For the first time, I’ll be offering private, socially-distanced mini sessions in July, with 40% of the proceeds going to Responsible Pet Care, a no-kill shelter in South Paris.
These special mini sessions will be offered by appointment only, from July 16 – July 31, at my Minot studio. Sessions are for 1 or 2 pets (additional pets may be added at an extra charge). Human family members can be in some, all, or none of the photos at no additional charge. Sessions are 15 minutes or 30 minutes (see details below).
Dogs will be photographed outside (the studio is in the middle of 70 acres so there’s plenty of outdoor options here) unless you prefer an in-studio session. Cats will only be photographed inside the studio.
There will be 3 special options, starting at $50.
$50 – includes 15 minute session plus one 8×10 portrait of your choice. This option does not include any digital files. You’ll view the images online about a week after the session and make your selection(s). Digital files and additional prints will be available for purchase.
$99 – includes 15 minute session plus 4 high resolution digital files of your choice, with printing release. You’ll view the images online about a week after the session to make your selections. Additional files or prints will be available for purchase.
$199 – includes 30 minute session plus 10 high resolution digital files with printing release. You’ll view the images online about a week after the session to make your selections. Prints and additional files will be available for purchase.
Maine state sales tax will be added to all purchases.
Book your session online here . In case of rain, we’ll reschedule.
Take this opportunity to get some great photos and help RPC at the same time. Reserve your time now here.
In honor of “Best Friends” day on June 8, I wanted to celebrate the bond we share with our pets. So here’s a story about a special friendship between a woman and her dog.
I first met Allison when she contacted me about scheduling a “Paws to Remember” session for her dog, Dewey. Dewey had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and she wanted to schedule a session right away so she would have special photos to remember him, happy and full of life.
In her own words, Allison shared her story of Dewey:
“I came across Dewey as I was working at the local animal shelter. I had wanted a dog for a really long time but none of them were the right fit for our home – but the day I walked in and saw Dewey sitting in his kennel, calm as could be next to his crazy kennel-mate, my heart melted. There was some kind of click that can’t really be described, other than that my heart felt like it was 5 times too big for my chest.
“Our connection was strong, even in the beginning. He liked to collect my shoes and other possessions while I was away and gather them on his dog beg to snuggle with and refused to take treats from people other than me in the beginning. He trusted me enough that I could hand him medication without anything on it and he would eat it like a treat (although with a look that said “Mom sucks at picking out treats, but I don’t want to disappoint her”).
“I don’t know much about Dewey’s life before me, and since he came into my life when he was around 8 years old it was a long one. He was terrified of car rides initially and I would have to carry all 65lbs of him to it, while he was peeing, and place him inside. Within a month, however, he would get into it on his own, and a few months after that he would race to the car before me and hop excitedly from foot to foot because he knew that the car meant another visit to a place with treats, people to pet him or a mountain to climb.
“He fit so seamlessly into my life that it’s hard to describe the growth of the bond we had. It was a match made in heaven – he loved getting outside and hiking or adventuring, but also was okay cuddling on the couch to watch a movie. He was such a gentle soul who poured all of his love to me with every look that he gave me, and I can only hope that I conveyed the exact same thing to him.”
Allison’s hope for the photo session was to have images of him at home, happy, where they spent most of their time. She also wanted photos of the two of them enjoying time together. We did all the photos in their yard and inside their home.
One particular photo she was really hoping for was an image of Dewey holding one of her shoes in his mouth, since he loved to carry her shoes around on a daily basis. We didn’t have any luck outside, but inside did the trick…
Surgery bought Dewey and Allison some extra time filled with love and life, but the cancer returned and Dewey passed away a few months after our session. When I asked Allison for her thoughts about Dewey for this blog, she wrote the beautiful words I’ve already quoted, and ended with this – “I could honestly still talk about him for hours. He was so special and taught me so much about myself and unconditional love. Just thinking about him still brings back that feeling of my heart swelling. Thank you again for the beautiful photos…they are images that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
My heart goes out to Allison for the loss of her wonderful friend. I’m glad I got to spend some time with them and witness their obvious love for each other. All of us who have lost best friends can relate to her words and the emotions behind them.
If you’d like to read another blog on the topic of best friends, Stephanie Romero of Chase & Snap Pet Photography is a pet photographer based in Northern Vermont that specializes in modern, candid, on location photography of pets in their natural environments. Check out her post of some adorable furry best friends at https://chaseandsnap.com/2019/06/08/best-friends/
I’m participating in a blog ring with a small group of other pet photographers, where once a month we write about a chosen topic. (It does get me to write one blog a month, at least…) So when you get to the end of this post, be sure to follow the link to read another great story.
