New Summer Background

This summer I had a new background made for my outdoor dog photo sessions at the shelter.  My outdoor options there are challenging because I have harsh mid morning sunlight with very little shade and the green bush I had been using as a background is now dying and not looking so good. So my brother, a very talented carpenter, put together a “fence” so I could produce a “dog in the back yard” kind of look. Here are a few samples of the new background.  The fence took an afternoon to make and cost around $40.

Serena-264-600x800Katie-259-blogGwen-162-fbClara-204-fbChica-187-fb

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sitting Pretty

Today at the shelter I photographed this boy, Koda.  He is quite photogenic and we discovered he knew a few tricks like sit, down, shake and sit pretty.  It’s really fun to find out these things while creating dog portraits.  These are things we didn’t know before but now we can this info with potential adopters.  Since he was so good in front of the camera, we showered him with flower petals for some extra fun shots.

Koda-1xKoda-2Koda-300-smKoda-337-2-smKoda-356-2-smKoda-sm

Save

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Shelter Dogs’ Life

Porgy

This is Porgy.  I have photographed him four times over the past several years (maybe five years?).  He is one of the most amazing dogs I’ve ever met.  Porgy came to Longmont Humane Society after spending nine months in a Chicago shelter while his owner was awaiting trial.  Porgy had been neglected, abused and abandoned.  LHS is well known for their training program so the Chicago shelter wanted to send him there, to help rehabilitate him.  Porgy was a great student and learned many things to help him be a good dog for the right family.

It took awhile to find a home for Porgy because he does not like other dogs.  He does however love children.  Sadly he was adopted and returned several times, for reasons not having to do with him.  I believe that over a five year period, he was adopted and brought back three times.  Porgy is now nine years old and waiting for his next family to come and get him – hopefully for keeps this time.

What amazes me about him is his on-going positive attitude.  He is always smiling, happy to see anyone who wants to say hello or take him for a walk.  And each time he comes back to the shelter he doesn’t get sad and depressed.  He smiles and wags his tale, seemingly happy to see old friends and looking forward to his next stop.  We so hope his next stop will be his last stop and that it is the best home any dog could ever hope for.

 

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Photo Sessions for Patient Pooches

Walter

Occasionally we like to get some of the shelter dogs out on a field trip for a special photo shoot.  The goal is to show off more of their personalities and to take photos in which the viewer can imagine the dog living a fun life outside of the shelter, hopefully with them. The dogs we choose to take are dogs that have been at the shelter for a long time, usually 3-12 months.  Most of our long timers, or patient pooches as we like to call them, have been at the shelter a long time because they may be reactive to other dogs and need to be the only dog in the home.  Sometimes they get over looked for no reason at all.  So, we (myself, another photographer, and four dog handlers) took 12 dogs from Longmont Humane Society to Golden Ponds for some fun.  The dogs had an amazing time eating grass, playing in the water, interacting with people and just relaxing in the sun.  Of course the humans had an amazing time too watching the dogs have so much fun.  The extra exposure can really help dogs find new homes and it gives them a break from the shelter.  I will post more photos of the other dogs soon!

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Photographing High Energy Dogs in the Shelter

walker-treat-catcher

Walker

Photographing high energy dogs in a shelter environment can be challenging.  It can be hard to get them to sit and focus long enough for you to take a good photograph since they have just come out of their kennel and need to run off some steam.  We however have limited time in which to get our photographs. When we get a dog like this, we use his personality and energy to our advantage and capture fun and whimsical images along the way. This handsome guy Walker, is always loaded with energy, but he responds well to being asked to engage in an activity.  My handler worked with Walker by running him around the room on his leash asking him to focus on her while giving him treats.  We then made a game out of treat catching. We had him sit and catch treats which he thoroughly enjoyed! Finally after 20 minutes or so, he was happy to give a nice pose for the camera.

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Tips for Photographing Shelter Dogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Dog, Little Dog!

Dozer&Tiny-final fb-logo2These boys were so fun to photograph!  Dozer, the Great Dane needed some extra care while being cared for by Lonmgont Humane Society.  He was underweight and very anxious in the shelter environment.  They paired him up with Tiny who kept him company while they also fed him extra nutritious food, high in calories.  I photographed these two boys with the help of three assistants who kept them in place, repeatedly!  It took about 20 shots to capture this pose.  At one point Dozer turned away from me and sat directly in my lap!  He stayed for several minutes and then went back to posing for his photo. Both boys have been adopted into new homes and love their new families.

