We had so much fun and produced so many incredible photos during our first West Paw photo shoot that just a few months later, I got a call to start planning the next one! This time, they had two brand new toys Zogoflex toys that were getting ready to launch at SuperZoo — the Zwig, for dogs to love to play with sticks (or twigs!), and the Rando, a super fun squishy oddly-shaped ball that changes direction with every bounce.
Just like our last shoot, we had an awesome selection of models to choose from. Most of the doggos we chose were rescues and the puppies were even available for adoption at the time of our shoot! So cool, right? I love working with companies who are open to working with all breeds and mixes!
Our first location was an incredible little field behind a pond. You wouldn’t think much of it but as the sun rose up over the horizon, it set the sky ablaze with golden light — perfect for our Golden Retriever, Moby! I couldn’t have asked for a better morning!
Next up were two past clients of mine, flyball champs Kendyll and Kiyah! These two are serious about their ball games. They both loved playing with the Zwig and Rando toys. They were so tired after our playtime was up!
Have you ever seen pure bliss? I’m pretty sure this is it!
Moby wanted to play more fetch and his mom was ready and willing to give him a bath later that day, so we decided to get wet. We had a perfect pond to play in and Moby couldn’t wait to hop on in! The Zwig toy was perfect for tossing because it floats and is so bright that Moby didn’t have any trouble spotting it in the water.
You knew this shake was coming, right?
After we got sufficiently dirty, we cleaned ourselves up and headed to a beautifully remodeled house belonging to a people photographer I know. She was kind enough to let us rent it out/overtake it with dogs for a few hours.
First up was Buckingham, a ridiculously cute little nugget who, before our shoot, had one favorite toy in the whole world. After our shoot, though? I’m pretty sure the Zwig is a new fav. He sat there and chewed on it for at least a half-hour. He was so happy!
We played with the Rando, too, which he clearly also enjoyed.
When Buckingham started to get a little tired, we brought in little Miss Miley. She was utterly thrilled to chase the Rando ball all around the house and chew on the Zwig!
To conclude our session, Rosie’s mom (from our first shoot) brought two adorable little puppies who were available for adoption from Rancho Coastal Humane Society in San Diego.
Just like during our first shoot, I worked with Jeremy, the most amazing videographer out there. He created these super awesome product videos that work so seamlessly with the stills I took. Give them a watch!
Zwig™ with Zogoflex Echo™ - YouTube
Rando™ Dog Ball with Zogoflex Echo™ - YouTube
We really love telling the stories of brands and products that we believe in. Whether you’re thinking about still photography or still plus video, check out a little more about how the whole process works or just get in touch!
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Gah! I’m so excited to finally get to share these images! A few months ago, West Paw — a super-awesome dog brand from Bozeman, Montana — and I began planning a commercial photo shoot to tell the story of some new collars and leashes. We had to keep everything very hush-hush since the products weren’t yet on the market and were going to be revealed at Global Pet Expo.
As I went out and scouted urban, beach, and country locations in San Diego, West Paw and Westway (that’s really fun to say) put out a model call for dogs and their parents. We had an amazing response and received so many applications from dogs we would have loved to work with. In the end, we chose a mix of sizes and breeds who we felt would not only show off the products the best, but also represent a variety of dogs just like yours and mine. One of the things I loved most about our models is that West Paw didn’t restrict them to being only purebreds; we had quite a few shelter mutts! My favorite!
Our first location was an urban spot with a great crosswalk and café where we could sit & enjoy a coffee. Yes, I was in the middle of the road to get this shot. Yes, I had spotters. Yes, I was afraid of being run over. No, I did not get run over. Yes, I got many odd looks from passing cars. And, yes, it was totally worth it for the shot! That’s Jack Flash and Bailey. They were superstars!
A little later, Bailey and her new Saint Bernard friend Beowoof (how ridiculously awesome is his name?!) got to hang out for a while as their moms chatted over coffee. Bailey thinks she smells bacon; Beowoof is a realist and knows it’s for the table next to them.
Later that afternoon, we headed to the beach! Nala came out to play, first! She is the happiest Vizsla I’ve ever met and always has a smile on her face. We were tossing one of West Paw’s Zogoflex toys for her and she couldn’t get enough!
Kira and her mom drove all the way from Arizona to model for us! Kira got to play with one of West Paw’s Zisc toys as she modeled her perfectly coordinated collar and leash. A fun fact about Kira is that when I was fiiiiiirst learning the art of pet photography and attended a workshop all about it, Kira was one of our models. I absolutely love that we’ve stayed in touch all these years!
This beautiful, happy, wet, drippy beast is Rosie. Her mom volunteers with Rancho Coastal Humane Society and brought some puppies to our next shoot — but you’re going to have to wait for that blog post another day!
Rosie looooved to run and play at the beach. She was so, so happy the whole time! You might be asking who that is in the background in the image below… that’s Jeremy! We worked together on this shoot to capture still and video on this project. Our work really complements each other’s so we’re going to be putting together some packages for future commercial clients who want to add a little video to their photo shoots!
