This past week I went for a walk with my friend Bonnie, and her partner Michael, Teddy her pup, my Dane Fred and myself. During our walk she reminded me that it's her old dog's 1 year anniversary, of crossing the rainbow bridge on July 7. It may seem strange to mark the day you lose a dog, but this dog was Bonnie's fur family for 11 years. So although it is not a time of celebration on this 1 year anniversary, it is one of reminiscing. We chatted a bit about her personality, and how different Teddy is, and then I asked if she would allow me write about her and Roxie's bond. She said yes :)
Question: How old was Roxie, and do you know her birth date?
Bonnie: I had her for 11 years, adopted her in Oct 2008. The vet estimated she was around 2 when she became my fur family, and she was 13 when passed in July 2019.
Question: Do you know what breed she was?
Bonnie: Roxie was a 12 lb Papilllion cross, but she was marked as a Chihuahua cross in the shelter. I was curious to find out and at some point I had her DNA tested for fun. It came back as a yorkie-poo! Ummm...no.
Question: Did you have any nick names for her?
Bonnie: Oh YEA, She had many nicknames, 12 Pounds of Evil, Roxie Roller, Rockem Sockem robot, and Roxs with Socks. It was all with love of course but she was dog reactive and could be a handful.
Question: What was your favourite thing to do together?
Bonnie: One of our favourite things was go for walks, in the rain. She never minded the rain, and because she was such as asshole to other dogs, rain meant we were less likely to run in to other people walking their dogs. So we could both relax and enjoy our walking time. Our second favourite was to go to Island View Beach for an off-leash walk with my friend Nancy and her dogs. Nancy was my dog sitter and walker, so Roxie knew her and her dogs. One on one Roxie was very dog reactive, but with Nancy's pack of dogs Roxie could interact with other dogs and not pick fights. It was always so great to see Roxie behaving like a "normal" dog
I was so honored to be able to have been there to capture some images of Roxie, shortly before she passed. She was blind and mostly deaf but still was a rock star.
A little bit from Bonnie
The day we met - I was working at a shelter and I was looking for a small 20 lb dog that would fit into my life. I had already set time aside that day to see another dog that arrived at the shelter, with a load of dogs brought over from the mainland, but as fate would hav eit he she was too heavy. So I asked about Roxie (then called Panda). I was told she may not be a good fit - she was yappy- not good in a condo. I figured I would at least check her out and I took her for a short walk around the streets at the shelter. We sat on a bench for a bit, just relaxing and checking each other out, when I decided I would give her a shot. We headed back to the shelter, and for the rest of the day she hung out behind the desk with myself and the other staff working that day. I found our more about her history and that she came with a bite report. Technically she should have been euthanized but the person who seized her fought to give her another chance. So there is 4 staff and Panda, trying to decide on a good name for her (I didn't like Panda) - we decided she needed a tough chick name since she bit someone. Co-worker suggested Roxanne (Roxie). Oh I liked that and wanted to see if Panda liked it. I look over to where Panda is interacting with another staff person, and I say "what do you think Roxie, wanna come home with me?" No word of a lie, she turned around, walked over and sat at me feet, looked me in the eyes and tilted her head to the side. That was the moment she picked me and came home with me.
Roxie was my first dog, and she taught me so much about being a dog owner and about myself as well. She was very dog reactive when it was just the 2 of us - like she felt she had to defend me. She always did great in training sessions but then out in the real world and all the training went out the window. I would see a dog and my anxiety would spike fearing Roxie would misbehave...of course she would pick up on my stress and freak out. It took me a long time to realize I was causing the exact thing I was trying to prevent. Of course, there were days I would get SO FRUSTRATED with her, I questioned why I adopted her. The dog trainer I worked with once told me Roxie came in to my life to teach me things, so shut up and listen to Roxie's lessons
I have so many stories, and wonderful memories I never gave up on Roxie. Even though she could be an asshole she was my (asshole) dog and I loved her so much. It's a year since she passed and I still miss her.
This year Bentley wanted to celebrate Pawther's day with a photoshoot. How adoreable is that? The session was booked early June and I met with Grayg & Bentley at their home just by Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC and it was the perfect location. They are blessed with a beautiful garden area in back and in front of the home they had a wonderful rock and lavender garden we took advantage of and played in for a while.
