Though this time of year always seems to bring with it a frenzy of activity, there’s something very magical about the span of time from Thanksgiving through Christmas to New Years Eve. It’s a time when we’re reminded of what’s most important in our lives as we surround ourselves with friends and family. Emotions are at their highest as we remember those who are no longer physically with us. We look back on the year and take stock of what we’ve done and where we’ve gone. We take pride in our accomplishments and make plans for the future. We revisit our successes and while doing so, are confronted by the areas in which we could have done better. We set new goals anticipating great things. Surprises are around every corner and electricity is in the air.
My wish for you this holiday season is that you take the time to breathe through all the stress, sit back and be truly in the moment so that you can enjoy and be thankful for all that surrounds you. Buon Natale.
There’s no better way to celebrate the holidays, birthdays or special occasions than by gifting pet parents with something unique, fun and unforgettable. White Whiskers Pet Photography Gift Certificates bring memories that your friends and family will treasure forever and are custom designed to fit every budget.
Know someone whose already had a photo shoot? Perfect. White Whiskers Gift Certificates can be purchased in dollar amounts that can be used towards the purchase of prints or products. They can also be applied to photo sessions, so if someone on your gift list has been longing to work with White Whiskers Photography, nows your chance to help make it happen for them.
You can purchase White Whiskers Gift Certificates for an entire photo shoot.
Or you can opt for the all out, full service, boutique package that includes a shoot with prints and products.
White Whiskers Pet Photography Gift Certificates do not expire. However, after one year, purchased dollar amounts will be applied to the most current session, print and product price list.
To purchase your specially designed gift certificates, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-312-3055.
I took some of my favorite images shot over the past year, found what I thought was the perfect music and put together a little video. Hope you like it. Enjoy!
Lately I’ve taken to leaving the storm door to the backyard propped open just enough for the dogs to come and go from the house as they please while I’m home but being a bore to them (a.k.a. working). This means that Lance and Valentino, the cats, have the same option.
Lance and Valentino will go out, make their rounds along the perimeter of the yard and then return to the warmth of the house, content to lounge in whatever room I happen to be in. On the other hand, Georgia and Pippin will stay outside regardless of the frigid temperature (barring any rainfall of course) for as long as they have the option, making only brief appearances every now and then to confirm that I haven’t completely vanished.
They can be found noses up, taking in the scents of the ocean neighborhood, barking a brief hello (or warning) to passersby and chasing the pigeons from the feeder. But their all-time favorite thing to do is run and wrestle with each other and I have to admit, watching them play is one of my favorite things.
When the killing frost arrives and the temperatures drop into the 20′s, I could easily become a hermit. Nights spent on the couch, under the comforter with my man, the menagerie, a good movie and a glass of wine are much preferred to an evening braving the weather for the local hot spot. I remember being in my 20′s and not only hitting the clubs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to check out the latest and greatest of live music but actually dressing up…you know…short skirts, high heels, no jacket (because back then, it was all about fashion, not comfort). Today, I watch the 20 somethings waiting in line, doing the very same thing and I can honestly say that I don’t miss those days.
There are only three things that can get me out into a blistery winter morning….an emergency, a photo shoot or a walk with the dogs.
A life spent in the company of animals is a rewarding life indeed. It’s a life filled with laughter and lessons where the communication is based almost solely on the quiet and subtle art of body language. Most important, is the friendship and companionship that develops through the years, bringing with it a bond that has no rival.
Most of you will remember my little friend Houdini from my posts HERE and HERE. Diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, he adjusted the way he did things in order to accommodate himself. When he was unable to lap food from a dish, he quickly learned that the sight of a needle-less syringe was his new and improved food source and ate easily from it. A faucet with a slightly flowing water stream became the way he quenched his thirst. He learned that when he was hungry, all he had to do was sit in the kitchen sink and wait for me to notice him. I always noticed him because I was always aware of his presence.
We did well this way for a little over two months. But soon, changes began. These changes, expected and inevitable were hard to watch and even more difficult to accept. As fantastical as it sounds, I prayed for some kind of miracle and dreamed the cancer would suddenly resolve itself. Instead, Houdini began to turn his head from the syringe whenever it was offered. Even as a kitten, Houdini never once refused a meal. I found myself having to squirt a bit of food into his mouth to encourage him and once I did, he would eat. Shortly after, he began to have trouble swallowing and I came face to face with the realization it was time to keep my promise to him. A promise to let him go peacefully with dignity and to keep him from having to live any amount of time unduly suffering.
