Dewey and Allison

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/

Check out her post of some adorable furry best friends at https://chaseandsnap.com/2019/06/08/best-friends/

– https://chaseandsnap.com/2019/06/08/best-friends/

Rolling Dog Farm

Sophie, one of the blind dogs at Rolling Dog Farm

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.

part of Rolling Dog 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.

a few of the blind dogs at Rolling Dog Farm

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.

Clockwise from top left: 3-legged Tanner, Tanner again, blind Zach (since adopted) Sunny (deformed front leg), blind Stella, Sunny again
Zach, Tanner, Bugsy

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.

Best of Both Worlds? The Cat/Dog Hybrid

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.

Lola

Maine_pet_photographer005Most of the dogs I get to photograph are medium to large, so photographing Lola was a nice change of pace.
She was a perfect, little model.
Maine_pet_photographer001

Lola, a Yorkshire Terrier, is 8 years old and lives in Westbrook.
And yes, her tongue never goes completely in. I had to take a close up of it.
Maine_pet_photographer002

Lola’s mom wanted a photo for herself and also to give her mom and grandmother as a surprise for Christmas. Maine_pet_photographer004We started photos outside here on a somewhat dreary, chilly day.
We didn’t want Lola to get cold so we went inside for some studio photos.
studio_pet_photography_maine
Maine_pet_photographer007Lola is a real sweetie. She did everything I asked of her and didn’t complain a bit.
Maine_pet_photographer008Her mom put her hair back at the end of the session, to give us full access to those beautiful brown eyes.
This is Lola’s own blankie.
Maine_pet_photographer009
Maine_pet_photographer010And I love her on the white background, too… she really stands out and looks very girlie here.
Yorkie_LolaLola doesn’t have a lot of variety in expression. Lucky for her, her constant expression is super cute!

Sammy’s ‘A Dog’s Life’ Session

Sammy Lynn is a 6 year old German Shepherd mix. She shares a home with Laura and Tim in Hollis Center, Maine. Laura is a vet tech and Sammy gets to go to work with her most days. Sammy has some health problems, and Laura and Tim wanted some photos that captured Sammy’s life while she is still feeling energetic and playful. They especially wanted some of her playing fetch at her favorite place — Ferry Beach in Saco.
From life at home to fun at the beach, here is Sammy living life to the fullest.

Otis, an adoptable Redbone Coonhound in Maine

Harvest Hills_Otis (4)In my experience, any dog named Otis has got to be a cool dog. And this Otis is no exception.
Harvest Hills_Otis (1)A 6 year old Redbone Coonhound, Otis has been waiting at Harvest Hills in Fryeburg, Maine,  for months and months.
He hasn’t given up hope, though he’s probably close.
When we met him he was immediately friendly and ready for action. He’s a happy guy who would make a great buddy.
He would love to play ball with you, or really do anything with you!
Harvest Hills_Otis (5) He loves to do things outside, so if you need an excuse to get your butt off the couch, Otis is your guy.
Otis_Harvest Hills (1)If you like to go out and sniff things, Otis would love to do that with you and he could definitely give you some pointers.
Harvest Hills_Otis (2)Otis knows basic commands, is house trained and is very food motivated if you want to teach him some new things.
Otis Harvest HillsOtis likes to chase cats and he may pick and choose the dogs he wants to be friendly with.
But he would love to be your best pal, your car buddy and your hiking, ball-playing and sniffing partner.
Harvest Hills_Otis (3)If you’d like to meet Otis, the folks at Harvest Hills would love to hear from you. Give them a call at 207-935-4358.
Otis has waited too long for his happy ending.
If you can’t adopt, please share!

Boomer, a handsome hound at Harvest Hills

Boomer_Harvest Hills_001On my most recent trip to Harvest Hills in Fryeburg, I met Boomer, a handsome gent who was very easy to work with. Of the four dogs I photographed that day, Boomer was the most easygoing and interested in what I was doing. He’s a very amiable guy.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_002 A Red Tick hound, he’s goofy one second, handsome the next.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_003He’s willing to do whatever you want to do. Boomer_Harvest Hills_004Boomer is 10 years old and seemed quite active, very happy to be outside and enjoyed exploring the play yard. And he’s a hound, so his nose led the way.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_005This is one powerful sniffer.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_006Boomer liked attention from me and my husband, too. He was sweet and calm when he was interacting with us. Boomer won’t be placed in a home with young children, because he does get protective of his food. But he has lived with a dog before.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_010The dogs were really hot that day, so I didn’t try to get them to do too much, but Boomer had no problem when I asked him to play Superman.
Boomer_Harvest Hills_008How can you resist this face?
Boomer_Harvest Hills_009Boomer seemed like he would be a wonderful companion. He’d love to go for walks with you and just hang out with you. Please share to give Boomer a chance at finding his new, special person. This boy deserves it. Boomer_Harvest Hills_011If you are interested in meeting Boomer, give Harvest Hills in Fryeburg a call at 207-935-4358.