The next morning, we set off to the country for some sparkly morning sunshine shots. This goooorgeous black lab is Tallulah. She loved to explore the trails with her dad.
A fellow photographer and friend came out with her stunning brindle pup, Sadie. Sadie was laser-focused and was happy to be sniffing and adventuring in the chilly morning air.
Next up was Jack, who happens to be Tallulah’s brother. He was all about getting to play in the creek! I think he would have stayed there all day!
Later that afternoon, we headed over to some of my very favorite drippy pepper trees. The light just sparkles through them and I knew it’d be a perfect spot for Mike and his mama to hang out.
After we finished up by the pepper trees, I went over to join Kahlua and her mom on the porch. The yellow flowers were in full bloom, so we had to put on the goldenrod Strolls hemp collar to match! I loved that these two didn’t take themselves too seriously. Clearly we had some really good laughs!
After all the laughs, we picked up the pace a little. Dory took us for a jog and showed us how to look absolutely fabulous while working out. Will she be coming out with her own workout video? I don’t know, but I sure hope so!
There’s no better way to wrap up two days of shooting than to get really ridiculously muddy so we grabbed Mike and told him it was time to get messy! The Jaunts collar that he was modeling is perfect for dirty dogs since it cleans up easily. And who doesn’t love a dirty dog? Well, probably their parents since they have to give the pup a bath! Hah!
I’m absolutely thrilled with how these photos came out and beyond excited that I got to work with such an amazing company. West Paw’s products are super-high quality and made in the USA, they have awesome customer service, and they’re so generous to non-profits — they donated all the toys we used in the photo shoot plus a ton of beds and blankets that they brought down from Montana to my favorite rescue, Lionel’s Legacy.
As I mentioned above, we did a second shoot for some more new products a few months after this one, so keep an eye out on the blog if you want to see those photos!
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One of my very favorite mantras in the whole world is adopt don’t shop. There are so many incredible dogs out there who have been abandoned through no fault of their own. Shelters are overcrowded and euthanizing dogs simply because they need to make room. Some shelters may not euthanize healthy dogs but if there’s even the slightest medical issue — no matter how treatable — that dog could be at risk of losing her life.
Here’s where Lionel’s Legacy comes in. They scoop up the elderly dogs, the seniors who may be perfectly healthy or the ones who need massive surgeries to be comfortable. They don’t give up on these dogs simply because of age or illness. The whole Lionel’s family are truly angels on earth, making a huge difference for dogs in need.
A few weeks ago, I met up with the Lionel’s gang to photograph some of their adoptable pups. We met at Balboa Park on an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was shining, the dogs were happy, and everyone was in great spirits!
So, without further ado, here are some of the senior puppies who are in search of their forever homes where they can live out their second chances with an abundance of love, warm beds strewn about the house, and all the good stuff that makes life worth living. Descriptions provided by Lionel’s Legacy.
Chicali is a big old lug who has spent his life in and out of the shelter and clearly shows signs of being a backyard hooligan. All of that has changed now that he’s a senior sweetie! Chicali is living the life with his furfriends and thanks to some good arthritis and pain meds he’s feeling a lot more comfortable. Chicali will be headed back to the vet for a dental soon and to have a few little old man lumps and bumps removed.
Well it was only a few short weeks ago when we were at the emergency room and Becky was fighting for her life. Becky had a wicked bout of Pancreatitis that we believe was connected to her Phenobarbital for a seizure disorder. After the ER visit she was transferred to Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital for about a week under the watchful eye of Jeffrey S Cohen Veterinarian who also had to treat her for pneumonia and rule out some other medical complaints and symptoms. We want you to know they donated 100% of their care knowing how much we had already spent at the ER. They knew this was a special case and that Becky wasn’t ready to pack her bags and close up shop just yet. As you can see she’s back to herself and doing amazingly well.
Jack is a petite little guy whose cute little ears flop up and down when he runs. He lives in a home with big and small dogs and has the merriest little personality. He’s up to date on vaccines, potty trained, and has even had sleep overs at other foster homes. They have all said, “4 paws up for Jack!”
Champion was rescued by Lionel’s Legacy in August of 2017 after being picked up and brought to the shelter multiple times. He’s not very mobile, so it was a mystery how this kept happening until we learned he had a younger brother who was an escape artist and Champion would follow along (slowly). While Champion has some mobility and thyroid issues, he is a sweet and happy (and obviously handsome!) guy. His foster parents have this to say about Champion, aka Champ Champ aka Grandpa Champs:
He came to us very nervous and uncomfortable with people. He also has had hip and joint problems since then. Over the last few months he’s really opened up emotionally with our little family, which includes our 8-month-old puppy. He loves to have his neck scratched and ears rubbed, and he’ll push up against you with his head when he wants cuddles. He’s very sweet, calm, and quiet, and he loves to nap under the tree. He also enjoys his walks, even though he gets worn out quickly and often has been stumbling and unable to get back up on his own. He’s really a tremendous joy to have around, and he’s such a sweet old man. His smile will melt your heart!