Prior to the session I had done a quick check if Bentley would like to really do it up with a glittery crown and apparently the response was a resounding "WOOOF". So I planned for some glittery magic. I arrived around 6 pm for quick introductions and a walk around then got to work, Bentley is a Portuguese Water Dog, I mistakenly thought he was a Doodle of sorts due to his curly hair and calm demeanor but nope he is a working dog.
Once I found out Bentley's lineage I did a quick google search and found out these dogs are originally from the Portuguese region of the Algarve (so cool) and they were taught to herd fish into fishermen's nets, retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and act as couriers from ship to ship, or ship to shore. Now that is a working dog. Breeders also say that they are hypo-allergenic dogs, but really they just don't shed much which is a bonus and has made the breed more popular. Oh and here's a fun fact, President Obama also had 2 of these dogs named Bo and Sunny, which also boosted their popularity as a family pet.
Now back to Bentley. He was the most laid back dude I have met, and was happy to spend some time lounging in the sun spots in the back yard, or nuzzle his favorite toy Lamby. Bentley really wanted him included in the photoshoot but Lamby was just not photo ready that day, so we subbed in fur dad Grayg. I think Bentley approved as you can see that smile from miles around.
What a great gift Bentley gave his fur dad this year, happy pawther's day all!
I adore old dogs, their personalities always make me laugh, I mean, I really wish they spoke to us I would love to know what they think. Anyhow, I had the pleasure to work with a senior pair of 12 years young, and just adorable. Luna and Shadow are Sister and Brother, thick as thieves and partners in crime. We had booked a Limited Edition Porch session for June 6. June on the island is a tricky month, sometimes it is one of the wettest times of the year when it should be going into summer so it was touch and go. On the upside the home they live is had loads of room, and great light so there was a backup but everything cleared up just in time and we got some wonderful images of these seniors.
This is Luna, a graceful aging beauty living the life at 84 years old she still guards her people. They say age mellows you but not Luna, she is spry and attentive as a 35 year old. Luna had a bit of a rough start as she is a rescue pup (thank you Victoria Humane Society for being amazing) but quickly found her furever home with bro Shadow.
This is Shadow, a little bundle of sass and class. Shadow is the chill of the pair, and loves to just watch what is going on at all times. I think it's because he's looking for some fallen morsel of food or treat. He is another graceful senior at 84 as well he's a grandpa basically, but when you look at his face you can still see his quirky little puppy behind the grey beard.
Luna and Shadow's mum was so happy we could make this happen, at their age you just don't know how much longer you will have them around, and she has been planning a session for quite a while. All the stars aligned and I am so happy we could make it happen.
If you’re anything like me, you think your pet is the BEST PET EVER! Haha, no question :) And you're obviously wanting to take photos of your perfect peach but alas you just can’t seem to get that shot that’s right there before you. It’s like your pet knows you’re trying to take their picture and they're like “Ahhhh, I don’t feel like it today… thanks though”. Bogus. And truly it actually comes down to just a few key things.
1. being ready
2. having good light
3. being creative
Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a great shot of your pet using your mobile phone (because let’s be honest that’s what’s accessible in the moment).
1. Have your phone ready to go.
It might seem strange but if you know you’re in-it-to-win-it have your phone ready, don’t see the shot and then wish “UGH, I wish I had my phone!!” Maybe even tell Junior that you’re intending to take a really nice photo of him, hence why you’re phone is out so if they’re up for it, show off their moves or blue steel and you’re ready to snap it.
2. Let there be Light
Obvious lighting can make or break a great photograph, so if you're outdoors, be sure it is the right time of day, and keep the sun to your back, or in other words have your pet facing the light source ( the sun). Try using shaded area’s where there is more even light that won’t ‘wash out’ your pet. The best and most pleasing light is the light either in the late afternoon/early evening or early morning, where the sun won’t be too harsh.
