Rocco

The first thing that struck me about Rocco was his size — when you’ve grown used to having a 45 pound “mini” Lab around the house it’s easy to forget just how big Labs can be. And Rocco’s not just big, he’s 90+ pounds of gregarious goofiness bundled into a shiny black coat of fur, all smiles and floppy ears. He is also a stick-destroying retrieving machine. So, naturally, he got to celebrate his 8th birthday in part by doing what he does (and loves) best: running, dock jumping, hanging with his peeps, and showing sticks who’s boss (or trying to — he ran across a pretty formidable opponent that managed to survive).

Rocco is a not-so-subtle reminder of what I love about not just Labs, but all dogs: their seemingly boundless enthusiasm for the simple joys in life. After all, it’s not the size of the stick that matters, but who you get to bring it back to at the end of a retrieve.

Peaches

I’m always super excited when I set up a session (seriously — I love what I do!), but there was an extra spring in my step when I got the call to meet up with Peaches and her people for a session in San Francisco earlier this year. I’ve never had a chance to do a session in the City and I was like a kid in a candy store looking at all the places to shoot. But narrowing down where we wanted to spend time was where the difficulty ended, because Peaches and her people were fantastic on the day of the session! This girl was a total natural, and soaked up all the attention (and treats!) we could give her. From a walk on the Embarcadero to fetching tennis balls in the park to an evening stroll through Crissy Field, she got to do it all!

El Dorado

I can honestly say that I’ve loved working with every dog and cat that I’ve met, but I find working with senior dogs to be a particularly special privilege, and El Dorado was no exception. Maybe I’m just a sucker for sweet white faces, or maybe it was seeing how much (hint: a lot) this beautiful boy still loved his favorite things in the world — his people, his treats, and the chance to run freely — even though he’s not as spry as he once was. Whatever it was, being with El Dorado that day moved me.

Dogs never cease to amaze me; their ability to love us unconditionally, or effortlessly adapt to new situations that would leave us stunned, is nothing short of breathtakingly inspirational. I could only hope to face the world half so bravely as millions of dogs across the world do every day. And so when I see a dog like El Dorado, who still has so much love and joy in his heart despite the inconveniences of old age, I just want to hug him, tell him that he’s such a good boy, and never let go.

Z, Marlie, and Bird

I got to tag along with this trio of happy dogs and their people one fun-filled afternoon earlier this fall for a mega-session that lasted over a couple of hours and left me with a sore shutter finger from taking so many pictures! I can’t say enough how much I loved working with these beautiful pups and their family! Z is the classic goofball Lab who pretty much loves her stuffed toy more than anything — I mean, check out the shot with her carrying it a few pictures down, is she in pure bliss, or what?; Bird, or Birdie, a Cavalier King Charles and the baby of the group at just over a year old, is a total sweetheart that looooves to run (and stick her tongue out at the camera, apparently!); but it was Marlie the boxer that really stole my heart. Total. Doll. Okay, well, they all were. And getting to spend some time with them made me feel like Christmas came a little bit early this year for me. 🙂

Chloe

Chloe is a beautiful four year-old bi-color Welsh Corgi that has, without a doubt, one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen on a dog. She can switch between a melt-your-heart smile and a stop-you-in-your-tracks soulful gaze seemingly on a whim. But this girl isn’t all looks; not only does she partake in weekly agility lessons, but she’s devilishly smart, and charming to boot — the perfect combination to procure every treat possible from your person. (It’s a good thing her people came well-stocked!) And it didn’t take me long to realize that Chloe and her people have forged a loving relationship in their time together — one based on caring, respect, and a mutual trust.

It just so happens that, when it comes to asking Chloe to look your way, having a greasy piece of hot dog in your hand never hurts.

 

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