What can we say, Lily is like a beautiful flower who finally got her opportunity to blossom! Lily recently had a Mast cell tumor removed from her toe and the entire toe had to be removed to get good margins. She’s on the mend and beginning to get back to dog life! She is a younger senior at about 7 or 8 years old and loves kids and people and is learning to play with her canine friends. In fact, her new buddy Dozer is teaching her a thing or two about play bows, chase, you name it! He’s an older gent so the good mentor in him advises and watches while she tries things out. Lily is adoptable even though she had an isolated mast cell tumor on her toe. Lily had remarkable lab work and showed no signs of any spread so we’re hopeful her tumor was isolated and we are treating her preventatively with Benadryl and omeprazole.
Sam is a Louisiana transplant thanks to all of the horrible hurricanes that hit our country this year. He is a Labrador retriever weighing at about 70 lbs. and is 6-7 years young. After living many years in a kennel he has been acclimating to a home life with cats, dogs and people. He likes to a have a quiet space to go to in his foster home but has learned to really enjoy socializing and playing with others. Sam is a very sweet boy and a little on the shy side so he’d do great with a buddy (cat or dog) to show him the ropes in a new home. Females are his favorite, so far its the girlies who have showed him around his new home in San Diego. He’s already been to the beach, Liberty Station and Balboa Park. He loves exploring and would appreciate a nice sized yard. So what do you think? He’s a hunk isn’t he? Those golden eyes just mesmerize you! Sam is neutered, prefers not to be crated after living many years in a dog run and is house trained. He would be fine with kids but do best with older children who have a better understanding of monitoring sound and activity levels around him.
Little Jo is the cutest and there is no denying that! She came from Orange County shelter and clearly her previous owners didn’t appreciate her like we do! Jo likes to hang and snuggle, she lives with other dogs big and small but she just wants to be loved, plain and simple. Jo is about 10 years old and is looking for someone to adore her as much as we do!
Velma had a very large ulcerated mammary mass when she came to us and we weren’t sure if she’d survive surgery. Here we are 4 months later and this girl is still going strong!
Martini and Kahlua
Martini is best served with Kahlua! At least thats want this dynamic duo is saying! Martini and Kahlua are a bonded pair and very dynamic duo who have lived their lives side by side, drink by drink… out of the water bowl, of course! Martini and her sister Kahlua have been around lots of other canines, kids, and live changes and have kept on trucking along. They have had lab work done, both had dentals and have been medically cleared to find a family who enjoys drinking (water) just as much as they do!
Happy was given her name for the simplest reason possible, justly at her face! Happy currently lives with other dogs but she would be just as content being numero uno. Happy is smart, she is a terrier blend and she is also potty trained. Because Happy was a bit overweight before coming to us she does have a weakened trachea so we use a harness while walking and that really seems to help. Keeping her weight managed has made a huge difference and she can keep up with the others without any issues!
Fezziwig is feeling a bit glum these days, he is still hanging out at Casa De Lionel after 2 fosters flaked and never even gave him a chance. All he wants is a chance. Fezziwig is blind, very mellow, great with dogs and cats. He needs a place to stay (hopefully forever). He sleeps most of the day and night and doesn’t make a peep. In order to make room for more senior sweeties the ones at Casa De Lionel must find homes first. When you foster, Lionel’s Legacy provides all the necessary, supplies, and veterinary services; you provide the love!
The Great & Powerful Oz
Between diabetes, a broken and dislocated jaw, and micro eye damage from an infection, this little guy had a lot to overcome when @lionels_legacy scooped him up from the Bonita shelter. The Great and Powerful Oz is steadily building strength, though, thanks to his amazing foster family! He has been gaining weight, exploring the yard, and his personality is beginning to show. He has even found his voice and is barking with his new doggo buddies!
If you feel so inclined, check out Lionel’s Legacy and the work they are doing for dogs like the ones above… dogs who have been mistreated and discarded, dogs who would otherwise be euthanized and forgotten. Lionel’s gives these dogs a second chance at a life filled with love and joy. They can always use donations and new foster families. Please consider making a difference!
It was still dark when my alarm went off but my typical grogginess was pushed aside with sheer excitement! Today was the day we were hopping on a plane to Florida to teach our second and third luxury pet photography workshops with my partner, Pittsburgh, PA-based Nicole Begley from Hair of the Dog. Everything was in place: we reserved the most incredible “bungalow” — an insanely gorgeous beachfront home and two back apartments — that would be our home for the next 10 days; doggie models were scheduled; and we had 18 students from all over the US, Canada, and Australia headed our way!
Hey, that’s us! Terran’s on the left, Nicole is on the right.
When we arrived, the beach house was more than we could have ever dreamed. Upon entering, our eyes were drawn through the exquisitely-designed home, out the back doors, past the hammock and tiki hut, through the dunes, and to the ocean — where we saw dolphins jumping out of the water almost daily! Welcome to paradise!