3. Keep it Simple Silly
One trick to making a shot stand out is limiting clutter. So if you see your cutie snoozing and you are able, try to move some of the clutter like the coffee cup on the table or other distractions. Keep the area simple and clean looking. Another way is to get CLOSE up to your dog, and reduce clutter that way. Location, Location, Location
Think about your dog’s personality when figuring out where to take the photos. For example, if your dog really loves his bed, then try taking a few photos there. AND Attention
Try getting your dogs attention. It may take some serious creativity but it’s so worth it. Think about a word that may work to get them to look at you, or you can use a treat or a squeaky toy and hold it with one hand next to the lens. Just remember they are kind of like squirrels but don’t overuse it. Set your scene up and then try and get their attention with any means possible :) AND Its all about the Angles.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and have some fun with it. Take some shots from behind your pet or from above looking into their adoreable eyes or get down to their level and grab an action shot of them holding or chewing a toy. Maybe a game of tug-of-war could look cool… use your imagination and have some fun with it.
These are the moments of our lives and they’re meant to be captured so we can look back with pride years after. Adorn your pet with loving, memorable photos. And of course if you need any help with the above give me a call.
If you don't know by now, I am animal crazy (although I may have some challenges with spiders) I really enjoy them around the house. The past few months have seen a major change in how much time we spend at home, and my brood of critters are loving the change. It also offers opportunities to foster. I saw a story about Kings Harvest Animal Shelter that have had to shutter their doors as they have temporarily emptied out their shelter, having all their dogs find foster homes ! How amazing is that?
So, that brings me to Fred. Life can turn on a dime, and put you in a position you never though would happen, but that's what happened to Fred. He needed to find a new home through no fault of ANYONE's. After some time he came for a day visit to see if he would like to live with us. Did he fit with the busyness of the home, and the number of other animals etc. He walked in like a big brother to Honey and 2 weeks later he came to us for fostering. Since that time, he has settled in like a champ and learning to get along with the smaller critters in the household. He is a big bro to Honey, and they are constantly tussling and playing chase. I never thought I would foster and this may end up in a 'Foster Fail' with Fred remaining with us but either way, I adore it. So if you are able I strong suggest looking at Fostering a Dog in need, they do so much better in a home vs a shelter and who knows you may end up being a 'failure' as well.
I am sure you know that a Puggle is a mix between Beagle and Pug dog breeds. If you google their breed they are fairly popular, thanks to his personality and cute looks ( I mean seriously look at that cute mug). They are great with kids and other dogs, and can make a great family companion, BUT they may enjoy barking ( bit too much ) and possibly too intelligent which may lead to being stubborn to train. But if you are up for the challenge, they are absolutely amazing. I wanted to find out more about Milo so I had a few question for his mom Michelle.
Question: How old is Milo, and do you know his birth date?
Milo’s Mum: We have had Milo since he was 3 months old. We got him from a Breeder in 2006, so he is going to be 14 in November
Question: Is Milo your only fur baby?
Milo’s Mum: Milo is the grumpy old man but we also have 2 British Shorthair cats that just adore snuggling him and torment him equally.
Question: What is your favorite thing to do with your pet(s)?
Milo’s Mum: Milo loves his hikes, so we take him out whenever we can. I did mention he is 14 right??
Question: What is that one thing your dog does that will ALWAYS make you smile, or brighten your day.
Milo’s Mum: He often gets a wall-eyed pug look expression on his face that makes us laugh. Or his lips get stuck on his gums I think they call that look the ‘snaggletooth’ it is hilarious.
Question: If you could share your experience working with Kim.
Michelle: ‘Kim has a great love for animals. She takes care and detail in her work and creates the most stunning animal wall art!’
Awe thank you Michelle, it was amazing to work with you.
Meet Lewis, our heroic Great Dane! You MAY recognize him from Check TV’s news article. Lewis was the puppy that played a role in finding the escaped inmates in Esquimalt.
So onto more about Lewis, he attended the Fund Raiser in Shawnigan Lake in November, and I was thrilled to have a big guy to work with, as you know I love Danes, they have such goofy energy, they are such great cuddlers. Anyhow I wanted to touch base with Trish, Lewis’ fur mum to get more about their relationship and how fame has changed him (spoiler alert - it hasn’t phased him in the least).
Question: Other than nabbing escaped inmates, what do you and this big cuddle bug love to do in your down time?
Mum Says: Lewis just loves walks and it goes without saying he just ADORES lounging on the couch. He is an adventure dog and travels with us alot in our motor home. Frankly as long as he is with us (his humans) he is the most happy.
Question: Who are the members of your fur family and tell me a quick fact about each one.
Mum Says: We are a small family unit of 3 and the occasional visit from our son _ who he just loves as well.