This month’s topic is “Specially-Abled Pets”, in honor of Specially-Abled Pets Day on May 3rd. When I heard what the topic was, the first thing that came to mind was Rolling Dog Farm. Rolling Dog Farm is a dream-come-true for “specially-abled” animals. Located in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the farm is a 501(c)(3) started in 2000 by Steve Smith and Alayne Marker. They left corporate jobs in Seattle to pursue a dream of saving disabled animals, since they were the most likely to be euthanized in shelters. Their original location was in Montana, but in 2010 they packed up all the animals and made the move to the New Hampshire farm.
The name “Rolling Dog Farm” might make you think of dogs in wheelchairs, but the name actually came from them seeing their happy dogs rolling around on their backs in the meadows in Montana. Rolling Dog Farm now primarily focuses on dogs who are blind, deaf, blind and deaf, or missing a limb, as well as some neurological and orthopedic cases. They come from all over the country. The dogs at RDF live in a home setting – this is Alayne and Steve’s home – and they get the best veterinary care available. If you read their blog posts (which you can do here), you’ll often read about them taking a dog to specialists in Vermont. Some of the dogs have been candidates for surgery and have had their sight restored. These special dogs who were once unwanted and discarded have truly hit the jackpot when they come to the farm, where they will be loved and cared for as family for the rest of their days.
The peaceful country setting offers plenty of space to be a dog. With large indoor and outdoor spaces that have been adapted to the dogs’ special needs, the dogs here take full advantage. They don’t feel sorry for themselves or dwell in the past. They don’t consider themselves handicapped. They just want what most dogs want – to be part of a family and to do the stuff that brings them enjoyment. They live all their days to the fullest, surrounded by love and companionship.
Rolling Dog Farm does not have public hours (there’s just too much work to be done on a daily basis) but I was excited to take a tour and meet the dogs (and do some photos, of course) at a Visitor’s Day.
Rolling Dog Farm relies entirely on donations, and all donations support their mission of saving “specially-abled” dogs.
Please visit their website at Rolling Dog Farm to read more about the great work they do. I guarantee you’ll leave their website feeling better about the world.
And be sure to check out the next post in this blog ring. Next up we travel across the country for a post from Angela Schneider where you’ll learn all about Cheyeanne and her specially abled dogs that have super abilities. Angela Schneider of Noses & Toes Pet Photography in Spokane, Washington puts your pet in focus for your family portraits. View her post Specially Abled Dogs Have Super Abilities.
If you follow the news you may remember hearing a few years ago about scientists in Japan who were using genetics to create the first cat/dog hybrids. One of these fascinating canine/feline mixes (latin name: Canis felis familiaris) has made its way to a home in Maine, and I was lucky enough to meet and photograph “Nigel” last week. Here’s a little sneak peek of the cheeky little fellow:
Nigel’s people, Erin and Jim, were living in Japan temporarily when the opportunity arose to add Nigel to the family. “I’m a cat person, and Jim is a dog person, so we thought it would be a win/win for both of us,” says Erin. And Nigel is adorable. He’ll fetch a tennis ball and then a minute later be purring in your lap. It’s not all the best of both worlds, though. The biggest challenge, they said, has definitely been the fact that these cat/dog hybrids are nocturnal, meaning they literally sleep all day and are ready for action all night. Erin says they have taken to sleeping in shifts each night. She, Jim and their two teenage sons each take a 2 hour shift overnight to exercise, train and keep Nigel entertained and out of trouble. Before coming up with their odd sleep schedule, Nigel would climb the window screens and bark nonstop all night. The new arrangement, though not ideal, allows for all family members to get some sleep and Nigel to get the interaction he needs. Middle of the night is also when Jim practices agility with Nigel. “With his cat-like reflexes, we hoped he would take the agility world by storm,” he says. “Unfortunately, Nigel is unwilling to participate in agility during daylight hours and won’t stop hissing if we wake him up, so unless we find any all-night agility competitions I’m afraid we’re out of luck.”
Another accommodation they have made is the custom-made enclosure that lets Nigel explore the back yard safely. Erin says he could climb any normal fence, no matter the height, so their back yard now closely resembles a monkey enclosure at the zoo.
Canis felis familiaris is definitely not for everyone, so any family who is thinking about getting one needs to do a lot of research. You can read more about the science and future availability of these pets of the future here.