Nicole and I were there to teach and Greg was there to keep us all fed, help with cleaning up, run errands (oh, no! we need toothpaste!), provide IT support (it’s not turning on!), and to make sure things ran as smoothly as possible. I know, I know, I’m quite lucky to have a guy who would take a week of vacation time to come play chef and housekeeper for us. In typical Everyone Loves Greg fashion, everyone loved Greg and showered him with compliments about how he should become a chef and run his own workshop parallel to ours teaching significant others how to be supportive partners. I wish I had a picture of Greg in the kitchen or at the grill to put here. You’ll all just have to imagine it. Wait, here’s a cell phone shot of him in the living room!
But enough about Greg (oh, I’m so mean!), let’s talk about the workshop! Before I tell you about all the dogs, I need to show you where we taught a large number of our classes… under the tiki hut! It was large enough for everyone to sit around and we had a TV so we could hook up our computers and show our slides. Not too shabby, eh?
Now onto Week One’s doggos! This is Mr. Furley. I know, I know, you just died of cuteness overload. I did, too. Mr. Furley is a chocolate labradoodle and was one of the happiest, most lovable dogs I’ve ever met. He and his dad came to the house on our first night of shooting. His scruffy face, gregarious personality, and award-winning smile made working with him super hard — I just wanted to squish him with kisses and give him treats!
This is a little behind the scenes of some students working with Mr. Furley. Yeah, that’s our driveway. It’s a hard life.
Nacho also came to model for us that first night. He’s NOT-CHYO DOG. We had way too much fun saying that… but it’s really hard to type out so maybe the joke comes through and maybe it doesn’t. Moving along. Nacho’s ears were absolutely amazing and we had a BLAST photographing him!
As the sun set that night, we had to get a silhouette of Nacho and his mama in the sand dunes. It was just too perfect!
On our second shoot, the incredibly talented Emilee Miller and her pup, Truman, drove something crazy — like 3 hours — to model for us! I think it was totally worth it, though. The Florida sunlight was just dripping through the trees and I love the little moments we were able to capture of them together. Swoon!
The next morning was filled with some of the most well-behaved pups I’ve ever seen. Kiah the Australian Cattle Dog (aka Blue Heeler) was showing off all her tricks, including “sit pretty!” There’s just something about Cattle Dogs that I absolutely adore. They’re so happy, smart, and eager to please.
And this dude! Vinnie came all the way from Pennsylvania to model for us! Yup! He is a service dog and was able to hop a flight with his mama all the way down to Florida. Talk about awesome! Vinnie loved every minute of his shoot… then again, it might have been all the cookies.
Our third pup to join us on this beautiful morning was Molly, a gorgeous 12½ year-old labradoodle who doesn’t look — or act — a day past three. She happens to be the dog of photography legend Skip Cohen. When Nicole told me they were coming, I about fell off my chair. Holy macaroni! Molly is one of the most photographed dogs in the world and has been photographed by industry icons like Bambi Cantrell, among many others. Knowing that I was going to add my name — and all of our students’ names — to that list was a little intimidating… so I didn’t tell the students who Skip was until after they started shooting. Hah!
I love capturing little moments between dogs and their parents so I knew I had to grab a shot of Skip and Molly.
After all the dry-land portraits, we let Molly hop into the water. She loved chasing her ball and splashing around!
After we packed up, we went over to some picnic tables and Skip gave us all an amazing 20-minute talk about marketing for photographers. We are so grateful to him for not only coming out with Molly but for sharing his wisdom with us!
And that, my friends, wrapped up Week One. We took some photos to celebrate!
Some of us (including me on the far left) weren’t very good jumpers. *sigh*
To start off our second workshop, Zipp and Rosie, the two adorablest (that’s my new word, ok?) Boston Terrier pups around, made a long drive to come model for us. Zipp has class and distinction with her gray face while Rosie is 100% goofball.
And we had a Maltese-Pomeranian puppy. I’ll let soak that in. The fulffage! The scruffage! The squishage! This is Lily Belle. Breathe.
She loved her human sister and was so happy to be held! Oh, the sweetness!
After we all recovered from the first evening’s shoot, the next night we headed over to a favorite spot at Emerson Point Preserve. This is Scout and he wins the award for Greatest Ears of All Time.
The light was ooey, gooey, and yummy and Scout clearly loved his mama so much, we just had to get some portraits of them together. The look of joy and love between them just melts me!
Little pibble Genysis also came out to model for us. She loved her frisbee and was soooooo excited when we got it out! This is the throw it, throw it, throw it! I’m ready! face.
On our final shoot, all the black dogs came out to model for us! Here are Hoover and Stella… can you guess how Hoover got his name? Their mama was a HUGE help to Nicole and me; she gave us ideas of some locations to check out (including this one) and she got one of the parks to keep its gates open for us a little later than normal so we could shoot until sunset. Woohoo!
Reign, the black German Shepherd, and Rousey (named after Ronda Rousey) the sable German Shepherd, came to model for us, too. Reign was so regal while Rousey…
…Rousey was rowdy! She loved chasing giant sticks and would carry around more than one in her mouth. She was such a ham!
To wrap up Week Two, we took some group photos again!
We were better jumpers this time. Peter Pan and Mary Poppins were apparently in our group… can you spot them?
