Summer's here!

Ok, well summer may not be here for another 3 1/2 weeks, but with record breaking temperatures here in southwest Florida, it feels like summer made a grand entrance - and an early one at that! I’m still in the mindset of life in PA - looking forward to the temperatures finally warming up - going for a swim in a lake, hiking a mountain, BBQ dinners and relaxing evenings on the backyard deck. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be riding my bike less, spending more time indoors in the air conditioning and cooling off in the evenings swimming in the pool instead!

With average temps between 90 - 92, figuring in the humidity, the real feel in the sunshine state can be around 100! Yikes! I’m certainly used to this. However, we might only experience temps that high in PA for 2 weeks out of the entire summer. Which got me to thinking about my dogs and the heat. Here are a few things I’ve already discovered:

  • Take longer walks in the mornings and evenings

  • Avoid walking on the hot pavement if possible. Even better if you can walk on the grass

  • Take water with you - it’s so easy to get dehydrated

  • Cool off with a swim in the pool or playing in the water from a hose

  • If I’m hot, my dogs who have a fur coat are even hotter!

Here’s to a fun and safe summer!

Thanks for reading!


dogs at Phillippi Estate Park

Tips for a safe 4th of July

Like many Americans, you may be planning a festive 4th of July. Perhaps you're hosting a BBQ picnic with friends and family, spending the day poolside or boating on a lake, before heading out to watch a local fireworks show at the end of the day. Celebrating America's birthday can be a lot of fun, but not always for our furry family members.

More pets get lost on Independence Day than any other day of the year. Here are a few tips to help make your holiday enjoyable and safe for everyone.

1. Leave your pets at home. Fireworks. crowds and unfamiliar places can be more frightening to dogs causing them to break free of restraints and run away.

2. If you do take the dogs to the fireworks, make sure they are wearing current ID tags and are microchipped. If they get loose, this will help them get home safely.

3. Don't share your insect repellant and sunscreen with your pets. Most are toxic, so if you do need to apply any to your fur kids, be sure to use pet friendly products. Citronella candles and lighter fluid are also harmful, so keep them out of reach.

4. If you do have a dog that gets anxious, provide a safe place for her to go. Dogs who have been crate trained may find comfort there. Or close the blinds and turn on the TV or radio in a small room in your home. Thundershirts and calming medications can also help relax a nervous dog.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

golden retriever on 4th of July

Briggs | State College pet photography

The first time I met Briggs's family was when they replied to a model call I was advertising. They had a pit bull mix they thought would be perfect for this. Milo was an older, very sweet fellow who indeed just what I was looking for. A patient dog, he allowed me to experiment with new techniques I had recently learned, thus giving me the opportunity to create a wide variety of images. Sadly, Milo’s family informed me that he had passed away last year. With heavy hearts and an empty home, they decided to bring home a puppy. And so the search for Briggs began. 

This little bully mix immediately cheered the family up. Knowing he’d grow up fast, and remembering Milo’s session with me, they decided they needed photos of this We scheduled the session as early as we were all available, on a beautiful summer day. Knowing the flowers were in full bloom on the Penn State campus, that’s where we decided to hold the session.

Briggs had only been with his new family for two weeks, but it was apparent he was developing a strong bond with them. Kona, their other bully mix, took a little longer to adapt to the little sptifire, he was quite the change from her older brother Milo. But it was good for her to have a playmate again, and soon they tumbled, rolled and chased one another. 

Now, you can probably guess that photographing and playing with Briggs was the highlight of my week that week. After all, who doesn’t love a puppy? Briggs was a pretty calm fellow considering he was only 11 weeks old. Usually I have all these noise makers I use to get the dog’s attention, but Briggs was so fascinated with all the sights and smells of this new location, he was too busy checking things out to pay any mind to me and my sounds. We had toys for him to chase and captured some truly hilarious action shots!

Later in the session, Briggs’ people jumped in the photos for some family shots. I’m always delighted when my clients opt to do this as I believe not enough people get photos of themselves with their furry family members. Our fur-kids come into our lives for such a short period of time, we should honor this with updated family photos often. It may feel funny or weird at the time since many of us are not used to being photographed, but it’s something you’ll look back and cherish forever.

Here are a few images from this fun session! campus

A look back at 2017

Januarys mean new beginnings. But it's also a great time to reflect on the past year and take note of all my accomplishments and failures. The year began with a bang when I took an extended trip to Florida. It was good for my soul (all that sun!) and my business as I was able to focus on tasks that needed to get done, but could never find the time. This included overhauling my website, getting back into blogging and shooting more that winter than ever before.

My return to Happy Valley brought in more clients than in 2016. And stretching myself out of my comfort zone I shot studio portraits in my clients home. Something I had shied away from for so many reasons, but ended up being more doable than I ever imagined.

I met and photographed several puppies (and had way too much fun!), consistently blogged twice a week and posted on social media on a regular basis, something that previously I had only done sporadically and with little intention behind what content I was sharing.

I made decisions that in 2018 I hope will move me toward focusing even more on my photography. Letting go of some things took time (years actually), but I'm excited to make some changes in my life and get closer to making my dreams come true.


While I achieved many of my goals for 2017, I fell short on some of them too. I only published one newsletter edition all year, didn't book as many clients as I had set in my goals and completely failed at some marketing plans I had started to put together, but never acted on. Some goals I achieved, like entering Professional Photographer's of America (PPA) International Print Competition, attending a PPA Certified Professional Photographer class and expanding on my photoshop skills, which were not part of my plan when the year began. So I'm proud of myself of taking advantage of opportunities I hadn't expected. 


One thing is clear though, how much I've been enjoying my journey as a photographer. Reflecting on all of this has been part of the process as I work on setting goals for 2018. And let me tell you, I've got some pretty ambitious ones this year! It's always fun to look back and see how far I've come in just 12 months. And a great reminder that this journey isn't about getting there, where ever "there" is, but the experiences along the way. So whether something was an accomplishment or a failure, I'm grateful for all of it!

Now that the holidays are officially over, I'm ready to jump in and get 2018 started! 



Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer when public pools close for the year. However, many towns are leaving them open for one last swim - that's gone to the dogs. Literally! For a few hours of fun, pooches of all shapes and sizes can enjoy one last afternoon of summertime fun.

This year, Centre Region Parks and Recreation changed things up a bit. Since the event had grown so much, they broke down the time into two groups - small dog and big dog play time. I think this a great decision since so many small dogs were intimidated by the big dogs. But it sure was like day and night! Not many small dogs attended, and most of them were happier running around chasing one another. By contrast, within minutes of opening the pool to the big dogs, Park Forest Pool had turned into Retriever City! Goldens and labradors of all ages as well as several other breeds came out and the pool was full of happy go lucky tennis ball loving canines! I'm not really sure who had more fun - the pooches or their owners. But it was clear that watching our furry friends have so much fun brought smiles and laughter all around! 

If you've never attended, then this is something you need to put on your bucket list for next summer! I've been to every event since it started four years ago. Each year my golden retriever Izzy gets a little braver. The first year I couldn't get her in the water. The second year she went in as long as I was by her side. Last year, once I got her in, I couldn't keep her out. This year she went in for one quick swim, but only after she hung out along the edge and took all the tennis balls out of the pool first! Don't ask me why, she never cleans up her toys at home!

Here's a few happy canines!