Fun fact, Lewis has his minute of fame, as his size and good looks caught the attention of 2 escaped convicts. When they commented on how big Lewis was, my husband realized who they were and called 911. Keeping a distance, he followed until Vic PD came and arrested them.
Question: I know this was a limited edition session, and quick however, what was your favorite parts of your session.
Mum Says: The photo session was awesome! We had a very warm welcome, and felt comfortable right away. Lewis was treated like a star, getting treats and water and so much attention, I think it started going to his head.
Question: What props/toys did you bring and why?
Mum Says: I didn't think to bring props, but it’s a must for our next session. Since it was a bit Christmas themed it was really cute to see all the other dogs with Christmas collars and would be a perfect gift. PS. Your squeaky toy was great for getting Lewis' attention for the perfect shot!
Question: What are some words of wisdom you have for other families preparing for a session?
Mum Says: Squeaky toys are a must! And although Lewis loved the treats, I would hold off until the end of the session as a reward.
Boy, can he drool!
(Very good point!)
Question: Were you worried about any parts of the session beforehand? If so, what were the worries?
Mum Says: No, I wasn't really worried about the session, and the minute we got there, you made sure we felt comfortable. It was so fun!! You definitely have picked the right career! You can tell you love what you are doing and do it well!
(I really DO love working with them!)
On a side note, this beautiful boy is from a local breeder on the island named Jonnie Danes.
When you stumble upon an old video and your heart goes and skips a beat. I miss you my goofy friend.
Some goofy facts about Pink Floyd my Great Dane
I always wonder how owners decide on a pets name don’t you? Well I decided to ask this little gems mum a few questions about her name, why she picked it and what they like to do together.
Question: What kind of dog is she, and how did you come up with her name. Was it Stevie Nicks as inspiration?
Stevie’s Mum: I like the name Stevie, and I thought it would be cute for such a little tomboy puppy like her to have a name of Stevie. The name seems to be catching on but when I picked it she was and in my eyes is the one and only Stevie. Oh yea, she is a minnie aussie/sheltie mix, and she is 11 months old.
Question: So what activity do you just adore doing with your dog?
Stevie’s Mum: Stevie and I adore hiking around taking in the sites of Vancouver Island. We live is such a gorgeous place, you can hike to the top of a mountain or stroll along a beach it’s the best thing to do with my girl. Plus she seems to love it. Another thing I like is working with Stevie on different training commands, it’s a great way to create a tight bond, oh and of course, after all that we just loooove to snuggle.
Question: How many fur babies are in the family?
Stevie’s Mum: So far Stevie is an only child.
Question: When you had your session, what were your expectations?
Stevie’s Mum: I was a bit worried I might not be able to get Stevie to follow commands or hold positions long enough to capture great photos. Stevie is still a puppy and you know how they can be, particularly since we were shooting outdoors. There could be so many distractions, and I had not considered bringing props or toys. I shouldn’t have worried though Kim had some squeaky toys, and that help kept her attention. Although the BEST thing to get Stevie’s attention was the different animal noises Kim would make. The best one was an oinking one. That got a few images of Stevie with her ears perked up wondering what it was making the noise.
Question: Do you have anything to share with someone booking a session with Kim?
Stevie’s Mum: Don't go into the session with to many expectations, or be too stressed out. It may feel a bit much but just let it flow naturally and Kim will deliver awesome photos of your pet!
Bob Segar or best known as ‘Segar’ swung by with is humans back in June 2019 for a very cute puppy session. He comes from a littler just across the street from my home, and we think he is a mix of Great Dane, and Werminer and Lab, to be honest no one is quite sure but the bigger Segar gets the more GD seems to shine through.
Segar was still very young when we worked together I think he was around 16 weeks old and just a joy. He honestly sat and posed like a champ no issues! I mean look at the images of him below. What a regal dude.
The entire session his humans were oohing, and ahhhing and so proud of how good a boy he was being. (He really was, it was minimal treats for this boy, he nailed it)
On a side note, I just love working with black on black for dogs, the images just look so striking.
Anyhow, Segar, I hope will get an update to his images at his 1 year mark… and then we can really see how big he is. For now enjoy his little puppy faces.
Kim is a pet and people photographer who likes to think of herself as someone who can give you the opportunity to time travel through portraits. The blogs are of sessions, tips, tricks, and behind the scene video's to get to know more about what she does and how.