And be sure to continue on to the next link in this blog chain, by Canadian photographer Geneviève Lacombe. Geneviève Lacombe is a natural light pet photographer and yoga teacher located in Montreal, Qc, Canada. Check out her post “Funny April Fools’ Day Pranks Featuring Pets” and keep going through the blog ring for more April Fools’ inspired posts.
Sweet Echo has been at Harvest Hills Animal Shelter for over a year. She’s an older gal (the shelter says 10-11), but she acted like a much younger dog when I met her. She was excited to be outside and have the opportunity to get attention from people. She loves attention and was quite exuberant at the prospect of getting some. But she was able to pose for a few photos.
Echo, and adoptable senior in Maine
Echo’s life hasn’t been the easiest till now, and this special gal deserves to live out her golden years in a home that will give her the love that she craves and deserves.
Echo’s spring picnic
Echo rolling on her back.
After doing some photos where she had to stay in place — which is hard for a girl who wants to have fun and get as much attention as she can — we let her run around. And boy, did she run! She got the zoomies several times and was super cute to watch. These pictures were after she slowed down a little bit. I thought I had gotten her ears up in the posed pictures, but once she was free to run around they REALLY stood up in the air.
How adorable are those ears?!
Echo loves to run and play
Or sometimes, only one stood up.
Echo is awaiting her forever home
AND, Echo’s adoption comes with a 6 week training class (I assume that’s if you live in that area).
Echo is smart, loving, and just wants to have a home of her own where she gets as much love as she gives.
Echo needs to be an only pet in an adult home. That’s probably the reason she is still at the shelter, but when the right person comes along she will make someone very happy.
Are you that person?
And if you’re not, please share to spread the word and help Echo find her perfect home.
After spending half an hour with Roger, I couldn’t imagine why he has been waiting for a home for so long. Yes, he’s 10 years old but he’s very active and has loads of personality. He gets along with other dogs would fit right into family life. I hear he’s fine with cats, too.
sweet adoptable senior dog with his toys
Roger is a Lab/Hound mix, tall and long. He loves his toys and he enjoys being part of the pack with the resident dogs in his foster home. The younger Labs in the house are very playful, and for the most part when I was there he kept up with running around with them and being involved in playtime. Roger surprised me more than once by jumping into the air to try to catch a snowball, many times leaping right up out of the frame of my camera. He was not the most accurate catcher, but he had fun trying and repeatedly surprised me with his athleticism. He did not seem 10 years old!
senior lab mix having fun in the snow
adoptable dog Roger having fun in the snow
senior dog frolicking in the Maine woods
In the house he was happy to chillax on a cushy dog bed with his toys, just happy to be near his foster family. If folks are overlooking him because of his age, they are really missing out because this guy seems like an easygoing and fun dog to have around. He enjoys outdoor activity with dogs and people, and loves going for walks in the woods but doesn’t need a crazy amount of exercise. He loves to be around people and easygoing dogs.
handsome Roger outside
Roger deserves a forever home of his own! To find out more about Roger, contact Old Dogs New Digs.
I met Dexter last Sunday and within minutes, I was smitten. This guy has a wonderful personality. After 5 months in a shelter, Dexter was lucky to be placed into a foster home by Old Dogs New Digs. There he has really blossomed and shown his true personality. Other than the gray on his face, I would have never guessed that this guy is 9 years old. He is a real sweetie, a clown, a cuddler, and I can tell he has a mischievous streak, too. Dexter is my kind of dog — easy to have around, loves to nap with you or just be with you, and is prone to bursts of silliness. I was struck by the great attention he showed to his foster mom. Even with distractions his eyes were glued to her for direction. If you do training with your dogs, it’s that look that you long to see. He’s very food motivated. Here he is sneaking off with my container of dehydrated liver treats. And as a bonus, he can do your landscaping for you. Here he is cleaning up a branch that had fallen into the fence, then removing it from the area and manually chipping it up. Dexter was overlooked in the shelter for 5 long months before making it into a foster home. It must have been so hard on this sweet, social guy. I heard he has arthritis in his hips, but I wouldn’t have guessed it as he was very spry while I was with him. He loves people and gets along with dogs and cats.
Due to his arthritis, dog companions should be mellow and children should be older.
For more information on Dexter, contact Old Dogs New Digs. You won’t regret it.
Tulip has come a long way since last winter. In February, she found herself in a shelter as a stray. She was obese and unable to walk. Between her age, her weight and bad knees, her future at the shelter was dim.
Thankfully, the shelter contacted Old Dogs New Digs.
