Ten years ago today I walked my first dog for See Spot Run. This is so cliche but it’s true: time flies when you’re having fun.
Dog Photography is something I have grown to love. I started See Spot Run Dog Walking in 2009 and in 2016 I launched BARKography my dog photography company here in Charlotte. Here is a link to my dog photography website: BARKography. I write at least one blog post / week on the site. You can see some of my latest work there and read about my journey to become a dog photographer.
When I got my first camera, I knew next to nothing about dog photography. I actually didn't even realize there was much to learn about photography. Early on I got really frustrated with myself and my camera. I didn't understand why my photos weren't any good and why they were frequently blurry. For those of you who try to take photos of your moving dogs with your phone, you know it's hard. If they're sitting still it's easier (still hard but easier) but when they're moving, it's almost impossible to get a cell phone photo.
Fast forward to today and I am in love with dog photography. I love my camera. I love learning new things about photography and I love trying out new lenses. For my birthday, I got a lens that allows me to take really close up shots that are super sharp and clear. I love those types of photos: close ups of their eyes or their fur. I feel like I can see my dog's soul through his eyes. I know I'll cherish the photos that I'm taking of them forever.
I think cell phone photos are great. They're great for capturing the moment but if you want to ever print out your photos, your cell phone photos aren't going to look very nice. I'm a big advocate for printing your photos. Even before I got into photography, I'd print my photos. I have a zillion photos of my first 2 dogs Sam and Sloan but none of them are very good. I'm so glad that the photos I have of Willow and Moose are nice quality, printable photos.
I saw a stat recently that 20-30 year olds are the most photographed generation ever but their kids and grandkids won't ever see photos of them in their younger years because all the photos are cell phone shots - the ones people never print. There's a hashtag #printyourphotos (I'm not making that up!)
If you'd like photos of your dog, contact me. Don't wait. Time goes by too fast and you don't want to have any regrets about not having decent photos of your furry kids.
I'd love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I'd done a photo session with Tiffany's dog Jack and when Baxter's parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte. I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.
I've been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.
I know there are studies about a dog's memory and many say dogs don't remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he'd been hit in the past - he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.
When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.
I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog's scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I'm so glad I was there to witness it.
If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.
I am a dog sitter and when we go on vacation to Hilton Head like we did last week and take Moose and Willow with us, we have to hire a dog sitter. No joke! This dog sitter hires a dog sitter WHEN the dogs are on vacation WITH US! And that's because of our crazy Moose.
We were hoping that his separation anxiety would be better this trip but no, he didn't like being left in the house alone. He isn't destructive but it stresses him out. I'd love to have a doggie cam set up to see what he does but actually when I think about it, that might break my heart to seem him stressed.
So, Moose didn't get left alone very much in the house. Luckily (or not so luckily for me), I'd planned to do quite a bit of work while we were on vacation. I have a ton of back office type of work that I need to catch up on so I'd planned to knock some of it out on vacation... and I did. Moose was happy to have me around.
We did plan to go out to dinner a couple of nights while we were there so the dog sitter came and stayed with him. He's a funny dog. As soon as she got there and we'd go to leave, he followed her back into the house, perfectly content that we were leaving as long as someone was there with him.
Yay for the dog sitter and for her helping us and The Moose while we were on vacation! Do your dogs require special attention or treatment when you're on vacation?
To all my dog walking and pet sitting clients, I have exciting news: I've launched my BARKography website and you can click the link to check it out. If you do, please let me know what you think. This means several things. I no longer have to share my dog walking and pet sitting website with my photography site. Because I've spent a lot of time marketing the new dog photography business, it was taking over the See Spot Run site. No more. :) The dog photography piece is still really important but so is the dog walking and pet sitting. It always has been. So now I get to blog about dog walking and pet sitting things here and I can blog about the photography side of the business on the BARKography site. If there is a downside, it is that I now have 2 blogs. Yikes..... :)
I recently saw a post from a friend on my facebook page that was an article she shared about a pet sitter leaving a dog in a car and the dog died. The pet sitter was found through an online site. Here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter:
- Ask your friends and family for a referral. If you have friends who have dogs, ask them who they use as a dog walker or pet sitter. Contact that person and see if she (he) covers your area. If she doesn't, ask her for a referral. I get a lot of referrals and sometimes the person lives outside of my service area. I will always refer them to someone else. If it is someone I know well, I will tell them that. If the person has pet sat for me before, I will tell them. If I don't know the person well, I will tell them that too.
- Ask your vet for the front desk staff at your vet's office for a referral. Ask them how they know the person.
- Interview the pet sitter. Seriously interview them! (I would interview them as if you were hiring someone to care for your child. My dogs are my children and they are treated as such.)
- Check the pet sitter's references. Really call them. Really check them out. Ask questions like: how long have you known her, how many times has she pet sat for you, were there any problems, how did she correspond with you while she was pet sitting for you, how frequently did she correspond with you, etc. Ask questions. Lots of them.
As a pet sitter, it breaks my heart to read the stories like what I read this morning. It breaks my heart for the family of the dog. I don't like the black mark it leaves on my industry either. There are good pet sitters out there. Do your research and find them. You'll have to plan ahead as this process will take time. Your dogs are worth it, right? Trust me if you find the right pet sitter, she'll appreciate your efforts and your dog will too.