We had such an incredible 10 days in Florida and it was really hard to leave. Being able to teach aspiring pet photographers and help steer them down the path of running a profitable and fulfilling business is truly a dream come true… and being able to teach from the tiki hut or in a pool with 80º water? Well, that’s just a hardship I’ll endure for the greater good. And yes, we really did teach a class in the pool one day.
I’d like to close out this post by leaving a little message to all of our students: I am so incredibly proud of you for believing in yourselves, your businesses, and your dreams! You are all taking the baby steps and leaps of faith that you need to live the life you want. It is an honor to be a part of your journey. xo
After photographing 19 dogs and their families over the course of two days, I knew I was going to be mentally and physically exhausted. I also knew that there’s no better cure for it than to get outside, take a hike, and breathe in the fresh air. I put out a call for adventure dogs who wanted to take me on their favorite hikes and these two incredible Belgian Mailnois pups, Trigger and Ammo, answered the call. Well, their mom did.
Trigger, Ammo, and their parents love hiking all around Mission Trails in Santee. They really love the N. Fortuna Trail for its incredible views but it’s a big one so we decided for the sake of time to try the shorter Oak Canyon Trail (two miles round-trip). It was a nice and easy trail, although it did have a lot of rocks to maneuver around. When we get some good rain, there is a creek and a waterfall!
These two working-breed brothers are right around a year old and absolutely full of energy and personality. They’ve already had a ton of training and are extremely well-behaved.
Oh, and they really like to climb trees! Yes, you heard that right: they climb trees. Their dad climbs them and they bounce right up after him. It’s pretty incredible!
Don’t forget to bring plenty of water with you. Even in cooler temperatures, this trail has a lot of sun; you and your pups will want to stay hydrated! These two love to drink out of dad’s Camelback.
I’m fairly certain Trigger and Ammo think they’re just part of one giant rock cairn.
The color along our walk was spectacular! Around every bend there was something new to see and new colors to enjoy.
When we got far enough down the trail that there was no one else around, the dogs were allowed to run. And run, they did! Holy macaroni, you guys, these two are fast. You can understand why this breed is often chosen for law enforcement work. They waited patiently until dad gave the command to go and as soon as he called them, they spun on a dime and raced back. Yeah, Roxy doesn’t do that.
Also, can I just comment on the light right here? Because I’m telling you, this is the light of my dreams!
The sun was setting and we made it as far as this little bridge before we decided to turn around and head back. Dad sat down and the two pups came over to shower him with adoration.
Trigger and Ammo are always alert. They are always watching their mom, dad, each other, and their surroundings.
And they are happy, happy, happy dogs. Look at that face!
The Oak Canyon Trail was quite beautiful and I’d love to go back again.
Thank you, Trigger and Ammo, for taking me to Mission Trails and introducing me to a new hike! I had a blast!
With the second half of November upon us and cooler winter temperatures ahead, now is the perfect time to #optoutside. I know everyone thinks San Diego is perfect in summertime but not me; winter is my favorite season. It’s cool outside during the day, which means Roxy and I can adventure anywhere, anytime without worry and there are way fewer people out and about… plus, there are warm chai lattes, hearty soups, sweaters, and wood fires. What’s not to love about winter? But I digress… let’s talk adventure!
A big part of getting out there with the peace and quiet of nature is making sure you’re prepared, so Roxy and I have put together a list of our 10 favorite things you need to do adventure right!
#1 Hiking Boots & Socks
On any adventure we take — be it urban or off the beaten path — good footwear is essential to the quality of the adventure. It should be so comfortable that you’re not even aware it’s there but who says it can’t also be stylish?
When it comes to luxe comfort for adventures, my hands-down favorite socks are the Darn Tough Hike/Trek socks. They are incredibly comfortable, antibacterial, breathable, come with lifetime warranties, and are so colorful (I looooove color!) that you’ll almost be sad to lace up your boots… except that Keen knows how to make a boot equally comfortable, functional, and beautiful. My favorite? The Women’s Targhee II. I’ve been wearing these for years and am due for a new pair this season (and hello, that green is my color!). They’re waterproof, breathable, have incredible traction and ankle support, and are guaranteed all-day comfort. Perfection!
Footwear for dogs? Absolutely! While Roxy refuses to wear booties no matter what, less persnickety dogs will find a huge benefit to wearing them. When you’re out blazing your own trails, the terrain can get tough. Protecting dog paws from the slippery, sharp, gritty, hot, or frozen ground is essential to ensuring your adventures aren’t cut short.
For an excellent, hardy, all terrain dog boot, consider Ruffwear Grip Trex. Pair them with Bark’n Boot Liners that will protect from rubbing, irritation, and increase comfort (especially in dogs who have dew claws) with their quick drying, reinforced construction.
Base layers for the winter and a breathable hoodie for the warmer months are invaluable when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. When you can combine those necessities into one perfect top? Even better!
Great for a summer evening or fall day — and comfortably layered on a chilly winter outing — the Smartwool Women’s Merino 250 Drape Neck Hoody takes the cake for adventure tops. This top helps regulate body temperature and is light, warm, stylish, and even has a kangaroo pocket! And look at the fun pattern! Really, anything Smartwool makes can’t be beat.
