Meet Rio. Rio is an energetic, lovable and mild-tempered Portuguese water dog. Rio’s mom teaches at NAU and loves coming home to her best friend every day.
People who know me often say that I appear more comfortable with animals than I am with people. They are not entirely wrong. Documenting the love between humans and their furry friends through pet photography may just be my favorite thing – ever.
Because Rio has so much personality, I created this little slide show. It’s something I offer as part of pet photography sessions.
About Portuguese Water Dogs
Portuguese Water Dogs come from Algarve – a coastal region in the south of Portugal. Cão de água as the Portuguese Water Dog is known as in Portugal literally translates to “dog of water.”
The dogs are like shepherd dogs. But instead of herding farm animals, they herd fish. The dogs were trained to drive fish into the fishermen’s nets, retrieve broken nets, and act as a courier between ships.
Portuguese Water Dogs rode in fishing trawlers as they worked their way from the Atlantic waters of Portugal to the waters off the coast of Iceland where the fleets caught cod.
Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their non-shedding quality and became famous when President and Mrs. Obama adopted two of the breed – Bo and Sunny.
Why Portuguese Water Dog Makes Good Pets
Did you know dogs can have a sense of humor? I did. And this breed has a very good one. During their fish-herding days, Portuguese Water Dogs were part of the crew. They ate with the crew, were often paid for their services and spent their free time hanging out with their work families. They are prone to acting silly and will repeat behaviors when their audience laughs.
Of course, Rio embodied these traits which is why his pet photography session was so much fun. It’s also why he was captured so beautifully on the images.
Portuguese Water Dogs are fairly easy to train. Some can have an independent streak, so training early (like with any dog) is the best way to ensure success. They respond to praise and treats. Harsh discipline and voices should be kept to a minimum. Personally, I believe that is true for every animal.
This breed has a desire to please. Use that desire to train this well-tempered, well-behaved beauty.
Behavioral traits of the Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water dogs are chewers, and while trainable curbing this behavior can be a challenge. They also get very excited when their owner comes home or visitors come to the house. This excitement often turns into jumping or presenting the visitor with a toy or some other object as a gift.
The breed is also known for its separation anxiety. The anxiety is easily addressed with a plethora of chew toys and plenty of exercise before being left alone. The chew toys may just save your furniture or favorite pair of shoes because chewing is how they express anxiety.
Jennifer got the news that all of us with furry family members dread to hear…her beloved Oswald only has a few weeks to live. Oswald has been with Jennifer all over the world, and even enjoyed living in Germany for a while with she and her husband. He was there when they found his doggie siblings, Macy and Panda Bear, and there when they adopted their adorable little human child, Ava. For a soul that has shared so much, it’s hard to even think of saying goodbye. But therein lies the only fault with our animal friends, they have such short lives. But their time with us brings us so much happiness, so much unconditional love, so it’s the price we pay to have them by our side, if only briefly.
I was so happy that Jennifer reached out to get these photos of Oswald. I know that in the future, these images will provide some tears and loving memories of the spirit who first captured her heart.
I hope your final days are filled with love, belly rubs and all the bacon you can eat sweet boy. After spending only a couple of hours with you, I can see why your family adores you so much. Truly, when you do go to heaven, you will add one of the brightest stars in the sky. Much love ~ Melissa
We’ve all had animal friends in our life that fill up our heart and bring us so much joy that we feel like we want to burst. This sweet girl, Stella, is one of those dogs. Now that Stella’s face is turning grey, her family wanted to capture this amazing soul, so when the time comes, they’ll always have these precious images to remember her and her smile. We loved spending the afternoon with her, her mom and dad, and siblings, Grayfus and Vespa. Modeling is hard work Stella! We hope you got extra belly rubs and bacon snacks after!
We first met Kaitlin at Pets in the Pines, a event put on by Second Chance Animal Shelter to create awareness about pet overpopulation and encourage the adoption of companion animals. Kaitlin said she had to get her sweet 16 year old Shih tzu, Daffney, photographed. Melissa and I met Kaitlin, Kyle, Daffney and her brother Jackson on a beautiful part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. Jackson and Daffney are such sweet puppies, they were the best models!
John called us a couple of weeks ago for a pet photography session with his dog Charlie in the beautiful location of the ponderosa pines of Flagstaff, Arizona. John and his family rescued Charlie 13 years ago at the Kingman Humane Society. At the time, they guessed Charlie’s age to be at least two. It was hard for Kristen and I to believe that this energetic dog was at least 15 years old! John’s family has definitely done a great job at helping him stay healthy with daily walks and runs in the forest. However, John knows that Charlie won’t be here forever. I think the only fault of our pets is that they don’t live as long as us. John wanted to schedule this session so that when the time comes for Charlie to cross the Rainbow Bridge, he’d have some great photographs of those big brown eyes staring back at him. We were so lucky to have been able to capture this special relationship between John and his best friend Charlie. ~ Melissa
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog
I’ve known the Urtuzuastegui’s for about seven years. Now, I’ll admit, I can’t spell their name without looking it up, nor can I even pronounce it. It’s a bit embarrassing, but they seem to like me just the same. 🙂 This family is more like my own. Between them all, I’ve photographed two weddings, one high school senior session and five family sessions. Nothing is better than watching a family grow up. I remember when Isaiah was just a baby and now he’s about 4 feet tall! And Sienna was just 7 years old when I met her. She made me a piece of art when she was younger, an artwork of finger-painted butterflies. I thought it was one of the nicest thing I had ever received and still have it. Now a beautiful 14 year old, Sienna is a student at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. Kristen is now a senior at Grand Canyon High School and I remember when she was a bridesmaid in her mom’s wedding back in 2008. We photographed Debra and Jeremy’s wedding back in 2009, and their little girl, Shelby, just turned one! Seriously, where does the time go? So much can change in seven years, but one thing has never changed, they way I adore this family. So, it ‘s fitting that I’d post their family photos on Thanksgiving, for they are one of the things I’m thankful for.
A photographer friend of mine in Austin, TX reminded me just yesterday that the most cherished things of all are not things, but rather, moments with friends and family.
Hoping each of you have a day filled of meaningful moments with the ones that you cherish the most.
Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Melissa