Old Dogs New Digs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit rescue dedicated to getting senior dogs out of Maine shelters and into loving foster and forever homes. In March, through Old Dogs New Digs, Tulip went to a foster home where she started getting the help she needed. A new diet, thyroid medication, and aqua therapy have all helped Tulip to become much more mobile.
When I met her last Sunday, she was not the old, immobile dog I was expecting. After a 20 pound weight loss and the strength building benefits of the water therapy, Tulip was walking all around the yard happily, albeit slowly. She was engaged and enjoying life. Though she’s so much stronger and fitter, her knees are still bad (torn ACLs) and she’ll need surgery to help increase her mobility further and decrease pain. You can see in these photos how her structure is off and how she compensates when walking.
Tulip is a real sweetie and loves people. She likes dogs and I hear she is fine with cats, too. She is guessed to be over 10 years old, but she still wants her best years to be ahead of her. Tulip is scheduled for her knee surgery on July 21st and a GoFundMe account has been set up to raise funds for this life-improving surgery. Surgery is expensive and most shelters will not provide dogs anything but basic care. Old Dogs New Digs relies on donations to be able to provide medical care to improve the lives of the dogs in their program. And of course old dogs need more medical help than most. If you can spare a few dollars to help Tulip take this next, important step in her recovery
and ease the knee pain that she feels every day, please click the link and donate. https://www.gofundme.com/odnd-tulip
Let’s help this older girl live a pain-free life! Thanks from Tulip and all the volunteers who love her!
Meet Cosmo. Part dog, part clown, part seal.
Cosmo is a hound dog that will keep you entertained. He loves to play, and will often make his own fun,
though he likes to have someone there to watch his antics. He likes to talk, and makes a noise that sounds just like a seal. Being a hound, he can talk a lot. And being a hound, he likes to sniff. He’s got a great personality and great looks… And did I mention he likes to play? As a bonus, Cosmo comes with this set of ears, that you can gaze at, laugh at as they fly in the wind, and softly stroke. Cosmo came to the shelter as a stray. He will need to go to a home with a fenced yard. He would probably be okay with another dog; cats are unknown. Because he’s so rambunctious, older children would be best.
Cosmo is smart, too. When it was time to bring him inside again, he knew that meant the fun was over and he got a little sad. I felt really bad bringing him back to his kennel and we left the red toy; I hope he had some fun with it in his kennel. This active and friendly boy needs a home and family of his own and a place to play. If you want a big personality in your life, come meet this young and playful guy at Harvest Hills in Fryeburg.
Call them at 207-935-4358, take Cosmo into the play yard with a toy, and you will fall in love with his personality and his antics.
This is Mac. My husband and I visited Harvest Hills last week to meet and photograph a few dogs, and when it was time to meet Mac they told us he was outside in one of the exercise pens. We headed out and Mac was super excited to see us. He was happy and bouncy and when he found out we had treats he was just over the moon. He was loving the attention but he did do a sit for us. He was very treat motivated. And he showed off his rugged good looks. The pen he was in was relatively small and didn’t have any grass in it so we decided to move to a larger pen nearby. It was raining that day, but I hoped to get some action shots of him playing. Once we were in the big pen, my husband and I weren’t nearly as interesting any more. There was much more to smell and look at, and other dogs in other pens to look for. He did chase a ball a few times in between sniffing stuff and he seems like he would be an eager playmate if he had a yard
of his own. He was very distracted by all the shelter smells.
This boy has a very athletic build and if you think he looks strong, you are right. Mac does pull on leash, especially if he sees another dog, so he needs some training and guidance to help him live up to his potential. And there was a small critter in the woods on the other side of the fence that he would have loved to have chased after,
so I suspect he would not be friends with cats. Or at least with cats that move. But Mac loves people. He loves attention, and getting rubs and scratches, and would love people of his own to do stuff with.
I’ll bet Mac was a pretty happy boy in his home until his owner passed away. He seems like a happy, silly guy in general.
He’s trying to make the most of it in the shelter but it’s just not the same. There aren’t a lot of dogs that would let a stranger put a hat on them. Have you noticed that he’s missing one of his little front teeth? I wonder how he lost it, but I think it gives him character. Actually, he IS a character. Exuberant and sweet and full of life. He’s been overlooked at the shelter for awhile. Shelters across the country are full of middle-aged, big, black dogs, and unfortunately they are often the last to be adopted.
Please share this post to help Mac beat the odds and find his forever family! For more information about Mac or to meet this handsome and eager companion yourself, contact Harvest Hills Animal Shelter at 207-935-4358.