Yes, more dog clothes! But believe me, it is not just about how cute they look. Dog jackets give protection against the elements, especially for our smaller or shorter-haired doggies who are sensitive to wet and cold, as well as extra protection against pests such as ticks. These jackets also benefit all of us dog parents out there: they help keep Bandit’s mid section clean and dry so hopping into the car or joining you in the tent only requires a quick paw wipe and jacket removal. My favorite go-to jacket for most seasons? Ruffwear Overcoat Jacket. Fleece lined, durable, and water-resistant. It’s comfortable and perfect for chillier days!
The Ruffwear Approach Pack is so much more than a way to make your dog carry their own stuff (but that’s nice too!). This dog backpack is brightly colored with reflective trim, super hardy, has a harness-style system for stability and comfort, two leash attachment locations, and a convenient handle. It’s the perfect size for a one or two day adventure, allowing your dog to carry their own food, water, and supplies. Pack it in; pack it out!
It’s not a terrible inconvenience for me to carry extra water and snacks for Roxy, but it’s so nice to have quick access to a poop bag, treats, and water. I also love the harness system with handle. These features make assisting our four-legged companions over rough terrain easier for us and more comfortable for them.
We’ve all been there: cupping our hands to try and give our pup water or sacrificing our own water bottle to their slobbery tongue. When it comes to food and water on the trail, feeding our furry hiking companions can get messy.
There are so many travel bowls that make the job easier. I tend to lean away from the super compact canvas style bowls because all too often they just stay wet and slobbery. My go-to is a collapsible silicone bowl like this one by Good2Go. One feature that really helps on an adventure is the carabiner. A bowl with a carabiner means it can be easily clipped to the outside of a bag or even a belt loop for quick access!
When you and Bandit are out exploring the world, a leash can be so much more than just a leash. The right one is strong, packs up well, is easily adjustable, comfortable to hold, and versatile in case of adventuring snafoos.
Made of thick climbing rope in lengths of 5’ or 10’ and tied off with a hardy carabiner, Wilderdog Big Locking Carabiner Leashes provide all of the must-have features — and they do it in vibrant, fun colors! I especially love the pink “Poppy” one!
Sometimes our smaller furry family members simply can’t keep up on our longer, more challenging, adventures. We don’t want to leave our companions behind and are constantly looking for ways to bring them along. Enter the K9 Sportpack! It may just be the answer to your adventuring woes. This backpack/dog carrier crossover is perfect for small-medium sized dogs weighing up to 30 pounds. They get to see what you see and just hang out (which, believe me, they are ecstatic about!) while you do all the hard leg-work!
When adventures get tough the tough get cozy! Whether you’re looking for extra warmth or a clean and cozy place to sit next to the campfire, it doesn’t get much better than the Pendleton Roll-Up Blanket.
Wool is a magical material that truly is meant for the outdoor adventure seeker. It keeps you warm even if conditions turn gloomy and wet. The nylon backing on this blanket makes it even more suited to camping as it can be easily wiped clean of dirt and debris. It rolls up nicely and comes in four lovely patterns. My personal favorite? The Badlands Plaid!
Confession time: I’m a s’mores addict. If there’s a campfire, I’m beside it, roasting my marshmallows to “golden bear” perfection. Whether your favorite is a peanut butter s’more, Nutella s’more, cream cheese frosting s’more, cookie dough s’more, or the good ‘ol traditional s’more, it all starts with a warm, ooey, gooey, melty, roasted marshmallow.
Instead of wasting time hunting down the perfect roasting stick — who has time for that? get in mah belly! — pack these collapsible, stainless steel, color-coded, MalloMe Roasting Sticks. Then the only question becomes: what kind of s’more are you about to devour?
Only for the most adventurous pet parents and their dogs, the Skye Valley Ranch Experience is a getaway like no other. It comes complete with a weekend of fun at our private 800+ acre ranch in San Diego, CA; a full-length photo session among the oak trees, rocky hillsides, and wide open fields; chuckwagon dinner cooked over an oak wood from the ranch; s’mores (of course); overnight camping; a hearty country breakfast; and beautiful finished artwork for your home to remember your time at the ranch.
It’s the time of year for family photos — but pets are family, too, and deserve to be included. I’m hosting some extra special, limited edition outdoor adventure photo sessions perfect for holiday cards and gifts. Taches is here to tell you a little more about them!
Straight from the dog’s mouth:
Hi, I’m Taches (sounds like Tosh)! I’ve been my dad’s best companion for 16 years. We recently had a photo session in Los Penasquitos Canyon with Terran that inspired her to create her VIP (that stands for Very Important Pet) Limited Edition Holiday Adventure Session specials for autumn.
I didn’t really know what to expect before the photo shoot but Terran promised me we’d take it slow (I’m 16 years old, after all) and that I’d get lots of treats. You might be feeling just as unsure as I was so I’d like to tell you a little about my experience (and share some of my beautiful photos)!