On October 14th, I lost a dear old friend and that loss is being felt not only in my heart but in the hearts of Lance, Valentino, Georgia and Pippin. Houdini’s fight with cancer was a valiant one but in the end, cancer was the victor. I’ve refrained from writing about him because I feared mere words could never pay homage to him and his influence on my life. Every time I would start, the wounds left by the loss of such a great soul reopened and words escaped me. Soon, I began to realize that not writing about him was a diservice to his memory so I picked up my private journal and let the sadness, trickle from pen to paper.
Today, we are adjusting ourselves to life without our little court jester and a new hierarchy is taking shape amongst the rest of the crew. While new routines develop as the old ones slowly fade, I still expect to see him around every corner or hear him wake me in the morning. I even catch myself sometimes playing goalie to his attempts to run for the door as I let the dogs out into the backyard and sigh softly when I remember, he is no longer physically here.
So while a life with animals is a good life indeed, the life never seems long enough. Whether death comes out of the blue in an unexpected manner or is the result of an ongoing illness, the grief is always the same; overwhelming, painful and in many cases peppered with guilt. Did I do right by my friend? Should I have waited? Did I wait too long? Was there anything I could have done differently? Could I have prevented this? Did I give him a good life? We can run these questions over and over in our minds until we make ourselves crazy. It’s all too easy to blame ourselves as we look back on their lives. Sometimes, even wandering through the memories will bring tears until the pain subsides enough to allow these very same memories to bring what they should, wistful smiles and laughter.
While I grapple with these questions and continue to grieve, deep in my heart I know I did my best for Houdini and I am grateful for every extra day we were allowed to spend together. A cat like no other, he brought so much to my life. When he was tired of fighting he showed he needed my help and I gave it to him. He went peacefully to sleep in my arms, surrounded by his friends, in his own home; an environment where he always felt safe and loved.
His physical body no longer trots to the door, belly swishing side to side to greet me but I sometimes feel his prescence just as surely as if he were standing right there next to me. One morning, three days after he passed, as the sun was rising, I felt that old sensation of being watched by him as he sat on my bedside table waiting for me to wake and for a moment, I thought his death was only a dream. When I opened my eyes, instead of Houdini, there sat Valentino (who you will meet soon) watching and waiting and when my eyes opened he meowed…loudly….something he has never done before.
A few weeks ago, a giant orange butterfly floated to me, danced it’s way alongside me to the car and then disappeared into the bushes just as quickly as it had appeared. I can’t ever remember seeing a giant orange butterfly, let alone a giant orange butterfly at the end of October so I can only conclude that perhaps he comes by from time to time to make things easier for me and to say hello in ways that I’ll recognize as solely Houdini.
I dreamed of him last night for the first time since he passed. It was one of those dreams, you know the ones, where things are so real you wake thinking it was actually happening….
Back in June, Luke Robinson trekked with his two dogs from Austin to TX in an attempt to spread the word about canine cancer. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to photograph the event. You can read about his coming home to Boston HERE. Since then, word has spread rapidly and the next phase of the journey began November 7th. 2 Million Dogs was an effort to get two million dogs across the country to walk a single mile to raise funds towards research for a cure. It brought people and their dogs together with a firm foundation in the belief that combining our efforts will expand research groups and will result in more information towards a cure. Because there are such great similarities between human, canine and even feline cancer, a joint effort will benefit all.
The Boston walk was coordinated by Tracey Goodwin. I photographed Tracey’s babies Baxter and McKenzie and happily said yes when she asked me to photograph Boston’s 2 Million Dog walk.
That morning was one of the coldest of the season so far but it didn’t keep people from once again pulling together for a cause that is close to the heart of many. Everyone wrapped themselves up in scarves, gloves and fluffy winter jackets. Even some of the dogs donned their winter garb.
I love shooting events like this. There’s always such a good vibe and you get to see a really wonderful side of human nature. The bond between dogs and their people is one I never tire of observing.
Below are just a small number of the images taken that day. You can see the entire gallery by clicking HERE.
Hope you enjoy them. And Tracey, thanks so much for the opportunity.
Pete is a dog that was long waited for. Kevin’s search for the perfect dog for him took him four years. In those four years, Jill, his mom, tirelessly took him to shelter after shelter, breeder after breeder and every time she thought he may have come across that special companion, Kevin would say “no, that’s not my dog.” Twelve years ago, on one particular day, in one particular shelter, Kevin spied Pete, pointed at him and said “that’s my dog”.
Pete, a little brown mix of a dog, is now Jill’s little baby. Mighty in spirit and personality he is filled with love for his mom. Pete is one special little boy.
We spent the morning hiking through Horn Pond in Woburn and though it is supposedly past peak this time of year, the colors were off the charts. What was really cool is the way the morning sunlight tip toed through the openings in the trees and reflected the light in such a soft, warm way that my camera just ate it up.
Pete has a touch of arthritis now but I watched him maneuver steep hills, jump foot high logs like they were only inches off the ground and run playfully in the water barely missing a step and I found myself admiring his live in the moment attitude.