Seger, an adoptable senior at Harvest Hills

Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_001Meet Seger, a handsome, physically fit, playful fella who has been waiting at Harvest Hills for quite a while.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_006Seger is 11 years old. A shelter is no place for an 11 year old dog, and he is there through no fault of his own. His previous owner was moving and didn’t take Seger along. Seger is listed as a Lab/Boxer mix. He’s slim and in very good shape.
I would never have guessed he is 11. He seems like a much younger dog.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_007When the shelter staff went to get Seger from his kennel, they warned me that he had an ongoing feud with Oreo the cat. Seger can’t live with cats, but this one cat in particular seems to really set set him off. Sure enough, Seger walked along the aisle of kennels and when he got to Oreo’s spot Oreo started hissing at him and Seger had a similar, though dog-like, response. No cats for Seger. (And I don’t think Oreo enjoys dogs much, either). The shelter thinks Seger should be an only pet.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_010When Seger met me and my husband, he was immediately friendly and enjoyed attention. He was happy to be out in the play yard, and spent some time running around and exploring.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_004He is very food motivated. He would sit easily for a treat, but he also likes to talk to you when he wants
the treat and you aren’t giving it to him yet. Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_002

Speaking of food, Seger needs a special food due to allergies to chicken and lamb. Please don’t let that stop you from considering him as a family member.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_008It was really, really hot that day. Hence the tongues out in most of the photos. Mine was out, too.
When I got out some prop that I wanted him to wear, I can’t remember what it was, he took one look at it and went in the other direction. He said “I’ll just stay over here till you get rid of that thing.” I don’t blame him.
Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_005I told him never mind and I put it away. Then he came back.
He loves to roll…
Ted Coastal Humane Society_0096And he loves to get belly rubs…especially at the end of a hot photo session. Seger_Harvest Hills_Fryeburg_003Please share to help Seger find the perfect home for his retirement years! The shelter environment is very stressful for him.
For more information about Seger, contact Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg, Maine. 207-935-4358

Remembering Zeus: Zeus and Rock, a love story

It’s hard to believe that two years ago today we lost our beloved Zeus, one of the best Rottie boys ever, to bone cancer.
We fought hard for a year before that. In honor of Zeus, I’m sharing a story that I originally shared in the North East Rottweiler Rescue email groups.
A lot of people found it entertaining back then, and I hope you do, too.

Zeus and Rock, a love story

Zeus met Rock last week. He got him out of the stream with his own paws and with some difficulty. It was love at first sight. This isn’t his first Rock, but they seemed to have a special attachment. I know he was hoping this would be a long term relationship.
Zeus_Rottweiler with rock (2)

They played and played for days. Zeus knows to keep Rock away from his teeth.
Zeus_Rottweiler with rock (3)

Rock is the only playmate who doesn’t get upset when Zeus opens his mouth as wide as he can and barks at him.
Zeus_Rottweiler with rock (4)
Zeus_Rottweiler with rock (5)

While Zeus’ sisters can’t handle his rough play, Rock could take all Zeus could dish out.
Zeus_Rottweiler with rock (1)

Sadly, their relationship came to an abrupt end this morning when Zeus rolled Rock 10 feet to the edge of the pond and Rock fell in and sunk to the bottom. Zeus looked for him for quite awhile, and again this afternoon. We’re trying to take his mind off it.
He’ll probably find a rebound Rock tomorrow.

The end.
>—————————-<

I miss you with all my heart, Boo.

Dakota, an adoptable Husky mix in Brunswick, Maine

Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (6)bDakota is a sweet Husky mix girl with a lot of personality. Let’s share Dakota to get her a foreverhome of her very own. She’s currently at Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick, Maine.
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (3)Dakota LOVES toys and is very playful. She also is very communicative. When I was holding a toy that (she thought she) wanted, she kept talking to me in a variety of noises to let me know she wanted it. It was very cute.  Here she is letting me know that the toy should be hers.
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (4)Then when I did give it to her, she sniffed it and walked away. I guess it wasn’t as good as she thought it was going to be.
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (7)Dakota may be 5-1/2 years old, but she’s very active. She loves to chase balls and just plain run around. She does know sit, but didn’t want to sit still much during her photo session. Who can blame her, she sits around in her kennel most of the day so when she got to be outside she just wanted to play. She has been at the shelter for over 2 months.
You’ll see her frequently doing the play pose.
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (2)Did I mention she has a lot of personality?
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (8)Dakota is a smart, fun, active girl who loves people, including kids. And on top of it all she is beautiful!
She was very food motivated during our time together, and very toy motivated. The shelter says she should be an only pet.
Dakota Coastal Humane Society_0023 (5)Contact Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick for more info about Dakota. You’ll have to meet her in a play yard to fully appreciate her fun personality. The shelter’s number is 207-725-5051.