the files, and just a day away from catching a plane, I retired my camera to its case, with Buddy’s images still inside.
On Sunday night, a week later, I returned home and went to bed promptly so that I could have a productive Monday. First thing early the next morning, over coffee, I removed my camera’s flash card and started unloading Buddy’s images into the computer. I was happy with the shots and hoped that my friends would like them too. One of Buddy getting kissed by his Dad was heartwarming. Another, of him looking at me with that big smile while his parents gazed at him with so much love, was extra special. I was engulfed in editing the photos when the phone range. It was my husband, and his voice was that of obvious sadness. “Buddy is gone”, he said. My heart sank. “When”? I asked.
The day after I left was when Buddy decided it was his time to move on. Surely it was fortune, not gifted fore-sight that set the date for when those photos were to be taken. For whatever little angel on his shoulder chose the day of this heartwarming session, I am grateful, and I will value these photos always. I spent the rest of the morning staring at the screen, editing the photos with teary eyes. Bitter sweet, here, love and loss live, all in one visual package. May Buddy have restful peace now, for he was a dear and beautiful soul.
I say “Coming Soon” because this was a simple Mini-Mugs session for a pup that will soon be having a Dog Day Life Album created. This is Lancelot and He-Was-Magnificent! In all my years of meeting puppies, I can honestly say I have never met a dog like him. Calm, quiet, gentle, and fully mannered with the most peaceful expression and movement. Lancelot is only 6 months old here. We’ll be seeing this gorgeous man a little later.
Oliver is a handsome schnauzer I’ve shot in the past (see Oliver here). Although his mom purchased a collage and a full Dog Day Life Album, there was still something missing; or should I say someONE. Oliver’s big brother Matthew has been off to college for a few years and the house was missing a nice portrait of the two best friends. Although the long distance separates them some of the time, Oliver has yearly visits with Matthew. On a recent visit this January, we hopped over to the park to grab a few quick shots of the two buds.
The Bow Wow Event was launched four years ago as a way for us to raise money for the ABC Angel Fund of Martin County, a non-profit organization that helps owners and their pets with medical needs. In my 20 year career of caring for animals, I have witnessed the depths of the human-animal bond, the devastation of financial hardships and the painful decision that a pet owner must sometimes make when their beloved companion becomes sick or injured. And along with this, I witnessed the Angel Fund aiding as best as it could to help.
Each year, a date is set in early November to hold a pet portrait marathon day. Dog owners call to reserve a slot for their canine friend. The photos are culled and professionally enhanced, then placed into an exclusive Bow Wow card, complete with the personal message. No flimsy photo paper is used. These cards are very high quality, classy and stylish. I design a new fun theme each year making the photo and the card design a matching masterpiece. This year was “Cookies and milk for Santa”.
It’s a lot of hard work, but the final product is fresh fun for those who love to include their companion in spreading holiday cheer.
Click on the link below to see an adorable video of all the pets that participated. You just might recognize some of them. OR, even better, you might be the recipient of one of the cards!
This is Kramer the Super Star.
Kramer is an adorable little Schnauzer mix and he’s over 16 years old (over 112 in human years, so it is said). Kramer’s mom and dad wanted some nice legacy shots of their boy but they weren’t quite sure how the shoot would turn out. With blindness setting in and a good part of his hearing gone, the little guy didn’t hear all the whistles, clicks and Woo-hoos that generally work for getting a traditional portrait. But, here at DBP, we’re not really into that right? So it actually was a perfect session.
First we took the sweet old man to Sandsprit park where the oak trees created a nice windy background. I couldn’t help but notice how the twisty branches of the oak trees somewhat mirrored Kramer’s little bendy spine. Then we headed on back to the home where we gathered tons of images of Kramer’s daily lifestyle.
Whether you’re a dog or a human, it’s tough getting old. But this boy is loved deeply. His parents have him under the strict care of a great vet for all of his ailments. There’s a daily regiment of medications, day care, games, snuggling and treats that fill the family’s day.
It’s heart warming to witness such a loving relationship.
I’m getting excited about the upcoming Wag Pack Dog Walk. It really has nothing to do with photography, but it will be the second community activity that I have organized from scratch and I’m anxious to see how it turns out.
I designed several logos, pondered them for some time, then narrowed it down to these two. Finally I picked the second one. For some reason I really wanted a flower in there.
The walk will take place on March 18th at 4:00p.m.. That’s a Sunday and it will nicely piggy-back the regular Sunday music series. Anyone out listening to the music can just hop on over the Flager Park and start the stroll with us.
The goal of the walk is to provide an activity for people to get out of the house with their dog, to sniff out our pretty little downtown and to meet other dog owners that looove to make their dog smile. Additionally we’d like to get as many dogs and their owners as we can to parade through downtown Stuart in hopes to turn some heads and to create awareness of responsible dog ownership.
Anyone interested in a change of scenery and sharing your dog walking duties with other pet owners, you are invited to join us!
If you can’t make it this time, you can subscribe to hearing about future walks click here to subscribe to the Wag Pack newsletter.
I tried the old fashioned studio portraits for quite a few years. You know, the ones with the standard lighting, the standard pose and the big lit back drop (pick your color to match the suit). But without having availability of a set-up and ready-to-go studio, I had to work twice as much for a twice as boring end product. I was sharing studio and work space with an artist at the time which meant that for each shoot I had to set up the backdrop and lights, then break them all down again 20 minutes later.
Finally, when I made the change to have a home office, I gained the luxury of being able to say No to quick studio business portraits. And although I can’t tend to the needs of the realtor or dentist that wants that classic staged look for their company website, I can definitely take care of the fun casual business man or woman.
These are quick and custom and I use all natural light. Instead of a cookie cutter staged portrait, I’m having a lot of fun with location around the town and my clients love them.