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coaching Shy Dogs

Jeff 032915Quite often dogs in shelters are feeling shy or frightened which makes getting a good photograph difficult.  They don’t know why they are in the shelter, why their owner has not come for them or what will happen to them next.  Jeff was pretty nervous but responded well to human interaction. Sharron, one of my handlers (and my mother) is really good at calming nervous dogs by massaging their sides or chest in a circular motion and speaking to them softly.  She will then slowly move away from them so they can pose for their photograph. This can take several attempts and Jeff’s photos took about 10 minutes to get. He did smile for the camera and found out it can be really fun getting special attention, hugs and treats.  We did this series of photos with commentary to portray what Sharron was saying and what Jeff might be thinking. Click on the image to enlarge it to read the captions.

Posted in Photographing Shelter Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Shy Dogs, Tips for Photographing Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bam-Bam for Mayor

Bam-BamEvery 2-3 years we travel to Southwest Colorado or New Mexico.  We always make it a point to stop for coffee and take a look around in San Luis, CO.  It is a tiny little town with a population of 629 (in 2010).  On our visit in 2012, I got out of my car and noticed that a large dog with a very large head was jogging toward me on the sidewalk.  He was making a bee line right toward me.  At first it startled me.  When I see a dog without a human I immediately think he is a stray and must be lost.  I also was not sure of his intention but when I looked closer, he was smiling and wobbling in a silly dog sorta way.  He walked right up to me and leaned against my leg and invited me to scratch his ears.  I did and all four of us hugged him and gave him some affection.  We bought him some milk which he slurped up and then wobbled down the road on to the next thing.  I went into a cafe and asked the owner if she knew the dog.  She said he lives a few blocks away and just wanders around the town saying hello to people.

Fast forward to 2014.  On our trip back from New Mexico we stopped in San Luis as usual.  I was telling my mother, who was with us on this trip, about the dog that wanders the streets and how beautiful and friendly he is.  We wondered if he was still around.  We went into the cafe and told the owner about the dog I met two years earlier and asked if he was still around.

She knew exactly who we were talking about and told me we had just missed him and that he had just shared some lunch with a couple of her patrons ten minutes ago. I asked her what his name was and she happily shared this information.

“His name is Bam-Bam, although some of the kids call him Speed Bump because he likes to lay in the road.  He’s a great dog and represents our town because he walks the main streets daily and greets people and then goes home.  His owners love him, but just let him roam as he always goes home.  In fact, he is so loved by the townspeople that he was recently added to the ballot for Town Mayor.  And, HE WON the vote this past year!  Our human mayor quit, so now Bam-Bam is our official mayor.”

We were excited to learn about who this dog is, and hoped to see Bam-Bam again so we drove around town for 15 minutes trying to get a glimpse of him.  We didn’t see him so we started to leave, right when he came  around the corner!  We pulled over and got out of the car and he walked right up to us, (after looking both ways before crossing the street),  again ready to receive some ear scratches and petting.  He greeted each of us, posed for a few photos and he decided when it was time to say good-bye and he walked on down the street.

It still seems odd to me that someone would let their dog just roam the streets, especially with a highway running through the middle of town.  But this is a small town and people do things differently in small towns.  One thing I noticed that set my mind at ease was that Bam-Bam wore a dog tag with an engraving of St. Francis of Assisi (Patron of Animals) on one side.  On the other side it said, “We Love Our Dog”.

 

 

Posted in Dogs at Home, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Jesse – The Super Hero Underdog

Jessie is dressed up in his super hero underdog costume for Halloween.  Like his brother Jackie, (see Little Red Riding Hood Post) dressing up is challenging in that it makes him think and try to figure out what we are doing.  He gets lots of treats and brain stimulation when dressing up. (don’t be fooled by his frown, he rarely smiles for the camera!).


IMG_9222x IMG_9258x

Posted in Dogs at Home, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Red Riding Hood – October 2014

My dog Jackie views dressing up in costumes akin to agility training.  He was born a feral dog in New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina hit and has overcome many obstacles of being a fearful dog.  So, when we go out on photo excursions and dress up, he is challenged with figuring out what we are doing and what I want from him, as well as “what I am wearing?”.  It does not stress him out and in fact he loves the many treat rewards he gets during our sessions.  He often tries on costumes for me that I create for the shelter dogs to wear during various photo shoots throughout the year.  Here is Jackie’s most recent session, which we shot over 3 different days.  Little Red Riding Hood.  I’ll post a few photos soon of his brother Jesse in his super hero Halloween costume.

LRRH 01-fb LRRH 02-fb LRRH 03-fb LRRH 04-fb LRRH 05-fb LRRH 07-fb LRRH 08-fbA

Posted in Dogs at Home, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment