Once a month, we volunteer our time to take photographs of a homeless animal in the hopes the images will help them find a loving home. But, October, with the rush of family holiday photos and weddings in the golden aspens, got away from me and I somehow had not lined up an animal to photograph. It’s funny how the universe takes care of my absentmindedness, because that day, I got a call from my friend, Becky, about a very special dog named Gonzo. She had just returned from her veterinarian’s office where she had met a sweet, older, three legged dog that had been surrendered by his owner I’ve known Becky for a long time, and we share a sense of community, a passion for the arts and the idea that every homeless animal should have their own family. “Gonzo’s too special to live his life in a kennel“, she said. When she said that, I knew I had to rearrange my schedule to go out and photograph this dog to hopefully, find him his forever, perfect home.
I met Gonzo this past Friday at Aspen Veterinary Clinic where I found out that every employee there was 100% smitten with him. So, when my husband, Grant, and I finally got to meet him, we had high expectations. As soon as they opened the kennel door for Gonzo to meet us, he quickly bypassed the treats we offered, but instead, crawled straight into Grant’s lap. Yes, a special boy indeed. I also found out Gonzo’s history. About 9 years ago, Gonzo was found on the San Francisco Peaks with a fractured leg. A kind stranger brought him to Aspen Veterinary Clinic where the decision was made to amputate his leg due to the severity of his break. Gonzo was adopted after this, and for 8 years had the blessing of a home and a family. Then, recently, in a crual twist of fate, his owner had to move, and the current landlord will not allow dogs. So, Aspen Veterinary Clinic took Gonzo in once again. They are taking great care of Gonzo, but life in a kennel is stressing this older gentleman. So, the search for a new, loving home is underway.
Gonzo is about 9 years old and would enjoy a mellow home where he could do lots of cuddling. Like any dog his age, he’s slowing down and entering doggie retirement, but he does enjoy walks and hikes. And, boy oh boy, does he just love to gaze into your eyes and let you know just how much he loves you.
If you’d like to meet Gonzo, or have any questions abou him, please contact Aspen Veterinary Clinic at (928) 526-2423.
I made a promise to Gonzo, and I promised him that I’d help him find a home of his own, and a family that adores him. Could you help me by sharing this post?
Blessings to all of you ~ Melissa
Last weekend, at the Second Chance Center for Animals‘ Pets in the Pines adoption event, we had the honor of photographing almost 40 dogs who are competing for the cover of High Desert Dog Magazine! Kristen and I had the best time meeting these pups and after viewing all the photos, I have absolutely no idea how they will ever narrow down the choices for the online competition. I mean, seriously, have you ever seen such a handsome cover model line up?? High Desert Dog Magazine will post the finalists this Friday, July 14th, when the online voting will begin! The winner with the most votes will win a photo session with us this fall and will appear on the December cover! Good luck to all you sweet doggies!! ~ Melissa
One of my biggest passions in life, is helping animals find their forever home. Before I became a photographer, I helped out in humane societies and tried to verbally share stories of sweet animals needing a second chance. Now, I photograph pets needing a little extra help by volunteering my services to animal shelters and rescue groups. It’s my hope that someone out there, will fall in love with their photo and arrange a meeting. And by “meeting”, I mean a date to fall in love. 🙂 So, when I got a call from my friend, Connie, at the Yavapai Humane Society asking for me to help with a sweet boy who’s been at the shelter since February, I was more than happy to help. And, this Monday, I had the good fortune of meeting a sweetheart of a dog named Blue. Can you tell from his striking eyes how he got his name?