There are a lot of things I really liked about Pete but I’d have to say my favorite was his ham-bone attitude with me and the camera. He would trot directly towards me, and as he got closer he’d speed up a little and then fake me out by swinging right just before making contact all the while tossing his head back in my direction. Soooo adorable!!
Jill and Yuli, so nice to meet you. Hope you enjoyed your session as much as I did.
Susan, proprietor of Woof and Whimsy, the number one pet boutique in the Greater Boston area asked me to photograph the Halloween party she was hosting and I couldn’t refuse. Over the past year, she’s not only helped me with every pet related nutritional question I’ve had (I feed raw/home made), we’ve swapped stories on the loss of beloved pets, tips on training and discussed our businesses; how they started and where we’d like them to go. She is a promoter of my work and will be hanging several of my large images throughout her boutique. She’s more than just another business owner in my book. She’s someone who really cares about the work she’s doing, her clientele and the animals. Everything in her shop is holistic and she offers a variety of classes and workshops from Canine Good Citizen to Reiki. If you haven’t visited yet, you should make a point of doing so for both you and your pet.
The party was a great success. Locals came dressed in their finest costumes and covered a host of characters. There were bumble bees and flowers…
There were skeletons …
and sweet little angels with tiny wings…..
The pumpkins came out to play…
For the main course we had hot dogs……..
Followed by the sweet taste of bananas…….
and topped off with a few cookies……….
Lots of dogs came to party and while some were a bit shy at the start, it didn’t take long for them to get accustomed to their surroundings enough to explore and even play (no dogs were harmed in the taking of these images).
Cheerleaders and brides mingled with the likes of moose and ladybugs.
Even Spider Man and Superman made an appearance…
All in all the evening was a wonderful success. Susan gave the opportunity for like minded people in the community that have a great love for dogs to get together, celebrate and mingle.
Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of that celebration. It was terrific meeting everyone and while it’s virtually impossible for me to include every single pup in costume on the blog, there are over 200 additional photographs in the gallery that you may browse by clicking HERE
I know many of you asked if you could purchase images so I’ve made it easy for you to do so directly through the gallery. Simply place an image into your cart and check out via your PayPal account or with your credit card through PayPal. 10% of all sales will go to Vested Interest in K-9′s , a non-profit fundraising organization that helps Massachusetts K-9 law enforcement teams get bullet-proof vests for dogs.
Rufus’ mom and I have been coordinating his photo shoot for almost a year. She originally got in touch and booked last October but due to some changes at work and her routine, things got a little hectic and we kept having to reschedule. We were finally able to get together last weekend and I have to say, it was well worth the wait.
Rufus may be small in stature but his style and personality kept him walking tall. Honestly, I could have photographed him all day and it still wouldn’t have been enough for me. And let’s talk photogenic….
I don’t think Rufus has a “best side” and that goes for both his physical appearance and his personality. He’s beautiful no matter what the position. We strolled throughout a park in Newton where the foliage was gorgeous and Rufus, playing mayor, greeted dogs and humans with a skip in his step and a laughing smile.
You wouldn’t know it from appearances but this little guy is 13 years old making him well into his late 80′s. I can only hope I’m as spry as he is when I’m well into my 80′s. Rufus is a Lhasa Apso who was found as a stray in Nebraska by the Hearts United for Animals shelter. Later transported to Massachusetts, he found his perfect match in mom, Debra.
The more I walked beside Rufus, the more I wanted to walk. That’s what it was like hanging out with him, the Buddha of dogs; very Zen like and almost hypnotic. Steady in his gate and temperament with a small dash of goof ball lurking right below that regal exterior….the best combination.
Now Rufus, being the all around neighborly dog that he his, has a lot of both two-footed and four-footed friends. Among them is Ruby, a previously frightened stray that Debra patiently cared for and eventually convinced through three months of patience, that life was better on the inside.
This gorgeous little lady wasn’t too sure about me when I first walked in and knowing her previous history, I can’t say that I blame her initial lack of trust. It took Debra three months, a long winter and then some to sway Ruby’s suspicions. I didn’t expect to be liked or even looked at. I figured I’d see her tail as she trotted from the room more than I would her stunning green eyes. But she surprised all of us when she not only allowed me to get quietly, and very, very slowly closer and closer to her…
….but also actually gave me a pose. I have to say, I was absolutely honored by the mere few seconds she gave to me. Knowing how fearful she is of strangers, I found myself with a lump in my throat.
It just goes to show how much of an amazing woman Debra is; a true friend to those who have been neglected and cast away. You are an angel Debra. I’m so happy we finally got the chance to get together. It was a great pleasure meeting the three of you.