If you’ve followed me for a while you might remember a couple of years ago, when I was a founding member of Team Dog, we went to Renbury Farm Animal Shelter to set up an enrichment program for the dogs. I met an incredibly gorgeous blockhead there who did the most adorable happy dance when you approached his run. I quickly fell in love with him and named him Flatley (Lord of the Dance!). I could not stop thinking about this dog. He was very strong, had zero leash manners and was on the urgent list with no adoption interest. I went back a few days later to exercise him and try to burn off some energy so potential adopters might see beyond the fact that he needed training and see what I saw, a loveable clown.
We already had four dogs and it’s not easy for us to foster an adult dog as it upsets the balance more than a puppy, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him and was on the verge of plucking him from death row when I heard the amazing news that he’d been adopted. Being the crazy dog lady that I am when I saw his new owner comment on a photo of her new dog on the shelter’s page I decided to friend request her (that sounds much nicer than Facebook stalk, right?). My favourite part of this story is she actually went to the pound that day to adopt a little dog but he had already been adopted by the time she got there. Rather than leave empty handed she decided to have a look around and ended up leaving with meathead here!
Fast forward to today, he’s now called Chopper (yes, I know, Flatley was a much better name), he fosters for Fetching Dogs, he’s still more brawn than brain and he’s a calendar model – meet Mr June in the 2017 Rescued Blockheads calendar.
If you haven’t bought a calendar yet they’re still available online or from Rupert&Dora in Paddington. If you like blockheads you neeeeeeed this in your life!
I promised you in my last post that I was going to share some exciting projects I have lined up for 2017 – here’s one of them …
Every Rescued Blockheads calendar that I’ve published to-date has been made up almost entirely of images taken during adoption photoshoots, but not any more. For the 2018 version I’m switching things up and inviting owners of rescued blockheads*, young and old, to apply for a spot in the calendar. Full details will be announced shortly, you can sign up to my mailing list if you don’t want to miss out.
* A blockhead is a Staffy type, Amstaff type or Pitbull type dog with a blocky head and a muscly, very smackable, butt.
Bruno and I both got new things when I returned from my trip – I got a lovely new/old floor in my workspace (good riddance revolting carpet, thanks Daveless!) and my boy got a toy that makes him sad because no one wants to steal it from him.
I decided to lose the toy to see if he’d perk up. Nup.
What about sitting?
Sitting got boring real fast.
I also got air-con in my workspace. After 12 summers here I no longer have to go for a drive or to the cinema in order to get some relief from the heat. There is a God! You can now see approximately 18 square inches of that lovely floor, since I’ve moved all my furniture back in, but it was nice to pretend I have a minimal, airy, space for photos, even if it was short-lived.
If you’re a long time follower and you’re thinking to yourself that you recognise these dogs, you’re not mistaken. This shoot was Peityn’s third time in front of my camera and Kai and Zari’s second. They weren’t planning on booking me so soon after their last shoot but they were very lucky to win a competition that was run by BlackHawk and the prize was a session with me. They were so excited about winning that they SMS’d me the news before I’d even received the official email from my client!
They were keen to do a sunrise session with off-camera lighting so we met at the ungodly hour of 5.30am at a nice little waterfront location. I started with individual portraits to gently ease everyone into the situation. Seasoned pro Peityn was up first and decided to throw all her prior learning out the window. She really loves making me perform all my tricks!
Although Kai was less than thrilled about the early morning shoot he was very good at just staying where I needed him to be.
Zari was just a tiny puppy last time I photographed her so it was great to see her again, all grown up. She’s so fun to photograph, always eager to please.
When we were finished shooting with the light we packed it away and headed to our second location, the beach.
“I’ll just wait here until one of my minions gets my ball for me”
We worked with the dogs individually for the majority of the shoot, for pack management reasons, but I made sure to get a couple of group shots as well, even though they were challenging.
After seeing their gallery my clients decided to get a large framed storyboard, a big album, a medium float block, a phone cover and all the digital files.
I really enjoy getting to put my graphic design schooling to use when creating custom designed albums. Here’s a flip through of the album on Instagram.
If you’d like me to create memories like this of your dogs for you please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!
When I was overseas I heard the really sad news that this guy passed away from cancer last year. We fostered Jackson for about six months in 2013 and if we didn’t already have four dogs at the time we would have kept him for sure. His temperament was so good he was invited to be an ambassador for dogs like him at the BSL rally in the city that year. What an amazing dog. Everyone who met him loved him and he’ll be deeply missed. Rest in peace buddy.
You can see more photos of Jackson here, here and at the end of this post.
Happy New Year everyone! I actually started this blog post on Christmas Eve but there came a time when I had to silence my inner workaholic and step away from my computer. It seems like a lifetime ago since these puppies were here. I’ve since been to the US and back and I’ve also done more manual labour than anyone should ever have to do during a heatwave! I officially go back to work tomorrow but I’ve already photographed ten puppies, answered a million emails and written three blog posts, so I guess you could say the silence has been well and truly broken.
The first post I’m going to share is some snaps I took of our last lot of foster puppies. Some time in December when I was in the thick of packing Tails of Sydney book orders I was sent a photo of a puppy with the same markings as Bruno, by one of my contacts at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, and asked if I’d like to foster her and some siblings. Because I’m a sucker with a capital S I said yes and our dog pack grew to seven the next day when I brought Mars, Sprinkles and Lollipop home. Through fostering and my volunteer work I’ve been around a lot of puppies in my time and I have to say that these were the most full-on ones I’ve ever encountered.
Bruno has always been great at teaching puppies boundaries but he really had to turn it up a notch with this lot. They weren’t here for long but they still got to learn some important life lessons in that time. I fell completely in love with Mars (the blue fawn boy) and wish with all my heart that we could have kept him. The bromance that was forming between him and Bruno was all kinds of adorable. There is a limit to my crazy dog lady tendencies though, and I know four dogs is enough, so I dropped him and his two sisters back to the shelter on Christmas Eve, where they all got adopted that day. (I thought Lollipop, mini-Bruno, was staying a bit longer so I didn’t take as many portraits of her.)
If you received this blog post by email, please click on the heading to open in a web browser so you can view the gallery properly. Click on the first image to open and then scroll using the next and back buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard.
To ease the blow slightly I was given another puppy, their sister Starburst. She never got to meet the big camera in the short time that she was here but I posted some stuff on my BTS Instagram account and here’s a video of her playing with Bruno on her last morning. Cute, much?!!
Much as Daveless and I both love having puppies here we’re taking a break from fostering. Angel, Chopper and Trixie are getting old and it’s time to let them enjoy their senior years in peace. (Don’t worry about Bruno, I know enough puppy carers to be able to arrange playdates for him, he won’t be deprived!)
I already mentioned my book but I’m going to give it another plug, because I can! Sydney Dogs and Cats Home are one of the beneficiaries of the Tails of Sydney project. Please buy a book to help support the great work that they do.