Most of the time when I photograph animals at shelters, they are a bit skittish, and maybe even a bit scared. But not this boy. As you can see, he might just be the best smiling dog I’ve ever, ever had the good fortune to meet. This is one happy soul. This 1.5 year old dog came to the shelter when his owners surrendered him. He was scared for a while (I would be too!) and it took him a couple of weeks to get adjusted to his new shelter life. But, once he understood the good folks at th Yavapai Humane Society were there to care for him on a regular basis, his true personality came though. He was excited to take a hike with Connie and I on the nearby Peavine Trail, and loved exploring with his nose. He also loves to give kisses 🙂 Once on the leash, he was very good and although we didn’t (it’s against rules), I think if we would have dropped the leash he would have stayed at our side. I could also sense he’d be a great trail dog, and would love to run and hike with his forever family. He was very relaxed on our walk, and while he had the curiosity most dogs would have over the occasional lizard running over the rocks, he never tried to pull and run away after it. We also met a couple of families on the trail with small children, and Blue was curious, but also calm.
Aside from his beautiful blue eyes, Blue has a cute spot on his back, and the biggest tongue I might have ever seen! I love the below photo of him getting a chin scratch with his tongue hanging to the side. How cute is that?
The shelter lists Blue as a pointer/border collix mix, but I personally think Blue might be a mix of dalmatian (look at those sweet spots on his ears!) and pointer. When he heard a noise in the woods, he would go into that classic bird dog stance. But, admittedly, I’m not an expert on that, but you be the judge. What I do know for sure is that he is very smart. The short time we were out (about an hour), he learned to sit and stay perfectly still. I can see him being very easily trained to do all sorts of tricks!
Being a super model is hard work, so we rewarded Blue with a nice soak in the kiddie pool after our hike. I loved how he jumped in the water and stuck his entire head under the water to drink. He also dug the water like dirt and then gave us his leash back to us as if to suggest, “Lets go again!”.
Blue would be a perfect compliment to any family and I hope he finds his forever home soon. If you are interested in meeting Blue, please contact the Yavapai Humane Society in Prescott, 928-445-2666. Please share this post on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to help! Thank you for helping out those without a voice. Blessings ~ Melissa
One of our past clients, Samantha, called me one day and wanted to know if I’d take some photos of one of her foster dogs to help it find it’s forever home. Samantha is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. She’s constantly helping discarded and unwanted animals find homes. Even on her wedding day, her big heart was shown by her choice of a wedding favor: a donation to a horse rescue group, Harmony and Hope Horse Haven, in Arizona in all the guest’s names. Pippi came to the studio a couple of weeks ago, and it only took a couple hours after I posted the photos for a couple to respond that they wanted to meet her. The couple, Leslie and Stacy, were also two of my clients! Leslie and Stacy were married in October 2010 and just after their wedding, they sadly lost one of their dogs. Ever since Red passed, they had been looking to help fill the void in their pack. So, they took Pippi on a weekend “test drive” and she never left! (By the way, I’ve known Leslie and Stacy for a while, and knowing their kind spirit, I sort of knew that once Pippi went to their house, there was no way she was ever going back! ) I know that Pippi is going to have a wonderful home, weekly mountain bike outings and two other doggies to snuggle with. Thanks to my sweet clients; I’m always filled with so much love knowing your kind and giving spirits! ~ Melissa
One of my passions is animal welfare and every year, I donate a Flagstaff Pet photography session to the Paws for Placement fundraiser, “Paws for the Perfect Taste”. This event, held at Jotini’s, helps raise funds to help this organization and their work, which is to help the many homeless animals in Arizona. The event includes a silent auction and all the money goes towards their organization. Last year, the winner was Carol, and she choose to have her pup, CrackerJack, as the recipient!
Kristen and I drove out to meet Carol and CrackerJack and sweet Cracker promptly stole our hearts. He was a sweetheart and was so easy to photograph. I also learned that CrackerJack was part of a dog group that tours Arizona and walks in parades in formation with other rescued dogs to raise awareness. Carol and I quickly became friends and I hope to get one of my dogs, Banjo, to join that dog group one day soon!
I hope you enjoy these photos of CrackJack! And thank you Carol for the support of this great organization! ~ Melissa