I had never been to Penasquitos Canyon before but I heard it was beautifully rustic — and it was! We visited a little stream, a field of tall grass, and lots of other spots that really felt like we were in the country. The best part is that we didn’t have to walk very far, which can be troublesome for a senior dog like me. I love being in the great outdoors with my family so PQ Canyon was such a perfect spot for us.
Speaking of my family, Terran made sure the session was about all of us, not just me, which I really enjoyed. I love having my mom and dad nearby so we made sure to get a great variety of photos of us all together. Terran even took a few of just my mom and dad, which they loved, too!
I had lots of fun at my VIP Limited Edition Holiday Adventure Session! Terran tells me there are only a few of these session spots remaining so you probably want to get in touch soon. Not only will you have a great time and get lots of stinky treats — or maybe those are just for the dogs — but you’ll have beautiful photos to share on holiday cards, display in your home, or give as gifts to your best friends and family!
If you’re anything like me, you get really excited about cute dog everything. But no tchotchkes, please; when it comes to what I want in my home, it has to be a great mix of modern, rustic, beautiful, and well-planned. Keep reading for a list of my 10 favorite ways to bring a little canine joy into your home…
#1 Dog Park Wallpaper from Hygge & West
I have been longing for this wallpaper for years! I love the color tones, adorable doggie silhouettes, and how perfectly modern it is! I can see this wallpaper being used in an entry, as an accent wall anywhere in the house, or in the doggie wash room. What a great way to say I love dogs!
One of my very favorite ways to decorate is with wall art. I have Framed Canvases, Framed Metal Prints, and Photographic Prints on the walls all around my home. Every time I see them I’m reminded of where we were and what we were doing. Even photos I’ve had on the walls for years still bring me such a rush of joy!
Here’s a helpful hint for choosing artwork for your walls: cut out a piece of paper the size of the art you’re thinking about and tape it to the wall. Ask yourself if it’s too small, too large, or just right. I make this process super easy for my portrait clients; all you have to do is send me a picture and I do the rest!
A client favorite and something a bit unique, Keepsake Boxes are one of the most versatile pieces of artwork I offer! The box is completely customized for every pet and comes with 10 or 25 mounted prints in the box. It also comes with a perfect little easel for displaying the prints! I love it because it’s like an album but you get to take the pictures out!
#5 Laser-Engraved Doggie Rolling Pins from Valek Rolling Pins
As if I could forget about the baked goods! They definitely deserve a little canine happiness, too! Want to make butter cookies even better? Cover them in corgis; it’s that simple! The corgi rolling pin is my absolute favorite — because who doesn’t love corgis?! — but they have a few different breed options!
What better way to get your guests excited for a waggly-tail greeting than with an adorable welcome mat at your front door? I just love colorful mats with cute sayings or graphics and this one is one of my top favorites!
Take a step back in time to when artisan craftsmanship was the way of the world. Heritage Etchings are made by hand through every step of the process. The ink is mixed specifically for each print, hand-applied to the plate, and personally pressed onto luxurious cotton paper. This means that for our pets who have passed, we can include a small bit of their ashes into the actual print, making it an incredible memorial piece. The hand-soldered frame adds the perfect modern-rustic finishing touch with its floating glass and perfectly imperfect edges.
Perfect for hanging harnesses and leashes, keys, or the training treat bag, these hooks will add nothing but style to your entryway! I love the antique silver finish and all of the details. There are a few breed options but I simply can’t resist that little doxie!
#9 Handmade Ceramic Dog Bowl from Wild Hound Outfitters
The colors on these bowls — I mean, come on! I’m so in love with these handmade pieces of ceramic art! I can see them fitting perfectly anywhere that needs a little pop of color and natural charm. Place them on a woven mat for extra texture!
Perfect for the mantle, your desk, or a nightstand, Fine Art Mounts are a Westway favorite. I love that they’re so elegant yet understated. They arrive with an easel-stand backing so you simply unwrap and enjoy.
I only went camping once as a child — a Girl Scout overnight. I didn’t have many friends and ended up in a tent with three other girls I didn’t know. The only way for me to sleep was at their feet and there was a very uncomfortable tree root that cut across my back. In the morning, I found I had been pushed out of the tent and rolled halfway down a hillside. After that? Camping? Yeah, no thank you.
It wasn’t until we happened upon some perfect camping spots at Skye Valley that my outlook changed. I had been wanting to stay in a small spot on Skyline for a while so we waited for a good night, set up the tent, went about our day, and came back when the sky grew dark. And this is what we saw! Oh, beautiful Milky Way! How I love you!
We gazed at the stars for what seemed like hours. Roxy stayed close and as our eyes grew heavy, we climbed into our sleeping bags and had the most peaceful night of sleep imaginable. We heard some crunching outside in the wee hours of the morning but it was too dark to see anything. We guessed it was a deer so we said hello and went back to sleep.
We woke up with the dawn and Roxy went out to explore. I captured this shot of her from inside our tent.
We stepped outside and watched as the rising sun lit the mountaintops in the most glorious golden light.
Soon, the sun reached our little slice of the world. I love Roxy’s face in the shot below — oh my goodness, it’s beautiful!, she must be thinking!
Greg and Roxy sat on the lookout (you can see them if you look closely in the photo below) and had some quality time together.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, we packed up our tent and took a final look at our morning view.
We headed back down to the ranch house to spend the morning with family, friends, and good food! We had eggs over-easy from home-raised hens, bacon, sausage, and pancakes with homemade maple syrup from a friend’s backyard in New York (sooooo good)!
There’s never a shortage of food when we all gather at The Ranch and the dogs know it. This is Sage waiting patiently for her pancake breakfast.
After breakfast, we did some off-roading and enjoyed some hammock-time down at one of our lakes. Skye Valley is such a special place for humans and animals and I am just so grateful we can call it ours.
We are currently accepting applications for adventurers looking to get away for the weekend with their dogs who want to play in the lakes, go off-roading, hike, explore, and camp on our 800+ acre property. (This would not include any professional photography.)
I’ve met a LOT of dogs in my life and the bully breeds are right there at the top of my list of favorites. Every single one I’ve ever met has been so full of personality, love, and joy — and they have the best smiles! They’re just like every other dog who wants to feel loved, be a part of a family, and devote their lives to being your best friend. Need proof? Keep reading to meet five of the most lovabull pitties I’ve worked with… and if you want a special treat, stick around ’till the end!
#1 Joshua the international male model
This amazing fella was left for dead, chained to the wall in a basement many years ago. He was saved when a neighbor heard is original owner talking about how they were waiting for him to die before tossing his body in the trash. He was brought to his local SPCA where his soon-to-be mama volunteered. He was malnourished to an extreme level and had a long way to go before he would be ready to go into a home. When he was healthy and available for adoption, a nice family came in, fell in love, and took him home. His soon-to-be mom was absolutely heartbroken. She expressed her sadness to the head of the SPCA and he told her he never would have let Joshie go if he had known! But, as it turned out, Josh was not meant to be with this other family and they brought him back a few days later. His soon-to-be mama got the call that he was back and she raced down to scoop him up! Joshua now leads a very pampered life as an international male model for his mom who’s a fellow pet photographer in Boston. He has found his forever home and his forever family. He is so full of love and joy for every day.
As a little fun note, when I visited Joshie and his mom in Boston for their On-Location Adventure, I was invited to stay for a sleepover (his mom and I are dear friends) and I got to snuggle with Joshua all night long! He takes up the entire bed, snores like a little piggie, and when he senses you’re awake in the morning, will wiggle his entire body right up to touch your nose and give the biggest yawn right in your face to say good morning! I loved it all and it’s simply the best way to wake up!
In another story about love and fate, soft and squishy Odin was celebrating his 1-year gotchaversary during our On-Location Adventure in San Diego’s must-see Balboa Park! He was rescued by his mom from a high-kill shelter one hour before he was scheduled to be euthanized. His mom had been sharing his photo and story online, trying to find an adopter because she knew what was about to happen. As the fateful hour drew near with no family in sight, she knew it was because she was meant for him. She drove to the shelter, scooped him up, and the rest is history!
Odin is probably the most laid-back dog I have ever met. He’s a total goober and is always smiling. His mama loves him with her whole heart and he loves her just the same. He leads a wonderful life with his forever family!
#3 Athena the petite packs-a-punch-of-cuteness staffie
How gorgeous is this sweet girl? Athena is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and is one giant ball of happy lets-go-play energy! She absolutely loves the beach so we headed to Coronado Dog Beach for her On-Location Adventure. We spent a good chunk of time playing with the ball, running through the waves, and playing chase with mom and dad. She is teeny-tiny compared to other bully breeds but the amount of love this little girl has for her mom and dad in one of her little paws could outweigh the biggest bull mastiff around! Athena loves to say hello to everyone she sees, especially if you have a toy to play with! She leads an extremely good life with two doting pet-parents who love her more than anything!
This handsome hunk is a professional male model extraordinaire. He waited and waited and waited at the shelter for over an entire year before I got to meet him. Polo is a very studious fella who spent his days in the shelter working with a talented trainer who was teaching him all the manners a gentleman needs before going into a proper home. We were doing a fashion shoot in the studio to help raise awareness for homeless pets and Polo came to model for us. He looked so dapper in his pink tie, don’t you think?
Want to know the best part about this story? Polo found his forever family just a week later!
Sweet, wonderful Belle. She was her mama’s first pup and was slowing down in her senior years. Belle had bone cancer in her left front limb right below her shoulder so she wasn’t as spry as she once was but she still loved making new friends, squeaking her tennis ball, car rides, and going on walks. Belle absolutely loved to explore and that’s exactly what we did during our springtime On-Location Adventure in Los Penasquitos Canyon in San Diego. By the way she smiled among the flowers in the golden afternoon light, I think she was a real country girl. She had 13 amazing years as the happiest pup with a mom and sister who utterly adored her!
A big part of why I do what I do is the ability to give back. For the next 10 bully-breed dog families who sign up for an On-Location Adventure with me before the end of 2017, I’m going to give $100 to It’s the Pits Dog Rescue of San Diego.